Madison: White Jasmine Cooking Class at Madison Public Library

This past spring, Madison Public Library hosted a series of cooking classes with White Jasmine. I was able to sign up for two of the classes and had a great time at both. The classes were aimed toward learning how to cook a variety of Pakistani food. I really enjoy all food, especially food with a lot of flavor and spice, so I was really excited to get an idea of how I could make some tasty food for myself.

During the second lesson that I attended (the final lesson in the series) the class focused on vegetarian cooking. I personally prefer to have a meat dish with every meal but it was fun to learn how to cook some alternative meals options such as chickpeas and zucchini. Though they were intended to be vegetarian main courses, both could be eaten as a side dish.

When we arrived at the library, we walked into a room set up to view a cooking demonstration. At the front of the room were several ingredients, spices, and cooking tools. Each seat had a copy of each recipe that was being prepared as well as a survey for everyone to complete toward the end of the program.

White Jasmine Cooking Class Madison Public Library

After everyone arrived, the organizer of the event said a few words. Huma Siddiqui then took over the show. She explained to us that she had moved to Wisconsin from London and was startled by the lack of flavor and spices used in American cooking. She started to share her recipes and cooking experience and began to teach cooking classes in the Madison area. The spices are for sale on their website and at Woodman’s grocery stores.

 

While she was sharing her background, she began to prepare the meal. First, she started to prepare the lentils, then the chickpeas, and finally the zucchini. She did a great job giving tips about each dish to us and answering questions while the food was cooking. For those of us who weren’t familiar with all of the spices that were being used, she passed around the jars (which are a product that she sells) which allowed us to see and smell each one. We also had the recipes in front of us so that we could take notes on how to properly prepare the food for ourselves at home.

After the food was ready, we got to do the fun part. We all lined up and were able to eat as much of the food as we wanted. Everything was incredibly delicious, and I was especially in love with the chickpeas. I went back for seconds.. and thirds! It was hard to eat the chickpeas because they were incredibly spicy due to the chili pepper, but that certainly didn’t stop me from eating as much of the delicious food as I could.

Madison Public Library will be hosting another set of these cooking classes this fall and registration is currently open. The classes are also periodically available throughout the community at a low cost and information about upcoming classes can be found on the White Jasmine website.

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I haven’t yet had the chance to make one of these recipes, but I am pretty sure the chickpeas would be a great fall meal. I also really enjoyed attending this class with my mom and one of my friends, it is a fun way to try out something new in our community.

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Thrift Store CDs

I’m not sure about you, but I spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to take a picture on my phone, finding out that my storage is full, and quickly deleting whatever I can out of frustration. Because of this I’ve never been big on putting music on my phone, which means that I’m generally at the mercy of listening to whatever is playing on my car radio.

A few weeks ago I had the genius (and completely unoriginal) idea of stopping at a thrift store to check out what CDs were available. I was really excited to find a Beyonce and (lol) All American Rejects. After listening to Love on Top and Countdown on the Beyonce CD 30 times in a one-week period, I decided to stop at another thrift store to see what else was available.

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It’s only been a few weeks but I have already found some great music. I was particularly psyched to find the Toploader album as they sing the most beautiful version of Dancing in the Moonlight, and it reminds me of Corinne over at http://skinnedcartree.com whenever I hear it. I’m also in love with the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Beatles album, as A Day in the Life is the sound of my soul.

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While I realize it’s a bit of a risk to purchase a used CD with no option for return, the cost is so little ($1 or $2) that it shouldn’t worry you too much. I have purchased 7 CDs now and only one track has skipped – and it was easily fixed with a quick t-shirt wipe down. Annnd now I can enjoy some of my favorite songs while driving when there is absolutely nothing else available.

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What CDs would you have your eye out for at the thrift shop?

Product Review: Activated Charcoal Konjac Sponge

Getting packages in the mail is the highlight of my life. I love getting things because I often forget what I’ve ordered by the time it arrives, so it’s exciting to find out what’s inside. This time I received a konjac sponge to try out for my blog – I enjoy using konjac sponges and wanted to try one out with activated charcoal.

Amazon shipment

The konjac sponge arrived wrapped as they usually do. It was completely solid and I was a bit taken aback when I opened it because it has a strong unpleasant scent. I am very sensitive to smell though so I’m not sure that it would bother anyone else.

