Ink Magazine; Vol. 15, Issue 2

Page 1

LUCK Volume 15, Issue 2

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Printed Locally


There is a clover patch with an endless supply of four-leaf clovers at my family’s old house in West Point, New York. We had to look, but we knew the rare symbol of luck was always there.

After moving to Virginia, we went back to visit West Point and our old house. My mom knocked on the door and asked the new tenants if we could look for four-leaf clovers in their front yard — the family that lived there had no idea they had so much luck on their property.

Luck is funny like that.

This issue explores that concept. Luck is the foundation of traditions, the force we blame when shit happens, and an inevitable life-changer. It can be harnessed and kept with you, stumbled upon at any point in time, and even work against you.

We all could use a little luck moving forward so we produced: Ink Magazine Volume 15, Issue 2, “Luck.”

Love, Hope Ollivant EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


Editor in Chief


Literary Editor


Art Editor


Senior Photographer


Senior Graphic Designer, Web Editor


Senior Copy Editor


Social Media Manager


Music Director


Fashion Director


Kobi McCray

Colin Nguyen

Alex McGowan

Melati Maupin

Shelly (Yejin) Lee

Andrew Kerley

John Gregory

Grace Cheek

Madeline Bitzer

Laila Errazzouki

Sophie Wall

Kayana Jacobs


Claire Evan

Sydney Folsom

Mac Woolley

Caleb Goss


‘Chain of Six Mugs’

Eileen Morley

‘Where I Am’

Kristen Wheatley


Cecilia Nguyen

Mac Woolley

Caroline Jenkins



Jessica Clary


Owen Martin


Mark Jeffries




page 6 page 12 page 15 page 18 page 11





OPEN CALL page 30 page 28 page 24
page 34 page 36 page 40


CREATIVE DIRECTION- Colin Nguyen, Cecilia Nguyen PHOTOGRAPHY- Cecilia Nguyen

WRITING- Cecilia Nguyen STYLIST- Colin Nguyen MODELS- Sophie Nguyen, Niki Jiang

Tender lights

Onto entangled bodies

10 In that i feel home

hen I was a kid my dad loved to tell me the story of how he and my mum came to America. He always repeated it to me in step with any time I wanted to give up on something. If I came home crying about some test, or class or anything I thought was just too impossible, my dad would sit me down and recount the India story. He would tell me how hard things had been for him growing up, how he had worked hard to get himself through school, married my mom and came to America with nothing, and they built our lives. The story is always built to the same moral. “You just work hard Monisha and everything will work out.”

My family could be the poster children for the American dream, and they believe in it like they are. The funny thing about these magical sayings and concepts though is as I got older they started to crack. I was back home this past holiday, and we were again discussing the barriers of life, and my dad cited his Cinderella story and I responded. “I know you guys did work very hard, and I’m so proud of you but you have to admit that you also got very lucky.”


It could be said that all of life is built on two constantly opposing forces: our choices and our fate. Despite my dad’s constant urging my whole life that all one needs is to work hard and believe in themselves there is an element of luck that is important to determining the way our lives play out. While it is continually argued on paper that people, no matter who they are, can achieve the same great things because we are all equal this argument doesn’t work in reality because while all people are created equal we are not created equal in circumstance. It’s like when you read the syllabus for some high-level class that states ten hours of commitment required for every student outside classes or they should drop out. But what about people who have to work to support their families, or those with mental health issues, or those who commute because they can’t afford to live in the dorms? How can a blanket statement like that be applicable to everyone, and how can a measure of hours determine how committed a

student is?

It is undeniable that factors like income level, race, gender, family history, sexuality, and mental and physical health can drastically change a person’s situation and limit their choices. Even something as simple as a person’s zip code could be the difference between life and death. According to an article by the NCRC, 60% of a person’s individual and community health is determined by their zip code. This is explainable by not just things like food deserts but also things like understaffing at the few resources the community has, a big example being clinics and hospitals.

“Even when hospitals are present in these areas, they are small and often don’t have the resources to contribute to community improvement, including health outcomes.” explained the NCRC.

Beyond just the roadblock of education and opportunities, there is also the burden of our birth, genetics. You can be one of the kindest bravest souls but if the BRCA gene runs in your family your likelihood of getting cancer increases. The same goes for things like familial history of addiction and mental illness. While there are ways to cope with and manage these illnesses it’s definitely an uphill battle. Even something as simple as a small heavy-set person wanting to play professional basketball comes down to a matter of being born unlucky. They can love the game and be very good but I doubt their body will ever be able to compete with the tall, predisposed-for-the-sport athletes at a professional level. They can both work hard but the same work won’t make the same difference.

As much as it would be nice if everyone were born equal in circumstances in life everyone is dealt a different hand and the game is undeniably rigged for the people with just a little more money, education and access. While the difficulties of fate are numerous and can seem caging, I take comfort in the fact that everyone still has one thing; free will. Overcoming one’s circumstance is

Writing - Monisha Mukherjee
Illustration - Laila Errazzouki

not impossible, and while hard work and determination is a part of it an even bigger part is believing that your choices matter. Researchers Woolley and Kelley explained, in a Washington Post article on the nature of luck, how multiple studies have shown how people who believe they are lucky often bring more good luck on themselves unconsciously, as they constantly find the bright side of any surprising instance. This could be explained by the fact that those who believe they have luck on their side are less anxious and more clearheaded when approaching challenges.

