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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
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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