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HOLIDAY | 2012

H O L IDAY 2012


Š 2012 The Violet Cover photo and this photo by Carmyn Joy Effa

Contents open

Camilla’s Letter 5


Powered by Bloggers 9

Do Something! 12

All I Want for Christmas is Less Stuff 14 create Wrap It Up 18 Make a Paper Star 22 Blossom: Mistletoe 24 nurture We Recommend 27 The Juicy Details 28 explore Winter in Munich 34 Winter in the City 38 nourish Four Pizzas Fit for a Party 41 From Scratch 48 In Season: Tangerines 50 play Dumpings of the World Party 53 muse For Elyse 59 An Interview with Hannah Brencher 60 embellish Flirty & Festive Winter 65 Holiday Nails! 72 love Life as an Army Wife 78 All We Need is Love 80 close Back Story 84 H O L IDAY 2012


{Open} verb * remove the covers or wrapping from

Camilla’s Letter a shared experience

Every year around the holidays, I make a big list of things that I

We hope this issue warms you up from the inside out and helps

want to do. It usually goes something like this: send out handmade

you get even more excited about the holidays. Because the truth is,

holiday cards, make a wreath, string popcorn and cranberries,

we absolutely love sharing the experience of putting together this

make peppermint bark from scratch to give to friends and family,

magazine for you.

chop down a tree and decorate it in a fun and unique way that has never been done before, and so on. Man, I feel stressed and

Happiest of holidays to you, Violet readers!

overwhelmed just writing that list. And frankly, stress has no business in this happy time of year. So for our first holiday issue ever (wow), we want to do away with that stress and focus on what we think really matters. At the heart of everything, this time of year is all about sharing experiences. Families are reunited, friends throw sweet get-togethers, and strangers exchange more smiles on the street. How great is that? Life should be like this all year long! We’re offering up some suggestions for the season revolving around that theme of “A Shared Experience,” including ways to wrap gifts simply and creatively as

Camilla Salem Founder & Creative Director Blog : Champagne Bubbles

well as how to host an international dumpling party. We’ve also got some heartfelt personal stories from some great women to share and pizza recipes for a night of delicious fun. We’re even sharing our own experience of Winter in Munich with you.

H O L IDAY 2012


The Team Behind This Issue happy holidays from all of us at the violet



















Ashlee is a writer,

Jasmine is a

Jackie lives in New

A curly-haired,

Molly is a Brook-

Celeste is a Bay

photographer, and

southern Cali-

York’s Hudson

library-loving girl

lyn-based food

Area native whose

brand new momma


Valley with her two

split between

writer, classical

life dream is to

residing in Sacra-

native living in

dogs, Rocco and

Ottawa (journal-

percussionist, and

travel the world.

mento, California.

Long Beach, CA,

Suzette. Known as

ism school) and

mustard collec-

A recent Stanford

When she’s not

with her super-

“the resident pa-

London (home).

tor. Originally

graduate in English

making lists and

hot, hair stylist

parazzi”, it was no

An apple lover,

from the suburbs

and Classics, she

guzzling Go Girl

husband, Levi, and

surprise that she’s

dinner party en-

of Chicago, she

loves her ukulele,

energy drinks, you

their kitties, Gretel

ended up making

thusiast & bedroom

moved to New York

film photography,

can find her at your

and Lily. True to

her living as a pho-

ballerina, Emily

to attend the Juil-

stargazing, and Mr.

local thrift store,

her Gemini na-

tographer. Jackie

enjoys picnics,

liard School. Her

Darcy. She splits

yoga studio, or

ture, she values

likes hiking, sushi

baking, 80’s post-

favorite things to

her daydreaming

most likely, frozen

independence and

and she is among

punk and read-

do include riding

equally between

yogurt shop. She’s

likes to dabble

the small percent-

ing Hemingway.

her bike, eating,

food, Europe, and

a self-proclaimed

in anything that

age of people in the

She loves boys

making dump-

what to be when she

joy-chooser and

strikes her fancy.

world who actually

with glasses, John

lings, tap dancing,

grows up.

loves to make

She appreciates

enjoys hanging out

Hughes movies,

and changing the

people smile.

good food, good

in airports.

and listening to


Blog : Where My

coffee, and good

Blog: JacPfef

Heart Resides

people. Blog: An

Experiment in Poverty

other people’s stories. Idols include Anne Shirley and Tina Fey.

Blog : My Name is


Blog : Wanderlust














Anna Jordan is

Kingsley is a Bay

Orli is a bay area

Kellee is a Los

Carmyn is a 25

Californian by

a writer/reader/

Area native mak-

native who studied

Angeles transplant

year-old artist

birth, traveler at

foster momma

ing her home in

Cell Biology at UC

from the Chi-

from Edmon-

heart. Since earn-

living and loving

Tennessee with her

Davis and hopes to

cago suburbs and

ton, Alberta. She

ing a degree in

in Santa Barbara,

husband, Grant,

apply her knowl-

couldn’t be happier

became interested


California, with

who is an Officer

edge, creativity,

with her new home.

in photography

Christine has

her husband, Kiah,

in the U.S. Army.

and enjoyment of

She has a penchant

after receiving

worked in PR in

[foster] son, Ma-

She’s a special edu-

working with peo-

for guilty pleasures

her grandfather’s

Silicon Valley,

son, and fluffy dog,

cation consultant

ple to the health

(90s pop!), and

camera: a

bartended on the

Lily. Anna loves

and teacher cur-

sciences. Always

enjoys Instagram-

trustworthy Pentax

French Rivi-

to run without a

rently playing the

eager to explore

ming, food, and

K1000. Sev-

era, backpacked

jogging stroller,

role of Army Wife.

new things, she

Instagramming her

eral years later, she

through Europe,

practice yoga,

When Kingsley’s

enjoys research-

food. She’s a lover

couldn’t imagine

worked in market-

and drink lots of

not teaching, she

ing new concepts

of nail art, coffee,

her life without

ing in Australia,

freshly ground

can be found cook-

and planning

anything soft, and

this means to

and explored


ing, working out,

adventures. Her

all things cute.

express herself. In

Southeast Asia.

and blogging about

positive, energetic

addition, she loves

She’s currently

being married and

spirit often finds

creating zines with

managing the

life with POTS.

her laughing with

her friends, writ-

brand marketing

ing music, reading

and social media

graphic novels,

for ONA Bags in

inspiring treasures

and hanging out

New York City.

of life to incorpo-

Blog: C’est

rate into her own.

with her cat named Gatsby.

Blog: Plan A

Blog : Life as Griki

Blog : I’m Stuck at

Age 19

family and friends and searching for


Blog : Carmyn Joy

H O L IDAY 2012



p ow e r e d b y bl og ge r s

Check out these great blogs from some of our readers.

Thank you for your support!

H O L IDAY 2012


{Live} verb * remain alive

H O L IDAY 2012

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Do Something! six ideas to make the most of the winter season

Words by Emily Rack Photos by Carmyn Joy Effa

❖ get down with

moisturizing! Let’s talk about winter dryness. Chapped lips, cracked fingers, crocodile legs… all this delightful territory comes with the winter climate. Make it your personal mission to buff away every flaky bit and slather on body butter until you’re as smooth as a Victoria’s Secret model. We’re crazy for cactus-bristle body brushes, homemade brown sugar scrub, and coconut oil as a moisturizer (put it all over your bod, in your hair, and even use it as an overnight scalp treatment!).

❖create the best hot

chocolate ever! Buy a few bars of high-quality chocolate and melt it down slowly, adding in your milk of choice and any extras you can think of for the ultimate decadence. Go traditional with marshmallows, or up the ante with some Baileys, a squeeze of orange juice and a little zest, some peppermint extract, a spoonful of Nutella, or some chai tea. Curl up with your creation, and watch Home Alone

for some major holiday cheer and a sugar high. Hey, you gotta misbehave sometimes.

❖ turn your bedroom into

a zen sanctuary. All it takes is a smattering of tea light candles, some new throw pillows, and a hefty dose of de-cluttering to update your bedroom. Get your laptop out of there (what did we say about zen?), spray some lavender oil onto your pillowcase, and get ready for some seriously peaceful slumbers.

