By Alissa Lawton Special to Published Mar 31, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Last weekend started out with a trip to Via on Friday, 2625 N. Downer Ave. It was busy when we got there and we were going to sit and eat at the bar, but a table opened up moments later.  I’m in love with caprese salads and theirs is really good. It’s probably enough to be shared, but I wasn’t in the mood so I scarfed the whole thing down, while my dinner companions shared the Thai chicken pizza.

After dinner, we hopped a cab to Vintage, 2203 N. Prospect Ave., for a friend’s birthday. I’ve only been here after a few too many cocktails at a wedding, so I couldn’t really have told you what I thought. But after another look, I really like it. I did have a little trouble with the fact that they had ESPN on one television, right above another TV showing the second "Jackass" movie.

I hadn’t paid any attention to the games earlier in the evening and now I was trying to focus on the scores while trying not to look at people sniffing each other’s farts or being run over by buffalo. Next time, guys, skip the crappy (literally) movies and play something classic or cult; they make for much better conversation starters. Or better yet, during the month of March, just leave all the channels on basketball.

I had gone to bed with the best of intentions for the following day. I planned to work out, clean my car, do my laundry and pay my bills. I woke up and knew instantly that none of those items was going to be checked off my list. Even my large coffee couldn’t inspire me to get that all done, and my mind was distracted by my plans for the evening.

I worked for a summer at Crank Daddy’s, 2108 N. Farwell Ave. (soon to be moving to 2170 N. Prospect Ave.), as a glorified product assistant. When I got another job and left I was definitely sad to say goodbye to my comfy jeans and T-shirt uniform as well as my awesome coworkers.

I stayed in touch with a couple of them and when it came time for their annual Spring Fashion Show to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, they asked if I would be a model for the show. I couldn’t say no.

So, Saturday was devoted to practicing my best runway walk, up and down my hallway, convincing myself that I wouldn’t fall on my face in front of everyone, and that even if I did, this was for charity so it wouldn’t matter.

Up until the day of the event I really wasn’t nervous about it, but when we showed up and my friend, Becky, who organized the show, told all of the models to go get into their first outfit.

I had a few butterflies. And there’s nothing like stripping down to your skivvies with a bunch of biker chicks (the bicycle variety) to make you wish you hadn’t eaten a salad made of cheese the night before.

One walk down and back on the runway and the nerves were gone. I had so much fun and the best part was all the support / kudos / congratulations afterwards, having people I’d never met tell me how great I was up there and how fun was to watch.

"You like me! You really like me! Even in spandex shorts, you really, really like me!"

It was a blast and I’d do it again in a second. If you’ve never been to Crank Daddy’s JDRF benefit event, you really should put it on the calendar for next year.

I was exhausted as things started to wind down and was home and asleep just as "Saturday Night Live" came on.

Sunday already? We went to check out the somewhat new Alterra, 4500 N. Oakland Ave. Great location for them and others must agree because the place was packed. It’s definitely not their usual clientele however. I’m used to seeing their places crowded with college kids and liberal looking young parents and people out walking their dogs. The crowd on Sunday was made up of North Shore demographics, which is fine. Richies should support local businesses, too. It just threw me at first.

We were on a time crunch, so I grabbed a honey latte and a blueberry yogurt parfait. I love these things, but I usually eat them so fast I end up with a stomach ache. Ugh, too good. It looks like they refurbed a lot of old furniture and cabinetry to create the counters and so on. Like the look; good work, Alterra.

The afternoon should have been spent outside enjoying the beginning signs of spring. I know it’s on the way because I noticed some small green sprigs peeking out of the dirt in my boyfriend’s yard and some robins outside my apartment window. Instead I spent the afternoon watching guilty-pleasure television with my roommate. Just one more winter couch potato fling.

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.