How not to #adult in Door County

I’m compelled to write this blog post as an “in addition to” piece posted a few weeks ago on OnMilwaukee.com entitled “#Adulting our way through Door County” by Andy Tarnoff. Thanks Andy for showing me the ways of Door County for when I officially become an adult.  Your article is fantastic, find it here.

I want to write about a few Door County options for those of us who haven’t quite made it yet.  Maybe we will join you in the ranks of parenthood, owning homes, paying MORE bills, but until then our paychecks simply don’t allow us to fully #adult. And personally, I’m OK with that.

For a glorious and beautiful summer I worked at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek.   Perks included living in the park and limitless hiking out of my back door. The not so great part: the job didn’t pay an #adult salary. Above minimum wage but also not quite enough to be rolling in dough while paying the tourist tax on everything in Door County and trying to start on those student loans.  As a group of relatively young college students/recent grads, we found ourselves making our own kind of fun.

So here are a few things to check out in Door County if you are not quite yet #adulting or just don’t have a bunch of disposable income. 

During the Day:

Hike at the state parks or county parks

Buy an annual state park pass! Or a daily, but really think about that annual and support our parks. It gives you access to all state parks and forest areas, all year – it’s the most economical option. Check out Peninsula, Potawatomi, Whitefish Sand Dunes, or Newport State Parks. The county parks are great too, specifically Cave Point. You could spend the whole weekend outside hiking if you wanted to.

Looking for a specific hiking suggestion? Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park is my personal favorite, it is rated as difficult but it is so worth it. Don’t bring the actual adults in your life with terrible knees… that’s all. That’s a lie my mom did it. Bring the people with a little bit of grit in your life. The towering rock bluffs are awe-inspiring.

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EAT ALL THE ICE CREAM

Ice cream is the best food of all time and cost about the same as a craft beer. Check out Door County Ice Cream Factory, the classic and delicious Wilson’s, or Dairy View Country Store.

Pro tip: If you have a large group and are choosing to get ice cream at Dairy View Country Store buy a half-gallon, ask for 8 spoons. They got pissed at us and charged us 2 dollars for plastic spoons…….. Yup. We each pitched in a $1 and split our half-gallon versus each paying $5 per scoop. Who said millennials weren’t smart with their money? 

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Also feel free to make a late night ice cream run after a few beers. You have no reason not to, you’re not an adult yet.

Screenshot 2017-10-22 at 4.05.02 PMThis is my birthday night- trying to convince everyone we should get the cornucopia which is enough ice cream for 12 people. We would have got our picture on the wall! 

Look at the goats on the roof of Al Johnson’s

Just look at them! You can go in and eat, it’s delicious but a little overpriced but the wait time is high and you don’t even get to hear the goats hoof-ing around up there. I would say spend your time doing other things that don’t cost as much. The coolest part is definitely the goats on the roof which you can see from… outside at the new outdoor beer garden. 

Free wine samples all over

Don’t waste money on alcohol during the day. Search out free wine samples, buy a bottle to split around the campfire later.  Since you are not an adult yet, buy the cheapest/biggest/highest alcohol content bottle. Don’t be concerned about finding the highest quality wine just yet, it all tastes the same after a few coffee cups full… because who remembers wine glasses camping?

At Night:

The Red Putter

The Red Putter is a homemade, wonky mini golf course that is perfection. Complete with moving parts (sometimes they are human powered, swinging log I’m looking at you). This mini golf course is the best. Go late when there aren’t tons of families and bring your own adult beverages (alright I guess we are adult enough for that). I’m not exactly sure if this is technically allowed but we heard it from a co-worker and we didn’t get yelled at so choose your own adventure. 18 holes of pure fun especially when you’re in a few beers.

AC Tap

Good and cheap freakin’ wings, good freakin’ people. Booze for days. Wander off the main drags a little and you will be rewarded with cheaper drinks and a solid townie feel.

Screenshot 2017-10-22 at 4.05.28 PMSpotted in their natural habitat, a bunch of not quite adults at AC Tap.

Door County Brewing Company

This brewing company not only has some really awesome brews, but they also book a great variety of  music you aren’t able to see anywhere else on the peninsula.  From bluegrass to jazz to latin or Cajun inspired tunes – you can catch it all here. They also recently opened up a new location that is the right amount of rustic and a little tiny bit hipster -there’s a deer head with a flower crown and a food truck.  #keepwisconsinbeerd

Have a campfire at your campsite

Pick a campsite, any campsite! They are way cheaper than any hotel you will find. Consider #adulting for a tiny bit and make an advanced reservation. Or don’t and see if you’re lucky but also expect you might have to turn around and head home at the end of the day.

