Papillons Entertainment: The Blog

Los Angeles princess characters for parties, plus event planning, event styling, magicians, musicians, puppet shows, balloon twisting, face-painting and more.

cross back wood chairs for rent for kids parties los angeles


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Don’t Rent the Same-Old Folding Chairs for Your Party: With Teak & Lace, You Can Book Unique Kids Tables, Chairs, Backdrops and More!

As an event planner mostly working in the field of children’s and family events, I have never found a furniture rental company that provides higher-end tables and chairs for kids. 

Until I discovered Teak & Lace.

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Teak & Lace provides unique event furniture rentals for children in Los Angeles 

I was exploring Instagram one day, gathering inspiration from my fellow Los Angeles party planners, and I saw this photo of their wood cross back chairs for kids. I had rented chairs like these for adults, but I had never seen them kid-sized. This was a game changer for me as an event planner whose primary focus is on kids parties.

I mean, just look at their designer-inspired inventory! Their party rental items are clean, stylish, cohesive… every one of their tables and chairs for rent look like something you would see in the Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn catalog, except it’s sized for kids and won’t break the bank. The rental prices at Teak & Lace are quite affordable even for those planning a party on a somewhat modest budget.

cross back wood chairs for rent for kids parties los angeles

In all honesty, most people don’t think about kids’ party rentals. Most people will just rent basic folding chairs and tables from a typical party rental company. They’ll throw a table cloth over it, tie sashes around the chairs and call it good. Heck, we’ve done that, too, I’ll admit it, because frankly most event planning clients don’t have the budget to level-up their party rentals. Look, I get that, and those kind of simpler parties can be lovely, too.

But I think, if you do have room in your budget, whether you’re planning a wedding, baby shower, Christmas or holiday party, that if you’re going to have kids at your party, and you want to pull-together the entire look and design of your event, you should rent stylish furniture pieces not just for the adults, but for the children, too.

Speaking of holidays, check out this styled shoot from Teak & Lace featuring a rustic Christmas party:

Upscale holiday party rentals for kids Los Angeles.

Metal & wood with touches of lumberjack plaid make this a holiday party both kids and adults will adore.

I just love this look; it’s both fancy and cosy at the same time. White spindle table with wood bench and silver metal chairs create a mix & match design that’s good-old-fashioned-fun with a modern touch.

The ultimate form-meets-function, Teak & Lace’s classy event furniture rentals for kids are eye candy for the adults at your party, as well as practical for children.

kids party planner event furniture rental los angeles

These black spindle tables and “ghost” chairs for kids from Teak & Lace enhanced the “haunted house” look at our client’s Halloween party.

Here’s another look: Our team recently rented 20  “ghost chairs” (how cool are those?!), two black spindle children’s sized tables, one black spindle dessert table along with an 8’ hedge wall, and a set of marble & wood dessert stands for a client’s Halloween party and the team at Teak & Lace provided a package that included delivery, set-up and pick-up (all of which was 100% on-time, by the way) for less than $1,000.

Halloween party styling event design Los Angeles.

Hedgewall and black spindle dessert table courtesy of Teak & Lace.

I don’t know of any other party rental company in Los Angeles that offers unique tables and chairs for kids like Teak & Lace. But I do know they are very busy (probably because they are the only company offering stylish furniture like this in the area), so book them early and book them soon: go to http://www.teakandlace.com to see more of their wonderful party rental inventory.

Check out more party style inspiration photos from Teak & Lace on Instagram.

You can also find Teak & Lace on Facebook and Yelp.

And if you need help planning your upcoming event, please get in touch with our team here at Papillons Entertainment + Events. We would love to be of service and help you design, plan, and throw a stylish celebration (hopefully in collaboration with Teak & Lace).


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10 Terrific Indoor Kid-Friendly Birthday Party Venues in Los Angeles

Choosing a party venue for your child’s birthday can be challenging at times, especially in the extremely hot summer months of July and August when temperatures can get up into the 100’s in the San Fernando Valley. And while rain is, sadly, not much of an issue in SoCal, it’s certainly a risk to plan for an outdoor party in the months of November through February.

