July 31, 2009

yellena prints

The variety of work that can be found on Etsy never ceases to amaze me. Currently, I have fallen in love with the prints of yellena.

I think these next two are my absolute favorites.

And what a coincidence — someone's 29th birthday just happens to be around the corner! Hmmm.... ;-)

July 30, 2009

SYTYCD | week 8 elimination

Beautiful (and really, really different) opening number to "Send in the Clowns." It's nice to have a more ballad-y, refined number, as opposed to some of the more wacky and fast-paced performances that are typical for the group numbers. I really enjoyed this one.

Cat's wardrobe selection: questionable. Yet she still rocks it.

Did I mention to you that I'm nerding it up with my BFF and going to see the dancers on tour this fall? Hollaaaaa ;-) This will be our third appearance on a SYTYCD tour. Hehe.

I actually clapped like a little child when Cat announced that Jeanine had made it through to next week's finale. She 100% deserves it and I'm so glad that my 24 votes last night counted! (Seriously... I voted for her 24 times. I am like a teenager when it comes to this show. It's a little sad.) I only voted for Brandon 9 times. But it looks like that paid off as well ;-)

I'm so pleased that they're bringing back dancers from past seasons to perform some favorite numbers... hello, Katee and Twitch performing "Mercy"! One of the best numbers from last season, without a doubt. And, oops! — I had kind of forgotten about Jessica and Will! Chelsie was one of my faves last season and it was nice to see her return with Joshua (who finally cut his hair! So much better), AND with Mark for the stunning "Bleeding Love" number. But the Jabbawockies (or however they spell it)... I have to admit that those masks thoroughly freak me out.

Melissa is a beautiful dancer, and although I agree that it was her time to go home (because Kayla is too amazing to not be in the finals), I am thrilled that she made it so far and I hope she has a lucrative career as a dancer in some capacity. I have been unexcited by Ade for a few weeks now, so I am glad that Evan is moving on to the finals and Ade is heading home. He's a very entertaining dancer... I just don't think his strengths were in partnering or technique — he was more spins and tricks to me.

So, I got my prediction mojo back! I'm THRILLED that next week's final will be between Jeanine, Kayla, Brandon and Evan. Can't wait!

another present for myself

I promise I don't do as much shopping as it must seem like from my posts... I just tend to share all of my purchases with you all! In particular, the fabulous finds I've happened upon on Etsy.

I originally found Cookoorikoo on Serendipity and Spark, and I started stalking the shop so I could snatch up this necklace as soon as it was relisted:

Isn't it cute? Now I just have to figure out what to wear it with...

Check out the Cookoorikoo Etsy shop for more adorable yo-yo necklaces and other fun jewelry and accesssories!

July 29, 2009

SYTYCD | top 6

I can hardly believe that the semi-finals are upon us and the finals are next week... this season has flown by! Let's see what the top 6 have in store for us this week.

Top 3 guys | Jazz | "True Romance"
Sonya never disappoints me. I don't think anyone else's brain would have ever come up with this concept and routine, but I loved it. I thought all three guys did a great job, even Ade who I've been not so impressed with lately. I have seen some Evan-hatin' out there in the last week or so but I still think he's been a really strong competitor. Hey, he may be a little goofy looking and not your typical "dancer," but I like him.

Top 3 girls | Contemporary | "Kick It"
So glad BOTH groups got Sonya numbers. And I am loving the superhero concept! Very apropos for these strong ladies. I felt like Kayla and Jeanine were really in sync with each other, but Melissa was a little off a few times that stood out to me. I absolutely loved this number, though (and how cute is Cat, wanting to be in their "gang"... teehee). Excellent way to round off the evening.


Jeanine and Ade | Samba | "LoveGame"
Suggestive yet classy, eh, Jeanine? Don't know if I'd go that far :-) Regardless, I thought this was a fun number with lots of personality. Jeanine turned up the heat (OMG am I starting to sound like Mary Murphy and her horribly cliché analogies?!), but once again, I'm just not as impressed with Ade as everyone else seems to be. I think any flaws in the performance were due to him being a weak partner. I hope Jeanine can recover from that.

