It’s Just a Hat…

Hello everyone, 

Today, I wanted to share a bit of a personal story. Since last Tuesday, I feel like an awful lot of people have had a lot of things to say. My Facebook feed has been completely taken over by political statements, jokes, and links to opinion pieces. I didn’t want to write another one. I’ve had a very strong reaction to everything that’s been going on, and while I know I live a very privileged and safe life here in California, I couldn’t necessarily pin-point what exactly I was feeling and why. 


It’s just a hat. 
Over the last 48 hours, the little voice in my head says that on repeat. It’s just a hat, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s an accessory, it shouldn’t matter so much, but it does…

 For those of you who don’t know me away from my little corner of the internet, there’s a bit of craziness in my family. And by craziness, I mean, we’re 100+ Afghan immigrants strong, with the exception of a few people (myself and my European-born mother included). Some fairly awful circumstances forced them out of their homeland, and now here they are, some 35 years later, calling California home.
When I was younger, no one knew where to find Afghanistan on a map. I would, quite literally, have to point it out to them. This quickly changed, and the world I found myself living in post 9/11 seemed decidedly divided. I stopped conversationally telling people where my family was from— I never knew what their reaction was going to be. As a teenager, my parents protected me from peoples’ more horrendous opinions of who we were. I went from my peers smiling and peering curiously at my naan sandwiches, to absorbing the awkward silences that followed the statement that I was, in fact, Middle Eastern.
 Last week, as I was dropping my parents off at the airport for a very well-timed vacation, I couldn’t ignore my anxiety. Irrationally, I worried that my father, a Muslim immigrant with an Arabic first name that no one could pronounce, and my mother, a resident alien since the 80’s, might not be able to get back home. I even joked about this with my coworkers in an attempt to mask a deep-seated fear. As they say, some things are only humorous because they point out evident truths: “It’s funny because it’s true!” I laughed because it was better than crying over something that felt like a very real possibility. I still couldn’t forget my father’s hushed tones on the phone late Tuesday night: “We are citizens. This is our home. He can’t legally keep us out.” Like so many people, I’m worried for my family, for those who didn’t speak English very well, dressed differently, and didn’t assimilate like they were “supposed” to. 
As I drove up to SFO’s international terminal, my parents and I debriefed their travel plans. I wanted to know when they had arrived safely, and asked them silly things like why their luggage was so heavy. My dad is always unabashedly himself, to a fault. He never hesitates to crack jokes, even in tense moments or situations. With all his stories and personality, my friends recently remarked that he reminded them of the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World.” Those who know my dad know his unwavering character and quirks. There are few things you’ll find him without. He’s always up to date on current events. He always has some sort of hard candy in his pockets, and he always wears his hat, a decidedly Afghan pakol— inside, outside, rain or shine. When my dad got out of the car on Wednesday, he was missing his hat. I didn’t think very much of it, at first, and he reassured me that he had packed it away safely in his carry on luggage. He suddenly looked smaller, not like himself. I tried to think not much of it when I spotted the book in his hands, written in Dari, on the history of Afghanistan in the 19th century. I also tried not to think too much of it when I took it from him, and packed that away too, like it was a matter of convenience, like I wasn’t nervous that people would see it. It was just a hat, it’s just a book. Just like a hijab is just a square of fabric. Something that’s, in actuality, just a square of fabric can’t be entirely responsible for starting a worldwide backlash against immigrants.

Today, I couldn’t help thinking of my dad without being deeply sad. He’s come thousands of miles, avoided several wars, and relocated his entire family. To this day, he still helps Afghan immigrants get settled in the United States. The people who are worried about their economy, about unknown “outsiders” coming in and threatening their sense of well-being don’t know people like my dad or my mom. Just as we don’t know them. That’s the fundamental disparity here. I certainly try to. I try to think about a place where people are so frightened of losing their jobs or not being able to provide for their families as the main motivation to look the other way when someone in power actively abuses women, minorities, and people in the LGBTQ community. The sad thing here is that so many people have come to this country to escape similar economic climates and discrimination going on in their own countries. We all fundamentally want the same things in life. 

But now, all I can focus on is my dad’s favorite hat, and the day he felt it might be unwise to wear it. It’s just a hat, but to me it represented a fact that I’ve known all along: that it’s no longer acceptable to unapologetically be who you are. Ironically enough, I had recently been working on a post on about not apologizing for yourself (“I Ain’t Sorry”), and now, all I want to do is apologize for people. I want to apologize to everyone who’s felt marginalized or hurt by the changes in the country over the last few weeks, regardless of your personal politics. I want to apologize for the grief some people have been experiencing. I want to apologize to those people who have experienced enough fear that it shapes who they are and how they interact with others. I’m sorry, everyone. To me, it might not be just a hat, but I’m hoping that one day that’s all it will be.

Five Things

Hello all,

Happy Wednesday! I’m back this week with a long-overdue Five Things! This past few weeks have been a doozy, to say the least. (Yes, I used doozy. I do not regret my word choice.) Luckily, there’s always a bit of silver lining to life; there are always lovely things to observe and share, if you look close enough. This week, I’m sharing a few of these bright spots with you, dear reader. Onward, to Five Things!


I recently was lucky enough to see Darren Criss in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” I can’t remember the last time I went to a musical, and I’ve decided that I need to do so more often! This show was particularly great: simple, slightly ridiculous, and splendid, all at once.


If you follow me on Instagram (or take peeks at my feed down below), you might have noticed my latest “treat yourself” purchase from Tiffany. This little love bracelet only recently caught my eye. It’s a bit big on my wrist, but I refused to have it re-sized right when I purchased it. It was the kind of day where I needed a little something shiny and special to take home.


As it turns out, my friend Stephanie and I are now Alameda famous! She spotted this photo of us in our town magazine. A few months back, we attended a really lovely benefit for Meals on Wheels at our local Rock Wall Wine Company. I had absolutely no qualms about supporting a great cause at one of my favorite spots on the island.


I spotted this display while perusing through a local boutique the other day, and I couldn’t have picked items that seemed more…well, me. I actually own this particular Voluspa candle, but haven’t gotten around to lighting it yet. It’s seems almost too lovely! One day…


I came across the above cartoon while exploring Instagram the other day, and it made me chuckle. In hard times, it definitely helps to laugh at oneself. I’m also incredibly reassured that shopping and alcohol seem to be the common cure for many issues. We are not alone, my friends.


“And then…” she said

Hello all,

Three years ago, I quit my corporate sales job and bought plane tickets to New Zealand. I walked through the office, turned in my badge, and danced next to my car before getting in. I gave myself permission to never look back.


I dreamed of a “Plan B,” a life completely different from the one I was living, different people, a different job, different guy, different home. What would that look like? Plan A wasn’t going so well for me, and sometimes all I felt I had left was Plan B. In an ironic twist of fate, here I am, looking back years later. On a Sunday, three years ago, I posted this blogAnd when I read it again, I get a little choked up. (I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, can you tell?)
I feel like no one ever really chooses to have their lives go the way they do, and, while we all have choices, there’s only so much you can control.  As one of my dear married friends once wisely told me, people in different stages of their lives just have a different set of problems. Doing things the way you’re “supposed” to doesn’t fix or change any of this. I’m going to admit that I find this to be a somewhat terrifying concept. It’s like the adult equivalent of finding out there is no Santa, no tooth fairy, or Easter bunny. “What do you mean I have almost no control over the things that happen in my life?! WHY?!” I’m convinced that everyone has this epiphany at some point or another. There’s almost a bit of beauty in that— you never know what kind of hand you’re going to be dealt.
As much as I once wanted it to be, my life is not an “and then…”  I’m grateful for it. I try to practice this gratitude every day. Some people in my life don’t understand what my life is, what I do, or why I do it. When they ask me these strangely personal, existential questions, I don’t really have answers for them. At the end of the day, all I know is that my life is exactly the way it should be, and I simply do the things I love doing. I’m lucky enough that I can. If one day, this changes, I can make my own “next steps.”
Until next time,

Time Capsule

Hello everyone!

