I don't receive any free samples or affiliate $ for these products. It's just taking apeek into my medicine cabinet!
Wild Branch Foods Elderberry Syrup This is what I reach for first and don't put down until the cold is done. It breaks up stubborn, thick congestion (or helps keep it from forming if you use it early enough) and is a great immune booster. Bonus - It tastes good which always wins points with kids and husbands. Made down the road in Charlotte, VT.
Thayers Lozenges. These are made from slippery elm bark which works with mucus membranes found all over your body (throat, stomach, intestines). This means they soothe a sore throat without the sour stomach side effect from too many throat lozenges and it corrects diarrhea quickly. They come in plain, cherry, maple or tangerine (my favorite). I also gave these to my older son in the car to prevent car sickness when he was a little dude.
This past summer, the Sheldon Museum here in Middlebury hosted a superb collection of antique bicycles. I was able to capture some fun moments when a group of riders brought their high wheels to ride in the area. Here are some warm up spins through the roundabout. Note the interesting ratchet pedaling system for the bike in the second video.
Below the videos are two fuzzy pictures of me, up on the first bike. I didn't ride it, but it was fun to sit on the seat. My legs were too short to reach both pedals anyway!
DESPITE A NATIONWIDE decline in honeybee numbers because of increased use of chemicals, parasites and global warming, Andrew Munkres of Lemonfair Honeyworks said Vermont bees are generally doing OK because beekeepers are getting smarter. Independent photo/Trent Campbell
Addison County is a good place to be a bee compared to many other parts of the country, local beekeepers report. And that’s a good thing.
“Roughly one-third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees,” according to Cornwall beekeeper Andrew Munkres.
Nevertheless, honey bees and other pollinators here continue to face serious challenges from parasites, from climate change, and most especially from an increased presence of pesticides and other toxins in crops and in the environment.
Given honeybees’ critical role in creating our food, understanding how to reverse this trend is important to ordinary folks and dedicated beekeepers alike.
“Even though we’re having some troubles, it’s far, far worse in a lot of the country,” said New Haven beekeeper Kirk Webster, whose business is called Champlain Valley Bees and Queens. “I hear that all the time from my customers (in other states).
“The real problem is that the chemical and seed companies are putting all these chemicals on seed coatings. And they went and got the seed coatings classified as ‘treated articles’ ... so that they wouldn’t be regulated by state and federal pesticide authorities.”
As Mraz described it, seed companies coat corn and soybean seed to prevent a range of disease and insect problems, but don’t offer farmers the option to purchase untreated seed or seed treated for pests and diseases likely to be encountered in their particular area.
“They’re using a prophylactic seed treatment, same chemicals used in Texas as used in Vermont as used in California, Nevada — it doesn’t matter where you are. A third to half of those chemicals ... we don’t even have the pests for them probably,” said Mraz.
Webster noted that he now tries to keep his bee yards clear of corn and soy fields.
“A few years ago was the one time I was really sure something had poisoned the bees,” said Webster. “I had one location that was right next to a great big cornfield, sort of wrapped around two sides of it. And the prevailing wind just blew right across there from the field right onto the bee yard all the time. And for two years in a row those bees all just went downhill and fell apart right in early June, which is usually when they’re building up to their peak.”
Webster would like to see more emphasis on organic farming.
Beekeepers know how important local farming is to their operations and emphasize a cooperative approach in figuring out how to help bees.
Still, Mraz, who runs one of the state’s largest apiaries, with hives in Addison, Chittenden and Franklin counties, notices that his Chittenden County bees and bees in places where there’s pastures and haying but less corn and soybean production tend to do better in recent years.
Webster was an early pioneer in not treating bees chemically to kill the mites, but instead breeding in mite-resistant Russian bee strains to fight the plague. He feels that the mites aren’t so much a problem in his apiary. Mraz uses an organic treatment and breeding to combat mites.
Munkres, who runs Lemonfair Honeyworks, also uses what he calls the “Darwin approach” to control mites through breeding in a number of different mite-resistant strains. He likens many of the chemical mite treatments to chemotherapy — the treatments destroy the mites but weaken the bees.
Mraz encouraged Addison County residents to create safe havens for bees — even just planting a little bee balm and then sitting back to enjoy the show when pollinators come buzzing.
“I think awareness is crucial. Awareness that there’s problems and anything you can do in your own garden or yard to help pollinators is crucial. To give them a safe environment and safe forage where they can thrive.
“Bees are incredibly adaptable,” Mraz added. “But we’re coming at them faster than they can adapt.”
Apple Pay is coming! Making it easier to pay online or at special events!
I love this time of year, abundant gardens, colorful leaves and the crisp air makes it easy for me to be full of gratitude. This fall I am grateful for all the big leaps Caroline's Dream has been taking in 2016.
