My (Goodwill) Life as Liz

New York is a city full of celebrities. While it’s always a treat to see a star, we’re especially tickled to find out how many of New York’s A-listers love their local Goodwill. Case in point: the ever-creative, secondhand-loving Liz Lee from MTV’s My Life as Liz!

My Life as Liz's star gives Goodwill a big thumbs up!

Liz wandered into Goodwill’s East Harlem Store, at 2231 Third Ave earlier this week to do a little browsing. Lucky for us,  Mauricio Hernandez, Goodwill’s Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, was in the store, too.

MTV star Liz Lee and Mauricio Hernandez, SVP of Retail Operations for Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc.

After a couple quick snapshots, Liz went back to thrifting, something she told us she does quite often: “Goodwill is the best thing that’s ever happened to a starving artist college student,” she said.

Our starving artist college student / New York celebrity, Liz Lee is also a GoodwillNyNj shopper - and we couldn't be more thrilled!

If you’d like to check out the Goodwill East Harlem Store yourself, come on by! Just hop on the 4/5/6 train to East 125th Street and walk one block east to Third Avenue and three blocks south to East 122nd Street. The store in at 2231 Third Avenue between East 122nd and East 121st Streets. And you better be sure to wear paparazzi safe shades – you  never know who you’ll run into!

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Spring into Summer Sale!

Looking to get a jumpstart on your summer wardrobe?

Drop your spring cleaning donations and stock up on new sunny finds at your local Goodwill in the Greater New York and Northern New Jersey area. From 7pm to 9pm Thursday, April 29th and Friday, April 30th, everything in the store (everything!!) is 25% off!

Prints: Did I Do That?!

Good news, dear gentlemen readers: starting today, we’ll be featuring a weekly column by GoodwillNyNj Style Icon David Morgan all about secondhand fashion for men. This week: how to create a signature style out of all those prints and patterns found at your local Goodwill. Enjoy!

This outfit draws from so many inspirations: primarily Steve Urkel from "Family Matters," but also 1940s schoolboys mixed with a bit of those 1990's frenetic prints that seemed to be all the rage then (think Saved by the Bell).

The beauty of shopping at the Goodwill is the ability to combine a variety of inspirations into one fun outfit – just see the photo above. Except the necklace (which I made), everything I have on is thrifted! I’m really into high-waist pants and shorts at the moment, and these linen shorts are super high-waist. They were originally pants, but I cut and hemmed the bottom with a simple straight stitch on my sewing machine, which leads to a great tip for Goodwill shoppers:

  • Don’t be discouraged if something is too long or too short: Consider the options you have for altering it. Turn too-short pants into a pair of fun shorts, or a shirt with small sleeves into a short-sleeved one. Pants that are too long can always be taken to the dry-cleaner for a cheap alteration, or you can easily do it yourself. The same goes for a particularly ill-fitting, yet amazing suit. A good tailor could make all the difference.

I paired the linen pants with two different printed shirts, one a purple and grey brocade-esque button-down, the other a simple black and white checkered t-shirt. A common misconception many fashion-lovers have is that you cannot combine two different prints in the same outfit. I think that’s rubbish!

  • First off, you can do whatever you want. It’s your clothes, so do not feel forced to listen to rules when it comes to the way you dress.
  • Secondly, many prints are actually very complimentary to one another. There is an endless array of printed clothes on the market, so try experimenting with two different prints until you find a combination that works for you.
  • Do not be afraid of prints either. Even if you’re the conservative type, adding a few printed pieces in your wardrobe can enhance your strong solid pieces, especially those with rich colors. Ease your way into them with a printed accessory, like a scarf or tie.
  • Another great tip with prints: look for the primary color in a print, then pair that with a complimentary color. The purple in my button-down looks great with green, and black and white goes with everything.

Wearing prints are tricky, but they can certainly (and should) be done. The next time you’re in your local Goodwill, observe all of the variety of prints available, and notice the cultural origins of each. Consider buying a fun African print, or add an unusual plaid to your wardrobe. With such amazing prizes, and selection, found at Goodwill, there isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t!

With all that said, here’s one last closing tip for you:

  • Don’t go overboard. Unless you want to look like the casualty of paintball war (which is fine), incorporate solids into all of your printed pieces. Even if it’s a printed dress, make sure your accessories, like purse and shoes, are a strong solid. This will both tone down and emphasize your beautiful print.
David's favorite Goodwill is in the Bronx. The exact location? The most loyal shoppers like to keep their fav stores a secret -but here's a hint: visit The Guide to GoodwillNyNj and we bet you can figure it out...

Now get out there and get looking good with Goodwill, gentlemen!

Shoestring Magazine

While Tuesdays are normally Boutique You days, today we have good reason to switch things up a little… Shoestring Magazine published a piece on A Good Look by GoodwillNyNJ!

