Miss A Columnist

Melissa Curtin covers charity and style related events and loves to cover LA's best in beauty, fashion, and culture. She is an educator who recently returned to the classroom to motivate and inspire third graders at a private school in Pacific Palisades. In 2012, she launched an educational T-shirt line called Wear2learn. When she is not working out, hiking a canyon, or at the beach, she is writing. Her latest dream come true has been travel writing for Johnny Jet.

After teaching in the Maryland public school system for almost a decade, she left the conservative East Coast environment in Washington, DC for West Coast living. Eager for adventure, inner growth, and a new environment, she packed her car and took to the open road on her own landing in her new home - Hollywood, California. As a Connecticut Yankee at heart, she has now lived in Los Angeles for six years surrounded by the stars.

Melissa graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in psychology and art history. Soon after, she earned a Master's Degree in education. Melissa traveled around the world on Semester at Sea, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to teach in England. A lust for travel and learning has fueled her globe trotting ever since. Some of her favorite destinations are Costa Rica, Thailand, Fiji, Morocco, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Prague, Egypt, Australia, Greece, and Paris.

Los Angeles has won over her heart. She is constantly taking advantage of what LA LA Land has to offer - new boutiques and restaurants, finding great deals, discovering new hikes and beaches, music, and West Coast fashion.

Recap: Celebrities Spend Time With Kids At The Wonderland Suite To Benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

It felt good to pop in on Saturday, June 2, 2012 to see so many children and their families having a magical day at this Alice in Wonderland themed event. Tru Hollywood was a feast for the senses with mini cupcakes, toys galore, entertainment, fabulous gifting, and so many fun activities for kids –face painting, nail art, temporary tattoos, and feather hair extensions.

American Idol's Casey Abrams and CHLA patient Andrea (Photo credit: Albert Evangelista Photography)

Jewelry brand Elisa Ilana gifted each patient and celebrity guest with an awareness bracelet.  Elisa Ilana is proud to have donated over a half a million dollars for research to the various organizations that they support through sales of their awareness jewelry. Thanks to Party Princess Productions, Alice, The Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts were also flitting around delighting guests at the Wonderland Suite.

Hollywood’s stars, like Rachael Leigh Cook, Samantha Harris, Justin Willman, Casey Abrams, Sam Page, Daniel Joseph Baker, Snap Boogie and Trevor Jackson joined Trueheart Events in hosting The Wonderland Suite to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  Over four hundred guests visited the magical world of Wonderland and many deserving children and their families came from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Children’s Rare Disease Network.

There were so many neat children’s products on hand. One of my favorite finds was Spontuneous (spon-TUNE-ee-us), defined as acting on the natural tendency or impulse to burst into song. This great family party board game that can be played with people of all ages and of all musical tastes. Players take turns trying to think of a word that will stump the other players from being able to sing a 5-word portion of lyrics (from any song) that contains the given trigger-word. Spontuneous has won numerous awards including:  Mom’s Choice Award Gold, Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Products Winner, Creative Child Magazine 2011 Game of the Year. The game where lyrics come to life can be purchased on the Spontuneous website, at Amazon, or at various stores across the nation.  Mad Men star Sam Page was excited to get his friends together to play Spontuneous.  Also, they can be found on  Facebook and Twitter.


Guest enjoys temporary tattoos at the ViaCord Children's Accessories Lounge - www.viacord.com (Photo credit: Karen Reuter Photography)

Another impressive idea I saw was the Schoolbags for Kids’ Learning Tree backpacks designed by New York illustrator Jacob Thomas whose illustrations have appeared in Rolling Stone, the New Yorker and The New York Times. For every bag sold, Schoolbags for Kids donates a schoolbag filled with supplies to a child in need.  The bags are designed in a way so that they are more rectangular, so stress and weight is alleviated from the child’s back.  Also, a key feature is the section inside where an Ipad can fit.  All of the kids filled their backpacks with fabulous gifts at the party.

I took home some delicious Plum Organics toddler snacks and continued to eat them on my latest trip to Mexico. They are delicious and nutritious! I loved the the peach and green apple tiny dots and shreds that come in little snack size pouches. Plum Organics, a part of Nest Collective, is the pioneer and leading provider of premium nutritious, organic baby food and toddler snacks. A proud partner of leading non-profit Healthy Child Healthy World, Plum Organics has set the stage for a new way of nourishing the next generation of children.  Plum Organics has created an awarding-winning line of culinary-inspired, portable baby food in lightweight, re-sealable pouches as well as a complete line of organic snacks for toddlers and kids that help parents nourish their little ones with yummy, nutritious foods. Best known for introducing the spouted pouch format to the US baby food market, Plum Organics has created over 60 innovative products across 18 different lines  including the Plum Dispensing Spoon by Boon. Plum Organics has been recognized by a number of leading parenting media, receiving such honors as: the She Knows Parenting Awards, American Baby’s Best of Baby, and Cool Mom Picks Pick Of The Year.

