Friday, July 29, 2011

The Weekend: Milwaukee BrewFest


Pop Chart Lab Beer Poster, $25
(click for larger image)


Finals are over! And what better way to celebrate than with a beer. The Milwaukee BrewFest is going on this Saturday on the lakefront. I have always thought that Milwaukee needs to embrace its beer culture and make this city a destination for beer tourism. And this is it. It's the second year for the BrewFest, but the first year I'll be going. There is a long list of breweries to visit and taste. I'm anxious to try some of Abita's new beers.

And there's even a BrewFest Queen contest! I know, really. My money is on Ruthie B. Ruthie blogs over at Newaukee and friend and old co-worker. So yeah, she's pretty much awesome. And she really does love beer. It's true.



The BrewFest starts at 3pm Saturday, July 30th at the Old Coast Guard Pavillion on the lakefront, near the Milwaukee Yacht Club. Over 100 craft breweries will be there along with food vendors like Fuel Cafe and Crawdaddy's. Here's the list of activities from their website:
* Musical performances
* Home brewing demonstrations
* Exhibits from Museum Of Beer & Brewing
* Keg barrel race, bingo and ring toss
* Crowning of 2011 Miss Brewfest
* A variety of food for purchase from local restaurants and vendors
* Local artist and craftsmen
I really like how they have a special designated driver ticket for $15 that gets you a brat or hot dog and 3 tickets for either soda or water. Good job, guys!

This weekend is pretty busy - Tour de Fat is going on in Humboldt Park, Brady Street Festival, WMSE Backyard Barbeque and German Fest are all going on this weekend, too!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vespa Road Trip: Italy

We celebrated our 1-year anniversary this month. It was last summer that we flew to Italy for our honeymoon, rented a Vespa LX500 in Rome, bought a map, and picked a direction. We decided to go south towards Naples not really knowing the area, but we were sure we'd find stuff we liked - it's Italy! The road trip down the Tyrrhenian Sea about 5 days. It was wonderful and a great lesson on teamwork and relying on each other.

So where did this idea come from? The husband has owned a scooter for years and rides daily. The previous summer we took our Vespa on a road trip from our house in Bay View to our friend's house in Chicago. That mini-road trip taught us how to pack and got us ready for the Italy road trip. However, Rome is nothing like Milwaukee or Chicago when it comes to Vespa riding. There are seemingly no traffic rules. Or speed limits. And incredibly loud. So we developed hand signals, he drove, I directed and watched out for traffic. Working together like that was a perfect start to a marriage. And we couldn't have picked a better location.....


For packing, we left our big suitcases at the Hotel in Rome and only brought our packing bags (a must for any travel!) with just a few changes of clothes and stuffed those in the top case and hung one under the seat. I carried a tote bag. In retrospect, I should have had a cross-body bag, but it worked. We took our travel books just in case but barely needed them.


We left Rome heading east towards Fiumicino. We just followed the shoreline roads south along the coast. We hit Ostia, Anzio, Nettuno, Latina, Saubaudia - all small sleepy towns in wooded farmland areas.


After we reached Punta Rossa, a large rock formation and bend in the landscape, the terrain turned into more rocks, cliffs, towns built into the cliffs, and the sea was more green. It was beautiful. Terracina, Sperlonga, Gaeta, and Formia were all amazing. By this point in the trip we were getting tired. We relied on Matt's driving skills, not mine. We passed a million beach clubs. Next time we'll stop and relax for a few hours on the drive.


We stayed a night in Formia at the Grande Albergo Miramare, swam in their private beach, and walked in the seaside gardens. It was very homey- that is if your home is a seaside castle.



We were a little worn from the road, but Gaeta was the highlight of my trip. It's a small town carved into a small cape. The buildings were from the 1400's, the town was mentioned in the Illiad, the olives are world famous. The streets were all cobbled and yachts lined the shoreline. I could have lived there. Really.

