Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

"My costume roars, what does yours do?"

"My costume roars, what does yours do?"

I can’t believe it’s been six months since my brother and his wife announced their pregnancy. Since they are expecting their little “treat” to arrive on Halloween, I couldn’t resist but do a Halloween-themed baby shower. Everything had pumpkins!

  • invitations
  • games (a monster match game, pumpkin trivia, pass the pumpkin)
  • prizes (pumpkin-shaped chocolates, pumpkin-scented soaps)
  • giveaways (pumpkin candles)
  • The Diaper Cake
  • dessert (a delicious homemade pumpkin cake)

And the best part of all… the kids dressed in costume to welcome the arrival of their new cousin! Of course, my son was wearing one of le•top’s 2009 Halloween costumes. He was dressed as “Troy” the Triceratops, which he loved to wear because it kept him warm all day (now that fall has arrived in California!) and had a hidden button that everyone pushed to make his costume “ROAR!” I thought it was going to scare him when he first heard the sound, but he didn’t seem to even notice. I guess Mommy always sounds like an angry dinosaur. 🙂

pumpkintrio

Check back daily to see more Halloween ideas from le•top’s 2009 collection.

Read Full Post »

BlueHydrangea[1]As I was driving to work this morning I noticed my neighbors beautiful hydrangea bush – it was loaded with gorgeous blue blossoms.  Hydrangeas are one of my very favorites!  I think I notice hydrangeas more now than I did many years ago – because they always make me smile.  Why do they make me smile?

When Karen’s son Nicholas (the grandson of my heart) was just 2 ½ years old he was learning the names of the flowers in the garden – (don’t let him hear me say this, but he is really, really bright!) His caretaker Virginia walked around the garden saying “rose” – “daisy” – etc.  When they got to Karen’s beautiful hydrangea bush the name was pretty big for a 2 year old!  So Virginia broke it into two parts and taught him “Hi Drangea!” – so it sounded like a greeting.  Nicholas repeated “Hi Drangea!” several times – he got it! 

The following day as they walked around the garden Nicholas remembered the names of all the flowers.  When they walked by the hydrangea bush he said “Hello Drangea!”  How cute is that???

Read Full Post »

Elena, Sacha and friend

Sasha, Nadya, and Elena

Whether you are a fifth generation American, or have recently made America your new home, you probably observe customs and traditions passed down to you through the generations. This past weekend I volunteered at the annual St. Nicolas Bazaar to raise funds for the parish. The authenticity of the event was so remarkable that attendees were feeling as though they were in different country. I not only felt like I was back at home in Russia, but in a different century altogether.  As the sound of the accordion filled the square, the smell of piroshki drifted out of the kitchen, and laughing children ran around in Russian headdresses and gowns, traditions came alive.Russian3

What traditions have been passed down to you that bring back warm memories and happy conversation?

Dosvidaniya!

Read Full Post »

M_kaleidescope

Miranda in her favorite sweater of the season (from le•top's 2009 Fall Kaleidescope Collection).

The first day of fall for 2009 (in the Northern Hemisphere) was September 22nd.  Ever since Miranda learned that little nugget of information in Kindergarten, she has constantly asked me (every day since September 22), “Is it Fall yet? Why is it so hot?” All I could say was, “Yes, it’s fall but it still feels like summer. I guess the sun is just having too much fun to cool things down.” I don’t know why she has been so persistent. Was she excited about Halloween? Going to the pumpkin patch? I don’t know.

Kaleidoscope Pink Shirt with Corduroy Pant and Flower Sweater

Kaleidoscope Pink Shirt with Corduroy Pant and Flower Sweater

 On the first day when the weather looked cloudy and cold, she asked me again, “Is it fall yet, Mommy?”

“Yes, it looks like it.”

“Yay! I can wear my favorite sweater!”

It figures. It would be fashion-related coming from my little girl. (sigh!)

Read Full Post »

Pumpkin Weigh-off Winner (source: sfgate.com)

Pumpkin Weigh-off Winner (source: sfgate.com)

Wow, we just had to let everyone know that the Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay was full of “Great Pumpkins!”  But the winner came all the way from Des Moines, Iowa and weighed in at a whopping 1,658 pounds!  That’s a lotta Pumpkin Pie folks!

From the photos it seems that everyone young and old had a great time! 

