Monday, October 31, 2011

Because That's What Dancers Do on Halloween

Today my amazing photographer friend, Tom Huynh, and I are going to play outdoors and have a dancing photo shoot in the park.  Remember how fun our last photo shoot was?

After that I'm heading over to my friend's house where a few of us will gather to pass out candy to the little ones while noshing on Trader Joe's chocolate covered potato chips and whatever is left in the candy bowl.

After that I will more than likely regret eating anything
non-chocolate because I knew in my heart it wasn't worth it.

Happy Halloween.
Please be safe and please listen to your heart
(the Jolly Ranchers are never worth it).
photo by Tom Huynh from our last photo shoot together

Friday, October 28, 2011

How this shopping freeze helped me lose weight

image from Martha Stewart

I recently stepped on the scale (nope- I cannot give up that habit quite yet
and realized that I have never weighed this little in all my adult life. 
I've actually drastically cut down on my exercising and dancing since Europe 
so you would think I would have gained weight since the summer. 
But I attribute my weight loss to one thing and one thing only.

Eating less. 

Since I started this shopping freeze I looked at all the excess in my life and realized I ate a lot of food. 
Yes, a big hearty bowl of spaghetti and meatballs is what every girl craves after a long day 
but I could instead have celery and hummus and be okay. 
I'm little- I won't die of starvation. 
Now I only eat when hungry and when I do eat I try to make it super healthy and in small portions. 
It's not about deprivation. 
When I want something (like a hot fudge sundae with raspberries and chocolate cake) then I'll eat it. 
But when I can I will eat as healthy as possible.

So basically, my new motto is "I can eat/buy/consume less and be okay."
(Now don't you all want a big bowl of spaghetti?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Taking the "free" out of a shopping freeze

 There's some weird psychological stuff going on in my head. 
Just weird. 
So much so that I had a revelation at Wal-Mart (more on that later.)

As mentioned before, I went on a 6 month shopping freeze when I realized the only reason why I bought clothes was because I was unhappy with how I looked in general. 

So far it's worked and I have come to just go with the flow and not obsess about what I'm wearing 
because I know I can't buy anymore.
 But now it's spreading into all areas of my life and it's actually very freeing.

While at our semi-annual (and I mean we can only handle it twice a year) trip to Wal-Mart 
I looked around at all the Christmas decorations and it occurred to me that I didn't want to look at any of it. 
I said to myself "Hmm... I don't need any of that. I have enough from last year."

I used to be all about giveaways and freebies but now I don't even bother with them 
(shout out to Melissa, Sandy, Ilene, and others who always have awesome giveaways) 
because I'm actually pretty happy with what I have in life already.

I've become less commercial and less obsessed with material goods.

That's not to say that I won't be blogging about fantasy dinner parties or cute outfits. 
I've become prudent, not dead.

Tomorrow's post: 
How this shopping freeze has effected (affected?) my weight.

photo by John Matter from his series Dancers Among Us
View my original post about this series here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For those with crazy children...

I have the most hilarious story about a crazy child. 
Let's call her Holly. 
Holly is the daughter of a fellow dance teacher at the studio where I teach. 
Holly is a handful. 
When Holly was 2 1/2 and in her very first performance as a Tiny Tot Holly did the unthinkable on stage.

As the lights went up and the music started she ran into the audience to say hi to her dad, 
who promptly told her to get back on stage. 
She did, but instead of doing her dance she started tickling the girl next to her. 
Tickle, tickle, tickle... and she wouldn't stop. 
So there's Holly tickling her friend, her friend starts laughing hysterically, and the audience cannot help but break out in laughter with them.

My co-worker and her husband were mortified. 
During intermission they told her that for the second part of the show 
"You cannot touch the others students on stage!"

So instead Holly decided to run around in circles the entire song while the other students danced. 


So if you have a crazy child, take heart. 
Even dance teachers struggle to keep their children in line. 
On stage. 
As it is being videotaped.

photo via Pinterest by Peter Voerman
Are you pinning? Come pin with me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How do you sleep? A tale of a sleep dancer.

Mr. Branflake said this was a fairly accurate portrayal of my sleep dancing.

The other night Mr. Branflake had troubles sleeping because I was tossing and turning. 
At one point he said I actually started dancing in bed.  
I guess I lifted my arms in the air and started moving them around in slow movements. 
I then dropped them to my sides and kicked my leg in the air and held it with a pointed toe.

He said it was the strangest thing and just stared at me in amazement until I calmed down and went back to being a normal person.

I remember as a newly wed being terrified that I was a weird sleeper and freak out my new husband.
Luckily, Mr. Branflake promised me that I have never snored, talked in my sleep, or had weird sleep walking episodes.

But now sometimes I sleep dance.

I'm curious now if any of you have weird sleeping things that you're willing to share. 
Do you sometimes freak out your bed partner?

photo by Dane from Ballerina Project

Monday, October 24, 2011

Eating on the Weekend

Friday night Mr. Branflake took me out on a date to one of our favorite restaurants in Sacramento, Cafeteria L15. We split a plate of braised beef on a bed of greens and creamy mashed potatoes with a cherry compote. So good. We then went home and watched Thor. At the end of the movie, as Mr. Branflake reflected on the main character played by ripped Chris Hemsworth, he said in a far off voice "It's like looking in a mirror."

I laughed.

That's the Gatsby's chef that was on Diner's, Drive-Ins, and Dives

Saturday was full of teaching and rehearsing until 5 pm when I said to my students "peace out!" and met up with Mr. Branflake and friends for dinner at Gatsby's, a diner recently featured on the Food Network. (Will post a review later this week.) 

My sundae was the bottom right.
Fresh raspberries, chocolate cake, and a side of hot fudge. So good!

Then after dinner we went to Leatherby's Creamery and got some monstrous sundaes. After our food fest we visited a friend who had surgery this week. He's on some serious meds and I basically have never laughed so hard in my life. I'm hoping the laughing burned off my sundae.

Sunday night we went over to a friend's for dinner and games. She made a Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls. We then had brownies and ice cream for dessert. I feel very spoiled.

I'm hoping this week I can get back on track and maybe, you know, eat healthy or something.


Did you eat anything fun this weekend?

Friday, October 21, 2011

American Girls

If you grew up in the United States and you are between the ages of 10 and 40 then you know all about American Girl Dolls. These dolls represented all the girls in the United States from prairie girl Kirsten to way posh Victorian era Samantha. 

Not surprising my doll was Samantha
She had velvet coats with black fur trim. 
She had fur hand muffs and shiny shoes with nice white tights. 
She had dark curly hair perfectly coiffed and tied in a ribbon that matched 
each of her perfectly tailored dresses. 
She even had her own valise lined with fancy fabric.
Let's not forget about her embroidered handkerchief, and a brooch.

A brooch!

Also not surprising is the fact that I still love all those things: fancy coats, elaborate (yet functional) accessories, trimmed hats, and shoes made for rainy weather in upscale New England.

Think plaid, fur, and gilded anything and you have Samantha. 

So, in honor of Samantha I've created this post of all the things
 I think Samantha would wear if she were my age (or real).

green dress, plaid dress, lace dress

 heels, cream boots, black boots

 red coat, plaid coat, camel coat

Samantha's accessories.
Please excuse the lack of cohesion in this collage.
I just kind of went crazy with the accessories and picked out things I knew she would wear without a plan of attack. Hey, that's like when I wear my own accessories!

As I wrap up this post I realize that Samantha went through a nautical phase with cute sailor dresses and blue and white accessories. Darn, I guess I'll just have to blog about her again.

Did you have an American Girls Doll?
What one did you have?
(My sister had Kirsten, the prairie girl. Why would anyone want to be a poor prairie girl when you could be a rich Victorian heiress is beyond me.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I want to live there!

Have you ever seen a place and immediately thought "I need to live there!"? I saw this farmhouse on Elle Decor and my heart raced, my stomach clenched and my insides turned in longing to live there. Yeah, my reaction was that visceral. I think yours will be also.

Photographed by Nathan Kirkman via Elle Decor

I love the fog cascading over the green and the lake with the sweet wooden footpath. 
And that tree! 
I think I would hang a wooden swing or maybe even a tire and swing all day long.

