A Serenity Candle Created From Chaos

A Serenity Candle Created From Chaos

I bought twelve amber glass jars a little less than a year ago. I stored them in a drawer for that entire time. I had a million ideas for these jars. I knew I wanted them to be a candle, but I pined over the design of the label, and most importantly, over the fragrance.

I knew I wanted something a little spicy. In my mind, I kept seeing a phoenix, or the symbolic burning of rebirth. I experimented with a sweet orange and jalapeno fragrance, but I smelled no spice. Then I tried a caramel and cayenne, it just smelled like burnt sugar. I mixed hot pepper with lavender, with vanilla, with sandalwood… everything was just awful and burned my nose. I sadly decided to give up on the hot pepper.

I was actually a little heartbroken. I did not just want to buy a conventional fragrance oil; I really wanted this candle to speak to whoever was burning it – I wanted them to hear my soul through the blend of fragrances.

The scent still needed fire and spice – I had to show that aspect; the part where you find the strength to emerge from the flame, but I realized I needed it to be delicious. This spice shouldn’t be painful; this spice was meant to demonstrate empowerment, so the candle needed to also be sweet, or tangy, but completely palatable.

The idea of patchouli struck me. Alone, patchouli is musky with a bit of earth, not the hot spice I was looking for, but combined with chocolate, it is complex – both sweet and green; it gives the chocolate a punch. To add to the depth of this new combination, I wanted something floral. I love the scent of true rose, but it is dominating and overpowering, so blending rose with a fruit base to make a rose-jam scent would be perfect.

The combination of patchouli, chocolate, rose, and jam is sophisticated, intoxicating, and serene. It immediately reminded me when you’re at the breaking point and you absolutely need a moment to step away from the stressors of your life. The scent is both so complex, much like our daily chaos, I wanted something to balance the scent with tranquility. That’s where the idea of our logo came into mind.

 

Serenity Prayer Candle Scents the Moment
Shop the Serenity Prayer Candle

 

Instead of further complicating the deep and provocative scent combination I created with a witty and wordy name, I chose the Tree of Life directly from our logo. This tree is a perfect symbol of serenity. That’s when the name finally hit me… Serenity Prayer.

The most famous part of the “Serenity Prayer” poem by Reinhold Nieubuhr:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

The final goal of creating this new limited-edition candle was to ask people to stop and meditate when they light the candle. The objective is to make the moment so peaceful from the alluring aroma and candlelight that everyone could stop to collect themselves, say the “Serenity Prayer” and find that moment of calm.

SHOP THIS CANDLE NOW

More than Soap and Candles: Twenty Random Facts About the Maker

More than Soap and Candles - Twenty Random Facts About the Maker

I realized in 3 years of blogging about business, I have never actually written about myself. I like to think that anyone who is shopping with Scents the Moment is someone who is already quite conscientious about living a natural, healthy lifestyle and about caring for animals, so they would also be curious about the person who is crafting their products. Hey, I figure if my soap is hanging out in your shower, you should allow me to introduce myself – Hi, I’m Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo and I am honored to be a part of your morning routine!

Firstly, while I do credit Frank, my husband, as being co-owner, I am the one who does 99% of the product-making – with the rare occasion where Frank will help me mix some bath salts. That’s why this particular article is more about me – the one behind your candles and soap.

In no particular order, here are some facts about me:

