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Katie Sanders, PunditFact Staff Writer

Katie Sanders

Katie Sanders is a staff writer for PunditFact , a website founded by the Tampa Bay Times and Poynter Institute to fact-check talking heads. She previously reported on state politics and government for PolitiFact Florida from the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau and on breaking news for the Times in St. Petersburg. She earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and English from the University of Florida.

Phone: (727) 893-8037; cell: (850) 673-1511

Email: ksanders@tampabay.com

Twitter: @KatieLSanders

Blog: Deal Divas

Website: PunditFact

  1. Tips for avoiding the mall rush this holiday season


    If fighting your way through frantic masses at Target or International Plaza isn't your idea of a fun shopping day, have no fear. We've brainstormed a few ideas that are as chill as they are efficient at clearing your list.

    Got a better idea? Suggest it in the comments are @DealDivas on Twitter.


    Traffic, crowded parking lots and long lines? Nope. Part of the beauty of 21st century living means never having to leave your couch. There are dozens of apps for iPhone and Android that not only let you browse retailers' inventory from the comfort of your own home, but also tell you what to buy and when to buy it. Not sure what to buy your hard-to-please coworker or sister? Gift Professor, an app (and companion website), can generate gift ideas based on survey answers about the intended recipient. Keep track of your purchases and your budget via Holiday Gift List ($1.99) or Santa's Little Helper (99 cents). Use TGI Black Friday to browse ads and circulars weeks before they hit newsstands. Both Shop Advisor and BuyVia alert you when the price on millions of products from thousands of retailers is likely to hit its lowest point - perhaps after the holiday rush. And Amazon Price Check lets you compare those prices to its online inventory....

    Did you see this photo and think, "Yeahhhh, I'm not down for that"? Then listen up because we have tips for avoiding mall craziness.
  2. Deal Divas: Avoid the mall with holiday shopping apps and buying local


    Head to the malls if you'd like.

    There's plenty of selection, of course. It may infuse you with holiday spirit. And you can wait in line for a few hours to sit on Santa's lap if that's your thing.

    But those crowds. That parking. The lines. (Deep sigh.)

    Looking for some alternatives?

    The Tampa Bay Times' Deal Divas have a few ideas.


    The mall can even tire Santa out (well, especially Santa). The Deal Divas have some ideas to avoid the mall by using phone apps and shopping local. 
  3. Deal Divas: Holiday shopping tips for everyone from the tween to grandma


    It's tougher today than ever before to buy gifts for a member of another generation. Older adults struggle with what kind of boop-bop-beep-bop machine to get for the kids. Meanwhile, the younger generations must try to figure out if a $400 iPad for Grandma would change her life or collect dust in the dumbwaiter. The Tampa Bay Times' Deal Divas have a few ideas.


    What child of the '90s didn't waste hours every day on a Sega Genesis? Now you can re-create the old days with a Sega Genesis that actually works (Bed, Bath and Beyond, $39.99). Warning: This present, which includes two controllers and several built-in games, may reduce your 20-something to a puddle of nostalgic tears. ...

    The grandmas and the youngsters in this photo from a holiday party in Zephyrhills a few years ago seem in agreement that these hats and mittens are pretty neat. But it’s more difficult than ever for people from different generations to know what to get as a gift for those older or younger. Good thing the Deal Divas have some ideas.
  4. PunditFact: No, the Koch brothers won't make $100 billion if Keystone XL gets built


    Keystone XL pipeline opponents are stoking fear about the $8 billion project by connecting it to two of the biggest bogeymen in politics: Charles and David Koch.

    The claim goes that the Koch brothers stand to make $100 billion if Keystone gets built. The figure, which would effectively double the Kochs' net worth, has bounced around liberal circles and was repeated this month by progressive radio talk show host Thom Hartmann....

    Crews work on construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline near County Road 363 and County Road 357, east of Winona, Texas in 2012. [ Associated Press ]
  5. Coming soon: The Deal Divas guide to holiday shopping


    Your Deal Divas have been busy lately coming up with a sweet treat ahead of the holidays.

    Coming Sunday to the Tampa Bay Times' business section is our holiday how-to guide, with shopping tips and gift ideas for most everyone in your life.

    Our tips will help you avoid the mall and jumpstart your gift hunt, whether you want to stick to your couch or get crafty with Pinterest....

    Holiday shopping, easy as one, two, tree! Sorry.
  6. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Nov. 16 news shows


    Senate Democrats' decision to hold a vote this week on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline stoked a new round of discussions about the controversial project on the Sunday news shows.

    The $8 billion project shuffling a heavy crude oil mixture from western Canada to Steele City, Neb., has long been on hold pending a review by President Barack Obama and the State Department, which must determine if it "serves the national interest" because it crosses an international border. The pipeline would connect with an existing southern leg that opened early this year, delivering more than 800,000 barrels of oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast....

