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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Bert and Ernie are gay just like I've been telling you forever.

Let me tell you how I feel whenever I see my favorite people's names trending on Twitter: Conflicted.

You know the feel? You log on to see which blue verified checkmarks are mad at each other today and you see that someone you've loved since your childhood (or are very into right now) is blowing up social media.

You want to click, but it's like "what if another one of my childhood heroes is dead?" or worse "what if another one of my childhood heroes is a truly terrible person and I now have to come to terms with that?"


And then some days you log onto Twitter and both Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street are trending separately and you think "I hope they've finally come out of the closet and are living the best little lives they can considering they are puppets who live in a basement."

Well, good news: According to a Sesame Street writer, Bert and Ernie are (officially) gay!

That's not just something I made up as an excuse to call all my friends to say "I told you so" this morning.

Mark Saltzman, one of Sesame Street's former writers, told Queerty that the relationship between the bright yellow puppet who just wants to chill and the bright orange puppet who loves playing the trumpet in the middle of the night* has always been more than platonic.

Saltzman told the outlet that he wrote the characters around his relationship with his late partner, famed editor Arnold Glassman.

"I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun," Saltzman said.

"And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.”

Saltzman, who says he identified more with Ernie (even though he looks more like a Bert), added " I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple."

Sesame Workshop's not on the same page, but what's the harm of letting Bert and Ernie be gay?

On Tuesday, the non-profit behind the show released a statement saying that Bert and Ernie have always been best friends.

While some praised the org for "clearing it up," others had important questions. Like why a gay relationship isn't appropriate for children to learn about. Or why we immediately have to reduce any romantic partnership to sex or "an agenda." After all, plenty of muppets have heterosexual significant others and no one bats an eye. (Why Bert and Ernie can't afford a two-bedroom is also a very good question.)

In a world where representation matters (a lot), it's important to remember that Bert and Ernie can teach kids more than one thing.

Of course, I'll also accept this very good take:

*That's how you know it wasn't just a "roommates" situation, by the way. I don't know about you, but no roommate I've ever had would hesitate to evict me if I played some kind of wind instrument at 3am. My husband on the other hand? He's got to put up with me.

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

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

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.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Women do better when they have female friends.

Madeleine Albright once said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It turns out that might actually be a hell on Earth, because women just do better when they have other women to rely on, and there's research that backs it up.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. "Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of 1-3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination," Brian Uzzi writes in the Harvard Business Review.

Part of the reason why women with strong women backing them up are more successful is because they can turn to their tribe for advice. Women have to face different challenges than men, such as unconscious bias, and being able to turn to other women who have had similar experiences can help you navigate a difficult situation. It's like having a road map for your goals.


It's interesting to note that women in leadership positions who lacked this style of support system didn't make as much as the women who did. "While women who had networks that most resembled those of successful men (i.e., centrality but no female inner circle) placed into leadership positions that were among the lowest in authority and pay," Uzzi writes. Men and women have different needs, and that even extends to their tribe.


But it's not just in the workplace. A 2006 study found that women who had 10 or more friends were more likely to survive the disease than women who lacked close friends. The study found socially isolated women were 64% more likely to die from cancer, and 43% more likely to have a breast cancer reoccurrence. Friendship is literally the best medicine.

Never underestimate the power of a group text with your girlfriends. Having a place to commiserate over sexism and support other women with goofy gifs when someone succeeds can enrich your life on all fronts.


This article originally appeared on 12.03.19

@a.millennialmama/TikTok

Luckily, this story has a happy ending.


Even for those who love the thrill of making vacation itineraries…it’s work. And obviously when the planning has to be done for an entire family, there’s even more effort needed to be put in. Imagine going through all the rigamarole of booking flights, hotels, rental cars, restaurant reservations, entertainment venues, last minute store runs for toiletries…without getting so much as a “thank you.”

Odds are you’d be a little miffed, even if planning is your thing.

This was the scenario that a mom Alexis Scott found herself in after planning a summer vacation for her husband and two teen children. Thankfully, the now-viral TikTok post venting her frustrations inspired several folks to give her some much deserved support.

