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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Deal Divas Black Friday Guide: That Escalated Quickly

Ron and Brick can handle Black Friday. Can you?

Anchorman 2 still, AP.

Ron and Brick can handle Black Friday. Can you?

Happy almost Turkey Day! Pro-tip: Give that bird in your fridge a tap today and make sure it's not still frozen (NOT THAT THAT HAPPENED ME ME THIS MORNING, NO SIR).

Here's another tip: Pace yourself if you're planning to go shopping on Black Friday, because there's a lot going on. It seems like everyone and their uncle has a Black Friday sale now, incluing my bank who wrote to inform me of some extra savings (on my own money?).

Anyway, we're not going to take up a side in terms of telling you not to go out on Thanksgiving or whatever -- up to you. It's not hard to find reasons not to go. We're here to provide info for those who do want to go, and then cower with our frozen turkeys like Brick Tamland after he killed a guy with a trident (in an alley, not a Best Buy). I will say a silent Hail Mary for our friends in retail. I worked at the mall. I know. There's a wine waiting for you at the end.

Before checking out some of the sales we found, be sure to read these wise Black Friday and general holiday season shopping tips from Jeff Harrington, Times business guru. And check out live Black Friday coverage from Times reporters and editors at this handy landing page tomorrow and Friday. …

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Tips for avoiding the mall rush this holiday season

Did you see this photo and think, "Yeahhhh, I'm not down for that"? Then listen up because we have tips for avoiding mall craziness.

TNS photo.

Did you see this photo and think, "Yeahhhh, I'm not down for that"? Then listen up because we have tips for avoiding mall craziness.

If fighting your way through frantic masses at Target or International Plaza isn't your idea of a fun shopping day, have no fear. We've brainstormed a few ideas that are as chill as they are efficient at clearing your list.

Got a better idea? Suggest it in the comments are @DealDivas on Twitter.

LOAD UP YOUR SMARTPHONE …

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My Outfit Monday: Sweater weather?

A not so cozy sweater ensemble, because it is still basically summer outside right now. Props to Brittany Volk for her photography.

A not so cozy sweater ensemble, because it is still basically summer outside right now. Props to Brittany Volk for her photography.

I was so pumped for My Outfit Monday because it has been so crisp and cool lately. A time for sweaters! A time for cozy cups of cocoa! I had just the thing!

Then it turned out to be about 80 degrees today and I cried inside. Still, I was committed to showing you all the fun, if totally twee, new sweater I got from the Lauren Conrad collection for Kohl's. That would be a cup of cocoa in the chestal region, though I admit at first I thought it was a really poorly executed iced coffee. What I loved most was the robin's egg blue color, one of my favorite shades of all the shades. I love it so much, it also graces the walls of my bedroom. I am especially into LC's collection right now because of her use of spring colors for fall and winter. It's all pinks and blues and pretty soft fabrics that somehow still manage to look seasonal. And I'm going to call it, at least for my tablescape at home (I LOVE TABLESCAPES, AND YES, I AM A MILLION YEARS OLD) -- blue is this year's signature Christmas color.  …

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Tutorial: The Boa, the European and 23 other ways to wear a scarf

Feeling kind of blah or just want to keep it low-key? Whether spring, summer, winter or fall, a scarf is an easy game-changer that can jazz up any outfit.

Pinterest

Feeling kind of blah or just want to keep it low-key? Whether spring, summer, winter or fall, a scarf is an easy game-changer that can jazz up any outfit.

Hey guys! Today, we have a special treat -- a guest blog by Largo High School freshman Ketrin Gavani, who spent the day shadowing me in the pursuit of a possible journalism career.

Not only is Ketrin into forensics and courthouse drama, but this girly-girl loves interior design, is a huge fan of fashion and has the scarf collection to prove it! Naturally, our tea time tete-a-tete included a gawk fest at this Wendy's Lookbook video on this fall/winter's hottest fashion accessory. "Four ways to wear a scarf? Maybe. But 25? Really???" we scoffed. Yeeeah, consider our minds blown.

Ketrin explains:

Now that November is here, we can FINALLY wear scarves, especially here in sunny-sky Florida.

They go well with plain T-shirts and can spruce up any outfit.

It's definitely popular for young girls who have an eye for fashion. While roaming around the halls of Largo High School, you will surely see the beauty of scarves in every corner you look.

I would say I am one of these scarf-obsessed girls, because they are my everyday day go-to for fashion in this not so cold, not so hot, weather. …

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Stop by Sundial this weekend to get holiday style ideas

Hello houndstooth! You'd be the talk of the party if you walked in with this guy on your hand. The outfit is part of the Mr Turk collection, retailing for ... cough cough $800+ cough cough.

Trinaturk.com

Hello houndstooth! You'd be the talk of the party if you walked in with this guy on your hand. The outfit is part of the Mr Turk collection, retailing for ... cough cough $800+ cough cough.

Have your invitations to holiday parties started piling up yet? Yea, ours too -- which inevitably begs the question.

What should you wear? And more important, what should you make your guy wear?

A new local boutique is here to help. Jackie Z Style Co, one of the new shops at the revamped Sundial in downtown St. Pete, is hosting a special event from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday. And a fancy big-name fashion designer is the special guest.

Perhaps you've heard of Trina Turk? We can't promise it's her, but we DO know that her other half, "Mr Turk," as he's known, will be in attendance.

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Coming soon: The Deal Divas guide to holiday shopping

Holiday shopping, easy as one, two, tree! Sorry.

iStockPhoto via Times archives.

Holiday shopping, easy as one, two, tree! Sorry.

Your Deal Divas have been busy lately coming up with a sweet treat ahead of the holidays.

Coming Sunday to the Tampa Bay Times' business section is our holiday how-to guide, with shopping tips and gift ideas for most everyone in your life.

Our tips will help you avoid the mall and jumpstart your gift hunt, whether you want to stick to your couch or get crafty with Pinterest.

We plan to share our posts on the blog over the next few weeks. 

Until then, we want to hear from you: What's your best-kept holiday shopping secret? Where do you go for the most unique presents, and how do you stay on budget?

Your answers may inspire or beef up future posts, so chime in.

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My Outfit Monday: Started from the blazer now I'm here

hey Monday.

hey Monday.

If the above picture tells you anything, this sums up our Monday.

No joke guys, the Divas are swamped these days. With an ever-expanding to-do list, and plenty of holiday-shopping gift guides to execute (check your paper soon!), there was barely anytime for girl talk about, well, our outfits.

Luckily, Deal Diva Katie and I snagged a couple moments to ourselves to dissect mine.

First thing to know: it starts and ends with this awesome blazer. It's one of my favorite statement pieces, with colors and pattern perfect for fall.

I thought it would set off my subtle hot pink pants nicely.

Since it is Monday, I didn't want to go too crazy though, opting for a neutral grey-brown T-shirt underneath the blazer and my favorite "nude" pumps. I snapped a lilac necklace for acontrasting  pop of color around the collar.

How'd I do?

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5 Holiday Dresses Under $50

The holidays are all about sparkle and shimmer! Get in the game with this Maison Jules gem from Macy's. OK, sue me: The technical retail price is currently $54.99. But you can take an additional 15 percent off today. Case closed!

macys.com

The holidays are all about sparkle and shimmer! Get in the game with this Maison Jules gem from Macy's. OK, sue me: The technical retail price is currently $54.99. But you can take an additional 15 percent off today. Case closed!

Even before Halloween had arrived, some stores were already setting out the inflatable Santas, piping Christmas jingles over the intercom and advertising Black Friday deals.

Now that Thanksgiving is actually a mere two weeks away, it's only a matter of time before the holiday party invitations start to roll in ... which, of course, begs the inevitable question: WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!?

We're here to help you get started.

For those of you who, like us, are ballin' on a budget, check out the handy slideshow above for some inexpensive holiday outfit ideas. And be a friend! Tell us in the comments below where else we might find some good deals.

