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.

The Moment My Heart Broke: The Power of Literature

 

The Moment My Heart Broke The Power of LiteratureWhen I read something I love, I read with a pen, with a fervor, with an impatience. I prefer paperback books so I can crease the binding. When I love a book, it looks battered and abused. In my lifetime, I have gone through four copies of Macbeth that have, quite literally, fallen apart on me. This year it was time for a replacement – the last one was about 9 years ago. I tried to save it with packing tape, glue, rubber-bands, but it was beyond repair. I love my books to their death.

One of the saddest moments of my life was moving from my parents’ house to my first apartment. My Dad had built shelves for every inch of my room so I was always surrounded by the books I read, blanketed by their hopes and dreams. When I had to move, there was no room for the books and my parents wanted to convert the room. I tried to sell them, give them away, donate them, but to no avail. I remember I placed an ad on Craiglist saying “free books” and I just left them out on a table on my front lawn. It was August. A whole day passed and it began to rain. I stood out there in the rain with my books as their words dripped from their pages, disappearing to only live in my mind. Homeless, lost; I was abandoning the pages that comforted me for my entire life.

I slumped into the grass and just cried. All around me, I watched the end of the wild things, of Desdemona, of Portia; I said goodbye to Heathcliff, Red Horse, and Sebastian. It was the dawn of a new era and the death of another.

Moving into that apartment without my books, I have never truly recovered. People have bought me books since then, but I quickly try to get rid of them or bring them with me to school because I will not make another home library again. I have this deep fear that I will have to abandon my books again someday and I just don’t think I could live through that kind of loss again.

As an English teacher by day, this is one of the hardest questions I receive. I usually throw my hands up and say that I don’t know, but this time, I am not allowing myself any excuses. What I simply cannot do is choose one of these books over the other because I love each of them for different reasons. What I guarantee is that each of these books has somehow cut me to the core, whether it was breaking my heart, relating to me at the time I needed it to, making me aware, or inciting other inspiration.

Here is “the list,” in no particular order:

  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Grendel by John Gardner
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • From Good to Great by James C. Collins

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

 

I’m Just So Tired! Ways to Bring Energy into Your Life

I'm Just So Tired! Ways to Bring Energy into Your Life

It’s just about 3:00pm, you stare at the clock, an hour passes by for it to turn to 3:01pm. You’re exhausted. All you can think about is heading straight for your couch, your cozy socks, and a warm cup of tea. The mid-afternoon slump.

Or your alarm starts blazing. It’s 5:00am – time to get up and shower, walk the dog, or go for a run. You hit snooze – nine more minutes will do the trick. Ten seconds later and your alarm is ringing again. The morning slump.

It’s Friday at 9:30pm and your friends want to go out for a drink. You contemplate the idea of getting dressed – for the second time today – and actually leaving your house. You send a text – “I’m not feeling well.” This white lie saves you again. The evening slump.

If any of the above sounds like you, you’re pretty much in the same boat as 2.77 million Americans.

Infographic: Americans Are Tired Most Of The Week | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

What is making us so tired?

Most Americans report not having the opportunity to sleep at least 7 hours, which is the new recommended rate for most adults according to the National Sleep Foundation. While we all know that getting enough sleep is a priority, sometimes we still need an extra boost to get us into quality sleep.

Get Some Quality Rest

  1. Try reading 30 minutes before bedtime. The process of your eyes scanning a page creates mental exhaustion, which may be exactly what you need to get you to sleep.
  2. Lavender essential oil, of course! Pure lavender essential oil has linalyl acetate, which is a naturally occurring phytochemical found in different plant species. Linalyl acetate is the essence of the oil which scientifically calms the nervous system to produce relaxing feelings. This is exactly why we named our Lavender and Chamomile blend “Rest Easy” and one of the main reasons we’re obsessed with lavender oil.
  3. Wash your sheets and blankets and take a bath before bedtime. The calming sensation of warm water (and even better if there’s lavender in your bath) helps to relax muscles and release tensions. The clean sheets and blankets mentally calm you because cleanliness gives us a sensation of being organized, which our brain needs to calm down (who can relax with chaos around them?).

If you’re already starting to incorporate quality rest into your life, there are some other techniques to give you some energy throughout your day.

