As I’m sure our Rioters have noticed, sweetriot is pretty crazy about cacao, but our coffee addiction is definitely a close second. From dark roasts to pumpkin spice lattes, we need our caffeine to get us through the day. That being said, we care a whole lot about where our coffee comes from, and we hold it to the same standards we do our chocolate!
Have you ever considered where your coffee started out? Farmers from countries all over the world harvest coffee beans and sell them to importers. But sometimes these farmers are tricked into selling their beans to middlemen for much less than they’re worth. By buying fair trade coffee, you’re supporting hardworking farmers, ensuring they get the money they deserve. Fair trade gives farmers an honest price for their harvest and connects them directly with importers. As a result, farmers receive higher incomes and can properly maintain their land to produce quality product.
In celebration of Fair Trade Month, sweetriot is asking our Rioters to buy fair trade products. That might mean walking the extra block to reach a fair trade coffee shop in the morning, but we promise the trek is worthwhile. Check out fairtradeusa.org for a list of fair trade coffee companies and products, because equitable coffee is more joyful, more delicious, and filled with more good vibes!
If you’re a long-time Rioter, then you know how excited sweetriot is about promoting our rocking artists! Every few months, we ask our Rioters to vote for an emerging artist to share his or her work on our upcoming packaging. But we don’t want our support for these amazing artists to end at a riotBar or Nib Tin, so we’ve put together a list of some of our past featured artists! Instead of sharing the same artwork we used for our riotBars and tins, we want to show you some other pieces these talented individuals have created (and to share their blogs and online stores with you). Don’t forget to click their names to be linked to more of their work :) !
Lindy Gaskill has been a fan of abstract and expressionist artwork since she was a little girl, and it inspired her to pursue her own creativity. After traveling around the world, including nine countries and a number of states, Gaskill used her cultural experiences to develop her unique artistic style.
Ira L. Black is a New York based photographer, with a focus in digital photography. Black has shot portraits for individuals including anyone from His Holiness The Dalai Lama to Hillary Clinton to Jay Sean. He’s also showcased his fine art photography, like the image below, around the states.
Rebecca Case loves the wild, especially when she gets to paint and photograph it. Inspired by her move from Colorado to Michigan, Case takes advantage of the woodsy areas near her home to create her art.
Paph Orchid in Egg Tempra
Sheena Sood studied textile design and visual art in college, and has since launched her own (super cute) clothing collection called abacaxi. Abacaxi has a unique tropical feel that triggers images of the sun, surf and island wildlife with an urban twist.
The Adeline Dress
Callie Hirsch first became inspired during a scuba diving trip with her father and family friend Dick Strauss, an underwater photographer. Since, Hirsch has been fascinated by sea life, and uses different art mediums to reproduce images of the fascinating creatures she researches.
Gabriele Stewart was born and educated in Switzerland, but now lives in the United States with her husband and three children. Stewart focuses on acrylic and mixed media paintings that explore the tension between control and commotion through abstract visuals.
After she received her degree in fine art at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Maggie Hernandez remained in New York City to work. Her abstract paintings capture untamed emotion by using strong color and movement.
Patty West Elstrott is a New Orleans contemporary artist whose paintings focus on scale and subject matter in a literal and ambiguous way. Elstrott is interested in adapting the physical world, making the invisible become visible.
Thomas Fedro lives right outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights, Illinois where he creates abstract art with “zing.” His large paintings embody deep colors and bold lines that represent the modern world in a playful, poppy way.
Jelene Morris works from her home studio creating everything from clay sculptures to canvas paintings. She makes smaller paintings, which she calls “minipop” series, but also paintings as large as six feet in length!
Poptoons and Nightmare Series
Mike Hammer’s abstract canvas paintings aren’t very easy to describe. Hammer likes to focus on “things,” meaning material objects, in a quirky way using a mix of colors and a minimalist approach.
I had a chance to go to the East Austin Studio Tour while in Austin. If you enjoy art, East Austin is worth a visit as there is a growing artist's community there. I saw my friend Jessica's artist, Michael Merck, who was a lovely host . You can see his art in this photo.
The sweetriot art vote is live!! Things are heating up in the vote between the beautiful art of Jill and Rita, so please vote today. Decide which art you want to see on your next round of collectible, reusable sweetriot tins. Voting ends December 8, so don't delay!
It's Fashion Week in NYC and it wouldn't be the same without supporting Nicole Romano's work. She had a showcase for her Spring Collection with models on 'display' for her entire event. Nicole's fashion 'art' as I think of it was better than ever, and the crowd happily enjoyed sweetriot during the show.
The original cast of Rent is back for a limited run! Courtney, our fantastic NYU rioting senior, came back to work this week after a summer of many fantastic things, and we went to see one of our favorite shows. Needless to say, it was as good as ever, and the audience was so excited.
Courtney and I didn't realize that we would have an after performance too. Imagine the Broadway version of those bonus tracks you receive on movie DVDs. The cast comes out and you have a chance to speak with them. This time we had sweetriot standing by and the reaction was amazing. Tamyra Gray of American Idol fame had already purchased sweetriot at Whole Foods and was a cacao/dark chocolate fanatic. The rest of the Rent team was so excited to receive dark chocolate after a hard day's work. All and all Courtney and I had quite a memorable experience.
I sat on the beach and watched the scurry of activity around the water sports kiosk. So many customers and workers running in and out. Who is behind this? I thought. Indeed it was an amazing entrepreneur, Stavros. Luckily, he was there, so I could meet him.
And Stavros told me the story. In 1975 one year after losing his home in the North/South conflict, as a refugee, he had a boat on the beach. Some UN Peacekeepers asked for a ride, and he took them. They tried to pay him and he said no. The next day the UN Peacekeepers arrived with fuel. He took them boating again, and the next day they came with more and more fuel. The next day it happened again. He had now enough fuel to take others and thus his business, Stavros Water Sports, began.
Stavros is clearly one of the founders of the Protaras' Fig Tree beach in Cyprus, and his business thrives today - over 15 options for water sports and his two sons are helping dad now. When he arrived there, it was undeveloped and undiscovered. Entrepreneurship is everywhere.
After a stop in Turkey, I wanted to go somewhere near by for a quick beach break. Cyprus seemed to be the perfect answer. Landing there was tougher than I thought. Because of the political division between Greeks and Turkish in the country, I couldn't fly into the North and out of the South, so I was forced to buy a last minute ticket to fly through Greece. Needless to say what should be a 2 hour journey from Istanbul became a 10 hour one!
I finally landed and the clear blue water and white sand made it all worth it. And a friend from the AIESEC conference introduced me to a family who took me to a far away beach, a local restaurant, and a chic coffee shop in Lefkosia. Nice. I definitely can't complain. Thanks, Romani!
With the help of my friends, Alan and Tommy from Hell's Mile Film Fest, the first ever sweetriot Sampler Pack launched at the Traverse City Film Festival. The sampler pack contains about 30 bites of yummy chocolate covered cacao and can be used at festivals, store counters, coffee shops and more all around the world.
Traverse City is a fantastic town up in the Northern part of Michigan and not far from my hometown -- Northern Michigan is one of my very favorite places -- check out the sunsets.
Michael Moore, who grew up in Flint, Michigan quite close to my hometown, has started a Film Festival there and it's definitely something to look out for. And I was lucky the Sampler Pack arrived just in time for the festival....just enough cacao for Michael and his friends.