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Deal Divas

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

Saturday Snacks: $1 flip-flop day at Old Navy, new Forever 21 opens in Clearwater

If you're not out enduring the heat at St. Pete Pride today, here are a couple air-conditioned activities you should know about.

The new Forever 21 opened today at Westfield Countryside mall, 27001 US Highway 19 N in Clearwater, upstairs by JCPenney. It's HUGE, Y'ALL. Here's a picture from the Westfield Facebook:



The other thing you need to know is, it's $1 flip flop day at Old Navy once again. Stop in and stock up on the shoes you need to navigate the gym shower floor without fear of catching something. Limit five per customer, solid colors only!


Happy Saturday!

Deal Diva Stephanie

Photos: Westfield, Old Navy

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Time-traveling with Bonne Bell Lip Smacker

I have to tell you guys about this luxurious new lip product I've discovered. It's made from the tears of baby pygmy goats and the protein of wild Mediterranean silkworms. It costs quite a bit, but it's worth it for the moisture, shimmer and all-natural plumping ability that some beauty industry insiders have called "the new Restylane."

Just kidding. It's Lip Smacker!


Cinderella's Vanilla Sparkle, no less.

I'm a big fan of mixing drug store makeup with higher-end products. I swear by my MAC eyebrow pencil and makeup remover pads. I love Urban Decay and Too Faced shadows from Sephora. But I'm equally enamored with cheap products, and think many work just as well as their expensive sisters (Cover Girl Last Blast, anyone?). And some, like Lip Smacker, are just more fun! I hadn't had one in years.

I stopped into CVS the other day to pick up some concealer and saw a big display of THE BIGGEST LIP SMACKERS EVER. They're jumbo. Here, I'll show you the Lip Smacker next to my Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter for scale.


"No," I thought in the drug store. "I'm not 7. This is going too far." …

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This is a summer school you might not want to miss

I had a dream. bemisred.jpeg

I had a dream, y'all. A dream that one day, I'd grow up and write books and design clothes and sell them both in a coffee shop/bookstore/boutique called "Books and Beans."

I was 9. 

Somewhere, deep inside my now grown-up self, the dream lives on. (Mostly for those days when I need a laugh.)

Still, I have to confess, I did get a little giddy when I heard about a cool-sounding workshop this weekend for folks who want to dip their feet into the fashion industry. Or, for those who are ready to jump right into the pool.

In other words, not me. whitebookagency.jpeg

BUT, it could be YOU, right?

So here are the details:

From 9 a.m. to noon July 14, you can learn all about opening your own boutique, designing a line and other info about the fashion industry. It's being held at the Art Institute of Tampa, 4401 N. Himes Ave.

The folks at Misred Outfitters, a charming vintage shop on St. Pete's Central Avenue, and the White Book Agency, which does PR for things like Tampa Bay Fashion Week, are running the show.

The cost is $50, which includes lunch. For more info, or to register, click here.

And please, if you do go, don't forget to add us to the VIP list of your brand new boutique! …

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Tutorial: Janis Joplin-proof your hair -- even in this weather

 We've covered the clothes and the shoes. But what to do about the hair on these rainy summer days? 

If you're like me, even a hint of humidity or errant raindrop puts you in full-on Janis mode. As in, just grab a pink boa and take another little piece of my heart. But listen up, divas. It's not the only way. A blow dryer, flat iron and a little extra time in the morning could have you singing, "Take that!" instead.

Step one: Blow dry. 


This is the most annoying part. And I know, once you've completed this step you'll want to throw in the towel. But don't give in -- think of what awaits you when you walk out your front door, and invest just 5-10 minutes for.... 

Step two: It's all in the wrist.


In small sections, slowly pull the flat iron (I use a CHI) downward and twist it about a half turn or more away from your head as you reach the bottom.

You're left with this: 


Step three: Repeat.


Go section by section and do the same thing, making sure to switch directions when you get to the other side (so you're always rotating the straightener away from your head).

Step four: Keep it in place. 

elnett_1.jpg …

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Queer Eye alum Jai Rodriguez visits Macy's in Tyrone Mall

jai_rodriguez.jpgSome days, (like all the days) when I'm on the couch in XXL pajamas eating lukewarm leftovers, searching for something to watch and finding only screaming toddlers and bitter housewives ("SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE SAID!"), I yearn for the simpler days. The days of delightful television manships that culminated in full fashion makeovers. The days of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

So it's with great glee that I tell you Queer Eye's culture vulture Jai Rodriguez is visiting Macy's in Tyrone Mall Friday in honor of National LGBT Pride Month. He'll be there with Alec Mapa, known as America’s Gaysian Sweetheart, and comedian Christine O’Leary, plus the newly crowned Mr. and Mrs. St. Pete Pride.

Customers who spend $75 or more in the men’s department that day will get a "Show Your Pride" kit and a photo with the celebrities. There will be snacks and drinks from  Barefoot Wine and Bud Light Lime.

