When the Shoe Fairies Visit

March 10, 2010 at 12:54 am (Shopping)

My shoe obsession started long, long ago when I was just a little girl trying on big girl shoes while my Mom shopped. My kindergarten class contributed to my love every time we sang a new shoe’s song when a student came to school with a bright and shiny new pair. Even on St. Patrick’s Day, my sister added to my shoe love by making sure Leo the Leprechaun came out to play, by filling my bedside shoes with goodies and treats. In Catholic school, the only way you could show individuality with a uniform was through your shoes.  From converse in middle school to stilettos today, the love of shoes continues to grow as much as the height of the heel in today’s trends.

Think about it. Shoes are always on your side. If the holidays failed your waistline, you can still wear your Jimmy Choo’s and feel fabulous. If you’re stuck in a uniform and want to add some flair, slip into your favorite heels or flats and life looks a bit brighter. The love of shoes shows no boundaries or discrimination. Whether you’re a man, woman, child or adult, there is the perfect shoe waiting for you.

When the closet fairies come to visit me, I hope they leave me racks full of Christian Louboutin’s. A girl can often only dream about shoes, but sometimes window shopping is just what we need to brighten our day.

So, let’s take a walk in Christian’s shoes and let the day dreaming begin!


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Find a Penny. Please Pick it Up.

March 4, 2010 at 9:13 pm (Shopping)

Find a penny, pick it up, then all day you’ll have good luck. How many times have we heard this old wives tale? If you find a penny head’s up, you’ll have good luck. If you find a penny tail’s up, leave it there or else you’ll have bad luck. We’ll I have a new theory. If you see a penny on the ground, pick it up, otherwise you might be giving someone ELSE bad luck!

I recently was the victim of a flat tire. Normally a nail is the culprit but this time, there was a twist to the story. The latest item found to wedge itself in my tire is…you guessed it, a penny! An Abraham Lincoln copper coin staring me right in the face. As it turns out, cars ran over the penny, formed it into a jagged-edged dagger, where it wedged itself in my tire and ripped it to shreds. Talk about inflation. This “lucky” penny went from being worth $.01 to $80!

So my friends, next time you see a copper coin lying on the ground, pick it up and not only will you have good luck but you could be paying it forward and saving someone a possible misfortune!

Thanks to my friends at Discount Tires, my tire was changed in time for my 1:00 meeting.

In honor of ironic “luck,” here are a couple items currently frequenting the retailers for you to spend your pocket greens.

Reading Luck

Looking for luck in Fashion? Check out Lucky Magazine.  They are a great one-stop source for shopping, style, advice and resources!

Luck of the Irish

Did you know St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner? Start your green search at Anthropologie early to avoid any unnecessary pinching!

Jig Your Way Through March

In the mood for an Irish Jig? Check out one of if not the finest Irish Bands around, Flogging Molly. Better yet, take a look at their concert dates and check them out in person. They’ll be putting Phoenix in the Irish swing of things on March 17.

Make your other walls green with envy

In 2010, green seems to be the theme sneaking its way into living rooms around town. Find out why and take a look at this green’afied house.

The Green Machine

Feeling lucky enough to take a chance with your pocket greens on this BMW? Personally, I don’t think my luck stretches that far.

See you leprechauns at the end of the rainbow!

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The Quest for the Perfect Margarita

February 24, 2010 at 12:52 am (Around Town)

We spend much of the year celebrating holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Presidents Day, MLK Day and the 4th of July. But, did you know what we celebrate on February 22? You got it – National Margarita Day. Apparently this is a “holiday” and one that gives us the excuse to take a break from our daily lives and sip a chilled Margarita, while thinking of a beachfront vacation. Now, Arizona is missing a key element for a beach vacation… an ocean, but we do happen to have some of the best Mexican food restaurants in the U.S. With a holiday like National Margarita Day, it’s only fitting to salute the trademark Mexican cocktail and begin a quest to find the perfect Margarita.

While searching, why don’t you take the Quest to the next level… the Margarita Club Level!

