LIVING WITH MOLD ALLERGIES

Image result for mold allergies

None of us is immune to the havoc mold can wreak (i personally had no idea how bad a mold allergy can be until i finally got tested and treated and….life became easier!) But, how many of us test for it or even know what to test for? our air, our furnaces, our pipes, rugs, etc., and ourselves!

Are you feeling tired, congested, generally out of sorts…mold is in many cases, the top of the pyramid and to be avoided, and there are many more of course. When you test for your own allergies, ensure you get a scratch test from an immunologist and food test plus a test for food AFTER eating 24-72 hours later, which your regular doc may not even know about (much like, the right tests for Lyme, thyroid, and many others). A Naturopath can do this, OR you can let your doctor know this exists and ask them to look the codes up! simple as that! Then, you will have an accurate picture of what allergies you have and how to deal with them.

I can attest, drops are very effective in changing how I felt lung & nose-wise (but I had to make a lot more changes than putting drops under my tongue)…after finding out I had 3 pages of food allergies, presently anyway, maybe forever, I must be consistent and determined to really solve the issue. When I hear about folks with IBS, which is entirely too comfortable a topic for discussion in my opinion, but anyway, I then see them eating well, anything(!) I think, well, the essential problem isn’t being dealt with, this person perhaps needs to become more uncomfortable (and certainly seek better help) to change the diet! Food is the cure with systemic symptoms of ill health, many of which can come from mold and other allergies.

There is no magic pill for allergies, for any of these systemic problems…only real change, made by us, of course, is the cure. Hopefully, getting better will keep that necessary discipline going!

If you have mold allergies:

  1. Avoid problem foods:
    • Chocolate (or any food containing cocoa as an ingredient)
    • Cola drinks (or any soda drink dark in color)
    • Nuts (including peanut butter)
    • Popcorn (or corn on the cob)
    • Beer (or all malt beverages)
    • Wine (any aged or fermented)
    • Mushrooms, onions, garlic
    • Aged cheese
    • LEFTOVERS! After one day, throw them away or pay the price!
  1. Environmental issues:
    • Pets should not be allowed in the bedroom (tho i couldn’t keep to that! 🙂
    • Avoid having any houseplants or fresh flowers you have a KNOWN ALLERGY TO in the house
    • Clean damp areas with fungicides such as bleach or commercial mold remover
    • Humidity should be less than 50%
    • Use a humidity gauge and dehumidifier if necessary
    • Ensure filters are regularly changed, cleaned, and avoid whole home humidifiers that work off your heat, those filters aren’t clean…no way.
  1. Beware mold growth in and around your home:
    • Humidifiers, furnaces, radiators and air-conditioners
    • Sauna baths
    • Refrigerators: motor compartment, rubber seal molding and inside the unit
    • Plumbing with condensation of water (to help improve this-wrap pipes with insulation)
    • Leaking plumbing
    • Bathroom walls, showers, tubs, shower curtain
    • Moist crawl spaces
    • Basements (waterproof the area, wrap bare cold water pipes and use a dehumidifier)
    • Moldy products, trash in the house, basement, garage, outbuildings and attics
    • Houseplants, herbarium, fish bowls, greenhouses and shrubbery close to the house
    • Woods, streams, ponds, lakes, puddles in your immediate environment
    • Nearby mills, elevators or grain storage facilities
    • Fireplace wood
    • check pipes for signs of mold
    • call a mold / air quality expert certified in mold in your area to come test your air for mold! (only costs about $100 or so depending on location)
  1. And at Work

Keep your work space uncluttered and dust it frequently. Piles of paper attract dust and mold. Do not decorate the work area with dried plants or flowers. Environmental controls are often overlooked as a necessary part of managing allergies and the results can be profound.

The above ideas are a simple start but always remember the motto, “know your beauty” cause both, this is only the beginning of your education and your toolbox – knowing we have more responsibility than ever to educate ourselves, certainly not trust the status quo is so important to self-empowerment.

