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Adrienne Bailon-Houghton reveals the frustrating reality of surrogacy with a message to moms

"Your journey to motherhood is your journey."

Adrienne Bailon-Houghton; infertility; miscarriage; IVF journey; surrogate pregnancy

Adrienne Bailon-Houghton talks about the reality of surrogacy.

No matter how you become a mother, the journey is worth it. But oftentimes people omit the negative parts for many reasons, whether it's a desire to not make people feel bad for them or to not appear ungrateful. Thankfully, the taboo around the hard topics of infertility and pregnancy have been lifting, and people are feeling more free to express themselves.

Recently, Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, former co-star of "The Cheetah Girls" and co-host of "The Real," revealed her own struggles with infertility and the mixed feelings that came along with it. While we know Bailon-Houghton eventually welcomed a son, Ever James, via surrogate, this is the first time we've heard the unexpected revelation of the new mom feeling frustrated by the surrogacy process.

During the time leading up to finding a surrogate, Bailon-Houghton and her husband, Isreal Houghton, tried to conceive for six years.


When people dream about having a baby, the thought of an extended infertility journey likely isn't something that's top of mind. It seems like a lot of people get pregnant just from sitting near someone on a city bus, so the idea that it may take years to finally welcome your own child feels unbelievable. But for some, that's a reality, and Bailon-Houghton is sharing what that has been like for her.

The actor has been open more recently about experiencing eight miscarriages and attempting IVF, which turned out to also be unsuccessful. Bailon-Houghton told Today.com that she didn't know that infertility was going to be part of her journey.

"I mean, I should have known initially when I did my (first) egg retrieval. My girlfriend was doing it at the same time as me and she got 18 eggs. When I did my retrieval, I got four," Bailon-Houghton shared with the outlet.

The former talk show co-host went on to explain that up until that point in her life she had never heard of a failed cycle, but sadly, all four of Bailon-Houghton's fertilized eggs were not viable to be transferred. After multiple failed IVF attempts, the couple was told that they had one fertilized egg left, and their doctor suggested surrogacy, according to People.

The surrogate got pregnant on the first attempt at implantation and the countdown to her son's birthday began. But for Bailon-Houghton, she was having some unexpected emotions around surrogacy. The actor told Today.com that she felt robbed of the experience of carrying a child.

"It sounds so stupid—so superficial," she said to Today.com. "But I felt robbed of maternity photos. I wanted to feel the movement of a baby inside me. I wanted my husband to experience my pregnant body. I imagined my son being born, and now had other people in this room that were not a part of what I imagined."

Feeling frustrated or even angry about the journey of surrogacy is likely more common than people realize, so it's refreshing to hear someone talk about those complicated emotions. And it turns out, Bailon-Houghton wasn't down to just one egg as her doctor believed. After more testing, it was discovered that she had five more eggs left, according to People, and she plans on trying to carry them herself.

The star had some words of encouragement for moms who may be experiencing infertility.

"Your journey to motherhood is your journey," Bailon-Houghton told Today.com. "No one can rob you of that—infertility can't even rob you of that. Ask yourself: 'Why do you have the desire to be a mom so deeply?' Ultimately, it comes down to love. So if your ultimate goal is motherhood, keep your eye on that and don't worry about what happens during the process."

But her encouragement didn't stop there. The new mom and her husband started the Faith and Familia Foundation, which helps other couples struggling with infertility with money for IVF so they can start their families.

Watch her interview with Hoda and Jenna below:

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O Organics make eating organic affordable

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Friendsgiving might have started as a novel alternative to Thanksgiving, but today it’s an American holiday in its own right.

For many, especially millennials and Gen Zers, Friendsgiving offers an opportunity to get creative with their celebrations without being obligated to outdated, even problematic traditions or having to break the bank.

However, some of us might not want to go to the extreme of only having pizza and beer. What if there were a way to balance the decadence of a traditional Thanksgiving meal while still keeping it easy and laid-back? And could we make it healthy too?

As it turns out, we can.

