7 Unique Restaurants in Milwaukee

Anyone else an uber foodie like me? I love food. And dining out. Oh, and eating. I love it all, and have eaten my way around Milwaukee. In the process, I have stumbled across some very unique restaurants. Here is my little list:

  1. Elsa’s on the Park: Elsa’s always has an amazingly interesting art installation on one huge wall in their restaurant. Need I say more on the matter of it being unique?
  2. Safehouse: You need a secret password to get into this restaurant. Yup, you read that right. You’ll enter in through their discreet alley side door and upon entering, a couple of their employees will ask for the secret password. If you don’t know it, then it’s some embarrassing act to perform for you!
  3. Kopp’s Frozen Custard: Kopp’s offers jumbo burgers and tasty custard. But that’s not what makes them unique (at least not in Milwaukee). They’ve got a huge waterfall on their patio area at one of their locations, and if that doesn’t do it for ya, there’s a row of life size cows in the parking lot at another location. Moo.
  4. Ian’s Pizza: Not only is Ian’s Pizza extremely tasty, but they also serve gigantic NY style slices with all kinds of toppings offered from macaroni and cheese to cheesy potatoes. Yum!
  5. Odd Duck: Odd Duck is a really cute spot in the Bayview neighborhood serving small plates. This is so you can try a few of their dishes and not just one! What an interesting concept.
  6. Sobelman’s: Bloody Mary’s anyone? Sobelman’s is known not only for their gigantic burgers but also for putting their big burgers, brats, and hell a whole fried chicken in their bloodies. You gotta see it to believe it!
  7. Centraal Grand Cafe & Tappery: How to describe this cafe’s unique ambience? It kinda feels like you stepped into a tropical France, but the decor is oh so subtle. Did I mention they also have a gazillion beers on tap?!

Get out there and be amazed with all this unique awesomeness in Milwaukee!

Seven Myths of Traveling

I’m sure we’ve all heard other people’s opinions on traveling, and why some simply don’t do it. I’m here to break down these common misconceptions about traveling and show that while there may be some truths to these ideas about traveling, they’re for the most part not true!

Myth Number 1: Traveling is Expensive I could go on and on about this topic, and I feel like this is the top reason why many people limit their traveling to once a year or less. So, yes, you do need to save some money for a trip. But, in today’s age, there are so many resources out there to save you money while traveling! From smartphone apps, to coupons, to cheap home rentals, this excuse just doesn’t hold up very much anymore. And, when traveling, stick to a budget like you would with anything else, try to only spend money on things you really want to experience-or can’t experience back home. Your wallet will thank you!

Myth Number 2: A Plane Ride is the Only Way to Travel Try not to limit yourselves to strictly traveling by plane. This is usually more expensive (ahem, number 1) and you miss out on getting to see a lot of awesome sights along the way if you were to say travel by car or train instead.

Myth Number 3: You Have No Time to Travel Another one that I hear people say often. We travel several times through out the year. Some trips are a week long, some are longer weekends, while others are shorter weekend getaways. The point is that, if the wanderlust is there, you will find a way to get away from your day to day duties and go traveling.

Myth Number 4: You Need an SUV to Have Room for Your Belongings This is so not the case. We travel in a Toyota Camry and it allows us to have plenty of space for all that we need. Mind you, there’s only two of us, but we are able to pack plenty of clothes, food, supplies, and all our camping gear. Be creative with the space you have with a sedan and you may surprise yourself.

Myth Number 5: You’ll be Forced to Dine Out Every Meal I’m with you-it’s so nice to have someone else cook your meals and take care of all the clean up so you can have a more relaxing trip. However, this will rack up your food bill for the trip, as well as add to the scale once you get back home. To avoid this, plan out at least a few meals for your trip, and go shopping for all that you’ll need before you leave. Sometimes it’s just as nice to have an intimate meal at your ‘home’ on vacay.

Myth Number 6: Traveling is Dangerous I’m not going to argue and say that this is false. Because, yup, accidents happen to some people while traveling. The best advice I can give you is to use common sense and to not read everything you hear in the news. We visited Detroit a couple years ago, and came back home unscathed. It’s best to use common sense and stick to activities you’re comfortable with while traveling to avoid danger.

Myth Number 7: Foreign Traveling Conquers All This is another myth that makes me wince. Especially if you’re an American-there’s SO much to explore in your own country! Don’t discount all the adventures you can have right outside your door.

I hope you’ll break free of these myths now and travel more. Don’t let what I listed above keep you from traveling as often as possible.

6 Awesome Restaurants in Atlanta

We finally got to visit Atlanta last year and it was awesome! There are tons of activities to do here along with a lot of cool restaurants. I wish we got to try them all, but here are some awesome spots we ate at that I definitely recommend trying:

  1. Lee’s Bakery: We snagged some chicken wings along with a huge bowl of Pho here. Our meal was affordable, filling, and delish.
  2. The Varsity: Another affordable spot serving yummy bites of hamburgers and hot dogs. There are several locations in Atlanta so there’s bound to be one nearby wherever you are in the city.
  3. Vortex: Another awesome spot serving wild and crazy burger dishes! Their burgers come in huge stacks and are super tasty.
  4. The Yard: There are very few locations of this dessert restaurant in the U.S. They have one right in Atlanta so we stopped in to try the ‘Cookie Monster’. What we got was a decadent milkshake, with ice cream, chocolate syrup, & chocolate chip cookies. They’ve got all kinds of different styles of milkshakes here-it’s a must try spot!
  5. Two Urban Licks: We went here for a nice dinner one night and it was such a great choice because this place is amazing! The food and cocktails were superb and the ambience was outta this world-romantic, chic, and modern, and cozy!
  6. Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House: This isn’t just your average Chick-Fil-A. They have special additions to their menu that you can ONLY find at this location, plus they really do have a dwarf door on the front of their building that you can walk in. It’s awesome!

There you have it-my restaurant recs for Atlanta for all you foodies out there. Enjoy the grub!

What to Know Before Your First Camping Trip: 20 Useful Tips

So you want to start going on camping trips, huh? You’re at the right place, my friend. My fiance and I happen to be expert campers. We’ve been going on camping trips since we started dating 4.5 years ago and we get better and better at it every year. There’s a lot we’ve learned along the way, and I’d love to share all the useful tips with you about what to expect, what to avoid, and how to be prepared for your first camping trip-whether it’s a weekend getaway or a longer trip you’re wanting to take. We do strictly tent camping for now so that’s what my advice will cater to primarily, but these are generally great pieces of advice for any kind of campers.

Tip #1: Don’t bother bringing firewood with you This is actually a rule at almost every campground out there. This is because by bringing in firewood from some other location, you may be bringing in invasive species to the woods you’re camping in. It’s a big no no. The good news is that most places will sell you a bundle of firewood for a few dollars.

Tip #2: Some campgrounds don’t allow fires If this seems weird and downright stupid to you, then you’re not alone. This isn’t too common of a rule, but I have come across some campgrounds that don’t allow this. I am assuming it is a safety precaution. My advice with this is to keep shopping for a different place, as this is the major way to cook and of course to enjoy the evenings, amiright?

Tip #3: You’re gonna want to reserve a site with water & electric When reserving a site, you’ll see some sites marked as ‘primitive’. This is essentially for backpackers and you won’t have access to a water pump nor will there be any electric outlets. While I can appreciate roughing it and being one with nature and all, being without these two luxuries will inhibit you from having a successful camping trip-trust me.

Tip #4: Make sure they offer showers You’ll also come along campgrounds that don’t have any showers for their guests. Again, you don’t want to be roughing it to this extreme. You’ll be miserable, stinky, and feel super gross if you skip showering your whole trip.

Tip #5: Wifi isn’t guaranteed and shouldn’t be a necessity If you find a campground that offers wi-fi, then awesome! However, this is rare, and I definitely wouldn’t search high and low for one that offers this. It simply isn’t something you need for camping. Take screenshots on your phone, or print things off for anything you may need for your trip ahead of time.

Tip #6: Make sure you can park on site Some places make you park in a lot and then walk to your campsite…along with ALL of your belongings. You do NOT want to have to haul the cooler, tent, canopy, chairs, etc. to your campsite.

Tip #7: Always keep the tent zipped closed Along with debris getting in your tent, little critters of all sorts will also find their way in your tent when you’re not looking. Keep that sucker closed up at absolutely all times, or else you could wake up covered in a million mosquito bites- or worse.

Tip #8: Be mindful of the weather Book your trip with the weather in mind. If it’s going to be very cold or very hot at night, you’re likely to not get a wink of sleep!

Tip #9: Always wear Bugspray Just because mosquitos aren’t buzzing around you doesn’t mean you won’t get bit-by something. You won’t be able to spot a tick dropping from a tree and making their way over to you. It’s a good habit to always have some spray on you.

Tip #10: Put away food securely This means food, food wrappers, and even food still in their packages. You can throw your trashbag in your car’s trunk at night or go ahead and take it to the campground’s dump. For all other items, you should put them away in your vehicle, or the metal boxes at the campgrounds. This is not only for pests such as raccoons and birds, but especially for wildcats and bears looking for a meal while you’re sleeping or away from your site for a while.

