Friday, October 11, 2013

#40: Be ironic


  1. Using or characterized by irony.
  2. Happening in the opposite way to what is expected, thus typically causing wry amusement.
I've struggled since June to figure out how to end this blog. What started out as something funny and witty I was doing as a laugh with my Grade 12 English class, collapsed like a black hole into an oblivion of narcissism and petty boredom. And when you hate hanging out with yourself, you know you gotta stop! So after a few months hiatus getting back into Top 40 music and eating bacon I'm feeling much more myself, and ready to finish up those last few ignored blog posts from lent.   
It's been quite the journey from me. On the one hand, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting back into writing again, trying on a new skin and walking that talk. It revealed a lot to me about how important writing is in my life, and renewed my ambition of one day being properly published. On the other, I have realized that at this time in history, for my generation, we are consumed with an incredible destructive idea to our well being and general happiness. We have bought into a lie that we have to have it all, and now. 

Someone once asked me why I became a teacher. It's because I have no idea what I am good at. And I don't say that in a "tell-me-how-awesome-I-am" needy way. Truthfully, I enjoy many things, but I don't especially excel at any of them. And I think that's ok. I love learning new things, and I will read or watch just about anything you recommend to me. That's not because I cannot think for myself, but because that's the way that I (and if we're being honest, most of us) find out about new things to pursue in our lives. I enjoy investing myself in something that someone close to me is interested in. That's why I read The Hunger Games series with my Grade 10 English class, and why I am building a Lego spaceship with my 3 year old son. I wouldn't have done these things on my own, but my life and my relationships are far richer as a result of taking the time to try something new.

I may come back to blogging, but for now I'll be taking another break. My novel is whispering to me again, so I will be returning to that for a while. One day, it may even get published, even if it is just in e-book form for $1.99. So for now, dear reader, this is farewell. But before I go, I want to challenge you to try something new today. You will make mistakes, and people will criticize you, but there is nothing more satisfying than the triumph after the struggle.

But like, whatev.

XoX Emma.

Friday, April 5, 2013

#39: Go green

I had very good intentions of going car free at some point in this experiment. Then I remembered I live in MANITOBA! Seriously, this time last year I was in a t-shirt outside. This year, school is still being cancelled due to snow and 'inadvisable weather' (not complaining) and we are worrying about flooding and mosquitoes the size of small horses taking off with our children.

So I did the best i could. This meant driving to Shoppers, parking my gas-guzzling car and walking the one block of town that has not been bought up by the local bank and doing my 'errands'. And by errands I mean gettin' my hair did and buying something from Ten Thousand Villages. Good thing I had my walking shoes on!

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
                                                                                    - Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan

Saturday, March 30, 2013

#37: Wear something I found at the thrift store

#38: Listen to new music

While trolling around on YouTube, found this band the other day. Take a listen - if you love Bon Iver (and what good hipster doesn't) you will like these guys a lot:

The Temper Trap - Miracle

Love the lyrics, love the music, love the message. Enjoy.

"The human heart is a strange vessel. Love and hatred can exist side by side."
                                                                                                         - Scott Westerfeld, Peeps

#36: Knit something

#35: Talk about how cultured I am

I remember the first time I saw French like it was yesterday.

It was very early in the morning when I cautiously tip-toed down the hallway. The highly polished hardwood floors creaked gently as I made my way to the half opened door, where the smell of coffee lingered, tempting me toward maturity. I was nine years old.

I pressed my hand up against the ornately carved white wood of the door frame, the other hand lightly touching the brass pull. I peeked around the corner to see Joan propped up on fat, white, downy pillows. Her silk robe was pulled up around her collarbone, glasses perched on her nose.

"Well, come on up then!"

I jumped, literally, onto the multi-layered mattresses and snuggled up next to my aunt. Joan was always my favourite, even if I hadn't told her so. It was one of those things I didn't dare say out loud for fear of loosing some specialness that existed between us, so tenuous that the mere suggestion of it would cause it to lessen somehow.

"Here, read this."

The newspaper before me was written with letters I recognized, but in a way I could not understand. The next hour was filled with French language, history, geography, and most importantly, stories of her time in Paris. I fell head over heels in love.

Many years later I am still in love with France. Now, however when I pick up un journal I can understand not only what is being said, but the beauty with which it is expressed. I have heard it said that when you turn 30, you turn French. After my trip to Paris this coming spring - a trip I have been dreaming of since I realized it as a possibility almost 20 years ago - my 'French Decade' will begin.

Joan recently told my dad she is going 'a bit gaga'. The dementia that ate away at her mother is now the same disease robbing her of those once vibrant memories of strolls down the Champs Elysee and the little girl who hung onto every word. Those memories, like so many others, will live on in my heart. I am so grateful to her for sharing a part of her life that has become a thing beloved by us both.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

#33: Read Dostoyevsky

Read Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" instead. Great read! And you'll be able to get through it in a day. Seriously, the description is amazing! I figuratively and literally could not put this down. Note to self, it's really hard to eat soup and read at the same time. My copy is now a little chicken-noodley.

“I may not be as stong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution." - Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

#28: Be condescending

It's a good thing that hipster behaviour is only for hipsters. It wouldn't get you far as you climb the corporate ladder, or win you friends in the McDonalds lineup. Hipsters can be impulsive, grumpy, condescending and boring. To adult eyes, they are sometimes impossible.

But from a hipster's point of view, he's just learning to make his way in a complicated world. He feels misunderstood. He has lots of ideas (not good ones) but often no way of carrying them out. He sees big people doing all sorts of interesting things that he either can't manage, or they won't let him enjoy. What's a hipster to do then but become an eclectic mirage of counter culture - and fall into a heap of outrage if you disagree?

Such is my life right now. On Saturday I had supper with some friends, and my dear hipster friend was there. This is a person who, on December 29th, shut down just about every conversation I tried to start up. They were moody, sullen, distracted. I was back in Junior High. I tried not to take it personally, but when they got up and walked away from me when I was mid-sentence, I had had enough. I decided to take a "don't speak until spoken to" approach.

Saturday was the first time she spoke directly to me in 3 months.

"{Name} told me your musical went really well, that the accents were really good. Did they have a vocal coach?"
"Yes, ..."

Silly me for thinking she might actually think I could be good at something.

To be honest, part of my motivation for doing this project is to walk a mile in her shoes. Why does she act the way she does? Perhaps I can understand her boredom and displeasure with me if I have some more insight into what her life might actually be like. It sucks. I'm actually getting really sick of being a hipster.

For the rest of the evening I acted bored, elitest, self absorbed and condescending, all in the name of parody of course. It wasn't hard considering I'd had about 3 hours of sleep, and the wine was getting to me, but during coffee I began to perk up and act more like real me. It's hard to keep the hipster act up for too long. And my hipster glasses broke! So I didn't even wear them for them to know I was acting.

The night ended with my dear hipster friend (who has no idea about my blog, what a shame) insisting that if I go to Rome next year it would be, and I quote "Odd not to go to the Colosseum." This is the same person who acts like she's from Europe because her dad is an immigrant to Canada. No amount of Persian rugs and samovars are going to change tha fact that she was born and raised in Winnipeg. And always will be.

How's that for condescending?

Quote for today:

"The marks that humans leave are too often scars." - John Green, The Fault in our Stars

Friday, March 22, 2013

#27: Play a ukelele

Well our school musical is all over, and now clean up begins. But not before we celebrate in style. And style in this town means a pizza party, cake and pop, and doing impersonations of famous people until 2am. Good. Clean. Fun.

So as part of the night's amusements, I played air ukelele (I had left our one at home, as I second guessed myself about bringing it along, and then forgot it) and created a mash up of some of my favourite tunes. Photo's were taken, perhaps even a video, but these shall necer see the light of day. This is me singing afterall, and we do want people to retain their hearing.

Here's the lyrics for you:

"Well you've undone me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill, but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
The Uke
And now I'm trying to get back

But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm sure
There's no need to complicate, our time is short                                  

This is out fate
I'm yours!

Hey soul sister

Ain't that mister mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain't fair you know
Hey sould sister I don't want to miss a single thing you do.....

we are young
So let's set the world on fire!
We can burn brighter!
Than the sun......


Thanks Jason Mraz, Train and Fun for their awesome songs that can easily be manipulated into a similar key because my audience is tired an cannot hear the difference!

"Ah, music! A magic far beyond all we do here!"

- J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Thursday, March 21, 2013

#26: Write someone a real letter

We found this little gem at school, with a note saying we could borrow it as a prop for our musical. So to our generous benefactor, thank-you!

This also presented me with a wonderful opportunity to try writing, nay, typing someone a real letter. After inking up my hands something chronic, only to then realize some of the typebars were jammed, I admitted defeat and went the really old fashioned way. Ok, so not quite quill and ink pot old, but I put pen to paper.

I wrote this letter to my son:

Dear Gryffin,

I love you. The moment I found out I was expecting you, I started praying for you, and the type of person you would be. You, my love, have surpassed all those wishes and expectations.

The way you look at me and smile, your laugh, the way your face lights up when I walk in the room; your joy is infectious. You make me believe that anything is possible, and that I am capable of anything. You challenge me and inspire me. You make me want to be a better person everyday. It amazes me how, even at age two, you are a natural leader. You make friends quickly, are empathetic and caring, yet bold and adventurous. I know that no matter what you do in life, who you are will make all the difference. And who you are is amazing.

I know that sometimes I will disappoint you. I might miss an important game, or forget a promise I made but I want you to know that not matter what, you are my son, and I am your mom. I love you, and nothing will ever change that.

Keep smiling and dreaming,

Love Mommy XoX

I've kept it for now, but someday in the future I'll post it off to him - whether he is backpacking through Europe or living across the street - just because.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

#25: Make a bracelet out of a fork


So recently I have been spending A LOT of time on Etsy trying to find Nathan a really cool gift for his birthday. Something that is clearly handmade so I can pretend I made it for him, but actually well made so that he knows I didn't. Instead, I have found a bunch of things that I want, but don't necessarily need. Like vintage jewelry. And swirly straws.

One thing I stumbled across is something which was very popular back in highschool. Forklets - a bracelet made out of a fork. Nostalgia came rushing forth, along with grand delusions of starting up a fad from 12 years ago, just so that I could say that I was wearing forklets before they were cool.

Mmmmm. No such luck. My strategy was flawed. Here was the plan. I have a left over bit of 2x4 in the basement, a hammer, and a fork I got from the thrift store.

*side bar* A word of warning - people will look at you strangely if you buy just one fork from the thrift store. Why a fork? And why only one?

So basically the plan was to just smack the heck out of this fork until it was flat, and then bend it into a bracelet. so after an hour of hammering away, I had a slightly misshapen utensil, a broken fingernail and a hubby more concerned with his hammer than me.

The line up

So there we have it folks. Another attempted challenge thwarted by the guardians of true hipster living. I guess the 'fake it til you make it' strategy isn't working out so well for me. Time to try Plan B....


Until next time...

"You forget what you want to remember, and remember what you want to forget."

 - Cormac MacCarthy, The Road

Monday, March 18, 2013

#24: Eat something gluten free

"Mrs. D, I have something for you!"

Word got out about my blog at school. Possibly by me. Regardless, I go tmy first free gift to help me with my project.

A gluten free cupcake.

Like I said in earlier posts, I have hipster students, and all in varying degrees. This girl is gluten free. I also have a vegan student, students with sock buns and iPhones, students who listen to music on vinyl... the list goes on.

It wasn't bad. A good friend of mine asked if it tasted like brown. No, not really. But I'm not sure I would go as far as making a batch myself. I have no idea where a health food store is in my town, and even if I did I shudder to think about what 1kg of gluten free flour might cost me.

Mmmmmm.... chocolaty looking blandness
Final thoughts:

"I'm not really sure which parts of myself are real and which parts are things I've gotten from books." - Beatrice Sparks, Go Ask Alice

#23: Wear something vintage

This was a tough one.

Ok, so get this. Once upon a time, women had curves. We're talking teeny tiny waists and 'Look-out-or-you'll-lose-an-eye' boobs and hips. To conclude, women 60 years ago could be summed up in 2 words. HOT. STUFF.

Flash forward to today. I'm looking around online, in the thrift store, in my MIL's basement, and I'm finding plenty of awesome vintagy clothes I would love to wear. Can I afford them? Hahaha, ooooh funny. But no. Can I wear them. Hmmm, maybe if I stuff my bra AND get a tummy tuck. So no. Add to that my bootylicious thighs with my long waist and I'm what some fashionistas would call a genetic 'hot mess'.

And then.... I found her. Shining like the beacon of hope she is, I had some help built in to the front, with some room to move in the hips. Shop Ruche, how I love thee. Due to the fact that I'm a bit technologically challenged at the best of times, I couldn't upload it from the website, but feel free to see the pin here (cough, shameless self promotion, cough).

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Migranes and Musicals

Ugh. March is not shaping up too good folks. Due to some sickness and the fact that we have 4 shows in 48 hours, I'm taking a small break from blogging. I promise I will catch you up over the weekend though. Some things to look forward to:

Vintage head gear
An old typewriter
Ukeleles and
Giving someone a complex

Much love!

Monday, March 11, 2013

#22: Write a poem

Partly because of my angst about daylight savings, and partly because I was in Winnipeg today, I decided to write a poem. It combines all of those things we love to hate about both this time and place. I call it "Ode to Winterpeg":

I remember clearly the first time we met,
Your beauty and splendor I'll never forget,
Your boisterous charm oozed from each pore,
Which at the outset I could hardly ignore.

The years have gone by, and we are still here,
The insufferable cold which I cannot compare,
As February dragged on your spell was broken,
So please take my poem as a small token.

You are a white hot mess.

With makeup smeared and dress torn,
You tiptoe away into the dawn,
You glitter and sparkle at terrible cost,
To awake to your flamboyant and trashy whore frost.

