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Facets the

magazine

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Because giving is way more fun than receiving

Wreck the halls

Celebrate simply

Life lessons from working in hospice care

Six holiday drinks to help you stay warm this winter

â—Š 2011-2012 One year ends, another begins issue â—Š Dec/Jan


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Say hello to the Facets team. founder and editor-in-chief BRITTANY ABEIJON founder and managing editor TOM SALEK founder and creative direction/graphic design RACHEL KOSMAL founder and web operations JAY HARVEY founder and photographer LYNN W. CONWAY lead graphic designer MELISSA GRIFFIN graphic designer ASHLEY JOHNSTON social media strategist KASEY THOMAS

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The

Facets Founders answer: What is your favorite holiday memory?

I’ve

Brittany Abeijon Shot caller and sanity keeper

always been an early riser. Up two minutes before the alarm. Up before everyone else in the house. Certainly up before the sun on Christmas morning. I’ll never forget the time I woke up early on Christmas and quietly crept down the stairs to get a good peek at the presents under the tree. Although a routine event for me on a holiday morning, one year was different—the year Santa decided not to wrap any presents. As I stood there in shock, I took in the sight of every gift From: Santa, To: Brittany with one sweeping glance. A bunk bed for my American Girl dolls and a wooden clothes rack meant for dolls stood tall next to the tree. I came to the conclusion these presents were just too difficult to conceal for even the most experienced gift giver, and that’s why Santa skipped on the wrapping that year. Although an overwhelmingly wonderful sight for any child, I now had to try extra hard to pretend two things when the rest of my family woke up: one, that I hadn’t already seen all my gifts, and two, that I still believed in Santa. I’d certainly lost faith in his wrapping skills.

Interestingly

enough, I don’t personally remember my favorite holiday memory. I’ve only heard about it from my family for the past 23 years. I was two years old. My parents decided to take my older brother, sister and me to get our pictures taken on Santa’s lap. It’s unclear whether or not I was ever excited about this trip. When we reached the front of the line and it was time for me to jump on the bringer of presents’ lap, I screamed. Incredibly loud. So loud that my older siblings were called in to try to help calm me down and sit still for two seconds. To their avail, nothing. Massive yelling continued! So much so that a photographer from the Chicago Tribune taking holiday pictures stopped my parents and asked if he could snap a photo. He did. It was published. At the age of two, I had already made it into the pages of the Tribune. Probably not the way I would have wanted to, but hey, not many writers can say they were published in print at that age. Did I ever make it over my fear of shopping mall Santas? Actually not. During my childhood, I was well known for either running away from the bearded man, or arguing with the person dressed up, telling him he wasn’t real.

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Tom Salek

Protector of AP Style and grammar


You

wouldn’t know it from my obnoxious habit of talking all the time, but I used to be really shy. One weekend before Christmas many years ago, my parents hauled my brother and me to the mall to see Santa. Not wanting to go anywhere near this creep, I stayed right at the very edge of the velvet ropes refusing to move while Father Christmas beckoned me to sit on his lap. Realizing that I was not going to oblige his request, he asked me for my wish list from a safe 7-foot distance. I quickly yelled, “A CAT,” and hid behind my parents while my brother foolishly took his turn. I actually did end up getting a cat that year and I named it Spotlight for some reason. She was a great cat, but eventually snuck outside and got eaten by a hawk. Happy Holidays!

Rachel Kosmal

Catcher and releaser of beautiful things

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Jay Fubler Harvey

never believed in Santa; we didn’t have a fireplace and my mum knew I was too logical a kid to buy the magic explanation. I will say knowing right from the start that all the presents came from loved ones did make an impression, which grew over time. My impression at age four, after sneaking a look at the tree at 3 a.m. was probably, “YES! 10,000 PRESENTS!” As time went on I began to appreciate the giving aspect more, not just because I was older and had money to buy things, but because my mum was born on Christmas Day, so it has always been a double holiday for her. I’d have to say that seeing the dual holiday joy in her face these days when she opens up her presents are memories I’ll never get tired of remembering.

Director of deez nuts and bolts

I

have so many favorite holiday memories, more like snapshots. Growing up I remember things like my sister and I staring at the clock in her bedroom because we couldn’t wake my mom up earlier than 8 a.m. I remember setting up the Christmas tree. Big dinner feasts with family and friends. More recently watching my daughters open their presents, and trying to figure out which one would get the biggest reaction—it’s never what you think it will be. However, I think my all-time favorite memory and tradition would be just staying in our pajamas all day—a rule you must follow if you celebrate with me—and watching movies. Every year we watch Bell, Book and Candle, the original Miracle on 34th Street and, of course, A Christmas Story.

Lynn W. Conway Lady behind the lens

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C ntributors Ryan Cary World class(less) traveler Cleveland, Ohio writer

Mandy Cornish Even decorating her stereo with ornaments and tinsel this year Chicago, Ill. writer

Colleen Day Thinks giving back is a year-round responsibility Rindge, N.H. writer

Laura Ledesma Loves being in a multicultural family Alpena, Mich. writer

Renee Mailhiot Year-round sequin and glitter enthusiast Frankfort, Ill. writer

? Do you want to work with us? email:

jobs@thefacetsmag.com

Jen Lavin Flexible enough to kick the top of a door frame Lake Worth, Fla. writer

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Jessica Deming Will make an effort to stay up past 10 p.m. this year Chicago, Ill. writer

Kim Fleming Foodie and fitness NUT who hearts all things related to healthy living Atlanta, Ga. personal trainer and writer

Kerry D. Gray Photographer and videographer who views the entire world through his lens Atlanta, Ga. photographer

Branden Johnson Writer of fictions Oak Forest, Ill. writer

Laura McCormack Too crafty for her own good Plainfield, Ill. writer

Lindsay McCown Celebrates the holidays simply Los Angeles, Calif. writer

Alison Penner Never leaves the house without at least a little blush Lake Zurich, Ill. makeup artist and writer volume 3

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Contents

December 2011 / January 2012 ONE YEAR ENDS, ANOTHER BEGINS issue

11 Celebrate diversity during the holidays A letter from the editors

GIFT GUIDE 2011 Holiday Gift Guide The Facets team knows that giving is way more fun than receiving

Make it a homemade holiday Try your hand at DIY presents for a more personalized, less expensive gift option

Shopping for the person who has it all? Stress no more

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Surprise your hard-to-buy-for loved ones with a treasured, personal gift

FASHION/BEAUTY Cozy up with a classic winter style Andersonville couple shows off creativity in their clothes and their cookies

Holiday party looks that work from 9 to beyond 5

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Spice up your everyday office looks for the busy party season

Take on the holidays while looking effortlessly beautiful

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Go from winter natural to holiday party to New Year’s bash

FOOD/DRINK Wreck the halls Six holiday drinks to help you stay warm this winter 8

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HEALTH/FITNESS Get off the couch, throw on your sweats and start exergaming

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Incorporating video games into your workout has never been easier

Heat up your workout this winter with hot yoga

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Get flexible in extreme temperatures for an escape from cold weather, boring workout routines

ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC Don’t just crank up the heat, crank up the volume

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These five holiday playlists will have you tapping your feet into the new year

To 3D, or not to 3D? Technical, medical issues may inhibit seeing flicks in the third dimension

LIFE Celebrate simply How working in hospice taught me what’s most important during the holidays

‘Tis the season of giving Give back to your community during the holidays—and throughout the rest of the year

WORLD/TRAVEL Should auld acquaintance be forgot New Year’s celebrations differ around the world, but all are a night to remember

Rounding the edge of the earth in a poorly-aligned Nissan subcompact

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Musings from one American’s adventures in South Africa

LOVE/RELATIONSHIPS ‘I just listen for my name’ Embracing Peruvian culture, loving my multicultural family

Founders’ favorites What we’re loving this winter

Social media fridge ‘Tis the season to socialize

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Celebrate diversity during the holidays A letter from the editors By Brittany Abeijon and Tom Salek

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e’ve all been there. It’s December. You’re talking to a co-worker, neighbor or cashier at the store. At the end of the conversation, you start to say, “Merry Christm—Hanukk—Kwanzaa?!” It’s that awkward, confusing moment when you’re unsure which jovial holiday greeting to express. What’s worse is the moment when you get it completely wrong and feel the need to apologize for the embarrassment. For us, it’s about more than just wishing others Happy Holidays. It’s OK to venture away from a generalized, politically correct phrase when you express well wishes during this time of year. Instead, just ask others what they celebrate and make them feel welcome. Similarly, take a moment to learn a little about other cultures and how they spend the holidays, and be respectful to people who don’t celebrate at all. Besides Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, this time of year is host to a number of other events. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day each winter, typically on Dec. 8, to honor the day Siddhārtha Gautama, the traditional Buddha, gained enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. Muslims commemorate the migration of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina with al-Hijrah or the Islamic New Year, which occurred in the West on Nov. 26 this year. For those who prefer a holiday based on science instead of religion, observe the Winter Solstice on Dec. 22 with a party during the longest night of the year. Despite all the family gatherings and cultural happenings, we know the holidays can be a hard time for some, too. Whether you are grieving, have a sick friend or loved one, or just feel like you’re in a festive funk, check out Celebrate simply on page 68 for advice on how to do exactly that. Regardless of your holiday choice, our culture is especially consumer-driven during this time of year. If you are buying for a Secret Santa, White Elephant or other holiday gift exchange, find the perfect present in our Gift Guide. For those feeling creative, try your hand at our DIY gift ideas. Shopping for the person who already has it all? Keep your sanity, we’ve got that covered, too. As one year ends and another begins, don’t just embrace diversity—celebrate it!

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• GIFT GUIDE •

2011 Holiday GIFT GUIDE

The Facets team knows that giving is way more fun than receiving In order to bring you this season’s best gifts to give, we’ve searched the depths of the Internet for a variety of unique and affordable—everything under $100!—presents. We’ve categorized our Gift Guide into sections meant for your quirky, techie, trendy and foodie friends and family, so you can spend less time shopping and more time wrapping. We also included some great DIY gift ideas for those feeling more creative than usual, and some simple tips on how to surprise the person who has everything with something they’re not expecting. From plaid skinny ties to Pinocchio tape measures, our Gift Guide will surely bring smiles, laughs and maybe even a little nostalgia to your loved ones this holiday season. volume 3

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GIFT GUIDE

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1. Toilet coffee mug - Fred Flare $20 l 2. Periodic beer glass -Think Geek $9 l 3. Hot and cold coffee mug - Generate Design $29 l 4. Survival kit in a sardine can - ThinkGeek $10 l 5. Pinocchio tape measure - MoMA Store $6 l 6. Pick Punch - Uncommon Goods $25 l 7. Bacon-flavored dental floss - Fred Flare $9.50 l 8. Come in/Go away doormat - Generate Design $39 l 9. Table Topics game - Amazon $25 l 10. Chalkboard bud vase - MoMA Store $40

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GIFT GUIDE

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1. Etch A Sketch iPad case - Fred Flare, $42 l 2. Portable solar charger - Think Geek $50 l 3. Mini robot vacuum - Fred Flare $26 l 4. X-Mini II capsule speaker - Amazon $19 l 5. Pro-style camera lenses for iPhone -Photojojo $49 l 6. Retro phone handset - Amazon $30 l 7. Wooden retro iPhone alarm dock - Generate Design $39 l 8. iHome rechargeable speaker system for iPad, iPhone, iPod - Amazon $90 l 9. Side bow touch gloves Echo $32 l 10. Joystick for iPad - ThinkGeek $18 volume 3

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GIFT GUIDE

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1. Lipstick ballpoint pen - Fred Flare $5 l 2. Baby Lips lip balm by Maybelline - ULTA $4 l 3. Faux leather carry-all bag - H&M $35 l 4. Extra-fine merino tipped cardigan - Banana Republic $90 l 5. Bronze necklace - Ranjana Khan for The Limited $98 l 6. Cardboard Buck Jr. Trophy - Fred Flare $32 l 7. Biodegradable Watch - Sprout $65 l 8. Plaid skinny tie - H&M $15 l 9. Camel-colored leather gloves - H&M $35 l 10. Seche Vite top coat - Amazon $5.50

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GIFT GUIDE

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1. Half pint herb garden - Fred Flare $18 l 2. K-Cup reusable coffee filter - Amazon $19 l 3. Black and white polka dot apron - JessieSteele.com $33 l 4. Grow your own coffee - Think Geek $10 l 5. Wine bottle with personalized label - Personal Wine from $19 l 6. Slate cheese board - Brooklyn Slate Co. $30 l 7. Black truffle oil - Dean & Deluca $35 l 8. Foodie flashcards - CB2 $10 l 9. Perforated roll of washable, reusable cotton dinner napkins - A+R Store $28 l 10. Sodastream water carbonator - Amazon $89 volume 3

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Help Facets give the gift of reading this holiday season

reblog, retweet & Facebook share for

FirstBook.org

During the entire month of December, Facets will donate $0.50 for the first 100 reblogs/retweets/ Facebook shares, and $0.10 for each one after that to FirstBook.org.

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GIFT GUIDE

Make it a homemade holiday Try your hand at DIY presents for a more personalized, less expensive gift option By Laura McCormack volume 3

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GIFT GUIDE

• Two pieces of fabric, each a 5-inch square • A piece of accent fabric • Some Wonder Under, or other fabric adhesive • Iron • Scissors • Needle and string 1. Take a piece of the Wonder Under and iron it to the wrong side, or bottom, of your accent fabric per the instructions.