Tip #11: Private vs Public Campgrounds This can be argued for both sides which type of campground is better, but I personally think a public campground is overall the best option when camping. Public ones are state or nationally owned and private are all others- ‘Ashley & Nathan’s Campground’ for example. Private is usually nicer, cleaner, and more updated (although not always) but they also can come with more rules such as earlier quiet time. I would read through the rules to decide which is right for you.

Tip #12: Flush Toilets and Pit Toilets Most campgrounds have flush toilets or a combination of the two. Just beware when choosing your specific site if there’s restrooms close by which kind they are. I’d have to go pretty damn bad to use pit-I’m just sayin’.

Tip #13: Be cautious when picking up wood When picking up firewood (or anything on the ground), look around the pile and give the log you’re eying up a little nudge. There’s sometime spiders or even mice found in the piles or hanging out on the logs and they might bite you. I’ve encountered both spiders and mice but no bites, thankfully. If you want to be extra cautious, wear gloves when grabbing the wood.

Tip #14: You will need to bring all your toiletries: The campground will provide toilet paper, but likely nothing else. You should bring your own shampoo and conditioner, soap, facewash, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.

Tip #15: The more amenities included, the higher the price You’ll run into a resort style campgrounds with the privtae ones. They’ll offer anything from waterslides, to horshoes and other games. These are nice but makes for a pricier camping trip, so just keep that in mind.

Tip #16: Speed Limit The speed limit at camprgounds is very slow. They literally want you to creep through the property to get to your site. If you break their rules, they can kick you out.

Tip #17: Arrive before dark to set up Be conscientious of how long it takes to get to the camprgound for your first night. You don’t want to set everything up in the dark with nothing but a flashlight.

Tip #18: Set up the tent first Setting up your campsite can be overwhelming so what I’d suggest is setting up your tent first! This will allow you to set everything up that goes in the tent next, and will leave all other supplies (chairs, canopy, cookware) for last.

Tip #19: Shop for supplies before you leave Don’t put off a shoping trip for when you arrive. It’s much better to do all or the majority of your shopping for supplies and food before you leave in your own town. You know where to go, you know where everything is in the stores you usually go to. You’ll be at a disadvantage if you wait til you arrive at the location of your camping trip, plus it’s a time consuming activity when you should be relaxing or doing fun stuff!

Tip #20: 2 night minimum some campgrounds may require you to book at least 2 nights in a row on weekends or on or near a major holiday-just like hotels. If you’re only exploring one area for your trip, then it won’t be a problem. But if you’re like us who hop around on trips to different areas, this could cause an issue. Try to pick the area you want to do the most exploring for a weekend stay so you won’t have that problem.

A lot of these tips come down to really one thing, and that is: read the fine print! Be very conscientious of the rules as every single campground has got ’em- whether they’re public or privately owned. The idea of a camping trip is to travel without many luxuries but not to the point that you’re robbing yourself of basic human needs. Enjoy the outdoors but by all means be prepared to the max. Happy camping!

Where to Go for Breakfast in Milwaukee

Out of the two of us, Nate is more of the breakfast person in our relationship. I like a good plate of eggs, bacon, and crispy hash browns though and can’t deny a good breakfast spot so I’ve put together a list of our favorite breakfast restaurants in Milwaukee.

Blue’s Egg: This is a bit nicer of a place than your average breakfast diner. And the food is kiss-your-lips-with-the-tips-of-your-fingers-worthy.

Ma Fischer’s: This is an awesome spot on the east side of Milwaukee. It may appear a little divey-but doesn’t that make for the best restaurants sometimes?

Mad Rooster: This spot is ALWAYS packed with a long wait time, but you can hop on the Yelp app to put yourself in line so you don’t have to wait at the restaurant necessarily. Oh, and it’s totally worth the wait.

Build-A-Breakfast: They serve lunch here, too, where the name changes to ‘Build-A-Burger’ but I’ve only been here for breakfast and I’m here to confirm it’s delish!

Michael’s Family Restaurant: While this is a small space with not much to look at, their tasty breakfast definitely delivers!

Bruegger’s Bagels: I usually shy away from chains, but this place is just too good. Their bagels are top notch with a lot of awesome choices.

Grebe’s Bakery: They offer all kinds of deli food here, but what you really wanna snag here is their donuts, because they are outta this world!

If you’re in the mood for pizza or dessert, then check out these posts as well!

The Best Outdoor Adventures in Arkansas

While Arkansas lacks in having a major metropolitan city, it makes up for it in amazing outdoor adventures. There are endless outdoor activities to take part in in this state, but I’ve compiled a list of the absolute best!

