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October 31, 2007

Holiday Gifts 2007: Last Call at the OB tee


My buddy Steve was delighted when I handed him this tee I got as part of a press kit.

He is a 'Canes fan and, of course, has spent plenty o' good times at the OB (Orange Bowl), where it's the final season for Hurricanes games.

While the shirt color is an obnoxious bright orange color, UM fans (also known to be obnoxious) will love it. The front says "Last Call at the OB." On the back: "We may not have won them all, but we've never lost a party" and "Thanks for the Memories" . You can find it at

By the way, check out the smackapparel website for lots of fun shirts -- great gifts for the sports nut in your life.

My Buckeye husband just may be a recipient of this Fear The Vest tee. On the back: Kickin' tail from Austin to Ann Arbor and everywhere in between.

And for my Sooner brother & father: this Beat the candy 'Canes out of Miami, and send 'em home Tropically Depressed."

(Note to Steve: The Sooners already did that this season, didn't they? Oh well. Enjoy your shirt.)


POSTED IN: Holiday Gifts 2007 (63), Sports Stuff (4)

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Holiday Gifts 2007: And....we're off! Let the holiday shopping season begin


Welcome to the launch of our Holiday Gifts 2007 guide.

The countdown is on. 35 days 'til Hanukkah; 55 days 'til Christmas.

While you probably haven't started shopping yet (hey, the pumpkins are still out!) it's never too early to start thinking about shopping.

Our savvy team of contributors will hit the pavement and the Internet, searching local stores and online purveyors for shopping tips, gift ideas and deals.

Check in daily for new posts -- we'll help you find something for everyone on your list.

POSTED IN: Holiday Gifts 2007 (63)

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October 30, 2007

Black Friday ads are leaking out already!

Got an e-mail from alerting us to the fact that the Black Friday ads (you know, the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy) are already starting to leak out at TGI Black Friday. On that site you'll find ads for Sears, Ace Hardware and Macy's, among others.

But don't get your hopes all the way up -- these could be ringers.

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (282)

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These boots were made for walkin (in NYC)

I looked around the other day and realized it was fall. What was my clue? Not the weather, still hot and humid. It was the women’s shoes.


Women were wearing closed-toe sling-backs, pointy high heels and boots -- knee-high fashionable leather boots. I looked down at my summer sandals in shame. With a trip to New York City coming up, I desperately need boots.

So this weekend I hit DSW in Boca Raton (Phone: (561) 483-1345), which is having a 50 percent-off sale on certain boots. I was looking for the impossible: boots that were stylish yet comfortable. The Steve Madden quilted boots were gorgeous and half off of $79.95, but I know I wouldn’t make it very far in the pencil-thin heels.

A mid-length Ann Klein with a side buckle also were attractive in style and half off of $109.93.

But not for walking. Short suede boots from Nine West were appealing, but not half off: $79.95 for leather uppers?

I settled on Nickels’ soft boot: short style with a buckle. They feel good and the price was right at $36.95. The real test will be how many blisters I bring back from the Big City.

- Marcia Heroux Pounds

POSTED IN: Shoes (53)

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October 29, 2007

Smooth sailing at The Beached Boat


206 NE 2nd Second St., Delray Beach, 561-278-3130; Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday;

Owners: Jimmy and Patty Deitsch

Wow factor: The theme may be “come see what’s washed ashore,” but this Pineapple Grove store is far from kitschy. It evokes the tasteful world of Nantucket, where homes are decorated with ship models, tasteful but colorful furniture and elegant sea-themed dinnerware.

Editor’s picks: You’ll find everything you need for a beach-themed home - from sheets to silverware. Check out the ship models ($9.95-$549), white shell-and-coral mirror ($270), white dinnerware with shell design ($15 for a dinner plate) and Adirondack chair lamp ($105). Signs and paintings can be custom-ordered with the message of your choice, such as the sign “Welcome to Delray Beach” ($32.95).



Design for less: Look for sales - 25 to 50 percent off - at the front of the store. Regular-price faves include: turquoise vases with raffia-attached shell ($6.95 and $9.95), white finger towels with gold shell and “Welcome to Our Beach House” embroidered in blue ($6.95 each), silver wine corks with seashells ($15.95), metal hooks with turtles or palm trees ($7.79), and ceramic shell//-//motif dish with two soaps ($24.95).

Trivia: The store name came out of a conversation. Patty, a floral designer who used to work at Tommy Bahama, says her husband, a former boat captain, had no idea how retail takes over your life. “I told him, ‘You aren’t going to get out there in your boat. You’re so beached.’.” -- CVS

POSTED IN: Home Decor (77)

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October 26, 2007

Bonjour to Sur La Table

I've been a fan of Sur La Table since I discovered it at the Pike's Place Market location in Seattle. Well, I was a food editor in those days (the foodie 80s) and went crazy over all the offerings. (Remember the scene from Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks was walking down the hill to the market? That's near my first Sur la Table experience.)


I can't say the experience was orgasmic (Can I? Sure I can. This is a blog after all.) But it was mind-blowing -- great service and the merchandise made me want to ship half the store home.

You find everything you need to cook, including small appliances, and great stuff to make your table look fab. Check out some of the holiday stuff like the turkey platter ($39.95), serving bowl ($24.95), gravy boat ($19.95) and blown glass pumpkin placecard holders (4 for $19.95). See more at

Fans have been waiting for the announced Oct. 31 opening of a branch in Pembroke PInes because the closest store was about 50 miles away for the Broward folks at Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens. Then it was supposed to open Nov. 7.

Well, the PR folks tell us the opening has been delayed again. But you can get your fix on Nov. 15 when the second Florida store opens at The Shops at Pembroke Gardens, 301 SW 145th Terrace. Hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

We'll keep you posted. -- C.V.S.

POSTED IN: Store openings (20)

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October 25, 2007

Prep walk


The designer stroller (Maclaren) meets designer sportswear (Lacoste) in a new limited edition baby buggy.

The $400 stroller is lined with fabric bearing Lacoste’s iconic green crocodile logo. Buyers also receive a matching cotton polo shirt and sun hat. The stroller weighs 14 pounds and features Maclaren’s one-hand fold capacity, 4-position seat recline and tilting hood with UV protective viewing window.

Now, even your infant can be perfectly preppy. Find out where to buy them at or 877-442-4622. (Incidentally, Maclaren has collaborated with other designers. Check out styles from Kate Spade, Burberry and Lulu Guinness.)


POSTED IN: Kids (37)

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October 24, 2007

Cozy travels

Two things I don't travel without: an empty pillow case and a shawl. I stuff potentially-germy airline pillows in the case for a pillow that smells like home, and use the shawl as a blanket.


For a prettier, handier, cozier version of this idea, go to for the $28 Nap Sac Travel Blanket. Unzip the pillowcase for a soft blanket and inflatable pillow.

Might also be handy to have a couple of these in the car for kids to use on long roadtrips.


POSTED IN: Travel (17)

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October 23, 2007

Bombay Co. -- Bargains to come, but not quite yet


If you’ve ever wanted a Christmas nutcracker for yourself or as a gift, now is the time to find an unusual one at Bombay Co. My favorites are the nutcracker pirate, chef and golfer at Bombay’s Boca Plaza store off Military Trail and near Town Center in Boca Raton. The nutcrackers are on sale for $23.20 to $39.20.

Bombay is getting ready to go out of business. At least that’s what the sign says. In reality, the store is trying to reinvent itself through bankruptcy court. The place to start might be with its prices.

The “big” sale is 20 percent to 40 percent off furniture, glassware, lamps, bedding and accessories.

“When does the real sale begin?,” I asked a sales person.