“They’re starting to realize that, if a kid forgets her lucky charm and loses a race, it’s not because this supernatural force was missing in her life that day — it was because she forgot her lucky object and that made her stressed and anxious, and that’s why she lost the race.” Woolley said about one of these such studies

The article discusses how the belief in lucky charms and rituals goes on into adulthood, and that optimism and taking the long view of life allows people not to get too bogged down by everything that they can’t control. When I told my parents how I thought some of their success was owed to luck I knew the angry silence after was coming. I had to go further with my explanation.

“What I’m saying is that even though you guys definitely had to work very hard you still had some things that other people couldn’t get. You were lucky enough to be able to go to university, and get a job that could get you to America,” I said.

“We worked very hard to make those things work out,” my dad said.

“Yes of course but you had access. But you must have known other good hardworking people that just didn’t have education or help and got stuck. Their life isn’t necessarily just due to laziness, they just have different circumstances.” I said

“Well yes, of course. You’re saying it’s not just luck or hard work. You can’t make do with just on or the other you have to have some of both,” he replied It took them a moment to come around and after we talked I understood why. They didn’t want to give up

any of their success to the insinuation that luck did the work for them, but they once they got that I wasn’t trying to take that success away and that i wasn’t talking about just them we were on the same page.

“Of course we worked hard but you are right we had help. Look at the world right now, there are so many people in situations where there is almost no path to success. There are girls in Afghanistan right now the same age as you who have been banned from university, who have almost no path out now because of where they were born. They can work equally as hard as you but the results won’t be the same,” my dad said. From there the conversation continued. While my dad was very unlucky when he was young, with his family experiencing significant poverty and loss early on, he had the luck of a loving extended family and friends who helped him when they could. Eventually we got to the topic of the american dream, a concept very near and dear to my family’s heart because they managed to live it.

“You know Baba, for every person like you and mum who got to America and made a good life there are ten people who didn’t make it here. I don’t think it was just work, I think the scales are just against them,”

“Of course. It’s just hard to think about it like that. Luck can feel so permanent or so fleeting.”

“ There is an element of luck that is important to determining the way our lives play out ”

& the lucky number seven

FIND: a shamrock pot perfect for tea,

a sleepy lamb,

six dots on a cube

a cozy teddy bear,


a lucky ladybug sticker, the forbidden hotel floor number,

a black feline phone, a salt shaker an ominous crow


Lucky Charms

Local artists and metalsmiths Jay Sharpe and Susie Ganch provide insight into their past, practice, and projects. Both agree that hard work has a lot to do with luck. They discuss their dedication to creative careers and advice for young artists.

Interview by Hope Ollivant & Alex McGowan Photography by Melati Maupin

Susie Ganch, artist and educator, is currently inspired by the “material we call waste.” She has fallen in love with plastic and collaborates with the material to communicate messages about the environment. Susie shares her advice for young artists and how to catch luck before it falls off your shoulder.

HOPE: Okay, starting off easy. What inspires you to make?

SUSIE: The desire to make is like an itch that I can’t scratch. I can’t reach it, and so the only way I can get close is to make something. And then sometimes my inspiration is my dissatisfaction with the thing that I just engaged with. Sometimes, inspiration begets inspiration and that’s so critical. So many of my artist friends talk about how if you don’t have a strong umbilical tethered to your studio, you will lose that conversation that makes more conversation. When I’m making art it’s often considering my environmental values and my artistic values. That’s often what drives me to make something I’m curious about showing, discovering, or saying. Right now with this series, I’m using single-use plastic bags to make tapestries. The plastic bags are messaging humanity but it’s a one-sided conversation; we are not talking back. The plastic keeps sending a text over and over and they’re emoticons, but no one knows what emoticons mean. I certainly don’t and that’s why I purposely chose emoticons. It felt like the disconnection of lost translation would be immediately apparent. So already the problem is there, and I’m driven to do that, to communicate a simple message.

HOPE: So you’re having a conversation with the material right now?

SUSIE: And through the material. Coming from a craft discipline, I always have a strong relationship to material and honoring an allegiance and a legacy. I’m always curious what the deeper metaphor of the material is going to be like. What is its potential to say something if I collaborate with it? And if it’s not the right material, I switch.

ALEX: What is the most important part of your practice?

SUSIE: I bet I would answer this differently every day if you asked me but today, it is my relationship to my studio. Gosh, my studio is like my lover. I have my partner and my partner sometimes knows that he has to send me to the studio. Even if I’m not in a good mood, or if something’s going wrong in the world, it’s not Jared that fixes the world. It’s really my studio, my relationship to the studio, my relationship to an idea, and the connection to a thing I’m making. Maybe the most important thing about my practice is time, because none of this happens without unfettered time. When you have an assignment, and there’s a deadline, the deadline actually can kill any idea. The muse doesn’t whisper in your ear, if you’re stressed out with a timeline. She doesn’t care.