Crater of Diamonds State Park southwest You can actually come here and dig for real life diamonds!! It’s a state park in the middle of no where southern Arkansas but it’s worth the trip out to dig for a few hours. While it’s likely you may not find anything worthwhile, the experience in itself you can’t beat!

My get rich quick scheme

Float the Buffalo River northwest This is an amazing experience that you must add to your list. You can rent a canoe at any one of the local stores in the area and paddle your little heart out all day. The views of the cliffs above are breathtaking.

Paddle time

Mt. Nebo State Park northwest Another hidden gem in the northwest part of the state. They’ve got several pretty views and awesome hiking trails here.

Mt. Magazine State Park northwest close to Mt. Nebo, Mt Magazine offers even more fantastic views. You can also reach the highest point in AR on a trail here.

Head in the clouds always

Big Dam Bridge central Right over the Arkansas River there is a huge bridge Little Rock citizens go to for recreation and exercising. It’s so fun and offers the best river views.

River gazing

The Old Mill central This is a spot right out of a fairy tale. There’s a mill of course, gardens, wooden bridges, water fountains and it’s all right in the city of Little Rock. It was even a film location for Gone with the Wind!

Call me Scarlett

Pinnacle Mountain State Park central Lots of hiking is to be had at this state park. It can be a little scary climbing the top of the mountain but the view at the top is totally amazing!

The tippity top

Emerald Park central Another awesome spot right in the city of Little Rock, this is a city parking that offers easy hiking trails with awesome views of the Arkansas River.

Down by the river

Petit Jean State Park central There a some rigorous hiking trails here but ones that lead to beautiful waterfalls, caves, and scenic views.

Cavin’

Hot Springs National Park central This is an awesome National Park filled with history, hiking, and even bathhouses on ‘Bathhouse Row’! It’s amazing and you can’t miss it if you’re planning a trip to AR.

HSNP ❤

If you didn’t notice, I added a lot of spots on here located in central Arkansas as well as northwest Arkansas so be sure to check out my other posts if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful state. Mega book nerd like me? Then you’ll also want to check out this post. You’re welcome.

All the Bars to go to for Your 21st Birthday in Milwaukee

When I turned 21, I did not live in Milwaukee at the time. I wish I would have though, because let me tell ya there are some *perfect* bars to add to your route of your 21st birthday bar crawl here in Miltown. All the bars in Milwaukee are pretty cool, but allow me to lay it out for you which bars are a must for your fun night of legal drinking.

City Lounge Southside: City Lounge is a hidden gem on the south side of Milwaukee. They’ve got a DJ, dance floor, large seating area, and reasonably priced drinks.

Belmont Tavern Downtown: Located near Cathedral Square, this is must to hit up because of alllll the aesthetics. It really is a friggin awesomely decorated bar.

Blackbird Bar Bayview: Another hidden gem. This is on my list because it’s such a cool, quaint bar but with big booths for a small party. And because Bayview.

Trinity Downtown: I’ve had many a fun night at Trinity. They have a DJ and dance floor here with booths off to the side. There’s actually three bars total connected here so it’s a huge space.

Red White & Blue Downtown: This place is huge! It’s got a big bar and an even bigger dance floor. It’s always a fun spot!

McGillycuddy’s Downtown: This is another big bar with lots of seating. It’s on popular Water Street and is always lively.

Who’s on Third Downtown: Located on Old World Third Street amongst a row of bars, Who’s is a great place to grab some delicious bar food and a shot!

Harp Downtown: Harp has all the best vibes especially in the summer. It’s a popular spot right on the Milwaukee River and has a dock for boats, too.

Victor’s Downtown: This is an underhyped bar, as it doesn’t shine along with the other more well-known bars downtown, but it’s a blast!

Flannery’s Downtown: Flannery’s has two different areas, the bar and then the dance floor in the back with another bar. It’s more low key compared to the other bars in the area but a must to add to your list!

I’m sure I left some awesome bars out on this list as there are so many amazing bars in Milwaukee. This should get you started and make for a super fun and memorable (or maybe not) night!

7 Tips for a Family Vacation

Thinking of embarking on a vacation with the whole fam soon? I think that’s a great idea! But I also think you should put some thought into some do’s and dont’s before you hit ‘book vacation’. A couple years ago, Nate and I went on a family vacation to Cape Cod and Niagara Falls with his parents and siblings and while we got to see some awesome stuff, there’s definitely some things we learned along the way. Here’s my suggestions below…

  1. Limit the Number of People: The word ‘family’ can be a broad term so let’s just stick to immediate family as far as who will be going on this trip with you. So that would be parents and siblings and their S/O’s. Any more than that would be mega stressful I can imagine. There were 7 of us on our family trip and that was plenty! The more people you have, the more people you have to consider and keep track of.
  2. To Fly or to Drive: Now that you’ve got your number of people decided on, how are you going to get there? We drove on ours and it took two days and two cars to get to our destination. Looking back, I would say it would be more expensive, but also more efficient to fly instead. This is because you have to stop so many times with that many people for breaks, as well as for gas with that many cars and hours on the road. It makes getting there even more of a lengthy drive. If your family is small-choose the car and hit the road. If it’s a big group-fly baby, fly.
  3. This is No Time for Spontaneity: Leave last minute decisions and activities at home, people. When you’re traveling with X amount of people, you’re going to want to plan out EVERYTHING and thus get all your tickets and seats purchased ahead of time.
  4. Speak Up: Don’t be afraid to tell the group if there’s something you want to see or do while on your trip. As long as you say so ahead of time (see Tip #3), then it should be fair game for anyone who wants to add in an activity. This is your vacation, too.
  5. Find Alone Time: If your family doesn’t go for that activity you want to do, then this would be a great opportunity to do something alone. You’ll get sick of each other if you spend every waking minute together. Spending at least a day or evening apart on a multi-day trip is no big deal and it will give you a breather from the group.
  6. You Don’t Have to Stay the Whole Time: Is this a week long trip as opposed to a long weekend getaway? If so, be part of the vacation for as long as you feel comfortable. Whether it be because you can’t get away from work, or you’re concerned with spending that much time together with everyone, I’m sure your family will understand if you can only stay for part of the time. I’ll bet they would rather you do that than not come at all, so don’t feel obligated to stay the whole week.
  7. Discuss Your Financial Contribution: This can be brought up when everyone is talking activities to do on the trip, but I would definitely ask what your expectations are so you can budget accordingly. Are you paying for one part of the whole trip, only your needs, or nothing at all? However y’all work it out, I would at least have some kind of idea of what you’ll be spending.

There you have it! Those are my best tips to offer you if you’re planning a family vacation. The most important thing to do of course is to have fun and make memories!

9 of the Best Local Pizza Spots in Milwaukee

What’s your favorite food? Mine is pizza! I could it eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have decided to pair together two of my loves in life: blogging and pizza. Read below for some of the best pizza Milwaukee has to offer!

  1. Pizza Shuttle: Located on the east side of Milwaukee, this is a great spot to stop in after a night of drinking as they’re open uber late. You can order a whole pie to yourself or ask for a slice or two instead.

2. Ian’s Pizza: Another spot open late but only ont he weekends and they also offer pizza by the slice here. They get real creative with their toppings, too. Oh, and their slices are HUGE but thin like NY style!

3. Balistreri’s Pizza: If you love a greasy, garlicy pizza then Balistreri’s is your spot. I, for one am obsessed with garlic so I love the pizza here!

4. Riverfront Pizzeria: The amazing pizza here is matched with an amazing ambience. They’re located right on the Milwaukee River so if you sit outside you’ll get some beautiful views while you dine.

5. Organ Piper Pizza: This is a buffet spot so it’s very family friendly. They’ve got delicious pizza and a fun game room, what more does one need?

6. Glass Nickel Pizza: Glass Nickel is probably the best local pizza restaurant in all of Milwaukee! It’s so delicious, with thick, doughy crust, crispy toppings, and the perfect combo of flavors. Heart eyes for dayssss.

7. Jet’s Pizza: Another awesome spot that presents their pies in squares. Just go with it-you won’t be disappointed!

8. Mamma Mia’s: This is an Italian restaurant offering much more than just pizza but they’re pizza is legit so if you’re not sure what to order here go with the za for sure.

9. NYPD Pizza: Another great spot open late and perfect after hitting up some bars downtown. Their crust is a bit on the thin side but their pies are delicious!

I take my pizza with thick crust and pepperoni-so very classic (and boring) but hey I like what I like. Check out my other post 13 of the Best Casual Restaurants in Milwaukee for more restaurant recommendations in Milwaukee.

Relocating South: What to Know Before You Go

Do you currently live in a northern US state and looking to head south? Before you relocate, there are a few topics we need to discuss so that you’re fully prepared and happy with your decision of heading down to the dirty south. I live in the north now, but I lived in the south for 22 years of my life. Here’s my list of tips, advice, and what to think about:

Fashion is delayed Certain fashion and hairstyle trends for men and women may appear to be a bit delayed in the south. The look on a lot of people will seem so ‘last season’. I’m not sure why this is, and it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone who lives in the south. By moving from a northern state, you may have the best style around! Speaking of fashion, people also tend to dress a little more modest and may gawk if you don’t. Individualism and expression with style is harder to find as well. People in the south are more comfortable blending in with their neighbor than standing out.