Good luck! xo -Suki

 

 

EVERY BLOGGER’S A SKINCARE EXPERT? UHH NOPE!

so i found this on a pinterest site i think…i had to debunk these because it’s so wrong and i’m so tired of seeing these blogs giving people such bad advice!

enjoy & know your beauty! 🙂 …xo -Suki

TAKE ACTION! TELL THE ORIGINAL PINKWASHER: STOP THE BETRAYAL! (REPOST FROM BCACTION.ORG)

BREAST CANCER ACTION’S KNOT MY PINK RIBBON(!) CAMPAIGN!

I wanted to re-post the campaign directly from the BCACTION.ORG site – it’s impressive & rare to see an organization really put it to a big brand. Guys, BCACTION.ORG is SUCH a tremendous place I’ve been recommending for over a decade now, geez i hate to count! lol They are by FAR & away the best source for the honesty, such a diverse source of information not just @ breast cancer, treatments, prevention…in any case…they are grassroots & that means it takes the passion & commitment & energy of underpaid people to make it happen. That also means they need our help! And, EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS I SWEAR! Running my own biz i promise you, every little bit truly does matter…

So, the thought occurred to me…I wonder how many of y’all, or even me, knows just how many companies Estee Lauder owns (not that that is a bad thing at all, it’s CHANGING the great companies once they own them) & how many are actually NOT laden with carcinogenic ingredients. i often say to friends this or that brand (one of many veritably STEEPED in typical natural design & marketing esthetic), & they are surprised. Even they & many of my clients, the more educated folks out there re; all this, have no idea who really owns many brands (like those labels with the nice grandma on the label? owned by a major corporation? lol). It now occurs to me i may have a problem, but seriously, it’s usually just right there on the label, sometimes finding out that Coca Cola owns Lays it’s just a known fact, you know? I have no idea how i know that! Being in the industry though lends me some insight into who owns who & Estee Lauder owns a huge share of the entirety of the skin care market. Think about that sentence. There are other major players, of course!

Ok now for the actual BLOG! Finally right?

IT’S OCTOBER!!! IT’S TIME TO THINK ABOUT BREASTS AND BUYING A WHOLE LOT OF PINK STUFF RIGHT?? (boy this has always pissed me off…)

On the 25th anniversary of the pink ribbon, we’re not celebrating. We’re angry. Angry that a quarter of a million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Angry that more than 40,000 women die each and every year. And angry that women of color and underserved communities are disproportionately burdened.

There is too little to show for 25 years of pink ribbon awareness and billions of dollars spent on pink ribbon products.

The pink ribbon is one of the most widely recognized symbols…ballooned into a multibillion-dollar industry.

This October, we’re calling out The Estée Lauder Companies…for their role in launching the first pink ribbon. Twenty-five years later, we are telling Estée Lauder it’s “Knot Our Pink Ribbon” — and we’re putting a knot in theirs.

TAKE ACTION: TELL ESTÉE LAUDER TO STOP THE BETRAYAL

  • Send your letter to Estée Lauder and tell them that after 25 years, it’s time to stop the betrayal and be honest tha
  •      Empty awareness and publicity stunts are a distraction and cannot “create a breast cancer-free world”
  •      No amount of positive thinking will prevent women from being diagnosed with or dying from breast cancer.
  •      The chemicals in their products may increase the risk of breast cancer & even interfere with treatment. Tell them to clean up their products and stop pinkwashing!

So guys, i know, we are all busy…but it’s a simple note! Nothing to it! and i gotta tell ya, writing feels SO much better than typing after typing constantly! 🙂 However, you jam out a short but DIRECT and demanding letter? ALL SET! This would take all of about 10 minutes TOTAL. NOT AT ALL A BIG DEAL AND CAN YOU IMAGINE? DOING SOMETHING?! 🙂

PINK RIBBON HISTORY

DID YOU KNOW? Twenty-five years ago, there was no pink ribbon. But there was a peach one, started by grassroots activist Charlotte Haley that focused on prevention and political action. Estée Lauder’s pink ribbon began with a stolen idea—and when they turned the peach ribbon pink, they shifted the focus to marketing, awareness, and corporate gain. Pink ribbons have hijacked the movement and erased the real work and meaningful action needed to address and end the breast cancer epidemic.

