September went by in a flash! After the first week of school, my family and I headed to the Green Bay area to celebrate my cousin's wedding. The venue and decor looked straight out of a whimsical Pinterest board!
They added a non-traditional element to their ceremony. They performed a whiskey barrel ceremony in which they both poured a bottle of whiskey into a barrel that they will drink from at big events in their lives, such as special anniversaries and the births of children. My mom painted the bottles and kept referring to them as the "whiskey bottle of love" the entire weekend, which got some laughs. There were also some chuckles during the ceremony itself because it took a long time for the bottles to empty out into the barrel.
After that, it was time to get back to school. I've been trying to eat healthier this semester and decided to make my own vegan poke bowls! I was very inspired by the poke bowls I ate when I was visiting my sister. The bowls below had spring greens, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, pickled ginger, carrot sticks, glazed tofu, and vegan sriracha mayo. Yum!
UWM hosted a free night of rock climbing at Adventure Rock. I went with a couple friends and it was a blast! I was totally afraid to let go of the wall on my first couple climbs though. The first time I climbed back down the wall and the second I let go, but at the last second grabbed the wall with one hand and dangled for awhile before I got a better grip and climbed back down with two hands!! We also tried out the boulder wall where you climb with no harness on a shorter wall. For some reason, whenever I jumped off I always landed seated!
Out and about around Milwaukee! Ryan and I took a bike ride to Bay View to see a festival.
We went to the Bay View Bash. There were tons of street vendors and we enjoyed walking around the local shops as well. I found a cool physical therapy company that offered to let me job shadow, and I'm planning to take them up on the offer! We also found a cute bookstore called Voyageur Book Shop.
This crazy band playing in the street had anamatronic parrots!
More cool finds in Bay View.
Oooh coffee? We've got to stop! I ordered a caramel latte from the Drift coffee truck. Ryan also bought me a sunhat because I couldn't find any sunglasses before we left. I love it!
One of my favorite things to do is try out new restaurants. Cafe Corazon was highly recommended to us, so we stopped there for lunch before heading back to Milwaukee. I loved how colorful this place was!
Our server didn't realize we were in his area so we had to wait awhile. He felt so bad when we notified him that he gave us free guacamole and a margaritas! Both the food and drinks at this restaurant were phenomenal and I hope to go back again soon! I was really impressed with their extensive vegan menu and the food was super fresh.
A few more shots from life. I took fewer pictures this month as a result of school starting. The taco shop Belair had an awesome sign about taco body season! I also went to Rochambo coffee house to meet up with a friend from high school. Lastly, I was surprised to realize my jade gollum plant (pictured on the right) has nearly tripled in size since I first got it! Go little plant, go!
Finally, lots of food shots! There were a lot of food pictures in this post (sorry-not-sorry). Margaritas and tacos at Belair with my roomie, brunch at Comet Cafe with another awesome friend from high school, and celebratory sweet potato fries at Cafe Hollander with Ryan.
Those fries were celebratory because I found out at the end of September that I have been accepted in UW Milwaukee's Doctor of Physical Therapy program! That was such an emotional and exciting day and I am very much looking forward to the future. That announcement offered a breath of fresh air and I gave me a happy boost for days. Lots of things will change come spring, but I am looking forward to it.
I hope you all had a great start to fall. Have a great weekend!
I know, it's the middle of fall and I am just now finishing up my last post of the summer. Colectivo is a huge local coffee group based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Not only is their coffee amazing, but they also have cool events at their different locations including trivia nights and live music concerts. All of their locations have a different kind of charm and are awesome spaces to study or get some computer work done. The photos below are from a free concert at the lakefront Colectivo.
At the end of August, I decided to take a trip to visit my sister in Madison. This became my first stop on an adventure that took me all over the state. I stopped at Stone Creek Coffee before boarding my bus. I love this spot's giant rooster painting over the fireplace!
Even though I drank coffee right before my bus ride, the first thing my sister and I did when I arrived was get more coffee!
My travel goodies and sister's cat. I had quite a heavy suitcase because I didn't want us to need to drive to the grocery store before making dinner my first night there. Next time, I'll just plan on shopping after traveling because that was a heavy suitcase! I brought Barefoot sparkling wine, beans and corn for vegetarian tacos, nacho cheese, three avocados, and all eight of the Harry Potter movies in addition to my clothing. As a side note, my sister's cat is quite a character.
I've been trying to resist posting too many food photos, so here is a collage of my favorites from my visit. A vegetarian poke bowl, hibachi grill, and pot stickers with sushi. Do you see a theme??
We spent our first couple days completing a Harry Potter movie marathon and ranked all the movies in order from best to worst. I'll do a nerdy Harry Potter post in the future and include my rankings with all the other details. After that, we decided it was time to emerge from the movie den and feel the daylight on our faces. We started with a trip to the zoo!
There has not yet been a trip to any zoo that I haven't enjoyed!
Check out these chill capybaras.
