BADASS WOMEN: GWENDOLYN BROOKS

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Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (1917 –2000) was the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen, the tale of an African American girl’s transition from child to woman as she faces racism, war, death & ultimately falling in love.

Brooks was, like me, a Chicago native. she always wanted to be a poet & didn’t bother going to college because she thought it was unnecessary—to be a writer, she believed (& proved) all you have to do is write. she was already published at thirteen & as a young woman, she created poetry workshops for African American woman in Chicago’s South Side. Brooks helped lead a whole generation of black woman (& white male poets & reviewers) to realize that great poetry is universal & not restricted to any race, gender, age or class.

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“we are each other’s harvest” reminds me, this holiday season, to be grateful for more than any material possessions I’ve accumulated—it’s the loved ones in my life who are my greatest wealth & bounty.

xo

—Suki

LAST MINUTE “eco” LUXURY!

last week, I posted on fair trade/sustainable/organic gifts for all ages. today, I’m featuring some items with heart, soul & responsibility that are actually cool too (!) & will make this a memorable holiday (they don’t have to know it was last minute! 🙂 & I’m thinking new years is a time of these sorts of luxury items…but today, grab your overnight gift & be a hero!

  1. Brilliant Earth Jewelry

this brand of gemstone jewelry is “beyond conflict free”, meaning it’s responsibly-sourced to help fuel economic change & growth in developing countries, often mined for their resources with only a tiny fraction of profits going to local individuals & businesses. diamonds, colored gemstones & vintage jewelry (oh my!) to cater to every style, like this elegant sapphire pendant & unique art deco ring. since the ethics of Brilliant Earth shine as bright as their jewels, you can feel good as well as gorgeous while wearing them! get on it men & women 🙂

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  1. Breville espresso maker

a trip to the coffee shop can be a comforting part of the daily routine…but sometimes, a day in the home office doesn’t have to be interrupted by the hassle & paper waste…not to mention the questionable ethics & sourcing of Starbucks & other chains (& hey, your daily routine could use a change up too!). with this espresso maker, you can make café-quality java in your own home using your own fair trade organic beans…& what better way to maximize on the antioxidant health benefits of pure, unsweetened coffee?

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  1. Vitality sauna system

the toasty warmth of a sauna is the ultimate winter treat (& toxin releaser!) when living in a cold climate like New England, like I do (blah)! with its low emf emissions, reasonable water / electricity usage (less than the average shower can you believe) & wood sourcing from sustainable forests, this home sauna offers luxury without wastefulness. plus, regular sauna use has health benefits similar to exercise (this woke me up immediately…not that we should skip the gym & bask like a lizard all day, oh noooooo! but boosting the impact of our workouts with a 20 minute session sounds good – or hey, they OCCASSIONAL okay…sauna instead of the daily pounding J might be ok every once in a while! :)—or…slip inside for a few minutes to warm up your muscles for a yoga class, or your workout itself!

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  1. Eco Spa Vacation

what better way to unwind from holiday stress than a week at a full service resort? this list features green spas from around the world. some locations are no surprise, like the Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley, California and La Clairière Bio Hotel in Alsace, France, but there’s green gorgeous luxury to be had in less expected climates, too, from Alaska’s Chena Hot Springs Resort (run on geothermal energy, featuring the stunning Aurora Ice Museum) to the Lied Lodge (conservation land & Arbor Day education center plus a full-scale luxury spa) in Nebraska. they’re all Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, so the hardest part is choosing which gorgeous locale to check out first! I’m just trying to figure out what year I might be able to get away….hmmmmm…..

  1. Tesla model S

let’s face it, there’s nothing cooler than a new car. This is luxury at its finest…the ultimate dream gift & the Tesla’s a dream for the planet, too—way ahead of the curve, the first totally electric sports car, & can travel on one battery like, 2-3 hours, which means zero fossil fuel emissions…& did I mention it can do the ol’ zero to sixty in about seconds?! I’m waiting for the convertible, but yea, Tesla is way cool! (& they do have a totally plexi roof model).