Melissa and Evan | Broadway | "Get Me to The Church on Time"
These two definitely have the perfect "Broadway" quality for this number. Of course Evan is the pro but Melissa was also great as the bride. Lots of personality and fun and some great jumps... I'm not sure it's semi-finals-worthy, though. It was really cute. But it was kind of just another fluffy Tyce routine, no? Meh.

Kayla and Brandon | Contemporary | "All I Want"
Ooooh Stacey is back with her amazing choreography! And wow. This was really beautiful. THIS is what the semi-finals should be about, in terms of the choreography. These two were pretty much flawless and I think they were given something really challenging to work with. Plus — not that this has anything to do with their dancing — but how stunning was the contrast of their beautiful skin-tones? Truly gorgeous performance.

Jeanine and Ade | Hip Hop | "Move (If You Wanna)"
I love Jeanine's bad-ass hip hop face! Unfortunately, though, I just didn't feel like this choreography was on the level that the semi-finals should be. And that really makes me mad because I want Jeanine to win and I don't think she's been given great material/a great partner. I thought they did a good job (although I coudn't see Ade's face at all under that hat) and the box concept was clever. But it wasn't phenomenal.

Melissa and Evan | Quickstep | "As Long As I'm Singin'"
Ugh. Quickstep. Usually a kiss of death. I think they did a somewhat convincing job, although the timing seemed a little funky in some parts. Other parts looked a little forced and uncomfortable. Okay, so maybe not all that convincing after all. Not really entirely memorable for me. I think this will put them at risk.

Kayla and Brandon | Disco | "Dance (Disco Heat)"
These two seriously lucked out this week with really strong choreography. Disco can be tough if the couple is lacking in energy, but as long as the energy is there it's usually a crowd-pleaser. And the energy was flippin' ON tonight. These two have proven that they can master pretty much any style. Their synchronization was incredible and every move was incredibly tight and strong! Loved it.


Kayla | "You Found Me"
A little erratic there, Kayla. We all know she's a beautiful dancer with beautiful legs. Sometimes I just wish there were some more defined movements. But whatevs — girlfriend can dance, no question.

Ade | "18th Floor Balcony"
Definitely one of his better solos. I am kind of starting to feel like he has the Caitlyn-syndrome, though — strong solos, but not a good partner.

Melissa | "I Put a Spell On You"
Pretty. But I dunno. Could have used a bit more "oomph" and passion, if you asked me.

Brandon | "O'Fortuna"
Holy muscles. Boy is RIPPED. This solo was simply incredible and a reminder of why he's here and why he should most definitely be in the finals next week. I mean, COME ON. Standing ovation!

Jeanine | "Feedback"
Still the queen of solos for the ladies. So refined and polished and interesting without being frantic. She makes the best use of the 30 seconds of any other girl this season. Bring it home to the finals, girl!

Evan | "Lady Is a Tramp"
So cute, this dance was. Evan should just be on Broadway (hopefully he can sing?). It is clearly the style that suits him best and although he's grown a lot in this competition, it is obvious that this style is where he belongs.

- - - -

I kind of wish that the couples had been mixed up this week... so, like, Jeanine worked with Ade on one number and it would have been cool if she had another partner for the next dance. But I mostly don't really love Ade so I'm bummed that Jeanine didn't have as much to work with. But I also realize how hard that would be logistically to give them all adequate time to rehearse with two different partners.

I hope I'm blown away with all of the routines in next week's final, because the last few weeks have been somewhat mediocre for me. Come ON choreographers! Bring it on!

Who I'm voting for:

Who I think should go home:
Melissa and Ade

Until tomorrow night...!

500 days of summer

I know I'm certainly not the first to rave about this film, but I saw it three days ago and I'm still smiling just thinking about it... if you haven't heard anything about it, here's a little sneak preview:

You already know that I love pretty much everything about Zooey, and this movie has made me love her even more. She is so great in the role of Summer, and her personal style (which I highly admire) is definitely reflected in Summer's style.

I am slightly obsessed with this peacock-print dress she's wearing in the dinner party scene.

