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Serveware | Manolo's Basement of the Bargains
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Crystal Clarity

Every once in a while a deal comes along that just makes you see more clearly how good shopping for deals on the internet can be. Today, I have one of them for you.

Crystal Cake Stand You see that cake stand? Pretty, isn’t it? I think it’s quite lovely and dignified. It would work for any occasion from a birthday party to a bridal tea to the finale of your dinner for the boss.

How much would you pay for it? Well, the manufacturers want you to pay $140.00 for the 12″ round, 5.5″ tall hand washable crystal beauty. But you’re not going to pay that much, no siree!

You’re going to head straight for Horchow where it’s on two incredible sales at once. You see, this lovely stand got added to the Special  Value list, where the price got knocked down to just $69.90. Now that’s a good deal. But wait, there’s more! If you order before 12/20, you’ll find it’s being featured as a weekly special, bringing the price tag down to a measly $48.90!

But wait, it gets better still! Now through 12/17 (that’s just one more day, folks),  everything on the entire site is on sale  25% – 30% off plus free shipping with code 1DAYDEC!

So hurry on down, because you don’t want to miss deals like this. Santa might put you on his naughty list for that. Twistie certainly will.

When Life Hands You Lemons

Continuing yesterday’s theme of keeping well-hydrated in the heat, allow me to turn your attention to my personal must-have accessory for summer:

recycled-glass-lemonade-server.jpg Not only does this lemonade server look utterly charming and just as cool as its contents, it’s also eco-friendly, being made of recycled glass. It holds 48 oz of cool, delicious ade of whatever fruit you prefer and comes with its own handsome metal stand.

Whether you’re holding a party, or just trying to keep your family from drying out, this is a practical, attractive, earth-friendly addition to your household.

It also happens to be a heck of a good deal. The retail price may be $130.00, but if you head for Smart Bargains right now, it can be yours for just $79.99.

And then invite me over for drinks, will you?

Bowled Over

When it comes time to entertain, there’s something I keep discovering about myself: I can never have enough serving bowls. For some reason, I have a lot of platters but only a few good bowls to put out. That limits my ability to present salads and other side dishes as nicely or as efficiently as I’d like. It limits my choices in making up the menu, since one must always consider how a dish is to be served as well as how it is to be prepared. So I’m on a hunt for handsome, versatile, drool-worthy yet affordable serving bowls.

Imagine, then, my delighted surprise when I ran across this:

Bernardoud Harvest Berry Serving Bowl This delicious pattern is called Harvest Berry. The porcelain is decorated with images from botanical prints, and postmarks and script from antique letters by Parisian artist Marc Lacaze. It was designed and manufactured by Bernardoud, a family-run company which was established by Limoges in 1863. They’ve been producing porcelain poetry like this ever since.

The bowl holds 1 3/4 quarts of deliciousness and measures 10″ across. It’s microwavable and dishwasher safe, too, so it doesn’t require mollycoddling.

As for affordable, well, it does usually cost about $179.00, which I freely admit is not in everyone’s budget. Right now at Williams-Sonoma, though, it’s on sale for just $105.99. Amortized against the number of times you’ll use it over the next forty years…not to mention how it will be cherished by your heirs once you’re done with it, that’s one mighty affordable piece of pretty.

Going Nuts

When dining with friends, I love to have a cheese course at the end. Some tasty (and often…um…fragrant) cheeses, some sliced fruit (last night it was pears and red, seedless grapes with stilton and a good, creamy chevre), and –  of course – a bowl of nuts. The course is incomplete without them. Alas, last night while I did have some lovely pecans on hand, I entirely failed to have the proper vessel to serve them in.

How I wish I had seen this in time:

R Lauren Horn Nut Bowl This spectacular nut bowl by Ralph Lauren is made of genuine buffalo horn with a silver plate foot. It’s completely food safe, so you can use it with nuts, fruit, and other lovely nibbles, but it simply wipes clean. That means you won’t want to put anything gooey in it, but if your nuts are gooey, then you have bigger problems than what bowl to put them in.

Right now, it’s even a deal. The regular price is $395.00, which really isn’t too much for so much added grace and elegance on a formal table. Still, why pay not too much when you can get a steal? Right now it’s on sale at Ralph Lauren for just $237.00.

Pass the nuts, please. What? Oh, no, I didn’t actually want to eat any. I just wanted to look at the bowl some more.

Take the Cake Stand

So, you’ve just created a home-baked masterpiece…or you just picked up the most beautiful cake at your local bakery. I don’t care which, I don’t judge. What I want to know is, what are you going to serve it on?

After all, it’s a thing of beauty and about to be a joy to eat. It deserves to be showcased properly. And if your cakes turn out like mine – incredibly yummy, but rarely the most superfantastic to look at – they deserve a bit of help in the presentation department.

Either way, this handsome decaled glass cake standicon by John Derian is just the thing to make everyone ooh and aah over that cake…including you.


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The gorgeous clover leaf design is subtly colored to showcase your masterpiece in the best possible way. At 8″ high and 10 1/2″ wide, it’s the perfect size for a layer cake or for a pyramid of cupcakes, for that matter.

So what does it cost to show off your cake? Well, normally it would set you back some $340.00. Right now, though, at Saks.com, it’s just $203.90.