Some tips if you do this type of road trip: Riding on the back for long periods tends to lead to charlie horses and muscle cramps because of the position, so stop and walk around when you can. Bring sunscreen, scarves, hats; Italy in July was a scorcher. Remember, with the sea on one side of you, it's pretty hard to get lost, so venture out....if the road looks nice, take it. Learn the language (or at least a few phrases) because you'll need to find a bathroom, ask for directions, or check into a hotel. English is not commonly spoken outside of the major cities. And lastly, just enjoy it. It sounds simple, but when you work long weeks and are comfortable in your life it's hard to let go. But just do it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heat Wave

Please, someone open up the fire hydrant at the end of the block (I'd rather not get the $1000 fine myself). The heat wave blazin' through the midwest has made graduate finals week a real blast. 105 degree weather when I'm studying? Is this seriously happening? I'll be back next week with some real posts. In the meantime, I thought these Peter Stackpole photos from a 1953 Life magazine really captured the mood. The hot pavement, people crammed together, and the explosion of a high pressured oasis. Quite striking. And then I like to imagine them listening to Martha Reeve and the Vandellas - Heat Wave. Quite beautiful.





Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pitchfork Fashion



Did any of you go to Pitchfork in Chicago last weekend?? I didn't make it, but in addition to hearing how the bands were, I found this post on what people were wearing. I am liking the colors, girls. Way to bring some feminine back into streetstyle. Which outfits are your favorites??

Friday, July 15, 2011

Backyard Discovery: Milwaukee Brewing Company Tours



The Milwaukee Brewing Company is no newbie to the Milwaukee Craft Brewery circuit. You may be more familiar with their pub, the Milwaukee Ale House, where they serve their famous beers such as Louie's Demise and Pull Chain Pale Ale along with tasty grub alongside the Milwaukee River. So when the guys at Milwaukee Brewing Company/Milwaukee Ale House wanted to expand their beer manufacturing and spread the love (in beer form) to neighborhood taps, pubs, and bars, they opened the Milwaukee Brewing Company Brewery on South 2nd Street in Walker's Point. Inside, they're cranking out bottles, kegs, and their newest addition, cans, day and night.

You may think cans are just a throwback to old days, but they're quite eco-friendly. Cans cost less and are faster to manufacture, weigh less for shipping, and are more easily recyclable so in sum. Their carbon footprint is tiny compared to that of bottles. Milwaukee Brewing Co. also reuses enough restaurant corn oil to fuel their repurposed generators. Enough so they can function completely off the grid for several days straight. Well done, dudes.

On the tour, you'll see some of their sustainable production along with the steps of the brewing process. I enjoy the Lakefront tour immensely, but the Milwaukee Brewing Company tour is like the old Lakefront tours when you drank out of glass pints, got to see the equipment in use, climbed up to the mash bin, and were allowed to drink more than 4oz at a time. If you're into craft brewing or just darn good beer, this is the tour for you.

Tours for the public cost $7, run on Fridays 5pm and 6pm and Saturdays 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm, and come with a token for a free drink at certain neighborhood bars.

I was there a few weeks ago and caught a few iPhone photos. The tour was great and I not only got to drink plenty of my favorite Flaming Damsel beer, but got to try their new Godzilla beer running in limited seasonal batches. It's an Imperial Belgian wit steeped with Rishi green tea (!!!!) and chamomile flowers. A tea infused beer is amazingly good. Trust me on this. Or try it for yourself!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cheap Thrills: Colorful Acrylic



Aren't these beautiful? They're acrylic. Really! This Salud Goblet is plastic and for outdoor use, but it's $3.95 so I'm OK with that. The Sabre spoons can be found at Anthropologie or Leif, but they're sold individually in different colors (forks, too!) over at Gracious Home for $4-$6 each.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tailgating with a Vespa

Tailgating with a Vespa. Yes, it's possible.

On Sunday, our 1st wedding anniversary, we loaded up the Vespa and took it to Miller Park to tailgate before the Brewers game. Because the Vespa played a leading role in our wedding, we thought it was only appropriate. We made a stop at the grocery store; bought a disposable grill (which worked very well), 2 burgers, some brats, carrot sticks and dip, bread, a six pack of beer and a lighter. We grabbed ketchup and mustard on our way out of the house. We strapped the grill on the back rack, the beer under the seat, and a grocery bag with the rest on the seat hook in the front. We got there and thought, 'we could probably bring two camp chairs and a small radio next time'. Parking for motocycles and scooters is located in front of Helfaer field. So if anyone else has a Vespa and has thought about tailgating....it's totally do-able.





And we even saw the mini racing sausages........
video

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Go-to Baby Shower Gift Guide



I've been to quite a few baby showers this year. Last year it was 9 weddings. As a non-mom, I honestly didn't know where a baby store was or even what half of the stuff inside was. But after doing the rounds, I think baby shower gifts fit into three simple categories.....

