Deal Divas

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

Five things to snag on Amazon before the sales tax kicks in

Hurry! There's only hours left before we here in Florida will start getting charged sales tax for our Amazon purchases. Here are 5 things we'd put on our list to scoop up. You can find them all at Amazon.com. Let's start with this adorable navy and gold cross-body Jessica Simpson handbag. $78.

http://amzn.to/PR5tI5

Hurry! There's only hours left before we here in Florida will start getting charged sales tax for our Amazon purchases. Here are 5 things we'd put on our list to scoop up. You can find them all at Amazon.com. Let's start with this adorable navy and gold cross-body Jessica Simpson handbag. $78.

Whelp, it's happening. Tomorrow, we here in Florida will start paying taxes on our Amazon purchases.

[insert obligatory whining here]

Colleague and Deal Diva friend, Susan Thurston, has been reporting on the story from the beginning, including the latest prediction that Amazon sales in the Sunsine State may dip after the changes take effect.

So let's cheer ourselves up with a little splurge -- before midnight, of course. Click through the slideshow to see some of the items on our wish list, and put your own in the comments below.

(P.S. We haven't figured out how to put live links into the captions yet, so if you want to go directly to the item on Amazon, copy and paste the URL shown into your favorite browser)

 

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The best and brightest of Bollywood fashion!

Bollywood it girl Deepika Padukone at Raymond James Stadium in a gorgeous red lace gown. She was every bit as gorgeous in person and seemed to be overwhelmed by all the screams and attention.

Getty

Bollywood it girl Deepika Padukone at Raymond James Stadium in a gorgeous red lace gown. She was every bit as gorgeous in person and seemed to be overwhelmed by all the screams and attention.

Last week felt like some kind of sequin-dipped dream, certainly not like normal life in Tampa. As you probably know, the International Indian Film Academy hosted the Bollywood Oscars here, bringing thousands upon thousands of Bollywood fans and journalists from around the world to partake in the spectacle.

I was there for much of it, reporting for the Times from IIFA's "green carpet," which organizers swapped out for the traditional red for environmental causes. The green carpet was a mess of elbows to the gut while jockeying for position to get a glimpse of stars, but once I got to the front, I was able to lay eyes on some of pretty luxurious fashions. I took a day of rest yesterday, but couldn't let too much time slip by without sharing the eye candy with you Deal Divas fans. …

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Are we wearing too much makeup? UK study says yes.

The headline of a provacative Atlantic article today says women are wearing makeup "because they mistakenly think men like it."

Oh, realllllly. The story is based on a new study from researchers at Bangor University and Aberdeen University in the U.K.

The researchers photographed the freshly washed faces of 44 white women in their early 20s. Then they asked the women to apply makeup from an assortment of products as if they were going out for the night. The researchers took pictures of their faces again, and produced a progression of 21 images for each model from clean-faced to completely made-up for the night.

The researchers asked university students to pick which picture from each model's series they found most attractive, as well as the image they thought the model would like best and which one they thought men would prefer. 

Both men and women preferred women with less makeup than they applied. They thought the women looked best wearing 60 percent of what they put on.

Women thought the models looked better with a little more makeup than the men did, and everyone said they thought men would prefer more makeup. But that wasn't proven by the results. …

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My Outfit Monday: DIY discount

Between summer festivals, casual Friday at the office and complimenting a 1950s look with saddle shoes at the local bowling alley, this dress has already taken plenty a whirl around town. (More photos in slideshow.)

iPhone pics/PicStitch

Between summer festivals, casual Friday at the office and complimenting a 1950s look with saddle shoes at the local bowling alley, this dress has already taken plenty a whirl around town. (More photos in slideshow.)

No button? No problem!

Or at least that was my philosophy when I eyeballed this flowy peach-ish number last year at my local Ross store. The cool color and flirty pleats -- a huge trend for spring/summer 2014 (side note: I've been dying for an accordion maxi skirt) -- were too much to pass up.

I can't recall exact numbers, but it was already deeply discounted. The cashier knocked a few dollars off for my sewing troubles.

Sooo, let's just say that maybe I was a bit overambitious in my thinking. Unfortunately, the rudimentary mending skills I picked up in seventh-grade home economics class are a bit rusty. Still, I managed to attach a pretty pearl button to the back collar, even if it is slightly off center.

