Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

I love winter, but I also love being warm.  I love nice things, but I  also love not paying ridiculous prices for them.  For some years, I’d lusted after flannel-lined jeans.  Just thinking of the warmth of that flannel, flannel that turns away cold and wind while still giving me the comfort of jeans, made me happy.  But the $50 to almost $100 prices chilled me to the bone quicker than any sub-zero wind chill.

Then one memorable day at Eddie Bauer, I spied with my little eyes a pair of red plaid flannel-lined jeans ON THE SALE RACK!  I checked the the size, then headed for the dressing room.  They were tight, but jeans stretch, right?  And besides, that keeps me honest.  So I grabbed a second pair in the same size and went home, happy as a woman in flannel jeans in winter.

Now when I head out the door on a cold winter morning, I don’t reach for sweat pants, I grab those jeans.  If it’s really cold and windy, there might be a pair of Cuddle Duds underneath.  But either way, those jeans are a few of my favorite things.

OK, it’s your turn.  What can’t you live without in winter?  It doesn’t have to be clothing and I guess wine could count, too, but chime in and let’s make this fun.

I found this oddball while at H&M with one of my daughters. Maybe not exactly the desired spirit of the season, but it certainly works as an oddball.

(I’m on the road to and from Philadelphia again this weekend, so I may be slow in respond and viewing other post.  Thanks for bearing with all my travels hither and yon!)


Seems like people either love or hate Walmart. Whichever your side, this post isn’t trying to change your mind except on one point. I’m going to talk about something that’s annoyed me for a long time, the claim that nothing in Walmart is made in America; it’s all from China.


It’s true. Much of what is at Walmart comes from China. That’s not what annoys me.

Let me ask you this. Have you checked the tags or “Made in ______” labels other stores? If so, you know they do not say “Made in America” and almost all of them do say “Made in China”, whether appliances, utensils, clothing, knick knacks, or anything else.

When my husband moved to Naperville and needed kitchen items, I went to Target and decided to buy things made in America. I looked at virtually every single kitchen utensil and item in the store that he needed (as well as some he didn’t need) and about two were sporting “Made in America” labels. That’s two individual items, not two brands. Kitchen Aid; surely that’s made in America. No. Oxo? No. All the other brands. No.

Look at clothing labels. Very few of them say “Made in America”. If they don’t say “Made in China”, they’re likely made in another Asian country or sometimes in a central American one. Once in awhile, I find something at the thrift store that’s made in America. I like that. The Suave lotion in my kitchen says “Made in the USA” on the back. Take a look at things around your house or apartment? What do you see that’s made here or at least not in China? I’d love to know.

If you’re interested in what appliances are made in America, here’s a place you can look:

Clothing made in America:

A report on the costs of domestically made furniture and appliances:

“These websites are devoted to American companies or to sourcing where the everyday products you use are from. Use the links below and our interactive map to find companies near you”:

I read a fascinating book about trying NOT to buy things made in China, “A Year Without ‘Made in China’”, by Sara Bongiorni. Shoes and toys were difficult as were flip flops. Even buying gifts for children’s birthday parties was difficult. Read the book; you’ll enjoy it as well as sharing in her frustration. In the end, finding a thoughtful, middle ground was, as in so many other areas of life, the solution for the Bongiornis.

Whatever your beef with Walmart, one I don’t believe is legitimate is that they only sell things “Made in China.” If that’s something you want to avoid, you’ll be much better richer, because you won’t be doing much shopping, at Walmart or anywhere else.

I love thrift stores. It started when our girls were little and some wonderful person told me about a thrift store with children’s clothing. It was a bit of a drive, but I made it often. Why pay lots of money for children’s clothes? Babies and small children get clothes dirty but aren’t in the same size long enough to even begin to wear them out. So a children’s thrift store is filled with all the expensive clothes that families, friends and relatives get for children who barely even wear them. These are the same clothes that are often purchased to reflect well on the family, not because the child cares; clothes that before a baby starts crawling, never even touch the ground. Some families have lots of people to participate in a hand-me-down process. We didn’t. That made the thrift store a great source of inexpensive hand-me-downs, just from other families. And speaking of not touching the ground, before our girls walked, we didn’t even get shoes for them. While the neighbor’s baby wore fancy Stride-Rights, (while being held), ours sported cute socks.

My husband is fortunate enough to work in IT, where suits are definitely not de rigueur. He wears, and wears out, polo shirts almost exclusively. When I came home from the thrift store one day many years ago with a pile of like-new shirts, he loved them, but exhorted me not to tell anyone where they’d been obtained. He liked to call them dead men’s shirts but he wore them anyway and, I’m sure, didn’t spill the secret of where they came from even when he started getting compliments. Then one day, he totted up what I was saving and became a convert. Better some new PlayStation games than new shirts from “real” stores!

Besides the substantial monetary savings, I love the thrill of finding just the right sweater, dress or pair of pants, although I admit to not shopping at many thrift stores for pants. If a store doesn’t have the pants grouped by size, I don’t even bother. I won’t go through a fifty pairs of pants, pulling up each pair, and trying to figure out the size. And since there’s been size deflation (as in I now wear smaller sizes than as a high school or college student), size isn’t altogether useful anyway. I love getting compliments on things I wear, knowing I paid very little for the clothing and I certainly have other places to use the money!

Scones and biscotti are similar to thrift store clothing. No, I don’t purchase used baked goods, but if you make them at home, they’ll win you kudos, save you an enormous amount of money, and minister to your vanity, while you’ll never have to search for the perfect gift. Go to any store or coffee shop and look at the prices of biscotti. You might find one for under $2…for one. Scones are likely to run you more than that and they’ll be full of butter/fat. However, make them at home and you’ll be trying to smother your laughter (or your annoyance) when you see the retail price.

Biscotti are some of the easiest cookies to make. My introduction to them came unexpectedly one year in my post-Christmas clean up. While folding some papers for recycling from a package that my sister-in-law had sent, my eyes fell on two biscotti recipes—chocolate chip and almond. They looked pretty simple, so I tried them. Bit hit! I’ve regularly given our younger daughter’s Japanese teacher an entire batch for Christmas and even taught her to make them herself. She hasn’t figured out how to keep them away from her husband and children yet, but that’s not my problem. And I’ve added a black forest biscotti recipe to the mix, filled with dark chocolate chips and Montmorency dried cherries. Yum! And the easy part? Put wet and dry ingredients together, shape into a loaf, bake about half an hour, cool ten minutes, cut, and bake again. Do something else during the initial baking. Voila!

Scones are just as easy to make and even faster. Get the dry ingredients ready the night before and you can have a batch made and out of the oven in about 15-20 minutes, to rave reviews. Have to admit that I only use one recipe, from a Moosewood cookbook, because it’s made with whole wheat pastry flour and only 1/3 of a cup of oil for the entire batch of 12 scones. I added dark chocolate chips to the original tart, dried cherries (in honor of the biscotti—or maybe it was vice versa—who can remember?) No matter; they taste amazing, go perfectly with a cup of tea, and are pretty healthy, too. Tough combination to beat.

Gorgeous clothes at seriously low prices and delicious, healthy (or at the very least not unhealthy), easy treats also at seriously low prices. What’s not to like? And you can gloat the entire time! Just be humble when your friends compliment you. And enjoy your cuppa!

I’ve been writing an unblog for a short while, so I’m still catching up….

I love the idea and feel of fleece but it has one attribute so overwhelmingly annoying that I have a few pieces I’m considering throwing out or donating.  That attribute is the consummate ability to pick up hair (whatever I have left after washing and brushing mine) and fuzz from any and every source and then be unwilling to yield possession of it back to me, even when I’m coaxing (or attempting wrench, depending on my mood) all of it back off via my lint brush.  Said brush works wonderfully on most things but fleece fights back with all its might and, too often, wins.

Folks, this ain’t normal (referenced the previous post), made me furious in too many ways even to document in a short while but mainly in the plethora of stupid rules, regulations and laws that are not only ridiculous but harmful and counterproductive.  Guess from whence they emanate?  The (mostly federal but not always) government…the entity that thinks they have to, and have the right to, run our lives, micromanage everything we do and make us pay for the privilege.  We should be able to run the entire country on the energy of the Founding Fathers whirling full time and so fast as to be unseeable in their graves!  Common sense has long since disappeared and along with absolute power corrupting absolutely, it absolutely destroys whatever cells are tasked with common sense so that when some opportunity for intelligent thought comes along, those cells are short-circuited.  But wait.  Intelligent thought, so-called, is probably at the basis of the problem.  Those believing they have the corner on it think that we, the rest of the world, need them to tell us how to do everything and that we, left to ourselves, will self-destruct, taking them with us.  Oh, how the opposite is true!!