A trip through the bird house.
On another day, we went to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. This place was so cool! It had themed areas that looked right out of picture books!
So many routes and tunnels. My yoga pose in the photos below started a crazy series of photos between my sister and I. We went beyond yoga and just got silly. We'll keep those photos between us...
I really wanted a splits photo but didn't want to take it with anyone around. My sister and I made several laps around this fountain area before the coast was clear!
This bridge looked so magical.
So much diverse greenery.
I had so much fun visiting my sister! It was hard to say goodbye because I never know when I'll see her again. After staying with my sister for almost a week, my mom picked me up to go to her art show in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The first thing we did when we got to Green Bay? We went to Margarita's of Green Bay! They have some seriously awesome Mexican food. We ordered a trio of chips and dip including white queso, guacamole, and spicy yellow queso (plus the free chips and salsa lol), giant margaritas, and shared steak and chicken fajitas (it was three plate large!). We took so many leftovers back to the hotel!
The art fair itself was great! The music selection this year was awesome and my mom's booth was right across the lot from the main stage. It only rained a little and we discovered an amazing coffee shop called the Daily Buzz. I went there four times over the two days of shows. I found a street sign stating what types of animals weren't allowed at the show. It made me wonder, if the list is so long, was this actually an issue? Wow! My cousin and his wife also stopped by with their adorable son who is almost two. It was great to see them again.
Art from my mom's booth. She and her business partner Nikki do some amazing work!
It's impossible for me to go to a good art show and not take home souvenirs. Below are the most recent additions to our apartment. Our walls are finally filled! On our last night in Green Bay, we went to a fancy restaurant near the football field and then to a cool hole-in-the-wall comedy club. After Green Bay, my mom and I drove north to visit my grandparents by the Michigan border. It was so good to see them again, though I did not take any pictures there. After a few days with them, we traveled back to the opposite end of the state to my hometown for a few days before I returned to Milwaukee.
At the end of August our dear pup Rusty said his final goodbye. He had been getting progressively sicker and finally had a stroke that did him in. I'm so glad he's no longer in pain but am sorry that Buzz was left without his buddy of 12 years. These two escaped many years ago from being studs at a puppy mill. They were found swimming in a river and were taken in by a dachshund rescue group. A family friend located them for us and they came as a bonded pair. Since then they have been spoiled beyond measure and Rusty lived lived beyond his life expectancy to 17 years old. The beginning was ruff (pun intended), but he was a happy dog after that. We will never forget him.
I spent a lot of time with Buzz. He was so lonely the first month without Rusty. I discovered talking him on long walks cheered him up, so we went on a lot of those!
On one of the last days of the summer, I reunited with two of my best friends from high school to go mucking about and catch up. It's so funny how we can go years without seeing each other, but the moment we're back together it's like nothing changed at all.
We took tons of photos and videos. It was so amazing to see them again!
After our day of playing at the park, we went to the drive-in movie theater to watch The Incredibles 2 and the latest Jurassic Park. For some reason I cannot ever stay awake during the second feature. I watched approximately the first 15 minutes and then woke up during some kind of auction scene, slept again, and then woke up for the credits haha.
On my last night in my hometown, we celebrated my mom's birthday. I made her a llama card, my dad grilled a nice dinner, and she opened her presents on the deck while enjoying a nice campfire. Buzz kept doing this cute thing where he would stick his head under the pillow like it was a little lean-to tent! It was such a great night to end summer vacation on.
That wraps up my summer. I miss it already. However, it's time to look to the future because we're somehow already halfway through the fall semester. Thanks for reading!
A quick look into some August celebrations. There was a lot of coffee this month. My goal this summer was to read a book I bought last semester and didn't find the time to read. It is called "The Gene: An Intimate History." I loved it so much! It broke genetics down into easy to understand language and I learned so much. If I wasn't going into physical therapy, my second choice was biology, specifically genetics.
I started my school supplies shopping this month. This notebook and planner are from Paper Source. I love the notebook because is has four sections with different colored pages. I have four lectures on Tuesdays/Thursdays this semester and I can use this single notebook all day!
Pancakes! A success photo after managing to flip the giant pancake without breaking it.
This month, my roommate invited some people to her family's annual bonfire. This is definitely the largest bonfire I have ever seen in my life! For scale, you can see her dad lighting it in the middle photo. It was crazy huge and burned for hours!
The next day, we went hiking before heading back to Milwaukee. We went to Blue Mound State Park to enjoy the views.
I also propagated my succulents. They have come so far since these photos were taken! I was fine pulling the bottom leaves from the plants, but felt mean cutting the tops parts off with a scissors and leaving the little stumps behind. Much to my surprise (even though my web source told me to expect it), little plants have started sprouting from the stumps where the leaves used to be! This has been such a fascinating process and I can't wait to share the current photos!
All the leaves in their new nursery (a Chinese takeout container). In this photo, some of the leaves are just barely starting to sprout new life. Look real close and see if you can spot them.