You’ll See Churches with Different Sects of Christianity Popular sects of Christianity in the south are Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal to name a few. It may be more difficult to find a church or religion that hold your beliefs here, as they differ from those of the north.

There are Dry Counties and Hours It’s very common for stores to stop selling booze by a certain hour of the day, not at all on Sunday, or even not at all in a particular county. They call them ‘dry counties’. If you’re one who enjoys a drink fairly often, I’d look up any possible dry counties in your state of interest.

All the Bugs! The summers here are much longer and therefore the bugs and insects hang around outside-or inside-for more months out of the year. Stock up on bug spray, and it would definitely behoove you to invest in a dehumidifier (thank me later). You’ll also see a lot of different species of bugs that are larger, and with wings!

Marrying Young It’s also common in the southern states to marry young-some people right out of high school even. The south gives a whole new meaning to ‘high school sweethearts’. It’s simply a way of life for some people there. I know several old classmates from high school who married the person they were dating at the time.

Long Summers As I mentioned earlier, a southern summer is long and hot. It starts getting warm here and there in March and you won’t see a chilly day until about November. In my personal opinion, it’s pretty rad that it starts warming up in March but honestly by October you’re ready for it to cool off and you still got about another month to go! Also, the summers aren’t quite as enjoyable as the temp can reach 100 degrees in July and August. Whew!

No A/C is in fact the end of the World Because the summers here are so hot, you’re gonna want to take central and car air conditioning quite seriously. It is possible to get a heat stroke and it sure makes it hard to sleep at night in the relentless heat. Most homes and cars will come equipped with this amenity, but be sure you don’t waste time getting it repaired if something breaks!

There’s a Lot of Strays People have pets here, sure but what isn’t as common is people spaying their animals, and they let them roam outside more often in an unfenced yard. That makes for a lot more stray cats and dogs than what you might see in other parts of the country. This always saddens me; I hate seeing all those babies without a home.

The Job Market This varies from state to state but there are a lot of industries hiring in the south. And a lot that aren’t. Trades and tech degrees and certificates seem to go a long way here, whereas 4 year arts degrees aren’t as thriving in the south. Word to the wise- whatever your educational background may be, scope out the job market in the areas you’re looking to move to before quitting the job you’re at now.

Everywhere you live comes with a list of pros and cons, and the south is no different. It definitely has its perks and I totally miss living in that area of the country at times. What gets me through is reading my list of books set in the southern US. I highly recommend reading these if you’re planning on moving to the south!

15 Date-night Worthy Restaurants in Milwaukee

I’ve been with my fiance for over 4 years now, and we still do date nights! One reason is because he’s amazing, but another reason is because Milwaukee’s food scene is friggin awesome! There are countless incredible restaurants to choose from but if you’re looking for upscale, fancy shmancy spots perfect for date night then take a look at my list below!

Number One Carson’s: Downtown Carson’s originates in Chicago, which is just down the road from Milwaukee but it explains why the steaks here are so insanely delicious! Best steaks you’re gonna find in Milwaukee-hands down- is at Carson’s. This Nate’s favorite spot.

Number Two The Noble: Fifth Ward One of my favorite places in Milwaukee, this is a smaller quaint spot but with a menu that will knock your taste buds outta the park. They change up their menu every week and you can find their updates towards the end of the week on their Facebook page.

Number Three Crazy Water: Fifth Ward A lively spot in the Fifth Ward of Milwaukee, Crazy Water won’t disappoint for your next date night!

Number Four Crawdaddy’s: West Allis We recently visited here not knowing what to expect other than a Cajun-themed menu. We were blown away by the food here! It was an absolutely unforgettable meal.

Number Five Tess: East Side Another smaller place but with an awesome menu and quaint vibes.

Number Six Balistreri’s Bluemound Inn: Wauwatosa This is truly the perfect spot for date night. The menu is great, of course, but the ambience is quiet and dark and very romantic!

Number Seven Maxie’s: Southside Another Cajun-themed spot in Milwaukee serving delicious food.

Number Eight Tenuta’s: Bayview A beautiful Italian restaurant in the heart of Bayview neighborhood. Don’t Italian food and date nights just go hand in hand?

Number Nine Caterina’s: West Allis This is such a great spot! When you walk in, you feel like you just walked into an Italian village. Oh, and the food is delish!

Number Ten Pasta Tree: Eastside Another quaint Italian spot, it has all the romantic feels and vibes.

Number Eleven The Packing House: Cudahy The Packing House is a perfect date night restaurant and even has a slight 1970’s retro feel to it. Seeing as I love that era-this place calls to me!