Campfires are the perfect end after a long day spent #notadulting. Crack open that bottle of wine, get a little irresponsibly drunk, hang with friends and talk about how someday you will be an adult. Or don’t. Laugh at how lucky you are you didn’t break anything at the expensive art gallery you accidentally walked into after a few too many free wine samples.

Look up at the sky, you might catch the northern lights. We did. Sit back and drink it all in just like the bottle in your #notadult hand.

 

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5 Ways I am exactly like my puppy

 

I’ve heard it is common to take on the characteristics and habits of the people you live with. Well, I am pretty positive the same can be said for the animals you live with. In the weeks since we brought Thor home, he has picked up a lot of my habits. Or have I picked up his? Either way, we have a lot in common.

Unlike like me, Thor is not very good at holding still for photos. So I only have pictures of five things we have in common. So those are the similarities I will share with you.

1.  We get distracted really easily

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I will sometimes stop talking in the middle of a sentence. This is not because I am thinking of a way to rephrase what I am saying or anything. More often than not it was because I was thinking of something else or I was talking about something else and I was distracted. Thor is the same way. He will switch toys in the middle of playing tug of war because he walked passed another toy and needs to play with that one instead.

2. We love food

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I love eating. Who doesn’t really? I am almost always looking forward to my next meal or craving something. My life is ruled by food. I get hangry and it comes on fast. If I leave for the weekend I will probably bring some sort of food along in case my host doesn’t like breakfast or I know there will be a long break between meals.

3. Sleep is our favorite thing

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I love sleep. I used to be a champion napper. Now, there aren’t as many opportunities for me to nap, but if I get one I am not about to lose it.  To be quite honest, I pretty jealous that Thor gets to nap whenever he feels like it.

4. I like being comfortable

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Maybe it is because I am tall, but I hate being cramped or uncomfortable. Sometimes that means stretching my legs out by hanging them out a car window. Sometimes that means putting my legs along the top of the couch. Thor gets it, just look at him.

5. I want you to pay attention when I’m telling you something

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One of my biggest pet peeves is when I start telling you something and you stop listening. Just please pay attention to me when I’m talking to you. Thor is the same way. We are working on the training thing, but right now when he wants your attention he barks at you until he gets it.

Do you see what I am talking about? He is clearly my dog. Seriously, we even look alike. We have the same smile. Look:

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Riding Outside the Lines

Everyone wants to leave their mark on the world, and last week I got my chance.

Last weekend I got the incredible opportunity to leave my mark on Wausau, WI. I was one of 20 artists that were chosen to participate in a four-day mural competition. My proposal was to be created on The Glass Hat, a really cool, artsy bar that is actually pretty historic, being established in the late 1800’s. Little to say I was STOKED. I had so many cool ideas to make a really cool mural that would play on the brick of the building and the love of old 1950’s bikes of the owner, all while looking like the thing had been there for years. And although I felt very confident, I mean I painted in college and placed in the city’s annual Chalkfest just two months earlier (read more here), I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

For starters it’s a mural. That thing is there literally until the building becomes too old and collapses or the owner decides they hate it and paints over it…which leads us to the second major freak out…what happens if the owner of The Hat (what us cool kids call The Glass Hat, that’s right I’m cool) doesn’t like it. Neither of these problems really hit me until one in the morning, the night before the competition, after I sent the owner my third design, to none of which she seemed overly excited for. The fear that I may do all this work to have it painted over the next week was REAL.

From that everything just started to seem like the end of the world: I hadn’t bought my paint yet and the contest was literally starting; I couldn’t take off an extended time off of work; people were probably finishing theirs’ day one and I wouldn’t get a chance to start; I was an idiot and signed up for a 5k in the middle of the contest in a city a half an hour away; I had no ladder to even reach the wall I was painting…you get the picture…there was a lot of panicking.

