Where’s St. Helena?

Hello everyone!

I’m writing from the comfort of my home today, wishing you all a happy Sunday. We had some amazing weather here lately, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. Yesterday, we had a few sudden thunderstorms followed by a beautiful sunset, and today we’ve had our usual sunshine. I honestly feel guilty when I choose to stay in and lay low on beautiful days like today, so I do try to get out and about when I can.

Recently, a few friends and I went up to St. Helena, which, for those of you who are wondering, is a lovely little city in Napa County. And, yes, you’ve probably seen a glimpse of my favorite restaurant and their amazing cheeseburgers in previous posts.

IMG_3481

Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s Automatic Refresher) almost always has a colossal line. What few people seem to take advantage of is the small bar off to the side of the restaurant. It’s become the standard to grab a few menus, as well as a bottle of wine to share while we wait.

IMG_3399

IMG_3400

We were by far the most fun people standing in line that day. Just saying. Does wine with lunch make it brunch, by default?

IMG_3401

IMG_3403

After stuffing ourselves, we took a walk around the downtown area, located just a few blocks from Gott’s. We enjoyed the sunshine, and all the shoes we found at Footcandy, obviously.

IMG_3405

It’s quite a charming place, littered with boutiques, art galleries, and historic hotels. It’s fantastic for window shopping, and I love to stop by the stores selling estate jewelry to ogle all the unique designs. Oh, and there’s wine. You’ll find dozens of wineries just driving into town. Whenever I find myself with no plans on a beautiful day, St. Helena is my go to for a quick getaway.

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

This week I have a slightly thematic Five Things lined up. That’s right, it’s Five Things: The San Diego addition.

IMG_3431

We were all sitting in a circle chatting, as you do, and my girlfriend Brooke very effortlessly busted out this incredible braided hairstyle. I watched her do it, and still have no idea how it’s done. A bit of braid-inspiration for your day!

IMG_3473

My friend Devyn and I spent our last day in San Diego enjoying gelato from Pappalecco’s in lieu of a proper lunch. I had strawberry and the signature pappalecco gelato, which is a combination of chocolate and crushed amaretti cookies. My only regret was that I didn’t get a bigger cup…

IMG_3474

A view of the USS Midway just next to Seaport Village. Californians are so spoiled; I still can’t believe this was a beautiful February day.

IMG_3470

Look at all this beautiful pasta I found at the Mona Lisa Deli in Little Italy! Never seen striped Farfalle quite like that before. Seems a shame to cover it up with sauce…

and, lastly, if you need a good laugh.

My friend Rachel was having a particularly stressful day at work the other day, which she and a few coworkers remedied by watching ridiculous Youtube videos. I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so hard. Sometimes a good laugh is all you need.

EVA♥

Walks with Theo.

Hello everyone!

IMG_3343 IMG_3346 IMG_3344

IMG_3347

This last Saturday we experienced some unseasonably warm weather. I’m even beginning to feel a bit guilty. While the rest of the country was being blanketed by snow, my friend Sarah and I took a leisurely walk around Lake Temescal with her pup Theo. It was a great way to end my roller coaster-like week. I just threw on my “I Woke Up Like This” shirt after teaching a couple of dance classes and we headed out. There are few friends that I’ve had as long in my life as Sarah. It’s strange to think that, even though 10 years have passed, we’re still doing the same sorts of things, albeit with a little more freedom and the occasional cocktail. We talked about work, dates we’d been on, and the latest developments at the dance studio.

I feel like talking to a good friend can cure an innumerable amount of ills, whether you’re just feeling restless or have big life decisions to make. When I first starting writing on Watch Me Juggle, I had just quit my corporate job, and was looking for a solid direction for my life. Now that I know I’m not the kind of person who can sit at a desk all day, every day, what exactly was I meant to do? Almost everyone I know has a “traditional” desk job, so deviating from that seemed reckless, scary, even. So I spent a little over a year figuring things out. Writing to my heart’s content, picking up jobs where I could, and paying my bills along the way. Having an unstable work schedule does take its toll, so when I was offered a solid position with the ballet company I occasionally work for I was both extremely excited and extremely nervous. I felt like things where happening at me, and that I was suddenly being made to choose between two things I enjoyed doing. Under the pressure, it became apparent to me how much I loved teaching dance, and that I wouldn’t be able to let it go anytime soon, if ever. Just when I was making the decision to walk away from the more stable job I was offered, things suddenly fell into place. In life, sometimes you have to stand up for the things you want. Sometimes, you have to be willing walk away for better things to come along. They might not come in the form you imagined, and it might not be as easy as you thought, but I’m convinced it’s worth it.

