Women in Profile: Owner Spotlight

Women in Profile: Owner Spotlight
Published in St Augustine Women’s Journal Feb-March 2015 Edition

Kayla was born and raised in St Augustine, Florida. She and her husband share two Siberian Huskies, Aiden and Sasha, and are excited for the arrival of their first child in May of 2015. As a graduate of Flagler College, she worked hard to earn an MBA by the age of 21. Her education and professional experience focuses on marketing with an emphasis in social media.

As a former Director of Marketing and self-taught graphic designer, Kayla strives to provide effective marketing solutions for business owners with services including social media marketing, blogging, copywriting, graphic design and brand management. She currently manages social media and marketing accounts for several clients including Herbie Wiles Insurance and MenuMax. Previously, she worked for Community Income Tax, assisting in the growth of the company to 90+ offices within the first year of operation. She was also contracted corporately by Hurricane Grill & Wings for a co-op marketing campaign for eight Northeast Florida franchise locations. In addition to her many marketing endeavors, Kayla is co-owner and Character Coordinator for Girly-Girl Partea’s Inc, Northeast Florida’s #1 choice for themed children’s parties and character entertainment. She manages all character performers including hiring, training, scheduling and costuming, in addition to running the company website and furthering the Girly-Girl brand through social media and other marketing initiatives.

For six years Kayla served in many capacities with the St Augustine High School cheer program and helped secure a FHSAA competitive finalist placement for the first time in school history in 2013. She is also active with the Police Athletic League cheer program and has helped choreograph their competition routines since 2011. Kayla is available for freelance and non-profit marketing opportunities.


Superheroes visit children at St. Johns Golf & Country Club

Superheroes visit children at St. Johns Golf & Country Club
Published in Saint Johns Sun on February 5, 2015

Posted: February 5, 2015 – 12:06am
Audrey Arnold and Wonder Woman smile for the camera.  Graham Martin

Graham Martin
Audrey Arnold and Wonder Woman smile for the camera.
On Jan. 11, St. Johns Golf & Country Club hosted a Superhero Brunch. Wonder Woman and Spider-Man welcomed children to the brunch, posed for photos and spent time visiting with the children.

The part of Wonder Woman was portrayed by Erica Morris and Spider-Man by J.T. Tungett. The characters were provided by Girly Girl Parteas of St. Augustine. Girly Girl Parteas specializes in providing character-themed children’s birthday parties and similar events.

Surprise for Boselli Foundation kids

Surprise for Boselli Foundation kids 
Aired on First Coast News on February 1, 2015

A surprise straight from EverBank Field!

Twelve kids from The Boselli Foundation thought they were just getting a tour of the stadium until they met First Coast News anchors Heather Crawford and Chris Porter out on the field. See where the FCN You First Squad and the Jacksonville Sports Council is sending them!

The Boselli Foundation strives to help local children living in at-risk neighborhoods. Learn more about their mission here –> http://www.bosellifoundation.com/

Share acts of kindness you’ve seen in our community: tweet us @FCN2go using the hashtag #YouFirst or follow us on Instagram and tag First Coast News in your pics.

Santa visits with children at the St. Johns Golf & Country Club

Posted: January 1, 2015 – 10:04am  |
Samantha and Natalie McDonnell sit on Santa's lap and put on their best smiles for the camera.  GRAHAM MARTIN

Samantha and Natalie McDonnell sit on Santa’s lap and put on their best smiles for the camera.

The Saint Johns Golf & Country Club hosted a Breakfast with Santa and Elf on the Shelf Dec. 13 in the club’s restaurant. They were served a great meal by Chef Burgin, but the children thought the best part of breakfast was visiting with Santa Claus.

The children were excited to visit with Santa and one of his elves, a.k.a. Ashley Savage, and share their Christmas wish list with them.

The jolly ole man listened intently as the children explained how good they have been and many thanked Santa for last year’s gifts and promised to be good into the coming year. Of course, there were also questions about Rudolf and the other reindeer and a few made promises to have cookies waiting for him when he visited their homes.

Santa wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Ponte Vedra library packs them in as hearts still melt over ‘Frozen’

There was plenty of singing, dancing - and bubbles - during the "Frozen" celebration at the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library.  Provided by Ponte Vedra Beach branch library

Provided by Ponte Vedra Beach branch library
There was plenty of singing, dancing – and bubbles – during the “Frozen” celebration at the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library.
 It wasn’t just that the parking lot was full.

Motorists began circling, looking for any possible spot where they might be able to fit. When it was obvious that there was absolutely nowhere else to park, they went next door. Then across the street. Then blocks away at a nearby grocery store.