Give Me a Quick Pick-Me-Up

  1. Reduce the number of refined carbohydrates and sugars in your diet. Unless you’re about to do a serious workout, carbs, when digested, become glucose, glucose spikes the production of insulin, and while it creates a temporary feeling of energy, that quickly becomes a crash as your body tries to regulate its blood sugar levels. Reducing your carb and sugar intake helps to level your blood sugar, which creates a steady stream of energy throughout the day. Some excellent low-carb snacks – cheese sticks, nuts, coconut milk, avocados.
  2. Bright, cheery essential oils can help you feel energized as well. Rosemary, peppermint, orange, lemongrass, lemon, eucalyptus, and grapefruit are great for a burst of energizing air. You can diffuse these oils, use products with these oils, but never put the oils directly on your body. You must blend the oils with a carrier oil before putting it on your body! A safe ratio is 1 drop of essential oil per 10 drops of carrier oil. Excellent carrier oils include jojoba, coconut (liquid – also known as MCT ), sweet almond, sunflower, and more. *Important note – Citrus essential oils are phototoxic, meaning they can cause burning in the sun. If you plan on being exposed to sunlight, do not use a citrus oil blend on your skin.
  3. Increase your circulation with some moves! If you’re feeling a slump, try to do a couple of jumping jacks, walk up stairs, or anything that gets your heart pumping. When your heart pumps extra blood and increases circulation, you bring oxygen to your brain, giving you some quick energy.
  4. Get cold! Just like warmth makes us cozy and sleepy, brisk and chilly wakes us up. Open a window, go outside, decrease the temperature in the room if you want everyone awake. (My students always state how chilly my classroom is, but this is exactly why I keep the room comfortably chilly, to keep everyone’s attention.)
  5. As always, get hydrated. Our brain function slows down when even if we’re slightly dehydrated. We should be drinking half our body weight in ounces of water every day, but if that’s too much, grab yourself a cold bottle of water to help wake you up. Add a spritz of lemon or lime for the essence of citrus (see #2) plus the hydration!

What are some tips you have for grabbing energy?

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Appreciate the Grease that Got You Here

Appreciate the Grease that Got You Here

For all the cooking I do, I did not own a cast-iron skillet. I must have mentioned this to my mother in passing because, in maternal tradition, she, like her mother did before her, and my grandmother’s grandmother did before her, presented me with a beautiful cast-iron skillet for Christmas this year. I was so excited! In our family, a cast-iron skillet is the purest form of cooking craftsmanship. The person who can truly master this beast is the understood, albeit unproclaimed, chef.

Last night I decided to whip it out for the first time. I hand-washed it, dried it, covered the bottom in extra virgin olive oil (and I add dried spices like thyme, rosemary, and basil), placed it in the oven, and let it drip-bake off for an hour. After, I pulled it out again, gave it a good washing, and prepared to make my cauliflower rice-and-mozzarella stir-fry.

When I was done with cooking, Frank, my husband, came over the skillet and looked horrified at all the crusty pieces that had browned the skillet. “You ruined the skillet your Mom gave you!” I looked over at the skillet and knew it wasn’t ruined, it was seasoned.

That’s when it struck me. In the New Year, we’re so focused on the shiny and new, whether it’s the new gifts we receive or the new promises we make to ourselves, that we don’t look deeply at what brought us there.

2017 was a rough year for me. I suffer(ed) from depression, I gained weight, I lost touch with friends, I struggled with my career, I made business decisions that I wouldn’t make again – I burnt out. For every metaphorical and clinical determination of the words, I sincerely burnt out. I lost myself inside of myself.

This week was the first opportunity I gave myself to actually relax. I read, I cooked and baked, I finally cleaned my house, I made soap, I spent time with my family and my dog. Despite breaking out with some crazy rash that made me look like a red crocodile, I allowed myself to just be. I refused “opportunities,” I said no, I stayed home, I made a planner, and I’m working on a vision board.

I realized I am not unlike my cast-iron skillet. I have grease that won’t wash off, stains from my past, but beneath it – or better yet – because of it all, I am a cast-iron skillet.

While I am not one for resolutions, because real change takes real time, I am all about being reflective and I decided that the grease is what got me here. Of course, I have made mistakes, and I would chalk it off to being human, but it’s so much more than that. I don’t believe we ever conscientiously make the mistakes we do, we do what we think is best for our happiness at that moment in time.