  1. I was a complete nerd in high school and proud of it. I was one of the captains of the bowling team, one of the founders of mah-jongg club, and one of the editors of the yearbook – I even went to yearbook camp.  I now teach in the same high school where I was a student.
  2. I have read Macbeth at least 50 times and can recite random portions of it from memory.
  3. My all-time favorite Broadway musical was Rent. I was definitely a “Rent-head” all throughout college.
  4. My college major was English with a minor in Russian language and literature. My first master’s degree is in teaching secondary English, and my second master’s degree is in educational leadership.
  5. I have not traveled nearly as much as I would like to, but I have been to Russia and South Korea, both of which were really amazing.
  6. When I craft new soap recipes, I see the whole process backward in my head. I envision myself smelling my soap while in the shower and begin designing with that end moment in mind.
  7. My all-time favorite sitcom is The Golden Girls with The Goldbergs as a very close second. I prefer light comedy but have never missed an episode of Game of Thrones.
  8. I have no qualms about being a child-at-heart. I love Harry Potter, Disneyworld, The Little Mermaid, playdough, “Guess Who,” Super Nintendo… I’d rather be in Disneyworld than anywhere else on the planet.
  9. Despite being the head of a business network, business owner, and high school teacher, I am actually very much an introvert. I would pick alone-time or time with my pittie, Lucy, over anything else.
  10. It is my life’s goal to own a large dog rescue ranch where unwanted pit bulls can roam free and live out happy, healthy, loved lives. (All dogs would be welcome, I just have an affinity for pit bulls because they’re the underdog… pun intended.)
  11. I have absolutely no fear of public speaking but I am deathly afraid of rollercoasters.
  12. I like to identify as Slytherin, but my Pottermore told me I’m a Ravenclaw. I just can’t get down with that, though.
  13. My greatest dislikes are:
    1. People starting to eat before everyone has been seated or served.
    2. People who are too proud to admit mistakes or being wrong.
    3. People who lie to make themselves look better.
    4. People who are generally phony or unoriginal.
    5. Celery. Disgusting.
  14. I use all my reject products on myself. I am keenly aware of waste and it breaks my heart. I secretly judge people who don’t recycle.
  15. I am distinctly unlucky. I once picked all 5 numbers, in order, of the New York Pick-5 lotto… but never bought a ticket.  I bowled a 298 game after I was pulled out of a match.  I hit the 7-10 split spare in bowling but no one was around to see me do it.
  16. My all-time favorite food is pizza.
  17. I absolutely love teaching Grendel by Gardner, Macbeth (as you figured), Greek Mythology, and 1984 by Orwell. Teaching these works makes me so excited to go to work every morning.
  18. I have difficulty trying to complete one task at a time. This is a great source of anxiety for me as I am always working on multiple things at once and never feel accomplished. (I also never feel finished about anything, which creates more anxiety.) I actually believe my anxiety is both a detriment to my health and a core aspect of my success.
  19. If I had a million dollars, I would pay off my house, my parents’ house, my in-laws’ house, put money aside for my niece and nephew to go to college anywhere they want, and rescue more dogs. If I had any leftover… (which I probably wouldn’t, considering the price of college these days)… but if I did, I would put a down payment on a little soap shop by the water.
  20. My birthday is on Christmas. My Mom’s name is Mary. My father-in-law’s name is Joseph. I was born on a Sunday. Chew on that.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

What is Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine?

What is Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine_

I have long been intrigued by Ayurveda and ancient Indian herbalist practices. My introduction to Ayurveda is actually one of the (many) reasons I chose to develop my own skincare; I just didn’t feel Western culture used enough of these practices in our own holistic health.

The main practice of Ayurveda is the balance between mind, body, and spirit. It is the belief that if all three are in balance, you will be healthy. It suggests that total wellness is a derivative of all aspects of the whole self, meaning that the root of medical ailments is not always solely physical. Another important aspect of Ayurveda is understanding the harmony in the universe; the belief that the whole universe, alive or dead, is all interconnected.

The Three Doshas of Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, it is understood that all humans are divided into five elements of the universe: space, air, fire, water, and earth.

As explained by WebMD: “These combine in the human body to form three life forces or energies, called doshas. They control how your body works. They are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth).

Everyone inherits a unique mix of the three doshas. But one is usually stronger than the others. Each one controls a different body function. It’s believed that your chances of getting sick — and the health issues you develop — are linked to the balance of your doshas.”

Achieving Balance

Imbalance occurs when we have accrued too much of one specific dosha. Too much Vata dosha, which is the control of the basic body function, can lead to anxiety, heart disease, skin problem, arthritis. Too much Pita dosha are more likely to develop metabolic and gastrointestinal issues, high blood pressure, and infections. Too much Kapha dosha is usually shown through obesity, cancer, diabetes, nausea, as it is related to the main body system.

