D.I.Y. Halloween Costumes!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

With Halloween just a few days away I figured it would be a good time to do a little post about it. Sierra was born in August which means she celebrated her first Halloween at just over 2 months old. When i say celebrated I really mean her mean old parents dressed her up and brought her to 2 or 3 houses near by to show her off and get some free candy. The next year she still didn't REALLY understand what was going on but she had a good time going to a few houses with her pal Henry. This year however she is well aware whats going on. She understands dress up and pretend and can say "HARROREEEEEN!!". It's so fun to watch her get excited when we pass decorated houses or when we picked out a pumpkin that I can not wait to carve with her tomorrow! One thing that makes Halloween special every year is Sierra's costumes. So when i said "D.I.Y." in the title of this post I sort of fibbed, it should really read "H.A.D.I" (Have Aidan Do It): Aidan is one of Lauren's very close friends who attended R.I.S.D. for apparel design. For the past three years she has hand made Sierra's costumes and they are absolutely beautiful & well done. Theres something amazing about having a one of a kind costume that I just cant explain, it's really nice and we can not thank Aidan enough for her generosity! If you like what you see you should contact her here ---> Aidan Vitti's Portfolio. Have fun Halloween news, tips, ideas or photos to share please do so in the comment section below. Stay safe out there guys!!! -Craig

2011: Little Red Riding Hood

2010: Sea Monster:

2009: Hedgehog:

Thursday Tunes #05 / "Sierra" by Cursive

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For this week's "Thursday Tunes" I have picked a song that is very important to me for obvious reasons. The song is named "Sierra" and is by a band I'm sure most of you know, named Cursive. Cursive has been one of my favorite bands for as long as I can remember and I won't say this song is the reason we chose Sierra's name but it certainty helped in the decision making process. Enjoy:


As an extra bonus here is a video of Tim playing "Sierra" a few months ago here in Boston after Lauren and I screamed at him to play it HAHA. Excuse the quality of the video, and the performance - everyone had a few to drink that night. xo -Craig


FAMILY COMES FIRST a.k.a. The challenges of being a working dad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Disclaimer: I AM NOT GOING TO STOP BLOGGING this is just a post about why I have been blogging LESS over the pass month. Have no fear, The Hipster Dad shall live on! (I am already working on a new post as we speak!)

You guys may have noticed over the past month the amount of times I post, and the quality of these posts, have dramatically dropped. I have a variety of reasons for this but the main one is exhaustion. I AM EXHAUSTED!! THERE I SAID IT. I recently left the job I had been working at for three years and accepted a better paying position at a higher profile agency. While this is wonderful news for my family and I, it has taken it's toll on my mental and physical ability to keep up with a lot of things, like this blog. At my old job I was used to everything I had to do, everyone I had to interact with and all the processes for getting work done, here I am the new guy- I know nothing. I understood there would be a learning curve but I didn't think it would drain me so badly. 

In addition to my 'real job' I also run my own business. I started it with my pal Kaitlin Maud about a year ago and we service small to mid sized companies with business solutions including online/offline design and marketing, and more recently photo and video as well. The company is called Rain or Shine and I love doing it. It fulfills my need to work for my self, take on projects I want to work on and turn down ones I don't. It helps provide my family with extra income and eventually I hope to ONLY do Rain or Shine and not have to have a "9-5er".  

p.s. Another awesome daddy-blogger recently took the leap to being a stay at home daddy  and if you don't read his blog you are a fool! Check him out here --> http://adelinesdaddy.blogspot.com

In addition to my two jobs I also like to consider myself an artist. I attended art school and hold a Bachelor's of Fine Arts. If you are an aspiring artist and want to educate yourself about art and design in general, click here. I think art is one of the most important things in life and continue to make whenever I possibly can. Before Sierra, art was the most important thing in my life and I hope to make it important in hers as well. Now between my two jobs and trying to be a practicing artist can you see how I have very little time for other things like a social life or blogging? BUT WAIT THERES MORE... 

