Coming Attractions in Irvine

Every time we turn on the TV we are deluged with ads for “Coming Attractions” at the movies. At ALI, we can’t afford to buy TV air time, so here are ALI’s OWN COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!

THROUGH FRIDAY, MAY 26: Our annual pre-inventory sale! Incredible discounts on our already low, low prices. We need to sell as much as we can before we take inventory at the end of May. If you buy it – we don’t have to count it!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 THROUGH SATURDAY, JUNE 3: THE SHOP WILL BE CLOSED WHILE WE INSTALL NEW FLOORING!!! We tried, and we tried, but there’s no way to do this without closing for a few days. Just save up all those dollars you would have spent at the shop between May 31 and June 3, because . . .

TUESDAY, JUNE 6: YES – TUESDAY! A SPECIAL RE-OPENING SUMMER SPECTACULAR SHOPPING DAY with ALL NEW (well, new to the thrift shop) SUMMER merchandise. Summer clothes, summer accessories, summer shoes, summer hats, and a new supply of housewares, toys, and linens.

None of these “Coming Attractions” feature superheroes, super villains, man-eating space creatures, or songs your kids will sing over and over for the rest of the summer. Just great merchandise at a LOW price (and depending on how much you buy, it’ll be cheaper than going to the movies)!

THRIFT SHOP INFORMATION

Assistance League of Irvine is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization with a rich history of philanthropic programs to meet the needs of our community. Every year our volunteer base grows in strength and hours given, enabling us to provide greater benefits to the community in which we live and work. We are Assistance League.

ALOHA TIME AT THE ALI THRIFT SHOP

Every guy in southern California needs a Hawaiian shirt for summer, and we’ve got plenty of them right now at the thrift shop. This popular shirt style was first conceived in the 1930s by a Chinese shopkeeper in Waikiki, Ellery Chun. He advertised his “aloha shirts” on June 28, 1935. They sold out immediately and a fashion trend was born!

World War II servicemen stationed in Hawaii loved the style and brought it back to the mainland. As tourism to Hawaii took off after the war, the shirts became even more popular. The State of Hawaii proclaimed “Aloha Friday” (which became “casual Friday” everywhere else) in 1965 to relax office dress codes and make aloha shirts a wardrobe staple. Today we can’t imagine summer without them!

Tell your guy that Hawaiian shirts have a history going back 80 years, and bring him to the thrift shop to add a few to his closet. Aloha!

Get your FALL fix at the ALI thrift shop!

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Ah, the beauty of fall – red and gold leaves on the trees, the scent of wood smoke in the air, wrapping yourself in a sweater on chilly afternoons, bundling up in a blanket at football games – uh, no. Not in southern California (except maybe for the smoke in the air, and that’s another story).   But for all of you who gaze yearningly at pictures of fall color in the Maine woods – help is on the way! You can get your “FALL FIX” starting on SUPER TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, at the ALI thrift shop!

SUPER TUESDAY is an EXTRA SHOPPING DAY to welcome the fall season. The store will be COMPLETELY RESTOCKED with fall fashions, accessories, and decor to showcase our fantastic selection of fall merchandise. The thrift shop will be open from 10 am to 3 pm, so come early for the best selection.

You’ll find an abundance of exciting, cooler-weather adults’ and children’s clothing in muted colors and contemporary fabrics. Pull your fall outfits together from a huge collection of fashion-forward accessories such as scarves, hats, purses, shoes and jewelry. Bring fall into your home with seasonally-themed decor and tableware, including several sets of beautiful dishes that would be perfect for entertaining!

Once you’ve been to the thrift shop on SUPER TUESDAY, you’ll be ready to sit by the fire with some hot apple cider while the wind howls outside – well, that part might have to wait a couple of months. But you’ll be ready when the time comes!

How to beat the high cost of college

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By Marta Mahoney

We knew we’d pull you in with that headline, readers. As anyone who’s sent a kid to college knows, the big-ticket items – tuition, books, room and board – are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s all those little things that add up – like outfitting a dorm room or apartment.

‘College dorm room’ seems to have become a completely new merchandise category at the major department stores, with good reason. In 2012, Bloomberg finance estimated the average cost of setting up a dorm room was approximately $900 (in 2012!). And if your student is moving into an apartment, the cost will be even higher.