HOPE: How does using waste material influence your practice?

SUSIE: It influences every part of my practice! It’s my favorite challenge! I had a residency at Kohler, and every day I would go through their dumpster and take out the wet greenware that came off the molds that didn’t work, and I would cut it up and make things out of it. My relationship to waste materials feels like a bottomless well of potential and

excitement to me. I’m interested in mining this material we call waste, because what is waste?

HOPE: I was wondering how you feel about that word? Waste.

SUSIE: I think in nature, there is no waste. The word hurts my heart. Waste, waste. I hate saying it. Even the idea of wasting time has a negative connotation with waste, which is so cultural. It’s so easy to vilify and yet, there is no other material that we have come across or invented that replaces the amazing material called plastic. It does clog our landfills and our waterways, but what’s interesting about plastic is that it does not affect the pH or acidity of a landfill. It’ll sit in there forever, but it’s not the villain. We vilify this thing, but we invented it, we decided it, I don’t think plastic decided for herself, that she was a villain. She didn’t ask for that.

Hope: We’re the villains.

SUSIE: We are the villains! When I started, I was like- no, I hate plastic and I’m just gonna hate it more. But, after spending all this time with plastic, I feel like I’ve become an advocate for and against the things that we conveniently throw away. I think we put strong hierarchies on material. From a metalsmithing perspective, we value gold and silver and materials that are infinitely recyclable, and we value those above all others, but what about the potential of these other things? Is it our responsibility when we invent something to also understand its full lifecycle before we start using it, or assigning it a title called waste?

ALEX: And do you have a favorite material to work with?

SUSIE: My true love in life is metal fabrication. But in all honesty, plastic. I haven’t missed metal since working with plastics.

HOPE: What does your creative practice look like? Day to day or project to project?

“ My studio is like my lover ”

SUSIE: I’m a teacher and only a portion of my life is even available to be spent in the studio. When I’m thinking about ideas, they often come to me after I’ve had a break. And you know, there’s hours and time spent just walking, putting one foot in front of the other is where I really start to mull over every idea. It’s almost like an accumulation, slow accumulation, a trickle. So time and time again, I have to try to find it, and I don’t know what she’s going to be like yet. I know the material, the idea, where it comes from and what I’m thinking about. I have to find out what she looks like and then I’ll start doing tests. During the making phase, I’m not surprised by the things that aren’t done. There’s a lot that goes into the beginning part, even from pragmatics. Then, once I start working, it’s like chasing a mouse. Sometimes I know what it’s for, but sometimes it’s good to just make things and then find a place for them in the world.

ALEX: What’s one piece of advice you have for young artists?

SUSIE: That’s such a good question. A few things: School is not a realistic slice of what your artistic life will be in the future. The timeline for things in real life is different. I think it’s really important if you are an artist for your first identity to be an artist. Even if you’re a barista by day, when your barista shift ends, you are an artist. I read an article, that some of the most famous artists we know in the world spend maybe 20% of their time in the studio; the rest is on the other stuff. So, what are the choices you’re going to make to make your artist life happen? Make sure you open your eyes and do it consciously because it won’t happen to you. You have to make it happen. I worry about that for our young people because I think everyone who wants to be an artist should and can be an artist. I refuse to believe that you can’t.

HOPE: Luck is the theme of this issue. Do you think luck has had any influence on your success and where you are?

SUSIE: I think luck happens like the Muse. The Muse flies over and she drops something on my shoulder but if I’m not available, it falls right off. So, if an opportunity arises and I’m

not ready for the opportunity, I can’t take advantage of the luck because I’m not ready. So there’s a combination of luck, like “Right Place, Right Time,” and being ready for luck. I often think, how do I make myself ready to receive luck? Sometimes I know I’m not ready. Is my resume updated? Do I have my artist statement? Did I take images of those pieces? Because luck comes when the curator calls and says, “Hey, I’m thinking about this show for you in September, do you have images of this and this?” And if you say “No, I don’t” luck just passed you by.

ALEX: Do you have a lucky charm?

SUSIE: So, I have two pairs of earrings. I’m a fourth generation jeweler. My great-grandfather was a jeweler and he had every single one of his 11 sons learn the trade before doing anything else because he believed that an education and jewelry prepares you for anything. What do you think Hope?

HOPE: Yeah, it’s true.

SUSIE: Problem solving, right? A total understanding of how to fabricate a piece, from start to finish. My grandfather was the only brother that pursued the trade after learning. He was actually a master. He made a pair of earrings for my grandmother and my mother, and I have both pairs. So, for certain events I always wear those earrings. I never met my grandfather but I feel like those earrings tie me to this important lineage of people.

Jay Sharpe, jewelry designer, believes luck comes when you’re ready for it so it’s all about “Being ready, just being ready. Having something for people to see because one piece won’t cut it.” Jay has been creating jewelry since the 80’s and he credits his longevity in part to his loyal clients.

ALEX: What’s one piece of advice you have for young artists?