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS INDUSTRY MONTH

Breast cancer has become the darling of corporate America. Companies use the pink ribbon to sell their products and boost their image with consumers as they boost their bottom line. Major multimillion-dollar cancer charities that do nothing to address the root causes of cancer often join with these companies. Meanwhile, breast cancer rates continue to rise every year. It’s why we call October “Breast Cancer Industry Month.”

WHY ESTÉE LAUDER?

Estée Lauder has built their brand around their self-proclaimed “commitment” to breast cancer. As part of their Breast Cancer Campaign, each October Estée Lauder distributes pink ribbons at cosmetic counters, sells a variety of pink ribbon products, spearheads large events to illuminate international landmarks, hosts star-laden galas, and more. None of these will “create a breast cancer-free world.”

…Positive thinking is not prevention…!!!

Estée Lauder tells women facing breast cancer to “choose happy,” “laugh often,” and “smile.”

Their website and social media platforms are filled with pink flowers and soothing tips suggesting that with the right attitude and beauty products, we can all become better, more beautiful breast cancer patients. (FROM SUKI: ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME??) Estée Lauder says “Having gratitude and a positive attitude can always help.“ But we know that no amount of positive thinking will prevent women from being diagnosed with and dying from breast cancer.

It’s time to stop blaming women for their breast cancer, or telling them the “right” way to go through cancer, and instead honor the diversity of women’s lived experiences. End pinkwashing!

Estée Lauder tells us to buy their products because they care about breast cancer.(FROM SUKI: AND THIS IS WHAT HAS ALWAYS KILLED ME ABOUT THIS PINK RIBBON STUFF- THOUGH BCA SAYS MANY I HONESTLY CANNOT THINK OF A SINGLE ESTEE LAUDER OWNED BRAND THAT IS FREE FROM SYNTHETICS OR CARCINOGENS!): many of their cosmetics contain chemicals of concern such as hormone disruptors that may increase the risk of breast cancer and might even interfere with treatment. We call this pinkwashing. And it’s time for companies that care about breast cancer to stop pinkwashing.

ISN’T THERE ANYTHING GOOD TO SHOW FOR THE PINK RIBBON?

Estée Lauder is proud that in the past 25 years they have donated $70 million for global breast cancer awareness, research, and education. Some might argue that’s a lot of money, but last year’s donation was just half of 1 percent of annual earnings! Join us in putting a knot in Estée Lauder’s pink ribbon. 

For more information, read BCACTION.ORG’S campaign brief by clicking below or download the PDF by clicking here.

HIDDEN HUNGER

There are a whole lotta stereotypes about supermodels…and let’s let’s face it, most of them ironically, aren’t very attractive.

It’s easy to assume that anyone who makes a living from their looks is shallow, & we’ve seen some spectacular examples of self-consumed models entirely aware of only their, (taken quite literally) “first world problems,” which is where the term “like a spoiled brat” comes from. Babies don’t have the consciousness to know their crying can be upsetting to those around them. It’s their only way of communicating! ”Adults” should have developed communication skills beyond that of a baby. But in our culture, being obnoxious, stupid, rude, even downright psychotic makes you famous (or more famous)…no consequences (a horrific trend as well – thank you internet and all those “negotiating” style parents).

In any case, if we put the words model & hunger together, first things that come to mind are probably juice fasts and eating disorders. Sure, like most things in life it’s unfair, because all that beauty much of the time is far more than skin deep.

Take Karolína Kurková…best known as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, she is also a hardworking mom & advocate for the nearly 1 in 6 American families who can’t always put food on the table. That’s right, 1 in 6 in the “greatest country in the world,” the US of A.

And, it’s not always who you’d imagine—the loss of a job or a chronic illness can put nearly anyone in this position. I can personally attest to how, within just a few months of an accident, or any type of sustained trauma, in a time of stress, when the body / mind is already down or ill…can nearly if not entirely ruin your life over time. It can rob you of your personality, your friendships, your sense of self, your income and eventually your home even! It can happen quicker than you can imagine. When we find we are no longer reaching out to anyone and talking to them about our lives, asking for help, or talking at all, that is when things are in crisis mode and the time has passed for mild action and time to rev up to kick-ass action!

It’s great to support international charities, but sometimes we forget about the hidden hunger in our own backyards – probably because we demonize the hunger in America– making it easy to look away, to live without guilt or sense of shame or responsibility.

I hope you read more about Kurkova’s work trying to make sure ALL children in America have access to (real, nutritious, nutrient-dense) food: http://www.instyle.com/news/karolina-kurkova-charity-work-feeding-america-hunger-charities

This article was a wake-up call, because although I live in a rural area, I can easily think of a few moms’ close to home who would appreciate a homemade pie or surprise meal. How about you?

xo

—Suki

SCARY SIDE EFFECTS OF TOPICAL ACNE MEDS …

As any sukifan knows, 60% of what goes “on” the skin goes IN the body & affects our long-term, & short-term health…do you know the side effects of the creams & lotions prescribed by a derm or doc have many if not more of the same side effects as some of       the more toxic drugs on the market (i’m talking PILLS here) – yea…sucks doesn’t it?

Why are we as a culture so late to the game in so many ways on things that seem to me to   be so…intuitively ummmm how can i put this….oh yes…simply, DUH!

xoxo

– Suki

avoiding toxins during pregnancy

LEARNED & UNCOVERED – THE TRUTH BEHIND “BEAUTY” BIZ MOTIVATES NEW CHOICES

Becoming pregnant shone a whole new light on every choice for Christine…she & I, for very different reasons, have been on a quest for good health (& yes you can have beauty when you choose health darn it!!!) & to uncover the truth behind all those empty promises of cures, “anti-aging,” the next best thing in skin care, & on & on…

Here, Christine shares her story & why she decided to ditch synthetics & toxic food, beauty & healthcare FOR GOOD! xo -Suki

 

petrochemical refinery

THE INDUSTRY HASN’T CHANGED FROM THE 20’S!

Topicals have a deep effect on the internal workings of the body – especially in babies, where you are programming early whole body wellness…This ridiculous “info” is put into the universe as gospel by well-meaning but uneducated, non-digging bloggers, or perpetuated by uneducated estheticians, dermatologists & the like.

I mean, let’s face it: most mainstream doc’s “thoughts” are placed there by their latest drug rep; estheticians, by great marketing & packaging from their latest skincare brand; derms, They rely on the prescription pad & latest fillers to make more dollars quick! everyone is a consumer, plain & simple – our docs & other pros are not at all immune, & our decades old treatment system was built in the 1920s (!) with rarely any fresh perspectives within the industry (& when they come along, whew is it hard to get folks to just think!).

Point is, like most articles, this totally misses the mark on eczema & the underlying causes of skin issues & how to treat them … so sad! no helpless infant will be saved long-term with Vaseline – & big surprise, the intuitive, easy connection here between eczema & later major side effects, “inevitable in most cases”, like asthma, etc. is just not made! not to mention how getting babies addicted early to petrochemicals preps them to need cortisone later – kinda like a sugar loaded diet prepares one for diabetes.

if people don’t head to naturopaths & other practitioners, get informed hardcore & demand better commitment to a well-rounded & current education from their doctors (who are supposed to be detectives, not pill dispensers), instead of short-term Rx fixes & BS topicals that provide no real nourishment or healing, they will create a cycle of long-term harm & more problems that must be treated – perpetuating a lifetime of both external & internal imbalances, discomfort & insecurities. boooo & grrrrrrr.

