Top Shelf

I would like to introduce everyone on my corner of the internet to my friend, Tucker.

My friends Emily, Tucker, & their son Atlas

Tucker is not shy in saying what he feels, which I find very refreshing. He is one half of a duo I have known quite a long time. I first met Tucker and his significant other, Emily, when she moved in to our college home rather unexpectedly. I had spent days alone in the house unpacking and was busy nursing a bowl of cereal in my pajamas when an entire, bright-eyed family walked into the living room. I sat there stunned, staring across the way at an awkwardly small tv screen, accutely aware of my bed head and how deranged I probably looked to my new housemate’s family. Fast forward about 10 years and all of us still keep in touch.

He often shares the most concise, no-nonsense pieces of advice he gleaned from his days in the military. Gems like: “Giving a shit is a choice.”

But Tucker holds the record for perhaps the nicest thing a guy friend has ever said to me when I was feeling down:

“Eva: you are a top shelf bottle of wine. Why are you putting yourself on the bottom shelf?”

Of course, there were some choice words after that that he used to elaborate (“All the douchebags are reaching for you on the bottom shelf! C’mon, dude!”), but I’m sure you get the gist of it. This is something I continuously ask myself when I find myself all too frequently baffled by other people’s behavior. There I am, sitting with my fancy label next to the bulbous jugs of Carlos Rossi sangria wondering why I’m apparently unloveable. Some people are there just for the cheap sangria, and I guess I’m just not your lady if that’s what you’re looking for. Case in point: there are some people in life that you’re better off without, but that’s a hard lesson to learn. Unless you fully isolate yourself from that outside world, I think one that it’s one we continuously learn.

Throughout the years, my friends have seen me through a lot of ups and downs–we’re talking forcibly putting cookies in my hands whilst I ugly cry, topping off my holiday coffee with a little more Baileys in the name of “pain management,” and even helping me clean my house when I’m feeling too down-in-the-dumps to function. Seriously. Please imagine my friends determinedly swiffering around me as I lie on the ground on the fetal position. If I hadn’t been so nonfunctional at the time, it would have been quite comical. But, it’s moments like these that make me so grateful to have a community of people that support me so unconditionally. They’ve seen me at my lowest, and even taken care of me when I was sick. They’re the kind of people you hope to have by your side in life.

Surround yourself with people that meet you on the top shelf and know you belong there, too.

You’ll know where to find me.

EVA ♥

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I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito…

If I were to write a memoir (an inevitable goal of mine), I decided this past winter that the title would be I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito and other stories I didn’t see coming…

Yes, I’m aware these are tacos. They are just open-faced burritos, really.

(Spoiler alert: The inspiration for this title stems from the fact that I actually fell asleep next to a half-eaten burrito once over the holidays. Of all the things to potentially wake up next to, this one isn’t half bad, but still not entirely encouraging. In my defense, I was very tired and also very hungry.)
 
Chapter Two would be something along the lines of “I just spilled tequila on my shoe. Because having a bottle of tequila at your desk is normal, right?”
When I first joked about this with friends I tried to backpedal a bit, saying that I would write two books: one full of utterly ridiculous stories and shenanigans (the “burrito” book) and another more introspective, thoughtful.
This was, of course, quickly shot down.
“No! No! It has to all be in I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito! It’s what people would want to read.”
Ok… so admitting that sometimes my life is a mess is one thing, but flaunting it in print forever? I had mental pictures of my great-grandchildren looking horrified when being presented with it. At best, they would find it amusing and sort-of ridiculous. Maybe they might feel a weird sense of pride that great-grandmama was a total wacko? I tried to even imagine saying it with a straight face: “Yes, I’m a writer. I have one book in print at the moment: I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito.
I’m sure that’s a Pulitzer prize winner right there.
If I’m seriously going to go forward with a book like this, there will of course also have to be a chapter entitled “Where did all these f***ing shoes come from?” And “It’s a phone, it’s not rocket science.” I’m sure some feminists out there will tear me up for perpetuating awful female/Millennial stereotypes, but hear me out. My book wouldn’t be some sort of girly answer to the dreaded Tucker Max sagas (anyone remember those horrible things?). Quite the contrary. I would like to empower women like myself to unabashedly be who they are–through the ups, the downs, all of it. Because, contrary to what might be popular belief, a 30-something woman living in California does have things to add to the world other than babies and the things she pins on Pinterest.
I recently spoke with a friend of mine who works in publishing, and, after having seen and worked with all manner of authors, she’s concluded that everyone simply writes what they themselves need to read. Have trouble making non-divisive conversation? Write about the art of small talk! Feeling isolated from your peers as they hit major life milestones (marriage, home ownership, children)? Write about what makes your life unique and valid, not despite all those things, but because of them.
Until next time, dear readers.
EVA ♥

How to Act Right at the Gym

Alright people. New year, new you, right?

