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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
All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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