Check out the Huff Post article here: http://huff.to/2hw1P5K

& of course…know your beauty!! xo – Suki

FEAR SELLS ANYTHING…EVEN A BAD MOOD

a beautiful beach!

What’s wrong with this picture? I’m not there soaking up that sun & walking on that beach!

Ok, no seriously: “Before you even think about heading outside – even for a few moments – be certain to cover every inch of yourself with protection.” &, do not educate yourselves about what chemical blocks do to your insides, nor, to your skin, in fact do to your melanin production! Just do what we say! Proof? Ehhhh. Spin! Yeeeahhh! See we don’t say MALIGNANT melanomas when we speak, we just say skin cancer, we say melanomas. That is all…we like to confuse. Buy buy buy!

Ok, let’s try this again: “Before you head outside in the sun (um…yea…where the ozone is actually closing…WAIT? what? Later…), into the natural world, before you allow the evil, toxic sun (or is it our source of life & we’d actually be dead without it? I SO wish someone would tell me what to think here!) be absolutely certain to slather every inch with toxic chemicals that will at BEST clog your pores, create skin problems & keep you from getting any vitamin D, at WORST, cause reproductive toxicity, cancer or other long-term disease, IN-BETWEEN, we have the simple misdiagnosed fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, restless leg even & other such random aching that if you’ve ever had a vitamin D deficiency, you know it hurts like a….!” Ok got it!

Sure sounds more than illogical, just darn stupid when you lay the stone cold truth on the table, no? So why then are we robotically, going along with the brainwashing we’ve been sold for years now on the, “dangers of the sun?” Why are we buying sun care products in droves for our drives to work? When that is usually our ONLY time “outside?” Just like, why are we feeding our children legal speed to deal with their “diseases” of ADD, OCD (just as long as they aren’t outside running around god forbid!)? Are we so out of touch with our basic intuitive skills? Our own good judgement?

We inundate ourselves with pills to treat our real pain, yet never do the necessary work to solve the real problems we have. We look to our ‘doctors’ (note I did not say healers here), who do not even THINK to check for say…allergies, vitamin deficiencies, intestinal issues (where it all begins), or other such problems before going right to the most severe symptom treatment. We are over-prescribed antibiotics (further killing our bodies’ ability to develop the tools to heal), & even in the face of dermatologists (well, the you know, “edgy, weird ones”) who are actually, finally saying yes, non-malignant melanomas are not only highly treatable, but have nothing to do with malignant melanomas (which in turn have next to nothing to do with the sun!) but more in fact, to do with genetic disposition, lifestyle factors OTHER than sunshine…& do we relate this to the BOOMING business in sunblock each year? Nope. Call me cynical, but I’m also the one running on the beach happily, knowing the belly of the beast (the skincare industry) from the inside & knowing how little western physicians know…remember, nutrition is a one semester course to become a doctor…oy!

Even I used to believe we should only be in the sun of the morning or evening, come to find out THAT isn’t true! Midday sun, actually, is the best time for the body to receive UVB rays – not the UVA rays which cause melanomas. We NEED those UVB rays…so when you do go out, & I cannot plead with you enough to have your lunches outside, right there under the sun, unblocked, screened, shaded (& see the mood lift you get from it – hey, anything that makes us feel this good without a hangover can’t be bad :)!) for 15-20 minutes for a pale gal like me, longer for deeper skin tones. See for yourself after a few months how you feel. Do a vitamin D test, not to mention a full screen for vitamins, minerals, food allergies including a test for delayed food reactions – your doc will look at you like your insane…& in that moment you’ll know it’s time to keep him/her as your primary care & find a fabulous naturopath to be your detective, like, uhhhh “House”! What doctors used to be & no longer have the time for since they have insurance companies telling them they get 7.2 minutes’ per “customer”. Naturopaths, chiropractors (the GOOD ones only), homeopaths, & it’s true of all healers, you need to get a couple recommendations, there are the good, the bad & the lame…but your first visit should be extensive & take about two hours (no I’m not kidding).

By the way, you know Lyme disease, the epidemic of late? Most doctors will not find it with the ‘standard” test. You must go to specific labs who do the extensive Lyme testing & it will cost $$. Same for thyroid disease & many others. If you do not test for 3 things you will be told you do not have a thyroid condition even if you DO. Happened to me. Happened to several people I know with Lyme, so they ended up on antibiotics & fairly unable to do anything for YEARS. They could have died. This is the curse of the American medical system, & anyone’s innate trust in it… You see, we are in charge of our health. We are not babies who fall into a doctor’s arms without dong our own research. That’s just crazy, the best Western physician will agree. Haven’t we heard enough about people accidentally dying from bad or stupid prescription mixing or misdiagnosis, or doctors not doing the research they need to. Women being told they are depressed & years later, they finally find a TUMOR?!

Folks, do some in-depth reading on this…then dump the screen. Get some sun, a hat, & have some damn fun!

How did this hatred & fear of the sun come to pass? Think of a few expressions: someone who is generally cheerful is said to have a sunny disposition. There are hundreds of happy songs about riding to the beach with the convertible top down. & really, our moods change dramatically when the days turn from stormy to sunny, from cold to warm…in a heartbeat. Again, what’s wrong with this picture: someone who enjoys tending their garden sees the petals of the flowers & the plants’ leaves literally turning toward the sunlight each day, but nonetheless never ventures outside without first laying on the highest spf they can get their hands on.

Imagine this little Q&A: How does your garden grow? Fab! What makes it grow? Plenty of sunlight, plenty of water & lots of TLC. Do you treat yourself to the same? He**, no! I drink lots of water, & well, the sun is so toxic & will make me old before my time! I avoid it at all costs! This could not make less sense, but MOST people – gardeners or not – think exactly this way.

Consider the facts: there is increasing evidence that people who use synthetic sunscreens have a much higher incidence of skin cancer than those who refrain. According to one study, fully 85% of American citizens – the most sun block-worshipping people on the planet – suffer from a vitamin D deficiency.

Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, it’s also the only real source of essential vitamin D, despite what the chemical companies, mainstream synthetic skincare companies & not remotely in-the-know dermatologists will tell you…you cannot get the same form of vitamin D from synthetic vitamins, mock natural forms, or from food, & it just don’t work that way. Nature already made the perfect form…& everyone under the sun – there’s another one of those pro-solar expressions – would benefit & lower your risk of a host of debilitating diseases including colon, breast, prostate & ovarian cancer. Further, wearing an SPF of higher than 15 contributes to skin cancer! The higher the spf, the lower the UVA protection, & it’s UVA that is linked to DNA damage, which in turn is linked to malignant melanomas (which are linked to environmental & genetic predisposition).

Some other facts – it isn’t going to age you! All this talk about how the sun is the major cause of aging is I SWEAR, as much of a lie as that ANY cream can turn back the clock! &…SO frustrating! there is absolutely no evidence that the sun causes premature aging. Now, tanning & burning the skin, THAT is cause for concern and I would NEVER recommend this. But getting a healthy dose each day of screen-free sun…that will never cause you ill health, premature or unnecessary wrinkles. Ever. All it will do is keep you happy & healthy. & it really angers me that people have been made afraid of something so key to their good health. To sell products.

I’ve been happy to see the tide finally beginning to turn on attitudes about sun block. But this is an area where I still expect to be met with great resistance, not only from the mainstream media (however I did see a piece in Oprah on the need for vitamin D so we are getting somewhere) but also from people who have been told for so long that the sun is our enemy that they actually came to believe it…which, let’s face it, is most folks.