The year started off with a $500 Green Energy Grant from ACEDC that helped purchase Caroline's Cruiser - the bright red cargo bike seen above. It has literally changed the way I do business. Deliveries, picking up supplies, special events and promotions now center around my very special company vehicle.
I took the time to design a full business plan with the Small Business Development Center (Thank you, Steve Paddock who is retiring this month).
ACEDC again stepped up to the plate and sponsored Caroline's Dream to receive the first Kiva Zip Loan granted in Addison County, VT. Kiva Zip is a crowd lending platform where regular citizens are assembled to easily and safely loan money to vetted businesses.
I also ventured way out of my comfort zone by telling my business story to Vermont Life Magazine at an ACEDC sponsored pitching event. Doing this event was key in my saying "yes" when WCAX contacted me to film this "Made in Vermont" segment.
Can you see a theme emerging yet?
I have made lots of big leaps this year and ACEDC has been right there cheering me on and helping me jump higher. My thanks to Executive Director, Robin Scheu (R) and her team, Jennifer Molineaux (Center) and Diane Stockton-Breese (L).
A banned chemical in anti-bacterial soap is still lurking in practically everything else Americans buy
By Lila MacLellan for Quartz
The US Food and Drug Administration’s recent ban on the chemical triclosan from household antibacterial soaps was a long-overdue victory for public health advocates, worried parents, and vigilant consumers.
Less noticed was the fact that the ban only affects a tiny portion of the products on the market containing the chemical. Triclosan—which in animal studies has been shown to act as a hormone disruptor and raise the risk for all sorts of health and development problems—is still rampant in countless other self-care products in the US, including after-shave, moisturizers, deodorants, body sprays, face masks, dry shampoos, and hand sanitizers, and even a popular toothpaste Americans ingest. It—or one of its chemical cousins—is also often found in “germ-fighting” or “anti-bacterial” versions of just about any type of household product you can imagine: toys, knives, clothing, mouse pads.
Blending Inspiration, Environmentalism And Social Responsibility In Caroline’s Dream
Tuesday June 14, 2016
By Cookie Steponaitis
Susan Shashok is like many Vermonters who were raised with a love of the environment and knowledge that handcrafted was best and as a child visited her grandmother and learned an immense amount about medicinal plants and home arts. “My grandmother Caroline was my inspiration,” explained Susan Shashok. “I remember her incredible knowledge of medicinal plants and her beauty regime that included products all from nature.”
Last Sunday was the Vermont Farm to Fork Fondo where Caroline's Dream set up a vendor booth and I cycled the smaller, 35 mile course. I am very proud to partner with Farm to Fork and gave away 500 Maple Lip Balms to all participants. It was a great day to ride and I am grateful to my events team for working from 5am - 7pm!
The Farm to Fork Fondo series is designed to bring awareness to, support and celebrate this symbiotic relationship between cyclists, farms and beautiful landscapes. All of the funds raised for the Fondo Volunteer Competition is donated to local farms and farm organizations. That means at the end of each Fondo, checks help local farmers with projects like building a new farm stand or creating a new website, and to help local organizations advance their causes like preserving the county's beautiful pastoral open space.
Can you hear the screen door squeak as you come in from a long day out in the heat? Gardening, hiking, cycling (go ahead and insert your favorite summer activity here). My products are always waiting to sooth, moisturize and rejuvenate.
Our product pages have lots of reviews to read. Even better, take a moment and write an online review!
So many good things to say about these lip products! They're handmade/homemade, natural, smooth, not sticky, refreshing, and delicious!! They're affordable and always shipped free!!! Thank you, [Susan], for your wonderful products!!! =) - Sheila
I got a stellar performance out of this deodorant, which I ordered last week. I wanted to give it a real run for its money before I reviewed it. I attended the Annual Memorial Day Bolder Boulder 10K Race, as a spectator, in 85 degrees and blistering sun. It was a long walk to the stadium where I sat for two hours enjoying the race. The humid bathroom at the stadium was probably 100 degrees, and I was dripping sweat as I helped my toddler granddaughter use the facilities. Yes, I was drenched. No, I didn't stink of BO. I woke up this morning with too much to do before showering, including taking a 1.5-mile walk outside in the sun. The deodorant from yesterday morning was still going strong. Sorry for the graphic account of the story. I wanted to report that Caroline's Dream Deodorant withstood a real-life challenge. It smells clean, light and fresh. Great job, Susan! Finally, something I can rely on that's all-natural and body-friendly! - Pamela
Let me tell you how much I love this product. I got my husband to set up his video equipment so I could tell the world something important. Was it to let people know about my own small business? No! We made the video so I could let everyone know that this scrub is a fantastic way to take care of your skin. Yay for gentle exfoliation! Yay for all natural ingredients! Yay for Caroline's Dream! - Joanna
With warming spring weather and everyone taking to the outdoors for ever more riding, the activity we all love and the resulting increased sun exposure can take its toll on our skin. Skin care and cycling are common bedfellows, with everything from chamois creams and embrocations to sunscreens and special detergents to clean technical wear.