If you feel like celebrating National Margarita Day more than once a year, grab a few friends and start your own Margarita Club. It’s simple. Create a list of restaurants with tempting Margaritas on the menu, pick a day each month and meet your friends there to catch up and try them out. Let the restaurant know your coming and they might even give you some extra samples!

Here are just a couple spots around town to get you started on your quest for finding the Margaritas at the end of the rainbow.

Tortilla Factory

The Old Town Tortilla Factory calls Scottsdale its home for 75 years now. Enjoy authentic Southwestern food with a Mexican “twist,” along with some tasty Margaritas to quench your thirst. The patio is perfect for a sunny spring day or evening. Looking for a Margarita on a budget? Check out their Happy Hour from 4-5 p.m. and try it out for $5!

Frank and Lupes

In business for 25 years, Frank and Lupe’s sits in the heart of Old Town, Scottsdale and entertains visitors and locals all year-round. It’s best to visit Frank and Lupe’s in the spring when the night air is fresh and warming up. Sip their Margaritas and try their sopaipillas.

Los Olivos

Family owned and operated, Los Olivos has a prime location next to the Giant’s Stadium in Old Town, Scottsdale. After cheering on your spring training teams, stop by Los Olivos and try out their signature Margarita in a charming atmosphere.

Los Sombreros

This is another classic gem that’s been in business for over 15 years. Home of classic authentic regional cooking, they have a variety of Margarita’s to choose from, including the Margarita de Coc and the Tijuana Donkey. They definitely receive an A for creativity in the names!

Z Tejas

If you’ve ever been to Z Tejas, you know that the Chambord Margaritas are so dangerously delicious and strong; guests are limited to just three per visit. Three is quite enough and if you haven’t tried one, I suggest you stop by…tonight.

Visit their website to find a location near you.

The Mission

This restaurant of Modern Latin Cuisine has the atmosphere to enjoy your cocktails either under the stars or in a mission restaurant inside. They even have a Tequila bar. It’s perfect for a date night or a night out with friends. During your quest for the Perfect Margarita, stop by and try out their Premarita Margarita.

Padres Modern Mexican

Nestled on Camelback Road in Phoenix, this restaurant has the trendy vibe and the food and cocktails to go with it. The owners split their time between Phoenix and Mexico so I’m sure they have some tasty tricks up their sleeves! Travel to their restaurant and try out the signature Padre’s Margarita to find out!

El Charro – a Tucson Treat

How serious are you about your journey to find the perfect Margarita? Why not take a drive to Tucson, Arizona and check out El Charro downtown. The minute you walk in, it feels like you’ve left the U.S. and entered a charming village in Mexico. While you wait for a seat, visit their authentic shop next door and browse some Mexican treasures for sale. It’s worth the drive and the wait. This restaurant may actually be the reason I became a University of Arizona Wildcat in the first place! Bear Down!!

Margarita’s on a Budget?

Why not make your own kitchen a Margarita Mayhem? For the best recipes I always turn to my favorite foodies in life, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. Here are some of their recipes to get you started:

Rachel Ray’s Grapefruit Margarita

Ingredients

1 quart ruby red grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed if available)

10 fresh mint leaves, torn in 1/2

2 shots orange liqueur

8 shots tequila

Preparation – Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir to combine. Pour over ice and serve. Serves 4.

Martha Stewart’s Blue Margarita

Ingredients

Coarse salt

1 lime, cut into wedges

4 ounces tequila

1 ounce Triple Sec

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 ounces blue curacao

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Directions (Serves 2)

  1. Pour salt into a shallow dish large enough to fit the rim of the glasses you are using. Using 1 lime wedge for each glass, rub each rim. Dip rim in the plate of salt, and rotate gently to coat evenly. Place a lime wedge on each salted glass, and set aside.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Place tequila, Triple sec, lime juice, blue curacao, and sugar in shaker, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Fill prepared glasses with ice cubes. Strain the margarita into the glasses, and serve immediately.

Happy cocktail’ing in honor of National Margarita Day!