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I’ve gotta say, though, if I had to choose just one thing from this list…that vacation is looking pretty good (hey, it’s only been a few years since I took one! 🙂 I’m going to go fantasize with that list now).

so, hurry hurry! oh, &…what’s on your wish list to Santa this year?

xo

—Suki

SHOWDOWN: LOCAL VS. ORGANIC

imagine this: you’re at your local co-op & you see a package of organic celery from California on sale—but wait, right next to it there’s a pile of leafy, elastic-bound bunches from a local farm, but they’re not organic. which do you choose?

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for many of us who are trying hard to make healthy & ethical purchases, it’s a common dilemma. for those of you still shopping at Whole Foods, it’s a massive one since they are still not labeling their GMO foods! yikes!

it’s only heightened this time of year, when many of us have the pressure of cooking for a big holiday meal, & when buying locally, we aren’t getting the cornucopia of foods we do in summer (ahhhh summer, I should really live in California, you know!). should we pre-order our turkey from that farm on the other side of town, grab an organic one from the Co-op, or just use that coupon for the conventional Butterball the local grocery chain sent out? does it really make a difference? oh yes, it does! if only the sake of the animals’ well-being, & I for one think if you’re gonna eat it, you owe it to the animals to visit both a commercial & a real down home slaughterhouse to see the difference in the treatment of animals. trust me, it will effect what you buy forever, unless you don’t have feelings of course 😉

but seriously, as far as meat goes, “organic, free range, etc.” these terms are totally meaningless on the shelves of your grocery store. there is actually no legal definition for free range eggs in the U.S.! the chickens must have “some” access to the outdoors, but this could mean time on a screened porch for as little as an hour a day! how is that “free” in any way? small, local farms with animals you can see grazing in front of you…that is the way to go for anything animal & that’s a fact.

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in this PBS article & video on local vs. organic, the experts weigh in on the side of local. in one way, it’s all about carbon. when you buy local, you are cutting down on carbon emissions. same with organic, but maybe less so if your produce has crossed more U.S. states than your last road trip.

on the other hand, it’s just possible your neighbor selling tomatoes from his front porch is spraying them with heavy-duty pesticides. knowledge is always the best policy. most farmers or small producers are happy to tell you about their methods—in fact, they are probably proud of the effort they put into their products & will tell you more about homemade compost or crop rotation than you ever wanted to know!

even so, the benefits of organic over conventional are huge. if all tillable acreage in the United States began to be farmed using organic methods, this would be the same as taking 216 million automobiles off the road, which amounts to 25% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions!

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so, according to this, the answer is simple: should you buy local or buy organic? yes!

both options usually cost more than the conventional produce you find in the aisles of a big chain grocery—but not always. farmers might cut you a deal for buying in bulk, & those organic sweet potatoes might go on sale just in time for you to whip up a batch of your signature holiday casserole. in choosing organic, you also avoid the hidden costs to your health & planet.

did you know that studies have found that organic produce contains up to 69% more antioxidants than conventional & is 4x less likely to contain toxic pesticide residues that have been linked to cancer & neurodevelopmental problems? yikes! that’s got to be worth the extra $2 for a carton of organic blackberries!

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if the product you need isn’t grown in your region (you’re not gonna find any Massachusetts oranges, for example!) go organic. given the choice between certified organic & a reputable local farmer who hasn’t sought that label, support your community & buy right from the farmer’s market or the farm itself. also look into CSA shares in your area—you might be able to bring your very own sweet peas & strawberries from farm to table. many CSA farms also have winter shares, which are great for cooking big, sustainable holiday meals.

xo

—Suki

FRAGRANCE FACT & FICTION

perfume1scents surround us every day, from that less-than-refreshing lemony bleach smell of a public restroom to a coworker’s unfortunate obsession with Axe body spray. there’s even a trend toward scented jewelry!

we can’t avoid scent in public spaces (short of wearing a gas mask to the office or the mall in protest!) but what about the products we bring into our own home? learn the surprising truth (& industry lies) about your favorite berry-scented lip balm or “summer breeze” in a spray bottle…

FACT: perfumery is as old as civilization

“…the Graces bathed [Aphrodite] with heavenly oil such as blooms upon the bodies of the eternal gods—oil divinely sweet, which she had by her, filled with fragrance.”

Homeric hymn, 7th century BCE. 

aromatic substances like rose oil, labdanum, myrrh & ambergris were symbols of status & wealth from ancient China to Rome. many also had sacred uses. back then, all the raw materials came from plant or animal sources. today, 90% of fragrances are synthetic, created in laboratories to mimic natural aromatics at lower cost.