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2. Cut out the shape you want from the accent fabric.

he holiday shopping season is upon us, and if you’re like me, you dread the unorganized lines, the chaotic noise and most of all, the prices. While expensive gifts can impress, they’re not the only way to bring holiday cheer. This year I plan to gain back the real joy of gift giving without depleting my bank account. How, you ask? I plan to make the gifts I give this year. A little extra effort and a lot more hands on, DIY presents are great because they can be customized with a recipient’s favorite 18

photos, colors or even scents. For an even more rewarding gift giving experience, try out a few of these simple ideas to create presents that are unique to the special people in your life.

Mug rugs A great gift for coworkers, friends, or family, coasters are a prime example when it’s OK to give everyone a similar gift. The trick is to personalize each one so that the recipient still feels special. This year, try making ‘mug rugs,’ customized coasters meant for coffee cups.

DEC/JAN 2011-2012 | thefacetsmag.com

3. Peel off the backing of the Wonder Under and iron it onto the fabric in the middle of the square. You can add accent stitching around the shape if you want to. 4. Take the two pieces of fabric and put the right sides together. 5. Stitch around the edges leaving a small opening, large enough for you to turn the coaster through it. 6. Trim the edges and cut around the corners. Flip it through. 7. Sew up the hole.


GIFT GUIDE

Tile coaster This style of coaster is great to create from leftover tiles and old clothes. Once you get the hang of making the coasters, you can use a large tile, like a floor tile, and make a trivet. • Tiles • Fabric (preferably 100 percent wool sweaters, T-shirts, or felt) • Hot glue gun • Matches 1. If you are using wool sweaters, wash them in really hot water and dry them on high heat. This will shrink them and make the fibers very tight and easy to work with. 2. Attach the fabric to the bottom of the tile using evenly spaced strips of hot glue. 3. Cut off the excess around the edges.

4. Use a lighter or matches to burn the edges to create a clean edge on the wool.

Friendship necklaces or bracelets You can never be too old for these fun accessories. Although this gift is super easy, it does take a little bit of time. It’s the perfect craft to keep your hands busy while watching a movie or on your commute on the train. It’s also a nice gift to personalize because you can pick your recipients’ favorite colors. • 5-6 different colors of embroidery floss • A pack of yarn (you wont see this, it’s just for filler)

1. Take the colors you want and tie a knot in all of them about one inch from the end. 2. Secure it to a table with some tape or a safety pin. 3. Start with the string of the first color. Make the motion as if you were going to tie a knot, but instead of pulling both ends, hold the set of yarn straight and pull the single color yarn off to the side. 4. Once you get the necklace long volume 3

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GIFT GUIDE enough, tie a knot and cut the strings about an inch from the knot. 5. This works great as a set, achieved through altering the number of knots.

a gift that only requires one item to make? And If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even add some beads. • A pack of yarn

Nautical bracelets or anklets This is a great genderneutral gift because of its color. It’s a nice craft you can make with the leftover yarn from the friendship bracelets. How can you say no to 20

1. Start by measuring and tying off four long strings the same length. Tip: Use the technique of holding it in your hand and pulling the string to the opposite armpit. 2. Tie a knot about one inch from the end. 3. Secure it to the table with some tape, or use a safety pin to any fabric nearby.

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4. Separate the strings, with one on each end and two in the middle. Start by taking the left string and tying it around the two center strings. Pull it to the top. 5. Then, take the right string and tie it around the two center strings. Pull it to the top. 6. Repeat with the left. Repeat with the right. Keep doing this until you have the desired length. 7. Tie off the end and cut the strings.


GIFT GUIDE Paint stick necklaces This is a very neat reuse project that doesn’t cost a lot. Personalize it based on your recipients’ interests or initials. For example, the one I made here is shaped like a guitar pick for my brother-in-law who plays guitar. • A few paint sticks • Paint, stain, or varnish • Very fine grit sand paper • X-Acto knife • Jewelry eyelet hooks • Chain 1. Start with a paint stick, the kind that you get from the paint store. Those are free, just saying.

Body salt scrub Beauty and bath products are typically the go-to when you really aren’t sure what to buy for someone. But making homemade

beauty products is a great way to give them something special. The easiest kind of body scrub to make is to simply add salt to an existing body wash.

2. Trace any shape you want for the pendant onto the paint stick. 3. Use an X-Acto knife or small saw to do a rough cutout. 4. Use the sand paper to smooth the edges. 5. Varnish or paint the shape. Tip: if you are using varnish, protect your hands and work area. 6. Let the shape dry. 7. Use the X-Acto knife or a pin to puncture a hole in the shape. 8. Thread the eyelet through the hole and attach the chain.

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GIFT GUIDE

• An airtight container • Body wash • Table salt 1. Take an airtight container and fill it almost to the top with your favorite body wash. 2. Add at least a teaspoon of salt. The amount of salt depends on how big your container is. If you get an early start on your holiday gifts, remember to stir the body scrub mixture if it has been sitting for awhile. 3. Mix and add a nice label with a personal message.

Braided scarves This project is great to make for several people, because you can use one piece of fabric to make three scarves. You could even keep one for yourself! I won’t tell. • 3 yards of a breezy, stretchy fabric • Scissors 1. Start by laying out the fabric and cutting it into three pieces, lengthwise. This will be your three scarves. 2. Take the first scarf and cut three strips up, two feet from each end. 3. Take the strips and braid them. 4. Tie the braid off with a small piece of string.

Variation: Cut nine strips and make three braids, or cut several strips (in multiples of three) and make several braids. ◊

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GIFT GUIDE

Shopping for the person who has it all? Stress no more. Surprise your hard-to-buy-for loved ones with a treasured, personal gift By Branden Johnson Illustrations by Rachel Kosmal

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very year I put my poor wife in an unenviable position—having to figure out what to get me for Christmas. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of interests. I most certainly do. I’m a techiegeek-gadget fanatic, and there is no shortage of technological fare to sate my appetite. Am I the only person who spends money I don’t have on things I’ll get bored with in six months? Certainly not. And this affliction is not unique to the techie alone. Maybe it’s clothes, jewelry, or a variety of strange and exotic hats. But if you’re shopping for the person who “has it all,” or the person who “doesn’t have it all but tries their darnedest to buy it all themselves,” then the task before you can be daunting. Here’s my wife’s problem: When I see something new and exciting, I don’t wistfully dream of maybe— perhaps!—one day owning it. I fly over to Amazon and buy it, leaving a sonic boom in my wake. Confession, I purchased a Kindle Fire a month before they even came out. To others out there who, like me, cannot resist the allure of the “new,” we must understand that we are, on a yearly basis, tormenting our loved ones. Don’t they deserve better? I’m going to say yes. Mainly because I’d rather not sleep on the couch. Now I’ll turn my attention to the beleaguered significant others out there. You need help. By the end of this article, you’ll be on the right track to getting your special someone just the right gift, and if you do it properly, they’ll be surprised they didn’t think to buy it first. volume 3 23


GIFT GUIDE

Listen carefully There are a million thoughts that run through my head most days. I don’t have much of a filter, so many of those thoughts get verbalized. Something shiny might catch my eye, and without letting it sink in too deeply, I may comment on just how cool the thing looked. Let me give you a few examples. A couple years ago, my wife and I got ourselves involved in a particularly nostalgic discussion. The topic? The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. We were both huge fans—huge fans—of the show. (Personally I may have been a fan a bit longer than I should have been.) Had she seen the movie? Of course she had. Not only that, but she had owned the soundtrack. Oh my god! So did I! I used to love listening to that! Fast forward to Christmas that year. What do I find in my stocking, a CD of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie soundtrack. Sure, it was a super tonguein-cheek gift, but I was thrilled to get it. More than one car trip has since been spent rocking out to the theme song. Ironically, though, I assure you. Ironically. If my wife hadn’t been paying attention during our conversation, she would never have had the idea. And I certainly would not have gone out of my way to buy that CD for myself. But I’m glad to have it. Here’s another story: I was (and still am) a big fan of the AMC show Mad Men. I knew AMC had another show that had recently started airing, something about a high school teacher 24 DEC/JAN 2011-2012 |

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who began selling drugs or something. I told some friends that, dang, if that show didn’t sound interesting. I knew the DVD of the first season was out. Maybe I’d have to pick that up sometime. I then went on to forget all about it. Fast forward to my birthday that year, and bam! I open up a gift from my friends, and there’s the first season of Breaking Bad. I had never seen an episode, but I had a hunch, and I owe them a great deal for getting me hooked on what is quite possibly my favorite show. And all because they were paying attention as I rambled. This strategy, of course, is not without risk. Not everything a person mentions aloud is necessarily something they will love. But it can be a great leaping-off point for present planning.


GIFT GUIDE

Make a wish list and check it twice If your significant other is anything like me, they’ve used Amazon.com at least a few times. It’s an amazing resource to find pretty much anything, and their prices are usually cheaper than brick-andmortar stores. Amazon has a built-in function called the Wish List. If I’m browsing and see something that catches my eye, but that doesn’t necessarily require an immediate, knee-jerk purchase, I’ll click the “Add to Wish List” button, and voila! It’s stored on my wish list and easily viewed by anyone (assuming I’ve made my Wish List public, which is easy to do). You can also log on to Amazon.com, go to the Wish List section, and search for an individual’s Wish List by name or email address. If you’re lucky, your significant other will have not only created one, but filled it up with a ton of items they’re interested in but not quite ready to jump up and purchase themselves. There’s also no real need to be super sneaky about this. If they don’t have a Wish List set up, or haven’t made it public, ask them to. They won’t know what you’re buying them, but they’ll have an easy way of getting some good ideas in front of you. And all it takes is a few clicks.

program that allows teachers to post requests for a huge variety of classroom needs—paintbrushes for art class, trombones for marching band, lab equipment for science class. As an honorary donor, your loved one will receive photos and updates from the teacher behind the project, as well as a document breaking down exactly where the money went. A few minutes on Google will provide you with an abundance of options. Do some browsing and you’re sure to find a good match for your loved one.

No matter what the gift, it’s the thought that counts The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about what to buy for your loved ones. At the end of the day, of course, the actual gifts don’t matter; at least, not nearly as much as being there for each other, whether physically or in spirit. Still, no matter how much we may tell ourselves this, we do live in a consumer culture and gift-giving is a big part of our holiday season. So with these simple tips to guide you through the holidays, we wish you a December packed with giving, empty of stress and filled with love. ◊

Feel free to browse through my wish list to get an idea of how the system works.

Give to give back Let’s face it: if we’re in a position to be reading this article right now, we’re much better off than a huge percentage of the world. The holidays tend to bring out the spirit of giving in most people, so consider making a donation to a charity your loved one likes in their name. If you’re not sure what causes they are most passionate about, engage them in conversation and find out. There are even some organizations that can provide charity “gift cards” the recipient can then use toward the charity of their choice. Check out CharityChoice, for example. There are other, more specific options available as well. If your loved one cares deeply about education, you can hook them up with a donation to DonorsChoose.org. This is a

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• FASHION/BEAUTY •

Cozy up with a classic winter style Andersonville couple shows off creativity in their clothes and their cookies By Brittany Abeijon Photography by Lynn W. Conway

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FASHION/BEAUTY

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acets prefers trendsetters over trend followers, favors rule breakers instead of safe dressers and gravitates toward individuals who march to the beat of their own fashionable drum. While searching for a few stylish locals, we found a couple whose eclectic closets complement the creativity woven into several, ahem, facets of their lives. They kindly invited us into their Pottery Barn-esque, Andersonville home for a beyond-fun afternoon spent talking about their favorite winter fashion picks and decorating mountains of homemade holiday cookies. These guys can dress well, and dare we say bake even better? Here we showcase them in their own clothing, accessories, home and neighborhood as they give us their style rundown in a fashion Q&A. Read on to see who wears a bow tie every Friday, whose favorite place to shop is called the Internet and whose chocolate chip cookie recipe will remain a secret.