I'm also a Dad. This is the MOST important job I have. This job is the one that is the most mentally and physically exhausting but it is also the one that is the most rewarding. Did I feel great when I got an offer letter for a new job with a larger salary? Yes, but it was not as rewarding as when Sierra asks screams "UPPEE DADDY UPPEE DADDY" the second I get home. Was watching my business grow over the past year rewarding? Yes, but not as rewarding as watching Sierra grow 10x faster. Do I miss making films and sculptures regularly? Yes, but not as much as I enjoy making finger paintings or Elmer's glue and pom-pom collages with Sierra. Becoming a father changes you in many ways and you need to find a way to make all the pieces fit. I have not given up my career or my art work but I have realized what is truly important in my life and learned to prioritize as best I can. As Adam Sandler once said in his dying breath in 2006's Click... "FAMILY COMES FIRST."

Daddy Does Chicago: Day 1

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It is 8:45 PM and I am sitting in a hotel room in downtown Chicago. Why you may ask? Recently I accepted a new job and as part of your first few weeks they send you to Chicago for an orientation program for one full work week. While I am happy that this new job provides more money for my family and I it is difficult to be away from your family about a week. I know we will survive it but it's not easy explaining to a toddler why daddy is going to be MIA for a week.

I'm sure she'll be fine, but will I ?!?!?! I'll keep you guys posted.

Some iPhone photos I snapped form the plane.
Left: Bye Bye Boston / Right: Hello Chicago

I brought one of Sierra's toys with me to keep me company. I dont think he has a name but I'm thinking we'll call him "Chicago" from now on.

Wish me luck guys <3 -Craig

p.s. please take a sec and vote for us on Top Baby Blogs! No need to sign up just click this link --> http://bit.ly/HIPSTERDAD and then click the little brown bubble THATS IT! 

Boston is a little crazy right now... Occupy Boston March

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Video I took earlier this afternoon of the Occupy Boston protestors marching through downtown Boston:

INTERVIEW with Brian Lies (Author & Illustrator)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brian Lies is the award-winning author/illustrator of the New York Times bestsellers Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library and his newest Bats at the Ballgame - three of Sierra & Henry's favorites!! Recently we had the amazing opportunity to sit down with him and ask some questions about his background, creative process and what we can expect from him in the future:


We'd love if you could introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background, where you live, children if any, how long you've been writing, etc.

I live in Duxbury, MA, with my wife, high school aged daughter, and two cats.  There are some bats living in a space between the chimney and house sheathing, but I think it'd be bad karma if I tried to evict them.  They don't get into the house.  I've been writing stories since at least third grade, and started drawing at the same age that most kids start drawing, using fat crayons or finger paints.  Though I've always enjoyed making stuff up, I didn't ever really believe I could be good enough to do this as a real job.

How did you first get started illustrating and writing children's books?

The initial inspiration for writing and illustration as a career came in 5th grade, when an author/illustrator visited my school.  Harry Devlin (who with his wife, Wende, wrote Cranberry Christmas, Cranberry Thanksgiving and a lot of other books which are still found in many libraries) showed us some of his paintings and told us about how they made their stories, and I was hooked.  It sounded like the best thing you could possibly do as a job.  Unfortunately, I wasn't the most talented kid in the room, so I never thought I could do this for real.  I drew through middle and high school just for my own entertainment, and during college at Brown University, started doing illustrations for the college newspaper, and then a weekly editorial cartoon.  It dawned on me that this was the best part of my college week.  So I applied for jobs at 140 metropolitan daily newspapers across the country, and was rejected by all of them.  Not fun.

But enough of them said, "We like your ideas, but your drawing stinks," that I thought:  art school!  So I moved to Boston and spent two and a half years at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  It helped a lot.  I started getting illustrations published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe and a number of other publications, and began to realize that maybe I should think about doing children's books again.  At that time, I met the Art Director at Houghton Mifflin Company accidentally in a store in my Cambridge neighborhood, and about two months later, she sent me my first book to illustrate.  That was in 1990, and that first book, Flatfoot Fox and the Case of the Missing Eye, is still in print 21 years later.

What are you doing with your time/career/family when not locked away in your studio?
I probably have too many interests.  I like doing woodworking, cooking, and have a big vegetable garden in the back yard.  I like running, bicycling and kayaking.  Traveling is a lot of fun, but right now I mostly travel to school districts around the country which bring me in to work with their students, and visit independent bookstores on book tours.
How many books have you written and do you have any favorites among them?
Out of the twenty-five books I've illustrated, I've written five of them.  You're not supposed to have favorites among your children, but I think that Bats at the Library (2008) is my favorite.  Libraries and reading have changed my life for the better, and I also set the book in my favorite library building in the country, in Riverside, IL.  This was the library my Dad grew up with--full of stained glass, Arts & Crafts furniture, and a deep feeling of knowledge.  I got to know it as a kid visiting my grandparents, and it was a place that made me want to write something myself.

