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These 12 gorgeous photos of couples celebrate the magic of love across race, gender, age, and size.

Catalyst features couples you wouldn't see in your mother's wedding mag.

When it comes to weddings, Carly Romeo has seen it all.

Between her gigs as a wedding photographer and planning her own wedding ceremony, she's noticed something:

The average wedding magazine doesn't reflect the diversity of what couples actually look like. At all.



Carly with her partner, Travis, on their love party day. Photo by PJ Sykes.

Which is why Carly teamed up with self-described "progressive wedding coordinator" Liz Susong to launch Catalyst Wedding Magazine. Tired of all the focus on spending a ton of money or losing weight for The Dress, they decided to make a different wedding magazine entirely.

They wanted to create a magazine that focuses on love — and celebrating that love in ways that are as unique as every couple.

Catalyst aims to feature beautiful imagery while staying true to its mission of reflecting the people that the wedding industry is actually serving.

And it definitely delivers. Check out these gorgeous photos of loving couples in an upcoming issue:

1. Elaine and Vikas had a hybrid Hindu wedding that reflected both of their cultures.

All photos used with permission. Photo by Rebecca Caridad.


2. Sarah-Jean and Kent got hitched in a small, intimate courthouse and Irish pub celebration with their closest family and friends.

Photo by Brandi Potter Photography.

3. After 30 years together, Annie and Janice finally got to tie the knot in a ceremony at their home.

Photo by Erika Nizborski.

4. Alexa and Stephen fell in love after working together at a Virginia Beach Ruby Tuesday.

Photo by Imani Fine Art Photography.

5. Jazmin and Ben displayed their love of beer and baseball with brewery tours and a food truck at their wedding.

Photo by From the Hip Atlanta.

6. Crystal and Jayleen celebrated their love with a wintertime wedding in Amish country.

Photo by Two Spoons Photography.

7. Stephanie and Felipe had their reception first, celebrating before a sweet backyard ceremony.

Photo by Hidden Exposure Photography.

8. Chicagoans Alissa and Bethany traveled to L.A. for an engagement shoot in the Arts District.

Photo by Elmer Escobar Photography.

9. Maria and Lisa got hitched shortly after marriage equality came to Illinois, holding a backyard ceremony with friends and family.

Photo by Oriana Koren.

10. John and Matt surprised their guests when they revealed their goodbye party was actually a wedding.

Photo by Pangtography.

11. Katie and Albert didn't need to get married to celebrate their love and commitment publicly.

Photo by Two Spoons Photography.

12. Hairstylist Brandy and DJ Conley celebrated their love outdoors in a small ceremony with loved ones.

Photo by A Lovely Photo.

Heart-meltingly sweet, right?

It's so important for us to see what couples actually look like. With all the wedding-themed TV shows, magazines, blogs, and Pinterest boards available, there's no shortage of content out there to serve as a guide for couples who want to get married. Unfortunately, the inspiration that makes the cut doesn't tend to reflect the reality for most Americans.

It's probably not a surprise to say that the wedding industry has a media diversity problem. A 2013 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire study of five bridal magazines found that the almost all the women were thin and light-skinned. And when it came to the covers? Only white women made the cut. All of the couples were heterosexual and very few were interracial.

So thanks to Catalyst for showing us what we really look like. Here's hoping other folks in the wedding industry take a page out of their magazine...

Like what you see? Order your own copy of Catalyst Wedding Magazine (and preorder the second issue!).

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Three women, three MS journeys: How multiple sclerosis looks different for everyone

Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.

Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga, Nathalie and Gina all have MS, and their experiences show how differently the disease can manifest.

True

It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.

Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.

All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.

To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.

woman with horse, woman riding horseGina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi

Gina—Hamburg, Germany (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2017)

When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.

“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”

As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.

“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.

Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.

“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”

To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.

Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.

Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.

Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.

woman in wheelchair holding medal, woman rowingNathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi

Nathalie — Pennes Mirabeau, France (diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2002)

Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.

“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”

However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.

“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.

She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”

By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.

Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.

“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.

Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.

“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”

woman exiting water after swimming, woman with great daneHelga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga—Johannesburg, South Africa (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2010)

When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.

“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”

In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.

“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.

However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.

Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.

Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.

“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”

Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.

MAT-GLB-2301642-v1.0-05/2023

This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.

@thehalfdeaddad/TikTok

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Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.


The thought process behind his decision, which he explained in a now-viral TikTok video, is both simple and somewhat racial compared to how many parents have been encouraged to handle similar situations.
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This guy rocks.

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As is the way with many TikTok sensations, faux radio show “The Bun 91.3” started off as a fun hobby. The DJ, known only to listeners as “The Bun,” highlights songs by up-and-coming artists all while sporting aviator sunglasses and mastering that cheesy, old-school radio voice.

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Barack Obama speaking at the World Travel & Tourism Council, 2019

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Obama clearly knows how to work his way up in the world.

Now, he’s investigating what it means to have “good” work in his new Netflix show, “Working: What We Do All Day.” According to Netflix, the show explores compelling ideas and issues about labor and work, while focusing on the lives of individuals in various professions.

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He then unpacked what he meant by his simple motto.

“I've seen at every level people who are very good at describing problems, people who are very sophisticated in explaining why something went wrong or why something can't get fixed, but what I'm always looking for is, no matter how small the problem or how big it is, somebody who says, 'Let me take care of that,'” Obama said. “If you project an attitude of, whatever it is that's needed, I can handle it and I can do it, then whoever is running that organization will notice. I promise.”

Obama is spot-on with his analysis. You can talk about things all day, but what really matters is taking action and making things happen. Maybe that’s why his campaign slogan in 2008 was a simple three-word phrase about taking care of business, “Yes, we can.”

"The best way to get attention is, whatever is assigned to you, you are just nailing. You're killing it. Because people will notice, that's someone who can get something done," Obama continued.

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Obama also added that young people shouldn’t focus on a specific job title but on things that interest them. "The people that I find are the most successful are the people who say, 'I'm really interested in computers and figuring this stuff out,' and they end up being a Bill Gates," he said.

People will be happier with careers that are rooted in their interests because they’re doing what they love. We only get 24 hours in a day. Most people sleep eight, work eight and enjoy eight for themselves. Everyone loves sleeping and time off, but you can be happy 24 hours a day when you love your job.

Photo by Andrew Gaines on Unsplash

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