“They’re going to drag it out as long as possible,” he said. The sign for seasonal help on the door indicates Bombay will be with us at least through the holidays.

I’d watch in the next month or two for the prices to plummet. Right now at only 20 percent off some items, Bombay is no bargain. I’ve had my eye on a deep red duvet, but at 20 percent off $249, I think I’ll wait. Its sleigh beds were marked down, but also still no steal: from $999 to $719.20.

Bombay online operations have been discontinued, but there are eight South Florida stores from West Palm Beach to Miami. Stay tuned.

-- Marcia Heroux Pounds

POSTED IN: Destinations (117)

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October 22, 2007

Cool catalog arrives

You'd think by now that I wouldn't get excited when a new catalog arrives in my mailbox. My poor mail carrier, who says we get the strangest mail in the neighborhood, swears I get more catalogs than anyone else.

The latest offering is Uno Alla Volta, Italian for One at a Time. As I flipped through it, I came across everything from elegant scarves to Venetian glass candlesticks and unusual jewelry, including Swarovski jeweled brooches for Christmas.



The items aren't cheap, but quality never is. Is it?

Here are some of my faves:

Colorblock silk shawl,left,that can be used to drape around your shoulders or as an accent on your sofa. The 28-by-80 shawl is hand-woven in Nepal and sells for $178.

Misty Meadows lamp,right, is lit from behind to accent the nature motif that is rendered in porcelain lithophane, a rare 19th century art form that has been mastered by California artists. It stands 13.25 inches tall in a black matte metal frame and sells for $138.

Check them out at

-- C.V.S.


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October 20, 2007

See Nicole Miller at Carl's

If you love Nicole Miller's fashions, you'll want to see what she does with furniture.Nicole%20Miller%20low%20res.jpg

The Seventh Avenue clothing designer who made a breakthrough with her smock dress in the early 80s, has attracted a galaxy of star clients, including Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, Kim Cattrall and Paris Hilton.

Known for designing the perfect black dress and other simple designs, she has created a furniture collection for Excelsior Designs that's sleek and sophisticated.

Meet her in person at these two events:

Nov. 1: 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the first floor of Carls Boca Raton, 6650 North Federal Highway. They'll be hors d'oeuvres, spirits and music. Must RSVP. Call 954-949-1700.

Nov 2: 2:30 p.m. Carls Palmetto, 1400 NW 167th, Miami. Light refreshments will be served and music will be from Lynn University Conservatory of Music. Must RSVP. Call 954 949-1700.

The Palmetto event will also include a drawing for prizes, including a chance to win a Nicole Miller Bryant Park console with a retail value of $3,908.

Don't wait, Nicole fans. Space is limited at both events. - C.V.S.

POSTED IN: Appearances (9)

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October 18, 2007

A new kind of Wal-Mart

The Wednesday opening of a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Coral Springs (4650 N. University Dr., North Hills Square, 954-753-7377) got lost in the Ikea shuffle.

What’s a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market?

It’s pint-sized (52,024-square-feet) compared to the typical Wal-Mart Supercenter (187,000 square feet) with just 29,000 items compared to 142,000.

It’s designed for convenience. So instead of the overflowing shopping carts of once-a-week-shopping families, the Neighborhood Market is designed to attract folks picking up a few things for dinner. This one was built in a former Winn-Dixie and includes groceries, prepared foods, a pharmacy and a big health and beauty department. It’s closer to what we think of as a traditional supermarket. Think of it as a more intimate Wal-Mart, with better lighting, better displays and less hubbub.

This is Florida’s 16th Market and the second in South Florida. The first one is also in Coral Springs. It opened in July at 10635 W. Atlantic Blvd. (Cypress Run Square, 954-345-9513).
Both stores are open 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week.

The new store will have free giveaways all weekend long. I got handed a loaf of bread on my way out the door.


