MILWAUKEE

For those of you who know me you know that I am a bit overly passionate about Milwaukee. To the point on my 21st birthday I got into a fight with my boyfriend, at the time, for saying he “just didn’t see why I liked it so much”…I cried.. a lot. I think my love for Milwaukee started when I was younger, my family had adopted four African-American children so my dad would take us down there a lot so that we could experience culture and diversity something we didn’t get a whole lot in Oshkosh. From a young age I loved the hustle and bustle of the city, the nightlife, and the diversity.

We spent a lot of time growing up there, many weekends and summers, visiting the festivals. My dad loved to take the family to Gospel concerts, I am talking praising the Lord, hands in the air, people passing out, God is good, gospel concerts. In middle school we had an amazing run in with Charlie Bell who played for the Milwaukee Bucks at the time. We grew a close friendship with him and his family and our time spent in Milwaukee grew even more. Going to Bucks games, concerts and late night dinner’s I got to see even more of this city and grow even fonder.

One of my favorite things about Milwaukee is that on the way down there is a Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is one of my favorite breakfast spots and its only a southern thing so of course there are two times you make Cracker Barrel pit stops, trips to Milwaukee or road trips down south! Their biscuits and gravy are a must!

 

Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward is a must visit, from coffee shops and high-end stores (that I can’t afford), to restaurants and of course home to the Milwaukee Public Market. This is always my very first stop when arriving in Milwaukee, just park your car and your are in a perfect central location to many shops and restaurants.

Milwaukee Public Market is such a great place to visit and one of my favorites. It is just filled with hustle and bustle and a ton of these small stands where you can get fresh fruit and fresh juice, there is a bakery, a wine bar, a coffee shop, sports bar, seafood, tacos, florist stand, t-shirt stand and so much more all out in the open and all in one giant building.

Don’t even get me started on the coffee surrounding Milwaukee, honestly they has some of the best coffee shops around. Two of my favorites are Kickapoo Coffee and Collectivo Coffee (formerly Alterra). Collectivo has a few great locations around Milwaukee especially their location on the lakefront in the old Milwaukee River Flushing Station. Just a walk across the street to Bradford Beach! Kickapoo Coffee has a timeless location in the Third-ward, filled with windows and fresh plants its just the perfect spot to sit by the window and look across the river to see the beautiful condos and day-dream about how I hope to one day live there.

I have so many friends and family that live in Milwaukee so it makes visiting there even sweeter. Let me tell you about my sweet friend Rania. She and I went to high school together and after high school her and another one of our close friends moved to Milwaukee and lived together! I would go and visit them often and we would go and enjoy the nightlife in Milwaukee! I still go down just to visit Rania because she is one of my favorite things about Milwaukee, and I cant forget about her boyfriend because I take FULL credit in their set up. It was my 21st birthday (the birthday my boyfriend said he didn’t like Milwaukee, can you tell I still hold a grudge) and we were all dancing at this bar and here is this goofy guy who apparently I said looked like prince charming (you all can be the judge) dancing near us, so I took Rania and I told her that we were not leaving until she gave  him her number  and the rest is history.

Whenever I go and visit in the summer we always make it our mission to go to Bradford Beach. It is my favorite summer activity. The beach is always filled with people blasting music, drinking and playing sand games. You feel like you are by the ocean and it is always exciting. There are tiki bars and volleyball nets. It’s always fun to spend the day on the beach and then go and get ready for a night on the town, because Milwaukee also has many amazing bars!

We come for the Cracker Barrel but stay for the Bel Air Cantina people. If you’ve never had the chance to eat at Bel Air your missing out in the biggest way. It is the best Mexican food I’ve ever had! Not only do they have 2 locations in Milwaukee but they are opening one in Waukesha and Madison just one step closer to Oshkosh!

There are so many things I wish I could share with you about Milwaukee, I’ve shared many experiences here, from break ups, and getting engaged, to nights out and days just spent with friends this city has seen the best and the worst of me and I have fallen in love with it. If you ever get a chance to visit some of these and many more places you must! Oh and don’t forget to invite me!

