Saturday, February 27, 2010

No Yoga

Photo via Susan Yee

I have very few enemies in life.  In fact, I would like to think that even if a person does not like me they at least like me enough not to tell me to my face.  Except for one person and that person was in the yoga studio today as I walked in to take my free, hour and a half, power yoga class.  This lady once accused me of horrific things and then spread rumors about me that were so false that it was almost laughable.  Except I never laughed but just got depressed.  And then fired. 

So yoga is a no go today.  Maybe another day. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dancing Branflakes Goes to the Opera

Happy Weekend!  How is yours going so far?  Mine is starting off great.

photo via ashayoga.com

This morning I walked to my local yoga studio and took my first yoga class in five years.  That's right, I live less than a half mile away from a yoga studio and I don't go.  The studio was nice and looked more like a spa resort, which is probably why a class is $15.  But I have a gift certificate that my husband gave me for Christmas.  He also gave me a yoga DVD that I have yet to use.  The embarassing part of the class is that my mat wouldn't stay flat because it's so old and has essentially never been used before.  Lame, huh?

But the class was refreshing and challenging so I signed up for more.  Maybe I'll become a yogi!  My friend, Stacy over at In Search of the Finer Things, blogged about a quiz Gaiam has on their website.  It's called What Kind of a Yogi Are You?  It's a fun quiz and it turns out I am (gasp!) a social butterfly.  They suggested I take Anusura yoga.  Maybe I will, Gaiam.  Maybe I will.

And tonight, after rehearsal, I am going to the opera!  My friends invited Chris and I to see La Traviata.  I love the opera, not really for the singing and music but for the getting dressed up and feeling grown up.  Time to pick out the outfit.  If you were going to the opera, what dress would you choose?




Classic and Mad Men style.  Eliza J



Fun and happy.  I love the pleats and the flirty neckline. 



I love the bow and the color!


I'll be honest, I love the bottom.  It's like origami in taffeta.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Happiest Person on Earth

 

Yesterday I shared some awesome pictures of my friend, Jana, who works as a dancer at Disneyland.  After weeks of playing email tag I finally got a chance to interview Jana about what it's like to work with the iconic Happiest Place on Earth. 

Dancing Branflake: What's your rehearsal schedule like with Disney?
Jana, The Most Awesome Person Ever: When we're starting or re-opening a parade, we'll do about a month of rehearsals--usually 4 hours a day, 2-3 times a week or more depending on how many parts we do. Then we start full cast street rehearsals with 4-8 hour overnight rehearsals, sometimes until 4am because it has to be after the park closes. Those are pretty cool though because we're in the park all by ourselves, dancing on an empty street. Then the parade opens and we perform 1 or 2 parades daily!

DB: What's the best part about your job
Jana: Being at Disneyland! I have always loved Disneyland so getting to dance there is a dream come true for me, cheesy as it is. Seeing kids faces light up really is magical.

DB: What's the hardest part?

Jana: Probably having to do it day in and day out, no matter what. During the Christmas season I was doing 5 performances a day, 5 days a week! Some days I felt really lucky and happy to be performing so much, but some days I was just pooped. Also--we dance in 2-inch character heels on cement streets. Dumb. I'm scared for the future of my body.

DB: Are there days you really don't feel like smiling?
Jana: YES. But we have to suck it up and give a good show! It's true for all dancers, but what makes it easier for Disney dancers is we have an excited crowd who paid a lot to see some Disney magic, and you can't help but respond to that. When you look for the special moments it makes it easy to smile. :)

DB: What has been your most favorite character?
Jana: My favorite Disney character is Dopey! But my favorite character I've danced I think was my first spot--I was a wind up doll, "Bell Ringer," dancing with the Pinocchio float in the Parade of Dreams. It was like being a part of a classic Disney movie, and that was a beautiful parade, it had that fantasy-come-to-life aspect. Also I loved being the "Music Box Ballerina" en pointe in the Christmas parade a couple times last year...it was my dream spot. I know you feel the same, Tiffany--ballet just holds a special place in our hearts!


