12 Characteristics Of A Hipster

12 Characteristics Of A Hipster

So. Much. Flannel.
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The term hipster is one that has been thrown around a lot recently. Everyone’s definition is different. But here’s mine: the right one.

  1. Facial Hair: Most male hipsters, if they have the ability to do so, grow some form of facial hair. Usually a beard; sometimes a mustache, (to be “ironic”). This facial hair isn’t 5 o'clock shadow, or even “I-forgot-to-shave-on-vacation” hair, this is thick, bushy, “there’s-a-piece-of-macaroni-from-two-days-ago-in-here” hair.
  2. Frequenting Coffee Shops: All hipsters share a love of coffee, but even more so, they share an undying connection with the places that serve it to them. They wouldn’t be caught dead in a Starbucks and risk being grouped into a category of the average person; instead, they prefer the locally-owned coffee shop. Hipsters order the most obscure thing on the menu while silently mocking the commoners who don’t belong.
  3. Flannel: Hipsters wore flannel before it was cool; in fact, lumberjacks actually stole flannel fashion from them. If you head to the flannel rack at any given thrift store, you’ll spot a hipster with their face buried in the musky scent of second-hand flannel picking out their next outfit.
  4. Obscure Music: You know you’ve encountered a hipster if you mention someone like Taylor Swift and their response is “I’m not familiar with her.” I’m not a huge fan myself, but come on, I’m pretty sure my dog even recognizes that ballad-belting blonde’s name, (and my dog can’t tell the difference between my mother and me). Hipsters relish in the fact that they’re listening to something that most people haven’t heard. They seem to be under the false impression that their recognition of an otherwise unknown artist somehow means their taste is more refined than the average barbarian listening to Top 40. What they don’t seem to consider is that maybe no one listens to a particular artist because…they’re, well… justnot …good. The average hipster would rather listen to a loop of typewriter sounds than subject their ears to the horror of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”; because if the majority of people like it, it must not be music.
  5. Denim: Denim is the co-pilot to captain flannel that usually flies their wardrobe. And when I say “denim” I mean only “denim”—no rhinestones, colored stitching, brand insignia or any other adornments. it must be the type of denim that makes Levi’s look fancy.
  6. Instruments: The world is filled with many talented people who can play instruments beautifully, and sometimes hipsters are some of those people. But sometimes, they’re not… and they play anyway. Something about the sound of an acoustic guitar or banjo makes a hipster’s body melt into the chair they bought at a garage sale. Because of this phenomenon, they think it will give them more authenticity to be able to create this sound. They know they lack talent, so that’s why you see the carrying their guitar case around town like they just came from the recording studio; or you see them posing for pictures you’ll later see on Instagram. They want to portray their Mumford and Sons-esque look, without actually doing anything to prove it’s real. Although, the hipsters who do possess musical ability are just as bad. These are the ones who perform at coffee shops and say they don’t want to get famous and “sell-out”; they’d rather annoy street pedestrians with brooding melodies and an open guitar case for tips.
  7. Polaroids: Not sure how this one came about but, apparently, low quality pictures with a thick white border are preferable to a high resolution camera. They do know these are the cameras our parents used when they were kids, right? Hipsters think that their Instagrams are best if it’s a picture of a polaroid picture like some kind of “hip-ception.” Those mainstreamers’ photos captured on an iPhone are never given a double tap by the hipster.
  8. Wood: For whatever reason, wood is a staple for hipster decor. Wooden phone cases, or lap top covers, and distressed wooden furniture or wall art are all coveted items. (Extra points if they were found at a consignment store or garage sale).
  9. Nature: Hiking, eno-ing, you name it. Hipsters love the outdoors as much as Bambi and they don’t let anyone forget it. I don’t mean LuLu Lemon-wearing hikers who are trying to add variety to how they get their cardio. Hipsters take their flannel into the woods and don’t look back—unless, of course, to snap a Polaroid picture.
  10. Social Media: The hipster’s social media is easy to spot to the naked eye. Their pictures, if not Polaroid, are edited with a grainy filter to give it a vintage essence—(Really, when was the executive decision made that older is better?). The photos also lack faces. I assume this is to show their “path less taken” lifestyle of not caring about looks. So, you’ll see a lot of scenery photos, or even props such as coffee mugs or books. Occasionally, the hipster’s legs or feet are shown in a cool environment.
  11. Backpacks: Hipsters are some of the only people I’ve encountered in my lifetime who regularly wear book bags that aren’t for school. They’re usually made of distressed leather— and carry—what I like to think—the secrets of the mysterious hipster world.
  12. Denial: The ultimate, tell-tale sign of a hipster is this phrase: “I’m not a hipster.”
Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/polaroid-camera-polaroid-land-751275/

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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