I was in it though. Maybe not “in it to win it,” but I was not bailing no mater how freaked out I was. Before I knew it, it was Thursday—

DAY 1:

Part of me wasn’t even planning on starting on the first day: I didn’t have a ladder, it was suppose to storm, and I wasn’t getting off of work till 5:00pm. Then on my walk to work, at ten in the morning, I saw people working…some looked to be almost half way through. So I decided to put on my big girl pants, find a ladder and get sometime down. Turns out 5ft plus 4ft is not enough to work on an almost 8’x8′ mural; but I somehow got my corners plotted for the piece.

DAY 2:

Come Day 2, I was just determined to get my frame and backwash in. Luckily another of my wonderful friends lent me a second ladder, this one 6 feet tall. Things got a lot easier and I only kinda felt like I was going to die…however not long after starting, a co-worker appeared, made fun of me for being a klutz, and then reappears with a 14 foot ladder. At the end of the day I stepped back feeling confident in my new ladder and accomplishing what I set out to accomplish…and then I looked around. Seeing the murals already finished or coming together from my fellow artists sent me into yet another panic; but the sun was setting and there was a Friday fish-fry calling my name.

DAY 3:

So remember how I said that I signed up for a 5k in the middle of this contest like a crazy person…well I ran it, rocked it (kinda, I finished), and then sped back to Wausau to start my mural at almost 3:00pm. I was so behind all the other artists. Here I was with my box as this just beautiful portrait sits finished to my right and a friggin galaxy is being created on my left. The panic was back and in full force.

Don’t worry though, I had the help and support of my boyfriend to get me through. And by help, he brought be water, carried the ladder, and then sat out in the sun with his Game Boy Advance playing Pokemon literally the entire time…

By the end of the day, I was completely exhausted. Running 3 miles and then climbing a ladder all day in the hot sun isn’t really a fun thing (killed that Weekend Warrior challenge though). I was, however, feeling better about the wall. With the text and base coat down for my subject matter, an early morning of touch-ups and finalizing the background seemed very accomplish-able.21706006_10156587204579392_548567725_o

DAY 4 — FINAL DAY OF CONTEST:

You know all those times you say you are going to get an early start on something and then just don’t? These were not one of those times. HA. In all honesty, day four was just a cake walk. Something just clicked and the piece just fell together.

Somehow, even being behind the ENTIRE WEEKEND, I was one of the artists that actually finished by the 1:00pm deadline. The next two hours the participants got to walk around, see the other murals, and then vote for our favorites. Finally the time came to announce the top three…and I was not one of them, however both pieces on either side of me were which was really cool because both defiantly deserved the awards. To see all of the murals and read more on the event, check out this photo album and story my super cool reporter friend put together: here.

In the end I didn’t care. Yes, it would have been nice to win; but I made something I was really, really happy with, and that the owner was even more happy with than I. I made something that is going to be there forever (well I hope forever). Just a week later, the weekend has already opened up new doors for me through the new, amazing people I met. It has reminded how much I love to paint, and continues to remind me how much I love this community and the opportunities it has given me to push myself to be a better self.

With that: all the days of planning, 3 ladders, 100 dollars in painting supplies, and 16 hours hanging out in alley next to The Glass Hat…here’s the final piece. 21706407_10156587206769392_746601408_o

 

I would also like to take the time to thank all the wonderful, amazing, and inspirational people that made this weekend possible:
  • First and foremost both Gisy and Downtown Wausau’s River District for creating this awesome experience
  • John from Hallman Lindsay’s “Ask an Expert” and everyone from that store who put up with my multiple stop-ins for paint and supplies
  • Lora, Blake, Penny, and Mike for all lending me their ladders…sorry for the one’s I haven’t returned yet…
  • Joey for carrying said ladders; bringing me food, water, soda, coffee; putting up with all my craziness; and getting sunburned just to cheer me on
  • Everyone who helped out during the event to provide entertainment, make sure we are fed, and offer their buildings to be painted…you all rock.
  • Everyone who came by to say hello and check out the event, especially those who donated (and voted for me…kidding)
  • Finally all the artists who donated their time to such a cool and unforgettable experience
  • Also to all of you that took the time to read my story 🙂

Never stop
RIDING OUTSIDE THE LINES.

