Parties Articles

A Very Celebrity Holiday Party


This weekend was a four party weekend but I’m going to run out of steam before I can tell you about them all. For the fourth year in a row I’ve been invited to Santa’s Secret Workshop. It’s a little get together for celebrities and their little kids – and for some reason me. I was really proud of myself for knowing who almost every celebrity is. Here’s a sampling of what went down along with some gift ideas for your own family this holiday season.

Everyone who attended brought at least one pack of diapers and wipes for L.A. Family Housing, vendors made donations (both in cash and in kind), and 4moms donated 20 mamaRoo Infant Seats. The mission of L.A. Family Housing (LAFH) is to help families transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services.

Benefitting LA Family Housing

4th Annual Santa's Secret Workshop Benefiting LA Family Housing gifts

4th Annual Santa's Secret Workshop Benefiting LA Family Housing

I have to start with my new obsession. I met Andrea Schroder who makes the most addicting candles in the world. I’m currently burning Cedar Woods. She’s entrepreneurial and charming and I hope her candles take over the world.

andrea schroder

Ju-Ju-Be was there too. They have licensing with Hello Kitty now for some of their diaper bags. It’s ridiculously cute. I picked up my second makeup bag from them. My first one is at least 5 years old and shows little sign of wear and tear but I’m bored by it. Ju-Ju-Be is a BIFL (buy it for life) product and I can’t get enough of them.
ju ju be

ju ju be for hello kitty


tori spelling kurio

Tori Spelling’s kids enjoyed Kurio. It’s a new tablet just for kids.

tiffani amber thiesen bill horn mabels labels

Tiffani Theisen got a quick manicure from The Nail Garden – and everyone loved Bill’s outrageous Xmas sweater.

You see Mabel’s Labels in the background? Everyone knows and loves them. You sign kids up for school or camp and you get your Mabel’s Labels. It’s the law of the land.
mabels labels

Samantha Harris Mabel's Labels

Samantha Harris knows Mabel.

keurig peppermint coffee

We were there in the morning and the Keurig 2.0 was a big hit

Donald Faison Keurig

Donald Faison looks happy with his

Gilles Marini  Cheick Kongo Keurig

And here is Cheick Kongo chatting it up with Gilles Marini over a cuppa joe.

Kamar de los Reyes and Sherri Saum trunki

Kamar de los Reyes and Sherri Saum were checking out the car seats and the Trunki storage solutions.

diono rainier convertible booster

Diono was demo’ing their Rainier booster seat that takes you from infancy to 120+ pounds.

Gilles Marini Juliana Marini

Gilles Marini is patient during a manicure.

Katy Ladin Orbit Baby

Katy Ladin and her sidekick (front kick – whatever…) are enjoying the Ergobaby carrier

Kristin Davis Jo-Ann Fabric

Here’s Kristin Davis just being Kristin Davis. She’s perfect.

Lisa Ling and her daughter Jett trunki

Same goes for Lisa Ling and her daughter Jett

monica + andy

mama bear sweatshirt

This sweatshirt from Loved by Hannah and Eli is one of the softest things I’ve ever touched.


sage spoonfuls

sage spoonfuls 2

Sage Spoonfuls was launched by a mom of four. If I recall correctly all four kids are still under 10. She’s a dynamo & has great kits to get you started making your own baby food. I’d recommend this one as a baby shower gift.

sugar booger

Sugarbooger has playful yet sophisticated bibs, bowls and backpacks. trunki

Trunki has kid sized luggage that’s on wheels for easy traveling and you can play on it.

zo li

Zo-Li for all things sippy cups, teethers and mats.
orbit baby

The Orbit Baby systems got a lot of oohs and ahhs.