What we need to realize is that the grease, our choices, are all part of the composition of ourselves. Sometimes they weren’t right, but I think it’s more like our wiser selves seeing a new picture because of that grease. Without it, we would just be a shiny, new cast-iron skillet with no flavor, no culture, no essence of being.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident.png

Moments of Skin Mayhem: Surprise Reasons Your Skin Isn’t Cooperating

Moments of Skin Mayhem_ Surprise Reasons Your Skin Isn't Cooperating

With the skincare industry expected to reach $130 Billion by 2019, it’s safe to say that the concern for your skin is not just yours alone. There are hundreds of medical reasons why your skin may not be as you want it to be, with the most common in the United States being acne, eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea. Your skin is your largest organ, so you can almost bet that it indicates when there is an underlying issue. While all of the aforementioned issues should be treated by a medical professional, there may be some other factors in your daily life that are affecting the condition of your skin.

  1. Dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your skin will react in two possible ways. It will become dry and inflexible, or you can over-produce oil. Both circumstances can lead to redness, inflammation, dry patches, brittleness, and even itching. Be sure to consume enough pure water every day to flood your skin’s cells to aid in the rejuvenation process.
  2. Diet. As the old adage exclaims, you are what you eat. Eating too many foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates can create acne breakouts. The sugars themselves don’t cause the issue, it’s how our body reacts to it. We’re not meant to over-indulge on simple carbohydrates (bread, pasta, sweets, etc.) so our insulin levels will fluctuate when our body is trying to digest these sugars. This creates a hormonal imbalance which can turn to a development of acne and dull-looking skin. Balance your nutrition with protein, fresh vegetables, and complex carbs, like from legumes, to help regulate your blood sugar.
  3. Phthalates and Artificial Fragrances. In our daily lives, we inhale thousands of particles of unhealthy fragrance. From canned air fresheners to cleaners, to scented and harsh detergents, we’re breathing in the unhealthy air all the time. Minimize the use of phthalate-rich products by switching to phthalate-free products (like our soy candles), and avoid using artificially fragranced products on your face. We created the Resting Beach Face soap using essential oils because they minimize the risk of skin reaction, but every person is different and should monitor how he/she reacts to various fragrances.
  4. Your Face Wash or Toner. Many commercial face washes and toners use harsh surfactants, parabens, phthalates, and detergents to cleanse your skin. While these products may be effective for some people, many people don’t need such harsh cleansing ingredients for their daily life. Try switching to a natural face wash that is skin-sensitive and moisturizing; you want the product to be a soap, but not a detergent which can cause irritation. The same goes for facial toners; they may be too harsh with ingredients like salicylic acid. While salicylic acid is a useful chemical if you’re suffering from acne, we often only need to tone the portion of our face with the acne with these products. Instead, try using micellar water or hydrogen peroxide once per week which kills bacteria (one of the main culprits of skin issues). Don’t overuse hydrogen peroxide, though! While it’s killing off the bacteria on your skin, it’s also damaging some skin cells. Follow-up with a gentle moisturizer that contains oils rich in Vitamin E and C.
  5. Dirty Pillows, Jackets, & Scarves. You may not realize it, but your pillow is dirty! From sleeping on it every day, a normal pillow will have the remains of dead skin, drool, oil, hair products, make-up (don’t lie, you’ve gone to sleep without washing your face once or twice). This build-up all rubs into your skin while you sleep! The same goes for the collar of your jacket and your scarves. Just be sure to wash these items regularly (ideally would be once-per-week) to keep a clean environment for your face.
  6. Your Cell Phone. You touch your cell phone hundreds of times per day. Sometimes your hands are clean, sometimes they’re not. You stick your phone in your purse, your pocket, your hoodie, tables, hand it over to your kid who wants to play a game, use it in the restroom… all of this causes millions of various germs to grow on your phone. Then, that one time you go to answer it, poof, that’s all over your face! First thing is to keep your phone in a case to avoid all of those germs to actually get into your phone; this makes it much easier to clean, also. Then clean your phone case with rubbing alcohol every day (or, at least as often as you can remember!).
  7. Your Hands. You probably touch your face dozens of times per day, and while you do wash your hands every time you use the restroom, you’re still touching your face after you type, touch door handles, the office coffee pot. While we can’t live in a bubble, just remember to continue to wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
  8. Your Pets. While you may not be distinctly allergic to pets, their dander is generally a human irritant. Your face may be more sensitive to pet dander causing some inflammation. Plus, we all love having our dogs kiss our faces, but the old myth about their mouths being clean is simply not true… if you have ever had a dog, you know just about everything goes into their mouths, and in turn, onto your face.
  9. Your Cosmetics. Not all makeup is created equal and some brands use ingredients that may be irritating to you without even realizing it. If you suspect your cosmetics may be the cause of your skin irritation, spend a few days without wearing any to see how your skin responds.
  10. Vitamin Deficiency. If you’re lacking certain vitamins, your skin could be one of the first places your body demonstrates this deficiency to you. The best way to check this is to visit a medical professional to test yourself for vitamin deficiencies, in the meantime, eating a balanced diet and taking a daily multi-vitamin will help cover these bases.
  11. Pollen & Dust.  While “hay fever” is a common allergy, you may not realize how it’s also affecting your skin. Common allergies activate our body’s histamines, which often cause reactions like runny noses, itchy eyes, and inflamed skin. You may notice this the most during certain times of the year, especially spring and fall (when flowers bloom and when trees drop their leaves). Speak to your medical professional first, but often over-the-counter antihistamines, like loratadine, will help deter these effects. Also, being sure to dust and vacuum frequently to eliminate these from your home will help minimize their effects.
  12. Air Pollutants. We’ve all heard the term “free radicals.” Free radicals are air pollutants that come from our daily lives like carbon emissions and cigarette smoke. Of course, if you smoke cigarettes, this damages healthy skin cells amongst hundreds of other harmful effects on the body. While you can control whether or not you smoke, you cannot control your environment completely. The best protection is to keep your face clean and protected with deep moisturizers that create barriers on your skin. This will not prevent all free radicals but will reduce the amount that reaches your skin.

The most important point to remember is to listen to your skin. If it’s suddenly not cooperating with you, it’s trying to tell you that something isn’t right.

*Disclaimer: Please note that none of the above replaces the advice of a medical professional. If you suspect there is something wrong with your skin, seek the advice of your medical professional before making any changes or starting a new skin routine.

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo

Fragrance Spotlight: Why You Need Lavender in Your Life

Fragrance Spotlight_ Why You Need Lavender in Your Life

I’m in love with lavender. I’m so in love with lavender, I was once tempted to make my business solely based on all things lavender. I settled for purple as our brand coloring, but there’s no doubt you’ll see my obsession with lavender if you simply searched the term on our website. So, what exactly makes lavender the most sought-after fragrance in the bath, body, and candle market?

Lavender itself is a plant, actually part of the mint family, distinguished by small, purple flowers grown upwards in grass-like fashion. It has a gentle, floral aroma which makes it incredibly popular for uses in cosmetics and home aesthetics. It’s relatively easy to grow, as long as it has proper drainage; the lavender plant does not tolerate saturation very well. It needs a good amount of light and does well in warmer climates. If you’re in a colder environment, lavender takes well to being potted.

Dating back to the time of Ancient Rome, the origin of the word lavender comes from the Latin, “lavare,” which means to wash. The Romans would often use the lavender plant to scent their baths, and while they did so, they discovered the properties it has to create a feeling of soothing and relaxation.

According to WebMd:

Lavender is used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, and depression. It is also used for a variety of digestive complaints including meteorism (abdominal swelling from gas in the intestinal or peritoneal cavity), loss of appetite, vomitingnausea, intestinal gas (flatulence), and upset stomach.

Lavender’s known relaxing properties are what drove me to create the Rest Easy aromatherapy spray. A beautiful blend of lavender essential oil with Roman & German chamomile, this spray can be used in an aromatherapy necklace, as a perfume, as a linen spray, for baby, as a facial toner, as a make-up remover, and even on medium-large dogs. Lavender and chamomile are a few of the only essential oils safe for babies; however, I always recommend you check with your pediatrician first – every child is different! Also, as a warning, while lavender is generally regarded as safe (GRAS under the FDA), it is best to avoid using lavender essential oil when pregnant, while on medication that could induce drowsiness, or when undergoing anesthesia.

