Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween + Milwaukee house tour

Happy Halloween! Enjoy this tour of fellow Milwaukeeans, Michael and Danijela's home, found on Apartment Therapy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rx: Why Get a Swedish Massage

photo: angela weber

After putting those bookshelves together and getting ready for our Halloween Party tonight, my back and neck are acting all sorts of crazy. So, I scheduled a Swedish massage at Invivo. Why get a Swedish massage? I recently read a research study that was published last month that concluded there was a physiologic boost in immune responsiveness after one Swedish massage. I love how I feel after a good massage, but the deep pressure and smooth movements have a physiological benefit as well. Bring it, cold and flu season!

Mark Hyman Rapaport, Pamela Schettler, Catherine Bresee. A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. October 2010, 16(10): 1079-1088.

Kevin D. Wilson. "Integrating Swedish Massage Therapy With Primary Health Care Initiatives As Part Of A Holistic Nursing Approach" Complementary Therapies in Medicine 14.4 (2006): 254-260.

New York Times article and recap of massage research.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pint In Hand: Ommegang Cup O Kyndnes

One of my favorite things about my neighborhood, Bay View, is that microbrews and specialty brews are a staple. Honestly, it's hard to find Miller Lite around here. The mecca of this niche is Sugar Maple. The menu changes often, the sixty taps are always on, and the selection is hard to match. Last night, I tried Ommegang's Cup O Kyndnes--their dark and smoky fall seasonal scotch ale. It's definitely a beer you sit and enjoy to taste all the unique flavors. What interesting beers have you had recently???

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Because of all the insane wind we're having, my hair looks like her's today.

photo: erick jimenez

Monday, October 25, 2010

Redecorating the Front Room: Bookshelves

When you walk in our house, you enter through a small foyer, then enter the "front room". It was probably called a parlor back when the house was built, but for fear of ridicule, I will not be calling it a parlor. It's the room where I read the newspaper, do my bills, keep all my books, decorate with etsy finds. Over the last year, my book collection outgrew the old shelves and now will keep growing (thanks, grad school!), so I desperately needed new shelving. After a long search, I settled for IKEA's Billy bookshelves. I took a lot longer than I thought, but thankfully, it was finished just in time for my show, Desperate Housewives. I must have been really drained because I kept watching TV, then somehow ended up drinking a beer and watching Swamp People on the History Channel. Here's to Sunday nights! Cheers!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Weekend: Haunted Houses

After dinner with the parents tonight, we are headed to a haunted warehouse on the near south side. The hub LOVES haunted houses. Our already spooky 100 year old basement is decorated and spooked out every Halloween for our annual costume party. Sometimes my stepdad even hides in the coal room with a chainsaw to freak everyone out. We take Halloween very serious at our house. So, I'm glad I found this list of Haunted Houses in Milwaukee. I don't scare that easily when it comes to mock haunted houses, but creepy abandoned houses in the woods? Now THAT scares me.

Photo sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Milwaukee Faves: Pretzel Rolls

If you've never had a pretzel roll, think of the chewiest, fluffiest pretzel you have ever had and shape it into a bun. Around town they're cropping up on a lot of menus as an alternative to the regular hamburger bun or dinner roll. Miller Bakery in Milwaukee is the primary baker of these rolls, so that makes me wonder if pretzel rolls are only popular in Milwaukee, a kind of shout out to Milwaukee's german heritage.

On Monday, we ordered the pretzel roll appetizer at Karma, served with warm beer cheese and bacon sauce (pictured below).

Here's a list of places where I found them so far: If you have another place to add (MKE or elsewhere), comment below!