Some moms and dads have no qualms about a house party, but for a lot of folks, holding a party in your own house is less than ideal. When you’re talking about inviting the entire preschool class of 25 rambunctious 5-year-olds, that could be a disaster waiting to happen (especially if you’d like your clean, white linen sofa to stay that way).

So what do you do if you’d prefer not to risk your grandmother’s antiques, but you also don’t want to subject your party princess and her royal guests to the blistering sun at your local park?

Chill-out, seekers of stress-free fun and air conditioning, because we’ve curated an unique list to help you with your summer (or winter) party planning. Read on for…

10 Terrific (Indoor) Kid-Friendly Birthday

Party Venues in (and around) Los Angeles:

1. Giggles n’ Hugs 

giggles n hugs indoor playground los angeles

Most parents in Los Angeles have heard of this popular family restaurant/indoor playground, and there’s a good chance you’ve probably been there with your own kid, but did you know that they have three locations? For the Westsiders, there’s the Century City Westfield mall, and Canoga Park for you West San Fernando Valley families, plus the Glendale Galleria location for those closer to East L.A.

giggles n hugs indoor playground los angeles

The Space: Each location is unique in appearance, but they’re all beautifully designed with “castle” towers, “rickety” bridges, climbing apparatuses, and slides galore! The Glendale location features a ball pit, too. The dining areas are separate, but completely visible from the play area, and vice versa. Plus, there’s a small stage for performances, and a DJ & activities leader for certain party packages.

Investment: Parties start at $350 for up to 15 guests ($23/person) with their “Count &Countess” option, which includes 3 jumbo pizzas, fountain drinks, paper goods and latex balloons, and go up to $25/person with their “King & Queen” package which includes a wide selection of deluxe entrees, sides, and a cupcake or ice cream dessert for each child.

Parking: Free at Canoga Park and Glendale locations; $1 for the first 3 hours at Century City.


2. The Coop

the coop indoor playground studio city

This “hot tot spot” along Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, as dubbed by US Weekly magazine for their notable celebrity clientele such as Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, is one of our personal favorites because it truly has something for everyone.

the coop indoor outdoor party venue los angeles

Should you get lucky with the weather, there’s an enchanting garden area with benches, tables, and a day bed! A perfect spot for grown-ups to enjoy a bit of conversation, a bite to eat, or a quick Instagram post (they have free wi-fi).

The Space: A light up dance floor, a climbing tunnel leading to a twisty slide that descends into a pit of bright yellow & orange balls, a cake/dessert room, and an outdoor patio for parents to relax on a lovely day, this venue is a delightful place to hold a birthday party in the SFV.

the coop indoor playground party venue los angeles

Investment: Party packages start at $595 for “The Coop Basic” which gets you 2 hours of completely private playtime for 15 kids and up to 35 adults, and a free “return pass” for your celebrant and his/her siblings. Want “The Whole Coop and Caboodle”? That’ll run you $2495, but you won’t have to lift a finger, and you’ll get everything you need for a deluxe kid party, including the 2 hours playtime, pizza, a taco cart, coffee, fresh fruit, cupcakes, balloons, paper goods, gift bags, fresh flowers, and more.

Parking: All of their party packages give you access to their large, free parking lot in the back of the building. Otherwise, remind guests that the meters lining Ventura Blvd. are their best bet (and free on Sundays).


3. The French Confection Co.

the french confection co burbank front window (1 of 1)

If you’re looking for a lovely, quaint spot to throw a darling little fête, The French Confection Co. might be a good fit for you. This Burbank, CA patisserie is not a traditional party venue, but the vintage-inspired farm table and provincial blue & gold floral wall paper make this a divine space for a simple, yet adorable, princess tea party. They also happen to bake the most beautiful and flavorful custom birthday cakes.

french confection co queen elsa princess anna kids tea party burbank los angeles (1 of 1)

Papillons Entertainment’s Frozen-inspired Snow Queen and Princess hold court with tea party guests at The French Confection Co. in Burbank.

The Space: When you step inside the store front at 3118 W. Burbank Blvd., you’ll find a white farm table that seats 8 guests, a pastry counter, a table for desserts and delectables, plus a little room for a little dancing should the mood strike. It’s perfect for a small group of girls big or small who want to be treated like royalty for a day.