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Dresses are a girl’s best friend

February 19, 2010 at 4:32 am (Shopping)

First Date Dress. You may ask why this blog is called First Date Dress since I’m posting info on networking, events around town and avoiding an enlarged waistline. While First Date Dress is just a metaphor for living life to the fullest and wearing the perfect “dress” along the way, it’s time to share some dresses I think are quite fabulous for the approaching spring and summer seasons.

Training Tips. Worried about looking your best in a dress? Take a look at some fitness tips Gwyneth Paltrow recently blogged about on Goop. Oh, to be a famous celebrity and workout with the Nation’s best fitness gurus. A girl can only dream, but in the meantime, I gladly accept any pro-bono tips along the way!

Today’s featured dress collections will come from two of my very favorite stores – Anthropologie and BCBG. If I could only shop at those two stores for the rest of my life, I could get by quite all right.

The little black dress. Every lady should have one: www.bcbg.com

The little black dress for the more conservative lady. www.anthropologie.com

The perfect dress for a night on the town in a little color. www.bcbg.com

You’ll light up the room (and your date’s face) when you show up in this teal head turner. www.bcbg.com

Looking to make a statement in a sophisticated way? Give a bold color a try. www.bcbg.com

Add a little fashion to your daytime. www.anthropologie.com

A classic beauty you can always find a reason to wear. www.anthropologie.com

Feeling especially trendy? www.anthropologie.com

What are your two favorite retail therapy locations?

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Be Kind to You Waistline

February 12, 2010 at 11:53 pm (Spare your Waistline)

The holidays are over but memories of cookies, eggnog, stuffing and gravy still linger…on the waistline. Those on the east coast might be jealous of Arizonian’s 70 degree weather and sunny skies, but it also means we can’t hide behind the thick winter jackets and sweaters! Don’t wait for summertime to be kind to your waistline. You can start now by looking at your simple, every day routines and taking the extra step – literally!

Lesson One: The King of Cold

He’s charming and alluring. He has all the right traits that make you think about him throughout the day. He’s suave, cool and appealing, but as fast as he arrived, he’s gone and you’re hitting the gym an extra hour. That’s right, I’m talking about our worst nightmare… the ice cream in your freezer that’s begging you for a date.

Be kind to your waistline!

Avoid the freezer and head to your local gym to focus your attention on looking your best. Who knows, you could avoid adding pounds and meet new people all in the same visit! Did I also mention it’s proven that working out releases endorphins?

Nip the craving with some low in fat and high in taste options

Graham Crackers and Frozen Cool Whip – top a chocolate graham cracker with a spoonful of frozen Cool Whip and you’ll never think of Mr. Cold Hearted Ice Cream again.

Frozen Yogurt – it’s healthy and you get more for your calories. If you’re in Arizona, check out Yogurtland or MoJo.

Frozen Yoplait Whips – Stick a Yoplait Whip in the freezer and prepare your taste buds for heaven.

McDonald’s Ice Cream Cone – Believe it or not, this is a healthy option for cravings on the go since they only have a couple grams of fat.

Lesson Two: Dodge the stares and take the stairs

12th floor…yes you are on the 12th floor of your office and you must- for fashion’s sake- wear a minimum of 3 inch heels to work. What other option is there but to take the over-crowded smelly elevator where your personal bubble is officially challenged.

Be kind to your waistline!

Bring in a pair of flip-flops to work and take the stairs! It’ll get easier every time you do it and you’ll burn calories, get your heart going in the morning and avoid the awkward elevator conversations on the way up.

Lesson Three- Embrace the last space

Its 5:30 and you have to run into the mall for new mascara. You search and search but luck is not on your side and the only parking space available is the last one on the 4th floor of the garage. Should you continue to look for one closer or accept your fate?

Be kind to your waistline!

Take this parking spot as an opportunity to get a little bit of exercise while running errands after your long day of sitting at a desk. Better yet, purposely park on the other side of the mall and get some exercise on the way to your purchase. You’ll burn some extra calories and you might even find a secret sale along the way!

