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Sheila's Posts

Check out all the posts by Sheila ~ (Owner/Author)

About Sheila Thomas

Hi, My name is Sheila and I am the Living Smart Girl. My goal is to bring everyone the latest and greatest tips and advice on fitness, healthy choices, recipes, shopping, beauty, home and garden, family and parenting, daily deals, travel, and so much more. I love fitness, but life is more than just exercise and when you visit Living Smart Girl you can connect the dots and live a well rounded life ~ the Living Smart way :)

I love working online and spend most of my day blogging, and researching new topics and tips to bring my readers.

Join me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LivingSmartGirl

Sheila Thomas

23 Tea and Coffee Healthy Alternatives

23 tea and coffee healthy alternatives

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Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free… whether you have strict dietary restrictions or are trying to improve your eating habits, it isn’t always easy to completely exclude food and beverages that you truly enjoy savoring.  Many of us need that energy boost provided by caffeine and have tried to find better options to the usual coffee with sugar and creamer.  Lucky for you, I have found 23 tea and coffee healthy alternatives and I am sharing them with you today!  Which one are you going to try first?

Dirty Chai

Flu survival tea

The cold buster

Cleansing ginger lemon tea

Orange clove tea

Love your liver herbal coffee

Easy rooibos latte

Paleo pumpkin latte

Pumpkin spice coconut latte

Coconut latte

Peppermint Mocha Latte

Skinny vanilla latte

Skinny caramel mocha

Peanut butter cup caramel latte

Clean eating peppermint mocha

Hot buttered toffee “coffee”

Cinnamon coconut coffee

Clean eating blender coffee

Protein coffee

Pumpkin spice protein shake

Paleo Mocha Frappe Coffee Drink

Coconut water iced coffee

Skinny Vanilla Iced Coffee

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Fun Friday Giveaway Link Up

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Shopping for Health and Fitness Gifts

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We are right in the heart of Christmas season and around peeking around the corner is the New Year. The New Year is a time for self-reflection on the years’ past and resolutions on how to repent and move forward in the coming year to better ourselves, both mind, body, and soul. The most popular New Year’s resolution is to get fit and lose weight; so, in the spirit of helping your loved ones reach their goals, why not give the fit of health and fitness this Christmas season.

 

Our culture goes through shifts every now and then in terms of what is popular and “trending.” Different activities and lifestyles take the focus of being the “it” thing, and right now we are living in the time of fitness gurus. Every single Saturday and Sunday our Facebook feeds are swarming with aunts, uncles, and high school acquaintances running 5k’s; their bodies colored in chalk, paint, or mud as they rush through obstacle courses to obtain a medal for their ever growing collection. For the runners and adrenaline junkies in your life, there are several gifts that will always be like gold to them. Fitness gear like running pants, sweat resistant tops, or gift cards for new sneakers will go a long way. Discount coupon sites like Frugaa.com offer great deals at major fitness apparel retailers for a fraction of the cost. If buying clothes isn’t the direction you want to go or if you’re worried about making a tough decision for runners and fitness fans when it comes to important choices like the features of one sneaker over another, opt to pay for their enrollment in the next race coming up in their local city. For many their love of running and racing is more than just a love, it’s a healthy addiction that keeps them fit and focused.

 

Another huge trend in the fitness realm right now is taking classes at various workout studios, gyms, or boxes in sessions. The modern man and woman who live active lifestyles often don’t devote their workout regimen to just one sport or activity. They like to spin, do yoga, have Crossfit memberships, and learn jiu jitsu. Even for a fun date night out a lot of young and fit couples are opting out of dinner and a movie and opting in to rock climbing, bowling, or salsa dancing. When shopping for friends, family, and loved ones whose interests lay in being active, look into gift cards or membership packages that include a series of classes at either their favorite workout studios or something they haven’t tried yet to expand their horizons. If you know someone who is into excitement and trying new things, this is the route to go.

 

In addition to being strong, toned, and slim through their fitness techniques, healthy individuals focus on their diets becoming a part of their daily focus. Gifts that reinforce the healthy eating habits will be much appreciated, whether it’s a gift card to a local farm-fresh eatery or a voucher at a vitamin shop, health fiends will appreciate your attention to detail and love that you didn’t go for the traditional chocolate snowmen to stuff in their stocking this year.

 

Local retail businesses can be pricy, particularly at this time of year, but it’s amazing how even for gift cards online voucher sites often provide relatively low-cost items. Visiting online discount sites like Frugaa.com will allow you to save and stretch your dollar further this holiday; gift 24 hour fitness passes to your loved ones and set them up to reach their goal of their ideal beach body for spring and summer.

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Fitness Tips For The Holidays

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Fitness Tips For The Holidays
#fitnesstips

The holidays are approaching quickly and many people don’t want to derail their fitness and progress over a few celebratory months. Although it may be tempting to cheat on your healthy eating and push aside your fitness, it’s important to stay on track. These fitness tips for the holidays will keep you going all year long and if you follow them closely, you’ll be able to keep celebrating your success instead of starting over at New Year’s!
1. Make time to work out, even if it’s at home.
Often times, people travel during the holidays and end up putting any and all exercise on the back burner, especially if they’re away from their gym. The good news is that in today’s age, there are so many resources right at our fingertips! Between YouTube video workouts, Netflix, or even just running outdoors, there is still plenty of ways to get a great workout in during the holidays! One of the best fitness tips for the holidays is to never stop exercising. Once you do, it’s extremely hard to get back into the habit!
2. It’s okay to splurge, but be realistic.
Of course there are tons of treats around the holidays, and it’s often tempting to gorge all season long. Eating right and staying away from them is one of the best fitness tips for the holidays you can follow! As much as exercise and the gym are great, 80 percent of being healthy is eating correctly. Keep in mind that it’s okay to have a treat here and there, but don’t overdo it, and realize that it might cost a little more in the gym!
3. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself!
Just as with eating treats in moderation, it’s okay to take rest days in moderation during a vacation as well! Try not to get too into the habit of taking time off from exercise but if you have big plans, maybe skip the workout that day. Especially for something like a trip to the zoo, since you’ll be walking and exercising a lot anyway!
4. No zero days.
No zero days is a great fitness tip any time of year but definitely one of the most helpful fitness tips for the holidays! Essentially, you want to make sure you are doing something beneficial for your health every day . Whether it’s a walk at the mall for Christmas shopping, avoiding a large section of holiday baked goods, or getting in a great workout, just make sure that every day you put in an effort!
5. Drink plenty of water!
Drinking water is a huge part of gealth, weight loss, and overall fitness. Again, this fitness tip applies to all year, but as far as fitness tips for the holidays, it definitely ranks in the top! Making sure you stay on top of hydration and water intake is a huge deal, especially because it can be tempting to drink other holiday beverages like egg nog, or alcohol. It’s totally okay to splurge on those things but keep in mind that water intake is the most important!
What is the hardest part about staying healthy through the holidays for you?

Great Holiday Gift Selection at Best Buy

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Disclosure ~ The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  @BestBuy #HintingSeason @Xbox, @TomTomUSA and @Garmin

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Best Buy is busier than ever being regarded as one of the best Holiday Shopping Destinations of the season. They have an incredible selection of everything technology related and the best part is they carry all the new stuff! Visiting a Best Buy store when you’re a technology buff is much like a kid in the candy store. Playing with demos to get a feel for new devices is always fun. But even tech newbies can expect thorough and knowledgeable assistance from Best Buy employees. Some top gift items this year are listed below. Be sure to check out Best Buy online or visit your local store to score amazing deals on all the best technology. Great Holiday Gift Selection at Best Buy makes for great gifts for everyone on your list.

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Xbox One: This is the latest Microsoft console to hit the market and it features many amazing updates. It was built by gamers, for gamers – meaning it was designed by people that understand gaming and what makes it great. There are frequent updates to keep the console improving. Gaming – especially multiplayer – is taken to a whole new level while playing on a network that has over 300,000 servers! Xbox One features the best exclusive titles such as Halo and Sunset Overdrive as well as the biggest blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. For the sports fans, don’t forget Madden 15, FIFA 15, and NBA 2K15. Family gamers can enjoy titles such as Fantasia: Music Evolved, get their groove on with Just Dance 15, or Skylanders. The Xbox One console is fantastic for gaming, but can also be used to watch the latest TV shows and movies with apps such as Netflix and Hulu. More information: Xbox One at Best Buy.

