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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Finally. The day the fashion world has been waiting for

A Nordstrom Rack and Target one-two punch.

Deal Diva Robbyn Mitchell

A Nordstrom Rack and Target one-two punch.

Today is the day. The best fashion tongue-wagging day of the year. The day all novice and professional critics look forward to for weeks. The day of Deal Diva Katherine Snow Smith's My Outfit Monday.

Yes. All eyes are on me today. Like what else would the fashion world have to discuss?

So without further delay.... I am wearing an Ellie Tahari dress I got from Nordstrom Rack. It goes from work to a party or to a rockin' Boy Scouts parents' meeting.

My over-the-knee boots made from God knows what are from Target. Found them on the bottom of the Clearance Shelf last Saturday one hour before I had to go to a 9 a.m. burial then a funeral in freezing North Carolina. They were marked down from $49 to $26 and then, $14. My Aunt Carolyn would have been so proud. She was terrible at math until you put a $ in front of the numbers.

Good ole' Target and its 7 a.m. opening. 

If anyone is still reading this post, please stop. You have better things to do. Go back and read Stephanie Hayes' Red Carpet recap again. And again. And get your fashion priorities straight. 

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Oscars red carpet recap: Jewel tones and no diversity

This strapless dress on Tina Fey in any other color would have been unremarkable. In this rich purple, it was something special. I even got behind her matching jewels and her touch of purple eye shadow. This is 90s picture day, after all!

AP

This strapless dress on Tina Fey in any other color would have been unremarkable. In this rich purple, it was something special. I even got behind her matching jewels and her touch of purple eye shadow. This is 90s picture day, after all!

Here's the thing about spotlighting Oscars fashion in the newspaper every year. For the print product, we have limited space and have to pick just a handful of gowns to talk about. The goal is to identify some kind of red carpet fashion trend and make selections within that universe -- this year, it was peacock colors. Then, within that universe, we want to spotlight people who have been buzzworthy this year, nominees or stars with big things going on. Within that universe, we want to try and make our selections diverse and reflective of a wide audience.

That can be a challenge with every award show. But this year, it was especially apparent. The Oscars' all-white acting nominees and subsequent boycotts really manifested on the red carpet, maybe more than ever, and that's a shame in so many ways. 

Still, we were able to spot the typical trends, the good, the bad and the ugly. Tea length dresses are a thing. The colors reminded me of 90s school photo day, in a good way. Lady Gaga wore a pants cape, so there's that. While the colors were rich, the overall take felt a little flat and staid. We have a lot of expectations for next year, in a lot of ways. …

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Join us for Oscars tweeting and live coverage Sunday!

Here's to us, Sunday, 6 p.m., with #tbtoscars

Here's to us, Sunday, 6 p.m., with #tbtoscars

Love the Oscars, hate the Oscars, or just kind of hoping to see Leo win a golden statue already so we can stop hearing about how he has nothing real to show for his decades in the film industry?

GREAT! This Sunday is for you.

Tweet us your Yassssss, Kween-s, your best snark and your boring-tuxedo haterade (@DealDivas) starting at 6 p.m. using the party hashtag #tbtoscars

The Times will have a liveblog capturing everything with #tbtoscars, so follow the fun there if you're not into Twitter.

One more time: You, us, Sunday, 6 p.m., #tbtoscars

Now if you'll excuse us, we need to choose our favorite leopard sweatpants for the night.

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I wish Cher had a date with Oscar

Christian Grey aint got nothing on Cher

screen shot of The Complete Book of Oscar Fashion

Christian Grey aint got nothing on Cher

Sunday night is the big  night. If you are reading this blog you are the type of fashion fan who doesn't need to be reminded, much less told what happens Sunday night. The Deal Divas will be live tweeting starting at 6 p.m. Sunday at #tbtoscars

I'll be tweeting and hosting our family's annual Oscar party for a few neighbors and friends. We charge $3 a ballot to bet in the pool. No talking except during the commericals. This is not like the Superbowl when it doesn't matter if you miss half of it. We serve food based on the best picture nominees. This year's menu will include Bear Claws in honor of the Revenant, spaghetti for Brooklyn and brie and crackers for Room. (My son thought of that one. I think he has a slight crush on her,)

As I was counting down the minutes to the red carpet last night, I found myself looking through my well worn Complete Book of Oscar Fashion. Best book I've ever bought from a Barnes & Noble clearance table. …

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Shopping Planner: Semiannual Dress For Success sale, plus flea market flips and more

Be there.