To achieve balance, Ayurvedic practices would teach us to follow these steps for a healthy, balanced life:

  • Eat foods that are mildly spiced. The best spices to use are cumin, turmeric, coriander, fennel, mint, asafetida (hing), black pepper, dried powdered ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. These spices help aid in digestion and balanced eating.
  • Do not wait until you’re full to stop eating. Eat only until you are no longer hungry.
  • Drink water that is alkaline. You can use lemon or lime with deionized water (like Smart Water).
  • Use skincare products rich with real sandalwood and jasmine. This is one of the reasons we make our natural probiotic deodorant, It’s the Pits, with sandalwood powder.
  • Exercise moderately most days of the week. Practice yoga and deep-breathing exercises every day.
  • Read, study, or create at least once per week.
  • Spend time just being alone and quiet. No cell phone, no technology, no music. Try to walk through nature, like a park or beach, while practicing this mental clarity.
  • Build bonded relationships with people and animals. Give hugs and love!

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Myths About Essential Oils

myths about essential oils

There is hardly anywhere you can turn without hearing about essential oils.  From relaxation to cleaning, migraines to massages, essential oils are often touted as the modern-day natural solution to almost anything.  Coming out of a generation that became warped by its over-reliance on pharmacological medications, it’s pretty easy to understand why people, especially Millennials and Generation X, would want to adapt into a more natural and healthier lifestyle.

But, how far is too far? When is natural simply not safe?

When people ask me about Scents the Moment, they usually ask if our products are “all natural,” to which I reply our products are where “nature meets science.”

Unfortunately, because of the all-natural wave in the last decade, many holistic companies and individuals have become fear-mongers, touting falsities about “all natural” that is, at best, wrong, and at worst, deadly. An example of when holistic goes too far is the anti-vaccine brigade which has instigated the resurgence of dormant diseases, specifically measles, mumps, and rubella, all on the false claims that vaccines cause Autism.

The claims I have heard about essential oils, especially from the two major multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, are downright scary. In this blog, I hope to do some essential oil myth-busting, putting our trust in actual science.

  1. MYTH: Essential oils are better and safer than fragrance oils in my cosmetics and skincare.
    1. Actually, this is not the case. In fact, there are some essential oils, such as eucalyptus, which can actually burn your skin, or citrus essential oils which cause phototoxicity. Fragrance oils, specifically phthalate-free fragrances, have been specifically formulated to be consistent with replication and safe for the skin. I would dare say they are safer since they are being created and duplicated from an actual formulation as opposed to varied crops and seasons that can affect essential oils.
  2. MYTH: I can ingest essential oils.
    1. What!? No! As my brilliant, and certified aromatherapist friend, Kayla Fioravanti says, “Beware of anyone who tells you to ingest essential oils either by putting a few drops in your water or putting them into a capsule. The only cases of death, organ failure, and hospitalization in the history of aromatherapy have been caused by ingesting essential oils. It is THAT dangerous.”
  3. MYTH: I use essential oils around my pets and babies to keep them _____.
    1. Please stop! Many essential oils are toxic to both children and pets. For example, tea tree essential oil can actually send your cats into toxic shock and seizures. Have a nice essential oil blend diffusing in your baby’s room? You could actually be triggering asthma and allergies.
  4. MYTH: Essential oils come from plants, so they must be safe.
    1. The FDA says it best: “Sometimes people think that if an “essential oil” or other ingredient comes from a plant, it must be safe. But many plants contain materials that are toxic, irritating, or likely to cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin.” Think of it this way: Poison ivy is a plant, do you want to rub it all over yourself?
  5. MYTH: My essential oils are “therapeutic grade,” so they’re higher quality.
    1. Yeah, sorry, NOPE again. There is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” essential oils.  As explained by aromatherapist Jade Shutes, “therapeutic grade” essential oils is only the use of clever marketing to imply that some oils are better than others. However, when you study the language, anything that claims to be “therapeutic” is implying medicinal practice, which is just plain dangerous, especially in the hands of untrained essential oil distributors.
  6. MYTH: I can just mix essential oils with water and use it as a cosmetic.
    1. Yikes for so many reasons.
      1. Water grows mold and bacteria. Unless you have included a preservative, the essential oils in water are just as susceptible to growing mold and bacteria.
      2. Most essential oils need to be diluted in another carrier oil for safety. Because some essential oils are so potent, they can cause major skin irritation, burning, or worse, unless diluted. As we know from basic chemistry, oils and water don’t mix (without an emulsifier), so you’re putting whoever you’re spraying at major risk for burns.
  7. MYTH: I use special blends of essential oils to sanitize and disinfect my home.
    1. While mixtures of essential oils can be decent for gentle cleaning and odor refreshing, as far as sanitizing or disinfecting – nope. Depending on what you need to sanitize or disinfect, you still need bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
  8. MYTH: I only burn essential oil candles because they’re healthier.
    1. Sorry to be a downer, but no again. Actually, because essential oils have such a low combustion rate when mixed with the fire of a candle, the fire is actually changing the chemical compound of the essential oil – this means that burning it could literally make it a) combustible b) flammable, or c) poisonous.  Essential oils not only burn poorly in candles, they make your candle more likely to spark and even explode, turning them into a major fire hazard. Plus, they really stink at being scented candles since their chemical compounds change and the scent changes along with it.
  9. MYTH: Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils will make my son grow breasts.
    1. If we take a look at the actual BBC study that has become the root of this claim, we find that they did not even use essential oils, but instead used various components and chemicals that can also be found in these oils. Dr. Robert Pappas of Essential Oil University explains most of this on his Facebook page.
  10. MYTH: Essential oils are part of my chemical-free lifestyle.
    1. You can’t be chemical-free. Water is comprised of two hydrogen particles and one oxygen particle = chemicals.  All things have chemicals.

Do you have any other questions about aromatherapy or essential oils?

*For further reading, I recommend Kayla Fioravanti’s book: The Art, Science, and Business of Aromatherapy: Your Essential Oil and Entrepreneurship Guide

 

 

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Making Lotion from Scratch

making lotions from scratch blog

Like making cold-processed soap, crafting lotion is an exact science.  It all begins with your oils and butters – knowing exactly the properties you want your lotion to have will guide you to the best possible ingredients.  When I craft my lotions (and really, whenever I craft any of the products for my business), I always think about what I would absolutely use. I will not make a product that I wouldn’t use.

I always prefer a lotion that’s a little thicker, but quickly absorbed; one that won’t leave your skin greasy.  I opt to craft lotions with avocado oil and mango butter because each of these oils contains high levels of antioxidants, but are also non-comedogenic and fast-absorbing.

I also like strongly scented lotions in clean or fresh scents; I want to be able to smell my hands in an hour and still smell the fragrance.  I usually choose fragrances that have some kind of lavender inside the mixture because if I am wearing the fragrance all day, I want it to be soothing, calming, and something my nose won’t get sick of.

Distilled water is the main ingredient in all lotions, but I like to mix water with aloe vera juice. It adds an additional level of moisture and is both calming and soothing to dry, cracked skin.

Finally, I consider all of the additives. It’s imperative to use a preservative because anything made with water has the potential for the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria; a preservative keeps the product both fresh and safe. I also use stearic acid because it makes the lotion light and fluffy, otherwise it would become more like a heavy cream. Emulsifying wax is essential to bind both water and the oils, otherwise, the product would separate. The right amount of e-wax is tricky, and even with it, sometimes natural lotions can be a little liquidy on the bottom – if it’s only a little, not to worry, just give the bottle a good shake, open it up and mix,  then close and shake again.

Check out the video below to see how I craft lotions:

If you have any questions about how we craft our lotions, please feel free to leave a comment!  (Unfortunately, we are not able to answer recipe questions as our recipe is proprietary to our own formulation.)

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Protecting the Honey Bee

Protecting the Honey Bee

As a certified cruelty-free and vegan company, we’re always looking for innovative ways to change the way classic products that have been made with animal ingredients into vegan options. We use candelilla wax instead of beeswax, fruit and vegetable fats instead of animal fats, natural sugars and essential oils instead of honey, etc..

In our progress, we have realized sustainability goes far beyond not using animal by-products and recyclable containers – it includes actively protecting all of Mother Earth’s creatures.   This feeling of responsibility has spanned across the country as more people become aware of agricultural problems.

In 2014, there was an outcry from beekeepers across the United States as dwindling bee colonies threatened the overall survival of bees. This continuous drop was deemed the “Beepocalypse.” In 2015, the government responded and got involved to create a “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators.” Since then, there has been a huge uptick in the survival of honey bees, touting a 20-year national population increase.

So, what can you do?

You can start by planting a spring garden!  The best chance for honey bees to thrive is to have plants to draw nectar from.  For an even more thorough list of bee-friendly flowers, visit Beverly Bees’ website.

Scents the Moment - Save the Honey bees.png

Once you’ve planted your garden, it’s really important to allow your plants time to grow and flower. The flowers are the part of the plant that attracts honeybees.  They are attracted to bright colors, so planting the same bright plants together makes it even easier for honey bees to find.

From the Experts

I interviewed Igor Yakolev, owner of Beezy Beez Honey in Staten Island, New York.  Yakolev does everything when it comes to honey bees. From tending the hives, to harvesting honey, to infusing all types of products with honey, Yakolev is known as the local beekeeper of Staten Island.

According to Yakolev: ” To make honey bees thrive without having a beehive on your property is by planting honey bee friendly plants such as wildflower plants, clover plants, just to name a few. Do not use pesticides because that honey bee will bring it back to its home and can kill off that hive. Remember honey bees are quite docile towards people; if you leave them alone they will leave you alone.”

Beezy Beez Honey introduced an amazing hive-hosting program that is beneficial to both honey bees and your garden. You can host a home beehive on your property by contacting Igor Yakolev at beezybeezhoney@gmail.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.


Any steps you take toward protecting honey bees is a huge step in the right direction towards protecting all of Mother Nature.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Using Coconut Oil For Rich, Healthy Hair

Using Coconut Oil For Rich, Healthy HairIf you’ve ever looked for natural ways to make your hair shinier, stronger, and generally richer, you may have come across the idea of using coconut oil. It’s a natural ingredient that is actually used fairly commonly for this purpose, and which has actually become better known for health benefits in general in recent years.

Where ordinary health is concerned, coconut oil has become a popular alternative to, say, milk or cream as a sweetening additive for coffee or tea. The oil is valued for its high content of MCTs, or mid-chain triglyceride, which are essentially healthy fats. These can have numerous internal benefits, with a recent article even going to so far as to call coconut oil a research-supported way to boost mental energy and focus. That article was aimed at gamers who might be looking for an edge, but it’s something to keep in mind in general for those who might use coconut oil with morning tea or coffee. Most of us would take a mental boost before work or school!

Even if coconut oil is getting more attention for these kinds of health effects, however, its oldest use might just be as a natural beauty treatment. As one account on a fairly comprehensive wellness site put it, coconut oil’s fatty acid content means that it is specifically high in lauric acid, which supports hormone and cellular health (and is more famously present in breast milk). Furthermore, the structure of coconut oil allows it to penetrate hair in a way other oils aren’t able to, which essentially means that this lauric acid can get into our hair and perform its miracles. Thus, coconut oil can have health benefits via external use, just as it can be useful in your diet.

This is why you’ve probably noticed that even a lot of shampoos and conditioners in stores boast the use of coconut oil as an ingredient. This is always nice to see once you understand the benefits, but opting for a more natural use that you cook up on your own can make the oil even more effective. Livestrong, of all sites, delved into the proper method for using coconut oil on your own, and we’ll recap the process concisely here:

Melt the pure coconut oil. Rather than heating it directly, it’s best to heat up a bowl of water, fill a small cup with about two tsp. of coconut oil, and then place the cup into the bowl (without letting the water flow in). This should melt the oil quickly without watering it down at all, or affecting its purity.

    • Rub the coconut oil into your hair thoroughly (and heat more as needed). This works best if your hair is damp.

 

    • Comb your hair to distribute the oil more effectively (and rub it into your scalp specifically if you want the added benefit of hair growth, as opposed to just conditioning).

 

    • Leave the oil on for a minimum of 30 minutes (but as long as you’d like), preferably with a shower cap on.

