By Alissa Lawton Special to Published Feb 14, 2011 at 9:35 AM

It is the dead of winter, and between blizzards and deep freezes, I'm really getting sick of being cold all the time. I'm headed on vacation in a little over a month but until then I am going a little crazy with cabin fever. Part of me wants to stay in and torture myself by watching the Travel Channel shows on Best Beaches.

Saturday I found the motivation to go to the gym in a little prep for naughtiness I knew I'd put my diet through on Superbowl Sunday. Typically on Saturday mornings, whether I've had a hard night the night before or not, I'm all about sleeping in and staying warm under the covers. But again, with the winter in full effect, it's important to burn off some of the hot cocoa calories.

One super, hot shower later and I was ready to go out and brave the cold again to meet up with friends at Elsa's, one of my favorite spots in town. I don't go often, but the food is amazing and atmosphere is unlike anywhere else in Milwaukee in my opinion. I'm also 90% sure that Milwaukee County Executive candidate Chris Abele was there when we arrived. Can anyone else confirm this?

I had the featured white wine of the night. Usually I hate sweet tasting wine. I tend towards the drier wines, so I was really surprised to fall in love with this sweeter white wine. My dislike for sweet wines comes from the aftertaste. It's like eating cotton candy; you're not getting rid of that sickly sweet slick in your mouth for a while. But this wine had a subtle sweetness with a grapefruit flavor, really light and clean. Perfect.

I had the Four Seasons Salad, which is my favorite thing on the menu. It's so hard to find really fresh produce this time of year so I love the opportunity to order huge, high-quality, veggie filled salads. My whole body screams THANK YOU after eating like that.

Now, the awesome, cheesy nachos we all got to share... I don't know that my body said thank you, but it didn't exactly have any objections either. I don't know what kind of magical, mystical cheeses from another planet they use, but they're the best nachos in town, no doubt.

After Elsa's we headed over to Balzac to meet up with another group of friends. There is never any parking in that neighborhood anyway but you'd better believe with snow banks as tall as street signs I was not hopeful, but all's well that ends well. We found a spot and headed in. Much more wine and I'd wake up with a headache and I needed to be in prime shape to cheer on my Packers so I moved over to my usual Ketel and seltzer.

Balzac was pretty packed that night. There were only two spots at the bar and that was it, so we waited until a large table opened up so we could all sit and talk for awhile.

A few hours later we had a friend's birthday party to attend. She's a bit younger than we are so we were willing to brave Water Street to wish her a happy birthday. McGillicuddy's has a great patio in the Summer and so long as it's not St. Patty's Day, it's usually a pretty fun, chill place. Some chick and her boyfriend decided to have a Ronnie and Sam moment so we got to watch her bawl for three hours and him awkwardly ignore her as he downed drinks. That put a slight damper on the mood.

I could tell I was getting tired so it was time to hop a cab and have sweet green and gold dreams.

Good morning, Superbowl Sunday. After much contemplation we decided staying in to watch the game was the safe bet for our wallets and our Monday's. You'd think after the Chilibowl none of us would want to smell, see or taste chili for another year, but hey, Superbowl Sunday is made for eating chili. So a quick, expensive trip to Metro Market later and I was chopping onions with tears rolling down my cheeks. I left the habaneros and jalapenos for someone else to take care of. Days after chopping up hot peppers I can still taste the heat on my fingers, and without a doubt, I'll accidentally touch my eyes too soon after and set my eyeballs on fire.

The chili was amazing, if I do say so myself. I tried to fill up on veggies and hummus but the beer cheese dip, veggie pinwheels and pretzels were too tempting. Looks like I'll need to find that motivation again this weekend to get my butt to the gym for some Saturday morning make-up time.

As we all know, since it's been the only 'news' on television since then, the Packers are World Champions. I don't know what it was but when the game started, I knew we were going to win. I could just feel it in my bones, and I couldn't be happier about it. The game was great, the ads were just OK, and the half time show was just terrible (and how about The Star Spangled Banner!?) But the final score is all that matters. Who knows at this point what next season will bring; the Packers could go all the way again. We can hope right? All I know for sure is, the Bears still suck.

Alissa Lawton Special to

Alissa grew up on the near west side of Madison and had childhood dreams of being a veterinarian. Instead she moved to Milwaukee to attend college and attained a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from UW-Milwaukee. Previously an advertising copywriter and a marketing specialist, Alissa always preferred the writing aspect of her career.

An animal lover, a shoe lover and a white wine lover, she now resides on the much beloved East Side of Milwaukee in what she describes as an ancient apartment building full of character, but lacking sufficient electrical outlets and the convenience of an elevator.

To some she comes across as a shy wall flower, to those that know her much better she is a social butterfly, usually overdressed and wearing inappropriately uncomfortable shoes for nearly every occasion. Either way you choose to see her, Alissa has a strong desire to bring awareness to the social issues in our city while maintaining a sense of humor about herself and surroundings.