This photographer fights outdated norms with beautiful portraits of modern moms.

As a young mom, Celia Sanchez felt like an outsider.

Sanchez, who became a mom 11 years ago at age 23, had many run-ins with fellow parents that she won't soon forget.

"When I would take my children to day care, I felt kind of ... like I didn't look like the other moms," Sanchez said. "They were much older than me. I just felt kind of separated from them. I would get a lot of 'Oh you're so young to be a mom,' 'You don't really look like a mom,' and I always thought that was a silly thing to say: 'Oh you don't look like a mom.'"


Driven by her own brushes with judgment, Sanchez reached out to friends and strangers for a powerful portrait project.

"I'm not a woman of words," said Sanchez, a portrait photographer. "I like to show people."

Sanchez's photo series "Devoted" features "non-typical" mothers and their children.

With their body art, bold hair, and amazing clothes, these women don't seem like "typical moms" at first glance. And that's the point.

For the past three years, Sanchez has shot portraits of these women alone and with their children. She hopes the juxtaposition will encourage people to reconsider their first impressions.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

"I knew mothers who didn't look like a 'typical mom,' and I always wanted to photograph them and feature them and show that you don't have to look a certain way to be a mom," she said.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Many of these moms have tattoos, which are still considered taboo in a lot of communities.

By the numbers, though, tattoos are fairly common, even for parents.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

According to a 2015 Harris poll, nearly half (47%) of millennials and more than a third (36%) of Gen Xers surveyed reported having a tattoo. And respondents with children were nearly twice as likely to have a tattoo as those without children (43% vs. 21%).

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Even as tattoos and parents with tattoos become more commonplace, many parents still feel judged for their appearance.

Brian Poole and his wife, Meg, run Parents With Tattoos, one of several Facebook communities on the topic. Admittedly, Poole says his run-ins with those critical of his body art aren't as bad as many would assume, but they definitely happen.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

"I don't get a lot of comments, but I get a lot of snide looks. You can definitely tell people from their body language, the way that they look at you," he says.

The prejudice has also led to more serious consequences for Poole and his family.  

"We've actually been, me and my wife, have actually been turned down from renting houses. ... And it's like, 'Come on. It's 2016. I would think we'd move past that.'"

But we haven't. That's why projects like "Devoted" are so important.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Not all parents look the same. And they shouldn't have to.

Three years in, Sanchez continues to work on "Devoted" not just for herself, but to celebrate and champion these strong, beautiful mothers.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

"I just wanted to show women — mothers — who weren't ... sacrificing their personal style," Sanchez says. "Being a mom, you get lost in your children and I really love the fact that these women didn't lose themselves. They didn't lose their identities. They're still themselves. They're still great parents."

Photos by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Raising kids is hard enough without prejudice and judgment. Next time you see a mom or dad who doesn't fit your idea of a parent, Sanchez hopes you'll check yourself. Because if it takes a village to rise a child, everyone who loves and cares about that child is welcome.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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