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♥

My emotional baggage is Prada.

Hello everyone,

I recently got into a really amusing exchange on Facebook. Let me give you an idea of how random my friends and I can be:
Good friend sends me a picture of bedazzled cement truck on Facebook, the back of which literally looks like a giant disco ball. (For some context, this friend really likes anything covered in sequins/disco balls, etc.) Eva responds…
Eva: Woah! I know what your next ride is going to be!!
Friend: ” Disco garbage truck – the most festive way to haul around all my emotional baggage”
Eva: I have my eye on a Prada purse to haul that stuff around.
Friend: “I’ve been trying to hold it in a purse but it became impractical. Seen in photo: actual size of baggage.”(sends picture of giant purse statue standing about 10 ft. tall)
*cue laughter*
This is it, folks. The dreaded emotional baggage blog. Everyone has it and no one likes to talk about it or acknowledge its existence. I was recently inspired by the lovely Anna Akana (who is so admirably candid about her life), and the humor with which she addressed her emotional baggage. 

It’s some heavy stuff, dear readers. And, let’s be honest, most everyone’s emotional baggage is terrifying, and not some thing anyone wants to share. You have your run-of-the-mill abandonment issues, substance abuse, body image issues, maybe some PTSD thrown in there. Maybe your baggage, like mine, has a tape player in it that keeps saying the same thing to you over and over again. But everyone has it.  Let me be clear: Everyone has it. You can dress it up in Prada all you like, maybe even pair it with your Louboutins, but it’s still there. If you say it’s not you’re a lying liar. I don’t mean to get sassy, but it’s true. And I think what makes it so hard for some of us is admitting that it’s even there. Living life will give you “emotional baggage.” If you don’t have it, you’re most likely not out there in the world living. The boss lady says that her baggage is not baggage at all. It’s served her well, in her own words. It has some dings and scratches, maybe a broken zipper, but it represents all of her life experiences that have made her who she is. You can deny that it’s there, or you can embrace it as a part of you and find power in that. Let it be, but don’t let it hold you back.
Thank you sticking with me, dear readers. Here’s to all of our baggage!
EVA ♥
 
 
 

Things I Learned in 2017

Hello readers,

Despite the last two years of my life feeling a bit like a one-way ticket on the Hot Mess Express, I very much try to look on the positive side of things. Every year around my birthday my good friend Rachel asks me what she calls the “Birthday Question.” The question is simply: “What did it take you (insert your new age here) amount of years to learn?” Now, granted this time of year isn’t anywhere near my birthday, but I thought I would apply the same kind of thinking when looking back at this last year. This year was one full of milestones for me, and it took a little bit of reflection to realize that, though less than stellar things might happen in the course of your life, it is still a good life. If you need a sign from the universe that this is true, there is one in the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. I conveniently found it on my 30th birthday. And on, that note, I’m going to tell some of the things I learned in 2017:

I’ve learned how to do Las Vegas. Now, I know you’re probably thinking: “Eva, what’s there to ‘do’? You’re there at least once a year already.” Nay nay, there are certain tricks you can employ to seriously maximize your Vegas experience. Ladies, use that social media! Put as many ridiculous Vegas-related hashtags in your comments as you can think of. Save promoters phone numbers and build a rapport. Get a group of your best girlfriends and get yourself out there! Adventures await. Just make sure you take a few naps, stock up on the Red Bull, and wear your most comfortable heels. You too can “hack” Vegas if you’re determined enough.

You want the thing? Do the thing. Yes, this is a primitive way of putting it. Only you have the power to change things and do things for yourself. You want to be the go-getter? Go get things, just by taking those first steps. Sure, you might think “Dear God, what am I doing?” half the time, but you’re really creating the life that you want and deserve for yourself.

On a lighter note: I now know that I have the uncanny ability to hold two drinks in the same hand. This is especially convenient when trying to take selfies or photos of whatever event you’re at.

 

Order the thing you want. Order what you really want, and don’t regret it. Screw it. Get the lobster topped with lobster and a cocktail and dessert. This is a case in which the term “Yolo” might actually be appropriate. 

Not everyone deserves an explanation or a reaction. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.  As someone who frequently posts her innermost thoughts on the internet, this has been a hard one for me. Sometimes people who disturb your peace just aren’t worth it. You can’t demand peace of mind from other people; you might not ever understand why they do what they do. You just have to figure it out for yourself and move forward.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Yes, it can be scary. Sometimes it doesn’t feel very good, even though it should. Do it anyway. Everyone is worthy of loving and being loved. It doesn’t have to be a quid pro quo thing. Sometimes loving someone doesn’t work out the way you want it to, sometimes it’s not enough. Tell them anyway. Don’t beat yourself up for being vulnerable. You’re a better person for it. Because, as Vladimir Nabokov so elegantly put it, we’re all just “rust and stardust” in the end. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

And lastly….

