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DWTS All-Stars Week 2 Competition Kicks into High Gear

Last week I described the premiere of Season 15 as “predictable,” when I really wanted to say, “lackluster.” But I’m happy to report that week 2 brought back the snap, crackle, and pop.



 Okay, I gotta come clean. Last week I described the premiere of Season 15 as “predictable,” when I really wanted to say, “lackluster.” But I’m happy to report that week 2 brought back the snap, crackle, and pop. The opening night jitters are gone, replaced by steely-eyed focus from the stars. Let the games begin!

There were lots of standout numbers from newly-partnered teams, who are already forging rock-solid footholds on the leader board. Notably, Apolo and Karina delivered a “gold medal” quickstep that actually had Bruno on his feet, clapping, in the middle of the dance. You don’t see that often. And Carrie Ann dubbed Derek and Shawn the “all-star sweethearts” after their high-energy, Corny Collins Show-worthy jive to “The Nicest Kids in Town.” I mean, seriously. They both started the dance by doing cartwheels down the stairs. I want them to sign my yearbook.

At the end of the night, head judge Len Goodman issued a challenge to the 11 couples who’ll make it through tonight’s elimination. He asked them to really push the envelope and bring us some truly eye-popping routines next week. I just hope no one gets a concussion!

Dance of the Night:  Sabrina and Louis wowed the judges with their quickstep to the ‘70s classic “Black Betty.” Quickstep. Black Betty. Possibly the strangest and most brilliant combination of song choice and dance style yet on DWTS. Starting with the genius move of running in from backstage to begin the dance (so rock and roll!), it was an edge-of-your-seat performance from beat one. Fast, precise, and chock-full of content, this dance was elevated even further by Sabrina’s perfect posture thoughout.
Bruno called it “a dazzler,” and Carrie Ann awarded them with the first 9 of the season, landing Sabrina and Louis at the top of the leader board with 26 points. Bam-a-lam, thank you, ma’am!

Ones to watch:  I am predicting a battle of the boy bands, here. Joey Fatone vs. Drew Lachey. Former winner Drew and new partner Anna stepped it up last night with a dirty, edgy jive to Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance.” The judges gave Drew notes to watch the flat-footedness, but praised him for his energy and attack. Next up, Joey and Kym nailed the entertainment aspects of their clever quickstep, with a nod to Charlie Chaplin and old Hollywood. Again, the judges pointed out some technical shortcomings. At the end of the night, the couples were tied with 22.5 points. I think Drew wants it more, but this will probably come down to viewer votes and who has the stronger fan base.

Who’s in trouble:  Bristol Palin, it’s time to pack your cowboy boots. Choosing “Redneck Woman” for a quickstep was a huge misstep. And speaking of missed steps, Ms. Palin’s limitations are showing in a big way, now that the teams only have 6 days to rehearse in between shows. Len said he liked the “hoe down” but said her technique was “a bit low down.” Even with fairly simple choreography, the performance was sluggish at best. Carrie Ann let the couple know that breaking hold in the middle of the dance was a no-no, which begs the question, is Mark trying to get rid of his partner?

To add insult to injury, after announcing that they’d just received the night’s low score of 18, leave it to the intrepid Brooke Burke Charvet to ask the really tough question. “How’s that feel, guys?”

I’m guessing it sucks, Brooke. But, thanks.

Best moment:  Gilles dedicates his amazing jive (“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen) to his father, on the 17th anniversary of his death. After a tough week of dealing with a pulled hamstring, Gilles and Peta pulled off a flawless performance with the “best kicks and flicks of the night.” Seeing the both the relief and emotion on his face… well, that’s why I love this show.

Quotable quote:   “Nobody in the band is wearing pants.” -Tom Bergeron, on his view from the balcony. Oh, that wacky Harold Wheeler.

26     Sabrina & Louis
25.5  Gilles & Peta
25      Shawn & Derek
24.5  Apolo & Karina
23.5  Melissa & Tony
23     Helio & Chelsie
22.5  Drew & Anna
22.5  Joey & Kym
22.5  Emmitt & Cheryl
22     Kelly & Val
21      Kirstie & Maks
18      Bristol & Mark


What’s Brian Tryin’? The Crispy Sandwich Maker by Apod!



This weekend I tried out a new product that’s been crowdsourcing on IndieGogo. (The link is here.)

It’s called a Crispy Sandwich Maker, made by Apod.

I always love trying out a new gadget, so it was fun to see how this one would play out.  What makes this one a bit different than most sandwich makers is that this only requires just one single slice of bread to make a compact, easy to eat snack that can be sweet or savory. It can be used over a gas stove flame, or, with caution, a campfire, although the design’s arm length better lends itself to a smaller flame like a home kitchen stove.

Because I love a s’more, I decided to do an interpretation of that using  nutella spread and marshmallow spread. My friend John and I were happily making these little sandwiches in the kitchen while I friends taste tested the results along the way.

While the product description says that it requires no oil, we did decide to butter the bread to give a nice brown color to the sandwich, although it could easily be done without it.

The results of the nutella and marshmallow spread crispy sandwiches were consistent and delicious. After about two minutes per side, sandwiches were golden brown and the inside filling was oozy and delicious.

Then it was on to make a savory snack in the form of a crispy ham and cheese with dijon. Again, about two minutes on each side over the flame was just enough to brown the bread and warm up the savory fillings.

This was a fun gadget to play with, and the results were delicious. All in all, everyone gave the results a thumbs up!

To be part of this indiegogo campaign, visit this link!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign



As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!


Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!



Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!


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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)



Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!


So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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Well Sh-t, Leslie Jordan Has Shared Three Videos Of Himself Dancing In One Week And They’re All Perfect



Doing much better now, Leslie.

If you’ve never believed that “good things come in small packages” then you’ve never seen Leslie Jordan’s instagram. The 4’11” actor known for his iconic roles in shows like Will & Grace and American Horror Story has recently developed a whole new fanbase who loves him for his viral Instagram videos. Usually starting each video by greeting fans with “Well shit, how y’all doing?”, viewers have grown to anticipate Jordan’s hilarious recounting of stories from his time in show biz or growing up in the south. This week, however, the Tennessee native has shared 3 videos of himself dancing within 5 days and honestly it’s precisely what we all need right now.

The first video was posted on August 12th and shows Jordan taking part of the “Git up and dance challenge” which swept the internet about a year ago. Even though he is a little late, the video is still perfection.

On August 13th, Jordan does a dance to “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from Hairspray a with special guest dance partner Katie Couric!

Finally, on August 15th, Jordan does an epic “tootsie roll” and challenges Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star, Lisa Rinna, to do the tootsie roll herself. Of course Rinna commented with a big “ON IT ❤️😂.” Who could say no to the viral star?!?

The moral of the story here is that the world is going through some tough times right now but maybe, even for a few seconds, we could all feel better if we’d just dance it out. Thanks for the inspo Leslie Jordan!

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