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Favorites from Diva and her pals

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.

All good stuff. But I have a few other favorite things.

Like eos brand "smooth sphere" lip balm ($3), for example. It's this awesome, super therapeutic stuff. And its stubby little egg shape makes it easy to find in a cluttered purse.

Also great is Softlips ($3), made right here in Western New York. It comes in sleek, slender tubes and is made in every flavor and sheen imaginable. It goes on so nice and tastes awesome.

I asked my friends about some of their favorite things and here's what they came up with:

Pastry scraper, also called a bench scrape. My friend Cherie said this is the best $8 she ever spent. Made from stainless steel and silicone, it looks like a little shovel or scoop. You use it like a rubber scraper or spatula to scrape out the bowl or pick up dough when you're making cookies.

If you've ever watched Rachael Ray cook, you've seen her use one to pick up her chopped veggies and transfer them to the pan. You can find it at any department or kitchen supply store.

Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter Shampoo ($2). Every time I hug my friend, Katie, I can't help but notice her hair smells awesome. Literally, I can't help it -- she's like a foot shorter than I am and my nose always ends up in her tresses.

I found out the reason she smells so nice is that she uses this shampoo. Turns out my BFF Karen -- who looks like a Pantene model -- uses it, too!

OPI Nail Polish (starting at $7). My best friend, Gina, is a manicurist and loves OPI nail polish. In fact, when I asked my friends about their favorite things, it made almost everyone's list.

OPI looks and wears great, and the names are a hoot. There's a holiday collection that includes Keep Me On My Mistletoes and New Year's Red-Solution. There's also Aphrodite's Pink Nightie, Chocolate Shake-Speare and Don't Socra-tease me.

There are a few kinds: OPI, which is sold in salons, another line called Nicole by OPI -- hawked by the Kardashians and Justin Bieber and sold in discount stores -- and a line OPI makes exclusively for Sephora stores. Gina says they're all great, but that buying the salon-quality line is worth the splurge because it applies better and lasts longer.

Aveda Tourmaline Line (starting at $12). My friend, Marilyn, used to love St. Ives' Apricot Scrub. But when she became an aesthetician, she found out it's kind of bad for your face.

Now she has relegated the St. Ives to foot scrub and uses Aveda's Tourmaline products. They are pricier, but you're truly getting what you pay for here. They have high-quality (and pricey) ingredients, they work wonders and a little bit goes a long way.

e-mail: schristmann@buffnews.com or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow the Diva at www.Facebook.com/DiscountDiva

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