Smoky Chipotle Nacho Dip

I’m a spice and oil hoarder. A weird spice I’ll probably use once? Need it. Flavored oils at the Dane County Farmer’s Market? Gotta have them. I knew I was doomed when one of my professors introduced me to Acala Farms flavor-infused cottonseed oils right before the summer break started. Lots of free time and a bunch of fun ingredients means new recipes, so how could I resist? I quickly swept up six of the flavors:

  • Fried Shallot
  • Jalapeño-Lime
  • Smoky Chipotle
  • Sweet Guajillo Pepper
  • Fresh Roasted Garlic
  • Chili Cumin

I’d never used cottonseed oil to cook before, so I was excited to give them a try. I also wanted to know what the benefits of using cottonseed oil are.

A high smoke point means that Acala Farms oils won’t burn, scorch or disappear in the pan, so they’re great for frying, searing, sauteing and stir-frying. The clear, clean, light body of these oils leaves no oil-taste halo, so the flavor you want is the flavor you get. Rich in antioxidants, the oils contain zero trans fat and zero cholesterol.

– “WHY COTTONSEED OIL?” Acala Farms

So far, I’m loving them. They add such great flavor to all the recipes I’m experimenting with, and doesn’t overwhelm other ingredients. I’m mostly coming up with the recipes with whatever the flavor of the oil inspires, like jalapeño-lime chicken sandwiches or fried shallot roast potatoes. Smoky chipotle made me think of a slightly spicy and smoky nacho dip, so that’s exactly what I made. Like a lot of the things I make, it is super easy and delicious. It’s a perfect quick summer snack to take with you to picnics and cookouts. You’ll be sure to impress.

If you’re not able to get ahold of Acala Farms cottonseed oil, I would recommend a mix of light olive oil and smoky chipotle seasoning when cooking the veggies and meat, and just adding seasoning to the cheese sauce with the other spices. Or you can use a similar flavored oil you find, especially since chipotle is so popular. But, I highly recommend trying these oils out! They’re worth it. With 14 weeks of summer left and five more oils, stay tuned to see what other creative concoctions I can make with these flavor-infused cottonseed oils.

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Smoky Chipotle Nacho Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Acala Farms Smoky Chipotle cottonseed oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  1. Sauté the diced red pepper, onion, and jalapeño in some Smoky Chipotle cottonseed oil, about eight minutes.
  2. Brown the ground beef with a bit of Smoky Chipotle cottonseed oil, then drain.
  3. Heat the butter and flour, whisking until bubbling. Cook for about 60 more seconds.
  4. Whisk the milk into the mixture, bringing it to a simmer while whisking until thick.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in handfuls of shredded cheddar until melted into the sauce.
  6. Once melted, stir in the meat, veggies, salt, cayenne, and a little more Smoky Chipotle oil to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or pretzel nuggets and a light drizzle of the Smoky Chipotle oil on top.

Bonus Recipe! Pretzel Nuggets

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 pound of pizza dough
  • 1/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F, and bring about 5 cups of water and the baking soda to boil. Pull pieces of dough and roll into small balls. I made about nine and they get pretty big after cooking.
  • Drop a few pieces of dough into boiling water, and cook them about 30 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon to shake the excess water off.
  • Place them on a oiled cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Brush dough with egg and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then immediately remove to cooling rack for about five minutes. Serve pretzel bites with the fresh nacho dip.

Enjoy!

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Cheers,  Josie

Beauty & Botany: Rosehip Oil

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Marshalls is a dangerous place. I went in with my roommate a few weeks ago as she looked for some shoes, and we both came out with bagfuls of stuff we didn’t need. I was strong until we made it to the beauty section. I couldn’t resist the bright red “Under $5” sign glaring at me, or the pretty packaging of the Organik Botanik Australia hair & facial treatment packs right on top of the sale pile. I snagged up one of each: Girls Night In: Rosehip Oil, Weekend Away: Coconut Oil, and Recovery Rescue: Charcoal & Mint. At $4.99 each when they’re usually $15 for one, I simply had to get them.

Since it was spring break this week and I stayed in town, I thought I’d pamper myself with the rosehip oil one. I actually hadn’t heard much about rosehip oil before buying the pack, so I decided to do some research before running it through my hair and all over my face.

What is it and where does it come from?

