Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks

Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.
                              ---- Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief

I know I said I was going to take a break this week, but then I remembered something I hadn't done.  Something important.  I'd not mentioned that Scott and I are grateful for many, many things, but most of all we're grateful for the support of so many fabulous people!
To our friends from high school, both Scott's and mine - and there are a lot of you out there - thank you for being around after all these years!  Thanks for listening to us ramble on about the store, looking at the pictures, and even commenting on our Facebook page - you rock!

To my decorating friends from G.I. who've hung in there with us for all this time and letting me go from a decor-obsessed housewife to an independent store owner with baggage, thank you and I love you all!  I really miss our discussions, too, but I'm so glad we can keep in touch via social media.

To the friends we've made in Altadena and to the people we've connected with digitally, thank you for allowing us into your life.  Thanks for lending an ear; thank you for your attention and we thank you for allowing us to shape our store into what we believe it can be.  We thank you for bearing with us while we do it.

As always, I'm amazed by all of you!  You give us inspiration, you give us hope and you all give us a reason to be.....grateful.

Have a great week ahead, friends!  For a look at what's happening at the store in December, and for a very important coupon you can use for UPS shipping now through December, see our newsletter here.

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 20, 2011


"Is it Saturday yet
Cuz I wanna get up
Is it Saturday yet
It just feels like a Saturday
Is it Saturday yet
I just wanna get up
Is it Saturday yet
Cuz it feels like a Saturday
Is it Saturday?"
 ----Nick Carter

Saturday - a mini vacation, a day away from the office, a chance to get caught up on things that have gotten away from you - like shopping!  You may have heard about Small Business Saturday recently.  If you haven't, it's American Express' nationwide program to promote shopping at independently owned small businesses.  Held the day after Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Small Business Saturday hopes to increase the awareness of the value of shopping locally.

American Express isn't the only organization to uphold and promote this idea, nor were they the first.  Many others have been there much earlier - B.A.L.L.E. (the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was the leader of the pack with their mantra of believing "that local, independent businesses are among our most potent change agents, uniquely prepared to take on the challenges of the twenty-first century with an agility, sense of place, and relationship-based approach others lack. They are more than employers and profit-makers; they are neighbors, community builders and the starting point for social innovation, aligning commerce with the common good and bringing transparency, accountability, and a caring human face to the marketplace."

The Amerian Independent Business Alliance, formed around the same time as B.A.L.L.E., is a national 501c3 non-profit organization helping communities launch and successfully operate an Independent Business Alliance® (IBA), "buy independent, buy local" campaigns, pro-local policies, and other initiatives to support local entrepreneurs and vibrant local economies.  Their latest campaign, pictured below, launched yesterday:

Urging the U.S. populace to shop local, independent stores and businesses, AMIBA aims to educate us about the difference between corporate-owned (chain) stores, big boxes (stores like WalMart, KMart, Target) and their smaller, neighborhood counterparts.  The purveyor of the best information on this subject I've found, AMIBA is invaluable for their support of many nationwide shop local associations.

Smaller, but certainly as important, is The 3/50 Project and their shop local message.  Conceived by Cinda Baxter in 2008, in the early days of this devastating recession, The 3/50 Project gives small stores readily accessible promotional material to educate their customers.  It was also our jumping-off point, where I learned exactly what was up with these movements and the logic behind them.  Cinda gave me the basics and pointed me to the organizations, like AIMBA and B.A.L.L.E., where I could learn more.  The 3/50 Project's latest holiday promotion is "Keep The Cheer Here" aimed at underlining the need for differentiators in our communities - places that are unique to each and give new-comers a taste of the flavor of their town.

A relative newcomer to the mix, Independent We Stand has already made a large impact on localvores of all stripes.  Formed to support local businesses and also to educate people about their importance, Independent We Stand's videos and informational materials are a testament to their commitment to small business.  They go a step further and ask that you take their pledge to shop local.  We have a special place in our heart for Independent We Stand.....check them out and I'm sure you'll see why.

These are just a few of the organizations making a difference in the way we think about local economies.  As you all know, independent businesses, retailers in particular, are the drivers of the American economy, as it was in the past and as it will be in the future.  As for Small Business Saturday, we'll be participating this year, too.  We'll open at 8:30 am and close at 6:00 pm and you can expect some great bargains!  Until then, I'll leave you with this video - I hope you'll watch it and take it to heart - see you on Saturday!


