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POP INTERVIEW: Sharna Burgess of “Dancing with the Stars”

Could hot Aussie newcomer Sharna Burgess be the next Julianne Hough? Maybe! On tonight’s season premiere of Dancing with the Stars, she will be paired up with a mystery celebrity…



Could hot Aussie newcomer Sharna Burgess be the next Julianne Hough? Maybe! On tonight’s season premiere of Dancing with the Stars, she will be paired up with former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson, although her future plans are to head into more TV gigs that do not involve dancing. Could her next move be a musical turned movie…or becoming the second half of a celebrity couple, like her predecessor? Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves: she has a lot to say about DWTS Season 17…

sharma burgess

Every celebrity competitor says the same thing about Dancing with the Stars: they couldn’t believe how much work goes into a single dance routine. Is this because they are inexperienced?
Absolutely! When you watch our show, sometimes it’s hard to grasp just how much time it takes. You see our package, a couple of out takes and then a minute dance, surely that can’t take so much time, right?!! You have to take into account that each ballroom dance has a different technique to learn, so every week is almost from scratch. Also, what you don’t see is the wardrobe fittings, the concept meetings, camera blocking and all the press we have to do through the week on top of our rehearsal time. It’s a crazy crazy schedule that pushes the celebrities limits AND the pro dancers.

How does choreographing a dance differ for you, if you were working with another professional? Do you ever go easy on people when you see mistakes because they are amateurs?
Choreographing for my celebrity is a very different thing to choreographing with another pro. With my celebrity partner, each week is about discovering what works the best for them in that particular dance style, and especially what works quickly. There are always mistakes but that’s OK, it’s all part of the process. I’m definitely a tough coach though, I work my partner hard until happy with it.

Choreographing is such a passion of mine, I love love love the creative process, no matter who it’s with. That’s part of why I love this show so much: I get to live and breath creativity everyday.

Before Dancing with the Stars, what did you think was possible for a dancing career? Did anyone ever tell you a dancing career was unrealistic?
So many people!!! Gosh, growing up saying I wanted to be a dancer was tough. Nobody thought it would end up in a successful long running career. To be totally honest, I had no idea where it would end up, I just knew that I wasn’t living if I wasn’t dancing.

I’m an only child, but by 17, I had already moved to the States on my own for dance, and at 18. I packed a suitcase and moved to London! Despite people telling me I was crazy, and that dance isn’t a secure career, I held on to this feeling that I had to follow my love. It came with a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of tears, but I never gave up.

I had a long career before DWTS though. By the time I was 20, I was touring around the world dancing for a good living. I had been on Broadway as a lead dancer in 2009, and I’d already choreographed multiple stage shows and a movie (Street Dance 2 3D). When DWTS came around, I felt like it was time to move into television. It was the perfect time actually.

Who do you wish for In a dream dance partner — both in terms of a professional dancer and an amateur celebrity?
I get asked this question a lot, and truthfully, it’s about having someone that works just as hard as I do. It’s so incredible when you creatively connect with another person and witness the magic you can create. There is nothing better than that. I love to dance with people that enjoy story telling through dance, that find purpose in the movement as opposed to just steps. A dance has to live and breathe like fire, it has to seem spontaneous and intense. You should never guess where it’s going to go, and yet you feel like you move with it.

Geico had a funny TV commercial on last year about three people trying to tango. And I have to ask since there’s that saying, “it takes two to tango,” is there a way you could successfully choreograph a three or more person tango?
Of course! I would (for example) make it an Argentinian tango, and have it be a battle between to men fighting for the woman’s attention. Each male trying to impress her and out do each other. I love trio dances!! 🙂

And in unusual trends, why do you think Dancing with the Stars hasn’t yet paired up two men or two women? Not so much in a gay style. Just to throw people off how awesome dancing doesn’t have to always be the opposite sex?
Dancing can absolutely be done with what ever match you can think of! Contemporary, hip hop, jazz you name it, there are no rules when it comes to those styles! However, ballroom dancing’s roots are about the man and the woman, taking it all the way back to the early 1900’s. it’s a very traditional type of dancing, especially the standard dances. That is absolutely not to say that ballroom with 2 males for example is wrong, anything is right, but I feel like at DWTS we push the envelope so much with choreography and mixing of styles, that we try to keep the essence at least of ballroom dancing.

How can people enjoy dance at an older age? Right now, it’s way too late to begin a professional dance career…or is it? What is the oldest age someone can begin on that road?
You an be any age to start. All you need is a few friends and go take a class. I would say if you’ve passed 30, it’s too late to make it your profession, but you am certainly have fun, stay fit and healthy and enjoy learning how to move! Learning to dance gives you so many incredible benefits, and aside from the health positives, your confidence grows, you walk differently, stand differently. You have a different energy about you. Confidence is very sexy, and dance is the perfect way to get that.

What do you miss about Australia when in Europe or the USA?
I haven’t lived I’m Australia now for 10 years!! And though I’ve really made LA home, I will never stop missing my family. I’m always missing births and deaths and weddings, but that all come with the sacrifice. It’s so hard to be absent for so much, but I make sure I’m home every year for Xmas. I’ve never missed one in 10 years.

What is your next…step…haha, in your career? Are you ever going to surprise us with dance used in an unconventional method?
I’m going to end up making a transition into hosting, actually! But not for a while yet and even then my life will always have dance in it, I love the joy that dance brings people, both by watching it and participating in it. I want to eventually have a dance company that goes around to schools, children’s hospitals and orphanages, spreading the joy of dance to kids that may not have the privilege of taking classes. I like to give back as much as I can, and hopefully in the future I can do more.


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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