Do Good

An Amazing Girl Who Does Good

November 10, 2011 at 10:29 am , by

Photo credit: Taylor Family

It’s hard to preach positivity when you think about the state of our economy or the rising cost of gas (don’t even get me started)! Yet here at LHJ, we like to spend our time commending people who make a positive impact on the world. I am inspired by fifteen year-old Hannah Taylor from Canada. At age 8, she started the Ladybug Foundation to help the homeless and “connect even more hearts in caring for each other.”  Today, Hannah’s Ladybug Foundation supports over 50 shelters, missions, soup kitchens and food banks across Canada. The most remarkable aspect of Hannah is her humble nature. As she told me, she hopes “to be remembered as an ordinary human being who believes in the power of caring.”

To learn more about this amazing girl—and maybe inspire your own kids to do good—grab your teenage daughters and sons and check out the documentary Hannah’s Story, which airs this Sunday, November 14th at 10:00 p.m. EST on the Documentary Channel. [For more information or to request DOC in your area, you can visit]. It is impossible not to be inspired by Hannah. She’s proof of how much impact one little girl can make when she has a big heart.

LHJ Presents Peace Unveiled and a Special Q&A With Producer Abigail Disney

September 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm , by

What if you looked at war as through the eyes of women? That’s the question at the heart of the new five-part PBS series, Women, War & Peace, which focuses on the perspectives of women living in conflict zones around the world. “We have this image of a male hero striking out into war,” says Abigail Disney, an executive producer. “And littering the sidelines, if they’re visible at all, are these women who don’t really matter. But there are no sidelines. Women very much do matter. We need to restore women to a story they’ve never been a part of.”

The series begins airing Tuesday, October 11th. But this Thursday at 7:30 EST, LHJ will present an exclusive online sneak preview of Peace Unveiled, the third installment in the series, which follows three women in Afghanistan who are fighting for the right to be heard in their country’s political arena. (To see the preview log on to lens.) Afterward, stick around for a live online panel discussion with Disney and director Gini Reticker, where you can talk with other viewers about the film and submit questions for the filmmakers.

In the meantime, check out our interview with Disney (yes, that same Disney—Walt Disney was her great-uncle) about the series and what you can do to help.

How difficult was this series to film?

There were incredible difficulties in getting footage and getting the women to feel safe enough to talk to us because they were being threatened every day. Some of them were getting death threats in text messages on their cell phones while we were interviewing them. So it was hard, but we had to find women who were willing to step up and take a chance being on camera. Read more

Do Good: Yellow Bird Project Charity T-Shirts

September 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm , by

I like a good T-shirt almost as much as I like a good pair of heels. A T-shirt with a message, I like even better! I was recently introduced to the Yellow Bird Project. The website teams up bands to design shirts and donate the proceeds to charity. The bands involved are a pretty impressive list of indie rock groups like Wolfmother, The Shins and Bloc Party. The charities include St. Jude’s, Greenpeace and Amnesty International, as well as other lesser known—but just as important—charities.


My favorite tee is designed by the Freelance Whales and supports MarbleRoad, a non-profit organization offering financial assistance and support services for people with complex and rare illnesses. I love the teal color, unique design and the cause happens to be near and dear to my heart. I love this idea—it’s a cool, interesting approach to raising awareness (and money) for a charity. And these tees are a stylish update to those old high school or college T’s you might be rocking way past their prime. Not your style? They also make great gifts (with a great message) for hard-to-shop-for, too-cool school kids.

LHJ / CMT Do Good Volunteer Day at Second Harvest

June 16, 2011 at 9:15 am , by


Crystal Bowersox and Brian Walker at Second Harvest.

For the second year in a row, Ladies’ Home Journal kicked off CMA Music Festival week by hosting a volunteer afternoon at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. This year, though, the afternoon also served as a kickoff for our brand spankin’ new partnership with CMT One Country. Click here to read about how our partnership’s Do Good Rewards program can lead to you winning a trip to the CMT Music Awards in Nashville next year!)

We had some amazing musical talent lending us their muscles and elbow grease for the afternoon, including Steel Magnolia, Jimmy Wayne, Crystal Bowersox, Carter’s Chord, Margaret Durante and Coldwater Jane. Along with reps from both LHJ and CMT, these artists donated some of the very little free time they had during their frenetic week to sweat alongside us prepping supplies for Feeding America‘s BackPack program, which was designed to meet the needs of hungry kids at times when other resources aren’t available (such as weekends and school vacations). By the afternoon’s end, our volunteers had prepped 2,107 bags of food for the program! At the CMT Awards the next night, other musical acts signed some symbolic bags to be auctioned off to raise more funds for the program, to which CMT makes a generous donation in lieu of those pricey artist gift bags other awards shows usually give out.

To keep the spirit of our volunteer afternoon alive, LHJ and CMT are now partnering up for a Do Good Summer Virtual Food Drive. If you’re able, we’d love it if you could contribute to it, which will then in turn provide much needed food to programs such as the BackPack effort. Any amount is greatly appreciated. Of course, if you’d like to volunteer at a Feeding America food bank, that’s another great way to do good and make a difference. As you can see from the slideshow below (with Carter’s Chord’s “Love a Little Bigger” as a musical background), our volunteer afternoon was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. Click here to find the nearest food bank in your area. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

For more pictures from our volunteer event, additional info on the BackPack program and stats from Second Harvest, read on after the jump.

All photos by John Russell.

Read more

Like This, Support The Special Olympics

June 14, 2011 at 10:13 am , by

This sweet video (which, we’ll admit, made us tear up a little), is a tribute to our Special Olympics athletes and the moms who help them get where they are. With team USA heading to Athens for the 2011 games next weekend, Proctor & Gamble is donating $250,000 to the Special Olympics, and giving all of us a chance to contribute too! For every like, share, or comment on, P&G will donate a dollar (up to an additional $250,000) to the Special Olympics in celebration of the moms and families who support our athletes.

Do Good: Help Bees, Look Good!

May 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm , by

I’ve never really been a big fan of bees. Between the time they stung me when I was 8 years old and killing Macaulay Culkin in My Girl, they haven’t exactly been my favorite. But two of my favorite brands (the maker of, in my opinion, the best lip balm ever, Burt’s Bees, and one of my favorite jewelry designers, Helen Ficalora) teamed up with the Pollinator Partnership to raise awareness about the increased threat to pollinators in our country. Bees and other pollinators (butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, birds and bats) play a crucial roll in our food system and help maintain our natural ecosystem. But pesticides, habitat loss and disease have put them on the endangered species list.

Burt’s Bees has been working with the Pollinator Partnership for years but this year in honor of National Pollinator Week, Helen Ficalora joined the cause. This cute sterling silver beehive charm and chain costs $100 and comes with Burt’s Bees tinted Lip Balm in Pink Blossom (which was our pick for best lip balm in our First Annual “This Stuff Works” Beauty Awards). 100 percent of the proceeds will go to providing a school with a Bee Smart School garden kit, which will help students learn how vital pollinators are and allow them to create bee-friendly gardens.

This is a win-win all around. A beautiful necklace, a fabulous lip balm and helping the bees. Because even though they sting and their buzzing can be annoying, life wouldn’t be the same with out them!

To purchase the charm or donate visit

How To Be a Savvy Auntie This Spring

April 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm , by

We all remember what it was like as a kid to have a “cool aunt.” She’d take us to movies and treat us to popcorn, bring a new book to read when she visited or create arts and crafts with us – even if they were a bit messy. Melanie Notkin, founder of and author of Savvy Auntie, just out from William Morrow, loves being that cool aunt (or “PANK” as she dubs herself and her peers—Professional Aunt, No Kids), and wants every woman with a niece, nephew, godchild or other special kid in their lives to be one too.

“What’s so terrific about the aunt is that she’s a grown-up in the child’s life who is all about magical experiences,” says Notkin. “PANKs have discretionary income and time to spend with kids and can take them on day trips, go to sporting events or see plays at times when maybe their parents can’t—‘qualAuntie’ time, as I like to call it.”

Notktin started Savvy Auntie in 2008 after her nephew was born, and she couldn’t find any resources on how to be a modern aunt (she now has six nieces and nephews, and many more of her friends’ children are also happy to call her “auntie”). Everything she read was too “auntique”  (auntie lingo has become her thing, too).  Plus, she wanted to be thrilled about her new important title, and not dejected that it wasn’t her own newborn she was cooing over.

“I’ve learned that when I focus on all that I am, including a very loving aunt, it enables me to rewrite happiness for myself,” she says. “When my nieces and nephews ask me how I started my own company or how I wrote a book, it feels extraordinary to be able to share my experience with them, and I realize the value I can add to their lives.”

We asked her to spill her top five kid-friendly auntie activities for spring (or should we say “auntivities,” Melanie?)

Plant a Flower Garden
“This is great for kids of all ages. When they see the seeds that they planted themselves bloom, they really feel like they’ve created something special.”

Blow Bubbles
“It sounds pretty basic, but it’s easy, inexpensive and a lot of fun. Little kids love chasing the bubbles, while older ones like to see how big they can make their bubbles.”

Color with Sidewalk Chalk
“Another easy and cheap idea that’s all about art and creation – even when the older kids like to take the hose and wash the art away!”

Read a Book
“I always bring a new book when I visit. We’ll talk about the illustrations and learn new words. One of my new favorites is 13 Words by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Maira Kalman.”

Play Sports
“Whether we’re playing hockey in the driveway or riding scooters and bikes, it keeps them moving, which is great.”

Pick up the new Savvy Auntie book through Wednesday, April 27th and do good with Melanie. She’ll donate $1 to the non-profit Epic Change, which uses social media to help worthy causes raise funds, for each copy sold. She likes to think of it as being a—wait for it—“benevolAunt.”

Photo of Melanie Notkin by Anna Schechter