Think Big

My New Zoo, McGrew Zoo,
will make people talk.
My New Zoo, McGrew Zoo,
will make people gawk
At the strangest odd creatures
that ever did walk.
I’ll get, for my zoo,
a new sort-of-a-hen
Who roosts in another hen’s
topknot, and then
Another one roosts
in the topknot of his,
And another in his,
and another in HIS,
And so forth and upward
and onward, gee whiz!
-If Ran the Zoo

Decorating Your Apartment

 

 

It’s that time of the year again. Leases are coming to an end and hopefully you find that perfect apartment… now what?  If you were like me, then decorating your own can be very intimating.  I went from living in a closet in a house with five guys to owning a five room apartment all by myself. However somehow (thanks to all the advice requested by my friends), I must have pulled it off. Here are some of my tips (I’m so modest guys) that anyone can use when starting their new life away from home in a new apartment.

You find yourself buying things for the first time.  Shower curtains, sofas, microwaves… so many things you didn’t know you needed.  And then there are things that you don’t need, but it makes living three hours away from your family and friends feel more like home.

Let’s start with the things you need.  There are a few things you need to sort out before buying these things; like what will fit in your apartment, how long you will be living in this place, what you already have, and your budget.  Budget.  You are a new adult with a crappy paying job and loans to pay back, (who needs to eat) it’s okay to be cheap!  There are some really great things you can get for almost no money at all! Thrift shops are wonderful!  With that though, there are a few things to know.  NOT ALL THINGS SHOULD BE BOUGHT USED.  Trust me, sometimes it’s just gross.  Sofa with a slight rip in a cushion for $15.00 from Goodwill.  Good!  Buy that!  A microwave for $30.00 that you found on your college’s “Free or Sale” Page… don’t do that.  It is probably smelly and will break three weeks later.  So things to buy used.  Big furniture items: sofas, chairs, cabinets, tables, bookshelves, desks, etc… Things not to buy used. Appliances, microwaves, beds, shower curtains, towels….aka things that are need to be sanitary, or electric, or you eat off of…just spend the extra money on it. In the long run you will be be happier.

Next, how long you will be there.  This one is actually pretty easy.  Chances are, your first place right out of college will not be the place you grow old in.  With that, don’t sweat over getting stuff that will last.  Temporary.  You need decent, temporary items.  On the other hand you are also living in this place for probably a year or two…so it should still feel like home. I have been in my apartment now for almost two years, and that $15 sofa is doing great! Will it make it out of this apartment…nope…it will die on the street when I leave, or will go to some other poor, recent post-grad.

That brings us to the next part of apartment decoration, the actual decorating part of it. This is your space.  Go crazy in it.  That weird Narwhal thing you made in that art class you pretended to take? Um, that’s cool as shit.  Put that on display.  That reading corner you wanted to try on Pinterest…there’s a corner.  Those tins you found at a garage sale?  Cute as hell, and makes it look like you cook with cool things. Win win.

 

There are little things that will help brighten any apartment, and make it feel more like home.  You can start with flowers.  Such a simple thing.  You need three things: a vase, water, and flowers…actually scratch that, you don’t even need a vase. That stein you got from that one beer-fest you don’t remember? Great. Use that. But I digress…flowers. They come in all different kinds, you can get them almost anywhere, you can even grow them yourself.  Actually just do that. Potted plants are wonderful. That little bit of responsibility is very rewarding to see how they grow, and this little guy needs you.  Needs you to care for, water, and talk to when you both get lonely.  In return he gives you oxygen!  Who needs to open windows when you have that? Another really easy quick decorating tool is wall art.  Whether you are a painter or like funny posters, get something on those walls!  It’s a quick fix to dull walls if you can’t paint!  It’s all in the details. Fill your shelves and walls with things that make you happy, things from your past, things you want to become.

 

Put in the extra time to make your apartment something you are proud of. You will start to understand why us 24 year-olds start to spend Friday nights in our pajamas rather than at the bars…

Make your place yours. It will make you feel more at home in this new city you have settled in; which can be a really scary, lonely process. The small things matter. Even that plant.

Like Nike.

So I am not going to poetically dodge around the point of this post: put yourself out there.

Is there something that you have always wanted to do? Do it. This is the best time to pick up a skill, try something new, and just break out of your shell! Gonna keep this really short and sweet…

This past weekend I entered my city’s Chalkfest. I spent almost ten hours in the beating sun, trying to draw on a city sidewalk, getting shown up by kids literally half my age (yes, I am talking about you 12-year-old, lake landscape kid)…and know what? It was awesome.

I had just an amazing time. I had received so much support: from my friends who brought me water throughout the day, the fellow artists that gave me tips to actually make my chalk stick to the pavement, and then the support of just strangers, stopping on their rounds to say a few kind words or take a picture, say hello…it was unreal.