I feel like it completely dates me, but I recall setting up my Facebook account for the first time using my very new email address. It was the equivalent of an online high school alumni group with basic features, photos, and messaging. Fast-forward several years and Facebook has somehow grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. I would never have even imagined that my job would one day revolve around Facebook. It’s a very odd thing to think about. Speaking of odd things…
Has anyone ever searched “On This Day” on their Facebook recently? You might also know it as the little “memory” window that shows up on your newsfeed first thing on any given day, a social media time-capsule of sorts.  This morning, I was reminded that a year ago today I was given a whole new (retainer-free!) smile.
Quite the thing to commemorate! (You can find the post here, if you’re curious about my crazy tooth story.) On the complete opposite end of the spectrum apparently 10 years ago on Facebook I was….
What the heck kind of nonsense is this Facebook? 10 years ago, as a sophomore in college, my status was apparently “at home?” Did Facebook even have a status back then? What is that!? I’m still very perplexed by this, and irked that part of me might never know what 19 year old Eva was thinking.
A less perplexing memory came from the year before last, where I was in the midst of a blogging kick, aka “Blogtober,” and finding myself with a little extra time on my hands. Making my very favorite soup is still my favorite way to celebrate the change in weather.
Of course, we all have those very deep, quote-filled Facebook moments to look back on. Before Watch Me Juggle, I enjoyed posting the occasional Khalil Gibran or Rumi quote on my page. Seeing this one in particular brought all kinds of memories back…
A strange thing happens when you get older that no one ever tells you about. Without school to keep tabs on your life’s progress, everything sort of blends together. The last five years, in particular, feel like an odd blur. While I still live in the same apartment, I’ve worked a variety of jobs, and had people come and go in my life. I’m certainly glad things turned out the way they did.

(She’s back! Juggling away, as always)



That’s Not How This Works

Hello everyone!


Today, I have a little Watch-Me-Juggle-style rant for you, dear readers. All of this dawned on me the other day, when I realized I was channeling the lady above. Has everyone seen that Esurance commercial? It depicts an older lady posting her vacation photos to her “wall”— literally the wall of her living room, and verbally “unfriending” her friends.

Over the last month or so, I’ve been repeating the above phrase. While it’s sometimes in awe, sometimes in irritation, I really can’t bottle it in anymore. So, I give you:

“That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!”

Drivers who drive on the shoulder of the freeway to avoid traffic. I’ve become that person who will edge over to block you. You’re not allowed to make up your own lanes, and cut in front of people in traffic. You’re just not.


Manspreading, mansplaining, manterrupting. I do not have time for this. Sit in your seat like an adult and talk to me like an adult, or I will be forced to plop my purse in your lap in protest.


Assuming that everyone on Facebook shares your opinions. Please share every offensive thing that comes to mind and don’t think about how it affects people.


Refusing to eat the crust of the delicious, fancy bread they serve you at restaurants, just eating the insides, and leaving the rest like bones on your plate. I’m sorry to say I’ve seen this happen. Why?!


Those people who refuse to learn new things and prefer to depend on others. My mother used to tell me that learning is a never-ending process that lasts a lifetime. It’s true! (Or should be.)


Kids that don’t know how to push buttons. What are you doing with your childhood? Mine pretty much revolved around the moments where adults let me push buttons. Please don’t pet the phone like it’s a touch screen, it makes me sad.


Don’t put paper/metal products in the microwave. Sure, I’m guilty of this, but the few times I’ve started small fires in the kitchen, I wish this little old lady had been there to tell me that “that’s not how this works.”


Don’t drink those foofy milkshake drinks from your local Starbucks and call it coffee. It is an abomination. Also, it’s dessert, let’s be real.


Rant over. That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll wake up in the middle of the night having thought of more things to add. That’s really not how that should work. Oh well..



Adventures in Housesitting

Hello all!

I spent the last week of August housesitting. I should probably refer to this more as catsitting, as the house didn’t need as much attention as the two furballs I was charged with: Lily and Scamp. Since I didn’t do much traveling this summer, I thought I would have a bit of a staycation instead. Because of the crummy bay area weather lately, I unfortunately only got one day poolside, but I did spend a whole lot of time entertaining the rascal cats! They turned out to be quite the handful, in the best way possible.


You know it’s “vacation” when your evening email perusal involves a can of champagne & a bendy straw.


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Despite my staycation consisting of things that I normally do (laundry, making dinner, etc.), it was nice to have a bit of a change of pace, a change of environment. Having two kitties follow me around certainly helped make me feel more at home. Despite being brother and sister, their little personalities couldn’t have been more different. Scamp (the giant cat sitting awkwardly in his cat tree above) behaved more like a dog than anything, constantly bringing me his toys and meowing at me incessantly. I would occasionally have entire conversations with him—he was a very Chatty Cathy. Lily, on the other hand, would only come out when I brought out food or when she was feeling like having a bit of attention. She was most definitely the more sensitive one of the two, but grew more used to having me around as the week wore on.

