What a year age 10 was. My daughter Ally went from hoarding My Little Pony everything to asking Santa for a Clarisonic and lip gloss in a matter of 12 short months. Age 11 has brought a newfound love of all things girly to our life. Ally is passionate about fruity smelling beauty products, YouTube hair videos and any errand involving a trip to the mall.
When it came time to choose a theme to celebrate her 11th birthday, something involving beauty was an obvious choice. I always try to incorporate some sort of activity or useful DIY into parties. It keeps things flowing nicely and eliminates awkward “what should we be doing” party moments.
I figured these girls are headed to Middle School next year so what a great opportunity to teach them some daily skin care and hygiene regimes in a fun setting. Less princess makeover, more real-life skills that are age appropriate. We settled on a spa party with an incorporation of swans and beautiful flowers and desserts.
Why swans? No reason. I just really like them right now.
I always begin any party prep with a couple inspiration pieces. It usually includes a color palette, a pattern, or in this case, a swan! I found beautiful invitations (at Minted) which help set the stage with a color palette of blush pink, black and white, and pops of greenery. Ally invited four of her closest friends to join her for a morning of Swans, Sweets and Spa Treats.
We set a gorgeous spa table for the girls in the center of the room. Each table setting was prepped for facial success.
We incorporated some of my favorite beauty products into the girls’ facials. I love using Fresh products on my face, not only because they are made with real ingredients, but also because they’re so indulgent and effective.
Each guest had a palette of products laid in fresh rose petals and leaves, set inside vintage serving trays. They doubled as a great way to show the girls correct portion sizing when using products.
Once the girls were dressed in spa robes they settled in at their spa table. I have a great friend, Heather (also part of my bake shop team, lucky me!) who spent years working for Nordstrom beauty. She stepped right up and ran the girls through a quick, informative skin care lesson from washing your face with a great cleanser (I love the Soy Cleanser, AKA once one of Oprah’s Favorite Things!) to the importance of applying sunscreen each day. We all agreed none of us want to look old. Wear your sunscreen!
Multiple times throughout the morning, I daydreamed about being Ally’s friend and not her mom. How fun to be part of this party!! Heather may be teaching this lesson again to my group of girlfriends..
After they washed their faces, they applied a rose petal infused face mask and relaxed with cucumbers on their eyes while the mask worked its magic.
Between spa sessions, the girls took a break to refresh with rosemary infused sparkling water and indulged in a chocolate fountain.
The table was set with an abundance of dipping pieces from rice krispy squares, oversized marshmallows, mini brownies and lots of fruit!
Napkins are always a necessity, especially with drippy chocolate. I found an assortment of fun patterned napkins and runners from Minted that coordinated our invite and party color palette.
After plenty of chocolate, the girls were taught a few simple hair techniques. Let’s be honest, as a mom, it’s really nice when kids can get themselves ready in the mornings! Top knots, simple braids and mermaid curls are great styles for tween girls.
We celebrated the birthday girl with a stunning dessert table of treats fit for a princess.
When I need to purchase decor for parties, I like to invest in pieces we can use after the event, instead of a one time use. For the backdrop of Ally’s dessert table, I used a fabric pinboard (by Minted) that we can use later in Ally’s room or loft space. The fabric coordinated the invites and table linens, which pulled the whole look together.
My talented friend and florist, Kelli (of Country Bouquets Floral) added pops of flowers to the top corner of the board and pinned a few sporadically around the board for a touch of life.
Kelli also added a gorgeous arrangement to the top of Ally’s birthday cake using an assortment of blush pink roses, black and white anemones and eucalyptus. I have to say, this cake is at the top of my favorites list!
Swan shaped sugar cookies and flower crown pb cracker cookies filled the dessert table.
Ally had one request for her party, the bake shop’s pie cookies. We personalized them for her party with a little birthday greeting. She loved it!
We lit sparkler candles, sang Happy Birthday and our special girl made a wish.
For the final pamper session of the party, the girls relaxed with their feet in a hot foot soak filled with fresh flowers, herbs and salts while whispering about all the things 5th grade girls whisper about.
Of course we couldn’t send the girls home empty handed. I love a good party favor! Ally treated each guest to all of the Fresh goodies they used during their facials.
Swans may have been random, but after the party came together I realized that swans were actually quite perfect for this group of girls and the stage they are in. They’re growing, changing and turning into beautiful little young ladies, just like how swans develop as they grow. We are so proud of Ally. With each year she grows into a sweeter, kinder and smarter girl. Happy Birthday Ally!
To host your own spa party with tweens, here are a few tips you can relay to your party guests:
-Wash face every Morning and Night or after you get home from a sports activity. (Easy to keep your cleanser in the shower so it is easy to access while they do their morning or evening bathing)
-Wet face with warm (not hot) water
-Use a dime size amount of cleanser and apply gently! Remind the girls how important using gentle not harsh pressure on their delicate skin is.
-Apply cleanser with fingertips using a circular motion
– Once face is clean remove cleanser with warm water and pat your skin dry with a clean, dry towel.
-After you cleanse your skin you want to apply a toner. A toner helps restore the PH balance of the skin that your cleanser and water throws off balance. Without a toner your moisturizer cannot absorb fully.
– After you tone, take a small pea sized amount of moisturizer. These girls are first time skincare users so starting with a moisturizer for all skin types is a great start for them. -A very important lesson for the girls to learn early on is too not over use their skin care products. Start with a small amount and then add a tiny bit more only if necessary.
-The girls also learned how to apply a skincare mask. Masks are great extra nutrition for the skin. Usually left on for 10-15 minutes before you remove and put on your daily moisturizer. A good habit is for the girls to start applying a mask once a week. Perfect for a Saturday night slumber party or on a Sunday night before their big week at school.
Gorgeous Photography: Kelly Clare Photography
Florals: Country Bouquets Floral
Linens & Stationary: Minted