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Hipstercrite Life

Cafe Du Monde
Austin, Hipstercrite Life

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?”

Sometimes I’m that person who loves going to Whole Foods on Sunday morning, New York Times in tow. I feel as though I should apologize for it, or at least make fun of myself for it, but in truth, I look forward to this time to people watch, eat well, read or strike up a conversation.

Today I sat next to man who was also reading the paper. We got chatting about newspapers- “Did you see that they revamped the New York Times Magazine?”- and about three exchanges in he asked, “Are you Jewish?”

I laughed and nodded my head yes.

“So am I. I can tell,” he said.

I quickly added that I’m non-practicing, but that I’ve been interested in exploring the culture. My culture.

“Don’t worry- most Jews are that way,” he pointed out.

“My family is from Eastern Europe. My Grandmother was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, and I think it scared her,” I explained. “My grandma raised my mom without religion and so on. My mom and I would like to reconnect with our roots.” This is something I’ve been Continue Reading

Blogging, Hipstercrite Life

Guys, I have a new site.

…And I bought a Jeff Goldblum mug this weekend, so I’m pretty happy right now.

So, what do you think of the new design?

Laurel over at Recspec is the magic woman behind it.

Just check out her other work and see the magic.

She was an absolute pleasure to work with, and she created exactly what I was looking for.

She does web design and graphic design for individuals and businesses; if you’re thinking of a sweet rebrand, definitely check her out.

Oh, and look at this picture of a bear falling (and being caught) out of a tree.

tranquilized-bear

 

 

Hipstercrite Life

What to Say and Not Say to Someone with Cancer

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source

As many of you know, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer over the holidays. Maneuvering through the early part of Grandma’s cancer journey was a whirlwind- countless doctors’ appointments and medical procedures- but one constant that got us through it was the incredible support from others. The care and concern of our friends and family helped give us the feelings of hope and love during a difficult time.

A handful of well-intentioned people also said some pretty lame-o things to us. Knowing what to say to a person just diagnosed with cancer, and their family, can be difficult. I know they didn’t mean what they said or maybe they just have mouth diarrhea, but their words stung. I’m writing this article not under the pretense that I’m now an expert in the field of cancer, but as a person who experienced a wide array of responses to her grandmother’s cancer. This also isn’t an attempt to shame anyone; I’m hoping it will give a little bit of insight to those wanting to say the right thing. I myself often didn’t know what to say to someone affected by cancer, but my recent crash course helped.

1.) Don’t blame them for their cancer.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but yes, we actually heard this. My grandma has lung cancer and she was a smoker over twenty years ago. When we told people about her lung cancer, a few people said, “Well, she smoked, didn’t she?” Even when we asked her oncologist if her lung cancer was smoking-related and he said no, one friend told us the oncologist was wrong.

When something bad happens to a person, we want to find a reason why. If a person smoked, or didn’t treat their bodies well, we have to assume that is the reason why they developed cancer (or any other ailment). Even if that person makes a healthy change in their lives, we still want to assume it was their prior behavior that caused their issue. Whether or not it did, it’s not up to us to judge or point fingers. People diagnosed with cancer aren’t stupid. In the back of their minds, they may already be thinking, “Shit! Did that ten years of smoking cigarettes in my twenties cause this?!”

2.) Don’t tell them that they have “bad cancer.”

Some types of cancers and their stages have better prognoses than others, but it’s not up to us to tell cancer patients whether or not their cancer is bad or good. Leave it up to their doctor to tell them. Telling them that they have “bad cancer” can lead to unnecessary stress and fear; telling them that they have “good cancer,” as my friend pointed out, is just silly. No cancer is good! Try to stay away from saying comments like this, and just focus more on offering words of hope and support.

3.) Don’t tell them their treatment is going to be crappy.

“Oh, I heard treatment for lung cancer is awful!” We heard this from a couple of friends and acquaintances. Cancer patients are already scared; they don’t need unsolicited negative opinions from people who aren’t medical professionals. Just know that when you say something like that, it can have a huge impact.

