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Happy November With the air growing crisp and the leaves falling to the ground, I find myself bundled up with more and more layers to stay warm. I am always, always begging for comfort of some sort. Our theme for this issue is fittingly comfort. The first and easiest way I find my own comfort is through the physical sense. This time of the year you can find me in my baggiest sweatshirts, sweatpants, scarves, layered jackets and so on. I was recently gifted a weighted blanket, and I can confidently say that it just might be the holy grail for comfort. Besides finding ways to be comfortable in your day-to-day life through what you wear and how you snuggle up, the word does have a much deeper and existential sense to it. I ask myself often, what truly makes me comfortable and what will push me outside of my comfort zone? I often struggle with needing a sense of familiarity and comfort. Being comfortable in something makes me feel like I can thrive the most, although this might not necessarily be true. It can be hard for me to throw myself into something that I don’t know anything about. Honestly, it is hard for me to even think of a time where I did this. Although, I feel like I always hear about people talking about their own experiences where they jumped into something new and it paid off. Graduating this spring will probably be the first time I truly am pushed into something that I have no idea about. When you come to college, you at least have some sort of education under your belt. Right now, I am beginning to contemplate where I want to be post-graduation. It is something that is completely up to me, yet I am still uncomfortable regarding it. Nothing about my upcoming future will be in a path of familiarity or comfort. Despite being uncomfortable about my future, I think it will all be worth it. This month our contributors used the word comfort in any way they wished to spark their submissions. Feel free to skim through and find out how to stay comfortable when working out, the cathartic process of preparing food, how studying abroad can push you out of your comfort zone, where you can find comfort in silence and a lot more. The literature and art section features a wide variety of poetry, short stories, photography and more that are focused on comfort as well. Happy Reading, 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 atured con tri buto rs

Name: Pamela Loperena Year: Senior Contribution: Home, Art & Literature Email: What challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone?: I would say that my motivation to become a better individual than I was every day prior always pushes me out of my comfort zone. As a person who enjoys trying new things and experiences, sometimes I like to remind myself that the best moments I’ll ever have are the ones where I overcome my initial fears, in order to grow and prove my anxiety wrong about my true capabilities. Taking the time to appreciate the significant people and little things as well as striving to be more honest with others and my own feelings to achieve an authentic, humble way of life, definitely prove to be lifelong obstacles for me, but I am willing to put in the work to change my old habits for my personal development.

Name: Ericka Francois Year: Senior Major: Journalism, Psychology Minor Contribution: Health & Wellness Email: What challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone?: I start with doing what I haven’t done already, it’s sort of like a mental list I check off. I do the things that makes me think “I don’t know if I want to do this, I’m not used to it.” However, I’ve begun learning how to differentiate between being uncomfortable and following my gut feeling. An example of that is, going to a band show at a house, what’s the worst that could happen? (I do a quick pro and con) It’s not my thing or my vibe but worst case scenario is I’m not feeling it and I can just leave. Each new thing I do gives me the confidence to continue to do more new things and to help me grow with getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. You either stay stagnant or stay evolving. Which one are you going to choose?

Name: Liat Guvenc Year: Junior Major: Asian Studies Contribution: Adventure Email: What challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone?: Intro to Acting challenges me to step out of my comfort zone. I hate public speaking and often become anxious while speak to a group of more than three people. But, I want to be the kind of person that can get up on stage and be excited about it. I want to talk to a group of people without being scared of messing up my words. Intro to Acting challenges me to deal with awkward moments in class when I do mess up my words. And I realized that these moments are not as uncomfortable as I made them out to be. Although I still feel extremely uncomfortable in class, I have noticed myself looking forward to the next one. It’s reassuring that when I step out of my comfort zone, the results are not as bad as I anticipated.

Name: Lindsay Kranitz Year: Junior Major: Digital Media Management Contribution: Fashion, Health & Wellness, Design Email: What challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone?: New experiences and adventures push me to step outside my comfort zone. I like to be able to go home and have a story to tell.

Food Taylor Dowd, Amanda M. Gordon, Emily Fego, Marissa Ammon, Gabriella Rivera, Amy Lynn Tompkins, Adventure Caleb Wootan, Starr Ramos, Liat Guvenc, Abby Foster, Health and Wellness Linsday Kranitz, Ericka Francois, Erin Freeman, Gabrielle Vultaggio, Emily Trama, Annemarie Durkin, Home Yasmine Sayid, Shyana Fisher, Pamela Loperena, Jessica Barr, Amanda M. Gordon,

Name: Katie Goldblatt Year: Freshman Major: Undeclared Contribution: Art & Literature Email: What challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone?: Believe it or not, this first semester at New Paltz has been quite out of my comfort zone! It’s a lot to balance living away from home for the first time, meeting new people, and my classes. It’s been quite the adventure, though!

Poetry Pamela Loperena, Laura Thompson, Samantha Hughes, Michelle Nedboy, Nicole Wasylak, David O’Keefe, Katherine Boyle, Taylor Dinardo, Joey Gyarmathy, Marissa Ammon, Katherine Goldblatt, Sophie Herman, Emily LaSita, Short Stories Nicole Wasylak, Jiesu, Ezra Baptist, Michelle Nedboy, Liam Sullivan, Photography/Art Marisa Lucchese Justin Rampert George Catechis Susanna Granieri Reviews Victoria Cymbal, Steve Baltsas, Playlists Gwen Jones, Allison Dempsy, Jessica Barr, Emily Trama, Horoscopes Emma Gibbons, Claire Hazard,

Name: Sophie Herrmann Year: Junior Contribution: Adventure, Fashion, Art & Literature Email: What challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone?: Doing new things I’ve never done before always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. But honestly some of the best memories and experiences I’ve had are from those instances of the new!

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


all Contributors

Fashion Linsday Kranitz, Sophie Herman, Jessica Barr,



008 022



P. 008 Sweater Weather

P. 016 Mindful Eating

P. 030 Little Light of Mine Village Candle

P. 010 Athleisure on Campus

P. 020 Meal Preparation as Therapy

P. 031Bird’s Eye View of the Hudson Valley

P. 012 Handmade Clay Accessories

P. 022 Earth, Wind & Fuego

P. 032 Breaking out of My Comfort Zone









P. 038 Designing a Home Sanctuary

P. 048 Confidence in my Queerness

P. 042 Guide to Hygge

P. 052 Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

P. 044 Coping with Homesickness

P. 058 Bedtime Meditation


Short Stories

Photography and Art Playlists Reviews Horoscopes







Sweater Weather Four Ways to Avoid Itch and Embrace Comfort by Jessica Barr

1 The Do’s and Don’ts of Wool Wool is known for its ability to insulate heat, but can feel extremely prickly against our skin. While shopping for sweaters, it’s important to note how the wool is marketed, in terms of fiber fineness. You want to buy a wool sweater with the smallest fiber diameter to ensure a smoother material, like Cashmere (but a less expensive version).

2 Consider Your Skin If your skin is already dry or irritated, chances are most wool sweaters are going to be especially irritating for you. Merino wool is a softer, less itchy option, but a soft cotton or fleece is your safest bet.

3 Try on Your Garment Sweaters are best bought in-store because the only way to really get a feel for comfort is trying it on and moving around in it. Where we usually take something to the fitting room, decide it’s flattering, and walk out; sweaters require a bit of testing. You want to make sure the piece is as functionable as it is trendy, and the only way to do so is with a tangible piece.

4 Think Cashmere While cashmere is typically a more expensive and luxurious option, it’s definitely one of the softest. To avoid spending a one to two week paycheck on sweater, try thrifting (it’s better for the environment too!). This is an incredibly easy way to afford the softest of all sweaters while giving yourself a vintage edge.

“You want to make sure the piece is as functionable as it is trendy”



How to be confident in your style It’s true, we are all guilty of the “what are you wearing text” to your friend before you go out, or when you spend hours trying on clothes at the store but leaving empty handed. Finding confidence in your style is not an easy thing to accomplish. It has taken me awhile to figure out my style and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t have one. You may or may not either. Having a set in stone style is not what the goal is here, the goal is to feel confident in anything you are wearing whether it’s considered trendy or not. In order to feel confident, I have curated a list of steps that will help build your confidence when flipping through the clothing rack at any retail store, or even your own closet!

by: Lindsay Kranitz

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


LOVE YO U R BO DY Clothes are just accessories to your own beautiful body. They accentuate who you are. It is like putting frosting on top of a cake. If you think the base of the cake is not beautiful, you will not think the frosting looks good either. Love your body because you will love your clothing so much more. LOVE YO U RSEL F F RO M WITH I N Know who you are. Your clothing represents the type of person you are. Purchase things that will compliment your personality in a positive way. RE SE ARCH Research styles that you have passion in. If you happen to love music from the 70s, look through their style. Find pieces that are similar to pieces in your closet and resurface them to the world! PAY AT TENTI O N TO TH E F IT Sometimes sizes are not accurate. There may be a pair of jeans that you have in one size in a particular style but in another style, you may be a different size. This happens all the time and it is because of the manufacturer/ stores sizing chart. D O N OT CO M PARE I find this very hard. Stepping into a social gathering and realizing your outfit is a bit different than everyone else's is a scary thought but it should not set you back or ruin your confidence. TRY TH I N GS O N This is very important. But also can cause issues because of the beloved online shopping we all know and love. Try things on in stores because they may look cute on the rack and you may just not love them on your body. When you try things on, you go home knowing that you will feel confident in what you purchased because you already know what it looks like on your body. B E PHYS I CAL LY CO M FO RTAB L E I N YO U R CLOTH ES Who said beauty is pain? I do not agree. When your picking out an outfit, or buying clothes from the store, make sure you are comfortable in them physically and mentally. F I N D A FASH I O N RO L E M O D EL Do not copy fashion but rather find inspiration. Copying someone else's outfit may lead to comparing. Find inspiration from other peoples outfits but add your own twist to it. ASSE SS YO U R CLOSE T Look through your closet and find the clothing items that may make you feel less confident, maybe because they are too tight, too big, etc. Resell these pieces or donate them. ALWAYS D RESS YO U R B EST This is important for your mental state. Dressing up for class or even just to go to the library will help you feel confident in whatever you are doing and you will feel more accomplished.


Activewear--But Make it Fashionable by Lindsay Kranitz

Ah, yes. Athleisure. That’s the word. This is the fashionable yet athletic style that we all know and love. It is a brilliant idea because of its convenience. It is a style that can be worn for multiple different occasions. Our culture has changed because of our desire to be healthy and work out, therefore the market for activewear has grown increasingly. People want to work out, but also get to work on time. This gives activewear companies an opportunity to create multi use pieces for the average working man/ woman. In addition to activewear companies, big name designers like Matthew Williams, who is a British fashion


designer, teamed up with Nike to create a line that debuted in a Paris pop-up shop in early 2019. We even see popular celebrities like Kanye West who created a clothing line with the activewear company, Adidas. This line includes pieces like sweatpants and sweatshirts. Who would’ve thought you would see such casual looks on the runway during fashion week. Aside from high fashion, athleisure is seen throughout college campuses because of its extreme comfort. Here are some outfits incorporating activewear with everyday fashion.




I never used to wear dangly earrings because they were such a statement. When you are younger it seems like a big deal to put on a pair because you can feel them dangle around your head. The earrings you wear for the day say a lot about your outfit and to me, it is a major part of my mood. So, finding the right pair can be challenging sometimes. I started Dreamy Lobes out of necessity for that perfect pair of dangle earrings for whatever mood I’m in, or want to be in. Each pair is handmade using clay and chalk pastel and no two pairs are identical! I try not to directly duplicate other earring designs that I’ve seen because the beautiful process of individual expression can take place when you create something that is a combination of your unique experiences. Lately, I have been looking to Henri Matises’ work with cut-out shapes in solid bright colors and Marc Chagall’s dreamy scenes in blue for inspiration. Hair clips and pins have also entered the mix at Dreamy Lobes so take comfort in more than just that perfect pair of earrings! I want to encourage others to embrace their power of self expression– go forth, create and check me out on instagram!


Dreamy Lobes by Sophie Hermann




The 1950’s Silhouette

by Jessica Barr

An olive-toned leather yearbook engraved in white, reading “1957 Red Hawks” was handed to me during dinner at Huckleberry. My mom brought the highschool yearbook to me in hopes that I would find photos of the fashion silhouette I was looking for, with partial acknowledgment of the connection such an artifact would give me to my roots. The book belonged to my grandmother Elaine, from her freshman year of highschool. We knew that 1957 was the perfect year to investigate in search of the silhouette. Flipping through it, I found nostalgia, shared interests and the proof that the hourglass silhouette I had been looking for, dominated the landscape in the 1950s.

waist dresses to second skin body-con sets to one piece jumpsuits, our options have become endless in finding the garment that’s right for us. We often don’t realize the impact one designer has had on our everyday wear. It’s safe to say Christian Dior was a key player in allowing the housewife to move out into the workforce with a sense of physical pride in the 50s, while giving an adaptable blueprint for the high waisted suit trousers that early 21st century women wear.

Brought to life by designer Christian Dior in 1947, the “New Look” gave women a silhouette that brought figurative comfort to their bodies. While achieving the cinched waist, full A-line skirt look was anything but comfortable in practice, the newfound trend gave women a chance to feel comfortable in their curves no matter their size. Through the combination of pantie girdles, corsets and corselettes women squeezed themselves in Edwardian-time style garments. The goal being to look as streamlined and effortless as possible, in possibly one of the most layered outfits of all time. In modern day fashion it’s hard to imagine wearing a bra everyday, let alone restrictive corsets with bust enlargement and waist reduction qualities. What came of the 1947 “New Look” is an evolution of the hourglass figure and women’s comfort within their own bodies. The progression of such a staple silhouette has allowed women to experiment with our own figures for nearly 73 years now. From shoulder-banding, cinched







by Emily Fego



Vegetarian Meal #1 tofu stir fry

“How long can you survive off of boxed mac and cheese before you learn to shop and cook for yourself?” For most students, college is the first taste of freedom before entering the “real world”. This step toward obtaining independence brings up one question: how long can you survive off of boxed mac and cheese before you learn to shop and cook for yourself?

Here are some tips on how to make food choices that can benefit your body and the health of the environment while attending college:

Find where to shop But the realization that processed foods are not a sustainable choice for your body does not mean your job is over. In light of concern regarding climate change, eating sustainability for the sake of the Earth’s health should be at the front of our minds as well.

Choosing a food shopping destination is essential in creating a healthy and environmentally sustainable diet. Dietitian at SUNY New Paltz, Marie Murphy, noted that the New Paltz area has a lot of local farming, which SUNY New Paltz geography professor, Tim Vatovec, said can help cut down on pollution from transportation. For local food options, the New Paltz Open Air Market is open on Sundays and is located in the heart of town on Church street. If you are looking for a wider selection of items, check out the Wallkill View Farm Market at 15 State Route 299.

Wallkill View Farm Market

Eat less meat


The meat industry in the United States, as Vatovec described, is a major consumer of resources through the excess land, water and fertilizer used to grow crops to feed livestock. The animals themselves attribute to pollution, as they give off waste and methane which Vatovec said is a potent greenhouse gas. He continued, “This whole chain is very damaging to the environment; no matter the quality or nature of the meat grown, there is significant environmental impacts.” As a vegetarian himself, Vatovec advises starting off small by consciously not eating meat for two or three days a week. He said, “Also, choice of meats eaten can matter. I know people who do not eat a lot of beef in favor of chicken, which can have less of an impact on the environment.”


Vegetarian Meal #2: couscous with zucchini, pepper, tomato and chickpeas Murphy said she is generally supportive of individuals who decide to cut meat out of their diet as long as they are conscious of potential deficiencies. The deficiencies vegans should be most aware of are with vitamin D and B12, but could also include iron, calcium and protein. Murphy supports such dietary choices for individuals interested in how food choices impact the planet but is sure to mention that it is not for everyone. She said, “A vegan or vegetarian diet may be counter-indicated in certain instances, such as with particular medical conditions, restricted diets and/or eating disorders.�

Find the dairy alternative for you The choices for dairy alternatives are plentiful which can make choosing the right one difficult. Vatovec and Murphy both mention soy milk as an alternative. Soy is a great source of protein for those who might be cutting out other sources of protein found in animal products out of their diet. Murphy suggests alternatives like almond, oat and coconut milk for those who decide to keep meat in their diet but would like to cut down on their cow milk intake.


When to choose organic Since organic food choices can be an issue of affordability for many college students. Murphy suggested doing your own research on Environmental Working Group website. This site contains two lists: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 which can help students decide which produce is worth paying the premium price for and which conventionally grown products are considered to have low pesticide exposure. The most recent list shows strawberries at the top of the Dirty Dozen list and avocados at the top of the Clean 15.

Be confident in your impact You may question how much of an impact the choices you make in the grocery store can affect something as large as the well-being of the planet. But many individuals coming together with the shared goal of being mindful of the health of our bodies and the planet has the potential for major impact. A healthy lifestyle is not one-size-fits-all so although it is important to adhere to these tips, do what works best for you!


by Gabriella Rivera This column is dedicated to the farmer’s market every Thursday on Excelsior Concourse. I focus on creating dishes and drinks centering around a key ingredient from the market and a few simple ingredients from the supermarket to create appealing courses that are as engaging to the eyes as they are to the pallet.

The Muenster Mash While trying to figure out a recipe for this issue without embodying the word “comfort,” I spotted this gorgeous baguette from the Bread Alone stand and decided the ultimate comfort food is my favorite two things–avocado toast and grilled cheese. The Muenster Mash was born! Bread Alone is a family-owned organic bakery based in upstate New York that is passionate about creating good and honest food. Ingredients: A baguette Muenster cheese Avocado Arugula An egg Start by heating a small fry pan to medium. When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of butter. Let it melt. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Add eggs when butter is foamy and fry your eggs over easy, or to your preferred doneness, adding salt and pepper once you’ve flipped them. I love runny eggs and

the sensation of mopping up yolk with crispy toast, however this sandwich is all about comfort, cook your yolk how you enjoy it most. Cut your baguette into long, thick ovals and lay them out onto the baking sheet and throw them in the oven to warm the slices. Remove lettuce leaves trying to keep them intact as much as possible. Cut open your avocado, run a spoon along the inside emptying it into a bowl and give it a light mash. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove pieces of bread from the oven and spread each slice with a little avocado. Decide which slices will be the bottom and give each bottom half a small bed of arugula. Place eggs over the top of greens. Cover each egg with its own slices of muenster cheese and gently (without breaking the egg yolk) with another piece of baguette. Place sandwiches in the oven and toast until you have a melty, gooey sandwich worthy of being called my ultimate comfort food.



Cooking is the one chore that I take pleasure in. And it’s not just for the sake of eating either. The simplicity of boiling water on the stovetop to turn the pasta dough into succulent tender bits of goodness. Measuring out the spices required for a certain dish, or the attempting to slice up the ingredients to precision. It’s easy to get lost in thought during these acts but every detail of the process of making a meal can be admired.

Think about the last meall you made. What sounds erupted from the pot or pan? The air filled with not only the sounds of bubbling or sizzling, but with the aroma of your desired repast. Was it sweet corn? Hearty noodles? Perhaps it was bacon you made this morning - did you cook it just enough to be edible, or did you fry it to a crispy perfection?

I feel the need to add this disclaimer before I go on any further. I do not, nor will I ever claim to be a chef. My self-described technique of preparing my food is garbage cooking, not that I think it tastes bad, but in the sense that I just throw most of my dishes together without consulting a recipe of some sort. If I have the overall gist of how to make something, I will make it and add in whatever else I fancy or that is nearing its expiration. I don’t plan on changing my ways anytime soon, not even to please the vengeful spirit of Gordon Ramsey. The point is that you shouldn’t have to be a professional to enjoy something. It may make the process easier but just about everyone can cook to some capacity, even if it’s just scrambled eggs, or macaroni and cheese.



That’s what I really enjoy about cooking. The fact that I have a choice in my meals. Complete freedom to dictate what I want and how I want it. Growing up, I’ve never been a huge fan of meat and as with most American diets, I was raised in a family of carnivores. According to statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average American ate just over 222 pounds of meat each in 2018. I haven’t sworn off meat completely just yet, as the budget of a college student doesn’t always lean in favor of fresh produce, but I often incorporate tofu over chicken or beef to my dishes. You should try that at home too, as tofu is literally the Ditto of the food world. If I’m in the mood for something spicy, adding sriracha sauce or curry paste will turn that bland, pale block into the main attraction for your rice dish. Leaning for a tangy sweet sensation? Mix up your favorite BBQ sauce with Vermont maple syrup to transform the tofu into a snack that can appease even the biggest meat eaters. Over the course of my life, I have owned one or two cookbooks and occasionally I will refer to the wisdom of Google when I need to create a particular dish. As I men-

tioned previously, my cooking style is rather experimental, but there are some processes I’ve learned that it is best to follow expert advice on. One such example is the process of cracking open a pomegranate. This fruit is in season from September to February with prices ranging from $2 - $4 per fruit. Getting to the seeds can be a tricky process, but if done right, not a single seed will go to waste. I start by removing the ‘flower’ on the top of the ruby colored husk. Once off, I divide the fruit into sections by carefully slicing into the fruit from top to bottom. I normally divide it into three sections, but any number of sections will do - the most important part is not to cut too deep, otherwise you risk damaging the seeds inside. Moving on to my favorite part, which is also the most grueling. I dig into the sliced shell with my fingertips to expose the bittersweet jewels inside. The distinctive cracking sound it makes is horrifically pleasant (if that makes any sense). These seeds can be vengeful; however, as the juices they produce can easily stain. It’s best to submerge the fruit in a bowl of water as you tear apart the husk and pluck away the bittersweet gems inside. It’s not a job that can be done on short notice. I estimate that the procedure takes about 10 minutes per pomegranate when done with care, but it is so worthwhile. Especially if you find breaking things to be therapeutic like I do.



It all started when Jen Herman and Madeline Henriquez began meal-prepping for themselves as a necessary lifestyle change. That turned into a business, mealprepping for others while they were each pursuing master’s degrees in social work. Then the partners realized there was a way to take the business to a larger audience. Earth, Wind and Fuego was born. “I was having some health issues. So was my partner, and I sort of realized my diet was really affecting my mental and physical health,” Herman, who uses they/ them pronouns, explained. “It took me about six months to realize, I wasn’t on a diet. I was changing my lifestyle. When you’re on a diet, you have cheat days, but that was making me sick.” The City of Poughkeepsie has also been experiencing big changes, particularly near the waterfront. Gentrification has raised rents in those neighborhoods. Small restaurants which previously served the diverse local community have been replaced by often-overpriced establishments whose target markets are upper middle-class tourists and commuters. Before pulling into the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory parking lot, away from the worst examples of gentrified living, it’s apparent something different is at work. The building sits just off Main Street in a blink-and-you’llmiss-it block that, despite being at the heart of the city, was known by locals as a place where you lock your car if you’re stopped at the red light. Now, that block looks cleaner, cared for but not out of place. Once inside, turn left and you’ll see the Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen, an initiative by Hudson River Housing which owns the building and functions as a not-for-profit, where Earth, Wind and Fuego has served lunch five days a week since 2017.


While Earth, Wind and Fuego is not operating, the kitchen is open to the public for a nominal fee and is used by local chefs and nonprofits. For many, it’s an affordable alternative to buying a commercial kitchen. Shared office spaces and conference rooms are also available for per diem rental. The walls in this space are exposed brick. Comfortable armchairs and couches are strategically placed in the corners, creating cozy nooks. Most of the tables are antique Singer sewing machine stands, a subtle homage to the building’s original purpose. As a for-profit business, Earth, Wind and Fuego is under no obligation to serve the community – at least not in the way it is. However, Herman and Henriquez are committed to a mission-based model that supports the neighborhood on both macro- and micro-levels. This is their mission statement: Earth, Wind & Fuego is a social enterprise radicalizing hiring, training and workplace culture to create sustainable solutions to poverty through inclusive training and employment opportunities. As a social enterprise, we seek, build and sustain opportunities. We envision a community where everyone is able to live out their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and share their #POUGHTENTIAL with the world. A key way they’re supporting their community is, according to their web site, training and hiring community members who face physical, mental, and societal barriers. People who are hired under this umbrella undergo a comprehensive training program, from which they graduate with skills appropriate to their goals. With Herman baking and Henriquez doing most of the cooking, Fuego’s business model rejects the traditional kitchen hierarchy and consciously avoids reinforcing stereotypes rampant across the restaurant industry.


Herman and Henriquez, courtesy

“There’s definitely some stereotypes. The Head Chef who is usually a white man in charge, the woman (usually white) in the front-of-house and the (usually undocumented) people of color in back-of-house jobs like dishwashing,” they explained. “Here, we all wash the dishes. We all work with the customers. We all wear the same shirt.” “We’re really working to flip the script,” Herman said. “We’ll also work with someone if they’re really uncomfortable doing certain things. We had one guy who had spent some time in prison and he really didn’t want to interact with customers, so we accommodated and worked with him to step out of his comfort zone. Today he’s an entrepreneur and works in the communications field.” They continued to say that everyone is paid above minimum wage, even though staff do also receive tips, because, as business owners, the partners believe it’s important their staff feels valued. According to Herman, access to services like the Employment Assistance Program (EAP), which is available through their partnership with Hudson River Housing, provides added value. As social workers, they and their partner learned that workplace relationships often reflect familial patterns. This means that a person may be interacting with their boss but may, for example, be transferring negative feelings about a parent into that interaction.


“We try to model healthy behaviors. We’re all human, so we all mess up. When [my partner or I] do, we make sure we apologize and talk about what happened,” Herman explained. They further acknowledge that restaurants can be a traumatic environment unto themselves. Working with the public, micro-managing your time and making sure everything that lands on a plate is not only edible, but delicious and beautiful, can be a lot to handle. For a person who has experienced trauma, it may be even more difficult. As a trauma-informed workplace, Earth, Wind and Fuego recognizes and responds to the impact of trauma on mental health and physical well-being. “When I was working as a social worker, I heard that the environment in a lot of [restaurants] is toxic,” Herman said. That’s why the staff meets regularly to talk about coping mechanisms and everyone is encouraged to check in with each other, even if it’s just to make sure they’re all drinking enough water during their shifts. New students are guided in making clear goals for themselves, both short-term and long-term, from the very beginning of their program, so they’re working toward a tangible outcome and can track their own progress.


Employees are also encouraged to mentor each other. “We focus on representation,” Herman said. “Those who are a year into the program can see how far they’ve come by working with people who are just starting and new participants can see, if they do the work, what they might achieve.” The support system is not the only thing that makes this restaurant unique. It’s worth noting that Herman still considers themself a social worker, “It’s been two years and it only just occurred to me that, I guess technically, I’m a chef because I am doing that work. But, no, I’m a social worker. This really is social work that we’re doing here.” The business exclusively employs people from the local community, hiring via partnerships with ARC of Dutchess and Hudson River Housing and welcomes everyone. Even if you don’t buy anything. Even if you don’t have any money.

from her heritage,” Herman said. “But we also want our food to reflect the community that we serve.”

“One guy came in the other day and just rested on the couch,” Herman said. “It’s important that everyone, no matter who they are, knows they will be welcomed with a smile.” Part of the mission, revitalization without gentrification, is to create a space where people who actually live in the neighborhood are comfortable. A pay-it-forward board allows patrons to put money on a card that someone else can use to buy whatever they want. “While I was working with domestic violence survivors, I learned there’s a difference between feeling comfortable and feeling safe. We want a space that does both,” Herman said. Their conscious efforts to create an inclusive environment don’t end with the obvious. Fuego’s holiday menu offers a wide array of comfort food, available to order for your home dinner needs, without any of the “traditional” offerings that, according to Herman, are associated with the erasure of indigenous peoples or people of color. Along with an array of appetizers and side dishes, Chicken, lasagna and “Latin-sagna” (sweet plantain layers) are available as family-size entrees. Sofrito and Fuego Sauce are available a la carte. “It’s partly because my partner is a second-generation Dominican-American, so a lot of the food we make is


In the two years the business has been operating, five students have graduated from the training program, three of whom were hired by Earth, Wind and Fuego. They’ve catered 154 events and recently partnered with Hudson River Housing for the Teen Business Lab. In September, the restaurant received the 2019 Award for Business Excellence for Small Business from Think Dutchess Alliance for Business and in October it received a service award from the Esperanza Dutchess County Hispanic Heritage Committee. On the first Friday of every month, the restaurant hosts an open mic night. They call it Fiesta Friday. “People perform poetry. Manny, [a graduate from the program who trained as a barista and is now a full-time team member], plays the guitar. One time we had a violinist. We tend to have a lot of people from the LGBTQ community,” Herman said. “It’s a relaxed environment where people are encouraged to be themselves.” The next Fiesta Friday is December 1 from 7-10 p.m. at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory which is located at 8 N. Cherry St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. For more information about Earth, Wind and Fuego, you can visit their Facebook page or their Web site For more information about the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory (including the Open Kitchen) or Hudson River Housing you may visit


by Taylor Dowd Few foods make for a better autumn meal than this vegetable soup. Its low cost, great flavor and versatility make it a staple in my home. The assortment of veggies allows for a nutrient-dense meal suitable for a variety of diets. With fresh veggies, a good knife and some aromatic spices, a delicious comfort meal is just a couple hours away! Tips: -This recipe includes homemade broth, the base of the soup, made by saving the scraps and peels from preparing onions, celery and carrots. On a time crunch? Substitute store-bought broth for homemade.

Homemade Broth Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced Scraps from peeled vegetables (carrot peels, onion layers, celery ends) 10 cups water ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

-Using a food processor for chopping veggies helps cut down on preparation time. However, it will slightly change the texture of the finished soup.

