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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy and delight from around the internet.

10 things that made us smile this week

From Jennifer Garner's birthday surprise to good doggos meeting their baby sister, here are 10 things that will make you smile.

Do you ever feel like the world has officially entered hell-in-a-handbasket territory? Like division and hate are dominating and kindness and compassion are dwindling?

I have a strong faith in humanity, but the past handful of years has shaken that faith pretty hard. When I step back, though, I realize that most of my perception about the state of the world is coming from this electronic box in front of me. The nature of my work has me spending lots of time paying close attention to the media and spending lots of time on social media—which can be useful, but which also thrives on viral negativity. It's easy to walk away from a social media scroll session with the perception that people in general are getting worse.

But that's not what the data shows. While there are some serious issues we need to deal with, people in general have been actuallymore excellent to one another. In fact, the World Happiness Report, which uses data from Gallup World Poll, shared that people volunteered, donated and helped strangers 25% more in 2021 than before the pandemic. The report authors called it "a pandemic of benevolence."


Just let that shot of faith in humanity sink in. Don't fight it. It's a good thing, truly. Let's let it be good without trying to explain it away. It's OK to shift our focus from the negative to the positive. It's energizing. It gives us hope. It reminds us that there is always good happening in the world at the same time as the bad.

It's also OK to take a break from the headlines and indulge in some purely feel-good content. Those delightful little doses of endorphins from watching a cute animal or baby video can be just the thing we need to help us through the day. No shame in that game.

Let's celebrate good things large and small with these 10 smile-worthy tidbits from around the interwebs:

Jennifer Garner got the best birthday surprise from her childhood crush, Donny Osmond.

Jennifer Garner's relatability is legendary and totally evidenced in this video. The part where she had to take off her sweater is the best. Such a pure, sweet reaction to a dream come true. Read the full story here.

Cameron the Lyft driver's list of different drives he offers is hilariously genius.

Have you ever gotten into an Uber or Lyft or taxi and wished the driver would either talk more, or talk less, or stop talking, or talk about something else? Cameron lets his passengers choose what kind of ride they get, from the Small Talk Ride to the Therapy Ride to the Funny Ride to the Creepy Ride. One ride even involves bubbles. Read the full story here.

12-year-old raises more than $300,000 for Ukraine with his handmade wooden bowl.

Best story ever. Gabriel Clark's dad shared that his son was feeling down because kids had told him his woodworking habit wasn't cool. That tweet resulted in a flood of support and prompted Gabriel to create a special wooden bowl to raise money to help the children of Ukraine. So many people pulling together to support a sweet kid and those impacted by war. Definitely worth reading the whole story here.

Fox enjoying a little banjo concert in front of a stunning natural backdrop.

I mean, this is just beautiful in every way.

Golden retrievers Winston and Doug meet their baby sister for the first time, and awwww.

@winstonthegoodboygolden

Already the best big brothers 💛 I see lots of kisses & toys in Miller’s future! #dogmeetsbaby #petsoftiktok #goldenretriever #feelgood #ComeDanceWithMe

The donut got me.

Potato dog getting a bath.

No reason for sharing this other than it's just so darn cute. Oh, dat belly.

The original video that prompted a viral 'I JUST A BABY!' audio wave is just too much.

@little.blooming.women

Did. She. Stutter? #parenting #toddler #toddlersoftiktok

There are a gazillion videos on TikTok using this audio, but nothing compares to the original. These pandemic babies are something else, I tell you. (Also, "I JUST A BABY!!!" is now my excuse for doing anything I don't want to do, thankyouverymuch.)

Dad had no idea he was auditioning for "Britain's Got Talent," then brought the house down.

Sorry, this is both smile-worthy and tear-worthy, so you might want to grab a tissue before watching. So dang sweet.

Believe it or not, there really was a "pandemic of benevolence" in 2021.

The conclusion of the 2022 World Happiness Report ought to give you a boost of faith in humanity:

"Although our three measures of prosocial behaviour—donations, volunteering and helping strangers—had differing levels and trends, all showed increases in 2021 in every global region, often at remarkable rates not seen for any of the variables we have tracked before and during the pandemic.

Global benevolence, as measured by the average of the three measures of prosocial behaviour, has increased remarkably in 2021, up by almost 25% of its pre-pandemic level, led by the helping of strangers, but with strong growth also in donations and volunteering."