Valentines Day

I sat at a table, in a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, on Valentine’s day, across from the guy I’d been “seeing” for roughly 6 months. I could literally feel the lump in my throat the whole time as the minutes passed and still not even a “Happy Valentine’s Day” had come out of his mouth. That morning I had woken up thinking today must be the day, the day he would FINALLY, after months of waiting, maybe make it “official” even though that wouldn’t have changed anything since we already acted like an old married couple. All day at work I wait for something, I don’t know exactly what I expected from a guy who clearly can’t commit but every time I heard the office door open I got up a little quicker than normal hoping that maybe he had sent flowers, every time my phone lit up I was hoping maybe it was a sweet message from him wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day… or a message from him at all. When work ended, I raced home and you could guess… nothing. No flowers.

I thought “maybe this is just a joke” and tonight at dinner is where it will all play out. Well, jump to sitting across the table from this guy on Valentine’s Day and that’s all that’s where it ended. I went home, he went home, and I started typing away…

“If you’re not going to love me, then just leave me, because I am never going to walk away. I’ll let you continue to wake me up with kisses and the smell of coffee being brewed, I’ll let you continue to hold me through the night and when I pull away, you pull me closer, I’ll let you continue to ease my worries away. I’ll pretend forever. Unless you walk away.

I’ll never be able to leave this fantasy we’ve built..this giant lie we’ve lived in. You can’t commit and that’s OK but you can’t be with me then. You’ve been this amazing dream just at my fingertips, just out of reach. Water when I’m dying of thirst, giving me sips whenever YOU want but never enough to fully satisfy my thirst, just enough to keep me holding on for more…”

I start to type a long letter professing it all, and then backspace becomes my best friend. It is so good when it’s good but I’m too scared to tell him when it is bad.

Some days I can’t believe I am back in a situation where I find myself making excuses and trying to figure someone out. I have always been the person that wants to take care of people and is attracted to the broken ones, but when is someone going to want to love and take care of me? Maybe that is my problem, maybe I’m seeking acceptance in the wrong area.

The truth is maybe I am the one who isn’t ready yet and God is just putting up some road blocks in my life whether I like them or not. Someone recently told me that I “advertise myself practically flawless” and my hope is that never happens because if you haven’t been able to see, I am a girl who is full of flaws. 

I am flawed by telling you all to be strong and independent, to be pursued and loved but I can’t even take my own advice, I am flawed for the sharp tongue I have and the knee jerk reaction I, at times, can have to say hurtful things to people, I am flawed by my need to control situations instead of trusting that God will work it out the way He intends it to be. We are all flawed however we are all strong and worthy of love.

“Choose everyday to forgive yourself. You are human, flawed, and most of all worthy of love”

-Alison Malee

 

SAYING GOODBYE TO 2016.

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This year has had countless “What the hell just happened” moments. From preparing for a wedding that didn’t happen, to tragedy that struck my family. From running around Lambeau Field at my very first Packer Game with my favorite group of girls chanting the Packer anthem, to dates that went great and some that weren’t so great and “almost relationships” that broke my already broken heart.

This year plays out like a tragic cliché movie in my head. Like that final scene where that girl is standing on the train platform after running block after block hoping to make it there in time to meet her significant other. She stands on the train platform as the train whistles past, and a melancholy piano script starts to play. As she stands there flashes of their budding romance flash back and forth in her head, and just as she realizes losing him was the biggest mistake of all the train ends, his face appears on the other side of the platform, and a sigh of relief is made by all (like we didn’t see that coming).

Mine is kind of like that except the flashes in my head are all this years moments, I shed some tears and laughter and then more tears and more laughter, however in this version when the train ends there isn’t a sigh of relief. Not because I need a man to stand on the other side ready to save me but because at the end of this the problems are not solved however there is a moment of contentment, just a moment, because there is much learned from 2016.

Don’t chase unrequited love. I am not your mother, so I am not going to sit and tell you all the reasons why you’re amazing and how much better off you are although it is true but I am going to tell you that I have a little bit of wisdom. Guys will tell you they love you and turn right around and change their mind. Heck they will ask you to marry them and turn around and change their mind. I learned this year that I chased someone who wasn’t ready for the love I had to give. I chased love that didn’t love me back and I didn’t deserve that and neither do you.

Don’t ditch your girlfriends. Never will any guy be worth ditching a girls night over…ever. Enough said.

“Almost” Relationships are exactly that…”almost”. I am still trying to learn my way around this one but its a tricky one. I am pretty sure if they aren’t willing to make it official they never will.

You will not find your husband on tinder/bumble on Saturday night so get off it. This year dating apps were a rough one for me. They really take dating to a whole new level and often just ruin your confidence. luckily I learned quickly and got off of it as soon as my friends finally had enough of it.

