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fabulous an unexpected journey

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Fabulous app product critique: onboarding.

fabulous app product critique

Behavioral Product Critique Summary

  • The Fabulous onboarding flow violates a variety of different Behavioral Design and User Experience (UX) rules.
  • The Fabulous throws a variety of different behavioral science tactics at users without much thought. Many are inappropriately deployed (implementation intentions, for example).
  • The Fabulous asks users to give them a lot of information without first building trust or giving them a concrete understanding of how the app works.
  • The Fabulous’ success is likely due to filtering out unmotivated potential users via a tedious onboarding process.
  • The Fabulous tries to get users to share in-app content and invite friends and family in gimmicky ways that destroy trust.

Behavioral Product Critique

The above video is an example of a Behavioral Product Critique , also called a Behavioral Audit. The goal is to analyze a product through the behavioral science lens to better understand how it changes behavior, and how it can do a better job at changing behavior. The Fabulous app is based on behavioral science research, but is not a good example of effective product design based on behavioral science. The app utilizes behavioral science research in an awkward, cookie-cutter manner.

Auto-Generated Transcript

This is a product critique, a behavioral science product critique of Fabulous, the Daily Habit Tracker. Let’s start with the App Store landing page. It says “Fabulous Daily Habit Tracker: Healthy routines and motivation”. All the preview pages seem to be built around routines, such as personalized daily routine, morning routine, afternoon routine, and evening routine. I will say that these screens look pretty lame. They get the point across that the app is all about creating and tracking routines, and making sure that you follow through on different routines. However, they look cheesy and unimpressive. I’m curious to see what the onboarding experience is like.

“Science built by behavior change experts” is an interesting claim that appeals to science and authority. “30 million people already use the Fabulous app.” That’s a compelling statistic. They’re using social proof to persuade you that a lot of people trust them, and you should too.

“What is behavioral science? Behavioral science seeks to understand why people behave the way they do. It also provides solutions to help people follow through on their good intentions.” Cool. They’re emphasizing the importance of behavioral science, and then they immediately jump into a questionnaire. “So, how much sleep do you usually get at night?” Okay, got it. “Do you wake up feeling well-rested?” “How much time do you have at the start of your day?” I assume that they’re asking this to figure out what they should suggest. For example, if I only have ten minutes free each morning, they would suggest a very small routine. If I have more time, they would suggest a more involved routine. However, realistically, they should probably just suggest a small routine for everybody to begin with. So they could probably skip this question. It’s somewhat useful, but I would personally cut this question. I’ll just say “zero to five minutes throughout the day.”

“How are your energy levels?” Let’s just say “medium”. “How satisfied are you with your current fitness level?” I would say that this onboarding flow is already pretty personal. It’s asking for private information such as your thoughts on how satisfied you are with your fitness level and how much energy you have. The app hasn’t even told me yet how it’s going to help me. I don’t even know what the app does exactly. It seems to be related to morning, afternoon, and evening routines, like creating those for me, but I have no idea yet whether or not the app is actually going to be useful or fulfill my needs. It’s asking for a lot of information without giving me a sense of how this information will be used. The app hasn’t told me yet how it’s going to help me specifically. Therefore, I think that, similar to newb, this app is already falling into bad UX. There are some questionable product decisions here.

“How satisfied are you with your current fitness level?” I’ll just say “somewhat over the past year.” “What’s been your experience building better habits?” Okay, we hear you. “What single change would improve your life?” Interesting. So they’re focusing on these four areas: energy, productivity, mindfulness, and sleep.

I am assuming that over the years, they have learned that these are the four biggest concerns of people. When you mention energy, do you usually focus on the past or the future? Interesting. Let me just sum up by saying that I can enjoy life because of the way I manage my money.

Again, these questions seem really random. They don’t give me a sense of what I’m building or what I’m building towards. What will all this information be used for? It would be more useful if they told me, “Hey, we need to ask you a few questions to come up with an optimized set of morning, afternoon, and evening routines for you.”

Don’t worry, all this information will be kept private, and you can have confidence in us to ensure that none of your personal information will be misused. This is just between you and us, so please answer a few of these questions. It would also be more confidence-inspiring if, for example, after answering a question like this, they said, “Hey, thank you. This information is helpful. It will really help us develop the best morning routine for you,” or something like that.

Give me some information or feedback as to why this is useful or helpful. I agree, but I think it’s a poorly designed question. Giving a gift for a wedding, birthday, or other occasion would put a strain on my finances for a month. Once again, it seems completely random, and it’s just a strange question. I neither agree nor disagree.

How strong is your support system? Interesting. Okay, I’ll just say medium. How distractible are you? I’m answering all these questions not based on how I actually feel but because I want to mimic what I think the average user will input.

Right. I think the average user probably doesn’t have that much money saved up. They don’t have that much money available in case of emergencies. They don’t necessarily have that many confidants. People are pretty lonely these days. Most people struggle with distraction and focus. So I’ll say that I’m easily distracted here.

Why are you embarking on this journey to build healthy habits? An interesting set of options. Let’s see, I’ll say to set and achieve goals. Almost there. Tell us what you’re interested in.

It seems like they’re just throwing the kitchen sink at you here, right? Like every self-help and personal development thing imaginable: productivity, self-discipline, financial habits, physical wellness, better sleep, purpose and motivation, gratitude, mindfulness. It’s an interesting strategy. Let’s see, I’ll just say something like anxiety and stress.

Behavior change. Cool. Mindfulness. Let’s say productivity. Let’s just pick these four.

All right, they’re doing the whole “we’re finalizing your personal journey”. We’re analyzing all the data you gave us to come up with a plan.

Okay, cool. So here are the results. It looks like we hear you loud and clear. You’re embarking on this journey to build more energy. Fitness could be better. So they’re summarizing everything you’ve told them, right? They’re saying your fitness could be better. Your support system could be better, your mindfulness could be better, your productivity could be better.

Cool. Fabulous was born at the Duke University Center for Advanced Hindsight. 96% of users say Fabulous has changed their lives for the better. Fabulous is 22 million users strong. So they’re saying earlier they said Fabulous had, I think, 30 million users. So there’s already kind of a discrepancy here where on this page it says 22 million users before they said 30 million users. I think that’s just a detail. Maybe they overlooked it. It definitely destroys some trust there because they’re already giving me ding data.

This figure of 96%, I’m assuming they just got that from one of those annoying pop ups that pops up inside of the app where they say, “are you enjoying Fabulous so far?” Or “has Fabulous helped you so far?” And then it just says yes or no. But they probably make the yes button really big or something so that everybody hits yes just because 96%. I just find it highly unlikely that if you were to actually sample, get a sample of everybody who downloaded the app, including the people who churned that 96% of those people would say the app has made their life better. So whenever you see stats like this, it’s always based on usually based on manipulative or misleading statistics. It’s probably just how do you define a user? Is a user somebody who stayed with you for at least a month or two months or three months? If you define a user in a very constraining way where you’re basically filtering out everybody who didn’t find the app useful, then you get freakish statistics like this. So I’m just guessing that’s probably how they came up with this stat.

Such thing to be aware of. Looks like they want you to share your growth plan. I just think that stuff like this is just gimmicky and just doesn’t create a great experience. Like they’re already pushing you to share a growth plan based on just a few multiple choice questions. I’d be surprised if anybody really does this. I bet you almost nobody does this. Or people do. It might just be on accident. I just think it’s strange to ask people to share a growth plan that just seems like a gimmicky growth hack.

