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♥

Mini Adventures

Hello all!

Today’s story is all about my latest, new-car-buying adventures. I’ve been driving the same car since I was 16, and it served me really well. It was dusty and full of door-dings, but it got the job done. When my parents approached me saying I needed a new car, I shrugged at the thought. My car worked just fine, not to mention, I was oddly emotionally attached to it. I had passed my driver’s license test in it, drove it around my last summer in college, and took it on so many road trips. It was a constant in my life. But, I deserved to be safe and knew it would be a necessary purchase in future.

A little while later, this happened:

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When I first entertained the idea of getting a new car, numerous people in my life suggested a Mini Cooper, straightaway. It was never something that I entertained before, but since I wanted a car smaller than the one I was currently driving it was at least worth a test drive. I didn’t realize how much I would like it! We ended up purchasing Mini’s newest model: The Clubman, which is a little bit bigger than your average Mini. I was a little hesitant until I coincidentally stumbled across someone who owned one right in my own little town. He had nothing but good things to say, and was incredibly enthusiastic about his experiences. I was sold.

Of course, buying a car can be really stressful, so here are some things to keep in mind:

Do your research. 

There are a ton of cars out there, and the choices can be seriously overwhelming if you have absolutely no idea what you want/need. I recommend looking potential buys up on the Kelly Blue Book website. They even have reviews direct from car owners, so you can get a bit of perspective. If you don’t have to make a decision right away, take as much time as you can afford.

Stand your ground. 

Car salesmen have notoriously pushy reputations for a reason. Some will want you to sign your life away immediately,”Which one do you want!? DONE!” And others might give you a load of grief during the paperwork process. I had a rather unfortunate experience at the dealership in San Francisco, and wouldn’t go back their had I had to do it all over again. Sometimes smaller dealerships can offer a lot in terms of experience.

And, in the end….

Go with your gut. 

There are always going to be other choices, but what do you want? Don’t try to rationalize your instincts away (unless you’re trying to buy yourself a hot pink Bugatti for your commute, or something equally ridiculous). After all, you’re the one that has to drive your car everyday.

It’s been a good solid month now of zipping around in the Mini, and I can say that I’m really happy with it. Just the other day, I joked with my girlfriends “I don’t have pets, or much of a life, but hey! I have my mini!” Please keep in mind that this was after I waved and said hello to it on the street like a crazy person. Since I’m not allowed to have cats in my apartment, I guess I’ll become a crazy car lady instead.  This car is probably the nicest thing I’ve ever owned, and I’m looking forward to having it for a good long while. As we all know, life sometimes doesn’t pan out the way you want it to, but there’s always things to be grateful for! Right now, I get to sit in my car, feel safe, and just a little bit snazzy.

EVA ♥

Burnout: Real Thing or Real Life?

Hello all!

It’s time for deep thoughts with Watch Me Juggle! I bet you can’t guess what today’s post is going to be about.

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Gif: hahahamster.com

I’ve written about a few life things (for lack of a better term) here and there.  It was a recent discussion that I had with a friend of mine that got me thinking. While I embrace the fact that I have a less-than-traditional field of work (no 9-to-5 here), things can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. They say the key to a successful and happy work life lies in finding something you love to do. I’m fortunate enough to say that I work for companies that I truly believe in, and with people who I consider family. The time I spend in the studio doesn’t ever feel like work. No two classes are ever the same- I get to be creative and I’m constantly learning new things.  I try to hold myself to a high standard, and want to continue to grow professionally, in all my jobs. But, as someone who is altogether too hard on themselves, every so often, that little voice in my head says that I’m not doing enough.

Talking to my friends who have all manner of jobs (tech, engineering, education) helps give me a bit of perspective. If you care about your job and work with integrity, you’re bound to feel like this at some point or another, no matter what field you find yourself in. You consistently push yourself and want to be better. I sometimes worry that what people refer to as “burnout,” is simply the reality for many people. This, to put it quite simply, makes me sad. It’s especially difficult to find balance when you care deeply about what you do. I’ll admit that I’m perhaps a bit lucky in this in that I, without the additional stressors of having a family or a mortgage, have the luxury of overthinking things like this. I hope that by acknowledging that things can get overwhelming sometimes, I’ll get better at balancing life, making room to decompress and do things just for me- like writing, traveling, and getting back to dance class! And that, as opposed to feeling like a hamster running in a wheel, I’ll feel more like this little guy, in his tiny swing:

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What about you, dear readers? Is “work/life” balance a tricky thing for you, as well?