Scenes from a bike ride through Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum.
One of my favorite memories from August was whitewater rafting for the first time! It was such a thrilling experience! I wish I had photos from the actual event, but for safety purposes no one brought cameras for the ride. It would have been fun to have a Go Pro for this. Ryan and I sat in the front and it was so frightening during the tip down the ten foot drop. I'm so glad we did it though! So exhilarating! I can't wait to do it again!
Post-rafting selfies while waiting to dry off before the ride back.
Ryan and I paid a visit to the Sip & Purr Cat Cafe. It opened in Milwaukee this summer and is a super cute place! They serve fancy food, wine, and coffee drinks. After some noms, you can play with cats in the cat room. All the cats are from local shelters and available for adoption. I think this is a super sweet way for members of the community to meet cats. This way, they aren't sitting inside a tiny cage and can express their true personalities.
At some point, I want to attend one of their yoga with cats sessions. You have to book pretty far in advance because the classes are so popular!
After some coffee, we took a stroll through Black Cat Alley so see the new installations that were in creation during the Summer Solstice Festival. They look great!
There are also koi fish everywhere throughout the alley! Love it!
This month my roommate and I checked out the state fair. This will honestly probably be the one and only time I go. The crowds were crazy, the food overpriced, and the lines long.
I did enjoy that everything at the fair was super colorful.
We watched a dog agility competition for awhile. The dogs were so smart and adorable! We also discovered a nature center built into the park. We stepped through the entry and felt as though we were transported into another dimension. It went from super crowded and industrial to peaceful nature in about 15 feet! The most interesting food item I saw was deep fried olives.
Lastly, my roommates and I went to Belair to celebrate my roomie Hannah's birthday. She turned 22! We enjoyed tacos and margaritas. I don't think there's any better birthday meal. :)
That sums up the adventures from the first half of August. I took so many photos I decided to break the month up into two posts. I am planning to post once a week to get caught up, and after that monthly life updates with some content posts in between. School is crazy busy and must come first, but I still want to keep this blog going so I can look back on my life adventures.
These are pieces from July. A couple friends and I made it to Summerfest on a free day. We had no idea who was playing, but went because it was free. We found a nice statue person and listened to some cover bands. Not a bad visit, but I hope to see some bigger concerts next year. We bought ice cream and walked around the park to visit Ryan, who was working at one of the vendors stations selling musical themed jewelry.
I went back to my hometown for the Fourth of July. My mom decided to give this year a Cajun spin! We had fried turkey, grilled shrimp, corn maux choux, dirty rice, red beans, and sweet potato pie. The food was phenomenal and I hope this becomes a tradition!
Playing with sparklers! And one fireworks photo. Every year I try to take pictures of the fireworks when I should just watch them in the moment. I hardly look back on the thirty photos and four video snippets (how many I took this year). Next year I'll hold myself to that. It was so wonderful spending the evening with my dad's family. We have a great vantage point for watching from the back deck, so that's where we cooked, ate, and socialized all evening.
Back to Milwaukee! This summer I applied to graduate school! The application process was long and stressful. I buckled down to get things finished and I built myself a fort to work in on my bedroom floor. I needed a change of environment but did not want to leave the apartment. I used every blanket I had and layered them to make the floor soft and pillowy. Then I angled my box fan in to provide some nice airflow and wrote all my application essays.
Back around town. Ryan and I went to another NEWaukee Night Market. We grabbed more free s'mores and walked the streets. We saw some cool artists and spotted the mounted police. I get so excited when I see these guys because it's so unusual to see horses downtown! He and I also went to see the documentary on Mr. Rodgers called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" I enjoyed hearing about his life story. He was one happy man.
Ryan and I also checked a longtime wish off our list: library cards! I've only been living in this city for 3.5 years! I thought it would be nice to have one since freshman year, and now for my senior year I actually got a card. We stopped at the French festival Bastille Days on the way back to find some macarons. I've been wanting to try these.
First time eating macarons, documented by Ryan. They were alright. Super sweet! I definitely consider these more of a special occasions kind of treat. I liked that all the colors were a different flavor.
Such fog. Every once in awhile the city gets very foggy. Ryan and I went to the beach to play frisbee without considering the weather. We were surprised when we got there. The beach looked so mysterious!
Biking around town. I got a new bike this summer and love the mobility it gave me. My student bus pass deactivated for the summer and I didn't want to pay for a summer pass. This bike took me places!
Ryan and I took the longest bike trip I've ever been on this summer. We biked about 27 miles round trip to a park called Seven Bridges Trail.
This is a cool park south of Milwaukee that I recommend visiting. It's supposedly haunted, and I could see getting weird vibes if it was dark and there were fewer visitors. There was a fair amount of people there when we went though. The first picture took me awhile to capture because I did not want other park goers in the photo. I took it at an angle so that the lady standing on the bridge was covered up by the pole! The entry message states "enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature" and the exit "may the God given peace of this leafy solitude rest upon and abide with thee."
"I am the sand guardian."
This was a long trip for me. I'm grateful for Ryan's patience because we stopped quite a few times on the way back for me to rest and get my head back in the game.
My favorite stop on the way back was at Café Centraal in Bay View. Boozy coffee, burgers, sweet potato fries, and beignets. Yes please :)
Later in July I also visited the Villa Terrace Art Museum. This has been on my Milwaukee bucket list since I found out it existed. It's a very beautiful mansion with a large garden in the back. There were people there taking wedding photos and it looked like a wonderful backdrop!
The Brady Street Festival. I stopped by the Arteryink booth. These are my favorite local artists. I also went to the Rochambo Coffee House for drinks and then to Fro Zone to try rolled ice cream for the first time.
My roommate and I kept walking the street listening to the local musical artists. We got sucked into a strange square of masked people dressed in black. The boxes they held contained laptops with nasty video footage of animal slaughter houses. As soon as we approached we were bombarded by animal rights activists asking us how we felt about the footage and talking about animal cruelty. I didn't mind listening to their message, but I was frustrated when they didn't want to let us walk away from them. Eventually we escaped and ate empanadas at La Masa Empanada Bar. What a great restaurant!
We ended the night by watching the Brady Street Drag Show. It was mostly enjoyable. There was a hardcore fan standing behind us who told us about each queen as she performed. There was only one act I didn't like because the queen kept touching herself in a manner I didn't care to see. Other than that the show was full of energy. It reminds me that I want to see a Dining with the Divas show at Hamburger Mary's before leaving Milwaukee.
That sums up the main excitements in July. Looking back I realize I did more this summer than it felt like in the moment. I appreciate the flexible pacing this summer allowed. Both of my workplaces were flexible and I had time to finish my responsibilities in addition to having some fun. I'll finished up my August post soon and then I'll be mostly caught up to the present!
This summer I went to a couple of the 2018 NEWaukee Night Market events. These events include live music, food trucks, local vendors, and family activities. My favorite feature of the Night Market is the free s'mores. An organization sponsors the creation of thousands of s'mores each event. People dance around with marshmallows on skewers to draw your attention the the fire pits scattered along the street. Once your marshmallow is nice and toasty, a lovely volunteer has the sandwich materials at the ready and captures the blob of sugar between the crackers and chocolate.
At the June Market, my roommates and I checked out a local bookshop and were pleasantly surprised to see the owner had a cat wandering the store. In the photo the cat is sitting by the door. It just peered outside, never trying to leave. Whenever I go to a bookstore, I take photos of the covers of books I want to read. I have a huge photo collection on my computer of books to ambiguously read "someday." Back at the Market, we saw a cool steampunk man on stilts wearing a bubble blowing backpack. Wicked!
More Night Market explorations. I spotted a Superman crossing the street and then we paid a visit to the Milwaukee River. Before leaving, we had to stop at a sushi food truck. I hadn't had sushi in a long time and it was calling my name! Overall, the Night Market is a nice event. It was a little overcrowded both times I went, but the atmosphere is nice. There is a wide variety of stock in the vendors from pins to paintings to bath bombs, along with local produce.
I became a fan of Stone Creek Coffee this summer. I stopped there a lot on my way to work or stayed at the shop to telecommute. My favorite drink order there is a rosemary-honey latte with almond milk. On the note of consumables, Ryan and I made a June trip to Belair for tacos. Life is great with a trip to the taco restaurant at least once a month. Later on, I was surprised one morning to wake up and find a little bird outside my window! It was resting and didn't take off when I got my phone to take its picture.
June went by in such a blur. It's the month I took the least photos during because it was mostly filled with work. Ryan and a couple of his friends moved into our apartment complex, so I made some muffins to share. I couldn't decide which Pinterest recipe to follow, so I combined three of them! Below are banana and chocolate chip muffins with brown sugar streusel. They were sugary enough to be dessert muffins- so yummy! Essentially, add a streusel topping to chocolate chip banana muffins and you have these.
The cityscape across from the island park at the Summerfest grounds. There is something magical about walking at the water's edge at night. We met a couple on this outing who had the cutest puppy I've ever seen! It was a miniature dachshund puppy!
The last week of June arrived, bringing the summer solstice with it. My roommate and I spent some time enjoying the Summer Solstice Festival on North Avenue. We discovered a powerful band called Tigernite. Powerful may sound like an odd descriptor, but that's the vibe I got from listening to them! You can sample their music here. After listening to music, we paid a visit to Black Cat Alley. There were artists on North Avenue working on pieces for a temporary installation in the alley, and one adding a more permanent piece to a building in the alley.
This is one of my favorite pieces in the alley. I take a picture of this scene every time I visit even though I already have photos of it. A cool thing about the alley is that after time, the art changes and artists replace older murals with new ones. I think I'm savoring this one while it lasts. There is a local artist who paints koi fish all over the city, and he has gone to town in the alley. Every time I've gone the number of fish has grown. I love finding his fish on the sidewalks while exploring the city!
During the last weekend of June, Ryan and I went stand up paddle boarding with one of his roommates. This was such a fun morning! Ryan can borrow them for free from his workplace and I wish we had a car so we could go more often. The view on the water was surreal. I annoyed my companions by managing to stay dry for most of the trip. I only went into the water after we started trying to do yoga on the boards. I attempted the standing version of supta padangusthasana and that's when I went down.
And there was the month of June. This whole summer has gone by so fast! I'm working to catch up on my summer recaps before we get too far into September. I count the seasons using whole calendar months, so on my watch we've now entered fall. I'm contemplating mixing the old with the new to help stay current. I enjoyed taking a break from blogging for the summer, but want to share all the photos I took. For those of you returning to college this week, good luck!
After our wild experience camping in the mountains, my family headed to Boulder early. The first activity we did was walk Pearl Street. There were so many interesting shops there and we spent hours just walking around. I stopped at a coffee shop called Ozo Coffee Co., and ordered my favorite honey almond-milk latte.
The next day we toured Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory. This was such an enlightening experience! We started off sampling tea in the lobby while waiting for the tour to start. Then, we watched a video about the origins of the company and then donned our lovely blue bonnets before heading into the production facility. Our tour guide did a great job keeping the information brief and interesting. One of the most memorable parts of the tour was the Peppermint Room. The peppermint tea must be stored away from everything else because its flavor is so strong it will contaminate everything around it! My eyes were so watery when we stepped inside! After the tour we spent way too much in the gift shop, but it was worth it!
After our tea tour we went to the tourist trap Casa Bonita. It was certainly an experience. The outside was very beautiful, as the name suggests. Once inside, you order your food from a small menu selection and then wait in a line to get your food served on a tray. Then you carry your food up to the eating area and are seated in a giant cavern containing a water fall and dive pool. We were seated right next to the water area. Every 15 minutes a diver came out and did a trick dive for your entertainment. There was also a terribly cheesy "gun fight" that happened at the pool during our stay. The performances were definitely sub par, but overall we had an amusing experience.
We explored the restaurant after eating. There were quite a few spots to discover! I always get sucked into buying a fortune at those weird fortune telling machines. My words of wisdom this time around were "many a false step is made by standing still." It alludes to the missed opportunities made by inaction and I enjoyed the message enough to keep the card.
After lunch we toured the Hammonds Candy Factory. Unfortunately, this tour was not nearly as exciting as the Celestial Tea factory. I do not recommend this "tour." We stood in one room for nearly an hour while our guide droned on in an uninteresting fashion. We were anxious to leave within the first 10 minutes. The candy shop itself was nice to stop in afterwards though.
To celebrate my sister's birthday, she chose a sushi restaurant for us to dine at. I cannot remember what any of us ordered, but the food was fantastic.
The next day we headed to Denver. We first went to an art fair to look for pieces to bring back home to Wisconsin. My mom makes sure to find something to add to our collection on every trip we take as a family. Decorating our home is the best kind of souvenir. On this trip, we found some awesome metal sculptures that now live on our back deck. I love going to art fairs in other states. It's great to see the variety when traveling!
After the fair, we went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I positively love science museums! My favorite exhibits in this museum were the animals halls, mineral exhibitions, and a special exhibit on bioluminescence.
That evening we went to a bison restaurant called Ted's Montana Grill. Their complementary chips and dip were to die for and I ordered their popular Avalon burger without the blue cheese. We all left pleasantly full. I've been trying to shy away from posting about restaurant meals, but this place was phenomenal.
The next day, my family went to the Denver Botanical Gardens. I always enjoy botanical gardens. There are so many photo opportunities and I enjoy reading about the different plant species. Most gardens also have rotating sculpture exhibits, which are enjoyable as well.
The sculpture exhibit on display was called "Pixelated." I thought the sculptures were cute, but the rest of my family felt differently. They thought them childish and did not think they complimented the landscaping. I tried to take a photo of each piece, but unfortunately one escaped me. It was in the children's gardens and I got overwhelmed half way to the sculpture by all the screaming and running around.
I appreciated the bonsai exhibit. Bonsai is an art I would like to get into at some point in my future. Based on the variety of tree species on display, it looks like it can be done with just about any kind of tree! I would need to decide what my favorite tree is before embarking on the journey. I also enjoyed the succulent gardens. I'm growing several succulents in my apartment right now and I like seeing the different species and arrangement ideas.
That afternoon, we went to the Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center for a tour with the wolves. This was a request of my sister's in celebration of her birthday, but it was an experience we all enjoyed. The tour guide informed us about the wolf populations throughout the United States and what factors threaten the existing populations.
