Some weeks we struggle.

Is there a new retailer to shop? Is there a natural theme in the news, like, we recently read that scrunchies are back — truly, scrunchies — and can we eke out 14 inches of pithy copy devoted to the lowly hair tie? Or, have the snakes been kicking up hay in Bag Lady’s basement?

And then some weeks, like last, Gov. Paul LePage buys a house in Boothbay.

That’s solid gold on the shopping front.

It can only mean one thing: Housewarming gift!

We’re all about the proper welcoming present. And Marden’s. Oh yes, always about Marden’s, and it’s been 16 long months since we’ve shopped there for Bliss.

Basically, we’re saying it was meant to be. All of it.

Except for the scrunchy revival. And the snakes. A pox on both!

Homeward, ho!

* Armstrong Once ‘n Done floor cleaner, 4 oz., 69 cents

Enough for two washes, according to directions, just in case Once doesn’t actually leave you Done.

* Indoor/outdoor stair tread, 13-pack, $7.99

Made in the U.S.A., in grayish or brownish. The package called these oversized, though they looked properly stair-sized to us.

* Rival Frozen Delights ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet maker, $23.99

Makes four quarts of said frozen treats. Wow guests with your sorbet-making prowess. We bet you’re awesome at it.

* Sweet cupcake dome, $3.99

Glass dome on a glass pedestal, big enough for one super-tempting oversized cupcake. Visit The Cupcakery to fill.

* Bath towels, $4.99

Thick, white. Everyone can use new towels. They’re like the Christmas fudge of housewarming gifts.

* Better Homes & Gardens Home Repair and Improvement book, $4.99

Regularly $24.95! For the new homeowner who likes to save money and boldly do things on his own. Sounds like the governor to us.

* Serta microsupport 2-in-1 pillow, $9.99

For a comfy night in the new home. We’re clear on the sleep part of the pillow; not sure what the other half of the 2-in-1 is.

* RLP stone design table lamp, $24.99

A base of stacked river rocks topped by a neutral cone-shaped shade. The rocks are faux — more ceramic than stone. But they’re glossy and cool, making whatever room this lamp resides in glossy and cool by default. When you gift it, be sure to put that on the card. 

* Blue Rhino gas fireplace, $24.99

A pretty little gas fireplace to add both ambiance and warmth to any backyard gathering. For example, a housewarming party. In Boothbay. We’re sure the invitation is in the mail.   

* Black metal folding chair, $9.99

Who’s hosting Thanksgiving this year? The couple with the new house, that’s who! Gift a half-dozen to secure your seat at the grown-ups table.

Best find: Lobster and seafood-print pottery tableware, $2.99-$7.99

An amazing set that includes platters, snack plates, mugs and coasters in charming lobster and crab prints. Dishwasher and microwave safe. So appropriate for gubernatorial dining in Maine that it’s like Marden’s planned it.

Think twice: Kardean loose-lay vinyl flooring, $2.49/square foot

No glue. No lock. No class. Um. The last part is our unsolicited addition. Shopping Siren immediately described this flooring as looking like someone took a bad photo of wood and glued it to linoleum. Undulating linoleum at that. It’s so not good.

Bonus shout-out: Shoes!

Never basked in the glory of the Marden’s shoe department? Go get your bask on there.

It’s Marden’s, so being random and frequently a season or two off is a given, but the prices are so sweet. For size 6 or 12 gals, it’s undoubtedly the widest selection on the shelves to be found anywhere in the Twin Cities.

A sample:

* Flip-flops, $2 and up

In particular: One Direction wedge flip-flops, $2.99; Betty Boop flip-flops, $2.49. Fun with every flip and flop. 

* Clarks Artisan collection Grecian sandals for women, $33.99

Gold, beaded, goddess-y. Enough said.

* Callaway golf shoes for men, $19.99

Regularly $139.99, which makes this an 85 percent discount. Score! Or, fore! Hey, we’re shoppers, not golfers.

* Merona rain boots for women, $3.99

In various prints, though Shopping Siren was partial to berry pink in size 10. Because pink rain boots are the antidote to a gray day.   

* Water shoes for men, women and kids, $2.99 and up

Cheap enough to buy, toss in a beach bag and forget about until needed. And then at the squishy marsh or rocky lake or shell-strewn beach, you’re like, yes! Clearly meant to be.

Bag Lady’s and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman Pinschers (who would love to meet Baxter, the First Dog) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected]


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