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

It’s been far too long since my last Five Things! Thankfully, the internet in my apartment is fully up and running (huzzah!), but I’ve been living the true 20-something life lately, and only using my apartment to sleep/occasionally chug coffee in. Even with all the running around, I’ve still been able to grab the occasional snapshot of my life. In case you haven’t realized it by now, I really enjoy food. Perhaps a bit too much. So, without further ado, I give you: Five Things!

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If you haven’t yet been to Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco, you are missing out. Although it might be the most hipster bakery I’ve ever seen, their highly curated selection of pastries and sandwiches are just as tasty as they are beautiful. In case you’re wondering the dessert above is some sort of strawberry, lychee, early grey-cake-thing. Don’t ask questions- just eat.

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During my long internet drought, I amused myself by making massive dinners, like the above pictured turkey nachos. It would have been somewhat healthy had it not been for the whole chips/cheese combination. Delicious nonetheless, especially when paired with a good book! (And yes, I like to eat dinner in bed sometimes. Don’t worry, you will find a plate under all that food and foil.)

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My mother and I celebrated the most recent Mother’s Day with a little wine and cheese from our local Rock Wall Winery. It’s quickly become one of my favorite spots in town.

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If you happened to walk around San Francisco’s city hall lately, you might have noticed the giant inflatable bunny art installation happening outside. I’ve been told that they’re meant to represent the environmental destruction wrought by settlers in Australia during the late 1880s. Apparently, those bunnies can wreak some havoc.

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An amazing poke place opened up just a short walk away from my office. Ever since my first trip to Hawaii, I’ve been mildly obsessed with poke. It’s the perfect indulgent meal, while still feeling light. This serving was so big, I ended up eating it in shifts. I opted for some spicy salmon over brown rice, although you might not be able to see it quite well under the mountain of toppings.

EVA♥

I Survived 10 Days Without Internet

Hello all!

Remember my last post on First World Problems? I guess you could categorize this as one of those…

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It happened, I’m not sure why, but it did. I came home from a long day at work, attempted to turn on the tv  to catch up on my favorite show, and…nothing. After many frustrating phone calls back and forth with Comcast, we had determined that my modem was shot. Dead. Done. Finito.  I had no cable and no internet access; what was originally anticipated to last only a few days went on for almost two weeks. As someone who loves constant background noise (I wake up to my favorite radio talk show, I cook with my favorite sitcoms on in the background, I put my makeup on to music) the sudden silence felt a bit deafening. What’s more, I could barely send and receive text messages. In today’s hyper-connected society, I was in the equivalent of a black hole. What was happening on Instagram without me?! What happened on the last episode of Game of Thrones?! As disarming as it felt, there wasn’t really much I could do about it.

So, I tried to make the most out of the quiet time. When I first moved into my apartment years ago, I spent several weeks without internet access (and furniture, for that matter) and was rather creative with my time. I organized my kitchen cabinets, gave myself manicures, and watched all of my favorite classic movies over and over again. This time around, I used a bit of the time to catch up on chores, and treated myself to a few Redbox dvd rentals. The closest Redbox to my house conveniently happens to be close to a 7-11. I might have ducked in for movie-watching snacks more than once. With access to Netflix and Comcast On Demand, I almost never rent movies. During this last stretch, however, I watched a number of great ones: Elizabeth, Far from the Madding Crowd, Atonement, Crimson Peak, and Pixar’s Inside Out; all of which I would highly recommend.

At one point, I busted out an old radio to listen to in the mornings while I got ready for work. It was a little scratchy sounding, but at least I didn’t have to worry about burning through all of my data! I poured through my cook books and threw together some delicious dinners and desserts. I finished the book I had been reading and cracked open a new one, with 800 pages to entertain me. I went out for cups of coffee, took a few yoga classes, and went to bed at a reasonable hour every night. When I finally got reconnected, I didn’t feel my usual impulse to turn on the tv every time I entered my home. Who would have thought that resetting my cable would turn into a whole mental reset? As much as I missed the music and the noise over the last 10 days, I suddenly feel more comfortable with the silence. I was initially worried it would all make me feel a bit anxious, but instead, I can curl up with a book, and it feels better than alright. With unplugging, although involuntarily, I’ve been reminded that I can enjoy my own company, fully and without distraction. Hey! If you ever get bored, you can always talk to yourself!

Just kidding…

EVA♥

First World Problems

Hello all!

