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FROM THE founder

December Readers, As our semester comes to a close and the holiday season comes full swing, there is a lot to reflect on. This semester has been one of the most rewarding in a while for me. I think back on why that is, and one of the main reasons is due to where I am in my process of healing from past experiences. Healing is a very difficult course to run through, one that might not even have a proper beginning and end. We always have something to heal from don’t we? Healing goes hand in hand with pain and suffering, yet, it goes hand in hand with growth and survival as well. Healing has a different timeline based on what has happened. Sometimes it can take a day, but other things could take years. I don’t think I am anywhere close to having fully overcome my hardships. At the same time, I do see that I am in the midst of healing. It is interesting to think that when you break a bone, or if you are sick from a cold, you will take the time to fully recoup and you won’t push yourself because you physically are not able to. When we can physically see something happening, we are able to accept it and take action to heal. Why isn’t it the same when we think about mental health and our healing process for emotional traumas? We must heal properly from these as well, except our society still does not always allow us to always. Even looking at our education system, I have only come across two or three professors in my four years attending SUNY New Paltz who would take into consideration mental health for an excusable absence. Healing takes its form in many different ways, and for one person that might be needing to take a day to relax and be productive in improving their mental health. We cannot always force ourselves to put the time we need to heal aside. I have learned this over the past year. If I had never realized how important it is to heal our minds the same way we must heal our broken bones, I would not be in the head space that I am in today. It was not an easy process to make the active decision to heal; however, once you do make the decision, things are able to change for the better. Our Health & Wellness section features many articles for self-care in not only this issue, but in all of them. In this issue, you can find articles about the healing power of touch, yoga poses for recovery, how going home recharges us and more. There is a large variety of personal pieces in our literature & art section. We hope that you enjoy the last edition of The Teller for this semester. We encourage you to stay up to date with us via our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and website over winter break. Enjoy reading and enjoy winter vacation, Cloey Callahan Founder / Editor in Chief

meet our team

Jessica Barr Fashion Editor

Emily Trama Health & Wellness Editor

Gabriella Rivera Food Editor

Jeffrey Seitz Literary & Art Editor

Abigail Foster Adventure Editor

Marissa Ammon Literary & Art Editor

Shyana Fisher Home Editor

Bethelihem Gebresilasie Literary & Art Editor

Julia Catalanello Lead Graphic Designer

Diana Testa Head Copy Editor

Susanna Granieri Head Page Editor

Annemarie Durkin Head Page Editor

Judy Capiral Social Media Coordinator

Taylor Dinardo Managing Editor

fe ature d co n tri buto rs

Name: Amanda M. Gordon Year: Senior Major: Journalism, Sociology Minor Contribution: Adventure Email: How do you self-heal?: Similar to the moon, I go through phases for self care. My healthier modes of overcoming stress will be through writing or running (something I need to get back to.) Losing myself within pieces of literature or streaming services is my waning self care routine. At my worst? Usually a hot bath and a bottle of wine will settle me down but I keep a softball bat in the trunk of my car in case I need to release my frustration on cheap thrifted items.

Name: Lauren Gay Year: Senior Major: Graphic Design Contribution: Layout Design Email: How do you self-heal?: One of the most effective ways of self-healing I’ve found is to exercise. It’s difficult work, but it instantly resets my mood and makes me feel like I have control over any negative thoughts I’ve been facing.

Name: Emma Misiaszek Year: Senior Major: Journalism Contribution: Health & Wellness, Home, Layout Design Email: How do you self-heal?: I self-heal by listening to what my body and mind are telling me. Whenever I feel I am getting too stressed or my body needs to rest, I make sure to set aside time to simply take care of myself. Whether it be putting on a face mask, reading a good book or taking a much needed nap, I try to do what I believe I need to in order to heal and feel confident in getting back to my life.

all Contributors

Name: Therese Fischer Year: Freshman Contribution: Fashion Email: How do you self-heal?: I self-heal by slowing down and really focusing on the present. I like to take a break from social media and make time for the things I love most. Some of my favorites are writing, playing guitar, and doing yoga.

Fashion Lindsay Kranitz, Jessica Barr, Susana Granieri, Therese Fischer, Food Taylor Dowd Annemarie Durkin Victoria Cymbal Justin Rampert Gabriella Rivera, Adventure Abby Foster, Emily Fego, Julie Pumarejo, Amanda Gordon, Health and Wellness Emily Trama, Lindsay Kranitz, Judy Anne Capiral, Victoria Cymbal- Emma Misiaszek, Pamela Loperena Home Emma Misiaszek, Judy Capiral, Shyana Fisher, Jessica Barr,

Name: Caroline Rowley Year: Senior Major: Digital Media Production and Public Relations Contribution: Website Manager Email: How do you self-heal?: Taking time out of your day to do things that will benefit you and only you is empowering. I’ll go to the gym, clean my room, take a long hot shower, and order take out (usually Asian Fusion).

Poetry Jiesu, David O’Keefe, Jeffrey Seitz, Pamela Loperena, Samantha Hughes, Katie Goldblatt, Judy Anne Capiral, Emily LaSita, Jade Roman, Cassandra Lee, Nicole Wasylak, Short Stories Marissa Ammon, Nicole Wasylak, Ezra Baptist, Michelle Nedboy, Alyssa Detwiler, Photography/Art Marisa Lucchese, Emily Trama, Lindsay Kranitz, Justin Rampert, Blake Chamberlain, Colin Battersby, Reviews Michelle Nedboy, Playlists Gabrielle Vultaggio, Emily Trama, Jessica Barr, Marissa Ammon, Michelle Nedboy, Horoscopes Emma Gibbons, Claire Hazard,

Name: Emma Gibbons Year: Junior Major: Digital Media Production Contribution: Horoscopes Email: How do you self-heal?: I self heal by cleaning my room or listening to music!

Design Team Julia Catalanello, Olivia Heins, heinso1@hawkmail.newpaltzedu Christian Torgersen, Kirstin Phillips, Emma Misiaszek, Lindsay Kranitz, Lauren Gay, Rebecca Angelou, Gwen Jones, Website Managers Caroline Rowley, Amy Thompson, Covers Julia Catalanello,




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P. 012 My Casual Addiction

P. 028 CBD-Based Tea Company

P. 040 Historical Mansions in the Valley

P. 016 Sustainable Fashion Vision Board

P. 032 Beginnings of a Forager

P. 042 My Interaction with a Cheetah

P. 020 Dressing Beyond Body Image

P. 034 Gabbie’s Vegetarian Empanadas

P. 038 Homecoming: Hiking to Heal









P. 046 Home is Home is Home

P. 054 Yoga Remedies

P. 048 Spirit of the Home

P. 056 Healing Energy of Touch

P. 050 Preparing Your Home for Winter

P. 060 Guide to Natural Medicine


Short Stories

Photography and Art Playlists Reviews Horoscopes







The Legacy of Alexander McQueen History of Fashion:

by Jessica Barr



Known as “Enfant Terrible,” British fashion designer Alexander McQueen usurped the industry in the mid 90s with controversial designs, deviance and a complete disinterest in being liked. McQueen’s philosophy that fashion needed to be a mode of communication was demonstrated through his innovative designs, principally containing metaphors of politics and feminism. Alexander Lee McQueen was born in London as the youngest of six, his mother, a social studies teacher and father, a cab driver or “cabby.” During his teen years McQueen began working in fashion as a seamster in a few places. His first apprenticeship at Anderson and Sheppard on Savile Row marked the beginning of his career with unorthodox fashion when he embroidered obscenities into the lining of a suit tailored for the Prince of Wales. McQueen was no stranger to backlash or controversy, yet some of his designs caught onto mainstream fashion so much so that every woman in the world sported them – as was the case with his low-rise jeans called “bumsters;” trousers cut so low they sometimes didn’t fully cover the model’s bum. Still, they inspired a global trend so widespread, proving the alignment of his creative intuition with the ephemerality of fashion. Nearly every mainstream jean manufacturer was selling low-rise jeans after they featured in his collection, “The Taxi Driver” for A/W 1993. McQueen’s big breakthrough really came around 1994 when stylist Isabella Blow purchased his whole graduate collection, flaunting the McQueen brand until her death in May 2007. In 1996, McQueen was appointed chief designer for the house of Givenchy, where he begrudgingly stayed until his contract was up in March 2001. After five years of feeling that his creativity was constrained, he began working with the Gucci group in December of 2000, which bought a 51% stake in McQueen’s own label. It was here that Alexander McQueen really became a pioneer of fashion. For all of his designs that purposely caused uproar and backlash, McQueen was anything but contentious. Personal friends described him as shy in his private life, being regarded in W magazine as “adorable and kind, and he’s unbelievably good to his friends - generous without noise.”



A Q&A with My Casual Addiction A Local Earring Company

by Lindsay Kranitz

Are you or someone you know addicted to earrings? Well, My Casual Addiction is the perfect earring company for you! Emily Lasita is a SUNY New Paltz senior majoring in English with a creative writing concentration and minor in studio art. With a funky and fun artistic taste, combined with her knowledge of using a laser cutter. Emily has created a business called “My Casual Addiction” selling handmade earrings made out of acrylic. Emily is also a sustainability ambassador on campus and incorporates her passion for sustainability by using recycled packaging when sending out her earrings around the United States. The prices of her earrings range from $8 to $18 but if you’re a student, you can get 20% off when you follow @mycasualaddiction on Instagram. Custom orders are also available upon request! When you buy a pair of earrings from My Casual Addiction, be sure to take a picture of them and tag @mycasualaddiction because she loves to see people wearing her art! Q: What is your background in art? A: Before coming to New Paltz, I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY FIT) with my Associate in Applied Science, which was a two-year program designed for immediate employment after graduation. It was great, but I realized I did not want to go into the interior design industry, so I came to New Paltz to change my major. But I did not want to stop doing art which is why I am minoring in studio art. Q: How did you come up with the name “My Casual Addiction” A: I’m really obsessed with earrings, I would say I am addicted. Whenever I go anywhere I always buy a pair of earrings. The name “My Casual Addiction” came to me in high school because I thought it would be a cool name for something like a boutique, so I used it for my Instagram account to post my art (also an addiction). When I started making earrings in college, I figured it would be the perfect name for the brand and so I revamped my old Instagram.


Q: Did you also make earrings in High School?

Q: What exactly is the material you use for the earrings?

A: I only started making earrings second semester sophomore year. I wasn’t selling them then. I was just making them for fun.

A: Its acrylic. I am looking at exploring other materials in the future.

Q: Who/What inspired you to create an earrings business? A: Well I learned the technology I use to make the earrings for something else. I did not learn it to specifically make earrings. For my interior design class we were learning how to laser cut acrylic, and use adobe programs, to make lamps. We were just making prototypes but I loved it so much I wanted to see what else I could do with it and so I started making earrings!

Q: When did you start your business? A: I guess technically this summer, because I was making them but I wasn’t selling them. Then towards the end of the summer I started putting them online. Q: Did you put them on Instagram first or Depop first? A: I put them on Depop first because I felt like if I put them on Instagram I needed to know how to run a business because I think on Instagram you need to have other things to run a business strictly for the platform. I was going to make an Etsy store, but I realized the demographic for Depop is younger–teenagers to early 20’s, early 30’s. I felt that anyone older than that would not want to wear such bright earrings. I might go on Etsy one day.


Instagram: @MyCasualAddiction



Q: How do the shapes of your earrings make you feel? How do you want others to feel when wearing your earrings?

Q: What is the step by step process of making a pair of earrings? A: Basically everything starts as a sketch by hand, then I usually make a prototype out of paper or cardboard, just to see how it looks on my ears or someone else's, because I do not want it to look weird when it is actually worn. Then I will take it into the computer and then cut it out.

A: The earrings make me feel fun and I want other people to feel like they’re having fun when wearing my earrings. The “HaHa” earrings are the first ones I made, and I was thinking about how I wanted something that was quirky, off the beaten path, and unique.

Q: How long does it take to make a pair of earrings?

Q: What are the different shapes? A: I have quotation mark earrings and they are on both sides of your ears so your voice is in between, like your words are in quotes. There's another one that is the female feminie sign as a hoop earring. I feel like these can be up for interpretation, I picked the translucent material because gender is kind of fluid. Q: Are there any new shapes that you are thinking of or that are being released soon? A: Yeah, I made the “Haha” earrings in a different, purple material. I am working on a new design that involves a heart shape coming soon. Q: Does the acrylic come in different colors or do you put something on top of it? A: They come in sheets as the color. Some of them I hand paint like the silver on the sides of the Haha earrings. I am looking for different materials for the future but right now it is just acrylic.

Q: Are there any other mediums would you try to use for your earrings? A: I want to try to use a plant based material, but I have to make sure it would work on the laser cutters because they don’t want to ruin their machines. I am also looking at wood as another alternative.


Q: Would you or do you create any other types of jewelry? A: I don't right now, but I have been thinking of it. I have not taken any metal working classes at New Paltz but I definitely want to take one of those.

Q: How do you see people wearing/ styling your earrings? Did you think about that when you were making them? A: I was thinking about that a little bit because, since they are larger, statement pieces, maybe people would wear them to a festival or concert. Even day to day, like I do, if they want something bright in their outfit.

A: About a week. When I cut out a couple of pairs it takes about an hour but assembling it all by hand is what takes the longest. Also, designing it on the computer takes a long time because I want to make sure the sizing is right so I always recheck the dimensions. With the female hoop earring I wanted to make sure the back of it did not brush up against someone's neck, I did not want it to be uncomfortable. So overall with printing and assembling it takes about a week.

Q: What are your ideas to grow your business in the future? A: I’m thinking that since I’m a student juggling both things but I would like to put more emphasis on the earring business, just by putting more time into it. In the future maybe I would have a website, but right now its just depop and Instagram as my primary way of selling. Q: Do you think you are going to keep going with the business after you graduate? A: I would like to, I will probably keep doing it as long as it's still enjoyable, because I love doing it, it's really fun. I am making multiple of the same piece but it’s not like I’m mass producing it so it still feels like each one is unique to the person I am giving it to. People wear them different ways too, I know someone who wears just one. Also, I would need to find a facility that would let me use their laser cutter once I graduate.


Depop: @MyCasualAddiction



THE TELLER by Jessica Barr




The Hip-Hop Phenomenon by Susanna Granieri

Fashion represents a confidence within the esteem of self, and front runners such as Lil Baby, Meek Mill and Dave East display a level of confidence that is unforeseen. They embrace their lives and symbolize their emotions in their lyrics, but their outfits say it all. Lil Baby will flash a Rolex watch, while participating in multiple interviews about his immense jewelry collection. In impoverished Black communities, the dream of getting out is prominent, and hip-hop artists touch on this subject in one way or another. Yes, it seems as though this is a simple-minded opinion, but think of their lyrics.

