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Walk the Walk

A good vase looks lovely with flowers in it. A great one looks superfantastic whether or not there are flowers in it. Take, for instance, The Catwalk Vase by Kosta Boda:

Kosta Boda Catwalk Vase with its graceful shape and charming image of a lady’s calves and feet, it’s a delightful piece for your shelf or coffee table or desk all on its own. Filled with a spray of delicate flowers, it takes on a charming yet surrealistic quality any Dali or Man Ray fan would find irresistible.

It’s handcrafted of  lead-free glass in Sweden by designer Kjell Engman, and comes in a gift box just in case you can bear to give it away. Me? I think I would stick a bow on the box, leave it for myself somewhere, and then surprise myself with a lovely gift.

Then again, at this price, I might get generous enough to share a second one with a very, very good friend. You see, the retail price for the piece is $200.00, but right now Amazon has it for just $129.50. That’s a savings of more than $70.00!

But wait! There’s more! For a limited time, if you purchase $50.00 or more of Home and Garden products from Amazon, you can get a free one-year subscription to your choice of: GQ, SELF, Conde Nast Traveler,  or Architectural Digest. See site for details and restrictions.

You know, you could always get the vase for yourself and the magazine subscription for a friend. I’m just saying.

Friday Finds Under Fifty: The Last-Minute Santa Edition

Ho Ho Ho!

So, you’ve got kids on your gift list and nothing to give them? Fret not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great deals which shall appeal to kids both young and old.

There’s a certain time in life when a lot of kids become interested in magic tricks. If there’s a budding David Copperfield in your life (the magician, not the Victorian orphan), then you might want to head over to Smartbargains and take a look at this:

Coin Trick Kit It’s the Melissa and Doug Apprentice Magician coin trick game. Included are instructions and tools needed to master sixteen different coin tricks. It may or may not get the kid cool status in Home Room, but it will definitely build logic and dexterity, in addition to hours of fun.

Best of all, you’ll save big time. The retail price is a cool $50.00, but at Smartbargains it’s just $34.99.

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Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

As the weather turns cold, there’s nothing like a good pair of snuggly flannel pajamas to make life better. Of course, getting those pajamas at a good price warms the heart as much as the flannel warms the body.

Victoria Victoria’s Secret has made these slouchy pjs in a soft pure cotton flannel so that even when the weather outside is frightful, you’ll be toasty warm and stylish. Not wild about the print? Don’t worry about that! There are 24 colors/prints to choose from, ranging from plaid to polka dots to pink elephants (no, really, they do have a pink elephant print!). Taller or shorter than average? VS has got you covered. They come in both tall and petite lengths, as well as average.

Did I mention they’re on sale? Because they are. Regularly priced at $49.50, they’re currently going for just $39.50. And to sweeten the deal, order before Dec. 8, use code PJGIFT and get a matching pair of slippers for free!

That’s right, the slippers (a $25.00 value) are free! See site for details.

I think I’ll dream about this deal tonight.

Friday Finds: The Santa’s Little Helper Edition

Normally I stick to things under fifty dollars on friday, but in honor of the official opening of the holiday shopping season, I’ve decided to ignore the limit this week. You’ll find goodies under fifteen dollars and others over two hundred. After all, you’ve got everyone from your Secret Santa at work to your lifelong best friend, to your immediate family on your list. You need inspiration from all price points.

Swiss Army Knife One of the handiest gadgets of all time is the classic Swiss army knife. Now Victorinox has reinvented it in a miniature size with stainless steel blades. At just 2 1/4″ long, it attaches to your key ring for your convenience. It comes with: one small knife blade, scissors, and a nail file. The practical soul on your holiday gift list will love this.

Normally, it runs $140.00, but Saks Fifth Ave is having a huge sale now through the 28th. Right now, even the sale items are on sale. The sale price on this item was $104.00, but now to Saturday it just $62.94!

Oh, and be sure to check out the bonus offers combined with the sale!  For instance, you can get free shipping by using code HOLIDAY9. If you spend at least $400.00 in Contemporary, you can get a $100.00 off card with code CONTEM9. And if you spend at least $100.00 in beauty and you can earn a $25.00 gift card with code BEAUTY9.

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Friday Finds Under Fifty: The Half-Baked Edition

One thing’s for sure: if you bake, the holidays are the best excuse in the world to do it. Of course you need good equipment to make the best cookies, cakes, pies, and breads. Here are a couple of my budget-friendly picks to make your life in the kitchen happier and more successful.

Rachel Ray Cookie Sheets Every year I swear I’m going to get new cookie sheets. I don’t have enough and I don’t have any that are nonstick. This year, I may just go ahead and do it with the deal I found on this Rachael Ray 2-pc. Nonstick Oven Lovin’ Cookie Lovin’ Set at Cooking.com.

You get two 17″ x 11″ nonstick cookie sheets with large and bright orange silicone handles for  easy handling. They’re dishwasher safe and able to withstand heat up to 500f. What’s more, with every purchase, a donation is made to Rachel’s Yum-o charity dedicated to teaching kids and their families about healthy relationships with food, as well as feeding hungry children.

All that and a sale? Sign me up! Because right now at Cooking.com, you can save about a quarter of the price on these great cookie sheets. Regularly priced at  39.95, you can get them right now for just 29.99! Now that’s a great way to feel good about making those holiday treats!

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On the Cuff

When it comes to accessories, I’m a firm believer in a good bracelet. It’s immediately visible and makes a dramatic statement…if you choose the right one.

So which is the right one? Well, I have to say this one would be a great place to start:

Kara Ross Enameled Cuff Kara Ross designed this beauty of heavily textured brown enamel over 18k goldplate. That texture? Resembles a tree trunk, for an earthy look. A swish of gold decorated with five tiny tiger’s eye cabachon finishes the look.

All in all, it’s a look that nobody will forget.

What you can forget is the original retail price of $350.00. You see, if you act now you can get it from Bloomingdale’s for just $245.00.

Oh, and Bloomie’s has a special bonus deal going on now. If you spend a minimum of $500.00 on selected merchandise (including this bracelet!) you can get a $100.00 splurge card toward your next purchase of $150.00 or more!

It’s What’s Cooking

Good cookware is worth it’s weight in gold. The more you use it, the better it should be. That’s why skimping on basics like saucepans is always a bad idea.

Of course, just because you’re not skimping doesn’t mean you’re not going to save money if you can. Wasting money is just foolish, and you are not a fool.

All-Clad 4-qt. Stainless Steel LTD Sauce Pan
That’s why you’re going to head over to Cooking.com and take advantage of the
big sale they’re having on All-Clad cookware
.

This is the good stuff. It’s three layers of bonded metal: pure aluminum sandwiched between a  black anodized  aluminum exterior and a stainless steel interior for excellent heat conduction in a non-reactive cooking surface. It even comes with a lifetime warranty.

Spend  $250.00 on All-Clad LTD and you can even get a free bonus  au gratin dish ($130.00 value, see site for details and restrictions) to boot. Or to cook in. It’s up to you, but I know what I would do.

As for this handsome, sturdy 4 quart saucepan with lid, it usually runs $210.00, but at Cooking.com right now you can get it for the bargain basement price of just $104.99.

All the looks, all the versatility, all the sturdiness, and all the extras for half the price? Now that’s what I call a good deal!

What’s Cooking?

Good cookware is an investment well worth making. It’s worth every penny you spend. In fact, I’m a firm believer in the idea that there are few worse investments to make than cheap cookware. It quickly becomes dangerous, between shaky handles and ill-fitting lids. Warped bottoms make cooking uneven, leading to raw and burnt bits in the same dish. As for the cost over time of replacing broken, bent cookware with more pots and pans that will fall apart in short order…well, it’s enough to make you cry.

On the other hand, as I said, good cookware is a big investment.  It doesn’t come cheap. Every once in a while, though, it comes at a deal that makes the investment a lot less painful to your bank account.

All-Clad 7-pc.  Master Chef 2 (MC2) Cookware Set
All-Clad’s Master Chef 2 cookware is among the top-rated by professional chefs. Made of easy to clean, non-reactive stainless steel, it has a thick core of aluminum for superior heat conductivity. The three ply bonded construction distributes the heat evenly. The long handles are built to stay cooler, in case you forget to reach for the pot holder first, too.

This seven piece set consists of: an 8″ omelette pan, a 1.5 qt saucepan and lid, a 3 qt saute pan with lid, and a 6 qt stockpot with lid. That’s a great start to any kitchen!

The retail price of the set is $595.00, which really isn’t at all bad for that amount of that quality of cookware. Still, you’d like to do better. Cooking.com usually carries it for $559.95, which is better. But why settle for better when you can get astonishing?

