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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Shelley Rossetter, Kameel Stanley, Keeley Sheehan & Keyonna Summers

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: A review

The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is worth working into your routine, especially if you want a break from expensive treatments.

The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is worth working into your routine, especially if you want a break from expensive treatments.

Take this review with a grain of salt, as I am the worst when it comes to chipping beautiful polish off of my nails in very haggard fashion. 

Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel polish, a two-step DIY polish that mimics the feel of a gel manicure without the UV sealing effect, seemed like it would be my answer. Finally, a product that will resist the tiny bubbles and chips that are usually the starting point to all of my practically perfect polish crumbling down around me.

I bought a bottle of pinkish-white Crème de la Crème as well as the clear top coat recently. I applied two or three coats, probably from each bottle in effort to fortify the anti-chipping properties. I really tried to wait between coats, allowing it to dry neatly. 

My results were mostly great. My nails were shiny and strong, and the polish lasted for -- oh, wait, oops -- only a day or two before the scraping set in. Somehow the challenge of removing a highly durable polish made for an enticing, and regrettable, challenge. Yes, I could do it. Yes, there is shame in waste. …

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Remembering Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta in 2008.

AP

Oscar de la Renta in 2008.

"I'm not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes."

So said Oscar de la Renta, the iconic fashion designer who died Monday at 82 after battling cancer. It was one of many quoteables from the man with a unique ability to make old-fashioned glamour feel fresh, who informed the way American women dress today.

He outfitted everyone from first ladies to movie stars, wrapping Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lawrence and Amal Alamuddin in his lacy, figure-flattering confections. The gowns were always ladylike, always achieving some equilibrium of sleek and dainty. His power to balance a ballgown skirt with a chevron stripe was arresting, not distracting. In an era where sweatpants at the airport reign, he stood for getting dressed. He walked the walk in his tailored pinstripe suits and colorful pocket squares.

His work offers a valuable lesson in how we dress ourselves every day. If the bones are good, you don't need to shock anyone. Instead, you will impress them. That's way better. …

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Blake Lively's got great coats. Here are a few to copy her look.

VIA SPIGA ombre cape, $59.99.

TJ Maxx

VIA SPIGA ombre cape, $59.99.

ICYMI, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have combined their superhuman DNA to make what will probably be a ridiculously beautiful baby, complete with perpetual golden glowing aura, if the photos from her pregnancy announcement over at Preserve are any indication.

But I'm more preoccupied with the amazing coats she's been wearing recently, like the one in the photo above, or this poncho-y coat thing with toggles that I need to find an affordable version of, or this one she appears to have just casually thrown over her Michael Kors dress, as one does.

I know it's not yet coat weather here, but that hasn't stopped us from partaking in some autumn window shopping on the blog, so let's continue. I found some that look a bit like the one from Preserve, all from TJ Maxx (score!) (the hunt for an acceptable poncho-y coat thing knock off continues...), and in the meantime, here's another link to pictures of Blake Lively wearing great clothes and giving me a case of closet envy. Le sigh.

 

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My Outfit Monday: Buttoned up and down

Happy Monday! What's with all the buttons?

Happy Monday! What's with all the buttons?

I hope there's not some obscure fashion rule about how many buttons one is supposed to wear at once, because if there is, I'm probably breaking it.

I don't know how this happened. Buttons on my skirt. Buttons on my shirt. This brings a whole different perspective to the "matchy-matchy" trap. It's no so bad, though, right?

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Coupons? Cords? Giving your makeup bag a second life

One of my ipsy bags, not the designated purse coupon holder.

One of my ipsy bags, not the designated purse coupon holder.

Recently I was chatting with Times managing editor Jennifer Orsi about the plight of the makeup bag. If you're a makeup-wearing human, you probably also have an abundance of these lying around your house, whether from free Clinique or Estee Lauder gifts with purchase, or from a subscription service like Ipsy. They always seem fun to get when they arrive, but then, it's like, what do you DO with them? 

Jennifer smartly stores her phone cords and chargers in them, she said, and it got me thinking. What are some other uses for those pesky little bags? Waste not, after all.

I started using one of my Ipsy bags to store all the coupons I clip out, then stick in a drawer and forget to bring to the store. Now, I can keep them tucked in my purse for spur of the moment savings. I surveyed some more folks in Instagram to see what other suggestions people had for giving your makeup bag a second life. …

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Is this Tampa's chillest store?

Ever heard of Urban Body Clothing in Tampa?

Us either, but that's not very surprising. It's a store that caters to men, and shopping with men or for men isn't interesting, right?

Stereotype, be gone!

This store, recently spotlighted by Times correspondent Natalia Galbetti, keeps things simple for style-inclined men with a few, carefully chosen racks of clothing (since men don't like sifting through racks, apparently. Who knew? Wait, everyone.). Murses, statement socks, crisp plaid button-downs, special washed jeans -- they got 'em.

The best part: The store has a bar for customers to sip on beer or wine between shopping.

It sounds so chill, so relaxing -- so different from the sometimes overwhelming array of products to examine in women's stores.

Kameel and I want one.

More details here. The store is at 711 S Howard Ave #100.

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Deal Diva alert: Nubian Skin is up and running!

Look, they also sell tights!

nubianskin.com

Look, they also sell tights!

Remember a few weeks ago when you guys indulged my rant thoughts on the lack of "nude" clothing for women of color? And then I gushed about a new online retailer setting up shop across the pond (the big one). called Nubian Skin?

Well, it's now open, and I have the inaugural email notifications to prove it.

Like we told you before, Nubian Skin is focused on selling a broad range of underthings for brown girls -- but really, anyone could wear them. They have a good range of shades too.

Prices hover in the Victoria's Secret range, which isn't all that bad for quality. Now I've just got to start saving my pennies for that shipping.

Go peruse the site and tell us of your faves!

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JC's Boutique in Tampa holding 6-day liquidation sale

JC's Boutique in Tampa is closing.

istock

JC's Boutique in Tampa is closing.

First the good news: Tomorrow through Monday, JC's Boutique is hosting a super awesome sale -- we're talking discounts of up to 75 percent off and even one day featuring a buffet-style all you can fit in your bag -- at its South Tampa location.

Which means by now that you've probably guessed the very bad news: The 1541 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. store is closing.

The bittersweet deets? Owner Cat Whitwell and her husband are moving up north for a sweet new work gig.

But they're leaving a piece of themselves behind: JC's fans will still be able to shop online or physically visit its gift/adult and children's clothing/home decor sister store, Tate & Tilly in Carrollwood.

As for the JC's liquidation sale, click here for a rundown of store hours and discounts, which increase with each day. Last call is noon to 3 p.m. Monday, when shoppers are invited to buy a bag and stuff it with as much merchandise as will fit alongside their tear-soaked tissues.

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My Outfit Monday: A night at the orchestra

My orchestra look at intermission, right before someone crinkled a gum wrapper through the entire first movement of Rachmaninoff.

Photo by Katie.

My orchestra look at intermission, right before someone crinkled a gum wrapper through the entire first movement of Rachmaninoff.

Culture in 5... 4... 3...

My day job here at the Times is covering the performing arts. Friday night I went to the opening of the Florida Orchestra's new season, with Deal Diva Katie as my date. It's always fun going to the Straz Center in Tampa, a chance to yank my slightly dressier wares from the back of the closet and take them out for an apertif.

This time I wore a maroon v-neck dress by Kenneth Cole, last sported on New Year's Eve. This is one of those dresses that displays a lot of, ahem, décolletage, so I don't wear it all that much. But I do feel confident in it and, heck, it was Friday night and I'm not a nun! Caution to wind! I paired it with Adrienne Vittadini nude strappy heels and a BOGO statement necklace from Forever 21, because we Deal Divas gotta keep it real, keep it real cheap.

None of it mattered, though. I was totally upstaged by Katie, who wore a brand new circle skirt from Artpool Gallery and looked like she was flitting in front of the Eiffel Tower all night long. Seriously, why do I even try? I'll just head home and get into sweatpants now.

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Wikileaks plans high-end goods collection... yes, Wikileaks

One of the shirts in the site's current online store. I wonder what kind of fancy-schmany shirts they'll start putting out, and which fancy-schmany designers will put their logos on them.

via Wikileaks.spreadshirt.com

One of the shirts in the site's current online store. I wonder what kind of fancy-schmany shirts they'll start putting out, and which fancy-schmany designers will put their logos on them.

Today in stories I never thought I'd read: Julian Assange plans on putting the Wikileaks-approved stamp on apparel and other stuff and selling it at malls in India.

Apparently Wikileaks wants to open up physical stores in India, and sell stuff online, and apparently that stuff will be high-end. You can buy Wikileaks merch online already, but it's, ya know, T-shirts and hoodies and things like that. The Washington Post story linked above notes that they already have designers in France, etc., who want to co-brand with them.

I am... confused? But maybe not really? I sort of feel like maybe we're all getting trolled. But then again, we live in a world where anyone who's ever been on any kind of screen has their own perfume, so of course Wikileaks would look to start a luxury brand? I mean, sure.

