Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Breakfasts


Summertime calls for special summer breakfasts, don't you think?
Gourmet eggs, apple sausage, and crispy baked potatoes with a side of fruit is perfect before a day of surfing, beach lounging, kite flying and all the fun activities found in a J. Crew ad.

While in Monterey, my sister in law made the most delicious breakfast that was so pretty I couldn't resist taking a few photos.



Some of the food cooking on their gas stove.
She put fresh herbs, red roasted potatoes, cheese, and a dash of onions in those eggs.

She got those potatoes so crispy!

Fresh fruit. Typically not a fan but the raspberries were so sweet they tasted like candy!

What's your ideal summer breakfast?

Side note:
After coming back from our trip,
I ate a cookie for breakfast the next day.
Then a rice krispy treat for lunch.
And then a handful of gummy worms for dinner.
The studio was out of snacks and it was a loooong day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Uncommon Bracelets: Bike Chains and Guitar Strings

I like my jewelry simple but interesting.
Everything I wear has a story behind it and makes for good conversation at parties.
Celtic knots from Scotland, cancer bracelets from friends, and wedding rings from, you know, my wedding.

That why I got real excited when I found these bracelets over at Uncommon Goods.
I've seen guitar string bracelets and I love them, but bicycle chain bracelets?
As a bike riding lover, I my heart beat faster just thinking about wearing such a fun piece of jewelry.



I love the quirkiness of both bracelets and I love how they express two of my loves:
Biking and music.
Bonus points for the bike bracelet:
It's only ten dollars and it's easy to clasp on and off
(a must for a clumsy person like me).


 What kind of jewelry suits your fancy?
 Uncommon Goods has a ton of other cute jewelry like this, 
including a zodiac bracelet with your star alignment engraved in it.
For real, their name says it all, although I think they should change it to:

"The most random but fun things you'll ever find on the internet."
Just sayin.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dancing on the Rocks






Did you all have a good weekend?
I just came back from Monterey with sand in my toes, salt in my hair, and a smoked mozzarella and prosciutto pizza in my belly. 
It was too cold to swim (sad), but the rocks were just perfect for climbing, dancing, and trying to figure out how to get back down again in flip flops.

I always forget that part when I'm being adventurous.


Also, remember when I said I wanted to one day live on the beach?
We saw a house for sale while walking around Carmel. 
How much?
Just short of 7 million.

I, um, am thinking we'll be looking at another beach.
ps... thanks for all your comments on Friday's post.
My anxiety level is just beginning to calm down a little.


Friday, May 25, 2012

I have good news. No, I have great news. And I need your help.

Photo by Susan Yee of En Pointe Photography

I've actually known this for a few months now, but for some reason I've been lagging sharing the word despite my excitement. Has that ever happened to you? You are so excited about something that your mind goes numb? And then there's this need to express the news perfectly because it means more to you than posts about bacon or cheesecake. 

Yes, news is bigger than bacon or cheesecake- this is big time stuff.

In July I'll be speaking at Dance/USA's 2012 Conference. Lauren Warnecke of Art Intercepts asked me to speak as part of a forum she's heading up about blogging and writing in the dance world.   Some of the most successful dance writers, editors, bloggers, etc. in the U.S. will be part of this forum and I am doubly excited, triply humbled, and quadruply  scared out of my mind that I'm going to say something incredibly stupid. 

For instance, when she asked for my bio for the website, I forgot to include that I was a blogger. 
Rule number one: 
If you're going to talk about your blog, you should probably remember you have one.

And this is where I need your help:

Since the professional world is going to be listening to my thoughts about blogging, I feel like I should spruce up the blog layout a bit. I want to say thank you to all who have offered, I'm sorry I haven't taken up the offer, and I do love you; it's just that the thought of changing the format and look of this blog is overwhelming.
Where do I begin? What information do I need? What questions should I ask the blog designer? 


So I ask you: 
What tips would you give someone who is redesigning their blog?
They, thankfully, added my blog to it. Whew!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First Bike Ride Memory


Photo by Slice of Pink


Recently, I came across the spot where I learned how to ride my bike.

The unexpected encountered happened as I was riding with a little three year old who,
crazily enough, already rides a two wheeler no problem.
As we pushed through the winding paths and felt the breeze off the thicket of trees,
a feeling of nostalgia whipped through my body and I slowed down a little.

The memories came flooding back..

...my dad running behind me
...realizing he had let go
...the fear setting in
...the fall into the ivy leaves
...streamers on my bike floating in the wind
...my chubby body lying in shock
...trying again.



Do you remember learning how to ride?
Who taught you?
Did you fall right away or were you a first-time pro?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Love: Ice Cream Socials

When's the last time you went to an ice cream social?
After last weekend, I'm in the belief that adults don't get enough of them.
Mr. Branflake loves ice cream 
(he eats it for breakfast without blinking an eye) 
so I threw him an ice cream sundae party as part of his graduation celebrations.

I'll be honest, out of all the dinner parties I've planned, this one was the most fun.

