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Pop Culture

Brooklyn Public Library holds a free version of the Met Gala called the People's Ball

Fashion and flair for everyone.

met gala people ball
Upworthy Photo Library

Something tells us Emma Watson would approve of this party.

Ah, the Met Gala. It’s the kind of fairy-tale ball Cinderella might find herself sneaking into, especially if the prince she seeks is into high fashion.

brooklyn library peoples ballHello stranger. Is that Armani?Giphy

Where, for a measly $35,000 (according to The Evening Standard) one can gaze upon celebrities walking the red carpet in outlandish ensembles both beautiful and bizarre. Some even come with a bonus political statement, free of charge.

That is, one could, if one were already on the guest list. The event is of course ultra-exclusive and by invitation only. Hence, why Cinderella has to go in disguise. Glass slippers and all.

But what if Cinderella was not only allowed to attend the ball, but allowed to attend for free?

At the Brooklyn Public Library, she can. Along with other New Yorkers.

(Yes, in this metaphor, Cinderella is from Long Island.)


On May 1, the night before the Met Gala, the Brooklyn Public Library will debut its third annual People’s Ball, described on its website as a “celebration of style, imagination, freedom, and you!”

The rules of the People’s Ball are quite simple. One, RSVP. Two, provide proof of vaccination. And three, “dress up in clothes that make you feel your most beautiful and authentic and walk the runway.” Basically, anything fancy and creative goes.

Where perusing through celebrity glamour shots can be entertaining, the People’s Ball aims to create a more immersive, accessible experience. One where everybody can celebrate their own individuality while walking their own runway.

The ball will also commemorate the BPL’s 125th anniversary and be hosted by authors Isaac Fitzgerald (known for his children’s book “How to Be a Pirate”) and Scaachi Koul (a senior culture writer for BuzzFeed News).

And talk about out-of-this-world entertainment: Guests will get to hear music from Rimarkable and Inyang Bassey along with viewing amazing modern-day circus acts from Opera Gaga and Paris the hip-hop juggler. Who even needs the Met Gala?

In many ways the BPL’s People’s Ball has extracted the very best parts of what the Met has to offer—the artistry, the fanfare, the glitz—and infused more humanity into it by tossing out the VIP list and opening it to everyone.

As the BPL’s Vice President of Arts and Culture László Jakab Orsós would gladly let us know, this is all part of the library’s inherent design.

“Brooklyn is home to some of the most diverse communities on the planet,” he told Public. “Over the past 125 years, Brooklyn Public Library has always been committed to embracing our incredible Brooklyn community. This event is a celebration of the best that Brooklyn has to offer.”

The BPL has led projects to honor that diversity and encourage more inclusion since its inception, including giving young adults and teenagers free access to banned books and providing healthcare programs and weekly adult learning classes.

A party where everyone is welcome, you get to dress up, dance, listen to cool music and be surrounded by books?! Dreams really do come true.

If you want to see what killer looks everybody sports at this shindig, you can check out the library’s Instagram page here.

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

The grandmother was suspicious.

A grandmother always felt her middle granddaughter Lindsay, 15, looked slightly different from the rest of the family because she had blonde, curly hair, while the rest of her siblings’ hair was dark “I thought genetics was being weird and I love her,” she wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum.

But things became serious after Linday’s parents “banned” her from taking things a step further and getting a DNA test. If the family was sure their daughter was theirs, why would they forbid her from seeking clarity in the situation? After the parents laid down the law, the situation started to seem a little suspicious.

“I told my son and [daughter-in-law] that there was something fishy around her birth she needed to know. They denied it and told me to leave it alone,” the grandma wrote.


Lindsay wouldn’t give up her quest. She approached her biology teacher, who admitted that it was “odd” for her to have such different traits. This confusion was too much for Lindsay, so she went to her grandmother for help. “She came to me distressed, asking me to buy a DNA test since she needs to know,” the grandmother wrote.

dna tests, paternity tests, grandmothers

She had blonde, curly hair. But her siblings all had black hair.

via Allef Vinicius/Unsplash

The grandmother purchased a DNA test and it proved their suspicions. “Long story short, she is not her mother's kid,” the grandmother wrote. “My son got someone else pregnant and her bio mom gave her up.”