So far I think that they’ve overall done a pretty bad job with the onboarding experience from a behavior design perspective. They haven’t really given us a picture of how they’re going to help us. They haven’t really given us any reasons behind any of their questions. They’ve thrown the whole kitchen sink at us in terms of the ways that they can help us. They have conflicting data. So 30 million versus 22 million. Yeah, I think it’s overall just a quite poor onboarding experience thus far. But anyways, I’m just going to tap on the screen, click through.

Did they ask for a full name? Oh, I had Jason for the first name. I’m 36 years old. How do you identify at times? Will you provide gender-specific recommendations? Will you say “man”? When do you wake up, generally? Okay.

It’s interesting that they anchor you at such an early time. I guess these would be the most common times people wake up. But yeah, I wake up at around 8 AM, so I’ll say 08:00 AM. Your email is required. Okay, it’s Jason at the behavioral scientist. Please do not send me motivational emails.

It’s interesting they have this opt-out option, but it’s a non-standard UI. I’ve never seen a checkbox that looks like that. I think most people probably just overlook that opt-out checkbox. But let’s see. Jason at the behavioralscientist.com, so I’ll say continue.

They’re having you do this contract stuff. “So I, Jason, will make the most of tomorrow. I will always remember that I will not live forever. Every fear and irritation that threatens to distract me will become fuel for building my best life one day at a time.”

“Hint: tap and hold the fingerprint. To commit pre-committing to a goal via contracts like this has been shown to inspire action and reduce procrastination.”

There is some behavioral science research that seems to show that pre-commitment can have an impact on goal completion and behavioral follow-through, but it’s pretty weak, especially in a situation like this. Committing to somebody you care about, like a spouse or a family member that you have a deep relationship with, or close friends, your friend group, a commitment in a situation like that definitely has going to be a lot more impactful than committing to a computer or an application or this unknown digital entity.

I think that what this app is doing so far is inelegant. They’re just throwing all these behavioral science behavior change tactics at you, the user, in a way that I think is probably pretty ineffective. They’re just like, “oh, hey, okay, we should pre-commitment and commitment contracts, increase behavior change. Let’s have them before even entering the application, just, like, commit to us and to themselves,” right? Like by doing this fingerprint contract or, “hey, let’s get them to tell us what they are really motivated by and what they really care about and get them to share their improvement plan that we will create for them.”

In general, I just think that these are awkward, basic attempts at behavior change using research that is just not all that effective. Okay, so now I’m doing the fingerprint contract. That’s been a nice animation.

Enjoy your first week. It’s free. Jason, do you copy? It’s me, future Jason. I’m calling from 2024 because today is an important day for you, for us, Sunday, March 5, 2023, is the day we decided to change our lives for the better. I have excellent news. I’m healthy, in great shape, and worry-free. Thanks to the choices you’re making, I’ll be with you every step of the way. Future Jason.

Okay, so it looks like I get a free week. Great. So I just signed up for this free trial. Your purchase was successful.

I do think it’s a little frustrating and weird that they make you subscribe or pre-commit to paying before entering the app. In general, the best practice for any product is to get people into the application before they pay and show them how you can help them, even giving them a valuable experience during their first few minutes inside the product or service.

I think it’s not a good idea to have a paywall before entering the main experience. My hunch is that they’re just trying to get people to sign up for trials and auto-pay billing, knowing that many will forget to cancel and continue to make payments. This approach isn’t great for operating an app or a business, but it has become more normalized in recent years.

Anyway, I just signed up for Fabulous Premium. The app is sending me a special letter, promising delightful content and features, unlimited access, and customization. There’s just too much text, making it a little muddy.

Thank you, Jason. I remember this day. I wondered if this would work. Would I finally follow through? This time, I didn’t know whether or not I could do it. Here’s a secret: you can. How do I know I’m future you? I did it. We did it. I’m here to tell you that this journey into the world of Fabulous leads to your future self.

You’ll soon build your morning, afternoon, and evening rituals that become your rocks. But first, start your morning with one simple habit: drinking water. I know what you’re thinking. It’s what I thought too. Drinking water is too simple. As your future self, I’m asking you to trust me because I’ve done it. I know you want to rush headlong into success. You’ve waited this long. Let this new way of life sink in every step, no matter how small. It’s a triumph. Get used to it. Congratulations for every effort you make.

You’ll see things one step at a time. Start to breathe easy as you realize this is a place without negative judgment. Watch your resolve.

Become fortified as you slowly grow your routines far beyond drinking water. Learn the art of habit building. You didn’t just find an app that shows you what you want. You found an app that shows you how to get it. Believe in yourself. Believe in me. Believe in us. Always your friend, Future.

I can appreciate what they’re doing here. I understand what they’re trying to do here. I personally find this pretty cheesy. I think for a certain type of user, this could be compelling and motivating. But I do think almost everybody’s just going to click continue and skip past this.

It’s also interesting that they’ve been pushing the science, the behavioral science angle really hard. But then they also talk about the art of habit building here. It’s interesting that they’ve switched away from the science angle and now call it an art rather than a science, instead of saying learn the science of habit building. I just think that’s interesting, but we can go onto the next screen.

How did you hear about us? Okay, cool. I’ll just say friend or family. Do you already do any of these habits? Okay, breathe. I hope everybody breathes. I hope everybody’s in the breathing habit. Let’s just say exercise, meditation, to-do list. Cool, Jason’s first step.

A Duke University study states that people who used Fabulous were more likely to achieve their goals, stay motivated, and feel better about themselves in two weeks. Now it’s your turn.

Interesting. So there are two options, continue and let me explore. First, I want to have the prototypical user experience, which I assume is continuing. So I’m going to hit continue, but I am very interested in knowing what let me explore does.

I do find it interesting that the rule of thumb in the world of behavioral science is that a study is just as likely to find false results as it is to find true results. So you should not inherently trust behavioral science research. There have been a lot of studies over the years looking at the reliability of research, like how likely is it to replicate? Some of the earlier replication studies showed something like a 36% replication rate, so more than half of studies didn’t replicate. More recent research has pulled that number in the 50% to 60% range.

I personally think that a 50% reproducibility rate is roughly what one should expect. I think that’s a safe and conservative figure to use. Is that okay? If you hear about a new scientific study, a new behavioral science study, just flip a coin, heads or tails. It’s just as likely to be true as it is to be false. So you should approach everything with a great degree of skepticism.

If a study is being done for commercial purposes, if a company is running a study to test whether or not their product or service is effective, you should be even more skeptical. That makes it less likely that you can trust a positive result.

So what I would say in this situation is that one should be very skeptical of a Duke University study finding that this app is successful at helping people achieve their goals, since this app was created by a group from Duke. I think there’s an inappropriate financial incentive that the researchers have. And it’s also interesting that they do not say how much more likely Fabulous users were to achieve their goals.

Is it absolutely minuscule? Is it like 2% more likely? 5% more likely? How much more likely is it that Fabulous users are able to achieve their goals versus a group that didn’t use Fabulous or use some other goal-setting or routine-based technique or something? I think you should always be very skeptical of this stuff.

Okay, the mountains. First mountain: the foundation. Welcome to Fabulous. Mountains are cornerstones to build your Fabulous self-adventure through three levels to master these mountains. Interesting. Okay.

The first mountain forms the bedrock of your daily habits. Your foundation is fostered here. The second mountain shapes your inner world. You confront and fortify your mind here. The third mountain empowers your mind. You lay out and voyage the path you envision for yourself here. Okay. It’s a breathtaking journey onwards to your first journey.