Sometimes, all you need is a little perspective. Occasionally, things tend to not go quite my way, as they do for anyone, but lately I’m beginning to feel like I’ve been jinxed. Everyday this week, I’ve attempted to leave my house extra early in the morning, only to somehow consistently arrive late to wherever I’m going. I’ve also somehow managed to almost trip myself while simultaneously stepping on a stranger’s foot so hard that his shoe almost came off. Oh, and my internet is down. I repeat, my internet and cable is down.

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I will be spending the foreseeable future in many coffee shops attempting to contact the outside world. Or holed up in my house making cookies while watching the same Redbox dvd rental over and over. I guess you could call this a “first world problem.” (Except not really, because everyone’s lives here in the Bay Area seem to revolve around access to the internet. Guess I won’t be able to work from home any time soon.) But, really, the whole concept of first world problems is interesting. The term itself implies that they, ironically enough, aren’t really problems at all. Alternatively, you could look at these problems as the ones you thank our President Obama for.

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They’re the kinds of problems people wish they had. If you’ve made it to the point where your biggest issue is that your fresh bottle of kombucha isn’t very fizzy, you’ve done good, kid. Here are some of the first world problems I’ve recently stumbled upon:

Your pizza tracker isn’t working. 

Domino’s, this one is for you. I excitedly ordered a pizza on my phone the other evening while working at the studio. I was really amused that I could see my pizza’s progress. Now it’s being made! Now it’s in the oven! Now it’s….Hey! Where did my pizza go?! What am I supposed to do with myself now while I wait?! I actually had to guess when my pizza was ready.

You missed the green light.

I walk quite a bit in my day-to-day life. If I have somewhere pressing to be, I don’t like to stop for anyone or anything. There is nothing more frustrating than the futile speed walk that happens when you see the “good time to walk” signal and are still too far away to make it. Sometimes I wonder if things like that can change your fate. Suddenly, it’s not such a first world problem anymore.

“Hey” texts

Uh…hi. What is the purpose of this? Seeing as you can’t even figure out how to interact via text, I do not have high hopes for this interaction in person. These are best left alone. “Hey” stop bothering me.

You bought something at full price, only to have it go on sale moments later. 

I’ve had this happen to me on numerous occasions, and it’s somehow devastating each time. It’s a small consolation that, if I ever do buy something full price, it’s because I like it. A lot. Sometimes I feel the strange need to just buy another one of whatever suddenly went on sale. That will show them! Stupid store.

You don’t know who the people in your Facebook newsfeed are anymore, because half of them recently got married and changed their names. 

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This gif explains it all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen things posted on my Facebook, only to have no idea who “Christina XYZ” is. Hi, stranger! Do I know you? How did your puppy get on my newsfeed? It’s only after further research that I realize I went to college/danced with/met this person as a party 5 years ago. Mystery solved.

You don’t know/can’t figure out the wifi password. 

Again, self-explanatory. I also have no love for the people who make their passwords insanely complicated. I do not have time to type all those numbers and letters out; there’s a kitten meme I have to show you.

The movie you want to see is sold out. 

This happened with a friend of mine a while ago. We went to see Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and couldn’t get in. The next theater we went to, same thing! We ended up buying tickets to the very last showing instead and killed some time with margaritas at Chevy’s. Everyone’s a winner in the end, right?

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You don’t want to download the Facebook messenger app.

Facebook, please stop being so convoluted. I just want to chat with people and I find it really obnoxious that I need to check my email notifications or use an actual computer to see what my friends said. When is an app within an app ever necessary? Hint: it’s not.

You don’t understand snapchat. 

I’m perhaps dating myself, but everytime I see one of my students acting like a doof (making weird faces, staring at their phones unblinkingly for long periods of time), I assume they’re on Snapchat. I don’t know what the fuss is all about. There’s a story, a bunch of crazy filters, and the snaps all disappear after 24 hours? I don’t understand. This seems too hard. Pardon me while I mix up my Metamucil.

Whatever your first world problems turn out to be, keep on keeping on! They’re all silly in the end, so don’t let them ruin your day. If you think about them the right way, you can absolutely change these negatives into positives. Don’t take life too seriously, practice being grateful, and know that, in the grand scheme of things, we’re pretty darn lucky.

Love,

EVA♥

Five Things

Hi everyone!

