The World Around Us: February

Continuing what I hope will be a monthly tradition of “Keeping the Flame,” here is another installment of Mandi’s positivity-around-the-internet digest! We come together here in this little corner of the internet to pause and reflect on some little glimmers of positivity.

Below is my gift to you: a small taste of the posts that made me smile this week. I hope that they will inspire you.

Let your language reflect positive thoughts today! See how it changes your mood. 🙂


1. Gloriously Beautiful Valentine’s Day Cookies

No matter what is going on in the world right now, we STILL have cookies! And beyond that, people are still using cooking as a beautifully artistic medium of expression.

These goodies remind me of the Lebkuchen I found in Christmas markets in Austria– gingerbread-like desserts with unbelievably intricate frosting designs displaying cheerful messages or patterns.

If these cookies don’t make you happy, I don’t know what else will. 🙂

cookie 1 cookie 2 cookie 3 cookie 4


2. Liberia’s Integrity Idol

While the USA is obsessed with the Kardashians, The Bachelor, and American Idol, I feel oddly out of place. I don’t care about reality TV, and I care even less about mostly-scripted materialistic and shallow followings of needlessly-famous individuals. Rant over.

However, there is hope for the human race!

In a beautiful display of character, the most corrupt country in the world hosted a lovely competition: Integrity Idol.

Citizens across the nation voted for the government employee they felt served the public with the most character, honesty, and integrity. The finalists were followed around by camera crews as they went about their daily routines, explaining how they serve best.

We can take this as a shining example of how television and competition shows can be used for the greater good instead of for the greater bank account of the cable companies.

Today I am inspired by Liberia!

Check out the Integrity Idol website here for more info.


3. Happy Meals Now Feature Books

Happy Meal Books

Think back to your childhood, and receiving that lovely warm bag full of delicious french fries and– even better– a toy! I don’t know about you guys, but I would play with my toy while at the restaurant, but within ten minutes of my meal being finished, I had moved on to bigger and better things.

We accumulated happy meal toys that seemed to multiply endlessly and added to the miscellaneous junk floating around my childhood closet.

2016 will be the third year that McDonald’s has partnered with the nonprofit Reading is Fundamental.

Each Happy Meal will include a miniature, unabridged version of a children’s book– you might even receive Paddington this year in yours!

The bottom line: through this initiative, McDonald’s will be distributing some 17 million books to children in this way. They have also donated 100,000 books to the nonprofit.

Good job, McDonald’s! We love books, too. 🙂 Check it out here.


4. Guerrilla Gardening is the New Thing in LA

Ted Talks are always very inspiring to me. If you haven’t watched this one, please do.

Enjoy laughing with this charismatic “guerrilla gardener” as he describes his inspiring journey in community gardening.

This semester I am taking both an Anthropology of Food course and a Philosophy of Food course. Both of these classes are giving me a really interesting perspective on the food we eat. They’re also helping me realize what I SHOULD eat– how much my consumer dollars really do matter.

A post for another time, perhaps.

This is an incredibly enthusiastic example of people forging their own way outside of the industrial food system.


5. Nora the Polar Bear Cub

If you’re not familiar with this polar bear cub at the Columbus Zoo, your life is not yet complete.

Watching this adorable video, I was “oooh”ing and “ahhhh”ing the entire time, but especially when this little baby reached 52 days old.

One of my life mantras is “Where there is life, there is hope.” Nothing is more hopeful than a joyful and content baby animal.

Let this little girl brighten your morning today.


I really hope you’ve enjoyed these lovely and positive glimpses of internet joy! If there are any joyful moments you’re super loving this week, please comment below and let me know!!

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
―Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl 


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