31 Days of Happiness Countdown: 7 reasons to just give in to Fionamania already. (Day 27)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 27 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

From the moment Fiona the hippo was born at the Cincinnati Zoo, she was a social media star.

The tiniest, newest, cutest little hippo had arrived at a cosmically necessary time in January 2017, three days after Donald Trump's inauguration but six weeks before her due date. There was Fiona merch. A reality show. A lavish New York Times profile that wordplays off "hippo" with "Hooray." An impressive-sounding book deal was practically an inevitability.


If you're anything like me, though, you spent much of the year resisting Fiona's charms.

I mean — she's clearly adorable, and, sure, she's a legit survivor. But like pumpkin spice lattes, millennial pink, and "Despacito," she was everywhere. Basic. Too easy to love in a really hard year.

Then, one night, just after Danica Roem defeated Virginia's "chief homophobe," I found myself feeling dangerously hopeful. So when a video of Fiona floating away like a queen with more pressing obligations popped up in my Instagram feed, I watched to the very end.

Then I let myself watch one more. And another.

(I think we all know what happened next.)

What did I learn from my first Fiona binge-watch sesh?

It's totally fine to indulge our most basic obsessions sometimes. Even pumpkin spice lattes can come in a sorta, kinda radical package.

If you've somehow managed to make it this far into 2017 without falling head over heels for the baby hippo in Ohio — or if you're already converted and are just desperate for a fix — I've got seven reasons to let go already and love Fiona.

(I swear, none of them have to do with how gosh-darn cute she is.)

1. Fiona isn't easily delighted by anything. Not even bubbles.‌‌

2. Baby hippos grow up to become surprisingly fierce beasts.

Fiona started perfecting her "don't bother me, I'm reading" grunt early.

3. Fiona's got family #dramz like the rest of us.

Her dad, Bibi, hadn't been feeling too hot, so he was kept away from Fiona for a long time. But their epic nuzzle-fest of a reunion might inspire you to ring up anyone who's ever ghosted you to make sure they're OK.

4. Fiona carries on the tradition of hippo women of yore, who were also fabulous.

The ancient Egyptian goddess Tawaret was, as BuzzFeed News so aptly put it, "a gloriously topless part-hippo, part-human, part-crocodile protectress of pregnant women and unborn children." Fiona obviously knows what she's working with.

Turn your sound on for the Fiona ballet. Keep in mind that with the cooler temperatures upon us that the hippos can only go outside if it's 50 degrees or above. It's always a good idea to the check the Zoo Today page on our website before visiting to see all zoo updates for the day. http://cincinnatizoo.org/zoo-today/

Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Thursday, October 26, 2017

5. Her stance on bubbles is unrelenting.

6. As Fiona grows, she's being cheered on for getting stronger and healthier.

We're told that she's well on her way to being as tough as her mama — and not a focus on being as sweet or pretty. This can only be a good thing for human girls (not to mention the rest of us) to hear more about.

7. But only one thing finally made me succumb to Fionamania...

I'm betting it'll wear you down too. And it has nothing to do with how rapidly she became a beacon of hope to millions of people, photo-bombing their engagement photos, waving at them, or blessing them with "kisses."

The truth is that Fiona's just living her best life, and she'll keep doing it with or without us.

Don't you want to learn how to do the same?

More days of happiness here: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5/ DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17/ DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / [DAY 27] / DAY 28 / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / DAY 31
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

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To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.