"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day. And I believe in miracles."
~ Audrey Hepburn


Day Zero Project Update & A Tale of Two Brasileñas

I work sooo much, my friends. Whenever I get a day off I go crazy.

And by crazy I mean stay in my PJs all day and watch TV on my laptop and eat thai food in bed. 
Before you start to judge me, I will have you know that I woke up this morning and ran five miles! 
So I'm not a total slob.


It must have slipped my mind. 

In all seriousness, though, I am scared sh!tless. Running does not come easily to me and I really have to push myself and exercise LOTS of discipline to get myself in shape for this event. To be honest, part of the reason I am publishing this on the internet is I need you all to know so that I cannot back out haha. 

So I was thinking... running a half-marathon is a pretty big deal... And you know what? It is not on my list!!! It just never occurred to me that this would be something I would ever want to do or strive to accomplish. Therefore, I would like to announce that I will be adding it to my Day Zero Project List! To be fair, I will allow you to vote which unaccomplished goal you think I should erase. 

Here are the goals I have not yet accomplished: 
(Keep in mind I have until July 22, 2012 before this project ends) 

 005. Cook a meal for a large group of people 
016. Play paintball 
017. Go on a road trip 
018. Go fishing 
019. Learn to dive 
022. Go to a water park
023. Roll down a grass hill 
024. Swing from a rope into a lake 
027. See the Grand Canyon 
028. Visit San Francisco 
029. Go to Harry Potter World 
031. Get drunk of off ridiculously expensive wine 
032. Party in Mexico 
033. Throw a huge party 
034. Eat the worm 
035. Have a wild Spring Break 
037. Go to a club in Vegas 
038. Party in Miami 
039. Do the UCSB Undie Run 
042. Learn a new song on the piano 
043. Learn to bartend 
044. Perfect my juggling 
049. Meet a famous author 
051. Clear book list 
056. Go to a film festival 
060. Be in the audience at the taping of a TV show 
061. Go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show 
068. Take my parents out to dinner 
069. Play matchmaker 
073. Make another music video 
074. Spend an entire day without speaking 
078. Win a prize 
082. Get a tattoo 
086. Touch a giraffe 
095. Read an issue of the New York Times, cover to cover

Holy moly I have a lot left. So which one should I delete?? Please tell me in a comment! 
While we are talking about my goals, which one should I do next?! 
Please tell me what you think, I need motivation!

And for all of your troubles, I will now entertain you with PICTURES FROM BRAZIL!!!


Allow me to prelude this entry with an anecdote about South American tour busses. 
My overall experience with tour busses in South America was amazing. 99% of the busses were new, clean, served good food (and wine!), and played great movies (sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish). Friends and I joked that sometimes we would rather stay on the bus than get off and begin our adventures in that foreign city/country. 

The 12-hour bus ride from Iguazu Falls to São Paulo, however, was the worst bus ride EVER.
First of all, that ride was where we got our first taste of Portuguese, which was way more foreign than we expected. Hahah but that was our fault, not theirs. It sounded more like Russian/Japanese than Spanish like everybody claimed. We became more familiar with it during our stay, though :) Anyway, back to my story. The bus was from, like, the 60s, the seats were uncomfortable, they shut off all the lights even though our bus left around 9 or 10 PM and did not even have the courtesy to play a movie (and we couldn't read or do anything else since it was pitch-black, so they were basically forcing us to sleep), they did not serve food, and to top it all off, they were blasting the air conditioner the entire night even though we were in the middle of winter! My first few days in Brazil were completely ruined because I got really sick after the bus ride :( I had the worst fever and spent one day and a couple nights lying on the couch. And thennn I got Lara sick! Oh! And I forgot to tell you that the bus driver PASSED our stop, and when we went up and begged him to turn around, he refused!!  So we ended up far from our destination and had to take a taxi to get there :( I may have cried a little. What a way to start our trip :(

But then we met Frix :D 

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He was our couchsurfing host in São Paulo. 
Frix went completely out of his way to make Lara and I comfortable in his home and told us about
and/or took us to some of his favorite spots in the city! We also shared a few recipes. I am so so appreciative of his hospitality and the fact that he tolerated us even though we were sick and boring!

I think it is safe to say that our favorite part of São Paulo was Parque Ibirapuera

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 It is a HUGGEE park (two square kilometers... Central Park in NYC is 3.4) in the middle of an urban area that has wild jungle-like gardens, many basketball courts, tennis courts, football fields (football as in futbol, not futbol americano  jaja), meadows, a playing area for children unlike any I have seen before, a lake, and many buildings... I think there are several museums, event centers, gyms, and a planetarium. I had never seen anything like it before. I visited Central Park when I was 13, but, you know, I was 13. Lara & I fell in love with Parque Ibirapuera and spent the majority of our time in São Paulo there, sleeping under the shade of the trees, reading books and magazines on our blankets, and snacking by the pond. I wish so badly that there were something like this in LA. 

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This tree looked like it came from Avatar. Or Pocahontas. Whichever. Sup Grandmother Willow??

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The pond was our favorite part. 

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Wow. Such an amazing place. I wish I could spend the day there again :(

♥ ♥ ♥
While we were in the city, I really wanted to visit a restaurant recommended by Brazilian food blogger Amanda from Give Me Flour. I absolutely adore her blog for the creative recipes she posts and the incredibly artistic and unique way in which she styles her photos. Check it out if you get the chance!!! 

Amanda gave a glowing recommendation for a pizza place called Pizzaria Bráz, explaining that the restaurant (and São Paulo in general) has "one of the best pizzas in the world"! Lara and I are not the type to pass up a restaurant suggestion so we went, taking Frix and his friend along with us. 

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  The pizza place was reallyyy cool! I have never been to a restaurant where the waiter monitors your eating and approaches you to serve you seconds when he feels you are ready haha. We ordered some sort of calzone appetizer that was filled with some sort of sausage, if I am remembering correctly, a pizza with a kind of cured pork (looks like pepperoni), and another pizza that was topped with mozzarella and chopped up black olives.  Although the pizzas were delicioussss, I would still say my favorite pizzas are from Mama Petrillos in Temple City, CA and Woodstocks in Isla Vista, CA! 


After dinner, Frix took us to the top of a fancy hotel to show us his favorite view of the city. 
Although it was a smoggy night, the city lights were breath-taking.  

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We were sad to leave Frix and the city of São Paulo but we weren't toooooo sad...
I mean... our next stop was RIO DE JANEIRO!!!!!!!!!!