DB: What are the perks of working at Disneyland?
Jana: Well, free admission is one thing! It’s especially good for people who love everything Disney like my husband and I do. We're geeks. But really the biggest perks are the special stories of dreams coming true! Like everywhere, it has its drama, but has its heartwarming stories as well. For example, one day there was a beautiful young man, who I believe had cerebral palsy, watching the parade. He had the biggest smile and was cheering as we pulled up, and his parents were so excited with him. When it was time to invite the audience to do the conga on the street with us, his wheelchair didn't hold him back. His father picked him up and carried him along the conga line the whole way. The boy was absolutely overjoyed, high-fiving Woody, Mickey, Minnie, and everyone as he passed. I'll never forget it.

DB: Anything else you want to share?
Jana: Just that I think you are awesome! And your blog is awesome! You share wonderful little tid-bits that give us a peek into your life and make people happy! I love it! And you are so wonderful to blog about dance and fellow dancers--you progress the art in your own way. :)


Thanks Jana!  Isn't she awesome and so kind?  You can't even have a conversation with her without leaving feeling great about yourself and about life in general.  Very much like a Disney movie, right?  I'm going to Disneyland in May and I can't wait to see her. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'll Give You a Reason to Smile

Happy Wednesday!  Feeling a little anxious for the weekend?  Here's a little pick me up to get you through.  Her name is Jana and we danced together in college.  She is one of the sweetest, hard working, bubbly, and talented dancer I know.  It is so fitting that her first job out of college is dancing with...

 

 

 



  

 


Disneyland!  She has one of the most coveted jobs as a dancer in Disneyland and I can tell she's just perfect at it.  These pictures depict exactly what she's like in person: always smiling, super funny, a great person to laugh with, and loves to dress up.  And she's super artistic (she did a total DIY wedding because she's THAT awesome).  These pictures just make me smile.

 How fun is that?  Do you love Disneyland?  Who is your favorite Disney Character?  I love Belle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Portrait of the Day

 
 Photo by Tung Nguyen

Chanthou is one of the most beautiful dancers I've ever met.  She started as a hip hop dancer and moved on to African and modern.  The way she moves is like water in a stream.  Fluid, strong, and sometimes unpredictable.  She's a high school dance teacher, wife, mother to a 13 year old daughter, and an incredible friend.  This photo happened after a long ten hour rehearsal and she absolutely did not want her picture taken.  Tony got her at a moment she just happened to look up.  She would be so mad to know I've put this photo on my blog but I think she looks absolutely beautiful and real.

More photos of Chanthou and me here.



Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring is Almost Here!

Things I'm Loving Right Now
 
I imagine them paired with a 3.1 Phillip Lim ruffle top.



I love the sunshine color and the lower and mid beige contrasts.



 
I love the cute size and the fact that they are made with real strawberries, fresh lemon juice, and Belgian chocolate.


 
Tina Fey on the cover of Vogue.  Solo!
Photo via Jezebel.com


Friday, February 19, 2010

Trash The Dress

My friend from En Pointe Photography (who you all know I blog about so much) does Trash the Dress sessions with her clients.  Even though the idea of getting a wedding dress dirty sounds horrifying to some, it has developed quite a following for those wanting to get another use out their dress after the main event.  I love how she captures the essence of each couple and makes them look absolutely gorgeous.

Disclaimer: No dresses were harmed in the photographic process.










Check out more En Pointe Photography: Portland and Beach Picnics

Aren't these awesome?  Shes does non beaches one also but I just loved the contrast of the wet sand and the white dresses.  Did you do anything like this after you got married?  I'm tempted but I think I've been married too long.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Favorite Pilates Move

 I dance with someone who has amazing abs.  Her entire body is completely toned but her abs are incredible.  I asked her (maybe begged her) what she did to strengthen her core and she shared this move with me.  You alternate legs and stretch as far as your leg can comfortably go, making sure your abs are pulled in tight and your shoulder are off the floor.  I don't know why, but after I do this my abs look and feel tighter.  Actually, it's pretty amazing what happens when I do this exercise.  Then I ask myself, "Why don't I do this more?"

Do you have any secret "this is how I look amazing" weapons you'd like to share? 


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Many Blogs Do You Follow?

Photo via En Pointe Photography.  I follow this blog because I'm not only friends with the blogger but also because I love how she can photograph food (and everything else) so well.  She also posts once a day!

Looking at my Dashboard I realize I follow a lot of blogs.  I mean, it's a little excessive but I need to because of my personality. I'm kind of addicted to news and just knowing that all I have to do is scroll through the list on my Dashboard and click through new blog posts is calming to me.  Staying connected to the world is part of my 'mental therapy' that I do daily.

I also realize there are some great blogs out there with just a few followers.  In fact, they often get three times more comments per posts than they have followers.  And the reverse is true that some people have way more followers than commenters (Black Eiffel comes to mind).  It makes me wonder, what compels people to follow blogs or not follow blogs?  Leave comments or not comment? 


So, how many blogs do you follow?  And what makes you want to follow a blog?  Are you following my blog? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Letter to Myself: The Revelation

 
Photo by Afred EisenstaedtI thought ballerinas studying was an appropriate picture.

 A few weeks ago I found a sealed envelope with the words "Do Not Open Until 2/16/2010."  It was dated 2/16/1999 and I had totally forgotten about it.  This morning I opened it and, as promised, I will reveal its contents. 

The letter was a list of goals broken down in four sections of my life: love, spiritual, professional, and emotional.  It's still unclear as to why I wrote this letter or why I could not open it until another eleven years. Which, in my opinion, is a little strange but I was a strange 15 year old so I guess that's expected.  Here are a few highlights:

Professional: "I want to never stop teaching and never stop learning."  I also said that I wanted to teach at a university.

Emotional: I declared that I wanted to be an artist.  I wanted to develop my talent into art and  "live through my soul and passionately look deeper into myself..." 

Love: "I have to date interesting people."  I also went on to say that I didn't want a boring boyfriend.

Spiritual: I said I would sacrifice anything to live a life of peace.

The letter was a page long and my writing style is exactly the same.  Although it's neat to find a 10 year old sealed envelope but I honestly wish I had it handy so I could make sure I was on track.  I think I am.   

 What are your goals?  Hopes?  Ten year plans?  Did you dread having boring boyfriends like I did? 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Doug Rice

Photo via Tony Nguyen

This past weekend's shows went amazing.  Great reviews!  The woman who used to schedule Zellerbach Hall's performances wants us to take our show to San Francisco.  Dancing with Dangerous Lorraines Dance Theater is like dancing with a circus.  Our style is after the new wave of dance happening all over Europe and just picking up steam in the United States.  There's video, text, props, live music, and whatever you find interesting (I've heard of live animals and water on stage but we don't have the budget for that).  We had the opportunity of working with some amazing artists such as Doug Rice, a writing professor and novelist.  He gave us some of his work and said, "Here you go!  Use whatever you want."  His writing is amazing and even as I was onstage performing it was incredibly emotional to hear his beautiful words.  The theme of our show was dependence.  Here are a few lines we used:

"She looked like someone moving from here to there, moving through the moment that comes immediately before flight, before a departure toward and elsewhere."


"Her refusal to speak made pure and perfect sense to me. She liked the world inside her head. She played there and she stayed there. Her head, I imagined, was overflowing with starlight, lunatic monkeys enjoying moments of swinging from thought to thought, and the last of the morning rain touching the river before giving over to becoming dew. Whenever she needed something from our world, she visited us with other ways for speaking. The simple and direct beauty of her little body in movement expressed her desires, her emotions. She danced words into being."


"I want to return with you to the place where our hearts first met as if we are still children outside playing in the sun, my faint shadow chasing after your shadow."