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, whole

-The soup can be modified to fit any dietary needs or personal preference. Replace any veggies with ones of your choosing. Swap pasta with rice or lentils, or add in heartier greens like spinach or kale for additional sources of vitamins and other nutrients. The listed recipe is dairyfree and meat-free.

½ teaspoon rosemary

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

-Any extra soup stores well in the refrigerator for about a week.



Soup Ingredients: 3 tablespoons olive oil 3-5 cloves garlic, minced 1 large onion, diced 2 cups carrots, finely sliced 2 cups celery, chopped ¾ cup cooked corn kernels ¾ cup cooked peas ¾ teaspoon garlic powder ¾ teaspoon onion powder ¾ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon dried basil ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon thyme Salt and pepper to taste

To Make the Soup:

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for spicier soup)

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, then add onion and stir.

½ pound orecchiette pasta

Cover pot with lid and stir occasionally until onions are translucent (about seven minutes).

To Make the Broth: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add veggie scraps, stir and cook another minute. Pour in water and add seasonings. Cover with lid and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain broth over colander in a large glass bowl. Discard veggies. Set broth aside for later.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil water for pasta. Cook orecchiette until al dente, then set aside. Add carrots and celery to cooked garlic and onion, then stir. Cover the pot again and cook until veggies soften (about 12 minutes). Pour in prepared broth. Add corn, peas and seasonings. Raise heat to medium-high. Stir occasionally and bring to a simmer (just below boiling point). Once soup has reached a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook an additional ten minutes. Add in cooked orecchiette and stir to combine. Turn off heat. Serve and enjoy!



by Marissa Ammon Kugel, a Kosher dish originating from Central Europe, sometimes referred as a noodle casserole or “noodle pudding,” is my favorite dish for every occasion: international nights, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, but it’s not just limited to Jewish holidays. Thanksgiving is one of the annual meals served in my Ammon Thanksgiving home, and my personal favorite. Not only can it be served as a dinner, but also as a delicious dessert. Most of my friends, who are not Jewish, have never even heard of this so-called “pudding.” I always rave about it, for the dish along with other traditional Thanksgiving foods make this holiday one of my favorite times of the year. If you’ve ever tried Kugel before or want to cook something new this year, here’s my mom’s recipe on how to make one of the best comfort foods for this holiday season. Kugel Recipe Ingredients: 1 bag of egg noodles 2 eggs 3 tablespoons of sugar ½ teaspoon of vanilla 1 can of fruit cocktail (or sub raisins) 1 Half cup of water ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon 1. Cook noodles as directed 2. Mix ingredients except the noodles and cinnamon in one bowl

My mom adds raisins, fruit cocktail and vanilla. Without the tiny fruit, Kugel can still be a delectable item, though healthified and satisfies your taste buds. Adding extra vanilla enhances the flavor and makes it taste sweeter. Same tip goes for desserts: vanilla is lighter than molasses or sugar, which creates a saccharine overtaste. A little sugar goes a long way. So, if you feel that you want more sweetness, add vanilla! Don’t have vanilla? Use maple syrup, but less than a tablespoon! Halfway through your cooking noodle pudding, take the aluminum foil cover off and add some water to keep the Kugel moist. If you prefer a crispier top to your noodle pudding, put on the top rack and broil without the cover for two minutes. Cinnamon is the icing on the cake! Whether you want to pile it on or just sprinkle a bit to give more spice, you can never go wrong with cinnamon! As the years went on, my family’s Thanksgiving got smaller when my uncle moved. Then five years ago, my grandparents moved. Now, it’s just the four of us. My dream is to have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house for many years to come. About ten years from now, I’d invite my husband and children and my brother’s wife and kids too. We will always continue the tradition of a savory, roasted turkey, sweet potato pudding with toasted marshmallows, stuffing, smooth, creamy pumpkin pie and a homemade Kugel.

3. Heat oven at 250 degrees 4. Butter a baking pan or lay a sheet of aluminum foil and put butter on top of the foil 5. Pour noodles into the pan 6. Slowly pour the ingredients into the pan and gently mix into the noodles 7. Sprinkle the top of the noodles with cinnamon 8. Cover with aluminum foil and put the tray into the oven at 250 degrees 9. Usually takes one hour to an hour and a half, but eggs must be cooked







On a chilly autumn day, relaxing in the comfort of your home or room is ideal. What better way to relax than by lighting some comforting candles and slathering, soothing soaps?

Little Light of Mine Village Candle is a candle shop owned and single-handedly operated by Ingrid Heins. It is located on 8 South Chestnut St, across from Goodfellas and adjacent to Bacchus in New Paltz, NY.

Entering the store, the sugary smell of wax wafts through the air along with tunes the likes of Mozart. Many of the candles in the shop are made right behind the counter by Heins.

There are plenty of cozy candles to choose from in the store. During the fall, pumpkin, apple and cinnamon-scented candles have been popular amongst customers. Heins also makes candles reminiscent of nearby hiking trails. Sam’s Point Pitch Pine and Hike the Ridge are the popular ones, Heins said. As Christmas approaches, gingerbread-scented candles will be hitting the shelves.

Heins also makes massage candles. These can be a sweet surprise when relaxing with a partner. Massage candles work by letting the oil from the candle cool and applying it directly to the skin. Little Light of Mine also sells floating heart-shaped candles as well as rose-shaped candles–perfect for baths.



Hiking is a popular pastime for those who enjoy being amongst nature and the Hudson Valley is an exceptional place to do it. From the Catskills to Bear Mountain, there are a multitude of trails that will lead wanderlust explorers through enchanting forests, and to the occasional rocky cliffside, where one can catch breathtaking views of the valley. If you are looking to add a little more adventure to your hike, some of these trails have a man made element that might peak your interest. Scattered across the Hudson Valley are a number of decommissioned fire towers that stretch high above the treetops, and allow you to see for miles in every direction. If the thought of being several stories high, with nothing but a thin metal railing to separate you from the open air doesn’t make you shake in your hiking boots, then climbing some of the following towers will be the perfect adrenaline pumping addition to your nature walk.

Hunter Mountain Fire Tower This tower is located in the Catskill Forest Preserve in Spruceton, New York, and is also 60 feet tall. The tower has been around for just over one hundred years, and stands on the highest elevation point of all the fire towers in New York, at 4,040 feet.

Ferncliff Fire Tower Located in Rhinebeck, New York, this tower is approximately 80 feet high. Sitting just 15 minutes from the parking lot, this tower offers views of the Hudson River, the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge and the Catskill Mountains.

Stissing Mountain Fire Tower Overlook Mountain Fire Tower Located in Woodstock, New York, this tower was built in 1927 and is 60 feet tall. From the top you can find beautiful views of the Ashokan Reservoir and Devil’s Path.


This is the tallest listed tower, at around 86 feet high. Located on top of Stissing Mountain in Pine Plains, New York, this tower allows for panoramic views of Stissing Lake and neighboring states Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey.




My resolution for this year was to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I can proudly say I accomplished this over the summer as I interned abroad in Dublin, Ireland for 9 weeks alone. One thing you need to know about me is that I am not very social and have anxiety about being by myself, so this was a big deal.

If you had told me freshman year that I would solo travel across the world for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t have believed it. At that point in my life, I would barely go to the dining hall without company. I was so dependent on the presence of people to make me feel comfortable that I trapped myself in a bubble, hindering my growth and restricted me from making certain connections. This is what led me to apply for a study abroad program, even if it meant I was going to be alone.

Days before my flight was going to take off, I broke down in fear of diving into the unknown. I was so paranoid, but looking back at it now, I see it was a good fear. I was breaking out of my comfort zone which is never easy, but definitely necessary in life. During my time in Europe, I learned to go to restaurants, movies and museums alone; it was freeing. While humans are social beings, finding peace within oneself is enriching. I am so grateful that I was able to break out of my comfort zone and travel the world.

Besides living in the beautiful country of Ireland, I had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, Munich, Paris and London. I thankfully made friends during my stay and was able to travel with them. This was another big step for me since I don’t make friends easily. The one trip where I went by myself to Amsterdam was by far my favorite. I don’t know if it was because I was alone, but there’s something about that city that felt so right.

While abroad, I learned the valuable lesson of learning to be comfortable with my own presence. Solo traveling and studying abroad is something I recommend to everyone, but now I challenge whoever is reading this to find a way to break out of your comfort zone before 2019 ends because I know I definitely did.





You’d think my biggest problem in life would be the fact that I was raised in a cult. Well, life’s full of curveballs and the universe has no problem sending them my way. One such fly ball to the groin was my undiagnosed medication-resistant OCD that landed me in a mental hospital for a little over a week last year. Firstly, it’s important to understand that some people don’t like to talk about this. I don’t even love talking about it. That’s usually because people are there during the worst times in their lives. These facilities can have varying quality and levels of security. It can also seem very rigid. Most people aren’t ready to be without their phone; unable to go outside whenever they want to. Also you’re surrounded by people who are in full crisis mode, which isn’t always fun. That being said, the hospital, for me, was one of the most positive, healing experiences of my life. Here’s why we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. When I first arrived, I was so f*cking terrified. It was near-ish to finals at my school; good old Harvard on the Hudson, Dutchess Community College. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pass my courses and would have wasted a semester. It was also my brother’s wedding in two weeks and I wanted to be able to go. The first thing that struck me was how nice everyone was. Now, that wouldn’t last the whole time, but on the whole everyone was great–especially the staff. I won’t share any names, but if you were ever at Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital, then hey, so was I; and if you remember me, I hope I wasn’t too annoying. I hogged the phone a lot. Unlike my religious mission, I could call pretty much any time besides during class and curfew. Yeah, we had classes, on Dialectic Behavioral Therapy skills. We also had homework sheets we were supposed to fill out every day. Most people didn’t, but I was determined to “win therapy” so I did every single one each day. You had a contact every day, who would talk to you about how you were feeling once a day. Every morning and night you met with your floor. You had several class sessions and free


periods. Anyone who remembers me from there would remember my nose constantly in books. When AA met in the evenings for people with substance abuse issues, the rest of us would play games. I loved the people I was with, besides my roommate who snored and the guy who thought I was an undercover therapist sent to watch him. Once, I saw a man with religious delusions arguing with a guy who claimed to be Jesus. I was honestly not sure if the guy claiming to be Jesus was serious or not. The other guy definitely thought he was. At night, you would get your meds from a nurse practitioner who would also check to make sure you actually swallowed them. Once, one heard my last name, Wootan, and made a joke about the Wu-tang clan (like everyone does when they hear my name for the first time). Then, after a pause, she said, “You know, one of the members was here as a patient once.” I asked her if she was allowed to share that. She responded, after another pause, “I don’t know, does HIPAA count if you’re dead?” It does. It totally does. I made some good friends. There was a guy who would constantly meow like a cat, not because he was crazy, just because he thought it was funny to pretend there was a therapy cat around. Okay, looking back, I’m not sure he didn’t see a therapy cat, but he was a cool guy who was

working on his PHD in Anthropology. There was a guy who I swear looked exactly like Justin Timberlake who was always showing people TED Talks that he thought might help them with their lives. Justin, if it was you, I’m sorry we never clicked; I guess we just weren’ sync? There’s definitely a stigma around mental health. People don’t want to hear about it or talk about it because they’re afraid of judgement. I know full well now that I might not ever be able to hold certain positions in government because I’ve been to a mental hospital. To me that’s crazy. I wasn’t just there because I had OCD, I was actively having ideations. I’m better now, though. My meds have balanced out. The hospital, despite how scary it was, was an amazing experience. I benefited immensely. Problems I’d had my whole life were finally being dealt with. I’m sorry that I allowed my health to slip to the point I needed to go, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It literally saved my life. Why that means I can’t hold a top secret security clearance, despite being better now, I don’t know. If anything, I’m healthier than the average person for having been there. We shouldn’t be judged by our lowest points or allow ourselves to be defined by them. I certainly don’t plan on changing anything about my life to adjust to the fact I was there. I don’t expect to be treated any differently. Neither should you.

“We shouldn’t be judged by our lowest points or allow ourselves to be defined by them. I certainly don’t plan on changing anything about my life to adjust to the fact I was there. I don’t expect to be treated any different. Neither should you.”






Cozy minimalism

The Art of Designing a Beautiful Home Sanctuary by Pamela Loperena

Are you looking for a new way to transform your home into a heartfelt haven? Then cozy minimalism might just be the style for you! Cozy minimalism is a type of interior design which merges functionality with comfort, evoking a simplistic and inviting ambiance. Compared to minimalism, cozy minimalism doesn’t only focus on the extreme act of disposing unnecessary items, but emphasizes a balanced mindset. You can strive to embrace the philosophy of owning a quantity of items, which feel appropriate for your personal lifestyle needs, to create meaning and beauty inside your home. However, you don’t need to be an interior decorator to ace this modern trend.



Try to concentrate on making one furniture aspect of your room the primary centerpiece of attention. For example, if you have a wooden table in the middle of your living room, you should try to design the room’s style around this table. As a result, this will help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and diverting your gaze elsewhere.

For adding texture, you can layer different texture designs over each other using your items. For instance, you can place a glass vase with flowers on top of an opaque white bookshelf. This will allow you to design a contradictory environment with intent and thought-provoking appeal.



Utilize a few gorgeous light fixtures with clear shapes and basic colors. Lamps and ceiling lights should give off enough light to fill an entire open space. For producing mood lighting, you can buy light bulbs with low wattages. A softer glow will surely captivate you and your guests in pure warmth.

You shouldn’t have too many belongings lying around, otherwise you’ll end up cluttering your area. You can attach large art pieces to your walls to highlight your spacious atmosphere. Hanging up picture frames is a great idea as well. Having your favorite photos of your family, friends and pets in near sight will constantly immerse you in nostalgia, generating significance and even serve as quick conversation starters.



What Are Comfort Objects and Why Are They Relevant? by Shyana Fisher

I’ve had a teddy bear ever since I was a baby, which I’m pretty sure that he came from my grandparents but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have him. His name is Cuddles. When I went off to college, I was sure that I could leave Cuddles behind; functioning adults don’t usually have teddy bears. But after a few weeks, I realized that I was uncomfortable without my teddy bear next to me. It’s not so much the feeling of holding him, but just a comfort that he is there. It is so incredibly calming that next to me lies a bear who’s been through it all with me. So why do I feel so awkward that I still have my teddy? How many other people still have their “security blanket” in college or through adulthood? According to Merriam-Webster, in the 1920’s, a “security blanket” was literally a blanket that was fastened by clips to the sides of the bed and would hold a child in place if he or she was restless or tried to move. The term as it is used today was coined by Linus in a Peanuts cartoon, circa 1954. Although it was not officially said in the cartoon, fans latched on to the idea of a security blanket which was carried throughout childhood as a means of comfort. This was important because it familiarized the idea of comforting anxiety with an otherwise meaningless object.

animal, but others even had old t-shirts and toys that they held to feel comfort. I realized that it truly wasn’t out of the ordinary that I had brought Cuddles with me to college. You see, to me, Cuddles is a reminder of better times. As I mentioned before, my grandparents most likely gifted him to me at a young age. When I hold Cuddles, I am reminded of who they once were, dancing around on that barroom floor to the fifth Patsy Cline song of the night. I can recall the joy on my parent’s faces when my sisters and I sang together and how happy I was when my aunt and uncle came to visit. I can hold him and forget the stresses of everyday life for a minute. I don’t think that comfort objects or security blankets are bad by any means. If something makes you feel better and gives you comfort when you need it, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be a part of your life. Personally, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to need Cuddles. It might be something that stays with me for the majority of my life, or I might decide one day that I can leave him in my childhood home with the rest of my forgotten keepsakes. But as of right now I can tell you that when I move to Florida in January (for the Disney College Program), Cuddles will be amongst the blankets and clothes, just waiting for the next big adventure.