This last-minute event turned out to be the coolest thing in town. Perfect for something inspired by the Disney film “Frozen.”

Anne Crawford, the youth services librarian with the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library, couldn’t believe it.

“We pulled this together in under a month and we were just blown away by the response,” she said.

Moms, dads and hundreds of kids — more than 900 in all — packed the library for a chance to get a picture with the Snow Queen and Snow Princess, modeled after the “Frozen” characters.

Crawford has a 3-year-old, so she knew the characters would be popular. But the line out the door surprised her; she was told at least one parent drove two hours for a chance to meet the fictional sisters of the animated blockbuster who discover what true love really is.

“It was a landmark event for me and the library system since I’ve been here,” Crawford said.

Even though the film has left theaters and is now on cable and DVD, its popularity has shown no signs of cooling.

Crawford said everything the library has that’s related to “Frozen” is checked out. There are 15 titles with multiple copies of everything ranging from board books and picture books to CDs. And they can’t keep them on the shelf.

Girly Girl Partea’s, the company that provided the Snow Sister characters inspired by “Frozen,” has been staying busy with parents seeking out the characters for birthday parties.


Crawford said it’s the story. “Frozen” is unlike other Disney movies. Spoiler alert: Prince Charming is anything but. And, in the end, when it comes to true love, what better love is there than that of family?

“I think it’s just a really special story,” Crawford said. “I think it’s such a strong message. Girls can be powerful, brave and love each other and do everything in their power to protect one another. Great message.”

Elsy Schneider, Owner, Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc

Women in Profile: Owner Elsy Schneider, Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc
Published in St Augustine Women’s Journal Aug-Sept 2014 Edition

Born in Mexico but raised in San Diego since she was 3, Elsy Schneider moved to Florida in 2002. She currently resides in St Augustine with her husband and son. Her husband has been in sales for Mercedes Benz for the past 4 yrs and her son is an 8thgrader at Swiss Point Middle School where he plays football. As a family, they love to go camping and explore different parts of Florida. In their spare time, you can find them at the beach, football games, movie theater and amusement parks.

Elsy is the owner of Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc, northeast Florida’s premier event planner specializing in children’s themed parties since 2008. When her son was young, she loved planning his birthday parties. As he grew up and became less interested in parties, she knew that passion would carry forward. Elsy loves providing a seamless expereince for her clients including high-end, customized décor, catering, candy buffetts and more. Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc offers character visits and various themed parties specifically designed for kids age 3-16. She can also work her magic to create a fully customized theme to make a client’s vision come to life.

This is the fourth year Elsy has taught spanish in St Johns County for Language Enrichment Exploration, a non-profit program that offers a second language taught after regular school hours. In addition, Elsy has always been involved with her son, volunteering at Hiclory Creek Elementary and serving presently as a parent volunteer for his football team.


Princess Characters Collect School Supplies

1 princess1

St Augustine, FL — Princess characters from Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc will be hosting a school supply drive to benefit students in need from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 at the St. Johns County Main Library, 1960 N. Ponce De Leon Blvd., in  St. Augustine next to the carousel.

Princess characters will include the Snow Sisters from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cinderella and Belle from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Rapunzel and her Prince from 12 to 2 p.m.

In exchange for school supply donations, participants will be able to meet and take pictures with the characters.

“It’s amazing to see how the community responds to our princess characters,” said Kayla Peloquin, co-owner and princess coordinator of Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc.

“We had over 900 people at our last event, we just wanted to find a way to give back and use that kind of turnout to really make a difference.”

All supplies collected will be donated to Tools 4 Schools, a program coordinated by the St. Johns County Education Foundation. This annual county wide school supply drive directly benefits the teachers and students in the St. Johns County School District.

For a list of items needed, go to www.girlygirlparteas.com/school

Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc. is Northeast Florida’s premier event planner specializing in children’s themed parties since 2008. They offer character performers, party décor and catering to create spectacular kid-friendly events. For more information about booking a princess for your next party or event, go to www.girlygirlparteas.com

Published by Totally St Augustine 

Durbin Creek celebrates Dr. Seuss and more

Posted: March 10, 2014 – 11:00pm
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Students having a wacky time at the Durbin Creek Elementary School Wacky Carnival that benefited a Dreams Come True Child.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Students having a wacky time at the Durbin Creek Elementary School Wacky Carnival that benefited a Dreams Come True Child.

Durbin Creek Elementary School hosted Wacky World of Durbinville Carnival on March 2 in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

The families in attendance were able to enjoy entertainment like a magician and wacky science show, crafts, storytelling, games, carnival rides, book fair and of course carnival style food.

