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December 22, 2006

Just one more thing?

I always like to give the kids a good book, something special they can keep on their shelves for years.

For my son’s first Christmas, he got the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas. Twelve years later, he’s much pickier. I’m thinking about picking up another classic, maybe Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.

My daughter is no problem. (Why are girls so much easier to shop for?) She’s getting the modern classic The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls, from AmericanGirl Library ($9.95). This book comes highly recommended from other moms of pre-teens.

And since she just finished reading Alice In Wonderland and Through the Lookinglass, I think she’ll appreciate the amazing pop-up version by Robert Sabuda, the master of the art form (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation, Little Simon, $26.99). Sabuda’s pop-ups are not the kind you want to put in the hands of a drooly toddler. These are works of art with towering, intricately cut pop-ups. Sabuda’s The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration ($26.95) would entertain anyone.

Other worthy pop-ups for the grownups on your list: The Pop-Up Book of Celebrity Meltdowns (Melcher Media, (29.95), The Pop-up Book of Sex (Melcher Media, $29.95) and Graceland: An Interactive Pop-Up Tour (Chuck Murphy, $40.)

-G.D.B.

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OK, if you really want to shop on Christmas Day...

... the Festival Flea Market in Pompano Beach will be open Christmas Day from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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December 21, 2006

It's deadline day for online shopping!!

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If you're thinking about buying ANYTHING online, do it TODAY, and probably in the next couple hours because the window is shutting tight on any sort of overnight shipping.
A few places offering free or discounted overnight shipping: Fossil.com, Amazon.com (if you have their Amazon Prime membership), Zappos.com (shoes, handbags and accessories), OfficeDepot.com and ColdwaterCreek.com.

Now, go! Shop!
-- G.G.S.

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That makes good Senseo

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An article in today's Sun-Sentinel food section caught my eye. Freelancer Steve Petusevsky, who writes the Vegetarian Today column, has a handy gift list for foodies.

I have been in the market for a new coffee maker and intrigued by the ones that use "pods," which make for simple serving-size cups of joe in all different flavors. Petusevsky says this about the Senseo coffee maker:

I would cry if this was taken away from me even for one morning. My routine of waking up, popping a few coffee pods in this machine and pressing a button to produce smooth creamy cappuccino is a ritual. One of the best coffee machines I've used.

Sounds like a pretty good endorsement to me. Senseo makers (from $69 to $139) are available at most stores, like Target; Linens N' Things; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and Macy's. Maybe a last-minute gift for the java-holic in your life?

-- K.V.W.

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December 20, 2006

Sporty tunes

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I know we've gone over iPod "clothing" before, but here's a great holder for 5th gen and beyond video iPods, perfect for the workout aficionado.
It's the Incase sport case with armband, from Target (stores only) for $34.95. A little pricey, but the neoprene case comes with a very comfy armband that clicks onto a belt clip; it also has a hand loop, for when you're jogging. The screen and the clickwheel are both covered and the back is sealed so there's no "sweat-through," if ya know what I mean. Bought one today for myself. (I'm a self-gifting expert!)
-- G.G.S.

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Let there be light (Part III)

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UPDATE : The luminaries arrived and with my hubby having a day off from work yesterday, I asked if he would set them up. Driving home after dark, I was excited to see the lights glowing. As I neared the house, I saw the glow...of... a huge puffy Santa anchored in my front yard! (And no luminaries.) Hubby and the kids sat smiling proudly at their day's work. (They clearly had not read my earlier post of detesting all things inflatable.) Apparently Santa was half price for $18 from The Home Depot.

Since it's the season of peace & joy, we compromised. Puffy Santa is now waving from our balcony. Hubby did put up the luminaries and they are beautiful.

K.V.W.

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When it comes to decorating the outside of my house for Christmas, I don't go the lit-reindeer-or-inflatable-snowglobe route. I don't even like colored lights. Call me boring, but I prefer the sophisticated look of simple white lights.
In past years we've done white lights on our three palm trees in the front yard. But it always seemed like an incomplete project; like we ran out or forgot to do the other trees. And we never seem to have the time or inclination to do more.
My most recent holiday purchase will solve that: Luminaries, not the old-fashioned paper kind, but sturdy ones that feature the glow of electric lights. I bought enough to place along the boundary wall that circles the house. Find them at flicluminaries.com. A set of 12 electric ones in brown or white is $39.95.
-- K.V.W.

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Here's the rub

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Christmas is coming faster than a locomotive; you have only a couple of days left of Hanukkah and we won’t even mention your best friend’s birthday that just happens to come between Christmas and New Year’s. Plus, most of us are beyond the limit at work, trying to get as many projects done so we can enjoy (HA!) the holidays. We are all stressed. DID WE MENTION HOW STRESSED WE ARE?
So, here’s a present that you can pick up literally at the last minute, that will last all year round and be appreciated. Massage Envy, a fairly new to the area franchise, works like a gym, only better. The monthly fee basically pays for your first one-hour massage of the month. You can buy a one-time gift certificate for $59; or a three-, six, or 12-month gift certificate that works out to be $59 a month. Right now there’s a Massage Envy in Davie, Royal Palm Beach and Boca Raton, with more to come. Details at www.massageenvy.com. Several of us can speak first-hand that the facility in Davie is clean, comforting and quiet and the staff professional and knowledgeable.