My Five Things for the week are truly indicative of my life lately. Meaning, that my life has consisted of cold brew coffee/cocktails/coffee cocktails, inspirational Pinterest quotes, snarky T-shirts, and chocolate. In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m a horrible stereotype of a 20-something woman and need to be stopped. But, at the end of the day, at least I’m not accosting you with my crazy outfits from Coachella. You’re welcome.

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Prizefighter is quickly becoming one of my favorite East Bay bars. It has everything you might need: snacks, delicious cocktails, and puppies. I often come here over other spots just to play with stranger’s dogs. They do get bonus points for having a section of their menu dedicated to alcoholic iced coffees. Win!

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There’s the most wonderful little wine shop that sells European cheeses and chocolates. I like to stop by occasionally and grab lunch there while ogling all their treats.

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My friend Rachel recently introduced me to a marvelous new thing: Creme de Violette. It makes your cocktails this beautiful violet color, and tastes amazing! I like it best in my gin and tonics.

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Photo c/o Pinterest

Sometimes I wish life could be this simple. Perhaps it’s just up to you! Go get yourself some ice cream and forget about those people, and, although violence is never the answer, I’m sure there are a few individuals out there who merit this quote. Thanks for the wisdom, Frank Ocean.

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Photo c/o Thug Life Shirts

A friend recently showed me this t-shirt and pronounced that it was entirely me. I also like hiking, as long as I can wear my yoga pants and bring my traveling latte. I could spend a great deal of time perusing all of the tops at Thug Life Shirts– they’re all hilarious. I could never decide on just one.

Until next time!

EVA♥

Evil Cookies

Hello everyone!

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Photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Those of you who know me, know I enjoy my baking endeavors. However, unlike many savvy bakers I know, I’m the kind of baker that can’t be bothered with certain things. If a recipe involves rolling, cutting, or, heaven forbid yeast, you can count me out. I live in fear of messing those recipes up, even though my friends insist they’re like any other. So, when I came across simple, yummy-sounding cookie recipes mentally stash them away for a rainy day, or a relaxing afternoon.

These potato chip cookies from my favorite food blog Smitten Kitchen seemed like they could either be odd or totally amazing- I’m glad to say that they were, hands down, the latter. I would go out on a limb and say that they were slightly evil as well. After all, how could something that consists primarily of butter, sugar, and potato chips not be delicious?

1 cup (2 sticks or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt (optional, see note above)
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1/2 cup finely crushed potato chips
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl, cream butter and a 1/2 cup sugar together. Mix in salt and vanilla. Add the chopped pecans and crushed potato chips. When fully combined, stir in flour until solid dough forms. Place remaining sugar in a small bowl, roll small balls of dough in sugar, and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly (I used my hands, because I’m totally uncool and don’t have fancy tools like this), and sprinkle with any leftover potato chip flakes. (The original calls for a “potato chip salt,” but I couldn’t help but cut corners.)

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Bake cookies until edges brown lightly- about 15 minutes. The final result is not unlike a pecan sandie, except exceptionally light and pleasingly salty.

I ate about two of these and suddenly realized that I had a problem. Being left alone in the house with over a dozen of these cookies, I could have easily eaten every single one; they were so good.  I started frantically giving them away in batches to friends and family in an attempt to stop myself from overindulging! While some people were skeptical at the thought of potato chip cookies, everyone did agree that they were amazing. I think I’ll have to make another batch very soon.

Happy baking!

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

Five Things! Five Things! It’s time for Five Things. Not four, not six, FIVE. Can you tell that I’ve had some strong coffee today!? Surely the cookies haven’t helped much either. (Fun fact: I once accidentally published a “Five Things” with only four images. I always count before I publish now.) Even though my collection of Five Things is something I regularly post about, I sometimes struggle with finding a solid variety in my images. I’m the kind of foodie who enjoys snapping photos before an amazing meal, just so I can look back at it and reminisce. I know I’m not the only one. This, of course, leaves me with copious amounts of food pictures on my phone, and not too many pictures of my actual life. So, please enjoy pictures of some things that I ate and enjoyed recently, interspersed with some other life “things.”

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I’ve become oddly fascinated with the Trouble Coffee Co. in West Oakland. It’s such a unique spot, and I’ve determined that their cinnamon toast must have some sort of crack in it. It’s that good. I recently took a friend of mine there and he was fascinated by the how pristine and white the whole cafe was. A little disarming, but lovely nonetheless.