But what about repairing damaged skin either from exposure to the elements or the inevitable tumble riders tend to take?
Caroline's Dream has a line of products designed to restore damaged skin. The company is run by Susan Shashok, but takes its name and ethos from Shashok’s grandmother, whose use of medicinal plants and home remedies inspired Shashok.
It was a big day here - Gina Bullard from WCAX came to tape a segment of her Made in Vermont Show! Lots of action shots of me making product, a nice interview and some bonus footage of me riding Caroline's Cruiser. So much fun!
As Tashina Coombs, creator of Logical Harmony notes " It’s not an aggregation of information from other sites. Logical Harmony does all it’s own brand research and includes only brands that we can be sure are cruelty free with vegan options. These brands are also contacted on regular basis so that this list can stay fresh and up to date."
Caroline's Dream is NOT vegan (we use beeswax) but we are proud to say that we never test on animals and never buy our ingredients from those who do!
Little Bellas is a mountain bike organization whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling. They bring together girls ages 7 to 16 with female mentors in programs which use mountain biking as a vehicle to teach the importance of teamwork, goal-setting, and fostering a healthy lifestyle. In weekly summer sessions or multi-day camps, mentors and girls ride together at local trail networks, focusing on improving skills as well as participating in team-building activities across the county in VT, CO, PA, CA, UT, MN & GA.
Susan (from Caroline's Dream) is an elected official for the Town of Middlebury who encourages and mentors others, especially women to recognize their community leadership skills. The Little Bellas program is a perfect partner for health, wellness, cycling and fun for young women! Caroline's Dream is pleased to provide all the program mentors with a year end thank you gift for all of their hard work!
"Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
Our company vehicle, this amazing Yuba cargo bike has just arrived! It will get a sign and a name - join the voting going on today on Instagram. Locals will see me riding all over town to pick up supplies, make deliveries and work special events when riding conditions are less wintery!
We encourage health and wellness with all of our products and with the choices we make everyday. Especially with healthy food, exercise and community impacts. I'll ring the ding-a-ling bell for you!
I received your box of goodies with much delight...and relief! I was completely out of lotion and down to 3 half-used lip balms. I have been enjoying your products/heavenly creations for 8 years now, ever since my family moved to Middlebury. Up until now, I've purchased enough to last me the year at the Middlebury Co-op, but for some reason was running low several months before our usual Thanksgiving visit.
I love, love, love your products--thank you so very much for making them, and for making them available over the internet.
Don't get me wrong, I love when something is all about me. Especially when it comes to doing business.
I like to know that my money is not just purchasing products, it's also paying for great customer service and I want you to feel the same.
On Friday, a customer let me know there was a shipping error with her order. We email chatted about the problem and I had a new box heading out to her within two hours.
It can be intimidating to speak up but please know that I appreciate and value the opportunity to fix problems. My customers are the best and I look out for them, every step of the way!
Photo By Trent Campbell (when I had less hair)
I have customers who pick up their orders specifically so that we have a few minutes to catch up when they are in East Middlebury. Some call me for the same reason instead of placing their orders online. Others are active on social media to share stories and life on Instagram.
This past week, I made the decision to close my personal and Caroline's Dream Facebook pages. I don't appreciate that Facebook secretly decided who got to see posts and who didn't as if it was some sort of worthiness contest. Life and business is about developing relationships and social media is supposed to encourage those moments as much as possible.
You are welcome to call, email, arrange a meet-up or follow on Instagram. Or NOT - that's cool too!
Caroline’s Dream owner Susan Shashok started making her own beauty products nearly 20 years ago. At the time, she was battling dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin, and no amount of chemical-laden conventional products soothed her problems. Even the all-natural alternatives left her wanting more—and so, to fill the void, she created her own product line and called it Caroline’s Dream.
Named after Shashok’s paternal grandmother, whose affinity for herbal remedies and gardening inspired the company’s all-natural approach, Caroline’s Dream is dedicated to creating the highest-quality products with the purest ingredients available. This means the company works hard to source ingredients from sustainable suppliers and to create products in small batches to ensure each meets a standard of excellence.
Caroline’s Dream products utilize the natural, healing powers of such ingredients as expeller-pressed sweet almond oil and cold-pressed coconut and extra virgin olive oils, in addition to unrefined shea and cocoa butters. Along with Vermont-local beeswax from Dancing Bee Gardens and homemade oil infusions made with organic herbs, the decadent salves and creams that emerge from the Caroline’s Dream headquarters are wholesome and gentle, but potent.