-- K.V.W. for Sun-Sentinel copy editor Oline Cogdill

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December 19, 2006

Discount Santas at Steinmart

Each year when it comes down to the wire and I need a few things for co-workers, teachers, massage therapists or hostess gifts, and others you want to show appreciation for, I head over to Stein Mart. (I usually go to the one on Flamingo Boulevard, but any of them will do). The store always has a good array of holiday type wares marked waaaay down. How down? This week I bought a set of three gorgeous cake plates, tiered so you can stack them or arrange them separately. Original price was $65; Stein Mart’s price? $23. There also were some lovely Santa or Snowmen cups (2 for $7); plates, cookie jars, a wine coolers and more, some with prices below $6. The prices and inventory will vary at each store, but each year Stein Mart is a regular destination on my holiday shopping journey.

K.V.W. for Sun-Sentinel copy editor Oline Cogdill

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It's a date(book)

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Love this 2007 desk calendar for $35 from Kate Spade. It's a spiral bound notebook with great illustrations and both weekly and monthly pages. (There's also a smaller version for $20.) You can still get it in time for Christmas. Order by noon Dec. 21 and you get overnight delivery for the price of 3-day delivery. Not a bad deal for all you procrastinators (like me) out there.

-- K.V.W.

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Hostess gift hot list: Part 4

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16. Perfect for New Year’s: silver sparkle candle, $12, Bloomingdale’s, all locations.

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17. For girls’ night out, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (Knopf, $19.95), most bookstores.

18. Shaken, stirred: Stirrings just-add-alcohol chocolate martini gift set, 32-oz. bottle of chocolate peppermintini and peppermint rimmer, $19.95, Sur la Table, Downtown at the Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens. , 561-799-3761.

19. Blue? Cheddar? Swissmar cheese knifes, $14.99-$19.99 each, The Cheese Course, 1679 Market St., Weston Town Center, Weston. 954-384-8183.

20. For the non-baker, Season’s Greetings cookie platter, $15.99, Publix, all locations.

-- J.T.

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December 18, 2006

Hostess gift hot list: Part 3

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11. Last minute? No problem, large poinsettia, $19.99, Publix, all locations.

12. Next-gen bookmarks: Book Bungee also keeps your books closed, set of five, $20, Levenger Tools for Serious Readers, 420 S. Congress Ave., Delray Beach, 561-274-0904.

13. For the klutz in your life: Set of four stem-less white wine, red wine or champagne flutes, $9.99, Macy’s, all locations.

14. For someone who writes a lot of thank yous, letterpress initial notes, 10 notes and envelopes, $15, Crane & Co. Paper Makers, Town Center at Boca Raton, 561-394-0097.

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15. Our favorite patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, fridge magnet, $6; peppermints, $6.50 and note book $5, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art store, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., 954-525-5500.

-- J.T.

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Tick, tick, tick

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Fossil.com is offering FREE overnight shipping on purchases over $40 through 1 p.m. Dec. 21 (that's Thursday). Fossil has great wallets, handbags, shirts, belts and of course watches, including this men's Florida Gator multifunction watch (sorry, I can't help myself) for $95.
-- G.G.S.

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Wannado this?

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Here's a non-"thing" gift for the favorite kid in your life: Admission to Wannado City at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise. They're offering $24.95 admission for kids and free admission for adults (yay, finally!) through Jan. 8.
In addition to all the usual cool activites at the City, special winter activities include snow, ice skating, winter storytelling, arts & crafts, holiday shows, caroling and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

-- G.G.S.

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December 17, 2006

Count on us for all your TMX Elmo breaking news

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Just got an e-mail from Toys R Us: They promise each store will have at least 50 TMX Elmos when they open their doors Monday morning, so get out the folding cots! No rainchecks -- duh!
-- G.G.S.

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Tales from the GameStop: Wii have a crisis!

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Overheard at the GameStop at University Drive and Sunrise Boulevard: A group of about 20 waited in line, some overnight, for a total of 6 Nintendo Wii game systems that would be sold when the store opened Sunday morning.
They get to the sixth person in line ... she has the last Wii in the store ... she hands 'em her credit card ... they swipe it and ... DENIED!
Her lip quivers, her eyes fill with tears. The nice guys at the GameStop tell her that if she can get someone to the store within 10 minutes, the Wii would still be hers.
Good news? No. 6 got it with seconds to spare. Bad news? No. 7 didn't.
Moral of the story? If there are 6 Wiis for sale and you're seventh in line, you still may have a shot.

And FYI, there's no line at all for used Gamecubes :)

-- G.G.S.

