PERMISSION TO FEAST

Thanksgiving’s just around the corner & I’m going to say something shocking now. are you ready?

have like…a LOT of butter &…wait for it…even second helpings of everything, including dessert! treat yourself to whatever you’d ordinarily say “oh, I really shouldn’t…”. after all, what the heck are the holidays about if you’re not going to ENJOY the simple pleasures in life? it drives me crazy, reading endless articles about how to avoid all that delicious food—Thanksgiving is about appreciation & not self-denial. now, if you have some kind of allergy that will hurt you, be wary of that…but otherwise INDULGE away! give yourself permission to partake in all the classics. or maybe you have your own spin, like tofurkey or gluten-free rolls; it’s not the old days where being green or vegan meant a tasteless, chewy meal that no one enjoyed! there is truly an abundance of riches in the gluten-free & vegan world nowadays! let yourself fill a totally decadent plate & enjoy every bite. it’s not about glorifying consumerism, but celebrating the abundance of family/friends surrounding your table. & let’s face it, food is comfort, history, pleasure…it’s just pretty awesome too. 🙂

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at my company, some of our team members made a poll of their Thanksgiving dinner must-haves: mashed potatoes were a popular choice & the favorite of customer service mavens Rachel & Melanie & production assistant Meghan. our accounting manager Tina put a twist on the potato theme by choosing sweet potato pie…& pies, of course, held their own in this little contest. Mike in shipping went with classic apple pie, while marketing assistant Whitney chose gluten-free pumpkin pie, heavy on the whipped cream. lab manager Mike can’t say no to a good breadcrumb stuffing, Dan had to go with the classic turkey, accounting assistant Rosalyn is crazy about gravy & my assistant Johanna just loves it all, as do I…since I really enjoy a meal that has multiple ‘tastes’ rather than one big entrée, Thanksgiving is awesome to me! 🙂

what nostalgic favorite or new culinary creation are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving?

with gratitude,

Suki

TESTIMONIAL I AM GRATEFUL TO SHARE

to say nothing makes my day like a letter from someone I’ve helped is an understatement. these are truly the things that get me through all the tough times & they’re the reason I began this journey–the reason my company exists. here is a testimonial I had to share from someone who had eczema (the condition I used to have that  inspired me to create my whole product line) & I helped them stop suffering from it, which is humbling to even write.

“I have had eczema for as long as I can remember,” writes J. “the older I became the worse my eczema got. my arms and hands were covered in red rashes and scabs. it was extremely painful. I was having a difficult time sleeping, and working. working made my eczema even worse, because I had my hands in chemicals every day. eventually, my hands and arms were bleeding daily. not itching was impossible.

J’s eczema before trying suki®

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I tried every OTC lotion and cream I could find, and nothing touched it. I went to my doctor who gave me steroid cream. the steroid cream did give me some relief, but it did not get rid of my eczema. I continued to live with the pain.

one day a friend saw my eczema and suggested that I try the suki product line. after researching Suki’s products online, I was intrigued. the company’s philosophy and all natural approach seemed to be the answer I was looking for. I received several products and started a twice a day ritual. I began with the exfoliating foaming cleanser, followed by the concentrated clarifying toner and ending with ultra-protect body balm. the results were nothing less than amazing!

I immediately saw and felt a difference. after my first use I had significant relief from the itch. after 2-3 days the redness and swelling were noticeably diminished.  after the first couple of weeks my eczema was barely noticeable.  nothing I had ever tried before even came close to the results I received from Suki’s products. if you suffer from any skin problems, you owe it to yourself to try the Suki product line. it’s pure, natural and kick ass strong! Suki changed my life, I’ll never be without it!”

 J’s skin 3 months later

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her note & pictures changed the whole direction of my day from dark to sunny. & I still think of her often, especially during stressful & difficult times when I need that extra support & reminder that the original mission of my business—helping people get healthy, beautiful skin—is fully intact. I think about how grateful I am that I get to feel this way forever, because the formulas are made & that part of my hard work is finished. I should feel this gratitude & positivity every day…but do I?

of course not! scientists say any negative thought releases destructive neurochemicals, & the more you engage in shaming or blaming dialogue, the more difficult it becomes to stop. vocalizations of negativity = more stress chemicals released, not only in your brain, but in the listener’s brain as well. &, get this, the brain barely responds to our positive words & thoughts. why? they’re not a threat to our survival, so the brain doesn’t invest as much attention in them. in fact, you need to be positive (even if it’s fake!) at least 3x as much to negate the impact of negative self-talk.

gratitude is basically awareness –of the good things we have or difficult situations we’ve conquered, of what we’ve achieved, of what we’ve learned, of whatever enriches us! as Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to put a positive spin on this hardcore stressful year…turns out I’ve got a ton to be grateful for. this eczema success story is just one of many things.

so thanks “J.” 🙂 for reminding me…

xo

—Suki

RESVERATROL: THE GRAPES OF YOUTH

grape_vinesred wine as a health food? well, that’s not a hard sell. we’ve been told that for years!

but in the past few years, more & more people are starting to take resveratrol supplements, wine’s key health-promoting & anti-aging compound, in highly refined pill form. I’ve been formulating with this useful cosmeceutical in my skincare products for years & now I have to explain to everyone why I was using it all along! ahead of the curve…not such a great thing, man 😉

studies have shown that resveratrol has antibacterial properties, protects cells from cancer-causing mutations & helps repair the cells of the GI tract. resveratrol has been proven to absorb topically through the skin—which, as you probably recall, is our largest organ & directly absorbs all sorts of potentially beneficial or harmful compounds.

resveratrol is also a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells against the free radicals that create pigmentation spots & wrinkles over time.

but here’s the thing—sourcing always matters. when grapes are sprayed with pesticides, they get lazy & don’t produce as much resveratrol. since resveratrol is not standardized like most supplements, & the marketing of supplements is as confusing & controversial as it is in the skincare industry, it’s difficult to know exactly how much you’re getting from a grape-derived resveratrol product.

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this leads us to the little-known fact that most resveratrol supplements in the United States are not made from grapes, but from Japanese Knotweed. according to Dr. Keri Marshall, Medical Director of Gaia Herbs, “not only is Japanese Knotweed more abundant from a sourcing perspective, but it is naturally concentrated to about 2-3% of the total root while a source like red wine (grape skin) is naturally concentrated to only about 0.3%.”

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customers are understandably upset by what they see as false or misleading claims about sourcing…& if they notice it, the concentration of their supplements, leading many to distrust the whole natural industry. & they have a right to be pissed off!

in the 2013 case of Holt v. Reserve Life Organics, LLC., plaintiff Kathleen Holt claims the company tricked consumers into paying too much for supplements that contained very little of the promised resveratrol & used mostly nonorganic Japanese knotweed instead of organic French grapes, as claimed.

Japanese knotweed is actually a resveratrol-rich & sustainable ingredient. but claiming your resveratrol comes from grapes when it doesn’t? not cool. here at suki®, we believe in transparency: our resveratrol is sourced from two kinds of non-sprayed grapes plus non-GMO, non-irradiated Japanese knotweed.

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thanks to our unique SSS actives technology, we use our resveratrol & other active ingredients in highly potent concentrations. how? because we deliver them in liposomes that penetrate safely & deeply into the derma, where these ingredients can actually create change without the VSA (Volatile Synthetic Active) irritation & inflammation caused by many synthetic actives. customers have seen the healthy-aging benefits of my resveratrol-containing products, & so can you if you check out the full line of products at sukiskincare.com.

there’s a whole world of difference between a “natural” product made to feel nice & a sophisticated scientific formula made to solve skin problems. no conventional “symptom-based” therapy will truly solve a long-term systemic problem, as those of us who have struggled with such issues know all too well L my products take the whole body into consideration, starting with the source of allergies, immune system deficiencies & systemic imbalances that cause skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema & more.

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resveratrol is an ingredient that helps systemically solve skin problems. & for “internal use” there’s absolutely no harm in beefing up that antioxidant base with a moderate glass or two of resveratrol-rich (organic & sulfate-free!) red wine.

so cheers to your good health (& that includes a positive attitude & some well-deserved relaxation)!

xo

—Suki

BORED BY BOOK CLUBS? START A COMMUNITY GARDEN!

I drive by my “city” garden every day on my way to & from work. years ago, I would take daily walks or bike rides by & watch people working, each in their little patch of land but all connected. I’ve always wondered, how do these community gardens get started?

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turns out, the first community gardens started in Detroit in the 1890s to provide land, work & better nutrition to unemployed citizens & their families during a difficult economic time. in my community of Northampton, MA (check it out!), a group of people got together & divided up an overgrown kitchen garden on the grounds of an abandoned psychiatric hospital. talk about repurposed land!

communitygarden.org estimates there are more than 18,000 community gardens in the U.S. and Canada! In Northampton, any resident can claim their own 20 x 20 plot of land with access to water, tools & plenty of homemade organic fertilizer for just $22 a year. gardeners are encouraged to plant a mix of flowers & vegetables for maximum biodiversity, encouraging a variety of birds, bugs & of course that environmental superhero, the honeybee.

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I think it’s an awesome idea to have shared land available to people who might not have the space at home, or who want to socialize while they commune with the earth. dozens of studies (like the ones in this communitygardens.com overview) have shown that community gardens have individual & city-wide benefits: they reduce crime, encourage self-reliance, beautify neighborhoods, provide low-cost food for families, improve psychological health for everyone from busy office workers to kids with ADHD & offer opportunities for exercise in our ever “widening” 😉 culture.

