Monday, November 30, 2009

I like: Old signs

Found at: pedlars

My purchase from: Clinton Street Antiques

I love how different and interesting these old signs can be, however, I'm still figuring out ways to decorate with these old signs. If I come up with something good at my house, I'll post it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend: Art vs. Craft 2009

There were so many people were at Art vs. Craft today. I was lost in the crowd for most of it. Here's some of my favorites from today:

I found this wall display to be incredibly inspiring. And the pottery from upintheairsomewhere was the prettiest pottery/ceramic art I have seen in a long time.

dores etsy shop

My new favorite letterpress cards and prints were from pearl & marmalade. This print reminds me a little of this wallpaper.

Cute clothes from little ocean

"The Iceberg - 2nd edition" wood block print from tugboat print shop

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Style: Leggings!

Havana Sweat Coat from Anthropologie, Black leggings from JCrew, Kady Boots from Target

I wore this outfit yesterday as we made the rounds to three different houses/meals for Thanksgiving. The sweater was nice and warm so I didn't need to wear a coat (and forget the coat at someone's house). You can bundle it up like above, or open a few of the buttons and show off the burnt cranberry interior. The boots were only $30 at Target and go great with a lot of my clothes. I had the most comfortable time in these leggings. Seriously, I think I'm going to try to pull this look off at Christmas, too.

Maybe an outfit like this? The belts are all thrift store finds that have been layered together.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Travel tips from an airport refugee

This week, I survived a total of 10 hours of combined flight dealys, 2 missed flights due to delays, 1 night stranded in Atlanta, and 1 lost contact lens. While talking with other travelers about all the bad luck we were having, I realized, this is not the first time I have had such luck. In fact, this happens to me a lot. What have I learned from all this?

- DRINK LOTS OF WATER: The low humidity in airports and on the plane causes drying of the mucosal lining (a part of our body's natural defense system) and makes it harder for our body to protect against colds/flu. The prolonged close proximity to a sick person next to you will increase your risk, so make sure your body is ready to handle it. The recirculated air may actually help decrease exposure to colds/flu. See the MSNBC article from this week here. When I'm tired and traveling, I always end up in the Starbucks line more than usual. BUT, all that caffeine leaves you even more dehydrated, susceptible to colds/flu, and ultimately feeling more tired due to dehydration when that caffeine high wears off. Limit it to 1 cup.

- BE READY FOR AIRPORT SECURITY: ID and boarding pass out or in your pocket. Wear slip-on shoes. Put all toiletries (liquid or not) into a ziploc freezer bag (they don't break as easily) and pack it last so it's right on top. Skip the giant zippered laptop bag, you want to pull it out in 5 seconds or less. You can pass the stragglers and easily save 10-20 minutes by doing it right.

- HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR: I had been wearing the same jeans for 3 days and awake for 22 hours so I used the fragrance samples from the magazines I bought to rub all over my clothes. On a sidenote: I highly recommend Bvlgari Pour Femme.

- SEE THE SILVER LINING: At least you get to meet some new people and bond over your hatred for the airlines, catch up on the news whether it be from People or CNN, and maybe score some hotel or round-trip ticket vouchers.

New stuff: Campfire votive candle

This Kikkerland campfire votive candle arrived from Velocity Art & Design last week. I must have skipped over the product description that stated the "candle" is battery operated, not a real votive candle. You can put a real votive in there but just take off the "sticks" top otherwise the bisque china will get black. The silver lining of it all is that this will make a great night light. I can see it being great for a kids room or on a hallway table to light that midnight walk to the loo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Milwaukee Holiday Gift Guide

Photo from RetinalFetish

I know it's early. But we all have to do our shopping and it's best to just get it out of the way. Last year, I tried to buy all of my gifts from local stores/businesses. It's possible, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to go. Here's a quick guide that I hope will make it easier for you.......


Brewery tour: Lakefront, Miller, and Sprecher all have gift shops with the usual T-shirts, pint glasses, and sampler packs that guys love. I suggest getting Beer Soap found at the Sprecher Brewery, made by their brewmaster, Jim Olen.

Hit the gym: Buy them Marquette or UWM basketball shorts and a sweatshirt. Go to Laacke & Joys for even nicer outdoorsy options and camping gear. They get comfortable and stylish duds and you don’t have to put up with their gross old gym shorts. Consider it a Christmas present to yourself.