What I’m trying to say, if you are debating anything. Picking up an instrument, joining a sport, entering a chalkfest…get out and do it. You won’t regret it.

This is our time to get out there and show the world what we got! We are awesome.

That is all.

Coping with Literally Everything

You know how you said you were stressed in college?  Like I have a paper, lab report, painting and video project all due on the same day?  Yeah.  It sucks.  Like literally.  Nothing more stressful than that, right?  WRONG.

It will only get worse.  Now it’s launching an new season, juggling a long distance relationship, insanely long nights in the office, and right when you think you are getting a grip on everything, losing a loved-one. Not to mention you aren’t simply letting yourself down if you fail, you may be letting down an entire organization.

Okay that is just me, but we all know that feeling.  It’s finding a job, or keeping your job.  Paying loans, bills and your car that has decided that now is the time to break.  It’s family, friends, work…or not having those things.  It’s hard.

But before you decide that you give up and you’re staying in college forever, hear me out.  It doesn’t always have to be a bad thing; stress can be your friend.

It is proven that stress can act as a burst of energy.  Thus this burst can be a great push to get your gears in motion and motivate you to be productive!  I can say that some of my best work has been done when I am under tight time constraints.  The trick is staying on top of your stress, not letting it over-whelm you, and guess who has some tricks for you…this gal.

Breathe.

It sounds cheesy, but it works.  So don’t knock until you try it.  Feel stressed at work, during an exam, taking care of your kid that won’t stop crying?  Just sit up straight, close your eyes, open up your chest and take three deep breaths.  If you are like me with three different inhalers, maybe you can multi-task.

Take a Break.

If breathing doesn’t work, TAKE A BREAK.  This can be as small as taking a quick lap around the office to planning a weekend away in another city.  Reward yourself for your hard work and turn your brain off for a second.  Watch that extra episode of your favorite Netflix show, treat yourself to a bath, take that extra second getting up in the morning… anything that can keep you relaxed and your stress down.

Exercise.

Yes, yes another cliché and if you are like me that is always the last thing on your mind.  But you ever hear anything called a runner’s high?  Exercising makes you happy!  You don’t have to go on a three mile run.  Gross.  Who wants to do that?  And if you do can you teach me your ways?  Kidding.  Kinda.  But you don’t have to do a serious workout. Go on a walk, dance around like an idiot, go outside and try to catch a squirrel… just get movin’!

Don’t Self-Medicate.

Let me better explain.  Don’t self-medicate with BAD things.  Drugs, alcohol, putting Burt’s Bees on your eyelids…that’s bad, don’t do that.  Commonly the effects of these drugs will actually make you more stressed.  Yes even the Marijuana.  Listen to your D.A.R.E classes, kids.  Instead look into positive alternatives.  Looking to do some deep breathing?  Try yoga, it’s relaxing and is kinda the king of stress-relief.  They even let you nap at the end!  Thirsty?  Make some tea.  It’s good for you and will boost your immune system which stress can take a toll at.  Looking to put something on your eye-lids…really just don’t.  It was a bad time for our world’s youth.  Literally do anything else besides that.

Wake Up Early.

Get up an hour earlier than you do, or even a half an hour.  It opens up so much more time to your day, allowing you to be more productive.  Eat breakfast before you go to work, take the long way on your walk to class, or even just get there early and knock another thing off that list. It’s the morning!  Embrace it!  You are refreshed.  You don’t have a bad day hanging over you preventing you from being motivated.

Reach Out.

Truth is we are all confused, and stressed, and depressed, and feel like we are alone in this world.  But guess what.  We aren’t.  There are a million people that are just like you that would love to help.  Just venting or getting things off your chest can feel so freeing, and will help you relax.  Plus people have advice.  Good advice!  Take it!

Let it go.

Don’t let stress control your life.  It will pass.  But sometimes it won’t.  At that point you may have to realize it just isn’t worth it.  This can come in so many forms.  A bad habit, a destructive relationship, a job that you aren’t happy with… sometimes you are just better off without them.  That’s a lie.  Always you are better off without them.  Take care of yourself and you will feel better.  Also, you have Frozen stuck in your head? I do.

Stress is a part of life.  But by staying on top of it and transforming it into a positive energy, you can to it all.