Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.
Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.
It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.
To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.
"My home is messy," she admitted in a recent webinar, according to The Washington Post, "but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life.”
Despite the Schadenfreude many parents may feel at Kondo's confession that kids change things, her reasoning for letting things go is actually right in line with her philosophy of embracing joy.
“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” she said. “I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”
Kondo has offered tips for tidying with kids at home since she became a mom, and they're pretty solid. But as any parent can attest, some children are naturally neater than others, and how many kids you have makes a big difference as well.
Kondo gave birth to her third child in 2021, so she's currently in the adorable hell that is toddlerland. Research has also found that parents of three kids are the most stressed, so if Kondo has found a way to enjoy time with her kids and create more balance in her life by letting go of her tidiness standards, more power to her.
Her new book, "Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life," focuses on designing your living space so it works for you. "Kurashi" loosely translates to "way of life" or "the ideal way of spending our time," and Kondo says it's about seeing the world through the lens of what matters most.
“I believe that when we consciously cherish something precious, we deepen our relationship with it,” she shares on her website. “This, in turn, deepens our bonds with other things in our lives, bringing out the best in them and in ourselves.”
Applying that philosophy to family, Kondo's "giving up" on tidying all the time makes perfect sense. If spending quality time with your children sparks more joy than keeping your belongings organized just so, then that's what you should do.
Kudos to Kondo for publicly acknowledging that having kids has altered how her home looks and for validating what so many parents have felt in the face of unrealistic expectations of tidiness. She could have kept up a front of always being on top of organization and having a perpetually tidy home, but she didn't. Here's to her willingness to share the reality, here's to embracing joy in the fleeting time we have with our children, and here's to letting go of the rules that might interfere with that, even if it means humbly admitting defeat in the face of our kids' messes.
Ana-Maria Mărgean only started her hobby in 2020 and is already wowing audiences on "America's Got Talent."
It’s not every day a ventriloquist act is so jaw-dropping that it has to be seen to be believed. But when it does happen, it’s usually on “America’s Got Talent.”
Ana-Maria Mărgean was only 11 years old when she first took to the stage on “Romania’s Got Talent” to show off her ventriloquism skills, an act inspired by videos of fellow ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” Season 2 champion Terry Fator.
Using puppets built for her by her parents, the young performer tirelessly spent her quarantine time in 2020 learning how to bring them to life, which led to her receiving a Golden Buzzer and eventually winning the entire series in Romania.
Mărgean is now 13 and a competitor on this season of “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” hoping to be crowned the winner and perform her own show in Vegas, just like her hero Fator.
The routine started with a hilarious bit between Mărgean and Waldo, her “rescue dog.” But it’s when she begins singing a bold and brassy version of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” that you know you’re witnessing something truly special.
Take a peek below. Holy moly, those high notes that Mărgean…er…I mean Waldo hit are fabulous.
The feedback from both the viewers and judges was unanimous awe.
“I mean, no wonder you won [RGT]. You are incredible, you are gorgeous, you can sing so beautifully…I love your furry friend, and it was funny, too! I love all the banter and the jokes,” applauded judge Heidi Klum.
Howie Mandel added, “I was laughing. And I cannot believe your story that you just started doing this during lockdown. Like, you don’t even have two years under your belt. That was amazing. The fact that this was something you looked up online, the fact that you were inspired by people you saw on America’s Got Talent—you are an AGT All-Star! The Superfans are gonna love you!”
Prior to her performance, Mărgean shared how winning “Romania’s Got Talent” completely changed her life, allowing her family to afford a brand new home. While her fate might still be up in the air for “AGT,” she’s already made huge strides and has racked up a lot of people rooting for her.
You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.
Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.
The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.
Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.
The idea was to make it accessible to visitors and use the cave as a tourist attraction, and the small structure was eventually built into a two-story house. But it was closed to the public in 1954 after the land was purchased for limestone mining and it remained closed for nearly 70 years. (In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How rude.") Sometime during that 70-year closure, the home that contains the cave was purchased by Dara Black, and in 2021, it reopened to the public.
Currently, the home is occupied by Black, but to gain access to the cave you can simply book a tour. The best part about booking a tour is that you only have to make a donation to enter. It's a pay-what-you-can sort of setup, but since someone actually lives in the home, you can't just pop in and ask for a tour. You have to go during the "open house" times available.
According to the Black-Coffey Caverns Facebook page, they treat the tours truly as an open house, complete with snacks and drinks. There's a waiting room area where people can chat and eat their snacks while they wait for the tour to start. They also offer cave yoga once a month. According to Uncovering PA, the tour takes about 45 minutes to complete and there are about 3,000 feet worth of passageways.
Imagine living on top of a cave and just taking strangers on a waltz under your floorboards essentially. It makes me wonder if the house is quiet at night or if you can hear echoes of the cave sounds while you're trying to sleep. From the Facebook page, it appears that the cave doesn't have any lights, but there were pictures with some Christmas lights mounted to the cave walls. Otherwise, you have to use flashlights.