Awe, so cute (source: sfgate.com)

We just loved the photo of the cute puppy in a pumpkin outfit!  We couldn’t help but notice the photo of the wife of Half Moon Bay’s mayor, Eda Muller, with her granddaughter Delfina Bianchi, 4 – Delfina is wearing le•top’s boucle jacket in PUMPKIN color from the Enchanted group!  She is carrying one of le•top’s pumpkin goody bags as well – nice choice! 

Happy Pumpkin Festival to all our friends in Half Moon Bay!

Eda Muller (left) and her daughter Delfina

The Mayor's wife, Eda Muller (far left) and her granddaughter Delfina (source: sfgate.com)

Read Full Post »

As a child I remember seeing relatives or friends after a long absence, and the first thing they would say would be “You’ve grown so much!”  I know that every parent sees their children, knows they are growing, but rarely thinks about just how much they have grown…until someone with ‘fresh’ eyes calls attention to their transformation into ‘big kids!’

Here at Le Top we have watched so many children “grow up Le Top” – and the evidence is right in front of us – because we have walls filled with photos of ‘Le Top past’ – modeled by children that have now grown up so much!  As you walk down the hallway of Le Top it is like a walk through time…

d&N

Nicholas and Dylan – our National Sales Manager’s sons – are represented from tiny babies until they were just too big for the clothes! It is really fun to see them ‘grow up’ in front of the camera – and at the same time see the evolution of our fabulous le•top clothing!  Nicholas and Dylan are now 11 and 10 years old – but I think they love the fact that their ‘baby pictures’ are poster size!  Otto – my oldest grandson – made the sad transition OUT of le•top this year.  Although our ‘little prince’ did his last photo shoot for the fall season (a real pro!) we are lucky to have his understudy ready to step in…Wade, his younger brother!

w&o

Robyn’s two girls, Kira and Alyssa, have also been involved in the le•top photo shoots from early in their lives.  Teeny tiny nine year old Kira may still be able to fit into a 6X, but definitely looks her age… so we have called in her very cute replacement – little sister Alyssa – to be the next ‘star.’

k&a

It has, and will continue to be, really fun to watch the little ones grow…and to be remembered with great photos of Le Top ‘outfits past.’  One thing is for certain…we love our little ‘rogues gallery!’

Read Full Post »

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area October marks the time of year when you begin to notice changes in temperature and leaves turning from a beautiful green to a more dramatic orange-yellow. Halloween is just a few weeks away and there is excitement in the air as boys and girls decide which all-important costume they will choose. For one Northern California town October marks the time of year when the final preparations are made for their very well known festival.
Pumpkins Gallore

Pumpkins Galore at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

Half Moon Bay California, located just 30 miles south of San Francisco, is celebrating their 39th annual Art & Pumpkin Festival from October 17th through October 18th.  This festival began in 1971 when a newly formed civic organization, The Main Street Beautification Committee, was founded to raise funds to revitalize Main Street in the charming Half Moon Bay downtown shopping district. The committee, realizing that pumpkin patches surrounded the area, decided to incorporate an old-fashioned downtown festival into many visitor’s annual trek to pick out their Halloween pumpkins from this well known home of superior pumpkin growers.  38 years later the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival attracts thousands of people from all over the Bay Area and beyond, and is still committing the proceeds to revitalizing the downtown area and contributing to the town’s civic causes.

The kickoff for the festival is HUGE – literally!  Today, Columbus Day, Monday October 12th it begins with the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off with a $20,000 prize at stake!  Pumpkins weighing in at more than 1,000 pounds are brought in every year by proud growers and their families.  The following weekend of October 17th through October 18th pumpkin lovers flock to this charming ocean front town to celebrate the season of ‘orange!’

Otto and this Halloween's Great Pumpkin

Otto and this Halloween's Great Pumpkin

The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is not limited to big orange vegetables!  It features live music and entertainment on three stages – ranging from pop reggae to classic and Celtic rock. Of course what would a festival be without food?  You will find every tempting pumpkin-infused treat imaginable – and then some!  Halloween is just around the corner, as is a very scary Haunted House!  Not into scary things?  There are other activities for the little ones, including amusement rides, a 24-foot climbing wall, pumpkin carving, pie eating contests, face painting and so much more!

The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival has become a tradition for many families and friends.  It is a great place to come together and enjoy one of California’s oldest, biggest and most popular festivals.  Good Grief!  Don’t miss out!