Investment: You’ll have to check in with shop owner Mallory for exact & up-to-date prices for private events, but last time our team threw a party at The French Confection Co., the deal was $25 per guest, for a 2 hour party on a Sunday, which included an assortment of their made-from-scratch mini cupcakes, cookies, scones, and more, plus tea and coffee for all.

queen elsa princess anna more magic tea party french confection co burbank (1 of 1)

Moms and daughters enjoying a private holiday tea party, produced by Papillons Events, and led by the Snow Queen & Princess, at The French Confection Co. in Burbank, CA.

Parking: Plenty of free parking along Burbank Blvd. right outside the shop as well as side streets (just make sure to read the street signage).


4. PLAY Los Angeles

play los angeles kids party venue

Kids paint jewelry boxes at a 4th birthday party at Play Los Angeles. Photo by Julie Pepin.

For arts & crafts loving kiddos, Play is an amazing spot for a party. Located on 3rd Street, just West of La Brea, there’s a variety of traditional toys for tots to play with, such as a musical instruments and matchbox cars, and three different rooms for your guests’ enjoyment.

music party for toddlers guitar sing along puppets los angeles

A princess-led “Jamtastic” guitar sing along begins at a birthday party at Play Los Angeles.

The Space: When you enter Play, you immediately enter their main playroom, which is filled with non-gender specific toys (gotta love that), musical instruments, ottomans for sitting, and a wee stage, perhaps for a guitar singalong (they also hold music classes during the week at Play). Towards the back and to the right, you’ll find a big art room, with a chalkboard wishing your child a ‘Happy Birthday’, an art teacher, and plenty of room for kids to paint. Choose the giant playhouse option, and your celebrant gets to take it home! Also in the back, you’ll find a large room with plenty of seating for lunch and cake.

Investment: Party packages at Play start at $575 for their “Messy Art Party”, recommended for ages 2-4 years. This selection provides you with a staff member to guide the 90 minutes of artistic fun, as well as smocks, paints, and brushes for all (plus that giant cardboard house for your birthday kid take home once it’s dried). Other packages are available, as well as add-ons like gift bags (starting around $8 each), and hosts are welcome to bring in their own food or catering.

Parking: The venue allows their host to park their car in the back of the building, but guests will have to fend for themselves at the meters on 3rd street (free on Sundays), and ltough-to-find side street (2-hours only) parking.


5. Au Fudge

au fudge marketplace los angeles family party venue

The hottest new family-friendly restaurant in L.A. (more specifically West Hollywood), is Au Fudge. But don’t mistake family-friendly for loud and brightly colored; stylistically and philosophically, it is the antithesis of Giggles n’ Hugs. An undeniably gorgeous venue, Au Fudge is partially owned by Jessica Biel, so it’s no surprise the place is like heaven to the interior-design aficionado. If you want to feel like you’ve been swept away to Europe, transported to a land where moms can dine on Cobb salads, cocktails, and gluten-free baked goods, while wee ones make art with an ‘Au Pair’ or jam to French music (yes, they have French music lessons for kids on their calendar), then this is the spot for you.

au fudge creative space los angeles party venue

The Space: Add one part French bistro, one part turn-of-the-century country mart, and one part ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’-esque secret playroom, and you get Au Fudge. There is an outdoor patio with umbrellas and chandeliers, a large, full bar, and of course the coveted play area (they call it the “Creative Space”) upstairs stocked with gender-neutral books, toys, and plenty of seating. Speaking of the play area, this is where you would hold your little tyke’s celebration. The bookshelf is magical (it lights up around the archways), and the minimalist decor is prime for those who just want a cute, but carefree spot in which to throw their tot’s birthday party.

au fudge creative space for kids parties los angeles

Investment: The Creative Space at Au Fudge is available for private events, however, no price range is listed on their official website. You will want to call the venue directly (424-204-9228) or email jamie@aufudge.com to inquire.

Parking: The reviews on Yelp make it clear that parking is definitely a challenge around Au Fudge, however, valet is available (although a bit pricey — $10).


6. Peekaboo Playland

peekaboo playland eagle rock kids party venue

Photo by Serena Grace.

