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My New Site & Life Coaching Offerings

Hello Smart Girls!

I’m so excited to show you what I’ve been up to for the past few months! Some of you know that a year ago, I began training with the fabulous Martha Beck to become a life coach so I could take my work with teen girls and young women to a whole new level. Today, almost one year to the day from when my training began, I’m happy to announce that I’m a certified Martha Beck Life Coach and I’ve just launched a new website and a bunch of special life coaching packages just for teens!

I’ve also written a brand new ebook, What Smart Girls Know: 10 Truths to Discovering You, which I’m offering for FREE to people who sign up for my new newsletter over at This book is a passion project I’ve had in my mind for years, but never published with a traditional publisher. I’m thrilled to be able to make it available to you now…gotta love technology!

Oh, and if you’re interested in life coaching, here some of the one-on-one coaching offerings I’ve put together specifically for teens and 20-somethings. You can get all the details on my new Coaching Page:


In a world where teens are bombarded with mixed, and often harmful, media messages, face ongoing pressure to be a “perfect good girl,” and are stuck somewhere between their big dreams and their current reality, it can be challenging to figure out what sparks their passion, let alone where they want it to take them in their lives. This eight-session one-on-one coaching program is aimed helping girls tune into what makes them uniquely them, identify their values and passions, understand the limiting beliefs that get in their way, and build a personal toolbox for moving forward in life in an authentic, purposeful, and powerful way. For motivated teen girls ages 13 – 19.


Today’s overscheduled, overprogrammed teens are dealing with unprecedented stress levels in their quest to be and do it all. This six-week one-on-one coaching program offers motivated teen girls ages 13-19 simple strategies for juggling it all, managing their stress, and creating more balance in their lives.


Today’s teens are big dreamers, and as a collective, they’ve been told their whole life that they can do and be anything they can imagine. But many are missing the concrete strategies and skills they need to shift from imagine to action. This six-week one-on-one coaching program helps motivated teen girls ages 13-19 working toward a specific goal or goals imagine the possibilities, tackle fear and procrastination, create a foolproof plan of action, and set achievable goals.


For the busy teen juggling schoolwork, extracurriculars, and other obligations, a little organization can go a long way. This six-week one-on-one coaching program helps teens ages 13-19 understand the benefits of organizing all different aspects of their lives and give them solid organizational strategies and tools that will help them prioritize, save time, reduce the chaos in their life, and ultimately create a less-stressed life!


Senior year of high school is an exciting, interesting, and often challenging time as big transitions are looming and teens find themselves at the intersection of their familiar high school existence and the unknown of what comes next. This six-week one-on-one coaching program helps motivated, college-bound high school senior girls hone in on their personal values, discover their voice, learn how to tackle fear, and create a strong foundation for personal self-care.


Project You is a twelve-week coaching program for 20-somethings who are feeling stuck, trapped, and limited by their current reality. This intensive program helps 20-somethings hone in on their limiting beliefs, rewrite their personal story, reconnect with their purpose, imagine their ideal outcome, and gain the strategies and tools they need to make it happen.

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With the start of my new site, I’ve also launched a new blog which will feature less newsy news and more insight and reflections for young women. Therefore, I won’t be updating Smart Girls Know any longer. I will, however, keep this site up so you’ll continue to have access to the past 4 years worth of content, interviews, book reviews, affirmations, and more. Thanks so much for being a part of the Smart Girls Know community, and I hope you’ll join me over at!

XOXO Debbie

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Have an Hour to Celebrate Dove’s Self-Esteem Movement?

This weekend marks the second annual Dove Self-Esteem Movement Weekend, and Smart Girls Know is happy to spread the word! The Weekend is about uniting organizations, groups, and women and girls everywhere to celebrate self-esteem and positive body images. It’s about imagining a world where every girl grows up with the self-esteem she needs to reach her full potential, and where every woman enjoys feeling confident in her own beauty.