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FASHION/BEAUTY

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FASHION/BEAUTY

Jason Maldonado, 27 Account Executive Andersonville, Chicago

WINTER FASHION Q&A How would you describe your personal style? I strive for effortlessly classic—a mix of modern and classic clothes that aim to look easy and clean, but with an apparent plan. What is your favorite trend this winter? Lavish sweaters. Gosh, I love sweaters that make people look so stylishly comfortable. These sweaters almost say, “let’s cuddle.” Where are your favorite places to shop? I actually don’t have a favorite place to shop. I will look in common retail stores like Banana Republic and J. Crew, small boutique stores like Penelope’s and Stitch, and then keep my eyes open at thrift stores. Where do you get style inspiration? It’s a mixture of who I currently am and who I wish to be. This, of course, is evolution. What has remained a consistent source for inspiration is my love for replicated looks from the ‘50s and ‘60s. What fashion rules do you love to break? There are fashion rules? I guess the fashion rule I love to break are not keeping up with fashion rules. I stay away from designers telling me what’s in fashion. What fashion trend would you like to see make a comeback? Waistcoats with watch fobs. For me, 2012 will include building my wardrobe with several of these options. I want to find subtle ways of working these dramatic items into my current wardrobe. What advice do you have for others on creating their own style? First, know your colors. By this I mean know what colors look best with your skin tone. This will go a long way. Second, know your body. Some looks require, or look best, with a particular body type. For men, well-tailored dress shirts go a long way. And finally, build the basics. Start purchasing pieces that can help create multiple looks, pieces you can use multiple times, unbeknownst to those around you. For guys this might include fitted white dress shirts, well-polished black and brown dress shoes (it’s important to have both), a basic black tie, a couple of basic sweaters and welltailored dress pants. 30 DEC/JAN 2011-2012 | thefacetsmag.com


FASHION/BEAUTY

Wearing Floral-print bow tie – Custom made by Allison Crary Designs; White button-up shirt – J.Crew; Maroon v-neck sweater – Banana Republic; Cuff links – Thomas Pink; Watch – Kenneth Cole; Khaki slacks – Gap; Brown loafers – Banana Republic; Coat – H&M; Scarf – Gap

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Connor Lesniak, 23 Graphic Designer Andersonville, Chicago

WINTER FASHION Q&A How would you describe your personal style? My personal style is pretty everyday. I like to feel like I’m put together, but at the same time I’m always looking to be practical. Most of my clothes are classics: a blue oxford shirt, a dark pair of jeans, blue gingham button-ups and a whole lot of neutrals. My personal philosophy about fashion is that if it looks too much like a certain time period, it will end up looking dated on me. I stay away from trends and stick to what will I know will weather well. And then I stick in a bright-colored something so I feel edgy. Jury’s still out on if that’s working for me… What is your favorite trend this winter? I don’t know if this counts as a trend, but recently I’ve seen a lot more creativity with winter footwear (Ugh, why so much Ugg). I own some Sorels that make me look like I belong on a tundra, but they keep me warm and are so comfortable. I think my Dad has some, too, from years ago that haven’t yet gone out of style. Where are your favorite places to shop? The Internet. I’m also a big patron of J.Crew and Gap, though sometimes Gilt just gets it and I can afford a designer pair of socks. 32

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Where do you get style inspiration? I see old-school photos of people on vintage boats, and people from the ‘60s. Then I pretend I’m in those photos and dress accordingly. What fashion rules do you love to break? I’m so ‘by-the-book’ I don’t think I can answer this question. Sometimes I wear a fluorescent orange watch band with a Timex watch face my grandmother bought me and feel like I’m on the edge. What fashion trend would you like to see make a comeback? Fashion trends are scary to me because I’m either too early (I had the “flick” haircut in fourth grade, and it wasn’t popular until sixth grade when I was fully into my awkward stage) or too late (I still have to buy an attaché case). I think it would be nice to see more tailored shirts on the gents, though. A collared shirt that billows out around one’s waist looks sloppy to me. What advice do you have for others on creating their own style? As far as I understand, style isn’t about clothes, it’s about attitude. If you like something, wear it. Personal style is about your feeling in your clothes. In school I used to see so many people in ridiculous things, but they owned it. I would never wear what they wore, but since they were all about it, it worked.


FASHION/BEAUTY

Wearing Flannel dress shirt – J.Crew; Half-zip sweater – J.Crew; Watch – J.Crew; Jeans – Gap; Boots – Sorel; Blue ski jacket – Gap

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FASHION/BEAUTY Lesniak worked his magic in the kitchen, but asked we keep his cookie recipes a secret. You’ll have to take our word for it—they were delicious. ◊

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Spice up your everyday office looks for the busy party season By Renee Mailhiot

hether it’s a holiday happy hour, luncheon, or gala, holiday office parties often get thrown into the mix of an already packed schedule of get-togethers. But how exactly do you turn your office ensemble into an appropriately festive fête look? Whether you’re just looking to add a few simple accessories to transition your outfit from boring to bold, or you’re preparing a multi-functional, versatile look that will work from day to night, we’ve got you covered.

Bring on the bling Glitter and metallics are in more so than ever, judging from fall runway looks (think Miu Miu and Calvin Klein). Plus, it’s the holidays. Embracing a little glitz is always appropriate.

• A great statement necklace featuring blingy extras. Modcloth, $35 • A swipe of some luxelooking eyeshadow. Bobbi Brown, $20 • A sparkly clutch in place of your bulky bag. BCBGMAXAZRIA “Sophia” Clutch, $78 • A pair of metallic or glam heels to substitute your flats. Urban Outfitters, $50

Tip: Don’t overload. You still want to look office appropriate—and not like a Christmas tree covered in too much tinsel.

For the females, adding a few knockout metallic pieces to an otherwise drab outfit works easily and effortlessly. When running out the door in the morning, slip into one of your more dressedup office looks (think a sheath dress and tights, or fitted pants and a ruffled blouse) and throw one of these items in your bag to layer on later.

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FASHION/BEAUTY

As for the men, adding some metallic pieces isn’t as scary as it sounds. Keep your work clothes classy on days you have to head to an after-work soiree (think black dress pants and a well-fitted button-down shirt). However, stay far away from the Santa face-printed ties and goofy looking, red, chunky, old sweaters to find your sense of holiday spirit. Opt for a few of these portable choices to add some flair post-work, pre-party. • A tie with some metallic hints via intricate threading. Michael Kors at Nordstrom, $49.50 • A vest with a bit of sheen. Guess, $89 • A silver, oversized watch, exposed with cuffed up sleeves to exude a cool, casual vibe. Fossil, $85 • A metal-and-leather belt for polish. Mezlan at Nordstrom, $95

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Adaptable from head-to-toe For those who shy away from look-at-me shine and don’t have the time to think about transitioning accessories, fear not. There are plenty of looks that can easily go from the workplace to the party without any major outfit changes. This depends on your office’s dress code, so tweak the necessary details to avoid any HR run-ins. Ladies, start with your bestfitting pencil skirt and then add a tastefully sexy camisole or tank. Layer a chic blazer in a bold color to cover bare shoulders. Throw on some pumps for the day, or if you have to, keep them stashed under your desk until the right time. Rock a subdued metallic shade on your nails, like OPI’s Lucerne-tly Look Marvelous. It’s subtle enough for the office, but will reflect light in an attention-grabbing way after you’re away from the fluorescent bulbs. Swipe on a red lip color to instantly transform into a holiday vixen, but remain office appropriate. • Purple mock-pocket blazer Forever21, $33 • Embellished satin-front tank Express, $40 • Red lipstick MAC in Russian Red, $14.50 • Metallic pencil skirt New York & Company, $50 • Metallic nail polish OPI’s Lucerne-tly Look Marvelous, Amazon, $7 • Black patent pumps Forever21, $17.50 40 DEC/JAN 2011-2012 |

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FASHION/BEAUTY

For the guys, it’s all about the shirt-pants combo. Opt for your dark-hued dress pants. If your office is more casual and jeans are the workplace staple, go the more formal route for the day or stash a pair of dress pants in your briefcase. Rock a nice buttondown in a black or gray-based print. Add a tailored jacket if you’re heading to a more formal event, or layer on a skinny tie and half-zip sweater instead. Layers add style to any look, so stick with what feels comfortable. • Black blazer with satin details H&M, $70 • Gray military-inspired halfzip sweater Banana Republic, $89.50 • Gray and white-stripe dress shirt JCPenney, $25 • 1.5” black satin skinny tie Skinnyties.com, $14 • Black slim fit dress pants Calvin Klein at Macy’s, $50

The main focus is you The main point of focus at any sort of holiday party—whether it be for the office or not—is you. So make sure to keep your drinking to a manageable level to avoid any embarrassing apology emails the next day, and always be relaxed and approachable. Just because some components of the season are stressful doesn’t mean dressing for the fun parts has to be. ◊ volume 3 41


YOUR AD HERE If you are interested in advertising your brand, product or company to Facets readers, email advertise@thefacetsmag.com for rates and availability.

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FASHION/BEAUTY

Take on the holidays while looking effortlessly beautiful Go from winter natural to holiday party to New Year’s bash By Alison Penner and Brittany Abeijon Photography by Lynn W. Conway

A

s if picking out the perfect outfit for different get-togethers during the holidays isn’t hard enough, choosing the right makeup look to complement your clothing can be an added complication. To help you with a few no-stress looks, Makeup Artist Alison Penner models her favorite everyday winter look, a glamorous holiday party eyes/lips combo, and an alluring cat eye perfect for New Year’s Eve. Penner also details what products she used for each option and tells you how to recreate them yourself.

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FASHION/BEAUTY

LOOK #1: Go natural for an everyday winter look. Step 1: Perfect Perfect skin’s natural glow using Smashbox hydrating primer. Apply NARS Sheer Glow foundation. Then, use Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat to brighten under the eyes, on the high parts of the cheekbones, under the brow and on the Cupid’s bow (above the upper lip).

Step 2: Contour Using the Too Faced matte eyeshadow collection palette, apply Tufted Suede on the lid, and Chinchilla in the crease. Highlight under the brow using Velveteen Bunny. Apply Tufted Suede under the lower lashes using the MAC #219 brush. Finish with two coats of Make Up For Ever Brown Smoky Lash mascara.

Step 3: Glow Apply Urban Decay cream blush in Quickie on high points of cheekbones. Layer a sheer coat of MAC Strobe Cream on top to highlight. Add MAC Glimmershimmer above blush for added dimension and an ethereal glow.

Tip: A defined brow adds strength to a nude eye.

Step 4: Polish Fill in brows with MAC eyebrow pencil in Lingering.

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LOOK #2: Look festive at any holiday party with red lips and gold accents. Step 1: Shine Prep lids using Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed. Then press on MAC pigment in Old Gold. Line eyes with Diorliner Precision Eyeliner in Black. Finish with two coats of Make Up For Ever Black Smoky Lash mascara. Brighten the waterline inside the lower lashes with MAC eye kohl pencil in Fascinating.

Step 2: Perfect pout Line lips with MAC lip pencil in Whirl. Fill in entire lip with liner, and then apply MAC lipstick in Russian Red. This color is perfect for light or dark skin tones, and it has a classic matte finish.

Step 3: Glow

Tip: Filling in the entire

Apply a shimmering bronzer on the cheekbones and temples. Use Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights bronzer (medium). Apply Urban Decay cream blush in Quickie on the apples of the cheeks.

lip with liner allows the lip color to last longer.

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LOOK #3: Count down to midnight on New Year’s Eve with cat eyes and glossy lips. Step 1: Prep Gently pat Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm around the contour of the eyes. Then, prime lids with Urban Decay Primer Potion eyeshadow base.

Step 2: Define Apply NARS cream eyeshadow duo in Madagascar. Use the lighter, shimmery shade from the lash line to the crease, and the darker, matte shade just along the outside of the eyes to subtly define the crease.

Step 3: Enhance Curl lashes with Shu Uemura eyelash curler. Apply one coat of Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash mascara on the top lashes, and two coats on the bottom lashes. Then, using DUO eyelash adhesive, apply MAC Lashes in #43.

Step 4: Reshape Draw a line from the inside corner of the eye to just beyond the outside corner of the eye, and flick the line upward toward the tip of the eyebrow. Use Diorliner Precision Eyeliner in Black. Define brows using MAC eyebrow pencil in Lingering.

Step 5: Complement Outline your lips with MAC lip pencil in Whirl. Finish with MAC Florabundance lipglass, and a touch of MAC Love Nectar lustreglass in the center of your lips for a nude pout. ◊

Tip: Adding a pearly gloss to the middle of the lips create a multidimensional lip look.

Madewell faux-fur infinity scarf, vintage gold chandelier earrings and diamond teardrop earrings Brittany Abeijon’s own. volume 3

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Don’t miss out! Check out our social media vehicles between issues for sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes photos and inside information.

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• FOOD/DRINK •

WRECK

the

HALLS

Six holiday drinks to help you stay warm this winter By Brittany Abeijon and Tom Salek • Photography by Lynn W. Conway

T

he holidays bring people together, whether it’s to celebrate another meal, another year, or just another excuse to enjoy each other’s company. As celebrations begin to fill calendars, friends and family begin to fill homes. If you find yourself chatting around the fireplace, or coming inside rosy-cheeked from a hike outdoors, these six drink suggestions will help you stay warm and stay close during the snowy winter months. Try a twist on a traditional recipe or a new concoction to raise your glass and your spirits.

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FOOD/DRINK

Some like it hot Glögg

This mulled wine hails from the Nordic regions and is best combined with spices, brandy or vodka and served heated in a mug. The drink will warm you up during a particularly chilly night, or serve as a conversation aid as you chat with friends while watching snowflakes fall outside. • 1 750ml bottle of red wine • 1 750ml bottle of inexpensive brandy or vodka (or more if you want a stronger drink) • ½ tsp ground cardamom (or 10 whole pods) • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • ½ tsp ground cloves • ½ orange peel (dried or fresh) • 1 cup grandulated sugar • Cinnamon sticks for garnish (1 per glass) • Optional additions: ½ cup raisins, ½ cup almonds, 5 dried figs

XO Cup of Joe

Fire up that coffee pot, crack open that bottle of tequila and grab a glass. With a sprinkled 1 Heat the wine, brandy or vodka, spices and other dust of cocoa powder atop a cloud of whipped optional additions in a large cooking pot on low heat for cream, you can hardly taste the tequila in this 45 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture. hot winter beverage.

2

Then, strain through a cloth or mesh strainer to remove all additions.

3

Serve Glögg hot with a cinnamon stick for garnish.

Time saving tip: Find this pre-made in liquor stores around the holidays!

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• 1½ ounce Patrón XO Café (coffee liqueur made with tequila) • Strong brewed coffee • Whipped cream • Cocoa powder

1

Add the Patrón XO Café to a coffee mug, and then fill within one inch from the top with brewed coffee.

2

Top with freshly whipped cream and garnish with cocoa powder.


