The Libertarian – December 2021

Cover by bayeryaz
1Team Leader IntroductionIntroductionbayeryaz
2A Year of ChangeInterviewkrizzycatt
3Where Did You Go?Storykrizzycatt
4The CollectorStorychiari.cord
5Living Your Best LifeInformativeDan.K
7I Don’t Mean To Brag, But…InterviewVectorian
8Pressure Makes DiamondsStoryStrongTiger
9Beef Wellington RecipeRecipeYodar
10Dream CatcherPoemKerfuffle
11Where Am I? StoryVectorian
12One Last RideStoryAneha
13Moth To The FlamePoemStrongTiger
14A Fierce Kind of LovePoemAneha

Team Leader Introduction

By bayeryaz

Cover by chiari.cord

Heyo, friends! Whether time flew by or this year felt especially long for you, the important thing is we made it to the end of 2021 alive and well (hopefully). On behalf of everyone who contributed to the final issue of the year, we hope that you enjoy the December 2021 Edition of the Libertarian!

The December Libertarian revolves around the theme of ‘Lost & Found’, which I felt was the perfect way to wrap up the year. I would normally have gone for a Christmas themed edition, however, I felt that it would be a nice break from all the holiday themed events to come. Thinking back on this year and even the last, personally I had a lot of loss which was tough to deal with. Eventually things started looking up when some unexpected good things found me, hence why I felt that it would be great to have others share their experiences this year as well. It helps reveal to us that behind the Habbo avatars and our normal daily conversations that there is a real human being behind the screen on the other end. Someone with their own problems and their own achievements. Lost and Found also has a ton of interpretations, anywhere from struggles and triumphs to an actual lost and found department at an airport. So beyond a fun and insightful way to end the year, it would also be a Libertarian packed full of great articles with interesting prompts.

The December edition of the Libertarian features interviews with our fellow USDF coworkers, where we dive right into the main question of what they lost this year, and on a more positive note, what they found or gained this year. With this edition we focused heavily on making sure that every article and every poem was one you would want to read. Our writers put in some of their best work yet and along with a prompt which allowed them to be as creative as they want, the result is really something special. You will not be disappointed!

None of this would have been possible without the amazing writers and graphic artists who put an immense amount of time and effort into this edition of the Libertarian. The time they dedicated really shows in the quality of the work produced, which I’m sure you will appreciate. I may be biased as the team leader but this may be the best issue of the libertarian to date, so happy reading!

Much love,


The Libertarian (Dec 2021 Edition) Team

By Vectorian

A Year of Change

By krizzycatt

Cover by Eliza4Forever

Almost a year back, when the clock struck 00:00 on 1st Jan 2021, the world rejoiced. “2021 will be a better year no matter what, new year new beginnings!” echoed throughout the world, as though the passing of a few minutes would bring forth momentous change. However, as we all know, this was another crazy year which brought about many problems and joyful moments as well! Let’s hear from our lovely personnel to find out more about what 2021 has brought to them and taken away from them!

Question: This has been a crazy year! What have you gained this year?

I believe I was able to gain a better insight into myself during 2021. Having to spend plenty of time alone made me develop certain skills and find different interests such as cooking and gardening. Additionally, due to my work and OJSIG, I was also able to enhance my critical abilities, research and writing skills.” – LTJG AresK2

This year, I’ve gained a lot of self-knowledge. I had a lot of time throughout the year to realize a lot of things about myself, about who I want to be, and who I want to be with.” – 1stLt chiari.cord

New friendships, University graduation with 2 bachelor degrees, and a full time job among others” – CW5 claryboy2109

Crazy friends and crazy experiences! It was one heck of a ride yet it was such a memorable year. Even if communication was limited to blue screens, I’ve been enjoying my time and the things that I’ve experienced in my life. I’ve also gained a lot of achievements in real life and in USDF. I’m hoping for more blessings and I am so thankful with the things that I have attained!” – CMSAF HeyItsAllenArc

Oh I agree! I made new friendships even though we are in a very difficult period right now! As we all can see, It’s hard to meet each other due to this crisis. That is why we must find another way to communicate and stay sociable. I think Habbo helped me in this way.” – TSgt KoalaScoop

Question: What have you lost this year?

I think everyone, including myself, sort of lost their connection with the outside world due to the closure caused by the pandemic. That is why one of my goals for 2022 will be to make up for the lost time, create new relationships and spend more time outside.” – LTJG AresK2

I’ve lost a lot of opportunities to go out and be in the outside world a bit more. Of course this is something I also wasn’t able to get last year, but I feel like this year I could have enjoyed going out and getting back all the time I lost in 2020.” – 1stLt chiari.cord

sleep and sanity” – CW5 claryboy2109

I’ve lost a lot of people that have not been true to me. Nevertheless, I am still grateful for the circle of friends that I have. It is inevitable and it might be sad, but these things are very common. It is something that we need to embrace. At least we know who is being real and authentic about their intentions to you.” – CMSAF HeyItsAllenArc

Well, I lost a lot of problems. In life, you should believe that everything will go better and don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed! 🙂” – TSgt KoalaScoop

Thank you to all of you who have participated in my interview! Indeed, I am glad we can all agree that 2021 has great moments and bad moments. However, this is all part of life and whenever we reach a low point, the only way out is going up! As the year comes to a close, I am wishing everyone a better 2022!

Where Did You Go?