The Long-Lasters
These are the sentimental gifts, things that will be around for years to come and not easily outgrown. I know newborn outfits are cute, but babies grow an inch a month for the six months. So maybe they'll fit into that $20 outfit for a day if you're quick. Choosing items like these are subject to the mom's taste and often knowledge of the gender, but fun fabrics and good quality can grow with a kid over the years.
Petit Collage Alphabet Animal Poster, $30-$50.
Organic Baby Quilt, $58.
Leah Duncan pillow, $38.

The Practical Pieces
Seasoned moms know all the new gadgets and tricks. I do not. However, these gifts have been big hits at the showers I have been to. These are the gifts you didn't even know existed but a new mom will love you for getting her. Like washable, waterproof zip bags for storing dirty duds while out or pee-pee teepees. Getting peed on is no laughing matter, people.
Pee-Tee Teepees $10.
Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs, $10 each.
Baggu Zip bags, $8-$12.

The Fun Stuff
Lastly, the toys. Personally, shopping for the toys is my favorite. Just remember that moms will appreciate the educational ones and cautiously approve the fuzzy, plush, painted ones. Safety and quality first. Imagine your dog with the toy. If you can imagine them tearing it up and eating the eyeballs in 5 minutes, it's not uber safe. That's my safety test, but reading the labels will help you too. Also, babies are tacticle and use basic motor skills so look for different textures and movement.
Vulli Sophie the Giraffe, $18.
Jelly Cat Puppy Tails Plush Book, $14.
Nesting Birds, $35.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Drawn to: Pool Blue





Lately, I have been really drawn to cool pool blues. Pool blue embodies summer for me - fresh, clean, and effortless. It reminds me of warm weather, sun, and vacation days. And I wish I had a pool. Are there any good pools in Milwaukee that do not also include a kids waterpark?

I've been leaving my hair product bottle out on the bathroom counter (not just due to laziness, but some of that, too) just because I like walking by and looking at the color. Aveda's glossing straightener has been nice when it's humid and my hair start to frizz. I have been admiring the Chanel blue nailpolish, but is blue nailpolish too much? I am kind of thinking so. I would also like this coffee table book, Poolside with Slim Aarons, to glance at througout the summer, too.


1. Poolside with Slim Aarons 2. Aveda Glossing Straightener 3. Chanel Riva Le Vernis

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Backyard Discovery: Doctor's Park



Yesterday, we took the Vespa and went to Ryan Braun's Graffito, then took a mini-road trip to the north shore and ended up at Doctor's Park in Fox Point. There are paved walkways through mature tall trees down to the beach. The shoreline is pretty long so you can easily find a quiet spot on the rock-sand beach to sit down and spread out. This would be a great beach picnic location. I always forget how cold Lake Michigan is even when it's 90 degrees. An extra plus: no houses as far as the eye can see.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Top 5: Things to do this 4th of July Weekend

1. Summerfest. Girl Talk is tonight. Jayhawks and Alejandro Escovedo on Sunday. The Invaders tomorrow. Wiz Khalifa on Tuesday. There's plenty to see. Here's JSonline Guide.


2. Lounging: We don't have any plans for 4th of July yet and I like that. I hope to just hang out in the backyard, make some blueberry muffins and enjoy the day.

Source: self.com via Alie on Pinterest



3. Reading: However, I will need to get in copious amounts of reading and preparing for a test on Tuesday and an assignment due as well. So, lounging will have a curfew. I hope you, however, get to read for pleasure and not for pain. I hear bossypants is good. I plan to add a floppy hat and pretend I'm reading bossypants instead of epidemiology.

Source: tumblr.com via Anna on Pinterest



3. Humboldt Park Fireworks: I love the small town feel of these fireworks. And plenty of food trucks turn out for the fun. Pizza and fireworks. awesome.

Source: None via Paige on Pinterest



4. Beach: I hope to take a couple longs walks this weekend. Hopefully, swinging by the beach and putting my feet in for a little. I hope Lulu the dog does OK with water. Never tried to get her in the water (even a little).

Source: lulus.com via Anna on Pinterest



5. Put up a flag: I'm going to make a quick stop to the hardware store to get some small little flags to put in our front yard this weekend. We'll see about a big flag, too.


UPDATE: How could I forget the PBR Street Festival? Outside Burnheart's Bar on July 3rd (Potter and Logan) from noon-8pm. The Wildbirds, Faux Fir, Jon Burkes, The Etiquette, Fresh Cut Collective will be playing!

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