My “Favorite Things” Small Business Gift List

Photo by Element5 Digital on

As we approach the Holidays and many people are already shopping for Christmas, I want to share some of my favorite shops (especially small businesses – as I choose not to shop big box this year or in the future for presents).

The Merry Bohemian – A lovely shop that sells hand-painted ornaments. These ornaments can be personalized with an image of a family home or a special landscape that brings fond memories.

The Merry Bohemian

Photo credit: The Merry Bohemian

St. Charbel Candle Co. – This beautiful shop just opened and the candles are selling out faster than hot cakes! These cleaning burning candles are a perfect gift for a hostess, a neighbor, or a close family member.

St. Charbel – Beeswax Candle Shop

Photo Credit: St. Charbel Candel Co.

Caelesti Handmade Co. – A special shop full of beautiful items for your baby, your godchild, or your little niece or nephew. They offer a variety of wood teethers, bonnets, onesies, and even clothing for adults.

Caelesti Handmade Co.

Beauty CounterMy favorite makeup and skin care lines! It’s clean beauty. It took me awhile to understand the necessity for clean products, but I have come to love so many products through Beauty Counter. These are truly remarkable Christmas and birthday gifts for family and friends. Beauty Counter offers products for women, men, and even children! It’s a one stop place for everyone on your gift list.

Beauty Counter

Photo Credit: Beauty Counter

Nordic Creamery – This family farm offers a variety of cheeses, butters, jams and Amish candies. Order a gift box for a family friend, so that they can enjoy cheeses directly from the Great Dairy State of Wisconsin!

Nordic Creamery

Photo Credit: Nordic Creamery

The Healing Place Farm – Enjoy natural, non-toxic items made through this small family farm, such as body products, diffuser oils, soaps, and gift items. The farm also offers items for sale that are made through like-minded companies. The Healing Place Farm offers Facebook live sales for purchase opportunities.

The Healing Place Farm

Photo credit: The Healing Place Farm

Florence Adams – This is one of my all-time favorite boutiques! It offers a variety of home decor, women’s apparel and accessories, candles, wall prints, baby items, and much more. This shop will be one of your favorites all year long!

Florence Adams

Photo Credit: Florence Adams

Flourish Toy Company – Handmade specialty kids toys for the little ones in your life.

Flourish Toy Company

Photo Credit: Flourish Toy Co.

Lynn Michelle Designs – This unique shop sells salvaged items, organic products, and vintage farmhouse decor. Purchase a piece that fits with your sibling’s personality and support this small business!

Lynn Michelle Designs

Photo Credit: Michelle Lynn Designs

Organized Simplicity

2020 has started out with a bang. There’s always something deafening about hitting a new decade. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that everything and everyone is aging (for the better) or that it’s another year of uncertainties. The past five years have taught me many valuable lessons, including having complete faith in God. (Easily said than done some days.) But as this year started with several life-altering events, I have taken each one with stride while learning that God desires for me to be in this place and at this time.

With the beginning of a new year and the desire to organize, as organizing tends to be more of a hobby for me than scrap-booking, I decided to jump in on The Organized Simplicity Challenge with Kathryn Whitaker and Stephanie Weinert. (I saved a few of my Instastories if you desire to see me suffer through the challenge.) Yes, I love to organize and this is the third time I undertook the challenge, but this was the first time attempting such a demanding task while homeschooling three children, with two other little ones running around. Let’s just say that my organization times were late into the evenings and into the weekends as our schoolwork always comes first. But it was a good lesson for me. Maybe several good lessons.

I have learned that no matter how much we have become comfortable with a task, there will always be unforeseen circumstances that slow out progress. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teaching my children, caring for my family, and running people to activities has it’s importance. And as much as I would absolutely love a perfectly organized house that isn’t my season in life right now.

So, I completed the Organized Simplicity Challenge. Maybe not to the level of my person expectations, but I tried my best in my season of life. And it is better to have tried, pushed through the tasks, than not to try at all. Those of you who desire to undertake an intense purging challenge, this is for you! Even if you don’t believe you have the time or energy, you may prove yourself wrong – while potentially teaching yourself a very valuable lesson in the process. Purchase the book, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider, here!.

In the silence of art…

Silence is the backbone of great art.

The world began Holy Week mourning the destruction of Notre Dame. We contemplate the sorrow behind hundreds of years of Catholic history, but we can also turn our hearts and minds towards contemplation of the beautiful. If there’s any time during the year that requires silence, it is Good Friday. The Friday before Easter Sunday (Christ’s Resurrection). And silence and art complement each other.

Anne Hathaway stated a beautiful reflection regarding Notre Dame…
“I know this is an inspired representation of an even greater divinity. I know this blessed place is a human-made interpretation of what is mysterious, unknowable, and undefinable and while seeing her burn brings tears to my eyes, I know even flames cannot diminish her sacredness.
Still, not her.
Not her. “

Silence and art go hand-in-hand, as each one needs the elements of the other. The beauty of art brings the mind to a higher level of contemplation. The more we admire great art, the more our minds will be drawn to the good and the beautiful. The history of Notre Dame gives a sense of wonder and admiration. Art leaves us with a mysticism that feels untouchable. A glimpse into the eyes of another person (the artist). But it is up to us to embrace the beauty and contemplate its majesty. Do we live our lives drawn to the arts? Do we decorate our homes and businesses with art that encourages the good and the beautiful? Or are we numb and void of these beauties?

@dmheckenkamp photo (Painting by Jeff Darrow)