The story is cute and funny and totally believable. I found myself laughing or smiling quite often in the theatre. People clapped when it was over (for the record, I hate when people clap in a movie theatre [it's not like the stars of the movie can hear your applause?] but I thought you should know that it was, indeed, applause-worthy to some people).

If you aren't convinced yet that you need to see this movie, let me tell you that Zooey also sings in it.

And Joseph Gordon-Levitt is absolutely perfect and adorable in the role of Tom.

And you'll never listen to "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall & Oates the same way ever again.

July 28, 2009

on newsstands today...

Lookie lookie at what popped up on newsstands today...

It's our wedding, in Brides Philadelphia and Brides South Jersey!

This is one of the two different covers for the Fall/Winter 2009 issue we are in

Brooke & Nick at the Desmond... that's US!

We were so flattered, thrilled, and surprised when we heard a few months ago that our wedding photographers, The Wiebners, had submitted our wedding photos for consideration to the magazine, and that we were chosen to be included in their Real Weddings feature!

Once we got word of the exciting news, I filled out a loooong questionnaire for Heather, the lovely writer who worked on our piece, so she could put together the article. We didn't know until we received a copy of the magazine that our spread would be a whole three pages. Woohoo! Heather included so many great details in the piece, and the photos look so lovely all collaged together. What a magnificent keepsake this will be.

Click on the images below to get a better look at our spread! And be sure to pick up a copy if you live in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area :-)

To see more details from our wedding, check out my "Mrs. Cupcake" blog on Weddingbee.

July 27, 2009

house crashing

I've been exploring the "Lets Go House Crashing" page of Young House Love, and consequently drooling over all of the beautifully tied together rooms that are featured. It also makes me realize that I will probably have the hardest time decorating whatever home we eventually buy, because there are so many different styles that I am drawn to!

Without question, I must have a studio space like this:

The same homeowners have this quirky, eclectic living room:

I'm drawn to bold colors, and exposed brick, like this:

But I also love the clean, modern-neutrals look of this home:

And check out this inspiring "before and after" of the exterior of this cute little bungalow:

All photos via Young House Love

What's your ideal home decor style?

lasers, lasers, lasers...

Between Happiest People Ever, Sleeveface, and now We Have Lasers!, I don't see how a day without laughter could ever be conceivable. Laughter truly is just a click away.

Priceless photo via We Have Lasers!!!!!!! Thanks to Jenny from Geek in Heels for introducing me to this hilarious blog.

Even celebrities are submitting their laser portraits.

Did you beg your mom to spring for the laser background on your school photos?

July 25, 2009

russell+hazel sale!

Just wanted to share — russell+hazel is having a 20% off sale on their website!

Just enter the coupon code "save20" when you're checking out to receive your discount.

I am a big fan of their self-adhesive To Do Lists. But anyone who knows me shouldn't be surprised by this, as I love both Post-Its and to do lists in general.

on the turntable: Gillian Grassie

I listen to music all day while I'm at work, and sometimes I get bored with my usual repertoire. I've been listening to Pandora a lot lately in the hopes of discovering some new tunes, and while listening to a Priscilla Ahn station the other day, I came across Gillian Grassie (pronounced Jillian Grassy) singing a song called "Sweet Metallic." I immediately added "download Gillian Grassie" to my to-do list.

I couldn't find a "Sweet Metallic" video to share with you, but I did find this video of her performing the song "Silken String."

It turns out she is a Philadelphia native who went to Bryn Mawr (I used to work there over summer and winter breaks from college). I'm always excited to discover up-and-coming artists, especially local ones, and I am looking forward to listening to her album on repeat.

July 24, 2009


This may just be the cutest skirt I have ever seen. The lovely and inspiring Whitney from Darling Dexter made it. I am in complete awe of her skills and the perfection of this skirt.

I want, I want!

As soon as I have a place to keep it, I really, really want a sewing machine so I can aspire to such greatness.

July 23, 2009

SYTYCD | week 7 elimination

Woohoo, 100th show! I started watching this show during season one when there wasn't too much hype just yet (and Cat Deeley hadn't even come along yet.... boo!); I'm so glad to have seen it turn into such a success over the years. Let's talk about the show, shall we?

I loved the fresh interpretation of "One" from "A Chorus Line" as the opening number, choreographed by Mia Michaels; the mirrors and red carpet were a nice touch. This song always gets me a little bit, but what else is new — I'm a sap for big Broadway numbers. Speaking of my sappiness, I got totally tearful during that montage of the last 5 seasons. Man, I just love this show. In case you didn't notice.

It was exciting to have some favorite performances from past seasons on tonight's show... I forgot how much I loved Hok and Jaime together! And oh oh oh, the bench. Cousin Heidi got her hands on some hair bleach and Travis lost his bleached tips, but this number is still incredible. And RAMALAMA ohmygahhhh. Still one of my all-time favorite group numbers ever on this show. So thrilled to see some of my favorites from season 2 back on the stage. (I'm talking about you, Ivan!)

The whole Katie Holmes thing... I guess it's great publicity for the Dizzy Feet Foundation. But they clearly should not let her sing. Ever. On any show. Ever. It made it way worse that her lip syncing was totally off. And the whole thing was pre-recorded (but they tried to pass it off as live during the applause) which I think takes a lot away from any "live" dance performance. The thrill is in the live part! Boo. I hope she donated a lot of money to Dizzy Feet for making us watch that horse crap.

Now, about the bottom four dancers... considering the Kayla-haters that are out there, I'm not entirely surprised that she was in the bottom for the girls, but I don't necessarily agree. I am glad that my absolute 100% favorite, Jeanine, was safe, and I thought Melissa should have been in the bottom but I think Tyce's number last night totally saved her. I've always been on the fence about Janette so I didn't think she'd be safe. But CANNOT BELIEVE that Ade is safe. I just don't think he is nearly as strong as the other 3 guys. Again, I think Tyce's number absolutely saved him. And you know how much I love Evan, but I just can't believe that the bottom two came down to Brandon and Jason. Wha?

I'm sad to see Janette go home over Melissa, but I'm glad Kayla is safe. She deserves to be here through the end, but I hope Janette has a spectacular career ahead of her. I am also sad to see Jason go over Ade (WHA????) but SO glad that Brandon is safe. Phew. Jason's solos have been pretty weak (just lots o' jumping and tricks, not as much artistry) so I'm afraid that caught up to him.

Wow, we're down to the final 6 already! Next week is sure to be a fierce competition. Can't wait!

like a twister i was born to walk alone....

Today I heard "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake on Pandora (excellent Pat Benatar station!), and that song never fails to remind me of one of my finer lyric snafus. The chorus goes:

"Like a drifter I was born to walk alone..."

and one day while driving with Nick and belting it out, I sang:

"Like a twister I was born to walk alone..."

This was probably, oh, 3 or 4 years ago — and he still teases me about it every time we hear that song!

Someone once gave me a book of mis-heard song lyrics called "Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy" (a play on the mis-heard Jimi Hendrix lyric, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky"). Pretty hilarious. Sometimes, making up what are clearly the wrong lyrics is just more fun than singing the right lyrics.

What are some song lyrics that you make up or continue to get wrong?

July 22, 2009

SYTYCD | top 8

SO EXCITED that Ellen DeGeneres is guest judging this week! Obviously she is not a trained dancer, but she clearly loves dance and admires what these young dancers are capable of. Can't wait to hear what she has to say. Let's get started!

Top 8 | "Let It Rock"
Love that Travis is back... hate the stupid illuminated costumes. Just too distracting and hard to focus on the dance! Overall it was a'ight... but not great. I prefer Travis as a true contemporary choreographer. Meh.

Evan and Janette | Jazz | "Move"
I always love the interaction Sonya builds into her routines. She was born to choreograph duets, I think. This piece was really entertaining and smooth; Evan and Janette go well together and I thought their moves were incredibly in sync — and those lifts, whoa! I also agree with Nigel that Evan has really stepped it up.

Brandon and Jeanine | Waltz | "May It Be"
I think I'd go so far as to say these two are my SYTYCD power couple. Two of my favorites, hands down. I wish they had gotten a more exciting dance (sorry, Waltz) but it was undoubtedly beautiful. Nothing groundbreaking, though, and SUCH a slow song. I really hope it doesn't jeopardize their chances at making it to the top 6 now that the competition is getting so tight.

Ade and Melissa | ChaCha | "Yeah"
Nice to see these two back together, but I'm feeling like they're the weakest links currently. This number just looked like two non-ChaCha dancers doing the ChaCha. Melissa looked out of place and Ade looked uninterested. Not sure what routine Nigel was watching, but I was bored. I'll be surprised if these two aren't in the bottom tomorrow night.

Jason and Kayla | Broadway | "Mr. Monotony"
This number was most definitely very "Broadway"... I thought they both rocked it and had a good partnership. Kayla's lines, as Nigel said, really stand out and Jason did well with this style. I agree with Mia that Kayla would be amazing on Broadway (if she can, indeed, sing). She just has that presence to her.

Janette and Evan | Rumba | "Heartless"
I love Evan and I'm not afraid to admit it (even though his costume was ridiculous). And damn, Janette looks gorgeous! They faltered a tiny bit at the beginning and it seemed like another really slow number, but I thought they had a decent connection and their movements were really fluid. I'm not seeing a lot of votes coming in for this one, though.

Jeanine and Brandon | Hip Hop | "Battlefield"
Wow, Laurianne Gibson? Never thought I'd see her choreographing in this competition. (And are the headphones necessary? And the tears? She bugs me. Blame it on watching too many seasons of Making the Band. Bah.) Anywho... hate this song but feel like Jeanine and Brandon pulled it off well, minus a few little iffy spots with weird timing. I wish they interacted more on stage, but that's more the choreography than them. Surprised that Nigel LOVES it, and Mary gave it a scream, but glad that it will hopefully bring them votes.

Melissa and Ade | Contemporary | "This Woman's Work"
These two seriously lucked out with this number. It was beautiful and emotional, and was a VAST improvement over their last number. Ade's strength paired with Melissa's movements were beautiful. I got a little teary when Melissa got all teary at the end and then the judges all just pretty much lost it and I got REALLY teary. It was truly beautiful and it might have just saved these two dancers.

Kayla and Jason | Hip Hop | "They're Everywhere"
Niiiiice Thriller-esque costumes :-) I am a big fan of Shane Sparks and I think this was a cool number. Definitely hard to get all light-hearted and hip-hoppy after Tyce's emotional number, but it was well-choreographed and well-performed.


Kayla | "The Moment I Said"
Glad she has slightly tamed her solo this week, compared to the last few erratic weeks. I really liked the style of this number and that gorgeous costume. There is no doubting that she's a natural.

Jason | "Slowdance on the Inside"
Jason's solos don't impress me as anything beautifully choreographed — they seem like just a combination of jumps and turns. He's certainly a great dancer, but the solo wasn't spectacular.

Janette | "Seduces Me"
I think she took a huge risk straying from her own style for her solo. People obviously like her Latin dancing... why do contemporary? This was okay, but she definitely didn't make the best use of the 30 seconds. Mia really thinks Janette is her favorite? Hmm.

Ade | "Hater"
Definitely a better solo than his ChaCha with Melissa. But I'm still just not excited by him anymore.

Melissa | "Heads Will Roll"
Could have been a really cool number with that song, but I felt like she missed the opportunity.

Evan | "Old Devil Moon"
I absolutely adore when he dances in his own style. He has such charisma in his little suspenders and tie and hat. A true old soul. I like that.

Jeanine | "Let the Drummer Kick"
We all know I am in love with Jeanine's solos. This one was no exception. She is absolutely spectacular when given the opportunity to shine on her own. Hoping that secured her spot in the top 6.

Brandon | "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That"
He. Is. So. Good. I love his spunk and how well he uses those short 30 seconds.

- - - - - - -

Who I am voting for:
Jeanine, Evan, Brandon, Kayla

Who I think should go home:
Melissa and Ade (I think they did great with Tyce's number, but overall I still think they're consistently the weakest dancers of the group)

Ellen proved to be kiiiiiiind of useless, but a source of humor, nonetheless. Overall this was probably one of the weaker shows of the season, so I hope that means that next week will make up for it! Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow night on the 100th episode!

July 19, 2009

bakerella's cupcake pops

It's a little after the fact now... but I still thought I'd share with you the photos of Bakerella's cupcake pops that I made for the Fourth of July. I modeled mine after her Patriotic Pops and brought them to a family gathering with my in-laws.

Dipping the cake balls into the chocolate without making a complete mess proved to be a little more difficult than you'd imagine. At first, they were looking a bit wonky, like this:

My lovely assistant/husband who was helping me at this point came up with the idea to use a skewer for dipping, then removing the skewer to let the chocolate cool and harden (bottom right photo on second collage image, above). This made everything go much more smoothly, as you can see below. Once he would take the pop off of the skewer and sit it upside-down to let it cool, I would stick in the lollipop sticks while the chocolate was still warm.

When it came time for Nick to dip the pops into white chocolate for the cupcake tops, he just grabbed the lollipop sticks and dipped. (Please ignore our messy kitchen in the below photo... I never claimed to be a mess-free cook!)

We did not have a styrofoam block to put the lollipop sticks into for the white chocolate to cool with the pops sitting upright, so we ended up taking the sticks out and just letting them cool on wax paper. So technically, they became cupcake bites instead of cupcake pops, but having the lollipop sticks in them for dipping still made it much, much easier.

As soon as they were sitting on the wax paper, I decorated them with red or blue sugar crystals and red or blue M&Ms while the white chocolate was still warm. (Unless you're making hundreds of bites/pops, don't bother buying the monochromatic M&Ms. They're ridiculously overpriced — we just bought a regular bag of M&Ms and picked out the red and blue ones! There were plenty to go around and plenty left over afterwards. Om nom nom.)

Note to self for next year: the red sugar crystals on white chocolate topped with an M&M kind of makes the cupcake bites look like eyeballs. Stick with the blue sugar crystals! Much cuter.

They certainly weren't perfect, but I was excited that I tried something new. And despite looking a little imperfect, they were SO yummy!!!

I'm so busy these days that usually, if we bring something to a gathering of friends or family, Nick ends up making it. I was starting to feel crappy about never having a part in putting together some yummy treats, so I wanted this to be my project (although he graciously helped me towards the end when we were under a time crunch). Any cooking project that involves such a crafty aspect is appealing to me because I feel like I get to be artistic.

finding "the one"

No, I'm not talking about boys. I'm talking about... bathing suits. Dreaded, awful, bathing suits (at least, this is how I feel about them).

I have hated bathing suit shopping pretty much for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, that's been a result of being unhappy with my shape; other times, that's been a result of not being able to find cute suits for women with actual bodies who can't wear tiny little things with zero support, like this:

Ali Larter, you're gorgeous, but we don't have much in common.

I usually go bathing suit shopping feeling hopeful, and leave feeling frustrated and annoyed. In the past few years, I have become very good at knowing the exact style and cut of two-pieces that work for me (a few of which I've actually successfully purchased at Target, which is awesome, because they're inexpensive), but I've had the hardest time finding a one-piece that doesn't suck. They either have no support, or so much support/fabric that I look like an old lady when I put them on.

I am here to tell you some pretty big news: I have found THE PERFECT ONE-PIECE BATHING SUIT. Now, it may not be perfect for everyone, but I tried it on and actually liked — no, loved — the way it looks on me! The way I look in it! The whole package! It's a miracle!

It certainly wasn't a cheap suit, but I see it as an investment, as it's surely (hopefully) something that will last me a few years. Allow me to present to you the perfect one-piece: the solid twist-front bandeau tank with removable halter strap from J.Crew.

I got mine in Navy blue, although I would have liked a brighter color (but none were available in my size by the time I ordered online). Nonetheless, I love how it fits, the material is soft but sturdy, and I love that it comes with the option of D-cup or long torso if you need either of those (I needed the former, if you must know). It has boning at the sides so it stays in place and doesn't roll down at all, and the detachable halter strap is great.

I know that J.Crew bathing suits have long been a favorite amongst women, but I, too, am now a strong believer in the quality of their swimwear. I can't wait to have the chance to wear mine.

Have you found the perfect swimsuit after a long search?