Now through June 15, Cooking.com is having a huge sale on All-Clad cookware in which this set is marked down to just $288.99! That’s a savings of more than three hundred dollars!

But wait, there’s more! Spend at least $250.00, and get a free au gratin pan direct from All-Clad. Spend $500.00 and get the au gratin pan, a Dutch oven, and a mitt set. See site for details.

So, to sum up: seven pieces of top-notch cookware you can use for the rest of your cooking life, plus a freebie from All-Clad. The more you buy, the more freebies you can get.

I don’t know about you, but when I can get the best for the price of something in the lower midrange…I get the best. So should you.

Be Superfantastic, Make a Difference

I’m a bit late getting this to you, but Ralph Lauren is having a promotion for National Volunteer Week that may interest you. Now through April 25, all purchases are 15% off. What’s more, 15% of the proceeds of your purchase will go to a charity you choose. Charities include Habitat for Humanity, Autism Speaks, and Waterkeeper Alliance, as well as four others. If you aren’t sure which group you’d like to support, don’t panic. The site includes information on each one. There’s a one-line mission statement followed by a brief interview with someone from the charity, discussing their purposes and practices.

So what does this mean in terms of savings for the savvy shopper? Well, here’s a nice example. In fact, it’s the example I would probably choose for myself.

Ralph Lauren Flat Bangle Simple, elegant, timeless, versatile…you can’t beat this for an investment piece of jewelry. This handsome bangle bracelet comes in your choice of gold vermeil or sterling silver , and will serve you well for years and years to come. It’s dramatic without being ostentatious. It’s now but it won’t look silly later on.

And of course there is that 15% off thing. The regular price is $195.00, but with the discount, you’ll save $29.25. That brings it down to a much more affordable $165.75, assuming my math is correct. Not bad.

Ralph Lauren then gives a percentage of what you have spent to, say, Autism Speaks, where it helps people advocate for the autistic. Or it goes to Habitat for Humanity, where it helps build a home for a family who otherwise would never own a house of their own. Or it goes to any of the other fine charities chosen. Just put the code for your chosen charity in the space provided when checking out. You decide what cause to support. You save some cash. You get something pretty you can wear for years. You do some good in the world.

Downside? I see no downside.

Be charitable. Be superfantastic.

Hail to the Chef!

When my parents first met, my mother admired a top-quality 12″ chef’s knife. She told my father how much she wanted it. My father went back later and bought it for her birthday. He spent the next few days in a cold sweat, certain that she would hand him his hat as soon as he handed her that knife. After all, it wasn’t a terribly romantic gift coming from a boyfriend…let alone as his first gift to her. He needn’t have worried so. Mom was an enthusiastic cook who knew good kitchenware. They lived happily ever after and had four kids.

Me? I’m my mother’s daughter. Good cookware gives me a thrill. There’s nothing like holding a really good kitchen knife in your hand. Mom taught me a lot about the importance of really excellent knives in the kitchen. They hold their edges better so they don’t go dull in the middle of a job. The handles are sturdy and won’t come to wobble later in life. They’re comfortable in the hand so you can cut what you need without tiring your hands unduly. Oh, and that birthday gift? Outlasted Mom. That’s a good knife, when it can last more than thirty years of daily use and still be in good enough shape to keep on using.

There are several excellent companies making just such knives today, but my go to knife at home is a Wusthof. It’s incredibly comfortable in the hand, holds an edge beautifully, and is easy to manage. And that’s why I was so excited when I took a glance in the sale section at Williams Sonoma this morning:

Wusthof Twelve Inch Chef’s Knife The Wusthof 12″ chef’s knife is a full foot of fabulous disguised as kitchen equipment. With this baby you can handle anything from a roast to a cabbage with aplomb and precision.

Even on sale it’s not cheap, but then again, when you add up what you would spend on replacing a mediocre chef’s knife every few years against what you’ll spend on buying this level of quality once, it really is a savings.

And speaking of savings, they really are tremendous right now. This baby usually sells for a cool $500.00. Right now, though, at Williams Sonoma, the price has been slashed to just $399.95. What’s more, if you spend $299.00 worth on Wusthof Classic Cutlery, you’ll get a free in-drawer, seven-slot beechwood insert to hold your knives safely for free ($19.95 retail value, see site for details).

I don’t know about you, but I think this handsome knife would be the perfect first denizen of that insert.

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