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As Black Friday Nears Remember to Shop American!!

November 17, 2011

You may be like me right now.  Sitting there saying to yourself, “I should really get started on my Christmas or Hanukkah shopping”.  But if you’re anything else like me you may also be saying, “I would like to support as much American business as possible while doing it!”.  And that is where the difficulty creeps in.  I could sit on a high horse and say you should make every purchase American made but that would be completely unrealistic not only for you but also me.  I’ve had some real life changes that have limited my income in the last few months and I’ve definitely realized how difficult it is to not only buy gifts for the holidays but also ones that don’t strain the pocketbook and aren’t made in China.  I have to admit whenever I see those words, “Made in China”, I cringe and unless there are no other options within reason I put the item back.  But what do you do when you have kids that have their hearts set on specific items and you don’t want Santa to let them down?  I think that is where you may need to make an exception and to offset your foreign-made buy for your children, you will then need to find a way to give American-made gifts to the other individuals in your circle.  With them you typically have a bit more wiggle room.

For example, I’m sure in your office or place of business there may be some sort of gift exchange happening in the coming weeks.  Lets say you have a limit of $20.  I think a convenient way to support the American economy is to either buy a gift card from a locally owned eatery or coffee shop or how about a unique gift made here in the USA by local artists.  It doesn’t matter where you live in the country.  With great websites such as Etsy.com you can find one of a kind items in the comfort of your own home that will surely bring a smile to your friends’, family or co-worker’s face and will allow you to rest easy knowing you’re helping a fellow American.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m not out to buy the run of the mill American made items that I tend to find elsewhere.  Such as overalls and hunting gear.  I want to find items that are young, trendy and fun.  No matter if you’re a 20-year-old, a 35-year-old hipster or simply young at heart, we too would like to make a difference with American purchases but it seems that our shopping needs are often times forgotten. Many of the items I showcase tend to lean more towards the girly side (sorry guys!) but as in this post I also find a few items for the boys.  Like the magnets below!

Check out http://www.etsy.com/shop/saturndesigns for examples of one-of-a-kind decorative tiles, coasters, and magnets for every type of personality.  I  know the person that runs this Etsy site and she makes all of her items by hand with recycled materials in the Mid-West.

Another great American company with ideal products for holiday purchases is Juice Beauty.  Not only are their products “Made in the USA”  but this organic skin care line makes all attempts to source their ingredients from the West Coast!  I’ve had the chance to buy a gift set of theirs and it is a phenomenal deal for the ingredient-conscious consumer.  Their products smell great and will have the females in your life radiating in no time.  Check out the Organics to Go kit for only $29.  This is the one that I purchased and I also highly recommend the SPF 8 Lip Moisturizers because they make great stocking stuffers!

The last company that I highly recommend this season is Taylor Guitars.  Taylor Guitars has been celebrated and endorsed by musicians such as Jason Mraz (one of my all-time favorites!) and Taylor Swift.  This is not a gift for a coworker but more for a teenage son or daughter or even your spouse.  If you’re looking for something that will be the talk under the Christmas tree while supporting an American company then this is a winner.  Taylor Guitars has its main factory in El Cajon, CA.  A few of their guitars are manufactured just south of the border but from my understanding only the Baby, Big Baby and 100-200 series are made in Mexico.  They have an extensive line of other guitars both acoustic and electric, made in the USA and this company is also known for keeping music alive in schools in its local community.  Hundreds of Americans are employed at their El Cajon headquarters and that is why I think this holiday season you should give the gift of music.  What better way to support the jobs of American workers with an added bonus of supporting our youth!  Their guitars are distributed around the world and can be purchased at music stores everywhere.  You can find your local dealer at www.taylorguitars.com/dealers/.  And, if you’re in the area you can even drop in for a factory tour.

Now that I’ve armed you with some great gift ideas from USA companies, it’s time to get this shopping season under way! Happy Thanksgiving…Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

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4th of July Flags Have To Be Made in America!

July 3, 2011

On Friday I was driving through a local neighborhood and was pleased to see that 3 out of 4 houses had flags out in celebration of our independence.  It reminded me that I’d yet to buy one for our place although I’d been intent on doing so for months.  Just like most aspects of my life I waited until the last-minute and just knew I’d be stressed when it came to finding one that was actually made in the USA.  As I racked my brain I remembered that over Memorial Day Weekend I had snapped the photo below to the left at a local Vons store to remind me to go back and buy one.  I was extremely pleased to see that the flags they sold were manufactured in America seeing as so many others I’d come across were disturbingly made in China, as is everything else (that rant shall have to wait for a future post).

