Owning your own bowling ball and shoes -- Think about it: you wouldn't go golfing with rented clubs, so why waste your money when you bowl with a house ball and a pair of house shoes? Even if you don't bowl often, the economics of buying your kegling equipment pays for itself. You can get a stylish pair of shoes for about $25, and they'll last a lifetime. And the grossness factor is priceless -- no more wearing someone else's smelly, yellow shoes, sprayed to "cleanliness" with that weird disinfectant. As for the ball, it's cheaper than you might think to get something that fits your chubby fingers. Either buy a cheap ball and get the holes drilled, or pick one up at a Goodwill -- you'll get to have your name (or your bowling alter ego) engraved for free, too. Your game will improve dramatically just by having a ball that fits. This entire operation could cost you under $80 (much less if you're a good thrift store shopper). A good place to start is Dunham's Discount Sports or K-Mart for the ball and the shoes, and Dave's World across from State Fair for the drilling. -- Andy Tarnoff
"The Con" by Tegan and Sara -- I've had a few weeks to get into the fifth album by my favorite set of Canadian identical twins, and I can finally say that I adore it. Lyrics like "Maybe I would have been something you'd be good at" and "I felt you in my legs before I ever met you" make me wanna marry this record. This time around, the sisters Quin hooked up with indie superstar producer Chris Walla and knocked out their signature peppy indie pop, but took it a step further with mellow piano ballads and an overall mood of urgency, love confusion and recognition of age's ascending elevator. -- Molly Snyder Edler
Turkey burger with the works at Bella's Fat Cat -- If cheeseburgers are your weakness, why not try a gobbler instead? It's healthy. It's delicious. And, if you put enough toppings on it, you'll think it's the real thing. If you really want to ramp up the health meter, skip the fries / onion rings. Then again, why not treat yourself? You deserve some sinful delight, don't you? -- Drew Olson
"Mad Men" on AMC -- There are only a few series on our DVR this late summer season ("Entourage," "Real Sports," and "Weeds") but we recently added another that just might be the year's best new show, "Mad Men." Set in 1960, it's a detail-driven drama from Matthew Weiner, who conceived and wrote the series. Weiner, if you didn't know, was the executive producer of HBO's "The Sopranos." Now, "Mad Men" is no "Sopranos" but, at times, you get that same "these characters are so screwed up, yet I love them" feeling that "Sopranos" basically coined. "Men" is about many things: marriage, relationships, self-doubt, advertising, vices, money, children, generational divides, consumerism, fashion and even politics. It's set in the fictional Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency on New York City's Madison Ave. And, it appeals to all ages. You can relate to the 22 year-old junior executives and sympathize and even learn from their seasoned, yet set-in-their-ways bosses. Tight acting (Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss and January Jones shine), solid story lines and a retro soundtrack make "Mad Men" a TIVO must. http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/ -- Jeff Sherman
Red Cap Cards -- I was browsing through the card rack at Beans & Barley the other day, looking for a birthday card for my little brother, when I came across something I couldn't pass up. Two illustrated, skinny, Tim Burton-like figures -- one male, one female -- stood next to a tree on which they'd scribed, "I love you" in the bark. It wasn't going to work for my little brother and I had no pressing reason to buy the $3.50 card, but I quickly realized that that might be my favorite time to send them. Love needs no occasion, does it? I got home and hit their Web site (http://www.redcapcards.com) where I found even more adorable cards for any occasion -- or no occasion whatsoever. The cards are available in Milwaukee at Beans & Barley and Whole Foods. -- Julie Lawrence
Cold Stone Creamery on Tuesdays -- If you have at least two kids, it's worth swinging by your neighborhood Cold Stone Creamery on a Tuesday for their "buy one kids' scoop, get the second one free" special. Our most recent order was interesting: one of my kids chose plain vanilla without anything mixed in, and the other went for blue cotton candy ice cream with M&M's. Wonder what that says about them? -- M.E.
Tarantas Sangria -- White wine is usually more refreshing on hot, humid days like we had earlier this week, but if you like to stick to red, do not overlook sangria as an option. A Spanish libation, it's red wine garnished with various citrus fruits -- usually lemon and orange. I found Tarantas Sangria on sale for $7 at Whole Foods recently and was delighted at how refreshing it was. It was sweet, but not sugary -- the fruitful flavor was very organic. I served it in wine glasses over a few cubes of ice with a slice of orange - although you could try it with apples, pineapples or peaches. Divine. -- J.L.
Office Depot binder / wallet -- I lost my affinity for wallet use several years ago. Still faced with the fact that I must carry a debit card, cash, business cards and random other cards (coffee, memberships, health insurance), I needed something less bulky that the traditional wallet. I tried a few billfolds and money clips - wasn't feeling it. Then I met the binder clip. An office staple, these bad boys make for the perfect wallet. Use a medium sized one, insert your wallet contents inside and place in pocket. Guaranteed to garner conversation and be the cheapest wallet you'll ever buy. -- J.S.
"Radio Nowhere" by Bruce Springsteen -- The first single from the upcoming album "Magic," hit iTunes (and less legitimate sites) this week and it's the kind of driving, windows down rocker that fans have been longing for. Fall tour dates were announced this week. Milwaukee isn't on the docket yet, but it's not out of the question for early November or spring. For now, check out the single. -- D.O.
Mirjana's Tailoring -- A good, nice tailor is hard to find. Admit it, you have a pair of pants or a dress that just needs a little nip ‘n' tuck. Mirjana's Tailoring, 7509 W. Oklahoma Ave., is for you. Just walk in, slip into a dressing room, walk out and get measured. Prices and turnaround are very reasonable. Service always friendly too. Call (414) 541-5554. -- J.S.