New Conjac Sponge

I was happy to see that this sponge included the string for hanging and that the sponge itself was larger than most I have tried. It’s not gigantic, but it is slightly bigger than most.

Charcoal Conjac Sponge

Next I took it to the bathroom to get it wet. The sponge softened quickly after running it under the tab. The smell did not linger – I took a huge whiff and there was nothing unpleasant.

Wet Conjac Sponge

After using it on my face I can safely report that this is a great purchase. I recently moved so most of my things are in random locations and hard to find. I haven’t been able to exfoliate my skin chemically for a while, and I will keep this hanging in the shower so that I can do so physically each morning. The sponge is nice and soft so it does not irritate your skin when you use it, and it leaves your skin feeling clean and fresh.

Have you ever used a konjac sponge before? Are you interested in trying one out but have questions? Let me know and I’ll try to answer as best I can 🙂

Comprehensive List of Places I’ve Traveled

I wanted to put together a list of places that I have traveled for myself and so that others can ask for travel tips. I love traveling more than anything else – there is nothing better than hanging out in a random cafe in a foreign country, completely cut off from your everyday reality.

United States

  1. Alabama
    1. Maxwell Air Force Base
    2. Montgomery
    3. Mobile
  2. Arkansas
    1. Ozarks / Bentonville
  3. California
    1. San Francisco
    2. Sacramento
  4. Colorado
    1. Denver
    2. Ft. Collins
  5. Florida
    1. Pensacola
    2. Niceville
    3. Orlando
    4. Naples
    5. Miami
    6. Everglades
    7. Keys
  6. Illinois
    1. Chicago
  7. Indiana
    1. North west
  8. Iowa
  9. Kansas
    1. Southwest
  10. Louisiana
    1. New Orleans
  11. Michigan
    1. Detroit
  12. Minnesota
    1.  Twin Cities
  13. Missouri
    1. St Louis
    2. Joplin
    3. Springfield
  14. Nebraska
    1. Omaha
  15. New Jersey
    1. Jersey City
  16. New Mexico
    1. Hobbs
  17. New York
    1. Buffalo
    2. New York City
  18. North Carolina
    1. Asheville
    2. Charlotte
  19. Oklahoma
    1. North eastern
  20. South Dakota
    1. Sioux Falls
  21. Tennessee
    1. Nashville
  22. Washington
    1. Seattle
    2. Steilacoom
  23. Washington DC
  24. Wisconsin

I’ve omitted a couple of states because I can’t really provide any information about them offhand.

Central America

  1. Mexico (Let’s not argue about whether Mexico is north or central America. Putting it here for grouping purposes.)
    1. Cancun
    2. Valladolid
    3. Merida
    4. Tulum
    5. Chetumal
  2. Belize
    1. Belize City
    2. San Ignacio
  3. Guatemala
    1. Northern
  4. Costa Rica
    1. San Jose
    2. Cahuita
    3. Puerto Viejo
    4. Jaco
    5. Manuel Antonio
    6. La Fortuna
  5. Panama
    1. Guabito

Europe

  1. England
    1. London
    2. Bath
  2. Netherlands
    1. Amsterdam
    2. Den Hague
    3. Rotterdam
    4. Eindhoven
  3. Belgium
    1. Ghent
    2. Bruges
    3. Bouillon
  4. France
    1. Paris
    2. St. Avold
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Germany
    1. Heidelberg
    2. Aachen

Canada

  1. Ontario

That’s all I’ve got. This list makes me feel like I need to get out and explore the world. Please let me know if you have questions about any of these areas and share your own favorite travel destinations!

Summer Goals Update

Earlier this summer I made two posts with goals for the summer. The first was travel related and the second was related to personal goals. Since the end of July is coming up quick, I wanted to check-in on my goals to see what I have accomplished, what is still manageable, and what will probably need to be pushed back to next year.

For travel, my five goals were to go hiking at Devil’s Lake, get drunk in a cabin with friends, visit Door County, explore a new cave, and visit Canada. I have done 2/5, hiking at Devil’s Lake and getting drunk in a cabin with friends. Both were lovely experiences. I will not be able to go to Door County or Canada this summer, so I will save those for my 2018 summer bucket list. I will be traveling in August so will check with friends and family to see if anyone would like to check out a cave.

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As far as my personal goals, I wanted to break even on my net worth, lose 15 pounds, spend more time with friends, read a book, and prepare to do well in school. Since this section is a little bit longer, I’ll break each one down a bit more.