All I am left with now is the hack
Of that dreaded 2am Big Mac
Which seemed like such a good idea at the time...

You are a white hot mess.

But you are my white hot mess.

So I'll hold back your hair as you bark,
Up every wrong tree after dark,
And when Summer comes, and the turning lanes end
(seriously, when will they finish fixing Osbourne!?)
Then we can go back to being 'just friends'.

You are a white hot mess.

Final thought for today:

"Sitting around miserable all day won't make you any happier." - John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Saturday, March 9, 2013

#20 & #21: Eat Sushi and Tofu

Well folks it's that time of year again. Mother Nature has decided to mess with us all by forcing us to change our clocks again. I'm sure she looked great this morning when she got up. Me? Bleary eyed I stumbled into church wearing a crumpled sweater and jeans that I'm pretty sure are on day 4. Hot mess. Add to that a marathon week of rehearsals, takeout was in order.

Ironic living is the staple of any hipster diet. Given that sushi was once considered an acquired taste, and new there seems to be a sushi shop in every town in the country it is both fitting and ironic that I, your favourite hipster, would make my own sushi. I looked online to make sure we had all the right ingredients (we do) and then remembered one thing…

Making sushi is ridiculously time consuming.

Thus I faced my ethical dilemma head on. My stomach was literally eating itself, so I needed food fast. Calling for takeout would inevitably result in tears. Between my accent and the Korean shop owner, our conversation would consist of English only slightly better than Beaker from the Muppet's. Not an option for a fatigued and famished hipster me.

Dear hubby came to my rescue. Not only did he order and pick up the sushi, but he made miso soup with tofu. Two birds with one stone; Boo ya! 

"Some people skip through life; some people are dragged through it. I sometimes wonder if we are moving through time, or if time is moving through us." - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

Thursday, March 7, 2013

#19: Wear an owl

Yesterday, I found myself running around, frantically putting together hobo outfits for 16 year old boys. Elbow deep in vests, fingerless gloves and newsies I realized I am long overdue for an outfit post. I don't consider myself much of a fashion icon - as long as my clothes are clean and look half decent I'm happy - but being a hipster has brought out a more savvy and fashion forward version of me than my usual smug and sarcastic self. So here's my fashion predictions for spring:

1. Florals
2. Triangles
3. Anything lime coloured
4. Owls

If you can wear all of these at the same time, bonus points. My information is unquestionably reliable too. I went through a bunch of stuff I've seen people wearing lately, and asked my magic 8 ball if they would be 'in' this spring. Signs point to yes.

So I promise I will update this post with photo's tomorrow of the fabulous outfit I wore yesterday. *Spoiler Alert* it included an owl. I'm way too old school for iPhone pics, and too new school for the film kind, so while my camera is charging, you will just have to amuse yourselves with this:

For a printable version, go here. You're welcome.

"People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust." - E.B. White

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

#18: Drink tea from a mason jar

I feel like such a red neck. Ok, so you know those cute mason jar mugs, with the handle and nice etching on the side? Yeah I don't own one of those kind. I literally drank tea out of a jar today.

Not my cuppa tea
It didn't taste any different, though I would recommend wrapping something around it, or letting it cool down A LOT before picking it up to drink. Trust me to learn lessons the hard way!

"How did the hipster burn his tongue?"
"He drank his tea before it was cool!"

Ok, that was bad, but it's 11:30pm so some slack needs to be cut in my general direction. I either need to drink more caffeine or less. Being sleep deprived is the worst. Tomorrow I might wear a snuggie to school with flip flops, socks and some sweat pants with 'Juicy' written across to bum. Or maybe I'll go toddler hipster with my blankie and grandma slippers. Thursday is becoming a bit of a wildcard fashion day for me. I wonder how I could incorporate an owl into that equation...

Until next time:

"I thought insanity would be a dark bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it." - Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#17: Make your own product

After my ugly sweater challenge was thwarted by minions of the Dark Lord, I decided to leave this challenge fairly open today.

Any true, tree hugging, non-consumerist hipster knows how to get by with the contents of their kitchen garden and the organic/free range/fair trade contents of their pantry. They can make anything from face wash to pilaf with a few simple household ingredients (as in 'hard to find, expensive and from a boutique health food store). So stuff it, today I was going to make my own product - something I would usually buy during my weekly shop at Superstore.

I looked high and low online, and clicked on the first link that came up under my Google search of "How to make your own body scrub" and got this link.

So I made this:

1C Organic Certified Fair Trade Coffee Grounds
1/4 C Sugar
2 Tbs Olive Oil

Mix ingredients together, adding oil last. Scrub on body.

Awesome sauce!