 

    • Shampoo and rinse your hair as you ordinarily would until the oil is out completely. You should see and feel the effects immediately.

 

That’s really about all there is to it! It’s one of the simpler and more effective natural beauty efforts out there, using an extremely healthy organic ingredient for a quick hair fix.

New Name, New Logo, New Brand

STMlogo

It’s fitting for our business that 2018 is the year of the dog in the Chinese zodiac – the dog, this year, is the Earth element. As an Earth Dog year, we should expect groundedness, action, and regeneration. It’s especially symbolic for us as we embark on yet another rebranding journey.

Why are we rebranding?

When I start thinking about all the things that need to change to make our business fluid again, I ask myself this same question with frustration. The answer is simple: We now know where we want to go and who we want to serve. Our goal is to make our business more directed and focused on the beauty of the bath. Our aim is to simplify with a targeted focus on calm.

Why change our name?

Our previous names are really all part of our evolution. We started as “Candle Moments” in 2015 when we only made candles, then we evolved to “Bath, Body, Candle Moments” when we started incorporating the cosmetic aspect of our business, but our tagline has always been “Scents the Moment.” Interestingly enough, we always felt “Scents the Moment” was a much clearer representation of who we are: Creating scents for moments to make you sense the moment.

Can you explain the new logo?

We actually loved our previous logo, but not quite like this one which captures the full essence of our new name, but also incorporates the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is symbolic of our business, and hopefully resonates with our customers, in several ways:

  1. The Tree of Life represents our connectedness to Mother Earth and all of her creatures.
  2. It demonstrates our love, honor, and respect for all life forms as a dedicated vegan company.
  3. It symbolizes the beginning of humanity and how we, as humans, all share moments or experiences that transcend time and space.

What should customers expect during this transition?

During this transition to a new name, new logo, and new packaging, please expect the following:

  1. Delayed shipping times as we’re spending more time on graphic design work.
  2. More items being sold out for longer periods of time. As we build to create new packaging, our goal is to minimize our in-stock inventory – so, we won’t be adding new products until the others are sold.
  3. Old labels, business cards, and business literature. Most of these items were purchased previously in major bulk, and since our contact information has remained the same, we’re trying to reduce our carbon footprint by not throwing away all of the old marketing material.
  4. New packaging, eventually.
  5. Some downtime on the website as we work to update and upgrade.
  6. Outdated photographs of items until we get new photographs with our new packaging.

What if I am having a hard time adjusting to this change?

If there is anything we can do to make adjusting to our new business roll-out easier, please feel free to contact me by email at info@scentsthemoment.com.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Dealing With Perioral Dermatitis

Dealing With Perioral Dermatitis

I look back on my youth with reverence and sadness. I never realized how beautiful my skin was. I would get the monthly period pimple, but my skin was clear, dewy, and vibrant. Youth is wasted on the young.

All of this youthful vitality seemed to change when I hit my thirties. Suddenly, I was losing more of my hair, the hair that remained was drier and graying, and my skin was just…weird. I kept breaking out around my mouth.

As a skincare maker, you can imagine the insufferable irony I felt as I battled to hide my renegade skin. This went on for months. I tried every acne cream on Earth. I bought products from other makers. I tried masks, peels, facials, hydrogen peroxide until I woke up on my 34th birthday to a full nose-to-chin face of crocodile scales.  My skin was so inflamed, red with huge bumps that resembled hives, peeling, crusty. Seriously.

I knew it was even worse than what I was seeing when Frank (my husband) volunteered to make a dermatology appointment for me. I was a monster!

My dermatologist was able to squeeze me in and when she saw my face she literally took a step back and said “whoa.” Yeah. Not much of a confidence booster there. (She’s actually great – I love that she’s real.)

Without missing a beat she told me I had perioral dermatitisI asked her why and she shrugged and said “age? hormones?.” The most unsatisfying answer.  I asked her about treatment and she prescribed me a month’s worth of Doxycycline (antibiotics), a morning corticosteroid cream “Desonide Lotion”, and a nighttime cream “Sulfacetamide Sodium Topical Suspension USP 10% Lotion”. Both creams are prescription-only.