The First Holiday Party


It’s December so I’ll probably spend the month talking about gifts and parties and I want to be sure to begin with a party I co-hosted with my dear friend Christina Simon. About six months ago Christina starting mentioning to me that she wanted to hostess a party for our friend Vanessa. You see Vanessa is a celebrity chef here in Los Angeles who we both really enjoy on a personal level and whose food I’ve enjoyed over the years. She has a catering company called Mothers Helping Hand and it does exactly what you think it would. She delivers dinners for 4 that are ready to heat and serve. You can just give her a call and she’ll deliver three days worth of dinners for significantly less than a restaurant would charge and only a tiny bit more than it would cost for you to prepare it yourself.

In any event, Christina wanted to introduce our friends to Mother’s Helping Hand and she and I both love a party. So we decided to kick off the holidays with an introduction to Vanessa’s talents. We invited friends, Christina opened up her home and then we called in a few favors. Coca Cola stocked our bar with soft drinks, waters and juices and a friend of mine sent over some Macallan & Famous Grouse because I think we all know that I enjoy sipping Scotch.

We played demo model with the new Coke Life.

Hillcrest Party Rentals delivered some tables and tablecloths.

And Joe Sherrod Bartender & Martini Master delighted everyone with his mixed drinks and party personality. If you want to hire Joe send him an email at or call 818-256-5503. We cannot recommend him enough.

We did a terrible job of photographing the passed appetizers because we were too busy enjoying our friends and the food and drink but we were able to snap a few photos of the plates that were set out early.


Vanessa Event Food 2

Christina and I were a little matchy matchy with a metallic and black clothing theme. Great minds think alike?

C&J Vanessa Event


Christina sets the perfect mood with the details and is all grace, remembering to thank everyone.



And she even let me do the talking. We all know I can talk…
It was my pleasure this weekend to introduce Vanessa to our friends in Los Angeles and it’s my pleasure again today to introduce her to my Los Angeles friends online. I hope some of you have the chance to have her food in 2015.

Vanessa and Jessica

Sometimes I Get Invited Places and I Don’t Know Why


Last night Anna and I went to a Hunt & Burns estate in Hancock Park to see the new Mad Men line from Banana Republic.

The event began at 6 and we arrived just a few minutes after 6. Early I suppose. Outside the front door stood two publicists with a clipboard to check us in. We entered the house and in the entry way were models. They were wearing the spring line of Mad Men inspired clothes that premiere today. They looked nice, they’re models, everything looks nice on them.

banana republic mad men party

Periodically a short and well dressed man would come out and maniacally wave his arms telling the models to stop talking to each other. He was Simon Kneen (Banana Republic’s creative director) and his foul attitude immediately endeared me to him. The guy was working and he made everyone look beautiful.

In one room there was a pianist and two caricature artists who were remarkably entertaining. It’s a good thing too because the only drinks were scotch, bubbly water and white wine. I waited patiently for red wine and then grew impatient and drank the white.

After a few minutes Janie Bryant emerged. She’s the costume designer from Mad Men. She started by shaking hands and introducing herself to the folks next to us, and as Anna was about to say hello she did the once over look (you know top to toe with a sneer), turned on her heel and went to talk to someone else.

Completely fucking awesome Janie. I know you don’t need me on your way up but you might want to rack up some love for your way down… it softens the landing.

A publicist shook my hand and introduced herself. She was sweet and told us about the line. It’ll be available tomorrow and they’re doing in store events with booze and shopping, “You know, people buy more when they’re drinking.” She whispered. Every parent who’s ever been to a school gala knows to watch out for that one.

I knew it was time to leave when she tried telling me that the house was owned by the actor who plays Sally Draper. Well, I thought it was a line of bullshit, but when the 12 year old emerged in smaller version of one of the Banana Republic dresses while being guided by a publicist I thought I might have entered Dante’s eighth circle of hell. Not only was an empty house staged to “belong” to this child… but how are you supposed to interview a 12 year old about fashion for the masses? Further, why would want to?

I love staring at models who are told to shut up and be still for a few hours. I love looking at pretty clothes and the pretty people wearing them. I love a cocktail and a grand estate. I noted every bit of luxury in the grand estate from the crown moldings to the leather ensconced light fixtures.

