December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!


Miss Do-Gooder is off to Merry Old England for Christmas. She'll be sure to bring you back some roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and wishes you all a very happy holiday.

MDG

December 14, 2009

If Anyone Deserves a Thank You Card This Holiday Season ...

Kudos to the folks at Xerox for coming up with a neat way to send holiday wishes to U.S. troops serving overseas. I’ve broken it down into three easy steps.

1. Go to http://www.letssaythanks.com/ and select one of the 78 adorable postcards, each one hand-illustrated by a budding artist age 3 to 15.

2. Click on one of the 10 pre-written "thank you" messages or feel free to embrace your inner poet and write your own sentiments. Add your name and hometown (I combined two steps into one here - it's the MDG reader bait 'n' switch).

3. Hit “send”.

Xerox will then print your card and get it to a U.S. soldier abroad in a care package arranged by military support organization Give2TheTroops.

Artwork from this talented group of youngsters include David’s “From Coast to Coast We Give You All Thanks,” Alyssa’s U.S. Soilder’s Rock” (it's the punctuation that makes it cute), Clay’s simple, but effective, “I Miss You,” and Donari’s “Thank You for a Life of Liberty.” Good luck choosing!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re pro war or anti-war, these brave soldiers need to know that we’ve got their backs.

December 10, 2009

Ellen BeGenerous

Earlier this week, Bono wanted you to send a holiday card to President Obama. Now, Ellen is teaming up with Toys for Tots in your community, and asks that you drop off a new, unwrapped toy at your local Pier 1 store. We have a celebrity holiday charity bonanza on our hands.

Anyway, if you're out shopping for whatever the “it” toy is this year (I have a feeling it's a fake hamster, natch), please consider picking up something extra for a needy child. It’s for a great cause.

Here’s a list of a few things you cannot donate:

-Toys with a military theme or anything weapon-related (sorry, GI Joe)
-Toys with candy
-Used toys (toys must have tag)
-Toys containing chemicals

All of which is great, because it means you get to keep all of the really fund stuff - the highly caloric, artificial weaponry -- for yourself. The program runs through December 24.

December 7, 2009

How U(2) Can Help Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Bono still hasn't found what he's looking for, so he's kindly requesting that you add one more person to your holiday card list this year: President Barack Obama. Well, actually his organization ONE is asking you, but mentioning Bono allows me to litter this story with song titles just for the hell of it.

Click here to send a greeting “card” requesting that the president support the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in his fiscal year 2011 budget request to Congress. How much support, you ask? $1.75 billion; all of which helps get AIDS drugs, anti-malaria bed nets and TB treatment to people who would otherwise go without. And there are a lot of them. Since 2001 the Global Fund has saved 4.9 million lives in 140 countries.

Even better, for every $1 that the U.S. invests, its international partners provide at least $2 to help treat these deadly but treatable diseases. That's considerable bang for the U.S. taxpayer buck. So while we're doing this with or without you, it would be great if you could send a letter before New Year's Day so we can get some silver and gold to those who need it most. It could be a beautiful day for them, and all because of you. (OK, I'm done now).

December 3, 2009

Charity is the Soul of Twit

Attention, tweeters. TwitCause just announced their cause of the week (a new one every Thursday!). Drum roll, please….The winner is Defy Thirst, an organization that provides clean water worldwide to people who need it (they might want to have a chat with Miss Do-Gooder's landlord about the brown crap that comes out of the fawcett in her bathroom on a semi-regular basis).

Here’s how to show your support. If you don’t have a
Twitter account already, sign up. It’s easy. Just do a google search for “setting up a Twitter account” and you’ll be tweeting in no time. Or, even better, just go to www.twitter.com and follow their instructions. If you've set up a Facebook, Linked In, or MySpace page, trust me, you can handle Twitter. Rocket science it's not.

If you already have an account, simply follow @TwitCause and each week you’ll be notified of their cause of the week. Then all you have to do is RT the cause and/or follow the featured cause to show your support. You can also vote for your favorite cause and maybe, just maybe it’ll become the next TwitCause.

December 1, 2009

Puppy Love

Dog lovers, get your virtual pens out and sign the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)'s petition to put an end to the abusive puppy mill industry. (It's the industry that's abusive, by the way, not the puppies. The puppies are non-abusive.) The petition is part of the HSUS's third annual National Puppy Mill Action Week, which runs from November 30-December 6. You can go here to sign the petition, which takes less than a minute to complete.

