Five Things

Hello all!

It feels like the last few days have stretched on for weeks, not because they’ve been so laborious or tedious, quite the opposite! I have many life updates to get to, and while they’re all (for the most part) very exciting things, today calls for a relaxed Five Things. Before we get into all the craziness that has been my life lately (birthday celebrations, travels, job changes), I wanted to take a quick look back at the less-than crazy (even inspirational) things as of late.

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Photo: Mary Lee Shalvoy

Why is the photo so naugahyde-esque, you may ask? I recently did a photoshoot with the lovely Mary Lee Shalvoy (whose photos of my legs you can see here), and this was one of the photos I captured in the studio, moments after it was taken. It’s a sneak-peak for now, but I’m sure you’ll be seeing more official shots very soon!
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Just last week I celebrated my friend’s mother’s birthday at Dante Robere Vineyards in Livermore, CA. While Livermore might be the last place that comes to mind when you think of wine, I was so pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed a tacos and live music on the lawn as the sun set—it was such a nice evening!

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I’ve been to my fair share of festivals, flea markets, and fairs as of late. I’ve really been enjoying the art and the hodgepodge of antiques, and this wood painting (I believe the technique of wood-burning is referred to as pyrography) really caught my eye.

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I recently took a quick flight down to LA for a friend’s baby shower, that ended up serving as a mini college reunion of sorts. Following the shower, we spent some time in Santa Monica at The Misfit catching up over cocktails. If you’re ever there, dear readers, ask them for a cookie. You won’t regret it!

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My friend Stephanie is what I would call a plant fanatic. Point to any succulent you see and she would have it’s scientific name ready to go. It’s quite impressive, really, and has made me appreciate them so much more. Too bad I have a bit of a brown thumb.

Happy Wednesday!

EVA ♥

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Five Things

Hi all!

I’m feeling oddly accomplished today. I’m sure most people can commiserate when I say that work usually takes all of my energy, but I experienced a second wind! After forcing myself to do the mundane errands I had been putting off for a while, I came home to find a package at my doorstep (an early birthday treat!), and my mood instantly turned around. I know I constantly say that the little things are sometimes the best things in life, but it’s true! Just in the last hour after my surprise, I’ve managed to get dinner on the stove, catch up on some trashy Bravo tv watching, and get in a bit of writing as well. And here I thought this day was a bust…

And so, with my usual stream-of-consciousness introduction, I give you this week’s Five Things:

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Having once worked in a florist’s shop, I can’t help but recognize a beautiful bouquet when I see one. These tulips are unique in that they have not one but three layers of petals. So pretty!

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I celebrated a coworker’s birthday the other day at the very retro Ice Cream Bar in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood. Their Sunday Morning cocktail (strawberry lemon sorbet topped with Mumm champagne) hit the spot.

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This past weekend, I went on my first visit to the infamous Cream, land of the ice cream cookie sandwiches. I got a mini chocolate chip ice cream sandwich with one of their seasonal flavors, and it was the perfect treat to end the evening on! (Yes, I know…two ice cream things this week. Can you blame me?)

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Photo c/o S-curve Apparel

I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes like to motivate myself with treats. When I find myself needing an extra push to get to ballet class in my limited spare time (lunchtime barre, anyone?), I occasionally buy a new pair of shoes or a leotard to get myself out the door. One of our former dancers at Smuin, the lovely Susan Roemer, is also the mastermind behind S-Curve Apparel & Design. I’ve been eyeing her unique leotards for quite a while now, so when her newest style was released, I snapped one right up.

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I saw these new, eye-catching tic-tacs while waiting in line at the local Walgreens one day. I found them extremely amusing; from the banana flavor, to the fact that each entire package has a name. One catch: I just don’t think I could ever bring myself to eat Bob, Stuart, or Kevin.

Banana!!

EVA♥

Neverland

Hello all!

It’s no secret that a huge part of my love for performing arts revolves around,well…performing. My school doesn’t have too many performances yearly, just one day’s worth, to be exact, so this one day a year tends to be extra special. This year, we presented Neverland, an original continuation of  J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

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With my 4 year-old class: the pixie dust faeries.

