August 2009

Teenagers Write Killer Six-Word Memoirs


Teen cover - 3D(2) I've adored SMITH Mag's six-word memoirs for a while, and last fall they launched to collect material for a new book written entirely by teenagers. In one year, more than 65,000 memoirs have been posted. The site is worth visiting daily for intense, from-the-heart writing. Founding Editor Larry Smith calls the teens who've submitted memoirs "honest and brave and funny and intense and awesome."

That's pretty much how we feel about the book that has come out of these submissions, I Can't Keep My Own Secrets (HarperTeen, $9), which hits shelves tomorrow.

Smith says one of his favorite memoirs right now is "Living my dream, please send money. --Brittney L." If I had to pick out one or two, I'd go with "I'm only popular during summer camp. --Beatrice M." and "My scars: Everybody stares. Nobody asks. --Bonnie B." Or okay, let me just list three, because I also love "Two cheerleading sisters. I chose acting. --Maggie M." Truly, every page of this book has heartfelt, touching, chilling, witty memoirs. Even celebrities like Taylor Swift penned some six-worders, but I'll stop giving spoilers. Just get this book!

If you need more convincing, watch the trailer for I Can't Keep My Own Secrets below. Remember to submit your own memoir at SMITHTeens, and follow SMITHTeens on twitter to read one six-word memoir each day. I'm inspired. You?

Help Women, Heal the World


Womens-rights-ww The New York Times Magazine recently did a big story on Why Women’s Rights Are the Cause of Our Time, and it could not be ignored. Think about it: In a very large sense, women raise children. They rear the future of humanity! And yet 70 percent of people living in poverty are women and children.

The world turns a blind eye to many atrocities committed against women, like “bride burnings” in India, which occur at a rate of once every two hours to punish or kill women whose husbands are unhappy with their dowries or who want to remarry. And not much attention is paid to the 39,000 baby girls who die annually in China because parents don’t give them the same medical care and attention that boys -- more valuable children in that culture -- receive.

Read the magazine for yourself to find out more -- you’ll be shocked and moved to action. So here are three productive ways to channel that outrage, abroad and here at home:

1. Find a female entrepreneur to support on this micro-lending site. Add in your loan, as little as a few dollars, to get these women the supplies to start a small business that will not only earn your investment back, but also create a new life for their families. After you've given, pick up one of these handy widgets for your blog or facebook page to encourage your friends to help too.

2. According to a recent study, at least 300,000 children and adolescents are prostituted every year in the United States. Excuse me, but WTF?! Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) works with girls ages 12-21 who have been sexually exploited, empowering them to leave the sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS also fights to change perceptions and laws that allow teenage girls to be arrested for prostitution (instead of their clients being arrested for statutory RAPE? Hello!)

3. This organization makes it possible for families -- largely headed by women -- to farm local land and earn profits for a brighter future. Working in Kenya and Rwanda, your donation goes to seeds and fertilizer, farm education and market access. Giving just $20 per month supports a family of six for a year, and the personal stories you'll find on the website will make your heart swell.

Find out about more ways to help here. It just takes a little bit of what you already have.

RED Hearts: The Wonder of Drugstore Hair Color


Vintage clairol 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 post is from Jessica Goodman, 19, reporting from Los Angeles, CA, who's falling in love with her new hair color:

I have a brand-new obsession -- hair dye. I love how it helps you transform into a more comfortable person, gives you the ability to change your appearance at the tip of your fingers, and lets you make your own statement whether people notice or not.

How often in life do you get granted such powers for under $10? Clairol Nice n’ Easy is the classic; it’s at most drugstores and works wonders.

When I have my friend dye my hair, I like to keep it somewhat neutral. I am a brunette, so I started off in the spring with "Burgundy," a color that would illuminate reddish when the sun hit.

Which brings me to another reason I dye my hair: the sun here in Los Angeles. If I spend five or so hours outside, my hair gets a blondish tint. It makes my skin look completely tan, but I just want to keep my hair color about the same, especially so my roots don’t look bad.

So my most recent choice was a "Natural Darkest Brown," which lasts about two months. I will never in my life dye my hair hot pink or neon green, because one, it would never show, and two, I would never consider bleaching my hair blond first. But I recommend hair dye for people who are serious about improving their self-esteem and creating an easy new look that’s natural -- only a little bit better.

Red RED Hearts guest poster Jessica Goodman is an author of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today, which is now out in paperback.

Japanese Nail Art


Cupcakes Though I may dress exclusively in neutral colors, I've always been more daring when it comes to my nails. I prefer hues so bright and bold that my fingers could guide me out of a cave.

Because of this, I've always wanted to try Japanese Nail Art. In Japan, girls go bonkers for the intricate and crazy designs that turn nails into 10 mini masterpieces of pop design, often with 3-D elements. From food to skulls to crystals and animals, no theme is untouched.

I never knew where to find this sort of salon stateside, but I found a site called Kawaii Nails based in Portland, OR (kawaii means cute in Japanese) that sells imported nail sets made by artists in Beijing, China and Japan. Because of my sweet tooth, I immediately went for the The 3D Cupcake Dangle (pictured, $39.95). Ranging from $25 to $50, these nails aren't for the timid or for those who prefer a ladylike french manicure, but if you're more Lady Gaga than Katie Holmes, go for it!

And if you're not ready to make the jump into crazynail-land, may we suggest some simple nail decals? Baby steps. 

Your Back-To-School Eco Bag


Yakpakterracycle Billboard vinyl isn’t a material I’d normally consider for a bag, but now that TerraCycle and Yak Pak are co-creating environmentally responsible backpacks, messenger bags, wallets and totes from this material, I’m willing to take a look.

After all, TerraCycle is known for making green, affordable products from non-recyclable waste. And the bags, which are manufactured in a hydroelectric powered factory in El Salvador, are each unique because all are cut from a different section of thousands of various billboards. So that one pictured? Yours won’t look like that.

It adds an air of mystery to the back-to-school process of choosing your bag, but don’t worry -- all bags are created by a Yak Pak design team in Brooklyn that knows cool from lame. And you get to be all green with your eco-friendly purchase.

Also, both the backpack and the messenger bag cost just $35 and come with a lifetime warranty. That’s like pennies a year, as long as you use it into retirement.

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