Creative side: Everybody likes concert tickets. Upcoming shows at the Pabst include: New Year’s Eve with Jim Gaffigan or with Spoon, Anthony Bourdain, and Kevin Smith. Gift cards are available on their website. Vinylville, a Milwaukee artist, sells some nice guy-friendly artwork on Etsy. In particular, the large canvas print of the Hoan Bridge is great for that bachelor pad or man cave. Landmark Theaters (The Oriental and Downer theaters) have gift cards available, too. Pair it up with a good ol’ Milwaukee classic DVD like “American Movie” or another locally filmed movie.


Coffee/Tea fan: For the tea drinkers: the world renowned Rishi Tea is based in Milwaukee. Good options are the Green Tea Set or the 2009 Award Winning Sample Set. For the coffee drinkers: Go to Alterra Coffee. Not only are there 1lb bags of the BEST COFFEE ever, but lots of shirts, hats, and quality travel mugs and tea sets. During the holidays, they usually have gift sets of Hot Chocolate and Mint Hot Chocolate.

Your BFF: check out Loop in Riverwest for yarn and knitting supplies or Soaps & Scents on Downer Ave. where you can stock you up on “better than Bath and Bath Works” quality amenities. Local artists are always abound on Etsy and at craft shows in the area. Amy Marcella designs great prints like the “Fall Bouquet” one above. She will be at Art vs. Craft next month.

Clothes Horse: My favorite Milwaukee options are Miss Groove, Lela, and Chartreuse, but there are dozens of others. When it comes to buying clothes, make sure you know your friend’s style, aim for something small, and always include a gift receipt. Matt & Nat wallets at Miss Groove or eco friendly scarves at Chartreuse are great gifts. When in doubt, G-I-F-T C-A-R-D.


The Cholive company from Milwaukee makes chocolates to put in your martini. These unexpected bite-sized truffles are popular at any party they make an appearance. You can’t go wrong with beer, wine or cheese. The Milwaukee Public Market is the easiest place to stock up on local options of all three. Pick up small italian cookies at Peter Sciortino's Bakery on the Brady St. where already prepared party trays are available. Lastly, there’s always chocolate and seriously, who hates chocolate? The best (and weirdest) place to go is Northern Chocolates in the Brewer’s Hill neighborhood. A few tips: Knock really loud at the door, Don’t wear fur, Bring cash, Always take your shoes off. Sounds like a lot of hoops but the mint meltaways are totally worth any encounter with the Chocolate Nazi. You can also find Omanhene Chocolate (Milwaukee-Ghana Fair Trade company) in most Milwaukee grocery stores.


Subscriptions! Personally, I’m worried about losing any more local publications than we already have, so support what’s around. The Journal Sentinel has a Sunday paper subscription (the ‘rents love this). The Milwaukee Magazine is well put together, but more editorial in nature. M magazine and Milwaukee Home and Fine Living Magazine would surely please your stylish friends.
For cookbook ideas, see the post a couple days ago here. In the Third Ward, Broadway Paper sells lots of greeting cards (many handmade), stationery, and MoleSkin notebooks.


The Spice House is one of the best kept secrets in Milwaukee. The aromas, tastes, and new discoveries are worth the trip alone. If it's too hard to pick out which spices you want, look for the gift sets: "Some like it Hot" with stuff like Cajun seasoning, Fire Salt, and Chili Powder; or the "Italian Food Lover's" that includes Pesto seasoning and the Little Italy blend. George Watts & Son is well known for their beautiful expensive dishes, but they have lots of affordable cookware and home decor, too. Carving sets, serveware, dining linens, or even a gift card for the famous Tea Room are all gifts that would surely impress a gourmet connoisseur.


I don’t know many kids that like getting clothes for the Holidays but that may change if their moms go to freckleface. These designer kids clothes are a little pricier, but once a year it’s OK to splurge. For less expensive options, check out the adorable little “Converse” style socks. I, like many young girls, asked for a pony for Christmas. I’m pretty sure this still goes on. A reasonable alternative would be to sponsor an aquatic animal at Discovery World, or Aquadopt as they call it. It comes with a plush animal version of the adopted animal and some nifty “official” paperwork. If teenage girls are on your list I feel sorry for you, but you may win them over with a gift card for the Girls Spa-ahhhh Therapy Works Package at Actaea Works, Ltd in Bayview or Shorewood.