FOOD/DRINK

Some like it cold Gingerbread Martini The holidays are the one time when you can have your gingerbread men shaken and stirred. This festive recipe is an escape from the multitude of overly peppermint martinis that rule the winter, and is so deliciously sweet you may find yourself eating the gingerbread crumbs right off the glass rim. • • • •

1 ounce quality vodka 1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur ½ ounce Kahlua liqueur 1 ounce gingerbread syrup (found in the coffee aisle) • ½ scoop vanilla ice cream (very soft, about half melted) • Whipped cream • Pepperidge Farm gingerbread cookie

1

Mix first five ingredients in shaker with ice and shake well.

2

Pour a little Bailey’s into a saucer, dip the rim of a chilled martini glass into the liqueur and then dip into crushed gingerbread cookie crumbs so they line the rim.

3

Pour martini into glass, and top with whipped cream and a Pepperidge Farm gingerbread cookie.

HE’BREW’s Messiah Nut Brown Ale This hearty craft beer is perfect for a Hanukkah celebration or to sip from a stein on a slow winter afternoon. It rivals other winter ales with its dark brown color, but is not overly thick in consistency. If you’re lucky enough to come across a HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack, which features eight different beers, a custom glass and Hanukkah candles, pick one up and start building your own beer menorah. volume 3

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FOOD/DRINK

North Pole Strawberry Daiquiri By far the most beautiful of the bunch, this red, white and green-speckled drink is cold at first, but will warm you up after a glass or two. We like to think of this one as the drink Santa gets silly with come Dec. 26.

4

Carefully pour yogurt mixture and strawberry mixture into glasses at the same time, creating a vertical half-and-half design. Serve with large drinking straws if desired.

• 1 10-ounce package frozen strawberries in syrup, partially thawed and not drained • ¼ cup water • 2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt • 2 Tbsp vanilla reduced-fat yogurt • Light rum • ½ strawberry-flavored or peppermint candy cane, finely crushed • Green decorating gel

1

Place strawberries and water in blender. Cover and blend on medium-high until slushy. Transfer to 2-cup measure.

2

Mix the frozen yogurt and reduced-fat yogurt together until smooth.

3

Place crushed candy cane on a small plate. Pipe decorating gel around the rims of two 12-ounce glasses. Dip rims into crushed candy.

Some like it just right Spiked Eggnog Take this traditional holiday drink to the next level with a bit of bourbon mixed with rum or brandy, and let the smooth, milky flavor with a hint of nutmeg quench your thirst for tradition. • • • • • • • •

4 eggs (separate yolks and whites) ½ cup sugar 2 cups milk ¼ tsp ground cloves Pinch of cinnamon 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla extract

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• 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)

1

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with a whisk until they become lighter in color. Slowly whisk in the sugar until fluffy.

2

Heat the milk, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan on medium heat until the mixture is steaming, but not boiling.

3

Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs while you whisk constantly. Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan.


FOOD/DRINK

4

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it begins to thicken slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Be careful not to let the mixture boil.

Time saving tip: Find this pre-made in liquor stores and supermarkets around the holidays!

5

Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Then let cool for one hour.

6

Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a tsp of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog.

7

Mix in vanilla extract, nutmeg, bourbon and rum or brandy (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Served chilled or at room temperature. â—Š

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• HEALTH/FITNESS •

Get off the couch, throw on your sweats and start exergaming Incorporating video games into your workout has never been easier

By Kimberly Fleming Photography by Kerry D. Gray

W

 aiting 30 minutes for the next cardio machine, fighting for the only available step in aerobics class or tiptoeing around the slimy floors in the locker room might be considered things of the past. There are increasingly more ways to stay physically active and get in shape without ever setting foot in a gym. One of the newest trends in fitness combines exercise with what was once considered a sedentary activity for couch potatoes. The phenomenon, called exergaming, replaces the joystick that once left so many gamers sitting for hours at a time, with the human body. Players are forced to increase their heart rate with movement in order to beat the computer or their opponent. One of the more popular games in exergaming is Wii Fit, developed by Nintendo. It is used in homes as well as health facili56

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ties and even offices around the world. Using a weight sensitive balance board to track movement, users can try out various sports, yoga, strength training and cardio exercises. Aside from being a fun way to spend a few hours, the Wii Fit is a great aid for those with weight loss and fitness goals because it tracks weight and body fat. It can also create a workout schedule for players and keep records of any days missed during the program. There are also less technical exergaming options on the market including Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance, that will have you burning calories in front of the television set without even realizing it. These games use motion capture technology to detect a person’s movement and allot points based on the accuracy and intensity of each dance move.


HEALTH/FITNESS

How much is too much? While any movement is better than no movement at all, it is important to avoid replacing traditional exercise (outdoor or indoor) with exergaming. Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle is about so much more than movement in order to burn calories. It is about making positive choices, maintaining will power and having discipline. When you train yourself to complete that 30 minute run even when you really aren’t feeling it, you develop skills that can be adapted in every area of your life. Skipping the run and replacing it with exergames is better than not exercising, but it is unconsciously teaching your brain to back out and go the easy route. Those are skills you don’t want when aiming toward reaching a fitness or weight loss goal.

Five games* to jump start your exergaming routine

1

Wii Fit Plus

2

Dance Dance Revolution

In order to uses exergames more efficiently, it is best that you strategically plan them into your exercise regimen. A good rule of thumb is to plan a day of fun exergaming on days in between working muscles in the same group. For example, if you did strength training on Monday and Tuesday, lighten up your workout on Wednesday with a good dancing video game to give your body its much needed recovery time. Another great idea is to play an exergame during the cool down periods after you exercise. Talk about maximizing your workouts!

3 4 5

Just Dance 3

No matter how you decide to incorporate video games into your workout, just remember to put your best foot forward. It’s OK to spice up your workout by adding a little fun to it, which might be exactly what you need to reach your goal. ◊

*All games priced for Nintendo Wii, but may be available for other game systems.

(with balance board) Amazon, $100

(with dance mat controller) Amazon, $30

Amazon, $26

Zumba Fitness 2 Amazon, $39

The Biggest Loser Challenge Amazon, $23

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Heat up

your workout this winter with

hot yoga Get flexible in extreme temperatures for an escape from cold weather, boring workout routines By Jennifer Lavin

J

ust because we say hello to the frigid weather that comes with winter, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to the heat in your workout routine. Hot yoga, an increasingly popular fitness trend that involves practicing yoga in a heated room of about 100 degrees, can help intensify a normally relaxing workout and bump up the number of calories burned during a session. Although there are several variations of hot yoga, some with cooler temperatures and less advanced poses, each will leave you feeling energized, ready for more and really, really sweaty. Matthew Ruggerio has been practicing yoga for nearly 20 years, and is a Bikram-certified instructor and owner of Hot Yoga of Delray in Delray Beach, Fla. On average, Ruggerio practices hot yoga 5-6 times per week, but sometimes as often as twice a day. “My mom, aunt, cousin and brother were all certified yoga teachers, but it was really my mom and aunt who got me into it,” Ruggerio said. “I personally started for weight loss, health and fitness reasons, and was able to lose 100 pounds because of it!”

Surprisingly, not all hot yoga is the same During traditional hot yoga classes, which typically last 75 minutes, instructors provide a mix of verbal instruction, motivating music and silence to allow your mind to calm as you progress through the class. If you’re considering incorporating this steamy suggestion into your workout routine, 58

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check out our list of several hot yoga variations that range from beginner to advanced to see what may work best for you. Hot flow yoga, a gentler form of hot yoga, takes place in a room with a cooler temperature of 85 degrees. The class also focuses more on flexibility and core strength. TriBalance yoga is another form of hot yoga, but is done in a room heated to 110 degrees. TriBalance focuses more on uniting the mind, body and spirit together, and often occurs in dimly lit rooms that encourage meditation and relaxation. The poses are centered around strengthening the core and upper body, and stretching the hips and back.

The five things you should bring to any hot yoga class 1. Bring a yoga mat, or check to see if they are available for rent where your class is offered. 2. Bring a yoga towel or beach towel to lay over your yoga mat, and a hand towel to wipe your face when things get sweaty. 3. It’s important to stay hydrated, so bring water to drink during and after the class. 4. Wear lightweight clothes. 5. Keep an open mind.


HEALTH/FITNESS Hot yoga, done in a room around 100 degrees, tends to follow the basis of the 26 poses of Bikram yoga, but allows for more modification within the positions. It is more meditative and the positions are held for longer durations, which provide a slower-paced class. Hot power yoga and hot strength yoga classes focus more on playing with upper body, lower body and core strength. Playing in this case refers to testing the limits of your body with more challenging positions like headstands, handstands and other ways to contort your body. Although the poses are not held as long as a traditional hot yoga class, they are more advanced and the pace of the class keeps you moving at a good rate. The room may not be quite as hot as a hot yoga class, but you will sweat just as much. Bikram yoga, the strictest form of hot yoga, is a practice of yoga in a high humidity room with a temperature of 105 degrees for 90 minutes, instead of 75 minutes like other hot yoga classes. The class consists of 26 poses, like the Triangle or Tree pose, performed in the same sequence each time in order to provide a repetitive full-body exercise. “Triangle pose can be difficult,” Ruggerio explained, “but generally the Camel pose is the hardest for most people because it’s at that point in the class when you are so tired and hot that it can really get to you.” The focus is on breathing, and form is a high priority for this class. Bikram yoga teachers provide instruction for each pose with a verbal chattering through-

out the class. A class cannot be considered Bikram yoga unless it is taught by a Bikram-trained instructor and follows the strict rules of the Bikram practice. Bikram is in a league of its own, but blends every other hot yoga practice. With hot yoga, there’s a variation for everyone If you think you are too old, young, tight or flexible for hot yoga, think again. Hot yoga is for all ages, fitness and flexibility levels because you are the only one who pushes yourself during the class. It’s about listening to your body and being honest with how far you can push yourself. It’s a great way to de-stress and get a whole-body workout at the same time.

Triangle pose

Bow pose

While there are some people who may not be able to participate in the strenuous act, Ruggerio jokingly pointed out, “My grandmother refuses to even go in a hot yoga room because she says she’s hot already to begin with.” For those who want to try hot yoga, he suggests finding instructors with multiple certifications from different locations with more than 500 hours of yoga certified education, and then looking into what kind of classes they offer and how clean the facility is in order to have the most beneficial experience. But even seasoned instructors like Ruggerio admit the workout can be tough. “Although I like 99.9 percent of the class, my favorite is the meditation at the end,” he said. “However, the 0.1 percent I don’t enjoy is when I have to sit down if I overexert myself.” ◊ volume 3

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? Do you want to work with us? email:

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• ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC •

Don’t just crank up the heat, crank up the volume These five holiday playlists will have you tapping your feet into the new year By Mandy Cornish The colorful lights. The snow. The cheerful spirit. Nothing could ruin this special time—except maybe Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You on repeat for two months straight. To combat this epidemic, we’ve created five unique holiday playlists that are sure to have you singing Jingle Bells long after you put away your holiday decorations.

A very groovy holiday

We shared each playlist on our YouTube channel for your holiday music listening convenience.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Mulato This Christmas – Chris Brown Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC Candlelight – The Maccabeats You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Fast Romantics 6. Miracle (Hanukkah Song) – Matisyahu 7. Ludachristmas – Ludacris 8. Jingle Bells – Robbie Hardkiss 9. Christmas in Harlem – Kanye West 10. Let It Snow – Boyz II Men

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Rock around that Christmas tree

1. Christmas Won’t Be The Same Without You – The Plain White T’s 2. Christmas – Death Cab for Cutie 3. 12.23.95 – Jimmy Eat World 4. Artificial Snow – Atlas Sound 5. How Do You Spell Chanukah – The Leevees 6. I Wish it was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas 7. Joyful Kings – The Jonas Brothers 8. Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance! – Sufjan Stevens 9. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out – Fall Out Boy 10. Carol of the Bells – Metallica and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

1. What a Year for a New Year – Dan Wilson 2. Bring Me Love – Marie Digby 3. The Kwanzaa Song – William Scott 4. Christmas Wrapping – Summer Camp 5. Maybe this Christmas – Ron Sexsmith 6. Maybe Next Year – Meiko 7. **Bizarre Christmas Incident – Ben Folds 8. Christmas Song – Dave Matthews Band 9. Last Christmas – Florence + the Machine 10. Mistletoe – Colbie Caillat

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Soon-to-beclassics


ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC

Holiday covers

1. 2. 3.

