Table of Contents Gifts That Give Back Shopping
Perfect Pies Recipes
Give Thanks Community
Beard Guide Grooming
Meet Lanitra Vendor Highlight
contact Editor: Ranya O’Connor Executive Director: Whitley O’Connor Director of Communications: Kinsey Crocker Director of Fundraising: Kelly Nugent
1724 NW 4th St. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106
Souperior Soups Dining
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Gifts that give back by Ranya O’Connor
This holiday season instead of the usual fruitcake, give ethical, eco-friendly, and socially conscious gifts to your loved ones and friends! We’ve made it super easy to do with our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve sought out the best presents of 2014 that are not only stylish but also give back to worthy causes. From providing clean water and education to those in need to supporting a greener world, these gifts give back without breaking the bank. And the best part is that all of these products are available for purchase at local shops in OKC. Here’s where you can shop locally and have an impact globally this holiday season:
Holiday Gift Guid e photos courtesy of respective organizations
Plenty Mercantile Address: 807 N. Broadway Ave. Need a classy gift for a wine snob? Wine Punts designs stylish drinking glasses from recycled wine bottles. Wine Punts glasses feature a fire polished rim to help prevent cracking and are annealed to ensure durability. Glasses come in an array of colors and two different sizes. Wine Punts is dedicated to improving the environment by recycling thousands of wine bottles in the Colorado Springs area. Four for $24-$34 Harry Barker is the perfect gift to pamper your pooch this winter. From luxury dog beds to collars and toys, all Harry Barker products use earth-friendly fabrics, azo-free dyes, and eco-fleece bed inserts made from 100% recycled plastics. Harry Barker specializes in high quality, eco-friendly pet products. So treat your furry friends to a recycled cotton chew toy today, and help reduce their environmental paw-print. $150-$190
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 10a - 7p Thursday 10a - 9p Friday & Saturday 10a - 7p Sunday 10a - 4p
Give the gift of smiles this holiday season with Smile Squared. Smile Squared toothbrushes are hand crafted and made from sustainable bamboo. They come in 100% recyclable packaging and are eco-friendly and biodegradable. For every toothbrush you buy, Smile Squared donates one to a child in need. Children in developing countries often lack access to proper dental care. Smile Squared wants to give these children the opportunity to smile. Four for $20
75 million children in the developing world lack access to education. ESPEROS sells backpacks and book bags to send children in need to school. For each bag sold, ESPEROS helps fund one year of education for a child in need. ESPEROS bags are made from durable canvas and built to last, being waterproof, stain resistant, and machine washable. Esperos comes from the Spanish word “esperar,” meaning to hope. Carry hope with ESPEROS. $75
Kitchen Papers specializes in paper placemats, table runners, napkins, coasters, and dining accessories. Their collections feature classic, colorful, and quirky designs that are perfect for sprucing up any holiday party. Printed with soy-based inks on recycled paper, they also are eco-friendly. Plus, a portion of all sales goes to benefit the Wonderful Life Foundation, which provides assistance to families of children undergoing cancer treatment. 50 sheets for $29
Stuff all your stockings this year with Cuppow, the perfect solution for easy drinking from a canning jar. With Cuppow, you can upcycle any jar into a trendy travel mug and avoid using disposable paper cups. Cuppow lids are 100% American made from recycled plastic and are BPA and phthalate free. Cuppow seeks to reduce our environmental footprint through abstaining from the use of disposable cups. Cuppow also donates 5% of profits to domestic charities focused on environmental stewardship and social justice. $9 Paperthinks is perfect for people who don’t want to choose between being green and being stylish. Paperthinks specializes in eco-friendly notebooks, handbags, and accessories. All of their products are made from 100% recycled leather and come in a wide variety of fun colors. Their colorful weekly planner is the perfect gift for your green go-getter. $13-$25
Falling Whistles is a campaign for peace in Congo, where child soldiers too small to carry guns are sent to the frontlines armed only with whistles. The Falling Whistles campaign seeks to educate people about violence in Congo and create advocates for peace. With their profits, they invest in the rehabilitation of war-affected people in Congo. The whistle is a symbol of protest; wear your protest and be a whistleblower for peace. $60 A Kammok hammock is the perfect gift for your socially conscious adventurer. Kammok’s Roo camping hammock is lightweight, tear resistant, breathable, and big enough for two. Each hammock has a lifetime warranty and comes fully equipped with two carabiners and slings. Kammok is partnered with Malaria No More. When you purchase a Kammok hammock, Kammok donates five life saving treatments to children with malaria in Africa. $100
EOTE Coffee Company roasts locally in Chandler, Oklahoma. EOTE engages in farmer-direct trade and is a partner of Thrive Farmers, which is an organization that ensures coffee farmers are paid a fair wage for their product. EOTE’s passion is Willow Springs Boys Ranch in Chandler, Oklahoma. Through the sale of its coffee, EOTE is able to invest in Willow Springs Boys Ranch and impact lives locally and globally. $13-$18
Want an eco-friendly gift for your earth-friendly fashionista? Matt & Nat is a vegan line from Montreal, Canada that creates beautiful handbags without the use of leather or any other animal-based materials. They also experiment with different recycled materials like recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber, and cork when designing their bags. The linings of all Mat & Nat bags are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. Approximately 21 plastic bottles are recycled for every bag they produce! $80-$160
Blue SEVEN Address: 7518 N. May Ave.