By krizzycatt

Cover by Vectorian

One moment you were here and the next you were gone. Where did you go? 

On the Saturday I last saw you, we were playing in your garden. On Sunday, you were gone without a word. I went to your house, looking for you. Only a desolate house greeted me. 

One moment we were playing in the meadows and the next you vanished into thin air. Where did you go, my friend? Are we just playing a game of hide and seek? 

I scoured the streets for you my dear friend. I remember your dark eyes and curly brown hair vividly. I asked all the lovely adults wearing olive green uniforms that passed by the streets of Berlin, “Have you seen my friend, Joseph?”. They all told me, “Shove off kid, we don’t know, do not ask us anymore.” I was so confused as they were generally warm and well-mannered, often helping the people and chatting with us. 

One moment you were here and the next you were gone. Where did you go my friend? I really miss you so and I hate it that you left without telling me anything. 

Joseph, I have grown slightly older now but I have not forgotten my closest friend. I really wonder where you went and why you left without a word? Is life in Germany not fun anymore? They gave my parents a free house, maybe you could have gotten one too if you had stayed. Mother told me to forget about you, but refuses to tell me the reason. I bet she knows something I do not. I will continue to search for you my dear friend.

One moment we were carefree children and the next you left me. Where did you go? It has been so long already, why have you not come back? Maybe you did not leave me that day, maybe you were just hiding and got lost along the way. Maybe you will be back tomorrow. 

Remember the house I mentioned earlier? Well, they took it back. Father said we lost the war and we cannot keep the house anymore. That is fine though, I prefered our old house better anyways. I really miss you so much, Joseph. When I grow older I will go around Europe looking for you. I remember you said that you wanted to move to Romania the last time we met. That will be my first stop, I promise! 

One moment we were thinking about the future, about what we wanted to be. The next moment you were gone. I promise to come looking for you, my best friend.

Joseph! I met this lovely lady, Anastasia, while I was in Romania looking for you. We got married and we will be moving to the United States, where she’s from. After the mess I moved and met her at my college when she sat beside me in class. I am sure you would like her, she is as kind as you. I will continue my search in Europe for you once I am financially stable enough. 

One moment I heard your voice and the next moment it was all silent. Your voice is still as clear as day. I know you are gone, your parents probably brought you away and you are probably living with your family now. I just hope to see you before I expire. 

I have come to the end of my years of searching for you Joseph. I started my search when we were 11 and today is the day we would be celebrating 70 years of friendship. My son Joseph (named after you!) brought me and Anastasia to Auschwitz, Poland, yesterday. I nearly broke down at the horrors. What made me break down however, was a grave at a graveyard nearby marked “Joseph Weinberg, Age 11. 1933-1944”

The Collector

By chiari.cord

Cover by chiari.cord

Dear Diary,

I was looking through the “Lost & Found” section during my shift at the airport, and I came across the most interesting thing I’ve found so far. Often, I find the most popular things that people lose: jackets, pens, some IDs of unfortunate passengers. Although it is fun to find people’s IDs, what I was looking at this morning was weirder than any other item.

It was a book. A peculiar one, I must say. Half of it was torn, the other half was painted with crayon. It seemed like it belonged to a child. “Dylan” was written on the cover.

As I looked through the pages, there didn’t seem to be anything special about it. Just the regular drawings kids made. His family, a sun with cool sunglasses, a drawing of his favourite superhero, nothing out of the common. But then I started to see some things were written. Just as I am writing in my diary, this kid seemed to have a personal one.

What I read threw me off completely. It was the description of a place. A place in which the kid wrote to have been trapped in for a whole day. Apparently, his family was playing “hide and seek”, and he was so good at it he was still waiting to be found. When I read this I immediately started asking my coworkers if they may know what the place was. And to our surprise, one of them matched the description with the abandoned building at our airport.

Of course, we all rushed to see the place. We weren’t supposed to be there, but we didn’t care. We entered the room we thought the diary was talking about, but all we found were some crayons and paper sheets. These sheets were all drawn on. The same drawings as the ones in the book, just slightly creepier. All of a sudden, the cute family and friends drawings turned into people with angry faces who were not close to each other anymore.

As we were looking at the drawings, one of the people who were with me got a message from our boss, asking why we all were suddenly gone. She suggested we get back to the main building, unless we wanted to lose our jobs. No one wanted that, so we all collectively relaxed our minds by convincing ourselves the kid was found by his parents and just got back home safe.

I was repeating that to myself to stop me from looking deeper into this and finding things I probably didn’t want to. It would have been easier to take my mind off of this if, when we were walking out, I hadn’t seen something move in the shadows…

Living Your Best Life

By Dan.K

Cover by Dan.K

The question of how to live your “best” life is highly subjective from person to person. In this article we will discuss more of the hedonistic pathway. That is, striving to achieve happiness/pleasure through whichever means possible. To lead your best life, you need to start first by understanding why and what you are trying to achieve. However there is one thing that tops the others. Above all, health is the most important thing a person could have. Without health, we wouldn’t be able to do any of the other things we love.

First, we must internalize that life is short. It’s a phrase you have heard before, but unfortunately it’s true. You won’t get back the time you have right now. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. I think we could agree that certainly it would be wise to use it in the best way possible. Everything must be taken in moderation. (Yes, even Habbo.) Take out a piece of paper and write down a few long term goals for yourself. Then underneath those goals write what you are doing to achieve them. This might give you a better look on if you are on the right track or not. If you find yourself not knowing what to write down, it’s probably because you aren’t doing something to reach those goals or you don’t have any clear ones. 

