Shopping: Keep your boots in good shape with these

News-DemocratNovember 1, 2013 

While it was 70 degrees this week, I saw a lot of women pushing the season by wearing boots. I'm very warm-blooded, so I am nowhere near ready to pull mine out of the closet yet. Still, it was one of those quirky fashion spottings at the mall that had me smiling: side-by-side shoppers, one wearing knee-length boots and a scarf standing next to a girl in flip-flops and a T-shirt.

Boots are a pain the neck to keep in your closet -- unless you lay them down in their original box or buy Boot Shapers ($7.99). Each pair has a molded plastic frame you insert in your boots to keep them upright. You can even hang them up, if you want, with the hook that comes with the set. You'll find them at many retailers, but check TJ Maxx in Fairview Heights for this price.

Get your tickets now for a fashion event at McKendree University in Lebanon. Kicking off the town's Victorian Holiday celebration, there will be a style show from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 10 in Piper Hall, with fashions and accessories by The Gift Box Boutique and Holiday House in Lebanon. You can enjoy desserts and hot tea from Fezziwig's, decor tips by Dave Auton and door prizes. Tickets are $15 and available only at the Lebanon Visitors Center and The Gift Box Boutique. (Piper Hall is located across Alton Street from McKendree's Hettenhausen Center.)

It's November, and with chilly days ahead, homeowners with wood-burning fireplaces will be getting ready to build their first fire. Invest in a $14.98 Creosote Sweeping Log to reduce and treat the creosote that can line your chimney from burning wood in your fireplace. You'll need only one every 60 fires to help minimize future buildup, too. You'll find them at most home-improvement stores, such as Lowe's in Belleville and other locations.

Pier 1 Imports in Fairview Heights has clever party glasses with patches of chalk paint on them so you can write your name on them. No losing trak of your drink at gatherings with these. The tumblers and stemless wine glasses are $3 each, while the mason jar mugs are $6. Take 20 percent off these prices during a sale.

I'm not sure if this practical kitchen gadget is worth the money. You decide. It's the Kuhnblume Spill Stopper for $29.99. Available only in red at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Fairview Heights, the two-piece silicone device looks like a big flower petal you set on top of your pot instead of the lid. It's guaranteed to prevent boiling over, so if you're in and out of the kitchen a lot, this could be handy.

Kmart is again offering free layaway for the holidays. You have until Nov. 23 to make your purchases. In some cases, the service fee is free, but you'll have to check the limitations.

Let the holiday hype begin: Hoping to lure you into its stores, Toys R Us offers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today special activities and giveaways for the kids while parents create a Christmas wish. Enter a raffle by 1 p.m. and you might win a $100 gift card.

I was talking to a reader this week about slow cookers. She wanted to purchase her first one and we debated together on what size was the best. I think a 4- or 5-quart is just right, partly because most recipes are for that size cooker. She wanted the Crock-Pot brand, and since it was the first to develop slow cookers, I couldn't argue with that. But, Hamilton Beach and Rival are very trusthworthy names as well. Online at, you'll find a 4-quart Crock-Pot slow cooker for $15.92, or a Hamilton Beach 5-quart cooker for $16.88. Both have stoneware crocks and glass lids. You can have them shipped free to your closest Walmart store, and in many cases, arrive the same day you place an order. Plus, the store will hold it for you for up to 14 days.

Honestly, nobody can walk out of Bath & Body Works at St. Clair Square with just one item. Probably because the retailer sets up deals that are hard to ignore. Right now, stock up on Signature Collection bodycare products: Buy three (lotion, fragrance mist, shower gel, scrubs and more) and get three free. Most are $12.50 each. Stock up on holiday stocking stuffers with another deal: Hand soaps, five for $15 or seven for $20.

At the mall, try on a pair of jeans and get up to $20 off your next denim purchase at The Buckle. Offer good through Monday. Plus, spend $50 on Fox merchandise and get a free Fox knit beanie. Or, buy a beanie for $8 with any Fox purchase.

Crazy 8 at the mall is a favorite place of mine to shop for my long-distance niece and nephew, Camille and Edison. Right now, stock up on previously reduced clothes and accessories for kids with prices no higher than $9.99, and many as low as $3.99.

Put kids to work at Michaels Crafts in Shiloh today making Thanksgiving Day decorations. For $2 in supplies and instructions, youngsters 3 and up can create a cool turkey. The 30-minute sessions start at 10 a.m. and run until 11:30.

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