A Minnesota mom's thoughtful care packages help you send love to friends who need it the most. Plus, ideas for cruelty-free lipsticks, an exceptionally flavorful bread and farm-to-front-door delivery services for humanely raised meat.

By Kelsey Ogletree
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Beyond Words basic care box
Blaine Moats

1) Send a Care Package When someone is going through tough times, it’s hard to know what to do or say. Catherine Hinz has felt it from both sides. The St. Paul entrepreneur had a new baby when she discovered infidelity in her marriage—and her world came crashing down. “I watched my family and friends wanting to help but almost feeling paralyzed that they didn’t know how,” she says. Struggling, she joined support groups and learned how others were coping with grief. Then, she started shopping. “It was the ultimate retail therapy, thinking about what could be practical for people who were grieving, and yet be beautiful and simple at the same time,” Catherine says. In 2018, she launched Beyond Words Company, selling curated care packages filled with items like tea, candles and sleep masks. You can send a personal message with your package, and Catherine offers suggestions for situations such as death, miscarriage, divorce, cancer and pet loss.

How to Help

Be Specific Rather than ask if there’s anything you can do, offer distinct ways to help, such as running errands, watching children or mowing the lawn.

Be Present Don’t feel pressure to have the exact right words. Oftentimes, there may be none. Aim to be present and a good listener to help your friend feel heard.

Be Respectful Avoid saying, “You’ll get over this.” It puts pressure on a grieving person that healing should happen in a certain way or time frame.

2) Try This Teetotaler's Tipple Using a vacuum and boiling method, Wellbeing Brewing Company in St. Louis removes alcohol from finished craft beer, resulting in lighter, zero-ABV drinks that taste surprisingly like the real thing. Available at select Whole Foods and other retailers and wellbeingbrewing.com.

Carson Downing

3) Take a Hike “At least once a week, I like to find a hike that takes me off paved paths and into woods and nature. I also choose travel spots based on where I can get in a great hike. Last year on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I took a trek to stunning Chapel Rock at Pictured Rocks.”—Diane Penningroth, Midwest Living Copy Editor

4) Get some Musical #MeTime Complaining about Minnesota winters was getting old, so Grammy-winning family folk duo The Okee Dokee Brothers made Winterland, a playful album extolling the pleasures (candles) and oddities (ice fishing) of the season. We’ve got “Keep Me Warm” strummin’ on repeat.

Okee Dokee Brothers
Alex Johnson Photography

5) Look for a Bread Winner Empty carbohydrates? Not in this loaf. Don’t be distracted by those glam cherries. The star here is the bread. It’s one of Wisconsin-based Angelic Bakehouse’s sprouted-grain loaves, and our staff is kinda obsessed. Letting grains germinate adds flavor, texture and nutrients like fiber and folate to food, so one petite slice with PB will keep you full until lunch. Available in stores or at angelicbakehouse.com.

Courtesy of Angelic Bakehouse

6) Pay Lip Service Discouraged by long ingredient lists for name-brand lipsticks, Jordan Penix decided to create her own. Her Columbus, Ohio, company, The Tart Peach, makes 22 colors of cruelty-free lipsticks with 20 ingredients or less that go on like butter and don’t crack or crease. Coming soon: lip polishes, glosses and tints.

The Tart Peach lipstick
Courtesy of The Tart Peach

7) Order a Protein Pack 

These farm-to-front-door delivery services take the guesswork out of shopping for humanely raised meat.

Farmer Girl Meats | Warrenton, Missouri

Offering grass-fed beef (plus other goodies like turkey) from family farms, this company ships nationwide and does local delivery in St. Louis (or farm pickup).

Seven SonsRoanoke, Indiana

The Hitzfield family sells beef, pork, lamb and poultry, plus extras like cheese, salmon and bison. Mix and match a shipment or local pickup.

Wallace Farms | Keystone, Iowa

Choose your own combo of beef, poultry and pork (great bacon!) from this family-owned biz. Shipping available, or pick up at spots in Iowa and Illinois.

Moink BoxLa Belle, Missouri

This subscription service is great for meat-loving crowds, with generous boxes of pork, beef, chicken, lamb and salmon sent regularly.