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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

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Some go all out for a day at the Renaissance Faire.
Some go all out for a day at the Renaissance Faire.

Ren Faire factoids

Recently, I took my kids to the Bristol Renaissance Faire and learned a few (useless) factoids.

•    Between 30,000 and 45,000 turkey legs are sold during a single, nine-week season of the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
•    Approximately 450,000 gallons of ale, wine, iced tea and lemonade are consumed each season.
•    Bristol’s Queen Elizabeth has six exquisitely detailed gowns, each costing thousands of dollars to create.
•    The Queen knights somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,280 children every season.
•    First-year performers are required to complete 45 hours of classes in the Bristol Academy of Performing Arts prior to the start of the season.
•    The longest-standing participant at the Faire is Pamela de la Pena, a Cordon Bleu-trained food vendor who has been serving Faire guests crepes and tempura for 30-plus years.
•    More than 100 couples have been married at Bristol over the past 21 years.  Every summer, there are dozens of pre-arranged marriage proposals at the Faire.

This man is not welcome at "Yoga for Degenerates."
This man is not welcome at "Yoga for Degenerates."

Yoga for degenerates

If you, like me, aren't the stereotypical health nut type, this new introduction to yoga class just might be a good fit.

The class, "Yoga for Degenerates," runs every Sunday, from July 20 to Aug. 17 at Riverwest Yogashala, 731 E. Locust St.

The class is ideal for people who are unfamiliar with yoga and / or those who do not consider themselves to be the proverbial "human pretzel." (Except maybe a pretzel rod.)

"Your mama can come, too, but she's gotta leave her combat boots at the door," says instructor Alex Hansen. "Rock on."

Call or e-mail Hansen to sign up at (414) 264-6357 or

Costco is on the corner of I-43 and Highway 60 in Grafton.
Costco is on the corner of I-43 and Highway 60 in Grafton.

My first trip to Costco

On Thursday night, I went to Costco -- the one in Grafton -- for the first time. A few people raved about it in the past, so when my mother-in-law invited me to tag along, I eagerly accepted.

From my limited perspective, is wasn't very different from Sam's Club, except it sells gas -- which was an unimpressive $4.15 a gallon -- and might offer a few more organic items. (I haven't been to Sam's in a while, so perhaps they've started stocking more organic items in the past year or so.)

Basically, I have the same problem with both Sam's and Costco: I don't want to spend $41 on Brita filters, even if I get 10 of them and it's a good deal. I simply can't get excited about  dropping that size portion of my weekly budget on water filters.

On the up side, I enjoyed seeing the Roomba ($279.99) after reading about the robotic vacuum in this week's Recommends. Plus, the organic milk was not necessarily a stellar deal, but the expiration dates weren't until Aug. 17.

I admit I had fun looking at all of the massive bags of pita chips and bottles of syrup, along with leather couches and endless rolls of toilet paper, but I really don't think I would pop for a Costco membership because there just wasn't enough there to excite me.

Did I miss something?

Wooden split extender earrings by Coconut Jewelry.
Wooden split extender earrings by Coconut Jewelry.
I bought a pair at Summerfest ...
I bought a pair at Summerfest ...
... even though I wanted the nose ring / earring combo like one-hit-wonder popstar Jane Child wears.
... even though I wanted the nose ring / earring combo like one-hit-wonder popstar Jane Child wears.

This Summerfest souvenir gives me an earful

Last week, the editorial staff went down to Summerfest with a crisp, company-issued $20 bill, and tried to find something ridiculous and fun to buy. After we returned with our baubles, we each wrote about our purchase for an article.

I had my caricature done -- something I would never do if I were footing the bill -- but originally I wanted to spend my Jackson on a piece of jewelry that I had seen for sale at previous Summerfests.

I really wanted to find the nose ring that connects via thin silver chain to your earring. I always thought it was completely ridiculous, but for the sake of the assignment, I thought it would fit perfectly into the theme. Sadly, I could not find this.

Every few years, there’s a new ear gimmick -- remember the ear cuff a few years ago? -- and yesterday, while I was at Summerfest with my kids, I found new earring gadgets that I truly like.

This year (and maybe last?), the big thing in festival ear wear is wooden earrings that appear like you have large holes -- called "gauges" -- in your ears. These earrings, called "wooden split expanders," are made by Coco Loco Jewelry, retail for about $20-30, and come in a variety of styles. They are made from a variety of woods, and some are even made from coconuts, hence the name.

Years ago, I started the process to stretch out the holes in my ears and wore earrings called "flesh tunnels," but after having kids, I decided I didn’t want anything on my body stretched out and I took them out.

Now, however, I can have the appearance of gauged ears without actually going through the pain or process. Thanks, Summerfest, for continuously providing us with the latest in trendy ear adornments.