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Archive for June, 2010

Le Top is located out of the San Francisco Bay Area where I am from. I grew up going to school in Berkeley and a peace child (some Berkeley locals have the nickname “granolas” aka hippies who like things o’ natural).  This summer’s ice pop recipe inspired me and reminded me of home as a child.

Blending yogurt with lemon juice results in a tie-dye type mixture that is delicious frozen!

 

 

 

Blackberry Peace Pops

Servings: 1 dozen 1/2-cup pops

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 ounces (1 1/2 pints) blackberries
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 32 ounces low-fat or nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Popsicle mold (if you don’t have one, you can buy them cheap online! Check out this cute one and click here.)

Special note: if your fruit is not ripe, add 1/2 cup orange juice to the puree mixture.

1. Place 7 1/2 ounces blackberries in a food processor. Process until smooth, then pass through a fine cooking strainer into a glass measuring cup. (You should have 1/2 cup puree.) Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice; set aside.

2. Blend yogurt with remaining tablespoon lemon juice in a blender until smooth.

3. Layer each 1/3-cup pop mold with yogurt and puree like a parfait, adding rest of berries along the way. Swirl mixtures together with knife.

4. Let freeze 25 minutes, then insert wooden pop sticks halfway and freeze overnight. Pops will keep, frozen, for at least 3 weeks.

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No, I did not say that!

I know life is hard, but hockey is harder!”

– Beckham, age 5

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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Over a week ago when we were on a play date with our friends Sacha and  Cooper (her son), they asked if we wanted to go see Pixar’s new “Toy Story 3” with them. We jumped at the chance since we had just watched “Toy Story 2” at their house. This was going to be Lilah’s first movie at the theater. So exciting!

Lilah showing off her cool 3-D glasses (and her rabbit moon fleur-de-lys track suit jacket)

Thursday rolled around and I picked Lilah up from daycare and we headed over to Sacha and Cooper’s house to meet up. Lilah was excited to ride in Sacha’s car and was amazed that she had a second car seat ‘just for her.’ It was off to the movies. We chose to go “Toy Story 3” in all of the hyped up glory – Imax and 3-D (just down the street from where it was made in Emeryville)! I have personally never seen a 3-D movie, so it was both Lilah’s and my first experience. We paid for the tickets and I quickly handed her a ticket of her very own. When I passed mine to the theater attendant she handed me the adult glasses and they were HUGE (think bigger than Elton John’s in the 70s) – big enough to fit over my glasses with room to spare and they didn’t fold. Lilah received a smaller folded pair in a plastic baggy (keepers)…Now onward to the snack counter.

Though normally I try to bypass the snacks, since this was Lilah’s first time to the theater, we had to ‘do it properly.’ We bought a small popcorn (which was actually enormous), some chicken tenders, and a water. Our friends filled in with candy and nachos and we were off to pick our seats. We were set.

The theater was already dark, but we saw the perfect seats on the opposite side. As we crossed the theater Lilah was behind me. My arms were full of snacks. When I checked to see if she was still there, she had stopped and said very loudly, “Mommy, it’s so dark!” The rows near us started laughing. It was adorable. We took our seats and hunkered down. Lilah sat with the popcorn and munched for most of the movie. It was incredible. The 3-D effects truly felt as if they were happening just inches from us. She never got scared or bored, and even sat through the entire movie. I couldn’t be more proud of her. The movie was perfect in every way. What amazes me is how kids nowadays will expect to see everything in 3-D. The number of 3-D movie previews we saw was truly unbelievable. After this experience with her I can guarantee we will be attending more movies at the theater soon.

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Last week I went over all of our memorable child bad habits from nose picking to twirling your hair – sound familiar? We have all experienced bad habits as children or experience it with our kids or even your friends’ kiddos.  So what causes a “habit”?  I explored and here is a little info from me to you.

What Causes a Habit?

Some might ask, “Why do my son’s fingers appear to be an extension of his mouth, and why is there always a propeller of hair circling above your daughter’s head?” Experts confess that the causes of a bad habit can be hard to pinpoint, but that it is a learned behavior.  Habits may develop as entertainment for a bored child or, more commonly, as a coping mechanism to soothe an anxious one. The next time you see your child nail-biting or hair-twirling, try to identify if your child was recently stressed from an event or experience. If so, the behavior might be your child’s attempt to relieve tension just as you would by working out at the gym.

Other common reasons kids start/engage in bad habits are:

  1. When they’re relaxing, such as before falling to sleep or listening to music.
  2. Left over from infancy – Infant thumb sucking is a universal self-comfort behavior that has pleasurable associations with breast-feeding and fulfillment of hunger; hence, sometimes this bad habit continues through childhood up to age 5 because of its positive associations.
  3. Studies suggest that nail biting may have a strong genetic component.
  4. Lastly, some kids will engage in habits to draw attention or manipulate their parents. Sometimes if kids feel that their parents are ignoring them, they may attempt an irritating habit because they know that it will provoke a reaction from Mom or Dad.

Coping With Your Child’s Habit
Getting depressed that your child won’t break his or her habit? Not to worry!  Most habits disappear or by the time a child reaches an age when he or she enters school, they will outgrow it!

Still unconvinced the habit will disappear? Here are some quick tips:

1.      Calmly point out what you don’t like about the behavior and why.
Don’t yell or lecture your child.  Instead increase awareness of the problem in a calm way.

2.      Involve your child in the process of breaking the habit.
Ask your kids what they think they could do to stop the habit or if they want to stop the habit. Come up with solutions on how to quit the bad habit together

3.      Suggest optional behaviors.
For example, if your child is a nail-biter, instead of saying, “Stop biting your nails!” try saying, “Show me how to give a thumbs up!” or “How do you give the peace sign with your hand?” This will help increase awareness of the habit and serve as a more positive reminder.

