Shop-O-Matic: Deals, coupons, freebies, sales, bargains and tips for thrifty shoppers | Sun Sentinel blogs

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November 30, 2006

Tees with peas

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I'm always on the lookout for funny, quirky t-shirts for my son. So when a friend sent him a Conduct Happiness tee for his birthday, it was a hit. The one he has says Pea in the Pool. Others in the line say Pea Pea Dance!, Pea in the Snow and my favorite, Pea in the Wind.
Each tee, $29, comes wrapped in a cute little canvas Pea bag with a Pea pin. The online store has designs available in baby and toddler sizes. There are some adult sizes, but don't count on finding every size in every design. You can also explore the website for original coloring pages you can print at home and check out the designers' histories with Disney animation. No wonder the designs are so fun.

--V.C.

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Um, Britney? Here's an idea

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Ugh! No one really wants to get underwear during the holidays.

Until now.

For the ladies, check out this modern take on Days-Of-the-Week panties at WebUndies.com for $24.99. Available in string bikini and string thong, these cotton undies come in fun colors, including mango, lime and baby blue and are cutely embroidered.

Sizes range from small to 3X because all bootys are not the same.

Plus this gift is packaged in a lavender and lace bag making it a perfect stocking stuffer. WebUndies also sells themed and specialty underwear for men, women and kids. Mr. Potato Head adult boxers? Anyone?

--I.Y.

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Bag-a-licious

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A few of us in features have an addiction to affection for handbags (oh, you know who you are!), and we love to compare and contrast our latest acquisitions, so when I saw these chic bags by the designer Rafe at my local Target, I had to share the love.
This one is a cute clutch in navy for $19.99 but there are hobos, doctor bags and beaded evening bags, too, in black, brown and vanilla.

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Ooh! Ooh! I found another one from Isaac Mizrahi at Target.com. It's a deep red frame bag with cute little change-pursey things on front for $19.99.

Gotta love the Tar-zhay.
-- G.G.S.

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Book 'em, Santa

Here's an inexpensive way to get books for everyone on your gift list. Zooba! No, it's not the Latin aerobics workout, it's a book club where every book is $9.95 with free shipping. Here's how it works: you create a list of books you want and every month you are sent the top book on the list and pay $9.95. But you can buy books in between for the same price. You can save a ton on Martha Stewart's new ode to obsessive housekeeping, which retails for $45.
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Another great place for cheap-o books is Bookcloseouts.com, a giant remainder bin floating in cyberspace. Among the bargains we have spotted: a bunch of 2007 calendars at half price, a slew of cookbooks (lotsa low-carb, natch) and quite a few comic strip compilations, including this one from Zits, a compilation called Pimp My Lunch for $4.99.
-- G.G.S.

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November 29, 2006

Since we're all friends here ...

We love the toys from www.ZebraHall.com. So unique, so Euro.
Simple: The Astronaut Finger Puppet, $3
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Simply extraordinary: My Magnificent Pirate Ship , $85
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So take a look. And use the Friends & Family discount for all online orders. Enter coupon code FF06 during check-out to receive 10 percent off your order. Coupon expires Dec. 31, 2006.
P.S. It's worth the $4.95 cost to have Zebra Hall wrap your gift. They use gorgeous sunny yellow paper and a satin ribbon. Your gift will stand out among the others under the tree.
-- K.V.W.

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Guy gifts

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Sure, Brooks Brothers carries lots of women’s stuff, but men love the timeless style and indestructible quality that are the hallmarks of this almost 200-year-old company. Thursday and Friday, everything in the store is 15 percent off, 25 percent if you use a Brooks Brothers credit card. Best of all, 2 percent of the days’ sales go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
If the men on your list are headed north to ski or visit, check out the lambswool and merino sweaters (Merino polo sweater pictured here is $69.50.)
Shop on-line or at: Sawgrass Mills, 954-845-0404; Wellington Green, 561-795-0989; Worth Ave. Palm Beach, 561-659-6464; The Gardens, 561-775-0383 and Bal Harbour Shops, 305-865-8686.

-- J.T.

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Old sport

Do you have a rabid sports fan on your gift list? Want to get them something sporty and unique? Then try something from either Ebbets Field Flannels or Stall & Dean. These companies specialize in vintage football, baseball, rugby and hockey jerseys, jackets, T-shirts and caps. Both companies also have great selections from the Negro League and Pacific Coast League, as well as leagues from Japan, Cuba and Mexico.

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And we're talkin' old school -- really old school. This $35 cap, from Ebbets Field Flannels, is a replica of a 1914 Buffalo Buffeds Federal League cap. It's made in the USA of real wool broadcloth, a goat-hair buckram crown, cotton sweatband, satin undervisor and a Federal League shield embroidered on the back. And get yourself a tape measure -- these babies are fitted.

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How about a Harvard rugby jersey from Stall & Dean? The $85 jersey is made from game-weight cotton twill and has a double-ply rugby collar, professional competition buttons, sewn-on letters and numbers and engineered striping. The cool thing about this company is that they've been producing sporting goods since the late 1800s and they use traditional fabrics and patterns from way back when.
-- G.G.S.

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DNA, anyone?

Here's an idea for the someone-who-has-everything in your life.

Our colleague Bonnie suggests giving a DNA test that reveals a person's deep ancestry -- part of National Geographic's Genographic Project. This is a huge project to test the DNA of indigenous people to understand the early migrations of man on the globe. The analysis is also available to the general public. For $100 -- you get a genetic analysis that can be added to the database that National Geographic will analyze to understand man's earliest history.

The analysis, comes with a DVD about the project and lots of background. It's a gift, though, for somebody who functions online, because that's how the results are delivered. You get a code and after 30 days, you go online to see your report. (So, think about this before you give it to Grandma.)

K.V.W.

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Cheap techie stuff

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Wow -- I can't believe I'm letting all of you in on my secret stash of bargain Web sites, but it's the season of giving, and I'm a giver, so here's another one ...

Do you want a dirt-cheap digital photo-editing software suite? Nothingbutsoftware.com is offering Microsoft Digital Image Suite 9 for the amazing price of {squeal} $9.95! It retails for $129.95.
I've ordered from this site many times and it's the real deal -- no OEM software, no bootlegs. It'll make a great gift or a great way to organize and edit all your holiday photos.
They also have a slew of kid and grown-up computer games, flash drives, headphones, DVD players, laptop bags and more.
-- G.G.S.

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November 28, 2006

These cups runneth over

measuringcups.jpgWe are too far-flung to spend holidays together anymore. But my siblings and I like to give each other just a little something. Every year we pick a theme and set a dollar limit. This year: something food-related for $20.
These brightly colored, collapsible measuring cups, $19.95, at Williams-Sonoma will be easy to store -- and easy to mail. They are “no longer available” online, but there were plenty at the Galleria store in Fort Lauderdale (954-565-3717).
Other W-S locations to try: Boca Town Center (561-620-0245); The Mall at Wellington Green (561-333-3149); City Place in West Palm Beach (561-833-0659) and Aventura Mall (305-933-2082).
-- G.D.B.

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Bargain hunter goes on safari

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In the mood for bargain scrounging? Then head to Classic Closeouts, where you never know what will pop up. They have deep, deep discounts on men's, women's and kids' clothing, jewelry, home items and other assorted oddities. We found these boys' denim shorts at right from the supertrendy clothing retailer H&M marked down from $29.95 to $8.99! Now, they only have 'em in size 11/12, but if that's what you're looking for then go for it. Don't leave without scouring the entire site. We spied men's Haggar flat-front dress pants in olive for $7.99 in the unique size combination of 42x29, but again, snap 'em up if you know someone in that size. They're also running a special on women's baseball tees for $3.99. Right now, their Bargain Bin appears to be full of baby clothes and bikinis so knock yourself out, Britney.
-- G.G.S.

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Hey, joe!

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Boca Java has some mighty tasty coffee and some great holiday gift ideas. The Deerfield Beach-based mail-order company roasts its beans in small batches, and since we live so close to the source, you'll get coffee shipped to you fresh from the roaster. The coffee varieties have SoFla names, such as Palm Beach Passion, Light Up Las Olas and South Beach Rhythm, so they'll make great Florida-inspired gifts for friends and family up north. Boca Java also offers teas, cocoas, mugs, gift baskets and coffee accessories.
A great way to try Boca Java is this 10-Pack Holiday Sampler for $19.95, which features four varietals and six flavored coffees, including chocolate-toffee crunch, butterscotch and cinnamon spice. Tuck a few bags into gift baskets or keep a couple for yourself.
-- G.G.S.

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Wrap 'em up

robe.jpg Lilly's Kids has an adorable selection of pint-sized robes made of 100 % super-soft cotton terry. Twelve designs -- from sharks, trains and sports for boys and butterflies, ponies and hearts for girls -- feature patch pockets and embroidered appliques. Regularly $34.98, they're on sale for $29.98, but the best part is that custom-embroidery (up to 12 letters) is free. This is a great gift for little ones, say a niece, nephew or grandchild. (Of course, parents, we can't help you in the bath department. We're betting the kids will be chomping at the bit to get out quick so they can get cozily wrapped up!) -- K.V.W.

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November 27, 2006

Cracking good!

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A display of funky nutcrackers is a cute twist for the season. The Nutcracker is one of my favorite ballets, so I fell hard for these 14-inch nutcrackers at Target. They have the major characters of the ballet including Clara, the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
If you're not a big fan of the ballet, there are a host of other quirky characters -- a doctor, a mariachi, a peg-leg pirate, a medieval knight and Civil War soldiers. At only $10.39, they're a steal (on sale from $12.99). Target also has a 2-pack of minis for the same price. You can buy them online or search for them in the home decor section of your local Target. They've been handled so look them over for nicks and scratches!
-- V.C.

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From the inbox

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Some Cyber Monday deals that popped into our inbox this morning:
-- A free (after rebate) Bluetooth headset at Buy.com. Update: It appears to have sold out.
-- Free shipping through Monday at Eddie Bauer.com. Use code HOLTHANKS.
-- Free shipping on anything at Avon.com. Use code PASS2706.
-- Over 300 Cyber Monday deals at KBToys.com including this roll-up piano for $14.99.
-- G.G.S.


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Keep track of your online purchases

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In honor of "Cyber Monday," the day when presumably, people come back to work from the long weekend and hit the e-stores in droves from their zippy T1 lines at work, here's a little hint for keeping track of all your online purchases: create a folder in your e-mail program labeled "shopping receipts" where you can stash away all those order and shipping confirmation e-mails. You'll have quick access to tracking numbers and easily find order numbers should something go wrong.
-- G.G.S.

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November 26, 2006

It's fun to Klutz around

Our 7-year-old is obsessed with writing her name in cursive. To foster her hankering for handwriting, she'll dig the lovely lettering she can learn from Lettering in Crazy, Cool, Quirky Style, from the folks at Klutz. (As featured in today's Family Style page in the Sun-Sentinel.)

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The book gives templates for unique alphabets and other shapes and inspres readers to play around with letters by thinking of creative ways to respresent them.

Find this and other neat Klutz books at www.klutz.com . Oh, and check out their Amazing Gift Finder -- just plug in the gender, age and interests of the child you're buying for and some great ideas will pop up!

K.V.W.

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Not your mother's Birkenstocks

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You either wear Birkenstocks or you don’t. But if there’s a fan on your holiday list, head to Birkenstock Footprints (3526 N. Powerline Road, Pompano Beach, 954-590-2980) for the biggest selection in South Florida. Owner Brian Levine knows his Birks and carries several secondary lines including Birki’s and Tatam. (He even has several styles designed by supermodel Heidi Klum, like the gold one pictured here.) A gift certificate from Footprints will remind the recipient of your gift every time they slip on their shoes.
-- J.T.