Note to self: This is one of the plastic containers left over from my Recycling challenge that I decided to re-use instead of throwing out. Cue self-congratulatory pat on the back!

And, for this evening's entertainment:

"What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful." - Scott Westerfeld, Uglies

Monday, March 4, 2013

#16: Wear an ugly sweater

So I went to the thrift store on Saturday looking for a number of things, among which was an ugly sweater. I'm not just talking the cigarette-yellowed ill-fitting kind. I'm talking Christmas themed with 3D pom poms as hanging ornaments off some shag carpet looking tree. I am sad to report, this is the first hipster challenge I have failed! However, I did stumble upon another treasure...

I was heading down to the book section of the store, you know, to find some Hemingway or Fitzgerald (again, nothing! What kind of thrift store is this!?). So I rounded the corner past housewares and stopped dead in my tracks. My heart started pounding, the blood rushing in my ears and my hands went numb and sweaty. There they were, Hipsters. And not just one, but a hipster couple, and even rarer find in Steinbach. I didn't know what to do other than hide around the corner and pretend I hadn't noticed them. Has this ever happened to you. You know, when you get a new car, and suddenly you notice everyone else who has the same car as you?I think that's happening to me, but with hipsters. I took a deep breath and gathered my thoughts, which amounted to this:

'I wonder what they have in their trolley?'

As I pretended to look at mismatched ceramics, I hatched a plan. I casually waited until they got to the end of the aisle, and then just happened to bump into them. We exchanged bored and condescending glances at one another before moving on.

Here's what they had:
1. Wire coat hangers
2. A beige floral tea pot and tea set
3. Miscellaneous items of brown clothing
4. 'Flour' 'Sugar' and 'Tea' canisters in that retro 70's orange hue

But it didn't end there. I left the thrift store, and went to Superstore to pursue my ugly sweater quest (I found something for $10, but I've received 5 compliments on it since Saturday so I guess that means it doesn't count) and on my way out what did I see? ANOTHER hipster couple! These ones were quite different though. The one's at the thrift store looked as if they just rolled out of a forest where they have been living in a tree house for the last 7 years. These were classy hipsters. They were all dressed in black, with matching androgynous haircuts, black RayBans, and converse shoes. Even their cloth shopping bags were black (How ironic, that their 'green' bags are not actually green). 

I need to know more. I thought there was just one type of hipster. No wonder I have read so much contradictory information online about them - there is more than one type. I feel you input, dear reader, and more research is required. So let me know - what type of hipsters live in your neighbourhood?

Tonight's ponderation:

"But you can't get away from yourself. You can't decide not to see yourself anymore. You can't decide to turn off the noise in your head." - Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

Saturday, March 2, 2013

#15: I liked them better before they went mainstream

"Oh I love this song!"

The radio cranked up, and a handful of paint sodden teenagers began singing away to Rihanna.

"Have you heard her new one?" some one else asked.
"You mean 'Stay'? It's alright. What's the name of that guys who sings with her?"
"I think it's like Mikky or something."

No-one knew. Hipster me couldn't resist. I'd been saving this one up for just this occasion.

"Mikky Ekko. Yeah, he's pretty good. I liked him way better before he went mainstream though."

I had no idea what I was talking about. I only knew about the song because Nathan thought 'Diamonds' was a collaboration between Ke$ha and Ri (it isn't by the way) and we had stumbled across it as a result of our YouTubing escapades.

I did a little more digging and found out Mikky Ekko is not an up-and-coming Scandinavian artist, as his name may mislead you to believe. No, he is a hybrid hipster/pop artist who is American (of all things!) and has been around for a few years now. I bestowed this wealth of absolutely plagiarized knowledge onto my tween audience (thanks wikipedia), most of whom tuned me out and kept singing along.

"Like Diamonds in the sky!"

I guess that's what happens when you start convincingly acting like a hipster. People tune you out eventually. I received a rather backhanded compliment today though. I over heard some grade 8/9 kids talking about me in the canteen. Who am I? I'm 'That hipster teacher' - yes!

Apropos for this evening:

"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations." - John Green, The Fault in our Stars 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

#14: Make coffee in a French press

Mmmmm coffee. The other black gold. I'm more of a tea drinker myself, but I have been drinking a lot of (fair trade) coffee lately and I am beginning to appreciate the subtler qualities about what it takes to make a good cup.

Frenchy-french press!
I'm steadily working through my Hipster Challenge list, and have been looking around for a good French press in order to hipsterify my home too. I'm still to find one that doesn't have any plastic in it (if I'm gonna do this right, I'm going all out obsessive-compulsive on this one).

By some stroke of intuition, or perhaps the hipster fairies have been doing their rounds, I had some help today completing my challenge. Let me clarify one thing before I begin. School staffroom coffee is usually terrible. Like 'I scraped this excess tar of my shoe and made it into a drink for you' kind of bad. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

"Hey Emma, There's coffee in the music room if you want some."
Hipster me wondered if this was safe. Real me knew I looked like I needed it as I was wearing yoga pants and a hoodie. On a Thursday.
"Oh thanks, I'll be there soon."
"It's in the French press by the ....

I stopped in my tracks.

"I'll get my mug."

In the staffroom, another teacher commented on my less-than-put-together attire:

"You're not looking very... what's it called again?"
"Hipster," I mustered in my best condescending tone.
"Yeah, that," he replied with amusement.
"Well, I might not look the part today, but there is coffee in a French press waiting for me in the music room."
"What's that got to do with being hipster."

Here was my chance. I put on my invisible fake wayfarers to cure my imagined far-sightedness and enlightened him on the following:

"During the coffee brewing process, coffee machines destroy the naturals oils of the coffee beans, reducing the rich and intense flavour it should have (Adjusted imaginary glasses and sighed). Also, these oils build up in the coffee machine, effectively ruining future coffee experiences. A French press, by comparison, ensures a well balanced and smooth beverage."

He was laughing, thank goodness, and ended with him saying he would have to put my theory for the test. Wonderful. I'm gaining converts!

For step-by-step instructions on how to brew THE perfect press, visit this guy on YouTube.

Something true for today:

"People are screwed up in this world. I'd rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode." - Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#13: Practice yoga

I don't know about you, but when I am way in over my head on something, I start dreaming about it. No longer do I sleep, eat and breathe the project I am working on, but it even invades my subconscious and permeates into my sleep.

I really haven't been myself for the last couple of days for this reason. Now I am LOVING co-directing our school musical, but I will be the first to admit that I'm having some trouble juggling all that is on my plate right now. I mean *puts hipster glasses on* "It's like, whatev. No big deal. I'm, like, not even trying."

So my dream last night consisted of me wandering around in London circa 1912, looking for Gryffin, finding him in a jazz club with Velma Kelly singing "All that Jazz" with Truly Scrumptious and Caraticus Potts accompanying her on Toot Sweets; later chatting to Eponine (who I casually bumped into while climbing over a French Revolution style barricade) and refusing to go out drinking with my husband and some guys from Rent. If that doesn't scream stressed, I don't know what is.

In an attempt to find my center of balance and restore some harmony, today's challenge has me doing yoga. We have a DVD that Nathan bought YEARS ago which teaches Kundalini yoga. After about 5 minutes of first just teaching you how to breathe, I had to turn it off. These people are a little Kunda-loony for me. So now I'm sitting around in my not-so designer yoga shorts, drinking a beer. what ever works I guess!

Not me, hipster or otherwise
Tonight's quote is a little thank you to my hubby for being so patient during this busy time:

"Sometimes, the best way to help someone is just to be near them." - Veronica Roth, Divergent

Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#12: Put a bird on it!

Today's challenge comes courtesy of Portlandia, a show I can only watch for 12 minutes at a time before I actually NEED to turn it off. Good thing I gave up TV for lent! Although annoyingly it is a rather valuable source for ideas about leading a hipsterful life.

So we were painting sets again at school today (and yes the acronym speaking 7th grader was back) and we are now down to the detail work. You knew it was getting late when we started creating book titles of our own for the library. Some gems include "The Squashed Cabbage Leaves of Covent Garden," "The Owl and the Pussycat: and other damned fine poems" as well as "Accents from around the World" by Yours Truly. We knew we had hit an all time low though when we started putting birds on things. You know, to spruce things up, make it look pretty.

To find out about other ways to put birds on things, check out

Something to ponder for today:

"Accept the love we think we deserve" - Stephen Chobosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Monday, February 25, 2013

#11: Wear wayfarers

After a very amusant conversation with two of my students at rehearsal tonight about this very topic, I was thrilled to find these babies waiting for me when I got home:

Selfie + Sock Bun = Hipster me

I know I'm only supposed to tackle one Hipster challenge per day, but I kinda like these, and might wear them all the time. I feel smarter just by wearing them, and that I might just be a little bit better than you. Funny though, I might actually be able to pull these off considering everyone in my family wears glasses, including my in-laws. Should I say I'm far or near sighted...

Here's some history on Ray Bans for you.

1: Ray Ban wayfarers hold the biggest selling record in history
2:  The trademark aviator style Ray Bans were originally worn by US fighter pilots during the war (hence ‘aviator’) but the style gained popularity when General McArthur was photographed with US army soldiers wearing the frames during World War II
3: Between the years 1982 and 1987, Ray-Ban sunglasses appeared in over 60 movies and television shows per year
4:  Tom Cruise has become known as the classic figure of Ray Bans since his roles as Maverick in Top Gun and Joel Goodson in Risky Business
5: Ray-Ban's "Never Hide" campaign was launched in March 2007. It consisted of a YouTube series and a film advocating customers to "Never pretend. Never be afraid. Never give up. Never Hide." The campaign also encourages people to live their lives with authenticity and no fear of judgement

Ah the irony!

Final thoughts for tonight:

"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."    - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Sunday, February 24, 2013

#10: Recycle

In an ironic twist of fate, our internet went down yesterday, meaning that I could not bestow upon you all my latest hipster achievement. A day late, I might be, but not a buck short. Here's why...

Spring is right around the corner (gasp gasp is it really only 3 weeks until spring break). Like any hipster worth their 90lbs of weight, I am consciously trying to ignore all of the colourful, lively, cute and pretty things that mainstream designers are now releasing in anticipation for warmer weather. Ripped jeans and plaid only for me thanks! But it did cause me and hubby to take a look at our closets and cupboards and begin a bit of spring cleaning.

We have stuff. I had no idea how much junk we have crammed into all the little nooks and crannies of our 2 bedroom apartment. 'We' (and by that I mean 'I') looked around online for suggestions of how to tackle this seemingly monumental task. Simple, apparently. Three piles: To keep, to donate, to throw away. All was going well until we hit the bathroom.

Now, we are one of those couples that likes to shop in bulk. Perhaps it because for the last 12 years we have each been in and out of university, and thus still live like we are poor, ramen eating students (gluten free, of course!). So after clearing out and consolidating shampoo bottles, moisturizing creams, bath salts, sunblocks, after shave, perfume and medicine containers, we had quite a lot of plastic lying around. Ever notice those little numbers on the containers? Me too. Have any idea what they mean? Me neither! So here comes Hipster Me, on my high horse, to educate all you lowly, environment polluting serfs who are systematically destroying our earth for future generations to come with your wasteful and consumerist tendencies (and by you, Real Me means us).

So here we go:
Recycle like a boss

To avoid this post becoming too long, I'd like to share with you this link:

It is really clear and very helpful when trying to understand what products are made from, what makes them recyclable and what these recycled products are made into. They also inform you about possible, harmful chemicals that are present.

Instead of a quote toady, here is a final thought from me. I grew up in a home where my parents cut firewood for our fireplace. My dad made 'bricks' of kindling out of recycled newspaper that he shredded, dried and pressed all summer to get us through the winter months. We grew our own food in the garden, and I remember often being sent out to dig up potatoes or pick lettuce for supper in the evenings. We composted food scraps, and butchered our sheep to stock up the freezer. I think we are all familiar with the phrase 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' but since living in North America, I have this all backwards. So here is a challenge for us all. The next time we are throwing something away, consider for a moment. How could this be reused? Most importantly, how can we reduce buying more stuff in the first place?

Here's to having more bucks, and more days to spend on healthy living.

Friday, February 22, 2013

#9: Comsume a vegetarian meal

Today, we had our annual PD day for our school division. I love these days - it's not often you get to get together with other teachers and discuss pedagogy, assessment, grade books, report cards and educational philosophy without boring your closest friends and family to death. My inner intellectual was alive and well, as was Hipster me.

Today I also had the pleasure of presenting along side my former co-operating teacher when I was training to be a teacher. It felt good to be in a position where I could help and teach other teachers. It was an informative, nerve-wracking, compelling and inspiring day for me.

The best part, of course, was lunch. One of the things that I look forward to, and yet need to be careful of, is the food. These events are well catered. Good to know my fees are going to good use somewhere! Seriously though, there have been days where I have rolled myself home with a couple of juice boxes and muffins stashed into my purse. Waste not want not right?

So we are all lined up for the buffet lunch - soup, wraps, sandwiches, cookies, juice, coffee, dessert. My mouth was watering. Then Challenge #9 reared it's ugly head. Sigh. No turkey, roast beef or chicken for me. And forget about the beef and barley soup! I was going vegetarian today.

This isn't hard in a Mennonite community. If ever there was a movie made about My Big Fat Mennonite Wedding, it would be pretty close to the original except with less dancing and more farmer's sausage. So needless to say, there were plenty of vege wraps for me to choose from once I got there. I also opted for the tomato soup. Aaaaand 2 helpings of dessert. Hey, don't judge! How was I supposed to choose between custard AND chocolate. Impossible, I tell you.

So I'm not rolling myself home today, although I did have a really big purse today, and I may have had an extra juice box or two in there for the drive home.