POSTED IN: Destinations (117)

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October 17, 2007

Chemo Cat


When author/illustrator Cathy Nilon was 43 and diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, she couldn’t comprehend how to explain to 4-year-old son Luca what Mommy was going to go through. She couldn’t find any programs for his age group and her family had no mental health coverage to help cope with the trauma.

Nilon, now 46 and a breast cancer survivor, has created Chemo Cat ($9.95, Ravenna Press), a heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting story of her family’s cancer journey, told in the voice of her son.

Luca and Mama cat, aka Cat-Cat, are a family of cats who take you through their thoughts and emotions — the highs and the deepest lows — of that difficult period. Chemo Cat is poignant for the mere fact that it’s so real.

When you see cancer’s ravages through the eyes of the young — who have to figure out why Mama’s hair has fallen out and why she throws up all the time and why she can’t play with him like she used to — it becomes all the more unfathomable.

Says Luca in the book: “I was saddest by far and sometimes would shout ; or just sit on my floor and cry my eyes out. I was tired of kids who had healthier moms ...”

Almost as compelling as the story and gorgeous illustrations is the foreword, where Nilon gives thanks to the supportive sisterhood she found through her cancer experience. Read it and you really understand why we call them “survivors.”

Find It:
The book is available here :
or at and Barnes and Noble. All proceeds go to
Living Beyond Breast Cancer.


POSTED IN: Breast Cancer Awareness Products (9)

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What do you love about Ikea?

Ikea has opened today! See the Sun-Sentinel's consumer blog to read all about the first day chaos. In one entry, columnist Daniel Vasquez says that most people he's talked to have all been to an Ikea somewhere in the world before.

We want to know: What's your favorite thing to buy at Ikea?

POSTED IN: Destinations (117)

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October 16, 2007

From toys to tiaras


59 S. Federal Highway, Boca Raton; 561-416-0152; Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 561-416-0152.

Owner: Rene Barth

Wow factor: There should be a warning label on the door of this store: Enter at your own risk. The offerings are so adorable you may want to get pregnant - again. The shop stocks everything from toys to tiaras. Yes, it is in downtown Boca, but the prices range from inexpensive ($2.99-$7.99 for a fab selection of hair bows) to upscale ($88 for an elegant dress from Baby Biscotti). It’s a great place to buy shower gifts, especially crib blankets that can be personalized in 24 hours ($19.95 plus $5 for embroidery). And gift wrapping is free.

Editor’s picks: Faves include a toddler-sized plastic piano in white, pink or black ($130), E-Land boy’s corduroy pants embroidered with dogs ($46) and a matching doggie sweater ($46), hard to find Corelle baby carriages ($40), multicultural Green Tree dolls that sing and move their heads ($18), and unusual and well-made Halloween costumes ($20-$39.99), such as a shark with fins and a ladybug.

li28shop28a.jpgDesign for less: You don’t have to look far to find inexpensive items, including a ballerina tote ($20), large piggy banks for boys and girls ($40) and a tiara on a headband ($4.99) with matching tutu ($4.99).

Trivia: Barth is a pro who was in the children’s store business for 20 years in Tampa and Long Island before she opened this store almost a year ago. This is her first store with the Elegant Child name, but it’s not the first in Boca. She was surprised when customers told her there was an Elegant Child in the nearby Royal Palm Plaza about 25 years ago. -- CVS

POSTED IN: Kids (37)

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October 15, 2007

Learn what's really green

Are you as confused as I am about all the green claims for products these days?

Manufacturers have found it’s chic to be green, but since because there is no federal regulation of the term we can’t always be sure it’s true.

One of the best guides to what is green and what is hype is the October/November issue of ShopSmart, a hip shopping guide from the publisher of Consumer Reports. “Smart Green Shopping for Your Home” concludes that “not all so-called green home goods are worth the money, or even particularly green.”

The magazine reporters checked out wood furniture and cabinets, flooring, paint, carpet, accessories, light bulbs, appliances, sheets and towels and household cleaning products.