This adorable indoor playground has not one, but two locations to serve Angelenos: one in Eagle Rock, and the other in Bel Air. Both locations have multiple day play pass options, and also included in admission is coffee for grown-ups and free wi-fi. Plus, they have a number of pre-packaged party theme options, such as ‘Very Fairy Picnic’, and ‘Frozen’ (of course), so that all you have to do is show-up and enjoy.

peekaboo playland indoor kids party venue eagle rock los angeles

The Space: Twisty slides, a jungle gym, and a quirky “treehouse” shaped like a goose, as well as plenty of push toys and table toys, and an inflatable bounce house, too. The party area provides tables and benches and there’s a cute little counter reminiscent of a lemonade stand which makes for the perfect beverage area. The Bel Air location has an outdoor patio you can enjoy if the weather is nice. As children’s entertainers, we have been invited to perform for several parties at Peekaboo Playland, but honestly, you don’t need outside entertainment here; if your kiddo must have a visit from her favorite character, we recommend booking a short n’ sweet appearance (no more than an hour), for mixing, mingling, playing together, and of course photos to commemorate the day.

peekaboo playland upstairs kids party indoor playground los angeles

Investment: Party packages start at $595 for their “Hootenanny” option at the Bel Air location  (or, $495 at the Eagle Rock location). At this level, you get the standard 2 hours of playtime for 15 kids and 35 adults, part coordinators, plus the return play pass for the birthday child. The “Ultimate Theme Party” is $995 at the Bel Air location ($795 at Eagle Rock) which is your one-stop-shop for everything you need: pizzas, helium balloons, themed paper goods & table decor, juice & coffee, gift bags and more.

Parking: Street parking only at the Eagle Rock location, which can sometimes be challenging (metered on the main drag, or free along residential side streets if you don’t mind a little walk). The Bel Air location, on the other hand, has a parking lot.


7. Lombardi House

Located in the heart of hollywood, close to Franklin Village and The Hollywood Studios, Lombardi House is a fully restored Victorian style home built originally in 1904. Because clients who rent the space can also stay in the house on an extended stay, it’s often booked for weddings, but don’t let that steer you away from considering it for your kiddo’s next party: it has the perfect mix of stylish indoor and outdoor space that is ripe for decorating.

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Exterior front and side yard at Lombardi House perfect for games and lunch al fresco.

The Space: The outdoor garden is perfect for styling your event exactly as you wish. It’s a posh-party lover’s dream, and excellent for large groups (suitable for up to 25o guests)! Maybe you’d like to plan a vintage carnival themed party and set-up game booths, old fashioned cotton candy, popcorn, and hotdog carts, and set-up a stage for good ol’ fashioned magic show. There’s also an indoor area: an original barn/stable which was refurbished with 35′ vaulted ceilings! You could create a craft area inside, maybe a dress-up “room” for a princess party, or simply make it a “big kids” retreat with comfy lounge areas. Because Lombardi House is essentially a blank space, this does mean you’ll need to rent all of your furnishing needs, such as tables, chairs, and umbrellas; should you decide to throw your party at Lombari, be sure to hire an event planner to help you with all of your rental & styling needs.

Popples Netflix Season 2 - Pop into Popplopolis

Barn space at Lombardi House as styled by the Popples Netflix Season 2 premiere party.

Investment: You’ll have to inquire directly with Lombardi House on the price to rent the space for your party, but rumor has it the investment will run you at least $10,000. And you will need insurance, yet another reason to utilize an event planner (but make sure they are insured). Catering isn’t included either and must be chosen from their list of pre-approved caterers (such as Wolfgang Puck and 24Carrots).

Parking: It’s Hollywood, of course, so valet is a must if you’d like to give your guests a hassle-free parking experience. Once again, a party planner is ideal; someone who knows the venue and will help you check off all of the necessary boxes for a successful event.