Something to consider:

"I can't explain what I mean. And even if I could, I'm not sure I would feel like it."
                                                                                      - J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

#8: Be self depreciating after receiving a compliment

You know the type. They are one of the most stylish people you know. Somehow, they show up to work everyday with that casual, slept in look that perfectly exudes cool, messy and fabulous all at once. Well that was my challenge yesterday, and as I had a wicked migrane most of the day, not only did I look like I just rolled out of bed, but I literally had (or, in this case, off the staffroom couch).

So I'm not sure if I've let this slip yet, but I'm a grade 10-12 teacher. I know. I'm also a co-director and set designer of our school musical this year. Yeah. So this is where yesterday's story takes place:

Imagine this, stressed out and migrany. I'm elbow deep in paint, discussing with one of my students exactly what shade of blue I'm looking for to paint a door sketched onto the background of one of the flats. Along comes this grade 7 kid. Now, I need to explain that there is a reason I teach high school. There is just something about people over 15 that inspire me to believe there might actually be hope for the future of our world. Not so for the grade 7, germ infested, neon tight wearing girl who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time that day.

She touched the flat.

"Um, excuse me.... Can I help you?" Hipster me said. "Are you here to paint?"
"No just looking!" She whined in a high pitched, pre-adolescent way.
"Well, you look with your eyes, not with your hands, sweetie." I replied with a forced smile.

The paint fumes were starting to get to me. Then she said this:

"OMG, Mrs. D, I love your scarf!"

Perfect. Challenge #8 accepted. Hipsters cannot take a compliment. Ever. If you bestow one of these gems upon them, they feel compelled to answer with a sigh, and some dark revelation that you would never had known if they had not told you. Like "I love your smile!" to which the recipient replies with "All my back teeth are rotting and black - see!" So here was my chance:

*sigh* "Thanks," Hipster me scowled with a sour expression. "I got it as a gift. I wish I knew if it was fair trade or not. I just hate to think of the kind of life the sweat shop kid who made it has." TMI for this LOL'ing tween.

"Oh... well it looks pretty! Bye!"

And with that she was gone. Way to awkward penguin that one Mrs.D! So another day down, another challenge completed, and one grade 7 student who probably thinks I'm weird. Fabulous.

Here's another one:

"Maybe everyone can live beyond what they are capable of." - Markus Zusak, I Am the Messenger

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

#7: Wear scarves

For this post I would like to give credit to the staff at R-bistro in Steinbach. Thanks for great service, a good laugh and being a part of my project.

Where would a hipster be without a scarf. Summer, winter, rain or shine, it is a staple for any coiffured and trendy hipster. Only a stripster would be caught without one, and we all know they are like the Ke$ha's of the hipster world. One only needs to visit tumblr to realize that!

Along with a couple pairs of skinny jeans, I am fortunate enough to already be the owner of a few too many of these babies. Not like my SIL. She has over 40. She is legitimately a hipster though, but don't tell her I said that. It's like outing a gay friend before they have figured it out for themselves. Not cool!

So here is what you can expect to see me wearing in the coming weeks:

Hipster Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Wear a Scarf

Final thoughts for tonight:

"I could feel it for a long time. I was saving something up, I went around doing one thing and feeling another" - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#6: Paint something

I am not an artist. No, really. This isn't some coy admission I'm making in order to get compliments from strangers about how I'm a creative, beautiful and artistic person. I really cannot paint. So today's challenge forced me to be the creative and artistic person I wish I was (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I'll take that one, thanks!)

So I was in town today, considering paint, brushes, canvasses, the chapeau and co-ordinating smock. Then these came to mind:

Gap jeans
"Brilliant," real me thought "I can have my cake and eat it too!" And so I did, but in the form of rollo ice cream. Needless to say that was a big mistake.

I picked up some 'antique white' paint and some q tips and was happily on my way. Arriving home, I found my victims. They have been in my closet for over 2 years now. These are my pre-pregnancy jeans. Dark denim. Skinny. American eagle. It didn't get any better as far as my ironically hipsterific plan was concerned. Only two obstacles stood in my way - my left and right thighs.

After lying down, holding my breath and vigorously wriggling like a boa constrictor at a 90's rave, I was in. Sure I needed help standing up. Absolutely I could not sit down. But that's not the point. Vanity sizing means I can now fit back into my size 4 jeans. Boo-yah!

So the painting part was easy. Waiting for them to dry, and then the thought of having to squeeze them back on again was not. However, I conquered and all that was left was to take some pics of my first hipster outfit.

Greasy hair: Check!
Band T from 6 years ago: Check!
Bored look and bad posture: Check and check!



All in all, this project cost me $1 and 1 hour of time (including drying). But like whatev.

Until tomorrow,

"Love the skin you're in" - Olay