Kick the Nasties to the Curb with Healthy Swaps at Credo Beauty

To be honest, switching out my conventional beauty and skincare products was a much more difficult and time-consuming task than I’d thought it could be. Sure, I enjoyed researching and learning more about ingredients, chemistry, and the body but sometimes I’d just ache for a website or someone to tell me everything I needed to know instantly. It can be stressful doing it all on your own.

With all the green beauty options out there now, it can be pleasantly overwhelming and confusing. Credo Beauty has an ingenious page on their website called “Healthy Swaps” which simply and expertly displays clean beauty product alternatives to swap out your dirty products with. 

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Get News-Savvy With theSkimm

No matter how hard I try to stay on top of current events and daily news, I somehow always seem to fall behind. Life is busy enough, who has time to sit down and read every newspaper or magazine from cover to cover? (Okay, maybe you do have that time and if you allow yourself those kinds of moments, I envy you.) What overwhelms me the most about staying “in the know” with news is the boundless number of media outlets there now are. How can I realistically read everything I need to know from every news source I want, while I’m always on-the-go?

Initially I gave up, continued to feel embarrassed by friends who seem more passionate about reading the news than I am, and forced myself into the habit of watching my local news every morning while getting ready for work. Depressing and boring. That is, before I discovered theSkimm.

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Orange Harp Makes Ethical Shopping Simple On iPhones

home1crop.pngorangeharp_black_logo

Socially conscious, quality, hassle-free shopping? There’s an app for that! Orange Harp is a new iOS app that makes eco-friendly, ethical shopping easy and convenient on a smartphone. Created by two women, programmer Anbu Anbalagapandian and attorney Kacie Gonzalez, Orange Harp is a carefully curated digital marketplace that features ethical, quality-made products from socially responsible brands. Simply download Orange Harp for free from the iTunes app store, create an account, and shop away! Orange Harp is currently only available on Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and not on Android devices. To try out the app, I downloaded and tried it out on my friend’s iPhone. 

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Try Beauty Products Virtually with GlamST

Every Friday after elementary school I couldn’t wait to get home, boot up my family’s good ol’ PC and get lost in a drawer-full of computer games. (Yes, besides being a bookwarm, I was that kind of kid.) One of my favorite games featured a virtual fashion wardrobe (a-la-Cher’s closet from Clueless) where you could pick out a whole outfit and digitally try it on an uploaded picture of yourself or a digital model. I mean, it was the 90s so this semi-worked/sort of looked real but nonetheless it provided me with many gleeful hours of childhood fashion delight.

It’s such a simple concept– the virtual try-on, yet something so beloved in my memory especially because it sent my imagination (and imaginary wishlist) soaring.

Here’s a 21st-century beauty twist on the virtual makeover: GlamST.

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Links to Love This Week Vol. 1

Source: National Geographic Tumblr

It’s almost the weekend, hooray! Here are some links from the web that are getting me through the rest of this week:

Thinking about Halloween costume ideas? This mom dressed her daughter up as 5 historical, inspiring women and the result is super sweet and heartwarming – Upworthy

The smarties in the Psychology department over at my alma mater found that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine.Their research showed that Oreos triggered the same pleasure center of the brain as drugs do – CBS

I’m obsessed with National Geographic’s Tumblr blog: “FOUND”. I find myself getting lost in all kinds of vintage photo goodness there – Tumblr

A helpful guide from Well + Good NYC on what you should be thinking about when buying organic versus local produce – Well + Good NYC

Jessica Biel’s brother, Justin Biel launched his own line of eco-friendly, up-cycled burlap bags. The designs look cool but the idea doesn’t seem too unique. Meh – Ecouterre 

This Kate Spade Saturday reversible/multi-wear wool mini skirt is so cute!  – Kate Spade Saturday

I may just have to purchase this new, limited edition S.W. Basics of Brooklyn Hibiscus face mask along with my order for a bunch of their lip balms, which are still $1 each until the end of October  – S.W. Basics of Brooklyn

Read about the designer who created the cute and versatile Android logo and some logo design tips – The New York Times

This inspiring memoir about Malala, the Pakistani girl who fought for women’s education rights, was targeted and shot by the Taliban is next on my “to-read” list – Amazon

Yoga inspiration from some cute bunnies  – Pinterest

The blog,“Humans of New York” finally released a book compiling all the photos that depict the heartfelt, emotional, funny and beautiful people of New York City I’ve grown to love – Amazon

Recommended Fall reads from the Design*Sponge team and cool book-inspired designs – Design*Sponge

What are you loving this week?

Are you following me on Bloglovin, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter yet? 🙂

Oyster App Places the Literary World at Your Fingertips

“the world’s mine oyster”

So goes the famous quote from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and now a defining namesake in the literary world with the release of a new e-book sharing app, Oyster.

oyster

Unofficially dubbed the Netflix for e-books, Oyster allows subscribed users unlimited access to a virtual library of over 100,000 (and growing) titles at a monthly fee of $9.95. Currently, the Oyster app is only available in the US for users on iPhone and iPod Touch but there are plans for being available internationally and a Fall release on iPads as well. To start using the service, you must request an invite on the website. I requested an invite about a week ago and received a formal invitation and personal access link yesterday.

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Look Up Product Ingredients on the Go: There’s An App For That!

When shopping, ever find yourself browsing the newest “organic” or “natural” product on the market and trying to make sense of the ingredients only to find a long, convoluted list of names and chemicals?