8. Duff’s Cakemix, West Hollywood

duffs-cake-mix-melrose-kids-party-venue

With a party at Duff’s Cakemix, you don’t just eat the cake: you make it! Well, you decorate it. This bakery studio, located on the corner of Melrose & Sweetzer, gives your birthday kid and guests everything they need to decorate and take home their own batch of cupcakes or full sized cake.

duffs-cake-mix-party-venue-los-angeles-interior

The Space: Colorful, yet industrial, there isn’t too much room to set-up your own decor here, but there are plenty of long tables and chairs perfect for lots of kids and lots of mess making (I mean, cake decorating). But for the mom or dad who just wants something easy and simple, this place takes the cake (pun obviously intended). You will have to bring in your own food if you’d like to feed your guests lunch (but outside cakes are not allowed).

duffs-cake-mix-party-venue-for-kids-losangeles-cakedecorating

Investment: If affordability is key, choose the cupcakes “tier 1” package, which will allow you to invite up to 6 guests for just $385. There are many more packages (or “tiers” as they call them) at Duff’s Cakemix, all the way up to $2195 which will accommodate up to 30 guests, each with their own 6′ fondant cake to decorate and take home. Keep in mind, however, for kids 6 years & younger, they recommend cupcake parties, and 1 adult helping for every 3 kids is required so make sure you ask enough moms or dads to stay and assist.

Parking: There is limited parking in the back of the building, and otherwise metered street parking; be sure to encourage your guests to allow time for parking as your event is 2 hours total.


9. iPic Theaters

latimes-ipic-theaters-video-games-luis-sinco

There’s nothing that beats the heat of a Los Angeles summer like sitting in an air conditioned movie theater, and at the iPic Theater, you can chill-out in true comfort with cozy blankets, reclining chairs, and in-theater food and beverage service for your guests. Some iPic theaters, like the one in Westwood, are even hosting video game parties.

iPic theater westwood los angeles party venue

The Space: There are two Los Angeles area iPic theaters — one in Pasadena, and another in Westwood — and both feature in-theater full dining service. While the Westwood theaters offer only some fully reclining chairs, the Pasadena location is filled with ’em. And with one push of a button, your personal food + beverage server will appear. Dine on burgers, specialty beverages, snack on complimentary popcorn, desserts, and more, then get cozy for your feature presentation. Our team was fortunate enough to join in the festivities at an 11th birthday at the iPic in Pasadena, where we provided glitter tattoos and caricature art in the lobby area as guests arrived and mingled with appetizers before the film. It was the perfect fit for a posh, yet relaxed summer birthday party.

iPic-theaters-pasadena-party-venue-los-angeles

The lobby area can be set-up for pre-movie activities, appetizers and drinks.

Investment: A single ticket at iPic Pasadena will cost you $24; for a group of 10 kids (including your birthday child), that’s less than $300. Popcorn is included with each ticket, but course, if you want to add lunch for each guest, menu items cost between $10-$20 each. The theater also has private event packages for more inclusive options; contact the theater directly for details.

Parking: The Pasadena location validates parking at the garage across the street for 3 hours. We hear parking at the Westwood location can be tricky, but they do offer valet and, supposedly if you’re an iPic member, you can get $3 self parking in the garage (of course, if you’re buying tickets for your guests, they may not quality for the discounted parking).


 10. High Tea Cottage

high tea cottage party venue los angeles

If a proper tea party is on your child’s wish-list for their next birthday party, check out High Tea Cottage in Woodland Hills. Guests will partake in fancy finger sandwiches, English scones, sweet morsels, and tea (of course).

high tea cottage party venue woodland hills los angeles

The Space: Be advised, this is a small restaurant and it is packed with tables, so there’s no room for romping about; children must be at least 4 years old to enjoy this formal sit-down tea service. The decor, however, is quaint, with tea cups and tea pots on display throughout.

high tea cottage los angeles party venue

Investment: Children’s tea parties at High Tea Cottage require reservation for at least 12 guests with a maximum of up to 24 children. The cottage does allow drop-offs, but you could also invite adults, too, for a festive mommy/daddy-and-me party experience. A ticket price of $35 per child will get you tea sandwiches, scones, fresh fruit, non-caffeinated tea, chocolate milk or lemonade and birthday cake. The party service runs 90 minutes, but you can have the space for up to 2 hours for hosting guests (and an extra half-hour at the beginning for guest-of-honor arrival/set-up).

Parking: Just street parking, and some residential street parking nearby, so you’ll want to let your guests know to give themselves a little extra time to find a spot for their “carriage”.


