Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.
Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.
“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.
Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.
NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.
“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.
Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.
If you want to meet the group in person, NYC Brunch Squad, along with many other locally-based New York groups, is participating in the upcoming Facebook IRL event on December 2. This pop-up experience in New York City’s West Village will provide a space to discover new hobbies, find new friends, and connect with others around the things they love.
Learn more about the event and sign up to attend here.
Not in the New York area but still want to get involved? As a result of NYC Brunch Squad’s popularity, the group is expanding across the country.
“With a robust community established in NYC, we're now excited to announce our expansion with pop-up events in the works in 15 additional cities. What's more, we're launching a travel club, extending our mission to foster connections beyond the city limits and to help people build life-changing friendships in new and exciting places,” Liza says.
If you’re ready to make new meaningful connections, join NYC Brunch Squad! You might just meet your new best friends.
Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.
As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.
The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.
The map may not subvert one's intuitive assumptions, but it nonetheless quantities and presents the cost of living by geography in a brilliantly simple way. For instance, if you're looking for a beach lifestyle but don't want to pay California prices, try Florida, which is about as close to "average" — in terms of purchasing power, anyway — as any state in the Union. If you happen to find yourself in a "Brewster's Millions"-type situation, head to Hawaii, D.C., or New York. You'll burn through your money in no time.
The Relative Value of $100 in a state.
Image by Tax Foundation.
If you're quite fond of your cash and would prefer to keep it, get to Mississippi, which boasts a 16.1% premium on your cash from the national average.
The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power $100 represents.
This article originally appeared on 08.17.17
"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building?
92-year-old Norma had a strange and heartbreaking routine.
Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.
Behavior like Norma's is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.
Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, says he meets folks with stories like these every day. It's their stories that inspired him to make some changes at Lantern.
"I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"
Confusion is common in Alzheimer's patients, but Makesh knew there had to be some way to minimize these conflicts.
A big believer in the idea that our environment has an enormous effect on us, he started thinking big — and way outside the box.
"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I'm able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the '30s and '40s?"
And that was just the beginning. He also researched sound therapy. And aromatherapy. And carpet that looked like grass. No idea was off-limits.
What he came up with was a truly unique memory-care facility. And after testing the concept in Lantern's Madison, Ohio, facility, Makesh is opening two new locations this year.
Instead of rooms or units, each resident gets a "home" on a quiet little indoor street reminiscent of the neighborhoods many of them grew up in.
All photos courtesy of Lantern
Instead of a boring panel ceiling, residents look up and see a digital sky, which grows dimmer late in the day to help keep their biological clocks in tune.
Throughout the day, nature sounds and fresh aromas like peppermint or citrus are piped in.
Some studies have shown that this kind of aromatherapy may indeed have some merits for improving cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's patients.
There's even a little "main street" where residents can gather.
For Makesh, this isn't just about making patients comfortable, though. He wants to change how we think about the endgame of severe dementia.
The insides of the rooms aren't too shabby, either.
Makesh said one of the frustrating shortcomings of most nursing facilities is that they create conflicts with unnatural environments and schedules, and they try to solve them by throwing antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications at patients. In other words, when someone has severe dementia, we often give up on them. From there, they stop getting the engagement their brain needs to thrive.
Of course, we're a long way from a cure for Alzheimer's.
But Makesh's project shows that when we think strategically about altering the environment and focus on helping people relearn essential self-care and hygiene skills, the near-impossible becomes possible.
"In five years, we're going to [be able to] rehabilitate our clients where they can live independently in our environment," he said. "In 10 years, we're going to be able to send them back home."
He knows it's a lofty goal. And whether he'll meet it remains to be seen. But in the meantime, he's proud to own one of the few places that offers something pretty rare in cases of severe dementia: hope.
This article originally appeared on 09.08.16
The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?
It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.
Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.
Trameka Brown-Berry was looking over her 4th-grade son Jerome's homework when her jaw hit the floor.
"Give 3 'good' reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons," the prompt began.
You read that right. Good reasons ... FOR SLAVERY.
Lest anyone think there's no way a school would actually give an assignment like this, Brown-Berry posted photo proof to Facebook.
In the section reserved for "good reasons," (again, for slavery), Jerome wrote, "I feel there is no good reason for slavery thats why I did not write."
Yep. That about covers it.
The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?
The assignment was real. In the year 2018. Unbelievable.
The shockingly offensive assignment deserved to be thrown in the trash. But young Jerome dutifully filled it out anyway.
His response was pretty much perfect.
We're a country founded on freedom of speech and debating ideas, which often leads us into situations where "both sides" are represented. But it can only go so far.
There's no meaningful dialogue to be had about the perceived merits of stripping human beings of their basic living rights. No one is required to make an effort to "understand the other side," when the other side is bigoted and hateful.
In a follow-up post, Brown-Berry writes that the school has since apologized for the assignment and committed to offering better diversity and sensitivity training for its teachers.
But what's done is done, and the incident illuminates the remarkable racial inequalities that still exist in our country. After all, Brown-Berry told the Chicago Tribune, "You wouldn't ask someone to list three good reasons for rape or three good reasons for the Holocaust."
At the very end of the assignment, Jerome brought it home with a bang: "I am proud to be black because we are strong and brave ... "
Good for Jerome for shutting down the thoughtless assignment with strength and amazing eloquence.
This article originally appeared on 01.12.18
- A teacher had her 8th graders write 'funny' captions under slavery-era photos. Seriously, WTF. ›
- Classroom slide listing pros and cons of slavery is horrific - Upworthy ›
- Voice recordings of people who were enslaved offer incredible first-person accounts of U.S. history - Upworthy ›
- 'Drapetomania' was coined to explain why slaves ran away - Upworthy ›
"You, white friend, need to speak up and say something when I can't."
I grew up black in a very white neighborhood in a very white city in a very white state.
As such, I am a lot of people's only black friend.
Being the only black friend is a gift and a curse. I am black and I love having friends. But I am also, at any given moment, expected to be a translator, an ambassador, a history teacher, and/or a walking, talking invitation into "I am not racist" territory. It's a lot to handle. See what I mean about that curse?
So when I saw the animated short-film "Your Black Friend," I felt so seen. Clearly, I am not alone.
Don't get me wrong, my friends are awesome, just very white. Here are me and a few of my pixelated pals before a high school dance in the early 2000s.
Photo courtesy of the author.
The film, which was written, designed, and narrated by Ben Passmore and is based on his mini-comic of the same name, is a brilliant, refreshing way to examine whiteness and racism. The comic and animated short are an open-letter from "your black friend" to you, their well-meaning white friend, about bias, alienation, and what it means to be a good ally and friend.
It's funny, honest, and heartbreaking in equal measure. And speaking from personal experience, it captures the experience of being a black friend to white people pretty much perfectly.
So if you're a "woke" friend and ally, here are some things your black friend wants you to know.
1. You're going to have to get uncomfortable.
Animation depicting a racist joke that creates an awkward and upsetting space.
It could be something as obvious and upsetting as a racist joke. Or something as "benign" as your aunt suggesting you cross the street when she sees a group of black kids walking by. But either way, if you want to be a good friend and a real ally, you're going to have to speak up. You're going to have to have those tough conversations with people you care about.
It's not easy to confront strangers or people you love, but if you don't do it, you are part of the problem. Sitting out isn't an option. No one said being an ally is easy.
2. "Your black friend would like to say something to the racist lady, but doesn't want to appear to be that 'angry black man.'"
Biased situations that play out uncomfortably true.
"He knows this type of person expects that from him, and he will lose before he begins," Passmore says.
Black people can't always react or respond the way we want to. When I am followed in a department store, pulled over for no reason, or stared at while picking up dinner at the fancy grocery store, I can't stop what I'm doing and yell, "YES, I AM BLACK. NO, I AM NOT A CRIMINAL YOU SMALL-MINDED, BIASED ASSHOLES." Trust me, I want to. But especially when police are involved, I have to be calm, respectful, and obedient.
That's where you come in. You, white friend, need to speak up and say something when I can't. If you are not at risk, nor considered a threat, you have a certain amount of privilege in these situations. Use it to demand answers, speak to supervisors, or if things really get dicey, pull out your phone and hit record.
3. We are constantly monitoring our surroundings and adjusting our clothes, hair, speed, and speech to maintain white comfort.
Friends may not realize the challenges in avoiding unwarranted confrontation.
We don't like it, but one small choice — like deciding whether or not to wear a hood, or the speed at which we reach into our glove box — can be the difference between life and death.
When I am in a parking garage and walking behind a white woman, I intentionally cough or walk a little louder so she turns and notices me.
Why? Because when I don't, that same white woman will often clutch her purse and occasionally let out an audible gasp as I pass her. This is something my white friends likely don't realize I have to do. Some of them may even be the pearl-clutchers in the parking lot.
But to maintain white comfort and to avoid having the cops called on us, we often have to tamp down clothes, modify our speech and volume, even do our hair differently. We have to have "the talk" with our kids about how the world sees them, and how act in order to make sure they come home alive.
No, it's not fair. No, we don't like it. But so long as this country and its institutions are built on a solid foundation of white supremacy, it's a grim reality. You need to know that, and take it up with your fellow white people about how to dismantle it.
4. "Your black friend wishes you'd play more than Beyoncé. There are more black performers than Beyoncé."
Taste isn't only derived from race and culture.
"Lemonade" was awesome. There is no denying it. And yes, I love seeing her iconic looks on Instagram too. But there is more to black music and black art than Beyoncé. Dip a toe outside your comfort zone and try new new artists and genres you may not be familiar with. Go listen, see it, and experience it for yourself.
And while we're here, you can't say the n-word when you sing along. Nope. You just can't.
5. Speaking of which, performative blackness is really uncomfortable.
Sometimes jokes and misguided appreciation is hurtful.
When you wear that braided wig on Halloween, or use your "blaccent" when you're around me or other black people, it hurts. It's not cute or charming, and it definitely doesn't make you seem cool.
Our culture and heritage are not costumes you can slide on and off at your convenience. We don't get to be black only when it suits us. Neither do you.
6. "Your black friend feels like a man without a country."
Can we enjoy each others company without pointing out our differences.
Having white friends and seeming to "fit in" with the majority can feel really alienating. You can feel too "white" for black people, and too "black" for white people when all you want to do is find people to eat pizza with. As Passmore wrote, "He is lost in this contradiction, and held responsible for it."
7. We would love it if we could stop talking about our anxiety and frustrations regarding racism. But right now, that's impossible.
Our concerns are urgent and real. We're getting subpar health care. We're disenfranchised. We're over-policed. We're thrown in jail. We're killed by people sworn to protect us. It's exhausting, but we have to keep talking about it. So do you.
We can't be expected to dismantle white supremacy on our own.
Our white friends and allies need to step up and gather their people. Have the tough conversations. Speak up when you see racism, discrimination, and microaggressions. The time to talk about it is done. Be about it, or find yourself a new black friend.
Watch "Your Black Friend" in full and check out Passmore's book, "Your Black Friend And Other Strangers."
This article was written by Erin Canty and originally published on January 30, 2018.
The billionaire passed away on November 28 at the age of 99.
Charles Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet’s closest business partner, passed away on Tuesday, November 28, at 99. Buffett and Munger's partnership lasted over 50 years, producing Berkshire Hathaway, one of the largest and most successful conglomerates in history.
But Munger was far more than just a wealthy man. Apple CEO Tim Cook called Munger a “keen observer of the world around him,” and he was known for his pithy bits of common-sense wisdom known as “Mungerisms.”
These sayings have been collected into books, including “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.”
In a piece called “Charlie Munger on How to Lead a Successful Life,” Time magazine shared one of Munger’s most valuable pieces of advice. Munger believed that one of the best qualities one can have is the ability to see things in the inverse.
“If you turn problems around into reverse, you often think better. For instance, if you want to help India, the question you should consider asking is not “How can I help India?’ Instead, you should ask, ‘How can I hurt India?’ You find what will do the worst damage, and then try to avoid it,” Munger once said.
“Perhaps the two approaches seem logically the same thing. But those who have mastered algebra know that inversion will often and easily solve problems that otherwise resist solution. And in life, just as in algebra, inversion will help you solve problems that you can’t otherwise handle,” Munger continued.
Munger believed it’s as important to be as clear about the things we want to avoid in life as those we wish to pursue.
“What will really fail in life? What do we want to avoid? Some answers are easy,” Munger said. “For example, sloth and unreliability will fail. If you’re unreliable, it doesn’t matter what your virtues are, you’re going to crater immediately. So, faithfully doing what you’ve engaged to do should be an automatic part of your conduct. Of course, you want to avoid sloth and unreliability.”
Another piece of Munger’s advice that needs to be shared far and wide in today’s America is avoiding “extremely intense ideology” because it “cabbages up” one’s mind.
“You see a lot of it in the worst of the TV preachers. They have different, intense, inconsistent ideas about technical theology, and a lot of them have minds reduced to cabbage. That can happen with political ideology. And if you’re young, it’s particularly easy to drift into intense and foolish political ideology and never get out,” Munger said.
As a student of the human condition, Munger understood that few of us can overcome our own “self-serving bias.” So, when making persuasive arguments, it’s best to avoid using reason and, instead, appeal to the person's interests.
“You should often appeal to interest, not to reason, even when your motives are lofty,” Munger said.
After losing her almost-4-year-old daughter to epilepsy, Kelly Cervantes created a "grief companion" that meets people wherever they are in their grief journey.
Kelly Cervantes begins the Introduction to her book with five words: "Grief sucks. It's also weird." It's a concise truth that anyone who has lost a loved one knows all too well.
Grief is a universal experience—none of us get through life without loss—but it's also unique to each person. Most of us are familiar with the popular "stages of grief" theory, but denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (along with guilt and a host of things) are less like sequential rungs on a ladder and more like pools you fall into at various times as you stumble your way through the grief process. Grief is not linear and it's not neat and tidy and it's not predictable.
Take it from someone who's been there. Kelly Cervantes lost her daughter, Adelaide, to epilepsy just shy of her 4th birthday. Using writing as a therapeutic tool to help her process Adelaide's medically complex life, death and everything that came after, Kelly created the book she wished she'd had as she was trying to navigate her own grieving process.
"Normal Broken: The Grief Companion for When It's Time To Heal But You're Not Sure You Want To" is a raw, honest, helpful and ultimately hopeful resource for anyone experiencing grief. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of grief, with chapter titles ranging from "When Getting Out of Bed Deserves a Medal" to "When Your Greatest Fear is Socializing to "When Gratitude is a Struggle" to "When You're Ready to Be Okay."
I sat down with Kelly for an Upworthy Book Club author chat about her book, and our discussion offers some glimpses into the experience and wisdom she shares in "Normal Broken." We talked about the loneliness that can come with grief, which is a weird thing considering the fact that it's something all of us experience at some point. As Kelly pointed out, sometimes that loneliness is because grief changes us and the people around us don't always accept that.
We also chatted about how different people grieve differently, and how she and her husband Miguel's different grieving styles after Adelaide's death caused some tension between them for a while until Kelly learned how to "outsource" what she needed in her own grieving process.
"Normal Broken" is designed such that you can pick and choose which chapters to read in any order. If you're struggling with feelings of guilt, which is common after someone passes away, you can pick up Chapter 5: "When the Voice in the Back of Your Head Won't Shut Up." If you're feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, you can open up to Chapter 12: "When You're Feeling Emotionally Hungover" and find a friend who gets it.
The thing about grief is that nothing about it feels normal, but whatever you're experiencing in your grieving process probably is normal.
"One of the biggest lessons that I learned [writing about grief] was that I'm not that special," Kelly says. "And I mean that in the nicest way. I'm special in all the ways that Mr. Rogers and 'Sesame Street' taught me that I was. But what I experience, the way grief affects me—in that way, I am not special. My story is unique to me, but my manifestations of grief are not."
Courtesy of Kelly Cervantes
The holidays can be an especially difficult time for people who are missing a loved one. If that's you, give yourself the gift of insight and understanding from someone who's been through an immense loss. It's not a self-help book, it's not a book full of annoying advice—it's a companion that can help you put words to what you're feeling, sit with you in the darkness when that's what. you need, and help you feel okay about feeling okay when the time comes.