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


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July 31, 2008

Model handbag: Kate Moss look for less


Yeah, yeah, I know. Not all of us can look like model Kate Moss or have the bucks to buy a pricey alligator "Bespoke" handbag. But you can get the look for less.

I had to lock up my charge cards when I saw this lookalike bag in People's Style Watch. The Green Victoria Handbag isn't alligator, but the patent croc is a decent substitute. The 16Wx12Hx5D bag has rhinestone pave on lock with pockets for cell phone and sunglasses. It is only $58 at

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (73)

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July 30, 2008

On safari at Marshall's

I stopped by Marshall's on my lunch hour and was amazed to hear a saleswoman hawking a new selection of purses from Italy. "Don't miss these ladies," she called out to women shoppiing the purse aisle.

You never know what treasures -- or junk -- you might at find Marshall's, and that's the fun of it for the real shopper. Today I found an Anne Klein dress marked down to $20.

I purused the Italian purses, from Francesco Biasia, but they were too expensive for my taste at $99 to $120. Most be older models because they don't look like any purses on Francesco Biasia

As I was checking out, I noticed Dooney & Bourke large-sized bags behind the counter for $250. Is Marshall's going upscale?

Other finds were more down to earth or back to school: Cayman or Earl & Wilson cotton quilts in either a blue or red patterns for $39.99, plus matching sheets and pillows available. Also kids' school uniforms, lunch boxes and clothes for that almost here first day of school. Happy hunting. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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Shoe sale -- up to 75 percent off



While I was driving to work this morning, I heard a commercial for, which promised discounts of up to 75 percent off.

I couldn't wait to see it. is a portal, which links to other sites. The variety is astounding. They feature everything from sneakers to stilletos.

Here are two of my faves:

Stuart Weitzman Dreamgirl: Carrie Bradshaw, our Sex and the City shoe maven, would go wild for this pair of sexy slides with Swarovski crystal hardware. They have a leather-lined footbed and a 4-inch heel. Available in satin or specchio calf. They were $495 (ouch!) and on sale for $297.

Pear-studded sandal: This faux-pearl studded sandal from Newport News and beaded trim slingback is a lot of sexy shoe for the price, It has a 2-inch heel and a more conservative price. It was $74 on sale for $34.99.

See them at And channel your inner Amelda Marcos.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Shoes (53)

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July 29, 2008

Coupon mania

Everybody’s clipping coupons these days. Why not? With the cost of groceries, every little bit helps.

The Sunday paper is, of course, the mother-lode of coupons. I found a $3 coupon for a L’Oreal cleansers and moisturizers, $1 off Pledge cleaning wipes and $2 off Revlon cosmetics – all products I already use.

That’s the trick. You don’t want to buy items just because you have a coupon.

The Internet is another source of coupons. Coupons is the main source. You can type in your zip code and fi nd coupons in your area. For our Delray Beach office address, I found these coupons: I found $1 off Perdue chicken breast strips, $1 coupon for Tylenol and $1 off Boston contact lens solution – darn! I just bought that!

You can also google a name brand and see if there’s a coupon available. All of this takes preparation for a shopping trip. But if done routinely, it could start to pay off.

Did you find a good coupon recently? Tell me where or post the link here. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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July 28, 2008

Three Linens 'n Things stores to close

Time to stock up on household goodies.

Linens 'n Things in Delray Beach, Wellington and Davie join the list of its South Florida stores slated to close. Those extra discount coupons probably are already in your mailbox.

The stores to close are: The Plaza of Delray Beach off Linton Boulevard and Federal Highway; The Mall at Wellington Green; and Tower Shops in Davie.

The chain filed for bankruptcy reorganization in May. Now, 57 underperforming stores nationwide are closing. That's actually fewer than the 87 planned, which is good news for employees and our household guests who like fresh towels. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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Jonathan Adler's cool pillows, sconces

Have you been to LIncoln Road Mall in South Beach lately? It's been a while for me, but my husband and I made the pilgrimage Saturday. I forgot how many beautiful people you see on the road. Slim. Taught. Gorgeous. Ah, to be 18 again...

But I digress. I wanted to finally visit the Jonathan Adler store. The potter turned designer has a wonderful sense of humor that is reflected in his products. (Just read his "manifesto" on the wall.)

Some of his latest needlepoint pillows will create a new kind of pillow talk. We loved the "lust" pillow ($165), the "pill" pillow ($165) and the "ties" pillow ($195).

And if you're a parrent, you could go gaga over the giraffe sconces ($195 each). We love this: You can buy a pair that face in opposite directions.

The sales staff is friendly and they make you feel right at home. Ana Meza, the store manager, was helpful and great to talk with.

The store is located at 1024 Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach. That's on the south side of the mall west of Victoria's Secret. Call 305-534-5600. For more info see

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (73)

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Summer earring sale at Dillard’s

I’ve been trying to be good in recent weeks – a financial diet of sorts. Times are tough so I’ve tried to budget what I spend on the weekend and hardly to shop at all. Kate%20Landry.jpg

But this weekend, I had to allow myself to indulge a bit in Dillard’s summer jewelry sale.
Name brand earrings including Kate Landry and Preston & York are marked down radically -- many under $20 or even under $10.

I picked up Kate Landry silver hoops for $12 (similar to these above) and sterling silver with red beads for only $8.50. Lots of necklaces too. I found a big selection at the Boynton Beach Mall. The Galleria in Fort Lauderdale also has a big jewelry department.

Unfortunately, the Godiva dark chocolate-covered almonds were near the cash register. So I blew my other diet, too. Ah, well...-- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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July 25, 2008

Dryer help: Sock Cop


None of us can explain it. We put six pairs of socks in the dryer, and when we take them out to sort the clothes, one sock is missing. Where did it go? Only God knows.

If socks gone missing is your theme song, you're gonna love the Sock Cop. The device was actually created by a cop -- Tampa police office Rich O'Connor, who came up with the idea after his wife became frustrated when she kept losing socks. It is made out of a material designed to withstand extremely high temperatures. And there are no sharp edges so it won't damage socks.

"Basically Sock Cop serves as a handcuff for socks," O'Connor says.

It is avialable at the Container Store, some Bed, Bath & Beyond stores and on the Website -- You get three packages (60 clips) for $24.99.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Miscellaneous (36)

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July 24, 2008

Perfect purse: Eyelet dreams


Anyone who knows me would tell you I'm not the frilly type girl. No Laura Ashley clothes with feminine white eyelet collars. No ruffles. For me, it's all about the line, color and drape in clothing as it is in interior design.

But this time I make an exception. I just fell in love with this purse when I got a "shopper alert" from the InStyle folks. This Lucy Eyelet Clutch from Lauren Merkin is linen with eyelet panels at sides. Even the lining is cool -- metallic-stripe.

The 6"H x 11"L x 1"D is $250 at

-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (73)

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July 23, 2008

Entertaining: Cool plates


I've told you before how much I love tableware. A shrink might say it goes back to the decade I spent as a food editor. Maybe we shouldn't go there...

Many of us can't afford to entertain as fancy as we did in the past, but we can still have friends over for a meal and have them bring a dish.

I just love these two items that I found on They are reasonably priced, too.

Entertaining Essentials Glass Tray: This 17-by-8-inch tray straddles the line between plain and fancy. It's made off hammered bubble glass with fluted edges. It's shown here with the Entertaining Essentials Rectangle Stand. The tray is $25 and the stand is $15.

Entertaining Essentials Plates: Set of 4: Love these 7 1/2-inch square matching plates that can be used for a lot of foods -- as salad or bread plates, spoon rests, candy dishes or pillar candle plates. They are only $30 for four.

When are you inviting me over for the party? I'll bring the mojitos!

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Tableware (13)

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July 22, 2008

Jimmy Choo shades


Are you a Jimmy Choo gal?

Now you can wear his look from head to toe. The fave designr of the Sex and the City crowd is now into cool oversize sunglasses.

Hey, I'm a big fan of oversize shades and have been wearing them way before Paris Hilton and the Hollywood crowd. These are really cool. They are available in black and dark Havana at They sell for $345. Pricey, but really stylish.

XOXO--- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (73)

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July 21, 2008

New date for Organized Living opening

Don't want to mislead you organized folks and make you disorganized.

