For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


“Back To School To Prove To Dad I’m Not A Fool”

Even though I graduated college two years ago, the end of August will always be synonymous with going back to school. Oh how I miss the new pens, notebooks, and whatever other gadget I found at Staples and deemed “necessary” for the new school year.

In honor of the new school year I’ve put together some bags, totes, and backpacks that will definitely make you too cool for school (or whatever else you’d like to use it for).


Mend Tote

Mend is a social enterprise that works with Invisible Children to empower women affected by LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) conflict in Uganda. Each of these bags has a story. The printed picture represents something a Mend seamstress has bought with her salary earned while making and designing bags. Also, on the bag’s inside pocket is the name and background of the seamstress who made your bag.

These Mend bags are made of 100% cotton canvas, which makes them durable and structured yet still pliable, which is perfect for cramming all your books in.

Sea Bags

Sea Bags Totes

I am very pleased to introduce this next set of bags because the company was founded in my home state of Maine. The company is built around three philosophies: keep production local, be green in product and practice, and be involved in the community.

These bags are handmade out of recycled boat sails, which makes them wicked durable. It doesn’t get any more Maine than that!

Stone + Cloth

Stone+Cloth Totepack

It’s a tote. It’s a backpack. It’s a totepack! These brilliant bags are made by Stone + Cloth, which has partnered with the Knock Foundation in order to spread educational opportunities in East Africa. The Knock Foundation provides scholarships to kids in East Africa where the government requires families to pay tuition to send their children to primary and secondary school. Since many families can’t afford it, the Knock Foundation is helping to make education more available.

FEED Projects

FEED Pouches

So now that you’ve picked out a cute bag, you obviously need a pouch to hold all your loose pens and accessories. Each FEED product has a built in donation set into the price. The donations go toward providing meals to people all over the world. So far they have provided 84 million meals globally with the help of World Food Programme and Feeding America.

Now you’re totes ready to head back to school!

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Three Amazing Cruelty Free Brands You Can Find At Sephora

As you know, after my original Makeup Breakup panic, I have been slowly incorporating more and more cruelty free products into my makeup bag. Since most cosmetic brands try to keep their animal testing hush hush, it can be a struggle to find the truth in their policies. So I’ve had to do some serious digging. But alas! I have found three brands that I can confidently share with you. And for your convenience, I’ve made sure all of these products are available at Sephora aka the makeup emporium.


tarte is known as a leader in eco-chic cosmetics. They pride themselves on providing products that are healthy and natural, but glamorous at the same time. I think tarte is best known for their blushes. I have never heard anything bad about them and I personally love them.  I have both the powder and the stain blush and I like them each for different reasons.

The powders are made with Amazonian Clay, which is harvested right from the banks of the Amazon River. Sustainably harvested of course. The clay is rich in nutrients because it picks up fruit and plant matter as the river flows along. Then the sun naturally bakes the clay, which locks in all of the nutrients. Pretty cool, right?

The cheek stains are made with extract from the longevity fruit aka the goji berry. Goji berries are known to help with skin conditions like allergies, rashes and psoriasis. So this product is excellent for people with sensitive skin.

Both blushes have serious staying power. I don’t think I’ve every worried about reapplying during the day. The powders provide build-able color, while the stains give you more of a natural tint. I was nervous about using a cheek stain for the first time, but I assure you, if I can figure it out, you can too. It takes about 20 seconds for the stain to dry after you apply it, which is plenty of time to blend out and fix any mistakes. Sometimes I even use the stain on my lips. I dunno if you’re supposed to do this, but I like it!

tarte Blush

Bite Beauty

Bite Beauty only sells lip products. So you could say they’re pretty much lip experts. They offer everything from glosses to scrubs to balms, sticks, pencils and everything in between. They even offer a moisturizing lip mask, which I find incredibly intriguing.

Their mission is to “create lipstick that is high performance and healthy enough to eat”.  Now I’m not saying you should go take a big bite out of your lipstick, but making lip products safe to consume kind of makes sense because you’re bound to get a little in your mouth. I know I’m guilty of getting lipstick all over my teeth!

So many pretty colors! See any you like?

So many pretty colors! See any you like?


Julep is all about celebrating ladies! The brand functions on the idea of women connecting with each other instead of competing against each other, which I think is a great message. They also give back to women by donating $1 of every nail polish sale to an organization that empowers women. Right now you can buy their “Malala” polish (below) and 100% of the proceeds go to the Malala FundMalala Pink Julep Polish

Along with giving back, Julep works hard to keep icky chemicals out of their products. All of their polishes are “five free”, which means they don’t contain: Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor. These are all potentially harmful chemicals usually associated with nail polish.

Their polishes use a patented oxygen technology, which allows 30% more air to reach the nail bed and helps to keep nails stronger and healthier. This technology also makes the polish dry faster and last longer. Below are a few colors from their September 2014 collection to get you ready for fall, which is inevitably on the way.Julep Nail Polish

These obviously aren’t the only three cruelty free brands at Sephora, but they’re a good place to start. I’ll keep you posted as I continue to find more and more. And I’m always up for suggestions!


The Coolest Cause Around

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve noticed that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the nation by storm.

But in case you’ve been MIA, I will explain. Basically, people nominate and challenge each other to pour a bucket of ice water on their heads within 24 hours of being nominated or the nominee has to donate $100 to ALS. To prove they have completed the challenge most people post a video on social media. Then they tag other people to challenge and the process repeats itself. 

These videos have been devouring my Facebook feed and at first it was fun to see all of my friends and acquaintances torture themselves. As time went on it kind of got annoying because it seemed that everyone and their mother would rather dump freezing water over their head than donate money. I didn’t get it.

So when my friend (hi Avika!) asked if she could nominate me I debated whether or not I wanted to participate in this chilly challenge or just quietly donate on my own. It wasn’t until I read this article that I realized the power of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I realized that people weren’t just pouring ice on their heads because it’s the “cool thing to do”. The ice bucket challenge was succeeding is raising awareness and donations for ALS. As of today over $4 million has been donated since the challenge started!

In the end I decided to participate in the “fun”. I dumped ice water on my head, nominated some friends, and decided to donate $1 for every “like” my video got on Facebook. I thought that was a good compromise. 

Ice Bucket Challenge

There are few things more intimidating than staring down at a pot full of water and ice and knowing that you’re going to dump it on your head in the next five seconds.

So now reader I challenge you! I won’t make you dump a bucket of ice on your head, but I do challenge you to donate to ALS. You can do that right here. I also encourage you to watch the video below to learn more about ALS and the man who sparked the viral ice storm, Pete Frates. It is truly inspiring. 


Welcome to Hydration Nation

Although July is usually known as being the hottest month of the year, August can be just as hot. So don’t forget to stay hydrated! And don’t forget to hydrate with a reusable water bottle. 

There are so many benefits of using a reusable water bottle. Here are a few:

– It is easier on your wallet. Have you ever realized that a gallon of individually bottled water costs more than a gallon of gas? 

– It’s better for the environment. Plain and simple. 

– You’ll stay hydrated. The convenience of having a water bottle nearby and ready to go will have you drinking more water. Here are six reasons you should be making sure you’re drinking enough water. 

I’ve had my water bottle for about 5 years, which may not seem like that long, but it’s a pretty big deal for me. It has been through more lost and founds than I can remember, but I’ve managed to hang on to it. It also survived college, my first job, vacations, softball games, and many movie theaters (shhhhh).

My Blue Water Bottle

This is my water bottle. I call it, Bluebee. Between the scratches and dents, you can tell it has been through a lot. I got Bluebee around the same time I got my first iPhone and thought I was super cool putting an apple sticker on my water bottle.

I’ve found that with water bottles (and almost everything else), it is important figure out your preferences. For instance, I’ve found that I don’t like water bottles with wide mouth openings because I get too aggressive and spill water all over myself. If you have a water bottle that you don’t like, chances are you aren’t going to use it. Below are a bunch of different water bottle styles to suit many different needs.

Water Bottle Rainbow

1. Bkr-This is an insulated glass water bottle. It may be a little on the fragile side compared to the other bottles, but the insulation will keep your liquids nice and cold. They also come in a variety of pretty colors. You buy these bottles at Neiman Marcus

2. Klean Kanteen-This water bottle is made of metal, which makes it very durable. It has a little hook on the top where you could attach a carabiner. Great for hiking or other outdoor activities. You can find Kleen Kanteens at many Whole Foods locations. 

3. Copco TumblerThis plastic (BPA free) water bottle comes with a straw for convenient sipping. I’m thinking of getting one of these for yoga because my current water bottle is made out of metal and clings and clangs every time I take a sip. Nothing disturbs a shavasana more than a metal water bottle. Believe me… You can find these at Target, Wal-Mart, or Sears. 

4. S’well-The walls of this water bottle are double insulated. This means that not only does it keep cold liquids cold, but I keeps hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours. And what’s even cooler, portions of the sales go to WaterAid. You can find these bottles at Nordstrom

5. Brita-These water bottles have built in filters, which can help improve the taste of your tap water. This one also has a straw for sipping convenience. You can buy these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. 

6. Vapur-This one is less of a water bottle and more of a water bag. The flexible shape makes this one collapsible, fordable, and perfect for when you’re in a tight squeeze. I think they would be great for traveling. You’ll find these at Target, Sports Authority, or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. 

Along with the stores I listed, you can buy each water bottle from its company website. Sometimes there are more color options on the company site, but I know not everyone loves ordering things online as much as I do, so I included physical stores where you can find them.

So there you have it. The 6 coolest water bottles I could find. Which one is appealing to you? What do you find important when buying a new water bottle?

Happy hydrating!