B-WAP stands for “Backpacks With A Purpose” and hails from OKC. When you purchase a B-WAP backpack, B-WAP donates two backpacks to a local or international nonprofit, of your choice, working with at-risk kids. Since its start in 2002, B-WAP has donated over a million backpacks to at-risk kids. Check out their special Keep It Local edition sold at Blue Seven. It comes with a voucher for a free 2015 Keep It Local Card! Order online at www.b-wap.com for their complete collection. $40-$45
S’well creates reusable bottles that look great and do good. S’well seeks to better the environment by decreasing the use of plastic bottles. S’well stainless steel bottles keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. They come in an assortment of colors and sizes 9oz, 17oz, and 25oz. For every S’well bottle sold, S’well donates a portion of its proceeds to one of its charity partners: WaterAid, American Forests, or Drink Up. $25-$45
Hours: Monday - Saturday 11a - 7p
Fotostrap makes vintage inspired camera straps that are 100% made in the USA. You can choose from a variety of colors and patterns and can even customize them online. Fotostrap donates 10% of every purchase to Fotolanthropy, a nonprofit that uses photography and film to capture and share inspiring, true stories of people who have overcome adversity. $85
Krochet Kids empowers women living in poverty in Uganda and Peru by teaching them how to crochet beautiful, handmade products. Krochet Kids employs these women and assists them in furthering their education and career paths. Products range from scarves and hats to clothing and accessories. Every product is hand-signed by the person who made it. Warm your head and your heart with a Krochet Kids hat this winter. Hats $20-$38
You might not believe that this beautiful, bright jewelry was once a pile of old t-shirts. Olivia and Diego designs upcycled jewelry made from old knitted t-shirts and office supplies. Each product is handwoven and unique. Olivia and Diego is based in the Philippines and employs Filipino women living in poverty, empowering them to make a living and support their families. With so many colorful options to choose from, they’re perfect for every occasion. $12-20
LSTN headphones are made from reclaimed wood and are an eco-chic way to listen to music. You can choose from Beech, Cherry, Ebony, and Zebra wood. Each pair is handcrafted, meaning no two pairs are the same. LSTN is partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Every pair of LSTN headphones sold helps provide hearing aids to a person in need. $150
Sseko Designs uses fashion to educate and empower women in Uganda. Sseko sells handbags, accessories, and footwear made by Ugandan women with materials sourced from East Africa. Their products feature woven textiles and fine leather goods. Sseko employs Ugandan women and helps them generate income to continue on to university. So far, Sseko has enabled 47 women to continue their education. $130
Looking for the perfect pair of stylish specs? Warby Parker eyeglasses and sunglasses come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re only $95 including lenses. For every pair sold, Warby Parker distributes a pair to someone in need. So far, Warby Parker has distributed one million pairs of glasses to people in need around the world. Look good and do good with Warby Parker. $95 United By Blue is an ocean-friendly apparel brand. For every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways. So far, United By Blue has removed 203,510 pounds of trash from our world’s waterways. UBB sells a wide variety of products from clothing, handbags, and accessories to canoe paddles. UBB bags are made from 100% organic waxed canvas and have a classic, rustic look that is perfect for any outdoor adventurer. $98
Shop Good Address: 3 NW. 9th St.
Hours: Monday - Thursday 11a - 7p Friday & Saturday 11a - 9p
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11a - 7p
Address: 1705 NW. 16th St. Love Well baby apparel is designed and handmade in Oklahoma City. They use incredibly soft, organic fabrics to make their adorably hip baby apparel. Each product has their signature Love Well heart hidden in the design, so your little one can carry love with them wherever they go. And 5% of Love Well sales are shared with their charity partner Second Mile Water, which provides access to clean drinking water in the developing world. $35
Mata Traders dresses are handmade in India and Nepal. Their fabrics are hand block printed with eco-friendly vegetable dyes, preserving the Indian textile tradition and artistry. Mata Traders is fair trade fashion, meaning their employees are paid livable wages and work in a safe environment. Their clothing comes in a wide variety of vibrant prints. $90
31 Bits creates bold, beautiful statement pieces of jewelry. 31 Bits uses fashion and design to empower women in Uganda to rise above poverty. Their necklaces, bracelets, and headbands are handmade from recycled paper. 31 Bits employs displaced Ugandan women, enabling them to provide for their families and empowering them through education and mentorship. $28-$90
Dogs can be smelly. Thankfully, there are Sydney Hale candles and room sprays to cover up any unwanted pet smells this holiday season. Candles are handmade with premium soy wax and come in rich flavors like Bourbon+Brown Sugar and Cucumber+Mint. Room sprays are made with organic sugar cane alcohol and range from Lemon Shandy to Woodsmoke+Amber. Syndey Hale donates 10% of profits to dog rescue and sponsors adoptable dogs on its website. $30
S AT & S U N , N O V. 2 9 & 3 0 1 1 A M - 6 P M FREE GOODIE BAGS FOR FIRST 50 SHOPPERS EACH DAY! FREE KIDSâ€™ ACTIVITIES
ADMISSION FOOD TRUCKS HANDMADE, LOCAL, ARTIST-MADE & UNIQUE
LEADERSHIP SQUARE 211 N. ROBINSON, DOWNTOWN OKC
photos by Quit Nguyen
Get pied this holiday season with three delicious pie recipes from our favorite bakers in OKC. These special pies are not available in store, but are easy to whip up at home and sure to please the palate.
Pie Junkie’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie INGREDIENTS
1 cup milk 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin 1/2 container Cool Whip 1 (6 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding Traditional 9” cooked pie shell or graham cracker crust Cinnamon & Nutmeg to taste (or pumpkin pie spice - about 1 tsp.)
DIRECTIONS Mix pudding packet and milk together. Stir in pumpkin until well blended. Fold in Cool Whip and spices. Pour in pie shell and chill for two hours.
1711 NW. 16th St. 405-605-8767
Pecan Pumpkin Apple Crumble Drunkin Turtle Coconut Cream Pumpkin Crumble Macadamia Key Lime Orange Bourbon Pecan Apple Cranberry Crumble
Sassy Mama’s Rustic Peach and Cream Pie INGREDIENTS:
1 egg, beaten 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon Juice of one lemon 2 cups peaches, sliced 1 box Pillsbury pie crust, thawed 1 container cream cheese, softened
www.fatandsassymama.com Caryn Ross is OKC’s Sassy Mama. She has appeared on the Rachel Ray Show and cooked live in Rockefeller Center. Weekdays, you can catch her cookin’ on News 9 as their feature food contributor. Her cookbook, Cooking with the Sassy Mama, is available online or at Plenty Mercantile.
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one pie crust in the center of the baking sheet. In a large bowl mix together the peaches, sugar, lemon, and cinnamon. Spread cream cheese over the center of the crust, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. Top with peach mixture. Fold the edges up, pleating them as you go around. Brush with egg and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and inside is bubbly.
Brownâ€™s Bakery Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie INGREDIENTS:
1 cup of milk 3/4 cup of flour 1/2 cup of sugar 6 tablespoons of butter 1/3 cup of chopped pecans 8 ounces of cool whip - thawed 4 ounces of cream cheese - softened Small package of instant chocolate pudding
1100 N. Walker 405-232-0363
DIRECTIONS: Mix flour and butter to resemble coarse cornmeal. Add nuts then press into pie pan or casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden. Mix sugar, cream cheese, and 4 ounces of cool whip. Spoon mixture over cooled crust. Mix milk and instant chocolate pudding. Spoon mixture onto pie. Top with remaining cool whip. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
HOLIDAY MENU Apple Peach Pecan Cherry Pumpkin Blueberry Sweet Potato Coconut Cream Lemon Meringue Chocolate Meringue
What people experiencing homelessness are thankful for this holiday season. compiled by Sheyda Zakerion
The holidays are filled with joyous activities. Whether you look forward to eating delicious food, seeing family, or watching your favorite holiday movie, it is one of the most special times of the year. The holidays are also a time to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life. A typical holiday tradition is to go around the room and tell everyone what you are thankful for, so to celebrate the season, we asked folks at the day shelter on the Westtown Homeless Resource Campus what they are thankful for and what holiday traditions they enjoy.
Many of the responses are probably similar to your own, like family and food, but one potential difference is that nearly every person we talked with at the day shelter was thankful for simply being alive. It was evident that daily survival is their reality... A much different perspective than the average person I know. Surviving on the streets is not easy, and each day is a struggle for individuals in the homeless community. Seeing another holiday season means a lot to the folks at the day shelter. They may not have a kitchen to cook in or be near their
I’m thankful for having a job. I’m thankful for living. I’m thankful that I’m married to a wonderful woman. I just thank the Lord that He lets me work where I want to.
I want to thank God I got a mother, father, and somewhere to go. I got resources to come and talk to somebody and somewhere where I can have friendship and relationship. I’m thankful that God woke me up this morning and gave me the knowledge to talk to people and say, “How ya doin’, sir?” I’m thankful I’ve got somewhere to go, and that I have family.
I’m just grateful that… just the way that people are coming together. It might be slow but we are coming together as a community. For the holidays, I would really like to be in a place where I could cook supper because I love to cook supper. I like to barbecue turkeys for the holidays. I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen. There have been a lot of changes, but I have seen change for better. I am excited to see what this holiday will bring.
I’m thankful for my sister. This year she decided to give me a second chance and come back into my life. We have started rebuilding our relationship, and I’m really, really thankful for that. Another thing I’m thankful for is my sobriety for the past 14 months. My favorite holiday tradition is grandma’s homemade apple pie. She’s been making it since as long as I can remember. I used to help her make it when I was a kid. I think family is really important for me during the holidays.
family, but they are alive. And despite these circumstances, they still have joy in their lives and a lot they are thankful for. So this holiday season, consider what homeless individuals in the community are thankful for and think about your own responses to these questions: What are you thankful for this holiday season? Which holiday tradition are you most excited about? What is your favorite holiday dish?
Being alive. I’m thankful for being happy! I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to do something!
First thing I’m thankful for is being alive. I’m thankful to have [my girlfriend] in my life. Since I’m on the street, I’ve lost interest in the holidays. By being locked up, you lose interest in the holidays because Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s locked up—it don’t mean nothing. But I’m getting back into it. It’ll take me a while but… I’ll get back into it. I like holiday dinner—that’s what I like… turkey and dressing…I love dressing.