But hey, that's what jackets are made for! Add a belt, sandals and some fun jewelry and I think it's safe to say that this dress is quickly becoming a summer favorite that, with the help of some warm accessories, even transcends seasons.

What do you guys think: Are you digging this combo for summer? For winter? Yay or nay on the pleat look?

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Celebrate Mother's Day early with discounts, special event benefiting breast cancer awareness

May 3 and 4 at Westfield Brandon and Westfield Countryside

Westfield.com

May 3 and 4 at Westfield Brandon and Westfield Countryside

If you're in search of the perfect Mother's Day gift - May 11 and yes, it's already almost May - or if you could use a little pampering, or both, Westfield Brandon and Westfield Countryside have got you covered with their VIPink Pre-Mother's Day Weekend.

It's a partnership with Bright Pink, a non-profit focused on breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection in young women. Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4 at Westfield Brandon and Westfield Countryside will feature discounts for shoppers who buy a VIPink Card and special pampering events.

Shoppers who buy a $10 VIPink Card can get 20 percent off participating retailers - a great opportunity to do a little Mother's Day shopping. The card also gets you access to Pink Central, where you can get mommy and me mini-makeovers, hand massages, nail art, face painting and refreshments. Pink Central is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The first 100 shoppers who buy or present their VIPink card at Pink Central Saturday at noon will get a free swag bag. …

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Light jackets for the perfect date

Jennifer Lopez blazer, $46.20

Kohl's

Jennifer Lopez blazer, $46.20

I know it's late in the day on this beautiful Friday, but I could not let the day pass by completely without at least acknowledging its importance. It is, after all, April 25, which as we all know is the perfect date... Not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.

Does it blow anyone else's mind that Miss Congeniality came out almost 14 years ago? No? Just me? Well anyway, in honor of one of Sandra Bullock's greatest flicks (I mean, she didn't win an Oscar for it or anything, but c'mon) and Rhode Island's best fire-baton twirler, check out the slideshow for a couple possibilities for light jackets for spring's weird in-between temps. Also great for Florida's already air conditioned offices and movie theaters. And remember, when they ask you what society needs, it's always harsher punishments for parole violators... and world peace!

 

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Fab Friday: Farrah Estrella

Local fashion blogger Farrah Estrella models her Easter Sunday essentials. Keep up with her fashionable finds at Estrella Fashion Report.

EFR

Local fashion blogger Farrah Estrella models her Easter Sunday essentials. Keep up with her fashionable finds at Estrella Fashion Report.

It's baa-aack!

Fresh off a very intense brainstorming retreat, complete with booze-induced fancies about living fashionably on desert islands and the like, we here at Deal Divas are reinstituting yet another lively feature aimed at exposing readers to the diverse world of fashion through the eyes of people who live it every day: You all!

Fab Friday, as our most avid readers will remember, is an occasional feature that dishes on styling tips, fashion trends and trade shopping secrets from men and women who live right here in the Tampa Bay area. 

Today, we give you Farrah Estrella, an Examiner.com writer who's been covering local and national runway shows, store openings, product debuts and other fashion news over at Estrella Fashion Report since 2012. She's also hosted trunk shows (which have garnered coverage by both English- and Spanish-language media, including CNN Latino and Telemundo Tampa) and a blogger conference to teach other fashionistas the ropes. …

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Music festival fashion

Consider Forever 21 your festival fashion first stop. It's affordable and CROP TOPS EVERYWHERE. Pair this fringe printed crop top with a high wasted skirt to show just a sliver of adult-appropriate midriff.

Forever 21

Consider Forever 21 your festival fashion first stop. It's affordable and CROP TOPS EVERYWHERE. Pair this fringe printed crop top with a high wasted skirt to show just a sliver of adult-appropriate midriff.

We may not have Coachella but Tampa Bay is home to its fair share of music festivals. And they all seem to take place in May.

There's the new Big Guava Music Festival (May 2-4), WMNF's annual Tropical Heatwave (May 9-10) and the Sunset Music Festival (May 24-25).

So what does this have to do with Deal Divas, you ask. Everything.

Take a spin around the mall and you may notice that stores are overflowing with crop tops and cut-off jeans, 90s floral slip dresses and boho looks. Mostly, these styles just make me feel old and question the state of my abs.

