Lemons to Lemonade












According to the National Post, if Al Gore and Elle McPherson had a child together, she’d probably turn out like Summer Rayne Oakes.

She’s totally fashionable and, at the same times, cares for the environment (she sports degrees in Environmental Science and Entomology in addition to gorgeous clothes and accessories) — sounds like someone you’d like to be friends with, doesn’t it? I thought so too!

The gorgeous activist and sustainable strategist works exclusively with eco and socially conscious designers, companies and programs. Her current partnership is with MODO Eyewear‘s  cool new green sunglasses collection. Every pair of shades in the line is made from at least 95% recycled materials, making them as helpful as they are stylish. The sunglasses are crafted from recycled plastic and hypoallergenic stainless steel. The retro inspired frames in solid, ombre, and tortoiseshell colors are an all year round treat, making them a great way to treat yourself after the holidays. Need glasses for more than just style? MODO company has a special take-back program that fills your frames with prescription lenses for vision impaired people in need.

So, we have: Identification with a super-cool woman –check!– and use of recycled materials –check!– but if you’re looking for yet another awesome, earthy reason to check out MODO, here it is: MODO is also a member of 1% for the Planet and they pledge to plant a tree for every pair of sunglasses sold. Breathing fresh air never looked so good!


In 1999, Saranne Rothberg was diagnosed with early stage IV cancer. And while getting chemotherapy one day at the hospital, she had a revelation: laughter truly is the best medicine! Laughter makes coping with trauma easier. And laughter can be shared with everyone.

That very year, Saranne launched the ComedyCures Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing laughter and therapeutic humor programs to kids and adults living with illness, depression, trauma and disabilities. This remarkable woman has helped hundreds of thousands of people find their funny bone during their darkest hours.

She’s been heralded by Good Morning America, Oprah Magazine, Yahoo!, and The New York Times among others for her amazing contributions. And I can’t wait to see what she does (or says!) next.

Visit their site to make a donation to Comedy Cures and help bring laughter to someone’s life.

If everyone could see beyond just black and white we would all be better off!





I once heard a story about a comedian who was ticked off because a woman sitting in the front row at his show had her head resting on your husband’s shoulder the whole time, almost like she was nodding off. She left it there for the entire show, which drove the comic crazy It got under his skin enough after the show he found the woman and told her he was sorry if his show was putting her to sleep. “Oh, I wasn’t sleeping,” her husband spoke for her, as she used sign language to communicate with him. “I’m deaf, and having my head in that position helped me to read your lips. I loved your show, and thank you. I think what you’re doing is very important.” The comic, needless to say, said that changed his perspective on things quite a bit.

I love this story because it reminds me to not take things at face value, nor assume the worst when I don’t know all the facts about a situation.

Ever wanted an easy way to tell others about your favorite charitable organization? We found that a lot of great organizations offer tee shirts for purchase that let supporters literally wear their hearts on their sleeves. Check out some of our favorites below, and feel free to share your favorites in the comments section!

Citta is an organization making a difference against indifference. Projects include the building of a school in rural India, a women’s health center in Nepal, and a school and clinic in Mexico. Wear your heart on your chest with this inspiring tee.






46NYC has partnered with Sunflower Children to help provide much needed assistance to poverty stricken areas worldwide. For every shirt sold, $6 is donated to Sunflower Children to aid them in supporting underprivileged youth and their families around the world.






Over one billion people in our world don’t have access to the most basic of human needs – water. charity:water, a non-profit organization that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, is changing the numbers. Spread the word. Wear the word. It’s simple and important.





Birke Baehr thinks high-fructose corn syrup is a bad word. When he realized how bad it was, he immediately stopped drinking sodas and eating processed food. Now Birke travels to conferences as a guest speaker and advocate for organic, sustainable farming. BTW- Birke is 12! Support the farmers with one of Birke’s tees.





Jedidiah Clothing, a humanitarian-based fashion company aspiring to cultivate change, uses apparel sales to provide care, support and financial resources to those in need. Jedidiah is partnering with StandUp For Kids, a national non-profit whose mission is to improve the lives of homeless teenagers and at risk youth. Give these kids a chance to let their dreams come true and buy a tee.




With new tee shirt designs each week to correlate with a different cause to support each week, Sevenly sells aesthetically stunning shirts for $22, with $7 of each sale going directly to a charity whose message is tied in with the tee shirt design. Past charities include the Breast Cancer Foundation, Malaria No More, Living Water International, and many more.

I met my husband the summer before my senior year in college. It was love at first sight. He was a few years out of college and I had senior year hanging over my head. By that point in my academic career, I was both entitled (the privilidge of a fine education was something I took for granted) and ready to live life outside the ivory towers that stood in the way between real life and me. By second semester, I had been offered a coveted job in the fashion business in sales at one of the hottest designer showrooms in NYC where I grew up and planned to live post graduation. The love for my man, the dream job beckoning and my lack of passion for my studies lead me to NYC where I decided to move in with my boyfriend, bag my last semester of college and pursue my dream of entering into the fast paced and exciting world of fashion.


Fast forward a few years later, I was an assistant accessories editor at Vogue and my boyfriend was my fiance. He had been offered a position working for a real estate developer in Fairfield County, Connecticut. We decided to move to Greenwich, Ct. so he didn’t have to commute and we could begin to lay down the foundation for a family which he felt should happen in the suburbs where he had been raised. I reverse commuted, got pregnant  and miscarried. The next attempt at parenthood was a success. A perfect pregnancy (with some serious nausea all the way through). Our daughter was born two years after we were married. I loved being a mother. My natural state as a high energy person suited me well for the sleepless nights and commitment to full time motherhood. I wanted more kids. More miscarriage. Then a full term and easy pregnancy. My due date came and the activity which felt like a village inside my enlarged abdomen had abruptly stopped. I met my doctor at the hospital where stress tests were performed and the decision was made to perform an emergency Cesarean. Our little girl was born having lost eighty percent of her blood volume through a small leak in my placenta. Undetectable with out looking for it and with such a rare occurrence of such an issue, who would have been looking? Annie only lived two days. I was morphined out of my mind a state my doctor felt was preferable under the circumstances to avoid my full awareness of this worst case scenario. My husband however, was there and fully present for the final ride from Yale-New Haven Hospital where Annie had been transferred to Columbia-Presbyterian where the last ditch effort to save her was a remote possibility. She died in the ambulance upon arrival at Columbia-Presbyterian.