There were three people to score an interview with. One was a child. One was too self important and one was actually working. After 30 minutes we left. No swag either… I have no clue why I was invited. I have no clue why I attended.

On the upside we had amazing tacos at Cactus #1 followed by a little homemade Limóncello.

Mom Bloggers and Real Housewives like Adrienne Maloof


Last night I went to Adrienne Maloof and Charles Jourdan’s shoe launch party. She has designed a line of shoes for them and if you love high heels you’ll love this collection. They’re sky high and full of color and sparkle.

adrienne maloof for charles jourdan sky high heels

It was an interesting evening because I wanted to ask her a few questions about how she came to partner with Charles Jourdan. Did she look at the shoes in her closet and think, “these could be made better”? Did Charles Jourdan approach her? Did she have a secret sketchbook and a love of all things leather and luxe?

Before I could ask questions there was a mild freak-out. I guess her publicist wanted to know who I wrote for… um myself. And what kind of questions I’d be asking… um questions about the shoes… we were in the SHOE DEPARTMENT. Only a small number of people had been invited. I was invited, this was weird.

I finally got past the publicist. The answer was that the team at Charles Jourdan approached her. Adrienne Maloof knew that she loved shoes (don’t we all) and it was a good and logical partnership. She was a charming hostess, took a thousand pictures and had a kind word for everyone.

What stuck me driving home was how alike reality stars and mom bloggers can be. We’re both deathly afraid that our audiences will turn on us. I have no idea why many of you read this blog. I don’t know if you like me or hate me. Perhaps you have no feeling either way. I’m not asking for an answer because I’m smart enough to know that you should never ask questions that you don’t want the answer to.

Recently a bunch of traffic came to one of my posts from a private mom blogging forum. It’s one I hadn’t heard of prior and it seems to be quite new. There was some discussion about the Infantino Baby Sling post and it was all interesting. They weren’t sure what side I was on. I was unsure there was a side, it was only a discussion. When I scrolled down I read the following:

I’ll admit I didn’t click through. I can’t give JG any traffic. Even I find her to be very abrasive. I think that says a lot. But I think Shawn Ann is awesome.

Things like this used to sting. A lot. Now they entertain me a little because I don’t know who this person is and clearly she has never met me. It’s not personal. It doesn’t reflect on me so much as the author.

Can you really hate someone you’ve never met? Even if it’s someone who has absolutely zero impact on your life?

Are bloggers like Real Housewives? Should we be afraid of the community? Wait, don’t answer that.

I Curbed My Enthusiasm


Mr G and I were invited to a dinner party last night. When we first started dating it seemed like we were at a dinner party every week, and then something changed, maybe it’s because we all started having kids, but the dinner parties turned to potlucks and my flirty dresses became jeans and tees.

I was really happy when our friends decided to host a dinner party.

There were four couples and a few singles invited. Mr G and I were the second couple to arrive and just as we were seated Vladimir and his wife arrived. They were a lovely Russian couple (all but three of us were Russians), he promised to not talk about sex, religion or politics and promptly broke the promise. His wife muttered something about Americans not smoking or drinking so they could die very healthy. These people are my people, I knew I was going to enjoy them.

After Vlad and his wife settled in six of us made small talk. Everyone tried really hard to speak in English. As we were finishing our first glass of wine a nice American lady arrived, a little shiny faced and somewhat breathless. She was wearing the most fabulous cocktail dress and sexy heels. When our host Boris introduced her all around she smiled at Vladimir and his wife and said, “You’re the ones who took my parking spot and told me I should walk.”

At an American dinner party this is the part where it gets awkward and uncomfortable. Folks start to drink a little too much and there would be passive aggressive banter. It’s a good thing this was a predominantly Russian crowd, as one more couple came to the garden to join us for appetizers there was some banter in Russian, the hostess said, “Oh we’ll drive you back to your car when dinner is over.” and somehow the parking spot thieves apologized without ever saying, “I’m sorry” and the evening was lovely.