Lesson Four- Fatty Food Fake-out

You’re starving and the only things that sound good are all the bad choices: Pizza, French Fries, Cheeseburgers…

Be kind to your waistline!

There’s a way to enjoy the fatty foods without the fat! Prepare your pantry for the junk food raid by stocking it with the healthier alternatives. 100 calorie snack packs and the low-calorie comfort food cookbooks are available allowing you to relieve you inner junk food needs without stacking on the pounds.

Helpful Hints:

Hungry Girl Cookbook

Weight Watcher Cookbook

Smart Ones frozen dinners (they have pizzas, quesadillas, pasta. The list goes on and the best part is that they don’t taste low-fat.)

Humus and Pita Chips – Try the Trader Joes Humus and Sea Salt Chips

Turkey Burgers

Veggie Burgers

Craving Fries? Buy some in the frozen food section and use PAM instead of oil to save some calories.

Lesson Five- Ditch the Cocktail Calories

The long work week is over and it’s time to relax. The list tonight includes dinner, cocktails and enjoying the night away.

Be kind to your waistline!

Instead of going to the bar and adding calories to your waistline from alcohol and a late night food cravings, try something new! Search for activities going on in your area such as concerts, outdoor activities, festivals and young professional organizations. Keep the cocktail calories off for the night and expand your network to meet new friends!

Check out the AZ Central Calendar of Events to find out some alternative options for the weekend.

http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/events/

Have any tips on how to be kind to your waistline? Post a comment and share!

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I love you. I love you not.

February 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm (Around Town, Uncategorized)

Valentine’s Day – Some cringe and some smile as the holiday sneaks up on us like the five pounds at Christmas. Women look around and all they see are couples, chocolates, flowers, balloons and romance. Men look around and all they see is…nothing. Do men even realize Valentine’s Day is coming? Who knows. The Hallmark holiday can cause friction for both lovebirds and the single’s club, but how you handle it is what that really matters.

Still searching for Mr. Right? Get your ladies together, go out on the town and meet new men or buy some wine and have an 80’s movie rerun night.

Taken? Don’t stress about what your guy does for you. Savor the moment and enjoy the time you’re spending together. Think about it, there are 364 other days in the year for your boyfriend to go above and beyond and you won’t even have to thank Hallmark for telling him to do so!

Looking for ideas? Check out some heartfelt tips on how to make the most of Valentine’s Day, or better yet, use these to make every day of the year Valentine’s Day – single or taken.

Movies in the Park

  • Visit Biltmore Fashion Park in the fall and spring and check out Friday night movies in the park. Pick up a picnic dinner to go, grab a blanket and snuggle up under the stars as you watch a timeless classic. http://www.shopbiltmore.com/events.asp
  • Saving money? Why not make your own backyard a movie in the park. Set up a projection screen, put down a blanket and make a savory picnic meal. Your backyard will never look so good!
  • Not a desert resident? Google movies in the park in your city and chances are they have something similar.

Savor the Desert Flavor

  • Rustler’s Rooste – A slide, a real bull and they serve snake (along with BBQ chicken and steak of course). If you are ready for a cowboy adventure, visit: www.rustlersrooste.com
  • Greaswood Flats – Picnic tables, live music and a wild west of a good time. www.greasewoodflat.net
  • Schnepf Farms – With peach festivals, pumpkin farms and an olive mille next door, this is a farm adventure that you’d never expect to find in Arizona. www.schnepffarms.com
  • Horseback Riding – You’re not an Arizonan until you’ve tried it – www.cavecreekoutfitters.com
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides – Take a look at Arizona from a different angle – www.hotairexpeditions.com

Dinner Dates

Here are just a few local spots to try with your sweetie.

  • Rokerji – Nestled in Central Phoenix with a fireplace and deep wood furniture, this spot is perfect for a romantic dinner for two. http://www.burningembersphoenix.com/
  • Dick’s Hideway – Richardson’s is now under renovation but in the meantime; try out Dick’s Hideaway which is the quaint and charming brother of Richardson’s. Built off the kitchen, it’s cozy and the food leaves you counting the days until your next visit. http://www.burningembersphoenix.com/
  • My Florist Café – Make sure you go there for dinner and eat your scrumptious meal to the sound of live music. http://www.myfloristcafe.com/

Side Note – If you’re looking for a post-dinner drink, check out Sidebar or The Rhythm Room (live jazz!)

  • Chelsea’s Kitchen – Homecookin’ at its finest. www.chelseaskitchenaz.com/
  • Capitol Grille – High quality steak in a cozy setting. www.thecapitalgrille.com/
  • Radio Milano – Be sure to eat there on Neighborhood Night (Mon & Tues) and you’ll get an appetizer or dessert and entrée for $20! www.radiomilanobar.com/
  • Pizzeria Bianco – It’s world famous, but be ready for a 2-3 hour wait. The good news though is that there is an adorable wine bar next door to help you pass the time! www.pizzeriabianco.com/

Take a class that leaves you wanting homework!

Cooking Classes

Massage Classes

Wine Tasting

Revisit your childhood

Wine and Cheese Please

Wine Nights

Wine Tasting Adventures

Home is where the heart is.

  • Make it a night in, cook together and play your favorite board games.

Stay-cation

  • Can’t get away? Local resorts are the perfect vacation at a home away from home.

Road Trip

  • Vegas, Flagstaff and Sedona are just a stone’s throw away. Grab your honey or your best friends, visit www.priceline.com and take a weekend to get out-of-town. Don’t forget the road trip music mix!

For more ideas take a look at these sites:

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The Spread: 3:1 you’ll find the right…Shoe.

February 9, 2010 at 11:07 pm (Shopping)

I’ve often wondered what the connection is between men and gambling. They love it. They live for it. They can’t watch a game without doing it. Throwing down hundreds of dollars on football…horse races…soccer…badminton…who’s going to finish the pound burger at the restaurant…you name it, a man takes a gamble on it. Then it hit me. Gambling to men is like shopping to women. Most men don’t understand the significance behind finding the perfect “first date dress” – the excitement when a woman walks into a store and is immediately hit with the aroma of new shoes, delectable perfumes and the latest fashions. To most women, their “gamble” is trying to hit the super secret summer sale the day it begins. So take a gamble, find the sale and when your man takes his spending money to Vegas to gamble the night away, take yours to Caesar’s Palace and buy yourself a new purse. Jackpot right there!

To all you retail betting women out there; here are some shopping tips to make your dollar get to the next pair of shoes you can’t live without.

Bargain Shop. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be embarrassed. Your pocket-book will thank you and if you do it right your friends won’t know the difference.

Last Chance

If you can brave the crowds and the clutter, you’ll find a pot of gold aka Fendi’s at the other end of the retail rainbow. The ‘Last Chance’ store for Nordstrom is a gem and one people travel to Arizona to experience. Sneak in on a weekday morning and you won’t know where the time went. From designer shoes at shockingly low prices, to designer handbags and clothes, if you know how to search and get your hands dirty, you’ll hit the jackpot.

Visit them here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/last-chance-bargain-shoes-and-apparel-phoenix

Forever 21

Don’t let the number fool you. No, you do not have to be 21 to shop there, but you do have to be trend savvy. Known best for finding the trends that you want, but you may not want to take the gamble on spending the big dollars, why not test it out at a reasonable price. If you love it, well either come back to Forever and get it in every color, or move on to Barney’s next door and buy the same thing at four times the price!

Visit them here: www.forever21.com

For Love 21

For the love, you’ll be missing out if you don’t stop by! As the beautiful little sister of Forever 21, this store is housed completely with…you got it…accessories. Jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, earrings, belts, headbands…the list goes on. Is your ‘First Date Dress’ missing the flare it needs to make him call you for a second date? Run into For Love, pick up some fabulous earrings and the best part is that if you accidentally lose one, you’ve only lost a $4 investment!

Visit them here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/forlove-21-scottsdale

Some other secret gems

TJ Maxx – www.tjmaxx.com

Francesca’s – http://www.francescascollections.com

Steinmart – www.steinmart.com

Target – www.target.com

Happy Shopping!

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Networking Events: College house parties for young professionals

January 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm (Around Town)

Network. Network. Network.

How are you supposed to meet people if you don’t get out there and try? The word network can come of as stuffy, sophisticated and down right boring. But, don’t let the word fool you! Once you hit the young professional age of life, networking is like the new college house party. Phoenix is full of networking social hours that normally occur at a local bar with cocktails involved. From events themed around Going Green to events focused on getting Phoenix professionals in touch with other Phoenix professionals, the options are endless.

So take the leap. Here are just a couple of networks to get started. Take a look and get yourself to one of the networking social hours. I doubt you’ll regret it and let me know when you meet your new best friend or significant other!

Get Phoenix – http://www.getphoenix.org/  – A network of business professionals

This group evolved from the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and does a great job of hosting a variety of Valley events, multiple times a month. Young like-minded professionals gather and network with each other at their main event once a month and several smaller opportunities throughout the month. Members (and non-members) can attend seminars on finance, communicating, going green and more. Members are invited to join Get Phoenix committees that range from planning the social events to organizing volunteer opportunities. It’s worth checking out at least once and I bet you find yourself coming back every month!

 Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Generation United – http://genunited.org/  – A network of volunteers

Are you 40 or under and do you like to give back with people your own age? Generation United is for you. Founded by the Valley of the Sun United Way, this organization saw that Young Professionals like to live by improving quality of live for the greater good, and they acted on it. From hosting social networking events to organizing volunteer opportunities in all areas of the giving spectrum, this is a great way to meet new people who have similar likes while making the world a better place along the way.

 Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce – http://www.arizonagreenchamber.org/Phoenix/  – A network for those who dream green

Are you green with jealously towards those who know how to make our environment cleaner and more breathable? Well, now you can become one yourself. For the Phoenicians who see our environment as one that needs a bit of work and they want to do something to improve it, check out Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce. Their mission statement says it all – “a non-profit organization committed to strengthening the voice and influence of businesses united to promote a more sustainable, environmentally sound economy and green public policy.” – Green Chamber of Commerce. With Valley events going on monthly, you’ll have several opportunities to join the Go Green movement and make friends with others who feel the same way you do!

Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Active.com – http://www.active.com/running/  – A network for those on the run – literally

 So you like to run. A lot. You run to blow of steam. You run when you are trying to shed some pounds. You run when you just can’t think of anything better to do. So, why not run with others like you? This isn’t necessarily a networking group that meets once a month, but it’s the perfect site to join to learn about every running activity you could ever think of going on in the Valley. Seriously, everything you can think of. Have you ever heard of the Skirt Chaser? Check out the site. Guys, you might want to take a look too!

Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce – http://www.scottsdalechamber.com/

Phoenix Chamber of Commerce – http://www.phoenixchamber.com/

A network for the future leaders of the Valley

Buyer be warned, a membership is not cheap, but if you are serious about getting involved with your city and potentially running for an office in the future; joining your city’s chamber of commerce is the way to go. From morning networking meetings to seminars with some of the most prominent leaders in the Valley, you’ll definitely be in the know if you’re a part of this group and you will most likely help with molding the future of our state! Join this group and make friends with other future leaders.

Shout it from the rooftops! Want to spread the word about another networking group in town? Now’s your chance! Comment on this post or send me an email.

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November 12, 2009 at 12:09 am (Uncategorized)

Have you heard of Shoestring Magazine? Why spend money when you can find a bargain on this site for just about everything you could think of?

 

 

 

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First Date Dress. Not just an outfit.

November 11, 2009 at 11:50 pm (Uncategorized)

First dates are rough. Will I like them? Is this the one? Where are we going? What should I wear? Will I say the right things? Finding the perfect first date dress is a metaphor for just about everything we do in life. Where to eat, how to meet people, what to do on a Friday night, where to find the best first date dress bargains. We only live once. Why not wear the perfect dress along the way.

 

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