GIFTING LOUNGE: GBK’S GIFT LOUNGE & FAMILY CARNIVAL IN HONOR OF THE 2017 TEEN CHOICE AWARDS

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GBK’S GIFT LOUNGE & FAMILY CARNIVAL IN HONOR OF THE 2017 TEEN CHOICE AWARDS

Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the big one at the top of this page.

Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the big one at the top of this page.

This one was held in an incredible venue—the Houdini Mansion in Laurel Canyon. I’ve lived not far from there for most of my adult life, and had no idea of its existence. And I even worked at the Magic Castle once! So, a great big thank you to GBK for showing me this spectacular property in my own ’hood!!!

Because this was also a carnival, we attendees were encouraged to bring our kids.  There were a lot of fun games and activities for the little ones, and there were even nanny services, so the grown-ups could enjoy perusing the gifts without being distracted. That was so thoughtful of the organizers!

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

I loved the whole lay-out of the event.  There were sponsors in every nook and cranny, so finding them all was like a treasure hunt!  My contributing writer for this one was Lisa, who is an artist, so this was the perfect event for her to assist me with! She appreciated it all, and had this to say about it: “The exterior of the Houdini Mansion was a lovely hillside garden setting with stone steps, tiled patios, and beautiful brick walls. There were whimsical gargoyles and a row of concrete loins overlooking a cliff side. The carnival atmosphere was colorful and playful without being gaudy or grotesque. It was a fun theme that any kid (or kid at heart) would enjoy.” And we certainly did!

Here are the highlights of the gifts, followed by the food vendors, all of which we loved.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Pilot Pens—My heart always soars when I see these colorful pens at GBK’s events! There were so many writing utensils at this one that they had their own room!!! The lovely reps took their time to show us their new line of Frixion erasable colored pens and markers. Lisa was thrilled to try them right out on site, and commented, “As an artist, I’m excited about being able to erase the Frixion pens. And the best part is that there are no ‘eraser crumbs!’ “ I’m far from being an artist, so I was just fixated on the rainbow array of colors! www.pilotpen.us

Photo by Lisa Politz.

Photo by Lisa Politz.

Shop Off My Case—This was one of the most fun, creative sponsors I’ve seen in a long time! And their reps were just darling! They were gifting personalized cell phone cases. Very personalized ones. Every guest got to choose his or her entire design, complete with sparkly glitter and hearts or diamonds, if one so chose. Artist Lisa was impressed that “the font is super-cool and easy to read.” I say: Finally—my name up in lights in Hollywood!  www.shopoffmycase.com

 Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Pariah Underwear—Lisa and I are always looking out for our men, so we were happy to discover this new line of men’s underwear. After we looked over the line, which features several good colors and come in both long and short, we decided they they must be very comfortable and breathable. And best yet, Lisa said they “look cool!” And you just know that we all like to see a guy in attractive skivvies! www.pariahunderwear.com

 Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Bluestone Wireless Headphones—I’ve learned a lot about headphones from the krump-dancing Mr. X, so I was happy to learn of this brand. They were gifting “sport earbuds,” which have so many cool features. My favorite is that they’re waterproof, which is perfect for sports, which are sweaty enterprises!!! www.bluestonewireless.com

Mallory and Madison.  Photo by Lisa Politz.

Mallory and Madison. Photo by Lisa Politz.

Angels and Tomboys—These attractive young sisters, Madison and Mallory, are the heads of their own body spray company. The scents are designed for teens and tweens, but I have a feeling they appeal to everyone. Lisa took a whiff of them all and said the Candy Star Glam has a “smell good, feel fresh, playful kind of aroma.” And the Cotton Candied Apples fragrance reminded me of my days in the circus…when I was a teen-ager myself! But what these girls are doing as young entrepreneurs is a far cry from being The Divided Lady, as I was back then!  www.angelsandtomboys.com

Photo by Lisa Politz.

Photo by Lisa Politz.

Action Flipbooks—Lisa put it simply—after a day of owning one of these custom-made flip books, (featuring us—on a beach!,) she said, “I can’t stop flipping over this flip book!” She means it—she even sent me a video of her flipping the pages of the mini book, even though I have my own. What a fun addition to any party this activity is! www.actionflipbooks.com

Photo by Lisa Politz.

Photo by Lisa Politz.

PongStarz—Not only was there a ping-pong table right out at the pool for everyone to try their hand at, but pro Kim Gilbert was gifting certs for a complimentary lesson. Lisa received one, and said, “Who doesn’t love ping-pong? I played in the basement as a teen-ager, and I’m ready to warm-up the paddle again. I’m looking forward to honing my skills!” She’s tough, so we all better watch-out for her! www.pongstarz.com

Alvina working on Karen Salkin's nails. Love that color! Photo by Lisa Politz.

Alvina working on Karen Salkin’s nails. Love that color! Photo by Lisa Politz.

Nail Garden—I always love seeing this manicure service at events! Even though I didn’t even need a mani this time, I just could not resist the mini pampering sesh. Alvina did a polish change for me lickety split, which was great because it got me back out to the rest of the sponsors in no time. And my choice of a creamy lavender color with a shiny accent nail was perf! The best part is that every guest left with a new polish to take with them. What a double win for us! www.nailgarden.com

There was a constant food fest at this one, which foodies like us really thank GBK for! In addition to the fun carnival food, like hot dogs, chips, and cotton candy, there were these highlights:

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

The Mug Shakes—This was a new one, to probably the entire assemblage. This company who makes the most creative ice cream treats I’ve ever seen, is located in Rancho Cucamonga, so we may just have to take a day trip out there to get more of them. This is how Lisa explained the Oreo “shake” she tried: “This mug included not only ice cream and Oreos but they also surrounded the rim of the mug with the cookie crumbs. Just when I thought the whipped cream was the last detail going in, I saw the creators add a cookie-coated ice cream bar as a topper! Phew! Now that’s a mug of ice cream!!! Of course I was wondering how I would eat the whole thing, and I continued thinking that until the very last delicious slurp!” We all had our choice of different flavors, and every guest had a smile on his or her face as they enjoyed theirs. www.themugshakes.com

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Ike’s Place Sandwiches—Lisa had never had the pleasure of meeting Ike and his team before, and trying their sandwiches, so she was especially happy with them. Guests also received a choice of tee-shirts, and after looking them over, Lisa said that one with bright and beautiful colors, which says “You Are Beautiful” front and center, was her fave. She added, “That’s sort-of how I felt about Ike and his food.” She tried a sandwich that contained roast beef and turkey, and said it was “so darn good. I don’t know what the sauce was on it but it was very flavorful without being overpowering and the bread was the perfect combination of substance and chewiness. I’m looking forward to another Ike’s meal. That was a flavorful, satisfying, and beautiful sandwich!” I agree with it all! www.ilikeikesplace.com

IMG_3735Pop-Pa’s Gourmet Popcorn—We both really enjoyed this new entry into the popcorn game. Lisa said, “I admire the owner’s creativity in making the ‘Fiesta’ flavored popcorn.” Speaking of creative, I really admired the clever visual they featured at the front of their booth at the carnival. It was a pair of giant popcorn containers, with popcorn-colored balloons coming out of the top! Adorbs! [Photo of them to the left.] So, back to the popcorn itself, there were a quartet of flavors to choose from, and I chose the cinnamon. I echoed Lisa’s sentiments when she commented, “My only complaint is that the sample package was too small!” www.poppaspopcorn.com

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