The photographs are beautiful, and the message behind them is anything but superficial.

If you’ve flipped through a magazine since, oh, the dawn of time, you’ve probably seen photographs of women who are retouched almost beyond recognition.

These girls become "flawless," losing anything — bruises, scars, cellulite — that could identify them as less than what our society considers perfect. Emily Lauren Dick, a photographer, is not having any of that.

With her book "Average Girl: A Guide to Loving Your Body," Dick hopes to redefine what we consider beautiful by showing women just as they are — bruises, scars, cellulite, and all.  


Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Like most humans, Dick was tired of feeling like she didn’t quite measure up to society’s standards.

In fact, the idea for the "Average Girl" series was inspired by the photographer’s own experience.

"I called my project Average Girl because personally, I’ve never been a fat girl and I’ve never been a skinny girl … I‘ve always been in the middle … an Average Girl," she wrote on her project's Kickstarter page.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with average. In her mind, "Average was where we all fit." She set out to create something for "any girl who has felt mediocre and who has struggled with not being considered ideal by social standards."

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

"Average Girl" is more than just a book of beautiful photographs. Dick hopes it will be a tool to convince women they don’t have to constantly improve their bodies to fit society’s narrow definition of beauty.

"I think we all wonder if the way we look is normal and although we are all different, we are all very similar. Young women need to see that we have a lot of similarities!" Dick says of her choice to photograph women in their underwear. "The things we are embarrassed about having (stretch marks, scars, bruises, acne, etc.) are things that are very common. We've just been told by the media that we should not have them."

"When we see stretch marks, blemishes and bruises we have started to question why they are present … and that is the reason for this book," she explained on the Kickstarter site. "I want them to see the stretch marks, blemishes and bruises as markers of living their lives to the fullest."  

She interviewed more than 80 young women for the project and filled out the text of the book with reader-friendly facts and even worksheets about the value of a positive body image.  

"The photographic component only reinforces the message that we need to practice self love and we are only going to do this if we change social beauty standards," her page reads.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

The photographs are stunning, but the topic of body image is anything but superficial.

Think back to those magazines you’ve been flipping through forever. Have you ever stopped to gauge how you feel when you see them? Would you even notice if you started to hate yourself or your body as those images flashed before your eyes?

When 3 out of 4 teen girls feel depressed, guilty, and shameful after three minutes of looking at a fashion magazine, it’s time to offer them some alternatives. Dick hopes her book will do just that.

"I want the conversation about women’s bodies to be focused on all that they have been through, what they can accomplish and what their bodies have done for them," she said.

Photo via Emily Lauren Dick, used with permission.

Want to help make Dick’s vision a reality? You can support her Kickstarter here.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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