A couple of weeks ago, a big cardboard box arrived in the mail with an unusual sticker on it: BE BRAVE. What we found inside blew us away.

Sally Schneider

…We opened the box carefully to find…

…a newsprint folio of encouraging words…

Sally Schneider

And, what appeared to be a care package of products from Bella Cucina, Alisa Barry’s online gourmet store of lovely packaged foods…

Sally Schneider

We wondered what could be in the white pastry shop bag with a beautiful card about COURAGE clipped to it…

Sally Schneider

Inside was a heavy stitch-sewn envelope…

Sally Schneider

We opened it to find a pack of cards…


Sally Schneider

…each with words of encouragement…


Alisa Barry via Improvised Life

Alisa Barry

Along with this unexpected gift of encouragement came other kinds of nourishment:

Artichoke Lemon Pesto with thin crunchy Pane Rustico to eat it on…

Preserved Lemon Cream with Crostata Sweet Butter Pastry Tarts, the makings for instant tartlets…

And a lovely note that said:

Thank you for the improvised encouragement you provide everyday.

Wow! Mira and I gobbled pane rustico spread with artichokes while we were working. We made little celebratory “cakes” out of the butter tart shells and lemon curd.

Sally Schneider

We checked out Alisa’s website, then called her up to hear her story:

She cooked at Chez Panisse, had a catering and take-out shop, developed her online food business, all the while writing writing —her other passion — not knowing where it would go. At a month-long writer’s residency, the enCOURAGEment cards “came through me”, and told her what to do next:

Make them, create a Kickstarter, see what happens…

Alisa Barry

We said to Alisa:

We LOVE the mix of different kinds of fuel you sent. Thank you for feeding us in so many different ways.

OMG! she said. I didn’t think of the cards that way, as another kind of food! 

We said:
We think you should sell the cards on Bella Cucina, to expand the concept of nourishment/encouragement. Bundle them with your delicacies to make powerful care packages. 

We hope she will. Because enCOURAGEment comes in many forms.

Sally Schneider


For now, you can buy Alisa Barry’s enCOURAGEment cards and other printed matter here.


Alisa Barry

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4 replies on “Alisa Barry’s Encouragement Cards + Care Packages

  1. I savor these words.
    What a way to break my fast this day.
    Thank you.
    I am off, on foot, to
    Be Brave.

  2. Life’s hard.
    (….if we forget.)

  3. Life can be hard(!). ?

    (….if we forget.)

  4. so lovely to see this show up in my inbox again.
    thank you for sharing the enCOURAGEment project!

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