Saturday, July 29, 2006

First Birthdays - A Survivor’s Guide

When I think of first birthdays I think of my kids’ first birthday parties. I remember little faces smeared with cake. I remember the specially picked, adorable little first birthday outfit – smeared with cake and the once perfectly groomed hair – smeared with cake. In fact, I can not recall an inch within at least a four foot radius that was not smeared with cake! It was so much fun, though. We had family that came from everywhere, some of those people I did not even know, but we had all come together to celebrate the life of this special little person.
Now, I will impart my wisdom and experience to you so that you may be spared some of the challenges and unexpected “surprises” that may befall you as you prepare for and embark upon that special day. The best advice I can give you, and feel free to use this throughout your child’s life – I still use it with my 16 year old – is this: Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and plan to be surprised. It never goes the way we plan, NEVER. Children fall down, get ear infections at the drop of a hat, find the birthday cake long before you plan to serve it, and miss naps and become cranky. They may not blow out the candles, may cry when you sing Happy Birthday and they might sneeze on the cake – before anyone has gotten a piece. But they grab out hearts and hold on for dear life, and we wouldn’t dream of letting go.
Plan loosely. Remain flexible. A party at “twoish” is better than a time set in stone. True, people have schedules, but try to keep some flexibility for the unexpected. Try to set the party during the time between nap and dinner, not too close to either. But do not be devastated if your little darling sleeps through her first birthday party, I did. My mother just sort of rolled with it. I learned well.

Dress for style and comfort. This goes for you as well as your child. But you can dress your child in stylish comfort with an outfit from With brands like Rare Editions, Bonnie Jean and Sophias Style, your little one will be stylin’ on that special day.
Be sure to add an adorable birthday hat, fit for a princess! These adorable accessories are great for pictures and fun at the party.
Relax. So you forgot to wrap the gift. No big deal, the Sunday comics work great. So you little one fell down and skinned his knee. It will be fine, the cake and candles will distract him. Keep some moist towelettes or a wet washcloth in a baggie for quick clean-ups.
Get him or her is own mini cake to tear into. This can be the most adorable part of the party and some of the cutest photos to commemorate the event.
So, go with it, have fun, and give that little one a hug for me.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Baby Playgroups - Lessons in Socialization

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Playgroups can be a wonderful experience for both you and your baby. They allow baby to interact with other children close to her age and they allow mommy a chance to talk to grown-ups for a change. Playgroups also allow parents to talk to other parents who may be experiencing the same things with their children. Sometimes it is just easier to ask another mom about breastfeeding to potty training than it is to ask a doctor. Playgroups can be fun for all if structured correctly and care is taken that your little one is up for it. There are, however, a few things that you should remember before embarking on a playgroup adventure.
Location. Some playgroups are at parks while others rotate at members’ homes. Decide where you and your baby are most comfortable and jump right in! If you don’t mind visiting in a stranger’s home then that may be a good option for you. But if the neutral ground of a park is more your style, then by all means go for it. If you are uncomfortable your baby will be too.

Click here for handmade Tickles and Giggles baby girls clothing at SophiasStyle
Kids. Make certain that the playgroup is geared for your baby’s age group. You don’t want her getting left behind at a toddler playgroup when she is only six months. On the other hand, you don’t want her to have to sit in on a baby playgroup when she is a curious toddler. Age matters.

Safety. Sure, you will be watching your baby like a hawk to make sure she is safe, but you have to blink sometime and that is when accidents can happen. Make sure that the location of the playgroup is up on all the age appropriate safety measures. The last thing you need is for your playgroup date to end up with a trip to the emergency room.

Attitude. Baby will be much better company for her new companions if she is well rested and not hungry. Try to arrange the playgroup time for mid-morning, after breakfast or after her noon nap. Bring snacks and a bottle or sipper cup just in case she gets the munchies or needs a break.

Comfort. While it may be tempting to dress for cute when going to the playgroup, opt for comfort instead. Dress her in airy, loose fitting clothing that allow her to move freely. She will be less fussy and you can get more chat time in.

Though a playgroup is great for baby to socialize, it is also a great way for mom to get a little break. Try it out. Find a playgroup in your area and you and your baby can make some new friends together!

Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions or stories about playgroups!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dance! Dance! Dance!- Dance and Gymnastics Wear at SophiasStyle

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Dance and gymnastics are great for little girls. These activities help with poise and grace, confidence and balance. Also, it is a great introduction to discipline and team spirit. Dance and gymnastics teach her to work with others and to consider the others on her team. She learns that team work can get things done. Some little girls begin dance when they start walking, while others, not until they are in school. While there is no “magic age” that you should enter your child into these activities, just listen to her. And when she is ready to get started, Sophia’s Style is there with hand dyed leotards and tutu’s as well as handmade ballet shoes. Some of the cutest dancewear out there can be found at Sophia’s Style. You won’t be able to resist!
Click here for Baby Baubles Ballet Clothing at SophiasStyleClick here for handmade ballet shoes at SophiasStyle

Find dance and gymnastics apparel for newborn, infants, toddlers and girls at discount prices. You can pick up Baby Baubles adorable little ballerina dress. It even has little ballerina appliqués dancing around the bubblegum pink bodice and skirt. It has a tulle underskirt that peeks out from the hem and has matching, pink panties. Pair this up with the Kamara ballet shoe and she is set. These ballet slippers are hand made with a pretty bead appliqué on the front. They are made from soft leather and feature a brushed leather sole. They have elastic at the ankle for security and long, flowing pink ribbon ties, just like real ballerinas!

Click here for Baby Baubles ballet skirt and jacket set at SophiasStyle. Click here for dance leotards at SophiasStyle.

Baby Baubles also offers a little ballet set with matching skirt and jacket. The heather colored jacket, a hoodie, has pink ballerinas dancing across the zipper front while the matching heather skirt has a pink bow and tulle underskirt that peeks from beneath the hem. The Pickled Hippo offers up a huge helping of cuteness with their turquoise dance leotard and tutu. The leotard features capped sleeves and a butterfly appliqué on the front. The skirt is a sheer tulle with ribbon detail at the hem and waist, just perfect for plies and arabesques.
Sophias Style is the best place to find the cutest dance wear at the best prices. Here you can find hand made dance clothes, leotards, tutus and baby and toddler ballet shoes all at unbelievably low prices. Have your items personalized with your little ballerina’s name for just $8.00. You can keep her dancing. Sophia’s Style can keep her dancing in unique, fun, adorable clothes that will have her melting hearts and stopping shows.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Styles for the Flower Girl- Dressing the Flower Girl in Your Life

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It is such an honor when your child is asked to participate in a wedding. But it can be such a nightmare when you try to find a dress for her to wear that will not send you to the bankruptcy courts. Sophias Style has the answers with the cutest flower girl dresses and special occasion dresses around. You can find everything you need from dress to shoes to wedding hair accessories. It is all in one convenient place for a price you can’t beat. And with Sophia’s Style you know you are getting high quality, unique products. You simply can not go wrong.

She will be a dream in the little flower girl’s dress by Lito. With an empire waist and a jewel neckline, this sweet little satin beauty is detailed with little white “pretend pearls” and sequins. Three layers of tulle flow over a satin appliquéd skirt. Pair it with a tiara veil and satin gloves and the look is complete. She will look and feel like a princess! Rare Editions also offers a breathtaking ivory satin princess style dress. This A-line, or princess, cut dress features a portrait appliquéd neckline that has three layers of organza and a gorgeous bow that ties in the back. The crinoline skirt is fully lined and the look is amazing.
The Lito burgundy and ivory petal dress adds a splash of color with a burgundy shantung bodice and ivory tulle skirt that is literally blooming with rich burgundy petals. The dress is a ball gown style with a jewel neckline. It has an attached crinoline underskirt and delicate pearl button back closure. Sophia’s Style will certainly dress your little girl in high fashion. There are so many different styles and colors to choose from and the prices are out of this world!
Sophias Style offers all the items and accessories you need to give your little girl the total look. From shoes to tiaras and everything in between, you are covered. Choose Kamara ballet slippers and Lito rhinestone tiaras. You will also find stockings and hair accessories such as sweet little flowered headpieces all at unbelievably low prices. At Sophia’s Style your little girl will be dressed head to toe in fashion and style. She will be a vision of loveliness in fashions from Sophias Style.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Baby Shower Gifts at Sophia’s Style - Unique, Fun and Personal Gifts for Baby

