Friday, November 30, 2012

8 Winter Skin Care Tips

As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out, It doesn't matter if you heat your home using oil, wood, or electricity. The skin gets dry!
1. No Need for High End Product
Inexpensive products work just as well as high-end ones, says David Voron, MD, a dermatologist in Arcadia, Calif. "In fact, the extra price you pay for the expensive stuff is often just for packaging and marketing. What's most important is how your skin responds to the product -- and how you like its feel, not how much money you paid for it."
2. Moisturize More
Find a moisturizer that's oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture.  Choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for "nonclogging" oils, like avocado oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. You can also look for lotions containing "humectants," a class of substances (including glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin.
3. Give Your Hands a Hand
The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it's harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.
4. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks
Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.
5. Hook Up the Humidifier
Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly.
6. Hydrate for Your Health, Not for Your Skin
Water is good for your overall health.  Water helps your entire body maintain proper hydration - which is the opposite of dehydration (dry skin).  Hot herbal tea is an option to choose during the cold winter months.
7. Grease Up Your Feet
Yes, those minty foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, your feet need stronger stuff. Try finding lotions that contain natural oil or glycerine, and use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.
8. Ban Superhot Baths
Sure, soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy.
Happy Hydrated Holidays!  - Marina
Source: WebMD

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Exercise and Morphine?

Consider This High

Alvina Begay, Navajo/Dine, Nike N7 Ambassador for Indian Country
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Regular exercise has been proven to:
  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
  • It strengthens your heart.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves muscle tone and strength.
  • It strengthens and builds bones.
  • It helps reduce body fat.
  • It makes you look fit and healthy.
"Go get your endorphines today!" - Marina

Source:  WEBMd

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Post Summer Hair Repair Tips

Summer is over and your hair may be crying for a little TLC!
Dry, frizzy, dull hair can be the result of summer sun, wind, chlorine and air conditioning.
Here are some post summer hair repair tips:  

Healthy Hair Tip #1:
Dry hair is the number one issue we face come September. Hair doesn’t repair itself. Instead we must replenish what was taken out during the long hot days of summer.

Starting with a daily rinse out conditioner after shampooing is a good move. Look for nourishing ingredients like Wheat Protein and Panthenol which adds moisture and will protect hair from heat styling. In addition, these ingredients make hair more elastic so it's less prone to breakage.
You can also rub a small amount of a rinse out conditioner between your palms and add to dry hair to smooth and soften during the day!

Healthy Hair Tip #2:
Rinse with cool water! Cooler temperature water helps seal the hair cuticle. Do this at the final rinse - after you shampoo and condition. It will help the cuticle lay a bit flatter so your hair looks shiny and healthy and NOT frizzy.
Save $$$ on Sister Sky Conditioner!
Sister Sky’s White Willow Conditioner is formulated for daily use. This nourishing rinse out conditioner restores your hair's vitality and replenishes lost nutrients. Our salon quality formula is fortified with moisture balancing Wheat Protein and Willowbark extract. We add Pro Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) to condition hair and reduce damage from split ends. Our silicone free conditioner helps detangle while adding softness with every use.
Shop at and enter Coupon Code: WEBWW1 at checkout to receive $4.00 off a bottle of White Willow Conditioner.
Limit one per customer. Offer expires 9/29/12 at 12:00 am

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meet Daisy

Sister Sky was fortunate to have Daisy as a tribal youth summer employee during June and July.

Daisy is a senior at Lakeside High school in Spokane, WA. She plans on attending college next fall to study marine biology. UW, EWU and WSU are some of Daisy's college picks.  She enjoys pow wow dancing, hunting, fishing, huckleberry picking and camping.

Daisy's job training included order processing, computer data entry and customer service.

"Working at Sister Sky was a really great experience because I learned many new things. I haven't had a job quite like this.  I learned about manufacturing, sales and a whole lot of order processing!" Daisy said on her last day on the job.

Daisy lives in Spokane with her mom and grandparents and her dog named Sage.
We are going to miss our Daisy at Team Sister Sky!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meet Hailey

Sister Sky welcomes our newest tribal youth summer employee, Hailey! 
Hailey is a senior at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, WA.  She plans on attending Eastern Washington University next fall to study creative writing. She enjoys writing poetry and doing martial arts. You go girl!
Hailey's job training includes order processing, computer data entry and customer service.
"I hope to gain a better experience in the workplace learning how to deal with co workers as well as sharpen my communication skills" Hailey said when asked what she hopes to learn while working at Sister Sky.
Hailey lives in Spokane with her parents, sister and two dogs -  Daisy and Bindi.
Glad to have you on Team Sister Sky Hailey!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pow Wow Time ...

I grew up going to them

and I still LOVE going to them!  I attend about three or four each year.  I do not take two or three week vacations in Hawaii, Spain, Mexico or Australia but I do take long four or five day "camping at the pow wow grounds" vacations with my family and my sister's family.  The spirit in the atmosphere is like a big huge family reunion!  Families from various parts of the country create friendships which almost bind them as family. I will share a short true story about how friends bond and generations stay connected thru our Native American Pow Wow's.

She quietly placed her chair next to mine

as I was busily tending to my first born child.  It was at the Spokane Tribe Labor Day Powwow 1995.  A big traditional game of chance (stickgame) was preparing to start and when a "big game" is ready to start, well you better make sure you have a good place to sit, in your lawn chair, in order to watch the game.... 

I was born into a long line of participants in this traditional game of chance; which we call "stickgame".  A part of playing stickgame is to sing traditional songs which is accompanied by pounding sticks together (and more recently hand drums) to keep a rhythmical tone with the stickgame song.  My family possess songs which have survived multi-generational transfer, which is a beautiful success in my opinion; we possess the songs because the songs "came to" or presented themselves to our family leader, generations ago therefore the songs "belong to him/the family".  To sing the songs (for me) is a spiritual connection to all my family who sang our songs in the past.  I also feel, as I sing, I am sending forward a calling of remembrance in my family to those yet born. 

As I sat in my lawn chair preparing for the "big stickgame" I noticed she quietly sat next to me and positioned her chair very close to mine.  Growing up at the stickgames I only knew her as "Mrs. Moon" as her husband's last name was Moon (and everyone just called him by his last name).  She is much much older than I and have never had the opportunity to socialize with her.

Mrs. Moon patiently sits and watches me tend to my child and when the chance occurs for her to speak she said, "So....he must be about 2 years old by now, huh?"  I replied, "Yes, your right he is 2 yrs. now."  To which she said, "I remember seeing you pregnant with him and now you have a son, that's good!".  Then she said, "I remember seeing you (and your sister) when you both were about 2 and 3 years old, I also remember seeing your mother when she was pregnant with you!  Oooohhh she looked miserable at the Yakama Powwow" (which is very HOT weather during July 4th, I was born at the end of the month).  I thought, "Wow!  She witnessed MY MOTHER pregnant with ME, saw me (and my sister) when we were lil-diaper-wearing-snot-nosed babies at the stickgames and then witnessed ME pregnant with my SON!."

Mrs. Moon then shared with me (which I never knew)..... "your grandmother and I met many, many years ago.  She was very kind to me and always welcomed me and my husband to her camp for a meal during the powwow.  I came to love your grandmother like a sister and was heartbroken when she passed away .... thats how I came to start watching you girls grow up because your grandmother was always kind to my family."

After Mrs. Moon shared her heart with me the impact of how our Native American powwows are capable of creating life long friendships made me feel "happy".  

As a matter of fact.....I notice I am at the (very) beginning stages of seeing kids I knew when they were little 2 and 3 year olds now having children themselves.  (I said only the VERY BEGINNING stages....)

"I LOVE our Native American Powwows - its like a big family reunion". 

Heading East for a long weekend - going to a powwow to see old and new friends.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Sister Sky: White Willow Lotion For Healthy Skin

For Thousands of Years:
Use of willow bark dates back thousands of years for Native Americans, also with the time of Hippocrates (400 BC) when patients were advised to chew on the bark to reduce fever and inflammation. Willow bark has been used throughout the centuries in North America, China, Europe, and continues to be used today for the treatment of pain, headache and inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendinitis.  

Natural Pain Reliver: The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a natural chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). It is thought to be responsible for the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. However, studies have identified several other components of willow bark that have antioxidant, fever reducing, antiseptic, and immune boosting properties.

Natural Anti-Inflammatory: As an anti-inflammatory: white willow bark has been used to relieve the painful inflammation and joint pain of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, neuralgia, osteoarthritis, osteroporitic and lower back pain and the inflammatory stages of autoimmune diseases. It may also be an effective alternative for people who cannot tolerate non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.

For Healthy Skin: Used externally, white willow bark's antiseptic properties extend to its help in treating cuts, burns, wounds, sores, sweaty feet, dandruff and as a mouthwash to ease tonsillitis, sore mouth and sore gums. 
Used topically: white willow bark contains Tannins which is a natural astringent and is traditionally used topically to treat wet or oozing skin conditions such as poison ivy and eczema.