1. The Christmas Song – She & Him 2. Baby It’s Cold Outside – The Glee Cast 3. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – Bruce Springsteen 4. Wonderful Christmas Time – Demi Lovato 5. I Saw mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Amy Winehouse 6. Sleigh Ride – KT Tunstall 7. Winter Wonderland – Jason Mraz 8. Rudolph – Jack Johnson 9. Silent Night – Damien Rice 10. Do You Hear What I Hear – Carrie Underwood

Christmastime Is Here (Peanuts) – Vince Guaraldi Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon The Who Song (Welcome Christmas) – How the Grinch Stole Christmas 4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Ella Fitzgerald 5. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt 6. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee 7. Holly Jolly Christmas – Rudolph 8. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney 9. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano 10. Christmas Song – Alvin and the Chipmunks ◊

Our favorite classics

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Facets the

magazine

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Because giving is way more fun than receiving

Wreck the halls

Celebrate simply

Life lessons from working in hospice care

Six holiday drinks to help you stay warm this winter

One year ends, another begins issue â—Š Dec/Jan 2011-2012

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ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC

To 3D, or not to 3D? Technical, medical issues may inhibit seeing flicks in the third dimension By Tom Salek Illustration by Rachel Kosmal

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he lights dimmed. A message appeared on the movie theater screen: Please put on your 3D glasses. Anxious to see a 3D movie for the first time, I already had my glasses on. The onscreen image shifted to a prehistoric landscape. The seats in the auditorium began to rumble. There was a thunderous roar and a Tyrannosaurus rex appeared, thrusting its head toward the movie theater screen. “Woah! It looks like it’s going to eat us!” screamed my older brother, sitting to the right of me. I lifted the 3D glasses off my eyes for a moment, and then placed them back down. Nothing was coming out of the screen at me. It looked like a normal movie. I was six years old, and this was the first time I was unimpressed by a 3D movie. Since then, I’ve seen a handful of films in 3D, Avatar, Toy Story 3 and Tron: Legacy to name a few, and each time I’ve been disappointed. While some images may pop slightly from the screen, more often than not I just see a

flat picture, get a slight headache and think, Why did I pay $15 to see a film that looks the same?

have seen in 3D? Only one— Hugo, and that’s only because of my obsession with Martin Scorsese.

While I’d like to say 3D is a fad, it has only gained momentum Take a look at what movies are playing near your house right now. How many of these pictures are in 3D? The closest theater to where I’m sitting has seven. That’s right, seven 3D movies. How many of these am I planning on actually seeing or

I must admit, I was impressed with Scorsese’s masterful use of the medium in Hugo. For the first time, I actually saw some depth of field in a 3D film. It didn’t necessarily change my mind about the medium, but it helped me understand the appeal. The motion sensation created by a moving camera and 3D volume 3 65


ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC effects made parts of the movie more exciting, yet as the film continued, the more gimmicky 3D effects, where objects are hurled toward the camera, didn’t quite work for me. As a cinephile, I’ve wondered for years why everyone else seems to see 3D movies and I can’t. I don’t wear glasses, nor do I have any major eye issues. So what’s the problem? Can’t see in 3D? Chances are it’s a technical problem There are a number of technological reasons for why stereo-blindness—the inability to see images in 3D—occurs. More often than not, bad projection, auditoriums with too much lighting, poorly placed seating, defective 3D glasses or mistakes in post-production or film printing can cause the 3D effects of film to fail. Bernard Mendiburu, a stereographer and digital cinema consultant, estimates approximately 85-97 percent of movie-going audiences who have trouble properly seeing 3D images encounter these technical issues. Because 3D film is a complex medium, it requires the proper calibration of a number of technical factors. When something is out of sync it can cause the 3D effect to fail or be diminished, and ultimately cause a literal and figurative headache.

conducted on depth perception, and some research indicates up to 30 percent of the world may have some severity of stereoblindness. Poor eyesight or corrective lenses can play a major role in preventing people from seeing in 3D. The most common medical affliction for the inability to see, or reduced ability to see, 3D movies is caused by binocular disorder. People with binocular disorder have problems with the muscles in their eyes preventing them from fully aligning their eyesight together, thus causing a loss of depth perception which can lead to eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and the inability to fully see 3D pictures. In addition to this mild disorder, more severe medical problems can be associated with stereo-blindness. Disorders like strabismus, a condition that causes people to rely on one eye or switch between eyes, amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye, and nerve hypoplasia, the underdevelopment of nerves from eye to brain, can all prevent the ability to see in 3D. You can test your depth perception online through various visual tests, but only a doctor can formally diagnose and treat any of these medical conditions. But remember, just because someone may have difficultly seeing a 3D film doesn’t necessarily mean they have any of these medical conditions.

If you can’t see 3D, it may be time to consult the doctor The future holds interesting Besides these technical glitches, possibilities for 3D there are a number of medical With so many problems conditions that can also cause associated with 3D projection the inability to experience 3D and perception, the question films. In recent years a number of scientific studies have been remains: why is it such a popular 66 DEC/JAN 2011-2012 | thefacetsmag.com

medium? Scorsese’s Hugo made me understand that thrill that can be associated with 3D pictures, but it also reinforced my indifference to the technology. Despite paying almost twice the admission price for the best projection, only part of the film appeared in full 3D. I’m still not sure if it’s a medical problem or just a technical problem—maybe it’s time for me to schedule a visit to the eye doctor. For me, with all these factors that can inhibit a good 3D viewing experience, I can’t quite justify the high price to pay to see every film in this medium. Yet, the future holds potential. Nintendo has already built the the glasses-free 3D gaming system, the Nintendo 3DS. Similarly, other electronic manufacturers have developed technology like 3D televisions that do not require the use of glasses to see 3D images. If these are any indication of the future, then perhaps 3D technology will become a natural (and easily viewable) experience. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of 3D movies and want the best experience, you really have two options. Invest in a good 3D television, or find a movie theater that has superior image quality and a dark auditorium. There are already a handful of older movies you may (or may not) want to check out that are making their way back to theaters in 3D next year, including Star Wars: Episode I in February and Titanic in April. As for me, unless Martin Scorsese or another one of my favorite filmmakers makes a picture in 3D, chances are I won’t be putting on those goofy looking glasses anytime soon. ◊


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• LIFE •

Celebrate simply

How working in hospice taught me what’s most important during the holidays By Lindsay McCown Illustration by Rachel Kosmal

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few years ago, while my family and friends ate ham and opened presents, I slept blissfully into the evening hours of Christmas Day. I missed most of the formal holiday. Looking back, I can say it was my favorite Christmas to date. For me, Christmas started around 11 the night before. I started the night shift at the inpatient Oncology floor of a large hospital. Two nurses and I marked the occasion by wearing festive Christmas-themed scrub tops. We were excited to ring in the holiday with several of our favorite patients in the cozy, garland-draped comfort of our isolated corner of the hospital. The day shift nurses had handsomely dressed the nurse’s station with elegant trimmings fit for royalty—if royalty lived in a spotless, well-disinfected castle. It was Christmas Eve and there was no other place I wanted to be. I’d taken a surprise interest in the study of death, dying and grief in college, but no class could have prepared me for my work in the actual arena. I could recite the physical signs of impending death, but I wasn’t prepared for the way a hand felt when it went limp for the last time. I didn’t know how deeply it would break my heart to see patients die with no family around. And I still can’t count how many patients I sang to sleep as they were transitioning out of this world. I knew plenty about the emotional effects of grief, but I didn’t know a grieving widow collapsing in my arms at her husband’s funeral would shake me for weeks. I’d never felt the hairs on my neck stand when a person died as I stood by their bed. I didn’t know you could feel the air in the room change when it happened. But I was learning, and many beloved mentors—often disguised as patients— were happy to gently help me along my way. 68

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A surprising lesson I learned involved a fast education on the art of celebration—rather, the art of celebration when everything around you is falling apart. After countless birthdays and holidays spent with people who knew it would be their last, it’s safe to say everything I thought I knew about celebrating was turned upside down.

Bringing Christmas spirit to the hospital While many of the patients had been cleared to go home for a few days for Christmas, we had several people who had to stay in the hospital. They had many different reasons. Some had been severely ill due to radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and couldn’t risk exposure to illness. Many people had to stay because they were in the midst of treatments, requiring isolation and observation. And some people were simply too close to death.


LIFE The staff and I knew most of our patients well, having walked alongside them from diagnosis to treatment, from remission to re-occurrence, and sadly, when they were told all treatment options had been exhausted. After losing a lot of patients—many my friends—during my time in the end-of-life field, and knowing how Christmas was an especially important event for many of them, I felt privileged to be spending this day with them.

big window that looked out over our city. I went from room to room, gave each patient a warm blanket, and sat with each one for a long time. While watching the snow fall outside their window, we talked about favorite holiday memories for as long as they wanted. The chaplains had given each patient a small electric candle, and before I left, I illuminated the candle and drew a small reindeer on their nursing assignment dry-erase board. The next morning, we brought them coffee and spent the tranquil early morning reflecting. The spirit was joyful. For most of them, it was the calm before the holiday storm. For me, it was time to go home.

Part of me wanted to rent an elf outfit and do an artfully choreographed dance routine with the respiratory technicians to Michael Jackson’s Thriller while the patients It was the simplest way I’d ever stood by in awe and delight. spent Christmas, but it was also “Nothing made Fortunately, the logical the most peaceful, warm and them feel more awkward side of my brain won. I unforgettable. The patients remembered the single than people creating over- felt cozy, safe and appreciated rule I learned when it in a tumultuous time in their the-top celebrations simply comes to celebrations: lives. Because most were for Pete’s sake, Lindsay, because the guest of honor apprehensive about the chaos put down the Michael they knew would ensue when had a terminal illness. This visiting hours started, we Jackson CD and celebrate, simply. only brought their prognosis consciously chose peace. We chose plentiful conversation, into the spotlight. “ And so we did. In the memories and the tiny, quiet safety and warmth of our joys of holiday-spiced coffee little unit, we commemorated creamer and warm blankets. the first part of Christmas with tiny, cheerful touches. At the same time, we avoided the single I’ve continued my work in end-of-life care, thing that, year after year, annoyed my patients the transitioning into hospice, a field focused on most about the general public: when it came to the improving the last six months of life for people holidays, people always make such a big deal out diagnosed with a terminal illness. In my time in the of it. Nothing made them feel more awkward than end-of-life field over the last several years, I’ve had people creating over-the-top celebrations simply the honor of experiencing many more “last” events because the guest of honor had a terminal illness. with patients and their families, including countless This only brought their prognosis into the spotlight. birthdays, holidays, family events, and finally, with great privilege, many last breaths. For people who weren’t expected to see the next Christmas, it wasn’t uncommon for the holidays Stay stress-free for the holidays to bring events where they had to sit through six Can you imagine the pressure of planning an tearful speeches about how much they would be event you know will likely be your loved one’s last? missed after they died, a surprise 16-member a Surely we can understand why people want to capella church choir, or perhaps a horse-drawn make sure the event is one to remember. Planning carriage ride. These were all lovely things, but such an event adds tremendous weight and stress were also terribly awkward, yet good-intentioned, on top of what is already fragile soil. I’ve seen the motivations. process break down many loving caregivers, family members and friends, most often around the My first Christmas Eve at the oncology floor, we holiday season. brought out holiday-themed coffee creamer and the patients undergoing chemotherapy walked the halls with Santa Claus hats on their bald heads. It even started to snow, which we watched from the

Often, people want to pretend nothing has changed, to pretend their loved one is perfectly fine, even if only for one special day. The problem volume 3

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is, things have changed. The body and the things it can tolerate are changing every day, and coping mechanisms and emotions are all shifting. By taking your loved one’s new comfort level into consideration, making gentle adjustments and trying to let go of expectations, the day can go even better than planned.

Christmas, Annie is determined to make this the best the family has ever had.

She wants it to be perfect, and surely we can all understand her wishes. Annie goes on a mission to include every single thing Jack loves about Christmas—every morsel of food, every song, every ornament, every tradition. The expectations placed on this perfect day have soared, and Annie is Jack and his wife, Annie: Part I under a great deal of stress as she tries to fulfill this Imagine, if you will, a common scenario in hospice. task. This will be her last gift to Jack. She’s already Jack and Annie represent a handful facing a great deal of anxiety over By of families I will blend into one coping with the course of Jack’s example. Jack is a 49-year-old illness and her own grief, but taking your loved man who was diagnosed with finds some relief in the one’s new comfort level she an aggressive form of cancer. planning process. This is the After a long and exhausting only way Annie feels a sense into consideration, making period of radiation, of control when her world chemotherapy and even a gentle adjustments and trying is falling down around her. brief and hopeful remission, She plans an elaborate to let go of expectations, his cancer has returned and dinner. Decorates the house spread. All treatment options the day can go even better extensively. Even arranges have been tried, and Jack’s for the youth choir from than planned. doctor tells him there is nothing their church to stop by to sing more they can do. If the cancer carols. She feels like the day will be continues to progress at its current perfect. rate, Jack will die in less than six months. Jack is overwhelmed and tired. He just wants to go home. He has spent the last several months of his life in and out of hospitals, undergoing countless painful and draining procedures. He is emotionally exhausted and his family is falling apart under the weight of this experience. Jack decides to go home under hospice care. He is able to sleep comfortably in his favorite recliner at home. His pain is controlled without making him too drowsy to enjoy his last months. He is emotionally and spiritually supported. His teenage daughters are supported by hospice staff to ensure their grieving process is well-monitored. Jack’s dying process will progress naturally. He will be comfortable. His wife, Annie, is crumbling. She’s trying to be strong for Jack and their daughters, but she is devastated. The past year of treatment, hope and disappointment have taken an incredible toll and she’s not ready to lose the love of her life or parent alone. Annie’s sense of control has been taken away from her in an incredibly cruel way. The holidays are approaching, and because Jack has always loved 70 DEC/JAN 2011-2012 | thefacetsmag.com

Jack and his wife, Annie: Part II Christmas Day comes and goes. It’s a disaster. On Christmas Day, Jack is less than a month away from death. He’s still alert, but his body is showing the signs of decline in different ways. Jack’s disease is progressing and his body is very tired. He has trouble staying awake for long periods of time, which makes the snugly packed Christmas Day schedule Annie prepared very difficult to follow. Due to the disease and medications, Jack’s senses are hypersensitive and he has frequent nausea. The once enjoyable and mild fragrances of the pinescented garland and cinnamon candles placed all over the house are now overpowering and making him ill. Jack is eating a lot less now because his body requires less, and he can’t tolerate many foods he once enjoyed. He tries to eat a bit, but only gets sick. He can’t eat any of the elaborate Christmas dinner Annie prepared. A group of carolers from their church stops by, but Jack surprisingly becomes overwhelmed by the large group. They go home without performing. Annie and their


LIFE

daughters are upset. As Christmas night falls, Jack is sleeping again and his wife and daughters are cleaning up what was supposed to be the perfect Christmas. Annie feels like she ruined everything. She is devastated. How can you comfort this family? They need this holiday to mean something. Positive memories of this day will be good for Jack and will help his family with their grieving process. For situations like this, this family needs a re-do. Luckily, that’s easy to help them do. It just takes a shift to simplicity.

worked less, and that they didn’t let little things and people get under their skin so much. I’ve been at the bedside for more deaths than I’ll ever be able to count, and all of those once-important things slip away. At the bedside, I always do the same thing: I take their hand, look into their eyes if they are open and tell them how loved they are. I tell them they are not going through this transition alone. After some time, I started wondering why I didn’t tell the important people in my life that exact sentiment. Now, in my personal relationships, I say “I love you” so much I sound like I’m trying to bribe my family.

