Happy Monday! One of my summer classes wrapped up last week so now I actually have Monday mornings free, which feels really weird! I hope those of you celebrating the fourth of July had a swell holiday weekend. My dad picked me up from Milwaukee last Wednesday after my anatomy lab and took me back to my hometown. It was wonderful to see my family again! On Thursday morning we started cooking up a storm and cleaning the house for visitors later in the afternoon. Last year we started a new tradition of making themed food for the holiday. Last summer we made Cajun food and this fourth we made Mediterranean food!
We made homemade pita bread, falafel, grilled veggies and chicken on a stick, chopped pita toppings, fresh fruit, homemade hummus, and Greek salad. In addition to this, we also made a pitcher of white sangria and a fruit pizza for dessert. Everyone ate so much, but the food was worth the coma that came afterwards! Thankfully, the rain held off and the temperatures cooled as evening rolled around, so we were able to sit outside on the back deck to enjoy our food.
My dad loves bean bag toss, so I played a few rounds with him and discovered that I am very bad at the game! I will view this as having lots of room for improvement haha! He won each game by 7-19 points but it was fun to try out different techniques of throwing the bags! My dad also bought three foot long sparklers on the internet for us to try out before the fireworks. The smallest package was a set of 48, so we had giant sparklers galore! It was too hot for a campfire, so we just put a bunch of sparklers in the fire pit lid and set them off instead. They burned for about three minutes, which was a sight to see!
It was so fun to see family and friends this weekend. I saw a high school buddie for the first time since last August and it was great to catch up. I also enjoy the anticipation of the fireworks when everyone is sitting out on the deck watching the sky get darker and listening for the city band in the distance to play the national anthem, which marks the start of the lights show. While waiting for the show to start, my parents were talking about the vines that grow on the back of our house and I noticed that my mom had used my sister's jewelry box to prop up one of the air conditioning units on the second floor! When I pointed it out, she told us she was worried the air conditioner was going to fall out of the window so she used it as a support when installing the unit and forgot to take it back inside when she was done. So, my sister isn't getting that box back until the end of summer haha!! When my dad bought the sparklers, he bought three luminaries so that he qualified for free shipping. We let one go right as the fireworks started and are saving the other two for another day. You can see its progress and disappearance in the middle GIF below.
I am experimenting with creating video memories that capture snippets of everyday life. I haven't been a video person much in the past, but there have been an increasing number of moments lately when I think mini videos convey events better than still images. So, be prepared to see some more video clips in future blog posts! Ryan and I made a calendar of events for the month of July of things to do, so that will fuel the posts after I publish the ones I prepped on Friday. I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday weekend! Thanks for reading!
Hey, long time no talk! Life has been crazy busy with the start of physical therapy school, and, somehow, the summer session is already half over! I am thankful for Ryan and the rest of my family for being patient with me during this adjustment to a new chapter in life because my emotions and stress levels have had some wild ups and downs during the past six weeks! At the start of June, Ryan and I wanted to go to a new restaurant called DanDan, but realized it was only open for one more hour. Thankfully, we found another restaurant called Red Light Ramen that was open until 1am. It was a cozy space with only a few tables and an open kitchen that allowed you to watch your food being prepared. For drinks, Ryan ordered their house slushie of the week and I tried the "Joto Blue Clouds" sparkling sake.
I ordered the "Tonkotsu" ramen that came with pork, scallion, mushroom, bamboo shoots, nori, fish cake, egg, and greens. We loved the ramen so much that we bought supplies to make our own! For dessert, we ordered a dish called "Ginger Semifreddo" and the only ingredients listed were cherry and black sesame. I'm not sure what this dish really contained, but it was delicious!
My roommates and I went shopping for a day and then got strawberry cheesecake ice cream from Kopp's Frozen Custard. This was our last outing together as roommates because I moved out at the end of June for an exciting new adventure.
I saw these sweet pups outside of a store while on my way to Belair Cantina for margaritas and tacos with my roommate Kassy. These pups looked so happy and friendly! I cannot wait for the day I am financially stable enough to have a dog! Dinner at Belair was much needed! My roomie and I had not had a good chat in ages because we've both been so busy this summer.