Photo by Diva Stephanie Hayes

Be there.

DIVINE DEALS: DRESS FOR SUCCESS
The clouds just parted and I swear I heard angels sing, for it is that time again: time to show our support for Dress for Success Tampa Bay, all while scoring serious deals on clothes, shoes and accessories. Some backstory: Dress for Success helps disadvantaged women gain the skills and wardrobes they need to step foot into that perfect career. DFS Tampa Bay provides attire for job interviews — plus interview tips, employment skills, networking and more. Most of the clothes they offer are donated or gently used, but the organization sells off its excess inventory and uses the money to buy new clothes and keep the lights on. …

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Rent the Runway drops prices to $29 for Leap Day

This ADAM lace teacup dress is $29 through Leap Day!

Rent the Runway

This ADAM lace teacup dress is $29 through Leap Day!

When it comes to buying or renting clothes online, I'm basically 97 years old, asking "What is all that about, now? Where is my Victrola?" Then I hop on the community bus to the mall on a Monday morning. 

My friends are always trying to get me into mail delivery shopping services like Stitch Fix (see Monday's outfit post) and Rent the Runway, because that's how people function in 2016. Lydia and Katie and Lisa are really into Stitch Fix, and Katie especially is REALLY into Rent the Runway. 

Me? I rarely ever shop online. I like to go into stores and try on a bunch of things and be pretty picky about what I leave with. I don't like not knowing how things lay or feel or look in person, and I don't like the hassle of sending things back when they don't work. Also, I really enjoy the process of shopping. I find it creative and relaxing. AND! If you go to a department store, you can have a nice lunch in the food court! (Old.) …

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My Outfit Monday: Embracing weekend casual with Stitch Fix

Thanks for the backdrop in an unsanctioned area of the brewery, Three Daughters!

Photo by Eve Edelheit.

Thanks for the backdrop in an unsanctioned area of the brewery, Three Daughters!

Stitch Fix is spreading through the Times like a plague that steals your money (many thanks to awareness from Diva Lydia and intense pushing by converted Diva Lisa). I am the latest, and I don't think the last, diva to fall for the online styling service, the one where you pay a $20 styling fee and receive five items in a box that are yours to buy or return.

I didn't come to this decision rashly; I mulled it over during the two-plus years since I first blogged about it.

I know it's insanely addictive and luxurious, so I promise I am watching it, okay?

Exhibit A: I only bought one item from my first Fix. We call that restraint, kids.

It's the pink-striped fancy tee you see above. My wardrobe is predominantly work blouses and cocktail dresses, so I really appreciated the nudge from SF to invest in fun dressed-down looks, too. 

I'm wearing the top here on a recent Saturday featuring Michelle's engagement party plus my husband's birthday party. I had only opened the box, like, two hours before. …

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A look inside the $230,000 goodie bag Oscars nominees are getting this year

Jennifer Lawrence all "WHAT'S IN THE BAG? WHAT'S IN THE BAG?"

New York Times

Jennifer Lawrence all "WHAT'S IN THE BAG? WHAT'S IN THE BAG?"

Another year, another Oscars gift bag that costs more than a house.

When the Hollywood elite gather this Sunday to crown their most treasured thespians with gold trophies shaped like naked men, some losers and winners alike will also get a bag of goodies worth more than $230,000. (Last year's was worth a measly $160,000; in 2014 only $80,000.)