It’s not always you. 

And it’s a good life, indeed.

EVA ♥

I Ain’t Sorry.

Hello all, 
 
First of all, I want to thank everyone who took the time out from their days to read my previous posts. I’m still seriously touched that so many people read the general nonsense that comes out of my brain. All 360+ posts of general nonsense…you are my people, and I love you. 
 
As I’ve said before here on Watch Me Juggle, things don’t always go the way you planned. 

{Beyoncé’s “Sorry” has become a bit of an anthem of mine.}

 

When you’re little, saying your sorry tends to be one of life’s hard-learned lessons. If you wrong someone, bump into them, do anything even remotely impolite, you say “sorry,” and move on. You took her cookie? Say you’re sorry. You accidentally tripped her during jump rope? Say you’re sorry. But what happens when “sorry” become the default? When it feels more like a reflexive obligation, than any kind of genuine recognition of wrongdoing? 

I’ll admit that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been fighting the impulse to apologize for my behavior or things that have happened to me in life. ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘excuse me’ have somehow become mushed together into the same sentiment. A grown man shoulder-checked me on my commute the other day and I found myself apologizing…for him? Excusing myself for being so large and so much in his way? He was conveniently mute the whole time. It was all very odd. And it’s in moments like this that I think— why do we continuously apologize for other people, or for simply just being ourselves? 
 
I’ve written a blog about being unabashedly myself before, “Sorry Not Sorry.” I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am by no means perfect, heck, (I’ve documented enough embarrassing and strange moments in my life on here for anyone to figure that out) but I feel like I also have the tendency to routinely apologize for myself more than is necessary. 
 
While I’m more spiritual than religious, I’m a huge believer in karma, that what you put out in the universe always comes around to you in another form. Regardless of how others treat you, it’s your job to be kind and graceful— to keep your chin up no matter how badly some things have gone. Some people might think that that means being a pushover, but I think that there’s an incredible amount of power in being able to fully own your behavior. And to me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like “Oh, I shouldn’t have said/done that,” because, while you can’t control the other people in your life, you can control yourself. Hold yourself to your own high standards. There are always going to be unfortunate people out there, and how they treat you should never be taken as a reflection on you. Of course, this is easier said than done. And I am as far away as anyone from having the answers. But I’m starting here…
Until next time,
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♥

“And then…” she said

Hello all,

Three years ago, I quit my corporate sales job and bought plane tickets to New Zealand. I walked through the office, turned in my badge, and danced next to my car before getting in. I gave myself permission to never look back.

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I dreamed of a “Plan B,” a life completely different from the one I was living, different people, a different job, different guy, different home. What would that look like? Plan A wasn’t going so well for me, and sometimes all I felt I had left was Plan B. In an ironic twist of fate, here I am, looking back years later. On a Sunday, three years ago, I posted this blogAnd when I read it again, I get a little choked up. (I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, can you tell?)
I feel like no one ever really chooses to have their lives go the way they do, and, while we all have choices, there’s only so much you can control.  As one of my dear married friends once wisely told me, people in different stages of their lives just have a different set of problems. Doing things the way you’re “supposed” to doesn’t fix or change any of this. I’m going to admit that I find this to be a somewhat terrifying concept. It’s like the adult equivalent of finding out there is no Santa, no tooth fairy, or Easter bunny. “What do you mean I have almost no control over the things that happen in my life?! WHY?!” I’m convinced that everyone has this epiphany at some point or another. There’s almost a bit of beauty in that— you never know what kind of hand you’re going to be dealt.
As much as I once wanted it to be, my life is not an “and then…”  I’m grateful for it. I try to practice this gratitude every day. Some people in my life don’t understand what my life is, what I do, or why I do it. When they ask me these strangely personal, existential questions, I don’t really have answers for them. At the end of the day, all I know is that my life is exactly the way it should be, and I simply do the things I love doing. I’m lucky enough that I can. If one day, this changes, I can make my own “next steps.”
Until next time,
EVA♥

Time Capsule

Hello everyone!

