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

Monday, February 18, 2013

#5: Make and consume something vegan

Honesty time. I wasn't completely sure about what I could eat/drink today that would be 'vegan'. Hipsters are VERY particular about their diets. It isn't enough to say that hipsters are vegetarian or vegan. I read this very interesting article online all about the hipster eating code. One comment really summed up the magnitude of my task:

“Whether it’s gluten-free, anti-diary, pro-dairy, detox, all-raw, anti-oxidant, pro-soy, anti-soy, the point is that hipsters have to be prepared to argue their eating position to the death. In other words, it’s not the diet that matters so much as the level of expertise. Hipsters research their diet with the rigor of a specialist and use their contrarian eating habit as a springboard for showing off their fluent knowledge of chemistry, anthropology, history, and bio-medicine."

Ummmm, yeah. So I have a lot more reading to do I guess! Giving up being mainstream is harder than I anticipated. In any case, Hipster Challenge #5 was to make an consume something vegan. As I had some starfruit kicking around in the fridge, I thought I would try and find something to do with it for today. So I hussled up some banana, kiwifruit from my homeland and my starfruit to create this masterpiece:

I need to work on getting my photo's to look more instagrammy next time, but you gotta crawl before you can walk. The website I found the recipe from is and they have tonnes of recipes to cater to any of your hipster food preferences.

A final thought for today:

"The world is full of obvious things, which nobody by any chance ever observes."
                                                         - Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Saturday, February 16, 2013

#4: Wear skinny jeans

Totally Hipster
According to my extensive research over the last 3 days, hipsters love to wear skinny jeans. Not the slim fitting 'wow-your-butt-looks-great-in-those' figure hugging kind, but the 'my-crotch-is-chafing-and-I-suddenly-have-a-muffin-top' kind. But enough about the guys; girls wear them too. The more androgynous your skinny jeans the better. Plus a little distressing to give them a vintage looks doesn't hurt either - see above for proof of that.

So today's challenge was to wear skinny jeans. Simple, I thought, I already own a pair. Problem is, I had nothing to wear them with. No plaid, nowhere! So I attempted to wear them with something as vintage-y looking as I could find in my very eclectic closet. My closet is a bit of an enigma, a mish-mash of various styles and colours of things that I love, but are not exactly Aeropostale or American Apparel. So suffice to say, a white shirt and blazer are not uber-hispter (do hipsters say uber? Does anyone anymore?!) but it did well for a dinner out with friends.

So my challenge for next week will be to stock up my already chronologically confused armoire with some thrifted, inherited and decidedly ugly hipster digs. So deck.

Here's one for today:

"Caring doesn't lead to misery. It always does"
                                      - John Green and David Levithan, Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Have a blessed Sunday xx

Friday, February 15, 2013

#3: Create a blog

Ok, so I am DEFINITELY cheating here. But really, what fashion loving hipster doesn't have one of these things? I'm also playing catch-up for lent. I didn't think about blogging my Lentolutions until yesterday, and didn't really think about a blog as being very hipster-ish until I realized that most of what I am pinning to my hipster board on Pinterest comes from hipster blogs.

*gasp gasp* I think I just created a hipster paradox!

In the spirit of practicing living ironically, and in the hope that perhaps you have read my previous posts, here's another quote for you:

"I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough it will make sense."  - Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451

Happy weekend! 

#2: Say something disparaging

In a conversation with a co-worker today, I found the perfect opportunity to pick up on Hipster Challenge #2: Say something disparaging.

Now real me actually likes this guy. Hipster me hates everything. The conversation ran along these lines:

Co-worker: My daughter went to see this play.... I can't remember the name of it now...
Hipster me: Mhm. I've probably heard of it.
Co-worker: Anyway, she loved it. Although she had a hard time with some of the language. Do you know that she hasn't even studied any Shakespeare?! I tried getting her to read Crime and Punishment...
Hipster me: I love Dostoyevsky...
Co-worker: She thought it was slow; it took her a while to get into it.
Hipster me: I just think that there are some 'classics' that really shouldn't be a part of the English Literary cannon. There are way too many texts on that list which are just too modern for my taste, especially American Lit.
Co-worker: uh, I guess so...
Hipster me: But like whatev

Like I said before, I like this guy, and I'm new at this whole hipster thing, so I changed the subject onto something a little less heavy for a Friday morning - gluten free cupcakes. All in all I don't think I did too bad, although I did come to a realization. I care way too much about hurting people's feelings and coming across as obnoxious and self-absorbed. I need to practice in the mirror my "I don't give a crap" face, along with convincingly saying "I love your jeans" so that it seems sincere, but really means 'Those are from American Eagle, aren't they?'

For today I'll leave you with this:

"Maybe our favourite quotations say more about us than the stories or people we are quoting."
                                                                                                                   - John Green

Thursday, February 14, 2013

#1: Lentolutions and Giving up TV

Ah New Years. The time of year where people make a fresh start, set goals, and are determined to lose those last 5 pounds, train for a marathon, or find their soul mate. For about 3 days. I have a theory. The reason we all try (and fail) at keeping our new year resolutions is that
a) we really don't think that much about it
b) we aren't sober when we are thinking about it, and
c) 365 days is a freaking long time to keep something up for!
So that's why I gave up on them 4 years ago and started making Lentolutions instead.

What are Lentolutions, I hear you ask bemusedly from your IMacs. My theory is simple. I have from New Year's until the beginning of lent to figure out what it is that I really hate about myself. Also, during that time, I have built up enough guilt and self loathing that I can actually commit, for forty days, to changing that behaviour or attitude. Just in case I can't, there is always Sunday, that sweet blessed day of rest, where I can bath myself in holy water and eat as much chocolate as I want.

So needless to say, I have been thinking about what I would be doing for lent since yesterday when I was eating pork chops and realized it was Ash Wednesday. I made the snap decision to give up television for lent. A bit of a cop out considering I don't really watch that much in the first place. Then, inspiration struck. Call it divine intervention if you will.

Hipsters don't own televisions. What if I became a hipster for lent?

I was salivating at the thought. There is something alluring about hipsters. Is it the sock bun, the vintage wayfarers, improper adherence to hygiene or just their blatant disdain for anything remotely attractive I do not know. What I do know is that secretly, I want to be one. I know, I know; even saying that puts me out of the clique. No matter how well I cover myself up in plaid shirts, skinny jeans and hand crafted jewelry, as soon as it starts to rain they will sniff me out. However, the Walking Dead has taught me that if I want to survive this apocalypse, I need to aim for the brain.

And so here it is, my first installment in a forty day project that will perhaps make me less fashionable, more environmentally aware and perhaps even a little more talented. For each day of lent, I will undertake a daily hipster challenge. I will need to talk, do, make, wear and consume like a hipster. Each day, I will post on my blog about what reactions, successes or failures I encountered while living out my hipster life.

On that note, I will leave you with a favourite quote of mine. You probably haven't heard of it before, cos like, it's pretty obscure:

"The best minds are destroyed." - Allen Ginsberg

Let the hipster apocalypse begin.