But, there is a time and place for adults to rock these looks and that happens to be music festivals.

For inspiration, look no further than Coachella, where a proliferation of celeb attendees has shifted the focus from music to fashion. The outfits are often outlandish but feel free to dial them back or up depending on how crazy you want to go.

The point of festival fashion is to have fun. Where else can you get away with wearing fringe, lace and a tropical fruit print all in one outfit?

Check out the slideshow for some affordable festival finds you can rock.

 

 

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Tuesday link party: Weir and Lipinski and DERBY, plus sales

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir never really left us because we're obsessed and follow their exploits on Instagram. But NBC announced the stylish duo is coming back on the air next week to help with fashion coverage of the Kentucky Derby.

Photo from their Oscars appearance by AP.

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir never really left us because we're obsessed and follow their exploits on Instagram. But NBC announced the stylish duo is coming back on the air next week to help with fashion coverage of the Kentucky Derby.

I'm excited about a few things and just can't hide it (or narrow it down to a single post).

Let's crank this.

* BFFs Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will provide fashion commentary at the Kentucky Derby next weekend, NBC announced today (more details from The Associated Press). Apparently, women comprise a big part of the Derby's TV audience, and women also love them some Tara and Johnny, and NBC loves them some ratings, so bam, the Sochi sweethearts are coming back. My hope for the duo is their derby hats run big and colorful and eccentric and don't at all play it safe (like Tara's too-sweet white gown at the Oscars, tear). 

* Misred Outfitters, the Central Avenue store in St. Pete where I purchased a rad new pair of earrings last week, is offering a surprise Earth Day sweetener in the form of a 10 percent discount today only.

* Piperlime is having a Spring Fling sale that ends Thursday. Save 20 percent off with code FLING. …

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Your Outfit Monday: Bollywood Ready

Caitlin in her gorgeous red and green sari.

Caitlin in her gorgeous red and green sari.

It's Bollywood week here in Tampa! If you haven't heard, the International Indian Film Association has chosen Tampa as the location to host what folks refer to as the Bollywood Oscars, the biggest awards show in the Bollywood industry. I'll be reporting from the IIFA "green carpet" this week, capturing the eye candy sparkle gear on all the stars. Rest assured pictures will happen.Follow all the Times' coverage right here.

By my side the entire time (if I get my way) will be Caitlin O'Conner, a Times copy editor and devoted fan of Bollywood movies and Indian culture. She's also a devoted blogger on the topic, and as such she's our resident Bollywood expert here at the Times, and she also happens to be in India as we speak (she gets back just in time for the festivities in Tampa this week). Before she caught her plane, she was kind enough to pose for a photo in one of her beautiful Indian saris. I asked her to write a little post explaining the sari to us noobs who are scrambling for something a little more festive than an LBD to wear to the big event. Take it away, Caitlin: …

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Spring-ready white nail polish

Heirloom Pearls from Birchbox

iPhone pic

Heirloom Pearls from Birchbox

I've wanted to try white nail polish ever since spring officially started, especially after a post from one of my new favorite bloggers about the brand that works best for her. I thought I'd try it too, but Birchbox must have been reading my mind because they sent me a sample of white polish to try this month. And it actually works really well.

I usually go for slightly darker colors just because I think they're easier to pull off. I like the look of lighter colors like white or beige or really light blues and pinks, but I can never get it to look right. It's always either too clumpy or has weird streaks in it. Some of the light Essie polishes I've tried have worked reasonably well, especially the light pinks, but I've never found a white I liked.

But the one from Birchbox, part of the Color Club Gala's Gems collection, was great. It looked nice and even with two coats and has a pearly sort of finish to it. And the set of four that comes with white, gold, emerald and blue, is $13, which I think is a really good deal for a set of four. …

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Shelley's Desert Island Product: Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+. The name may be a mouthful, but this stuff works. Of course, most people can probably dial down the SPF level a bit, but I like to be over prepared for the sun's searing rays.

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+. The name may be a mouthful, but this stuff works. Of course, most people can probably dial down the SPF level a bit, but I like to be over prepared for the sun's searing rays.

As I was typing the headline to this post, I added an extra s to desert and got really excited about the possibilities of a dessert island. Chocolate volcanoes! Crushed graham cracker sand! Key lime pie palm fronds!