So I do like that they are giving you a detailed path. They’re telling you they’re giving you step-by-step instructions in a sense to improving your life. And I think step-by-step instructions, by getting rid of all of the paralysis and getting rid of the infinite options one can take in order to improve their life, like by boiling that down into a predefined set of specific to-dos, I do think that can be very useful. But I’m very interested in seeing how they structure this as an experience.

One last thing: people who turn on notifications are three times as likely to achieve their goal. Would you like to succeed in building effective habits? A manipulative way of describing or getting people to turn on their notifications. Right? They’re basically saying that turning on notifications means that you want to succeed. I think it’s a little manipulative, but I get it. And I would be interested in seeing how much more likely people are to click on the opt-in button with this language versus just a simpler language.

Something like, “Yes, feel free to send me notifications,” or “Yes, send me notifications.” One last thing: “Would you like us to notify you when there’s a to-do or new action step that we want you to take?” “Yes, please do,” or “Yes, please send me notifications,” or something like that. “Yes, I want to succeed.” Okay, I’ll just say “yes” for now. I’ll allow them to send me notifications.

An Unexpected Journey: Let’s watch this for the next three days. Drink water when you wake up to kickstart your body and start your day with success. Do it three times this week to succeed, and then there’s an interesting tooltip here: “Why am I doing this?” I know, I know, Jason, this just feels too simple, but we have a plan for you. We’re starting very small so we can build strong foundations. Soon, your goals will rise to caring for your physical and mental health.

Okay, cool. I accepted. Interesting. So, welcome Jason. This is your morning routine. Tap on the circle to see how to complete your goal: drinking water. Great. So you just tap the checkbox to mark it as done. Give it a try. So I just tap that. Cool.

It’s common to think that habits either stick or they don’t. You either remember why you started, or you forget entirely. Motivation either keeps flowing, or it just dries up. Your behavior may not seem rational, but it is certainly not random. Every decision, every action is the result of a million invisible forces that build it up or break it down. People who build good habits that become part of who they are haven’t found infinite willpower.

They’ve found freedom from a force called friction. Friction is the invisible force that makes healthy routines hard. But Fabulous has a formula rooted in behavioral science that has helped millions of users like you overcome it. Start slow, send an invitation, plant signals, let wins in, and find your rhythm. Practicing this formula of routines is key to making it stick. Habit building is a skill you can learn and master, just like how you might have learned to speak a language or drive a car until it became automatic. You are about to hardwire yourself with the ability to build lifelong habits. Starting slow is the quiet but vital act of courage that marks true greatness, though the new habit you’re about to add may seem too tiny to make a difference. Bringing an intention to life through small, sustainable actions is the magic that fuels lasting change. Reduce the friction points on your path to positive change. Learn to challenge and change your mindset and simply begin with one small action. Once you take this courageous first step, you’ll have catapulted yourself towards a future that seems nothing short of superhuman. In the next lesson, you’ll learn another strategy for overcoming your personal obstacles to change.

Okay, so kind of a cheesy video. Read the letter. Interesting. So they have it in written form too? I guess you can share it. So they let you share all this content with people? Let’s go to the next step here. It’s weird. I keep hitting “done.” What’s next? That’s just some bad UI. It looks like the video is already marked as viewed, but you actually have to hit the “mark as viewed” button. That’s just bad UX, but fine. Easy fix.

So you’re all set. We’ll gently remind you tomorrow to drink water with a very subtle sound. Are you going to drink water tomorrow? So they’re just trying to get you to pre-commit, right? They’re just using all this, what I think is ineffective, behavioral science research to try and hack your way to following through on a habit. Just committing to an app, once again, it matters who you commit to, right? Committing to somebody that you care about can be impactful. Committing to an app, I just have no faith that it has any discernible long-term effect. So I’m just going to say, “Are you going to drink water tomorrow?” Cool. I’ll say yes, I will. Why not? Great determination according to behavioral science. Plan making according to behavioral science. Okay, a little bit awkward. A little bit of awkward writing here. According to behavioral science, plan making makes us more likely to follow through on our habits. We recommend you think through when, where, and how you will drink water tomorrow. So this whole area of research is called implementation intention research, where it’s like when you have an intention to do something, you come up with a specific plan for when, where, and how you’re going to actually follow through with that intention. I believe that the main research was done, I believe it was at Yale University around getting people to get vaccinated or something along those lines. I actually don’t know how many studies have been done on this topic. I don’t know if it’s just like a couple of studies or there’s a huge body of research on implementation intentions. I would need to go back and brush up on this literature. But the original studies were, if I remember correctly, very small. They didn’t have a ton of participants, and they were done a long time ago.

This is another one of those things that I’m skeptical about, especially for a behavior like drinking water. For something like getting a vaccine, I could see it being a little bit more impactful because if you ask a random person on a college campus, “Hey, if you have to go get your tetanus booster, where would you go?” A lot of people probably wouldn’t know, right? They would be like, “Maybe the hospital, or maybe I’d have to find a doctor and create an appointment.” Or a lot of people probably wouldn’t know that you can just go to the student health center and walk in and just go to a particular desk and give them your name.

And so getting rid of that uncertainty and saying, “Hey, here’s specifically how you can do it, and here’s how to get there, and here’s the center that you need to go to” that actually is useful. You’re actually helping that person or those people figure out how to do that behavior. You’re getting rid of some barriers, actual barriers there with something like drinking water, especially in your own house as part of your morning routine, there are no actual barriers there.

There are no information barriers. There’s nothing preventing you from doing that very quickly and easily. So with something where there’s an actual kind of where there’s an information barrier or just people don’t even know how to do it, I have no doubt that giving them that information and having them create a specific step-by-step plan for doing it at some point in the future. I have no doubt that helps to a certain degree. I don’t think the effect is going to be huge, but I do think that will help to a certain degree.

But for something like drinking water, I feel pretty confident in saying that this will have no impact. Or if it does have an impact, it’s going to be so small that it’s just laughable. So I do think that implementation intentions, in this case, doing something incredibly easy that you’ve done a million times before in your own home, I really think this will have no effect.

But this is just another example of the people at this company. They’re just throwing every behavioral science concept possible at their users to try and get them to follow through on these behaviors. And it just comes across as a little bit gimmicky and cheesy to me. That video that just played, I think it’s pretty cheesy.

So overall, I think that there are much better ways of doing everything that they’ve tried to do here in a way that better respects the user, that has a better user experience, and that more effectively gets users on board with what they’re trying to do. But I’ll just say yes, please remind me. Great. Let’s embark on our journey.

Okay, so we filled out letter number one. Now they’re saying to drink water today. I’ll mark that as done. It says, “Way to go! Great work today, Jason. Your commitment to drink water is working. One out of three. Great, off you go. You did it!” Jason, you’re already forming healthy habits through small steps. Will you commit to drinking water tomorrow? Why not? Gratitude is contagious. You can also add a link to the Positivity chain, where you can write a letter, make a call, and show someone gratitude. Interesting. Okay, so they’re basically chaining actions together. Like every action you take inside the application, they give you another step to do. Right? It’s a pretty good idea, I think.

However, instead of giving you complete freedom to express gratitude in your own way, they’re pushing you to send this cheesy piece of art, this cheesy image with “Thank you for your help.” So if I click text, I don’t know, this just seems like a gimmicky bad growth hack. After I checked off that I drank water today, they said, “Great! Another good practice is expressing and practicing gratitude. Do you want to express gratitude to somebody?” And then if you say yes, they give you this image that you can share or text. But when you click on the text button to text somebody with what looks like an image, it pulls up this message that they’ve already prefilled for you, which is, “I’m starting a three-day Unexpected Journey challenge.” I don’t think we’ve ever been exposed to this term “Unexpected Journey” or if we have, it just passed through my mind. So that’s just what’s a little surprising and a little weird for a random person. If I did text this to somebody, nobody else would know what “Unexpected Journey” means, so I think they would just be confused. I think that whoever wrote this just didn’t really think through the user experience here. It’s just thus far not a good message.

It says, “You inspired me to be my best, and I wanted you to know that during my challenge. Will you hold me accountable? Research has shown that I’ll be more likely to complete the challenge with your help. Want to follow along? Get the app here.” I’m not going to lie, I think this is awful. They turned what seemed like an innocent or an impactful exercise, which is practicing gratitude or being grateful, into just a spammy recruiting growth hack. And the message isn’t even written well. I think it would be much better if they just said…

I think it would help the user a lot more if, after drinking the water, doing your first challenge, your first activity of the day, they said, “Hey, another one of the most impactful things you can do as part of your routine is expressing gratitude, especially to the people that you love and care about. Is there somebody that you really care about that you haven’t talked to in a while or that you haven’t expressed gratitude to in a while?” And then maybe you can click yes, and it says, “Great, just text them a small note of appreciation. Here are some example notes from other users,” and maybe they could give you some examples of texts that people have used in the past that people have submitted to the Fabulous community. That would be kind of cool. But instead, there’s a little bit of a bait and switch happening here, which is that it felt like I was being asked to do another action, to take up another challenge. And instead, what they were doing is they’re just trying to wrangle me into spamming my friends for them just so they could get more downloads. This is horrible. This is just really bad in poor taste and just badly done. So I am going to close.

It’s possible that I misread the previous window, but at least that was the impression I got about what they wanted me to do and the purpose of that. Now we’re done here. So today is your day, Jason. Your action: put the bottle of water by your bedside. So I don’t think that this- I actually think this is like a pretty good idea. So they’re just trying to get you to make the behavior that they want you to do easier. So if your goal every day is drinking water as part of your morning routine, then yes, if you actually fill a bottle up with water, put it by your bedside, it’s just going to be easier upon waking to engage in that behavior.

“Tonight before sleeping, put the water bottle by your bedside to be sure you’ll drink water first thing in the morning. Jason, you can tap ‘Remind me’ to set up a reminder to yourself or tonight.” Cool. I think that’s a good idea. They should probably clarify that – fill up a bottle of water and place it by your bedside. They should probably add in that extra instruction to fill the bottle of water up or something. I’m sure that most people will do that anyway, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least state that element as well.

So here is my plan for today: letter number one, drink water and put the water bottle by my bedside. They also have other things I can do, such as focus coaching on how to handle costly interruptions. It looks like these are based on animated videos. There’s also a Discover section to find your Flow State motivation Booster journey, which is interesting. I think it’s pretty cool that they give you a clear roadmap and show you how far you are on the path. You can see that you’re already 3% of the way through and have completed one of the 27 things you’re supposed to do.

Overall, I think this app hasn’t done very many things well so far. The user experience is not great, and the science that the app is using isn’t all that impressive. They seem to be copying and pasting behavioral science tactics in a way that is awkward or doesn’t make sense for the behaviors they’re trying to encourage. I’m skeptical, and I think everyone should be skeptical of most social science and behavioral science research because it doesn’t have a great track record.

I don’t think there’s any compelling research showing that if someone follows through with a small, easy habit or forms small, easy habits, it will have a spillover effect or ripple effect through the rest of their lives. It’s an attractive idea, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen any believable or compelling research that really shows that. I should go back and search through the literature to see if there’s any good evidence showing that creating one habit makes creating other habits easier–that there is a snowball effect when you create one habit that makes it easier to create another habit, which then makes it easier to create yet another habit. But I think that the fundamental premise of this application may be flawed. Drinking water or doing something this small in general isn’t that compelling to people. I have a hard time imagining people coming back and doing this day after day and staying motivated by the small, tiny habits that the app is having them do.

Overall, there’s a lot that can be worked on here, especially in the onboarding process. There are some core elements of the app itself and the way it’s structured that need to be improved. The world is hungry for behavioral science content and help, and I think this application is taking advantage of that. It’s capitalizing on the modern obsession with behavioral science and the idea that there’s a science that can reliably help people change their behavior and lives.

However, based on what I’ve seen, I don’t think using this application will have a big impact on changing people’s behavior. The onboarding flow of the app is long and bad enough that most people who aren’t incredibly motivated to change their lives or form new habits will get filtered out during the process. The people who actually make their way into the app and use it are the most motivated people who are hungry for personal change and self-help.

The application is filtering out everybody who’s not very motivated and just letting in the most motivated people. Then, it’s throwing what I think are fairly ineffective behavioral science tactics at them and taking credit for their change. The high motivation levels of the people that make their way through the onboarding process caused change, not the app.

That’s my initial take on what’s happening here. I can do future videos looking at other aspects of the app or the day-to-day experience. Thanks so much.

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The hobbit: an unexpected journey, common sense media reviewers.

fabulous an unexpected journey

Tolkien tale isn't as great as LOTR, but better for tweens.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

As in The Lord of the Rings, the message of The Ho

No one except Gandalf thinks that Bilbo can be of

Less violent than The Lord of the Rings, but there

Slang use of "jaxie" (meaning "ass").

Although there are no product placements in Middle

The dwarves are a voracious lot -- even more than

Parents need to know that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's stand-alone quest through Middle-earth, is less violent than the scarier Lord of the Rings trilogy. But there are definitely some frightening sequences, like the battle between the…

Positive Messages

As in The Lord of the Rings , the message of The Hobbit is that even the smallest person can make a huge difference. Gandalf even says "it's the small things that keep the darkness at bay" in reference to Bilbo's involvement in the dangerous mission. Gandalf advises Bilbo that it's not knowing how to take a life that takes courage but knowing when to spare one. The dwarves' quest reminds viewers of the importance of home, kinship, and belonging somewhere. Curiosity, perseverance, and teamwork are major themes.

Positive Role Models

No one except Gandalf thinks that Bilbo can be of much help, but Bilbo rises to the occasion by summoning his courage when the time calls for it -- except for the fact that he fulfills his destiny as a "burglar" by stealing Gollum's precious ring. Thorin is dedicated to his fellow dwarves, and they in return revere him as their faithful leader.

Violence & Scariness

Less violent than The Lord of the Rings , but there's still some carnage: a battle between the dwarves and the dragon leads to the dwarf king being decapitated, an orc leader's arm amputated, and a multitude of dwarves and their property destroyed. There are several close calls when Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves are pursued or nearly die on their journey across Middle-earth, usually by orcs and their beasts. The orc leader is a frightening sight -- particularly with his claw-like prosthesis, and he's bloodthirsty. A group of goblins/orcs tries to kill the group as well.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

Although there are no product placements in Middle-earth, the Tolkien books and Peter Jackson film adaptations have spawned a ton of merchandise: apparel, video games, LEGO toys and board games, role-playing games, special movie tie-in editions of the books, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The dwarves are a voracious lot -- even more than hobbits. They ransack Bilbo's pantry and consume large quantities of drink (and food). Gandalf and Bilbo smoke the mellowing pipeweed.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, director Peter Jackson 's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's stand-alone quest through Middle-earth, is less violent than the scarier Lord of the Rings trilogy. But there are definitely some frightening sequences, like the battle between the dragon and the dwarves of Erebor, during which one character is decapitated, another has an arm amputated, and there's mass destruction. The group of Bilbo, Gandalf, and 13 dwarves is often tracked and pursued and nearly killed several times, but they manage to avoid death -- at least in this installment. Bilbo (like Frodo and his friends in the LOTR movies) again shows that size doesn't matter when it comes to making a difference. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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fabulous an unexpected journey

Community Reviews

  • Parents say (52)
  • Kids say (233)

Based on 52 parent reviews

Suitable for kids IMO.

Definitely not as good as the book..., what's the story.

Peter Jackson's first installment in his three-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien 's THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY starts off with an eleventy-one-year-old Bilbo Baggins (played once again by Ian Holm ) narrating the tale of how he, a mellow hobbit from the Shire, ended up enmeshed in a dangerous quest. Sixty years before The Fellowship of the Ring is formed, a considerably younger Bilbo ( Martin Freeman ) sets off an the titular Unexpected Journey with his friend Gandalf the Grey ( Ian McKellen ) to help 13 dwarves reclaim their homeland -- the kingdom of Erebor, which was taken over by a killer, gold-seeking dragon that forced the dwarves into exile. The motley crew, led by Gandalf and the smoldering heir to the Erebor throne, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), encounter two-and-a-half hours of conflict (most notably with the bloodthirsty orcs) with a brief respite found in the elven homeland of Rivendell, where Galadriel ( Cate Blanchett ) offers Gandalf her unconditional support.

Is It Any Good?

Despite issues with length and pacing, there's no denying this is a production worth seeing, especially with kids new to Tolkien's detailed universe. As a novel, The Hobbit skews younger than The Lord of the Rings , so it's only natural that the film is also more accessible for tweens -- just have them look the other way for a few of the darker battle sequences. The story is simple enough, and the visuals are dazzling (the 48 frames per second rate is neither as spectacular or headache-inducing as rumors would have you believe). The acting is admirable, including the return of our favorite wizard, Gandalf, Lady of Lorien Galadriel, and head elf Elrond ( Hugo Weaving ). Unfortunately, the dwarves all sort of blend together in a tangle of hair and mischief, with the notable exception of the broody Thorin and his swashbuckling nephews, Fili and Kili (Dean O'Gorman and Aidan Turner).

The main issue with Jackson's adaptation is that the run time is brutal, even for hardcore fans of Jackson's epic LOTR trilogy. Whereas that trilogy made sense as three separate movies -- considering it was the adaptation of three books -- The Hobbit isn't a substantive enough work to demand three movies, even with Jackson pulling extra material from Tolkien's indices. The fabulous visuals and impressive action sequences reminiscent of the trilogy are bogged down by an overlong and overly thorough first quarter that could have used a considerable edit job.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about how The Hobbit compares to The Lord of the Rings . How are the stories similar (a hobbit joins a dangerous quest), and how are they different? Which adventure do you prefer?

For those familiar with the book , how does the movie adaptation differ? If you haven't read the book yet, does the movie make you want to delve into Tolkien's classic? Why do you think Tolkien's fantasy tale has withstood the test of time?

What does Bilbo learn about himself throughout the journey?

How do the characters in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey demonstrate curiosity and courage ? What about perseverance and teamwork ? Why are these important character strengths ?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : December 14, 2012
  • On DVD or streaming : March 19, 2013
  • Cast : Ian McKellen , Martin Freeman , Richard Armitage
  • Director : Peter Jackson
  • Inclusion Information : Gay actors
  • Studio : New Line
  • Genre : Fantasy
  • Topics : Magic and Fantasy , Adventures , Book Characters
  • Character Strengths : Courage , Curiosity , Perseverance , Teamwork
  • Run time : 166 minutes
  • MPAA rating : PG-13
  • MPAA explanation : extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
  • Last updated : June 10, 2024

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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HeyUGuys

Fabulous Character Gallery Released for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

fabulous an unexpected journey

Peter Jackson directs with a cast that includes Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Andy Serkis, and Richard Armitage.

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Click the images below to see the gallery in full size. If you’ve not seen the trailer for it yet, click here !

The Hobbit (1)

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Barry Humphries (1934-2023)

IMDbPro Starmeter See rank

Barry Humphries

  • 5 wins & 5 nominations total

Barry Humphries in Shock Treatment (1981)

  • Great Goblin

Willem Dafoe, Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Brad Garrett in Finding Nemo (2003)

  • Bruce (voice)

Jim Broadbent, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Christopher Plummer, Timothy Spall, Anne Hathaway, Tom Courtenay, and Charlie Hunnam in Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

  • Mrs. Crummles
  • Mr. Leadville (as Dame Edna Everage)

Shock Treatment (1981)

  • Bert Schnick

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

  • Dame Edna Everage

Blinky Bill the Movie (2015)

  • Wombo (voice)

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off (2013)

  • Justice Loder

The Kangaroo Gang (2011)

  • Narrator (voice)

Tino Insana, Jelani Imani, Jacob Bertrand, Brianna Gentilella, and Teddy Walsh in Bubble Guppies (2011)

  • Braulio (voice)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition Scenes (2013)

  • Writer (1993)

Dame Edna's Hollywood (1991)

  • Writer (uncredited)

Single Voices (1990)

  • 12 episodes

Les Patterson Saves the World (1987)

  • executive producer (1993)
  • executive producer

Trailer

Personal details

  • 5′ 10″ (1.78 m)
  • February 17 , 1934
  • Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • April 22 , 2023
  • Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (complications from hip surgery)
  • Spouses Elizabeth Spender June 25, 1990 - April 22, 2023 (his death)
  • Children Oscar Humphries
  • Parents John Albert Eric Humphries
  • Other works (autobiography) "My Gorgeous Life"
  • 1 Print Biography
  • 1 Portrayal
  • 3 Interviews
  • 3 Magazine Cover Photos

Did you know

  • Trivia On 24 October 2006 Australia Post together with The Perth Mint issued a 50 cent legal tender coin with full-colour portrait of Dame Edna. Coin is mounted in special envelope with 2 postage stamps (featuring Barry Humphries as both Dame Edna and himself) cancelled at Moonee Ponds (the suburb where Edna says she comes from). An Australian $1 silver one ounce coin portraying Dame Edna was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Barry Humphries as Dame Edna.
  • Quotes It's very important to be interesting yourself. Most guests, let's face it, however famous they are, are boring, with no intellectual resources and very little sense of humor, particularly if they are comedians. People only watch my shows for me, and those shows have remained evergreen long after the guests are forgotten. Always wear beautiful clothes, preferably a different frock for every show, and don't overdo the hospitality beforehand. An intoxicated guest is a loose canon and I'm not referring to my famous interview with Jack Palance that didn't go to air!
  • Trademark As Dame Edna, he greets his audience with "Hello Possums"!
  • When did Barry Humphries die?
  • How did Barry Humphries die?
  • How old was Barry Humphries when he died?

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An Unexpected Journey

October 13, 2015.

Be prepared for the unexpected and when it happens, because it will, try to make the most of it

Post a Comment | 78 Comments

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fabulous an unexpected journey

Oh I love Vera! I have not seen the new designs. I have tooo many! Love your trip to the pumpkin patch! Have a great week, Lynn

fabulous an unexpected journey

I am a Vera addict, Lynn. It was so cute...and red...and 25% off. I just couldn't resist! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

What a wonderful day you guys had! Love all of the treasures...especially the RED one! What a great "pick"! ;-) I really love those pumpkin plates also...absolutely adorable and so season-appropriate! Great detour you were forced to take! Love and hugs to you!!

Thanks Benita. It was a really nice day. It was not what we had planned, but everyone seemed super happy on our detour. I think the Belgium waffles were largely responsible!! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

A nice thought provoking post on how I will handle my next unexpected journey! I think mostly I go with it in the moment and then later look back and wonder how I did that!

Yes, AnnMarie...I think that's what I usually do too...how did I do that?? This journey was pretty easy to go with! ;)

i call those happy detours! they really are the best kind of trip to me. it happened to bob and me that way once... we missed our turn off. but then we started seeing signs... 'little switzerland of the ozarks' and like hansel and gretel ... we followed the crumbs. i mean signs. and it was one of the best weekends we ever spent! love the pictures and treasures from your adventure!

Now that sounds like a fabulous diversion...Hansel and Gretel, huh? Magical!!

fabulous an unexpected journey

Love this Kim, especially that gorgeous courtyard! Spontaneous detours can be so fun! Blessings, Cecilia

We took a lot of pictures in that courtyard…it was so pretty!! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Great post . . .a good "memory keeper from your graduate days! Looks like it served you well this weekend . . . Congratulations to Carla . . .

It has served me well many times over the years, Lynne. I guess you never know what you will use from your school days. I try to tell my kids that all the time. They don’t listen to me…yet! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

YAY! Congratulations to Carla! Super post. I think you made the best choice. What a charming town! :) I would like to at least try to get lost in the maze!

It was a super charming town...and we did try to get lost! We ended up at a pair of historic outhouses!! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Glad your trip turned out to be a good surprise to the day. Love when life takes turns for the better. Have a great week. Kris

Yes, better is always better, Kris!! ;)

Hi Kim, you enjoyed the perfect day from an unexpected change of plans. Love the red Vera Bradley and the pumpkin plates are gorgeous. The red brick walkway is beautiful. Fall fun all around. Have a great rest of the week. Hugs, cm

It was a super fun day and a great diversion. Thanks for popping in to say hello Celestina Marie. You always leave the sweetest comments! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

That was one smart teacher you had Kim. Unexpected pleasures are the best kind...and cute red bags don't hurt either, ;)

Agreed 100% Doreen!! :)

Wow awesome journey. Great detour. Where did you wind up? Love the apple red bag, pumpkin plates and yummy snacks Tracy S

We ended up at the beach...a glorious little town. It was a fun day! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Hi, Thank you for hosting the give away :-) Oh my, I am already shopping, I have several ideas picked out. :-) Thank you. I enjoyed your journey. Detours can be the best of days. Carla

Congrats Carla...and yes, detours can be fun. Especially when you are the one in the driver's seat! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Those are great words of wisdom and how amazing those words have stayed with you all these years. I love those Aha moment. I am so happy you and your family had a lovely day.

Thank you Vanessa. It’s nice when it all works out!

fabulous an unexpected journey

I think unexpected journeys really are the best! We have lots of those around here... well, not red lines and detours... lol! But definitely unexpected happenings! Your "unexpected" was awesome Kim, love your finds, the red purse, fun pumpkins, amazing food, and beautiful walkways. Indeed, the quote from your professor is a memorable one! :)

I cannot imagine you ever seeing a red line in your neck of the woods!! Lucky you! ;) Enjoy those wide open spaces.

fabulous an unexpected journey

I think those spur-of-the-moment unexpected "journeys" are the best sort myself. It is always an adventure that we didn't plan that stirs the soul,isn't it? Those days that we can look on with wonder and awe at how amazingly perfect they were. Congrats to Carla. She is a very sweet person! I am truly happy for her. xo Diana

Absolutely Diana...it couldn't have been more perfect if we had planned the day! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

It sounds like a wonderful day. I'm so happy that Carla won! xoox Su

Thanks Su and me too! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

I am glad that you found a good alternative! :)

Thanks Deb. It was fun!

Lovely post. All round. Really, all round. :-) And I'd say, you just had a wee little bit of magic, in your life! Hugs and magic, Tessa

I do love magic, Tessa!! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

That sounds like a perfect day, Kim! Isn't it wonderful when we allow ourselves to enjoy the journey....the past is past, and we have no control over the future; here and now is all there is.

Truer words were never spoken, Carol.

fabulous an unexpected journey

Hi Kim, Oh well maybe next year. At least you all found another nice plan for the day and it turned out great! Congrats to the winner of your nice giveaway. I hope you have a nice week. Julie xo

Thanks Julie! It was a great day, one I hope to repeat next fall!!

fabulous an unexpected journey

Kim, What a beautiful post and I was right along with you throughout the journey. Wise words indeed:) Your family is so fortunate to have a Momma like you! xo Jemma

Thanks so much, Jemma! It was a fun day!

fabulous an unexpected journey

It's great that you were able to turn your half empty glass into a half full one. And you certainly have the memories and photos to show for it.

Thanks Mary! Yes, a half full glass for sure…that would make my teacher and my mother so happy! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Ha ha this was a great post, Kim!!! Way to take a negative and turn it into a super positive - and I bet you didn't need even an ounce of hot cocoa with whipped cream to get through that day!! :)

Nope! Not a drop…although I did whip some up once we got home, just for fun!! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Kim, it sure sounds like you had a beautiful day. Surprises are the best, aren't they? . Especially when they happen accidently!. Love the fur stuff. Gorgeous..Happy Wednesday..Judy

This was a fun surprise and it was a nice deviation from our usual fall outing.

Getting lost and having a change of plan is my favorite kind of trip! I always figure God has something in mind, and look for that. Looks like you guys had a fabulous day!

I needed a light diversion, Nancy...maybe it was orchestrated after all. :)

Great post. Sounds like a great day and cute, fun purchases.

It was a great day, Lorri and everything we bought was on sale...even better! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Sounds like you had a great day with the fam - good for you!

Thanks Kristi...it was fun! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

I just love your positive perspective on your unexpected day! The petting zoo fuzzy your brought back with you is adorable! :)

We like the petting zoo souvenirs the best, too, Audra. Super soft and they never need to be walked or fed! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Sounds like true serendipity to me! Brenda

It really was, Brenda. Truly.

fabulous an unexpected journey

Awwww...love this! Great advice to pass along and you had me at beach village! Jane x

Oh, I know! We actually live at the beach, but there's something mystical about somebody else's town that always makes a journey more fun!

fabulous an unexpected journey

Those unexpected trips are the best! We have been on a few of them and they were also unplanned. My husband is a firm believer that all roads will take him where he wants to go, so trying to avoid pile ups of traffic, we have been to a few "excursions" LOL Take care. xxx Maria

Thank you, Maria, it was fun! I like your husband's attitude. Maybe I need to remember his words! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

You're so cute! I love the way you roughed it. Gorgeous fur babies, and you don't even have to buy expensive pet food for them. Very cool maze and that sure is my idea of snack booth food! Too bad about missing the tractor ride--maybe you'll do that on your next detour. Don't forget to dress appropriately! Dewena

I would've liked that hay ride. I always enjoy getting a tour of the farm with my hot chocolate in hand. Maybe next time!

fabulous an unexpected journey

You clever, clever girl!! Congratulations to the light winner. :)

Thanks Stacey! It was a fun one to write. ;)

The Beach, fuzzy blankets and pillows, Pottery Barn, Vera and Waffles...there is just no day better! Loved looking at your photos and reading this post! I do love those plates! :) Kimberley

I love those plates too, Kimberley. They were very worth the price...

fabulous an unexpected journey

Lovely post! Sometimes unexpected journeys turn out to be the best ones. :-)

It really was the best outing we’ve had in a while!! :)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Oh my.........I like the RED.............apples too!!!!! Seeing your "fuzzy" makes me think....I have one tucked away that Posie cat and I fight over all winter long! If it ever cools off, I need to get it out......Posie will be pleased :^) Loved your post AND the sentiment. On Saturday afternoons hubster and I just hop in the truck and go where it takes us....it's always fun!! Have a great weekend, and blessings to you, J

We hopped in our truck, too! It was a fun day and one I hope to repeat soon. Of course, since it’ll be planned, it probably won’t be as much fun, but we’ll give it our best shot! ;)

fabulous an unexpected journey

Cleverly scripted post, Kim. Not only did the detour give you an even-better-than-planned day out, it gave you fodder for a fun post. Congratulations to Miss Carla! I love her! Hugs, Nancy

Thank you, Nancy! This was a fun one to craft. Sometimes, fun is what it's all about!

