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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Potato Bacon Leek Soup

Welcome to springtime in Wisconsin, where it was 29 degrees when I woke up this morning. While people back home in Florida are breaking out the sunscreen and bikinis for spring break, I’m still wrapped up in a sweater and get excited for the one day a week the weather breaks past 45.

More cold weather means a longer soup season for me. I’d been craving potato and leek soup since seeing all the promotions at restaurants and delicious recipes floating around for St. Patrick’s Day last weekend. I also had some bacon that needed to get used up that I thought would be good to toss in for some added flavor. I remembered I had my brand new immersion blender Grandma and Grandad gave me for Christmas, and I knew this was the perfect recipe to give it a first run on. This was an excuse to cure my craving and try the new blender. I can already tell that it is going to be one of my new favorite kitchen utensils.

My soup in the photos here does look more like a mix between fancy mashed potatoes and soup than a creamy potato leek soup. That’s because I got distracted and cooked down the broth too much on a high heat. Moral of the story: always pay attention to what you’re cooking! Now of course it still tasted amazing like this, and I’d never pass up any potato in any form, even if it wasn’t the one it was supposed to be.

Give this recipe a go yourself, and try to keep a better eye on the pot than I did!

Potato Bacon Leek Soup

Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Total time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of chopped chives, reserve three or four full sprigs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 leeks
  • 4 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 ounces of bacon, diced
  • Yukon gold potatoes, about three large ones
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in soup pot and add leeks. Cook until lightly softened, about five minutes, then add bacon.
  2. Once the bacon starts to crisp, add garlic and chives. Once fragrant, add potatoes, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cover pot and cook until potatoes begin to soften,.
  4. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Toss in a couple full pieces of chives. Reduce to a  simmer. Cook until potatoes are completely soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender, or ladle soup into a standard blender, to blend until pureed.
  6. Once pureed, reduce heat to low and stir in milk. Cook for few more minutes until hot.
  7. Top with extra diced chives and serve.

Enjoy!

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Cheers, Josie 

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 

 

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Sometimes the best Christmas cookies are the simple and classic ones, especially when the stress of the holidays sets in. You want to just grab some easy ingredients from your fridge and cupboard, throw them together, and have delicious cookies ready. Shortbread cookies are some of my favorite classic cookies. I may be a little biased since my family is Scottish, but you can’t beat warm, buttery shortbread cookies straight out of the oven. It’s also so easy since they’re just sugar, butter, and flour.

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I realized I’ve never actually tried to make any traditional shortbread recipe when I was deciding what cookie recipes to try for the Christmas cookie series. I usually just grab a package of Walker’s and I’m good to go. So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a shot. Most recipes are very similar, with only the types of sugar used varying. I decided to try a mix of regular sugar and brown sugar, since brown sugar is said to amp up the buttery taste of the cookies. The buttery the better in my opinion. You can even spice them up by dipping them in chocolate or drizzling with caramel and sea salt. Give these classic cookies a try for a no-fail dessert for any occasion.

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Makes 16 cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-35 minutes
Total time: 40-50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter softened
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugars and butter with a mixer. Add the salt.
  3. Gradually add the flour to the butter and sugar between blending.
  4. Mix well. The dough is crumbly, so pack it together as best you can before putting the mixture in an ungreased 8 x 8 pan. Press the mixture down into the pan with a large spatula place to make it more even .
  5. Lightly score the top of the dough about 1/8th of an inch deep to make 16 servings. Poke a row of holes straight through to the bottom of the pan down each bar.
  6. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool for an hour, then cut each bar from the score marks and serve.

Enjoy!

