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

Shop-O-Matic


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February 29, 2008

Magazine overload

I love magazines. My poor postal worker delivers many a week including Travel & Leisure, Money, Portfolio and Wine Spectator – even some I didn’t order.

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A recent buy at an overstuffed Pier One Imports in Boca Raton helped solve two problems: storing magazines and providing a bedside table in the guest room. Pier One has a metal and glass magazine table for $49 that should work with the architectural-style platform bed I chose for the room.

Find other accent tables, mirrors, bedroom furniture and lamps at Pier One on sale, from 20 percent to 50 percent off. I especially like the colorful Tibetan wine cabinet, at right ($499).

OK, I still have more magazines in a large Crate & Barrel basket and on my coffee table. But now I have one more place for my guilty pleasures before I grudgingly take them to the recycling bin. (You never know when you’re going to need that article on cheap resorts in the Caribbean.)

Anyone else found a creative way to store magazines? – Marcia Heroux Pounds

POSTED IN: None

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For sale - Tony Soprano’s Caddy

tony.jpgImagine driving up to a valet in Tony Soprano’s 2003 white Cadillac Escalade. Or what about the 2003 champagne CTS driven by Paulie Walnuts?

Admittedly, you’ve got be a fan of HBO’s The Sopranos. But these and six other vehicles go on the auction block March 26 through 30 at the sixth annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Event at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach.

All of the cars will be auctioned without a reserve price. Net proceeds will benefit Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Two Town Cars, used by rival gangster Phil Leotardo, will be sold as a pair. There are also two 1993 Cadillacs driven by Patsy Parisi. Complete information at barrett-jackson.com.

POSTED IN: Destinations (119)

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Pushy sales people -- No help needed!


Is it just me or has shopping become like a game of dodge ball?

The last few times I have been browsing in furniture stores I felt like the sales people were more pushy than ever. Sure, we know that they are on commission, but this scenerio is getting like a skit from Saturday Night Live.

On one recent trip, five different sales people tried to "help" my husband and me. On another, it looked like two of them might come to blows over "helping" us. And we had no plans to buy.

The old "just looking" doesn't seem to work in these days with everyone scraping for a dollar. Do you have any advice? Let me know what works.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Shopping Advice (122)

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February 27, 2008

Bold & Beautiful fashionista designs duds

I have a confession: I was reading CBS Soaps when I discovered that soap opera star Eileen Davidson has a line of cool clothing. (My soap opera addiction is limited to The Young & The Restless, a sister soap that used to feature Davidson.)
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Davidson, who plays Ashley Abbott on The Bold and The Beautiful, teamed with her niece, Devon Martt, a graduate of the Otis School of Art and Design who just happens to be married to Mike Martt of the cult favorite Sweet and Low Orchestra.

Anyhow, the two women, who are working moms, decided that other moms like them also wanted to look feminine and "put together" so they started a fashion line that looks sexy instead of stoggy. Their label, Femmeology is starting to show up in boutiques around the country.

It's really cool stuff, like this halter top (at right) that dresses up a pair of jeans. For more info, see www.femmeology.com. If you call 310-281-3387, you get a recording of Davidson's voice that promises to call back.

I'll let you know as soon as I find out about South Florida locations. What do you think? Does it work for you?

XOXO-- Shopper Girl


POSTED IN: Women's Clothing (132)

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February 25, 2008

Zen fountains, Betty Boop and cool fans

Ruinations has something for everyone - from $5 to $3,800. Flamingos. Betty Boop collectibles. Music boxes. Fountains. Buddhas. Beds. Venetian masks. Home fragrances. Lamps. Decorative portable fans. Custom arranging of silk flowers to fit your decor. Like the music playing in the background? They sell the CD.

The staff is friendly and makes you feel at home. It's a fun place to shop.

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One of the most interesting items in the shop is the Deco-Breeze fan ($180), a tabletop model with lamp base. Some of the most popular items are music boxes from the San Francisco Music Box Co., especially the witch from the Wizard of Oz ($150). And the egg-shaped Raku fountain ($360) is unusual and very Zen.

You can find fun items like the mom and baby pink flamingos ($19 and $31), picture frames in the shape of flip-flops ($7.75), Lampe Berger home fragrances ($35-$150, depending on the container) and a jewelry hanger manikin mannequin wearing Scarlett’s green velvet curtain dress from Gone Wwith the Wind ($44).

Coral Ridge Mall, 3200 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-566-4823; Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 12 noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
1428 NE 26th St., Wilton Manors; 954-568-1675Ö; Hours: 12 noon-8 p.m. daily; Touchingbeauty.com.

XOX0-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Home Decor (83), Shopping Advice (122), Valentine's Day Gifts (9)

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Making Arhaus your house


If you think every furniture store looks alike, check out Arhaus Furniture at Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens. I hadn't been there in a long time, and it never disappoints.

The eclectic mix of furniture has something for everyone. If you've got kids who love Pinnochio, there's a great wooden one on sale for $50 that originally sold for $199. They also have a great selection of mirrors -- round with wooden swirl patterns and square ones with hammered metal frames.
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If you're eco-friendly, they have a large organic fabric colelction for the upholstery pieces as well as some recycled items.One cool find that would add a great accent to a casual room is the red wooden bird cages. Take three and hang them together at different heights. The three sizes are on sale now for $24, $29 and $34.

To get there from I-95, go east on PGA Boulevard. It is on your right adjacent to Lake Victoria Gardens Drive. For more info, see www.arhaus.com.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Eco shopping (18), Furniture (27)

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February 22, 2008

Cabbage Patch Kids comeback

The Cabbage Patch Kids of 1983 will make a comeback this year. Click here for the full story in today's Sun-Sentinel.

You either love or hate these dolls. I never wanted one. The Kids had smooshed faces, and I hated cabbage. So I stuck to my trunk full of Barbie and Ken dolls. But I remember some friends loved them.

Here's what some readers had to say about their cherished Cabbage Patch memories:

"I loved those dolls, but my father used to tell me that when I went to sleep at night, they would come alive and have a party. I didn’t sleep much from 1983-1989." -- Lori, Miami

"I was an only child growing up, so my parents spoiled me with THIRTEEN Cabbage Patch kids. I used to sit them up and pretend I was their teacher." -- Leila, Miami

"I am an identical twin and my sister lives in Boca Raton. We are 61 years old. When we celebrated our 40th birthdays together in 1986, our children presented us with Cabbage Patch Twins. Each year when we celebrate our birthdays together we bring along our Cabbage Patch dolls and re-unite them. We have some pictures taken over the years commemorating each birthday. After we pass on, these twin dolls will someday go to my daughter as well as my sister's daughter who have vowed to re-unite them each year on our birthday."
-- Sharon Gorsen, Weston

Did you like Cabbage Patch Kids? Write in with your memories of these little munchkins.

-- Jaclyn Giovis, staff writer

POSTED IN: Kids (40)

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Furniture bargains

OK, I'll admit it. My sofa is 10 years old and really needs replacement. But everytime I find something I like, the price scares me off.

If you are hankering for something new, the next few weeks may be a great time time to buy.

I'll try to spare you too much of the technical stuff, but retailers get a report from America's Research Group called the Furniture Buying Index (FBI). The latest report says it's down to 66. This means fewer folks surveyed could name a piece of furniture they wanted to buy within the next year. Bad news for stores. Good news for you.

The index hasn't dropped below it's critical level of 70 since Novemeber 2001 -- when it was 69.

Britt Beemer, the chairman of America's Research Group is advising retailers to "be extrememly promotional and resort to free promotions to get consumers to buy."

Let's hope they listen. And start looking for the bargains.

XOXO--- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Shopping Advice (122)

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Rare find: air conditioners

Better hope your air conditioner doesn’t need to be replaced in the next few months. They’re considered “seasonal items” and many retailers don’t carry them until summertime. I guess South Florida home improvement stores figure people are out buying winter coats.

Did you know this? Well, I didn’t. So you can image my frustration when I tried to get a new one this week.

My father is coming to visit next Tuesday, and the apartment needs to feel like a walk-in freezer otherwise he starts getting cranky. My air conditioning unit makes loud banging noises and a thick block of ice forms on the coils after running for an hour or so. No air, whatsoever, emits from the darn thing.

The last time dad was in town he de-iced the machine with a hair dryer for 45 minutes in hopes of getting it to work again. He was not happy about this, of course, and gave me a lecture about “taking care of these things.” But like many thin-blooded South Floridians I don’t use the air conditioner much from October to March, so I never talked to my landlord about getting it replaced.

Alas, with pops coming to town I needed to do something – and quick. My landlord gave me the green light to replace the unit and I went to Home Depot Wednesday to make the purchase and have it installed. Lo and behold, a sales associate told me he had none. Zip. Zero. Nada.

I thought this man was either joking, too lazy to check or absolutely incompetent when it came to the merchandise in his store. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. “We live in South Florida, and you’re telling me you don’t have a single air conditioning unit in this entire store?”

After three Home Depot sales associates called air conditioners “seasonal items” and said I would be hard-pressed to find one at any of their South Florida stores, I demanded an explanation. One customer service representative overheard my frustration and said he thought there might be a few in storage. But he needed a SKU number to locate them.

“How am I supposed to have a SKU number when I can’t even look at one?” I said.

He shrugged.

“Forget it,” I said. By the time these associates get the units down from their hiding place my apartment will freeze over.

“I would suggest going to Sears,” the associate said.

I thanked him for being “helpful.” And turning on my heel, I walked out, got into my car and drove directly to Sears.

A nice salesman named Walter educated me on the intricacies of air conditioning units. Who knew there were so many options? By eyeballing the choices, I took a wild guess about what I needed and asked him to check the stock before I left the store with my homework assignment of tape measuring, etc.

“We might not have any,” he said. “They’re seasonal items.”

Yes. I’m aware of this.

“But I’ll check for you,” Walter said.

“Thanks.”

Well the Sears home improvement Gods must have been in my corner, because there were eight in the store. I thanked Walter and went home to measure. Yesterday, I went to Sears and charged $529 on my credit card. I got a call from the installers this morning: The darn thing arrives tomorrow. Hooray! Dad’s going to be happy with the thermostat blowing fierce at 70 degrees. I’m going to freeze for a week.

At least I don’t have to step foot in Home Depot until hurricane season.

What do you guys think? Should stores stock air conditioners this time of year?

-- Jaclyn Giovis, Staff Writer


POSTED IN: Trends (7)

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February 21, 2008

Check out Coldwater Creek in Boca Town Center

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South Palm Beach fans of Coldwater Creek now have a store at The Terrace at Town Center. No more trekking to Wellington to get your fix. (If you're a newbie to the mall or haven't been there lately, it's at the western end close to the new Crate & Barrel.)

This store has great style at fairly reasonable (not cheap) prices.

The current offerings for spring are a little too flowery for me, but if you like feminine prints you'll love the soft colors and the styles.

Money saver tip: Before you go make sure to get one of the coupons from design or women's magazines and you can save $25 on a $100 purchase.

If you, like me, prefer the offerings in the catalog to what you find in the stores, remember the stores will take returns and you can save the postage of sending items back to the ctaalog center. For a peak at some of the offerings, see www.coldwatercreek.com.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

P.S. Typical of the deminine spring looks is this paisely skirt ($89.50).

POSTED IN: Store openings (23)

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February 18, 2008

WindSpinners for kids


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While I was walking through the Town Center at Boca Raton, one of those middle of the aisle venders caught my eye.

OK, I'm a long way from being a kid, but I know in my gut that WindSpinners will delight anyone from tots to teens. These metal cutouts -- with motifs that range from butterflies to marijuana leaves -- spin and look like one of the drug experiences of the '60s.

They are really cool, especially when used in groups of three. The prices are $25 for a small one and $35 for a large one. You'll find them right in front of Cole Haan.

If you want to see what they look like before going to the mall, check out the photo at right and the ones on line at my www.outdoorconnection.com. Let me know what you think.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Kids (40)

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Cool bracelet

What I love more than anything is finding something on a shopping trip that looks like it costs more than I paid for it. How about you? Isn't it a rush?

This past weekend I went to Town Center at Boca Raton. (And, yes there was security all over the place -- inside and out to put us shopoholics at ease).
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I went into Talbot's to get a gift card for my friend in Philadelphia, when, of course, I spotted something for myself. Isn't that always what happens? I compare it to finding the man of your dreams when you weren't looking.

Anyhow, my find is a silver bracelet with a Greek key pattern for only $35! It has earrings to match, but they were out. They do have them at www.talbots.com. Tempting, isn't it?

By the way, the gift card at Talbot's doesn't expire.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Jewelry (50)

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Kohl's is coming!


If you seen the enticing ads for Kohl's you're probably wondered why they advertised in South Florida when the closest store was Jensen Beach.
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Here's the inside info: It's cheaper for a business to buy a regional or national TV advertisement than one for separate markets.

But soon we'll know if the realiity adds up to the hype of their enticing ads. Kohl's plans to open its first SoFla in April at the southwest corner of Congress Avenue and Gateway. That's the Catalina Centre, where the old Target store was located. The location is ironic because Kohl's is more like Target than Wal-Mart. For a look at what the store carries, see www.kohls.com..

Have any of you shopped at Kohl's? What should we expect. Please tell.

X0XO -- Shopper Girl


P.S. Here an example of what to expect form the Website -- a Splice Purple dress on sale for $34.99.

POSTED IN: Store openings (23)

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February 7, 2008

A Gift for every man, by Every Man

My husband is one of those tough Valentines to buy for. Doesn't wear ties, jewelry or cologne.
His idea of a great gift: Replenish his supply of boxers, socks or undershirts. (He'll do ANYTHING to stay out of the mall.)

So for his simple needs, I have found the perfect simple gift for Valentine's Day or any other occasion, for that matter.

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The Find: Bath and shaving products by Every Man Jack, available at Target.

Why we love it: The Shave Travel Kit includes products for a three-step routine. Face wash (with marine extracts and coconut and without dyes, oils and sulfates); Shave cream or gel (made with ingredients like aloe and Irish moss and sea fennel); and shea butter post-shave lotion. Best of all, the products come in Airport-friendly sizes! Price: $8

Other EMJ kits include the Valentine's kit, $16, which includes body bars, body wash, shave gel and face lotion.

All products come in a cool, faux-woodgrain packaging with funny phrases, such as "Will this help me shed pounds?" "Only if you count stubble."

Oh, and wait till you smell it..light and a little spicy.

- KVW

POSTED IN: Valentine's Day Gifts (9)

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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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