I spent four days in Chicago with my sister, who likes to shop as much as I do.
But shopping downtown, where she lives, always begins with adventure (city drivers) and strategy (where to park). No worries; we took an Uber.
I forget just how different the same department stores are there from here. Macy’s on State Street stocks designer shoes, for example, that I never see at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights. I had to get over sticker shock when I turned a pair of plain beige pumps over and saw $450. OK, maybe not for me.
And where do you see bridal merchandise like crystal, sterling silver and china that takes up half of a floor in a store? Well, in a big city. We bought wedding shower gifts with a lot of help and attention. Wanting to be the unencumbered,, we had everything shipped home free.
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It was nice to be out of my element and shopping, though I grew up at this store when it was Marshall Field’s. It’s where I got school shoes each fall and a new winter coat, saw Santa, admired the giant Christmas tree and got to have a special lunch there.
Back in middle earth, I tracked down these (reasonably priced) goods.
Wine for a good cause
First, check out the Chateau La Paws wine sold at Eckert’s Country Store in Belleville. At $10.99 a bottle for pinot noir, chardonnay and a red wine blend, your purchase helps support no-kill animal shelters around the country. It’s hard to miss the display near the door to the kitchen classroom because adorable shelter dogs are on the labels. The wine is made by California winemaker Diageo Chateau & Estates.
Jody Rodger, former manager of Pairabelles in Belleville and Lebanon, took ownership of the business in May from Mary Hummert. While Jody works out of the Belleville store, you’ll still find Mary at the Lebanon location.
I am captivated by the Jeanne d'Arc Living clothing for girls and women the Belleville store carries. It’s a combination Victorian lace and linen made in France with a little bohemian and gypsy influence. Prices range from $50 to $120 for women’s and $29 to $79 for girls. Pair a beautiful lace top or scarf with the locally made repurposed or “upcycled” jewelry, such as hammered vintage silverware ($19 for a pendant and chain) and you’ve got a distinctive look. Plus, you can bring in your family heirloom silverware and it too can become jewelry. The Belleville store is at 200 W. Main St., and the second location is at 208 W. St. Louis St., Lebanon.
Get ready for fireworks
Ready to celebrate the Fourth of July? AtHome in O’Fallon now offers a weekly Flash Find sent to your email that lets you know about a great sale. This week’s is a 7.5-foot crank/tilt market umbrella for $24.99 in a variety of colors. The deal is good through Tuesday. Got to athome.com to sign up for the notification.
At Old Time Pottery in Fairview Heights, get a 10-foot offset umbrella for $62.99. It has a steel pole; cranks and tilts, too. Colors are limited. Prices on this and other outdoor items are good through July 10.
Patriotic rope lighting (12-foot long) is on sale for $4.97 at Menard’s in O’Fallon. Plus, if you need more outdoor table and seating, pick up a 5-foot long folding resin picnic table for $99. It stores flat, but you’ll have to do some assembly.
At Michaels Crafts in Shiloh, take part in Fun Family Craft Time from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. You and the kids can work together to create a tie-dye Independence Day T-shirt. Buy a tee there, then the rest of the supplies are free.
Back to college decor
Earthbound Trading Co. at the mall is ready to help you decorate your dorm room or apartment for fall. Right now, the whole store is on sale, with buy-one, get-one half off through Saturday. Check out pillows, candles and more.