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Cheers, Josie 

Five unique SciArt shops to support this holiday season

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful when it comes to gifts. I love science, art, and creative presents, but it’s usually difficult to find places that provide all of that in one place. So I thought I’d give anyone in the same situation a little help with my short list of five unique SciArt shops to support this holiday season. You’ll be helping a lot of great causes since all these shops are small business and women-owned.  Take a look at a few of my favorite shops and the fun, science-y art they offer to see if there’s anything for the science lover in your life.

elemental carbonwatercolorShopping for a crafty chemist? Look no further than Elemental Carbon. Shop owner Alyssa has some beautiful artwork and jewelry in her shop, but the real standouts are her handcrafted liquid watercolors. The colors are stunning and I love the science inspired labels. My favorite colors are Mint Julep and Hibiscus. The best part is the colors can be turned into tons of shades by using more or less water. Alyssa writes that they can be used for hand lettering/modern calligraphy, watercolor painting, and more. They can be bought as singles, sets, or the entire collection. Be sure to check out her shop on Etsy.

 


elevate and fly

mugYara, self-described graduate student by day and maker by night, has hundreds of products in her shop, everything from prints to notebooks to mugs. I first found her shop on Instagram, and every time on her of her photos pops up, I can’t help hitting the like button. Not only is her art gorgeous, they’re full of wit and comedic relief. She takes topics that are usually stressful and turns them into fun mugs that will make anyone stressing out about their research smile. While her Seize the Data notebook was the first product I ever saw and is still one of my favorites, I have to feature her A Woman’s Place is in the Lab mug. I’m a sucker for any “A woman’s place..” merch, and this is one I definitely need to add to my collection. This mug is perfect for anyone who believes women have a place in STEM. If you know anyone who doesn’t believe that, give them coal instead.


 

sci chic

necklaceY’all know the love I have for SciChic and its amazing owner, Erin. I featured her a couple of years back, and she’s gone some amazing places and grown SciChic even more since then. 3D printing is the cornerstone of SciChic, and are perfect for every science lover out there. Erin’s designs range from coding and robotics to space and weather. They’re super affordable and great fro all ages. Erin is passionate about what she does, and that comes through in all her work. My latest favorite is her You Have the Power Necklace. Because, yes, we do have the power. If you’re simply a technology fan or love the message behind the necklace, this piece is perfect for you. Check out her shop for more cool products and to watch her 3D printing in action.


Chrissy Sparks Art

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The final frontier meets the forest in the beautiful artwork from Chrissy Spark Art. From canvases to slices of wood to leaves, Chrissy can paint it all on anything. Just scrolling through her Instagram had me hooked. I can’t get over how stunning the Pink & Purple Nebula Cosmic Leaf Art is. And how cool of a name is that? Cosmic Leaf Art! Tell me that isn’t cool. Y’all know how much I love space and nature, and that I want to work for NASA’s social media or communications team as a dream job. This artwork just speaks to me on so many levels. Her hand-painted Mini Wood Slice Christmas Ornament would be the perfect addition to any Christmas tree, or even just to hang in your room to dream of the stars. I know I’ll have to get my hands on some for my apartment. Hand-painting an entire colorful nebula on a single leaf takes creativity, talent, dedication, and passion. Chrissy clearly has all of this, because all of her artwork is simply stunning.


two photonpinChristine and Tera make gorgeous, science-inspired pins, patches, and zines for their shop Two Photon Art. You can see their passion and excitement for science in all of these eclectic, fun pieces. Their enamel pins are colorful, fun, and a great way to show off some fun science flair. My favorite pin they have up right now is the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell enamel pin.  It’s one of those tidbits of information everyone always seems to remember from school no matter how long it’s been. This would look perfect on any budding biologists backpack, bulletin board, or jacket. Keep an eye on their Instagram for knew products in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to snagging one of those decorative Petri dishes.

Cheers, Josie

Peppermint Chocolate Twist Cookies

Goodbye Pumpkin Spice, and hello Peppermint. As much as I love my fall flavors, peppermint and chocolate are my dream team flavor combination. The holiday cookie season wouldn’t be complete without peppermint infused and stuffed, rich chocolate cookies. That’s right, these cookies have peppermint extract in them and delicious candy cane Hershey’s kiss stuck on top while they’re still warm. They look super cute on this Christmas cookie plate I bought to display all my seasonal treats.

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These cookies are best eaten (almost) right out of the oven when the peppermint kiss is melting on top, but they’re still just as good the next day. Just ask my sorority sisters who were the taste testers for these.

Give them a try and let me know what you think. Also, stay tuned for several other holiday season cookie recipes as part of Josie Pozie’s inaugural Christmas Cookie Series in the next few weeks.

Peppermint Chocolate Twist Cookies

Makes 12 cookies

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of butter softened
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 12 Candy Cane Hershey’s kisses

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugars and butter with a mixer, then add the egg. Mix the in mint extract.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, and gradually add 1/4 cup dry mixture to wet mixture between blending. This dough gets really thick, almost play dough consistency, so don’t worry if it looks dry at first. It’ll look fine once everything is incorporated.
  4. Refrigerate for about 5-10 minutes, then roll dough into 1 inch balls.
  5. Place on cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only.
  6. Press a peppermint kiss into the top of each cookie. Carefully move to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

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Cheers, Josie

To the teachers who changed my life,

I will graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Life Sciences Communication in exactly 25 days. I would not be here without the teachers I was lucky to have in my life over the years.

Every one of you played a part in making me the woman I am today. I can’t express how much that means to me, but I tried. I don’t think I’ll be ever to say thank you enough.

Mrs. Brody

5th Grade Science

Thank you for being one of the first people to get me excited about science. My mom also recently reminded me you were the first person to show me “Newsies”. So I blame you for the obsession with the musical.

Your love for it and teaching us shone through and I’ve never forgotten it. I remember first doing the milk rainbows experiment in your class, and now my sorority sisters and I always use that as an activity when we do the STEM event with local Girl Scouts. It’s funny how life comes full circle. You’re one of the strongest and most inspiring women I know and I am so lucky to have you in my life.


Ms. Karvonen

6th Grade Humanities

Thank you for preparing me for every project that could ever be thrown my way in my education career. Not even a college projection, where I’ve done actual marketing strategies for startup companies, can compare to the project you had us do in sixth grade.  I’m 100 percent serious when I say I’ve never had a harder project that that, and I’m sure many of your other students will agree. I think it was called the Dream Project? I remember mine was a court case arguing the morality bullfighting in Spain. You gave some heavy topics for a 12-year-old, but it definitely prepared me.

Your passion for what you do is unforgettable, and I thank you for passing some of that on to me.


Ms. Samons

Middle School Journalism

Thank you for starting me on the path to what would become one of my greatest loves in life. I knew I liked journalism thanks to my Mom and Dad, but I didn’t know how much I truly loved it until I started my first journalism class with you. I still have every single copy of The Portfolio that I wrote for. I opened my first AP Style book, I did my first real reporting, and I wrote my first real article in your class. Now I’m graduating with a Life Sciences Communication degree from the university I always dreamed of.

Thank you for always encouraging and supporting me in every writing endeavor I took on in middle school. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.


Mr. Y

8th Grade US History

Your class was always fun and engaging. One of my favorite memories was you showing us the only accurate moment in the Disney’s “Pocahontas” was when the rat ran on to the ship in the first 30 seconds. Also, thanks for teaching me the word paradigm, because it comes up a lot in my major.

Lately I’ve been wondering what it would be like to be in your class now with all that’s going on in the world. It’s reminded me to be grateful that you taught us to look beyond what’s written in the textbook and that where we stand depends on where we sit. It’s something I’ve never forgotten.


Mr. Felt

8th Grade English

I had the immense honor of being one of your students, or little bears as you so fondly call us. You didn’t just toss books at us and hope we would read them. You gave us novels and assignments that opened us up to a wider world of understanding and literature. I don’t think I appreciated that as much at the time as I do now. I may not still have William Blake’s “The Tyger” memorized as well as Ms. Carol’s “Science Is” (an organized body of knowledge that can be tested by experiments under controlled conditions), but I’m grateful for the assignment. It made me not afraid of poetry. And my vocabulary definitely grew stronger because of you.

Most of all, thank you for introducing me to “The Little Prince”. There’s only a few books and stories that have touched me as deeply as this one, and I only know about it because of you.