**Information: University of Maryland Medical Center.

"I love the fragrance of Sister Sky White Willow Skin & Hair care products! I have 2 year old twins and I wash my hands constantly which makes my hands dry and irritated. White Willow lotion smells wonderful and softens my very dry hands. Thanks Sister Sky!". - Sheila T.

 Enjoy the Summer Fun with healthy soft skin.  Try Sister Sky White Willow Lotion TODAY!

- Marina

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

EEEWW! Mosquitoes! Reprieve in Sister Sky Cedar Citrus Products!

Sister Sky Cedar/Citrus Products assist as a natural repellent to those blood seeking insects!  Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer fun, try our cedar/citrus products today! 

Most mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk but there are also mosquitoes that seek hosts during the day. You can avoid being bitten by making sure you: 1) are using a repellent 2) aren't attracting the pesky insects and 3) avoiding actions that diminish the effectiveness of the repellent. 

A Few Mosquito Attractants: 

  • Dark clothes and foliage are initial attractants.
  • In addition to perfumes, hair products, and scented sunscreens, watch for the subtle floral fragrance from fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration because of the chemicals it contains and also because it increases the humidity around your body. Even small amounts of water (e.g., moist plants or mud puddles) will draw mosquitoes. Standing water also allows mosquitoes to reproduce.

Natural Repellents:

Natural products will aide in repelling mosquitoes but they require frequent reapplication (at least every 1 hour) and higher concentrations than DEET.  Products that contain multiple repellents tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient.  

Cedar Oil                      Lemon Eucalyptus Oil 
Cinnamon Oil                Castor Oil
Rosemary Oil                 Lemongrass Oil
Citronella Oil                 Peppermint Oil
Clove Oil                       Geranium Oil
 **Put several drops of the oil(s) in with distilled water place in a glass spray bottle, shake and spray away! The 1 or 2 ounce spray bottles are perfect for personal use! 

Things that Lower Repellent Effectiveness:

·                     Many Sunscreens
·                     Dilution from Rain, Perspiration, or Swimming
·                     Absorption into the Skin
·                     Evaporation from Wind or High Temperatures
Many people are sensitive to plant oils. Therefore, although natural repellents provide an alternative to synthetic chemicals, please remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these products.
Use as an additional NATURAL REPELLENT to aide in keeping those pesky blood seeking insects away: Sister Sky Cedar/Citrus products offered in: lotion, body wash, shampoo and conditioner.

Enjoy the Summer Fun! 

- Marina


Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Authentic Self.....

One morning last weekend while sipping coffee with my husband I announced my intention to  work on "being my authentic self." 
Looking both amused and confused he asked "and what is that?"
We have been married over 20 years.  He knows me all too well.
I am a Gen Xer obsessed with "self-improvement."
The Purpose Driven Life.  The Power of Now.  The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.  (Yes, I bought a Dr. Laura book. Don't judge.)
I'm pretty sure he was getting ready to hear all about the latest self help strategy I bought into.  I drank the self improvement kool-aide pretty consistently in the 90's so jumping back on the band wagon wouldn't surprise him.
"Well," I said "to work at being my authentic self I need to honor four things in my life." That was the hook. He was intrigued.  He was hanging on my every word.
"I need to be happy, healthy, adventurous and productive every single day. I owe it to myself to be these things everyday, all day.  It is my responsibility to ask myself if I am practicing these four things." He didn't have to say it. I just saw the look on his face and it said "what does that even mean?"
  • HAPPY: It's an attitude.  It's my energy.  It's my thoughts. I can practice  happy.  Smiling makes me happy.  Laughing is a huge happy boost. 
  • HEALTHY:  I know what makes me feel horrible.  Sugar binging, not enough sleep, not working out, not stretching in the morning, not drinking enough water. Reminding myself I'm not honoring my "authentic self" if I engage in unhealthy habits motivates me (or guilts me, not sure which one it is.)
  • ADVENTUROUS:  This is simple adventure. I don't have the time or resources to trot around the globe and do really cool things (yet.)  Just trying a new restaurant is fun. Going to a comedy improv show is a kick!   Cooking new foods.  These are things that get me out of my comfort zone. 
  • PRODUCTIVE: I need to move.  I need to improve.  I need to participate.  Being productive means I'm making an effort.  It could be in my business, my marriage, my family, my home, my hobbies, my friendships.  If I am not engaged then I am not productive. My authentic self craves productivity. 
So there it is. My authentic self...for now.  Pretty sure these things will change. In the meantime, I am giving thought and taking action to stay on a path that makes me feel balanced. 
Take that Oprah!    -Monica

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chasing the Dream.....