Beautiful, huh?  Also, stop by tomorrow to find out what my mysterious letter says.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Update and the Sweetest Thing Ever

Love Our Bodies Week has been such an incredible week but I am also disturbed.  Have you read any of the Glamour.com comments?  Some comments are heartwarming while others are shocking.  It was humbling and heartbreaking to read their comments as they freely divulged lifetimes of pain and dissatisfaction with their bodies.  Read the Glamour article and its reader comments.  See the Love Our Bodies Week Challenge.

On a much happier note my friend, Ashley, took up the challenge with her AND her daughters, ages 3 and 5, and listed the five things they love about their bodies.  I'm posting her girls' lists and Ashley's commentary.


 
 "1. eyes
2. ears
3. belly (love this!!)
4. legs
5. face
(And she wants me to add: 6. teeth)"


 
"I helped her draw the last two. She wanted me to draw the shirt she is wearing today :)."

Isn't that the sweetest thing ever?  I love that they both love their bellies and that the younger daughter wanted to add a sixth one. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

What Are You Doing For Love Day?

A romantic dinner in?  A party with friends?  Maybe a quick getaway to a library hotel? (Thanks Cafe Fashionista for the tip).  For Valentine's Day I am going to be...



 

Performing!  We opened yesterday and our show runs through Sunday.  Since Monday is a holiday I'm hoping my husband will make me these pancakes as a special post Love Day treat.


 
 Recipe found at The Nesting Project .

What are you doing?  Are you anti or will you relish in the opportunity to pamper and be pampered?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thank You and Exciting News

Thank you for all your wonderful comments and stories.  These last few days I did not once criticize my body because I had you in mind, encouraging me and inspiring me.  Also, remember yesterday I talked about an email I sent to Sarah Jio?  Well, it is now posted on Glamour.com in the Health and Fitness section. I am so excited and I can't wait to hear more inspiring comments.  Glamour.com is the same website blogging guru Joanna Goddard from Cup of Jo is at (love her!)

This truly has been a life changing experience.  Thank you readers! (See where it all began here).



On another note, tonight is opening night for my show.  I will remain positive, calm, and happy with myself.  The challenge will carry on!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Our Bodies Week Part III: It Starts at Home

Sarah Jio is a well known writer and current blogger for Glamour.com for their Health and Fitness section.  This week she has touched upon subjects such as body image issues and eating disorders.  I wrote her an email with my take on the matter.  Here's an excerpt.

"I know that weight between mothers and daughters is a century old battle.  It's an issue discussed at length in magazines and on television.  Why?  Do all daughters forget what it was like to be criticized by their mothers?   How about fathers and daughters?  How about casual yet careless comments about food or a double chin at the dinner table?  As this generation becomes parents it might be wise to double check ourselves as we speak to our children about this sensitive issue (of weight).

I know that all kids are not sensitive about their weight but I can gather that most are aware of it.  I teach high school kids and almost all the girls are unhappy with their bodies.  Some blame media but I honestly think a loving and accepting family holds much more influence than images or ads.  They can not only build a foundation of self esteem and self worth but also combat the pressures and ruthless ideals from the world.

While putting band-aids (or huge gauze strips) on wounded self images is so important to me and to many woman today, I also believe stronger defense systems are needed from the start.  The dinner table should be a refuge from the world, not a place of struggle or self consciousness."

As our generation becomes parents, aunts, uncles, and mentors I think we have a responsibility to stop the cycle of self doubt and self consciousness before they start in children.  This is part of the challenge for Love Our Bodies Week.  My friend Ashley has not only taken up this challenge but also had her children participate in listing 5 things they like about their bodies.  Isn't that awesome?

What's your take on this?  Were your parents supportive or critical?  Why must weight ever be an issue at home?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love Our Bodies Week: How is it Going?

I've been loving all the great comments on the Love Our Bodies Week post.  You guys are so inspiring and honest and wonderful!  It's our third day within the challenge and I wanted to check in and ask how it's going for everyone.  It has been a little hard for me.  It's tech week for Dangerous Lorraines so we are in the theater until 10 at night, we open in just a few days, and we are still trying on costumes to see what fits, what looks good, etc.  I even (gasp!) caught myself saying out loud on Monday "Urgh!  I hate my stomach!"  after trying on four or five outfits that didn't look right on me.  That was not good and I immediately regretted it.  So what's a girl to do?

