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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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Classic pumps will never go out of style.
Classic pumps will never go out of style.

Channel your inner recessionista

Financial times are tough, and the fashion-forward are definitely not immune from the residual effects.

With jobs in peril and the stock market in crisis, a carefree shopping trip is often no longer a relaxing alternative on a lazy Saturday. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel: You can be on trend this spring and still make your mortgage payment. Here's how:

1. Reuse and recycle. While trends come and go, staple pieces of your wardrobe will never go out of style. Trench coats; classic pumps in primary colors; figure-flattering pencil skirts; a crisp, white shirt; printed scarves; fitted blazers; a classic suit; and a day-to-night shift dress are fashion mainstays. Keep you closet stocked with this basic wardrobe, and you will look chic on the cheap for spring.

2. Integrate key trends. It's easy to wear spring's hottest styles without breaking the bank -- or becoming a fashion victim. The key is moderation. Try incorporating these luxe yet affordable pieces in with your current wardrobe: a military-inspired jacket; a textured or metallic pencil skirt; relaxed-fit pants in a light fabric, like linen or satin; a bold, waist-cinching belt to wear with a dress or over a fitted jacket; a feminine and flowy blouse (chances are, you already have one of these in your closet); and, of course, accessories. My favorites for spring and summer are chunky necklaces in any length, oversize handbags in a spring hue (turquoise and lilac are show-stoppers), flat gladiator sandals and boho ethnic print scarves. It's easy and hip to keep the clothes simple and the accessories in-your-face bold.

3. Buy second-hand. Milwaukee abounds with resale shops of all kinds, from high-end designer to quirky vintage. But get ready to dig. There are fashion jewels to be found, but it takes time, commitment and a good eye to find them. My dear friend and fashion stylist Bjorn Nasett loves to spend hours digging through the racks at Goodwill. He's turned "cheap and chic" int…

Jordan (right) and Michelle in "The Grotto."
Jordan (right) and Michelle in "The Grotto."
Monty, Michelle and Jordan at the Playboy Mansion.
Monty, Michelle and Jordan at the Playboy Mansion.
Monty and friends.
Monty and friends.

My life in porn

March may be cold, but it's hot and heavy here at as we celebrate our first-ever Sex Week. We're taking a mature look at local video and sex toy shops, area strip clubs, sexy Milwaukee events -- and even some connections between Brew City and Playboy magazine. It's serious, responsible, adult-themed content -- but don't worry, parents, we'll keep it PG-13 in case junior stumbles upon these stories as turns a pale shade of blue for seven days.

Don't let the headline mislead you. I am not, and never have been, a porn star.

I haven't even been the pizza girl who ends up in the right "G" spot at just the right time.

But, I have dipped my toes into the shallow end of the porn pool.

And I only have my friend Monty to thank ... or shake my head at.

McMahon, Monty McMahon. It's a name perfectly suited for the wild world of adult films. He is, in fact, the co-publisher of Adult Video News Online (AVN for those in the know), which is a trade publication for the adult film industry. It's like Variety, but for porn.

He's the guy every guy wants to be. Lives in L.A. Eats a lot of sushi. Dates porn stars. And, luckily for me, gets invited to the Playboy Mansion.

Monty and I were college buddies. We've always had a great guy-girl relationship that was like siblings who really like getting into trouble together. We'd work on our college newspaper until 1 a.m., then head to the local bar.

We reconnected about six years after graduation. Before he told me what he was doing now, Monty slyly wrote in an e-mail: "Well, I think we both ended up just how we were supposed to."

Milwaukee Press Club awards for me; hosting adult film conventions for him. And it was during one of these conventions that I was able to live out a real life fantasy: partying at the Playboy Mansion.

There is no easy way to describe the Playboy Mansion. But here's what I know: the drinks are free, the girls are body painted, Digita…