I hope this means Assange plans to start his own GOOP- and Preserve-esque lifestyle site, and starts recommending things you can make with fancy organic kale using your expensive Wikileaks porcelain mixing bowls.

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Important information for Mindy Kaling's fashion disciples

A screenshot of my new favorite blog, The Mindy Project Style.

A screenshot of my new favorite blog, The Mindy Project Style.

Hey, what's one more obsessive post about Mindy Kaling's fashion among friends?

We've already told you how to get Mindy's pattern-mixing style without spending a buck. This post has two tips for worshippers with bucks to spend.

First, follow this blog right now: The Mindy Project Style.

The author throws up daily posts showing where Mindy got the outfits that she wears on screen. There's info on how much the items cost, where you can get them and UPDATES WHEN THEY GO ON SALE.

This information is available for free, so you should take the blogger up on it.

Second, go to BaubleBar.com, where The Mindy Project costume designer Salvador Perez has collaborated with BB designers on an affordable 13-piece jewelry line inspired by Kaling's TV persona, Mindy Lahiri. 

The items are mostly necklaces and earrings ranging from $28 to $68. Mindy can be seen wearing some of the pieces this season on her show. (And you can bet The Mindy Project Style is on it.)

Vibrant tones + chunky necklaces + gem drop earrings. It's our Friday swoon!

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$475,000 perfume and other Neiman Marcus Christmas gifts you can't afford

Only one lucky Neiman Marcus customer will bask this Christmas in a $475,000 bottle of custom fragrance. Gift includes two first-class tickets to Paris to meet with a sixth-generation master perfumer, swanky dinners and private tours. And the generosity doesn't stop: The retailer will donate $5,000 from the purchase to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation to support youth arts education in communities nationwide. (CLICK SLIDESHOW FOR MORE!)

neimanmarcus.com

Only one lucky Neiman Marcus customer will bask this Christmas in a $475,000 bottle of custom fragrance. Gift includes two first-class tickets to Paris to meet with a sixth-generation master perfumer, swanky dinners and private tours. And the generosity doesn't stop: The retailer will donate $5,000 from the purchase to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation to support youth arts education in communities nationwide. (CLICK SLIDESHOW FOR MORE!)

I'm so poor that I didn't know the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book existed until yesterday.

Don't get me wrong. I've heard all about those famous Neiman Marcus cookies and the wonders of its bistro. As a child, I spent countless hours poring over JCPenney's huge Christmas catalog, drawing huge circles around the toys I wanted my mom to notice while browsing the dog-earred pages. Logic would bear that other department stores have similar publications.

But I didn't realize that there was some retailer out there hawking fantasy gifts with multi-thousand dollar price tags to the rich and, presumably, famous.

So for all those shallow-pocketed drolls like me who don't even dare dream about buying $55,000 linens or $475,000 bottles of gold-encased perfume, I present you with the Neiman Marcus holiday collection.

Gawk away, divas.

 

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Style by sign? This Libra is a believer

This afternoon, the internet read me like a book. Or rather, a tweet read me like a ... oh, whatever. Just look:

I have to admit, when I first saw this tweet, I rolled my eyes. But guys. GUYS. The statements in this fun little post were all me. So on point, in fact, that I started messaging all my friends. (Hey, I can't help it. Libras are social; deal with it.)

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It's October and I'm wearing tights, darn it

A nice alternative to basic black? Basic blue! Try Modcloth's With the Greatest of Fleecce in blue for $17.99,

Modcloth

A nice alternative to basic black? Basic blue! Try Modcloth's With the Greatest of Fleecce in blue for $17.99,

Hey, remember how we had that delightful "cold" snap this weekend? We all left our windows down and went frolicking around town and posted Instagrams of the sun hovering over the crystal waters?

Yeah, that was all cool. But even before the glory that was Sunday, I was taking advantage of the temperatures dropping a mere four or five degrees. Pretty much every day last week, I wore tights.

I know, I know. It's really not cool enough in Florida for tights yet. But I had my reasons, primarily that a new pair of shoes injured the back of my heel and my feet needed time to mend. Tights and boots were the perfect way to still look presentable while not tottering around in painful heels.

But, really, I just love them. Here's why:

1. Tights streamline any look. You can make yourself a million miles long with a monochrome application of a black tight with a black shoe (or a maroon tight with a maroon boot, as I did last week).

2. Those pesky skirts you're worried are just an inch or two too short for work? Tights! The answer to all life's conundrums!

3. No shaving. No pedicure. Can I get an up-top, muh ladies? …

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