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

leaf

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

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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

Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes

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Sour cream and onion is one of the classic flavors. Chips, dips, even crickets are found in this favorite. So why not mashed potatoes? Sour cream and green onions often go on loaded baked potatoes, so it makes perfect sense they could go in mashed potatoes.

I grabbed some fresh green onions and garlic from the Dane County Farmers’ Market this past Saturday that I used to make this. Nothing like making something that tastes delicious that also supports local farmers. The green onions were huge and only cost $1 for four of them. I ended up only using one for the whole dish they were that big.

This recipe was born from a craving for mashed potatoes and sour cream and onion chips. I didn’t have enough milk to make regular mash, so I used some heavy cream and sour cream. I realized I needed something to break up the intense richness of it, so out came the green onions and roasted garlic. The green onions give a sweet crunch to the creamy and buttery mashed potatoes. The recipe is simple but will bring something new to dinner.

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Side Note
With mashed potatoes, I think how much of each ingredient you use really comes down to personal taste and preference. These are the base amounts I started with for each ingredient, and adjusted as necessary to get the desired texture and taste.

Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of heavy cream or whole milk

Instructions

  1. Peel the excess layers off a head of garlic, and cut the top off to expose the cloves. Place on tin foil and drizzle with olive oil, wrapping the tin foil loosely around the garlic and putting it on a baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
  2. While the garlic roasts, boil the potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain the potatoes. I used red potatoes since that is what I had in the house, but use your favorite.
  3. Once the garlic is roasted, squeeze out the now soft garlic onto a cutting board. It should be soft enough where you don’t have to cut it, but I gave it a once over with my knife to get rid of any chunks.
  4. Add the butter, sour cream, splash of heavy cream, chopped green onion, and the then the black pepper, roasted garlic, and salt all to taste. I started it out with small spoonfuls of the roasted garlic at a time, adding until I got the taste I wanted.
  5. Using a hand mixer, mix potatoes until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. If too thick, add another splash of cream or milk to thin out. Top with additional green onions and sour cream.

Enjoy!

 

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Cheers, Josie

Beauty, Botany, and Back to School

School starting in 10 days means two things: me freaking out over the fact this is my last semester at UW-Madison and stocking up on all my back to school needs.

After going to see “The Glass Castle” the other day, I stopped into a Lush for the first time in years. I didn’t even know there was one near us till I happened to see it on the mall directory. The very ecstatic guy working showed me the newest products, and seeing the huge selection of fun bath bombs made me wish I had a bathtub in my apartment.

While I couldn’t get bath bombs, I did decide to get some back to school shopping done for things I need and could use throughout the school year. Plus, I love getting new beauty products because it’s another opportunity to do some research to find the science behind what goes into them. Check out what I picked up below!

Mint Julips Lip Scrub

I’ve had chapped lips ever since I was on Accutane in middle school, and the Wisconsin winters don’t help that. I’m constantly use lip balms, and I use them so often I don’t mind spending a little more for the good ones. I do think some of it is just habitual since my lips were so awful and constantly dry in middle school. My lips really are awful in the winter though, and I’ve heard great things about the Lush’s lip scrubs, so I decided to pick up a proper lip scrub to see if it would work for me.

 

I picked up their Mint Julips lip scrub, which has peppermint oil as one of its most noticeable ingredients. Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint, and is often used to flavor  gum, teas, desserts, and toothpaste. The smell is also known for its calming effect, and its use for various treatments goes back to the Greeks. The lip scrub smells and tastes so amazing from this oil that you almost want to buy it just to eat it.

The base is castor sugar, and you actually lick off the excess scrub once you’ve exfoliated your lips. My lips felt tingly, minty, and, most importantly, smooth afterwards. I’ve tried some homemade lip scrubs at home and my lips just always ended up feeling sticky. This lip scrub has jojoba oil and you can really feel it coat your lips to keep them hydrated and smooth, which is one of they key features of jojoba oil. I did skim through some clinical studies on jojoba and there was a few from the past couple years about it’s ability to treat wounds. It’s interesting and I’ll have to keep tabs on it.

Overall, I loved this product. Not only did it taste and smell heavenly, it actually did it’s job and left my lips feeling smooth and refreshed. The blend of peppermint oil, jojoba oil, and vanilla extract was perfect, and learning the properties behind some of the ingredients was cool.

Check out this awesome video about the power peppermint has in our  lives!

Sunkissed Lip Tint

Now that you’ve done the lip scrub, you’ve got to find a nice lip balm to go over it. I have a couple go-to’s, like eos Pomegranate Raspberry stick lip balm, Basin Sangria lip balm, and glominerals The Cherry Balm lip balm, which I’ve featured on Josie Pozies before. But, I’ve yet to find a tinted lip balm that really does it for me. I own a Burt’s Bees one, but it’s too grainy for me, and that’s a problem I run into with a lot of tinted lip balms since they have a glitter in them. I was wary to try one of Lush’s for that reason, but after testing some in store, I was sold.

 

The amazing tropical smell and subtle color and shimmer were the main reasons I chose Sunkissed from their selection of lip balms. They also have Strawberry Bombshell, a fuscia, and It Started With A Kiss, a bright red, but I decided to go with the nude for an everyday color. Some of the featured ingredients are oatmeal, bananas, and beeswax.

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The oatmeal and bananas are for soothing. Bananas are packed with vitamins and are often found in face masks for moisturizing. Oatmeal is used for its anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties, and oatmeal baths have been a remedy of these for centuries. The age old remedy just got capped into a tube for your lips. Beeswax has “rich hydrophobic protective properties” so it’s a favorite in cosmetics and makes it perfect for a lip balm, and locks in all the jojoba oil leftover from the lip scrub.

I love the color and the smell of this lip balm, which also has cardamom, neroli and lavender oils. It looks great and smells great, so it will be a perfect addition to my pencil pouch as I run from class to class this semester.

No Drought Dry Shampoo

One of the biggest struggles when school gets busy is finding time to wash my hair. I have thick hair that takes all day to dry and needs to try up in a clip, so I have to shower early. I usually leave it to the last minute, and there are a lot of times where I push it. So, after smelling and feeling this dry shampoo, I thought I would give it a try.

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This dry shampoo is a cornstarch base infused with grapefruit and lime oils, so it smells like a citrus paradise in a bottle. Cornstarch always makes me think of that slime we used to make in elementary school, but I also used it to make my hair look white for Senior Day in high school. Fitting I’d be using it my senior year of college to make my life a little easier.

Cornstarch, listed as cornflour here, is a “carbohydrate extracted from the endosperm of corn” and used for everything from thickening sauces to coating medical latex gloves. Cornstarch is also included in a lot of oil removing remedies, so it would make sense it should do the same for your hair. I was worried to try it since I have such dark hair, but the employee, and website, assured me it blends in completely, even on dark hair.

The lime and grapefruit oils in the powder are used for scent, but also have their own properties. Grapefruit oil is used in aromatherapy for exhaustion, and lime oil can also remove grease.

All three of these ingredients combine to make an excellent dry shampoo. Run a bit through your roots, brush or shake it out, and you’re set when you need an extra day to get to proper shampooing and conditioning.

P.S. The guy at Lush suggested shaking it into your hand instead of squeezing the bottle, since squeezing will send the powder flying everywhere.

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

Wonder Woman Super Snacks

This summer, our movie screens were blessed with Wonder Woman. After reading the glowing reviews, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed with this movie I’d been waiting so long for. But, I didn’t expect it to have such a toll on me. I cried when Diana goes over the top of the tranches to take on no man’s land by herself and I saw her in the full Wonder Woman outfit. I was so moved seeing such a strong and powerful woman on screen. I walked out of that theatre feeling powerful and knowing I had found one of my new favorite movies.

So, of course I had to find some way to work Wonder Woman into my blog. I’d been looking to try one of those homemade ice creams that have been all over the internet recently, and since it’s summer I had to work in flavors like lemon and summer berries somehow. After some brainstorming, I’m excited to share with you my Wonder Woman Super Snacks!

Wonder Woman Ice Cream

The inspiration for the ice cream came from the sweet scene of Diana trying ice cream for the first time. It was a simple moment of Diana enjoying the little things in the midst of war. I couldn’t forget ice cream in my Wonder Woman inspired treats after this. Move over Superman ice cream, here comes Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies were on my “to-do” baking list, and after seeing Diana wielding her shield in the movie, it was the perfect inspiration for these Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies. The lemon and berries are a perfect combo of summer flavors, while a little pinch of cayenne pepper giving it kick. I think it embodies the sweetness of Diana and her badass side.

Serve these up at your Wonder Woman viewing party once it comes out on DVD or whip them up whenever you need to get in touch with your Wonder Woman side.

Wonder Woman Ice Cream

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

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of vanilla
  • Red, blue, and yellow food coloring
Instructions
  • Whip the heavy cream until peaks form, then add the condensed milk and vanilla.
  • Separate the mix into three bowls, and add one of the three food colorings to each and mix.
  • Layer the colored mix into a pan (I used a loaf pan)
  • Run a knife through the mixture to swirl the colors in any pattern you like.
  • Freeze for about 4-5 hours before serving

 

 

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Wonder Woman Lemon Berry Whoopie Pies

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

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of grated lemon zest
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • Raspberry Buttercream
    • 1 stick of butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon of whole milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
    • Fresh raspberries, rinsed
    • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Blueberry Buttercream
    • same as above, substitute blueberries
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the butter, brown sugar, and lemon zest. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and egg and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt together.
  • Add in flour mixture and milk in small amounts, alternating between the two.
  • Drop batter in mounds on baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake about 17 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool on wire racks.
  • While the cookies are cooking and cooling, beat the butter, milk, and vanilla.
  • Once creamy, add the raspberries and beat until well combined. I eyeballed this, doing a small handful at a time till I got the color, flavor, and consistency I wanted.
  • Add the powdered sugar in batches until mixed in. Repeat to make the blueberry buttercream
  • Place the raspberry buttercream in a piping bag. I had to improvise with a plastic bag, so while it isn’t as pretty, it got the job done.
  • One cooled, flip the whoopie pies so the flat bottoms are facing up and pair the shapes the best you can.
  • Pipe a bit of raspberry buttercream onto one whoopie pie, and add blueberry buttercream to the other side. Stick em together like glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Cheers, Josie