For more than three decades, ABC Tree Farms have provided the Bay Area with seasonal fun October through December. Summer inspires the first round of recreation in the form of Summer Fun Zones packed with inflatable bounce houses masquerading as castles and slides and fresh harvests of local cherries, peaches, melons, and other fruits. During October, they run 20 pumpkin-themed locations, some of which also feature inflatable bounce houses and other attractions. Once Thanksgiving passes, groves of Christmas trees spring up, having made their way south from Oregon and Washington. There they will stand until Christmas Eve, hoping to decorate homes or become the model that inspires a revamped line of evergreen air fresheners.
Featured on OnMilwaukee.com during its early-aughts inception, Sala Da Pranzo's dinner and lunch menus offer both contemporary and traditional Italian fare to fill the boot-shaped hole in Milwaukee's collective heart. Dinner diners get the chance to taste the ricotta-enhanced grandeur of the house specialty appetizer, the eggplant con pane ($11). Pastas like the saporito ($18.50), which tosses shrimp, tomato, basil, and garlic into the capable hands of fettuccini pasta, are available all day, and scene-stealing entrees such as the grilled salmon ($26) with chive cream sauce or the tenderloin porto vino ($34) shine like a strobe light covered in smaller strobe lights. For afternoon eaters, the veggie balsamic sub ($7.25) staves off narcolepsy with the time-tested jolt of mozzarella, tomato, onion, cucumber, lettuce, and balsamic vinaigrette.
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Lesha Kastl, operator and co-owner of Hercules CrossFit, is also a certified trainer who lifts at an Olympic level. But she favors movement-based workouts including Muay Thai boxing, Pilates, and runway-overthrowing Ms. Fitness competitions. Bryan Kastl, co-owner of Hercules CrossFit, muscled his way to certifications in Olympic lifting in 2009. But he has studied fitness and physiology since the early ‘90s, when he became a certified personal trainer through Hayward State University. Both Lesha and Bryan have studied massage therapy to supplement their expertise of internal musculature. Bryan even sought the guidance of a chiropractor to learn injury-specific techniques such as active-release technique.
The Kastls area also both Level 1 CrossFit trainers with certifications in CrossFit mobility and gymnastics, which they rely on during CrossFit classes comprised of nonspecialized, functional exercises. Weightlifting and gymnastic-ring work, for example, are selected because they can be easily adjusted according to fitness level and directly improve mundane tasks such as hauling groceries or catching trapeze swings to work. As a result, the workouts are remarkably inclusive, and the Kastls have guided energetic kids and those struggling with physical ailments toward strength and cardiovascular health. Lesha's background in sports nutrition enables her to design dietary programs that boost performance and bolster the effects of exercise.:m]]
Though using all-natural and locally grown ingredients is becoming popular in today’s restaurants, Straw Hat Pizza has been dedicated to these forward-thinking practices since serving its first pie on July 10, 1959. For more than 50 years, Straw Hat Pizza has followed some very down-to-earth guidelines: tomatoes are handpicked and hand-sorted from its own fields, cheeses are free from fillers, and all produce originates from within 150 miles of the store. Of course, this is pizza, so the local focus is accented by Old-World practices. For example, the Idaho wheat is grown in volcanic soil at least 4,500 feet above sea level, according to Italian pizza and pasta tradition.
Straw Hat’s pizzas, like the best blind dates, arrive dressed in a diverse selection of veggie and meat toppings⎯such as lemon-pepper chicken, chorizo, and bell peppers⎯but pies aren’t its only signature item. In the 1970s, Straw hat introduced the Hot Hat, a stromboli-style sandwich stuffed with melted cheese and ham, meatballs, or pepperoni. Additionally, the cooks whip up an eclectic choice of sides, including onion-battered green beans and garlic-parmesan bread sticks.
Chelsea Martin dabbled in ballet, jazz, and salsa before she truly began to experiment with dance. Belly dance proved to be the catalyst for her evolution—she studied under several experts and performed with ensembles throughout California, mastering the sinuous moves enough to hold her own classes and blend in at snake family reunions. When hip-hop entered her repertoire, Chelsea didn't want to split her energy between the two styles. Instead, she blended them, inventing Belly Dance Funk techniques that she also teaches in addition to Zumba routines. With multiple upcoming showcases and a tireless passion for choreography, Chelsea plans to continue shaping and sharing her signature moves.