Forget yellow daffodils and green lawns. This is the time of year when red sprouts all around us. Even if you’re not a St. Louis Cardinals fan, you have to give props to the loyalty of those who want to show they are and say “Happy New Year!” as the season begins.
I say that as a born White Sox fan, raised on the South Side of Chicago. I’m told I was a baby when I went to my first game. To this day, my family talks baseball and tries to keep a stiff upper lip each season.
When I moved to Belleville in 1976, I not only thanked my stars I wasn’t raised a Cubs follower (yeesh, that’s for Northsiders anyway), but realized the special connection between the Cards and their people. Whether the Cards or playing good or not so good, fans pack the stadium.
So, it’s easy to see why St. Louis Cardinals merchandise is a big seller, especially now as we gear up for the home opener April 13. While traipsing through St. Clair Square on Tuesday, I couldn’t miss the big plush Beanie Ballz decked out in red batting helmet with logo and uniform. These soft toys from Ty (maker of Beanie Babies) are cool to toss around and kids can use them as pillows. They come in two sizes/prices at Pro Image Sports: $14.99 and $24.99.
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Graduations loom. I know you keep photo albums on your Facebook page and phone, but just in case you have some wall space and want to display your high school graduate’s growing-up years, Gordman’s in Fairview Heights has a great photo collage for you. It’s a long and rectangular black frame with a lineup of 12 spaces to put every school photo from first to 12th grade, plus a 5-by-7 space for the graduate. Your teen may cringe, but parents and grandparents will probably love it. Cost: $14.99.
If you need help with growing herbs, make sure to attend the free seminar at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sandy’s Back Porch garden center in Belleville. You’ll not only get info on growing herbs, but cooking with them as well.
I was so ready to dump my dark handbags that the moment spring officially arrived, they went back on the shelf and the brighter ones took their place on my arm. (A quick piece of advice: Thoroughly clean out each bag. I discovered change, extra pens and an earring I was sure I’d lost.) If you want an accessory that stands out, take a gander at the clutch/shoulder purses at Francesca’s Collection at the mall. These small bags open to reveal a fair amount of room for their size and include long gold chains to convert from clutch to shoulder bag. Colors range from vivid yellow with fringe to blue with a beaded front to a faux, flecked cork pattern and more. Prices range from $28 to $38.
Juggling a yoga mat and a bag and your keys while trying to get from car to class is made easier with a big canvas tote with an unusual outside pocket from Icing at the mall. On either side of the pocket is a vertical zipper, which means you can open it so a mat can slide through. Or, use it for other items and keep it zipped up. It leaves you lots of space inside the “Peace, Love, Yoga” tote for the rest of your belongings. Cost: $36.50. Mats at the retailer are $24.50.
The Shelter Shop in Bellevue Park Plaza in west Belleville will reopen Saturday after a brief closure to make the transition from cold-weather to spring-and- summer merchandise. The shop, from which proceeds benefit the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and to 4 p.m. Saturday. (Donations of clean and useable clothing and household items are taken from 10 a .m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the side door.) Need more information? Call the shop at 618-234-4704.