For more information visit www.miramarevents.com/pumpkinfest/#

Read Full Post »

P. cottontail 005

P Cottontail's Historic Downtown Store Front

Nestled away in the quaint ocean-side town of Half Moon Bay you can find the home of P Cottontail…yes, look… right there in the historic Main Street shopping district!  Not a bunny…but a darling children’s boutique that will soon be celebrating its 25th anniversary as part of this unique community.  Half Moon Bay, founded in the 1840’s was the first settlement in San Mateo County California, around 30 miles south of San Francisco.  The beautiful locale, a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean boasts postcard perfect vistas that include whale watching, acres of flowers, 2 lighthouses, redwood preserves, wineries, golf courses, luxury hotels and charming inns and a historic Main Street with unique shops.  This is where we find Peter Cottontail’s ‘home’ – not situated next to Mr. McGregor’s garden, but rather in a vacation ‘destination’ for lucky residents and tourists alike.

P. cottontail 003Sandra Murphy took over P Cottontail & Co a few years ago, but had known of the unique children’s boutique for years and “Really wanted it!”  She loves seeing the little babies that come into the store grow up and says “They are like my own little family!”  When asked what was the key to her success the answer was simple, yet succinct, “Very, Very, Very hard work!”  Sandra remembers that a friend once told her “Remember the first word in Specialty Store is ‘Special’ – and I have always tried to remember that!”  The area locals love merchandise that reflects the community – especially the horse lovers and world class surfers that frequent the store.  A local customer commented:

P. cottontail

Stocked up on Le Top Halloween costumes

I have always found this store to have the kind of clothing that makes shopping local a unique experience. Informative, attentive and friendly service, plus you actually get to deal with the same person the next time. The last time we went in, the sales person remembered my son’s name. He was thrilled and I was impressed.”

Sandra’s customers have even included some celebrities that stay in the beautiful Ritz Carlton nearby – including Angie Harmon and Brad Pitt!  Of course she stocks up with appealing and distinctive items at this time of year in preparation for the scores of tourists that will soon arrive…as she gears up for Half Moon Bay’s well known Art and Pumpkin Festival! (Check back on Monday to see more about this) 

Sandra’s good friends and family all pitch in to help at P Cottontail for this amazing community event – so popular that it attracts tourists from all over!  She is stocked up with lots of Halloween costumes – ready for all the festivities.  They have a costume parade, and as Sandra says, “Pumpkin Everything!” – including the weigh-in for the biggest pumpkin, pumpkin carving, pumpkin muffins, cookies and pancakes and lots of fun!

P. cottontail 001If you are a fan of the ‘Great Pumpkin’ – or just want to have a beautiful and relaxing break – make a visit to Half Moon Bay.  Stop in and say hello to Sandra, she is really fun!  After all, she’s the one that quotes “I LOVE Le Top!”


P Cottontail & Co
527 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650.726.0200

Read Full Post »

AppleWe have all grown up hearing “An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor Away!”  Now, as a mom, I am focused on providing the right nutrition for my daughter so she can grow up strong and healthy.  I began by asking myself ‘What are the rules that we should be nutritionally living by?’  I know that healthy habits should start early, beginning with exercise, portion control and choosing the ‘right’ foods – these habits will set the stage for the rest of her life.  Children learn by observing their role models – mostly family – so I did some research to educate myself about the necessary nutrients needed to make our entire family healthy.  Here is a list I’ve complied – it is just what the doctor ordered!

Calcium:
Calcium is crucial for bone mass development, but a third of 4 to 8 year old children don’t get enough.  A bonus is that many high calcium foods are also high in Vitamin D – helpful for preventing Type 1 diabetes. Foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D include milk, cheese, yogurt (excellent but watch the sugar), fortified cereals, soy products and some juices.

Iron:
Iron is essential – it helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells throughout the body, directly affecting brain development.  Studies show that up to 20 percent of kids are not getting enough Iron.  If this deficiency is left unchecked it can lead to learning and behavioral problems. Some of the best sources of Iron are lean meats including shrimp, beef, and chicken. If your child is a vegetarian or doesn’t care for the taste of meat try beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Although Iron from plant sources is not absorbed easily by the body, Vitamin C based foods can increase the absorption level.  Foods high in both Iron and Vitamin C are broccoli, Swiss chard, and other dark green leafy vegetables.

preschool lunchVitamin E:
What is important about Vitamin E? It is an antioxidant that protects our cells from damage. It is estimated that 80 percent of children under the age of 8, and more than half of preschoolers, are lacking sufficient amounts of the vitamin. To my surprise, eating fat free foods, since they generally lack essential oils, is part of the problem. Make sure your child’s diet includes small amounts of nuts (if no allergies,) avocado, tomato sauce, wheat germ or spinach.  Fortified cereals may have Vitamin E but all-natural cereals do not. 

