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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

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Creamy, rich, indulgent and possibly even good for you - you can't go wrong with Guinness.
Creamy, rich, indulgent and possibly even good for you - you can't go wrong with Guinness.

My goodness, my Guinness

St. Patrick's Day reminds me that my darling of draughts is good 'ol Guinness.

Present me with a glass of the thick, dark brew and I know that I will not only enjoy that warm, fuzzy feeling after a few sips, but will feel full and satisfied as if I'd taken just enough trips to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Beer snobs may snicker at my pedestrian taste, but I don't need my beer explained to me in order to take pleasure in it.

My Guinness is about the experience of sitting on a bar stool, snuggled up to a companion and being beckoned by the creamy head on a freshly tapped pint, artfully decorated with a shamrock or another design carefully carved into the soft, beigey-ness that is my favorite part.

I prefer it from a tap, but I'll take it from a can over the bottled version in dire straits.

One must be patient when ordering a Guinness, as its pour is an art form that cannot be rushed or executed with haste. Let it settle and all is coming.

Guinness proves its versatility as it evolves into even more of a party when served up with a side of Jameson or Tullamore Dew. Add some Bailey's to that shot, drop it into half a pint and you have a drinking experience lovingly known as a "Car Bomb." Or perhaps you like your Guinness a bit on the lighter side and do halvsies with Bass Pale Ale for a "Black and Tan." (I'm taking a cue from Nike and stating that certainly no offense is intended by using the "bar" names for either of these beverages.)

It's this knock-back adaptability that makes Guinness so captivating.

Plus, Guinness may in fact be "good for you," as famously blazoned in years gone by. A study by our very own University of Wisconsin in 2003 found "Guinness can reduce blood clots and the risk of heart attack. Guinness contains antioxidants like those found in red wine and dark chocolate, which are not found in other beers." (Why Guinness is Good For You – Chicago Tribune) And it contains 3 milligrams of iron, just a smidge less than one cup of spinach.

This du…

The bronze glow brought on by a tanning bed is not worth compromising your health down the road.
The bronze glow brought on by a tanning bed is not worth compromising your health down the road.

Do as I say, not as I did

Being a parent triggers the most unlikely rage buttons.

My stepdaughter and I had a lovely "girl's night" last weekend. As we were jabbering away about school, friends and boys I noticed a pinker than usual glow to her skin and a delicate, slim porcelain line extending from the outer corner of her eye to her temple.

I blabbed, "Looks like you got some sun Leesh." (Totally thinking how absurd that scenario might be this time of year.)

"Yeah, I've been tanning."

My heart began to palpitate. My gorgeous stepdaughter, with a flawless, fair, doll-like complexion, was compromising her health and beauty by baking in a tanning bed.

Ah, yes ... her prom is around the corner ... hence the pursuit of a bronzed glow (with the bonus of that "goggle line") even though she knows we disapprove of her using tanning beds.

Did I do the same thing? Hell, yes. Frequenting tanning salons was a ritualistic habit for me that started my sophomore year.

Those who have indulged know that reclining in the glow of fluorescent violet and azure lights can be as addictive as smoking, drinking or any other pleasurable activity.

My routine became a 30-minute daily tradition in my early 20s. I'd cap off a workout with a post-sweat sauté that left me browner than Mr. Potato Head.

I'm not sure exactly when I finally wised up, but I know it coincided with the crows feet, brow furrow and laugh lines that started making themselves more pronounced around 30. As you age, people around you do too. Friends have "suspicious" growths removed and people get sick. You start realize that past actions do have ramifications. They may not be immediate. Some consequences need to marinate for a while and then suddenly attack to remind you of your historic insults in the most direct of ways.

But, just because I abused tanning beds in my more reckless years doesn't mean my stepdaughter should.

Let me make all of the mistakes for her.

If I could take back those hours spent roasting to a crispy brown, I would.…

Snowshoeing is a fun (and risk-free) way of enjoy winter sports.
Snowshoeing is a fun (and risk-free) way of enjoy winter sports.

Strap on snowshoes for fun and safe winter cardio

The snow may have been tardy on arrival this year, but better late than never to take advantage of winter sporting activities. There's a throng to choose from and I have learned that they are not all for me.

Downhill skiing frightens me. A three-day adventure at ski school four years ago pretty much cemented that I don't have the guts to blaze down a vertical slope nor ride the rickety contraption known as a lift. Plus, I want a workout from my outdoor activity and all that time climbing vertical feet in a basket dangling from a wire seems like a wasted opportunity to increase my heart rate and sculpt my glutes.

Obviously, snowboarding is out of the question for similar concerns.

Ice skating is OK. You get to wear a cute outfit, but going around and around and around a rink in a monotonous, eternal, dizzying circle makes me crave sugar and I end up O.D.'ing on hot chocolate. Plus, that sharp blade poses a hazard to a dinkus like me.

Snowmobiling is completely insane to me, as driving a regular vehicle on a normal road in winter makes me uneasy. Put me in a low-to-the-ground means of transportation/recreation meant to zip and maneuver at super speeds over frozen territory and I'm a quivering mess.

Basically, if I have to don goggles that cover half my grill for safety reasons or a protective suit of armor, I'm not down to participate. Plus, accelerating speed in a cold environment perplexes me. I mean, why proliferate an already nippy day by increasing your velocity?

Hence, my devotion to snowshoeing.

You feel like an Arctic adventurer with these oversized apparatuses strapped to your boots, but with poles in hand these sporting devices will convey you over the frozen tundra efficiently, comfortably and enjoyably while providing a chilled cardiovascular workout like no other.

So, why isn't snowshoeing all the rage?

Growing up a stone's throw from Klezsch Park in Glendale, I've always wondered why I didn't see snowshoers taking advantage of the flat trek of s…

The years spent slinging booze behind the bar are some of the fondest, most carefree, and lucrative of my life.
The years spent slinging booze behind the bar are some of the fondest, most carefree, and lucrative of my life.

Memoirs of a bartender

"Bar Month" at – brought to you by Hornitos, OR-G, Party Armor, Red Stag, Absolut, Fireball and Malibu – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Bar month has me gooey and nostalgic over a really great time in my life.

All too long ago ... in actuality (gulp) an entire decade heretofore ... I was in the throes of the service industry, living life as a Milwaukee bartender. The years spent slinging booze behind the bar are some of the fondest, most carefree, and lucrative of my life.

For a girl who never touched alcohol before a tenure at Marquette University as a student and consequently a patron at Theo's (rest that bar's lovely soul), I adapted to multitasking poppin' bottles and doin' shots with very little grace, and even less dexterity.

I was fortunate enough that my dear friend, William Jenkins, bestowed my very first barkeep position upon me, although my resume was a barren wasteland in terms of mixology. I eagerly learned the ropes at the beloved Cush and was promptly put onto the busiest shifts: Fridays, Saturdays and (I know a lot of you miss Cush's SIN) Sundays.

If you weren't a "drinker" before, walking through the doors of Cush would change that; probably with a shot of Jack Daniels procured through a game of bar dice. I am flummoxed that I can still palate Patron or Jaeger subsequent to my residence there. I have also, to this day, never had as much unquestionable fun at any establishment since. I sincerely loved my boss, my co-workers and our guests – even the ones I cursed at.

I was not a "nice" bartender by any means. I did not have a talent for remembering slews of drinks, nor mixing particularly tasty concoctions. But, I could remove beer bottle caps (with a bottle cap opener kept holstered in the back pocket of my painted-on pants so stri…