Hopefully, no mischievous children decide to play hide and seek or you just might have to call in a rescue crew. Literally. But what an unbelievable "pics or it didn't happen" kind of story to tell. It's not every day you run into someone that has a door that leads you to an underground cave.
If you want to see what a cave tour looks like starting from the outside of the house, check out the video below:
A fascinating look at driver psychology.
This article originally appeared on 11.01.17
You missed a study that illuminates the very real dangers of literally "walking while black."
In addition to rogue police officers targeting people of color on the street, a study from Portland State University found that drivers are less likely to stop for black pedestrians.
The study, a follow-up from one conducted in 2014, administered tests using identically dressed black and white volunteers attempting to cross the same intersection. The 2014 study revealed black male pedestrians waited 32% longer than white male pedestrians for cars to stop. The 2017 research expanded on these tests to include black and white women and marked versus unmarked crosswalks.
When the crosswalk was unmarked, the stopping rate was relatively low across the board, regardless of race or gender — and regardless of Oregon law. However, when zebra stripes were added to the crosswalk, drivers were more likely to stop for white pedestrians, regardless of their own race or gender. In these marked crosswalks, cars stopped for white pedestrians 57% of the time and black pedestrians 44% of the time.
Using a crosswalk has some unwanted inherit risks.Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash
And the drivers who did stop for black pedestrians tended to crowd the crosswalk, giving black pedestrians less room to cross safely.
The researchers also measured where drivers stopped for pedestrians. A driver stopping on or before the stop line is more than 10 feet away from the intersection, giving the pedestrian ample room to cross. When the pedestrian was a black male, drivers stopped after the stop line in 71% of the trials. For black women, it was 67%.
Yes, you're reading this data correctly — the very tool meant to keep all pedestrians safe is generally effective only when the pedestrians are white.
safe space, respect, bias, studiesPhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Studies like this don't necessarily mean everyone behind the wheel is racist. But it's likely that implicit biases are at work.
Since the race and ethnicity of the driver had little effect on whether they yielded to pedestrians, it's unlikely that they're driving around with malicious intent to injure or harm pedestrians of color. However, subconscious and implicit biases — aversions, preferences, or attitudes that we prescribe to certain people or communities without even realizing it — are real and powerful. When we have to make quick decisions, our brains often rely on these implicit biases, which can have unintended (even deadly) consequences.
"Driving is a situation where you're processing a lot of information," Kimberly Kahn of the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University told The Oregonian. "It's in those situations where the most subtle and implicit biases can impact decision-making."
Some of these implicit biases may be why people of color are overrepresented when it comes to pedestrian fatalities.
In 2014, nearly 5,000 people in the U.S. were killed while walking. Non-white individuals are approximately 35% of the U.S. population but make up just over 46% of pedestrian deaths. Some of this can be attributed to the higher prevalence of pedestrians of color and the way certain streets and neighborhoods are designed with minimal safe crossings. However, even controlling for these factors, a disparity persists — it's simply not safe to walk in some neighborhoods.
But there are ways to combat both unsafe walking conditions and our own biases.
Increasing the number of drivers stopping for pedestrians across the board will inherently improve the number of drivers stopping for people of color. This means pushing local leaders for better crosswalk signage and street marking. It's also important to implement smart design, investigate where pedestrians are most at risk for being struck, and consider what measures can be put in place to slow cars or change traffic patterns.
And it's crucial that we work on our own implicit biases, first by acknowledging that they exist. It can be difficult to take a good hard look at why we think the way we do, but by examining our own preconceived notions and attitudes, we can make great strides toward dismantling or changing them.
These are the six factors Warren Buffett says he considers when he's making big business decisions.
This article originally appeared on
Warren Buffett isn't just rich. He's known for being ethical, straightforward, and wise. And also generous. Not just with his money but with his ideas.
Buffett straight up spelled out how he makes decisions on how to invest in and acquire businesses in a public letter sent to his shareholders. To be clear: His instincts and insights are what have made him such a rich man. And that's what he's sharing so openly with the world.
These are the six factors Warren Buffett says he considers when he's making big business decisions.
Maybe they could help the rest of us think through some tough decisions in our own lives? Let's see.
Maybe you, too, are investing billions of dollars. Or, uh, maybe not. But the day-to-day choices you have to make about life could be just as tough — and important. So let's see how his lessons could apply:
1. It's gotta be a big choice and a big win.
Buffett says he prefers to acquire "large purchases (at least $75 million of pre-tax earnings unless the business will fit into one of our existing units)." Aka, go big, go bold. Not everything has to be huge, but in tough times, sometimes doing the big, scary thing is how you reap the big, amazing reward.
2. The decision has to create value for you consistently and currently.
None of this "it'll pay off in the distant future" or "it just needs some elbow grease" stuff. Whatever you're choosing, make sure it's valuable and has concrete, real-life impact. Or, as Buffett says, the acquisition must have "demonstrated consistent earning power (future projections are of no interest to us, nor are 'turnaround' situations)."
3. The decision will benefit everyone who's invested in it, and it won't leave anyone hanging.
Buffett wants "businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt," aka no one who's put time/effort/money/love into said life choice (or business move) will come out at the end with less than what they started with. Makes sense, right? Basically, don't screw people over with the choices you make. Have some heart and fairness.
4. Everything necessary for success should already be in place.
Buffett mentions that there must be "management in place" and that his company "can't supply it." Invest time and energy in things that are solid and have demonstrated reliability. That is, "don't build the ship while you sail it." Why? According to Buffett's logic, when making huge decisions, if the part that keeps makes the end result of your decision sustainable is already there, that's a very good sign.
5. The decision may be hard, but the terms should be simple.
Buffett wants simple businesses, saying — in his awesomely straightforward way — "if there's lots of technology, we won't understand it." Life isn't always simple and there's certainly a time for complexity, but the lesson here is a good one: If you're making a huge choice, don't overcomplicate it.
6. The options are clear and available.
Buffett refers to this availability, basically saying that the company has to have a price on it already and that his firm doesn't "want to waste our time or that of the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price is unknown." I take this to mean that the choice is a clear action. No negotiations necessary.
Now I'm not saying that this well-to-do investor has all the answers just because he has all the money, and I know it's a little out there to think of these investment acquisition tips as something you can apply to your own, non-billionaire life. But think about it. Fearlessness? Fairness? Preparation? These are some helpful themes we could all probably take a few lessons from.
So next time you're making a big decision, think about them. In a world where financial literacy isn't exactly the norm, looking at how financial greats make their decisions could be an interesting thing to try. Who knows? It might help you.
Sober bars and events are growing in popularity with delicious, grown-up alternatives to alcohol.
For as long as there's been alcohol, there have been people who don't drink it. Some don't care for the taste, some don't like the buzz, some have religious prohibitions against it and some are recovering addicts who need to avoid it altogether.
Whatever reasons people have for not drinking, there's an unspoken attitude by some that they're missing out on a key part of social culture, especially when countless movies and TV shows portrays people winding down (or wooing one another) with wine and bonding over beers at bars. There's an air of camaraderie over sharing a cocktail or clinking champagne flutes together that's hard to capture with a basic Coke or sparkling water.
But what if you want that fun, social atmosphere without the alcohol? What if you want to go out and have fancy, alcohol-free drinks with your friends at night without being surrounded by drunk people? Where do you go for that?
Big cities like New York and Los Angeles have seen non-alcoholic options increasing on menus for a while, but the trend has spread to smaller cities and expanded to full bars, pop-up events and retail shops dedicated to sober drinking.
In fact, the Mindful Drinking Fest held on January 21 in Washington D.C. was sold out, as over 300 attendees sampled all manner of non-alcoholic beers, wines and mixed drinks. One of the event's organizers, award-winning bartender Derek Brown, told NPR that not drinking isn't actually new. Early bartending manuals all included plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, but post-Prohibition, the temperance movement took a hit. "People stopped treating people who don't drink alcohol like adults," he said.
\u201cThe secret to great non-alcoholic beverage programs: treat people who order NA cocktails like adults. https://t.co/5N4BHhJkAG @AmyZeats @SevenFiftyDaily\u201d— Derek Brown (@Derek Brown) 1674657656
Now temperance appears to be making a comeback with the younger generations of adults. A 2016 Heineken survey discovered that 75% of Millennials purposefully limited their alcohol intake on nights out, and Gen Zers across high-income Western nations are reportedly drinking far less than their elders. According to The Conversation, there's a handful of reasons younger folks are far more "sober curious" than their parents were, including a sense of responsibility about their futures, greater consciousness about wellness, a better understanding of the health risks of even small amounts of alcohol and shifting attitudes about what's cool.
But young folks aren't the only ones hopping on the sobriety train. Even as the pandemic saw a spike in heavy drinking, it also caused a lot of people to examine their relationship with alcohol. With annual traditions like "Dry January" and "Sober October" growing in popularity, people are at least trying out the alcohol-free life for a while—what Brown refers to as an "alcoholiday."
This growing demand for alternatives to alcohol is driving alcohol-free establishments with clever names such as Absence of Proof, Sans Bar, Spirited Away and more to pop up all over the place. And we're not just talking about Shirley Temples or virgin daiquiris here. Today's alcohol-free mixed drinks are far more sophisticated, with new distilled spirits, bitters, and other ingredients creating complex flavors without a sickeningly high sugar content.
Abby Ehmann owned a regular bar in New York and enjoyed her regular customers, but also saw the devasting impacts alcohol had on some of her patrons. So she opened a sober bar named Hekate in 2022. "I wanted to create that sort of vibe and community for people, but take alcohol out of the equation," she told NBC News. "Here we have the community and the vibe without the booze."
The culture around drinking is slowly but surely changing, and the success of events like the Mindful Drinking Fest and sober bars seems to be proving that alcohol isn't the necessary social lubricant many believe it to be.
As Brown told NPR, "All the positive emotions we associate with alcohol—they come from just being with people and tasting delicious, wonderful things," he said. "You don't really need alcohol."
Cheers to that.