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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

Fri
Hi: 45
Lo: 34
Sat
Hi: 55
Lo: 45
Sun
Hi: 66
Lo: 48
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What can the sports world do for fans when a star athlete tests positive?
What can the sports world do for fans when a star athlete tests positive? (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Braun or Hogan?

"MVP tests positive for PEDs."

This now common headline is dreaded by passionate sports fans who are too often seeing their "heroes" knocked off their athletic pedestals and dragged through both legitimate and tabloid dirt for "cheating" at whatever game they are paid healthy salaries to professionally play.

I want to be clear that this blog is not about the Milwaukee Brewers' own, Ryan Braun's guilt or innocence.

In fact, I would not judge any athlete for their actions in possibly consuming chemicals that potentially cause violent mood swings, horrific acne, decreased penis size and lowered sexual prowess. Oh – or that enhance athletic performance.

I'm not here to judge the morality of this issue either. Whether it's right or wrong for these athletes to administer PEDs for whatever reason –
 to overcome injury, be faster, get stronger or hit a baseball from Miller Park to Mequon.

I can only imagine the physical demands placed upon a human body being asked to perform at such high, intense levels of athleticism for extended periods of time, year after year.

Heck, as a recreational fitness buff, I ought to own stock in Aleve, glutamine and protein supplements.

There are certain people out there who will do anything – including swallowing pills and injecting drugs – to achieve a physical standard or to push the limits of their physique.

Morality aside, professional athletes have a huge audience clamoring to see records broken and amazing physical feats. Fans want to see a game they perhaps played in high school elevated to theatrical heights. They want to see these "super humans" making sports "history."

And this is not about legality. Don't get me started on illicit drug use of any kind – street or prescribed. It's risky, selfish behavior that sacrifices personal connections, will most likely lead to problems with the law and endangers every aspect of the users' health and well being.

This is about finding a solution to the disappointment when a st…

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My own personal holiday horror: retrieving the Christmas tree from the attic.
My own personal holiday horror: retrieving the Christmas tree from the attic.

Christmas trees in the attic

I am scared of our Christmas tree.

It's not because I am Jewish. (Marrying a Catholic fulfilled my childhood dream of celebrating Christmas in my household. Tree and all.)

It's because our Christmas tree is up in our attic. And our attic freaks me the motherfather out. The very thought of having to climb up to our attic makes me quiver.

Besides, the attic is husband territory. And the attic is only accessible through our garage.

The garage is, in general, his domain. His cold man-cave where he listens to crackly, static-y country music through an old boom box while sweeping, organizing and tinkering. He does this while wearing a thermal "onesie" reminiscent of a flight suit; he, for some reason, insists on living in it all winter long.

I go in to the garage get into my car. That's it. It's an exit and an entrance that holds my vehicle.

But, Hubster is not home to get the tree down. And I am hearing the homemaker duty call to dress up the house holiday style.

Man, a menorah is so easy. Compact, easily stored in the house. Buy the candles, light one each night and after eight nights a glorious lit-up candelabra!

But, our Christmas tree, in all its six-foot, glittering glory, is quite a sight to behold. Worth the perilous trek up into the ascending abyss of – the attic.

I have two choices right now.

I can choose to be brave and self-sufficient. To stand on the hood of my Chevy, reach up and pull that ominous wire/string/cord thing that somehow releases the "staircase" into the attic and then cautiously climb what actually is a rickety ladder that makes Ringling Brothers trapeze artists look "safe."

Or I can wait.

Maybe find someone else to retrieve the tree from its lofty lair.

But, rock only knows what in heavy metal is up in that attic. I may not want non-family members to view what's going on up there.

And for those of you thinking I should just go buy a small, fresh tree I can maneuver on my own ...

I just may.

But, the ornaments and lights are up…

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Buy local and enjoy some of Lindsay's favorite things.
Buy local and enjoy some of Lindsay's favorite things.
Create a memorable keepsake for your loved one this holiday with Ellen Cook Photography.
Create a memorable keepsake for your loved one this holiday with Ellen Cook Photography.
Pamper yourself and your giftees with a gift from Indulge Studios.
Pamper yourself and your giftees with a gift from Indulge Studios.
A Trio Jewelry offers custom bling and original creations.
A Trio Jewelry offers custom bling and original creations.
Check the fashionista on your list with one of Shanel Regier's stylish designs.
Check the fashionista on your list with one of Shanel Regier's stylish designs.

A few of my favorite Milwaukee things

Custard on crisp cones
And hair expertly colored.
Custom-made jewelry
And professional photos.
Designer duds by Shanel Regier,
These are a few of my favorite things (in Mil-ee-wah-kay).

Okay, so the last line doesn't exactly fit in perfect meter unless you sing it really, really quickly. I encourage you to belt it out anyway and shop locally this holiday season!

We all know Milwaukee is the best city to live in. I also nominate it for one of the best cities to gift from.

There are only a few weeks to go before bows are hastily torn from thoughtfully chosen tokens, so here are some local gift ideas I have personally experienced that are sure to make your loved ones gasp with joy upon ripping them open.

Kopp's Custard
7631 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, (414) 282-4312
18880 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield, (262) 789-9490
5373 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale, (414) 961-3288
kopps.com
I passionately feel that Kopp's Custard is reason alone to visit, go to school or permanently reside in Milwaukee. I also vote it as the best custard in the state. Their chocolate malt custard has me licking a double scoop cone every time its flavor is blared across the Kopps's signage. But, did you know that you can share the gorgeousness that is the uniquely rich, seriously decadent cold treat that we residents often take for granted? An amazing gift for your foodie friends, or perhaps a Wisconsin ex-pat, Kopp's will send 10 pints of customized flavors, plus hot fudge and pecans, to salivating giftees. Imagine the delight you'll provide by gifting someone their first frozen custard experience. As someone who spends time outside of Wisco each year, I can vouch – Kopp's is the only thing I miss more than my family.

Indulge Studios
407 E. Silver Spring Dr., Whitefish Bay, (414) 431-3155
indulgestudios.com
I have only once achieved perfect, platinum blond hair. My "level one," naturally jet-black hair is notoriously tough to color, but Tracy Pohlkamp, owner of Indulge Studios in Whitefish Bay, took on …

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Milwaukee native Jodi Been's designer handbags are a perfect gift for your fashionable friends and family.
Milwaukee native Jodi Been's designer handbags are a perfect gift for your fashionable friends and family.

Fashionable holiday gifting is in the bag

As someone who has jumped around from career to career and tried a bit of everything along the way, I strongly admire people who have always known what they've wanted to do with their professional lives. I imagine great comfort in that – a direct through line in one's ambition.

I have known a few of these laser-focused individuals in my lifetime. One of them is my father – who says he always knew he wanted to be a lawyer. Another is a woman whom I met in my teens. Even then, she seemed destined for a career in fashion.

I have a particular visual memory of Jodi Been, who was a class behind me at Nicolet. I remember her always being flawlessly styled in the hallways of our cavernous high school. Her outfits stood out as being a little more put-together than the rest of us wearing plaid shirts, stonewashed jeans and oversized sweaters.

That sense of style, love of fashion and design has been carried through since Jodi left Wisconsin for FIT in New York City. After completion, she interned for Betsy Johnson (I die!) and was an assistant designer at Steve Madden and The New York Accessories group before graduating to head designer at companies like Pinky/Ultra Pink, Pacific Sunware and Claire's. She is one of those people who have had a straight shot from their initial ambition to their current success.

Accessories are not only an obsession, but also a profession for Jodi. Doing what she loves, this style guru – now living in Los Angeles – has made retail coup d'état, turning her passion for jewelry and purses into two lines of designer handbags ready for gifting this holiday season.

The vintage-inspired, elegant yet funky, luxury "Jodi Been" handbag line and the exotic prints and practical function of "Crimson Muse" are both manufactured in downtown Los Angeles. I predict between the incredible, creative designs within these two lines, Milwaukee can call the next "must-have" purse designer a native daughter.

I h…

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