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 ♥

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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♥

The One Where I Went to Many Weddings

Hello all!

The Watch Me Juggle Wedding Edition is here!

I recently went to two weddings in one day. (Pause for reaction) It’s been quite the conversation starter. Some people think I’m a little crazy, some people have asked me if I think I’m in 27 Dresses,”you name it. The first wedding I attended was just slightly north of Santa Cruz, in the woods, for my friend Jessie and Andrew. The second was an evening wedding back in my lovely hometown for my friends and Smuin dancers, Erin and Jonathan. The initial plan was to arrive early for the first, jet after the ceremony, and catch the second right at the start. Luckily the traffic gods were on my side, and I made it to each venue right on time.

I’m going to be entirely honest and say that I had a major blogger’s conflict here. Both weddings I attended were intimate, and every time I pulled out my phone to take a photo, I felt like I might as well have stuck it directly in the couples’ faces. I much preferred the good, low-tech method of being an active participant and taking everything in. I was able to snap a few photos before the proceedings, but after that it was all a happy blur. Note: I am most definitely the weeper at weddings. I try to keep it as collected as possible, with the subtle eye dab,  but make no mistake, I am Kim Kardashian-style crying on the inside.

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Wedding hint: you’ll need at least one crochet hook to do up all those pretty little buttons. Good luck getting out of that dress after it’s on!

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Photo c/o Jessie Fritzen

The lovely Mr. & Mrs. Fritzen.

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Photo c/o Erin Yarbrough Powell

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Photo c/o Erin Yarbrough Powell

Mr. & Mrs. Powell! Or, as Jonathan said in passing “Imarriedyourfriendisthatok?!” They look pretty happy, so it’s wonderful in my humble opinion.

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Photo c/o Jonathan Powell

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Photo c/o Michaela Lynch

We had some beautiful familiar faces crash our Dance Arts Project wedding! Our recent graduates sauntered on in at the best time, and got put right to work, serving wedding cake with smiling faces. It was truly a family affair.

So, now that I’m a self-proclaimed wedding expert Here are all the things you need to know about being a wedding guest! 

  • The bride & groom have probably been planning their wedding for ages. It’s a wonderful, exciting occasion, but it’s more than likely things will deviate from the plan. The best thing you can all do is sit back and enjoy!
  • Be open-minded. Not everyone’s wedding is going to be your ideal. It’s a representation of them, and you’ve been invited to take part in it.
  • Help where you can. Is grandma struggling to find her seat? Flower girl need assistance? Get in there.
  • Bring extras of things: safety pins, bobby pins, mints, tissues. If you don’t end up using them, someone else gratefully will.
  • Be yourself (‘duh), be personable, make some new friends. If you’re a dancer, get up and get the party started on the dancefloor (at an appropriate time, of course)! A good time is contagious, you know.
  • Ladies, wear shoes appropriate to your venue. This means no stilettos outdoors, no casual flats at the formal event, etc. When in doubt, and if space allows, bring an emergency change of shoes!
  • On a similar note, ladies, don’t ever trust your date if he relays the dress code verbally. Ask for specific examples. Formal gown, cocktail dress- they don’t know the difference. You don’t want to be the only boob at the “formal” wedding wearing a gown.
  • Make sure you get a little quality time with the bride & groom, and document it! Even if it’s just a selfie. Remember: they’re in high demand, so let them be generous with their time. They want to see all their people!
  • Oh yeah…enjoy! Eat cake, catch a bouquet, collect stories to tell for years to come.

That’s all for now! Until the next wedding…?

EVA♥

How to Bachelorette

Hello all!

If you’ve read my last post, I’m sure you’ve picked up on the craziness that is my life lately. With the many weddings, come many wedding preparations. There’s the planning, the flowers, the cake tastings, but my personal favorite is an age-old tradition: the Bachelorette party.