And please consider adopting or rescuing your next dog from a local animal shelter or rescue group rather than buying one from a pet store. If we all do that, we'll send the puppy mills into well-deserved obsolescence.

November 24, 2009

Champion for Children

In the name of all that is holy I'm doing my best to resist the temptation to write about anything related to holiday shopping until at least Black Friday, so you’ll have to wait three more days if you're jonesing to see what Miss Do-Gooder's stuffing in her festive stockings this year.

In the meantime – and in keeping with the Thanksgiving theme of, um, giving thanks - here’s something free and easy you can do to help the more than 12 million children in America who are at risk of hunger.

If you know a neighbor, friend, relative or co-worker who’s standing up to be counted in the fight against hunger, go here to nominate them as a “Champion against Child Hunger.” For each submission received before January 22nd, ConAgra Foods (the brains behind Chef Boyardee and Orville Redenbacher) will donate $10 to Share Our Strength, a national organization that works tirelessly towards an America in which no child grows up hungry. They still have a long way to go, but they're making a valiant effort.


Five semi-finalists will win $500 cash and a matching donation of $500 to Share Our Strength. The grand-prize winner will win loads of goodies including a three day/two night trip to New York City, a tour of the Food Network studios (Sandra Lee is the national ambassador of SOS), $1,000 cold hard cash, and a $5,000 donation made in his or her name to Share our Strength.

Something to, um, chew on, no?

November 20, 2009

Polar Tee

If you’re looking for a cute new T-shirt (i.e. you already own all three MDG tees) and you’re lucky enough to live in a city with a Marc Jacobs store (hello readers in Turkey!), I’ve got just the perfect tee for you.

The Climate Project has teamed up with America’s favorite fashion designer to offer a polar bear-themed T-shirt to raise awareness about climate change impacts in the Arctic. The tees cost $28.00 and 100 percent of the net proceeds go to The Climate Project.

Click here to find a Marc Jacobs store near you here.

November 19, 2009

Wall Power

If you're not already on the Wall, jump, climb or simply click here to get on it.

Join the likes of Sheryl Crow, Nike, Starbucks, Pepsi, ebay and thousands (over 22,000) of other everyday American folks who want a clean energy future.

Help Repower America now.

November 18, 2009

Souper

I’m not sure what soups and barns have in common (anyone?) but Campbell’s has found a way to link them for a good cause, the National FFA Organization.

America’s favorite soup maker is sponsoring a contest to preserve five barns this year as part of their “Help Grow Your Soup” promotion. Because good soup, as we know, is grown and not made. And then stored in barns. Hmm (mmm good).

For every vote you place, Campbell’s will donate a buck to the FFA, which helps develop America's future farmers and leaders through agricultural education.

If you voted each and every day until the contest ends on January 5, 2010, you’d have personally raised $47 for the cause, and helped preserve five barns. There are ten barns competing in all – from “The Dull Family Farm” in Thornton, Indiana, to “The Just Wait and See Farm” in Union Bridge, Maryland.

The barns are gorgeous and the campaign ingenious, so go take a look. Hay, what have you got to lose?

November 17, 2009

Tag Team

Levi’s has got a brand new tag.

Levi Strauss & Company and Goodwill are teaming up on a new initiative called “A Care Tag for Our Planet” which aims to put billions of pounds (23.8 pounds to be exact) of unwanted clothing to good use instead of into landfills.

Beginning in January (2010), Levi’s will run care tags that encourage customers to “Machine Wash Cold, Line Dry When Possible, and Donate to Goodwill.”

Three simple ways to help reduce the climate impact of your favorite denim.

November 16, 2009

Peacock Green

In case you've been living in a small hole carved deep in a rockface somwhere, NBC is going green this week.

Starting yesterday ("Yesterday's News Today!") through November 22nd, you can catch eco-themed episodes of shows including "The Office," "30 Rock," "Heroes" and "The Biggest Loser," learn about climate change on The Weather Channel, get organic cooking tips on Bravo's "Top Chef," and educate yourself about endangered species with Jeff Corwin's new documentary "100 Heartbeats" on MSNBC.

In you happen to be watching these shows live (does anyone still do that?), you might also see some of your favorite stars (the likes of Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni, Ali Larter and Brian Williams) dishing out eco-friendly tips on a fresh new batch of "The More You Know" public service announcements.

For a full schedule, click here.

November 13, 2009

Give and Get

Where can you shop, save money and help fight poverty? The answer, my friend, is The GAP.