When asking my friends and peers, I realized that I was far from the only one with a comfort object or security blanket. Mostly everyone had something they kept with them from childhood. For most it was a blanket or stuffed



What’s the Deal with Down and Duvets? by Yasmine Sayid

Standing in Bed, Bath and Beyond with huge bundles of bedding surrounding me and throw pillows everywhere, I ask myself, “what’s the deal with downs and duvets?” I wanted something to keep warm, but not overheat me; something easy to wash and not too bulky. Well, fall is here- trees changing colors, chill in the air and somehow the smell of cinnamon everywhere. It’s time to get into the theme of comfort and I’m going to explain the difference so that you can sleep soundly this chilly fall.

Let’s start with Duvets. According to Boll & Branch, a sustainable home decor company, “duvets are ultra-plush quilts that come with down, feathers or synthetic fibers.” Duvets are made to have a protective covering over it, known as the duvet cover. This allows the decorator to change the look for the bed set anytime they choose. Think of the duvet like a pillow with the cover being the pillowcase.

Now onto comforters! Boll & Branch say, “comforters are made from two layers of quilting material that are stitched together and filled with down, feathers or synthetic fibers.” Comforters are normally less bulky because there is not as much fluff inside. Unlike duvets, comforters do not require covers. Comforters often come in a “bed-in-a-bag” combo to allow for a complete uniform look throughout the room, as you can’t change the design of the comforter.

Does it keep me warm? Both duvets and comforters will keep you warm and cozy this fall. Depending on your desired level of comfort, comforters bring a layer of super coziness that is not too bulky, allowing and sometimes necessitating layers of throw blankets. However, if that is not your thing, duvets keep you warm and snug without the overheating of layering.

Does it make the room look “put together”? Duvets are lightweight, but between the duvet and the duvet cover, it can keep you warm without having extra blankets on your bed. Comforters allow your bed to look extra inviting if that is the look you are going for by layering blankets.

Which is more cost-efficient? Both duvets and comforters can be expensive, including the price of down and feathers as well as the materials the quilting is made from. With duvets, shoppers will need to buy the insert and one or multiple covers, depending on the versatility they want. As for comforters, it is normally a better deal when shoppers buy the combo packages, occasionally including throw pillows, pillowcases and the comforter.

Breathing New Life Into Your Home by Jessica Barr

Spider Plant As one of the most adaptive house plants, spider plants thrive best in direct sunlight but can manage the usual neglect of misplacement and irregular watering. They emit oxygen while being the most effective in absorbing chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide. They also remove particulate matter pollution, small enough to get deep into your lungs and bloodstream. Fear not, they’re pet friendly too!

Barberton daisy Daises are especially effective in absorbing formaldehyde and benzene while adding a pop of color to your home. Some of the most effective plants in purifying air are leafy and green, so Barberton Daisy plants can be essential in creating a colorful environment for yourself. You should keep these plants in direct, natural sunlight with moist soil.

english ivy This perennial vine would be happy to find its home in an old house, bathroom window sill, or any room that may have mold! Ivy has the ability to combat mold in the home, making it especially important for anyone already suffering from chronic respiratory infections. English Ivies are also known for absorbing airborne faecal matters, making your bathroom its most practical room to find its place in your home.



The Beginners Guide t by Shyana Fisher

Doesn’t everyone love curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and cocooning themselves in blankets? There just might be a word for that. Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga” is a Danish term that is all about feeling cozy, content and enjoying the simple things in life. It is a crucial part of the Danish lifestyle, and we might want to take some notes considering Denmark is always on the list of the world’s happiest countries!

This lifestyle trend was all over the news in 2017, but has since died down in America. Most Americans, however, practice hygge without even knowing it. Some of the key components to living your best hygge life are as follows:

Candles Lighting a candle always makes me feel like I am on top of the world. It just gives off the best energy and makes you feel homey and warm. I can remember coming home for Christmas or Thanksgiving and absolutely loving when my mom would light the candles around the house. It just makes everything feel a little better.

Fireplaces I don’t have a fireplace, but I do have a corn stove and for the purposes of hygge it counts. Warming up around a burning fireplace, as the snow and ice melt off your boots? Total hygge move.

Throw Blankets, Cozy Sweaters and Cabin Socks, Oh My! This is also very hygge. The Danes are big fans of wrapping yourself in warmth and who are we to say no to that? Some of the best blankets in my opinion can be found for less than $10 at Walmart or Target, so there is no excuse to miss out on this. (American Eagle also has frequent sales on cabin socks and sweaters)



to All Things Hygge Comfort Food and Hot beverages One of the most important parts of following a hygge lifestyle is eating well. I think of hygge as the feeling you get in your stomach when you’ve just been outside in the cold and you drink a nice warm cup of cocoa. Also mac and cheese, and soups. This is literally the best “diet” ever.

Movies and Togetherness So hygge isn’t all about you as an individual. It also includes getting out and doing things with friends and family. This can make you feel warm and cozy too! Watching a movie with family on a cold night, piled high with blankets and popcorn? Sounds great! Going for a walk all bundled up with a few friends? Also hygge.

One of my favorite things about hygge is it discourages you from following strict rules! You can make hygge for yourself however you want. So, go out and pick up a few blankets and create your own hygge hideaway, or just make your favorite pie recipe. No matter what, if it’s comforting, cozy and wholesome, it’s probably hygge.



How to cOPE WITH homesickness by Yasmine Sayid

College is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, full of new people, new information and new experiences. For many, this is the first time we are away from the safe haven of our hometown and the creeping thoughts of homesickness start to creep in. Meeting new people, increasing workload, and F.O.M.O. can all make you want to just crawl into your bed. However, you can’t hide in your dorm wishing to click your heels 3x and fly home like Dorothy. I’ve found that there are some ways to start to make your new college home feel more like a real home.

Create a sense of normalcy.

Start creating your space.

Creating a sense of normalcy takes a little while but eventually, it will keep you balanced and maybe allow some stability into a new world. Whether it’s waking up at the same time and going to the gym, or creating a study plan and or going to the dining hall at your favorite time of day. It can keep healthy habits in practice while the rest of the world around you is a crazy college life.

College is a time to be true to yourself and express the things you enjoy, so make your dorm your space!

Learn to be alone.

Walk around your town and bring some chachkas from home like pictures, lights and fun mementos can all help you feel more relaxed in your new zone.

Get involved & get out of your head! A great way to socialize, scope out what your interests might be and what your school has to offer, go to the general interest meetings for clubs! It’s great to know that you’re becoming apart of your community. It’s important to not


compare your college experience to others, as no one’s experience will be the same. Sometimes being on social media and on your phone can prohibit you from making new friends and absorbing your new environment.

As much as humans are social creatures, it’s important to learn how to be alone. As someone who was always with people at home coming to college is a big change as everyone is in their own world and on their own schedule. Everyone is studying something different and each outcome requires students to trust their individual journey.


r e t t lu C e h t in t r o Comf n by Amanda M. Gordo

As I look around my living space, there are a good deal of things that catch my eye. A stack of mismatched books, old term papers and junk mail that wait on the floor for me to decide if they are to keep or recycle and randomly discarded articles of clothing that are draped across everything but the rack they belong on. My place is a mess, and I’m okay with that.

more information than I could ever hope to hold in my head. They held no shame as they’ve invited me to sit in the guest chair, the only furniture that isn’t covered with something, or it was but has been removed for me– and I can say that it has always been the professors whose office is in complete disarray that I’ve admired most, mess and all.

There was a point in time when that wasn’t the case. Growing up, I was as organized as they came. My CDs and DVDs alphabetized, wardrobe filed from casual to Sunday best and the only thing that would touch the floor were the feet of the people and furniture in the place. I made my bed each morning too if you could believe it, and that’s one habit I am trying to take back, but I’m fine with living in a bit of chaos. I write this knowing that I may come off as some sort of trash goblin, and while I hold no quarrel with tossing my towel on the floor of my bedroom, I know that I should know better. That I’ll be able to find the earrings I want if I would just put them back in the tray I bought for them rather than have my most favorite pieces of jewelry pile up on the bedside nightstand. That my dining table is meant for me to have meals there and not to hold up my mail, bags and books.

I’ll have my moments where I make the time to remove the clutter and restore order. Remove the jackets from the chairs I’ve perched them on, place the books back onto the shelves and ensure everything is in its rightful place. I’m not living in filth. I vacuum, wipe down the counters and I won’t dare to let the dishes pile up– having worked in the food industry, I know that’s a surefire way to attract ants. I just don’t mind having my messy piles. I’m living on my own, so unless if I’m having company I leave the mess be. I know I’m not alone on having clutter. Over the years I have stepped into the offices of professors and have met their bookshelves that spill papers and books nearly to the doorway, who have boxes piled to the ceiling with


Studies and articles on the correlation between messiness and intelligence are produced fairly regularly. While I could brag about my creativity, or that my GPA is in great health, this isn’t why I’m okay with the pile of unworn clothes at the foot of my bed. For me, I believe my packrat ways were born out of rebellion. I was raised within an overbearing environment, where if so much as a sock was left on the floor you would get an earful, but that was just the start. In the military, every inch had to be flawless. From the hair on your head to the stitches on your uniform, if something even looked out of place you would have to hear about it. Room inspections would come up randomly, but in basic training there wasn’t a point in time where one could be out of place. Bed sheets had to have crisp 45 degree hospital corners, chrome had to be spotless and even your toothbrush had to face a certain direction in your wall locker. The penalty for not keeping up to Uncle Sam’s standards of organization was usually paid with pushups or other means of physical exertion, but you definitely didn’t want to be known as the messy kid. The strictness of appearances were obviously in place for learning measures. If you can’t keep your wall locker up to code, how could the government trust you in caring for a multi million dollar aircraft? I kept that mentality up for a year or so, but needing to have everything perfect all the time is exhausting and being that I have the luxury to leave things be, I’m not going to worry about that pile of papers just yet.






Learning to Become Comfortable in My Own Skin: Coming to Terms with My Queerness by Annemarie Durkin

As I am writing this, it is 1:32 a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s fall break. I’m spending the long weekend occupying the space I once called my bedroom, in an attempt to distract myself from the overbearing stress-monster that is my senior year of college… wishful thinking, right? My family is sound asleep in the rooms that border my own and have been for quite some time now. I, however, am having trouble falling asleep but I’m not surprised. Could it be the cold brew I decided was a good idea at 6 at night? Or is it the never ending ‘to-do’ list sitting beside me on my nightstand, watching over me as I decide against tackling anything on it and instead watch an ungodly amount of shitty Netflix originals? Maybe neither; my mind is moving a mile a minute and I’m not sure I can pinpoint why. As I find myself moving through my daily morning routine of scrolling through various social media apps on Friday, I come across a number of posts celebrating “National Coming Out Day,” a day for members of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate who they are and to not be ashamed to live their truth, a day for them to ‘come out.’ And while I consider myself to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I struggle with the whole idea of ‘coming out', for a number of reasons. The biggest one: I don’t know what I would say if I were to come out. I’m not sure I fit into any of the traditional labels of the LGBTQ+ community (they don’t teach you about the spectrum of sexuality in grade school). For a young girl navigating her way through a huge public school district of about 10,000 kids, learning about who she was amongst everything going on around her was tough. This is where my confusion began. As far as 12-year-old me was concerned, there was only gay, straight and bisexual. Even then, none of these labels seemed to sit right with me and who I thought I was. I wasn’t possibly gay, I had crushes on boys since before I could talk. I obviously wasn’t straight either, I constantly thought about holding my best friend’s hand and kissing her, not in a platonic way either. So I must be bi, right?

That didn’t feel right to me either. My whole life I had boyfriends, went on dates with only boys, found myself only having crushes on boys, etc. It wasn’t until later on, at the beginning of high school, that I started exploring the side of me that was attracted to girls. Even then, I chalked it up to being just a physical attraction, nothing emotional. Maybe I was still convinced I was straight or maybe my confusion clouded my thoughts on the matter to the point of denial. It wasn’t until I fell in love for the first time, with a girl, that I knew for sure. This didn’t come, however, until about a year ago, nearly a decade after this quest to define my sexuality began. It sounds silly looking back; I now know that I am not straight and never have been, but it took something monumental like falling in love to happen to really convince my stubborn ass to stop lying to myself. I know for certain now I like girls, emotionally, physically, in every way possible. So where did that leave me on this complicated mess that is the spectrum of sexuality? Maybe I still don’t know, and that’s okay. Sexuality isn’t something that is decided overnight or is concrete; it’s a journey, constantly changing and evolving. It’s taken me my whole life to come to terms with who I am, and I might still be evolving as we speak. I may not be straight, gay or even bi for that matter, but who says I have to confine myself in just one box? What if I want to be in all the boxes? Or jump around from one to the other? As I accepted the fact that I may not fit in these boxes, I desperately searched the universe for a word to help both myself and others better understand my place on the spectrum (for simplicity’s sake). When I came across one label in particular and read the definition, I knew it was perfect: “An adjective used by some people whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual,” that’s it. The very ambiguity of the word resembles that of my own sexuality perfectly: not heterosexual. It’s wonderfully simple and vague and I love it because of that. I am queer.



Photo via apple music -

Blanket Forts Made Me an Adult by Erin Freeman

by Emily Trama

“Depth and discovery in the time it takes to

make a cup of tea. Each episode is curated from hundreds of Krista Tippett’s big conversations with wise and graceful lives. Reset your day. Replenish your sense of yourself and the world.” -Krista Tippett, founder and CEO of the On Being Project.

Sometimes we need a moment to learn more about the way others see themselves and the world to expand our mindsets. In becoming wise, we can often benefit from reaching beyond our daily routines on physical, mental and spiritual levels. My experience thus far with “Becoming Wise” has been a very thorough yet relaxing one. I deeply appreciate the way Krista and her guests can articulate their feelings into words that I either relate to, or want to learn how to relate to. I am taken on a fairly brief journey into the mind of another that I always learn something from. Listening to this podcast always gives me the time to reflect and remember that I am in control of the direction my story goes.