Happy Dreaming!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Mornings are tough for me. 
Mr. Branflake knows this so he tries extra hard to make the early hours as enjoyable as humanly possible.
He says nice things, calls me beautiful, rubs my shoulders, etc., etc.
But when he makes his wonderful pancakes, eggs, and bacon it's as if I am a different person
and suddenly mornings are the best thing ever.

Do you add anything special to your pancakes?
Bananas? Peanut butter? Strawberries and sour cream?
I'd love to hear it!
photos by moi
food by the other Branflake

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Favorite: Leg Warmers

As a dancer, I rely on leg warmers to keep my muscles warm to prevent injury and strain. 
But as a lover of fashion, I think they are the bee's knees. 

I remember my first pair of leg warmers.
It was a big deal.
The younger dancers never got to wear leg warmers because my teacher wanted to see our legs develop.
But when you were older and had six hour rehearsals with a lot of stopping and starting it was almost required that you had a pair to keep your muscles warm.

Mine were pink and soft and I still have them (almost 15 years later).
I also still have my first pair of pointe shoes.
They are currently being best friends in a box in my closet (along with a few choice love letters).

Are you a leg warmer lover?
Remember my post about leg warmers and kisses?
How time flies!

photo credit from top left: Svpply, Little Sky, Les Laines, Svpply

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Weekend in San Diego

It still feels like summer.
Especially when you go down to San Diego in October and the sun is shining, there's a beautiful ocean breeze, and everyone (everyone!) is wearing flip flops.

As Mr. Branflake and I walked along the beach we kept saying,
"We need to move here. We need to move here."

And when we went to Yolk
the restaurant that was featured on Man v.s. Food on the Travel Channel,
and sat outside on the terrace and ate 6 egg omelets and fresh biscuits,
I totally envisioned myself doing that every Saturday morning.
Especially when I started eating their heavenly potatoes. Yum!

From the top: us, "our view," "our restaurant," and "our home."

Hmmm... ice cream, sail boats, bonfires, and cruiser bikes. 
Yes, people live this way.
It's not just in the movies.

So long, San Diego.
We'll be back.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shopping Freeze and Literally Freezing

I'm on a spending freeze and it's hard. I went with Mr. Branflake to get him some Fall clothes (cute, right?) and I suddenly found myself in a sea of red tag sales and extra 40% off clearance items. 

It was a nightmare. 

More than that, Fall clothes are my favorite. 
Well, boots and coats are my favorite and more specifically coats are my favorite. 
I have over thirteen coats. That does not include the many jackets and parkas I own. 
I'm talking coats, like nice coats with cute buttons. 

I am drawn inexplicably. 

If I were not on a shopping freeze I would buy all of the following from Ruche:

The first two are my favorite and I really don't need the last one since I already have this one that sparked my trip to Scotland but I still love it nonetheless. Maybe by the time this shopping freeze is over (in March) all these coats will be 50% off and Mr. Branflake will be so proud that he'll buy them all for me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ballerinas and Puppies

... and parks with crisp leaves on the ground...  

... and vintage bikes with sweet wicker baskets...

...and cinched trench coats with stunning legs... the middle of the streets of Brooklyn...

all make up for some amazing photos.

photos by the insanely talented Dane Shitagi from the Ballerina Project.
Yes, I interviewed him and no I have not posted it yet.
I know, I'm a horrible blogger. Will get to it soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Glorious Food Moment: Sticky Toffee Pudding

During my stay in the Scottish countryside of Culloden Moor there was only one restaurant in the entire town and I happened to be staying a stone's throw away from it. It also just so happened that the restaurant served the most delicious dessert I have ever had in my entire life. No joke.

It was sweet, rich, flavorful and so moist it just about melted in my mouth. Instead of ice cream on the side I ate it with a warm, velvety custard that I almost drank straight out of the gravy boat it was served.