Memphis I’m thankful for my boyfriend, my brother, the day shelter, and all churches that come out here and feed the homeless. I look forward to the Cox Center event every year. They have that big ol’ thing at the Cox Center. It’s just like a big ol’ Christmas dinner and they just hand out stuff to the little kids.
Cheyenne I finally got my place. I look forward to cooking every year for the holidays. My favorite thing to cook is old school collard greens, cornbread, beans, turkey, ham, and all that extra stuff. I’m thankful I put my table up. It took me two weeks but I did.
I’m thankful for being able to see another year. A lot of people weren’t able to make it. It’s kinda hard being in Oklahoma City if you are homeless, but they help a lot too. I wish I could be at home with my family. I’m like 12 hours from home. If I was at home, we have a get together. We go to church, give thanks to God, and we all eat! I like the fruit salad and I like green bean casserole. I like when my mom makes gumbo and pecan pie; that’s my favorite.
I’m thankful for my mother, especially my parents. We cook and play cards, dominoes, watch TV, and fuss and fight. All of it is my favorite because I get to see my family—it all equals up.
I’m thankful for the day shelter because it’s a warm place when it’s cold outside. I’m thankful for the meals we get. I used to bake cookies, my whole family used to. It was a tradition. I used to make no bakes, chocolate chips, oatmeal. I used to make white chocolate fudge with graham cracker. If I see you around Christmas time, hopefully I’ll have one of those—I’ll give you some. I’m thankful for the day shelter because it is somewhat of a family.
Beard Guide Courtesy of Weldon Jack
Whether you want to look like Kris Kringle this holiday season or just grow some stubble, here is your guide to all things bearded thanks to Weldon Jack. Weldon Jack is a co-ed barbershop and cotemporary store with provisions focused on everyday living. Located at 3621 N. Western in OKC, Weldon Jack offers a variety of beard care products, $25 shaves, and $10 beard trims. Weldon Jack carries Halston & Henley grooming products that are handcrafted in OKC. Halston & Henley specializes in grooming products that are handmade in small batches and made with all natural ingredients.
Proper Shaving Strategy
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Use a pre shave oil, which softens hair and makes the follicles stand up for a closer shave. Place a hot towel on your face and let sit for a few minutes to open up the pores. Make sure your beard is thoroughly wet and lather your face in shave cream. Use a shave brush to apply the shave cream in a circular motion.
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Always shave with the grain of the hair and take your time. Use a cold rinse to close pores after shaving. Always use an aftershave splash or balm to help clean up razor burn and bumps.
Beard Care Tips A lot of guys get dry skin while growing out their facial hair because the hair absorbs the natural oils from their skin. This can lead to itchiness. Remember to condition your beard and skin daily to fight the itch. Use a lotion with an SPF in it during the day to protect your skin from the sun. Also use a beard oil to help fight dry skin and itchiness. Halston & Henley’s beard oil ($12) has an almond oil base and vitamin E to stimulate hair growth and fight the itch. Treat your beard like the hair on your head for the best results. Shampoo and condition your beard regularly to keep it clean and soft. Remember to brush your beard too. It makes it much softer and helps spread the natural oils from your face throughout your hair. Keep a shape to your beard. If you are opting for a shorter beard, be sure to cut a neckline into it. Necklines make shorter beards look more groomed and well kept. Cut between the Adam’s apple and under the chin for a more natural looking neckline. Don’t cut your neckline too high. You want to avoid being near the jawline. When long beards get itchy around the neck, you can also opt for cutting in a neckline. Trim your mustache regularly to keep it out of your mouth and food. You can also use mustache wax to style your mustache and keep it out of the way. If you can’t grow a full beard, don’t try. Look at what you have and trim to that. Have a goatee or mustache if full-beardedness is not for you.
When individual hairs don’t look like the collective whole, it is time for a trim. A long beard should be trimmed every two months and a short beard every few weeks. Know your skin and find a good aftershave splash or balm. Shaving can remove up to two layers of skin. It is important to use a good aftershave to restore the moisture and soothe the skin. Halston & Henley offers an alcohol free aftershave balm and splash ($14) that won’t dry your skin out or cause irritation. Alcohol strips your skin of its natural oils. Halston & Henely’s aftershave is made with witch-hazel, which combats razor burn, ingrown hairs, redness, and irritation with its antiseptic properties and essential oils. Use a safety razor or straight razor for the closest shave. A safety razor has a single blade with two edges. Unlike multiple blade razors, you know when the blade goes dull because it starts to catch. They are also much cheaper than multi-blade razors and give a closer shave. A straight razor is an exposed blade that you have to strop before each use to keep sharp. It is one of the oldest ways of shaving, and you have to remember to take your time. People that use straight razors like spending 15-20 minutes shaving. It can be therapeutic and reminds you to slow down. Every once in a while, shave the thing off. Don’t get too attached.
fresh stART Homeless Art Therapy Program by Kathy Rowdan
How does art make you feel? It probably depends on the piece. Art is often fraught with emotion – a colorful watercolor can make you smile from ear to ear, or a dark acrylic can make you furl your brow as you search for the meaning. It’s no coincidence that art evokes emotion from the viewer. After all, an artist often pours their soul into their work, an expression of their innermost feelings. The art created in the “fresh stART” program is no different – and in fact, many of the fresh stART artists are facing emotional hardships most people could never imagine. All of the artists are homeless. Fresh stART is a program of the Homeless Alliance and City Care designed to provide the homeless of Oklahoma City with a supportive environment for creating art. Fresh
stART enables the homeless to express themselves creatively, manage emotional issues, participate in productive activity, and create a bond with others in similar situations. Based on successful art programs such as “Art from the Streets” in Austin, Texas, the program seeks to create a venue for homeless people in Oklahoma City to participate in creative endeavors, while discovering the valuable contributions that they can make in the community. In addition to offering a creative outlet, the program provides artists with a greater sense of dignity, a potential source of income, and skills transferable to employment. Volunteer professional artists and social workers provide the human resources needed to run the program, and supplies are donated from generous donors in the community.
