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Category Archives: Thrift-spiration
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.
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!
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
This week I’ve been holding off on shopping at Goodwill for a couple of reasons…
1.) I already added up my total savings of over $13k this year
2.) I’m trying to conserve money because my temping assignment ended and I don’t have another job yet
3.) I’m starting to get SAD that this year is almost over, and all that I have learned and everybody that I have met could be ending very soon.
But because I’ve taught my boys well, my oldest wanted to make one last trip this week to a Goodwill, so we ventured over to the biggest Goodwill in America, the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill.
I stood back and let my oldest shop for deals with his newly aquired holiday money… and boy what proud mommy I was as I watched him weight the value of an item and ask for my opinion on the cost and then decide if it was really something that he wanted. Of course we hit the toy area first, but because he is a Tween the clothing area has been a recent discovery for him. As we were walking back I found a nice little glass container set that I never can seem to find for $2.99 so I picked it up.
Just look at this awesome brand-new winter hat (he lives in Colorado part of the year after all, so this baby will come in really handy!) that he scored for only $8.99!
And this sweater that only cost $4.99 that he described as “SWEET”…
So there you go. My final buy of my Living the Goodwill Life challenge is a simple (but very useful) glass container and most of this trip was for my son’s joy.
I appreciate all the people that have been subscribing to this blog in the last couple of weeks and all the comments and ideas coming in from readers… it makes it bitter-sweet to me that this challenge is ending in less than 48 hours but even more inspired to keep up this outlet of communications for all thrifters in America… hopefully that will transpire in 2012 in one way or another!
So the recent media have covered the topic a little and I’ve given hints in the last week but here is the moment of truth about the BEST purchase during my Living the Goodwill Life 2011 challenge year. In fact… I think this purchase is possibly the BEST of all my thrift purchases in my 20 years of thrifting!
So, with all “great finds” there is usually a story. You see them on Antique Roadshow about how somebody found the $30k vase in Grandma’s attic or you’ve heard those stories at the dinner parties about the person that found an original Picasso ashtray at a 2nd hand store in the 60’s. But how many “fish tales” do you know personally? I know in all my years and those of my parents… there have been some good ones, but even I received kuddos from my parents for my find this year.
So here’s my fish tale (which is real).
I had already visited the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill once earlier in the summer to start the outfit selection for my modeling in the Glitter Gala so this day I walked into the store with both of my boys ready to be in and out quickly. We went to the back and I tried on my dresses, the coordinators made their selections and took pictures and we were done. Well, not really… my oldest wanted to look around a bit so we headed towards the back. That’s when i saw the book, laying on the floor, all by itself. It definitely caught my eye immediately because of the uniqueness of the cover. Knowing rare books myself I could tell it was hand-bound and had care given to it’s creation so I dusted off the back that was all dusty from the floor and carefully opened the pages. They were immaculate! The pages looked to have no finger prints, no bending or damage… amazingly kept! Then I moved to the back pages where I knew a signature would be and there it was!
This book, that the store charged me .97 cents for, is a gem to an art or rare books lover! Rough estimates from two dealers (an art and a rare books dealer) put this piece into the thousands, possibly $8,000! And one spoke about possibly putting it on display at their collection next year!
I will add that my 2nd place winner this year for the BUY of the YEAR was for this $350 retail watch that I picked up at the new Lynnwood Goodwill for less than $50! This too has a great story… one of last-minute desperation to get the one item I was asked to find, the one item that I could not seem to locate even though I looked at different Goodwill‘s for weeks… a quality men’s watch. But low and behold, one of the lessons I learned this year was to attend new store openings when possible because they stock the stores with quality items and that is indeed the case because one week to the day that the Lynnwood Goodwill opened, I found this beauty in the jewelry case! Boy, when it was opened this last week was the recipient suprised! And what a beautiful addition it makes to his collection!
So as I end out this last week of my 2011 Living the Goodwill Life challenge I want to challenge YOU about the BEST purchase you’ve ever received. Was it worth thousands? Was it something you once owned a long time ago? Was it even your find? Please… leave your comments on what you found (or heard somebody found) and where!
Merry Christmas to all our readers that celebrate today and Happy Channukha to all those others celebrating today too!
Just look at this awesome Melissa & Doug wooden train that our wonderful Aunt, Uncle and cousins gave us last night, the BEST PART? Purchased at the Lynnwood Goodwill! Oh YEAH! Thanks Brianna, Jeremy, Kyla, Ian and Jett!
With only 4 days to go till Christmas… here are a couple of my gift ideas for those last minute shoppers out there that might want to snazzy-up their holiday gifting while helping the environment and making your purchases go further.
As a mommy that values finding ways to help our earth with every little bit I can (which Goodwill is also aligned with saving millions of tons of items from the garbage dumps every year in this country!) I like to be creative with my gift giving, including the wrapping it’s in. So here are some of those items you can buy at your local Goodwill to use as the boxes and/or wrapping that will add something special to your gifting this holiday season while helping out our environment…
For those guys in your life… grab a car washing-mitt (like this one I picked up at the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill for $4.99) and put a tool in it (like this Craftsman level I picked up at the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill for only $19.99) add a bow (or not) and your set!