Here’s a super simple breakdown of what your next Friendsgiving prep could look like. An appetizer, salad, side, entree, and dessert. All done in an hour—even quicker if you assign certain dishes to different partygoers. #spreadsheetsrule

But wait, it gets better—all of these meals can be made organic at an affordable price, using O Organics® at Albertsons. O Organics helps shoppers find quality ingredients at reasonable prices every day of the year. Friendsgiving is no different.

Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Appetizer: Charcuterie Board


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Nothing quite hits like the fancy, grown-up version of Lunchables. Crackers, meats, cheeses, and various fancy toppings that can be combined in endless ways. The easiest form of culinary creativity there is.

You already know how to make one of these bad boys, but here’s a basic template if you’re needing a dose of inspo:

Meats: Some tasty choices here are salami, prosciutto, sausage, etc. I made a smaller-scale board and decided to go with salami. If you or your friends aren’t a fan of pork, sliced turkey or smoked salmon are some yummy alternatives.

Cheese: The possibilities are endless here. You can even opt for a dairy-free cheese option!

Bread or Crackers: Artfully arranged. Speedily snacked upon. Some O Organics options here and here.

Fillers: this is where the charcuterie really shines. Fill in the spaces with splashes of color and flavor. Be sure to go for both savory and sweet. That means olives, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, nuts, and a vibrant array of fresh or dried fruit. A yummy fruit spread doesn’t hurt either.

Time: 5 min

Salad: Squash And Feta Salad

Ingredients:

(3-4 servings)

1 small red onion (O Organics sells them in a bag)

1 bag O Organics frozen Butternut Squash

6 cups fresh O Organics spinach, arugula, kale, or whatever salad green you like

1/4 cup O Organics pecans

1/4 cup O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil

O Organics Lemon and Olive Oil Salad Dressing

CrumbledO Organics Goat Cheese

Salt and pepper

Chop some onions. Sautee them in olive oil. Add a bag of frozen squash. Dress some salad greens with dressing. Add the onions and squash. Top with pecans, cheese, salt and pepper. Badda bing badda boom.

Time: 10 minutes

Side: Autumn Seasoned Air Fryer “Roasted” Potatoes

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As any millennial will tell you, we love our air fryers. Nothing quite ticks all the quick, easy and healthy boxes quite like one. And if you haven’t yet had a perfectly crispy on the outside, buttery soft on the inside air fryer potato, then what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

One 3 pound bag of O Organics red or russet potatoes—honestly any potato will do

2 Tablespoons O Organics olive oil

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

That’s it. No really.

Cut potatoes into one-inch pieces. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle seasoning. Cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Toss the potatoes in the basket and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender and crisp.

Time: 20 minutes. TOPS.

Entree: Coconut Chicken Curry

cravingsomethinghealthy.com

Because who needs turkey? This one pot piéce de rèsistance is the very essence of Friendsgiving—unique, versatile and not without a little spice.

Being the entree, this dish calls for a few more ingredients, but is honestly not much more demanding. You’re basically looking at 15 minutes for prep, and about 30 minutes to simmer.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon O Organics olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 teaspoons ginger minced

2 teaspoons green curry paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups O Organics Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

1 15-ounce can O Organics full-fat coconut milk

2 ½ cups O Organics cooked chicken breast

1 8.8 ounce package O Organics 7 Grains & Lentils Blend

1 16 ounce bag of O Organics frozen peas

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Lime juice

Cilantro

Chopped O Organics cashews to garnish

Using a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), saute the onion and ginger in olive oil over medium heat, for about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste and curry powder and saute for one more minute.

Add the Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth and the diced sweet potato. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and catch up with friends for 20 minutes while the dish simmers.

When the sweet potato is tender, shake the can of coconut milk well and pour it into the pot. Add the chicken, 7 Grains & Lentils Blend, and peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for another 10 minutes.

Congrats! You are finished. You can add salt, lime juice, cilantro, extra curry powder/paste, or garnish with roasted cashews. Each bowl is customizable.

Time: 40 min

Dessert: Holiday Kettle Corn Bark

onbetterliving.com

Of course, you can always opt for pie, but sometimes people might want to opt for something a bit more bite-sized when it comes to desserts—especially after a hefty meal. This sweet and salty finger food does the trick quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 bag (6 oz) O Organics Kettle Corn Organic Popcorn (about 9 cups)

1 bag (10 oz) O Organics Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

8 oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 cup pistachios, roasted and salted

2/3 cup O Organics Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp O Organics Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp salt

Line a 12x17-inch baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spread kettle corn on the lined baking sheet in one thin single layer. Put the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate evenly over kettle corn, reserving about a 1/3 cup for finishing touches. Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the kettle corn evenly.

Follow the same melting instructions for the white chocolate, then drizzle evenly over the kettle corn. You can follow with any remaining semi-sweet chocolate for a layered effect. Let the kettle corn stand for 5 minutes.

Place the kettle corn bark in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Once the bark has hardened, break into pieces.

Time: 20 minutes.

OR…if you want to make life even easier…just grab some pints of ice cream and call it a day. No judgment here.

Time: literally a few seconds to open the freezer and grab some bowls.

And there you have—a no muss, no fuss, healthy and affordable Friendsgiving spread. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your chosen family.

Get to your nearest Albertsons today and find everything you need to make these yummy dishes! No Albertsons in your area? You can also find O Organics products exclusively at Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, and Pavilions.

Teacher Lisa Conselatore isn't holding back.

A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 87% of public schools say the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted students' socio-emotional development. Respondents have also said there has been a significant increase in student misconduct.

However, a teacher with 24 years of experience in the U.S. and abroad believes we are misplacing blame for this rise in misconduct. In a viral TikTok video with over 480,000 views, Lisa Conselatore claims that the big problem isn’t the pandemic but modern parenting.

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Some people would like for "alpha male podcasts" to go away in 2024.

The year 2024 approaches, and with it the promise of "out with the old, in with the new."

But sometimes, it's not just unsavory personal habits that need throwing out in the new year. But rather, things that fall in to a more collective category. Those common, everyday societal norms that simply don't do humanity today any favors…and are downright annoying.

Clearly folks have been contemplating this subject, because when Reddit user u/MustPlayVR recently asked "What needs to die out in 2024?" there were plenty of passionate answers. Luckily, we've gathered some of the notable highlight to save you from scrolling.

What's really interesting that a huge majority of the comments reflect major themes of 2023—frustrations with with an imbalance of corporate power, a disillusionment with social media and technology and a general desire to get back to a more authentic way of living.

Check out these 20 common things that people are ready to 'die out' in 2024, and you'll see what we mean:

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Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.
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People reading at the Gothenburg City Library in Sweden.

Basketball coaching legend John Wooden once famously said, "The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching," and he has a great point. It’s one thing to do what’s right when you are afraid you’ll be punished for doing the wrong thing by an authority figure. It’s another to do the right thing because your peers will applaud you.

But the highest moral good is doing what’s right when no one is watching because that’s doing good for its own sake.

A story out of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that in that community, the patrons of its library know a little something about doing good just because it’s the right thing to do.

On November 4, the Gothenburg City Library was closed for All Saints Day. The day is a holiday dedicated to remembering loved ones who passed by lighting a candle on their graves, or spending time with family and having a festive meal.

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Joy

There are over 30 years between these amazing before-and-after photos.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile."

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Before and after photos separated by 30 years.


Chris Porsz was tired of studying sociology.

As a university student in the 1970s, he found the talk of economics and statistics completely mind-numbing. So instead, he says, he roamed the streets of his hometown of Peterborough, England, with a camera in hand, snapping pictures of the people he met and listening to their stories. To him, it was a far better way to understand the world.

He always looked for the most eccentric people he could find, anyone who stood out from the crowd. Sometimes he'd snap a single picture of that person and walk away. Other times he'd have lengthy conversations with these strangers.

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And while her personal regimen might be a little too ambitious for most of us, she's still inspiring—because she keeps it real.

An image she posted on her blog is going viral for pointing out that focusing on your weight is a misleading goal. The before-and-after pic shows her before she started lifting and after—a complete physical transformation which resulted in a staggering one pound of weight loss.

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