Climbing Up: Shelf Elfing

Shelf elfing
Hold the pose or fail!

Admit it, there’s nothing cuter than those cheeky little felt elves that your Grandmother half-hides throughout her condo. Like most bizarre anthropomorphic reinterpretations of humanoids, reports indicate that the shelf elf got it’s start in Japan. Very little is actually known about the origin of these creepy-cute Christmas sprites. For the holiday hip, this is perfect. Also referred to as “Japan Knee Hugging Elves,” they are owning Etsy and Pintrest right now, a sure harbinger of hip. In fact, check the chart below. Shelf elf interest has doubled each Christmas. So what to do, throw a couple of them around your studio apartment? No way! The only way to fully exploit this trend is to become a shelf elf yourself!

Shelf elfing is an offshoot of planking and owling so this is familiar turf. You’ll love this because with second Hobbit movie coming out, elves are Sammath Naur hot right now. The first thing you need to do is get a pointy red and white Christmas hat (no brim). Then ask the util-a-kilt wearing geek from IT to loan you his fake Spock ears. If he hesitates for more than 37 seconds, tell him that as far as you’re concerned, “Vulcans are the elves of space” and flash him the “live long and prosper” gang sign. This genre-blending and hand waving will stun him. (BTW, if this is successful, you’ve leveled up to hipster-mage status). Now put on the hat and ears and find a perch. The higher and just a bit out of view the better. Now, it’s all about the tuck! Pull those knees up to your chin as best you can, here’s where your yogalaties will come in good use. Crunch that core and wait! Soon your co-workers will begin to filter past on their way to the midday social media scrum. If you’ve found a good spot some of them won’t even see you sitting there with an insane cheeky grin going. Don’t worry, that means the ones who do will be totally surprised. If someone spits up their soy chai tea, you’ve succeeded.

Remember to adhere to proper shelf elf lore! Move to a new place every day, be totally silent, blankly staring at a spot on the floor and keep that bizzaro-chipper smile going. If done correctly this is going to hurt, but it’s totally worth it because you’re a mutha-effing SHELF ELF now, and you talk directly to Santa. If any of your co-workers try to talk to you or worse yet touch you, HOLD OUT! Later, after elfing, find them in the break room and chew their normal ass out. Start swearing at them in Quenya, the language of Elrond and Legolas from Lord of the Rings. Angrily assert “Iston i nîf gîn!” (I know your face) and “Boe? BOE?!” (for what purpose?) After the ear thing you’re already in huge standing with IT kilt guy (who is munching on steamed soy beans with a nice ginger sauce in the corner table), but upon witnessing this Elvish bereavement his adoration of you will go through the roof! Finish your holiday tirade with “Úcarnet nin!” (you betrayed me), pull on your hat, climb up and sit on top of the vending machine and resume your eerie shelf elfing. You’re a shelf elf now, even if you don’t know why.

Trending Up: Tiny Food

Supershrink me!
Supershrink me!

Many of our recommended trends are naturally grandiose and full of noticeable flair. Not so with this up-and-comer. It’s all about subtlety and miniature modesty. It begins with you reading this article with studious interest and ends with you hosting an amazing hipster dinner party. After all, you haven’t thrown one since your coconut oil fiasco, so your friends will be chomping at the bit. In addition to this article I recommend picking up “Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals” and reading it on some sort of public transportation.

First up, you’re going to need to make a trip to the farmers market (you already go there daily anyway). Don’t be distracted by the big beautiful local organic free-range cruelty-free fruits and veggies. You’re looking for only the littlest and cutest of the offerings. I suggest starting with a classic tiny food staple: baby corn. Everyone’s going to expect it so you might as well not let them down and it’s not as gauche as cocktail weenies. Proceed to fill your smallish free-cycled coffee bag with all sorts of tiny. Baby bok choy, baby carrots, baby zucchini, baby turnips, baby grapes, baby apples … you get the idea. Definitely get some shallots so you can make microscopic onion rings. Melt my heart, that will be darling.

Next up, animal products. Look, I realize that boss-level hipsters are all vegans and/or freegans, but many of your friends are scattered across the established hipster spectrum. Lots of them eat meat, but only if it’s ethically-raised free-range cruelty-free organic non-injected happy meat from a local farmstead that offers a free gym membership to the animals. Anyways, you’re gonna need some tiny cuts of meat. Everyone’s mind automatically jumps to baby back ribs because of Chili’s and Austin Powers 2, so we’re not going that route. Heck, just get a nice 10oz sirloin with good marbling and cut it into 37 tiny steaks. After that you’re definitely going to need some cage-free quail eggs. Wait. Quail eggs are gigantic. You’re gonna need hummingbird eggs. I’m not sure how we’re going to pull this one off. Heading to google … okay I’m back, first and foremost, holy smokes these things are adorable. It turns out that this is pretty easy. You just need to find a hummingbird nest with freshly laid eggs and take them. No problem! Beware though, it looks like the little bastards are pretty defensive. Don some sort of protective head cover when you harvest the eggs. In the event that you don’t own a beekeeping mask (which you should if you’re reading this) maybe you can up-cycle a bucket, don’t forget the eye holes. Pop the itty-bitty gems into your handcrafted danish modern tiny egg carton and off you go. Don’t worry, the momma bird will lay new eggs in a matter of days and all of this is totally free-range! As a bonus, you’re also foraging now (awesome), but that’s another trend for another day. While we’re foraging, another idea is rather than an enormous lobster tail, prep-up single crayfish tails for each plate. Don’t use a trap to procure them, catch them individually by hand. Your guests will marvel at your attention to detail.

Hand caught crayfish with nickle for proportions. It was delicious.
Crayfish, hand-caught by the author and niece Liv with nickel for scale. Yes, we really did this.

Now that your ingredients are assembled, and assuming your eyes weren’t feverishly eviscerated by angry hummingbirds, you’re ready for the big day. Dive deep into the theme by sending out tiny invites to your friends. Have the table set with dollhouse plates and tiny cutlery for at least ten solid hipster guests and make sure there is a tiny guide that details each course. In this guide you can’t use the words “gluten-free” enough. I don’t know what gluten is (something with wheat I think), but I do know that hipsters don’t want to eat it or even be in the same room with it. Hell, gluten is like hipster kryptonite. But I digress. Cooking time should be limited to a matter of seconds as the thermal mass of each item is so miniscule. Be careful not to overcook the steaks by searing them longer than 2-3 seconds per side. Also, watch those hummingbird eggs, they are properly poached the instant they hit boiling water. Season with extra small salt crystals and ultra-fine ground pepper (details, people). Garnish each plate with a single oregano leaf. As you nibble (never bite) go into detail about the health benefits of scaling down portion sizes and the unfortunate obesity epidemic in America. In addition to ungodly amounts of GMO corn syrup being injected into everything we consume, you’ll get to blame it on gluten, which your guests will love. Later on, at the after-party (hipsters LIVE for after-parties), while you are sip-chugging craft pico-brews from super tiny red plastic cups (if they give you any guff about plastic, tell them there’s a Low song about plastic cups so they can STFU) look upon your assembled hipster acolytes, stroke your beard, and proudly proclaim “micro-foods naturally have more micro-nutrients.” They can’t argue with that logic, even if they don’t know why.