For girls on your list grab a holiday kitchen towel (like this brand new one picked up at the Bellevue Goodwill for $1.29) and wrap it up into a roll and put a bracelet or belt around it and then finish it off with a scarf! (also from the Bellevue Goodwill for $4.99)
And the finished look with a bow and a gift tag (made from repurposed wrapping paper)…
Or you can give an entire “Accessorize package” and wrap a handbag (like this beautiful brand new Tignello handbag I picked up at the Seattle Glitter Sale for only $39.99) in a scarf (also from the Seattle Goodwill for $3.99) with some bracelets (all from the Seattle Glitter Sale for various prices ranging from $9.99 to $12.99)!
And wrapped in the scarf as wrapping paper…
For those kids on your list… purchase a nice, cozy winter hat (like this GAP kids hat purchased from the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill for just $1.99) and put some presents in it (wrapped or not)…
And here are a couple of more ideas for items to use as boxes or wrapping paper instead of using more materials that cut down trees…
How about a planter for a gardener’s gift to store items in
Or a Coffee Canister (or kitchen canister of some kind) to put trinkets for that food-lover on your list
Or a storage container for that kid or parent on your list to store all those toys they often get during the holidays!
Or how about using a men’s tie as a bow on a gift (even better if it’s a “bow tie”!)
There are many different ways that you can package your Goodwill items in repurposed goodies that will not only cut down on your environmental footprint, but give your gift a little added PIZZAZ when viewed against the typical wrapped gifts under the tree.
But no matter how you wrap your gifts… I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I will see you soon to wrap up this year of Living the Goodwill Life for 2011!
Linda was a delight to speak with and I gave her a couple of hints of posts coming up next week that you can hear in the interview… namely the limited edition book from Harold Keeler that I picked up this summer (and found on the floor!) at the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill location for .97 cents but could be worth thousands! Yep, this purchase could by far be one of the best I’ve ever scored in all my years of thrift shopping… and I want to share it all with you.
So watch next week for images of the book and for news of the gallery that might be showing it next summer!
Also, Linda reported out on the many, many receipts that I’ve been keeping for everything I’ve purchased this year. So once I’m truly done spending money at the Goodwill (which literally could be up until December 31st!) I will tally them all up and show you what the final retail & Goodwill prices were and how much I SAVED this year!
Third, is my 2012 challenge where I will be taking Parents magazine, their articles, suggestions and yes… even their advertisers products, to task for a typical American family and blogging back to you how they worked (or didn’t) for us. I will be sharing the link and my goals for the 2012 challenge “Parents Tested, Mommy Approved” in the post next week as well.
So friday night was our holiday party and we have been preparing for months to host 20 of our friends with an amazing (if I do say so myself) dinner, drinks and good holiday cheer!
First of all… I’ll start with how we prepared our home with items from Goodwill…
So, besides the typical organizing items that I’ve picked up for the last month (shelves, file cabinet, bar, etc.) I also picked up a bunch of holiday items to decorate the tree (or Chanukha bush, however you want to look at it). So I took the yarn from the Yelm Goodwill and made it into a yarn-ball garland. You can see a video of how to make them HERE.
I paired the yarn garland with a bunch of blue decorations…
and VOILA! Look at that beautiful final tree with presents and even sporting a plush-dreidel that I picked up at the Edmonds Goodwill last weekend (brand new!) originally marked retail price of $45.00 and picked up for only $.99 cents!
Of course, once we had all the items up in the house and were doing our final run-through I came up with some last-minute things we needed. So a quick Goodwill run to the Seattle Dearborn location got us set up with holiday napkins, wrapping paper, a stocking, some MUCH NEEDED serving utensils and I ended up finding some cute outfit items (JCrew skirt for $1.99 and red leg-warmers for $2.99) to make the last bits festive!
During my last minute Goodwill run I wanted to decorate our entry area so guests knew which place to ring the doorbell. I found full-size Christmas trees, tons of holiday decorations… I mean look at the rows upon rows of holiday items at the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill!
I mean all of this AND a back room just chalked full of Christmas, Chanukah items and toys!!! But still, nothing was hitting the spot for me until I went through the back sporting goods area and found this pair of old ski poles, PERFECT! I mean these babies have hand-stiched leather handles and looked great wrapped in lights and topped off with a snowman rug!
Our home was finally ready! And soon our guests started to arrive, we served hours of dinner and drinks and even one of our Polaroid cameras came out for some fun!
We have a couple more parties to attend in the final weeks of 2011 but as I’ve shown here, you can decorate your home, your tree, yourself and your dinner with items all found at your local Goodwill!
The second of the holiday gift posts is coming up this week were I show you how I’ve taken everyday objects and turned them into the wrapping paper and boxes for the holiday gifts we are giving…helping you to not only save money with your purchases but also helping the environment!
Only 2 more weeks of my challenge are left but check back soon because we might have some exciting news about how the Living the Goodwill Life might continue on after 2011!
