Monday, November 28, 2011

Top Ten Party: December 27th

Attention music nerds! As 2011 is nearing a close, a year of good music needs to be properly appreciated. Every year, my husband hosts a "Top Ten Party" to gather (remember last year's?), listen to great albums, and discuss nerdy music stuff. Oh, and drink. Everyone compiles a list of the top ten greatest albums of the year (after great contemplation--ie my husband) and writes them out on giant posters to post around the room.

Read about it in
today's Shepherd Express article

This year, it will be held at Club Garibaldi on the 27th, with beer courtesy of Milwaukee Brewing Co. Donations will be accepted for charity. This year, the charity of choice is a project that I hold very dear, the Kola Project.

When I went to Liberia in January with USAID, I became even more aware how education is crucial to economic development, peaceful democracy, and social change. Even though, I have done several USAID projects, PEPFAR projects, and donate internationally, I'm very aware that an American cannot solve an African problem. I can only pass on my skills and resources to those living and breathing on the ground and in the field. Our group gathered our resources and put them into action. The Kola Project funds two full four year baccelaureate scholarships every year for selected students to attend the University of Liberia. Funding a domestic education builds a local resevoir of talent, funds jobs, and encourages good work to stay in Liberia. One academic year at the University of Liberia only costs less than $50. The Project covers tuition and a small stipend for books and school related costs like transportation.

post YOUR list of top ten albums of the year onto the official blog

Hope to see your lists!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Go Local, Milwaukee

If you're planning to do any Christmas shopping in the next week, check out these three events to get some presents or some gift ideas. I'm all for and their free shipping, but if I can find something quality that's unique and/or handmade, I feel like I get extra points in the gift-giving department. So think outside the box this holiday season, give gifts that are special and personal (ie not a Target gift card) and support some local businesses, too.

Art vs. Craft
The biggest and best shopping event in Milwaukee. If you have ever wasted away hours on Etsy, you'll love this event. Many Etsy sellers will be there, along with local and regional artists, vendors, and crafters. You can easily knock out half of your Christmas shopping in one day.
WHEN: Saturday, November 26th 2011, 10am- 6pm
WHERE: Milwaukee School of Engineering!
Event entrance is on the corner of Highland & Broadway
1047 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Made In Milwaukee
Over 40 Milwaukee-based performers, musicians, artists, and creatives - a showcase of local talent. See what's being created in the city.
WHEN: Wednesday, November 23 Doors open at 7pm
WHERE: Turner Hall Ballroom, 1032 N. 4th street

Hovercraft Milwaukee
A Milwaukee showcase of artists, crafters, businesses, and musicians. Craft demonstrations and tutorials along with live performances and mini tours of Sweet Water aquaponics.
WHEN: Saturday, December 3rd, 12pm to 6pm
WHERE: Sweet Water Organics 2151 S. Robinson Ave. in Bay View

Monday, November 21, 2011

All the pretty napkins

1. Birch napkins by Oh, Little Rabbit
2. EAT. napkin by Emersonmade
3. Wine ring cocktail napkins by Avril Loreti
4. Ice printed napkin from West Elm
5. Artichoke paper napkins from Anthropologie

I'm off to Michael's right now to attempt the above project from Design Sponge shown on the Martha Stewart Show. Instead of place mats, I'll be doing this project on small appetizer napkins. I'll be bringing my Carrot Soup to Thanksgiving along with a french cheese plate (to go along with the bottles of beaujolais my father-in-law hasn't stop talking about!), so these will be perfect for the snacking and appetizing going on before dinner.

Instructions for inkjet-transfer thanksgiving place mats HERE

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can't stop Listening to: Kathleen Edwards

This song has been a regular on my "I-Pass Lane Soundtrack" when I drive to Chicago. Her voice is quite addictive.

Kathleen's voice further supports my theory that flowing red hair and killer pipes are genetically linked - Neko Case, Florence Welch, Tori Amos - someone needs to do a thesis on this.

Her new full-length album comes out next year, but her two singles produced by her boyfriend, Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon, are out now. They make some pretty lovely music together. Through that collaboration, both professional and personal, I feel like Kathleen's voice really blossomed on this album. Or maybe the music supports her so much better. Either way, it sounds great.

Her upcoming tour is kicking off here in Milwaukee at Turner Hall on January 24th. The pre-sale starts today at 12pm.

Pedestrian Drama

Along the sidewalk in front of Northwestern Mutual on Wisconsin Avenue, you may notice the light poles look a little different. Five kiosks with three panels of moving flip art animation depict a "Pedestrian Drama" of sorts. Artist Janet Zweig created the project in collaboration with the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Transportation and numerous local artists/dancers/etc to create the images.

You can read more on Janet Zweig's website HERE

It looks pretty cool at night.

Have you seen it yet?

