It may be blustery and cold outside, but retailers want you to feel the warmth. With Valentine's Day a mere 20 days away, the color red is everywhere -- in the shape of hearts and sales tags. Traditionally, it's the time of year to buy everything from engagement rings and big-screen TVs to Conversation Hearts candy and a plush gorilla holding a box of candy.
In 2014, consumers are bombarded with cute little reminders of how others feel about them. At Gordman's in Fairview Heights, for example, you get a blast of red, pink and purple plaques and wood boxes with sayings that spell it all out: "I Love You," "Kiss Me," "Bless Your Heart" and more. If you are interested in such an outward expression of affection, it won't cost much. Prices range from $1.49 to $4.99.
Pier 1 Imports in Fairview Heights has heart-shaped soaps, four to a set, for $4.95. They look like oversized Conversation Hearts in pastel colors with messages on them, such as "Be Mine."
Oversized watches continue to be a big trend among young women, so while a few years ago shoppers were buying guys' watches, now fashion designers have stepped up and are offering all kinds of big, bold timepieces for the female wrist. At Macy's, Michael Kors chronograph-style watches come in colors such as turquoise and hot pink, as well as white and goldtone. (The bands are silicone on all but the goldtone watch.) They're not cheap, though, at $275 to $295. The big goldtone Juicy Couture watches are $195, with teal, royal blue, pink and black faces and faux diamond hour markers. The Juicy Couture logo, a gold crown, set into the face looks the tiniest bit like the Rolex logo. Which may be the point.
If you're looking for style without spending big bucks, head to stores like Sears, TJ Maxx and Marshall's, where you can find these styles of watches -- though not the names -- for under $30.
At Hobby Lobby, you'll also find tons of Valentine's Day goodies to decorate your home, your desk, even the kids' play area. A red sandwich board-style chalkboard for children, with a tray, is $34.99. You'll find it at the front of the store by the furniture. Adults can use it, too.
At the back of the store, where there is a display of children's furniture, I saw a similar chalkboard with colorful legs that looked like pencils for $38.99.
Just in case you are reorganizing your dresser drawers, Michaels Crafts in Shiloh has half off all its decorative closet storage, from hanging shoe holders and matching drawer dividers in black/pink or green/earthtones. Sale prices range from $3.49 to $12.49.
At Kohl's in Fairview Heights, add some color to a room with decorative pillows, chair pads and curtains. Through Sunday, it's buy one at the original price and get one for $1. Regular prices are about $16 to $60.