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DC City Council Unanimously Approves Reproductive Health Anti-Discrimination Bill

Wednesday, the Washington, DC City Council unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit employer interference in the reproductive health decisions of their employees. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was first introduced by DC Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), just ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of for-profit retail chain Hobby Lobby this summer. The bill amends DC’s 1977 Human Rights Act and “expands discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based upon the reproductive health decisions of an employee, their spouse or their dependent.” The original Human Rights Act includes language that explicitly protects DC residents from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy status, childbirth, or related medical conditions or needs. Some advocates say the bill could be interpreted as a reversal of the controversial Hobby Lobby decision, but according to a committee report, the bill “is not about insurance coverage, but rather about employee discrimination.” Outgoing DC Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to sign the bill before year’s end. As in the case of all legislation in DC, the measure will still need to be approved by both chambers of Congress and President Barack Obama before it can be fully enacted. Media Resources: RH Reality Check 12/18/14; Committee […]

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The Unexpected Gift I Got From My Kids This Christmas

There comes a time in all of our lives when childhood begins to wane, and along with it the magic and belief in Santa. I remember the hollow sadness accompanying the realization that Christmas would never be the same again. I knew I’d never again look up in the sky on Christmas Eve and feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end at the possibility of seeing a sleigh dart past the stars. I knew I’d never again awaken in the middle of the night to the sounds of crinkling paper and jingle bells, my heart pounding with exhilaration and fear.

In the years that followed, Christmas became less of a whimsical affair and more of a standard family get-together. My siblings would all come back into town and we’d get to see the cousins again. We’d take bets on which unwitting guest (usually someone’s friend or date) would get sick from eating the turkey our grandma “refrigerated” on the porch, and who’d get drunk first off her famous homemade eggnog. There would be brunch and movie marathons, gift cards and wish lists.

But the magic was decidedly gone. There was no rush to hop out of bed before the sunrise, no exuberant squeals at the sight of a sooty boot print by the fireplace. The cookies didn’t even taste as sweet as they once did. I accepted the void as just another one of those grown-up realities we all have to come to terms with at some point.

A few weeks ago, however, I found myself turned completely around in the car, wagging a pointed finger at my kids in the backseat with a reindeer-sh*t-eatin’ grin on my face, singing along with the radio, “YOU BETTER BE GOOD, FOR GOODNESS SAKE,” in that classic mom fashion that would have made my teen self cringe.

At that moment, something clicked, and I was taken aback by this sudden jolt of merry rocking my system. As I slowly turned forward in my seat again, mouth agape, I realized what had happened:

I felt it. I felt the magic again.

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It’s the kids. They are so full of unadulterated belief and joy that it radiates off them, surrounding them like an aura. And those of us lucky enough to be near them at the holidays can’t help but feel its reverberations, its glow beckoning us like an old friend.

It’s in the way their breath catches at the sight of marshmallows in hot chocolate and sprinkles on cookies.

It’s in the way their eyes widen and their sweaty palms find yours as they step forward in line to sit on Santa’s lap.

It’s in the way they stand back in wonder, with their gaze fixed on the twinkling lights of a freshly decorated tree in the living room, and whisper to themselves, “I just LOVE it.”

It’s in the twirl of a full Christmas skirt, in the sticky peppermint coating their face and hands after a well-loved candy cane, in the thrill that moves them to wiggle and beam every time they see a new Christmas card in the mail.

This absolute sense of joy and trusting belief so emblematic of the littlest among us is both powerful and inspiring. It’s the stuff we should all be grasping for, something we’d all benefit from tapping into now and then. It’s something I wish for all of us this year, as someone who hasn’t felt it in far longer than I’d like to admit.

This year, let your gaze linger on the glimmering lights and ornaments as if you were seeing them for the first time. Indulge in the sparkling sugars and sprinkles and frosting. Surrender to the magic that dances through the air as freely as the falling snowflakes this time of year.

Let yourself believe again — in something, in anything. In Santa, in God, in love, in each other.

Let the kids take your hands this year and show you what this season is all about. Better yet, let them remind you what you once knew — perhaps decades ago — with unwavering certainty. There will come a day when they, too, may no longer giggle and wiggle and stand in awe of the season’s enchantment. Embrace this gift while you can; it feels so good to be back.