❖do something for

someone else. Whether you make up a package for the homeless, help serve Christmas dinner at a shelter, or write a love letter to someone in need, this is the season for giving. Think outside of what you can do financially or what you can buy for someone else, and give some of your time. Find a worthy cause, one you truly believe in, and spare a few of your watchingreality-tv or blog-perusing hours to help out. Trust us, you’ll feel so much luckier for your own blessings.

❖ connect with someone from your past. Not someone

who should stay in your past (exboyfriends, we’re looking at you), but the holiday season lends a lovely sort of nostalgia that can be the perfect excuse to email an old friend to say hello and catch up. You might read dozens of Facebook updates a day, but how often do you genuinely connect with your “social network?” Think about how glad you’d be if you got a little note just to say, “I was thinking about you.”

❖ make your house smell like a winter wonderland! Fill a pot with water, a chopped orange, a cup of cranberries, four cinnamon sticks, and a pinch of cloves. Let it simmer gently on the stove all day. Sometimes we let our olfactory senses fall by the wayside, but scent can be one of the most powerful mood enhancers. In no time, your home will smell like a magical, delicious holiday kingdom. Pop a little Bing Crosby onto the record player, and you’ll be buzzing to smooch someone under the mistletoe in no time.

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All I Want for Christmas is Less Stuff Words by Ashlee Gadd Photo by Carmyn Joy Effa

them up with clutter again, even if that clutter was straight off my Pinterest wish list. Even though I knew the gifts had been given in love, it was just too much. So, lesson learned. This year, we’re approaching Christmas a bit differently. We’ve established a 4-gift rule in our household: we’ll each receive something we want, something we need, something to wear, and something to read. We’re asking our families for more experiences and less stuff - swapping new boots and shiny gadgets for zoo memberships and art classes. The hope is that we’ll be able to use most of our Christmas gifts to create memories in 2013 and avoid cluttering our home with tons of things we don’t need.

I have a love/hate relationship with “stuff,” which tends to make me

If you also find yourself unwillingly wrapped up (no pun intend-

a gift-giver’s worst nightmare at Christmastime. While I’ve never

ed) in too much “stuff” this holiday season, here are a few experi-

been one to hoard things, I went through an intense de-cluttering

ences you can add to your wish list or give to others.

phase last year after reading a book called The Joy Of Less. The premise of the book is simple: own less stuff, be happier.

For Him:

trips to Goodwill with bags of unwanted stuff: clothes rarely worn,

❉ Concert tickets ❉ Tickets to a lecture ❉ Brewery Tour ❉ Round of golf at his favorite course

appliances rarely used, DVDs rarely watched, etc. If it wasn’t prac-

For Her:

The book inspired me to de-clutter my entire house, from the bathroom to the kitchen and everything in between. I began clearing out cabinets and drawers room by room and making regular

tical or being used on a semi-regular basis, out it went. I watched my drawers dwindle down to necessities and my shelves become bare, and yet, I felt no regret or remorse. I found freedom in the empty space - a happy lightness that I hadn’t realized I needed in

❉ Local yoga passes ❉ Drybar bartabs ❉ A photography class

my life.

For the Couple:

A few months later, Christmas came along, and suddenly I was

❉ Weekend away ❉ Cooking classes ❉ Wine tasting ❉ Food tour

back to square one. Stuff was everywhere, begging to be bought and begging to be had. I spent the majority of December making lists, pinning ideas, fighting crowds at Target, hunting for online coupon codes, and wrapping gifts with a perfect mixture of craft paper, ribbons, and doilies. It was stressful, expensive, overwhelming, and not exactly the cheerful holiday season I was expecting. Even more stressful was unloading all of the gifts from our car after Christmas was over. I had become so protective of my halfempty drawers and bare shelves that I couldn’t fathom filling

For Kiddos:

❉ Local zoo membership ❉ Local art studio membership ❉ Tickets to the train museum, aquarium, etc. ❉ Movie tickets

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{Create} verb * bring (something) into existence

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Wrap It Up! four creative ways to wrap gifts

By Camilla Salem

One of the best parts of the season is turning on your favorite holiday music and sitting down to wrap gifts for all of your favorite people. You could go the traditional route and purchase lovely wrapping paper, or you could do what I did and make use of all the extra paper bags you have lying around the house. It’s simple, really. Take a paper grocery bag. Cut it apart along the seams, cut off the handles, and wrap your gifts! Decorate with unique and inexpensive items for an extra special touch.

add an ornament Tie an ornament to your wrapping with a piece of twine. It’s like getting two presents in one!

go natural Find pretty leaves (I used eucalyptus leaves and pods), and tie them down with some raffia for an earthy feel. I suggest bay leaf, holly berries, or pine needles.

H O L IDAY 2012

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stamped Make your own pretty printed wrapping paper by creating a pattern with stamps. Go crazy here and have fun mixing colors and shapes.

jingle bells Your friends will hear their presents coming if you tie on some festive bells (available at any craft store). It adds so much to the joy of the holidays!

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Step-by-Step: Make A Paper Star By Emily Rack

My sisters and I have made kite paper

what you need:

stars ever since we were little, and it’s a tradition we have continued and passed on with great delight. These simple stars encapsulate everything I love about the holiday season and make a beautiful, minimalist addition to plain wrapping paper, a white card, or even windows. When the light shines through them, you see all sorts of beautiful patterns.

✴ ✴ ✴ ✴ ✴ ✴

Cut eight identical small rectangles

out of your paper.

Kite paper (in a pinch, wax paper or baking parchment will do!) Scissors Glue

Fold each piece vertically down the

middle. Fold in both corners of the top like

you’re making a paper airplane. Do the same with the bottom corners. Fold the top corners in again so that

one end is very thin. Line up the bottom left edge of one

piece with the center line of another, and

glue in place. Continue like this with all eight

pieces, making sure to layer each piece on

top of the last. Allow to dry, and voila! You can make

them in any size, as long as your pieces are all equal.

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Blossom meet me under the mistletoe

By Camilla Salem Each year December rolls around, the streets fill with Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands. Stores glitter with gorgeous ornaments hanging in windows. Pretty wrapping paper and peppermint everything peak our interests. But there’s one little bunch of foliage that tends to get looked over. A hanging bunch of mistletoe immediately brings kissing to mind. Actually, this plant has a rich history, which makes it even cooler. The plant itself is a parasitic plant (ironic, isn’t it?). It has no roots and, instead, digs into the bark of a tree to survive. But it’s not all bad. Some animals use the plant as food, and there are even studies of Junipers that concluded that more berries sprout where mistletoe is present. The plant has been seen as a representation of romance and vitality for centuries. It is even said that the Greek goddess Artemis wore a crown of mistletoe as a symbol of fertility. It was even used as a remedy for barrenness in animals. Not too long ago, mistletoe was hung in homes to ward off witches and evil spirits, but these days, we mostly hear of the plant in holiday songs or we lure our crushes under a hanging bunch to sneak a kiss. While the history of the plant is vast and impressive (seriously, we have only barely scratched the surface here), we like to think that it serves as a reminder to take pause as you stand under it and show a little affection to those you love and cherish, no matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year. 

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{Nurture} verb * care for and encourage the growth or development of

We Recommend three things we’re loving this season

By Celeste Noche

BOOK – The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by

ALBUM – A Charlie Brown Christmas

Deb Perlman

— Vince Guaraldi Trio

The long-awaited Smitten Kitchen cookbook is here and filled with recipes we might never have dreamed of without Deb Perelman. Perhaps I’m biased - Smitten Kitchen was the first blog I ever started “following,” so my thoughts on her book might be tainted with the pride of a longtime reader. Even still, it’s not often you find a cookbook with recipes like “Butterscotch Banana Tarte Tatin” and “S’more Layer Cake,” all from a woman self-taught and self-made in a tiny New York City kitchen. Fandom aside, we recommend Deb’s cookbook because it serves as inspiration of what our passions can become.

I unfailingly reach for this album around this time every year. With holiday songs on repeat almost everywhere you go, it’s refreshing to listen to something so subtle yet so seasonal. “Joy” is the first word that comes to mind when I put this record on. Maybe it’s because I always picture Snoopy and the gang dancing their little hearts out. To me, this album evokes the purest sense of holiday goodness. It’s simple, melodic, and doesn’t get stuck in your head.

MOVIE – Safety Not Guaranteed

“Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel” (IMDB). When my boyfriend hit “play” and began explaining this premise, I told him it had 30 minutes to “get interesting.” An hour later, I was unreasonably attached to Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and had forgotten about my 30-minute ultimatum. Yes, in a way, it’s a movie about time travel, but it’s less about actual travel and more about the possibility and personal motives behind it. Beyond the seemingly sci-fi storyline, the characters are both written and portrayed with excellence. They breathe life and witty humor into the film, making it a very different, yet very pleasant, kind of surprise.

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The Juicy Details no chewing allowed

Words by Emily Rack Photos by Celeste Noche

I am a person who likes to chew. This isn’t something I ever thought I would have to stipulate, not even something I ever thought about until I was two days into a juice cleanse and realized, “Ah, chewing. That’s what’s missing here.”

It turns out that although I set out to do

removed from the equation, you don’t need

some serious investigative reporting, I dis-

as many calories to function.

covered that while juicing isn’t necessarily all that, it has some enormous benefits and is not to be sniffed at.

Juicing 101 Essentially, juicing is a way to recharge

Juicing. The idea caught my attention a few

and reset your insides. You drink only

years ago when these all-liquid tickets to

juice (and water and herbal teas) for a set

bodily happiness were being championed

number of days in the hopes that your body

across every health outlet and women’s

can clear itself of toxins, get rid of the

magazine in the western world.

processed junk it’s polluted with, and soak

I thought it was utter nonsense. How grumpy and tired would you be after only

up all the goodness it needs while getting set on the right track.

You should ease into juicing by eliminating meat, sugar, caffeine, dairy, and wheat products from your diet for a few days. You should also ease back into regular foods afterwards. The packages are all highly comprehensive and customizable. And if you use a juicing service, there is always someone on hand to field your questions.

Juice Diaries What I want out of the cleanse is to help kick some bad habits. I’m gluten- and dairy-intolerant, so juicing holds a huge

drinking juice for days on end? Nope, it

You can juice cleanse at home, but I chose

appeal to me in this respect. Everything is

wasn’t for me. I’m a food girl through and

to try delivery services. They’re easy, con-

fresh, natural, and raw, and I won’t have

through and didn’t have time to wilt over

venient, and, most importantly, save the

to worry about putting anything reactive

my desk, wearily sipping juice and snap-

mess and time of at-home juicing. I tried

into my body. I’m also completely addicted

ping at anyone who dared take a bite of a

two cleanses - one from Total Cleanse and

to processed sugar, something I’ve been

sandwich near me.

one from BluePrintCleanse, both of which

trying to cut but am miserably failing at.

were fundamentally the same process.

If juicing could help me oust that habit, it

To my surprise, the trend stuck around,

would be a winner in my book.

and I decided, “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve

Depending on your level of juicing-savvy,

tried it” was a better approach. I’m an avid

you can increase the cleanse intensity to

The juices show up at my door in the mid-

green smoothie drinker and veggie fanatic

best suit your lifestyle. In mine, there were

dle of the night and are completely intimi-

and eat fruit like it’s going out of style,

six juices per day: a mixture of green veg-

dating. One girl, three days, 18 bottles of

so this seemed like it would be a natural

etable juices, cayenne-lemonades, some-

juice. I unpack them, and they sit like an

progression, just one step further into the

thing fruity, and a rich, creamy cashew

army on my counter. “Okay juices,” I tell

world of clean eating.

milk to end the day with.

them, “It’s just you and me.”

I also had wicked desire to see what all the

What cleansing promised: clearer skin,

Day one is breeze. I have the momentum

fuss was about and maybe even (gasp) ex-

more energy, boosted immune system,

from preparing for the juice cleanse and

pose juice cleanses as merely a fad. You see

better sleep, clarity of mind, less bloated,

am on a single-minded mission to do my

the tabloid shots of celebrities and Califor-

clearing your body of old toxins. Not bad,

body some good. The juices are large, and

nia it-girls walking out of the gym, glow-


while most of the varieties are absolutely

ing, and holding telltale bottles of green juice. I figured if anyone was going to prove them wrong, it would be me (namely, a non-celebrity, non-Californian).

Calorically, the cleanses sit between 900 and 1,200 calories per day, which is lower than I’d like (typically I won’t go under 1,200), but they claim that with digestion

dreamy, the green juice is sour and a little too grassy for my liking. By the middle of the second day, I am choking the green ones down with my nose plugged.

H O L IDAY 2012

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I drink the juices about two hours apart

If I had done a longer cleanse, maybe five

told after the cleanse that juices should be

with lots of water and herbal tea in be-

days (albeit, with less exercise), I’m sure I

chewed to stimulate digestive enzymes, so I

tween, and although I’m not hungry, it

would have experienced more of the adver-

would keep that in mind for next time.

feels strange to not be full. By bedtime my

tised benefits, but this is what I did find:

stomach is growling, so I sip on the last

Steady on. Really and truly ease off the

Awareness. Juicing is an exercise in

cleanse with only fruit, veggies, and soups.

knowing exactly what you’re eating and

Maybe introduce a little fish. I didn’t

in self-control. Pre-cleanse, I thought I

do this properly the first time and was

would be starving and tired, but I wasn’t at

extremely uncomfortable the rest of the

all. The sheer volume of liquids keeps you


full all day, and you’re being packed full of

The Skinny. I imagine juicing is a good

bottle of the day, a cinnamon-agave cashew milk, which adds the only fats you get throughout the cleanse. My stomach pipes down, and I have one of the best sleeps of my life. I feel clear-headed, light, and airy. The second day goes by fairly easily. I have


a huge caffeine withdrawal headache in

Au revoir, junk food. I kicked out

didn’t lose a single pound) because of the

processed sugars completely. Even after the

level of awareness brought to your diet. But

cleanse, I had zero cravings for processed

it shouldn’t be used as a weight loss tool.

sugars, and weeks later, my sugar con-

Remember, any weight loss you see on the

sumption is extremely reduced. Hurrah!

scale during your cleanse will all come

with my juice, but I’ve done 90-minute hot

Flat stomach. Oh, let me tell you about

back as soon as you start eating again.

yoga classes both days without feeling un-

the flat stomach! It made me want to call

characteristically exhausted, so I consider

Sports Illustrated and strip down to my

it a success, vegetable broth and all.

skivvies and make a calendar right then

the morning that is remedied by drinking extra water. I have found that drinking the greens through a straw makes them more palatable. At dinner I have a bowl of organic, low-sodium vegetable broth along

The third day, I am an old pro and actually starting to crave the (previously feared) green juices. The lemon-cayenne drinks are my favorite - spicy and refreshing. I am amazingly still not hungry! By the last evening, however, things start to go downhill. I shake so violently during yoga that I collapse. I break the cleanse that

and there. I wanted to take photos of it! I wanted to star in a music video. This is rare for me because even as a relatively healthy, active girl, having allergies and food sensitivities has made me chronically inflamed, puffy, and uncomfortable. I would juice cleanse again, any day of the week, for the flat stomach alone.

way to start a weight-loss kick (although I

Expert Opinion “Juice cleanses are not a quick fix. If you’re interested in eating healthily, going on a cleanse for a few days is not the answer. If you’re feeling toxic from what you’re eating, it’s best to address what’s making you feel that way in the first place. A lot of people say they feel good after a juice cleanse, but a long-term, real, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and whole grains will have the same effects. It kind of sounds like

night with a bit of steamed sweet potatoes

Listen to your body. You are cutting

cotton underwear - kind of boring and not

and some vegetable broth and feel better

out a lot of important elements when you

very sexy - but it’s the right thing to do for


cleanse, things like iron and, most impor-

your body.” Krystle Hall MSc, RD, direc-

The Verdict

tantly, fiber. Make sure you drink tons of

tor of Health Castle Calgary

Okay, so my skin wasn’t necessarily glow-

your system, and pay attention to what your

ing, and my energy levels weren’t exactly

body is telling you.

through the roof, but juicing was a fantas-

Chew your juice. The lack of chewing

tic way to reset my eating habits and put my mind in a healthful spot.

water to keep everything moving through

makes your teeth feel fuzzy. In fact, I am

H O L IDAY 2012

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{Explore} verb * travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it

H O L IDAY 2012

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winter in munich By Celeste Noche


s the year comes to a close and the weather grows colder,

While these Christkindlmarkts can be found all over Germany,

we think of cozying up, preparing hearty meals, and staying

this fearlessness of the wintery outdoors became most evident one

inside to escape the winter. This isn’t quite the case in Munich.

Sunday in the Englischer Garten. On this particular November

The southeastern German city experiences winters below 23° F

day, it was 32° F (0° C) at most yet the park was filled with tourists,

(-5° C) yet during these months, the city center is just as lively as

families, and dog-walkers alike. The Englischer Garten--

the middle of the summer. From seasonal food to their outdoor

famed for its biergartens and its picturesque setting for summer

markets, Müncheners show us that although winter is here, we

picnics-- was filled with visitors at the cusp of winter. The sun was

don’t have to stay inside.

barely visible behind the sheet of overcast gray but every picnic

Christkindlmarkts and Wintermarkts are the primary tradition that keeps Müncheners outdoors late in the year. Throughout

table at the Chinesischer Turm and Kleinhesseloher Lake was taken.

the city, wooden shops pop up in clusters to sell winter goods

Being the homebody that I am, I rarely turn down the opportunity

and warm food to enjoy in the chilly weather. Although the

to stay inside with hot tea and a good book-- especially in the

seasonal “villages” often appear to be childlike in decorations

winter. And while this lifestyle might be comfortable, it’s kept me

and carnival fare, winter market patrons of all ages can be found

from fully enjoying a time of year that’s most often referred to as

enjoying Heiße Schokolade andLebkuchen (hot chocolate and

“magical:” The soft sting of crisp air on your nose. Warm bellies

gingerbread). The outdoor markets are the perfect setting to enjoy

filled with soup and hot chocolate. Our breaths transformed

the heartiness of other typical German food like goulash and

into wisps of air, spouting in puffs and reminding us we’re alive.

bratwursts. And although Germans have Glühwein (hot wine) to

Although small and fleeting, they are nevertheless reminders to

get their buzzes while keeping warm, it’s not uncommon to see

embrace the season.

beers on hand as well.

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H O L IDAY 2012

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Winter In The City By Christine Amorose

how does a california girl survive

Spring. But I never spent much time in the

a new york city winter?

unsavory elements. The run to and from my car was usually the longest I had to

That’s the question I’m trying to answer as

endure a bite of cold or a drench of rain,

I prepare for my first “real” Winter in the

usually needing my sunglasses more often

big city. I’m buying snow boots, scarves,

than I needed an umbrella.

and sweaters. I’m trying to figure out how to work my ancient, noisy wall heater. I’m

My fear of Winter in New York City is

stocking up on my emergency supplies:

multifaceted. There’s the extremity and

namely, extra jars of peanut butter, hot

unfamiliarity of it: hurricanes and bliz-

chocolate mix, marshmallows, and a life-

zards, snow and sleet. Then it’s the length:

time supply of Clif Bars.

the gray freeze of Winter can drag from the first festive snowfall in November until the

The reality is: I’ve worn flip-flops and

supposed Springtime in April. And the

hoodies through most Winters of my life.

third is the actual interaction: reliant on

Growing up in the suburbs of Sacramento,

public transportation, I spend much of my

we certainly have a seasonal change: it’s

day walking to and from the subway or to

blistering hot in the Summer, gray and

and from my home to my actual destina-

rainy in the Winter, and beautiful blue


skies and bright colors in the Fall and

And here’s my biggest fear: that with-

year-round sunshine. There’s something

I’m discovering which bars have fireplaces

out those bursts of sunshine that, quite

alluring in the frenzied energy, the hustle

and mulled wine and planning museum

literally, brighten my mood, I’ll slip into

of pressed suits and clicking heels on the

and movie weekends. I’m bonding with the

a funk. Seasonal affective disorder, a

sidewalk, and the subway that never shuts

other Californians in the city - exchang-

form of depression that manifests in cold

down in the city that never sleeps. It’s so

ing tips on what to keep in the pantries for

weather, runs in my family. For many of

far out of my comfort zone that making it

emergency-snowstorm-movie-days and the

my post-adolescent Winters, I had an un-

here is a personal challenge, and part of

warmest socks to buy. We know that if we’re

healthy obsession with the tanning bed: I

that is making it through the Winter.

going to survive, it’s going to be together:

tanned 3-4 times a week to light up my day as much as to darken my skin.

huddled over hot apple cider as we experiSo far, I’ve weathered Hurricane Sandy

ence our first (or second or third) white

and Snowstorm Athena while my friends

Christmas season.

Since I made the conscious decision to quit

and family regale me with tales of the In-

tanning in June 2009, I’ve chased mild

dian summer in California that just won’t

But here’s what really makes the thought of

weather and sandy beaches around the


Winter in New York City bearable: it’s New

world. I’ve been a beach bum in the French

York City. And I know that even when it’s

Riviera, Australia, and Southeast Asia as

I’m learning how to layer fashionably and

Winter swept through North America.

effectively: wool headband to keep my ears

freezing cold, it’s never boring.

warm without ruining my hair, fingerless New York City is a drastic change from

gloves to warm my fingers while still letting

my usual M.O. of laid-back vibes and

me text, thick scarves, socks, and sweaters.

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{Nourish} verb * provide with food or other substances necessary for growth, health and good condition

Four Piz zas Fit for a Party eat lots of pizza and be merry

By Camilla Salem Pizza night is always a good night. This

a couple minutes on your floured cutting

holiday season, try something

board. Let it sit again for 5 minutes under

different from your usual party fare by

a towel or piece of plastic wrap. Then use

serving delicious, homemade pizzas. They

your fingers or a rolling pin to stretch and

can be served as meals or cut into small

roll the dough into a thin pizza skin. Oil a

slices and passed around as

baking tray or a pizza pan, and stretch the

appetizers. Your family and friends will

skin to fit. With a fork, poke holes in the

love you forever, guaranteed. We’ve got

skin evenly. Top with your favorite top-

four savory ideas for your next

pings, bake at 450° Fahrenheit, and pull

homemade pizza party.

it out when the crust is golden brown and

You can opt to buy pre-made dough from

cheese is melted and bubbly.

almost any store, but if you set aside a little bit of time earlier in the day, you’ll have homemade dough that you can brag about all night long. The technique is simple, and once you have it down, you’ll never rely on store-bought dough again.

Homemade Dough Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for bowl 1 tablespoon yeast about 1/2 cup of water (or more if you need it) In a large bowl, mix flour, olive oil, and yeast. Add water, and mix everything together until it’s evenly distributed. Work the dough for about 5 minutes on a floured cutting board. Shape it into a ball. Coat the bowl with a thin layer of oil, and roll the ball of dough in the oil so the surfaces are covered. Cover with a towel or a piece of plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 2 hours. After two hours, work the dough for

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Pizza Margherita with Lemony Arugula Topping Want to fancy up your favorite classic pizza? Top it with some spicy arugula, and watch the slices disappear. 1 28 ounce can of whole San Marzano

2 cups fresh arugula

the side of the pan every so often. Take off


juice of half a lemon

the heat, and mash with a potato masher

1 clove of garlic, minced or grated 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 teaspoon salt fresh mozzarella slices

In a large saucepan, heat tomatoes plus all of the juice in the can. Add garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt. Cook down for 30-40 minutes, pressing tomatoes into

to make the sauce smoother. Add water if necessary. Prepare the pizza dough for toppings. Spread sauce evenly over the dough. Arrange mozzarella slices on top of the sauce. Bake at 450° Fahrenheit until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Set aside.  In a separate bowl, toss arugula with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Once the pizza has cooled slightly, top with arugula and serve. 

Potato, Basil, and Roasted Garlic Pizza If you’re looking for a lighter pizza that’s loaded with all kinds of flavor, this is your winner. 1 head of garlic

Brush exposed garlic with olive oil. Wrap

2 Yukon gold potatoes

both heads in aluminum foil and roast for

3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for

30 minutes or until the cloves are soft.

brushing 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced Pinch of salt

sharp knife. Soak in cold water until you’re

Sprinkle with cheese lightly. Bake at 450°

ready to work with them. Set aside.

Fahrenheit until potatoes are cooked

white cheddar)

processor, blend together 3 tablespoons of

through the garlic cloves themselves).

Brush dough with olive oil. Arrange one layer of potato slices evenly over the dough.

With a mortar and pestle or in a food

the head of garlic in half (so that you cut

Prepare the pizza dough for toppings.

Thinly slice potatoes with a mandolin or a

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or

Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Cut

you’d prefer.

olive oil, basil leaves, chopped fresh garlic, and salt. Add more olive oil if you need it.

through, cheese is bubbly, and crust is golden brown. Take the pizza out of the oven, top with roasted garlic cloves, and drizzle with basil mixture.

You can also use a store-bought pesto if

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Mushroom, Onion, and White Wine Pizza This pie is seriously savory. The wine adds great flavor to the mushroom mixture. 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced 3/4 pound of crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed a pinch of salt and pepper 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup grated fontina cheese chopped flat leaf parsley for serving Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over mediumhigh heat. Cook onions, mushroom, thyme, salt, and pepper together until everything begins to soften and brown. Add the wine, and cook down until the wine evaporates. Prepare the pizza dough for toppings. Spread mushroom and onion mixture evenly over the dough. Top with fontina cheese. Brush crust with olive oil. Bake at 450° Fahrenheit until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

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Spicy Shrimp and Garlic Pizza

In a bowl, coat shrimp with olive oil, pep-

Get ready for a rich slice of pizza. The garlic-butter

per flakes, salt, and pepper. Set aside. In

mixture is key to this indulgent recipe. But hey, it’s the

a saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and

holidays, so enjoy.

parsley, and let it all cook together for 2

1/2 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and

minutes or so. Remove from heat.


Prepare the pizza dough for toppings.

1 tablespoon olive oil

Brush dough with butter and garlic mix-

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

ture, making sure to get garlic chunks all

pinch of salt and pepper

over the pizza. Top with shredded cheese

1/2 stick of salted butter

and shrimp, and brush with more but-

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

ter mixture if you have it. Bake at 450°

2 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley plus

Fahrenheit until the cheese is bubbly, the

more for sprinkling

crust is golden brown, and the shrimp

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

are cooked through. Sprinkle with more freshly chopped parsley and serve.

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From Scratch glazed over

Words by Emily Rack Photos by Camilla Salem

zesty lemon glaze 2 cups powdered sugar juice and zest of 1 lemon Over low heat, dissolve the icing sugar into the lemon juice. Grate the zest into your mixture. Pour over a plain or lemon pound cake after baking.

salted caramel glaze 1 cup white sugar 6 tablespoons butter ½ cup whipping cream ½ teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt Melt the sugar over high heat in a large pot (constantly stirring) until it has reached a liquid consistency. Quickly add the butter, and continue to stir as the mixture foams. Take everything off the heat, pour in the cream, and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth. Mix in the vanilla and sea salt, and refrigerate for up to a week. Use on everything.

chocolate raspberry ganache 1 cup dark chocolate, broken into small pieces 1 tablespoon raspberry jam 1 cup whipping cream (coconut milk would work for a dairy-free alternative) fresh raspberries for garnish Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over low heat. When smooth, remove from heat, and whip in the jam and cream. Allow it to cool in the fridge for about an hour before whipping the mixture again and layering it between sponge cakes or on top of cupcakes.

cream cheese icing 1 package (250 grams or 8-9 ounces) of cream cheese ¼ cup butter ¾ cup icing sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ teaspoon cinnamon Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth then gradually whip in icing sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. This will keep in the refrigerator for a day or so. Add in the zest of half an orange for some extra pizzazz.

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In Season: Tangerines By Camilla Salem

It’s that time of year! The piles of little orange citrus fruits are showing up in grocery stores, and that means we’ll all be getting our daily doses of delicious vitamin C. But what’s the story behind this popular fruit? The word “tangerine” is derived from Tangier, Morocco, which is the port where the first tangerines were shipped to Europe back in 1841. Prior to that, the fruit was grown exclusively in the Far East, where they were once offered as tokens of honor to royals. Different varieties today include the honey tangerine and the sunburst tangerine. Tangerines are loaded with vitamins and minerals, but, more importantly, they’re fun to eat! They’re not as sour as oranges, and they’ve got a distinct flavor. Tangerine juice is delicious (mimosas on Christmas morning, anyone?), and the segments are a perfect addition to salads, but, mostly, people just peel and eat on the spot. In stores, you can often find clementines, which are a seedless variety of tangerine. The freshest fruit will still have its green leaves and stem attached. They should be firm and have an even orange color. So this year enjoy the rich food of the holiday season, and on days when you need something a little lighter, pack a couple of tangerines in your purse and enjoy!

Things we want to try: tangerine cocktails, tangerine sorbet, and tangerine marmalade.

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{Play} verb * engage in activity for enjoyment

Dumplings of the World Party By Molly Yeh

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Because there’s nothing not to love about a plump little dumpling, you should definitely throw a party about it. Invite your closest friends, dig your hands into some dough, and work up an appetite with this edible party activity. Whether your guests are cooking experts or cooking newbies, dumpling making is a simple and fun way to bring out inner chefs. So get the rolling pins out, and prepare for your kitchen to take a beating because it is about to see a bazillion dumplings.

prep Two or three days in advance: Buy ingredients. This will give you enough time to hunt down all of your ingredients, but it won’t be so much time that the veggies and meat will spoil. One day in advance: Make all of the dough, the potsticker filling, and any other fillings. Keep in mind, though, that if you wait to make the pierogi, samosa, or empanada filling until right before guests arrive, your house will smell amazing.

drinks Pair your dumplings of the world with beers of the world. Have a Tsingtao with a potsticker, a Kingfisher with a samosa, a San

Day of:

Miguel with an empanada, and a Zywiec with a pierogi.

Set up (see below), preheat the oven to 375°, boil water for the

Making the dumplings

pierogi and potstickers (it’s okay to use the same water for both!),

Once guests have washed their hands and cracked open a beer,

make remaining fillings, and pour sauces into serving bowls.

allow them to choose which dumplings they’d like to make. Some

set up

will pick a station and stay there until all of the dumplings are

Create four stations, one for each type of dumpling. Stations can be all at the same table, or you can set up little tables around your house. Cover all surfaces with parchment or wax paper so that guests can work with the dough (this will also allow for a super quick and easy clean up while the dumplings are cooking). Each station should have a bowl of dough, a bowl of filling, spoons for the filling, a little bowl of flour, a rolling pin, and a pan covered with parchment for the formed dumplings. You may also want to set out some veggies or crackers to snack on in case guests get hungry before the dumplings are ready to eat.


made, some will want to rotate through all of the stations, and some will just drink all of your beer and keep good company. As the host, be available to float around and help those who are dumpling-challenged (even if it’s just to provide moral support in the form of, “It’s okay that your dumplings look like a 6-year-old made them, [insert guest’s name here]. They will still be delicious!”). As pans get filled up with finished dumplings, start cooking them. Clear the stations of the empty bowls and parchment paper, and give them a quick wipe down so that guests can have a place to eat. It’s really important to make sure that any guests that work with the potsticker filling, which contains raw meat, know to wash

Keep it simple and functional. Use colorful and fun bowls for

their hands really well before eating anything. Also, pay special

fillings, dough, and sauces. Handwritten signs with directions will

attention to this station to make sure that the table gets cleaned

add charm. Blast a fun playlist to keep the energy high.


more ideas ❥ Don’t feel the need to stick to our dumpling recipes! Bring in other dumplings to the mix, like ravioli, kreplach, or spaetzle.

❥ Feeling overwhelmed with all of the prep? Make it a potluck, and have each guest bring a different dough or filling.

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Dough 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup water In a large bowl, combine flour and oil to form a coarse meal mixture. Gradually add water to form a dough. Knead for 5‐10 minutes, until dough becomes smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Filling 2 tablespoons + a pinch salt 2 large baking potatoes, diced into centimeter cubes 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 tablespoon crushed garlic 2/3 cup frozen peas 1 teaspoon garam masala 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon cayenne the juice of 1 lemon Add 2 tablespoons salt to a large pot filled with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, and cook for 15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and pinch of salt, and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, peas, and seasonings, and stir to combine. Add potatoes, and stir to combine, cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice. Additional Ingredients Oil, for frying Chutney and plain yogurt, for serving To form, roll out a ping pong-sized piece of dough, fill with 2 tablespoons filling. Seal the edges to make a half-moon shape, and then fold in half, joining the outer corners and pinching the edges to make a pyramid shape. Fry in a thin layer of oil over medium heat, turning to brown all sides.

soy chorizo empanadas Dough 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups cornmeal 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons sugar 2 sticks of butter, melted 1 cup water

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, add butter, and combine to create a coarse meal mixture. Add water to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Filling 2 tablespoons butter 1 medium onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 12 ounces soy chorizo, chopped 1 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon paprika 3/4 cup vegetable broth 2 cups shredded cheese (sharp cheddar works well) In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter then add the onions. Sweat the onions for 7 minutes. Add pepper, soy chorizo, and seasonings. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese. Additional Ingredients 1 egg + 2 tablespoons water for egg wash Sour cream for serving To form, roll out golf-ball-sized pieces of dough, and fill with 1 tablespoon of filling. Pinch to seal shut, and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes, until edges become slightly browned.

chicken potstickers Dough 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 cup boiling water 1/2 cup cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add hot water 1/3 at a time, stirring constantly, until you have a coarse meal mixture. Add cold water 1/3 at a time, gathering mixture until it forms a ball. Knead dough on a floured board for 20 minutes (adding more flour is necessary to prevent sticking) until dough is smooth. Cover with a damp towel, and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Filling 3/4 pound ground chicken 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons rice vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1/4 cup finely minced scallions 1/3 cup chicken broth Combine all ingredients. Additional ingredients Blanched cabbage, for steaming Soy sauce, for serving To form, roll out a ping-pong-ball-sized piece of dough, and fill with 1 tablespoon filling. Pinch to seat shut. Steam in a steamer lined with blanched cabbage over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes.

honey + ricotta + caramelized onion pierogies Dough 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 egg 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk

Combine dry ingredients. Add egg and milk. Turn onto floured surface, and knead for 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Filling 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 15 ounces ricotta (part skim) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 4 teaspoons honey 1 egg Heat oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, and caramelize. While onions are caramelizing, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. When onions are ready, add them to the mixture, stirring constantly. Additional ingredients Butter, for frying To form, roll out a ping-pong-ball-sized piece of dough, fill with 1 tablespoon filling. Pinch edges to seal. Boil in salted water over high heat until dumplings float to the top (about 5 minutes) then transfer to a frying pan over medium heat. Fry with butter until slightly browned.

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{Muse} verb * be absorbed in thought

f or e ly s e Poem and photo by Carmyn Joy Effa

We’d driven between Edmonton and Calgary so many times, the road became a well-worn paperback. You, in that over-sized blue Volvo, the patchwork quilts of farmer’s fields enclosing your ribbon of asphalt. That night we left Highway 2, I’ve committed to memory: how we left your station wagon stranded, just to feel what it’d be like to race through the prairies in a January darkness. Our shoes sliced into crème brûlée snow, while the soft black sky sought me out, laying me quietly bare, reminding me of the exhilarated speck I am. We ran. Ran as though nothing in the future could hurt, as though even oceans and grief and the absence of God were surmountable. Do you know what it’s like to look out on one of those unending planes? To view an expanse of land so wide and so precious, you fold open, creased, in the face of future possibilities? In that space, yes, even I could start over.

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An Interview with Hannah Brencher the world needs more love letters As told to: Emily Rack

Hannah Brencher is a heroine among women, a Christmas angel in

ers, and to people who come onto the site looking to help. We

her own right. Or at the very least, living proof that the pen is

make sure every single person gets a love letter or a bundle of love

(much) mightier than the proverbial sword.


Maybe you’ve heard of this 24-year-old do-gooder from Connecticut and her organization The World Needs More Love Letters. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. What started out for Hannah as a project in self-healing two years ago, has exploded into a global love letter extravaganza. Today, the initiative has inspired thousands of hand-scripted sentiments to be stamped and sent out into the world to help lift up strangers and brush off their sadness.

So, how many letters have you facilitated? We just hit the 5,000 mark. Wow! Are you having a party? Oh my gosh, no. But we should start doing that! You definitely should. That is a major cause for celebration.

Brencher champions a back-to-basics approach, something oft

What inspired you to start the organization in the first place?

overlooked and yet powerful enough to bridge the undeniable

I never intended to start it. It wasn’t something on my radar or

person-to-person gap technology leaves behind. As she puts it,

something that I planned to do, but when I was living in New York

what we really need is “pure, old-fashioned, never-goes-out-of-

City about two years ago, I became enveloped with depression.

style Love. Ridiculous, oozing, cannot-pack-this-thang-into-

At that time in my life, I was fresh out of college and didn’t truly

140-characters kind of love.”

know that depression was something you couldn’t help. I figured it

We sat down with Hannah to talk about making change, the power

was up to me to be strong enough to get over it, and so to get myself

of kindness, and, of course, putting pen to paper.

out of it, I started writing love letters and leaving them all over New York City.

Hannah, we are so excited to be speaking with you! we love the

I wrote dozens of letters and then I started blogging about it and

project. For our readers who might be less familiar, can you tell

said I would send a handwritten note to anybody who gave me their

us a bit about who these love letters are going to?

address. I wrote about 400 of them before I thought I could move

People come to our website and request love letters for someone,

this out into the world to have a big impact. Other people wanted

anyone, who might need them. This idea is very close to my heart

to do it too and wanted to know how to get involved.

because we typically associate letter writing with occasions like birthdays or Christmas, or we designate them for specific causes

And there has been a massive response so far.

like cancer patients. I wanted More Love Letters to exist so that

It’s been pretty crazy. I think I thought it was going to die out after

whoever you were and whatever you’d gone through, you could

a couple months or it might be a little side project. I never thought

come onto the site and ask for letters for yourself or for somebody

it would grow to be this massive. We’re in 47 countries now and

else. We give those requests to our letter writers, to our subscrib-

growing every single day. My favorite thing is getting emails from

people who want to sign on to this cause and hear about the stories

Can you tell us about a love letter request that made a huge

and fall in love with the site and the raw, organic-ness of it. I don’t

impact on you?

want it to become commercial or a cool club to join. I want it to

One that really impacted me personally was a young woman called

resonate with people.

Eilis whose mother requested love letters for her. She had just graduated high school and was about to go to college, and her

Now that it’s become so much bigger than just you, are you

father had recently passed away. I felt a really strong attachment to

working towards an ultimate goal?

her, so I adopted Eilis’s love letter bundle. For my birthday, I asked

I had to step back and realize I can’t steer it as much as I’d like.

people to send in a love letter for Eilis instead of writing a card for

People take it into their own hands, and I fully acknowledge the

me. Her mother got in touch and told me they would read a letter

fact that More Love Letters has grown into something of its own.

to each other every night, and even after Eilis went to college, she

I’m there to nudge it in the right direction, and there is a lot of

found herself reading the letters. That, to me, is really inspiring

opportunity coming down the pipeline. There is a lot I can do

and reminds me of why I do what I do.

with it, but I don’t want to say what the end goal is because, ultimately, it keeps changing.

Do you have a personal history of letter writing? Do they mean something special to you?

H O L IDAY 2012

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I actually do. I’ve always had a really strong hate in my heart for,

living a full life and our relationships with one another.

not digital communication, the fact that as we move forward with

Oh you are right up our alley. What else do you think is impor-

digital communications, we stop talking to each other.

tant in living fully? I feel like I live my life on a mission. I don’t feel my life is my own

My mom has never really believed in technology. Her main way

so much as I feel like it is for helping others. I feel like everything

of communicating with me through college and when I lived in

I do should be done with somebody else in mind. If I’m waking up

New York was through letter writing. I don’t think I fully under-

and not doing things for someone else, I’m doing it wrong.

stood how a lot of people didn’t have these kinds of letters to their names.

I am so fortunate and blessed and so lucky every single day, and I should see every interaction and every person I come across as an

And you wanted to bring that back.

opportunity to be a light for them and a blessing in their day.

I was sitting in class in college after reading Beloved by Toni Morrison, and my professor was talking about letter writing. She said she

Thank you so much, Hannah. We love what you’re doing, and we

and her husband had met at a time when distance really kept them

can’t wait to see what’s next.

apart, and they fell in love through writing letters. She said, “Your generation is never going to have that.”

Get out your best stationery, and get involved with The World Needs More Love Letters by checking out their website, and make

And I realized that letters play an important role when it comes

sure to follow them on Twitter. Last year’s 12 Days of Love Letter

to learning about one another fully. You shovel all your thoughts

Writing project may be coming around again just in time for you

into a letter, you mail it off, and then you have to wait for some-

to start changing the world and spreading the holiday cheer one

one’s reaction. In the world we live in today, we don’t have that

stamped envelope at a time.

waiting process. It’s so much easier to get to know a person quickly, and I don’t know that we’re being thorough enough with it. So you think it’s important to unplug from technology? I do. I’m a strong advocate for technology, and I think that this is why More Love Letters is better than any other letter-writing organization out there - because we fully acknowledge that we aren’t going to be anything without Twitter and social networks. But I want people to know the importance of unplugging. I’m 24 years old, and I feel like my message should be “be plugged in and be familiar with social media” but it’s not. I think it’s really important that we spend time with one another, that we’re present with one another, that we’re not bringing our phones to the table, that we’re not always Instagramming our every move. Our time here is very limited, and we don’t know how much we have of it. I think of how plugged in we are, and how much we’re living our lives on Facebook and Twitter and how that interrupts

hannah’s favorites Season: Fall Cocktail: Margarita Drink: Sweet tea (“I’ve just come back from Georgia!”) Cookie: Oreo Beauty product: Bare Minerals makeup Song: Gangnam Style Book: Gone Girl Vacation spot: Georgia Way to relax (what makes her a TOTAL Violet girl): “I like to listen to Christmas music. Year-round. I’m not kidding you; I’ve been listening to Christmas music since last Christmas. Like, tonight I’m going to plug in my Christmas lights and listen to music and probably drink hot chocolate.” Flower: Sunflower Way to end a letter: With crossed Ts and dotted Is.

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{Embellish} verb * make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features

Flirty & Festive Winter Photos by Ashlee Gadd Words by Camilla Salem Modeled by Orli Kadoch

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‘Tis the season to get dolled up and feel good. So curl your lashes, put on your favorite shade of lipstick, and wear things that make you feel as special as this time of year. We’d like to thank the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento for providing a lovely backdrop for this shoot! A Flirty Frock Get yourself a short, flirty dress for holiday parties. Wear tights if you’re not comfortable showing so much leg, but remember - if you opt for a short number, keep the neckline high (or vice versa).

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Romantic Knits Heavy knitted sweaters beg for cups of hot cocoa and cuddling (ideally with snow falling outside). Bundle up, but keep your hair loose and relaxed.

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Color Frame Stand out in a sea of neutral Winter colors. All the heavy food and champagne may have you leaning on your black clothing a little bit more, but simply wrap a colored pashmina around your neck to feel lighter and brighter.Â

A Touch of Sparkle It can be tempting to go overboard with the sparkle during the holidays, but most of the time a little bit goes a long way. A sweet, sparkly belt over a sweater is perfectly special for the season.Â

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Holiday Nails! three hairstyles you ’ve got to try

Words by Kellee Vopelak Photos by Celeste Noche

Look #1 Colors O.P.I. - Keys to My Karma American Apparel - Galaxy I can’t stay away from this beautiful multi. An accent nail is very on-trend and eyecatching right now, and my favorite thing about O.P.I.’s “Keys to my Karma” is that it isn’t overwhelmingly “Christmas red.” You won’t have to take your polish off immediately after the holidays with this look.

step 1: Base coat. step 2: Apply the necessary two coats of this base color - it’s a thin polish, so take extra care to make sure all spots are covered and your nails aren’t left with streaks. Make sure you leave your ring finger (or whichever finger you choose) with just the clear coat.

step 3: Apply one coat of “Galaxy” on your designated accent nail. Once Who doesn't like a little sparkle during the holiday season (or year-round for that matter)? When it comes to my nails, I love when the holidays are around the corner because it gives me an excuse to go a little crazier with the glitter than I normally would. Read on for several simple ways to add a little shine to your Winter manicures!

finished, dab a generous amount of the polish onto tin foil. Using a dotting tool or a toothpick, pick up each piece of glitter one by one, and place it in the empty spots on your accent nail. Repeat this until your nail is completely covered. You won’t want to stop looking at the finished product. Trust me.

step 4: Top coat.

Look #2 Colors Essie - Good as Gold American Apparel - Meteor Shower Gold glitter on gold nails may sound outrageous, but the best thing about Essie's "Good as Gold" is that it's muted - almost vintage-looking. American Apparel's "Meteor Shower" is unique (and one of my favorite glitters) because the flecks are anything but consistent. Inside you'll find tinsel-riffic bits and pieces of different-sized gold foil. It's a great break from the predictable sparkle.

step 1: Base coat. step 2: You'll want to make sure to apply two coats of "Good as Gold." It's necessary.

step 3: My preference is just one, subtle coat of the glitter. This way your nails look more "holiday fun" and less "Ke$ha is coming to town."

step 4: Finish with your favorite top coat.

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Look #3 Colors Essie - Steel-ing the Scene American Apparel - Light Year There’s nothing better than holographic glitter. This style is absolutely perfect for a New Years Eve soirée. Your nails will shine like a disco ball! 

step 1: You guessed it - base coat! step 2: You’ll need two coats of Essie’s “Steel-ing the Scene.” It’s such a unique color - applying it is half the fun.

step 3: Apply one coat of “Light Year” to each of your nails after letting the silver dry for a bit.

step 4: After the glitter has slightly dried, apply another coat starting midway up your nail. Again, let it dry.

step 5: Apply glitter to just the tips of your nails – think: unique, glittery, French manicure. Feel free to get creative with the gradient!

step 6: Top coat!

Look #4 Colors American Apparel - Malibu Green American Apparel - Galaxy Something about this look just screams "Christmas Lights!" The unexpected teal under the shiny, multicolor glitter is perfect for the holidays but can also be worn well into the Spring. 

step 1: To discourage staining, evenly apply your favorite base coat, and let it dry.

step 2: Apply one or two coats of American Apparel's "Malibu Green." Depending on your technique, one coat may be all you need.

step 3: Let the teal dry mostly, then apply one coat of "Galaxy." If you're feeling extra sparkly, feel free to apply extra coats to achieve your desired look.

Step 4: Finally, apply a top coat. My favorite happens to be Seche Vite; I've never used anything like it.

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{Love} verb * have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).

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Life As An Army Wife Words by Kingsley Frazier Photo on opening page by Carmyn Joy Effa

As women, we tend to identify ourselves by labels. I’m a wife, a daughter, and a sister. I’m a teacher and a consultant. I’m a Junior Leaguer and Kappa Alpha Theta. I’m a blonde-haired, blue-eyed California girl who is currently playing Southern lady. My list is long like everyone else’s, and depending on what kind of mood I’m in and what the situation is, certain labels are more prominent than others. Last December, I added wife to my list of labels when I married the cute, athletic boy from high school who is now an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. We spent the first year of our relationship on opposite coasts. I was a high school special education teacher at our alma mater in Northern California, and he was going through the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. With over 50,000 miles flown that year, it became quite clear that the word ARMY was going to be attached to me too. When Grant and I started dating, we knew that there would be lots of unpredictable moments and things we would not be able to control. We've always called them “external factors.” That’s just the way the Army works. The day we were married was the most special day of my life, and “wife” was a welcome addition to my list of labels. We were surrounded by family and friends. We exchanged vows at the church my parents were married in. We ate cake. And we danced… a lot. But that day, I became not only a wife, but also an Army wife. From my experience, the public perception is that the Army wife life is a lot like the television show Army Wives on Lifetime. And while some people may have that experience, that has not been ours. We don’t live on post. And while I am friends with the wives in the battalion Grant serves with, they aren’t my go-to people when Army life gets tough. For me, the people I turn to will always be my friends and family back home. The people in California

have known Grant and me since before we embarked on this crazy

10. And most of all, remembering that God has a greater plan for

rollercoaster called the Army. They know all the good, bad, and

us all.

ugly in our lives. They know us without any labels at all. And while the Army wives I know may not be my best friends, and we do not all meet at the local bar every chance we get to vent (no matter what Lifetime would lead you to believe…), there are several common experiences we share.

I’m not a spokesperson for all Army wives. All I know is my experience and the experiences others have shared with me. We may all be Army Wives, but, in many cases, that is where the similarities end. My husband has permanent nerve damage to his foot that will not allow him to make the Army a career like he thought. And

Being an Army wife means lots of things:

although I won’t have the Army wife label forever, this experience

1. Loving your husband unconditionally.

will stay with us always. The Army has forced Grant and me to

2. Building a relationship based on communication and love -

build a relationship from two sides of the country. We fell in love

because sometimes when you’re far apart those are the only two

through text messages, phone calls, and weekend trips. The depth

things you have. And even then, communication can be spotty if it

of love that this experience has created is what allows me to deal

is available at all.

with all the external factors the Army brings into our lives. I’d be

3. Understanding that the Army comes first even though you know

lying if I pretended not to be thrilled that my life won’t be spent

your husband loves your more than his job.

dreading deployments and time apart. I’m thankful for those that

4. Leaning a whole new vocabulary filled with mostly acronyms:

are protecting our country and for my husband’s dedication to his

FRG (Family Readiness Group), SDO (Staff Duty Officer), PCS

job. But I’m a California girl at heart and can’t wait for us to be

(Permanent Change of Station)…


5. Remembering that he cannot control his work schedule. So yes,

Photo credit: White Haute Photography

sometimes he will have leave in the middle of the night to go take care of a problem created by someone else even if this means missing the end of your favorite romantic comedy that you’ve finally convinced him to watch. 6. Learning to love hogging his side of the bed when he is training in the field for two weeks… or five weeks at a time… or even longer when he’s deployed. 7. Fully embracing being THAT girl sobbing her way through the airport after a tearful goodbye. 8. Leaning on family and friends when times are tough and you’re missing home more than usual. 9. Having those beginning of relationship butterflies come back every time you get to see your husband after too much time apart.

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All We Need Is Love Words by Anna Jordan Photo by Ashlee Gadd

My journey to foster care began nearly ten

when I received the phone call about this

off, and I desperately tried to look like the

years ago when I spent several weeks work-

baby boy, I was coming out of a yoga class.

world’s most competent first-time mom.

ing in an orphanage in Brazil. It was there

I was sweaty, hungry, and unprepared.

that I met a tiny 2-year-old girl who called

We didn’t really have anything for a baby,

me "Tia" (aunt). All she wanted to do was

and by that I mean we had only a second-

cuddle, her head buried in my chest, one

hand crib and one blanket. I was worried

of her hands stroking my face. Her family

about bonding and attachment, and I was

had dropped her off at the orphanage when

concerned that he would feel too much like

she was an infant, and the need she had for

someone else’s child for me to feel like a

love was so clear. I so desperately wanted to

mother at all.

give her the love she needed, and the remnants of that desire have stayed with me.

Two hours after I received “the call,” my husband and I walked into the short-term

About two years ago, my husband and I

home where our sweet boy was staying and

came to the conclusion that our first child

saw him sitting in his car seat.

should be adopted. As we tried to decide how we would go about adopting, we kept circling back to adoption through foster care. As of July 2011, our plan was to finish our certification, provide short-term respite care for a couple of months, and then accept a long-term/adoptive placement in possibly December or January 2012. Well, on a rainy Friday in September, we got a phone call that put our plan in fast-

we fell in love. This love had nothing to do with his big, brown eyes or his soft baby curls. Actually, his adorableness didn’t register with me until we took him home. I didn’t even know if we could keep him, but I was his mother then, and nothing else mattered. I used to hate the saying “all you need is love” because it seemed cheesy and too simplistic to be accurate. However, lately I’ve been thinking that it might actually be

“We just arrived,” the social worker said. “I

a little bit true. Because Mason’s perma-

thought you could take him out.”

nence in our home is uncertain, people

I walked over to where he was placed, carefully lifted him up, and as I looked down at his darling little face, we locked eyes. In that moment, I felt flooded with a love that I cannot describe, but I’d venture to say

often ask if this attachment is too hard or too scary, and the answer is yes. This last year has been the most overwhelming, exhausting, heart-wrenching year of my life, but I would do it over again in an instant.

that it’s the love all mothers feel for their

As I think about that cheesy phrase and

children. It was, and still is, all encom-

how sometimes it might not be true, I ac-


knowledge that this year it was. That sweet,

forward. We were two steps away from com-

As I reflect back on those first moments, I

pleting our certification when our social

can see how that hour served as a preview

worker called to see if we were interested in

into what has become our year in foster

taking a 2-month old baby boy. Despite the

care: totally crazy. There we were with

fact that this was five months earlier than

three social workers, an intern, and a

expected, I said yes (!!) without hesitation.

brand new baby who was as unprepared

The social worker told me we could meet

for his transition as we were. He had an

the baby that same afternoon.

ill-fitting onesie, the too-big outfit he

Let me back up a moment and clarify that

In the midst of the chaos of that first hour,

was wearing, and that’s it. We filled out paperwork while Mason screamed his head

screaming baby boy – who has since grown into a joyful, yelling toddler - needed love, and I found that I had an abundance. Even though our house is now fully stocked with baby gear and toddler toys, we always had the one thing we needed most.

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{Close} verb * bring or come to an end

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Back Story By Camilla Salem

I’ve never made a dumpling of any kind in

Clearly, dumplings are a metaphor for

my life. I’m not sure why but the thought of

bigger obstacles. When I first started this

making some kind of dough and filling it

magazine, I had no idea what I was doing.

with some kind of filling totally intimi-

I simply had something in front of me that

dated me for the longest time. But, as is

I wanted to try out. And I went for it, guns

always the case when I put together these

blazing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and

issues, I find myself faced with the tasks of

a lot about life from this experience, and

doing things I never thought I’d be able to

while failures are inevitable, often you

do. I surprised myself in Fall 2011 when I

learn the most from them. So I guess what

successfully whipped up a batch of peanut

it comes down to is that, whatever you have

brittle (yum) then again in Summer 2012

in front of you that you’d like to try, maybe

when I learned how to make a bouquet.

you should just go for it. You’ll never know

And now, this issue, I successfuly con-

what you might gain along the way if you

quered the potsticker!

don’t try.

And boy am I glad I did.

And boy, you’ll be so glad you did.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. Oprah Winfrey

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...and a happy new year!

The Violet | Holiday 2012  
The Violet | Holiday 2012  

The Violet Holiday 2012 Issue