From November 12 to November 15, you’ll get 30 percent off your purchases at any GAP store nationwide (including sister store Banana Republic and forgotten step-sister Old Navy). GAP will give 5 percent of your purchase to CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting poverty around the world.

For those of you who need even more incentive to ... go shopping this weekend (huh?), Stella McCartney launched her adorable GAP Kids & Baby collection just this past week. So get thee to a GAP, as Shakespeare would have said were he into denim and basic tees.

November 12, 2009

Monkey Business

I’ll be staying up way past my bedtime tonight to watch two of my idols go mano y mano. Or mano y girlo. America’s favorite primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall, is Jon Stewart's featured guest on The Daily Show. One saves monkeys in the mist; one calls out the 'cking monkeys in our midst. Should be good watchin'.

Catch all the action tonight (November 12) at 11pm/10c on Comedy Central.

November 11, 2009

Happy Homecomings

Happy Veterans Day.

I found these adorable “reunion” videos on MentalFloss today that show dogs welcoming soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan (sorry, cat fans.) Click here to see Buddy, Gracie, Reggie, Rocky, Franklin, and Sally ecstatically greet their owners. Cuteness factor: 9.97


Thank you to all those who serve!

November 9, 2009

Common Sense

I just got an email from Robert Redford (yep, THAT Robert Redford) urging me to read a new book called “Clean Energy, Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change. ” How did I receive an e-mail from Robert Redford you ask? Wouldn’t you like to know!

The book is written by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)head honcho/president Frances Beinecke and, according to Mr. Redford, it offers “simple facts, plain arguments and common sense” about global warming. He also adds that it’s "short and concise.” I like it already.


Buy the book here (it's only $9.95) and be sure to tell all your friends about it. Or, better yet, just buy them the damn book. Can you really say “no” to Robert Redford?

November 6, 2009

Clean House

We’ve all got stuff (i.e. junk) that’s cluttering up closets and gathering dust in drawers. Why not spend an hour or two this weekend rounding it all up and sending it to people who could really use it?

- Ask your kids to collect any extra markers, binders, rulers, construction paper, pens, pencils, etc. and ship them to iLoveSchools, a nonprofit that connects donors with teachers all over the U.S.

- Check the garage, basement and backyard for old athletic gear (balls, bats, mitts, tennis racquets, uniforms; even hacky sacks.) Sports Gift will distribute it to underprivileged children throughout the world.

- Go through your bookshelves and bedside tables and send old paperbacks to Operation Paperback, who will distribute them to troops around the globe.

Now that’s what I call cleaner giving.

November 3, 2009

If You Give

If you're a fan of Laura Numeroff's "If You Give..." book series and/or still have a certain fondness for cute, fluffy stuffed animals (you know who you are), you're going to love this offer from Kohl's. Now through the end of December, they're offering four of her chart-topping children's books -- including “If You Take A Mouse To The Movies,” “If You Give A Pig A Party,” “If You Give A Cat A Cupcake,” and “If You Give A Moose A Muffin" -- and a matching stuffed toy (or shall I say "character") for just $5 each.


The books and plush toys are available at over 1,000 Kohl's stores nationwide as well as online at kohls.com. One hundred percent of the net profits will benefit the store's Cares for Kids charity initiative.

October 29, 2009

Baby Steps

Seventh Generation is sponsoring a Million Baby Crawl (not to be confused with the Children’s Stroller Brigade) to Washington, D.C. to demand toxic chemical policy reform from our government. Well, they can’t actually “demand” anything, they’re BABIES! But boy can they crawl (they have videos on the site to prove it!).

Click here to create your very own “crawler” complete with his or her own name, skin color and choice of outfit, and set him or her on his or her merry way to our nation's capital.

Crawl baby crawl.

October 28, 2009

Book in a Box

Don’t be alarmed this month if you open up your Honey Nut Cheerios and find a book inside. I mean, it’ll be alarming because it’s just too random, but don’t say you weren’t warned. Cheerios is marking its 8th year of promoting children’s literacy by inserting 6 million children’s books inside its cereal boxes.

Titles to read sleepy eyed, and spill strong black coffee over at the breakfast table – sorry, that your kids can read sleepy eyed, and spill strong black coffee over at the breakfast table – include “Ballyhoo Bay,” “Tea for Ruby,” “What's Under the Bed?” “Sleepyhead” and “Junkyard Fort” (all courtesy of Simon & Shuster Children’s Publishing.) There are five to collect, and after that I’d suggest “The Dubliners.”

Take that, Cracker Jack! And kudos, Cheerios, for throwing your honey and your nuts behind such an essential – and MDG-approved – cause.

October 27, 2009

Green Apples

Some free and easy tips on greener living for you. Yeah, I know, there’s an app for that. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. GenGreenTips
Get a fresh, green tip each and every day.




2. The Green Book Lite
A free preview of "The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time." Pretty self-explanatory.



3. Huffington Post Green
Get your politics fix and green news all in one convenient app.


4. Recycler
Navigate the sometimes confusing and scary recycling stream (e.g. Can I recycle that "gently"used tissue?)

5. EarthTOIDZ Lite
You’ll be the smartest kid (geek) on the block with these fun Earth facts. You could also go and buy Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything." Everyone should have a copy.

October 26, 2009

Spread the Hopenhagen

Flex your muscle (or index finger) and click here to help turn Copenhagen into “Hopenhagen."

October 23, 2009

A Landmark Contest

TripAdvisor and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre are working together to protect the world's greatest landmarks (there are a whopping 890 World Heritage Sites worldwide.)

To celebrate their new partnership, TripAdvisor is giving away a trip for two to Paris. Can you guess which famous landmark is located there? (hint... it's in the picture to the right.) Go here to find the answer and to enter the contest.

October 22, 2009

Making the List

If you’re a fan of lists (and who isn’t?), you’re gonna love the new GOOD 100. Put together by the editors of GOOD magazine, it’s a compilation of the most important people, ideas and projects that are changing our planet for the better. Some you may know, others you’ll be meeting for the very first time.

A few of their picks - in no particular order - include an initiative to increase teachers’ salaries, Cowpooling (I'm not making this up), NPR’s “Planet Money,” I Heart PV, and a refugee rights’ organization called Asylum Access.

There are 95 more waiting for you
here. Who knows, maybe you're one of them.

October 20, 2009

An Oldie But a Goodie

I’m not a card carrying member just yet, but it won’t be too long before I become one (since when is “retired person” defined as 50-plus?!). Anyway, the “people with the power to make it better” (you at the back, keep up, I’m talking about AARP) just joined forces with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and iParticipate to encourage Americans to volunteer.

AARP’s “Create the Good” - where good people get connected to opportunities to create good – has a whole slew of activities planned for this week (October 19-25) to help promote volunteerism. Country crooner/superwoman Faith Hill encourages Americans to volunteer their time to make America a better place in a new PSA airing on You Tube and ESPN sportscaster Jorge Ramos has a special message on Univision, Telemundo and V-Me that urges Hispanics to volunteer.

You can also tune in to one of the more than 90 programs on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and cable networks that will spotlight the idea of giving back. NBC's "30 Rock" kooky page Kenneth Parcell tries to adopt all the dogs at an animal shelter, the hunky docs on ABC's "Private Practice" give homeless teenagers free checkups, and two characters (not sure if they’re the brains or the brawn) on CBS' "Numb3rs" talk about joining Big Brothers Big Sisters.

You can’t escape it, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.

October 19, 2009

Bear With Me

I always like a bit of good news in my inbox, especially on a rainy, October Monday (rain on a Monday; how is that fair?) And even more so when the good news involves helping, protecting, or saving animals. P.S. I also love the cute animal videos so please keep 'em coming!

So I was thrilled when I saw an email from the NRDC announcing that the Obama administration has agreed to support an upgrade in international protection for polar bears. Hurray to all the conservationists, NRDC members and online activists who signed the petition (over 50,000 of you.) This is another important step in helping to end trophy hunting and to stop the global trade in polar bear body parts.

Let’s hear it for the bears.

October 15, 2009

Change Agent

David Bowie wrote about it. So did Sheryl Crow and Blind Melon. It’s the only constant. The more things do it, the more they stay the same.

Oh, Change. Some of us love you. Some of us, well, you scare the crap out of us. But we do know a majority of voters Believe in You.

Do we live in a time of transformative change? We have that new fellow in the White House, of course. Our political system is finally free from the gravitational pull of money, self-interest, greed and ego, and our elected representatives are at last acting in the public interest so that we can all have great healthcare, financial security, a job …

What? Oh, right. Anyway, there has to be some change going on out there that we’re happy about. And if you happen to find some, here’s your chance to shout about it from the Internet’s rooftops.

Change.org, the online hub for social change, wants you to pick your favorite “Changemaker” (you can actually pick up to 10). They’ve got dozens to choose from including activists, scientists, bloggers, big thinkers, elected officials, even a few actors and filmmakers. And there’s a wide variety of causes to choose from including animal rights, human rights, gay rights, poverty, war and peace, the environment and sustainable food to name a few.

Can’t find your favorite Changemaker on the list? Go ahead and nominate your own. Heck, you can even nominate yourself. But only once!

October 14, 2009

Trash Talk

A programming note for my beloved, stinky, pinko-commie-liberal San Francisco neighbors:

The other night I was hanging out with a friend, slurping cheap wine, and by the end of the third glass I'd pretty much learned everything I ever wanted to know about San Francisco’s new mandatory compost law (it was that kind of a night). I won't burden (I mean, "enlighten," of course!) you with all of the nitty gritty details, but here are a few highlights I think you should know.

First, it goes into effect one week from today (October 21). That's basically, like, tomorrow. Second, it's aimed at both businesses and residents. No exceptions. So unless you want to throw away (geddit?) your -- or your landlord's -- hard-earned money on a hefty fine, you’re going to have to order your very own green bin before then. Don’t panic; it’s super easy and it won’t cost you a dime.

Just call Golden Gate Disposal (415-626-4000) or Sunset Scavenger (415-330-1300) and they’ll drop off a compost bin with your next scheduled trash pickup. For free. Not a homeowner yet? Simply call your landlord and politely ask them to get you one unless they want to have the green garbage gang emptying their wallets.

Prefer something a bit more stylish for your compostables? Check out Williams-Sonoma’s Ceramic Compost Pail ($32). It’s stink-proof (the lid has a carbon filter) and holds up to a gallon of all your compostable bits and pieces.


Go to SFRecycling.com to find a list of exactly what you can compost (basically anything that used to be alive) and what you can’t (you can keep the pooper scoopings to yourself, thank you). And that goes double for your dirty diapers. Definitely NOT compostable.

Once you get the swing of it, I bet you’ll be one happy composter.

October 13, 2009

Bug-ly Betty

SPOILER ALERT for all you “Ugly Betty” fans. As you probably know, the show returns this Friday (October 16) with a special 2-hour season premiere. What you might not know (and hence, the spoiler alert) is that it will feature a storyline revolving around malaria.

To kick off the new season, the cast teamed up with the United Nations to help promote their “Nothing but Nets” initiative. The episode will reveal the role mosquito nets play in preventing the disease – a major killer of children in Africa.

That’s all ABC is revealing for now; you’ll just have to tune in to get the full scoop. Friday, October 16, 8/7c.

October 9, 2009

Gimme Shelter

One of the best decisions I ever made was to adopt our adorable Spaniel mutt Mini from Los Angeles’ South Central shelter eight years ago. That’s why I was so thrilled to hear about a new campaign called The Shelter Pet Project, a joint venture between the Ad Council, the Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s fund which promotes the adoption of shelter pets.

What makes this campaign so different, you might ask? In a word, humor. These clever folks realized that the public is more moved by laughter than tears so they’ve come up with some very funny ads to make their point. My two favorites are “White Collar,” which features a dog whose owner is dragged off to prison for insider trading (doesn’t sound very funny, I know – you have to watch it) and “Ditched,” featuring Scout, a scruffy dog who, yep, you guessed it, gets ditched by his jerky owner (oh, just have a look and you’ll get it).

Not a big TV person? Rest assured. They’ve got some hilarious radio spots which are a take off of the old “Lassie” series. They’ve also got you covered with billboards, bus stop posters, print ads, and of course, the Internet. Just go to http://www.theshelterpetproject.org/ and laugh your ass off. And for all of you advanced social media aficionados, you can also show your support on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

October 8, 2009

Cleanliness is Next to Goodliness

Over the years, Dove has done a heck of a lot to promote self-esteem among women. It all began with their “Campaign for Real Beauty” back in 2004. I’m sure you remember the ads, the ones featuring beautiful, REAL women (with actual curves and even a few wrinkles) clad in nothing but their skivvies. It was positively (pun intended) revolutionary.

This fall, Dove is teaming up with Girls Inc. to help promote self-esteem among girls. They’re calling it their “Thank You” campaign. Here’s how it works: through December, purchase a product from Dove, go to their website, enter the UPC (product) code and choose to donate one dollar to Girls Inc.


Your dollar will help support Girls Inc. Mind + Body, a new initiative which gives girls the knowledge, skills, and attitude it takes to form and maintain a healthy and positive sense of self. So lather up, moisturize, click and repeat! With Dove products of course.

