Scattered Clouds78° WeatherScattered Clouds78° Weather

Deal Divas

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

Fab Friday: Xina Scuderi

On today's installment of Fab Friday, meet Xina Scuderi, a fashion blogger from St. Petersburg who also works at the fantastic Buffalo Gal Vintage. If you attend any Tampa Bay fashion events, you'll probably see Xina popping around with a camera on her neck, snapping photos for her blog, The Renegade Fashion Writer. Xina won a Creative Loafing Best of the Bay award for her blog this year. Here, she tells us a little about herself, her style and her favorite finds.

Want to be featured on Fab Friday? If you live in  Tampa Bay and blog about fashion (or just have great style!), email stephhayeswrites@gmail.com with " FAB  FRIDAY" in the subject line! And don't be afraid to nominate your friends.

xina_scuderi.jpg 

Full Story

Neiman Marcus and Target partner for the holidays!

We venture occasionally into Neiman Marcus. Typically, it's to use the bathroom, to look for free martinis at Fashion's Night Out, to fantasize about things we'll buy when our rap careers finally take off. We don't actually purchase anything.

That's not going to change anytime soon (until someone looks at our darn MIXTAPE), but here to help us fake it till we make it is Target. In its infinite wisdom and efforts to bring high style to people who budget for coffee runs, Target is partnering with Neimans, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and a slew of designers including Marchesa, Jason Wu, Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta. The designers have cranked out more than 50 gifts and doo-dads for your highfalutin holiday cart at Target prices (OK, a little higher than Target prices, but these things do get the red stickers eventually).

The collection debuts Saturday in stores and online. I sense a Deal Diva lunchtime field trip coming on next week. Get a preview of all the nifty gifties here. And let's take a look at some of our favorites!

Diane von Furstenberg yoga mat, $49.99. Almost too cute to sweat on. Almost. Also, has anyone ever explored Diane's deep-seated psychological need to create things that wrap? Just saying.

diane_vf_yoga_mat.jpg

Marchesa girl's dress, $79.99. I was really disappointed when I realized this was in a girls' size. Maybe I can fit if I cut out all food between now and forever.

marchesa_target_dress.jpg

Full Story

Strut your stuff at an ugly Christmas sweater contest this weekend

8246840.jpgHere at Deal Divas, we have an unofficial policy: We try to build each other up, be supportive, and generally promote a congenial atmossphere. 

That all sounded very noble, I know. 

But here's the thing. Sometimes a little competition is fun. So, consider this when you make your weekend plans.

Over at ARTpool on Saturday, they're having a huge winter bash. Think fashion show, art displays, music and ... an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest!

If you've never been to one of ARTpool's weekend parties, they're worth checking out. People pack the vintage store in St. Pete's Grand Central district. And sometimes, they're rewarded with a flash mob. (Although no word if that will happen at Saturday's event, dubbed the "Winter Wicked Wonderland" party.)

If you go, it starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Maybe you'll see me or one of the other Divas. Or maybe you'll see this chick in the photo. (Just kidding. We have no idea who she is.)

Either way, be sure to snap photos and share them with us! We won't laugh. Promise.

-Deal Diva Kameel

(Photo: Times files)

Full Story

Venti Rodarte to go, please

rodarte_ceramic__traveler_0.jpgUnless it's on the rack at the local Goodwill, the chances of anyone finding anything Rodarte in my apartment is slim. High fashion tends to come at a high price, after all. And this brand  which often accompanies words like whimsical, high-brow and cerebral  is just not in this Deal Diva's mainstream budget.

That is, until now. The LA-based designers, and self-proclaimed Starbucks loyalists, Kate and Laura Mulleavy have joined up with Starbucks to create this mini and affordable collection of Rodarte goods. And they're not just pretty, they're functional, too!

Hitting shops just in time for the holidays, the collection includes this cute ceramic cup ($12.95) with a pixilated design that hints at your coffee brand of choice, without being totally salve-to-the-brand obnoxious about the whole thing. Honestly, what is the point of a ceramic cup that looks exactly like those paper ones they give out for free?

Other items on the list: a canvas tote ($12.95), canvas cup sleeve ($4.95) and a Starbucks gift card for that high-fashion but easily caffeinated person on your holiday list.

Full Story

The selfish gift

giftbox.jpegI'm a big believer in rewards. Stick to a diet; enjoy a brownie bite. Contribute to your 401k; treat yourself to a little something, too.

My typical indulgence is a pair of DSW shoes at 80 percent off. It's a luxury, to be sure, in these trying economic times. But I've never given into a crazy, wild splurge urge.

Yet this holiday season, I'm dreaming of adding a gift for myself to my Santa list.

It could be big or small. Sparkly, like jewlery, or pointy, like heels. I don't really know what I want, or what's come over my practical self.

So fellow divas, it's time to dish: What's the best gift you've given yourself and why?

Deal Diva Letitia

Full Story

Reader question: Did pantyhose make a comeback?

summer-pantyhose.jpgA loyal Deal Divas reader writes:

I read Deal Divas as often as I can, nearly daily. So, what's the current tend on hosiery? I'm 27 years old. There's been all this talk about how wearing hosiery is a definite fashion faux pas, absolute "no no", prohibited by Stacy London decree for all the land except maybe, possibly in the dead of winter only opaque black tights with long skirts and boots.

I recently went to a wedding in Hunters Green in early November. Very upscale, posh and elegant. I haven't had many opportunities to dress to the nines so to speak in a few years. So I went all out, new dress, handbag & shoes sans hose of any kind. The bridesmaids age range was 26 to 40 and they wore hose as well as the bride. All the female guests were wearing sheer hose in colors from nudes to tans and blacks, and many with some pretty killer sandals too. The women were in their 20's to older than 50.  There were even a couple of women wearing them with pants. I was at a table with 4 other couples, all women I work with (we work with the bride). …

Full Story

My Outfit Monday: Listening to my fairy shop-mother

OK, two confessions:

1. I couldn't resist shopping this weekend, despite my trepidation about Gray/Black/Ombre Friday Weekend. (Whateva, right?)

2. I have long-been a secret admirer of tights, although until today, I have resisted wearing them myself. 

Now that that's out of the way, let's check out my outfit, hmm?

photo_1.jpgIgnore the twinkle-eyes (darn you flash!)

So, you know when a piece just speaks to you? It calls out your name? It screams, "Buy me, buy me!"

Don't look at me like that. I know I'm not the only one who hears that voice in my head. 

She was yelling loud and clear Saturday morning, when I stopped by Off the Rack in Largo. It's one of those independent shops I don't get to nearly enough. The store was having a 25 percent off sale, and I loaded both arms with items and headed into the dressing room. 

This bright blue dress was the only thing to fit perfectly. And, it was only $9 -- ($6.75 once the discount kicked in)

See? Fate.

I don't know if you can see in the pic (thanks Deal Diva Katie!) but the dress is extremely simple, with just some pleating detail around the neckine.) …

Full Story

H&M in WestShore Plaza to open Dec. 6!

christmas_sweater.jpgRemember when we used to mourn not having an H&M in town? Now we can hardly go a few months without a new one opening (not that we're complaining). First came International Plaza, then Tyrone Square Mall. Now, H&M tells Deal Divas that the much buzzed-about WestShore Plaza location will open...

Drumroll...

Dec. 6! That's a week from Thursday.

To celebrate the opening, the first 100 customers in line will get a free H&M T-shirt and an Access to Fashion Pass, worth anywhere from $10 to $300. The store will open at noon at the mall, 250 Westshore Plaza, Tampa. The mall opens at 10 a.m., though, so grab your spot in line early.

Deal Diva Stephanie

Photo: Need a holiday sweater that doesn't make your eyes bleed? You're in luck. Snag this one when H&M opens for $34.95.

Full Story

Black Friday for all you thrifters

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving, y'all!

If you're not already out doing some damage at the malls, don't worry. As you all know, Black Friday has morphed into a prolonged weekend. 

You're not too late!

Any good shopper knows that some of the best deals come to those who wait -- or, er, sleep in. And we also know that much of the coolest stuff in our closets didn't come from a big-box store. So, without further ado, here are some Black Friday Weekend sales at our favorite thrift stores around Tampa Bay. If you know of any others, leave them in the comments. 

Sunshine Thrift (aka Deal Diva heaven) is having a 50 percent off all clothing sale from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. That goes for both its St. Pete AND Tampa locations.

Get 10 percent off EVERYTHING at Misred Outfitters in downtown St. Pete from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. The store also says it'll be having BOGO sales, and raffles for gift certificates and other prizes. 

Don't need to camp out at Revolve Clothing Exchange. The store (which has both St. Pete and Tampa locations) is offering 25 percent off today and Saturday.  …

Full Story

The Deal Diva guide to Black Friday without injury

kill_bill.jpgWe already know some Deal Divas are big Grinches when it comes to Black Friday, and that is understandable for sure. But we also know that some of you really enjoy this day, use it to bond with your family members while sitting in lawn chairs on a sidewalk, mapping out strategies on a circular, acting out scenes from Kill Bill, etc. Hobbies are hobbies, a personal choice, and everyone has their own definition of fun. Some people pay money and jam into a stadium to watch guys hurl balls and run around plates. Other people angle for discounts on Shark sweepers in the middle of the night. You do you. Yolo.

If you're planning to pull on your best LOVE PINK sweatpants and head out to the stores after turkey dinner, we have a few bits of advice. First, seriously reconsider those bad airport sweatpants with text on the butt. Aim higher. Next, read this story from Times retail expert Susan Thurston. Many malls, Susan says, will be open starting at midnight, food courts and all. At the bottom of the story, Susan lists the opening times for most local malls. And in this additional story, Susan dissects opening times and deals at your other favorite Black Friday stops like Kohl's and Walmart. …

Full Story

Anthropologie: Get cozy with our $58 lounge pants!