Number Twelve Elsa’s on the Park: Downtown Omg. Elsa’s is awesome. They serve great food, of course but really gives this place its ‘wow’ factor is their ambience. They change up their large art installation -yep- every couple months or so. Check. It. Out.

Number Thirteen Odd Duck: Bayview They do things a little differently here by serving small plates which is a different concept to most Americans. Small Servings-delicious food.

Number Fourteen Ward’s House of Prime: Downtown Ward’s is best known for their Steaks and Prime Ribs of course so if you’re in the mood for exactly that this is the place to go.

Number Fifteen Open Flame: Greenfield If you wanna avoid downtown this is the spot for you. A lovely ambience with great food without having to find parking.

Ok, now it’s time to get all dolled up and head out for a night on the town! Be sure to check out my more casual list of Milwaukee restaurants, too for a more laid-back night out!

13 of the Best casual restaurants in Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s Food Scene is legit! Sure, this city definitely has its fare share of fine dining spots to scope out, but sometimes you just want something quick, fun, and casual while still satisfying your taste buds. So, here is a list of excellent restaurants to go to when you want to go somewhere casual in Milwaukee, straight from a local!

Number 1: Oscar’s Frozen Custard Super cheap, consistent, and satisfying, Oscar’s never disappoints. AND their portions are the perfect amount of food, so you can definitely save room for custard!

Number 2: Sammy’s Taste of Chicago Chili dogs, anyone? A humble spot known for their hot dogs, Sammy’s is great for quick-fare easy dining.

Number 3: Taqueria Buenavista They have a small dine-in restaurant as well as a food truck parked around town. It’s perfect for some quick and delish Mexican food.

Number 4: Golden Gyros There’s ALWAYS a line out into the street for their drive thru, but with a place constantly this busy-you know their food has got to be amazing. And it is! And so worth the wait!!

Number 5: Jonny Hammers This is a small neighborhood bar, but oh man their grub-primarily their wings- is the best in town, hands down.

Number 6: West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe This is a great spot for breakfast or lunch, with yummy bloodies and mimosas mmmm!

Number 7: Fortune Restaurant I love me some Chinese food and this casual restaurant does not disappoint. They have the best traditional Chinese dishes. It’s my fav spot to order take out from in all of Milwaukee.

Number 8: The Wicked Hop A hip spot located in the Third Ward of Milwaukee serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, and of course cocktails.

Number 9: Paul’s Fish Market Another casual restaurant located downtown serving some amazing seafood! I love fish so it’s right up my alley for a delicious meal.

Number 10: Grebe’s Bakery Ok so, I’m guilty of primarily going here for their perfectly baked donuts, but they also serve deli-style hot foods here, too.

Number 11: Ian’s Pizza With locations all over Milwaukee, they sell whole pizzas or even fresh pizza by the slice here. They also get quite creative with their toppings. It’s one of the best places to grab pizza in the whole city!

Number 12: Milwaukee Ale House They brew their own beer here, so what’s not to love about that?? It’s also a water front restaurant on the Milwaukee River. You can sit on their patio and watch the boats go by while enjoying a tasty beer.

Number 13: Sobelman’s Y’all ever scrolled Pinterest (addict for several years now) and saw those bloody mary cocktails with a whole fired chicken in the glass? Yea, they’ve got those here. Known for their insane bloodies and mouth-watering burgers, this is the perfect location for casual dining!

All of these restaurants offer delicious, budget-friendly menus with a very laid back atmosphere. They’re perfect for when you just want to grab something quick, or dine in but without the pressure of having to apply a full face of makeup before arriving. From one foodie to another-bon Appetit!

How to Feed your Wanderlust While Working a Full-Time Job

Sounds like a challenge, right? It can be. I am wanderlusting 24/7 while holding down a 40-hour a week job. I manage to travel multiple times a year. But how, you ask? How do I have time to fit it all in? Let me show you the way:

Strategy #1 Travel around a national holiday: Ok, so this is my best strategy and the one I most depend on to get all my vacations in each and every year. For our week-long vacations, we center them around a national holiday because we get one or two paid days off from work depending on which holiday you travel during. We are gone over Memorial Day week, Labor Day week, and Thanksgiving week. So, instead of asking off work for five days, we only need to request 3 or 4 days away. By doing this, we save several vacation days a year to put towards other trips!

