Manifesto for transparency, & yarrow

Antidote is growing up with grace! There is a plan.

Unbridled capitalism? Selling out? Truth? Authenticity? Exploitation? These questions led to the following introspection and produced the manifesto style oaths I present to you in the end.

Here I am conflicted. Sitting and fretting over the look of the new information packed labels for Antidote products, working on a press release with assets from a bonified photo shoot my friend, artist Masha Gvozdov, put together for me with a real photographer, Tal Schpantzer, and model, Olga M, it's super branding time, eek!

I’m faced, as I always am when onto something good professionally, with the fear of losing integrity, truth, greed and the potential for doing bad things under the arc of good. And maybe not a little scared that it’s just some fickle fear of success or some other psychological first world problem.

My personal mythology is western, 1990s raised, and still alive. Back then we cobbled our fledgling psyches together from the untouchable sanctity of Ian MacKaye of Fugazi (first Minor Threat, but my love is for Fugazi), the lessons of Kurt Cobain’s fame, the chaotic romanticism of Tarantino, the right to choose, isolationism, endangered everything, world hunger, disgust for Reaganomics & the first Bush, and the knowledge that the few civil rights citizens had won in recent decades would be a fleeting thing if the blasted conservatives reigned.

We had a lot of room. And anyone worth anything, obsessed about capitalism, selling out, and truth. I imagine our concerns back then grew out of the effects of MTV rather than the Internet.

By college time I fleshed out a Humphrey Bogart style approach to life. One where I could guiltlessly maintain the nobility in hedonism, rack up some big experience, wreak a little havoc, keep the infractions aimed at myself, and let it all be held up by an almost fanatical code of ethics.

The major tenets of this code were: the underdog is always the hero; don’t kill anything; war is always bad; organized religion is dangerous when organized; no racism or gross generalizations; socialism looks good on me; don’t eat meat; don’t talk shit; respect the earth; rules are more like guidelines for other people; weird is good; eff the man; and DON’T SELL OUT.

Well now I have to be sure that Antidote, this lovely thing I’m doing, stays the course and is aligned in no small way with the ethos that I formed long ago as a teenager and cultivated into my twenties. An ethos I vow to continue to agonize over and test until the day I die.

Antidote for me is a long arm view of what I want to be. I’m a writer in my mind, first and foremost. But I’m also a healer. Antidote is the answer to that healing instinct and how I want to contribute.

And here’s where it gets a little sticky.

My high hopes of rock n roll-hippy-witch doctorhood became a little more practical. Herbalism is the basis on which I stand, but to gain independence from working for others, I needed to apply that to skincare. Still about health. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies. My skin and that of my family is wracked with odd little ailments, many of which are exacerbated by chemical commercial gunk that we were using. That's how I got here.

If I cruelly and brutally strip it down, Antidote is a cosmetic company. Ethical, amazing, wonderful, healing, natural, handmade, PMA filled cosmetics, but cosmetics all the same. Ah, the frivolity of it all. And, I’ve named them after records and songs made by people that I like. (Crap, is using a Phil Collins album already tantamount to selling out? Or the Rollings Stones?) Is that exploitation? It definitely falls under the grand and always suspicious paradigm of marketing and the ever-present BRAND.

Well I still stand behind the fact that all the stuff that I make products from, and the inspiration I gain from my friends & family, and the music that I make it to, are really friggin cool. I think the talented artist, Ryder Robison, who drew my logo is amazing and so is the logo. The Antidote brand. And I’m cool with jumping on the natural handmade in Brooklyn trend, because that’s what it is. And if that’s a trend, whatever, I support it. All of these things that go into this project of mine are reflections of me and the stuff that I think is cool and it goes into the pride I take when making stuff for you. Sure, it’s pricier than I’d like for it to be, but that’s how much it costs man.

Yeah, I do want some super rad hotel to carry my stuff. And I want to get paid. Does that make me a sell out? Eff no. But it will put me and my lovely company under threat of softening the ethos that EVERY SINGLE THING WITH AN ANTIDOTE LABEL ON IT IS MADE BY HAND, NO CHEMICALS, NATURAL, AND NO HARM TO ANIMALS OR THE EARTH. Very soon I will have the help of someone else' hands making these lotions and potions, but from hands that I will hire at a fair wage and trust. As Antidote grows, I want to be sure that we maintain. Maintain it all.

Of course I want everyone to spend money on these products that I make and that are worth it. You’re worth it. I want everyone to be able to treat their bodies with respect, and use natural products on them. And I know that it can be prohibitively expensive.

So here’s my plan to keep it real. And to do the right thing.

1. My labels will never lie about the ingredients and they will always be organic when possible (some countries don’t have those regs in place, but I source from people practicing sustainable farming), there will NEVER be chemicals or unnatural preservatives, and everything will be made by hand.

2. I will never try to convince you to buy something from me that I don’t believe will make you feel better.

3. If you can’t afford my stuff, I will give you advice about how to make your own. You can do it. Things are super transparent here, and I will share with you.

4. Also, as I continue to learn about the magic of herbs, I will share that information with you. Via this blog.

5. And, I will help in any way that I can with research regarding possible use of healing herbs to make your life better and keep you healthy.

These are things I want to put into the Universe, along with my Antidote products and intentions.

I ain’t no sell out man! This is all real. And I love music, so it’s fitting that it goes into my process of making and naming these beautiful things for you.

That’s all I got for now.

Many hugs,

elizabeth

Winter, but time for Prodigal Preparations

This song and video is working for me right now DEVIL DO by Holly Golightly

And be sure to check out an herb that I think is indispensable for winter maladies (elecampane)

“This is how moths speak to each other. They tell their love across the fields by scent. There is no mouth, the wrong words are impossible, either a mate is there or he is not, and if so the pair will find each other in the dark.” Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer

Well my friends, the vernal equinox is scheduled for March 20 this year and man alive, I doubt I could wait a second more. Admittedly, the days really are getting longer and yet still, this dogged season of the night weighs on the psyche, even more than when the sun left us in the untimely 4 o'clock hour. Even in the thick of it, I sigh an early "sayonara" to the drama of weather talk and its effects on our collective mental health. March 20. We've been turned away from the sun for long enough!

 

Rather than endlessly focus on intricacies of winter blues, I've been thinking a lot about love. I like to think it's a more interesting malaise than winter melancholy. For example, do you think we can actively look for it and actually find it? Look for it with intention like Kingsolver's moths? What a gorgeous, stripped down way of looking at love--in the scant framework of a moth's life. They only live long enough to scent out their partners, mate and then die of starvation because their jaws are too small to eat. Something like three days. Their only taste and hunger is for the scent of their partners and the natural drive to produce offspring...if there is a mate for them out there in the night. 

 

Anyway, I think we humans are too complicated to purposefully look for love. Our lives are definitely not just a three day long starvation. They are a lot longer. (We can argue about the perception of time relative to different entities another time.) Rather than look for love, might it be best to, as my mother puts it with derision, go out on the prowl? Go out and look for the scent and then maybe some heightened coupling will take hold. Do you think love is merely an affectation of a value system gauged by jealousy? Perhaps modern love is a litmus of haves and have nots? I guess I don't want love as a definition anymore. Especially not when examining the clingy memories of the ghosts of loves past. Aren't those just more definitions of "love" set in some manufactured context? Might it be prettier to afford ourselves the respite of the laws of chemical attraction? I await my next person with whom I will share an electron. Heck, there might even be a more stable molecule out there across the field of night this time around.

 

So whatever, I hope we all get struck by our counterpart moths at the first warmth of spring. You may have one already, or you may be waiting for your next one, but just the same, I hope we get hit right in the olfactory senses by some gutteral partnership that far exceeds the confines of modern love. And man, do the scents of the world open up and bloom in the spring!

 

Elecampane

Inula Helenium

Is a great ally in the battle against the winter cough and other lung issues. I've only recently been acquainted with this herb, brightly flowered on a strong thick stalk and good deep root. But I've already used a tincture made from its root, which should be cultivated in autumn, in tea to combat these terrible coughs my friends are suffering from all over the place.

Elecampane is an ancient herb used throughout time all over Greece and Europe. Now it grows rampant in the moist often shady ground of the East Coast from Nova Scotia on down. Historically it was used both as a condiment (spice) and medicinally. It was a tonic for overeating, used in women's issues, and of course, used in pulmonary complaints.

I cannot wait to break out PRIVATE DANCER. sensual massage oil!

 

Eat well, get nice sleep, read good stuff and get ready for SPRING!

 

many hugs,

elizabeth

Run To Your Mama, by Goat. Happy New Year

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” 
 Flannery O'Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor

And I've been listening to this song a lot lately...it came to me on an awesome mix from a great friend. It must have been so much fun to make whatever this video came from! Wild women rule.

Run to Your Mama, Goat 

Hey y’all!