Do you have any favorite children's authors or books you enjoyed as a child or you enjoyed reading to your daughter?
There are so many good books out there that it's hard to make a "short list!"  You always leave something great off of it.  Some of my favorite picture books were Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman, The Wonderful Treehouse by Wende and Harry Devlin, and an obscure thing called Why I Built the Boogle House, by Helen Palmer.  Chapter books like Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Jean Craighead George's My side of the Mountain, and Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth.  Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, and to a lesser extent, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  These are all still great books, and there are so many more new great books for parents and readers out there now.  Even though the publishing business itself is going through some scary changes, there seems to be a kind of Golden Age of storytelling going on now.
What is the creative process like for you, meaning, how do you get the ideas for your stories and characters?
As I tell students in schools I visit, my story ideas come from the same place that everyone else's do.  A room you're in can spark story ideas if you see it with fresh eyes.  What if I turned the room on its side?  How would I climb up to the doorway?  Small things we've done in our lives can be retold as stories, or stretched out until they're huge exaggerations, like a tall tale.  The most important thing, I think, is to keep your eyes open for ideas and try to recognize them when you see them.  If you get in the habit of thinking "What could I write about that?" ideas start to make themselves known to you more easily.
Your "Bats at the…" books are so unique in the fact they don't feature cute puppies or kittens, you chose to use an animal that is largely associated with being a pest, scary and all around disliked. Was there any specific reason for this?

The bat books were a kind of a surprise for me, and when I first wrote Bats at the Beach, I worried that there was going to be a huge "ick factor" about them.  But I have been surprised.  Though there are lots of people who loudly detest bats, there's probably a larger group of people who think they're cool.  And environmentally aware people know that they play a vital role in the ecosystem, getting rid of millions of pounds of harmful insects annually.

The thing is, I never really meant to write about bats.  Bats at the Beach was sparked by my daughter, then in 2nd grade, pointing at a frost pattern on our guest room window and exclaiming, "Look, Daddy--it's a bat, with sea foam!"  The bumpy shape on the window DID look like a happy bat with wings spread to the sides, if you used your imagination and squinted at it.  It dawned on me that I'd never seen a book with bats going to the beach, and I started writing.

What is next for you? Are you working on any new books?

2012 is going to be a pretty busy year.  This past June, I finished the illustrations for a picture book called MORE (by I.C. Springman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), about a magpie with a huge hoarding problem.  I'm looking forward to its release in early February.  I'm also working on illustrations for a wonderful novel right now, Malcolm at Midnight (by W.H. Beck, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which is about classroom pets in a middle school who meet in the middle of the night to assure that the school keeps running smoothly.  It's a funny story with unforgettable characters, and has been a real pleasure to work with.  That one will be published in Fall, 2012.  I've also got a number of story ideas of my own, and as soon as I'm finished with the illustrations I'm doing now, I'll be back at work on my own writing.  I can't really say what it's going to be, but can promise that it's going to involve my own slightly off-kilter view of the world, and a lot of details!

In conclusion we just want to say thank you SO MUCH to Brian for taking the time to speak with us. We hope you enjoyed reading it! Thank you to the many readers who sent in questions via Twitter too!! If you can think of anybody (artist, illustrator, great dad, athlete, etc) you'd like us to interview just leave a comment on this post and let us know! Thanks. -C


COME HANG OUT WITH US at Family Swap Day TOMORROW in Somerville, MA!

Friday, October 7, 2011

COME HANG OUT WITH US at Family Swap Day!

We are STOKED to be co-hosting a family swap with the fabulous ladies from The Swapaholics!  ITS TOMORROW in Somerville, MA Us, Adriana from Just By Living, Boston mamas & my lady from Before I was a Mom are joining The Swapaholics and Green Halloween to host a family swap. What is Green Halloween? Who are The Swapaholics? 


Green Halloween is collective of like minded folks trying to create an awareness for a more healthy and eco conscious holiday. It was started in Seattle and is in partnership with Ecomom.

The Swapaholics are Melissa Massello and Amy Chase. Two lovely ladies from the Boston area who run swaps all over the country. 

This is how it works.
(these words are from the Swapaholics site) 

Donation Drop-Off: 
10 am to 12 pm
Family Activity Room:
10 am to 2 pm
12:30 SHARP

Bring a Bag, Get a Bag:
Bring a bag full of all those like-new and gently worn kid's & maternity clothes, Halloween costumes & props, children's books, toys, games, gear, and other family-friendly items just taking up space in your home. Take home an official Swap bag stuffed full to the brim of new finds donated by fellow Boston-area families — all for just the cost of admission!
Easy-to-Shop Sections Curated by Favorite Local Family Bloggers:This ain't your grandma's swap meet! Each section of the swap will be carefully sorted and curated by special guests:

Have Some Pre-Swap Fun as a Family:While we (and our special guest stars, along with a small army of volunteers) sort all your collective donations into a pop-up store where everything is free for the taking, you and your kids can enjoy some super fun on-site activities, like a bag design contest for next year's Green Halloween tote bag from ChicoBag®, face painting, a fun photo booth, and more wholesome activities.

Sample FREE All-Natural Snacks:Fuel up for your free-for-all treasure hunt with eco-friendly nosh from Larabar, Stretch Island Fruit Company, and Honest Tea's new line of organic, low-sugar, fruit-flavored thirst quenchers: Honest Kids.

Feel Good & Do Good: 
All the clothing left over at the end of the swap will be donated to Goodwill Bostonhelping to support their mission of transforming lives & communities through the power of education & employment. 
Members from the Goodwill team will also be on hand in the family activity area to give tips on creating clever Halloween costumes with unique themes from thrifted and swapped pieces! How fun is THAT?!

We are very very excited about this event. I'd love to see you all down there. As a little special treat I would like to offer all our awesome readers 25% off ticket prices with the code THEHIPSTERDAD


For more info including location, directions, and to purchase tickets go HERE

New Documentary: THE OTHER 'F' WORD

A new documentary about punk rock fathers called "The Other F Word" hits theaters November 2nd! It interviews and films the lives of punk rock legends: Fat Mike of NOFX, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, Joe Escalante of The Vandals, Matt Freeman of Operation Ivy and tons of other notable names. It is a rare and intimate look into the lives of some of the most famous "Alterna-Dads" and I can not wait to see it! What do you guys think?


Top Baby Blogs!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hey guys they just reset the counts on Top Baby Blogs so we'd really appreciate it if you took two seconds to give us a little vote here:

No sign up necessary, just click that link and then click this little guy:

A Magical Time

When eating breakfast with Sierra this morning I noticed the outfit she had chosen. Halloween pants, a black shirt, a gray sweater, pink socks with skulls, an owl hat and over sized froggy rain boots. If an adult had been wearing this they'd be ridiculed and made to feel silly. She thought she looked perfect and so did I.

After I dropped her off at daycare I began to think about how I am so conscious of what i say, do and wear and I can never get back to that point in my life when I did what I wanted and didn't care what others thought. The first few years of ones life is truly a magical time free of all the drama that comes later and I want Sierra to enjoy it as long as possible.

Fall in New England!

Monday, October 3, 2011

IT'S FALL!!! The leaves, the crisp air, the apple cider, the pumpkin beer, the apple picking and of course Halloween make this my favorite time of the year to be a New Englander. This past weekend we rented a ZipCar and headed down the coast to visit Papa and Gramma and get us some apples and a pumpkin at Keith's Farm in Acushnet, MA. This is the same farm that my parents brought me to as a child so it was a very surreal moment to share with her as I watched her inspect each pumpkin and bite into a delicious apple plucked straight from the tree just like I used to.

p.s. We forgot out camera but luckily Uncle Will was there to get some great shots! Check out his website here p.s. hire him to take photos for you, he's great!

Sierra inspecting pumpkins and choosing the perfect one.

$2 hayrides? Yes pelase!

Lauren searching for her pumpkin / Uncle Will and Aunty Jill (and her little brother Bruce!)

Some neat shoes Uncle Will took while on the hunt.

Mama helping Sierra fill her bag of apples.

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