 Yes, we covered all this on our walk with Theo. When you’re lucky enough to have friends you can rely on, and who will give you advice when asked or listen to you without judgement, don’t let them go (obviously). I would have hard time making all my decisions with out them. Well, I could have done it, but it sure wouldn’t have been as fun…

And then we went out for ice cream.

EVA♥

Christmas Tree Lane

Hello all!

Prepare your eyes, everyone, here come countless pictures of light-bedecked houses and trees. It’s…

Christmas Tree Lane!

IMG_3193

IMG_3196

I feel like every town has that one street that goes all-out, overboard, even, with Christmas decorations. Here in my little town by the bay, you’ll find Thompson St. aka “Christmas Tree Lane.” Aside from the crowds of people and cars, you’ll know you’ve come to the right street when you get a glimpse of the resident Santa, perched on the tree-covered median, taking pictures with all the kiddies.

Hint: it will probably look something like this:

elfgif

Be extra careful! The little ones tend to get under foot, and I’m convinced that all the lights have a bizarre, tranquilizing effect on the little people. Apparently, this is quickly counteracted by filling them with as much sugary hot chocolate as possible. Problem solved! Their enthusiasm really is contagious, I must say.

If you find yourself rather low energy around this holiday season, never fear.  Just do what I do, and make a snuggly in your favorite mug.

IMG_3201

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this wondrous adult beverage, it primarily consists of two ingredients: hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps. Presto! You have instant cheer in a mug! And, no I never put it in my coffee tumbler and go for a walk.

IMG_3200

In the meantime, I’m so amazed at how the once large, empty space under my own Christmas tree has filled up with presents! Quite a bit of it is dance teacher swag, courtesy of my lovely students, but the other half are presents waiting to be placed under other trees…as soon as find time to wrap them, that is.

EVA♥

Adventures at The Farm

Hello all!

So…the last thing I expected to find in the middle of Tempe, Arizona would be a full-blown farm. But, there it was. Surrounded by cacti and mountains, you’ll find the surprising lush Farm, complete with three restaurants and a weekend market.

Cue the photos!

IMG_3080 IMG_3129 IMG_3091 IMG_3092 IMG_3085 IMG_3094

IMG_3096

IMG_3099

This is my friend Emily. This is also her sassy face.

IMG_3083

A giant, fresh-squeezed mimosa to start the day right! Also pictured is the very first Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted. Pretty darn good.

IMG_3084

A fabulous, yet messy breakfast sandwich. I will never be that woman that can eat and not spill. I somehow ended up with egg yolk on my skirt!

….

Yes, you could say I’ve officially jumped on the farm-to-table bandwagon. After walking though the farm grounds, we settled on having a much needed brunch at the Morning Glory Cafe. They had a fantastic variety of options, many of them with a Latin twist. Emily ordered their huevos rancheros- so flavorful! Obviously, everything served was extremely fresh, as we were sitting yards away from fields of vegetables and herbs.

It was a really wonderful way to start the day, very quiet and idyllic. On our way out, I decided to pose by the entrance, which is when the ridiculousness ensued. Emily (my photographer for the day) prompted me to make a funny face, at which point I proceeded to hold my arms out at my sides like an awkward snowman and look confused. Repeatedly.

Click through the slideshow below for your own amusement.

IMG_3100

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I’m a really goofy gal, and proud.

Can’t wait for the next adventure!

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…

IMG_3058

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…?

IMG_3057

IMG_3071

IMG_3065

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!

IMG_3077

IMG_3079

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…

IMG_3073

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♥

The Whirlwind

Hello everyone!

I hope your Mondays treated you well. Mine was quite the doozy, if I may. I may have fallen off the daily blogging bandwagon (it’s really hard blogging on Sundays!), but there are still plenty of adventures to write about! This last, very busy weekend, I had a wonderful time running about San Francisco. One of the highlights was a girls’ afternoon tea at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus.

