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Archive for November, 2011

No, I did not say that!

Tonight’s excuse for not wanting to eat her veggies:

They might hurt my tummy a little. I better go sit down and watch Nemo.”

– Ellie, age 2

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles and share your funny quote with us by sending it to editor@letop-usa.com!

Visit our home page at
www.letop-usa.com

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It’s a special (shopping) day today! Cyber Monday! And just in time for your holiday shopping. My best friend is having a baby in February and is extremely stressed thinking about the cost of Christmas gifts on top of buying new baby furniture, baby clothes and kiddo type items to prep her apartment for her new arrival. What a better way to reduce that stress than by taking advantage of Cyber Monday deals today and save on holiday shopping (especially from your home or at work without the hassle of carrying heavy bags and the holiday mass rushes on the streets!). Her question to me, “What is Cyber Monday???” Well…here is a little debriefing, as well as our special Le Top (www.letop-usa.com) and rabbitmoon (www.rabbitmoon-usa.com) Cyber Monday deals and savings!

20% off + free shipping*
on all orders

HURRY & SHOP NOW
www.letop-usa.com

Use online code LETOPCYBERFF11 at checkout.
Ends December 4th

* Offer valid on letop-usa.com only. Offer is applied at checkout with promo code LETOPCYBERFF11. Offer not valid on phone orders. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion or sale items and cannot be applied to previous purchases. Offer valid through Sunday, December 4, 2011 11:59pm ET and shipped via regular shipping (5-10 business days). Le Top is owned and controlled by C.K. Enterprises and reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time.

20% off + free shipping*
on all orders

HURRY & SHOP NOW
www.rabbitmoon-usa.com 

Use online code RMCYBERFF11 at checkout.
Ends December 4th

* Offer valid on rabbitmon-usa.com only. Offer is applied at checkout with promo code RMCYBERFF11. Offer not valid on phone orders. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion or sale items and cannot be applied to previous purchases. Offer valid through Sunday, December 4, 2011 11:59pm ET and shipped via regular shipping (5-10 business days). Rabbitmoon is owned and controlled by C.K.Enterprises and reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time.

What is Cyber Monday?
Just as Black Friday represents the biggest physical store shoppingday, Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day, as people continue their Christmas shopping when they return to work. Mondays are good retail days for any online businesses, and typically, a Monday in December is usually when online retailers see their highest single day profit for the year. Why Monday? Now that over two-thirds of the American population have high speed internet at home, that trend of shopping at work has drastically reduced. People shop at home as well, but it’s still usually on Mondays. In this tough economy, people are looking for deals more than ever.

Background on Cyber Monday:
Despite the fact that Cyber Monday gets linked with Black Friday, it didn’t take off because of any drastic deals offered by online retailers. It was the perception of deals that propelled it. In fact, usually the products offered were those that didn’t sell on Black Friday. However Cyber Monday took off because of aggressive marketing campaigns by various online businesses who wanted to be a part of the buzz mostly conceived in consumer’s minds. Its fame eventually reached shoppers through word of mouth. The process of how Cyber Monday came onto being shows how important it is to relate to online shoppers in an organic way to ensure continued success.

Enjoy our holiday Cyber Monday deal and shop away! 🙂

 

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Black Friday is upon us, and here at Le Top we love to support our stores during the holiday shopping spirit! Check out a few of our favorite holiday styles for boys and girls – they are picture perfect for your holiday greetings portrait too! Make this season magic and shop Le Top holiday styles. Visit our Store Locator to find a store near you to find our festive collections!

Can’t find a store near you? Is it too chilly to leave the house today? Shop our Le Top online boutique: www.letop-usa.com to find your latest holiday fashions. Sign up and get in the loop to find the latest Le Top holiday steals and dealsCLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

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Le Top gives thanks to our readers and loyal customers this Thanksgiving. May the good things of life be yours in abundance, not only at Thanksgiving, but throughout the coming year. Cherish your friends and family today, and have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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It’s winter time, its hard to get up and you are rushed to get your family ready and have a good breakfast on the table. Sound familiar? Chances are your preschooler has eaten powder doughnuts, Lucky Charms, or even popcorn for breakfast. Getting your kiddo to eat oatmeal or scrambled eggs isn’t always easy, especially when you’re in a hurry to get your child to school. But your child does want to eat — and whatever he or she puts in his or her mouth depends on the options you give your kid. By the time they start their day, most preschoolers have gone at least 12 hours without food. Here, quick and easy ideas aplenty that make eating a nutritious and power-packed breakfast fun.

Fruity Oatmeal
Good news, moms! Instant oatmeal counts as a whole grain and has all the health benefits of steel-cut and old-fashioned varieties — it’s high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and also lowers the risk of heart disease. Make this in a jiffy: mix 1/4 cup one-minute oats or one packet instant oatmeal with bananas, raisins, or coconut flakes. Let your preschooler choose the fruits so she feels like she has control over her breakfast.

Protein-Rich Burritos
Lots of fiber combined with lots of protein is filling and can provide energy for up to four hours.  Make your kid a burrito with a whole wheat tortilla rich in fiber (at least 5 grams), organic cheese, and a soy sausage link.