Let Watch Me Juggle provide you with a few tips that I’ve gleaned from dogging the massive influx of people at my local 24 Hour Fitness to give you a few pointers as to how to behave when trying to get a workout in. Now, I’m by no means an expert here, but I do know how to generally behave around people and share space, and, based on my recent experiences, it seems like some of you could use a refresher course. So, without further ado, I give you:

HOW TO ACT RIGHT; the Gym edition

  • Do not bring a bag of french fries into the gym and proceed to walk around and eat them. Unless you want everyone to hate you.

  • Quit hogging the machines by spreading your stuff everywhere. Just because you put your water bottle next to that piece of equipment across the room does not mean that it is now magically yours.
  • Do not sit in front of the free weights and change your shoes, have snack time or nap time or any other personal time. You’re in the way. People want to pick those up and use them.

  •  Do not steal the yoga ball someone was using and set aside for two seconds. Furthermore, if you’re going to steal a yoga ball, actually use it. Don’t just sit on it in the corner and stare creepily at people.
  • Please don’t stand vaguely near a machine and then yell “I WAS USING THAT” when someone else starts actually using it. You were not using that, you were diddling around on your phone 10 feet away. You’re not a two-year-old; remember that sharing is caring.
  • The constant grunting is never necessary. Yes, we know those are heavy and you’re a man who’s lifting things, but…stop.
  • We all appreciate when you clean your sweat off of the bench. What is not productive, however, is leaving your soggy, sweaty paper towels next to the thing you just cleaned.
  • For the love of god, please wear swimwear and not underwear when using the pool. I know, it’s all just fabric, but sir, I don’t need to see you in your soggy Underarmour briefs when I’m trying to just live my life and do some TRX.
  • Learn how to count, then please use your counting skills when re-racking the weights.

You can do it, I have faith in you!

Good talk.

EVA♥

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes, the title is ironic.

No, I’m not a total grinch I swear, maybe just a little messed up, as he says. Hear me out, dear readers.

The holidays are hard. They are. Any grown adult who denies this is probably hiding from something in a giant pile of tinsel somewhere watching “The Christmas Prince” 18 days in a row. Maybe someone hurt you, maybe you’re missing all the people who can’t be with you this season, or maybe you don’t have a family to spend the holidays with.  Even if you have all your idealistic ducks in a row, maybe you’re just feeling the pressure to make the holidays special for everyone around you. A good friend of simply said the other day that the holidays are hard because “this is the time where you are supposed to be happy.” The whole damn commerce-driven world demands it of you. Wear the sparkles! Buy the people you love presents! Wish everyone “Happy Holidays,” it’s nice! SMILE!
When you work in a customer-facing field (to put it lightly) like I do, it’s imperative you screw that smile on tight every morning. I make holiday small talk with people, but often wonder what’s really going on with everyone else. Do they feel the same way about the holidays as I do? While we’re busy trading cookie recipes, did they lose someone or something they cared about? While we’re playing the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on repeat, who are we trying to convince?  We’re here covering things with Christmas lights and pretending that everything is merry and bright and whatnot. Everyone gets swept up in the holiday momentum, and it’s easy enough to blend in with the crowd. As much as the holidays are a reminder of the good things in life, like spending time with friends and family, giving to other people; the not-so-good things often loom on the other side. January is, of course, the magical time where everyone gets their sh**t in order, right? Almost no one I know enjoys January, but we’ll all cross that bridge when we come to it.
All ranting aside, the thing I’ve come to realize is that, no matter where you are in life, you have to A: take a deep breath, and then B: make the holidays your own. Don’t let other people’s expectations ruin what should be a nice time, regardless of your circumstances. Take the focus off of yourself and do something nice for the people you care about. Give yourself little projects, like decorating the house, baking something delicious, or volunteering. Aside from baking and the occasional festive cocktail, I’ve really been enjoying my tradition of making original and slightly inappropriate Christmas cards. (This one won the year for me. Current life status: Emily.) Plenty of people can relate to feeling like the holidays aren’t for them. Each year I make my cards on Shutterfly, I struggle with finding designs that don’t insist on making my last name a plural or forcing me to introduce a whole group of people. What am I supposed to do with this?!  “Happy holidays  from Eva, her shoes, her glass of Zinfandel, and this Christmas tree”? Well… that’s actually what I do, so that’s sort of a bad example.
I’ve reached the point in my life where the holidays have become a time where I get to celebrate the way that I want, if it’s laughing at myself or just hibernating with a glass of wine and my little Christmas tree. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly about how you…well, do you.
Hang in there, dear readers. Happy holidays.
EVA♥

