This past weekend I went to New York City with 12 of my students from Genesee Community College. They were attending a college radio conference -- and I, um, went shopping.

I first went to the American Girl Place last year. Being the mom of two boys, I had *zero* idea of what American Girl was, and how big that whole enterprise is. To say I was overwhelmed is a huge understatement.

So when it was time to go back this year, I thought I would shoot a little video to show you what this place was like. If you have a little one in your life that loves American Girl, and you're headed to NYC sometime soon -- definitely put this on your list.

Some tips that I learned from staff and other moms in the store:

1. Bring Your Doll -- For a few reasons, you won't want to visit AG Place without your American Girl. First, you can take amazing pictures with your doll at all of the big display areas. And, you can have your doll pampered at the Doll Salon & Spa. I spied one doll not only getting a great blowout, but girlfriend was getting her ears pierced too!

2. Use the Free Personal Shopper -- AG Place is enormous, and it can be overwhelming to navigate it alone. The personal shopper will make the experience less hairy and more special for you and your little one.

3. Grab a Bite to Eat! -- According to, "The fancy cafés at American Girl flagship stores in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York offer fixed price, multi-course meals during set seating times. The menu offers dishes that appeal to both kids and adults. Dolls have their own seat at the table, and they even get a miniature cup and saucer for the meal. If you did not bring a doll, you can borrow one. Advance reservations are highly recommended."

4. Play With The Displays -- You are absolutely allowed and encouraged to touch and interact with the displays. Do it! I spent way too much time playing a doll piano at the recording studio display.

5. Be Patient -- The store is crowded and lines can get long. Breathe, mama. You can do this. Channel the same patience you generate when at'll need it! But I saw so many little ones feeling the magic that is the American Girl experience -- it'll be worth it :)