Shopping: Golden Books, vinyl records and sporty nails

The Easter egg hunt in my family was about money, not candy. I laugh as I write this because neither sounds appropriate! But, come on, it’s kids looking for plastic eggs in our grandmother’s back yard. She took pity on us and never put pennies in the eggs, only “silver money,” she’d say. The big prize was a Kennedy half-dollar, but quarters made us happy, too.

This all came back to me in a rush when I was browsing through World Market in Shiloh. The retailer carries a lot of nostalgic kid stuff that adults can still have fun with. I liked the $1.99 matching Peter Rabbit-design glasses and egg-shaped plates. I really liked the two dozen or so titles of $4.99 Golden Books.

It’s the first day of spring, and the stores are starting to fill in the spaces where winter items used to be. Here are some thoughts on what I saw Tuesday.

Friday and Saturday, you can take advantage of the sales and unique merchandise found at down retailers during the annual Shop Small Belleville Spring Open House. Among the“small” stores participating are Peace by Piece, Circa Boutique and Gifts, Rising Stars Monogram Boutique and Pairabelles. Look for refreshments and lots of personal help. Peace by Piece, for example, will be doing prize drawings and offering treats from 10th Street Bakery both days.

I remember being sad when Barnes & Noble stopped selling CDs in its stores. I always enjoyed the booksellers’ eclectic collection. Well, music is back at the Fairview Heights location, in small supply and in vinyl. I spotted a selection of 33-rpm albums at the front of the store, some new, others remastered classics from the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and others. Prices were all over the place, from $17.99 up to $59.99.

If you’ve ever tossed a Frisbee around, you know you don’t want to get hit by one: That plastic is hard. For $3, I’d suggest buying one of oversized soft padded disks sold at Target as a much safer bet for playing outdoors with the kids. They’re easy to handle and pretty much injury-free. I spied a bunch in bright colors in the dollar section at the front of the store in west Belleville off Illinois 15.

Don’t think badly of Sara Robb because she’s from Chicago. We met via email through my brother (a White Sox fan), who also lives in the Chicago area. Sara may not root for the St. Louis Cardinals, but she has a cool online business as a consultant for Jamberry Nails ( She sells gel nail wraps, with more than 350 to choose from, including teams and sports. They’re $15 a sheet (two manicures and two pedicures per sheet), plus if you buy three you get one free. The white wraps with red stitching that mimics a baseball caught my eye. Remember, opening day is April 13.

Make room in the Easter basket for an Egg Plant. It’s an egg-shaped pastel ceramic egg with seeds and growing medium inside. Crack it open, add water and watch pansies, impatiens, snapdragons or marigolds grow. Each is $2.99 and sold at Home Depot stores. I spotted them at the front of the west Belleville store.

Through Sunday, Dillard’s is holding a trade-in event. Bring in any clean, used handbag or watch and get a discount ranging from $15 to $50, depending on the price of the watch, wallet or handbag you buy. All of the goods traded in will be donated to a local charity.