I’m sure some of you have looked around and realized that Champion was a brand sold in Walmart when we were kids, and now a hoodie can cost over $60. This is true for brands across the spectrum, including Adidas, Nike, Saint Laurent, Balmain, Gucci and many more, all because of one thing: hip-hop culture has become the new norm. Hip hop culture in the ‘90s was subjected to baggy pants, platform sneakers and short crop tops. Now, in 2019, history is repeating itself through the spiked interest in rap and hip-hop music. Compared to the 1980s and ’90s, hip-hop figures such as Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa and many others of their time decided fashion would be the statement they made to represent their character. Performers ask themselves, “what do you want to be seen and and how can you get there” according to rapper Dave East in a Youtube interview, proving that the personalities of popular stars are displayed in their wardrobe.

Dave East was explaining a night at a hotel, rapping that he had “$15,000 in my Balmain’s, I’m lackin’/I put my Rollie in the dresser with like four chains,” in his song “Keisha,” showcasing his luxury and lack of care. In a Youtube video featuring Lil Baby choosing a new chain, his crew is hyping him up, saying “this is how people want to see you! This may not be how you like walkin’ out but when people see you, they want to see you drip like this bro.” The glorification of fame and the promotion of money has led to a shifted mindset of listeners, mixing popular trends with ’90s swag and the brand-saturated market of 2019. It’s clear, the confidence stemming from the increase in hip-hop culture has infiltrated popular media and therefore created a trend shift. Camo pants, Adidas sneakers or a Nike hat. If you are a hip-hop listener, whether you admit that you are following the change or not, check your closet for the brands that hip-hop put there.

Obviously; yes. But, if you open your mind to the actual shift in fashion, you’ll see the impactful change hip-hop music had on society and our popular fashion. “Hip-hop as a musical genre and the artists who populate the industry are at the center of culture,” according to the LA Times. “Players such as Nicki Minaj, Drake, Cardi B, Pharrell and others now dictate major pop-culture and fashion trends.” Although fashion may be a statement in the hip-hop community, it stems from the roots of the Black community and their respect for fashion identities. This, in turn, increases the confidence of performers.



The Evolution Imagine a life in which women were not allowed to wear pants? As old as this story may be, dating back to the 1800s, it is still a story of importance. From horse riding pants that held weapons for defending, to the everyday cigarette legged trouser, women have defended their right against the patriarchal society to wear the historic and ever so comfortable “two-legged garments.”


Trousers by Lindsay Kranitz

Most people put their pants on in the morning without even thinking about how we got to this stage in history. I mean, I definitely don’t. Contrary to what you may feel, pants should hold a special place in your heart, especially if you’re a woman. Women used to dress as men, trousers and all, in order to get equal job opportunities and better pay. This was a time in history where gender equality was even more hazy than present day. Laws were passed in states such as Ohio and Texas regarding societal clothing restrictions that called for women only wearing “women’s clothing” and men only wearing “men’s clothing.” As women started to fight for equal clothing rights, the great mind of Amelia Bloomer designed the first pair of pants that were to be worn under skirts. Women from all over jumped to this trend; it was as close as they could get to wearing regular pants at the time. Although they were just bloomers, and unflattering at best, it was still a first step to the everyday pants we know and love. Eventually some of the laws were reduced. Women were then able to wear pants for activities such as biking and horseback riding. These activities were becoming a popular trend among women at the time so the laws were changed to fit the needs of women’s comfort. As time went on, society became more lenient and gender clothing laws were diminished. Fashion magazines, award shows and even the everyday workplace were starting to become accepting of women wearing trousers. Hillary Clinton was the first woman to wear trousers for her First Lady portrait. In light of Clinton’s trouser debut, feminists were redefining what it meant to be feminine, which included the use of trousers as an everyday pant. So, the next time you wear a pair of those trendy trousers from Urban Outfitters, know that Hillary Clinton, as well as many other bold women in history, are proud of you. Fast forward a couple of years and now we are living today with equal rights by society to wear pants because of the defiance and strength of women in history.





Kerry McCloskey Can you describe your journey with body image and how it has affected the way you dressed? My weight has fluctuated a lot since forever. When I was a kid, I gained 20 pounds a year and nobody else was like that. I even heard stuff growing up from other kids shaming themselves if they gained 5 pounds and I would think, “Ahh sh*t, I gained 20 pounds this year.” I would always beat myself up about it. I got bullied a lot when I was young. I gained a lot of weight until junior year of high school and honestly, my body image was better then than it was after I lost weight. Because I lost 50 pounds last year, I said to myself, “Oh, now it’s an addiction,” like you gotta keep losing weight. So, my body image really got down but since this last year, I’ve gotten a lot better because everyone is accepting. Even though I was a bigger kid, I never really held back from wearing what I wanted to wear. It wasn’t until these past few years after I lost weight, that I am


more conscious of what I look like with what I’m wearing. It’s actually interesting, as I lost weight, I became more self-concious with my fashion. But now, I try my hardest to just wear what I want even if it’s not the most flattering. What is the inspiration behind your style? I get a lot of inspiration from my older sister because she had a different style when I was growing up and I wanted to follow that. And I’ve always just felt different. When I was young, like 5th grade, I cut my hair really short and I think that was the change for me. After that, people would view me differently. They’d be like, “That’s weird. Why would you do that?” Ever since then, I’ve never been afraid to step outside of my comfort zone with style, because I always want to wear different things or just try out whatever I feel like wearing.




Guinevere Servis

Can you describe your journey with body image and how it has affected the way you dressed? I’ve always been small. I’ve hung out with high schoolers since I’ve been in elementary school, so not only have I been small because of my age, but I've also been physically small. I really felt like I had to counter that with building muscle. So, in 10th grade, I was really insecure and started coping in an unhealthy way. I’d go to the gym two to three times a day and eat one salad. I believed if I had a six pack then a girl would stay. If I had something on my body that was ideal, then they would think of me as ideal. Because, that’s just what society has taught me. And I played football which was weird because I was the only girl, obviously. I’d have to go weight lifting with the guys and they always treated me weirdly. So, I felt like I had to dress masculine and athletic because for what I lacked in height, I needed to overcompensate with my eye-catching clothes. As I’ve gotten older, I understand that someone’s purpose should not be solely through their body. I gained the perspective to look beyond standards and focus more on my mental health. What is the inspiration behind your style? Well first off, there’s a negative aspect to it, which is lots of stereotypes for butch lesbians to dress masculine. I’m always at this constant pull between dressing feminine and dressing masculine because my personality is so feminine. The way I dress doesn’t represent how my personality is. I look a little bit more hard and mean, but you get to know me and I’m like, “Hey girl, wassup?! How you doin?” And I kind of go through a constant battle of like, “I want to wear a crop top today. Like that’d be so cute.” But then, I think people are going to look at me and be like, “No, that’s not who you’re supposed to be.” On the good side, I represent a lot of what I like in what I wear- 90’s nostalgia and modern streetwear. I also show the artists I like. I have lots of Frank Ocean, Queen and Green Day. I’ve always felt different and I like to represent that in the way that I dress.



Fashion Heals and funds for sick kids by Jessica Barr

Is fashion unequivocally an industry of narcissism, superficiality and a “me-first” attitude, believing in vanity above all else? The industry, chock-full of deviance, has found itself defying the very merits that most belief fashion runs on. Fashion Heals for Sick Kids, founded by Elke Rubach in 2015, has as one of its missions, turning fashion into a vehicle of healing by funding research that will support pediatric health research with ultimate global impact. With a goal of raising $1 million by 2023, Fashion Heals has spent the last five years successfully raising over $450 thousand through an annual volunteer-run fashion show, in which the patients, parents and doctors walk the runway. The fundraiser, held in Toronto, is put on solely through donations and sponsorships by companies spanning across the banking, fashion, entertainment, construction and housing sectors. Founder Elke Rubach compares the show to a greek wedding where “everybody brings something to the table.”

Fashion Heals offers sponsorship options that include benefits like recognition as an official sponsor which includes promotions at the event and on the Fashion Heals website, inclusion in a looped video played behind the runway and a feature in any social media campaigns, ads and press releases done by Fashion Heals. Through the preparations and actual hosting of the event, the curators build relationships with the doctors, patients and their families. Stephanie Clayton, a hospital patient from the moment she was born, has grown especially close to Rubach and is an ambassador for Sick Kids. “The story probably closest to me is Stephanie’s,” says Rubach, who she met two years ago and invited to Fashion Heals’ third show. She loved the show so much there were plans for her to model in the fourth, but health complications got in the way, inhibiting her from walking. Stephanie is a chronic pain patient who, “was born with too many complications to list,” says Rubach. Although there are days she goes through so much pain, she knows that the Fashion Heals family and model squad support and cheer her on, letting her know she is an inspiration to them all and to keep on fighting. This year, Stephanie was able to make it to the show where she and her sister relished in the empowerment that the event and patients are able to envelop the room in. Dr. Jim Whitlock, the Chief at Garron Family Cancer Centre sums up the companies funding as making “an impact in the lives of children who suffer from cancer, not only in Toronto and across Canada, but around the world.”

In their first year, the Fashion Heals runway show raised $12,000, moving onto $40,000 their second year. By the third year, that number more than double at $90,000, growing to $125,000 their fourth year, and finally on October 2nd of this year at their fifth show bringing in $200,000. The company reports only net fundraising, so total reported is the total amount put towards medical research.

Most recently, fundraising money went to Dr. Cynthia Hawkins to fund her research focused on pediatric brain tumors. Through her research, Dr. Hawkins has found a way to match treatments with specific genetic mutations, believing “these funds are literally changing the way we care for patients.” This kind of knowledge allows for children with less aggressive brain tumors to be treated with oral medicines, avoiding the side effects of traditional and more intensive chemotherapy. Patients unable to do the testing in person have the ability to send their samples to Sick Kids where the necessary equipment can be used to better assess their situation.



Instagram: @fashionheals4sickkids







The Truth About CBD Tea by Victoria Cymbal

The conversation of marijuana is still seemingly controversial throughout the country and across the world; however, there is more ease when shifting the focus to hemp and cannabidiol, also known as CBD. Hemp itself has a deeper history with America than most know about. Our first president, George Washington, advocated for the growth of hemp and grew it himself as it was a major cash crop. In the late 1880s, about 90% of all paper in the world was made from cannabis hemp fiber simply because the plant was discovered to be versatile, practical and convenient. For those that are confused, hemp is different from marijuana in the way it is cultivated, applied and its’ function- it’s a completely different plant altogether. Consider a marijuana plant and a hemp plant to have the same relationship as cousins do. The levels of THC in hemp are incredibly low ranging from 0-0.3%, according to the research group, Ministry of Hemp. CBD is directly derived from the hemp plant. It is the second most established active ingredient in cannabis, but it does not hold the same psychoactive effects as THC, meaning it will not get you feeling dazed and confused. CBD recently gained popularity in the past year, exposing the many different health benefits psychologically, physically and neurologically. Psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and insomnia are commonly treated with CBD as it brings about a relaxing effect that helps you remember to take a deep breath and slow down. There is a great evidence


showing CBD significantly reduces seizure frequency in those with various seizure disorders, stated in the New England Journal of Medicine. In terms of neuroprotective effects, CBD helps protect the brain from damage after injury increasing the number of viable brain cells and reducing the injured cells by more than 50%, found in a study done by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Cannabis has been used for physical pain like headaches, inflammation and menstrual cramps but cannabidiol can also reduce pain and inflammation. Applying it topically seems to work better for inflammation since an ointment or salve doesn’t have to be metabolized in the body. The research of CBD continues and the findings continue to be positive and beneficial to the overall health of humans. CBD tea is available in most grocery stores today with numerous different brands to choose from. It’s more affordable than buying the oil-tincture form, and it’s convenient to find for first-timers. Drinking tea has been a common ritual amongst humans for centuries. There are health benefits of simply drinking herbal and green tea, so adding CBD to the warm mix is going to enhance your tea drinking experience as you thought you once knew it. Local CBD tea company, High Tea, is based in Kingston, NY where the founder Miriam Novalle is committed to delivering her finest sustainable teas to anyone that wishes to be healthy while enjoying a cup of tea. Novalle wants her customers to know that “with the addition of organic hemp, tea drinkers can now take advantage of the benefits of one of the world’s most powerful natural resources.” Your water is most likely boiling now, so let’s throw a CBD infused tea bag into that favorite mug of yours and let the plants work their magic. Happy sipping!


Photo by Kimzy Nanney

It’s an icebox outside and the end-of-year stresses are starting to pile up. What could one possibly do to de-stress and get toasty at the same time? Turn on your stove top, heat up some water and let’s find out.

Starbucks Sweet Secrets From a Barista Herself by Annemarie Durkin

When you’re feeling under For a little holiday treat: the weather: Try a sick tea (also called a medicine ball). This specialty tea is jam-packed with feel-good ingredients like peach, mint and lemon that will help you kiss that nasty cold goodbye. Make sure to ask for honey for maximum healing benefits.

Ask for a hot latte with Irish cream syrup, whipped cream and red holiday sprinkles on top. This ‘holiday’ drink is lesser known than the caramel brulee or the crowd favorite chestnut praline. It is, however, my personal favorite and has a more subtle flavor than the other holiday drinks. Pair it with a sugar plum cheese danish and curl up by the fire to celebrate the holiday season.

When you need a pick-meup to get you through late- On days you need a little night finals study sessions: refreshment: The vanilla sweet cream cold brew is the perfect drink to keep you going for hours. The strong, bitter coffee flavor is well balanced with vanilla syrup and sweet cream, making it widely loved by many with a variety of coffee preferences.


Try the blended strawberry lemonade. This fruity slushytype drink is best when I’m looking for a sweet treat on warmer days. Even in the winter, the BSL is a great pick me up when my mood is less than ecstatic.


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To make larger, bakery-style cookies (as pictured), pinch one of the scooped dough balls in half. Add this half to a full scoop of dough to create enlarged dough balls (1.5 scoops of dough).

Ever wonder how to achieve even, rounded cookies? Take scooped cookie dough ball. Place between two hands and gently roll. Press down on top of dough until flattened. It should look like a cylinder.

Measure flour by placing spoonfuls into a dry measuring cup. This is the most accurate way to measure, as it ensures the dough isn’t too dry or too wet.

Don’t over bake the cookies. Because oven temperatures vary, pull from the oven when the edges are golden brown. Since cookies continue baking when they come out of the oven, they need to be removed slightly before they’re finished.


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Recipe: • 2 c. water • ½ c. Dried Chaga chunks • *1 tbsp. Honey (optional for taste) Directions: 1. Add water to a pot and bring to boil 2. Turn off heat and add Chaga chunks when the water has cooled for a minute 3. Let the Chaga steep for about an hour (the longer the better) 4. *Add your honey and drink up!




3 tablespoons of sofrito (frozen or canned kind, I prefer the frozen)

Two 12oz bags of Morning Star or any other vegetarian beef substitute

(Goya Para Empanadas)—Goya Empanada Discs

Half of a block of cheddar cheese

A small can of tomato sauce

Adobo (to taste)

Sazón (to taste)


1. Make sure your empanada wrappers are fully defrosted before you start to cook. They should be cold so they are easy to handle but not too warm as to not be able to hold their shape. 2. Start by heating a large deep pan to medium high head and add a little oil. 3. When the oil is hot, add your sofrito and heat until melted. (if you are not using the frozen sofrito, skip this step and add your sofrito when you add your meat substitute) 4. Add your “beef” into the pan and stir to coat and cook for about two minutes. Remember since this isn’t meat we are only heating it so it is not going to take that long. 5. Pour about half the can of your tomato sauce into the pan and stir until combined. 6. Sprinkle with adobo and Sazón to taste and cook until “beef’ is hot. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl to leave off to the side to cool. 7. While the beef is cooling create an empanada making station. Grab a small bowl of water, cut your cheese into small squares, set your empanada wrappers in the middle of the table and lay out a sheet of parchment paper. I did this with two of my friends and we finished within seven minutes. 8. When “beef” is warm and not hot, you can start the assembly process! Hold an empanada wrapper in your hand. Add a cube or two of cheese, covering with 2 tablespoons of filling. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and trace the inside circumference of the empanada before folding it onto itself and crimping the edges together with a fork. 9. Start to heat a shallow frying pan to medium high with about an inch or two of oil. 10. When your oil is hot, place each folded pocket into the pan, laying it away from you to avoid splatter. Fry each empanada until golden brown and crispy before placing onto a paper towel-lined plate and wait about 5 minutes before eating (if you can) because you will burn your mouth. We have the tongue burns to prove it.


This recipe will allow everyone to feel included at the dinner table at your next holiday get-together and when you make them with friends, it really feels like the holidays are already here.






This time three years ago, I was in a bad place. Well- who wasn’t? The country elected a malicious, narcissistic, sexist pig into the highest office of the land. But on top of not knowing what the hell was going on with the country, it was an added layer to watch my country tear itself apart from the other side of the globe. This time three years ago, I was deployed to the great state of Kuwait, which is dry in every sense of the word. I imagined that the deployment was going to be my adventure, and in some ways it was. Not many can say that they stood in the Kuwait towers, had the pleasure of eating pizza made by Italian soldiers or swam in the Red Sea. Being able to travel to a distant land is an adventure in itself. But some days, even now, I wonder if it was worth it. I made some money, saw some things and have the benefit of saying I’ll have my B.A. debt free. It should be a no brainer, but it isn’t. I should probably answer the questions everyone goes to. No, I didn’t kill anyone, most service members today don’t see combat. Nor was I sexually assaulted, but harassment comes with the territory of being in a career field that has women outnumbered 10 to 1. All in all, nothing truly terrible happened; In some ways that was the worst part. Because there was no definitive cause to link my anger on. Was it the boredom or stressful workload? I could point to the leadership that was at best arrogant or ignorant, and at its worst, both. Maybe it was the empty promises giventhat I would forward deploy or that we were working on something that made a difference. Being away from family is hard but being away from them with the looming political divide made the concept of home seem even farther away. Four months in was when I noticed my chest pains. It felt like a hand was constantly squeezing on my heart from the moment I woke and until sleep stole me away, there wasn’t a point that I didn’t feel the tension radiating within me. In addition, I could never tell if I had sand in my mouth or if I managed to chip a tooth with the clenching of my jaw.


“This will go away when I get home,” I thought. “It’s just this place, these people, the job. I’ll feel better once I’m stateside again.” But it didn’t go away. Not when I landed in the Nutmeg state, nor when I settled back into my home base for decompression. Surely, it would be gone when I got back home. Even in my own bed I would wake up with the familiar discomfort. But that wasn’t all I brought home with me. I never had the patience of a saint, but my fuse was shorter than ever even with the people I loved. Especially with the people I love. My days were spent indoors, in isolation and usually with a bottle of some sort. Rum mostly, though Vodka and Bourbon were also close friends. “There’s a veteran hiking trip you should go on,” my mom pressed on me over the phone. “I think it would be good for you.” All I could do is sneer. I had just got back home from being in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of military people. That’s the last thing I needed, but I didn’t tell her this. I knew she just wanted to help. “I have a friend from work going. She isn’t military, but she is the only girl going,” my mom said and I felt a sense of liability. I had no idea who any of those people were going to be, but I knew what it felt like to be the only woman in the room– I couldn’t fathom the weight of being a lone woman in a forest. So, I agreed to go. I bought the necessities I needed; a good pair of hiking boots, a sleeping bag and pack that holds a water bladder along with some clothes built for the outdoors. It set my bank account back a bit, but I told myself that it was for a good cause; an investment of sorts. Days later, I carpooled with the woman who unknowingly guilt tripped me into the trip. We drove 400 miles to go for a hike. It seems like a joke, but Shenandoah Valley isn’t just a leisurely stroll in the


woods, nor is any hiking trip for someone who’s closest experience to camping is sleeping in a military grade tent. Uncle Sam would provide wherever you were stationedbut for the next four days I would have to rely on myself and the other unknown hikers in the group. By the time we arrived, the woman who started out as a stranger had already evolved into what seemed to be a lifelong companion; one whom I still keep in contact with. We linked up with our guide, a man who looked like he could take on any of the black bears that roam the national park. It had been some time since I had been intimidated at first sight of a person, but Aaron turned out to be a big factor in releasing that tension in my chest, not just for coordinating the hiking expedition through the Sierra Club’s Military Outdoors program, but in his words on the trails. “Everyone goes into the service for a reason, but everyone gets out for a reason too.” The three other guys on the trip were also veterans whose experiences matched my own. Frustrations with leadership, seeing unsavory folk rise in rank and other questionable actions within their service time. It’s the first time in a while, I felt as though I was not alone.

become with a weapon of war. It’ll never cease to amaze me at how much those who haven’t worn a uniform praise the violence it brings. Before we would go our separate ways again, Aaron warned us that the coming days of reintegrating back into life would be difficult- providing me a better notice than the military briefings I received at the end of my deployment. He was right. I would later find myself wishing that I had a tent over my head than a roof, that waking up to the sounds of babbling stream were far more preferable to alarm clocks and noisy commuters outside. Even my favorite dishes could not stand to the culinary standards of the jerky and cheese wraps we would scarf down while at rest. I’ve returned to the safety of the trees a few times since then, never more than a day or two at most. Those chest pains have also come to haunt me, but only for a moment or two because I can call upon the peaks and riverbeds to put me at ease.

It’s astounding to me that while we hiked miles from civilization, I felt more at home than in places I should call home and that the five people I’ve known for only days have become better confidants than my family. What I presumed to be an isolating experience brought me back to society. As I breathed in the crisp Virginian air that had yet to welcome spring, crossed frigid streams in my ragged Tom’s or trudged up the false summits the pains in my chest had receded to nothing more than a memory. Coming out of the woods, society did not pull back any punches. It was April 13, 2017, when we emerged and the “mother of all bombs” was dropped in Afghanistan. What cleansing the dirt and trees gave was somewhat sullied by pundits on a diner TV saying how presidential Trump had



Do you ever wonder what it was like to live in the Gilded Age? Then look no further than the many historic mansions hidden throughout the Hudson Valley. A time of opulent wealth and extravagant lifestyles, the remnants of this period of American history are still present in the carefully maintained mansions that are open for the public to explore. The historic Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park is one of the Hudson Valley’s oldest historic mansions. The estate itself is over 200 acres, and includes Italian gardens and breathtaking views of the Catskills and the Hudson River. The 54-room main house has been carefully maintained to represent what life was like as an upper class American as accurately as possible. The grounds are free and open for the public to explore until sunset all year long. Guided house tours are also available.

The Clermont Historic Site in Germantown was once home to the Livingston family, who were significantly involved in the creation of the United States as an independent nation. One member of this historic family, Robert Livingston Jr., helped draft the Declaration of Independence. The well-manicured grounds of the Livingston estate feature four gardens, the main house and a stunning view of the Hudson River. The grounds and gardens are free for the public to explore from 8:30 a.m. to sunset, and guided tours of the mansion are also offered to the public.

The Staatsburgh State Historic Site in Staatsburg is another beautifully maintained mansion from the 19th century. This estate was owned by the Mills family, amongst whom were financiers, philanthropists and landowners. The main house on the Staatsburgh estate was remodeled by the same architectural firm, McKim, Mead and White, who were instrumental in creating the Vanderbilt Mansion. The main house is open for guided tours throughout the year, and the grounds are free and open to the public. The Wilderstein Estate in Rhinebeck was home to Daisy Suckley, cousin to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The estate is unique in comparison to other historic mansions in the area because of its Italianate country home design that differs from the classic English style that is seen in both Vanderbilt and Staatsburgh. The tour season for this mansion typically ends in October, but offers a special holiday tour season where tours are given every weekend until the end of December.



I’ve spent many hours - nay many days - dreaming about European travel. We’ve all seen the carefully curated Instagram posts and the dreamy Pinterest pics of #SoloFemaleTraveler! I just never thought that would be me. This is partially because I am a very social animal but mostly because my dad wouldn’t be Liam Neeson if I ever got “Taken.” It wasn’t until I got to college that the opportunity finally presented itself: study abroad! I only had two requirements for my program: 1. Not a billion dollars (a.k.a. under 15 grand) 2. Somewhere in Europe. I stumbled upon Switzerland one rainy Thursday afternoon after eavesdropping on a stoner kid talking about it in the business school lounge. Somehow it was the only program that I didn’t already obsessively inspect. Fast forward five months and I was gazing at a beautiful snow-capped mountains while eating fondue and living my best life! Eventually, my last month in Europe rolled around, and I wanted to go on an adventure. However, none of my other friends were that interested in joining. This was either because they already visited my desired countries, or they were sweating bullets over finals fast approaching. I decided to fly solo and I was absolutely terrified. What was I to do when I ate at restaurants alone? How would I feel going weeks on end without talking to a companion? My answer: travel journal. This little book saved my mental health whenever I would feel lonely. From utilizing it to write my very first bucket list when I thought my plane to Amsterdam was going down, to getting drunk off my a** from a fat glass of sangria in a tapas bar in Barcelona, and detailing every time my highschool crush looked my way. This journal became my appreciated companion.



The intimate room was filled with animal lovers, young and old. Every face practically glowed with anticipation as we readied our phones, preparing to capture this once-in-alifetime event. An excited buzz filled the air. Finn entered the room first, with his nose close to the ground and his toenails clicking on the wooden floor. He avoided eye contact and seemed to make himself smaller as he walked quietly to a corner of the room. Finn didn’t want to pull any attention from his best friend, Triton—the one we were all there to see. Meanwhile, Triton hesitated at the door. Two handlers waited patiently until he was ready to make his grand entrance. The chatter stopped abruptly as twenty heads turned in unison. Triton looked curiously at his visitors, surveying each of us carefully. He wore a harness, but the keepers did not need it to control or restrain him. It was Triton who ran the show and who chose to guide his keepers around the front of the room. A happy chatter started up again, but all I could discern was Triton’s deep purr. I could feel it in my bones. My heart was caught in my throat, but I was not afraid. I realized this animal could kill me instantly if he desired, but I wasn’t scared. I felt completely comfortable in Triton’s presence, yet I was paralyzed by his beauty, poise and power. Finn is an English Labrador and his best friend, Triton, is a cheetah. They are both part of the Bronx Zoo’s ambassador program, which started in 2012. The seemingly unlikely duo were raised together, along with another English Labrador, Norton and Triton’s brother, Little Foot.



In that room with Triton, one would never guess that these magnificent cats are actually pretty skittish, shy animals. So when Triton and Little Foot came to the Bronx Zoo as cubs, they were each paired with a puppy companion. The Bronx Zoo’s education team hoped that Norton and Finn would help keep the cheetah cubs comfortable, happy and relaxed; which would enable the keepers to work closely with them without causing stress.

visceral memory of looking into Triton’s large, warm amber eyes—and I know I must take action. I understand my connection to every other living organism on the planet. I feel passionate about protecting them—for all our sakes.

In an episode of Animal Planet’s behind-the-scenes series, The Zoo, Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny explained why cheetahs make such great ambassador animals. “Because they’re not terribly aggressive we can work with them in ways that we cannot work with other large cats,” he said. “As long as you work with them from the time they’re very young they become bonded to the people who take care of them and they become bonded to their dogs.” Many experts believe that people who forge a personal connection with wild animals will be more likely to care about their survival. Hence the need for zoos. But when people think of zoos, they typically picture animals in cages. You won’t find animals behind bars in the Bronx, though. Over the years, the Bronx Zoo has worked to create exhibits that more closely mimic the resident animals’ wild habitats—making the experience more pleasant for animals and visitors alike. Programs such as the Cheetah Connection allow visitors to do just that: connect. Through this personal relationship, conservation changes from a theoretical notion to a personal mission. While sitting in the room with Triton, visitors were not only told about his personality and daily routine, but also about the threats to his species. According to a 2016 Wildlife Conservation Society press release, cheetahs are now facing rapid population decline due to wildlife trafficking, habitat loss and other human activities. The release also revealed that only about 7,100 cheetahs are left in the wild, leading many experts to believe that their conservation status should be changed from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered.” I’m sure I’d heard about threats to cheetahs in the past. And I’m sure it made me feel sad—in an abstract way. But now, when I think of the cheetah’s decline, I have a







Home is Home is Home by Shyana Fisher

Now healing during the holiday season may seem like it belongs in the “Health and Wellness” section, but I can tell you with all certainty that it belongs at home, because I will only heal if I am surrounded by the people and places that I love. That, and I’m the home section editor so obviously, I’m going to choose my section. The holidays have always felt so refreshing to me. That magical feeling of a warm fireplace and Christmas cookies baking in the kitchen, with friends and family coming and going from the house. Snow glistening on the ground as flurries and snowflakes rest on my coat before disappearing into nothing. It’s just a season of giving back and kindness, and it makes me feel all warm and cozy inside, which is something that’s much needed after a long semester of stress and piles of work. College is non-stop action. From the day we start in August, to the very last day of finals, it feels like I am in some alternate time dimension where every waking moment is taken over by some amount of stress or pressure to succeed. I know that a lot of the pressure is self-made, and that no one expects me to perform at the level I expect from myself, but somehow that doesn’t help much when I’m on my third mental breakdown of the week and sobbing on the bathroom floor. Home helps. When the world is crashing down around me in college, the only thing getting me through some days is that the holiday season is near. One day soon I will be sitting at home, methodically wrapping gifts and placing them under the tree. I will take pictures of the snow because I want to, not because my professor has asked me to. Healing takes many forms, and recharging is one of them. It’s gotten to that point in the semester where everything feels overwhelming. The only light at the end of the tunnel is going home for the Christmas season. I know that not everyone believes in God, but I love going to Christmas Eve service and reminding myself what is really important: Him. Going home for the holidays is a special time for me because it allows me to get back in touch with who I am outside of college. It reminds me that I have time for hobbies, and I have such an amazing support system of family and friends who love me unconditionally. The season is also a time for me to reflect on the year and of what has happened; how I have grown.



