30 Facts About Me

Hello all!


Here’s an old-school head shot for you photographed by the studio’s lovely resident tech guru/photographer Miss Mary Lee Shalvoy. You might have also seen this elsewhere on my page, under the “About Me” tab.

If you’re reading this, it’s most likely that I somehow got myself together enough to finish a blog post and schedule it’s publication in advance. Go me! Why all the hooplah, you ask? Well, while you’re reading this, I’m most likely trapped in a classroom of ten year-olds, trying to keep them occupied while simultaneously winning them over with my goofiness. And yoga skills…

Anyway, it’s Blogtober day 30, and I thought I would play a game of get to know you by giving you 30 random facts about me! I love reading and creating lists like these- they appeal to my desire for randomness,while simultaneously making you feel like you’re getting to know someone in all their little details.

Here we go!

1…I was born with black hair and blue eyes. Where they went, I have no clue…

2…I can count to 10 in six languages…

3…It used to be seven, but I’ve completely forgotten my college Arabic…

4…I have a few double jointed fingers…

5…I have an affinity for remembering the lines from my favorite movies…

6…In 5th grade, I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist…

7…I had hair down to my knees for the majority of my childhood..

8…I have chronic foot/ankle pain from years spent dancing on pointe…

9…I’m allergic to cashews…

10…I’ve never had the chickenpox…

11…English is my third language…

12…My work commute is exactly two minutes…

13…I love the smell of freshly ground coffee…

14…I’m first generation American…

15…I own over 30 pairs of shoes…

16…I live in an apartment with an entirely lavender bathroom…

17…I wear the diamond ring my parents bought me for high school graduation everyday…

18…I’m 27 and I own several stuffed animals…

19…There’s a special place in my heart for overweight cats…

20…There’s a plaque in my elementary school with my name on it, somewhere…

21…There’s a section of my closet devoted to evening gowns…

22…I learned to walk in my grandmother’s kitchen in Austria…

23…I have a beauty mark in my left armpit…

24…I genuinely enjoy bourbon…

 25…I’ve dreamed of living in SF since I was a kid…

26…I’m just crazy about Audrey Hepburn…

27…Purple is my favorite color…

28…I love flower-flavored desserts…

29…It’s a goal of mine to own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes…

30…I used to be terrified of dogs, but now can’t wait to own one…


“Taking Stock”

Hello all!

Today, I was inspired by the lovely Pip, whose blog, Meet Me at Mike’s, I stumbled upon while browsing around A Pretty Penny. Yes,  much of my downtime is spent perusing other people’s blogs. It’s a relaxing little activity that helps me decompress. I loved this little checklist that I stumbled upon, and decided to recreate my own in the spirit of Blogtober.

Farmersmarket SL

Belated…or early…TBT to a local farmers’ market with some of my favorite people. This picture makes me happy.

My very first “Taking Stock” post! Let’s get to it:

Making : mental plans for my mid-week day off tomorrow.
Cooking : whatever I can find in my freezer. I’ve been getting really creative using up the contents of my pantry, too. I’ve turned out some delicious surprises.
Drinking : San Pellegrino Sparkling Pomegranate & Orange. A new flavor for me! Slightly interesting…
Reading: The contents of my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I desperately need a new autumn dish to bake.
Wanting: Friday. Is it Halloween yet?!
Playing: new music on Spotify, courtesy of P.
Wishing: that I had enough energy to stay up an extra hour. There are always things that need doing!
Enjoying: reruns of Modern Family on my tiny television.
Waiting: for “Congratulations on your new job” earrings from Baublebar to arrive in the mail! Love their stuff!
Liking: the fact that I have two whole weekdays off this week! I’m spoiled.
Wondering: whether or not to go to ballet class tomorrow morning….
Loving: Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice latte season. Yes, I’m one of those girls.
Marveling: at how many things I’ve done today.
Needing: a stylish new duvet cover to perk things up.
Smelling: the lingering scent of my Twilight shower gel from Lush.
Wearing: my soft new pajama set. I first saw them on Vanilla Extract and had to have them!
Thinking: about the missing pieces of my Halloween costume I have yet to purchase.
Knowing: that today was a good day.
Opening: 800 tabs at a time in my browser. It’s my new bad habit.
Giggling: at Jimmy Kimmel’s “Elsaween” video- watch it here. So true!
Feeling: accomplished.


