Five Things

Hello all!

It’s time for Five Things, yet again. Quite honestly, life can get so cyclical sometimes that collecting my Five Things of the week acts as a time-stamp of sorts. Oh look- another week’s gone by! To give you all a quick, unbidden update, things have been quite interesting over the last few days. With the dance studio on summer schedule, I suddenly find myself working only one job. You know, a 9-to-5, like a normal person. What is this nonsense? I get to go home, and sit down? Highly unnatural behavior in Watch-Me-Juggle-land. It always takes a bit of getting used to, but the positive side is that I can sleep in two days in a row now, if I so choose. I can also check out that stand-up paddle boarding lesson off my to-do list this summer. I’m determined. It’s going to happen. Stay tuned for embarrassing photos of me falling off a surfboard.

In the meantime, here are this week’s Five Things as entertainment.

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Once upon a time, I worked in a flower shop. I spent my days arranging flowers and even creating bridal bouquets. Though I found myself only with bunches of flowers and some ribbon (no floral tape, no pearl-topped pins) I made it work! There is something amazingly therapeutic about working with flowers, and I must do it more often.

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In between answering phone calls, chugging coffee, and staring at spreadsheets today, I managed to find time to buy these spunky red flats from Topshop. They’re dead-ringers for Aquazzura’s Christy flats that retail for a whopping $675.

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Did you know that my little island town is home to a winery? Because it is! Rock Wall winery has incredible views of the San Francisco skyline, and a mighty fine happy hour. While I’m not one to jump on the rosé bandwagon, their sparkling rosé is delicious.

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I’ve found myself reminiscing over the goodies at Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola. A day trip is very much in store this summer.

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Ever wonder how the marzipan in the Nutcracker get their multicolored shoes? Pointe shoes come in very few colors, and most companies have to special order their shoes if they need something other than the traditional pink satin. But, even then the options are limited. Two words: spray paint. It’s very high tech, I know.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

EVA♥

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A Mermaid’s Tail

Hello all!

Well, it’s officially the first day of Summer! And…the juggling continues.

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This past Saturday was my studio’s annual “Big Show,” and I couldn’t be prouder of the way everything turned out.  Aside from our stellar team of teachers, our students worked harder than ever and it was evident in their level of dancing. I’m not afraid of tooting my own horn when I say it was an emotional and visually stunning show. Heck, I’ve been running around proclaiming it was the Best. Show. Ever!

At first, I was hesitant to post a little blurb, since I only have a few backstage shots, but this show has been such a huge part of my life over the last few months, I can’t help but share.

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Our beautiful mermaids onstage at dress rehearsal.

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I suddenly have the utmost respect for photographers who can capture the perfect action shot. It’s certainly no easy task! 

First off, we were adamant that our version of this story would be true to the original Hans Christian Anderson version- no mermaid marrying the prince, and no cartoonish villain or sidekicks. If you’re not familiar with the original, non-Disney version of the story, I urge you to check it out. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. We featured our graduating seniors as the mermaids, with one “winner,” the real girl who ultimately marries the prince in the end. I had way too much fun making an appearance as the evil Sea Witch. She’s older, wiser, and has fantastic jewelry. One of my teenage students said I should run around dressed as the sea witch everyday, which made me laugh. I guess she’s my badass alter-ego?

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This was possibly one of my favorite costumes I’ve worn to date.

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I clearly also had way too much fun doing my makeup to get into character. And check out that necklace! It was on loan from the boss lady, and so amazing.

 The storyline was intense, a roller-coaster, really, but nothing you couldn’t lighten up with a few children in shrimp costumes.

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It’s a shrimp party (also fondly known as shrimp cocktail)! One of the boss lady’s favorite things is being able to stick things on little kids heads, so these shrimp hats we made were no exception. It’s quickly become one of my favorite things too!

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I was also exceptionally proud of my Level 2 students. I lobbed some tricky choreography their way, and they took it in stride. I’m sure they don’t know it, but sometimes they are the highlight of my day. I’ve never left the studio without numerous hugs from them.

I’m always a little bit sad when a show comes to an end. Months and months of work go into making just one day exceptionally special. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our graduates (I’ve known many of them since they were just four years old). I’m so glad dance has been such a big part of their lives, and I hope they look back on these memories fondly once they’re off at college. I’m excited to hear of their many adventures to come.

EVA♥

Life in the Box

Hello everyone!

I’ve missed Watch-Me-Juggle-land quite a bit over the last few days. I’ve been juggling the heck out of everything lately- juggling all the things. I’m just glad I don’t have children or a dog, or my poor head might explode. It’s been a whirlwind and great learning experience. I’m writing to you now inside “the Box,” the box office at Yerba Buena theater.  It has plate glass windows and guillotine-like sliding doors, which one of my coworkers implied was for my own protection. People are really intense about this ballet-watching business, I’m telling you.

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First photo with the new phone! What do you all think?

I look a little tired in the above photo, I’ll admit.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been living inside a box. Either it’s the box of my cubicle, a box office, or my little box of a Barbie house that I go home to every day. I’ve been answering the same questions over and over again, “When? Where? How? Why? When?”…and on and on. Maybe I could make this some ridiculous metaphor about life, but it’s just how it is. I’m pretty much this bunny:

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It’s the long days like this that make me appreciate my solitude a hell of a lot more, that’s for certain. When I finally got done with work on Sunday, I felt absolutely no shame in holing up in my house with a quart (yes my friends, a quart) of Loard’s Lemon Chiffon ice cream and Game of Thrones.  I’ve also been indulging in the occasional shopping adventures, which I hope to document here at some point. Thus far, I’ve invested in some amazing new swimsuits and some, more practical things, like new work clothes and eye cream. I’ve also developed the nasty little habit of always having my phone in my hand- I’ve even been using it to catch up on my favorite blogs on Bloglovin’ lately since I’ve been on the go so much. At the end of the day, I even use it to watch my favorite TV Land reruns in bed. It’s clearly a party at my place! All things aside, I’ve been neglecting myself a little bit, but they say that the first step is to recognize the problem, right? I’m hoping I’ll do better or, rather, take better care of myself this week. I’d like to think that I have unwavering optimism, but that’s not always the case. I certainly do try though. The boss lady told me to keep my chin up the other day, and there’s something so reassuring about that. When I’m feeling stuck, I try to say that to myself. After all, everything might not always go as smoothly as you would like, whether that be at your job or at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk away at the end of the day and pat yourself on the back for trying your best.

Until next time!

EVA♥

From Studio to Studio- an Interview

Hi everyone!

I’ve been here, over-sharing my personal and professional life on Watch Me Juggle for quite a while now. I’ll admit that I’ve dabbled with applying to the occasional freelance writing gig here and there, but not much ever came of it.

Well… I was somehow able to talk my way into letting the ballet company I work for write for their blog. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Oh, I love writing! I have a little blog where I talk about ballet, teaching, and all the things that I do/eat on a weekly basis.”

Them: “Well, if you ever want to write things for our blog you can.”

Me: *falls over*

….

That’s the very glamorous story of how my writing ended up not just on my little corner of the internet. Needless to say I was very excited about it. As the title of my blog suggests, not only did a submit my writing for a post, it happened to be a post containing my very first interview ever. I decided to sit down with one of my favorite people, dancer Erin Yarbrough, who made such a huge impression on me as my teacher years ago. She’s one of the main reasons I still dance today. Turns out, all you really need is one or two people to really believe in you. Lucky me, I ended up working alongside her in the very same studio I grew up dancing in. And I still learn from her! Pretty cool, right?

You can read my interview with her hereon the Smuin Ballet website. If you ever find yourself in San Francisco Bay Area, make sure you check them out! (I’m not shamelessly promoting my own company here, or anything.)

In other, incredibly exciting new, I got to take company class with the dancers of Smuin just the other day. Had you told my young self that I would be doing this one day, I would have frankly told you you were full of crap.

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Look! It’s a picture of Erin & I. 

 Since my transition to teaching almost daily ballet classes, I haven’t gotten much of a chance to take class as much as I would like. To put it bluntly, I felt totally out of shape. I was just glad I didn’t fall on my face in front of everyone. It made what promised to be just an average day an amazing day. Often I forget just how lucky I am to work in a field I’m so wholeheartedly passionate about. Just the other day, one of my students asked me if I get paid to teach them ballet. I told her I do, but sometimes I forget that it’s my job. I couldn’t ask for better.

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello everyone!

Of course I’m not writing to you today already in my pajamas, in bed, watching horrible TLC reality shows. And I certainly didn’t do breakfast-for-dinner today either. I’m much to refined for that.

In all seriousness, I’ve heard a number of people (including myself) say that it’s been quite the crazy week. Is it the weather here in the bay area? Something in the air (besides pollen)? I don’t know. What I do know is that it doesn’t feel quite the same without my Five Things. In the meantime, I’m sitting on a number of posts that are long overdue. Remember the 20th Anniversary Smuin Ballet Gala I attended  last year? Well, yours truly worked at this year’s very same gala. I’ve also conducted my very first interview ever, and have done quite a bit of thrifting and cocktailing as well.  In the meantime, take a look at these five things from my life:

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I had my first pavlova ever at my family’s Easter dinner. At first an entirely meringue-based desert seems like it might be a little bland, but I was totally wrong. Topped with lemon and berry mousse, it’s like eating delicious air. Which means negative calories, right?

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I scored some fantastic seats for San Francisco Ballet’s Program 7 this week. Go check out The List, if you’re not already on it. Who can say no to $25 ballet tickets?!

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While dashing through life, this beautiful rose given to me by the boss lady somehow ended up in a coffee cup. I meant for this to be only a temporary vase, but liked it so much I decided to leave it be. I can’t get over how beautiful the colors look together.

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I’ve been hearing a lot about these trendy Quay Sunglasses from Australia. I snapped this selfie the other day hoping to get a friend’s opinion on them, and I must say, I quickly realized they were a little too over-sized for my pea head. I do love how unique their designs are, nonetheless.

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It’s been a while since my plus-sized cat, Buttercup, found her way onto Watch Me Juggle. I believe she made her first appearance on my very first “Five Things” ever. She’s so photogenic, I’m convinced she knows exactly when a camera is near.

Until next time,

EVA♥

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up…The Hilarity Continues

Happy Friday eve everyone!

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In the spirit of #TBT, I’ve decided to post the above photo including Dance Arts Project’s very own Miss Julia. 

Remember when I promised a Part III of my “Kids are Hilarious” post? Well, it’s finally here! I’ve been trying to keep track of all the ridiculous things I hear on an almost daily basis while teaching class. They’re awfully amusing, those young people. Truth be told, there’s been a lot more physical comedy going on than anything. For example, I have one five-year-old student in particular that loves to lick the metal barres after warm up. I mean, walking with her tongue dragging along all ten feet of the barre. Ew and why?! I’ve now busted out the Clorox wipes more than I would like to admit.

Another unforgettably comedic moment happened a few months back, conveniently during one of two weeks that parents are permitted to observe class. One of my littlest students decided it would be a good idea to get, ahem, handsy with my teenage assistant. She also decided to narrate while poking her: “Boobies. Boobies. BOOBIES!” Luckily, my demonstrator has a great sense of humor, and found this about as amusing as I did.  Needless to say, the little girls’ parents were mortified.

I’ve found that the most humorous things are often totally spontaneous, and, on occasion, volunteered.

“I broke my leg two days ago, and had to get crutches, but now I’m better.” Well, okay then. We’re all glad your broken leg healed quickly enough for you to come to dance class.

“Oh, has anyone read the story of The Mermaid Dance?” I asked one day. “No, but I have contact lenses.” From the mouth of a seven-year-old.

“Miss Eva, I want to be an entomologist!” I wasn’t not sure how we got on the subject of careers, but I was impressed a six-year-old knew what an entomologist was. She then followed up with “I’m gonna study rolly-pollies!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it’s not all rolly-pollies out there.

I also enjoy the random observations from my students as to how difficult ballet actually is. It’s not all sugar-plumming about, you know. Or, as one student put it:

“Basically, it’s really hard to point your shoe.” That it is. That it is. I always tell them, if ballet was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Occasionally, I try to engage with them on subjects outside of dance. If we have the time, I like to chat about everything and anything. Today, I asked my students to tell me about one exciting thing they did at school. Many shared stories about their trips to the library, or their fun music classes, and then one replied, “No…nothing exciting. It’s school. My favorite subject’s recess.” Well, okay then.

They sometimes like to ask me about my life as well. These questions usually have to do with my age or personal life, “Miss Eva, are you someone’s Mom?” This was asked so earnestly from one of my little ones- she seemed so sweetly convinced that one of her classmates could have belonged to me.

“Miss Eva, do you have an Instagram? You look like the kind of person that would have an Instagram…” I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean, but I’ll take it as the pre-teen version of a compliment…?

And, lastly, one of my very favorite recent quotes comes from one of the many (yes, many!) little boys in our Monday class. He’s four, adorable, and fully aware of it. Whenever someone exits the studio, he chimes in with the age-old “See ya later, alligator!” catch-phrase. Except, one day, he couldn’t get it quite right:

“See ya later, alligator! After a while….croca-gator.” 

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Love,

EVA ♥

You Look Like a Ballerina

Hello all!

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Look! It’s the most ballet-ic selfie I could find…

I’m writing to you today at the end of a very long week this week, so please forgive any rambling/total nonsense that manifests itself on my blog. I swear, I’ll be back to normal next week. Maybe…

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One of my students said a rather curious thing to me the other week. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about since. I was teaching the final class of the evening on a Friday night, showing a little combination at the barre that I initially meant to be simple, but, as usual, turned out ridiculously complicated. We paused, to turn around to the other side, when one of my senior students blurted: “Miss Eva, you look like a ballerina.” I suspected that she was slightly hopped-up on cold medication at the time, but she said the whole thing with such sincerity. It was possibly the sweetest thing I’d heard all day.

It’s not quite the first time I’ve heard something like this, but it made me wonder, what is it that makes you “look” like a dancer, a ballerina? I’ve had theater-goers confuse me with a dancer from whatever performance we had just seen. I met the man I’m currently dating, with his opening line of “You look like a dancer…” I’m usually full of excuses when this is brought up “Oh, it’s just the way I’m wearing my hair” or, “I just came from class, it’s all the Lululemon, really.” On worse days, it’s “Have you seen an actual ballerina? They certainly don’t look like me.”  It makes me sad that I always feel the need to explain myself in whatever context this is brought up: “I am a dancer, but I mostly teach now…” “Well, I’m not with a company right now, but I have my degree in dance.” Truth is, I’ve been training and dancing for almost twenty years now, and it’s been a lot of hard work- not by accident.  Dance is the one thing that has become a non-negotiable in my life, and I’m lucky enough that I’ve made it my livelihood. I ran the audition circuit for a while, I gave myself a few years to explore possibilities. I may not be dancing the 6-8 hour days that I once did, but I still break a sweat in the studio almost everyday, in a different way. I try to reconcile myself to the fact that I’m not necessarily the dancer that I wished to be, and that I should be grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had. But, I still feel the need to undermine myself, to explain things away.  In the meantime, telling me that I look like a dancer makes a big part of me ecstatic, even if it’s a simple compliment that I can’t quite accept yet. The boss-lady tells me I’m “as much of a ballerina as I deserve to be.” I like that, the rest, well…I’m working on it.

EVA♥

Decoding Ballet

Hello all!

 So, as many of you know, aside from teaching dance five days a week, I also work for a lovely little company in San Francisco: Smuin Ballet. This last Wednesday, SF software magnate GitHub hosted us for our first ever Decoding Ballet seminar. Seeing as how, over the last few years, my lovely city has experienced a boom of successful young people in the tech industry, I thought it was an intriguing way to develop a connection between the arts and technology.

The presentation was primarily on the process and nuances of creating dance, both classical and contemporary. I love that Smuin Ballet is so not what people typically think of as ballet. Yes, they’re a group of brilliant, classically trained technicians, but the company’s ability to adapt to a variety of styles and genres of dance is uniquely impressive. Founder, Michael Smuin, had a strong presence on Broadway, in addition to the ballet world, and it shows in many of his works that are still performed today. It’s ballet but totally accessible- entertaining as well as beautiful.

Heard enough good things about Smuin? Ok! Let’s get to my inside look of the GitHub offices!

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Oh, hey, look! It’s a replica of the oval office. This is the very first thing you see when entering their office space. I’m still wondering if it’s a functional office, or just a great photo opportunity.

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Aside from the dancers performing, we also made the GitHub employees get up and dance with us. I though it was so great that they were so willing to get up and dance with the pros!

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Product placement anyone? After the presentation, we all headed over to the GitHub bar for a quick happy hour. They ordered pizza for all of us, and promised that they had cut it small because it wasn’t technically part of a “dancer’s diet.” Adorably thoughtful group, those GitHub people.

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Here’s the view opposite of the bar. They pretty much have an entirely functioning bar/restaurant embedded in their office. Necessary? I think so!

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We all enjoyed chatting and mixing all our happy hour cocktails ourselves! I was quite proud of this concoction: Bulleit bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice. Yum! I’m hoping we have more of these events in the future- ballet has always been packaged as an almost elitist, hyper-dignified art form, but certainly doesn’t have to be. It’s incredibly encouraging to see all the ongoing progress, while still managing to preserve the classics. Who says tech and performing arts can’t go together? Heck, even if your only involvement is attending performances, it’s never a waste. It’s an uplifting life experience, and there’s always champagne!

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend everyone!

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

Happy Wednesday! We’ve officially made it halfway through the week. Who else has a long weekend to look forward at the end of Friday? While I’m still teaching classes as usual, I’m glad to have a little time to breathe on Monday before diving back into my routine. Meanwhile, the final thing on today’s very long agenda was to finish off with this week’s Five Things. (Hint: it’s rather food/San Francisco-heavy. Pretty typical for Watch Me Juggle at this point!) Hope you enjoy!

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Voilà! A peek at my Sunday brunch! I love salmon and cucumbers, so why not together? I was surprised at how beautiful it all looked.

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This is what I did on my lunch break today.

A quick trip to Chantal Guillon for macarons could instantly cheer anyone up. The Persian rose flavor there was so amazing!

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A girlfriend of mine sent this to me via Instagram the other day. It melted my heart. Yes, I give myself a pep talk sometimes, just like that chubby bunny.

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I was on a phone call today and sat down in a rather unassuming courtyard in the financial district of San Francisco. It wasn’t until I started looking around that I really appreciated this fantastic view.

There’s a fabulous new ballet documentary coming out this Friday! Who’s coming with me to see it?

Until next time,

EVA♥

San Francisco Ballet Gala 2015: Infinite Romance

Hello everyone!

I’m still alive and kicking, despite having caught ‘the sick’ that seems to be going around everywhere these days. You would think that I would be taking things relatively easy considering, but no- I find myself just as busy, if not more than usual!

On the topic of being busier than usual, last week I worked all three jobs that I’m currently juggling, and had the pleasure of attending San Francisco Ballet’s opening night gala performance (you can find my review from last year’s here)! My father thoughtfully bought the whole family tickets for the evening as a Christmas gift back in December.

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We kicked off the evening with the sold-out performance at the War Memorial Opera House. I found this year to be quite different from past performances as it primarily consisted of duets including only the principal artists of the company, as well as student showcase.  While the student piece was choreographed by Helgi Tomasson himself, I was disappointed at how little dancing the students and trainees actually did. Quite honestly, it was five minutes of technically perfect walking, bowing, and standing in formation. The following piece, an excerpt from “Alles Walzer,” was a reprise from the year before, and a rather lighthearted way to begin the program. The majority of the pieces performed were highly romanticized duets, perhaps as a nod to the evening’s theme. From Act II from “A Cinderella Story,” to “Borealis” accompanied by a cellist onstage, we saw a number of tumultuous relationships unfold onstage. Albeit some of them, as with the pas de deux from “Onegin,” seemed melodramtic whe performed entirely out of context. Unfortunately, as Alan Ulrich pointed out in his review for SF Gate, because the program itself was shuffled around and performed out of order, I had a hard time figuring out who was performing what. I echo his sentiments that the two group pieces were the highlight of evening- I especially enjoyed the excerpt from “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude.” The program concluded with the classic pas de deux from “Le Corsaire,” which less-than-subtly showed off Tara Domitro and Vanessa Zahorian’s dancing.

Now, for the fun part: After-Party in city hall!

Behold! The crowd:

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(Just in case you forgot you were at a ballet gala’s afterparty: pointe shoes/ballerinas everywhere!)
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I asked my parents to take a few photos of me, which quickly turned into an amusing photoshoot in the corner by the bar. They were both pointing their smartphones at me, while I stood around and attempted to look nonchalant holding two glasses of prosecco. The above was the most flattering of the bunch. My mother and I then ended up taking selfies while I attempted to drink my ticket’s value in prosecco. I was determined to get my money’s worth, what can I say? With food, drinks, a great band, and multiple dance floors to keep you entertained, I think it would be impossible to attend this event and not have a good time. There’s always the possibility of running into very well-know figures in the ballet world, as well. My mother finally got to speak to one of her favorite dancers from the company, Yuan Yuan Tan, and I managed to meet some rather intriguing people myself! In case you were wondering, I ended up wearing a fabulous sheer chiffon mermaid-style skirt (from Urban Outfitters, see it here), along with a wrap that was admittedly dancewear. My studded Valentino look-alikes and my Marrin Costello bowzer bracelets made an appearance as well.

The evening was so enjoyable, we ended up staying until 1:30am, when the city hall security began to politely escort us out.

Black tie success.

EVA♥