And isn’t your culinary masterpiece worth it?

Oh, and one more thing: use code SAKSSHIP9, and get free shipping on your order! See site for details.

Friday Finds Under Fifty: The Hippity Hoppity Edition

It’s spring and I can’t help thinking of rabbits.

And, of course, I can’t help thinking about bargains, too. Here are the few of the bunny bargains I’ve found for your shopping pleasure.

We start our journey at Cooking.com, where I found this adorable
Chef’n Grabbit Salt Grinder
, complete with lovely long bunny ears.

Chef'n Grabbit Grinder, Salt How cute is that? Not to mention practical. Oh, and it also comes in a pepper grinder version. They normally sell for $24.95 each, but right now at Cooking.com you can get them for $17.99 apiece.

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Friday Finds Under Fifty: The Fruit Fresh Edition

Ah, spring! One of my favorite things about the season is the abundance of delicious, fresh fruit coming into the peak of flavor. Yesterday, I was at my friendly neighborhood grocery store when I was nearly bowled over by the luscious fragrance of ripe strawberries. And they were on sale, too!

In honor of the event, I’m celebrating fruit in today’s column.

One of my all-time favorite fruits has to be apricots. They’re the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and I adore the texture of them as much as the aroma and the flavor. Imagine smelling like apricots and cream.

philosophy apricots & cream shower and shine 3-pc collection You can do just that with this apricots & cream bath set by Philosophy. You’ll get a 24 oz bottle of shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath, a 24 oz bottle of body lotion, and a 0.5 oz flavored lip shine. Delicious and clean. I like!

I also like the price. The retail value is $67.00. But you’re going to race over to QVC.com to get it. Their regular price is a thrifty $52.50, but right now you can get the superfantastic introductory price of just $48.06. Again, delicious.

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Hey Pitcher!

I must confess that I have a particular fondness for a pretty pitcher. Glass, ceramic, silver…I just have a thing for graceful lines and pouty lips. Okay, maybe these aren’t the kind of lips that really pout, but I have an imagination and it comes up with odd connections now and again.

But of all possible pitchers, I admit that I do have a favorite. I’m a complete sucker for a glass pitcher, preferably hand blown with some color to it. That’s why I fell in love when I saw this:

Jerpoint Hand Blown Glass 8-1/4 Just look at the elegance of the line, the lip perfectly proportioned to pour generously with little or no spillage, the easy use of color, and the charming detail at the base of the sturdy handle. This is no terrifyingly delicate piece that must be protected under, well, more glass. This is a pitcher you can use and enjoy, whether for drinks or displaying pretty flowers. And yet it perfectly showcases the fragile beauty of glass.

It’s hand blown in Ireland by Jerpoint, stands 8 1/4″ tall, holds 1 1/2 quarts, and even comes in two colors. The picture above shows it in Honey, but it also comes in Seascape Green.

As for the price, well it used to cost $79.00, which was a nice deal. Right now, though, QVC.com has it at the basement bargain price of just $45.21!

Now if I could just figure out whether I’d rather fill it with lemonade or larkspur….

Buy More, Save More

Today only, Saks Fifth Ave is offering a great deal: spend at least $250.00 with them, and get free shipping and a gift card good toward your next purchase. Depending on how much you spend, the gift card can be anywhere from $25.00 up to $450.00!

Of course, some restrictions apply, but a careful reading of the rules tells me that sale items count toward the total. That means you could splurge and buy this handsome Ralph Lauren silverplated cachepot which can be used as either a grand centerpiece for your table or as a serving piece

Ralph Lauren Silver Cachepot for the bargain price of just $346.50 (regular price $495.00), and get yourself a gift card worth $25.00 off your next purchase.

Or you could choose several smaller items, like this handsome journal and card case set in your choice of black, brown, or orange goatskin leather for $45.50 (regular price $65.00), or this elegant pair of chalcedony drop earrings by Arena CPH for a mere $72.00 (regular price $120.00). Take care of gifts for your bridal party or stock up on Christmas gifts before the rush hits. Then save yourself money both on shipping and your next Saks purchase.

It just makes sense.

It Takes the Cake

Baking a cake from scratch is a great way to impress your friends and family. It’s really not as difficult as it looks at first glance, and there’s nothing like saying ‘I made it myself’ to make people ooh and ah over your creation.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you can present it with a proper flourish on a proper cake plate.

Emile Henry 12 I’ve long had a love affair with Emile Henry bakeware, so it stands to reason I love their serving pieces as well for much the same reasons: they’re sturdy, attractive, practical, and come in fun colors. This 12″ cake plate is no exception to the rule.

The exclusive ceradon process Emile Henry employs results in hard-wearing pottery pieces that can go straight from freezer to oven without crazing or cracking. The bright colors bring a smile to nearly any face while showcasing your food to its best advantage. And check out that delightfully whimsical ruffled edge. Your cake will look its best (as will your cookies, cupcakes, or other treats) and your guests will be wowed. What more could you possibly want?

A great deal, you say? Well, you get that, too. This bright, sunflowery yellow color is on a closeout sale at Cooking.com. They normally sell it for $33.95, but it’s now just $16.98 while supplies last. That’s half off!

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