It's easy to enjoy working on this column when the weather cooperates. In and out of a car 10 to 20 times in a couple hours on a day like Tuesday is no work at all (but don't tell my editors that). I actually look at the blue sky and changing leaves before heading into a store. That doesn't happen when it's 100-plus degrees outside, or when I'm sloshing through icy winter parking lots. Think mad dash.
So, I'm basking in the autumn weather and trying to gauge just what retailers are up to this fall/winter season.
About to open: The big big DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) in the former Borders store in Fairview Heights appeared on the precipice of opening last week: Shelves were up, registers in place. Just no footwear yet. A check of the DSW Facebook page, though, shows that the location is scheduled to open Thursday. If you like a zillion brand=name shoe choices, this is the place for you. It's also the first store south of Chicago in Illinois. There are three in the St. Louis area and more than 350 nationwide.
Next door at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I didn't get beyond the front entrance before I spied a deal: Five bottles of hand soap (in many scents) for $5. Plus, pick a pretty metal cover for them (similar to what is offered at Bath & Body Works) for $4.99 in two styles.
At Target in Fairview Heights, I discovered a clever $4.99 kitchen gadget called the Pocket Pie Press from Nordicware. It makes what I call hand pies. You put dough in the open press, add filing and snap the handles together. Edges get crimped, sealing in the good stuff inside, the little pies get baked and you've got a fun dessert. Look for it near the wall of kitchen gadgets, though it was on a shelf at the Fairview Heights store. Comes with a recipe to help you get started.
Also at Target are cute sippy cups for $2.99. One was a chubby robot while the other was a puzzle owl that had rings that rotated so a child could move the owl's face around.
Home-Brite Ace Hardware in Belleville is offering two 50-count mini light sets for Halloween (with orange or purple bulbs) for $5.
Check your Rural King stores in Collinsville and Waterloo: Today, the retailer is offering No Tax Saturday. Doors open at 7 a.m. What you actually get is a discount equal to the tax; Rural King still has to pay the tax. (I've been confused by this retailer for some time. I'm told that the stores in Swansea and Highland, also called Rural King, are actually affiliated with another company called Rural King Supply.)
I got into a discussion at Kohl's the other day. Two shoppers and I were browsing the kitchen section and started trading stories about our love affair with our Keurig single-cup coffee brewers. Like me, they alone in their householdS enjoy coffee. We all bought a Keurig so we could make that one good cup for ourselves. I've had my little black model for five years and currently have new-model Keurig envy. Colors now include bright yellow, turquoise, red, purple and royal blue. Through Sunday, you can buy the Mini Plus Brewer, which has 6-, 8- and 10-ounce settings, for $99.99, regularly $129.99. But, if you are good about mail-in rebates, you can get another $20 off. (I'll have to pass. My Keurig is chugging along faithfully.)
By the way, all coffeemakers at the retailer in Fairview Heights are 10 to 30 percent off through Sunday.
Nearby at Pier 1 Imports, Christmas decorating is well under way. I was fascinated by boxes of white fluffy stuff, fake snow, that sold for $7.95. A box was open and I found the "snow" to be a nice consistency -- great for putting in the bottom of a clear glass bowl or vase, then adding ornaments and pine cones. Probably not a good idea to let it loose around the house, though.
JCPenney is offering free haircuts and stylings to breast cancer survivors through October. Plus, the retailer nationwide will donate $1 for each cut/style to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Call the JCPenney salon in the St. Clair Square store at 632-3031 to make an appointment. It's open seven days a week.
Two closing reminders: Shop Fashion Bug and Kmart now for deals. All Fashion Bug stores in the metro-east and the Fairview Heights Kmart will go bye-bye by the end of the year.