Ryan and I also went on our last bike and dinner date in June before my bike was stolen a week later. We biked on the Oakleaf Trail to the lakefront and Discovery World area. After stopping to admire the views, we headed over to the Third Ward to visit the restaurant DanDan.
Check out the post below this one for a more detailed account of our experience at DanDan. To summarize: great food! Check it out if you're in the area!
Mini update on mah plants: the cactus propagations I planted in May have officially taken root and have sprouted new shoots out their tops. I also found a plant for the funky white planter Ryan printed for me a couple months ago. The plant roots fit in the shallow pot and the tendrils hang out the sides. My mini garden has been rearranged since moving apartments and this weekend I hope to pick up even more while I am outside of Milwaukee!
Since physical therapy school has been keeping me so busy, I'll share some more about that. This summer I am taking human anatomy, medical physiology, and introduction to physical therapy examination technique. In anatomy we have covered the shoulder, cervical spine, elbow, forearm, and wrist. Medical physiology has covered neurons, muscle contraction, and an overview of the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems. Intro to PT exam has taught us how to evaluate the upper extremity using palpation, goniometry, muscle length testing, and manual muscle testing. I have learned a lot in the past 6 weeks and am looking forward to what we cover next! Thanks for reading!
Hello from Milwaukee! Physical therapy school has been keeping me on my toes lately but I have learned so much already during the last three weeks! Last weekend, Ryan and I had a 'bike and dine' date night. We biked around McKinley Park and the Summerfest grounds before heading to the Third Ward to try out a Chinese restaurant called DanDan.
The atmosphere the owners created is cozy and chic. If you want to eat here, I recommend making a reservation. Ryan and I arrived right when they opened and they only had seating at the bar! The picture below with the empty chairs is deceiving because the early reservations had yet to show up. The bartender was super friendly and contributed to an enjoyable dining experience.
I ordered a "Moonlight Mule" that had ginger-infused vodka and loved it. We had the "Scallion Pancake" and the "Chicken and Cabbage Dumplings" for appetizers. The dumplings were great but the photo did not turn out. I wish we had gotten a couple more because the dish only came with five and they disappeared quickly! The scallion pancake was new experience. I have not had savory pancakes before and it came sliced into pieces with several fun toppings!
For main meals, Ryan ordered "Kung Pao Pork" that came with peppers, chilies, scallions, cashews, and celery and I had the "Mapo Pork" that came with tofu, ground pork, peanuts, scallions, and spicy Sichuan sauce. Both of these meals were amazing and worth the wait. I wasn't sure how to eat mine when it arrived and was recommended to add some white rice and eating it with a spoon, which worked nicely! I was surprised by the spice in my dish! I was warned ahead of time and said it was okay because I like spicy food. I was a little in over my head! On my first bite I inhaled something spicy and started tearing up right as the bartender asked how I liked it! I soon adapted to the spice and hope to order this dish again soon because it was awesome.
This restaurant has a warm and cozy atmosphere, great food and service, and also offers delivery if you are in the area but cannot make it in-person. I hope to eat here again soon or order take-out for the first time since living on my own! Thanks for reading!
Hello from Milwaukee! This reflection post is being published a little later than I intended because I have officially started physical therapy school and am adjusting to the craziness that entails! Looking back on my photos from May feels unreal because so much change has happened since these photos were taken. Let's rewind to the beginning of May when my roomie and I went to Belair for Cinco de Mayo. We were under the impression that all tacos were $2, but they scrapped that idea from previous years so we tried out some of their brunch items instead. I had the Tosta Benedict which was good and my roomie had the Surfer Breakfast, which she said was alright but nothing special.
I am experimenting with a new meal prep recipe! Below are the prototype recipes for Indian meatballs, cumin-cinnamon rice, and Marsala-honey carrots. These turned out really good but the meatballs were super sticky when I was making them so I am fine tuning them a bit.
To celebrate the end of the semester, my coworkers from the research lab and I went to Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant for food and drinks and then walked around the to enjoy the weather. This is a fun restaurant to visit, but the flavors are not for everybody. I have loved each of my visits so far though!