Click here for Sweet Potatoes romper from SophiasStyle
Baby showers can be daunting affairs, ones often faced with trepidation. The ominous gift issue raises its ugly head. You want to get something useful but cute, necessary but unique. What do you buy? Sophia’s Style has many adorable and unique gifts for baby that are perfect for baby showers. Choose from playful rompers, cute clothes and adorable accessories. Many items can even be personalized with baby’s name! When you get your baby shower gift from Sophia’s Style you can rest assured that not only will your gift be ultra unique and personal, but it will also be the very best one at the shower!
Click here for Baby Baubles sleeper from SophiasStyle
At Sophia’s Style you can find the too-cute-for-words romper by Baby Baubles. This pink ballet romper comes with a matching hat! A little appliqué ballerina, roses and rhinestones frolic playfully amid the super soft couture material. Everyone will be oohing and aahing over this unique gift! Have it personalized by having her name embroidered on it for just $8.00 and you are set. You can also choose the Little Me Butterfly Romper with its flower buttons, attached sleeveless top and matching hat, or you may opt for the BT Kids Smocked Dress. This charming little dress comes with matching bloomers and a hat!
Click here for Sweet Potatoes romper from SophiasStyle

Tickles and Giggles has delightfully unique little outfits that are sure to tickle your fancy. The handmade Pink Boa dress is always a hit. You may have seen this dress on Friends or Oprah. It is an adorable, handmade two piece white dress with pink boa trim. This is a precious keepsake for your baby. If you want something a little more showy, you may opt for the Tickles and Giggles handmade lavender and turquoise dress. The turquoise bodice is embellished with little lavender ribbons to match the lavender tulle skirt. She will look like a ballerina or a fairy princess in this dress!
Click here for Lavender Ballet Dress from SophiasStyle

You can find everything you need at Sophia’s Style to complete the look. Browse through hair accessories, socks and tights, a unique selection of baby jewelry, bags and purses, gloves and even shoes. Sophia’s Style is your one stop shop for dressing your little girl or getting the “total look” outfit for a baby shower. Pick up a personalized baby shower gift or layette. Find the cutest little girl clothes you could ever imagine. Have your gift personalized. Everything you need to make your gift the best gift at the shower can be found at Sophia’s Style. Find it, buy it, personalize it, and fall in love with it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Vacationing with the Kids - How to Pack, How to Have Fun, How to Survive

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While family vacations can be loads of fun, they can also be quite stressful. Packing for the kids seems to be quite an issue. Pack enough so that they have clean clothing to wear, but don’t pack so much that you end up on traction from carrying the suitcase! You want to cover all the bases as far as climate is concerned. But packing two sets of clothes, one for warm weather and one for cold, is out of the question. Then there are the four words that every parent dreads, “Are we there yet?” How do you keep your kids entertained on a long car ride (even considering a “long” car ride to be the two and a half hour one to grandma’s) and keep your sanity?
Packing the kids for vacation can be made quite simple if you are organized. First, determine how long you will be gone. Count driving or travel days from the moment you leave your driveway until you return. Make a list of every item you are bringing. List how many pair of underwear, how many t-shirts, describe dresses, even list shoes. Now, consider the climate for where you are going. Is it expected to be warm? Pack for warm weather, but add a sweater, long pants and closed in shoes. Is it expected to be cool? Pack for cold weather, but throw in a couple of tee shirts, light sweater, even a pair of short pants and some tennies. Cover all the bases and be ready for anything.

Click here for Vacation-Friendly Pink Poodle Poncho Set from SophiasStyle
The car ride can be fun or it can be a headache. When my children were younger, I made them a car activity pack. It had crayons, paper, coloring books, games, reading books and other fun activities. We also had silly little games that we played in the car, like I Spy. I would make up stories and we would sing songs. As they grew older, their needs changed, so we started talking more. We would discuss what we wanted to do in the future, what the future would be like and what they wanted to be when they grew up. The long trips we took in the car were some of the most special times of our lives. I learned so much about them and they still talk about their adventures in the car and the things we would do.
Family vacations can be a super fun time and a time for getting to know your kids a little better. As long as you are organized and prepared you should encounter very few bumps. Make your list, get together some car-friendly activities and you will be good to go. Take it easy, relax and get ready to have fun!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Picture Perfect - Dressing for that Perfect Picture

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As a professional photographer I have taken pictures of hundreds of kids. When I had my own studio I soon realized that kids are big business in the photography world. I have seen parents travel for hours to come to a certain photography studio to achieve that perfect photograph. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to get the look that the parents want. They, especially the newer parents, haven’t yet realized that when taking photos of kids you learn to be happy with what you get. Sometimes the parents can be more challenging than the kids when we’re all locked up in the studio.

When making the appointment for your child’s photo session, consider the time of day. Try for after nap, before dinner. That is the perfect time, but things can always go wrong. Maybe your child will fall asleep in the car on the way to the studio. They won’t be particularly happy about you waking them to have a photographer dance around them, talking in a shrill voice, wanting them to smile. Try to get to the studio or near the studio about 30 minutes prior to your appointment to walk around and wake up if the unexpected nap occurs. Other unforeseen issues can arise such as the child falls down, wets himself or herself, gets upset over something, doesn’t feel well or just is not in the mood to sit and have his picture taken. It happens, they are kids, kids are unpredictable, but trust your photographer. If you have chosen a photographer who is specialized (and I highly recommend that) you should have no problems.
Click here for Handmade 'Picture Perfect' Clothing at Boutique Clothing Store

Dress your child in clothing that is comfortable and that she likes. This is more important the just about anything else. If the child feels good and comfortable, the photos will look great. If she has a particularly funky style you can compromise and take a couple of photos in the outfit you choose and a couple of shots in her own unique ensemble. You may be surprised. Avoid large prints and geometrical shapes. Also, try to find out the color or colors of the backdrops so you do not dress your child to blend in with them and become the “invisible person.” Black, white and red are colors that even top notch cameras have trouble with sometimes. If you are determined to use these colors, break it up a little, don’t go all one color. Flashy jewelry reflects light. You may get a glare if you child wears anything shiny. Eyeglasses are OK to wear in a photo, but avoid shiny frames. If your child does wear eyeglasses you can angle them slightly, tipping the bows up slightly off of his ears. This keeps the light from reflecting on them and making your child look like an alien.

Just be flexible and realize that sometimes the best photos with the most engaging smiles are not the ones you planned when you made the appointment. Let the child, the real child, shine through. Let the real smile emerge, the real expression, the mussed hair. Years later you will look at that photo and see who your child really was. And the memories of that day will bring you many, many fond memories and smiles. Finally, you can try these tips at home and achieve amazing results.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Of Soul and Body - Exposing your children to music, gymnastics, dance and other arts

The Greek philosopher, Plato, believed that children should be educated in music to shape the soul and gymnastics to strengthen the body. He spoke of this often, particularly in The Republic. Though that was hundreds of years ago, the advice is still sound. Expose your children to music, dance, gymnastics, art, anything that encourages them to reach inside themselves and find the person that they truly are. I was a dancer as a youngster, took gymnastics until I grew too tall (I am a 6 footer. Too much to throw over) to compete. I studied piano, took voice lessons, acted on stage and dabbled in art. Though I was very shy and awkward as a child, I shone onstage no matter what I was doing. As an adult I have noticed differences in myself, qualities that others who were not exposed to the arts, do not have. I have a certain confidence. I will tackle anything and feel absolutely certain that I can do it! There is just something there.

If your daughter decides to take the plunge and pursue dance or gymnastics, Sophias Style can outfit her. Sophias Style has hand dyed leotards and tutus at awesome prices. They also have handmade ballet shoes in sizes to fit any little ballerina’s foot. From baby ballet shoes to toddler ballet shoes to dance outfits to bags and accessories, can outfit your little dancer in classy, cute apparel that is easy to move in, easy to wear and easy to clean.

Yes, gymnastics, dance and other artistic pursuits teaches self discipline and gives children a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle later in life. When children learn young how to take care of their bodies, are encouraged to exercise and eat right, it tends to stick with them. When your body is trained in dance or gymnastics it knows the “feel” of being healthy, toned and in shape. And as it gets older it does not forget that feeling. The main thing to remember is flexibility. If your child gets into something and realizes that it is not for him or her, just go with it. If you force the child to remain in an activity that he or she does not enjoy or you have a melt-down if they are not perfect or it just isn’t “them” then they will be afraid to try anything else new. Be understand and loving, but most of all be flexible.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Daughter is the Flower Girl! - How to Survive Having Your Child in a Wedding

OK, your sister, a blushing bride-to-be, has just asked you if your little girl can be in her wedding. Your imagination is alive with visions of your little princess floating down the aisle, dropping rose petals, displaying a charming toothless grin while she does everything absolutely perfect, right? Dream on. Certainly you have seen those funniest home video shows with their wedding editions. Pay close attention, most of them involve children. But this does not have to be a bad thing. Children add flavor and originality to weddings. Children are delightfully unpredictable and can turn a wedding video from a garden variety video to a personal keepsake that will be forever treasured.
This special event should be fun for your child. After all, you don’t want a stressed-out, teary eyed flower girl sulking down the aisle, do you? Make it fun, exciting, let her have some say in what she wears, even it is only the undergarments that she is allowed to select. Try to choose a flower girl dress that she at least likes a little bit. I must interject here, though, as a mom of a daughter I have learned that little girls change their minds daily, sometimes hourly. Last month my 14 year old daughter absolutely hated two things: sandals and sleeveless shirts. A couple of weeks ago I took her shopping and do you know what she chose? You guessed it, sandals and sleeveless shirts. When I asked her about it she only replied, “Well, I like them now.” OK, “whatev.” Throughout her young life I have experienced this with her from dresses to eggs (still an ongoing daily change, I think she likes them on Tuesdays and Sundays) to the color pink (which she hates). My point here is that what she likes today she may loathe tomorrow. I only tell you this as a friend so you can prepare yourself.

Suppose your daughter is totally against any form of flower girl dress or special occasion dress. That certainly stinks and presents a bit more of a challenge, but it can be overcome. I have found that focusing on one aspect of the outfit like the pretty lace, the bow that is in her favorite color, the fact that she looks like a “real live princess” often does the trick. However, when all else fails, bribery usually works. Offer her a dollar after the wedding if she does as she is supposed to, or ice cream, or Chuck E Cheese (the great old standby), a new car when she is 18, hey, desperate times call for desperate measures! Try the same with the hair accessories, but remain realistic here. It is just a simple fact of life that with some kids the only way you are going to keep that tiara on her head is with Superglue and a straight jacket.
Just as children add spice to our lives, they can do the same for weddings. As long as you keep your sense of humor and try to be patient, having your child participate in a wedding can be an exciting and fun activity. It can also be a great bonding experience as you work closely with your child and learn about her, her personality. Keep your eyes and ears open and your feet on the ground. Don’t take it all too seriously, relax, live a little, enjoy this special time because before you know it she will be choosing her own flower girl.

Monday, July 03, 2006

FASHION WATCH! - Birthdays by Sophia's Style

You want your child's birthday to be special in every way, right down to the birthday outfit. But you don't want to break the bank doing it. Sophia's Style has beautiful birthday dresses and adorable outfits at a fraction of what you would pay in a child's specialty store. At this specialty boutique you get the discount price without having to sacrifice quality. And you will have a treasured heirloom that will be passed down for generations to come.
Find adorable clothing for girls and boys and a mere $8 will get your item personalized. From size 12 month to 6X, you can get that 1st birthday dress and still have enough left to go all-out on your little man's or little girl's birthday party. Sophia's Style also offers accessories such as birthday hats, bows, shoes, socks and tights. It is a one-stop shopping experience with everything you need to complete the look.

Your little guy can dress like the "big guys" and you little girl can dress like a princess while you pay a fraction of what you would at the mall. Little boys can choose from sweet little blazer and pant sets, skateboard jacket and pant set and dozens of different pant and shirt and shorts and shirt sets. Little girls can pick and choose among fresh and fun outfits and frilly, pretty dresses. These ensembles are great for his or her 1st birthday. Give as a gift that will be cherished always and passed down as a precious family keepsake.

Birthdays, especially first birthdays, are important milestones and you want everything perfect, especially the pictures. Sophia's Style fashions range from trendy to traditional and will help you create photos that will last a lifetime. Give your little one the perfect dress, perfect cake, the perfect birthday! She will forever treasure the memories you create through your photographs of the event. Just picture those vibrant colors and sweet look on your little one as she blows out the candles on her birthday cake – while you capture it on film, of course!

Sophia's Style rises head and shoulders above the rest with personalized attire and accessories, handmade fashions, unique ensembles and some of the cutest little hats and bows you will ever see. Imagine your little girl in a pink "birthday Princess" birthday party hat with glitter and marabou trim. Picture your little boy in a Nanette three piece linen pinstripe blazer set. Your child's birthday will be one to remember, and treasure always, in togs from Sophia's Style.