April Fresh Picks

What I’m Reading

“Eat Up : Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want” by  Ruby Tandoh

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with food as someone who loves it, cooking, but who also struggles with weight, weight loss, and body image. I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, binge eating even though I’m not hungry to not eating much a few days before doctor’s appointments to shed a few pounds. I’ve always considered my relationship with food mostly toxic and unhealthy. Then I came across Ruby Tandoh’s Twitter and her new book “Eat Up : Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want”. I was crying just from the three page introduction. This isn’t a diet book. It doesn’t tell you how or what to eat. It reminds us why we eat, the meaning food can hold for us. As I’m reading now, I’m wrestling with emotions towards eating and how to be more positive with it, and I’m sure the path it takes you on emotionally is different for every reader. If you struggle with your relationship with food, in any capacity, I highly recommend sitting down and reading this book. It’s started me on a healing journey, and I hope it can do the same for you. You can buy it here or purchase a Kindle version on Amazon.

“The Millennial’s Guide to Wealth: Learn About Saving, Investing, Spending and Living While Drinking Beer” by Barry Pencek

After graduating, I felt like I was going in blind to a lot of things because we never talked about them in all those years of school. Taxes? 401 (k)? Saving and Investing? I’m basically clueless, and there is only so much I can pester my Dad about with this. Luckily, my Uncle Barry gifted me a copy of his book “The Millennial’s Guide to Wealth: Learn About Saving, Investing, Spending and Living While Drinking Beer”. I had it by my side when I was figuring out enrolling in my 401(k) and benefits for my job. I’ve referenced it a lot in the three months since I’ve graduated. It’s a great breakdown of everything we wished we learned in school, and a great resource to have on your book shelf. Check it out here!

What I’m wearing

ColourPop Lux Lipstick

My latest lippie obsession is ColourPop’s new ling of Lux Lipsticks. I’ve always been a lipstick girl, and it was actually ColourPop’s affordable but fabulous liquid lips that got me more into them.  So, I was thrilled when they announced they’d be releasing a new line of lipsticks infused with a blend of acai, jojoba and pomegranate seed butters.

 

My favorite has to be Liquid Courage, a bold brick red. I’m also over the moon for the cute star print on the packaging and actual product. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for space-inspired or decorated makeup.

The Lux Lipsticks can be found here on ColourPop’s site.

Fresh Sugar Face Polish and Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream

I grew up in sunny, humid Florida. I rarely put sunscreen on my face and my acne was so bad I had to go on Accutane.  Now live in Wisconsin, where the cold, dry winter wind plagues my skin well into “springtime”. I realized quickly after moving here I had to step up my skin routine. by step up, I meant start one because it was non existent. My two favorite parts of my routine are my scrub and face cream, both from Fresh.

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The Sugar Face Polish is important for me to keep dry, dead skin off, especailly around my chin. Thanks to my PCOS I have hair growth there, and if I don’t manage with a scrub, sometimes I get ingrown hairs. The brown sugar in the Polish helps buff the dead skin off to prevent this, and is a natural humectant, or substance that helps seals in moisture. It also has wild strawberries, plum seed oil, and grapeseed oil  to brighten, hydrate, and soothe the skin. It smells amazing and isn’t too rough on the skin. Though, it is a bit funny seeing the strawberry seeds smeared across your face in the sugary paste. I do this about twice a week and love how my skin feels so soft afterwards.

The Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream goes is probably my favorite face cream out there. Rose or rosewater scented anything is my favorite go-to signature scent, so I love smoothing this on after the scrub and right before bed. It smells so light and refreshing, and feels just the same. The rosewater  and rose flower oil in the cream helps to keep soothing and nourishing after the scrub, and also has plum seed oil. I hate how dense some night creams are, but this one is great for morning and night. It’s the perfect follow-up to the scrub, and the pair have done wonders for my skin. I purchased both at Sephora this past summer, or you can snag them at the Fresh website

