The anticipation grows as the year's quickly coming to an end, but I know better than to take anything for granted. But that doesn't stop me from hoping that it will happen again this year. When the doorbell rings and I see the delivery man holding a shopping bag from Sprinkles, I can't help but smile. In that moment, I'm so excited that once again I'll be able to indulge in amazing cupcakes, pushing the calories out of my mind, convincing myself that it's a sweet treat to celebrate not only a New Year, but a very special relationship.

You see, the giver of this wonderful New Year gift is Kris Kleis, the graphic artist that Black and I first started working with when she designed our bestselling book, which is now over a decade ago. But rather than focusing on how many years have passed and how quickly they have flown by, it reminds me of how lucky we are to have Kris in our lives.

Of course, Black receives her own delivery of cupcakes, and how she manages the temptation I'll never know, as her dedication to remaining a size 2 is almost incomprehensible. Although she did mention that one of the many reasons why cupcakes are so popular is because they're the epitome of portion control. But for me, cupcakes don't need to be analyzed – just enjoyed. And Kris's New Year cupcakes are even more special as they're a sweet reminder of another year of us working together … and one of the reasons I look forward to them every year. Plus, who doesn't love cupcakes?!

If there were an Olympic medal for love and inspiration, Tank Schottle would hold the record for most gold medals.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: In this crazy world that we live in, sometimes simple, positive messages can easily get lost in all the "noise" … but they're there, and sometimes even the most pragmatic people (that'd be Black) feel the need to share them (much to Red's surprise).

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RED+BLACK - Girls Can Do Anything!

There's no telling what may have led up to this banter between Red and Black, but it's safe to say that Black has ALWAYS felt this way. Which is probably why from an early age she always wanted to be "That Girl"!

Curious about the "Back Story" to our animation teasers? Red's daughter, Sawyer, told us we needed to do some very short animated "teasers" … so Black said, "Great. You want to work in video production. Take the final working versions of our animation and start creating them!" So, she did!

P.S. – For those of you who've met us or seen us at speaking engagements, we'd love to know if you think the animators have accurately captured us! (You can email us at Banter@RedandBlackBooks.com.)

FULL QUESTION: Why are some people talking trash about Olympic gymnast Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic events?


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


Honestly, I didn't even know they were. At first, I think we were all in shock when Simone withdrew after she didn't complete the vault as planned , but almost immediately, there was an incredible outpouring of support. And not only from former Olympians, like Michael Phelps who has long spoken of his mental health challenges, but from a wide range of people, including mental health experts, newscasters, celebrities, and even politicians.

I'll admit that initially I questioned her decision because she had competed in previous Olympics, so I assumed she was used to the pressure. But then, the more I read, the more I learned, and the more impressed I became. Because she makes it look so easy, it's easy to forget that you can seriously injure yourself if your head isn't in the game. Finally, when I read what she said at the press conference, I came to see how her decision was the right one, not just for herself but as an example to all of us.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I am aware of some of the despicable things being said, and although people have the right to their opinion, I refuse to give them "airtime" by mentioning them by name. These media "personalities" (I do not consider them journalists or even commentators) seem to say what they do solely to stir things up, and get ratings and coverage. Whether they actually believe these things or not, who knows? Unfortunately, many of them have large (and loyal) followings who are easily (mindlessly?) persuaded.

They are quick to criticize someone who has accomplished so much more with their life than they ever will, but maybe not in the obvious way … Simone Biles may be the GOAT in gymnastics, but her greatest accomplishment may be in shining an extremely bright light, seen worldwide, on the importance of mental health.