You are so adorable Kimmie. Truly! This post made me smile lots! xoxo Jen

Love that! Smiles are awesome!

fabulous an unexpected journey

I must be tired. It took me at least 2 minutes to figure out what you meant LOL Missed you <3 xoxo, rue

Missed you, too!

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Aniyah from “unexpected”: age and journey into motherhood, why jennifer lopez cancelled the u.s leg of her 2024 tour, bride says kids are banned from wedding, sparks online debate, what the femicide in london says about black women not being protected, why do we raise women to be naive about sex, indian airline gives female travellers option to choose seats next to other women, sudanese women, children likely to face malnutrition crisis – un warns, understanding genmoji: a new era of digital expression, who is lauren pisciotta, the woman suing kanye west for sexual harrassment, women with hepatitis c decry constant dismissal by doctors, the generational wave of feminism, why miranda might still be in 7m cult, is popular youtuber, aspyn ovard divorced, naomi campbell confirms birth of children via surrogate, why i hid my illness for 17 years before making it public – celine dion.

Urban Woman

Aniyah, from the reality TV show “Unexpected,” has garnered attention for her candid portrayal of teenage pregnancy and the subsequent challenges she faced. Known for her resilience and transparency, Aniyah’s journey into motherhood began at the tender age of 17.

Aniyah and her partner, Dakwon, both found out they were expecting a child while still navigating the complexities of adolescence. Despite being on birth control, Aniyah became pregnant, a surprise that the couple initially found challenging to comprehend. Reflecting on the timing, Aniyah mentioned that the conception likely occurred before the birth control had fully taken effect.

The couple’s son, Aniyis, was born over a year ago, and his arrival has significantly impacted their lives. Aniyah has been open about her experiences, including the physical changes and emotional struggles she encountered. Recently, she underwent a breast reduction surgery after dealing with body dysmorphia and the physical toll of breastfeeding. She expressed relief and gratitude for the surgery, candidly sharing her journey with her followers.

Despite concerns that Dakwon might not stay post-pregnancy, Aniyah and Dakwon have navigated their relationship and parenting together. While Dakwon’s presence on Aniyah’s social media is minimal, he has been vocal about his pride in their son, Aniyis, highlighting how fatherhood has positively influenced his life.

Aniyah’s story on “Unexpected” continues to resonate with many viewers, offering a raw and honest look at the realities of teenage pregnancy and young parenthood.

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UNEXPECTED JOURNEYS

The Gift of an Experience

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Delight someone with the gift of an Unexpected Journey. 

Pack a bag for your day and let our surprise road trips lead you to new destinations.  We've curated the perfect experience gift for couples, families, that solo traveler, friends, or simply a gift to yourself.

We provide the inspiration, you create the memories.

Book your journey  for only $60 today.

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Our road trips explore Eastern Ontario, Quebec and the surrounding areas.

Step 1: Choose where your next great journey begins.

Step 2: Leave the journey planning to us and be prepared for the unexpected.

Step 3: Receive your beautifully packaged, surprise journey in the mail.

The Path to Follow

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Your Package

A thoughtfully planned, self-guided journey that includes:

Everything you need to know before heading out for your day.

Unique accommodations in case you want to extend your experience.

A series of sealed notes that you open along the way that will guide you to each new stop.

Lots of unexpected surprises and details to help make the most of your day.

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We are so excited for you to:

Take a day with family or friends to discover, appreciate and create memories that will last a lifetime.​

Uncover hidden gems, stunning scenery, inspiring places, local shops and delicious treats along the way​.

Discover where your journey will take you when you open that first note and set out on your way.

The Experience

They say every great journey begins with a single step. which step will you take to begin your travel.

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Bridges, Rapids and Trails

You might e xperience:

Lots of hidden rapids

Unique photo spots

The cutest Hallmark town

Bridges at every stop

S hops that will delight

Secret trails

Breweries, a distillery

Decadent treats

Snowshoe/ski trails

                                           

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The River and Valley Route

​ You migh t experience:

Craft beers, dreamy vineyards

A magical waterfront stop with secret views

Gourmet destinations

To wering pin es

Famous locals

Stunning waterways

Snowshoe trails 

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Pathways, Cozy Cafes & Pretty Photos

​You might experience:

Instagram mable stops and venues

Foodie stops

Peaceful and enchanting forest trails

A cool brewery

Canada's prettie st town

Rural vin eyards (summer)

Ski/snowshoe/ skate

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Waterways and Views

You might e xperience:​

A beautiful town

Awe inspiring water views

Pretty pathways

Urban breweries

A stroll through the vines

An unexpected shop

A forest snowshoe

Gorgeous rural stops

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As Far as the Eye Can See

You might expe rience: ​

Serene outdoor galleries

Architecture that will amaze

Unbelievable hikes

Surprise after surprise

A brewery, cidery and distillery

Snowshoe trails                             

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Wonderful Waterfalls & Lookouts

You might experience:

So many waterfalls

Scenic look ou ts

Boardwalks and bridges

Exploring along the water

Butter tarts, cheesecake and donuts

Adult beverages

Winter skating trail

Snowshoe trail

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Sips, Strolls and Surprises

Unexpected paths 

A gorgeous waterway

Scenic little hikes

Unique photo ops 

Beautiful historic venues

Vineyards and more vineyards

Brewery stops 

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Peaceful and Inspiring Places

A few waterfront strolls

A heart-warming photo shoot

Bakeries and decadent cheesecake

Unexpected stops

Skating trail/snowshoe

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E xtraordinary Destinations and Discove ries

​Y ou might experience:

Pretty pat hways along the water

Iconic and historic sites

Urban eateries and boutiques

Boardwalks , islands and views

A rustic brewe ry, a vineyard

Outdoor skating trail

 Find Out More

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An Ottawa West Wander

  

​ You might experience:

Rural feels in the city

Water views and wildlife

An outdoor gallery

Local treats and brews

Cool coffee shops

Insta-worthy backdrops

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Snowshoe trails

              Find Out More

Dreamy Q Drive outer

Quebec Drive

 Waterfall after waterfall

 Photo-worthy outdoor art

 Lots of secret spots

Chocolate, cheese an d cafes 

Craft breweries along the way 

Sweet hiking and snowshoe trails

A winter skate 

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"My husband and I took one of the Unexpected Journey's day trips last weekend and loved it!

It was the perfect self guided tour with just the right touch of mystery and surprise.  Every place we stopped had some adventure or beautiful Instagram worthy sites to see.

Towards the end of each "secret stop" we couldn't wait to open the next envelope and head to our next destination.  It was amazing!

If you live in the Ottawa area or have plans to visit Ottawa, I highly recommend booking an "Unexpected Journey"!"

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fabulous an unexpected journey

'This is my dream': The journey of Sacramento's first James Beard Award finalist

B illy Ngo, a Sacramento chef and restauranteur who's perhaps best known as the co-owner of Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine , is celebrating a night that will go down in history.

