A new wellness app aims to reclaim the concept of self-care.

Long hours and a high-stress work environment took a toll on Amber Discko, a Brooklyn-based digital strategist.

Discko spent most of summer and fall 2016 working on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Work consumed her life, and as a result, her own self-care took a nasty hit. To help her remember to take breaks from work to do things like drink water, take her vitamins, and brush her teeth, she looked to reminder accounts on Twitter.

After the election, she built Aloe, a customizable web check-in as a way to hold herself accountable. After Inauguration Day, she shared it with the world.


Discko takes a photo with a Hillary Clinton cardboard cutout during the 2016 campaign. Photo courtesy of Amber Discko.

Following some majorly positive feedback, Discko set out to turn Aloe into a full-blown iPhone app.

Hoping to crowdsource the $40,000 necessary to build and release the app, Discko launched a Kickstarter campaign on Aug. 1 (full disclosure: I backed the project with a small donation).

OK, but who forgets to to do essential things like eating or taking medicine? A lot of people, actually.

Each year, millions of Americans forget to take prescribed medications. Even when the consequences are serious (possibly even life-threatening), these things happen. The same thing can go for other essential functions like brushing your teeth, showering, eating, drinking water, and more.

A lot of the imagery used on the Aloe site and in the app is garden-themed. This is meant to highlight the importance of tending to ourselves like we would a garden. Image from Aloe/Kickstarter.

So let's be real: we can all sometimes use a little reminder. Wearable fitness trackers send alerts informing users it's time to stand, and there's no shortage of time management and reminder apps scattered throughout the App Store. Aloe just takes that very familiar concept and gives it a fresh spin packaged with a bit of positivity.

One big difference between Aloe and similar reminder apps and alarms is the gentle approach it takes to its alerts. Rather than an in-your-face, shame-inducing alarm, Aloe simply encourages users to check in with themselves and their needs. While there, they can jot down some notes or do a little journaling right in the app.

The Aloe Twitter account offers occasional reminders to followers, and the app is essentially a customizable version of that.

"Self-care is about reflection," Discko says about Aloe's goal of making it easier for people to focus on themselves in a chaotic world.

For some people, self-care is synonymous with shirking your responsibilities. Discko hopes Aloe can help reassert and reclaim the true, very literal version of the term. "By putting something out there to redefine the word, we're making it normal for people to actually take care of themselves instead of feeling the guilt and the shame of not doing it," she says.

So yeah, maybe self-care, for some, is as simple as remembering to brush their teeth, take their medications, and eat. If it takes a little nudge from an upbeat little app to remember those things, that's what Aloe is here for.

If all goes according to plan and Discko reaches her Kickstarter goal, Aloe will be available in early 2018 on iOS and hopefully soon after on Android.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.

Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less

Every day, I wake up feeling like Peeta at the end of "The Hunger Games" series asking Katniss what's real and what's not real.

The first thing I do is run through a series of thoughts to orient myself to this bizarre reality we're currently in: "What day is it today? Umm...Tuesday, I think. Who is president of the United States? Donald Trump. Wait, is that right? That can't be right....No, yes, that's right. Wow. Are we still in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed 200,000+ Americans in six months? Yes. Are people still acting like it's a hoax? Apparently so. Is there still a ridiculous number of people who believe that an elite cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is secretly running the world and trafficking children to harvest fear hormones from their blood, and that Donald Trump is going to save us all from it? Yup."

Then I lie there in dumbfounded disbelief before semi-rallying: "Okay, here we go."

It's not really okay, though. How any of us are expected to be able to function in this reality is beyond me. When we've gone beyond merely having different perspectives on issues and instead are living in completely different versions of reality, I can't figure out how to feel okay. Or, to be more accurate, when some of us are living in objective reality and a not-insignificant-enough number of us are living in a completely made-up land of alternative facts and perpetual gaslighting, it's hard not to feel like I'm the one losing my grip.

Keep Reading Show less