Several of the artists are participating in the fresh stART Home and Heart Community Art project, with the assistance of the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Teaching artist, Kiona Millirons, has joined the studio for this project, and the artists are learning color theory, mixed media techniques, perspective, mosaic, and collage techniques. Artists will learn to turn small sketches into large works of art that will be displayed in an art show at the Homeless Alliance in 2015. Fresh stART has exhibits throughout the year at various community locations and artists often participate in juried art shows. Meet some of the fresh stART artists on the following pages.
photos courtesy of fresh stART
I’ve done art my whole life. I like doing things that are colorful and fun. Doing art makes me feel proud and happy.
– Chasity A.
I use music and art as a way to manage anger - it’s a form of therapy that I have to have. If I don’t have it, I’ll go absolutely nuts. It redirects my focus, and serves as an escape. For that moment, I don’t have to worry about the outside world. Art makes me feel alive. It makes me feel worthy. I love the praise and complements I receive – encouragement. It raises my self-esteem. It makes me feel more complete. It’s part of my heart and soul spilled out on a canvas.
I love to create art - it takes you away from all the negative things around you. – Schlandria
I have been drawing all my life. I do a little of everything - draw, sketch, use markers. Art helps me release anger and express myself. I like to do beautiful things. Creating artwork makes me feel great.
“I have been doing art off and on since I was 13. It helps me not cut myself. I can forget about what’s going on out there - things I can’t control. I like it because it’s fun, and I can do pretty things.”
– Chasity B.
I like working with different materials; putting them into a picture. It’s nice and relaxing, and I can do different projects to express myself. I’m able to meet someone new every day, and do something different in art. Just seeing my work of art makes me feel good. – Ms. Tudy
I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a pencil. I like creating art because I like the escape from all the bullshit. I don’t think about all the thoughts going on in my head. It just helps me escape.
I’ve been doing art since I was nine years old. It relaxes my mind. If I’m angry, I can take it out on paper instead of other people. It helps me relax. It makes me feel exceptional.
I started art back in elementary school. I like to do all types of art style. My inspiration is the way it looks after it is done. I enjoy doing my art the way I see it in my mind. I have a goal to sell some of my art. - Willie
SEVEN SOUPERIOR SOUPS by Ashley Dekat
Winter in Oklahoma brings cold, blustery days. Sometimes soup is the only thing that will hit the spot and warm you up. Whether you want to pick up a meal for a night in, or bundle up and go out for a date with your snow bunny, here are seven soups for every day of the week this winter.
The Red Cup 3122 N Classen Blvd.
Everybody and their mama have a chili recipe that they claim is the best. But for those looking for a hearty chili without meat, look no further than The Red Cupâ€™s vegetarian chili. Located in a vintage remodeled house, The Red Cup is OKCâ€™s original vegetarian restaurant. Their unique chili is meatless but loaded with protein and flavor. They mix two kinds of beans with protein powder and add tons of spices, seasonings, onions, peppers, and a tomato base. The result is a delicious but completely vegetarian chili that will warm you even on the chilliest Oklahoma day. Their Chili is served by the cup ($2.35), the bowl ($3.95), or on a Frito Chili Pie ($7.50).
photos courtesy of Respective Restaurants
No odl e ken Chi c
Whole Foods Market 6001 N. Western Ave.
Let’s face it. Few soups warm the heart and soul like chicken noodle soup. You can spend hours making your own broth, boiling chicken, and chopping veggies, or you can head to Whole Foods. They make homemade chicken noodle soup with all the personal touches, just like mom used to make. Head to their meat department for a thick and meaty chicken noodle soup, loaded with shredded rotisserie chicken and fresh noodles in a rich broth. If veggies are your favorite chicken noodle soup ingredient, then mosey on over to the prepared foods department. There you’ll find chicken noodle soup full of fresh cut veggies, noodles, and chunks of chicken. Soups can be eaten in their dining area or taken out for a cozy night at home or as a thoughtful gift for a friend with the flu. (12 oz. $4.49, 16 oz. $5.49, 32 oz. $9.49).