To read more from Catherine, please visit www.ChokingOnApplesauce.com.

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Jimmy Kimmel Made ‘Dora The Explorer’ One Of The Dirtiest Shows Of 2014

With 2014 coming to a close, Jimmy Kimmel looked back at his weekly tribute to the FCC to find the most bleep-worthy moments from TV this year and assemble them into a highlight reel of made-up profanity.

“This Year In Unnecessary Censorship” features clips from “Dora the Explorer,” Steve Harvey and, of course, Vice President Joe Biden.

Yes, these are all actually innocent clips, but Dora should still probably keep her monkey away from that horse.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Dog Sentenced To Die In Owner’s Will May Have Second Chance

Connie Ley, an Indiana woman who died in November, put in her will two provisions for her dog, Bela: The healthy German shepherd could either be euthanized, cremated and buried along with her — or else sent to a no-kill animal sanctuary. As of Friday, it was still unclear which fate Bela will meet.

Eric C. Rayvid, a spokesperson for the Best Friends Animal Society, told The Huffington Post that the group is still working on convincing the will’s executor, who has remained anonymous, to allow Bela to be brought to the group’s facilities in southern Utah. There the 9-year-old dog would join some 1,700 other cats, dogs, horses, pigs, birds and other animals. Many of the shelter’s inhabitants are available for adoption, while others will live out their natural lives amid the state’s red-rock mountains.

“We’re hoping that Bela will be able to come to our sanctuary,” Rayvid said.

Best Friends also released a statement on Facebook, asking supporters to use the hashtag #SaveBela on social media:

While Bela’s case has sparked massive outrage, Ley’s attorney, Doug Denmure, said public outcry can’t preempt the deceased’s will.

“The dog was owned by my client and now it’s part of her estate,” Denmure told Ohio TV station WCPO. “And those are her wishes, as far as the future of the dog is concerned. Outsiders don’t have the grounds to rewrite the provisions of my client’s will and impose what they want.”

But judges often refuse to enforce dead owners’ requests that their pets be euthanized, on the grounds that those requests are “against public policy or unethical,” says Gerry W. Beyer, a professor at Texas Tech University School of Law who recently posted a short analysis of these kinds of cases on his blog.

“It is true in our legal system that pets are property, thus giving Connie the ability to determine Bela’s disposition upon Connie’s death. However, courts in the United States in similar cases in the past have been extremely reluctant to honor ‘pet killing’ provisions,” Beyer told HuffPost. “The power to dispose of property does not necessarily include the power to destroy that property. By analogy, it would be unlikely that a court would enforce a will provision stating, ‘Place all my property in my house. Then, douse the house with gasoline and burn everything to the ground.'”

Fred Kray, an attorney specializing in dog law, says that even in cases where owners provide for their pets’ care, instead of their killing, those wishes may be overlooked.

Said Kray, “Those wills which give dogs millions of dollars, ignoring human heirs, have also run into trouble in the courts.”

It’s been suggested that Bela has behavioral problems, which may have prompted Ley’s bequeathal. Ley’s attorney was not immediately available to comment on the dog’s temperament.

A friend of Ley’s told a local news station that he thinks Bela is unsuitable for adoption and should be euthanized, and that the dog’s cremated ashes should be mixed with Ley’s, then stay on the farm where the two lived.

“I love the dog. I loved Connie like a mom,” Andrew Peters told Eagle Country 99.3 FM WSCH. “I say give her what she asked for. She was specific about what she wanted.”

While his future is under consideration, Bela is being kept at an Indiana animal shelter. A post to the group’s Facebook page says at least so long as he is there, he will remain safe.

“Bela will not be euthanized at our facility, either by PAWS staff or the Dearborn County Animal Control Officers,” the shelter wrote. “If a euthanization decision is reached by the estate, then it will be the responsibility of the estate to make those arrangements elsewhere.”

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This Man Orchestrated His Own ‘Amazing Race’ To Propose To His Girlfriend

We’ve seen quite a few elaborate marriage proposals over the years. But when it comes to dedication and attention to detail, this “Amazing Race”-inspired proposal gives the others a run for their money.