It is highly beneficial for you to work towards your peak physical state. Being in good physical shape has a lot of mental health benefits as well. You don’t have to have a set routine, although that works for a lot of people. It’s enough to remember to exercise in short bursts throughout the day. Being in good shape is important, because it sets a great foundation for the rest of your life. 

Your leisure activities should be productive in some way. Whether it is a stress relieving game, or a side hustle. Having fun is always okay, but you can’t be obsessed with it. Your priorities should rightfully stay your priorities. Your priorities are things that will help you achieve your long term goals. 


Tasks should be completed right away, no matter how hard it is. This is the toughest thing to discipline yourself to do in my opinion. Just keep in mind – no one is perfect. You can slip up from time to time. Teaching yourself to do a task right away as it comes up would be a beautiful way to live though. I must admit I can’t do this yet, but I’m actively working on it. Using organizational tools could be helpful. I would use your phone since these days people always have those on hand. 

Mental toughness is difficult to build up. Minimizing distractions and focusing on a primary task is a thing many people these days have issues with. There is content everywhere around us. It is accessible right at our fingertips. On top of that, it gets addicting. Notifications etc. release dopamine to our brains which results in us wanting more of it. This causes a chain where we become addicted. This kind of addiction can definitely negatively impact an individual’s productivity. If you are asking yourself how to break it there is no secret answer. You just have to genuinely internalize that what you are doing is holding you back from your full potential. Convert your bad habits into good ones. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of work. However, if you master focusing on a singular task at a time and give it your all every time you should produce some incredible results in whatever you put your mind to. If it was easy then everyone would be a superstar, but that’s not the reality. We are all human. We make mistakes. That’s okay. Just try to improve yourself everyday.  

In difficult situations it’s tough to say how to handle them. For example, let’s talk about the loss of a loved one. You have to understand that time and life with it will go on whether you like it or not. Take your time to grieve and continue to achieve your goals and relax afterwards. Hold your memories dear and close to you. Remember to spend a lot of time with your family. You won’t get that time back. Many people go through trauma in different ways, but that doesn’t mean it has to define your life. Work through it with counseling or what have you and give it some time. You might have heard that “Time heals all wounds.” Time is our most valuable asset. We use it for everything! 

Work on yourself and try to improve everyday. That’s the key to having a more productive and happier life.

I Don’t Mean To Brag, But…

By Vectorian

Cover by Dan.K

QUESTION #1: What is something that you have done, that you are proud of, this year?

QUESTION #2: Do you have any remarks or tips for the new Junior NCO(s) coming into USDF?

CSM Beckooo:

#1: “I think for me, it was passing my degree and becoming a registered nurse. In terms of USDF, I would have to say being offered the HNCO position in OJFD”

MAJ KarturoW:

#1: “So I recently made it into a winter-olympic team called Phoenix or Fenix in spanish. I have been swimming for some time now and it is a good achievement. In regards to USDF, I passed my SOAB and managed to lead within two positions which are MDASD RSA (shoutout to my kids in OISA) and CJCS EA.”

CWO4 Femae:

#1: “That would be starting my new studies! I had a break last year, so it was kind of hard for me to get back on track, but it’s going really well! What I am most proud of in USDF, is my journey within OSEAC. I went from quite an inexperienced OJFD member to MCPON, then SWOAN and then SEAC. I never thought I would get that far when I first joined USDF, so I’m still really grateful for those opportunities”

#2: “I’d say, allow yourself to learn and take the time for it. I know from experience that USDF can be overwhelming at first, but you’ll learn everyday and it’ll all make sense at some point, just give it some time and don’t let it discourage you!”

CWO3 ShadowHorizon:

#1: “To be honest, I guess what I have done this year was finally getting a command position when I got HNCO OJFD and getting into OISA. I thought at the beginning I was never going to progress within the USDF and I would be stuck as a CWO5 forever which had gotten me kicked out but I managed to get back in and now I’m doing well and better. I got into a command position as a HNCO, I’m now in OISA which I do like the people in it. I’m also in the AFC now which is amazing. I feel like even when you have a rocky start you can make it up after having positivity in your life.”

#2: “I would say keep working hard and do whatever it takes to progress as a JNCO. I would recommend working towards joining the council or even applying for HNCO positions. Trust me, getting an early lead in command positions can help you progress within the USDF. Also keep trying no matter what cause even if you fail on one thing trust me I did not get command positions and got angry a lot. You should never be fearful or doubting you can do this if you do believe in yourself. Keep moving forward and be positive.”

CWO3 StrongTiger:

#1: “I can say that I am happy that I got to travel again! I’m so pumped to wait for my mid semester to go camping with my friend. And I also got certified as a DJ last week. It was nerve wracking at first, but with the help of my mentor Bayer, I managed to complete it with ease.” 

#2: “New tips for the JNCOs would be patience and kindness. To me patience is key, for you to go far. Sometimes when you think that you are overlooked in stuff, be patient and try to talk it out to someone to avoid your dissatisfaction getting over your mind. And being kind is also important. Especially if you are new and have no military experience. It can be daunting at first learning the ropes, but when you’re kind. People would be happy to help you out. Like me. I’m kind. Right?”

1st Sgt fireeric20:

#1: “Since there was a hard lockdown this year before, I couldn’t do much. In this pandemic I just focussed on getting my driver’s license. I have passed the theory test. Tomorrow I have my driving test which will determine if I will receive my license. The success rate of both tests is very low which makes it more important. Succeeding on something which is difficult or proven many others don’t pass their first time, gives a really good and proud feeling.”

#2: “Me as a recent transfer would recommend reading much through the forum. The JNCO/SNCO handbooks have helped me very much with it as well. As a new USDF member I have observed a lot and I think that’s the best first step to get to learn on doing new duties. Just ask all your questions away to your mentor/CoC. it will save you much more time on improving yourself.”

CMSAF HeyItsAllenArc:

#1: “For this year, I’ve done a lot of things that I could be proud of here in USDF. One of the most notable actions or things that happened is to see my NCOs grow into CWO. To see them progress even more and take more responsibilities makes me proud. As I’ve witnessed their hardships, their ups, and downs during their journey. To see them succeed makes me happy.”

#2: “To enjoy the process and to never allow fear to overshadow their confidence. Pick what environment and office you fit and just enjoy all the things that are happening. You can always stand out in different aspects, learn how to celebrate someone’s successes and for sure. Your success will come in no time.”

1stSgt RusticPenguin:

#1: “I am super proud of myself for just getting through this year. This has been easily the hardest year of my life. Dealing with trauma, deaths, medical troubles, and mental health issues has made it extremely hard, but I have fought through everything that has been thrown at me. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I hold myself high knowing that I have done it.” 

#2: “Do not be afraid to reach out. Everyone at USDF is here to help you. Some may be scary, but they are always around to help you. Mostly, everyone is friendly, don’t be afraid!”

CWO4 .Defenestration:

#1: “Well, I can go USDF related. I got accepted into OJSIG a couple of months ago, which ever since being a little E4 was my dream office. It’s a great feeling to finally have all that work and everything pay off so I’m particularly proud of that as an USDF accomplishment.”

#2: “I’d say to have fun and make friends. The moment you start thinking of USDF as a job or as something that is a hassle makes the entire experience unenjoyable. I used to have that kind of mindset and it’s incredibly demotivating. At the end of the day, playing a game needs to be about having fun. If you are able to focus on the entertainment aspect and have fun while in USDF, everything will fall into place.”

1st Lt chiari.cord:

#1: “Definitely getting back into OPA Command and going through all the different positions that I’ve been in! It has been so much fun, and there’s a lot of things I learnt and have been through from the past year that I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for the really nice command team we have.”

#2: “Putting themselves out there, for sure. Everyone seems scary when you’re first joining USDF, but you’ll realize as time passes that everyone else is actually really nice! Talk in your branch’s chats, join an office and make friends, interact with others in HQ, etc. There’s always someone who will answer and talk to you, so give it a try! I know it can be hard but it’s worth it, after all we’re here to make friends.”

CWO2 Exalt-Me:

#1: “I would say for USDF, I’m proud that I came back and found the time, effort and dedication to become CWO within about a month or so of my reinstatement to PO3. It’s been hard lately to focus on things outside of work and finally putting the effort into this place has been fun and meeting the people I have in the process has been a blast.” 

#2: “My tip would probably be that: I know it can be hard to look forward to doing HQ tasks all the time and getting FEATs but, what helped me the most was getting to know the people here. Having fun with the people here will, in turn, help you enjoy the tasks you do here. Building a relationship with those around you helps solidify your bonds to your service.”

ENS Ax7Lord:

#1: “Definitely has to be getting re-commissioned and obtaining the DNAVIG position. That makes two things but honestly I’m damn proud of those achievements. I worked my butt off and now this is where I am at, so give me my Tens!”

#2: “To new JNCOs I would say this…. don’t overwork yourself to the point it doesn’t become fun. Your work will be noticed and you will progress so why not make friends and enjoy yourself doing it! Become apart of the community and become the heart of our community”

1LT theducksauce:

#1: “Completing OCS! Wasn’t something I foresaw myself doing honestly, so it was actually quite a proud moment for me.”
#2: “I do! Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations and make friends with your fellow peers! Also, if you have any questions or require any clarification, don’t be afraid to approach others for help! It’s good to ask questions as we’re all continuously learning, so asking questions is beneficial!”

Events Collage

By bluebell1994

Pressure Makes Diamonds

By StrongTiger

Cover by bayeryaz

Dear Keanu Reef, 

Hey pal, I know it has been long since I wrote to you. 154 days to be precise. I really hope you are doing well. Later on, tell me more about the date that you went on with Lisa. I wouldn’t be surprised if you two got married, I’m actually hoping for it, you have my blessing. I don’t know, hasn’t it been 3 years you have been with her? It would be a bummer if things don’t work out between you and her. But life is life, we never know when fate will come and slap us so hard that we would end up lying on the ground for days just crying, aye? 🙂 

I’m writing to you to tell you more about being in the Unity Stone Donkey Front (USDF). Life here is really busy man. I had a lot of things to do, such as: training new recruits, doing office work, making my superiors happy and facing rejections at the things we think that we are good at. I was struggling early on, trying to comprehend this new military life. Understanding their strict code is quite a hassle too. No joke Keanu, serving here is like walking through a fine thread. A few wrong moves and the thread would break. Some of the people here just got cut due to violating the Military Code. I hope my sanity can remain with me while I climb my way up to the top. Talking about climbing, do you remember how fun it was, when we used to race each other to see who would manage to get that delicious pineapple pizza during recess on Friday? I would always lose to you tho, you were so fast back then. Then we would share the pineapple pizza together while talking about our dreams. You know what, constantly losing to you actually made me tougher. It prepared me to tackle failures like a boss. I would just chin up, move past it and try again. I failed twice now in applying for an Office that I like. But who cares, I never won against you in a race, lol. Nevertheless, I am confident I will definitely get into the Office that I want one day. Their feedback is constructive and it pointed out where I should improve. Unlike racing you where I never know how I can beat you. Ah, fun times.