Letters to Everything…#2

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

What in God’s name possesses you to walk around in your heels at 2am on a Wednesday night? The only logical explanation for this behavior is that you are shooting an adult film. In which case, this is still socially unacceptable behavior.

Dear People leaving the theater during the applause,

There is nothing we can do to physically stop you from being so rude. Just remember, there will be hundreds of vengeful dancers that you offended waiting for you in the afterlife. They stand on their toes for a living and are not afraid of pain. Think about that for a while.

Dear sir,


Were you in a real hurry when you got dressed this morning? Or is this a cool new trend that I don’t know about?

Dear Smelly Person at Yoga,

I’m not entirely sure why you smell so distinctly of a used cat-box, but it’s disconcerting. What’s even more bothersome is the fact that you put your mat next to mine. Unfortunately for me, there is no yoga pose that involves holding your nose.

Dear overalls,

I’m so so glad you’re back. I lived in you from grades four to five, and I have been waiting to wear you again for all this time. I don’t care that I am a grown woman. I will wear you with stylish abandon, and everyone will be jealous of my youthful appearance. I may look like I belong in middle school again, but, frankly my dears…I don’t give a damn.

Dear Fork in my Champagne bottle,

I know you’re supposed to have a purpose, but I’m not sure what that is. I think you’re supposed to keep the bubbles in?  How do you do that? Is it magic? Am I even doing this right?


Dear person with 10 packets of Splenda in their latte,

The barista at Starbucks repeated your order back to you so many times because he was in a state of shock. How do you still have all your teeth? And all that can’t be good for your intestinal tract.  Have you ever considered the fact that maybe you just don’t like the taste of coffee…? Ever consider drinking tea?

Dear Comcast,

I’m going to go on record and say that your TV service is awful, at least from my experience. The last thing I need is a combination of your dreadful TV service, a $40 increase in my bill, and a snarky customer service agent. I also enjoy how you like to charge me extra when I try to pay my bill. Very classy move.  By the way, have you heard of Chromecast? It’s $35, doesn’t come with an obnoxious modem, and will be my new best friend. So there.



Speaking in Tongues

Hello all!

I couldn’t sleep one night, and decided to write the below little blurb of my life. I hope it provides you with a little insight. I guess you could say this is another “coming-out” piece.  I never really intended my blog to be a sounding board for my personal life, but I think it’s peculiar enough that it makes for a good story. I leave you with a little point-of-reference photo of my multicultural immediate family (not shown is the cat, who I’m sure is very upset that she’s not included).



The first word I ever spoke was Farsi: Baba, which means father. It makes for an interesting conversation starter; I grew up speaking three languages simultaneously, but I am the definition of American. Most of my father’s family, while having immigrated  to the United States to escape their war-torn homeland almost 40 years ago, do not speak more than a sentence of English. Growing up with a grandmother who also struggled in her new surroundings forced me to maintain my Farsi until I was a teenager. I have a tumultuous relationship with this language, to say the least.  My mother tells me that, as a child, I would mix German, English, and Farsi words together in one sentence of gibbberish that only she could understand. I joke with her now, saying that it’s no wonder that I’m a linguistically confused adult. That I had moments of embarrassment speaking to my French teacher in Farsi when I was over-tired. That there is no greater frustration in the world than when someone asks me: “Quick! How do you say onion in Farsi?!” Knowing that I can remember how to say it in French, German, English, Arabic, but not Farsi. Not at the moment. If that individual returned fifteen minutes later, I would have it, but there is no consolation prize, no show of admiration for my lack of quick wit. When I was about eleven, my older cousins took me along to my grandmother’s dentist appointment. I acted as the lone interpreter for her denture fitting while they parked the car. I struggled, translating the same questions over and over again, the dentist unsatisfied with her answers. “Does it hurt? Does it pinch anywhere? Does it hurt?” Sweat beading on my forehead, there was no explaining to the dentist that I didn’t know how the hell to say ‘dentures’ in Farsi, or if there even was an equivalent word. I don’t think dentures are an oft seen commodity in countries where women aren’t even allowed to read. Once, upon knowing that I grew up speaking the language, a co-worker of mine asked me: “How do you say, ‘My name is Eva’ in Farsi?” I was stumped, and ultimately mortified that I didn’t have the answer. Looking back, I realize it’s because no one asks you to introduce yourself, no one really needs to know your name in the Afghan culture. You’re solely identified by your most notable relatives, in my case, I am my father’s daughter. “Hello, my name is…” doesn’t really exist. I’ve never had to use those words in a sentence.