Here are a few of their suggestions:

Sheets and towels may say 100 percent organic on the label, but that only means the growing methods were pesticide free. They still may be treated with formaldehyde and chlorine bleach or blended with synthetics such as polyester. If the tag just says “natural” or “green” it may still have been chemically treated because there are no federal standards for the labeling.

Look for paints with the GreenSeal sticker ( that sets standards for echo-friendly goods to help you identify paints with low volatile organic compounds. VOCs give off fumes that are thought to be carcinogenic and can cause irritation of eyes, nose and throat.

Consider Pier 1’s new line of hand-painted, recycled glass bowls and vases that sell for $15-$35. The issue is on newsstands now.


POSTED IN: Shopping Advice (99)

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October 12, 2007

Dressing the holiday tree

Now this has got to be the perfect tree ornament for all you fashionistas.

Ornaments to Remember is offering a collection of tree decor that reflects all styles of fashion -- from cocktail dresses with matching purses to shirts and boxer shorts.

ornaments.jpgYou can find your choices of fave footwear -- boat shoes, loafers, hightops, even saddle shoes. There's blown-glass tote bags, kimonis and flipflops.

They are crafted in Europe and individually gift wrapped. Check out

Prices range from $18-$66. And your love of fashion can help a good cause. Profits go to The Learning Community, a non-profit, public-benefit corporation that helps families and schools work together to help the kids.

-- C.V.S.

POSTED IN: Christmas (51)

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October 10, 2007

The Pink Campaign: Vera Bradley-Fresh Produce event

Tomorrow (October 11) from 5 to 8 p.m., the Fresh Produce store on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale will host a Girl's Night Out Shopping Party to benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. (For details, call 954-463-8131)


As part of it, Fresh Produce will donate 10 percent of the events' sales to the VB Foundation; $5 from the sale of Ellie the Elephant tees; and Vera Bradley will donate 50% of proceeds from select Limited Edition Pink Elephant items.

(Aside: As an elephant-phile (seriously, I have a thing about elephants; even have a whole Christmas tree with elephant ornaments) I must say the Pink Elephant collection is beyond adorable.


POSTED IN: Breast Cancer Awareness Products (9)

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October 9, 2007

Wiggin' Out

HIL-ARIOUS! Look at these funny wigs-for-babes from BabyToupee.

For Halloween, dress your wee one like The Donald, The Bob, Little Kim or even Samuel L. All styles sell for $19.95.



-- K.V.W

POSTED IN: Halloween Stuff (9)

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Gotta Giggle

We ran a blurb in Sunday's Sun-Sentinel about the online baby stuff site

Aside from a great selection of unique, quality products, gotta love the company's philosophy: It will only sell products that meet the "giggle criteria," which is innovation, portability, ability to grow with baby and being toxin free.

Two of our faves: This lion backpack


and this "Pair of Pears," a fun gift for twins.



POSTED IN: Kids (37)

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October 8, 2007

Be a 'Gossip Girl' fashionista

It's embarrassing to admit it, but I'm hooked on Gossip Girl, CW's soapy drama about prep school teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side. It's got some of the same teen angst of the cancelled O.C. with an East Coast vibe. These teens rely on the blog and text messages of the invisible Gossip Girl to let them in on the latest scoops. SBTV_CoachLegacyBag.jpg Anyhow, I was intrigued by the promo for the Website, which says: See it. Hear it. Blog it. Live it.

Love the styles they wear? You can shop by brand, character, episode or product. Just click and shop for cool stuff like Serena's Coach bag ($768) or Blair's peep toe Nine West pumps ($92). NineWest_PeepToePumps.jpg

The show airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays. If you're a fan, don't fret. Sun-Sentinel TV critic Tom Jicha says it's doing well by CW standards.

Check it out at

-- C.V.S.

