Friday, November 30, 2012

TV Night: Call the Midwife

I've been hooked on Call The Midwife lately. If you find Downton Abbey boring at times, this is your middle ground. Granted, I'm a nurse working in OB/Gyn with an anglophile addiction, so I'm completely biased here.

The storyline follows a novice nurse in London's east end in the 50's. She lives with nuns and bikes around delivering babies. Amazingly, it's based on a true story. Season 1 is all online at PBS.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gettin' down with down.

top to bottom: Tahari Caroline down parka, Betsey Johnson down quilted coat, North Face Metropolis Parka

For Cyber Monday, I spent most of the evening surfing around for a good deal on a versatile down parka - these 3 really caught my eye. Because if Snowmageddon happens, I want to be ready. It took about 3 hours of indecision to get me to click the buy button on the Tahari coat at top, but I did it. So now I'll be ready for winter.....on December 27th......because it's backordered. Rats!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Burning the midnight oil

Final papers were due last night at midnight. And in true form, I was working off a caffeine induced frenzy an a voice inside my heading saying 'let's do this!".

Everything got sent in on time, but then the after effects hit me. I couldn't sleep until about 2am. Is this part of getting older? I've already succumbed to buying an ergonomic keyboard. So I guess it's time to accept that i cant hack finals like i used to: caffeine after 3pm is no longer a good idea an im probably getting carpal tunnel. Good-bye all-nighters, it was fun while it lasted, but I'm getting too old for this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Local Top 5: Coffee Shops

I've often been asked for recommendations on where to go/eat/stay around Milwaukee so I'm creating a few posts called "Local Top 5" and I'll run down the lists of my favorite places around town. Up first, caffeine, of course! In no particular order, here are some places that won't disappoint. My recommendations may change over time, but these are some good ol' standbys.

ALTERRA on Prospect: This became a daily visit when I used to live across the street from here. I love the sidewalk tables, the hanging plants inside, the lovely latte art, and the steamy squeals from espresso machines. There are numerous Alterra cafes in Milwaukee, but this one I call home. Info here.

ANODYNE in Bay View: As much as I love Alterra, their coffee is hella strong so if I plan to have more than one cup, I go to Anodyne. Their coffee is nice and smooth, balanced and bright. It has a great neighborhood feel and I never feel pushed out the door. I like the nice sturdy tables and natural light. Lulu the dog likes the dog water dishes outside.

BREWED on Brady: If I'm out and about on Brady St. during the day, I'll skip the Starbucks and head to Brewed. They have good food, lots of organic options, and a boho coffee house feel. They serve up Anodyne coffee so best of both worlds!

FUEL CAFE in Riverwest: No sissy coffee here. This moto racing themed spot is worth the trek . It was one of my regular lunch spots when I was working on the north side. They have great sandwiches. And fast and easy service. And the rock turned all the way up.

BIRDIE'S in Highland Park: On the border between Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, Birdie's is homey and smells like pies. Perfect, because pie is really good with coffee. I like the cozy atomostphere here a lot. Info here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I want to go to there: Historic London Pubs

I saw the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, over the weekend. Amazing. For an anglophile like me, all those shots of sweeping UK landscapes, historic parliament buildings, and refined accents sent me into a web-induced brit-binge. I looked up stuff on London for like 2 hours. After learning about the real WWII Churchill Bunkers, I brushed up on the parliamentary system and took a google maps tour of Downing Street. Then I fell into a great article about historic london pubs called 'Drink like Dickens' here. Yes, the web is a slippery slope.

These four pubs have been added to my travel lists. Aren't they darling? And their history is just fascinating!

Olde Cheshire Cheese: Rebuilt after the great fire in 1666, Charles Dickens would often hang out here and supposedly based some of his darker characters on pub regulars.

The Mayflower: Originally called the Shippe in 1620, a group of pilgrims met for send off drinks before boarding the Mayflower docked down the street en route to 'America'.

The George Inn: An old coach house located down the street from a small theater called....the Globe and was a popular hangout among actors. So Shakespeare probably had a few drinks here. The current George Inn was rebuilt on the same location in the same style.

The Dove: Supposedly Charles II would cheat on the queen with a mistress here. But in addition to adultery, this place looks like a good place to sit back, have a pint, and take the patio over-looking the Thames river.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sara's Staples: Winter Beauty Supplies

Every year around this time, my skin and hair look like the Mojave. My skin and hair naturally lean towards the dry end of the spectrum, but during fall it gets out of control. Dry, flaky skin is not pretty....nor is the greasy look from lotion trying to cover it up, and it can turn into an ungodly cycle. In Wisconsin, one day it's 70 degrees, the next I'm scraping ice off my windshield. And with those sudden drops in barometric pressure, the moisture gets pulled out from the air (and the skin) very quickly.

Here are my suggested solutions:
1. I bought the Clarisonic Mia ($110) about a month ago after reading a million and a half raving reviews. I'll add myself to that list because I have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin. Softer skin, less dry, and smaller pores. It's an investment but if you add up facials, using more moisturizer, and the cost of feeling gross - the ledger is in the black here.

2. I have been using this Kiehl's moisturizer ($26) for years and notice best results when my skin is mild to moderately dry. I hate greasy feeling moisturizers and lotions. It's like fingernails on the chalkboard to me. This stuff is very light, easily absorbed, and it staves off dryness for the entire day. I don't need a lot, so a small jar lasts me about 6mos. For the under eye area I use Aquaphor ointment ($3) at night.

3. Lastly, I use Moroccan Argan Oil ($7) a few times a week now, up from once a week in the summer as I had been taking a long-needed extended break from color treatments to try and repair the dull and 'hay-like' texture of my hair. In addition to this oil, switching to an extra-moisturizing shampoo and not rinsing my hair in too hot of water.....there have been some hair looks great!

I haven't found an 'amazing' lip moisturizer yet. I have been resorting to exfoliating at home with sugar and using trusty Carmex, but would like to find a better alternative. Do you have any suggestions?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cat Power (update)

Just wanted to show you some epic photos from Cat Power a few nights ago. Her performance was quite emotive; adding a whole new layer of soulfulness to her already heartbreaking, breathy songs. After hearing about her breakdown in Minneapolis the next night and her bizzaro message to the started to all make sense. Oh, rock stars.


On Monday, I checked this off my to do list. I was not going to take any chances. And no faulty plumbing is going to stand in my way. I lost my job to the infamous state budget cuts last year and I'm freaked it's going to happen again. So for me, this election is very personal.

I thought the early vote process was quick and painless- there were about a hundred people in line at 3pm with only a 15 minute wait. There were some extra envelopes and signing in the mix, but an astute poll worker stopped me from committing the ultimate sin - sealing the envelope without a poll worker as a witness. Close one. And I utilized the free parking for voters in front of the building. It was hella cold on the Vespa, which 2 sweaters and a coat did not fix, but I made it.

The last day to early vote in Wisconsin is this Friday, November 2nd. For city of Milwaukee dwellers, go to the Zeidler Municipal Building (behind City Hall) from 8:30am to 7:00pm. I'm linking the city website HERE. Go vote!


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