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Follow our journey as we build Puristics, a new brand of anti-aging skin care without harsh chemicals. For us, the past 3 years have been filled with "aha" moments as we educate consumers about label literacy - knowing the ingredients in your beauty products, since harsh chemicals can end up on your skin. We welcome you to learn from our experiences both as businesswomen and busy moms, and please share your own stories, too!

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Thursday
Mar082012

Why Label Literacy Can Help Keep You Safe

We have all been cautioned against overconsumption of foods high in mercury, but what about mercury in your skin care products? I just read an article this morning that skin care lotions sold in 7 states have been found to contain mercury – a highly toxic substance that can harm the brain and kidneys, according to the CDC.

From the article:

“So far Texas, California, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois and New York have all reported cases of elevated mercury levels in skin care products. The Agency says consumers should check product labels for mercurous chloride, calomel. mercuric, mercurio or mercury. If those ingredients appear on the label, stop use immediately.”

Link: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/06/skin-products-tainted-with-mercury/

How is this allowed to happen? Although the FDA, at least in this case, intervened in the manufacturing and selling of these potentially harmful products, consumers shouldn’t allow themselves to fall victim to label ignorance. Just as we read the labels at the grocery store, we need to do the same in the drug store. We should be aware of the chemicals could be left behind on your skin, since, after all, your skin is the largest area of absorption into the body.

This recent example is just one more reason Americans need to become more label literate. Not only are all Puristics products free from harmful ingredients, but we also take the time to indicate on the package each and every ingredient in the product. There’s even a parenthetical description of the ingredient’s derivation and use. We believe it’s important that you know what’s on your skin.

-May

Wednesday
Feb292012

A Safer Baby Shower

Baby showers have been forever changed.   This past weekend, I attended one and each and every baby bottle and toy that was opened was clearly marked as “paraben and phthalate free.”  It was only a decade ago that women didn’t even think about what their children may be exposed to.  Now, it's one of the most important issues to consider.

While the “mother to be” was opening gifts and the crowd of women were oohing and ahhing, I took the opportunity to ask some women, “Have you ever thought about the ingredients in your anti-aging products”?  The responses were not surprising, at least to me.  I got a few blank stares. A few nods of the head.  A few raised eyebrows. But for the most part, the majority had no idea that the very things they were avoiding in baby products can be found in their anti-aging skincare products - things they use on their faces every day.

Baby showers are forever changed, and a few years from now, women’s beauty rituals will also be transformed.  It’s all part of evolution – your desire to better yourself and your children.

-May

Wednesday
Feb222012

A RESOLUTION TO STICK TO

I don’t know about you, but New Years resolutions never stick. But now that it’s February, it’s time to start thinking about a realistic goal for the year ahead. My advice is to start small and build on that success toward something bigger.

Here’s an easy goal for 2012 – instead of trying to add something new to your daily regimen (ones I have tried: going to the gym, eating more kale, flossing) how about taking something away… like all of the potentially harmful chemicals that may be lurking in the products you use every day.

Small change; big results. Switching to an effective anti-aging skincare product with no scary chemicals is not a life-altering event – but it’s progress. If you’re feeling better about how you look and what you’re putting into your body, you can build on that positive momentum, make more good choices about the products you’re buying and consuming. You may turn around and find that your small resolution led to something pretty big for the year ahead.

Thursday
Dec152011

Bikes On My Mind

Urban bicycling has been at the center of several conversations over the past few weeks.  As a lover of cycling, but only occasional cyclist, I have participated in each of these conversations with great interest.  Part of my fantasy life includes regular biking to work and to do errands.  My reality, however, is 35,000 miles added to my odometer each year because of my suburban New Jersey, working mother of 4 existence.  Don’t get me wrong.  I cherish the time I spend in the car with my kids, listening to their latest iTunes downloads, sharing a laugh over “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on NPR (my daughter and I have geek-crushes on Peter Sagal and Carl Kassell) or discussing the latest challenge in school.  However, I love the wind-in-your-face feeling and the boost of energy I get each time I ride my bike.  I also like being independent of my car, gas prices and fossil fuel burning.  So, I continue to fantasize.