I also remember when we used to work in a Sushi Restaurant together. I would be handling the washing department and you would be handling the cleaning department. We always made fun of each other about how bad we would look after our shift ended. Back then, I would come back smelling so bad, that my mom always nagged about how I should try to avoid getting the dirty water splashed on my working uniform. But although she nagged, she would always take my dirty clothes and wash them for me. Honestly, I wish I could be like my mom. Even though she nags, she never fails to make sure I am well fed and taken care of. (PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOM ABOUT THIS!). Her leadership in taking care of me and my dad was something else. She always reminds me not to only look out for only myself, but to look out for others as well. I can say, looking out for others who don’t care is really killing me from the inside, honestly. Like a thorn of roses gripping my heart and wounding it deeper the more I try. I tried to cover for my teammate the other day from getting scolded by our Drill Master, but he doesn’t even seem to care and isn’t interested in improving himself. He didn’t even thank me for what I did. Alas, holding close my mom’s words, ‘being kind is not the path for all’. It really hit close to home. I am not doing this for others, but I am doing it only for myself. I don’t want to get to the point where people would take advantage of my kindness. I’ll manage Keanu. Don’t you dare worry about me. The day I vowed to myself to take on this path, I knew I would not turn away from my promise. Certainly, if the whole world seems like they are against me, I know my family and you would be behind me. Supporting me to be a one man army to take this battle of spreading kindness even when death itself comes to stand against me. 

I met some great people in USDF Keanu. Although some of them have already retired from the service. It is sad to see them go. But the moment you are brave enough to make new friends, you must be brave enough to part ways with them. My friends here helped me a lot in progressing within USDF. Giving me motivation to keep on marching forward. Being a safe haven for me to vent out my frustrations. Ahh I can spend the whole night talking about how great they are! I am blessed to have such friends here. Don’t you worry tho Keanu, you will always have a spot in my heart. For being such an amazing friend that holds my hand firm in facing this crazy world we’re in. 

I have so much to write to you, I’ll save it for later tho. I need to get back to my duties now. Don’t forget about me in your prayers and take care of your health in manning the farm! See you in the next letter pal! 

Yours Truly, 


Beef Wellington Recipe

By Yodar

Cover by Vectorian

A traditional Beef Wellington consists of a beef tenderloin wrapped in layers of pâté, duxelles (a finely chopped mushroom mixture), parma ham, encased in puff pastry, then baked. Rumor has it that Beef Wellington got its name from Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, who counted the dish among his favorite recipes. It is generally agreed that the dish was created in celebration of the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, and his victory at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. The Duke was given his title after defeating Napoleon Bonaparte the year before, and not long after he became Prime Minister. Such an iconic character needed immortalizing, so (naturally) they named a pastry ensconced beef dish after him. Whether this is true or not, Beef Wellington has become an iconic example of English cuisine and follows a long tradition of meats baked in pastry dough. Join me as we make Beef Wellington together as your ultimate showstopper at your next event!

Serves: 4 to 5 people

Prep Time: 60 minutes 

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Mushroom Duxelle:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, finely diced (about 4 cups)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Chive Crepes:

  • 1 cup flour, lightly packed and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Making the Mushroom Duxelle:

  1. Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and when hot, add mushrooms. Season well with salt and pepper and add the thyme after seasoning. Stirring frequently to be sure the mushrooms don’t stick, cook until all the moisture has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Making the Chive Crepes

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, chives, thyme, and salt, then mix the flour mixture. Then add eggs & milk, and whisk until incorporated. Transfer to the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly spray a 10-inch nonstick pan and place over low heat. Add 1/4-cup of batter to the pan and swirl the pan so the batter spreads evenly along the bottom into a very thin pancake. Let it cook for 25 to 30 seconds until set, then use an offset spatula to lift one side, flip and cook on the other side for just a few seconds. Move quickly because you don’t want any browning to occur. Remove the crepe to a plate. Continue cooking until the batter is finished, making about 5 crepes. Place a parchment square between each crepe so they don’t stick to each other.