    Russ Girling, president and CEO of TransCanada, speaks during the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, April 26, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
  7. Here are some Veterans Day shopping ideas


    Yes, there are many sales to enjoy today, but we hope you take at least a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of American veterans. 

    If you are not working today, we hope you enjoy your day off.

    Here are some sales to get you started:

    * Take 25 percent off sweaters at Urban Outfitters

    * DSW's buy 2, get 30 percent off sale, which ends at 3 p.m.

    * Up to 50 percent off anything at Express...

    I picked this wire photo of this woman because of her very patriotic shoes, of course. Anna Mansfield was attending a Veterans Day ceremony in Atlanta.
  8. My Outfit Monday: Cleaning up at the Dillard's Clearance Center


    If only every shopping opportunity were as thrifty as mine last week. 

    First, I scored three quality skirts for free thanks to the rebirth of the Tampa Bay Times clothing swap, an easy, great idea you can copy here for your own workplace, book club, what have you. ...

    Outfit by Dillard's Clearance Center.
  9. PunditFact: Who spent more on the 2014 midterms, Republicans or Democrats?


    Rare was the recent commercial break not dominated by negative TV ads this cycle, a nasty byproduct of record piles of money thrown at competitive races across the country.

    The money poured in from candidates, parties, super PACs and "dark money" groups that don't have to report their donors, and also individual donors like you (though your influence is waning, sorry).

    On the eve of Election Day, MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough and guest economist Jeffrey Sachs argued about whether the left or the right had more dough in what Sachs called the "billionaire's election."...

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11:  Joe Scarborough attends the Hollywood Reporter celebration of "The 35 Most Powerful People in Media" at the Four Season Grill Room on April 11, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
  10. Bill Nelson had no regrets about not running for governor


    A couple hours before Charlie Crist lost the governor's race and the U.S. Senate flipped red, Sen. Bill Nelson insisted he did not second-guess his decision not to challenge Gov. Rick Scott himself.

    Nelson was playing down talk from "prognosticators" about an imminent Republican takeover Tuesday night and still pointing to a prestigious committee he was in line to take over that made staying put in Washington worth it....

  11. Florida Gov. Rick Scott defeats Charlie Crist for re-election

    State Roundup


    Gov. Rick Scott, who came out of nowhere to win the governor's race four years ago with $75 million of his own money and a potent "Let's Get to Work" campaign mantra, on Tuesday became the second Republican since Reconstruction to win two terms as Florida governor.

    He narrowly beat former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who practically moved to South Florida to drive up what is typically anemic Democratic turnout. It wasn't enough for the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat to pull off what would have been one of the greatest political comebacks of all time....

    Gov. Rick Scott, right, grasps hands with a supporter before meeting with volunteers at a phone bank Tuesday.
  12. How to score fall's trendy bucket bag for less


    Stylists from Rachel Zoe, Elle and Harper's Bazaar are crowing about the bucket bag as this fall's trendy purse. But as you may expect, their suggestions for capitalizing on the trend favor the takes from high-brow designers with eye-popping price tags (cue "And we'll never be royalllsssssss...")....

    This perforated option is on clearance at Target for $19.99. Available in more colors. http://bit.ly/1DTKeYs
  13. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Nov. 2 Sunday shows


    The prevailing wisdom among pundits is that Republicans will win enough seats in Tuesday's midterm election to gain control of the U.S. Senate. On Sunday, Nate Silver of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight pegged the likelihood of a GOP takeover at more than 70 percent.

    That would be a rare feat, explained Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, because it would mean the GOP successfully ousted several incumbents....

    On ABC's This Week, ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl dubbed Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, pictured, the worst candidate of 2014. [Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/MCT]
  14. Impatiently waiting for the Paper Crown, Rifle Paper Co. collection


    If you've ever wanted to wrap yourself in Rifle Paper Co.'s whimsical wallpaper designs, there will soon be an option for you that makes a little more sense. Really, why should your walls have all of the fun?

    Rifle has teamed with Lauren Conrad's Paper Crown line for a collection of dresses and separates in three Rifle prints (with matching stationery, natch). The line will debut in Februrary....

    Screenshot of Rifle Paper Co.'s Instagram tease about its upcoming collection with Paper Crown.
  15. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: A review


    Take this review with a grain of salt, as I am the worst when it comes to chipping beautiful polish off of my nails in very haggard fashion. 

    Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel polish, a two-step DIY polish that mimics the feel of a gel manicure without the UV sealing effect, seemed like it would be my answer. Finally, a product that will resist the tiny bubbles and chips that are usually the starting point to all of my practically perfect polish crumbling down around me....

    Here are the two shades I have worn this week, surrounded by exciting office supplies.