Emerging: Shaking with both hands

hipsterhandshakeBro hugs are deader than Jean Stapleton, let’s pretend fist mashing never happened, and until the old-school gimme-five comes back, shaking with both hands (also known as a “two-shake” or a “bo’ shake”) is the social embrace of the moment. It begins life as your basic shake, but becomes almost self-aware with the addition of the second hand to the back of the shakee’s already-being-shook hand, usually a full second after the handshake has been originated. The result of this clasp is an additional degree of sincerity that, combined with solid eye-contact, let’s everyone know that you’re coming from a place that is equal parts deep and real, and still assures everyone you are not carrying a dagger up your sleeve (even if it’s just for eating with). This maneuver is delicate and has so many layers of meaning that we felt it was important to make our first howto video. So, please sit back and enjoy! You are officially lame if you dont go out immediately and try this at once. Notice that it’s not done correctly unless both participants emerge from the moment with a heightened sense of awkwardness and fragility which must be overcome with platitudes and small talk.

We’re also keeping our eye on the single-handsake/tricep squeeze lockup, but it’s not quite there yet.

Sharp: Eating with a dagger

This guy, because I couldn't find a picture of anyone eating with a dagger, that's how NOW this is
This guy, because I couldn’t find a picture of anyone eating with a dagger, that’s how NOW this is

Looking for a new gastronomic utensil trend to show everybody just what’s on the plate for the next hipster trend? Toss the forks, spoons, sporks, and chopsticks and reach for a Knight’s dress dagger. You’ll be the talk of the vegan bistro as you unsheathe your ancient cutlery and and literally go medieval on that tofu!

“This is the way that people ate for centuries,” you can remark snidely as your hipster friends look you up and down with astonishment. For extra effect, after you finish your coconut medallions, reach into your retro neon fanny pack, pull out a whetstone, and begin honing your blade. Make sure it’s razor sharp before moving on to your amaranth and quinoa casserole.

When the meal is complete, wipe the blade clean with your fine red silk pocket square, and hold your dagger aloft, as if you’ve just brought forth the sword from the stone. Play with the light in the room and be sure that everyone catches a glimmer of brilliant illumination. Resheathe your only utensil smugly and wait for the gushing compliments to pour in. You’re the sharpest hipster out there, with your scythe, back axe, and now dagger. You’re welcome.

Meta Level: Skateboard Glasses

Shredding is 20/20

We all know the quintessential hallmark of hipster-hipsterness is black plastic framed glasses. But let’s face it, you wouldn’t be here if you were the average hipster, you’re looking for the next hipster trend. You want to leave Kevin and his case of PBR in the dust on your way to a whole new meta-hipster plateau.

It’s time to trade in your plastic frames for wood ones. But not just any wood, you want reclaimed hipster genius. Head straight for refurbished skateboard wood frames. You may mastered the ollie back in the day, but your refusal to jump on board with mainstream health insurance would make practicing your laser flips and the resulting broken ankle an impossibility. Who can afford the deductible for that?

Immediate Action: DIY Trademarking your own DNA

own your own
own your own

You did it before. Remember when your folk-metal trio recorded that 3 song EP on Audacity, burned it to a CD and mailed it to yourself thinking, “There, Nine Inch Nails can NEVER STEAL THESE TUNES!” Well, you can use all the same labels and packaging again when you mail your own DNA to yourself. Uber-Mega_Agri_Corps like Monsanto and Sony are out to own your individual genetic fingerprint, you better get the jump on them. Do it quick before the GMO corn accidentally used to make your Stacy’s Tortilla causes your fingerprint to devolve and become a footprint. Seriously, the next time you are getting a new gauge for your ear gap, take the disc of unused flesh and put it in a zip lock baggie. Drop that in an envelope and then another envelope (for the lawyers), include your 23andme reports for ultimate bases covering then ride your fixed gear bike to the post office and send it yourself via registered mail. When it comes, put the envelope in your freezer next to the free range rabbit carcass that you hit with your Chevy volt the other day and sit back knowing you are … one step ahead of the Man(santo).

UPDATE (06/13/13) See, this is how we roll. If you didn’t take our advice the day we give it, YOU ARE ONE OUT OF LUCK HIPSTER. You snooze, you loose! We’ll work on getting the info out sooner but, the onus is on you to stay on top of the NEXT HIPSTER TREND!