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

Shop-O-Matic


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August 29, 2008

Hide your stuff in these rattan storage boxes

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My daughter emailed me the link for these rattan storage boxes, knowing how much I love boxes that don't need to hide in a closet. Closets hadn't been invented yet in the middle ages when my condo building was built!

I NEVER have enough storage space. I'm a big fan of decorative storage, hopefully I can eventually get to that elusive stage where I have 'a place for everything, and everything in its place.'

The three wooden boxes were $89 at retail, marked down to $69, and with an additional 15% off were $59. Still not cheap, but if they help me get even a fraction my life in order, it'll be worth it.

I ordered two sets. I plan on storing my grandkids little toys and books in the two big ones. If they are as nice as they look in the picture, I can stack them and use them as a small side table. You'll just have to hold your drink if the kids are visiting. Any suggestions for a good use for the two smaller ones?

Ballard Designs is having an Anniversary Sale, 15% off everything until September 15th. Have a look at the 'Estate Sale' section for the boxes. In this case, the extra 15% covered the dreaded shipping charges.

Ballard Designs Website

POSTED IN: Accessories (79), Deals & Steals (475), Home Decor (83), Organization (11), SALES (212)

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Air travel made more peaceful

You don't want to know how many pitches I get for what promoters insist are really cool, innovative stuff. Only a few of them make the cut because I know you don't have time to sort through the bad stuff. Take the time to check this one out.

If you fly occasionally or often this Zen Class Nirvana Organizer can help remove some of the hassles of getting to your stuff during flight. The patented tote attaches to any plane or train seat back tray table. Inside are multiple mesh and zippered storage compartments to store everything from your laptop to DVD player. It's also works for Moms who want to use it as an organized way to use changing tables in rest rooms.

It is available at www.zenclasstravel.com and at www.ebags.com. The product will be on QVC in November and December. It sells for $39.99 to $90.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl



POSTED IN: Miscellaneous (41)

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August 27, 2008

Ralph Lauren introduces new fall furniture line

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December was always the best time to visit the Ralph Lauren flagship store in Manhattan. The store is housed in the the gorgeous old Beaux Arts style Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue, serious architectural eye-candy in itself, but coupled with the beautiful home furnishings and tasteful evergreen arrangements, it was always one of our first stops in an all-girls shopping weekend. Just the inspiration we needed to go home and tackle our own holiday decorating.

There is no Rhinelander Mansion in South Florida, but the RL store in the Boca Town Center completely updated its furniture displays last weekend to showcase the new fall line. There are two lovely room settings, beautifully accessorized to entice you into wanting to redecorate. Even though they don't have space to display it all, the whole line of furnishings is available to order from the Boca store.

If you want to take a virtual show house tour, have a 'walk around' the Ralph Lauren Home website. It's way out of my budget, but one can dream.

Ralph Lauren Home


POSTED IN: Home Decor (83)

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August 26, 2008

Etikette sale: 20 to 75 percent savings

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The folks who run Etikette, the cool Wilton Manors store that stocked everything from custom upholstered furniture to Italian lighting and funky accessories, are looking for a new home in Miami.

Everything in the store is on sale.

That's good news for shoppers who will find discounts of 20 to 75 percent. Prices range from $15 to a few thousand dollars. You'll find furnishings like this one-of-a-kind chair. It was originally $1,200 and is on sale for $599.


Etikette is located at 2341 Wilton Drive, 954-636-6427. Hours are 11 .m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

The sale ends Sept. 15.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: SALES (212)

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Don't wait until you need something to buy it

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It’s been a few weeks since I discovered Coupon Mom. I've taken a few weeks to learn my way around. I encourage you to try it!!

Watch Coupon Mom video

For example: I saved some coupons from a Kelloggs promotion a few weeks ago, $1 off two items. This week Kellogg cereals are buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) at a few stores.

If I were really good at this, I would have found the cheapest store for Kelloggs cereal that had a BOGO offer and used my coupons there. I worked late and had to go to the 24 hour CVS, where the regular prices were in the $4+ range.

I bought one box at $4.29 and got one free, and used the coupon for $1 off two boxes. The final price for two boxes of cereal was $3.29, or $1.65 each.

If you clipped the $10 rebate form from the same Kelloggs promotion, you could get a $10 rebate for buying 10 of the Kelloggs items. There are some good deals out there if you have the time and the patience to stick with it.

AND, if you used the 'Extra Care' CVS weekend $3 off coupon, (who can keep track of all these little papers?) then $42.90 worth of cereal came to a whopping $3.50. $3.50 for 10 boxes of cereal!!! I'm sold!!! Who can resist such a savings?

POSTED IN: Coupons (754), Deals & Steals (475)

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August 25, 2008

Dillards Sale - Extra 40% off the lowest sale price

I happened to pop into Dillards on Saturday, and saw my favorite signs, "Additional 40% off the Lowest Sale Price." I love those red signs. And especially those sales!

The salesperson said it was already the 5th day of the sale. Of course, we like to be there the first day before the sale items are all picked over. I'll get with Dillards and try to give you better notice next time.

I bought two pairs of $108 Karen Kane white jeans for $16 each. I was paying for one pair, when the price scanned in at $16, I ran over and added a duplicate pair to my pile. I'll hem one pair for flats and one for heels.

You know what, girls, we have to stick together. Whoever got there the first day should have let us know!!

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (475)

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Ethan Allen: No payments or interest until 2009

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With the economy in the hopper, even the higher end furniture folks are offering payment deals. Ethan Allen has joined the crowd with "No payments, No interest until June 2009" if you buy something through Sept. 8 when you use the Ethan Allen Finance Plus Card.

But this offer also has some tricky conditions. You have to be disciplined or you'll wind up paying the interest.
Make sure to pay the promotional purchase price in full by June 21, 2009.
And don't skip monthly payments. You have to pay the minimum monthly payments on any other balances on your account.

Here's the rub: If you fail to do these things, you will have to pay interest on the promotional purchase amount from the date of purchase at standard account terms. And it's a whooping interest rate -- The fixed APR is 23.99 percent and the default rate is 28.99 percent.

I have used these kinds of offers before and I have some advice: Put only the promotional purchase on the card. Divide the payments equally over the months you owe. And try to pay off more when you can.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Furniture (27)

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William Sonoma summer entertaining

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OK, summer is drawing to a close but in South Florida, it's always summer weather and often a time for outdoor entertaining.

The summer sale at William Sonoma is just the place to pick up all your needs for a late-summer party: Items on sale at the Wellington store include Illy espresso and coffee trio, $14.99 (if you have the espresso machine); Pina Colada and Margarita mixes, $9.99; six Margarita glasses, $14.99 for the set; barbecue tools, $17.99 each.

But the fun item I found were CDs for $4.99 to $6.99 made for outdoor entertaining: one with jazz classics and another with hot Latin tunes. I'm making them part of my hostess gift to friends I'm visitng soon. Party on! -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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August 22, 2008

Free flowers

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In case you missed it, there's an ad in the SunSentinel today for a free bunch of flowers with purchase at Field of Flowers.

You can pick from 30 varieties at its stores at on S. University Drive just south of Griffin Road in Davie; on Glades Road west of the Turnpike in Boca Raton, or on University north of Royal Palm Boulevard in Coral Springs.

I recently had my first visit to Field of Flowers and was so impressed! The store has everything and is so creative with its arrangements. The shop offers flower arranging demonstrations at 2 p.m. Saturday. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

POSTED IN: Coupons (754), Deals & Steals (475)

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Pillows, bedspreads and do-dads

The Linen Store, off Linton Boulevard near Target in Delray Beach, is usually too pricey for me.

But in August, they're having a summer sale. Lots of items including comforters, coverlets, pillow, bath towels and decor are 30 to 50 percent off.

I found something I've been looking for forever -- a toothbrush holder for only $3.99. It's a gold Croscill that holds four brushes. I like it because it doesn't have a container at the bottom. Those tend to become laden with toothpaste and are hard to clean.

I also noticed some cute linen towels embroidered with fanciful scenes of cities: Las Vegas, Rome and Miami.

Nice stuff for a bit less than the rest of the year. Check it out. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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35 percent off jewelry

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I'm sharing this with you because the jewelry looks beautiful and the discount is good, but I'm also warning you that the Web site is kind of a mess to navigate.

I got an email from steelcouture.com announcing that you can get 35 percent off your entire purchase until Labor Day. The jewelry choices look fab -- everything from trendy cuff bracelets to chandelier earrings.

Here are a few tips for using the Website:

When you first open the Web site, it looks like nothing is there except a side rail. Scroll down a page view to see the choices.

Click through to "I want it" to see the price of the item clearly.

Your discount isn't clear until you go to the checkout and enter the code "Summer 35".

The model at left is wearing items form the Cyd Collection. Regular price of the cuff is $70 and the earrings are $68.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (79), Deals & Steals (475), Jewelry (50)

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There should be an Olympic sport for shopping!

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I promised another blog on my Shanghai shopping experiences.

This woman, Lee, worked in the 'Shanghai Fabric Market.' "Lee, we might not speak the same language, but we sure have a common bond!." Hint: did you read her t-shirt?

So this was the 'Fabric Market,' i.e. 'Shanghai South Bund Soft-Spinning Material Market,' where folks go to get clothes made. A 20 minute cab ride from the center of town, but cabs are cheap cheap cheap in China. Twenty minutes in a cab was between $4-5.

None of the cab drivers speak English, so make sure you get the name of your destination written in Chinese before you leave your hotel.

After ten days alone in town, I was feeling like a deaf mute, silently holding up small slips of paper with Chinese letters, in order to communicate.



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The Shanghai Fabric Market was 4 floors of crowded stalls, loaded with rolls of fabric and sample clothing. No dressing rooms, no English. But I was psyched, thought I would come home with a few fun and original dresses.

Armed with magazine clippings of designer clothes, I dragged out bolt after bolt of silk fabrics. Geeez, could the prints get more loud or garish?! Nothing like the beautiful Italian print in the Vogue ad. Oh well.

Next strategy: I have a classic dress with me, I'll pick a nice plain fabric and have it copied. Can you make it just a bit bigger, this dress is a bit tight?





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After measuring me EVERYWHERE, arms, thighs, knees, you name it, I thought WOW this dress is really going to fit!!

What do you think?

Next day, I feel like Houdini trying to get into the dress without flashing the masses sans dressing room.

Oh goodness, you must have gotten my measurements mixed up with those of Queen Latifah.




If I go back to Shanghai, which I would, don't let my whining discourage you... I would try a different strategy in the Fabric Market.

1) Pack pants or dress that fit perfectly to copy.

2) Pick fabrics from the beautiful mens suit fabrics in the ground floor stalls.

3) Wear a body suit or bicycle shorts and tank top (under your sack dress) on measuring and fitting day.

4) Ask, in your best Chinese, to have a second day fitting, pre-finished product.


POSTED IN: Destinations (119)

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August 20, 2008

Mirror, mirror on the wall


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I just love almost everything that Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams designs.

And, if you are looking for a new mirror to give some long needed pizazz to your wall, this is it.

The lines are graphic and yet it will go with any style -- from contemporary to traditional. The 28-inch mirror comes in espresso or soft white. Imagine how it would look on a solid color wall over a powder room sink. It sells for $245.

See more at www.mgandbw.com. Or see it it in person at: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 3841 NE 2nd Avenue (Miami Design District) Suite 101, Miami ,305-576-1135.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (79), Home Decor (83), Miscellaneous (41)

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August 19, 2008

It's fall: Giant Vogue is here

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It’s fall. Well, not technically, but the fall fashion season has arrived. Got my 798-page Vogue in the mail (I feel sorry for the mail person who delivered that!)

With fall comes boots – even in South Florida. More of the fashion variety is worn here and September Vogue is all about stiletto boots and shoes. How about Prada's two-piece tie-up boots for a mere $1,100?

“A skyscraper pump gives you a new attitude instantly,” designer Christian Louboutin is quoted as saying. Yeah -- a new attitude and life-long foot problems. Who can wear these 13-inch high contraptions?

Now I’m not about to trade in my high heels for sneakers, but c’mon designers, give women a break. We have to walk in these things! Is it little wonder most shoe designers are men?

What do you think about comfort vs. fashion in shoes? -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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Shopping Alert: Sawgrass Mills is open

The weather out there may be raining and the wind may be blowing, but a little tropical storm doesn't stop the folks at Sawgrass Mills.

Management of the mall sent us an email so we could let you know that it's business as usual at the Mall.

Customers can contact the mall at 954-846-2350 for further information.

-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Miscellaneous (41)

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Gossip Girl's Blake Lively's jeans

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Instyle.com is a must for any of you looking to find where to buy what the stars are wearing.

Here's a great tip for those who want to channel hot Blake Lively. Lively filmed a scene for Gossip Girl (my guilty pleasure, I must admit) wearing these skinny jeans from the Rich & Skinny trendy denim line.

Don't you wish you could look long and lean like Lively? Me, too. Sigh.

They typically sell for $156, but much of the line is on sale from 33 to 60 percent off at nordstrom.com.

For more and to find your fave star's clothes, bookmark Instyle.com.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl


POSTED IN: Celeb shopping (21)

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Kids' craft handiwork for the garden

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This is for you if your kids' artwork decorates your refrigerator and you don't care if all the designers sniff that this stuff should be framed and grouped together in the hallway. This is for you if you're proud of anything your little Ashley or Brandon does.

Hey, even I, the childfree one, thinks it's awfully cute. RedEnvelope.com has a couple of adorbale ways to give your kids and project to do and display their, pardon the pun, handiwork.

Red Envelope's exclusive Hexagon Stepping Stone kit includes 70 colorful rocks and mosaic tiles that your child can use to create a piece of art for your garden. It also includes stone-craft mix, a mixing paddle, reusable vinyl mold, design template and instructions. The produces a stepping stone is 12-by10-by-1/4 inch and sells for $28.

While you are on the site, also check out the Handprint Canvas, which can turn your child's handprints into an interior work of art. It's $42 and includes four stretched 10-inch canvases, non-toxic, water-based paint and four bins to mix the paint.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

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August 18, 2008

Cheap thrills under $10

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When I first saw the promo for Domino magazine's blog that has great finds for under $10, I was more than a little skeptical. Come on, folks, what can you find these days for under $10 that you really want to put in your home? We're really not intol dollar store style.

But design*sponge blogger Grace Bonney does find some great stuff like this antiqued silver leaf votive. She suggests you use it to "set the mood at your dinner table, in your living room, or next to your bathtub."

The antiqued silver leaf votive is perfect for holding tea lights or small pillars and it sells for $6 at www.anthropologie.com.

Bookmark Grace at dominomag.com/go/under10.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (475)

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High style for a reasonable price

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Are you as addicted to big, chunky jewelry as I am?

Thank goodness it's easier to find now that the fashion gurus have anointed it as "in style for fashionistas." But, knowing how fickle this industry is, I am stocking up on the big stuff while I can still find it.

So, as an ode to Vogue, Bazaar and WWD, here is one of my fave finds. I haven't bought it yet, but wanted to share this cool necklace I discovered this past weekend.

This mult-gem (faux and real, of course) bib necklace includes a combo of natural stones and turquoise resin with metal. It sells for $79, but looks ike it costs far more. Check www.bananarepublic.com and click on jewelry.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Jewelry (50)

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August 16, 2008

Send your expired coupons to the military

Did you know that our military can use manufacturers coupons for 6 months after their expiration date?

Want to share your coupons with our military families? Only send coupons that are current or a month or two beyond the expiration date. Don’t forget the time for transit and distribution.

If possible, try to sort coupons into smaller envelopes in the same categories you would use. At the very least, sort them into FOOD and NON FOOD if possible.

They have to be addressed to a specific individual, Coupons sent to generic addresses will not get delivered. Ask at your post office about flat rate APO packaging to save on postage. Here are two addresses that were provided on couponmom.com:

Base 1:
Thomas Leugers
USAG-UD CMR 419 Box 1467
APO AE 09102


Base 2:
Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator
ACS-10th ASG
Unit 35115
APO AP 96376-5115

If you have a loved one in the military who could use manufacturers coupons, please send me the address. I'll be glad to post it.

POSTED IN: Coupons (754)

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August 14, 2008

Fastest swimwear

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Since I've been watching Michael Phelps record-breaking achievements in the Olympics this week, I've been curious about Speedo's new LZR Racer suit that he and others are wearing.

According to Speedo, "the Fastskin LZR Racer is the result of some of the most extensive research in swimwear history. Made from an ultra lightweight, low drag, water repellent, fast drying fabric, unique to Speedo, called LZR Pulse, the LZR Racer is the world’s first fully bonded swimsuit."

The benefits, they list as:
5% better oxygen efficiency, enabling swimmers to swim faster for longer**

4% faster in starts, sprints and turns**

Internal core stabiliser supports and holds the swimmer in a corset-like grip and helps them to maintain the best body position in the water for longer. The result...faster performances.

Reduces muscle oscilation and skin vibration through the world's lightest, most powerful and water repellant swim fabric. The athlete has complete freedom of movement.

I doubt whether the suit is responsible for Phelps' magnificent performance and I don't think we'll see the LZR on South Florida's beaches anytime soon, but interesting stuff. Parents, may be worth noting for your budding Olympian. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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August 13, 2008

Deals and steals

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As your shopping blogger, I must point out two deals, and one deal or steal -- I'll let you decide.

My fav coffee place, Starbucks, is getting in gear with the weak economy this summer. Every morning when I pick up my Americano, my receipt is stamped for a $2 discount on my afternoon iced grande Mocha. Applies to cold drinks after 2 p.m. -- sweet deal for us coffee addicts.

Panera's also is getting with the program by offering a drawing in each store for a $75 gas card. Haven't won yet, but I keep trying. They pick one each Saturday morning.

Newcomer Kohl's is trying to attract the younger set with its "Rock Like a Star" video contest. Submit a video about your love of denim and you have a chance to win $10,000, concert tickets and other goodies. Only problem is you have to submit it through Facebook, so Kohl's takes all your information as well, which may include your date of birth.

Parents or teens: You shouldn't have anything on your public Facebook profile you wouldn't want your grandma to see. Beware of contests that require more than your e-mail. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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Is inexpensive furniture getting easier to find, or is it just me?

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I used to live in an old house in Rio Vista in east Ft Lauderdale. I miss my oak floors, the huge old shade trees, and the big front yard. In those days I was obsessive about getting antique furniture, the house had a New England feel, so Boca McMansion sea-foam green and peach didn't cut it.

My new 'digs' are downsized, and much more casual. It seems furniture shopping is not the chore it used to be. And not nearly as expensive! I love to mix and match, wood, wicker, painted pieces, etc.

Now that I have more furniture than I need, I'm constantly seeing pieces I wish I had a place for. What do you think of these Victoria Hagen $79 occasional tables from Target? Who would know? Use your imagination to accessorize...they would mix with any decor.

Have you seen any great pieces you'd like to share with us?


POSTED IN: Deals & Steals (475), Furniture (27)

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August 11, 2008

Natural style: Branch table and recycled mag bin

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I was searching for some items featured in the August issue of Country Living magazine when I came across Vivaterra.com. I wasn't hot on the stuff featured in the magazine, but these two other items on the Website rock.

If you love bringing nature inside the house, check out this side table made out of glass and wood branches from fallen trees. I love the shape, and the fact it brings texture into an indoor living space. The size is 19.5"D x 20.5"H and it sells for $198.

Never feel guilty about all those magazines you read again. This is the ultimate recycled item with style. This rolled magazine storage crate is made from magazines around the world, which create the vertical striations on the base. Above you can see the foreign magazine covers. Each one is different and coated with a natural finish. It's 16.5"W x 11"D x 7.5"H and sells for $69.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Accessories (79), Eco shopping (18), Home Decor (83)

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August 10, 2008

Town Center finds

Summer sales are in full swing at Town Center in Boca Raton this weekend. Here are some items worth checking out:

Belts, thin and wide, on sale for $19 and up, at Nordstrom's. Ralph Lauren and Italian-made leather can be found in the sale section.

50 percent off leather purses at Clark's for a sale price of $50-$60. Nice styles and colors available.

70 percent off jewelry at Coldwater Creek. I picked up a shell necklace threaded with gold for only $19.99 -- my indulgence of the weekend.

Stopped by Bloomingdale's "final sale" but found nothing. Even at 50 percent off, $100-plus for a blouse is over this shopper's budget. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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August 8, 2008

Stylish lunch bag

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The reality of the new economy is: More and more of us are toting our lunches to work.

Is it just me or are most of the choices for lunch bags butt ugly? Fashionistas no longer need to worry. Even your lunch bag can be cool.

Check out htis insulated lunch tote from Stitch Monogramming & Embroidery in Delray Beach. The attractive 9.5-by-11-inch tote has a dark brown base with choice of four handle colors -- electric blue, lime, red and shocking pink. It features a zipper top, easy clean liner and full insulation.

The bag sells for $34.95, which includes a choice of monograms. See www.stitchatlantic.com.

It could be the new status symbol for the lunch crowd.

XOXO -- Shopper Girl

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August 7, 2008

'Strategic Shopping' makes for big savings

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What a coincidence that Marcia (Bargain Hunter) would blog about using coupons a few days ago, on the very day I had dinner with an old friend, Susan, who over dinner very enthusiastically reported that she was saving $$$ using a shopping system she learned from couponmom.com.

Couponmom.com was started by Stephanie Nelson, a marketing professional who ‘retired’ to raise her children. Stephanie spent years researching the use of shopping with coupons, developed her system of ‘Stategic Shopping,’ and shares it free on her website. She’s been on The Today Show and Good Morning America, so maybe you’ve heard about this, but it was new to me.

Susan and her daughter spend about three hours every Saturday, bonding and shopping, and get a huge kick out of the impressive savings a little effort can bring.

I took a quick look at the website that night after dinner, and was totally confused by too many advertisements, offers and ‘free gift’ solicitations, then I got lost in a maze of surveys and registration forms. If Susan hadn’t been so convincing, I would have given up, thinking it was too much trouble to navigate the site. My advice to you, “Don’t give up!!”

The next morning, I finally found the instructions…they are in a 9 page book that you download free off the website. Now, YOU might figure it out in a few minutes, maybe I have a late life case of ADD, but it took me a good hour to understand how Coupon Mom works. But it was an hour well spent! Coupon Mom does most of the work for you. I can’t wait to start saving.

Each week they post all the items on sale at each of your favorite stores and also which items have coupon offers, and where you can find the coupons. If you spend 15-20 minutes each week on Coupon Mom, you can cut your grocery bills considerably. Her theory simplified is stock up when the price is right, don’t wait until you need it.

The only way I could really explain Coupon Mom on this site would be to reproduce the 9 pages of instructions. But have a look for yourself…you’ll be glad you did. I know I’m hooked!!

Go to the home page and click on 'Join Free Today and download our ebook.' Avoid all the other links for now. They will only confuse you.

Coupon Mom


Sample Coupon Mom suggestions:
Walgreens Soft White Light Bulbs 4 Pack or 3 Way Single Bulb, FREE after Easy Saver Mail In Rebate of $1.99

Or

With a coupon from 08-03 RedPlum insert from Sunday Sun-Sentinel get Purina Friskies Party Mix Cat Treats FREE at Target

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What is Angelina Jolie wearing in People?

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By now, we all have seen the People magazine cover with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and their new twins. Sexy parents. Adorable babies with Angelina's pouty lips. How perfect can you get? Can you stand it?

But, wait, what is the nightgown the sex symbol Jolie is wearing? According to WWD.com, it's a bargain. She is wearing a $78 Victorian-inspired nightgown by Eileen West, whose designs are sold at Macy's Nordstrom and Dillards.

“What fun," the designer told WWD.com. I was so surprised to see my La Stella gown on Jolie. It’s a really pretty cotton garment with supersoft heirloom crisscross lace insets, tucks and a floral-vine burnout treatment. It’s a nice full-length gown for maternity and breast-feeding, and it was perfect for first baby photos.”

Ah, but what wouldn't look perfect on Angelina. Sigh.

-- Shopper Girl

POSTED IN: Celeb shopping (21)

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August 5, 2008

Shopping in Shanghai is not what it's cracked up to be

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I just got back from a 10 day visit to Shanghai China on what I imagined would be the ultimate shopping experience. I just knew I was going to have sooo much to blog about when I got back!! Everyone always raves about their shopping experiences in China!

Twenty five years ago I did a whirlwind tour of China, the last stop was Shanghai. Enchanted with the city, three days were not nearly enough. I left with that nagging feeling that I'd only scratched the surface of a very exciting city. I’ve been following Shanghai’s explosive growth through the media, I read voraciously about the wonderful restored neighborhoods, new architecture, restaurants and museums. I was haunted with the desire to return.

Shanghai is still an exciting city, barely recognizable from the Shanghai I visited in 1984, but it was fun to explore just the same. As for shopping, it’s not a tax free haven like Hong Kong, which is a shoppers paradise. Even the Shanghianese make regular shopping trips across the border to Hong Kong. In Mainland China there is a 33% tax on imported goods. The big shopping streets in Shanghai, Nanjing Road and HauiHai Road are bustling with designer stores, but there are no deals there. For example, a pair of Nine West shoes was $150. Shopping in beautiful stores that are way more expensive than home is not fun for this bargain hunter!!

So I avoided the malls, and hit the markets. The huge black market for fake designer goods keeps these markets bustling, even with supposed police crackdowns. There are aggressive hawkers everywhere shoving purse pictures in your face as they yell the only three words they know in English “Watch bag lady.” I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a real $20 Target purse than a fake Louis Vuitton for the same price.

Displays of fake Tiffany silver, and every imaginable brand of watch abound. I left my good watch at home, scared by the string of Rolex robberies in South Florida…I didn’t want to get mugged in a country where the police don’t speak my language. I was lost without my timepiece, so when I got there I bought a $15 'Georgio Armani' watch (I hope the cops don't read my blog) which quit working before I got back to my hotel. Kind of proves the old adage "you get what you pay for."

I don't give up easily, and I did manage to buy enough goodies that I had to buy an extra suitcase to get it all home. I have work to do right now, have to get the newspaper out, but I'll tell you in my next blog about my China purchases.

Maybe you have some China shopping tips, in case any of our readers are going!

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Sexy lingerie: Lace thongs and cool cami

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Don't we all need some lingerie to help us feel sexier? It's the magic purchase -- no matter what your age.

If you're a thong person, these DKNY lace thongs are just the ticket. The description says they are super soft featuring scalloped edges and a lace rear accent triangle. You can spice up your boudoir at nordstrom.com . They are $10 each, but buy three or more and save $1 per item.

Or how about this cute Bethany cami? It comes in pink or black at forever21.com. It's sheer chiffon with floral mesh trim and sells for only $9.80.

XOXO-- Shopper Girl

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August 4, 2008

Road trip to Vero

A friend was driving to Vero Beach to check out a house -- under $200,000, by the way -- and invited me to tag along to go outlet shopping.

Vero Fashion Outlet is about an hour and a half away from where I live in Palm Beach County. Is it worth the price of gas? It was for me, because someone else was driving, and because the sales were fantastic: 50 to 70 percent off at most designer outlook shops.

My best buy: a $49 Max & Cleo dress marked down from $188 originally at the BCBG Max Azria outlet. I also found two tops I can wear to work for only $11.99 apiece at Calvin Klein and Van Heusen and buy-one-get-one-free jewelry at Jones New York.

Moreover, my mother benefited because I found her unusual narrow shoe size at Clark's outlet. If the shoes don't fit, I was told I could take them back to any other regular store closer to home. So I don't have to pay for any extra gas to return them. What a good deal!

Vero Fashion Outlet: Worth the trip, especially if your friend is driving. You might want to check out the houses, too. -- Marcia "Bargain Hunter" Pounds

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August 1, 2008

Trim your workout budget

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Sometimes, you need an extra incentive to go to the gym. Like a new outfit!

Now I’m not the type who needs to get all dressed up and even wear makeup to the gym – it just melts off anyway. But my workout clothes are tired.

So on Thursday evening I went searching at Target (my sister and I call it Tar-jay) where I have found workout wear before. The active-wear area didn’t have much: $16.99 was the sale price for most running pants and tops; $24.00 for workout capris.

I was about to leave the store when I walked past racks and racks of summer clothing on sale. Well, guess what, mixed in with the tops and shorts were workout wear. I found a blue Champion top, the kind that keeps you “cool and dry,” for only $4.98.

Now I’m excited to go to the gym. Hey, maybe I’ll meet someone new. Who could resist me in that royal blue top, even if I am sweating bullets. Yeah, right. – Marcia “Bargain Hunter” Pounds

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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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