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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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A dad took his daughter on a trip, just the 2 of them, and wrote down what he learned.

Sometime late last year, I found some spare time in my work schedule.

My daughter was slightly more than 2 years old, and I noticed her awareness of her world had gotten more astute. I always have this desire of imparting my experience and knowledge to her, and the best way in my opinion isn’t telling her, but to show her the world myself.

I realized I had this block of eight days available in front of me, and I promptly bought air tickets for the following day, Christmas Eve.



That's her on the flight. She always prefers the window seat. All photos by Stefen Chow, used with permission.

We didn’t bring mum with us as she needed to work, so it became a great excuse for a mini adventure for father and daughter.

The rules were simple.

  • I wanted it to feel casual, rugged, and roughly planned. I made it a rule to reserve rooms one day in advance, so it kept the itinerary spontaneous and fluid.
  • I wanted to stay away from bigger cities as I wanted to spend isolated time with my daughter and not just go on a usual tourist route.
  • I vowed to keep an open mind and also to allow my little one to dictate how the trip went, too.

In a nutshell, I think it was one of the best trips I had in my life and definitely one to remember with my daughter.

We ended up cycling along the eastern coast of Taiwan, hung out with baby animals on a farm, went onto the boats of fishermen, chased trains, climbed hills, sheltered together from a storm, and had more giggles than tantrums.

Christmas Dinner Special in Hua Lien, Taiwan.

This is what I learned:

— Toddlers have sophisticated methods of communication.

They are way smarter, more emphatic, and more understanding than I initially thought. I found that it was far easier to communicate with my daughter using adult language and rationale. We were together in a strange land, and often that put both of us out of our comfort zones. The sooner we realized we were an equal team and needed to depend on each other for moral support and affirmation, the faster the situation improved.

Little Chow figured out why buskers do the performances they do, and she became eager to give them money each time.

"Wives and mothers, if you want your partner to understand how it feels to be one, convince your husband to take a trip with the child without you."

— Most fears were unfounded.

When I first mentioned this trip to my friends and family, the first questions (and assumptions) I got were "How will she get her afternoon nap?" "The child needs her mother!" "This is not normal routine for her; she can do it when she is much older!" I suppose these are valid reasons, but we also find ourselves living in an increasingly protected world where everything from forks to table edges to flooring has been designed for child safety and marketed to the fears of parents. The problem is that we need to take a little leap of faith for interesting life experiences. (As long as there is adult supervision!)

Little Chow attempts to climb down some stairs while balancing a precious lollipop in her hand at the same time.

— It is better for the world to center around the parents, not around the children.

In Asia, there is a tendency to give everything you have to your child. And in Beijing, where I live, I see a lot of parents making sacrifices for their children, yet I see the children becoming spoiled and pampered at a relatively young age. I couldn’t stand seeing 3- or 5-year-olds slapping their parents and grandparents in public, and I certainly don’t want my child behaving that way. By taking her to different environments and experiencing different facets Taiwan had to offer, she quickly learned to adapt to our kind of world.


Little Chow loves her watermelon. Just like her father.

— It is an incredible experience for the father.

Really. I didn’t experience the nine and a half months of having something in my stomach, and though I always acted as a cheerleader by my wife’s side, I think I felt left out of the overall experience. My daughter naturally sticks to her mum more, and her father is always a second option or a third. On a dedicated trip out there with my little one with minimal distractions, I finally had the opportunity to be a full parent.

There are times she can be a little naughty. Perfectly normal and mostly tolerable. I always remind myself that this is a trip I will never forget.

— It makes you appreciate your life partner a lot more.

I still don’t know how mums do it, but I have deeper appreciation for them now. Wives and mothers, if you want your partner to understand how it feels to be one, convince your husband to take a trip with the child without you. Suddenly we are aware of every single thing that happens — the two signals before she gets into a tantrum or when a quiet "yes" means a "no." It is the little things that men (OK, maybe just me) miss out on with a toddler.

She really loves the ocean. I showed her where we were on a map and realized if you could look straight ahead far enough, you would see the west coast of the United States of America.

— It builds a lasting friendship.

My daughter and I had a very healthy relationship before this, but the trip really made us appreciate each other more. Since the trip, I feel that we are able to draw common memories and experiences, and it has certainly brought us closer together. Mummy agrees, so that’s a good thing.

Sponsored

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

Millennials and Gen Z ditch top sheet to the dismay of Boomers


Once again the youngins are flabbergasting the older generations with their disregard of things they deem unnecessary. There's always something that gets dropped or altered generation to generation. We learn better ways or technology makes certain things obsolete. But it doesn't matter how far we've come, our beds still need sheets to cover the mattress.

The debate is on the use of top sheets, also known as flat sheets. They're the sheets that keep your body from touching the comforter, most Gen X and Boomers are firmly for the use of top sheets as a hygiene practice. The idea being that the top sheet keeps your dead skin cells and body oils from dirtying your comforter, causing you to have to wash it more often.

Apparently Millennials and Gen Zers are uninterested in using a top sheet while sleeping. In fact, they'd rather just get a duvet cover, though they may be cumbersome. A duvet cover can be washed fairly frequently, while some may opt for a cheeper comforter that they don't care is washed often because their distain for a top sheet is that strong.


But why on earth do Millennials and Gen Zers hate top sheets? It turns out it's mostly about practicality. Many Millennials are on the move holding a full time job and a side hustle or two to make ends meet, adding and extra step when making the bed seems unnecessary.

“For a younger demographic, eliminating that step when making the bed in the morning really gives you a jump start on the day," Ariel Kay, CEO of Parachute tells Wall Street Journal.

Parachute is a company that offers bedding sets sans top sheets for folks that just don't like them and boy has Kay heard everyone's unsolicited opinions on the matter. She told WSJ that people will stop her on the street to get into debates about the importance or unimportance of top sheets. Yikes.

In a since deleted tweet, @JesseLynnHarte writes, "People say millennials “killed” chain restaurants, marriage, & napkins... But WHEN will they acknowledge our greatest take-down yet?? TOP SHEETS. I don’t know a single millennial who uses one. Top sheets are archaic. This is just the truth."

It would seem that Millennials and Gen Z would much rather wash their duvet covers weekly than to add a flat sheet into the mix. One big complaint about the flat sheet that adds another con to the list is they get bunched up or tangled around your legs if you're a restless sleeper. Not everyone likes hotel tucked corners on their sheets because it can feel confining.

But if you run hot, Boomers and Gen Xers have got the thing for you–a top sheet. It would seem that that thin piece of material that irritates some people can act as a sort of temperature control according to USA Today. Even if you don't tend to need the cooling effect of a top sheet, what Mary Johnson, Tide Principal Scientist at Procter & Gamble has to say in a USA Today follow up article, just may make you rethink ditching the top sheet.

Simply by existing, "people produce one liter of sweat, 40 grams of sebum, 10 grams of salt, and 2 billion skin cells. All that stuff that happens below the waist [and] up by your head—skincare products, hair care products, ear wax, snot, drool, lots of really gross stuff—is transferred to your sheets," Johnson tells the outlet.

So whether you're team top sheet or not, it may be a good idea to at least wash whatever you use to cover your bed at least once a week.


This article originally appeared on 3.19.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Joy

Bob Ross once shared the joy of painting to a colorblind viewer using only black and white

"Let your imagination just wander around while you're doing these things."

Video pulled from YouTube video.

Bob Ross paints for a colorblind fan.

The soft sound of slow-moving water down a creek. The smell of fresh coffee roasting in the morning. A thick blanket resting across your lap during the first snowfall of winter.

Sure, you might find these things soothing. But none of them — none of them — compares to watching (and listening to) Bob Ross paint.



In case you've never experienced Ross, he's that "soft spoken guy painting happy clouds, mountains, and trees in about 26 television minutes," as his website explains. And if you think that sounds boring, well, you're wrong. It's one magical half-hour of television euphoria. End of discussion.