The mastermind behind the intricate scheme is a Phoenix radio show producer named Justin Scheman. He successfully tricked his girlfriend Diana Bishop into thinking she was a contestant on an online edition of the “Amazing Race” — a show the couple has binge-watched 18 seasons of since they’ve been together.

The two teamed up for the adventure, which ultimately spanned 5,000 miles, six states and two countries. The prize for completing the race? A trip to Iceland, which is where Scheman very nervously got down on one knee and popped the question to his girlfriend under the northern lights.

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Courtesy of Justin Scheman

Scheman told The Huffington Post that it wasn’t until they were already on their way to Iceland that he revealed the whole thing was a ruse.

“When she realized CBS didn’t set up that race she was floored!” he said. “She kept kissing me and squeezing me. It was so cute, I wish the camera was rolling! She couldn’t believe I was so detailed. With the pull-tab envelope, the way the clues were written, the arrows posted on the streets, real release forms, etc. I even used the same cars they use on the show.”

Scheman said it only took him six weeks and $2,500 to plan the proposal. But it was complicated, he told us, by the fact that he is living Phoenix, while Bishop has been living across the country in Philadelphia. He hired people from Craigslist to assist with the clues and challenges and didn’t meet the cameraman until the day of the proposal.

Fortunately, it all came together in the end in a beautiful way. Watch the romance and adventure unfold in the video above.

H/T Right This Minute

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The Top 100 Baby Names Of 2014, According To Nameberry

According to Nameberry, the most popular baby names for 2014 are Imogen for girls and Asher for boys. Nameberry’s Top 100 list is based on the number of views each name attracted on the website, out of a total of nearly 50 million views in 2014.

But the biggest news is the huge influence of television and celebrities on names zooming up Nameberry’s popularity list. The “Game of Thrones”-inspired girls’ name Khaleesi ranks at Number 2, with Daenerys also in the Nameberry Top 100.

On the boys’ side, new names entering the Top 10 are Silas, popularized by “Weeds,” along with Jasper, Milo and Ezra. The biggest leaps were the Jolie-Pitt-influenced Knox, up 60 places, followed by Archer and Ryker.

The three names climbing furthest up the Nameberry Top 100 for girls are Ellie, Cordelia and Maya; others include Adeline, plus four stylish L-names: Lucy, Lila, Louisa and Luna.

Names that made the biggest slides are emblematic of pop culture shifts. For girls, names losing popularity include Katniss from “The Hunger Games” along with popular celebrity baby choices Harper, Seraphina, and Everly. For boys, Flynn, of “Breaking Bad,” dropped 67 places, followed by Christian of 50 Shades of Grey and Arlo of “Justified.” Even George, as in 2013’s little prince, lost 36 spots.

Here are Nameberry’s lists of the Top 100 baby names for girls and for boys in 2014:

Girls

1. Imogen
2. Khaleesi
3. Charlotte
4. Isla
5. Cora
6. Penelope
7. Violet
8. Amelia
9. Eleanor
10. Hazel
11. Claire
12. Adelaide
13. Adeline
14. Ivy
15. Lucy
16. Alice
17. Olivia
18. Evangeline
19. Genevieve
20. Maisie
21. Lila
22. Beatrice
23. Rose
24. Maeve
25. Scarlett
26. Ava
27. Aurora
28. Nora
29. Willa
30. Elizabeth
31. Eloise
32. Elodie
33. Caroline
34. Emma
35. Matilda
36. Clara
37. Grace
38. Cordelia
39. Clementine
40. Aurelia
41. Ellie
42. Poppy
43. Arabella
44. Elsa
45. Ella
46. Harlow
47. Harper
48. Iris
49. Seraphina
50. Katniss
51. Luna
52. Mila
53. Ruby
54. Aria
55. Sophia
56. Mae
57. Mia
58. Juliet
59. Eliza
60. Evelyn
61. Audrey
62. Josephine
63. Maya
64. Isabella
65. Emmeline
66. Emily
67. Stella
68. Chloe
69. Olive
70. Anna
71. Sadie
72. Wren
73. Louisa
74. Annabelle
75. Lily
76. Piper
77. Daenerys
78. Jane
79. Gemma
80. Lola
81. Esme
82. Margaret
83. Willow
84. Zara
85. Ada
86. Frances
87. Everly
88. Mabel
89. Lydia
90. Daisy
91. Pearl
92. Madeline
93. Phoebe
94. Delilah
95. Kinsley
96. Isabel
97. Georgia
98. Hannah
99. Abigail
100. Millie

Boys

1. Asher
2. Declan
3. Atticus
4. Oliver
5. Silas
6. Henry
7. Jasper
8. Finn
9. Milo
10. Ezra
11. Leo
12. Levi
13. Jude
14. Wyatt
15. Felix
16. Sebastian
17. Soren
18. Beckett
19. Miles
20. Theodore
21. Bodhi
22. Jack
23. Liam
24. Archer
25. Owen
26. Emmett
27. Ethan
28. William
29. Sawyer
30. Caleb
31. Benjamin
32. Oscar
33. Josiah
34. Julian
35. James
36. Andrew
37. Hudson
38. Knox
39. Hugo
40. Alexander
41. Zachary
42. Dashiell
43. Ryder
44. Ryker
45. Ronan
46. Lucas
47. Thomas
48. Elijah
49. Luke
50. Samuel
51. Callum
52. Noah
53. Arthur
54. Isaac
55. Jacob
56. Theo
57. Weston
58. Axel
59. Roman
60. Rhys
61. Everett
62. Zane
63. Grayson
64. Rowan
65. August
66. Kai
67. Harrison
68. Beau
69. Gabriel
70. Jackson
71. Griffin
72. Austin
73. Nolan
74. Xavier
75. Daniel
76. Nathaniel
77. Charles
78. Nash
79. Simon
80. Jonah
81. Holden
82. Micah
83. Flynn
84. John
85. Wesley
86. Christian
87. Elliot
88. Graham
89. Nathan
90. George
91. Nicholas
92. Lincoln
93. Cassius
94. Tristan
95. Gideon
96. Maxwell
97. Tobias
98. Lachlan
99. Arlo
100. Matthew

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virginia woolf quote

These Quotes Will Remind You That Life After 50 Is An Absolute Gift

When you turn 50, it sometimes feels that people expect you to start riding off into the sunset. To which we say this: sure, we’ll go — as long the sunset is on a tropical island with white sandy beaches. But otherwise? Ain’t gonna happen.

The truth is we all ought to revel in our fantastic 50s. We teamed up with State Farm to find quotes that prove that getting older is really just a state of mind.

virginia woolf quote
Virginia Woolf, author.

madeline lengle quote
Madeleine L’engle, author and National Book Award winner.

ruth ann quote
Ruth Ann Schabacker, author.

george b shaw quote
George Bernard Shaw, playwright and Nobel Prize winner in literature.

stanhope quote
Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, diplomat and author.

zachary scott quote
Zachary Scott, actor.

karl lagerfeld quote
Karl Lagerfeld, fashion designer and artist.

schulz quote
Charles M. Schulz, cartoonist.

tolstoy quote
Leo Tolstoy, author.

mae west quote
Mae West, actress.

Any more words of wisdom you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

Quotes are great for inspiring change in your life. State Farm can help you to keep that confidence thriving.

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The Most Helpful Advice From Twitter On Being A Good Co-Worker

Some people think that LinkedIn is the only place to go for career advice. And while it’s a great place to network, it’s not the end-all-be-all for professional guidance.

For some quick tips, there’s another medium you can read through a whole lot faster — because its recommendations are all in 140-characters or less.

To keep you both professional and #trending in the office, we’ve partnered with State Farm to find the most helpful tweets about being a good coworker.

1.

Do one thing to be a more accountable person and you are a better friend, spouse, leader, parent and co-worker all at once. #BeAccountable

— Sam Silverstein (@SamSilverstein) September 7, 2014

What does it mean to be accountable? Stop making excuses, be on time and follow through on what you say you’re going to do — all qualities that make for a better coworker, according to author and business expert Sam Silverstein.

2.

Next time you’re faced with a cranky co-worker, invite them for a walk around the block: http://t.co/VuEMeHgsOH @HealthyLiving

— Well + Good (@WellandGoodNYC) August 26, 2014

One of the best attributes a coworker can have is helping a teammate through a rough day. Invite them on a walk: stepping outside in the sun for Vitamin D can help prevent crankiness in the office.

3.

If you are all caught up on work or have a free minute- don’t just sit there if a slammed coworker is struggling. HELP! C’mon, newsies.

— Producer Problems (@producerprobs) August 21, 2014

This advice can go for any job, and reminds us why it’s important to practice work karma. Eventually, the tables will turn and you’ll need to reap the benefits of a helpful coworker.

4.

1. Step up to help out. 2. Give credit generously. Read more here http://t.co/1lAbbqCBql on how to be a great coworker RT @kucareer

— CareerBliss (@CareerBliss) August 1, 2013

Mutually respecting and enjoying the people you work with contributes to your future success, according to career community CareerBliss. To be a good coworker every day, their experts remind us to keep office volume low and avoid interrupting other’s thoughts.

5.

Difficulty dealing with a coworker? Address the situation immediately. Once it affects your job performance, you’re both in trouble!

— Erin Kennedy, CPRW (@ErinKennedyCPRW) October 21, 2014

The bottom line? Your career is bigger than your ego. Erin Kennedy, a professional resume writer and career consultant, also tweets about prepping for job interviews, perfecting your resume and best practices for both employees and employers.

6.

Don’t gossip about any co-worker’s private life #Etiquette

— Salam Saad (ج) (@Etiquette_Salam) October 18, 2014

Salam Slimsaad is a blogger, editor, and etiquette and image consultant. While her Twitter feed is full of everyday etiquette advice, her coworking guidance is straightforward: work gossip is off limits.

7.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” To be successful, It’s essential to let go… http://t.co/JV6kNIGNqs

— Levo League (@levoleague) April 25, 2014

This teaser warns that comparing yourself to another employee can foster a toxic environment and hold you back professionally. A good coworker appreciates his or her office mates — which can in turn, help their own career flourish.

8.

One phrase to stop saying at work: “That’s not my job.”

6 more phrases to drop from your office vocab: http://t.co/kJQwDiqMDq.

— CareerBuilder (@CareerBuilder) September 30, 2014

One way to be a better coworker? Become a team player. This article quotes Ray Cohen, a career coach who advises professionals to never throw colleagues under the bus. Cohen explains, “Colleagues who trust and admire you will be your best support system to promote your reputation as desirable and valuable.”

Now that you know how to maintain a healthier work life, let State Farm help boost your confidence in the other areas of your life.

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sheryl sandberg quote

9 Quotes That Will Help You Find The Nerve To Take a Bold Risk

Sooner or later, you’ll be presented with a ‘road less traveled’-esque decision.

You know — the kind presenting an option that sounds amazing in theory, but scares you just enough to stop you from doing it.

Since risky business isn’t as fun in real life as it is for Tom Cruise, we’ve partnered with State Farm to give you 9 quotes that will inspire you to take that bold chance.

1. sheryl sandberg quote

2. earl nightingale quote

3. ts eliot quote

4. charles f glassman

5. mark twain

6. frederick b wilcox

7. thomas jefferson quote

8. ellen hopkins

9. denis waitley

Quotes are great for inspiring change in your life. State Farm can help you to keep that confidence thriving.

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einstein bike

These Motivational Quotes Will Help You Move On From Whatever Has You Down

Even the most picture-perfect life can have a few smudges. If you’re going through one of those moments, here’s a little perspective: you can always “pick yourself up off the mat,” “get back on that horse” or even find another “fish in the sea.”

We partnered with State Farm to find a whole album of heartwarming, inspiring quotes that’ll get you back in the right frame of mind. Read, share and add your wisdom!

einstein bike
Albert Einstein, physicist.

fall apart monroe
Attributed to Marilyn Monroe, actress.

lincoln quote
Abraham Lincoln, President.

monkey bars quoteC.S. Lewis, author.

just keep swimming quote
Dory, wise fish.

em forster quote
Attributed to both E.M. Forster, author, and Joseph Campbell, author.

regret quote
Eleanor Hibbert, author.

mlk quote
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist.

Quotes are great for inspiring change in your life. State Farm can help you to keep that confidence thriving.

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Obama’s Judicial Appointments Most Diverse in History

Obama’s confirmed nominees to the federal bench are 42 percent women, 19 percent African-American, 11 percent Hispanic, and 11 percent openly gay men or lesbian women, making this the most diverse group of judges in history.

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