Rosehip oil is extracted from the seeds of wild rose bushes (Rosa moschata or Rosa rubiginosa). Most oil comes from the southern Andes in Chile, but can also come from South Africa or Europe  (Rosa canina).The oil in the treatment pack I bought is from Rosa canina.

Rosehip oils comes from the “hips,” the small fruits found behind the flowers, which are left once the roses have bloomed and lost their petals. It isn’t the same as rose essential oil, but it still has a light scent that reminds me of rose.

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The oil has been used for generations by the Andean Indians and Egyptians because of its abundance of natural nutrients and vitamins.

What is it composed of?

Rosehip oil contains a bounty of nutrients including vitamins A, C and E, essential fatty acids (linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acid), stearic acid and palmitic acid (x).

So what does all that do?

It’s a natural treatment for dry or dull hair, dry skin, dry/brittle nails, acne, dandruff, scar treatment, sunburn, and eczema. (x) 

“The essential fatty acids found in rosehip seed oil also work wonders for dry scalp and itchiness due to stress and chemicals in shampoo. It’s what the skin needs for hydration and skin sensitivities.” Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of the eponymous salon and skincare collection, said in an interview the The Huffington Post. 

After reading all this, I figured it was worth giving the pack a try, especially since I have dry skin and hair.

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The Facial Scrub and Mask

First off, I loved how rose and rosehip products smell. It’s a very light floral, and not cloying when you put it on. I probably wouldn’t have used it if it was. So if you’re sensitive to really strong smells, don’t worry with this.

The scrub was nice and refreshing. It isn’t a deep one like an apricot scrub, but it does use walnut shell (Juglans regia) like most scrubs I’ve seen. I got my face damp and went through the usual motions of a face scrub. It was cooling and smelled lovely, but wasn’t too special since you washed it off immediately.

The face mask was my favorite part of the whole pack. It was light and didn’t overheat my skin like some masks too because it’s so sensitive. I only had to keep it on for 10-15 minutes and it doesn’t dry down, but it felt and smelled so lovely I didn’t want to take it off. I legitimately sat back on my bed and relaxed while I had it on, which is rare for me. To take it off, I used a washcloth with warm water, and then rubbed the remaining oil into my skin. It felt so smooth and hydrated that I wanted to just keep touching my face!

The Hair Mask

I’m honestly not sure how to feel about the hair mask. I loved how my hair felt after I washed it out, but I hated every second it was in my hair because it felt so weird. I have really thick hair and it’s super fluffy, so I think the sensation of putting goup in my hair is what freaked me out.

Like the face mask, it only had to be in my hair 10-15 minutes. I focused on coating the ends and then ran it through to the roots. Then I wrapped it up in a towel and tried to relax, but wasn’t so successful with that part. My favorite part of the mask was washing it off.

It left my hair smelling like roses, made my curls soft, and actually calmed down the natural frizz. While actually wearing the mask in my hair was awful, I would do it again for those same results.

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The Bottom Line

For $4.99, this was totally worth it. You get a good amount of each product (0.71 oz  each for the face scrub and mask, 1.41 oz for the hair mask) and I had a bunch left over from the face products. I tried looking up online where to get this, but haven’t had much luck. I might need to trek over to Marshalls again to grab a couple more. Hopefully they still have some lingering around. If I can’t find anymore, I’m definitely looking into buying a bottle of rosehip oil to  mix into some conditioners and lotions. From my quick skim of a few websites, it seems to average $11-12 for a 4 oz bottle. But if this first use is anything to go by, I think it will be worth the investment, especially since you only use a few drops each time.

Since this pack went well, I’ll be sure to try the other two out and give y’all my feedback and some botanical background of those ingredients. Any preference for which I do next? Weekend Away: Coconut Oil orand Recovery Rescue: Charcoal & Mint? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers,  Josie

 

 

4 Pepper Beef Chili

Dad and I are on a quest to find the perfect homemade chili recipe. For the past few years, we’ve tried pretty much every seasoning packet and starter box the Publix seasonings isle had to offeri. We haven’t had much luck.

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So I finally decided to try make my own recipe this weekend without any starters or packets. I consulted a few recipes on Pinterest for a general consensus of what spices and beans to use, but this is all my own creation.  It’s still chilly up here in Wisconsin, and I need another meal I can make a bunch of and leave in the fridge to eat throughout the week. And chili freezes well too!