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Hostess gift hot list: Part 2

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6. For the chocoholic, truffles, chocolate poinsettia pop, cookies and hot cocoa, $19.95, Jimmie’s Chocolates, 148 N. Federal Highway, Dania Beach; 954-922-0441, 124 W. McNab Road, Pompano Beach. , 954-784-5656.

7. Bring these to a family party: set of four glass and metal photo coasters, $19.95, Crate & Barrel: Town Center at Boca Raton, 561-395-1060Ö; The Gardens Mall, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-627-9505; and Aventura Mall, 305-931-3033. but not Sawgrass outlet

8. Made in Florida: carombola wine, from Schnebly Redland’s Winery, about $11, Whole Foods, most locations. Need to check this on Monday

9. Did someone say cocktails? Set of four Lolita martini glasses by St. Barbara, $19.98, Macy’s, all locations.

10. For the foodie’s tree, blown glass strawberry ornaments, $9.95 each, Sur La Table, Downtown at the Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens., 561-799-3761Ö.

-- J.T.

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December 16, 2006

The weekend wrapup

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While you take a break from helping your 8th grader choose a high school major (yikes!), take a look at the best of the week at Shop-O-Matic:

Maybe this gym bag will magically remove my saddlebags
Help out some needy farm animals
What to get your favorite teacher that doesn't involve a Santa mug
Great, another holiday party. "Honey, where's the giant stash of houseplants? We ran out? What do we do now?"


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December 15, 2006

Hostess gift hot list: Part 1

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As holiday partying goes, this is the weekend when everything goes full tilt. Hanukkah starts today. Christmas cocktails are being poured Saturday night and it seems everyone’s holiday open house is set for Sunday.
We believe you should never go to anyone’s home empty-handed.
Bring something in a bottle or jar — wine, preserves, chocolate sauce. Or have a look at our list, which we’re calling 20 under 20 — 20 gifts for your host that cost less than $20.
Shop-o-matic will run the list in four parts over the next few days. Keep in mind these are also great last minute gift ideas you can find locally.

1. Homesick for the Windy City? One gallon tin of Chicago Mix — caramel, cheese and buttered popcorn — $20, The Popcorn Café, 2376 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, 954-568-0321.

2. Grandma will love this ticket to “Cradle of Christianity: Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Holy Land,” $15, audio tour, $5, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., 954-525-5500 or moafl.org.

3. For the gal who loves makeup: Smashbox Cosmetics lip gel, $18, Bloomingdale’s, all locations.
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4. An essential Italian ingredient: One pound wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, $16.99, The Cheese Course, 1679 Market St., Weston Town Center, Weston. 954-384-8183.

5. Kids will love ’em. Snowman kit includes wooden “coal,” “carrot, ” “pipe” and knit cap to hold everything, $14, Restoration Hardware, CityPlace, West Palm Beach, 561-804-6826 and Aventura Mall, 305-935-1253.

-- J.T.

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Tales from the Inbox: Awesome deal, I must say

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The Schmenge Brothers!
Johnny LaRue!
Lola Heatherton!
Ed Grimley!
Bobby Bitman!
Bob and Doug MacKenzie!
Count Floyd!
OK, I could go on and on all day, but I just got an e-mail from Graveyard Mall; they're selling SCTV DVD sets from seasons 1-4 for $19.99 apiece. They're 5 and 6-DVD sets for each season, so this is a great deal. The sets are normally $89.99 each. And you get free shipping! As "Merv" would say, "oooooooo."
But here's the deal: they're a pre-order; you won't be getting them until January.
-- G.G.S.

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Let there be light (by your grill)

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Every time my husband grills at night, I’m reminded how abysmal our backyard lighting is.
Mutter, mutter, curse, curse. Stomp back in the house, hunt for the flashlight that’s never where it should be. Juggle the light in one hand and the burger flipper in the other.
So I was excited to stumble on the Smart BBQ Flexible LED Grill Light at Linens n’ Things for $19.99. (I couldn’t find it on the Linens n’ Things Web site. And the manufacturer’s Web site, jlrgear.com, is password protected.)
This light has a 24-inch flexible neck, six “super bright” LED bulbs and runs on three AAA batteries. And best of all, it’s got a magnetic base as well as clamps to attach to the grill.
There’s a similar one at Lowe’s for $19.97, but it doesn’t have the magnetic base. The version at Sharper Image is sleek and stylish ..... and $49.95 (and, again, no magnets). There are several at target.com, including one that features a fan on sale for $36 and includes free shipping.

-- G.D.B.

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Tales from the inbox: Oh, fer cryin' out loud, it's free!

photoprinter.jpgThat 9-buck Polaroid printer we told you about last week at buy.com? It's now FREE after rebate!
Update: And now it's gone. Hope you got yours!
-- G.G.S.