  1. Break even on net worth: I don’t think that I will be able to accomplish this goal. My networth was -4k at the beginning of summer and is now -3k. I’m a little bummed out, but I am glad I have made progress. I will keep working toward this goal in August and try to get as close as I can. However, I don’t have a job anymore so there is no way that I am going to be able to pay bills, pay for life, and pay off $3k in debt.
  2. Lose 15 pounds: I have not lost any weight but I have been maintaining which is a positive. I no longer have access to a gym and would like to find a way to work out in August. I actually feel pretty good physically so I am not super worried about losing weight at the moment.
  3. Spend more time with friends: I have spent a lot of time with wonderful people this summer. I have made more of an effort to be in touch with my closer friends, and have had lunches/coffee with people who I care about. I can’t spend all my time with everyone which is a bummer, but it’s been really nice to connect this summer.
  4. Read a book: I have read TWO books 😀 – I would like to finish the book that I am currently reading and find another good one or two to read while I am traveling.
  5. Prepare to do well in school: I have been medium on this. I’ve had a lot of anxiety about starting school but am starting to get it together. Mostly I need to get started on my summer math prep class so that I don’t fail stats this fall.

Lovely lovely. How are you doing on your summer goals?

Review: Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Shiny Foot

One of my favorite Asian beauty products is the Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Shiny Foot. This product helps remove all of the dead skin from your feet and is absolutely disgusting but also complete magic. I have done a foot peel twice and have been very happy with the results both times. If you’re someone who has stubborn dead skin during the winter, I highly recommend trying this product out.

Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid

The product comes packed neatly in a nice square box, about the size of a DVD case.

Tony Moly Super Peeling Liquid Contents

Inside you’ll find two packets of “super peeling liquid,” a sample-sized packet of the Tony Moly Shiny Foot foot cream, and two plastic booties.

Tony Moly Foot Peel Process

In order to use the product, you slip the booties on your feet and then pour in the peeling liquid. After you pour it in, you can tie the booties tight around your ankles to prevent any of the product from leaking.

Tony Moly Foot Peel Wraps

The liquid feels very cold when you pour it over your feet. Though it’s cold, the liquid does not hurt or tingle. It’s important that you keep the booties on for at least 30 minutes so that the liquid can soak into your skin. The booties fit my feet perfectly, and I am a US size 9. Because they have ties, the booties will be able to adjust to fit different sized feet.

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Here is a picture of my heel before using the product.

Tony Moly Foot Peel

Here is a picture of my heel after my skin started peeling. This process does not hurt – though it does hurt if you pick/peel any skin that is not ready to come off. The areas that are white tend to be ready to go and the areas that are more skin colored are not quite ready to be removed. It’s always a fun surprise when you look down and suddenly big chunks of your skin are falling off.

It takes about a week for the skin to start peeling, and the length of time that it peels is unique to each person. If you have an event or know that you will be showing off your feet, I would give yourself at least two weeks from start to finish so that you do not terrify anyone.

All-in-all, I really enjoy this Tony Moly product. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to try out a foot peel or a unique product. I am keeping a couple of them on hand so that I can take care of my feet whenever a disaster strikes. Since I can’t keep my feet smooth on my own, it’s nice to know that at least there is a product out there that will turn the situation around.

Review: Mediheal AirGuard Foilab Sheet Mask

I was very excited to try out this sheet mask – not only is it super cool and unique, but it is the first asian beauty item that I have received for free in order to try out and review on my blog. I entered a contest on Mishe Beauty to try out several different products and was really excited when the company emailed to let me know that I had been selected to try out the Mediheal AirGuard Foilab Sheet Mask.

The product arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I was very under the weather so I wasn’t able to review it right away, and I finally got the chance to do so today.

Mediheal Airguard Foilab Mask Silver Waterful

Right away I was really excited because I have never tried a foil mask before. I have seen a few pictures of them on the internet and had my fingers crossed that I would be able to try this one out. I was excited to see that it was “waterful” which means hydrating, because it is the middle of summer and I have been spending a lot of time in the sun. My skin needs all the hydrating it can  get.

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When I took the mask out of the packet I was surprised to see that it was in two pieces. I have been wanting to try a split mask for a while, but thought that I would need to cut one of my own in order to do so. Masks tend to fit my face pretty well so I haven’t needed to do it, but they never fit my boyfriend or my friends.

I was also very confused about how to put it on my face. I wasn’t sure if I needed to peel anything off, so I fumbled around with it for a while before I finally realized what to do.

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I had a lot of fun putting this on. I was not able to get off the couch so I did it blind and adjusted using my phone. I did think it was a bit of a strange fit and had a hard time straightening it out to try to make it look nice.

Sheet Mask Cute Girls

I enjoyed the fact that even looking super goofy I looked adorable.

silver sheet mask

I had a hard time looking cute in this mask, maybe because my hair was wet, but I did have a lot of fun trying it on and taking pictures. It’s very fancy and cute! I texted my boyfriend and he called me a beautiful robot.

I didn’t care much for the serum. It had the standard chemically smell that a lot of masks have and it started to sting my face after a few minutes. I was worried that I might have an allergic reaction, so I probably need to check out the ingredient list and see if there is anything in it that might have caused that reaction. My skin was fine when I took the mask off, but it was not the most enjoyable sheet mask experience I have had.

The mask does contain “70% Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate.” I hadn’t heard of this before but a quick google suggests that it is a fermented fungus and is very common in asian skincare products. Apparently it is very good at moisturizing and locking that moisture in.

One of the coolest things about it is that the silver side felt dry, but when I took it off my skin was very moist from the serum. The material kept the moisture in so that it would absorb rather than evaporate.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed trying out this mask. The main draw is how cute and unique it is, but the mask itself was pretty nice. If you’d like to try it out feel free to check out the Mishe Beauty website. You can also apply for any of their ongoing campaigns and maybe receive a product to try yourself.

Do you think you’ll try one of these masks out? Do you have any other questions? I still want to try the gold version, it’s so beautiful!

The Grad School Series

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to go to grad school. I had an idea of what I wanted to study and the schools that I wanted to apply for and I started doing research before I finished my undergrad. At the same time, it was really important to me that I take some time to earn money and gain professional experience. However, when I started working in salaried positions, I quickly realized that I missed the academic environment and using the skills (especially writing) that I had spent years and thousands of dollars developing.

When I graduated I created a five year plan. I wrote in a lot of flexibility and knew that I wouldn’t be able (or perhaps even want) to stick to it 100%, but I have used it to help keep me on track with my general life goals. My plan was to spend my first year after college working and not thinking about schools. I then wanted to spend the second year working but also researching and applying to graduate schools with the intention of starting the next fall.

While I did diverge from the plan a little bit and wasn’t always sure that I wanted to go to graduate school, I continued working on the plan so that the option would be available to me. This blog series will tell you about the steps that I took and the things that I learned along the way. Please let me know if you have questions or comments, or if there is anything that I left out that you’re interested in learning about. I’m reasonably open and I want to share the ups and downs so that others aware of how the process works and can make the decisions that are right for them.

Topics:
-Researching programs to choose the right masters degree
-Researching schools
Preparing for and taking the GRE
-The application process
-Weighing offers and choosing a school
-What to do if you don’t receive funding
-How to transition from working full-time to being a full-time student

I’ll update this main post with links as the blog entries are created. Please let me know if there are any specific topics that you’re interested in that I haven’t covered.

 

Seller Review: Tester Korea

I recently ordered from Tester Korea and wanted to share my experience. I usually order from Memebox and Amazon but I was looking for a specific product. The product (Dear by Enprani Moistfull Booskin) I wanted used to be on both websites, but Memebox has shut down and the product is not available on Amazon. Tester Korea was the website that I found with the best price so I decided to give it a shot.

User experience: As far as using the website, I didn’t have too many problems. The translation was decent but not perfect. I did not have any trouble navigating the website or understanding the details about what I was ordering. The site offers conversion rates, which was very helpful when I was deciding whether or not I could afford items.

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Pricing: I liked the pricing on this website. I didn’t see anything that was significantly overpriced, and a lot of the prices were better than Amazon or similar websites. They have discounts on many of the top items on the website, making them more affordable than other options. Unfortunately, there was no free shipping threshold when I ordered so I had to suck it up and pay for shipping.

Selection: I was SO BEYOND HAPPY to find two products that I really wanted on this website. The first was the Dear by Enprani Moistful Booskin, and the second was the Tony Moly Inked Cushion Gel Liner. Both were listed at a reasonable price and it was so nice to finally have these within reach. The website also had a number of interesting items on sale for low prices that I had not tried before, so I took advantage of the opportunity and tried out some new items.

Checkout: I had an easy time reviewing my purchases and verifying how much I had spent. For some reason my order is now showing conversion to won, but it showed how much everything cost in dollars when I originally placed the order. I like that they highlight the specifications of the products so it is less likely there will be a mistake before the package is sent out.

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Shipping: I placed my order on May 5, 2017, and received my order on May 26, 2017. I received updates about the package while it was in transit, and the package arrived secure and intact. Three weeks was not bad for a package to travel internationally without paying a huge amount of money.

Packaging: My order was packed perfectly. The box was a sturdy plastic and the items were well organized inside. The company used cute packing peanuts to stuff the box and keep the items secure. Everything arrived safe and sound with no issues.

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I really enjoyed ordering from Tester Korea. I was happy to get a new bottle of Moistfull Booskin and to finally try out the infamous Harry Potter inspired eyeliner. I would definitely order from this website again and recommend it to others, though I wish that the shipping was free or that there was at least a price threshold that I could reach to earn free shipping.

Interested in the content of the haul? There’s a blog post for that.

Have you ordered from Tester Korea before? What was your experience?

Review: Skederm Snail Jelly Mask

Last night I had a friend over for beauty time and we tried out the Skederm Snail Jelly Mask. This was my first time using the mask and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product. I decided to purchase these masks because I had read a good review, and there was a 50% off deal for Amazon. I get a little nervous trying new products because I always worry that my skin will have a bad reaction, but these masks had ingredients similar to masks I’ve tried before.

The masks arrived as a 10 pack, and unfortunately, the box was squished. The masks themselves were fine, but I really enjoy nice packaging and was kind of bummed that Amazon didn’t package the product well.

When we took the masks out of the packaging, the first thing that I noticed was the texture. The product had a pleasant gel like consistently that instantly made me feel like my skin would be more plump after using. The masks contain snail secretion, which is in several of my favorite products that I used regularly and works really well with my skin. The mask itself was thin but not thin enough to fall apart or tear while opening.

My mask fit me perfectly, but it was too big for my friend’s beautiful face. My boyfriend also tried one on, and it was a bit too small in some areas and also hung off around his beard.

Here is a very lovely clip of the three of us wearing our masks.

 

Anna pointed out that I looked a litttttle bit cuter in my mask than she did in hers:

 

Annnd here is a photo of each of us with our masks on:

 

While the product itself was pretty wonderful, the mask fit my face the best of the three. Devon had a few issues due to beard life, and it was too big for Anna and kept slipping off, though she liked the serum. There are methods for cutting masks that might help them both have better experiences in the future.

We all really liked the serum and I personally felt like my skin was super moist and plump after using, and the entire day following. I am currently using a retinoid so I applied this after Stridex in the red box and the Retin-A cream, and did not have the usual dryness at the end of my routine.

Also, Anna is apparently a genius because after putting the mask on she took what was left of the serum from the envelope and rubbed it on her legs. I can’t believe that I never thought to do this myself.

I would definitely repurchase this product and recommend it to friends, so if you end up buying and trying it out, please let me know!

INGREDIENTS: WATER, SNAIL SECRETION FILTRATE, SESAMUM INDICUM (SESAME) SEED EXTRACT , GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT, CIMICIFUGA RACEMOSA ROOT EXTRACT, POLYGONUM, MULTIFLORUM ROOT EXTRACT, PHELLINUS LINTEUS EXTRACT, ANGELICA GIGAS ROOT EXTRACT, MORUS ALBA BARK EXTRACT, PAEONIA LACTIFLORA ROOT EXTRACT, SOPHORA ANGUSTIFOLIA ROOT EXTRACT, SCUTELLARIA BAICALENSIS ROOT EXTRACT, ROSA DAMASCENA FLOWER WATER, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, POLYGONUM CUSPIDATUM ROOT EXTRACT, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, ILLICIUM VERUM (ANISE) FRUIT EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN, GLYCERIN, PEG/PPG-17/6 COPOLYMER, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM HYALURONATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, ALLANTOIN, PEG-60 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CARBOMER, XANTHAN GUM, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, PHENOXYETHANOL, TRIETHANOLAMINE, DISODIUM EDTA