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.

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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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Read Your Face Off Feature

A few weeks ago I joined a summer reading group called “Read Your Face Off.” It’s a really cool group organized by a woman here in Madison and a lot of my politically active friends are members. I was inspired to join because I’ve had trouble finishing books this year and joining has now helped me finish two.

I emailed the creator of the group last week to ask a question and she asked me if I wanted to be the featured reader. I typed up answers to a few questions and thought they would be fun to share here, too.

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What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What are your reading goals for summer? Have you read any good books lately? Tell me all your thoughts 🙂

Madison: Rose Show at Olbrich Gardens

Today we stopped by the Rose Show at Olbrich Gardens. This is the second flower show that I have attended there and I have loved both. Community members grow and cut rose and bring them in to be judged. After the show, the flowers are left on display so that anyone can take a look. While I don’t really know much about flowers, it’s really neat to go and see all of the different types of a specific flower there are and the variations. If you’re interested in checking out what events are coming up at Olbrich, click here.

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I didn’t even know that all of these were roses. What kind of flower show would you like to attend?

Beautiful Spring Flowers

My flower obsession gets more real every year. Here are a few that I have seen on walks during breaks at work.

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These little babies are so tiny and delicate!

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Just beautiful. I don’t have a favorite flower, but I do love seeing these more and more every spring! Do you have a favorite?

Madison, this weekend is your last chance to see the Do Ho Suh exhibit locally

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to check out the Do Ho Suh exhibit at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, a free art museum here in Madison. I didn’t know much about the artist, but I had seen the exhibit advertised a couple of times over the last few months and had come across an exhibit while on vacation in another city. When I realized that the exhibit was coming to an end, I made plans to check it out right away.

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The exhibit is an intricate setting. The artist traced his apartment in New York City and then constructed the apartment with delicate fabric. Some parts of the fabric are sparse and others are more detailed.

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The exhibit was really beautiful and one of a kind. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to see it this weekend before it leaves Madison.

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It was definitely a great way to spend a day out with one of my besties. We also found a secret toward the end..

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Looking for more things to do in Madison? Check out my recent post about the beautiful flowers at the UW-Madison Arboretum.

 

Beauty Review: Dr. Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Face Mask

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I was very lucky this weekend to stumble upon a real life Kbeauty store in Chicago Chinatown! I was in town with family for an event and we went to Chinatown for lunch before heading home. I kept my eye open for Kbeauty, but nothing caught my eye until just before we were leaving.

I went into a store called “Korean Beauty Store” and really loved the experience. I saw a ton of products that I have purchased during the last year, and it was neat to see some of the more “well known” products in real life. I personally love touching and smelling things, especially if I’m planning to spend money on them, so this especially exciting to me. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with the salesgirl and learn about the products right then in there without having to do my own research.

Since I have more than enough products at home right now, I decided to check out a couple of new face masks. I asked for recommendations and the salesgirl suggested the Dr.Jart+ Dermask Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask. At this point in the day I had spent several hours outside in 3 degree weather, so I figured a super moisturizing face mask couldn’t hurt and decided to take one home.

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This was my first Dr. Jart mask, and I was pretty impressed with it. I loved the smell (roses!!) and was surprised by the thin texture. It is probably the thinnest mask I have ever used, and definitely the first one that I have had to peel off of a second sheet. I was a little worried that I would tear it, but it all went very well.

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Next, I tried the mask on. This mask did not fit as well as some of the others that I have used. The thin texture allowed the mask to cling to my skin, but it did not match my eyes and mouth. I haven’t had a problem with this before and it wasn’t much of a problem this time, though it was not ideal.

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The mask in general looked a bit silly on me. I was super tired and did not work very hard to take nice pictures.

As you can see, the mask material was very thin and allowed my skin impurities to show through.

I was ready for bed after 20 minutes with the mask on. When I took it off there was still some liquid, but it felt nice and absorbed very quickly.

All in all, I enjoyed the mask and would use another one. I paid a bit too much for the product (around $6.00) but they are available at lower cost online. The Amazon link says 5 for under $15, which is a much better deal.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this mask.

Water Aerobics for Dummies

Last night I tried water aerobics for the first time. I have a goal of doing cardio three times a week and lifting four times a week during the month of August. I was in a cardio mood yesterday and wanted to swim laps, but water aerobics class was taking place during that time.

I got to the gym early and did a little bit of bicep work, then went into the pool to swim laps. I met up with A, who wasn’t super excited to swim but did it anyway because I begged. I started with the first day of my swim a mile warm-up program (10x25m) and then floated around for a few minutes while waiting for class to start.

Water Power: This is a high intensity total body conditioning class. This class includes cardiovascular moves that help strengthen the body by using the properties of the water. Buoyant and resistant equipment is utilized to increase strength, endurance and flexibility

Once the class got going, I was immediately into it. We did warm up “jogging” under water, which worked really well for my body. I have old injuries on both legs that make it hard to jog IRL, so that was a really nice experience. We did walking lunges, underwater jumping jacks, and a variety of other moves to get our hearts pumping.

I struggled with two parts: coordination and crunches. I am not a coordinated person, and moving my arm in the same direction of my opposite leg was very very tricky. We did that a lot, and I kept having to pause and reorient myself. We also did an interesting version of crunches which literally killed me. We floated on our backs, crossed our legs in front of us, and moved up and down (toward the legs) in a way that set my abs on fire. It was fabulous in a terrible way. I told the instructor I was dying and she told me to stop complaining. Touche instructor, touche.

All in all I completely loved the class and would absolutely go again. I didn’t get the normal “I’m not fit enough for this!!!” anxiety feelings that I get during other gym classes and the class vibes were fabulous. Also, we jumped around in a swimming pool while listening to ABBA for an hour, which is literally my happy place materialized.

10/10 aqua fitness, will attend again.