With a dozen overachievers (minus me) and their overachieving spawn we heard tales of 14 year old college students, 22 year old attorneys and the need for life insurance. We talked about little kids and their little problems and then big kids and their big problems. We laughed with our entire bodies and ate a magnificent meal.

There were moments where we all knew we were living an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but no one would admit to being Larry David. We deferred to our host who actually has been featured on Curb, and begged him to keep his shoes on.

I need more dinner parties, more cocktail dresses, more couples and less jeans.

I also need more Russians in my life. Any woman who can sip her chardonnay while lighting a cigarette and not mess up her lipstick is a woman I need to spend more time with.

BlogHer 11, Women Create Media, Summer is Over


Next week is a big week. I’ll be speaking at Women Create Media and then scooting on over to BlogHer.

I attened a BlogHer conference two years ago in Chicago, skipped New York in August 2010 (if you’re from NY you have to admit there’s no good reason to go there in August) and now I’m ready to give it another try in 2011.

Here are five things I will not be doing for BlogHer.

1. I will not be out after 10pm. I am not happy after 9pm and nothing is happening at parties after 10pm. Well, something is happening. People are drinking and enjoying themselves, but I’m off to BlogHer to connect with bloggers who I’m dying to meet, and to connect with marketers who I’m sure won’t be wasted in a hotel suite in the middle of the night. I plan on moderation and a good night’s sleep.

2. I will not be doing my hair or nails for the occasion. Take me as I am.  I’m a blogger who has shared her life with you. If my lack of a recent mani-pedi turns you off then it’s your issue, not mine. It’s not a beauty contest or a fashion show. It’s just a lot of women in one place. I don’t plan on smelling bad, I’m just not looking for a date so I’m going to make myself comfortable.

3. I will not be giving my business card to bloggers. If you want to reach me I’m at, you can call me at 818.486.9363 or you can text that number, either is fine, on twitter I’m @JessicaGottlieb and I’m on Google + as well. You don’t need my business card, you’ll just throw it out.

4. I will not be judging you unkindly. It’s no secret, I’m a judgy lady. I’ve got to figure out who I like and who I don’t like.  So when you have the nerve to show up to something as admittedly intimidating as BlogHer and you’re kind enough to introduce yourself and smile the judging is over. I already know I like you. Case closed.

5. Private Parties? Yes, there are quite a few of them. I was invited to some, and I’ll never be invited to others (Nikon… you never invite me… but since you don’t give away free cameras I don’t feel that bad). I’m pretty sure the private parties will be pretty good, but I’d also probably NOT attend without my own car or cab fare. 45 minutes at any party is plenty for me. If it’s super loud and we can’t hear each other anyhow why am I there?

I love meeting folks who I’ve only followed online. BlogHer is going to have 3,000 attendees this year and each of those 3,000 people only cares about him/herself so the good news is that you can come as you are and most of them will be too busy with their own insecurities to worry about yours.

Although a conference by and for women can be affirming, it’s also not particularly realistic or helpful. As much as I love supporting women in business it’s a little foolish to think that you can keep the boys out and have great success, though I know folks would argue that the boys work pretty hard at keeping the girls out. BlogHer will be fun, if you decide it will.

Here’s a snapshot of the business card I won’t be handing you.

One reason I’ve come to dislike BlogHer so much is that it signals the end of summer. I don’t like this at all.


A Small Fire Ruined My Party


Wednesday afternoon I had to pick Jane up from a friend’s house and Alexander begged me to let him stay home alone. We talked about what to do, how to answer the phone, when to open the gate (never), and no media. I never mentioned don’t set any fires.

Wednesday night I was supposed to be at a Pre-Oscar party, it was a good one too. My friends at Chevy won Green Car of the Year and used a fleet of Volts to drive celebrities to the Global Green Party.

I was dressed and ready to head out for the evening. I said goodnight to my daughter and went to tuck my son into bed. His bedroom stank and I couldn’t quite place the smell. “Did you fart Alexander?” I gently teased him, and when he gave me a guilty look (as opposed to a chuckle because everyone knows farts are funny) I knew something was going on.