I made my weekly run to Trader Joe’s on Friday, came home, heated up my trusty soup pot, and hoped I could make something decent. And let me tell y’all, I think I finally did it! I decided to go with a 4 Pepper chili using a green pepper, red pepper, jalapeño pepper, and green chili peppers. It had the perfect balance of heartiness and heat, and it reheats really well as leftovers. I topped it off with a little sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese for that traditional chili presentation.

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The amount I made is probably enough for 5 people, so this recipe is really easy to double for bigger batches to freeze and use throughout the winter (or spring if you’re in Wisconsin). Go ahead and give it a try, and let me know what you think! As someone who likes more beef and less beans in her chili, I’d play with that if I was just making it for myself, but as a standard chili, I think it’s great! What would you add or substitute to make your perfect chili? Let me know in the comments below!

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4 Pepper Beef Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: ~2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef, lean
  • 4-5 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 each of a green and red pepper
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz of pinto beans
  • 8 oz of kidney beans
  • 1 can of green chilies (4.5 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce (16 oz and 8 oz)
  • 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies (16 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of oregano
  • 3/4 a tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mustard
  • Pinch of paprika and cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional for serving: cheese, sour cream, green onion

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef and put in a paper towel lined bowl to drain. Chop the veggies while it cooks.
  2. Chop up the strips of bacon and fry them. Add those to the bowl to drain, leaving a bit of fat in the pot to cook the veggies.
  3. Add the veggies and the garlic. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the spices and mix until the veggies are coated.
  5. Add the ground beef, bacon, and beans to the pot. Mix well.
  6. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chilies. Stir to combine.
  7. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring often to keep the bottom from burning

Enjoy!

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Cheers,  Josie

Souper Saturdays: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

It was rough coming back to Wisconsin after a winter break in the Florida sun. It was nice seeing my family and friends back home, but coming back to those frigid temps wasn’t as fun. It also meant cooking for myself again. Cooking dinner isn’t as fun or relaxing as it used to be since I get home so much later from class than last semester.

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Solution? Weekend meal prep! I don’t “meal prep” like I’ve seen other people and bloggers do, where I have stuff prepackaged and make 5 different meals out of one chicken. I meal prep by making one big dish I know will last me a week, like my Stuffed Pepper Soup , that I keep in the fridge in case I get home and don’t feel like cooking. This keeps me from just saying “Screw it,” and ordering from EatStreet. Saturdays have turned into my recipe experimenting days, especially for soups and stews, and that’s how my Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup was born. I love Panera chicken and wild rice soup, so I decided to make a big pot to satisfy the cravings. It’s warm, savory, and super easy to make. Soup is perfect for the cold winter days and for coming home after a long day of work, class, and org meetings. Just pop it in the microwave to reheat and you’re set! Use this recipe if you need to warm your bones or are just in the mood for some comfort food.

Pro Tip 1: I went ahead and bought packaged mirepoix for this recipe to keep prep time down, but if you’d rather make your own, it is equal parts carrot, celery, and onion.

Pro Tip 2: This was DELICIOUS with the fresh, crusty Italian bread I bought fresh that morning! I highly recommend serving this up with some.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40+ minutes
Total Time: ~1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of uncooked wild rice
  • 1 pound of cubed chicken breast
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 ½ cups of mirepoix
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 cup of cream
  • Mix of chopped fresh herbs to taste (thyme, parsley)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the wild rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Set aside both.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the mirepoix and season with salt. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are slightly softened.
  3. Add the bay leaf and minced garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add the wild rice to pot and stir to coat in oil and butter. Cook 2-3 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
  5. Lower the heat to medium, sprinkle flour over the mixture, and stir. Cook the flour for 1-2 minutes or until no longer raw. Make sure it doesn’t brown!
  6. Add the chicken broth and water (about 2 cups at a time), stirring continuously until it’s all added. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
  7. Add the cubed chicken breast and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes (stirring every 10 minutes) or until the wild rice is cooked to your liking. I cooked mine for the 40 minutes because I like my wild rice crunchy.
  8. Add cream and chopped herbs. Taste soup and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper, all to taste!

Enjoy!

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Cheers,  Josie

Sci Chic: Science, Fashion…and 3D printing?

Who says science can’t be fashionable? Certainly not Erin Winick, creator and CEO of Sci Chic. She’s been creating science inspired 3D printed jewelry since October 2015, and let me tell y’all, they’re some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

I first “met” Erin when she was running the I Am SciComm twitter account and tweeted about a blog post she wrote called a Life Shaped By Space. Erin talks about being a Florida girl and how the space program (and her grandfather’s involvement in it) helped shape her love of science. Uhm, hello? As another space loving Florida girl, how could I not respond to that?

