Tuesday, January 31, 2012

From... Anonymous: Friendship

photography by One Love Photo.
Thanks for the permission, Heather and Jon!

All friendships have ups and downs. 
It's rare I find a friend who's willing to put up with my craziness 
(thanks for those who stuck around, haha.) 
But when you find a true friend they  need to be held on for forever.
Which is why I have a lot of regrets 
(i.e., friendships that I've let slip through because I am horrible at picking up the phone or writing emails. Even Facebook I'm terrible at. Don't get me started on texting).

With that said, do you have any thoughts on friendships?
Anything you need to just let go of?
Here's a place you can do so anonymously.
Sometimes just putting it out there is the best therapy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gratitude: My Hair

I feel like my hair is God's way of saying, "I know you have horrible body issues so I'm going to throw you a bone and give you awesome hair. I'll even make it strong and low maintenance. You have no excuse to complain about it."

jacket: Target, tank: Old Navy, jeans: Mango, leg warmers: I forget,
boots: Kohl's, belt: Mr. Branlflake

I don't brush or comb my locks.
I wash and condition with herbal essences and let it air dry if it's not in a bun for class.
It's not perfect (I have fly aways and baby hairs) but it's a very effective flirting device.
I can't wink at Mr. Branflake but I sure can toss my hair!

My hair is my greatest accessory. 
Mr. Branflake tells me everyday how much he loves my hair. 
He usually says it as he's pulling clumps of it out of the drain and vacuum. (hee hee)
Yes, my husband vacuums. He also does the dishes and folds my laundry. 


It's the hair toss, I tell you!
author's note: I am joking. A hair toss won't get you a man. It will get you an amazing man. (wink)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cake, a Winner, and I'll be on Television

Yesterday on Facebook I posted that it was Chocolate Cake Day.
The lovely Lenore from Lenore Nevermore kindly posted this photo on my wall.
Thanks, Lenore!
I can definitely see myself carrying this around England, Scotland, and Ireland.
(It's where I envision myself most days).


The winner of the most emails in their inbox is Natasha from Today's Gift.
She has 20,712.
Congrats! Email me your address at dancingbranflake at gmail.com.
A box of Trader Joe Cookies will be on their way!


I'll be on Good Day Sacramento on Sunday morning. 
If you live in the area you can tune in to see me on television.
Well, that's a surprise.

Have an awesome Saturday!
PS... this was the weirdest giveaway I've ever done.
PPS... on Monday I'll be posting photos I took of myself with the self-timer.
It was interesting to say the least.

Friday, January 27, 2012

How many unread emails do you have? Tell me and you could win!

I'm linking up with E Tells Tales and giving you a list of ten things that's on my mind. Why? Because I love E. She's awesome.
me all emo about my inbox

 Mr. Branflake bought me photoshop elements for Christmas. You know what's sadder than sad? I have no clue how to use it. I feel like my grandfather on the computer. My grandfather has never used a computer before.

 That's not true. He did once go to the DMV to renew his license and because it's all now electronic he just kept touching the screen hoping it would do something. 
He then gave up and left. Broke my heart.

 I have this issue when I go on my walks my elbows hurt like crazy. I mean, I'm not speed walking or anything. Just a nice hour or two of strolling through my neighborhood. But they hurt so bad! Thoughts?

This weekend I am going to be baking. 
Expect photos of things that don't look very good but taste amazing.

 I just started rehearsing for a show. It's exciting to be dancing with the most talented dancers I know.

 I am oddly inspired by this Eleanor Roosevelt quote:
Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway.

 I think I have a tapeworm. I bought an In-n-out Burger and was too full to finish it (I usually can eat two.) I threw half of the burger and half of the fries away. I just felt too nauseous.

 Last night I turned down three offers to hang out with friends because I'm still not feeling well. This tapeworm has got to go! Okay, I don't know if it's a tapeworm but that's what my friend, Paul, diagnosed on Facebook. Thanks, Paul, for freaking me out!

 Dancing Branflake now has a Facebook page.
(top right button on the sidebar is a link)

 I am embarrassed to tell you how many unread emails are in my inbox. I will bet you no one reading this blog has as many as me. Whoever has more than me I will give a box of Trader Joe Cookies. I'm not kidding. Tell me in the comments and if you beat me then I will send you something because you obviously need it more than I.

Are you an inbox junkie? 
Do tell!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Diary Entry

january 26th, 2012

dear Diary,


i love the smell of
Mr. Branflake's pillow.
he's gone until Sunday and sleeping on his side is the closest thing to being with him.

i love the sound of
rapid taps on my keyboard.
that means a thought has come to my mind and i am furiously recording it.

i love the taste of
water after a productive rehearsal.

i love the sight of
perfectly golden baked goods being pulled out of the oven.

i love the feel of
my heart beating faster as I look through my scotland photos and think "it's time for another adventure!"

What do you love today?

all photos by Dancing Branflake or Mr. Branflake.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finding Your Voice

photo by Susan Yee of En Pointe Photography.
This one says "I'm letting it all out!"

Thanks all for your comments on yesterday's post. 
Some got a little heated (let it out, I say!), some made me think, and others made me laugh out loud. 
The whole point about having Anonymous Tuesdays is to allow ourselves  be completely and utterly honest with ourselves and the world. 
It may not be everyone's cup of hot chocolate but such is life.

There was one comment that stood out in particular and I thought I'd address it because I have a few things to say about it. Here's what Anonymous wrote:

I'm having trouble deciding what I want to "do" with my blog and lately it's keeping me up at night. I don't know what direction I want to take it in or if I've actually found my true blogging "voice." I'm having a deep existential blogging problem and I'm not sure posting this will help! Ahhh! Does everyone go through this at times? Maybe we need a blogging support group!

How do we find our blogging voices?
I am no expert (this blog is mostly trial with multiple errors) but I do have three suggestions for anyone trying to find their  blogging voice. 
(Again, I am no blogging expert. Seriously- have you seen my side bar?)

1. Tell a story.
It doesn't have to be long. In fact, call it an anecdote instead.
See if you can condense a crazy story in one or two paragraphs.
That way you can cut out the non-essentials and let the essence of your voice shine through.
 Have a beginning, middle, and end.
Have some dialogue. 

Have fun with it.
They say to write like you talk.
I'll take it one step further and say write how you wish someone would speak to you.

2. Comment on other blogs.
I know we don't have a lot of time to comment on every single person's blog, but for me blog commenting has been invaluable.  Doing so has taught me how to articulate my feelings on all kinds of different subject matters, subjects and things I would never have thought about otherwise. 
In that way I have absolutely found my voice because, in a sense, I'm talking to others about things and my reactions to them. And isn't that what blogging is about anyway?

3.  Sign up for Pinterest.
I'm not sponsored by Pinterest
Ben has no clue who I am even though I receive multiple emails from him a day. 
But Pinterest and other photo streams are great for knowing what your style is and what direction you might want to take on your blog.
Seriously, go on it, start pinning photos you like, look at your board, and then find a theme.
Et, voila! For me that theme is a pretty good indication of what my blog is about.
Pinterest is such a great look into what catches your eye and what pulls at your heart.
It's your visual voice.

Some Strong Voices
Some of the bloggers who I think have the most distinct voices around are Sabine from Pynopsis, Lenore from Lenore Nevermore, and Drollgirl. So if you gals are reading this perhaps you'll drop a few lines about finding your voice? Don't get shy now! 
(PS... I love all three of them. I look up to them. Drollgirl- now don't cry! I know you're getting weepy!)

And I will leave you with one last quote to give you perspective.
It was meant for aspiring writers but I think it applies to bloggers also.
Don’t try to guess what sort of thing editors want to publish or what you think the country is in a mood to read. Editors and readers don’t know what they want to read until they read it. 

Any other tips or support for this awesome blogger?
Did you go through this or are you currently going through this yourself?
And whoever you are I want to thank you for this comment!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From... Anonymous: Blogging Issues

I think anyone who blogs or reads blogs regularly has come across more than a few frustrations. 
But sometimes it's hard to address them without offending or putting off your readers and friends. 
With that said, how about we address them right here anonymously?
Like all Anonymous Tuesdays what you say might end up helping more people than  you realize.

photography by Everything Fabulous

What are your blogging issues/peeves/frustrations/comments?
ps... you don't have to be a blogger to comment. 
And to comment anonymously just click 'anonymous' in the comment box.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vintage Romance in the City

I never thought of New York City as a romantic place.
Don't get me wrong- I love it there and I know it's where a lot of romantic comedies happen.
But to me urban doesn't seem to equate to romance.
But then I saw these photos by Irene Suchoki and I was smitten with the idea of jetting to there for a romantic getaway with Mr. Branflake. 

So, thanks to Irene I am now looking at NYC in a totally different light.
A light that's a little diffused and much softer than I remembered. 
And maybe has a bit of a vintage 1940's flair to it.

And when I get there I'm thinking I'll be wearing this. 
(Can you count how many bows there are? Excessive is my middle name!)
earrings, dress, hat, necklace, coat, bag, shoes, perfume

Is NYC romantic to you?
What are your favorite New York City romantic comedies?
(Mr. Branflake loves to quote You've Got Mail... "Don't cry, Shop girl, don't cry..." whenever I frown).

photography by Irene Suchocki of Eye Poetry

Friday, January 20, 2012

Imaginary Weekend Trip to NYC

Last week I tweeted, "If you could go ANYWHERE right now where would it be? I'll blog about the first place that responds."  There were some great suggestions (Iceland, anyone? Paris? Of course!) but Some Kind of Style was the first and she tweeted back "NYC!"

So, let's pack our chic weekenders and clear our schedules because this weekend we're taking a trip out to NYC.

Where we're staying:
We got a penthouse suite with a view and a complimentary box of chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us.
via Gramercy Park Hotel

Where we're eating:
It's my favorite restaurant in NYC.
French food with a twenty dollar bread basket. 
But that basket is the best basket you'll ever eat.
via Balthazar

What We're Doing
photo by Vitaly Sokolovsky

What I'm Wearing:

earrings, bracelet, dress, scarf, glasses, shoes, tights, clutch

You ready?
What other ways should we splurge during our little getaway to NYC?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In your own words

You know what? I love you guys. 
You always say things so much better than I ever could. 
Which is why I love your comments. 
They always make me think, "So true! Why didn't I ever think of that?"

 You are one articulate bunch of friends. 
I am the opposite of articulate which is why I dance; 
I express myself much better in movement than in words.

So I have a little choreographic/dance/blogging challenge for you.

What words best describe this photo?

This is a new series.
I'll post a dancing photo, you tell me how you feel, and I'll carry those thoughts with me when I choreograph.
I know you might not believe this, but when you leave your beautifully descriptive comments I actually think about them when I'm dancing.
So when I dance it feels like you're dancing with me.

So, go ahead. Tell me.

In your own words.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Glorious Food Moment: Hot Chocolate

from Pastry Pal
I'm just waiting for it to rain.
I'm waiting so there won't be a drought in California and the crops can grow in the Spring.
I'm also waiting so I can thoroughly enjoy a mug of hot chocolate as I sit and read while it's storming outside.

But it's about 65 degrees F out here and sunny.

Until then, I'd like to indulge in a few hot chocolate alternatives that aren't quite the real thing but are a fun way to eat it.
(click on the links for the recipes)

hot chocolate cupcakes by Babble

hot chocolate cupcakes by Instructables

hot chocolate popovers by Joy the Baker
I think these are going to be at my next dinner party.

hot chocolate cookies by Pip and Ebby

hot chocolate cake by Cake.

Are you a hot chocolate person?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From... Anonymous

photography by Felilly
It's Tuesday, which means I'm inviting you all to leave comments anonymously. 
It could be about ANYTHING you want to get off your chest. 
(Why not? It's anonymous after all.)

But, to help those who need a little narrowing down I'll leave a topic to think about:

Are you happy?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I've been working on a personal project about my family who were imprisoned in the 1940's because of their race. (I'll blog more on that later.)

Being Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to the man who changed the face of civil liberties for the entire world. 

And even though he talks specifically about black and white relations below, it was after this speech that the Civil Rights Acts was passed in 1964.

If only this speech was given twenty years earlier...

image via Martin Luther King Online
speech via Huffington Post

I Have  a Dream

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 
"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope you have a beautiful day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

You Are Beautiful

image via Pepsi

I have a rule:
If I say one bad thing about my body I have to say 5 things I love about it.

Well, the past few months I have not done that.
At all.
 I know that so many times my loving husband has looked at me and thought,
"Why is this woman talking so badly about my wife's body?"
Looks like it's time for an attitude adjustment.

So here it goes...the five things I love about my body. 
(Of all the times I've done this, this time has been the hardest.)

1. I love that my hair is thick, healthy, and  low maintenance.
2. I love my fingernails. They are incredibly thick, healthy and shiny.
3. I love that my butt is small but firm. (TMI? Eh.)
4. I love that my stomach has definition. 
5. I love that my neck is long. 
It's so long that when I got my passport picture taken they had to alter the photo and scrunch my head down.

Let's start off the weekend feeling good about ourselves:
What are five things you love about your body?
(Not like, not tolerate... but LOVE)

See more body image posts on Dancing Branflakes
Also... Dancing Branflakes and Glamour think you should love your body also.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My First Memory: Cinnamon Rolls

Bon Appetit

It's no surprise that my first memory involves food. Cinnamon rolls to be exact. I was three years old and sitting at the kitchen table with a cinnamon roll the size of my head in my little hands.  My mom was ironing my dad's work shirts and had dozens of them hanging up all around. Being a child, and doing what children do best, I got some of that delicious ooey gooey frosting on one his light blue button down shirt. And I started freaking out. I thought she was going to be really mad.

Me: "Mom! I got some on Dad's shirt!"

My mom: "Did you do it on accident or on purpose?"

Crap.I had no idea what the difference was.

Me:  "On purpose?"

My mom: "Your father will be really mad then."

Me: "Accident! I mean on accident!"

And just like that I was forgiven. That's how I learned the difference between doing things on accident versus doing them on purpose.

That little story was just an excuse to blog about cinnamon rolls. I love them and I could eat them all day long. I have eaten them all day long. The fact that they were so instrumental in my brain development speaks volumes about who I am today.

Bon Appetit

The Girl Who Ate Everything

Picky Palate


Fake Ginger

Ounces and Grams

Thanks, cinnamon rolls, for being my first memory.
I will always eat you 'on purpose'.