Blog Posts by Tonic

  • Teen Creates Safe Place for Girls and Makes Millions

    At 10 years old Juliette Brindak was too old for Barbie, but too young for Britney, so she compromised and came up with Miss O and Friends. The "by girls for girls" website allows 8- to 12-year olds from all walks of life to play games and shop, share advice, music, movies and more.

    Today, the college senior runs her multimillion dollar company from Washington University in St. Louis where she studies anthropology.

    Brindak's timeline is nothing short of remarkable. When she was just a tween herself, she came up with the idea to create a space where girls could simply be girls. By age 15, the website was on the road to success. At 16, Brindak released her first book, which sold more than 120,000 copies, and at 19, Proctor and Gamble invested in her company, earning her $1 million for the first time. Now she's 21 and Miss O is worth $15 million.

    "I used to be nervous," she said in an interview with Junior Biz. "I get really intimidated when I present in front of my peers. When

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  • Rebecca Harrell Tickell is 'Hot, Rich & Green'

    What do you do when you're a newly-minted author, and you're about 30 percent finished filming interviews for a film version of your maiden effort, all the while serving as America's leading expert on women in green business? Well, if you're environmental activist-author-producer Rebecca Harrell Tickell, you pick up and teleport cross-country to document the impact of the most recent Gulf Oil Spill, of course. And maybe you take a book along for the flight. Let's call it, Hot, Rich & Green by ... Rebecca Harrell Tickell.

    If Rebecca wants you to know something, it's that she wishes more than just about anything she could teleport cross-country and across the world instead of traveling by airplane. When I ask her if living sustainably or "greener" ever has its challenges, she says as much (without using the term "teleportation"). But Rebecca is well aware that in order to achieve her long-term objectives, this is a necessary short-term compromise. "We want it now," Rebecca says,

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  • 5 Ways to Shop Online ... Sans Guilt

    Communicating with friends, trading stocks, finding a new apartment, or shopping for clothes can all be done without moving your body from the wrist up! But when all that laziness starts to get you down, think about all the good you can do with websites and applications that allow you to give back just by shopping online for the stuff you would be buying anyway.

    Endorse for a Cause (EFAC) is a newcomer on the philanthropic shopping scene. In fact, they launch today, so happy birthday! Now, you can shop and share your purchases with friends on Facebook and Twitter while raising money for a cause close to your heart. Just sign up and select the organization you are passionate about helping. Shop online, either through the EFAC site, or through everyday retailers like Target, Old Navy, Gaiam and Starbucks - told ya you'd be buying stuff anyway. When you share your purchase on your social networks and your friends click on your link and shop, EFAC will collect money from the retailers

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  • One Random Act of Kindness Turned $93 Into $100,000!

    Let's say you were at Trader Joe's Menlo Park, Calif., and you saw a woman standing at the checkout counter who couldn't find her wallet. Would you pick up the tab? Well, that's what Carolee Hazard did last summer. When she saw that Jenni Ware wasn't able to pay the bill because her wallet was missing, a knee-jerk reaction inspired her to hand over $207, the exact amount Ware needed for her groceries. The next day, Hazard received a check for $300 in the mail and a thank you card from Ware suggesting that she use the extra $93 dollars to get a massage.

    Uncomfortable with keeping the money, Hazard asked her Facebook friends what they'd do. Several suggested giving it to charity, which Carolee liked a lot, and she decided to match the money with $93 of her own. Again, she turned to her Facebook friends asking to whom should she donate the $186. Given the food connection, she decided to donate the money to her local Second Harvest Food Bank. To her great surprise, a friend added

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  • 9 Ways Self-Esteem Affects Your Relationship

    I often say that from the most hardened criminal to the gentle elderly woman who lives next door, the one thing we all want is love. Frequently, the women who come to me for guidance and support are struggling with their relationships. Some got married before they really knew themselves and are now "waking up" in marriages that no longer work. Others have been through multiple relationships that either become destructive or just don't seem to last. And then there are women flourishing in relationships as solid today as they were back when they started. In examining them all, it is clear that a critical correlation exists between self-esteem and the ability to make choices from a place of strength and clarity in life and in love. As our self-value grows, so does our ability as women (and I would argue, as people in general) to cultivate and foster wonderful, meaningful relationships. The reasons are many.

    1. You are more likely to choose a partner who also values you just as you

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  • Last summer architect professor Hansy Better Barraza, 34, had an awesome idea. She noticed her neighbor's hammock and had a moment of hammock-envy. "I said: 'Oh my God, you know what's needed? A public hammock, a communal hammock for everyone to come together,'" she said.

    In a synchronous moment later that day, she saw a tweet. The newly-formed The Awesome Foundation was offering $1,000 - the foundation's first grant ever - for an awesome idea. Since she'd already had one that day, she submitted her proposal for a public hammock. She was awarded the money, and after maneuvering through standard red tape, a 33-foot long woven net swing made with 4,278 feet of rope from recycled bottles has been installed at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Oliver Street in the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy of downtown Boston this week.

    Barraza, a native of Columbia who teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design and also has an architecture firm, has applied to Guinness World

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  • One Man, One Bike, One Continent

    After dodging bullets, bandits and escaping several near death experiences across nearly 40,000 miles, Spencer Conway lives to tell the tale of his successful solo circumnavigation of Africa by motorbike - something that no one has ever been able to achieve - until now.

    In pursuing his love of motorbiking, Africa and charity work, Spencer conway circled Africa on the condition (read: challenge) that he do it alone, made by Diesel Films, who documented the journey. After escaping gunfire and bandit robber, Conway finally returned home to the UK this past weekend with a new world record to claim, made-for-Hollywood stories - and a check for nearly $43,500 made out to Save the Children. He of course, has no regrets.

    After months of planning, fundraising, setting up his own website, Africa-Bike-Adventure.com and receiving endless support, Conway took off last November. His actor friend Richard E. Grant came on as a patron and, he even received a letter from Prince Harry wishing him

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  • YMCA New York Offers Cabins of Hope for Haitian Kids

    In the days and weeks following the catastrophe that rocked Haiti to its core - taking down entire villages, robbing families of loved ones and changing lives forever - individuals and organizations, small and large, set out to lend a hand in whatever way possible. The YMCA of Greater New York was no exception.

    "We thought, what can we do that's really unique? How can we help? We're a helping organization," Wheaton Griffon, Executive DirectorYMCA New York tells Tonic. "So we thought, this camp experience is unique. Let's give that. So we reached out to the Haiti YMCA and they were very receptive to our idea."

    The idea? To change the world one child at a time through Cabins of Hope, a scholarship program providing ten children from Haiti YMCA with a summer camp experience at the 1,100 acre safe haven that is the New York YMCA Camp in Huguenot, N.Y.

    Thanks to the generous support of individuals and companies like UnitedHealth Group what was a good idea, has now become a

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  • Break Your Bad Money Habit

    What's your bad habit? Twirling your hair? Cracking your knuckles? What about your bad financial habit? Maybe something that is less noticeable from the outside, but is just as hard to break as, say, biting your nails?

    We all have bad financial habits. The purchases we make that make us cringe because we overpaid for something. The purchases that feel so unavoidable but that could end up saving you money if you could just find a way to stop them.

    Recently, the Smart Cookies received an e-mail from a woman who visited our site and downloaded our new ebook, The Smart Cookies' Quick Start Guide. She asked for our advice about those exact purchases.

    She explained that she was overwhelmed by her numerous financial bad habits that were spiraling out of control, which is a feeling we had all experienced. Our advice? Pick a starting point. Think of your most expensive bad habit, the one that is costing you the most.

    In giving this advice it got the five of us thinking about our

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  • From Farm-to-Table in the Big Apple

    Jack Algiere shrugs off the more sensational aspects of the restaurant overlooking his fields. Blue Hill at Stone Barns served as a culinary battlefield during season five of Top Chef, and last year, Barack and Michelle Obama dined at Blue Hill's Manhattan location as helicopters whirred overhead. Even today, no one knows what The President ate. Or at least no one at Stone Barns will say. All Algiere, Four Season Farm Manager, wants to talk about is plants and soil and ensuring the two work responsibly in his ground and in his customer's kitchens.

    "We're on 80 total acres," Algiere says as we walk across rolling fields less than 30 miles north of Times Square. "The Center raises 65 sheep a year, 90 lambs, 1,200 egg-laying hens, 4,700 meat chickens, 120 pigs, 650 turkeys, 14-1,500 pounds of tomatoes, 8,000 pounds of potatoes... think about that kind of weight. It's a lot more than you'd expect."

    That's what the farm pushes out without pushing the earth to its breaking point.

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