Friday, June 29, 2012

The Big Day... Oh Boy!

Today I'm speaking at the Dance/USA Conference about blogging in the dance world. Basically, this is the most important moment in both my writing and dance career. No pressure or anything.

Thank you for being with me through the years. I've been rubbing elbows with the most influential people in the dance world and that could not have happened without your love and support. Let's be honest, if it weren't for you, this blog would not exist... and Mr. Branflake would have a lot more time with his wife. Hee hee.

Love to you all.
Let's all pray I don't mess this one up, eh?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dance Bloggers: The Best People You'll Ever Meet

I got into San Francisco last night for the Dance/USA Conference. In true dancer form, I arrived at the opening reception fifteen minutes before it ended. The party was swinging, wine was flowing, canapes were being passed around on fancy platters, and I was rubbing elbows with the most influential Americans in the dance world. #pinchme

That's right. I just hashtagged it.

After the reception, the bloggers headed out for dinner. The six of us will be speaking tomorrow on a panel about blogging and writing in dance and we thought it would be a good idea to you, know, actually talk to each other for the first time ever.

I swear, I thought I could have chatted with them for another ten hours. Talk about amazing minds! Here's a little introduction to each of them.

Lauren Warnecke of Art Intercepts. She's the brainchild and moderator of this panel. Her writing is thoughtful yet witty, just like her personality. Reading her blog is like reading short quips of genius and she can tell a story like none else. PS... she's beautiful!

Nichelle Strezepek of Dance Advantage. I can't tell you how much I admire Nichelle for creating her successful blog from scratch. She is the resource for dancers, from beginners to studio owners and everyone in between. Even though she's clearly an overachiever, conversations with her are down to earth and laid-back.

Maria Hanley Blakemore of Maria's Movers. Oh goodness. When I saw Maria at the reception, she squealed, I squealed, we hugged, and I swear to you I felt like I was hugging a lifelong friend. Maria is a creative dance teacher in New York City. She's legit. You visit her blog and realize she's a bottomless well of information. If any readers are thinking about signing their kids up for creative dance classes (which you all should!), visit her blog and have your mind blown. Trust me.

Catherine Tully of 4Dancers. Catherine is the mother of dance blogging. She knows her stuff and her broad range of topics appeals to everyone in and out of the dance world. Yet her heart... her heart is so big and thoughtful there's a reason why you visit her blog and feel at home.

Zachary Whittenburg of Trailer Pilot.  When all the ladies were obsessing via twitter about what we were going to wear, Zach hilariously tweeted this photo to us with the caption, "This is my look. So no, not too dressy." This man is thoughtful, funny, and the guru of dance writing in the digital age. Formerly the dance editor of Time Out Chicago, he has turned to freelance writing and knows the industry better than anyone I've ever met. And he's funny. Did I mention that?

I always knew dancers had the best personalities and amazing legs... but dance writers? Forget about it. They are the best people on the planet, hands down.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THE BOX photo shoot

He put me in a box.

Then he put the boxes in a box.

Fulfilling my fantasy of being a kick-butt super hero...


photos by Tom Huynh

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Having Talented Friends

Oh, you know... 
I'm just nonchalantly heading on over to Inspired Design today. 
The amazing Debby has done a feature about me on her blog and I cannot wait to see what goodness she's come up with. 
I swear, everything she touches turns to gold. 

So you know, being on her blog is no big deal or anything...
(Lies. I almost peed my pants when she asked to feature me.)


Like the photo? 
Susan emailed it to me a few months ago and I completely forgot I had it in my file.
It's one of my favorites from our photo shoot.

I tell you, having talented friends like Debby and Susan keeps me humbled, inspired, and grateful.

Cheers to good friends who make you look good!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Scarves: Artsy Professional

Last night at dinner I had a little freak out moment with two of my girlfriends. I realized that I'm speaking at the Dance/USA forum this weekend and I have no clue what to wear. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: For the love, I don't know what to wear!
Allison, bestie since 6th grade: They're all dancers, right?
Me: Right.
Allison: So it's artsy professional. Make sure you wear a scarf.

via Bloomingdales

I laughed at that, but I also think it's true. Scarves give off an artsy professional air that I think would go well with the San Francisco chill and style. Bonus points for adding texture, flair, and color to any outfit.

Here are some of my favorites from Dorothy Perkins.
PS... I just bought another dress at that store. I can't get enough of her goodness!

And my favorites from H and M

What else do you think the artsy professional look includes?
Bold earrings? Fun socks? Rockin head pieces?
Ps... I'm just mildly freaking out over here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thoughts from a teacher.

On my last day of classes at the studio, I received this beautiful bouquet of flowers from a student. 
I adore the brown paper wrapping and sweeping, pink bow around the stems. 
Other gifts I received included a package of chocolates and a gift certificate for a full body massage. 

I almost cried.

This year, I decided to give a small note of encouragement to each student before summer break.
When other teachers saw this, they gasped and asked:
"Are you leaving?!"
"Are you dying?!"
I laughed. 
No, I just wanted to remind my students that I love them.
I see potential in each of them and I wanted them to know it.