Drinks & German Charades

Hello all,

Today, I wanted to write about a little phenomenon I’ve encountered. I’m not sure if I’m entirely abnormal, but I find that, having grown up multilingual, I no longer entirely trust myself to switch from language to language accurately. They all seem to blend together, and I constantly want to substitute one language with another in the same sentence. Even when I reach a certain level of comfort, I second guess myself. During my last trip to Austria, I discovered a bit of a solution.

You see, I just need a few drinks and then my German comes out just fine. In moments of uncertainty, I don’t have a problem asking for help if there’s a word I can’t remember or simply don’t know. The not knowing is always inevitable. I mean, when you’re learning a language, who the hell covers things like “Help! The fuse blew in the basement”?

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 Sans drinks, I have a crippling fear of speaking to people like a cave woman, and by this I mean using improper grammar or inadvertently offending someone. The fully sober me will get ready to concoct a sentence, and then the voice in my head yells “THAT’S NOT GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT! Everyone in this country thinks you’re an idiot!” So I’m forced to limit my speech to disjointed sentences or one word answers. “Yes. The food is delicious. No, I’m not at all cold.” It’s quite telling that the one phrase I find myself repeating over and over in a variety of languages is “No, really, I’m full.” This can probably be attributed to the fact that I come from a group of  universally stocky people, who I’m sure secretly harbor the thought that I’m a strange human twig who’s slowly and deliberately starving themselves into nothing. No matter how much food I shovel in, they insist I need to eat more. On my European side of the family this philosophy unfortunately (or fortunately) also applies to alcohol. I can’t honestly think of another family where “You have to finish the whole bottle!” Is an acceptable thing to say to one person…on a Tuesday evening. There’s also half a cake you’re going to have to put away if you want to make it out alive. Try not to fall down on your way out to the car. Given that there are no  streetlights and a lot of ditches you can fall into, this makes this normal task about 800 times trickier. 

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One evening, after describing what an avocado was to my grandmother for a short period of time, I finally figured out that the German word for avocado was “avocado,” but with a German accent. I’m considering the 10 minutes of my life that I spent performing some sort of weird German charades a total waste. I wrangled all of my vocabulary together to attempt to relay the message: “No, it’s not a fruit, it the other thing… It’s soft, and green, and has a big seed thing in the middle. They put it in sushi!!” (Because sushi is a great reference point for people who have lived in the Austrian countryside their whole lives and still slaughter pigs in their yard.) This was all followed by me making the shape of an avocado repeatedly in the air, like it was going to help. Granted when you’re have two beers and fours glasses of wine in you, it seems really effective. 

Despite having spoken it for the better part of my life, I still find that German is not an easy language. But, sometimes, things are a lot simpler than they seem. A bit of liquid courage can help and not being afraid to fail is always a good start. 

EVA♥

Thoughts from a Jet-Lagged Brain

Hello all!

Watch Me Juggle is back in the lovely state of California once again. As much as I enjoy my world travels, I’m happy to be back in the land of unending wifi and to-go cups of coffee. Before I essentially force all of you to look at my vacation photos, I thought I would share some of the utter nonsense that crossed my mind during my travels. While I knew before now that jet-lag existed, I never remembered experiencing it with such…intensity. Coupled with an abrupt break from an intense work schedule and the general unpredictability of air travel, it was like someone had turned the filter off of my ability to think rationally.