Wolves are a beautiful and often misunderstood species. They pose little threat to humans (cows cause more humans deaths a year than wolves) and less threat to livestock than you might think. Some evidence suggests that killing wolves may actually lead to an increase in livestock deaths (link). The wolves in the conservation site seemed full of personality. For some reason I pictured wolves as being a lot larger than they actually are. This made them seem less frightening in my book. It is important to note though that while wolves may be similar in size and appearance to dogs, wolf-dogs do not make good pets (source). If you really want a wolfish feel to your dog, look into pure dogs with similar physical appearances, such as the samyoed, german shepherd, alaskan malamute, siberian husky, or the utonagan.
The next day we were off to Colorado Springs. Our first stop was Garden of the Gods, and golly were those red rocks beautiful! The park was pretty but very crowded. We arrived early and found a parking spot, then spent an hour walking around. By the time we got back and went to change parking spots, everywhere else was full! Maybe it was because we went on Memorial Day. I would like to give it another go on a non-holiday to see if that helps with the crowding.
Tree pose on the rocks...whoops! Maybe a warrior would be more stable for this grounding.
After Garden of the Gods, we decided to make the journey up Pike's Peak!
This was quite a journey. Most of the road up contained no barriers and I'll admit I was unnerved to look out the window and see the drop down the mountain. I took a few cool pictures (my favorite is of us seemingly driving into the clouds), but for the most part I kept my head down and eyes shut.
The view when we finally reached the top! We were in some clouds and above others. My family went on a very cloudy day, but the view was still breathtaking. Being in the clouds felt very surreal. We made sure to pick up a couple souvenirs from the gift shop (of course there was a gift shop on top of the mountain!) before making the slow journey back down.
These are just some of our adventures in Colorado. Looking at these pictures makes me want to go back! I have added Colorado to my list of places to consider moving in the future and definitely plan to go back and explore more soon.
This is the first post in a series I'm going to write on nutrition. I am going to do a separate post on each of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. I'll give a brief overview of the vitamin or mineral, how much the body needs, common food sources, and a brief recipe featuring that nutrient. Please note I am not a professional dietetic, though I passed my "Nutrition for Health Professionals" course with flying colors and am including my resources in each post so that you can verify the information for yourself.
Vitamin A consists of a group of fat-soluble retinoids (related chemical compounds). Vitamin A plays a role in vision, reproduction, cellular communication, and immune function. It also assists cell growth and differentiation (source).
There are two forms of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids. Preformed vitamin A is ready to go and is found mainly in animal liver and fish oils. Preformed vitamin A is also the main component of vitamin A found in supplements. Provitamin A is found in plant sources and gets converted into vitamin A by the body after consumption. The most important provitamin A is the carotenoid beta-carotene (source).
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States. Vitamin A is fat soluble, meaning it gets absorbed into the body alongside fats and oils. The body stores excess amounts in fatty tissues, especially in the liver. If levels accumulate too much it can be toxic to the body. Preformed vitamin A can cause significant toxicity known as hypervitaminosis A, while large amounts of provitamin A carotenoids have not shown major adverse effects. This means it is safer to get vitamin A from food sources rather than supplements (source).
Females aged 19-50 are recommended to consume 700 mcg of vitamin A each day. This amount varies depending on age and gender, so if you fall into another category please check out the table found here to see you recommended daily intake.
Vitamin A Food Sources
Food source references can be found here and here. A fun fact about vitamin A: vitamins will not be lost when the foods containing them are cooked! (source)
Sweet Potato (1 medium, 4 oz): 1096 mcg
Canned Pumpkin (0.5 c): 1007 mcg
Carrots, Cooked (0.5 c): 655 mcg
Butternut Squash (0.5 c): 604 mcg
Swiss Chard, Cooked (0.5 c): 566 mcg
Kale, Cooked (0.5 c): 470 mcg
Spinach, Cooked (0.5 c): 498 mcg
Lettuce, Romaine (1.0 c): 258 mcg
Lettuce, Red Leaf (1.0 c): 218 mcg
Red Peppers, Cooked (0.5 c): 106 mcg
Cantaloupe (0.5 c): 143 mcg
Goat Cheese (1-1/2 oz): 204 mcg
Ricotta Cheese (0.5 c): 145 mcg
Eggs (2, large): 200 mcg
Cod Liver Oil: 1,382 mcg
Bluefin Tuna (2-1/2 oz): 500 mcg
Animal Liver (2-1/2 oz): 3,222-15,859 mcg
A Recipe for Vitamin A
This is a recipe for roasted butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potato. Source.
Cube the squash and sweet potato and cut up the carrots. Mix them together in a large bowl with olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
I enjoyed this recipe so much that I ate the whole pan in two days! The combination of honey and black pepper really made the flavors of the vegetables pop. This recipe is great to add to your collection with the fall season coming up. Additional recipes that work well with these veggies include balsamic glazed carrots, sweet potato fries, and penne with butternut squash.