What I’m listening to

My Favorite Murder and The Dollop Podcasts

If you’ve talked to me at all in the past couple of months, you must know I’m obsessed with these podcasts. I’ve always been into crime shows, which eventually evolved into true crime stories. So in January, I overheard my roommate listening to two women talking about the Axeman of New Orleans and I had to know what she was listening too. A quick Google of “two women murder podcast” brought me to My Favorite Murder, and a new obsession was born. And I do mean obsession, because I blew through two years worth of over hour long podcast episodes in about two months. Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georiga Hardstark masterfully mix comedy and sensitivity to relay stories about murders, peppered with other weird characters and survivor stories sometimes. It might sound weird that I love a comedy murder show, but it’s actually a great way to deal with my own fears and anxieties. There was some concern when I started falling asleep to them read about grisly murders, but it passed. The podcast has made me more aware of things as a woman in the world, and they have great advice like “fuck politeness,” “stay out of the forest,” and their famous sign off of “stay sexy and don’t get murdered.” If you’re into true crime at all, give them a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

 

And through MFM, I found The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. They explore funny, bizarre events and figures throughout American history and it’s honestly one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever listened to. They just riff of each other so easily and it makes me laugh out loud. Unfortunately, that’s often in the office or on the bus. I’m sure there are several people on my bus line who think I’m nuts and just laughing out loud randomly. This podcast is a great chaser to the heavier MFM episodes, and also a good way to brush up on random info and facts for any upcoming trivia night.

What I’m watching

The Magicians

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One of the best parts of not being in school anymore? Free time actually means free time. No studying or homework. Once I clock out of work, I’m actually done with work, which means I don’t have to feel guilty when I sit down to binge a few episodes of Netflix. My latest obsession is The Magicians. It’s one of those shows I’ve seen ads for a few times on Twitter or the name pop up on suggestions, but never looked too closely at. I finally decided to give it a shot when it came up again in January, which I mostly contribute to the bombarding of season three promos on Twitter. And oh my god! I should’ve given this show a shot a long time ago. I’m not kidding when I say it’s probably one of my favorite shows I’ve ever seen. It’s up there with Lost, The West Wing, and Grey’s Anatomy. It’s a dark fantasy, sci-fi full that’s also hilarious. I adore the entire cast, who do excellent jobs of portraying their characters as real and relatable, and dealing with so many important issues ranging for sexuality to sexual assault to feminism. It deals with magic, gods, monsters, fairies, humanity and so much more. There was also a musical episode that made my entire week. I’m pumped, and scared, for the season finale this Wednesday. Please hop on this bandwagon with me, I need someone to gush about this show with. The show regularly shows on SyFy, and you can catch up on the first two seasons on Netflix.

Cheers, Josie 

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Josie Pozie’s Picks: Hometown Edition

It’s hard to be back in frigid Wisconsin after spending two weeks back home in sunny South Florida. I know I’ve been home about a month, but I slipped on a sheet of ice and went down hard on my right leg walking to the store today. So, now I’m sore and thinking of the sunny, ice-free streets of Florida a bit more wistfully.

My family recently moved from Jupiter to Stuart, and while the new town might have the most boring name ever, it does have some fun food stops. Check out a couple of my favorites below!

Stuart Coffee Company

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Mom and I popped in to Stuart Coffee Company for a drink after window shopping with the family in downtown Stuart. I’m always happy to see local coffee shops bustling like Stuart Coffee Company. As much as I love the convenience of my Starbucks app and quick pick up, I like to support my local places.

I kept it short and sweet with an Americano and a shot of hazelnut. The coffee was delicious, simple, and strong. I’m no fuss when it comes to my coffee, so this was perfect for me. Mom went the smoothie route. Customers pick the base juice of Lemonade or Orange juice and then seasonal fresh fruit is blended it. There’s several mix-in’s choices, like greens or vanilla Greek yogurt. Mom’s lemonade and fresh berry smoothie was amazing, and it’s the perfect cooler for a hot Florida day. Even though it was in the fifties, or Florida cold, the afternoon we were out.

The cafe is also a gallery, and the art along the walls created by local artists are all for sale. If you’re ever in downtown Stuart, stop in for a quick bite or drink and support a local business.

