Friday, September 26, 2014

Blogging is Changing

For a while now I've noticed quite a few bloggers frustrated with blogging. They don't know what to write about, what angle to take, or how to get money from sponsors without feeling like a sell-out. No one wants a personal blog that's constantly selling things, but having a blog without a clear purpose makes us self-conscious we're wasting your time. All around I see people doing blog overhauls, refocusing, regrouping, and sometimes re-branding.

It was tempting in the beginning to make money off this blog, but after I've seen the hassle other bloggers have gone through (and the feeling of your soul being sucked out of it), I resisted and kept true to my original premise of writing about my life for my family and for myself.

Naturally making friends was a huge, unexpected benefit from this whole experience. But I feel with the incompatible nature of leaving comments with mobile phones, making connections with people by way of comments has pretty much died. That breaks my heart. It was the part I loved most about reading/writing blogs.

That said, I'm extraordinarily grateful for those who leave comments. You don't know how much that means to me. When comments first started dying off, I thought, "No one's reading!" And then I realized my traffic had gone up, as well as my subscribers. That was the first sign the blogging world was changing.

And then Google got rid of Google reader and I think we collectively threw our hands up, while others threw in the towel permanently.

This has never been a big blog, nor did I ever want it to be. If I did, I would have accepted my invitation to BlogHer or requests for sponsor ads. I call myself a boutique blogger, a place you can visit and I'll know you, you'll know me, and we'll have a nice chat about things we like to talk about for a few minutes out of your day. Some of you stay longer, and I pour you a glass of lemonade and we talk by way of Twitter, Facebook, or sometimes even face to face.

Others I call department store blogging: these blogs are beautiful, they're professional, they can sell you the prettiest things. But they kind of all look the same and they're there to make money off you. They have their place in the blog world, although I tend to stay away from them in general.

I must make a note there are plenty of blogs who make money and do it without feeling like they're pushing products on you.

In a nutshell, I know where this blog is going; it's going to continue to document my life in the dance world, my life for my mother, my life for my future children, and my life as someone trying to appreciate the moments I otherwise would have missed.

What changes have you noticed in blogging?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Take a Seat, Jeans: Sweater Dresses Have Arrived

I think sweater dresses are one of the sexiest things a woman can wear: sleek, cozy, and shows off your shape without revealing too much. Paired with cute tights and some chunky bracelets, I think they might be my go-to outfit since I'm not ready to let go of cute dresses quite yet. Seriously, jeans make me so angry. Why do they have to be so tight? Why do they have to ride down when I sit so I have to hike them up like a man when I stand?

Anyway, I love all these dresses from ModCloth. I'm imaging myself wearing them during all my favorite Fall activities, i.e. apple picking, collecting leaves, and eating everything with pumpkin and cloves.

The jeans can wait.

Warm Cider // Pie Date // Everywhere You Look // Commit It

What's your non-jeans outfit for the colder months?

Monday, September 22, 2014


This weekend was fabulously exhausting and fulfilling.

~Friday night I got home late, so Mr. Branflake and I had a late dinner at 9 pm. We ate Cafe Rio, which was the restaurant in Provo when we were at BYU, so going there brought back sweet memories of overeating fresh tortillas and cheesy meats in our college days.

~In preparation for my long Saturday in the studio, I made chocolate banana nut muffins for the teachers, staff, and me. I like to think I'm helping the world be a better place through food.

~Saturday I was at the studio from 10 am-8 pm and even though my feet were killing me by the end, I left smiling and excited for my students.

~After rehearsals, I drove to a friend's house for a Twitter meetup and it was so fun to meet my Twitter friends for the first time. I know it sounds crazy to hang out with people you met on Twitter, but bloggers do it all the time so don't judge haha.

~Sunday afternoon was The Washington Ballet's Open House where my students performed my restaging of Act I from Giselle. They did so well! I was so proud and they looked the best they ever have. Again, all smiles.

~ If you ever have a chance, go to The Washington Ballet's Open Houses. They come around once a year and you can see previews of the season from the company and school demonstrations. It's a really neat thing. They also had a taco, panini, and frozen yogurt truck out front. 

~Sunday night was dinner with friends, aka gorging myself on delicious pumpkin whoopie pies. 

~ Cuddles. So many cuddles. Sunday morning is our only time together and you better believe we don't get out of bed until 10 am.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Reminder About Being Pretty

I have not been kind to my reflection lately. I know, I know... Get with it, Branflake, and get over yourself. There's more to life than looking good.

But sometimes I just get in this funk where I'm really critical of how I look. Mr. Branflake will say, "What is going on?" and I'll just shrug and say, "I don't know."

I love/hate Pinterest. It's full of the same looking woman with the same body type parading around the same type of clothing. But it's also dotted with people trying to make a difference with reminders like the ones above. The first and second quote especially made me realize, "Wow. People expect me to look pretty. Why do I let that happen?" And then the bottom quote made me realize the battle I'm facing isn't always internal.

And I love the thought about defining beauty. It's not vanity to want to define your own beauty, for then beauty doesn't have to be about looks or perfection. Better yet, each have the power to redefine beauty by simply being ourselves.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall is Officially in my Kitchen

The other night, Mr. Branflake and I went on a walk and I had to wear a sweater. I repeat: I had to wear a sweater. I was agitated. How did it get so cold so quickly? Why can't I wear my pretty sundresses another month? I still haven't gotten use out of my cute coral sandals. And for goodness sake, I still have tan lines needing to be fixed!

So, in the midst of this cold weather intrusion, I comforted myself with food. Pumpkin bread is always welcomed here. To have cloves, cinnamon, and that wonderfully distinct pumpkin smell wafting in my kitchen is all I need to help me grit my teeth, take a deep breath, and welcome a change in seasons.

How are you getting excited for the colder months? 
Can we just call it Winter? I'm going to call it Winter.
It's basically Winter.
Betty Crocker Pumpkin Bread Recipe found here.
Photos by me next to my little window.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Life Lately at the Washington Ballet

mah feet by Susan Yee

1. We are our starting our fourth week of classes and I can't believe how time has flown by. These students are progressing wonderfully and sometimes I just burst out in a huge smile during their exercises. In fact, they're progressing so quickly that when students miss just one class, it's quite obvious they're already behind.

2. Parents: don't ever think missing one class isn't a big deal. It is. There is no way a student can make up for a lost class and lost technique.

3. I'm restaging Giselle for our performing group and it's such an honor to be a part of these great group of kids. Their first performance is Tuesday and it's a great one; there are rumors that Rachael Ray and Misty Copeland will be there because they're being honored by The President. I don't know if that's true, but I'll keep you posted.

4. Yet another reason why I love being in DC.

5. My schedule changed and now I'm teaching every day but Sunday. I actually like the new hours because I'm at the studio less hours a day and I get to go home a little earlier than before. And I'm teaching some really fun classes including two all boys classes. Those are fun.

6. I'm also teaching an adult ballet class on Thursdays from 7:45 to 8:45 and I think you all should come!

7. Nutcracker auditions are coming up and I can't believe it's that time already. It always arrives too soon. Winter is coming too soon. The studios are getting colder and I might have to (gasp) break out my leg warmers.

8. I think I'll start twitching when I hear the music at the mall.

9. I'm not teaching any little ones this year and it's strange because I've taught them for the last seven years. The youngest I'm teaching are the six year olds, so I'm putting all my little kid energy into that one class and I think they think I'm a little crazy.

10. I can tell my teaching style is different than last year. I'm more strict about certain things and understanding about others. It's a conscious effort to make sure I'm being the most effective teacher I can be while making sure each class is efficient in its pace. 

11. Adorable story:
      Me to the class: "Raise your hand if you know you can be the best listener here."
      Student: "I think I can be because I can wiggle my ears." Proceeds to wiggles ears haha!

*Disclaimer: I am not a representative of The Washington Ballet. All ideas and opinions expressed are my own. I know you all know this, but I just wanted to make sure there isn't confusion about my role with the organization. I am a faculty member who has a personal blog and loves to share my love of dance with the world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life Lately

1. Burgers. I can't get enough of them. I love most burgers, but the one's Mr. Branflake makes are my favorite. Just perfectly seasoned and seared in a pan.

2. I've been loving the combo of mushrooms and pesto. So good with whole grain pasta, lemon, and some chopped spinach. So good.

3. Mr. B and I went berry picking. Turns out blackberries add some nice pizazz to a chocolate, raspberry, cream cheese frosting cake. 

4. Frozen custard. I don't think late night desserts with friends need much else.

5. For the last year, every Sunday we gather together at our friend's house for a roast, mashed potatoes, and corn. We've been spoiled. They also serve us Italian sodas with cream and fancy straws.

6. They've also spoiled us with s'mores cookies. They are so good I swore I would only eat one but I ate four. Worth every calorie.

7. I asked my students one day a really hard question. I said, "What's the purpose of doing rond de jambes?" I didn't think they would know, so I said, "I'll give you all homemade cookies if you guess." To my utter astonishment, one nine year old boy said, "To help turn out!" He got it right, so I happily made them a batch of cookies.

8. I think I eat a lot.