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*cue sassy, hand on hip dressing room pose*

The above outfit is brought to you by Athleta. Think you can only wear your yoga clothes to the gym? Think again! I popped this outfit on for work and fancy dinner, and was oh-so-comfortable. I’m loving their Destination Wide Leg Pants so much I might buy another pair.

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The boss lady and I have the occasional ritual of visiting our favorite pizza joint, Hot Italian, in Emeryville after a long day of work. We always order their blood orange mimosas- they’re amazing!

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As some of you might already know, I have a bit of a dry shampoo dependence. I’ve tried all kinds of brands, but my favorite has to be Batiste. They come in a great variety of fragrances (my favorite are the cherry and “wild” leopard print ones!), and really do give your second-day-hair that necessary boost.

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My final food snap of the week is of this amazing spinach and shrimp risotto from one of my favorite local restaurants. I’m pretending that the puddle on the far left is broth, as opposed to a puddle of butter.

Yes, it was all delicious.

EVA♥

The Lady or the Tiger?

Hi everyone!

Today’s post is a little more substantial than my usual. Every once-in-a-while, I have some “deep thoughts” I like to share; I’m usually compelled to do so because I know at least one or two of you out there can relate. I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads in my life, and, it being a crossroads, you’re typically forced to make some decisions.

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A little while back, my mother handed me a printout that she insisted I take home and read. She didn’t elaborate much after that, but was adamant that I look it over. It’s only three or so pages, so it doesn’t necessarily belong on a bookshelf, although I think the content is undeniably worth the binding, or a soft cover, at the very least. I expected it to be an article or a bit of self-help type advice, something to help me make sense of my life. It turned out to be a short story: “The Lady Or The Tiger?” by Frank Stockton. The story starts out like any other fairytale, depicting a kingdom in olden times, ruled over by a king. It’s certainly not a children’s story, as the king is “semi-barbaric” and his kingdom is unique in that, in lieu of a proper judicial system, there is an arena in which any person accused of a crime is given the choice between two doors. Behind one, a tiger and a horrific death, behind the other, a beautiful young woman and a wedding. (An awfully extreme kingdom, yes?) Chance dictates whether the accused receives one of the other. Things in the kingdom get a bit interesting when the king discovers his own daughter in love with one of his subjects, and immediately has him thrown into the arena to be “judged.”  The princess, obviously invested in this particular case, makes it her business to know what lies behind each door on the day of the trial. Her love looks to her for guidance, and she secretly signals him to choose the door on the right.

   “Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady?”

Apparently this tale is often used in academic settings as a teaching tool for comprehension and logic. The author leaves it entirely to the reader to decide. The princess has already lost her love, and it is up to her to then chose his fate. In the story, her mind is made, and she does not hesitate.

As the reader, you can’t but help imagine yourself in the princess’ shoes. This, of course, colors the outcome of the story. I shared and discussed the story with a friend of mine, and we both easily decided that the barbaric princess would have sent him to his immediate death. I think any woman who has ever been in love and had things not work out can relate. I oftentimes wish that the people I once cared about would simply disappear in a puff of smoke. Poof! Things would be so much easier. Admittedly, when asked about certain people in my life, I did once make big eyes and state the they had been “hit by a bus.” Funnily enough, the woman posing the question immediately understood my meaning. “Wow…that’s unfortunate.” I know, right…?

 After finishing the story, I did have to ask myself that, were I to choose, would the outcome be indicative of my feelings for the person at stake, or of my general character? One would think the natural choice would be the lady- to be the bigger person and to wish them the ever clichéd “best.” And yet, strong feelings for someone can, somehow, easily bring out the worst in us. The boss lady once told me that she could recognize how passionately she felt about someone based on how angry they occasionally made her. You might argue that if your feelings are fundamentally platonic or indifferent, a disagreement or canceled plans would leave you unruffled. In this case, the princess knowingly sending the man to the lady would be somewhat palatable. On the contrary, it’s often easier to grasp at anger when you feel a profound sense of loss, especially when it’s over something entirely out of your control and when your decisions are made for you. When discussing the story, I once joked that there should be tigers for all of them.

I recently came across a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that somehow manages to sum up those difficult feelings: “suddenly she realized that what she was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had been but what would never be.” At the end of the day, what touched me the most in the story was the awareness on the part of the princess that she had already lost. I’ve always been a big softie, and often to my detriment. Sometimes I find myself sad or fundamentally angry about things that never had a chance to materialize. I wonder if the princess in the story felt the same way. If she did, she might have perhaps chosen differently? Who knows…

EVA♥