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Out And About In Milwaukee: Ex Fabula StorySlam

Credit: Ex Fabula

I was invited to StorySlam hosted by Ex Fabula last week and let me tell you, it was amazing!

Spending an evening listening to story tellers did not sound like a fun time initially, but since I never been and was invited, I thought why not.

You only live once right?

Anyway, StorySlam was held at the Milwaukee County Historical Society. You know, the same place Johnny Depp filmed Public Enemy.

Credit: Ex Fabula

Although a Milwaukee native, I’ve never been inside and yes, it’s gorgeous!

The interior has beautiful marble columns, elegant chandeliers, and a gigantic vault on the north end that commanded my attention as I entered the building.
Needless to say the architecture provided a dramatic back drop to the story telling.

Did I mention they had a wet bar too? (Not to sound like a lush, but I was beyond thrilled).

Back to the story….

For those who don’t know what StorySlam is, it’s like poetry slam but with stories. The one I attended included six storytellers. Eight stories were performed relating to the theme “On The Road.” Audience members also had a chance to have their story read by the MCs by submitting short stories or “UltraShorts”.

Feeling a little bashful, I wrote an UltraShort about the time I rode in a rogue shopping cart in my youth. To my surprise, it was read toward the end of the evening!

There were many highlights to the evening that made for a magical experience.

All of the stories had humor and were entertaining. I learned about sniper hunting, the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, and secrets of RV life.

My favorite story was about a lady who spent a weekend with friends in a cabin up north. I could imagine being at the cabin as she painted a vivid picture of

Credit: Ex Fabula

what took place. The story was hilarious and retelling it wouldn’t do it justice. Lets just say the story involved alcohol, bloody hand prints, and a sleep walker.

Ex Fabula offered an eclectic group of story tellers who each had a unique style of storytelling. It was raw, and real, and liberating to connect with individuals on a personal level.

What a great evening filled with personal stories, excitement, and laughter!

If you want to flex your story telling muscles and connect with people, I strongly suggest attending an Ex Fabula event. The next StorySlam is coming up soon so check out their website link below.

Ex Fabula is a nonprofit that’s committed to strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling. They host monthly story slams in different venues around the city.

For more information about tickets to an upcoming events, workshops, or to learn more about Ex Fabula tap here.

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Have You Gone Apple Picking Yet?

Photo by Melody Bates on UnsplashFor the past 3 years, Ryan and I have gone apple picking at our local fruit farm and I look forward to it every year. It’s one of the many fall activities that we enjoy.
Most people go once a year, but not us. We have to go at least twice every season. If I had it my way, we would go every weekend for the whole season.


There are hundreds of apple varieties and no one apple orchard are alike. Walking through endless rows of apple trees invites my inner child to run and explore.
For some odd reason, it tickles my fancy to pluck an apple from the tree and munch on it before tossing it on the ground. (I probably did this a lot as a child).

We’ve picked apples twice this fall and we’re going pack at least one more time (Honey Crisp will be ripe the end of September).
On each visit, different varieties were available to pick.

What’s Your Favorite Apple Variety?

During our first, visit I discovered a new favorite, mollies. They’re sweeter than Honey Crisp, loads of flavor, and firm. They taste like Apple Jolly Ranchers.

I think I’m becoming an apple geek… but what do you expect from a fall baby!

Our last visit wasn’t as spectacular as the first.Courland, Fuji, Gala, and McIntosh were available but I didn’t care for any of them.

Thank goodness I tasted each variety! There’s nothing worse than picking a bag full of apples you don’t like (yep, been there, done that)!
Courtland apples are very tart and super firm.
You know, the kind of firmness that gets stuck between your teeth and can cut your gums. Eating a Courtland apple is like that Tums commercial when the food fights you back.

Galas, Fuji and McIntosh were ok in texture but the apple flavor is very mild. I was a little surprised by how mild they are.
We’ve brought these varieties at the store and thought the bland taste was due to the apples being picked before ripeness or we got a bad bunch.
Turns out that’s how they taste fresh off the tree.

Now I know what apples NOT to buy when grocery shopping.

If you and your family have yet to go apple picking, there’s still time to get out there and discover your favorite varieties.
Where else is it encouraged to chuck half eaten apples on the ground?
Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Where To Go

There are plenty of apple orchards here in Wisconsin and you can find a list of them here. Apple picking will go into October so set a date, invite friends and family, and get to picking.

The nearest orchard near me is Barthel Fruit Farm. You’ll find dates, list of varieties, recipes, directions, etc on their website. They also have a pumpkin farm, pears, and a store if you don’t want to pick your own apples.

Apple Holler is another well- known orchard and great for families. An unique orchard I’d like to try is Weston’s Antique Apples. They have varieties I’ve never heard of.
Autumn fruit picking is in full swing and with so many apple varieties to experience, it’s the perfect time to take a trip to your nearest fruit farm.

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Top Travel Destinations For Fall Foliage

With the end of summer fast approaching, it’s time to embrace the crisp weather and dazzling foliage the fall season brings.
Autumn foliage is a great reason to explore your surrounding areas. For me, there’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday then to drive through the country side enjoying the refreshing fall air and admiring the glorious yellows and blazing oranges of fall.
If you enjoy the smell of burning leaves, and the vibrant colors of the autumn season as I do, here’s a list of special places to visit.

New York

Duchess County in New York’s Hudson Valley has some of the most beautiful land you’ll ever set your eyes on. New York’s Hudson River Valley is a popular location for leaf peepers and once you visit, you’ll know why. With sinuous roads, sweeping vistas, elevation changes, and miles of farm lands, you’ll fall in love with the scenery. Late October and early November is the best time to visit.


Blessed with rolling forested terrain and quaint towns accentuate the leaf-peeping experience. The top places to visit for the best colors are Litchfield, and the eastern Mystic region. The Connecticut Wine Trail welcome guests to wineries and vineyards that host harvest season events and tastings. Hartford has a beautiful city park, Bushnell Park, and the rugged East Rock Park. Visit in October to view brilliant colors and join the festivities.

North Carolina

Yes, North Carolina has amazing fall foliage! Mt. Mitchell and the surrounding Pisgah National Forest has vast expanses of deciduous trees. Plan your trip for mid to late October and hike the trails in Pisgah National Forest to take in the wonderful view.


Just 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland is Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a 33,000-acre preserve. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad chugs past heron and bald eagle nests and offers ghost train rides in autumn. Ashtabula County, home of 17 historic bridges offers spectacular autumn colors and festivities. Plan your visit for mid-October and bring the whole family!


Visit the picturesque Marinette County’s Waterfall Tour and marvel at a series of 14 waterfalls and cataracts throughout this 125-mile loop tour. Adventurous foliage peepers can whitewater paddle on the Pike, Peshtigo and Pemebonwon Rivers. Lake Geneva boasts wonderful fall foliage you can take in ziplinning through the woods or a boat tour on the lake. Autumn colors peak in early to mid-October.


*See Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa from a viewing platform in the little town of White Cloud, 85 miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri. The town, on the bluffs of the Missouri River, lies at the northern end of the 63-mile Glacial Hills Scenic Byway. Plan your trip for mid-October.


Washington is a wonderland of fall foliage! The Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle is a must visit and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness has spectacular mountain scenery with vibrant yellow Alpine larch trees in the central Cascades. Early October through early November is a great time for leave peepers to visit.

Leaf peeping is serious business in many states, so expect crowds on peak weekends. To by pass crowds, plan your trip in advance and go during the week.

Enjoy the fall season!


*John Briley Travel Channel article, Fall Foliage Road Trip


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Visit Milwaukee in August

Yes, it’s August. Can you believe it?

School shopping has officially begun and before long it’ll be time to get the leaf blower out.

Now before we fill our minds with visions of sugar plums and snow fairies, let’s plan an epic farewell to summer adventure!

That’s right, let’s go all out and create a jam packed August schedule filled with festivals, block parties, concerts, movie nights, cook outs and anything else you can think of.

Milwaukee summers are known for it’s abundant festivals and outdoor activities and August is the last month to appreciate it.
If you have yet to explore all of what Mil-town has to offer, why not start right now?

We’re kicking this adventure off  with a calendar of events for you.  Take a look and share with family and friends.

Now -August 11

Wisconsin State Fair- Fair grounds
Old-fashioned family fun with livestock exhibitions, live music, carnival rides and any food you can imagine deep fried, on a stick or both. Check out the 200,000 square foot exhibition center packed with vendors, exhibitors, art displays and try a cream puff.

August 1-6

Milwaukee Comedy Festival- Multiple venues
The Milwaukee Comedy Festival is the biggest comedy event of the year celebrating 12 years of bringing joy and laughter to Milwaukee.  Since 2005 the festival has featured performers in live stand-up comedy, improv, and sketch comedy

August 5

Center Street Daze block party -Riverwest block party between Holton and Humboldt.
This community festival has become a neighborhood tradition. Enjoy great beer, live music and a day out with friends. The festival also features a Classic Car Show, a dunk tank, numerous craft vendors and the entertaining Art Car races. After the streets clear out, the multitude of bars and cafes in the area keep the party going well into the night.

August 5 & 6

Firefly Art Fair: Kneeland-Walker house in Wauwatosa
Firefly presents over 75 juried artists, representing an array of art from a variety of media. Food and drink are available, along with live entertainment. The Firefly Art Fair is held at the historic Kneeland-Walker House at 7406 Hillcrest Drive in the garden.

August 6

Jazz Visions On The Lake – Henry Maier Festival Park
Free one-day, community event that will showcase local jazz musicians.

August 9

Grateful Dead night- Miller Park
Brewer’s game


Black and Brown T-Shirt get Down-Highland Garden Supportive Living
One day event to showcase local small businesses.

August 13

Puerto Rican Family Festival- Humboldt Park
Free and open to the public. Celebrating our Puerto Rican Cultural with traditional music, food, and dance. Featuring a Home Run Derby Competition, Salsa Dance Contest, Car Show, Drum Circle, Health Fair, Children’s Area, Cultural Exihibit, and More. FREE and open to the public.

August 16

Newaukee Night Market- West Wisconsin Ave. between 2nd and 4th streets
The Night Market is a free, open-air market that offers a wide variety of experiences for people of all backgrounds and ages. The Night Market features a mash up of art, craft and food vendors, live art creation, local music and a beer garden.  The goal is to create a free, vibrant, safe and interactive place in downtown Milwaukee for people to experience culture at night.

Sculpted Realities- Jewish Museum
Exhibit and discussion on sculpture of Adolph Rosenblatt. Admission $5

August 17-20

Irish Fest- Maier Park
An ethnic festival that features over 250 acts on 17 stages

MKE Punk Fest- Multiple venues
A 7 day music festival featuring 60 acts and for venues with a goal to raise over 300 lbs of food for the hunger task Force.

August 19

Lakefront Movies (Lego Batman)- Veterans Park
Indiafest- Humboldt Park
5th annual ethnic festival celebrating Indian culture and history.  Featuring Indian music, dances from classical to contemporary, a parade, fashion show and authentic Indian food.

August 23

Dead Man’s Carnival- Washington Park
Carnival featuring tricks and treats, music and a modern day vaudevillian variety show that includes comedy, magic, juggling, obscure sideshow stunts, and human oddities. Closing out the night,  will be Brewcity Fire Brigade with  fire performances and death-defying acts.

August 24

Harry & Peg Bradley’s Backyard Barbeque- Lynden Sculpture Garden
Fundraiser featuring local, sustainable foods catered by Braise, libations from Brenner Brewing, entertainment including close-up magic by Matthew Teague, music by Nickel & Rose and members of the Nathan Hale High School Orchestra, hands-on art and nature activities, a silent auction, and more. All proceeds benefit our education programs.

August 25

An Evening with The Trailer Park Boys- Riverside Theater
Music concert you may not want to take your mom to, unless she belong to a biker’s club and drink Ol’ English out of a can.  Just sayin.

August 26

Wisconsin Bat Festival-Mitchell Park Conservatory
The festival features activities for children, families, educators and conservation professionals. Presentations, speakers, live animals, hands-on activities, games for kids, and interactive exhibits provide a full day of fun and environmental education.

August 25-27

Mexican Fest- Henry Maier Festival Park
Ethnic festival celebrating Mexican culture and history, featuring food, music, dance, art and more.

Saint Matthias Parish Festival- 92nd & Oklahoma
Neighborhood festival featuring rides, games, food, wine, bingo and more.

August 30-September2

National Hog Rally
Five days of music, motorcycles, Circus Una’s High-Wire Motorcycle Thrill Show, Rhett Rotten’s Wall of Death, food trucks, artisans and more.

Let’s enjoy the summer while it last!


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