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: Winter Wonderland Suite For Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

The hotspot Avalon in Hollywood was transformed Sunday, December 16 with an incredible Winter Wonderland theme to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Magical characters flitted around and Cirque du Soleil-type characters entertained the little ones, whether they were healing, in a wheelchair, or the latest actor on a blockbuster film or TV show. Lucent Dossier Experience’s troupe of Winter Wonderland performers included a stilt walker, a juggler, clowns and an incredible opera singer. Kids could build their own snowman station with real snow, decorate a holiday cookie, sip hot chocolate, eat mini gourmet pancakes, grab a veggie burger or juicy burger from Fatburger, make a holiday card and much more!

Modern Family star Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and True Blood star Chloe Noelle

Modern Family star Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and True Blood star Chloe Noelle pick out Roma Boots. (Photo Credit: Igor Spektor)

Party-goers took family photos inside the Little Remedies sleigh and then checked out Super Inflated’s amazing Winter Wonderland balloon art display complete with a six foot tall Christmas tree made entirely of balloons.  Super Inflated’s twisters roamed the party making balloon jet packs, spectacular hats and balloon animals for guests. Guests marveled at the magnificent Christmas tree donated and decorated by tree stylist to the stars Dr. Christmas and his team of holiday helpers who helped transform the ballroom into a magical winter wonderland.

The Winter Wonderland Suite was hosted by Little Remedies and Trueheart Events. Patients and their families were showered with love and support in this magical Winter Wonderland setting. The red carpet was packed with TV, film, music and sports stars showing their love and support for the patients of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  TV and film star Nestor Serrano explained to the media that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles holds a special place in his family’s hearts as his daughter Amelia is a patient at the hospital where she receives treatment for cerebral palsy.  Nestor made it a family affair and attended with his beautiful wife Debbie and their daughters Amelia and Lucy. Cutie actress Amandla Stenberg from The Hunger Games expressed how important it is to attend such an event.

“Modern Family” star Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and her friend Chloe Noelle from “True Blood” had a blast playing in the snow in Little Remedies’ Build Your Own Snowman station, which was created by the team at Hollywood SnowFx. “True Blood” star Jamie Gray Hyder was having a snowball fight with some patients from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Party-goers were gifted with tons of Little Remedies products (Honey Pops, Saline Spray Drops, Intensive Moisture Therapy), which are the perfect remedies for cold and flu season. “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sarah Drew was stocking up on some Little Remedies products for her son Micah.

Amandla Stenberg and Kelly Teegarden Organics

Amandla Stenberg and Kelly Teegarden Organics (Photo Credit: Karen Reuter Photography)

“Glee” cutie Grant Gustin enjoyed a hot chocolate at the The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s hot chocolate bar, while newly vegetarian Andrea Bowen of “Desperate Housewives” exclaimed “This is so good!” after enjoying Fatburger’s delicious veggie burger.  “Breaking Bad” star RJ Mitte was going straight to the airport after the party to catch a flight to shoot the next season of his hit show and stocked up on some Sabra hummus for the plane. “The Biggest Loser” host Allison Sweeney looking festive and radiant in a red sweater and skinny jeans, knows a thing or two about the importance of a healthy diet and said her family “loves Sabra because it is so delicious and healthy too.”

Celebrity chefs Paola and Craig Petrella of Two Peas Inc. treated everyone to their tasty gourmet mac n cheese. Southern Culture Artisan Foods hosted a gourmet pancake bar with their banana pudding, strawberry shortcake and S’mores flavored pancakes and tons of yummy toppings. Seriously, these little pancake bites are perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Also, Get Shaved hosted a shaved ice dessert bar with tons of refreshing flavors. Kody and his team from famed West Hollywood bakery Cake And Art, created a gorgeous and delicious Winter Wonderland Sweets Table, which was a hit with party-goers. The choices were endless!

Xolo Mariduena

Xolo Mariduena in the Little Remedies Build Your own snowman station (Photo Credit: Next Exit Photograph)

Urbansitter hosted a holiday cookie decorating station which “Leverage” star Aldis Hodge and his brother, “Cougar Town” star Edwin Hodge, enjoyed participating in with patients. Urbansitter brought their team of trusted and recommended Los Angeles babysitters to hang out with the kids and make cookies together.  Pix in the Box’s Winter Wonderland theme photo booth was a huge hit.  Guests dressed up in funny holiday hats and took photos with their loved ones that they got to take home.  Brad Garrett and his family posed for some funny holiday photos and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and her friend Chloe Noelle enjoyed dressing us as reindeer in the Pix in the Box photo booth.

Midway through the jamboree of children and parents trying new products and enjoying themselves was a live show featuring performances by “Cupcake Wars” host and magician Justin Willman, “The Voice” Season 2 star Katrina Parker, singer/songwriter Jordan Corey and more! DJ Kid Fish rocked the party with a set of holiday tunes and party music that was the perfect soundtrack for the festivities. Salim Holder, the senior brand manager of Little Remedies, welcomed guests and explained how excited Little Remedies was to partner with Trueheart Events on such a special event for the patients and their families.

The adorable dancers from Hilary’s Dance Company at Revolution Dance Center performed their festive Frosty the Snowman routine. Fresh off his talked about performance on “The Tonight Show” last week, “Cupcake Wars” host and magician Justin Willman performed a magic set that wowed the crowd.  Justin brought Children’s Hospital Los Angeles patient Dianna onstage and had her help him levitate a table in front of over four hundred amazed guests.  Justin ended his set with a holiday miracle and his final trick was to make it snow, which truly turned the event into a magical winter wonderland. The children’s reaction to the snow was incredible. Brad Garrett was so excited by the snowfall and said, “now it really feels like the holidays.”

Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte at Borrow Baby Couture

Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte at Borrow Baby Couture (Photo Credit: Albert Evangelista Photograph)

Singer/songwriter Jordan Corey performed a beautiful acoustic version of “Jingle Bell Rock” and Katrina Parker, a fan-favorite on Season 2 of NBC’s hit show “The Voice”, sang a gorgeous rendition of the holiday favorite “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”  When Katrina belted her final note, thunderous applause was heard and everyone at the party cheered!

Salim Holder from Little Remedies explained how through their VIP connections in the North Pole (and with Parties by Stacey), Little Remedies was able to get Santa Claus to attend.  The crowd went wild when Santa hit the stage!  Santa took photos with guests in the Winter Wonderland photo booth and was also seen dancing gangnam style with guests as DJ CoryLive led an amazing dance party!  Santa also helped raffle off all of the fabulous prizes generously donated by House of Minerva, iiJin, Comfort Research, Build-A-Bear Workshop, philosophy, OC Fun Sacks BorrowBabyCouture.com, Southern Culture Artisan Foods and more with all of the proceeds benefiting Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Some of the neatest products that help support important causes were being gifted at the Wonderland suite. Here are my favorites:

Iijin mukluk boots

Iijin mukluk boots (Photo Credit: littledragonprincessblogspot.com)

1. iiJin’s mukluk boots are like Uggs, but some have diamonds and funky studs on them for star quality. Presenting sponsor iiJin gifted all of the patients with their cuddly Panda bears that were wearing a T-shirt that said “iiJin loves you”, which were a huge hit with all of the kids. Many were gifted with iiJin’s mukluk boots made of suede and lined with faux fur, which are perfect to rock during the Winter. I have worn mine every day since. Grey’s Anatomy star Jason George picked out a pair of white iiJin sneakers and ESPN Sports Center Los Angeles host Neil Everett picked out a pair of silver kicks.

2. Kelly Teegarden Organics chemical free lipgloss. The owner, a cancer survivor, researched what caused cancer and decided to create a cosmetic company that is chemical-free. Now sold at Whole Foods and other major stores, the cool gloss shimmers, feels good, smells delicious and comes with a mirror on the side and a light that can be turned on by clicking the top of the cap. The already glamorous Katrina Parker and Sarah Drew, both picked out chemical free lip-gloss from skincare and cosmetics company Kelly Teegarden Organics.

3. Roma Boots designed by Romanian born Samuel Bistrian who use to work at Neiman Marcus and after pitching his rain boot idea to TOMS, decided to launch his own trendy line. They look similar to Hunter boots but designed with more of an edge.  For every pair of Roma boots sold, a brand new pair is donated to a child in need – children and orphans in Romania and around the world. Oscar Nunez, star of “The Office” was seen picking out a pair of Roma rain boots for his daughter August and Ali Landry picked out a pair for her son.

4. Essential oil Patches help you experience natural relief. The co-founder Justin Biel was excited to launch the company’s all-natural line of therapeutic-grade, easy to use essential oil patches, which boost immunity and help kick your common ailments to the curb.  Guests were able to pick from wellness, headache relief, stress relief, cough relief, allergy relief and sleep aid patches to take home. Founded in Boulder, CO, their organic all natural patches can be slapped on your chest, foot, or upper arm for up to 24 hours. The patches last for 3 months and include such wonderful essential oils like peppermint, mandarin, lavender, lemon grass, eucalyptus, lemon, silver fir, lime, Roman-chamomile, geranium, grapefruit, frankincense, and more.  Absorbed through the skin, they oils provide immediate targeted therapeutic benefits. A percentage of each of their sales benefits  non-profit charity tie in. Our company allocates a percentage of each product sold to non-profit organizations around the globe, such as their first “Essential Mission” will donate $1,000 to the Medicine Abuse Project, the partnership at Drugfree.org. The Medicine Abuse Project’s goal is to prevent a half a million teens from abusing medicine within the next five years. Their goal is to also raise the $1,000, create a small documentary film about our time spent working with non-profit to help generate awareness for the cause and inspire overall volunteerism.

Shortstacks Pancake Mix

Shortstacks Pancake Mix (Photo Credit: Amazon.com)

5. Shortstacks Pancake Mix- Holy smokes! They come in cute ice cream size pints with numerous flavors like banana pudding, strawberry shortcake and S’mores. Read here for their story on making pancakes interesting.

6. Zookies  - Shirts and products kids can write on or personalize with chalk, such as chalk board roll ups, aprons, Tshirts, and dresses. There is also a whole host of other neat products for kids that are super sweet too. “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Alexis Bellino picked out some Zookies toys with her children.

“It was truly a magical day at our Winter Wonderland Suite.  It was such an amazing feeling to see all of the beautiful and deserving patients having such a great time at our holiday party.  To see the children’s eyes light up when the snow started falling was really special.  We’re thankful to our friends at Little Remedies for partnering with us on this special event and to all of our generous sponsors from around the world that contributed to making the Winter Wonderland Suite an unforgettable event.  We also want to thank the incredibly kind stars that came out to help host the event who helped us show the families of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles how much everyone in the community loves them,” said Amy Malin, partner at Trueheart Events.

Brad Garrett

Brad Garrett enjoys the snow (Photo Credit: Next Exit Photography)

Alexis Bellino's daughters

Alexis Bellino’s daughters having a blast in Little Remedies Build Your own snowman station (Photo Credit: Next Exit Photography)

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