Erin, a fifth year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Florida, is an amazing woman that I’m thrilled to have got in touch with. As a preppy, Lilly Pulitzer loving Floridian, I get teased for wearing my bright colors and style in “science settings.” What does that even mean? STEM women have to support each other, and through Erin, I’ve found tons of support from other science loving, chic women on social media.

Read on to find out how Erin first started Sci Chic, got involved in science, and her words of wisdom for other women in STEM. Don’t forget check out the awesome 3D printed designs she has on Sci Chic!


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What made you first fall in love with science?

My love of science has been an evolving thing throughout my life. As a kid I checked out stacks of Bill Nye DVDs from the library, was a loyal Mythbusters viewer, and built huge LEGO towers and Rube Goldberg machines in my living room. I loved making anything and everything I could, which steered my path towards mechanical engineering.

However, a huge catalyst for me was my experience living in Florida. My grandfather was an engineer on the Saturn V and shuttle programs, so my family has a huge passion and appreciation for the space industry. I grew up waking up at 3am to see a shuttle launch as a tiny dot in the sky and having NASA TV on 24/7. I even drove across the state to camp out to see the last ever shuttle launch. Having a family environment so appreciative of science, engineering, and learning made my love of science and engineering an easy thing to develop.

What inspired you to start Sci Chic?

Sci Chic is a combination of a lot of my passions. I was president of the University of Florida chapter of the Society of Women Engineers as a junior and helped kick start our first 3D printing outreach day. I saw the huge impact that this event had on the girls at the event. I wanted to find an easily accessible way to impact kids around the world like this. On top of this, I have sewn since I was a kid and have worked with 3D printing at UF and my summer internships. Combining my love of fashion design, 3D printing, and STEM outreach created Sci Chic!

What goals do you hope to accomplish with Sci Chic? What are you still striving for?

More than anything I am trying to show the creativity and art in science and spark everyday conversations about STEM. People often perceive the fields as a path just for people that like physics and math in high school, but we need people with diverse talents and passions. Science is creative, fun, and even fashionable at its core and I am trying to show that through these jewelry designs. Wearing Sci Chic jewelry gives you a way to help spread the science conversation by talking about the 3D printing that created the piece and the science inspiration behind it.

Moving forward, I’m hoping to increase Sci Chic’s reach as much as possible, keep developing pieces to cover as many areas of science as possible, and keep creating more educational written and video content to pair with the pieces. We are working with women in STEM from around the country to create collaborative jewelry pieces moving forward. A portion of these sales will be donated to the STEM related charity of their choice.

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Why did you choose 3D printing as the medium to create your pieces?

First of all, I love 3D printing. I am a maker at heart and am fascinated with any new ways to bring making in the home and school environments. 3D printing allows for a huge amount of customization that many other methods cannot provide. I can easily adjust the size, color, material and designs of our pieces on my computer. 3D printing is an accessible gateway into manufacturing. The concept itself is fairly simple, laying down layers of plastic to build up a shape you create, so we are able to bring it to events and demonstrate it, giving people a window into manufacturing techniques, which are normally not easy to see or transportable.

Would you like to branch out in science fashion? How else would you like to promote it?

Absolutely! I have been working on developing ways to more easily 3D print on fabrics. I debuted my first skirt recently where the bottom has decals that are all 3D printed. On top of this, I am planning on releasing a line of shirts soon that pair with our jewelry designs. I hope to continue offer more diverse products in the wearable area.

What is your favorite design in your collection?

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My favorite is actually one of the original designs we released, the Trajectory Necklace. It shows the path that the Apollo 11 astronauts took from the Earth to the Moon (aka Trans-lunar Injection). I love the look of the piece and the reactions I gets when I tell people what it actually stands for. Plus it looks awesome in 3D printed stainless steel!

Other than your amazing jewelry, how else do you combine your chic side with your science side?

I am a science fashion fanatic. I am slowly becoming the embodiment of Ms. Frizzle’s closet. I have everything from dresses with JavaScript code to galaxy covered heels and shirts with Hubble space telescope pictures on them. In my opinion science and fashion together help show off the beauty and creativity in science, so I take every opportunity I can to do so.

I love going to events wearing clothing themed for the event. I have gotten so much positive feedback from doing this. It helps spread awareness to certain areas of science that people might not normally think about and it gives people an entry point to ask you questions about the topic you are there to discuss.

Through Sci Chic I have learned to fully embrace my passions and not be afraid to show them!

What advice would you give to young girls who want to get involved in STEM?

There are so many resources and programs out there for you. Do not be afraid to explore them. The STEM fields are for everyone and there are tons of people out there who want you to succeed. Do not feel like you are alone! Ask questions to people in science or engineering that inspire you. Most would be happy to take time out of their day to meet with you, have a phone call or send an email. Extend a hand out to let us help pull you up and give you the benefit of our network.

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Also, I would encourage you to explore science and engineering in your free time. Make things at home with building kits or with paper towel rolls. Read science articles and books. Be curious. Don’t let you interest in STEM go away. Even if you go into a completely different field, being scientifically literate and appreciative of what the fields provide is a wonderful thing to embrace.

Any final thoughts?

I am always open to answering any questions people have about the science behind our pieces or 3D printing in general. You can follow me on Twitter @bcofengineering and Instagram @erinwinick. You can find Sci Chic at scichic.com

Cheers, Josie .

Soup’s On: Stuffed Pepper Soup

Junior year is in full swing, and my weeks are already jammed pack with classes, homework, work, and org meetings. While I envisioned making dinner for myself in my own kitchen most nights, it usually ends up with me throwing together a quick sandwich or tossing chicken nuggets into the toaster oven.

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Luckily, this weekend I was free, and a cloudy, chilly Sunday afternoon called for trying a new soup recipe! I saw some similar recipes for this delicious Stuffed Pepper Soup on Pinterest the other week, so of course I had to make my own. I added pico de gallo to mine as a base to get a bit of lime and jalapeno flavor in the base.

This is a great recipe to try with the cooler weather rolling in here in Madison, and it makes more than enough for leftovers later in the week. It was super easy and quick, most of the time is spent simmering the soup to blend all the rich flavors together. I let mine simmer a bit longer to give it more of a chili consistency. This way you can serve it over corn chips, like a taco salad, or anyway you like. Give it a try and let me know what y’all think! What’s your favorite way of serving it?

img_4471Stuffed Pepper Soup

Prep Time: 1o minutes
Cook Time: ~40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons of mild pico de gallo
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • 1 can of tomato soup (10 oz.)
  • 1 can of chicken broth (14 oz.)
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Add the pico de gallo and a bit of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat
    2. Add the diced green pepper, onion, and garlic
    3. Crumble ground beef into the veggies. Drain excess grease once cooked through.
    4. Stir in diced tomatoes, chicken broth and tomato soup
    5. Add in rice and stir again
    6. Stir in sugar, garlic powder, salt & pepper
    7. Cover and let soup simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes to let all the flavors blend. (I simmered mine longer so it would be thicker from the rice absorbing the liquid, so simmer it about 30 minutes if you would like a thinner consistency)

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Enjoy!

Cheers,  Josie

Extreme Makeover: First Apartment Edition

This is the Year of New for me. It’s a new school year which is terrifying since it’s already my junior year, I’ve got a new job, a new kitten, and a new apartment! The apartment is one of the most exciting parts in the Year of New, and it wouldn’t have happened without my amazing parents taking time to come up and putting it together for me.

“I HGTV’ed the shit out of it,” -Mom

They took a blank slate and turned it into a home that my roommate and I can enjoy for the next couple years before we graduate and have to face the real world. My Mom took her incredible design eye and made the apartment something beautiful. Also, shout out to my Dad for suffering through putting together all the furniture with all those confusing directions and random pieces that always get lost somehow.

It was also months in the making, since we started shopping for it when I moved out of the dorms this spring.  82Tip: Shop at consignment or thrift stores right after spring semester ends. People who graduated are donating all their old stuff and you can score a great deal. Our biggest score was a Natuzzi 3 piece sectional and a kitchen table with 4 chairs.

We made the a whole apartment a balance of new and used items to make it the perfect space!

We spent every waking hour of five whole days working on this place, and it came out incredible. Every room has it’s own look and personality, and to be honest, it looks pretty damn good for a first college apartment. I even have my own pub table set and beautiful, golden bar cart of my dreams in the living room. Did I mention we live directly across from the stadium? Game days have been crazy so far, since we get a front row seat to all the excitement and fun.