To buy:
Milwaukee Public Market
Sendik's grocery store
Wisconsin Cheese Mart
To order:
The Red Accordian
Port of Call
Miller Park Concessions

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shopping List: Sleepy King Toys

These little fox stuffed animals from Sleepy King are cute enough for adults, no? What?! I am too old to like stuffed animals?? Pssshhht.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rx: How to make a First Aid Kit

{Today I'm launching a new segment called Rx that will feature tips and advice for one of the things I know best: nursing. When I'm not blogging, I'm working as a RN and getting a master's degree in women's health. I love to teach and share what I know. Rx will feature general health topics referenced by major medical journals or research articles (not my own opinions) and will definitely be more fun to read than what's in a doctor's office waiting room.}

People sometimes think that my home first aid kit is stocked like the back of an ambulance. Not really. There aren't too many emergencies around my house except for a bagel-cutting accident every now and again. My first aid kit is pretty minimal, not a lot of clutter, but includes my favorite essentials that you can't find in a pre-made first aid kit:

The Goods

Band-Aids: I'm usually a fan of generics, but not when it comes to band-aids. I stock extra finger band-aids (the most common injury), and have a few extra large band-aids just in case.

Tape: 3M's transpore tape is like medical duct tape. It easily tears into any size strip without using scissors. I tape on gauze for make-shift band-aids or tape over blisters to prevent rubbing. Any tape can irritate the skin after a while, so use Coban for frequent dressing changes.

Coban: This self-adherent wrap is good for wrapping legs or arms when tape isn't a good option.

Dakin's solution: When cleaning out wounds, old or new, this pH neutral solution has shown consistent results. I don't like how hydrogen peroxide dries out the skin. Tip: you can make Dakin's solution at home with common household items.

Arnica gel: Arnica is a plant that has long been used for its anti-inflammatory effect. I use it, like many athletic trainers, as a topical salve for sports injuries. Note: keep away from children, the active compound Helenalin is highly toxic if ingested.

Antibiotic ointment: Even hospitals use generics. Fougera triple antibiotic ointment is used in every hospital I have ever worked in and is the exact same as Neosporin, but half the cost.

Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen: Grab the generics, but always read the label and dose according to age/weight. My general rule is: ibuprofen for general aches or inflammation, tylenol for specific aches or fever (because of their specific actions on prostaglandins). Choose tylenol if you're pregnant/breast feeding.

Mylanta: I prefer the combo of ingredients in Mylanta for heartburn or upset stomach. It works by neutralizing stomach acid and relaxing the gastic lining. The liquid works faster and has fewer side effects or interactions than calcium carbonate or bismuth subsalicylate containing meds. For diarrhea, Pepto-bismol's ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate is more effective.

Digital Thermometer: The cheap thermometers are sometimes best. Those forehead or ear thermometers can be tricky to place (even I have trouble) and therefore prone to inaccuracy. Under the tongue in that back "pocket" is the easiest place to aim. When placing under the armpit, add a degree. When placing rectally, subtract a degree.

2x2 Gauze Pads: I buy the basic sterile 2x2 gauze pads for ease. When you're in a rush, you know they're clean and you can just add a few more for a larger wound. Less decisions means faster care. Tip: For a real "gusher", I grab heavy duty paper towel and apply firm, direct pressure. Non-sterile paper towel is fine if it's temporary, plus repeatedly having to stop and replace or add small gauze pads will only inhibit clotting.

Tweezers: Splinter tweezers are long and sharp, perfect for removing splinters, bee stingers, gravel, or whatever else gets stuck in you.

Pseudoephedrine: Yes, you have to show your ID and go through hoops to get it, but it's worth it to stock this item at home. This medicine mimics the fight or flight response, constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages and drying up mucous. Not all Sudafed is the same, Phenylephrine is similar to pseudoephedrine, but not as effective.

Miscellaneous Extras
Popsicle sticks: use as a tongue depressor or wrap with coban for makeshift finger splint.
Non-Latex gloves: Remember, clean hands go a long way! Most first aid procedures don't require gloves, but I stock a few disposable pairs just in case. If a wound or rash looks infected (red, swollen, pussy) wear gloves. If there's a lot of blood, wear gloves. A latex allergies can show up anytime, so opt for non-latex.
The Poison Control Center: This is always a good number to have on hand if there are small kids in the house (even curious dogs). Call 1-800-222-1222 anywhere in the US.