October 6, 2009

An Electric Memoir

I'm always on the lookout for a good page-turner. Fiction/non-fiction, classic/not-so-classic (oh, Patricia Cornwell, my guilty pleasure), mystery/romance, biography/non-biography, even a bit of self-help on occasion. I like them all.

Over the years, I've also read some pretty terrific memoirs: “The Glass Castle” and “Angela’s Ashes" are two of my all-time favorites. I’m hoping a new book called “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” will soon join them on the list.

The book tells the modern-day story of William Kamkwamba, a 14-year old Malawian boy who despite incredible odds - surviving the worst famine his country had seen in 50 years and being forced to drop out of school because his family couldn’t afford the $80 yearly tuition - went on to build a makeshift windmill that brought electricity (and eventually water) to his poverty-stricken village. (A windmill! I can barely make coffee.)

Electricity allowed the villagers to read at night after work. And water allowed them to grow two crops a year rather than one, without spending two hours a day hauling it. The windmill was truly life-changing for everyone involved.

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” is a tale of hope, determination and good old-fashioned perseverance. And, above all, it demonstrates that one individual really can make a difference. Good for you, William K.

October 5, 2009

Good Kitty

The folks over at Purina – specifically the Yesterday’s News people, makers of the environmentally friendly cat litter – want to hear your favorite ideas for making the world a little bit greener.

You’ve got three categories to choose from: doing eco-good for your cat, for your home, or for the environment. And 300 words to do it in. (Eco-good for your cat? If it was easy everyone would enter.)

If they pick your story, $15,000 will be awarded to a local “do-gooder” organization of your choice. You’ll also get $5,000 in cash and a year’s supply of kitty litter. Not to mention the local celebrity that comes with having 52 weeks’ worth of cat litter sitting on your doorstep.

And, for every qualifying entry they receive by October 23rd, Yesterday’s News will donate $1 to the Arbor Day Foundation, which will plant a tree on your behalf.

So, as they put it on their website, it pays to be a do-gooder. Like I couldn’t have told you that.

October 2, 2009

Today is Lance's Day

Lance Armstrong has had a lot of things to celebrate over the years. Seven Tour de France wins, beating cancer and, of course, his hugely successful LIVESTRONG Foundation - the brilliant force behind those bright yellow wristbands that raised gazillions of dollars for cancer research.

Now he has yet another reason to celebrate: his very own day! Today, MDG is happily marking LIVESTRONG Day, which has been established to celebrate cancer survivorship and spread awareness of the fight against the disease around the globe.

And perhaps coolest of all you can go to http://www.livestrongaction.org/ and sign a petition which urges Congress to pass life-saving health insurance reforms to help protect cancer survivors. A great cause, a great new day for the calendar, and an important opportunity to get those laggards on The Hill to get their butts into gear and pass some meaningful health legislation.

October 1, 2009

Disaster Relief

Mother Nature unleashed her fury on Southeast Asia this week with four major disasters. First came Typhoon Ketsana, which displaced more than half a million people in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Then on Tuesday a huge tsunami struck the Samoan Islands, killing more than 150 people and destroying entire villages. Over the past two days two separate earthquakes have hit Indonesia, killing over 1,000 people and leaving thousands trapped under rubble. And now a second typhoon - a so-called super-typhoon named Parma - is set to hit the northern Philippines on Saturday. There seems to be no relief in sight.

Hopefully, you've still got some of that September paycheck leftover, because there are many, many organizations that could use your help; even just $10 or $15 makes a huge difference. In fact, several organizations will even match your donation. So pledge to kick that latte and muffin habit next week and give the money to someone who really needs it. Here are a few organizations that are making an immediate difference on the ground:

September 28, 2009

Finger Lickin' Good

Finger-lickin', hunger-endin' good. That's the story from the Colonel from September 28 to October 25. At KFC for the next month or so you can grab a bucket of secret recipe extra crispy chicken and take advantage of their partnership with the World Food Programme by donating a buck or two. Get the skinny (hmm ...) at www.hungertohope.com.

September 23, 2009

Save the Ta-tas

Yep, you read right. The awesome ladies (and a few good men) at Charity Chicks Houston are hosting a fancy-schmancy cocktail soiree in October featuring BRA ART (That's "unique, themed bras decorated with love, hope and courage by groups or individuals raising money and awareness for breast cancer and The Save the Ta-tas Foundation," for anyone who's been, like, living in a cave or something).

And who, may I ask, doesn't want to save the ta-tas? It all happens on Friday, October 16 --otherwise known as BRAtober 16 (hmm ...) -- from 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. at the Bering & James Art Gallery. In Houston. Rumors of a menu featuring filet mignon and ta-ta sauce, ratataouille and spinach fritatas are greatly exaggerated.