IMG_2838

The famous stained glass dome.

IMG_2840

Afternoon tea isn’t complete without a glass of good champagne, obviously.

IMG_2839

My goal was to finish the entire tub of strawberry butter that came with my popover. I didn’t meet it, but I came awful close!

IMG_2837

A chicken consomme amuse bouche. The cup isn’t nearly as big as it should be.

IMG_2841

A tower of treats.

IMG_2842

Delicious Dammann Frères black tea, flavored with strawberries, rhubarb, and flower petals.

IMG_2843

The inside of my strawberry macaron. And the mess I made of my scone.

IMG_2844

Lovely ladies!

IMG_2846

Photo c/o Patrick Baron

It’s been years since I’ve visited the Rotunda, and I’ve missed the ceremony of the place. Let’s face it, I love any excuse to strap on my Vivienne Westwood barbie-looking shoes and eat delicious food. I first discovered their luxurious tea service back in high school, when my girlfriends and I would giggle over the same pot of tea for hours on the rare weekday off. I may be 10 years older, but little has changed. Ok…well, there’s the champagne addition to the tea service, but that’s about it!

I ended the week with a little city adventure, and got to take in the beautiful view from the top of the Lyon St. steps.  We’ve also been unbelievably spoiled with beautiful weather as of late, and it’s a rare occasion indeed when you find yourself wandering out and about without a jacket. It’s one of the things I love about living in the bay area. Despite the fact that I’ve considered San Francisco my stomping grounds for most of my life, I’m still discovering new places, and there have been no two weekends alike. While I’m always a bit sad at the end of the weekend (hello Sunday Phenomenon!), it’s been a great kick-off to what looks like a promising week.

EVA♥

Life Lately

Hello everyone,

Today is the first official day of Fall! We’re obviously horribly spoiled here in California, because rather than the autumn chill I expected this morning, things are typical: 70 degrees and sunny. The grass is always greener I suppose, because I’m dying to pull out all my soft, over-sized sweaters and boots. We may not have the traditional autumns here, with only a few turning leaves, but I’m looking forward to a little much-needed rain and chill.

IMG_2748

IMG_2749

IMG_2751

A weekday morning hike in Tilden Park filled with beautiful views.

IMG_2601

Shrimp on my pizza at Jupiter in Berkeley. 

IMG_2605

Nighttime sight-seeing on the Cal campus with family. 

IMG_2731

Hers & His at Capone’s Speakeasy in Alameda. 

IMG_2732

Photo c/o Patrick Baron. I mean…c’mon, I wish my camera was this nice!

Beautiful chandeliers at Capone’s. 

I feel as if I’ve been rather quiet on the blog front lately, and that’s primarily due to the fact that both my phone and my computer are on their last legs. I awoke this morning to a cryptic message that my iPhone storage was just about at capacity, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only blogger and 20-something in existence that still uses an HP laptop circa 2008. No exaggeration; my battery is so shot that I’m constantly chained to the outlet with a frayed cord that looks slightly like a fire hazard. It’s definitely time to upgrade.

In other news, I’ve been attempting to find that “work/life balance” everyone’s always talking about. When I’m not working much, all I want to do is work, and vice versa. I’m still jumping through hoops trying to get myself into teaching at the local public schools; I look forward to the day when I can write about my first day and my experiences there. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to be out and about, but in a different way. Not so much “cocktailing and sample sale-ing,” but more family dinners and calm walks with friends. This is, of course, not to say that I’ve removed myself from the local nightlife completely. I recently visited the long-anticipated new speakeasy, which, despite some of the not so stellar things I’ve heard, was a pleasant surprise! It gets the requisite bonus points for being walking distance from home. I’m attempting to become more of a homebody into the fall and winter, so this is the closest I’m going to get. That and visiting other people’s’ homes. Good food, good company, as I oft say.

Happy Autumn!

EVA♥

Art & Wine

Hello everyone!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been slowly chipping away at my Summer List, very slowly but surely. I have yet to do some of the little things- buying a new swimsuit, going to yoga more often, but I’ve certainly been trying to cram in as many summer activities as I possibly can. Unfortunately, this seems to involve more eating ice cream, and less outdoor activities.

