I have a belief that gets stronger with each passing day. It is not revolutionary nor particularly profound, but it is strong and powerful. It is a belief in the “Power of Good”. This power knows no religious boundaries, no race boundaries, no boundaries of any kind. It is a belief that if you open your heart and let people in, together you can make amazing things happen. You can build friendships that will last a lifetime. You can encourage the creativity of young minds. You can make people happy. You can offer comfort. You can build self esteem. You can build the foundation of a business based on family and community instead of greed and the almighty dollar. You can build “our” business, not “my” business. A business where the customers are the research and development team.
Together we can make lives a little sweeter. We can smile, laugh and hug together. We can be a force to be reckoned with. We can change the world…all from the “Power of Good”…the power of an open heart and a silly little cookie called Heartsong.
Heartsong Cookies was built on a foundation of creativity and it will grow with a little help from all of you. I love the challenge of your flavor suggestions. Flavors like “The Robin”, a decadent Red Velvet Caramel Cashew or “The Kelly”, a simple old fashioned Snickerdoodle with chocolate chips added. “The Morgan”, an Andes Mint S’Mores Cookie was a market favorite. As was “The Jenny”, Dark Chocolate with Reese’s Pieces. This weekend’s customer creations include “The Sydney”, a chocolate lover’s dream…chocolate cookie base with fudge, chocolate chips and chocolate sprinkles and “The Caitlyn”, a chocolate raspberry thumbprint cookie with chocolate chips.
So tonight I raise my milk glass and offer a toast to all of you. Here’s to unleashing the unexpected flavors you always dreamed about. Here’s to all of you.
Heartsong Cookies is morphing into a business…a full-fledged business. Not a hobby or a dalliance. Problem is, this small business of ours is having a challenge figuring out exactly what it wants to be when it grows up. It is kind of like a senior in high school ready to embark on a life adventure. Opportunities and dreams abound.
If the business had wealthy parents, it would go to the Ivy League…a little retail space with a compact, well-organized kitchen and a large work island for classes and parties. We would fill the kitchen with the people we love so much…encourgaging creativity, building self esteem and inspiring dreams. We would teach the art of baking and encourage a sense of community. We would laugh and get a little rounder together. Our hearts singing every step of the way.
Or maybe a state school…with a little help from a Kickstarter project, we would find a cute, little vintage ice cream truck and dress it up in Heartsong finery. Inside would be baskets of cookies on the shelves and an icy milk slush machine. Pump bottles of coffee syrup, chocolate syrup, strawberry, blueberry and almond syrup would be perched on the counter ready to flavor an icy cold milk treat to go with the freshly baked cookie of the day. A flavor that was created by our customers…like “The Morgan”, an Andes Mint S’Mores Cookie. The line outside the truck would be long. The smiles would be plentiful and the tummies happy. We would have followers anxious to find out the next stop on the Heartsong Cookies and Moo Truck Tour. Our truck would go to farmers’ markets, festivals and fund raisers for schools and causes we believe in. We would give back to the people we love so much and our hearts would burst out in song.
Unfortunately our little business doesn’t have rich parents…only me and Mike. And that Kickstarter project just doesn’t seem to want to write or film itself. So for now instead of the Ivy League, I think our little business will be staying home and going to community college. Lake Mary and Maitland Farmers’ Markets and B3 Cafe are great places to be. We can still encourage community, creativity, dreams and happy tummies. Our hearts humming as we figure it out.
I wish I could find the words to convey just how magical market day is for me, but somehow they just won’t come. It is a pure blissful mix of total exhaustion and the adrenaline rush of interacting with people…lots and lots of beautiful, warm engaging people. These people are an unending source of joy and flavor inspiration. Today we featured flavors created by my customers. Erin suggested a Triple Chocolate Cookie, a chocolate base with milk and white chocolate chips. From her sister Kelly came a Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle. Morgan asked for an Andes Mint S’Mores Cookie. One by one they all sold out. Selling out was great, but seeing the pride and joy in their eyes when they first spied their creation was priceless.
Dark Chocolate base with pepitas, Lindt Chili Chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and a touch of cayenne and cinnamon.
July 27th is a very special day in my life, but for some crazy reason I never seem to remember it…but my husband does! Year after year he surprises me with something special to commemorate the anniversary of our engagement. A gift. A decadent dinner out. A getaway. And year after year I am caught off guard. I think my brain is playing a pleasant trick on me because I LOVE surprises.
Tuesday afternoon during my daily check in call Mike casually mentioned a package may be delivered that day. It was a just a little something, but he wanted to know if it arrived. A FedEx notice greeted me on the front door and I noticed the package would be available after 7:15. I called Mike to let him know and he asked me to pick it up if I could. Curiosity was getting the best of me. What was so important about this package?! When I arrived at FedEx the package was not back yet. They told me I could wait and it would be available shortly. So I did. I waited and waited and waited some more. Customers came and went. One irate customer cursed, threatened, came and went and came and went again. Then the police arrived. And finally Mike’s package made an appearance. I walked out of FedEx hoping the package was worth the wait.
I called Mike to tell him my mission was accomplished. He informed me his package was actually a gift for me to celebrate our anniversary. Damn! He got me again. And I had the nerve to be impatient with the wait. I was driving at the time, but could not wait until I arrived at my destination. At the first stop light the scissors came out and the package was opened.
Oh my…I had to catch my breath. Tucked inside the box was my ticket to being an official “businesswoman”. It was something I had dreamed about and hoped for, but was just beyond my reach…until now. An iPad. My very own iPad. An iPad with a simple engraving on the back – Kathy Paiva
I am married to the most amazingly thoughtful, supportive man. Thankfully nine years ago on July 27th I said yes to the best proposal of my life.
Our yummy new flavor has a dark chocolate base with Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, orange zest, candied orange peel and orange extract. Very tasty paired with a cup of coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
You had to live under a rock to be unaware that yesterday was a momentous day for American society. The verdict was in on the latest “trial of the century”. I have to admit I did not get caught up in the Casey Anthony trial fervor. I was pretty darn close to living under that rock. I could not pick Jose Baez out of a line up. I never watched one moment of the coverage. It was too depressing to me. The loss of a child. A family torn apart. And all the while society hanging on every salacious word. I drove by the courthouse and just shook my head. Grand stands set up for the perfect camera angle. Media trucks everywhere. Computers were tuned in to the live feed everywhere I went. All day. Everyday during the trial.
Thankfully I was on the road when the verdict was read…isolated from the craziness by my sports talk radio. My husband Mike was not so lucky. He was at a car dealership waiting to pick up his car when the world came to a halt. He witnessed the mob mentality. The anger and hate. The rush to judgement. He carried it home with him and to the restaurant for dinner last night.
Here we were two people that didn’t follow the trial for one moment having a heated discussion over someone we didn’t even know. Mike wants to give up on society. He dreams of a secluded island with 6,000 dogs and me. I want to give society a hug. Mike could not shake the image of the dealership mob. I was trying to understand his position. We were somehow engulfed in the “Casey Effect” and it was a miserable place to be.
I can only imagine how society must feel today. No live feed to watch. No speculation. No drama. They will have to go back to their own lives. I think we need a group hug!
If you have ever paid a visit to the Heartsong Cookies booth at Lake Mary or Maitland Farmers’ Market, you may have had the good fortune to meet my friend Chris. Chris is my sidekick in cookie sales and a very special guy.
When Chris was a wee lad something happened with his brain development leaving him…as some people describe…”challenged”. I have never felt comfortable with this description and have wrestled with a better word for years.
A recent event helped me to discover the perfect description for Chris. A week ago Chris spent the weekend with us so he could help out with both markets. He gleefully volunteered to accompany me to the kitchen Saturday night to bake the last few batches of cookies for my Maitland Farmers’ Market debut. We cranked out the remaining cookies in record time. I baked. Chris cleaned. We made the perfect team. After reveling in our symbiotic relationship, we headed out the door for a Jeremiah’s Italian Ice reward. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for us.
We were greeted in the parking lot by a young man with a knife who demanded Chris’ wallet or he would stab him. My motherly instinct kicked in instead of common sense. I told the robber “NO!” and pulled Chris back toward the kitchen door. “NO!” I shouted again. Thankfully my antics attracted some attention from the Austin’s Coffee crowd and the robber turned and ran. Chris and I made it back into the kitchen, called 911 and within minutes the police arrived with the K9 unit, roads were blocked and a search helicopter circled overhead. I helped Chris fill out his incident report and we headed to the police department to help with the composite. It was scary…surreal really. Like being part of a crime show.
Needless to say I could not sleep that night. I replayed the event over and over and over again.
Chris slept like a baby. He lives in the moment and does not hang on to excess baggage in that brain of his. He will not have to deal with the trauma of revisiting the kitchen event over and over like I do. Suddenly the description of Chris became clear. Chris is “mentally enhanced”. He lives a blissful life of simplicity. I am rather envious of him right now.
Thankfully Chris and I both left the kitchen that night physically unscathed…and thankfully Chris left the kitchen with the same blissful spirit with which he entered. But most of all, thankfully Chris is in my life and I am forever better for it!