Friday, January 27, 2012

Giveaway winner....

Congratulations to Hannah for winning the ReThreads giveaway! I loved reading about everyone's favorite vintage finds. Sounds like you guys have scored some nice stuff over the years. Here's what winner Hannah's favorite vintage find was:

Hannah, email me at and we'll get you all set up. A special thanks to ReThreads and store manager Holly for hosting such a fabulous giveaway!

Tonight: Artist Lisa Congdon at UWM

Artist Lisa Congdon will be doing a gallery show and artist talk at the UWM Union Gallery in MIlwaukee tonight as part of the exhibit Abstract Fiction. The exhibit will be open tonight from 5pm - 8pm. Several other artists are also part of the exhibit that opens tonight and runs through February 24th, but just Lisa and artist Liz Miller will be doing a talk at 7pm. The pictures below will be part of the Abstract Fiction exhibit and available for purchase.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Etsy Finds: Up In The Air Somewhere

I was first introduced to the beautiful handmade bowls of Up In The Air Somewhere at Art vs. Craft a few years ago. The artist behind the label, Chicago-based Susan Dwyer, utilizes media like paper mache, hand-glazed earthenware, and gold leaf paint to make her pieces pop. Susan also happens to make some pretty amazing sculptures. Check out her website HERE. And her Etsy shop HERE. Her spring collection is rich in pastels like peach, mint, and pale yellows. Easter egg pastels have been popping up a in a lot of spring collections and seem poised to be the new "it" colors like neons were last year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vintage Finds + ReThreads GIVEAWAY

Last week, I took a little thrifting trip and discovered a ton of great finds. More on that soon, but first I have some exciting news.....

ReThreads is offering a $100 gift card to one lucky Cream City and Sugar reader! Leave a comment below and tell us what's your favorite vintage find. A winner will be picked later this week.

For any lover of thrifting and vintage fashion, ReThreads has got you covered. Of all the vintage stores in Milwaukee, I have the most luck and most love for ReThreads in Riverwest. ReThreads is in the newer building on Humboldt Blvd. just north of Locust Ave., right next to Alterra. ReThreads has great turnover, quality items, and a large amount of designer labels. They even stock some handmade jewelry, bags, soaps and adorable little plush toys. Also, ReThreads buys your old clothes (for cash or in-store credit) so start cleaning out your closet gals (and guys). Visit the ReThreads facebook page HERE for more information. Their store is open Monday - Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm. By the way, if you're not from Milwaukee ReThreads has additional locations in Madison and East Lansing. These items below I fell in love with, but didn't buy, so they're still up for grabs!

1. MM couture stripe blazer, size small, $44
2. Plushzilla bears, $15-40
3. Diane Von Furstenberg yellow dress, size 4, $150
4. Blue coat with fur collar, size large, $32.50
5. Carolina Herrera lace shift dress, size 14, $125
6. J.Crew leopard cardigan, size large, tags on, $13.50
7. Susan Bristol black white wrap, size small, $17.50
8. J.Crew men's suede shoes, size 11, $52

So, what are your favorite vintage items have you bought over the years??? Comment below and enter the giveaway!

{UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Comment #7 was randomly chosen as the winner via Congratulations Hannah! Enjoy your shopping spree!}

Friday, January 20, 2012

{Dinner and a Movie} Drive + GTO

Guanjato Mexican Restaurant is a lunch counter dinner with melamine plates and a car-like nickname , "GTO", that serves cheap and tasty dishes right in the heart of Bay View. Although you've probably driven past and never noticed it.

Drive is a frustrating and haunting movie of many cars including a GTO, although mostly a '73 Chevy Malibu. And there's Ryan Gosling, too. Except he's a stunt car driver turned for-hire getaway driver turned murderer.

The immediate taste of both GTO and the movie Drive was that they were the exemplification of 'meh'. But, that blandness was just a facade - the sneaky disguise of a true hidden gem.

I would have never walked into GTO if I hadn't heard the rumors they were hustling the best tacos in town. I wasn't ready to be converted. The tiny restaurant ironically goes unnoticed on the bustling corner of Howell and Lincoln in Bay View, but word is catching on because the night I went there almost wasn't anywhere to sit. The chips and salsa were good, the waitstaff friendly, but I wasn't wowed. I guess I thought I needed to be immediately wowed. But then I realized-- I am still craving their huaraches a day later; I just drank good margaritas for $2.75; And there is a lunch counter - no where has a lunch counter anymore -- And it hit me: This is my new favorite mexican restaurant. This place is the real deal. And real deals don't need a wow factor.