I say that I’m the black sheep of the family, maybe the only American-born member of my generation. It’s perhaps this and not the language barrier that is so divisive. The fact that I’m also mixed race makes me an oddity. Even as a successful and educated 26 year-old woman, I constantly relive my desperate childhood need to fit in to a society where I will always be an anomaly. I am the only daughter of a well-respected and well-known member of the community. When I make my way through the crowd at family gatherings, saying hello, kissing cheeks, there is often a discussion that trails behind me. Most of the words are sweet, acknowledging me. It’s only when I sit down, that I feel the sick feeling of a creature on display. They don’t know that when they discuss me openly, across a room, that I can understand them. When they ask “Can she speak Farsi? Does she know the language?” I know their disappointment. I am like a broken toy. I’m fully aware that my speech is now limited to niceties, complimenting the food, inquiring as to one’s health, tea preferences, etc. But, my comprehension of the language has not faded. I can only think that this is what a locked-in person must feel, my eyes darting around the room, following the conversation. Aside from the deeply stifling need to defend myself, I could never imagine shouting over the crowd of people that I understand them. I understand every word they say about me as I sit next to them. The sad looks they give me, like I am an ugly velvet painting among a wall of Picassos, are not lost on me. They don’t know or care that I have two degrees, that I graduated from college with honors, or that I could once write beautiful, complete papers in Arabic. They don’t know that I’m an artist, that I have students who tell me I am the best teacher, students who hug me everyday when they leave.

I tell myself that it’s inherent, that I could walk in the room tomorrow, with the most exquisite of homemade Afghan dishes in my hand, singing in Farsi, reading from the Qu’ran; I still wouldn’t be good enough. I will always be a fabulous imitation of them. So I sit there, clutching my tepid tea, feeling as if my insides are piled beneath the chair I’m sitting in. I endure the looks with a placid expression on my face, like an animal in the zoo. Telling myself over and over,

I love my family…I love my family…I love my family…


Adventures in Juggling…

Hello all!


Things have been a bit nuts in the “Watch Me Juggle” household.

My bed, as you can see, has become my work space as of late, accumulating clutter as I dash about. I captured a quick moment before running off to rehearsal, with my shoes not yet sewn, my CBEST test-prep book open, and an embarrassing collection of half-drunk water bottles strewn around. Last week, although productive, seemed to drag on forever.


First off, I took (and passed) my CBEST last Wednesday. While called the California Basic Educational Skills Test, I have to say, this exam was somewhat infuriating. I took a number of practice tests, and occasionally scored higher in the mathematics section than reading, which is astonishing for me. I found myself often over-thinking multiple choice reading comprehension questions, debating between choice “A” and “B,” because both could technically be correct, and who are we to assume to know what the author of the passage is trying to say from a stylistic standpoint?! Frustrating, to say the least. I also spent more time than necessary on my two essay questions, and in the end I liked my responses so much I’m hoping I can somehow get my hands on my writing from the test people. Test aside, now I am trying to navigate applying for a substitute teaching permit in Alameda County, which, in all honesty, I thought would be a little more straightforward. I’m incredibly lucky in that I have numerous friends that have had to jump through the same hoops (and have done so successfully) that can help me out. And there’s always Google.