Pedestrian Drama from Janet Zweig on Vimeo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Milwaukee Faves: Tables at Soup Brothers

This small place hidden on Florida Street in the Fifth Ward only has about 4 tables, but it's what's on the tables that make a huge impact. Small trinkets, toys like a dump truck carrying cinnamon sticks, original oil paintings, small bottle brush christmas trees, and other clutter make eating hot fresh homemade soup a visual and comforting experience, like eating in grandma's attic. Every time I go, I see something new. I also find myself eating slower, looking around more and keeping my eyes occupied as I savor every bite of soup. The other day I had the cheddar and bermuda onion soup, but the menu of four or five soups changes daily. They also serve great sandwiches, cookies, and Jarritos soda.

Soup Brothers
Location: 209 W. Florida St. in Walker's Point (5th ward)
Hours: sometimes vary, Open 11am - 4pm
Heads Up: bring cash, the wait may be long, the owner might be related to the 'soup nazi'

Friday, November 11, 2011

Roth Käse Cheese

It's perhaps a prerequisite for living in Wisconsin, but I love cheese. And after digging around on I found out why. My Swiss-born great-grandfather carried on the family trade of cheese making and dairy farming and my great-grandmother grew up on the slopes of the Matterhorn where Swiss cheese (or emmentaler as we Swiss say) was born. So, it all makes sense now.

One of my new favorite cheeses is Roth Käse's Grand Cru Gruyere, a buttery smooth and light cheese, a little denser than Swiss, but just as milky. I paired it up with some Honey Crisp apples for an afternoon snack, but I could see this going really well with sandwiches or on french onion soup. You can trek to the factory in Monroe, Wisconsin to buy some, but I have seen it at Whole Foods, West Allis Cheese Shoppe, and the Cedar Valley Cheese Store in New Belgium, WI.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A day at the art museum

Over the weekend, my mother-in-law and Milwaukee Art Museum member pass holder, picked me up and let me tag along to the "Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper" and "Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts". What better than Van Gogh, Seurat, Cezanne, french countrysides, swirling water colors, and some airport contraband. Wait, what?

It was a little mind boggling for me, too. One minute I was looking at beautiful, priceless, rare paintings and the next, a photo series called the "Innocents" by photographer Taryn Simon--complex, layered portraits of falsely accused men standing where the crime they were convicted for originally took place. In the dimly lit hotel room or the thick camouflage of a forest, their faces were obscured, their expressions conflicted and confused. All of the men were mistakingly identified as the perpetrator by a convinced eye witness. It was haunting. Taryn's next piece called "Contraband" catalogues 1,075 seized items from one JFK terminal over 5 days. Items include the bizarre, like a dead hawk, counterfeit medicine, homemade moonshine to the accidental like someone's lunch, sausage from germany, fake disney toys and even someone's immigration paperwork accidentally seized.

We had lunch at the Cafe Calatrava, which by the way, you don't need to purchase admission to enter. The menu is all french inspired because of the impressionism exhibit. The menu rotates seasonally and takes inspiration from featured exhibits (Just glad Taryn Simon's mystery meat wasn't on the menu). I would recommend the tomato-basil bisque and a glass of the Nederberg from Lyric, South Africa. So good.

In the gift shop, I found a Sabre acrylic serving set! I've been looking for these fancy looking Paris made acrylic serving spoons and sets by Sabre for-ev-er. I saw them on a blog almost a year ago and realized they're sold out like everywhere. So, if you like, head to the museum gift shop, asap.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Recipe: Carrot Soup

image from here

Last night I made some carrot soup with ginger and rosemary. It was really, really good. So much that my skin might be a little orange today because I ate so much. This recipe was incredibly easy and took about 30 minutes. The key was having the hand blender and the finely ground spices I got from the Spice House

1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
1/2 acorn squash, peeled and chopped
1/2 large onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp finely ground rosemary
1 tsp finely ground ginger
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Add chopped carrots and acorn squash to steamer and steam until tender. In a large pot, sautee garlic and onions with olive oil. Add steamed carrots, brown sugar, and squash to garlic and onions and puree with hand held blender until soft. Add sour cream, milk, and spices. Blend until pureed. Add fresh rosemary, scallions, or sour cream for garnish.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Our Halloween Party Theme this year was "Zombiewood" so we decked out the house in Hollywood glam with blood stains and gore and . We saw some great costumes, Hulk Hogan, Zombie Liza Minelli, Zombie DJ Pauly D, two Hunter S. Thompsons, zomb-bees, the 'I Like Turtles' kid (my personal favorite), and of course Zombie Amy Winehouse. Bart'z was our source for most of the movie-themed decorations. The red stage curtain in our entryway was made with cheap red fabric by my mother-in-law. The red carpet we ordered from Oriental Trading co.. Beer was supplied c/o Milwaukee Brewing Co.. And thanks to all of our friends who came and celebrated and brought food and snacks! You guys rocked. See you next year!

Speaking of zombies.... have you guys seen a zombiewalk?


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