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The best part of summer…

… is (are?) the hummingbirds outside my office window.

A couple of years ago, I bought a hummingbird feeder from Amazon during the holiday lightning deals in November. Then I waited patiently (sort of) until May when I could hang that baby up and watch the show out my window whenever I get bored. I love having that feeder, but the one I bought doesn’t have a wide mouth, so it’s nearly impossible to clean. (I use a tiny little brush on a wire designed for cleaning reusable straws, but it’s tedious and hard to aim inside the bottle.)

Today, finally, the Amazon Gold Box is filled with Perky Pet hummingbird feeders, and while most of them are probably there because they’re the old, narrow-neck design, the 710B copper one has a wider mouth for ease of filling and cleaning. For $11, I’m finally upgrading.

(By the way, it comes with “free nectar mix,” but the best nectar for hummingbirds is simply a 4-to-1 solution of water to sugar, boiled for at least a minute to help kill bacteria, then cooled. They don’t need any red food dye or other additives.)

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Labels for all occasions

This one is always a hot item, especially when it drops to this price: right now Amazon has the DYMO LabelManager 160 Hand Held Label Maker available for $9.99 with free Prime shipping. These are good for… well… just about everyone, but they make very popular teacher appreciation gifts (particularly in the lower grades or for lab teachers with a lot of materials to organize), are good for Father’s Day, etc.

It looks like a bunch of the refill tapes are on sale, too. Time to get organized!

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Heads up, Apple-lovers

I don’t want to get into a protracted discussion of whether higher-cost Apple items are “worth the money” compared to their Windows counterparts—people have Strong Feelings both ways and I get that—but if you’re an Apple type and you’ve been waiting for a great deal on a 13″ Air, I’ve got a deal for you.

See, I was just looking at Best Buy’s Deals of the Day (that’s a decent $40 toaster oven there, if you need one) and then I clicked on the 4-Day Sale link towards the bottom. The first deal that pops up on that page is the latest 13.3″ MacBook Air for $800. That’s $200 off, which is basically unheard of. It’s not a refurb or an open box, either.

Personally, I tend to hit the Apple Store directly for refurbs, but if that’s not your jam (or you need, say, a graduation gift…?), this is the deal to beat.

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Ready to switch to LEDs?

If you’re like me, your hippy-dippy crunchy side goes to war with your need for bright light every time you buy compact fluorescents and wish there was a better option. And there is—LED lightbulb technology has come a long way in the last few years, now offering energy-efficient bulbs that give off well-balance, bright light.

Right now Amazon has this 6-pack of daylight LED 60W-equivalent bulbs available for just $34.66, a good $10 cheaper than I can find them anywhere else. They’re highly rated in customer satisfaction and performance, and each bulb can last for up to 20,000 hours.

We’ve replaced most of our household fixtures with LEDs over the years, but these are perfect for the conventional lamps we still have here and there. Maybe you’ll find the deal useful, too. (I know someone emailed me about LEDs recently. Sue? Was that you?)

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Fresh bread at the push of a button

If you’ve been looking for a good deal on an automatic bread maker, look no further than the T-Fal Actibread, which has more options than I even knew existed. Different size loaves! A special setting for gluten-free breads! A pasta setting! It’s practically magic. It’s also currently priced at just $98.99 at Amazon, which is already about their lowest price ever, and there’s also a $10 off coupon you can clip.

So that’s a full-function, highly-rated bread machine delivered for just under $90, when the next cheapest offer on it is $150 from a different seller. Seems like a deal worth snagging, to me.

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Get sew creative

Woohoo… today’s Amazon Gold Box holds a Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing Machine for $115 shipped. This is a good $60+ off the price you’ll find anywhere else, and the reviews on this baby are fantastic (it’s the number one best-seller in sewing machines right now).

It also comes with about a billion accessories (okay, maybe not quite a billion…) and is, in general, a steal at this price. If I hadn’t just gotten my crafting kid a machine a couple of years ago, I’d be all over this.

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Hey, curly girls

My fellow curly-haired ladies know that finding the right hair product can be a lifelong quest. (I thought I found it; then they discontinued it. Of course.) My search continues, and lucky me, now that I have a teenage daughter with a different type of curl, products that aren’t quite right for me usually work just fine for her (and vice versa). Hooray!