My favorite room in the whole place is my bedroom. It’s my first time having my own room since I was 5-years-old, and I’m loving having my own space. It’s a preppy, coastal cottage combination and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.

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The coolest part of my bedroom is the driftwood contact paper as an accent wall. The contact paper was my Mom’s idea, and it’s a great way to make any room your own since you can’t paint walls or put up wallpaper in an apartment. Contact paper goes on and comes off easily, which can sometimes be a pain when the humidity gets bad in the apartment and makes it peel since we don’t have AC. It’s easy to fix, but it can get a bit annoying, so keep that in mind. We used it in my bedroom, the kitchen, and the living  room. It adds so much to a bland, generic apartment wall, and there are tons of designs and options to chose from. Check out all the ways my Mom used them in the gallery below!

I’m so excited to share all the before and after pictures with y’all. Keep an eye out for Rey, my new kitten, wandering around in some of the photos. I’ll make a Meet Rey post soon! Enjoy the virtual gallery tour!

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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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From Beaches to Bovines: How Agriculture Saved My Future

I wasn’t in a good place after my first semester at UW-Madison. I was 1,451 miles from home, I wasn’t sleeping, I was frequently visiting counseling and Mental Health Services, and I didn’t enjoy school. I kept telling my parents I didn’t want to go back to Madison after winter break. The only thing I was interested in going back for was a meeting with my advisor to confirm my enrollment in the Life Sciences Communication program and moving to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. It was my last shot. If I didn’t like it, I was positive I wouldn’t come back to Madison next year.

Life Sciences Communication and agriculture saved my future.

I found my calling in the LSC program. This is what I want to do with my life. I crave knowledge and experience, and I want to have the power to educate people on the scientific world around them, especially the agricultural industry. LSC is providing me the unique opportunity to do just this. Growing up in suburban South Florida, the only interaction I had with agriculture was the once a year visit to the South Florida Fair to see some livestock for five minutes and read a poster board about local produce. I never expected to fall in love with agriculture when I moved to Wisconsin, let alone want to    1930744_10205866091154675_7221384019544664510_nmake a career out of it.

I’m so excited to start working at the Center for Dairy Profitability this fall. I would have laughed if you told me in high school that I would be pursuing a career in the agricultural industry. I never dreamed I’d study agriculture, something underappreciated and taken advantage of by so many. I went to Bak Middle School of the Arts and Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts for middle and high school as a communications major, so I always envisioned myself as a journalist writing for a newspaper. I never anticipated I’d be writing about innovations in optimizing dairy production. I look forward to putting the communications skills I learned over the years at Bak and Dreyfoos to work, so I can help improve the Ag industry. I’m so lucky and happy I’ve found my passion here. Every assignment for LSC gives me a rush, no matter the class, because I know it is preparing me for a future I’m excitedly looking forward to. I don’t know where LSC will take me just yet, though I’m very interested in becoming involved in the developing space farming and agriculture aspect of the industry, but I can’t wait to keep following this path to find out.

In our meeting, my advisor also encouraged me to connect with CALS organizations to meet other people in the major. I took her advice, and I found a family in the Association of Women in Agriculture and forever sisters in Sigma Alpha. I couldn’t wait to get back to Madison after last summer to experience a whole year with the girls I came to love so easily and so quickly after five months. They’ve held my hand while I’ve cried, brought me flowers when I sprained my ankle, and celebrated milestones with me. My AWA and Sigma Alpha sisters are everything to me. I wouldn’t have found them without agriculture.

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From the love of my AWA and Sigma Alpha sisters, to Don Stanley helping me conquer my fear of social media, to the extraordinary interview opportunities I got in Ron Seely’s science writing class, I’ve found my place here. I’m so unbelievably happy, it’s hard to believe I was even at the same school last year. My LSC peers, the incredible staff, and professors have made UW-Madison my home. Whenever I think of LSC, I think of the Phillip Phillips song “Home”:

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble—it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

I’m not alone anymore. I’m not scared of being so far from home. I felt so lost those first few months here, with no one to turn to. Now, I have a support system in my LSC family to fall back on during my worst days.

I just smile at the confusion on people’s faces when I tell them I’m a Life Sciences Communication major. Because while it might be a jumble of words to them, it is everything to me. LSC is more than just a major. LSC is my life, my family, my home.  If I leave any legacy here at UW-Madison, I’m proud and honored it will be with the Life Sciences Communication program.

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Cheers,  Josie

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