Local vendors added to the fun with wacky hair, face painting, balloon fun and caricature drawings. Our own school celebrities (aka our teachers) also helped entertain the children by reading Dr. Seuss books.

Besides having fun, the reason behind hosting the carnival was to provide a dream for a sick child. This is the fourth year that the PTO from Durbin Creek has sponsored a child’s dream through the Dreams Come True organization.

The students participated in a change drive during the week that brought in $2,000. They are still working toward a goal of $4,000. Our dream child Gabby is 6 years old and battling neurofibromatosis.

Anna and Elsa, princesses from the Disney movie Frozen, came to our school to surprise Gabby and reveal her dream — a trip to Disney World. The reveal party was made possible by donations from Girly-Girl Parteas Inc. Gabby and her parents begin their trip on March 16; they will be in Orlando for a full week.

Event chairs Jennifer Zunic and Melinda Chesser did an outstanding job of organizing the day and coordinating all the events. The PTO would like to thank everyone who came and supported the event. Donations for Gabby’s dream are still being accepted. Checks can be made out to DCE PTO; write “Gabby’s Dream” in the memo line. The school address is 4100 Racetrack Road, St. Johns, FL 32259.

Jacksonville’s Best Entertainment for Birthday Parties

Several months ago I posted about our favorite birthday party venues in Jacksonville, and today I am following up with some wonderful options to add some fun to a party at home. Our family seems to go to LOTS of birthday parties so most of these we have experienced first-hand. We think these are some of the best vendors in Jacksonville!

Mom Tip: You can often get a glimpse of what party vendors have to offer by checking out Family Nights at local restaurants.


Hands down our favorite bounce house rental company! Competitive pricing, clean bounce houses, but best of all great customer service. We have Spacewalk at most of our birthday parties and love working with Gus. I have used him for other events – he gives a discount to churches, schools, and other non-profit agencies! In fact, my first experience with Gus was when volunteering for a Christmas party for foster children at the zoo! Not only do they offer bounce houses, but they also offer concession machines and party supplies.

Mom Tip: Make sure that the bounce house rental company leaves a tarp in front of the entry to the bounce house.  This helps keep the bounce house a little cleaner and provides a spot for kids to leave their shoes. Not all bounce house companies do this, but Spacewalk does!

Little Barrels of Fun Jacksonville Birthday PartyLittle Barrels of Fun

Perfect for a choo-choo train party – a fun little train that comes to you, Little Barrels of Fun! At the party we attended, the train just did laps on the streets around the house. The driver, wearing his engineer’s cap, was as nice as could be. Here’s their Facebook page for more info.

The Pottery Lady

We’ve never had her for a birthday party, but I have arranged for The Pottery Lady to come do several playgroup events for groups of moms, babies, and toddlers. So much fun and such great customer service. Kristin’s pottery pieces, paints, and supplies are top quality, and she always returns the fired pieces of pottery with a quick turnaround time! You can often see her at the Riverside Arts Market selling her beautiful ceramics.

Mom Tip: I usually buy a cheaper piece for my kids to paint to keep them busy while I am working on my “masterpiece” that includes their precious little handprints and footprints!

Twist of Fun Balloon ArtTwist of Fun Balloon Art

We love Twist of Fun Balloon Art! Justin is an elementary school teacher and father, making him great with the kids. He is fun, patient, and super talented! Parents and kids all love him! I feel like he can make ANYTHING out of balloons. My kids alone have gotten a frog with a long tongue complete with a fly on it, a wiener dog, a panda, a giraffe, a rocket, a penguin, a tiger, a Scooby Doo, a bomb, a lion, a coiled-up snake, and a ladybug. He always makes a balloon that fits the party theme. Once he did ALL of the Yo Gabba Gabba characters, and at another party we attended he made the dad an awesome beer mug! I love the fact that he is NOT dressed up as a clown.

Mr. D, Caricature Artist

Mr. D (Bob Drost) does amazing artwork. We usually try to make on of  Mr. D’s  Chick-Fil-A family nights, but we also recently had the pleasure of attending a birthday party. And it goes to show that family nights are just a GLIMPSE of what these vendors do for parties because we liked him even better after seeing him at the party. After the party, he gave the birthday girl a collection of caricatures of all the guests at her party! Call or email Bob at 904-349-2177 or bobdrost3d@yahoo.com.

Mom Tip: When our caricatures are finished, we like to make photocopies and let the kids color them!

Bricks 4 Kidz

Perfect for that birthday boy or girl that is intrigued with Lego bricks! Bricks 4 Kidzprovides Lego games with energetic host/hostesses. At the party we attended, the kids built their own vehicles and raced them down a track. They also did a relay race with buckets of Legos. The host even turned cleaning up into a game! We also attended a special group event hosted by Bricks 4 Kids. It was not a birthday party but an interactive Lego experience. My big kids got to try out the motorized Lego bricks to put their creations into motion and my little one used Duplo blocks to make an alligator.

Debra Heuskin Face Painter JacksonvilleDebra Heuskin, Face Painter

Wonderful face painter – we met her at a family night at Zaxby’s. The first person to paint my babies’ faces. She does “Disney quality” work. These are faces you would pay $15 or more for at Disney. A mom herself, she is great with the kids and always amazes me with her patience! Check her out on facebook or go visit her at Riverside Arts Market!

Mom Tip: We use baby wipes to remove face paint from those cute little faces!

Captain Character

Captain Character brings loads of entertainment. He’s basically a one-man show with puppets and magic. He also does balloon twisting, face-painting, and even passes out cotton candy!

Pinto Pony Party JacksonvillePinto Ponies

A friend of mine just threw a party for her six-year old daughter who is really into horses right now. She was very happy with Pinto Carriage Works, and believes without a doubt that this was a party her daughter will never forget! The guests fed the ponies carrots and all enjoyed several rides. They were even allowed to hold the reins making it seem like they were real cowboys and cowgirls. Yeehaw!

Rollin’ Rita’s

Rollin’ Rita’s we probably know best for their frozen drink machines, but they do have other fun party rentals like chocolate fountains, generators, misting fans, and outdoor heaters.  I learned about Rollin’ Rita’s several years ago through one of the Junior League of Jacksonville’s annual fundraising events, and now I look for them every year.  Never disappointed!

Diamond D

Yes, you can have your party at Diamond D Ranch or for a fee they will come to you! Pony rides, petting zoo, and horse drawn wagon are a few of the options they offer off the ranch. We have had them at school functions and always see them at the annual Hooked on Fishing event in Jax Beach.

Mrs. Bubbles Bubble Party JacksonvilleMrs. Bubbles

We used one of Mrs. Bubbles’ bubble machines at a school event, and it was a big hit. I mean who doesn’t love bubbles? Most of her events, she brings music and creates a bubble dance party!

Do Your Own Thing

Be Creative! It’s easy to add a little entertainment to your party without spending a fortune. At one party, the hostess had a friend come dressed as a hula girl to teach the guests a little hula dance. At another, the mom had a friend come to her son’s super hero party dressed as a villain to get sprayed by all the guests with silly string. We also once arranged for a hairdresser to come to a friend’s glamour party to give all the guests a fun hairdo! You can just have a friend dress up as your child’s favorite character. A quick little appearance adds so much fun for the kids.

Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc

Girly-Girl Partea’ Inc has been northeast Florida’s premier children’s event planner, specializing in themed parties since 2008. As a mobile business, they bring the party to you and cover all of your hosting needs from set up to clean up and everything in between. They provide multiple pre-packaged party themes including princess parties, spa parties, classic tea parties and tween parties for the St Augustine and Jacksonville areas. They are also available for custom party themes, designed specifically to fit your needs. Girly-Girl Partea’ is best known for their entertaining and authentic princess characters including the Snow Sisters, Cinderella, Tinker Bell, Little Mermaid and more. They are in the process of expanding into boy party themes as well with hopes to add superheroes, pirates and themed holiday characters very soon. Visit their site view package options, pricing and photos.

Links to other vendors in Jacksonville

Hire A Fire Truck – Hire a Fire Truck

Sugarplum Entertainment – Princess Parties, Pirate Parties, Clowns, and Magicians

Julius Magic – Fun magic shows

Street Party Game Truck – Mobile Arcade

Mrs. Kate – Sing-along interactive show with puppets

Clix Photography – Event Photography

Childrens’ birthday parties are big business on the First Coast

Parents aren’t settling on cake and balloons to make their kids happy

Brooke Spreitzer (third from right) had her ninth birthday party at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Spa.  There was the princess party for their daughter’s first birthday. And the Mexican-themed party complete with a Mariachi band for the third.

But since Beth Spreitzer’s daughter, Brooke, wanted just the girls for her ninth birthday, Spreitzer rented an oceanfront room at Ponte Vedra Inn & Spa. There, the girls played kickball on the private beach and sipped smoothies between pedicures and facials.

