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We asked about the best presents you've ever given. The answers will make you smile.

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Hershey's

The holidays are here, which means that gifts are on everyone's minds.

Sure, you're probably dying to know what your friends and family got you (we hope it's what you've wanted all year). However, when it comes down to the actual gift exchange, you might find that giving leaves you feeling better than receiving.

Whether you're gifting jewelry to your wife, a bag of Hershey's Kisses to a work colleague, or a sweater covered in dachshunds that your friend will show off at every holiday party this year, there's just something about giving that warms all of our hearts.


In order to prove this theory, we asked real people about a time in their life when giving a gift was better than anything they could have found under the tree. Take a second to grab a tissue before you read these responses.

1. Tracey Carnazzo calls her best friend Noelle her "soulmate." For her, there was no greater gift than buying the gown the woman she loves most would be married in.

Tracey and Noelle. Photo courtesy of Tracey Carnazzo.

"Noelle's been my best friend for over 20 years," says Carnazzo. The pair, who live in New York,  do everything together — from traveling to hosting a popular podcast. When Noelle's mother couldn't make it wedding dress shopping with her daughter, Carnazzo (who also served double duty as both officiant and maid of honor)  took the reins.

"She was planning on buying the dress herself," explains Carnazzo, "but your mom is supposed to buy your dress! I bought it for her because I am her 'other mom,' even though she's three years older than I am."

"It made her feel loved and taken care of. It made me feel great to be able to give her something that she really deserves. Seeing her walk down the aisle in it was better than any gift I’ve ever received. I really love her. To see her happy is when I'm truly happy."

2. David Pardo said 'thank you' to a mentor who had helped him through so much.

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash.

"I had a mentor who, when my life was difficult, spent a couple years effectively playing my therapist by phone every week or two, even though he was 1000s of miles away," writes Pardo in an email. His mentor was training to be a counselor, but wasn't comfortable accepting anything in return for his guidance. That didn't stop Pardo from repaying him down the road, though.

"About 4 years after we last spoke, my finances improved along with my mental state, [so] I gave him $1000 as a bit of a start on paying him back," he continues. "He'd been living in his van while finishing his PhD. A divorce while in grad school wrecked his finances. He didn't have a place for his son to live with him."

"After getting the money, he was able to get a place where he could live with his young kid. Being able to fix the thing that is most hurting someone brings a special type of satisfaction."

3. Martha Miller gave a memory that will endure for more than a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Martha Miller.

"My father-in-law, Hubert, was turning 80 right before Christmas and certainly didn't need a single thing," writes Miller in an email. "I was trying to think of something meaningful we could give him and it finally struck me. He waited a very long time to become a grandfather and was thrilled when two grandsons were born just six weeks apart."

"I got the idea of giving him a photo shoot with them as a present. My sister-in-law and I took Hubert and our boys dressed in Notre Dame jerseys Grandpa had given them for the photo session the next week. My father-in-law wanted several sets of pictures so he could send them to his six brothers and sisters."

"When Grandpa passed away at 88, my son, then 10 years old, spoke at the funeral. He said his favorite memory of Grandpa was having the picture taken with his cousin and Grandpa in the jerseys Grandpa had given them. I tear up just thinking about it. We have the picture placed prominently in my son's room so he will be reminded of his wonderful Grandpa who loved him dearly and the fun time he had with Grandpa and his cousin. I love that this present was so meaningful to Grandpa, and that it is still bringing joy to us and to our son."

4. For Lisa Umar, bringing all of her mom's friends together for her birthday showed her that there's no better gift than making someone happy.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Umar.

"I was living in Washington, D.C. at the time while my family lived in Phoenix," Umar says. "For my mom's birthday, I decided to plan her a surprise party. I managed to track down a bunch of her friends, another friend donated their house for the evening and I sent out printed invitations and everything."

"I also flew home the day before so I could help set up the party and surprise her. She was totally surprised and cried a lot. I may have cried a little too. It felt awesome to pull the entire thing off as a complete surprise, and I was able to get so many of her friends all together in one room.

"There's really no better feeling than making someone that happy. Then, of course, she's reminded me every single year that no gift I ever give her will ever top it. Worth it!"

5. Rachel Toburen gave her mother a very different gift — one of a heartwarming companion.

Photo of Petal via Rachel Toburen.

"I fostered a litter of puppies, and my mom (two time zones away) fell in love with one," says Toburen. "She was trying to figure out some way to adopt the puppy, but coming to Colorado wasn't a possibility."

