Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cardigans: Can't Live Without Them

Coolest cardigan ever, via flickr
I love cardigans.  To date I own 15 cardigans that I wear regularly in various sizes, shapes, and colors.  I pair them with everything and I cannot imagine my wardrobe without my faithful cardis. 

Forever 21 Fall Slub Cardigan $6.80.My most recent cardigan purchase.
Yep, sold out.
Even though cardigans aren't the most high fashion thing a girl can buy (my friends sometimes call me a librarian), they definitely are a staple in most wardrobes for good reason.  Cardigans have saved me from countless "nothing looks right on me days" and "I have nothing to wear days" because they shape, flatter, and add contrast.  They also are a great cover up for those tops that are a bit, er, showy. 
If Caroline Herrera does the cardi, I think we all should.
Photo via Christian Sebastian (love him!)
Are you part of the cardigan crew? 
Do you have more than me? 
I'd love another cardi buddy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


image via
The Gaynor Minden lunch was a success!  Thank you for all your fashion advice.  I chose a turquoise a line dress with a black shrug and nude heels.  Fun color yet conservative cut.  I also scored a free pair of Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, which is a big deal considering how much they cost (around $100 cough cough.
image via
Aren't pointe shoes just beautiful?  There are some things in life that make me giddy just by looking at them.  Pointe shoes are at the top of that list.  Here's the rest.

~Christmas presents
~A well dressed dining room
~Vintage suit cases
~Hat boxes
~Cake Stands
~Peacoats paired with riding boots
~Sail boats
~Bikes with baskets
~Black and white photography
~Fields of wild flowers
image via une
What makes you giddy?
(Brandi loves kitchens)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Special Gift

 My grandmother once gave me a beautiful necklace that I wore everyday my freshmen and sophomore year of high school.  I sadly lost it but in almost every single picture from that time you can see the tiny porcelain heart resting in between my collar bone.
image via
I love when jewelry has meaning.  The idea of lockets, that women used to wear a locket filled with the picture of their love, makes me swoon.  Husbands who buy their wives jewelry upon the birth of a child is one of the most romantic things I have ever heard.  Handing down jewelry to my children is something I look forward to as a parent and grandparent. 

 I am in love with this necklace that Melissa Blake had for her giveaway.
I long for that necklace from my grandmother because it was, in a sense, her telling me something significant: that I was no longer a child.  I think all jewelry has some type of meaning, either an expression of love or an expression of who we are.  It's one of the things that I cherish most about being a woman.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Professional or Fun? What Should I Wear?

On Tuesday I have the wonderful opportunity to go to a lunch hosted by Gaynor Linden, one of the world's leading pointe shoe manufacturer. I am excited to get to know the company better and meet other local artists and teachers. I am especially excited to eat this lunch at the amazing Il Fornaio. Il Fornaio is an upscale Italian restaurant in Sacramento (with many locations elsewhere) who's waitstaff wear long white aprons and know how to properly pull out your chair.

Here's my question:
What do you wear to a business lunch at an upscale restaurant?  I don't want to dress too formal or stiff but I also don't want to be too casual.  So what do I wear: Professional or fun? 

Modcloth CFO Dress

(I'd wear something underneath, of course.)



Ideally I'd have this in my closet...
$158.00 worth of perfection
I swear Anthropologie has an answer for everything.

But since I don't have this wonderful gem,
what side should I lean toward? 
Professional or fun?
Have you ever gone to an upscale business lunch? 
How about a day wedding?
(Those freak me out also)
How did you dress?  Any tips on accessorizing?
(Can you tell I'm mildly freaking out?)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Very Sweet Surprise

Mr. Branflake and I in Virginia two years ago.
Last night at 10 p.m., I came home from an audition tired, hungry and still sick.  Lucky girl I am, I was greeted with a sweet kiss and dozens of 'just out of the oven' chocolate chip cookies.  Mr. Branflake did good!
 Shouldn't life always be filled with dance, cookies, and love?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dancing Branflake Dinner Party Goes to the South

Welcome, ya'll!  Tonight's Dancing Branflake Dinner Party is going to the Southern U.S. where the food is sinful, the hospitality is famous, and the music is legendary.  So put on your best Southern belle dress and grab your white gloves because tonight's going to be better than a speckled pup in a red wagon.

The Menu
Nothing beats decadent, rich, fried and tasty
Southern food.  Yum!


When in the South, country music is a must.
And Patsy's smooth voice is perfect for this party.

Casual yet chic, simple yet sophisticated- I love the country style.

What I'm Wearing
In order to channel my inner southern belle, 
I chose a nice bright color, a cinched waist, and a sweet neckline.

Modcloth dress found here.

I love these delicate gloves.

The Favor
Everyone goes home with a Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake.
A nice twist on the Southern favorite.
image via Sprinkles

Don't you just love the South?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Looking Good with a Hat

This Banana Republic model is making me want to bust out my hats a little early.  I love how it accentuates her gorgeous eyes.  Bring on the cold!
Hat found here.

Are you a hat person?
And if so, how do you combat hat hair?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I can't. I just can't.

Thank you to all my awesome blogging friends for the wonderful sicky advice!  Whew- I feel like I could write a book with all the great tips.  Cod liver, Oregonanol, Zicam... you named it all, and I need to take some time to digest (hee hee) all your wonderful comments.  But here's one thing I take issue with:

Looks pretty but...
image via

Fruit.  I just don't like it.  I know it's crazy but  I can't stand fruit.

Watermelon is the worst offender. *shudders*

After enduring years of eating it because I knew it was healthy for me (and trying to convince myself that I enjoyed it) I finally had to sit back and analyze why I don't like it.  The only thing I could come up with is that it makes me uncomfortable.  That's the best description of how I feel when I eat it.  Uncomfortable.

This is how I like my fruit: accompanied with chocolate and cream.
image via

I love upside down pineapple cake, apples with brie, and chocolate covered strawberries (yum!) but fruit alone is annoying.  So maybe it's the texture of fruit that bothers me?  But fruit comes in all kinds of textures so what gives?

This is why fruit is harvested.
image via

Do you like fruit?
I cannot be the only person who doesn't like fruit!
ps...I grew up eating kiwis, pears, and fresh apples.
pps...My favorite dessert is oddly enough a fruit basket cake and fruit tarts.  They are so pretty!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sick and Need Your Advice

Thank you for all your well wishes on my performances.  Closing night was this last weekend and the show went so well I am still on cloud nine and I can't wait for the next run of shows.  Performing in San Francisco is so exciting and the audiences were amazing.

But on Friday I got sick with a cold that literally knocked me out (I hope the audience did not notice my labored breathing ha!).  I was so upset because I've been sick four times this year (three flus and this dang cold) and although I take vitamin C daily I am around so many kids everyday I know I am bound to get sick more often than I'd like.

So, in lieu of our wonderful upcoming sick season I thought I'd ask you:

What's your advice to ward off sickness?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Halloween Parties

I know it's way early to be blogging about Halloween but I found these at Williams-Sonoma and I could not wait to share.  Besides, what's a holiday without a little planning ahead?

Who says gingerbread houses are just for Christmas (or Spring- remember those cookie bird houses)?
I think this would be a fabulous party idea.  
Cook some Cioppino, play some fun music, and have all your guests create their own haunted mansion.  

Add some fun to your sophisticated Halloween party.
Or add some sophistication to the fun.
Either way, guests will be smitten by these cute and delicious petit fours.

Pretty sure everything is better on a stick.

Who here is throwing a Halloween party?
Perhaps we should all throw a virtual Halloween party!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Imaginary Nutella Wish List

~Nutella filled pretzel nuggets
~Nutella Milk
~Nutella Cereal
~Nutella filled donuts and cream puffs
~Nutella Chips so I can make cookies with them
~Nutella Ice Cream
~Nutella Whipped Cream
~Pourable Nutella ice cream topping
~Nutella chocolate bars for on the go snacking

If you or your friends know of where I can get any of these items please email me asap.  Or just mail them directly to me.  Thanks!

What's on your Nutella wish list?

Friday, September 17, 2010

You're Invited!

Welcome to our first ever Dancing Branflake Dinner Party!
I've been secretly cooking up this new series for quite some time and I am so excited to share! 
Every Friday there will be a dinner party complete with a yummy menu, an awesome playlist, and a decor to set you in the right mood.  Top it off with a perfect party outfit and I'm ready to kick off the weekend with as much style and food as possible.  Click on the links for image credits, recipes, and shopping info. 


The Decor
We are taking our first dinner party outside.
I want to dine in this wonderful weather before it gets too cold. 

The Menu
will be rustic but delicious.
Perfect for a warm September evening.

 Lemon curd marbled cheesecake would end the meal quite nicely I think.

The Playlist
comes from the very talented Harry Connick. 
His ballads are perfect for a sophisticated evening outside.
Oh, Memphis Belle will always be in my heart.

What I'm Wearing
A great Summer to Fall transition dress by ModCloth

When the sun goes down and a breeze comes in,
you'll need this simple cardigan to keep warm.

How about a sweet bicycle necklace to show your love for the outdoors? 
Also a great conversation starter!

The Party Favor
Everyone gets to go home with these cute Mini Caramel and Belgian Chocolate Covered Apples
from Etsy treat maker Nicole's Homemade Treats.

Let's Party!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Excuse Me As I Leap to Turn Down the Heater

One of my very favorite memories is me and my sister dancing around the house to Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth.  Not just bobbing our heads to the beat but serious, full body, dancing off the furniture and singing at the top of our lungs dancing.  I must have been five or a little younger but the dancing around the house never stopped for us. 

In fact, as both my sister and I took ballet we began to leap and kick around the house constantly to the point that dancing simply became a means of going from one room to another.  Walking was just too boring.  We would always be dancing whether we realized it or not and it was common for us to be talking about boys or school in the kitchen while absentmindedly practicing our tendus and fondus.

When I first got married I became really self conscious about living with a man for the first time.  I mean, what would my new husband say if I started dancing and doing turns in the middle of cooking dinner?  It's not a cute "hey, let's groove dance!" but a "I am currently leaping across the living room because I need to grab a fork in the kitchen" dance.    

I felt a need to hold back from the fluttering and the jumping from one room to another.   But then I never felt quite comfortable in my own home until one day I just let loose.  Mr. Branflake has never mentioned it but sometimes he'll try to mimic me in a very endearing way and I'll realize that our future children might think their parents are very strange.  Alas, I hope I never stop.

If you never have, please take the time to leap today.
As my former college professor once told me, there are people in this world who will never get a chance to leap in their lives.  Sad, huh?