Vermont Fall Foliage Hiking 2020

Vermont Fall Foliage Hiking 2020

I love autumn: wearing sweaters, the snap in the air, shuffling through crunchy leaves underfoot, they all make my heart sing with joy! I am very lucky to live in  Vermont and get to enjoy hiking and biking when the trees shine their beautiful fall colors for all to see. 

Breadloaf Campus


On Sunday, Alan and I hiked up to Silent Cliff which is off the Long Trail in the Middlebury Gap. It is only a 2 mile hike but with some decent elevation. I got to use my hiking sticks for the second time and break in my new boots. Both performed well and although the views at the cliff were gorgeous, the trek through the woods was also a treat for the eyes.  

Alan & Susan

Silent Cliff Hike
Silent Cliff 2
Susan Shashok
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How is everyone doing?


(Daffodils blooming yesterday in my yard, Yay!)


Seriously, I'd like to know how you are holding up to all the stressful news and  changes that are hitting us weekly, daily even hourly. For me it is a complicated question to answer, mostly I am fine but this new way of life is still disorienting and constricting.
Luckily, I had ordered plenty of supplies for Caroline's Dream this past December so I have ingredients, packaging and safety equipment on hand for a while. Production continues regularly and I set up a no contact shipping area in my garage to keep both delivery people and my family safe and happy.
I donated my supply of N95 masks to the local hospital and replaced them with handmade fabric masks. I have also been giving away lip balms to medical staff on the front lines and to the groups of volunteers sewing fabric masks in my community. 
If you purchase a skincare gift for some front line people, let me know in the notes section of the online order form and I will tuck in a free lip balm for them!
Susan Shashok mask
Please let me know how you are doing and feel free to share photos. I love to re-post on Instagram and in my newsletters. My sister Mary sent this one of her necessities of life. She is a Manager in a busy medical office. Happy to see her Sweet Orange lip balm made the cut and she sewed that cool face mask.
Take care, let me know if I can help with any skincare questions and let me know what is going on in your corner of the world!


Susan Shashok
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March 20, 2020 Newsletter

Checking in with all of you, sharing some new packaging and a sale to go with it!
Susan Shashok
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Comparing Prices

Caroline's Dream prices support a liveable wage for me as your craftsperson. I work hard to keep my products affordable which is a challenge since I don't have the volume buying power of a large skincare company. 

Have you ever been curious about a price comparison to other similar skincare? I did the breakdown math for you at cost per ounce: 


Caroline's Dream Calendula Cream - $31.99/ 4 oz jar = $8.00/ oz.


Burt's Bees's Skin Nourishment Cream - $17.99/1.8 oz jar = $9.99/oz.

Honest's Deep Hydration Cream - $27.99/ 1.69 oz jar = $16.56/oz.

Badger Balm's Damascus Rose Beauty Balm - $16.99/ 1 oz jar = $16.99/oz.

Fat Co.'s UnMyrrhaculous Face Cream - $28/1 oz jar = $28.00/oz

Tata Harper's Regenerative Moisturizer - $116/1.66 oz bottle = $69.88/oz.


I use larger containers so there is less packaging waste, and more convenience. In addition, I offer free shipping so please be confident that I am offering you an excellent product at a great price!  

Susan Shashok
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What is your skincare challenge? I share part of my story.

Back when I started making skincare in 1996, my top three skincare challenges were: adult acne, extra dry skin and occasional psoriasis patches. 

The first moisturizer I formulated was the Lavender + Sandalwood Cream. It is light enough to moisturize without clogging pores and the essential oils are soothing and anti-inflammatory. After 6 months of use, my face was clear and I still use this cream all summer long.

During Vermont winters, my skin required so much more care and I would get regular flares of eczema or psoriasis. So I developed Calendula Cream for extra dry skin. It is so concentrated that I didn't need much for my skin to stay properly hydrated and I put Super Skin Salve on any small patches of eczema or psoriasis. 