Meanwhile, I’ve been dancing quite a bit, rehearsing for our upcoming show, and slapping choreography together like it’s no big thing. My life has suddenly become a mixture of sewing and gluing shoes, with a few happy hour get-togethers thrown in for good measure.  I’ve managed to pick up some extra classes, and also scheduled a quick Las Vegas getaway with my girlfriends. I’ve turned down last-minute trip opportunities like this in the past, and have always regretted it. In this case, my dear friend Susie is celebrating her new-found freedom before heading off to grad school in southern California in April. It is definitely a chance to celebrate her, and I happened to find really reasonably priced tickets, so off I go! Another adventure…

Until next time,


Coffee Talk

Good morning everyone!


Today I write to you in the haze of a post-daylight-savings ridiculously busy weekend. I am still in my pajamas, with a face full of makeup on, and am not entirely sure at the moment as to what my life is about. But that’s just fine. How do I know it will be fine? Because I have an entire pot of coffee brewing for me as I type this. Let’s be frank: this isn’t just any old coffee. Lately, I have developed a mild obsession with the Trader Joe’s Coffee á Cocoa, which boasts not only a lovely dark-roast, but has unsweetened cocoa blended in to it as well. I’m never sure as to whether I want to drink it, or rub it on my face. In short, it’s delicious.

I deviate. Today, once I’ve had my cup of coffee, I would like to tell you all about my lifelong relationship with coffee. I mean, lifelong.  “Ah,” you might think, “that explains why you were under five feet tall for such a long time.” Well, dear readers, maybe it does. I’m not  here touting all of coffee’s health benefits. All I know is, long before my inexplicable love of dance came to being, there was an inexplicable love of coffee. This need for coffee at a young age has become one of my main conversation starters; not only is it amusing, but it’s often relevant in one of our most common social gathering spots: the coffeehouse. I recently met someone, who, when I began my ode to coffee, told me he no longer drank coffee. I was at a complete loss as to what to say and conversation came to a grinding halt. In the more common situations, I usually begin with this tale:

One of my most prominent memories from my very young life (around the age of two or three) consists of myself, running around at just about eye-level to my parent’s coffee table, snatching the half-drunk mugs of cold coffee the grown-ups had long abandoned. These were tepid, often cold, mostly black, and occasionally instant cups of coffee (thanks to my father’s preferences). The hyperactive little thing I was relished them, but for God-knows what reason. Fueled on the dregs of coffee, I can only imagine that I must have been a nightmare to deal with.

When I first told my mother this story, she came back at me with an even better one. Before I could even remember, just after I had learned to walk, and that the utterance of the word ‘please’ could magically get me whatever I wanted, I would cling to her in the kitchen, with my little hand out. “Please….please,”  I would say as she was grinding the beans. She would oblige, giving me one. No sooner had I crunched the bean she placed in my little hands, they were out again, repeating the ritual over and over again until she had brewed all of her coffee for the morning.

Okay, this is perhaps more evidence as to why I was more of a strange, little reincarnated Mediterranean man as a child than anything, but my odd preoccupation with coffee has never gone away. It’s an odd sort-of bond. In my adult life, I have come to enjoy other elements of coffee besides the taste. I love the way it warms my hands, and would have never been able to get through an entire year of waking up and trudging to work in the dark of the night without it. Its soothing qualities have transformed it into my version of “comfort food.” It is, admittedly, my cure-all:

Feeling tired? Drink coffee.

Headache? Drink coffee.

Eat too much? Drink coffee.

Listless? Restless? Bored? Hungover? Drink coffee.

I honestly don’t know what it is. If someone was to ask me as to the things I would want to bring with me on a desert island, number one on my list would be coffee. Number two, would be dry-shampoo. As a matter-of-fact, during my first foray into camping this last January in New Zealand, I was utterly content with just that. Just ask my friends. No matter what the circumstances, you’ll be able to find me in the backseat of your car, contentedly spraying my hair, clutching my travel mug of coffee, hoping no one notices.


Things Eva’s a fan of….

IMG_0667Hello everyone!

