Late last summer, a new women's clothing store opened at 215 N. Franklin St. in downtown Port Washington: Moda Bella, an urban chic boutique. Now, having survived a winter on the lake, the shop is really beginning to put down roots, inviting the community in with a series of classes and events.
Owner, Michele Piechowski, has made a serious commitment to forward-thinking fashion, not only in the trendy, upscale look of the items she carries, but in the way -- and the where -- in which they were made. Most of the clothing and accessories within this lakeside boutique with an east-side feel are Fair Trade (meaning the workers were paid a living wage and provided good working conditions) or Made in the USA; a rare claim for a clothing store.
In fact, one of Michele's favorite lines this spring is from Mata Traders in Chicago, who utilize Fair Trade Co-ops in India and Nepal to make their clothing.
"I just love these garments," Michele said. "They're made of 100% cotton, of which most of is hand-stamped or hand embroidered. These co-ops pay fair wages, and offer daycare, healthcare and empowerment to the women working with them. I love that these pieces are made by one woman from start to finish, without line or piece work."
Beyond clothing and accessories, Michele has had several workshops in the store that were so well-received, she's doing them again! On Monday, April 11th, at 6 p.m., there will be a Glass Painting Class in the store. On Sunday, April 24th, at 2 p.m., there will be a Canvas Painting Class. On Thursday, May 5th, at 5:30, she'll have the second Pillow and Canvas Tote Painting Class, just in time for Mother's Day gifts. Her Pallet Class has been so popular, she added a 4th one on May 9th at 5:30 p.m. (look for the sign up on April 8th!).
Moda Bella will be closed the 2nd through the 7th for Michele to take a much-needed break, but she'll be back in time for Port's annual Ladies Night Out on April 14th from 4-8 p.m.
Moda Bella has something for all ages of women. In fact, they are currently building a special Juniors section for teens, with the same, fashion-forward focus. The boutique is open Wednesday through Saturday, but the hours can be a bit erratic, so it's best to call before you visit: (262) 261-5105.
We at Ozaukee Living Local truly appreciate Michele's commitment to being a local business in the truest sense, and wish her the best of success!
On Saturday, February 6th at 7 p.m., three Ozaukee high school A Cappella teams will compete against each other in the Varsity Vocals International Championship of High School A Cappella Quarterfinal Competition, held at the Port Washington High School Auditorium.
Limited Editon, Port Washington High School's a cappella group, will face Cedarburg's Bella Voce and Grafton High School's Graftonics, for the first time. No stranger to competition, Limited Edition has won the semifinal competition four times in the last six years, as well as the 2010 championship.
The popularity of a cappella music has skyrocketed, mainly due to the films, Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. In fact, Limited Edition was selected by Deke Sharon, the Musical Director of Pitch Perfect, to open the Vocalosity concert last month in Green Bay.
The top two finishers in the quarterfinal competition will move on to compete in the regional semifinals in March, while the winner of the semifinals will go to the championship competition in New York at the end of April.
Tickets to the concert can be purchased from the Varsity Vocals website, and are $10/student and $15/adult.
Port Washington resident, James Meyer, has been taking award-winning photographs of Ozaukee County and beyond for several years. You may have seen his work on local Milwaukee weather channels, or in several local publications, including this one. He has recently been chosen to be an MPTV featured artist for the 2016 Channel 10 Great TV Auction Poster Collection - an honor that will bring his work to the national stage.
The Auction, which premiered in 1969, is used as a fundraiser for Milwaukee Public Television. Participation gives local businesses, artists, and organizations the chance for major television exposure, as donations of gift certificates and products are auctioned off to raise money for programming and technology for MPTV.
"MPTV will be showing video segments during the auction every time my prints are being offered, as well as on MPTV.org, and MPTV social channels," Meyer said.
The auction begins on April 29th, and Meyer will be filming video shoots next month for the event.
This Saturday, January 23rd, MPTV will host an Indoor Winter Farmers Market at their studio (12560 W Townsend St., Brookfield, WI 53005) from 9-1, which is another fundraiser for MPTV.
Meyer, who can often be found at the Port Washington lakefront at sunrise, in search of the perfect shot, had this to say about his adventure with MPTV: "This is a tremendous opportunity that I’m grateful for. To me, photography isn’t taking a picture, it’s capturing a moment to treasure. It’s creating a pathway to a memory. It’s realizing the future will come. Capturing images of the now shape how you’ll see all that you love today… tomorrow."