According to Dove, 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful. And when you consider that the “beauty” they’re after is based on something that more than likely doesn’t exist in reality, these 72% of girls are after a goal they’ll never reach.

To counter the messages that girls receive every day from the media about what they need to look like to have value, Dove is encouraging women and girls to pledge to spend one hour this weekend engaged in some sort of self-esteem building activity. But you don’t need to wait for someone else in your community to organize an event…you can participate with your friends and join the movement all on your own. Not sure where to get started? Here are some ideas, courtesy of Dove’s Self-Esteem Movement, to bring a little feel-good-esteem-building action into your life this weekend:

  • Create an inspiration board by collecting articles, magazine tear-outs and news clippings that represent issues surrounding self-esteem. Create a collage of positive messages and images, and keep it in a visible place as both an inspiration board and a reminder of how individuality makes everyone beautiful.
  • Using a camera or video recorder, take an expedition and capture all of the beautiful things you’re thankful for in people, places, nature, anything! Then, create a slideshow or movie for a feel-good film whenever you need a little boost (my personal fave!)
  • Go around in a circle with your friends and share five things you like about one another and five things you each like about yourself. Focus on physicality, personality and character traits.
  • Ask each other questions about thoughts and feelings: What do you like about yourself? What are your biggest strengths? Talk about opportunities for growth and make a plan to reach tangible goals. How do you want to feel about your own unique beauty? What can I do to help make you feel confident?
  • Be a positive self-esteem mentor and send a girl in your life out with confident reminders by making a Boost Book: Decorate a notebook or sketchpad together and keep a log of inspiring quotations, compliments and positive comments other people have made about the girl in your life. Tuck in a few favorite photos or mementos that remind her of moments when she felt confident and beautiful or just had a great time.
  • Create a personal soundtrack of songs you enjoys and that make you feel good. You can listen to it to get pumped up for an important event like a soccer game or dance recital, or turn it on whenever you need a lift.

Last year, as part of the weekend, I hosted a get-together for a bunch of women in my community where we talked about the role and responsibility we have to be mentors to the girls in our lives. I asked women to answer the question, what do you with you’d known at 13? and then made a short film featuring their responses. So what am I doing to celebrate this weekend, you ask? I’m going to be spending most traveling, as I’ll be returning to Seattle from a family vacation in France (tough job, but someone’s got to do it). So this year will be a little more low-key. My plan is to gather my favorite gal pals for a run or workout, followed by the serious consumption of Parisian chocolates over conversation about mentoring, volunteering, and supporting each other in our collective quest to raise children with healthy self-esteem.

So, the big question is, what are you going to do? Are you willing to take the pledge to spend an hour of your weekend focusing on positive self-esteem? If you are, leave a comment and tell me what your plan is and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of any of my books (your choice) and a special gift from Dove. So bring it on and let’s talk positive body talk!

Click on the badge to take the pledge!

Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem | I PLEDGE TO BUILD SELF-ESTEEM IN GIRLS

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Google Science Fair Winners? That’s Right…They’re All Girls!

Remember this past January when I ran a post about Google’s inaugural Science Fair for teens? They were looking for the brightest, best young scientists from around the world to submit interesting, creative projects that are relevant to the world today, and accepted entries in sciences like environmental science, physics, biology, chemistry and more.

Well, this week 15 finalists were invited to Google HQ to present their projects to fair’s judges, and yesterday the top three winners in each age category were announced. And what do you know? They’re all GIRLS.

  • Lauren Hodge in the 13-14 age group. Lauren studied the effect of different marinades on the level of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chicken.
  • Naomi Shah in the 15-16 age group. Naomi endeavored to prove that making changes to indoor environments that improve indoor air quality can reduce people’s reliance on asthma medications.
  • Shree Bose in the 17-18 age group. Shree discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs.

Shree was the Grand Prize winner, who wins an amazing 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions where she’ll visit Darwin’s living laboratory and experience up-close encounters with unique species such as flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, and domed giant tortoises. Shree will also receive a $50,000 scholarship, her first choice of an experience at CERN, Google, the LEGO Group, or Scientific American, a personal LEGO color mosaic, and digital access to Scientific American Archives for her school.

Congratulations to Lauren, Naomi, and Shree for seriously representing girl power in science, technology, engineering, and math!!

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Call for Teen Girl Delegates for the UN’s International Year of Youth Culmination Celebration!

How would you feel about being a delegate for the United Nation’s International Year of Youth Culmination Celebration in New York City this August? Teen and teen online destination AllyKatzz is offering you the chance.

This August 11th, 192 female delegates ages 11-24 will join together at the UN for the special celebration will which include lots of press, powerful women, celebs, ALLY Award winners, UN youth champion Monique Coleman, and tons of girl power. According to AllyKatzz, it will be “the day when girls from around the world speak up and change the world.”

To throw your hat in the ring to be a delegate, you need to apply by writing an essay sharing your vision on how you hope to accomplish one of the following “Millenium Goals” – end poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability, and global partnership.

To find out more and apply to be a delegate, visit AllyKatzz here. Applications are due by June 30, 2011. Good luck!!

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New Moon’s Inner Beauty Mirror Uncontest

What do YOU see when you look in your personal “Inner Beauty Mirror?” That’s what New Moon Girls wants to know. The magazine’s Inner Beauty Mirror Uncontest is aimed at challenging girls to stop focusing on what they notice about their outward appearance when they look in a regular mirror, and instead celebrate what makes them beautiful on the inside.

To participate, visit the New Moon Girl uncontest page online and write down seven statements about your inner beauty strengths, pride, and talents. Oh, and like any good “uncontest,” it isn’t actually a competition because no on is going to be judged. New Moon is most interested in hearing all kinds of different Inner Beauty statements from all kinds of girls!

Here are all the official deets straight from New Moon:

What do you see in your Inner Beauty Mirror?

When we look in a regular mirror we just see our outward appearance –it isn’t anywhere near all of who we are as people. In the Inner Beauty Mirror Uncontest we challenge you to create a different mirror, the Inner Beauty Mirror. This mirror reminds you who you are and shows all the things you care about, all the things you are proud of, and all the things you do.  Isabel Rasmussen invented the Beauty Mirror for Girls iPhone app.  And then she asked NMG to work with her on this Uncontest!

It’s an uncontest because no one is going to be judged and there will be no votes to determine a winner.  We are all uniquely beautiful and we each win when we are able to see our own beauty and enjoy it without comparing ourselves to someone else.   All complete entries will be  will be entered into a prize drawing, names will be randomly chosen, and prizes given.

Follow these 5 steps to enter the uncontest (also watch Phoebe’s video about how to enter here) :

Step 1Write 7 Short Inner Beauty Mirror statements about You: The statements are about all your inner strengths that make you uniquely beautiful.  What are you proud of about yourself? Sometimes it’s hard to think of nice things to say about ourselves.  If you’re stumped, think about a friend’s inner beauty. Then see which statements are true about you.and  A way to start can be to write things about your friends like “Eva is a good listener and is a good friend because she always includes me.”  Is that statement true about you too?  Could you change Eva’s name to yours?

Step 2: Make a video of you saying your 7 statements. Or make a poster with your statements on it and take a photo of you and your poster.

Step 3: Read aloud and/or watch the video of your Inner Beauty Mirror every day for 10 days in a row

Step 4: Write a short story about your Inner Beauty Mirror and your feelings about it. Minimum is 250 words and maximum is 500 words.

Step 5: Enter the Uncontest: Go here and complete the form there before midnight central time April 30, 2011.  That’s all you need to do.  All complete entries will be entered in a random drawing on May 19, Turn Beauty Inside Out Day.

Did we mention you can win an iPod Touch with the Beauty Mirror For Girls App, a 1 year membership to New Moon Girls, and other cool prizes?