Shoestring Magazine called out GoodwillNyNj & Goodwill OC for showing how chic secondhand can be. We'd like to thank YOU, dear fierce & frugal fashion readers. Thank you!

Here’s a little excerpt of the article for you:

Goodwill of New York and New Jersey has 38 stores, each filled with brand-name fashion, housewares, and jewelry. These neighborhood shops specialize in high-end items that appeal to the uniquely sophisticated secondhand clientele in Greater NY. Their blog, A Good Look by GoodwillNyNj, showcases the best and most unique finds, tastes, and atmospheres from each store.

In addition to A Good Look, Goodwill of New York and New Jersey created the Guide to Goodwill, an online directory helping customers and supporters get the most out of the thrift stores in their area: the neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to Goodwill retail stores is perfect for organizing those multi-stop thrifting trips.

Goodwill NY-NJ also recently launched a new Tuesday series called Boutique You, which highlights DIY projects made from items you can find at your local Goodwill (including easy-to-follow instructions). Goodwill NY-NJ also hold events for the crafty, DIY types in NYC: in 2009, they hosted a Low-Cost Halloween Costume Clothing Swap in downtown Manhattan to inspire celebrations and creativity on a Shoestring budget.

You can read the whole article here – and be sure to browse around Shoestring after; this site is full of the kind of eco-savvy, money-saving advice that never goes out of fashion.

Shoestring Magazine, a must read for anyone with a bank account and a social conscious

Style Icon Interview: DIY Style Blogger David Morgan

Crafter-blogger-creative David Morgan wowed us with his great ideas the minute we met him over at BurdaStyle – then we noticed his vintage & DIY wardrobe. Wow! It’s clear this Bronx-based Project-Coordinator-by-day, singer-by-night is 100% a GoodwillNyNj Style Icon.

Blogger, singer, crafter, miscellaneous fashion muse, & GoodwillNyNj Style Icon David Morgan

We got the chance to chat with David about his style, his job, and his blog Yes, David Is Here, over the weekend. We hope you enjoy his wit, whimsy and wisdom as much as we did!

Hi David! How did you first get involved with crafting and fashion?

My mother, a pre-school teacher, always emphasized the importance of getting the most out of what you already have, and this philosophy greatly contributed to my early interest into crafting. I had a really big imagination (still do) and would always look at items different from their intended use. Paper towel rolls always became microphones and bath towels were always superhero capes. My parents encouraged us kids to actively engage our imaginations, which fed daily explorations into making everything from noodle necklaces and paper mache masks to Rice Krispie treats and poems.

The need to reuse and reinterpret items certainly led to a creative sense of fashion for me. Growing up, we didn’t have the luxury of buying a lot of clothes, so I would often have to make due with my brothers’ hand-me-downs and things I found at thrift stores. Thus crafting was less a hobby but more a way of life. My interest in both crafting and fashion really evolved out of a way to express myself using what resources I had available.

How would you describe your own personal style?

Colorful, fun, bohemian, nerdy and relaxed. I draw inspiration from writers like Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, 1990s hip hop, rural farmers and blue collar workers, the paintings of Basquiat and Gerhard Richter, the music of Fela Kuti and Bjork, the suave style of Gene Kelly and Nat King Cole, and tons more. My goal is to make my wardrobe a complete museum of curiosities, filled with unique pieces from various cultures, time periods, influences and places. I think I’m certainly heading in that direction.

What role does your budget play in shaping your style?

I doubt I would be as into fashion if I had the luxury of a lot of money. Lacking an expendable income forces me to be creative with everything I wear. I’ve gotten clothes from discount and thrift stores more than I’ve purchased them from name-brand places. I’ve always had an unconventional sense of style because I have always had to make due with what I could afford. Now, I’m so grateful to have had this challenge, and wouldn’t trade my style for anything in the world.

What does “style” mean to you?

Style means expression. It should evolve and change just as one’s life evolves and changes, and should truly represent who you are. There is no such thing as being “in” or “out” of style. Once you’ve got your own look, it becomes timeless.

When someone has a great sense of style, the clothes are secondary. The secret to style is self-assurance and confidence. You can pull off anything when you’ve got those two under your belt.

Who do you wish would donate their entire wardrobe to a Goodwill near you? (Supermodels, big sisters, rock stars, and politicos are all fair game…)

In a perfect world, I wish Bjork, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, the people of the Massai tribe and the indigenous people of Papau New Guinea would all donate their clothes to my nearest Goodwill! It would be so much fun to mix all of their unique cultures and tastes. I would have a blast!

What’s your favorite Goodwill find?

My favorite thrifted find is a brown pair of vintage farmer’s overalls – the same pair in my bio photo. I love them so much, and could seriously wear them everyday. They’re so comfortable and so cool to me!

Why do you shop at Goodwill?