***BONUS PARTY VENUE IDEA***

Still haven’t found a venue that you love? Or a venue that’s available for your event date? Check out Peerspace.com, where you’ll find dozens of unique party-friendly locations, all of which you can reserve and rent at the click of a button.

creative learning center kids party venue hollywood los angeles

^ Here’s an actual space you can rent via Peerspace.com, located in the heart of Hollywood off Melrose Ave., and it’s just ripe for a colorful, super creative party. You could set-up craft stations galore, and maybe book a magician, puppet show, or even a superhero character experience to enhance the celebration.

If you would like any help planning your upcoming party, please complete the form below and we’ll be happy to send you more information about our live entertainment and event production capabilities.

 


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My Top 11 Kids’ Parties Of 2013

Ah, the new  year… so fresh and clean, like a blank canvas upon which we can paint whatever we like… full of hope, and ripe for the fulfillment of our most daring dreams and desires.

As I think about 2014 and all of its endless possibilities, I can’t help but look back lovingly at 2013 and remember how wonderful it was.  I was fortunate enough to be part of so many memorable events from the past year, but I wanted to share some of my top moments. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a list of 11 of my favorite kids’ parties and special events from 2013.

Our "Little Mermaid" makes fishy faces with the birthday girl and her friends.

Our “Little Mermaid” makes fishy faces with the birthday girl and her friends.

1. Little Mermaid at Seascape in Anaheim Hills, CA: Over the summer, one of our regular clients invited the “Little Mermaid” to entertain at her daughter’s 3rd birthday party. I’m proud to say that we have a handful of performers in our cast who have played the character at the various theme parks and, luckily, it worked out that I could take photos and video of our cast member in-action during her performance at the party. The kids were so great and our “princess” did a mertastic job; I was so happy to have captured this footage (click the picture below to watch the video).

The "Little Mermaid" in action at a princess party in Orange County, CA.

The “Little Mermaid” in action at a princess party in Orange County, CA.

2. Toddler Guitar Sing-Along for Lisa Loeb: In addition to being a children’s entertainer, I’m also a songwriter; I’ve had my music featured in shows like “Hellcats” on the CW, various reality TV programs, a couple indie films, and lots of wedding videos. But as cool as it is to hear a song you wrote playing in a movie theater, I have to say, when one of your songwriting idols calls you up to ask if you can perform at her child’s birthday party, it’s a pretty surreal experience! If you want to see what my live music performance for toddler and preschoolers is like, click here. Lisa Loeb can be found on TwitterInstagram, and her official website.

What a cool day: I got to perform a toddler/preschool guitar sing-along for one of my songwriting idols, Lisa Loeb!

What a cool day: I got to perform a toddler/preschool guitar sing-along for one of my songwriting idols, Lisa Loeb!

3. Caroline’s 9th Birthday Party at Nine Zero One Salon, West Hollywood, CA: A lot of people wonder if we only do princess parties. While I would say that princess parties account for many of our performances, we have an incredibly versatile roster of talent at our fingertips and have provided everything from dessert catering to carnival rides. Personally, I thrive when I get to be creative and try new things, so when one of our regular clients whose daughter, having had plenty of princess parties from us in the past, was ready for a fancy “grown-up” soiree, I was excited to plan and execute her chic celebration. The party was complete with custom made “mock-tails” & drink menus which I designed, a bartender, a make-up artist, glitter tattoos, and a caricature artist all supplied by my company Papillons Entertainment. I’ll toast to that!

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes, these kid-friendly drinks were a huge hit at Caroline's 901 Salon party.

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes, these kid-friendly drinks were a huge hit at Caroline’s 9th birthday at Nine Zero One Salon.

4. The Sea Princess for Susan Egan at Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom: This performance was such a full-circle moment for me, I’m not sure the utter amazingness of it will translate in writing, but I’ll do my best. You see, when I was a girl, I became obsessed with the Broadway soundtrack of “Beauty and the Beast”. I would listen to it every night as I fell asleep, singing along, trying to match my voice to the young actress on the recording. I got so good at impersonating her sound, my friends at school would ask me to “sing like Belle!” and I would.

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!