It took about twenty years before I figured out how to comfort myself. I never really had to do it as a child; whenever something bad happened I had a parent around to talk me through it, bundle me up in a blanket and watch a movie with me. As I grew older, the ‘bad things’ became abstracted. Scraped knees and arguments on the playground were replaced by fears and sadness without a concrete source, and I was too confused by these new feelings to feel like I could go to my parents for help. I thought I was too old for “Babe” anyways. These complex emotions coupled with my inability to get rid of them made me feel childish and lonely, so I responded by seeking comfort from things that I associated with maturity and companionship. I spent years reacting to surges of sadness or anxiety by frantically searching for someone to distract me from them, but I finally realized that forcing myself to look happy around other people only emphasized the feelings I was trying to escape. I needed to soothe these feelings independently, and I realized that I already knew how to do it. Whenever I experience emotions that are too overwhelming to process I treat myself like a child. Depending on the circumstances I might build a blanket fort, bring out the gummy bears and pop in A “Goofy Movie,” or whatever else the scared little kid in me wants. I make sure that I eat and drink enough water, and only think things about myself that would be okay to say to a little kid. My feelings growing more complicated wasn’t a sign of childishness, but was actually the maturation of my emotional range. Seeking comfort in things that I perceived as mature only made me feel smaller, but comforting myself as if I’m still a child has given me the strength and independence that I was truly looking for. Watching “Babe” when I’m sad doesn’t make me a child; it makes me a powerful adult.

Listen to Krista Tippett’s eye-opening conversations when you wake up, before you go to bed or even when you simply need a break from the hustle and bustle of the day. “Becoming Wise” is available on Spotify, Apple Music and on the On Being website [onbeing. org] Be sure to read the story of “On Being” on their website and to check out their other podcasts: “Living the Question” “This Movie Changed me” “On Being with Krista Tippett”



The Sound of Silence by Emily Trama

Silence can pass the time just as much as the business we force ourselves into to avoid it. Think about all the times you drifted off, staring at something but fixated on nothing. When our vision blurs, and our gaze softens, so do our minds, and we begin thinking. Thinking is the origin of our aversion to silence. The fear that lies behind the mask of silence is the monster we have fabricated from our fear of thinking. Being left alone with our thoughts is what truly strikes us with grief. When we are afraid of our thoughts, we are afraid of ourselves, and there is no health, growth or prosperity in that.

Silence can be many things: peaceful, relaxing, comforting. However, silence can also be terrifying, stressful or even deafening. How can silence be deafening? We often try to fill silence when we look at it as a void. When we see a void, our instinct is to fill it, to flood it. We fill our ears with music, white noise, friends’ voices… anything to distance ourselves from the sound of nothing. I think this is because silence is never truly pure; instead, it leaves our minds with no barricade of sound to block it from making us aware of our thoughts. So what do we do? We often want to rush through our lives and keep busy to avoid it. Now we are overwhelmed, deafened by our worries and anxieties over avoiding our stresses and anxieties.


All of our thoughts are organic, homegrown in our own minds. Even the ones we try to force come with the full awareness that we are making ourselves say that in our minds. They bubble up to the surface for a reason. Imagine yourself in a room with no windows or doors and picture each of your thoughts written on their own pieces of paper. Now, imagine taking the first thought, crumpling it up and throwing it into the corner of the room. If you keep doing that for every thought that comes in front of you, what will happen? Eventually, balls of paper will fill the room and you will have nowhere to go. You are then forced to deal with all of the thoughts at once. You could have done this one at a time when the thoughts came to you in the first place. When everything is silent, and we are left with no important tasks, conversations or work, we are supposed to find time to deal with our thoughts. Maybe now and then, a small pile builds up in the corner when we need to be busy and distracted from paying attention to them. But, when a wave of no sound comes along, we must ride it and recognize, understand and appreciate our thoughts. When there is no sound around me, I should not ignore the sound within. What are you thinking about? We learn a lot about ourselves in these moments: what brings us pain, pleasure, anxiety, elation, depression, happiness, anger, love… Now find your breath. We always come back to the breath to keep ourselves from over-thinking. It is like a pause in a sentence to keep us from becoming overwhelmed with a story. Many of us, including myself, fear silence and thinking because we know we are our own worst


enemies. We know that we will think a little, maybe even enjoy the short bliss, but will eventually begin to pick those thoughts apart past their core meaning and twist it around until it is no longer true to ourselves. Remember: Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Just breathe. In moments of silence, find somewhere to lay or sit comfortably. Close your eyes and allow your mind to wander. Keep your breath steady and present, but somewhat shallow. Allow your thoughts to surface softly; if a thought is too painful, move on but keep it close by for a later time. Allow the thoughts to drift in and out as they


please until you are no longer comfortable. Take a break for a minute, hour, day or week, but continue until silence becomes a comfort rather than a last resort. Being comfortable in silence is not easy. It is something we learn how to do on our own will to better our quality of life. In the end, we are our thoughts and that is something we will always be. We must take care of them so we can take care of ourselves. Recognize yourself, understand yourself and appreciate yourself.


by Lindsay Kranitz

Being comfortable with your own body goes way beyond what your body physically looks like. Let’s discuss S.M.A.R.T goals for a second. This stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. A S.M.A.R.T goal is a business technique for planning and decision making. These goals are what we should be thinking about on a day to day basis. Goals are what guide us to become our best selves and help us live intentionally. When people ask me what my goal is, I always hesitate. We often set a goal that is temporary or, for lack of a better word, easy to accomplish. I hear people claiming their goal is to lose ten pounds. What a great goal, honestly. But to me, there is more to that than they are willing to admit. The reason I hesitate explaining my goal is because it is deep and meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, losing ten pounds is hard to accomplish, especially eating dining hall food. But what comes next? Yes, make another goal! But what if we can create a goal that can be there through every step of the way. What if losing ten pounds is just a step to attain the long-term goal


of being overall happy in all aspects of life. And for the sake of this article, happy with all aspects of your body. The universe, your parents, the creator of everything, whatever you believe you were made by, created you as an individual. You are unique. We are unique. There is no other “you.” Let’s accept that. Goals can be made to lose weight or tone up but eventually, your body is made different than everyone else’s. Your goal should be more grand. You are hearing this from a college swimmer who burns at least 2,000 calories a day. A while back, there was a body type I wanted to achieve, and all the working out and eating right in the world did not make me look like that girl I wanted to look like. Do you want to know why? It is because I was made different than her! You were made different than the girl/guy you want to look like too! This is where the goal of being genuinely happy in all aspects of life comes in. That long term goal is the top of the stairs. There are steps, or baby goals, along the way. Those goals are supposed to help you accept what your body looks like for what it is.


“ If you look in the mirror every morning and do not like what you see, but you have done everything to make yourself feel better physically, then it is time for the mental part. If you eat right and are active throughout the day, but you still are not comfortable in your own skin...then you need to sit down and really think about yourself. You need to create goals that will restrict you from comparisons to others because that is what we all know and unfortunately love to do. It’s true. We go on Instagram and we compare our bikini bodies to the girl who just got a boob job. Let’s not do that anymore. Let’s unfollow that girl. Like I explained before, we were all created as individuals. Why hate on what we were made to have? If you are doing everything right, why not just accept that your legs will not be as long as Kendall Jenner’s and your lips won’t be as big as whatever model just got lip injections. Being unique is what makes you a beautiful human. I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to be as tall as Kendall Jenner because I am sure she gets insecure about it. That is another point that is important to reiterate. One thing you believe is a flaw on yourself is definitely what someone



” else wants for themselves. We wanted longer legs...Kendall Jenner, I am sure, wants shorter legs. It becomes a circle of comparing and hating that is hard to come out of sometimes, but once you’re out, it feels so much better. Goals should be made intentionally, so that you live intentionally. The goal to be one hundred percent happy with your body is a long term goal that is attainable one day. Doing the little things to make yourself a healthier, happier person mentally and physically will ultimately step you towards the direction of your goal. Goals are important in order to stay on track, the track to being confident within your own unique, beautiful body.


In the company of an intimate group of friends and with an array of social lubricants at my disposal I still managed to feel uncomfortable. All of the usual components of social anxiety were in the mix that night, but then someone decided to put on “Nathan For You” and I was saved. “Nathan For You” is pure cringe comedy, focusing on pushing the limits of social awkwardness, and the night in question was the first time I had ever watched it. As Nathan’s heightened awkwardness made the people he was interacting with, as well as my friends, visibly tense, I noticed my own body’s tension melting away. A show designed to make everyone in the room uncomfortable acted as an antidote to my own social anxiety.

from choosing to steep in the fear over the suspense that comes from trying to avoid it. Maybe I feel soothed by cringe comedy because it exposes me to the things that give me the most anxiety; I spend so much of my time in anticipation of social interactions turning awkward that watching my anxieties play out on TV alleviates that anticipation. Stories can provide a safe space to confront and overcome our fears, but some fears are too stubborn to be overcome. Sometimes to soothe the anxiety rooted in waiting for our fears to come true, we have to use stories to pretend that they already are.

Many people enjoy the anxiety elicited by media that pushes us out of our comfort zone, but for some it seems to provide sanctuary from the anxiety we feel already. Horror movies, for example, elicit different reactions in different people, with some being too afraid to watch them at all, some enjoying the rush of fear and some experiencing their pre-existing fears soothed. I’ve always found people finding genuine comfort in watching gory movies, a fascinating and very confusing phenomenon, and assumed that the only catharsis that these things could provide was happy endings in which the killers are caught and justice is served. But maybe the relief comes



by Gabrielle Vultaggio

It is impossible to predict what only time can tell. There is no way of knowing what the future holds. It’s a terrifying feeling, finding yourself drowning in the thoughts in your own head and forgetting how to swim. I used to drive myself insane for weeks on end, worrying about every detail that I couldn’t paint black or white. Now, in this fleeting moment, I am allowing myself to find comfort in accepting the things that I can’t control. What changed? Everything, yet nothing at all. But before we discuss my recent so-called epiphany, l think it will be helpful to understand the way my mind works. I’m a fairly private person. I like to keep my personal life strictly personal, opening up only to people I know I can truly trust. On the outside, I try to appear extremely calm and collected; but, on the inside, I am constantly working to convince myself that everything is OK. So naturally, when you live so much in your head as I do, things tend to get a little overwhelming. The problem with me is that I have no idea how to let myself go. I have no idea how to tell others about the mess of jumbled thoughts inhabiting my brain. Why should I burden someone else with my issues when they have so many of their own? So I just hold everything inside. I only recently discovered that this quite possibly is the most unhealthy method of coping with anxiety and rampant overthinking. At the beginning of this year, I made a New Year’s resolution. Those often stick, right? Well anyway, I decided that 2019 would finally be the year that I spoke up for myself and told others how I feel. At the time, this accomplishment seemed light years away. How did I expect myself


to open up when I was so comfortable living in my own little bubble? Slowly and painfully my plan started to work. I cried— sobbed, actually—in front of my roommates for the first time and, instead of pushing me away, they helped me in ways that I am forever grateful for. I let myself love someone and allowed him to love me. I let myself have fun—be spontaneous even—and instead of worrying about when the good things would end, I just enjoyed them as they happened. Again, I couldn’t predict how the rest of the year would play out, but rather than burying my fears and shoving them away, I let them roam free. I found out the hard way that your fears and anxieties won’t just melt away and leave you alone forever. You can either let them consume you or you can let yourself go. I say let go.


Dealing With Comfort in Your Hair Texture, Black Girl Edition

by Ericka Francois

Expanding on Cheyenne Cochrane TEDxBeaconStreet A Celebration of Natural Hair

I learned at a young age how big of a role the texture of my hair would play in confirming my ethnicity, but also that it would play a key role in how I’m viewed by others in society. At a very young age (around 7), my Haitian mother subjected my scalp to harsh straightening chemicals that would leave me with fresh cuts and burns. This would result in hair loss for many reasons, like going to the pool when you got your hair chemically done a week ago. The chlorine caused extra damage so you couldn’t even enjoy your childhood, you had to care for your hair because your mom “said so.” Some girls and women are even left with permanent damages like bald spots, breakage, thinning, split ends, dry/brittle hair and scalp infections. To really restore your hair, you’d have to shave it all off. I grew to despise my hair without it being straightened because it was unmanageable, time-consuming and unpleasant to look at. My hair was always seen as something to be “tamed.” I remember buying hair products with girls on the packaging whose hair looked nothing like mine, thinking that if I bought that product, my hair would magically look the same. I was eager to try new straightening chemicals where I wouldn’t feel a kink or a coil anywhere on my head after the process. I was beyond excited to rid my hair of what it did naturally and transform it into what I wanted it to do but most importantly–what I thought it should do. While growing up in a household where all the women straightened their hair, it was the norm. If it wasn’t straightened, it wasn’t complimented or told to be straightened. A life long cycle of being white washed

combined with a lack of representation in media and all around you, affects you more than you realize. I wanted to look like other girls. I wanted to look and feel beautiful. In post-Civil War America it was the hair of an African American male or female that was known as the most “telling feature” of Negro status, more so than the color of the skin. Our dependency on tools and products like the hair relaxer and the hot comb were more about our survival and advancement as a race in post-slavery America. The longer, the looser the texture of hair, the more beautiful it is. There is a cultural obsession with the idea of having “good hair” most popularly known in the Black community: “Yeah girl, Ricky’s daughter is Brazillian and Trinidadidian, you know she got that good hair with that mix!” - a sentence from an actual conversation. We let these false beliefs conquer our perception of ourselves, and that is the main problem. I fried my hair regularly on my brand new, almost $200 Pretty Little Thing flat iron at 450 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain my straight locks that never grew past my shoulders. However, I mostly went to the Dominican Salon every two weeks. Dominican salons are extremely popular, an essential need in the Black community.



Today the typical ideal vision of a professional Black woman, especially in corporate America, tends to look like this:

rather than like this:

Our hair styles tend to be too Afrocentric, pro-Black, urban, scary or intimidating. These words are ones that are too often associated with the stigma attached to natural hairstyles. What was so ugly about our hair? The way it looked? The way it had to be managed? The texture? What was so unacceptable about it that we felt like our life was ending if it wasn’t straightened before we went outside of our home? The fear, the judgement, the comments, the remarks and reactions waiting for you that weren’t waiting for “pretty” loose hair. Hiding what’s underneath, fearful of what the world might see and what they’d think. This was for numerous reasons: It’s conditioning, it’s for our professional advancement, it’s a survival tactic more than it is for beauty. We wear wigs, weaves and protective styles to maintain the fro underneath and to express our individuality and experience feelings of empowerment by experimenting with different hairstyles regularly. So when you see a woman with braids or you notice your co-worker who has stopped straightening her hair to work, do not approach her and ask her if you can touch it. Admire it from afar! For my natural girls, remember this, kinky and coily stand for:


Kempt Inspirational Nappy Kick-ass

Captivating Original Impeccable Love



As Cheyenne Cochrane said, “Know that making the decision to stray from the norm does not define who we are, but it simply reveals who we are.”


