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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Sarah's shoes

Great design is all about inspiration!  When Sarah, our Assistant Designer for le•top was in China with the Dragon Boat team, she was stimulated by the beauty and all the unique encounters.  Of course she always has her eye out for fashion…and we couldn’t resist sharing these fabulous shoes she found.  These one of a kind flats are made of cow hide, and have the kind of whimsy that makes them le•top extraordinary!  She wore them in to work the other day and I just had to snap a photo for you all to see!

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Hop Skip N Jump's Store Front Along the Old Underground Railroad

Hop Skip N Jump's Store Front Along the Old Underground Railroad

Heidi Strimpfel loved shopping at the local children’s store in the quaint and historic town of Springboro, Ohio. When Heidi learned the owner of Hop Skip n Jump had decided to sell the store her first thought was “Where will I shop?” Her next thought was…I would love to make a change in my life – so she entered into negotiations to buy the lovely boutique! Heidi has a background in business, and with her accounting knowledge realized that the little business would be a perfect fit for her talents.

Hop Skip n Jump had been in business for 7 years when Heidi made her decision to ‘jump’ into the children’s clothing business – that was 11 years ago! Heidi has fine tuned the boutique into a desired destination for doting grandmothers and professional mothers who love the assortment and quality of Heidi’s carefully chosen selections. One of the store’s specialties is special occasion clothing. One customer declares “if you’re looking for a christening gown or First Communion gown and everything you’re finding appears to be cookie-cutter and not special, make a trip up to Hop Skip and Jump in Springboro, you won’t be disappointed.”

Heidi and Her Wears

Heidi and Her Wears

The charming boutique is located on a lovely, tree lined street in Springboro, Ohio – a mecca for history buffs. Springboro, established in the early 1800’s and settled predominately by Quakers, was a major stop on the Underground Railroad. The building that the store occupies was built around the time of the Civil War, is on the National Historic Register and was the town’s original Dry Goods store. Tour groups regularly make a stop to visit the notable site. Heidi loves putting together eclectic merchandise groupings, using an antique display case and the fireplaces that grace every room. Integrating the beautiful merchandise while paying homage to the significant history of the area makes Hop Skip n Jump very special.

Take a stroll through the historic area, and visit Heidi at:
Hop Skip n Jump
220 S Main St
Springboro, OH 45066
(937) 748-9000

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If someone had told me five months ago that I would be racing dragon boats in China, I would have said they were crazy! It’s hard to imagine that only a short time ago I didn’t have a clue about this incredible sport.  Dragon boat racing started thousands of years ago in China. It’s a team paddling sport where a canoe-style boat is used.  Now, not only can I hold my own paddling the boat, but I can proudly say that I was a member of the only American team to compete in the 2009 Dragon Boat races in China!

Dragon Boating Competitors

Dragon Boating Competitors

The interest in this exciting sport is catching – at least in our design department! Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only le•top designer racing in China. Gail – our extraordinary graphic designer – was the person who first introduced me to the sport. Thanks to her, I am not only part of the team, but I’ve become part of a fun and adventurous “family”.

We competed in races in a couple of different cities, one of which was Milu, the birthplace of dragon boating. It was amazing to be able to participate in the sport that originated there over 2000 years ago! The fun part is, as in any sport that each team has a name – we call ourselves the Absolute Dragons!  We are a mixed crew, meaning that we are made up of women and men. In China there is no such thing as a “mixed” team, which meant we had to race against all men’s teams. Even though we didn’t place in the standings, we did manage to beat nine teams! Wow, were they mad when they got beat by a boat full of women!

Beautiful Sights

Beautiful Sights

China was such an unbelievable experience. One thing I will always remember is how popular my platinum blonde hair was with the locals. I was chased down at every corner by people asking for my picture! I now know what it must feel like to be famous. Man, do I feel bad for Brad Pitt!

Whether it was holding up peace signs for pictures with the locals, racing in the dragon boat, hiking the Great Wall, or just celebrating the Chinese culture – China was the trip of a lifetime, one I will never forget!

…this post was written by Sarah, le•top designer

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Miranda in Flamingo Bay (left) and Sophia in Strawberry Fields

Miranda in Flamingo Bay (left) and Sophia in Strawberry Fields

A couple of weekends ago, we drove down to Southern California to attend a baby shower I’d been invited to. Knowing that the weather there is always much warmer than the San Francisco, I packed summer wear—mostly le•top outfits—since it’ll be awhile before we really get to wear them here in the Bay Area. We met up with my cousin and her kids at a park so that my daughter (Miranda) and her daughter (Sophia) could get some play time. They’re like sisters, these two. We call them “Double Trouble.” They’re both bossy and like to pick on the boys.

I was delighted to see Sophia in the le•top Strawberry Fields dress that I sent to her as a birthday gift. Meanwhile, Miranda was decked out in my favorite le•top collection, Flamingo Bay. What’s fabulous is, that although these outfits are from two different collections, they complement each other very well! Perfect for sisters, twins, cousins, friends — who like to dress alike but not exactly the same.

Visit our store locator to find these lovely collections near you.

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bigsiscryLast weekend we drove down to Los Angeles (from the Bay Area) for my cousin’s baby shower. The drive there was a piece of cake. It took us about 8 hours with only 2 stops. Amazing, considering we had a newborn. Meanwhile, my 4-year old was her usual self asking us what number to count to before we get to LA, and repeatedly asking, “Are we there yet?” (Click here to read about our memorable trip to San Diego.)

The drive home was a completely different story. It took us almost 12 hours with so many stops that I vowed never to drive a long trip like that ever again! For some reason, my 3-week old was hungry EVERY HOUR. “Didn’t I just feed you?” And other times he would howl and cry, and we couldn’t figure out why. He wasn’t hungry. He wasn’t wet. He wasn’t hurt or sick. He just wanted to be on Daddy’s lap or in Mommy’s embrace. I guess I’d rather have that, too. But after so many stops for no reason other than to take him out of his car seat, we’d had enough. Our so-called “solution” was to let him scream in agony — while we listened in agony! Then, miraculously, Big Sis saved the day. Miranda sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and Paulo stopped crying! The first time it happened, we thought it was just luck. But it happened a couple more times, and it worked every time. One time she even sang a different song (some song from “High School Musical”), but it didn’t work. So we asked her to stick to his usual request because that’s what Paulo liked. She gladly complied.

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fleming_beach_mauiThe tide is High and [we] are holding on…” …to our dreams of a vacation on Maui!

Would you believe that my husband and I have lived in California our ENTIRE lives and have NEVER been to Maui, let alone Hawaii?!? We are one direct flight away, and we just can’t seem to get there (for those of you readers on the East Coast, what you think of me not getting to Hawaii is probably what I think of you not getting to London!) 😉 Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to go. I mean, what’s not to like about Hawaii?? It has everything we have ever dreamed about for a vacation. Fantastic beaches, warm, crystal clear seas, rainforests, fabulous hotels, and great food (you know we at le•top are keen on great food…even if I can’t some of us don’t cook!). At this price, I am considering ditching our plans for a vacation (no, it’s not a dream…) to Canada and scooping up this great deal instead. Oh, to laze on the beach, with a mai tai in one hand, a good book in the other, “working” on my golden tan…okay, okay…with my fair complexion I would just burn…but if I’m going to dream, I might as well go all out!

$599 — Maui 5-Night Vacation w/Rental Car & Air

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chiantiYou have no idea how hard it was to pick this week’s “Dream”! With choices from Rio to Prague, I definitely had a hard time figuring out what would be the most ideal dream destination. With the rainy weather we are having here in the San Francisco Bay Area…I was enticed to select a rich, sunny, color-laden locale. All doubts were cast aside: Tuscany! This region of Italy is our dream destination for the week. Whether you pick the 6 night package (includes air), or the fantastic deal on tickets to Rome (then, of course, renting a little Fiat for the drive to Tuscany is a must!) you are sure to be in seventh heaven, or shall we say, Settimo Cielo! I’m thinking Italian villa, locally-made sausage and cheese, a great bottle of chianti, a view of a vineyard… mix in some good company and the setting sun, and it’s nothing short of utter perfection! Here’s hoping for spring, and one day soon, a trip to Italy! Buon Giorno!

$799 — Tuscany 6-Night Fall Vacation w/Air (When 4 Travel)

$503-$521 — Rome from San Francisco (R/T), incl. taxes

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