Tara’s Top Nine Things to Make You Smile Today

If you need a few extra grins today, try these!

This cat’s purrsistence!

Santigold’s amazing self-confidence!

If “happy, little trees” don’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.

This one’s kind of long, but it’s super cool! Also, don’t try this at home.

Inspirational Post-it Notes

Another cat. Another fish. This time with Booping!

@iammoshow & DJ Ravioli!

Scandinavians fooling around in a workshop, misusing very expensive, high-powered tools FOR SCIENCE!

TFW trash pandas discover bubbles.


For more smiles, come on in to the library! Check out a comedy, a collection of comic strips, make something beautiful or play a game with friends! Keep the smiles rolling!



Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “I’m so swamped with homework.” “I feel like I have no time to get anything done.” “Social media is depressing and taking over my life.”

Image result for babies and dogs gifs

Truer words have never been spoken, except this week we can now add, “Really? Another one?” to the list.

Image result for babies and dogs gifs

It’s really easy to get bogged down by all the bad, sad and stressful things happening in our lives and society today, especially for teens.

Image result for babies and dogs gifs

But fear not friends! It is now easier than ever to just sit back, take a deep breath and take 10 minutes to watch cute dogs interacting with babies on YouTube, or listen to a silly song from your childhood that always makes you smile or going to a favorite website that always makes you laugh. Not only will these things put you in a better mood, even for a little bit, but they will improve your work ethic in completing those tasks. Who knows? You may even produce some of your best work!

As I am typing this post, I have a gif of corgi dogs on a treadmill on repeat in my view and honestly, that is my equivalent of “Just Keep Swimming” from Finding Nemo right now.

So here are some suggestions for pick-me-ups when you’re feeling down, stuck, or on the struggle bus.

-As posted above, searching for “Babies and Dogs” or “Babies and Animals” on Google or YouTube will give you so many fun options for smiling, laughing and awwww-ing. I personally suggest videos that are at least five minutes long to really take advantage of the cuteness and to keep lifting up your mood.

-“Dude Perfect” is an option to just watch people doing cool things. Each video has more than 10 million views and they do a lot of fun and funny stuff. The video below is of the guys with the GOAT Serena Williams doing cool tennis tricks and being goofy. It’s wonderful.

-Personal anecdote — The day that my mom called me to tell me that my grandmother (her mom) had passed away, was a hard day. To help me get through it, I binge watched the show Arrested Development, one of my favorite shows that constantly makes me laugh. It helped me get through the day and I felt better about the situation. So grab a DVD or search for your favorite TV show that makes you smile, laugh, or even cry, and get sucked in for a bit.

arrested development netflix GIF

-For non-videos, the Onion is the best option out there. Take this Twitter post for example! Seriously, 90% of the website is like this. It’s instant smiles and laughs and is a no-brainer for a quick pick-me-up on a bad day. (theonion.com).

**Note: another option for great dog content is We Rate Dogs on Twitter. They are great.

-An option for a quick screen break is to pick up a children’s picture book . I know what you’re thinking. “I’m not a kid anymore! Why would I want to read a book for babies?” Here’s a possible reason why. Children’s picture books are pretty awesome if you want a quick escape into a fun world away from a screen. Also, the diversity of children’s books has increased so much within the past few years that finding a book that YOU want to read is as easy as ever. Here are some of my personal faves from when I was kid and now.

Image result for too many tamales book

I hope that these tips for improving your mood, and brightening your day have helped a bit. I know that some of this stuff is silly and some of the stuff that you might be wanting do might be labeled as “silly” or “a guilty pleasure” as well. Honestly, though, if you like it and it makes you feel good, and doesn’t hurt other around you, then take a deep breath, find your zen Corgis running on treadmills gif, and GO FOR IT!


Anime Recommendation: Bananya!

In case you missed Anime Night on Monday Aug. 8th, for part of it, we showed the anime Bananya. It is the cutest thing ever! There are 6 episodes so far and they are three minute little shorts about cats that live inside bananas. Yes, it is exactly as saccharine and adorable as it sounds. Go watch right meow!


If you’re having a bad day (or even if you’re not), it’ll perk you right up! It’s available to watch for free on Crunchyroll!

And remember, Anime Night does still meet once a month! Come to see more stuff you haven’t seen before! The next meeting is Sept 12th at 5 P.M.!

Collect Kitties on Your Phone with Neko Atsume

Neko Atsume is a free kitty collecting app for your iOS or Android device (whether it be a phone or a tablet).

It’s a relaxing app that you can check periodically through the day that requires minimal interaction from you!

You just set down food and items for the cats to interact with then close out the app and return to it later in the day! Hopefully some kitties will have visited you!

Items cost either Sardines or Goldfish but all kitties will give you some kind of fish so there’s no need to spend real money on extra goldfish for those more expensive items. Before you know it, you’ll have more fish of both kinds than you know what to do with!

I recommend not spending a single goldfish until you have enough to get the yard expansion (pictured below).

neko atsume

My yard has the yard expansion (180 goldfish) and the Zen Style Remodel (140 goldfish)

Having trouble collecting some of the harder to find cats? Try this Rare Cats Guide!

Whatcha doing still sitting there reading this? Go collect some cats with me!

Tux versus the Vacuum: Crazy Western Showdown Edition

Today’s post is brought to you by…Tux versus the Vacuum.

Tux looks tough, but against Vacuum? Read on and see...

Tux looks tough, but against Vacuum? Read on and see…

Imagine a fur filled tumbleweed passes you by. Tux strides out of the saloon, still savoring the taste of the tuna he had. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees it. His eyes narrow. His nemesis.

The vacuum strides up. He sees Tux. The dirtiest cat this side of town. The vacuum pauses. He’s lost in a flashback.

Fur coated everywhere. Shedding season. He will never forget the sight of the townspeople buried by feet upon feet of fur. You could almost swim in it. Vacuum didn’t think he would have made it out alive. He almost didn’t. The sheer amount of fur…the horror. The horror.

Vacuum shook his head, shaking the memories away. This is no time to get lost in the past. Not when Tux was within his grasp. It was time to run this cat out of town before he strikes again.

Tux walked up to Vacuum, so close that their noses almost touched. “Back for more?” he hissed with snear, flashing a glimpse of his fangs.

Vacuum didn’t flinch. He was used to threats from tough guys like him. They were all talk. “You know you can’t scare me. I know your weakness.”

“Weakness? Ha! You wish!” Tux smirked, getting into Vacuum’s face.

The the corner of Vacuum’s mouth quirked up in smile. He closed his eyes and began to hum.

Tux’s eyes widened. “No. You wouldn’t.” Tux hopped back, getting away from the noise. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end. He recognized the sound.

There was a rumble in Vacuum’s throat now, increasingly louder.

“NO. THE SOUND.” Tux dropped to the ground, covering his ears. “MRRROOW.” he howled, shrieking in pain.

Once he thought his point was made to his satisfaction, Vacuum slowed his rumbling. The noise may have been overwhelming, but the silence was just as deafening. Tux whimpered, hesitantly uncovering his ears. “Is…is it over?” His voice quavered, all his previous confidence drained away.

“Only you get to decide that,” Vacuum explained. “You have the power to make it stop. Get out of town; I won’t follow.”

Tux nodded too many times and so fast that he felt dizzy. He stayed on the ground. He would do anything to never have to hear that noise again. “I’ll go.” He nodded again, less of assent and more as a nervous quirk. He stumbled as he slowly got to his feet. “I’ll go.”

Tux walked off towards the blazing sun as Vacuum watched. He wasn’t sure where he would go next, but he would go to the ends of the Earth to never have to hear that noise ever again.

Did Tux ever find a safe place from Vacuum? Well, no. We have a vacuum, but we make sure Vacuum doesn’t run him out of town. Tux keeps his shedding to a minimum, and Vacuum lets him hide when he makes his terrible noise. It’s not the perfect situation, but it’s as close to harmony as we’ll ever get.

Happy Birthday, Kairi!

Happy Birthday to my kitty, Kairi!

Today she is two years old! I’ve had her since she was four weeks old (I had to guesstimate her birthday by counting back four weeks). Like Tux, her origin story is unconventional.

Around Sept 10th at the boyfriend’s (Scott) house, his neighbor went up to the house and asked if we could take in a kitten. She found her outside sleeping in a dish left out for the stray cats to eat out of. She was only 3-4 weeks old so she was extremely tiny. There were hawks circling outside nearby and the neighbor was scared she would be hawk-food! Thankfully she was able to catch the teeny kitten and bring her to Scott’s house. 


She adapted to inside life right away!

When someone comes to your door asking if you could keep a kitten (when you already own a few cats), how can you possibly say no? You may be able to, but we weren’t!

We found out from the vet’s office that she had an upper respiratory infection so we had to keep her isolated from the other cats until she was well again. In the meantime, I spent all my free time with Kairi: making sure she had plenty of food, water, and attention. Kairi and I bonded instantly.

One of my favorite memories of her as a kitten was when we first got her, Attack on Titan (the anime) was still a new thing. Kairi slept in my lap the entire time while Scott and I marathoned the first eleven episodes that were out at the time. I was a bit freaked out by the titans but Kairi’s presence made things a lot less creepy!


She also enjoys watching Supernatural and 3DS games!

We weren’t the only ones to bond, however, Tux and Kairi had too! This was a complete and total surprise to all of us. We were actually worried about how he would react to her because when he was a stray, he would occasionally get into fights with the other feral cats outside (and he was the instigator more often than not! Thankfully he’s an indoor only cat now, so no need to worry.)

When we first brought her into the house, Tux was so excited that we really struggled to keep them separate at first. Thankfully once Kairi got a clean bill of health from our vet, they were free to snuggle and play together as much as they liked! Two years later, they’re still the best of buddies.


Any (true) pet stories or pictures you want to share with us? It can be about any kind of pet, not just cats! You have a random chance to win a 25$ dollar gift card to Target if you do!

How do you enter?

Two ways!

  • Shoot us an email at fountaindaleteen@fountaindale.org with your pet pictures and stories. Email entrants please include your full real name and grade level.
  • Comment on this blog post below with your pictures and/or story. Commentors only leave your first name and grade level.

You have until September 30th to enter! Contest for Bolingbrook teens in grades 6 – 12.

I can’t wait to see your stories and photos!


We Want Your Pet Stories!

Lookit all these cats! All of five of these live the boyfriend’s house. Yes, that’s right, five cats in one home and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Out of those five, three actually belong to the boyfriend and I.


From bottom to top: Coffee, Tux, Kairi, Dean, and Tiffie.

I guess you could say I ended up turning into one of those crazy cat ladies. I didn’t plan on starting out this way. Growing up, I actually had dogs! I didn’t wake up one day suddenly deciding to collect ALL THE CATS, it just kinda happened. It wasn’t until I met the boyfriend, Scott, and started spending time at his family’s place that I had cats around on a regular basis (His parents owned two cats). Within a few years, my cat count went up and tripled! I didn’t choose the cat lady life, it chose me.

It all started with how we were adopted by my cat Tux.

tux bowtie

No proper suit is complete without a bowtie! Bowties are cool.

One seemingly ordinary day, Scott was getting home from work and stepped out of his car. Before he could barely even take a step, he felt a sudden weight on his feet. He looked down with a start! There was a cat plopped down on top of his feet.

“Cat! Who are you? I’ve never seen you around here before.”

He reached down to gingerly pet the cat. He was very thin indicating that he was wandering the neighborhood for some time. The cat nuzzled into his hand and when he had his fill, he got up and walked away. Scott scratched his head as he watched the cat, wondering if he’ll ever see him again. Once he got in the house, he couldn’t wait to tell me all about what happened. We decided to name him Tux for his colors. He was black with a white stomach and white markings on his face; it looked like he was wearing a tuxedo. Not very original, but it oddly suits him (pun intended).

A few days later, Scott came out his bedroom and noticed something was different. There were three cats in the house instead of the usual two! It was Tux! In the house! We stood a moment and stared, confused. A smile slowly appeared on our faces, it looks like we obtained another cat in the household. He hasn’t left since; it’s now been over three happy years of being owned by multiple cats (Kairi and Tiffie stories to come at a later date!).

Now that I’ve shared my story, we want to hear from you!

Shoot us an email at fountaindaleteen@fountaindale.org with your pet (can be any type of pet, not just cats) pictures and stories for a random chance to win a gift card! Email entrants please include your full real name and grade level.  You have until September 30th to enter! Contest for Bolingbrook teens in grades 6 – 12.

You can also enter by replying in the comments below! (Remember online to not share your real name publicly! That is for email entrants only)

Now lets see those photos and stories!