Metro-East Living

Easter, spring shopping is in full bloom at metro-east retailers

Sears pulls out all the stops with its party dresses for little girls.
Sears pulls out all the stops with its party dresses for little girls.

Forget the children’s dress shops and department stores that sell expensive Easter outfits for little girls. If you don’t know about the secret at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, I’m here to tell you about it: Sears. Yes, Sears. For years, the retailer has pulled out all the stops by carrying the prettiest, flounciest and most reasonably priced party/Easter/birthday dresses in sizes 4-16 that I’ve seen in the metro-east.

On Tuesday when I stopped by and browsed the big supply, I really yearned to be a little girl again and wear an American Princess dress for Easter. There were ruffles, layers, pleats, flowers, bows, scalloped hems and sashes. In soft pastel colors, too. Forget weird grown-up-style dress silhouettes I see everywhere for youngsters; this is where any little girl (and her mom) will want to shop. Oh, and did I forget to mention the price? Through Saturday, these $60 dresses are half off. Yes, $30.

Effinger Garden Center in Belleville wants to remind you to sign up for the Weekend Gardener Program that takes place March 4 at The Shrine of our Lady of the Snows. The University of Illinois is hosting. The $40 registration fee, which includes lunch, will feature a number of classes. Trudy Effinger will be talking about cool new shrubs, many of which are smaller-sized versions of popular, dependable plants like lilac, hydrangea, weigela and butterfly bush. For a complete description of the program, pick up a flier at the Garden Center or go to for more information.

Head to Peace by Piece in downtown Belleville for the Whimsy Rose (formerly Before+Again) Spring/Summer Trunk Show. Now through Saturday is your chance to try on sample clothes. You can even call ahead and reserve a dressing room if you’re in a hurry. Plus, The Evolution of pxp fashion truck will reopen for 2017 on Wednesday in the parking lot behind the store.

Basket Case in Belleville is celebrating the arrival of ... more shoes. Stop by Friday or Saturday for the unveiling of a couple of new lines of casual sandals and shoes, with L’Artiste and Charleston Shoes joining the Brighton line of footwear. Anyone who tries on a pair either day will be entered in a drawing to win a free pair of Brighton sandals. Plus, spend $150 or more on shoes those two days and you’ll get a gift certificate for a free pedicure. Prices range from $89 to $172.

Silly me, I am intrigued by odd gadgets I see when shopping. Take, for example, the Bowl Light Motion-Activated LED Toilet Bowl Light ($12.99) at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Fairview Heights. “No more stumbling in the dark when nature calls,” says online information. The Bowl Light attaches to the side of the toilet and is motion-activated to go on when you walk into the bathroom and turn off when you leave. And yes, you can actually set the soft light to a single color or rotate through “seven pleasing soft shades.” You’ll need to buy three AAA batteries, too. Of course, this kind of purchase is dependent upon how much you hate turning on the bathroom light at 3 a.m.

I popped into Dollar Tree in Fairview Heights (the one across from T.J. Maxx) and saw a large menagerie of Easter plush animals, just a buck each. They’re the right size to fit in a basket and still leave room for that chocolate bunny.

If you’re into pageants for kids, the Sunburst Beauty Pageant is at 1 p.m. Sunday at St. Clair Square.

Rue 21 at the mall is trying to get rid of its winter booties, so buy one pair and get a pair for $10. The deal is only good through Friday.