SxSW ‘SARS’ Strikes, Again.

I was smart this year. We made sure we were asleep by 1am every morning, we didn’t get shitty each night, and we even ate better than we have ever done before. I was sure I got out of SxSW without coming down with a cold. It would be the first time in five years, but I was feeling good when we boarded the plane in Austin.

Three days later…it all kicked in. And it kicked hard.


Week one was filled with the typical Mucinex cocktail (part Sudafed, part Mucinex with a heavy side of Echinacea tea).

Change of plans ... hold the Bloody Mary, I'll have the Mucinex cocktail instead.

Week two came along and I wasn’t feel even the slightest bit better. It hurt when I took a breath, the pressure in my sinuses would not let up and I couldn’t get any sleep as the minute I laid down I would get into coughing fits that felt like my lungs were ripping apart. I paid a visit to the doctor and after listening to my lungs and feeling confident it was just a cold, I was told there was not much more I could do but to try and rest.

So I did. Totally out of character as sitting still for too long drives me nuts, but I knew this time was different, and with so many people I knew down with this crap, I didn’t want to take a chance of it lasting for weeks. I kept ‘hacking up a lung’, I consumed more chicken noodle soup than I thought possible and I rested.

Week three came and it was still hanging tough. Then I got what I thought was pink eye, so I went back in to see the doctor.
Seems the raging chest cold wasn't enough for my body this week ... I had to get pink eye too. FML

He listened to my breathing again, and this time, sent me home with a prescription for cough syrup, an inhaler and recommended special eye drops as it wasn’t pink eye, but the cold showing itself in a different body part. Odd. Those three items combined with more rest, chicken noodle soup and Sudafed finally did their trick and at the top of week four, I was finally feeling better.

It took another week for the cough to completely go away, but at least I was able to sleep and I was finally getting my energy back.

Not sure what else we can do differently to avoid getting sick after SxSW, except maybe not go to SxSW. Always an option I guess.

Soaking In The Goodness of a Childhood Favorite

Namely, Fenton’s Creamery.

I come from an ice cream loving family. In fact, the Wells’ are almost fanatical about it. On my dad’s 31st birthday, my mom bought him 31-one gallon tubs of ice cream. And our five person family blew threw it all in three months. Not proud, but damn, that was a fun time.

When our family discovered Fenton’s, it was like we struck gold. It was an old school creamery situated in a developing area of Oakland. The five of us sat around a tiny table that should really only fit three and placed our orders. My dad ordered the banana split and before we knew it, an insane mound of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, caramel sauce and chocolate sauces, nuts, and fresh whipped cream was delivered to our table with the proverbial cherry on top.

Black and Tan sundae from Fenton's (before)

Then the rest of our orders came to the table and I think we spent the first five minutes giggling with one another. There were five crazy piles of gluttony oozing out of bowls and tall glasses, awaiting to be devoured. And devour we did. I think one of us (*cough* Joy *cough*) might have even licked her bowl.

Oh, and then came the crab sandwiches, which put our family over the edge. We love seafood almost as much as we love ice cream and this, my friends, is a winning combination. Fresh crab. Light slaw. Perfectly toasted bread. ZOMG.

Cracked crab sandwich from Fenton's in Oakland. As good as I remember.

For the next ten years, our family made Fenton’s a monthly excursion, and the boys we chose to date knew we really liked them when they were invited to join us for the trip to the magical ice cream land. One time I remember fondly was when my [then] boyfriend Mike challenged my dad to the banana split eating contest. Needless to say, my dad won – and I think he even helped Mike finish his when it was over. On the ride home that night, we all sat in silence as we reflected on the tasty goodness we had just put into our bodies when all of a sudden, the sounds of pants unzipping and a ‘I should have worn elastic waisted jeans tonight’ comment came from Mike. We all busted out laughing as Mike was a Varsity football player who was used to eating large quantities of food to fuel his time on the field, and one ‘little’ banana split took him out. It was awesome.

While most of my family took to the banana split, I am partial to their Black and Tan sundae. Vanilla ice cream, their ‘crack’ caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and that amazing whipped cream. I don’t even think I have ever ordered anything else – it is that good.

Fenton’s is one of those rare gems – a company that knows what their market wants, continue to produce an amazing product (50+ years) and supports it with great service.

For various reasons (most likely the ever-growing size of my hips), I had stopped going to Fenton’s. It had been 20+ years and I returned recently, this time, with Heuer in tow. It had the same white walls. The same metal chairs. The same small tables. We ordered a Black and Tan and a crab sandwich, to split. And you know what? It was as good, and as big, as I remembered. Nothing had changed, thankfully.

I doubt we will restart the monthly tradition, but we will make sure we don’t let another 20 years go by either. And as I write this post, I realize I should probably not be writing this as I really don’t want the lines to be any longer than they already are. Whoops.



That Time I Met Jerry Rice, Again

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, a child of the 80s who bled red and gold from the very first time I watched the San Francisco 49ers on my parents TV.

I was spoiled. Our team had Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice, to name just a few. Watching the combination of Montana and Rice, and then Young and Rice, was quite a sight to see.

I feel blessed watching Rice hone his craft on San Francisco soil. His work ethnic was undeniable. Many of the NFL receiving records he set are still in place to this day. He is simply the greatest wide receiver in pro football history.

So when I had a chance to take a photo with him in the Lenovo Social Lounge during CES, I took it. Fan girl, am I.


I think I walked up to him babbling something about helping his wife Jackie find maternity clothing when I was working part time at A Pea in a Pod at the Stanford Shopping center, like 100 years ago. I honestly cannot remember and it doesn’t matter either. The bar was loud. I could have been talking about favorite ice cream flavors and he probably would not have heard me anyway.

Thanks for the photo Jerry.

Round One: IPL Skin Peel

Skin PeelI am not an [overly] vain person, but as the years tick on by, I realize I should be a little better at taking care of my skin. The wrinkles on my face continue to deepen and I have been noticing crazy pigment changes on my face, neck and chest, which is making me never want to go out in the sun again.

My dermatologist recommended I try something called ‘IPL’ [Intense pulsed light] therapy, which uses pulses of light to induce controlled wounds on your skin, prompting it to heal itself by peeling and then creating new cells. It is less ‘damaging’ to your skin than a chemical peel, and the healing time is about half. They usually recommend three IPL treatments, but I thought I would start with this one and see how it goes before committing to more.

The process was simple. After filling out the typical ‘I promise not to sue you if you mess up my face’ forms, they took me to the treatment room and rubbed numbing cream all over my face. The treatment lasted about an hour and while there was no discomfort, I did smell ‘burning skin’ several times which is not the most pleasant smell to encounter, especially when you know it is your own.

IPL: Intense Pulsed Light TreatmentOnce it was over, I looked like I had a terrible sunburn. All the really red spots are where I had pigment issues (when I was young, we lovingly called them freckles). I knew I had some areas of concern on my chest, but I was a bit surprised to see my forehead and the side of my neck bringing things up so quickly. I have really tried to keep out of the sun the last couple of years, but seems the damage done in my 20s-30s was rearing its ugly head.

I was really red for the first two days and then it all started to mellow out. I had expected to go through a massive peel [perfect timing for Christmas], but that never happened*. My skin got really dry in the damaged areas and sloughed off in small pieces, like it would with a light sunburn.

I am on day four and I can see the brown pigment starting to fade away, so feeling like I made the right decision and will most likely schedule treatments two and three now to really make sure I get it all. It is not inexpensive, but when I think of all the damage it is trying to undo, I think it is worth it.

* The first photo is a basic mask you do at home and did not have anything to do with the IPL, I just thought it was funny.


Visiting Annecy [France]

Annecy is located on the Northern edge of Lac d’Annecy and is known as the Venice of France due to the channels running through the middle of the city. It is about 1/2 hour from Geneva and just over an hours drive from Chamonix-Mont Blanc, which made it a great candidate for a day trip.

December 2011 Road Trip

We spent quite a bit of time walking through the gardens and along the shoreline, soaking in the cool Winter breeze and being the good tourists we are, taking a gazillion ‘selfies’ on Lovers Bridge.

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy also offers great architectural monuments, and my favorite was the Palais de l’Isle, also called the “old prison”. It was built in 1132 in the centre of the Thiou canal. It started out as the primary residence of the Lord of Annecy and later became the county seat administrative headquarters, a courthouse, a mint, and finally a jail. It was classified as a historical monument in 1900, and today houses a local history museum.

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy: Dec 2011

While interesting to see during the day, the structure really comes to life at night and you can see why it is [one of] the most photographed building in all of France.

Annecy: Dec 2011

We toured the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d’Annecy, Impérial Palace and the Basilique de la Visitation. Our last stop was the Château d’Annecy, the former home of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemoursand currently used as the Art and History Conservatory of Annecy and the Regional Office of the Alpine Lakes. It is perched atop a hill and offers lovely views of the lake, the town and surrounding areas.

Annecy: Dec 2011


Annecy offers just enough sight seeing to make for a great day trip from either Geneva or the Chamonix region. You can see more photos from our trip here.

Bucket List #172: Skiing The French Alps


After a week in Paris, Heuer and I took the train to Geneva where we rented a car and drove to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, which is a beautiful ski resort area nestled in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Fun fact: It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

We had a reservation at the Hôtel Le Morgane, which was located in the middle of the town, enabling us to walk anywhere we wanted. If you like the vibe of W Hotels, you will love this place. Perfect modern mountain resort with good sized rooms and a fantastic restaurant [see below].

The town is not very big, but if you come to ski, eat and drink, you will be plenty entertained. On our second day in Chamonix, we walked to the bus and took the short 15 minute ride to Les Grands Montets, the local ski resort. I don’t ski as much as I used to as my knees are not in great shape, but I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to ski the Alps, so I pointed my sticks down the hill and let out a little ‘weeeeee!!!’.

Unfortunately, the first snow of the season only arrived two days before we did so it was not the best of conditions, but we skiied that mountain, and we skiied it good.

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

On the ride home, we discussed heading to the Italian side next to test their snow, but quickly decided unless there was a monster storm in the next 24 hours, one day of skiing was enough for this trip. The storm never came, so we’ll need to ski the Italian side next time.

In addition to skiing, the town offers many places to eat and one of my favorite meals during our stay was a [what felt like] 23-course meal at our hotel.

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

The plates kept coming and the dishes kept getting better and better. By the time dessert arrived, I was so full that I couldn’t finish the whole thing, but managed to get the chocolate chip cookie and one of the custards in me. I mean, come on…where there is a will there is a way. Always.

We had four great days in Chamonix, but truth be told, if you are not skiing, 2 days would be plenty unless you bring a really good book to read or a deck of cards or spend some time in the spa. I like to explore the places we visit and you can walk this town in an hour, so to break up the trip a bit, we decided to take a day trip to Annecy and ‘do lunch’ in Milan, which were both fun excursions, and I’ll share on them next.

See more photos from our trip here: Chamonix 2011

Paris in December

Heuer and I are in Paris again for the Le Web conference, and this time we have chosen to rent an apartment located on the edge of the Marais. I have come to love this neighborhood and can’t imagine staying anywhere else now. So much to do here. So easy to get anywhere we need to be on the Metro.

The apartment was lovely, with a nice updated kitchen and good sized living area. The only down side was the loft bedroom has a fairly low roof. Like ridiculously low.

Paris: Dec 2011

It did give us a good chuckle, and while there was another bedroom on the main floor, the bed upstairs was larger and more comfortable, so we decided to deal with it. Happy to announce I only cracked my head on the roof twice during the week. Heuer won’t admit how many times he hit it.

This trip we were able to take in two new museums, the Centre Georges Pompidou:

Paris: Dec 2011

Paris: Dec 2011

Paris: Dec 2011

And the Musée d’Orsay, where the only photos allowed are on a platform where you can soak in the views of the city, which some will call art:

Paris: December 2011

Paris: December 2011

We of course ate our way through the city as usual, and nothing disappointed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just need to get better at writing the names down so I can remember them and/or offer recommendations.

You can see more photos of our trip to Paris here: Paris 2011 Set

We have decided to take an extra week this time to explore a bit more of this country and will be heading to Chamonix in the French Alps for some skiing [please snow!], Geneva and Annecy. Stay tuned!

Riding in a Zeppelin

We had a chance to take a 45 minute flight on the Zeppelin Eureka around San Francisco Bay thanks to the team at Airship Ventures. It was a fantastic time soaking in a unique view of this place I call home, including the incredible beauty of the salt ponds, which change color based on the concentrations of algae, brine shrimp and other pond life.

The Zeppelin Flight: #geekship

The Zeppelin Flight: #geekship

The Zeppelin Flight: #geekship

The Zeppelin Flight: #geekship

The Zeppelin Flight: #geekship

See more photos at: Zeppelin Set