Strategy #2 Negotiate more PTO at your job: Most corporations or large companies will give you any where from one to two weeks of PTO (paid time off) during your first year of working there, along with about 7 paid national holidays off in the U.S. That’s not much, I know. With my current employer, I receive 3 weeks and have from the get go. However, at my previous job, I was offered one measly week but that just wouldn’t do what with all my wanderlusting, y’all. So, I negotiated an extra week totaling two weeks instead, yaye! Negotiating vacation time when starting a new job is totally doable. I would explain to them that low PTO it is a deal breaker for you (put in nicer terms) and that traveling is something you deem highly important in your life. Hey, everyone’s got their hobbies, right? Yours just happens to be seeing the world and until teleportation is invented, traveling just takes time, simple as that. Up for a review at your job? This is another opportunity to ask for more vacation days. The worst they can say is no! But it’s worth a shot.

Strategy #3 Don’t just stick to one area during your whole vacation: You don’t really want to only hang out at the beach for a whole week, do you? Let’s get some bucket list destinations in! When I vacay, I try to hit up as many different attractions and activities as I can in one general area. I’ll stick to one spot for a day or two and then move on. Ok, so you’re not going to see everything that one spot has to offer, but what you gain is seeing multiple different cities, states, national parks, etc. in one whole trip by changing up the scenery! I’d recommend limiting the number of spots you want to get to as too many can be overkill and stressful but I would at least try to make it to a couple different destinations within a day’s drive from each other.

Strategy #4 Consider a weekend getaway: I love a good week-long trip so I can see all kinds of different places over one vacation. However, something can be said about a weekend getaway. Pick a place that’s about a half-day’s drive and leave on a Friday after work. This way you’ll get all of Saturday and most of Sunday to go exploring! By traveling this way you get to fit some traveling in without dropping a lot of cash and you won’t have to use any vacation days!

That’s it-that’s how I do it, folks! If you love traveling as much as I do, where there’s a will there’s a way so try these out this year to meet your traveling goals. Comment below how you manage to travel often while working full time!

13 Books to Read Before Your Southern U.S. Vacation

The southern part of the U.S. is a beautifully wanderlusty area and it has a special place in my heart. I’m from there! Even though I have since moved away from that area I love reading books that have a southern U.S. setting. I’m always finding myself reading a book I haven’t read yet set in the south before we head down there for a vacation. It really gives me alll the southern U.S. vibes. Here are 13 book I recommend you pick up for a great read before your next vacation down south:

  1. The Heat of the Sun by Louis D. Rubin, Jr.: Set in South Carolina in the 1940s, this book has romance and southern twang. What more could you need?
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Following The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I liked this one better. I liked reading about Huck and Jim cruising along the Mississippi River and the shenanigans they get into to.
  3. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin: You guessed it, this book is set in Mississippi (and yes, I sing the song in my head to spell it correctly). I absolutely loved reading this book-it’s hard to find a great southern setting novel set in contemporary times.
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: Wow. This book. It’s probably my favorite classic American novel of all the ones I’ve read. And I’ve read my fair share, believe me. Read about Janie and Tea Cake’s adventures in this beautiful story set in Florida.
  5. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines: I was actually assigned to read this story in high school in English class, but man am I glad I was because it was such a page turner and very deep. Set in Louisiana and about a man who is sentenced to death, and another man who must visit him in jail to educate him during the last days of his life.
  6. True Grit by Charles Portis: This is an awesome story set in Arkansas (my home states, yea!) and follows a girl who wishes to avenge her father’s death.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Set in 1920s Alabama, this is a wonderful story about a young girl, her recluse neighbor, and an unfair trial happening in town.
  8. The Little Rock Nine by Stephanie Fitzgerald: The Little Rock Nine were the first black students in Little Rock, AR to attend a public all-white highschool. This book recounts the horrors they faced during this process of segregation.
  9. A Painted House by John Grisham: Of course John Grisham must be on this list. My favorite of his has to be A Painted House. Set in the farming days of Northeast Arkansas, this story is told from the viewpoint of a young boy who recounts one summer on the farm and all that went down that season.
  10. The Whisper of the River by Ferrol Sams: This is actually the second book of a three book series, but you can read them out of order. I loved reading about Peter Osborne and his college days at a university in Georgia. He learns a lot and grows as a person over his 4 years away at school, meeting all sorts of characters along the way.
  11. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This is a bit of a sad story but ends happy, I promise! A little girl is deserted at a young age and raises herself in the marsh of the North Carolina coast. She must learn so much on her own and become independent fast.
  12. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice: Set in New Orleans when the Parisians first settled in the area, this story follows the lives of three vampires over several decades.
  13. Lightning Bug by Donald Harrington: A strange but interesting book following the lives of the residents of a tiny town in Northwest Arkansas. It has all the humor and mega southern U.S. vibes.

I hope you find that you enjoy reading at least a few from this list. They’re all different genres so it just depends on what you like! I have another recommended list strictly for an Arkansas vacation if you want to check that one out, too. Happy reading!