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Deal Divas

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

The ugly Halloween sweater: Be afraid, be very afraid

It's hideous. It's scary. It will swallow you whole and take on a form of its own. And did I mention pom-poms? Everywhere?!



 Usually, ugly Christmas sweaters have all the fun. Worn sarcastically or just because your great aunt Myrtle made it and you have no choice, these itchy, embarrassing, ill-fitting sweaters have become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. But I say, why wait until December?

I was bewitched by this monstrosity of a sweater the moment I saw it. And for $2.50 at Sunshine Thrift in St. Petersburg, I was positively powerless to resist. As if possessed, I swooped up the sweater, carried it to the clerk (who asked, "are you sure?") and proudly purchased it.

Witches and warlocks, damsels and demons, it is with this sweater I declare All Hallows Eve the new Christmas!

It will totally work. Just ask Jack.


- Deal Diva Marissa

(Photos: my iPhone, Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas")

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Fashion shows from SoLily, Peace Couture and k.hendrix coming up

peace_couture.jpgTampa Bay Fashion Week has passed us by, but that doesn't mean the well is dry. Hey, we're  poets and we didn't even know it!

Uh, that was enough cliche action to last a lifetime (and a couple more for the road in this sentence). Anyway, a few fashion events are happening around town in the next couple weeks we want to let you know about.

  • This Saturday, you can catch the SoLily Fashion Show & Glitterama at PUSH Ultra Lounge, 128 3rd St. S in downtown St. Pete. Anything with the word "glitterama" in the name sounds like it has potential. It's the debut of the first line from SoLily, from the local design duo Lisa Alban Nicks and Holley Sinn, host of Studio 10. The friends have a "sparkle hippie" aesthetic. You can check out their collection here. The event is from 7-10 p.m. at the club. Tickets are $5 online and $10 at the door. Be sure to print out your purchase confirmation, which is your ticket. The first 100 guests will get swag bags. Proceeds benefit Feeding Children Everywhere.
  • On Nov. 9, check out Peace Couture at the Italian Club of Tampa, 1731 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor City. Peace Couture is an art, music and fashion show that benefits the Spring of Tampa Bay, a domestic violence shelter.  You'll see fashions from House of Donshey, Sandra Hagen, Spathose, La France, Wicked Betty and the Spring Boutique, plus art from Danny Olda and music from Zulu Wave and Guiltmaker. Tickets are $50 for individual tickets (or $150 for four) and $75 for VIP with a gift bag and a reserved seat. Sponsorships are available from $500-$5,000. Register online.
  • Finally, check out the Kravitz+Hendrix launch party at 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at the k.hendrix showroom, 531 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg. Kravitz+Hendrix is a collaboration between sports agent and entertainment attorney Ed Kravitz and fashion designer Kimberly Hendrix. They're getting together to launch a new talent management agency for athletes, models and artists, helping local folks in the fashion industry advance their careers. Two nights later on Nov. 17, Hendrix will be showing her new holiday fashion line at Chillounge in St. Petersburg's Straub Park. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance and $35 at the gate. A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for $80.
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The Deal Divas do Halloween!

Your Deal Divas had tons of spooky fun last weekend all across Tampa Bay, and you better believe our outfits didn't break any banks.

Deal Divas Kameel and Marissa


These BFFs are super cute as salt and pepper.

Their low-budget costumes don't look that way, do they? They picked up the black and white dresses at Sunshine Thrift Store for $2. Then they slathered themselves with glow-in-the-dark body glitter and their dresses with glitter paint, beads and sequins. The fabric glue from Michael's may have cost more than the dresses, Marissa notes. The outfits are topped with inexpensive chef hats, which they stuffed with crinkled newspaper so they would stay in shape all through Guavaween.

And they sang "Push it" all night long. 

Deal Diva Keyonna


Keyonna might have beaten us all financially with her Blossom imitation. (She also won the "least recognizable costume" award at Channelside, hehe). …

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Tyra Banks producing autobiographical sitcom

Supermodel. Television actress. Talk show host. Reality show maven.

