3 Unexpected Ways to Customize Your Prom or Wedding Look with Goodwill® Jewelry



By Julia Marchand

What’s on your calendar this spring and summer? Prom? Your own wedding? Someone else’s? As the weather warms up, it seems that almost everyone has one formal event or another that they’re preparing for. Between buying the perfect attire, scheduling a hairstylist, or paying for travel, special celebrations can get expensive! That’s one reason why I love shopping at Goodwill for the bits and pieces I need. The fact that the money I spend at Goodwill helps expand services that create stability in my community is another reason! Whenever I browse the aisles, I try to think of ways I could update the looks I need to be a little more “me.” Today, I’ll do that by using thrifted jewelry to add a unique touch to my formal wear. And you can do the same! Read on for a little inspiration…

  1. To accent your hairstyle, add thrifted pearls to bobby pins or attach a vintage brooch to a plain barrette. The lesson that really sunk in once I completed this project is that I am definitely not a hairstylist. If these pearl bobby pins look this charming when I quickly throw my hair back, imagine what a real professional could do with them!

Gorgeous, tumbling mermaid waves could be studded with these for a whimsical ocean theme or they could tame fly-aways in an intricate braid. All you have to do is snip apart a thrifted faux-pearl necklace, dab each pearl onto the bobby pin with a little hot glue, then stitch them into place for extra security by looping thread through the pearl and then the middle of the bobby pin. Tie it off, position the knot inside the pearl, then trim the excess thread.


I’ve seen similar bobby pins sell at more than $20 for a set of ten. But my way, I could make enough to decorate an entire wedding party for less than $10. Knowing how easy it is to craft custom hair accessories from Goodwill jewelry, I’ll also be keeping my eye under the counter for vintage brooches that would fit atop a plain barrette.

  1. Decorate a simple clutch with jewelry. On my last trip to my local Goodwill, I spotted two silver necklaces that I knew could work together to dress up a simple thrifted bag. Their similar shape was calling to me as the perfect way to craft my own clutch…then I saw this $4 pink shoulder bag and it stole my heart. I knew they all belonged together!

First, I used some needle-nose pliers to separate the necklace chains from the pendants. Then just a few minutes later I had stitched them in place on the bag using the holes from where the chains had been to secure them.


Want to try it yourself? Look for diamonds, pearls, fringe, or feathers in the jewelry display for a fully customized accessory.


Style your prom pumps with thrifted gems to add a little sparkle to your step. Thinking of sporting a short dress? You really have an opportunity to show off those shoes! Since you’ll want the two shoes to match, look for earrings (or anything that comes in a set of two) and longer necklaces that give you more material to work with.


I found a set of earrings that perfectly matched the hue of my $6 Goodwill shoes. Again using my needle-nose pliers, I separated the pendant parts and trimmed down the necklace into two lengths that were just the right size to stretch across the toe from one side of the sole to the other


After closing the jump ring of the earring pendants onto the center ring of the necklace chain, I used tiny dabs of hot glue to secure the jewelry in place. I did a little research online to see what type of glue others have used to add embellishment to shoes, and it seems like crafters have found success with everything from fabric glue to E6000 industrial adhesive depending on the shoe’s material and what they’re adding. So far mine are working out just fine! Here’s a little before and after:


How would you add jewelry to your formal look? I love how easy it is to think outside-the-box when you’re working with Goodwill materials. Since thrifted items have already lived a life once before, I don’t stress about making a mistake or not liking the finished product. If something doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, that’s okay! It’s not like I’ve ruined something that was bought brand-new. This kind of freedom takes the pressure off and lets me really unleash my creativity. And what better way to make a special event even more memorable than making a grand entrance in your own customized looks?

A Compassionate Heart for Others

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”- Aesop

A few years ago, Loren came back to the town of Mitchell with only $20 in his pocket. He didn’t know where to go or what to do. The generosity of the Mitchell community helped Loren get back on his feet.

Loren received a clothing voucher from Goodwill but didn’t know what Goodwill was about or what they do. One of the Goodwill employees recommended that he apply for the Job Center position since most of his life he worked with people and created relationships with them in a few car dealerships in town.

Loren was hired and found his purpose working in the Job Center. “I was trying to give back to what the community did for me and through Goodwill, I can do that”, Loren said with a smile on his face. “These people that I didn’t realize I had made much of an impact in their lives helped me get a job.”

One of the individuals that came into the Job Center was Carol. She was struggling to get an interview at a local college’s human resources department. Loren was determined to help her get the interview and Loren made a few calls to make sure that she would get an interview. She had an interview the next day because of Loren’s help. In 2012, Loren received an award from Goodwill for the outstanding work he was doing.

Loren started out in the retail store when he was working in the Job Center and has moved up to Team Lead and to his current position as Assistant Manager.  Loren loves helping people and this is one of the reasons he continues to work in the Goodwill retail store. He knows he is making a difference in people’s lives. Loren’s compassionate heart has made an impact on not just the Mitchell community but the Goodwill community.