Assembly of Wellington:

  • 1 pound center-cut beef tenderloin, room temperature
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1 9.6 ounce sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen (Gluten-free tip: you can buy gluten-free puff pastry online.) 
  • 2 egg yolks

Make the Wellington:

  1. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Use your hands to press salt and pepper in while rolling and shaping beef to be cylindrical. Heat a cast-iron skillet and add grapeseed oil, then sear the beef, cooking 60 seconds per side as you want to brown all sides to help lock in the juices so the tenderloin doesn’t dry out. Remove beef to a sheet tray and pour the juices from the pan over it. While hot, brush Dijon mustard all over and then let it rest.
  2. Take a damp towel and moisten your cutting board. Layer three pieces of plastic wrap overlapping each other on the board. Depending on the width of the tenderloin, take 2 to 3 crepes and trim into squares the length of the tenderloin, then line them up vertically on the plastic. Layer on the prosciutto slices. Spread the mushroom duxelle over the ham. Season with salt and pepper. Pour resting juices from the beef over the mushrooms, then place beef at the bottom of the crepe. Using the plastic wrap to lift as you pull the crepe over the beef, roll the beef up completely, smoothing the plastic and twisting the ends to form a tight package. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the convection oven to 425 °F (220 °C/Gas Mark 7) or non-convection to 450 °F (230 °/Gas Mark 8).
  4. Again use a damp towel to moisten the cutting board, then layer three pieces of plastic wrap. Place puff pastry in the center. Use a rolling pin or dowel to evenly roll it to 1/8-inch thick, trimming if necessary to fit beef. Unwrap beef and place on the pastry 1/3 of the way up. Lightly brush pastry with egg wash and season with salt and pepper. Lift the plastic wrap up and roll the pastry over the beef, until the edges meet, then massage the pastry, smoothing it evenly across and sealing the seam. Twist the plastic, taking the excess pastry with it, until the pastry melts together, and cut off the ends. Unwrap the wellington, discard the plastic and smooth the ends, then brush with egg wash. Use the back of a knife to gently score the wellington and create a decorative pattern. Season with more salt, place on a parchment-lined tray, and insert thyme sprig. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  5. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving


  • Experiment with other kinds of savory crepes to wrap around your filet. Look for different combinations of spices to use in your crepes. 
  • Research mushrooms and their respective seasons, and learn about various flavors and textures. Every season, make the Wellington again, each time embracing the principles of seasonal cooking; use only mushrooms that are available and plentiful. A good place to start looking for seasonal mushrooms is your local farmers’ market, where vendors will likely carry only what they can grow. Observe the way Wellington’s flavor changes with the season.
  • After you’re finished making your Wellington, you’ll have remaining puff pastry scraps that might ordinarily be headed for the garbage, but don’t throw them away! Cut out shapes from your scraps to decorate your Wellington with family initials or a seasonal pattern. Alternatively, try using the leftover dough for other treats, such as delicious tea cookies.

Congratulations, you have made your very own Beef Wellington that people will be talking about, well after the event is over.  Also, did you know that Beef Wellington is Gordon Ramsay’s signature dish? If you order this dish at one of his restaurants, it will cost you a whopping $65 US Dollars, and you can save money by making your own Beef Wellington.

Dream Catcher

By Kerfuffle

Cover by bayeryaz

Where Am I?

By Vectorian

Cover by Vectorian

The sounds of desperate cries were heard from a distance, as I struggled to find my Mother. My body shook with fear and agony as I limped through a ruin which I once called “home”. The clouds soon darkened; covering the sky like a blanket, leaving me stranded in my war-torn hometown. My body was in shock, as I slowly maneuvered from one house to another. I felt time slowing down everytime I took a step. I felt gravity increasing every time I took a breath. I had to find my way back to my family by any means possible. 

I reached the local Post Office before collapsing as my tears mixed with sweat across my face. The skies became darker as rain started to pour onto the fragile soily grounds. My heart was racing as I continued to crouch in the pouring rain, as tears streamed down my cheek, accompanying the rains from above. The roaring thunder claps followed shortly after as I gathered my footing, dashing straight for a shelter along the ruins of the neighbourhood. Hours earlier my town was brushed about from a water monster; taking up everything in its path, as it brushed along my beloved town. Roofs toppled, trees crackled and families were left with no shelter. 

I cry as I lay hopeless inside a small corner of a house, managing to find shelter under the stairway of an exposed interior. Pinching myself would not make me wake up from this nightmare I am in. Slowly but gradually, my eyes began to dim, slowly crying myself to sleep, hurled up inside my father’s coat. 

Faded sounds of a siren increased in volume as it got closer, waking me up from my sleep. The skies were clear, filled with cirrus clouds dancing along the sapphire sheet. The sun gleams through the cracks of the stairway I was cocooned in, greeting me with a smile. I hesitate to get onto my feet. The siren of the rescue vans got even louder as it stormed into the town’s main street like a pack of wolves. The people from the town were giving similar reactions to the commotion. I had no time to collect myself as I lay confused to what was currently happening. Then the voice of an angel grabbed me onto my feet. “Rescue Team!” yelled a man in a high-visibility green jacket, “Rescue Team! Come out, come out!”. The shouting of help gave me the adrenaline I needed to sprint right outside, out of the ruins of a house I was curled in; like a dove finally released from its cage. There was hope after all. My prayers were finally heard.

There was my family, safe and found, in the back of one of the Rescue Vans. I was greeted by these angels with smiles, before gifting me with a blanket, food and warm drinks. Not long before everyone was gathered in the streets, clustering the Rescue Vans, I was guided to the other Rescue Van. “Here he is!” murmured one of the Rescue staff behind the Van. 

At long last, my mother was soon there, tears down her face, streaming down like crystals. I ran to her with a loud weep. She embraced me as I continued to cry in her arms. By far the best present I have ever been gifted on Christmas Day.

