Susan's Tattoo

Healthy tattoo care nourishes while healing your skin.

Getting a tattoo is a big deal for you and your skin. Any good tattoo artist is going to spend some time telling you how to take care of your tattoo after you leave their shop. I peppered my artist with all sorts of questions and left with her standard full sheet of specific instructions. I have a large snake tattoo and I was nervous about taking care of it properly.

Many of the tattoo care products out there are petroleum or PABA based and I definitely hesitated to put that gunk on my skin just to help my tattoo heal. But I did because I didn't want to do the "wrong" thing for my tattoo. It did heal, but the tattoo was really itchy, peeled a lot and after a few weeks, needed another hour of touch up work, so frustrating. I felt like I had failed my skin.
After the touch up work , I reconsidered my approach. I followed all the cleanliness instructions and for the first week I substituted cocoa butter for the petroleum gunk. I warmed a few pieces of cocoa butter in my fingers until it was soft enough to apply easily.
For the second through third weeks I used my own Calendula Cream. The result? It never got itchy and there was no more peeling or fading of lines. In fact, it looked and felt great the entire time and still does 9 years later!
It's important to follow those instructions on cleanliness, wrapping and more, but some cocoa butter and Calendula Cream works even better than petroleum. 

I am still careful with my tattoo. I apply my mineral sunscreen when I am out in the warm weather and apply Calendula Cream everyday to keep the skin it's on, moisturized and healthy.  
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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About Sun Sticks

I am a pale person who has used sun care with questionable ingredients. These products irritated my already sensitive skin by leaving sticky residues or stripping it before a burn could even happen. Yeah, I've had a lot of sunburns.  

.Sunburn  photo | Caroline's Dream

A few years ago I carefully formulated a sunscreen with coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, beeswax and zinc oxide powder. I sent it off to be tested for an official SPF rating/ water resistance and was very pleased with it's performance. Then, I learned that SPF labelled products can only be sold if manufactured in a certified drug manufacturing facility. It was a crushing blow to my plans to make a healthy and effective sunscreen. I shelved the whole project and walked away for a while.

This year I am making and selling it without any SPF rating on the label. You'll find it in my limited edition collection with a functional but basic container and label. This gives me time to decide on the perfect packaging and appropriate label. Feedback from customers will directly shape these choices. You won't find an SPF listed but you can enjoy all the benefits anyway. 

beach photo | Caroline's Dream

Shop Sun Sticks

So let me tell you a bit about my sun sticks and you take it from there. The sun is your friend but cover clothing, a nice hat and reapplying protection throughout the day are wise things to include in any outdoor adventures.

All the ingredients included in my formula have their own natural sun screening properties but it's the non-nano zinc oxide that takes it to the next level. Non-nano means the particles are large enough that they do not penetrate the skin surface. This maximizes the sun blocking factor and you won't have any zinc oxide inside your body at the end of the day. 

Susan bike riding photo | Caroline's Dream

For my 2 hour or less bike rides, I only apply before I go. For longer rides, I apply before and then reapply while I snack at approximately 2 hour intervals. It will add a whitish layer to your skin which doesn't bother me but remember, I am a very pale person! My skin loves all the added moisturizing the stick provides and my tattoo is staying sharp and colorful. 

If you are already burned because of another company's product, you'll want some Super Skin Salve

Please feel free to ask me questions anytime.

Susan Shashok
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you really make all the products yourself?

A: Absolutely. Caroline's Dream is a one woman operation. I do all the formulations, production, shipping/delivery & marketing. I have been known to ask friends and family over to help me put on labels during the holidays but otherwise, it's all me. 

The one exception: I don't sew the lip balm pockets, they are designed & made by my sister Mary!

Production photo| Caroline's Dream

Q: What do you mean when you say your products are really concentrated?

A: You can use less of my skincare in comparison to big commercial brands. Only a small amount of my creams are needed to cover a large area of your skin or two swipes of deodorant per armpit... you get the idea. Caroline's Dream products last longer so they are good for your budget and are far more effective.

 Botanical Face Cleanser photo | Caroline's Dream

Q: What is up with the statement on the shipping note cards about shipping creams in cold temperatures?

A: When creams are shipped or stored in sub-zero temperatures, the coconut oil can solidify to form small harmless beads. These are a temperature reaction and will smooth out easily into your skin upon application. Keep in mind, it might not happen but is a possibility if temperatures are below zero for weeks in New England winters.

I hate when anything interferes with the smooth texture of my creams but I am not willing to add artificial emulsifiers that would then be absorbed by your skin to overcome a few weeks of cold weather.

 Product photo | Caroline's Dream

Q: I am not sure which cream to choose for my skin. Should I get a Caroline's Sampler?

