Category Archives: Thrift observations

Thrift-writing is ALIVE!

LLAA Thrift storeThis week started my first official posts as a Thrift writer again and I couldn’t be MORE EXCITED!

I’ve been working with Lifelong Aids Alliance for years and was lucky enough to start administrating their new Thrift Facebook page  showcasing their awesome wares, YAHOO!

So come visit me over at Lifelong Thrift Facebook page and check out all our great treasures, say “hi” and meet the staff, volunteers and customers!

And my yearly-challenge blogs continue in 2013 by ONLY eating/drinking Starbucks!  You can see this and all future years adventures over at 1 Year Of my Life.



Filed under Thrift deals, Thrift observations, Thrift-spiration

This is the end…. my friend.

Okay, I know the title sounds a bit morbid but I had that Doors song in my head, but reading this title begs me to wonder… is this REALLY the END for Living the Goodwill Life?

I have been in discussion with Goodwill for the Living the Goodwill Life to live on past 2011 so that all of us thrifters feel we have a place to continue our conversations with each other about our thrift finds, the things we would like to see, all that’s going on in our thrift-worlds, etc.  I dream that one day we too will have our own reality TV show and Las Vegas-style Convention where we all could meet in person and talk about American Thrifting!  I know these dreams could be a reality because I have been lucky enough to be at the helm of an entire year of American Thrift and boy, let me tell you… our community is HUGE!

I’ve been able to connect with people like Patrice J. Williams over in NYC with the blog “Looking Fly on a Dime” that is doing great ground work taking groups of people to thrift stores to score deals on designer-inspired looks!

I had the pleasure of getting to know Jenna Isaacson who did the thrift-store tour of America this last summer over at “All Thrifty States” and looks like she is doing another round of states and stores this year!  We are all anxiously awaiting your documentary film Jenna!

I have met the staff at Goodwill stores that are direct recipients of the dollars we spend in the stores finding our goodies.  Recipients where our dollars have quite literally changed their LIVES and the lives of their children!

I have gotten to know Goodwill stores and their missions to help in their communities from NYC to Portlandia and all the goodies in-between!

I have gotten to know the local Goodwill personalities like the wonderful Gary Foy over at the Bellevue Goodwill… the man with a thrift-shopping plan!

I have been lucky enough to share Thrifters wedding dresses and receptions… all built from 2nd hand treasures like this beautiful wedding dress found by Courtney… here is her story.

“I was casually looking at the dresses, when i saw it: the perfect wedding dress for me! It was hung up at the very end of a rack. Just waiting for me! It was antique lace, strapless, just the right look. I took a look at the price tag, and to my suprise it said $8.00!! I couldnt believe it. did I really just find my wedding dress for $8 at a thrift store? without even looking?! It felt too good to be true. so i took it into the dressing room, and would you believe it, it fit me like a glove! No alterations needed. It was as if the stars had aligned and I was granted a wish by my fairy godmother! I took it up to the register after shopping a bit and finding several other things that i couldnt live without (though none of them as spactacular as my dress) and there was a sale going on! all i had to do was to draw a paper fish out of a box and on the back of the fish was written “60% off”. So, in a nutshell, i found my dream wedding dress for $3.00!!
Immediately i got into my car and called all my friends and both of my sisters, unable to contain my excitement!! I love it so much, its exactly what i was looking for!”

Or how about this post I did in the spring on Kelli Kirk (and hubby) who furnished their reception with Goodwill pieces!

I have had the honor of being a national spokesperson for all of us Thrifters trying to not only show the rest of America the value of saving some money but being environmental and purposeful with our shopping choices as well!

My Northwest spot…

Komo 4 News spot this spring…

Komo 4 News spot at end of the year…

King 5 News spot (that ended up all over the country on various TV stations)…

I have gotten my family and friends to THINK THRIFT and step foot into a store after years (or never) thinking about this shopping option!

I have found treasures beyond even my wildest dreams that have stories of their own to still share.

I was lucky enough to not only model in the Glitter Gala fashion show (that was amazing!)

But spent the entire night in line to be 1st at the Glitter Sale just to break the Seattle urban legend about who gets in line and at what time!  (It’s about 3-4am that most thrifters start getting there BTW…)

I have spent some of the best parts of my life this year shopping at Goodwill stores with my boys and showing another generation how important it is to think about where your money goes!