As for Drive, I'll admit that I just wanted to look at Ryan Gosling for 2 hours and wasn't expecting greatness of any sort. The movie starts with an intense chase scene and I eased into my chair satisfied I was getting what I paid for. Then the movie went what looked like 'nowhere', like I got dropped off a mile from my house and now I had to walk home. I was upset - this wasn't what I signed up for. Ryan Gosling's character barely speaks, he's awkward and can't even ask a girl out (this is not Crazy, Stupid Love 2, btw). But then it happens, the movie already dark and gloomy turns dark and sinister with no apparent resolution ever. And it was so incredibly, dauntingly....epically....FRUSTRATING. I was screaming at the the television (I was at home, not a theater thank God). I was angry in the pit of my stomach. It was the most visceral reaction a movie has ever gotten out me. And that's when I realized, the movie was that good. Good enough to get me so emotionally invested that I would swear at the t.v. and lie awake at night with that plot just eating at me. This movie was not overtly amazing in any way, in fact, I began to wish I hadn't seen it because it raised up so many ugly emotions. The only parts I did enjoy were the M83 songs. And that's when it hit me: Enjoyable does not always equal good. But a movie that haunts you and keeps you up at night thinking, now that's a good movie.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Couto Street Art

photo: wrokic

I've been driving by this mural on South 1st Street almost everyday for months wondering what it is? who made it? are there more? As you see, these questions went to the bottom of my list and I'm just getting around to googling it now. The mural went up in July on the corner of South 1st street and Pittsburgh Ave thanks to the Couto Brothers, two globe-trotting Brazilian brothers with no first names. You can keep up with their projects on their blog or peruse their professional website to get a taste of their artistic ability.

The mural really brightens up that corner and I love its contribution to other smaller street art projects popping up around Milwaukee. Someday I'm going to go around and take some photos but in the meantime, look up Milwaukee street art on Flickr. There's some great stuff out there.

Watch the mural's creation from start to finish:

I love these other pieces of work from the Couto Brothers:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Milwaukee Faves: Red Arrow Park Skating

One of my favorite spots in Milwaukee is Red Arrow Park on the corner of Water and State streets. How many other places can you see a zamboni on your way to work? In addition to zamboni-watching, Red Arrow has its very own Starbucks serving up the mandatory ice skating drink, hot chocolate. Skate rentals are inside the Starbucks ($7 for kids, $8 for adults) along with lockers and bathrooms. The Starbucks floor is even skate proof so you can easily walk around (and avoid an America's Funnies Home Video moment). But hurry, ice skating season ends February 1st. Personally, I enjoy the latte sipping and people watching more than skating these days. However, I remember making the trip into Milwaukee just after getting my drivers license to go ice skating when it wasn't a Starbucks yet. Oh memories. Sweet memories of athletic coordination.

Blur Radial

John December


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter has arrived......

There was already an inch of snow when I woke up at 7am and a forecast for plenty more today.
Although it's a little late, I still welcome the snow. I was beginning to feel jipped out of winter altogether. By this time, Milwaukee usually sees at least five or six snow storms.

So you know what this means......time to break out the hot chocolate.
Here's a roundup of my favorites. Any good brands I should try? Let me know!

Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Mix, Omanhene cocoa powder, Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix, Chuao Mexican Hot Chocolate

Friday, January 13, 2012

{dinner and a movie} Star Wars + Spanish Chicken

image: Pick Yin blog

For Christmas I gave my husband the complete Star Wars saga on blu-ray. He was ecstatic, and I didn't get it. See, I have never really watched Star Wars. And what I think I may have seen might have just been a misunderstanding between what is Star Wars and Star Trek. I know, major faux pas.
We used our new cast iron skillet to make Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes before sitting down and watching the first Star Wars aptly named Episode IV.

Here's a 28 year old girl's commentary on Star Wars having never seen it before: This was made in 1977? These special effects are amazing. Princess Leia has an attitude - I don't like her. What's so awful about the galactic empire? I'd rather be on their nice ship than that hunk-of-junk Millennium Falcon. Who's the green dude and where did he come from? Doesn't this movie seems like a metaphor for socially awkward boys' strained relationships with their fathers?

It was obvious I went into 'random question overload' when my husband started replying with a disengaged "yeah" and an eye roll. The plot is confusing and often hurried and I don't speak wookie, so half the conversations were lost on me. I can appreciate Star Wars for being revolutionary for its time, its message on doing good, but the fandemonium and conventions I just can't relate to. Maybe I just need to watch it a few more times.

As for the dinner, there were no rambling and confused questions with that. The recipe is a take on Nigella Lawson's original recipe for Spanish Chicken, Chorizo and Potatoes. The hubs did it all on the stovetop in about 40 minutes. High-five for husbands.

