The Women’s March

Women's March | Gather Goods Co
This past Saturday like millions of other women I participated in the Women’s March alongside my husband, my daughter, some friends and their young daughters. I marched here in Raleigh (a sister march to the larger one in Washington DC and the thousands of others happening around the world) and the crowd here in Raleigh was about 20,000 strong. It was the largest protest in American history and 1 in 100 Americans participated in some way. I walked in solidarity and it was affirming, powerful and beautiful. I may not have agreed with everyone around me 100%, but that is the point, that I walked alongside those who feel morally challenged in some way, like myself, and support that they have the right to be heard.

Women's March | Gather Goods Co

I was hesitant to go at first because I don’t like crowds and I was worried about counter protests. I thought ‘I have other ways of making my voice heard that don’t involve picketing’. Living here in the capital city of North Carolina we have been in the midst of a contentious political climate for the past few years. I am sure you have heard of the bathroom bill, not to mention many other challenging policies that have limited public schools among other things. I have watched dozens of teachers leave my daughter’s elementary school because classroom size limits were lifted causing already stretched resources and underpaid teachers to just move on to more supportive opportunities.

I’ve watched as many of my friends protested and picketed and created noise to protest, and thought ‘I don’t agree with these policies, but protesting is intense’. Then, as if all the other frustrating things weren’t enough, the then voted out (in a very tight race) Governor called secret midnight sessions to strip the incoming Governor of his power to make change and citizens the power to vote more fairly through redistricting, despite the general public having voted for this change. I know that that is somewhat typical but the values are atypical and I don’t share them. The politics obviously go much deeper than just this paragraph touches on but it feels like the ushering in of something much larger and more disturbing for democracy. It feels like a pivotal time, that just sitting idly by and voting for change isn’t enough and it took seeing this at a local level to recognize the need on a national level.

Women's March | Gather Goods Co

The very founding of our country is based on the right to peacefully express yourself. I believe it is our country’s duty and our duty as humans to walk beside others whose views may or may not be the same but accepting that they have rights and their own unique set of challenges. Brene Brown, whose words move me greatly had a great piece that you can see on her facebook page about her thoughts on the march. She, like me, is an introvert who was so moved to action she couldn’t not participate. She also shared this quote by Theodore Roosevelt “To stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public” meaning if we disagree with certain policies or values, it is our duty to make them known, especially if there is significant resistance to them. To those that felt resistance to the march, I hear you as well. I respectfully disagree that this was a negative blight or stain on our country more so than the tenor of the new administration. It is not at all about “an eye for an eye” instead an opposition to the priority and presentation of the values being ushered in.

Women's March | Gather Goods Co
I was so moved by the many expressions of love and encouragement. Here’s to a more positive and supportive environment and to being the change that you wish to see in the world.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe

Soft Pretzel Recipe | Gather Goods Co

Today in Raleigh the weather is hovering around 65 degrees. This past weekend we were snowed in and school was cancelled for many days for my daughter. I’ve lived here in North Carolina for sixteen years now and the weather still surprises me. Growing up in Northern Virginia when it snowed it was more than just a dusting and you went to school and drove unless there were more than a few inches on the ground. Regardless, because it happens so rarely here it becomes an event and it’s fun to hunker down and treat it as the special occasion that it is.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe | Gather Goods Co

In our house when we don’t have projects going on (and the busy holiday season has passed as well as peppermint bark production) we usually spend our spare time cooking. Many recipes are too time consuming to create on busy weeknights so weekends and snow days are perfect for them. So this weekend, as the snowflakes were falling, my husband got the urge to make homemade pretzels. They are really easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. We made both traditional shaped pretzels and also shaped them into rolls. My brother works in the restaurant industry and at one of the restaurants where he worked they served hot pretzel rolls and they were mind blowing. The rolls make delicious sandwiches when they are heated up with some ham and melted cheese as well.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe | Gather Goods Co

We use Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food Network:

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe
Author: Alton Brown
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt
  1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Do you have a go-to recipe or family tradition when you are snowed in?