We couldn’t pick a more suiting party to feature on our 6 month anniversary than this perfect DIY Spa Party from Coleen Hodges. After all we definitely could use a spa day ourselves here at blmommy. Gemma’s spa party was planned perfectly by her mommy and inspired by many ideas that Gemma requested herself. Pedicures, facials, and makeup are any girls go to pamper choices no matter how young or old and these little ones enjoyed all of that and more .
How has being a mother to your birthday boy/girl changed you as a woman?
Gemma is my oldest of three kids ranging in age from 7 to 21 months old. She was the first to make me a “Mama” and it is the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever done. I had Gemma in my last year of medical school, while I was applying to residencies and dragging a 3 month old baby all over the country for interviews. I did things then, and still do now, I could not have conceived of prior to having her. Like asking to pump in the middle of job interviews, breastfeeding in coach on what felt like someone else’s lap, delaying my graduation so I could spend more time with her as a baby. In my line of work there is never a good time to have a child, and younger people often ask me when the right time is? I always answer when the time is right for you. You can make everything else work around it. If you are ready to be a mom, go for it. It’s a never ending joy and continuously humbling.
What advice do you wish you give a new mom?
Enjoy it…every minute of it. Even the minutes you are not enjoying; the middle of the night awakenings, the feeding exhaustion, every single cuddle and smile. Everyone always tells you it goes so fast but you will never understand how short a time it takes for your baby become a toddler, preschooler, and school age child until you experience it. One minute you are cuddling in the middle of the night and the next day you are putting them on the bus to school. It’s hard to believe now, but one day you will look back and miss the sweet coos at 2am, and laugh about the ever present spit up on your shirt. Just remember as you go through that it’s only a phase, and even if it seems to never end, it will. Cuddle and hug those babies every moment, they are little for such a short, precious time.
Tell us a little about your birthday girl
Gemma is sweet, spunky little girl. She if both painfully shy and amazingly thoughtful. She has a real artistic flare and very clear visions of what she wants. She came to me with this party idea on her own, and she had clear visions of what she wanted it to look like and what activities she wanted to include. Once she has an idea in her head she pursues it relentlessly. It’s both an honor and challenge to be her Mama.
What was the theme and inspiration for your party?
Gemma requested a Spa party. Many of the details you see she asked for and I made come to life. Since the age of 2 my Aunt and I have been bringing Gemma along when we get pedicures. It’s one of the few indulgences for personal beauty I make. She has always loved to sit in the salon, have her nails done and being part of the atmosphere. When she came to me asking for a Spa party, I knew it was going to be great fun. She knew ahead of time that she wanted to do pedicures, facials, and make up. She insisted that it feel like a spa, with spa music, snacks, and flowers.
What are some of your must have items for a party?
Luckily I had most of the items we used from prior parties and as heirlooms. We are a very low key family, we have never used our fine china or crystal, not even for holidays. I loved that this party gave me the perfect excuse to bring out some of our crystal bowls and silver cake stands. The individual mirrors, bathrobes, and sandals were other things I felt were completely necessary. It was less expensive than you would suspect as well if you buy these pieces wholesale from shops online. My mother was kind enough to applique all the girls’ names on their robes as permanent keepsakes, and I love that the girls took home party favors they could use again.
Were there any vendors involved in the party ( i.e. cake, invitations, decor, entertainment)?
This party was orchestrated by us completely. My husband spent 11 hours the day before painstakingly hanging gossamer from hula-hoops connected to our fan in order to create the spa “room”. A lot of the paper products and candy wrappers were purchased off of Etsy as downloadable printables. I made all of the cupcakes, cake, and candy treats. The “nail polish” treats are marshmallows dipped in sugar crystals with tootsie rolls on top. Luckily the party itself was activity oriented, so no true entertainment was needed. We placed magazines on the couch for the kids to look at while they awaited their turn for the pedicures.
What is one thing you wish you had not included at the party?
With this party I had no regrets. Most the time there is an extra that we didn’t need, or an activity that didn’t seem as popular as it should have. This party however felt like it went perfectly and is my favorite birthday party for my daughter I have done.
And one thing you wish you had added to the party?
The most difficult piece of the party was finding enough space to fit all their feet in tubs for the pedicures and room for the adults to paint. My daughter was adamant that they would all travel through the activities as a group instead of splitting the activities up and doing rotations. I still don’t have a solution in mind, which is why we ended up on couch in the first place.
What is one thing you find beautiful about being a mother?
I now live for an entirely different purpose. When you are young you live for yourself, your friends, your own priorities. Once you have children they are the priority. In my life that can often be simple sacrifices for me, that my children will never really notice or understand. For instance I have two days off this week, the other 5 days I work 12-13 hour shifts in the emergency room. I don’t usually get home until 2am in the morning. So on these days off, I was up at 6am to help everyone get ready for first day of school, to take pictures, to give them hugs and kisses goodbye. I don’t technically have to, my husband is a wonderful stay at home dad and could do all of the above himself, but I wouldn’t miss it for all the sleep in the world. I find I have fewer friends, because after my work day or on my days off, the only thing I want to do is hang out with the amazing and amazingly frustrating little people we created. While I used to want to go out all the time, now I really just want to stay in or be together. If you would have told me before kids that this would be my life and it would be so fulfilling I would have laughed. The accomplishment of becoming a doctor was one of my most difficult and most joyous achievements, but it has no comparison to the pride I feel in my kids and the life we are building together.
What are your beauty must haves as a mommy?
This question has stumped me. I’d like to have the name of a to-die-for cosmetic or beauty product, but it would be false. I’m a full time working parent. The beauty must haves I can’t live without: a shower, hair gel for this mop of curly red hair, and some mascara. That’s about all I have time for every day. Oh, and sleep… sleep when you can get it is the ultimate beauty must have.
Words about your photographer?
Coleen is an amazing person. It’s wonderful that she can have such a passion and gift for something beautiful like photography and find time for it. She is also a busy mommy of 2 adorable kids, and we have the pleasure of working nights together in the emergency department. She is a gifted and caring nurse whose positive attitude brightens staff and patients evenings. I don’t know how she does it on so little sleep!
Like many other moms out there, I wears many hats: mother, wife, nurse and photographer. I can honestly say that I get to do something I love every single day. It’s not always easy, but it makes me who I am and I feel so lucky.
I got my first digital camera in 2011, when our daughter was born. She was my muse. I fell head over heels in love with photography. Then our son came along, my second muse. When he turned one, I was inspired by some amazing friends to just go for it…and my photography business was born. It’s been an incredible, humbling journey and I have met some amazing artists along the way. I need to give a huge shout out to Faythe and Beauty and Lifestyle Mommy Magazine for featuring my work twice! I appreciate it more than you know! And a huge thank you to those who have supported me (you know who you are!), because without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today!
Coleen Hodges Photography