As a few of you know, this last weekend was Alameda’s annual Art & Wine Festival. Having always taken place in the end of July/early August, I was convinced as a child that this particular festival was solely in honor of my birthday. I admittedly did not get as many pictures as I would like, but when you have delicious fair food in one hand and a drink in the other, it’s quite hard to navigate crowds and take photos at the same time. What makes the festival a little extra fun for the adults is that it’s one of the few weekends out of the year that open container laws are waived, leaving you to enjoy your glass of wine or pint of beer in the sunshine, while perusing the many local artists’ booths and restaurants up and down the downtown area. In the past, I’ve frequented the Bend Soap Company’s booth, and have purchased some of my favorite pieces of hand-blown glass jewelry here. As kid, I was more than happy to rock the flower crowns that they sell here, too. What can I say?  I was ahead of the “festival fashion” game at a young age.

IMG_2354

IMG_2353

Navigating the crowded Alameda streets often felt like salmon swimming upstream. I feel as if this year was exponentially more crowded than years past. Good for my little town!

IMG_2352

Some beautiful metalwork on the streets.

IMG_2357A much-needed summertime drink: Strawberry lemonade.

I was really impressed with the many food choices at this years’ festival: barbecued oysters, roasted artichokes, and crab cakes were readily available, along with your standard fair food of kettle corn, sausages, and funnel cakes. Despite having reapplied sunscreen (SPF 8, shame on me) and having spent time in the sun earlier that day, I got a wicked sunburn on my upper back in the hour that I was out and about. I can usually spend hours wandering and the four-or-so city blocks filled with booths, yet with Sunday’s heat, it was best that I didn’t. I would have been as red as a beetroot after, I think .

Happy Monday!

EVA♥

SLO & Co.

Hello everyone!

Today’s post chronicles Part Two of my latest weekend adventures. Day 2 in my LA involved brunch at Urth Caffe, (a place I will absolutely be visiting the next time I’m in Southern California) and some daytime tooling around Griffith Observatory. Despite the ridiculous crowd migrating up the hill to take in the famous view, the Observatory itself was pleasantly open.

IMG_2340 IMG_2332

A photo from the observatory deck. Does anyone know why the famous Hollywood sign came into being?

IMG_2333

LA is ridiculously populated- buildings as far as the eye can see. It’s also, unfortunately, the city with the worst pollution problem in the US. There are apparently mountains in the background, but we couldn’t see them, which makes me a little sad.

IMG_2346

After enjoying a little bit of the sunshine, it was time to head back. I know I shouldn’t be taking photos behind the wheel, but the sunset while driving up the coast was just stunning. My amateur phone photography isn’t quite doing it justice.

IMG_2306

I’m glad I made the extra stop in San Luis Obispo. Not only did I get to visit some of my favorite people, I got to see the progress of their beautiful garden since my last visit in November. It’s flourished, to say the least. Extra points to them for supplying me with a basket of home -grown veggies and eggs for the ride back.

IMG_2305

Here you have some kale, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers, all shadowed by a huge tomato plant in the background, as well as some blackberry bushes. Behind me is a continuation of the garden with melons,corn, and an orange tree. If you look closely, you’ll see the hottest pepper in the world, the ghost chili,  in the bottom right hand corner. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with that, but good luck to them. I figure it would be a good way to enact revenge on people you really dislike…?

IMG_2307

Did I mention they have three cats, four chickens, and a dog as well? It’s a bonafide animal menagerie! The chickens aren’t nearly as cute as the other members of the household, and have a tendency to peck at your toes and be generally stupid.

IMG_2304

The newest member of the clan is Jeb, the three-legged dog. He’s the ultimate example of a grateful rescue dog; all he wants in life is some food and gentle pets. Despite his rather tumultuous background, he is surprisingly unsuspicious, and laid his head in my lap about three seconds after initially meeting me. He reminded me so much of a well-loved stuffed animal, with his snaggle tooth and his snuffling- I joked that all he needed was a patch on one of his hind legs to complete the transformation.

Happy Tuesday!  Watch Me Juggle will be back tomorrow with it’s weekly “Five Things.”

Until then…

EVA♥