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Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah for an important chat about criticism.

The first lady shares a bit of advice for young girls everywhere.

Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah for an important chat about criticism.

It's not every day that two of the world's most powerful women sit down for a heart-to-heart chat about life.

But that's exactly what happened in a recent interview between Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey (numbers 13 and 21, respectively, on the Forbes list of powerful women, in case you were wondering).

The wide-ranging interview tackled everything from the first lady's thoughts on the importance of ensuring a peaceful transition of power to her thoughts on what her husband's lasting legacy might be.


GIFs from OWN/YouTube.

In perhaps the most important portion of the interview, she discussed what it's like being on the receiving end of sometimes unfair criticism.

On Election Day, the New York Times Styles section tweeted "How [Michelle Obama] shed an angry black woman caricature and evolved into a political powerhouse." In 2012, the New York Post ran a headline reading, "Mad as Hell Michelle" on the front page. That line of criticism is bizarre not only because it's harsh, but also because it appears completely divorced from the reality of who Michelle Obama has shown herself to be as a public figure.

Asked about what it felt like to so frequently have the "angry black woman" stereotype projected onto her by her critics, Obama opened up about coping with that negativity and using it to fuel her work moving forward.

"That was one of those things where you think, 'Dang, you don’t even know me,'" she said. "You just sort of feel like, 'Wow, where did that come from?' And that’s the first blowback."

That criticism sparked something within her. She wasn't going to let someone else define her. Instead, she was going to live out loud.

Obama rattled off a list of things she's proud of and shared why it's important to speak up.

"We as women, we as minorities," she told Oprah, "We underestimate ourselves. ... I want young girls out there to understand that what’s in your brain is really useful. Do not hide it, don’t dumb it down, don’t apologize for it. Just put it on the table and let people deal with it."

The whole interview makes so many great points, but most of all, it's a reminder that Michelle Obama, just like you or me, is a human being with feelings, ambition, and dreams.

People talk a lot about whether spouses and relatives of politicians are "fair game" for criticism, but perhaps we need to look at that question with a bit more nuance. The issue shouldn't be whether Michelle Obama or Melania Trump or Laura Bush or any of their children should be exempt from any and all criticism — no one is. The issue should be one of whether such criticism is accurate, justified, and humane.

Flinging baseless insults and dehumanizing someone, even if they're a political opponent, doesn't add anything to discourse. Instead, it creates hate and resentment, and ultimately serves as a distraction from who we want to be as people and as a country.

As first lady, Michelle Obama was dealt a lot of low blows. But as she says, "When they go low, we go high."

That's her approach to offering help and advice to Melania Trump. It's something that can be incorporated into our own lives, as well.

You can watch a clip from the interview below and on the OWN YouTube channel.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.