In the video, Scott began, “I'm on a family vacation right now with my two teenagers and my husband. We flew in late last night. We think we got in at like 12:15 a.m. and headed to get a rental car and then got to our Airbnb. And I am frustrated.”

Scott had tried and tried to get any input from her family about what they might want to do, and each time got the same reply: “‘Whatever you want, mom. I don't care. Okay. I don't care.’”

“Great. Glad I'm planning this vacation for everybody to not care,” Scott lamented.

Still, she did the planning—cause someone had to do it. But as soon as the vacation started, all her decisions were met with complaints. From being called “cheap” for getting too small of an SUV rental car to being told “Mom is never going to be in charge of booking the Airbnb again. She can't even this, that and the other,’” after the family found out their AirBnb was three stories with quite a few stairs.

@a.millennialmama Gratitude goes a long way - especially on family vacation! #momsoftiktok #millennialmom #millennial #familyvacation #familyvacay #sos ♬ original sound - a.millennialmama

“Then this morning, we wake up and it's an urban setting. We live in a very quiet suburban setting and my husband's saying how he barely slept and this and that. And I'm just like, enough!” she said.

All of this happened within the first 24 hours of the trip. It’s easy to see why Scott needed to vent.

Her video concluded with:

I have been the only one to put in all the effort in planning this trip. And I know there's videos on mental load, but this is prime time example of me. I'm shouldering the mental load for my entire family and everybody has something to say about it. So, yeah, I'm frustrated. Please pray for me that we can all turn our attitudes around and have a great day.”

Down in the comments, viewers could totally empathize with Scott for feeling burnt out and disappointed.

“Oh gosh the mental load of planning every detail and then knowing is something goes wrong or isn't’ perfect it’s all on you. Been there,” one person shared.

Another added, “I tell my husband that I haven’t been on vacation since I was a child and he’s alway confused bc to him, ‘we’ go on vacation every year. Only other moms would understand what I mean.”

Many suggested that she do something for herself instead.

“Just Irish goodbye one morning, go to brunch alone, hit the spa or a pool and come home after dinner,” one person wrote.

“Go and do whatever you want to do!! Spa day sounds perfect and take yourself out for fabulous meals!!” echoed another.

On a positive note: this story does have a happy ending. In a follow-up video, Scott shared how she showed her family the TikTok video she made, and it did turn things around.

@a.millennialmama Replying to @thisisntaboutme 🍉🍉🍉 absolutelt no apology video… but they listened to my feelings and we have had a good day so far ❤️🙏🏼 #momsoftiktok #grateful #teenagers #millennial #millennialmom #vacation #travel ♬ original sound - a.millennialmama


“We have actually had a really, really great day today,” she said. “Everyone has had positive attitudes. I've heard a lot of thank yous and my kids have been buying their little side purchases with their own money and not even asking me to pay for it... but they have been really self-sufficient in that space.”

All in all, Scott recognizes that her family is “human,” and a big part of being human is apologizing when a mistake is made and moving forward.

“We love each other. This was a learning experience.”

By the way, Scott's entire TikTok is dedicated to relatable mom content. You can follow along here.

People name song lyrics they sang wrong.

We've all done it. If there is one common human experience, it's getting the lyrics wrong in a song. I refuse to believe that this isn't a universal thing that transpires in all countries, cultures and languages, and if you tell me otherwise I'll have no other choice than to believe you're lying. But there's something innocently hilarious about people learning that they've been singing the wrong words to popular songs. Someone in a Reddit community decided to ask the question that clearly a lot of people have been waiting to be asked: "What's a song lyric that you completely misheard for a while?"



The results were gold, obviously, because lots of lyrics are misheard and sung incorrectly until it's emblazoned into the part of your brain that's responsible for holding song lyrics. I remember hanging out with a friend and we were blasting "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis but when the part came when they sing "so we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us," my friend belted "so we put our hands up like the silly can holders." When I told her those weren't the words she insisted I was mishearing them, so I asked, "what the heck is a silly can holder?!"

misheard lyrics

Canva

Turns out my friend had no idea what a silly can holder was and we had a good laugh. The person on Reddit that asked people to share their misheard lyrics was likely just as entertained. Like when one user's misheard lyrics gave Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved" a very dark turn, because they heard and sang "ask her if she wants to stay alive" instead of "ask her if she wants to stay a while." Ma'am-sir, we're going to need to see what's in your trunk.

One person thought Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" said "Starbucks lovers" instead of "long list of ex-lovers" and honestly, it's pumpkin spice season, so Starbucks lovers kind of works. A couple of cozy sweaters, laptops and white cups with a weird mermaid that seems to be holding two tails in her hands could make a great rom-com opening.

Some unfortunate person thought Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much" lyrics were "I can't believe you kiss your cock goodnight." Now that's either NSFW or someone has a really close relationship with their rooster. Either way, those lyrics are unequivocally wrong because the actual words are, "I can't believe you kiss your car goodnight." Car! Sweet mother of pearl, I hope they weren't singing that in public.

Misheard lyrics.

Canva

Who remembers Dido? "White Flag" was definitely a bop in the early 2000s but this person thought the singer said "I will poke my eyes out and surrender." Let's hope they do in fact still have their eyes because the actual lyrics are, "And I won't put my hands up and surrender," which obviously makes much sense—bonus points for getting to keep your eyeballs.

Some of these misheard lyrics are just hilarious and also confusing because I can't quite figure out how this person heard "I got shoes, they're made of plywood." The words are, and as far as I know have always been "I've got chills, they're multiplying" in the Grease song "You're the One That I Want."

But this last one has me wondering who is Jason and why does he get his own waterfall? This user thought TLC sang "don't go Jason waterfalls" in their hit song "Waterfalls." I mean, we probably shouldn't be chasing waterfalls like the lyrics actually say, but Jason waterfalls might be a pretty cool dude. We'll never know though.

If you've never known the hilarity and embarrassment of mishearing lyrics, consider yourself lucky. But I'm highly suspicious that you're making that up. No one's that perfect, people aren't tacos. Now go forth and belt out "pour some shook-up ramen" while the rest of the crowd demands they be doused with sugar.


This article originally appeared on 09.24.22

Joy

Single woman shares the hilarious 'deal breaker' she uses when she doesn't want a second date

Jo Brundza has mastered the art of painlessly getting out of a second date by making them reject her.

How Jo Brundza gets out of a date.

It's uncomfortable for people to tell someone they met for a first date that they aren’t interested in a second one because nobody enjoys hurting another person’s feelings. TikTokker Jo Brundza has mastered the art of painlessly getting out of a second date by making them reject her.

How does she do it? Once she realizes she doesn’t want to see them again, she rants about the moon.

“From that realization and on, I spend the rest of the date trying to convince the other person that I don’t think the moon is real,” she says. Now, many folks out there incorrectly believe that the moon landing was faked, but she goes a step further by saying the massive object doesn’t exist at all.


“They’re typically too stunned to argue back,” she says.

@jbrundz

They’re typically too stunned to argue back #fyp #dating #funny #bits

In a follow-up video, Brundza outlines the three arguments she uses to prove that the moon isn’t real:

1. If you know, you know

"I just think it's ridiculous that all these billionaires are going up into space. I mean, when they get up there, what do they expect to be there, or not be up there?"

2. False evidence

"Look, I'm just saying that if you look at the science of how light refraction works when it enters the atmosphere, it would bend it in a way that to the naked eye would look like solid mass, but it's not. Also, at the end of the day, do you know anyone who has actually been to the moon?"

3. Blame Greenland

"Eighty percent of the island is covered in ice and uninhabitable. You're really gonna tell me that's not where the projectors are? Actually, now that I think about it, do you personally know anyone who's ever been to Greenland?"

@jbrundz

Replying to @TySpice Bonus points if you can somehow work in that the sun is fake too #fyp #funny #bits

This article originally appeared on 9.28.23