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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Meet a tattoo artist who does for women what a surgeon can’t.

This dapper tattoo artist, Vinnie Myers, is serving a need I honestly did not know existed. And he's damn good at it. NSFW — partial nudity.

Ileah Parker (left) and Alexis Vandecoevering (right)

True

At 16, Alexis Vandecoevering already knew she wanted to work in the fire department. Having started out as a Junior Firefighter and spending her time on calls as a volunteer with the rest of her family, she’s set herself up for a successful career as either a firefighter or EMT from a young age.

Ileah Parker also leaned into her career interests at an early age. By 16, she had completed an internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, learning about Information Technology, Physical Therapy, Engineering, and Human Resources in healthcare, which allowed her to explore potential future pathways. She’s also a member of Eryn PiNK, an empowerment and mentoring program for black girls and young women.

While these commitments might sound like a lot for a teenager, it all comes down to school/life balance. This wouldn’t be possible for Alexis or Ileah without attending Pearson’s Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school available in 31 states across the U.S., that not only helps students get ready for college but dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well.

“Connections Academy allowed me extensive flexibility, encouraged growth in all aspects of my life, whether academic, interpersonal, or financial, and let me explore options for my future career, schooling, and extracurricular endeavors,” said Ileah.

A recent survey by Connections Academy of over 1,000 students in grades 8-12 and over 1,000 parents or guardians across the U.S., highlights the importance of school/life balance when it comes to leading a fulfilling and successful life. The results show that students’ perception of their school/life balance has a significant impact on their time to consider career paths, with 76% of those with excellent or good school/life balance indicating they know what career path they are most interested in pursuing versus only 62% of those who have a fair to very poor school/life balance.

Additionally, students who report having a good or excellent school/life balance are more likely than their peers to report having a grade point average in the A-range (57% vs 35% of students with fair to very poor balance).

At Connections Academy, teens get guidance navigating post-secondary pathways, putting them in the best possible position for college and their careers. Connections Academy’s College and Career Readiness offering for middle and high school students connects them with employers, internships and clubs in Healthcare, IT, and Business.


“At Connections Academy, we are big proponents of encouraging students to think outside of the curriculum” added Dr. Lorna Bryant, Senior Director of Career Solutions in Pearson’s Virtual Learning division. “While academics are still very important, bringing in more career and college exposure opportunities to students during middle and high school can absolutely contribute to a more well-rounded school/life balance and help jumpstart that career search process.”

High school students can lean into career readiness curriculum by taking courses that meet their required high school credits, while also working toward micro-credentials through Coursera, and getting college credit applicable toward 150 bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

Alexis Vandecoevering in her firefighter uniform

Alexis, a Class of 2024 graduate, and Ileah, set to start her senior year with Connections Academy, are on track to land careers they’re passionate about, which is a key driver behind career decisions amongst students today.

Of the students surveyed who know what career field they want to pursue, passion and genuine interest is the most commonly given reasoning for both male and female students (54% and 66%, respectively).

Parents can support their kids with proper school/life balance by sharing helpful resources relating to their career interests. According to the survey, 48% of students want their parents to help them find jobs and 43% want their parents to share resources like reading materials relating to their chosen field.

While teens today have more challenges than ever to navigate, including an ever-changing job market, maintaining school/life balance and being given opportunities to explore career paths at an early age are sure to help them succeed.

Learn more about Connections Academy’s expanded College and Career Readiness offering here.

Family

Mom explains the common Boomer parenting style that still affects many adults today

Many are relieved to finally have a term for this experience.

“What they want is dishonest harmony rather than honest conflict.”

There are certainly many things the Boomer parents generally did right when raising their kids. Teaching them the importance of manners and respect. That actions do, in fact, have consequences. That a little manners go a long way…all of these things are truly good values to instill in kids.

But—and we are speaking in broad strokes here—being able to openly discuss difficult feelings was not one of the skills passed down by this generation. And many Gen X and millennial kids can sadly attest to this.

This is why the term “dishonest harmony” is giving many folks of this age group some relief. They finally have a term to describe the lack of emotional validation they needed throughout childhood for the sake of saving face.


In a video posted to TikTok, a woman named Angela Baker begins by saying, “Fellow Gen X and millennials, let's talk about our parents and their need for dishonest harmony.”

Barker, who thankfully did not experience this phenomenon growing up, but says her husband “certainly” did, shared that when she’s tried to discuss this topic, the typical response she’d get from Boomers would be to “Stop talking about it. We don't need to hear about it. Move on. Be quiet.”

