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Deal Divas

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

Who can resist Marilyn in black, white and pink?

Rainbow has many odes to pop culture like this one,

Rainbow has many odes to pop culture like this one,

 For three weeks in a row I peered, face pressed against the window, at the dress made from fabric that looked like newspaper. Problem was each time I passed the Rainbow Shop at Shoppes at Park Place it was early Saturday morning before the clothing store opened.

I’m there at 8 a.m. for the standing-room-only Weight Watchers meeting led by Anthony. He keeps a crowd of 50 or more laughing at his one-liners and furiously taking notes on his knowledge of metabolism, whole grains, meditation and tons more.

I have wanted a news print dress ever since seeing Sarah Jessica Parker wear one in Season 3 of Sex and the City. Check out this clip from the episode when Carrie encounters Big's ex-wife, Natasha.

So last week I went to a midday Friday Weight Watchers meeting (don’t tell Anthony) and stepped into Rainbow afterwards. Realizing it's a store for juniors and plus-size customers I knew it wouldn't be my favorite store, but I had to get a closer look at that dress.

Many of the clothes are too young, too tight or so revealing they look like they got cut up in a knife fight without getting any blood on them. But I LOVED Rainbow’s shout out to pop culture and fun prints. …

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BREAKING: Chico's $10 shoe sale is BACK

Hello, pretties. For a couple more hours, score these for $10.

Chico's

Hello, pretties. For a couple more hours, score these for $10.

Hey, remember that time the Deal Divas all collectively grasped our chests and flopped to the ground and the SOME OF US, NOT NAMING NAMES, might have maybe ordered 11 pairs of shoes at one time because Chico's was practically giving them away for $10 a pair?

Well, that's happening again. 

Until 6 p.m., get your kicks right here for $9.98 with coupon code 58536. Tons of summer stock is on the sale to clear room for fall, always a great time for us Floridians to score things we can wear most of the year. After 6, Chico's switches to a new deal that runs until midnight. What will it be?!

Pro-tip from, uh, a "friend" who bought 11 pairs of shoes on the last sale NOT NAMING NAMES THOUGH. Go up a half-size, as they tend to run tight. 

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Tent sale at The Shop in St. Pete through Wednesday

Deal Diva Lisa and I turned our lunch break into a spin through The Shop's big tent sale Wednesday.

This is the sale where normally pricey boutique clothes are marked down to $5, $10, $15 or $20 — what we in the biz refer to as "deals."

How'd we do? Let's just say we'll be making pasta at my house for a few more days (or weeks) to make up for the number of deals we unlocked. I scored a couple $15 dresses and a maxi skirt for an upcoming ~*~ CRUISE ~*~.

Lisa walked away with a sturdy, sexy and scalloped red dress (I liked that the sleeves were actual short sleeves, not caps) and a simple, swingy day dress for $20 and $10, respectively.

Both of us got talked into skinny "miracle belts" that were not on sale but will go with everything, okay? Can we go back to talking about how much we saved?

The tent sale runs through Wednesday. We're told they are putting out new markdowns each day.

As much as I'd like to verify that firsthand, my checking account says I am not allowed to go back.

What else is going on out there?

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My Outfit Monday: The Monday blues

Photo by Brittany Volk, friend of the blog

Somehow, my busiest day of the work week is Monday. Hence the blues. For days like these when I need to be out of the house and into productivity fast, I gravitate toward reliable outfits that I know will a) fit b) look decent c) be at least somewhat comfortable. This outfit hits all the marks. Unfortunately, I spent 20 minutes trying on four other outfits first before landing on this one, but hey, it wouldn't be Monday without some struggle.

Top: This Loft top is the definition of Utility Player in my closet. It was a clearance purchase scored for $12 or so, and I wear it all the time: Under blazers, tucked in with skirts, tucked casually out over a pair of jeans. It's light grey with white and navy polka dots, and a large bow for which I am a sucker. My only quibble is that, like so many otherwise perfect shirts, it is SEE-THROUGH and requires an undershirt. On the other hand, it's ideal for this time of year, when stepping outside invites an immediate and unyielding Sweat Party. …

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Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin

Cindy (center back row) and I share a beauty regimen.

Cindy (center back row) and I share a beauty regimen.

I didn’t think chin hairs were a blog-worthy topic until they scored a cameo in the latest season of "Orange is the New Black." The inmates were running and someone encouraged the character known as "black Cindy" to keep up the pace.

Cindy quipped: "Man, I pluck my chin hairs, ain’t that enough upkeep? I got to run, too?"

For almost two decades I loathed the three recurring hairs that grow out of my chin every two months or so. In recent years, however, they have provided me with something few other things in life offer: complete satisfaction. But more on that later.

I well remember the day the hairs first appeared in my life. I was a naive 21-year-old watching a baseball game with a few friends. The setting sun hit my chin at exactly the right angle.

"Oh my God! Katherine has chin hair. There are three black hairs growing out of her chin," exclaimed my longtime friend Will Andrews, who was sitting next to me.

I used one hand to cover the evidence and the other to hit him as hard as I could.

"Oh my God," he continued, "She's going to walk into Belk’s one day and say 'Can I have some panty hose please.' "  He used a low, guttural voice for the latter. …

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Tampa Bay Fashion Week is back with some major changes

Models walk the runway show (bye, bye, runway show) at the Hilton Tampa Downtown for Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2014. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

Models walk the runway show (bye, bye, runway show) at the Hilton Tampa Downtown for Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2014. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

Hot off the presses (dresses?), we have information on this year's Tampa Bay Fashion Week.

The headline this year: NO RUNWAY SHOW.

The organizers have decided to swap the traditional runway show of fashions made by local and national designers in favor of trying something new: A designer trunk show at International Plaza. The aim is to get more people actually buying clothes from local designers, not just looking at them.

In a statement, Tampa Bay Fashion Week organizers said:

"When we launched Tampa Bay Fashion Week (aka Fashion Week Tampa Bay) in 2008, our goal was to highlight emerging and established designers in our region and help to build the fashion community in our area. We're proud to be one of the players who has steadily evolved over the years, and appreciate you all coming along for the ride with us!

There have been a variety of changes in our emerging fashion community and across the state and country in the fashion industry. Boutiques have opened and closed, designers have launched and faded away, fashion shows have come and gone and come again. It's just the nature of change, life and business."

So, now for that change. …

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Make a day of it at Hyde Park Village's pop-up market on Sunday

Shoppers at Anthropologie

Luis Santana, Times

Shoppers at Anthropologie

Have you been to Hyde Park Village lately? If you said yes, we sympathize with your empty bank account. If you said no, Sunday is the time to make a trip.

Tampa's high-end outdoor shopping plaza is hosting a pop-up market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where the emphasis is on locally made goodies. It's taking place at Anthropologie, our favorite overpriced boho-chic store of them all (tip: head for clearance). Vendors include Tahlulah, Sweet Harvest Farms, Squeeze Juice Work, King’s Arms Coffee, Three Sisters Herbal, Your Fortenberry, Green Body / Green Home, The Hyppo and Porch Therapy.

After you've given the local businesses some of your cash, wander around and stare longingly at the aspirational wares in stores like West Elm, lululemon and Pottery Barn. Here is what Times designer and friend of the blog Brittany did this past weekend in the Village: "Went to Paper Source, and I'm obsessed, got new sunglasses at Francesca's and sat on beds in West Elm." Truly inspirational, Brittany. …

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Strands of Sunshine celebrates shop dog Oscar's 10th birthday with fundraiser

From the department of ermagersh: St. Pete's Strands of Sunshine boutique is throwing a birthday fundraiser for its shop dog, Oscar.

Oscar Friday

Oscar is turning 10 this moth. Happy birthday, cutie!

To celebrate, 10 percent of all sales today through Aug. 29 will benefit Pawlicious Poochie Pet Rescue, a nonprofit rescue group that looks out for small, older dogs saved from kill shelters. 

Store owner Amy Marshall will celebrate Oscar's milestone year with a party all-day Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, at the store, 8 Sixth St. N. There will be door prizes and treats, plus some senior doggies from Pawlicious Poochie. Buy raffle tickets here for the chance to win a custom pet portrait by local artist Robert Phelps.

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My Outfit Monday: Mixing, and nixing, the Monday blues

Photo by Times photographer Eve Edelheit.

In honor of National Thrift Store Day, my outfit today aims to show how you can stretch budget buys with fun accessories.

Now in truth, my shirt and skirt are not from a thrift store. 

They did cost me next to nothing, though.

The navy pencil skirt is a perfect fit in my wardrobe and a parting gift from Diva alumna Kameel. I got it Wednesday, and I've already worn it twice. 

The shirt was a single-digit find from a Ross-type store by Diva Stephanie, who is very thoughtful and knows I can't say no to buttons and rolled sleeves.

I jazzed up the shirt by buttoning it to the collar and layering a Bauble Bar necklace, which I procured for my rehearsal dinner, just below.

My little lace wallet is from Target, which has really stepped up its bags department lately. People have said it's very bridal, or that it looks like a doily in a good, antique way. I accept either! (I spy a sale on backpacks, back-to-schoolers.)

And my beige-brown bow shoes are Ann Marinos from DSW (sort of like these). The heel is just tall enough that I haven't worn them that much over the years. Now that I have a working navy skirt in my wardrobe, those days might be over. …

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Give up that cocktail dress you never wear to someone who will really rock it!

That dress collecting lint in your closet can collect memories if you donate it To Belle of the Ball.

Tampa Bay Times archives

That dress collecting lint in your closet can collect memories if you donate it To Belle of the Ball.

Maybe it’s time to accept it. You’ve been trying to lose 15 pounds to fit into that great cocktail dress at the back of your closet for a while and it’s not happening.

You know, the one you wore to your cousin’s wedding three years ago. The short yellow one with the square neckline and long organza sleeves.

