Wow, hello! Long, long, long time no chat.
Let’s get candid: though I love my blog and have been so proud to publish two posts a week for several years, there’s been a change of pace over the past months. The bottom line is that I’ve been busy. Brutally, incredibly, blessedly busy. This summer especially has been an ongoing blur of events and plans and moments that I chose to live in fully.
I’ve neglected my blog for my own sake, to soak in each memory fully without killing myself afterward for recording it online. And…I’m okay with it.
But, I’m still here. I’m taking photos, I’m creating blog drafts (can’t wait until I finally get around to publishing any of them, lol), and I’m waiting until the timing is right to jump back in, to my former publishing glory.
Until then, this happy hour chat format works for me. I’m a huge fan of the info dump. So, here’s my latest happy hour life update, covering an obscene amount of action in my life. Thank you, as always, for your patience and for understanding how this space evolves, and for checking in to see how the sunshine is fairing.
Cheers to you, us, and living well. Let’s dive into this happy hour chat!
Here’s what life has looked like lately in my corner of the world.
For my gift, I surprised him with a quick overnight trip to Chicago, via train. We had such a fun exploring, seeing all the touristy things, and meeting up with my childhood friend Annie.
Memorial Day visitors
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Chad and I got to play host again with our friends Phil and Megan, who visited from Colorado. Just like last time, we had a ton of fun drinking and eating our way through Milwaukee. So nice to have guests and explore! A new experience this time was the Pabst Manion tour.
For the second year in a row, Chad played on his work’s coed slow-pitch softball team. This season, however, there were enough players for two company teams; a few weeks in, I got the opportunity to play when they needed subs! I loved it so, so much. It was great to play again for several games and even better to be on the same team as Chad. Plus, we were undefeated during the season…I’ll take it!
We went to a new festival this in late June: Strawberry Fest in Cedarburg, WI. Chad and I were SO impressed—this small town completely transformed and showed UP with strawberry-themed booths, specials, drinks, and foods. It was so cool to see how entire blocks embraced the spirit of the festival. Can’t wait for next year!
Oh yeah, Summerfest! This year Chad and I at least doubled our attendance at Milwaukee’s most famous music festival. We went to several shows, including Noah Kahan, Avett Brothers, Lord Huron, The National Parks, and Vance Joy. We ended up skipping on Imagine Dragons, because the opener AJR dropped out after a family death (the concert was my birthday present to see them specifically). Nonetheless, we had a great time seeing some amazing bands!
“Every night is girl’s night!” This summer has been such a social one! I’ve been lucky to participate in several fun nights out, including:
- Waukesha’s first Friday, with aperol spritzes, live music, and great food
- Milwaukee’s Night Market that took over downtown with vendors, followed by pizza at Flourchild
- Ceramics painting at Just Kiln’ Time
- Square dancing! (Though Chad crashed this one, lol.) Such a surprisingly fun event at Third Space Brewing
Chad’s work BBQ
This summer, I got to finally meet most of Chad’s bosses and coworkers for the first time at the annual summer gathering (which was cancelled last year). This June we had a fun BBQ at the department head’s house on the lake. It mostly went without incident.
However, Chad’s boss set up an elaborate obstacle course with prizes; she immediately pressured Chad into participating and he did great! But as the day went on, no other adults did the course/fell to the peer pressure. So at the end, Chad was awarded the top prize for his obstacle course time…beating out all the kids. Lol.
The photo of him posing with his prize on the home-made pedestal above a bunch of kids is probably the funniest thing to ever happen. The family group chat was appropriately roasting him for days, lol.
This summer had some incredible days spent at the beach. One of my favorites was on July 3, when Chad and I joined friends Haley, Meg, and Kelli in Racine for a great afternoon with drinks and snacks.
Unfortunately for me, even with constant reapplications of sunscreen, I walked away with probably the worst sunburn of my life. It lasted for weeks and was definitely sun poisoning. Lol, it was rough and I was furious at the injustice of it all.
The beach day was still a blast though. 😉
4th of July
This year for the Fourth, Chad and I celebrated with a group of friends in Waukesha County once again. We kayaked on a gorgeous lake (it was SO fun, even with my fresh sunburn), then celebrated with a grill-out at our new friends Sarah and Jared’s house. So much fun!
SO this one is a biggie, lol. After years of suffering from extreme dental trauma and avoiding making an appointment (it’s a long story, but let’s just say my last visit involved shoddy work and a surprise $1,000 bill a week before my wedding, then a filling falling out while flossing), my mouth started hurting this summer and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. With the help of my therapist and support from Chad and my parents, I finally made it back into the dental chair.