Normally I wouldn’t buy a 3-pack of an untested product (what if I hate it?), but right now Amazon has this Pantene Pro-V Anti-Frizz Curl Creme 3-Pack available on Subscribe & Save with a clippable $6 coupon, and it’s marked down to $10.59. I’m up to 15% off this month, so that meant I got 3 bottles for… $3. Even if I don’t love it, no biggie. But it’s averaging 4.5 stars, so I’ll try it. If I don’t like it, I’ll give it to my kid or donate it.

It’s hard to beat a buck a bottle. It’ll probably cost them more than that just to ship it to me.

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If you’re in the market for a flat iron…

… be sure to check out the pre-Valentine’s deals at Folica today. If you look at the rotating carousel of deals on the main page, the next-to-last offer (the fifth dot from the left, or the next-to-last one from the right) is a colored 1-1/4″ Solia flat iron for just $60 when you use coupon code LOVELY.

You may recall that a few years back I tested a Solia iron and gave one away, and my conclusion was that it was a really nice iron (as good as my trusty GHD, which cost a lot more). Folica’s normal price is $90 for the black one or $80 for either the pink or purple. With the coupon you’ll be saving another 25%, and of course shipping is free on your $50+ order.

For comparison/review purposes: Here it is on Amazon, at the same $80/$90 price-point, with a 4.5 star review over 160 reviews. $60 is a steal for this unit.

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Get some nice knives

In the market for new steak knives? Amazon is currently running a Lightning Deal on this Culina Steak Knife Boxed set, which I bought myself shortly after Christmas (the last time it was on sale). I like ’em. They’re not super-high-end like a set that’ll run you hundreds of dollars, but for $40 they’re a steal—the box is nice, the knives themselves will go with any flatware set, and they’re nice and sharp.

I haven’t used them to do anything extraordinary (like… butcher a side of beef or kill someone), but we’ve used them several times for steak and chicken and they’re well worth the price.

This may be the most words I’ve ever written about knives.

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The Want Not Review: Tolerant Organic Lentil Pasta

Tolerant-RotiniSo let me be absolutely clear with you about pasta: Most of the time, I don’t miss pasta. What I miss since giving up gluten is bread (delicious, squishy bread!), but pasta, meh. I’m happy to make zucchini or spaghetti squash noodles for sauce. And gluten-free rice pasta is fine, if somewhat nutritionally empty. The only time I miss pasta is when I make macaroni and cheese for the rest of the family. (If you don’t have a homemade recipe, may I suggest Alton Brown’s version? It is perfection.) I can make it with Trader Joe’s rice pasta and GF flour so I can eat it, but then I feel guilty, because it’s not exactly health food.

This weekend at Costco we stumbled across this gluten-free red lentil rotini from Tolerant. Each serving has—I hope you’re sitting down—21 grams of protein, as well as the equivalent vitamins/minerals to a serving of veggies. In a pasta. “I bet this stuff tastes like cardboard,” I said to my husband. “Just try it,” he said. “Maybe it’s good.”

Well, my husband is smart. Not only is this pasta delicious (good body without being dense or sticky), it passed muster with the gluten-eaters in my house, it’s organic and non-GMO, and I don’t have to feel guilty about pasta anymore because this stuff is a lean, guilt-free protein source. We have to drive over an hour to Costco (and typically only go a few times a year) and we are going back this weekend to buy more. Whether you’re gluten-free or not, it’s worth checking out.

Purchasing: This stuff is a lot more expensive than cheapie supermarket pasta, but remember you’re getting a nutritionally dense product to ease the sting. Costco carries a 1.65 pound box for $8.79 (looks like only Costcos in FL, TN, GA, SC and NC so far). Some states carry it at Target. Amazon carries it if you’re desperate, but be prepared for extreme sticker shock. Their best deal looks to be this 6-pack of 12 ounce boxes for $41.94, plus you’ll get $5 off with coupon code PK8DP3ZJ.

Bottom line: Crazy delicious and good for you, too. Expensive for pasta, cheap for protein. Yummy whether you eat gluten or not.

[Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Tolerant Foods. I purchased my own product—with skepticism!—and just feel moved to share because it turned out to be so amazing.]

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