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upworthy
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Here, have a round of joy. It's on us.

joy smiles
Alexas_Fotos/Canva

Upworthy's weekly roundup of delights.

When headlines and social media seem to be dominated by the negative, we all need reminders that the world is full of wonderfulness. Joy connects and inspires us and can be found everywhere—if we keep our eyes open and look for it. One of our goals at Upworthy is to make that search a little easier by telling stories that highlight the best of humanity and sharing the delights, large and small, that unite us.

Each week, we collect 10 things that made us smile and offer them to you to enjoy and share with others. We hope this week's list tickles your heart and brings a smile (or 10) to your face as well.

1. Tico the parrot is a master vocalist. Not even an exaggeration.

@ticoandtheman

On a dark desert hwy, cool wind in my hair…

We've shared some delightful parrots in these roundups before, and each one somehow seems to out-entertain the last. I did not see Tico's vocal skills coming, though. The intonation! The vibrato! Even my music major daughter was blown away by this singing bird.


You can see more of Tico singing with guitarist Frank Maglio on YouTube and TikTok.

2. Mom navigates adorable toddler questions about her pregnancy.

@kadynsmithsmith

😂🥰🤍 #pregnant #momtok #momsoftiktok #toddlertok #toddlersoftiktok #baby

Three-year-old Blakely is going to be a big sister for the second time, but this time she has questions. Every parent felt that weighty pause when she asked how the baby got into Mommy. (You just never know when that question is coming, so it's hard to be prepared with the right answer for the age and maturity of the kid asking.) Little Blakely sure is a doll, though. Read the full story—and get some expert tips for how to field kids' questions in an age-appropriate way—here.

3. People are sharing simple ways to practice kindness daily.

kindness

Simple ways to show kindness to others.

Canva/Upworthy

A Reddit user asked for ideas of kind acts people can do every day, and people shared their thoughts. Some of the ideas were profoundly simple, and not necessarily things we might think of, like being aware of how we're impacting those around us or leaving a place a little better than we found it. See the whole collection of acts of kindness here.

4. Woman finds out her best friend named her baby after her and it's a roller coaster of emotion.

Meeting a brand new human being is always a special moment, and when it's a loved one's baby it's even more special. But Mireya meeting her best friend Morgan's baby pushed special into a whole other stratosphere when she found out she'd become a namesake. That second when it sunk in and then the disbelief. "What? No, you did not." Oh yes, she did. So much love here.

5. Little chimpanzee kiddo is greeted with hugs from his new family.

Oh, the hugs for Beckley! This is almost too much sweetness for one video.

It was shared by Liberia Chimp Rescue & Protection, a sanctuary and conservation center in Liberia that rescues baby chimps from the illegal bushmeat and pet trades. While most of the chimpanzees the workers rescue and rehabilitate aren't able to be returned to the wild, they do get to live their life in a protected forest with other chimps. You can read more about their work here.

6. The Onion filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court and it's seriously hilarious.

supreme court the onion parody satire

The Onion used parody to defend parody before the Supreme Court.

Photo by Jimmy Woo Man Tsing on Unsplash

It's a real brief with a real argument for a real First Amendment case, but it's unlike any other court filing you'll ever read. The satirical news site is petitioning the Supreme Court to review a case of a man who was arrested and prosecuted for creating a Facebook page parodying the Parma, Ohio, police department. After the man was acquitted by a jury, he sued the police for violating his constitutional rights, but his case was thrown out because the police were granted "qualified immunity." In defense of the man's—and everyone's—First Amendment right to parody, The Onion filed a 23-page brief utilizing the very parody it's defending, and it's a brilliant and hilarious read. I mean, who else could call the federal judiciary "total Latin dorks" while making a solid argument? Read the full story here.

7. Kids casually chatting with scientists is the cutest thing everrrr.

Kids are naturally curious, which makes them the perfect people to ask questions about science. Upworthy and Pfizer have been inviting kids to chat with scientists and there's just no way to predict where their conversations will go. Precious Marcelo here with his "I've got like 27 more years" to think about a career while chatting with virologist Vidia Roopchand was just so delightfully real. You can find more of these kid chats on our Instagram channel.

8. Four-year-old sings The Isley Brothers with his whole soul.

Goodness. "Driftin' on a nemberee…all we need is candlewight…" He's putting his entire self into singing that song. Beautiful voice from her, too.

9. The Rock's daughter pranks him with a water balloon as he's waking up.

"Good Morrrnniiiiing!" HA. She knows how to get her dad good.

Not gonna lie. I would not have the good-natured patience of The Rock if my child broke a water balloon over my face in bed. But this isn't the first time he's played the "Daddy, close your eyes!" game, so he knew something was coming. See more of Jazzy's pranks on her pops here.