Ryan and I went for a bike and dinner date during finals week. I hope we make this a regular thing because it was nice to get some pedaling in, eat good food, and then pedal off some of the fullness. I take a high number of photos when we take selfies with the hopes that we are both smiling in at least one of them. It used to annoy me when Ryan made faces when I was just smiling, but now I make some faces too and it's more fun to me to have the variety of facial expressions!
He and I tried out Harry's Bar and Grill. I ordered a salad for the sake of being "healthy" but next time I will go for the burger because I spent the meal drooling over Ryan's awesome burger. My roommate and I took a break from studying the following weekend to go out for a movie. We wanted to take a nice photo but we ended up trying way to hard to look like we were having fun and not super stressed out about life. We saw the Hustle and it had its moments.
On May 13th, my parents came to Milwaukee to see the UWM honors commencement. We went to Belair for tacos and margaritas beforehand and then walked around the campus neighborhood. The letter sign at Belair had the perfect message for my soul:
When evening rolled around, we went to the commencement. Both my roommates and I graduated with honors and it has been an amazing opportunity the live with them for the past four years! I am really going to miss them when we move away at the end of this month. I was so happy that my family also came to see me walk because their support has meant a lot to me during my time in undergrad. I chose not to go to the large UWM graduation downtown because I was starting starting PT school so soon after the graduation and it did not really feel like I was graduating, so this commencement signaled the end of my undergraduate career.
I was happy to go home for a week and a half before starting graduate school. On my first night home, we had cheese and crackers for dinner along with fresh margaritas served by a campfire. It was my ideal way to celebrate the end of another hectic term of school!
The days I spent at home blurred by. My sister and I had some good talks at coffee shops around the area and while sitting on the kitchen floor. I do not know why, but some of our deepest conversations are had while we are sitting on the floor of the kitchen! I don't know if it started in childhood, or what! The first one started while we were waiting for cookie bars to bake in the oven and more of them just happened during the rest of my stay! During one afternoon, we sat on the floor with Pinterest pulled up on our phones and designed the ultimate Halloween party!
I helped my mom plant some of her flowers and vegetables. I haven't helped with something like this since I was little and it was surprisingly refreshing. I was happy to see that in the time between planting and the time I headed back to Milwaukee, the green onions we planted had already sprouted shoots! Ryan brought a hammock back from Milwaukee and we tried it out at a local park. I can see more of this happening in the future because it was relaxing to recline in nature!
The following weekend, Ryan and I went to New Glarus for the day. I made a whole separate post about this mini trip and it was a relaxing excursion.
On my last day home, we celebrated my sister's birthday. We went to an awesome restaurant in Madison that allows you to make custom stir-fry bowls, browsed our favorite used bookstore, watched the new Aladin movie (amazing!!), and ate a Nightmare Before Christmas cake created by my super talented mother next to a campfire. I added a throwback photo because there are a lot of them from our childhood and it is fun to reflect on the past!
When I got back to Milwaukee a day before PT school, Ryan surprised me by setting up an awesome snack spread for us to enjoy. We ate so much food while watching videos of cute animals. After eating, we played a new game called Overcooked that simultaneously drove us crazy and made us laugh!
We cooked a nice stack of pancakes the following morning. Last week Tuesday I officially started physical therapy school. We got our gear and started our classes. I can already tell the next three years are going to be quite the ride!
Ryan and I went on a bike ride last Thursday. I wanted to get some fresh air after the information overload that was the first week of school and it was a gorgeous night.
Last Friday was my last day of work at my steady job from undergrad. It was sad to say goodbye to my coworkers, but I am glad I decided not to work regular hours during PT school because I can tell it's going to require a lot of my attention. I brought in cupcakes for my last day, though they got a little squished because I transported them via bike.
I look forward to sharing my adventures with you during this new chapter of my life! This blog is a place where I can keep track of my memories for future self-reflection, but also for those who wish to follow along. PT school already has me jogging to keep up! This past weekend was probably the most relaxing one I will have for the summer term. I had a chill day Friday and Saturday with friends and an "oh crap" moment scrambling to get all my work done on Sunday for this coming week. Homework took all day and then I realized I had neither clean clothes to wear or groceries in my fridge, so I will need to stay on top of those things for personal sanity! Classes are like a full-time job (yesterday was 8:30-5:30) and will take some adjustment. I am so excited for the future though, and in just a couple hours I will be heading off to our first clinical experience to practice taking blood pressure and heart rates. I will see you later. Thanks for reading!
Ryan and I paid a visit to New Glarus, Wisconsin while we were in the area visiting family. This small town calls itself a Swiss Historic Village and is full of cute stores, restaurants, and bakeries. Ryan and I wanted to check out the hiking at New Glarus Woods State Park, but first we stopped at Fat Cat Coffee. I love this coffee shop and enjoyed an almond milk latte and one of their savory herb and goat cheese scones.
After coffee, we could not resist walking across the street to Brenda's Blumenladen. The flowers were gorgeous and we spent a lot of time admiring the plants, pots, and garden accessories.
We stopped by the New Glarus Bakery for a couple more sweets before heading for the park.
I can't recall what Ryan ordered, but it looked like a giant, flattened cinnamon roll while I got a rum ball. Both were yummy and I am glad we took the time to stop in.
We decided to hike the Havenridge Trail when we got to the park. The previous days held several thunderstorms so the trail was pretty damp, but the rains made the greenery pop beautifully. The trail had not yet been groomed for the season, so we climbed over a lot of fallen trees and skirted around large areas of mud. We enjoyed the time talking, taking pictures, and looking for wild animals as we traveled the path.
After our hike, we headed back into town to find some food. We have had a pleasant experience at Sugar River Pizza each time we've visited, so we went there and ordered a customized calzone with spinach and mushrooms. We ordered to-go and went to a nearby park in the city in enjoy it.
This day trip was short but sweet. For the past week, I have been enjoying time in my hometown with my family. It's been a mini staycation and has offered me some time to relax before starting physical therapy school next week! Now I must be off- today is my sister's birthday and we have plans for her favorite restaurant, a movie, and chocolate cake! Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!
Hello, long time no talk! I took a break from regular posting to focus on finals for the past couple weeks. Those are done now, I've graduated, and I have a week or so off until starting physical therapy school! One habit I want to get into for the purpose of making life easier during graduate school is meal prepping. I want to prepare lunches and dinners ahead of time for each weekday to help me stick to healthy eating and reduce the stress of having to cook after a long day on campus. I have been working on several recipes over the past couple months and am ready to share the first one! These are curry bowls containing buttery turmeric rice, roasted vegetables in curry sauce, and ginger lentils.
Buttery Turmeric Rice:
Cube the Yukon gold potato, slice the sweet onion, and chop the carrots into discs. Cut the larger discs from the wider end of the carrot in half or fourths so they cook evenly. Toss them into a medium bowl as you go. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
Transfer vegetables to a greased pan and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring at the 10 minute mark to prevent sticking. Once the vegetables are in the oven, add the rice, butter, onion powder, turmeric, cumin, and 3 cups of chicken broth to a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered until the rice absorbs all of the liquid. Make sure to stir periodically to prevent sticking.
In another pot, add the green/brown lentils, ginger, lime juice, curry powder, and 2.5 cups of broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until liquid has been absorbed. If liquid remains after cooking 20 minutes, drain the excess.
Transfer the freshly roasted vegetables into a large saucepan. Add the green peas and curry sauce of your choice. Stir until incorporated and frozen peas are no longer frozen.
Place a portion of each dish into your meal prep containers and enjoy!
Thanks for reading!
While I love to be prepared for class, there have been many times I have found myself on campus and lacking items that would make my time there a lot easier. Today I am sharing a list of items I should keep in my backpack. I say "should" because I usually don't have all of these at any one time. This list is unique to me so what you should keep in your backpack may look different. If you're trying to decide what to bring to campus on a daily basis, however, I hope this can help you get started!
While all the items above are great to have, if I had to pick my top five (minus school supplies) to keep with me, I would pick a laptop charger, non-perishable snack, stapler, tissues, and headphones. What do you keep in your backpack? If there is anything you keep that I did not include in my list, feel free to share below! Thanks for reading!
This is one of my new favorite places to eat in Milwaukee! After I got past my Belair bias as the go-to place for tacos, I discovered Cantina. The food has been great each time and despite being awesome, it has never been crowded on $2 taco night! Their neon sign in the front of the restaurant seems to be a desire taken directly from my soul and put into words. They have several great drink options, my favorite so far being the Strawberry Lemonade Margarita and the classic Mojito.
Queso Fundito is the only appetizer I've ever ordered, and my only complaint is that they did not fill the bowl to the brim!
They have a diverse and flavorful taco menu! My favorites right now are the Tikka Chicken, West Coast, Sesame Ginger BBQ Chicken, and South Coast tacos. Check out their menu here for more detailed descriptions. These tacos are the bomb!
I am not usually a dessert or donut person, but last Valentine's Day Ryan and I ordered these Churro Donuts that came with ice cream and chocolate sauce and they were amazing.
Happy faces now that we had large plates of tacos in front of us.
If you're ever in Milwaukee and craving tacos, this is a great place to check out! They have specials most nights of the week that can save you some money, including free games (pool, darts, pop-a-shot) with any bar drink purchase on Sundays, Burrito Day Mondays, $2 Taco Tuesday/Thursdays, and Wing Wednesdays.
Thanks for reading!
Has this month been flying by, or is it just me? Somehow there are only 2.5 weeks left in the spring semester and then I will be graduating and moving on to physical therapy school! So many changes are rapidly approaching! I'm trying to enjoy the little moments to help slow the time down, and there have been quite a few this month. On the first day of April, I met my friend for brunch at Sweet Diner in the Third Ward. It was a cute place and we went on a non-typical day for brunch so it wasn't too packed! I ordered their version of chilaquiles and a latte.
School, school, school. Later on in the week I decided to try out a poke bowl from Fresh Fin Poke. I've been wanting to try this place out for a long time and finally decided to go by myself! I ordered the Kailani bowl that comes with chicken, shrimp, avocado, edamame, jalapeno, daikon, pineapple, cilantro lime, sriracha aioli, crispy onion, crispy garlic, and pickled ginger. It was amazing and I will definitely go back!
One of my roommates turned 22, so we went out for a roommate dinner at Cantina. I will be posting a "spotlight" post on this restaurant in the near future because it is a gem! We ate everything they put in front of us and almost had to roll ourselves home afterwards. I loved their "feed me tacos and tell me I'm pretty" sign!
During the first weekend of the month, I met up with an old friend from high school. It has been such a long time since we last hung out! We originally planned to get coffee, but it was packed so we went out for brunch at Cafe Hollander instead and then got even more coffee afterwards! I originally thought we would only meet for an hour for coffee, but between brunch and coffee and talking at the bookstore it ended up being close to four hours before I got back home! I love surprise moments like this! In trying to stick to my goal of buying coffee drinks when meeting friends only, I've been brewing up lattes at home a lot! When my roommate and I went to Seattle, her family sent us back with a bag each of double dutch chocolate and Italian roast coffees, and boy do they make a mean latte!
Ryan and I finally finished painting the Settlers of Catan game he 3D printed. Life has been busy so we haven't had the chance to play it yet, but one of these days we will!
Surprise snow storm! I walked out of class and it was coming down hard! It was super sticky so I was coated and had these lovely clumps in my hair by the time I walked to the bus stop. It snowed again when I made my weekend trip to get groceries and it was just as messy because I was walking into the oncoming precipitation. Crazy weather for April!
Ryan and I decided to try out Kawa Ramen and Sushi a couple weeks ago. This place was so good! The drinks were yummy, though I can't remember what we ordered. Ryan's for sure had lychees in it! We couldn't decide it we wanted sushi or ramen, so we ordered both! I had the garlic miso raman while Ryan went for the hellfire ramen. We both shared a godzilla roll and a special of some fancy raw fish.
When we got back from dinner, I got some sad news from my mom. Our dog Buzz, who has had a heart murmur all his life, had experienced heart failure and passed away. I was thankful for Ryan's company that night because that was an unexpected blow. We lost our other pup, Rusty, last summer and didn't think we would lose Buzz so shortly after. This boy was so loved!! It made me teary to put this collage together, but I'm glad I had so many pictures to choose from. I hope he and Rusty have found each other again wherever they are.
There is no great way to transition after sharing a pup's passing. Here are my plants, thriving now that they have a growth light.
I started creating meals for my upcoming meal prep series. I am striving to create meal preps that do not have a huge time commitment but that are also enjoyable to eat! Below is a sneak peek of the ginger lentils, vegetable curry, and yellow rice bowls.
