March 2022


Amy Arnold & Kelsey Sauber Olds

Photo by Hanna Agar Photography

In 1888, the Swedish artist Carl Larsson and his artist/designer wife Karin Bergöö established their home and studio in Sundborn, Sweden. In the 100 years that have passed since his death, his life; his work; and, more importantly, the lifestyle he and Karin established at Sundborn has become an avatar for the aspirations and hopes of many artists: the merging of artistic pursuit and family idyll. Larsson’s most famous work celebrated his joy in family life and served as inspiration for his creative output.

read more

Why Shoot for the Moon?

Photo by Ruby Clay

We all want to change the world. No, I’m not saying we want a revolution, just to make an impact. To see how far pieces of what’s good about who we are can resonate across our family, friends, community, and beyond. You can’t drill your ideas into other people without doing something a malenky bit questionable, but with empathetic listening, honesty, and vulnerability, you might be making an impact you don’t even notice until years later.

read more

JustVeggiez

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Veganisma word more loaded than a Parrot Head retirement party at Margaritaville. When I was a teenager, the idea of being vegan just didnt click. I had decades worth of pop culture telling me it was dumb and a waste of effort. In fairness, vegan food in the 90s was failing really hard at trying to be meat; I was just thankful barbeque sauce existed during my first and only vegan Thanksgiving. But that was yesterdecade, and yesterdecades gone.

read more

Lao Laan-Xang

Photo by Eric Tadsen

How often do we really think about where our food comes from? Not the ingredients themselves, but the dishes. Why a hamburger? Why nachos? Why devil an egg? Sometimes the story behind the food is amusing (like the legend of the potato chip), but more importantly, it’s always culturally relevant. It wasn’t too long ago people were limited to the ingredients their regions afforded them. It’s why the foods of some areas are rich in herbs and spices. Why some focus on seafood or vegetarian dishes and others favor red-meat-heavy diets. Lao Laan-Xang is Madison’s 30-plus-year-old Laotian restaurant whose food not only distinguishes its flavors from Chinese and Thai, but also raises the bar of what we should expect from East and Southeast Asian cuisine.

read more

Planting for Our Feathered Friends

Photo by Kelly Colgan Azar from Flickr Creative Commons

Ah, spring! As the sun twinkles a little later in the evening sky, our thoughts turn to the warmer season of sprouts and flowers. Some of us begin plotting which plants we should add to our gardens, planter pots, windowsills, and yards this year. To support wildlife, consider including some native plants. By making thoughtful choices, you can make your outdoor spaces welcoming for our feathered friends.

read more

Old Wives Tales

When I was pregnant with my first child, my brother suggested I needed to get rid of my cats because they “suck the breath” out of babies. This is obviously an old wives tale and not based in scientific fact at all. My cats did like to sleep in the crib (before I brought my baby home) and liked to be near the baby as I was holding him. They all sniffed the baby’s face, but I saw no “sucking of breath.” This advice likely came from people who thought cats were evil (or just didn’t like them, like my brother). I don’t recommend rehoming your cat when you’re starting a human family, but I would keep the cat out of the crib when the baby is there. If the baby should suddenly move and startle the cat, the cat might scratch or bite. It might be worthwhile to get a second crib just for the cat!

read more

Pets for Life Part II: The Follow-up

Photo by DCHS volunteer Raj Lal

Back in our May 2019 issue, I met with the Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) to discuss their Pets for Life program, which launched in 2018. The program is funded by a research grant to determine if a program focused on providing general pet care and vaccination services to underserved communities increases accessibility. In the study, accessibility isn’t just determined by the availability of services, but whether or not those services are being utilized. Now, almost three years later, I wanted to check in to see how the program was faring.

read more

From the Publisher

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Madison Essentials debuted in 2004. Throughout the years, the publication has changed in style and content—we even used to have a page of cooking recipes. Recently, we’ve had to change in a way you may not have noticed.

read more

Uncovering Wisconsin's Hidden Gems: Wellness Getaways

Photo by Travel Wisconsin

I like to think that I maintain a satisfactory wellness routine. I enjoy walks at my local park, sip herbal teas, cook with local foods, and even tune in to a meditation app semiregularly. But these days, that routine doesn’t always get the job done.

read more

Anxiety–Sometimes Helpful, Sometimes Not

COVID has been a long haul, and we don’t know when it will end. Feelings of anger, exhaustion, stress, sadness, grief, and restlessness abound. Many of us are languishing with frequent or constant anxiety, nervousness, and tension.

read more

Peer Support

Long before the SARS-CoV-2 virus appeared, peer support groups were proliferating across the United States, frequently taking place in person though also offered virtually and even over the phone. Certified peer specialists have played an integral role in Wisconsin’s mental health system since 2010, when the first cohort of peers successfully completed the state certification exam.

read more