I’m not saying you won’t ever lose those lbs but why not let somebody else who needs that dress right now have it. Who really NEEDS that dress you ask?

Hundreds of high school girls in Tampa Bay who can’t afford to go out and buy a dress for homecoming or prom. (Homecoming dances are just around the corner.)

Fortunately a great organization called Belle of the Ball  has got their backs. And their fronts, sleeves, straps, heels, purses and jewelry. Since 2003 it has given away 4,500 formal dresses to area high school girls.

The Belle of the Ball location at 1210 Holt Ave. in Clearwater is set up like a real store where girls can come in and shop for free.  …

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My Farewell Friday: A diva bids adieu

Pro-tip: When the Cool Girls in your office make a beeline for your desk, don't panic.

They may be there to invite you to lunch. Or compliment your outfit. Or ask you to join their really cool club.

That's what happened to me a few years ago, when I was asked to join Deal Divas. The invitation to become one of the fashion and shopping bloggers for THEE (then) St. Petersburg Times was thrilling. Plus, it came with a tiara. (I'm not kidding).Full Story

My Farewell Friday: A diva bids adieu

Pro-tip: When the Cool Girls in your office make a beeline for your desk, don't panic.

They may be there to invite you to lunch. Or compliment your outfit. Or ask you to join their really cool club.

That's what happened to me a few years ago, when I was asked to join Deal Divas. The invitation to become one of the fashion and shopping bloggers for THEE (then) St. Petersburg Times was thrilling. Plus, it came with a tiara. (I'm not kidding).

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Breaking, (not at all) surprising news: Beyonce slips into another naked dress for Vogue

Mario Testino/Vogue

Fall is right around the corner, and you (may or may not) know what that means: Vogue’s typically enormous September issue is about to put great strain on magazine stands near you.

The September issue is kind of a big deal — I recommend watching The September Issue — because Fashion Week season is on deck and it’s a super-exciting time for couture connoisseurs.

The ever-important selection of Beyonce for the industry's most coveted cover is a crowd-pleaser — even FLOTUS extraordinaire Michelle Obama wants to be her. And hey, bonus points for Queen Bey, 33, being the third black woman to grace the September issue’s front, which for whatever reason is controversial, an idea that I just can’t wrap my head around. (The others were Naomi Campbell and Halle Berry, both selected during the now 27-year reign of editor-in-chief/ice queen/my idol Anna Wintour.)

I digress.

The point is: Why ANOTHER naked dress (this one a stunning Atelier Versace mermaid number)? Diva Katie already went over this neverending ridiculousness after the Met Ball in May. …

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National Thrift Store Day is Monday. Here are some ideas of where to go.

Sunshine Thrift store, located at 4304 South Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, sells name brand clothing, such as Hollister and Ralph Lauren. What the store lacks in appearance and curb appeal, it makes up for in deals and hidden treasure. (Sawyer Carlton/Times archives)

Times file photo.

Sunshine Thrift store, located at 4304 South Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, sells name brand clothing, such as Hollister and Ralph Lauren. What the store lacks in appearance and curb appeal, it makes up for in deals and hidden treasure. (Sawyer Carlton/Times archives)

Count your dollars. We're going shopping.

Monday, Aug. 17, is National Thrift Store Day, an unofficial recognition of all cheap, secondhand wonders that go toward a good cause.

Just like the July 23 combo of National Hot Dog Day and National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, the Deal Divas intend to celebrate. 

Not sure where to go? Here's a roundup of our favorite stores (plus some favorite consignment and vintage shops).

Suncoast Hospice Resale Shoppes: Here's one thrift enterprise that is actually broadcasting a special in honor of the (unofficial) holiday. There are three locations, Countryside, Clearwater and St. Peterrsburg, and all will offer 25 percent discounts off purchases on Monday. Also, the first 200 visitors at each store will receive a mystery free giveaway with the possibility of getting more prizes, too. …

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It's that time again: Perusing Rent the Runway's clearance sale

$63 Rebecca Taylor lavender dress

(Screenshot from Rent the Runway)

$63 Rebecca Taylor lavender dress

Look, I was going to let this slide past the blog because I've admitted to having a problem with Rent the Runway, and I'm trying to be better.

But Rent the Runway's annual annual clearance sale, the one where you can purchase (used) designer gear in two-figure territory instead of just renting it, is still going on.

And "Prices Have Dropped." At least, that's what their email blast says — and surely it wasn't a very clever but highly manipulative lie to make me click through and look around.

Because I care about you, I've pulled a few faves (they're also in the slideshow):

$63 Rebecca Taylor lavender dress

$75 Slate & Willow glistening hi-lo dress

$54 Yoana Baraschi silver sign dress (more plus sizes!) (same style is $63 for sizes 0-12)

$74 Trina Turk Pantheon gown -- black-tie wedding this fall? This one might be for you.

$76 Nicole Miller fiery red lace mini -- Deal Diva Lisa wore this for NYE.

Point being, most of the looks are totally wearable.

Here's the exception, and for $525, we're not really crying about it.

 …

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