JAY: Commitment. It’s crazy. I think you’ve gotta commit huge. If you want to be the best or if you want to really do it, the commitment has got to be there because everybody can do it at the end of the day. You have to really go that extra mile because everybody’s so talented and so good. Those studio hours mean something. You might spend the night if they let you. I used to go in the building when it was shafer court. We would come in early in the morning and wouldn’t leave until the evening time. You came in at eight and you left at eight. You don’t leave until security goes home, and then you get out. That’s how long you stay, and it’s hard but then you see the end result happen. So, you kind of switch your schedule around where you can really commit those hours like that. And if you think you’re in a relationship, I don’t care what kind of relationship it is, you’ve got a puppy, a dog or cat, you’ve got to get rid of them. You are going to come back to feed it, to walk it. You’ve got to submerge. And the professor is going to see it, too.You’ve gotta be that kind of vibe until you really get to a point where you can balance it out, until you’re like, I’m done today. I’m not working this weekend. But when does that happen?

HOPE: Seems like probably never.

JAY: It will happen, it will happen

HOPE: We’re in the thick of it right now. The overnighter is rough. Obviously, there’s a lot of hard work and struggle that’s gone into it, but the theme of our issue is luck. Is there any luck that you think has gone into your success?

JAY: Being ready, just being ready. Having something for people to see because one piece won’t cut it. So it kind of goes back to putting that work in, and putting the hours into producing the work. Being resourceful, too. I think that’s why if you have something to show, then you might be lucky, but you’ve got to put the work in, and if you don’t have anything to put in, you won’t be lucky. I mean, you’ve got to work, and that’s going to create luck- if that makes sense.

HOPE: So, we noticed you did a lot of sketches of your pieces. Is that a big part of your process, like drawing your design?

JAY: Yeah. I always kind of drew and sketched anyway, so it was just another added dimension, because a good amount of jewelers don’t draw or illustrate. They just use the cad machine. But back when I started nobody was doing it, at least not in this city. So I had the opportunity to go both ways, to sketch it out, present it, and then win the customer over. So that was a big part of it, being able to do this so they could see it without having the actual piece, and get a good idea of what it looks like.


HOPE: I bet your customers appreciate the hand drawn sketches.

JAY: Especially when, as you explain it, you are also sketching it for them.

HOPE: How do you connect with customers and get them to buy your pieces?

JAY: Well, I guess for me now it’s just been longevity. So I kind of dragged them along, and I’m still doing it, so it’s not like I was in and then I was out. This production has pretty much been consistent the whole time. I mean I’ve had other jobs on the side. I had to cut grass for awhile, three years ago because of COVID, and that was horrible. But I mean, I laughed all the way through. Literally, I would get up and because I couldn’t come in this building, because they wouldn’t let anybody in, I was like what am I going to do? Still need to eat. Still need to pay the bills.

HOPE: So you’re talking about working with clients. Do you prefer that or doing your own designs?

JAY: I’ve outgrown my old designs. It worked when I was doing Nordstrom’s because I had my own designs. So I would kind of do whatever I wanted to do, but now I just do one-off’s, and whatever the clients want me to do. I also do repairs, and I used to do work for other jewelers. You do whatever to survive as an art maker. You just have to figure it out, you have to keep digging deep…

“ Commitment. It’s crazy. I think you’ve gotta commit huge ”


Creative Direction - Caroline Jenkins Photographer - Caroline Jenkins & Mac Woolley Styling - Caroline Jenkins & Hope Ollivant Makeup Artist - Grace Cheek & Sophie Wall Models - Simeon Stephens & Makenna Ebel Lighting Assistant - Melati Maupin Production Assistant - Kayana Jacobs Clothing - Jewelry - Abby Zevin


It was 1968 when a special gift was handed down to my grandmother. It remains with our family to this day and continues to provide us with luck, health, and countless memories. The name of that special gift is called “Jangdok.”

In Korea, Jangdok is commonly used in a household as a container for fermenting essential fundamental ingredients such as soybean paste, red chili pepper paste, and soy sauce. Back then, these ingredients were often made and fermented with my grandmother’s special recipe. However, the recipes and fermenting process can be quite complicated, and therefore requires a delicate touch along with time and patience.

Jangdok is like a magic treasure box to our family. It stores kimchi, purifies water, ripens fruits, and turns red chili pepper paste into a delicious add-on to our most adored Korean dish, Bibimbap. This magical, multi-purpose Jangdok has always been my grandmother’s favorite earthenware jar for providing our family with memorable food made with love. The ingredients she made were non-replicable, with them solely depending on her senses and 70 years of cooking experience. Along with her homegrown vegetables such as red pepper, perilla leaves, and lettuce, the food that she made became even more special to our family. Within every little process of making the ingredient, there lived my grandmother’s breath and touch that cannot be compared to any other.


To me, she was my one and only chef who knows exactly what I like and what I don’t like, a friend who would listen to every little worry and joy, and a mother who would always stay by my side and be ready. When our family immigrated to the United States in 2008, my grandmother sent us one of her cherished Jangdok from Korea, with fermented red chili pepper paste that she made inside it. With the love that she has sent along, the Jangdok has become our family’s greatest traditional treasure to this day, one that continues to provide us with comfort and energy.It is a lucky charm that takes us back to my grandmother and the taste of home, providing us health and courage to move on through the struggles as if she is there with us.

The ingredients she made were non-replicable, with them solely depending on her senses and 70 years of cooking experience.

It is our home and strength that keep us connected to our family’s history.

Jangdok may be nothing more than an ordinary and unknown earthenware to others, however, it is a cherished treasure to our family that carries the greatest responsibility for creating remarkable taste in our daily food, bringing a bit of the luck to our table each day. No other earthenware can be compared to our family’s passed down Jangdok, especially when I can taste the magic that has been fermented there over the years.

Photography by Shelly Lee & Aeja Bae




I tried this out with my roommate John. We thought about quarters nonstop. How they would feel when we picked them up off the gr aound. The weight they would have in our hands. How the light would bounce off their surface when we saw them on the street. Every day we searched for our quarters.

ahead of me. I knew he was looking at me, so I picked up the tab and held it up in the air like it was a quarter. He wailed on the car’s horn, and I saw his expression burst to the point where I felt bad. I revealed it was a tab when I got closer.

Two weeks in and things weren’t going well. We became desperate. When we were planning a grocery store trip, we remembered that ALDI requires people to have quarters to use their carts. The system works like this: you put a quarter into a slot on the cart that releases it from a chain lock and then when you reconnect the cart to the chain lock, the quarters pops back out. We thought this guaranteed that ALDI parking lots were home to at least one forgotten quarter. Nothing was found.

One day, when I was walking to John’s car to get picked up, I spotted a soda tab on the ground

In the car, we both complained about our failings. We tried to reduce it to people not carrying coins anymore in the digital age, and that those who did carry coins, kept close care of them for their ALDI carts. But we both knew we were making excuses. About a week after we gave up, we noticed something. Scattered around our hardwood floors along with the clumps of dust and lost socks, there were quarters. They were in corners, under tables, and even right out in the open. Three in the living room, four in the dining room, two in the laundry room, one in the hallway. The more we looked, the more we found.

We don’t think about quarters much anymore.

It is said that if you imagine finding a quarter vividly enough, you will be able to find one fairly quickly. This is either because there are lots of quarters in the world and selective attention will ensure that you find one of them, or because your mind is materializing one into existence.

You have found just found one You just found one found one You have just found You just found You have

found one

one You You just one found You have just found one


You just found

You have found one just found one You have

just found one have just found one You just have found one

You have just found one You have found one You just have found one



When you first found out you were a Cancer, you may not have liked the linguistic connection to the disease, but don’t worry! It can become your icebreaker when asked about your sign. This season, look towards things like home-cooked meals and blue-ish colors for comfort. More importantly though, this is the youngest you will ever be and the oldest you’ve ever been, so enjoy yourself.

Your natural inclination towards perfectionism and your unwavering ambition has crafted you into the person you are today. When facing the “judgemental” allegations, just think… What would Beyoncé, your Virgo sister, say? In giving yourself patience and grace, you will be able to conquer the world… or at least your to-do list for starters. If you find yourself feeling especially selfcritical today, don’t be afraid to go outside and touch some grass… you are an earth sign after all!


Scorpions are so much more than just spiders with stingers. They are older than the dinosaurs, can go a year without food, and their venom can kill or save lives. Much like your namesake, you are so often misunderstood and underestimated. Your fiery approach is what makes you unstoppable. When you feel the anxieties start to pile up, look to the crescent moon and try grabbing some aloe. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to last the longest.

Hello my beautiful earth sign. Your bold, bright drive allows you to attain all of your desired goals in life. Your eclectic and comforting energy makes people love being around you, don’t ever dim your light! Self-care is important, but this season you should challenge yourself to go out and get involved! Whether it be joining a new club, or immersing yourself in a different crowd of people, step out of your comfort zone and watch your creativity fly!


Be wary of men in long trench coats; they might tell you things you aren’t ready to hear. You’re too smart and sociable for your own good but don’t worry! You’ll meet someone insufferable soon! Try your best to mix your natural impulsiveness with some long-term planning, like free-soloing a cliff, but putting it on a Google Calendar six months early. Balance is key.

You will stumble upon a cartoonishly large pile of gold in the middle of the sidewalk, though, you’ll have to fight off all 25 of the other people rushing down the street. But hey, you’re a Sagittarius, so you’ll probably win anyways! In the end, the stars say that you’ll find even greater fortune in sharing the gold with those you care about most in life.

Stop letting quick judgment and your desire to hold grudges fuel your experiences. Although someone you love will say the same thing and you’ll put it in a locket, the worst person you know can still make a good point. Duality is your strength this year, eat a messy meal in bed to feel something besides the things out of your control tonight.

How do you do it, Leo? With a heart so big, hair so luscious, and a smile so dazzling, it must be so hard to carry all of that weight on your shoulders. The stars tell me that this week, the spotlight will be on you. And next week, the spotlight will be on you. And the week after that, the spotlight will be on you. And the week after that week, the spotlight will be on you.


Helloooo hot-shot! Get fired up as Aries season is just on the horizon! You burn the brightest during this time. Perhaps you’ll attract a new lover, or…two. Pick the one that can handle your horns! If they appreciate your Ram-ish tenacity, they’re definitely the one for you. However, be careful not to charge in blindly. The passion will fizzle out if you rush into this new flame too quickly.


You soon will find yourself trapped in an addiction to diet coke. But it will only last for 2 weeks and then you will lose your addiction. You will learn to overcome even the strangest of obstacles and will find balance in all portions of your life. Keep an eye out for the signs.

So maybe you’ve been having a rough time, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! It is ROUGH out here, but you’ll find contentment in your life. The stars tell me a ton of stuff so just like give me a call every now and then to make sure that you won’t regret buying that thing you’ve been eyeing that’s over 300 bucks.


You’re charming and value your physical appearance. Actually, I don’t know if this is true or not, but it seems about right. Kim Kardashian is a libra so that lines up. And she’s hot! And rich! So that means you are (or will be) too! So just sit back, relax, do a face mask, and your fortune will soon arrive (terms and conditions may apply).





ASSISTANT- Caroline Jenkins MAKEUP



MODELSparrow Jackson

CLOTHING- Bitter Sweet



Seeing a hole in your stocking or sock foretells an important letter

In Eygpt, opening an umbrella inside would displease God LOSE

A hat on the bed foretells a death



Giving yellow flowers is both good and bad luck




Don’t enter a room with your left foot
Setting your bag on the floor means you’ll lose money


Creative Director- Sydney Koval Photography- Isaiah Mamo Makeup- Alex Mcgowan

the Bluff

Models- Sami Jenkins, Suong Han, Court Sergile, Naomi Gordon Clothing- Bygones Vintage

The dim lights of the speakeasy fill the room with an u ne a s y tension, thick enough to sink one’s teeth into. Riches are tied up in these bets, jewels, heirlooms, engagement rings; desperate times call for desperate measures.

Liars and cheaters, each of them.

Hoping that they’ll be lucky enough to reel in the jackpot; that their opponents aren’t savvy enough to call their bluffs.

Love and Gambling Getting Lucky

Dating is like a game of Texas Hold’em. At the start of the game, with the lights dimmed in the lonely club, the deck is shuffled, and cards are dealt to the players. Each player receives two cards, and the five community cards are placed face-down in the middle of the table. The cards they’ve been given at random can make or break the game for them, or at the very least, dramatically shift your options. We’re dealt our cards and live with them.

The players look at their hands. They might have an ace up their sleeve, or two. Higher cards are typically a better sign, but lower cards aren’t always bad. Given the right circumstances, having a two might secure the win, and the profit that comes with it. They look at their cards and calculate the chances they might have to win, the way

people take inventory of their lives when dating. On first dates, prospects present their best features. Identifying their assets, they display them proudly, hoping to get their desired outcome, whatever that may be.

In both, an element of strategy comes into play. Certain elements carry more benefits than others, and players must hedge their bets accordingly. Sometimes, the game might not even begin at all. Players might appear too skilled, or prospective partners might appear out of one’s league, and the chance to win is over before it begins. Sometimes, it seems like a sure shot, and players bet high from the jump, but sometimes a unique strategy must be employed, to manipulate one’s way to success.

The first three of the community cards are turned over. The element of reality steeps in. Even with whatever cards a player might have, anything could be under those first three community cards. That element of surprise can completely shift the dynamic of the game. The cards you thought could secure you a hefty sum could now seem useless, shifting the environment of the game into one stacked against you. This might not be the game for you. Or it could be the opposite. These community cards could be everything you needed, elevating your status, making that tantalizing reward feel just that much closer.

I. The Deal II. The Flop

If there are any guarantees in relationships, it’s that there are none. Just as the community cards can be anything, the inherent chaos of the unnatural world around us brings unexpected hurdles to any relationship as well as conveniences. A seemingly perfect match can be rendered null by bad timing, conflicting schedules, and worst of all, an utter lack of chemistry. The cruel world we inhabit is dedicated to cockblocking even the best of us, but as in any game, there are loopholes.

Poker teaches us that you don’t play the cards, but the players. The nature of your cards are only half the game. The other is intuition, manipulation, and

skill. It’s not about how good your cards are, but if they’re better than your opponents. Even if their cards have higher standing, there are ways to bluff and lie your way to a win, to use charisma and deception to seduce your way to profit. You use intellect, strategy, keep your wits about you, and never let your poker face slip.

This generation, whether they’ve ever gambled or not, knows a thing or two about poker faces. In a demographic dominated by nihilism, it’s frowned upon to care, and in the cruel game of love, it’s nearly a necessity. During the summer, I stayed upstate with my parents over the break, I endured a mountain of first dates. Some of them decent, some of them disastrous, but all of them deeply educational. Like poker, dating is

a skill game, and every bad date teaches you a lesson. You can’t come on too strong, nor give away too much, a sense of mystery about yourself needs to be left, though you cannot actively conceal. Getting caught thinking too hard means you care too much; an air of nonchalance is required. Don’t let them see past your poker face.

