This hilarious ad for a 1996 Honda is the perfect commentary on materialism.

When Carrie Hollenbeck needed to sell her 1996 Honda Accord, with over 140,000 lifetime miles on it, having a filmmaker boyfriend paid off. Big time.

Max and Carrie. Photo used with permission

Max Lanman had the idea to produce an actual commercial to advertise his girlfriend's jalopy. But this wouldn't be some low-budget production for a 4 a.m. run on the local access cable channel. Oh no. Not at all.


“I thought it would be hilarious to make a high-end car commercial for a really junky car,” Lanman told ABC News. “And she had just the car.”

The ad begins like any high-gloss, self-important, sleek car commercial, with a deep-voiced narrator uttering some vaguely inspiring patter: "You, you're different. You do things your way. That's what makes you one of a kind."

Cut to — instead of a luxury vehicle with a slick dash, leather interior, and impeccably dressed anonymous driver — Carrie's old Honda, complete with coffee spills, random objects rolling around in the back, and one of those cassette things you use to play your iPod in a car without Bluetooth.

"You don't do it for appearance. You do it because it works," the narrator adds triumphantly.

Check out the finished product, which has gone viral with over 4 million views:

Lanman may have intended the piece to be more silly than satire, but the faux ad inadvertently makes an important point about the car buying experience in America.

As commonplace as the ads he's lampooning are, the majority of Americans cannot afford a new car. Things are only getting worse — the average price of a new vehicle has skyrocketed 35% since the 1970s, while the median household income is only up about 3% for the same time period.

Cars have always been a status symbol, but somewhere along the line — between the time of horse-drawn carriages and the modern era of Matthew McConaughey selling Lincolns by falling backward into an infinity pool while wearing a tuxedo — cars have become an extreme symbol of status.

Car commercials would have you believe that cars are not something you buy because of how well they can get you from Point A to Point B, but because of how they made you feel and how they make you look to other people. For every person buying a $60,000 car that fits their "lifestyle," (or to sit in their garage, barely touched) there are dozens more people buying a used junker on Craiglist or eBay because it's all they can afford. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Though it wasn't intended to be, Max and Carrie's viral ad is almost a digital middle finger to those who want the rich to get richer and income disparity to get worse. It reminds us to be proud of our ability to successfully live our own lives, even if it's not always pristine or glamorous. This ad ... is practical and real and ... well, it's all of us.

"Luxury is a state of mind," the narrator bellows at the end. Finally, a car slogan everyday Americans can get behind.

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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Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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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."