And when you've gathered all your first aid goodies, here's a cute cabinet from all the luck in the world to put them in! (I just put mine in a dull little basket)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Live Show: Belle & Sebastian

We ventured down to the Chicago Theatre a couple nights ago to see Belle & Sebastian. What an amazing show.
I had no idea how amazing the theatre's interior was. I had never been there before. Everything--the railings, the ceilings, the moldings--is ornate. The best was the huge chandelier in the lobby. The ceiling changes colors, see?

Looks kind of like the Pabst theater's chandelier, right?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Decorating: Navy walls

I'm giving serious thought to painting our guest bedroom walls a dark navy blue. It would look so sharp. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about. For such a dark color, use of neutrals and whites will be key, along with adequate primer. Any other tips I should know for painting a room a dark color?

photos (top to bottom): Rue magazine, elledecor, domino magazine

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coffee Break

Call me a yuppie, but sometimes I really love me some Starbucks. I took a detour from the drive home to sit and decompress/chill/chillax with some coffee, the neighborhood paper, and some pumpkin bread. Hope you guys got a chance to sit back and take a breather today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I want to go (back) to there: Tango Mar, Costa Rica

On Costa Rica's Nicoya Gulf coast is Tango Mar spa and golf resort, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I have dreams about this place. I can't wait to go back, but until I can, I have been recommending it to everyone I know.


A few years ago, the hub and I went to Costa Rica for a mid-winter break. We rented a car, found a map, and just started driving around. There was no plan and plenty of time to get lost. Very lost. 90 percent of Costa Rican roads aren't paved unless they lead to the coast. Inland Costa Rica is gorgeous, but not many people see it. There are volcanos, coffee fields, cattle crossing the road, tropical rain forests, and huge valleys. We saw all of that then decided to head to the Nicoya coast--I really wanted to see the sea turtles nesting.

The best way to the coast looked to be taking an hour long ferry then driving north. Night came a lot faster than we had thought and we were driving on a dirt road that ultimately led to a completely washed out road that would be impossible to cross. We were really tired, disappointed and frustrated, so we agreed that we would stay at the next hotel we passed, regardless of how expensive or crappy it may be. We followed several simple arrow signs for Tango Mar. We were driving down a long, windy driveway and almost turned around; it was a long way off the main road. But then we saw the golf course, nicely manicured lawns, thatch-roofed cupolas, and HORSES. We pulled up and saw the beach and the ocean in the middle of the night.

We ended up staying three days. The white sand beach was beautiful and there was no one for miles. We unexpectedly saw several humpback whales just off the shore. We ate daily-ocean-caught seafood every night and macadamia nut pancakes in the morning. Our room had a balcony overlooking the ocean. And Matt's favorite part, free Wi-Fi. My favorite part was the spa and yoga studio.

We talk regularly about going back, but this time with a group of friends (not like the movie Couples Retreat). There are national forests and canopy tours close by along with scuba diving, golf, and horseback riding at the resort. Flights to Costa Rica are around $300/rt and a room at Tango Mar cost about $190/night.

Do you plan group trips with your friends? Where do you guys go?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Turning up the heat.

We turned our heat on for the first time last tonight. The temps are dropping into the 30's at night, so we'll soon be putting up plastic wrap over our upstairs windows. Our heating costs skyrocket in the winter (because our house is 120 years old and very big). The new roof we had put on last week should help, but the less I can turn up the heat, the better (hence, the chintzy window wrap). So I'm on the lookout for ways to conserve heat.....and this is one cute way to do it.......

Monsieur Doxie from Midwest Needles

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Backyard Discovery: Chili Lili's

photo: Adam Ryan Morris

It's definitely chili season. Last week the cold weather brought on a late night trip to Real Chili and a dinner at the new Chili Lili's in the third ward. I like the noisy lunchroom counters of Real Chili every once in a while but it's nice to sit down and have a real meal, like at Chili Lili's. I had a split of the Texas Chili and Southwest Roasted Corn Chicken Chili. The hub had the Cincinnati chili--it had a mild cinnamon/nutmeg/clove flavor to it. Let me know if any of you have been there and what you liked. I'll probably be back for a round 2 in the coming months.

More links for Chili Lili's:
Website and menu
Shepherd Express article
OnMilwaukee article
FoodSlam blog
MilwaukeeMoms blog
Milwaukee magazine article


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