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Shopgirl: Microsoft Surface, The Swank Co.'s new location and birthday freebies

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WHAT’S NEW

The Microsoft Surface, the company's new tablet computer, comes with a magnetic cover that doubles as a keyboard and trackpad. The tablet has two USB ports and a 10.6-inch 16:9 widescreen.  DAMIAN DOVARGANES/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DAMIAN DOVARGANES/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Microsoft Surface, the company's new tablet computer, comes with a magnetic cover that doubles as a keyboard and trackpad. The tablet has two USB ports and a 10.6-inch 16:9 widescreen.

Microsoft released its tablet, Surface, earlier this week. It’s surprising (but no doubt very much on purpose) how long it has taken them to answer Apple’s iPad, but Surface is basically that.

The biggest feature to me is the two USB ports – something most of the other tablets don’t have. It also comes with a magnetic cover (like the Apple Smart Cover) that doubles as a keyboard and trackpad. There are two versions, running either Win­dows RT or Windows 8 Pro.

Surface is only 9.3 to 13.5 millimeters thick, depending on which version, and has a 10.6-inch 16:9 widescreen.

Surface running Win­dows RT will be available in 32 GB and 64 GB sizes, while Surface running Windows 8 Pro will be available in 64 GB and 128 GB sizes. No pricing has been announced yet, but Microsoft says the tablets will be “priced to competitive rates with ARM tablets.”

WHAT’S TRENDY

The Swank Co. has moved from the lower level of Surrey Center to the fountain level, right next to Rivers and Glen Trading Co.

One of my favorite local retailers, Swank carries an array of gifts, cosmetics, housewares and clothing. To celebrate the move and to get you to check out the new space, it has been offering 25 percent off the entire store. Check back for more deals – the e-mail list is a great way to hear about frequent sales. Go to www.TheSwankCo.com for more information.

Along similar lines, I was sad to see The Gallery is closing and The Sparrow’s Nest is moving from Central Avenue. If that’s your stomping grounds, you’ve seen their colorful wares on display at cut prices in front of their stores. According to The Sparrow’s Nest Facebook page, it will be moving into a space five times as large as the current location. Signs outside The Gallery next door say that they are indeed closing. Check them out before they go on the 2100 block of Central Avenue.

WHAT’S AFFORDABLE

My birthday isn’t until the chilly fall, but summer always reminds me of how much I wanted a pool party when I was a kid. Re­gard­less of when yours is, signing up for birthday rewards at restaurants and retailers can get you great deals on the big day and sometimes when you sign up.

Restaurants tend to have better rewards, ranging from buy one, get one free offers to an entire meal free. Atlanta Bread Co. will give you a free cookie for your birthday, Moe’s Southwest Grill will give you a free entree, Red Robin will give you a free gourmet burger and IHOP will give you a free Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity breakfast (two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links and two pancackes).

Some retailers give you a nice little cut for your birthday, but you’re still buying something. American Eagle sends you a coupon for 15 percent off.

Just remember, you get these specials by signing up for their e-mails ahead of time. If you really want to get all the free stuff you can, it might be worth creating a dedicated e-mail address for all the corporate promo spam you will be signing up for.

Read Staff Writer Gracie Shepherd’s Shopgirl blog on fashion and bargain buys, at augustachronicle.com. Reach her at (706) 823-3217 or gracie.shepherd@augustachronicle.com.


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