I believe that one of the main reasons it took so long to diagnose my Psoriatic Arthritis is that my skin was so well taken care of by these products. The arthritis side of my autoimmune disease showed easily but the psoriasis was so slow to show itself that it was confusing for myself and the medical community. Now that my disease has progressed, my skin reacts with more psoriasis flares. I still use Calendula Cream all winter and find Super Skin Salve is more effective and has less side effects than regularly prescribed steroid creams. It is diet and yoga practice that effectively compliment my skincare routine the most. 

Now in 2020, my main skincare challenge is remembering to reapply at night before falling into bed after working all day! This is funny, but also a good point. The best cream in the world won't help you by sitting on a shelf. It is meant to be used and enjoyed everyday by you and your skin! 

What are your skincare challenges?

If you wish to email me, I am glad to share my advice based on 24 years of experience in the field. 

Susan Shashok
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Happy New Year!

I have big and little plans for this new year and decade.

First, there will be more Middlebury area deliveries. Customers and I have enjoyed this experiment, so deliveries remain on the menu for 2020. Whether they are to Elmer Farm, Aqua Vi Tea, Green Mtn School of Yoga class in Brandon or to your work/home - it's fun and good for business. Plus, I will be back on the Caroline's Cruiser in the spring.

Caroline's Cruiser


Second, I will be headed (with my pal Jennifer) back to Rasputitsa at the end of April. This cold, muddy, snowy and exceptionally fun bike event in Burke, VT is hard to explain. Imagine a whole bunch of really enthusiastic cyclists getting on their bikes when there is still snow in the mountains and they ride all around those mountains on gravel and class 4 roads. but first, they throw a big party the night before. That's where you'll find Jennifer & I with the Caroline's Cruiser passing out samples and making friends.



In packaging news: Now that all the glass jar lids have been changed over from plastic to metal, it's time to transition the plastic twist up tubes for the deodorant and sunscreen to compostable paperboard tubes. I will also be phasing out the plastic shrink wrap safety seals on the glass jars. We just don't need this extra plastic waste in packaging anymore and I want to support new earth friendly packaging options.

I will also be thinking of more ways to support community. How we live our lives can be isolating or lonely even when we are surrounded by people. Last year's Instagram meet-up bike ride in VT was on the right track. Strangers, friends and online followers all coming together for a day. Sharing a bike ride, meal and more. It was a good start anyway. Any ideas you may have - let me know!

Instagram meet up


You can probably see the bike theme in my life but there are other items of interest for this coming year. I will keep the rest as a surprise and I bet there are a few things that will surprise me along the way too! 


Susan Shashok
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Everyone is busy - here's me.

I don't know anyone who is not busy. I ask how my friends are and they tell me all about their crazy schedules first and eventually we get to how they ARE. Usually they are tired but committed to whatever dominates their calendar. Me too, but no one wins a busy contest. It is HOW we are busy that differentiates us.

Back in June, I took a part time (8 hours a week) job as the Coordinator of The Makery. It is a maker space operating one night a week in Hannaford Career Center, our local technical/trade school. Members can use the rooms (woodworking, sewing and computer/3D printing) to work on projects while being assisted and overseen by knowledgeable mentors. 

The Makery

It was a surprise to me that taking this gig upset quite a few people. Apparently some thought my business was failing or already kaput. One person was telling their friends that I had gone out of business! Others were mistaken that I was working full time at The Makery and were concerned how I would keep up with my business sales. 

Let me assure everyone - Caroline's Dream is thriving and doing exactly what I planned for this year. I shifted away from wholesale accounts and instead am focused on retail sales. I have less than a handful of wholesale accounts left and I couldn't be happier. Adding local customer deliveries and pick ups at Elmer Farm CSA has been very rewarding. I now get more opportunities to interact with my customers than ever before - all without a storefront. Yay!

Elmer Farm

My time at The Makery is similar to the hours than I used to put in on the Middlebury Selectboard. I love that I get to use my maker, marketing and organizational skills to assist other folks in Addison County to learn new skills and grow their entrepreneurial spirits. It's community service with a paycheck which I get to reinvest back into my business. 

A win for The Makery, Caroline's Dream, my family and my customers. 