Have a great week ahead, my friends!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November's Bad Rap

Poor November....that lonely month, or so it seems, akin to maybe only February in the words of poets.  Witness Thomas Hood, from "No!":

"No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -

Or Sir Walter Scott's quip:

"November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear."

But I tend to lean toward Edgar A. Guest's view of the month:

"Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers." 

In my experience, November has always been a month of action.  First of all, we've got the changing foliage around us, daylight savings ends and there's Thanksgiving towards the end of it.  This year we've got a lot more going on.  This Saturday, November 19th, it's the Elves Fair at Waldorf School, The Market At St. Elizabeth Of Hungary Church, and Webster's Community Pharmacy's Holiday Open House.  It's also our monthly Wine Pairing event and this month's starring vintage is the new Beaujolais Nouveau release!  Anne Bannon of will entertain us with the history and pageant of this particular wine, which is mandated by the government of France to be released on a yearly basis on the 3rd Thursday in the month guessed it....November!  Singled out as one of the very few red wines that are best served chilled, it's also a natural as a companion to a Thanksgiving table.  That means we'll be tasting the new Beaujolais release against tasty favorites like turkey and stuffing, sweet potatoes and of course, pie.  The fun starts at 4:00 p.m., but that's not all - our good friend Marcia Copess of  Home Body Botanicals  will be in store to answer questions about her completely natural, locally-made, homeopathic skin, body and home care line now available at WFS.  We're excited to have her and her good-for-you products in store, and we know you'll want to know all about them!  We hope you'll find time in your day to drop by - we'll be waiting for you.

All in all, November has turned out to be not as dreary as lore would have it.  We've signed on several more local artists including two natural soap makers and one who makes the most darling fascinators - those British-inspired head fashions that have taken the U.S. by storm - you'll just have to come in and see these quirky beauties, and take a whiff of the new soap products, as well. We have three local artists' work hung on our walls - Patrick Gothard, Aldonia Bailey and Rose Sinatra.  Most of all, though, we're enthused and honored to be part of a market test for new product made by our friend Ellen Zimmerman called Jewish Holidays In A Box.  Geared toward busy or mixed-faith families, this is a one-stop shop for celebrating holidays, including Hanukkah - it has everything you need, such as a CD that goes through the different rituals, prayers and pronunciation.  We thought it was such a great idea that Ellen is letting us test out some of the Hanukkah kits - look for them on our shelves soon! 

Gotta run now, dinner's almost done.  Have a wonderful week ahead, friends, and remember: "Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." -  Elizabeth Lawrence

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sharing Our Bounty

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty.  For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercising in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion.  All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).  And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc.  Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.  Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”
-   William Bradford, 1621 

Ahhh, November, with thoughts of Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching!  We, each of us, have a collective memory as a nation of the first inhabitants of this county sharing their bounty with the newcomers to their land.  Of course I mean the Indians and the Pilgrims, and without such collaboration, it would have been much harder for them to survive.  

This month, we have an opportunity to honor the philosophy of our Native American friends who helped those first Americans.  We can give a little  (or a lot) of packaged food which is very much needed to feed the hungry at Pasadena's Union Station Homeless Services.  We've joined up with Altadena's Fork In The Road Gang to collect your donations until the big collection party at the Fork on November 12th and 13th.  Please watch this video, put together by Agent Phil Coombes:  Put The Fork In Hunger  
We have a large box at the store you can drop the packaged food into and we'll take it down to the Fork for you.  Easy-peasy, right?  But wait - that's not all.  For being such a sharing and caring person, we'll give you 10% off any purchase at the store!  This is going to be one of the largest food drives in Pasadena history, folks.  We'd like to make sure our friends at Union Station have enough to go around this season, because donations have been down lately.  Please help by bringing some cans or packages of rice, beans, dried soup.....whatever you'd use in your own kitchen.....for the many people in our community who need them.  We thank you, and so do they!

Next Friday, Nov. 11th is not only Veteran's Day, it's also Webster's Fancy Food Truck Friday.  Webster's Fine Stationers will be giving veterans a 20% discount all day (and evening, since we're open until 9:00 pm) - all you need to do is tell a crew member that you saw (or heard about) this and you're an active or former member of our Armed Forces.  It's just a little gesture to show our thanks, and we'd like you to know just how much we appreciate your service.  

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details and updates on the food drive, on Fancy Food Truck Friday, what's new in store and more!

Enjoy your week ahead, my friends!

Lori & Scott