Ross died back in 1995 (rest in peace, Bob), but you can still catch his show, "The Joy of Painting," on TV from time-to-time (or you can binge watch it on YouTube after a rough day at work). His website claims it's the "most recognized, most watched TV art show in history." And who could argue with that? No one. No one, I tell you.

Although it's been more than two decades since Ross' show was canceled, one episode recently resurfaced online.

An especially old one — episode four of season two — made its way onto the front page of Reddit on Sept. 1, 2015. It begins like any other: Ross smiling brightly next to a blank canvas, ready to take us on an endorphin-filled visual journey.

But then, plot twist, as Ross explains, this episode won't be quite as colorful as the others...

"Anyone can paint." (I wish he could give me Monday morning pep talks every week.)

In case you want to print out that quote and hang it on your wall or something (we could all use a little more Bob-spiration, after all), here it is in its entirety:

"Just recently I was doing a demonstration in a mall, and I had a man come to me and he said, 'Bob, I could never paint because I'm colorblind. All I can see is gray tones.' So I thought today we'd do a picture in gray just to show you that anyone can paint."
50 shades of gray, master painter, Bob Ross, soothing voice

Ross shares his joy through his painting.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Ross had a wonderful habit of reminding viewers that art is for everyone.

While his talents were extraordinary, Ross never made viewers feel like they couldn't create their own beautiful works of art, too.

The colorblind fan could have had achromatopsia — a condition that affects roughly 1 in every 33,000 Americans by limiting their vision to see only in grayscale. But Ross was determined to make painting — an activity seemingly dependent on color — an accessible art form for him: "Any color will work, as long as you use the basic method."

In the episode, Ross goes on to paint his own version of 50 shades of gray, masterfully creating rocky mountains behind a wintry sky.

As Ross explains, he only used various hues of browns and blues mixed together (which end up coming through as various grays), along with white.

“Isn't that fantastic? That you can make whole mountains in minutes? And you can do it. There's no big secret to it. All you need is a dream in your heart."

Bob Ross was incredible.

Not only at painting (and assuring me with that soothing voice that the world is a wonderful place), but at helping everyone feel good about themselves and their own abilities. Thank you, Bob.

Check out the whole episode below:

This article originally appeared on 09.01.15


Photo by Katerina Holmes|Canva

Mom in tears after another parent calls about daughter's lunch


People say having children is like having your heart walk around outside of your body. You send them off to school, practices or playdates and hope that the world treats them kindly because when they hurt, you hurt. Inevitably there will be times when your child's feelings are hurt so you do your best to prepare for that day.

But what prepares you for when the child you love so much winds up accidentally healing your inner child. A mom on TikTok, who goes by Soogia posted a video explaining a phone call she received from a parent in her daughter's classroom. The mom called to inform Soogia that their kids had been sharing lunch with each other.

Soogia wasn't prepared for what came next. The classmate's mother informed her that her son loves the food Soogia's daughter brings to school and wanted to learn how to cook it too.


That may seem like a small thing to some, but the small gesture healed a little bit of Soogia's inner child. Growing up as a Korean kid in California, Soogia's experience was a bit different than what her children are now experiencing.

"I guess I just never thought that my kids would be the generation of kids that could go to school and not only just proudly eat, but share their food with other kids that were just so open and accepting to it," Soogia says through tears. "Knowing that they don't sit there eating their food, feeling ashamed and wishing that their fried rice was a bagel instead or something like that. And I know, it sounds so small and it sounds so stupid, but knowing their experience at school is so different from mine in such a positive way is just so hopeful."

Soogia's tearful video pulled on the heartstrings of her viewers who shared their thoughts in the comments.

"Soogia! It will never be small. Your culture is beautiful & the littles are seeing that every day. You've even taught me so much. I'm grateful for you," one person says.

"Beautiful! I can see your inner child healing in so many ways," another writes.