Where to find it

Stuart Coffee Company is located at 55 SW Flagler Avenue, next to the Lyric Theater in historic downtown Stuart. It’s open from 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. every day.

Berry Fresh Cafe

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Brunch is my favorite time of day. So I was game for brunch with my sisters and cousins on Christmas Eve. We decided to give Berry Fresh Cafe a try, and we also had a coupon so that was a bonus. But that wasn’t the best part.

 

Three words: 20-ounce mimosa. Served in a mason jar so you can track how much you’re drinking. And the ratio to champagne to orange juice? Champagne with maybe a splash of orange juice, my favorite type of mimosa. Go and treat yourself for brunch one day. Enough said.

 

LOADED POTATO PANCAKE PLATE $9.99

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I love potato pancakes, but I can never find them at breakfast and brunch spots here in Madison. So of course when I saw these loaded potato pancakes on the menu I had to get them. The plate is two crispy potato pancakes topped with cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, green onions, and diced tomatoes. It also comes with two eggs of your choice, a side of sour cream, and toasted, freshly baked honey wheat bread. These were bigger potato pancakes than I usually have, but they were extra crispy and actually mouthwatering. I was so ready for these by the time our waitress put the plate in front of me. I only wish the cheese had been melted on to them to hold everything together, because the toppings tumbled off whenever I cut into it and I had to reassemble with each bite. Other than that, these are a 10/10 recommendation.

OLD-FASHIONED BLT $8.99

The second time we went was for my birthday brunch before we drove down to Miami for the Orange Bowl. I was feeling 22 and my Badgers beat Miami, so it was a good day. I wasn’t able to get a picture of this because I was starving and halfway through my mimosa when my meal arrived. The BLT was the normal crispy bacon, lettuce, and sliced tomato. They topped it off with amazing chipotle mayonnaise on that delicious home-baked honey wheat bread. If you’re in the mood for a lunch classic with a little twist, this is the perfect option.

Where to find it

Berry Fresh Cafe is located at 1429 SE Federal hwy, Stuart, FL 34994. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and from 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Friday to Sunday. They also have Jupiter and Port St. Lucie locations.

Cheers, Josie 

 

Josie Pozie’s Picks: El Grito Taqueria

El Grito Taqueria is one of the many food carts that dot Capitol Square during lunchtime. I usually head to Ian’s Pizza for a salad or Michelangelo’s Coffee House for a sandwich for lunch, but I finally visited after passing by the cart for nearly two months once my boss recommended it to me. She grabbed one for lunch and the whole office smelled amazing. I couldn’t resist any longer.

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While no one can deny that tacos are delicious, they don’t always make the best desk lunch. That is unless you want your notes and laptop covered in delicious taco toppings and drippings to save for later? To each their own, my friends. But let me say, these tacos are so worth the mess.

You’re always in for something new and delicious with a rotating menu every week, and you don’t stuck in a rut of ordering the same thing. You will definitely have favorites though.

While I haven’t tried any of their drinks yet, the pictures of the Watermelon Agua Fresca on their Instagram have put it on the top of my list. I’m not even into watermelon drinks and I want to give it a try. It looks perfect for warm summer days, though those will be few and far between as the Wisconsin fall lingers on the horizon.

My favorite taco is their Chipotle BBQ Taco with Cabbage Slaw. It is the first taco I tried and the best, in my opinion.

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The BBQ keeps it bold and tangy, with the chipotle in it giving a little bit of heat. I know people say food is mouthwatering a lot, but I seriously mean it when I say my mouth starts to water in anticipation while I wait in line for these tacos. When I walk into the office with them, everyone goes “Oh my god that smells amazing,” because the sauce smells as heavenly as it tastes.

Two thick corn tortillas are stacked on top of each other and keep all that amazing Chipotle BBQ juice from soaking through all over your hands. Seriously, look at that. You don’t want to waste any of that. No thin flour tortilla could save that. All I can say is thank god for corn tortillas.

What brings this taco together is the cabbage slaw. I could eat a bucket of this slaw just by itself. It’s sharp yet sweet, and adds the perfect bite. Every aspect of these tacos look like a work of art, and taste even better than they look.

Where to find it

El Grito’s food cart, the one I visit, is at Capitol Square at the top of State Street by the Veteran’s Museum from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Their food truck is found at various locations throughout the week, and the times and locations can be found on their website.

They’ll be on campus at Allen Centennial Gardens on September 7 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

Visit their Instagram or website to see their tacos beautifully photographed, showcasing just a few of the dozens of combinations they offer. It seems like their creations are endless, which also means more reasons to visit again and again.

Cheers, Josie

Josie Pozie’s Picks: Gotham Bagels

Working on Capitol Square means tons of fun and trendy places to try for lunch. Gotham Bagels is tucked on a side street off Capitol Square next to the Children’s museum, and is one of those places I’ve heard about since I moved to Wisconsin three years ago but have only just got around to trying. It was during one of my usual cravings for Brooklyn Water Bagels that I decided to walk down to Gotham during my lunch hour.

I haven’t had a chance to sit and really enjoy the atmosphere of the shop since I usually run here to pick up something for lunch during work. You really get the deli vibe from the brightly lit case filled with deli salads, lox, and pastrami to the hand-chalked specials board. Their menu of hand-rolled bagels and cream cheeses hangs down above the counter where you order, with the bagels themselves stacked in baskets over the cooler case.

 

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Gotham serves cold sandwiches like deli salads and lox, or hot sandwiches like pastrami and piled high corned beef. I haven’t tried any of the hot sandwiches yet since I take my food to-go, but they sound amazing. There is an a la carte menu too, where you can get your favorite bagels, meat and deli salads, cream cheeses, and even their Gotham pickles to take home. They also offer catering platters for 10-15 people.

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The staff is friendly and the shop is inviting to come have a quick, relaxing lunch in just from what I’ve experienced just waiting for my takeout order. To-go sandwiches are beautifully wrapped with precision in paper that becomes the perfect makeshift plate for wherever you’re taking your lunch.

If you’re looking for a quick bite, but a comfortable and relaxing place to sit, Gotham Bagels is the place to be for breakfast or lunch. Check out my picks from Gotham Bagels.

Bagel with Cream Cheese  $3.25

 

I got an egg bagel and decided to be adventurous and give the chimichurri cream cheese a try. As much as I wanted to like it, it didn’t really do it for me. I love chimichurri, but it didn’t have the flavor I was looking for. The egg bagel was perfect, though it came plain when I asked for it toasted, but hey, not all days will be great. I think Gotham’s egg bagels the perfect base if you’re going to try one of their crazy cream cheese flavors. While the chimichurri cream cheese was a dud for me, I’m excited to try some of the other fun flavors. I think jalapeño/garlic might be my next shot.

Traditional Egg Salad  $6.00

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I’ve never had egg salad with celery in it, since Publix is my usual go-to for that and they use pickle relish in their egg salad and I don’t think Brooklyn Water Bagels has any “crunch” item in theirs. Still, I really enjoyed Gotham’s egg salad. I added arugula for an extra $1.00, but that’s worth it for me. I like greens on all my sandwiches. Getting this on a toasted everything bagel was the right idea, since it gave even more crunch and flavor to the egg salad.

Long-Guy-Land  $8.25

House-roasted turkey breast, fontina cheese, arugula, tomato, and mayo.

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This is one is my favorite so far. I substitute out the mayo for their spicy mayo, which is amazing with the bite of the arugula. The first time I tried it on an egg bagel so I could taste the spicy mayo and roasted turkey individually, but the second time I got it on a toasted everything bagel and it was to die for. I highly recommend giving this one a try.

Bonus

Lauren, a fellow intern, swears by the Yellow C.A.B., which has cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and mayo ($8.00).

Where to find it

Gotham is at 112 East Mifflin St., Madison, WI 53703. They’re open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday.

Check out their full menu at www.gothambagels.com

Cheers, Josie

Friday Favorites: The Final Five Are “Setting the World On Fire”

Happy Friday, y’all! I hope the week didn’t wear you out too much, since you were stuck staying up till midnight every night to watch the Olympics (cough NBC cough). The summer is quickly coming to an end. Teachers and students are heading back to school, the heat waves of August are rolling in, and I’ll be heading up to Wisconsin soon. This time next week, I’ll already be moving into my first apartment! Here are some Friday Favorites to take into the weekend and help you through next week. Let me know some of your favorite things from the week!

“Setting the World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney feat. P!nk

Kenny Chesney is my favorite artist. For my 16th birthday, my parents got me front row sandbar tickets to his concert with Tim McGraw, and it was a religious experience. The first song I ever heard by him was “When the Sun Goes Down” when I ten, and I was half asleep in the car on the way back from the doctor’s. I made my mom play the song three more times in a row. I’ve eagerly awaited every new album since then, and while the past few years didn’t do much for me, the release of  The Big Revival brought me back to that little girl in the car falling in love with Kenny Chesney for the first time.

So when the latest single from the upcoming album, Cosmic Hallelujah, dropped, I freaked. This has to be one of my favorite Kenny Chesney songs ever, and featuring P!nk? I mean, hellooooo? How perfect! It’s such a feel good song about being young, wild, and free, a theme Kenny Chesney has always kept throughout the years. Just look at the lyrics!

Up all night and we were feelin’ so good
Yeah, we got a little higher than we probably should
We were in a hotel singin’ in the hallway lights
We were strikin’ the matches right down to the ashes
Setting the world on fire, setting the world on fire

This is a must download for your weekend playlist. It is also available on Spotify!

Alex and Ani

When I opened the latest Alex and Ani email, I actually screamed at work. Staring up at me under the headline “Show off your spirit with new collegiate additions” was a picture of shiny, new Wisconsin bangle. How could I not make this a Friday Favorite? I’ve been dying for a Wisconsin bangle to complete my #charmedarms game day look, and to wear around campus. I even tweeted at Alex and Ani earlier this year begging them to make one, and they came through! Now the hard part is deciding between gold and silver. The Wisconsin bangle, and five more new collegiate additions, launch Monday on the Alex and Ani website.

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The Final Five

I don’t get emotional about sports often, and when I do it’s usually me screaming obscenities at Badger football games when the refs make terrible calls. But every time the Olympics come around, I always get emotionally invested.

The girls of the Final Five captured my heart this year. From Aly’s happy tears when she slayed her floor routine for individual all around, to Laurie whispering to herself, “I got this,” before completing her beam exercise which helped the U.S. grab the gold, everything these incredible ladies have done has made me so emotional. Don’t even get me started on the angel to grace this earth, Simone Biles. Her face when she won gold? I was tearing up too. I’m pretty sure I’ll be searching for some Final Five posters to hang in my apartment. These ladies kicked ass, and I’ll try my damndest to put as much heart and soul into what I love the same way they did.

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Friday Favorites: Challah-lujah it’s the Weekend

Happy Friday y’all! I hope the week didn’t wear you down too much and you’re ready for a relaxing weekend. The Olympics officially start tonight, so be sure not to miss the opening ceremonies. I love getting to see the show every country puts on each time. I’ve got a few new favorite things to share with y’all, so kick back, relax, and have a look at my latest obsessions!

Challahlujah Breakfast Sandwich

The brainchild of my friend Stephanie and I is quickly becoming one of my favorite breakfast dishes. Thanks to some Instagram inspiration from the always punny @unkoshermarket, we came up with the Challahlujah Breakfast sandwich: corn beef hash, over-medium eggs, and cheese, all on a toasted challah roll. To be honest, it was more the name we were proud of than anything, but the second we took a bite into it at work the next day, we knew we had a masterpiece on our hands. Luckily, we both work at Suzy Q’s Hometown diner, so Steph asked Suzy (aka Mom) if we could put it on the specials board. And it actually sold! Talk about a confidence boost for a girl who just tests her recipes out on her family!

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Smashbox Always on Liquid Lipstick

There are two things that make finding a good, true red liquid lipstick hard for a girl like me:

  1. I talk so much it comes off too quickly.
  2. I’m so pale

But thanks to the collaboration between Smashbox and YouTuber goddess extraordinaire Lilly Singh (aka IISuperwomanII), I’ve found a product that pays no mind to any of these issues. The Smashbox Always on Liquid Lipstick alone is a godsend. It is a comfortable matte that doesn’t leave your lips dry and begging for lip balm thanks to infused primer oil. I wear it for six hours at work where I’m talking to customers and coworkers constantly, and I don’t have to add lip balm or reapply once. Smashbox’s website says Advanced Polymer Technology makes it stay put for up to 8 hours, which it easily does. I made mine last for 12 hours with minimal fading once! They claim it’s “smudge-proof, budge-proof, and non-feathering,” which it is for me!

Could it get any better? Oh, I assure you it can. Throw in the gorgeous genius that is Lilly Singh and you get the best shade of the bunch: BAWSE. One of my favorite terms is girl boss, and Lilly embodies that. Her “no-rules red” collab with Smashbox is my favorite color ever, and gives me a confidence boost whenever I step out of the house with it on. I get so many compliments from family, friends, and strangers every time I wear it. And what Badger fan would I be if I didn’t have a show stopping red to wear to games at Camp Randall?  At $24 a tube, this is a bit pricer than what I usually go for, but it is so worth it! I also own the Always On Liquid Lipstick in Babe Alert, a nude rose.

Ben Nye Final Seal Matte Makeup Sealer

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This liquid gold is cement for your face in a tiny bottle. It is actual magic. The product description on Amazon reads “Apply over any completed makeup for smudge and water resistance. Final Seal keeps makeup in place on performers who heavily perspire.” Well, what better place to test it than a hot, greasy diner in the middle of the summer in Florida? The regular customers that come in the end of the day kept complimenting my makeup, since it’s usually been melted off by the time they see me during the day. Not with this beautiful blue spray. Ben Nye Final Seal gives a gorgeous matte finish that holds on for hours. I bought the 1 oz bottle to give it a test run, and I’ll definitely be buying one of the larger ones after this.

ColourPop Eyeshadow

As you can easily see, we’ve got a theme going here. I’ve been on a makeup kick lately, and one of my favorite finds is ColourPop, especially their eye shadows. The colors are stunning and super pigmented, and at $5, a great price. After $30, you get free shipping within the US, so there is always an excuse to get more beautiful colors like this. They have everything from pinks to metal colors and metallic to pearlized finishes. I was nervous to buy some of the more ~~fun~~ colors like blues and greens, but if you’ve got the confidence, you can rock them casually during the day just as easily as you can at a party. I won’t lie, half of what makes me fall in love with a shade is it’s description. A few of my favorites?

  • Bubbly: A truly angelic pink with tons of silver and bright bubble gum pink glitter = A princess pink that is totally rave worthy.
  • Girly: Creamy vanilla with a flash of pink and gold duo chrome finish. Girly, the perfect way to class up your stripper heels.
  • Lovely: Soft light gold with shimmering flecks of multi- dimensional glitter, wear anywhere from a sweet afternoon tea to a belligerent night in Vegas.
  • Tea Party: A versatile soft peachy pink with gazillion silver glitters and subtle hints of pale pink glitter. Highlight anything and everything with it! This shade is made for you if: you love pink champagne, sparkles, and tea parties (duh).

 

 

Cheers,  Josie

Confessions of a Former Florida Girl: My Beach Bag Essentials

IMG_2703You can take the girl out of Florida and drop her in freezing cold Wisconsin, but you can’t take Florida out of the girl. I cannot go to the beach empty handed as a born and bred Florida girl. You need to bring sunscreen to reapply, money for ice cream on the pier, headphones, sunglasses, and so much more. It might drive my Dad nuts when when I haul all this to our yearly beach house trip to Ocean Isle Beach, NC, but a beach bag is a must with all that! Here are a few of my beach bag essentials that make every trip to the beach perfect.