Just learned that Organized Living's new store opening in Pembroke Pines (see my previous item) has been changed to Aug. 16.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl


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Best of everything

My good friend E. just returned from Italy and generously bought me a lovely brown leather wallet form Florence. I was fortunate enough to visit Florence two years ago, when the dollar was not so abysmal, and fell in love with a yellow leather purse in a shop off Ponte Vecchio, or the Golden Bridge, as it is called.

As much as I love to travel, it is pretty unaffordable these days. So I've come up with a solution:
Where to Buy the Best of Everything, a book by Suzy Gershman, $19.99 at Barnes & Noble. If you can't travel to the place in the world that has top quality goods, you can buy it online (of course, that takes the bucks, too.)

Two local stores are in the book: Miami Beach's Brownes & Co. and Palm Beach's Mariko

Soaring airplane costs or not, true shoppers will always find a way. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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Organized Living comes to South Broward


I have been bummed ever since the Organized Living store closed in the University Commons shopping center in Boca Raton.

The silver lining in all this: The Whole Foods store took the space, making it bigger and better. But I digress.

Organized Living, which was forced to close some of its stores in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization, is opening a new store Aug. 16 at 14528 SW 2nd St. in Pembroke Pines.

They always had really cool stuff like the Foldable Acrylic Earring Screen I found on the company Website. It's acrylic, folds for storage and holds up to 128 pairs of earrings and sells for only $10.99 on sale. It was $12.99. You will just have to see it yourself at

The store has two workshops on its opening day:
10:30 a.m. -- Secrets to an Organized Closet.
1:30 p.m. -- How an Organized Kitchen Saves You Time.

If you go, let me know what you think.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Store openings (20)

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July 17, 2008


Do you get the emails from Spirit Airlines offering you $9 specials on tickets? Often wonder how they do it, with gas prices soaring?

They are for real, and I have flown Spirit to Atlanta several times for less that $78 round trip. You just have to be willing to travel on the dates they offer the special fares.

Well, I learned first hand this weekend how they manage to survive in this economy with such cheap tickets!! I live right downtown and a cab can usually get to my house in a few minutes, so I never bother friends to take me to the airport. Well, last week no cab came and after waiting for a half hour I had to find someone to drive me at the last minute..that took another 20 minutes, on top of the half hour I'd already waited.

Armed with my Spirit Special $78 round-trip ticket to Atlanta, I went running into the airport with 42 minutes to spare, only to hear that their cutoff for checking in is 45 minutes. I tried several check-in windows, thinking I'd find a fellow human who would take pity, but NO, it is surely their policy to make you get in a new line to rebook another flight, as this one was closed out at 45 minutes. Very frustrating as the minutes ticked off, and I knew my booked plane was still sitting at the gate.

The new line was long, full of angry passengers shut out at the 45 minute mark. Most were even angrier when told what the re-booking fee would be!! To get on the next flight to Atlanta, Spirit would charge me $333. One way!!

There were 3 students in front of me, coming home from a vacation in the islands, looking happy and tanned with their Bo Derek braided hair. Their connecting flight had just landed, and they went straight to the Spirit window to check in for the flight home. Their glow faded when they were told about the exorbitant re-booking fees!

Not being happy to take no for an answer, I even tried to get to the gate, to see if there might be a 'human with a heart' there, but couldn't get through security without a boarding pass. Please pass this advice on, to all who fly, BE SURE TO PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASS ONLINE! You can do this on the airline website 24 hours in advance. I could have gotten on, even so late, with a preprinted boarding pass!

So this is the answer to the question "How can Spirit Air offer the $9 specials?" With all the huge fees they get from poor slobs who get totally screwed at the airport if they show up a minute after the 45 minute cutoff.

(The ending of my story is: I wouldn't pay the unreasonable $333 re-booking fee. I honestly would have canceled my trip before falling prey to such a rip off. I went home and re-booked a flight online, on a different airline, careful to avoid Spirit altogether, flying out the next morning for less than $100 one way. I used my original Spirit return ticket, making sure to get to the airport with hours to spare!!!)

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (282)

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July 16, 2008

Huge SALE at Macy's this weekend

Don't you hate when your friends tell you about all the money they saved at a great sale, as in "these Stuart Weitzman shoes were only $19.99," but they don't tell you until wayyyyy after it's over?

I had a few spare moments this weekend while visiting family in Atlanta, did my usual sale check at Dillards, love their 75% off sales, but nothing much there right now. Then on to Macy's, and lo and behold, the signs were up! An extra 40% off the 75%!! My kind of sale!!!

I bought some great basics: khaki pants and navy shorts for practically nothing.

I called Macy's here, and YAYYY! they are a week behind Atlanta. The Super Sale starts here tomorrow! Thursday.

Take an extra 40% off sale prices in Mens/Womens Apparel starting Thursday July 17th though Sunday. Extra 50% off womens clearance shoes. The handbag sale (50-75% off) starts today thru the 31st.

Let the savings begin!!!


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Target: red hot deals



If you don't know about's Red Hot Shop, you gotta check it out. Each month the Red Hot Shop highlights items that it considers chic, unique and sometimes off beat.

Two of my faves from this month are:

Colorful plastic speakers, made of 80 percent recycled materials, hook up to iPods and MP3 players. They fold flat for easy storage and can travel with you. And they're only $14.99.

Another great find for the horsey set is the 31 Corn Lane Hearts and Horses Duffel bag. The 12 1/2-by-19-inch bag is made of durable cotton canvas. It sells for $29.99.

Check it out each month at\redhotshop.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (282)

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July 15, 2008

Big Lots is back

Check out the fresh bargains at Big Lots, which is re-opening its Plantation store at 10 a.m. Friday, July 18, with festivities. To celebrate, Big Lots will donate $2,500 to Peters Elementary School in Plantation.

Among their "hot deals," Mead three-inch binders for $7, TGI Friday's snack chips for $3 and iMode alarm clock radio with iPod docking station for $30.

The store is at Plantation Marketplace, 7067 W Broward Blvd.

Merchandise includes brand-name closeouts, seasonal products, consumables, furniture, housewares, toys, and gifts. For more information, visit Big Lots

If you go, let me know what you find. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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July 14, 2008

Christmas in July

I began my Christmas shopping this weekend.

Actually, I only picked up one gift: a travel guide to the world's architecture marvels for my son who is an architecture student. It was less than $12 at Crate & Barrel's outlet at Sawgrass Mills Mall.

I learned this from my grandmother. She shopped all year long for Christmas, storing items in her closet as she found them. This spreads the cost over the year and also ensures you're choosing gifts appropriate for your friends and family -- not a last-minute grab on Christmas Eve.

Another great find: Two rows of travel-size items -- all meeting FAA guidelines -- at Bed, Bath & Beyond at Sawgrass. Pick up the right size shampoos, deordorant, lotions, wipes and any other item you might need for your next airline trip.

Hey, perfect for stocking stuffers, too! -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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Bed, Bath & Beyond couponing policy works


Companies promise to do something for you, but will they come through?

Awhile ago I told you about Bed, Bath & Beyond's promise to honor its policy if you came back to the store later with a 20 percent off coupon.

Does it work? Sure does. Here's the back story: Our clothes washer broke on a weekend and the last pair of sheets was in the washer. I was working on a freelance story so I asked my husband to go to BBB and buy another pair of sheets with a set of extra pillow cases. I gave him two 20 percent off coupons.

When he returned, he said he bought two extra sets of pillow cases because we have different size pillows. And he reminded me of the policy.

We went back to the store and the sales clerk didn't blink. She credited the 20 percent to our credit card. Not bad, huh? This is something to keep in mind during tough times.

Another tip from a friend: Keep your coupons in the car and you won't have to waste gas going back to the store. Great advice.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (282)

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July 11, 2008

New store: HomeGoods


HomeGoods has always been one of my fave places to shop for home decor. The prices are great, especially on some small furniture items.

If you live in Margate, you may want to check out the newest store, which opened June 22 at Coral Landings III, Sample Road and NW 62nd Avenue. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

The store PR machine claims that their prices are 20-60 percent below finer catalog, specialty and department store prices. That's a claim that's hard to prove because no one charges suggested retail these days. But I do know I have found some good buys at HomeGoods.

Check out the Website at for customer blogs and photos of their finds like this shadowbox.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (73), Home Decor (77), Store openings (20)

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July 10, 2008

Gift books

My sister Karen is an avid reader. With her birthday this week, naturally I turned to the book stores for inspiration.

But I found something different along the way: the cookbooks and unusual book offerings at Anthropologie

Here are some interesting finds for friends who travel, drink wine or cook:

Super Natural Cooking, $20
Anything but Chardonnay, $19.95
The Antique & Flea Markets of Italy, $8.95

Take a look. There are many more fun choices.

As for my sister, I can't tell you what I got her because she may read this! -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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July 9, 2008

New shops: Lilly Pulitzer comes to Boca


Remember the Arab oil embargo of 1973? Apparently, all the politicians forgot. So, as we struggle with gas prices over $4 a gallon, many of us are planning our shopping trips more than ever before.

We on the shopping blog promise to make your lives easier and to save you gas by letting you know about all the new store openings.

Here goes: A new 4,200-square-foot Lilly Pulitzer store will open on June 27th at The Terrace in Town Center at Boca Raton. The new store will have women's, men's and children's collections as well as gifts and accessories, including bags, shoes, jewelry and eyewear.

Palm Beach's Lilly Pulitzer no longer owns her namesake label, but the designers have taken her bright colors and fun patterns and updated them. I just love the look. Perfect for Florida -- then and now.

XOXO --- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (73), Kids (37), Men's Clothing (25), Store openings (20), Women's Clothing (131)

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July 8, 2008

Cool tumblers and carafe



If you're like me, you'd love to have a butler's pantry so you could fill it with all the fab dishes and glassware you find.

I am controlling myself, but I was really tempted when I saw these French Fleur de Lis tumblers on for only $9. They are great for quaffing wine or lemonade on the veranda. And there's a matching carafe for only $24.95.

Have you found any other cool, inexpensive tableware? Please share.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Home Decor (77)

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July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth: Hunter Fan Sale


Yes, I'm still on vacation, but I did so some shopping yesterday and found a great bargain that I have to share with you.

We have been looking for two new ceiling fans for our library/media room and our home office. We wanted something stylish, but not too expensive. Last weekend we found an attractive fan from a place that advertised itself as "Factory Direct Prices." But the price of the fan we liked was $540. We figured the two fans we needed plus light kit and installation would be about $1,200. Not in this economy with the "R" word being dropped every few seconds.

Anyhow, we had to go to Lowe's to get some pots and potting soil and thought we would take a look at the fans. That's when we found it. Love at first sight. The Hunter 56-inch Seville
looked a lot like the pricer fan, but it was on sale for $149.25. It's cherry with a rattan insert and came with a light kit. The regular price was $199 so we saved almost $100. Two of those fans were in our cart as fast as you could say discount. More good news: Send in for a rebate and you get a $20 Lowe's gift card. Happy independence from high electric bills.

It's a closeout so if you want want you better hurry!

XOX0 -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (282)

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July 3, 2008

Firecracker of a sale


It's Fourth of July weekend and the stores are bursting with summer clearances.

I jogged through Wellington Mall the other night and here are some of the specials I found:

Macy's has 14 kt gold jewelry 50 percent to 60 percent off. I'm not a fan of gold jewelry, but these kind of prices could make me a convert. Classic pearl necklaces and bracelets, too, like this, at right.

Similar sale in jewelry -- 40 to 60 percent off -- at Kaye's Jewelers.
Gold hoops, anyone?

Super-soft microcotton bath towels for $19.99 at Macy's, in a myriad of colors.

Good markdowns at New York & Company for work wear and casual wear -- patterned dresses and tops 30 percent off.

So many more sales to explore this weekend...who has time for fireworks? -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds


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Win $10,000 Home Makeover from Better Homes and Gardens

I know I've been out of touch, but I'm on vacation and doing all of those fun things we never get to do while we are working.

But, my blog friends, I can't resist telling you about a cool contest I read about in my Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

All you have to do is sign on to and sign up to win a $10,000 Home Makeover, like the kitchen in this photo. That translates into $5,000 worth of furniture and $5,000 cash. You have to create a free account to enter. There's a chance to sign up for free newsletters and a free 1 year subscription to Better Homes & Gardens. There are some other contests as well.

You can enter once a day. Deadline is Aug. 14.

Good luck.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Contests (23)

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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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