Family comes first. This is one I struggle most with. I often would be asked to stay home with my little sister Ella for a few hours while my parents ran errands, or were at a basketball game for one of my other siblings, most times I loved spending cozy nights in with Ella and there are so many memories I got to have forever, but there were nights that I wanted to go be with friends that i would put up a fight or have Ella go over to one of my other older siblings house so they could watch her because she was always going to be here…right?

The morning before Ella passed away my parents went off to church and because Ella wasnt feeling good she stayed home. I was getting ready to go on a date so I stayed with her until my parents got home. I checked on Ella and she looked at me and said “If I need you, I can call you and you’ll come right?”…of course I told her. I noticed that my parents were taking forever and I was starting to get worried I would be late. So i called my parents in a frantic and they said they were five minutes away and I could leave. Ella passed away the next morning.

Friends, will understand a little change in plan and if they don’t understand they are not your friend. I should have changed my plan that morning, stayed a little longer for her. Just another lesson learned

Life is too short. It is so so so short. When my sister died it truly is an unreal realization of what little time we have here. we constantly think we have all this time. The main thing I learned in 2016 is that time is a gift and life is short.

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Modern Dating.

 

Dating in this day and age can be both a adrenaline rush and a nightmare, mostly because everything is behind some type of device so you really don’t know if your going on a date to get murdered or cat-fished. Rarely do dates via tinder or bumble end up being a “match made in haven”, however I have heard a few love stories come of it but this one, is not that. I had tinder for awhile and it completely made me think chivalry was dead to say the least. Talk about a app filled with with “lonely” (and we all know what I mean by “lonely”) boys trying to find a Friday night fling. I went on two dates off of tinder. The first guy was so sweet, however after the first date I received a overwhelming amount of text messages telling me he was falling in love with me…. red flag. The second tinder date was so far from his profile picture it was incredible. He must’ve used a picture taken in high school, because he was almost unrecognizable…red flag.

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After my complete fail at the the tinder dating scene, I decided to give bumble a try, do not knock it till you try it people because I loved it. It’s the same concept as tinder but the girl has full control over who is able to message her, no random “are you DTF?” messages in the middle of the night. I honestly have had a few great dates off it and a few red flag dates, but the thing with this whole “app” dating is anyone can say anything because they are behind some type of screen. I had a guy text me after one date saying that he hated my perfume and it made him gag, after chalking it up to boys are idiots he continued to show his true colors. Dating is terribly hard these days, we, don’t want to do it, it is like pulling teeth to get some of my friends to just go on just one date. Since when did dating become this hard. My boyfriend right after high school called me up, asked me on a date, picked me up, took me to dinner and a movie and dropped me off at home, my ex fiance did the same thing, he even opened the car door for me.Now being single and dating it seems to be a whole new game. You can’t tell how people feel because everything is done through messaging. We question every little thing…

“Why did he type with a period rather then a exclamation point? He must not be interested.”

“It’s taking him a really long time to reply… he is probably talking to 5 other girls.”

“I sent him a kissy face emoji and he sent a smiley face emoji back… why didn’t he send a kissy face emoji back?!”

It’s too complicated. Guys if you want to date…. date. We are always excusing boys behavior always saying “boys suck”… “boys will be boys” …”its just a guy thing” why are we giving them an excuse, a free pass to be immature, rude, and disrespectful. Let the boys be the boys I guess but i’m looking for a man. A man who will call me, a man who will pick me up , plan a DATE, and drop me off without expecting anything else. A man who will text me after he has dropped me off and tell me what a great time he had, a man who doesn’t think one DATE will qualify him, a man who knows that the first date went well and plans a second date not a “Netflix and chill” and no…. it’s not unrealistic. I have dated two guys who did all these things. We have allowed men to have the excuse and we have settled for “hey come over for a movie”.

I told you all that we need to be pursued and I feel like a hypocrite…well I am a hypocrite. I say we need to be pursued but i’m the only one out of my friend group scrolling through bumble. It’s so obvious why I haven’t found anyone. because i’m seeking everyone else but the one who seeks me. God. I am going to continue to get burned because I keep blatantly playing with fire. So if there is any advice I can give.. even though I may not always take my own advice… it’s don’t seek people to fill a hole that God is waiting so eagerly to fill for you, don’t say boys will be boys because that’s not true, know your worth, know your loved, and stop settling for all the excuses we give to ourselves, our family and our friends. Maybe boys will be boys, but i’m looking for a man.

The Truth

 

When your ex moves on before you, its going to make you second guess everything.  Your going to hear that he has moved on, people will whisper about it, your friends will give each other a look when out at a bar and you know that they spotted him but you act like you didn’t see it and accept there urge to go to another bar cause the “DJ here sucks”  and you’ll hold off doing any Facebook stalking because the minute you come face to face with the first picture of the two of them together with the hashtag #inlove your going to realize that it is real and that the little hope of not actually seeing it with your own eyes is gone. That little hope of maybe its not true, goes flying out the window like it was never there.

He moved on…he moved on first and it hurts. Yes I am better off with out him, yes I deserve better, yes he is a jerk…yes I get it but it still hurts. No one can ever tell you how fast or how slow you move on. I have heard many things about him and when they say the truth always comes out, they mean it. I am sure you all can imagine what truths I am talking about.  I messaged him… I asked him for the truth and told him the truth would not hurt me anymore then he already has. silence.

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. silence is so much louder then words. God gave me this time to heal, he hardened my heart toward him and made me see the beauty, and potential of this life. He knew that the truth would come out and when it did, it wouldn’t be as painful because I’ve been made stronger. So in honor of the Truth, my girls and I decided a girls night and bonfire was fit….

Its was time to say goodbye once and for all and rid myself of every last memory holding me down and it felt great!

BEING SINGLE.

Being single.

I complain all the time about being single, how lonely it is, how annoying it is to not have a dance partner, how sad I feel when I just want to curl up on the couch, in the arms of someone who loves me and vent about my day. I see the perfect Instagram picture of a beautiful couple often times reading their bible, sipping on coffee, or working out together with the hashtag #relationshipgoals stamped in a comment, and it sucks every time. It has been a long time since I have been single, after my first serious relationship I jumped right into my next one with my ex fiance…and we all know how that went. I complain and complain and complain until my friends snap at me and open my blurred eyes. I am single but I am happy.

I may not have a man, but I have a group of friends that I’ve never had before. When I sit and truly reminisce about my “single status” I realize I’ve done more for myself the last 4 months then I ever have. The last few months have been filled with so many exciting things. My volleyball league ended but it allowed me to create so many great friendships.

I kicked off fall by going to Oktoberfest with my best friend, we went out and danced the whole night away, something we both needed! Me and a couple of  girlfriends did Escape Appleton which was just a blast,  it is basically just a giant scavenger hunt around Appleton, we lost… horribly…but we laughed uncontrollably. I went to my first packer game! I know i’m from Wisconsin and it has taken me 22 years to go to a real live game! It was one of the funnest experiences I have ever had and guess what….I didn’t go with a guy, I went with a group of girls. We all went out in Milwaukee for a mutual friends birthday! A group of crazy, drunk girls running around Milwaukee, ill just let you think about how that night went.

I got a tattoo…yes you read that right, I permanently marked my body with a tattoo and it is way bigger then I thought it would be but I love it! I got a elephant because my little sister was inseparable with her stuffed elephant.So what better tattoo to get to remember her by. I went out for Halloween, I’ve had nights out dancing, I’ve worked out with friends, I’ve had sleepovers and I’ve done it with my girls! I HAVE dance partners, I HAVE people that love me, who will let me curl up on their couch and vent, I HAVE work out buddies and quite frankly I think my work out buddy is much more a #relationshipgoal then yours.

So to all my single girls or girls with shitty boyfriends (cause I know there are some of you) being single is not that bad. Take it from the girl who thought her days as a single lady were over. A girl who when “single ladies” came on at a wedding and the bride got ready to toss her bouquet, would stick her nose in the air, put her hand down and flaunt her fiance. A girl who still has her wedding dress, she never got to wear hanging in the closet. If your single embrace it, even if you have been single for years and your lonely and ready to find Mr. Right, it sucks I get it but embrace the stage of life your in because there is a reason your single still… it is because you haven’t met the man God created for you, and that is okay. Be encouraged in the fact that there really is someone out there made specifically for you. Go on dates, there is nothing more fun then dating and having conversation. We don’t need to marry ever guy who takes us out to dinner. Hey just look at how much fun I’ve been having being single….