Regarding its fragrance, lavender is beautiful on its own but is also known for blending well with numerous scents. In perfuming and blending, lavender is considered a middle floral note, and it blends particularly well with other florals, cleans, and fruit scents, though mixing it up with sweet scents also creates a wonderful blend, such as our famous Midnight in Paris bath bomb which is a blend of lavender and chocolate. I like to also bend the rules a little by blending lavender with woodsy/musky scents, like sandalwood. Our two best-selling candles are lavender blends: Unstressed, which is lavender and chamomile (two florals), and Weekend Getaway, which is lavender and sandalwood (floral and woodsy).

While lavender is now grown all over the world, and has been grown for over 2500 years, the most coveted lavender comes from Bulgaria. Surprisingly, if you sought to purchase lavender essential oil, there are so many varieties with numerous differences in price. Market prices change drastically pending crops, but as of right now, the general going rate, per pound:

  • Bulgarian Lavender – $100 – floral, sweet, choice for aromatherapists
  • French Lavender – $85- simple, sweet, floral
  • Lavender 40/42 (most common essential oil) – $40 – herbaceous, floral, and woodsy (main choice for soaps)
  • Population Lavender – $107 – green and a little sweet
  • South African Lavender – $50 – actually a hybrid, known as lavandin; the notes are fresh and sweet
  • Spanish Lavender – $67 – fresh, floral herbaceous odor

One of the best sources regarding lavender is the blog written by New Directions Aromatics; an excellent read for anyone who wants to learn even more about lavender!

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo

A Moment to Rise Up: Body Shaming For Business

A Moment to Rise Up_ Body Shaming For Business

I am fat. This is not a secret. Aside from the pragmatic fact that I can’t hide this reality, it is something I have accepted about myself. I recognize the health risks, the lack of clothing options – I am painfully aware of weight limits on rides, of my hips on airplanes, how I choose to stand on subways. I am extra cognizant of sweat, of keeping my hair long, and avoiding sleeveless dresses like they’re the plague. I can tell you how many points, calories, carbs, sugars, and the fiber of nearly every common food.

Growing up as a fat child, I grew a very thick skin… pun intended. I was “baby beluga,” “fat ass,” “piggy,” and everything in between. I have been told “But you have such a pretty face,” “maybe if you lost weight,”  and what I shouldn’t be wearing more times than I can count. I have avoided reunions and social gatherings; I have exercised until I vomited. I have tried juicing, drinking shakes, gone carb-less, went Meditteranean, counted everything under the sun.

The very topic of weight is my Kryptonite, but I have embraced this reality.  That being said, it’s not something I want someone to offer to “fix” unsolicited.

It should be as equally socially unacceptable as if someone suggested, WITHOUT BEING ASKED, acne medication, hair growth treatment, anti-aging cream, deodorant, breast augmentation…. you get the picture. Nonetheless, people view my weight (and based on my conversations, not just me) as a gateway to promote their health business to me.

Exhibit A
The top message is a private message I received to my business Instagram, and the bottom message was my response:

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When I initially received this message, I was hurt, shocked, and quite indignant. While the hurt and shock dissipated, I remain indignant. As a professional and as a business owner, I was tempted to just reply “no thanks,” but I am tired of being considered broken. I am tired of being considered less worthy of respect than anyone else with an issue.

So many thoughts ran through my mind – Who is this person to think she has the right to believe she is better than I am? What level of arrogance does one need to impose her lifestyle on mine? Does she have any idea of who I am?

I am a friend, a daughter, a granddaughter, an aunt, a sister, a niece, a wife, a teacher, a soap-maker, a business owner, a colleague, a network leader, a community member, a dog-mom, a New Yorker, a home-owner, a tax-payer… I am so much more than my weight.

Yet, in one fell swoop, everything that embodies my identity came down to my body. My body that is not acceptable. My body that others believe I should change. Do I recognize all the repercussions of my weight? – Absolutely. Do I walk around and point out how others are flawed and recommend I should change them? – Absolutely not.