1630 N. Blackwelder Ave.
Meals that transport us back to childhood are the best. The Mule in the Plaza District has mastered nostalgia by creating a menu fully dedicated to the grilled cheese sandwich. And what pairs better with a grilled cheese than classic tomato soup? For just $6, The Mule serves two (that’s right, two) classic grilled cheese sandwiches, cut in triangles, alongside a cup of their homemade tomato soup for dipping. Their tomato soup boasts the perfect balance of spices and is blended smooth. The rich tomato flavor is achieved without any added cream or filler ingredients. Nothing fancy. Nothing too outside the box. Just delicious, flavorful tomato soup. It makes for the perfect meal when you need a pick-me-up. The soup can also be served in a cup with a house salad for $7.
om o r h s u
Paseo Grill 2909 Paseo
Mushrooms. They are the delightful fungus among us, but people give them a bad rap. Have you ever seen a button mushroom? A cute, tiny mushroom literally the size of a button. I hadn’t until I had the cream of mushroom soup from Paseo Grill. I had no idea what I was missing! They take button mushrooms, add herbs and sherry, and then cook them just enough to still have a nice firm texture. Then cream is added. Lots and lots of delicious cream. Simple but oh so decadent. The soup comes by the cup ($4.00) or bowl ($6.00) and is topped with a slice of Port Salute cheese. It forms a melted layer on top of the soup with a nice bite to cut through the richness of the cream. Of course you will want some of the locally made Prairie Thunder baguette that they serve with your soup.
The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro Bonjour! French onion soup has been the king of the soup monarchy since its coronation in 18th century France. The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro reigns supreme when it comes to making the perfect bowl of French onion soup, and it only sets you back $6. They laboriously slice and caramelize piles of onions. Then beef stock, thyme, and wine are added to the pot to make a perfectly seasoned broth. The soup is ladled into a crock and topped with a baguette crouton, crowned with Gruyere cheese, and baked. The result? Bubbling hot soup with melted cheese in every bite. Served alongside their crusty French bread boule, it makes the perfect lunch or dinner on a blustery day. The Metro is open for lunch on weekdays and dinner seven nights a week.
illa t r o T n e k Chic
6418 N Western Ave.
Cheever’s Cafe 2409 N Hudson Ave.
If your life is needing a little spice, then head over to Cheever’s Cafe. Cheever’s is one of OKC’s long-standing, favorite restaurants in Uptown and is the perfect place to grab a warm lunch or take a hot date. When looking to heat things up, get a cup ($4.50) or bowl ($6.00) of their chicken tortilla soup. They simmer plump chunks of chicken in broth and add tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Then they give the soup a kiss of cream and serve it topped with warm, crunchy tortilla strips. It is simply sinful. The soup is accompanied by a basket of their fresh-baked herb rolls to sop up the remnants. If that doesn’t get you warm and fuzzy, then I don’t know what will.
VII Asian Bistro 2900 N. Classen Blvd.
When it is cold outside and you need a filling meal on a dime, head to VII Asian Bistro for a pho-nominal meal. With 18 different pho combinations to choose from, there are delicious and un-pho-gettable options for everyone. They serve tripe and tendon meatballs, and chicken, shrimp, and tofu for the less adventurous eaters. Meats like brisket and round steak are served rare and thinly sliced to finish cooking in their flavorful broth. Their pho comes with the traditional fixings of bean sprouts, basil, green onions, lime, and jalapeños, but also includes a unique herb called saw leaf. Their pho is perfect for a family because an XXL bowl costs $12.99 and is the size of a mixing bowl (regular $6.99, large $7.99). As an added perk, all meals include free hot tea.
Meet Lanitra compiled by Ranya O’Connor photos by Hunter Brothers
Lanitra was one of the first Curbside Chronicle vendors in 2013. She is now working at Walmart, in school, and back in housing. Here is her story:
Can you tell me about your childhood? I had a really nice upbringing. From birth until I was 11, my grandma was my rock. When we didn’t have nothing, grandma did. Grandma made sure I had nice clothes, nice dresses, nice shoes. If it wasn’t for my grandmother, I don’t think I would have made it (when I was) homeless. She gave me the background I needed to persevere. She had a big influence in my life.
I just had a great time growing up, going to different places. I went to the Arbuckle Wilderness, which ain’t much for some but it was a lot to me. It taught me about life and its cycle. I had a military father and uncles in the military. I grew up in OKC until the death of my parents. I was 8 when my mom died of cancer. And my daddy passed away unexpectedly when I was 11. Then I went to Boley to live with my aunt and uncle until I was 22.
What was it like losing your parents so young? It was devastating. The person that cooked my meals, combed my hair, picked me up from school was gone. It was a great pain, and it really hurt. It wasn’t like my dog died, and I could just get a new one. Once you lose a mother and father, they are gone and you don’t have that aspect in life anymore. As one of the older siblings, it was really hard. Emotionally and mentally, I didn’t know what to do. You think when you’re little that it’s going to be forever, and I was taught so young that it wasn’t.
What was it like being a military child? I was surrounded by men of stature and integrity. People that designed their lives to fight for my rights on whatever battlefield was given. I got to learn about different people and different cultures.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories? Traveling. We went everywhere. I-44 was the highway we would take out of here. I can remember my 5th or 6th birthday when we crossed the Oklahoma state line. It was just those things, just spending time with each other. I had my father and my mother. They were married. No thought of separation. We were the four amigos.
My daddy taught me how to defend myself with my heart and mind. I wasn’t raised to be selfish. I was taught to give of myself. The mental things I was taught about in life, how to love, how to take care of a home. Those are the things I cherish now that they’re gone. I don’t think I would have made it on the streets without those things that they taught me.
