Posts in the ‘Entertainment’ Category

How to Throw an Out of this World Bar or Bat Mitzvah

I love Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  I love them because they're like weddings, only a lot of times, more festive.  You can go over the top with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and nobody cares because it's a party for a 13-year-old!

So to get some insight into what's hip and cool right now in the world of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, I talked to two event planners -- Terri Bergman on the east coast and Carol Rosen on the west coast -- who plan a lot of them.

Terri of Terri Bergman Events, based in Washington DC, says she likes to think of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in terms of two party areas within one room -- one area for the adults and one for the kids.

The adult area is usually more traditional with a seated meal at tables, but for the kids party, she likes to keep it casual.  She create lounges, renting furniture to make the party feel more like a club than an event.


A Bat Mitzvah lounge for the kids designed by Terri


Another one of Terri's lounges


And another...


Basketball centerpieces at a Bar Mitzvah designed by Terri


Lighting and video screens at one of Terri's Bat Mitzvahs

She also likes finger friendly food for the kids: sliders, Chinese food in take-out containers, Japanese food in bento boxes, fries in cones, etc...

And to keep the kids (and the adults) entertained, she likes to have activities going on during the party.  Some of her favorites are:  a casino table, a cell phone bling station, a temporary tattoo or airbrush artist, Guitar Hero, flip books (which I wrote about here), or Dance Heads.  According to Terri, people love personalized activities and they love having pictures or videos of themselves to take home.

When I talked to Carol Rosen of Party Designs by Carol, based in Los Angeles, she said she also likes to do lounges for the kids and sit down dinners for the adults.  She's a big fan of casual kids buffets, food stations, and candy tables.


A kids' lounge at one of Carol's Bar Mitzvahs


A dramatic table at a Bat Mitzvah designed by Carol


A candy table at one of Carol's Bat Mitzvahs


Lighting used to highlight a room at a Bar Mitzvah designed by Carol


A "red carpet" set up outside one of Carol's Bar Mitzvahs

For activities, she likes setting up a karaoke station or a Rock Band video game station.  She also likes airbrushing, temporary tattoos, and Dance Heads.   But another way Carol likes to get the party started is by hiring DJs that provide trained dancers or "party motivators."  These dancers get to know the kids during the cocktail hour, then keep them dancing and having a good time throughout the night.

In terms of party favors, here's where we get an east coast/west coast split.

They are a big thing on the east coast.  Some of Terri's favorite ideas are personalized sweatshirts, tank tops, boxers, fleece scarves, or beach towels.

On the West coast, favors are not as common.  Carol like to have cards on the table that say a donation has been made in the guests' honor or she likes edible takeaways like a bag of bagels and cream cheese for each guest.

Please know, the parties I'm writing about are the big ones -- we're talking $50k and up.   Most of us can't afford them, and according to Terri and Carol, budgets, even in this stratosphere, are coming down.

So use these ideas and photos as inspiration, but don't be afraid to talk to an event planner if you are having a much smaller Bar or Bat Mitzvah, because believe it or not, with their connections and know how, they can actually save you money.  That's right... save you money.

And if you don't believe me, call Terri (on the east coast) and Carol (on the west coast) and ask them yourself.  They'll be happy to talk to you.

I Want the Fry Girl at My Next Party!

I just stumbled upon the Fry Girl, and even though I just threw Lainey's third birthday party, I'm already looking for cool ideas for the next one.  And what cool idea is this -- piping hot mini donuts made fresh at your party.  (They can even do fried candy bars, corn dogs, and traditional French fries if you want.)

Here's how it works.  The Fry Girl sets up a mini donut machine at your event.  Your guests watch as they make their "healthy" donuts. (Each donut made with 100% canola oil, has 26 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 3.5 carbs.)  Then your guests get to top them with cinnamon sugar, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, powdered sugar, Vermont maple sugar, or Oreo cookie crumbs.  Sounds like a big yum to me, don't you think?

The Fry Girl is based in LA and already has a huge celebrity clientele that includes Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, Ellen Degeneres, and Tori Spelling to name a few.   But don't be surprised to see my name on that list soon.

How To Throw a Glee-Themed Party

Who doesn't love the hit Fox show Glee??  Since it returns April 13th, it's time to start planning your Glee-themed party now.

To help, I've scoured the Internet to bring you the latest and greatest fan ideas for how to throw an awesome Glee-themed party.

First, get yourself  a cake like this.  This one courtesy of Isn't That Something.

Then...

"Have everyone dress as their favorite character."

"Serve the pasta that Rachel got spilled on her in' Wheels,' serve slushies like the ones they get hit with, and of course those vanilla cupcakes with messy red icing from the bake sale!"

"Play the DVD with no sound during the party, definitely do karaoke, create mash-ups, play lots of Journey and Glee trivia/drinking games."

"Have everyone learn the Single Ladies Dance, especially your feminine male friends.  And buy a fake pregnancy suit and rotate it between guests, including the males."

Well, there you have it, some ideas from your fellow fans.  So all you Gleeks out there, have yourselves some awesome parties!!

Party Flip Books -- Have You Heard Of Them?

I'm always looking for that unexpected "thing" at a party that gets people to step outside of themselves so they can relax and have fun.

I just saw party flip books for the first time, and thought this might be just that thing.

So what is a party flip book?

Well, it's just what it says, flip books (those little books you flip through that look like little movies) made at your party of your guests doing silly things.

A company like Pic Flips sets up a little 10'x10' studio at your event.  Your guests, using props, signs, and anything else they can think of, make 6 second videos that in about a minute and a half are turned into tiny flip books.

A couple great things about the concept... it creates something fun for your guests to watch as people make their videos, plus guests have something to show off (their little flip books) and take home.   You can even customize the cover with your party logo.

I don't know how expensive this whole shebang will run you, but I think this could rock at a wedding, Sweet 16, Bar or Bat Mitzvah or any other big function where you want to get your guests to loosen up and have some fun.

Via  Pic Flips

Rocket Balloons Rock at a Kid's Party

One of Lainey's friends brought rocket balloons to her party and they were such a huge hit, I had to write about them.


A must-have for a kid's party!

Rocket balloons are really simple.  They're just colorful long balloons and a hand pump.

You use the pump to blow up the balloons.  Then you let the balloons go and they fly super high in the sky and make a funny noise.  Simple, and yet the kids LOVED them.

We used them right as the party was starting to bring the kids together.  It worked like a charm.

The only downside was we used up all the balloons pretty fast so make sure you buy replacements.

Trust me, rocket balloons are a cheap, fun way to get your outdoor party started!

The Party was a Success!

The party went off without a hitch!!  Lainey had a great time, we had a great time.  It was a lot of work, but well worth it.  Here are some pictures to show you what it looked like.

Setting up before the party.  Everything was in Lainey's favorite colors -- pink and purple.  The day couldn't have been more beautiful and if you look in the distance, you'll see the ocean.

The birthday girl arriving at her party...

Lainey and me before the party started.  Notice our party beads.  All the kids got pink and purple party beads as a welcome gift when they arrived.

One of the guests brought rocket balloons, which was a great addition to the party.  Here's David surrounded by the kids as he works the magic rocket balloon launcher...

Goofy Gil, the entertainment, who really got the party started...

And it wasn't called "Lainey's Dance Party" for nothing.  Serious dancing occurred.  When I asked Lainey what her favorite part of the party was, she said, "The dancing!"  I did my job.

And to any three year old (and most adults), the most important element... the cake!  This one was from Susie Cakes in LA.  It was well worth the expense.  Beautiful and delicious.

At the end of the party, I gave out these gift bags.  To seal them, I got stickers made at Kinko's of the picture on the Cocodot invitation.  Inside was a pink glow stick, some Silly Putty, and some Wikki Stix.

All in all, it was a really great day!  And to make sure Lainey remembers this when she's 20, I've got the pictures to prove it!

Brilliant Way to Have a Frugal Sweet 16

I came across this blog post and thought this was a great way to throw a party without having to pay for it.

Instead of an official Sweet 16, with invitations, food, and the lot, this guy sent out a text,  said that he was having his Sweet 16th birthday at a certain local skating rink with the date, time, & how much it cost to get in.

This way his friends had to pay for their own admission, but the parents provided the birthday cake.

It was a night of skating, cake, and a little dancing at the end of the evening thrown in by the rink.  Brilliant.

Via Free Birthday Treats Blog

3 Days Until Lainey's Birthday Party... All the Deets

So Lainey's 3rd birthday party is this Sunday and I'm excited.  Even for this "nothing special" party at a local park for 25 kids and 35 adults, it's amazing the number of lists I have going, and the amount of time I've spent planning instead of blogging.

Now that it's all set, here are the details... For the kids, I've ordered pizzas from Rosti, a tasty local Italian joint up the street, and for the adults, as I mentioned earlier, I ordered the most awesome 24 inch sandwiches from Bay Cities Deli.  Delish!  To go with the sandwiches, I bought a case of Kettle Chips on Amazon.  I'm addicted to Amazon Prime.

I splurged and got the cake from Susie Cakes.  It should be pink and purple with lots of hearts.  Direct orders from a 3 year old.

For entertainment, it's still Goofy Gil and we're thinking an hour of crazy dancing.   Let's burn these kids out.  And to make it festive, mardi gras beads in hot pink and purple for everyone (including the parents if they're game).

And as for party favors, I initially wanted to put together a mix CD of Lainey's favorite dance songs, but it got a little complicated, especially with song rights and duplication, so instead I bought pink and purple glow sticks, some Wikki Stix, and some old fashioned Silly Putty.  To be honest, I bet these go over better with the discerning toddler crowd.

In this economic climate and because we are starting a business, I've been trying to keeps costs down, but all in, this casual, low-key, (but hopefully still awesome) party wasn't as cheap as I'd planned.   This is why we will soon be creating a simple-to-use party budgeting tool to put up on the site.  I promised my husband I will be the first to use it.

The Party Planning Continues...

So the invitations to my daughter's party are out.  The responses are trickling in.  While my intention was to keep it small, I don't think I'm going to be successful.  Now I'm planning on about 30 kids, 45 adults.  That's a lot of mouths to feed.  So for my menu...

45 inch sandwiches from Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica.   They make big Italian sandwiches on fresh baked slightly sour, slightly sweet bread.   Their "godmother" and "caprese" sandwiches are their most famous.  We'll order a few of both and maybe a turkey and cheese.

I'm also ordering about 8 pizzas for the kids, not sure from where yet, and a big fruit platter.  The question is do I need a big salad too or is that overkill?  Any thoughts please comment.

Planning My Daughter's 3rd Birthday Party -- Trying to Keep it Simple but Awesome

Every time I plan a party, I'm always amazed at how many details there are and how much work the whole thing is.

For my daughter's 3rd birthday party, my goal is to create a hip, fun, and relatively simple shindig, with low stress.  A tall order, I know, but here's how I'm thinking of doing it...

The party will be at a local park.  I'm limiting the invite list to just school friends to keep it manageable, however, we're still talking 25 kids and an equal number of adults.

I'm sending online invitations from Cocodot, my new favorite online invitation site.  For $20 you get something like this.


Made with Cocodot and some simple Photoshop

I'm serving pizza, salad, and a big fruit plate, but still deciding where the food is coming from.

For dessert, initially I was thinking I'd bake cupcakes, but now I'm talking to some bakers I found on Craigslist to see if they can do it for a reasonable price.  Otherwise, I might splurge on a cake from Susie Cakes, my favorite bake shop in LA.  I might not be able to control myself.


An array of cakes from Susie Cakes.

For entertainment (this is LA after all), and since my daughter LOVES to dance, I'm calling it her  "dance party" and I've hired Gil Santoscoy, aka "Goofy Gil" to get the kids grooving.  He's a kids' theater and movement teacher and he's fabulous -- funny, silly, but always in control (even with seriously out-of-control three-year-olds).  Trust me, the man has a gift.


Goofy Gil is beyond great for kids' parties

And for favors, I'm thinking of buying a slew of mardi gras beads to pass out during the party and then as a little gift for the kids to take home, getting CDs made of my daughter''s favorite dance songs -- some Laurie Berkner, some Dan Zanes, some Yo Gabba Gabba... It's gonna rock (especially if you're a toddler).

Okay, so this is what I know so far.  As I move forward, I'll keep posting.  And if you have any thoughts or ideas on how to make this party simple but awesome, I'd love them!

(Isn't it funny how we'll go to such lengths to throw a party for our kid who won't even remember it when she's 25.)

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