Gathered Goods Company

I have been slacking in my blogging and upkeep here at Cedar and Cypress, buy we have been buying and continuing to work with our partners in Haiti because we have a store to fill now! We are so excited to announce that I have opened up a store in Minnesota with my good friend Nicole.

This is a dream and a vision I have had since Cedar and Cypress Designs was born and I am so excited that less than two years after leaving Haiti, my dream has come true. My passion is supporting artisans; both in Haiti and right where I am; Gathered Goods Company does just that. We have over 20 local artisans, products from Haiti and clothing. We also have a craft bar and different DIY classes happening. 

If you are in the area, come check us out, 5619 Manitou, Road, Excelsior, MN 55331. If not, we have a small online store (www.gatheredgoodscompany.com)  and of course you can always purchase Cedar and Cypress Designs online!

GETTING THROUGH THOSE WINTER BLUES AND INTO FULL BLOOM

Well I am from upstate New York (like the REALLY snowy part) and I now live in Minnesota where it happens to be VERY cold. Winter is tough and sometimes I get sad and blue, but I feel its up to me to change that.

It’s no secret that seasonal affective disorder or the “winter blues” is a very real and present thing for those of us up here in the great north. Seasonal affective disorder is characterized as a type of depression experience at the same time every year, typically during the winter months. 

Web-MD says that one cause is due to our body falling out-of-sync with the reduced sunlight - personally I don’t think the below freezing temperatures and chilling winds tend to help either. 

So if you have found yourself feeling "out of sync" this winter, hang on…its almost over! But until the tulips come up, I wanted to share these three tips with you on how to keep your chin up until the spring comes and the cherry blossoms bloom.

  1. Create the daylight your lacking. Yeah, thats right, get it wherever you can. The missing daylight is one of the biggest factors to our changing mood. Open your blinds up and sit near the window whenever possible. Soaking up every ray of sunshine makes a big difference. 
  2. Get out there and enjoy the winter. Now this is something I tried to really get into this year. I went out to Play it Again Sports and bought a new pair of ice skates this year and when I lived in New York I went skiing as much as possible. There are so many winter activities going on, you just need to find some of the things happening in your area and embrace the winter, it might be spring and falls ugly step sister, but she deserves some love. Not to mention there are many additional benefits to healthy activities (skiing, snow shoeing, hiking etc.) and it doesn't hurt to look the part. A new scarf or pair of tights always makes me feel cute and shopping makes me cheerier. If you are looking for something to do in March and live in the Twin Cities area, check out this link.
  3. Try something new. The winter can be a great time to take advantage of the things you wanted to try, but never seem to have the time to during the spring or summer months. Do something you haven’t done since you were a kid or something you have never done before. Finish some of those best sellers, go bowling with a group of friends or host a Gatsby themed dinner party. 

Winter is almost over and spring is just around the corner, but the thing is…winter will be back next year, right about the same time. Until then, get out there in the sunshine, enjoy the summer months, get some sunshine and BE HAPPY.

(Disclosure: I am not a doctor, if you have symptoms of depression please seek professional help.)

SWEETS and my 3 secret to getting my cravings under control.

Ok heres the deal, I have a serious issue with sweets. I just can’t get enough, I cant stop. When we were in Florida I ate a whole key lime pie from Dolly’s. A whole pie. 

I have to do something about it. I have to get this whole sugar craving thing under control. You hear me? I know my mom does (I do blame this issue on genes, her genes. My grandfather was Italian and ALL about the sweets, all about food really, but those Melchionne’s sure love their sweets)

I have to break this mold so I did some research. I don't want to cut sweets out. I don't want to go on a diet. I just need to manage the issue. 

I narrowed it down to my three favorite tips to help me with my little issue:

1) GUM: Thats right guys, a little water and some gum have been my go to. When we road trip I always make sure I have a packet of gum with us. I would rather chew a few pieces than down a bag of Doritos between rest stops. It gives my mouth something to do and distracts me from my need to consume cookies. Great for around the office or on long drives. 

2) FRUIT: Again when that craving hits or 4:00PM or 9 at night just before bed and I have to have something sweet, I have been reaching for an apple, banana or some sugar snap peas (so good). Packed with fiber and some nutrients (to to mention natural sugar) they are far less processed than a snickers bar they have been a delightful substitute to candy candy candy. 

