Thursday, January 31, 2013

Deals and Steals: Discounts on Products Made in America - ABC News

Did you see Good Morning America? If not, the video of the segments featuring all Made in America bargains are here:

Deals and Steals: Discounts on Products Made in America | Video - ABC News (01/30/2013) [video]

Update: Here is a more recent Deals and Steals

'GMA' Deals and Steals: Made in America Edition (06/28/2013) [video]

This is a nice spinoff on the many pieces that ABC World News has aired from their 'Made in America' series.

Updated 08/2013.

(Stock photo.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lock It Up

Do you need to secure your things in a locker? Well, you're gonna need a lock. Like most everyone else, you'll probably get a combination lock like this one from Master Lock. Hopefully, you won't forget the three numbers that unlocks yours. The combination lock dials come in a rainbow of colors, if black is not your thing. They even make locks with a backup key entry, with letter combinations, and ones in which you choose your own code. Fancy.

Fun math fact: A lock combination isn't really a combination at all. It's a permutation. I guess permutation lock doesn't quite have the same ring to it, though, does it?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


One might think that tools are a man's kind of thing. I'll let you in on a secret: women love them too. I think both sexes can appreciate finding that perfect tool for the right job. Occasionally, however, you need an all-purpose item that can handle the odd-ball jobs you get on an everyday basis. Enter the multi-tool. The Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD is a multi-tool designed for people who want to be like MacGuyver, those who want to be prepared for anything and everything. Yup, this is the one my husband carries daily. It's got a million different tools (ok, so only 19) that fold up into this 5-inch pouch. When the need arises for a screwdriver, saw, knife, wire cutter, pliers, metal file, or even a bottle opener, this thing has got you covered.

I also have a Leatherman, a vintage one that's stowed away in the glove box of the car. Although mine is not quite as hardcore as my husband's, it does come in handy from time to time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bath, Bubble and Soak

When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that the bubbles in my bath "ate" all the dirt. It took a high school physics class to make me realize that this might not really have been truthful. Despite this rude awakening, I am still pro-bubbles for bathtime. After a long day, it's nice to just soak in a hot tub to relax. Sometimes I want a bubble bath like the good ol' days and sometimes I just want a therapeutic soak to ease sore muscles.

For bubbles, I like Burt's Bees Baby Bee Bubble Bath (try saying that three times quickly). Even if it might have been developed for babies, I think people of all ages will enjoy this bubble bath. Sulfate-free, gentle, wonderfully fragrant, and produces lots of bubbles even with half the recommended amount.

For a soak, I like Burt's Bees Therapeutic Bath Crystals. Adding a tablespoon of these sea-salt-based bath crystals to the water helps ease any soreness after a rigorous Pilates class. Smells pleasantly therapeutic. Helps melt away any stress from the day.

P.S. I'm still holding out for the scientific study proving the dirt-dissolving properties of bubble bath.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Made in America. Stayed in America. - CNN

CNN's article yesterday about 5 small businesses that make their products in the USA and have resisted the lure of outsourcing covers a wide range of industries: textiles, clothing, furniture, and home products. I like the fact that mainstream media is picking up on the Made in America movement for U.S. consumers.

CNN Money: "Made in America. Stayed in America."
(Stock photo.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

From Head to Toe: The Snowy Weekend Outfit


Boy, has it been really cold lately. It was particularly cold and windy in Upstate NY where I spent last weekend. I did little else than to snuggle in front of the fireplace, drink cups of piping hot tea, sit around chatting with a few friends, and bundle up in a chunky sweater for the snowy outdoors.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pricey vs. Thrifty: Foaming Hand Soap

Pricey: Kiss My Face foaming soap

I love this grapefruit and bergamot foaming soap from Kiss My Face (right). It has a fresh citrusy scent, cleans hands really well, and gets lots of compliments from my guests. Great for use in the kitchen and bathroom. It can be a little on the pricey side, however, especially since I wash my hands often throughout the day. I usually reserve buying it when I can get it on sale.

Thrifty: Dr. Bronner's castile soap + essential oils


A thriftier version of this can be made using Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Citrus Orange Pure-Castile Soap (left) and plain old tap water. I eyeball about a 3-to-1 ratio of water and the castile soap. You can then add a few drops of grapefruit and/or bergamot essential oils. I use Aura Cacia grapefruit essential oil.

I buy all the these items at my local natural food market. You can also find them at both brick-and-mortar and online drugstores.

P.S. For some entertainment, read the label of the Dr. Bronner's soap container. Whoa.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cat and Mouse

I bought this adorable catnip toy for my brother-in-law's cat. I spotted the natural sheepskin little mouse when I was at the Union Square holiday marketplace buying my mom's slippers and couldn't resist. Of course, it didn't make it into the bag of gifts for our holiday travels to Baltimore. Thankfully, the cat was forgiving and accepted his gift by mail. I hope you like your new toy, Skooch.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Honey Cough Drops and a Thank You


Last week, I came down with a bit of a cold (sore throat, cough, congestion, and the other usual ick). These Burt's Bees Natural Throat Drops came to the rescue. Tasty honey flavor (with a hint of menthol and eucalyptus), soothing, and all natural. Individual wraps seemed unnecessary at first but it was nice to be able to throw a couple in my coat pocket when I needed to run out for more cough syrup.

A quick thanks to John who gave me a nice shout out on his blog last week. For other blogs about American-made products, see my blogroll in the right sidebar.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Man's Wallet

There is something classic about a men's bifold wallet in a rich brown leather. I got this Tanner Goods wallet for my husband this past year. Made from vegetable-dyed leather that has been burnished and waxed into a velvety finish, it softened and took on an aged patina only after a short time. The wallet has four card slots, two hidden pockets, and a lengthwise pocket for bills. My husband says his favorite thing about it, besides that it's American-made, is that there is no nylon lining in the bill pocket to rip or wear out. Similar wallet here. Made in Portland, OR.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lemony Cuticles

The winter can be especially harsh on skin and hands. Recently, one of my cuticles cracked and bled. It was painful and annoying and I couldn't wait for it to heal. The remedy: Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. The all-natural cream worked it's magic in just a couple of days, helping to soften and moisturize my cuticles back to their normal state. The lemony scent is not overpowering and doesn't last very long.

My only complaint is that the tin can be sometimes difficult to open, especially if you have longer nails. Burt's Bees, if you're listening, I would love some packaging that's easier to open. Thank you in advance.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


De-luxe MAISON 100% Pure Soy Candle, Sweet Pea
As a fire survivor, I am very wary of having lit candles around my home. There are times, however, that I like a lightly-scented candle to refresh the air, provide relaxing candlelight, and add a little fragrance to my home. This candle from de-luxe is just the right one for me. The 100% pure, American-grown soy candle has no paraffin, preservatives, or artificial dyes. It is USDA approved, kosher, and has 100% cotton wicks. The reusable glass container is also American-made. This one has a light sweet pea fragrance, but it also comes in a wide variety of scents: amber vanilla, cucumber cilantro, exotic gardenia, festive holiday spice, lavender fields, red currant, white tea & ginger, and winter wreath. With a burn time of 50 hours, one candle should last forever. Well, almost.

Vintage matches also made in the USA by the Ohio Match Co.

Remember: As with any lit candle, please use caution and never leave unattended.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Foundation

Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Powder

I tried this Jane Iredale mineral foundation for the first time on a hot, sunny day here in NYC a number of years ago. I was almost out of my normal liquid foundation and pressed powder and decided to search for an all-in-one product. I have, in the past, been allergic to some ingredients in certain face products so I was careful to find a product that wouldn't irritate my sensitive skin.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lounging Around

Choctaw Ridge Charcoal Chambray Lounge Pant
I bought these gray lounge pants for my husband from Choctaw Ridge. He's been pretty busy lately and working hard. When he finally gets a day off from work, though, I know he enjoys being able to just laze around, especially when the weather is cold outside. These 100% cotton chambray pants have a button fly, elastic waist with drawstring, and even have side-seam pockets. Available also in indigo chambray and striped linen/cotton versions. Sold in a box that make it gift-ready. Made in NYC.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wish List

A Herman Miller Aeron chair (in size A) has been on my mind for a long time. It's one of the few chairs I've sat in and felt like it was a perfect fit. Because I'm petite, I often feel awkward in office chairs (that are designed for people much bigger than me). I'm thinking 2013 is the perfect year for a new desk chair.

(Photo courtesy of Herman Miller)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What's the Scoop?

I don't know how this pint of Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Caramel Fudge ice cream got in my freezer, I swear. Okay... I may have snuck it in there and tucked it behind some frozen peas so my husband wouldn't find it. It made for a great late-night indulgence recently.

I bought this Zeroll 2-oz ice cream scoop after reading a recommendation on the food and kitchen blog The Kitchn. This ice cream scoop really is fabulous. I don't know how they do it but it has some sort of heat-conductive fluid inside that makes scooping even rock-hard ice cream a breeze. Unfortunately, not dishwasher safe. So good, you'll let it slide. Just this once.

The Kitchn: "Zeroll Original 2-Ounce Aluminum Ice Cream Scoop"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In the Closet

I use these Iris shoe storage boxes for my bedroom closet for shoes and other miscellaneous items like wallets and scarves. Our linen closet used to be a total hurricane of items. Contained in these clear boxes, the stuff is now organized but still easily found. They are perfect for storing personal care products, first aid/medical supplies, nail polish, travel items, and just about everything else. I have purchased at least two sets of 12 to use around my home and in the car. If you're lucky, you can even find them at your local Costco.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Products Made in America - Consumer Reports

From the February 2013 Consumer Reports magazine. Discusses "Made in the USA" labeling, products that are (still) American-made, the quality of a few US-made items, and why more and more companies are "bucking the outsourcing trend." A brief but informative article.

Consumer Reports: "Products Made in America"
(Stock photo.) 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Skin Care for the Fellas

Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser and Double-Duty Face Moisturizer

While my husband has a very elaborate shaving routine, his skincare is as simple as one can get. He does, however, like to use a face moisturizer. I bought a Jack Black travel set for him a couple of years ago. I don't think he gets much use out of the facial cleanser but really loves the moisturizer. He requested it the following year for Christmas. I bought the 8.5 oz size knowing that he wears it daily. It's gentle, lightweight, has an SPF of 20, and doesn't feel oily or greasy. Great for guys who are sensitive and no-nonsense. My guy is both.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gift Wrapping

As I previously mentioned, I use sheets of my Stendig calendar from past months for all of my gift-wrapping needs. I didn't realize until recently, though, that the scissors and tape I use for wrapping gifts are also American-made. Who knew that Scotch tape was made in the USA? I like this Matte Finish Magic tape because it's pretty invisible against the gift wrap. These American-made DuraSharp scissors are old so I'm not even sure if new versions are made in the USA anymore. This website shows a similar pair as such but I'm not sure if this is universally true.

For those gifts that are USA-made, you can even make a gift tag that boasts about it. I made these for last year's gifts:

This year, I got lazy and didn't even include labels or gift tags. There's always next year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle

I am not sure when it started, but my mom and I have a tradition of doing a jigsaw puzzle on Christmas. Sometimes they are new and sometimes they are used, found from various places. A second-hand puzzle can be a bit of risk. I like, however, to live dangerously. This year's puzzle was a four-sided 550-piece one from Ceaco (Newton, MA) entitled "Boudoir." It was surprisingly fun and quick, only taking about one glass of wine to finish. Thankfully, no missing or duplicate pieces for this year's Christmas puzzle.

Other companies that make jigsaw puzzles in the USA:

Buffalo Games (Buffalo, NY)
Channel Craft (Charleroi, PA)
Serendipity Puzzles (Milwaukee, WI)
Springbok (Kansas City, MO)
SunsOut (Costa Mesa, CA)
TDC Games (Itasca, IL)
White Mountain Puzzles (Jackson, NH)