He attended the James Beard Awards in Chicago Monday alongside friends and family as a finalist for the title of Best California Chef. The James Beard Awards are considered the Oscars of the culinary world.

The Best California Chef award went to Lord Maynard Llera of Kuya Lord in Los Angeles, but Ngo is still celebrating a big win as the third chef in Sacramento to make it to the semifinals and the only one to make it to the finals.

Despite his accomplishments, Ngo describes his journey to become a chef as "coincidental." 

A long journey and an unexpected path

Ngo's story starts in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, where he was born. His mother was pregnant with him during the Vietnam War, and his family, like thousands of others, escaped to Hong Kong from Vietnam by boat in fear of persecution by the new Communist government following the Fall of Saigon .

Just under a year later, Ngo's family resettled in the United States. It's a part of his own history Ngo says is important to share. 

"You need to know where you're from to get to where you want to be," Ngo said.

As a child growing up in Sacramento's Little Saigon , Ngo observed as his parents worked at restaurants and even opened up their own on Folsom Boulevard. It was not work by choice, but by need.

"They couldn't speak English. They didn't have any other skillsets being in the United States at an older age," Ngo said. 

It was also why Ngo's parents themselves never expected their son to ever work in one.

"They were pretty much saying I can do whatever I want, why would you want to work in a restaurant?" Ngo recalled. 

But Ngo said he didn't always want to be a chef. He got his work permit during high school and started off as a busboy and dishwasher at one of Sacramento's oldest Japanese restaurants at the time, Fuji.

"We grew up really poor, but my parents provided the best they could for me. But whatever I wanted, I realized I have to go out and get it, so I started working early," Ngo said.

Ngo worked his way up to the sushi bar at Fuji before trading in the job for one at Mikuni Sushi in Roseville.

"I think going there and working there was when it kind of clicked for me, like, this is fun, this is cool. I want to do this," Ngo said.

He would go on to study at Sacramento City College but drop out to take his passion more seriously. He worked at various restaurants, absorbing as much information as he could before going to California Culinary Academy in San Francisco to hone his culinary skills. 

On May 9, 2005, Ngo opened up Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine days before he turned 24.

"We call it Contemporary Japanese Cuisine because we stay very, very authentic to the sushi with the rice, with the fish. Majority of our fish is flown in from Japan. But what makes us different, contemporary, is the flavor profiles. The types of food I grew up eating, we incorporate that into the small plates and the entrees," Ngo said.

Today, he's also the owner of  Kodaiko Ramen & Bar , Fish Face Poke Bar and Healthy Hounds Kitchen . 

James Beard Award nomination

Ngo was still asleep when he woke up to multiple text notifications on his phone. It was an early Wednesday morning in February.

"I was like, 'Who's texting me this early? Why are so many people texting me?' And then I finally look and I see 'Congratulations,'" Ngo said. 

He had just been named as a semifinalist for Best California Chef from the James Beard Awards. It was a recognition Ngo never anticipated.

"This is one of the most prestigious awards to get along with a Michelin star. I'm still in shock because this is something you dream of but you don't know how you can (make it happen). I don't know how you even get nominated, I never really looked into it," Ngo said.

It was "a dream come true" for Ngo, but also a big step forward for the restaurant industry in Sacramento overall.

"Sacramento finally made it to the Michelin Guide list recently in 2019 and it's been so long, you know," Ngo said. "I knew something was going to happen in Sacramento eventually and I wanted to be part of it when that whole chain — this whole food scene, this bar scene, this whole culture here — changed completely in the last 15, 20 years."

Looking to the future

Even with his extensive list of experience and restaurants under his belt, Ngo has no plans of slowing down. His next passion project, expected to open this fall, is a restaurant inspired by his late mother who died from cancer.

"This is a way for me to keep her name alive," Ngo said with a smile. "Her maiden name was Mai Chu, and we're calling (the restaurant) Chu Mai, putting her last name first." 

The restaurant will serve as a place to "celebrate life, family and traditions through food, drink and hospitality," according to the restaurant website — a proper homage to his mother. 

"All my restaurants are fish or Japanese-oriented because the first restaurant job I had was at a Japanese restaurant. But that's not the food I grew up eating — Chinese, Vietnamese," Ngo said. "This restaurant is actually the flavors and flavor profiles of food that I grew up with, but done in a new way where people like me... first generation, second generation Asian Americans, can eat it and the flavors will be authentic enough to remind them of (what) they had at home."

It's a project Ngo knows his mother would be smiling down on - "I think she'd be really happy, I think she'd be proud."

WATCH MORE ON ABC10 | Sacramento's Little Saigon: How the Vietnamese community is preserving culture

Downtown Sacramento

COMMENTS

  1. When does a journey end in fabulous app? : r/thefabulous

    When does a journey end in fabulous app? Hello, I am at day 13 of the first journey: "An unexpected journey". I think at day 10, I was done with the journey, meaning, I had reached 100% with letters, tasks and etc. It even told me to choose a new journey.

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    Fabulous Product only discussion - for billing request, please login on the website or email support from your app or the website. ... Typically, you start with An Unexpected Journey, to build your morning ritual: water, breakfast, exercise, celebrate. Select An Unexpected Journey and start it from the top. It will walk you through what to do ...

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    1M Followers, 3 Following, 1,795 Posts - The Fabulous App (@thefabstory) on Instagram: " Habit building made easy Better life, better self, ... Self-love isn't just a trend, it's a journey! 💖 Here are 30 simple and powerful ways to show yourself some love every day. Which one will you try first?

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    The Hobbit (Russian: Хо́ббит, romanized: Khóbbit), full title The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, Across the Wild Land, Through the Dark Forest, Beyond the Misty Mountains.

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    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 epic high fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson from a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro, based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.It is the first installment in The Hobbit trilogy, acting as a prequel to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.. The story is set in Middle-earth sixty ...

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    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Directed by Peter Jackson. With Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott. A reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home, and the gold within it from the dragon Smaug.

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    Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a simple life with his fellow hobbits in the shire, until the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives and convinces him to join a group of dwarves on a quest to ...

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    Fabulous is a behavior change app that does almost everything wrong. It claims to be based on behavioral science, but uses research awkwardly and ineffectively. ... I'm starting a three-day Unexpected Journey challenge." I don't think we've ever been exposed to this term "Unexpected Journey" or if we have, it just passed through my ...

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    Read Common Sense Media's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review, age rating, and parents guide. Tolkien tale isn't as great as LOTR, but better for tweens. Read Common Sense Media's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review, age rating, and parents guide. ... The fabulous visuals and impressive action sequences reminiscent of the trilogy are ...

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    The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

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    Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth with the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's enduring masterpiece. Set in M...

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    Barry Humphries. Actor: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. His father was a well-to-do builder. Barry was a highly intelligent boy who attended Melbourne University. There, he began acting in revues and doing impersonations. He moved to London in 1959 and began his professional performing career on the West End and Broadway stages as Mr Sowerby in Oliver!, and in Peter Cook's Establishment ...

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    Song of the Lonely Mountain (Extended Version) | Neil Finn | From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Soundtrack (Special Edition)Available now: https://lnk.to...

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    The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings Theatrical Audiobooks. New chapters uploaded every Monday, Wednesday & Friday Monthly supporters gain $10 discoun…

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    Aniyah, from the reality TV show "Unexpected," has garnered attention for her candid portrayal of teenage pregnancy and the subsequent challenges she faced. Known for her resilience and transparency, Aniyah's journey into motherhood began at the tender age of 17.

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    Prime Morning is live with KMJ The Royal Host. #PrimeMorning

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