Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I saw this photo yesterday on Pinterest and couldn't help but swoon. 
I mean, who doesn't love a man who kisses on a swing? 
Mr. Branflake kissed me for the first time on the swings. 
I know I already blogged about that after I told you my love story
but it's been a year and there are people who don't know about my affinity for swings. 
And kissing in them.

Have you been kissed on the swings?
Was it oh so romantic?

Photo by Allan Grant circa 1955. Russ Tamblyn and Venetian Stevenson.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Boyfriend Jeans and Boyfriend Tees

Mr. Branflake goes through shirts like I go through a bag of Sour Patch Kids. 
How and why do men wear out shirts so quickly? 
I feel bad throwing them away so I started wearing them for working out and to bed. 
They are a few sizes too big for me so they are extra comfy and roomy. 
Sexy, I know.

But recently in dance class I was fiddling with my top and I realized that if I made a knot in the back it became much cuter and way more flattering. 

(I cut the sleeves and the neckline to make it a bit more "girl friendly".)

So that's what I did to Mr. Branflake's shirts. A quick knot in the back et voila!
 Cuteness in a jersey tee.
 Paired with boyfriend jeans and some sneakers and I am ready for Monday Night Football.
 Or just a walk to the grocery store.

I know it looks like I am trying to show off my bum but I'm really trying to show off my knot. I promise!

How do you wear BF clothes?
(update: last night I went to dinner at the MVP Sports Bar and Grille in Sacramento with two friends to catch up and watch some Monday Night Football. Totally wore this outfit.) 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Advice: Graduate School

Happy Monday! 

A little blog announcement: I'm starting off a new series here that basically asks you a question, you leave an answer in the comments, and then I create a post with your answers (citing you and your blog if you have one). I'm not exactly how it will all play out as I have not seen it on other blogs (although I'm sure it's been done before. Hasn't all blogging been done before?) but I think it will be fun.  

photo by Cecil Beaton found via Pinterest

To kick off the series, I'm looking at higher academia. There are a lot of bloggers out there who have been married to graduate a student, are currently married to one, or are graduate students themselves. As the new semesters are starting I want to know how you survived and if you have any tips for those who will be going through the process of graduate school, whether for themselves or their spouses.

Mr. Branflake himself is a fourth year evening law student and it has been one crazy road. 
I could write a BOOK on how to be a law student's wife. 
I doubt anyone would buy it so I'm calling for your advice instead.

Feel free to comment on one or all:
Also, feel free to email your answer to

Any tips on being a spouse of a grad student?
Any advice on being a grad student?
Was it worth it?

Friday, August 26, 2011

French Class Memories and French Juices

When I was in fifth grade, French class was the last class of the day and in September the classroom (which had no air conditioning) would easily hover around ninety degrees. Yes, all the girls wore polyester sailor uniforms and, yes, our first section in our French livres was French drinks.

Torture. Pure and utter torture.

We would learn about limonade, Orangina, other ice cold boissants.  By the end of class, as all of us were basically dying of thirst and eager to get our hands on some jus de orange or les glacons. 

But ever since then hot summers remind me of my fifth grade French class, learning about fancy French drinks in my horrible sailor uniform. And whenever I am absolutely, positively parched I think back and tell myself  "well, at least you're not in French class."

How about we be French today and drink some fancy juices!

all images and recipes can be found at Martha Stewart under non-alcoholic drinks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wild Flowers

If someone were to ask me "What's your favorite flower?" I would enthusiastically say "wild flowers!"
 So imagine my heart soaring in the Scottish Highlands 
as the entire countryside is basically covered in beautiful wild flowers. 

The ground is so fertile that they pop up in the most randomly wonderful places 
and I found myself constantly stopping to take photo after photo of these beautiful sachets of nature.

 There's something special about wild flowers. 
I love that they are not planted intentionally and will grow at will.
They are beautiful and delicate yet strong enough to grow without any cultivation or help.

And the thought of roaming around the countryside picking wild flowers 
very much appealed to the romantic in me.

So that's exactly what I did in the Scottish Highlands on my daily walks.
And now they are all happily dried and ready to be framed.