There was an incredible Queen of Hearts Sweet cupcake set up that was created by Katie Rosario of Kt’s Kakes, which featured vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free cake pops and mini cupcakes in a variety of mouthwatering themed flavors such as Alice’s Sweet Surprise, a vanilla cupcake with Blue Raspberry Butter-Cream Frosting and the Queen’s Treat, a red velvet cupcake decorated with spades and clubs.  Katie poured love and attention into every bite as she ensured she had sweet treats for all of the kids taking their various dietary restrictions into consideration.  The Queen of Hearts Sweets Table was made complete with a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland theme cake which paid homage to every character and plot point in the beloved tale.  Katie served as a baking assistant on multiple seasons of the popular TV show Cupcake Wars.

All of the adorable babies at the party were gifted with modern and vintage baby fashions courtesy of MOD’Swad and the safest and softest baby swaddles by Woombie. MOD’Swad and Woombie creator Karen Koslov-Barski also had her husband Stash onsite to gift his super cool Sneaker Kandy to all of the kids at the party so they can personalize their kicks.

Hollywood’s finest DJ Kid Fish kept the energy high with her awesome mix of party tunes.  Cory Almeida host of Pictureka! on Discovery Network’s The Hub and FOX.com correspondent, treated guests to a rockin DJ set by his alter ego persona, DJ CoryLive.  Cory had the dance-floor packed with all of the kids and celebrities grooving with Alice, the Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts.  At one point DJ CoryLive was joined in the DJ booth by a few Children’s Hospital Los Angeles patients who he let take over the decks and try their hand at spinning while “American Idol” fan favorite Casey Abrams cheered them on.  Casey Abrams spent quality time playing and talking with the patients and was overheard saying that a “happy child makes for a happy life” and that “parties like The Wonderland Suite do so much to remind kids how much they are loved.”

Disney Star Trevor Jackson performs (Photo credit: Karen Reuter Photography)

“America’s Got Talent” Semi-Finalist Snap Boogie, flew all the way from Boston especially to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and he delivered an amazing dance performance where he truly left his heart on the dance-floor.  As Snap Boogie popped, locked and break- danced, partygoers cheered him on and were amazed at his incredible moves.  It is no wonder that Snap Boogie danced his way into the hearts of America on the show.

Daniel Joseph Baker, one of Sharon Osbourne’s favorite acts on “America’s Got Talent” last season, performed a moving and inspiring salute to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles patients with Jessie J’s hit song “Who You Are.”  Daniel spoke from the heart and shared his experiences about being bullied as a child and urged the children to never give up and never stop believing in themselves.

Trevor Jackson, star of the Summer 2012 Disney film “Let It Shine” performed an incredible a capella tribute to the King of Pop with a medley of Michael Jackson’s hottest hits.  He concluded his set with a beautiful rendition of Louie Armstrong’s “What A Wonderland World” which he “dedicated to all of the patients and the beautiful and remarkable world in which we live.”

Monica Balli, Italy’s wedding and event planner to the stars, came all the way from Tuscany, Italy to support Children’s Los Angeles and presented actress Rachael Leigh Cook with a seven night stay at one of her luxurious villas in the posh sea town of Forte Dei Marmi.  Trueheart Events partner Amy Malin selected Rachael and her husband, actor Daniel Gillies, to receive this incredible trip because of the amazingly generous fundraising campaign that the couple coordinated for a Children’s Hospital Los Angeles patient with neuroblastoma cancer.

After all of the fabulous gifting inside the party, kids, big and small, were so excited when they were presented with Trueheart Events’ gift bags when they were leaving the party, which featured generously donated Lincoln Logs, NASCAR, Monster Jam, Sesame Street and K’NEX Classics building lines by K’NEX Toys, Comfy Feet fuzzy slippers, Sallazzo ballet slippers, Pure Bars vegan and gluten-free snack bars, and MyOwnStory.com gift vouchers for personalized stories.

“Having produced hundreds of charity events throughout my career over the last sixteen years, I have seen some celebrities try and utilize a charity event for their own personal gain and to get some positive press coverage after something negative happens that they would like everyone to forget about.  Then there are actors like Rachael and Daniel who give selflessly from their hearts even when there are no cameras around to document their good deeds.  They leverage their star power to inspire others to join them in making a difference and they do it solely because it is the right thing to do for someone in need.  I admire and respect my dear friends Rachael and Daniel for all that they are doing to help shine a spotlight on the amazing work that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is doing for children in our community and I share their passion and love for this noble cause”, said Amy Malin of Trueheart Events.



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