Caroline’s Dream has a modest offering of products, but what the company lacks in quantity is more than made up for in quality.
Three lip balms are available: Sweet Orange and Peppermint, scented only with organic essential oils, and the famous Mountain Maple Lip Balm. Mountain Maple has no flavor, but the scent is reminiscent of Saturday morning pancakes drizzled with pure maple syrup. The thick, luxurious texture is due in large part to the beeswax in the balm, along with the sweet almond oil, organic calendula-infused olive oil, and natural maple flavor. Shashok’s son Alex came up with the tagline for the Mountain Maple Lip Balm—“Like kissing pancakes!”
The moisturizing creams are available in four varieties: Calendula Cream, Lavender + Geranium Cream, Lavender + Sandalwood Cream, and Peppermint Forest Foot Cream. Made with distilled water, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax and organic essential oils, these creams have a decadent texture more akin to actual butter and cream than any body-care product term meant to suggest the same. With gentle, herbal scents, significant staying power and fast absorption, the Caroline’s Dream moisturizing creams are made to nourish and heal the skin. In particular, the Calendula Cream harnesses the traditional power of calendula to speed the process of wound healing and reduce the appearance of scars. The combination of lavender and sandalwood essential oils in the Lavender + Sandalwood Cream strikes the perfect balance between woodsy and floral—it is both bright and rustic, and on the skin, it feels like heaven.
The Peppermint Forest Cream is advertised specifically for use on the feet, but this fresh moisturizer would be an excellent treatment for dry hands or as an aromatherapy remedy for a tired, cluttered mind.
Caroline’s Dream also makes two potent salves, The Relief Salve and The Super Skin Salve. These concentrated versions of the moisturizing cream are made with olive oil and local beeswax, and it is the medicinal infusions that set these salves apart from the rest of the products. The Relief Salve employs the powerful antifungal properties of black walnut-infused olive oil and tea tree essential oil, along with the soothing benefits of comfrey and calendula. The Super Skin Salve is a hardworking skin saver, used by loyal Caroline’s Dream customers for everything from diaper rash and bug bites to dry, cracked, bleeding hands in the wintertime. With coconut oil, comfrey-infused olive oil, calendula, shea and cocoa butters, and essential oils of rosemary, tea tree and lavender, the healing potential of all of these ingredients comes together in one powerhouse product.
Both salves are solid at room temperature but require only a little body heat to become smooth and pliable. The Relief Salve has a mild scent with an earthy quality from the black walnut, while the Super Skin Salve has a grassy, summer garden scent from the herbal essential oils within.
The most inventive of the Caroline’s Dream products is the Face Cleanser, made from dried organic lavender, chamomile and rose flowers, along with kaolin clay and ground adzuki beans. It takes a little getting used to, but there’s no denying the effectiveness of this cleanser: Mix a little Face Cleanser with water to form a thick paste, and apply to the face and neck in gentle, circular motions. The ground adzuki beans provide a gentle polish while the clay, flowers and herbs work their magic on the skin.
I admit I was a little skeptical of the Face Cleanser when I first tried the product—it looked and felt more like a facial mask than any cleanser I’d ever tried—but after one use, I was hooked. I rinsed my face and immediately noticed a difference in the texture and moisture of my skin. The ground adzuki beans left my skin soft, and the combination of the clay and the dried herbs added a supple softness. There was no “stripped skin” feeling—no dryness, irritation or excess shine. I hardly needed moisturizer after washing with the Face Cleanser, as it had left my skin in such a balanced, natural state.
The ingenuity of the Face Cleanser lies in the use of the adzuki beans. This ingredient is a brilliant alternative to the much-maligned “microbeads” used by many conventional skincare companies. Microbeads, generally categorized as microplastics, are made with harsh polys and nylon derivatives. When used in conjunction with skincare products, these microbeads are washed down the drain to flow through sewer systems and into water supplies, eventually making their way into the oceans where they contribute to pollution and harm the health of marine species. Although legumes don’t fit within the confines of strict Paleo, in this instance they are an excellent contribution to a natural skincare routine and a healthy planet.
Keep in mind that there are two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun: UVA and UVB. UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin damage from excessive sun exposure that can lead to cancer and skin aging. Although UVB rays can also cause damage and sunburn, they are necessary for your body to produce its own cancer protective vitamin D via the skin.
Sunlight is by far the optimal way to produce your vitamin D. Blocking UVB rays may inadvertently be increasing your cancer risk by blocking vitamin D absorption.
Many people don't realize that unprocessed Coconut oil offers a natural SPF of 5-8 on its own. You'll find this wonderful oil in all of our