glo minerals The Cherry Balm

My lips get destroyed between dry winters in Wisconsin and sunny summers in Florida. The lovely ladies at Velvet Waxing Studio in Madison introduced me to the incredible lip balm The Cherry Balm from glo minerals that has saved my lips from chapping or burning between my two homes. I never leave the house without The Cherry Balm. While you might get some weird looks when you pull this glue stick sized lip balm out of your bag, I promise it is worth the stares. The Cherry Balm protects lips with full spectrum SPF 15 and locks in the moisture with hemp seed oil, meadowfoam, and mango seed butter. The balm costs $14, but it has lasted me over a year. It’s done wonders for my lips, soothing and healing them when I first bought it December 2014 and kept them protected until I ran out of my first stick this past January. It is worth the investment and is a total must for your beach bag when you’re out there lounging in the harsh summer sun. Skip the cheap lip balm next time you’re at the drugstore and order The Cherry Balm instead. Plus, if you aren’t a cherry person, it also comes in mint.

Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream

After I’ve protected my lips, I need to add some color to them. Yes, I’m that person that wears makeup to the beach. I think some eyeliner, mascara, and a pretty summer lip color brings the whole beach look together. My favorite lip colors lately are Nyx’s Soft Matte Lip Creams. They go on beautifully, and I adore their bright, summery colors like pinks and corals right now. Even after eating, drinking, and chatting during the day, the color lasts with little transfer until I wash it off at night. This one is San Paulo that offered a perfect pop of pink. There are 34 shades of Soft Matte Lip Creams, so I guarantee there will be at least one you will fall in love. They’re small and perfect to slip into your beach bag before you head out for some fun in the sun.

Kaitlin Kendall Design Donut Floppy Hat and Fancy Bands

Etsy browsing is one of guilty pleasures. I love supporting small, independent businesses, and I actually find a lot of them through Instagram and then follow the links to their Etsy stores. Instagram is a great place to find small businesses with unique, handmade products, and it’s also a great place to share your finds so others can support these shops too. One of my favorite finds is Kaitlin Kendall Design (@katiebowhead on Instagram). I saw her post about these handpainted ‘Donut’ floppy sun hats and I had to have one for our beach house trip. It was so cute and I got tons of compliments on it. It also fit perfectly and was perfect for shading my face and shoulders from the sun. Kaitlin (a fellow Florida girl) also threw in a couple knotted hair ties or “fancy bands” with the hat. These hair ties are great because they’re loose enough to not rip your hair out later, but tight enough to hold up against the waves when you go for a dip. She also has the hat in a watermelon design for an even more summery or spring feel.  I recommend checking out her Instagram or Etsy store to see her other gorgeous products like her bow bracelets, wristlets, lanyards, and headbands.

Cheers, Josie 

Coffee Cozy Crazy

I live off of coffee like most college students, but in the dreariness of Wisconsin winters, I get tired of plain paper and plastic cups. I need some color in my life! Also, walking around with iced coffee in the snow and frigid winter wind isn’t the most fun. It was miserable, but then I found @shopcatherinemason on Instagram. Her fun, colorful coffee cozies immediately caught my attention and are my newest obsession.

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Owner Ashlen makes the cutest cozies and combines my love of color, Disney, monograms, and coffee in one versatile product. Catherine Mason coffee cozies fit “hot and cold disposable cups in different sizes as well as cans, water bottles, and small mason jars.”

They’re also perfect for my transition between Wisconsin winters and Florida summers. They keep my hands and drinks warm in the winter, but keep my drinks cold and condensation controlled in the summer.

My favorite cozy is my Monogram Mouse. It is completely customized and two of my favorite things: Disney and monograms! I adore the bright blue and pink with the gold monogram that make it the perfect summer accessory. IMG_2009

Be sure to check out Catherine Mason and her shop on Instagram for the latest designs and updates. Their second collaboration with @stellalaneshop goes live tomorrow at 9 am PST and they have the cutest appliques like peaches, lemons and strawberries, oh my!

There are always great deals, promo codes, and sales going on, so keep an eye on this adorable shop.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Cheers,  Josie