One Last Ride

By Aneha

Cover by bluebell1994

Her heart kicked against her ribs as she stared at him. His blatant masculinity was noticeable against the backdrop of the small car’s interior frame. This morning she was confident that he wouldn’t be able to fit in the car with such broad shoulders, but he was adamant that he was going to drive. She could tell by his expression that he was uncomfortable, long legs squished against the steering wheel even with the chair fully extended and rolled back, yet he hadn’t once complained. She’d never seen him like this, he was always making a fuss about something, usually mimicking her whining behavior trying to make light of each situation. He was always the playful one, and she’d been described as serious, but somehow they fit perfectly in each other’s lives, two pieces of a whole. 

She knew she was staring a little too long, but she wanted to savor the moment. His scent was inviting, a natural smell mixed with a touch of spice, a cologne she was all too familiar with. A smile flirted at the corner of his lips as he caught her staring. She turned away red-cheeked suddenly pretending there was something interesting outside, but he could see her smile in return through the reflection of the window. They sat in a comfortable silence for a long time, each highly attuned to the other. 

It wasn’t long now… Soon she’d be gone, and he’d stay here, doing this, eventually with someone else. Was she ready? The thought of leaving him was a crushing sensation in her chest, she didn’t have the heart to tell him yet about the job offer down the coast. Each time she tried to tell him, her throat closed up, stinging and sore as she held back tears hoping he hadn’t noticed. She didn’t dare reach for his hand, not now, not when her body threatened to lose control and he’d see the depths of her sadness. 


The silence was deafening, it was as if he could hear all the things she didn’t say but wanted to. But he didn’t want her to say it, not now… Not before they had this one last moment together. He wanted to enjoy this moment of just being. Being in this car… on this road… with her. His need for her was a wild thing, but he’d never hold her back. Never. 


“It’s not far now, we should be coming up on our left.” She pressed her face to the glass as she tried to cool herself with the frosty contact frozen by the snow that fell outside in a raging twist. It had gotten heavier in the last few minutes, the wind picking up had obscured their view. Even though it was still light out, the last rays of daylight bounced off the snow and caused everything to appear white. It was almost impossible to see where the ground met the sky. 

He slowed his approach, turning at the same time the navigator informed him of the bend coming up. He made the turn, feeling the car’s tires grip the road under the snow as they glided to a stop. He’d been in an internal panic, worried they’d slide off the road, but he didn’t want to scare her. He opened the car door, pushing hard against the wind as it tried to force it shut. Using one long leg, he held it open as he turned to grab his belongings. Stepping out, he walked cautiously around the car trying not to slip on the ice and snow. Luckily he had some weight to him, otherwise the wind would have carried him away the instant he stood up. 

He reached for her door handle, aware of her shuffling around in her seat getting ready to embrace the cold as she slid into her snow jacket. She stretched out her arm sliding it into the thick sleeve, ready for what awaited her outside. But the door never opened.

She looked out the window, sure that he was there a second ago. A fleeting feeling of worry brushed through her, but she quickly dismissed it. Getting out, she took a steady step forward into the blizzard, her front foot feeling unbalanced. She felt around before taking another step, and suddenly her foot fell through the air. Bracing herself on the way down, she grabbed the edge of where she’d just come from managing to keep most of her body on the solid ground. Pulling her leg back up, fear and adrenaline kicked in. Realization dawned on her and he was down there. God only knows how far down there he was, but she was sure that’s where he would be. 


He fell. Damn it, he fell. He bit his lip, sure that his teeth went straight through and slammed his hands palms down on the jaggad surface covered in shards of ice. His body kept sliding until it slowed to a stop. Working up the courage to move, he braced himself on his side, just as the ice under him started to crack. The lake. He forgot there was once a lake here. He quickly did the calculations and knew that any slight movement would shatter the foundation and he’d plummet into icy water. But that didn’t matter. All he could think about was her. “Don’t follow me, please don’t follow me, just go get help!” He knew it was unlikely his voice would carry over the wind but he yelled as loud as he could anyway. He lay there, unmoved, watching the light start to dim around him. The sun was setting, and it would soon get colder. 

Stay awake, just long enough for help to arrive, he thought. He no longer felt his extremities, aware that his body was shutting down in an attempt to preserve heat around his vital organs. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed. Suddenly, another low crack sounded deep within the ice, an indication of movement. He begged it wasn’t her, but then she appeared. 

Cursing at the sky, wishing she’d not followed, he tried to speak but couldn’t, his body frozen. She crouched down and crawled the rest of the way, spreading her weight across a larger surface. Clever girl. 

“Help is coming, but I’m staying with you until they do.” He could barely hear her over the howling of the wind. He held her against his chest, letting out a low moan as she added extra weight on top of him. He wasn’t sure if he had broken something, or if the pain was from being so cold, but they waited… and waited… and waited…


Still nothing… Part of her, the part that made her a force to be reckoned with, knew this was a dangerous situation and wanted to drag him to safety. But she also knew they’d never make it like that. She knew there was a chance that this would be the end. They were alone, far away from the rest of civilization. 

She stared at him. But this time it wasn’t in fascination. Something in her snapped to the front, she didn’t know how she’d ever live without him, her love a visceral thing that filled her body deep in every cell. An impossibly huge thing that eclipsed all else. She was meant to be the one leaving, this was wrong. It was all wrong! But now that it was real? How could she ever leave? 