My flags!

My Flags

Flags made in the USA

I love how "Made in U.S.A" is prominently displayed.

I didn’t find these flags at the first Vons location I went to on Friday but was happy that the one I’d originally seen them over Memorial Day had brought them back.  As if being made in America weren’t enough, in comparison to the price in the picture, I only paid $1.99 for 2 medium-sized ones and $1.99 for 4 small ones.

Who says you can’t get a good price on American made merchandise?   Annin Flagmakers are the manufacturers of these flags and according to their website, they are the “Oldest and Largest Maker of Flags in the United States since 1847″.  Every flag that they make comes from one of their facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio or Virginia.  Just another great American company to buy from!

So for all of you who are last minute like me, you still have a chance to show your patriotism. Go to a Vons or Pavilions location near you before you head out to celebrate with family and friends or on your way to watch fireworks and remember that buying American can make a difference.

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katy Perry + OPI Shatter Nail Lacquer + Made in USA = Dream Come True!

May 25, 2011

This is my favorite USA product that I’ve blogged about yet!  I’m honestly in nail polish heaven at the moment and it’s not from inhaling lacquer fumes.  Every time I look at my nails as I type, it brings a smile to my face.  After seeing OPI’s Shatter Nail Lacquer endorsed by Katy Perry in Lucky Magazine a month or so ago I vowed to have it.  Then my daughter mentioned that she too saw it and wanted it.  I hunted store after store the day of her birthday thinking I’d find it with no problem but apparently the demand for this polish is bigger than I expected.  It seems everyone’s a fan of the shatter!

That's my thumb!

Unfortunately in my last-minute hunt for it at several stores, it was nowhere to be found so I resorted to buying runner-up gifts and was quite disappointed.  Then later that day after birthday gifts had already been opened I spotted an Empire Beauty Supply in a part of town I randomly drove past.  I hesitated, seeing as it was let down after let down earlier in the day and then thought it couldn’t hurt to look.  It may sound cheesy but honestly when I asked the girl behind the counter if they sold OPI’s Katy Perry line it was like slow motion as she smiled and moved aside saying, “we sure do, it’s right here”.  A beam of light shone down on the rack and the sound of sweet music rang in my ears.  Then I realized it was just quality store lighting and the store’s radio.

Either way it was like a dream come true especially when I heard the names of the polishes…Teenage Dream, Not Like the Movies, Last Friday Night and The One That Got Away.  Then when I flipped a bottle over and read the words “Made in USA” I knew this was meant to be.  To top it off, it was buy one get one half price!

I purchased the black shatter and Teenage Dream which is the most sparkly pink

Oh how I love this polish!

polish I’ve ever laid eyes on.  I’ve had my fair share of glitter polish over the years but this shines beyond belief.  I’m now wishing I had taken a picture before putting on the shatter but I just couldn’t wait.   You’ll just have to buy one for yourself to see how great Teenage Dream looks on its own.  I guess I should mention that my daughter absolutely loved it as well!  It was her gift and she was sure to paint her nails before I gave it a go. Our nails have been conversation pieces since we painted them and everyone asks immediately, “is that shatter or crackle stuff from Katy Perry?”  Apparently this polish has been getting a lot of buzz and we weren’t the only ones excited to see what it looked like in person.

OPI’s company headquarters are located in Hollywood, CA and from what I can see all the polishes seem to be manufactured in the States. I’m not sure if they are manufactured in their Hollywood facility or elsewhere and unfortunately my research online led me back to simply looking at multiple bottles of their line for “Made in the USA”.  Another bonus with OPI is that their polishes are formaldehyde free and are not tested on animals.  Check out their site where in addition to the Katy Perry line they have a Pirates of the Caribbean and Serena Williams line.  To see a list of authorized sellers of OPI in your neighborhood go to their site.

Oh and just a side note, seeing as I love Katy Perry, this is the second item I’ve found that is endorsed by her and is manufactured in the States.  See my other post about her ice cream pop necklace here.  I’m not sure if it is just by chance but as of right now it’s just another reason to love her!

 

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Time to Shop for Some Good Ol’ American Made Tennis Shoes!

April 9, 2011

My New Year’s resolution lost its way moments after I made it but the springtime blooms have re-inspired my desire to start exercising.  Its been far too many months since I’ve done anything worthy of being described as exercise.  Maybe it has something to do with my busy schedule or could it be that my more than 6-year-old tennis shoes have seen their last days and I need a new pair to inspire me?  The tread is halfway gone on one of my ratty shoes, both have mismatched shoelaces and for originally being bright white they seem to be more of a smokey gray nowadays.  So when I got a gift certificate for a nationwide off-price retailer from my best friend for my birthday I knew it was time to use it to invest in some New BalanceNB American Workers athletic shoes.  I had seen them at another location a few months back and noticed that they were made in the United States.  I researched it further and found that although not all New Balance shoes are manufactured in the United States the company celebrates its 5 factories in the States and clearly labels those shoes that are made in the U.S. while distinguishing the others that are simply assembled here using foreign materials.  Although ideally I would love it if they manufactured everything in America I am more than happy to know that at least I have the option to buy an athletic shoe that is made in the United States.

So when I went back to the retailer to use my gift certificate I decided to take a few photos to document what I found.  First off it was refreshing to see a tag on the American made shoes that assured me of their commitment to American workers.  My goal was to find a tan pair to hide any future years of dirt but I was open to all the U.S. styles.  My eagerness to find the perfect sneaker began to fade when my average sized foot ran into its typical problem of being too similar to every other woman’s shoe size.  This meant that I was left two styles to choose from both being a half-size too big but I considered making one of them work.

Shopping for shoesAs I contemplated which style to buy it hit me that neither were speaking to me as a 100% yes…buy me!  One thing that buying American has helped change about my shopping habits is that impulse buying has started to become a thing of the past and my pocketbook thanks me for it.  I’ve heard other bloggers mention this fringe benefit such as Randy over at Buy American Challenge.  It is a nice bonus to save money by reading labels and not purchasing every deal that crosses your path.  So this new way of thinking through my purchases kept me from buying either pair.  I think if they had fit better I would have gone for the one on the left although the black one’s were pretty cool.  So I walked away from this location and decided to keep looking.

New Balance Shoes!

It didn’t take me long to find the perfect fit.  Granted, getting another pair of fluorescent white shoes was going to bring about my obsessive need to keep them clean, there is just something about pink and white that calls my name.  Call it my girly side if you will but I couldn’t resist.  Plus they are super comfortable and I could feel air through the mesh while I tried them on in the store.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a cool breeze on their feet during a workout! So here they are… I officially unveil my final choice.  They’ve even made their first venture outdoors for a hike up a local mountain trail.  It was actually quite nerve-racking to take them up a trail a day after it had rained.  Muddy trail plus new white shoes does not equal peaceful exercise, at least at first.  After the first few steep parts of the trail however, I quickly forgot about my shoe worries and I can report that they successfully made it through their first significant exercise outing with only a slight hint of dust and no blisters left behind.  However, even though they survived the hike I did make a decision to set out on a quest to find the perfect American made hiking shoes.  Stay tuned and you just may see a post about it.  As for now these shoes are going to be used for aerobics and power walks.These shoes were made for walking.

 

 

 

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Natural, Organic, and Made in America! More from my bathroom to yours.

March 17, 2011

It’s time to focus on two of the things that I’m most passionate about, organic ingredients and items made in America.  Luckily these two worlds collide right in my bathroom.  I was so excited to find that pretty much all of my bathroom products have the “Made in the USA” label.  I have looked at other items that belong to my better half and I found it interesting that none fully disclosed where they were made.  Most were distributed by Proctor and Gamble and my limited research as to their origins left me stumped. If something doesn’t clearly say where it is made I’m sure to bypass it, assuming that it’s manufactured in several facilities around the world and therefore cannot be guaranteed made in America.

So that brings me back to the products that I use. There are three that capture my attention today, two of which are from one of my favorite brands, Avalon Organics. What I love about their brand is that the majority of ingredients are certified organic and they never test on animals. I’ve been using their CoQ10 Facial Cleansing Milk and CoQ10 Wrinkle Defense Cream daily for the last 4 years.  Seeing that it is made in the USA now I know that I can continue to purchase it.

When a doctor diagnosed me with rosacea after 2 years of fighting unexplained redness and bumps on my left cheek I directed my approach of fixing it to finding the perfect face care system.  I was prescribed a special cream by the doctor but I’m not the type to use prescription medications if not absolutely necessary, so I decided to resort to organic skin care and healthy eating instead.  I had tried about 5 different products none of which alleviated the problem and then I finally came across Avalon Organics CoQ10 face wash/moisturizer combination.  My clear skin came back and I’ve been happy with the product since.  I’m able to use it year round although I occasionally have to reapply the moisturizer twice in the morning during the winter.

The second product that captures my heart for it’s ingredients, quality and being made in America is JASON Natural toothpaste.  Right now I’m using their Sea Fresh with no fluoride but I alternate between the Sea Fresh and the Powersmile.  They are great for keeping my breath fresh and my teeth white and the spearmint and peppermint flavors are refreshing and delightful enough for my kids as well.  Just as I’ve tried several face washes, I’ve tried many types of organic and natural toothpastes over the years and the JASON ones are by far my favorite.  I can’t imagine ever using anything else. Both the Avalon Organics brand and JASON Natural line are part of the Hain Celestial Group.  I’d hate to misrepresent any of their products.  I’m only certain of the items described here of their being made in the USA.  I always encourage you to read labels of every item you purchase.

Last but by far not least I have to tell you about Giovanni Cosmetics with a focus on the Styling Glue.  One thing I love about this brand is how cut and dry they are about where their products are made.  Literally all products are made in the USA and I applaud them for making this a key point on their website.  I’ve never found a single product in their line of many that disappoints me therefore I must rant and rave about this company and what they make.  I frequently purchase the shampoo and conditioner and always have their Styling Glue on hand.  I hadn’t researched their line prior to today and now I’m even more excited about it.  Two posts ago I focused on Bumble and Bumble for the same reason and I specifically discussed their pomade that I use for heavy styling days.  For all other days where I’m in need of definition but looking for a lighter weight product I use the Giovanni Styling Glue.  It is made from organic ingredients and lasts all day.  I love the smell of it and how long the 2 oz. jar lasts.  If you’re particular about ingredients and quality I recommend trying the entire line of this family-owned companies products.

There are certainly many other American made organic beauty products out there but I’d love to know which companies manufacture their entire line in the USA such as Giovanni Cosmetics.  Are there any you’re aware of that I may be missing?

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Intel to Invest More than $5 Billion to Build New Factory in Arizona

February 22, 2011

Intel to Invest More than $5 Billion to Build New Factory in Arizona.

I was doing a quick search for current “Made in the USA” news and came across this article from the Intel Newsroom. Intel plans to build a $5 billion factory in Chandler, AZ in addition to their facility in Hillsboro, OR. Apparently “Intel manufactures three-fourths of its microprocessors in the United States.” It is a company that provides thousands of jobs to Americans and financially commits to science and math education for American youth.

Now if Apple could only manufacture the MacBook Pro (which utilizes Intel technology) in the United States I could upgrade computers. Is there anyone reading this that can pull some strings and get Apple on-board for manufacturing in the States? I’m just putting it out there.

Read the article and check out what Intel has to offer.

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Bumble and Bumble…Made in the USA haircare from my bathroom to yours!

February 16, 2011

It was the normal routine this morning as I jumped in the shower ready to start my day when I realized I’ve yet to check my current bath and body products for the “made in the USA” label.  I’m not planning to throw away any items I owned before deciding to buy American but I’d better plan ahead for when my conditioner runs out.

To my relieved surprise the majority of what I own is in fact made in the USA!   This has led me to decide to use my next few posts to focus on highlighting one brand or product that I currently use and give rightful credit to those companies making amazing hair, body and skin care items in the United States.

I love this stuff!First up this week, I’m dying to showcase one of my favorite hair care products, Bumble and Bumble’s Sumotech.  The best way I can describe it is the most amazing pomade you’ll ever try.  For girls like me with the need for some defined layers and spiked ends without being too heavy it works wonderfully.

My hairstylist hooked me on this several years ago and I use it when I want my style to hold throughout the day or live up to a night on the dance floor.

I have straight hair that is often in dire need of texture and although a curly-haired friend didn’t care for it, I swear by it.

I took some time to look further into Bumble and Bumble with as many reliable sources I could find and it appears that it isn’t just my Sumotech that is made in the USA.  I didn’t find anything on their website or company profiles that solidified my need to know if each product is made in the USA but they claim to have all of their company from salon, marketing and design based out of their NYC building.  I did research several products and all of them had the made in the USA label.

Keep up the good work Bumble and Bumble.  My hair and my conscience appreciate it.

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