My family and I took an amazing trip to Colorado at the end of May. We started our journey in Estes Park and the mountain campgrounds outside of Boulder. As soon as the mountains came into view, I put away my e-reader and stared out the windows instead until we reached our destination.
We stopped rather suddenly at the entrance sign to Estes Park. My mom, who was driving, asked us if we wanted to pull over by the entryway for some photos. She asked very last second, and slammed on the breaks, causing us to skid across the gravel. Everyone stared out the window in shock while she hopped out of the truck, un-phased. What a wake-up!
We stayed at the most dreamy cabin during our time in Estes Park. Our accommodation was in The River Lodge at the Inn on Fall River. It had a kitchenette, fireplace, and patio overlooking the river. It was the perfect first stop on our journey. My family loved the patio beyond measure. That's where we sat to drink our coffee in the morning and where we read our books in the evening before bed.
Our river view off the patio.
Kicking back and relaxing. One of my favorite "amenities" in our lodge was a faux bear skin blanket. The mornings and evenings in the mountains were quite chilly, and this blanket was warm and large enough for three adult humans.
We spent our first full day in Estes Park exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. To help us get in the mood, my mom played John Denver as we drove into the park. After listening to so many songs, for some reason I had a tune in my head that I thought was John Denver. When I sang it out loud though, my mom was like, "what are you saying?" The tune was already stuck though, and it kept popping into my head during our trip. It went, "in the hiiiiills......of Colorado." ("Ka-lore-ah-doe") My dad and sister quickly picked up on the tune and made up their own lyrics. After a bad sunburn my sister sang, "I got buuuurned......in Colorado."
My sister's goofy celebratory dance!
Although I'm happy looking back on these photos, I know they do no justice to the in-person views. These pictures make me want to go back again!
All smiles from the family. Believe it or not, there was hardly any arguing on this entire trip despite many long hours in the car with one another. I focused on taking lots of people photos because on trips in the past I've mostly captured scenery. I want to have more photos of my family members to look back on in the future.
Up, up, up the mountain. We had to park the car and walk on foot at this point because the safety of the roads was uncertain. The road was blocked off, but the park rangers allowed us to walk around and keep going up the mountainside.
I wanted to take a cool picture that looked like I was sitting in the snow. I put some rocks down on the snowbank so I wouldn't get wet, but not enough because it happened anyway!!
After coming back down the mountain, we took a hike around the lake. My dad unfortunately threw out his back right before our trip, so we picked the shortest trail. Despite being a warm day, there were parts of the trail covered in snow! We had to scale some snow banks and walk through melted slush to finish the trail. What a surprise! The weather changed so quickly while we were in the mountains.
Some elk, just chilling out in the streets of Estes Park. I saw a sign on our trip that said "If you see an animal in your backyard, it's likely because you moved into theirs." There were a lot of restaurant menus containing elk burgers, but after seeing them in person they were just too cute to imagine eating!
We took an afternoon to visit the shopping district of Estes Park. After the first couple shops, we realized that it was one of those areas where the shops sell all the same t-shirts and other tourist merchandise. It was a little disappointing, but I wasn't too surprised. One of the shop owners compared Estes Park to the Wisconsin Dells, a popular tourist trap in Wisconsin, and I could definitely see the similarities! While there, we did pick up some yummy saltwater taffy. There were several taffy shops on the street, but between them all we picked up almost every flavor imaginable!
One good find was a coffee shop called the Raven's Roast. The coffee was amazing! I had a butterscotch latte made with macadamia nut milk. I did not know that was a thing!
We also went to a glass blowing studio up the road. It was cool to see all the interesting shapes glass can be made into. There was a viewing window by the furnaces so you can watch the artists work. The artist who was there when we went was kind enough to explain the process as she worked. My parents are signed up to take glass blowing class now and they're very excited!
After staying in Estes Park a few days, we tried going camping. The end of May was too early in the season for some campgrounds so it took us awhile to find an open one. Then, the park we picked had just sprayed their roads with an anti-dust spray that essentially turned the roads to muck. I was thankful that my dad's new truck kept us on the road where we were supposed to be. I could imagine other cars slipping in the mud and had to close my eyes and hold my sister's hand on some of the hills because there were no rails to stop if you slid off the road. We took the truck through a car wash after picking out our site. I have some good pictures of my dad's disgusted face as he tried to scrap some of the muck off with a stick. It splattered all the way up the back passenger windows! Our campsite itself was beautiful. A tree in our site had this cute crafty rock resting at its base. We admired it but left it for others to find.
I've had very little exposure to alcoholic beverages, but we picked up this Woodchuck Hard Pear Cider before going camping and it was very good!
It got waaaaaaay colder as the sun went down. We packed on all our layers and I brought my sleeping bag out of the tent to wrap around myself as we sat at the fire. During the first picture of me, my mom didn't notify me she was taking a picture and that was my facial response to the flash. She has been taking all sorts of sneaky pictures lately. She thinks I look funny when I eat so she has a bunch of ugly photos of me eating that are way too close up lol!!
