Go on a Vacation– at the Thrift Store!

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By Jenna Pfueller

Feeling a bit of spring break travel FOMO? Or perhaps dreaming of a vacation that may not be in the cards on this year’s budget? I know I am. Just a few minutes on social media lately has me seriously jealous of the warmer climes. Never fear. As usual, Goodwill® has us covered. Just one trip can have you looking and feeling like an international jetsetter.

Don’t believe me? It’s road-trip worthy in it’s own right. But also, thrift stores are a souvenir treasure-trove and a hub of international style and decor options. Finding a little style inspiration is all you need to make you feel like you’re counting the days until your own relaxing adventure. Just check out Instagram for lots of awesome vacay style looks you can keep in mind as you peruse the Goodwill aisles.

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Credit: @ashleerosehartley

Sometimes the swimwear section is easy to forget at Goodwill, but trust me, there are treasures there to be had as well. Often overlooked, this is a great place to find a second tankini top to match the bottoms you love, or a suit in a style you’ve been dying to try out without the hefty price tag. These Goodwill finds below are proof you can bring a splash of the Caribbean to any pool party, even if it’s just sippin’ lemonade in a kiddie pool on your patio.

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 Credit: @kayjackhan

I also just love finding items that somehow found their way into my local Goodwills from far-flung places. Little bits of vintage souvenir flair in the form of t-shirts, mugs or artwork makes me feel a little more connected, and give my home a little more of that jetsetter vibe. It’s especially fun if it’s a place I’ve already been and have fond memories of.

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Credit: @DamnFineCoffeeMugs

Or handmade little pieces like this that give your home a little taste of distant cultures and major travelust.

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Credit: Jenna Pfueller

Are you lucky enough to actually be headed somewhere to kick back and relax? Good onya!

Obviously you’ll need to make a point to visit a Goodwill when you get to your destination, too. Just search our site for locations and make a date of it. It’s a perfect way to get to know the local culture a bit more, find something you may have forgotten while packing, and of course a perfect little something to remember your trip with so you have plenty of moo-lah for the ride home.

See? It’s easy to take a vacation at Goodwill. It’s a respite that’s always full of surprises, inspiration, fun, sustainability, and even creates jobs. Now that’s a true destination to embrace!


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

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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…

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  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!
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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.

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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.

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  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!
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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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:

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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?


5 Habits You Can “Green” This Earth Week

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

Three Spring Shoe Trends That Are Bound To Put Some Pep In Your Step

March has certainly come in like a lion – snowstorms are hitting the Northeast left and right and people are wondering the same thing – didn’t the groundhog call for an early spring? Weather like this makes it hard not to scroll wistfully through social media feeds sighing at pictures of beautiful beach sunsets and tropical places. I guess patience is a virtue and while we’re waiting for spring to come, we may as well start prepping our wardrobes in anticipation.

Besides the sun and warm weather – yay! – I’m excited for many of the SS’19 trends. This season we’re going to be seeing a lot of 60’s inspired colors and early 90’s textures. It makes an interesting combination and is going to help make this spring fun for fashion – and especially footwear.

Of course, as with everything, fashion is cyclical. None of these trends are tremendously groundbreaking and in some cases are recycled from runway collections past. This is awesome for your wallet – because your local Goodwill® stores will likely have many of these trends sitting on their racks. While you’re shopping at Goodwill for the new season, it’s a great reminder that you are contributing to a more sustainable world and helping people in your community find jobs and get the financial assistance they need.

Here are some of the biggest footwear trends to lookout for this spring:

 1. Neon Colors

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Photo: LC’s Closet

When it comes to colors of the upcoming season, think bright and bold. You can accessorize any outfit with a bold shoe. Colors of the season will range from a fiesty neon pink to a cool neon green. My favorite color within this range is a vibrant blue, which has been in and out of style for the past few years – making it easier to thrift items of this color!

 2. Strappy Sandals and Heels

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Photo: @charitynewsweek

If you watched the Oscars this year, you may have noticed that thin, strappy sandals are back in style. Though they may not always be the most comfortable, they are stylish and can have a slimming effect on your feet. This style shoe – for both heels and flats – have been popular on and off the last few years so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a great second-hand pair and your local Goodwill.

3. Plastic Detailing

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Photo: FootwearNews.com

Somewhat ironically, especially when you think of the current state of the environment, plastic detailing and embellishments are becoming en vogue this spring. A short hop away from jellied textured shoes, this trend is bringing everything from plastic straps to plastic heels to even an entirely plastic boot to the shelves. Bonus points for the brands that are combining the neon trend and coloring their plastics on the shoes. I’m predicting this trend will be a bit short lived (and uncomfortable, not all plastics are flexible!) so by the time summer hits, there should be a great selection to thrift from.

4. Silky Textures

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Photo: @mychicobsession

In contrast to the plastic trend, silky textures and satin ribbon straps and ankle scarves are in style – and your feet will be incredibly happy! Mixed with pretty colors and interesting shoe shapes, this is one trend that’s here to stay throughout the season and even into fall.

5. Embellished Heels & Cool Shapes

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Photo: Livingly.com

No longer exclusive to runway brands, this season fast-fashion brands have already started molding the shape of the heels of their shoes into interesting shapes and textures. Wooden heels with geometric detailing will be in style this spring and we’ll continue to see beautiful detailing in both narrow and block heels throughout the summer. If you search through your local Goodwill stores, there’s a good chance you’ll find some shoes in this trend. I just found a pair of gorgeous brand new Taryn Rose platform block heels for $14.99, and at regular retail price they cost upwards of $250!

Spring Wardrobe Classics You Should Thrift Now

If you’re anything like me, you’re still bundled up and dealing with cold wintery temperatures. But if you’re also like me, you’re probably longing for the days of sunshine and nights with a nice breeze. That’s one of the reasons why spring is my favorite season. Besides the beautiful weather, it’s the perfect time to show off your style and have fun in vibrant colors and prints.

While trends are great, every wardrobe needs a few basics. These are the pieces that create the perfect foundation and are timeless. Because these items are such classics, you’ll be able to find them at your local Goodwill®. They’re high on fashion but low on price tags, which is always a great thing. The five classics below should be on your thrift shopping wish list for spring.

1.Trench Coat

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Credit: Wendy’s Lookbook

If there was only one lightweight piece of outerwear to add to your wardrobe for the season, let it be a trench coat. It seamlessly goes from work to weekend and casual to chic. Also, the cut flatters all figures. My go to style tip for trench coats? Swap out the belt to create a new look each time, from a thin belt to a waist-cinching peplum one.

2.Denim Jacket

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Credit: Baby Shopaholic

Another piece of outerwear that always stays on the wardrobe classics list has to be the denim jacket. It’s that perfect piece that adds a bit of warmth without any bulk. And it works well when layered over your favorite button down shirt or chunky sweater.

4.Anything floral

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Credit: Live Simply Plush

I know, I know. There’s nothing groundbreaking about florals for spring, but there’s no denying how perfect the print is for the season. Having a floral piece in your closet is just a must. It doesn’t have to be a brightly colored dress, but maybe a dark floral top or even just a belt. The print is simply timeless.

4.Silky Scarf

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Credit: Suburban Faux Pas

The last few months have been all about bundling up and chunky scarves. You don’t have to ditch the scarves fully, just opt for a silky one. One of my local Goodwill’s has a bin full of vintage, silk scarves for just $1. I stock up on them to tie them in my hair, around the handle of my purse and even wear as a beach cover up. There are just so many ways to rock one!

5.Mules

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Credit: Who What Wear

Finally, a good classic shoe for spring has to be a mule. This style made a comeback a few years ago, but I’d say it’s an absolute keeper for years to come. Instead of a completely open toe, which doesn’t work for colder months, an open back mule can take you through spring, summer and fall.