Sometimes it feels impossible to get our brain to quiet down at the end of the day. Our bodies are tired and our energy is drained, yet our minds are not yet ready to quit. Sometimes, it is best to deal with our thoughts in the moment whether it be by writing them down or talking to a friend. However, there are nights where it is more than okay to ignore all of your worries and excitements and empty your mind of all thoughts. On these nights, we lay down, close our eyes and listen to our breath...

You are laying on the beach, your body heavy in the soft sand. The waves climb the shore with every inhale and retreat with every exhale. The sound of their crashing is distant and blurred. The sun shines and blankets your body; you sink a bit further into the sand. Your face is the first to feel the warmth of the sun, bringing a smile across your lips. It’s heat then moves down to your chest, wrapping your heart in a comforting embrace. The warmth spreads to your shoulders, causing you to release any tension you may be holding within. Your arms, hands and fingers feel separate from your body as the sun shines on them. Your stomach rises and falls slowly as the sun moves over your abdomen, traveling down to your legs, feet and toes that you no longer feel. Another smile comes across your face. The sun begins to set. The sky is glowing with soft blues, pinks and golds. As it grows darker, the tide flows slower and your breath becomes lighter. The sound of the waves crashing seems much more distant and faint now. The sky blurs and your eyelids grow heavy. Just as the sun falls behind the horizon, your eyelids fall to a soft close.


Record yourself (or a friend with a calming voice) reading this so you can play it back before you go to sleep.







Angel Olsen “All Mirrors” by Steve Baltsas

Like most good music, I found Angel Olsen’s 2016 album My Woman by accident. It had been out for more than a year, but its songs sounded much older. “Shut Up Kiss Me” was an angst-inspired fireworks show of 50s rock n’ roll and 80s punk. “Sister,” nearly eight minutes in length, instantly reminded me of “Sara” by Fleetwood Mac, a childhood favorite. The Stevie Nicks-esque vocals and untameable bassline accompanied a lyrical meditation on a brief same-sex attraction. This kind of introspection is trademark of Olsen, who took this criticism and ran away with it to a haunted, churchturned recording studio in the Pacific Northwest. While touring My Woman, Olsen experienced an odd isolation from those around her. She separated from a narcissistic partner, referenced in the destructive opener, “Lark,” with “What about my dreams? / What about the heart? / Trouble from the start.” A plethora of music critics and fans tasked her with writing more subtly anti-Trump content. Time for growth seemed inaccessible. Olsen looked at the descent into madness trope, adapting it to become a descent into self-reflection. This is the manifestation of an ancient, chauvinistic view that deems insightful women as “crazy.” Zelda Fitzgerald was an infamous exemplifier of this trope. She burned to death in a mental hospital near Olsen’s house. The title track is addictive clickbait. Its synths mimic reflective light; the strings are deep and epic. The colorless music video features a heaven-bound staircase, mirror demons and Olsen meeting herself as a gloomy, unapologetic monarch. “Too Easy” is a bouncy, synth-driven delirious attempt to analyze the “bigger picture,” a canned request depressed people are too often ignorantly fed. The reverb on Ol-


sen’s vocals at times replays the phrases back, sounding subliminal. Any attempt at positivity seems to be crawling back into hiding, not wishing to be fleshed out. The overweight “New Love Cassette” and its violent strings conjure wishes for a toxic love. “Take me” Olsen repeats eerily; the song is distinctive in this way. The lyrics describe how the singer would repair her incapable partner. Escaping from the grounding sounds of its predecessor, “Spring” begins with a fluttering, Ragtime-tuned piano. Birds and butterflies are easily imaginable taking flight in its dreamy tone. The mellotron and other synths are in bloom, vivacious and colorful. “Spring” is Olsen’s realization that all her friends are now parents and homeowners, taking part in the community. She reaches out for this sense of belonging and is delighted to have found a place for herself. The baroque pop of “Spring” makes it one of the album’s best tracks. “Summer” is also a revival, galloping out of the unfocused “Tonight.” The latter is built atop a beautiful bed of strings that arrive at the last minute or so, cushioning the simple lyricism. The song attempts to carry the “all will be well” sentiment in the wake of a separation. “Summer” is the background music to a gun duel in the Wild West. Like “Impasse,” it is a furious confrontation which settles and recognizes its own bravery. At its core, “Impasse” is loud and slow, reassuring itself: “I never lost anyone / I’m just livin’ in my head.” The rest of the melody is an exhausting listen. When poured through the strain of “Tonight,” only then does it blossom fully into “Summer.” The album closes with the most heart-breaking sonic paintings of Olsen’s career; there are enough to fill a museum. “Endgame” marks the end of a human relationship due to an imbalance in love, warmth and communication.


Olsen painstakingly searches for relief in her decision to heal. The stark piano-led landscape of the first few minutes is comparable to death. “Endgame” finishes in a jazz universe, becoming a broken cabaret number. It channels the finale of La La Land. “Chance” is one of the most immaculate and crushing love ballads of this year. A highlight of the piece is its sparkling sea star keyboards, reminiscent of mid-century film scorers Stelvio Cipriani or Philippe Sarde: “All that space in between where we stand / Could be our chance” Olsen pleas.

parent’s basement. The potency of these kind of torch songs is fully received. They feel like the realization you’re the only one in the house left awake. Another track “All Mirrors,” is absolutely successful where it aims to be. This isn’t necessarily a “walking to class” album, and that might be what we need. With its anchor “Chance” dropping this album to the bottom of the ocean, the music stays with you for a while. It forces you to think about your own darkness in a very uncomfortable way. The music of “All Mirrors” will surely haunt the rest of any listener’s October, maybe even lingering until New Year’s Eve.

The album evokes the typical tragedy echoed in those mold-dotted late 60s albums somewhere in your grand-



In the Embers by Nicole Wasylak

It was now almost midnight and the fire didn’t seem to relent as time progressed. The embers were just as alive, popping and floating into the sky like orange stars, as if they were finding their way back to the universe. The silence was heavy but comfortably so, like a weighted blanket on a frigid winter night. It was so comfortable, in fact, that the girl wondered how silences before this one were ever awkward, why she always wanted to fill them with the thoughts that swirled in her head like oil in water. She craned her neck upwards, watching as the dark sky collected dust and ash from the fire, listening as each ember would crackle and then disappear. She smiled at the stars and saw them smile back. The small body in her arms took a deep, sleepy breath, and the girl felt her heart swell with emotion. She swallowed it back, not prepared to allow her eyes the reprieve they demanded. She squeezed the sleepy child tightly in her arms once, twice, three times. She wanted her to know that with every squeeze she spoke to her heart, with every squeeze was a silent mantra she wanted to communicate without words. She didn’t know if the child understood, but deep in her chest she knew she did. “You can see the Milky Way.” He said, his eyes cast to the night sky. She took in his body, the way his legs were splayed out like a king on a throne, how his shoulders drooped with an ease she had never seen on him before. They were always higher up, closer to his ears, but here, surrounded by tall, sleeping mountains and trees that sang in the dark wind, they were as taught as loose string, his body almost fluid in the chair his body rested. She mimicked the language without even being aware, her head sinking to the side, her chest exhaling and expelling any stress that followed her here. She imagined a dark ghost slipping from her lips and dissipating into the sky, leaving her here forever and getting lost wherever it decided it wanted to. She nodded concedingly, her head slowly bobbing up and down like a buoy, a smile tickling the edges of her mouth. “I’ve never seen the Milky Way before,” she whispered, and


her words spilled from her mouth like smoke, coalescing with the fire’s breath and disappearing as they danced higher into the sky until there was no trace at all. A part of her envied them, envied the idea of creating so much light and heat and energy and then just simply disappearing, leaving no trace behind but warmth. Would she do that, one day? Would she simply cease to exist, leaving nothing but warmth and light in her path? The silence carried on until she realized she wanted to hear the sound of his voice. She wanted to hear the music from the best song in the world. And so she spoke. “Do you remember meeting me?” A fisherman caught his head, slowly reeling it up until his eyes met hers. The moon sighed happily. The hook was in his lips, because it curved at the edges. Three more stars winked into existence. “Of course I remember meeting you.” The trees leaned into his voice, the crickets ceasing their songs so that they could hear his. The girl cocked her head to the side, and in the firelight, it was the most ethereal thing the man had ever seen her do. She was a myth who fire bowed to, an angel in human clothes. Her hair swayed with the fire’s breath, in tandem with the flames that licked the stone edge. Her brown eyes had never made more sense. They absorbed the flames, and it was the first time the man had ever seen someone’s eyes embrace fire instead of shield themselves from it. She heard the story whirring in his head, the mechanics spinning, the gears turning. They were slick with oil and were spinning slowly, assembling a story that demanded care and attention. Once the gears slowed down, the words flowed from his lips. Sometimes, the gears would shift and try and piece the story together in the best way possible, but the girl didn’t need that, for she could hear the thoughts in his head sometimes, could hear what the gears could not. Sometimes she was faster than the mechanics in his brain and he knew that. He would not speak it out loud yet---but he knew.


“I remember your smile first. I remember how it lit up the room. I remember how dull everyone else looked, how you had a halo around you that no one else had.” He didn’t speak the words out loud. He didn’t have to.

night was for the blanket resting upon her and the child was contributing to the sleepiness that began to seep its way into her bones. The fire sang a lullaby to her and she wrestled the weight of her eyelids, knowing she would win.

His head sagged lower and stared at the calluses on his hands. The girl wondered what he was observing on his palms that was more interesting than everything around them. He looked up and met her eyes, his own suddenly much sharper in the firelight. “You stood out to me the moment I saw you. You were a mountain that rose from a sea of valleys. You were a hyperion in a forest full of oaks. It was impossible not to see you, not to find that spark that would one day grow into a tether. I heard it. From the moment I saw you, I heard it.” With every word that flowed from the girl’s mouth, she knew in her chest that they were all true. She thought back to the first time she saw him, the first time they spoke, the first time she noticed that glint in his eyes that looked as though someone has placed stars in them. They were a denim blue, blue like the sky before dusk, blue like the stoic ocean at night. They were so bottomless it was easy to get lost in them, but somehow, the girl was always pulled free, even though often times she thought that she did not want to be free of them. Sometimes, they reminded her of the forest; enthralling, endless, a place she would not mind to lose herself in. For she knew that nothing was truly lost if it was one day found.

She took a deep breath, the child on her lap swelling with her, two souls that breathed in tandem. In then out. In then out. She ran a hand over her head, feeling the soft curls and brushing them away from her forehead. Her skin was soft as velvet, warm like the fire before them.

The air swelled with silence and she popped it with her needle tongue. “I’ve never seen so many stars.” Her voice was light and airy, carrying itself on the wind until it reached his ears. She was surprised he could hear her over the crackle of the fire but from the way his lips tilted upward she knew she was heard as clear as the night sky.

And as the night carried on, and the child fell asleep, the two golden souls talked about everything in between. Words flowed from their lips as if they spoke a language only each other understood, tears welling in her eyes when all she could think about was the fact that she had never not only felt happier in all her life, but never more at peace. She had never felt peace before, never experienced it, and she realized that for her entire life, peace is what she would chase after, that sleepy feeling in her chest that was so warm she was sure that for the remainder of the night she, too, became an ember. That she, too, floated into the heavens, lighter than air, warmer than the sun. And as the conversation dwindled with the fire, the last bit of light she saw was the golden tether that jettisoned from both their hearts and met in the middle. It hummed and sizzled and vibrated, and no matter the distance that separated the two the tether remained. It would always remain.

“I’m glad I could show you them.” Music and color was expelled from his mouth. His words were green like the trees, like sunlight spilling through leaves. She thought about the sound of green. Green sounded like the sigh of the forest. It sounded like the ocean laughing. Green was suddenly her favorite color. She was glad of how chilly the



Get Cozy with Lo-Fi Beats Now that the days are getting cold again, it’s common for most of us to turn to whatever makes us feel comfortable. Comfort can be attained through many different ways, depending on the person. Music is an integral part of the human experience as it helps release and acknowledge our emotions and feelings.

by Victoria Cymbal

pours in the background. The visual itself brings upon a relaxed, comforted state of mind, let alone the music. The live stream always has at least 13K people listening at once, with the number usually rising depending on the hour of the day.

There is an apparent phenomena of new music surfacing the minds of this generation with the title of “lo-fi hiphop”. The genre is unlike anything else as it combines jazz elements, samples of hip-hop beats and electronic music. It creates a relaxed, atmospheric soundscape for anyone listening.

Not only is this type of music tranquilizing, but the title of the popular YouTube video also includes in the description, “Beats to Study to”. The nature of the songs having no lyrics makes them ideal background music being that it’s repetitive, hypnotic, but never overwhelmingly. The music tells a story without uttering a word or ever mind-boggling the listener.

The genre was coined in the early 2000s with cultural origins and influences mainly from Japan inheriting the United Kingdom’s trip-hop subgenre and North America’s jazz rap genre, both forming around the 1980s to ultimately create the lo-fi hip-hop category.

Nowadays, the everyday person is working more than playing to make ends meet and they’re looking for something to ground and calm their souls. The lo-fi hip-hop genre is bringing that to the table and it’s only just the start for this up-and-coming sound.

There is a specific channel on YouTube that hosts a live streaming video playing one chill-vibed beat after another with the visual of a young woman writing and studying, with her cat in the window sill, while the soothing rain



The Comfort Zone by Pamela Loperena 7 A.M. morning light marvels at how my eyelids can be closed for so long. Yet in the clouds of my comfort zone, I dwell upon a REM stage of deep dreaming, where wistful, illusions envelop me whole. Floating off my feet, I caress the feelings of my younger hands and curls,

getting in touch with the silhouette I used to be. I set a candle aside, letting it kindle her distress. She finds relief in my new, calm composure, realizing that the days of tomorrow will glow all right. Blanket warmth softens my skin, as I slowly start to wake from — alarm clock pulsations.


Afterschool by Michelle Nedboy It reeks of applesauce and kid sweat, the tables pushed out to the sides like bleachers. Stacks of abused board games get brought out and plunked; there are never enough pieces. Dunked, by bored genius, we turn a chess set into a disco, lose the pieces like it’s the Scooby show. Ruh-roh. Every day is Christmas ‘cause we get a second recess. We bound up the light blue stairs with its chipping banisters. We skip across the blacktop’s cracks, stop and squat when we feel like it, watch the bugs crawl then squish ‘em up, their bodies spitting bug ketchup.

We get cold but run to make ourselves hot, our hoodies tied in loose-fitted knots, the cool October breeze kisses our knees the sinking sun turning us into trees. We eat leaves but spit them out, pocket rocks and turn into scouts, who look for curse words they daren’t shout. Inside the windows are sheeted with black, the cafeteria a lightbox; we flit around like moths with orange basketballs ‘til our hands chap. Kids get taken home, the mountain of jackets and backpacks eroding to none. The darkness outside fuzzes my sight around the edges, as if I’m back in my room imagining witches, my vision useless. But the warmth of my dad’s car gives me peace, the blinking buttons and dials evoking sleep. I don’t fall asleep, but I dream, as my eyes track the smudgy street lamps searching for Halloween, Sting humming in the background to his own lazy beat.