No risk, no gain.
I kept reminding myself this as I signed page after page of business loan documents the other day. 
I know what it feels like to be "all in" and I don't even play poker. 
I decided to be an entrepreneur and not a wantrepreneur so I left a good job in the city (actually it was at a casino) to start a new life selling lotion.
That was seven years ago.
I am on my second business loan to consolidate debt and infuse growth capital.
I know the meaning of "it takes money to make money" so I borrow more money to chase the American dream.
If you ever wondered how you were going to pay the bills AND yourself, you know my pain.
If you are both thrilled and terrified, you must be on the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride. 
Starting, building and running Sister Sky has been my passion. 
Perhaps I have been extremely determined or stubborn to a fault.
Regardless, I have gotten up when knocked down, kept asking when told "no" and figured out another way when something wasn't working.
I keep chasing the dream because I believe "hard work will pay off."
I continue to take the risk because I simply can't turn the lights off on my dream.
Mostly I want to proudly say to myself  "Wow....I really did it."
No risk, no gain.  I am all in!   -Monica

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm taking my Sister Sky back to Australia!

Hello Sisters! I'm an Australian-based flight attendant. I get to visit LAX on regular basis. A recent side-trip to Santa Fe New Mexico introduced me to your Sweet Grass shampoo at the Hotel St Francis. Very excited to able to order this now and take some home to Brisbane. Regards, GS from Down Under.

Safe travels and glad you found us @ Hotel St Francis. -The Sisters

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Love the Sweet Grass Lotion Sisters!

Hello ladies! I am writing because I absolutely love your Sweet Grass Body Lotion. I discovered it after a stay at the Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe over the summer.  I didn't even use it until I got back home in Houston. Normally I am not fond of hotel lotions/soaps/shampoos. So I didn't really expect to like it but I was desperate for lotion one day and I happened to have the little travel bottle in my purse. I am so glad I did because I have never seen a better lotion in my life. I went online and orderd a full size bottle. I just hope you never go out of business because then I don't know what I will do. Not only does it smell wonderful, but my hands feel like a baby's butt. It makes me feel like I have angel skin. I just want you to know you make the best lotion ever!
Thank you....Jamie Good. 

Awwww! Thanks Jamie for such kind words.  Emails like yours make all the difference to us.  We love it when sisters take the time to bless us with amazing words of encouragement.  It's most certainly a sister thing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sisters: Staying Together

The story of Sister Sky begins with two sisters who grew up in a culture that has rich and meaningful plant traditions respecting nature’s own healing herbs from Mother Earth.
Our Native American grandmothers harvested a variety of plants like sweet grass, cedar and sage to make teas, ointments and creams. Ancient medicine came from plants and helped us maintain our health or cure us when we were ill.
-The Sisters of Sister Sky
Embracing the herbal wisdom of their heritage, the sisters enjoyed a weekend hobby of making natural soaps and lotions in their kitchens. Often, they would take those hand made products to local craft shows to sell.
Growing tired of their day jobs, they began kicking around the idea of taking the venture full time.
As faith would have it, a series of events pushed the sisters into entrepreneurship. When Monica's son, Kevin was born in 1994 with severe eczema her hobby proved useful. She created a lotion using traditional herbs to help soothe her son's dry skin. The sisters nicknamed the special lotion "Kevin's Cure" and people began to ask where they could buy it.
The sisters were convinced their hobby was destined to be a business, so in 1999 they mixed up an extra large batch of their products, rented a kiosk in a local mall for the Christmas season and Sister Sky was officially open for business!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inspired by Nature

Sister Sky products are inspired by nature and the wisdom of our Native American heritage. Indigenous cultures have rich and meaningful plant traditions respecting nature’s own healing herbs from the Earth. Honoring this tradition, we infuse botanicals that promote well-being into our products.
Sweet Grass, Cedar, Yarrow, Chamomile, Hibiscus, Willow Bark, Oregon Grape Root are some of the plants we infuse. Each plant has a purpose, a story and most importantly, a benefit for you. We share a bit of our culture's herbal wisdom in every Sister Sky product we make.
Our mission is simple: create exceptional products to nourish your body and inspire the spirit. Our products are gentle and natural. Free of petro-chemicals and parabens. Never animal tested. Earth friendly packaging and USA Made.
Our vision is to share Native American herbal wisdom in an authentic and respectful manner promoting health, wellness and sustainability for our selves, our communities and our planet.

