Monday, August 22, 2011

Some food for thought...

What's more fun than marshmallows?  Toys that shoot marshmallows!  And Labor Day weekend!  While waiting for the grilling to commence, consider replacing (or adding to) the annual water balloon fight with a Marshmallow Crossbow, Blaster, or Double Shooter.  You wouldn't want to try and catch the marshmallows in your mouth (they do fly through the air rather fast and the back of your throat is no place for an unchewed marshmallow), but have fun setting up targets around the yard and creating epic battles of confectionery carnage sure to be remembered for years to come!  The best part?  Celebrating your victory with a toasted marshmallow, so be sure to save some marshmallows for that.

For the younger crowd, we have play food so that they can have their own "cook-out".  We even have a mini wooden grill complete with a BBQ food starter set for $168.00 (only one in stock so get it before it's gone), and of course, fruit, fresh vegetables, grilling vegetables, and apple pie to complete the meal.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Harry Potter anyone?

Much to the delight of our Harry Potter fans (which appears to be just about everyone right now), we have more Harry Potter items back in stock thanks to Whimsic Alley.  We have character wands (great for those of you already planning ahead to Halloween), as well as Slytherin scarves (Gryffindor scarves are still out of stock) for the cooler weather that's sure to make its way to us.  We also have more ballpoint quill feather-style pens, and our personal favorite, the Hedwig owl bag!  Attach your Golden Snitch keychain to it, pick out a new 3D bookmark (finally back in stock), and you're ready to go back to school!

Speaking of back to school, word on the street is that many of you will be back there tomorrow.  I still remember the advice a principal gave my school on our first day: The way you treat your first day sets the tone for the rest of the year.  And I have to say, it's proven to be a pretty true statement.  So start the year off right... do your homework, make new friends, and talk to your teachers, because they're there to help you and can make a great difference in your life!  And teachers, talk to us because we'd like to help you... we offer a 10% discount to teachers.  It's just our small way of saying 'Thanks' for the work you do, educating our customers and enriching the neighborhood as a result.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's amazing how much happens when you go on vacation...

After a vacation of almost two weeks, it's no wonder the shop looks brand-new to me...there's a ton of new stuff in every corner!  First, we have some long-awaited favorites back in stock: Japanese erasers (koalas, assorted food, and my favorite, hedgehogs), Scratch Art from Peter Pauper Press (if you don't know what this is, it's one of the few things that nearly everyone loves to play with here.  It's black paper that you can "scratch away" and reveal colorful, sparkly paper beneath.  Use the pictures in the book to guide your designs, or make your own!), new sticker books from Dover (great treats for only $1.50 a booklet), and more wind ups from California Creations, including those hard-to-find pod keychains.

 For those of you looking for something new, we have a great new game from the ever-popular ThinkFun Games: Cartoon It! Designed for 2-6 players, 6 years and up, this memory game is based on facial recognition; the player is given a cartoon picture of a funny face, and has 1 minute to look at it and remember as much about it as they can.  Then they must put the card face down, and using a guide to all of the different heads, eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and accessories, they must draw to the best of their ability the face on their card.  Once they are done, you compare what they drew with the original drawing, and score based upon how many features they correctly drew.  Not only does this game test your memory, it also works on visual discrimination, drawing skills, and spatial recognition.  For a younger audience, we also have the matching game Monkey Match.  For example, place the monkey in the center of the group of  'workers', and have him point at one person.  Match that person with the picture on the other side of the board that best corresponds with their job.  Place the monkey on that side of the board and he will tell you the correct answer!  This game is great for learning different professions, shapes, etc and making associations between similar things, not to mention, it's got a monkey helping you that always knows the right answer.

For the older crowd, we have I <3 My Bike bike bells.  We've been eying this line for a while, and we're very happy to now offer it to our customers.  With the plethora of bike shops in Los Angeles, it's pretty clear that bicycles are a huge part of our city, and what better way to accessorize your bike than with a unique bike bell.  It looks cool, has a vintage feel/sound to it, and is loud enough to warn pedestrians & other cyclists of your presence!  For those of you already in the Halloween spirit (spirit, get it? ha!), we have a variety of skull accessories from Two's Company.  More in the vein (vein, get it? ha..ehhh, i'll stop) of Dia de los Muertos than natural history museum, these accessories can be worn year-round and include rings, earrings, bracelets, and coin purses.

And last but not least (seriously, there is more!), we have back in stock two items from Ecotronic.  The great thing about these toys is that they light up, make sound, and yet DO NOT NEED BATTERIES!  Just crank them up and they work just like any battery-powered toy.  We have the Eco Mic back, a great little play microphone that plays 'Pop Goes the Weasel', a few drum beats, and it projects your voice so you can hold a concert wherever you are!  We also have the Eco Rocket, which lights up, and plays a countdown to launch as well as some pretty realistic blast-off sounds.  Great fun for the future astronauts we see running around the shop everyday.

Okay, one more thing.  A little birdie told me that another Lego shipment will be sometime next week :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

New toys to brighten your Monday!

One of our favorite silly lines, Playvision, just arrived this morning.  Why do we love them?  Easy... their products are fun for both kids and kids at heart.  The weirdest (and most likely to make you laugh) are the hippo and skunk "Whoopeez", which as you might guess, are fluffy, cuddly, and flatulent.  Give 'em a hug and out will burst a symphony of giggle-inducing sounds.  If that doesn't float your boat, we also have in Lego Darth Vader keychains that are also mini flashlights, as well as the larger "Lego Man" flash light.  We have a version of those Waterbabies that we get asked for on a regular basis (Playvision calls them "Fish Eggs"), and a dual pack of Gumby and Pokey bendable figurines, among other goodies.

We also have strawberry and chocolate Got Milk? single straws.  So if you haven't yet tried them yet (they're straws filled with tiny flavor beads that slowly dissolve as you sip your milk with them), this is a great way to try one, though it's hard to only be satisfied with one... you'll want another a few minutes after your first glass.  From the same company, we also have Bubbalong Tutti Frutti Flavor bubble gum... 92 centimeters of pure gum joy (the box even has a measuring stick on one side, making this gum not only delicious, but somewhat educational).

And for the frequent gift buyers in our shop, you'll be happy to know we just got more kids' birthday cards back in stock, as well as rolls of scratch n' sniff stickers from Peaceable Kingdom.  Between the gum and the stickers, it smells quite good in here today!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gotta love Farmer's Market Sunday

Sunday's the day to come to Larchmont.  Everyone's relaxed, enjoying seeing the sights on the boulevard, and making the most of the free parking by Rite Aid.  We here at Landis' Labyrinth refer to Sundays as our "regulars" day... we know with about 85% certainty who's going to stop in and say Hi and make our day just that much better.  We've become one of those stops along the way for many people who come in with arms laden with bundles of flowers, stomachs filled with Sam's Bagels (when it's quiet we do our own bagel run, because it's not Sunday without an cheese onion bagel loaded with cream cheese), and carrying around unmarked bags that even from the doorway we know contain the most aromatic chicken around.  After stopping in to check out the latest games and take home a new toy or two, they frequently make their way down to Chevalier's Books (we don't carry many children's books here simply because they have an amazing selection of children's books) and give the dogs and cats up for adoption by the old Blockbuster some much appreciated attention before heading home.

It's hard to believe the summer's winding down and school will be starting up again... the only sign is the absence of some of our regulars who are enjoying their vacations, and the dramatic increase in sales of travel-friendly games and boredom busters.  If you haven't stocked up on these yet, don't worry!  We still have plenty of stickers, coloring books, activity books, Etch-A-Sketchs, and games left.  Some of our best games are from the company Blue Orange Games.  Right now, we have two new games from them ideal for travel: Tell Tale, and TriggerTell Tale is great for the imaginative storyteller;  It's a set of cards, each featuring a different picture.  Each person takes a card, and one person starts telling a story based on their card.  The next person continues the story by adding to it based on their card, and so on.  If you like to come up with stories, this is the game for you!  Trigger is a game of speed and basic knowledge; each card has a statement on it (ex. Sharks have teeth), and you use your right hand to indicate if you think it's true, and left if you believe it to be false.  Whoever gets it correct first wins the card, and whoever has the most cards at the end is the winner.  The instructions say to slap the card with your hand, but this can easily be modified by raising your hand instead.

For those of you staying in town for the rest of the summer, don't fret!  We have kites, beach buckets, outdoor games (including Boules), and some awesome sand toys for 12m+ from the Austrian company, Gowi. And if you're a fan of sidewalk chalk, we have kits from Chalk City to really take your sidewalk art to the next level.  Not to mention some great indoor boardgames for when you're too full of roasted chicken & bagels to move (for those of you who love strategy games, check out Dragon Face)!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Welcome to the online home of Landis' Labyrinth!

In case you haven't noticed, we have a lot of exclamation points on this site. Why?  Because we are ridiculously excited to finally have a website!  We're taking advantage of the annual August customers-on-vacation lull to set up a Twitter for the shop (@landislabyrinth), in addition to this page.  We won't be using this website as an online shop, but rather, to keep our customers in the loop regarding new products, events, and our own special insight into the world of toys.  So visit often, and we'll do our best to keep you entertained and informed! 

Please feel free to comment as much as you like.  The reason we're as helpful as we are is because we have customers that give us feedback on what they and their children love (and don't love, in some cases), so we appreciate opinions.  Just keep it constructive and good-natured, or as our now-famous sign says "Be nice or leave"!