And Remember, You Are Beautiful!!!!

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Smart Girls Know is an affiliate of New Moon Magazine and is offering a $10 discount off the price of a year subscription, which includes 12-month unlimited access to New Moon’s informative site. To take advantage of this special offer, click here.

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Break the Cycle’s PSA Contest

Hopeline and Break the Cycle have just joined forces to create a PSA (public service announcement) competition for teens. If you’re between the ages of 13 abd 18, enrolled in high school in the United States (or US Territories), you’re eligible to enter the “Let Your Heart Rule” PSA Contest. To enter, team up with up to four other classmates at your school and create a video PSA that helps raise awareness about dating violence. Five entries will be selected for a special final round where you, your friends and family can all vote for your favorite PSA. The winning team wins some terrific tech from Verizon Wireless and the chance to premiere their PSA on Dr. Phil. And just so we’re clear on what dating abuse is, here’s how Break the Cycle breaks it down:

“Dating abuse isn’t an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day. Dating abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend. Dating abuse does not discriminate. It does not see your gender, your religion or your skin color. It does not care whether you are 14 or 24 or if you’re straight or gay. It can happen to anyone.”

Want to enter the contest? Get started brainstorming and find out more here. Or watch the video below to get inspired. Oh yeah…the deadline is April 14th. Good luck!

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MTV Gets Schooled

MTV and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have recently partnered with Get Schooled, an organization aimed at raising awareness for the need to decrease dropout rates, improve standards for post-secondary readiness, and increase the number of qualified graduates entering the work force each year, to create the Get Schooled: College Affordability Challenge. This challenge is calling on current and aspiring college students to imagine innovative digital tools to reimagine and simplify the financial aid process.

Three finalists were recently selected from hundreds of submissions from students in 48 states, and you can vote on who you want to win on MTV later this month. Here are the finalists:

Larissa Simpson, The Avatar Project – Larissa is proposing an interactive gaming experience that helps students navigate the process of securing grants, scholarships, and loans to finance their education. Users can personalize their gaming experience using an avatar that guides them through each stage of the process. Positive reinforcement and guided connection with peers through existing social networks will encourage students to meet deadlines and fulfill their college financing goals.

Devin Valencia, The Connect Fund – Devin’s proposing an interactive Facebook application offering a step-by-step guide on how to fill out the FAFSA and apply for grants, scholarships, and loans. The app will prioritize financial aid opportunities based on the user’s demographic info, as well as enable them to get other users’ feedback on their financial aid questions and concerns.

Dekunle Somade, First Aid – Dekunle envisions a single-source online and SMS platform designed to serve as a college financing tool for low-income students. First Aid will organize a wide array of financial aid and admissions info, and make it easier for institutions’ financial aid offices to communicate with students in need. The platform will also track users’ progress towards securing funding for school, and alert them to relevant scholarship and grant opportunities.

The winner will receive $10,000 and see their idea funded by MTV and The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center with a development budget of $100,000, to become a part of the national Get Schooled campaign.

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Teen Voices Announces 20 Under 20

If you’re a young writer looking to get published, you need to know about Teen Voices‘ new short story competition, 20 Under 20. Teen Voices is challenging you to write a short story (no more than 1200 words) about what the word “TWENTY” means to you. They’re especially interested in stories that deal with themes like growing up, overcoming difficulty, succeeding, and changing the world.

To help you get your creative juices flowing, Teen Voices has tapped into journalist, author, and book critic Lucy Atkins to host a series of free online story writing workshops every week where you can get writing tips and oodles of inspiration.

Short stories entered in the competition will be judged by bestselling author Anita Diamant, who wrote the NY Times Bestseller The Red Tent, among others. Two grand prize winners will get their stories published online and in the Fall 2011 print edition of Teen Voices, as well as win a Kindle. Another 18 runner-ups will get to see their story published on Teen Voices online over the coming year.