I feel like it completely dates me, but I recall setting up my Facebook account for the first time using my very new @Umail.UCSB.edu email address. It was the equivalent of an online high school alumni group with basic features, photos, and messaging. Fast-forward several years and Facebook has somehow grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. I would never have even imagined that my job would one day revolve around Facebook. It’s a very odd thing to think about. Speaking of odd things…
Has anyone ever searched “On This Day” on their Facebook recently? You might also know it as the little “memory” window that shows up on your newsfeed first thing on any given day, a social media time-capsule of sorts.  This morning, I was reminded that a year ago today I was given a whole new (retainer-free!) smile.
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Quite the thing to commemorate! (You can find the post here, if you’re curious about my crazy tooth story.) On the complete opposite end of the spectrum apparently 10 years ago on Facebook I was….
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What the heck kind of nonsense is this Facebook? 10 years ago, as a sophomore in college, my status was apparently “at home?” Did Facebook even have a status back then? What is that!? I’m still very perplexed by this, and irked that part of me might never know what 19 year old Eva was thinking.
A less perplexing memory came from the year before last, where I was in the midst of a blogging kick, aka “Blogtober,” and finding myself with a little extra time on my hands. Making my very favorite soup is still my favorite way to celebrate the change in weather.
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Of course, we all have those very deep, quote-filled Facebook moments to look back on. Before Watch Me Juggle, I enjoyed posting the occasional Khalil Gibran or Rumi quote on my page. Seeing this one in particular brought all kinds of memories back…
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A strange thing happens when you get older that no one ever tells you about. Without school to keep tabs on your life’s progress, everything sort of blends together. The last five years, in particular, feel like an odd blur. While I still live in the same apartment, I’ve worked a variety of jobs, and had people come and go in my life. I’m certainly glad things turned out the way they did.

(She’s back! Juggling away, as always)

Watchmejuggle

EVA ♥

How to Stay Sane and Other Things…

Hello all!

I do believe this week is the craziest I’ve had yet. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the craziness is quite exciting. It’s our “big show” week at the studio, which means a week full of extra rehearsals on top of all the plans that I’m trying to cram in.

So, I’m going to do what all the other proper adults do: explain my thoughts using Jenna Marbles gifs. You’re welcome. Here are a few of my own tips and tricks that I use to keep myself sane during those less than relaxing times in life.

jennaexcite

Don’t over-caffeinate

I learned this one myself the hard way. Coffee is always a treat for me, and holding a warm cup in your hands during your commute or at the office can be comforting. Over do it, and not only will you still have a high stress level, but now you’ll also be unable to blink. The same goes for your favorite adult beverage. Alcohol is a depressant, so no matter how nice that extra cocktail might feel now, wearing sunglasses at your desk is never a good look. Remember: moderation!

jennadrunk

 Breathe

This is a tip straight from my mother. As frustrating as it is, sometimes this is all you can do. As a technique to stave off all the anxiety/impending doom/existential dread, I like to count my breaths. Count to seven when you breathe in, ten when you breath out. Just make sure the exhale is longer than your inhale, as this sends good, calming signals to your brain.

Take care of yourself! 

When stressed, everyone has the tendency to neglect themselves. Skipping meals, not sleeping enough, and over-booking your schedule only make things worse. Make sure all of your basic needs get met, at the very least.

jennacook

And, on this note…

Say “No”

Remember your cousin’s neighbor’s friend’s birthday party that you said you would go to a month ago when you didn’t have all this crap to do? During times like this, it’s ok to prioritize your own needs. Let yourself say ‘no.’ If you, like me, feel terribly guilty or suffer from the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out), make a compromise.

jennaworry

Surround yourself with the White Light

Sometimes, being an adult means doing things you would really rather not do. Which is ok. Sometimes things like this are unavoidable (the DMV, the dentist, that 3 hour work meeting) and you just need to put on your big girl pants and do them. If you anticipate things going badly, or being excessively stressful, do what I do: surround yourself with the “white light.” I like to think that I’m made of Teflon, and I can let all the negative things slide right off of me.

Do the things! 

Do the things that make you happy! Make your passions a priority. Or maybe your life needs a few re-runs, ice cream, and some quiet time at home. Do whatever you like to do to make yourself feel better and don’t apologize.

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One thing at a time…

When things get overwhelming it’s often because we’re looking at the big picture. The big picture can be scary, don’t look there. Tackle one task at a time, and soon you’ll feel back in control.

Fake it ’til you make it

You can’t have all your ducks in a row all the time- it’s just not possible. Cut yourself some slack and focus on the things that you are doing well. You got out of bed today! That credit card bill, you paid it!  Go you! That’s more than many people can do, so pat yourself on the back and be grateful. You might not always feel like it, but you’re doing just fine.

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EVA  ♥