friends buy a house, single moms, the siren house
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Single moms break the mold with their living arrangements.

Our choices in life should only be limited by our imaginations. However, far too many of us limit our options because of what others may think or how we’ve been raised.

Four women in Washington, D.C., completely reimagined their concepts of family, friendship and child-rearing and have created an urban commune where they’re free to pursue happiness in a way most people never consider.

Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper always joked that one day they'd live together on a commune in Vermont. But after they both got divorced, they began to take their old joke seriously.

"Holly and I said, 'Why not do this?'" Harper recalled in an interview with Today. "Within a weekend we found this house."

The two friends found two other single women, Jen and Leandra, and they purchased a four-unit home. The arrangement allows the four women to save money but it also has countless advantages for all four families. “We've unlocked the power of sharing, and our baseline expenses decreased, allowing us to experience abundance,” Harper wrote in Insider.


“This living arrangement is a kid's paradise, complete with a giant trampoline, a parkour line, a garden, a gym, a big-screen TV, and a craft studio,” Harper wrote. “Our kids—who can use the buddy system for a walk to get gelato, and who have playmates during the quarantine and homeschool months—are thriving.”

The children, ages 9 to 14, relate to each other like cousins and their new living arrangement provides them with new perspectives on life that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. It gives them a great opportunity to learn more about dating, bullying, divorce, family, sexual orientation, creativity, death and finding joy.

They also have no shortage of playmates and things to do. The home is equipped with a 15-foot trampoline, parkour slackline, hammocks, sleds and an inflatable pool in the summer. Living at the home they’ve dubbed “The Siren House” is a lot like a permanent summer camp.

It has also taught the four mothers how to share. The women share expenses, cars, food, babysitting duties, dog-walking and hugs with each other. Harper says that their living arrangement saves her $30,000 a year.

“We don’t know whose socks are whose ... socks everywhere,” Harper said. “iPads, dishes, cups. There’s a lot of exchanging that occurs. Usually not planned.”

To keep everything in order they have routine “homeowners meetings” where they discuss repairs and yard work. The meetings often happen over a bottle of Champagne.

"There is almost a spiritual safety net every day here," Harper said. "I could be my worst self, I could be my best self, and they see me for who I am, and it's OK."

For Harper, the home isn’t a utopia, but the arrangement gives the four families the greatest chance to find happiness. “The goal of life is not to reach some plane of happiness but to create an environment where we are safe to pursue happiness in every moment,” Harper wrote.


Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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