GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN

New business specializes in themed birthday parties for young girls

TIFFANY PAKKALA
tiffany.pakkala@staugustine.com
Published Sunday, February 10, 2008 in the St Augustine Record

ST. JOHNS It’s not easy to hold the attention of a group of squealing 8-year-olds loaded with birthday cake, but Amelia Davis and Shelly Rich have the gift.

They also have the supplies, whether their pint-sized clients dream of being princesses, celebrities or pampered spa patrons.

That’s why parents in St. Johns County are hiring them to handle their daughters’ birthday parties, from the entertainment to the favors to the food and tablescapes. The stay-at-home moms from St. Johns Glen are the co-founders of Girly-Girl Parteas, a new business specializing in themed children’s parties.

“The idea started in Amelia’s head and then we just kind of went crazy,” Rich said. “We both have young children, and we wanted to be able to stay home with them. This allowed us to do that while still making a little money.”

Princess parties, spa parties and other themed “girly” parties are catching on all over the U.S., giving birthday girls and their friends an excuse to dress up and play make believe or at least to feel pampered.

But birthday services weren’t available in St. Johns County until now, Rich said. Once Girl-Girl Parteas opened for business, word spread quickly, and the women soon found themselves booked every weekend.

Olivia Driscoll, 8, knew she wanted Girly-Girl Parteas to handle her birthday celebration as soon as she heard about their spa parties.

On a recent Friday night, the Timberlin Creek Elementary School second-grader invited eight of her best friends to join her for the pampering session at her St. Johns Golf and Country Club home.

The treatment began with the girls standing in a line giggling, squeaking and jumping up and down as they waited their turns to put on a white robe and pink flip-flops. Then they crowded around the Driscoll family’s kitchen table to peer into tulip-shaped mirrors and put on face masks.

“This is all about pampering yourselves. Put it on like icing, really thick,” Davis told the girls as she squirted her homemade mask mixture into each of their hands. The masks are made of all natural, edible ingredients.

The girls obediently smeared the gooey masks on their faces, staring in the mirrors all the while.

Then Davis led them to the living room, where they laid on the floor, covered their eyes with cucumbers “to prevent puffiness” and listened to relaxation music as the masks dried.

“You’ll look a year younger when you’re done with this,” Davis said in a soft voice as the girls followed her command to take deep, cleansing breaths.

When time was up, the girls wiped their faces clean with towels.

“You look a LOT better,” one girl told Olivia after examining her friend’s face.

Next, the girls took turns having Davis paint their nails while Rich lead the others in an activity making their own body glitter.

“This is just so different,” Olivia’s mother, Renee’, said. “The more we talked about it, the more I liked the idea.”

At the craft table, the girls each received plastic bags with clear aloe vera in them. Each girl chose a colored glitter and a fruity scent to mix into the bag.

Then they enlisted Olivia’s dad, Bill, for help as they squeezed every last drop of their homemade body glitter into decorated containers.

“My hands are going to smell like fruit for a while and sparkle,” the dad said after he dutifully assisted them.

Davis and Rich finished the session with popcorn, strawberry smoothies and pedicures. The girls wiggled their toes in warm foot baths while they munched on their snacks. Then Davis dried, lotioned and massaged each of their feet, and Rich followed with toenail polish.

“This is like, the best birthday party ever,” Olivia’s friend Bella Parra said as she munched her popcorn and soaked her toes.

Olivia’s elder sister, Kate, motioned to their mother and whispered in her ear.

The mom laughed and said, “Kate’s already asking me to book her party.”

Princess Party

The next day, Girly-Girl Parteas was back in full swing, this time with a princess party for a 4-year-old. But not just any 4-year-old: it was Davis’s daughter, Mia’s birthday.

A dozen girls showed up for the party, dressed in swimsuits or leotards that would fit comfortably under princess attire. Then each girl chose a poofy princess dress, jewelry and plastic high heels to wear for the party.

That was just the beginning of their princess getups.

Each of the girls had a turn having her makeup and hair done by the party hostesses, then each had her nails painted. When they were finished, each was wearing a crown, carrying a wand and looking glamorous.

They crowded into the Davis living room, which was set up with a tall, cardboard castle and full-length mirrors. Each girl took a turn staring at her new, princess-like image.

The girls made castle- and crown-shaped magnets to take home with them. Then they settled down together for a group photo.

Just as they were about to scramble in different directions, there was a knock at the door and in walked a woman who was introduced as the Princess Belle.

Dressed in the same yellow gown Princess Belle wore in Beauty and the Beast, the woman looked and played the part. She delivered balloons and a rose to the birthday girl, then posed for a photo with each individual girl.

The children were very quiet and bashful, watching the princess’s every move.

“We’re twins!” one girl, who was also wearing a yellow gown, delighted when it was her turn to sit with the princess. Another girl draped her legs over the woman’s lap and threw her arms around her.

Once each girl had had her turn, the woman read a story about princesses and politeness to the children.

When she turned to a page showing Belle and the Beast, she exclaimed, “Oh! There I am!”

The girls giggled with delight.

The princess also held a “grand coronation” ceremony, during which she dubbed each girl a princess and draped sashes with the girls’ names on them over their shoulders.

When it was time for snacks and cupcakes, the princess sat next to Mia as she blew out her candles.

The birthday girl dined with her friends on tea sandwiches, fruit, cheese and crackers. They drank lemonade from fancy china teacups and finished off with dessert.

Davis and Rich were busy keeping the party moving smoothly from beginning to end. Several moms stayed for the whole party so they could watch. They gushed about the hostesses’ attention to detail, commenting that a lot of work goes into the parties they throw.

But one mom had a serious suggestion: she wants Girly-Girl Parteas to start offering a new party perhaps, with the addition of a little wine for grown-ups.

With birthdays already filling up every weekend, unfortunately for that mom, it looks like Davis’ and Rich’s younger clients will keep them busy enough.

Did you know?

Birthdays have been celebrated for the past 6,000 years.

Before 4,000 B.C., there were no calendars, hence there was no way to keep track of time and birthdays.

Kings were the first to celebrate birthdays, but it wasn’t until many years later that common people began to keep records of their birth dates.

Now, cakes, candles, presents and cards appear at birthday celebrations all over the world. The birthday card made its debut in England and the U.S. in about 1850, shortly after the first Christmas card.

Source: Hallmark.com

Birthdays on the Net

To find out how many days, weeks and hours old you are, log on to www.paulsadowski.com/birthday/asp

To find out what happened on your birthday in history, log on to www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do

To find out what holidays will be celebrated around the world on your birthday, log on to www.earthcalendar.net

To find out what celebrities were born, died or got married on your birthday, log on to http://us.imdb.com/M/on-this-day

The Parties

Girly-Girl Parteas has become a hit in northern St. Johns County, handling all the details of themed birthday parties. Each party package includes two hostesses, background music, digital photos of the party, setup and cleanup.