I'm going on year FOUR of planning kid birthday parties, and any parent who knows a thing or two about birthday parties, knows that a kid birthday is like planning a White House state dinner. You promise yourself it'll be something small, 'let's keep it intimate' you say, but then it just builds and builds and the next thing you know, Poof! You got a birthday extravaganza of MTV proportions on your hands. But this year, I did want to keep it simple and I wanted it to be intimate and Maya was gung-ho about having her 'Cinderella party.' My challenge, however, was finding the right venue. I was stumped. I live in the Downtown Miami area and the choices for kid party venues are limited. I wanted something different that was still tailored to Maya's interests. Maya loves to paint so I was hoping to find somewhere that was reasonably priced; yet would deliver a top-notch birthday experience.
Coincidentally, my friend told me about Zig Zag Zebra and suggested I check it out, and I'm so happy I did! Zig Zag Zebra is an art studio located in the Bird Road Arts district and it is the brainchild of former elementary school teacher, Maylene Medina. When I met Maylene, I knew that I was dealing with someone who not only was extremely passionate about cultivating creativity, but she adored children and had an ease when it came to getting them to focus and embrace their artistic personalities all while making it fun! She has an infectious, happy-go-lucky personality and its evident in the way the children interact with her and take pride in whatever piece of art they are creating. And I love that about her! Not only does ZZZ kids serve as a birthday party venue, but they also offer art classes for children, summer camp, and specially tailored art workshops for your little one to enjoy. It's a studio where mess is applauded and there's no such thing as a small idea! The world is your canvas. Literally.
I had found the perfect place to host Maya's 4th birthday.
Maya's one birthday request was that she wanted a Cinderella-themed party. When I told her about doing a princess painting themed birthday to go along with her idea, she was giddy with excitement. I narrowed down the invite to her closest girlfriends- a few family and school friends - and thought it would be cute if they all came dressed as their favorite princess! I ran the idea by Maylene and she loved it! She even suggested the girls paint a princess-themed canvas. We went with a royal crown! I customized Cinderella invitations on Paperless Post( www.paperlesspost.com ), purchased Cinderella themed plates, napkins, cups, balloons and additional princess decor at Party City, and ordered a yummy Cinderella cake from Publix.
One of Zig Zag Zebra's selling points was that in addition to being a very kid-friendly environment, it also allowed for the adults to mingle in a separate area but also interact in the art studio with the children if they chose. We were allowed to bring wine, which to me, is a necessity when you're dealing with a kid birthday party. It was so wonderful to see the parents help the girls with their paintings, but also socialize over good food, good conversation, and good wine!
When I arrived to set up for the party, I was in awe of the studio space! It's such an inviting space that feels so welcoming with all different artwork hanging on the walls (painted by other kids), the vibrant colors and accessories in every corner of the art room, and the play area set up for the children that was used in between painting sessions. It was a such a happy space and I knew that I had picked the right location for my sassy little girl! And when I saw the main table set up with 15 mini chairs and paintbrushes, along with the crown canvases and the tiny smocks for our little Picassos, I was obsessed! It was a painter's paradise and I couldn't wait for the girls to take their seats!
When Maya arrived at the party in her Cinderella dress and she saw the sign with her name outside, she was so happy. When she went inside and saw all the decorations and saw the set up with the easels and canvases on the table, she said, "Look mami!" She couldn't stop staring and she was taking it all in. It's the only seal of approval I needed. The princess painting party was so far, a success! Little by little, all the princesses showed up and took their stools in preparation for the painting class! Maylene gave the girls a quick rundown of what they were going to be doing and gave them a lesson on all their tools and colors so they knew exactly what to do. Watching these girls so focused on picking their colors and painting these crowns was so awesome to watch. They were having such a great time. Once they were done, Maylene and her assistants (did I mention how hands-on and helpful her team was) worked on outlining each of the paintings and the girls were brought in one by one to personalize their respective canvases with jewels and rhinestones. They took it very seriously!
While the paintings set, I had Maribel, from Yartu Face Painting (https://www.facebook.com/YARTUart/), come and do her magic on the girls. Talented is an understatement when it comes to Maribel. There's nothing she can't paint. She's a whiz with a brush and her face painting options are limitless. She painted everything from My Little Pony to Unicorns and Mermaids. Needless to say, the princesses were pleased! After face painting, we sang 'Happy Birthday' to Maya and because I'm an emotional mess when it comes to my kids, I teared up. I got emotional not only because of how much she was enjoying her party, but because I'm watching this little girl become such a kind, intelligent, and independent being that it makes me so proud to see her beauty blossom into something so pure and sweet. She closed her eyes tight to make a wish and had a smile from ear to ear when she blew out that candle. My only hope for her is that she continues to share her loving and curious spirit with those around her. We are so proud to be her parents! It was extra meaningful to have my dad, his wife, and my aunt here for the party. It really made Maya's day.
Before the party came to an end, Maylene had all the girls take their paintings and pose outside for a group picture with their masterpieces! They were so proud and so excited to show off their crowns. And because we didn't want the painting adventures to end, each princess went home with a goodie bag that included a paintbrush, a paint palette, and a princess canvas to decorate at home.
Coco and I were so pleased and so delighted with the way that everything turned out. Zig Zag Zebra and their 'paint squad' went above and beyond delivering unforgettable memories and guaranteed fun for Maya and all her friends. The next day at school, I had several parents tell me how their girls couldn't stop talking about the party. Funny enough, neither could Maya! If you're looking for a unique and personalized birthday party experience, look no further than Zig Zag Zebra.
A special thank you to Jenise Subervi of Photos by Jenise for doing such a brilliant job in capturing all the joy and sheer fun of Maya's 4th birthday! Her photos were visually engaging and perfectly show what a great time everyone had!
To book your party at Zig Zag Zebra, visit their website at www.zzzkids.com or call owner extraordinaire, Maylene Medina at (786) 853-1889.