Whenever you place an order online there is a section in checkout called 'notes' - please take a minute to tell me what YOU are up to these days. Thanks for sharing!


Susan Shashok
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As the seasons change, shift your skincare routine.

We have been dog sitting for a friend. Hawthorne has been going everywhere with us, even hiking yesterday to Rattlesnake Cliffs. The weather shifted from cloudy to sunny and we were ready - with both rain gear and sunscreen.


As the seasons change, I also like to keep my skincare routine flexible. In the winter I use a lot more Calendula cream for dry skin and Super Skin Salve on my hands so my fingers don't split open. I still use sunscreen when outside hiking, snowshoeing, etc. but usually only my face is exposed.


In the summer I focus on sunscreen and Lavender + Sandalwood Cream as it is lighter and reduces inflammation from bug bites. Mosquitoes love me. Super Skin Salve is called on for sunburns, scrapes, etc and my Chamois Cream for friction areas while cycling and hiking (or any hot, sticky day wearing a skirt). 


Always in use are lip balms, deodorant, foot cream and soaps. So be flexible and prepared like Hawthorne, your skin will thank you

Susan Shashok
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What I'm listening to...

Two recent Vermont Public Radio Podcasts related to cycling in Vermont. I enjoy listening to podcasts while I do production work.

 Click on links to enjoy:

Move Over! Pedestrians, Cyclists and Drivers Sharing Summer Roads - VPR June10, 2019 (33 min)

Gravel Roads Draw International Cyclists - VPR May 13, 2019 (6 min)

Susan Shashok
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Featured in Happy Vermont Blog

Susan Shashok | by Happy Vermont
photo by Erica Houskeeper

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Erica Houskeeper from Happy Vermont. She collects and tells stories of interesting Vermonters. To read her post on me and check out some other great stories of people who live and work in my state, click HERE
Susan Shashok
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Finding the new FDA info on sunscreens confusing? Here's a good article by ABC News that helps.

[Note from Susan: A main takeaway from the following article is that the non-nano zinc oxide that I use is the gold standard for a safe ingredient. Chemical based ingredients other companies may use are either unsafe or need more research to determine their status.]


Mineral Sunscreen - ABC News


ABC NEWS Article: FDA says mineral sunscreens are safe, chemical sunscreens need more research

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on a rule that could change the way consumers think about which ingredients in sunscreen are considered safe, saying they believe now that mineral sunscreens are safe but products that use chemicals need more research.

The FDA announced Thursday that it has proposed a rule to declare mineral sunscreen ingredients as safe, specifically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The agency said 12 other chemicals commonly used in sunscreens need more research to determine if they're can be officially listed as safe, including oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Two other chemicals will be declared unsafe, but an FDA spokeswoman said those two aren't used anymore in the U.S.

An agency spokesperson emphasized that the FDA is not concluding the 12 common chemical ingredients are unsafe, but that they need more information to decide. Products with those ingredients will still be available while FDA works with the manufacturers to answer their questions.

The Environmental Working Group, an outspoken advocacy group that works to eliminate dangerous chemicals in products, says the rule is a "major win for public health," and pursues changes they've been pushing since they started looking at sunscreen 10 years ago. The group only recommends mineral sunscreens because they say chemicals used in sunscreen can be absorbed into the skin and disrupt hormones, or be inhaled when people use spray sunscreen. 

continue reading the full article or watch the video here at ABC NEWS.

Susan Shashok
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Collaboration with Elmer Farm!

Elmer Farm
This year I am collaborating with Jennifer and Spencer Blackwell at Elmer Farm to deliver Caroline's Dream to all their Summer CSA members. I have been a member at Elmer Farm since they started, maybe we've said hello over the veggies?
Elmer Farm CSA Members will be able to  
  • Shop Caroline's Dream online at their convenience 
  • Collect orders during their Elmer Farm pickup
  • Enjoy a local discount
  • Never an obligation to buy, unsubscribe anytime.

 To place an order, get your pick up day discount code HERE!

If you are interested but not ready to place an order, email me with your full name and pickup day - that’s it! I’ll subscribe you to my list. 


Susan Shashok
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