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

Austin, Film, Pop Culture

Sundance is coming to Austin with free, public screenings

Sundance Film Forward Texas screening

 

Since its inception, Sundance has worked diligently to showcase thought-provoking films from up-and-coming talent. This mission was amplified in 2011 by the creation of Sundance Film Forward, a touring program of the Institute’s most culturally relevant films. Each year, Film Forward brings eight films and their respective filmmakers to communities across the globe, offering free screenings and workshops and fostering dialogue around the societal issues the selected films present.

This coming Monday and Tuesday, February 23rd and 24th, Film Forward will be in Austin screening two features: Imperial Dreams and Little Accidents. Imperial Dreams, the Sundance 2015 audience award winner written and directed by Malik Vitthal, demonstrates in gritty detail the daily challenges, big and small, that ex-convicts, particularly people of color, face after leaving prison. In Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents, the first-time filmmaker tenderly imagines the gamut of emotions one small Appalachian Continue Reading

Austin

GIVEAWAY: VIP Tix to One by One Texas

One by One TX

This weekend, my friends over at Citygram are co-presenting One by One Texas, a three-day event showcasing the best in Instagram photography, food and drinks from Austin’s hottest upcoming restaurants and a delightful BBQ smorgasbord.

And Citygram, the very fine ladies and gentlemen that they are, would like you and a friend or lover to be their Very Important Persons.

What do you get with VIP status?

You and your bff/lover will get:
-Tix to the preview party this Friday 7-10PM where you can try food from Italic, Wu-Chow, Juniper and Bribery Bakery, and drinks from The Esquire Tavern, The Brooklynite, Italic and Juniper.
-Live screenprinting and free shirts from Kong Screenprinting.
-Early access to the photo gallery.
-BBQ lunch this Saturday 12-5 courtesy of Black’s BBQ, Micklethwait Craft Meats, Freedmen’s and Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ.
-There’s also an ass-load of cocktails, panel discussions, local vendors, music and all the wonderful stuff that makes Austin, Austin.

For Continue Reading

Film, Pop Culture

Help Bring What We Do in the Shadows to ‘Merica!

Last year, I saw one of the funniest movies ever.

I’m often full of hyperboles, but I’m not shitting you here.

It’s called What We Do in the Shadows and stars the film’s writers and directors, New Zealanders Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.

I watched the film at SXSW 2014 (it initially premiered at Sundance 2014), and I nearly crapped myself. From laughter. Not the free SXSW tacos.

Imagine This is Spinal Tap but with lovable vampires from New Zealand.

Are you imagining it?

Now imagine yourself riding a horse bareback with Fabio.

For the past 11 months, I’ve anxiously awaited the US release of What We Do in the Shadows. I even tweeted at the film’s official Twitter account, @deliciousnecks, hoping for some answers. I was told that a release would come very soon.

So, that brings me today.I was tooling around Kickstarter and was surprised to discover a campaign posted by Jemaine Clement asking for funds to do a US release for What We Do in the Shadows.

I 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

 

 

Amtrak train
Travel

Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Riding the Train

Over the holidays, I took my sixth domestic train trip. Since my fear of flying creeped on strong about two years ago, my modes of transportation are now the car, the bus and for long distance, the train. (I don’t recommend taking the bus; it can be a sad and disorienting place.)

I’ve learned a great deal about American’s great passenger train, the Amtrak, over these past two years. A lot of friends have said that my journeys have inspired them to take the train themselves, which makes this blossoming rail nerd very happy. In case you’re interested in traveling via the train yourself, here are some tips, tricks and hacks for getting the best out of your Amtrak adventure.

1.) Spread yo’self out
During the slow season, you can easily claim yourself two coach seats and sprawl your fine ass out during sleepy hours. This is not frowned upon. However, if the train car does fill up, you gotta give up that extra seat. Don’t be the dick that pretends to be asleep when someone is looking Continue Reading

http://www.shopirish.com/App_Themes/ShopIrish/ProductImages/500/JS307.jpg
Fashion/Design

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Still Wear a Toe Ring

I bare a secret that is often too embarrassing to share.

It is something that I’m not proud of, but it’s a part of who I am, dammit. It is one of my physical imperfections that, over the years, I mostly forget about until that awkward moment arises during intimacy with a boyfriend or yoga with a friend.

“Excuse me, do you have a toe ring?”

I nervously snort, “Oh, that ol’ thing! Heck, I forgot it was even there!” I throw a dismissive gesture with my hand, but deep down I’m sweating like a pig on an elliptical.

They saw it. The saw my secret.

The truth of the matter is, yes, I do often forget that it’s been on my right toe since 1997, when I was fourteen years old and toe rings, in addition to nose rings and eyebrow rings, seemed like a wise fashion choice for the pubescent teenager. Since I had nightmares of infections and permanent scarring from nose and eyebrow jewelry, a toe ring was the edgiest I would go. And much like an ass tattoo, my toe ring was not for everyone’s Continue Reading

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.

train travel
Travel

Stories of Strangers on the Train: The Christian and his Gay Daughter

I can’t remember how our conversation started, but we talked from 8AM to 10:15AM. He was 60 years old, a truck driver. His daughter bought him his first smartphone, and he asked me if I could download a few apps for him. I was surprised how relaxed he was giving me his phone and personal information, but the train has a way of making you feel comfortable. I find myself sharing stories of my own life to strangers.

While I was downloading the apps, he began talking about his daughter who gifted him the phone. His face lit up when he spoke of her. “She’s an artist, a poet, a rapper. She’s cool,” he said. Many years went by where they didn’t see one another, and when he saw her again, he noticed that she had a very beautiful “female friend” with her. “You know, my daughter likes members of her own sex,” he told me. He mentioned God once or twice in our conversation, so I wasn’t sure where the conversation was headed. “She was afraid to tell me that she liked women,” he said. “Everyone Continue Reading

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