But, I digress...this is Desert Island Week. Still exciting, though not as delicious.

Choosing my product was a no-brainer for me. Fair-skinned with red hair, I would burn to a crisp without sunscreen. Even a trip in my car with the window down can cause my skin to turn red. Plus, there's the risk of skin cancer.

Like Deal Diva Katie, I wondered if by choosing sunscreen, I was taking this week's theme too literally. But, I don't use a lot of other products and there are definitely none that I would wear while on the beach. Except sunscreen.

I use it everyday, and though I'm not sure if this is scientifically proven, I often layer it on with multiple sunscreen-laced products for extra protection. We're talking facial moisturizer, foundation, basically any product that goes on my face, neck or chest.

But, when it comes to my arms and legs, I break out the easy to use spray: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+. …

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Katie's Desert Island Product: Aveda Air Control hairspray

Stranded on a desert island? I'll take a barrel of Aveda Air Control hairspray, please.

(Paint illustration to portray true feelings by the author.)

Stranded on a desert island? I'll take a barrel of Aveda Air Control hairspray, please.

Let's be real: If I were stranded on a deserted island with one product request, it would be sunscreen or moisturizer with minimum SPF 50. The sun would off me before any of the usual suspects, like hunger or thirst or falling into a leftover tiger den concealed by palm branches from the Swiss Family Robinson.

But you might have caught by now that our theme week is not grounded in logical decision-making. So that's why I'm going with Aveda Air Control hairspray.

I'm not a product loyalist, to be honest, but this is my favorite thing. It's gentle, fragrant hold elixir in a can that might explode in extreme sunlight (someone, consult science for me) but would make me happy while it lasted. The hairspray is total luxury. No really, at a pry-the-money-from-my-hands cost of $25 per bottle.

For people with fine hair and bangs, though, this is the way to go. The hold is lightweight, so it won't make your bangs look greasy or stiff as it keeps them in place. Bangs can be disorderly, and we do what we must to rein them in. I spritzed this stuff on the daily back when I had full bangs. …

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Keyonna’s Desert Island Product: Caress Body Wash

Stranded on a desert island? Trust me: Your fellow castaways will thank you for packing this fragrant Caress body wash (I recommend 'Sheer Twilight!) after a few days of sweating it out in the hot sun.

www.carressskin.com

Stranded on a desert island? Trust me: Your fellow castaways will thank you for packing this fragrant Caress body wash (I recommend 'Sheer Twilight!) after a few days of sweating it out in the hot sun.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a makeup maven. So when I started racking my brain for theme week ideas, my mind immediately jumped to those strategical items that would make a long Gilligan’s Island experience more enjoyable … like those comfy yoga pants I scored a couple years ago on deep discount at Tar-jay … or my pretty purple and grey Sketchers sneakers that I could walk in for hours.

Y'know, great thoughts about dated items that are no longer accessible to the general public.

So, I started thinking about my everyday routine, and BAM!

If I were stranded in the middle of nowhere, I’d *totally* wish I had my Caress body wash, if for no other reason than that it smells absolutely awesome -- something I’m sure my hypothetical fellow castaways would appreciate after several days of foraging firewood and chopping coconuts and sweating bullets out in the sun.

I actually discovered Caress body wash as part of what felt like a desert island scenario. I was a half day into New Jersey vacay when I realized I’d packed nary a bottle of shower gel.  …

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Stephanie's Desert Island Product: M.A.C. eyebrow pencil

My baby. M.A.C.'s eyebrow pencil, $16. Never leave me.

M.A.C.

My baby. M.A.C.'s eyebrow pencil, $16. Never leave me.

I feel like we keep doing this for Desert Island Week: "I WAS going to tell you about this, but instead..."

Here I go, too. We just love so many products, it's hard to choose! I was going to tell you how Retin A changed my life, freed me from having acne in my 30s, rebuilt my skin from the ground up leaving it clear and smooth. However, it's prescription and not readily available to everyone. And then I thought, "Maybe we can have a skincare week and I'll ramble on then!"

Plus, really, I CAN go without it. If for some reason, someone stripped the Retin A from my cold grip, I would not be thrilled, but I would be able to persevere. What I really can't go without is my M.A.C. eyebrow pencil. So let's talk about that. …

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