I'm oddly obsessed with these Jeffrey Campbell's from ModCloth. I haven't wanted shoes this clunky since middle school.

what's that all a'boot?



Matt's and my good friend Allen is moving to Toronto (sad!) and so I commissioned a custom Double Scoop Greetings card from my oh-so-talented friend Frannie. You may remember I bought a Valentine card from her as well. My boyfriend loved how personal the handmade card felt and I can't get enough of anything with clever wit and a good pun. Needless to say, Frannie delivered once again with a tongue in cheek ode to our friend! She drew it up and mailed it to me to have it here in time for Allen's last day (even though I gave her about a week's notice). Amazing! DoubleScoop makes custom work if you would also like a handmade card (which in my opinion means so much more!)

Allen, you will be missed!!! Keep reading Dani Brava :)


pity party cancelled


Yesterday was admittedly one of the more stressful days since moving to Los Angeles. And today I found myself in the car wanting to cry and throw a pity party for myself. The thing about pity parties is you can throw as many as you want but nobody's going to show up. The world doesn't feel sorry for you. Instead I started thinking about all of the stuff I've done since I've been out here. Most importantly of which is begin a career in fashion! I've met amazing people and done amazing things along the way. I am a much stronger person today (emotionally and physically) than I was two and a half months ago.

Always remember: tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to ROCK it! I am so blessed and so are you; if you are literate and have access to a computer to read this blog, YOU ARE SO LUCKY!!! Everything else is just icing on the cake :)

Picture taken in Malibu last year


diy pinkberry night

Last night we had an impromptu DIY Pinkberry night at my apartment. Although, I suppose "Pinkberry" wouldn't be correct in this instance seeing as I made the frozen yogurt from scratch using my handy dandy ice cream maker! We mixed pomegranate seeds, fresh strawberries, and Oreo cookies in to the frosty concoction.


Here's the recipe I used:

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
  • 1 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups fat free vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium mixing bowl, use hand mixer on low to combine milk and granulated sugar until sugar is dissolved (1-2 min). Stir in yogurt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Freeze in ice cream maker.

For some reason I was surprised how much actual "yogurt" goes into frozen yogurt. Also, I used the mixer to incorporate the yogurt, cream and vanilla because it came out clumpy when I just tried to stir it. I was so happy with how it came out; it was the best frozen yogurt I've ever had (not to toot my own horn!)

Once again, I came home for lunch today and partook in a pita pizza and some froyo with pomegranate seeds and an Oreo mixed in for dessert. 



Yum yum!


pita bread pizza


Today I came home for lunch as I do most every day. Cooking at home has many benefits which include, but are not limited to, saving money and knowing exactly what goes into what you're eating. Over the years, I have made many versions of this quick and easy (and low fat) pizza; the Pita Pizza!!

First, take a pita bread (I used whole wheat) and spread lightly with tomato sauce. I topped mine with artichokes. Someday soon I want to try it with roasted veggies.


Next, I put dollops of hummus. An odd decision, I admit, but the hummus added a surprising amount of depth to the sauce!


Then cover your pita pizza with lots of shredded cheese! I used an Italian blend but I would love to try this with goat cheese.


Broil on high for a just a few minutes (watch diligently) and enjoy! It was such a tasty and light lunch!!


take time to smell the music

I don't normally post things like this but I received an email that left me both flabbergasted and not surprised in the least! It's sad how we can just let beauty escape us when we're not looking for it.


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.  After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.


At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time.  This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.  About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over.  No one noticed and no one applauded.  There was no recognition
 at all. 
 No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.  Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $200 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story.  Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about 
perception, taste and people's priorities

This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, 
playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . . 
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?








shirt dress, Zara; slip, Free People; belt, Anthropologie; shoes, Velvet Angels; necklace, Nordstrom; bracelets, Amrita Singh and A.V. Max

This shirt dress is so amazingly comfortable that it has become my instant go-to on lazy days. I purchased it on sale at Zara for $20. It was one size larger than my usual size (XS) but I'm glad because it fits to utter perfection. I enjoy the roomier fit because I can wear it loose as a beach cover up or belt it for a chicer look. I snagged this brown Anthropolgie belt on eBay for $8 and it has pulled together a remarkable amount of my outfits. The necklace was procured at Last Chance (RIP) the outlet of the outlet of Nordstrom where I used to find mind-blowingly good deals until they shut down! The bracelets were bought on Bluefly and Hautelook. The shoes were FREE and are one of my utter favorites! By free, I mean I won a sweepstake on ShopBop worth $150 and spent about half of it on these shoes. In short, style does not necessarily mean clearing your bank account. Nowadays there are so many avenues of finding a great deal on the items you love. My advice: always keep an open mind. I find the best wardrobe pieces when I'm not "looking for" something in particular. Instead, I keep a mental checklist of general areas in which my closet is lacking. Here are items I'm keeping an eye out for:
  • waist belts
  • mini skirts
  • blouses
  • long necklaces
  • high waisted shorts
  • colorful flats
  • stylish sandals
On another note, I was inspired by the Cupcakes and Cashmere post: How to Braided Updo. That link isn't working for me right now but I'll try checking back later, I think her blog is having technical difficulties. Either way, I really like how the braided updo came out and it took about 5 minutes max to make! I will definitely be wearing my hair like that again soon.