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When I wasn’t doing someone’s hair, pinning crowns on dancers’ heads, or helping with a quick change in the wings, I managed to snap a few shots backstage. It’s the culmination of almost a year’s worth of steady work; this year, I was able to test out my story-telling abilities a bit more, which turned out to be quite fun! When it comes to creating, I’ve discovered that the music and the dancers can make or break the whole process. Things that seemed initially daunting tended to fall into place with these two well-matched ingredients. We also often say that the process of producing a show is quite a bit like a train, consistently gathering momentum. At a certain point, there’s not much you can do aside from stepping back to admire the end result. Sure, there are always things I wish I could tweak and adjust, but it’s strangely refreshing to be able to let things be once we get into the theater. After all, if someone isn’t pointing their feet/looking up/straightening their knees by now, chances are that stopping a dress rehearsal to discuss minutiae isn’t going to help.

Despite being incredibly proud and relieved after a successful show, I tend to experience a huge let down afterwards. Going from daily rehearsals and being constantly occupied with the details of a show to…nothing, can be challenging. Part of the beauty of dance is that it’s entirely ephemeral- each performance, each moment in rehearsal is unique and can’t quite ever be recaptured. This being said, I’m sure you can see why the end of a performance could bring a bit of melancholy along with it. Luckily, it doesn’t tend to last long.

Next year will mark my studio’s 25th anniversary, and I’m certain we’ll have something extra special planned. I’m not quite sure what that will be yet, but I think it’s important to have a new project, a new adventure to look forward to! It certainly helps take some of those post-show blues away. I’m so proud of my students, and know the next year holds something exciting.

As for now… I’m going to the beach!

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

It’s finally time for Five Things for the week! I’ve been scrounging around a bit for ideas and inspiration lately, which sounds silly given that I work in such a creative field. With so many ongoing shows, I keep finding myself spending more and more time occupied with work, which means a little less time wandering around experiencing and snapping pictures of random things! I certainly can’t complain, since “work” often entails things like attending ballet performances and hot-gluing jewels on costumes. Snapshots soon to follow! For now, I have just a few things from this past week to entertain you. On to Five Things:

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Like many women out there, I have a thing for peonies. If roses had a fancy cousin, peonies would be it. Though short, I anticipate peony season every year, and unnecessarily pick up bouquets for myself at the local Trader Joes. Treat yourself!

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Ladies and gentlemen: I finally made it back to ballet class. I notice that my mood is never quite right without dancing on a regular basis, so I packed my things and bowed out of the office for a bit on Wednesday. Everything hurts and I’m having trouble walking up stairs, but it was worth it!

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 I love that 20th Century Cafe (one of the most instagrammed resturants in San Francisco!) is so close to my office. They have pastries I’ve only ever seen in Europe, and their strudel is almost as good as the one my Austrian grandmother makes. Almost. 

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I like to have something to look forward to after a long workday. Last week, I met a few girlfriends of mine at Ken Ken Ramen in San Francisco for dinner. Now, I’m not too savvy when it comes to ramen, but this stuff was unlike anything else I’ve ever tasted. For a bowl of what is, in actuality, just soup, it was incredibly filling and rich! I’ll definitely be back.

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Did everyone have a good Memorial Day Weekend? Whenever anyone asked what I was up to, I couldn’t help but recall this stylish Anne Taintor luggage tag I found on Pinterest.  This could have accurately described my weekend, but in a positive and relaxing way. I had no concrete plans and all the time in the world. It was really refreshing…although nothing can quite beat a  vacation. Soon!

Love,

EVA♥

Kids Continue to be Hilarious: Part 4

Hello everyone!

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It’s finally time for Part IV of My “Kids Are Hilarious” saga (here’s Part I, Part II, and Part III)!

At this point, I’ve most likely forgotten the vast majority of ridiculous kid stories. It’s safe to say that they’re pretty much a constant in my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I often keep these little anecdotes in my back pocket to bust out in most social situations. Lull in the conversation? Share a kid story. Awkward silence in a meeting? How about a kid story? Need some good brunch conversation? BAM! Kid story! And, without further introduction, I give you a few of the most recent gems, straight out of my students’ mouths.

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One of my students ran up to me one morning and excitedly pointed out that she was wearing “lipstick” that day. It was marshmallow lipstick. She then demanded “Do you want to smell my lips? Smell my lips!” 

Twice a year, we open our studio space to visitors who would like to observe class. I’ve noticed that the littlest ones often bring the biggest entourages, which can be quite distracting at times. This last Visit Day, I had one of my students run up to her grandmother in the middle of class, lift up her tutu, turn around, and demand “Pinch my booty!! PINCH MY BOOTY.” She refused to dance until they had all done so.

