Made in the USA: Ramblers Way, Portland, Maine

Imagine finding a store that manufactures ALL of its own clothing right here in the USA. It would seem like a dream. It did to me only a few days ago. Now, imagine if that same store made their clothing in your home state. But we’re not done. What would you say if I told you that the clothing is made RIGHT IN THE STORE?! That’s exactly what opened shop in the Old Port this past November!

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Our Valentine’s Day 2018

It started out as a frugal and practical Valentine’s Day which doesn’t have to be incompatible with romance, especially when we’re budgeting for a wedding later this year! Whole Foods mailed me an old-fashioned paper marketing piece–maybe they do snail mail for the 50 and over demographic–advertising a special Valentine’s Day promotion for Amazon Prime members.  For only $19.95 they are offering two dozen fair trade certified long stem roses! I told Wayne I thought that was a smart idea. Additionally, I pointed out that we could buy them on Monday, his day off, and enjoy them right away, not just Valentine’s Day. Flowers in February do much for the soul. He agreed. However, we (he) veered off the path a bit…

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The Blinders Are Off: L.L.Bean, Labor & Lent

I feel ashamed. It wasn’t until L.L.Bean withdrew their legendary Satisfaction Guarantee that I took off my blinders. I knew they were making the majority of their products overseas; I knew the quality had declined; I knew prices hadn’t gone down to reflect that. I even knew that labor and environmental practices in China are notoriously terrible. Somehow I conned myself into assuming that L.L.Bean vendors were paid almost as well as their US employees; the “golden rule” they promised to follow wouldn’t allow it otherwise. Maybe it was more convenient for me to focus on pretty plaids vs shoddy treatment via wages to the people making them. I never did look into it until now. Here’s what I discovered:

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L.L.Bean: No More Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee

A little over a month ago I shared why I was breaking up with L.L.Bean after nearly a lifetime of loyalty. Now there’s some breaking news (and a quote from me in this article): L.L. Bean scraps its century-old unlimited lifetime return policy:

“Company executives say too many customers abused the policy by returning worn-out items years after they were purchased.”

Dishonest people weren’t holding up their end of the “handshake” and “golden rule”, but what about L.L.Bean? (Updated February 12th with response from L.L.Bean, see below.)

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Visit to St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery and Shrines, Kennebunk, Maine

One year ago today Wayne and I visited St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery despite the frigid temps. It’s open to the public year-round. Here are some of the beautiful sights:

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Lights Out

Yesterday afternoon on his day off Wayne and I decided to drive to Kennebunkport to see our beloved St. Ann’s Episcopal Church before stopping at the antique shops in Arundel on the way back. I wasn’t prepared for the heartbreaking news that was to follow.

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Recipe: Gluten-Free Buckwheat Egg Pasta

I’ve been using store bought gluten-free pasta for decades because it was something I never dared to make on my own; I wrongly assumed I needed special equipment. Then I noticed a number of recipes in my vintage cookbooks for hand cut wheat egg noodles. The recipe in my 1936 copy of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book includes the usual vintage open-ended ratio of flour to eggs: “flour enough to make very stiff dough.” While this may seem daunting to some as it was to me at one time, I actually now like the freedom to make it work with my own gluten-free creations and ratios.

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Not My Kind of Ride

Good news! The inside fan of my baby/old lady Buick sedan* has been replaced so I have heat and a working defroster! The fifteen minute ride over to the dealer for my service appointment? That was an experience. It was sunny and 29 degrees outside. Wayne took the afternoon off from work so that he could follow me in his Subaru and then give me a ride home in case the service department didn’t have the parts in stock. We also ruled out beforehand that it was not a blown fuse. (I learned how to change a car fuse!) He of course offered to drive my car for me and I’d drive his but I knew I could handle it. It ended up being a bit more interesting than anticipated, though!

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