What was it like moving to Boley? I went to stay with my aunt and uncle. My aunt was a stay-at-home mom with a daycare, and my uncle was in the military. But this time, it wasn’t like going there for a week in the summer. This was life. I had to adjust. I had to learn to get along, not only with myself, but them as well. I don’t think I ever really adjusted. But I had three meals. I had a place to sleep. I wasn’t mistreated. They didn’t have to keep me. They could’ve said take these kids away, but they didn’t. They kept us.
After I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to college. I went to a 2-year college and graduated with a business administration degree. I thought: go to college, get the foundation, and then go on with life. But I made bad choices, and I ended up homeless.
Bad choices? I was frivolous in my spending. I would smoke marijuana like cigarettes. That’s a bad choice. I had went to college to be somebody, and now I was at a job paying $4.25 an hour. I was grieved beyond belief. Now that I’m back inside, I’ve learned to cope and deal with those feelings. I’ve learned to always look ahead. Don’t just look right in front of you.
Why did you stop using marijuana? I just decided. I was like you know what, this is not benefitting my life at all. I was tired of leaning on others. I haven’t had a joint since 2009. I have no plans to smoke it again. It’s takin’ money out of my hands unlawfully for an illegal service. I’m not contributing to an illegal activity. No. So, that’s how I overcame marijuana.
What was it like when you first became homeless? It’s like you’re at rock bottom. You are the lowest thing in this world. You’ve got no money, no housing, no family or friends. You’re just scum. You feel so disappointed inside. You don’t know where you’re going or what you’re gonna do. At the time, I didn’t know about the day shelter or City Rescue Mission or Jesus House. I didn’t know about those things. I knew I had my dog, the clothes on my back, and whatever money I had, I had to live on it. The bench was my bed. The sky was my ceiling.
Tell us about your dog, Leidy? Leidy is like a daughter I never had on four legs. She is my best friend. As far as having a housemate, Leidy is it. She don’t contribute nothin’ but a whole lot of cuddles and kisses and eatin’. But she means a great deal to me. You never think a pit bull would have that in her, but they are misrepresented.
How did she affect your time on the street? I couldn’t get into any shelters because there wasn’t any that take pit bulls. It limited me a great deal. Not only was I homeless, I was homeless with a dog that nobody liked but me. I had a hard time understanding how you gonna look me in my face and say no you can’t stay here because I got a dog.
Why didn’t you get rid of Leidy? I would never abandon something so loyal and kind, I wouldn’t. She’s a loyal and loving entity in my life. We had to learn to grow as a team. I will never give her up. Never. I didn’t have nothing, just me and Leidy. I think that made my time outside a little better because I had someone to talk to. It wasn’t like I was just out there by myself. I remember sleeping in a slide, and she was there keeping me warm under that little blanket. I remember sleeping by a dumpster. Leidy was there under the covers, keeping me warm on that cold concrete. I don’t think it was fair for someone else to tell me to give up my dog, when that little, ratty pit bull kept me alive. She kept me safe. She kept me mentally stable enough to live. We made it. We made it through that trial together.
How were you able to get out of homelessness? When I realized that life wasn’t getting any better, I remembered that my city could help me. I went to talk to my councilman but spoke with his assistant. She told me that there was a day shelter, a day shelter for people with pets. I could go there to take a shower, have two hot meals, get on the Internet to try to find a job or resources. So I went there. The day shelter impacted me in a positive way. That’s where I met George. George ended up being my best friend. Me and George stayed at the loading docks at a warehouse together. I was comforted to know a guy wanted to look out for me. It wasn’t sexual. It was just to have somewhere stable to sleep. Him offering me that dock was a blessing. I found out about Curbside at the day shelter. I always looked at the announcement board for jobs. The flyer said The Curbside Chronicle was hiring, so I was like ok let me check this out. I had panhandled before but with Curbside I’m handing something back. I have a title. I work for a company. It made it better mentally. The harder I work, the more money I get. It was inspirational because it gave me insight on a better life, one where I am independent. I am providing for myself. In exchange for your money, I am handing you something in return. I’m not just taking your money. It’s a psychological thing. It’s not quick. It’s hard. You’re in front of the whole world, but I am saying I am gainfully employed. This is my business opportunity. It wasn’t like me standing out there saying, “homeless anything helps.” With my (Curbside) apron, I was somebody. It’s uplifting. Then I was able to transition into working at Walmart.
What do you wish people knew about the homeless?
Tell us about moving on to Walmart? I started working at Walmart in December of 2013. I was still homeless at the time. During the week it was fine because I had somewhere to take a shower at the day shelter. The weekend wasn’t so fine because I had nowhere to take a shower. There were times I had to sleep in the snow. I had to leave Leidy at the trailer with George. But I had a job. I was getting back into life. I’ve been at Walmart almost 10 months now. In February of 2014, I moved back into housing.
What was it like moving back into housing? I cried. I’ll tell you why I cried. Cause I told Leidy, “If we make it out of this alive, we will never be here again.” I had a job. I was somebody. I was happy. We were on the floor just crying. It was good. I was back off the streets, and there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going back.
What was the best thing about being back in housing?
Having running water. Having an icebox where there is the chance of having food in it. Cabinets that you can fill. Just a place of self. “I’m going to the house,” means more than just, “I’m going home.” I’m going to do all I can to stay out of that situation again. Do you realize what I went through to get back to this place in life? To know that through my perseverance there is a God. There are nice, kind loving people. I’m back in society. I’m drug free. I think I did the best I could.
