+

Margaret Marshall and Rachael Kauffung have found a delightful way of dealing with all the negative news from the past 12 to 18 months.

The two friends, who first met as co-workers at Amazon, have a major yen for games of all kinds and began holding weekly game nights as a way to de-stress.

In looking for new games to play, however, they noticed a lack of options that left everyone feeling good at the end of the night. Popular indie card game Cards Against Humanity brands itself "the party game for horrible people" while other games like Risk or Monopoly pit players against each other. Even games like Pandemic that require player collaboration to win can be kind of a downer at a time when Zika and Ebola have been part of the global conversation.


So the friends created a brand new game, one designed to make people feel good.

They called it Sway: A Game of Debate and Silver Linings.

Unlike other games, where players weigh worst-case scenarios or fight over hypothetical boardwalks while trying not to go broke or land in jail, players win Sway through the power of positive thinking.

Photo via Sway, used with permission.

In each round of the game, players go head-to-head in 30-second debates on various topics (both silly and serious) and win if they can “sway” the judge for the round. The twist? Players can only use positive arguments.

Oh, and occasionally players are challenged to present their arguments in Scottish accents or while doing a challenging yoga pose to get extra points. And when you win, you do a happy dance.

Just kidding. Dancing is totally optional. Photo via Sway creators, used with permission.

In the spirit of positivity and silver linings, Kauffung and Marshall have also decided to donate part of the game's profits to a charitable cause.

Image via B+ Foundation.

Kauffung's father, who recently lost his own battle with cancer, had always been passionate about fighting pediatric cancer. So for every game purchased, Silver Linings Games (the company that makes Sway) will donate $1 to B+ Foundation, an organization that supports families of kids with cancer.

Marshall and Kauffung hope playing Sway helps people remember that there's more to life than winning or being right — and that there's a silver lining to everything.

"[Sway is] not about winning or being right," Marshall and Kauffung explain in an email. "It's about silliness and silver linings and having a good time with people you care about (even if you disagree with them)."

As someone who recently played Sway for the first time, I can honestly say it's super easy to learn, definitely challenging, and filled with unexpected hilarity. It's a great way to dissolve tensions that may have built up between families and friends without letting competitive gameplay bring out the worst in you.

Not to mention, there was a study conducted at the University of North Carolina that found consistent positive thinking can make you happier, healthier, and more productive.

Photo via Sway creators, used with permission.

Whatever your way of reflecting on the positive things in life may be, it's important to remember how many reasons you have to laugh, cheer, and embrace the people around you. After all, it's hard to be mad when you're watching your friend try to explain the benefits of arachnophobia in a thick Boston accent — because that is not easy, but it is hilarious.

Want to learn more? Here's a fun video from the creators about Sway:

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less

People have clearly missed their free treats.

The COVID-19 pandemic had us waving a sad farewell to many of life’s modern conveniences. And where it certainly hasn’t been the worst loss, not having free samples at grocery stores has undoubtedly been a buzzkill. Sure, one can shop around without the enticing scent of hot, fresh artisan pizza cut into tiny slices or testing out the latest fancy ice cream … but is it as joyful? Not so much.

Trader Joe’s, famous for its prepandemic sampling stations, has recently brought the tradition back to life, and customers are practically dancing through the aisles.


On the big comeback weekend, people flocked to social media to share images and videos of their free treats, including festive Halloween cookies (because who doesn’t love TJ’s holiday themed items?) along with hopeful messages for the future.
Keep ReadingShow less

She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

Keep ReadingShow less