You can see more of Meyer's work at: http://jamesmeyerphoto.com, as well as some of his recent photos below.
The words of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, are sung by many on New Year's Eve: We'll drink a cup o' kindness, yet, for days of Auld Lang Syne. Auld Lang Syne means times long past. It is a song of reminiscence; a perfect sentiment to end the year. We give our regards to the past, and welcome the new, which isn't always easy.
In Port Washington, where I live, we said goodbye to a very dear part of our community this past year: Harry's Restaurant.
When my husband and I moved from Cedarburg to Port Washington in the Spring of 1999, one of the first places we came to know and love was Harry's. The owners, Bertie and Dale, recognized my husband from when he went to daycare with their children, but I suspect we would have been warmly welcomed, even if we had been complete strangers.
Harry's quickly became our weekend Cheers - the place where everybody knew our names. We nicknamed Joe, the cook, Satan, because of his pointy goatee. My husband would nudge me as we waited in line for our table: "Satan's in the kitchen - that means our breakfast will be good." Indeed, it was.
Wendy, our favorite waitress, always made time to chat with us. In fact, when I was in the hospital the day after our first child was born in 2002, my husband stopped into Harry's for breakfast. Wendy sent him to the hospital with a slice of Harry's famous Jewish Coffee Cake, and congrats from the staff. She did it again when my husband and my daughter went in for breakfast one June morning in 2005, when my son was born.
My children grew up at Harry's, with Bertie, Dale and Wendy remarking on how much they'd grown with every visit. First, they sat at the high chair. Then, there were the mouse-ear pancake years. Before we knew it, we were splitting the coffee cake over cups of tea and coffee, and they were ordering off of the grown-up menu. My son would pay at the register, then take a spin on the stools at the counter before we would head out the door. Harry's was an era for my family; as it was, I imagine, for many others.
We weren't in town for the party the community had for Harry's, but I stopped in on their last day - the place was bursting at the seams - to give Dale and Bertie a card, and one for Wendy, too. A card to say thanks. A card to say good-bye.
Some people think that Harry's had to close to make room for the new Port Harbour Lights development that is going up as I type this, but that's not true. Bertie and Dale were ready for a well-deserved rest. Some people hope that someone will bring Harry's back when the new space is built; some people don't want that at all, because it wouldn't be the same - and it won't. Dale, Bertie, Wendy, Joe, and the rest of the staff are what made Harry's what it was.
Good byes are hard. We have our memories, though, and we reminisce. We give our regards to the past; then, we take each other's hands and we look to the future. That is what the new year is for.
Christmas is happening in Port Washington this Saturday, December 6th, and there is something for everyone!
The day starts with the Port Washington Indoor Farmers Market, from 9-1 at the First Congregational Church on Webster Street. In addition to the usual local food and goods, the market will have Christmas Cookies for sale, as well as the beautiful piano music of local wonder, Anthony Deutsch. If you haven't gotten your Christmas tree yet, you can get one right outside the church. If that's not one-stop local Christmas shopping, I don't know what is!
Port Washington's annual Christmas on the Corner begins at 3 p.m. Meet live reindeer, and see a live nativity, or take a carriage ride through beautiful downtown Port Washington. Carolers will sing, and many of the local businesses will have special attractions and sales, including an Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt for kids! Kids can write their letters to Santa at the Blue Heron Artisans, or decorate cookies at Dockside Deli. They can also get their picture taken with Elsa and Anna (of Frozen fame) at Biever Travel, or a photo with Santa at Port Washington State Bank.
Gallery 224 Studios, located in the lower level of the Boerner Building, will be hosting a reception and open house during the event for their latest exhibit, "Family Matters." Visitors can tour the studio and darkroom, and meet the current Artists in Residence.
Visitors who help decorate the tree at the Port Exploreum and make a donation to the Food Pantry will receive a wristband to watch the fireworks from the 2nd floor deck.
The tree lighting kicks-off the parade at 6:15 p.m., followed by Ozaukee's only winter fireworks, right on the lakefront! This is an event you don't want to miss. Learn more at visitportwashington.com, or call (262) 268-1132.