Read the full story here.

If you need a pep talk, let this 3-year-old's affirmations inspire you. 

Definitely want the sound up on this one. This is the kind of pump-up we all need to give ourselves each day. "I'M RUNNED OUT OF POWER BUT I CAN STILL MAKE IT DOWN DIS BIG HILL." Right on, little one.

Hope that brought many smiles to your face, friends! Come back next week for another roundup of joy and delight.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

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Kellogg's CEO tells people to eat cereal to save money

It doesn't matter if you're a single adult or married with children, there's nothing quite like having cereal for dinner or a late night snack once in a while.

Something about it feels nostalgic but it's also really easy to fall back on when you're too exhausted to cook a full meal. There's nothing wrong with grabbing a bowl of cereal for a meal outside of breakfast. You're feeding yourself or your family a food that contains some of the vitamins a body needs.

Maybe that's the thought process Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick was going with when he unintentionally sparked some serious backlash. Pilnick was interviewed by CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" discussing the cereal giant's new commercial featuring Tony the Tiger. The commercial itself isn't really the problem. It features a mom holding a box of cereal with kids excitedly awaiting their cereal for dinner chanting along with Tony the Tiger's call to eat the sweet meal.

The backlash came followeing Pilnick's comments about why his company felt the need to create a commercial advocating families eating cereal for diner.

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Technology is the single greatest contributor to climate change but it may also soon be used to offset the damage we've done to our planet since the Industrial Age began.

In September 2018, a project in Myanmar used drones to fire "seed missiles" into remote areas of the country where trees were not growing. Less than a year later, thousands of those seed missiles have sprouted into 20-inch mangrove saplings that could literally be a case study in how technology can be used to innovate our way out of the climate change crisis.

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Pop Culture

Monica Lewinsky reclaims the office power suit in new voting campaign

The activist teamed with apparel brand Reformation to combat voter frustration in a fabulous way.

Lewinsky partnered with Reformation for their "You've Got The Power" voting campaign

Monica Lewinsky knows a thing or two about reinvention.

The former White House intern became the source of media obsession after her affair with former President Bill Clinton become public. It solidified her place in history against her will, but through her actions since, Lewinsky has transformed her public persona into a feminist icon and champion of a powerful anti-bullying campaign.

Now, the 50-year-old Lewinsky is lending her household name to sustainable fashion brand Reformation and Vote.org in hopes to encourage people to vote this year.
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Pop Culture

Don't worry, Wendy's isn't raising prices during the busiest times. But changes are coming.

People were very upset after hearing that surge pricing may come to the local drive-thru.

A combo meal from Wendy's.

In a world where prices are continuously increasing, prominent companies are turning to surge pricing to raise prices even further during peak demand times. Uber charges people more for a ride when demand is high. Hotels have been changing prices based on demand for years and Amazon uses AI to keep prices constantly in flux.

Recently, Ticketmaster, known for charging high fees, has been charging customers even more for tickets as demand rises.

On Monday, February 26, news reports began circulating that Wendy’s, America's 5th most popular fast-food chain, would implement dynamic pricing at its restaurants. Many assumed that meant a Dave’s Double burger would cost an extra $3 during dinner time or medium fries would cost an extra buck during the lunch rush.

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Pop Culture

What is in its 'golden age' but not enough people know about it?

There's so much good out there if you know where to look.

Canva

From astronomy to knitting, some fields of human endeavor are having a heyday.

When you peruse the news headlines or dive into discussions on current events on social media, it's pretty easy to feel despondent. Doom and gloom sells, unfortunately, and our natural negativity bias that's meant to protect us can be overworked by a 24/7 bombardment of humanity's challenges.

There is an anecdote to all of that, though: Curating and cultivating the good. Sometimes it's just knowing where to look to find examples of problems being solved, discoveries being made, innovation taking huge leaps and other evidence that humans are moving our collective life forward in incredible ways.

Someone on Reddit asked, "What is currently in its 'Golden age,' but not enough people know about it?" and thousands of people responded. Reading through the answers is an enlightening and uplifting glimpse of things we might not personally be involved with but are happy to see having a heyday. Like, who wouldn't like to know that we're in a golden age of astronomy and paleontology. Space and dinosaurs? It's like realizing our 5-year-old selves' ideal future.

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