Ice Cream + Foods on a Stick + Dining Al Fresco = 
Happy, Smiling Guests

Some of the toppings included: toasted coconut, sprinkles, heath bar crunch, mini Reese's PB cups, peanuts, strawberry syrup, caramel sauce, brownies, fudge, and marshmallows.

I saw donut hole kabobs on Val So Cal and fell in love.
I'm definitely repeating this for our 4th of July party.
 I bought tons of popcorn and let guests have their own popcorn bags. They loved it!
On the right: ham and cheese crescent rolls seen here.
Bruschetta 


Caprese Salad on a Stick
 My personal favorite: salami and smoked mozzarella cheese sliders with basil mayonnaise. 

This is just the beginning:
I'm convinced that a party is not a party without a sundae bar.


How about you?
What makes an awesome ice cream social?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Creamy Chicken Over Whole Wheat Pasta

 Why oh why have I never made this before?
A cream sauce over chicken?
Duh, Branflake!
Just replace chicken broth with milk when deglazing a pan, add some butter and cheese, et voila!

It's easy enough for a quick weeknight meal but special enough for a dinner party.



Season your chicken with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices 
(I use Trader Joe's 21 Salute spice mix).
Sear in a pan with olive oil until done.

Deglaze the pan with milk (about 3/4 of a cup)
 and scrape up the yummy brown bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon.
(At this point you can add minced garlic and mushrooms,
but Mr. Branflake doesn't like either, so...)

Put a heaping amount of grated parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
Add a table spoon or two of butter and simmer on low until thickened.

Put chicken atop of pasta and pour sauce over.
Garnish with the only surviving twig of basil left from your basil plant that you haven't watered in
  two weeks.




Nom.

Sorry about the graininess in the last picture.
My ISO setting was way too high and I didn't catch it until now.




Monday, May 21, 2012

Ballerinas in Hawaii

(whose interview I have yet to transcribe and post on here- bad blogger!) 
recently went to Hawaii for his latest project and I am in love with every single photo.
You all know about my love for this photographer and this series is by far my all time favorite.









And now all I want to do is dance on water.

There's something to be said about dancing in nature.
I believe it brings out the inner goddess in all of us.
Happy Monday, friends.



Visit Ballerina Project on Facebook for more images
Visit the Ballerina Project Website

Friday, May 18, 2012

Maxi Dresses are Good for Climbing Trees

Despite my height, I love maxi dresses. 
The long, flowing hem makes me feel like a beach goddess or a woodland fairy, waking from her reverie only to leap and spin in her natural habitat in a stunning array of colors and swooshing fabric. 





But the little girl in me cannot resist climbing a tree and all grace and goddess-ness flies out the window.


I tried to flip all the way upside down before realizing monkey bars and dilapidated trees are two different things.


I found a sturdy branch, took a nap a la Katniss, then realized,
"Ah crud, how the heck am I going to get down now?"



The answer:
Not so gracefully at all.
Ouf.



Any fellow tree climbers out there?
How about Maxi dress lovers?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bunheads

Have you heard of ABC Family's new series, Bunheads
It's about a Vegas showgirl who marries a man, moves to his small hometown, 
and becomes a teacher at her mother-in-law's ballet studio.


photo from Bunheads website on ABC Family

I'll be honest, I can sense the obvious themes of the show
 (too strict mother-in-law, uptight ballet students and their parents, and blah blah blah) but I am anxious to see a few things:


1. Amy Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girls, is the executive producer and I love love love Gilmore Girls.


2. How television portrays ballet dancer fashion.
 Gilmore Girls got Stella McCartney to style Lorelei and Rory,
 so I'm excited to see the styling of the Bunheads, dancers and non dancers.

3. From the looks of this photo, the ballerinas in the show look healthy and strong. 
I'm curious to see what stereotypes they play into and the barriers they break.

4. The story takes place in a sleepy, coastal town (aka, my dream place to live).
I adored Stars Hollow and I cannot wait to see what this new one looks like.

Bunheads airs June 11th on ABC Family.


Will you be watching?
Were you a Gilmore Girls fanatic like me?
I became obsessed with blazers, burgers, and small towns because of it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5 Guys: East Coast Comes to the West

I first had 5 Guys in Virginia where peanut shells ran loose on the floor, the men behind the counter spoke Arabic with my Arabic speaking brother in law, and the fries came in a big brown bag 
(not the Blomingdales kind).

I loved it.
And when I heard that 5 Guys came to Sacramento, I was real curious to see how the West would accept the East.

You see, food in suburbia is not quite like food you find in the city.
(understatement of the century).

How did we fare against our 3,000 mile away counterparts?





Pretty darn good.

I'm wearing two necklaces: One Celtic knot from Scotland and my new necklace from Mr. Branflake.

I've been craving it ever since.
All toppings are free.
My recommendation would be the bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce and jalapenos.
Don't be off put by the American cheese.
I hate American cheese, but on 5 Guys it just fits.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Nicely Packaged Evening

I would like to thank Mariah Carey for teaching me, and the rest of the world, how to pose.

The graduation dinner was magical.
We were greeted by a dining room lined with enormous gilded mirrors and glistening chandeliers.

