Life Lately

Hello all!

It’s been quite a while since my last Life Lately post. Things have been interesting, to say the least! I’m trying to navigate a new role at work, one where I get to be more creative and actually write for a living! It’s a little nutty for me to think about, because it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite and yet never quite wrapped my head around the possibility. I even recently published my first blog on my company’s site here. Writing in a professional context, and writing copy more often than not, is quite the change to get used to, but I’m looking forward to learning new tricks, so to speak. That being said, I often come home with my brain feeling like a wrung-out sponge, with most of my energy having gone into whatever tasks I needed to accomplish that day. Sometimes, the idea of slapping away at another keyboard can be a little daunting. I know I’m not alone here, right?

So, when the evenings and weekend roll around, I try to hit the proverbial reset button. Not so much “flatlining,” as I like to call it, more like changing gears. I usually overbook myself and try to get as much done as possible. This past weekend, for example, I spent the majority of my time at my very first work retreat. While the weather was a bit dismal for August, the view from the coastal retreat center was pretty amazing. That, and the bottomless cups of coffee made up for the unending fog. Welcome to the Bay Area, everyone!

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My Saturday then suddenly went from cups of coffee in the fog, to champagne punch poolside in the course of a few hours. I certainly can’t complain! In all, I have to say that I really enjoyed getting to know all of my coworkers a bit better. Nothing quite says bonding experience like bunking together like you’re back in college! On top of everything else, I was inadvertently thrown into a family dinner party situation. And by situation I mean helping my parents navigate my aunt and uncle’s large going-away dinner at the very last minute. I ended up showing up late, with wet hair, and frantically eating in the kitchen while trying to somehow navigate simultaneously serving tea and socializing with everyone.  This is what I mean by overbooking myself.  In short, while things are going well, they seem a bit hectic lately, to say the leat. I’m hoping I’ll navigate everything gracefully, and not bite off more than I can chew. Hey, this blog is called “Watch Me Juggle” for a reason!

Oh, and I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday all month long. Because I can.

That is all—until next time!

EVA♥

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Neverland

Hello all!

It’s no secret that a huge part of my love for performing arts revolves around,well…performing. My school doesn’t have too many performances yearly, just one day’s worth, to be exact, so this one day a year tends to be extra special. This year, we presented Neverland, an original continuation of  J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

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With my 4 year-old class: the pixie dust faeries.

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When I wasn’t doing someone’s hair, pinning crowns on dancers’ heads, or helping with a quick change in the wings, I managed to snap a few shots backstage. It’s the culmination of almost a year’s worth of steady work; this year, I was able to test out my story-telling abilities a bit more, which turned out to be quite fun! When it comes to creating, I’ve discovered that the music and the dancers can make or break the whole process. Things that seemed initially daunting tended to fall into place with these two well-matched ingredients. We also often say that the process of producing a show is quite a bit like a train, consistently gathering momentum. At a certain point, there’s not much you can do aside from stepping back to admire the end result. Sure, there are always things I wish I could tweak and adjust, but it’s strangely refreshing to be able to let things be once we get into the theater. After all, if someone isn’t pointing their feet/looking up/straightening their knees by now, chances are that stopping a dress rehearsal to discuss minutiae isn’t going to help.

Despite being incredibly proud and relieved after a successful show, I tend to experience a huge let down afterwards. Going from daily rehearsals and being constantly occupied with the details of a show to…nothing, can be challenging. Part of the beauty of dance is that it’s entirely ephemeral- each performance, each moment in rehearsal is unique and can’t quite ever be recaptured. This being said, I’m sure you can see why the end of a performance could bring a bit of melancholy along with it. Luckily, it doesn’t tend to last long.

Next year will mark my studio’s 25th anniversary, and I’m certain we’ll have something extra special planned. I’m not quite sure what that will be yet, but I think it’s important to have a new project, a new adventure to look forward to! It certainly helps take some of those post-show blues away. I’m so proud of my students, and know the next year holds something exciting.

As for now… I’m going to the beach!

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♥

Kids Continue to be Hilarious: Part 4

Hello everyone!

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It’s finally time for Part IV of My “Kids Are Hilarious” saga (here’s Part I, Part II, and Part III)!

At this point, I’ve most likely forgotten the vast majority of ridiculous kid stories. It’s safe to say that they’re pretty much a constant in my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I often keep these little anecdotes in my back pocket to bust out in most social situations. Lull in the conversation? Share a kid story. Awkward silence in a meeting? How about a kid story? Need some good brunch conversation? BAM! Kid story! And, without further introduction, I give you a few of the most recent gems, straight out of my students’ mouths.

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One of my students ran up to me one morning and excitedly pointed out that she was wearing “lipstick” that day. It was marshmallow lipstick. She then demanded “Do you want to smell my lips? Smell my lips!” 

Twice a year, we open our studio space to visitors who would like to observe class. I’ve noticed that the littlest ones often bring the biggest entourages, which can be quite distracting at times. This last Visit Day, I had one of my students run up to her grandmother in the middle of class, lift up her tutu, turn around, and demand “Pinch my booty!! PINCH MY BOOTY.” She refused to dance until they had all done so.

Some of the best moments seem to happen when there is an audience present. On another Visit Day, while I was coaching the kids on how to properly stand at the ballet barre, one of my students decided to loudly elaborate on why we don’t hang on the barres: “Because, if you hang on the barres, they could fall on you and crack your head open and then there will be blood. Blood everywhere, and your brains could come out. And then you’ll cry and cry and then the ambulance has to come.” After this, I had to turn to our audience and reassure them that we had not had any major accidents involving the barres.

Although most of these quotes come straight from their little brains totally unbidden, I can usually count on our “talk time” during class (aka: the “Question of the Day”)  to provide me with some interesting insight into their worlds.

In response to “What is your favorite flower?” We got: A Hi-biscuit. 

“What’s your favorite kind of candy? A muffin…but with frosting.”That’s a cupcake, right?

A few weeks ago, I asked them what their favorite thing about springtime was. The answers were typical things like butterflies, rainbows, and sunshine. What I wasn’t expecting was for one of my students to yell “JESUS!! JESUS. He is the king!” 

 When I asked one of my students what her favorite sandwich was, I got something that sounded like “Iliiiithekiindwiththemannoooandapeaandda…. an’ wainnnbow sprinkles.” Needless to say, I sometimes have a hard time understanding her. However, I feel a little less bad when other students have an equally hard time. “At home, I have a Frozenyuckis!” While I asked her to repeat herself, one of the neighboring five-year-olds looked up at me, bewildered, and asked “What’s a yuckis?” I don’t know, kid. I really don’t know.

Maintaining a poker face can be difficult at times; especially when they volunteer things like “Oh! Cindy can’t come to class today, because she’s in New Hamster.” This place must also be somewhere near Pepsicola, Florida, a magical place we’ve also heard of.

I do appreciate these insightful outbursts. Sometimes, they’re really profound things like: “Look! I have two arms! I’m so cool!” 

I have one little one that likes to dismiss her father in a not so subtle way each time he drops her off at class by loudly shouting “Bye! Bye Dad. BYE!!!!! BYE!!!!” until he leaves the room. We guess that he can’t quite take the hint.

And, on that note, BYE!!

EVA ♥

Gala Going

Hi all!

One of the perks of working in the arts (aside from the very obvious- working in an industry I’m passionate about), I do occasionally get to attend and/or help plan fabulously fancy events. While I’ll readily admit that I have absolutely zero frame of reference, I’ve heard that planning for an event as big as our ballet company’s gala on Sunday night is not unlike planning for a wedding. And while there are always countless things to juggle, last-minute changes, and unforeseen complications (Hi there, buckets of rain!), things always seem to come together to make something lovely and memorable.

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While I always seem to get disproportionately nervous before big events, things always work out wonderfully. I’ll still say that there are few things more nonsensically nerve-wracking than stabbing oneself in the eye with an eyeliner pen and having to start your makeup over with limited time to spare. I’m happy to say that things went more smoothly after that. This being my third Smuin Ballet gala, I think that this year went perhaps the most seamlessly- the cocktail hour, performance, dinner, and auction all made the event a success. More importantly, the official word is that we managed to raise over $380,000 in one evening! Not too shabby. Seeing so many people generously give (often unconditionally), makes me hope that one day I’ll be able to give back to the arts myself. For now, I’ll have to make do with working behind the scenes, and supporting in the capacity I can. Something tells me I’ll have plenty of fancy parties in my future.

EVA ♥

2015

Hi everyone!

It’s January and officially 2016, and I’ve decided I’m not yet done being festive. My tree is still up, and I’m still eating peppermint-flavored everything.

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Gif c/o Complex.com

I’ve been rather quiet on the internet front, as I caught the awful plague that seems to be making the rounds. My holidays primarily consisted of sleeping and working, but I did my best to be in good spirits while trapped in the box office (or “The Box,” as I like to call it).

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Let’s just say that I have many naughty and nice people to report for next year.

Despite being ridiculously busy, I managed to get it together enough to send out Christmas cards again this year.

I was feeling particularly inspired by this amazing Buzzfeed article on “lonely” Christmas cards, and decided to take a crack at making my own on Shutterfly. After browsing many design options, I couldn’t help but notice that many of them wanted to force me into a group, force me to sign “The (Insert Family Name Here).” Now, I am only one person. And signing a card like this seemed particularly absurd. Was I signing on behalf of myself and my Nespresso? Who are the other people in this equation that I don’t know about? And, finally, whose rule was it that custom Christmas cards had to be a group activity!? Nonsense. So, I decided to send out some rather festive cards this year: on behalf of myself and my shoes. Taking the photos was perhaps 90% of the fun; my amazing friend Rachel came over with her snazzy new camera to help. Also, who knew posing with a champagne bottle could be so potentially awkward?

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Here’s a bit of a close-up, and the finished product below!

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2015 was a roller coaster of sorts, and there were many lovely moments to be thankful for, but I’m ready for 2016. Let’s all say a big “Bye, Felicia!” to 2015 and keep moving forward. Let the games begin.

Happy New Year, everyone!

EVA♥

The Consolation Prize

Hello all!

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(Can you tell I’ve been really into gifs lately? Who doesn’t like GIFs? Yes, Eva, welcome to the 21st century…)

Today, I wanted to share with you about a little life phenomenon I’ve come to appreciate lately. I call it the “consolation prize.” Yes, it’s exactly like what it sounds like.

I came to appreciate the existence of the consolation prize years ago; I was out to sushi with a girlfriend of mine, and something specific on the menu caught my eye. I used to never order seaweed salad, well, just because I always thought pure seaweed was a surefire way to trigger my gag-reflex if I’ve ever heard of it. But, I had somehow come to really enjoy it. A man I had dated once had insisted on ordering it whenever we went out for Japanese food. I don’t think I would have ever tried it of my own volition had it not been for him. It’s delicious. That being said, I made the crack to my friend that if there was one positive thing that had come from my previous relationship it was my awareness of the existence of seaweed salad.

It’s sort of sad to say, but when we emerge from tough situations, whether it be a less-than ideal job or partner, sometimes all we can do is try to find a little bit of the silver lining. This might not happen overnight, hell, when I left my first “real” desk job, I had a difficult time finding the prize. I felt a little bit like I had given up, that I had flunked out of adult-land, knowing that a rigorous desk job in a corporate setting wasn’t really for me. Oddly enough, I came away  from that job with better relationship with my father. Being at the same company, in vastly different departments, he would walk by my desk, find me buried in paperwork, and insist on taking me to lunch. We weren’t speaking very much at the time, and rarely saw each other outside of work, but, after a year, our conversation became a lot more than just about the weather. In a strange way, we bonded over work. The same thing goes with most relationships that don’t work out the way you hope they will. Some of the best things that have come out of some of my dating mishaps were wonderful restaurants, the discovery of new neighborhoods, or a really great pair of shoes. I try not to let how I’ve come about these things color my opinion of them.

The boss lady always tells me that much of your quality of life, of who you are as a person, has to do with how you deal with disappointment. Sure, I’m not going to tell you that I’ve never locked myself inside, drank a ton of champagne, and spent some time lying face down on the floor. A lot of things in life straight up suck. They suck, and there’s not very much you can do about it. I think people don’t tell you this often, but sometimes it’s true. However, you can pick yourself up, and find yourself with that consolation prize. You can change your bad experience into a decent, maybe even good one.

You can do it!

EVA♥

A Mermaid’s Tail

Hello all!

Well, it’s officially the first day of Summer! And…the juggling continues.

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This past Saturday was my studio’s annual “Big Show,” and I couldn’t be prouder of the way everything turned out.  Aside from our stellar team of teachers, our students worked harder than ever and it was evident in their level of dancing. I’m not afraid of tooting my own horn when I say it was an emotional and visually stunning show. Heck, I’ve been running around proclaiming it was the Best. Show. Ever!

At first, I was hesitant to post a little blurb, since I only have a few backstage shots, but this show has been such a huge part of my life over the last few months, I can’t help but share.

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Our beautiful mermaids onstage at dress rehearsal.

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I suddenly have the utmost respect for photographers who can capture the perfect action shot. It’s certainly no easy task! 

First off, we were adamant that our version of this story would be true to the original Hans Christian Anderson version- no mermaid marrying the prince, and no cartoonish villain or sidekicks. If you’re not familiar with the original, non-Disney version of the story, I urge you to check it out. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. We featured our graduating seniors as the mermaids, with one “winner,” the real girl who ultimately marries the prince in the end. I had way too much fun making an appearance as the evil Sea Witch. She’s older, wiser, and has fantastic jewelry. One of my teenage students said I should run around dressed as the sea witch everyday, which made me laugh. I guess she’s my badass alter-ego?

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This was possibly one of my favorite costumes I’ve worn to date.

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I clearly also had way too much fun doing my makeup to get into character. And check out that necklace! It was on loan from the boss lady, and so amazing.

 The storyline was intense, a roller-coaster, really, but nothing you couldn’t lighten up with a few children in shrimp costumes.

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It’s a shrimp party (also fondly known as shrimp cocktail)! One of the boss lady’s favorite things is being able to stick things on little kids heads, so these shrimp hats we made were no exception. It’s quickly become one of my favorite things too!