I was surrounded by the love of family, friends and faced with a loss which seemed unimaginable in a community where medical care made sure these types of things never occured. A community in shock, rallied around us at the funeral and in the insuing days. Our five year old daughter was kept so busy that she didn’t really have time to think about the loss of the baby she had looked so forward to holding and calling her baby sister.


I had planned my life around this baby. We had a perfect cape house like a suburban postcard. A gloden retriever and a Volvo in the driveway. Yet, life had never felt more imperfect. I began to focus on all I didn’t have. The one security which had eluded me beyond my second daughter was my BA degree without which, I felt like a loser. Both of my parents had attended top tier colleges and having grown up in ultra competitve NYC,I  had been raised thinking that a college degree was non negotiable. It was then that my feelings of no control over my life and fears of what my future would look like, lead me to return to school to finish my BA. What was sixteen credits left toward my degree had turned into two years of night school and a reclaiming of a new major. I began to live again filled with the passion that had been missing when I attended college for the first time. My desire to reinvent myself and lead by example for my daughter took a firm hold.


Two years later, on the honor role and with a major in Psychology, I received my BA degree by mail. Graduation day as it turned out, was also my son’s birthday (five weeks early and on April Fools Day). It took the greatest loss to secure my greatest gains. The family I had hoped for: two beautiful children and my BA degree had been realized. I learned my single biggest lesson to date: never stop trying, never stop hoping and never stop believing that we make the choice to turn lemons into lemonade. Every good decision comes from within. Bad things do happen to good people and making good from bad is a choice.




In April 2010 Lily Leung, a 29-year-old Toronto native, quit her full-time 9-5 job, ended her long-term relationship, and set out to learn what it would feel like to travel solo for the first time. She ventured around the globe for 13 months learning how to survive, support herself, and be her own companion as she learned more about herself than she ever expected to. “I feel like I’ve had an emotional growth spurt,” she writes on her blog about her travels, Explore For A Year. Check it out for tips on getting to know yourself, breaking the status quo, and making positive change.

Now home for the holidays in Toronto, we caught up with Lily. Below, she shares the three biggest lessons she learned from her year exploring:

  1. When in doubt, choose change. It’s easy to stay with status quo instead of following what your gut tells you. Maybe its seems too risky, unconventional or just plain scary, but each time you push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of, you grow more into the person you’re meant to be.
  2. Anticipation of pain is more painful than the event itself. We spend a lot of emotional worrying about what might happen, imagining what-if scenarios, building contingency plans for worse case outcomes. In my case, worrying about people’s disapprovals or about feeling lonely, homesick. When then the actual event started happening, things weren’t nearly as bad, in fact they turned out quite great! If you find yourself worrying, rehearse the best case scenario instead and know that whatever difficulties you imagine or experience, they will all pass in the long run.
  3. Things will work out and you’ll have help on your journey. When we start going off the conventional path, you might feel alone or wonder if you’ll end up worse off than you were before. Have faith things will be fine. If you pursue your dreams and open up, you may be surprised by the amount of help you’ll get for your journey. Just through selling my belongings, I made a friend who helped me plan my entire trip to Thailand, and a scriptwriter who gave my plants a good home and guide me on how to be a more productive writer (which I’m still practicing).


Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing with you’re life that you’re acting on? Or any big lessons you’ve learned from times you have challenged yourself? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section.


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King lived and died for everyone’s children. He was willing to put his life on the line to create change and for that we honor him and do what we can to continue his message.

We all get caught up in the everyday and it would be impossible to spend every second thinking about how we could make the world better, fairer, stronger. If I say to my own kids one more time “you don’t know how lucky you are” they may rebel and turn into derelicts!  But today is a day to think about our dreams and those for our children.

The possibilities are there for each and every one of us, no matter where we come from. It is up to us to figure out how to make those dreams turn into realities and how to create and implement dreams that don’t only help us as individuals, but as a global, inter-connected world.









The two most important days in your life are said to be:

The Day You Were Born


The Day You Realized Why You Were Born

Mark Twain

Viola Davis cited Twain at the Critics Choice Awards last Thursday night when accepting her award.

A wonderful inspiration for a Sunday morning.




Run the World

If you ran the world, what would you do? Is there something about your community you think could be improved? With the new website,, all you need to get started is that seed of an idea.

Describing the world’s largest untapped resource “human good intentions that never translate into actions,” the website allows its users to post about their good intentions, opening the door for other users to get in touch and help turn their dreams into reality.

How does it work?

Users visit the site and are immediately prompted with a question most people haven’t been asked since kindergarten: “If You Ran the World What Would You Do?” Answers take the shape of projects or “micro-actions,” and the site puts users in touch with others who are passionate about the same causes. Want more bike racks in your city but first need to know how many are already there? Solicit other users to help you count. Interested in helping kids with learning difficulties? Poke around for an existing project you can get involved in.

Connecting with others who care about the same things you do makes it all the more possible to turn your good intentions into real live actions. While we love LOLcats as much as the next guy, visiting If We Ran the World is a truly productive way to spend your Internet surfing time.