Jack and his wife, Annie: Part III

The holidays should always be about stress-free simplicity

On an afternoon a few days after Christmas, Jack, Annie and their girls will try out a different kind of Christmas. Jack’s favorite Christmas carols will play quietly in the background. Everyone will get cozy new pajamas as gifts, which they’ll all wear as they curl up around Jack, who sits in his favorite recliner.

Around this time each year, I’m reminded of a patient who was my mother’s age who affected me extraordinarily. She passed away and holds an incredibly important place in my heart. After she enjoyed a break at Christmas one year, we spoke again and I asked her about her holiday.

This time, there is no scented garland hanging and no cinnamon candles lit. Annie makes Jack’s favorite dessert, an apple pie. She cuts a slice and holds it up to Jack’s lips. He breathes in the scent of his favorite pie and touches his lips to the pie, coating them with hints of apple, crust and sugary topping. He licks his lips and smiles, and that is all he needs to enjoy the pie.

“Oh,” she said excitedly. “Let me tell you all about it.”

The family watches Christmas movies all day, pausing the films to talk about their own favorite Christmas memories involving Jack. Jack sleeps off and on throughout the day, but the family just snuggles up to him even closer while he rests. As the day ends, the family feels content. This day of quality time and conversation was exactly the kind of Christmas they needed. After Jack dies, the memories of this day will give them strength. The holidays might be full of cliches, but they’re true. When I think about my time in the end-of-life field, there is only one annoying thing about the whole experience, and it’s this: those horribly cliche phrases about life and love that you see all over coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets? They are all pretty much true. Priorities change as life nears its close, and people usually wish one or two things: that they had

Given her heartbreaking medical history, struggles and the level of devotion of her husband, I expected nothing short of an enormous fireworks show set to a private string quartet performance of Debussy’s Clair de Lune. “We just hung out!” she said. “And that’s all we did the whole time! We ate, talked and slept. It felt so normal. I don’t think I had cancer once that week.” I found that remarkable. When a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the disease often becomes their identity. People see the illness instead of the patient. When a person can have bouts of normalcy, it can be transformative. As this season approaches and the holidays feel daunting, remember to keep simplicity in the celebration. Incorporate tastes of normalcy. Don’t be afraid of your loved one’s changes and comfort levels, and adjust favorite traditions accordingly. Above all, savor quality time. And if I ever get the opportunity to plaster my own inspirational message on the side of a coffee cup, it will probably say this: “Please, no fireworks.” ◊ volume 3

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Planning your own holiday Holidays in the hospital: Celebrating holidays in the hospital requires extra consideration. Always abide by visiting hours. Get large group visits approved, and avoid being noisy out of respect to other patients and families. Avoid bringing in food or strongly scented items without asking staff. It’s good to keep visits reasonably short. A great gift for a hospital patient is something that will bring them comfort in their unfamiliar setting: a soft scarf or hat, a music CD, booties or slippers, and cozy blankets. Holidays in a nursing home: Nursing home visits require similar consideration as hospitals, but will often have more flexible visiting hours. Many family members can enjoy a meal with their loved one in the facility’s dining area. Some of the other residents of nursing homes don’t have family that visits them. If you are familiar with your loved one’s roommate or other people on the unit, why not bring them a soft scarf or blanket as well? Unresponsive people: Hand-holding and soft music will go a long way in bringing comfort and safety to a person who is unresponsive. I’ve spent a great deal of time talking or singing to unresponsive patients. I’ve discussed airline baggage fees and I’ve sang my favorite ‘80s songs. Can they hear me? I’m not sure. It is said hearing is the last sense to go, and I believe it. Holidays and grief: If you’ve lost someone and the holiday season seems daunting, be gentle with yourself. Perhaps celebrate your holiday differently. Try a vacation over the holidays, or spend them with a different group of people. Try some new traditions. If it’s simply too hard, give yourself permission to take the holiday off. Spend the day doing something your loved one enjoyed.

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YOUR AD HERE If you are interested in advertising your brand, product or company to Facets readers, email advertise@thefacetsmag.com for rates and availability.

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By Colleen Day Illustrations by Rachel Kosmal Give back to your community during the holidays— and throughout the rest of the year

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lthough opportunities to give back exist year-round, the holidays have always been a time filled with ways to help those who are less fortunate. Whether it’s putting a few pennies into the red Salvation Army kettle outside the grocery store, or spearheading a used clothing drive at your office, the spirit of giving that surrounds you during the holidays is infectious. Now is the perfect time to shift your focus from making a list of gifts you’d like, to making a list of ways to give back. Whether you donate money or donate time, making a choice on where to lend help can be overwhelming with the abundance of different causes and organizations that host donations and drives during this time of year. Let us offer a few tips to get you started.

Help the hungry by contributing to a food drive If hunger-relief is your passion, give back by donating to a local food drive. If you feel inspired enough to champion your own, begin by contacting your local food bank before collecting any 74

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food items. By checking with them you’ll learn more about food safety, what types of items to accept or refuse and what timing makes the most sense for your drive. Local food banks have regularlyscheduled food drives throughout the year, and your efforts will have the maximum effect if held in conjunction with theirs. According to Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity, a hastily-organized food drive can actually put more strain on your local food bank than you may think. Not every product is suitable


LIFE Spread warmth by donating to a clothing drive As the weather turns from frigid to frosty, do your part to ensure no one goes without a winter coat by donating items to a clothing drive. If you feel extra ambitious about this cause, consider running your own clothing drive among friends, neighbors or co-workers.

for donation, and your local food bank will need to sort and inspect all donated items to ensure they are completely safe to consume. To give on the go, look for food donation bins at nearby grocery stores and other places that hold food drives in partnership with food banks and other charities around the holidays. You can usually find donation bins near entrances and exits that serve as a reminder to pick up a few extra items for those in need. The simplest way to help the hungry in your community is by making a financial donation to your local food bank, and encouraging your friends to do the same.

Did you know?

First, contact a charity like The Salvation Army or Goodwill to find out if they have any specific needs and arrange a date when you can drop off everything you collect. Be sure to tell them you are setting up a clothing drive so they expect a big donation. If you are unable to deliver your donations, you can also arrange for either organization to pick up your items. Next, look for the best place for your collection boxes, ideally a high-traffic area like a grocery store, school, or in the lobby of an office or multi-resident apartment building. Publicize your clothing drive with posters, emails and social media outlets to reach the biggest network of people. Don’t forget to advertise a donation value guide with a breakdown of accepted items for tax purposes. If you don’t feel comfortable running your own drive, stop by your local Salvation Army or Goodwill and drop off any clothes you have at home that you don’t wear anymore. Even a small personal contribution can help.

By donating just $1, you can supply eight meals for hungry men, women and children in the U.S. Source: Feeding America

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LIFE Other options for giving back If you don’t have the time to run your own drive but still want to participate, contact local charities to target their needs and assess how you can help. There are always food or clothing drives to donate to during the holidays, and often there are options to buy small presents on a child’s wish list or to put under a ‘Giving Tree.’ If you can’t find an organization right away, don’t be discouraged. Research local events through websites like Corporation for National & Community Service and 1-800-Volunteer.org, which have simple location search engines that can help you find organizations in your area that fit your interests. For those who wish to donate money in lieu of time, check out a few websites meant solely for online charitable giving like JustGive.org or CharityNavigator.org. These sites help you narrow down a specific cause or organization you care about most, then let you pick a dollar amount to donate (both have a $10 minimum), allowing you to safely and easily give back via the Web. Before you get caught up in all the holiday hustle, take time to help out those most in need. While the weather may be chilly, starting an annual tradition of giving back is the perfect gift to warm the heart during the holidays and throughout the year. ◊

Five tips for giving back

1

Start early. It’s never too early to begin looking for ways to volunteer. Organizations can use your help before and after the holiday season, a time when others are often less inclined to get or stay involved. Contact local charities early to see how you can help, or begin to organize your own drive in advance.

2

Make it fun. Partner with family, friends or co-workers to lend a hand in your community. Doing something special for someone else can be even more effective, and sometimes more rewarding, when done as a group or team.

3 4

Make it important. You are more likely to feel fulfilled and excited about helping a charity you feel particularly passionate about. Figure out what means the most to you and start there. Expand your search. Consider reaching out to places that may not receive an influx of volunteer help during the holidays. Places like day care centers, community theaters or choirs, retirement homes, prisons, neighborhood parks, youth organizations, after-school programs and shelters for battered women and children.

5

There are 365 days to give. Even though the holidays are a great time to get out there and help others, so is the rest of the year. When the spring and summer months roll around, don’t forget that non-profit charities still need volunteers. These times of the year are actually when help is needed most.

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• WORLD/TRAVEL •

Should auld

By Jessica Deming

acquaintance be forgot

Photo courtesy of Greater London Authority volume 3

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WORLD/TRAVEL The old Scottish tune Auld Lang Syne floats through the air while people sip champagne. As it nears midnight, the crowd excitedly counts backward from 10 in unison. A midnight kiss is followed by an explosion of fireworks and an eruption of happiness. In the minutes after midnight, lingering troubles are quieted by promises of prosperity for the new year ahead. While these elements complete the traditionally American way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, people in other countries ring in the new year in different ways, but find equal joy in their own traditions. The largest celebration in the U.S. can be found in New York City, where a nearly six ton, 12-foot diameter ball drops in Times Square while a million spectators watch in person and an estimated billion watch on television. The next morning, friends and family may gather for a special meal and tune in to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, an annual showdown between the top Pac-12 and Big Ten college football teams. continued on next page g

Feeling resolute? There’s an app for that. Every year, people make resolutions to do better and be better. The following apps can help you be successful in reaching some of the most common goals.

GET FIT: Couch to 5K, or C25K, offers an easy-to-follow training schedule to take you from bored couch potato to 5K-runner-extraordinaire. Get a free version of the plan, and keep track or your progress with the app for iPhone or Android, both $3. In addition to exercise, keep an eye on your daily calorie intake with MyFitnessPal. The site or free app will help you track both your food and exercise to help you shed pounds.

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SAVE MONEY: Mint.com offers a free app for Android, iPhone and iPad that will help you track your spending and set budgetary goals and alerts. But in the case you feel yourself swaying toward spending, the free app from Dealnews for iPhone or Android will help you find the best prices and promotions from thousands of retailers.

STAY IN TOUCH WITH LOVED ONES: This one is easy with all of the social networking apps out there. With Facebook, Twitter, several blog and messaging apps, the sky’s the limit. Just remember, your app device is also a phone, so call friends and family often.


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It’s also customary for people to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for self-improvement.

New Year’s traditions around the globe On New Year’s Eve In London, hundreds of thousands of people congregate around the London Eye, a 443-foot tall Ferris wheel on the bank of the River Thames, to watch fireworks at midnight. The next day, 500,000 spectators gather in the streets of London just before noon to watch the New Year’s Day Parade. Parade participants hail from more than 20 countries around the world to march as part of the London Parade Festival, which holds concerts and other performances from Christmas through New Year’s Day. In Russia, the residents drink champagne and watch fireworks as the president counts down to midnight in Moscow. It is customary to make 12 wishes as the Spassky Clock Tower at the Kremlin chimes 12 times. On New Year’s Day, people gather with family and friends and listen to the president give the new year speech. Another common tradition, typically celebrated by unmarried women, is fortune telling in hopes to find out what will happen over the next year. Many families have a New Year’s tree in their homes called Novogodnaya Yolka, which is typically decorated with sweets. Similarly, in Vietnam when celebrating Tet, the Vietnamese New Year which coincides with the Chinese New Year, people decorate a hoa mai tree to ring in the new year.

The Vietnamese decorate a hoa mai tree to celebrate the new year.

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While people around the globe celebrate the new year

&

at different times

in different ways,

the common theme is to spend it with loved ones.

In the Philippines, fireworks are not only celebratory, but are also thought to scare away evil spirits that might cause trouble throughout the year. Family and friends gather for the Media Noche, or midnight meal, and young children jump at the stroke of midnight in hopes of growing taller. At midnight, many families also open all their doors and windows to shepherd in good luck.

