Guest blog: USA Pan

This guest blog post comes to you from my friends Tracy and Charlie.

USA Pans made in Pittsburgh, PA


Looking for a gift for the baker in your life?  We love these pans. We first got a USA Pan a few years ago and from the first time we used these pans we fell in love.

We have the square cake pan, small bread loaf pan, and two cookie sheets.

They have a wonderful non stick surface. Great storage. The baking sheets have a great lip on one edge to grab the pan but the other side is open so you can slide things off.

“They are so good, she won’t let me cook any of my stuff on them,” said Charlie. “Nothing savory.”

“I protect my pans” from the chickens and meats, she replied.

They have a wonderful non stick surface, but made with silicone not Teflon, so we are very glad that they are non-toxic.  Great storage.

Blue Jeans- Bullet Blues

I decided to try another Made in the USA blue jeans brand, since I can’t find the Lucky Made in the USA jeans on their web site right now.

Bullet Blues are made in the USA, with made in the USA materials too.

I got the Bullet Blues jeans“Audace – Dark wash cowgirl boot cut.” They fit well and have cute red stitching that add a stylish touch.

Since getting these, I have had several compliments on them so I think they are a good pair of jeans.

They are expensive, but I only buy a couple pairs of jeans per year and wear them all the time, so it works for me.


Water Bottle

Among all the water bottles on the shelf at Triathlete Sports in water bottleBangor, I checked them all and was glad to find a Made in the USA, BPA free one that fits great in my bike.

I think LL Bean sells the same one, and you can probably get it lots of places. I got it in blue and went back for a 2nd one that’s clear. It is a little tricky to clean, so you may need a brush with a handle, but I think that’s the case with many water bottles. A little bleach rinse every once in a while seems to work great.


Notecards / Greeting Cards

Normally I stock up on notecards at craft fairs from local artists, so I always have a stash. The other day I wanted to send a couple letters to my family out at summer camp, and I needed some right away. I stopped at Barns and Noble to get some.

Unfortunately, almost the entire selection was Made in China or Hong Kong. I looked at alllllll the boxes and packages and I was able to find two, out of probably 50, that were Made in the USA.

These lovely Van Gogh notes cards did the trick.  Often when I amIMGA1613 (3) buying a birthday card at a store, I check the back first.

If you take the time to look you can find Made in the USA!


False advertising!


If there is one thing that gets me riled up, it’s this.

A few years back while looking for union made boots online, I found a store called “Union Made” online. I excitedly reviewed the options. Upon closer investigation I found out that their products are not, in fact, union made.

UNIONMADE is the name of company, and they have storefronts in California and you can buy their products online.unionmadefalse

For a while they even had a union bug (the sign that a product is union made, with the union’s local on it) as their company logo.  The AFL-CIO sent them to ceases and desist letter.

This falsification is a slap in the face to every man woman and child in this c0untry and around the world who fought and sometimes died for the right to a union, to organization and a voice and dignity on the job.

I could rant about this all day but I will spare you and just link to some articles of people who have researched this.

When asked, Todd Barket the store founder said: “It had nothing to do with unions. I’m surprised that people took the name literally.”

So buyer, beware. Do not shop at UNIONMADE.

More info:

Gawker- Unionmade: Retailer of Expensive Fashions That Are Not Union Made

AFL-CIO: Unionmade isn’t

Huffington Post: There Once Was a Union Made

Bike shorts

Getting back on the road bike after a winter without riding means one thing: a sore saddle.

I decided to invest in bike shorts, lovely padded pants that cushion your tush when you’re on the bike seat.

I found Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear online and ordered a pair. They manufacture in PA.IMG_6561

I went for the All American Women’s Bike Short– made in the USA. It was even on sale.

I really like the shorts, they are comfortable and feel great on long rides. They don’t have any uncomfortable seems. They are well made. I ordered size large and I am glad I did, they are pretty short.

Not all of their products are made in the USA but a majority are. They are well labeled on their website so you can see which of their gear is American made.

Running Shoes

I have already blogged about New Balance, but since I bought another pair, let’s do another shout out.

Made in the USA running sneakers, sold right here in Maine at the factory store in Skowhegan.

BUT REMEMBER that not all New Balance sneakers are made in the USA, only some are. Be sure to check the label of each pair or ask the store clerk to point out which ones are.

newbalanceHappy running!


Bulk tee-shirts

Convincing a group you work with to buy Union Made in the USA for their bulk tee-shirts is a way to make a difference on a bigger scale.

Planning a 5k, a family reunion, or any event this coming year? Instead of ordering bulk Gildan made in sweatshops tee-shirts, think about ordering ethically made tees to get printed.

I have two suggestions- EthixMerch and USA Promotions.

I have tee-shirts printed from both, and they come out great.

If you have a favorite print shop you want to support, ask them if they can source made in the USA or union made tee-shirts to be printed on. The more we ask, the more the industry will have to shift.

The summer camp I used to work at and still volunteer with Pilgrim Lodge switched over years ago to buy Sweat-Free teeshirts for the camp store. They sell hundreds of shirts a year, so it makes a big difference. Plus, it’s a great educational opportunity to the campers and counselors.

They currently use EthixMerch and they also print some shirts with Full Court Press out of Westbrook, Maine, who sourced USA made teeshirts and then printed them locally.

Will it cost a little more? Probably a little. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely.