American Girl’s Great Day

shopping.jpgThis past weekend, I went with my mother, my daughter Alexa and her American Girl Doll Olivia, into Manhattan to spend some time at the American Girl Place for her 7th birthday. Three generations (well, four if you include Olivia) spending a lovely day together.
If you have been to American Girl Place you are probably thinking I am nuts because the store is 43,000 square feet, spread over four floors, and can be totally overwhelming and exhausting (carrying all that stuff and waiting on line)! But noooo….I have the best kept secret around! Robyn Roth-Moise. No, she is not the new doll of the year, she is a personal shopper! Personal shopper for a doll store you ask? Trust me on this… Robyn’s job (along with all the other wonderful personal shoppers) is to make your shopping experience simple and completely stress free. Their goal is to make you and your child’s visit to American Girl Place as magical as possible, and she definitely succeeded with us! Now I know what you’re thinking- how can I possibly afford to buy things in the store and pay for a service like that? Guess what? It’s FREE! You heard me correctly. It is a no fee, no commission, no tipping service.
When you arrive at the store you go to the Concierge and they will call your personal shopper. You can check you coats. They will explain the layout of the store and where everything is, including new items and store exclusives. If your child has certain things in mind they can bring the items to you. My daughter knew she wanted a horse for Olivia so instead of going around all the floors looking at all the different horses, we sat in the peaceful personal shopping waiting area and they brought the horses to us!
After choosing a horse that Alexa named butterscotch, we had lunch at the cafe (which was absolutely ADORABLE, but make sure to get a reservation beforehand). I highly recommend it as it was quite tasty and ended up being a great bonding experience. They give you a box of interesting questions to ask each other while you wait for your meal, and I have to say, I learned some new things about my mom and my daughter and shared a lot of laughs.
After lunch we had plans to get Olivia’s hair done at the doll salon (I know it seems frivolous, but this ended up being my daughter’s favorite part of the whole day). We got a great tip from Charlotte (another personal shopper) on how to avoid the 2 hour lines for the salon (no appointments accepted there unfortunately). All we had to do was leave the cafe a few minutes before most people finished their lunch and, voila, we saved ourselves an hour and 55 minutes! They sit the dolls in mini salon chairs and the stylists trim and style the hair (there were about 30 styles to choose from) while chatting with the doll’s owner about proper hair care and other fun things. All that was missing were tiny fashion magazines!
After Olivia got her new “do” we strolled leisurely around the store, chose a few things to buy, and headed back up to the personal shopping area. Robyn did such an amazing job, I can’t say enough about her. She didn’t try to sell us at all, but rather helped us through the endless amount of accessories and apparel, narrow things down, while making Alexa feel very special. The best part was that we could check out and pay right there so we didn’t have to deal with the really long lines at all the cashiers. It was really a perfect day! Thanks to Robyn and Charlotte my mom and I did not have to be stressed and my daughter had a fabulous seventh birthday that she will never forget!
If you would like to get in touch with Robyn Roth-Moise and plan your magical day, you can e-mail her at Robyn.Roth-Moise@AmericanGirl.com.
Visit the website at: http://www.americangirl.com/stores/location_ny.php
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Role Bubbe Movie Reviews

A guest post by one of my favorite people on the entire planet, my mom, Lenore Stoller
much-ado-about-movies-tickets.jpegAs a retiree living in Florida, going to the movies is part of our social calendar. We try to see at least one movie a week and with the cost at $5 per person, you can imagine why we spend many date nights at the local theaters. In addition, most of the theaters we frequent have stadium seating so we don’t have to worry if a tall person or someone with a big head sits in front of us. Plus, since we typically hit the Early Bird special for dinner, we normally are pretty full by the time we get to the theater, which means we save money on the popcorn and soda!
But enough about the movie experience in Boynton. Here are my honest reviews of a few blockbusters I’ve have seen since this season with my husband, sister and close girlfriends:
Black Swan: This was an excellent movie. Natalie Portman definitely deserves an Oscar for her performance. But ladies, do not take your husband or your children to see this very dark, sad and frightening movie. I recommend that you go with a few of your female friends and then decide if your daughters would understand the story line. There are some sexually explicit scenes and some very disturbing moments – which hopefully does not resemble the lives of young ballerinas.
The Fighter: The story in this movie is based on the life of a real fighter.It was a very good movie, one that husbands will enjoy and children over the age of 10 might like too. This story of a truly dysfunctional family really gets one to thinking-that inspite all these obstacles, a person can achieve their dream no matter how old they might be! It is unfortunate that Mark Wahlberg wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar because he definitely deserves it!
The King’s Speech – This movie was outstanding. Colin Firth deserves an Oscar as does the co-star who played his tutor. Once again, this movie is based on a true story. It is the story of King George VI (Queen Elizabeth’s father) who had a terrible stuttering problem. Husbands can enjoy this movie as well as children 10 and older. However, they might need a little history lesson before going to see the film.
True Grit -This movie was pretty good (even if you’re not a fan of cowboy westerns) – It’s a remake that originally starred John Wayne and Robert Duvall. Jeff Bridges was great as Rooster Cogburn , a tough hard drinking marshall hired by a 14 year old to find the man responsible for murdering her father. The young lady who starred in this role was also excellent and deserves recognition. This could be a movie for the entire family- but once again the children might have to be 12 years or older. Although there are no sexually explicit scenes, but there is a great deal of violence. Another issue was that sometimes the dialogue was mumbled and garbled. I thought it was the fact that I might be starting to have a hearing problem – but on our way out “young” members of the audience had the same complaint.
The Social Network– Another good movie that’s okay for adults and children who have hit texting age (12 and over). Since this movie is already out on DVD, I highly recommend that you rent it and discuss the themes of genius, greed and duplicity with your partner or kids.
That’s it for now. Mom does add that there are other movies they’ve seen – however, they were so bad, it wasn’t worth sharing those reviews with you. Bottom line, if you only have two hours to spare, spend your money on the films she just recommended. Otherwise, wait for the rest to come out on DVD. Our time is precious…no need to waste it!