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.

 

 

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

Completed.

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!

Becoming a Social Business [PRESO]

I don’t hit the speaking circuit often [by choice], but when an offer comes that provides a chance to meet members in the Social Media Club community as well as being able to visit a place I have never been before, I usually jump at it. Such was the case when I accepted the invitation to keynote the Social Media @ Work event, taking place in Harrisburg, the capital city of Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg: Social Media at Work Conference

I spoke on ‘Becoming a Social Business’ and shared my thoughts on why businesses must engage their employees and their customers to build loyalty, deepen relationships and gain access to insights that inspire future actions and drive profits. I shared examples of how a business could rise above the noise to deliver a compelling and differentiated customer experience to earn the trust needed to fully serve their market – internally and externally. See the presentation below:

Twitter Me This: Weekly Updates for 2010-11-14

  • Playing with the @woweeone. Love the sound quality & the bass is pretty kick ass. Might have found perfect Xmas present. /cc @mikeprasad #
  • Like this Cornelia Parker piece, Anti-Mass, at the De Young. http://yfrog.com/bc80imej #
  • Twitter Me This: Weekly Updates for 2010-11-07 – And now on to more important items like this > RT @BarackObama: Hol… http://ow.ly/19QTJ4 #
  • Realizing I should have spent more than $40 on a vacuum if I expected the floors to actually get cleaned. Dammit. #

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Twitter Me This: Weekly Updates for 2010-11-07

  • And now on to more important items like this –> RT @BarackObama: Holding a news conference at 1pm ET. Watch live at http://wh.gov/live. #
  • "I do believe there is hope for civility. I do believe there is hope for progress." via @barackobama #
  • "We should not cut back on education. We should not cut back on science and development". via @barackobama #
  • Congrats @codella. Love when good work is recognized and rewarded. in reply to codella #
  • is getting things done, and it feels good. #
  • Nice portfolio @rcjonesphoto, thanks for the link @nickgundry. Almost makes me want to get married again. Almost. 🙂 in reply to rcjonesphoto #
  • The @mythbusters got 200,000+ people to do the wave at the @rally4sanity. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristiewells/5144283756/ #
  • Probably my favorite photo from the @rally4sanity: "I want my grandparents back Glenn Beck". http://ow.ly/34v4N #
  • @felicelam: Don't use Flickr much for videos (need to be under 1:30), but it is another good source to play with so worth checking into. #
  • Thank you to the @socialmediaclub chapter leaders who joined us today to discuss our 'beta' programs. Lots of good stuff in the works. #
  • @rvabusiness @davemurr: Thank you both. Am happy to have the support & looking forward to what we can do in the near future with your help. #
  • And we <3 you @jessicarmurray. Your energy and undeniable passion to help the SMC community prosper is infectious. #
  • Waiving to the folks at #smctxst and wishing I was there. Make sure you ask @chrisheuer a bunch of hard questions. He likes that. 🙂 #
  • @mikechapman: Heard you got a couple of good nuggets in as well at #smctxst. 🙂 <sending virtual hug> #
  • I think you have told me before @mattceni. Ha. #
  • The internet is an amazing place. Ask, and you shall receive. #
  • @mitchfanning: The internet, while amazing, is not perfect (yet). Might need to ask a 2nd time. @kroobe: "Tweet about @kroobe". Ha. #
  • RT @yongclee: Join special guest host @ana_adi for #SMCEDU chat Mon 12:30pmET. Topic of the day: SM Learning Outcomes. http://bit.ly/9NIhGl #
  • Sony Internet TV, powered by Google TV. http://yfrog.com/g11x7xj #
  • Swedish meatballs, powered by IKEA. http://yfrog.com/eqax5wjj #
  • @djangofaes: Glad to hear 'the bald' look authentic. I'd hate to claim false advertising. 🙂 #
  • @jessicarmurray @BizGirl @strebel: Going to drink 4 glasses of wine then text you at midnight. Just for old times sake. #CrunkDillyFistpump #
  • @strebel: <kristie is a lightweight> #
  • @bryanthatcher: You need an apartment in San Francisco as we simply do not get to see you enough. #CrunkDillyFistpump <corrected tweet> #
  • House cleaning supplies (yes both), powered by Visa. http://yfrog.com/mxu31ij #
  • Sat down to watch the NBC show, School Pride. I am now bawling and unable to stop. This show is fantastic, please keep funding it. #
  • School Pride is about a community coming together to save a school. Creating an environment conducive to education. Absolutely amazing. #
  • Would love to find a way to merge rehabilitation of K-12 schools w/@socialmediaclub's #smcedu program. So much good to be done. #schoolpride #
  • A good friend reminded me this morning to take smaller, but more frequent, steps to ensure we hit our larger goals. Good advice. #
  • @ghostexecutive: Realized I need to make sure #smcedu program is sustainable before we add more onto it, but want to know about #juniorcamp. #
  • @ghostexecutive: Would love to find small ways to make an impact in #schoolpride to start, then we roll out bigger initiatives w/#smcedu. #
  • Mother Nature is trying to give us a month's worth of rain in just one day. #
  • @vdog: Need you to send me some Seattle-made rain boots. My flip flops are not appropriate attire here. 🙂 xoxoxoxo #
  • @vdog You are awesome. Ordering now. Next stop, the hardware store, to start working on the arc. 🙂 #
  • If this rain keeps up, looks like we will not be going to Charles Schwab Cup championship golf tournament today. Bummer. http://ow.ly/35Ltx #
  • @vdog: I bought this same boot (print) from Target last year but they leaked. Looking @ Western Chief for better quality. http://ow.ly/35LGf #