To find out more about the submission requirements, visit Teen Voices website. And start thinking about your idea now…the deadline for entries is March 21, 2011. Good luck!

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Are You a Budding Scientist? Check Out the Google Science Fair

Who says science fairs have to happen in middle and high school cafeterias and gymnasiums? Especially when Google is involved. Google has just announced its own , in which they’re looking for the brightest, best young scientists from around the world to submit interesting, creative projects that are relevant to the world today. Participation is open to full-time students between the ages 13 – 18 who are enrolled in a private or public school. Home-schooled students are also eligible.

Entrants are required to use Google Sites and will be required to submit it either as a maximum two (2) minute video or maximum twenty (20) slide Google Presentation on the homepage of their Google Site (see for instructions). Using the Google Sites application, Entrants or Teams will be required to upload a synopsis video or slide presentation (but not both) and all other required information, as listed on the Competition Site. Entrants are encouraged to create their Project Entry by using Google Docs, YouTube, Maps, Google Earth, Google Search and any other Google tools which can be used in education.

Entrants can submit Projects in any one of the following categories:

  • Computer Science & Math
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Behavioral & Social Sciences
  • Flora & Fauna
  • Energy & Space
  • Inventions & Innovation
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Food Science
  • Electricity & Electronics

Winners of Google’s Science Fair will get more than just a ribbon to pin on their bulletin board. Check out the awards lined up for this competition:

The Grand Prize winner(s) plus one parent or guardian per winner will win an amazing 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions. Traveling aboard the National Geographic Endeavour the winner(s) will visit Darwin’s living laboratory and experience up-close encounters with unique species such as flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, and domed giant tortoises.

Grand prize winners will also receive a $50,000 scholarship, split equally between team members should a team win this prize, their first choice of an experience at CERN, Google, the LEGO Group, or Scientific American, a personal LEGO color mosaic, and digital access to Scientific American Archives for your school.

Finalists will receive a $25,000 scholarship, split equally between team members should a team win this prize, second and third choice by random selection of one of the remaining experiences at CERN, Google, the LEGO Group, or Scientific American, a personal LEGO color mosaic, and digital access to Scientific American Archives for your school.

To find out more, visit the . Deadline for entries is April 4, 2011.

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MTV’s A Thin Line Campaign Looking for Teen Ambassadors

A little more than a year ago, MTV launched its “A Thin Line” campaign – an initiative aimed at stopping the spread of abuse in the form of sexting, cyberbullying and digital dating abuse. The campaign hopes to empower America’s youth to identify, respond to and stop the spread of the various forms of digital harassment.

A Thin Line is built on the understanding that there’s a “thin line” between what may begin as a harmless joke and something that could end up having a serious impact. MTV hopes to spark a conversation and deliver information that helps young people everywhere draw their own digital line.

To move this mission forward, MTV is looking for young people between the ages of 14 and 29 with experience in social media to be members of its A Thin Line Street Team, otherwise known as campaign ambassadors. Here are the kinds of things A Thin Line Street Team members will do:

  • Help drive conversations about the impact of digital abuse in the lives of young people on the campaign’s various social media outlets, including the website, Facebook and more.
  • Spread the word about the campaign among schools and communities to help people feel empowered to recognize and address digital abuse.
  • Provide input to the A Thin Line to ensure the campaign is reaching the audience in the best way possible.

Interested? Here’s what you need to do: send answers to the following questions (no more than 500 words total) with the subject line “Street Team” to . MTV will contact you by phone or email to let you know if you have been selected.

  • How old are you?
  • What grade / year of college are you in?
  • Where are you from?
  • What is your gender?
  • Why do you want to be a Street Teamer?
  • What would make you a great Street Teamer?  Have you done any work related to digital abuse? If so, have you worked with any other organizations?
  • What ideas do you have to extend the reach of A THIN LINE and make it more effective?
  • What is your email address and phone number?

Good luck!

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