Yogurt Dippers
Kids who love carrots and dip might like to dip apples or strawberries into yogurt. Cut fruit into small chunks and have your child dip them into 1/4 cup plain yogurt. Serve with a side of protein, like a small handful of nuts or a couple of slices of turkey bacon.

Jazzed-Up Pizza
There are endless spin-offs of traditional pizza. Spread 2 tablespoons fruit jam or nut butter on a small whole wheat pita (leaving a “crust” at the edges), and top with sliced bananas or strawberries. Or use a base of half a whole-grain English muffin, and add cream cheese and almond slices. Another idea: top a pancake with scrambled eggs and slices of chicken sausage.


CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING at
www.letop-usa.com

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Growing up, my mom or my nanny would buy me an advent calendar – what child doesn’t love one? It’s a candy a day!! Of course now, many parents fill advent calendars with little toys or socks or tasty treats – the sky is the limit!

I wondered this weekend what the history of an advent calendar really is and where did it come from?

Here is a mini brief:

An Advent calendar is a special calendar that is used to count or celebrate the days of Advent. [Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”) is a season observed in many Western Christian Churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas in anticipation of Christmas.] Some calendars are strictly religious, whereas others are secular in content. Despite the name, most commercially available Advent calendars begin on December 1, regardless of when Advent begins, which can be as early as November 27 and as late as December 3.

Today, most Advent calendars are made for children. Many take the form of a large rectangular card with “windows” of which there are often 24; one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. One is opened every day during Advent.

The origins of the Advent calendar come from German Lutherans who, at least as early as the beginning of the 19th century would count down the first 24 days of December physically. Often this meant simply drawing a chalk line on the door each day, beginning on December 1. Some families had more elaborate means of marking the days, such as lighting a new candle (perhaps the genesis of today’s Advent Wreath) or hanging a little religious picture on the wall each day.

The first known Advent calendar was handmade in 1851. According to the Lower Austrian Landesmuseum, the first printed Advent calendar was produced in Hamburg in 1902 or 1903. Other authorities state that a Swabian parishioner, Gerhard Lang, was responsible for the first printed calendar, in 1908.

Lang was certainly the progenitor of today’s calendar. He was a printer in the firm Reichhold & Lang of Munich who, in 1908, made 24 little colored pictures that could be affixed to a piece of cardboard. Several years later, he introduced a calendar with 24 little doors. He created and marketed at least 30 designs before his firm went out of business in the 1930s. In this same time period, Sankt Johannis Printing Company started producing religious Advent calendars, with Bible verses instead of pictures behind the doors.

So today – why not make your own Advent calendar and count down to Christmas with a handmade calendar you and the kids can create. Using ornaments, baby socks, and photos, these charming, treat-a-day ideas make the holiday season even more merry. Slide pictures into postcard holders and hide them with numbered cards. Family members can transfer the pictures to a photo album or hang up this display. Enjoy and look at the picture and use the tools below to create a fun activity with your kids today!

Note: You can use swatches of decorative paper or even holiday wrapping paper instead of the numbered cards.

Materials:

  • Heavyweight printer paper or decorative paper, 80 lb., 8 1/2 by 11 inches, in Natural White
  • 24 4-by-6-inch photos
  • Hanging postcard or photo holder (you can buy at www.exposuresonline.com)

Directions:
Print out on 8.5×11 heavyweight paper, numbers 1 through 25 and then cut them out to the size of a postcard and slide the photos into the holder and cover with the papers.

GO TO www.letop-usa.com TO SEE OUR CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY CLOTHING

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We travelled down south this week to get the scoop on the best store event in South Carolina and cutest clothes for winter – Southern Belles boutique. Not only do they have fun deals for Black Friday weekend (sign up as a Facebook fan to find out!), but also in-person silhouettes from trained artists from Walt Disney World – could we not ask for more? With the holidays just around the corner, Southern Belles offers a variety of winter and holiday clothes – they even monogram them too for your little special someone. We interviewed boutique owner (and child-clothing-boutique-guru), Susie Maloney, to find out about the cutest boutique in Mt. Pleasant, her Thanksgiving traditions, and even what she swore she would never do as a parent, and her favorite Le Top holiday collections. Read more to find out about this fabulous southern gem.

Southern Belles

280 W. Coleman Blvd., Suite J
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
843.881.741 

CHECK-IN and JOIN Southern Belles’ Facebook page and click HERE
 

1.    Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned for your boutique for the holidays, especially the fun deals we can expect! Anything for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas?
We are excited to have several events going on here at Southern Belles. This Saturday, November 19th, Silhouette Artist, Patti Rishforth will be here at our store doing in-person silhouettes. She began her career at Walt Disney World. We are booking up quickly and only have afternoon appointments left at this time, but it is well worth the $30.00 for the two silhouettes you get, and it only takes 10 minutes! There are also other items available with your child’s silhouette. Call today to schedule your appointment! 843-881-1741

On Saturday, December 3rd we also have two exciting events going on! Donna McMahon, Pastel Portrait Artist and member of Portrait Society of America, will be here doing in-person pastel portraits. This is the second and final time Donna will be here before Christmas. She also started her career at Walt Disney World in Orlando and now travels throughout the southeast working in many upscale children’s shops. Cost is $150.00 per person and you leave with your portrait in hand! Schedule your 30-minute appointment with us by calling 843-881-1741!

We’ll also be kicking off the holiday shopping season the Friday after Thanksgiving with all sorts of weekend specials! Follow us on Facebook or join our email list to be the first to know about this and all of our sales, events and promotions!

2.    Tell us the inspiration behind opening your own boutique? How did you come up with the name?
I was a stay at home mom with a toddler, and my hobby of designing children’s appliqué and embroidered clothing turned into a home-based business that eventually evolved into a storefront. Originally, my sister-in-law and I were going to open a retail shop together, and we wanted a business name to reflect something “southern” that wouldn’t restrict the kind of merchandise we would carry. We eventually came up with the name Southern Belles! (She decided that with 3 small children, the commitment of a retail shop might not be in her best interest, so I ventured out on my own.)

3.    We hear you have been rated “Best Children’s Shop” for 6 years running – what makes you a top boutique and a “go-to” for mom’s and families for children’s clothing, shoes and accessories?
I would like to think it’s a combination of excellent customer service and an inventory that is second-to-none. We are a full service children’s clothing store carrying girls’ and boys’ clothing in sizes preemie to 16, including shoes, accessories and gift items. Most busy moms just don’t have the time to shop all over for children’s clothing and gift items. They know when they come to Southern Belles, we can dress their little ones from head to toe, they can get the item monogrammed if needed, pick up a baby or birthday gift, get it giftwrapped, and be on their way! We are also conveniently located and accessible from anywhere in the tri-county area and beyond. 

4.    Please tell us 1 fun Thanksgiving tradition you had with your family as a child that you can share with our readers?
I can’t think of anything “fun” that we did, but we always had the traditional delicious Thanksgiving dinner that my mother prepared. (And you would think she was feeding an army!) She taught me how to set a beautiful table using all of the “good” china and silver, starched white linen table cloth and napkins, and we were expected to be on our best behavior! After dinner, some of us would go for a long walk. We lived in the country, and it’s beautiful in the south that time of year. Most of the men would gather around the television to spend the rest of the day watching football!

5.    What would you suggest as the top 3 essentials in the winter that any parent should buy to brighten up their child’s wardrobe this winter?
The first “essential” every child needs is a good winter coat. Even in the south we have days when a sweater or lightweight jacket just isn’t enough. Children’s coats are so colorful now and most of them come with matching hats and/or scarves. Secondly, colorful and patterned tights can really make a simple outfit “pop” and are an inexpensive way to accessorize. Thirdly, I would suggest a cute pair of shoes or boots…and there is no shortage of styles and colors this season!

6.    What is your favorite Thanksgiving feast or appetizer item that is your “go-to” – do you have any family recipes you can share or ideas for a kid’s snack?
I still like the traditional Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, fresh green beans, macaroni pie, cheddar herb biscuits, etc., and my mother’s awesome pecan pie for dessert. Because my mother always has so much food for the main meal, we seldom have appetizers for fear that everyone will fill up on them and not enjoy all the delicious food he prepares!

7.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?”
Before I had kids, I swore I would never let my child run around in a business or restaurant, and I lived up to that! Being a business owner now, I wish other parents would be more aware of their children’s public behavior. I think we’ve lost a little something when it comes to being respectful.

8.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina? Did you grow up in the local area?
My shopping center is called Northcutt Plaza Specialty Shops and is one of the oldest “strip centers” in Mount Pleasant. It is located in what used to be the heart of “old” Mount Pleasant, and is located just about a mile from the Arthur Ravenel Bridge that connects us to Charleston. Even though Mt. Pleasant had grown significantly in the 25 years I have lived here, it still has a small town feel. Most all of the retail shopping is within a ten-mile radius and is intermingled among residential areas. Mt. Pleasant residents no longer have to “cross the bridge” for shopping, as we are now a destination shopping area. I grew up in the Charleston area about 13 miles south of Charleston. 

9.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
In our shopping center, there is a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, which is a favorite spot for kids and adults alike for a milk shake or ice cream cone. Right around the corner is a movie theatre called Cinnabar where you can order delicious food prepared on site and an adult beverage to enjoy while you watch your movie. We’re also lucky to live on the coast, so in the summertime, the beach is the place to be for relaxing and family fun. Mt. Pleasant has a new waterfront park and pier that has endless fun things to do for kids of all ages. You can fish off the pier or just relax and swing while you enjoy the delightful breeze and scenery of the Cooper River and marshes.

Featuring Le Top Frosty Days and Santa Surprise! Collections

10.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Fall 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
We always love the Holiday Collections by Le Top! The red and white stripe knit dresses (Candy Cane Cutie Collection) accessorized with the matching hat and red and white polka dot tights are one of our favorites for girls. Baby’s first Christmas footie, matching hat and blanket also gets kudos from us!

Southern Belles

280 W. Coleman Blvd., Suite J
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
843.881.741 

CHECK-IN and JOIN Southern Belles’ Facebook page and click HERE

 

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