Category Archive

Caroline was the Offbeat Empire copyeditor from 2011-2015. Caroline is a Canadian genderweird witch and literature PhD student living and working in Toronto. They love art and powerlifting, and they spend their free time with their black cat and familiar, Zee.

Throw this Seinfeld-inspired, shame-free Regifting Party

We’ve talked about what to do with gifts you don’t want on Offbeat Home & Life before. One of the suggestions is to regift — that wonderfully taboo idea many of us are familiar with thanks to Seinfeld. Thanks to my extended family’s incredible generosity but general cluelessness about what I want or need for Christmas, every year I find myself with a bunch of gifts that are very nice, but not quite what I want. After some conversations with friends in the same boat, I decided that regifting shouldn’t be a dirty word. It should be an excuse for a party!

What Disney taught me about healthy polyamory

No one would ever try to argue that Disney love stories are realistic portrayals of the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of relationships. Their fairy tale happy endings are what make them so endearing, but they definitely don’t set proper expectations for dating in the real world. A prince is probably not going to come wake you up from sleep with an enchanted kiss while woodland creatures serenade you. But, there are some relationship lessons I have recently realized Disney imparted on me — and they’re the least likely of all.

Let’s see what Disney characters can teach us about healthy multi-partner relationships…

Get your “Oh shit, I’m sick” kit ready before it’s too late

Being sick freaking sucks. But if there’s one thing that sucks even more, it’s having to go to the store when you’re sick to stock up on all the illness accoutrements. During undergrad I worked at a pharmacy on campus, and was regularly exposed to all manner of germs and products with which to treat those germs. I started stocking up on supplies at the beginning of the year, so that when the inevitable welcome-back bug infected me, I’d be ready.

Purple paper, pens, and painkillers: inside a grad student’s bag

Have you ever played that game where you guess what’s in strangers’ bags while you’re commuting?

Letter to the Fashion Industry

Dear fashion industry: show us diverse bodies

Dear fashion industry,

I know you’re shocked to receive a letter from me. According to you, plus size people like me don’t even exist!

How do I keep pigeons off my apartment balcony?

How do I reclaim my balcony from the pigeons?

Homies, I need your help: pigeons won’t leave my 12th-floor balcony alone. After putting up with two rounds of pigeon babies being born and raised because I had a heart or something, enough is enough. My cat chirps at them, and if they see her, they fly away — but then they come right back. I bought a plastic owl with a rotating head, but unless I move it around the balcony every day, they get wise to it and ignore it. Am I doomed to this owl-repositioning fate forever? Or are there other options?
Help! There’s so much poop!

My relationship and my pantry: why I don't need nicely-labelled canisters

My relationship vs. my pantry: why I don’t need nicely-labelled canisters

In shopping for the new place, I remember what I left behind at my ex’s: the pretty swing-top jars and canisters with colourful, perfectly co-ordinated labels, on which I used my best handwriting to label the coffee, macaroni, etc. They sat on the pantry shelf, a Pinterest pin waiting to happen. I was meticulous — borderline obsessed — with putting every package of food that came into our home into a pretty jar with a nice label.

Glowy shelves from an alien tree

Your cyberpunk-meets-rustic dreams are about to come true: World of Technology took some pieces of chestnut with cracks and knotholes and made them look other-worldly with some glow-y resin.