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JBL: Speakers have certainly come a long way. Remember how large they used to be? The same power is now available in a much smaller package. JBL has several speaker and headphone options for music loves. The JBL Charge 2 has twin passive radiators that rocks the bass as well as a massive 6000mAh battery. This speaker enables up to three users to take turns playing their own playlists. The JBL Flip 2 features dual performance-tuned JBL drivers and a built-in bass port. A state of the art microphone picks up calls on the speaker while SoundClear echo and noise cancellation allows crystal clear conversations. JBL Reflect Earbud headphones have a 5 hour rechargeable battery and are designed to be sweat proof and ergonomic. Built in magnets keep your earbuds within reach – up to 40 feet – without loose cables. More information: JBL at Best Buy.

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Garmin and TomTom: Both Garmin and TomTom want you to feel safe and in control of your travels. Their products feature bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling as well as lane assist and map updates. They are equipped with voice recognition technology and easily access traffic and weather updates. Some popular systems are the Garmin 52LM, the Garmin 2597LMT, and the TomTom 50s. Most come with at least a 5.0″ display and maps of 49 U.S. states – some even feature Canada and Mexico maps. Displays show speed limits and accurate arrival times. Spoken turn-by-turn directions will have you easily navigating streets or highways whether familiar or new. Addresses as well as millions of points of interest are readily available. More information Garmin and TomTom at Best Buy.

 

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5 Easy Aqua Aerobics Routines To Stay Fit

One of the things I really like about water workouts is they don’t have to be really complicated. I don’t have to figure out that machine at the gym, or key in a program for the treadmill. It’s hard to pick favorites, but here are 5 great routines that I use to stay fit.

Aqua walking. This one is very simple, and it’s a great way to work out when it’s hot outside. I go to the community pool when the lap lanes are open, and begin moving up and down one. The water is around waist to chest deep, and I have to push and lean forward to work against the resistance of the water. If I’m in a mood for a little more effort, I escalate to aqua jogging. The difference is subtle, but it’s just about picking up the pace a little. I make sure to wear old tennis shoes to protect my feet, and keep a water bottle at the end of the lane to stay hydrated.

Here are some great resources with more information about water workouts and how to use them:

A group class. Sometimes I want to do my own workout, and at other times, I just want someone to tell me what to do. That’s when I just go to a group class. An instructor will lead the group through a set of exercises, and I get ideas for movements I want to try. I know I will get a well rounded workout that will tax my arms and legs, which will give me a great cardio component. People just love being in the water, so everyone in the group is very friendly and smiling. I’ve made some great connections this way, and get a solid workout every time.

Aqua tai chi. If I want a soothing way to relieve stress, I love tai chi in the water. The teacher leads us through a series of slow and gentle movements that feel like a slow motion ballet. We are reminded to concentrate on keeping our breathing in concert with the movements, and it’s easy to get caught up in the quiet, hearing only the soothing gentle lapping of the water. I leave more calm and balanced, and ready to face the rest of my day.

Treading water. When an instructor in a group class mentioned this, I was puzzled at first. I hadn’t treaded water since swim lessons when I was a kid. She said it was a great cardio exercise, and would give us a great workout. I swim out to the deep end, and just begin to tread water with my arms and legs in a gentle motion. I’ll feel the exertion in my arms and legs after a short time. I’ll go to the shallow end to catch my breath, then and do it again. If I can tread water three times, I know I’ll have gotten a great cardio workout.

Cardio ab work. I freely admit I’m not a fan of crunches. But I know building the core is important, so I do it in the water. I fold a towel lengthwise and place it on the side of the pool. I back up and put my arms on it. Then I begin to pull my legs up to my chest, and let them back down. For more effort, I keep my legs straight and bring them up to where they are straight out in front of me. After a serious session of water crunches, I sure feel it the next day, but know I’ve done my part to build my core.

I smile after a water workout, because I’m staying fit, but in a very pleasant way.

