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.


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.


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?

Review: Acupuncture at Madison’s Family Wellness

While looking for a cheap massage on Groupon a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a combination acupuncture/massage deal at Madison’s Family Wellness. It seemed like a fun new experience to try so I booked the package.

I wasn’t able to set up an appointment right away – the business was quite busy and I had a vacation scheduled – so I planned a few weeks out. I was definitely happy to see it on my schedule after returning from a vacation that was the opposite of relaxing.

When I arrived at the location I was super nervous. I didn’t have time to research acupuncture so I didn’t know what to expect. I was frantically texting friend Alyssa trying to get more information because she is my go to on all things holistic. She suggested telling them about all of my aches, pains, and woes because they have different ways to managing different things.

I arrived about 15 minutes early, so I spent the extra time looking at a magazine. When the person arrived, he took me into a private room right away and had me start filling out a form detailing my ailments. I didn’t know for sure what to write, so I filled out the basic information and waited for him to come back. He said that it was totally fine that I hadn’t written much down and started asking me questions. I spent about five minutes detailing my ails to him.

My list of ailments included: Allergies, anxiety, depression, stress, hormonal issues, neck pain, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain. I mean, there are probably more things I could complain about.

After we finished talking about the problems, he had me lay down on the bed with my ankles exposed. He used an alcohol swab to clean the areas where the needles would go and then quickly put the needles where they needed to be. They were in several places on my face, my hands, and on my ankles (although I didn’t see these ones.)


I moved a little bit to take a selfie (probably not recommended, but hey) and then settled in to a slightly panicked rest for a half hour.


When the half hour was over he came in and plucked out the needles. He asked if my sinuses felt more clear, and I lied and said yes because I felt bad saying no.

I flipped over and he did a 20 minute tui na massage, which was actually really incredible.

When the appointment was over, he recommended coming back 6-12 times for follow up appointments to help with the different concerns and said that the appointments would be about $40 each. I highly doubt that I will be returning for the acupuncture, but the massage was quite nice and relaxing and I would be willing to consider throwing down for that in the future. While I’m not particularly interested in spending a significant amount of money on acupuncture, I would recommend this location to anyone who might be.

So there you go, my first (and only?) acupuncture visit! Do you have any questions?

If you’re interested in acupuncture here in Madison, here is a link to the Groupon I purchased. If you want an appointment with them let me know before you buy the Groupon, I’ll call and see if I can get you a better deal over the phone.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.