The interesting thing was that Lindsay was a middle child. So, the dad had a baby with another woman while he was with his wife. This revelation begs the question: How did the family suddenly have a baby out of nowhere without people being suspicious?

“They were on the other side of the country when she was born, and I met Lindsey when she was about 6 months old. Really not hard to hide the whole thing,” the grandmother wrote. “Our family has a history of miscarriages, so it’s common to drop news about a baby late in the pregnancy. They did the same with their oldest and didn't think anything about it.”

The big revelation has caused friction in the family. The family no longer talks to the grandmother, which makes Lindsay even more furious about the situation.

Should the grandmother have taken such drastic steps if she knew what could happen if her suspicions were true? The commenters on Reddit overwhelmingly supported the grandmother’s decision. The big reason was that Lindsay needed to know her family history for medical reasons.

"Your son and his wife suck for lying to her until she is 15 about something so important and trying to keep lying to her even after she obviously started to question things. There are medical reasons a person might need to know what their genetics are/are not, and if you hadn’t helped her, she would have found out some other way," Shake_Speare423 wrote.

Another commenter noted that protecting the parents’ lie wasn’t nearly as important as Lindsay’s mental health.

"People have a right to know their genetic heritage. Lying about adoption is linked to increased suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression. You put her safety and comfort ahead of your son’s preferences. Parental rights do not have greater value than a child’s right to access comprehensive medical care, and hiding an adoption does precisely that. Maybe some things, like a child staying healthy, should matter more than a parent's right to lie, gaslight and manipulate their child as they see fit," RemembrancerLirael added.

The commenters overwhelmingly supported the grandma for putting herself into an uncomfortable situation to protect her granddaughter’s mental and physical health. However, one commenter noted that she could have gone about it in a less polarizing way.

“Bit out of the norm for the responses here, but you should have gone through your son [and daughter-in-law] and convinced them. Told them that the biology teacher had highlighted that she had traits that didn't make sense, etc. and convinced them that Lindsey would find out either way,” PhilMcGraw wrote. “It would have allowed them to find a way to tell her without it being forced on them angrily. A DNA test is the absolute worst way to be told. I'm sure they would have much rather told her than let her find out by a DNA test if that is what was coming.”


This article originally appeared on 11.29.23

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.

Science

Americans see gardening changes as 'plant hardiness zones' shift across half the U.S.

Here's a quick tool to find out if your zone has changed due to warmer temperatures.

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash, Map by USDA-ARS and Oregon State University (Public Domain)

The USDA has issued a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Millions of American households have a garden of some sort, whether they grow vegetables, fruits flowers or other plants. Gardening has always been a popular hobby, but more Americans turned to tending plants during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic for both stress relief and to grow their own food so they could make less trips to the store. For many people, it's a seasonal ritual that's therapeutic and rewarding.

But a shift is occurring in the gardening world. Now, due to rising temperature data, half the country find themselves in a different "plant hardiness zone"—the zones that indicate what plants work well in an area and when to plant them. Gardeners rely on knowing their hardiness zone to determine what to plant and when, but they haven't been updated since 2012.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its Plant Hardiness Zone Map in late 2023, months before people in most of the country start planning their planting. We saw the 10 hottest summers ever recorded in 174 years of climate data between 2014 and 2023, but hardiness zones are actually determined by the coldest winter temperatures each year. Winters are warming at an even faster pace than summers, according to nonpartisan research and communications group Climate Central, but that may or may not be the entire reason behind the zone changes.

The USDA acknowledges that some of the zone shifts could be due to climate change but cautions against using them as hard evidence for it since factors such as improved data collection also contribute to changes in the map.

people planting flowers

Gardening can be a solo or community endeavor.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

"Temperature updates to plant hardiness zones are not necessarily reflective of global climate change because of the highly variable nature of the extreme minimum temperature of the year, as well as the use of increasingly sophisticated mapping methods and the inclusion of data from more weather stations," the USDA wrote in November 2023. "Consequently, map developers involved in the project cautioned against attributing temperature updates made to some zones as reliable and accurate indicators of global climate change (which is usually based on trends in overall average temperatures recorded over long time periods)."

At the same time, Chris Daly, director of the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University that developed the map with the USDA, told NPR, "Over the long run, we will expect to see a slow shifting northward of zones as climate change takes hold."

As an example of zone shifting, Dallas, Texas, was classified as Zone 8a in 2012, when data showed the coldest winter temperature in the city was between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit on average. In 2023, with data showing the coldest winter temps falling between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it's been shifted to Zone 8b.

Some zone shifts resulted in moving to an entirely new zone number, such as Seattle shifting from Zone 8b to Zone 9a. The overall trend was for zones to be pushed northward, but not all areas saw a shift. NPR has a helpful tool here in which you can enter your zip code, see what zone your city was previously in, what zone it's in now, and the temperature changes that caused the shift.

The bottom line is if you have a gardening book with a hardiness zones map printed before 2024, it's time for an updated map. Or check online to see what zone you fall in now to give your garden the best chance of thriving this year.

Some girls out at a bchelorette party.

A recent story posted on Reddit shows how sometimes trusting your gut can be the best thing you can do, even if following it will seriously impact your friendships. It all started when a 24-year-old woman with the username Yslbabycat went to a bachelorette party with 5 other friends in Italy.

For brevity’s sake, we’ll call our main character YBC.

One night, the six girls went bar and club hopping and met some new friends. “We met some young people, and they invited us to a party. We went and danced and met more people. The night kept going on longer, and we were very far from our lodgings. These young men with 2 women in their group told us to stay with them for the night,” she wrote.

That’s when she had the first strong gut feeling.


“I wasn’t feeling this situation. It felt unsafe, but the group voted and I was in the minority,” she continued.”I didn’t trust these men. Something seemed wrong. But I was at a loss as I could not split from my group and didn’t feel safe separating from them in the middle of the night.”

Even though the girls locked their doors that night, the men could enter their rooms. But the girls, besides YBC, all wanted to stay another day because the men promised to show them around Italy.

“I didn’t want to get into a car with them because I found them creepy. There were women in their group but it didn’t matter. They seemed even more suspicious to me, being overly friendly,” She continued. “The whole morning, I found the men staring at me a lot and also making some comments about my ethnicity—I am Korean and they could tell and it seemed that they were interested in me because of my ethnicity, asking me strange questions …including if I’m a virgin or not.. so in my head I could only think of perverted reasons for these questions because I thought these guys were sketchy and sizing us all up for some reason I couldn’t figure out yet.”

YBC's friends tried to tell her that it was just cultural differences and that the men weren’t being creepy, but she decided that she wanted to leave. So, she called her boyfriend in France, a few hours’ drive away, to come get her. She met him at a local store, where YBC called the bride-to-be and informed her she was leaving.

The bride-to-be screamed at her on the phone and chastised her for spoiling the “mood of the trip” and told YBC to essentially “f*** off.”

After YBC left, the other 5 girls went on a boat with the men who all tried to get them “extremely” intoxicated. They then began to aggressively pressure the girls into having sex. At the night's end, the girls got away from the men and found another hotel.

Even though YBC’s suspicions were confirmed, the bride-to-be was still upset with her, and YBC did not attend her friend’s wedding.

In the end, Reddit commenters overwhelmingly thought that YBC did the right thing by trusting her gut.

“So all the other girls but the bachelorette confirmed that you were right and the guys were super creepy and yet the bachelorette is still pissed at you for getting yourself out of there?” YouSayWotNow wrote. “All of them are very lucky nothing really bad happened, and frankly, they should be embarrassed they didn't take you seriously at the time.”

“You may have saved the entire group by leaving early, as the men realized that you knew where they lived and could ID them,” RobinC1967 added. “Please don't ever feel bad for getting yourself out of a sketchy situation. Stay Smart!”

Most would agree that YBC did the right thing by trusting her gut and trying to lead her friends out of a potentially dangerous situation. Psychology Today supports her decision to trust her feelings. In an article entitled, “3 Reasons Why You Have to Trust Your Gut,” Susanna Newsonen says that your intuition is encoded in your brain like “a web of fact and feeling” and is helpful because it’s “shaped by your past experiences and the existing knowledge that you gained from them.”


This article originally appeared on 3.16.24

@wackowinston/TikTok, used with permission

May we all find something that makes us as happy as this dog bed makes Winston.




Dogs of every breed are able to show such excitement over the littlest thing, but Golden Retrievers are just a bit extra. Be it with their favorite toys, snacks, or in this case, their dog beds.

One proud goldie named Winston is winning hearts online, thanks to his adorable reaction to a dog bed upgrade. Which is honestly understandable…the bed is more of a mini couch. Who wouldn’t be excited?

Winston’s mom, Ashley Jance, not only manages to capture the wholesome moment, but provide the perfect narration.


"This is my old bed... and THIS is my new bed!" Jance says as, indeed, we see Winson jump on one bed then bounds to the other, as though he were a kid on Christmas showing off his new toys.

And just like a kid, Winston doesn’t love the idea of sharing, as indicated by the playful growls when Dad tries to sit on his new plush throne.

“He’s like, ‘get up!’” Jance says through giggles.

Down in the comments, viewers seemed to catch Winston’s enthusiasm.

“I love this for you Winston!” one person exclaimed.

Another added, “that is the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time.”

@wackowinston

im very proud and excited

♬ original sound - Winston The Golden

Of course, not all dogs might take to dog beds as happily as Winston did. A survey by the American Pet Products Association found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.

But even for pups who don’t take to their own bed immediately, there are certain steps that can be taken to make the bed feel a bit more appealing. Mostly it takes establishing routine and safety along with some patience as a pet owner.

Or..maybe pet owners could just show their furry friends this video of Winston…because boy is his energy contagious.

By the way, if you're interested in getting a dog bed just like Winston's, they're available on Amazon.


This article originally appeared on 3.17.24

Family

Two girl dads debate on which public bathroom they should take their daughters into

These dads disagreed on whether the women's of men's bathroom was best. So they asked TikTok to weigh in.

@djdrewski/TikTok

It’s a dilemma every girl dad must eventually face—choosing whether to take their daughters into the women’s bathroom, or the men’s. Sure, some places (more and more these days) have all-gender or family bathrooms with changing stations, but generally speaking those are far and few between.

Recently, DJ Drewski found himself and his brother—a fellow girl dad—facing this common predicament, and each father had a different opinion on which bathroom was the correct choice. So, Drewski thought he might settle the debate on TikTok.

“So two girl dads in Disney, we're in Disney World right now,” Drewski begins. “As a girl dad, I bring my daughter into the men's room, of course, into a stall in that bathroom. My brother brings his daughter into the female restroom. The women's restroom. We don't know which is the right way to do it or how women feel.”

@djdrewski As a “Girl Dad” which restroom are you supoose to use with your toddler DAUGHTER in public places??? #question #girldad #toddlersoftiktok #disney ♬ original sound - DJ Drewski

Where Drewski “doesn’t feel comfortable’ going into the women’s restroom, his brother argued that the women’s room is cleaner, and therefore better suited for his daughter. The second opinion matched the rationale of a girl dad Upworthy covered back in 2021, who lamented that “Men's bathrooms are DISGUSTING. They smell like pee and nothing is set up for a woman or a person with a child.”

Other moms seemed to share a preference for dad’s entering the women restroom, so long as they announce they’re coming in.

“Women’s rest room just yell girl dad coming in,” one person commented

Another said, “Ladies will accept you, just announce yourself. If any ladies give you trouble, they obviously don't have kids. Ignore them.”

However, folks weren’t vehemently opposed to taking daughter’s into the men’s room.

“As a Girl Dad... men's room straight to a stall... never have I ever had any issues .. lol” one viewer quipped.

Another shared, “My dad used to bring me to the guys bathroom and have me close my eyes until we got into the stall! Never was a problem to me or my mom ! Whatever you prefer I think.”

And of course, another viewer added that it sure would be nice to “normalize” changing tables in men’s rooms as well.

It’s clear that each of these dads are trying to do what’s best for their daughters, and are willing to have open conversations about how to best go about it. That’s perhaps the biggest and best takeaway of all here, regardless of which bathroom they choose. Just wash those hands!