the spa

Oh, what to do… what to do. I scratched my head and pondered what a little girl, who was turning eight, might want for a birthday party. Flashes of Rock Star, Glamping, and American Girl doll parties flew across my screen as I dug deep into Pinterest. Nothing was striking a chord until I stumbled across spa parties. My eyebrow went up and I smiled. That’s the ticket and hoped my daughter would feel the same way. Sharing the photos and sharing the concept, she jumped on the bandwagon immediately and we were off to party plan.

Since I am not an spa expert, I pretty much leave that to the professionals. So, I hired a service to help with the create an at home spa. I only found two companies, who will come to your home and provide a spa experience geared towards little girls. Ironically, there were a ton of these mobile companies available in Florida. I have NO idea what that was all about.

I wanted relaxation, not makeovers. I wanted skincare, not glitter and hairspray. So, I settled on PrimaDonna Makeover. Little girls wrapped up in fuzzy pink robes enjoying facials eye gel masks, mini manis, and spa themed activities. A perfect rainy January birthday party.

It was an extra special birthday this year because it fell on Saturday, which meant she was having her birthday party ON HER ACTUAL BIRTHDAY! This was of the utmost importance in Ava’s mind, so she was over the top excited. She hardly slept Friday night and was awake when the sky was still painted with the deep pink and purple of dawn.

The party decor was simple, I was depending on Yolanda from PrimaDonna to provide the essential accoutrements. I set out pink roses, feather boas entwined with twinkle lights, swirly twirly birthday decorations hung from the ceiling, matching metallic balloons, one HUGE Happy Birthday sign, and a wonderfully sweet chocolate kitty cake with cookie ears from SusieCakesSpecial thanks to Gentry by Celebration Specialist! This is the room, pre-PrimaDonna arriving.

Post-PrimaDonna transformation; a spa was born. There was a special birthday chair cover, matching spa accessories, soft pink robes, and comfy chairs; all mixed in with one eager birthday girl.

Mia settled into one of the pink fuzzy chairs and pulled a Tiger Beat magazine from the pile. She was particularly happy with the One Direction poster of Harry Styles (Yes, I know who he is!) embedded in the center. She asked Yolanda if she could keep the magazine. It is still sitting on her dresser.

Scarlett, our cat, wasn’t so sure about any of it. She knew something was up and she wasn’t terribly excited about it.

Ava was growing impatient. She stood in front of the house, on the side of the road; waiting for her friends to arrive.

Soon the house is filled with friends and excited squeals of little girls ready to spa!

Eagerly they dressed in their robes, sat down in their chairs, and put on their soft fuzzy hair band. Simply, adorable.

They started with a chocolate facial mask. Each girl mixed her own mask as Yolanda measured it out and poured water in each individual cup. She worked with the girls on how to apply it to their faces. Some girls smeared it slowly and deliberately. Others smeared with more confidence in wide swipes. Either way, they giggled as they looked in their mirrors. They had to wait for it to dry and kept checking with each other to see their progress. Mia thought if she went outside into the fresh air, her face would dry faster. Of course, we had to do a group photo just before they washed it off with cozy white towels.

Up next were the soothing eye gel masks. Super Hero comments swarmed the room. Masked heroine’s danced around the room and put their arms in the air like superman. Yolanda brought them all back into the fold and they all colored face charts. Each one as unique as the person coloring it in.

As girls finished their pictures, a burst of super silliness erupted from the guest bathroom. A gaggle of girls burst out laughing and talking about some dance they were planning to do later when we fired up the karaoke machine. Yolanda quickly reeled them back in with Pin the Candle on the Cupcake. She had a way with the girls, like a maestro conducting an orchestra. Taking them from crazy crescendo down to a hushed diminuendo.

Next on the menu was to create their own lip gloss. Little decorative plastic tubs secured with petal pink tops. Just a little vaseline, lemonade mix, and some messy mixing. Voila! A sweet pink gloss emerged from the sticky goo. Each selected a jeweled sticker for the top. Interestingly, they all picked the same one. I was glad they kept track of their lip glosses, there was no way I would have been able to tell them apart!

The painting of nails was last on the list and the girls organized themselves into who went first, middle, and last. This is what a girl scouts will do. They’ve learned to work together over the past two years. Pretty impressive, to manage themselves this way. Rainbow sparkles, purple sparkles, and neon blue were just a few of the colors to choose from in her bucket of nail polish. It was hard to choose just one, so most girls chose two colors.

While they waited their turn, the karaoke machine came to life downstairs. The guest blow up bed turned into a home made rocket jump, bean bag chairs were carried around, singing, and a silly sassy silliness vibrated from the room below. Their frenetic dance party created an energy which pulsed through the house; creating mini earthquake of birthday joy.

Finally, it was time for birthday cake! Eight candles, plus one sparkler shaped like an eight. A booming round of Happy Birthday. Big slices of cake served onto polka dot plates. Devoured. Everyone tumbled back downstairs to unwind the bundles of sugary cake energy  into dancing, singing, and jumping on the unexpected trampoline, aka the guest inflatable bed.

Before long, it is time for her guests to go. Tired girls picked up by parents, clutching their newly made lip glosses.

Ava had two of her friends stay for an sleep over. Which to be honest, included very little sleep. Giggles floated up throughout the night to the upstairs bedrooms. The girls watched movies, ate popcorn, and shared the unexpected trampoline as their bed. Eventually at some point during the night, they moved into the guest room and slept there. In the morning, they told stories of a baby goblin, which I’m still not sure if it scared or delighted them. But isn’t that what sleepovers are all about? Not actuals sleeping, but building friendships?

Breakfast brought piles of chocolate chip pancakes and fruit. They spent the morning painting each others nails with the nail art set Ava received as a gift.

Needless to say, everyone was exhausted, but in the most wonderful of ways.

Full of birthday happiness, Ava hugged me tight. Best birthday ever, she said.

As part of gift giving this year, we honored a new tradition and asked that the money which would have been spent on a gift be split between a donation to Ava’s favorite charity, The Nine Lives Foundation, with the other portion to be put towards one big gift. In a world filled with so much stuff, it was refreshing not to have piles of gifts. And she still had plenty of boxes and envelopes to open from family, so she really didn’t need more. Instead, she received beautiful handmade cards from her friends and a donation towards making the world a better place.

And through this generosity, we were able to make a really nice donation to the Nine Lives Foundation, a truly no-kill cat shelter. Ava made a card, took her donation box, and gave it to the founder, Dr. Rudiger. Then as we often do, we stayed to pet the cats. The girls love spending time with all the different cats in all the different rooms. Warm and fuzzy volunteering. It’s hard to leave without wanting to take one or two of the residents with you. It’s a special place and an easy way to teach the importance of being kind to animals.

Happy 8th birthday, sweet girl. Watching you grow up is a privilege and I am lucky the stars chose me to be your mommy. Love you to where the rainbows, unicorns, and fairies are born…. and back.

Love, your mom

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