Walking around Chicago.

Nothing too crazy today.  It was not as hot as predicted, but it did drizzle most of the day, and the evening saw thunderstorms with some pretty fantastic lightning shows.  Did some work in the morning, then brunch with an old high school friend and her baby at West Egg Cafe (got blueberry wheatgerm pancakes), then poked into Forever 21 and could not for the life of me decide on a color for this one dress, and so bought both.  Did more work in the afternoon, then had dinner in Wicker Park at a place called Jerry's, known for its oddball sandwiches.  I got the Tim R, smoked turkey, prosciutto, grilled onions, smoked gouda and asparagus on pretzel bread, with a side of mac n cheese and Thai cuke salad.  Yummy.

Bridal Shower Sunday

We had an afternoon of unabashed girlyness for Feng's bridal shower, and it was fantabulous.  I drove up to the city a bit early and had a quick  breakfast with Wendy (also stopped in to admire her very cute, nicely sunny apartment) at Arizmendi, the coop bakery in Inner Sunset known for its sourdough bread.

Then, headed down to Noe Valley where a group of us gathered at Terra Mia to paint a somewhat matching, very practical set of bowls for Feng.  It's been incredibly long since I last painted ceramics, and I forgot how fun it is.  Took me forever to select just the right combination of pastel-y colors and then come up with a design for the inside of the bowl.  I kept fiddling with it and thinking of more things to add to it, and someone had to finally tell me to stop it already =D  I was happy with the end result and I hope Feng is too!

Then we headed over to Lovejoy's Tea Room, which I've heard so much about but never tried before.  It was fairly bursting at the seams with estrogen--gaggles of women celebrating birthdays, brides-to-be, and other special occasions, all gathering for high tea in the afternoon. The whole set up was adorable, from the charmingly mismatched china to the comfy window seats piled high with cushions. We went with two orders of High Tea for Two (I believe the teas we selected were Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Apricot and Blood Orange), and they came with all manner of delicious tea-sized sandwiches, incredible scones (clotted cream and strawberry jam included).  We also ordered a side of crumpets w/ lemon curd, which I've never had before, and a curried chicken pasty.

We were stuffed full of all the high-tea goodness.  * happy sigh*

...and a violent afternoon.

In my continued vanity, I needed a pair of brown shoes to go with a skirt I was wearing today.  I decided on a pair of three-inch slingbacks that I hadn't worn in probably over a year.  They'd gone so long unworn I had to dust them before putting them on.  I was surprised at how comfy they were.

Coming back to my desk from a meeting on the second floor though, one of those three-inch heels slipped on the very slippery stairs at work and I fell.  I would have taken quite the tumble if I hadn't caught myself on the rail.  But not before stubbing my left toe quite violently against the stairs.  As I got up to hobble down the rest of the stairs, I realized my toe was throbbing, and when I looked down, I realized the toenail was ripped half off.  And that's when it started to gush all this blood, and I started freaking out.

The upside of the story is I realized just how caring and kind my lovely teammates are.  Justin helped calm me down--"Sure, the nail will die, but a new one will grow in," as if it weren't a big deal!--and got me bandages and antiseptic wipes.  Danielle got me ibuprofen, a bag of ice, and lunch, and offered to take me wherever I needed to go (the doctor's for instance).  Kate lent me her flip flops.  Diana got me water.  Amy offered to walk me to my car.  They--and quite a few others--were all very concerned and checked up on me multiple times.  I felt very loved and cared for!  And the campus ERT people came by and checked to make sure I hadn't injured anything else, and were also very nice.

27: A Ripe Age to Experience Your First Hangover.

I assumed I awoke bleary-eyed because I stayed up 'til 2 a.m. reading peoples' Posterouses and leaving comments and writing yesterday's entry.  I was okay, if extraordinarily tired, as I rushed to TJ's and the local Mexican market for stuff to make chicken salad sandwiches.  Got everything chopped up and packed and ready for Big Basin.

On the car ride, I started to feel really sick--pounding headache, twisted-up insides, feeling like my eyelids were made out of silly putty.  All I wanted to do was crawl into bed, and the last thing I wanted was to hike 6 miles in that condition.  I'm lucky I didn't sick myself in the car.  It wasn't until we found a picnic table and I had my head down and my jacket tented over me when someone pointed out that it may actually be...a hangover.  I had never considered this possibility because, a) I have never been hung over in my life and b) I had maybe the equivalent of 2, 2.5 glasses of wine yesterday.

