Blog Posts by Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

  • The Truth About What Happens to the Old Clothes You Donate

    Your old shirts could wind up at a market like this one, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images) Cleaning out your closets and getting organized for spring is a great feeling — and so is seeing the piles of old clothes you've ignored for years bagged and ready for donation. Between the space you’ve just created in your own life, and the perfectly good clothing you’re about to bestow on others through a charity like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, it’s pretty much a win-win situation. Right? Not necessarily. That’s because the castoffs you think are doing so much good are more likely being sold at a profit in Africa — part of an elaborate overseas resale system that’s effectively snuffing out other countries’ own vital textile industries.

    More on Shine: Foster Mom Gets More Donations Than She Can Handle Thanks to Facebook Posting

    “Most Americans are thoroughly convinced there is another person in their direct vicinity who truly needs and wants our unwanted clothes. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” writes Elizabeth Cline in “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap

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  • The Strangest Playground on Earth

    The Land. Photo: Courtesy Erin Davis
    There’s a playground in the U.K. that’s such a far cry from the primary-colored plastics and rubbery safety floors we’re used to that many parents (and kids, for that matter) might easily mistake it for a town dump. But it’s precisely that parental-nightmare quality of danger — with its ragtag collection of broken chairs, piled tires, dirty mattresses, loose hammers and nails, and tin-drum fire pits — that makes this place, called The Land, so thrilling to the children who flock here.

    It opened two years ago, in North Wales, a throwback to the 1940s, when the idea of “adventure playgrounds” first took hold. But lately the novelty, staffed by “playworkers” who try hard to not intervene, has become a subject of renewed interest, part of a growing trend to take today’s overprotective, obsessive “helicopter parents” to task for sucking all the fun out of childhood. 

    Another shot of The Land from Davis's documentary. Photo: Courtesy of Erin Davis“Today, these playgrounds are so out of sync with affluent and middle-class parenting norms that when I showed fellow parents

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  • How Companies are Listening (and Changing) Because of Your Tweets

    Jennifer, left, and daughter Kinsey. Photo: Courtesy Jennifer OuelletteWhen Jennifer Ouellette read about a high-end line of thin-framed sunglasses playfully named “Anorexxxy” earlier this month, she was not only outraged, but — as the mom of a recovering anorexic daughter — personally offended. So the Californian did something about it, rallying her social-media troops to swarm designer Thierry Lasry with tweets and Facebook messages until, lo and behold, Lasry announced a product name change, effective immediately.

    More on Shine: Mean-Spirited Eating Disorder Story Makes People Sick

    “We never wanted to upset anyone,” read a statement from the designer, released on Monday. “However, it seems like we recently have with this name so we’ve decided to rename this style. The frame will, from now on, be stamped on the inside left temple ‘AXXXEXXXY.’”

    Though the company isn't attributing its name-change decision to Ouellette’s social-media campaign (“We have no idea who the people behind all those messages are,” a Lasry spokesperson tells Yahoo Shine), one thing

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  • 7-Eleven Clerk Who Lost Job Over Good Deed Gets a Better Offer

    Ava Lins on the first day of her new job. Photo: FacebookIn a striking example of poetic justice, a Massachusetts teenager who says she was fired from 7-Eleven for giving a cup of coffee to a homeless man has landed a new job within days—at a homeless-services organization.

    More on Yahoo Shine: How Going Undercover as Homeless Changed These Men

    “My lesson learned is that good deeds pay off,” Ava Lins, 19, tells Yahoo Shine. “Do what you believe is the right thing, and stand up for what you believe in. Only good things will come of it.”

    The story began last Thursday, when Lins, a clerk at 7-Eleven in Salem, says she began chatting with a customer about how he didn’t know where he was going to sleep on that freezing night. Lins, who immediately empathized given her own recent struggles with being homeless, gave him a small cup of coffee. “It directly influenced my decision,” she says. When storeowner Romany Youseff appeared and allegedly accosted the man, demanding to know if he had paid for it, Lins lied and told her boss that he had. She

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  • Teen Heroes Save 94-Year-Old Woman (and Her Dog) From Fire

    A trio of California high-school students scored big points for oft-maligned teens everywhere on Monday when they rushed into a burning house to rescue a 94-year-old woman and her elderly dog, heroically saving their lives.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Hero 13-Year-Old Saves Sisters From Burning Van

    “Basically, they just reacted,” says Mark Corti, principal of California High School in San Ramon, California, where the three boys are seniors in the sports-medicine program. He tells Yahoo Shine that when he initially spoke with them about the dramatic incident, the friends, still smelling of smoke, shrugged it off as no big deal. “But as we continued to talk about the details,” Corti adds, “I think they were able to understand a little bit better that they had risked their own lives.”

    It all began late morning on Monday, when Kirill Yantikov, Garen Kissoyan and Peter Kravariotis, all 17, were driving through a residential neighborhood near their school, reportedly skipping class to go to

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  • 'Dear Future Mom' Ad Celebrates Living With Down Syndrome

    A Down syndrome organization in Italy has just provided an expectant mom with more encouragement than she’d probably hoped for: personal assurance from 15 people with the disorder that her in utero child, already diagnosed, will lead a meaningful life. “Don’t be afraid,” says one woman. Others chime in with: “He’ll be able to do many things,” “He’ll be able to hug you,” and “He’ll be able to speak and tell you he loves you.”

    More on Yahoo Shine: Boy With Down Syndrome Gets Huge Surprise When He Receives Acceptance Letter From Clemson

    The two-and-a-half-minute video was created by ad giant Saatchi & Saatchi Italy for CoorDown, Italy’s National Coordination of Associations of People With Down Syndrome, in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. It’s being shared on social media with the hashtag #DearFutureMom and already has more than 500,000 views on YouTube, where it was posted Thursday. Twitter fans are growing, with people declaring it “touching,” “wonderful,” “fantastic,” and “

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  • New Mom With Cancer Fights for Life After Birthing Preemie Twins


    Instead of bonding with her newborn preemie twins, upstate New York mom Jenna Hinman is in a medically induced coma and fighting for her life following the diagnosis of an extremely rare cancer, as her husband Brandon, a U.S. Army infantry sergeant, keeps vigils at both her bedside and their babies' incubator.

    More on Yahoo Shine: When Becoming a Dad Means Losing Your Wife

    “The whole situation is a tightrope,” Jenna’s doctor, gynecologic oncologist Wiley Bunn of Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, tells Yahoo Shine. “We have to treat her or we’ll lose her — and if we treat her, we may lose her.” Meanwhile, infant girls Kinleigh and Azlynn, just 3 pounds each at birth, are stable.

    Sgt. Hinman with his daughters. Photo: FacebookEfforts to support the family have been growing, with several fundraisers in the works and a GoFundMe page that so far has brought in more than $60,000. “My hope is that every single person that’s reached out truly understands how thankful [we] are,” Brandon, a sergeant based at Fort Drum, New York, who has served time

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  • Designer Responds to 'Anorexxxy' Sunglasses Controversy

    Model wearing the Anorexxxy sunglasses (photo Thierry Lasry/Instagram)Depressing celebrity trend alert: the limited edition “Anorexxxy” line of sunglasses by Thierry Lasry and Kelly Wearstler, so-named for their “slim” construction. Though they’ve been popular with the A-list for a while now, the $555 shades are catching the squinting eyes of the masses this week — thanks to their controversial name. (Note: This story has been updated, please scroll to bottom for new details.)

    More on Yahoo Shine: Doll That Won't Eat Causes Uproar

    National Eating Disorders Association
    President Lynn Grefe tells Yahoo Shine, “I think it’s appalling and out of line and absolutely ignorant,” adding, “There is nothing funny or sexy about anorexia.”

    Jezebel blogger Isha Aran agrees. “We are so past the idea that eating disorders are haute and sexxxy and edgy, that at this point, it's actually out of style,” she wrote, in a scathing call-out of the line on Sunday. “Maybe they should rename those sunglasses AnoreZZZy because the overplayed and harmful glorification of a

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  • News Anchor Dan Harris on the Pursuit of Manly Happiness

    Dan Harris, meditating away from his inner voices. Photo: ABC News NightlineDan Harris — the deep-voiced co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline” and “Good Morning America” weekend edition — is cool, calm and collected in front of the cameras. But he wasn’t always so Zen. In fact, the newsman had a full-blown panic attack on the air back in 2004, in front of 5 million GMA viewers. It sent him into a doctor’s office, and onto a therapist’s couch, and though that quelled his panic attacks, there were lingering issues, from depression to self-doubt, that kept him both self-medicating (hello, cocaine) and searching for answers. Coincidentally, that’s when Peter Jennings assigned him to the religion beat, which included the self-help universe, and suddenly Harris’s professional quest merged with a personal one.

    He admits he was a hard sell, particularly being male, mainly because self-help seems “lame,” he says. But eventually Harris, 42, found surprising solace in meditation. He’s written a new book about his odyssey, “10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced

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  • Rachel Canning Goes Home After Suing Her Parents. But It's Not Over Yet


    After enduring a media barrage that's lasted more than a week, Rachel Canning, the New Jersey teen who’s suing her parents for financial support, returned home to her family on Tuesday night. But the very next day Canning's lawyer demonstrated that the case is far from over by returning to court, requesting that the parents pay for a guardian to be appointed for their 18-year-old high school student.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Teen Sues Parents for Cash, College Tuition. Does She Have a Case?

    “Just a few days ago, Rachel Canning indicated she could not go back home with her parents and she required a promise of some financial assistance going forward," attorney Tanya Helfand wrote in her application to the court, highlighting the teen's quick turnaround in deciding to return to her parents' after living at a friend's for several months. “Now, after speaking with her mother yesterday, she said she is waiving her complaint and is receiving no promises or consideration in return.”

    She noted that

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