I’ve had a few bachelorette experiences in my lifetime. The first, while I was still in college, involved kidnapping the bride, shopping at Victoria’s Secret, and an old-fashioned slumber party complete with hair braiding and Truth or Dare. The latest, was perhaps up several notches up on the “adult” scale, but no less fun. It still involved semi-kidnapping the bride ( The “Pack your bags! Get in the car- we’re going on vacation!” kind of kidnapping), but the itinerary was an entire girl’s weekend in Napa. We hit as many wineries as we could in one day, and, of course, made the bride wear these amazing glasses:

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You know, so everyone would know that she was the bride! We got such great, welcoming treatment, we decided that for our next weekend in Napa, someone else would have to be getting “married,” aka: taking turn wearing the fabulous bride glasses. Free drinks for everybody!

Our plans for day one involved starting with a quick wine tasting at Napa’s Folie a Deux winery, and then lunch at Thomas Keller’s ad hoc & addendum in Yountville.

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addendum is only open for a few hours each day, and offers a simple menu, picnic style. We opted for a bucket of their signature fried chicken, along with their sides and some cornbread.

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We like Chandon with our bucket o’chicken. We’re classy friggin ladies.

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I’m going to be honest, I thought about this Rosemary-topped fried chicken for days after I ate it. It was amazingly delicious.

We then proceeded to walk through Yountville, taking in the sights. If you ever find yourself in the are, make sure you stop by their visitor’s center. We left with great recommendations, and were thoroughly entertained by Marion, an English grandma with no filter. She had us in stitches the moment we walked in. She gave us all the local specials and recommendations, and, for those tasting rooms that were coupon-less, she simply suggested we walk in and “look pathetic.” She’s a great lady, that one.

We continued our trek down the road, past the world-famous French Laundry and neighboring gardens, to Jessop Cellars.  We were helped by Kate, a fellow 20-something who entertained our lack of wine knowledge.  “What kind of wines do you like?” she asked the bride.

“Uh, the kind that’s in a cup!”

Well said, Jessie. I second that. 
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The second thematic question of the trip involved pointing at the menu and asking “What color is this one?!”

The looking pathetic must have worked, either that or the bride’s giant crown won us points, as they insisted that our tastings were all free of charge. Jessop was such a great spot, I definitely see myself returning the next time I’m in the area!

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At the end of our trip, there was one question I kept getting asked: “So did you guys get crazy?” And, while you won’t find any exotic dancer business cards in my purse, we did go to a dive bar for some karaoke (the Bride’s favorite activity of choice). I like to joke that there’s a reason I’m a dancer- you really don’t want to hear me sing. Even so, after some creative shooters, I somehow found myself onstage singing “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rhianna. I guess singing would be a little too generous of a description. I was mostly just yelling into the mike. Which I’m sure was pretty entertaining.  There is no lack of adventure here in Watch Me Juggle-land.

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♥

Oh, Hello 2015

Hello everyone!

Wait, but, seriously…what day is it?

I ask this because the last few (or rather the first few of the year) have been a total blur. Admittedly, I still have that holiday feeling going on in my little apartment. Yes, tree, Christmas lights and all. My last week of December was quite work-filled and while I did quite a bit of shopping, I didn’t manage to get it together enough to by a 2015 calendar. So I still have last year’s hanging on my wall, turned to December, so you could see how this could be confusing.

Ringing in this new year’s was a success, I must say. I always say that I pretty much only need two things to make an evening successful: good food, and good company. I had both. My friend Kelsey decided to come up from Santa Barbara for an impromptu visit, and we decided to celebrate in style with my friend Courtney. This of course translates to applying lots of glittery eye makeup and watching “Magic Mike” whilst eating tacos. (There may or may not have been a “Magic Mike” drinking game involved. Rules: drink every time you see gyrating, and so on…)

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Photo c/o Kelsey Tinkham

Our neighborhood bar and taqueria, pre-new-year’s-eve festivities. I’ve discovered the fried chicken taco everyone. Amazing!
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It turns out that, out of all my friends, I’m one of the only ones who isn’t afraid of opening a bottle of bubbly. It’s one of my favorite things, actually. I managed to shoot the cork from this bottle of cava across the room! Please also note that while I was inept at taking pictures of my outfit this particular evening, I was, in fact, wearing hot pink pants and my most amazing new shoes.