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Take my foray through airport security for instance. As I stepped out of the X-ray machine and moved to put my jacket back on, a TSA agent took me aside. I had had blood drawn earlier that day, and the band-aid was still firmly plastered to my arm. It was at this point the agent asked to see my bandaid. I tentatively stuck out my arm, wondering what could have aroused her suspicion so much that my band-aid was questionable. I was tempted to pull it off and hand it to her, but something about that felt socially unacceptable. While I’m on the topic of socially unacceptable behavior, a friend of mine recently informed me that people are statistically more apt to cry on planes. I’m grateful that she shared this with me, because about two hours into my flight, I found myself having the following inner-dialogue:

Brain: This movie has feelings. Cry. Now.
Me: No brain. I’m in public, and on a plane. This is not only socially unacceptable, but makes everyone, including me, uncomfortable. 
Brain: Cry now.
Me: It’s “Finding Dory” for God’s sake. Seriously?! A children’s movie about a fish— they don’t even have facial expressions! What are we crying about?! 

 

Luckily, my brain compromised, and instead allowed me to pretend I had mascara in my eyes for 15 minutes. I’ve decided that jet lag is a bit like being drunk. Except it’s not at all fun, and you have to be out in public with your grandma whilst pretending you know what’s going on around you. Let’s not forget constantly feeling like you can’t blink and might fall over.

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I tried to force myself to adapt to the time zone as much as possible. I stayed up late and had after dinner drinks in an effort to coax myself to sleep. Instead, I found myself wide awake, either reading or typing nonsense on my phone in the middle of the night. I’m just glad I saved enough of these thoughts so I could share the bizarre nonsense that is me at 1am. I hope you find them as strangely amusing as I did. So, without further ado, I give you thoughts from my jet-lagged brain:

  • I can only have one arm above my covers when sleeping. Not two. Two and the monsters will get me. None, and I will suffocate. I’m serious. It’s science…or something. 
  • When on family vacations, always sleep in a room with a door that locks. Lest you wake up with your grandmother sitting on the end of your bed asking you what you would like for breakfast or someone’s hand in your face (my mother recently pulled this and scared the living daylights out of me). When there someone who isn’t you, in your space. They can be one of two things: an intruder or a well-meaning intruder checking to see if you’re still breathing. Either way, this is not reassuring in any sense. Boundaries people. We have them. 
  • When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes mixed with biodegradable glitter (the kind they make out of seaweed). It would be a gorgeous and environmentally friendly sendoff. There also needs to be drinks. 
  • European churches are really intense. Sure, there’s gold and stuff, but where did all the decorative skulls come from? It’s good that we teach kids about death, but if I had been exposed to graphically crucified Jesus so much as a child I would have been slightly traumatized. Also, with all this intensity I half expect the “Shame!” lady from “Game of Thrones” to come after me at any moment. 
  • Do people’s’ ribcages move around? For example, does one side ever get stuck overlapping on the other? Because I feel like mine does, which would explain the awkward uneven sticking out it tends to do. I know there’s a lot of cartilage in there, but it’s level of pliability is questionable. It has a job that needs doing. 

And, lastly:

  • What if the Internet breaks and all my writing disappears? Must check on writing.  Must print out hundreds of pages of nonsense too, just in case. 

 

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

EVA♥

That’s Not How This Works

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cheers!

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello everyone!

I’m back today with my usual Five Things. This week seems to have a bit of a rainbow theme in effect. Show me someone who doesn’t like rainbow-colored things, and I’ll show you a big fat liar. I’ve gather this weeks “things” from a variety of locations, namely the local Whole Foods, Books Inc., and my favorite cookie delivery people. One would think that I’m hawking for all these people, but I’m afraid not! (If anyone has any connections, please put me in touch with them *wink wink*) Don’t ever hesitate to add some sprinkles to your life. It’s always appropriate…

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Along with Pride in San Francisco came these rainbow unicorn cupcakes. I could almost not bring myself to eat this majestic frosting. Also, I have to give credit to whoever is crafting little chocolate unicorns. Amazing!

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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: a Pinterest recipe! I was inspired by this recipe from Veuve Cliquot that combines vanilla ice cream, raspberries, and champagne. It was a hit- especially in the Fourth of July heat!

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When all else fails, nothing can brighten up your day quite like a cookie covered in rainbow sprinkles. I’m partial to Doughbies, based here in San Francisco, that will deliver freshly baked cookies directly to you in under 20 minutes.

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I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive of the adult coloring book trend that seems to have taken hold recently, but this fantastic display finally has me convinced. I even came across some actual “adult” coloring books- chock full of phrases that would make the FCC have a fit. The dichotomy never fails to make me laugh!

 

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Image c/o Butlikemaybe

Butlikemaybe has to be my new favorite Instagram account. I love the simple illustrations coupled with all too relatable (albeit hilarious) scenarios. You can find some of my other favorite posts here, here, and here.

Happy Wednesday!

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♥