POSTED IN: Accessories (73)

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All things aviation


This was Shop-o-matic's DIVINE FIND in Sunday's Sun-Sentinel:


5320 NW 20th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Fort Lauderdale, 954-493-8615 Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

Owner: Don Campion

Wow factor: It’s the ultimate destination for anyone who loves aviation - from hobbyists and professional pilots to kids and adults obsessed with anything having to do with airplanes and flying. There’s even a flight simulator inside a Gulfstream fuselage. The 4,500-square-foot store is part of a three-year $4.5 million upgrade to the Banyan complex, a one-stop service provider for the aviation industry.

Editor’s picks: A classic patch-covered bomber jacket for a little one ($40). Radio controlled toys include an 18-inch long helicopter ($200) or four-foot-long P51 Mustang ($400). There are door mats for airline attendants that read: “A flight attendant and a normal person live here.” ($21.95). Half of the store is devoted to professional pilots where students can purchase books on learning to pilot and mechanics can purchase parts to make repairs. Headsets range in price from $200 to $1,000. Want to dress as a pilot for a Halloween? The store even has pre-knotted clip-on neck ties ($13.95).

Design for less: How about a children’s captain’s hat ($10), an infant-sized onesie printed with the words “Just Plane Cute” ($18.95) or “Fly Girl” T-shirts for young girls? There are also toy helicopters ($4.95) and aviator Teddy Bears ($16.95).

Trivia: Looking for a free conference room to accommodate 20 people? There’s a room overlooking the airport runway at Hangar 63. Call for details.


POSTED IN: Destinations (117)

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October 2, 2007

Playing with food


Not sure what to think of the Play With Your Food product that came across my desk recently.

Created by Daydream Toys, the “game” includes a cute melamine plate and mug and spinner. The plate has four sections, each with a different illustration (for example, a plane, bus, car and train).

The premise is to use the spinner to get your picky eater to either take a bite from a specific section or choose a bite. Presumably you are filling the plate with healthy food.

While this is a seemingly fun gimmick, you have to wonder if it works when kids don’t like certain foods. Are they really going to take a bite of spinach just because the spinner tells them to?

Another negative: By making eating a game, are you creating food issues with your kids? Then again, I suppose if your family subscribes to the clean plate club, this kind of game can’t really hurt.

Find It: Play With Your Food, $14.99, from


POSTED IN: Kids (37)

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A peek at a Palm Beach jewely box


Love to sparkle and shine?

Then check out the bedazzling baubles at House of Lavande.

 It's a new Palm Beach shop chock full of vintage couture jewelry. 4,000-plus pieces, in fact.

 And a long list of designers -- Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli among them. Very cool stuff. Hot enough for celebrity clients -- Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox and Carolina Herrera.


 Everything from '30s Bakelite bangles to Christian Lacroix ’70s earrings and tons more. Prices: $300 to $6,000 or so.

 And you should see the shop. Yards and yards of white silk, rather like a Parisian boudoir, which is intentional. It's like diving into your own personal jewelry box only a lot more fun -- and with a lot better jewelry.

 The shop is at 317 Peruvian Ave., Suite 201, Palm Beach, 561-802-3737. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekends by appointment.


POSTED IN: Jewelry (45)

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October 1, 2007

Ikea finally has an opening date

An Ikea room display
Rev up your engines, Ikea fans.

No more driving to Atlanta to get your Ikea fix. The new idea store in Sunrise -- our first in Florida -- is finally set to open at 9 a.m. Oct. 17. It's located at on 20 acres at the northwestern corner of I-595/SR-84 and N.W. 136th Avenue.

The 293,000-square-foot store will stock 10,000 exclusively-designed items, 50 room settings, three complete model homes, a supervised children’s play area and a 250-seat restaurant.

If you plan to go the first day, be prepared. Store officials expect 25,000 shoppers. So be prepared to stand in line and, God forbid, they may be out of their coveted Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, the treat which makes the trip worthwhile for reluctant spouses.



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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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