Some of the best moments seem to happen when there is an audience present. On another Visit Day, while I was coaching the kids on how to properly stand at the ballet barre, one of my students decided to loudly elaborate on why we don’t hang on the barres: “Because, if you hang on the barres, they could fall on you and crack your head open and then there will be blood. Blood everywhere, and your brains could come out. And then you’ll cry and cry and then the ambulance has to come.” After this, I had to turn to our audience and reassure them that we had not had any major accidents involving the barres.

Although most of these quotes come straight from their little brains totally unbidden, I can usually count on our “talk time” during class (aka: the “Question of the Day”)  to provide me with some interesting insight into their worlds.

In response to “What is your favorite flower?” We got: A Hi-biscuit. 

“What’s your favorite kind of candy? A muffin…but with frosting.”That’s a cupcake, right?

A few weeks ago, I asked them what their favorite thing about springtime was. The answers were typical things like butterflies, rainbows, and sunshine. What I wasn’t expecting was for one of my students to yell “JESUS!! JESUS. He is the king!” 

 When I asked one of my students what her favorite sandwich was, I got something that sounded like “Iliiiithekiindwiththemannoooandapeaandda…. an’ wainnnbow sprinkles.” Needless to say, I sometimes have a hard time understanding her. However, I feel a little less bad when other students have an equally hard time. “At home, I have a Frozenyuckis!” While I asked her to repeat herself, one of the neighboring five-year-olds looked up at me, bewildered, and asked “What’s a yuckis?” I don’t know, kid. I really don’t know.

Maintaining a poker face can be difficult at times; especially when they volunteer things like “Oh! Cindy can’t come to class today, because she’s in New Hamster.” This place must also be somewhere near Pepsicola, Florida, a magical place we’ve also heard of.

I do appreciate these insightful outbursts. Sometimes, they’re really profound things like: “Look! I have two arms! I’m so cool!” 

I have one little one that likes to dismiss her father in a not so subtle way each time he drops her off at class by loudly shouting “Bye! Bye Dad. BYE!!!!! BYE!!!!” until he leaves the room. We guess that he can’t quite take the hint.

And, on that note, BYE!!

EVA ♥

Gala Going

Hi all!

One of the perks of working in the arts (aside from the very obvious- working in an industry I’m passionate about), I do occasionally get to attend and/or help plan fabulously fancy events. While I’ll readily admit that I have absolutely zero frame of reference, I’ve heard that planning for an event as big as our ballet company’s gala on Sunday night is not unlike planning for a wedding. And while there are always countless things to juggle, last-minute changes, and unforeseen complications (Hi there, buckets of rain!), things always seem to come together to make something lovely and memorable.

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While I always seem to get disproportionately nervous before big events, things always work out wonderfully. I’ll still say that there are few things more nonsensically nerve-wracking than stabbing oneself in the eye with an eyeliner pen and having to start your makeup over with limited time to spare. I’m happy to say that things went more smoothly after that. This being my third Smuin Ballet gala, I think that this year went perhaps the most seamlessly- the cocktail hour, performance, dinner, and auction all made the event a success. More importantly, the official word is that we managed to raise over $380,000 in one evening! Not too shabby. Seeing so many people generously give (often unconditionally), makes me hope that one day I’ll be able to give back to the arts myself. For now, I’ll have to make do with working behind the scenes, and supporting in the capacity I can. Something tells me I’ll have plenty of fancy parties in my future.

EVA ♥

On Why Dancers are the Smartest

Hello all!

There’s an interesting phenomenon I’ve observed as of late. (Granted that I like to use the word “phenomenon” to mean anything from the latest clothing trends to actual, legitimate phenomena, like the discovery of a ninth planet, you’ll have to bear with me here.) Most of us are well-aware of the common images that a ballet dancer invokes: tutus, pointe shoes, the Sugar Plum Fairy. It’s all soft, and pretty, and that lovely misnomer: adorable.

When viewing these images from the other side, things tend to become less simple.

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Erin Yarbrough-Powell & Joshua Reynolds. Photographer: Keith Sutter

 Dancers are some of the hardest working people I know, but, it’s widely circulated that they’re somehow unlike the rest of society… in a distinctly negative way. I’ve been told that ballet, and dance in general, is somehow not a “real job.” As in: when are you going to get “a real job”? My goals and way of life were, and are, still questioned frequently. Many dancers are subjected to the cliché of being less intelligent than the rest of the “practically employed”(read: desk job) work force. I’ll be the first to admit to the self-deprecating cracks from time to time. When confronted by the engineers, financial analysts, and medical students of the world with the question: “What do you do?” I’ll frequently joke that “I work in the arts/I teach dance….I can count to eight!” Because, if I make that joke first, there’s no way you can use it against me.

So today, I wanted to take some time and share the traits that dancers possess that make them so unlike the rest of the world in an amazing way. Despite being strong, dancers, as a whole, are a sharp bunch. They’re systematically trained to be that way, really.

 Dancers are expected to be able to pick up and retain complicated information in the form of many series of steps. Everything is taught at a remarkably fast pace, and dancers have to be able to execute these combinations backwards and forwards, at a moments notice. Let’s not forget that this is not an effortless art form, and that it requires years and years of physically molding one’s body into aesthetically pleasing shapes.

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In a work environment, only intelligent and necessary questions are tolerated. Like many professions, once trained, there will be no one to hold your hand as you go about your daily responsibilities. If something isn’t working, it’s your job to figure it out. Once they’ve figured out their own choreography, it’s often expected of them to learn everyone else’s work as well.

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Dancers are exceptionally perceptive. They must be fully aware of not only where their own body is in space, but exactly where everyone else is in the room as well. They must navigate these spaces gracefully, systematically, and with intention. I often take this for granted when walking down a street where people can’t seem to figure out which way to pass those walking in the opposite direction. I can only play so many games of chicken while simultaneously avoiding people who seem determined to run into me.

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In addition to all this, dancers are incredibly resilient. It’s been said that it’s the only athletic endeavor in which you’re not allowed to show pain, or exactly how hard it is. Unfortunately, pain and discomfort are often unavoidable in ballet. I frequently tell my students that if ballet were easy, everyone would do it.
Everything-Hurts-and-Im-Dying-Parks-and-Recreation The resilience isn’t only physical, either. In fact, the majority of it is mental resilience. Critiques and corrections are to be accepted as gifts; there is never a moment when you stop attempting to make something better, jump higher, or turn faster. It’s hard work, 100% of the time, no matter what else might be going on i. And sometimes, you feel like you look like this:

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 When you’re expected to look something like this:

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 Dancers are very much aware that the potential for growth is limitless in their art form. It’s not for everyone, but those who do it love it in an exceptional way. In my humble opinion, anyone who makes their life their passion is incredibly smart and brave for pursuing it, for sticking with it when other people might look at them sideways. I’m very proud to consider myself a part of the dance community, and, yes, I  can make a living counting to eight. It’s amazing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 That is all.

EVA♥

Provocative: At the Ballet…

Hello all!

I’ve learned something important about myself this year. It’s probably been apparent to some for quite a while now, but I think I’ve finally come to terms with it. I have a confession to make:

I like fancy parties.

really like fancy parties- even better if there’s a theme. I like planning for these events, debating on what I might wear, down to the lipstick I put in my purse, the strange romantic in me enjoys every last bit of it.  I sometimes find myself thinking that I would be content if my entire life were a fancy party, like some sort of weird, poetic limbo. I love the people watching, the mingling, the cocktails; it’s a total respite from my everyday routine. They’re the kinds of events I dreamed of as a kid, and they’re every bit as satisfying as I thought they would be now that I’m a guest. I attended San Francisco Ballet’s annual opening night gala last Thursday, as I have for the last few seasons (I blogged about it here and here). After the dreaded “holiday hangover,” it’s just the thing to get you excited about the year again! The performance is always a treat, featuring excerpts from the season ahead, as well as a few opening night exclusives. This year, there was a crowd-pleasing blend of classical and contemporary pieces, intended on showcasing a number of the company’s dancers (and San Francisco Ballet students) at their best. My very favorite had to be Jiří Bubeníček’s Gentle Memories, which initially premiered at the 2013 gala. I’m a sap, what can I say?

While I, understandably, don’t have too many snaps inside the opera house (*cue Chorus Line’s “At the Ballet”* I’m glad some places are still phone-free), I did get quite a few photos of the evening’s memorable after party.

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The blue dress was the winner!

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A newly discovered hidden talent of mine.

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I like prosecco. Can you tell I like prosecco? Because I do.

If you ask me, no opening night gala party is complete without a bar cart full of bottles of prosecco. I also found myself lingering around the over-the-top dessert table, with piles and piles of handmade truffles. Let’s not forget the oyster bar and the silent disco taking place on the second floor of our picturesque city hall. The theme of the evening was “Provocative,” which was only appropriate, since the entire evening was sponsored by La Perla. I was slightly disappointed there were no La Perla-themed gift bags, but considering I was able to get my hands on a tiny bottle of La Marca prosecco to-go, I was quite happy. I woke the next day with it still sitting in my purse, peeking like a little reminder of the evening before.

