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Archive for September, 2011

We spoke with storeowner, Melissa Delancy, this week about her over the top adorable and great to shop in boutique in Southern Pines, North Carolina. She gave us the scoop on how she started her store, where the best local family hangouts are these days, as well as her top Le Top boys and girls collections this season for your kiddo. Did we mention she gives a special discount if you dress up for Halloween and come to her store? Go get your costumes soon! 🙂 Read more below about one of our favorite Le Top boutique retailers – Belli Bambini.

Belli Bambini

118 Northwest Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC 28387
910.692.6926

CHECK-IN and JOIN Belli Bambini’s Facebook pageand click HERE

1.    Tell us the inspiration behind opening your own boutique?
Melissa:  
I started working in the children’s industry at Gap Kids when I started college. It was a very hard, exhausting, and rewarding job. After the long hours. I swore I would never work retail again. But I went on to work at private boutiques and fell in  love …22 years later here I am, and still loving it.

Le Top Fall 2011 "Zoo Kazoo" collection

2.    How did you come up with the name?
Melissa: 
Decisions can be my worst enemy. I had at least 40 names to choose from and my husband finally told me I had until the end of  the day. I wanted something sweet that was about both boys and girls. That’s why we are called Belli and not Bella. 

3.    Fall is in the air and Charlotte Magazine mentions you are a store for posh tots! You definitely are on the local style radar – what are 3 staples you can tell parents to buy from your store for when transitioning their kids’ wardrobe from summer threads to warm clothes for the fall?
Melissa: 
Everyone must have a pair of TOMS, plus every shoes you buy, TOMS donates a pair to someone in need of shoes! Jeggings! Denim and colors…a great way to pair with an assortment of tops. Le Top red and white styles…perfect for Christmas and Valentines Day!

4.    Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned for your boutique for fall, especially the fun deals we can expect! Anything for Halloween next month?
Melissa: 
Halloween we will dress up and if you dress up we will give you 15% off any regular price item. 

5.   Please tell us 1 fun Halloween tradition you had with your family as a child that you can share with our readers?
Melissa: 
As a child I loved to dress up, but I didn’t like to ask for candy, because I didn’t feel it was appropriate. But I loved and still love to hand out candy and tell all the trick-or-treaters how adorable they are. Funny thing is my middle child has always been the same way. 

6.    What is one fun way to decorate a pumpkin or your home for Halloween?
Melissa: 
We, or shall I say my husband, traces and cuts our pumpkins. He is very precise. 🙂

7.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?”
Melissa: 
I swore I would never make my kids wear something they didn’t like, especially dresses! I hated to wear dresses and every Sunday my parents made me wear one to church. I wanted pants like my brother…guess what I lied! I must approve the attire. 

8.    Tell us about a “special” moment that has made your day working at your store.
Melissa: 
It’s too hard to pick just one “aha” moment, but I must say its such a pleasure when a couple goes to the doctor to be told they are expecting a little miracle. Their first stop being Belli Bambini, either as a way of celebrating, or as a gift they give to their parents to tell them they are going to be grandparents. While I feel all children are so special, another “aha” moment is to see the smile of a mother-to-be who is awaiting for the birth mother(adoption) to give birth to their baby. What a blessing!

9.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Did you grow up in the local area?
Melissa: 
I was raised in San Antonio, Texas. My husband serves in the military which is what brought us to Southern Pines. Southern Pines is a beautiful little town. The train house and railroad tracks divide the shopping street into two sides. The best way to describe it is its “like living in Mayberry.” Plenty of unique boutiques, tasty restaurants, parks where you will see families walking their dogs, strolling their babies and eating an ice cream cones.   

10.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
Melissa: 
Grab a bench, sit and enjoy the view. If you need more, we do have 27 golf courses and we are in horse country. 

11.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Fall 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
Melissa: 
I love the Le Top “Zoo Kazoo” Collection  and for girls its the “Cute Cookie” Collection! 