That's why receiving gifts like these from students reminds me of why I teach:
Students, even the smallest ones, recognize a teacher who cares.

As a teacher, I feel I should do the same.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sacto MoFo

Yesterday Mr. Branflake and I took a walk over to the Sacramento Mobile Food Festival. It was my first Food Truck experience because I'm generally against waiting in line for food. But since it was a block away, I thought I should support my neighborhood. I mean, food trucks in suburbia? Who would have thought?

The lines were LONG, but I hopped over into the Krush Burger one and hoped for the best. Two hours later, I got my burgers but they had run out of most of the toppings. So, although it tasted okay, I'm guessing it would have been better if it had more than their sauce and lettuce.

Bonus points for Krush Burger for giving their patrons free Sweet Potato Tots as an apology.

My friend, Tyrone, decided to get a pulled pork sandwich filled with mac and cheese at Drewskies. He got in line at at 6 pm and didn't get his food until 9:10, an hour after the festival was officially over. We ate in the dark. Not fun. 

Still, I had a lot of fun hanging out on the lawn with my friends and listening to an awesome cover band play Bob Marley and UB40. A part of me thinks Food Truck Festivals are more about the experience than the actual food. It's a culture that's fun and low key and I like that.

 A representative from Sacto Mofo (horrible name, by the way) came by and apologized that we had gotten our food so late. He said next time it would run more efficiently and the lines would be shorter. Although I'm happy to support my neighborhood, I don't think I'll be going back. 
Okay, I might go back if the lines were significantly shorter and the taco truck came. I can't resist a good taco.

What are your food truck experiences?
Good? Bad? Not worth the hype?
Side story: The guy in line in front of me collapsed, I think from heat exhaustion.
His head landed on my feet and he looked really pale.
His friends helped him up and he sat in the shade for the next hour. 
Hope he's okay!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Telling People You're Pregnant

I think it's hilarious that whenever I tell people I have news, they automatically assume I'm pregnant. 
It always makes me think, "How would I tell people?" 
By email? A cute photo? Show up randomly on Facebook with a big ol' belly?

Equally fun to think about is how I would tell all my awesome blogging friends.
Would I bust out an outfit post and see if anyone says,
"Hey Branflake.... uh... did you eat a lot last night?"

photo by Kelly Hicks

I thought it might be fun today to talk about how you announced you were pregnant. 
And for those who have never been pregnant, how would you tell people? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Places Between

Thank you for your incredible comments yesterday. Having your support has calmed the hummingbird that's made its home in my heart. If I have inspired one person to finish the story they started (or start the story they've always wanted to), then it was worth the anxiety of putting myself in that vulnerable place. 

I wasn't exactly sure how to describe my story, so I'm posting a part of the letter I sent out to agents. It's a novel, it's dramatic, and it's intense. Buckle up.

Photo by Hikaru Iwasaki

In the Spring of 1942, weeks before graduating from Stanford Medical School, beautiful yet cautious Florence Abe arrives at an abandoned racetrack on the outskirts of San Francisco where she is forced to live with thousands of Japanese descendants who have also been evicted from their homes. Haunted by her mother’s tragic death and father’s subsequent suicide, she has not only left behind a promising future as a doctor but also a fiancĂ© and the life they planned together.

THE PLACES BETWEEN explores the trials and sweetness of first loves intensified by the backdrop of war and the heartache of racial injustice. It's a tale of missed connections, dreaming of lives far out of reach, and a woman following her heart instead of tradition, then discovering they can be one in the same.

Here's an excerpt from The Places Between:

©Dancing Branflake 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

A New Direction

Oh boy, where do I begin?

I'll just say it:

I wrote a novel. In October I sat down and started to write what I hoped would be an interesting story. Last month I finished it. Two weeks ago I sent off samples of writings to agents. Last week I received a request from one of them to send over the full manuscript for possible representation.  In my dream world, they'll fall in love with the story and help me get it published. In reality, signing on with an agent is a long shot and I'm not getting my hopes up. But it's one step closer to becoming a published author and I'm beyond excited to be pushing myself toward the goal.

I haven't told many people about my passion for writing. For one, I never thought I was very good. Secondly, I didn't think it was worth mentioning until I did something with it. And finishing the story, well... it was a Goliath feat that I'm proud of.

I told people on a need-to-know basis. Like my sister-in-law, Stephanie, who has read the story from the painfully awkward beginning stages and has read almost (almost!) every single draft since then. Bless her heart! Then Brandi, who kindly read it in just a few days and gave me her honest and awesome critique. There was Kristin who read and edited it in less than twenty-four hours so that I could send the manuscript off to the agent sans typos or grammatical errors. (I thought it was clean, until she swept it through with a Dyson and found dust bunnies everywhere!)

And, of course, there was Mr. Branflake who always listened to me flush out plot lines and character developments at the most random hours of the day. That man is the most insightful person I've ever met.

Where will this novel take me? I honestly hope it will get published. If not, I have the satisfaction of knowing I did what I set out to do: tell my story and have fun doing it.

I'm not stopping here, though. I've already started writing another story. I want to become a better writer and the only way to do that is to keep writing. It's a goal of mine to get published and I'm going to keep writing until I do.