If you've never had sticky toffee pudding I suggest you run to the nearest Scottish/English restaurant. Or click on the links for recipes to try to make it yourself.

photo by Zoe Bakes

photo from BBC Good Food

photo by Rock Recipes

photo by Country Home

photo by Kirk McKoy

I think it's a perfect Fall dessert in any country.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let it Be

Over the weekend I had to get head shots done. As we all know, as evidenced here, I have issues when it comes to getting my picture taken. I actually started doing outfit shots to help me get over my fear of the camera, or more accurately, fear of the results that come from it.

This time I put on my big girl underwear. I slapped on some makeup, sat down, waited for a few flashes, and barely looked at the final results before leaving. They asked if I was happy with it and I shrugged "Eh, it doesn't matter. I'll never be happy with it anyway."

It sounds pessimistic but it's a big step for me. The old me would have asked to do it over and over again, much like when I got my passport photo taken. Hello it lasts for ten years! But the new me didn't have time to obsess (I had a dinner party to get to) nor the emotional energy
 (what's the point, anyway?) 
So I just let it be.

Do you obsess over photos of yourself?
photo taken during our trip to Bodega Bay
edited by moi

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ballet Class Necessities: Apples, Fruit Roll Ups, and Pretzel Sticks

the result of many apples and pretzel sticks

When I teach ballet I tend to refer to food to help students understand better how to execute certain steps.  This is how a typical Dancing Branflake class goes:

Apples to get your neck longer: "Pretend you have two apples on your shoulders and you don't want them to touch your ears."

Fruit Rolls Ups to keep your stomach in and back pulled up: "Let's take out our fruit roll ups and wrap them around our middles. If you keep your bellies in then we'll eat them after class. nom nom nom"

Pretzel sticks to keep legs straight: "Glue on pretzel sticks to your knees. If you bend them then the pretzels will break and you'll have pretzel crumbs everywhere. And then you can't eat them after class and that is really sad."

Marshmallows on heels to have quiet landings when jumping: "You chose! Pink or white. Now put them on (I pretend to put them on my heels) and don't let me hear you land."

I use a ton of other food analogies but those are my standards for every class. And if I don't use them? There is an uproar of little voices that we forgot to put on our Fruit Roll Ups or pretzel sticks, which I find very endearing.

So today, if you feel like you need to stand up straighter or if you want a nice dancer's neck, 
use a little imagery and stick on those apples and Fruit Roll Ups.

photo by Dane Shitagi of the Ballerina Project

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Have No Pets and I Have No Children but...

Please excuse the blurry image, but I felt stupid taking a picture of the Loch Ness Monster when it was clearly not him.
Oddly charming nonetheless. 

Apparently the Loch Ness Monster did not want to be seen yesterday. Thank you to Hollie for telling me that an error popped up when she clicked on my blog link (what a friendly blog neighbor she is!), making the content of my blog not viewable for most of you. I think I fixed it by getting rid of my blog roll, which I've been meaning to do for a while because I cannot for the life of me maintain it properly. No worries, my blog does not contain a virus but it's all due to something very technical that Mr. Branflake described to me but my brain could not handle midst the gasping breaths and mild freak out mode I was in all day yesterday.

I have no pets and I have no children but, by golly, I have a blog and believe me when I say that the thought of losing it was enough to send me into a belly dropping panic.

So, if you missed the Loch Ness photos and my souvenir from the famous lake, please visit him below. He's quite shy but very friendly.

Have a magical weekend. 
I'll be in the studio for most of it but taking a break to eat a few ice cream sundaes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Loch Ness Monster

Carrie from This Free Bird mentioned that she has an odd fascination with the Loch Ness Monster. Truth be told, I had no clue he was hiding out in Scotland so when I went up to the Highlands it was not on the top of my lists of things to see. But I am so glad I did go because it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen (the Loch, not the monster. Although I'm sure seeing him would have been pretty awesome.)

 In order to get close to the Loch Ness you can risk your life climbing down the highway and to the water's edge or pay the admission to get into the Urquhart Castle near Drumnadrochit. I chose the latter. Once on castle grounds I walked down to the Loch's edge where it was shockingly empty. It was really just me and Nessie hanging out for a good chunk of time.

Do you believe he exists? 
I can't believe I missed a sighting by just a few days!