My most recent conversations were with my daughter, who recently traveled to Holland and my friend Claire, who lives in England. My daughter had spent a week in Holland with a group from school participating in a Model UN conference and living with a host family.  She learned quickly that Holland is an anti-car culture.  She and her friends rode bikes everywhere, even when they were dressed in business attire for their meetings at the conference.  By her account, they rode over 20 miles each day (in pencil skirts, stockings and heels).  She wrecked 3 times!  While I felt bad that she wasn’t prepared for this challenge with more accommodating attire and certainly was concerned for her injuries, I was intrigued by the possibilities.  How can we get more areas of the U.S. to embrace biking as a legitimate means of daily transportation rather than just a weekend leisure activity?  True, a country with miles and miles of dikes, massive water management issues and serious land constraints fosters creative transportation thinking, but I don’t think we should shy away from the effort simply because we are blessed with vast amounts of open roadway and a well-developed interstate highway system.

My next biking case study came when my daughters and I were in London over Thanksgiving break.  London, like Paris, has implemented a bike rental scheme.  Bikes are locked up to small vending machines and Londoners rent bikes, ride them across town and return them to another vending machine.  For £45, you can buy an annual pass and then ride for up to ½ hour at a time with no additional charge.  I’m going to study a London street map before my next trip and give it a go.  Further, the number of regular bike commuters in London is astounding.  While taking a taxi from our hotel to the Kings Cross train station (we had a lot of baggage), we sat at a traffic light at Pall Mall behind 20 or so cyclists, dressed in business clothes or carrying knapsacks or panniers with work clothes stuffed inside.  I was in awe and very jealous.  

While New York has seen a surge in cyclists in the past few years because of bike lane designations on several streets, people who regularly ride on NYC streets are considered a bit loony.  The traffic in New York is still terrifying to me, and the potholes could swallow me up in one bite.  Even in less congested areas, Americans haven’t completely learned to respect bike lanes.

I often talk about small, simple steps that we each can take to improve health and quality of life.  Is the growing interest in urban cycling an important step, a bit of lunacy or a passing fancy?  I feel like I’m going to redouble my efforts to integrate cycling into my regular about-town routine, but I haven’t quite figured out the practical aspects.  Treehugger.com has a dozen great bike’s for about town riding or commuting.  This is my plug for the pink cargo bike.  If anyone in my family is reading, it would look great under the Christmas tree!  A week’s worth of groceries for 7 doesn’t fit so well in my back pack.  Assuming the pink bike doesn’t appear under the tree, I think I’ll just adopt some of the driving tricks of “hypermilers” as explained in a treehugger.com article and drive as if I were on my bike.

What’s the state of the bike culture in your city?  Do you think it has a chance of taking hold in the U.S or will we continue to favor cocooning in our SUVs, minivans and sports cars?  Is this a small, simple step you can take?

Thursday
Oct062011

Trust, Love, Hard Work: Farewell Steve Jobs

Millions of us paused in a moment of reflection and sadness yesterday when we heard the news of the death of Steve Jobs.  For me, there was almost a peace in that moment.  We’d known for years that his time on Earth was very limited so I didn’t find the news jarring.  Since then, I’ve reflected on the peace that comes when one succumbs to terminal illness (and excruciating grief, I’m certain for his loved ones) and on the impact he has had on the rest of us. 

First, full disclosure:  I typed my senior essay for my history major on an early Macintosh.  I’m writing this post on a MacBook Pro with my iPhone4 at my side and my iPod shuffle on the coffee table.  My kids use Macbooks and iPads for school work and fun. With my strong encouragement, the Puristics team has successfully made the transition to a Mac and iPhone-only company.  Yes, I’m a fan and blessed to have access to such terrific products. 

But that’s not the point of this post.  For me, the lessons from one’s life are not in the “what” was done but rather in the “how” it was done.  I honor Steve Jobs today for the “how”.

