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Deal Divas

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

Birchbox: A Love/Hate Letter

At long last, I got my first Birchbox, that lovely little box of sample goodies we blogged about last month. Fun times! It came in a cute little girly box with pink tissue paper, with samples that seemed hand-picked just for me. There was a reusable travel poof filled with tinted face powder, some perfume, a tiny pink nail polish, a couple little Show Stoppers fabric tape samples to keep your attire intact and these cool Eye Rock instant eyeliner stickers that give you Amy Winehouse cat eyes. For $10 a box, not bad.


I had signed up for the month-to-month subscription, to be renewed monthly unless I cancel. I wasn't quite ready to commit to the yearly membership, which is $110 for 12 months and gives you a bunch of "points" to put toward the purchase of full-price products.

One reader did take the yearly plunge, however, and wasn't as happy as I was. She wrote:

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My Outfit Monday: Garden Girl

 Good morning all! February is almost over. That has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post, but whatever.

It's Monday; we're allowed to be silly, right? Here's what my silly self looks like this morning:

img_1467_0.jpgMy boyfriend likes to call this the "garden dress."

I got it AGES ago, and cannot tell you where or for how much (sorry!) I paired it with a white shrug that you've seen before on here. 

I was a little worried about wearing a dress when I woke up and it was still gloomy out. But by the time I actually got dressed, the sun was out. And now I hear we might crack 80 degrees?!? I love you Florida.

Back to my outfit.

I wanted to go simple with the jewelry, so I grabbed one of my favorite new pieces - this single strand of cobalt blue beads FROM AFRICA. Yes, Africa.

My colleague Amy Hollyfield, who runs the Times' political coverage and sits in the same pod as me, brought it back as a gift. 

And that's about it. 

Oh wait. The shoes. Or rather, the lack of shoes. See, I'm trying this thing on Mondays where I go completely barefoot for the whole day. 


Just kidding. I just haven't left the house yet or decided which shoes to wear. 

-Deal Diva Kameel

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Deal Divas live Oscar red carpet coverage Sunday!

natalie_portman_oscar.jpgHey, awards show lovers!

Your resident red carpet correspondent (that would be me) will be out of town for the Academy Awards this Sunday, on a South Korea vacation spectacular I may have mentioned 6,000 or so times.  I am thrilled to be going somewhere cool, but I was dismayed to realized I'd planned this trip on the biggest celebrity fashion night of the year. A part of me is dying inside.

But fear not! We have recruited help. Janet Keeler, the Times food and travel maven who covered Oscar fashion before the Deal Divas came screeching into your life with our shooties, will fill in on the snark beat.  She'll be live-tweeting from our Twitter account, @dealdivas, during the red carpet arrivals, and her full recap will be in the Tampa Bay Times the next morning. Chatters, welcome Janet with open arms, would you? She's a gem.

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Carson Kressley at Fashion Funds the Cure to help local girls with cancer

It might be the most sniffle-inducing event in town.

Bunches of little girls battling cancer will get gussied up and head down the runway Wednesday  at Neiman Marcus in International Plaza for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Ninth Annual Fashion Funds the Cure event. The fashion show gives the girls a chance to spend time away from their reality, briefly trading demanding hospital treatments for manicures, makeovers and new outfits. Proceeds benefit cancer research.

It’s hosted once again by Carson Kressley, a fashion stylist known from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Dancing with the Stars and How to Look Good Naked. He also wrote a children’s book called You’re Different and That’s Super, which follows a unicorn growing up among horses. Awwww. Here's Carson with the girls a couple years back.


Clearwater native Suite Caroline will perform at the event, which always draws  professional athletes and television personalities, and includes wine, catered food and private shopping. Fashion Funds the Cure starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $100 for general admission and $250 for patron tickets, which gets your name listed in the program. Call (813) 269-0955 or visit …

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Would you rock a retro one-piece?

Is it too early to be talking about swimsuits? jantzen-swimwear-vamp-bathing-suit-black-white-polka-dot-c-61-p-1-pr-394.jpeg

Who cares - it's Florida!

You guys know how much I like vintage-y stuff, and lately I've been paying more atention to the retro-style swimsuits popping up. Not surprisingly, most of these retro looks are one-pieces or pin-up style two pieces.

What do you guys think --- would you rock one of these suits? Or are you too attached to the (now standard) bikini?

I haven't made my mind up yet, but here are a few that caught my eye. 

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Killer fashion?

Nobody wears heels because they think they're good for their feet. Or tight pants because they're just so comfortable.

pants.jpgBut this gives a whole new meaning to "beauty is pain."

A column in The Wall Street Journal this week sheds light on the many surprising perils of apparel. That includes the potential for blocked nerves when wearing cinched belts or tight pants, reduced oxygen intake when wearing body shapers like Spanx, back pain from ill-fit bras, and bunions, hammer toes and bony heel protrusions as a result of long-term heel wear.


So, what? Should we all just stick to sports bras and maxi skirts and sensible sneakers? Now we're talking sexy. 

Deal Diva Kim

(Photo: The Wall Street Journal)


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Designer roundup: Rock & Republic at Kohl's, Marni at H&M

Count two new (relatively) low-priced designer labels hitting stores for the little people.

Rock & Republic, a line that was popular with the wealthy trucker hat set in the mid-2000s, brings its denim-heavy wares to Kohl's. The company, whose designers have included Victoria Beckham, filed for bankruptcy in 2010, so we're thinking this is a pretty big deal for them. The Kohl's line includes pants for women in flare, skinny, crop, boot cut and legging, and for men in straight, slim and boot cut, between $50 and $60. The jeans are pretty cute, but I can't help thinking they look a little short on all the leggy models in the promo shots. This could bode very well for your friendly neighborhood Deal Diva Hobbit, here.

The line also includes graphic tees, baby doll tops and tuxedo jackets, plus, SHOES -- platforms and pumps in the $40-$50 range. For instance, you can own these deadly spiky platform heels for $51.99. Gents, do not cross your lady love when these are on the feet and death is on the line.


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Shooties for President!

Guess who ... :-)


Deal Diva Emily

Photo: Bill Roussel,


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My Outfit Monday: Feeling springy

For the past few weeks I've been on a temporary assignment in Tallahassee, also known as wannabe Georgia. Remember all my cheer over this year's wimpy winter? Yeah. Good one. Last week I scraped ice off my windshield. 

But here we are nearing March, and temperatures be darned, I'm ready for spring. So today I summon thoughts of sunshine, blooming flowers and not being able to see my breath. 

mom.jpgMy corduroy pants are from the J Crew outlet at Ellenton, colorful but sturdy enough to keep me safe from chilly breezes. The white tee is a Target staple, as is my floral scarf. My black blazer is from Urban Outfitters, a Christmas gift from last year.

I may or may not have a pair of gloves in my pocket.

What are you wearing today, southern friends? Do tell. Cuz I'm picturing you all just yukking it up in bikinis and rompers

Deal Diva Kim 



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Fashion Week 2012 recap: Poofs, fur and Olsens

So, New York Fashion Week happened. It's so far out of the realm of our daily lives -- you know, working at jobs and taking care of families and making Hamburger Helper -- that sometimes it just blows right by. It's certainly relevant, though, because whatever the cray-cray designers trot out every season trickles down directly into our Target bargain bins. But if you're not intensely IN IT TO WIN IT, it's hard to keep up with every single show.

That's why you have us. To summarize! Here are some observations from this past week in the alternate reality called New York Fashion Week.

Full skirts


Oscar de la Renta showed a cadre of deliciously floofy cupcake creations. This is really exciting, guys. Full skirts bode well for our Little Debbie snack cake habit. When there's 18 yards of tulle pin-tucked around your waist, your arms look really tiny. It may be better than Weight Watchers. We're so pumped! We're so...

Tight skirts

fashion_week_becks.jpg …

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JCPenney - the place to be on first and third Fridays

x6.jpegSo a couple weeks ago, Deal Diva Stephanie told you about some changes at JCPenney.

The big retailer, which hasn't been feeling the love lately, has revamped its pricing strategy. It's all about simplicity and letting customers know in advance which are the good deals, the great deals, and the REALLY AWESOME deals. 

We already knew they were ditching the 99 cent finish on most tags, but this week you (like me) probably also a glossy postcard in the mail trying to ramp up excitement for one of their other changes. 

According to my handy dandy postcard (and JCPenney's website) from now on, every first and third Friday is when you MUST go shopping at this mall staple.

Those days are set aside as "Best Prices" Fridays. So no more wondering if you should leave that shirt you loved in the racks on the chance that it will be marked down again in the next couple days. Just get it on Friday and be done with it. (The retailer also has two other categories - "Everyday" and "Month-long values.")

Best part is, you can pre-plan by going to the website and checking out what's on sale under the "Best Prices" tab. …

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Presidents' Day sale at Ellenton outlets

george.jpgI was going to make a line like, "Put on your powdered wig and head out to this Presidents' Day sale!" And then I was like, "Wait, does anyone actually have a powdered wig? " And then I was like, "That would be so awesome. I would totally actually wear a powdered wig to the outlet mall on Presidents' Day." And then I realized I was having a really weird conversation with myself instead of writing a blog post.  So. Here we are.

ANYWAY. Ellenton Premium Outlets is offering a bunch of extra savings from Friday to Monday in honor of America's fearless leaders. A few sales include:

(If you find a powdered wig anywhere, let me know.)

Deal Diva Stephanie

Photo: George, y'all! Times files.

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Quote of the day: a V-day reminder


What money can buy me are these. Pretty please?

Deal Diva Kim

(Image from Design-a-Emporter, via Pinterest. Speaking of, the Deal Divas are now on Pinterest, so be sure to follow us!)

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4 Gifts To Buy Yourself On Valentine's Day

Whether I've been in love, "in like" or totally unattached, I've always loved Valentine's Day. I love heart-shaped things, I love seeing pink valentinestock.jpgsprinkly cupcakes and donuts at the Publix bakery, I love cupids and lace. Commercial or not, I just love the idea of a day being dedicated to love.

Yesterday, I got a Valentine in the mail from my mother, with a check and a card telling me to buy something nice for ME. I could put it toward the brakes on my car, which are making a scary noise right now, and I've been meaning to buy some more special diet cat food for my allergy-prone cat. But I've decided to honor my mother's wishes and buy a nice romantic present for myself today.

So what shall it be? Here are a four love-themed pretties I'm eying:

Too Faced Romantic Eye Classic Beauty Shadow Collection ($36) from Sephora. These people make great shadows that blend perfectly and stay put all day. I got the Natural Eye Neutral version of this palette a couple years ago and love it. They come with little cards that show you how to do three different looks.


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My Outfit Monday: Target Shootie Remix

O look! It's the little Target boots/shooties everyone loves so much, back for another appearance. When I got dressed this morning, I actually forgot today was my day to post a My Outfit Monday. But hey, I don't think I did too badly here.


At the very least, the quality of photo is decent, thanks to real sunlight and Deal Diva Stephanie's excellent cell phone photography skills.

The black top is from H&M, and if you look closely, it has a little flare at the bottom, which goes well with the charcoal ruffle skirt. The skirt, from JCPenney, is also making a repeat M.O.M. appearance. The black tights were a must, given the 40-degree temps when I left my house this morning, and the electric purple scarf is a hand-me-down from my mother.

I do think the shooties look better on dressed legs vs. bare. What do you think? (Go on, bring it.)

Deal Diva Emily


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