The Chinese New Year, which is based on the lunar calendar, is celebrated in many Asian countries. Customs vary by region, but it is common to see decorations, music, food and parades throughout the streets. The Chinese New Year falls between late January and late February. In 2012, festivities will begin Jan. 23 and last for 15 days.

Some New Year’s celebrations measured by calendars

While people around the globe celebrate the new year at different times and in different ways, the common theme is to spend it with loved ones. On Dec. 31, join the world in reflection and appreciation of the gifts in your life. And in those first moments after midnight, refill your glass of champagne and resolve to be a better you over the next 12 months. Cheers to 2012! â—Š

Not everyone celebrates the beginning of the new year on Jan. 1. Jewish tradition calls for a time of prayer during the High Holy Day of Rosh Hashanah, which occurrs in the fall and marks the new year of the Hebrew calendar. Some sects celebrate Rosh Hashanah for one day while the majority celebrates for two.

Did you know? The first month of the year was named for the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and endings. Janus is said to have two faces: one looks backward while the other looks ahead. This is fitting considering many people use Jan. 1 to reflect on the past year and make plans for future improvement.

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ROUNDING THE EDGE OF THE EARTH IN A POORLY-ALIGNED NISSAN SUBCOMPACT

Musings from one American’s adventures in South Africa By Ryan Cary

Cary at Cape of Good Hope.

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here are two ways to think about the end of the earth: either conceptually, meaning traveling to a destination that is on the edge of habitable space; or literally, like staring off the face of a cliff. I was immediately confronted with both scenarios one Sunday this October. It was a sandstorm and I was rounding the Cape of Good Hope, located on the southwestern-most corner of Africa. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias achieved a seafaring milestone when he precariously rounded the same cape for the first time. Dias initially gave another name to the tempestuous, jagged coastline, Cabo Das Tormentas or Cape of Storms, a christening that eerily foreshadowed his death in the same rough seas just 12 years later. Unlike Dias, instead of a weathered caravel, I helmed a poorly-aligned Nissan subcompact. As I

ascended the narrow, winding road into the heights of the cape, I was boxed in on the right by the sheer sandstone cliffs that Dias had surely admired from sea. On my left, my wife Katie stared out the window with a look of pure terror. Beyond the passenger window was no guardrail—just a 2,000foot free-fall into the Cape of Storms. Oh, and about that alignment thing…the car pulled left. Eventually as we neared the summit, the road grew wider and we began to see indications of safety and order—speed bumps, tour buses, gift shops. The shift reflected an interesting paradox I came to appreciate during my week in South Africa’s Western Cape: the nation’s rugged, untamed beauty is increasingly complemented by modern oases. Yet, even the most metropolitan areas are not far removed from the frontier. volume 3

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WORLD/TRAVEL Traveling at the end of the world I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of traveling to the end of the world because things seem more beautiful on the edge of existence. There is also a great opportunity to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, from navigating dangerous territory to briefly immersing yourself in local culture. While I’ve enjoyed that experience in the U.S.—the lonely majesty of Denali National Park and wary solace of the American Southwest—the purest sense of abandon always seems to come on foreign soil. South Africa’s rocky southern coastline is pretty much the end of the livable earth. Shattered hulls of wrecked ships dot the beaches as a reminder. The same sense of being on the edge exists inland, too. The garden outskirts of cities like Cape Town and Hermanus blend into steep mountain passes inhabited by baboons and other wildlife who come into town to scavenge. Location names, borrowing from languages as diverse as Dutch, Portuguese and indigenous dialects, are phonetically unfamiliar to the Western traveler and make directions difficult. For example, one day’s drive along the coast may take you from Gansbaai (pronounced “CHANCE-bye”), through

Knysna (rhymes with “EYES-na”) to Kwa Nobuhle (I have no idea how to pronounce that and didn’t have to learn). On top of that, the typical telecom data rate of $20 per megabyte makes GPS an expensive comfort. The process of getting to the Western Cape alone underscores its remoteness. From the U.S., the only direct flights to South Africa depart from New York and Atlanta. In-flight time totals 16-17 hours. The cheaper ticket for which I opted sent me on a redeye to London with a half-day layover before taking a second 13-hour red-eye to Cape Town. I didn’t fully appreciate this distance until I saw it through others’ eyes once my trip was already underway. As I passed through customs at Heathrow, the agent was curious when I told him I was only spending one day in London. After explaining that I was passing through en route to South Africa, his eyes lit up. “Well, that’s an adventure, isn’t it?” he remarked, almost wistfully. “Take care of yourself down there. It’s a long way from home.” His comment threw into sharp relief that this trip would put me further from the U.S. than I had ever been before.

Small shipwrecks litter South Africa’s rocky coastline; Baboon warning in Hermanus.

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Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.

Development versus the challenges of a developing nation As my flight approached Cape Town on a sunny morning, the arid plateaus of the Northern Cape outside my window gradually yielded to the greener vegetation and well-attended beaches of the Western Cape. It’s easy to see why Cape Town often scores well on lists of the most livable cities in the world, including the respected Mercer Consulting report in 2010. It combines the best of San Francisco and Honolulu with its temperate climate, urban gardens, dramatic city slopes and vibrant waterfront areas. It has also emerged as a proudly multicultural city, showcasing beautifully maintained Dutch and British colonial architecture, alongside the pastel residences of the Muslim-flavored Bo-Kaap neighborhood. Contemporary architecture, including the Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup, and gleaming downtown skyscrapers bearing the names of Western firms like KPMG and Ernst & Young, hint at South Africa’s burgeoning significance on the world stage. Table Mountain, which is currently in contention to be named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, presides over the city skyline

and offers year-round recreation opportunities. Between the airport and Cape Town’s city center, though, are stark reminders of the difficulties of the area’s not-too-distant apartheid past. Despite almost 20 years of economic and social progress, black and colored South Africans (mixed-race South Africans typically of black and European descent) often still find themselves at the fringes of society. N2, the major highway that connects the city to the airport, takes drivers past water-and electricitydeprived shantytowns of tin sheeting and other castaway building materials. The highway doubles as a human corridor, its shoulder providing a footpath for black and colored settlement residents to walk several miles one way to town while cars and trucks scream past at 70 miles per hour. The size and scope of these settlements can be overwhelming. For example, the township of Khayelitsha stretches through the valley off of N2 and Baden Powell Drive, and rivals Cleveland’s East side in both geographical size and population— more than 400,000 residents. The New York Times estimated in 2005 that more than one in four South Africans lived in these shantytowns across the country. volume 3

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Many people from Khayelitsha and other townships find their way into cities to work in menial service industry jobs or sell goods at makeshift marketplaces. Or, they come upon money by other means. Any opportunity to make money is a big deal for most settlement residents. As reported by local news while we were in Cape Town, half of all black South Africans are unemployed, and nearly half of all South Africans average less than 11 rand (commonly written as R11)—or roughly $1.40—each day. I got up close and personal with these economic realities. During my first day in Cape Town, a panhandler approached me with a sad story and a request for loose change. Jet lagged and disoriented with a North Face windbreaker and New Balance shoes denoting me as an American, I may as well have painted a target on my back. When I didn’t comply with his request and kept walking, he followed me aggressively for a few blocks and told me he’d leave me alone if I gave him R50. When I continued to ignore him, the situation escalated into a half-hearted mugging attempt that ended with a brief shoving match and him disappearing into an alley. To put things in perspective, this same scenario could happen to me in Cleveland any day of the week and with a worse outcome. What this incident and the seemingly desperate socioeconomic facts also belie is the overwhelming human warmth and general friendliness my wife and I encountered as visitors to Cape Town and South Africa in general. Customer service at hotels, restaurants and shops was first-rate, and most residents seemed eager to provide helpful information when asked. In fact, two days after my encounter with my would-be mugger, even he approached me on the street with a cheery, “Hey, remember me from the other day?” My response was less friendly. And I still kept my money.

Beer tasting featuring six different kinds of South African beer.

“Springbok!” (Or, how I made my way through both African dinners and rugby conversations) I developed a fast affinity for the local cuisine on my first days in Cape Town, despite falling victim to local linguistic peccadilloes. My first meal was a lunch on the hotel patio, consisting of “linefish” and crispy potatoes served with a side of rich lemon butter. Paired with a Castle (one of South Africa’s national beers, which I ill-advisedly described to the waiter as “not bad for a lager”), the grilled whitefish was a perfect meal. I couldn’t wait to have it again the next day. Except the next day the fish was…pink. While still delicious, I was curious. I asked the waiter if I was indeed eating linefish. “But of course, sir,” he answered with a slight grin. A few days later I learned “linefish” simply means “catch of the day,” or whatever was most recently taken off the line. Good to know. Between jumbo prawns, whose appearance notso-subtly resembled the aliens in District 9, lean ostrich burgers on many menus and aloe-flavored yogurt on supermarket shelves, South African cuisine is accessible to most Western travelers who have a slight sense of adventure. Cities and smaller towns alike feature steakhouses and pizzerias for more conservative diners. Seeking out a traditional African restaurant, like Mama Africa in Cape Town, can provide opportunities to experience the frontier-oriented volume 3

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Springboks “ ‘The got robbed!’ provided instant cachet and credibility in social settings.

The rocky coastline along the Western Cape countryside presents adventures such as whale watching or shark-cage diving.

cuisines of the continent, including the 12-course meal that Katie and I enjoyed. While much of the menu catered to vegetarians and featured local grains and greens, I was excited to try springbok, South African antelope. Served in a spicy east African berbere sauce, it resembled small chunks of beef ribs and was flavorful and slightly chewy. Truly, springbok is the way to any South African’s heart—but more through the rugby pitch than the gullet. The Springboks are the nickname for the South African national rugby team, and reminders of them are Cape Town everywhere: from counterfeit jerseys swaying in outdoor Stanford Betty’s Bay bazaar stalls to the “Bokkie” Gansbaai mascot video that played in a loop during landings on ran incessantly on nearly half of the available TV South African Airways flights. Our trip coincided channels. What I did learn was that saying things with the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which saw South like “The Springboks got robbed!” provided instant Africa eliminated by Australia in a close match that cachet and credibility in social settings. It even appeared to be decided by poor referee decisions. helped smooth over misunderstandings, such as The loss and the inflamed passions of fans situations where one may have insulted the national remained major local news for at least a week. beer… For the record, I still know next to nothing about rugby, even though replays of tournament games 86

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Adventures on the Whale Coast Taking the N2 eastbound past Cape Town International Airport quickly introduces travelers to the Western Cape countryside, with the picturesque coastline to the south and several different wine regions to the north and east. Towns like Caledon and Hermanus make great staging areas for visitors because they are within a couple of hours of a slew of opportunities, including whale watching, sharkcage diving, wine tours and hiking. Katie and I selected Stanford, a small town just east of Hermanus, as our inland lodging location for three nights. Nestled on the banks of the Klein River and an estuary leading to the ocean, Stanford is surrounded by wineries and lush hills that shift in color from rich greens to brilliant golds in the blink of an eye. We rented a self-catered, full-size cottage on the estuary and lucked out with incredible views of the Klein River Mountains and striking magenta sunsets outside our patio window—a steal at a cost of roughly $100 a night. Despite dusty streets and a frontier disposition, Stanford’s short main street is home to art cafes and yoga studios—islands of cosmopolitan pursuits in a former inland British colonial outpost

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As we watched the birds sunbathe on the rocks ... I thought about how important conservation is to South Africa’s future.

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whose quaintness doesn’t fully cover up the same socioeconomic scars we saw in and around Cape Town. True to the frontier motif, dirt and gravel roads are just as likely to connect the highlights of the Western Cape as paved ones. One day we explored the rocky coast eastward to Gansbaai, taking in the seaside caves of De Kelders and a seasonal migration of humpback whales just offshore where the sparkling turquoise waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans mingle. On another we hiked and toured a handful of the local wineries, which excelled at shiraz and cabernet.


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On our final full day in South Africa, we slowly drove the winding, two-lane, coastal route—known as R44—back to Cape Town. Earlier this year on a trip to Kauai, Hawaii, I swore I had never been to anywhere as beautiful as Hanalei Bay, which has been the setting of iconic movie scenes from South Pacific and Jurassic Park. The vistas of R44, like Betty’s Bay and Gordon’s Bay, rivaled Hanalei Bay with their views of sparking waters framed by sunlit skies and mountains. Betty’s Bay offered another up-close attraction Hawaii can’t provide: Penguins! African penguins exist in several colonies spanning South Africa’s coast and are the focus of an intensive campaign to reduce man-made damage to their habitats. Betty’s Bay is the most robust penguin colony in South Africa, and its extensive boardwalk allows visitors to get up close and personal with the curious birds in a safe way. As we watched the birds sunbathe on the rocks and stare back at us with similar curiosity, I thought about how important conservation is to South Africa’s future. South Africa has traditionally resided at the unfortunate intersection of a few factors: the worst elements of human nature and economic

Wineries and lush hills surround Stanford; Get up close and personal with penguins at Betty’s Bay.

opportunity colliding with beautiful landscapes and abundant resources. It’s easy to imagine why a nation or political party would want to control the beauty and resources, but ultimately colonialism and apartheid did more to mismanage them than sustain them. Despite pulling off a high-profile success with the 2010 World Cup, the jury is still out on whether the post-apartheid government will do a better job at running South Africa than its predecessors, especially given the sustained allegations of domestic corruption and the official government support for African dictators like Muammar Gaddafi in recent months. Maintaining the country’s beauty and tourism popularity is one way beyond rugby to provide South Africans with a common sense of pride, as well as give them economic security and further integration with the international community. I donated a few extra rand coins as we were leaving the Betty’s Bay conservation area. It wasn’t a lot, but I guess every little bit helps. volume 3

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WORLD/TRAVEL Goodbye to the Cabo Das Tormentas The wind picked up as we approached the Cape of Good Hope on that last day, obscuring the road and sandblasting township citizens riding bikes or walking on the berm. After passing though the Victorianinfluenced tourist destinations of Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay, we made the aforementioned precarious climb to the top of the cape. The view was clear at the cape’s apex, presenting rough seas and whitecaps as far as one could see to the horizon. The Cabo Das Tormentas was not resting, despite the sun—almost as if on the advice and lessons of Dias himself, the waters were void of ships. Making it to the top of the cape was a great way to end the trip, but something was and is missing. Although I was able to experience many aspects of South African geography and culture, there is so much I didn’t get a chance to see. For example, the big-city bustle of Johannesburg and the safaris and big game expeditions of the eastern states. Truthfully, these feel like nothing more than great

reasons to plan a return trip at some point. As should result from any great trip to the end of the earth, I did learn a few things. I now know the joy of returning a rental car in one piece following a death-defying drive. I know the appropriate questions to ask when ordering linefish. I also saw true poverty up close and gained a greater appreciation for what I have. And if I never make it back to South Africa, at least I will always have fond memories of springbok.