"To surprise her, we paid Petal's adoption fee, and flew to Michigan to deliver a 12-week-old puppy to my mom for Mother's Day. We told her about it in advance so she would be prepared and have her house ready. It was a lot of work on our end, but seeing my mom fall in love with this puppy from across the country, and then getting to have her...that was pretty awesome."

6. Jess Keegin gave a child the gift of education.  

Photo courtesy of Jess Keegin.

"I started sponsoring Tasila through Children International in 2012 when she was five years old," writes Keegin. "Zambian children typically start school when they're seven, but when I got Tasila's family report at age eight, it said she didn't attend school because her family (which consists of a single mother — her father is deceased — as well as four other siblings) can't afford it."

"I immediately knew I was going to change that, so I reached out to Children International to see what the costs would be to get her in school. She started school in January of 2014."

"She went from a child who looked constantly grumpy and unhappy to one whose smile could light up a room. When I asked CI what her school costs would be for 2017, I received a note that said she was 1st in her class."

"Her education will cost $171 in 2019. It's the best money I'll spend all year."

7. And David Pemberton proves that you can make people feel loved and special no matter how much or how little you spend.

Comic courtesy of David Pemberton.

"When I lived in Denver, I had absolutely no money, and my parents had to scrape together what they could to buy me a ticket back home to Tennessee for the holidays," says Pemberton.

"I have a big family — my present list that year was in the teens — and I knew that I wouldn't be able to buy anyone anything. So I got a ream of computer paper, some pencils, and a few sharpies from the office and I drew a one-page comic for everyone in my family. Each comic was inspired by my favorite memory with them. I bought several $1 frames from the local Goodwill to frame them."

"That year, as we all sat around to open gifts, it was always the comics that made people cry. And I mean everyone cried. Why does that make it better than receiving a gift? Well, I think it's because it let me know that everyone cherished these memories just as much as I did."

This holiday season, the best present you can give is one that you've wrapped with love. The joy you get in return will last you all year long.

Ileah Parker (left) and Alexis Vandecoevering (right)

True

At 16, Alexis Vandecoevering already knew she wanted to work in the fire department. Having started out as a Junior Firefighter and spending her time on calls as a volunteer with the rest of her family, she’s set herself up for a successful career as either a firefighter or EMT from a young age.

Ileah Parker also leaned into her career interests at an early age. By 16, she had completed an internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, learning about Information Technology, Physical Therapy, Engineering, and Human Resources in healthcare, which allowed her to explore potential future pathways. She’s also a member of Eryn PiNK, an empowerment and mentoring program for black girls and young women.

While these commitments might sound like a lot for a teenager, it all comes down to school/life balance. This wouldn’t be possible for Alexis or Ileah without attending Pearson’s Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school available in 31 states across the U.S., that not only helps students get ready for college but dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well.

“Connections Academy allowed me extensive flexibility, encouraged growth in all aspects of my life, whether academic, interpersonal, or financial, and let me explore options for my future career, schooling, and extracurricular endeavors,” said Ileah.

A recent survey by Connections Academy of over 1,000 students in grades 8-12 and over 1,000 parents or guardians across the U.S., highlights the importance of school/life balance when it comes to leading a fulfilling and successful life. The results show that students’ perception of their school/life balance has a significant impact on their time to consider career paths, with 76% of those with excellent or good school/life balance indicating they know what career path they are most interested in pursuing versus only 62% of those who have a fair to very poor school/life balance.

Additionally, students who report having a good or excellent school/life balance are more likely than their peers to report having a grade point average in the A-range (57% vs 35% of students with fair to very poor balance).

At Connections Academy, teens get guidance navigating post-secondary pathways, putting them in the best possible position for college and their careers. Connections Academy’s College and Career Readiness offering for middle and high school students connects them with employers, internships and clubs in Healthcare, IT, and Business.


“At Connections Academy, we are big proponents of encouraging students to think outside of the curriculum” added Dr. Lorna Bryant, Senior Director of Career Solutions in Pearson’s Virtual Learning division. “While academics are still very important, bringing in more career and college exposure opportunities to students during middle and high school can absolutely contribute to a more well-rounded school/life balance and help jumpstart that career search process.”

High school students can lean into career readiness curriculum by taking courses that meet their required high school credits, while also working toward micro-credentials through Coursera, and getting college credit applicable toward 150 bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

Alexis Vandecoevering in her firefighter uniform

Alexis, a Class of 2024 graduate, and Ileah, set to start her senior year with Connections Academy, are on track to land careers they’re passionate about, which is a key driver behind career decisions amongst students today.

