Monday, September 23, 2019

NJ Spotlight - La Belle Vie Salon and Spa

Back to school is such a big transition for both kids and their parents.  Even though it inevitably happens every year, the onset of the new school year still seems to catch us by surprise.  Yes, it's a lot on the kids but it's a lot on the parents too, between balancing all the kids activities, helping out with homework, playing therapist for any social issues, aside from our own career and parental duties.

I can't stress enough how important it is, to make self care a priority  - so when I recently went to La Belle Vie Salon and Spa in Bloomfield, NJ, it was the perfect time for some "me" time.     I wanted to make sure my "cup was full" so that I had enough to "give back and share with others" as they say. 

As soon as I walked in, I was welcomed by a stunning woman with platinum blond hair that looked so chic against her all black ensemble.  This was Nonna, the owner of La Belle Vie.  I looked around and I could see stylists cutting hair, others blow-drying and styling.  It was the perfect set for pampering.  But Nonna showed me upstairs where it was quiet and perfect for spa services.  Nonna is a Licensed Esthetician and I've heard so many great things about the transformation she's done on people's skin.  But on this day, I went for a massage.     

Upstairs had several rooms for different services.  The guest area where we change is cozy and relaxing.  Classical piano played on the speakers.  There was a nice waiting area where you could relax.  Nonna had an assortment of pastries and champagne waiting which was such a nice treat.  She gave me a tour of the changing room where you had personal lockers to leave your items, they had every toiletry that you might possibly need beautifully laid out on the countertops.  They even have steam showers for you to use as you wish. 

I had a massage by Derek who I heard is the best of the best.  He was very professional of course, and was very good about asking whether the pressure was ok.  That's so important because I've had  massages where I cringed the whole time because it too strong.  He was great to chat with about kids and such and after, I finally just let myself fully experience my massage.  It was so amazing and I honestly didn't want it to be done when it was done. 

Afterwards I got to chat with Nonna and hear her story.  The Russian beauty immigrated here 26 years ago and actually has a Master's degree in Music  (Theory and History of Classical Music).  She loves playing the piano.  She became an esthetician and opened a salon in Montclair  - defying the odds. She opened it at a time when the market wasn't too hot but when you have a following, you have a following.  Her customers remained loyal and she was able to stay in business.  When the opportunity for her current location opened up, she took it.  La Belle Vie is a great stand alone building that is so easy to get to and has ample parking spaces in its lot.

Nonna told me about some of the things they've used the upstairs for and they've done pampering parties for bridal parties where the girls would alternate between massages and facials for a day of pampering before the big day.  They also do couple's massages and more. 

Overall my experience was exceptional.  Derek was very very good and Nonna was the perfect host.  She was so hospitable.  So much so that when I complimented her beautiful necklace, she literally took it off and gave it to me.  It was such a special gift and I never take it off.

Go treat yourself to a back to school treat since and see their impeccable services and hospitality firsthand!  They even have a special treat for all of you guys.  La Belle Vie is offering 15% off your first treatment with Promo code: KAREN15 ! Hope you get in some "me" time!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Unique Party Ideas for Your Daughter That Will Wow Even Yourself

Have you been scrolling through Pinterest looking for unique party themes and ideas for little girls?  There are so many great options but the key is to think out of the box.  Here are 6 great ideas that we've done through the years that were a big hit and reasonably priced:

1.  Breakfast at Tiffany's (1st Birthday) - The key is to have the Tiffany blue color throughout the party.  I got white boxes from Michaels and painted them in the signature Tiffany blue color. I used these as the center piece for the tables and put flowers and/or photobooth props in them.

For the birthday girl, we got her a black tutu dress from Etsy to mimic Audrey Hepburn's iconic look, complete with a crown and of course a statement necklace.

For the favors, the kids were able to fill Tiffany Blue beach pails with prizes from a big treasure box and treats from our dessert table.  The favorite by far were white pearlized gumballs that I strung ribbon through to look like pearl necklaces.  Those were a HUGE hit.