Katie and me trying out our model poses during rehearsal.  Pretty sure we busted out laughing right after.

Meet Katie.  She's a fellow Dangerous Lorraines Dancer and my new extra conscience.  She informed me on Monday that for every negative thought that pops into my head or out of my mouth I have to tell her five different things I like about my body.  This might be tough because she also informed me that I can never repeat a compliment.  Ever.  She's tough and on me like a hawk but that's exactly what I need.

In honor of Katie, here are the five things I love about my body.  I invite you to make a list of your own.

1. My ankles.  They are sleek and muscular and very strong.
2. My nose.  It's not too big and not too small. 
3. My collar bone, aka the most beautiful body part on a woman.
4. My calves.  They are huge!  But huge and defined.
5. My hair.  It's thick, strong, and low maintenance.  I sometimes wash it multiple times a day and it never dries out.

I'd love to hear the five things you love about your body.  It's suprisingly quite therapeutic.  I feel better just typing this post.  Hopefully I won't need Katie for much longer. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dancing Branflakes Blog Award



  
Photos by famed Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.  I love the vintage feel and the simple elegance of the ballerinas..
Jayni over at Bonjour J has tagged me and given me a blog award!  I am so honored to be tagged among some great bloggers (Jaeves + Things for example) and I love the concept of recognizing and promoting fellow bloggers. Even though I've never met many of you in person I feel so close to all of you through your insightful comments, open hearts, and beautiful blog posts.  Jayni, thank you for the tag and thank you for your awesome blog also. 

Tell me, what are some of your favorite blogs?  I'm always looking for more blogging friends and I'd love to hear your favorites.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love Our Bodies Week

 
image via love-your-body.org 

Saturday's rehearsal for DLDT was interesting.  When we got there we were told to pick out two costumes for our upcoming performance.  There were at least fifty different dresses, tops, and skirts laid out on the floor.  In a company where we are all different shapes and sizes we excitedly tried on the clothes like six year old girls playing dress up.  We had to choose our favorite two ensembles to model before the directors to get their approval.  I choose a red dress and a black dress.  The red dress was clingy in a "show off your curves way" but I liked it because I have no curves and it made me feel a bit more feminine than I usually do.  I asked the directors if they liked it.  The response?  "Oh, but you're belly... Wear something else." 

Okay, I know I don't have a perfect body.  Even at my skinniest size zero when my ballet teacher told me to stop losing weight I still did not have a completely flat stomach.  But there probably could have been a more tactful response from the director.  Especially when we're in an environment where we stare at our bodies in mirrors all day long and are constantly criticizing everything we see and don't see. I've struggled with my body since I can remember.  It's getting better but instances like these propel me to think the most negative thoughts and do irrational things.  For instance, my first thought after hearing the director's comment was to start doing sit ups and skip dinner.  I probably would have if Chris and I weren't going to some friends house for dinner that night.  But as soon rehearsal was over I hopped on the treadmill for almost an hour thinking about that comment.

People, there has got to be a better way.  Careless comments can wreck havoc on even the most level headed person.  On the flip side, let's do something healthier when faced with such criticism.  Instead of damaging our bodies and spirit so that we fit an ambiguous ideal, let's embrace what we have.  So, in defense against all criticism and negativity I declare this week Dancing Branflakes Love Our Bodies Week.  It's a reminder for all of us to love our bodies and to be more aware of the comments we make to others, no matter our profession or life story.  When faced with an opportunity to put down our thighs, hips, arms, ears, necks, wrists, or ankles how about we compliment instead of criticize?  Instead of commenting on people's weight, ear shape, eating habits, etc. let's only recognize the traits that matter in life.

In honor of Dancing Branflakes Love Our Bodies Week I pledge to banish negative thoughts with positive ones.  Instead of criticizing my body I will choose to compliment it.  I will think twice before I call someone skinny or a health nut and focus on what really makes them beautiful and special.