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Here are some Veterans Day shopping ideas

I picked this wire photo of this woman because of her very patriotic shoes, of course. Anna Mansfield was attending a Veterans Day ceremony in Atlanta.

AP

I picked this wire photo of this woman because of her very patriotic shoes, of course. Anna Mansfield was attending a Veterans Day ceremony in Atlanta.

Yes, there are many sales to enjoy today, but we hope you take at least a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of American veterans. 

If you are not working today, we hope you enjoy your day off.

Here are some sales to get you started:

* Take 25 percent off sweaters at Urban Outfitters

* DSW's buy 2, get 30 percent off sale, which ends at 3 p.m.

* Up to 50 percent off anything at Express

* Extra 30 percent off everything at J. Crew Factory online. Use EXTRA30 at checkout

* $20 off all pants at Ann Taylor Loft

* Don't forget about Dillard's Clearance Center at University Mall in Tampa.

* Extra 40 percent off J. Crew sale

The folks at Refinery29 have curated more sales, and NerdWallet explores how Veterans Day shopping stacks up to Black Friday. (Basically, it's a good way to secure some deals before the frenetic pace of holiday shopping kicks in.)

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The best looks from Taylor Swift's new video and other Monday afternoon time wasters

Current mood. $37. Find it here: http://arsenicandlaceshop.bigcartel.com/product/gilmore-girls-pullover

via Arsenic & Lace

Current mood. $37. Find it here: http://arsenicandlaceshop.bigcartel.com/product/gilmore-girls-pullover

So we've all taken a 4 and a half-ish-minute break and watched Taylor Swfit's new video for Blank Space, right? Good! Apart from it being all kinds of perfectly crafted crazy that I plan on watching again and again and again, the outfits. The outfits! The video is like one big ridiculous Vogue shoot on steroids. It's insane and I love it. And if you, like me, want to take a more detailed look at what she wears in the video and decide which one you'd wear if you were a crazy heiress, Fashionita has compiled a handy list. Personally I'm digging the black lace fragrance ad look. Go big or go home, right?

Speaking of lists, if you had to pick one, which of these awkward outfits on The Gloss from season 2 of Gilmore Girls would you wear? I'm torn between Lorelai's dog shirt Sookie's maxi peasant dress. 2002 was a great year. …

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My Outfit Monday: Cleaning up at the Dillard's Clearance Center

Outfit by Dillard's Clearance Center.

Photography by Lisa Gartner.

Outfit by Dillard's Clearance Center.

If only every shopping opportunity were as thrifty as mine last week. 

First, I scored three quality skirts for free thanks to the rebirth of the Tampa Bay Times clothing swap, an easy, great idea you can copy here for your own workplace, book club, what have you. 

Next, we need to talk about my scores from the Dillard's Clearance Center in Tampa's University Mall, modeled above. I know this mall resembles a struggle factory compared to IP, but you have to give it a chance because there is big payoff. I tried on tons of discounted dresses from Betsey Johnson, Antonio Melani, Adriana Pampell, French Connection and others.

It was there that I found these two-tone suede Calvin Klein flats with a tiny, shiny gold strip for $34, and also where I found this sleeveless black and turquoise Kensie dress for $31. But that's not all!

Everything was either 40 percent off (shoes, accessories) or 50 percent off (clothing) the lowest-marked price in honor of Veterans Day, so I got away spending even less. It is worth the trip, ladies and gentlemen. Just bring a little patience and a shopping bag to make carrying around your selections a bit easier. …

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Flashback Friday: How to host a clothing swap

Some of the fun swag in our office clothing swap this week. ITEMS GALORE.

Some of the fun swag in our office clothing swap this week. ITEMS GALORE.

Some of us here at the Tampa Bay Times got together the past couple days to host an in-office clothing swap. It's been a big success and a fun way to break up the day. Personally, I cleaned five bags out of my closet and walked away with one bag of new things. A total win in my book.

It made me think it might be time to repost our original clothing swap post from years past, explaining how to pull off such a feat at your own workplace or house. Take a spin through our post of yore, and tell us. Have you ever hosted a clothing swap? Got TIPS? Do share.

 

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Smartwatches: Wave of future or slave to past?

The Samsung Gear takes calls, sends texts and even takes photos with a built-in camera. Both fashionable and fancy! Cost is $299 at AT&T: http://www.att.com/wearables/health-and-fitness/samsung-gear-2.html#fbid=j19ltJLc-SFsku=sku7130674 (Also in wild orange or charcoal black).

att.com

The Samsung Gear takes calls, sends texts and even takes photos with a built-in camera. Both fashionable and fancy! Cost is $299 at AT&T: http://www.att.com/wearables/health-and-fitness/samsung-gear-2.html#fbid=j19ltJLc-SFsku=sku7130674 (Also in wild orange or charcoal black).

Remember the awe of all that technology on The Jetsons? The hope you felt when you first heard Prince's new millennium hit '1999'? The eagerness you felt when you watched 'Back to the Future'?

My friends. We have arrived.

The latest new gadget to hit the market from retailers such as AT&T and Best Buy are smartwatches, which let consumers check email, browse the web and use voice commands just as they would on a smartphone.

But some question whether there's a market for the devices, no matter how technologically-advanced, given the timepiece's waning appeal among fashionistas who consider them old hat.

A global survey this month by Business Insider found that 51 percent of participants "don't see the point" of smartwatches.

However, Harvard Business School professor Ryan Raffaelli recently opined in the New York Times that the introduction of the Swatch in the early 1980s spawned a new generation of watch collectors with its fun, fashionable look. Wearables are becoming the secondary mobile device of choice for many young, active users, one AT&T spokeswoman told the Deal Divas. …

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How to score fall's trendy bucket bag for less

This bag was on sale over the weekend for $20, down from $30. Also comes in black and camel brown. (Link in blog)

Old Navy.

This bag was on sale over the weekend for $20, down from $30. Also comes in black and camel brown. (Link in blog)

Stylists from Rachel Zoe, Elle and Harper's Bazaar are crowing about the bucket bag as this fall's trendy purse. But as you may expect, their suggestions for capitalizing on the trend favor the takes from high-brow designers with eye-popping price tags (cue "And we'll never be royalllsssssss...").

As usual, there's another way. I lucked out yesterday at Old Navy, scoring a deep emerald, fake leather version on sale for $20 (normally $30). For a sorely needed purse update, I figured I could do worse.

I collected some other cheaper bucket bags under $40 for the slideshow (nope, this four-figure YSL bag is not included, though it is pretty).

The only drawback to my bucket bag is a complete lack of pockets. No fear, though. Thanks to my Ipsy subscription, I have unused beauty pouches galore. Following Stephanie's advice, I stuffed the items you'd normally want to put inside purse pockets -- lipsticks, pens, iPhone cord, etc. -- inside the pouches.

Stylish and organized.

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Mary-Kate and Ashley's StyleMint jewelry isn't a million dollars

Pegasus Earrings, $29.99.

StyleMint

Pegasus Earrings, $29.99.

Remember when Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were literally everywhere and you couldn't walk into a Walmart without seeing their faces smiling down at you from a display of Mary-Kate and Ashley shirts, skirts, jeans, etc.? It was the kind of stuff I could request for my birthday and reasonably expect to get because hey, pretty cheap!

But then they grew up, went to NYU, started actually designing and now sell $5,000 coats (or, as Who What Wear notes, $34,000 bags. lolwut). Ugh. Fine then.

Well then I wandered over to the above-mentioned Who What Wear article and discovered their new jewelry collection with StyleMint. It's all under $40, and hey, it's pretty cute. It's not a huge collection, but there's a few (affordable! woo!) pieces I've got my eye on. And not to be "that guy" who brings this up on Nov. 3, but it's all got a shiny, dangly vibe perfect for holiday parties.

Check out a couple of my favorites in the slideshow, and look at the rest here.

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