Kaitlin Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

 

Best Recipes of 2014 #Foodie

Check out Best of 2014

by Sheila Cooper Thomas at Foodie.com

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl is bringing you this great sponsored post in collaboration with #Foodie @foodie  @foodiebyglam

Wow, it’s hard to believe that another year has come and is just about gone.  I just can’t believe how fast the days go by.  It seems the older I get, the faster the years fly by.  I remember being young, and just wishing the days would fly by, but now, I wish they would just slow down a bit.  I want to have special moments last forever, but alas I know they won’t.  One way I can keep days alive and in my memory is by taking pictures, or blogging about things.  I also love to do up collections of recipes so I can look back at what our favorite dishes of the year were.  I wanted to share with you some of our favorite’s of 2014.  A nice collection of healthy, sweet, paleo, gluten free and fun.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and will continue to enjoy them thru 2015.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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Which Camera from Best Buy is on your Shopping List

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The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or
received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
@BestBuy #CamerasatBestBuy #HintingSeason

The Holidays are filled with memories, both remembering old and making new. What better way to capture those important moments than the latest camera or camcorder? Whether you’re considering upgrading your own or purchasing something new as a gift, Best Buy is the ultimate destination for all things technology. Their selection of cameras and camcorders is exceptional and I’ve shared some of this season’s stand-out items below.

Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55 mm VR Lens: This DSLR comes with built-in Wi-Fi making sharing your Holiday photos simple and instantaneous. The camera itself is available in red or gray and comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55 f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens which specifically allows for sharper photos and video footage. It comes with built-in flash to add light when necessary as well as GPS that allows you to add geotags to keep track of where each photo was captured. With the Nikon D5300, you can record full high definition videos with a stereo microphone for quality audio. Optimal image stabilization minimize blurring and ghosting that can be caused by camera shake and vibration, making fantastic action shots! For more information: Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55 VR Lens.

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Sony a6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera: This is the perfect camera for snapping photos on the go. It is a compact system camera that features the World’s Fastest Autofocus, no waiting for blur! Also with built-in Wi-Fi, you can share your moments with ease. An Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor as well as 24.3-megapixels provide gorgeous images with stunning clarity. You can expect crisp, clean images in a variety of lighting conditions while snapping portraits or candid family moments. This Sony camera is available in white or silver. For more information: Sony a6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera.

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Samsung Galaxy Camera 2: This digital camera is perfect for new photographers or those that enjoy point and shoot. Easily share your photos with built-in Wi-Fi and use Android apps with ease. Featuring 16.3-megapixels and a 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor, you’ll capture incredible images and high definition video. View both by navigating through apps and storage with a 4.8″ touch screen. A centered 95% viewfinder allows for quick setup of the perfect shot. Bring your subject into view with face detection and toggle through several different scene modes and special effect features to enhance your images. For more information: Samsung Galaxy Camera 2.

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Which Camera from Best Buy is on your Shopping List to make someone else smile ? Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more great cameras or swing by your local store for a demonstration from knowledgable Best Buy employees. Never miss a moment. #CamerasatBestBuy.

Which camera would you like to find under your tree?  I myself would gladly take any, if someone wants to surprise me this year.
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Healthy Jump Start During the Holidays with Mocktail Smoothies

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FDA Disclaimer ~ *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Disclosure ~ This post is sponsored by Puritan’s Pride; opinions expressed are my own.
Recipe credit goes to Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., of B Nutritious and author of The Sugar Detox,
who works as a spokesperson for Puritan’s Pride.

As a Puritan’s Pride ambassador participating in the Superfood Smoothie Challenge, I’ve had fun sharing recipes and tons of information on products. So far, most of the smoothie recipes I’ve shared have been focused on meal replacement or to resolve a specific worry such as an upset stomach. This month’s recipes have switched gears to delicious smoothies that are meant to be enjoyed in celebration during the Holidays. These mocktail recipes are a nutritious and festive addition to breakfasts, brunches, or mid-day snacks. These are an appetizing way to get in nutrients without feeling weighed down. You need extra room for a few bites of Holiday baking after all. Get a Healthy Jump Start During the Holidays with Mocktail Smoothies. The recipes for Passion Pear, Cocoa, and Spiced Apple smoothies are below.

Passion Pear Smoothie:

Pears are a source of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K. The good source of vitamin C may help the immune system! Vitamin K helps support bones. Fun fact: There are over 3,000 known variety of pears including the green and red anjou as well as the bartlett and red bartlett.

Recipe:

  • 1 pear
  • ½ banana
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 8oz almond milk
  • ½ cup kale

Cocoa Smoothie:

Cocoa isn’t just a delicious treat! It’s a nutrition powerhouse. Cocoa is a source of antioxidants, which help support numerous facets of health and total-body wellness. Fun fact: Two tablespoons of cocoa powder provide 4 grams of fiber!