But wait, for someone who gets warm and fuzzy on half a glass of any liquor, and full on drunk on a full glass, I guess 2 glasses, even spaced out over an entire afternoon, was a bit much.  Plus, I probably could have drank more water.

I immediately reached for the Nalgene.  But in the end, what really kicked the hangover for me was eating the big generous slices of watermelon we had brought with us.  Water + Natural Sugar = Amazing Hangover Cure.  After that, and after scarfing the best chicken salad sandwich I've ever eaten, let alone made (the secret lay in the addition of ranch dressing), I felt human again.

So I actually managed the 6-7 miles we hiked through the Creeping Forest Trail and Doole Trail. AND I got to see my very first banana slug!  Two firsts (well, three actually--never been to Big Basin before) in one day.  Not bad! =D

Que Syrah Syrah...Whatever Will Be, Will Be

I had such a lovely day that further cemented in my mind the idea that Sonoma County takes Napa Valley out like the trash when it comes to wine-tasting experiences.  Not that I have ever been to Napa (except for an excursion to French Laundry that set back my food budget a month and a half)--but it sounds like the Disneyland of wine country, where you can pay up to $25 for a tasting.  A tasting!  I will barely spend more than $20 on an entire bottle of wine, let alone a mere tasting.

We went for my friend Vivian's birthday.  After a bit of a late start, we got to Gloria Ferrer and sat down with a nice little suite of wines (They don't do the usual tasting, but you buy individual small glasses).  I paid $2 for 2 oz. of the 2003 Carneros Estate Syrah, "a wine for purists, displaying both saturated black fruit and focused structural qualities...flavors of white pepper, violet and cassis, as well as...spice and subtle smoke notes."  I swear I don't know anything about wines, except I like California cabs and sweet dessert wines, but my friend who markets for a winery told me syrahs are full-bodied like cabs...and I was drawn to the cassis.  We all tried a few sips, and it was so delicious I actually coughed up $19 to get the full bottle.

The second one we went to, Buena Vista, was unremarkable (if overpriced), but had some nice picnic tables where we stopped for lunch we had bought from Whole Foods.

The third and last winery was Arrowood, a favorite of Kevin's and Vivian's, and it truly was the star, not only for the amazing wines (I think there were four I liked--the chardonnay, the rose, the merlot though I usually don't care for merlot, and the wonderful, wonderful Riesling that tasted like good Ethiopian honey wine), but also the lovely view out the back, from the sunny verandah, where we chillaxed and sobered up a bit before heading to dinner.

Dinner was at a really cute, cozy, popular little outfit called The Girl and the Fig, right near Sonoma Square.  Everything on the menu looked so good, but I finally decided to split the mussels in broth, and the half roast chicken, with someone.  We also got a trio of cheeses for the table--a fantastic brie, a robust goat cheese (bucheret?) and a pungent sheep's milk (cambabert?). The mussels were wonderfully satisfying, and the chicken was decidedly underwhelming.  Finished off with a very flavorful lavender-honey creme brulee for dessert.  All in all, a fine day.

I promise, I'm not really as disgustingly yuppie as I sound.  Okay, damn, I guess I am.

Alice FM's Summerthing 2008 at Golden Gate Park

Stopped by this free concert on my way to a friend's bday party.  I caught the last bit of Ingrid Michaelson's set--she sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  Then hung around waiting for Lifehouse to start their set.  Snapped this picture of some guy I assume is a rock star from the way the girlies were screaming for him to sign their CDs.  Also a video of "Hanging by a Moment" by the headliners.

Hung a dreamcatcher over my bed.

So this weekend was the Stanford Powwow, a 3-day celebration of Native American song, dance, arts, and community.  I figured it'd be too good to miss, so I dragged along my roommate Nina.  "This is something you definitely won't get in Germany," I told her.  Glad I took her, because she was beside herself.  She got an arrow to remember the event by, and I got myself a dreamcatcher, something I've wanted since I was a kid.

I think the best part was definitely the fantastic costumes.  It makes me want an Aztec headdress with feathers reaching five feet around my head.  Some highlights include a video of the switchdance competition and the Aztec dancing.  Enjoy!

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