Of the students surveyed who know what career field they want to pursue, passion and genuine interest is the most commonly given reasoning for both male and female students (54% and 66%, respectively).

Parents can support their kids with proper school/life balance by sharing helpful resources relating to their career interests. According to the survey, 48% of students want their parents to help them find jobs and 43% want their parents to share resources like reading materials relating to their chosen field.

While teens today have more challenges than ever to navigate, including an ever-changing job market, maintaining school/life balance and being given opportunities to explore career paths at an early age are sure to help them succeed.

Learn more about Connections Academy’s expanded College and Career Readiness offering here.

A nasty note gets a strong response.

We've all seen it while cruising for spots in a busy parking lot: A person parks their whip in a disabled spot, then they walk out of their car and look totally fine. It's enough to make you want to vomit out of anger, especially because you've been driving around for what feels like a million years trying to find a parking spot.

You're obviously not going to confront them about it because that's all sorts of uncomfortable, so you think of a better, way less ballsy approach: leaving a passive aggressive note on their car's windshield.

Satisfied, you walk back to your car feeling proud of yourself for telling that liar off and even more satisfied as you walk the additional 100 steps to get to the store from your lame parking spot all the way at the back of the lot. But did you ever stop and wonder if you told off the wrong person?



What if that person on the receiving end of the note had a perfectly good explanation for why they're driving car with a disabled sticker and tag?

That's exactly what happened to Emma Doherty, who was surprised to see someone pen such vitriolic words to her in this letter she found on her car.

The language in the note is pretty harsh:

"You lazy conning b-tch. You did not have a disabled person with you! These spaces are reserved for people who need them!!!"

I get that avoiding conflict is something that's been trained into us, but maybe if whoever wrote this note decided to say something to Emma, this entire thing could've been cleared up entirely.

Instead, she had to take to Facebook to pick apart the anonymous grouch and explain her situation to the rest of us. And hopefully whoever wrote the note (if they see her post) understands why they were terribly wrong.

Emma is the mother of a terminally ill child, Bobby. Her ruthless and powerful message sheds light on the misconceptions associated with disabilities and helps to break the stigma that all impairments are visible, because they're not.

"To the person who put this on my car, which I had put my disabled badge fully on, I'm not angry at your pure ignorance, I'm actually upset with it. How dare you ever accuse anyone of not needing a disabled badge without knowing. I wish you had the balls to say this to my face and I would have told you (even tho I don't need to explain myself to the likes of you) but I'd have happily said why I have a badge."

"I promise to get the stigma away from people with disabled badges who don't "look disabled." I hope this gets shared and back to you and you will see my son is terminally ill, he's had over 15 operations, 3 open hearts, 2 stomach, lung and diaphragm and countless artery stenting operations and spent half his life on intensive care."

respect, community, disabilities, visible disability

Emma Doherty and her son Bobby.

SOURCE: FACEBOOK

In her post, she delineates the severity of Bobby's illness, which has put the young man through multiple surgeries and procedures that are no walks in the park.

"He's had 2 strokes and was paralyzed, brain damaged and has a spine and hip condition as well as a massive heart condition. The reason I didn't get his wheelchair out was because I was running late because my son, who had a MRI scan, CTSCAN and a dye for heart function yesterday, only got discharged late and was back in this morning so carried him in."

"But for your information not everyone who holds a blue badge needs to have a wheelchair! I've told ... security and broke down, I've sat through things nobody should see but why did your note break me? Because it's your pure ignorance towards others. I'm a single mom trying my best to hold it together for my son who's in and out if hospital. NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE and I hope you regret doing this and learn your lesson!”

Throughout her post, Emma simultaneously castigates the person and drives one important point home: Just because someone isn't in a wheelchair or crutches, doesn't mean they aren't disabled or in need of physical care or assistance.

I knew something would be said one day as every day I get looks and stares and see people whispering to each other about me and Bobby walking from the car. Everyone needs to stop and think before acting. I hardly ever let anything upset me but this did. How aggressive as well, and as for conning my son's disabled pass... [It] is not a con, he's actually seriously ill. I've added a picture of him to prove not everyone looks ill or disabled but can be seriously ill.

The mother clarifies at the end of the message that she's sure it wouldn't be a hospital staff member who wrote the message, because those who work in healthcare are well aware of the various reasons someone would have a disabled tag on their vehicle.