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I was also exceptionally proud of my Level 2 students. I lobbed some tricky choreography their way, and they took it in stride. I’m sure they don’t know it, but sometimes they are the highlight of my day. I’ve never left the studio without numerous hugs from them.

I’m always a little bit sad when a show comes to an end. Months and months of work go into making just one day exceptionally special. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our graduates (I’ve known many of them since they were just four years old). I’m so glad dance has been such a big part of their lives, and I hope they look back on these memories fondly once they’re off at college. I’m excited to hear of their many adventures to come.

EVA♥

Life in the Box

Hello everyone!

I’ve missed Watch-Me-Juggle-land quite a bit over the last few days. I’ve been juggling the heck out of everything lately- juggling all the things. I’m just glad I don’t have children or a dog, or my poor head might explode. It’s been a whirlwind and great learning experience. I’m writing to you now inside “the Box,” the box office at Yerba Buena theater.  It has plate glass windows and guillotine-like sliding doors, which one of my coworkers implied was for my own protection. People are really intense about this ballet-watching business, I’m telling you.

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First photo with the new phone! What do you all think?

I look a little tired in the above photo, I’ll admit.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been living inside a box. Either it’s the box of my cubicle, a box office, or my little box of a Barbie house that I go home to every day. I’ve been answering the same questions over and over again, “When? Where? How? Why? When?”…and on and on. Maybe I could make this some ridiculous metaphor about life, but it’s just how it is. I’m pretty much this bunny:

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It’s the long days like this that make me appreciate my solitude a hell of a lot more, that’s for certain. When I finally got done with work on Sunday, I felt absolutely no shame in holing up in my house with a quart (yes my friends, a quart) of Loard’s Lemon Chiffon ice cream and Game of Thrones.  I’ve also been indulging in the occasional shopping adventures, which I hope to document here at some point. Thus far, I’ve invested in some amazing new swimsuits and some, more practical things, like new work clothes and eye cream. I’ve also developed the nasty little habit of always having my phone in my hand- I’ve even been using it to catch up on my favorite blogs on Bloglovin’ lately since I’ve been on the go so much. At the end of the day, I even use it to watch my favorite TV Land reruns in bed. It’s clearly a party at my place! All things aside, I’ve been neglecting myself a little bit, but they say that the first step is to recognize the problem, right? I’m hoping I’ll do better or, rather, take better care of myself this week. I’d like to think that I have unwavering optimism, but that’s not always the case. I certainly do try though. The boss lady told me to keep my chin up the other day, and there’s something so reassuring about that. When I’m feeling stuck, I try to say that to myself. After all, everything might not always go as smoothly as you would like, whether that be at your job or at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk away at the end of the day and pat yourself on the back for trying your best.

Until next time!

EVA♥

From Studio to Studio- an Interview

Hi everyone!

I’ve been here, over-sharing my personal and professional life on Watch Me Juggle for quite a while now. I’ll admit that I’ve dabbled with applying to the occasional freelance writing gig here and there, but not much ever came of it.

Well… I was somehow able to talk my way into letting the ballet company I work for write for their blog. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Oh, I love writing! I have a little blog where I talk about ballet, teaching, and all the things that I do/eat on a weekly basis.”

Them: “Well, if you ever want to write things for our blog you can.”

Me: *falls over*

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That’s the very glamorous story of how my writing ended up not just on my little corner of the internet. Needless to say I was very excited about it. As the title of my blog suggests, not only did a submit my writing for a post, it happened to be a post containing my very first interview ever. I decided to sit down with one of my favorite people, dancer Erin Yarbrough, who made such a huge impression on me as my teacher years ago. She’s one of the main reasons I still dance today. Turns out, all you really need is one or two people to really believe in you. Lucky me, I ended up working alongside her in the very same studio I grew up dancing in. And I still learn from her! Pretty cool, right?

You can read my interview with her hereon the Smuin Ballet website. If you ever find yourself in San Francisco Bay Area, make sure you check them out! (I’m not shamelessly promoting my own company here, or anything.)

In other, incredibly exciting new, I got to take company class with the dancers of Smuin just the other day. Had you told my young self that I would be doing this one day, I would have frankly told you you were full of crap.

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Look! It’s a picture of Erin & I. 

 Since my transition to teaching almost daily ballet classes, I haven’t gotten much of a chance to take class as much as I would like. To put it bluntly, I felt totally out of shape. I was just glad I didn’t fall on my face in front of everyone. It made what promised to be just an average day an amazing day. Often I forget just how lucky I am to work in a field I’m so wholeheartedly passionate about. Just the other day, one of my students asked me if I get paid to teach them ballet. I told her I do, but sometimes I forget that it’s my job. I couldn’t ask for better.

EVA♥