“I should have asked you to come with me.” She wasn’t sure if he heard her, but she kept going. “We can leave as soon as we get home, just you and me. We will drive down together in that small car, but this time I’ll drive. We can stop by all the places we’ve talked about visiting on the way down and eat at that too expensive restaurant we joke about. We can move into an apartment on campus, and of course we will start off having a fish and later you’ll surprise me with a dog that we definitely aren’t allowed to have, but it will be ours and we will start our own little family. Then in a couple years we will get married in the church your parents did, and we will come home and tell everyone the stories of our adventures. Because that’s what we will be doing, going on the adventure of a lifetime.” He lightly squeezed his fingers over her side in approval of the future she spoke of. “We will have three children, two boys and a girl. And we will love them. They will be our pride and joy. And then we will grow old together, and I’ll care for you then you’ll care for me, because I’ll likely end up being the old and senile one, but you’ll be there and I know that no matter what, I’ll never forget you.”

His fingers were stiff and motionless. She expected some kind of reaction… anything. But she got nothing. She searched his eyes. “Where did you go just now?” He didn’t respond, just looked at her. All she could see in those eyes was her own reflection vivid on black. The emptiness of his gaze, mirrored the emptiness in her soul. She screamed, not knowing if it was in her head or out loud. She held a hand to his throat, struggling to feel a pulse. The ice cracked. She stilled. A split second, that’s all she’d ever have. A split second to decide. But she didn’t want to think about that. She wanted to live in the memory she’d created, the memory of their future together. She lowered herself back onto his chest, listening to the ice singing below them. The sound of their end, such a peaceful sound. And they fell. This time, they fell together, and suddenly she no longer felt anything. 

Moth To The Flame

By StrongTiger

Cover by :alyss

Staring at the trees in the comfort of our bed, 

While hearing the sounds of a calm lake.

Have you ever wondered? 

Why does the leaf in autumn glow red? 

Is it because of its burning passion, 

To celebrate its new transition,

With a roaring bright red of defiance, 

Winning against the ordeal that is deemed impossible.

Or is it just because, 

It is simply a gesture, 

Showing gratitude,

To all the experiences it went through. 

It is beautiful to keep on debating about how nature works, 

Using philosophy and the beauty of emotions, 

Like a wolf travelling for a hunt, 

I can go on and on without stopping for days. 

I’m guessing this is the emotions of a person burning with passion, 

It keeps you going, 

Motivated to be better, 

A new desire for a new era. 

This desire for a new change, 

Pushes me to speak up, 

As birds of a feather flock together, 

So will those who share the same ideals. 

If you are wary of not having food on the table, 

What about the the rising sea level,

Or, the reef destruction due to overfishing, 

Wouldn’t this all make you lose your forever home?

Alas, taking on this passion, 

Is killing me from the inside, 

It lit up my hatred, 

Questioning the essence of humanity. 

I decided to forego this hatred, 

Instead of questioning others, 

Similar to a pig oinking for food,

I opened my grip, that I have been holding on dearly.

I accepted, nature would take its course, 

& until then, I would just do my best, 

Humming through the melody, 

While planting 1 tree at a time.

This is my passion, 

I’m bewitched, 

Just like a moth to a flame, 

& it burnt me.

A Fierce Kind of Love

By Aneha

Cover by Eliza4Forever

You fell silently in step beside me, 

As you burned so bright with energy and life.

It was impossible to be anything but compelled by you, 

So I tried to cage you till you could no longer breathe. 

Such strong wings, 

The purest of white edged in gold.

Filled with light and power and goodness, 

How far will those wings carry you?

But I am grounded with no wings of my own,

And you fly further and further away.

The cost of your freedom, a future without me,

What right do I have to entrap you?

And I ache, everytime we speak,

You are polite. So damn polite.

But politeness between us is a calculated rudeness,

Do I no longer mean anything to you?

Your smile, fake… It’s missing something,

Your laugh, playing a tune that no longer harmonizes with mine,

But I know you’re still you, the you who has walls,

Why have you distanced yourself?

And that thing which was growing between us,

Is now a candle flame which has been snuffed out by uncaring fingers.

The price of your freedom, a gift that demands sacrifice,

And I must watch as you fly places I cannot follow.

But it’s the small gestures, small reminders, 

Each one being cherished.

Ours is a bond of friendship, 

That runs so deep that you are entwined with my soul. 

Yours is a heart filled with unlimited kindness,

Always caring for others with a fierce protectiveness,

And a heart too big and too quick to forgive.

What will I do with you?

It would be so easy to take advantage,

You give, and give, till there is nothing left.

Who will hold you when you are hurting?

Who will love your perfections and flaws?

I will be your hearts keeper,

I will not let your name be another one added to my list of loss and grief.

No matter how far you fly, even if I cannot follow,

I will not let you go.

Possessive. Jealous. Selfish. I am all of these…

But I am yours, always have been yours. 

And you are mine, 

For I am a selfish being.

There will come a time when you leave,

And realize all that you left behind.

And those wings, those beautiful wings…

Will be battered and damaged with skin broken revealing bone. 

Too weak to heal, you will come to me,

And I will demand to have all of you.

No more being just friends,

We are too far beyond that point. 

Our memories make us, 

Even the darkest of them all.

But life is growth and change,

And real love isn’t so shiny and pretty.

Small decisions, one after another,

Forming the roadmap of our lives, 

It is a bond that cannot break,

For at its core we are us, as we have always been.

This is where we were meant to be all this time,

For you are my northern star.

I will wait and watch for you on the horizon. 

Together we were always meant to fly into eternity.

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