Brooklyn Slate Co. was founded in 2009 by Kristy Hadeka and Sean Tice. Inspiration came after visiting the slate quarry in upstate New York owned by Kristy’s family. What at first started as a simple project started to get noticed by friends and a business was born.A lot of care goes into selecting the slate pieces that they will sell. Color (you can order black or red), thickness and finish are all considered. Pieces are treated with a food safe mineral oil to protect the slate from staining. Even the burlap packaging has been thought-out, not just to be green, but to work with the natural look of slate. A piece of soapstone is included so you can write on the slate.I enjoy entertaining and I have no doubt that if I had a few items from Brooklyn Slate on my table that they would be noticed. There’s something really cool about offering guests a great selection of cheeses or charcuterie on a natural piece of slate. Better yet, how about setting down a fine Scotch on a slate coaster? You can even have the slate engraved.The slate items are all Made-in-the-USA as are some of the other collaboration pieces, like the coffee mugs shown above. Their speckled appearance is the result of clay mixed with ground slate. American-made items are clearly marked. The few items not marked with a country-of-origin are assumed to be imported..
As we reach the end of July, there is still plenty of time to be outside enjoying the summer. Here’s a new way to “gather around the hearth” with family and friends.
Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do! When I saw the Blaze Tower Kit, it was love at first sight. A fire pit, a grill and smoker all rolled into one! Made of 3/16″ thick American steel, the Blaze includes a thermometer for getting the perfect cooking temperature, a hanger for smoking meats and screens if you just want to sit back, relax and be mesmerized by the fire.If you have a few clear square feet to set the unit up (it takes two people to assemble the Blaze), then it really doesn’t matter if you are sitting water side, mountain side or in a small backyard with your nosey neighbors looking over the fence -because you will have your very own private outdoor fire pit.While my cooking skills over an open fire are pretty much limited to potatoes wrapped in foil, hot dogs and marshmallows (I love it when they go up in a ball of fire and you wait till every inch is covered in black), I can’t help but think that this multi purpose unit might inspire me to try something really daring like double stuffed baked potatoes or anything smoked.
If you are serious about the outdoors and spending time with your loved ones or best buds, then give this unit a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed..
The other day Kathy commented on the fact that I am still wearing cargo shorts and suggested it was time for an upgrade. So, off we went in search of American-made shorts and we came across Old Bull Lee. This California-based firm produces a line of shorts, Oxford shirts and some pretty uniquely-patterned board shorts. I really liked what I saw and decided to give owner Lee Johnson a call to hear a little back story:For starters, I asked where the name Old Bull Lee came from. It’s a bit of a long story but Lee started his career as an architect and realized that he didn’t want to work in a place where somebody else’s name was “on the door”. Thinking about potential names for a business of his own, he wanted to use his first name, Lee, but also remembered that something had struck him about the character “Old Bull Lee” in the book On The Road by Jack Kerouac. The character was modeled on William F Burrows, which just spoke to him.
Lee grew up on the East Coast and was one of those guys who would pretty much wear shorts year-round. So, as he put it, he woke up one morning and said to himself, ‘I’m going to start a company making shorts. Easy right?”
Now, he admits it was a lot more difficult than he thought. Lee made the first pair of shorts himself, but they were a bit of a train wreck, so he started utilizing American contract manufacturers to produce his wares. The company is 6 years old and has three full time employees.By the way, if you’re like me and don’t know what board shorts are, think of them as swim trunks without the elastic waistband – the kind surfers wear.While Old Bull Lee products are produced in America, like many other makers, Lee’s search for fabrics took him overseas. There is a fairly detailed explanation of the process behind the printing and manufacturing of the clothing on the site if you’d like to know more.Lee feels that, American-Made is part of the appeal of a product, it is the uniqueness of the designs that draws people in. When I asked whether there is anything new on the horizon, he stated that changes will be organic and over time, more of an extension of the existing product offerings.
Finally, Lee spoke about his interaction with his customers. He said he enjoys making sure that each person gets just the right fit and is satisfied with their purchase because a “happy customer is the best advertisement”
If you like to dazzle in diamonds or shine in pearls, you probably already know that these items are not mined or harvested in the USA. The same is true of many gems. However, the stone is just the beginning of a piece of jewelry, and you CAN buy dazzling items that are handcrafted by jewelers in the USA.
Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do!
Allurez, a jewelry-maker that manufactures in New York, is having a Fourth of July sale on American-made items. Check out some of the beautiful pieces you can buy for a loved one or -why not – yourself! The sale runs through July 5.
Happy Fathers’ Day to everyone who has the privilege of being a dad.
I was driving to work this morning listening to the radio when I heard a very touching story about two men who are foster parents. They talked about the joy and the sorrow of having children to raise and then having to give them up. This struck a chord with me and I thought about how blessed I am to be a father and hope that my dad felt the same way about me.
So I started thinking about some of my best memories of “Dad Time” and, even though, here at the Americanologists’ Blog, we’re all about buying American gifts, sometimes it’s just as good – maybe better – to share an American experience. You’ll still be supporting American jobs and you’ll have wonderful memories, as. I do, of time spent with my dad and daughter.Here’s one example: My dad and I both built model airplanes as kids, and he served in WWII in the Army Air Corp, so we shared a love for everything aviation. One time, I arranged a trip for just the two of us to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. It was a great day watching WWI planes fly off a grass field and sharing our passion for aviation, My Dad even treated me to a flight in an old barnstormer! It is truly something I’ll never forget.
We also both played tennis and I remember sharing a birthday outing to the US open at Forest Hills (I am really dating myself) and we sat together court-side watching some of the greatest players of the day and just hanging out together.
With my daughter, I remember a day at a rock-climbing wall. She was only a little bit of a girl at the time, but she yelled, “Show me whachoo got!” (We’re from New Jersey, what can I say?) as she raced ahead of me up the wall. We laughed and taunted each other (again – Jersey) as we battled our way to the top. I was incredibly touched when a bystander commented that she’d love to see her husband and daughter having fun like that.
What’s great about this country is that not only can you purchase some amazing goods, but there is a limitless range of wonderful experiences available to us. If you are lucky you might get to share them with your dad or child.Finally, never underestimate the power of that simple game of catch between father and child. I shared those moments with both my Dad and my daughter. It didn’t cost us a cent, just a little bit of time and some shared thoughts. Perfection.
Happy Fathers Day.