That's the best souvenir I could ever ask for.
images by me

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Paris Memories and Scottish Delights

Isn't it funny how our minds will hold on to the simplest pleasures?
Makes me think I should have more of them.
Please bear with my while I compile all my Scotland/England photos.
I'm trying to make posts that are beautiful and not boring,
 which is kind of hard when I would fill a 4 gig sd card in three days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hats, Belts and Crow's Feet

The first thought that came to mind when seeing these photos was:
Oh dear, my crow's feet are out of control.

Growing up isn't easy.
You have to get up at a respectable hour, pay bills on time and handle uncomfortable situations with class.
Let's not forget about other 'adult' things like cleaning behind the fridge and planning for your retirement.

But when I saw these crow's feet I actually had a change of heart about being an adult.

 Because I liked them.
I think they tell people that I'm not only an adult, but a happy adult who likes to smile and laugh.
And I think what's more beautiful than a woman who smiles and laughs a lot 
is a woman who does so while eating her veggies and writing grammatically correct sentences. 

Because that's just what adults do.

Do you embrace your adultness
Or are you and Peter Pan besties who refuse to grow up?
hat: Express, top: Banana Republic ($5!), jeans: Mango, belt: Mr. Branflake

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going From Plain to Cute

I've been kind of obsessed with wearing hats lately.
In my efforts to keep the wonderful European lifestyle of walking everywhere,
everyday I've been walking a roundtrip of 4 miles to the grocery store in 90+ degree weather.
My hat is saving my skin from serious damage and aging.
And I think it makes any outfit go from "blah" to "oh, that's cute!"

I might be known as the hat lady but that's okay with me.
In fact, anytime I see someone in a hat I feel like we're in this special hat club.
There is a mutual understanding of coolness and hat hair that bonds us.

Have you been sporting a hat this summer?
photos by Mr. Branflake

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dancing Branflake Pancake Party

I found this on Pinterest and I cannot for the life of me find the creator.
Although it goes against my rule about crediting photos, I just could not resist posting it. Sorry!

Mr. Branflake makes the most incredible pancakes. 
They are better than any restaurant and they are always perfectly round and fluffy. 
While in the UK, every morning I craved his pancakes and found myself thinking about pancakes quite often. 
Then I thought, How about throwing a pancake party? 
Yes, please!

The Decor
Mornings can be quite chilly so cozy up on a bench and let the rays of sunlight warm you through the open French doors.

image via Elle Decor

The Menu
is a little sweet, a little savory, and a whole lot of yum.
Raspberry Cream Pancake photo by Underbaraclara, Bacon Mancakes from Tablespoon, Basic Pancakes from Martha Stewart

juice, cocoa, bacon by Martha Stewart

What I'm Wearing
all pieces from Anthropologie: pants, robe, top, shoes

The Favor
Individual bottles of maple syrup? 
Yes, please!
image via Martha Stewart

I hope this weekend you have a chance to throw a little party, make a few pancakes, and cozy up with a loved one.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bike Ride Surprises

On Saturday Mr. Branflake and I decided to go on our first bike ride since I've been back. 
I walked outside where he was pumping my tires (love him!) and I saw the most wonderful thing.

A bike basket!  
He completely surprised me with the sweetest wicker basket with leather straps. 
(I've been wanting one for over a year now.)
I gave him a big fat kiss and he rode off with a big fat grin.

Any fun bike rides in your life lately?
all photos by Mr. Branflake

also head on over to b for bel.
She interviewed me on what it's like to be a professional dancer.
I also gave my thoughts on the movie, Black Swan.
click here for the interview.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Novel I Am Writing...

I found this quotation on Terresa's blog, The Chocolate Chip Waffle. She is an extraordinary poet and I seek her when I need to find the words I do not have myself.

"The novel I am constantly writing is always the same one, and it might be described as a variously sliced-up or torn-apart book of myself."
-Robert Walser

Interpret this as you may, but I found great solace in this quotation. 
I think sometimes I forget that life is an ongoing project with an end result. 
I may not know what that end result is but I know it's there. 
And better yet, everything I do is part of the process of achieving that end result. 
Nothing is wasted.

How is your novel coming?

ps... don't forget about your $20 off coupon at eShakti.
Use code DBFLAKES0811 at checkout.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Toast and Meet Paul the Scot

Part of the reason why I lost weight in Scotland was because I don't like to eat alone.
 So instead of sitting down for a dinner I would just not eat at all.
But then the last week I met up with some friends and I ate more than I ever have.
And I ate well. 

We went to Toast for brunch and I had the most amazing breakfast.
Mind you, I had bacon, eggs, sausage, two pastries and toast at the bed and breakfast an hour before.
(It comes with the room- can't turn it down!)
Then that night we all went to dinner and I ate an entire pizza and was still hungry after.

I digress...
Here are some photos from Toast.

The food in the UK is way salty so the entire time I was craving sweet things. 
Like caramel French toast.
And fruit. 
Yes, I actually craved fruit for the first time in my life. 
It was... strange.

You know him from my crazy stories, now you can see a photo of him...

This is Paul the Scot! AKA... my dancing friend who saved me more than once from a few awkward situations.
His girlfriend is equally as awesome and had no qualms about giving me the "stranger danger" talk.
Love them!

 Cheers to eating well!
Don't forget about the eShakti $20 coupon
They also have items less than $20 so you could really get something cute for free!
Just type in code DBFLAKES0811 at checkout to get the $20 off.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Customize a Dress!

Are you tired of too short hemlines or would you like to add some sleeves to that awesome dress?
eShakti can customize any of their dresses, skirts, or tops to your exact specifications.
They are also offering all of you $20 off when you order between now and September 15th.
Just type in code DBFLAKES0811 at checkout et voila!
(offer excludes overstock items and cannot be combined with any other offer)

I myself might have to go shopping for a evening dress for a fancy soiree.
You never can have too many dresses!

Just curious:
How long do you like your hemline?
(I am a below the knee kind of girl myself.)
visit eShakti here.
all images from eShakti's Facebook Page

Friday, August 12, 2011

You're Not Thin. Slim, but not thin.

After reading yesterday's comments about the scale, I thought I would relay an experience I had in a little town in Scotland called Dumnandrochit.

photo, used with permission, by Jean Claude Sanchez

I was sitting in the Loch Ness Exhibition center when the guy who ran the place asked me about my travels. I told him I had been dancing in London for two weeks before coming up to Scotland. Here is a snippet of our conversation:

Guy: "Dancing, huh? What kind of dance?"

Me: "Ballet and modern."

Guy: "Ballet?" He looks at me up and down. "Don't you have to be thin to be a ballet dancer? You're not thin. You're slim, but not thin."

Me, completely caught off guard but trying to be polite: "Well, I'm mostly modern."

Jerk: "Ah! That makes sense."

Looking back, I still have no comeback in my head. When it comes to body image things, all my wit and sarcasm and snarkiness fly out the window and I suddenly become that ten year old girl who is told she's too chubby to wear horizontal stripes. Oh, okay! Thanks!

photo, used with permission, by Jean Claude Sanchez

Being a woman, I feel there is sometimes a demand that we fight back (not my style) or, paradoxically, just nod our head in agreement. I don't know the right way to handle insensitive remarks, especially when they have no ill intention, but I feel a certain responsibility to educate people about the damaging effects of negative remarks about the body. I'm just too much of a coward to actually do it.

photo, used with permission, by Jerry Claude Sanchez

How do you handle rude body comments?
Are you empowered and let them have it? Do you shrink away in shame? Maybe ignore them all together?
I'd like to know!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Do You Weigh Yourself?

I am home! 
And what did I do when I got home at 2 am? 

 Me, in Edinburgh in what I call the darkness of "what in the world do I look like?" 
As you can see, me and self timers are not besties.

I weighed myself. 
Haha. What can I say?
 I went a month without a scale, a measuring tape, or a full length mirror 
(Minus the studio mirrors, of course. But when going out I had to rely on my meager self-confidence to leave my room without knowing how I looked. Eek!) 

So...what's the prognosis?

The camera kept cropping off my head, hence the stooped posture and the look of "Is it blinking? Has it been ten seconds yet? Why hasn't it gone off yet? Should I take off the belt?"

I lost five pounds, an inch and a half from my waist and an inch and a half from my hips. 
(Urgh, I think I look really smug in the above photo. Please read facial explanation above).

Which tells me something- maybe I should ditch the scale, the measuring tape, and the full length mirror and stick to walking everywhere and eating large Scottish breakfasts. 

Do you weigh yourself or are you anti-scale?
If you ditched the scale, how has your life changed?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dinner, Pastries, and Branflakes

The next time you hear from me I'll be in California. What?! 
My last night in London was awesome as Sabine and I had dinner near the Thames. 
Yes, she is the most elegant and lovely and kind person in the world and yes there were riots in London.
Luckily we left before the action started. Hopefully it will all end soon. 

The above photos were taken at a nearby cafe. 
Sabine, the reason why I didn't eat a lot at dinner may have been in part to the massive scone I had beforehand. Maybe.

I can't wait to see Mr. Branflake!
Bless his heart, the man is picking me up at the San Francisco airport at 11 pm.
It's going to be cuddlefest 2011!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If You Are Ever in Scotland...

I left Scotland yesterday and, although I am in fabulous London,
I miss Scotland terribly.
There was so much I still wanted to do, photos I wanted to take, and people I wanted to see.
I fell in love with Scotland and I feel as if we are kindred spirits,
separated by a country (America) and an ocean (Atlantic).

If you ever are in Scotland, visit the Highlands.
If you ever are in Beauly, tell the owner of the visitor's center that Tiffany sent you.
If you ever find yourself at Philip King II's Kilt store in Aberdeen, tell them Tiffany says hi.
If you are ever in Inverness, stay at the Eskdale Guest House and give my love to Kathy.
If you are ever at a football match, say hi to the men in suits and give them my regards.
If you ever meet a farmer near Clava Cairns, walk the opposite direction.

I took this at the Urquhart Castle in the Highlands.

If you ever do go to Scotland, let me know and I'll go with you.
Top photo explanation:
While walking from Holyrood down the Royal Mile I spotted two Scottish gents.
I knew my friend Lizzie would appreciate a photo (she has a weakness for the Scottish accent.) 
Remember my first man in kilt sighting?
Do you like how I'm getting braver?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Of All the Crazy Things, This is the Craziest

I had the craziest experience since I have arrived in the UK. 

I was told more than once "Don't go to a Scottish football game alone!" 
Apparently, the crowds are horribly rowdy and a little crazy.
So, I went. Cautiously, mind you.

I am not quite sure how it happened, but I befriended a Lord from the House of Lords in the stands 
and I spent halftime in the Executive Suite sitting at a table of VIP guests.
 In fact, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting and chatting with quite the group of men.
 One sponsors football teams in South Africa, another was the captain of Sunderland when they won the FA cup, and another is basically a multi-millionaire real estate tycoon 
(but you would not have guessed it, he being so humble). 

I had a wonderful time laughing, talking, and throwing snarky remarks back and forth with them.
They were quite fascinated with this American who decided to travel the UK alone for a month. 
By the end of the evening (after the game we went to a few pubs where I drank Sprite)
I heard many things like, 
"If it doesn't work out with your husband..." and "I could fall in love with this girl". 

All jokes aside, the men were complete gentlemen and we simply had fun making new friends.

And isn't that what life is about?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Last Night I Dreamed I was Dancing on the Moon

You know when you have a dream that is so real you wake up and can't accept reality?
I dreamed I was dancing on the moon and now I can't get that concept out of my head.

I was weightless yet free, engulfed by the dark blue sky.
I was surrounded by stars and my body was illuminated by the ground below.

Perhaps one day it will happen. Or perhaps I know now what my next piece will be about.

What are some words that come to mind when you think of dancing on the moon?
(This is part of the choreographic process so you might just help me create a masterpiece!)

These photos of me were taken by a fellow dancer at Laban.