We had silver platters for our Pellegrino and butter in the shape of roses for our warm bread.
I was wide-eyed and constantly taking mental pictures of my surroundings because you shouldn't take real food shots in a place like that.
(Okay, I snuck in a few. Good riddance, class!)



Red shoes. Sigh. Another pretty package.

What can I say?
I'm a sucker for marketing and pretty packages.


I was also a sucker for brie and asparagus bisque with a goat cheese croquette floating in the center.


Don't get me started on the mashed potatoes topped with roasted potatoes, or the chocolate bombe with three sauces and two decadent sides for dessert.



Or the cucumber citrus sorbet given to 'cleanse the palette' in between courses.



One might say, "Excess is horrible!" 
But I? 
I was silently peeing my pants the entire time.




____________________________________________________________

And then...
At the end of the evening, Mr. Branflake opened my car door and helped me inside.
Once got in the driver's seat, he handed me a velvet box secured with a satin ribbon.

"For helping me these last four years; I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you," 
he said as I was greeted by a diamond heart shaped necklace glittering under the streetlights around.

And yes, there just happened to be fireworks going off over head.

Sigh.

Pretty packages rock my socks.








Monday, May 14, 2012

Somebody Groped My Fancy Pants


Anyone have any bets on what's making me laugh so hard?



Oh, Mr. Branflake, you are a 'handful', aren't you? 




What a sly guy.




Haha! I'm kidding! We are affectionate, but not THAT affectionate. 
(In public, at least.)

Thank you all for your amazing comments about Mr. Branflake's graduation. 
It's such a special thing to share it with you and celebrate together as one, big, blogging community.
Your comments were the cherry on top of a beautiful day.

How was it? Good golly, I don't even know where to start.
It was perfect. 
Having friends, family, and each other all in one place was such a treat.

Did I cry?
No.

But looking at the graduation program and seeing that my husband was given the Order of the Barristers, aka one of the highest awards given to law students across the nation, had me beaming from ear to ear.

Tomorrow, I'll be showing you my entire outfit 
(don't talk to me about the stress of finding the perfect dress)
and talking about the graduation dinner, aka the best meal I've ever had
It was so good. 
It was ridiculously fancy, so fancy it required a sorbet in between courses to 'cleanse the palette.'

Yep, that's how the other side lives apparently.

I think I can get used to that.

It was a fancy shmancy weekend of celebrations.

How would you celebrate the biggest achievement of your life?
Fancy dinner? Grand ol' party? Relaxing vacation? Shopping spree?


Friday, May 11, 2012

Tears Shed by a Wife

Truth be told, I did not cry at my wedding. 
I was beyond relieved that we had made it into the Temple unscathed; 
I had countless visions of car accidents and tornadoes killing us and before our wedding day 
But tears? None.
 I'm not a crier in general. 
I hold back tears at funerals and I have never cried in a movie. 
Yes, I've seen Bambi and Up and have never shed a tear.

photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen via Cool Hunting
But tomorrow? I might cry and I'm not sure what to do about it. 
You see, when we got married I knew Mr. Branflake, but I didn't know him. 
Yet during our eight years of marriage and four of law school, 
I feel like we've become a team- an inseparable team bound by experience, sacrifice, and humility. 

We didn't have that before we were married and now that we do, 
my emotional attachment to him is greater than it ever has been.

So tomorrow at his graduation, there may be tears. 
I'm just so freakin proud of him.
He doesn't want me telling anyone, so I'm telling the whole interweb:

He got a 4.0 this semester.

Do you know what's hotter than a doctor?
A doctor with a 4.0.

Are you a crier? 
Did you cry at your wedding?
Did you cry watching Up?
Do you have any advice for non-criers on how to handle the waterworks?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our Own Little Paris



Recently, Mr. Branflake and I went to a dinner party at one of my favorite restaurants in Sacramento, Piatti. It's an Italitan restaurant but the outside courtyard reminds me of romantic strolls in Paris.

The dinner was lovely, the host ordering three of every appetizers on the menu, served with the most delicious bread known to man.

Throughout the night I sipped on a pomegranate, ginger, and lemon mocktail and chatted about everything from intellectual property rights to Dora the Explorer (we had some parents in the room).



As it hovered around midnight and the party dispersed, 
Mr. Branflake and I walked around this charming part of Sacramento and took a few photos.

I'm convinced that there would be more smiles and less crime in the world if all trees were covered in fairy lights.




Truth be told, I had a hard time deciding what to wear knowing his law school peeps would be in attendance.
I didn't want to go with this LBD since it's now too big and looks frump and I wasn't sure how dressy the occasion was.


I bought this H&M dress five years ago and I thought for sure I threw it out because it was getting too small.


Good thing I didn't because I think it was the perfect dress for the evening.
It's now a  little too big but I cinched it in with a belt and topped it with a cardi.

Paired with my new favorite red shoes and a diamond studded faux leather purse, 
I felt a little trendy but not too flashy.



  

Hooray for fairy lights, romantic strolls, good food, and rediscovered dresses.