4.) Don’t tell them what they should do.

I know for my family, hearing the stories of other survivors and their unique treatment plans was helpful and encouraging. Every person and cancer is made differently and selecting a treatment plan that is best for you is a very daunting task. Unless you’re a doctor, don’t try to talk your friend or family member in or out of one type of treatment. Cancer is confusing enough as it is. I would argue that it’s ok to share your opinions, but don’t beat the person over the head with them.

5.) Stay positive and hopeful.

This comes down more to personal preference, but I know for us, we wanted to hear words of hope, encouragement, love and support. I’m all for speaking your mind, but cancer is not the time to do that. You know what cancer survivors and their families want to hear? They want to hear things like, “You’re doing awesome!” or “You’re going to be ok!” or “I know you’ll beat this!” Even if you’re full of shit, positive words are what you need to share. Keep that Negative Nelly locked away in the basement.

6.) Offer your support.

Even if you don’t know how to react, just say that you’re there for them, whether it’s in person, through the phone or online. This can go a long way. And you know what? They may take you up on that offer, because cancer is hard, but it has a way of bringing people together. For us, knowing that so many people were ready and willing to help wrapped us in a blanket of fuzzy feelings.

7.) Don’t look at them like they’re dying.

Cancer survivors are people just like you. If you run into them in the store or on the street, don’t stare at them like Death is doing the jitterbug over their shoulder. Many people keep a very positive and upbeat attitude during treatment. Tell your friend that they’re awesome, give them a big hug and slap ‘em a high five. They may have a fight ahead of them, but they’re strong- especially when you have their back.

Hipstercrite Life

Hearing the words “you have cancer”

Grandma

Grandma getting her hair did three days after her diagnosis

We heard those terrible, dreadful words- “you have cancer”- on Tuesday.

My grandmother, my stoic, indestructible grandmother, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

They found it by accident. She had fallen and wanted to see if she fractured her rib. A small shadow on her lung made itself known on an X-ray, and then a CAT scan. The doctor in the ER wasn’t sure what the small shadow was, so he recommended that she see an oncologist.

An oncologist?!

Half of me thought it was impossible- ridiculous- that Grandma could have cancer. The other half knew for certain that she had cancer, but it was still small. She was asymptomatic, minus the general fatigue she felt as an 88-year-old woman with arthritis.

I arrived home for the holidays just in time for Grandma to see the oncologist, who ordered a biopsy. At the hospital, my grandma, mom and I made each other laugh. We were nervous, and the laughter felt good. Grandma was Continue Reading

starving artist
Blogging, Hipstercrite Life

How Not to be a Starving Artist

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an artist. Whether it was filmmaking, writing, acting or dressing up as deceased Borscht Belt entertainers, I had the bug and I knew I needed to pursue a career in the arts.

When you’re a wee one, you have no idea that a career in the arts means years, or sometimes a lifetime, of struggle, heartbreak, comparing yourself to your friends who took more conventional paths, stealing and drinking tiny bottles of alcohol from airplanes or being curled up in a ball on the couch immobile from the demoralizing fact that Bret Easton Ellis wrote Less Than Zero at 21, Orson Welles directed Citizen Kane at 25 and Tina Fey began writing for Saturday Night Live at 27. You have no freaking clue that these times of uncertainty will be punctuated with last ditch efforts to become a “real human being” by working as a paralegal at a law firm or an accountant at a law firm or an office manager at a law firm, and you’re not even sure how you got a job at a law firm because Continue Reading

Snap Kitchen 21 Days for Good Challenge
Austin, Hipstercrite Life

I’m a Challenger for Snap Kitchen’s 21 Days for Good Challenge

Friends, I was asked to partake in a really exciting challenge.

Snap Kitchen, an Austin-based health food eatery, selected me as one of the 21 Texas challengers for their 21 Days for Good Challenge.

From November 1st-21st, Snap Kitchen will be providing us healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner as we work towards our personal goals for the month. In addition, the challenger who does the best job chronicling their 21-day journey will receive $3,000 for the charity of their choice. My charity is LIVESTRONG.

Instead of picking one goal, like losing weight or getting more fit, I decided to aim for 21 goals. On each of the 21 days, I will strive to do something good, either for myself or for someone else. I’ve been filling up my calendar with volunteer opportunities such as dinner service at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, dog walking at the Austin Animal Center, meal delivery through Meals on Wheels and trash pickup through Keep Austin Beautiful. As for personal goals, I’ll Continue Reading

grandma love
Hipstercrite Life

Will you be my grandmother’s pen pal?

grandma love

This is my grandmother.

She is one of my favorite people.

I come from a very small family.

There are only four of us.

My mother, my father, my grandmother and I.

Dad left when I was seven, and my grandmother, who still lives across the street from my mother, helped raise me.

I grew up in the clothing store she owned for 35 years and spent my childhood thinking she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

She still is, but she’ll tell you she’s not.

“Beauty is for young people,” she says.

I try to tell her that her logic is faulted; I tell her that beauty can be any age, any woman, any soul.

But she won’t hear of it.

I never thought that the day would come when this determined, stubborn, busy-bee-of-woman would get old.

But she did.

And she hates it.

Aches and pains make it difficult for her to walk for long stretches of time.

She gets exhausted easily.

She spends many of her days inside her house, losing track of what day it is and Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life

Anxiety and the Thirty-Something

Austin sky

It got to the point where I couldn’t leave the house.

A small, round bruise on my leg would send me into unshakeable despair.

“I’m going to die,” I’d repeat to myself.

My suffering boyfriend, the man who didn’t sign up for this, would hold me and remind me, like he always did, that everything was going to be ok. You are ok.

And that’s the kicker, right? You know you are ok, so why are you feeling this way?

Minor panic attacks were hitting two or three times a week, while the major ones, the “PLEASE, SOMEONE TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE I’M PROBABLY HAVING A STROKE” moments, were once or twice a month. It made me irritable, it made me flakey and it made me want to retreat from the world.

Throughout my twenties, I was confused, I was sad, I drank, I passive-aggressively texted paramours, I threw myself into my job, I changed who I was for the worst. All of these ugly feelings and character manifestations happened, but there Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture

10 Ways To Know If Your Fitbit Has Taken Over Your Life

Fitbit

Activity trackers have been all the rage in 2014, and arguably no device has received such wide acclaim as the Fitbit. For many, the Fitbit, which comes in the form of a clip or wristband, has become a form of obsession. Once you’ve joined the Cult of Fitbitdom, there is no turning back. You take it with you everywhere you go, and you’ve found yourself becoming the health nut you typically despise. It’s ok though; you’re not alone. Millions of people have become just as annoying as you and I.

I love my Fitbit. I named it Harry. He likes going on long walks. Sometimes he says “Bonjour, Lauren!” and I giggle. I LOVE HARRY.

If you’re wondering whether or not your Fitbit has taken control of your life, here is a quick checklist.

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1.) You are often asked the question: “Do you have to pee or something?”

2.) You know that you’ve become that asshole who walks in place at work, but you’re ok with it. You’re ok with the stares BECAUSE EVERYONE WITHOUT A FITBIT Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life

Is the news making you sad? You’re not alone.

Austin sunset

It’s been a tough week. For everyone.

Ah, fuck it.

It’s not just the week.

Things have been tough for a long time.

The news.

Oh, the news.

It has gotten to a point where you just don’t want to read it, see it, hear it.

But you gotta.

You have to stay informed.

You have to know what other people are going through. 

See the pain.

The white flags have been thrown up on Facebook statuses.

“The world is too much; I’m getting offline for awhile.”

The heaviness of our hearts is making us sad.

We want to close our eyes.

I watched a comic book blockbuster last weekend, and I started crying afterwards.

I felt physically pummeled by the never-ending action and violence.

The sound of gunfire blanketed my ears.

When I’d look down, images of Gaza projected on the back of my hands.

And it made me think why.

Why do we watch these films of violence? Or in other cases, rape and torture?

With so much hatred festering in the world, why Continue Reading