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Photo c/o Kelsey Tinkham

We went out all dressed in black. Like a band. A really classy one. That frequents wine bars.

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Post-new year’s countdown. We went home that evening covered in streamers/silly string.

The next morning we did as all good San Franciscans do and spent some time in Dolores Park ringing in the new year with mimosas. I had a hard time keeping up with the conversation, as there were so many adorable dogs running around the park that afternoon. Also, in true San Francisco fashion, there was a rather large drone flying in circles around the park, enjoying its time interrupting people with its loud, mosquito-like whirring. The joys of technology.

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Of course, regardless of it being almost 40-degree weather, we trucked over to Bi-Rite for some ice cream as the sun was setting. While I was tempted by the seasonal candy cane flavor, I could no longer feel my feet and figured that ice cream would be counterproductive to the whole staying-warm thing. Look at me! Adulting my way into the new year.

Happy New Year!

EVA♥

Oops, I’m in Arizona

Hello all!

I hope I’m finding you well this lovely Tuesday.

Despite the title of today’s blog, I’ve actually just gotten back at home to the state of California. But I sure was in Arizona five minutes ago…

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I was visiting this lady, Emily; one of my college roommates and good friend who always lets me crash on her couch/air bed/army cot…?

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It was a trip of many firsts:  the first awkward bathroom-selfie, the first time I tasted a Bloody Mary, the first time I ate a habañero pepper, and the first time I played cornhole. Luckily, I have photographic evidence to verify that I did, indeed, do all these things!

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See! Cornhole! Considering my hand-eye coordination is horrible, I didn’t play too badly. Don’t worry, you’ll get to see my reaction to the habañero pepper I ate later…

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I flew in to the Phoenix area for a whirlwind trip over the weekend. It’s been many years since I’ve been back, and it was lovely to see it through new eyes.

We hit the ground running with plans to have dinner and drinks at the new Yard Tempe. The brainchild of Culinary Dropout, it already had a stellar reputation, despite the fact that it had yet to officially open. Of course, our group didn’t know this as we clambered out of our Uber SUV, walked into the restaurant, and casually asked to be seated. We were informed that it was, in fact, the soft opening, and that they were only accepting reservations. Not at all dismayed, we started to make our way to the bar, only to be intercepted by the hostess, who indeed turned out to have a table for six.

Then…things got interesting.

We were handed the menus and informed that we could choose a number of cocktails and antipasti, an entrée apiece, and multiple desserts to share- all on the house. The blurry photo you see above is the result of our damage done over a few hours of dining: $0.00. We had an amazing time, and a very sweet waitress (whom we tipped heftily). We couldn’t figure out what was more astonishing: the fact that our bill was entirely comped, or the fact that we inadvertently crashed an invite-only opening night party. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

Has anything like this happened to you, dear readers? It was certainly a first for me!

As always, more adventures later.

EVA♥

Where did November Go?!

Hello everyone!

I’m sure many of you, like me, are wondering just where the heck the last month went. Well, it may have come and gone in a blink, but I sure did enjoy the last few days of November.

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This is what I was in charge of this Thanksgiving. Yes, I did an excellent job.

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It wouldn’t be the holidays without Jeb, the tri-pod dog with the amazing spirit.

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Awesome people photos c/o Kira Smith & Perry, the man in black.

My dear friend Maren and I. She has my back. We have plans to grow old together and annoy each other endlessly after our husbands are gone. There are twin rocking chairs on the porch waiting for us in our old age together.

….

In case you missed last year’s Thanksgiving post, my girlfriends and I have a longstanding tradition of celebrating our very own Thanksgiving together. It’s been going on five years now, and keeps getting better. We make a mean turkey, using Oprah’s favorite recipe, and all the fixins.’ Friends Reggie & Jas also joined us this year, and brought along a fantastic holiday cocktail consisting of egg nog, Kahlua, and Jim Beam. This of course means that I did get to try egg nog for the first time ever in my life. It’s like liquid Christmas pudding, really.