Okay, that was the scariest thing I've ever said. Whew! Way to put myself out there!

What's my story about?
Well, that's tomorrow's post. 
Yes, I am a tease. 
But I'm also a blogger who realizes this post has gone on far too long already.

Thank you, all, for your constant support.
Just to let you know, dancing will always be number 1!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I've got news. Again.

Don't you hate it when people are so cryptic about everything in their life?
Well, on Monday I'm going to be talking about it. 
It's a big reveal. Well, for me at least.
And to prove to you all that I'm not pregnant, here's some photos I did with a friend on Wednesday. 

Thanks for all your love and support.
Come Monday, I'm really going to need it.

photos by Tony Nguyen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photoshoots and Bats

Found this on Pinterest.
Are you following me?
I have the most hilarious boards, I tell ya!
Photo via Polish the Stars

So, I'm sick.
Fever, headache, the whole bit.
Yesterday I did a photoshoot in an abandoned warehouse.
It was creepy and amazing. 
We were out there until dark.
Do you know what happens at abandoned warehouses at night?
Bats. Flying. Everywhere.

For the love, I thought I was going to become a vampire.
Instead, I got sick.
So maybe I am a vampire. Maybe I am.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sunday Dinner in an Hour

Sunday nights are just special. A good meal is a great consolation prize for the dooming presence of Monday responsibilities. Our friends came over for dinner and I wanted to make them something nice. Unfortunately, I got sucked into the world wide web and when I looked up it was 6:30. Eeep! I had only an hour to prepare.

I basically scurried around the kitchen, trying to figure out what to do with that precious hour. Things did not go right- I ran out of milk, mozzarella cheese, lasagna noodles, condensed milk... the list went on until I just said- "Buck up, Branflake, and cook."

 It wasn't the most lavish meal, but luckily my friend, Steph, brought her amazing banana bread cake with cream cheese frosting and some delicious blueberry muffins, so we ended the night on a high note.

The Menu
~Caprese Salad
~Baked Brie with Honey and Almonds
~Toasted Baguette
~Green Beans with Butter and Almonds
~Lasagna with Four Cheese Sauce and Gruyere
~Banana Bread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
~Blueberry Muffins

The Brie exploded. But it was a delicious explosion.
Trader Joe's stepped selling the wheels, you know with the rinds on it to help keep the brie in.
What's up with that?!

Time saving secret- One jar Trader Joe's marinara sauce and one jar Barilla Four Cheese Sauce.

In the end, I had ten minutes to spare to take these photos and put up my feet.
Fuzzy socks on a Sunday is an undervalued joy in life.

After our five guests went home, 
I rolled into bed with the fat and happies.
I love Sundays.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Dresses

Oh man, I'm such a sucker for cute dresses like this one.
The fabric is light and airy, the colors are vibrant yet feminine, and the cut is modest enough for any occasion.
I wore it to Church on Sunday, but I can see myself wearing it all over this summer, such as:

~the beach
~a date
~a date on a beach
~a matinee showing of Wicked at the theater
~brunch with friends
~the super secret getaway I'm planning for Mr. Branflake
~Scotland (had to throw that one in there)
~a visit to the English countryside
~the countryside in Scotland while on a date after seeing Wicked and eating brunch with friends.

Dress from Francesca Collections, shoes by Jessica Simpson, Clutch a gift from a friend, necklace by Lucky Jeans.

June is bustin' out all over, my friends.
Dress accordingly.
(And name that musical!!!)

photos by Mr. Branflake

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I bought two pairs of shoes this weekend.
I need to take one back.
What one do you like better:
Pink or leopard print?

Both are comfortable, flattering, and not very expensive.



Pink? Leopard print? Both? Neither?
My favorite line from Will and Grace:
Karen Walker speaking to Will while in his basement office-
"How can you stand being down here and watch bad shoes go by?
Look! I just saw Nine West!"
hee hee- I wonder what she'd think of these Nine West shoes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Dancer

People often wonder what I do during the day. Truth is, my hours are more odd than a unicorn driving a station wagon. There are pros and cons to that. Yesterday was definitely a pro:

~I woke up at nine, did some online shopping, and bought this dress. I thought it would go so cute with a turquoise brooch and cute flats. A summery dress that could easily transition into fall.

~In the afternoon I did a photoshoot with Tom. He put me in a box. The pictures came out amazing and I'll be posting some tomorrow. But if you're really interested, I posted a teaser on my Facebook wall. Hope you like it!

~Went to rehearsal for a few hours.

~Dressed up a little in a striped skirt, grey top, pink scarf, and nude flats to go to a barbecue. Actually, I walked into my friend's house where there was a guy in the kitchen making pasta from scratch and churning out the dough from the pasta maker. It was delicious!

~After the barbecue, I headed over to a local ice cream parlor for another dear friend's birthday. I gobbled up a raspberry sherbet freeze and half of Mr. Branflake's French Dip (my fave!)

~Now that I'm home, I'm about to get in a major cuddling session before sleeping for about ten hours or so.

Because that's how dancers roll.