I’m ‘Not Shopping’ – no really….

Today’s story is about . . . Not shopping. Notice we didn’t say “Never shopping.” This IS, however, a story about the ALI thrift store. We WANT you to come in and shop with us. (We’d especially like some readers to come in and buy all those winter coats and ski jackets that people donated to us after their once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the snow in Big Bear.)

But you don’t need to shop 24 hours a day. This is the holiday season of Christmas and Hanukkah, and even if you’re not particularly religious, a time to take stock of where you are in life as the new year approaches. “Not shopping” means spending time during the holidays with your family, your friends, and those in need of help. “Not shopping” means reaching out to others with love and attention, letting them know you’re glad they’re a part of your life. It means spending a morning serving meals at a homeless shelter, instead of endlessly circling the parking lot at the mall. It means simply taking a long walk along the beach, or on one of Irvine’s urban trails, and reflecting on the beauty of the natural world.

We know you’ll still be looking for that perfect gift (which is why you need to come to the thrift store), but try to make “not shopping” part of your holidays this year.

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It’s ‘THAT’ week! Are you ready?

It’s time to put on your shopping shoes, pull out your map of the mall, and start counting down to November 24 and 25th. Yes, it’s THAT WEEK – Black Friday and Small Business Saturday! Bargains, sales, and merchandising mayhem!
 
And OF COURSE you have to make a stop at the ALI thrift store while you’re out and about on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday! On Black Friday, we’ll have our weekly specials, which are ALREADY way below anything you’ll pay at the mall. On Small Business Saturday, we have a FANTASTIC offer for you – 25% off your ENTIRE PURCHASE OVER $20 (with some exceptions for some of our special items).
 
No 3 am Doorbusters, but that means you can get up at a sensible hour and have a few leisurely cups of coffee before heading over to the thrift shop. We’ll be open our regular hours, 10 am to 5:30 pm on Friday, and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday. And if you just can’t face shopping on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, we’re open as usual on Wednesday the 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Best wishes to our readers for a Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends, from all of us here at the Assistance League of Irvine.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we know why!

The weather was so hot last week in Irvine, I think we’re going to have to change the old saying, “Never wear white after Labor Day” to “Never wear white after Thanksgiving.” Of course, there’s summer white (what you wear while you’re lounging around the pool) and winter white (what you wear while you’re lounging around the fireplace at the ski cabin). And winter white means snowflakes – sleigh bells – Christmas trees – Hanukkah presents – and the ALI thrift shop’s eagerly-awaited annual holiday spectacular!

Yes, it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes, starting at the thrift shop on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8. Our 2017 holiday merchandise will be out in the shop that morning, and you won’t believe what absolutely beautiful things we have. Our donors went overboard this past year giving us gorgeous Christmas and Hanukkah items, along with fabulous winter clothes and ski jackets.

Whether you want to completely redo your home and your wardrobe for the holidays, or just add something new, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the thrift shop. Our doors open at 10 am on Wednesday 11/8, so be there early for the best selection! And we’ll be putting out new items every day, so stop by often!

You can change the world, 1 book at a time.

by Marta Mahoney, Assistance League of Irvine, Volunteer

You may find this hard to believe, but I haven’t been to the thrift shop for ONE WEEK. That’s because I’m in Washington, DC on vacation. Being in Washington is an amazing experience for someone like me who loves history. Seeing the White House, the Capitol, the monuments, and the museums really connects you to the past. You realize that even if you were an average office worker wandering around on your lunch hour, you could be walking in the footsteps of Washington or Lincoln.

One of the tours I’ve done is the walking tour of the Library of Congress. (It’s a beautiful building, and I highly recommend this tour if you go to Washington.) The Library of Congress was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who donated his personal library to start it. In those days there were no public libraries, and many people were illiterate. But our Founding Fathers believed in the power of reading and the need for a national library. Today the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with over 38 million books and 164 million total items!

This struck a chord with me because at ALI, we also believe strongly in the power of books. Every child in our Operation School Bell program receives a book to take home (along with school clothing and supplies). They choose a book from a selection of grade-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books. For some of these children, it’s the first time they’ve had a book of their own.

This is where you come in, readers! We’re currently holding a book drive to stock up on children’s books for OSB. You, too, can be like Thomas Jefferson and donate a book (or books!). You can drop off your book donation at the thrift shop during our regular hours. Any local bookstore will be able to suggest appropriate books for elementary, middle school, or high school students.

And who knows – some day the child who reads your donated book may become an author with a book in the Library of Congress

Be My Valentine <3

We want to remember all the holidays,  so this is your official reminder that Valentine’s Day is February 14.

Now if you’re like me, you just got the credit card bill for everything you bought for Christmas. Or Hanukkah. Or your Rose Bowl party. Or Chinese New Year. Or Vietnamese New Year. And you still have your Super Bowl party and your annual ski trip over President’s Day weekend coming up.

Somehow your Valentine’s Day gifts have to be squeezed into your budget. If you’re planning to propose to your true love, our advice is to be judicious without being chintzy, forego the big screen HD TV until Super Bowl LII, and spend your money on the ring instead. For all the rest of you, our advice is to check out the ALI thrift shop.   We have beautiful costume jewelry, crystal, collectibles, Valentine cards, and much, much more. You’re sure to find something that will make your significant other’s heart beat faster, without overwhelming your budget!

NEW YEAR’S SHOPPING THOUGHTS

I spent yesterday at our local internationally-famous mall, checking out their “end-of-year” sales. The parking lot was full, the mall was packed, there was a line of 20 people waiting to get into the Starbucks, and everybody (except for the woman carrying a puppy) was carrying bags of merchandise. Now everyone (except for the puppy and some babies) was in a happy, festive mood. But as I looked at all the shopping bags, I wondered: how much of this stuff do these people actually need? (We’re not counting the puppy. Puppies need homes.)

At our thrift shop, customers aren’t buying because of mall glitz, fashion trends, or the desire to post a selfie of yourself in front of the Chanel store. Most of them are buying things they truly need: clothes for work or play, dishes and cookware, bedding, gifts for others. Or they’re indulging themselves with some jewelry or a collectible, at a price that won’t require a 2nd mortgage. When I ring up a sale at the shop, I feel that the customer is buying something they’ve they’re going to use and love – something they really want or need.

Meanwhile, if you really want and need a puppy, I refer you to the Irvine Animal Care Center, where they have lots of puppies (and kittens) who would love a new home in 2017. Otherwise, come by the ALI thrift shop for everything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET THOSE SLEIGH BELLS JINGLING . . .

Thrift shoppers and blog readers, we know you’re eagerly awaiting our “Holiday Extravaganza” shopping day when we bring out all our holiday merchandise for the first time! We have BIG NEWS for you. This year we won’t just have one Holiday Extravaganza Day – we’re going to have a WHOLE HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA MONTH!

That’s right – we’ll be putting out NEW HOLIDAY MERCHANDISE on EVERY TUESDAY IN NOVEMBER! You read that correctly – TUESDAYS. We’ve collected SO MANY holiday donations over the past year that we’re going to be open for EXTRA SHOPPING DAYS on Tuesdays in November, 10 am to 3 pm. Every week in November, you’ll see different holiday items on the shelves.   You’ll have to visit us again and again to make sure you don’t miss anything!

So hitch up your horses and put the bells on your sleigh, and get ready for our Holiday shopping, starting TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST!