ALI honored to receive $2,000 donation!

Assistance League of Irvine is honored to be the recipient of a Honda Corporation “Helpful After the Holidays” donation of $2,000 to help clothe Irvine’s children in need. The funds were used to purchase school clothing and supplies through AL Irvine’s Operation School Bell® program, which will serve nearly 800 income-qualified students this academic year.

Four Helpful Honda representatives joined AL Irvine volunteers Feb. 3 at Target North in Irvine for an Operation School Bell shopping event. Students, accompanied by their parents, selected school-appropriate clothing, shoes and a jacket. Students also received a backpack and a hygiene kit prepared by AL Irvine’s teen auxiliary, Assisteens.

“We were absolutely thrilled to receive the donation,” said Jill Housky, AL Irvine president. “Purchasing school clothing, including shoes and a jacket, averages $100 per child. The Honda donation will allow us to clothe even more students from low- and extremely-low income families living in Irvine.”

To learn more about our programs, please visit www.assistanceleague.org/irvine

DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas from the heart and not your wallet.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

Happy Mother’s Day to our beautiful moms out there. Here are some gift ideas inspiration from the heart ❤

 

Click here for even more Mother's Day Inspiration. All photos by PINTEREST

14 amazing hammocks you need to nap in…

Summer is well on its way and the warm outside is calling your name. Hammocks are a relaxing way to chill and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Pick up a book, play some music, put your feet up and fall back into these hammock ideas. Happy resting!

 Click here for more Hammock inspiration. All photos via PINTEREST

It’s Just Coffee

You’ve probably seen ads for a local matchmaking service called “It’s Just Lunch.” Prospective matches meet for lunch at a local restaurant and hopefully, get to know each other enough to see if they’d like to go on another date. It’s informal, convenient, inexpensive, and doesn’t take up the whole day – it’s just lunch!

ALI would like to be matched up with some new people, too! We KNOW there are many of you out there who would love to get to know us better and perhaps join our chapter. To keep things even simpler than a lunch date, we’re sponsoring “COFFEE AND A TOUR” on Saturday, March 7.

JOIN US AT 10 AM at our Community Outreach Center/Thrift Shop, 2452 Alton Parkway in Irvine (between Von Karman and Jamboree) for coffee and a presentation about our philanthropic activities. Learn how Assistance League of Irvine turns second-hand treasures from our Thrift & Gift Shop into community giving, through scholarships, clothing and school supplies for Irvine students, and much, much more. You’ll have a chance to meet some of our members, enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, take a tour of our Thrift Shop, and even do some shopping!

For more information, RSVP by March 1 to: 949-798-5020, or email: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. We’ll see you then – and bring a friend!

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Our newest gift idea!

iStock_000009799796MediumDid you know that the ALI thrift shop has GIFT CERTIFICATES? These come in $5 denominations and are a perfect solution for those situations where you need an affordable gift. Like these:

  1. You belong to a Bunco group where everyone has to bring a token door prize to award during the evening.
  2. Your 8th grade daughter wants to have a sleepover birthday party, and you need party favors.
  3. The kid down the street, who has been sleeping on his parents’ couch ever since he graduated from college five years ago, because he’s “writing a screenplay,” finally moves into an apartment, and you want to give him something to send him on his way. (You give his parents a bottle of champagne, however.)
  4. You’re the church youth group advisor/band mother/drill team chaperone or some other type of adult volunteer for a high-school group, and need a unisex-type gift or prize for the kids, that isn’t food.

See how easy this could be? Just visit the thrift shop and tell the cashier you want to buy some GIFT CERTIFICATES. (And while you’re at the shop, reward yourself with a little something, too!)

FATHER’S DAY AT THE THRIFT SHOP

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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 15. It’s a special day to honor and remember our dads and all they mean to us. That means kisses, hugs, words of thanks, and . . . presents.

We love them, but they can be hard to buy for. Here are some items CURRENTLY at the thrift shop that might inspire you. (Remember, all our merchandise is one-of-a-kind, so if it sounds interesting, get over to the shop right away or it may be gone.)

CLOTHING: We have a fantastic selection of Hawaiian-style shirts, including many Reyn Spooner and Tommy Bahama patterns, that are perfect for summer pool parties and barbecues. And we have lots of shorts to go with them!

BICYCLING: If Dad is a serious cyclist, we have several biking suits.

WATER SPORTS: We have swim fins and board shorts for the beach.

BOOKS AND RECORDS: We ALWAYS have a variety of books – whether Dad likes mysteries, thrillers, history, or politics, we most likely have a book he’d enjoy. If he’s into vintage vinyl, we have a collection of records by various artists. And we have a lovely gift book titled, “Poems for Fathers” that says it all.

GAMES AND DVDs: Right now we have a “Law & Order” board game and some movie trivia games, plus our ever-popular DVD section.

GOLF (you KNEW this was coming . . .): If Dad likes golf, look no further. Just program our address, 2452 Alton, into your GPS and start the car. We have golf balls; a putting trainer with artificial turf (this is a really good buy – this item is WAY more expensive at the golf superstore); a “Condo Golf” game; a golf club cleaning kit; many, many golf books priced at $1 or less; a golf-themed water bottle; a golf-themed lamp; a golf throw pillow; golf mugs; golf stationery. And more!

FOR THE DAD WHO HAS EVERYTHING: We have brand-new Weber barbecue accessories, ties (of course!), a set of highball glasses with beautiful pictures of game birds on them, and a framed collage called “I Heard It From My Dad.”

And if you’re still stumped for ideas, bring Dad to the thrift shop and let him pick out something for himself! Happy Father’s Day to all of our wonderful Dads!

The amazing donors of Team Stone Creek

donation-pick-upWe have thrift shop donors . . . and then we have thrift shop donors. Today we want to tell you about some truly amazing donors! They are called Team Stone Creek, and they’re a student service club of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at Stone Creek Elementary School in Woodbridge.

At the beginning of the school year, the kids, along with their faculty advisors Mike Clarke, John Hernandez, and Shelley Nishikawa, brainstormed suggestions for service projects. They came up with the idea of a clothing drive to benefit the ALI thrift shop, since they thought most families have old clothing they’d be happy to donate to a good cause. Stone Creek School has a special fondness for the Assistance League of Irvine, since Susan Mehrtens, a long-time ALI member (and incoming chapter president for 2014-15) was the school’s principal from 1998 to 2006. The students felt our thrift shop would be a worthy recipient for their donations.

The 4th graders created a flyer and sent out an e-mail blast to the community, while the 5th graders made posters advertising the event. The 6th grade was in charge of picking up the donations. The clothing drive was a huge success – they collected almost 60 bags of clothing for ALI!  

These amazing kids also held a food drive at Thanksgiving to benefit Families Forward, and sponsored a book drive last month. Their efforts are one of the reasons Stone Creek was recently ranked as the fourth-best elementary school in Orange County (out of 371 schools) by the Orange County Register.

With students like these, we know the future of Irvine is in good hands. Thank you, Stone Creek Elementary School!

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Spring is here! Spring means prom . .  graduations . . . and weddings. Prom, graduations, and weddings mean . . .  photos! Photos mean . . .  picture frames!

Yes, we all have hundreds of photos on our phones and computers, plus digital scrapbooks somewhere off in the cloud.  But memories like your  high-school prom, graduation, and weddings need to be expressed in something other than pixels.  These are shining moments in our lives that deserve a tangible presence: a printed photo in a special frame.  Think about it – what happens when you visit someone’s home for the first time? You’re immediately drawn to the photographs that are displayed around the house.  Why? Because those are the moments and the people that mean the most to them.