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December 14, 2006

Making the grade

Teachers always say the best gift is a handwritten note of appreciation from students. And it’s true. My husband the teacher keeps all the heartfelt notes he gets.
But the dirty little secret is that they also love to get stuff.
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You can’t go wrong with gift cards. Underpaid teachers will appreciate any and all in any denomination.
Teachers spend a lot of their own money on classroom needs. So a bookstore card is likely to be funneled back to the kids. If you really want to make sure the teacher treats him or herself, go for movie theaters or restaurants or Starbucks. For a real treat, have the class chip in on a spa day.
(Here’s a hint: It helps if you know where the teacher lives. If the gift card is for a restaurant or theater in, say, Weston, and the teacher lives in Lake Worth, that gift card is going to just burn a hole in the wallet.)
If you really want to give a wrapped gift, candles are always good. Candy or other goodies are OK (especially if there are kids in the house). Steve’s gotten wallets (useful), tea from China and coffee from Colombia (a special treat), a lovely ceramic wall-hanging from Thailand (luckily, it matches my kitchen). But avoid perfumes and colognes (you never know about allergies).

And please, no more Santa coffee mugs.
— G.D.B.

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Tales from the inbox: Coldwater Creek free shipping

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Coldwater Creek is offering free shipping through Sunday with no minimum purchase and guarantees Christmas delivery if you get your order in by Dec. 21. And if you're a super procrastinator, expedited shipping is only $5 from Dec. 18-21.
If you've never shopped Coldwater Creek, it's a great site to find women's apparel, accessories, jewelry and home decor items.
-- G.G.S.

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Wax on, wax off

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High on my Santa list is an unlimited gift card to the European Wax Center, with many South Florida locations.
If you are as hairy as I am, it's the perfect gift to save oodles of bucks and razor cuts.
The cool thing is that you can book appointments online and earn points. If you recommend a client, you get a $10 credit toward your next visit. And if you are a first-time client, your first wax is free.
-- S.S.

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December 13, 2006

For your Biggest Losers

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Tonight's the season 3 finale of The Biggest Loser! I've got my bottled water and sugar-free Jell-O all ready for the viewing.
If I had moved quicker I could be wearing the official Biggest Loser cap, T-shirt or hoodie from the NBC-Universal Store. But there's still time to get the gear for Christmas. You can order up to Dec. 18 for ground, Dec. 20 for 2nd-day or by 11 a.m. Dec. 21 for overnight shipping.
There's also a new Biggest Loser DVD workout, which features cast members from seasons 2 and 3, and the new Biggest Loser Cookbook, which has some nice low-fat recipes and lots of photos from the show. There's also the original book and a new calorie counter if you want it all.
And for your listening pleasure, you can get The Biggest Loser soundtrack, which features the super motivating theme song Proud and a bonus workout from Bob Harper.
The DVD, soundtrack and books are also widely available at bookstores.
-- G.G.S.

P.S.: GO WYLIE! (He's the South Florida guy)

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Gifts from the heart

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While you're checking that list, think about a flock of chickens or ducks, a colony of bees or a pig. No, not to give to your favorite cousin, but to send, via Heifer International.
Heifer International is at the top of our donation list every year. It's consistently considered one of the best charities in the world with the bulk of its funds going to the people who actually need it. It's the teach people to fish approach. Or in this case, teach them to raise ducks, llamas, bees, trees and, yes, heifers. And you can make a donation in your cousin's name.
Other gifts that keep giving include Divine Chocolate and A Greater Gift, which features arts, crafts, food and more from craftspeople around the world. (Read how the purchase of a tree skirt or a purse can educate a village).
-- Oline Cogdill

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Chocolate with a purpose

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Chocolates are always a nice gift -- even better when those chocolates shore up your bones with calcium as well as vitamins D and K.
That's why we luuuurve Adora calcium supplements. Each little disc has 500 milligrams of calcium, 40 mcg of vitamin K and 100IU of vitamin D. And you can get 'em in either milk chocolate or antioxidant rich dark chocolate (our fave).
Put a couple bags (about $6 for a bag of 30) in a gift basket with a pair of dumbbells and a strength-training DVD for a bone-building present.
You can order them at Adora's site, which offers volume discounts, or find them at your local Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods Market. And we've now seen them at Target, too. But call first -- we may have wiped out the supply!
-- G.G.S.

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December 12, 2006

OK, this has nothing really to do with shopping...

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... consider this my gift to the Alec Baldwin fan in your life. Go to NBC's 30 Rock site and you can send anyone a personalized phone or e-mail message from Alec. Very cool and fun. (My mom loved it.)
-- G.G.S.

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More breaking TMX Elmo news!

elmo_seated.jpg According to CNN and Dealcatcher, Walmart.com will be selling TMX Elmos for $39.97 online only through Friday starting at noon EST. Today's stash sold out in about 5 minutes, so check back tomorrow at exactly noon for your shot at the giggly red one. -- G.G.S.

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Office-worthy gifts

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At quincyshop.com the Robot Pencil Sharpener Toy is too cool. Sharpen the pencil, then watch the little guy toddle across your desk holding the pencil aloft like a trophy. Just $5.95, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer for kids or for your office pal. Going with the cubicle theme, Quincyshop.com also has a cute frog stapler ($7.95); bookends ($32.95) made of black stone resin that have men either pushing or leaning; and a Chi Table Top Garden ($24.95).
To really make an office statement, check out the impressive collection of robots. We are particularly enamored with the Electra the Girl Robot ($16.95). No glass ceilings for Electra: “She walks silently carrying a lightning bolt.”