Healing in the Home by Judy Anne Capiral

There comes a time in the semester when many of you may feel drained, or just exhausted– mentally, physically, and/or emotionally. The classes you take, may feel like they’re taking a lot out of you, to the extent of checking and re-checking your syllabi for how many absences you’re allotted (I know I’ve been there). Or maybe - if you’re like me and most of your close friends live hours away– you tend to feel lonely. All of these elements may lead to difficulties of being able to get out of bed, and being tired all the time. While there are ways to cope with this at school, going home for a weekend (or maybe even a day) might be all you need to recharge. In my experience, I found that returning home reminded me of who I am and rejuvenated me enough to get back into school to continue on. It began simply with waking up in my own bed. Let’s face it: dorm beds are not, nor will they ever be– comfortable. Waking up on my own mattress to the delight of my bedroom in my house is probably the most comforting thing I’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re waking up to a peaceful, empty house or to your parents making coffee in the kitchen, it definitely beats waking up in a residence hall bustling with college students getting ready for class. As far as how I emotionally recharged from being home, it had everything to do with my friends and family. I loved being able to sit and have breakfast with my mother. It’s


these little acts that reminded me of how valuable our time is together, and how much I missed her when I was away. And the same went for my friends. A night drive to nowhere - with either our music blasting, deep talks about the universe or getting coffee and sharing stories from our time apart ultimately strengthened our friendship. Then there’s the bus ride back to reality. For me, it’s a four hour road trip back to school. And in those moments, wistfully looking out the window or curled up on an uncomfortable bus seat, I would think about how much I needed to be home and recharge. Because in doing so, it reminded me to find that comfort and stability while away at school. No matter how lonely I felt, I always had a support system of the best people back home. This was certainly all I needed to recharge, but I recognize that everyone’s home situation is not the same. If you find comfort in the familiar, like me, then maybe it’s worth bringing something with you from home. Whether it be a refrigerator magnet that won’t be missed, or a photograph of your family or closest friends, having something to remind you of home may just make your semester here more bearable in reminding you of who you are and where you came from; no matter where you are.


Spirit of the Home by Jessica Barr

Going from one “home” to another is anything but easy, exciting - maybe, nonetheless, it shakes our routines and the comfort we have created in our current spaces. When college students visit or move for break or post graduation, the transition isn’t always as a happy ending to a hopeful outlook. Things change, parents remodel, pets are no longer there, siblings move out, along with a whole other slew of unexpected changes. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs holds shelter and belonging as two basic human needs. So, what about the need to belong in our shelter? When our current home doesn’t feel so much like our home, it is important to create a positive relationship between our environment and the way in which we experience it. The nuances of the place we reside in can have both positive and negative impacts on our well-being: function, comfort, representation, connection all shape our human experience. To consider the home in terms of its psychological influence is to regard the ways we interact with our environments: sensory engagement, emotions, reasoning, memory and imagination, movement through time and space, anticipation


and expectation. Our dwellings are especially impactful on our well-being through change in these interactions. Saffron orange walls, furniture soft to the touch with a burning incense giving off the aroma of fresh laundry and the taste of your favorite beverage; white walls, modern furniture lacking an ergonomic affect, no scent, flavor or texture amiably interacting with your senses. Comfortability here is likely to differ, along with motivation, imagination, creativity and function. Finding ways to appease our senses by creating a spirit within the home can be reliant on these elements: color, pattern, scents, textures, food and drinks. To treat the home as a place of nourishment for our senses, ensuring that at least a few of them are positively engaged on a day to day basis, can make any transition easier and have an inordinate effect on our productivity. When considering the senses, we can look at research on color therapy and the effects of light on our emotions. Research from Psychological and Spiritual Effects of Light and Color From Iranian Traditional Houses on Dwellers states that, “a lack of natural daylight can lead to disorders


All photos by Sue Barr Photography

of the autonomic nervous system, loss of energy, fatigue, a tendency toward self-isolation and metabolic disorders.” If your bedroom or the room you spend the most time in lacks natural light, your morning coffee may be better enjoyed in a room where the windows allow the sunlight to pour over you. In most religions, light symbolizes divine wisdom and the element of goodness. The curation of goodness can be fostered through decor and artifacts. Through reasoning, memory and imagination every object we come in contact with create some level of mental association. Setting up your space to be surrounded by treasures of the past and time and places close to you can be more important than it seems. Something as simple as a photo album can foster gratitude and love while taking up minimal shelf space. Through imagination and genuinity, you can create a space that is exemplary of your spirit, while fostering a sense of home. This can be done through movement of time and space as well. Sentimental pieces give us a sense of belonging and comfort, more-so than a luxury item bought solely


for aesthetic. Moving through time and space is where the old meets the new and floor plan meets functionality. A daily routine requiring the movement of objects around the house doesn’t allow for as much fluidity in your daily routine. Letting the imagination take hold in rearranging things often has a huge impact on where we spend the bulk of our time and the serenity we feel in our day to day lives. What you can or can’t anticipate in your environment has an influence on the level of control felt. Expecting and anticipating where things are allows us to maintain a creativity in something as necessary as organization. This is why periodically rearranging things can make our days feel so different. Making organization and storage specific to our daily functions gives us the privacy and control needed in life. When things feel right and we know they feel right, the home can be a sanctuary for self-sustaining potential.



getting your space ready for the cold The arrival of winter often reminds us of the holidays, hot cocoa and finally some time off from school. But let’s not forget the not so enjoyable aspects of the season, like getting colds, dry skin, that unwelcomed seasonal depression and the feeling of being forever cold. Now is the time to prepare for the winter and get the must need essentials to make the next few months a time for healing and relaxing in comfort. Can’t afford to crank the heat up high all winter? Some helpful solutions are flannel sheets and a snuggly therapeutic microwavable stuffed animal. Flannel sheets trap air and body heat but are still thin enough to allow your skin to breathe. Flannel sheets will keep you warm but they won’t cause you to wake up overly hot and sweaty. Target is a good place to pick up some good quality sheets for a low price. Plus, they offer some with cute seasonal prints and designs. Still having trouble keeping warm at night? A microwavable stuffed animal should do the trick. Usually filled with grains or flax seed, these cuddly stuffed animals can be microwaved to act as a heating pad. Depending on where you get one, many also have essential oils, such as chamomile or dried lavender inside so once warmed, the scent radiates. The combined aromatherapy and warmth can help relieve stress, cramps and sinus pressure, as well as keep you cozy and warm. Aerie sells a collection of these fluffy friends, including a unicorn, polar bear and sloth. The sun setting as early as 4 p.m. can worsen depression or cause you to have seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder. Sunlight provides people with vitamin D, a hormone that activates genes to release neurotransmitters that affect the brain. There are multiple vitamin D receptors in the same regions in the brain that are linked to depression. Less sunlight equals lower


by Emma Misiaszek

levels of vitamin D. Lower levels of vitamin D equal a drop in serotonin, a chemical that contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being. This is why in the winter when there are fewer hours of sunlight, many people can start feeling depressed and unmotivated. One way to help alleviate these feelings is a light therapy lamp, commonly known as a “happy light.” These lamps radiate bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. In order for the lamp to be effective, spend at least 30 minutes a day near the light but do not look directly at it as it is around 100 times brighter than the average indoor lamp. Bed Bath and Beyond has a large selection of happy lights, from small portable lights to large plug-in lights. Winter weather brings colder temperatures and leads to a drop in the level of humidity. When the air outside becomes cold and dry, the water in your skin evaporates at a faster rate than usual. This is what causes your skin to become dry and tight, which can also cause your skin to flake, itch and crack. Besides lotions and creams, a humidifier can help add some hydration to your skin. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and help restore the humidity in the room, leaving your skin hydrated. Not only can a humidifier help add some moisture to your space, it can help keep out allergens, irritants and germs from the air, decreasing your risk of getting sick. Walmart sells various brands ranging from only 30 to 40 dollars. Some humidifiers can get pretty pricey but only a small one is needed for your bedroom. Braving the cold and combating that winter blues can be made much easier with these new additions to your living space. Some cute holiday inspired flannel sheets, a fluffy little therapeutic stuffed sloth, an ambient happy light and a hydrating humidifier will have you feeling relaxed and comfortable in your room in no time.


Where Do You Call Home? by Judy Anne Capiral

Where is it? Ronkonkoma, NY Describe it.

What Makes It Home?

How Do You Get There?

Almost in the middle of Long Island, Ronkonkoma is a small town with great character. Its namesake, the large Lake Ronkonkoma which the town surrounds, is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Princess Tuskawanta, a Native American Princess who drowned herself in that very lake. The myth is that she fell in love with a young white man, who her father forbade her from marrying and forced her to marry someone else; she killed herself in grief and legend says she calls from the depths of the lake looking for her lost love. Though this is what Ronkonkoma is recognized for on the island and NY itself, the locals call it home for its local businesses, diners and famous bagel places (you’re either a Strathmore or Stacie’s person, there’s no in between).

I moved to Ronkonkoma in 2011, yet I can still call it home because of the people I’ve come to know and recognize as my lifelong friends. I remember feeling extremely lonely before moving to Ronkonkoma, and the prospect of moving a third time in my life wasn’t helping me. But the first day at school, I met my closest friends; thus began the happiest era of my life.

GPS has never failed me before, so please take my directions with a grain of salt. Basically, you take I-87 S forever. Take exit 15 onto NY-17 S/I-287 S toward New Jersey. Yes, somehow, you end up in New Jersey for a bit. Then you take NJ-4E. Then the I-95. Then the Cross Bronx Expressway. Then I-295 S onto Throgs Neck Bridge. Then Cross Island Parkway. And finally, take exit 30E onto I-495 Long Island Expressway. Ronkonkoma is at Exit 59; but, please do yourself a favor and just GPS it.

We would go to the movies, the mall; even the parking lot at Taco Bell was always an adventure. Even though we’re all in school now - some of us farther away than others - we always have Ronkonkoma.

Photo by John Paynter







Yoga Remedies: by Emily Trama Poses for Physical Healing The chosen poses are meant to stretch the muscles and bring some balance back to your body for physical activity recovery or relaxation. Remain focused on the breath and take each pose at your own pace with any modification that feels the most comfortable... Before you begin, set an intention for yourself. Between each pose come to A) Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) or B) Balasana (Child’s Pose) and reflect on your intention.

Adho Mukha Svanasana / downward-facing dog Begin on your hands and knees Straighten knees so your body forms a triangle shape

You may stay here or peddle the feet, raise the heels up and down or raise legs back one at a time

Balasana / child’s pose Begin in a seated position with your knees tucked underneath you Stretch your arms in front of you and allow your upper body to fall to the ground

You may stay here or spread your knees further apart

Take this opportunity to massage your forehead side-to-side against the ground

Upavistha Konasana / seated angle Begin in a seated position with your back straight and tall, elongating your spine Spread your legs apart until your hamstrings feel tight Lean forward with your hands on the ground in front of you With every exhale, slowly lean further down so your hands move further forward.

Hold for five seconds, repeat

Kapotasana / pigeon pose Begin on your hands and knees Bring the right knee forward until it touches the inside of your right wrist and bring the right foot as close to the inside of the left wrist as is comfortable Allow your left hip to drop towards the ground as you slide your left leg straight back behind you Allow your upper body to fall over the right leg and slide your hands as far as you feel comfortable with or prop yourself up on your elbows With every exhale, slowly lean further down so your hands move further forward Hold for five seconds, repeat Repeat on the other side


*For more comfort, take a folded blanket or small pillow and place it under your left hip for support


Simple Side Bend Stand or sit in a chair for this stretch Inhale and raise both arms above the head until your palms meet (you may choose to clasp hands together) Elongating your spine, lean to the right while exhaling

Hold for three full breaths

Return to center on the inhale and repeat on the left, do this as many times as needed *Be sure to keep hips straight! Leaning too far will take away from the stretching of the side

Trikonasana / triangle pose Remain standing with your feet about three feet apart Turn the right foot out 90 degrees and the left only about 30 degrees With your arms out in a T position, exhale and allow your upper body to fall against your right leg Try to keep your gaze on the ceiling with your left arm straight up Hold pose for five breaths Repeat on the other side

Supta Baddha Konasana / supine bound angle Return to a seated position Bring the bottom of your feet together in a “butterfly� position, your legs should create a diamond shape Allow yourself to lay down with your back flat on the ground and let your hands rest on your thighs With every exhale, push your thighs a little closer to the ground

Hold for three breaths

Upavistha Garudasana / seated eagle Sit in an upright position on the ground or in a chair Stretch both arms out in front of you, palms facing down Cross the right arm over the left arm Twist arms until the palms can touch; the right palm should be facing the left and the left palm should be facing the right, you may clasp the hands if this is more comfortable Keep your breath steady as you raise and lower the elbows a few inches to deepen the stretch Repeat on the other side

Shavasana / corpse pose This one is easy! Lay on your back with your legs spread comfortably You may let your arms fall in any way you like Take deep, slow breaths and allow your body to recover

Remember to take your time! We often want to rush the healing process and get quick results, but relaxing and following your instincts over your impulse will always result in a higher level of satisfaction of the mind, body and soul. Good luck and namaste!



The Healing Energy of Touch by Pamela Loperena In today’s modern world, people are losing contact with their basic sense: touch. Since the 2017 #MeToo movement erupted out of Harvey Weinstein’s case, the concept of “touch” has garnered national attention from news outlets and Americans across the nation, leaving people with mixed feelings about what is considered an acceptable expression of touch. The increased usage of social media in society hasn’t helped either. More people are spending time conversing with others on electronic devices than they are meeting them in person. Emojis are utilized to convey nonverbal communication. People typically send a yellow smiley face with its hands open in text messages, which represents a “hugging face,” to their loved ones. This represents the action of hugging them without actually embracing them. This has led to the onset of touch-starvation crisis. Many individuals don’t receive enough physical affection in their lives. Craving tactile touch is the new norm because a lot of people in general are afraid of asking for another person’s touch in fear of appearing “too needy” or promiscuous. The Free Hugs Campaign is looked upon as a public spectacle, in which individuals give out hugs to strangers to demonstrate their selfless natures, but most don’t participate in this daily. Compared to men, women express themselves through touch more often. In their friendships, they show their adoration by wrapping their arms around their friends to demonstrate their commitment to one another or give comfort when they cry. Men, however, are sometimes raised differently. If men do showcase touch in public, they may believe they are viewed by others as weak and incompetent. When men touch women, they may be putting themselves at risk for being seen as overly sexual or attempting to harass them. Homophobia has also contributed to damaging the American male idea of touch. There are men who may have become averse against touching other men because they dread people labeling them as a homosexual. Platonic touch is fundamental to human development. Why, you might you ask– well, according to a study conducted by James M. Prescott, children who expressed more physical touch were less likely to become aggressive individuals when they grew older. Prescott asserted the significance of the maternal bonding relationship (Prescott, 1975). He stated that infants should have their needs for touch met right away by their mothers in order to increase their levels of belongingness (Prescott, 1975). However, Prescott found


that if children developed ‘maternal-social’ deprivation (a lack of loving touch from their mothers due to neglect or abuse), their brain’s neural chemistry would alter, making them prone to engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as drug addiction or sexual violence during adulthood (Prescott 1975). Numerous mental and physical benefits can result from touch. Whenever people engage in non-sexual physical contact with another person’s skin, their bodies stimulate the release of Oxytocin—a.k.a. ‘the cuddle hormone.’ This hormone reduces their stress levels, anxiety and blood pressure; they end up feeling more relaxed and optimistic. Their immune system function improves due to the positive effects on their health, so they become less vulnerable to experiencing harmful infections or pain. They also develop feelings of trust for others, making these interactions full of compassion and sincerity. Touch is even crucial for people’s relationships. The simple act of hugging can strengthen a bond between two individuals, creating a deeper connection. Squeezing a friend or relative’s shoulder by giving them a pat on their back can provide them with reassurance and support in times of joy and sorrow, like birthdays and funerals. When couples hold hands in public, they can communicate just how much they care for each other’s company. Overall, in relationships, platonic touch serves as a way for humans to display intimacy and feel like valued members within their social circles. So, what are other ways people can incorporate more healing touch into their lives? One way would be through massage therapy, in which pressure is applied to the skin to soothe and alleviate tension. Hiring a professional therapeutic cuddler has become a popular method to experience platonic touch, encouragement and comfort. Purchasing a weighted blanket is a great option for people to enhance their quality of sleep, relieving their nervous system in the process as well. The touch deprivation crisis desperately calls for a resolution, but hopefully, in the future, people can get back in touch with their hearts once again.


a d n e M o How t

p i h s d n e i r F n e k o Br e Capiral by Judy Ann

It was a cold September afternoon when I dropped a box of her things at her doorstep, and left. I remember rushing about my room, throwing everything into this tiny shoe box that could barely hold everything in it. The drive to her house broke my heart, and leaving it all there made me feel all types of pain at once. Because it isn’t just breakups with partners that hurt. I have always said the worst pain I’ve ever felt was breaking a friendship. There is something fundamentally different about a friendship in comparison to a romantic relationship. There are multiple ways a romantic relationship can go South, and ending it might be for the best. But a true friendship shouldn’t have to end or break so dramatically. And if it does, like mine had, there are ways to make amends, especially if the friendship is worth healing.

Reaching out Being the first to reach out in a broken friendship shouldn’t feel like a blow to your pride, nor should it feel like it’s taking a lot out of you to do. Rather, reaching out shows you are ready to hold a mature conversation. Of course, much of this is dependent on how you reach out. Start with a simple text message saying “Hello” and asking if they had time to talk about things. This could entail planning to meet in person or making that phone call.

Find a Solution This idea of a solution sounds a bit methodical, and maybe in your mind a bit dramatic, but sometimes it has to be. And by communicating your thoughts to one another, a compromise might seem clearer. For instance with myself, we realized the faults in our friendship and where we may have went wrong on both our ends. In doing so, we agreed on working on ourselves a bit. For me, I had to learn to speak my mind when things upset me, rather than let it all boil over later on. I’ve heard it before that with compromise comes sacrifice but I can’t bring myself to agree with that. You don’t have to sacrifice your integrity, if you do (or feel like you do), then - quite simply, they are not your friend. It shouldn’t feel like you’re forcing a solution. While we should keep the things that we have to work on in the back of our minds, a strong enough bond and friendship should allow the solution to play out naturally. These steps aren’t entirely exclusive to friendships, they can be used in relationships as well. Because at the end of the day, not only do you accept and love that person, but they can keep you grounded in reminding yourself of who you are. A strong relationship reminds us to be the best version of ourselves.

Communicate I always feel speaking in person will best help the flow of honest thoughts and feelings. If you decide to initiate amends over text, it might cause you to overthink things and not be truly honest with yourself and your friend. During this conversation, be sure that each of you have time to talk. It’s important to not only listen, but be listened to as well. Share the things that may have been left unsaid (or what underlying tensions led to this “break-up”). One thing that I learned from making up with my best friend: people can’t read minds! Though the things that bother you may seem obvious to you, that doesn’t mean they’ll be obvious to other people, including your friend.



an Herbal How To For The Average Broke College Student by Victoria Cymbal A college student’s budget can affect the quality of care for their body while experiencing an illness. Medicinal herbs are effective and affordable for the average SUNY New Paltz student. Personal health can actually be easy even for the local student who just spent the last of their paycheck on the $3 breakfast at Main Street Bistro. Whether you want to buy the locally-made tinctures, meet with a holistic doctor, or make the herbal remedies yourself, the down-to-earth town of New Paltz allows you to pursue any of these options to enhance your health and stay under budget.

Although buying products already crafted is the more common way to pursue herbal medicine, the option still stands to create your own tincture, tonic, tea or salven. It takes patience and time, but it is possible for anyone to achieve as long as they have the will to learn.

Where do you start? You’ve heard of the benefits of medicinal herbs as a way to treat those frequent headaches. Regardless, deciding to try a new way to maintain your health will result in a lot of research. As stated from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, herbal medicines are particular and different for each body, so research in this area must be intensified. First, you have to decide if you want to make your own medicine, see a holistic professional for advice (this will be the most costly decision) or if you want to buy the herbal remedies yourself.

Have a talk with a professional It is a lot of new information to take in all at once. If you have a good relationship with your primary doctor, take a moment to talk to them about your interest in holistic and/ or herbal health.

Where do you buy your products? Your two options here are to buy locally or online. Luckily, New Paltz has a local herb farm, Tweefontein, right outside of town. Tweefontein runs as a collective farm, sharing the responsibilities of the property. The farm managers, Jill Battista and Chris Boelsen, are usually found around the property to answer any questions. The property has a new greenhouse that allows for year-round growing. You could find calendula, lavender, echinacea, and so many other herbs growing throughout the farm. Tweefontein makes their own natural organic products using their knowledge of permaculture, biodynamic farming, and homesteading to ensure for the most medicinal benefits. The products for sale range from fire elixirs, elderberry syrup, digestive bitters, to an array of herbal tonics that help improve your immunity and overall well-being.


Ultimately, you need to gather the herbs, throw it in a jar half filled with water and the other half a pure grain alcohol, commonly used is Everclear. Let the herbal jar sit alone in a dark, dry space for two weeks and then you can enjoy your medicinal creation.

If you don’t have a relationship with a health practitioner you could do a quick search online at healthyulstercounty. net to help you find the type of local medical professional that you are searching for and are comfortable with. New Paltz’s Student Health Services is another option for professional assistance. The department provides quality medical care whether it be an emergency, a check-up or advice on an issue. Educate yourself Start off with finding an informative book to help guide your newly desired herbal interest. Take a visit to one of the local bookstores in town and explore your options. There are numerous ways to use herbs such as salves, tinctures, elixirs, balms and many more remedies. Each herb has a different harmonious benefit from the different parts of the body, and the same goes with how you consume the herb. Each of us has a different anatomy and so that further proves the importance of our own journey towards health and healing. So, go ahead and get cozy with a book that sparks your interest and start to absorb that knowledge.


Ready, set, go! The herbal world is your oyster. The Pew Research Center reported that about half of Americans believe that natural plant products are perceived to be healthier than manufactured medicines. As you move forward in your medical exploration you need to be safe and knowledgeable. Reference books, expert advice and extensive research are essential to make the right steps in experiencing the benefits of herbal medicine. Another angle of the herbal concoction where it seen that an Amethyst, Clear Quartz, and Blue Lace Agate were thrown into the mix.

An herbal blend of Lemon Balm, Valerian Root, Damiana, Lavender, Mugwort, and several other herbs, before adding the liquids and sitting in solitude for two weeks.



a guide to natural medicines by Lindsay Kranitz

Everytime I have pain or I am coming down with a sickness, I always get a screenshot texted to me from my mom of a Google search saying “natural way to get rid of ____.” Ever since I was young, my mom had ingrained in me to try the natural remedy first before going to the doctor and getting a prescription, or an over the counter medicine. Allopathic and naturopathic medicine are two different types of approaches to cure an illness, pain or even a virus. Allopathic is the sciencebased more modern approach; while naturopathic is a more natural, selfhealing approach. The steps for an allopathic method - in its simplest form - would be getting symptoms of a virus, going to the doctor, getting prescribed antibiotics taking the antibiotics, and curing the virus in a week or so. The naturopathic method targets the mind, body and soul. It digs deep to get rid of the root of the problem in a natural way. This can include the use of supplements and herbal remedies. You probably purchase some herbal remedies at the grocery store on a weekly basis, without even knowing the benefits it can do to your body. Here are some easy and simple remedies that can cure common aches, pains, sicknesses and even mental roadblocks.


Elderberry - This berry can be found in some wines for flavor, but it can also help support your immune system when you are suffering from flu-like symptoms. It does this by assisting the body’s natural resistance and supports how the body adapts to environmental influences that can cause someone to catch the flu. Cinnamon

Bark - Everyone has cinnamon in their cabinet for flavoring baked goods, but it also helps with blood sugar balance. Depression, anxiety and irritability are all symptoms of blood sugar imbalance. Cinnamaldehyde, which is found in the oil part of the plant, aides in antioxidants, protects cells from oxidative damage and supports healthy fat and cholesterol balance. Eleuthero Root - This one might

not be easily found in your cabinet but the benefits it has are something you need--especially if you’re a tired college student. Eleuthero Root supports and enhances energy and stamina. It does this by helping the body adapt to stress easier.


tea - Green tea is a delicious drink served hot or cold and is also rich in antioxidants. This tea helps maintain the normal amount of free radicals our body needs to be healthy. Green tea also helps with stress and inflammation. When a part of your body is under a lot of stress, the immune system sends out signals to repair the stressed area. This is known as the inflammatory cascade. Green tea helps normalize the inflammatory cascade therefore creating a healthy connection between the immune system and strained cells. Oregano - The herb is found in

a lot of Italian seasonings, though it is also good for a normal yeast balance. Oregano aides in a healthy balance of microbes in the intestines and throughout the body. It can also be used to get rid of yeast infections because of its ability to get rid of candida albicans, which is a yeast that causes uncomfortable infections.


Breathing Through a Broken Heart a mindfulness meditation by Emily Trama No one has broken my heart quite as many times as I have. I have brawls with people in my head, but when I open my eyes there is no one in front of me. I dream up scenarios of those I care about ripping me apart and hurting me in ways the real version of them never have and probably never will. Sometimes they really are hurting me, but it is my own mind that betrays the light between the cracks in my heart and shatters it. When I find myself sinking into moments like these, I take a step back and breathe... Lay down, close your eyes and take a deep breath; inhaling for four, holding for three, and exhaling for seven. Relax your body as you feel yourself sinking into the ground. Now, place one hand over your heart, the chakra for love and healing. Feel the warmth that lays between the two parts of the body. Imagine that warmth as a ball of light that now effortlessly passing through the skin and into the heart. What does the heart look like with light within it? Do you see a faint glow as the heart conceals the ball? Are there streams of light poking out of its cracks? Does there seem to be more light than heart? No matter who hurts us, whether it be our family, friends, significant others, strangers or even ourselves, no one can heal us but us. We heal through acceptance. We must accept ourselves for who we are. The point is not to try to seal the holes and cracks in our hearts, but to accept them and appreciate the beautiful way the light shines through those holes and cracks. We can try and put bandaids all over it by asking questions, trying to rationalize what we don’t understand. No one will ever give you the same closure that you can by appreciating and loving yourself. Healing is not always something physical. Love for yourself is healing. Appreciation for yourself is healing. Acceptance of yourself is healing. Feeling the warmth of the light that shines within you is healing. Now, tighten every muscle you can; clench your fists, curl your toes, grind your teeth, hold your breath. Hold this for one, two, three, four… release and allow yourself to sigh out all of your pain. Do this again as many times as you need, tensing your body more and more each time. Let everything go with the last sigh. Allow a smile to come across your face- the smiles that others bring you will never be as beautiful as the ones you bring yourself. Namaste.

Relaxation Recommendations: • Record yourself reading this meditation to play back later- hearing these words come from yourself can really help remind you that you are the one in control of your own healing • Come back from your meditation by writing down things you love about yourself or new intentions you want to set.


Ily s e

A Conversation on Healing through Yoga and Mindfulness by Emily Trama

I made the time to sit down and call a very close family friend of mine, Ilyse. Ilyse is a very strong and inspiring woman whom I look up to and for the past seven years she has been on an intense spiritual journey to living a more fulfilling and peaceful life. Healing is immensely important to her and her journey as well as me and my journey and we wanted to share things we have learned thus far with the hopes of helping others through theirs...

