This 'Empire' actor has a unique way of connecting with people when she travels.
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When we visit a new place, we all have our own way of learning about the people we meet.

Maybe we read up on the culture and history of the country we are visiting or try to learn how to speak a little of their language — even if it involves acting out words we don’t know.

Actor Grace Byers, best known for her role in the television show "Empire," has her own way of getting to know people in a new country.


Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

"I come to a country, and I’m like, 'What games do you play? Let me learn. And win,'" she said with a laugh.

That’s because to her, games are about more than just having fun. They’re about finding a great way to connect with other people.

"It’s this time when you get to be vulnerable, where you get to be open, where you really get to connect to other people and truly be yourself," she told Hannah Hart on the YouTube show "While the Water Boils" while the two played card games and cooked a delicious pasta dish.

Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

In fact, Byers loves games so much that she made a game out of who could pick the basil leaves off the stalk the fastest with Hannah while they were cooking pasta. Check out it out in their interview:

Byers' love for games comes directly from her childhood.

"I grew up in the Caribbean," she said, and while her childhood might sound idyllic with its beaches and fresh fruit, it was also easy to run out of things to do for fun.

"There’s not much to do on the island, really," she said. "You know, you have the movies, you have bowling and stuff like that, but the main thing that we really love to do is play games."

Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

Games, especially card games like Spit, became her favorite thing to do with family, friends, and even strangers. Later, she brought that passion for games with her when she moved to America from the Cayman Islands to study acting. And today, she even plays games such as Spades on-set with fellow actors.

Card games also became a way for Byers to find a great work-life balance in her career.

Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

"It’s so important to have a balance," she told Hart. "We will work, we will get the job done, but then we don’t really put that same effort into having fun and relaxing."

It’s important to make time for play and the things that you enjoy, no matter what they are — because that is how you keep your passions alive. And for Byers, card games do the trick better than anything else because they allow her to be herself, let down her barriers, and just have fun.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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via Gage Skidmore/Flickr and Terry Morgan/Flickr

Senator Ted Cruz and a kangaroo.

Conservative media in the United States has painted Australia as a state on the brink of authoritarianism due to strict COVID-19 protections in some parts of the country. These news outlets appear to be using the country as an example of what can happen in America if liberal politicians go unchecked.

Fox News' Tucker Carlson ran a story on Australia earlier this month claiming the country "looks a lot like China did at the beginning of the pandemic." He ended it by saying that "what's happening in Australia might be instructive to us in the United States" and that things can "change very quickly" and become "dystopian and autocratic."

Carlson provides zero reasons why Americans should be fearful of becoming an autocratic country due to COVID-19, beyond the idea that "things can change very quickly" so his appeals sound a lot more like fear-mongering than genuine concern.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."