By Alissa Lawton Special to Published Jan 21, 2011 at 9:43 AM

The flu I had all last week decided it wasn't done with me and came back with a vengeance on Friday evening.

I was supposed to head to a friend's birthday party at Spin, but it was taking all my energy just to attempt to make myself presentable and less "boogery." I did make it to the party, but after four large glasses of ice water and a handful of coughing fits I knew it was time for me to stop spreading the pandemic and head home.

Spin is such a great people watching spot it was hard to walk away from the action, but a very necessary choice. I had been planning a big thirtieth birthday party for my boyfriend the following night and there was no way I was going to miss it stuck at home in a Nyquil haze and Kleenex shoved up my nose.

The next morning I woke up ready to get tons of stuff done to finalize the party details. I had some surprises up my sleeve and I'd already decided that even if nothing went as planned, the point was to have fun. I got less done than planned but that's often the case on Saturday afternoons. The time just slips by on weekends faster than it does on weekdays. Decorations, check. Food ordered, check. Surprise slide show of embarrassing pictures from his childhood, check.

The party kicked off at 7:30 in the downstairs lounge at Karma, 600 E. Ogden Ave. I always find it a little daunting to plan parties because, of course, the worst fear of any party planner is the whole thing is a flop and you disappoint the person you threw it for. Luckily that wasn't the case. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the staff at the bar was great and really helpful.

Steve, the manager, had called me earlier in the week and assured me everything would be set and ready by party time. I'd pre-ordered a bunch of appetizers for everyone but I didn't have time to eat any of them so I can't tell you how they were. By the time the party started to empty out there was nothing left over but a few straggler wings so it must've been good.

I love hosting events like this, but you definitely end up losing some one-on-one time while trying to bounce around and meet and greet, making sure everyone is having a good time, etc. On top of that I must've been crazy spending time putting together a photo slide show of my boyfriend throughout his first 30 years knowing full well ever guy in the place would have my head if I made them watch that over the playoff games. Have no fear, I waited until halftime to display my awesome Power Point ability.

In my mind, any party that ends with family and friends participating in a rousing version of 'Wagon Wheel' at the top of their lungs is a good way to end a Saturday night. We grabbed the left over custard cake that had made the trip up from Chicago, and took a cab home. I was a smart gal and went to bed as soon as I realized I was standing in the kitchen eating not a piece of cake, but the entire cake. Mmmm, banana custard. Time to call it quits.

Sunday we went to brunch at the hotel where my boyfriend's family stayed the night. Who knew the Hilton Milwaukee River had a good brunch buffet? The view on a freezing cold winter day was beautiful, too. Almost enough to make you forget you're a few hundred yards from I-43. I was half expecting to see a herd of deer run by the window.

The rest of the day was dedicated to nothing more than napping and football. I went to my best friend's apartment to meet the dog she and her husband had adopted. I'm a very serious dog lover and I was really excited when they told me they were adopting him. He's an adorable little guy and it was one of those situations where the minute I saw them all together I could tell they were meant to be. He wasn't quite sure what to do with all of us screaming at the television for three and a half hours but he was a good little boy, licking up all the Packers party crumbs.

After the game, I was literally ready for bed at 8p.m. Mondays always show up before I'm ready.

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.