Flash forward to Burbank, California, a little karaoke bar called Sardo’s. It was 2006, I think, and I was sitting at the bar with my friends when I heard a familiar voice singing. I said to my friends, kind of half-heartedly, “Sounds like Susan Egan.” Just then, I turned to look at the karaoke stage, and there she was: Susan Egan! It was her! I completely freaked because I just couldn’t believe that the “Belle of Broadway”, the woman who I would often credit as having “taught me how to sing,” was there, at my little karaoke bar! I began crying, like a total fangirl. The bar’s owner came up to me and asked what was wrong. I told him as much as I could muster until he just stopped me and said, “C’mon, let’s go meet her”. Seriously?!

So, the owner fetched Susan and I met her, tears and all, and I told her how listening to her recordings taught me how to sing, and she said the funniest thing: “Well, I hope you didn’t learn all of my bad habits.” And as if that wasn’t enough, to meet and hug and hysterically cry in front of your musical idol, she asked if I’d like to sing a song with her. And I did. And it was “The Rainbow Connection” because that was my favorite song from childhood and it was one of the most special moments of my life so far. I’ll always remember it.

I was able to keep in touch with Susan, because that’s the kind of person she is, and years later she even left a review on my iTunes music page (open it in iTunes to see Susan’s review). I told her I played princesses for kids and that if she ever needed a princess for one of her darling daughter’s parties, she should hit me up. And she said she would. And one day, she did. And it was wonderful. And we all lived happily ever after.

P.S. Ms. Egan maintains a humorous blog called Glamour & Goop and can also be found on Twitter. You might also check out the music video for her song “Nina Doesn’t Care”, in which she sings, ironically, “As she puts me through the paces, I try not to yell, but it’s hard when she prefers the Mermaid over Belle“.

"The Sea Princess" with the birthday girl and her big sister.

The Sea Princess” with the birthday girl and her big sister.

"The Sea Princess" with the birthday queen and her royal court.

“The Sea Princess” with the birthday queen and her royal court at Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom.

5. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Sea Princess at Giggles n’ Hugs in Century City: One of the most fun things for us as children’s entertainers is when we get to work with each other. A new client contacted us in Autumn hoping to get three princesses together for her daughter’s dream 4th birthday party and happily we were able to make that wish come true. The party venue, Giggles n’ Hugs, was located at the Century City mall, and as we strolled through the shopping center, a friendly passerby snapped this sweet photo of us. Follow us on Instagram and search #papillonsentertainment for more fun pictures on the job.

A triple princess party with "Cinderella", "The Sea Princess", and "Sleeping Beauty".

A triple princess party with “Cinderella”, “The Sea Princess”, and “Sleeping Beauty”.

6. “Rapunzel” for Kelly Oxford: “Rapunzel” is one of my favorite characters to cosplay, especially when a client books my upgraded acoustic guitar and singing performance. To be honest, although I knew of Kelly Oxford from Twitter (with over 500K followers, Kelly is best known for her refreshingly funny and snarky look at life and motherhood; she is also a New York Times best selling author), when she called me looking to book my musical “Rapunzel” performance, I thought nothing of it. It was only when I arrived at the party and was met outside by Kelly herself that it dawned on me who I was working for. For those of you who follow Ms. Oxford on Twitter or Instagram, you might recognize little Bea (pictured with “Rapunzel” below) who is often the subject of her photo posts, and upon whom my friend “Rapunzel” painted one of her favorite flower princess face-paintings of the year.

"Rapunzel" and sweet Bea.

“Rapunzel” and sweet Bea.

Pumpkin painting, deluxe balloon twisting, and fancy face-painting at The Taste of Southlake in Pasadena.

Pumpkin painting, deluxe balloon twisting, and fancy face-painting at The Taste of Southlake.

7. The Taste of Southlake, Fall 2013, in Pasadena, CA: I love crafts, I love balloon sculptures, and I love when I get to create all different kinds of face-painting designs. Which is to say why the Kid Zone at this event, of which I was in charge of coordinating, prepping, and organizing, and during which we met at least one hundred kids throughout the three hours of entertainment, made my list of favorites for the year. Here are a couple more shots of our work from the event that I found on Flickr.

A rubber duckie balloon sculpted by our balloon twister.

A rubber duckie balloon sculpted by our balloon twister.

A little girl with a catterfly face-painting doing some painting of her own.

A little girl with a catterfly face-painting doing some painting of her own.

8. “Cinderella” at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, CA: This party was one of my favorites for a couple of reasons, the first being that I got to work with my amazing photographer/budding video-content-marketer partner, Jeff Drongowski of Drongo Photo. Another reason I loved this party has everything to do with the lovely Carolina Cavaliere, a reporter for TWC Deportes, and her husband, Andrea Cavaliere, the talented chef at Cecconi’s restaurant. Both the dining and decor at Cecconi’s is delightful; pay them a visit if you’re in the Los Angeles area.

A royal ball with "Cinderella" at Ciccone's in West Hollywood, CA. (photography by Drongo Photo)

A royal ball with “Cinderella” at Cicconi’s in West Hollywood, CA. (photography by Drongo Photo)

Carolina & Andrea Cavaliere and the birthday girl. (Photography by Drongo Photo)

Carolina & Andrea Cavaliere and the birthday girl. (Photography by Drongo Photo)

9. The Local 600 IATSE Holiday Open House at The Cinematographer’s Guild in Hollywood, CA: Seems like December hit us faster than a reindeer in flight. Good thing the folks at the International Cinematographer’s Guild booked with us very early, way back in August of 2013 for their December 7th event! I had a blast putting this event together: all in all, we provided three pro face-painters, four skilled caricature artists, and one of our classically trained actors to play the part of “Ebenezer Scrooge” (to keep the Santa line moving and all the folks waiting in high spirits). It was a great way to kick off the holidays.

Santa and Mrs Claus hanging out with Ebenezer Scrooge at the Local 600 IATSE holiday open house in Los Angeles.

Santa and Mrs Claus hanging out with Ebenezer Scrooge at the Local 600 IATSE holiday open house in Los Angeles.

Festive face-painting all around at the IATSE Local 600 Holiday Open House in Los Angeles.

Festive face-painting all around at the IATSE Local 600 Holiday Open House in Los Angeles.

10. Jolly Holiday “Mary Poppins” at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Brea, CA: I absolutely adore everything old timey, so when my client in Orange County told me that she had to change the location of her party from her home to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, I was giddy with excitement. Farrell’s has an authentic turn-of-the-century charm that recalls the days of barbershop quartets and the Model T, but there was one problem: what I had originally planned to do for the birthday girl and her friends was a pop star dance and glamour party. A “pop star” would stick out like a sore thumb in a place like Farrell’s, there wouldn’t be any room to lead any dancing with the girls, and we certainly couldn’t blast One Direction throughout the restaurant. The solution? Let’s have a “jolly holiday with Mary!” With all of its delicate details, this costume is one of my absolute favorites, and it’s not hard to see how perfectly the character fit with the theme at Farrell’s. “Poppins” turned out to be, not only a huge hit with the birthday party and our client (you can read her review here), but with the other restaurant guests and the Farrell’s employees, too!

"Poppins" pops in to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet celebration.

“Poppins” pops in to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet celebration.

11. Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA: The 2013 holiday season found my immediate family all the way on the other side of the country, back on the East Coast, so spending Christmas with them, unfortunately, wasn’t an option for me. While I do miss my family around special times like these, I feel very lucky to have been able to spend this Christmas Eve with two great families in Manhattan Beach: a regular client of mine (between their parties and their friend’s kids’ parties, I think they’ve seen me as almost every princess in the fairy-tale collection!) wanted help passing out gifts and dinner time entertainment for their group of ten kiddos, and coincidentally enough, their friends just a few blocks away wanted to make the evening extra enchanting for their two young daughters before bedtime. I had been working on a new Santa’s Helper/50’s style “Elf” costume, which I finished just in time to debut at their celebrations. With all the crafts, dancing, singing, face-painting, and storytelling I did at both parties, I’m not sure who had more fun that night, me or the kids. Although I’ve been working as a children’s entertainer for more than twelve years, I still get great joy from creating magical moments for kids and families, and this night was filled with them.

Santa's Helper Elf on Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Santa’s Helper Elf on Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA.

In fact, the entire year was filled with magic, and I have all of our wonderful, trusting, generous, awesomely amazing clients to thank.

Here’s to 2014: may it be just as enchanting, ever as exciting, and may all your dreams come true!

~ Jenna B.

(“queen butterfly” and lead expert performer at Papillons Entertainment)

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