On top of having the cats to keep me entertained, I really enjoyed having a bit more space to spread out. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my little apartment, but it felt oddly luxurious to have a living room to have a cup of coffee in each morning. And of course there was the pool access! In short, I would highly recommend the occasional “staycation” vacation. It would have been lovely to have a few extra days off, but I’m currently squirreling away my vacation days to visit family back in Austria in November. I know that vacation is mere months away, and I’m so looking forward to it. In the meantime, I still get to visit the cats and lounge poolside, weather permitting. I certainly can’t complain.


Five Things

Hello all!

I’m back this week with Five Things!

Things are feeling rather hectic in my life at the moment, but in a good way. I’m wrapping up my summer and gearing up for another season at the ballet, as well as another school year. In the meantime, I’ve been handling life’s challenges like any adult would, by ordering things off of Nordstrom Rack at odd hours and marathoning horrible reality television. You do what you gotta do. 

I also continue to have the most San Francisco experiences ever in life—things like trying not to get hit by the Google bus on my work commute and paying $10 for a smoothie. That’s right. My name is Eva, and I’m a giant sucker who paid $10 for a smoothie with cold-pressed juice. I wanted it to give me super-powers and alas, it was just sorta tasty. With that brilliant segue, let me get to this week’s Five Things! Starting with…

Juice! Black juice! I saw this and I had to snap a photo. I can’t help but think that this is similar to what they might force feed you in the hospital if you’ve had too much to drink. Mmm…activated coconut charcoal, anyone?


I’ve recently become aware of these little “fairy doors” hidden all over my little island. This was the first one I discovered when walking around my neighborhood one afternoon. I like that this particular fairy family is politically active.


While roaming around a very different neighborhood in San Francisco, I saw this brilliant mural. I give you: Prince as “The Little Prince.” It was quite the bright spot in my day, discovering this.


I’m still finding quite a bit of artwork around my island. This fabulous mermaid print jumped right out at me at our latest Art & Wine Festival.


While I’ve purchased quite a few books lately, a friend of mine recommended Heather Havrilesky’s How To Be A Person In The World, and I’m sorely tempted to pick it up. Has anyone else read this yet? I’m currently making my way through another Game of Thrones novel, a book of poetry by Warsan Shire, and a series of short stories.

Happy Wednesday everyone! We made it!


Sometimes I Think About Things…

Hello everyone.


Sometimes, I think about how I would like to leave everything behind and move somewhere new. I would leave my little apartment with my purple bathroom that I love so much and start completely over, in a field I know nothing about. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if I moved to Vegas.

“Hi, my name is Eva, I’m a well-educated 20-something woman who just wants to wear a glittery costume and get paid to dance around a club all evening.”


Sometimes I feel as if I’m in a constant swirl of trying to make connections, of trying to impress strangers, to prove my mettle as a “professional” adult. Most people around me have five-year plans and long-term career goals. The more I try to blend in, the more apparent it becomes that I’m always going to be me—a little bit goofy, a little bit too enthusiastic, and a tad bit doe-eyed about life in general. Add in a dash of neuroses and you have me in a nutshell. Like most people, my life certainly didn’t pan out the way I planned it to, and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it. I felt the sudden compulsion to make changes in my life, the equivalent of sticking bandaids on things that seem to be much more deeply affected.  I wanted to be more blonde, I wanted to start lifting weights, and I wanted to get a tattoo (or two). Ultimately, I wanted to stop trying to impress people with my perceived “quality of life.” I know that I don’t want to be someone who only looks good on paper.  I can’t imagine a life where the standard “What do you do/Where do you live/Who are you married to?” questions ultimately define me as a person.

I recently read an article by Noelle Hancock entitled “I Wrote an Essay About Moving to an Island and Scooping Ice Cream. I Wasn’t Prepared for the Response.”  It was, as I’m sure you can guess, a follow-up to a lifestyle piece she had written for Cosmopolitan years earlier about quitting her $95k-a-year-job and moving to an island in the Caribbean with no plan. I have a sudden respect for the people who have the urge to do things like this. A simple job seems to be wildly refreshing at times. I can easily imagine myself in an environment where my only job is to smile, wear the ridiculous outfit, and occasionally wave a glowstick. Sometimes I feel incredibly guilty for thinking about things like this because the little voice in my head yells “Oh my god! You graduated from one of the top universities in California! You can’t dance around in a bikini for a living!!”