Will you participate?  If so, you might prevent yourself or someone else from thinking about dieting, elective surgery, or wanting a different self.  That might seem drastic, but it's often careless comments that put people over the edge and into a world of self doubt and self consciousness.  And if you do struggle with your body maybe you can take this as an opportunity to love your self a little more.  It's Love Month.  Why not?

Friday, February 5, 2010

It Shows That Love is Real

Kind of a long, sappy post but whatever.


I love The Sartolialist.  He's a blogger with an incredible following.  Each post has at least 50 comments of ooh's and ahh's over his amazing style and photographs.  One of his recent posts talks about how to be a gentleman.  He then asked his female readers to comment on how their loved ones showed affection and love.

From his blog:  "So women, in the spirit of grace, manner and Valentine's Day, take a moment and share with us men some of the little kindnesses that your man has done for you that made your heart flutter. Us men might learn something and you might gain an even more graceful man, a gentleman."

Guess how many comments his post solicited?  402 and counting!  I love this because that means 402 people not only read his blog but also love their loved ones enough to write about it.  Here's what I wrote:

~While living in the cold, wintrous desert that's called Utah, my husband would warm up my towel for me in the dryer while I showered in the mornings.  He'd hand it to me as soon as he heard the shower turn off. 
~When we had cable and I watched the Foodnetwork all the time he eventually got sick of it.  But when he watched television by himself he always turned it to the Foodnetwork before turning it off.  That way the next time I turned it on it would already be on "my" station. 
~I hate having the bed made. It just distresses me how unwelcoming a made bed is. So when he makes the bed he leaves my side partially open so that it feels more inviting.
~He opens every door because he knows I'm scared of germs.
~He never wears shoes in the house because he knows I'm scared of germs.
~He tells me that he loves me and that I'm beautiful every single day.
~The Gerber Daisies above greeted me five years ago when I got home from my first dance audition.

Any sweet things that you're loved does for you?  I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Letter to Myself


Yesterday, while digging through the many boxes of my childhood to find a journal, I stumbled across forgotten photos, secret diaries, and a number of graded school papers.  I also found a sealed envelope with my name on it dated 02/16/1999.  Underneath that it says "Do Not Open Until 02-16-10."  I know this envelope.  I remember writing those dates and my name and then hiding it under my mattress.  I have thought about this envelope often yet I can't remember what I wrote in that letter.  Was it a list of goals I should have accomplished by then?  If so, why did I seal it up in an envelope just to forget about it a few weeks later?  Maybe it's a secret that I felt needed to be hidden for eleven years.  It's dated two days after Valentine's Day.  What happened on Valentine's Day 1999?  My memory is impeccable except when it comes to things about my life that are important.  Who does that? 

Well, in two weeks I'll let you know what that letter says.  Until then, it's just sitting on my computer desk waiting for me.

What do you think it says?  Have you ever written a letter to yourself?  If so, did you seal it and forbid yourself to read it until years later? 

image via crane.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Heart Macaroons




Williams and Sonoma has these adorable heart macaroons for sale on their website.  I love the beautiful red hue, cute heart shape, and the fact that they are very, very French.





Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Love Wreath


 

Happy Love Month!  I know red roses are so cliched and boring.  This month Vogue reported that classy, high end people are into Peonies and other non traditional flowers and have given up on red roses.  Apparently, red roses are passe.  Red roses are predictable.  Red roses are (gasp!) unstylish.  Well you know what? I love red roses.  Always have and always will. 


What's on your door? 

Check out another post about roses.  Thornless roses, actually.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Momofuku

 

 For all you lucky New Yorkers in the Upper East Side who get to eat at Momofuku's on a regular basis, I envy you.  For the rest of us I have good news: there's a new cookbook available to the public.  I found this one at Amazon.com.  Last time I went to New York I had the ginger scallion noodles and my life was changed.  So fresh, flavorful, and delicious!  I wonder if the recipe for soft serve cereal milk is in there.  That's something everyone needs to experience at least once.  If you ever go to the Milk Bar I highly recommend the Blueberry Cream Cookie.