February 2009

RED Hearts: Mental Floss


Mentalfloss RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. RED Hearts will be posting every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through February.

Today's RED Hearts post is from Sarah Schelde, 16, of Watervliet, New York, who writes about her love for the magazine and website, Mental Floss:

From faster texting on full QWERTY keyboards to shorter blog posts (ala Twitter), in today's big world of little time, we love to pick up things as quickly as possible. And what's faster than trivia and facts boiled down to amusing yet informative morsels? Try mental_floss, the wonderful magazine and website where, in their words, "Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix."

Full of fun, smarty-pants lists (body parts you didn't think had a name, 5 New Alternative Meats), to instant expertise on cool topics ("What's the Difference: Quasar vs. Pulsar") and blogs on everything from sequin art to the history of ice, this bimonthly is for the left-brained, right-brained, or scatterbrained. And if you want to test that noggin out, try one of the fabulously quirky and informative "Lunchtime Quizzes" (you may only think you're a Love, Actually expert) that take less time than the line in the cafeteria. Now that's what I call quick thinking.

Red RED Hearts guest poster Sarah Schelde is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which was recently published in paperback.

Cool Girl: Lindsay, 18, Fashionista For A Cause


Taylor's Closet We’re big fans of fashion outreach. After all, style has a lot to do with self-esteem and confidence. Lindsay Giambattista, 18, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, understands that, which is why she founded Taylor’s Closet, an organization that allows girls in foster care to come into a "store" and shop for clothes -- free of charge. We talked to Lindsay about how awesome that is.

What made you want to start Taylor's Closet?
I knew there were many girls who love clothes just as much as I do but who, due to circumstances beyond their control, might never get a chance to feel beautiful in a new outfit, or pick out their dream prom dress. I wanted to give these girls a great experience shopping for nice clothes, but even more importantly, it would all be absolutely free. I named it Taylor’s Closet, after my twin sister who died at birth.

How has TC expanded since its founding in 2005?
We started out as only offering used clothes, but recently, so many designers have been donating their clothes that we switched to new -- now we have clothing that Macy’s carries!

What's your favorite TC memory?
We took Taylor’s Closet to Kiev, Ukraine last summer to set up a temporary store for over 150 orphans. All the Ukrainians wanted me to tell them the story of the organization. So, with a translator, I told them basically everything: the history, my heart, how it works. There was this one kid who was really quiet. The whole day went by and later in the afternoon, he came up to me, put his hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and started to cry. And he simply said, “You have no idea how much I am thankful. Every time I get sad, I will never be sad because of what you are doing.” He was so thankful that we could help his hurting people. I just about lost it. Every time I get a little weary, I think of that moment.

How can people help with TC?
Buy our products! We just launched a TC merch line. Go check it out. It’s really cute, and every penny goes to making girls in need feel beautiful!

What can girls your age do in their own communities to create change like you have?
Find something that is needed and fix it. Or, if you don’t really know the needs of your community (like I didn’t) look at life through the eyes of a less fortunate person. Ask yourself, "What would I need or want really bad, but could not in any possible way achieve or attain?"

What's next for TC?
Once were done reaching all 32,000 girls at risk in South Florida, I’m on to every single at-risk girl in the world with Taylor’s Closet. That’s not a joke, either.

We don't doubt it!

RED Hearts: Pocahontas Fringe Fashion


Moccasins RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. RED Hearts will be posting every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through February.

Today's RED Hearts post is from Charlotte Steinway, 20, reporting from Paris, France, who writes about her love for Native American-inspired style:

Ever since Disney’s Pocahontas came out in the mid '90s, I've had a mild obsession with all things Native American. It’s gone from an innocent penchant for moccasins to a severe affinity for feathered and fringed accessories. In fact, I distinctly remember the first time I laid eyes on Sam Edelman's “Uri” over-the-knee, tiered fringe boots. I dragged my boyfriend to the store window in Harvard Square and pointed to the glorious feats of footwear: "Beautiful!" I exclaimed. "I thought you were talkin' about me," said a middle-aged man standing in the general vicinity.

I kept my mind off the boots for a while, deciding that $225 was far too much money for something modeled after the footwear of our hunting-and-gathering predecessors. I moved onto a pair of far more practical (as practical as fringe moccasin boots can be) $76 Minnetonkas (pictured). Then I came across my original love for HALF-OFF on nordstrom.com and made them my own. All in all, a great success.

A month or so later I packed up my entire life to study in Paris for the semester, and I had to decide which pair to bring with me. I went with the smaller, lighter Minnetonkas. And now that I’ve gotten here, French fashion involves a lot of fringe at the moment, including the taupe messenger bag I splurged on during the last week of the soldes (the month-long sale season, love this country) that matches exactly with the Sam Edelman boots I DIDN’T pack.

But now that I think of it, wearing the two together could create some sort of gnarly dreadlock of interwoven fringe accessories. So I guess it all worked out.

Red RED Hearts guest poster Charlotte Steinway is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which was recently published in paperback.

Hear(t) It: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart


Pains I’m a sucker for jingly-jangly guitars and sweet sounding vocals: it’s the bread and butter of my record collection. Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl and Jesus and Mary Chain are among my trusted canon of feel good music staples. And this is why the Pains of Being Pure at Heart has been echoing through my apartment lately. With layered background vocals of “oo’s” and “ahh’s,” trebly power chords and driving drum beats on the two and four, this quartet from Brooklyn, NY takes influence from these aforementioned bands so well, it’s like 1990 all over again (the pre-flannel days).

The band released its self-titled debut album earlier this month to much critical praise! However, I will go where most self-respecting music journalists would never go, and make another horrible analogy (remember my cookie one from yesterday?): this album is like buying a pseudo-vintage t-shirt from Urban Outfitters. Even though it's brand new, it looks and feels vintage, but that doesn't mean you will love it any less. And most likely, you'll wear it enough to get an authentic stain on it.

Here's their video for "Everything With You." It'll make you want to give your BFF a hug.

Photo Credit: Annie Powers

We Heart Venus Zine!


VenusCover Even though Melissa and I run this web site, belong to MySpace and Facebook, read a hundred blogs a day, have multiple Twitter accounts, and virtually document our lives on Flickr, we still love reading a good old-fashioned magazine. And one of our favorites is Venus Zine.

Venus has been circulating among cool, cultured young women since 1995 (it started out as a photocopied zine run out of a dorm room). If you want original stories on new bands, culture, art and inspiring DIYers, get your hands on a copy. 

Its amazing new issue with Evan Rachel Wood gracing the cover hits stands March 2, but we were lucky to get an exclusive sneak preview! (Aren't we special?) Here five stories for you to look forward to:

1. "Scene and Unheard: Osaka, Japan"
This feature uncovers cool culture from around the world -- in this case, Osaka, Japan. What do you get when you cross the Ramones and the Donnas? You get Scandal, a spunky quartet of Japanese girls, playing sweet as sugar rock 'n' roll.

2. "Declare Thumb War"
Alleviate the guilt of killing one of Mother Nature's kindred with these plant suggestions. Here, Venus recommends four great plants that are super easy to keep alive and out of your trash can (not that I know anything about that Ahem!). My favorite is the aloe vera plant, because come summer, I'll be able to use it on my pink nose.

3. "Lucy Knisley"
Thank you Venus for introducing me to the work of Lucy Knisley! When this art student spent six weeks in Paris, she documented her stay -- and what she ate -- in an illustrated journal, which is now the graphic novel, French Milk. Even if you're not a fan of comic books, this is one to check out. Très adorable.

4. "25 Under 25"
This feature is a smorgasbord of 25 inspiring and talented young women, ranging from actresses (Alia Shawkat), a mountain climber (Samantha Larson), writers (Helen Oyeyemi) and musicians (Lady Sovereign). Cool girls, doing cool stuff. Thumbs up.

5. "Major Brand vs Made By Hand"
You regular I Heart Daily readers know about our love of Etsy, the shopping site where DIY reigns Queen. In this chart, Venus does a comparison between major brand goods and handmade goods, including fashion, beauty and accessories. Who wins? You be the judge.

These stories are just a tasty morsel of the huge delicious cookie that is the issue, so if you like what you see, don't hesitate to get a subscription! (Also, forgive me for the horrible cookie analogy. I'm quite hungry.)

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