-Monica & Marina

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sister Sky's Indian Hyacinth Coming Soon!

Indian Hyacinth, also known as “blue camas”  was  an important nutritional   resource for Native Americans.  The bulbs were shared, traded or offered as   valuable gifts. Tribal families took great care to responsibly harvest the plant,   protecting the resource for future generations.  Early explorers remarked how   a field of blooming flowers resembled “a lake of fine clear water”.  Indian   Hyacinth has a fresh, crisp fragrance inspired by the sea of  “blue camas” in   bloom. Hibiscus extract  is a powerful antioxidant and works as a firming agent   lifting the skin to calm and smooth the surface.  Hibiscus  works as a natural   emollient and softens the skin leaving a healthy glow.  Available in February, Sister Sky's new Indian Hyacinth will be available in 12 oz Body Lotion, 12 oz Body Wash, 12 oz Shampoo and 12 oz Conditioner. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kevin's Cure Lotion Great Stuff!

After struggling with blepharitis for months I was skin patch tested and found to be allergic to 7 chemicals; some in shampoos and soaps and
Most lotions and creams made it worse not better. I tried your Kevin's Cure
Lotion a few weeks ago and have improved alot.  I am using the body wash and shampoo now too.
Great stuff!
-J Smith, Spokane, WA

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Remove Product Build Up from Hair Naturally!

I have long, straight hair that I coax into being sleek, shiny and smooth.  Because my hair doesn't behave this way naturally I have to call in the support of styling products to help me tame the mane.
Hair sprays, spritzes, mousses and gels create the look I want, however they can build up over time and make my hair dull and flat.  Styling products don't dissolve completely when I shampoo. 
The best way to remove product build-up from the hair is to provide more in-depth cleansing than usual. The use of a clarifying shampoo once a week is a really good beauty habit to develop. 
If you don't want to purchase another bottle of shampoo head to your kitchen for some baking soda. 
Once a week, I add a teaspoon of baking soda to the amount of shampoo I normally use and mix it all up in the palm of my hand, lather and rinse.  Yes, it's that easy!
I started using the baking soda trick years ago when my daughter was on a swim team.  The ends of her hair were split, dry and lighter in color from the damage caused by chlorine build up. Another mom recommended the baking soda routine.  By the way, thanks other swim mom for sharing your wisdom! 
Regardless of your hair length or styling routine, product builds up.  Fight it naturally and gently with a key ingredient from the kitchen.  It works well for me.
What do you use to fight product build up? Would love to hear what else works.  Share your wisdom and comment below.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Sister Sky's Shampoo & Conditioner are Silicone Free

Are you using a shampoo or conditioner that contain silicone?  Silicone-based additives in shampoos and conditioners have great detangling properties and give your hair a slick, smooth feeling. Those benefits are a short term illusion that the quality of your hair has improved.  When used over time, silicone-based hair products coat the hair shaft, seal out moisture and create build up that can make your hair dry, dull and flat.
How will you know if your hair products contain silicone?  As a rule of thumb, any chemical listed on the label that ends in "cone" is a silicone; dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and phenyl trimethicone are some common ones.
To improve the health of your hair consider avoiding excessive use of silicone-based hair products. You may also try rotating the use of a clarifying shampoo which removes excessive silicone buildup in your hair. 

Sister Sky's Shampoo and Conditioners are silicone free. Gentle, natural, botanical based hair care that nourishes with natural additives like wheat protein and Pro-Vitamin B5.   To learn more visit our website at

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sister Sky turns 13!

This year Sister Sky turns 13. She was born in 1999 when two sisters hand made a large batch of bath products and candles and rented a kiosk in a Spokane mall.  (Yes, we used to make candles but that's another story.) We stocked that little cart full of Sister Sky lotions, soaps, shampoos and conditioners and we were officially open for business!   Because we still had our day jobs, we split the shifts at the mall and worked really long hours while raising small children. 
I reflect a lot about the enthusiasm we had at the beginning for our business.     If you asked me what the magic ingredient is to get through the start up stage in business I would say your ability to remain positive and enthusiastic.  Sometimes I have to recall that ability today to fortify me against doubt while growing a company.  Happy birthday Sister Sky.  13 is the luckiest number we know!