Body shaming in business, sadly, is nothing new. While not all marketing uses tactics that are so direct and personal, all body shaming approaches are equally grotesque. Every day we are blasted with before-and-after photos, with photoshopped images of celebrities, with idealized caricatures of people.

Even the champions of body image, like Melissa McCarthy, Chrissy Metz, and Ashley Nell Tipton have all suddenly embarked on a weight-loss journey. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier, and even wanting to be thinner (I know I still want to be thinner), there is something dreadfully wrong with the concept that we, as fat women, are not enough – as who we are, where we are.  There is something dreadfully wrong with the idea that the solution for weight loss is as simple as eating less and moving more – even science has proven that the psychology runs far deeper.

There is something even worse with the movement for inclusion and “fatness” is still something to be ostracized, separated, and unaccepted. The idea that all “fat” people are lazy, sitting around eating fast food. I am fat and I work three full-time jobs and I haven’t had fast food in over ten years.  When it comes to business, I should want to buy into whatever you’re selling, not be shamed into buying it.

But “It’s about health and living a healthy lifestyle” – yes, true, but it should also be about living life in the current moment. It should be about loving who we are at this very moment and not just what we could be, and more so, what others think we should be.

kristen-fusaro-pizzopresident-2

 

A Moment to Give Thanks

A Moment to Give Thanks

While I encourage everyone to practice gratitude every day, Thanksgiving is specially set aside for us to give thanks, appreciate, and fill our hearts with graciousness for what we have. On this Thanksgiving, I would like to share little moments of gratitude that I have for 2017, hoping it will bring you joy and help you to remember the little moments, too.

I am thankful for…

  1. Lucy, our little, mushy, sweet-as-pie pittie. Something about her caught Frank’s eye, and he knew she was meant to be with us. We’ve had a few rough moments – like when she ripped up our brand new carpet or chewed up $600 worth of sea sponges, but the joy she has brought to our lives will always outweigh those moments. Her happy little tail, how she purrs like a cat and snorts like a piggy, how she is such a good girl and always sits for her treats. She’s the little lady of our house and I can’t even remember life without her.

     

  2. A VERY successful first annual Holiday Shopping at the Hilton event! My team and I spent nearly a year planning this shopping event, trying to make the best show possible for vendors and shoppers alike, and with nearly 700 visitors, it was clearly a huge success. I am so grateful, and looking forward to future Vine events!
  3. My amazing and loyal customers who shop with our small business, who support our shows, who spent all night voting for us as the best online shop in Staten Island (even though we didn’t win). Our customers are the most genuine, sincere, thoughtful people in this whole world. I would be NOTHING without them, especially my VIPs!
  4. Being invited to speak at Maker Mastermind for the Indie Business Network and the Evolution of Marketing seminar with the Small Business Development Center. It has been just such an honor to help other makers and entrepreneurs grow!
  5. My friends and family who are just so supportive of any wacky idea I come up with. I may be the luckiest person on the planet because I have just a strong, willing, and loving support network.  Especially my parents, Aunt, and grandmother, who make every effort to come to every show.
  6. My students who bring me joy, laughter, inquiry, and intellect every single day.
  7. My Principal, Mark, who is always encouraging me to grow and giving me opportunities to become the best self, understanding I will bring that to my classroom.
  8. Handwritten notes from my friends Pam and John. Always random, these little moments of finding notes in my mailbox bring me joy and fill my heart with love.
  9. My Vine Vendor Network family who has taught me so much about what a true team looks like. Especially Sandra, RoseMary, and Brooke.
  10. My friend Jackie who is my biggest cheerleader, one of my closest friends, and always working to help me improve.
  11. The Thankful Candle! Because it took FOREVER to find the perfect ripe cranberry fragrance that I absolutely love!

    Thankful Candle
    Thankful Candle Scented in Cranberry
  12. My consultant Barbara, who believed so much in my mission for Bath, Body, Candle Moments that she took the dive to become our Hawaii consultant! (Go shop with her!)
  13. For everyone who takes the time to read my blog posts!
  14. For my morning gigantic coffee, which has picked me up, comforted me and been there through all the roughest alarms.
  15. And my amazing husband, Frank, who is my rock, my soul, the love of my life.

On this Thanksgiving, I wish you all moments of love, happiness, comfort, relaxation, and joy.  From our family to yours!

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo