Friday, December 30, 2011

Dancing Branflake New Year's Eve Party

This New Year's Eve Party balances fun, elegance, and a little bit of gaudiness- just how New Year's Eve should be.

The Decor
Fill up those punch bowls with pomegranate soda and decorate pretty serving trays with bite-sized treats and you've got an elegant yet relaxed  party that encourages guests to mingle, talk, and
 (best of all) dance.
via Martha Stewart

The Menu
A little fancy, a little fun, and a whole lot of flavor.

What I'm Wearing
Black, gold, and a whole lot of sparkle.

The Favor
How about some adorable bottles of 
non-alcoholic cocktails for the ride home?
Photos by Dia Rao via Style Me Pretty

How about you?
What makes a great NYE party?
ps... I do hope you all get a kiss at midnight and promptly report back to me.
(I am a sucker for stories about NYE kisses!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where Should We Go?

I've decided: 
Next August Mr. Branflake and I are finally going to go on our honeymoon. 
Seven years later I think it's time. 

Now, the last time I asked you where we should go the response was wonderfully overwhelming. 
Out of the 68 comments the majority of you said Italy. 
Although I would LOVE to go anywhere in Europe with my wonderful husband, 
the truth is that I think a Stateside honeymoon would be more feasible financially. 

Well, I'm sure we could manage going abroad but that would mean tightening our belts even more and I don't think I could give up my weekly pho nights. 
Haha- I kid. 
Well, not really.

If you could go anywhere in the United States for a honeymoon where would you go? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Impromptu Dinner Parties

 Last year my friends and I celebrated Channukah by eating ridiculous amounts of food that included latkes, potato pizza, and spin the dreidl with chocolate gilt. This year none of our Jewish friends were available but a group of us decided to just get together and eat anyway.

The menu included:
~Sweet potato fries with salt, pepper, and evoo.
~Homemade rolls with butter and seedless raspberry jam for spreading.
~Cooked beet salad with goat cheese (it was delicious!!!!)
~Tossed green salad with blue cheese, foccacia croutons, dried cherries, and apples.

 I love impromptu dinner parties.
Admittedly, they happen every weekend with my group of friends (we are not planners!) so I really can't call them a surprise. We all just bring a dish or two and it's always a feast.
But even though these get togethers are low key they tend to be the most fun.

Seriously, if you're in Sacramento on a Sunday night come on over. 
There's usually a group of us eating delicious food and a dessert made by my awesome friend, Steph.

Do you like impromptu dinners or are you a planner?
Sometimes I think planning the dinners stress me out more.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I told you she'd be famous!

Remember when Sarah Jio (Glamour Health and Fitness blogger and novelist) was so kind to give me an advanced copy of her first book, The Violets of March

Well, I hate to say I told you so but I'll say it anyway because she's now crazy famous.

And so when she sent me an advanced copy of her second novel, The Bungalow, I opened my mailbox and felt pretty darned special.

To receive mail from a famous novelist is just about the best thing ever.

 I read  The Bungalow a few weeks ago and devoured it in a day. 
Sarah Jio is masterful at getting you hooked from the very beginning. 
That is, until the last few chapters. 
That's when I couldn't help but rush through them. 
You see, how the story unfolded had me so on edge I actually skimmed to the end because I fell so in love with the main characters and was too impatient to find out what happened. 

Bad, I know. 
But I really really wanted to find out what happened and I was biting at the bit in anticipation. 

Her stories are that captivating.

Thanks, Sarah, for writing yet another beautifully woven tale.
I'll carry this story with me forever.
The Bungalow comes out TODAY! 
Visit my interview with Sarah on what it's like to be amazing like her.

all photos by Mr. Branflake

Monday, December 26, 2011

Swooning and Laughing

I know this is a bad photo but I still like it.
It was ironically taken when I had breakfast with the amazing photographer, Susan Yee.
But it's an English scone with English cream. What's not to love?

 For the last eight years I have given Mr. Branflake a chocolate orange for Christmas. 
The tradition started when we were dating and had hardly any money for gifts. 
A chocolate orange was basically all I could afford. 
Even though our gifts have gotten significantly more elaborate 
(I got him a peacoat and a weekender this year)
I still wrap up his little chocolate orange and put it under the Christmas tree. 

This year I handed it to him before we went on a walk.
He opened it, acted surprised (like he always does) and walked over to kiss me. 
He then said:

"Do you want to know what my favorite tradition is? 
Being married to you. (pause) I do it, like, everyday."

I laughed.

Only he can make me swoon and laugh at the same time.

For those who celebrate, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.
Did you get to partake in any fun Christmas traditions this year?
ps... thank you all for your sweet comments about Thursday's post.
I can't stress to you enough how much it means to me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photo Shoot by the Lake

 Tom and I like to have fun. 
On Halloween we trekked out the to a nearby lake in Sacramento to snap a few pictures. 
I guess him and I have a thing for large bodies of water.

Consider this my Christmas gift to you.
A thank you gift, really, for being so wonderfully supportive of this blog .
I cannot adequately express in words my gratitude because I communicate best through dance.

 I hope you like them.

Merry Christmas.

Thank you, again, for dancing along with me on this blogging journey.
I am incredibly blessed to have such loyal and loving friends here on Dancing Branflakes.
You are the best Christmas gift of all.
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend full of friends, food, family, and laughter.

You all are amazing. 
Don't let anyone tell you different.

ps... Visit and like Tom's Facebook Fan Page here. He's ridiculously talented and I am a lucky gal to collaborate with him so often.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Prep at the Branflakes

I'm so excited that this year I get to send three Christmas cards to Scotland and a few to England. 
I've been meaning to correspond with the new friends I met during my stay in Scotland this past summer and I think Christmas is the perfect opportunity. 
They haven't met Mr. Branflake, I'm sure they 're wondering if he even exists, so I'm excited to introduce my handsome husband to them. 

Also, on Sunday we FINALLY got around to decorating our tree.
When I say 'we' and 'decorate' I mean Mr. Branflake risked life and limb to unearth all our ornaments and lights while I happily sang along to the Susan Boyle Christmas CD in our living room. 
I couldn't get real good shots of our Sugar Plum Fairy Christmas Tree but here are a few.

 Remember last year where readers submitted their Christmas tree photos and I blogged about them?
Who the heck was that organized woman and where did she go?
Last night I was supposed to wrap gifts but ended up playing a game of volleyball with friends.
Oh dear..

Merry Almost Christmas!
Are you completely unprepared for Sunday like I am?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I bought this coat on tour a few years ago.
I found it in a shop in NYC and immediately called Mr. Branflake and said, 
"I'm currently buying my birthday gift from you."
When you find a coat that makes you feel like Audrey Hepburn there's no turning back.

A note about outfit posts:
Why do I do outfit posts even though I am clearly not a model or a fashionista?
A few reasons.

 Reason One:
I am trying to get over hating how I look in photos. 
You see that middle photo where I look like a smug know it all? 
I hate it. Absolutely hate it. But I'm learning to deal and this is part of the learning process.

Reason Two:
I'm a little fed up with all the revealing clothing over the internet so I'm just doing my part to show that style does not mean short skirts, low tops, and bare midriffs.
If you're reading this then maybe you've done your part also.
I believe every little bit helps.

Do you do outfit posts?
Why or why not?
I can't wait to hear these comments!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yup, I know her!

That's my friend, Jana, dancing as a ballerina in Disneyland.
We danced together in college and I like to brag about her a lot.
here and here and here
I think she fulfilled every girl's fantasy of being a music box ballerina.

Last time I went to Disneyland Jana pulled me into the parade so 
I could dance the boogie woogie with her in front of everybody. 
She even handed me a tambourine.
It was one of those incredible highlights of my life.

Guess what? 
I'm going to Disneyland in a few months.

 I told her I was coming back to Disneyland and that I wanted to use this photo for the blog.
This was her response:

I'm always honored that you think of me for your rocking blog! 
But, I'm actually not dancing in parades at Disneyland right now! 
I'm actually dancing with a contemporary modern dance company for now and taking a break from Disney for a little while to do so.
I cannot deny that you inspired me to finally fulfill that dream of dancing professionally in a dance company!

I inspired someone?
I couldn't think of a better Christmas present.
That email made me the happiest person on earth.
(pun intended).

 Merry Christmas Week, my friends!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Secret Door into My Heart

Well well well....

I'm being featured in two places and they are both very revealing features.

The first one is over at i can smell the roses where I talk about my marriage and my (gasp!) marriage proposal- something I have yet to talk about on this blog.

The second feature is over at The Olivia Reader where I talk about the 
five books that have influenced my life.

 I also reveal why I think Mr.  Rochester would fall in love with me 
and what the first book I ever bought Mr. Branflake was.

photo by Simon Brown

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Day Off

Yesterday was my first day off in a long time.
I started out the morning with a little exercise with my mom.
When I say exercise I mean Christmas shopping at the outlet mall.
Things were bought at J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Gap.
Can I tell you how hard it is to go to an outlet mall while on a shopping freeze?

Thankfully, my mom was there to offer to buy those sweet gloves as one of my Christmas gifts.
Well, those gloves, a top at Banana, and a pair of riding pants from Gap.
Yes, I am a 28 year old woman who still goes to the mall with her mother.
Thanks, Mom!
(This note of gratitude would mean a whole lot more if you read my blog).


Later that night Mr. Branflake and I went out for burgers and shakes with a few of our friends.
Have you been to Johnny Rockets?
It's a fun classic diner with shiny red seats and straws in cute containers.

After dinner we went to see the newest Adam Sandler movie, "Jack and Jill."

Just as an FYI, I hardly ever watch movies. 
The last movie Mr. Branflake and I saw together was Toy Story 3.
Before that it was GI Joe.
I'd rather be reading.

Despite the fact that I hate watching movies I love my friends and I wanted to spend time with them so we went and saw the worst movie ever.

Both our friends are twins and since this movie was about twins I thought at least they enjoyed it.
The husband thought it was the most hilarious movie and swore he would be up all night giggling.

But the wife said, as the credits were rolling,

"That was the dumbest movie ever."

But at least I got my Milk Duds!

Are you doing anything fun this weekend?
Anyone else here only go to a movie if there's food involved?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ryan Gosling is taking ballet classes.

There are a few things I wanted to blog about this week but I have basically held the presses for this bit of breaking news.

I've never been a huge Ryan Gosling fan apart from an edited version of Fracture in which he was amazing.
Seriously, he made the District Attorney's office seem pretty awesome.

But anyway...

According to reports all over the internet Ryan Gosling is taking ballet classes. 
Not for a movie role but because he wants to learn for his personal enjoyment.
Can you imagine being his teacher?
Can you imagine being the student that has class right after him?

I hope he falls in love with a ballet dancer.

Ryan- you are now legit in my eyes.
(I'm sure he cares. Ha!)

Any Ryan Gosling fans out there?
Anyone else inspired to take some adult ballet classes now?
A few reasons why ballet classes are important for adults.

all images from Pinterest. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What are your Nutcracker memories?

Yesterday Blair from Wild and Precious blogged about how seeing The Nutcracker was a tradition in her family because her sister was always in it. 

It got me thinking that maybe we all have our own Nutcracker story. 

I've personally cracked a few nuts myself and 
I sincerely hope I will never perform in a Nutcracker ever again.
In fact, dancers always joke that when we hear Nutcracker music in the mall we can't help but feel nauseous.

But, to be honest, I have fond memories of seeing the ballet as a little girl and I can't wait to dress up my little girls in their prettiest Christmas dresses and take them to see it also.

Hopefully by then the nausea will have subsided.

So I ask you:
What are your Nutcracker memories?
Were you ever in it?
Did you see it as a young child?
Have you taken your children to see it?
Do you love the fact that the entire ballet is about dessert?

image 1 via Pinterest
image 2 via On Point
image 3 via The Ballet Bag
image 4 via Houston Ballet

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul."
~Joyce Carroll Oats

What are you reading right now?
I just finished an advanced copy of Sarah Jio's, The Bungalow.
My heart is still in Bora Bora.
A review of the book, which comes out later this month, will be up shortly.

image 1 via Lonny Mag
images 2-5 via Architectural Digest
image 6 via Rejean Pellerin
image 7 via Anthropologie
image 8 via HGTVblog