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I think gardening is especially great for kids—these days, so many grow up never knowing the taste of a non-GMO carrot or a tomato straight from the garden, & their idea of vegetables is a heap of mushy squares on a cafeteria tray. but truly fresh produce is so much more!

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check out this HowStuffWorks tutorial for practical tips on how to get a community garden started in your own hometown, or the American Community Gardening Association for an in-depth 2-day workshop.

what a rewarding way to beautify your city or town & connect with like-minded neighbors you never knew you had. 🙂 so start or join one today & share your pics, videos & inspiring  stories!

xo

—Suki

THE IRONY OF: “LOOK GOOD, FEEL BETTER”

(this post was originally featured  on Breast Cancer Action’s blog…check it out for more info about the shocking pinkwashing that happens every October!)

It’s fair to say I’ve taken the long route to becoming a skincare biz owner—because unlike most, I am a formulator and a manufacturer, not just a CEO. Thanks to two decades of experience, I know every ingredient and potentially hidden ingredient a vendor might be trying to slide by me.

I started my company out of a deep personal need to solve my own skin problems and health issues that had kept me sick, weak and covered in what looked a little like leprosy (seriously) for most of my childhood. Being bullied added another layer of hurt to how I already felt about my body, making me want to bury myself as far under my clothes as possible.

My primary motivator in starting my company was to share the cure I’d developed with others and help them find long-term freedom from skin issues of all kinds—to “Look Great and Feel Amazing”, you might say! So when I checked out “Look Good, Feel Better”, which purports to dole out compassion and support to breast cancer survivors—an issue close to my heart—I saw immediately that this site was entirely the American Cancer Society and the Personal Care Products Council pushing sponsored products on a vulnerable and unaware population.

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“Look Good, Feel Better” is an organization with more than 14,000 volunteers that offers groups for people struggling with cancer and a website filled with beauty tips. Their mission statement says, “improving the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer”. However, the free kits they offer to survivors include tons of parabens, formaldehyde releasers and Teflon, just to name a few ingredients that have themselves been linked to cancer! These additives also irritate skin that’s already incredibly sensitive from treatment, placing people in jeopardy for an ongoing skin crisis.

I’m not one to mince words guys, and I am one to try like heck to get people to take their health into their own hands. I myself have been at the mercy of modern medicine and all-knowing physicians who are dictated to by insurance company, doctors who are no longer the medical detectives they used to be. Say, for example, you have an autoimmune disease—this is life-altering, but a “normal” doc will only do the one test the insurance company typically allows (this is true of many diseases). If you don’t test positive, your M.D. will not disclose that there are actually other tests that can give you the full picture. Only a naturopathic doctor or other alternative practitioner will actually work to get to the heart of what’s going on with your body.

Once you understand this, a whole world of “wow, I need to take my health into my own hands because no one else will” opens up. And think about it: never before have we had so much information at our fingertips. But who do we trust? We must become our own detectives in a world where anyone can create a slick website filled with medical advice, and our doctor’s knowledge might be outdated or a product of Big Pharma propaganda.

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Twenty years ago, I started formulating my products in my own kitchen and investigating the skincare and cosmetic industry. I was truly shocked at how despicable its practices are, so I made it my mission to share the “ugly truths” I had uncovered. Along the way, I found the group Breast Cancer Action—still a small grassroots organization not talked about on E! or in Vogue, etc. Why? Money, of course! I’ve spoken to editor upon editor, year after year, trying to get this organization in the press—but no can do. It’s all Susan G and the rest who are doing nada to truly educate us and teach us to help ourselves like BCAction.org.

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BCAction is so unique in their campaigns, like “Think Before You Pink”, which exposes all the devious ways that big corporations are making money from breast cancer. Where would these companies be without their “pinkwashed” products, of which they might give 1% of profits to a real charity?  Basically, all that pink is about making money from our empathy, not about actually curing breast cancer. It upsets me greatly, because I give 100% (or more) of proceeds for a whole month each year to BCAction and I’m proud to do it. Their advocacy makes such a difference in people’s lives. For example, in 2008 they got Yoplait to stop using rGBH treated dairy in their yogurt. And while they still aren’t perfect, it’s a step.

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We all know that breast cancer is a devastating disease, and even the money donated by “pinkwashed” organizations hopefully gets to a useful place. But when most of this money goes into the founder’s pockets, it speaks to a larger problem—no oversight, no one preventing powerful corporations from using known carcinogens, irritants and synthetics. BCAction and I strongly oppose this, of course, and they take a stand publicly with who can become a pink ribbon sponsor.

Even with so many organizations doing their own campaigns, we are no closer to a cure than ever.  How can that be? Because breast cancer is largely about environmental influencers, and perhaps the biggest of these are the toxins we absorb through our skin. For companies to keep using toxins and synthetics we know cause systemic imbalances and disease—it should be criminal!

I’ve personally received hundreds of letters of thanks from survivors and those in treatment who say mainstream products seriously irritate their skin, which is already so sensitive from drugs and treatment. “Look Good, Feel Better” could truly help people if they used organic and natural products, and they are surely aware of the research on toxic skincare additives—but their first priority is clearly their corporate sponsors and not what’s truly best for breast cancer survivors.

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What if companies became committed, not to capitalizing on natural through marketing, but to providing REAL natural products in formulas that actually work and cause no side effects? The science is there. The problem, as usual, is the cost. Companies could still make a profit, just not as massive a profit.

What if every CEO, like me, refused to allow a single synthetic, nanoparticle, GMO or other questionable ingredient in their products? What if they instead made education and health empowerment their priority instead of slapping a pink ribbon on the problem? Perhaps that, in itself, would lower breast cancer rates in future generations.

Then they’d actually be helping people “Look Good and Feel F*ing Fantastic”, and it would be amazing!

xo

– Suki

A PRACTICAL ON WHEN TO SEE THE DERM-DOC

it always saddens me how many of our clients say they don’t know how their skin feels or what skin type they have. but you do know! in fact, nobody knows your own skin better than you & man that’s deep. but I digress. did you know that more than half of all diagnosed melanomas are first identified by, well, us? score one for Dr. Google.

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however, there are cases where a DIY-approach could be not only a dead end, but a danger. here are a few key ways to keep an eye out for signs you might need more than some soothing body balm or an exfoliating foaming scrub.

self-exams: use a combo of handheld & full-length mirrors (or make it fun & use your partner) to check every inch of your skin, taking note of any rashes, irritations, & new or changing moles. there’s even an acronym that’s as easy as “ABCDE” to help you figure out if a mole is suspicious:

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  1. asymmetry: a normal mole is symmetrical, meaning both halves match in size, shape & color.
  2. border: a smooth border is normal. is the border jagged, irregular or blurred?
  3. color: a normal mole is evenly colored. does the color vary?
  4. diameter: is the mole larger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser?
  5. evolving: pay attention to any changes in the mole’s appearance, or feelings of itchiness & pain.

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risk factors: some people also have factors that increase their likelihood of developing malignant melanomas. for these folks, it makes sense to perform self-exams AND see a doc for regular check-ups:

  1. 50-plus moles
  2. a history of x-ray treatments for illnesses or acne
  3. personal or family history of skin cancer & non-malignant melanomas
  4. a history of sunburns early in life, or a history of indoor tanning
  5. taking immunosuppressive medications

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remember, it pays to trust your intuition if you notice something on your skin that triggers one of those quiet, nagging doubts (you know the kind). at the very least, you get a chance to relax with some waiting room gossip mags (who’s the latest celeb to have gotten far too much plastic surgery? 😉 if your concerns were right, you may have caught a little mole before it turns into a big problem! yes, you DO have the time…

xo

—Suki

EASY WAYS TO HAVE A GREENER DAY

it can be hard to stay eco-friendly in a world where throwaway items & toxic synthetics are the norm. here are a few ideas to keep your routine a little more simple & natural from beginning to end.

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at home:

did you know that the average morning wash-up (shower, toilet, sink) uses more than 25 gallons of water?

  1. try installing a low-flow shower head
  2. turn off that tap while you brush your teeth
  3. put the ole gallon of water in the tank to save a whole lotta water per flush

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4. carbon filters do double duty – actually making your coffee taste a whole lot better & removing chlorine & fluoride from your tap water (& of course, you aren’t throwing away that paper filter every day 🙂

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5. make nutritious one-pot dishes like soups & casseroles instead of choosing packaged convenience foods for dinner

 

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6. take off your shoes when you get home to avoid tracking dirt & toxins into your sanctuary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. store leftovers in glass containers instead of plastic—they will last longer & won’t leach harmful chemicals into your food!

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8. choose bedding & pillows made from eco-friendly fibers like organic cotton to reduce allergies & avoid exposure to the carcinogenic, hormone-disrupting materials found in conventional sheets & mattresses (learn more about organic bedding options at ecofriend.com).(you’d be amazed at how effective this is!)

 

 

 

 

 

9. dress in sustainable style by hunting down cool clothes & accessories from vintage stores (vintagevixen.com has my favorite styles from the 1960s & before if you want to retro (since the 80s are back in, the 50s will be a welcome visual change for all of us!! &, thred-up has pretty much everything!

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at work:

10. ask your office to switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

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11. ask that employees communally wash their dishes instead of going through mountains of plastic & Styrofoam…an easy & logical change!

Woman washing dishes in kitchen, mid section, elevated view12. turn off computers & unplug electronics in your home or office when not in use—

sleep_computerlet them “sleep” at night too!

xo

—Suki