A quick scan of the room revealed a wad of toilet tissue on his desk with holes burnt into it. Burned, as in fire.

Upon closer examination I realized that he’d used his desk lamp to burn holes in the toilet tissue. Now, you may find this odd, but about a year ago we thought we had chemical disaster when we smelled something awful coming from Alexander’s bedroom. Apparently he’d discovered the joy of melting his rubber tipped erasers onto the same desk lamp. Like the toilet tissue it was dangerous, but also to be expected from a curious nine year old boy. Right? We talked to him about the safety issue, he cried, we thought it was all done.


lightbulb after the fire

I asked him when he was playing with the lamp and the toilet tissue and his eyes turned into saucers. He just stared at me.

“Was it when you were home alone?” My voice was cracking

He slowly nodded, and I felt like the world was slipping out from under me. I could hear my mother’s voice in my head: Little kids little problems. Big kids big problems.

If we ever have a problem bigger than this I think I’ll require a trip to the emergency room.

I stood in my son’s bedroom, burnt tissue in my hand and mascara running down my cheeks, “Mis-ter GEE!” I yelled downstairs, “You need to come talk to your son.”

My husband muttered a few things, Alexander nodded. I stood crying like an idiot in my cocktail dress and Mr. G. wrapped the whole thing up with, “Just don’t be stupid.”

We nailed that one.



Tony Hawk Shred and a Passive Aggressive Post


You might have seen some video from me this weekend featuring Jane’s Addiction or Tony Hawk. Then you might have been scratching your head wondering why Jessica is at a backyard party where Tony Hawk (and friends) are skating on a half pipe, while Jane’s Addiction performs. It did not happen because Tony Hawk sent me a handwritten invitation. I was not there because Perry Farrell knocked on my front door and said, “Please, I can’t possibly perform without your presence.” I was invited as a guest of Activision.

Tony Hawk is pretty passionate about making skate parks available to kids everywhere. He talked about using his influence to help build skate parks in neighborhoods where kids don’t have a place to play. It’s easy to want to contribute to his foundation, and I was thrilled to be at an event that built a skate park for kids in Long Beach. He talked about how the skate parks all closed down in the 80’s because of insurance costs, and that he was so bummed because he didn’t have a place to play. Which makes sense, because I remember kids skating in empty swimming pools, and in sewer pipes that were waiting to be installed. Kids skated everywhere.

But then kids started grinding on stairwells, and signs started popping up. NO SKATING. And suddenly skating was a crime.

Tony Hawk and Activision have a new game coming out in a few days. It’s called Tony Hawk Shred (TH Shred), and like TH Ride you can skate through all the places where no one wants you. I’m pretty sure that Shred is the only way I’ll be able to ride a skateboard around New Orleans, and I’m absolutely certain that it’s the only snowboarding I’ll ever do (I tried, snowboarding made me cry).

At this fabulous party I was lucky enough to try Shred. Basically it’s like Tony Hawk’s Ride but everything is bigger and better. The kids love it, and so do I. The only thing is that it does make noise. There’s a thump thump thumping that is only allowed after 9am in this house. On the good side, they work up a good sweat playing.

I didn’t get any pictures of myself or Jane trying out Shred, they were all super blurry, but I was able to snap a few of my friend Lolita’s boys. They had a blast.

Tony Hawk Shred Demo

Now, for the passive aggressive part of the post. I asked the folks at Activision if they would want to do a giveaway for the game. And they said, “no”… which I think we all know means “maybe”. Right? I’m pretty committed to pestering them endlessly until they agree that giving one of y’all a copy of this game would be the smartest PR move ever. Clearly when people want to know about good PR they ask me. Right?


The game goes on sale October 26, and it’s an awful lot of fun.

It’s A Very Good Day


When Tony Hawk invites you to Ron Burkle’s house for a little skating demo and Jane’s Addiction.

Perry Farrell was charming as ever

Tony Skated for everyone

And I’ll be posting about the whole experience another time, hopefully I’ll find a way to get at least one reader one of Tony Hawk’s new games.

It was just fun. Lots and lots of fun.

PUR And The Serial Do-Gooders Who Work There


Pur pitcherI’ve talked briefly about the Summit to the Summit party I attended last week, and I’d promised you more.

Summit on the Summit is a program created by Kenna. Kenna is a Grammy nominated recording artist originally from Ethiopia. A few years ago his father contracted a water borne illness and was deathly ill. Kenna’s father then told him the story about losing his best friend to a water borne illness at age four. Oh, and then at age 7. Another at age 11 and yet another at age 14.

Clean water in a developing country can be the difference between life and death. From infants to the elderly and everyone in between, water matters. If you recall psych 101 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs nothing can happen until the physiological needs have been met.

How does this relate to me? I know, I know, I asked the same question. Naturally, you can follow Summit on the Summit as they send out live tweets and climb Mt. Kilamanjaro. You can support Summit on the Summit Financially too.

You can also look at your own back yard. If there are water bottles piling up in your trash bin, I’d urge you to think about your health and the health of the planet. I have never been a fan of the individual water bottle. First off, I don’t want to drink water that’s more expensive than gasoline. That’s just not okay. Secondly, there isn’t a set of standards in place for water bottling. The City of Los Angeles provides me with more information about my water than a bottler.

I don’t like waste. I like the idea of using PUR, filtering the water I get from the city (for pennies), and enjoying clean fresh water at home. Unfortunately the world’s most developed nations have many of the same issues as emerging nations. Here in the US we have everything from pharmaceuticals to weed killers. Oh, also, they can add flavors… which is wonderful if you want it and weird if you don’t (this house is split on that one).

I got this information from the folks at PUR, which typically I’d summarize for you, but this time, well, they got it right:

Water Filtration:

PUR Water Filtration products do far more than provide great-tasting water. PUR reduces many unwanted contaminants to provide clean water right from your tap.

  • PUR is the first leading brand to claim removal of pharmaceuticals identified in U.S. tap water – more than 99 percent for PUR faucet filters and more than 96 percent for PUR pitchers.*
  • The main workhorse of PUR filters is activated carbon. Contaminants in water collide with the activated carbon particles and get trapped in the intricate pore structure of the carbon, thus removing the contaminant from the water stream.
  • PUR filtration systems remove 99.9 percent of microbial cysts such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium parvum, which can lead to intestinal illness.
  • PUR filtration systems remove 98 percent of lead and 97 percent of chlorine (taste and odor).
  • PUR is the only leading pitcher certified by NSF to claim reduction of the weed killer atrazine.
  • PUR is certified by NSF International and the Water Quality Association (WQA) and is tested by other third-party laboratories.
  • PUR reduces contaminants in the water while leaving fluoride, which is essential for developing and maintaining healthy teeth in children and adults, and has been granted the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval.

Drinking Water Infrastructure and Contamination:

  • In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s water infrastructure a grade of a D-.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency reported approximately 10-20 percent of human exposure to lead is attributable to lead in tap water.
  • In April of 2009, The Associated Press reported that a vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — were found in the drinking water supplies of 51 million Americans.
  • In August of 2009, The New York Times reported that the common weed killer atrazine may be dangerous at lower concentrations than what is currently allowed by the EPA, which may lead to birth defects and low birth weights in children.

Most importantly PUR has an ongoing commitment to giving. Every time you purchase a PUR system you are also supporting Dr. Allgood’s work, providing children everywhere with clean water.

Ooh, also, I met some of the folks at PUR and I’d really recommend you follow them on Twitter. They’re just nice. Really, nice is the new black. Dr Greg Allgood is @DrGregAllgood, Bruce Lux is @BDL3556, Rob Hite is @Hite RJ and Suzette and Dave Tomasi might have to be dragged into the world of social media kicking in screaming. Cuz ya know… they’re sorta adulty about it all.

*The kind folks at PUR brought me to a great party, this is my thank you.