The Our Milwaukee business directory for local businesses
Our Milwaukee Buy Local for the Holidays Fair Sunday December 6th at Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden, 1-5pm.
Urban Garage Sale featuring Milwaukee local shops. Saturday December 16th at Turner Hall Ballroom, 10:30-5pm.
Art vs. Craft 2009 November 28th at Humphrey Scottish Masonic Temple, 10-7pm
Lakefront Brewery
Sprecher Brewery
Miller Brewery in Milwaukee
Marquette Gift Shop
UWM Bookstore
Laacke & Joys
Pabst Theater gift cards
Vinylville on and the Hoan Bridge print on canvas
Landmark Theaters gift cards
”American Movie” website
Other movies filmed in Wisconsin
Rishi Tea website
Rishi Tea Green Tea Set
Rishi Tea 2009 Award Winning Sample Set
Alterra Coffee website
GQ Magazine ‘s “The Most Important Drink of Your Day” article naming Alterra Coffee
Loop yarn store
Contact info for Soaps&Scents
Amy Marcella’s Etsy Shop and Fall Bouquet print
Miss Groove
Lela Boutique
Charteuse eco-friendly boutique (They just moved to Brady St. this month)
Cholive Company
Peter Sciortino's Bakery
Omanhene Chocolate Co.
Milwaukee Public Market website: Thief Wine Shop and Bar, West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Subscription
Milwaukee Magazine Subscription
M Magazine Subscription
Milwaukee Home and Find Living Magazine Subscription
Broadway Paper
The Spice House
George Watts & Son
freckle face
Aquadopt Program at Discovery World
Actaea Works Ltd.

Movie Review: Kurbaan

Hands down one of the best movies I have seen all year. Kurbaan ("Sacrifice") is a Bollywood movie that is glitzy and well shot but also a little more thought-provoking and controversial than the usual Bollywood film as it deals with the conflict between Muslim loyalty and American views on islamic terror. I left the theater with my heart still racing and very overwhelmed by it all. I didn't know much about the movie before walking into the theater. I was completely caught off guard with the twists and turns and emotional depth of it all. If you want to get a glimpse of what you're getting into, see the trailer below. Otherwise, enjoy the suspense.

Milwaukee movie times for Kurbaan

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the Road: Not a good day for flying

Wave. I'm in here somewhere.

I was supposed to be on a short flight to Jacksonville, FL. via Atlanta today but was stuck in a plane taxiing the runway for most of the morning because the FAA flight scheduling program crashed and delayed almost every US flight this morning. We departed over 4 hours late and I when we got to Atlanta, I ran to the next departing flight and fortunately got a seat. I'm in Jacksonville at a conference for the weekend; does anyone know of anything fun/interesting to do here?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shopping List: Cookbooks

I've been working on the Milwaukee Holiday Shopping Guide and should be ready to post by Thursday. While I was gathering ideas, I realized that cookbooks really need to be their own section. As the post-college stage of life merges into real adult life, cooking dinner and grocery lists becomes a part of everyday life. And everybody needs a good cookbook to guide them though that stage of life. I gathered a few good examples of Classic Everyday Essential Cookbooks that make great gifts because the new owner is bound to use it again and again. I checked with Boswell Books, they stock a lot of these books, but if not, they will do a special order. Spoiler alert: If you're on my Christmas list, you're probably getting one of these cookbooks.

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
A letter from your office co-workers: I'm tired of your frozen cookie dough cookies. Make me something awesome like sweet and salty cake or cheddar chipotle biscuits.

The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution
This is the antidote to elaborate french gourmet cooking. I was given this book last Christmas and continually reference it for solid and consistent simple recipes that are the foundation for my cooking. It teaches you how to improve your basic cooking techniques, appreciate the natural flavors of food, and use fresh natural seasonally available produce and meats. Great recipes for utilizing those odd or abundant vegetables found at farmer's markets.

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Heavy-duty Revised Edition This book is derived from the popular PBS TV show by the same name and the Cooks Illustrated magazine (I love both of these). These recipes are tested again and again into an exact scientific recipe so they are PERFECT. All that detail is worth it, because these recipes will NEVER let you down. So go ahead and showoff at your next dinner party.

The French Market: More recipes from a French Kitchen
I bought this book mostly for its beautiful photography. I love the rustic, effortlessly style of it all. Very french chic. Lots of vegetable soups, healthy salads, dijon chicken. All the proceeds go to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders).