Part of the reason I started blogging was that it forced me to be accountable. I couldn’t just write something on scratch paper and throw it away later because I was too embarrassed to share it. There are still plenty of things in my life that I’m embarrassed to share, but I’d like to think there’s a bit a bravery behind each post I publish. Especially when I write something as brazen as admitting that I have dreams of being a go-go dancer from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written quite a bit about how lucky I feel to work in a field I’m so passionate about. Seeing and cultivating art almost everyday is something not very many people get to do, and even on the hard days, I’m immensely grateful for it.

But something else tells me I would be the best glowstick-waver ever.


Life Lately

Hello all!

It’s been quite a while since my last Life Lately post. Things have been interesting, to say the least! I’m trying to navigate a new role at work, one where I get to be more creative and actually write for a living! It’s a little nutty for me to think about, because it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite and yet never quite wrapped my head around the possibility. I even recently published my first blog on my company’s site here. Writing in a professional context, and writing copy more often than not, is quite the change to get used to, but I’m looking forward to learning new tricks, so to speak. That being said, I often come home with my brain feeling like a wrung-out sponge, with most of my energy having gone into whatever tasks I needed to accomplish that day. Sometimes, the idea of slapping away at another keyboard can be a little daunting. I know I’m not alone here, right?

So, when the evenings and weekend roll around, I try to hit the proverbial reset button. Not so much “flatlining,” as I like to call it, more like changing gears. I usually overbook myself and try to get as much done as possible. This past weekend, for example, I spent the majority of my time at my very first work retreat. While the weather was a bit dismal for August, the view from the coastal retreat center was pretty amazing. That, and the bottomless cups of coffee made up for the unending fog. Welcome to the Bay Area, everyone!

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My Saturday then suddenly went from cups of coffee in the fog, to champagne punch poolside in the course of a few hours. I certainly can’t complain! In all, I have to say that I really enjoyed getting to know all of my coworkers a bit better. Nothing quite says bonding experience like bunking together like you’re back in college! On top of everything else, I was inadvertently thrown into a family dinner party situation. And by situation I mean helping my parents navigate my aunt and uncle’s large going-away dinner at the very last minute. I ended up showing up late, with wet hair, and frantically eating in the kitchen while trying to somehow navigate simultaneously serving tea and socializing with everyone.  This is what I mean by overbooking myself.  In short, while things are going well, they seem a bit hectic lately, to say the leat. I’m hoping I’ll navigate everything gracefully, and not bite off more than I can chew. Hey, this blog is called “Watch Me Juggle” for a reason!

Oh, and I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday all month long. Because I can.

That is all—until next time!



Hello everyone.

As some of you might already know, I recently celebrated the last birthday of my 20s. If anyone asks, I recently turned 25. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. A while back, I wrote about turning 27— how 27 was my “scary” age, and how I was closer to being “almost 30.” Well…as people like to remind me, the big 3-0 is now looming, and while I feel somewhat my age, I recall yelling at my friends over the music in the club:

“This is not where I imagined myself at 29!!”

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In actuality, it was even better than what I had imagined.

I had the best time. I danced until the sun came up, had countless drinks, enjoyed the warm weather poolside, stayed in a beautiful hotel, and even won $2.19!  It’s a strange phenomenon, Las Vegas. Each time I go, I can’t imagine how I could have a better time than before. Each time, I’m surprised. The people were personable and fun; everyone did the mandatory “surprised face” when I told them how old I was turning. One bouncer even exclaimed “Aw, you’re 20, aren’t you? This isn’t a real ID. We’re letting you in? You’re not even legal!” Well played, sir.

Although I can’t imagine staying much longer than three days at a time, coming home from Las Vegas is the hardest part. It’s truly the adult equivalent of Disneyland. There are few cities that have the energy of Vegas—it’s a “choose your own adventure” kind of place. There’s a seedy grittiness to it, as well as ridiculous excess and glamour.  At one point, I watched cocktail waitresses spray over a dozen bottles of champagne into a pool full of people. You can’t make this stuff up. I won’t deny that I perhaps imagined that my life would turn out a bit differently when I was younger (homeowner, ex-pat, novelist?), but I must say that I’m very happy it’s turned out the way it has.

Happy almost-30 to me!