Grandma’s House by Michelle Nedboy

My grandma’s kitchen was small and squat, its oven and counters sandwiched next to each other. There was just enough room to walk, turn around and cook. The little watery window overlooked the bushes and the wheelchair ramp that I’d fly down. It overlooks the gated park of hopscotch and brick; I learned how to ride my tricycle in that sunken park, and how to throw a Frisbee without it going all wobbly. I’d play with my slinky on the steps and blow bubbles with my uncles. The small hallway before my grandma’s door smelled faintly of smoke, and her neighbor with breathing problems complained about it a few times. I remember that. We’d bake corn muffins on my visits. I’d mix the stuff up on my kiddy table, right by the hot oven, and we’d set the timer for however long. We waited for the battering ring, the oven light on, the muffins puffing before my eyes. I’d slather them with butter and drink milk out of my little brown cup. I always thought that little brown cup was special, one of a kind. It took me years to learn that it was the most common type of cup found in diners and hospitals, just brown—and mine. The place we ate (I can’t call it a dining room, it was thimble-sized) had a black and white checkered floor that stopped abruptly, its retro patterning cut off by party-gold piping. It made me think of chess and dancing and taxis. My chair was mustard and plump, the placemat I ate mac n’ cheese and Vienna Sausages off of a yellow cow with black spots. Next to the table was a set of drawers with candies and birthday candles that I’d admire; their red-orange wax winded up and wrapped in a thin white stripe.


My grandma and I would pop popcorn in the microwave and eat them in green bowls. The leftover kernels sat at the bottom; we’d spin them around the bowls like race cars until they flew out. There was a lot to do when I was bored. The ornate black and brown tiles in my room birthed roads and crosswalks for my toy cars and fingers to march along; the lamps in the corner reminded me of planets, their bulbs bright and colorful. When I got older, I would sit on the couch and play my DS and eat cashews, my feet curled up and socked. When I was younger, I’d make paper airplanes and fill the bathroom sink with water, my Polly Pockets floating on their backs. When I was older, I’d get my period and look at the tiles and think about what it was going to be like, being twelve and a woman. When I was younger, I’d hula hoop in secret so I wouldn’t get in trouble. It will forever be my grandma’s house, with its mixed tiles and baby kitchen, its bendy straws in the top cupboard and its squirrel peanuts in the leftmost drawer, right by the watery window.


Befallen Dawn by David O’Keefe Glistening like starlight Upon the oaken walls And aged stone floor, The moistness Of morning came. Light pierced glass, And brought day Into a tomb of night. All that was once Still came to being. The hearth alit With newfound hope For pot and kettle; It sang a song for its Life companions. At last, boots were strapped, And overcoats held Tightly to shoulders. And the Sun was greeted Like an old friend.


by Marisa Lucchese

by Colin Battersby



Dreamweaving by Taylor Dinardo On the phone, we decided what kind of dog we would get— a samoyed, the dog with all the optimal traits: friendly and good-natured, gentle around children, excellent watchdogs— and the doggy would live with us in our house, a white ranch with a beautiful yard somewhere on the Island. And we would get a cat, too— one of those Siberians. They’re friendly, adventurous, and sensationally puffy. Our cat would accompany us during our indoor hours, and the dog would come along for our hikes and excursions. Pets to suit both our introverted and extroverted needs. And it’s on days like these, when I miss you so much that I can’t think about anything else, I continue dream about what we might name those pets, how we should furnish that house, which town we could live in. Then late at night, when we talk on the phone, I tell you all about it, and we continue our dream together.

by George Catechis



Temperature by David O’Keefe The hospital room wasn’t cold, But it wasn’t especially warm either, Everyone was there but I wasn’t really told Where to go, so I just stood by the heater And waited for something to happen. Eventually, someone came up to me And asked if I wanted to talk to her, so then We went to the other side of the curtain to see. I thought she looked happy, but everyone Was quiet and I felt a little nervous; I asked Her if she thought the room was cold or not, I for one Was perfectly fine with the heat, so everyone’s black Jackets seemed unnecessary, she laughed and said The temperature didn’t bother her in the bed.



The 2000’s by Michelle Nedboy

The house is big and blue, the yellow porch littered with spiderwebs and curled up ants that lie on their backs dead and cold. I think they look like chocolate sprinkles. The wooden floors are cold and I can feel their chill through my socks; I flip onto the couch and can feel my neck almost give filling me with a mixture of excitement and fear. I twist myself to get comfortable and look up at the ceiling beam that’s miles and miles away, the space between my pupils narrowing as I go cross-eyed. Fridays are Netflix day. I pat out into the cold and run toward our silver mailbox with the number 42 on it, my flip flops slapping against the driveway pebbles. The mailbox has dead bugs in its belly, so I’m quick. I run back; we pop the disk into the DVD player and zap some popcorn. We eat the burnt ones and suck on Whoppers. Sundays are for Simpsons at eight. I badger my parents to get home quick because I don’t want to miss it, any of it. They laugh and I laugh, ‘cause they’re laughing and I’m still a little young to understand it all. Mondays are a little boring because of Antiques Roadshow, but there’s always the game of guessing the auction price of some old bureau.


Sometimes they show a kid with the family baseball that looks shiny with bacon grease, its dulled autographs scribbled onto it and the kid handling it like it were just another ball they found at the park and not their parents’ attic. We watch Suze Orman upstairs in the big bed because my mom thinks it’ll be good for me, but I just like to watch it for the “Can I Afford It?” part and for her to scratch my back. My room is dark with shafts of moonlight cutting through it and a nightlight in the far corner that I’m afraid’ll catch on fire. My VCR sits in the center of my dresser, like a totem, gray and square. In the daytime I pose in front of its bulged screen. It’s late. My parents are asleep, I think. I creep and load up a tape, the sound of the machine starting up making me nervous as I keep checking the door. It’s on. I turn the volume down to a faint whisper, knowing enough of the tape to hear the characters’ voices in my head. I slide back into bed and take out the Cheerios and chocolate I took up with me, reveling in my success.


Untitled by Joey Gyarmathy i shoot through it all checkers on my shoes and propagandic posters ahead the rebooted and rejuvenated cracked out jesus sits across from me still the wretched and instead of offering him my bagel twisted faces of murmurers i; on the excuse of cetera and the rest haunt my gut with feels of turn the other cheek. pain and and weep. wicked remembrance of glancing sometimes i wish we could trade for a day whether it’s in through a kaleidoscope my interest or the nazarethian wanderer is beyond me. nostrils dripping with ice for the crazed and intrepid travelers toes exposed to 7 below lost in the idiosyncratic sauce of life no reds and rice i write this now and for the persistence through the treks zero and hajjisms of urbane nomadism celsius my toes stay warm in two pairs may the holy dharma grant u peace socks and pants and comfort as uncontrollable and irresponsible things cream cheese and coffee in one hand before my birth have given me mine. and the ai invasion in the other brisk nights two or three stops from bedford reassociate me the crisp telekinetic contact of an interested outside observer warm the love of the ness of it all in my chest and my head the ness jellyfish birthing curious cosmic burp we play in from the first time we woke from eternal sleep to the time we shall return closed eyes for a last final rest that rest is futuristic fuckery to me now so back to the the ness that which is everything beautiful and pure about our heavenly existence now here we are heavenites shooting through the seeming void on the organic death star the earth our vehicle home and mother here now my carhartt warms my cold body i; able to write dream and ponder my visions visuals and visitations shooting through subterranean capitalistic cult-built hyperspace seems to be the relatively unguessed equalizer of the city in metrograde



by Justin Rampert



Finding Myself: a poem by Katherine Goldblatt The water was pink from a scarlet bath bomb, long since faded away when my confidence left. I lay there, my hair fanning out in the wet, my face poking up above what could be called tiny waves, wanting to soak up the bravado of the original hue. Who was I? The girl pruning in the bath for “relaxation” what was I trying to escape? What was I trying to avoid? I wanted the brave girl, the one whose head rose out of the water in the pictures with her perfect eyeliner, who smirked and knew more about myself than I did. But she wasn’t there, and I was just left with me. The me I did not want to be. The one who was sensitive, and too much; the one who second-guessed every well-laid plan. The one who, when faced with danger, ran faster than her feet could take her away from it all. This is who was in the bath. She and I were hiding from the stress, the disappointment of everyday life. I sat up with this realization, and I was cold. Bitter chills ran through me, and to hide I lay back in the lukewarm water, now almost faded clear. And the final question ran through me, as I was imprisoned out of fear: When can I be out of here?



Untitled by Nicole Wasylak Might there be a symphony in the tree? A concert in the forest, where a conductor bears more legs than two? I’ve heard it every night A loud musical, echoing beyond the tenebrous trees First, begins the crickets with their tambourines Clashing Once, twice, three times Swelling with the heartbeat of the earth Which refuses to finish when the sun awakens And then, the drumbeat of the bullfrog Slow Slow Slow A cadence so low even all who are sleeping wink an eye at their baritone call And what would a concert be, of course without the haunting melody of the loon, the cries of A lover in their blues, a synchronistic call that swells with the music of every other creature that comes to life while we slumber Little lanterns, oh how I see you glow Something quiet, crooked, but moved You f loat with an air no wing-ed creature may obtain Searching, searching, for what, I do not know You are a question mark in the sky Stoic as the mountains yet f luid as the sea I want to ask you, how is that so? How can something be as black as it is white? Yet there you lay, cradled in the arms of the sky Proof that paradoxes can be found In even the most queer of places Oh, lanterns, how I env y you so How I wish I could learn from you For you have watched over me and many more But I know in my heart that one day I will be beside you Dripping like honey, so sweet, neither solid nor liquid But drowsy Like my eyes Drowsy Like your light

And through the woods we’d frolic -- Those old souls, you and I I’ve seen these trees, the infant leaves In the past, it’s been much time And by my side you walked -- Along hemlock tangled paths Those eyes, I suppose, I recognize I’ve loved them from my past And the forest, she tells She’s whispered it for quite some time I’ve listened here, not to think it queer That you were always mine


by Susanna Granieri Note: The Woodstock Film Festival brought experiences to my life that I otherwise never would have had the chance to remember. As this issue’s theme is “Comfort,” I would like to say that I finally feel comfortable in my abilities.

Director Clement Guerra answers questions about his inspiration for the documentary The Condor and the Eagle, an educational yet emotional exploration of the pollution to Native reservations caused by oil companies from Canada to Ecuador.

Robert Burke Warren covers the classics of David Bowie, as his performance preceded the unreleased film Speed of Life, a time-warped dramedy focused on the death of Bowie and its effect on culture.

Canadian director Andrew Huculiak participates in an interview with student videography team about his film Ash, focusing on a forest fire that almost destroyed a small town, and the reporter they believe was involved. Actress Dree Hemingway (left) and Sam Quartin answer questions during a Q & A panel after a screening of Run with the Hunted.



Eric Roberts (left) laughs with the audience of “Inside the Rain” during its world premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival. Beside him is his co-star and actress from Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things, Catherine Curtin.

Parkland Rising, directed by Cheryl Horner, premiered at the festival. Survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s shooting from 2018 were cast members of this documentary about gun violence awareness.

Manuel Oliver, father of victim Joaqin “Guac” Oliver stands with his wife Patricia and grabs the audience with a reminder that gun violence is real, and “the youth will win.”



Beauty of Bay Ridge Chapter 1: Coney Island Dreaming by Liam Sullivan

My name is Joseph Galligan. It was the good old days. I was a reporter for the Bishop DiCostanzo football team. Coach Gaetano knew of my involvement with the newspaper. I had never really played sports since middle school. Game Three. We drove to Coney Island for our game against Father Johnson High School. I remember when I was a child going to Coney Island. Both my mother and my father used to take me there; now I just go by myself, if I ever find a reason. Oh yeah. So, about my father. He moved out of the house and went to New Jersey. My mom did not want him anymore so left. He was an alcoholic. That was the biggest problem with him. Anyway, back to football. It was the mid-2010s. Football was booming. Odell Beckham was on the Giants and that was all the rage. I was a huge Giants fan. HUGE. I had posters in my room, and not a shade of Cowboys blue. Only the Giants colors. I got off the bus carrying my iPhone and laptop. I was going to take photos of the players during pregame as I always did. After I thought I got enough shots, I would go and shake hands with all the players. “Let’s get it.” “Have a great day today.” Those were some of the phrases I would like to support the players with. It was special for me. I was only a sophomore, but the varsity coach said that he wanted me to take photos. The varsity coach. I had loved DiCostanzo football since I was ten. We were in the locker room before the coachs’ speech. I was very excited to cover this game. I normally did JV, but unfortunately, the varsity reporter was not there, so I had to step up. The coaches gave a very impassioned speech. “We are all men of DiCostanzo. We are strong Catholics. Whenever we tackle our opponents or beat them on a run, we show that we are stronger in faith and tradition,” said Coach Gaetano, as he wanted the team to improve to 2-1. We went out. The ball got kicked off, and the game was away. Francis DiRuocco let the ball go out of the endzone and we started the game on the 20. Martin Valdez was our starting quarterback. The first play from scrimmage was a sweep six yards to the left of the line. Marcus Dobbs got brought down at the 26 to open our offensive side of things.


The first quarter went as planned. We had a 21-7 lead at the end. Second-quarter was not that bad. We increased our lead to 28-7. I got a little distracted after. There she was standing there. She was attractive. She was wearing an Odell Beckham jersey. I was supposed to go into the locker room. However, I decided I wanted to talk to her. She was on her phone. She had brunette hair, blue eyes, and a tan from the summer. “Hey,” I said to her. “Hey there,” she said back. “You are a Giants fan?” “Yeah, I am. My father works as the Giants beat reporter for the Brooklyn Neighborhood Chronicle. So he gets two complimentary tickets to each game. It’s a different seat every week, but since I have been to all their home games, they may give me a sideline pass.” “Really? That’s so cool.” “Yeah, maybe you should come with me sometime.” “It depends, you know. Church and all, but I will figure it out. Hey, you got snap, a number, facebook, or anything?” She proceeded to give me her Snapchat, which I thought meant everything as a fifteen-year old kid. She went on to tell me she lived in Bay Ridge. The reason she was at the game, was because her friend’s cousin played football for Johnson. Adrianna O’Callahan. She told me her mother was Italian, and her father was Irish. I took photos of the second half, but I could not stop thinking about her. The game ended. We won 42-14. Coach Gaetano said I was a first-class skilled photographer, and he could use my photo skills as an assistant cameraman. I had never met anyone in my life like her yet before. Such a lovely girl. A Giants fan too. You do not get that combination every day of your life. I went on the bus back home. Crossing over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, I was very passionate about the day. A win. A new friend. And now to celebrate, watch some college ball over some good food.