Nigella's Spanish Chicken, Chorizo and Potatoes


2 x 15ml (2 x 1 Tbsp) tablespoons regular olive oil
12 chicken thighs (bone in, with skin)
750g (1 1/2 lb) chorizo sausages, whole if baby ones, or cut into 4cm chunks if regular-sized
1kg (2 lb) new potatoes, halved
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
grated zest 1 orange

METHOD Serves: 6

Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7 (450F) . Put the oil in the bottom of 2 shallow roasting tins, 1 tablespoon in each. Rub the skin of the chicken in the oil, then turn skin-side up, 6 pieces in each tin.
Divide the chorizo sausages and the new potatoes between the 2 tins. Sprinkle the onion and the oregano over, then grate the orange zest over the contents of the 2 tins.
Cook for 1 hour, but after 30 minutes, swap the top tray with the bottom tray in the oven and baste the contents with the orange-coloured juices.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Valentine's Day cards

It might be a little early, but I should plan way ahead if I expect to actually do it. Let's be real, embracing procrastination and saying "I do better under stress" has a success rate in the micro-digits. So, if you're planning on sending out Valentine's Day cards right now is the perfect time to start thinking about it (yes, self, i'm talkin' to you!). And who wouldn't love getting these adorable cards from Rifle Paper Co..

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Backyard Discovery: Melthouse Bistro

Grilled Cheese sandwiches are one my all time favorite things in life. So to now have a whole restaurant dedicated to the art of grilled cheese making is pretty monumental. The Melthouse Bistro opened a little over a month ago on the East Side and serves everything from plain grilled cheese to gourmet melts. And I love that they offer healthier sides like apples, soup and salads along in addition to more fun options like cheese curds, beer, wine, and desserts. On a cold blustery day this place really hits the spot.

Read more about it in the:
Shepherd Express article
A.V. Club Milwaukee article

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Last month my book club read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by author Rebecca Skloot. The story is a little known and fascinating tale in the world of modern science. I remember learning about HeLa cells in Biochemistry freshman year of college; they are the test cells used in almost all medical research from studying the life cycles to testing pharmaceuticals. I, like many people I assume, never asked where these magical cells came from. Amazingly, they came from one little lady name Henrietta Lacks. The story is about the discovery of the "immortal" cell line after a routine biopsy. The life Henrietta and her children led after she was sent home never being what happened to her cells. And the lives of the scientists and the advancement of medicine because of the discovery of Henrietta's cell line. The book raises many questions about medical ethics, our right to our own bodies, and the luck that all of us have being born into a certain cell line, certain race, and certain social class. For any science lover, this book is a page-turner. The scientific jargon can become a little thick, but when the reader becomes lost in the scientific shuffle, one must imagine that so did Henrietta. The characters and setting develop over the course of the book as you slowly unravel the layers of each character. Because it is a true story you fight the pages until the end just to see what happened to everyone. The story is truly fascinating.

Read the New York Times book review HERE

Everyone in my book club really enjoyed the book. Our discussion lasted almost two hours. Overall, I gave it an 8.5/10, but the pickiest reader in our group gave it the coveted 10/10 rating. This was unprecedented. She said the story was well-written and held her attention, it taught her something new, and it forced her to brain to think. So there you have it. If you are looking for a good read, I would definitely recommend this one.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Day Off

During winter break from grad school, I have been trying to work as many hours as I possibly can, but today is not one of those days. I am going to sleep as much as I possibly can. And when I wake up I'll probably think about sleep. And look at pictures of people sleeping in the new Anthropologie magazine. My body hasn't returned to 100% since the Great Stomach Flu of 2011 and the multiple colds and coughs that followed. So today is my recharge day. I will be using my Actaea spa gift cards I got from Christmas to get one awesome hot stone massage. I'll be bringing one or two of my new books to read while I hang out in their lounge sipping on Cucumber and Lemon water. Then probably come home and watch a TV show that is like chicken soup for the soup, and yes just as lame, The Gilmore Girls.

So, come on guys, fill my ears with stories of leisure and lounging and tell me what you like to do on your special day off?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Let's start the New Year with hypothermia

photos: Mike Di Sisti

If you were one of the brave souls to do the annual Polar Plunge yesterday in Lake Michigan, I salute you. The weather in Milwaukee yesterday was milder than usual, 32 degrees with high winds and the lake has yet to freeze over. Still, I don't think I could ever do it......and it hasn't made it onto my bucket list, either. But, man, I do love seeing the photos. That is, while I am nestled beneath two wool blankets on my nice fluffy couch drinking hot cocoa.

I'm sure the polar plunge warrants you bragging rights for a lifetime, but the imminent risk of hypothermia seems a little extreme. But we all knew Milwaukeeans are crazy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year motto

The first few days of a new year are the best. There is a lot of hope, optimism, and inspiration swirling around. I am always up for New Years resolutions, even the crazy ones (like the year I gave up chocolate and actually did it!), but my resolutions of late are more holistic and philosophic. That's why I love the Holstee Manifesto - it's all about being honest with yourself.

One of my friends wrote on Facebook "Love yourself more this year". And that sums up everything quite beautifully.


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