The next few weeks will bring many moments you’ll want to remember.  And the thrift shop ALWAYS has a selection of picture frames  in many styles and sizes.  Classic, casual, elegant or whimsical, portrait or collage-style – we may have the perfect frame to match your photo.

And while we’re on the subject of pictures – check out this link to our VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE THRIFT SHOP http://bit.ly/Q9PghZ

 See our sign and our entrance, and get an up-close look at our merchandising layout.  This is a great way to show your family and friends the shop where you find all those bargains.  (And if you’re having thrift shop-withdrawal symptoms when we’re closed between Sunday and Tuesday, you can take the virtual tour to satisfy your cravings.)

The Vintage Dress

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I just went to an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art called, “Diane Von Furstenberg:  The Art of the Dress.”  This exhibit, which runs until April 1, 2014, celebrates the 40th anniversary of Von Furstenberg’s iconic “wrap dress.”  200 examples of the dress, both vintage and modern, are on display, along with artwork, photos, and other memorabilia.

Those of us of a certain age remember this as “The Dress” in the 70’s.  Everyone had one.  The Wrap Dress had bold colors, geometric prints, cleavage – and you could wash it.  No more shirtwaist dresses with Peter Pan collars – the wrap dress was sophisticated, modern, and In.  (And according to one of the old advertisements on display, it only cost $80, which seems unbelievable nowadays.)

Going to a show like this brings back instant memories and makes us realize why certain items are timeless.  I often have the same reaction at the thrift store when I see a piece of vintage clothing, housewares, or toys.  There’s a reason people are still buying classic sweaters, CorningWare casserole dishes, and Monopoly games.  They worked for our lifestyles back in the day, and they work now.

If you’re going to be in Los Angeles this month, check out this exhibit, which is in the old May Company building at 6067 Wilshire (LACMA West).  If you’re not going to be in Los Angeles, check out the ALI thrift store for your vintage fix!

– Marta, ALI Volunteer

 

Small is Beautiful on Valentine’s Day

valentines day hearts picture (18)Valentine’s Day is a challenging holiday.  Up until the age of 12, it’s pretty straightforward – hearts, candy, handmade Valentine’s cards for all your relatives.  Then love strikes, and it’s never the same again.  From then on, Valentine’s Day gifts fall into two categories:  the Grand Romantic Gesture (a solitaire diamond in a heart-shaped box; Super Bowl tickets; dinner in Paris; a Ferrari), or the Small but Meaningful Gift.

The Small but Meaningful Gift is especially useful if you’ve just started dating someone, are hoping to start dating someone, want to communicate with your teenager, or made a New Year’s resolution with your spouse to save for a new refrigerator.

Since this is a blog about a thrift shop, we assume our readers are looking for ideas for Small but Meaningful gifts:

– DVDs! EVERYBODY has a favorite movie.  (Particularly good for someone-you-are-hoping-to-date, because it would be really inconsiderate of the recipient not to invite you over to watch the movie.)

– BOOKS! Everybody also has a favorite author, or at least a favorite genre.  Just don’t buy a cookbook for someone who’s dieting, or, because we obviously sell used books, a book that’s inscribed on the title page, “To Andrea – Happy Valentine’s Day 2003.”

– CUDDLY PETS! No, not a REAL pet, because this present is a surprise, and in spite of all those stories where the little girl or boy opens up a birthday box to find a puppy inside, a real pet should never, never, never be a surprise.  But cuddly stuffed animals are perfect.  They’re huggable, kissable, can go anywhere, and make people happy when they look at them.

– HOBBY AND CRAFT SUPPLIES! These can be anything from cooking gadgets to scrapbooking materials to sports equipment.   Your Valentine will be thrilled, even if you are privately thinking that no one needs 15 different cheese graters.

And remember to check out our special hand-made Valentine cards, created by our own members in our Thursday night “Crafters” group.  One of these unique cards would go perfectly with your Small but Meaningful gift.