4.      Reward and praise self-control.
This does not mean go wild and buy out the floor at FAO Schwarz or too much candy, rather something small such as a sticker.  This way, your child will be motivated to break the habit. 

Don’t forget, habits do not form overnight and take time to develop – likewise, a bad habit doesn’t go away with a wink reminiscent of “I Dream of Jeannie!” Be patient and your child will be booger picking, hair twirling, thumb sucking and nail biting free.  Phew! That was a mouthful (pun-intended).

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Reminder: We are just two weeks away from our go-see for our Spring 2011 photo shoot. Le Top is looking for children to model our unique clothing!

We are searching for babies and toddlers between the ages of 7 months and 4 years that wear sizes between 9 months and 3T (unwashed).

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and your child loves to be on the lens side of a camera …read on!

Please provide the following information to acountis@letop-usa.com: and we will send you all the pertinent information regarding the go-see and photo shoot:

* Child’s name
* Guardian’s name
* Boy or girl
* A couple of recent photos of your cutie (snapshots are ok)
* Age
* Weight
* Clothing Size
* Shoe size
* Email Address (Please send one email per child)

IMPORTANT DATES AND INFORMATION:

GO-SEE: July 9th at our Richmond, California headquarters

What is a go-see? A day when children come in for an audition (to try on clothes!)

PHOTO SHOOT:
Week of July 19th

If your child is chosen they MUST be available for one or more of the photo shoot dates.

REQUIREMENTS: All children must secure a valid working permit – we will supply all the information necessary – and sign a usage agreement.  Information regarding compensation will be included in our return email.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: July 7, 2010

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Lollipop, Lollipop, oh-lalli-lalli-pop! Read all about this week’s “Store Spotlight with Lollipops Children’s Shop in Latham, New York.  Chris Coletta, owner of Lollipops Children’s Shop, gives us the story of moving store locations without a credit card machine and her top sales ever, her favorite children’s book and 3 tips to owning a successful children’s boutique.

Visit Le Top’s Facebook and become a Fan to receive weekly “Store Spotlight” updates — Become a fan and Click HERE 

1.    Have you always been interested in entering the children’s business? What was your background prior?
Chris: 
Ever since I had my two girls who are now 30 and 25-years-old, I have always been interested in children’s clothing. When they were born, I used to dress them to the nines!  At ages 4 and 9, I decided that I wanted to open up our shop and called it Lollipops Children’s Shop. I opened the store because I loved the outfits that I dressed the girls in so much and there weren’t any kids shops around where I could buy this types of clothing – they were my inspiration!

Prior to the store, I didn’t have children’s apparel experience, but more of a passion with the support of my wonderful husband, Dennis.

2.    The name of your store reminds of me of something whimsical like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I am envisioning lollipops everywhere and sweet kids shopping! – Where did the name come from?
Chris: During the process of naming our store, my husband Dennis and I were looking through pictures of children and found two children holding lollipops stepping into a box, so that is where it came from!

3.    Are you a New York native? If so, what did you do growing up as a kid in the local area? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.
Chris: Yes, I am! We are from upstate New York near Albany. My cousins all lived down the street, and it was a great place to grow up. Our store is located in a beautiful affluent neighborhood, and is in a strip mall with other retail stores and restaurants.

4.    What is your favorite kid book and why?
Chris: The book that came to mind is the Little Engine that Could because the premise of the book is about really wanting something and making it happen. Dennis and I really related to this in wanting to open our store – it is how we approach our business.

5.    What is 1 tip you would give a parent on how to update your child’s wardrobe for summer?
Chris: I would probably tell a customer to buy some basic bottoms (solid color or a khaki) for the summer and fun tops to switch up the outfit. Then buy a trendy accessory like a bow or hat to make it look special.

6.    Who is your target customer?
Chris: Our target customers are new parents and grandparents that want something special for their children. Oh – and also love to find beautiful gifts.

7.    Any Celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?
Chris: This spring Tony Dovolani from DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) stopped in! We also had a very good customer who would buy for the musician James Taylor’s twins when they were babies until when they were 5 and 6 years old!

8.    What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?
Chris:

  1. Knowing your customers’ wants and needs
  2. Building long and lasting relationships with your customers
  3. Go above and beyond for your customers. For example, we take special orders and offer complimentary gift wrap.
  4. I know it is supposed to be 3 keys to success, but a 4th key is to be in the store!  I am in the store 90% of the time because as an owner, you should always be there, and even though I have great employees who are trained the way I would personally do sales, it is important to show your face on the floor.

9.    If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Chris: You have to be willing to spend most of the time at the store and know the business. It is the most important thing. Build relationships! A lot of returning customers become family to you. You end up thinking about those customers with personal relationships when you are buying at the trade shows.

10.    What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Chris: We were originally at our 1st location for 12 years. Then 10 years ago, the owners of a local mall came to us and we decided to move…we we’re nervous at first, but it was an unbelievable change. We closed our original store location on the evening of June 30th and opened at the new store location the morning of July 1st.  We didn’t even have a credit card machine and it was our busiest day in our business EVER. We weren’t even dressed for business – I was still in my sneakers and customers were buying right off the rack.  It made us feel good about the move and location. We have now been in business a total of 22 years.

11.    What collection or piece from Le Top and/or rabbit moon do you heart most from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Chris:
My favorite collections were the girl ‘Daisy Duck’ collection and the boy ‘Gone Fishin’ collection because customers love that combination of mixing and matching.

LOLLIPOPS CHILDREN’S SHOP
594 New Loudon Rd.
Latham, NY 12110
518.786.0379

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