3) EAT REGULARLY: With my work schedule sometimes I go hours with out eating and then gorge myself on a whole pizza and brownie the size of my palm. This is so bad for you!!! Eating smaller meals more regularly has been proven to be more effective in hunger cravings. Try four smaller meals throughout the day with some light (maybe fruit or mixed nuts) snacking through out the day. 

So if you're anything like me, I hope this will help you with those mid-winter-oh-Ill-bake-some-brownies blues or those cravings for sweet that you just can't seem to get a handle on.

(Check out more helpful hints from this awesome source, Web MD : http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/13-ways-to-fight-sugar-cravings#1 )

About Town: The best Key Lime Pie EVER

Well it has been a few weeks and here we are, back in the cold dreaming of sunshine and sandy beaches. For whatever reason Florida is such a magical place for us. But, here we are, back in Minnesota-rated as the worst winter in the U.S. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am in complete agreement with that article, especially because we pretty much re rated number one or close to it for about everything else. Minnesota is a great place to live, it has beautiful landscapes, a lot to do and is quite charming. But a break to sunny Florida or anywhere south really is a necessity for most of us in the North. Come February everyone has either just returned from the Sunshine state or heading down for a long weekend. 

Thankfully I was able to spend the better part of December and into January down in sunny South West Florida. We had a great time visiting with family and relaxing. We soaked up about every ray of sunshine as we could and ate…a lot. Well a lot of pie that is, which I find to be interesting because I am really more of a cake person. 

Which brings me to Dolly's, Dolly's Produce Patch and Eatery. The pie from Dolly’s is an exception, the exception to the rule. And not just any pie, key lime pie. 

If you are in the Bonita Springs/ Fort Meyers area, breakfast, lunch and pie are a must at Dolly’s. We went once for a very special 40th birthday celebration and had pie, a second time just Jesse and we bought a whole pie, I and on the morning we left for breakfast (becuase: key.lime.pie).

But Dolly's believe it or not has more than just pie. They have a really great priced menu, breakfast all day (open until 2:00 PM) and a local produce market right there! Who doesn't love a good meal, pie and some fresh fruit!

Dolly herself is from the great state of Minnesota, a small frail woman who has some serious grit. She was there each time we were, walking around and chatting to everyone, running the cash register and probably eating pie. If you are in the are, and I know many of you Minnesotans will be in the next few months, I promise, you will not be sorry. Stop over and see Dolly, enjoy the Minnesota paraphernalia, and of course, get some key lime pie. 

Just one word.

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday season, I sure did. I have been privileged to have spend it in sunny Southwest Florida with family. Happily, I am still here, soaking up every bit of sunshine, running outside, and enjoying morning coffee on the patio.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, WELCOME 2017

Many have asked as per the usual conversation circling the New Year, "what is my resolution?" This year I have forgone the traditional resolution and decided to replace it with one word. A concept I am sure many of you have heard or have even done yourself. I am hoping this will help me to see a resolution through next December for once in my life. I jotted down some tips to help your resolution stick this year!

My word is "word," ironically enough. I love this choice because it means a few different things for me:

  • How am I using my words? Am I building people up or am I using them to tear down?
  • What words are coming out of my mouth. How are they glorifying God?

You see the thing is you don't have to have that same yearly Anderson Cooper goal of "go to the gym more." Don't plan to give up sugar or stop drinking soda (or pop), these goals are almost not even worth making. If you're going to make a resolution to last a year, make it something worth your while.

Take it one day at a time.

This year I want to be healthier. Make small goals. What might that mean? Eating healthier, working out more? Do those things as you can, one day, one week at a time. 

Write it down.

Think it out, hey, even change it if you want. Keep it somewhere close to you, somewhere you will see it on a regular day. Get it stamped onto a necklace or a bracelet (buy that here), but keep it close to your heart and reflect on why you chose that world.

Own it.

And lastly: Own it. This is your resolution, your goal, your intentions and that should be no more important to any one else, but yourself. It's your resolution, meaning it doesn't have rules or parameters. No one can tell you that you're doing it wrong.

So there ya have it! Welcome to 2017, guys, I think it's going to be a good year! Let us know what your resolution is.

Posted on January 1, 2017 and filed under Encouragement.

Thats a wrap.

Congratulations! We made it through 2016. It has been quite a year here for us at Cedar and Cypress Designs, our first full year as a business. In 2017 we have some really exciting things coming.  Although I can't give away all of the news yet, I can say, we are going to change up our blog!