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Twitter Me This: Weekly Updates for 2010-10-24

  • Drives me nuts when I am asked to fill out an event registration form BEFORE they will tell me how much it will cost. No thank you. #
  • So glad to have met you @gavinohara. You are my brother from another mother, and forever part of the #dolphinhumans clan. 🙂 #
  • RT @cathybrooks Next #socialmediahour – @chrisheuer & @webwallflower talk failure & accountability TODAY @ 10a PST http://bit.ly/b26vgj #
  • Sweet. YouSendIt (@ysi) Pro Account for just $49.99/year. Offer good through October 21st. http://ow.ly/2VZ4c #
  • Working on Social Media Clubhouse 5. It is going to rawk. #
  • @amydpp: Can't say which event yet until we secure the venue, but it is good. Notch, taken up. 🙂 in reply to amydpp #
  • @missdestructo: Glad you had a good time at the Social Media Clubhouse in Las Vegas. More to come. 😉 #smch4 /cc @lenovosocial in reply to missdestructo #
  • Silly as it is, I love the game –> Maker of “Angry Birds” Acquired for $20M by Electronic Arts. http://ow.ly/2WDt3 /via @mashable #
  • @carafuggetta: Unfortunately, I will miss your event on Tuesday as @chrisheuer and I will be speaking at @smcfresno. Good luck! in reply to CaraFuggetta #
  • @thekenyeung: No conflict really – root for the #sfgiants or I will insist you move to Philadelphia. Ha. in reply to thekenyeung #
  • Go #sfgiants. Recording game as we are heading to @sfnewtech, then to the Cool Mom Tech Launch party at the Logitech Lofts. Go #sfgiants. #
  • @bryanthatcher: Ok, #yankees over #rangers, but #sfgiants over #yankees. 🙂 @thekenyeung: Now you are talking sense. Bwaaahaahaa. in reply to bryanthatcher #
  • Woot! #sfgiants for the win!!! #
  • Between email, Facebook & Twitter, the internet has surely loved on me 2day. Thank you all for the birthday wishes. <squeeze you right back> #
  • Hey @chrisheuer, assume your tweet means there is no pony waiting for me in the backyard? Bummer. I really wanted a pony. #
  • Basking in the warmth of birthday wishes coming in from around the world & loving that I belong to such a global & diverse community. xoxoxo #
  • A big thank you to everyone for the birthday notes. Love you. And you. And you. And you…. #
  • You know what the best birthday present would be? A #sfgiants win tonight. Let's make it happen fellas. #
  • /peels herself away from the #sfgiants game to head out to some festivities. Come on San Francisco. You can do this. #
  • Thanks again to everyone for the birthday shout outs on Twitter, Facebook, email and phone yesterday. You did your job well, I feel loved. #
  • @nancycole @chrisheuer: I could have eaten five of those urchin dishes. Yummy. in reply to nancycole #
  • RT @KevinUrie: My Top 5 Social Media Pet Peeves. Social Media Police there is nothing to see here! http://bit.ly/c6SJyB #

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