5 Habits You Can “Green” This Earth Week


By Julia Marchand

Just about everyone I know is, in some way, striving to become more eco-conscious (yay!). But at times the whole process can seem overwhelming. Don’t let yourself feel too bogged down; even small changes can make big progress. If we can each adjust our habits little by little, over time we can positively impact the planet in a major way without feeling overwhelmed. In case you need a little inspiration this Earth Week, below are seven small habits you could work on. Try adding one to your routine each day and imagine the difference you will have made by Earth Week next year!


Image via DetailsofIDo.com

1. Swap to biodegradable paper or stainless steel reusable straws. Do you get drinks on the go? Disposable plastic straws may seem tiny and insignificant, but if you treat yourself to a slurpable drink once a week, that’s 52 straws per year that you’re contributing to landfills. And since plastic doesn’t decompose like paper, though you only used each of those straws one time, they may take up space on our planet for hundreds of years (or more)! Even worse, as they do eventually break down, they can have toxic effects on wildlife and the planet.


But if those Monday morning iced coffees or Friday afternoon smoothies feel like they’re the only things that get you through the week, don’t break your habit—adjust it! You can have your cake—errr, drink—and enjoy it, too! “Green” your habit by consuming less plastic. Bring a reusable cup and reusable or biodegradable straws. This travel cup and straw set that I found at Goodwill comes with two bath bombs! Not sure what the connection between those two things is, but I can assure you that I’ll enjoy both parts of this $2 buy!


I also saw this darling little sectioned basket while I was thrifting this weekend. If you need a reminder to grab a straw on your way out the door, try popping this on the kitchen counter in plain sight and create a cute display with colorful paper straws or stainless steel ones. If they’re right out in the open, you’re more likely to make it a habit to grab one on your way out the door!


2. Add air-cleaning greenery to your home. Does your weekly routine include watering plants? Certain plants can help to remove toxic chemicals and pollutants from airspace contributing to cleaner indoor air. Once you’re in the habit of caring for spider plants, snake plants, peace lilies, or whichever air-cleaning plant you choose, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier and take your green thumb outdoors!

Since one of the main functions of plants is consuming carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, the more plants you can introduce to your environment (inside or out), the better it is for your health and the health of our planet! Try to get at least two plants per 100 square feet inside your home or office. Instead of buying new plastic planters, scope out the options at Goodwill that have already lived one life. I found this adorable trio of ceramic dinosaurs just waiting to be filled with some soil and succulents. But don’t limit yourself to real planters! What second-hand items catch your eye that can be repurposed to pot plants?

3. Start a compost. Instead of tossing your biodegradable scraps in the trash, look for a compost pail at Goodwill to start making your own healthy soil! If you have yard space, create a compost pile outside to build rich dirt from your waste material. Not only will this decrease the amount of trash you send to the landfills, it will also minimize your output of methane (a greenhouse gas which has increased substantially due to human activity and is contributing to climate change). Even if you live in a city and don’t have space outside, you can still enrich the Earth with the right foundation for new plant growth. Just look into compost pick-up or drop-off options in your area. Many cities have them these days!


Image via fairfieldworld.com

4.Make an Earth-friendly utensil travel set from thrifted fabric and silverware. Get in the habit of carrying it around so you’ll never need to grab plastic silverware when you’re eating on the go! Hey, you could even add your Earth-friendly straw!


5.Stop buying your regular dish tabs. We’re creatures of habit and once we find a certain product we like, we tend to stick with it. The problem is that products like dish tabs usually come in plastic bags and can sometimes include freaky chemicals. But you still need to wash your dishes, right? So how about making your own dish tabs with more natural ingredients? Crank out large batches of these babies and stash them in a cute countertop jar you find at Goodwill.


6.Don’t reach for the heat when you’re cold! Instead of cranking the thermostat up when you’re cold, throw on an extra layer. Just remember that not all layers are created equal; look for wool socks and sweaters or down vests. These natural fibers are seasonal staples that have been keeping people warm through frigid winters long before we had the heating options we have today. By changing this habit you’ll use fewer fossil fuels and create less pollution. You’ll also save money—win, win!

But wool and down are expensive, right? Not at Goodwill! Especially at this time of the year. Right now people are doing their spring cleaning which means they’re donating a lot of winter layers to make room for summer styles. Snatch those babies up now so you’ll be ready for when the temps drop down again in the fall. I found these snuggly sweaters at my local Goodwill this weekend. They’re from Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap and each one is at least 25% wool—so cozy!


7.Instead of tossing everything in the dryer, hang dry! I still struggle with this one myself. It’s just so much faster and easier to throw freshly-washed laundry into the dryer. But, again, you’re not doing the Earth any favors by relying on a dryer to finish off your laundry routine. In the past, one of the biggest things that has hung me up is having too much laundry for my clothes-horse inside. In the summer, of course, hanging everything outside is a refreshing and free way to get stuff dry, but in the winter I’d rather not live in a draped-laundry forest. So, join me in making my laundry day habits more eco-friendly. Here’s how:

Instead of having a designated laundry day where you wash a week’s worth of clothes, do no more than one load of laundry per day. This will mean that you do it more often, but it won’t take as long and you can hang-dry your clothes without a massive amount of clothing strewn about your space. Prepare one area with the right hanging fixtures and get in the habit of hanging. This could mean thrifting a clothes horse, stringing up a retractable laundry lines inside, or both! Goodwill has plenty of items to help you build the right area to hang-dry in your home.

So, what do you think? Are you up to this Earth Week challenge? Just focus on one habit each day and carry those forward with you through the rest of the year until it becomes your new routine! Even if you’re only changing one of these this year, you’re still making a positive difference. They may be little ways to help the environment, but they’re each beneficial. What are your favorite ways to live an eco-friendly life?

LaDonna’s Memorable Experiences at Goodwill

This is a follow-up to the story, “LaDonna’s Potential Realized Through Goodwill” published on January 25, 2019. If you would like to read this story visit the link: https://www.goodwillgreatplains.org/ladonnas-potential-realized-through-goodwill/

LaDonna wasn’t expecting to receive an award at the Employee Connectivity Retreat this year. Her face in tears as she was accepting this award says it all. “It felt good to know the people I work with really appreciate me,” Ladonna said while smiling. “As a manager, I want to help people grow and to see my team sees this is a reward enough.”

LaDonna will be retiring at the end of this year and she is reflecting on the time that she has had with Goodwill. “When I came to Goodwill I knew nobody but as time went on I got to know names and I give people hugs now. I tell my co-workers they are family. I spend more time with them then I do my own husband,” LaDonna said while laughing. Goodwill has been a special place for LaDonna because she has learned leadership skills that have inspired her employees. “The one thing I can’t express enough is Goodwill giving me this chance. When I first started I was unsure of myself and Tami kept encouraging me saying, ‘You can do it’. If it wasn’t for Goodwill giving me a chance I wouldn’t have been able to experience what I do now,” LaDonna stated with reflection.

The plans that LaDonna has after she retires from Goodwill is to travel and spend time with family. LaDonna states with excitement, “It’s important for me to spend time with my family. I have a daughter in California and 2 brothers in Arizona. I want to spend as much time as I can with them.” Some of the places that LaDonna wants to travel to is Niagara Falls and the Redwood Forrest. LaDonna is excited about the next chapter in her life and we wish her all the best for the future. 

I Have a Side Hustle. Should I Tell My Boss? Why Should They Care?

First Job Compact 940

By Randy Wooden

Moonlighting has given way to a new term – side hustle.  Throw in gig economy, and it’s a new world out there. But does your boss need to know what you do in your spare time to earn extra income?  Some companies require you to tell them if you’re earning money outside of your employment with them. They have three primary reasons for wanting to know.

  1. They want to be sure you’re not creating a conflict of interest. In my role with Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina (Winson Salem), I lead our Professional Center, assisting professionals with their job search.  It would be a conflict of interest for me to have a side hustle where I provide similar individualized services for an hourly fee. It would also be inappropriate for me to go to work for a direct competitor.
  2. They don’t want other work to negatively impact your ability to perform your current job. For example, if my job requires me to be on call or perhaps work an irregular schedule, but my side gig requires me to be on site, my full-time employer would have issues with that. You can’t be in two places at once. If your side hustle work means you show up tired or late, your full-time employer won’t be happy.
  3. Your side hustle could reflect negatively on your primary employer. Companies guard their brand to avoid controversy and awkward publicity.

Even if your employer doesn’t require you to disclose your side hustle, I’d encourage you to level with them. Any potential fallout is likely much less than if they happen to discover it later, especially if they find  one or more of their concerns above apply.

Whether it’s out of necessity to make ends meet or simply as a way to earn a little spending money, many people have multiple income sources.

Let’s consider some potential side hustles. There’s always the part-time hourly job in the service industry; retail, restaurants, and others come to mind. Scheduling work hours could be a challenge and mayconflict with your full-time job.

The internet has given rise to a multitude of jobs you can perform whenever you wish. Whether it’s being a driver, renting out a room, doing tasks, providing care or perhaps selling items online, you choose how much time you wish to devote to it. You could also choose to work an hourly job part-time from home. This could alleviate trying to be in two places at once – the issue you might encounter if trying to work in customer service, for instance.

Lots of people work a side hustle, and many employers realize this.  Regardless of your reason for taking on a second job, keep in mind why employers would want to be informed. Good luck!