And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other multi-generation Thrifters who are out there teaching the value of Thrift too!

And I couldn’t have done all of this… I couldn’t of been LIVING the GOODWILL LIFE for all of 2011 without YOU!  The Thrift-Public of America!

Thank you for being a part of my first year of challenges.  Thank you for participating in my year of living Thrift.  Thank you for taking part and sharing your joy and love of Thrifting with us all!

Only 2012 will tell if the Living the Goodwill Life lives on but one thing is for certain…my curiosity to explore and report out on life, from a suburban-mom’s perspective is certainly living on in 2012.  If you are a parent, know parents or have any children around join me in my adventures of taking Parent’s magazine to task and exploring everything from their advertised products to their recommendations on relationships to the latest dinner recipes over at Parents Tested, Mommy Approved.

With much LOVE I close out my year of Living the Goodwill Life

Beautiful and her boys


Filed under Thrift observations, Thrift-spiration

Holiday Cheer

The holidays are quickly approaching and this month is being spent preparing for them with parties and events such as the one we attended yesterday morning at the Tacoma Goodwill’s Milgard Center.  The Santa Breakfast is a collaboration with the Sunrise Notary and is a wonderful holiday event that is over 10 years old!  We were invited by Christine (thanks Christine! your antlers were really cute!) and were excited to take a trip south to Tacoma to check out a couple of stores new to us as well.

Of course our first stop was for some yummies after our drive.  The volunteers were very attentive, the crowds were full of kids ready to see Santa and the syrup was sticky-sweetness!

Then it was onto the kids craft area… but we got sidetracked easily in the “balloon room” and ended up staying there for a long time having a BLAST!  Next year Tacoma Goodwill should make an entire room full of balloons for another side activity since this one was such a hit with more than one child!

We then tried to see Santa and were offered stuffed animals or books and bags of goodies but our little one was only interested in playing with the balloon.  So we decided to drive over to the other stores and check out the Tacoma Goodwill’s toy sale (currently 30% off most toys and games) and their “Christmas stores” for some extra decorations for our party next Friday night.

By this time the little one was getting ready for a nap so we needed to head back home.  But mommy did find a holiday present, an entire box full of brand-new wooden blocks for 30% off $3.99!

We were still looking for some other items to get our home truly ready for the holiday party on Friday, December 16th so later in the evening we went to the NEW Edmonds Goodwill.  I’ve been to enough thrift store openings to know that they usually stock the store with higher-end pieces and it’s usually like that for up to a month after the grand opening… so since we have 20 people coming over for our party and I’ve been needing to find a couple of last minute holiday gifts Edmonds Goodwill was on our sites!

And believe me… the NEW Edmonds Goodwill did not disappoint!  The store was immaculate, the staff very attentive and helpful and lot of really great goodies!  I ended up finding a designer present for somebody that normally is running at $250 to $300 dollars at discount sites like and is in great condition!  Needless to say it was less than $100 and working just fine!  I also picked up a designer luggage piece to go with that DVF makeup case, a file cabinet for only $4.99 and we dropped off a couple of donations while we were at it.  I will be posting images of all the holiday gifts I’ve purchased in the next week (I’m waiting a bit so I don’t give away my surprise to those friends/family that read this blog) so that you can get your own holiday ideas going!

I will be sharing some of the holiday decorating I’ve done with Goodwill pieces for our party this next week so stay tuned for some ideas for your own holiday parties!

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Turkey down… one month to go!

Well, the turkey, Black Friday, Small-business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all done and on the record books for 2011… and in one month so will the Living the Goodwill Life challenge!  I’ve been gearing up for my last month of the challenge with some end-of-year interviews, some holiday shopping trips and of course my wrap-up blog posts to complete this year of buying everything I need from a Goodwill.  I’ve also started putting together next years challenge and will keep dropping hints up until New Years when the new challenge/site officially launches!  (it’s parent/child related)

But this weekend I just relaxed and enjoyed time with my family.

My father’s birthday was last week so we picked up this great WWII DVD box set (in mint condition!) for papa at the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill last week for only $9.99!

While in Centralia, I visited the Visiting Nurses Thrift Store Black Friday sale (with everything 50% off!) and boy was that store cleared out!

