Coursera: Education for the Masses

Roughly three months ago, or shortly after my return to the States, a friend of mine had told me about this website that offered free online classes to anyone as long as they had Internet access called Coursera. On top of that, they’re all taught by professors from well-acclaimed institutions of further education. Of course, I did a little bit of research; it seemed too good to be true, especially for my incredibly bored self, just coming through the transition of being a Busy Bee in Korea and a semi-Bum here, at the time. Honestly, all I did was go to their About Us page since I was pretty desperate and here’s a basic introduction:

We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Classes offered on Coursera are designed to help you master the material. When you take one of our classes, you will watch lectures taught by world-class professors, learn at your own pace, test your knowledge, and reinforce concepts through interactive exercises. When you join one of our classes, you’ll also join a global community of thousands of students learning alongside you. We know that your life is busy, and that you have many commitments on your time. Thus, our courses are designed based on sound pedagogical foundations, to help you master new concepts quickly and effectively.

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Wheatgrass: Bring on the Green!

The first time I heard of it, a bunch of question marks popped up in my head. Wheat… grass? I decided that it must be one of those new-fangled foods that’s been proven in studies to be beneficial for one’s health. I also decided it didn’t sound remotely appealing.

In truth, it really does resemble the grass in my front lawn, though perhaps more on the delicate side. Then one day, the enthusiastic health nut that my mom is, she decided to order a shot of wheatgrass at Jamba Juice. She made the most disgusted face (at the taste) ever, which was interesting, because she’s one of those people who will eat anything that is good for one’s health – no complaints. Well, her facial expression said enough, I thought. Thereon after, I didn’t hear much about this plant until my mom somehow wanted to buy a box of fresh wheatgrass because she saw them at our local Central Market (the more up-scale version of HEB) – about 8 bucks for a good amount of those little, organic green sprigs.

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Liquid Happiness

When I was a baby and through my younger years, my parents had to force me to eat. Much later, I got into the habit of finishing everything on my plate, but I still have a soft spot for drinks. Sure, food is amazing and I constantly think about it, even following an eat-a-thon at a buffet (though the amount of times that I’ve been to one have dwindled within the past years), but there are just some things that food can’t do and that’s when these guys step in (in no particular order)…

Milk. My favorite drink since birth (literally, hah) – I prefer the skim milk variety. It’s so versatile in that it’s great alone, ingested with other things (cookies and milk anyone?), flavored (walnut and breakfast milks in China and banana milk in Korea completely rock my socks, in addition to the classic chocolate milk and bedtime milk that’s steeped with fresh ginger and spices), and used in food. It also helps because though my tolerance for spicy food has considerably risen after my year in Korea, it’s still not all that great. That’s when Milk comes to the Rescue!

There are a ton of healthy drinks out there. My favorite, by far, is Odwalla’s Superfood Fruit Juice. It is amazing. The only thing stopping me from buying it as much as I’d like is that it’s a bit pricey, usually going for around 8 USD per 64 fluid ounces (2 quarts), or around 3 USD per personal-sized bottle. It’s a green concoction that’s a bit thick – good thing I love green drinks, as my usual breakfast consists of a green smoothie – but the smell’s unique.. smelling fruity but more mellow. The texture is smooth and the taste is an amalgamation of exactly what, I couldn’t tell you, but with the amount of purees in there, I won’t try to think too much of it. And it’s full of vitamins! Continue reading

Skincare: I Need All Those Things??

Up until college, my skincare routine consisted of the washing of the face in the morning when I woke up and before I went to bed. After a brief period where my skin broke out completely around three years ago, I started to add an acne cream to that. Starting around a couple of months before my stint in Korea, I began to apply a light layer of foundation. Once in Korea, I discovered and became attached to BB cream and have since become a fan. It was only a mere month before I left Korea that I even began thinking about touching upon what seemed to be a pretty intense skin regimen that Korean women followed, but what I had thought it encompassed wasn’t even close. According to what two of my friends said (one the manager of a branch of The Face Shop, a Korean cosmetic and skincare store, in California, and the other a Korean-American friend), there are several things you should apply to your face to keep it young and healthy:

  1. Cleansing: consists of two steps with the pre-cleanse (usually an oil or cream-based product that’s used to deep clean and remove make-up, sunblock, sebum, and dirt) followed by a mild foam cleanser of some sort.
  2. Toner: the toner helps balance the skin’s pH, clean up any remaining debris from skin’s surface, soften the skin as well as acting as a humectant (attracting the atmosphere’s water molecules to the skin’s surface to maintain skin’s hydration) and is also great for firming up the pores.
  3. Serum (aka Essence): a lighter moisturizer with small molecules meant to penetrate the skin and giving moisture and hydration to the lower skin layers, which will keep your skin healthy and youthful.
  4. Daily Moisturizer (aka Emulsion): this lotion is used to seal in hydration and moisture to the skin and lasts throughout the day.
  5. Sunblock: this helps to protect skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays which can cause aging, hyperpigmentation and other skin diseases in the future. Ninety percent of aging and hyperpigmentation are caused by the sun, so to maintain healthy and youthful skin, the cheapest anti-aging product happens to be sunblock! However, do not be fooled by sunblocks that have super high SPF (because in order to achieve high SPF means that they used high levels of chemicals and harmful ingredients). In addition, skin can only absorb up to 30 SPF, so you are wasting money on products that claim to HIGHLY protect you from the sun.
  6. Night Cream: night cream is 30-50% more richer than emulsion, because thirty percent of cell renewal happens at night while you sleep.

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