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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 31, 2014

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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…

David Copperfield's spellbinding magic is miles away from hat-and-rabbit tricks.
David Copperfield's spellbinding magic is miles away from hat-and-rabbit tricks.

Dazzled by David

You've really "made it" when your name has become a verb.

And so David Copperfield reminds his audience with the montage of television and film clips that begins his show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

I first saw "Our Era's Giant of Magic" years ago on one of my first dates with my husband. I remember totally pre-judging the experience I was about to have as "some hocus-pocus show." I think I truly expected a caped sorcerer to pull a rabbit out of a top hat. Instead, a handsome, charming storyteller kept me spellbound with personal anecdotes intricately woven into a flowing production. I left the theater amazed and filled with childlike wonder.

Last Sunday was no exception, when 13 years later we took my stepdaughter, Alisha, to see the "World's Greatest Illusionist" raise his sculpted eyebrows, deliver deadpan schtick and dazzle us with moment after moment of "How did he do that?"

He even made Alisha "disappear" during the finale. (I suggest that Mr. Copperfield market this talent as an infomercial product to parents of teenagers for "temporary relief.")

After the spectacle where Mr. Copperfield made my stepdaughter and about a dozen other audience members levitate into the air and then go "poof," the show ended, there was a standing ovation and we excited the theater – without Alisha.

There was an uncomfortably long period of time in which we waited outside the venue with the families of the other "vanished" victims. Other audience members lingered in anticipation of quizzing the evanesced folks of the secret of "how he did it."

WAIT! Don't tell me!

I don't want to know. I prefer to bask in my ignorance. I don't desire the secrets and technicalities of how the magic happens. I mean, didn't David Copperfield ACTUALLY make these people disappear? Didn't he REALLY predict a series of numbers volunteered by random audience members? He surely turned a piece of paper into a fluttering butterfly!

David Copperfield IS magic. He is a modern day Merlin – only wi…

All made up and ready to take on the world.
All made up and ready to take on the world.

War paint

War paint.

Warriors decorate the skin of their faces and bodies to prepare for battle, to intimidate the enemy and to rev them up for combat.

Makeup is no different.

The days I apply a "full beat-down," I am a shaded soldier in the crusade that is life.

I am a painted Jedi using the cosmetic Force to defeat daily Darth Vaders.

A beautified ninja throwing glittering blows wherever I go.

An embellished superhero able to leave lipstick behind in a single kiss. (Cursed be the long-wearing formulas that have started to diminish the S.W.A.K. effect.)

My application of cosmetics allows me to transform into my alter ego: the confident, cool, charisma bomb that is my public persona.

In my private life, I am a bare-faced, socially awkward, stuttering geek fest that wears the same (often sweaty) sweats day in and out and maybe washes her hair once a week.

I displayed my first swipe of crimson colored cherry ChapStick in fifth grade (although Mrs. Martin promptly removed it from my possession and instated a classroom "no makeup" rule) and have never looked back.

The ritual of embellishing my eyes with shimmery shadows, my cheeks with a bright pop of color and my lips thick with gloss is a comforting, enjoyable part of the days I take the time to do it.

"In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it is a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder," says Wikipedia. 

For months after my brother passed away I would stare into the mirror at my naked face, stunned that he was gone. Gussying up was my defense, my transport into an alternate reality where everything was OK. My made-up visage gave me the strength to face many a day.

The motivation behind wearing makeup is a moot point. Makeup creates a "mask;" it is "fake," but the freedom to adorn a human canvas with bright colors, sparkles and fluttering lashes is a form…