Being Pres ent

“Whatever is really happening right this second is all we have.” When you are a person who enjoys life, there is always going to be something you are going to miss out on. We are going to get invitations and make commitments to things that conflict now and forever. What is hurting us is how we look at these situations. More often than not, you find yourself wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else, asking yourself what would be happening right now if you had made a different choice. This is no way to live. You are forming unnecessary regret and turning that moment into something negative rather than being in the moment and accepting the moment as part of your journey. When you take yourself out of that moment, that experience, you are causing yourself to suffer- it is not that

choice that is making you unhappy, it is your mindset. There is an infinite world of “what if I did this,” but there is only one reality and you’ve made your choice. When we make all of our choices during our journey through life, they need to be our own; Do whatever your heart and your truth tells you to do, not what others want or expect. We spend so much of our time taking everyone’s opinions into consideration. Being considerate of others is important, but not when it is making you someone you are not. “Half of how we spend our time… we don’t really need to be doing those things.” It’s a lie to yourself when you are trying to please everyone around you at the expense of your own free will. People are going to create a version of you that works for them and we need to stop pushing ourselves to appeal to that version. “Time is valuable… you can’t get the day back.”

Yoga “When there is more flexibility in the body, there’s more flexibility in the mind…” Yoga is a practice. “At first I didn’t understand that… like what does that mean,” Ilyse told me when thinking about how she used to look at yoga. When you “practice” yoga, you are experiencing it, making it what you want it to be. In yoga you are creating an intention for yourself, you are settling yourself. The practice allows you to drop into the present state and create both physical and spiritual spaciousness. Being on the mat gives you the opportunity to relax, reflect and learn more about yourself and what you want, how you are growing. “When you start to learn about yourself, you start not to see all of the junk around you as much.”

Things that are not necessary or true to you disappear and you become more aware of yourself and what that really means. We are clearing the way for new experiences and lessons. We are preparing ourselves for change, getting ready to keep our composure when we are given curveballs because, “Life is always gonna throw us curveballs.” That’s out of our control, but we are in control of our reaction- is it what we think it is “supposed” to be, or is it purely ours? As Ilyse said to me, “The mind wants to go there.” There is no reason to fight it and that is what yoga and mindfulness is all about. “This is going to help you grow so much more kindly to yourself.”

Healing “God-willing you’re changing… everyday.” Growth is healing. What was appropriate at one point may not be appropriate for us anymore. “Everyone is on this journey about healing. Everyone has a lot of healing to do because they have not stayed in their truth.” You don’t need to put on the mask of who you once were to appeal to the people who want you to stay that way; because whether they like it or not, you are changing if the mask is on or if it’s off. We need to be honest to ourselves and others. Make sure that whatever you are talking about is honest and true. The more honest you are and the more of yourself you bring into your conversations and work, the more people can relate and grow with you.

“When you start to learn that there is only one person that you need to please and it is yourself, you start making choices that blend nicely with other people… because everything starts with valuing yourself and then valuing other people because you see who you really are.” Being yourself is scary. We all want to be completely ourselves, but something holds us back and healing is about letting that go. We need to be courageous and vulnerable because, “When you allow yourself to truly be honest, there is nothing to hide from.” When you embrace yourself, nothing feels unnatural, uncomfortable. “We are born to express whatever our true nature is. The true healing is when we allow ourselves to blossom in whatever our distinctive calling is.”



Taking the Taboo out of Tampons by Emma Misiaszek

The conversation around periods has always been a quiet one. “Does anyone have a tampon?” has been whispered between bathroom stalls for decades. Embarrassment and shame have underlined the culture around menstruation for far too long. In the past few years, more and more people have spoken out against the stigma associated with having periods. Calls for more comprehensive sexual health education and open discussions on periods have been made in an effort to eliminate the taboo as well. New York State has been a frontrunner in period positive legislation. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring public school districts to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms in 2018. The same year, legislation requiring local and state correctional facilities to provide tampons and other feminine hygiene products to inmates for free was passed. New York is also one of the first states to eliminate the “pink tax,” the tax charged on feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons in 2019. The newest legislation is a law requiring feminine hygiene companies to print listed ingredients on all of their products’ packaging. A handful of emerging feminine hygiene companies have taken on the task of bringing menstruation into public discourse. Brands like Thinx, with their period-proof underwear and Lola, which delivers sexual health products to your door. Thinx has become a hot topic of late due to their “MENstruation” commercial depicting a world in which women and men both get periods with the catch line: “If we all had them, maybe we’d be more comfortable with them.” Lola, which focuses on creating 100% organic tampons and pads, is partnered with I Support the Girls, a non-profit to which they have donated over 2 million period products to women in need.


The fight to eliminate the stigma around periods has also made its way to New Paltz. Salix Intimates, a local store that sells sustainable lingerie & lifestyle items, is owned by Melissa Orsini, an advocate for open discussions on menstruation. “It’s definitely something that I want to help break the mold of by having helpful, meaningful conversations with people about periods. We tend to not talk about it as much as we want to,” Orsini said. In her store, she sells Thinx underwear, GladRags’ reusable organic cotton pads and pantyliners and Lunette, a reusable menstrual cup. “I really believe that period care should be accessible,” Orsini said. “It’s something I try to have honest conversations with people about.” Non-profit organizations focused on menstrual care have been popping up in the last few years, such as Period. The Menstrual Movement. There are over 20 registered Period. chapters in New York, even locally at Bard College and Vassar College. Their mission is to end period poverty and period stigma through sexual health education, donating menstrual care products to women and girls in need and promoting period advocacy through rallies, petitions and PSAs. The organization also established October 19 “Period Day,” as a day for period having people to come together and fight the stigma. The only way the shame and embarrassment surrounding our periods can be eliminated is by openly talking about them. Share which products work best for you, how you deal with cramps, how your period affects your everyday life - even share your worst period stories! The menstrual cycle and having your period are completely natural and human processes, and no person should be ashamed of their body or how it functions. Let’s take the taboo out of tampons and advocate for thoughtful discussions about periods, especially with people who don’t have them. Know that many others are feeling the same way you do and can greatly benefit from you speaking out and sharing your period experiences.






by Colin Battersby



by Colin Battersby



A Song for the Patrons Part One by Nicole Wasylak

The air was cold and suffocating. It hadn’t rained in days but a looming overcast sky had been hanging heavy for about a week or so. No sign of the sun which fed the flowers, no sign of the rain which quenched their thirst. The girl kicked at the broken bottles scattered on the ground, shards of glass crunching under her heavy boots. She silently cursed whoever unceremoniously tossed them there, scattering their garbage in a place it did not belong. There was no wind today, no sign that winter was on its way save for the smell of frost in the air, the cold that clogged her lungs like icy smoke. Emily wrung her hands, wishing that she had something to grab onto to preoccupy her brain, wishing she could expel the nervous energy that built within her like carbon in a bottle. She didn’t know where she was– all she knew was that it was far from home, far from a life that felt like it had all been a dream, some twisted nightmare born of nothing but pure imagination. But it wasn’t. It had all been completely real. All of the good, all of the bad. Her backpack was heavy on her shoulders. She didn’t know why. All that was in there was a change of clothes, a bottle of water and her wallet. The only objects from home she was willing to take with her wherever she planned to go. She thought of her mother, of those vicious brown eyes that were nothing like her own, thought of the teeth she so hated to see bared. She thought of those walls that seemed to close in around her, that bed that seemed to suffocate her instead of cradle her like it was supposed to. A chill ran up her spine that had nothing to do with the climate. She checked her phone to look at the time, ignoring the countless messages and missed calls that popped up. She had half a mind to throw the whole damn thing in the nearest river.


She began to walk down the dark, crowded streets, the pubs and restaurants that were clogged with jubilant party goers---the lovers who stumbled from bar to bar with their arms wrapped tightly around one another like ribbons, the friends who whooped and yelled as if they wanted the stars and moon to know how much they savoured the lives they lived, the families who hurried into warm and comforting restaurants, trying to outrun the cold, making ghosts as they breathed. Christmas lights had been strung all around the small square, the red and green and white fairy lights winking in the blanket of darkness, twisting around trunks of trees and street lamps, illuminating the town in a glitter so cheerful it was impossible to feel blue whilst observing their warmth. Emily felt like an exception. As she took in the abundant wreaths that hung on doors and the looming pine trees that were frosted with cold, she looked within her chest and felt nothing but a heartbeat. There was a quiet cold that spread achingly through her body, one that would not disappear with a fire or warm cup of hot chocolate. Silently, she looked down at her hands, numb from the cold, and noticed how the spaces between her fingers would have fit another pair perfectly. Determined to avoid the bite from the cold, Emily hurried down the sidewalk, careful to avoid icy patches, and swung open the first heavy oak door she found, walking into a pub that was swimming with jovial energy. The warmth that greeted her was powerful enough to thaw the chill in her bones, and that alone. Wooden beams were strewn with garland and tinsel, the creaky floorboards littered in pine needles that the earlier winds had swept in. A bushy Christmas tree sat snugly in the corner by a flickering fire, but Emily could not feel its warmth. She felt, quite self consciously, that with her attire and backpack she would have stood out, but on New Years Eve nobody would notice her, for they were all too concerned with their loved ones and their own celebrations.


Cheerful music emanated from a speaker nearby and a warm, spicy scent greeted her nostrils as she waded deeper into the holiday crowd. It was funny, Emily thought to herself. A room full of people, packed and stuffed together, smiling and singing, yet there was not a time in her life where the young woman had felt more alone. Despite the thick crowd, Emily found an open seat at the bar, setting down her cumbersome backpack and laying her chilled fingers atop the wooden counter. The bartenders were too busy with other patrons to notice her but Emily didn’t mind. She was just glad to be out of the cold.

“Bourbon girl, huh?” Emily didn’t realize the man had been talking to her until she saw an expectant look from a young man in her peripheral. She froze, slowly craning her head to see who was addressing her. It was another man her age, this one a fellow patron. He sat two chairs down from her, a now vacated seat the only thing separating the two. He had sandy blond hair that was disheveled yet styled, cropped wildly to his chin. His facial features were sharp and angular, his golden skin suggesting he was not exactly familiar with this snowy area. He donned a thick red flannel and jeans, and his eyes, a rich hazel, were shielded by dark, lengthy lashes. A small smattering of freckles covered his nose, a little crooked, possibly from a break many years ago. He smiled and Emily was almost blinded.

Finally, after a few more moments of thawing, a male bartender with eyes so green they could have been fake walked up to her, presenting her with a smile warm enough to melt snow. He could not have been any older than her, no more than twenty-four.

Hesitantly, she spoke. “Yeah,” she said, raising the warm glass.

“What can I get for you, Miss?” He asked, a sparkle gleaming in those veridescent eyes. He delivered her a Cheshire grin and she was sure he was meant to be the pretty face of the establishment.

Her eyes flashed to his, a slight grin creeping across her face. A small, insincere chuckle. “Emily.”

He smiled again, nodding slowly. “Got a name, bourbon girl?”

Emily returned a wan smile, fiddling with a string in her jeans. “Just some bourbon, please.” With a haughty wink, the bartender turned his back on Emily, fixing her up a glass that would hopefully warm her insides as her outsides continued to defreeze. He slid a glass over to her and she slowly brought the drink to her mouth, savoring the burn that met her lips and slid down her throat, warming her tummy and eliciting tingles throughout her body. She set the glass down, smacking her lips.



by Ezra Baptist

June 30th, 1916 Doullens, France My Beloved Alyssa, I hope my letter finds you and the children in good health. Alyssa, my darling wife, I’m afraid I bring terrible news from the front. As I spill this ink, your brother James, lies next to me, dying. I am so sorry my love, I should have been with him when it happened. A bullet struck him in the collarbone when he lead the battalion over the trench. A medic and Little Henry managed to haul him back to the barracks, but they were too late. The cold was already in him. We are regretfully finalizing his will now. He is granting his house in London to Edward and the rest of his money is to be split between you, George and Little Henry. I’m delivering this letter and James’s will to the post this evening, as well as my own letters of inheritance. I fear I may not be much longer on this earth. This tragedy has struck me deeply, Alyssa, for I love James as a brother and his coming death has driven me to notice that I may not have been the best of husbands to you nor father to Jack and Elizabeth, and I mean to make amends. I know I could be wroth with you and I apologize. It was my father who taught me to be that way, I see that clearly now. I expect your mother taught you to deal with a husband’s wrath with grace and dignity just as you have always done. A wife should not fear her husband, but I know that you had no other option. I made you fear me. I exploited you. And I made you think that I might abandon you, disgrace you and ruin the lives of our children. I felt I needed you to have that fear, so I might do whatever I wished with you. I truly loved you once and not just the name and I feel that you may have felt the same at one time. I remember when we were first betrothed. How we used to ride through the fields, walk hand in hand through the wood and sneak deft kisses at socials. I remember how when Jack and Elizabeth were born my soul swelled and I kissed your brow as you cried. I don’t know when my love turned to cruelty. Perhaps the several years of us trying to conceive again made me resent you, though it was not your fault, I know. Maybe it was my father’s constant voice tempting me to beat you and the children for every slight, every misstep. I was filled with so much rage then. Rage and anxiety. I believed I wanted a war to wash it all away. That I was still young enough to experience true glory. But this war, this “great war” has stripped me of all my misgivings, all my rage, all my fear and my delusions of grandeur, leaving only my love for you and our children and sadness deeper than the Atlantic and denser than the Congo. I pray that God might see me through to Christmas and the end of my service here, so that I might make amends to you in person and see our children’s beaming faces once more. Finally, I make a plea to your empathy. If I do perish in this godforsaken land beyond the safety of the Channel, please do me the kindness of raising my Oliver alongside our own children. Teach him the grace and measure I always lacked. Let him live without the stain of illegitimacy for a few more years. I fear that Oliver may be the deepest wound I have ever dealt you, but please find it in your heart to forgive him for the things I have done. I hope that this will not be my final letter to you, but for good measure tell all of my children that my love for them transcends Heaven and Earth. The war drums continue to beat here and they deafen me. General Haig is commanding the other officers and I to mount an offensive that will push the Germans back from the Somme. We will begin early tomorrow and I plan to lead the charge.


Affectionately yours, Ernest Levington


Look Through by Lindsay Kranitz


Safe Haven by Jade Roman A door, a lock, a home for my thoughts The smell of tea tree, lavender, organic life Floors that have watched me weep like the scarce trees in the city Cold tiles press against my skin Calming and cooling me down after an overwhelming moment Where I’ve freed my mind, bared my soul Took deep breaths before walking into a party Hid during hide and seek My favorite hiding place from my fears, emotions and triggers My second home, within my home and my heart Yes, the bathroom was my safe haven Where I would be alone The only place I felt I belonged when the world was so cold On that freezing floor, I felt a sense of warmth A comfort in the familiar A feeling anew A bathroom is my safe haven What has saved you?