Order by Dec. 19 (using 3-day shipping) for Christmas delivery.
-- G.D.B.

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Or let the P.O. come to you

Debra Zobel, online account coordinator at www.sun-sentinel.com, recommends another way to get gifts to loved ones.
Says Debra:
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Save yourself the headache of driving to the Post Office, and waiting in long lines by signing up for Click-N-Ship, an online service offered by the United States Post Office which brings the Post Office right to your home or office.
It’s easy to get started. All you need is an Internet connection, your home or office PC or Mac and a laser or inkjet printer, using black ink.
Go to the Click-N-Ship website and click on the "Sign Up" link under the Register Now information on the right-hand side of the page.
Labels can be printed on 8 1/2" x 11" white paper or self-adhesive labels, and glued or taped securely to the package.
Use your home or office scale.
Then request a carrier to pick up at a desingated day/time.

-- K.V.W.

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Tales from the Post Office: It's the final countdown!

(cue Gob and the magical doves...)

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There's still plenty of time to get your holiday gifts (Christmas definitely, Hanukkah, not so much) shipped to far-flung places.
Got in and out of the Plantation Post Office (notoriously busy) in about 10 minutes this morning, so that was encouraging.
And if my son's Flat Stanley will be able to get to Japan in 4 to 7 days, you certainly can get Uncle Joe in Hawaii his very own copy of the Iraq Study Group Report by Christmas.
-- G.G.S.

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Kiss and tell

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A few weeks before I got married, I ordered about six lipsticks from a Texas company called La Paz that guarenteed its L'Paige lipsticks wouldn't wear off for at least 8 hours, or leave prints on glasses or your groom. I dont know about the 8 hours bit, but they sure stay on a long time; they got me through my wedding, and 10 blissful years of marriage later, I am still ordering from them.
The company, started by two women, just moved to Raleigh, N.C., and increased its line to other cosmetics, which I havent tried yet. While the lipsticks come in usual shades, the company's line that comes in blue, black, white, yellow and green are the best. Think of them as mood 'sticks as they change a nice shade when you apply them. Plus, it's fun when others stare at you in the ladies room, not daring to ask, "Is that lipstick really green?" The 'sticks feature a bit of aloe vera. If you order by Friday, the company will try, but can't guarantee, to get your order to you before Christmas. But hey, start thinking of New Year's Eve!
-- Oline Cogdill

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December 11, 2006

Holiday mood music

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As a lucky gal who gets to celebrate her birthday and Christmas in the same month, I was recently the recipient of some great music in the form of newly-released holiday CDs. These would make great hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or a birthday gift for the Sagitarian in your life.
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Two of my faves come from the Hear Music folks at Starbucks (who put together those great compilation CDs): Lifted: Songs Of the Spirit (The Chambers Brother's rendition of People Get Ready is serious mood music). And Jolly Old Soul, which features the likes of The Drifters, The Cadillacs and Donny Hathaway. (Find these at your neighborhood Starbucks.)
The other stellar pick: Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong. Her cover of Joni Mitchell's River will make you think you've heard an angel.

-K.V.W.

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Gym dandy

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I justified this purchase by repeating over and over "it's not a purse, it's not a purse, it's not a purse." It's a gym bag, more motivation to get to the gym. And it's a beaut, the Kalya tote on sale for $35.99 with free shipping from eBags. I got it in the featured keylime color, which is more of a pear green, but it also comes in pink, light blue and black. The bag has mucho zippered compartments, a water bottle holder and a place to stash your MP3 player. Plus, there's a hidden area on the bottom that unzips to hold your yoga mat. Hurry, this sale ends at midnight tonight.
-- G.G.S.

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Puck for pennies

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Graveyard Mall is a great place to hunt around for bargains, and we spotted these 4.7-ounce Wolfgang Puck Kitchen Scents candles in the unique aromas of Spring Salad with Ginger & Cilantro, Spicy Pumpkin Soup and Breakfast Pancakes. Best thing? They're a dollar apiece! And Graveyard Mall promises that all orders placed by noon Monday, Dec. 18 will ship in time for Christmas or your order is free.
-- G.G.S.

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Coins for Hanukkah, from under the sea

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While spending time in the checkout line at Toys "R" Us (the R stands for ARRRRRRGH), I spotted these SpongeBob chocolate sticker coins for $1.09 for a mesh bag of around 12 coins. It's a cute twist on the traditional chocolate gelt, and the kiddies get stickers to boot.
-- G.G.S.

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December 9, 2006

The weekend wrapup

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OK, we've watched enough cup-stacking videos on YouTube this morning (it's huge, people, HUGE!). Here's a recap of our week in shopping:
Silly slippers
Fashionable iPods
Preposterously cheap photo printers
Beautiful bowls
And hollaback ornaments!

See ya on Monday!

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December 8, 2006

Ornaments that talk back

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TV critic Tom Jicha highly recommends this recordable ornament, which he has with his grandchild's voice and picture. He thinks it was purchased at Target, but we found it, inexplicably, at Dr. Leonard's Healthcare Web site for the low price of $3.99 apiece.
-- G.G.S.

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Tales from the Inbox: Omigod, don't tell my son!

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EB Games is offering the Nintendo Gamecube game Donkey Kong Jungle Beat with 2 sets of bongo controllers for the crazy low price of $14.99. There's a $6 shipping charge due to the oversize nature of the package. Hey, I don't care, this price is AWESOME! Don't know how long this deal will last, so jump on it.
-- G.G.S.

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March of the penguins (on your table)

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What with Happy Feet, March of the Penguins and the upcoming Surf's Up, the flightless winged ones are hot.
Cooking.com has a cute set of 4 salad/dessert plates featuring skating penguins on sale for $19.95.
In fact, there's an entire line of Pfaltzgraff Penguin Skate items, from salt and pepper shakers to a set of dinnerware.
And while you're noodling around Cooking.com, one of the Internet's houseware pioneers, check out their awesome Calphalon sale, including this nonstick skillet set for $39.95. And Cooking.com is offering free shipping when you use PayPal or on orders over $79.
-- G.G.S.

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I'm ready to play, Coach!

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It wasn't till a trip to the Camarillo outlets in California I discovered Coach factory stores. Then one opened at Sawgrass Mills. I spotted one in Key West on Duval Street. Oh yippee, Coach at half price!
I like Coach purses because they are well made and durable but I am not so married to the signature logo. Then I discovered this gem of a purse over Thanksgiving weekend at the Premium Outlets in Orlando:
It's pink, magenta, red, and the signature C is not all over the place because of this beautiful poppy flower. It's so me!
Retail factory price: $329
Holiday weekend sale: $197.40
My bf bought it for me as an early & only Christmas gift.

IF YOU GO:
Orlando Premium Outlets 8200 Vineland Ave., Orlando, 407-238-7787
Naples Prime Outlets 7222 Isle of Capri Rd., Naples, 888-545-7196
517 Duval St, Key West, 305-292-2708
Sawgrass Mills Mall, The Colonnade 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise, 954-846-2300
-- S.S.

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December 7, 2006

You might be an online shopper if ...

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You might be an online shopper if the UPS guy knows you by name.
And if you know his name, then lay off a bit.
-- G.G.S.

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Tales from the Inbox: Free shipping, and a decorating class

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Eddie Bauer.com is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase. Today's the last day for that offer. Use code 2DAYFS at checkout.

The Pottery Barn store at the Fort Lauderdale Galleria is offering a free holiday decorating class this Sunday. Call the store at 954-566-2201 for class times and to reserve a spot.
-- G.G.S

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Don't leave home without it

Face it, many of us live to work, not work to live.
For that workhorse friend or loved one in your life, there's these
artsy fancy business card cases that are sure to impress. Last year for Christmas, I bought my sister a super stylish one at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale I wish I had bought for myself.
Online, you can find many different non-traditonal card cases for anyone.
Go for the dragon fly design for $32 at www.netique.com.
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or this trio of cats case for $25 at www.kyledesigns.com.
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Men will appreciate this poker-themed beauty for $29
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or maybe something golf for $25.
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Because when you have a cool card case, you're more eager to whip those
babies out and get back to business.
-- I.Y.

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Super bowls

On a trip to San Jose, Calif., earlier this year, our hotel was across the street from the coolest shop -- a Japanese grocery/department store called Utsuwa. I stocked up on several rice bowl sets, which I have given as gifts throughout the year. My supply is up, but luckily just in time for the holidays, I found them online at www.utsuwa.com.

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This set of small porcelain rice bowls is only $12, and they are the perfect portion size for pasta, cereal or ice cream (my kids use them at just about every meal).

But check out the site for other great finds: sake sets, tea sets and even Japanese greeting cards.

-- K.V.W.

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For anyone who ever checked out gadgets on C|net

I've been a huge fan of C|net since its inception and frequently check the site for product reviews on high-tech gadgets, so I was familiar with C|net senior editor James Kim from his many great video reviews.
After more than a weeklong search, Kim's body was found Wednesday in the Oregon mountains the day after his wife and two daughters were found safe.
Very sad.
C|net put together a video compilation of Kim's videos in a tribute to him.
-- G.G.S.

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December 6, 2006

Tales from the Inbox: Bargain alert!

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This just in, bargain shoppers: Buy.com is offering a Polaroid photo printer for $8.99 after rebates. And that includes ink!
Hurry!
-- G.G.S.

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Give someone an iMix

If one of your gift recipients has an iPod or an iTunes account, you can "gift" them with one of your favorite playlists. Here, for example, is my current playlist that I use at the gym (and nothing gets you more pumped up than Ship of Fools by World Party).
And here's my gift to all those (like me) who are obsessed with songs used on commercials: that really pretty song that Target's using in its holiday commercials? Fly Me Away by Goldfrapp. And even better (I think): the song used in the Geico ad where the caveman's in the airport? That's Remind Me by Royksopp.

You're welcome!
-- G.G.S.
(By the way, if your firewall blocks flash scripts, this cool iMix widget below won't work.)

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Cocktails, anyone?

martini.jpgBecause what's a holiday without some cheer, check out the fun barware from www.martiniart.com.
Find swank martini sets, holiday glassware and even martini mood music. And you'll never again have to wonder about how much vodka to pour when you go to the site's Martini-o-matic (love that name!) recipe searcher.
Order by Dec. 10 (that's Sunday!) for UPS Ground shipping for Christmas delivery. But you can order as late as Dec. 21 for UPS Next Day for Christmas delivery.
Salut!
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-- K.V.W.


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Does one apologize to Jeff Foxworthy?

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And now, the first in an occasional series:
You Might Be An Online Shopper If...

You might be an online shopper ifn' you have not only your credit card number memorized, but also the 3-digit security code on the backside.

Thank you, I'm here all winter.

-- G.G.S.

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December 5, 2006

Tee for Two

For that golfer in your life - or perhaps that’s you - Tamarac-based GolfTees.com offers a variety of gifts, from personalized tees to edible ones, known as TeeZels, which are pretzels shaped like tees. There are “High-Tec,” and “A-Balance,” and classic wooden tees.

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Name it Golf, which owns Golftees.com, also features personalized golf balls that can carry a name, company or college or pro team logo, and golf accessories on its other websites: PersonalizedGolfBalls.com; GolfSpikes.com and GolfGifts.com.

--K.V.W. for Sports Business Writer Sarah Talalay. Check out her blog!


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How Swede it is!

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Ikea likes to send me e-mails. To torture me. Such cute, cheap, nice stuff, so far away. But we're gettin' one, right? Somewhere near the Everglades? Next year or something? C'MON!
But!
They do offer some of their items online, like these adorable Mammut children's stools for $6.99 apiece. The light blue and pink are available online; the light green is not. I've had a pair of these stools in my house (along with its matching table and chairs) for nearly 7 years and they're more than just cute kiddie seating. They make great little portable side tables, too. And they wear like iron.
I recently gave away our Mammut set, but I'm seriously thinking of ordering a couple of stools again.
Gotta put the tea somewhere.
-- G.G.S.

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My iPod is my new Barbie

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When I was much younger, my Twist 'n Turn Barbie (with hip-swiveling action!) went with me everywhere. And she had quite the cute wardrobe, mostly pop-art minis and matching shoes.
Now that I'm older, what has replaced my accessorized friend? Why, my iPod. She It has a cute white and pink leather number that I picked up on eBay, a couple of sporty rubberized numbers for the gym, and when it's feeling impish, this adorable apple-print ensemble from Kangaroo for $14.99. It comes with a shoulder strap, short strap and Velcro arm band so you can wear it over your shoulder, around your neck, attached to your bag, around your waist, on your belt, attached to your belt loop or on your arm while working out. And there's a detachable teeny case to jam your headphones into (it's a bit of a tight fit). There isn't any screen protection, so I'd slap on an overlay, but the clickwheel is protected by a magnetic flap.
-- G.G.S.

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December 4, 2006

Rock out, baby!

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As featured in Sunday's Family Style section in the Sun-Sentinel, we love the CDs from the Rockabye Baby! series. Think classic tunes from rockers like Led Zeppelin, The Cure, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and more, remixed into soothing, lullabye versions. Find them at www.babyrockrecords.com for $16.95 each.
A "Holiday Sale-A-Palooza" lasts till Dec. 20. You get 10% off plus free shipping when you buy 3 or more CDs.
-- K.V.W

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Eat your veggies and wear them, too

Maybe it’s an Asian thing.
When I was little, I had these fuzzy peapod bedroom slippers I adored.
I wore them all the time and once tried to wear them to school, but my parents objected.
Years later, I don’t know whatever happened to my beloved pea pods but I find myself searching for the same special vegetable I could always find on my plate, but not snuggling my feet anymore.
I recently discovered www.crazyforbargains.com, which has a whole section on fun sleepwear for the family, including bedroom slippers.
Check out these flamingo slippers for $18.99.
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Or these Homer Simpson kicks for $19.99. homerb.gif
But alas, when I clicked on the “Fruit and Vegetables” tab, there were strawberries, carrots and eggplants, but no peapods.
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Maybe I’ll go bananas!
-- I. Y.


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Oh, did you mean O-H-I-O?

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And you Gators thought we wouldn't respond.

But what's a Buckeye fan to do but go a little nuts about our undefeated season?
The must-have accessory while watching the big game on Jan. 8: A lucky buckeye necklace, of course. Find them at buckyeyecreations.com. For $6.95, you choose bead colors of scarlet & white or scarlet & gray.
Get them for the whole family. Men, women and children were sporting them at the Hallowed Horseshoe earlier this fall, where we caught a game.

If that doesn't get you in the mood, how about a holiday wreath? Or a buckeye picture frame would make a great gift.
Perfect for a snapshot of the National Champs come the New Year.

--K.V.W.
(go Bucks!)

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Oh, it's on, Ohio State!

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A certain alma mater of some of us at Shop-O-Matic will be playing Ohio State in the BCS Championship, so we thought it appropriate to showcase some of the lovely Gator items to give your loved ones (or sports editor, should they lose any sort of hypothetical bet).
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I am a fan of the classics, like this royal blue cap for $16.99 from The Gator Shop, a Gainesville institution since 1946.
But, if you want to get smug and obnoxious (and what Gator fan doesn't?), you can outfit your offspring with this youth SEC champs T-shirt for $14.99.
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This just in: The official newly released Florida-Ohio State BCS Championship T-shirt for $20, from the BCS Football Store. Order now and it'll ship by Dec. 15.

-- G.G.S.
(go Gators!)

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Not just for kicks

Looking for limited edition and totally hip kicks?

Shoe Gallery (244 NE 1st Ave.) in downtown Miami is the region’s only supplier of adidas’ just-released Original NBA Superstar sneaks with the Miami Heat logo and in the team’s colors. They feature adidas’ signature three stripes in red and yellow on a black suede shoe with the Heat logo in white.

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Adidas’ new line is the first ever in which all 30 NBA teams have their own logo-ed shoes. Shoe Gallery is to carry a limited number of the Heat shoe for two weeks and then will have a chance to order any of the other 29 team versions. In January, the shoes will be more widely distributed to retailers such as Foot Locker.

Other cool finds at the Shoe Gallery: limited edition shoes, including Nikes and Air Jordans. And great tees that poke fun at sports teams and fashion icons. Among the current styles, is a shirt with “Lovers” written in L.A. Lakers script on the front and “Chamberlain 20,000” on the back references to Wilt Chamberlain’s wild days.


-- K.V.W. for Sports Business writer Sarah Talalay. Check out her blog!

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December 1, 2006

Weekend wrapup

santapackages.JPGThanks everyone for checking out our new blog.
Hope we're giving you some gift ideas.
We've got plenty more!
Some highlights from the week:
Rockin' rainboots
Blingin' Birkenstocks
Nutty nutcrackers
Old-school sportswear
Sweet skivvies
Tasty treats
Tees with peas
Sexy slingbacks

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Show(er) tunes

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From our colleague, graphics reporter Renee Kwok, comes this great idea for those who love singing in the shower but are stuck on the chorus of songs.

Sing and dance to tunes in their entirety with your own shower playlist when you pop your player into the water-resistant iPod/mp3 Shower Radio, available for $29.99 at Target.

It comes with a hanging strap or is wall mountable, and even has a lighted, fog-free mirror (so you can see yourself rock out!).

-- K.V.W.

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The red shoe diary entry

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What's so in this season: Patent leather.
What color: Red.
Why?: Because it's sexy!
I always get special attention when I sport a pair of red patent leather slingbacks. Sure, these are hot, and yes I wear them to work ... to break them in.
I first spotted a pair while window shopping at Aldo with my boyfriend. His color palette consists of blue, beige and blah. The Aldo pair was $89.99. Yikes! I thought. I can kiss three future pedicures goodbye.
But being the frugal shopper that I am (while accompanied by bf) I did not puchase them.
While doing some unnecessary shopping at Tar-zhay I found some from Mossimo at less than half the price at $22.99. (Yeah, they're not leather but they're still hot.) Though I bought them during the summer, but they are still available online and in some Target stores.
What I've wore them with: Bright green top with white cargo pants. My official dancing outfit of 2006.
If you want the real thing, you can find them at Aldo.com.
Yes, S.S. is bringing sexy back to the office.
-- S.S.

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Celeb selection: Hungry Girl's picks

hungrylogo.jpg We asked Lisa Lillien, food guru and creator of the super fun and informative Web site Hungry-Girl.com, for some healthy yet yummy food gifts, and here's what she says:

"Torani Sugar Free Syrups: GREAT to mix with cocktails or use in recipes. And they come in pretty bottles, too!"

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"Miss Meringues Peppermint Crush Meringues: The best guilt-free holiday cookies EVER! Yum!"

"Gayle's Miracles Truffles: Decadent low-cal truffles that'll rock your world!"

"Edible Arrangements Fruit Flowers: Cute and beautiful fruit flower baskets -- AWESOME!"

"Melissa's: Organic gourmet gifts (Love the exotic fruit club, vegetable baskets and more) Delicious and healthy, Melissa offers tons of exotic and hard-to-find fruits and veggies!"

Thanks for the picks, Hungry Girl!
For more of Lisa's food finds, ideas and recipes, sign up for Hungry Girl's free daily e-mails at www.hungry-girl.com.
-- G.G.S.

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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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