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November 25, 2006

Carry a tune

Cool beverages? Check. Cool Tunes? Check.

A nifty bag to carry both in? Check, thanks to the folks at Beat Generation, who clearly understand that some things must go hand in hand.

The Chill Out stereo cooler bag holds eight 12-ounce cans in an insulated bag; an outside pocket features waterproof stereo speakers. Two double A batteriers later and you can listen to a radio or plug in your iPod, MP3 or CD player.

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Hint: A plain, black & white pinstripe pattern and the Odyssey Pink (shown here) can be found at Target.com for $49.99 and shipping is free.

For a bigger selection of cool patterns, you'll pay $50 plus $8 for shipping from lifepod.net.

K.V.W.


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November 24, 2006

Breaking TMX Elmo news!

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According to Dealcatcher.com, KBToys.com will be releasing more Tickle Me Elmo Extremes at exactly 1 p.m. EST. It's one per household and online sales only.

Update: As you can imagine, the latest bunch sold out in about 10 minutes.

-- G.G.S.

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Order in the drawer

takeout.jpgSince everyone knows someone who eats takeout food more often than they should, give a gift that brings order to that jumble of menus in the junk drawer.

The Take Out Menu Organizer at www.seejanework.com is water proof and has 30 clear menu sleeves which you can write on with dry-erase pens. ( So go ahead and write down the fam's favorites from Sukho Thai -- even though we know you know the order by heart.)

K.V.W.

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Before you click "buy" check this out

There are coupons floating all over the Internets! So before you buy anything online, check one of the many coupon aggregator sites. My fave is Current Codes. The site is easy to maneuver through and lets you search for online retailers.
-- G.G.S.

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November 22, 2006

Black Friday, by the numbers

30 : Percentage of Americans who will shop today.

5: Percentage of Americans who completed shopping by Nov.12.

19: Percentage of Americans who plan on purchasing a flat panel TV.

13: Average number of hours we’ll shop.

3: Hours we’ll spend wrapping what we buy.

-- Consumer Reports shopping poll

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Dreaming of a white Christmas?

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If you like Everyday Food or Real Simple magazines, you probably also love the look of minimalist white plates for showing off your holiday cooking.

We recently found two-dozen square white appetizer plates at Old Time Pottery (4021 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac, 954-486-4883) for just 79 cents each.

They’re perfect for bread or dessert or the buffet table. Check out the entire selection of plain white dishes and serving ware while you’re there.
J.T.

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It's raining, it's boring ... until now!

boot.jpgYou don't think about owning a pair of rain boots until it's pouring outside.

But the selection at www.dianeslittlelambs.com is so amazingly cute, you will want to buy -- and wear -- them even when it's Florida sunny outside.

Gift givers: think about your recipient's personality. Cheery mom gets the Cherry print. Goth sis gets the black Dueling Skulls motif. Nautical Aunt Nellie gets the Anchors Away print.

The boots come in kids' sizes too. Prices range from $34.95 to $89.95.

K.V.W.

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About the authors
Doreen Christensen has never paid full price for anything. If there is a way to save on something, she will find it and share how you can save, too. Doreen is a senior reporter covering consumer news, health, beauty and features for the online and print editions of the Sun Sentinel. A 32-year veteran of the newspaper, she previously was a senior copy editor on the universal copy desk. Doreen spends her time off hunting bargains, clipping coupons, gardening and traveling.

Justine Griffin covers retail and marine business for the Sun Sentinel. She is a Tampa Bay native who graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2010. After spending a year covering crime in St. Augustine, Fla., she moved to Fort Lauderdale and made the switch to business journalism. When she’s not writing, she’s riding horses and spending time with her whippet puppy, Josie.

Marcia Heroux Pounds is the Sun Sentinel's workplace columnist when she's not shopping for shoes. She also writes about small business, which allows her to visit many of South Florida's unique shops and boutiques.

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