Lebanon's annual May Market Home & Garden Show is something to look forward to, so mark your calendars for next Saturday, May 4. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the historic downtown brick street will be filled with artisans, crafters and a huge selection of potted and hanging flowers and plants. Shops and restaurants will be open, too. Every hour, guest speakers will give 15-minute presentations on gardening, cooking and home decorating. Food and live music, too. For more info, visit www.lebanonil.us.
The newly opened Saver Thrift Superstore in Fairview Heights is very neat and clean inside. I saw very organized rows with a lot of clothing for the family, a limited supply of items such as kitchen items, vases, frames. If you like to read, this is a good place to check out a very large selection of books, all priced $1.99 or $2.99. Buy four and get the fifth green. Most were paperback and in very good condition.
Tucked behind Saver Thrift Superstore and around the corner from Jo-Ann Fabrics is GFS Marketplace. Think of it as a scaled-down type of Sam's Club or Costco that offers big-pack food, produce and party supplies. No membership fee is required and while the business, owned by Gordon Food Service, is aimed at selling to restaurants, it is open to the public. A soft opening is May 12.
You can visit Sam's Club in O'Fallon without a membership or guest up-charge through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Clever cookware: Healthy cooks working in less than spacious kitchens will enjoy Oxo's SoftWorks Collapsible Steamer Basket ($14.99 at Target in Belleville; check other locations). The green silicone basket conforms to the size of your pot and withstands temperatures up to 600 degrees. Its sturdy feet elevate the steamer above water while the flexible handles fold inward and lock in place to accommodate a lid. You can roll up the flexible basket for compact storage.
Painted metal containers and trays can play all kinds of roles in your spring and summer decorating. This brightly colored collection from Gordman's in Fairview Heights includes serving trays ($12.99), pails in two sizes ($1.99 and $3.99) and one with a curved handle ($2.99). My advice: Use them indoors or in an area outdoors where they will be protected from the weather.
I'm getting ready to make a trip to Louisiana next week, so thoughts turned to safely packing all those essentials that are liquid for my flight. Bed, Bath & Beyond in Fairview Heights carries the 2-ounce GoToob travel bottle made of soft (but sturdy) silicone, which means it's easily squeezable. What sold me were two things: You can write on the side of the lid to mark what is inside the airline-approved bottle, plus it has a suction cup so it can be attached it to the wall of the shower in a hotel room. Cost: $7.99.
My favorite go-to (and fashionable) travel walking shoes are made by Ecco. Through May 4, Dillard's at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights will give you a $10 rewards card with a purchase of Ecco shoes; or buy two or more pairs and get $20 card for each.
Trade in your scrubs: At Life Uniform at the mall you have until Sunday to hand over your old scrubs and get new ones at a 20 percent discount.
Be prepared to be Wowed. Ulta Beauty in Fairview Heights is now carrying a product from a new haircare company that may just work. Color Wow's Root Cover Up ($34.50) promises to cover gray and dark roots in color-treated hair without being sticky or oily or making hair dull. It is a mineral powder in a compact with a dual-tipped flat brush. The company says an application (60 in a compact) will last from shampoo to shampoo and is water-resistant. The videos at colorwowhair.com are impressive.
There are four shades -- from blond to dark brown -- that contain a number of colors and pigments to ensure natural blending with the tones in your own hair. But, I think you're out of luck if you have very dark or black hair. Founders are beauty innovator Gail Federici and hair stylist John Frieda.
And don't forget to check out more of my shopping finds in the What's Out There section of the Sunday magazine.