In poker, when another player bets, you have three options. You might call their bet, matching the sum they’ve invested. This is the least you can do while remaining in the hand. If you don’t call their bet, you fold, forfeiting your place in the hand, and any winnings that might arise from it. The third option is to raise, betting more than they did, and raising the stakes of the game in the process.

Betting more allows you to win more, but any benefit to this makes your potential losses that much more impactful. You have to employ a critical eye in this game, read the room and the cards, understand when you should call, bet, or fold. Strategy is imperative.

Men, and I hesitate to call many of them that, understand the strategy inherent to dating. It’s a social game, and strategy is deployed regularly. Of course, that’s not always the case. In poker there are bingo players, newbies fresh to the game, lacking experience and thus, skills and strategy. You’ll encounter men like that in the dating pool; men who it’s painfully obvious have no idea what they’re doing. Bingo players see poker as a game of luck, and while many men think of getting laid as simply “getting lucky,” there’s only so far you can get without learning how to flirt.

In poker we have the fish. This player plays conservatively, calling or barely raising bets just to see how things might turn out for them. Come the flop, they typically fold if they don’t see a good set of cards. It’s not worth the risk. If they believe they have a good chance of winning, they’ll continue to call bets, as long as the raise isn’t too high. It keeps them safe, prevents losing too hard, but you can’t win all too much this way either.

We’ve all seen a man or two who dates like this, though he’d probably hate to be called a fish. He holds one up in his tinder card photos; he doesn’t identify with them. He’s not some fucking fish, he’s a man! And he’s a man with a soft heart. Maybe he’s been hurt in a past relationship, and doesn’t want to risk opening his heart up too much again. Maybe he’s scared of someone taking advantage of what he has to give, so he doesn’t want to give too much. Maybe he just doesn’t think a relationship is worth all that much risk. It’s always resulting from a combination of self esteem and masculinity crisis. This man needs a therapist, not a girlfriend. Your fish swims around in the dating pool, never giving too much and never losing that much either, but having shallow, forgettable relationships as a result. Fish keep swimming. They never sit down to unpack all their shit.

Then there are coffee housers, and their strategy is basically the poker equivalent of negging. Their insults are deployed with the intended goal of breaking down opponents’ confidence, creating doubt in their own abilities and making it easier for the coffee houser to manipulate their way to victory. I feel it generally pretty easy to spot when men neg, but if you find yourself in a situation where it’s working? Run,

girlypop, RUN!

Wait, what’s that fin poking out of the water? In poker, perhaps the most dangerous player is the shark. The shark is a master of strategy as well as an Emmy nominee level skilled actor, with the ability to pose as any type of player. You can be dealing with a shark without knowing it. That’s what makes them so deadly. They play to win because they know they can, biding that time and pouncing. Once you’re in it, it’s too late. These days, male manipulators have become a common part of the American youth lexicon. Between girls, we discuss our icks and identify potential red flags, make jokes about “male manipulator music”if he listens to Weezer, run- and gaslighting is our new favorite buzzword. It’s fun, it’s cathartic to dig into the ways men hurt us, to shout about how men are trash over drinks with your besties, but that doesn’t always heal your heart. Because men do hurt us, and it isn’t okay. Sharks are apex predators, and the damage they do can leave scars.

Mr. ABC Poker plays exclusively by the rules, believing that his knowledge of the rules of the game is enough to guarantee himself a win. It’s like… have you ever had a man take you out to dinner and then expect sex? He thinks that because he did what he was supposed to he’s bought access to your body. But I mean, come on. If you were an escort, you’d charge a lot more than a 15 dollar meal at one of the dozens of shitty Thai places in this city. Hot pot at least

The flop gives the players a better idea of what the community cards are, but two still remain facedown, and can still completely change the game. They might be the difference between you getting a full house or falling short. Those two mystery cards could mean the difference between you vying for high card or three of a kind. At the turn, the fourth community card is turned over, and the game is fully underway. Players have a fuller picture of how they might win. Bets are raised, tensions rise, strategies take

full effect. The tension on that fifth and final card places the game one step away from its conclusion.

In late June, I made my big first step into the NoVA dating world by going out with a girl who hyperventilated mid-meal in Silver Diner. Proceeding this was a string of first dates and failed talking stages, until I met someone promising. He was handsome, well dressed, and polite, but he was also funny, in a quiet way where you had to stay engaged to pick up the nuances. The chemistry (his major) was there right off the bat, and hesitantly, I let it happen. He took me out on cute dates all summer. We went to the national zoo, and the botanical garden. We took walks around his neighborhood and saw movies. It was nice.

stayed. Things got a little steamy from time to time, late at night I’d find his hands exploring my body as he lay pressed up behind me in my bed, but there were never any expectations. Each of us was giving very little. We weren’t monogamous, I still had Tinder downloaded, and I was seeing another guy at the time, which he knew. The rules of the game were clear and laid out, and eventually the summer ended, which I assumed would bring our little fling to a close. But it didn’t.

As time passed, the stakes grew higher. With each turn, other players began to fold. I stopped going on dates with other people; I deleted tinder. I thought only of him, and thoughts of him began to rule my mind. I had trouble focusing on the other things. As

Early on, the stakes were low. We weren’t betting very much. We’d go out and do things that were free or cheap. I kept my heart guarded, because it was just a summer fling. I let it be meaningless fun, and that’s how it

the game continued past its expiration date, the stakes grew higher, and the bets were raised. Or at least, it seemed like they were. He was driving down two hours every other week to come see me, taking me out to nicer dinners, and in turn I was giving him more too. He met my friends, he stayed in my apartment, and we did things together that I’d never tried with anyone else before. I gave him my body, and with it my heart, thinking I had his too.

In poker, you don’t play the cards, you play the player. You read their actions, try to gauge their intentions. You say something from time to time, but you don’t want to give away too much, and neither do they. I spent a lot of time attempting to read him, and he in turn, attempted to read me. It’s a delicate dance when a relationship deepens. You don’t want to go all in too early, but you don’t want to simply call and grow stagnant. You need to raise at the same rate they are, but you need to take risks as well. At times, it can be maddening, but if you stay true to the rhythm, it

III. The Turn

flows smooth, like oil spreading across a pan on a hot stove.

When you’re playing with that many chips on the board, though, it’s easy to lose focus. The stakes get higher when you’re putting a lot more on the line, and you begin to wonder if you’re making the right call. What if he has better cards than you, or if he can tell that you’re bluffing? So you begin to wonder. Questions start to permeate your mind, and once they’re in there they don’t ever really leave. Why haven’t you met any of his friends? You came back upstate for fall and winter break. Why are the two of you always at your place? Should you be worried about that, or are you just being paranoid? He seems like he has good cards and he treats you well; you’re lucky to have him, really. Why are you trying to look for problems? Don’t mess this up, Naomi. Have trust.

So you do. You take a big swing. You go all in. He says he loves you, and you love him, so you trust that things will work themselves out. He meets your parents, celebrates Hanukkah with your family. You let him into your deepest thoughts, share with him the parts of yourself you think he’ll run away from, and he whispers reassurance into your ear. He’s not going anywhere. He loves you. It’s okay. The trust comes naturally, and you treat your worries as just that.

Then, he folds.

IV. The River

In poker, the river refers to the final betting round. The name most likely comes from riverboat gambling; historically and still in some places to this day, poker was played on riverboat casinos, boats on location in the Mississippi river. During these times, cheaters were frequently thrown off of the boat and into the river, hence the name. The final community card is the river card, and its turning over represents the conclusion of the hand, with each player revealing their cards; the winner taking his profit. The turning of the river card can change the game. It’s the final element of chaos, the mystery final card. The strategy, skill, and intuition of each player all come to either a halt or fruition by the word of this card. The truth that the river card preaches is final.

After the breakup, I cried for two days straight. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. We’d been together for six months, and he’d become a fixture of my world. I spent half of my weekends with him, I texted him every day, he was always on my mind. I’d never loved anyone quite so earnestly before. I’d gotten used to having him just be there, and it took me a while to get out of that headspace. Now, I have clearer eyes. Hindsight is 20/20, and I can see that it wasn’t a good relationship. I find myself wondering how I didn’t spot all the red flags, how I let myself get to the lows I hit with him. It’s something that I’m still figuring out.

He folded before we could see our river card. Before everything was on the table, and we saw what we could’ve been together. The first week without him, it kept me up at night. That I’d never know what that final card would’ve been. I never would’ve known what it would’ve been like with him if we both gave it everything we could. If he hadn’t walked out on me. I’ll never meet his family, or spend the holidays with him, or know what our love would have blossomed into. It stings to know that, to have to accept that.

Through this lens, I won the pot. I got out of a bad relationship, and I’m learning how to be alone, and falling in love with myself all over again. I fell into a lot of bad ways of thinking when I was with him. My risk assessment was fucked, and my worldview, though I hate to admit it, was shifted by his. A small part of me began to see the world through his eyes, and that piece of me

Honestly though, I think that’s fucking stupid. It’s a regressive, cold way to see the world, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Maybe I’m naive. I’m still young, and I have a lot to learn about the world. But I never want to look at love that way. I’m not trying to deny that giving your all in relationships, giving that kind of vulnerability to someone, can leave scars. When you get too close to the fire, you get burned. It can hurt like hell, but isn’t that warmth incredible?

grew as time went on, clouding my vision. His voice in my head started to rule my decisions, and I let it, but I don’t want to see the world like that anymore. I’m not so pessimistic.

Love isn’t a game. It’s a connection between two people. A lot of people, especially my age, attempt to “win” at relationships. We’re all young, nihilistic, and emotionally stunted, and we shield our hearts because we don’t want to get hurt. I see it all the time, the way that we play games, withhold relationships from our partners, try to beat them by having them care more, know them better than they know you, withhold commitment and maintain information control.

prosperity (繁荣)[fánróng]



Eileen Morley, Ceramic
WHERE I AM Kristen Wheatley, Wood, Nylon, Wind

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