It’s January 3, 2014 and I want to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR

I don’t care if it’s 3 days late, it just wasn't time yet. But three days later than the usual, and my sentiment is still true and honest...even if it didn't coincide directly with countdowns, a ball dropping or a wide confetti of wishes falling over squares on tv. For me, it was the snow.

My impetus to wish well and an idea that I'd like to progress in life coincided with a moment of change that Mother Nature gave us, at least here in Brooklyn.  I hope you felt it too, wherever you are. Wonder if the feeling would be the same in Australia or temperate South America? For most of us in the states, the cold and when we’re lucky the snow stills our minds and quiets the violence of extraneous sound. Sound we don't usually notice until it's gone. Add to this the fact that January winter days just barely begin to get a little longer and there is this natural sense of cresting some sort of precipice revealing another perspective. Maybe even a new beginning. The general time of the calendar new year is often reflected with a shift evidenced by Mother Nature...good thing, because my mind is too small and gets lost without new perspectives and the chance to redefine space with at least an idea of closure.

The above quote by the lovely Flannery speaks loudly to me at this particular time of reckoning for the new year--she speaks loudly to me most times. At first impulse many of us may want to look back and come up with a quick and definite reconcile for the patterns we made and doors we opened to situations and people that hurt or disappointed us. And heck yes, let’s do it. Let’s make amends for the betterment or our futures. But I think the wisdom the Flannery O'Conner's quote imparts at the dawn of the new year is that it’s equally important to look back with an eye on the blessings we have from the lessons we received. We are better through experience, if we have the grace to notice.

So, to new beginnings and maintenance of old good habits and about faces to new good intentions I end this New Year letter with this list of stuff I’d like to incorporate into my life and maybe it’ll resonate with some of y’all.

  • Be with people.
  • Keep looking at the world with love in my heart.
  • Be patient with myself.
  • Count to ten and breath deep--it can wait.
  • Laugh without embarrassment at sweet things.
  • Practice what I preach.
  • Give a shit.
  • Call or write to let them know.
  • Dance to amazing music…and let myself dance to bad music, too.
  • Try not to sneak soda pops so often...eek!

Please keep an eye out for the new Antidote shampoo and conditioner soon to be unveiled..a promise, not a resolution.

Many hugs,

elizabeth

 

Just Take It Or Leave It (an apt song by The Searchers)

During some of our conversations over the past month at the craft fairs, I realized that some of the stuff coming out of my mouth sounded incredibly arch to my own ears. Phew. I mean I want us all to live a good life with lots of love—for others and for our own selves. I know I’m not saying anything new here, but a good life is all about finding balance. Things get out of whack and when we notice, the best thing is to find the ware-with-all to notice and get the balance back. Just give a crap and know that you deserve it and better things will follow.

It’s true, I don’t think it’s a good thing to put chemicals on the largest organ of your body--your skin. Also, chemical effects are pretty insidious in a weird and uncontrolled way…especially regarding their unknown reach and effects on our hormones which are crazy. I do think we should make big efforts to eliminate them as much as possible from our lives.

But you aren’t a failure, if you can’t comply and be the most natural person in the world. I would say it’s freaking awesome if you manage to switch to a natural lotion or face serum for at least one cycle. Up In Her Room face oil is an awesome start to giving a crud, so are any of the Marquee Moon, Bernadette, or Another Green World body lotions. These, of course, are handmade, organic and no chemicals...and and, I put a lot of energy into designing the scents of these products to make you feel better. Perhaps try one of them, or something, but make an effort and then see if taking a little extra care to seek out natural products makes you feel better and if that care is worth it. Good habits take a first move to form.

At Antidote my goal has always been to make things that make it at least just a little better for the people using them. If these items seem out of reach for you financially, there are cheaper ways to get there and I would be happy to look into anything that I can’t recommend off hand for you. You can definitely take good care of yourself on a budget... you just might have to make the stuff yourself, which you can totally do! I just like to make things that are luxurious and super good for your skin, hair, and psyche. I made these things from the best possible ingredients for my friends and family because I love them and now I want to share them with you.

And, I’d like to leave you with this piece of advice, get some apple cider vinegar (Braggs is at every health store ever) and put a capful in the glass of water that you should be drinking first thing in the morning every day. Just start it…and pretty soon you’ll always remember and it’ll be a really good and easy and cheap habit! The time is winter and you want to infuse your body in probiotics, believe me, you do!

I’m going to aim for my blogs in the future to include recipes for making your life a little better.

Smooches,

elizabeth