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(perfume making in ancient Egypt)

FICTION: fragrance is regulated for safety & quality.

there is no governing agency that regulates scent in commercial products, & little monitoring of the few standards that exist. companies don’t have to disclose specific ingredients in these formulas, hence the generic term “fragrance” you see on many ingredient lists. allergy testing before marketing is not required, & when testing occurs, it’s often on animals who are doused with toxic levels of the fragrance in question. (check out this list of companies that—still, in 2015!—test on animals.)

FACT: fragrance can have powerful physical & psychological effects.

fragrant botanicals contain active ingredients that can alter mood, memory, appetite & arousal. also, some fragrances are allergens, irritants, carcinogens & hormone disruptors (often synthetics, but some natural essential oils, too!). strong fragrance can also make some people feel ill—hence those signs in gyms, yoga studios, etc. requesting a “fragrance free zone”.

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FICTION: natural fragrance = safe.

whether a product is natural or synthetic is not itself an indication of safety. natural essential oils have longer histories of use, but processing methods can vary widely. for example, essential oils are often extracted with toxic hexane gas. there’s also no legal definition of “natural”, so perfume marketers (like many other industries) often use this term misleadingly.

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pure essential oils have a 2,000+ year history of helping people with conditions from anxiety to hormonal imbalances, so there’s no need to totally fear fragrance—I use a natural, gentle citrus aroma in many of my skincare products. look for organically sourced oils & consult a trained aromatherapist or do your own research. respect your allergies & follow usage instructions carefully, especially when oils are used topically rather than diffused.

so what scents inspire you & which make you want to rush for the nearest window?

xo

—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

BADASS WOMEN: MAYA ANGELOU

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Maya Angelou (1928 –2014) was a woman unafraid to live as boldly as she wrote. throughout her life she worked as a fry cook, opera singer,  journalist, actress, director, civil rights leader, nightclub dancer & yes, a prostitute. of course, she was most famous for her plays, poetry & autobiographical writing.

although she was open about her past & the traumas she suffered, she never let herself be defined by them, or by the gender & racial labels that suffocated so many voices in her time. she won three Grammy awards for her spoken-word albums & her childhood autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings reveals the struggles of growing up black & female in the pre-Civil Rights era to new generations of high school students & other readers across the world.

Maya Angelou’s life was fearlessly far from “normal” & without a doubt amazing!

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xo

—Suki

DANCER’S DATELINE FEATURE: HOW DANCE IMPACTS THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MIND

Suki Kramer, Skincare Entrepreneur by Day… Professional Ballroom Dancer by Night

(re-reprinted from Dancer’s Dateline, October 2015)

My only dream when I was little was to be a dancer. Back then I had every younger dance student’s mentality, “dance is solely a young person’s game.” Then, I was also dumb enough to believe only ballet was “real dance.” How wrong I was on both counts(!) and how surprising for me now, as a 48-year old woman, finding myself not only in better shape but more confident than ever before! I also had no idea back then that my path would require this journey of almost 30 years, many odd jobs and eventually, finding my sense of purpose building my company, suki skincare.

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The kind of hyper-focused discipline it takes to create a business is exactly the kind it takes to dance competitively! Dance is a daily exercise working through and despite pain (no whining!), fear, frustration, and with goals that feel so far away but we keep trying with everything we’ve got, and little by little, we get a step farther each year. We persevere because of the passion we have for dance, not knowingeverything, ever. We, as the phrase goes, “just do it!” And, if there’s any preparation for a life as an entrepreneur/business owner, it’s a childhood taking dance lessons.

When I could finally take a bit of a breather from building my business, about 10-15 years in, I found the time and felt that pull and really wanted to explore ballroom…probably because I grew up listening to Glen Miller and watching Gene Kelly! As I now, 6 ½ years later, know my styles (International Ballroom and American Smooth) are as painful, technical, difficult, wonderful, empowering and incredibly beautiful as any other.

As I look back to myself a young insecure girl, I know I could never have experienced any of what dance had to offer then, because I was so debilitated with self-doubt. That’s not to say I haven’t been deeply afraid recently and continue to work through tons of insecurity, perfectionism and fear! But my dance teacher, Gunnar Sverisson, has filled me with his positivity daily and never allows me even a grunt of negativity. This has led to so many amazing changes for me on and off the floor.

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(painting by Leonid Atremov)

As I look back to myself a young insecure girl, I know I could never have experienced any of what dance had to offer then, because I was so debilitated with self-doubt. That’s not to say I haven’t been deeply afraid recently and continue to work through tons of insecurity, perfectionism and fear! But my dance teacher, Gunnar Sverisson, has filled me with his positivity daily and never allows me even a grunt of negativity. This has led to so many amazing changes for me on and off the floor.

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Being brave, trusting and proactive or competitive in dance expands into so many things: being fully engaged in the process of learning, which involves letting down our egos and facing our fears, opening our minds to new things, putting ourselves out there, even if it means we will potentially fall on our butts right in front of the audience or a judge. All of this courage reminds me of how I started my business when I had nothing and knew nothing about how to run a business, about design, marketing, I could go on and on! I had to learn it all (not to mention chemistry!), with no money to start a business, just my brains, determination and tenacity as my tools and exactly what I needed to motivate me to do what has been probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Without all the experiences I’ve had – the struggles, mistakes, the realizations, hardships, facing all sorts of people and the mistakes I’ve made – I’d have never grown into who I am today. And ironically, I’d never be able to be the dancer I am finally capable of becoming. Even recently, I had another growth spurt and finally turned into a real boss after almost 20 years! Dance plays a huge role in pushing me toward being a confident leader. While being an entrepreneur at first had a great deal to do with me facing some of the greater challenges of my dance journey, they’ll always go hand in hand.

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With the intense stress that comes with years of being a business owner, dance provides me the mental and emotional outlet and flat out fun nothing else does. When I’m at practice, I am happy and present. It is my respite – invaluable just in terms of stress relief alone! The lessons of dance and entrepreneurship go hand in hand and they naturally flow into all areas of my life. I am a different woman than I was 6 years or even 1 year ago…and I directly hold my experiences on that dance floor responsible for the confidence and strength I now enjoy.

And, I am so lucky I get to experience all this in my prime at 48! Right?

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

BADASS WOMEN: MONICA LEWINSKY ON CYBER-BULLYING & SHAME

here’s a fabulous TED talk @ cyber bullying & our ever-growing culture of disassociation, cowardice & schadenfreude. Monica Lewinsky’s story will make you think… & maybe make you feel connected to something real!

bullies have existed forever…I mean, wherever the humans are, you’ll find idiocy & insecurity. & where there are insecure humans, there is going to be bullying. but, try explaining that to a broken child, scared to face another day of school.

these days, victims of bullying have it even harder than we did (hard to believe, huh?). we now have unprecedented numbers of cowardly, angry, manipulative people sitting safely behind their computer screens with one goal: to harm, attack, “take down” & humiliate the objects of their obsession. we have websites that allow multiple unscreened posts from people whose sole, sick agenda is to attack without credibility & with no chance for the victims to defend themselves.

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so if you think bullying is only child’s play, think again…it’s a totally non-at-all-brave new age called cyber-bullying, a phenomenon specific to progress. as Ms. Lewinsky says, all this progress has made personal life “public without consent, public without context.” our culture has devolved to be totally disconnected &anonymous…cyber-bullies can gutlessly shame their victims without any personal consequences. how many of us have typed out something we’d never say face to face & regretted it later? so far, thankfully, only the most psychologically disturbed of these “trolls” actually post or encourage cyber-ranting that clearly borders on the sociopathic.

however, reality tv & celebrity scandal pop culture has certainly paved the way for people to displace their self-hatred instead of working on their issues through self-examination or therapy. we have website owners who allow their own “rules” to be broken & allow victims to be clearly abused. I believe people online should be forced to live & die by the same standards we must follow in our daily face-to-face lives. right now, the web is the wild west. there is no face, no name, no accountability, no proof, no truth…& who cares! anyone can say anything!

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back we come to Ms. Lewinsky (the young, fresh faced intern…but who remembers her that way?), who understandably retreated  from the public eye after the 1998 scandal that rocked the White House & beyond.

but did any of us think  or care about what really became of her?

in her brave TED talk, Ms. Lewinsky reveals what it was like to be at the center of the first major scandal to take place in the internet age. compelling & very much worth a view!

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