Meet Jai and friends at the store, 6901 22nd Ave N. in St. Petersburg starting at 6 a.m. Friday. Until then, I'll go watch Ted Allen on Chopped.

And now, for old times sake...



Deal Diva Stephanie

Photo: Macy's, Times files

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In search of wellies

I showed up for work Monday with heels and regret.

Thanks, Tropical Storm Debby. Her extended stay reminds me it's past time to purchase heavy-duty waterproof shoes for Florida's sometimes awful and dangerous hurricane season. (Jellies don't count.)


Deal Diva Kameel came prepared. Well, she stopped by Target before coming to work (behold those $32 polka-dotted babies). Deal Diva Stephanie also dressed like a smart person, wearing those discounted and indestructible Aerosoles she told us about.

The rest of us need to boot up. We're barely a month into hurricane season, and it's already a mess out there. 


For the romantics. Zappos, $40.


These are sweet, too. Clearance on, $20.98. (Lots more at Target, go look!)


These cherry boots stop at the ankle, so they might not be practical for dealing with this tropical storm. I think they're generally nice for skirt-wearing Floridians who want to safely sojourn puddles. $55, from


These plaid boots from Chooka are nice and on sale on Zappos, $66. I'm kind of a sucker for plaid. No, really, I looked like a farmhand for most of my senior year of high school. …

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My Outfit Monday: Dreaming of dry skies despite Debby

I don't know about your weekend, but mine went a lot like this: UGH, RLY, TROPICAL STORM Debby!? Stop flooding everything! Don't you know we want to frolic outdoors and meet up with friends for intellectual discussions about thought-provoking news stories?

Really, though, I hope Debs isn't endangering any of you readers. But she's not going away anytime soon, which brings me to my outfit.

I'm calling it Denial.


What tropical storm? Today I'm wearing the sunniest blouse I own (purchased from Banana Republic on a 40 percent off day this spring), and my hair is blown dry and straightened (HAHAHA, a look that will last all day, HAHAHA).

That's just the start of my wishful thinking. Did you notice the pastel hot air balloon necklace?


There's nothing but clear skies and dreamy landscapes in my head.

I picked this necklace up from All Sewn Up, a boutique on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. I think it was $12, which is in line with prices for most of the store's quirky jewelry. Strange as it sounds, I had been coveting a charm like this ever since finding a much more expensive one by Fossil at Macy's. Per ushe, I'm glad I waited. …

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Don't let a rainy weekend keep you inside - check out these sales!

If you've been paying attention at all to the weather news, you know it's supposed to rain, rain, rain all weekend. 

Boooooooooo. But, a little rain never stopped a good sale, right? Here are a couple we know of. If you have any others, leave them in the comments.

ARTpool indie market

One of our favorite places, ARTpool vintage boutique and gallery in St. Pete, is hosting a huge "indie" market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It'll be filled with crafts, jewelry, clothes, accessoroes and even furniture, we hear, all from local merchants. 

Fun, huh? And, it's happening rain or shine. 

So go! You'll probably see me there, hunting for some funky vintage accessories. 

Home furnishing sidewalk sale

Many of us Deal Divas have just recently, or are in the process of, moving. So we're all into the "home" stuff right now. Well, Paper Street Market, a darling antique shop on Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete, is having its Sidewalk Extravaganza on Saturday. 

Here's the deets: The sale goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will feature food, music, and specaials on vintage furniture and other wares the shop sells (I've even found jewelry there before) …

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Deal Diva Review: Candies beaded sandals

This summer we've been totally inundated with products. Companies send fashion and beauty stuff in big, busting boxes, hoping we'll review it on the blog. We've always gotten mail, but this season has been a little out of hand with the calls, e-mails and packages. I can't tell you how many well-meaning and polite PR folks I've snapped at with a friendly, "I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO LOOK AT IT YET TWITCH TWITCH." (Apologies.)

Now, if you're a fashion editor at say, Elle, these items likely go into a well-lit luxury closet where they are organized and stored for use in a fancy photo shoot or an elegant products roundup. If you're Deal Divas, they go here:


You're getting an exclusive glimpse into the Deal Divas Products Closet, a.k.a., the Cram Space Under My Desk Near The Abandoned Green M&M Dropped Three Months Ago. We place things here in hopes of being able to review them between our full-time reporting jobs. What we don't review goes to the company's charity sale at the end of the year to benefit our scholarship programs. …

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Get Garnier freebies at Tampa Bay Walmarts

fructis.jpgIf we know our readers, we know one thing. You all LOVE free stuff. And we would be jerks if we didn't tell you how to get it.

Garnier, the maker of the popular Fructis line of hair care products among others, has embarked on a bus tour called the Beauty Brigade. The brand is partnering with TerraCycle, a pioneer in the practice of "upcycling." What now? Upcycling is when you take something old and turn it into something better. In this case, Garnier wants you to donate your old beauty containers -- shampoo bottles, makeup cases, lip gloss tubes, whatever -- to be turned into new things.

When you bring your empties to the bus parked outside select Tampa Bay Walmart locations, you can get FREE SAMPLES of Garnier products and try new products. If you bring at least one empty container, you'll be eligible for a mini-makeover on the bus.

Here are the locations and dates for the Garnier Beauty Brigade's Tampa Bay tour.

Deal Diva Stephanie

Photo: Garnier

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Goodwill adds one more wedding dress sale this Saturday!

Remember the Goodwill blowout wedding dress sale we told you about? The huge annual herding of the brides?

Well, turns out it rained ALL THE RAIN on the morning of the first sale. That kept a lot of you brides home under blankets instead of standing on dress stools lacing up corsets. So to help you guys out and keep raising money for their programs for people with disabilities, Goodwill decided to add an additional date. This Saturday!

Doors will open for one more dress sale at 6 a.m. Saturday at the Goodwill Superstore in Oldsmar, 3929 Tampa Road. You can expect to see 300 brand new wedding dresses ranging from size 2 to 26. Prices start at $100 for dresses that retail for much more, some more than $4,000. Here' a scene from the sale a couple years ago. Mania!


Better luck this time, guys! Cross your fingers that the skies get it together.

Deal Diva Stephanie

Photo: Times files

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Another reason I need to go thrifting.

Deal Diva Kameel is rocking the cutest skirt today. I would know, as I own the same one.



I love this skirt. It's a great length, pretty print and has a shiny gold zipper in the back.

"Thanks!" Kameel said when I complimented her. "Now where did I get it..."

I jumped in.

"Express, three years ago," I said, remembering how I purchased it for a run of internships in D.C. and St. Augustine (which is where I wore it for the above picture, taken while interviewing British fashion guru Susannah Constantine about the makeover show she co-hosted on TLC).

Boy, I sure was confident -- and sorely mistaken. Deal Diva Kameel nabbed hers the Deal Diva way.

"Thrift store! $2!"

She wins. Hit the thrifts, y'all.

Deal Diva Katie

Photos: My smart phone, St. Augustine Record photographer Peter Willott

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Tutu enthusiasts, take note: liquidation sale still going on at Betsey Johnson's store in International Plaza

betsey-johnson.jpgThe other day I noticed departed Deal Diva Emily sporting a pair of cute kitty studs with a cheetah print dress. I got a little sad when she told me where she got the earrings: the free-standing Betsey Johnson boutique at International Plaza.

It's going to close, though we don't exactly when, along with 62 other women's apparel stores nationwide as part of Betsey Johnson LLC's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in April.

The filing means deep discounts at the IP store right now, though a store associate said most of the jewelry is picked over. Jewelry, handbags and other accessories are 40 percent off, shoes are 50 percent off and clothing is 60 percent off.

"I feel so sad for my store people and all my pink girls. They live and die for me. But I need to be better. I really need to work well and be more efficient," Johnson told Women's Wear Daily in April.

There's some good news for ye lovers of leopard prints and eccentric apparel (like Deal Diva Stephanie, here, here and here). We know from this May Tampa Bay Times story that her line of more moderately priced items will still be available at Macy's, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. …

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My Outfit Monday: Easy, breezy

Between a birthday celebration, attending a fundraiser, preparing to leave town for a conference and just generally running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I was exhaustingly busy this weekend.divadress1.jpg

The feeling hadn't worn off by this morning, so I decided an easy, breezy outfit was definitely in order.

I scored this dress a couple years ago at New York & Company. It's perfect for those days when I'm too tired or rushed to think about coordinating and just want to throw something on.

I love the work-appropriate length and comfy fabric. The cut and bright colors makes it easy to dress up or down.  I'm so sad now that I didn't buy it in other colors.

I paired the dress with purple, dangly earrings and comfy red wedges (an old purchase that discovered in the back of my closet early this year).

How did I do?

Deal Diva Keyonna



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H&M at Westshore Plaza will have children's clothes, lingerie, accessories

teal_dress.jpgRemember the days when we pined for H&M like a long lost love who wrote really good, stylish letters? Seems almost nostalgic and cute now. I was just in the International Plaza store a couple weeks ago, thinking about how I used to scramble to find an H&M any time I was visiting a big city. Now, the thrifty Swedish fashion house is fully infiltrating our state. We've been anticipating the arrival of the H&M locations in Tyrone Mall in St. Petersburg and WestShore Plaza in Tampa this fall.

Today, the folks at H&M sent over some deets about the WestShore store. The space will be about 20,000 square feet with collections for men, women and children,  plus a “store within a store” section for accessories and lingerie. Sounds good to us.

H&M has more than 2,500 stores in 44 markets around the world. We're very happy to now be one of them.

Deal Diva Stephanie

Photo: The dress I picked up on my last visit! Love it so much. $29.95, H&M.


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