Many times I’ve put a product back on the shelf because thinking about the ingredients was too frustrating and due to my inner research-nerd, if the ingredients are too incomprehensible or unrecognizable I don’t initially end up buying it. I’ll usually research products or ingredients on EWG’s Skin Deep database or on Google but I’ve always wondered, isn’t there an easier way?

 

Well, now it seems there’s an app for that. Enter, the Think Dirty app. Think Dirty is a product-comparison app that lets you scan barcodes or search for specific products or keywords which will then give you instant information about the general safety or harmfulness of the chemicals inside products.

The Think Dirty app seems like it could be a game-changer the next time you’re out shopping. The app boasts a growing-database of over 10,000 beauty and personal care products and if you don’t see a product or ingredient you can send specific product information to the database for it to be included.

According to the developer, the app rates products based upon information gathered by U.S. and Canadian-based non-profit and governmental agencies regarding potential health impacts and toxicity of ingredients. Products and ingredients are rated by toxicity level on the app’s “Dirty Meter” scale based on a level of 0-10 and among 3 categories: Carcinogencity, Developmental & Reproductive toxicity, Allergies & Immunotoxicities. The app will also provide you with “Cleaner Options” to the product or ingredient you have searched.

For now, the Think Dirty app is in Beta format and only available for iPhone and iPad though the developer has stated that future versions will be available for Android as well.

This sounds like an interesting resource, though since it’s a bit new, I wonder how much information (and credible information) is really given and what the ease of using the app is like. You could also wait until September when the EWG has announced the long-awaited release of a mobile version of their Skin Deep database, which is known as the world’s largest personal care safety guide. Woohoo!

Would you use the Think Dirty app? Have you tried this app or anything similiar?

Download the Think Dirty app for free at the iTunes store here.

Sources: Think DirtyCrazy Mike’s Apps, What Are Apps For

(Images from Crazy Mike’s Apps and What Are Apps For)

MOOCs May Gain You an Online Master’s Degree

A couple months ago I took a routine trip via Greyhound (aka the bane of American public transportation) to visit my boyfriend. Although I deeply despise much about Greyhound buses, besides eventually getting you someplace for cheap, they’ve been great opportunities for people watching. On this particular trip, I listened as a girl sitting in front of me noisily chatted on her phone about how she was getting ready to go back to college.

I don’t mean to snoop, but sometimes I like seeing what type of websites other people frequent just because it’s interesting and might provide me with new sites to explore. The girl on the phone was contemplating taking online courses and suddenly became immersed with a page on her computer which read “MOOC List”. Curious to learn more (though I would’ve asked the girl if she hadn’t still been chattering away), I searched what this site was on Google and soon learned MOOC stood for “Massive Open Online Courses” and was a new educational and technological trend sweeping the nation.

“A COMPLETE LIST OF MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (FREE ONLINE COURSES) OFFERED BY THE BEST UNIVERSITIES AND ENTITIES”

For perpetual students and curious intellectuals alike, MOOCs are essentially online (generally college-level) courses aimed at widespread interactive participation and are open to anyone with web access and a computer. Courses ranging from design, computer science, literature to philosophy and history are freely offered online to anyone with a web connection, a seemingly endless educational treasure trove.

MOOCs utilize traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets but what sets them apart from conventional pedagogy is the emphasis on providing interactive web-based user forums that creates a community for students, professors and TA’s.

The birth of MOOCs trace back to two years ago when Stanford University first offered a free open online course on artificial intelligence where 170,00 students enrolled. The concept soon caught on at other large universities and specialized schools across the nation with the perspective that MOOCs could be an opportunity to reach students wanted to pursue an interest or expand their knowledge but may not have had the opportunity to do so before.

Though nearly millions of people have enrolled and participated in many MOOCs since Stanford’s first course, there are a few things critics list when questioning if this new educational platform has made any profound change among the masses. Generally, MOOCs are single courses that offer no educational credit and do not lead to a degree. MOOCs are essentially, for learning’s sake. There’s nothing wrong with this concept, though it was researched that a majority of students who enroll in MOOCs often do not finish the courses.

Perhaps the concept of the MOOC is still not readily understood. As recent research has shown, many individuals who sign up for MOOCs seem to view enrollment (but not actually finishing the course) as a good way to spend free time. In one study, 90% of students “dropped out” of their MOOC by never completing the course.

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In any case, Georgia Tech, which has one of the nation’s top computer science programs, has recently announced that the school is planning to offer the first MOOC-based online master’s degree program in computer science. Using MOOCs to gain an online master’s degree seems innovative and even more price efficient: Georgia Tech estimates the master’s program will only cost accepted applicants under $7,000 instead of the normal price of $45,000.

While Georgia Tech’s unique use of MOOCs will be interesting to watch out for, there are sure to be a few technological and maybe social bumps along the way. Many are hopeful that this first expedition in using MOOCs for gaining full degrees may signal a change in higher education and increase the reach colleges and universities may have in the future.

Georgia Tech has not yet released a specific application date for the MOOC-based master’s degree program, but expect to be opening up for applications sometime during Fall 2014.

What is your opinion on MOOCs? Have you taken any MOOCs?

Learn more about MOOCs:  The New York Times, Inside Higher Ed, Georgia Tech College of Computing, The Chronicle of Higher Education , MOOC List