If you're not lucky enough to live in the Houston area, you can still do a bit of good from your Godforsaken little corner of La Jolla, Miami Beach, Manhatten or wherever. Just follow the instructions below.

Step 1. Go here: http://www.charitychickshouston.com/bra-art.html. Click on the "donate" button. Be quick about it, because you've only got until September 27. Your $50 donation gets you an entry packet that includes one Maidenform bra, information on how to submit your bra when it's decorated, and the rules (just be creative and keep the X-rated stuff to yourself, thank you very much).

Step 2. Complete your masterpiece by October 3. The packet includes instructions on when and where to submit your completed bra. The top 50 BRA ART entries will be displayed and voted on at the BRAtober 16 (I know, but that's what they call it) event.

The winner - hopefully you, dear reader - is promised lots of media attention. To repeat: cost of entering a bra competition? Fifty dollars. The publicity that goes with winning? Priceless.

Ta-ta for now.

September 22, 2009

On the Move

Moving is never fun. In fact -- and I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so -- it surpasses divorce, job loss and a root canal as the most stressful event that life can chuck at you. Having just suffered through the gauntlet of relocation, however, I learned that shifting your stuff from here to there can actually present some opportunities for a bit of do-gooding.

For example:

- Craisgslist is King: Not only can you get free moving boxes on the online classified ad site, you can pass the favor along when you're happily ensconsed in your new home, thus saving a couple of large trees and someone else two dollars per box.

- Take of all those pesky wire hangers -- the most infuriating inanimate objects this side of packing tape -- back to your local dry cleaners. They'll gladly recycle them for you.

- Got printer cartridges? If you find a stash of empties while cleaning out your desk drawers, take them to your local
Staples or Office Depot. They'll be more than happy to take them off your hands in return for store credit. All you have to do is sign up for their rewards program.

- Fashion Emergency: Moving gives you the perfect excuse to clean out those closets. It's really a win/win situation. You won't have to pack up and lug all that extra stuff that you never ever wear and someone will greatly benefit from your generosity. Most major cities have a Salvation Army, Goodwill, Out of the Closet or other similar thrift store. They accept everything from shoes and shirts to coats and linens -- even underwear and socks (strange but true, though exercise some common sense here: no one wants the "lucky" boxers you've been trying get your partner to part with for the best part of a decade). You can also donate furniture that won't quite fit into your new pad . Hello, 7-foot glass dining room table, your time is up! Better yet, most will come and pick it up for you if you have enough stuff to donate, which makes moving week a little less hectic.

- You might also consider donating your clothing (mostly skirts or pant suits) to "Dress for Success," an organization that provides suits to disadvantaged women returning to or entering the workforce.

- If you've got sheets, towels, pillows, blankets and comforters, contact your local animal shelter or rescue. They're always in need of these items, especially in this economy.

- Last but not least, if you've got non-perishable food that you don't want to pack up, think about donating it to your local food bank. To locate one near you, just type "food bank" and your city into Google or other search engine.

The golden glow that comes with doing any of the above will make absolutely no difference to the severity of the anguish that will inevitably accompany your move. It will, however, make someone else's life a little easier, and that's something you can feel good about while you're replacing the digits you sliced off with a utility knife and are waiting for the cable guy to turn up four hours after he said he would.

September 3, 2009

Feel the Teal

Blue-loving fashionistas among you will be interested to learn that the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is encouraging us all to wear teal on Friday (September 4th) in recognition of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. You know you’ve got something in that bottom drawer or tucked away at the back of your over-crowded closet. If not, beg, borrow or steal something. It’s for a great cause.

If you absolutely cannot find anything teal (every girl should have something teal, but I digress), have no fear: you can also participate in any number of events taking place across the country including health fairs, fun run/walks and various fundraisers. For more information visit OvarianCancer.org or OvarianCancerAwareness.org. And if you want to help a friend, download the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's brochure entitled September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

September 2, 2009

I Do!

If you’re a fan of Ben & Jerry’s, and you're all for giving people the freedom to marry, then you’ll love this little news nugget. In celebration of Vermont's officially granting equal marriage rights on September 1st, the fun-loving, socially responsible ice-cream icon will rename its “Chubby Hubby” flavor, “Hubby Hubby.”

Ben & Jerry's is partnering with the organization Freedom to Marry to educate people as to why marriage equality matters, and to encourage national support for this important cause. So if you live in Vermont or are heading there for vacation, look out for a tasty, enlightened blend of peanut butter cookie dough ice cream, fudge and pretzels. Go on, spread the love!

August 31, 2009

Spaaaarific!

It's gosh darned time you treat yourself to some goodness, and here's something that's good for your body, your soul and your wallet: it's fall Spa Week from September 14-20 (some cities are October 12-18). They’re offering dozens of pampering spa treatments for one low(ish) price - $50.

They’ve got something for just about every body part – facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, acupuncture, micro-dermabrasion, reflexology, and even whole body detoxifying treatments.

Go to
www.spaweek.com to find participating day spas in your area. You've earned it.

August 26, 2009

Laughter As Medicine

Like yawns and the H1N1 virus, laughter is infectious. Can't prove it, of course, but if I was worried about being able to back up my statements with evidence, I'd be writing for the New York Times rather than this blog. What I can say is that laughter has been scientifically proven to be good for you. This press release from the University of Maryland says so: http://www.umm.edu/features/laughter.htm

So, to mark the latest of Miss Do-Gooder's 'Thank Goodness Thursdays' (stick with me here) I'm going to say a quick "Thank Goodness" for laughter. A little tenuous, perhaps, but we've started a Thursday theme and by God we're going to see it through. So here are a few people who are guaranteed to help you get your laugh on, and who, according to the University of Maryland, could be just what the doctor ordered.

Jim Gaffigan: Gaffigan has been recognized as the Funniest Man Alive every year since 1982*. His riffs are so fundamentally and structurally hilarious he never has to resort to the gimmick, the risque punchline or even a cussword to get a belly laugh. Fill your fat lazy boots at www.jimgaffigan.com/.

Kathleen Madigan: Runs Gaffigan a close second. This woman knows how to bring the funny. Check out her tour schedule at www.kathleenmadigan.com/.

Jon Stewart (The Daily Show): Can nobody else see things for the way they are? Proof that humor is the best (and sometimes last) defense. Check out http://www.thedailyshow.com/

*In this household, anyway. Didn't know him as a child, but he must have displayed unrivalled comic ability from the moment he was old enough to eat bacon.

Dose of Inspiration

Cheryl Richardson is one busy lady. The best-selling author, former Body + Soul columnist, radio personality (astronaut? pro-football player? Yogi? She does everything) is spreading her uber-inspirational messages (we're not talking inane drivel here; this stuff is really useful!) on just about every platform you can think of.

Catch her on Facebook and Twitter (@Coachoncall); get her free weekly newsletter delivered to your mailbox; tune in to her "Coach on Call" Internet Radio Show every Monday at 5:00 p.m. EST, read one of her very popular books, or attend one of her live workshops. I don't know how she does it, but I'm glad she does.

Her topic this week was "Saying Goodbye: Learning to Let Go." To find out who it is you should be saying goodbye to and letting go, have a look at the full transcript here: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs057/1102098750791/archive/1102679161465.html.

August 25, 2009

Click It

Here's a quick, easy and free way to fight hunger, breast cancer, poverty, illiteracy, rainforest destruction and animal abuse (phew!) - all on one site (technically it's six sites, but you'll see what I'm talking about in a minute).

Go to www.thehungersite.com, and click on the big yellow "Click Here to Give - It's FREE" button. Congratulations, you're now helping eradicate hunger in the U.S., Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America (again I say: phew!).

Want to provide free mammograms to women in need? Simply click on the "Breast Cancer" tab, repeat the steps above, and within seconds you've helped fund a free mammogram to a woman who needs it.

Now that you've got the swing of it, head over to the blue "Child Health" tab. Each FREE click here provides life-saving treatments and preventative measures for an average of 1,000 children each day.

Care to share your love of Dr.Seuss or Winnie the Pooh? (Stay with me ...) Go ahead, hit the "Literacy" button and follow through to the bright orange "Click Here to Give - it's FREE button." You've just helped provide free books for low-income children across the country.

Preserving rainforests more your thing? There's a button for that too. Yep, the green one.

Lastly, but not leastly, click on the purple "Animal Rescue" button to help provide food for some of the 27 million unwanted animals given to shelters in the United States every year.

Wanna know how this all works? Each of the sites is funded 100 percent by advertisers and sponsors. Which means that every click you make is absolutely, um, free.

August 21, 2009

Rise & Shine

Happy Friday!

Here's a great video from NBC News' "Make a Difference" series about a group of enterprising teens in Florida who are helping sow the seeds of hope.