The Spreitzers are an example of those buying into a booming business in Jacksonville and the rest of the country: children’s birthday parties. Informal surveys show that in recent years, on average, parents spend $200 to $400 on birthday parties. And some wealthy families may spend up to $5,000 or more, said Heather Downs, a professor of sociology at Jacksonville University. That’s a far cry from the Pin the Tail on the Donkey and paper streamers of the past.

Downs also attributes the rise in cost to higher expectations nowadays from children for lavish events. Parents may also use a birthday party as an opportunity to network with their colleagues, particularly for parties for 1- and 2-year-old children.

“Parents view the birthday party as a chance for children to fit in with their peer group,” Downs said. “The parents are going to do what they need to for the child to fit in.”

Why invest in a party? For the Spreitzers, it’s not about competition among other parents or wanting to impress friends. The parties provide an opportunity to give Brooke an experience she can remember, Beth Spreitzer said.

“Growing up, I had great memories of my birthday parties,” she said. “[We] want to make sure, as well, that she has great memories of her birthdays for years to come.”

Dozens of places in Jacksonville now serve as venues for birthday parties, offering everything from inflatable houses to jump in to full formal teas for tots, and often are booked weeks in advance. And for those brave enough to have a party at their home, there’s a plethora of party planning companies and performers to pick from.

Amelia Davis and Shelly Rich co-own girly-girl partea’s Inc., a St. Johns County-based company specializing in custom parties for girls, often packed with princesses and pink. Their themes include red carpet and spa parties, like the one they put together for the Spreitzers.

“Parents now really want to give a great party for their children,” Davis said. “I think they’ve gone through all the other parties and thought, ‘you know, let’s step it up a notch.’ ”

Davis said girly-girl partea’s is mostly referral based, and their schedule fills up quickly. When they started their business in 2008, they had a modest number of parties they worked on. In 2010, girly-girl’s business has nearly doubled and has had clients all over Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, Portia Gillespie, owner of Sugar Plum Entertainment, said her business is a full-time job with a steady stream of clients.

For the past 14 years, Gillespie has seen children’s birthday parties escalate and become more elaborate. She’s performed as a clown, magician or pirate at birthday parties for children as young as a year old.

“It doesn’t seem to matter if [the family is] affluent or not affluent,” Gillespie said. “People do find money to spend on their children because they want to make it special for their child.”

Gillespie declined to share her prices with the Times-Union, but said in Jacksonville, performers are typically paid $150 to $200 an hour.

Jacksonville isn’t alone in buying into children’s parties. A recent episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” featured housewife Taylor Armstrong spending $50,000 for her 4-year-old’s backyard party. A new TLC show, “Outrageous Kids Parties,” shows one family spending more than $30,000 for their daughter’s princess party, complete with a horse-drawn carriage.

Amscan Holdings, which operates the Party City franchise that has locations in Jacksonville, reported a net income increase of 32 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to its U.S. Security & Exchange Commission report. Its latest quarterly report for the first nine months of 2010, the latest available, has shown a net income increase of 20 percent compared to the first nine months of 2009.

Downs said throwing children’s birthday parties away from the home, at higher-priced venues, ups the cost even more. Although a homemade cake and some party hats used to cut it, nowadays companies are offering packaged deals that include food and entertainment. And when you venture outside of the home, it can only add to the overall cost, she said.

Pump It Up, an inflatable bounce house business on Beach Boulevard, offers its pizza party, which includes pizza and an hour and a half of jumping for about $400 for 12 children. That doesn’t include the add-ons such as goodie bags or extra kids.

Chuck E. Cheese, a birthday party staple, now charges $12.99 per child for a birthday party, with a 10-child minimum.

If you decide to stick with the home party, expect to pay at least $100 per hour for a performer and $100 for a bounce house. Want to throw in a petting zoo? That will cost you at least $250. And don’t forget the cleanup.

And, the more parents spend, the higher the likelihood that other children will expect more for their own party, which increases the pressure on parents to put together something special, Downs said.

“It seems like some people get caught up in the consumerism,” Downs said. “They go to the party store and things get out of control. I think there’s something about that.”

But are extravagant parties a bad thing? Some party vendors, such as Gillespie, see it more as a celebration of the child and not something that should be viewed as silly.

“I feel like I’m in the business of making happy memories,” Gillespie said. “I think the parents are after the memory.”

Spreitzer said the best part about giving Brooke a great birthday is how grateful she is to have the party, and she never expects to have anything over-the-top, which makes it even more special.

So what’s the plan for Brooke Spreitzer’s 10th birthday? A Disney cruise, her mom said.