In the spirit of my tag line “know your beauty” it’s time to truly get past the scare tactics & to the truth — the sun is just one…but, here are a couple books to check out: The Healing Sun by Richard Horbday & The UV Advantage by Dr. Michael Hollick. You can check out Mr. Horbday’s site at: www.thehealingsun.org & Dr. Hollick’s at: www.uvadvantage.org

Enjoy life &…to your good health & MOOD!

xo
– Suki

 

BADASS WOMEN: JENNIFER LAWRENCE

 

at just 25, Jennifer Lawrence kicks a**! she seems to have a wisdom & perspective that belies her youth & many other people’s silly ideals of feminine perfection. she notably refused to lose weight for her role as heroine Katniss Everdeen in the post-apocalyptic Hunger Games movies, & got the chance to respond to a storm of media body-shaming with poised replies like the one above, setting one hell of an example in the process!

she’s been called “the most talented young actress in America” by Rolling Stone, & unlike many, hasn’t let it go to her head. instead, she’s used her success to support charities like Feeding America & the Special Olympics.I applaud Ms. Lawrence for refusing to take part in the deadly Hollywood “hunger games” that lead so many Hollywood starlets & the girls who imitate them into battles with eating disorders & twisted body images!

you keep keeping on woman!!! know your beauty never looked more fabulous!

xo

—Suki

Pro-Am Spotlight: Suki Kramer – How Dance Impacts the Entrepreneurial Mind

 I recently saw an interview with a one-legged Olympic skier.

She lost her leg when she was a child, and reflected on the day her mother casually handed her a pamphlet for ski camp. It was moment that changed her self-concept forever, and helped her begin to envision a future beyond recovery and the limits of her “condition.” Her mother planted quite a seed that day– enough for her to see herself not as a, “one-legged woman” but as someone who could ski…and eventually become a champion.

Her story was an inspiring reminder to me of the power of our minds to shape our reality. When we have a clear and detailed vision of what we want, we have the ability to create anything we wish for ourselves. It’s a truth I’ve always believed, that has largely shaped where I am today. What we believe about ourselves is…the…truth…and we can change those closely held beliefs if we make the decision to do so.suki dance 2

Not that I’m not suggesting forced positivity or some daily affirmations will do the trick! I mean, who can seriously maintain a positive attitude all the time? It’s not authentic. Sometimes being justifiably pissed off can be more motivating than any mantra, and we all need a little down time here and there. Growth doesn’t happen smoothly or quickly—even when we are purposefully seeking change, we stubbornly cling to our comfortable, familiar patterns. Eventually, though, with mountains of hard work, sacrifice and risk…the seemingly impossible becomes possible. When our vision for ourselves is fluid, when we sit down and plan out, in annoyingly infinitesimal detail, exactly what we want for ourselves, it’s pretty amazing – suddenly we start getting “lucky,” guides and teachers show up to help us, our fears slowly fall away as our confidence grows…and new possibilities open up.

My life revolved around work until about 7-years ago, when I was fortunate enough to discover ballroom dancing. I quickly went from a casual student to a 14-lesson a week addict. Much like my “ideal vision” for my products and my business, I soon developed a clear image of what I wanted to look like in my favorite style, International. I had another impossible dream to chase. What I found in the studio was a place where I could shut everything else out, and where I always left in a good mood.

As I’ve improved under the direction of my amazing teacher and incredible coaches, my body is starting to feel like it can do the things I’m asking of it…suddenly, the process of learning has gone from frustrating to interesting. In my business, I’m always experiencing new things: chemistry knowledge was first, then came the far more challenging 20-year task of learning to run a business. Learning American Smooth is showing me again, that I need to have a vision for myself as a dancer that is different, this time, “emotional,” rather than purely technical…a big challenge for me. This process of learning offers so many opportunities to discover and overcome mental and emotional blocks, which is why I often say learning to dance is better than therapy! It has given me the courage to put myself out there, even if that means I could potentially embarrass myself in front of an audience or a judge or just the mirror! Of course, that’s what it was like starting my business, but this often feelsriskier because it’s so personal.

