I got into a conversation last week with a reader who initally called with a food question, which then segued into an entertainment question.
She was planning an island castaway pool party and we talked about appetizers and decorations. Guests are coming in "Survivor" costumes, which probably will include shredded clothes with swimsuits underneath, she explained. A treasure hunt is also planned; she even found a small vintage chest to hide!
Well, Tania, here's another suggestion: Head to Garden Ridge in O'Fallon. Who knew the retailer already would have Halloween items in stock and one of them would be a skeleton pirate? Yep. A full-size pirate in bloomers, raggedy satin shirt and lantern. I think he would make a fun addition to your party -- have him greet your guests. Plus, he's just $29.99. Even better, put him away after the party and you're already set for Oct. 31.
If you like shopping for vintage and antique furniture and household goods, you need to visit The Painted Horse in downtown O'Fallon. The shop is filled with lots of cottage-y goods, from paint-worn tables to bags of old wood clothespins for $4. I saw no reproductions, just lots of interesting items that can be repurposed to add eclectic appeal to a home.
I know there are many loyal fans of Coldwater Creek at the Shoppes at St. Clair in Fairview Heights. Right now, all regularly priced items are buy one, get one half off through Sunday. Another sale has 70 percent off select merchandise.
If your children would like to help with a good cause, Heartlinks, a grief support center that helps children and families in Belleville, is looking for summer game supplies as part of its Christmas in July event. The center needs jumpropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and any outdoor games or toys. Dollar stores are good places to take your kids shopping. They can pick out items that will let kids be kids and have some fun during what may be a very difficult time in their lives. It would make a heartfelt lesson in giving for your children to know they can help.
Heartlinks provides all kinds of services to children, teens, families and adults who are trying to handle a serious illness or the death of someone they love. The center is part of Family Hospice of Belleville, located at 5110 W. Main St. You can reach Heartlinks at 618-277-1800 for drop-off information, or go to myheartlinks.com.
It's buy one, get one half off on women's swimwear and coverups at Target. All kids swimsuits are 20 percent off. Prices good through today.
At Sears, swimwear for men and women, plus select summer clothing for the whole family, are 50 percent off through today.
Family flip-flops are two pair for $3 at Kmart. Sale ends today.
Kids can make a Fourth of July hat during a craft class at Michael's Crafts in Shiloh today. From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., youngsters can take part in half-hour workshops. Cost is $2 for supplies. For ages 3 and up.