What do you see in your future? I would like to go back to college and learn more about the government. Maybe marry and have kids. I want a family. I’m taking a tax class at Liberty Tax. I started in September. They are teaching me how to do income tax. By the end December 31st, I will know everything I need to know about personal income tax. I am learning so much. I learned that the Civil War was funded by income tax. I think learning something new is exciting. I don’t think my story is over. It’s going to be a journey.
You’re not a stigma. You’re not a statistic or a label. You’re somebody. My name is Lanitra Owens. I’m 38-years-old, and I’m somebody. My life bears meaning. Being homeless is not a stigma. It’s not, “Oh, go get a job.” In that same breath that you say, “Go get a job,” you could say, “Let me show you this website or let me take you to my boss.” I just wish people would open up more and be realistic in their own life. Just because you have a nice job now doesn’t mean you’re going to always have it. I never thought in a million years that I would be homeless. It happens. The more kindness you have inside, the better life you’ll live.
What did you learn from being homeless? I learned that life has its own design. Either you can get in and win some or you can lay down and die. I chose to get in a win some because I didn’t give up. You have got to give it your best shot, if you don’t want to be outside. Always be looking ahead.
“HOMELESS” NOW REPLACE THAT WORD WITH “FATHER,” “MOTHER,” “SISTER,” “BROTHER,” “DAUGHTER,” “SON.” This is the reality of what homelessness truly means. It’s a word that becomes a label. That label becomes a stigma. And within that stigma, a person is lost. A person who could very easily be a loved one. This is why we proudly stand with the Curbside Chronicle in their noble mission to restore the lives and dignity of the most vulnerable among us.
OKLAHOMA CITY | WICHITA | TULSA
CAPRICORN SCORPIO There will be times this month when you feel hopeless and aloof. Probably because you are lost, Scorpio. No, not emotionally lost. You are physically lost, or at least you will be. Grab a canteen and learn how to work a compass that isn’t an app on your iPhone. Things are about to get real, and the North Star isn’t bright enough in the city.
I can’t even handle you right now. It’s not you. It’s me. I just need some space. Let’s be adults. Or children. I don’t care. You can respect that. Check back next month.
Capricorns, you are the unsung heroes. All you undercover vigilantes solving small crimes and scandals. But don’t let people diminish what you do. Plagiarism is no small crime.
AQUARIUS Whatever you do, Aquarius, don’t wear sandals this month. Keep it close-toed. Just trust me on this one.
You are so relatable and that’s why you are so loved. Everyone just feels like they can relate to you. Gosh, even I feel like you are just like me. Like we are twins or something. You can be awkward sometimes, introverted even. But I just get you. And you get me. You complete me, Pisces.
Aries, you have been placing unrealistic standards of beauty on yourself and others. Take a moment to stop and reevaluate what true beauty is. Then, I need you to perform a soulhealing dance to “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. If that doesn’t work, try disassembling a Barbie to “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. Beauty is complicated, but one thing I know for sure is that you are beautiful. I see it in the stars.
Taurus, you have been teetering on the ledge of an existential crisis for a while now. But with the solar eclipse on steady approach and the lunar landing years behind us, it’s time to step back from that ledge my friend. You do exist. There’s no need to question why. What you should be asking yourself instead is, “how can I be rare today?” You are one-of-a-kind, Taurus, so let that shine.
Gemini, your maternal instinct will grow strong this month, so benefit the community and volunteer at animal shelters and retirement facilities. Take advantage of the selfless love coursing through your veins while it lasts. We know it will eventually grow cold as you become cynical about life, love, and marriage. Just kidding! You’ll find your true love this month. The universe owes it to you. RESULTS!
Bookmarks will save you a lot of time this month, Cancer. Don’t ask me why or how; just trust me. It’s okay if you don’t have any. They’re easy (AND FUN) to make. Take any material (magazine, curtain, paper, beef jerky) and cut it somehow (be creative!). Then take the cut material and put it in-between the pages of a book. It can be a book that you’re currently reading or a book that your grandma got you for Christmas that you’ve never touched. The point is that your grandma will be happy to see that you’ve put a bookmark in her book. And that’s good cosmic energy.
Hoboscope by Mystic Milly
LEO Have you ever seen a sloth sprinting through the rainforest? Its spindly arms, twice the size of its stubby legs, clawing into the dirt and propelling it forward with speedy precision. Most people think sloths are slow, but we both know what they’re capable of. We’ve been dreaming about it for years. You should probably hit up some midnight movie premieres this month, but never stop dreaming of sloths.
VIRGO Stop stereotyping food, Virgo. Why does ice cream have to be a dessert instead of an entrée? Why can’t you have a Nutella crepe for dinner? Why shouldn’t you eat a vitamin fortified turkey leg with your coffee? You have got to lighten up. I know you may not be in the mood for Pad Thai for breakfast every morning, but Pad Thai still deserves a little attention. I suggest you switch things up this month. Your taste buds will thank me.
Feeling inspired to hone a new skill lately? That’s because of Jupiter’s orbit. It’s time to pick up a new hobby to impress your friends. I would suggest unicycling. It’s a great core exercise, and if you’re going to invest the time and effort into learning how to ride a bike with one wheel, you should simultaneously get ripped abs. It’s a winwin, Libra. See you on the streets.