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.

A nummy brie and pear grilled cheese sandwich

Here’s the recipe for the sandwich that had me oohing and aahing aloud when I tried it — and wowed the Offbeat Empire at the Offbeat Retreat.

Cities in crisis: Rehousing the American Dream

I live in a Canadian border city. It is not urban; it’s a collection of suburbs with giant malls as focal points. It’s an inefficient arrangement, and it’s exactly the type of town that’s been torn down by the foreclosure crisis. It’s the type of town that a group of architects and designers at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC would like to change. Running now until August 13th is the exhibit “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream.”

Starting conversations about inequality in finding a home

In the recent foreclosure crisis in the United States, a disproportionate amount of women and racial minorities were the victims of subprime loans and mortgages with adjustable interest rates — statistics that speak to inequality in housing. For Anita Hill, there is a “sense of belonging that comes from being at home” – so what happens when one is without a home? Reimagining Equality reveals that these biases are historic in the American construction of what “home” means.

“Toned-down Ned Flanders”: Hosting travelers who’ll want to come back

I’ve stayed at a bunch of places through CouchSurfing and AirBnB and I think I have a few ideas on how to make my guests leave glowing reviews (and send more guests your way!). You can call my strategy Toned-Down Ned Flanders: there’s an episode of The Simpsons where Ned lets the Simpsons borrow his beach house for the weekend. He leaves a note on every square inch of the cabin explaining how to use each thing (like “Put food in me” on the fridge). Don’t go to these lengths or risk being made fun of mercilessly on the internet, but DO share more information than you think you might have to.

Turn your home into a hostel — or stay for free abroad — with CouchSurfing.org

My boyfriend and I have been traveling together for about five years now. We’ve done hotels, hostels, and even AirBnB — but our favourite way to spend time in a city where we don’t know anyone is also the cheapest way: CouchSurfing.org. It’s a free network for travellers and hosts for free accommodation, meet-ups, or advice, and it’s been around since 2004. Imagine not only sleeping in Bologna for free, but staying with people your own age, with similar interests, who show you around town to the best spots you might otherwise miss. This is CouchSurfing.org.

Your cube is your castle: TONS of non-standard desk decor without a cliche in sight

Wanted: ideas for cheap and easy cubicle decor. Already considered: potted plants, pretty pictures, subversive cross-stitchnarf.

Do not want: Anything that smells or makes noise or blinks.

Don’t store camping gear over the winter — repurpose it all year long!

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is winding down. You may be getting ready for the depressing ritual of packing up the patio furniture, summer clothes, and camping gear for the winter. If only there was a way to elongate the season of outdoor fun! Or at least have less stuff to put away.

Before you pack up your camping gear, take a look at this list of gear you can use all year round. Maybe some of it can be used in ways you hadn’t thought of — and can bring little reminders of summer every time you use them.