Untitled by Katherine Boyle There is and will be: a bath of moonlight shining into the solid ground. We are before the snow, there are only pine needles shivering beneath the trees, rattling in the wind and the icy rain of minutes and days, silent and crunchy like the feeling at the edges of your blue lips on the 19th night of November, far away from fluorescence. I drive a rattling car for hours through the night and the clouds to watch as my light shines into your arms and through your restless head I cannot hold on to it, and I cannot hold on to you – attached by fibers of glass and ice you will melt in my light and in the warmth of the unapologetic fires. I will not hold on to your cold arms anymore. At eight years old we run and tag and breathe in the cold night air. Grossly unaware – with chapped lips and burnt lungs from Dad’s cigarette smoke – we hide behind trees and bushes, and in the shadow of the kitchen light, we grow up. We gasp for air, basking in the ecstasy of walking inside, into the kitchen with ripped clothes and dirty feet, our fingertips crunched as they thawed over the stove. There is and always will be: popcorn, in front of the TV, before dinner.



Sanctuary by Samantha Hughes Tiny sanctuary Holds fifty people Contains strength Of fifty million Holding hands Iron grips Voices never crack Rising loudly Leader releasing words Throwing rapid fire darts Hitting bullseyes Body is here Soul in Heaven Room catching fire Atmosphere remains silent still pond


Golden Hour Armchair by Sophie Herrmann

Glinting weaning leaning Bright. How I love the way you greet me Morning Light an utter delight The way you reach you spread your golden hair across the living room chair Glinting weaning leaning Gone.



The Mountains and the Sea by Ezra Baptist

Kaori woke. She was on the floor, a mat beneath her, a blanket above. Her mind was cloudy so she laid there for awhile. Daylight waxed through the window, pouring over the floor and gradually covering the small, spare room in an early morning glow. When the brightness reached her eyes, she sat up. Slowly, she raised her hands above her head and the muscles in her back began to work themselves loose. She pulled her legs up to her torso so they touched her chest and sprang up from the hard wooden floor all in one fluid motion. Kaori landed on her feet, though she noticed that it was harder to do then it had been a few years prior. After gathering her bedding, Kaori crossed the room and slid into the hallway. She walked down the hall she once shared with a dozen other women, her feet silent as a spirit. The unadorned, off-white walls of her home of twenty-years now seemed sad these last few summers. Drab. Cold. Kaori rounded the corner into the washroom. A basin of water was already there and she lit a fire beneath it. She grabbed a bar of soap and got to work. She did this every morning, scrubbing the bedding for at least a couple minutes to keep it immaculate. Kaori loved washing. Loved the rhythm. Loved the feeling of clean silk running through her figures. She had owned this set of bedding for almost all her life and had repaired it more times than she could recall. Seasons changed, nature died and was reborn anew, people left her, but the blankets of silk and satin remained with her. The one thing she kept from her life from before she left Japan. Kaori had grown up in Nara Prefecture with her father and her older brothers. She had a mother once too but could recall little of their time together. Her early years were filled with memories of naught but joy. Fishing with her brothers. Chasing deer through the forests and meadows. Planting seeds in the garden and watching them grow dayby-day. But being the only girl in the household and without a mother, Kaori slowly became the woman of the house. The cook and cleaner. She didn’t mind the cleaning so


much sometimes she even enjoyed it. But the cooking was exhausting. She began to resent her brothers. All three of her brothers were older afterall. It seemed unfair that she was the one keeping the house fed and tidy all by herself. And her father… he was as wild as the sea, calm and peaceful one hour and a raging typhoon the next. Once Kaori had not cooked dinner in time for his return from work and he had beat her. But when she had picked herself off the floor and cooked noodles for him he had kissed her forehead gently. She recoiled, though he didn’t seem to mind. Her brothers were all out that night so the two of them ate in silence. Only when they were almost done and Kaori was itching to leave did her father finally speak. “I know that I put a lot on your shoulders, but you will be stronger for it. You are stronger. I’m proud of you for that. You will make a good wife someday, for somebody. Kaori’s stomach filled with fire when he said that and she glared at him so intensely that he seemed to melt like snow in summer. “No, Father, I will not be a good wife. I won’t be a wife. Never. I will live in a shack out in the mountains, all alone except the trees and the deer,” she spat the words out like bile. Her father’s face fell. His eyes grew distant. It was like he was looking for something behind her, or maybe deep within her. “Then I will let you live up in the mountains, but I will feel sad.” He said. And as he said it, he began to cry. He made no sound, but the tears flowed from his eyes so fast and thick they began to pool in his empty bowl. Koari had never seen him cry before. “Why are you crying?” she asked. But she never got an answer.


Cool, wet air kissed her skin when she slid open the rice paper door, her bedding tucked under her arm. She padded out onto the porch, silent as ever and carefully she hung up all the silks up to dry, taking in the day. Sunlight streamed through the trees, filling the green forest with gold. Birds sang their morning songs, insects buzzed as they rushed from perch to perch, and deeper in the forest she saw the silhouettes of a doe and her faun picking through the garden. When she was done with the sheets, Kaori took her place in the middle of the large porch, where the light shone directly this time of day. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and let it out slowly, wiggling her toes to loosen them, hands at her hips. She took another breath and reached toward the sky, going all the way to the tips of her toes. Then she pitched her torso forward, collapsing in on herself, thighs to her chest, hands to her feet. The stretch was easy now, it had been for years, but she counted still when she held it. One, two, three… sixteen, seventeen, eighteen... Kaori had left Japan the day she turned eighteen. Her father had worn a long, grief weary face that day and didn’t look at her a single time on their drive to the airport. It was almost as if she were already dead. A ghost haunting him with regret. He didn’t even get out of the car when he parked the car. The second she had pulled her small suitcase, he pulled away from the curb so abruptly that he almost collided with oncoming traffic. Kaori noticed that the woman in the car he almost hit had to swerve to avoid him, skidding onto the sidewalk nearly hitting a group of teenagers waiting to be picked up. The flight to Korea had seemed rather mundane after all that. When she got off the plane with a single bag of everything she owned and heading towards her new life in the mountains, she had never felt so free.

trunk. Warm sap stuck to hands, face and clothes as she scaled the pine, covering her in its clean, cool smell. When she reached the climbable branches she darted up them, lithe as a squirrel and soon enough Kaori was beyond the forest canopy. Kaori swung up onto the last branch that she was confident could hold her weight and straddled it with her thighs. She sat back against the tree trunk and looked out on world stretched before her. Despite how many times she had made the climb, views beauty never folded. Acres upon acres of wilderness stretched out below her. Ancient trees, beautiful annuals, bubbling brooks, and stillwater pools. Water smoothed rocks and wind battered ridges. The mountains; They were the crowning jewel. One stood to the North, the other to the South. They were two green giants of stone that rubbed shoulders with her own mountain. From the three mountains sprang a dozen streams and springs that all gathered into one and joined with the Nakdong and ran all the way to the sea. She could see all of this and no one was in sight. She was alone. She was free. The wind picked up suddenly, battering and buffeting her, whipping over her bare scalp. The wind felt almost like it was trying to pluck her from her branch easily as if Kaori were a leaf and let she float away into the heavens. Not yet, Kaori thought. Slowly she moved out of her position and started to make her way down. As she descended, she wondered if her brothers even remembered her, and her father. She didn’t know how she would feel if she knew either way. After all, she had left for a reason.

Kaori rose from her final stretching position, took one last deep breath and leapt from the porch, down to the forest floor. She made her way to the lookout tree and began to climb it. The tree was an aged pine that had lost all of its branches close to the ground, so Kaori had to shimmy up



False Signs by Laura Thompson On days like this every little thing Feels like a sign. The coffee is cold, The room is warm, The bed is empty. Sometimes I think I misinterpret things on purpose In order to keep myself feeling alone. When really the world is so much bigger than me And the coffee is cold because I left it there for too long Not because the universe said it should be.

Your Laugh by Emily LaSita It is my favorite part

About you, it is your voice on vacation A mighty splash when No one was expecting a cannonball In the deep end of a swimming pool It is like a brightness pouring out

Of you, like the curtains have parted

Your dress shirt has too, but I didn’t see So clearly before such radiance It turned all the lights on It travels like radio waves

From you, the curious channel surfer tunes in And is surprised by how You have materialized, they can see your laugh as much as they can hear it It shakes your body as it escapes

Through you, a small piece of your soul Thrown up into the air Exposed to the elements before it falls Back to your mouth, closed— It was active, now hidden,

Inside you, snuggled beside your ribs Like a trampoline ready to be sprung I love any opportunity to bounce it out But really my favorite part is you.



part 2

by Jiesu Strong ropes whizzed to right the loose sail. Just then, a door swung open. I looked up to the balcony overhead as a tall man strode out, the harsh crack of his peg leg striking the deck ringing out over the noise. The crew clambered at the foot of stairs to stand still and in complete silence. The storm, now passing, seemed to soften her angry bellow. Even the rain stuttered and turned to mist and the sea eased out of her rage, gently releasing the ship from



her grasp. Everything seemed to cease in fear of the peg legged man. I held my breath, making myself smaller, watching fearfully from my corner. In a booming voice, he asked, “Mr. Abbott, ‘ave we a full crew?” The grey man spoke up. “Aye, Cap’n. An’, we’ve got ourselves a prisoner, sir.” It was quiet for a moment as Mr. Abbott motioned silently to the corner I hid in. The captain glanced over his shoulder and nodded once, my heart racing, “I trust, Mr. Abbott, that ye will be responsible for ‘im. Put ‘im to good use.”

“Aye, sir,” he muttered. “Mr. Dewl, report to the main cabin to set course for tha’ north shore of Tortuga.” “Aye, Cap’n,” an attractive young man said, who couldn’t have been more than a year older than I. He turned to the elder, squat man beside him. “Porter, yeh’ll be needed, too.” “We cast off, men. Yeh know tha’ drill. Off with ye!” With a hearty “Aye, Cap’n!,” the crew scattered as the captain turned back toward the door, Dewl and Porter following. Peering from between the gaps between the crates, I watched as the rest of the crew scrambled around, preparing to raise the sails and tossing out more seawater. I sat up a little more to peer over the barrels to watch the crew at work. The magnificent sails caught the wind gracefully like a swan as the men bantered chattily with each other. “An’ hoist!”


Exhausted and absorbed in the work of the crew, my heart jumped when the grey man appeared next to me once more. I hadn’t noticed in the storm: he was at least three times my height and six times my breadth, though I do not stand very tall or wide. He stuck out his massive hand. “Sorry to startle yeh, lad. Name’s Abbott,” he said gruffly, as I tentatively shook his hand. “Nae, are you friend or foe? I hate dealin’ harshly wit’ prisoners, last one we ‘ad, we ate, but don’t worry about that nae, lad, we bein’ close to land nae an’ wit’ a new navigator an’ all. Yeh could have a job as the powder monkey instead o’ rottin’ in tha’ brig if yeh work wit’ me, lad. Tha’ cap’n wants yeh to be a member o’ the crew, whatwit’ all the crew we lost in tha’ Pacific, once yeh prove yerself useful, o’ course. Yeh could be ‘ere permanently one day, har. I meself ‘ave been on this ship for eight ‘ears, I ‘ave. Nae, har’d yeh come from? And, yeh got a name? Or do yeh even speak English? Yeh look like the devil’s stolen yer tongue, boy!” I was gaping, bewildered by this giant standing before me, still shaking my hand and barely speaking English. I swallowed hard.










supercut- lorde city song- grace vanderwaal winter sun- mogli jukai- jhene aiko brighter than the sun- colbie caillat the weekend- sza you and i- ingrid michaelson let it go- keyshia cole 7/11- beyonce pon de replay- rihanna holy- jamila woods bellyache- billie eilish nont for sale- sudan archives just the same- empress of don’t let me down- joy crookes mirror- ider light on- maggie rogers sweet but psycho- ava max new americana- halsey my man-delacey talia- king princess more- jess best dancing with your ghost- sasha sloan mega- chariot heal me- grace carter by Jessica Barr

Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 22) Happy Birthday Scorpio! This is a time for celebrating you, so shed that extra weight you’ve been carrying around on your shoulders. Not everything is worth your time and energy, so be sure to choose your battles this month. Keep your eye on the prize. You may be surprised by the results.

Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 21)

Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 19)

Aquarius (Jan 20 - Feb 18)

At times you may feel that you give your all to a situation yet receive very little back. You are an “all or nothing” type of person and this month this may really weigh you down. Do your best to make time for yourself and really evaluate what you are giving your energy to.

The spotlight is on you this month! Don’t let this intimidate you though, because it’s for a good reason! You’ve been growing and thriving in all aspects of life, so take advantage of this positive energy. As long as your mind is focused and in the right place, it’s impossible to fail.

You may experience an overwhelming feeling of peacefulness this month. You will be presented with a new opportunity that you may have dreamt of for a long time. Thankfully, it will present itself at just the right time! You are finally ready to embark on a new journey. Have fun with it!



Pisces (Feb 19 - Mar 19)

Aries (Mar 20 - April 19)

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

This month you may feel very connected to your spiritual life. Whatever this may be for you, you will become more enlightened in your beliefs. You may question the meaning of life and reevaluate your past decisions. Use this time to really reflect and open your mind to new ideas!

Confidence is key, but don’t go overboard or you may risk being put in your place by those around you. If this happens, try spending time with an old friend or going somewhere that reminds you of your roots. Doing so will keep you grounded. It may even help you discover something about yourself that you love and never realized was there.

You pride yourself on how much you care about other people, but this month, it’s vital that you spend time taking care of yourself. Pay attention to your wants and needs because at the end of the day, you’re stuck with yourself. You deserve all the self care, happiness and attention you’ve been giving other people.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

Leo (July 23 - Aug 22)

This month, get ready to love yourself! Get the idea that being confident is selfish and cocky out of your head. You have so much positivity inside of you and radiating it will benefit not only you but everyone around you. If you’re lacking the inspiration to hype yourself up, try making a bigger deal of the little things that you accomplish every single day.

You may feel that you are placing personal matters above your work life. This is okay for the time being but remember to regain that balance once you are done dealing with emotional or family issues that may arise. Focus on strengthening the bonds you have with those you are closest with. This will help you stay calm during this stressful time.

This is a time for personal development. Finally, those around you will start to listen and appreciate your ideas. Your new ideas will prove to be very helpful to those around you, so don’t be afraid to speak up! Confidence is key! It’s your time to shine and this will positively affect those around you!

Virgo (Aug 23 - Sept 22)

Libra (Sept 23 - Oct 22)

Work and school are in full swing, yet you’re acting like it’s still summer! Gentle reminder that you can still have fun while being productive. Start from the bottom of your list and prioritize the things that are important to you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself though, good things take time! Use this as a lesson for future endeavors: it’s never too early to start planning.

Shoot for the stars this month! This is a time for great success. You will finally start to feel like things are going your way. Try new things, speak your mind and reach out to new people. The world is full of opportunities that are for the taking. Set goals and you may find yourself surpassing what even you thought was impossible!