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As for washing my face, I strictly started using Balance in the morning and Purely Free in the evening.  The goal, according to my dermatologist, was to keep my face as clear from any synthetics as possible. She approved of the soaps for my face.

I went in for my one-month follow-up and my face was relatively clear, with some minor redness left behind. She was happy to see the treatment was working, but she requested I continue another month of the antibiotics, and use the night cream both day and night (to wean my face off of the steroid cream). Well, not even a week later and I’m bumpy again, which means I have to call her to see if I can start the steroid cream back on my face.

Dealing with perioral dermatitis is not fun, and clearly, this is not something that’s just going to vanish for me. It’s changed my entire perspective on skincare. Less truly is more.

As a result of dealing with this, and learning how sensitive my skin is becoming, I plan on devoting a lot more products to sensitive skin. I will be crafting more gentle and natural fragrance options in soaps and creams.

I would love to hear from you, especially if you’ve ever suffered perioral dermatitis.


Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Moments of Appreciation: A List of Daily Moments to Celebrate

Moments of Appreciation_

It can be so easy to get lost in our woes and stresses; they are truly overwhelming. I don’t know if it’s because I was raised in New York City, or if it’s because I’m naturally cynical, but I need to make a conscious effort to be mindful of positivity and gratitude. This weekend was my positive project. I specifically promised myself to release any negativity this weekend and to stop and appreciate little moments in my life.

I hope you will use my list of moments to remind you of the joy you have in your life or to be inspired to seek out joy.

The Positive Project – A Weekend of Gratitude in Little Moments

  • Sleeping late on Saturday! I wake up at 5am during the week to get to my day job, so sleeping-in to nearly 9am on Saturday was ahhhh-mazing! I felt so refreshed and joyful as I rose.
  • Photos from the dog park. Sometimes I go with my husband and Lucy (our pitbull), but Frank wanted to let me sleep on Saturday. Instead, I woke up to find texted photos of my goofy pup having the time-of-her-life at the dog park.
  • A clean house! I decided that my mental well-being was worth whatever money it would cost me to hire a housekeeper, and I did. She cleaned the whole house on Friday night and to wake up to a fresh, clean home just gave me such a sense of relief.
  • My whole attitude this weekend was lighter because I knew Monday was self-directed teacher day – no students and we get to spend the day working on our own curriculum/grading. What a relief knowing I don’t have to be “on.”
  • In the spirit of a clean house, I decided to tackle the laundry and the messy front hall. I went to the Container Store and bought a sliding-drawer stand for the front hall so people can put their shoes in drawers instead of piled on a shoe rack. There’s a drawer for mail, for Lucy’s walking supplies, and it just organized our entire hall.
  • I spent a lot of money eating out the previous two weeks, and both my wallet and bones were feeling it (always too much sodium in take-out). Frank and I spent Saturday cooking together. We made a big pot of fresh chicken-orzo soup, we made cauliflower-crusted pizza, and I baked chocolate chip cookies.
  • Perfectly green-yellow bananas! I order my groceries from Peapod and I almost never have a problem, but this time, the bananas they brought me were so green, they could compete with Kermit. I was annoyed because I knew even if I let them sit for a few days, what usually happens is they go from that green to black, but, they actually ripened perfectly. I love when the bananas aren’t mushy and still a tiny bit green, and it just made cereal so much better.
  • Grace and Frankie returned to Netflix! I love this show and binge-watched the whole season while cooking and cleaning this weekend.
  • A whole lot of nothing. I did not make soap, I did not grade papers, I did not do anything related to any of my jobs. I just enjoyed cuddling my husband and dog the whole weekend.
  • My Amazon packages came a day early! It’s not that I needed the products I bought that quickly (mostly stuff for Lucy), but I hate being stuck with the cardboard boxes for an extra week because our recycling day is Monday morning. Score for the clean-house!
  • I spent some time playing a computer game that I love. Wizard101 – It was made for kids, but lots of adults play it, also. It’s just fun to escape my own brain for a while.

It was a truly pleasant weekend filled with little moments that I appreciate. It’s just nice sometimes to not have to be obligated anywhere or to do anything. I firmly believe the more we let go of obligation, the more joy we can bring into our own lives.