Ever since then, my summer has revolved around my teeth. I now have the best dentist in the world (shout out to Dr. Patel at Bayshore Dental!!!!) who has fixed me up and immediately eased my anxieties. I’m officially done for the year after a repaired infection, root canal, fillings, and a cleaning. All that’s left now is a crown in January, once my insurance resets (lol, yikes).
This has been hanging over my head for years and was the cause of so much anxiety, fear, and shame. Going to the dentist really saved me in a lot of ways, and I’m so proud of myself and thankful that it happened.
Also, nothing has radicalized me politically as much as the ongoing financial burdens of healthcare, knowing how many people forego care because of inaccessibility. Taking care of your teeth and body should absolutely not be such a privilege.
My 10 year reunion
We had another trip this July to Gunnison, this time to celebrate my 10-year reunion. As class president, I planned it. Though the turnout was somewhat disappointing, I think everything came together well! We had t-shirts, a mixer, former teachers and coaches, and a successful parade float. Plus, it was nice to be back in my hometown during July—definitely the best time of the year.
Third Space Brewery hosted a Beer School event and several local influencers attended! Chad and I had a fun time learning about the different brews and the process, and it was also a good time hanging out with friends.
Chad, Haley, and I dedicated one of our Saturdays to rooftop hopping in Milwaukee. We started at Black Sheep for brunch, then made our way to Central Standard Crafthouse, then Indeed Brewing’s Up Top rooftop bar. (We caught the airshow here, which was pretty neat.) Our plans were somewhat thwarted by rain, but we still had fun. 🙂
Craving some nature, Chad, Wally, and I went to Seven Bridges Park just outside Milwaukee for a short hike. It was gorgeous! It really felt like a slice of home right outside the city, from fallen logs to winding paths.
We got a pickleball crew together! Chad and I taught our friends Haley and Meg how to play, and we’ve met up a few times. Note: their improvement between just two sessions blew us away. It’s always a good time and I can’t wait for more during the winter months.
Surprise volleyball spectating
One of my favorite moments this summer was when we surprised our friend Jaci at her Thursday night sand volleyball game. She has a team she’s played with for several years, and when I asked her girlfriend Amanda when we could come watch, Amanda said, “how about we make it a surprise?” So fun! We shared a couple beers and cheered for Jaci as she bumped and spiked and even dove (!!).
My brother Spencer is training to be a member of the foreign service, similar to the position his wife has held for the past several years (the reason why their family has lived in Mexico, India, and now Turkey). Spencer had his flag ceremony in August, where it was revealed that he is assigned to Ankara, Turkey! He will get to be reunited with his family after all. Chad and I went to DC, joined by my parents and Spencer’s visiting family, and spent a long weekend together celebrating Spencer.
Also, it was Chad’s first time to DC, so we also took half a day to explore the monuments. We had a blast!
Our friends Sarah and Jared invited us for a fun day of kayaking at Lulu Lake, followed by group outing for farm-fresh pizza and live music at Grassway Organics. It was SUCH a great day!
Chad and I opted to rent our kayak from the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee; it was way bigger than our car, so that was an interesting interstate drive to the lake an hour away, lol. But being on the water, drifting through a lily pad nature preserve, and docking our kayak to the shore while we stood in the water, was all so incredible.
Chad and I went out of our comfort zone and signed up for a pickleball tournament! We called our team “Double Doods” and had a great time; we ended up winning 4-5 games on day one, earning us a wild card spot on day two’s winner bracket, where we were the eighth seed and ended up losing all of our games. But hey, 8/24 isn’t anything to complain about!
We’d been out of commission for several weeks due to travel and sickness, and I think we played really well in spite of that. We can’t wait for the next one!
The Lumineers have been my favorite band since my senior year of high school when I heard “Flowers in Your Hair” for the first time. This summer I got to experience their show in Milwaukee.
Six years prior, to the exact day, I got to see them with Chad and our friends Bobby, Paige, Taylor, and Ashley at Denver’s Fiddler Green. In 2020 I had tickets to a show that was indefinitely postponed, until they announced a comeback Red Rocks concert in summer 2022….literally months after Chad and I moved to Milwaukee. So, as you can imagine, this concert felt a long time coming.
It was amazing. Magical. Special. The venue was great (it was the American Family Amphitheater at the permanent Summerfest grounds, reserved for festival headliners) and the band was incredible—the vocals were sharp, the piano player was playfully acrobatic, and even the live cinematography was artistic and meaningful. I cried, of course. But mostly, I danced, sang along, and felt so lucky to be there.
Lol. I went to a Shrek Rave, at the Eagles Club/The Rave. My friend Meg invited me, and it felt like the right thing to do so that she wouldn’t miss out. And…it was fun! There were a lot of “youths.” I dressed up very earnestly as an ogre—green face paint and all—and I’m pretty sure I was the only one. The rave kept me young, and it’s nice to know that I can still close down a dance floor.