"Welp. Now I'm sobbing at the airport. This is beautiful," someone reveals.

"These Gen Alpha babies really are a different, kinder generation. I love them so much," one commenter gushes.

You can hear the entire story below. You may want to grab a tissue.

@soogia1

These kids, man. They’re really something else. #culturalappreciation #breakingbread #sharing #

This article originally appeared on 3.23.24

Democracy

Under French law, businesses can’t email employees after work hours

In France, there’s a rule against emailing employees on the weekend.

Image via Pixabay.

France is famous for protecting its employees.

Nothing can ruin a relaxing weekend or holiday like an email from the office. Even if there's no need to take action until Monday, the unwanted intrusion of professional life can really suck the joy out of a Sunday afternoon barbecue.

That's why the country that's famous for giving its employees 30 days off a year and 16 weeks of full-paid family leave in May 2016 made itself even cooler with its new "right to disconnect" rule.


In France, if you're a company of 50 employees or more, you cannot email an employee after typical work hours. The labor law amendment has come about because studies show that in the digital age, it's increasingly difficult for people to distance themselves from the workplace during their off hours.

This new provision allows people to get the full advantage of their time off.

culture, France, labor laws, emails

France Kiss GIF by Robert E Blackmon.

Giphy by Robert E. Blackmon.

"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant," Benoit Hamon of the French National Assembly told the BBC. "Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash — like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails — they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down."

The rule stipulates that companies must negotiate policies that limit the spillover of work into their employees' private lives. Although there are no penalties for violations, companies are to establish "charters of good conduct" that specify the times which employees are free from being digitally connected to their workplaces.

This right to disconnect amendment was passed as part of a controversial French labor law that some say will weaken unions and enhance employee job insecurity. The digital disconnect amendment was the one part of the law that's been viewed favorably by the French public.

This article originally appeared on 11.12.17



What are women up to when no one is watching?


Artwork courtesy of Sally Nixon, used with permission.

Well, take a look at Sally Nixon's illustrations and you'll see.



The subjects in her artwork aren't aware we're looking at them.

And that's the point. They're living in a world free from the pressures that exist in the real one.

"I like drawing girls doing their everyday routine — just hanging out, not worried about what others are thinking," Nixon told Upworthy. "They're usually alone or with other girls. Their guard is down."

Editor's note: An image below contains partial nudity.

Capturing her subjects in this liberated light wasn't intentional at first, she explained.

But when she started a 365-day challenge last April to create one art piece a day, the work started reflecting the nuances of her own life away from prying eyes — "I was kind of like, 'Oh, I'm brushing my teeth, so I'll draw that.'" — and a theme began to form.Her illustrations show how women look, away from the exhausting world where they're often judged more harshly than men.

You also might notice none of the girls in her illustrations are smiling.

According to Nixon, that's a deliberate choice.

"I don't sit around smiling to myself," Nixon said, noting the double standard that exists in thinking women should always appear cheerful.

"I've been told, 'You need to smile more.' It's so infuriating. I wanted to show the way girls actually look, comfortably."

The theme of friendship is also an important one in Nixon's drawings.

“I have four older sisters, so female friendship has always been a big part of my life," Nixon told The Huffington Post. “You gotta have someone to talk about periods with, and dudes just don't get it."

Creating relatable scenes was key to Nixon, too — from the details of women's lives to the physical shapes of their bodies.

“It's important that the women I draw aren't rail thin with huge boobs," Nixon said. “I think there are enough images of bodies like that out in the world. The ladies I draw typically have small-ish, droopy breasts and thick thighs. They're kind of lumpy but in an attractive way. Just like real people."

The women in Nixon's work aren't real, but she hopes their stories are.

"One of my absolute favorite comments [on my work] is, 'Oh my God, it's me!'" she explained of the depictions.

"There's a little bit of beauty in [everyday life] and I wanted to bring that out."

You can view more of Nixon's artwork on her website and check out her prints for purchase on Etsy.


This article originally appeared on 04.15.16