Reading the text of the commencement address he gave at Stanford a few years ago, I see a few key themes:  trust, love and hard work.  Overall, he talked about living life on your own terms and how a death sentence (pancreatic cancer) brings the important things into focus.  I was talking with a colleague over dinner last night about this.  We began to wrestle a bit with how we determine what’s important, when to let go and when to focus a bit harder.  I would feel somewhat hypocritical if I wrote about the importance of jettisoning all worldly trappings and simplifying in order to focus on the few most important things.  I’m in the middle of what feels like a whirlwind as I fly from coast to coast, meeting with retailers to convince them to place Puristics on their shelves in 2012.  (I’m pleased to report that you should find it fairly easy to locate Puristics Totally Ageless at a retailer near you beginning in March 2012).  Is what I’m doing my highest and best calling?  Would I be truer to my words and thoughts to chuck it all?  I don’t think so, and I don’t think I’m at odds with the words of Steve Jobs.  I’m trusting while I do what I love, surround myself with people I love and work hard.

Here’s how. 

Providing a better, safer, healthier life for my family has been a passion of mine since the kids were born (beginning nearly 19 years ago).  I’ve written previously in this space about the impact of chronic illness on our family (our oldest), acute illness (my mother’s ovarian cancer) and the impact on choices going forward.  Making better choices for my family has turned into a passion and a business.  Puristics was developed to make it easy to choose personal care products that are devoid of harmful chemicals, proven to be effective and available in regular retail outlets at reasonable prices.  At least in this aspect of my life, I’ve combined trust, love and hard work and ended up focusing on what’s really important.  I’ve also been able to demonstrate for my kids that you can have work that you love and still be a good and available mom. 

Trust, love, hard work.  As I write this from a hotel room in California just before I meet with Safeway and work to persuade them that Puristics will be an important addition to their shelves in 2012, I am trusting that it will all come together, loving the fact that I get an opportunity to talk about our terrific product line and working hard to stay on top of the millions of details needed to bring a line of products to market across the United States.  Bob (my co-founder) and I started in late 2008 with nothing more than an idea. We trusted and worked hard and are now looking forward to shipping our products to more than 20,000 retail stores early next year.  We had very lofty goals and very high standards, and it is extremely gratifying to realize that we didn't compromise on our goals and standards.  I am tired; the gray hair is coming in too quickly; I haven’t run in 3 weeks; I am happy. 

Aside from Puristics, Steve Jobs’ passing has caused me to reflect on 3 personal anecdotes that I think foreshadowed the trust, love and hard work that have fueled my current passion.  In 8th grade, I was practicing my foul shots on the school basketball court when my teacher told me to move closer to the basket.  He clearly didn’t know me very well because he thought I’d be satisfied by the easy basket.  I was determined to improve my free throw percentage and that was not going to happen if I moved closer to the hoop. I went on to be the starting center on my high school basketball team for 3 years.  Four years after that free throw practice, I found myself in the exact same situation.  I was a senior and the captain of our high school soccer team.  Toward the end of the season, I found myself staying after practice each day to practice my corner kicks.  My coach was also my advisor so he knew about my heavy course load and suspected I had better ways to use my time.  He encouraged me to knock off early.  I didn’t.  During the final game of that season, against our archrivals, the score was tied.  I took a corner kick in the final moments of the game.  The ball curved just right and sailed into the goal over the goalie’s head. We won the game, and I was named to the All-State and All-League teams that year.  Flash forward over 25 years to my most recent example.  I was managing the Mucinex business.  The business had been successful because of our single-minded focus on the “mucus out” communication and our long-acting product benefit.  In order to rush a new product to market, I was encouraged by an executive senior to me to launch a product that would not be consistent with our strategic imperative.  I fought hard even when I was accused of spouting “marketing purist bull$h!t”.  I stood my ground and now Mucinex is one of the top choices for cough/cold relief in the U.S. 

It wasn’t until I sat down to right this post that I realized the consistency in these stories over my life and that each of them comes from trust, love and hard work.  Steve Jobs’ words from the Stanford commencement address ring true for me: 

            “ . . . you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. . . . This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

The dots have connected for me and led me to Scerene Healthcare and Puristics, but who knows how the dots will lay out for the future.  So, I’ll just trust, love and work hard

Peace, Steve Jobs (1955-2011).