Camping in the mountains was basically the coldest night of my life. I cannot recall ever sleeping in such cold conditions. It was in the 70s during the day, but dropped into the 30s at night. My sister and I ended up sharing a sleeping bag and layering the other one over the top of us we were so cold. We cooked a hot breakfast in the morning and then decided to leave for Boulder earlier than planned. I want a Colorado camping redemption, and will make sure to bring more blankets when I do!
Those were our first few days in Colorado, covering Estes Park and the mountain campgrounds outside Boulder. I very much fell in love with the mountain views and now want to move somewhere with mountains in the future.
This is part one of two featuring our trip to Colorado. Adventures from Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs to come!
Throwback to the the beginning of May! My mom and her friend Nikki, the owners of Green Chicks Studios, came to Milwaukee for the Mitchell Dome's "Art in the Green" show. They create sculptures out of recyclables and can make anything you can imagine! If they don't already have it available, you can make custom requests on their website.
I spent most of the weekend with them at the show as a mini getaway from end of semester finals. I only had one exam left to take at the time, so I brought my biology notes with and studied intermittently. I took plenty of walks through the domes, and the photos below are from the desert dome. I'm always tickled by the "Old Man Cactus" shown on the right.
My favorite part of the desert dome has always been the "Living Stones" that are part of the genus Lithops. They are a type of succulent that can actually be grown at home! I've been growing a bunch of succulents lately and I'll have to see if I can add them to my collection.
Ryan stopped by to greet my mom and take a look at all the art. Then we made some loops through the domes before he had to return to campus. He convinced me to do some yoga poses in the show dome. I like the idea of breaking out into yoga no matter where I am, I just feel embarrassed doing while there are other human beings around.
Scenes from the tropical dome. There are lots of interesting fruits to learn about and I enjoy viewing the fairy garden. I used to make fairy gardens as a child out of tree stumps. I would hollow them out to make a shelter and then find rocks, leaves, twigs, and walnut shells to make them a bed, kitchen, and appliances! If I was lucky I could find some moss and make them a little backyard as well. My mom once placed a statue inside one of my fairy houses that got me super hyped because I thought someone had actually moved in.
I love this woman to pieces. She is super talented and one of the hardest working people I know! Mom told me this would probably be her last year at the domes, so we enjoyed the time while it lasted. She and Nikki have bigger plans for next year!
As an end-of-the-year treat, mom and Nikki took me, Ryan, and my two roommates to the Comedy Sportz club. It was censored for the children in the audience so they dialed the jokes down, but it was a good time nonetheless. If you are in the area and interested in the Mitchell Domes, check them out sooner rather than later because they might not be open much longer. They're experiencing a lack of funding and may close them down. There is a movement throughout the city to "Save the Domes" and we'll just have to wait and see what happens!
This spring semester is wrapping up quickly! Since I last had an update, classes have ended, I've taken four finals, have been working tons of hours, and am wrapping up loose ends before going on a start of summer vacation with my family. With my work hours has comes a lot of TV watching- I've finished Eureka and am now on season 3 of Skin Wars. I'm also trying to muster up the energy to continue studying for the last couple exams I have this week. Last weekend my mom was in town for an art fair, and I'll share more of that in a future post. Below are some shots from the Third Ward. My roommate, Ryan, and I went to check out a couple free art shows two weekends back. One of the reasons I love Milwaukee is that there are always free events taking place!
I stopped at the Public Market to get some cumin from the spice vendor. It's the best deal I've found around so far and it's fun to check out all the other unique blends.
I bought a coffee mug at the Islands of Brilliance art gallery. It's now my go-to mug and I've shunted the others aside for now. I take turns with my coffee mugs and will use the same one for months, then switch and only use another. Anyone else do this?
In the past month, I've been lucky enough to have gone to Belair Cantina twice! They restyled their menu and have a new inspirational quote: "Inhale tacos...exhale negativity." I think it's a perfect motto for finals week!
I went to a conservation gathering to hear a guest speaker talk about how to passively make our homes more energy efficient. I learned a lot and have the main principles down below in case anyone else wants to know.
Ryan and I also went for a bike ride to the lake! He's always riding his bike, but this was my first trip of the season! We took commemorative photos...one of which I was ready for and the other not so much...haha! I'm going to need to get more comfortable riding my bike in the city because my university bus pass will be unusable during the summer months because I won't be taking classes. This will make grocery shopping even more interesting! Also, check out that gorgeous water in the long shot below! (Wishing I could insert a heart emoji here).
That's a brief update on the college front. This is sure to be an interesting summer. I've talked to both of my jobs and it looks like my work schedule will be decided as we go. Additionally, I'm going to pick up a new fitness routine and make a list of summer books to read since for once I'll have a lot of time for leisure reading! I am also playing with the idea of doing some anatomy illustrations to combine studying and art. And before that, I've got family vacation, so I have a lot to look forward to!
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!