"I'd like to point out this has nothing to do with the hospital itself. They were lovely with me when I was upset and they treat us with every respect, always have [in our] 3 long years with them. They've saved my son's life many times. It [was] just somebody who was parked [there].”

Her post quickly went viral, with many people echoing her sentiments and thanking her for helping to clear up that tons of people suffer from different disabilities and that not all of them are so readily apparent.

SOURCE: FACEBOOK

And as it turns out, Emma isn't the only parent who's dealt with judgmental individuals who gave them flack for having a disabled sticker on their car. As if having to deal with a sick child isn't enough, they also have to suffer through getting guff from randos on the street over a measly parking spot.

SOURCE: FACEBOOK

Bobby's condition has left him without pulmonary artery function, which means that blood will not pump throughout his body. As you can imagine, walking long distances — or performing many physical tasks otherwise healthy individuals take for granted — are out of the question for the 3-year-old.

As a result of her son's condition, Emma has to take him to the hospital for treatments throughout the week, and seeing the note on her car while having to deal with that ultimately set her off. Thankfully, she used her anger to send a positive message.

Floored by the positive response to her message, Emma went back online to thank people for being so receptive and helping to spread awareness that disabilities come in many forms.


"My inbox is full of people who have told me they have been stared at or even spat at. This is a serious problem and I just want it to change. I am hoping by sharing what I went through people will start to think before acting."



This article first appeared on 11.26.19.


Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Family

Dad's viral reaction to finding out babies don't have kneecaps has people rolling

Turns out he's not the only one who didn't know this fact about baby anatomy.

When you're a first time parent, you learn something new every day.

Becoming a parent for the first time means learning all kinds of fun facts you otherwise might have never thought of. For instance, did you know that a baby won’t produce tears till its first 3-4 weeks? Or that their stomachs are only the size of a wee walnut? Incredible, right? It’s enough to put any new parent in awe.

Thanks to TikTok, we see one dad’s shock and amazement at learning that babies don’t have kneecaps—at least not in the same way that adults do. Apparently, this was new information to a lot of folks.


In a video shared by Dylan and Shelby Reese, the couple behind the TikTok account @shelbanddyl, we see a bewildered Dylan holding their son (or as Dylan says, their “no kneecap havin’’” son) presumably after Shelby has just delivered this lesser know anatomy fact.

Through laughter, Shelby tries to explain that the kneecaps will develop later, to which Dylan replies, “What kind of design flaw is this?! So you’re telling me this little nugget is kneecap-less until they’re like 2-6 years old? That’s wild!”

@shelbanddyl It only took him nearly 30 years to find this out 🤣 #shelbanddyl #husbandreacts #baby #couples #relationships ♬ original sound - Shelby & Dylan

Dylan wasn’t the only one surprised by this. Several viewers were also unaware.

“I was today years old learning that kids have no kneecaps. I am 31,” one person wrote.

“I have 4 kids, Shelby. 4 kids and never ever knew they didn’t have kneecaps. What in the world,” another added.

Another brought in this very astute question: “is this why we can crawl as children but then it hurts when we grow up?” Seriously—the world needs to know this.

To save you Google fact checking deep dive, babies technically do have kneecaps.

But according to Healthline, those kneecaps are made of softer, more flexible cartilage that will eventually become the bony kneecap, or patella, that adults have. Much in the same way that the nose, ears and other joints evolve. This process begins between the ages of 2 and 6, and ends around the age of 10 to 12.

Having soft knee caps not only helps with the birthing process, but also makes for more comfortable crawling as babies learn to walk. So yes, the soft-to-hard knee transient problem is why adults don’t have as much fun crawling around. You learn something new every day!

Just goes to show that parenting offers new discoveries to delight in all the time.

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.



The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.

16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.

Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.

The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.

When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."

The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).

Photo by Leland Werden.

"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.

The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.

Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.

The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.

The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.

Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.

"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."

Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.

In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.

Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.

In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.

Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.

The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.

The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.

Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.

Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.

In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.

The sign after clearing away the vines.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.

19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.


This article originally appeared on 08.23.17

Self-care is not what we've be taught one therapist explains

Self-care. It's something that has been co-opted by wellness influencers and gurus that somehow always involve spending money on something luxurious. Self-care is often branded as things like pedicures, vacations and hour long massages at the spa but according to Dr. Raquel Martin, we've been doing self-care all wrong.

