What could be more refreshing on a warm summer day than a tasty juice concoction, a gin and tonic or a homemade dreamsicle? Throw in a fresh festival, some interesting music and a good book and call it a day.
Metro Market's "Juice Bomb" -- I was a bit bummed the other morning when the local grocer didn't have carrot juice. The fresh-squeezed lemonade looked inviting, but it didn't seem like a "breakfast" beverage. Then I discovered "the bomb," which is a combination of fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade. I tried it. I liked it. Even though it wasn't yet 9 a.m., I couldn't help thinking "Boy, this would taste amazing with vodka." Is that wrong? --Drew Olson
Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Gin -- As long as we're talking about alcohol, I have to recommend the Rehorst gin that I sampled at an event last week. You might not think of drinking a shot of gin, but the chilled sampler was smooth and delicious and the tumbler of ice and tonic was nearly perfect. I'm told that the secret ingredients are sweet basil and Wisconsin ginseng. The gentlemen at Great Lakes Distillery made their mark with vodka and the gin is just as good. --D.O.
Homemade "Dreamsicles" -- We're on our third batch of homemade Dreamsicles and my kids are still smitten with these frozen treats. Mix equal parts vanilla yogurt (I recommend Stoneybrook Farms whole milk) with orange juice, pour into Dixie cups, put a popsicle stick in the cup and freeze. If you want the stick to be perfectly perpendicular to the popsicle, cover the top of the Dixie cup with aluminum foil and plunge the stick through the foil. Sure, the disposable cup and foil create more waste, but they allow you to avoid using plastic popsicle molds. My kids still can't believe I'm letting them eat popsicles for breakfast. --Molly Snyder Edler
Summer Soulstice Music Festival -- There's not much we Milwaukeeans appreciate more than the start of summer, and if you add a street festival into the mix, you may very well have the best day of the year in Brew Town. Saturday marks the summer solstice, the first official day of summer, and the East Side BID and East Side Association know how to celebrate. They're hosting the eighth-annual Summer Soulstice Music Festival from noon to midnight. North Avenue is blocked between Prospect and Oakland Avenues to make room for an artists' market, BMX bike demos, food galore and an impressive musical lineup on three stages. They've got Local H, The Saltshakers, De La Buena and Northern Room, to name a few. What it breaks down to is a really fun day outdoors in the midst of a bustling East Side neighborhood. --Julie Lawrence
"My Life On a Napkin: Pillow Mints, Playground Dreams and Coaching the Runnin' Utes," by Rick Majerus -- Within the first several pages of this biography, the Milwaukee born basketball guru uses a Summerfest analogy that compares side stage acts to the "main stage" while somehow comparing his love of under the radar basketball players. Any author who can write about hoops, Summerfest and his love of Milwaukee in the same book has me at hello. Seriously, though, the book by the current St. Louis University coach is a good read. Gene Wojciechowski, the co-author and contributor, does great work not only on the format (the book is sprinkled with quotes on Majerus, life and basketball) but on finding and maintaining Majerus' voice. Need a summer basketball fix? Pick up this book. --Jeff Sherman
The Cicadas -- Rodney Crowell is an underrated singer / songwriter. This 1997 record, reissued by Rhino in 2005, features members of Crowell's backup band and has a loose vibe but the playing and production are tighter than much of what is coming out of computer speakers today. "When Losers Rule the World" is a great opening track, "Tobacco Road" gets a great cover treatment and "Through With the Past" is elegant and intoxicating. --D.O.
"Don't Think I Don't Think About It," by Darius Rucker -- "Cracked Rear View," put Hootie and The Blowfish on the music map in 1994. Catchy songs and Darius Rucker's voice propelled the group to stardom. Nearly 15 years, several albums, and ups and downs later, Rucker is back to his passion with this new country song -- a solo effort. It's already on the Top 40 country charts and it's sure to propel his fall Capitol Nashville release. What I always liked about Hootie was the seemingly carefree attitude. They'd do rap, country and rock in their live shows (they did a Femmes cover in Milwaukee several years ago) and were always were committed to fun. Rucker's having fun on this new single, for sure. Download it and see. --J.S.
baseball-reference.com -- It has always been one of the more useful sports Web sites running, but every time I check it seems like the statistical offerings are expanding. This will settle more barroom arguments, and start others, than just about any site going. --D.O.