Also, they played the same Smashmouth songs probably 12 times; I apologize for all of the complaints I made, especially since the lead singer passed away a day later. RIP.
Chad and I celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary! It was quiet and honestly snuck up on us during a very busy time. Chad booked us a very nice diner at Odd Duck to celebrate, and my present involved sneakily finishing the painting projects in our house on my own.
I did enjoy thinking about how the last time we celebrated a sixth anniversary (of being together) was just after getting married. That really conceptualizes how long we’ve been “doing” life together, and I’m incredibly thankful for it all.
Shania Twain concert
I’ve never been a country music fan. Actually, that’s an understatement: my dad used to play 94 KIX in the morning to get me out of bed; he knew that I’d have to practically jump up to turn off the stereo, I hated the sounds so much.
So, it might come as a giant surprise (especially to me!) that I actually really love Shania Twain. I’m a new fan, recently converted after realizing that hearing “let’s go girls” is somehow the most empowering call to action and I simply can’t help but feel alive. And, most of her songs have a similar effect. (Once, I line danced at a wedding to “Any Man of Mine” and I’ve never felt such bliss and purpose. Lol.) So, I ponied up and got tickets to her concert, coming to Milwaukee on Halloween. I cannot wait for the ultimate girls night.
Work! Lots of work!
I’ve been nicely booked and busy lately! In September I took on about 15 magazine articles and had a month of reports, deadlines, and projects. It was very hectic and as I’m writing this, I’m glad to be on the other side. It was a baseline for an insane month.
I did a big thing! In late September I threw a Barbie-themed costume party. It was pink, glittery, campy, feminine, and a lot of fun. Also, a ton of work on my part! I over-committed and dedicated time I didn’t have to transform our home into a Dream House, with countless DIY projects and experiments. It was fantastic.
More to come on this – I promise!
With a deadline for friends to come over to our house, the Barbie Party made for the perfect deadline on lingering home projects. Notably: finishing the basement.
I really took it upon myself to spearhead the projects, which included: sanding down our textured walls, applying wallpaper, painting the bar, painting the downstairs stairwell, and swapping out a new mirror for the bar.
I also finally, finally painted the staircase upstairs, removing the last traces of the lime-green that our house inherited. (You know…the green that used to be in our kitchen and living room!) That was such a huge relief to finish.
My parents came to visit
The day after the Barbie party, my parents came to town! Same as last year, hauling their Airstream camper and all three dogs inside, lol. They stayed for several days, then we visited Door County, and we had plans to travel to Iowa together to see family and friends; sadly, my mom and I both tested positive for covid and had to cut our plans short by nearly a week.
Though I am heartbroken over the sudden change of plans (especially the part where we had to say goodbye very unexpectedly, with no notice), we still had an incredible time together. I loved showing them bits and pieces of my home and having the band back together, as we sometimes like to say.
Note: we even played pickleball together! And went to barre class! I miss them so much already.
Food (and drink) adventures
If I’m being honest, I’ve dropped the ball a little with keeping track.
There have been quite a few more than this so far this summer, from our trip to Gunnison and smaller outings in between. (Oops, lol.) (Might I add: going out to eat is indeed my favorite activity in the world? :))
- Third Ward Beer Garden
- Mobcraft Brewery
- Component Brewery
- Tauro Cocina
- Scratch Ice Cream
- Lion’s Tail Brewing Co.
- Milwaukee Brat House
- Company Brewing
- Black Sheep
- Fiddleheads Coffee
- One Barrel Brewery
- Stabbur Beer Garden at Al Johnson’s
- Comet Cafe
- Blue Bat
- Copper Turtle
- Lakefront Brewery
- Brick pizza place
- Kompali Taqueria
- 3rd St Market Hall
- Pilot Project Brewery
- Joy Ice Cream
- Indeed Brewing Co.
- Cafe Benelux
- Central Standard Crafthouse
- Su Casa Mi Cafe
- Boathouse on the Bay
- Door County Creamery
- Odd Duck
- Drink Wisconsinably
- Third Space Brewery
- Faklandia Brewing
- Punchbowl Social
- Don’s Tv + Repair
- Fairgrounds Coffee
- Grassway Organics
- Vendetta Coffee Bar
- Grasse’s Grill
- Sister Bay Bowl (supper club? lol)
- Goddess and the Baker
- Flour Child
What we’ve been watching
- What We Do in the Shadows
- Ted Lasso
- Into the Spiderverse
- Into the Spiderverse 2
- Prison Break
- The Golden Bachelor
- The Little Mermaid
- The Bachelorette
- The Mindy Project
- Rookie of the Year
- Barbie Movie
- Prison Break
- Bachelor in Paradise