The risk, though is part of what is great about this process. There will always be new ways to improve and old ways to discard. Working through pain, fear, frustration, and lack of control, and actually reaching the goals that can temporarily feel very far away is produces authentic confidence. But, a successful entrepreneur, like a dancer, can’t be flighty. The commitment is the important thing.

My remarkable teacher helps me grow in ways I could have never imagined. He creates a world for me to experience the successes that create confidence, that in turn create more successes. I’ve also benefited from the knowledge of the very best coaches who have further accelerated my education and skills, and unlocked the many puzzles I’ve struggled with. Starting my company, I had to learn through trial and error, often on my own, how to survive in a very competitive world. The pro-am relationship is a fantastic advantage that ensures we aren’t devastated from a “failure” or a fall. They are there to give us a pep talk or talking down, if necessary. I mean, they actually make us look good…pro-am is a sweet deal, no?

suki dance 3In a way, a great teacher is almost like a great parent! I recently had an “aha” moment in dance that helped me realize I needed to see myself as a leader in business. You would assume I’d have nailed that after almost 20-years, right? But not so…I’ve struggled with the concept all along. Again, I had to change my self-concept since I’d only ever seen myself as a, “worker,” rather than a, “mentor.” So I started to visualize what a leader in my own company might look like. Sure I owned the business, but that is different than seeing myself as a leader who needed to perform at work much like at a competition. I also realized how lucky I was to have built a brand with principles other people believed in and wanted to be a part of.When I started my business, I seemed insane by any “normal” standards (and believe me, my friends and family told me so!). I should never have made it past year one! In my “early days” starting suki® skincare, I was a freelance writer and waitress with no experience running a business. I had no start-up capital and little understanding of the chemistry necessary to formulate my ideal product – 100% pure and truly effective for hardcore skin problems. What I did know was that for people like me, who struggled with a lifetime of severe skin issues, who couldn’t tolerate chemicals, and didn’t find any relief in “naturals” or pharmaceuticals, there was nothing that really worked. If I could figure out how to create solutions that were both strong and safe, so many people who knew the pain and stigma of severe skin problems, like me, would benefit. And, being fiercely independent, the idea of committing my life to someone else’s vision, including taking on a business partner to influence my ideals, didn’t match who I am.

So, with no resources or experience, and armed with no more than my ideas, I set out to build a business, and I learned, step by little step…and by investing a whole lot of “sweat equity.” I sought out mentors to help me learn things like how to write business plans, run projections, build a website, and market my products. I read books on how to solicit magazines for exposure. Heck, back then I didn’t even know what the term “branding” meant, much less doing the actual branding! I recall when I first presented my ideas to chemists for help, so many turned me away because they said what I was setting out to do was going to be impossible. But, I continued until I finally found two mentors in the industry who would go on to generously answer all my questions and teach me the principles of formulation science, as I discovered innovativeingredients and new technologies. After 2-years of experimentation in my kitchen, my “impossible idea” became a brand new way of looking at and treating skin problems. At that point, I got in my car and started selling my very badly self-designed and bottled, but fabulous formula around town, then nationally, then globally…

The reason I was able to succeed, despite my total lack of experience at the time, was that vision I had for myself and for my product. I wanted to help people, including myself, feel and look better. But I also knew there had to be a way to develop something better than what was on the market. Sure, I could have seen my daily experiments as failures, but I chose the word, “experimentation.” I took notes, and every day I would ask my chemist questions, do research…throw away my “experiments,” get up and do it again…for 2 years…while I learned the “other things” I needed to know until I had what I was looking for. I also studied with a very generous designer who schooled me on all things marketing. suki dance 4I never forget my business has afforded my the opportunity to dance, which I’m so grateful for…

At the end of the day, when I leave my office and go to dance practice, I’m happy, I’m present – and I don’t have to remind myself to breathe…and that’s more than enough…well…now that I think about it, there are a few competitions I really would love to win (or as my teacher would say, we have to get to the finals first, lol)…yes, I think I’m just going to settle on the totally unrealistic vision of myself on that top step…