A: A Caroline's Sampler has a travel size jar of each of my face & body creams plus a foot cream. It is a great way to discover your favorite cream and the sampler is much less expensive then buying the jars separately. I like to reward the adventurous spirits.

Caroline's Sampler photo

Susan Shashok
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More about Caroline

Customers love that my business is named after my grandmother, Caroline. She is not of myth or legend but a real woman that should never be confused with being ordinary. She was the daughter of two celebrated artists: William known for his magazine cover art and illustrations, an mother Grace for her seed catalog illustrations.

    

 

In my eyes, Caroline's talent shone in everyday items such as the quilts and crochet work she made for her family. I have four of her quilts and enough Christmas tree ornaments to decorate several trees at a time! She kept her three children and their respective families well supplied over the years. I remember one summer she crocheted an entire fashion line for Barbie & Ken dolls. I also witnessed her joy in sharing her skills with the people she loved. 

 

Caroline Nortenheim quilt

 

Caroline's large garden had a supply of fresh veggies on hand throughout the summer. I remember the abundance of herbs and flowers marked the season in planting, growth and harvest. Her homemade waffles with honey were my favorite whenever we visited. Bread dough was continually rising, baking or being eaten somewhere in her house. She read often from floor to ceiling bookshelves that were absolutely stuffed with books. I will note her passion for soap operas, leather moccasins and wild, Hawaiian print fabrics. She was not one to hide who she was from the world.

 

Caroline and my Grandfather, Ed were world travelers who enjoyed visiting our national parks. I got to enjoy a few local adventures in their Volkswagon pop up van (pic is a van similar to theirs). They owned a hunting cabin in northwestern PA that had the coldest, most delicious water I have ever tasted and an outhouse that made me cry more than once because of the spiders lurking inside. 

Sadly, Caroline died when I was still a teenager but her work ethic and pride in handcrafting was the inspiration to start my company. She was a strong advocate in learning to value both beauty and function. I wish she could have seen my business in action but I have no doubt she would see shades of herself in the path I have chosen.

Susan Shashok
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When I get sick.

Sick

 

When I don't feel well, over the counter remedies don't help because of my autoimmune thyroid disease. A thyroid malfunction can make my immune system attack the rest of my body and cause inflammation, pain, plus a host of other uncomfortable conditions. Immune stimulants like Echinacea and Zinc make the reaction even worse.

I approach being sick in a different way, see if you want to try any of my suggestions.

 1. Stay home and rest. So simple and so hard for many of us to accomplish. It's why sick days were created, if you've got 'em, use 'em. Bonus - your co-workers will thank you for not exposing them to your crud and having to listen to you sniffle, sneeze or cough all day. 

2. Aches & chills? Take an epsom salt bath. 1-2 Cups of epsom salts per full, very warm bath tub. Add a few drops of essential oils: Lavender for relaxing and soothing sore muscles and joints. Eucalyptus and/ or Rosemary to break up phlem and breathe easier.

3. Stay in your jammies, take lots of naps. Hydrate with lots of water, teas and bone broth (I keep some in the freezer). 

4. Sore throat or cough? Gargle with warm salted water several times a day. It makes a huge difference. Soups, bananas and applesauce go down easily when throats are swollen or irritated.

5. What kind of teas? Glad you asked.

Chamomile or Hibiscus, Lemon juice or a few slices of peeled Ginger Root with Honey, Decaf Black or Green (don't forget - go take a nap) 

6. Feeling over the worst part but not really yourself yet? Short walks and gentle yoga poses can help get you up and moving. Then take another nap!

Susan Shashok
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Why function is just as important as beauty.

Beeswax | Caroline's Dream

Great skincare products are supposed to nourish your skin, supporting and increasing your health in a functional way. Not just temporarily plumping, stretching or hiding skin that is dry, aging or damaged. I carefully choose base oils, herbs and essential oils that each play a valuable part in my formulas. No harsh chemicals, preservatives, fillers or concealers here, we don't need them!  Let your own beautiful skin have the spotlight.

Great skincare doesn't have to cost $200 per half ounce. I have been criticized for not charging more for my products. Yeah, I could compete equally with high end lines but I want mine to be accessible to everyday people. It's about integrity, I would never prey on people's desire to look and feel better about themselves. We both deserve better than that narrow way of looking at the world. 

I had to increase prices for a few items in 2018. Not my favorite thing to do but the cost of travel sized glass jars and some of the essential oils skyrocketed. I changed prices only on the items affected. I am firm in my mission to source only quality ingredients, not cheap fillers and handcraft each batch. 

Susan Shashok | Caroline's Dream

Handcrafted products means I am tied to every aspect of production, sales and customer interaction. Do I love sourcing the best ingredients, making a batch of cream extra smooth or writing personal notes in each order that goes out? Absolutely! I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Susan Shashok
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Middlebury Block Party on August 2, 2017

I had so much fun doing a pop-up store in Middlebury Mountaineer last week! It was celebrating downtown Middlebury stores weathering the train bridges construction for three weeks. 

I gave away a ton of free samples and met many excited customers.Thank you Steve Atocha, BMP and my Middlebury Community!

Susan at Middlebury Mountaineer Pop up at Middlebury Mountaineer

Caroline's Dream pop up store

Susan Shashok
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Countdown to Vermont Gran Fondo 2017

Countdown to Vermont Gran Fondo 2017

Vt gran fondo

 

Three days until free samples of my chamois cream go out for all 370+ participants in the gift bags. Come say hi to myself & riding buddy, Dennis as we navigate the piccolo course. See you at the after party!

Susan Shashok
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Vermont Gran Fondo is coming!

Vermont Gran Fondo is coming!

Written by Addison County Chamber of Commerce  - June 14, 2017


Middlebury, Vermont—For the first time in its four years of welcoming riders from around the globe to Addison County’s world-class cycling routes, the Vermont Gran Fondo will invite cyclists to literally ride into the event’s après-ride party.

Woodchuck Cider House at 1321 Exchange Street in Middlebury will be the staging ground for the Fondo’s start and finish on Saturday, July 1—and, from 2 to 7 p.m., the site of live music, farm-sourced food, and craft-brewed beverages.

Vermont Gran Fondo

As part of the event’s registration fee, Vermont Gran Fondo registrants will receive tokens to redeem for food and drink. But friends and family, are welcome to join them and, if they’d like to share in what’s available, pay cash.

Food purveyors will include the internationally inspired tacos of Caja Madera Food Truck; the pan-Asian delicacies of Thai at Home; homegrown pies from the NOFA-VT Pizza Oven; and the farm-to-spoon sweetness of LuLu Ice Cream.

In addition to hosting and Gran Fondo founding sponsor Woodchuck Cider, two other local establishments, Lincoln Peak Vineyard (wine) and the Drop-In Brewery (beer), will be vending. Non-alcoholic drinks will be available too.

Shane Murley and his six-piece band will provide music in support of the mellow, cool-down vibe.

Riders who want to scrub up before enjoying the après-ride party can take a complimentary shower until 5:30 p.m. at Vermont Sun Fitness Center, just a few pedal strokes away at 812 Exchange Street. And a hose in front of the Cider House will be available for cleaning bikes post-ride.

Registration fees are $125 for the Gran route; $115 for either of two Medio routes (difficile and facile); $80 for the Piccolo route—but rates will increase on June 16th to $140, $130, $85 respectively. In addition to après-ride food and drink, participants receive professional ride-day photography, SAG and mechanical support en route, well-stocked rest stops, and a Klean Kanteen stainless steel cup. Riders who upload their climb times to Strava will also have a chance to win KOM and QOM honors.

A gran fondo is a one-day bicycle event, first popularized in Europe, that emphasizes participation over competition. It’s typically characterized by a festive atmosphere, camaraderie, and post-ride food and drink.

For more information and to register, go to www.VermontGranFondo.com.

Event Sponsors

The Vermont Gran Fondo wouldn’t be possible without founding sponsors bMighty2 and the Addison Independent; and event sponsors Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Caroline’s Dream, DrinkMaple, Frog Hollow Bikes, Hammer Nutrition, November Bicycles, RAD Innovations, Schneider & Palcsik Injury Lawyers, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Vermont Coffee Company, Vermont Ski+Ride Magazine, Vermont Sports Magazine, Vermont Sun Fitness Center, and Woodchuck Hard Cider and the. Support is also provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

About the Vermont Gran Fondo Organizers

The Vermont Gran Fondo is produced by Cycle Addison County, Inc., which is chartered to support cycling in the region through programming, education, infrastructure and equipment. Its members include cycling enthusiasts and athletically inclined tourism and business development representatives.

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Susan Shashok
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Did you ever ride a penny-farthing (high wheel)?

Did you ever ride a penny-farthing (high wheel)?

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!

 

 

penny-farthing 
high wheel

Susan Shashok
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Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Harvest Festival

Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Harvest Festival

 Saturday Sept 17th

Noon - 3 pm

Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op

Come join me for music, food & fun at this popular event. I won't be selling products (you can buy inside the store). 

Instead, I will have tester jars open, answer questions and give away free samples of Deodorant and Peppermint Forest Foot Cream

Susan Shashok
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