10. Let's welcome the weekend with the exuberance of this ball-fetching doggo.

Even without the bouncing in anticipation, the tail wag says it all. Pure joy. Bring it.

That's it for this week! Come back next week for another round of joy on us. And if you'd like more stories like this in your inbox, subscribe to our free newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

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3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

There was a time when every other girl was named Ashley. That time has ended.

As we know, baby name trends are constantly changing. One generation’s Barbara is another generation’s Bethany. But it doesn’t make it any less odd when you suddenly realize that your very own name has suddenly made it into the “old and unhip” pile. And for many of us 80s babies…that time is now.

In a now-viral TikTok post, baby name consultant Colleen Slagen went through the top 100 girl names from 1986 to find which ones “did not age well” and were no longer ranked top 1,000 today. Such a descent from popularity would mark them as what she calls “timestamp names.”

Spoiler alert: what might be even more surprising than the names now considered old school are the names that are still going strong.


The first name that Slagen says is “officially out” is Heather. That’s right, not even cult movie fame could help it keep its ranking.

via GIPHY

Other extinct names include Erica, Courtney, Lindsay, Tara, Crystal, Shannon, Brandy and Dana. Tiffany, Brittany and Casey are also heading very much in that direction.

“My name is Brandy. The Gen Z hostess at Olive Garden told me that she’d never heard my name before and it was so unique,” one viewer wrote.

However, Andrea ranks “surprisingly high,” and Jessica, Ashley and Stephanie have survived…so far.

Gobsmacked, one person asked “How is Stephanie still in there? I don’t think I’ve met a Stephanie younger than myself at 34.”

But the biggest holdout still belongs to Jennifer. “She was a top 100 name all the way up until 2008. Round of applause for Jennifer,” Slagen says in the clip.

@namingbebe Sorry Lindsay, Heather, and Courtney. #babynames #nametok #nameconsultant #girlnames #80skid #1986 #nametrend ♬ original sound - Colleen

If your name has found its way into relic of a bygone era status, fret not. Slagen, whose name also ranks out of the top 1000, assures it just means “we are creatures of the 80's.”

Of course, while we still have baby names that become incredibly common for extended periods of time (looking at you, little Liam and Olivia), the real contemporary trend is going for uniqueness. As an article in The Atlantic notes, for most of American history families tended to name their children after a previous family member, with the goal of blending in, rather than standing out. But now, things have changed.

Laura Wattenberg, the founder of Namerology, told the outlet that “Parents are thinking about naming kids more like how companies think about naming products, which is a kind of competitive marketplace where you need to be able to get attention to succeed.”

But again, even with a keen eye on individualism, patterns pop up. “The same thing we see in fashion trend cycles, we see in names,” Jessie Paquette, another professional baby namer, told Vox. “We’re seeing Eleanor, Maude, Edith—cool-girl grandma names.”

So who knows…give it time (or maybe just a pop song) and one of these 80s names could make a comeback.

@sheisapaigeturner/TikTok

Maybe there's more to it than "bad parenting."

Unless you've been living on a remote, deserted island, you’re probably addicted to your phone. We’ve all been guilty of ignoring someone right in front of us because of text or a notification. It’s so common we even have a word for it: “phubbing.

But parental phubbing, while just as prevalent as ordinary phubbing, is often seen as more than just a social faux pas. And this perhaps isn’t totally without merit, since research has shown that kids do in fact feel the effects of being ignored in this way.

And yet, as one mom eloquently points out, we can’t just chalk it up to “bad parenting.”


“I was just at my son's Taekwondo practice, and I'd say 75% of the parents are on their phones, right?” Paige Turner, a mom of four, says in a clip posted to her TikTok.

She continues: “And I have seen a lot of commentary about how parents are always on their phones, right? Parents are always texting. They're not watching their kids. They're not seeing how great their kids doing during Taekwondo or baseball or gymnastics, whatever it is. They're just too busy on their phone and why can't they just take a break and look up?”

And this is where Turner offers her alternate, but so spot on take.

“I think the average parent is being asked to do a lot, right? They are working full-time. There's a lack of childcare, so oftentimes, these parents are not only on their phones, I sit next to parents who are on their laptops at Taekwondo practice because we are technically still working, right?” she says.

Since most parents are technically still on the clock by the time an afternoon practice rolls around, of course they’re “Slacking on their phone. They're answering emails. Sometimes, they're even listening to a call,” Turner explains.

So maybe it’s not just about being present with their kids but about parents having to be on call 24/7.

“In an ideal world, our kids would have practices and games at times that allowed us to be fully present,” Turner says. But in reality, “we are being asked to go in many different directions right now, and so many of us don’t have that luxury.”

Turner also points out that the obligation to be at every practice or game is a fairly new concept, parents used to simply drop kids off and pick them up once whichever activity was over.