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Tips for traveling in South Africa

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Half the fun is getting there. South Africa is a popular tourist destination from Europe and the Middle East. There are direct flights from many major cities in these regions on a variety of airlines. By accepting a long layover in Europe or the Middle East, you’re actually getting a reasonably priced multi-destination trip. For example, my flight options on Star Alliance gave me a choice of potential stops in London, Frankfort or Dubai. I traveled through London, where my 12hour layover was enough time to catch a train into the city to walk the West End, grab a pint and leisurely stroll through some of the museums before returning to Heathrow.

3

Passenger complaints abound online about baggage destruction and theft at South African airports. One of the

4

Renting a car in South Africa has certain peculiarities for American drivers. Cars drive on the left side of the

5

Unlike flat room lodging rates in the U.S., room rates are generally priced per occupant. For example, a hotel room

Ordering rand in advance is probably a good idea, for a few reasons. Find out which currency exchange service, like Travelex, serves your departure airport and pre-order the amount of rand you want, especially if the exchange rate is favorable on a given day. Currency services may try to push a prepaid currency card, but I prefer cash. I learned the hard way that currency exchange desks, even at major airports, like Newark, rarely have more than R250 to exchange on a given day because it’s not a frequent destination from the U.S. Ordering rand online ahead of time will ensure they have your amount for pick-up at the airport prior to your flight. Granted, you can always wait until your connection or until you reach South Africa to exchange, but it may be a hassle if you’re trying to pick up a bag or make it through customs quickly.

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best deterrents is simply making it difficult for would-be thieves. I used TSA-approved baggage locks (available at Target for less than $10), but noticed many travelers took advantage of shrink-wrap services for large bags.

road, and the driver sits in the right seat of the car. Repeating the mantra, “Look right, stay left” while turning helps keep you properly oriented. Moreover, car rental outlets carry few automatics, meaning you may end up with a left-handed stick shift without an advance reservation (as if you didn’t have enough to get used to while driving). Because of high crime rates, purchasing full insurance on your rental is also highly recommended—and sometimes mandatory—if you’re going to be doing city driving. On a positive note, many car rental chains familiar to U.S. travelers, including Budget, Hertz and Thrifty, operate in South Africa and provide rewards program credit.

of R300 generally would charge R600 for two occupants. While hotels in the U.S. are fairly lenient with their guest policies, South African hotels seem more stringent about making sure they account for all guests in a room. ◊


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• LOVE/RELATIONSHIPS •

‘I just listen for my name’ Embracing Peruvian culture, loving my multicultural family By Laura Ledesma

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rowing up in New York, one of the most diverse areas of America, I always admired the different cultures that surrounded me. Although my family comes from a mixed background of French, English, Scottish, Irish, German and Portuguese, I found myself drawn to Italian and Spanish cultures for their strong, close family ties and unspoken connections to cultural traditions. It was just a matter of time before I met and married the love of my life, a Peruvian man, and began to embrace a multicultural family. With an open mind and a positive attitude, I’ve become an adopted part of his culture.

news is much more graphic. For example, the crime scenes don’t appear to be as closed off to the public as in the U.S. It’s common to see the murdered victim at the scene and video footage of the body being carried away in a blanket and put in the back of a truck to take to the morgue. But although I may not always pay particular attention to the subject in discussion, I must say I do find the cadence of Peruvian news anchors soothing.

Getting past the language barrier My husband, David, is from Lima, Peru where the native language spoken is Spanish. Usually language isn’t a problem because my husband speaks English very well, but most of his family does not. I took Spanish classes throughout high school and college, but it’s been difficult to retain the knowledge over the years. I do my best to pay attention to his family’s conversations and can usually pick up just enough words to figure out what they’re discussing. Throughout our 15-year relationship, I’ve adopted a saying from Cliff Huxtable, a.k.a. Bill Cosby, that describes what often takes place at family gatherings. On The Cosby Show, when Huxtable’s wife, Clair, would start speaking rapid Spanish, Cliff coined the phrase, “I just listen for my name.” So when I’m around a conversation that’s too difficult to translate, I use this method to know when to participate.

Peruvian television, full of 70s looks and thongs Satellite television has given me a glimpse into Peruvian shows and news. One of the biggest differences from American television is that Peruvian 94

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Photography by Lynn W. Conway

If you want something really exciting, take a look at Spanish soap operas and family variety shows. One of the most noticeably different things about these shows is that their production design seems to be stuck in the 1970s—but that’s nothing compared


LOVE/RELATIONSHIPS to the many women on TV who often seem to be wearing next to nothing. However, I do wish these shows had subtitles because they look so entertaining.

Delicious starches, I mean food I still remember the first meal my husband’s grandmother made me like it was yesterday. When she put the dish in front of me, I saw the chicken, rice with a fried egg and french fries on the same plate, and I was thrilled! Who needs green veggies? Apparently, I do. I rapidly gained weight eating this way, but was too happy to notice it for some time. In my husband’s family, it’s common to eat lunch and dinner with two starches per plate, and many times dinner is served at 8 or 9 p.m. due to work schedules. Although french fries and rice are OK by me, I do pass on other Peruvian foods like rabbit, goat and guinea pig. When we first celebrated Thanksgiving with both my husband’s and my family together, the spread of food was not quite consistent among traditions. The mashed potatoes had a different texture than traditional American mashed potatoes, and there was, of course, white rice on the table, turkey, cold corn (they don’t heat it), and a jar of gravy. Although my husband’s grandmother had thought to provide gravy but forgot to heat it up, I was so pleased she put effort into embracing the American traditions on Thanksgiving.

Taking a journey to Peru After living in this bicultural lifestyle for approximately 12 years, it was time for me to experience the real thing. In February 2009, vamos a Lima. Even though it was the middle of winter in Michigan, February in Lima is the height of the summer. The weather neared 100 degrees and the air was humid, but the scenery was beautiful. We arrived in Lima in the middle of the night, and although it was hard to see the surroundings clearly, I remember being surprised that most houses had high cement walls surrounding them and private security for the neighborhood. But even though we

encountered some extreme security during our visit, I never felt in danger during our trip. The other surprise was how many cab drivers were on the road—and how crazy they were. It appeared anyone could set their car up as a cab. The cabbies drove so recklessly, and with no regard to pedestrian safety. I adopted the saying “run for your life” when sprinting through a crosswalk throughout our time there. After a trip through the crowded streets to the grocery store on our first day, I discovered how wonderful the fruit is in South America. Even better, fruit juice is made fresh at the store while you wait. In addition to the fresh food at the grocery store, lots of busy street areas have cart vendors selling fresh fruit ready for snacking. We returned to the U.S. with a larger understanding of the Peruvian culture and many souvenirs for our family and friends. But even after our visit, I still don’t understand why my mother-in-law always brings canned pineapple in her luggage when flying to Lima.

A life I would never change I would never think of changing the last 15 years of my life. At times it has been challenging and many ideas have gotten confused in translation, but I chalk up the differences as new cultural experiences that have become great stories to pass along. I especially admire the way my Peruvian family joins together to help the elderly, children and daily crises that develop within the family. I’m also fond of their ability to throw that same passion to celebrate any and all milestones. Becoming a part of this family has greatly opened my mind to experiencing new adventures and learning about other cultures. Occasionally I’ll pick up on the conversation when I hear my husband speaking Spanish on the phone to friends or family. But when in doubt, I stick to my motto “I just listen for my name.” ◊

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Founders’ Favorites

Our personal holiday cheer

Brittany’s picks:

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Have you heard of SantaCon? This mass gathering of people dressed as Santa Claus is a yearly tradition in cities all over the world. Participants clad in red and white come together during the holiday season for festive caroling, rowdy parading and drunken socializing. Check out the website to find out when the Santas will take over your city. Better yet, join them.

2

Infinity scarves, also known as tube scarves, eternity scarves, snoods or loops, are like tiny, fashionable blankets for your neck. Check out this faux fur one from Madewell I’ve been obsessing over since the first leaf fell this fall.

3

For some people, the day after Thanksgiving means Black Friday shopping. For me, it means the beginning of nonstop holiday music until the first week of January when I get sick of seeing snow. One album I have on repeat this season is A Very She & Him Christmas, sung by quirky duo Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel, the latter of whom is equal parts my girl crush and hair idol.

Madewell, $58

Jay’s picks:

1

Sure you’ve seen it movies, but have you actually been to the Empire State Building Observatory after midnight? I experienced it myself recently, and if you’re with the right someone, it truly can be magical.

2

I recently came across Cave Story+, a wonderful indie game tribute to the 8-bit shooters of yesteryear (with a surprisingly engaging story) in the Mac app store, and it completely took my attention away from all my other games. Cheers!

3

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is a fabulously engrossing and honest documentary about the history, influence and music of one of the pioneering groups of hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest. (Microphone check, one, two, what is this?)

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Tom’s picks:

1

With creative names like ‘Boom Boom! Syrah’ ($15), ‘Kung Fu Girl Riesling’ ($12) and ‘The Velvet Devil Merlot’ ($12), just to name a few, how can you resist trying a bottle of Charles Smith wine? Recently after visiting a local wine store, my dad and I decided to pick up a few bottles from this Washington winery and were instantly hooked. Now when asked to bring a bottle of red or white, I immediately jump to a selection from my new favorite winemaker.

Target, $33

2

I honestly don’t know how I stumbled upon the indie music site Daytrotter, but for the past few weeks I’ve been a daily visitor. Based in Rock Island, Ill., Daytrotter seeks out a wide variety of both established and up-and-coming musicians to record exclusive sessions. While digging through their collection of more than 2,000 different song recordings, I’ve discovered new bands like Bear Hands and Sharks, but also found recordings from more established artists like MGMT, of Montreal and Sunset Rubdown. While they’ve recently started charging for access to their content, the nominal $2 per month fee is well worth it.

3

I have to admit, when one of my friends first told me about Settlers of Catan, I thought that a board game where you build roads and settlements by collecting resource cards of wheat, brick, ore, wood and sheep sounded a little lame. But then one game turned into two, and now every time I get together with this group of friends playing Catan is a given. While this may not exactly be a new favorite—its actually been an obsession for over a year—this board game is a great way to spend time with your friends and family during the cold winter months.

Mac app store, $9.99 Photo taken from observatory after midnight. volume 3

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Lynn’s picks:

1

The one thing I can’t live without during the cold and bitter winter months is Rosebud Salve lip balm. This stuff is on hand 24-7. It’s almost as important as my iPhone—I said almost. Not only does this lip balm keep your lips kissable, but it also helps with minor burns, cuticles and even tames your locks (say goodbye to fly-aways). The best part is it typically costs around $6 and will last a long time.

Sephora, $6

2

As I mentioned in my favorite holiday memory on page 5, a sacred tradition in my family is watching the 1958 movie Bell, Book and Candle. This classic romantic comedy starring James Stewart and Kim Novak is a family favorite and the holidays wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t watch it at least once.

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If you know me, then you know I’m kind of obsessed with vampires. Most recently I’ve discovered the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill. The series caught my attention because it takes place in Chicago, but once I started reading I was hooked. If you like the paranormal and are looking for a new book or series to pick up, especially one that involves a sword-wielding badass female, then this is for you.

Rachel’s picks:

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With simple ingredients and biodegradable packaging, the little to-go first aid kits Help Remedies will help you keep up with your busy winter cold season. Whether you have allergies, a blister or a headache, these kits have you covered. The glorious love child between Google Maps and Craigslist, PadMapper.com helps you plan your next move. Fun fact: One of the best times of the year to look for a new place, albeit a bit obnoxious, is during the winter months. For even more convenience, check out the free PadMapper app for iPhone or Android.

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Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade company that helps provide artists across the globe with long-term trade relationships, is a great way to give unique gifts for the holidays! ◊

Walgreens, $4 98

DEC/JAN 2011-2012 | thefacetsmag.com


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The Facets Magazine - "One year ends, another begins" issue for December/January 2011-2012  
The Facets Magazine - "One year ends, another begins" issue for December/January 2011-2012  

The December/January 2011-2012 issue covers all the fashion, parties, music and stress that come with the holidays. The issue begins with ou...

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