Martin is a licensed psychologist and recently uploaded a video where she explains what self-care is truly supposed to be–it's not indulgent. At least indulgence shouldn't be an all the time expectation of self-care though she acknowledges that the wellness industry has monetized the decadent vision of self-care. Martin explains that having self-care propped up as something that is indulgent isolates people who cannot afford those types of activities.

The psychologist goes on to share how she practices self-care, surprising viewers, "not responding to every call and if I do not have the bandwidth to have the conversation, stating that I don't have the bandwidth to have the conversation." She also says she says no to things she doesn't want to do, setting a financial budget, and not drinking caffeine after 4 PM.


Things Martin listed are things a lot of people don't think about as self-care but in actuality, self-care is defined by taking care of one's self. This means practicing self-care is getting in a few minutes of exercise a day, drinking more water or spending time with friends watching mindless television. You don't have to spend money to care for yourself. Commenters were shocked and thankful for Martin's clarification on what self-care is actually supposed to be.



"Love this list!! As a massage therapist, I have to call out the misconception that massage is indulgent. I'm always telling my patients that self care is more than a bath. I will be sharing this list with my patients. I'm also trying to make massage more accessible," one person writes.

"Thank you for this post. I’m internalizing your advice to see how I can apply. You resonated with my thoughts on so many levels. However, you also provided some clarity and food for thought/fuel for action," another says.

"I really appreciate what you said about pallet cleansers! Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because I'm not able to read and consume and learn about all the issues different people are facing. It's really important to me to learn about those things, not just for awareness, but also so I can do something about it. But self care is so important throughout that, like leaving my phone in the other room, or watching my comfort shows like you said. I often read kids books or TV because of how horrible the world is right now, and I need something extremely wholesome to balance it out. Also, workshop? I'm not sure what that means but I like learning from you. Thanks," someone shares.

So maybe it's time to collectively ditch those indulgent expectations of self-care and really take a look at ways we care for ourselves instead.

Millennial sends warning to Gen Z after viral video criticizing Gen X

There's something to be said about the sibling dynamic that's developed between Millennials and Gen Z. But before that bond existed, many Millennials grew up with Gen X siblings, learning early on not to disturb the sleeping bear. Gen X is often referred to as the forgotten generation and after all this time, they like it that way so Millennials keep their heads down and walk quickly where Gen X is concerned.

Unfortunately, some folks in the younger generation didn't get that reply all email. A brave...or naive Gen Zer decided to take to Taylor Swift's internet to decree and declare that Gen X is "the worst generation" seemingly unprompted. Young Padawan, Gen X minds their business grumbling through life unless someone summons them. We don't summon them.

Laura High gave a succinct cliff's notes version of why it's best to not speak negative thoughts on Gen X aloud. The self described Millennial is quick to start out the video with praise, "I love Gen X. We all love Gen X...we all love Gen X" before bringing the camera close enough to whisper.


"Ok here's the thing, you do not seem to understand who Gen X is okay. Gen X is Boomers if they knew how to turn a document into a PDF, okay. They do not Karen out. They get quiet and they get revenge," High whispers.

The Millennial shares the secret kept close to the chest of the generation above Gen Z, "we do not summon the latchkey kids unless it's our literal only last resort." She advises the unknowing Gen Zer to go to the edge of the woods to leave offerings to appease the Gen Xers that will likely be offended by the video. Commenters agreed that this little sibling overstepped and needs to quietly and quickly tiptoe back into place before Gen X notices.



"There is a reason millennials leave GenX alone, and they learned it the hard way. My fellow Gen Z’s will learn soon… very soon," one commenter says.

"Elder Gen Z raised by two Gen X parents. I do NOT back the younger half of Gen Z on this. I’m running into the woods on their behalf and leaving Ferris Bueller for my dad and a DQ blizzard for my mom," another writes.

"Last thing she will hear from the woods, Red Rover Red Rover, we call Karen Hashtag over," someone laughs.

If you've never played Red Rover with Gen Xers, just know you were lucky to have your head still attached to your shoulders after the game was over. There were no tears allowed and no telling your parents, they were gone anyway. But it seems Gen Xers who watched the video are willing to accept the peace offerings.

"I will accept king dongs (in original foil) and a VHS of “the last star fighter” I will also except a mix tape if it include at mix of metal, new wave, and Yaz," someone suggests.

"We will also accept any of the original Star Wars trilogy, Star Trek 2, Raiders, or Die Hard…though John Hughes films will likely will be the safest choice," one Gen Xer writes.

Tread lightly Gen Z. Tread very lightly. If you hear someone clinking together empty glass Coke bottles outside your door, do not come out and play. It's a trap.