Where Are You From?

Where are you from?

I know people get asked this a lot.

I have a love hate relationship with this question, for lack of a better expression. The “love,” although I use this term loosely, comes from the fact that I find myself asking this same thing quite often. I also somewhat resent being on the receiving end of it. It’s not so much the question itself I have a problem with, it’s the context in which it’s being asked. It’s the nature of the answer that people want that bothers me.

See, when I ask you where you’re from, I quite literally want to know where you moved to San Francisco from. I know that most of your answers will consist of things like: “I’m from Boston,” or “I grew up outside of Chicago.” I’m a naturally curious person, so I find things like this intriguing. It can usually make for some decent conversation. When people ask myself or my parents this, it usually bears some kind of hidden meaning. The question is really something like:”Where is your accent from?” Or “Wow, you’re different looking- what’s your ethnic background?” At the very first, the hidden meaning of the question seemed harmless enough, people would ask me things like this all the time. However, I quickly started to notice that many of my friends weren’t subjected to the same kind of questioning. It’s suddenly become a game of “Guess My Ethinicity!”

karenmeangirlsKaren! You can’t just ask people why they’re white!! (Gif c/o giphy)

With the exception of Karen from Mean Girls, very few people will walk up to you and ask your ethnicity outright. So they choose something like “Where are you from?” instead.

Once, in Las Vegas, I answered this question truthfully: “I’m from San Francisco…you know, the Bay Area.” Only to get a “No. I mean where are you from? Are you Latina or something?” I’m happy to share my stories with people, but when strangers approach me with this as their opening line, it still takes me aback. I wouldn’t walk up to you and say things like “Hey! What are you genetics like? You have some really hyper-extended knees!” It’s a weirdly personal question.

It bothered me even more, as a child, seeing my parents get subjected to similar treatment. My father likes to be stubborn, and insists he’s from “here.” Right here, California. It makes people uncomfortable, because it doesn’t get them the answer they’re looking for. Especially in today’s political climate, no one wants to approach a Middle Eastern looking man and directly ask him what his “deal” is. “Excuse me, sir, what war-torn country are you from and how did you get all the way over here?” wouldn’t go over well, I imagine. Then, people get an eyeful of my mother, who they then confuse as Australian, instead of Austrian, and then want to know everything. Of course, how they met is quite a story, but I don’t always feel compelled to tell it. Don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciate and enjoy the uniqueness of who I am. I just don’t always feel like being gawked at like a zoo animal. (I know I’m  not the only one. Please see #4 and #10 on this Buzzfeed list on “21 Feeling All Mixed-Race Kids Know.”) Someone actually referred to me as a “half-breed” once. My response to that is that at least I’m not a whole idiot, thank you very much.

This isn’t the first time I’ve shared a bit of what it’s like being me. For a little background, you can check out my previous post on growing up multi-lingual here. Sure, 99 percent of the time I feel tremendously lucky; there’s never a dull moment and I always have a story or two to tell. I appreciate your curiosity, but sometimes, it just best to let people share with you, at their own pace. In the meantime, please find a better question to fill the silence.

Love,

EVA♥

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All Work And…

Hello everyone!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Isn’t that the saying? I’m pretty sure there’s a second part to that, about all play and no work, but, really, who does that?

(No, seriously, if you know how to do that please let me know.)

 On the contrary, I’ve found myself doing what feels like utterly nothing lately, which is incredibly unlike me. I’m one of those strange people who likes being busy quite literally all the time. I work 6 days a week with little complaint because I get to work in a field I absolutely love.  Unfortunately, this leaves me with very little time to do much else. The last few weeks, when the end of the work day rolled around, you could most likely find me doing this:

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In various places around my apartment. Just…planking.

Sometimes it would be planking in the bath, sometimes I decided to plank while staring at my phone, or while watching a Harry Potter marathon on TV, but that’s about as exciting as it got. I literally did nothing, just because it felt like the most appropriate thing to do at the time. So, why share this embarrassing state of events? Well, I always like to think that it helps to feel like you’re never alone. I’m sure some of you, dear readers, could out-plank me any day. Heck, even while I was poking around online, looking for fantastic gif-inspiration, I came across The Broke Millenial’s blog on Burnout. See! We’re definitely not alone. Sometimes you just need to come home and have some night cheese, like Liz Lemon! Or take naps on a Saturday, for no reason.

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At first, I began to think that there was something legitimately wrong with me. I would perpetually drink coffee throughout the day to keep me going, and then come home and crash at night. The kind of crashing where you fall asleep upright with all the lights in your house on, still wearing a face full of makeup. Throw in an ibuprofen or two and you had a typical Wednesday for me.

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So how do you, dear readers, handle this proverbial “burnout”? This past Saturday, I finally decided to unleash my inner Karen Walker and headed outside of my apartment at night in pursuit of a cocktail. I spent some time with a friend of mine and engaged in people browsing, as you might call it.

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This certainly jolted me awake, albeit while ironically staying out much later than I should have. Now, I wouldn’t credit one cocktail with giving me my spark back. Although it’s not the most deep wisdom I can impart on you, sometimes you really do need those moment of doing absolutely nothing. Those moments might even spread over the span of several days. It’s very much the small things I started doing for myself that helped me get back, both literally and figuratively, on my feet. I let myself have that extra cup of coffee, I made time to read that silly paperback, and spent a Saturday night in my pajamas painting my nails. Most of all, I didn’t let myself feel badly about it. Sure, sometimes that voice in your head just wants to point out all the things you’ve been doing wrong, or all the things you should be doing- don’t let it. I’m here to tell you it’s stupid and it needs to get over itself. You can take a nap today, and come back with a vengeance tomorrow.   Things aren’t always going to go the way you imagined, but you’re doing your best. After all, in the words of Mindy Kaling: 

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Image source: giphy

Until next time!

EVA♥

Just a Smile

Hello everyone!

Today, I wanted to write about something that has preoccupied me for some time. To be completely honest, I’ve been a bit frightened to publish this particular post, because it focuses on something I’ve been incredibly self-conscious about for a really, really long time: my teeth.

To make a long story short, when I was seven I slipped and fell while dancing on my great aunt’s slick kitchen floor in Austria, knocking one of my front teeth completely out. Approximately 3 years later, I fell again, and damaged the neighboring tooth. Since then, I’ve spent over 5 years in braces, had two root canals, two tissue graft surgeries, a tooth extraction, a bone graft, and a new tooth implanted. Between that and interesting genetics that left me with an additional missing tooth, I’ve never been entirely happy with my smile.  It’s always been far from perfect, and, on top of that, I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life living with what I jokingly referred to as my “party trick” tooth:

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And a smile that looked like this:

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To say I was self-conscious about it was an understatement.

Even with the fake teeth, I hated looking at photos of myself and seeing the gap and mismatched color of my teeth. I never took the retainer out of my mouth, except to sleep, and, even then, only my good friends had seen me entirely without it. When I traveled, or had an important event, I lived in fear that the retainer would break, and that I would suddenly be without a tooth. It’s quite literally the stuff of nightmares, having your teeth falling out of your head. When I was living with my college roommates, I broke my retainer, or flipper as it’s often called, eating a piece of pizza. I knew I had wonderful friends when, between getting me to laugh uncontrollably in the midst of a rather horrifying situation, they were fully prepared to trek to the local drugstore on their bikes to buy me a tube of Fixodent until I made it to the dentist. They also indulged me when I began to insist that I be photographed from one particular side, as I joked “That’s the side with all my real teeth!”

After years of surgeries and continuous poking around in my mouth, I was both tired and slightly afraid to step into another dentist’s office. My smile has always been a work in progress, but, recently I decided to be both more proactive and optimistic, and go back to the dentist. It’s still a work in progress, but now my smile looks like this:

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(Forgive the grainy, post-work-out photo. Look at that smile!)

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I had always hoped that one day that my smile would be better. It seems like such a trivial thing, really. I feel fortunate for having so many positive things in my life, on some days, having perfect teeth seemed almost too much to ask. When I was handed the mirror at the end of my most recent dentist appointment, I was startled, and perhaps not in a good way. I had, for so long, resigned myself to the fact that I was the girl who had two fake, gappy, mismatched teeth. I suddenly happy and slightly uncomfortable with my new look, all at the same time. Now that I’ve gotten a little more used to them, I couldn’t be happier. I still have quite a way to go over the next few months, and I’ll keep documenting my progress. In the meantime, I have plenty to smile about.

EVA♥

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Hello dear readers!

Longtime no…write? As usual, I’ve been off on adventures, this time to the single’s motherland: Las Vegas. Don’t worry, the “what happens in Vegas” rules don’t apply in this case- stay tuned for all the reasons I enjoy visiting Sin City so much. And, in case you were wondering, Yes, it was really hot out there.

Today, I was inspired to write for a number of different reasons. When I get back from vacation, regardless of where I’m going, I tend to get a bit introspective about life, in general. Relaxing and thinking about the day’s interactions also helps pass up the otherwise tedious commute hours. But, what primarily got the wheels turning was a conversation I had with one of my girlfriends today. Now, I can only speak from experience, but there seems to be an epidemic of bright, talented young women out there who are self-deprecating to a fault. Disparaging might be a better word for it. I consider myself very lucky to have such wonderful friends, they’re all ladies that I admire, and they have qualities that I aspire to embody. It completely baffles me when they turn around and fixate on the few things they dislike about themselves, or compare themselves to other people. Of course, being on the outside, it’s easy for me to tell them that they’re absolutely crazy, that they have so much to be proud of and that the people in their lives think so highly of them. It’s interesting that our friends almost always, in so many words, think we’re selling ourselves short.

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I’m going to go ahead and throw this piece of advice out there:

Don’t sell yourself short. Period.

Surprise, surprise, like most pieces of “helpful” advice, this is easier said than done. Sometimes, you even need to stand up for yourself a little bit, like Karen Walker over here:

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I had a little bump in the road a while back, and no one was more surprised than me when I, quite literally stood up for myself and announced: “Um, wait. I’m amazing!” As women, we’re told not to brag, not to tell people what to do, or how it is, but when did this manifest into sabotaging our own self-confidence? Just because a relationship or job isn’t the best for us, doesn’t mean that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us. It takes quite a bit of self-assessment to figure this out, and that certainly isn’t easy. It’s possible, though. Like I’ve said before, there will always be things in our lives that we will want to “upgrade,” or paths we occasionally wish we had taken. But, sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves, because no one else can really do it for us.

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

Five Things is back! It’s close enough to Wednesday, right?

I was trying to get through the drudgery of my evening commute, catching up on my Bloglovin’ feed, when I stumbled across blogger and florist Keira Lennox’s latest post on her blog, A Pretty Penny. She’s right- blogging consistently is hard, especially with a full-time job and the rest of your life to manage. When do all you full-time bloggers have time to do your dishes?! I too have recently gotten hooked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and then there are all the amazing places to eat and cocktails to have around the Bay Area. I’m beginning to discover that I have a slight propensity to multi-task a little too much. As I write this, I’m also trying to balance watching re-runs, a video on Youtube, keep up a text conversation with one of my girlfriends, and whiten my teeth. Too many things, yes? Sometimes I find myself just wanting to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for a bit. Luckily, I can only do that for so long before I find myself jumping up to do the next thing! We all need a break every-once-in-a-while, and it’s moments like those that prompt me to get up and write all over again. One day at a time, I guess! With that…here are this week’s Five Things!

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I got to spend some time at a lovely evening farmer’s market this week. The whole thing was oddly picturesque- there’s just something about walking down the street with a big bunch of dahlia’s, you can’t help but be in a good mood.

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It’s not a birthday celebration without a candle and little crème brûlée. This last year’s birthday was extra-fancy, if I may say. I’m already very much looking forward to the next one!

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I spent my post-birthday weekend wine tasting in Edna Valley, just outside of San Luis Obispo. Apparently, at 28 you can only drink so much wine before you have to sit down. My good friend Maren and I lasted for about two tastings before we needed a nap. Pictured is Claiborne & Churchill Winery’s latest bottle of rosé , named after one of the founder’s daughters: Cuvée Elizabeth.

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Ivette Ivens/ ivetteivens.com

Everyone I know knows that I have a mild obsession with French Bulldogs. When this article was published on Buzzfeed two days ago, I had a number of people sending me the link within hours. Photographer Ivette Ivens’ work pretty much went viral from all the cute. After all, baby + wrinkled puppy= instant happiness.

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While it’s nice having a break from being in the studio every day, I find myself really missing ballet class. And having a hard time mustering up the energy to make it through an entire evening class. I do like popping in for the occasional barre, or taking yoga class.

Moral of the story: there really should be more hours in a day.

EVA♥

That Voice No One Likes

Hello everyone!

It’s been the usual in Watch Me Juggle land. All the juggling! Yet, despite having many fun and exciting things to do, places to go, and people to see, I’ve noted the little “Negative Nancy” voice in my head that likes to inject her fabulous commentary to everything lately. Take a few of the following scenarios for example:

Trying out a new trend? “Yeah, you look really stupid in that,” she says, “Your friends have children, seriously, put a real shirt on.”

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C/o SNL/ giphy.com

(Just in case you didn’t know, Nancy is a dead ringer for Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer.)

Wake up feeling motivated and plan a workout? “You’re way too old for that, seriously, look at your face in the morning. You might scare children. Stay inside. Eat a doughnut. Eat six doughnuts, who cares?!”

That guy you like not text you back in the acceptable 35 second time frame? Nancy says: “He totally got your text. He just thinks you’re really lame. Oh, and annoying.”

Open your mouth in the meeting, and the person in charge threatens to hit you with a stick…wait, no, that actually happened. But Nancy adds that, like she said before, “you’re obviously really annoying.” Just in case you already didn’t feel like a bozo.

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C/o NBC via college-life-crisis.tumblr.com

For lack of a better descriptor, Nancy is an ass and no one should ever listen to her.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way- everyone has that voice, though it might take on different forms. Who doesn’t remember seeing a cartoon from their childhood with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other? It’s the age-old “Should I?/Shouldn’t I?” dilemma. Who and what, for that matter, should I be listening to? Unfortunately, the theory behind these cute cartoons can’t be left behind in your childhood- odds are they will follow you around for quite sometime. I don’t think there’s too much rhyme or reason to when the negativity creeps in, but it somehow does. As someone who manages frequent anxiety, the absolute worst seems to be when nothing, in fact, is wrong. It seems like a terribly sad thing that I sometimes can’t enjoy the little things going well in life. For example, I was in a fantastic, productive mood the other day, coming home after running some errands; there’s Negative Nancy, reminding me of the latest mishap, or presenting some worst-case-scenario. Sometimes it’s as ridiculous as “Oh, you’re happy now, but remember, you have to go to the dentist in a month!” or “Hey, you never know when you might get hit by a bus!” I wish I was making this stuff up.  It’s the classic good-versus-evil, glass half-empty of half-full  metaphor that we all know and love. What makes me feel better, even in the lowest moments, is that so many people can relate. I’d like to think that even Beyoncé has those days. (She did have that one mishap with her bangs a while back, if you do recall.) Then again, even Michelle Obama wants to be Beyoncé, so this might be a total assumption on my part.

beyonce careless gif

C/o fiercegifs.tumblr.com

What helps me the most in these moments is being the anti-Nancy, so to speak. Turn your focus to something inherently positive, even it’s a simple, good cup of coffee or the latest dog gif making its rounds on the internet. Reach out to a friend, someone you trust, or go for a walk. I know none of these things are revolutionary or extraordinary methods of problem solving, but they tend to help when reason goes out the window, and they sure do make Nancy pipe down for a while.

Or you can just pretend to be your own version of Beyoncé in the meantime. That sounds like a plan, right?

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*

….

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♥

It’s like I have ESPN, or something…

Hi everyone!

Oh, boy…here comes the gif:

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Ahhhh! It’s almost 2015, people! Quick! Isn’t it time to do all of the things that we didn’t get a chance to do this year…or something?

 So, according to the lovely Taylor over at The Daily Tay, I’m all kinds of lame for not doing the requisite “2014 Recap” post, followed by a resolutions post. I’m a rogue blogger, what can I say? What I am doing, in a nod to the upcoming new year, is participating in The Other Juliette‘s fabulous link up with Amber, and predicting what this next year has in store for me. To be quite honest, I think the last time I was given an assignment like this, it was 1999, and my 7th grade English teacher made us write a paper predicting what was going to happen when Y2K hit. Yes, I’m dating myself. No, I cannot explain why the majority of people were in a total panic because they thought that the computers wouldn’t be able to count to 2000. Get it together everyone. Anyway, I did take a moment to reflect on what my life might look like in 2015.

So, here goes nothing:

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YES  

  • I’ll continue to cram as many ballet/modern dance classes into my day as possible. There’s still room people!
  • I see many a trip to Las Vegas in my future
  • I’ll begin the process of getting rid of my “party trick” tooth, and getting the smile I’ve been dreaming about since I was 14.
  • I’ll continue making life’s lemons into lemonade, and then promptly add vodka for a refreshing twist.
  • I’ll finally get my kitchen organized, and take my microwave out of the box.
  • I will take stand-up paddleboarding lessons over the summer.
  • I’ll visit New Orleans again.
  • I’ll become an honorary aunt again. Isn’t that one of the perks of having married friends?
  • Get a new laptop, “fancify” Watch Me Juggle a bit, and get to know some bay area bloggers in real life.
  • I will visit my alma mater and spend some much-needed time in Santa Barbara.

NO

  • I’ll take up running for fun.
  • I will develop a taste for radicchio. It’s pretty to look at, but blech
  • The fabulous shoe buying will cease.
  • I’ll decide that living alone sucks and promptly move into a house filled with people I don’t know.
  • I will give up coffee in favor of large glasses of water. (haha! That’s funny, right?)

Wait…what? (Maybe)

  •  Get those tattoos I’ve been thinking about for ages.
  • Travel to England or Malaysia. Or both, why not?
  • Buy a Kindle. I love the idea of buying books at a whim while traveling/commuting.
  • Start making videos to post on my blog.
  • Do that photo shoot I’ve been thinking about for ages. I’m long overdue for some pictures of myself dancing.

What do you think, everyone? Doable or totally ridiculous? I almost included “shaving half of my head like Ke$ha” under my ‘No’ list, but thought better of it. I will make no promises.

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello everyone, and Happy Wednesday.

Five Things is back! This week features lots of dessert, some inspiration, and a few giggles. You know, the usual. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s important to remember all the little things that make you happy. It’s my #1 cure for any and all anxiety life might chuck at you. When I’m having a bad day, for example, I like to curl up at home and watch Golden Girls reruns. Yes, that’s right. I am a frequent Hallmark channel-watcher. Top this off with some take-out comfort food and maybe a bubble bath. Even better, watch re-runs in the bath. I do that too. Don’t judge me- we all have our things!

Anyway, first off is a fabulous pumpkin flan that I had for dessert last week. Imagine rich, crust-less pumpkin pie. YUM!

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{Please forgive the grainy photo- it was all that ambient lighting in the restaurant!}

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{The view from the Starlight Room, post all-night dancing. Mark of a good night.}

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{I was feeling a little crafty the other day, so I whipped up a little cinnamon crumb coffee cafe. I literally had cake for breakfast multiple times in the week.}

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{Love….I probably should have picked this up from the Urban Outfitters book section, to be quite honest.}

and lastly, if any of you remember Jimmy Kimmel’s past holiday pranks, here’s this year’s Halloween prank.

 

{Both horrifying and hilarious at the same time. Ah, the joy of children.}

Hope everyone is having a good week thus far!

EVA♥

Notable Quotes. Quotable Notes.

Hello all!

This week feels like a week of endless Mondays.

Ever have one of those?

….

Today’s Blogtober prompt was to share your favorite quote. Now, if you know me, that’s like asking me to choose my favorite flavor of ice cream, or doughnut. It’s just not possible. So, I thought I would share some of my latest discoveries, all of which are currently residing on my “Notable Quotes. Quotable Notes” board on my Pinterest. I wouldn’t call myself an avid pinner, by any means, but I do like to peruse the site, from time to time. I’ve discovered some beautiful and inspiring things there.

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These are some of my favorites, for the moment.

Words are like food for me- some people find a dish they enjoy, and never feel the need to try anything else. I, on the other hand, find something delicious and suddenly want to try more. I want more thought-provoking words, more poems, more things to connect to. I’ve been rather restless this whole week, and sometimes those words of encouragement are all you need. I think that sometimes our lives get too cluttered with junk: junk food, “guilty pleasure” tv, cheap clothes, excessive social media. I love reading about the latest beauty trends as much as the next gal, but do I really need to know what Kim Kardashian’s new haircut looks like according to Facebook? No. No I do not. It’s much easier to fill up on the frivolous stuff than to sit down and to think about things that really matter. To me that’s art, music, the people that are close to me- the things that I’m passionate about. When things get a little dicey, those are the things that I want, along with the little, constant reminder:

I am, I am, I am.

EVA♥