We have an annual tradition of taking fabulous photos in front of our dining table, only to later put on pajamas/sweatpants and finally eating our meal. We also like to take some time and go around the table sharing the things we’re thankful for this year. I’m fairly sure that every year I say that I’m so thankful to be able to spend time with the family I’ve chosen for myself. They’re very important people to me, after all. I’m also thankful that my friend Xela (pictured above in the royal blue dress) came through a very serious, recent surgery just fine. She’s a very inspiring human being. In fact, all my girlfriends inspire me. Maren, my college roommate for years, is studying to be a nurse, and is definitely the kind person I would want by my side in any emergency. I’m friggin’ thankful that so many strong women are my friends, and that I get to spend holidays with them.

I hope you all also had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays!

EVA♥

Post-Halloween Post

Hello all!

I’m baaaack! 🙂

If you haven’t guessed as much, today’s post is an official Halloween recap. It’s technically the final post of Blogtober ’14- how I will miss you! I know it’s already November, and that there’s the unspoken rule that all talk of holidays has to immediately cease once said holiday has passed. It’s already Christmas at Starbucks….need I say more? Always on to the next best thing. But first, let me share all of my ridiculous Halloween photos with you. Bonus points to you if you can figure out what our fabulous theme-costume was! Hint: We are not witches/fairies/anything from Frozen. 

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We found a rubber snake on the dance floor. And also found 800 ways to pose with said rubber snake.

Big shout out to fabulous photographer-friend Rachel Lorencz. She kindly shared all the good pictures with me. 

Some of my favorite gals and I went to the Starlight Room in San Francisco for their annual Halloween party. One of favorite parts of the night, aside from the dancing, had to be the amazing view. 21 stories above Union Square, we made some new Australian friends, got some free cocktails, and gawked at all the ridiculous costumes. (My favorite was possibly the person who decided to dress as a tornado.)

Before Friday I had a variety of costume ideas swimming around in my head, but at the very last minute, I decided to go as a part of the four seasons. My friends still needed someone to be Spring, and I luckily already owned a fabulous crown of flowers to stick on my head. While our costumes were quite thrown together, they turned out really well, if I may say so myself!  My girlfriends are a creative bunch. Meanwhile, I, while attempting to be crafty, managed to hot glue myself into my costume while wearing it. I did not think this through and am not the best when it comes to crafts, clearly. Seeing as I had absolutely no idea as to what I was going to wear two days prior to Halloween, I’m happy with the way things turned out. I loved running around with my little green bustle flowing out behind me and felt a bit like a superhero.

Despite having to call it a night relatively early, I had such a nice time and even managed to fill my purse up with candy for the road.

Treats all around.

EVA♥

…and a Piñata

Hello all!

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It was recently my friend Rachel’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with a sunny backyard barbecue? We had the required array of food: hot dogs, barbecue chicken, salads, chips and dip.  There was good weather, good company, and good food, so it was a perfect afternoon in my book. Also, there was a piñata. I’m sure you could gather as much from the photos.

The innocuous, sparkling Dora the Explorer-covered star seemed to bring out the security dog in Maddie. She was entirely determined to rescue us all from its threatening presence. If you look closely, the star seems to only have four points, as she dismembered it as we were in the process of stringing it up. We had to remove her from the yard just so the birthday girl could take the piñata out properly. Of course, we let Maddie have her fun with the remnants, yet she wasn’t happy until she had systematically taken it apart. Bless her- I’m convinced the sparkling streamers just weren’t her style.

The afternoon also happened to coincide with Fleet Week, so we had the pleasure of having a Blue Angels flyover. I told Rachel it was entirely in honor of her birthday, obviously. I left the party with a purse full of candy- some things never change.

I can’t believe that October is flying by so quickly! I’m looking forward to getting into the Halloween spirit, and am steadily stocking up on my pumpkin-flavored goodies from Trader Joe’s. I’m enjoying Fall while I can…only 63 more days until Christmas, and not enough hours in the day.

EVA♥