This is where shopping at the ALI thrift store can really help you stretch your dollars. It’s also a good way to show your student how to work within a budget. Give them a set amount to cover their dorm or apartment furnishings. Let them figure out what items they want to buy new (the bed-in-a-bag in the latest trendy color) and which ones they could look for at the thrift shop (cookware, a bath mat, a popcorn popper). Chances are they’ll end up with everything they wanted for their dorm room, with money left over for some of those OTHER miscellaneous expenses of college life.

SAVE THESE DATES FOR “I HEART OC GIVING DAY” – “THIRTY HOURS TO GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES”

 

 

Set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21. That’s the start of the Orange County Community Foundation’s “Day of Giving” for 2015. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $2MM in 30 hours (6 :00 a.m. on April 21 to noon on April 22) for local non-profits who are participating in this event. Assistance League of Irvine is proud to be one of the organizations in Orange County participating in this effort. If you’re not familiar with the OCCF, this foundation has been actively working in Orange County for the past 25 years and has awarded over $257MM to local charities to help meet the needs of our county.

ALI will not only have the benefit of your donations made to us in connection with the Day of Giving – we’ll be eligible for “bonus prizes” to be awarded by the Foundation! There are 78 available cash prizes in categories from how much money you raise as a percent of total donations, to the non-profit with the most “likes,” comments, or retweets on social media. Of course we’d LOVE to win one of these prizes!

How to donate? We’ll have a link to the “Day of Giving” website on our own website, Facebook page, and this blog starting April 13. All you’ll have to do is CLICK HERE – follow and watch for updates!

Please SHARE the news about “I Heart OC Giving Day” with your friends and neighbors. This is an event that impacts all of Orange County, not just Irvine. The more people who participate and donate during this 30 hours, the more everyone benefits. Spread the word, and open your heart and your wallet on April 21.

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KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE!

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For the past two months, one of the top books on the Los Angeles Times’ best-seller list has been “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. Judging by the book’s sales, there are a LOT of us out there who want to change our lives, or, at least, to straighten up our houses.

Now I don’t want to give away all the details of Ms. Kondo’s de-cluttering strategy (if you want the whole scoop, you need to buy her book). I WILL tell you that one of the steps is to discard anything that doesn’t make you feel “a spark of joy.” Maybe you felt a spark of joy when you bought that sweater. Maybe you felt a spark of joy the first ten times you wore it. But if you don’t feel a spark of joy right here, right now, it needs to go.

That doesn’t mean the sweater can’t bring a spark of joy to someone else! If you donate all the things you discard out of your life (after you read the book) to the ALI Thrift Shop, the spark of joy will keep burning. In fact, one of the things that continually amazes us is how often we put an item out on the shop floor and a customer exclaims, “This is just what I’ve been looking for!”

So as you’re tidying up, think of the Thrift Shop. We accept donations during any hours the Shop is open. If you have a large donation (a car full of boxes, for instance), drive around to our rear door and ring the bell. Our volunteers will happily accept your donations and give you a receipt.

And then, of course, you may see something ELSE at the Thrift Shop that brings you . . . a NEW spark of joy!

OUR VISION OF IRVINE’S FUTURE

BrightFutureEvery organization has a vision of what they want to accomplish, and Assistance League of Irvine is no exception. Since you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably shopped at our thrift store and know something about our programs. But you probably (unless you’re a member!) don’t know our actual Vision Statement, which defines and explains our goals. It is:

“Assistance League of Irvine envisions a community where all individuals and families are empowered to achieve their full potential through access to education, the arts, and human services.”

Those words “access to education” led to ALI’s newest philanthropic program: Prep for Success. We’re partnering with Comprehensive College Prep in Laguna Hills to offer at least 20 need-based scholarships to high school juniors in the Irvine Unified School District who need financial help to pay for SAT/ACT test prep classes.

Most four-year colleges and universities require SAT or ACT test scores as part of their application. In recent years, as college admissions have become more competitive, “test prep” classes have become routine for families who can afford them. These classes familiarize the student with the type of questions on the tests, and let them take practice exams.   A student who has taken a “test prep” class is likely to do better on the SAT or ACT, and in the world of college admissions, a higher score helps. Perhaps the most important point is that students who take these classes start to think of themselves as college-bound. For students whose families have significant financial hardship or are the first in their family to go to college, “test prep” classes put them in a group of peers who see college as a desirable, and achievable, goal.

“We want to level the playing field for all students in the Irvine Unified School District by helping them to better prepare themselves for admission to a four-year college or university,” explains Dr. Annelle Arthur, ALI’s Vice President of Philanthropy.

So when you next visit our thrift shop, remember that YOU’RE helping us to create this new program – and to make our vision of the future a reality!

Small Business Saturday is Coming!

SAVE THE DATE FOR SOME…

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Mark this date on your calendar! Saturday, November 29 (that’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving) is Small Business Saturday. It’s going to be a fantastic day at the ALI Thrift Shop, and you won’t want to miss out. This special once-a-year event will feature:

– Prices so low, no layaway plan is needed!

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– Free giveaways to adult shoppers through random drawings – no purchase required! We’ll have lots of great prizes, including Starbucks gift items from the Starbucks at Alton Square, and gourmet sauces from Sola Jams.

– Free face-painting & balloon animals for kids (parent must be present) by our  Assisteen volunteers, from 1 pm to 3 pm.

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  – Our popular Mystery Discount off your entire bill! Pick a token from the Mystery Discount Jar after your items are totaled at the register. Whatever number you pick, we’ll give you that percentage off your entire purchase.

– Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 as a way to draw attention to Main Street businesses. These businesses create jobs and tie the community together. They’re staffed (like our thrift shop) by your friends and neighbors. And they’re often the first to respond when there’s a need for help in the community, because they’re part of its daily life.You’ll have Black Friday to visit the national chain stores.

Save Small Business Saturday for the ALI thrift shop! You will be dancing down the aisles happy!

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Welcome to the ALI Superhero Universe!

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You’ve heard of the Marvel Superhero Universe? Welcome to the ALI Superhero Universe!

Just like the Marvel Universe, the ALI Universe is filled with superheroes in disguise. Most of the time, these people lead ordinary lives, just like you and me. They walk their dogs. They shop at Trader Joe’s. They post pictures of their vacations on Facebook.

But several times a month, their cell phones ping with the special “ALI Superheroes” signal. Answering the call, they shed their normal identities to become – ALI volunteers! With no special powers except for their huge hearts, they enter the secret lair known as the ALI Community Outreach Center/Thrift Shop, and from there go forth to help their neighbors in need.

The best thing about the ALI Superheroes Universe is – anyone can be a part of it! No radioactive spiders, genetic mutations, or alien microchips are necessary. All you need is the desire to make a difference in the lives of those in our community who need a helping hand.

AND – unlike the Marvel Universe – there’s no limit to the number of superheroes! VOLUNTEERS WANTED – NO SPECIAL POWERS REQUIRED.

(Watch for ALI’s upcoming ad campaign, featuring some of our superheroes in these great costumes, which were designed by Stephanie Lee. Stephanie is a former intern at the ALI thrift shop who is attending design school, and often contributes fashion ideas to our blog.)

The rescue of Washington

Last week I made a trip to Washington, D.C. Forget Congressional confusion – let’s talk about wardrobe confusion. There I was with my suitcase, trying to decide what to pack – because, as we all know from watching “Scandal,” people in Washington do not dress like people in Los Angeles. My usual daily summer outfit (workout pants and my In-N-Out t-shirt) just wouldn’t cut it. And with humid, 90-degree weather predicted, my winter pants and sweaters would be too hot.

The thrift shop to the rescue! I found a pair of gray pants (suitable color for October in Washington!) that were dressy enough for the city but casual enough for travel, and would match lots of different-colored tops. These amazing pants were only $5.00 and were so versatile I was able to get by with just a carry-on bag – thus saving me the charge to check a bag each way. With THAT savings I was able to splurge on a dinner of Maryland crab cakes.

Lesson learned: no need to go to fancy travel catalogues for your travel wardrobe – just visit the ALI thrift shop!

Models, Washington fashion show, 1924