Did anyone else get this dangerous missive from Anthropologie in your inbox yesterday? 

anthroemail.jpg

I usually ignore Anthropologie's emails. Too often I leave the store's website brokenhearted, longing for a $300 party dress or $70 shirt that is very pretty but entirely impractical for a Deal Diva budget. 

This time, though, the Anthro dream seemed attainable. How much of a splurge could lounge pants really be?

So I clicked. And look what I found! Adorable, never-before-seen patterns and color combinations promising hours of positive do-nothingness over a long Thanksgiving weekend.

screenshotanthro.jpg

I saw myself by a fire, reading French cafe poetry and sipping warm apple cider. I dreamed of endless mornings with peppermint lattes and a kitty cat to pat. 

Natch, I snapped out of it. Thanks, price tags! Their pajama shorts start at $38, and the prices increase with the length. Capris are $48, and pants are $58 and $78 and beyond.

Just bonkers, right? But I should have known "cozy down" is code for "pony up" in Anthro world. 

Let's explore some alternatives.

Forever 21 has these lusty leopard loungers for $11.80...

leopardloungepants.jpg

...and these satin Hello Kitty pants for $19.80. Shopping cart, meet satin cats.

hellokitty.jpg …

Full Story

Confessions of a Black Friday grinch

grinch.jpgI was asked if Black Friday is to a Deal Diva what the Superbowl is to a football maniac.

To which I responded: Bah Humbug!

I've nothing against the deals, admittedly some of the best of the year. But I have zero patience for crowded parking lots and pushy shoppers. And I happen to like my sleep.

So I'll be staying home on Black Friday. But that doesn't mean I won't be shopping.

A year ago, I scored on Black Friday a sexy pair of knee-high leather boots for $25 from JCPenney. I shopped from the comfort of my couch in my fuzzy robe, without fear of a smackdown over the last pair of size 8.5 in black. 

Other retailers getting smart to the online Black Friday game include Target, Amazon and Walmart. Free shipping and site-to-store options abound. Remember, a deal diva doesn't need an alarm clock. She knows to shop where the crowds aren't.

Nonetheless, if you do want to venture out this year, Times retail reporter Susan Thurston is compiling all the info you need to know. We will post links to her reporting tomorrow.

Deal Diva Letitia

Full Story

My Outfit Monday: Teaching the youth

Happy Monday! I spent my Monday morning at the dentist, which is always delightful, so I'm going to bring you back to last Thursday when I wasn't smarting from the tooth scraper.

Thursday was the Great American Teach-In! I visited my friend Eve's civics class at Mulrennan Middle School in Valrico. Since it was civics, I brought along a bunch of my Instagram photos from my coverage of the Republican National Convention this year, expecting to blow them away with the time I met Chuck Woolery and Tom Brokaw. Only one problem. They are in middle school and did not know who any of the people at the RNC even were. The chill of oldness just washed right over me as I stood in front of that class trying to explain how Janine Turner was on a show from the 90s called Northern Exposure, and she had a dark waifish pixie cut, and it was set in Alaska, and...

Disaster. Anyway, here's what I wore.

teach_in_outfit.jpg …

Full Story

Deal Diva Interview (for the guys): Alex Orlando's mustache tips for No Shave November

alexorlandomustache.jpgIt is November, a.k.a., Movember, a month rife with facial fur. Guys grow out mustaches to raise money and attention for male cancer causes. It’s also No Shave November, when kids on college campuses forsake shaving all month and compete for hirsute honors.

Most folks dabbling in the art of the upper lip this month are newbies, curious types just dangling a razor near the trash can. To help them fully commit, we wanted advice from someone with true mustache expertise, someone who grew his caterpillar solely for the charity of our eyes.

Meet our staff writer Alex Orlando, 22, known as much for his journalistic prowess as his face handlebars. Here he sheds light on his journey from baby-faced boy to mustached brah.

Describe your journey from baby-faced boy to moustached gentleman. …

Full Story

Don't miss the sale at this Tampa vintage shop. It only happens twice a year!

full.jpgHey guys,

Remember a couple months ago, when I gushed about this Tampa vintage shop I discovered after a brunch in Seminole Heighs with friends?

No? Well, I do. And I'm here to remind you, because they're having a huge sale this weekend I think you may care about.

Maybe if you go, you'll find something equally as adorable as this patterned $25 60s skirt I dug up while there. 

Here are the details: 

The shop is Sherry's Yesterdaze Vintage Clothing and Antiques. It's at 5207 N. Florida Ave.

The event, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, is being called the "Rummage Sale," but don't let the name discourage you.

This place has nice stuff, promise. 

And, the store promises that it won't just be clothes! They'll have collectibles, furniture, and heck, even comics and toys (courtesy of the new business nearby, Culture & Thrills). 

I plan to go, and hope to bring some friends, and maybe see some of you.

And once we're all done we'll walk across the street to The Refinery, and do brunch

Trust me, the bacon alone is worth it.

-Deal Diva Kameel

Full Story