Ms. Gifford

10th Grade AP World, AP Psych

Your classes were always something I looked forward to. You took a lot of complicated information and made it fun and interesting. Also, thanks for putting up with the antics of all of us in both of these classes. But you know you loved us a little bit.

It was obvious how much you cared for all of us and wanted to see do our best. We weren’t just our grades or AP scores. You wanted to make sure we all did well but actually got something out of the class. I’ll always be appreciative of that.


Ms. Rigdon

10th Grade English, 11/12th Grade Creative Writing

Thank you for giving us the freedom to explore our creativity in your classes. Even though we didn’t always meet the word requirement or do exactly what the assignment asked, you always loved to see what we created. I did some of my best writing in your classes. I’m sad to say I haven’t written anything since high school. Hopefully college hasn’t drained too much of my creativity, because I would love write again.

Your own passion for writing really came through in class. Thank you for helping me find my passion and inspiration.


Ms. Stout

11th Grade AP US History

Thanks for helping me get my first 5 on an AP Exam. It wasn’t always an easy class, but you made sure I got what I needed to ace the exam.

Thank you for also taking the time to notice when I wasn’t my best. With all the students and work that came through your door, you were still able to see when something wasn’t right and you took me aside to find out what. Your attention and compassion is unforgettable.


Mr. Ruth

9th Grade AP Human Geography, 12th AP Euro

Thank you for making my first AP class not as intimidating or scary as I thought it would be. I obviously liked it enough to come back for AP French..I mean AP Euro. You took dense, hard topics and made it relatable and fun. Thank you for making us take map quizzes so we don’t fall into the group of Americans who are awful at geography. What you taught us matters not just in a classroom, but real life. It’s something we need more now than ever. You weren’t just trying to teach us the information for the exams, but you wanted to make us better citizens of the world.

Oh, and I was the same major for all four years. I guess I’ll have to stop by Dreyfoos to get that pizza and beer you owe me.


Mr. Deluz

My freshman class with you is still one of my favorite classes in my entire educational career. Things I learned in that class I still use today. It really opened my eyes to so many different things and the role they play in communications. It was also the first time I ever saw “Dead Poets Society”, one of my all time favorite movies. A quote from it was actually my senior quote. It’s funny how so many things in life show up again and again. Even after I wasn’t in your classes anymore, I loved coming down to run an errand for Mr. Moore and then we’d end up talking for at least 45 minutes.

You are always encouraging, inspirational, and optimistic. If there were even just a few more people like you on the planet, we’d be much better for it. You’re truly one of a kind, Deluz. You told me I was on a journey when I was a freshman. You’re right, and I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m where I am on it because of you.


Mr. Moore

High School Journalism/Yearbook

I will always be grateful for the skills I learned in your classes. I still use the copy of Stunk and White I got for our intro to journalism class freshman year. I’ve used it every year or my college career. I had since freshman year of high school what some people were using for the first time. I still use your saying “don’t hit the reader over the head with a two-by-four.

Since high school, I’ve written for both of the campus newspapers, I’m a peer editor for a department’s journal, and I’ve excelled in my writing classes because of what I learned as a Muse and Marquee staffer. Thank you for your support over the years and for teaching me how to be a better writer.


Ms. Beermann

12th AP Literature

Honestly, I don’t know how you dealt with our senior class. We were awful once the senior slump hit hard. I’m pretty sure I turned in my Macbeth essay four months late and you still gave me credit. Thank you for being patient and understanding even when we were at the height of senioritis.

But, I did fall in love with “Jane Eyre” in your class. I even took a whole class on the Brontë sisters last year. Thank you for exposing me to one of my favorite stories and authors.


Ms. Tieche

Even though I never actually had a class with you, I somehow always found my way to hang around your classroom. Thank you for always being the fun chaperone for NSPA trips and exploring new cities with us. You’re always ready to make something fun and have a great time. Thanks for geeking out with me and always being a fun, bright person. You always knew how to brighten up my day.

Mrs. Little

9th Grade Science, SECME

My first take at science writing was in SECME, and in less than a month I’m graduating with a degree in science communication. Thank you for the opportunity to try what would become my passion in SECME, and for taking the time to work with me on it. What seemed like me just placing first for the essay at the SECME competition was actually finding what I want to make a career out of. Thank you for your help and guidance.


Ms. Weber

High School Speech/Debate and Creative Writing

I will always admire you because you have the magic power to manage the circus that is the Dreyfoos Communications Department. I don’t know how you do it. Maybe that’s why you didn’t notice that group of us crying in class that freshman year. I’m just kidding. In all seriousness, you are an amazing mentor and teacher. I don’t know how anything would get done around the department without you, and I sure know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. You were always supportive, even though you teased me for wanting to go to freezing Wisconsin. But it was so worth it. I hope I’m doing the department proud.

I know you’re technically Mrs. Anyzeski now, but you’ll always be Ms. Weber to me. You’re an amazing role model and I was lucky to be one of your students. Thank you for everything.


Don Stanley

LSC Social Media

I was honestly terrified of taking your social media class sophomore year. I had no idea what I was doing and thought I was going to royally mess everything up. But you taught me how to get over the initial terror and dive in head-first and do my best. Now, I want to do social media and digital marketing, and going from never using Twitter to using it daily (for better or worse). Here I am three classes with you later and you’re still making me do that. Though, we’ll see if I get a video up on here for 532.

No matter what my goals or dreams are, you’ve always cheered me on, when when I fell short. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your mentorship these past few years. Thanks for teaching me to face my fears and always supporting me.


Shiela Reaves

LSC Visual/Creative Narrative stories

You want us to understand and appreciate everything the goes into what we do. I loved learning about the science and cultural influences of color in your Visualizing Science class. The AP style work we did in your class was valuable, since every job listing I’ve so far asks for skill with it.

You genuinely care about all of your students, and you make sure our interests and identity don’t get lost in the shuffle. Just because we’re writing about a STEM subject doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Thank you for teaching me that I don’t have to sacrifice my creative writing style to write about science.


Sarah Botham

NAMA Mama

Thank you for being the best NAMA Mama anyone could ask for. You’re supportive of all of us and our aspirations, care deeply for all of your students, and you push us to do our best. NAMA was a great experience that proved agricultural marketing is what I want to do.  Your love and compassion is evident in everything you do. I’m lucky to be a recipient of that. I’ll always be grateful.

Thank you all so much. You’ve changed my life.

Happy Thanksgiving

Love,  Josie

My Anxiety Will Not Control Me

The weight on my chest is suffocating, the crushing pain of it working up through my throat. I can feel the air getting trapped and my lungs pumping harder. The edges of my vision blur till I can only see what’s right in front of me. I feel like everything is moving closer, ready to crush me in seconds. Then it’s done. Everything zooms out and I’m back sitting on my bed. My anxiety attack is over.

I’m going to my dream college pursuing a degree in a major practically made for me so I can get a dream job in science communication. So why am I panicking?

Over the summer, as graduation day neared, my anxiety attacks were more frequent and usually unprovoked. And they happened everywhere.

In the shower.

On the bus.

Watching a tv show.

But I’m on a path to getting better.

I’m fortunate enough to have a supportive network of family, friends, my girlfriend, employers, and professors who all want to see me succeed. I would not be where I am without their unconditional love and support even at my lowest and, to quote Meredith Grey, “dark and twistiest.”

I’m also beyond lucky to have excellent mental health services through my university, and I was able to talk to someone to work out a plan to help me gain control of my anxiety. Because my anxiety will never be cured. It will never magically go away. As frustrating as it is, my anxiety is a part of me. So instead of fighting it till it exhausts my physically and emotionally, I’m going to take the steps I need to control it. Because I refuse to let it own me anymore.

 

My cousin, Kelsey, just started college this fall, and one of the pieces of advice I gave her was don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t wait till you’re drowning to reach out for a lifeline. I didn’t seek out counseling my freshman year until I was already skipping and nearly failing classes, and I still feel the repercussions of that decision nearly 4 years later. I’ve worked my ass off these last three years to help my mental health, and GPA, recover. I was worried I’d be the only one there. But when I first walked to UHS Mental Health Services and told the receptionist “I need help, and I need someone to talk to,” I noticed the whole waiting room was full. Full of students experiencing the same things as me. And I had been worried, no, ashamed to have to go to counseling.