Nominees in five categories - best actor/actress, best supporting actor/actress and best director - will get things like a lifetime supply of Pu-erh Tea Nourishing Cream and Pu-erh Tea Cleansing Bar ($31,200), a private 15-day walking tour of Japan ($54,000), a three-night stay at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy ($5,000), a Vampire Breast Lift ($1,900), 740 Park plastic surgery ($5,530), personalized M&Ms ($300, COME ON) and, my personal favorite, chapstick ($6). …

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Rejoice, four-eyed friends, as Warby Parker comes to Tampa

The new Warby Parker showroom at Oxford Exchange opens Saturday morning.

Photo by Justine Griffin, Times staff writer

The new Warby Parker showroom at Oxford Exchange opens Saturday morning.

When I was in the second grade, I told my mom I was having trouble seeing the chalkboard at school. She took me to the eye doctor. I couldn't read the big "E."

And so began my 20-year relationship with glasses, which has been hot and cold over the years, generally depending on whether or not I was in middle school.

I love that glasses have become "cool." When I was a kid, your choices were rimless owl face or plastic circle doom. Now, there's every shape and size and shade available, and the more they stand out, the better they're loved.

So I was delighted when my girl Justine, a business reporter for the Times, reported that Warby Parker is opening a showroom at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa. For most of the country, Warby Parker's gorgeous frames are only available online. I've done three free at-home "try-ons" -- where they ship you five frames for free and you can see what you like before ordering -- and I've never had success. I blame my tiny mutant face, for this and for most of the world's wrongs. …

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Where have you been all my life, St. Pete Indie Market?

A past market outside St. Pete brewery and bar Green Bench

Photo from stpeteindiemarket.com

A past market outside St. Pete brewery and bar Green Bench

Sometimes I have to stop, pause and wonder what on earth I am doing with my life. And by "sometimes" I mean every day, because McGriddles for breakfast is not a sustainable habit, Lisa, and a goal you've marked as unrealistic, and best saved for your 30s, shouldn't be "matching socks."

But I had this "what am I doing" feeling with added fervor on Friday evening as I found myself, for the first time, walking the aisles of the St. Pete Indie Market. Why on earth, I asked myself, had I waited so long to check it out?

For the St. Pete Indie Market is amazing. I took my friend Claire, visiting from Indiana, on a whim after dinner at Locale. The market changes location each time, and on Friday was charmingly positioned on the roof of Station House. As soon as we walked in, we knew were in trouble.

Local vendors cramped each square inch, hawking beautiful, hand-made jewelry, art, plants, organic soaps and balms, vintage clothing, and incredible selections of chocolate, tea and - why not - ginger beer. If it was a musical, you'd call it "Etsy: Alive!" Claire and I did a lap before reaching for our wallets in an exercise of restraint, but really, it did little good. I bought it all. …

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Shopping Planner: Sales, struts and spring

So many fashion shows this week.

Thinkstock

So many fashion shows this week.

A peek at this week's shopping and fashion events around the bay.

MOMENT OF ZEN: RETAIL THERAPY
Breathe in, hold, breathe out, shop. Sundial is hosting a free yoga session in its courtyard Saturday morning. Get your mind and body right in a class by Dani Mae of the Body Electric and Nava Yoga Studio, then go shopping with your #SundialStPete yoga bracelet, your ticket to receive 10 percent off or more at the following stores every month during yoga weekend: Locale Market (20 percent off breakfast items), Jux-ta-pose, Diamonds Direct, Tracy Negoshian, Florida Jean Co., Happy Feet Plus, Jackie Z Style & Co., LOL Kids. Pre-register online at bit.ly/FREESundialYoga to get your bracelet. In-person, registration starts at 8:30 a.m. for the 9-10 a.m. class. 153 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 800-3201. sundialstpete.com. …

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It's Wednesday, so let's revisit early fashions of the new millennium

Heh heh, basic RiRi.

Heh heh, basic RiRi.

My morning started typical enough, sipping coffee, calling reporters, making a list of things to do before I can leave for the Carly Rae Jepsen concert in Ybor (get her new album, seriously).

Then Stephanie chatted me a link to a really important celeb fashion photo gallery that was "really making my morning." Deal Divas business, see. Her link went to a Facebook album called "Here are some outfits from the early 2000s," and I'm writing here today because it also made my morning.

We don't know this person who made the album, or where she's from, or why she did this. But we're glad she did. 

Who back then didn't try wearing a dress over jeans at some point, like sweet, Oscar-less Princess Anne Hathaway? Who among us can say we didn't sport a hip-scarf or slumped chunky, chunky belt, like Kelly Clarkson or Rachel Bilson, now seen as a style star?

Suddenly Rihanna's fashion choices of today make so much sense.

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Fun Grammy red carpet party with Marilyn

WWMD? Spoil herself a little.

Cherie Diez, Times

WWMD? Spoil herself a little.

Combine the excitement of the Grammy Awards' red carpet with the glamour of Marilyn Monroe and you get a Watch Party at the Marilyn Monroe Glamour Room at Sundial.

Stop by between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. tonight for complimentary champagne, light delights, photo opps, beauty tips, massages, door prizes and swag bags. 

You can still be home in time to throw on your PJs and watch the actual awards ceremony on your sofa. 

Some guests will come dressed in "red carpet" attire. I'm just going to make sure the spaghetti sauce I spilled on my shirt at lunch doesn't show.

Thanks Marilyn and spa general manager Sylvia Russell!

 It's at 125 2nd Ave. N with a parking garage right across the street if you can't find street parking.

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Your Outfit Monday: Reunited (with boots) and it feels so good

Last Monday, I paired my old friends with dark wash skinny jeans and a dark floral top. It was such a special reunion for me and my BBFs (see what I did there?), like no time had passed.

Last Monday, I paired my old friends with dark wash skinny jeans and a dark floral top. It was such a special reunion for me and my BBFs (see what I did there?), like no time had passed.

Times assistant metro editor Molly Moorhead had a boots success story that was too good not to be told. Please enjoy this edition of Your Outfit Monday.

First, let me back up. 

Way back in the winter of 2013, I needed brown boots. Like, needed needed. I won the footwear lottery when I found some delicious chocolate brown suede beauties from Anthropologie. Regular price: $278. Sale price: $105. On the Anthropologie scale of unattainability, that's like finding them on the side of the road. I strutted and beamed through the 11 days a year of boots weather we get in Tampa Bay.

Fast forward through life, and I sorta, kinda forgot about my boots. Hey, I had other stuff going on! Like being pregnant. Through the fall of 2014 I was great with child. I was not wearing boots. I was not wearing anything but slipper-like flats that contained my chubby feet and kept my waddling, unbalanced form upright. 

My son was born late on Christmas Eve that year (behold his visage), and as all procreating humans know, ain't nobody with a newborn rocking knee-high boots. For oh-a-month-or-two, I wore only slippers. I did well to brush my teeth once a day. …

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Wedding Week: To save money on your wedding, don't be afraid to haggle

When negotiating for your wedding, make sure the price is right (SEE WHAT WE DID THERE?).

Times files

When negotiating for your wedding, make sure the price is right (SEE WHAT WE DID THERE?).

Weddings are expensive. Like, really expensive. It gets to a point, as I mentioned in my post about wedding dresses, where money doesn't even seem real anymore. Let me give you a real world example. The other day I priced wedding cakes at Publix, and they told me that a three-tiered cake for the amount of people at my wedding would cost around $400. I said, "Wow, that's cheap." Because in wedding world, it is.

As a frugal person, this has been difficult for me to comes to terms with. It is one of the most special days in a couple's life. But it's also just one day.

There are ways, dear friends, to save money. I am actually trying to go for a more affordable wedding, which meant not choosing some venues that were more elaborate and thus more likely to cost the price of a used car. I'm also not going to traditional florist route, and one room in my house is already stocked with decorations I've been collecting from thrift stores and JoAnn's Fabrics sales for years. But aside from all that, plus setting a realistic budget and really trying to stick to it, the easiest way to save money when you're planning a wedding is to straight-up haggle. …

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