Recipe:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 pitted medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup spinach
  • 1.5 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)

Spiced Apple Smoothie:

Apples do more than just keep the doctor away. These crunchy fall treats are rich sources of fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C helps support the immune system and fiber supports digestion and heart health. In other words, drink up! Fun fact: The largest apple ever picked weighed 3 pounds.

Recipe:

  • 1 ½ apples, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup Kale
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup ice cubes

My December box included some great products including:

Puritan’s Pride All Natural All Natural Vegan Protein Chocolate with Quinoa and Oats (054825) ~ A delicious all-natural vegan protein powder that is free of artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. There are also no preservatives in this protein powder. It is made from quinoa and oats and delivers a whopping 17 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber both of which fuel your body.

Lehi Valley Natural Ginger: Sweet and spicy, this ginger is dried naturally and is both moist and chewy. It can be used in cooking and baking or eaten as a tasty treat. It also makes a fantastic addition to a hot cup of tea.

Dynamic Health Pomegranate Juice Concentrate: This concentrate is a delicious way to obtain all the benefits of pomegranate juice including antioxidants that rival superfoods such as acai, as well as high amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K.

Vanns Peppermint Flavor Extract: Cool and minty, this extract is perfect for all your baking needs. The refreshing flavor is especially tasty in hot cocoa.

Puritan’s Pride Vitamin C Crystals: Vitamin C supports antioxidant health and boosts immune systems and is extraordinarily beneficial during the winter as well as cold and flu season. These vitamin C crystals are water-soluble and are designed for people unable to take tablets or capsules.

Puritan’s Pride® (http://www.puritan.com) began over 40 years ago, with the mission of making the finest quality nutritional supplements available at the best value to their customers. Today, the company remains true to its original commitment and serves millions of loyal customers. Puritan’s Pride manufactures thousands of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutritional supplements in their state-of-the art facilities located throughout the U.S. As part of the company’s commitment to quality, Puritan’s Pride only uses ingredients from suppliers worldwide that meet their Quality Assurance Standards, as well as Good Manufacturing Practices food quality standards.

Be sure to visit Puritan’s Pride on their social media channels for other fantastic offers, recipes, and more!

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Now for the fun part!!   Do you want to win all the same goodies I got?   You can, by entering below.

Open to US only ~ 18+   ~  Ends January 10, 2015 at 11:59pm CST

I Have a Canon from Best Buy on my Christmas List

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The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received
the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
@BestBuy #CanonatBestBuy #HintingSeason @CanonUSAimaging

Most people have been dropping hints as to what they’d love to unwrap this year for at least a few weeks, some even longer. Leaving little reminders or casually mentioning gift suggestions is my usual route, but wish lists are helpful and sometimes you have to just come right out and say what you want. As a blogger, taking photos that can tell a story is important and so I’m always keeping an eye out for upgrades to my photography equipment. DSLR cameras are a very popular choice for gifts this year and Best Buy has an exceptional selection of all the latest cameras.

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs and for good reason! New photographers to seasoned professionals will appreciate a host of features that simplify even advanced photography, making it easy and fun. The Rebel T5i is incredibly user-friendly with a variety of automatic functions and settings that are easily optimized depending on your subject type, lighting conditions, and desired effects. A built-in flash features multiple modes including flash-ready, flash-exposure compensation, high-speed sync and red-eye reduction. Users can choose between each for optimal lighting conditions.

A feature I would make good use of is the Live View. Using an 3″ LCD touch screen, you can apply any of the 7 creative filters and preview the results prior to shooting the image. The Rebel T5i is amazing at capturing Hollywood caliber full HD video as well. The image quality is exceptional in part because of the continuous autofocus which helps eliminate blur. Crisp, clear videos can be shot in a number of recording sizes and frame rates.

Canon Holiday Image

Some other product features are:

  • EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 zoom lens provides versatility
  • 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor
  • Capture fast-action shots at up to 5 fps (frames per second)
  • Optical viewfinder helps you frame the shot
  • Multiformat memory card slot for storing or transferring data

Canon Holiday Image 2

Save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy! There’s no coupon to clip, but the offer is only valid 12/7 through 12/20. Visit Best Buy to learn more about this deal and others as well as more on the features and specifics of the Rebel T5i.  I Have a Canon from Best Buy on my Christmas List.  Boy, I hope I have been a good girl this year ;)

 

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