Flavor Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State
Part history, part recipes. But not just any recipes: Hearty, home cooked "Grandma-style" recipes inspired by the Old Country and made with food from the farm. If you ever wanted to cook like your grandma, get this book.

Monday, November 16, 2009

C'Mon Milwaukee, organize a Tweed ride

NPR ran a story about the tweed ride that took place in DC last weekend. Dozens of big cities in the US, Australia, and Europe are doing this. LA will host their Tweed, Moxie, and Mustache bike ride this weekend. It looks like it would be a very fashionable, whimsical/ironic, humorous, and enjoyable social outing. Now, the moustache trend is starting to wear out, but the Tweed thing could be a new emerging trend. Tweed has shown up on the Sartorialist blog a few times. Unfortunately, I don't look good in many tweeds, excepts tweed scarves. So, I may pass on this fad and wait for the next one. However, I would don a tweed cap, suspenders and a pair of oxfords if it meant riding through Milwaukee in a Tweed Ride!

Photos from SF Tweed Ride here and here on flickr

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Old English Style: boots, brooches, oh blimey!

I have been firing up the teapot more as the weather gets colder. All that fancy tea is making me feel more sophisticated, more proper, more inclined to listen to the BBC. If I were let to completely indulge, you would see me with these little bobbins:

Coming Soon: Milwaukee Holiday Shopping Guide

Photo from Retinal Fetish on Flickr

I'm currently working on the Milwaukee Holiday Shopping Guide post that should be posted sometime next week. I'm focusing on all the great local businesses in town and the upcoming holiday fair/craft shows. I hate seeing local businesses close or move out of the neighborhood. So with this guide, I'm laying out all the details: location, hours, and best gifts for certain people in your life to make it easy for y'all to shop local this holiday season!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm on a boat: S.S. Delta Queen

When I saw this set of glasses at the Kewaskum Antique Mall and immediately thought of how much I loved our trip to Tennesse earlier this year. The entire set of eight medium sized glass were only $4.95, so I couldn't leave them there. Now I'm conjuring up ideas for a Tennessee style dinner party: these glasses, a pitcher of Lynchburg lemonade, some Memphis-style ribs, and B.B. King singing the blues.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Milwaukee Faves: Walker's Point rock sculpture

"Stone Bracelet" by Zoran Mojsilov in Paliafito Park, Walker's Point Neighborhood

This park is hidden on 3rd and Walker amongst old mansions, some homeless shelters, and the Michoacana cart routes. Surprisingly, I find it a very peaceful place to stop mid-day and eat lunch or catch up on paperwork.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wedding update: zinc memo boards

I found these at The Home Market last weekend. I'm going to post the buffet menu with a magnet on each larger zinc board. The medium and small one will be used at the bar to list specials or a Thank You for coming note at the favors table.

For your own, go to the The Home Market or find them online at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Backyard Discovery: Bombay Sweets

Ignore the odd strip-mall facade because this place is awesome.

We took the Vespa down to Bombay Sweets (34101 S. 13th St. near 13th and Howell) for dinner last night. All of the food is Vegetarian, mostly Indian, but features some Pakistani and Bengali cooking as well. And for can't miss the 5 huge cases of Indian sugary cookies, spiced nuts, and honey soaked donuts. Total cost of dinner for two: $11. I'm so glad I found out about this place, although I guess I'm a little behind the curve. Look at all the reviews!

The Shepherd Express is talking about it.

The AV Club ran a story two months ago and provided the picture above. is talking about it....TWICE!

The WISN City Voter gave it a nod.

The Milwaukee Magazine November "Cheap Eats" issue lists it.

Even that crazy Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods wrote about it in the Minneapolis St.Paul Magazine

Monday, November 9, 2009

In the Kitchen: Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewers

Today, I.....
A) needed a quick lunch
B) wanted to bring a small plate of food to a house I was going to visit
C) needed to use the lemon in my fridge
.....and the result was a batch of these:

Mix juice of 1 lemon and 1 tsp of ground black pepper ( used Tellicherry black pepper from the The Spice House). Cut up the chicken breasts into 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch cubes. Let the chicken sit in the lemon pepper mixture for about 5 minutes. Put 3-4 on small kabob skewers (I cut my large skewers in half). Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Can't wait for next summer when I'll grill again.


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