Today’s post is exactly what it sounds…a little bit about me! I’m not as big on lists as many of my friends, but I thought I’d try my had at them for a bit of fun today. While sitting at Rouge et Blanc in downtown SF one afternoon,  I came up with a list of my likes and dislikes, all random, but aimed to make them a tad more sensory oriented than most. Quite honestly, don’t ask me to explain, because most of the things on my list are inexplicable- they’re just things I’m drawn to (or quite the opposite) naturally.

Things I Am a Fan of:

  • Leopard print. Stripes. Polka dots. Separate or together
  • Champagne. Anytime.
  • Rainbow sprinkles. On anything
  • The smell of books
  • The sound of ice rattling in a plastic cup
  • Flannel shirts
  • People watching
  • The smell of freshly ground coffee
  • Stretching/sweating
  • Snapping my gum

Things I Am Not a Fan of:

  • The last sip of beer
  • Hypocrisy (but really, who likes this?)
  • Walking slowly
  • Timid handshakes
  • Men in flip flops
  • Too-big diamonds (gum ball machine jewelery, anyone?)
  • Being overdressed
  • Stiff hair
  • Chalk
  • Overhead lighting


Happy Friday, all. I’m off to dance!


Letters to Everything

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

Must you wear heels while vacuuming? I have no idea what’s going on in your apartment, but I doubt this is necessary. It’ s 9am on a Tuesday.

Dear local high school,

Do you have a radar of some sort? Do you somehow know when I need to go out for groceries and then have events? I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to come back to my house and not find any parking within a three block radius. Especially when carrying groceries. In a broken bag. In the dark. Don’t even get me started about your band room being right next to my building.

Dear Covered CA,

Thank you for providing a young, self-employed person healthcare. I love you so much. Except you think my social security number doesn’t exist. And you won’t stop sending me nonsense letters. Also, maybe you should let my provider know that I have insurance through you guys. They seem to think I don’t, despite sending me a new card and everything…? Please stop being difficult.

Dear Spotify,

Will you quit interrupting my songs with ads?! It’s really rude, and really hard to concentrate on whatever I’m doing when you’re pinging me with 30 second ads every two minutes. Rude. Also, do you not consider that since I am currently using your app to listen to music, maybe you don’t need to advertise Spotify? I’ve clearly figured this out already, and perhaps this isn’t the best use of your resources.

Dear woman across from me at the coffee shop,

I understand that this establishment has comfortable couches. I enjoy them. What I do not enjoy is seeing you with your knees sprawled 3 feet apart as you type on your laptop. You are not at home. And for your sake, I hope you do not have roommates that you subject to this behavior. If this is in fact a clever scheme to monopolize an entire couch, it is working well and I applaud you.

Dear espresso,

I love you so much. Will you marry me?

P.S. Coffee can come to the wedding too, if that’s not weird for him.

 Dear dishes in my sink, 

Do you multiply every time my back is turned? And forks, how do you all manage to go down my drain at once? It’s quite frightening when I turn on the garbage disposal and you somehow manage to launch dishes out at me? I don’t think we understand each other and suggest we do some sort of third-party counseling. As in, maybe I call someone in here to just wash all of you? All the time.

Dear Beyoncé,

How do you manage to spin your hair around and dance like that simultaneously? Every time I attempt this, I fall over. I could use your expertise right about now, because I think it is imperative that I have some of your moves in my arsenal.



I Could Do This All Day

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m terribly sorry for my absence in the blog-o-sphere today. Quite honestly, this is the first time I have been home all day and had a chance to sit down. Or do anything other than dance, for that matter. As some of you might already know, my former partner and I have begun rehearsing (aka getting back in to shape) for our studio’s annual “Big Show.” This year, we’re doing a spin on Alice in Wonderland and I couldn’t be more excited. Yours truly is the white rabbit. Yes, I’m going to be this little guy:


Pink ears and all. Anyway, I spent all day in the studio today. I mean 10am- 8pm. Fours hours of which were spent being thrown about, spun around, and picked up in pointe shoes. Oh, and I squeezed myself in a leotard one size too small. Unfortunately I am now somewhat immobile, and require assistance to stand up. I have my feet wrapped in ice packs in an effort to numb them completely and feel as if someone has beaten me with a baseball bat. It’s a great feeling. Tomorrow, we start again, but perhaps in a slightly more cautious manner. But I wanted to leave you with these snapshots of the day before I trudge off to bed.




Freeds. You crush my feet, but I love you.


Hey look! There’s a bunny, and a shameless selfie!

IMG_0945Dead shoes vs. New shoes. Not a fun place to be.

Thank goodness it’s almost Friday.




Hi everyone!

I’ve been sitting on this post for quite a while now, trying to determine as to whether or not I should publish it. Today is the day. I do so in the hopes that maybe someone out there reading this will connect to it, and this might make their lives seem a little bit easier, a little bit lighter.


Do you ever have one of those days where things seem to take about ten times their normal effort? Everyone does at some point, whatever they say to the contrary. I’m going to come out and say that I have these kinds of days sometimes. I’ve had them since I could remember, even when I was little and really had nothing to worry about. But I did, and that’s ok.

I once asked my most optimistic friend what she does to keep herself that way. She revealed to me that she has days where she struggles as well. Days where she literally sits down and asks “Dear God, why are people so shitty?” and for the subsequent strength to deal with all the regular turmoil of life. I’m not particularly spiritual or religious, so I envy whatever seems to gets her though the day. Sharing experiences with other people always seem to help me with mine. It’s that odd glimpse of recognition, maybe the catharsis and the humanity of it all that makes it more bearable. I’m going to share some things about myself that I hope helps someone else the way other people’s’ struggles have helped me.

When I was seven, I struggled with OCD. Not the “Must. Turn. Off. Light. Switch. 55. Times” kind, but the kind that makes you feel like the world is a terrifying place that will snatch the things you love away from you at any second. These are notably heavy thoughts for a second grader.

I became afraid of everyone and everything during that moment in my life. Not because I thought they were “scary,” but because I knew that the world was a constantly changing place and that nothing I could do ever do would stop it. I felt the oppressive and obsessive need to collect little mementos in an effort to remind myself of the fleeting nature of life. In retrospect, I can attribute this realization to the death of my favorite teacher at the time.  I realized that everything around me was in constant state of moving and changing, and my little brain imploded. I couldn’t articulate what was going on in my head to the people around me, because I couldn’t even begin to grasp it myself. All I knew is that I didn’t want change, because change could potentially bring about an awful, gaping maw of sadness. I never gave myself the chance to see that there were good things, brought about by change, too. One day, this oppressive fear stopped. I’m not entirely cognizant what it was that helped me, but I remember that there being a feeling of a huge weight being lifted, and I felt like a kid again. Being an intent little reader helped me escape some of my bigger fears, but I also think discovering dance played a huge role in my recovery. To this day, I turn to these things.

I’m not going to get into the whole neuropsychological aspects of it, but problems like this don’t ever entirely go away. They’re a chronic illness, and like addiction, you can recover from them, but it is very much a process requiring maintenance from time to time. Unfortunately I have a predisposition for these kinds of things, and have subsequently struggled as a young adult with disordered eating, depression, and anxiety. I was, at one point, a certified basket case. In fact, I’m pretty sure my psychiatrist had to officially write “chronic basket case” on my files.

Nevertheless, dear reader, after almost a year of nothing, I wandered out of my house one day, looked around and went “This isn’t so bad.” I wandered out and about the next day, and thought the same. And the next. And the next. A day at a time I managed to heal myself. Mind you, bad things did happen, and are going to continue to happen, but that doesn’t mean that I’m content to sit around and let them happen at me. That control that I was so desperate to have in my life, the control over other people and things, manifested itself into the control I have over myself, in an odd way.  I’m going to reiterate some of my previous thoughts and say that being content with one’s life isn’t a matter of circumstance. Everyone has something in their lives that they’re not happy with. Like taxes, those aren’t fun. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and show some gumption-  not only will you be proud of yourself, but you’ll figure out how to be happy, too. And have your taxes done on top of it.