Yin & Yang by Blake Chamberlain



by Marisa Lucchese



Weeping In My Bed by Marissa Ammon I lay each night weeping in my bed, my brain on replay of memories when everything was perfect, a beautiful teardrop streams from each eye; the pillow not stained, my heart can’t move, I’m forced to breathe Unmuted conversations, the frame shattered, the photos deleted. My head goes back to the teddy, enveloped in lust and tragedy. It’s done I scream. Forget about it! Our love kept away in a box so when I die, one opens the toxic, tattered, but unbreakable; Pandora fashion. They’ll feel the love and it will die like a beautiful garden of flowers I miss your kisses, your hugs, your love. We don’t forget, and I want you again. How? There’s no point. That’s why I lay each night weeping in my bed



I See Serenity by Blake Chamberlain



I lie to you everyday by Judy Anne Capiral

I lie to you everyday

I lie in my voice, when I say it’s okay

Because sometimes it’s not

I lie in my eyes when you ask me how you look

Because sometimes I don’t recognize you

I lie in my arms when I hug you goodbye

Because even if I’ll miss you, I need to be away from you

But I don’t lie when I say I love you

Because you’re still you

And yes, Change is inevitable



by Marisa Lucchese



Rebirth: a poem by Katherine Goldblatt She broke like a china doll, shattered upon impact with the bedrock of her worst nightmares that she could not wake up from. Her shards scattered aimlessly; the wasted products of dandelion wishes and whims produced from childhood dreams and perceptions gazed upon in mirrors. They fell alongside her and cracked upon impact; dead on arrival. All that was left was black; the shifting shadows of uncertainty that took the place of carefully constructed visions of what she knew to be. But her bubble had burst, and that knowledge was gone. Who was she? What did she know to be? She laid there for a while, dreaming of times swept away

A key turned in the lock of a hidden door. Whispers spilled out from behind, but they were not the wicked ones of the shadows. They were kind. They said, “Darling, you still recognize you. Bubbles must burst so you can grow. What you think you see must shatter so you can know what you are truly made of. You know what is you have all along.� With that, she finally realized that she had been familiar with the truth the whole time. Even though it destroyed her, it was the catalyst for her rebirth. It had been there, and always would be. With that, she smiled and opened her eyes.

by rivers of change. Craving the knowledge she once took for granted, she cried. She let the darkness envelop her. She closed her eyes. Then, a click from somewhere deep inside her.



by Emily Trama, Mkuze, South Africa


Looking Inside by Blake Chamberlain



Before Tonight’s Today by David O’Keefe The cobblestone beneath your feet Sounds the same as it did yesterday. Even now, you ask in defeat Whether or not tomorrow will play Out the way you were promised. In all honesty, I’m not sure who You’re asking; you’re as Alone on the outside as you Are empty on the inside. It would do you good to throw Away your wristwatch, find And dispose of your clocks; know Not of what time has to say. Do it now, before tonight’s today.



Red She Wept, Blue She Heard by Nicole Wasylak I loved to set the world on fire and watch it as it burned I loved to see the destruction I could create from sheer force A power that anyone has and I just had too much of it I was a northern wind with kerosene and a match and I set everything ablaze Because I was not heard I could scream and yell and cry and fight and all around me remained The leaves continued their lazy sway and the oceans continued to grumble in their sleep The hills still rolled under the sun, undulated in a sea of grass that I envied Because grass didn’t get angry and grass didn’t beg Not to be forgiven or heard, grass simply existed and did what it did best It grew But I? Oh, the vicious “I,” the word that makes the sun orbit around me and not I, her What a crooked word, one which makes me feel that I am the jewel in the sky I am the breath in the wind and I am the water that runs through the forest like veins I always wondered why “I” was so small, a single letter that carried more power and suggestion Than any in all language I never said you. I never looked at you. And I never saw you. Because you did not see me. You saw red and red was brighter than yellow or blue, or heaven forbid, even green Red was hotter and drew you in like a moth whose wings were singed because she didn’t know that fire burned



But of course fire burns, and I needed help putting it out, so when a calm ocean was my neighbor When the gulls would lull me to sleep and the tide washed over the lethargy Leaving a steaming, naked, frail body in its wake, she awoke She blinked the ash from her eyes and tied her burned hair behind her neck Feeling the sweat that poured from her body like her eyes, those wonderful, liquid irises That rained more than the sky And the burned body was raw and new and old yet young and it shivered The first thing the body did was shiver And then it wept It wept out of gratitude for the ocean that set her free While it cried at the waves for changing her so Because the body knew not what fire could have done, but what no longer was, as the shore rolled it away So she stood up and walked beside its shoulder thankful for the horizon that yawned in the morning and winked at night The sleepy clouds that seemed to follow her, watching, keeping an eye And the sand which drifted in between her charred toes, a fluid grace that washed the soot off her feet Replacing it with a golden tan that seemed to walk atop it Learning how not to sink in I love to cast a light towards the wind I love to see the magic I create from inside From a quiet language that only the waves and I speak I am a lightkeeper with a match and I set everything aglow Because I now hear



Christmas Lights by Jeffrey Seitz Between the intermingling of shadows and snow they shine. Through sooted tree bones they twinkle. By their stars they conceive angels, snowmen, and the Christ To guard the house and govern the wood. I find healing in the flames. They stand alone against the darkness. I know the homes adorn with With their beads will be safe. The homes with no lights are crowned with halos of despair.



The Sparrow by Nicole Wasylak I would fear to see you fall

Upon your broken wing

I would loathe to watch you plummet

On a night you used to sing

You never feared the air

Or the rebirth of the spring

But now the sun beats down

Upon your blackened feather

You used to kiss the sky

But now you fear its poisoned aether

The heat is much too strong

For you to break its tainted tether

You’re bruised and beaten and weeping--

The saddest part of all!

And now your cry is weaker

And no one hears your call

What once kept wings so warm

Is now your tragic downfall

I would not think it so

That you can last much longer

When every day the earth may turn

The sun only gets stronger

I hope to see the light contrite


And admit that he had wronged her


AUGUST: The Book That Broke Then Healed Me by Michelle Nedboy

Over the summer, I asked my mom for a book recommendation from one of her thousands of texts. She went into her home office (also known as the guest bedroom) and looked through a few of her book cabinets, which hadn’t been opened in a long while. It took some fussing, but she managed to find me a block of text from 1983, called “August.” A whopping 557 pages. How was I going to finish this before school? I didn’t. I instead read a measly 58 pages during the month of August (irony!) and started over in September. That was the best idea I’ve had in a while. This book made me laugh, cry and think. It broke me. I flew through its pages and 557 felt like the back of a shampoo bottle, save the predictability. I needed to know what would happen to Dawn Henley, and her psychoanalyst, Lulu Shinefield. The way my mom described it to me, “August” by Judith Rossner, details the strong, vulnerable patientpsychoanalyst relationship that exists behind closed doors, as well as what happens when the much-dreaded month approaches. Doctors go on vacation, their patients left behind to cope, the all-too-sudden disturbance in their weekly visits threatening to undo all their progress. In this particular story, we learn about the tragic life of Dawn Henley, her visits with Dr. Shinefield fascinating and raw, disturbing and real. Without giving anything away, Dawn is strong. She is stronger than she’ll ever know, yet she is hurting. You will fall in love with her. Dr. Shinefield is Dawn’s god; smart, attentive, honest and nurturing. She cares for Dawn as if she were one of her

own, whilst remaining professional and firm. But Lulu is hurting too. Bad. She has the upper hand when it comes to controlling her emotions and being mature; she’s the actual, has-lived-through-it adult. Yet it isn’t healthy. She’s learned to repress her feelings, to ignore them. Which is better, the terrified undergrad or the walled off expert who’s too scared to examine her own self, settling on others? We’re treated with a classic play-by-play of each of their lives, each chapter alternating between the two women, who have more in common than they think. The story’s structure allows for you, the reader, to answer that question for yourself—although it isn’t easy. None of it’s “easy.” This book isn’t for the easily distressed; such a feeling is expected, but you shouldn’t feel a dreaded discomfort. It’s hard, but well worth it. I’m not sure if my mom did this on purpose or not—she swears she didn’t, having read the book a long time ago— but upon completing “August”, it all came crashing down on me. It made me reflect upon my life, and upon the lives I could’ve had, upon my own fears and insecurities. Upon my ways of coping. It felt sudden, as I read the last sentence and began assessing my own life, as if I were Dawn and Lulu, combined and in the same body, and this was my job—to ask and answer my own questions. After reading “August,” I felt comfortable examining things about myself that I’ve never known to have existed. It was startling, but also liberating. “August” helped me heal alongside its characters. I wish I had the privilege of reading it for the first time again—I envy you. Happy reading!

Performing by Emily LaSita You sit across from me, but you aren’t facing me So, I can’t make eye-contact with my audience I hold my mug in glass hands—there are cracks From behind your steaming feast, you wink My mouth, arced in de triomphe, flips upside A technical smile crumbles the moment your gaze redirects I force pancakes into my solid sandbag stomach I swallow and I whisper what I have rehearsed, to leave you And it is like screaming underwater, Hoping to see the ballet with your eyes closed tight, Trying to stop the accelerating train with your hands, Or feeding the birds with rosin and notes of song You may as well have mushrooms holding up your spectacles Deaf, I knew you wouldn’t be able to hear me I am a coward and a creep and a liar and a wreck and I want you to realize These artificial flowers I present to you, I myself have become I am the plastic rose, when you see my face again I dance in smiles and bites of food But the curtains never close And I am forced to perform for you forever



Time by David O’Keefe I wouldn’t lie to you or lead you astray; Please smell the breeze One autumn away. Hold snow in hand and let the flakes come alive; To feel all these sensations I could not dare describe. Like the first sight of leaves hugging closely to branches; Eyes locked on young bluebirds And their daintiful dances. Summer days last long as the dreams they guard, Like the sweet tastes of memories From the burial backyards. Hear it in your mind or stop and find the time. And enjoy the waves And the wind and the dirt; Just remember, we were here first.

Advice From My Peers, But Mostly From My Mom by Michelle Nedboy If you fall, let yourself fall and then get right back up (try to fall on your butt). Don’t stop pedaling as you’re switching gears or the chain’ll get loose and you’ll fall. Swim close to the lifeguard. Use a dictionary—I don’t have a dictionary— here’s a dictionary. “Riccce, Krissspies,” say that, you’re getting lazy with your “s”’s again. Stop singing we’re at dinner. Always write down your password somewhere—can I use the same password for things—yeah, makes things easier. Take advantage of everything, and eat three meals a day, you know how your stomach gets. Don’t watch AFV that stuff is horrible. Put your arms up if you’re choking and cough really hard. Go to the career center, they’re there to help you. Do what makes you happy, but keep money in mind. Always tip twenty percent—I do! It’s my friends who don’t—what?! Tell your friends to tip twenty percent. Tell them you’re angry, they won’t know unless you tell them. Be more open-minded, do study abroad—traveling makes me sick—you’ll be fine, pack your medicine, that’s why we have medicine. You need to learn how to drive; you don’t have to actually drive but you need to know how to do it. Stop saying sorry—sorry—don’t do that. Just because they’ve been playing the violin since they could walk doesn’t make you bad at it, you’re still learning—I wish I could learn quicker—I know. Don’t let anyone call you stupid and don’t believe it. Do you need glasses?—no, I’m only near-sighted in the left eye—You’ll need glasses. If you’re gonna drink, eat something and have a shot of olive oil, it’ll coat your stomach. And if anything happens, take Plan B the next day—Mom, nothing’s gonna happen—you never know. Stop biting your nails you’re gonna get sick. Eat an apple. Flip the toast around and toast it again. Wear more than one pair of shoes otherwise your feet’ll get funky. Stop burping—I can’t hold in a burp—you’re gross. Do you do that in front of your friends?—I try to—You can’t write without reading, so read more. Wash your face every night and make your bed every day, it’ll help you feel better. Don’t give up your hobbies—but I don’t have enough time for all of them—you do too. Go with your gut. Use a comb. Stand up straight and proud when you play; now relax your shoulders. Practice every day or at least a lot. Don’t worry, save your money. You don’t know ‘til you try. Try again.



Fading Moon by Justin Rampert

The Halo by Justin Rampert



Cradle Will Rock by Marissa Ammon

The freezing-cold house almost kept Sydney from leaving her bed. She woke around seven o’clock and turned the temperature up. The first thing she would do every morning was head straight for The Cradle. Her living room was perfectly furnished with two long, grey couches across from each other. Next to their couch against the wall is a table and The Cradle is there. It must be warm inside there for that beautiful baby. These pleasant thoughts wander her mind as she rubs her hand on the plastic. The Cradle, an egg-shaped container about five inches long is holding their baby, still growing with just a few more weeks to go. She thinks of their child every single day, every single morning. She pushes the button to turn on the intercom-type microphone, plugged in the front left side of The Cradle. “Good morning, my sweet little peanut,” she says. “Just a few more weeks until daddy and I hold you in our arms.” A tear streams down her cheek. She hopes that everything will work out in the next few months, as she tends to get anxiety about anything new in her life. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. “Hey, how are you?” Jessica shrieks and hugs Sydney. “More importantly, how are you?” Sydney adds, wiping the tears from her face. “Are you okay? You look liked you just cried.” Sydney and Jessica sit on the couch next to The Cradle. “I was just talking to our….little girl!” “Oh my God! You found out the gender?”


“Oh it was easy; Dr. Kowalski came over and took blood from the arm.” “Of the baby?” Sydney nods, “Yeah, no more ultrasounds.” “Not anymore? No! It’s just with The Cradle they don’t do ultrasounds.” “I think they do but we choose not to.” Jessica and Sydney became close friends three years ago when they first were paired as co-workers. They continue talking about work, the neighborhood, the schools and their babies. Sydney asks Jessica about her six-year-old daughter, “Does Ally know yet?” “Oh yeah, we told her last night. She’s so excited about becoming a big sister.” She was actually pregnant with Ally since The Cradle had only come out three years ago. The company gives its employees a benefit worthwhile that can change how anyone views this world. Sydney never needed to get pregnant. She hated the idea, but since The Cradle was created, it changed the way she viewed motherhood. And so she convinced her husband on her creative measure. He always gave her what she wanted. “2028 is going to be an amazing year, I can feel it,” Jessica adds. “Ever since we started working for Cod, technology, food, human life, everything just gets better!” Beep. Beep. The Cradle goes off. Sydney runs to the kitchen.