“We are being asked not only to do more physically: be at every practice, be at every game, volunteer, work full-time, pick up your kids from the bus stop, all these things. We're also being asked to be fully present for all of it, which is impossible,” she notes.

@sheisapaigeturner As parents, we need to be conscious of one and how we use our phones. However, a lot of the critique online specifically about parents being on their phone I could activities is likely missing the full picture. Many parents are multitasking. They are working while at basketball, they are ordering groceries while at dance practice. They are doing many things at one time and juggling all of it as soon as they can. #millennailmom #sportsmom #parentingadvice #socialmedia #workingmom #wfhmom #workingparent ♬ original sound - Paige

Turner concludes by sharing that she posted this perspective to offer some grace against the common “ugly narrative” that parents are simply not paying attention to their kids when parents are most likely doing the very best that they can.

Several parents agreed with Turner and added their own takes on the issue.

“The idea that we have to be present every single second of our child’s life is just INSANE. Especially coming from the ‘go outside and don’t come back until dark’ generation,” one person wrote.

Another added, “also, my phone is where I schedule appointments, order groceries, order prescriptions, fill out forms for all the things, research therapists and camps and doctors and adhd, & I’m a grad student.”

A few even pointed out that even when they aren’t working, phone use during practice shouldn’t be considered taboo.

“Even if you AREN’T working or doing something productive on your phone. Why would I want to watch soccer drills for an hour? Let me play candy crush in peace lol,” one person quipped.

Another seconded, “I’m absolutely not working but I’m using the opportunity of my child being fully engaged with an activity to freaking relax a little. I don't have to just sit and watch them 24/7 to have a relationship.”

Bottom line: of course, it’s important for parents to be mindful of their phone usage, especially when around kids. But our world makes that nearly impossible, and passing judgment on the moms and dads who do find themselves scrolling isn’t of help to anyone. A little compassion can go a long way here.

We get to see the world through Mr. Kitters' eyes.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.


In a video titled "Spicy cats," which has more than 74 million views on TikTok, we begin with the cutest cat sneeze ever. Then we hear Mr. Kitters' meow as we walk with him through the grass before the scene switches to a thrilling, yowling cat chase he witnesses across the yard (while tucking himself even more securely under the bush he's in).

The best is seeing his kitty paws as he walks and then digs in the mulch. And there's apparently something very exciting that needs to be pounced on right along a chain link fence.

Watch and enjoy:

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Spicy cats 🌶️ #fyp #cat #meow

The commenters made their delight known.

"I love how he saw the cat fight and was like that's not my business today," wrote one person.

"WHEN HE DIGS WITH HIS LIL PAWS," declared another.

"People: Cats only meow at humans." Mr Kitters -Meows at everything-" wrote another.

And of course, countless people responded simply to the sneeze with "Bless you."

Mr. Kitters has other POV videos as well. This one demonstrates how chatty he is and shows his black cat buddy as well.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

“What do you want?” “Nothing!” #fyp #cat #meow

It really sounds like he says, "Let me in," doesn't it?

And this "extreme sports" video is riveting.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Extreme sports 💀 #fyp

It's funny how something as simple as putting a camera around the neck of a cat can draw in tens of millions of people. We're all so curious about the lives of the creatures we see every day, and the adorable quirkiness of cat behavior is a big part of why we keep them as companions in the first place. Seeing the world through their point of view is just one more way we can enjoy and learn about our pet friends.


This article originally appeared on 6.15.23

Custom image created with images from Strvnge Films on Unsplash, Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash and Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

People trying various hobbies like hiking, psychedelics and reading books

Being over 30 doesn’t usually qualify someone as an ‘elder,’ but those who fall into the "elder Millennial" generational bracket or above had plenty of wisdom to share in a Reddit thread that recently exploded onto the front page.

A post by Redditor ThickEmployee8948 asked what the tricenarian crowd regretted doing or not doing when they were younger, and the community was quick to answer.

The thread’s top comment, “TEETH. Wish I’d Brushed and flossed more regularly (...)” by anthonystank, bit off over two thousand upvotes.

User MkVsTheWorld agreed that taking care of your teeth should be high on the to-do list, sharing their harrowing experience.

“[I] skipped regular check ups for 3 years and when I went back for a checkup I had 6 spots that needed filling. (...) One of the cavities ended up being so deep on a molar that I had to later get a root canal, get a crown on it, then an extraction because that tooth cracked, and then finally an implant & crown. Start-to-finish, it took me 6-months to complete the repair.”

two men making a toast with drinks in front of a fire pitmen's black jacketPhoto by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash

The advice from the not-quite-elders ranged over topics from finances to relationships to drinking and drugs, with the 30-plus crowd often coming down on both sides of a given topic.