I also ventured into both the Centralia and Lacey Goodwill stores looking for a new pair of jeans but came up with a couple of holiday items instead…

My mother took me to a new thrift store called Reborn that was probably one of the cleanest, most well-organized thrift stores I’ve seen in a long time and what great designer items they had!

Just look at this prom/formal dress area at Reborn with many high-end pieces!

My mother knew we were having a holiday dinner party and ended up picking up a carving set for only .49 cents!  and a serving platter for $5.99

So with less than a month to go stay posted for all the end-of-challenge updates!

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Glitter Gala is NEXT WEEK!

Can you believe it?  Only 1 week till the big Seattle Goodwill Glitter Gala Fashion show fundraiser and SALE!

This last weekend (Halloween weekend) I went to my runway walk-through.  I had a babysitter planned so I could focus on my modeling responsibilities but she cancelled at the last minute so I had to bring the little guy for 3 hours?!  It was interesting to say the least.  He was a trouper and wanted to walk the catwalk all the time…

They put me in some very uncomfortable flats (which I don’t think go with my dress at all so I requested a nice pair of heels) but they are cute none-the-less…

And most of the time we were smiling…

And today I went to see my stylist (Michael @ Salon Circa) who showed me the mock-up of my make-up and hairstyle, it is going to be off the hook people!  I was so excited that I forgot to take images of my mock-up but here are a couple of ideas of what it will look like….

Guess your just going to have to stay tuned in on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning for the final images from the show!

Time to get your GLITTER GALA ON Seattle!

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Back to school shopping

So my oldest is about to venture into the dreaded… MIDDLE SCHOOL in a couple of weeks.  You know, the place where tweens start to assert their social dominance… where the innocence of elementary school (and childhood) are quickly left behind for the latest TV show, iTouch game, hairstyle and Tshirt?!  A place where saying or wearing the wrong thing at any given moment can reek total havoc on the rest of your school existence?!!

Well, maybe it’s not that bad?…. yeah, right!

My son has been brought up with a very thrifty family who has taught him not to been afraid to shop at thrift stores (or still play with Legos) up until this point and I’m not going to stop now (at least until he cries “Uncle” for fear of total social banishment) so we head over to the main Seattle Dearborn and Bellevue store to check out their Back-to-school sales.

Immediately we were met with a Back to School display…

From there we toured the men’s section and rounded up quite a few trinkets for the school wardrobe… board shorts for $2.99, khaki’s for $4.99 each, some PJ pants for $2.99

I even found a couple of shirts for the little one while we were at it… both $1.99

My oldest found a vintage 1980’s leather jacket that he just LOVED… and it was 1/2 off $19.99!

It took a little TLC because it smelled like smoke, so we put it in the dryer on air-dry for a couple of hours which did the trick!

I even ended up finding some brand-new Sofft sandals for only $12.99 in our shopping!

Remember… lots of stores have Back to School specials out there but you cannot find the deals on the designer labels like you can at a Goodwill store, so visit one today!


Filed under Thrift hauls, Thrift observations

Sunday drive in the country

This weekend I worked again on looking for a job but I also gave my family some time away from the city to enjoy a nice, leasurely drive in the country.  We dropped off my oldest at the family farm outside Olympia and then ventured north-east to the new Yelm Goodwill.  

I was invited by the Tacoma Goodwill to the store’s opening earlier in July but was unable to justify the 2 hour (one way) trip from our home at that time.  Being a new job-search candidate, you can understand the frugality of not spending all the gas costs but since we wrapped it into an already scheduled trip this time we enjoyed the Sunday drive in the country!  The backroads through winding green fields and passing through small towns like Roy were  pleasant.  But when we got to the Yelm Goodwill store it was evident immediately how much work went into the opening, and how much of that work has remained in place a month later!

From the very first display case you see the visual appeal that was crafted by the store’s opening team.  Just look at all this vintage pottery and glass beautifully staged and inviting you into the store!

Yelm being a major family community (the home of Miss Washington 2008, Janet Harding) and of some of the best rural schools around the state… you can see the family focus immediately with areas for the children to explore like this play area.

And with a toy isle like this there are PLENTY of toys for children to find and explore while parents shop!  I found this refreshing to see Goodwill embrace instead of the normal intercom announcement to “watch your children” thereby making the rest of us parents feel alienated (even if we don’t have children with us in the store at the time!) from the rest of the shoppers and making us feel lesser because we shop with our children?!  It is a difficult boundary to walk as a prior retail manager, there are definitely parents that just let children run wild in the isles breaking things and taking advantage of the customer service aspect of retail.  But there are plenty of other parents that keep our children contained, responsible for any mess or damages that our children might create… and this store’s embrace of that was encouraging for this mommy to see.

The store staff was extremely nice, offering to help us a couple of different times.  The store is stocked with plenty of summertime product like swimsuits, towels and toys.  In fact one of the first things we found was a brand-new-in-package beach ball for $.99 cents.  We then proceeded to find a number of other miscellaneous items like a new package of organic yarn for $.99 cents and a children’s book by National Geographic that looked brand new.

We then continued onto the children’s clothing area and found a pair of ORANGE TAG PJ’s for the little one 1/2 off $1.99 and I found a new Target brand PJ top for ORANGE TAG 1/2 off $1.99!

With such a welcoming child/family area we went through the toy isle and ended up scoring a couple of vintage Fisher-Price toys!  The Food Mart was only $2.99 and the rocking-horse ball (that chimes when the ball moves) was only $.99 cents!

There were plenty of other items that I would of liked to seriously consider but with the extra-job-searching-frugality I decided to hold back and head toward the register.  Wouldn’t you know it… on the way to the register I passed a Calvin Klein button up khaki dress with the elusive RED TAG which meant it was only $1.29.  I held my breath as I tried it on quickly hoping that it fit for such a great price.  Yep!  It was a PERFECT addition to the job-search wardrobe I’ve been on the look out for lately.  Reassuring me that I still have the Goodwill GOLDEN touch, that is for sure!

The baby couldn’t wait for us to get the beach ball blown up and played with it and his new Fisher-Price toy the rest of the evening.  We are heading out after the nap this afternoon to try out the new toy at the beach!

We hope that everybody goes outside and enjoys this beautiful Seattle summer we are getting!  This week is more of the job-hunting for mommy and two interesting prospects for Goodwill shopping trips/blog posts concerning a family’s front room interior makeover and a local mommy that makes the most of her nonprofit employers funds by buying their Head Start group toys at the Goodwill!

Stay tuned for more summer interviews thrift-public and today being August 1st I will start reminding all our readers that August 17th is NATIONAL THRIFTSHOP DAY and Living the Goodwill Life is working on a national collaboration to celebrate the special day.  More to follow!……


Filed under Thrift hauls, Thrift observations

New Goodwill stores!

This weekend is one of those busy summer weekends around the Seattle area.  We are having the Rock n Roll Marathon, it’s PRIDE weekend and the Tacoma Goodwill is celebrating by opening one of two new stores this summer in Gig Harbor.

Their Gig Harbor grand RE-Opening started Thursday, June 23rd but will be going on all weekend long so if you are like Fox Island resident Pam Greinke, then you’ll score lots of goodies too!  (photo courtesy of Tacoma Goodwill)

The next Goodwill store opening is in Yelm and is slated to start Thursday, July 8th.  Go, Go, GOODWILL!

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Get to Goodwill(ing)!

Okay, okay… I know my posts have been short and fewer in-between, but a holiday weekend, our baby’s first birthday celebrations and finishing my first round of medical schooling has just taken it out of me!

BUT… I’ve been rejuvenated with a recent local article in the Issaquah Press ( and a request to do a guest Q & A on the NY/NJ Goodwill blog to see how the challenge is going!

Besides… we’ve been receiving birthday money (and Goodwill gift cards so I better check out the stores soon for these growing children and my growing lists!

P.S.  A little birdie just told me that the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill ( is having a BIKE SALE on Saturday, June 11th.  Just in time for your summer vacation!  Stay tuned for more info. (including the opening of TWO new stores in Gig Harbor and Yelm this summer!)

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Video made the blogger a star!

While we were down in Portland for our Birthday trip a couple of weeks ago we had two TV stations interview us for the Living the Goodwill Life challenge (KOIN and KPTV).

We hope you enjoy both TV segments below!

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