Tyra Banks will add yet another line to her lengthy resume with the creation of Fivehead, a new sitcom based on her teen years and the teasing she endured as a lanky, awkward youth. tyrabanks.jpg

Way to get the last laugh.

Banks – whose past insecurities with things like her height and weight and large forehead are well-documented – has long used her celebrity as a platform to shed light on bullying and to encourage others to love their naturally-beautiful-selves.

The name of the proposed ABC comedy, she explained, was inspired by a mean-spirited moniker she and dozens of fans  like  her  have come to embrace.

“In high school, if you have glasses you’re a ‘four eyes,’ if you have braces you’re a ‘metal mouth’,” Banks  has  said. “But if you had my forehead? You’re a ‘fivehead’.”

Banks is reportedly slated to narrate the show and make regular guest appearances.

What are your thoughts on the new sitcom? Do you plan to watch?

Deal Diva Keyonna

Photo: Associated Press


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My Outfit Monday: Back in black

Usually, I'm all about debunking stereotypes. If there's a commonly held belief, I want to be the outlier. The anomaly. The weirdo. Here's one I couldn't disprove if I tried: New Yorkers wear a lot of black.

photo_11.jpgWhen I'm up north visiting family, it comes easy. Gotham is dark. Dress appropriately. But layering in dark shades in Florida turns me into an Easy Bake Oven faster than you can say, "Black is back."

That is, until today. Florida, it seems, finally realized it's October.

There was a chill in the air, a strong wind nipping at my nose. It felt chilly, like autumn. I made a B-line for boots.

This adorable dark grey pair I bought for $8 at the new Revolve Clothing Exchange on Westshore Blvd. in Tampa was just begging for some black tights. After that, the color scheme was set. photo_21.jpg

I don't care what they say. Black will always be the new black.

The skirt, an off-white and black patterned wrap that can be dressed up or down, I inherited from my mother. The black blazer is several years old and the first I'd ever purchased. Its royal  blue lining really brings out the necklace when the wind blows just the right way.

Now, about this necklace.

You may remember it from my introductory photo.

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WestShore Plaza in Tampa getting a new Ann Taylor store next month

Ann Taylor is opening a concept store at WestShore Nov. 9, ya'll. 

This is why you should care: On Nov. 17, the store is having a special shopping event from 1 to 5 p.m. for the public. There'll be food, drinks, raffles and a girft with any purchase $100 or more. 

The store's PR people say these new Ann Taylor boutiques are "inspired by a stylish modern contemporary home and provide an intimate shopping experience that is chic, warm and inviting."

Full disclosure: I don't shop at Ann Taylor much. Probably because I haven't been to the mall in forever. 

But you gotta admit, that description sounds nice, right?

Luckily, we here in Tampa Bay don't have to guess what that translates to in reality, since a similar Ann Taylor concept store opened just about a year ago at International Plaza

Have any of you gone? What do you think?

-Deal Diva Kameel

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TGIF: Let's go (sales) shopping!

saveillustration.jpegWe're in that in-between season in Florida, where discounted summer merch will give a lift to your dragging wardrobe -- or you can indulge in a soft knit to look longingly at for a few more weeks, while northern friends send colorful photos of pumpkin- and apple-picking outings. Either way, these weekend sales will support a retail therapy session:

Stein Mart: Designer surprises are hidden all over a store that's not just for your mother. And with these online Stein Mart coupons (also on pg. 11A) of today's Tampa Bay Times, you can enjoy 50 percent off a clearance item Friday and Saturday, plus 30 percent off other sale goodies.

Ann Taylor: Take an extra 30 percent off your entire in-store purchase thru Saturday. 

Macy's: Enjoy an extra 10 percent off with the WOW! savings pass  on pg. 9A of today's Times. Online Macy's coupons also available.

Find other great deals out there? It's good karma to share...

Deal Diva Letitia 

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Buy into Breast Cancer Awareness

Think you've been seeing pink, like, everywhere you go? Pink ribbons, pink ties, pink dresses, pink signs. Don't worry, it's not your imagination. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For much of my life, October would come and go with little fanfare. I've always known cancer to be a horrible thing. It kills thousands every year. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will contract breast cancer in her lifetime -- that's 225,000 women annually. Of those one in 36 will die. 

A little more than a month ago, someone dear to me became that one.

Her name was Penny. She was a mentor, teacher, mother, friend. She was one of the toughest women I'd ever met, and she died fighting this disease. This October, as I made my first-ever donation to cancer research, I think of her.

If your hearts (and wallets) are similarly in the right place this month, check out these fabulous fuchsia items for the cure. Some are the more expensive side (well beyond the Deal Diva standard), but hey, "it's for a good cause," sounds like a pretty great excuse to me.
p13337179dt.jpgTouchdown for tatas It's football season. Get geared while raising awareness about life-saving screenings with the National Football League's his and her  Crucial Catch collection. Some items are subtle, with a small pink ribbon embroidered on the side of an otherwise typical jersey. Others go all out. I say to win the game against cancer, you gotta go big or go home.
Macy's goes magenta  Explore  Macy's Pink Shop, where breast-cancer themed garb and colorful appliances abound. Most items are on sale at 20 percent off, or come with the promise of a rebate or free gift. And honestly, how can you live without  this Santa-Claus-in-pink-tracksuit ornament?
Give cancer the boot  ShoeDazzle is a website that will curate shoes to your fashion tastes based on a look-and-click quiz. This month, the site is offering members a chance to shop pink with items that will yield a 10 percent donation to the non-profit  Bright Pink.
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Fashion Quote of the Day

"Whoever said that money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping." - Bo Derek 

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Study: Average woman spends $103K on clothes over lifetime

shopbagsistock_0.jpgIf there are two things we over here at Deal Divas believe in, it’s this: Turning heads and spending as little money as possible inducing whiplash in others.

Well, a new study shows that the average woman (some of us included??) is not so successful in that endeavor.

Media reports  circulating  the web lately have referenced research by Sure Women Linen Dry which contends that the typical woman will spend over $103,000 on clothing in her lifetime – yet 60% still complain about having nothing to wear!

To break that down, reports say, that equals an average of 3,109 items including 271 pairs of shoes, 185 dresses and 145 handbags.

That’s not all. The study also reportedly revealed that:

Now, reports say the researchers studied 1,000 adult British women. But I – and I’m sure others – can relate. We’ve all stood in front of the closet in the morning or on Friday night wondering why nothing seems to match.

Julie Spearman, Sure for Women assistant brand manager, says the reason is simple: “Women never seem to have enough clothes. Many feel the pressure to keep up with ever-changing fashions and this means they’re always buying something new.” …

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DIY: Multi-color nail trend

I’m going to blame it all on Deal Diva Kameel. Ever since I saw her post about Black Diamond Nail Polish (Remember? Real diamonds. Retail price: $250,000 per bottle), I’ve been obsessed.

But I haven’t only been dazzled by sparkles.

nailssprinkle.jpgThe name of the fashion game this summer seemed to be color, Color and more COLOR. A Huffington Post article featuring candy-coated nails also caught my eye. Then there’s the recent trend of crackled polish and those leopard print nail strips and ombre everything.

But alas. I am poor. And regular manicures are expensive. Not to mention that I worry about potential damage to my own nail beds.

I decided this weekend that I would sit down and try to recreate a snazzy look on my own.

Walmart sells polish called Pure Ice for a magical $2 a bottle.

I decided to try out the multi-color nail trend that’s been so popular this summer.

nailsblue.jpg  nailsmulti2.jpg nailsmulti.jpg

For a regal look, I turned to two of my fave colors: Purple and green. In a nod to those black diamonds, I added the color ‘spitfire’ for a bit of sparkle. High on glitter content, zilch on diamonds.


Here are the results. Grand total: $6. How’d I do, divas? Are you all feeling the multi-color nail trend?

Deal Diva Keyonna …

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A banana split? Nope, just terrible shorts from ModCloth (and other observations)

Remember when Deal Diva Kameel told us about ModCloth's this-never-happpens sale on the Coach Tour dress?

I couldn't resist. I bought the dress in navy and have already worn it twice. I've perused the site quite a bit ever since, to my pleasure and to great horror.

The way I see it, there are four categories for ModCloth stock. 

#1: Cute, original and all-around win

I delighted in making a ModCloth birthday wish-list for my mom the other day. Just look at this green (très expensive, not going to happen) satchel, this asymmetrical taupe leather jacket, and this two-toned berry blazer. I've simply gotta catch 'em all.

These items make ModCloth the fun online store that it is. They go quickly and please often.


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My Outfit Monday: Fallin' for orange

momfallphoto.jpgGoooooood morning!

I know what's on your mind. "What is Deal Diva Kameel wearing today?" Lucky for you, it's my Monday to show you :-)

So here I am. We'll dissect my outfit in a moment.

But first, a backstory. 

So last month, I took a much-needed vacation back to my home state, my alma mater, my roots. I spent a week traversing Michigan. It was glorious.

It was like getting a sneak peek of the gorgeous weather we had down here this past weekend (minus the palm trees and lizards.)

Naturally, I went shopping. And while in one of my absolute favorite stores, Maurices, I fell in love with a pumpkin-colored blazer.


(The stores up there have had their fall-themed items out forever.)

It felt smooth and fit perfectly and had a ruffle-detail in the back. Only problem was that the blazer, while adorable and perfect, was a cool $49

This Deal Diva was not willing to go there -- even though I knew I wouldn't be able to find it when I got home because there aren't any locations in Florida. 


For the past several weeks, I've held out hope that A) Maurices would offer a good enough sale that I could scoop up the blazer online; or B) I would find a good alternate somewhere else this fall …

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Fab Friday: Maggie Philbin

Sometimes, we get our best tips and ideas here from other people. Tampa Bay is full of interesting people with creative and diverse senses of style who know about secret shopping haunts or wear things in a way we wouldn't expect. Many of them are bloggers like us who record their exploits in the off-hours between day jobs.

We'd like to start introducing you to some of these folks! Today we're launching the first in an occasional feature we'll call Fab Friday. We'll introduce you to a local style star, post an outfit picture and share a few of their shopping tips.

And we want you! If you live in Tampa Bay, have a fashion blog, some great tips or just plain super style, email us here and tell us a little about yourself. We want all ages, sizes, styles. No one is off limits. Men, too!

We'll kick off Fab Friday with Maggie Philbin, a sweetheart I have run into at a bunch of fashion events. She always looks amazing and classically chic, and she finds most of her stuff at thrift stores and consignment shops. At Tampa Bay Fashion Week this year, she was wearing a gold blazer from Goodwill and I was so jealous. She chronicles her finds on her blog, Mags Rags to Riches.

Here's Maggie! Please welcome her warmly. Hope you all have a Fab Friday!


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Let's hope Florida men don't pick up on this LA trend...


1314687-1-multiview.jpgI pretty much cringed when I read what a west-coast friend posted on Facebook the other day.

She lives in the LA area, and, in the last 24 hours had witnessed a horrific sight.

An ultimate fashion faux pas. A cry for help. 

She saw two men in capris, guys.


I'll give you a moment to soak that in.

Capris pants are notorious for sparking controversy among women.

Are they flattering or not? Can you wear them if you're short? Can you wear them if you're tall? Do they look good on curvy ladies? Do you get a pass if you only wear them at the gym? What about the hem - should it hug your calves or flare out at the ankle? 

And on, and on and on...

My own thoughts on capris have evolved as I've aged. I'm kind of ambivalent about them these days. But I have to confess, I never even considered the guy angle.

Which is why, for the past few days, I've been obsessively scanning the local landscape to see if any men around here also are rocking this look. So far, I haven't seen anything. 

Thank goodness, right? 

I mean, it's not like I'm opposed to men showing some leg. I'm all for it, and let's face it, we see a lot of skin in Florida anyway. You'll fry if you don't wear shorts some days. …

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