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 Overstock.com 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!
Okay, I’m finally sitting down on a Sunday evening to show you all what I got at the Glitter Sale this Saturday. Let me first say that I’ve been waiting for this week all year. When I first started this challenge this year I knew that the Glitter Gala/Sale week was going to have to be one of the bigger events that I participated in for the year and I was right! I BROUGHT IT all week, modeling in the Gala on Wednesday and camping out Friday night BEFORE the store even closed to make sure I was FIRST in line at the big sale! I really never waited in line for concert tickets, or black Friday sales so I knew this was going to have the be my chance to experience the excitement of line-waiters. Apparently in China they actually have such horribly long lines that they actually have an entire industry of “line-waiters” that you pay to wait in line for you for everything from pharmaceuticals to being able to see a doctor?! Knowing that I’ll say that I’m certainly glad I only had to do it once in my lifetime!
But, I met a bunch of people, had a great time and bought lots of fabulous items for holiday gifts! I did initially walk in and immediately grab like 20 handbags and then browse the store for those Christian Louboutin heels but I couldn’t find them so I went over to the jewelry immediately. When I finally got my jewelry purchase down to the keepers I went through the handbags that I had grabbed and I have to say that I was a bit disapointed with what I found… all of them except one (the orange Tignanel0 bag that was on the Glitter Sale blog a couple of weeks ago) were fake! I even grabbed the Gucci handbag on the blog too and once I looked through at the hardware I knew it was a knock-off (a really good knock-off but still). But, with everything there are positives… so here are some of the benefits of my Glitter week.
1. I met the my stylist Michael Weigand and the staff of Salon Circa and let me tell you I’m making it my new salon (even though I’m a die-hard Aveda girl) because their level of experience, their dedication and amazing artistry on the models for the Glitter Gala was just too much NOT to want to make them your home salon! All the other models that didn’t go to Salon Circa kept telling us that they wished they had been able to go to Salon Circa! I had so many compliments, heard so many praises and have so much respect for stylists that touch up your lipstick right before you go onstage that it’s not even a question where I’ll be going from now on! I just hope the “powers that be” at the Goodwill corporate hear my message and make sure Salon Circa comes back again and again for the Glitter Gala!
2. I always love meeting new people! And both the Glitter Gala and the Sale had plenty of opportunities for me to meet so many people that love the Goodwill as much (or more) than I do! I have new staff members (from stores and the back office), new customers, new volunteers, new Art Institute students… so many new people and TONS of great Goodwill stories to share that it would take months to get all the blog posts done! From the Dearborn staff member Sammy (who I just seen working the register at the Glitter Sale today) to Arthur and Brice from Camino island that kept me laughing and company all cold pavement night long! Or Hallynd and her step-mom Amanda (who comes up from Portland every year for the Glitter Sale) telling me stories of all their fabulous past Glitter sale finds! Yes, this year has been an adventure but this week in particular I’ve been able to meet so many more people because of the Goodwill, which is really what doing a challenge/blog is all about… connecting with people.
3. Third is the fact that with this week I’ve seen a side of Goodwill that not many people get to experience. From the top-notch Glitter Gala fundraiser that was a black-tie, dinner and champagne event at the Sheraton to walking down the line as the first person at the sale and having all the staffers giving me high-fives… this whole year I’ve grown to understand so much more about the organization that I’ve chosen to support with my year of buying but this week really knocked it out of the park. I mean I seen models that looked like they walked right off the fashion pages of Neiman Marcus! Models wearing fashions that two days later were hanging right in front of me on the sale racks! I experienced how dedicated this organization is to helping train and serve others with the countless stories they had in the back model-prep rooms of all the people Goodwill has helped change their life, with purchasing the fashions we were wearing! Talk about making a girl feel like a million dollars by not only outfitting her in designer creations but letting her know that these efforts make a difference in another human beings life!
4. And fourth, but not least are the goodies themselves… isn’t this why we wait in line to see the models? Get into the doors first thing in the morning? The Glitter Gala and Sale are all about what people love about Goodwill… the goodies they can find for such amazing prices and for such a great cause! So without further adieu… here are a couple of samples of my Goodwill Goodies I snagged as first-in-line Saturday morning.
Just look at all that jewelry! I could have purchased much, much more… but I did get some of the best of the best here. I picked up a real Tiffany & Co. silver bracelet for less than $30! I also picked up what could be my buy of the week, but since it’s a holiday gift (and I know somebody is reading this) I won’t confirm that until December. Let’s just say it costs hundreds of dollars and I snagged it for less than $80!
I did sneak a couple of images of some of the items at the sale. They had beautifully color-coordinated the racks of each department making it so wonderful to see first hand!
We ended up getting a new baby gate and some more pants for the little guy, but because I’ve worn down my immune system this week I now have a full-blown cold and need to go to sleep pretty soon, so I didn’t take any picture of the new stuff.
This week has been fun and it’s hard to imagine that I’m almost done with my year-long Goodwill challenge. Only the holidays left to go and then I’m onto next years media challenge!