And to finish up the decor, we printed up some black and white pics of Audrey Hepburn and placed them in frames from the dollar store.

2) Circus themed party (2nd Birthday) - the key to this is to create a backdrop that looks like a tent to keep with the theme.  I got this black and white stripe gossamer roll from Oriental trading that I literally use for every party.  Its pretty inexpensive and I use it for everything.  So my over all theme was black and white stripes with hints of baby blue and baby pink throughout.

Our dessert table had black and white striped popcorn boxes that tied back to the theme.  We had those peanut shaped candy you can get from the dollar store, cotton candy, cupcakes, and much more.

For the games, we had circus themed games with ticket prizes.  And once everyone collected their tickets they could choose from a variety of prizes.

3) Little Mermaid (3rd Birthday) - The backdrop and decor for this party was very much a DIY project but so fun and so reasonably priced.  For the main backdrop I used streamers and balloons.  Streamers are so cheap and make such a statement for backdrops.  For another vignette at the party, I folded construction paper, all in tonal blues and purples for an underwater feel.  I like to think they looked like abstract fish.  My balloons were fuschia for that pop of color.

For the food, we got super creative (courtesy of Pinterest).  We made croissant sandwiches and added googly eyes to make them look like crabs.  We also cut up hot dogs so it looked like mini octopus after they were cooked.

My most favorite part was our surprise guest, Ariel.  I think all the moms were more mesmerized than the kids.  She was so beautiful and she read a book to the kids and even sang a few songs from the movie.

And to top it off, each guest got to leave with their own beta fish :) Those were a huge hit.

4) Unicorn Party (4th Birthday) - This was a fun unicorn and rainbow party.  For this backdrop I used rainbow colored streamers.  Again such a great price for the impact it makes for your party.

Of course the goody bags for this party had unicorn slime, unicorn knick knacks and a cute unicorn stuffed animal.  Oh and each child got a mini birthday hat that I got from the target dollar section.  They were small outlined with glitter and almost looked like unicorn horns so they were so perfect for the occasion.

The wow factor for this party though was 2 pretty unicorns that came to visit. Each guest got to ride on the unicorn around the block. They even got to feed them so the kids were super excited about that.

5) French themed Ooh la la Party (5th Birthday)  - This was a pink and fuschia themed party.  The decor inspo was a fresh flower shop on the streets of france.  For the awning I used my black and white stripe gossamer paper.  I had a rustic ladder and I added silver vases with faux tulips and other tonal pink flowers on it.

For the activity (and also their giveaway), the kids got to "adopt" their very own french poodle stuffed animal and they got to make their collar out of pipe cleaners and lettered beads.

Of course we had french macaroons on the dessert table.

6) A Hoppity Bunny Party (6th Birthday) - The color theme for this party was pink and green - for that garden vibe.  For the backdrop I used a balloon garland for the first time and I was sooo happy with the results.  It was so easy to put together (I got the kit from etsy).  And then I added some greenery to it for keep with the theme.

For the dessert table, I again added my black and white stripe gossamer paper as a table runner.  I rented rose gold table and cake stands from here and I decorate with beautiful moss green bunnies.

For our activity, upon the birthday girl's request, we had a mini easter egg hunt out in the backyard. And for our giveaways, we gave everyone a cute stuffed bunny to take home.

And then for the grand finale, we had live bunnies for the kids to play with.  But the live bunnies brought along some of their friends.  We basically had a mini petting zoo complete with an Alpaca, mini donkey, mini cow, and even a mini pony for the kids to ride.  They really had a lot of fun.

(Photo by Davin Tes Photography)

So, there you have it - my 6 unique party ideas for little girls that will wow everyone, even you.  Which one is your favorite?  Comment below.  And feel free to share any other ideas you may have for girls.

Thanks for reading!!