User humancanvas79 regretted not doing psychedelics, while user fin425 advised “Quit drinking. Alcohol sucks and it’s really bad for you.”

three students studying on their laptops at a tablethree people sitting in front of table laughing togetherPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Education was a recurring theme in the comments. The importance of education itself was generally agreed upon, but two opposing views about how to approach it emerged.

User JoeyTepes wishes they had put more thought into the specifics of their education:

“I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college, buthad no idea what I was doing when I got there. I wish I had planned out my major inadvance, and done a better job of networking in order to get a better job when I graduated.”

User wagedomain took the opposite view:

“I went into college knowing what I wanted to do (writing, probably journalism). I dedicated a LOT of time to it, and learned a lot,” they shared, going on to say, “But I do feel like I missed part of the college experience. (...) I didn't go to any parties, didn't make any lasting friendships, didn't really "experience" things even like movie nights or shows.”

person walking across a wooden bridgerunning man on bridgePhoto by Fabio Comparelli on Unsplash

User lovemydogwillow shared information from their thesis on the topic of regret. “The overwhelming finding was that regret for things that you fail to do (...) stick with you much more than regrets for things you did (...).”

Findings supported by a 2009 paper published by Frederick Leach and Jason Plaks and any number of other comments, including one by user TraditionPast4295. “My friends and I talked about doing a 2-3 week Europe trip back in our 20s. “Oh maybe next year”. Eventually jobs, bills and families put all that to rest.”


User nycmonkey didn’t offer specific advice but spoke to the question itself. “[You’re asking] the right question. Your regrets are usually due to not doing something you could've controlled. The answer to your question is put yourself out there and go do."


Joy

Shelter dog doesn't know what to do with her first toy but melts when offered affection

The stray pup's smelly, itchy skin condition didn't stop Rocky Kanaka from scooping the sweet girl into his arms.

Rocky Kanaka/YouTube (used with permission)

Katie's had a rough life so far, but she's starting to get the care she needs.

When Rocky Kanaka first met Katie, a scruffy beige Australian Shepherd mix, he thought she was a senior dog. As it turned out, the shelter pup was only about a year old. She had just been found by a good samaritan as a stray, her fur and skin in terrible shape, her paws swollen and her spirit muted. She didn't even want to look at Kanaka when he first entered the kennel to sit with her.

That all changed as he took the time to sit with her and earn her trust. Kanaka has gained a huge following on YouTube with his videos sitting with shelter dogs, and his way with them is truly inspiring. He brings his own home-baked treats and a huge amount of patience and compassion, helping abandoned animals learn that humans can be kind and caring companions.

Katie is one of many dogs Kanaka has visited, and her behavior in the kennel showed him that she hadn't had much of a chance in her short life to learn how to be a dog.


For instance, when Kanaka offered her a stuffed unicorn to play with, she didn't know what to do with it. He tried a squeaky toy, which she also didn't know what to do with and found overwhelming after a few squeaks. She took Kanaka's treats, but not immediately and not in the way a dog who understands the concept of treats would.

But throughout the video, the stray pup responded to Kanaka's affection and love by melting right into it. She even wanted to sit in his lap toward the end, but didn't seem to know how. Kanaka scooped her up, despite the foul smell her skin condition created, and it's clear that this pupper just loves being loved.

Watch:

It's hard for animals with obvious health issues, especially something as visible as a skin condition that makes them look and smell bad, to attract people looking to adopt. But by taking half an hour to get to know her, Kanaka helped us all look past all that and see Katie's sweet spirit shine through.

So many people fell in head over heels for Katie through this video:

"OMG, The person who gets her will have the best dog as she is so obviously starved for affection and so willing to give it back ten fold."

"That dog doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body. she was instantly ready for you to pet her."

"Her little tail wag broke my heart for what’s she’s been through but also lifted my spirits that she has a strength to survive and become a loved family member."

"It's shocking how neglected she looks but her desire to be loved is so strong. She's going to bring such joy to her forever home."

"I consider myself somewhat of a tough guy.... I'm from the streets, had a crazy hard life, i did 9 yrs in prison, seen it all, done it all and ain't scared of nothing... I'm telling you that because in spite all that, when i see videos like this, i start crying like a 5 yr old girl...Goes to show you that what life has done to them, we can relate, and we see it in animals that have been hurt by others and part if me wants to knock out someone that would hurt a dog or kitty like that. Animals bring out the love and compassion we've forgotten because we know they're teaching us what we definitely need to learn. What is truly considered, unconditional love...."

Rocky Kanaka's work with dogs is both inspiring and informative, and he's succeeded in helping so many dogs find forever homes instead of languishing in shelters because they don't make the best first impression. Not long after this video aired, Katie was rescued and will hopefully continue to get the tender care and kindness she deserves.

Follow Katie's journey on Kanaka's website here. You can also follow Rocky Kanaka's channels on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.