Can I go back now?

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

Five Things is back! It’s close enough to Wednesday, right?

I was trying to get through the drudgery of my evening commute, catching up on my Bloglovin’ feed, when I stumbled across blogger and florist Keira Lennox’s latest post on her blog, A Pretty Penny. She’s right- blogging consistently is hard, especially with a full-time job and the rest of your life to manage. When do all you full-time bloggers have time to do your dishes?! I too have recently gotten hooked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and then there are all the amazing places to eat and cocktails to have around the Bay Area. I’m beginning to discover that I have a slight propensity to multi-task a little too much. As I write this, I’m also trying to balance watching re-runs, a video on Youtube, keep up a text conversation with one of my girlfriends, and whiten my teeth. Too many things, yes? Sometimes I find myself just wanting to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for a bit. Luckily, I can only do that for so long before I find myself jumping up to do the next thing! We all need a break every-once-in-a-while, and it’s moments like those that prompt me to get up and write all over again. One day at a time, I guess! With that…here are this week’s Five Things!

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I got to spend some time at a lovely evening farmer’s market this week. The whole thing was oddly picturesque- there’s just something about walking down the street with a big bunch of dahlia’s, you can’t help but be in a good mood.

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It’s not a birthday celebration without a candle and little crème brûlée. This last year’s birthday was extra-fancy, if I may say. I’m already very much looking forward to the next one!

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I spent my post-birthday weekend wine tasting in Edna Valley, just outside of San Luis Obispo. Apparently, at 28 you can only drink so much wine before you have to sit down. My good friend Maren and I lasted for about two tastings before we needed a nap. Pictured is Claiborne & Churchill Winery’s latest bottle of rosé , named after one of the founder’s daughters: Cuvée Elizabeth.

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Ivette Ivens/ ivetteivens.com

Everyone I know knows that I have a mild obsession with French Bulldogs. When this article was published on Buzzfeed two days ago, I had a number of people sending me the link within hours. Photographer Ivette Ivens’ work pretty much went viral from all the cute. After all, baby + wrinkled puppy= instant happiness.

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While it’s nice having a break from being in the studio every day, I find myself really missing ballet class. And having a hard time mustering up the energy to make it through an entire evening class. I do like popping in for the occasional barre, or taking yoga class.

Moral of the story: there really should be more hours in a day.

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long week, but we’ve made it this far! Happy Wednesday. Funnily enough, despite resting up sufficiently this last weekend, I somehow have enough energy to unnecessarily exhaust myself all over again during the day. Take today for example: all I had was a quick, 10 minute jaunt on the freeway to get to an appointment. What do I do instead? Take a wrong turn that includes a 20 minute detour in the complete opposite direction that I need to go. When I finally got to my destination, I managed to run around (literally back and forth across the street to find a functioning parking ticket dispenser) a bit while only being five minutes late to my appointment. Go me! I somehow adult my way through these things. Things like this seem to be the pattern recently- I’m taking the “scenic route” everywhere, both literally and figuratively. You would think I would have better things to do with my time- like peruse Instagram, have a glass of wine, or shop online for shoes. Well, in between doing these things instead of going to bed like a responsible adult, I lined up this week’s Five Things, just as random as always:

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Here’s a little snapshot from Jessup Cellars in Yountville. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but if a tasting room supplies snacks, chances are I’ll be back. I loved finishing my red wine with a bit of dark chocolate.

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A quick shout-out to #NationalLipstickDay today! The above is one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite movies, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I watch it at least once a year, usually around my birthday. There are still certain things you cannot read without your lipstick.

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I snapped a clip of the snarky decor at Bunny’s Shoes in Santa Cruz on my latest trip. Stop by if you get a chance- they have a little something for everyone.

I recently stumbled across this spot for Boston Ballet and have been fascinated. It has minimal bells-and-whistles, but packs a punch by showcasing the dancers’ amazing athletic ability. Check out Dusty Button’s amazing extension at 46 seconds! Yowza.

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I give you: one of my favorite pieces of art on the Yountville Art Walk. Yes, it’s a giant salmon sculpture with a broken tail. No, I have no idea why it’s there or who created it. But, there was just something about it’s bright colors and shark-like teeth that made me happy. It was either that or all the wine.

Who knows?

EVA♥