Posts in October, 2011

Little Giraffe Supports Breast Cancer Research

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

We all know how super duper crazy soft and luxurious Little Giraffe blankets are. I will admit that I have been very close to buying a whole slew of them and making pillow cases for every pillow in my home so my cheeks can happily sleep on that amazingly soft fabric every night of the week.  Luckily I own a few Little Giraffe blankets so there is always one near by for my son and I to fight over…


I am thrilled to share the news that in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Little Giraffe is donating 10% of all proceeds of their fabulous luxe pink throws and blankets to support breast cancer research activities. I can’t think of a better time to stock up on baby gifts, or to simply to treat yourself.

Las Vegas Family Vacation

Monday, October 3rd, 2011


Never in a million years did I ever think I would say that Las Vegas was a fabulous place for a family vacation. My memories of Las Vegas include leather pants and leopard print and lots of things my 4 year old does not need to know about. So when some new family friends invited us to join them in Vegas for the weekend, I was cautiously optimistic. But I must say it was the best 48 hours we’ve had in a long long time. Vegas was fabulous!

When we landed in Las Vegas we quickly settled into our room at the Mandarin Oriental. It is a gorgeous hotel, very low key and has none of that icky smoky smell you get at most hotels. My son loved pressing all of the magic buttons to open and close the curtains. Once we were able to peel him away from that great toy, we went over to Serendipity for a yummy family dinner. I had the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Yum!

On Saturday we enjoyed the hotel pool and then the moms went off for an afternoon of shopping (Chanel and Louis Vuitton around every corner – love that!) while the dads spent a few hours with the kids – the M&M store, the lions at MGM, the Ferrari store at the Wynn, and of course a trip through ‘the castle’ and a happy meal at the McDonalds at ‘the pyramid’. The hotel was able to arrange for Mary Poppins to come take care of our boys why the adults enjoyed an incredible dinner at StripSteak – Michael Mina’s amazing restaurant. In lieu of bread and butter they serve crispy French fries with dipping sauce. Need I say more? The husbands went out for a night (and morning of gambling) and we went back to get a good night sleep with the kids.

We wrapped up the weekend at the hotel. The boys enjoyed a few hours splashing at the pool while my friend and I went to the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental spa. Between the steam room, and bubbling pools and perfectly relaxing facial – it was a blissful end to an amazing 48 hours. A huge thank you to our new friends Colleen, Andrew and Cooper for a perfect 48 hours.

Madonna’s The Adventure of Abdi

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011


The Adventures of Abdi, by Madonna,

illustrated by Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin

Reviewed by Susan Fry

Children’s books by celebrities have always made me nervous.  After all, what are the chances that someone who can sing/dance/act can also produce a great book?  It seems unlikely – not to mention unfair – that one person would have so much talent.

Luckily, the The Adventures of Abdi by Madonna (yes, that Madonna) changed my mind.  It’s a satisfyingly traditional tale set somewhere in the Middle East, aimed at kids who may be just a little too young for The Arabian Nights.  The language, the illustrations, and the story itself manage convey an exotic setting without losing the interest of younger children.

The very first sentence, for example, borrows just enough from the flowery storytelling style of the Nights:  “Long ago, in a land far away from the one we know, where sand and mountains stretched as far as the eye could see, and snake charmers wandered the streets, there lived a little boy named Abdi.”

Abdi is the servant of Eli the jeweler, who has the impossible task of creating a necklace for the queen in just four weeks.  But as the philosophical Eli reminds Abdi, “[Remember] that everything we have been given in life is always for the best.”

This proves to be the moral of the story.  When Abdi takes Eli’s necklace to the queen, thieves steal it and replace it with a real snake.  Abdi is thrown into prison.  He tries to remain positive, and his attitude is rewarded when Eli comes to the rescue – he convinces the queen to place the real snake around her neck, where it turns into the necklace.

The final, delightful touch?  On the way home, Eli’s story prompts the thieves to set off to the queen’s palace with a sack full of snakes that, needless to say, don’t transform into jewelry.

The gorgeous illustrations don’t just echo the story’s magical elements – they magnify them.  Giant pumpkins grow on the roof of Eli’s house; Abdi watches a dragon curl across the night sky; the king’s pet has the body of a jaguar and the wings of a bird.  The colors are muted, which means the intricate details take on their own flamboyance.  Geometric squares echo the patterns of Middle Eastern carpets, and every piece of clothing or metal is ornately decorated.  Thanks to the illustrators, even the peripheral characters seem to have their own, intriguing stories.  A snake charmer wears a giant snake as a hat, and a palace guard straps an innumerable number of spiky weapons on his belt.

The only sour note?  The illustrators weren’t given equal billing with Madonna.  Her name is the only one that appears on the front of the book.  I guess that’s the reason she is, after all, a celebrity.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

You can check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos’ children’s books page for quick access to all of Susan’s wonderful children’s book reviews.

Sweet Peas & Stilettos has more children’s books by celebrity mom authors. Come take a look.

Jessica Simpson