And it’s this attitude that’s at the core of dishonest harmony.

“What that’s showing is their lack of ability to handle the distress that they feel when we talk openly about uncomfortable things,” she says. “What they want is dishonest harmony rather than honest conflict.”



“Keep quiet about these hard issues. Suppress your pain, suppress your trauma. Definitely don't talk openly about it so that you can learn to heal and break the cycle,” she continues. “What matters most is that we have the appearance of harmony, even if there's nothing harmonious under the surface.”

Barker concludes by theorizing that it was this need to promote a certain facade that created most of the toxic parenting choices of that time period.

“The desire of boomer parents to have this perception that everything was sweet and hunky dory, rather than prioritizing the needs of their kids, is what drove a lot of the toxic parenting we experienced.”

Barker’s video made others feel so seen, as clearly indicated by the comments.

“How did I not hear about dishonest harmony until now? This describes my family dynamic to a T. And if you disrespect that illusion, you are automatically labeled as the problem. It’s frustrating,” one person wrote.

“THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm a 49 yo biker sitting in my bedroom crying right now. You just put a name to my darkness!” added another

Many shared how they were refusing to repeat the cycle.

One wrote, “This is EXACTLY my family dynamic. I’m the problem because I won’t remain quiet. Not anymore. Not again.”

“I love when my kids tell me what I did wrong. It gives me a chance to acknowledge and apologize. Everyone wants to be heard,” said another.

Of course, no parenting style is perfect. And all parents are working with the current ideals of the time, their own inner programming and their inherent need to course correct child raising problems of the previous generation. Gen Alpha parents will probably cringe at certain parenting styles currently considered in vogue. It’s all part of the process.

But hopefully one thing we have learned as a collective is that true change happens when we summon the courage to have difficult conversations.

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

RuPaul at RuPaul's DragCon 2019.

National treasure RuPaul is best known as the creator and host of “Drag Race,” a TV show that has nothing to do with automobiles. Although, the competition is as hot as a street race with drag queens fighting to see who has the fiercest fashion, persona and performance skills.

Recently, he shocked millions of people on TikTok with a video many saw was out of character for the “Supermodel” singer; he gave a lesson on how to parallel park your car. The video was a smash on the platform, receiving over 13 million views because it was fun and surprisingly informative.

“Unironically the most understandable parallel parking tutorial I’ve ever seen thanks mama ru,” one of the commenters on the video wrote.

The TikTok video works because RuPaul shares a simple way for people to align themselves with the space they want by paying attention to their passenger-side door, or PSD, as he calls it. "The secret to parallel parking is the passenger's side door or PSD. Your PSD has a front seam and a back seam,” RuPaul shares in the video.

@rupaulofficial

Bumper? I hardly know her! Parallel parking made easy!

Here are some easy steps to parallel park like RuPaul.

1. Pull your car side by side the car in front of the open spot you would like to take

2. Give yourself about 12 inches of space between your side door and their driver’s side door

3. Put your car in reverse

4. Once the back seam of your PSD is aligned with the car in front, cut your wheel into the parking spot

5. Once the front seam of your PSD is aligned with the back bumper of the car in front, cut your wheel in the opposite direction

"Voila! Yay!," RuPaul pronounces after successfully parking his convertible. "You have been promoted."

Commenters were impressed with RuPaul’s simple technique. “RuPaul explained this better than my driving teacher,” one commenter wrote. “Unironically, the most understandable parallel parking tut I’ve ever seen, thanks, mama ru,” another added.

Some say that the reason RuPaul made the video was because of the unfounded stereotype that gay men are bad at driving.

But it’s more likely RuPaul shared the tip because he started driving at a young age and one of his first jobs was as a driver. On a 2020 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” RuPaul admitted that he began driving at 11.

“I’m from San Diego. When I was 11, my father lived in Cerritos up here near Los Angeles and we would spend the summers with him. He would go to work. Eleven years old, I would steal the keys from his Toyota Corona,” RuPaul recalled. “I would drive around Cerritos in my father’s Toyota Corona, only making right turns because I was too afraid to make left turns. Only making right turns in the neighborhood.”

Then, as a teenager, RuPaul moved from San Diego, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, and took a job driving luxury cars from California to Atlanta and back for his brother-in-law, who would flip them for a profit. “Americans have always been frontiersmen, people who are open to a new adventure, and I felt this as I drove cars alone, back and forth, across the United States,” he wrote in his 2024 memoir, “The House of Hidden Meanings.”

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.



The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.

16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.

Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.

The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.

When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."

The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).

Photo by Leland Werden.

"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.

The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.

Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.

The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.

The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.

Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.

"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."

Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.

In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.

Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.

In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.

Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.

The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.

The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.

Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.

Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.

In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.

The sign after clearing away the vines.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.

19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.


This article originally appeared on 08.23.17

All Blacks Credit: Jo Caird/RugbyImages via Flickr - Flying Fijians Credit: Croz Walsh via ResearchGate

New Zealand's rugby team's Haka is met by Fiji's Cibi

By now the Haka is easily recognizable thanks to social media helping to spread Māori culture. The war dance that creates exaggerated animated faces out of the people participating is done for special occasions, funerals and yes, even rugby games. New Zealand's ruby team the All Blacks do the Haka before their rugby matches on the field in front of their opponents.

Typically during the Haka the opponents watch respectfully before the whistle blows and the teams face off. But the All Blacks aren't the only ones coming to the field with their traditional war dance. The All Blacks stood center field across Fiji's national union rugby team, the Flying Fijians who greeted the New Zealanders with the Cibi.

The Cibi is the Fijian traditional war dance that has been performed at rugby games since 1939, with similar emotion and gestures of the Haka. Like the Haka, the Cibi is generally performed during celebrations though it started as a dance performed before or after war.


The All Blacks recently shared a video of the two teams facing off before the rugby match, each doing their cultural dances. It was such a powerful exchange of culture and people couldn't believe they had never seen or heard of the Fijian war dance.



@allblacks Cibi and Haka. Two cultures meeting 🖤 #allblacks #rugby #fiji #usa #sandiego ♬ original sound - AllBlacks

"I've seen the haka many times. always gives me the chills. this is the first time I've ever seen the cibi. that was cool! thanks," one person shares.

"Well now I am going to fall down a rabbit hole watching Cibi, just like I did the first time I saw a haka," another writes.

" HAVE to stop when I see Haka! Thank you for introducing me to Cibi. These are beautiful expressions," a commenter reveals.

"The pacific islands have so many beautiful cultures, it’s always fascinating to see how they share similar characteristics but are each so unique," someone else says.

This isn't the first time the All Blacks and Flying Fijians have exchanged war dances and it certainly won't be the last but to watch both cultures express their traditional dance is something everyone can appreciate. The All Blacks and the Flying Fijians play against each other again July 19 in San Diego, find where to watch it here.


Internet

Video shows the ridiculousness of the English language validating people everywhere

"Why does know, knit, knight, knife, all have Ks when we can't pronounce the K" What's it doing in there?"

Amusing video shows ridiculousness of the English language

English is hard. It's so hard that even native English speakers have no idea why some of the rules exist which makes it even harder to explain to people learning English as a second language. Words that come to mind as confusing yet accepted as a rule are there, their, and they're. They all sound the same but are spelled differently with completely different meanings.

The list of words that sound similar that have different spellings or meanings could stretch a metaphorical mile. It's such a point of contention for English speakers that it's not uncommon for them to rage post about it on social media. A man that goes by the name King Tut on Instagram compiles some of these frustrated posts and reads them leading to not only his own confusion but the confusion of others.

People just want English to make sense but the video he shared proves that no matter how much we complain, English will always be a little weird.


The creator opens the video reading the question, "why is naked pronounced naked but baked is not pronounced baked?" And if you speak English as your first language, you read that correctly without even trying and are likely confused on why it makes sense. Welcome to the club. It makes complete sense while simultaneously making no sense at all.

Yacht is a word filled with letters that don't make the sounds we are taught that they make, which the man highlights by continually pronouncing the word the way it looks "ya-ca-tah" instead of "yawt." People in the comments were quick to jump in with their own confessions and confusion.



"I’ve been confused but this confirms that it’s not my fault," someone writes.

"English is that person that does whatever the hell it wants to do," another says.

"Cause why is Meme pronounced Meme and not Me Me," a commenter asks.

"Why does Know, Knit, Knight, Knife, all have Ks when we can’t pronounce the K? What it doing in there," one person wants to know.

"I got points off my assignment for grammar because i said minute as in amount and my teacher read minute as in time," someone else shares.

Whoever invented English, there are some people on the internet who would like to have a conversation with you. They have questions. A lot of questions.