And here is a sneak peak for the enchilada bowls. I've really enjoyed eating enchiladas every day for the past two weeks as I finalize the recipe!
I had the pleasure of going home this past weekend to celebrate the holidays with my family! My mom and sister picked up Ryan and I last Friday after my exam. We stopped for Mexican food at Cocina Real on the way back and ended the night with lots of catching up. We celebrated the spring holiday on Saturday the next day because we needed a ride back on Sunday. To help get in the mood, I picked a bunch of fresh flowers from the yard to brighten up the kitchen. I love fresh cut flowers!
We dyed eggs and made a ton of food! Our favorite way to color eggs is to draw on them with crayons before dunking them in the dye buckets. I really liked the sun and moon eggs that my mom designed! For our big meal, we made sides of fruit and vegetable trays, egg salad, baked beans, and a zoodle vegetable salad.
It has become tradition for us to fry fish for this holiday. This is the only time of the year I eat fried fish and I always look forward to it! Typically the men stand outside drinking and making the fish while the ladies color eggs, chat, and make the sides. Then we all come together when it is time to eat! This year the weather was nice, so we ate outside on the deck my dad built a couple summers ago.
When it got dark, we built a fire and continued to have drinks and chat. We had my dad's family over and a couple family friends and it was one of the best days I've had in a long time! After everyone left and my dad and sister went to bed, my mom and I went up to the "cozy corner" of the newly finished attic and had some honest talks about life. It was such a wonderful day and I was not ready to go back to Milwaukee on Sunday!
Ryan's parents drove us back, and before we left I got to play with their new Pomeranian puppy! Her name is Stella and she was unbelievably small and fluffy!
We kept the windows down the entire ride and had some crazy hair by the time we got back! We had a quick lunch with his parents and then it was time to get back into the groove of school so we can finish this spring semester.
I hope you are finding time to enjoy the little things in life. If you're a student, make sure to plan some time to relax during the upcoming end of semester mess that is finals. Thanks for reading!
Cafe Hollander is a bicycle-loving Belgian restaurant that has awesome options available for all meals of the day! I have gone for brunch, coffee, dessert, lunch, dinner, and drinks and enjoyed each occasion. My favorite thing to order are their sweet potato fries. You can order them in a large cone that comes with your choice of two dipping sauces, my favorite of which are the sriracha mayo, curry ketchup, and cilantro peanut aioli. Another meal option I've enjoyed is the BLT & Avocado that comes with bacon, sliced tomato, avocado, green leaf lettuce, multigrain bread, basil aioli, and sweet potato fries. Last summer they served Wyder's Resposado Pear Cider, which was also great! For an appetizer I always enjoy the Goat Cheese Bruschetta made with herb-garlic goat cheese spread, tomato bruschetta, crostini, balsamic glaze, and olive oil. Not pictured but recommended for dessert is their Gulden Draak Pecan Pie with deep dish crust, Gulden Draak ale, pecans, and vanilla ice cream .
Cafe Hollander also has a great selection of brunch options! I love that their espresso drinks are all served with a square of dark chocolate. During the warmer months they offer outdoor seating in their cute patio area that has a water fountain, fancy street lights, and plants.
One of my favorite brunches that I enjoyed so much I made a version of the recipe for myself at home are the Sweet Potato Noshers that comes with garlic shallot butter roasted sweet potatoes, poblano peppers, pickled pearl onions, cheddar cheese, bier cheese sauce, sriracha roasted cashews, and a sunny side up egg . I also enjoy their soy milk cappucino and the Loaded Wafflebrown that comes with a hash brown waffle, bacon, fried pickled jalapeños, bier cheese sauce, one egg over medium, white cheddar, and pickled pearl onions. Also recommended but pictured is the Brewcity Benedict made with cheddar-chive biscuits, breakfast sausage patties, poached eggs, and hollandaise.
Cafe Hollander frequently adds new items to their menu and has options for every meal of the day. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Milwaukee! Thanks for reading!
Hi my name is Emilee and these are my adventures as a young adult living in Milwaukee. Here I will share my experiences as I navigate through college. Thanks for stopping by!