Happy hump day! I hope everyone is having a fantastic (or at least tolerable) week. :-) To be quite honest, I'm having a hard time keeping track of the days - I really only know which day it is by my gym class schedule (Wednesdays = Chisel fo’ Shizzel with my favorite instructor). While I'm still working (my summer classes start in two weeks), I have to say that it's soooo nice to finally have a little time off from the commute and from the constant high level of interaction. As I've mentioned before, I love my school, but I desperately need a little recovery/introvert time.
Thus far, my recovery has included quite a bit of time at the gym (making up for all of the days I missed during the semester), pleasure reading time (my to-read book and magazine pile is diminishing!), and some quality time with friends and Mario. As one of my favorite academic bloggers called it, it's time for me to become my Best Summertime Self! The first part of being my BSS included a fabulous weekend in which I met the totally adorable and so sweet Chef Marcus Samuelsson, discovered the best mojito I've ever had, and attended my first sumo match.
Diana and I attended a paperback release party/fund raiser (for C-CAP and Saturday Place) with Chef Marcus Samuelsson last Friday. The cool thing about the event was that it was very intimate and casual - there were maybe about 50 people there by the time we left. Marcus started the afternoon by walking around, greeting everyone, and welcoming us to the event. It was such a nice way to start out - his dynamic personality and non-pretentiousness was immediately evident.
After he gave a speech about the charities and his book, the rest of the time was open for book signing and chatting. Unlike most other authors/celebrities, Marcus didn't hide behind a table or limit our interaction with him. He signed books, posed for pictures, told jokes, and walked around in order to join in various conversations. At one point, he totally busted out the two of us for tweeting/instagramming/facebooking - he strolled up to us with a big grin and said, "Hmmmm. I sense some social media going on over here." At least he didn't call us out for snapping a ridiculous amount of
covert stalker-y pictures of him. ;-)
Marcus made a point to talk one-on-one to everyone who was in attendance. He asked questions and engaged in real conversations about everything from cooking & travel to more personal topics (he asked me about my name - while that's a fairly common occurrence, he is the first celebrity to actually ask & not just make some dumb joke). Not only is he a total hottie, but he's also the most personable chef/celebrity I've ever met. After the event, both Diana and I mentioned how nice it was to meet a chef who's not only wickedly talented, but also a genuinely nice guy. Seriously. Marcus Samuelsson is AWESOME. I cannot imagine how anyone who meets him doesn't immediately slide into total hardcore crush mode. :-)
Not only did Marcus Samuelsson take a selfie with me, but he also high-fived me when he saw how well it turned out. Coolest chef ever!