Belli Bambini

118 Northwest Broad Street
Southern Pines, SC 28387
910.692.6926

CLICK HERE to CHECK OUT Belli Bambini on Facebook

Le Top Fall 2011 "Cute Cookie" Collection

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This adorable little ladybug, Ivy (7-months-old), is already in the spirit for the Halloween holiday that is just around the corner.  To get an oh-so-cute Le Top Halloween costume for your baby dragon, dino, puppy, tiger or cow go to Amazon or any of our upscale online retailers. 🙂 

Congrats to Ivy for being our Le Top Darling of the Day!

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No, I did not say that!

We were playing in the park when we heard a siren.

Uh-oh! An ambulance got hurt.”

– Caitlyn, age 3

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

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Lilah wearing a shirt and pants from the Le Top Horsin' Around collection

My daughter is sometimes mistaken for a boy by strangers. Occassionally it upsets me but to be honest, her outward appearance at-first-glance can be “boyish” because she loves wearing jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes (with Transformers, Cars or aliens on them), her curly hair is usually down and she is rarely ever in pink. Sometimes, she does wear clothes that are pink or with flowers or hearts, but they tend to be subtle and not scream “I’m a girl!”

These days it seems that gender roles are played upon heavily. All of the toys on television are really catered to either boys or girls. Rarely is a toy for children over the age of 2 gender-neutral. Girls should wear princess costumes and play with dolls, and boys should all want to be superheroes and play with trucks, right? Not true. Nothing is set these days. I say let kids be who they want to be. All of my daughter’s baby dolls have boy names. She doesn’t care if they are wearing bright pink with butterflies – that means nothing to her.  I tell her that people, kids and adults, can wear whatever makes them happy. Lilah loves being around boys, but she also loves to take care of a younger little girl at her school. It’s the reason she is excited to go. What does it all mean? It means she is who she is.

I’ve read articles suggesting that many girls act like tomboys because they have only older brothers or are the child of a single male parent. I’m sure that can be a factor. I am an only child and was at times a tomboy (still am). My dad taught me about power tools and yard work and my mom taught me how to sew and clean the house among other things. I hope to pass this all on to Lilah, and also hope that her daddy will pass on his gardening and cooking skills. Is that why? Maybe, but it could be simpler than that. My daughter is incredibly physical and active. When I ask her why she likes “boy things” she simply explains that boys have more fun, meaning they tend to run, jump, and climb which are all of her favorite things. She’s told me she doesn’t like dresses because it’s harder to do those things in them. The few times she has worn a dress to school, her friends that are boys give her positive compliments and tell her she looks beautiful. She certainly likes it, but she is not willing to wear dresses regularly for more compliments.

I just want my daughter to be confident, have a good sense of self, and not be afraid to show it. If that means she wants to play with a lightsaber and dress like Spiderman for Halloween then so be it – if not, I’m happy with a girly girl too. I just feel lucky to have this perfect, smart, funny and gorgeous child in my life.

VISIT OUR LE TOP HOME…
www.letop-usa.com

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Parent, nanny, or just on-the-go…Mondays can be crazy! I just had this realization I have a meeting this morning and need something fast, fruity and yummy while I scram out the door. Here is a great receipt for you or the kids…or your hubby to start his day off right!

Breakfast Pita Pocket Recipe 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 4 slices packaged ready-to-serve cooked bacon, chopped
  • 4 whole-wheat pita breads, cut in half

MAKE IT:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in cheese, broccoli, and bacon. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is just set. Remove and cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Cut into triangles and serve in pita halves, or refrigerate, covered, and reheat the next morning in the microwave.

VISIT OUR LE TOP HOME…
www.letop-usa.com

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Wow, look at what an absolute cutie Jessica (2-years-old) is, and with dimples to boot! We’re told that this sparkling beauty enjoys gymnastics, anything Dora (The Explorer), watching Toy Story (Buzz is her favorite character), visiting Disneyland, playing with her cousins, and simply loves her pink Bear Bear. Congratulations to Jessica on being crowned the Le Top Darling of the Day!

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www.letop-usa.com

Most men seem okay with changing diapers until the wife or whomever is changing the diaper whips out the ointment and squeezes it on a man’s finger! It can be intimidating – what do you do with this ointment and why is it so important? Well here are some of the benefits of diaper ointment and making your wee-babe as comfy as possible. Did we mention Le Top makes a baby collection in boy, girl and unisex styles? They are awesome for gifts too – and super soft on the skin, another benefit to keeping your baby comfy! 🙂 

The BASICS:
Skin wetness is the common denominator underlying the various causes of diaper rash. Urinary wetness increases skin friction, raises the skin pH, makes the skin less cohesive, and makes it more permeable. These effects combine to intensify the action of stool enzymes or other irritants that then inflame the skin. Diaper rash ointment prevents, treats and comforts your baby’s bottom after it becomes sore, red, itchy or irritated after a wet diaper. There are two types of ointment, petroleum and zinc oxide, and both are useful for certain symptoms. Keep the area dry and healthy with a generous dose of diaper ointment every few diaper changes.

TYPES OF RASHES:
Friction Rash: This is the most common form of diaper rash, and affects almost all babies at some time. It’s common on areas where friction is most pronounced; such as the inner thighs; or under the elastic of diapers that are too tight.

Irritant Rash: This is most conspicuous on the exposed areas, such as the round part of the buttocks. It tends to not appear in skin folds and creases. It’s generally the result of contact with stool enzymes or irritants such as harsh soaps, baby wipes, detergents, or topical medicines.

Intertrigo: Moist heat causes this common type of diaper rash that occurs deep in the skin folds. The skin looks thin, as if it has lost several layers.

Allergic Rash: This rash looks like poison oak! Ah!

KEEP THE RED AWAY!
Petroleum jelly or zinc oxide ointments are useful for preventing diaper rash. They protect your baby’s bottom by creating a barrier between the diaper and the skin. The ointment may not have disappeared by the next diaper change, but it is important that you don’t remove the ointment. Cleaning the diaper area is fine, but excess cleaning can irritate the skin. Allow the diaper ointment to do its job by not rubbing it off at each diaper change.

Some popular over-the-counter ointments are:

  • A + D
  • Balmex
  • Desitin
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Zinc Oxide Paste
  • Butt Paste
  • Aquaphor

To aid the healing of diaper rash, do what you can to increase airflow to the diaper region. These simple suggestions may help: 

  • Let your child go without a diaper for short periods of time.
  • Avoid using plastic or tightfitting diaper covers.
  • Use larger than usual sized diapers until the rash goes away

While your baby has a diaper rash, avoid washing the affected area with soaps and disposable, scented wipes. Alcohol and perfumes in these products can irritate your baby’s skin and aggravate or prolong the rash.

What does it treat?
Diaper ointment is also useful in treating diaper rash. Diaper rash can present itself as red, scaly, bumpy, and may even include blisters. Applying diaper rash ointment at the first sign of diaper rash can prevent the rash from getting worse. If a diaper rash is ignored and left untreated, it can worsen quickly. Diaper rash is especially prevalent in babies who have diarrhea or who do not get frequent diaper changes.

Take note!
Talcum powder and corn starch are not beneficial as diaper ointments, although they are considered traditional cures. The talcum powder can disperse when shaken onto the baby’s skin and can make its way into the baby’s lungs, says Baby Center. Cornstarch will sometimes have the opposite effect on a diaper rash, making it worse. This is especially true if the baby has a yeast-based rash, frequently found on babies who are taking antibiotics, nursing babies whose mothers are taking antibiotics, or babies struggling with oral thrush.

Another non-ointment natural tip to ease diaper rash?

How to do it: Instead of cleaning your baby’s bottom with premoistened wipes, hold her over the sink and let warm water wash over her inflamed skin. Then dry her off using a blow-dryer set on cool.

Why it works: Washing with plain water and drying with air feels good on sore skin. In addition, it speeds healing by decreasing friction on the area. Exposure to the chemicals in baby wipes will only make the irritation worse.

If your baby does have a rash and you’ve already used the suggestions above, they may have a yeast infection and need a prescription from your pediatrician.

VISIT OUR LE TOP HOME…
www.letop-usa.com

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