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Yes, you heard right my trusty Living the Goodwill Life followers… this challenge-blog is living ON!

Well, not exactly as you might think.  No, my year of “living” from just Goodwill is over but my challenge continues in my 2012 blog Parents Tested Mommy Approved (PTMA)!

-AND- there are discussions underway to keep a thrifting blog going as well!

So, follow my current adventures over on PTMA and see how I take on Parents magazine’s contributors, advertisers, suggestions and ideas with my own family and I will keep you posted about my thrift-adventures as they develop.

-Beautiful Existence

One Year, One Woman, ONE Adventure every 12 months!


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Holiday Gift ideas anyone?

With the holidays literally around the corner, I’m posting a couple articles in the next two weeks with ideas for your holiday party decorating and your gift-giving with items found at your local Goodwill.

Today is the first of two posts about gift-giving…

I have a number of birthday’s at the begining of 2012 that I’ve also started to collect for and here is one example for a female family member who loves pink. I call this gift set the “Pretty in New Year’s Pink” with a new years kitchen towel, brand new with tags that I picked up at the Seattle Dearborn location this summer for 1/2 off $2.99. I wrapped it in a roll and wound a cute little bracelet also picked up at the Dearborn location for $3.99 and topped it off with a local artist’s pink glitter pin.

These next couple of gifts are for some co-workers that I want to respect their religious diversity, so I am calling these gift sets the “Season’s Gift-ings”. I found this beautiful silver and gemstone pin at the Port Townsend Goodwill on my first shopping trip of the challenge way back in January for less than $5 and it even comes with it’s own little satchel for safe-keeping! When I met this co-worker I immediately knew her jewelry taste was perfect for this beauty and I can’t wait to gift it to her! I matched this pin with a cute little Winter bag and some wonderful mints.

This next co-worker gift I picked up during my Glitter Sale shopping trip for $5.99 and I paired it with a cute Winter gift bag picked up at the Seattle Dearborn location for .99 cents and a card from a set of hand-designed Channukha cards that I picked up at the Centralia Goodwill for $1.99 for a set of 10 and to top the present off I included some mints as well.

This next gift is for a gift-drive at my little one’s school. So if your thinking that gift items at the Goodwill are only for certain people, think again! You can even get brand-new items like this child’s glove/hat set for only $3.49 that I purchased at the Bellevue Goodwill last weekend for those holiday present drives for local nonprofits as well!

We are quickly coming up on our holiday party this Friday night! And I’ve been working at finishing the decorating for it all week. Check back this weekend for more holiday party ideas from the Goodwill for your own holiday celebrations!

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Glitter Gala 2011!

I am SO EXCITED to be participating in the Seattle Goodwill Glitter Gala fashion show this year!  I’ve been practicing in my new red heels purchased this weekend and dreaming about my outrageous hair and makeup.

To get you into the Glitter Gala mood…

I was contacted by the Art Institute of Seattle last week about the designer-student outfits that will be showcased at the show as well.  Being a past children’s clothing designer that used mostly upcycled materials, I LOVE that the Goodwill is collaborating with the Art Institute to encourage re-design and showcasing the works at the Glitter Gala!  These pieces were put together from found items at the Seattle-area Goodwill stores and as you can see our local fashion-designers have talent!  I can’t wait to see them on the runway tonight.

The honorable mentions first…

Susy Gregoire’s gold and red piece… beautiful!

Pierre Davis brings some “ice” to the contest

Penny McMillan’s piece is so amazing!  I wish this one was in my size!!!

This piece was costume-amazing!

The Second Place winner is….

Daniel Bordner did a beautiful job on this piece!

And the winner is….

Alyson Mendez!  Who did an absolutely FABULOUS job with “the time she spent tearing strips of multi-colored fabrics to create this layered and textured strapless garment… she really invented her own fabric in the process.  The whole thing is astonishing!” – GlamSpoon (Glitter Gala Art Institute Judge 2011)

They said we might have some down time as models… so I’ll try and keep you all updated from hair and makeup (at Salon Circa) to the backstage action taking place via my Twitter account (my twitter is: evolveexistence).

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The Golden Gates of the Glitter Gala

There are perks to doing a year-long-only-buying-from-the-Goodwill-challenge… and one of them is being able to take part in the annual Glitter Gala Fashion Show!

This summer I received my mailed invite to the event… and I immediately thought that I’ve attended SO MANY fundraising dinners that I didn’t just want to sit and eat but I wanted to PARTICIPATE with the audience, the staff, the volunteers!  I wanted to volunteer as a model in the fashion show!

So I’ve been working with the lovely ladies behind the scenes and pass through those elusive Golden Gates to the “goody rooms” and you wouldn’t BELIEVE what is in these rooms!  Anyways… I couldn’t take pictures of their “collection” so you will just have to attend future fashion shows to see all they have amassed over the years but I can tell you that the items being modeled at the show are going to be available for purchase at the Glitter Gala!  So get there early (because you know I’m going to be in line) for all the deals but if you want a sneak-peek at what they will be offering, attend the fashion-show fundraiser on Wednesday, November 9th at 6pm!

You can find out all about both the fundraiser dinner and the infamous shopping day here:

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The last of the weekend warriors

As I posted this month, I’ve been attending some garages sales this summer to not only encourage local thrifting/2nd hand shopping but to showcase the amazing deals and items that are offered in your own backyard!

This last weekend my own community had the last of the garage sales MEGA sale.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate (which happens in Seattle sometimes) and our plans of going street to street ended up being a mere leisurely walk through our neighborhood.  BUT, check out what it produced!

We found all sorts of signs calling out to us!

And boy where there a LOT of great items like this entire sale of teenage, sports equipment!!

It didn’t take long for us to find things for the little one!

Like this great carpet that we found for all our trucks and cars to cruise on!

Or this great sign that is going in a holiday basket!

Or these great highway signs to go with our new car rug ($2 for both) or this awesome like-new-condition little collapsible seat with carrying case that was only $2!

The community-wide garage sale might not been as popular as we had hoped but the Goodwill did have a truck there both afternoons to collect those garage sale items that were not sold!

It might be the end of the summer garage-sale season, but that means you can go back indoors to the Goodwill to shop!

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National Thrift Store Day

Last Wednesday was National Thrift Store Day… yep, our country has a national holiday for thrift stores, Yippee!

So we ventured out after work to check out the deals and came up with quite a few needed (and a couple just-because) items.

I’ve been on the search for new kitchen and bath towels lately and scored two Sur La Table beauties @ only $1.99 each!  We also needed a new pair of sandals for the little one since his (less than two months old) pair of Teva’s are falling apart?!!  I ended up finding this great-condition pair for only $2.99 and while I was looking found a beautiful BCBG Generation cashmere tank (with sequins) for only $5.99!

It will be 360+ days till the next National Thrift Shop Day in 2012 but that doesn’t mean you can’t search for deals everyday at your local Goodwill!


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Community Garage Sale

Last year I happened upon a quaint little town in southern Puget Sound called Steilacoom, and it just happened to be on the one day of the year that their entire town hosts a community-wide garage sale.

So this year, even though I have been buying everything from the Goodwill for my challenge, I decided to attend this event again and blog about it so that all the other 2nd hand/thrift lovers can discover more of these NW hidden treasures!

We arrived about 8:30am and the people were already starting to shop… so we parked and went straight to the downtown tennis courts where you can get a map of all the garage sales and see just how big this sale actually is!

I mean just look at all those homes having sales!  There was NO WAY I was going to be able to hit all these places in one day, so we started with the 30+ vendors in the commons area and worked our way out from there.

The morning was GORGEOUS… the items were plentiful but my little one was already getting antsy, so we strolled through quickly and didn’t find anything we needed but I did find an item that a friend possibly needed… these beautiful, antique canning jars

Unfortunately the jars were not the right ones so we headed down the street to the private garage sales.  A couple of blocks from town you can see why I ADORE this Puget Sound community…with views like this of the Anderson Island ferry docks (and besides having an amazing community-wide garage sale) this town is like heaven!

Down by the ferry waiting line we discovered a garage sale of mostly children’s items so we had a look.  Immediately I found a pair of Georgia Boots for only $2 and this was a HAVE-TO-GET moment!  I search the Goodwill racks all the time for good kids boots and never come across boots like these for only $2… my little one was quick to snatch them up and played with them for 15 minutes while mommy looked at other sales, another reason enough to pay $2 the entertainment factor alone!

We were walking back up the street, trying to hit as many houses as possible when we came upon a driveway were people were just grabbing stuff and a man was telling people that the owners said everything was FREE?  There was a bit of confusion at first since no signs or people pointed to this fact, so another women rang the doorbell and asked.  Yep, ALL the items were FREE said the man at the door.  Luckily, we happened to be standing besides a bunch of children’s items for the beach/boat so I started to grab up what we could (the first man had actually filled his trunk with all the items he snagging while the rest of us asked the owners, geesh… he could have had his own garage sale with the stuff he swiped up!) and so we did end up getting some great items that we used that afternoon down at the Steilacoom waterfront beach park!

I waited all year to go to this sale, and I would definitely recommend attending this event next summer but get there EARLY with plenty of $1 bills in hand, a wagon (the #1 accessory of the seasoned garage sale shoppers) and the map.  It’s really a treasure hunt in my opinion, with the first ones to the site gathering up all the booty (and sometimes FREE stuff!)

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Holidays and Radio stations

I know I haven’t been posting as much lately but this mommy is on a JOB HUNT!  My current work contract ends on August 28th and I’ve been busy turning up the heat on finding a replacement job!  So far, a couple of prospects have come in but I’m still crossing my fingers that Goodwill International is watching and wants to take Living the Goodwill Life LIVE!  -Or- Goodwill has an opening in their corporate offices for this nonprofit professional.  It’s a difficult market out there, that’s for sure… but maybe it’s time to ask the Thrift Public to help out and send in a good word for me?!  I don’t think it could hurt in this economy and well, everybody knows I HEART the Goodwill (and thrifting) by now!!!

But, this week we did get out to the Seattle Dearborn Goodwill to check out their Xmas in July sale…

 The store has the entire back room full of holiday merchandise to purchase from… and quite a selection!  You can find everything from coffee mugs to wreaths, to costumes, table runners, statues and collectibles!

And it isn’t just for Xmas… there are Hannukah and other holiday items thrown in there too.

After checking out the back room  we ran into Gary Foy, the Bellevue Goodwill Manager (see the interview we did with Gary back in the Spring here…)  Gary traveled over the water to the Seattle store to help put together a KUBE 93 fashion blog shoot.  As always, Gary had some excellent Goodwill outfits put together and we even bickered over a silk Banana Republic dress that I wanted to try on!  Anyways, you can check out the blog post over here but here are the girls from the station in action watching the models try on the outfits.

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Burien Thrift haul

So, after our birthday party this last weekend my son’s and I ventured to the Burien Goodwill to check out their toy sale (happening now until July 8th @ all Seattle Goodwill stores).

So far I’ve only been to the Burien Goodwill one other time where I scored my Oscar’s party BCBG dress for 1/2 off $9.99 and I just had the notion that this would happen again, and boy did it!

First of all I had been admiring this hat our friends little boy had @ the birthday party… a paperboy style hat that was very hipster, and VERY my youngest one.  So I went back to the accessories area and guess what?  I found a hat almost exactly the same for $4.99!  My little one is still getting used to his hats but this weekend @ a parade it was sunny and the hat was PERFECT at keeping the sun out of his face!  (and he actually kept it on for a little bit which is a miracle in and of itself!)

Then, after that my older son came up to me and showed me something I NEVER SEE @ Goodwill‘s anymore… LEGOS!  A brand-new LEGO creator set for only .99 cents!  He was super happy about that score and I was so inspired by the toy find that I looked around and immediately found a great wood truck with a magnet on the end for .99 cents too.

Then, rummaging through the cards and ephemera area I came across a brand-new Pottery Barn photo holder for only $1.99.  Just look @ all these wonderful Burien Goodwill thrift haul items!

I know I always say that the Goodwill stores we visit are awesome for the items you can find but really, the Burien Goodwill is quickly becoming my “Secret Shopping Spot” for sure

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May the Birthday be with you!

Once upon a time, in a neighborhood close, close to you… there is a Goodwill just waiting for you to discover it and all the Star Wars treasures it has!

This little birthday boy was sure curious as to what was in his Star Wars present!

Just see all the wonderful THEMED items you can get for your birthday needs @ a Goodwill store and may the birthday be with you!

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