“Hey Jess, give me a hand!” They slice and mash two bananas, and add milk into the blender. Sydney takes the small glass from the cupboard and fills it up to the top with the purée. Sydney pours the purée into a small hole in The Cradle. Jessica turns the microphone on, as Sydney asked. “I know bananas are your favorite. They’re very healthy too!” Sydney says to her baby. Jessica smiles, “Have you chosen a name yet?” Sydney sighs, “Still waiting on my husband.” “Ally’s dance class ends in an hour, but I have to put the laundry in.” Jessica takes off. Sydney continues to talk to her baby. She then places a pad over her stomach and straps it on. She turns it on and feels her baby moving. She closes her eyes and dreams: this is the best thing in the world. Her husband wakes up and sits on the couch across from his wife. No kiss, no hug, no smile. Sydney wanted to smile at him, but the timing wasn’t right. “I want a paternity test.” Sydney is shocked and confused, “What? Why?” “I want to make sure that this child is mine.” “Honey, who else’s would it be?” “I don’t know. How should I know?” “John, you were there, remember? You gave your genetic material to Dr. Kowalski and they took my blood. It’s our baby!”


“This is just some toy! People are talking and ridiculing this crazy invention. We should have just done this the oldfashioned way, Syd.” Sydney screams, “How dare you say that! I made this baby just as much as you!” It’s been three months since that fight. Sydney can’t think the way she used to. Haunted by losing her baby, in the worst way possible. On the day of the birth, Dr. Kowalski grabbed their infant crying and wailing, but she had stopped breathing once she was out of The Cradle. Meanwhile, Jessica Fortuna’s baby was a boy. They are one happy family, while Sydney is still in shock and dismay. She left her husband and is all alone with her thoughts. “What have I done, what have I done.”


Brown by Cassandra Lee the galaxy swirling within your green iris occasionally flickering sapphire flame reminiscent of a galaxy just you and me our spirits intertwined swelling with desire liberated from distance, temptation, him one glimpse of your amorous emerald eyes deep into the beautiful abyss i fall except no abyss is beautiful. plummeting at a rate destined to be caught by you until a mysterious allure tapped your shoulder you turned i crashed not before witnessing your lips ghosting his viridescent eyes glowing with greed the image seared into my mind betrayal tenderly piercing my heart he locked your innocence in a box worst of all, the suggestion was yours lust, exhilaration, simplicity lured you to him distance, fear, love repelled you from me love never had the charisma of simplicity. barely affording a train ticket to see you simplicity was slightly too expensive for me hazel eyes which once held so much adoration now were filled to the brim with pity elegantly leaving with him, fingers interlaced ripping my heart out with your free hand you never loved me or maybe you did but it wasn’t enough to leave him for me the irony of it all simplicity never defined you. stormy green eyes reflected passion, complexity, hope unable to tear my gaze, constantly mesmerized blinding me from reality the reality that you loved him how could you throw a diamond away for a rock i wasn’t the only one who was blind never again will green eyes enrapture my soul comfort, stability, authenticity matter more i prefer brown eyes now.

by Colin Battersby



Happy Times by Justin Rampert



chesterfield. by Jiesu huddle up close knit and tight like





chesterfield in the den where we sit and talk for hours let's just sit here and enjoy the warmth of our companionship



Not To Me, Not If It’s You by Alyssa Detwiler

Clover was standing against the tree where they first met, her hip cocked out so she could lean with her upper body running parallel to the trunk. For once, the decision to meet up hadn’t been an easy one; Cricket was self-conscious of why he was absent all summer, and the nurses had taken his phone away, only allowing him weekly calls with his mother. They hadn’t spoken for two months, by far the longest time they had been separate. For the first time, meeting with Clover involved an hour long period where he psyched himself into leaving the house; this involved a ritual of combing his hair, jumping around his room until enough adrenaline coursed through his body to convince him that maybe anything was a good idea, combing his hair again because it had gotten messy and feeling less certain after taking the time to look at himself in the mirror. Repeat for an hour, until his mother came in and reminded him that Clover was waiting and would probably beat him up if he stood her up. Probably because of the nerves preceding this, Cricket was overwhelmed with a strong, dizzying feeling. It had been too long, and she looked beautiful. He ran a self-conscious hand through his hair in a half-a**ed attempt to fix himself before her. As subtle as he could, he drank her in. “How was your summer, dweeb?” Her voice was harsh and pleasant and familiar and he almost broke out in tears of joy. Nothing had changed between them then. She would still treat him like she always did, a rarity now that he returned and explained to his other friends that he had been committed to a mental hospital after a major depressive episode that left him bedridden for a week and a half and contemplative in a bathtub before his mother found him holding an object too sharp for comfort. With enough sarcasm to plead plausible deniability were she to ask him about the honesty of his answer, he replied, “Horrible. Awful. Every moment away from you was a moment wasted.” She gagged. Her hair was pulled up into


a messy ponytail that allowed for stray strands to frame her face. She had more freckles than she did when he had left, and she had lost some weight from whatever physical exertion camp counseling demanded. A few bracelets- the homemade kind, with beads with letters on them- were on her wrists. “Those are new.” “Gifts from the kids.” She began to tug and pull at the yarn around her wrist in the way she usually did whenever he complimented her. “Were you the favorite?” She let out a gross snort, something only she could make cute. “Hell, no. But kids like making shit.” Cricket gave an affirmative nod and closed the distance between them, conscious of his too-long limbs as he tried to gracefully lean beside her. “You look good,” she said, looking him up and down. He flushed. “Healthy. Calm.” “Yeah.” “Are you…?” “Yeah. I don’t know. Don’t worry about it.” His heart started beating fast, faster than it normally did around her. “Hey-” “Don’t worry about it,” he said evenly, doing his best to give her the impression he was fine. Clover frowned, smacked her lips together, and blew a large bubble that popped with startling resonance. Cricket tried to ignore that she was chewing gum. If he was aware of her chewing gum, he’d be aware of her mouth and then he’d start focusing on her lips; and that’s generally when he felt he had crossed too far past the boundaries of friendship. “I’d feel better if you talked to me.”


“I talked too much,” he replied. She squinted, and her nose scrunched up in the way that made him want to kiss her more than anything. “I didn’t come home to talk more.” “I want you to talk to me,” she said in a gentle tone that was unusual for her. She reached out and grabbed his arm, and his skin burned where she touched him. It didn’t seem fair, to him, that she could so easily exploit him without even realizing it. He made a show of his concession, enough of one to get her to laugh at his dramatics. He groaned, looked up to the sky, sighed, ducked his head, crossed his arms, uncrossed his arms, huffed, recrossed his arms, and only stopped when she punched him, lightly, in the gut. “I missed home,” he said, not sure where else to start or how to continue. It was beautiful weather. He had been let outside, but the mental hospital would never allow so much freedom for him to be in the middle of the woods. Their tree was in the middle of a forest clearing, so walls of trees surrounded and secluded them. Here they were cut off from the world. As far as he was concerned, just the two of them existed. “I missed my brothers, and my mom. And my bed. And my dog.” “I missed her, too.” “You could’ve visited my family,” he said, grinning at her. She squirmed her shoulder and said to the ground, “Well, I prefer going when you’re there.” Cricket looked away. He sat down on the soft grass that surrounded the roots of the tree. The strong sunlight and thick air enveloped him like a blanket. “I missed this. Everything was so… I don’t know.” “Take your time.” Clover eased down next to him, sitting close enough for their legs to be pressed together. Did this mean anything?


“It was a constant reminder that I’m messed up. I get it, it probably helped me, but it sucked.” “I hope it helped,” Clover said, and the look she gave him was so tender and honest he nearly melted. When she reached out to rub small circles into his back, he held back a contented sigh. That would probably be too weird. “At least here I can forget what’s in my head. There, it was, ‘You’re depressed, and we’re going to talk about why you’re depressed, and that’s all we’re doing.’ It was exhausting.” She nodded, and pressed more against him. He let himself lean into her. “I understand,” she said. He was a little impressed, because he wasn’t sure he did. He wasn’t sure what the empty feeling was, or why he still felt like he was broken. He wasn’t sure if words would explain it. She didn’t press him for more. They sat in silence, listening to the hum of insects and chirping birds. “I missed you, Cricket.” “I missed you, too,” he replied, not feeling brave enough to look at her. “You know I mean it, right?” “Yeah.” “Because I do. I did miss you. I did. I…” It wasn’t often that Clover stumbled over her words. Generally, she was likely too confident whenever she spoke. Cricket looked at her, prompting her to continue, saying silently that he was listening. With her lips pursed, she said quietly, “You’re my only friend here.” He mulled this over and ignored his own nerves long enough to wrap his arm around her shoulders. “You’re mine, too.” And he hoped she heard everything he wanted to say.


Heaven by Samantha Hughes there I was surrounded by naked trees with brittle branches bearing the weight of Mother Nature’s anger trudging carefully through her wrath the branches’ snapping echoed loudly down it collapsed underneath the white mountain I felt far from God now I am in a wonderland gentle green grass tickles my neck flowers sprout against my back mockingjays sing to me their favorite tune Mother Nature is as calm as can be I carve snow angels in the grass Finally I feel close to God

Journeying into Self-Love

Breathe deeply,

by Pamela Loperena

soaking in every vibration and color

Like a peony,

of your essence,

blooming from

to search for the

the hairline cracks

lonely heartbeat,

of the earth,

lacking in

you must foster


healing light in your own

Reclaim your truth—


the vigor and purpose,


your soul’s been running away from,

Take the time,

far too long.

to appreciate your flaws— the little imperfections

Awaken your peaceful eyes,

which make you even more

noticing roots


growing out of the oceans

Weed out,

of your

the self-sabotage, pain,


and venom,


poisoning your sacred reflection,

and realize that the first step

but forgive yourself for

into flourishing,

ever feeling these

is accepting that


you deserve


unconditional love for yourself,

Believe that you are enough

before you can

for the world’s eyes to behold,

give love

and cherish your body as if it’s

freely and fully to

the best blessing


that life can ever offer








playlists THE TELLER




Songs for Healing After a Breakup by Marissa Ammon Soft and Slow Ballads Someone Like You by Adele Love Yourself by Justin Bieber Grand Piano by Nicki Minaj Who’s Lovin’ You by The Jackson 5 When The Party’s Over by Billie Eilish Pop Princesses Fading by Rihanna Part of Me by Katy Perry Speechless by Lady Gaga Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande Same Old Love by Selena Gomez Country-style Lyrics Teardrops on My Guitar by Taylor Swift Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood You Were Mine by The Dixie Chicks Tonight I Wanna Cry by Keith Urban What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts Dance Jams Don’t Call Me Up by Mabel I Want You Back by NSYNC You Don’t Have to Call” by Usher Bulletproof by La Roux I Love It by Icona Pop Classic Karaoke Potential Breakup Song by Aly and AJ Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson Forget U by Cee Lo Green Don’t Speak by No Doubt Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye ft. Kimbra Rocker Ranting You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrissette When You’re Gone by Avril Lavigne Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi



December Horoscopes Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 21) Happy Birthday Sagittarius! You have always been very fond of this time of year, mostly because you get to celebrate yourself! This is well deserved and your optimistic mindset will allow for you to make this birthday extra special. You may be feeling extra lucky this month - play the lottery or enter a raffle! The possibilities are endless, don’t be afraid to bring your confidence to the table the month, it will certainly pay off.

Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 19)

Aquarius (Jan 20 - Feb 18)

Pisces (Feb 19 - Mar 19)

Let loose this month! Even though things aren’t always under your control, embracing the unknown with a positive attitude can open so many doors for you. Forget your expectations and let each day be a surprise. No one has everything figured out in their lives, and as soon as you realize this, you’ll be able to finally have some fun.

It’s time to get real this month! You have always been a very independent individual but you should be encouraged to get more involved with the community. Remember the importance of team work and the joy you get from working with others. Extend yourself to your friends and peers, you never know what new collaborations and adventures that could come from this!

You may feel like in the past you’ve been overlooked in the workplace and with your peers. It is easy to feel this way since you can be insecure at times and afraid to put yourself out there. This month you will be brought some end of the year confidence! Use this for good! Share your ideas at work, make new friends or do something kind for a peer! You can really discover your full potential at this time, all of these new opportunities will be very exciting.

Aries (Mar 20 - April 19)

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

Your inner leader is yearning to be let loose this month. Your natural intuition for decision making could be a great thing for not only you but also those around you who are seeking a little guidance. But if you’re going to share your wisdom, be confident and remember to take your own advice once in a while.

Productivity, productivity, productivity! This month it is vital you push your distractions aside and make room for the big changes coming in your life. From past experience, you know that your upcoming success makes all the work you’re putting in now worth it. Get your head in the game and go do your thing!

You may feel like your world has been a bit shaken up lately. There is so much going on with your responsibilities and relationships. Lucky for you, you work great under pressure. Try and remember this and don’t get too overwhelmed. Make sure that no matter how crazy your schedule gets, you take time for yourself. Even if it is just meditation before bed, it is important to remember to practice self care during this hectic time.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

Leo (July 23 - Aug 22)

Virgo (Aug 23 - Sept 22)

You faced some pretty life altering transformations in the past few months. You should be proud of yourself! It can be easy for you to get overwhelmed at times but with careful organization and thoughtful self care, you have managed to keep a smile on your face! Bring this energy into the new year and you will find yourself truly growing into the best version of yourself.

Get ready for some big things this month. It’s important that you prepare for what is coming so that everything goes smoothly and benefit you as much as it possibly can. Take your time, pay attention to details and be thorough when putting together your upcoming plans.

This month may start as uncomfortable for you, but you need this. You’ve been in a funk for far too long and you are going to thrive in this new place you’re headed. The change may be internal, external or both. Regardless, don’t forget that only you have control over your life.

Libra (Sept 23 - Oct 22)

Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 22)

You are the people pleaser of the zodiac and the opinions of those around you really impact you. You always want to know what’s going on to make sure you can put your words into the situation. Try and listen more and speak less this month. You are a very empathetic person, but try and really listen to those around you to see where you have the chance to grow from situations.

Your roots are firmly planted and you are ready to grow! You have done so much work on yourself to get to the place you are at now. You have all the tools you need to make anything possible. You know what you want and you are finally ready to go out and get it!