Fiber:
This seems to be a buzzword for adults, but it keeps children regular, fills them up and may help protect them from other illnesses later in life. An easy way to establish a goal for grams of daily fiber is to add the number 5 to your child’s age.  It’s ideal to have at least one high-fiber food at every meal. Cereal can be a great way for your child to obtain fiber – just make sure it has 5 grams or more per serving. Other great sources of fiber are fruits, beans, lentils, chickpeas, whole-grain breads, oatmeal, nuts, sweet potatoes, popcorn and green beans. My daughter LOVES hummus and just 2 tablespoons has as much fiber as a half cup of brown rice.

Bananas…and last but not least, Potassium:
Potassium is the main contributor to maintaining healthy muscles that contract and maintaining beneficial fluid balances and blood pressure. Most kids are getting slightly more than half of the recommended dose needed. Remember getting a muscle cramp as a kid and hearing your mom say, “Eat a banana!?”  She was right!  Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, along with oranges, dried apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, sweet potatoes, fish, and tomatoes.

As the mom of a two year old girl I know it can be difficult to get all of these needed nutrients into your child!  Fortunately many of these suggested foods, like beans or nuts, can serve a dual purpose. If you have a finicky eater you may want to talk to your pediatrician about adding vitamin supplements, but IT IS possible to get all they need by eating the right foods.

I found something that was interesting and fun…the US government has a food pyramid and website just for kids with lots of helpful hints about their health – Check it out!

Read Full Post »

I have never been so excited for Sunday night television!  After an exciting 2-part premier of The Amazing Race I couldn’t wait to sit down and watch how our ‘now famous’ photographer Marcy and her boyfriend Ron would perform this week!  The Amazing Race is my ultimate favorite show and like everyone in the office I have been very excited to cheer on a team that is part of our ‘le•top family.’

This leg of the race was quite intense!  Starting from Ho Chin Minh City in Vietnam Marcy and Ron had to obtain their first clue from the mouth of a very fast water dragon puppet – way to go Ron for having speedy reflexes since those puppets were tricky and swift!  The clue then directed them to the Main Post Office where they had a diversion – they had to choose from “Child’s Play” or “Word Play”.  Marcy and Ron choose “Word Play”.  They quickly made their way to the observation deck of the hotel where they had the task of scanning the crowded intersection below with the goal of identifying six Vietnamese letters moving along with the very busy traffic.  They rapidly recognized the first five letters but had some trouble with the letter ‘D’ – mistaking it for an ‘O.’  They were finally able to correctly identify all the letters and then had to hurry into town and attempt to unscramble these letters to make up the word “DOCLAP” (a well known word that means independence.)  This challenging task, using only the signs around them was slow going – but they were able to get some help from a local who was quick to assist them and the word was finally unscrambled.

The next clue led them to travel a very busy intersection of Durong Vinh Vien and Durong Ly Thurong Kiet – with another clue that led them to a road block – where they were presented with their next challenge.  Ron decided to take on this next challenge.  He had to disassemble a VCR, separate all the parts, and then place them in appropriate piles in order to receive another clue.  Although Marcy and Ron were the last team to arrive after completing their task, it was a close race with the other contestants.  Marcy pulled out her “taxi” whistle and was able to flag down a cab quickly!  Good thinking Marcy – use your whistle! (If I ever get to participate on this show I have to remember to ask Marcy for that whistle!)

Unfortunately the team to step on the mat last was Marcy and Ron – so sad! They were out of the race!

“My dad always used to say, ‘You can’t hit a home run unless you step up to the plate.’  And I think going on THE AMAZING RACE was stepping up to the plate!” said Marcy (about the end of her incredible journey!)

I had a lot of fun watching Marcy and Ron run this race – and it was very inspiring.  They worked hard as a team and finished strong. Congratulations Marcy and Ron for running a great race!  Everyone here is very proud of your achievement on this adventure!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »