Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

Lilah (wearing a rabbit moon spaghetti strap short dress from the fleur-de-lys collection) showing her artistic talents

The sun seems to have finally come to the West coast (rain, rain, stay away)! We had a scorcher this weekend and it was a great opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. One of my daughter’s and my favorite summer pastimes is drawing with chalk. I love it when our driveway and front stairs are covered with chalk art. I leave it for days. It’s homey, colorful and makes me feel like a kid again. We regularly practice identifying and drawing letters, creating our own works of art, or even drawing hopscotch courts to play on. It’s fun for all ages and multiple kids can play at the same time. Even my teenage neighbors get in on the act by trying to “out do” each others creations then crossing each others out (teenagers – what can you do). What’s great is if you don’t like what you drew, then you can spray it down with water and start all over again. All-in-all, it’s an inexpensive, fun, creative activity that’s easy to clean up. What more could you ask for?

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Addison plays tea time like Alice in Wonderland –
“I’m late / I’m late/ For a very important date. / No time to say “Hello.” / Goodbye. / I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”

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Ella loves to count while jumping from square to square. Here she made it all the way to square 7 without falling!

This weekend I bought my boyfriend’s niece, Ella, a hopscotch rug that was skid proof and you can play in-doors or outdoors.  I knew at the time of buying this rug that it was great for kids who LOVE to jump, but to be honest, I had no idea on how to actually play the game of hopscotch. It had me wondering, so I thought I would look it up and share what I found. Plus, enjoy a cute picture of Ella jumping on her new hopscotch, along with her sweet cousin Isaac.  Her smile makes me want to jump, what about you?

This is a great way to entertain your kids of all ages for a few hours (plus tire them out in time for nap time! Woo-hoo!).

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Notice all the toys strewn about? Paulo would rather play with a box instead of his toys (in le•top's 2010 Gone Fishin').

Every room in my house seems to be cluttered with cars, balls, musical instruments, magnetic letters, plastic food, dolls, action figures, and even this enormous Tonka trunk! But it all comes down to this: He is going to have more fun playing with the box it came in. I should just stop buying toys. For his next birthday, I think I shall wrap a box… an empty box… because, really, that’s what he’s going to play with for hours!

Other things my son likes to play with are:

  • the remote control
  • my iPhone
  • shoes (the dirtier, the better!)
  • the door stopper
  • newspapers (loves to shred them to pieces)
  • house plants, especially the soil
  • the curtains

What’s your child’s favorite “non-toy”?

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Today is the second in our new “Store Spotlight” series, where we feature a premiere le•top specialty retail store each week. Read more for an exclusive Q&A and “sneak peak” images of our featured store of the week!

Wickford - RI

This week we had the chance to interview one of Rhode Island and Connecticut’s finest boutiques, Teddy Bearskins. Meet the proud owners, Bob and Debra Semple and read about their 3 boutiques!

We want to give you the inside scoop on Teddy Bearskins’ latest and greatest news, and what YOU don’t know about a few of the East Coast’s cutest childrenswear stores.

1.     How did you get started with Teddy Bearskins?
  Debra made all the clothes in our first store. I remember it was a very small store, but within 2 years, we had 2 bigger stores, and 3 stores after 5 years.

2.     What was your and Bob’s background prior to this business?
 Bob was in advertising and sales management prior to entering the childrenswear business
Bob:  Deb was a home economics teacher, and also had a business degree. She [Deb] is by nature a fashion designer!

3.     Teddy Bearskins is a distinctive store name – does it have any special history?
Bob & Debra:
 The name Teddy Bearskins just had a great ring to it, and our favorite place was Bearskin Neck in Rockport, Massachusetts.

4.     Why Rhode Island and Connecticut? How did you pick these unique locations?
  Bob moved to Rhode Island in 1983 for business, and unfortunately there were no teaching jobs. Our twins at the time were 3-years-old so we opted to start our own business.

5.     Describe the neighborhood your stores are in.

Mystic Village - CT

Bob & Debra:  Of our three stores, we would describe each as:

  1. Wickford Location ~ “Historic seaport village, and very quaint.”
  2. Mystic Location ~ “ A historic seaport and tourist area.” 
  3. Barrington Location ~ “A high-end village bedroom community of Providence.”

6.     Who is your target customer? Do you specialize in any certain types of product?
  I would say our target customers are Grandparents, Parents, and Relatives of a newborn. We have a wide range of pricing.

7.     What products do your clientele like the most?
Bob:  Toys, shoes, and clothing from newborn to teenage.

8.     Any Celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?
Bob & Debra:
  Jane Pauley, Montel Williams, several soap opera stars, and many professional sports athletes. Other clients include many of the Rhode Island TV personalities!

9.     What’s coming up for Teddy Bearskins? You have 3 stores and an online store – will there be a 4th store in the near future?
Bob & Debra:
  We are always considering some moves!

10.     You have a remarkable history having founded the first Teddy Bearskins store in 1983 – what makes Teddy Bearskins unique after all of these successful years?
Bob & Debra: 
We have everything you might need or want for your child or grandchild – from birth to size 20. We have customers from all over the country who stop in, call or even email us since they know we will have what they need or want.

Barrington - RI

11.     What do both you and Bob feel are the three biggest keys to your success?
Bob & Debra:
  1. Location
  2. Customer Service
  3. Hard Work, Hard Work, Hard Work!

12.     How do you select your products for the store?
  I listen to my customers and also use my instinct and gut feelings.

13.     What is one trend you’re currently seeing with customers?

14.     If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Bob & Debra:
  Make sure you know you will love retail. It’s 24/7, and if you do not want to put in 110%, do not open a store.

15.     What are your top 3 fashionista tips for dressing a child? And your #1 kid fashion “no-no”?
Bob & Debra:
 Keep it simple, give your child 3 choices, when asking their advice. And keep their personality in mind when making a selection. Do not give in to tantrums.

16.     You probably have seen thousands of parents and their children come in-and-out of all 3 of your store doors – what is one of the funniest things you have heard come out of parent or child’s mouth?
Bob & Debra: 
Nothing stands out at the moment. We have wonderful relationships with our customers, many laughs, great customers. It’s a big family and great fun. The kids always enjoy coming to our Teddy Bearskins locations.

17.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
  One of My favorite customers passed away and she requested in her eulogy that they mention how she loved Teddy Bearskins.

18.     What collection or piece from le•top and/or rabbitmoon do you love right now from the Spring 2010 collection?
Bob & Debra:
 Our favorite is the le•top boys Sail Away collection!

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This weekend my daughter Lilah and I were browsing through the selections offered by our local retailer, in a quest to find the perfect birthday gift for her fellow three year old.  We turned a corner and I saw a Hoppity Ball. “A Hippity Hop!” I exclaimed, startling near by customers.  Childhood memories came flooding back.

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Miranda is wearing "Cute As A Button," and Paulo is wearing "Walking With Dinosaurs." (Both from the le•top 2009 Fall/Winter Collection.)

I mean, brother. 🙂

While our 5-year old was busy playing with a borrowed Nintendo DS, we couldn’t help but notice that her little brother was curiously watching her hold this intriguing contraption. He hasn’t seen anything like it before so he observed intently as Big Sister played happily. Soon enough, he snatched the game right out of her hand… THREE TIMES!

You’d think she would get annoyed or cry about it. Instead, she laughed because it was funny to see the determination in his face AND to discover how quickly he managed to take the toy away from her so he could have a better look. (She IS also a very patient big sister.)

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Our le•top elves with some of their gift filled boxes - clockwise from the back Daryle, Brenda, Linda, Diana, Robyn, Kristin

The Holiday Season brings thoughts of shopping, food and family – as we use every free moment to prepare for Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza.  Unfortunately there are many reminders that not everyone has the essentials to make the holiday a true celebration – and in the spirit of the holiday we want to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves.

For the past eight years I have participated in a program through the Samaritan’s Purse Organization named ‘Operation Christmas Child.’  This charity strives to send gifts to children throughout the world, as well as in our own backyard – children who would not be fortunate enough to receive gifts during the holiday season.

This year fellow le•top co-workers Linda, Brenda, Diana, Daryle, Robyn and I participated in this program to assist Santa to make a happy holiday for children in need.  Our mission was to choose a boy or girl (ages 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14) and then to fill a decorated shoebox as full as possible with toys, school items, hygiene essentials, hard candy or other desired items.  We had great fun posing as elves – shopping with local retailers to pick out the perfect gifts for these children.  le•top also donated plush toys and purses to the organization!

This wonderful charity gives us the option to track our shoe box gifts.  Several of the ‘elves’ decided they would love to find out the destinations of their boxes.  Check back and we will post an update on our gifts as the move around the world.

*National collection week for the Operation Christmas Child program, ends this Monday, November 23rd.  There is still time to participate in this wonderful program.  For more information and a drop-off location near you, please check www.samaritanspurse.org/occ for details.


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No, no, no, Paulo!

le•top baby: Toy Pony overalls from 2009 Fall/Winter Collection

Barely six months and my little guy has already started to crawl. Now he’s getting into everything! I cannot leave him for one second because if I do, I will find him playing with something other than his toys. His current favorites are: shoes, newspapers and electrical cords. Ugh! I miss the days when I can lay him on his blanket and know he’s not going to roll over anywhere.

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Kristin with Her Favorite Lunchboxes

Kristin with Her Favorite Lunchboxes

Back to school…a time of pain (who wants to leave those lazy unscheduled days of summer!)  And a time of joy…the excitement of seeing friends, agonizing over the ‘first day of school outfit’, and the very exciting Back to School shopping trip! 

In my family, that Back to School shopping extravaganza never amounted to much since I was plagued with a mother who hated to shop, whereas I was one of the only ones in my family that lived to shop (I take after my dad I guess!).  Each year my mom would surrender to our “special day” of school shopping, making sure we hit the stores early and had a check list so there was no dilly-dallying.

Wade Going Back to Preschool

Wade Going Back to Preschool

I was always front and center, with list in hand, and at the top of my list every year was the all-important NEW LUNCH BOX!  Of course every year there was the ‘must have’ lunch box…depending on the year it might be The Avengers (Marvel), My Little Ponies (Hasbro) and the ultimate – New Kids On the Block (I LOVED Jordan!)  As the years passed these ‘fashionable’ lunch boxes morphed into ‘cooler’ Igloo Lunch Bags and finally the perennial brown paper bag.  I hung on to my favorites though I kept them hidden away so my friends wouldn’t see them when they’d come over to play.

I still have two of my ‘classic’ lunch boxes – The Avengers and My Little Ponies.  During college I even pulled them out and tried to be a trend setter by using them as a hand bag!  During this year’s Back-to-School period the lunchroom conversation turned to lunchbox memories, and I discovered that I am not the only one who held on to their treasured accessory!  Sarah brought in her Candyland lunchbox for our own version of ‘show and tell’ – gathering a gaggle of excited ‘girls’, anxious to revisit their childhood memories. Here are a few of our other staff’s favorites.

Although these characters of yesteryear have been relegated to the category of ‘vintage’ – the children of today are still eagerly looking forward to the first day of school…and proudly displaying that great new LUNCHBOX!  I can’t wait until I can share in this time-honored tradition! 

What was YOUR favorite lunchbox?   Come on…share!

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