I shop at Goodwill because it is affordable and fun. I love that I can walk away with an entire outfit for under $20. I also love the uniqueness of it. Shopping at a Goodwill makes it very rare to meet someone with a similar item. It is like a treasure hunt every time!

The affordable prices makes it really easy to experiment. You can buy items that you may never attempt to try at an expensive, name-brand store, and this advantage really helps to expand your wardrobe palette.

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There you have it: proof you can find David’s nerdy-farmer-fashion-star style on a Goodwill rack near you – or, even better, you can find a style there entirely your own! And don’t forget to check in next week for Part Two of the interview. In the meantime, keep sharing your great finds and style tips with us on Twitter and Facebook – we love hearing from you!

Amazing Donations!

Thank you to everyone who donated at our big Donation Drive this Sunday! Sure, it was murky out, but you brave do-gooders weathered the storm, showed up at the Goodwill 23rd Street Store (220 East 23rd St) and warmed our hearts with your generosity. Well done!

"The Original Recycler: Turning Donations into Jobs since 1902"

We’ll be having more Donation Drives in the future, so be sure to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay in the know. Have a Happy Every-Day-is-Earth-Day, Goodwill Fans!

Keep Earth Day Alive at Today’s Big Donation Drive

Sure, Earth Day is technically over, but why let all the good green feelings go?Keep your eco-awareness in shape, lower your taxes and say good-bye to Spring Cleaning clutter! How? By joining us at our big Donation Drive at the Goodwill 23rd Street Store from 9am to 2pm TODAY, Sunday, April 25th!

Just show up today with your no-longer-needed items & get ready to spring into a new season with clean closets, a tax deduction, and a whole ton of goodwill!

Happy (barely-belated-or-incredibly-early-or-all-the-time) Earth Day!

Earth Day DIY: Pulling off the Dinner Party!

Tonight’s the night of the big Earth Day Dinner Party! You’ve learned how to DIY the water glasses, the wine glasses, the dinner and salad plates and the napkins (whew!), but now the most important part… putting it all together & pulling off an extraordinary Earth Day Dinner Party.

Enjoy as a national eco-crafter and green-living guru Evette Rios shows you how to take all those separate DIY pieces and turn your dining room table into a work of eco-lovin’ art! And it’s all in honor of Earth Day celebrating 40 years of educating individuals and corporations what it means to truly be “green.”

From all of us here at GoodwillNyNj, those creative crafters at DecoArt and the wonderful Evette Rios, Happy Earth Day! Let’s turn one day of Mother Nature celebration into a whole year of reusability, recycling, and sustainable thinking – one DIY dinner party at a time!

Style, Style Everywhere

Welcome to “Style, Style Everywhere” – the updated version of our “Mid-Week Mini-Break” feature. Here, we show off what our chic shoppers are finding in their local Goodwill & sharing on their blogs. It’s a pretty impressive array – and we hope it inspires you to check out the Goodwill near you and get your Style, Style Everywhere on, too!

Blue Collar Catwalk is quickly becoming one of our fashion blog favs. This girl is whip-smart, great fun and mad stylish - and those pants? Fantastic!

Blue Collar Catwalk: I found these at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago and just couldn’t pass them up.  I really love the feeling of stepping outside my comfort zone.  Nine times out of ten, it’s totally worth it.  This is one of those times. Pants: Thrifted, $4

A former Goodwill cynic, Dog Trot Farm's blogger had a change of heart when she discovered this vintage glass vase for $0.99 - a steal by even the most cynical standards!

Dog Trot Farm: This is what I discovered for .99 cents, an old cut glass pitcher. I would estimate it from the 40s or 50s, it was the perfect vessel to display daffodils and forsythia. Goodwill, it was a good place to visit on this very cold, wet, sometimes snowy day in New England.

No, Home Girl didn't find a child at Goodwill - but she did find an amazing deal on an otherwise $119 toy guitar. The Goodwill price? 5 bucks!

Viva la Home Girl: Today we checked out Goodwill… we found Red a toy guitar for $5, brought it home, scrounged up the appropriate AA batteries and then googled it and discovered that it retails for $119!

Earth Day DIY: Upcycling Napkins with Evette Rios

Earth Day may be over, but why not keep the green feeling going and hold your Happy Earth Day DIY Dinner Party this weekend? Here in video 4, crafter and Rachael Ray blogger Evette Rios shows how to reuse Goodwill finds to create adorable party-perfect napkins. We hope you enjoy the latest DIY Earth Day Dinner Party project: Upcycled Napkins:

This project really puts the spotlight on sustainability – just think how many single-use paper products a standard table setting devours. With tips like Evette’s, we have to wonder: why would anyone choose to hurt the earth with disposables when celebrating it with reuse is this fun? Shop Goodwill, get creative and do Mama Nature proud!