I recently realized that I don’t write poetry anymore and it made me sad. I haven’t written since my senior year of high school. In a wave of nostalgia for a time before my poetic creativity was drained by the sleepless nights and anxiety ridden days of college, I found our creative writing anthology from senior year. It was one of the few books I’ve had on my shelf every year since moving to Wisconsin, always between the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Queens of Scotland series. As I read my poems, I realized they were more than the usual angst teens inject into their writing. They were the circumstances and fear and worries that followed me into college that eventually morphed into the fuel for the anxiety I have today. I should’ve paid closer attention to my own warnings to myself at the time. But you can’t live in a world of should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. Our anthology was called Baggage Claim. Nearly 4 years later, I’m finally picking up my baggage.

This post was a long time coming, and I think seeing it was Mental Health Awareness Day finally kicked it into gear. My blog isn’t usually my diary. Every time I sat down to write this, I would stare at the blank post format for a few minutes before shutting my laptop. Nope, wasn’t happening. It was infuriating to me as a writer. Writing has always been my most effective way of expressing myself, no matter if I’m at my highest or lowest point. Why is something that so many people suffer from so hard to talk about, let alone write about?

We need to normalize talking about this. We need to stop worrying about what people will think. I know that’s easy enough to say, but it’s the bottom line. I won’t lie, it was terrifying to hit publish on this post. But it was also relieving.

My name is Josie Russo. I’m a Dean’s List student. I’m Vice President of my sorority. I have two incredible internships doing what I love. I’m graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences Communication this December. And I suffer from anxiety. I will succeed after college.

My anxiety will not define me. It will not control me.

Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

When I was in the grocery store, this cracked black pepper cheddar cheese spoke to me (plus it was on sale).

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I love cracked black pepper flavored anything, but this cheese is perfect for tons of recipes. Cracked black pepper cheese on cracked black pepper Triscuits? #Inception. I posted a photo on my snapchat asking for ideas what to make with it like a grilled cheese or cheese fries, which I will totally try with the cheese I had left.

My favorite recipes are always the ones where I see an interesting ingredient like this cheese and then I build the recipe around it. I thought scalloped potatoes would be a good recipe to try, because this cheese seemed like it would make a great cheese sauce. You also really can’t go wrong with cheese and potatoes.

It’s funny how your food preferences change as you grow up, because I always dreaded when mom made scalloped potatoes as a kid. Now I’m trying to figure out how to make them homemade. These were delicious, and I’m glad I decided to give scalloped potatoes a try again. But don’t get any ideas Mom, I won’t be making ham steak or veggie lasagna anytime soon.

Don’t be intimidated by trying to make this restaurant pretty and trying to stack it perfectly. It’s actually super easy to make, and once you get it down, then you can make an easy side dish for tons of favorite dinners. The best part? They are still as delicious reheated, so they’re perfect to throw in your bag to take for lunch to the office or between classes.

Let me know what you think of these cheesy and yummy scalloped potatoes, or what some other fun or different cheeses I could try are in the comments!

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Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Serves 4

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds of russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 4 ounces freshly shredded cracked black pepper cheddar cheese, shred some extra to top it off
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Scrub potatoes clean and put into the boiling water, skin still on. Cook for 20 minutes, remove, and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  3. While they cool, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour constantly until golden brown, then stir in milk until thickened. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in shredded cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  4. Peel potatoes and slice into thin rounds. Place 1/3 of the potato slices, overlapping, in a single layer in greased 13 x 9 inch pan, seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spoon about 1/3 of the cheese sauce on top of the potatoes.
  5. Repeat for two more layers (I was cooking for one and could only make 2 total layers). Pour all of the remaining cheese sauce over the top layer of potatoes.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese and dust paprika on top.
  7. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until melted and bubbling.
  8. Garnish with parsley

Enjoy!

 

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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