P.S. I'm kind of loving my fingernails sans nail polish! I might give them a breather for a while. 

sugar high


Yesterday Matt and I went to Universal to see How to Train Your Dragon in 3D. On the way to the movie theater, I couldn't help but notice a gigantic shop called It'Sugar. We stepped inside and it was possibly the largest candy shop I've ever been to! Needless to say, we walked out with almost 2 pounds ($20 worth) of candy between the two of us. I never used to be much of a candy person (I was always more into chocolate) but since moving to Los Angeles, I've developed quite a taste for it. I blame it on all of the photo and television sets being stocked with all sorts of crack candy.

Then, like a couple of twelve year olds, we proceeded to watch How to Train Your Dragon (AMAZING!)


and then Kick Ass, which was great albeit gory! It was a really fun, nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon with the boyfriend. Here's some of what was leftover today from my candy bag (Matt finished his whole bag although his was significantly smaller than mine!)



Sour sugar got all over all of the candy! Yummm!

As per my last blog post, I also resolve to eat less candy. After this bag is finished, obviously! I did run 5K and buy some healthy food at the grocery store today :) Also, I'll be adding a couple segments to my blog and hopefully blogging more overall. I will be including savory foods I make in addition to baked goodies and doing restaurant reviews. The first restaurant to be reviewed by me: Porto's Cuban bakery/restaurant. Stay tuned...



I realize that we're nowhere near January 1st (about 3+ months from) but lately I've been thinking of ways to better myself and my life through some simple health and life resolutions. My hope is that by releasing my intentions to the blog world, it will further motivate me to keep them!

- less meat/ more veggies 
- run faster/longer
- bake more
- testing (I'll explain later, but very exciting)
- get a job
- blog more

I think that this is a good, simple, and doable list. Also, how cute is my little herb garden??

herb garden

I'm growing cilantro (doing well), zucchini (seems to be suffering and not an herb) and basil (flourishing). I can't wait to use them in my cooking!!


top shop crop top


1. Sequin Disc Crop Vest - $90
2. Crochet Insert Frill Crop Top - $44
3. Striped Crop With Knotted Tie - $28
4. Oversized Crop Top - $50
5. Botanical Crop Top - $50
6. Premium Lurex Lace Beaded Tee - $80

I am adoring TopShop's new line of cropped tees! From the ease of the nautical-inspired Striped Crop to the shimmy and shake of the Premium Lurex Lace Beaded Tee, I wish I could score each one of these vertically challenged tops. How cute would the Botanical Crop Top look with a pair of skinnys, long silver pendant necklace and chunky wooden heels? Each one of these would work wonderfully as a swimsuit cover up or for a night on the town depending on how they're accessorized. I'll be doing an extra set of crunches tomorrow!

P.S. I made Martha's Chocolate Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze this evening (sorry, no photos!) If you would like to make this, note that the cake took 15-20 minutes less than stated in the recipe. Thank goodness I checked! My pound cake came out perfect texture-wise but I expected it to be sweeter than it actually was. If I make it again (my to-bake list is long) I would at the very least mix some confectioner's sugar into the glaze. Happy baking :)


malibu canyon dirt dash

mud run

I am SO excited that my boyfriend has agreed to do the Malibu Canyon Dirt Dash with me! Running a race doesn't appeal to him at all but once he heard he gets to participate in an obstacle course and jump in a mud pit he was all in. I ran my first 5K this past December with my best friend Ty. We were both race virgins and just wanted to complete the 3.1 miles, and we did! Yay, us!! I would like to finish another 5K and possibly a 10K before September but the Dirt Dash looks like so much fun (and not serious at all)!

Here's what to expect:

Obstacle #1 - Hay Bale Truck Jump
Obstacle #2 - Rope Hill Climb
Obstacle #3 - Bunk Bed Scramble
Obstacle #4 - Tires / Ropes / Swing Oh MY!
Obstacle #5 - THE MUD PIT

I'm excited!! 


homemade chocolate ice cream

ice cream3

Last night I christened the ice cream maker and made homemade "simple" chocolate ice cream. The recipe is "simple" because it doesn't involve eggs or any cooking. Prep time is under 10 minutes and, as long as you have an ice cream maker, is a breeze! I plan on making not so simple ice cream in the near future (it should come out far richer because of the egg yolks) but this was a fun easy first ice cream recipe to try.

ice cream

*there was actually no butter (thank goodness!)

ice cream2

The recipe (from the ice cream maker cookbook) is as follows:


  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place cocoa and sugars in medium bowl; stir to combine. Add whole milk and use hand mixer on low speed until cocoa and sugars are dissolved (1-2 min). Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Freeze as per ice cream maker instructions. 

I added marshmallow fluff in hopes that it would create neat swirls but it just ended up clumping up against the blade of the machine. Otherwise, the ice cream was a huge success! Yummm :)


dani brava goes to miami

Tonight I board a red eye back to Miami. Coming back home means friends, family and FRODO KISSES!!! Bring it on!


I will be MIA (no pun intended!) for the next few days but I can't wait to share pictures from the sunshine state. Also, very much missing my kitchen back home equipped with an island, granite countertops and a stand mixer. I hope I get the chance to make some baked deliciousness while I'm there but for the time being, here are pictures of the Christmas fudge I made with my cousins last December:


From the front to the back:

  • white chocolate dulce de leche fudge
  • milk chocolate fudge
  • peanut butter fudge
  • dark chocolate fudge with nuts


rock & roll at the hollywood bowl






Here are the pictures from the Paul McCartney concert at the Hollywood Bowl last week! The background artwork was incredible and McCartney told charming anecdotes of his time with fellow Beatles band members. For his "final" song (three encores followed!) he played "live and let die" at the climax of which fireworks erupted out of the stage. It was truly an epic experience!