That's right, in 2017 we are expanding our blog. Everything from recipes to work outs, DIY projects, encouragement, and of course our regular updates. We are really excited for this change. Make sure you stay tuned and check in to see our changes!!!

That's a wrap for this year! See you in 2017!!!

Posted on December 31, 2016 and filed under Cedar and Cypress.

Collaboration is key

It's not like this is news to any of you. We all know how important it is to collaborate and to have people on our side, some one to bounce an idea off of or someone to encourage and support you.

I have been very fortunate in moving to Minnesota to meet some great women whom I have been able to collaborate with. From the stores that sell Cedar and Cypress Designs, to the women who sit down for coffee and brainstorming or encouragement.

If you don't have a good group of people around you, this life will all be so much more difficult than it has to be. Last week I got to sit down with my new friend Lindsey over at Nourish Move Love, after she kicked by butt in Barre class we had a delicious lunch with great fellowship and conversation. It was refreshing to chat with some one who is so energetic and excited to be a female entrepreneur. Needless to say she lit a little fire in me.

If you're an entrepreneur, a mom boss or just plain old busy it can be hard to find the time to fit others in to your hectic schedule, but it is such a small gesture that often leaves a big impact in others. Thank you Lindsey, for taking the time to visit with some one new.

Now Hiring

As the world moves on from Haiti once again, our artisans and partners are still very much involved. I can't stress enough that what Haiti needs most (maybe not "most", but you get what I'm trying to say) is JOBS.

People have lost their lives and their livelihoods - Hurricane Matthew whipped out crops and livestock, homes and families. Every time I talk about Haiti at a show or the store the response is always similar - Haiti just can't catch a break.

It breaks my heart to see people who have been knocked down by society, by their country and president, by the system and by continued natural disasters. Poverty and a broken system don't make life easy for Haitians. But there are some committed to making life better, to change the system and do their part to make the world around them a little better.

We can all do our part. You can play a role in changing the life of some one in Haiti by making a purchase from us. Our partners are committed to orphan prevention, to education, to the whole family. They offer literacy classes, help to rebuild homes, offer health insurance and so much more. So buy from us, buy from our partners, buy from others who are involved and selling products from Haiti and other countries around the world that are hurting and broken. The more you buy, the more people are employed; Haiti-now hiring.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.
— Ghandi

Haiti Cherie

I traveled home today, back to Minnesota, through North Carolina where the storm will surely be heading soon. As I stood in the security line checking all my social media feeds, the world around me seemed to be going on with out skipping a beat. Swirling around me as I stood there, motionless, on the verge of tears. 

The world goes on even when it seems to stop. So many of us see images on TV or Facebook, say a quick prayer or mutter how sad and devastating that must be and move on. 

My mind, my heart and my prayers are in Haiti today. I am thankful that many of my close friends were very safe in their homes, in secure structures and I am speechless at the stories of love they have shown their friends and neighbors. 

*Photo credit Jan Williams Stevens of the Hands and Feet Project

*Photo credit Jan Williams Stevens of the Hands and Feet Project

In the days and weeks that come I know Haiti will be on the minds of many. Living in Minnesota I have met numerous people who have traveled to Haiti. It is in moments like this that I want to encourage us all to support some of the well established hands on organizations.

Through my time in Haiti I had the pleasure of working with many organizations, many who have employees and loved ones whom homes and life have been torn apart by this storm. If you would like to give, I would encourage you to do so, but do your research. We are encouraging everyone to support one of our partners in Haiti Papillion Enterprise through their state side organization and non-profit, Apparent Project Haiti.

Apparent Project is the non-profit of our partner Papillon Enterprise. They have several hundred employees from their jewelry makers, pottery makers, metal artisans, managers, and restaurant employees. Their work is extensive and their relief efforts have already begun. 

Papillion Enterprise is a staple in their community. They provide love, safety, jobs and in this case relief and aid. It is with your help and support that those on the ground will be able to take care of the needs and relief efforts before them. I strongly encourage you to pour into this organizations financially and to continue to cover them with prayer and encouragement. 

It also must be said, buy. Buy from us, from them and from our other partners listed on our website HERE. Your purchase is creating jobs and it is through a reliable job that people will be able to support themselves and their families. This is why we are, this is our core. To provide jobs to create sustainable lifestyles. Thank you for your continues support and love.

Haiti is a beautiful place, tomorrow the sun will rise again, it will bring a new day and new hope. May you be strong and may the light find it's way back to your shores. Haiti Cherie, Bonje se jerve.