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Quinceañera Trip Report Part 3: eyebrows, holograms, and the Circle of Life

on January 9, 2017

The day of my daughter’s Quinceañera dawned bright and sunny.  In fact, we had excellent weather during the whole trip.  It was cold but not freezing, and clear for the most part, with just a few sprinkles here and there.  Anyway, I had gone to sleep mentally reviewing the list of things that needed to happen today.  First, we got up and dressed, and stopped by the front desk to check into the extra room we reserved for tonight.  Then we made our way to my parents’ house, where DH and DS would be heading to the bus stop.  They were going to my beloved American Museum of Natural History, one of my favorite places in the world.  To use a British term, I was gutted not to be going with them.  My husband made my son very happy by spending the day with him at the Hayden Planetarium in the Rose Center for Earth & Space, since he’s been pretty into space and planets for a while now.  They made sure to stop and get some yummy NY food, too.  This worked out well, because everyone else was getting ready or doing last-minute things and my son would have been bouncing off the walls with boredom.  He got to ride the bus, go through the Lincoln Tunnel, then ride the subway and be in this room, which I love:


Ooh, planets in proportion: this Hall is called Scales of the Universe

While they were off on their city adventure, my dad and I went to the venue to drop off some party items, like the box for the gift envelopes, the pillows that would hold the tiara and high heels, the cake topper that was used at my Quinceañera, the cake cutter that I used at my wedding, and the place cards.  Then, I took DD to start her hair process.  When she was about halfway done, my cousin and I went to get our makeup and hair done.  Don’t worry about DD- she was on her own just for a bit, then my mom joined her at the salon and watched as she got glamorous and glittery!

Meanwhile, I was frustrating the heck out of my makeup artist.  My eyes DO NOT respond well to false eyelashes, so I don’t wear them.  But this was a fancy party, so…  She first attempted to stick them to my eyelid UNDER my natural lashes.  Nope.  After 10 minutes of them not sticking at all because my tears were dissolving the glue, she tried putting them on ABOVE my lashes.  That went…better, I guess?  I still teared up a lot.  They didn’t fall off, so that’s good.  The one corner kept coming off, though the dramatic eyeliner hid it well.  This makeup artist was also a fan of dramatic eyebrows.  When she was done with my face, I looked in the mirror and swear I saw this:


Princess Mia, too thick

As soon as we got back to the hotel, I grabbed a q-tip and thinned them out.  Because I was going for something closer to this:


Princess Mia, a bit too thin

And it worked- see? 🙂


Me, just right!

Anyway, my daughter was applying her own makeup at the hotel when my cousin and I arrived.  DH and DS were already there, and getting dressed.  We had arranged for a get-ready room at the venue so as not to take the chance of dirtying the dresses traipsing through the hotel lobby and out to the parking lot.  So into the garment bags the dresses went, and I consulted my “stuff to take to the venue checklist” one last time.  When we arrived, the DJs and the décor lady were waiting in the lobby.  They were supposed to be setting up already, but the event that was happening before ours in the hall went over a bit.  The décor lady was having a bit of a fit over not having enough time to set up before our start time, and some of our guests had arrived already (early), and saw us talking to the event staff about the delay.  Thank goodness DD wasn’t wearing her dress yet, or it would have ruined the big reveal.  We got reassurances from the banquet captain that the vendors would be given priority to go in and set up, and went up to our room.  After some time getting dressed and doing last-minute touches of makeup and hair, we went outside for formal photographs (brrrrrrr).  I peeked into the ballroom to look at the decor and LOVED it.  Finally, it was time for the party!


We entered: me, DH, and DD’s father, then DD escorted by DS!  Traditionally, the escort is a close male relative of a similar age to the party girl.  We tried our best to get one of DD’s favorite cousins from Ecuador, but his US travel visa was denied.  Grrr.  So DS it was, and he was very handsome indeed in his tiny tuxedo!  Though it is safe to say that DD stole the show in her beautiful dress.  I definitely heard oohs and ahhs.  DS led her to the decorated fancy chair at one end of the dance floor.  Time for some speeches.  DD’s father welcomed all to the party, and said some nice things about DD in English.  Then I took the mic, and did the same in Spanish.  I cried, and so did DD!  My father, too!  I was shocked.  But I was glad that my words came across as heartfelt- I had done well writing them on the plane.

Next, some ceremonies.  I had the honor of placing the tiara on DD’s head.  She was the birthday princess, after all.  Then, we did the slippers-to-heels ceremony.  We changed DD’s shoes from her slippers/flat shoes- in this case, awesome Adidas hologram superstars that twinkled in the lights– to her symbolic 1st pair of heels.  All part of her becoming a señorita.  DH changed one shoe, her father changed the other.




Then, it was the most important moment of the party: the waltz.  Here’s some background info from Quinceanera.com:

The waltz is a coming-of-age tradition that showcases the refinement and grace you are now expected to display in your everyday life as a young woman. Traditionally in Mexico, a young girl could not dance in public aside from school functions or family parties, and the waltz during the Quince party was seen as the first time she could publicly dance in front of her friends!

In Ecuador, the waltz is usually danced with the father, and the escort.  Well, DD hit a triple, because she first danced with DH, then her father, then DS.  My kids choreographed a cute little number for their section of the song, Tiempo de Vals by Chayanne.  It went off perfectly, and <completely biased opinion alert> was the most adorable thing that has ever happened, ever.

Finally it was time to PARTY!  The DJ was amazing!  We had a well-done mixture of cumbia, merengue, DD’s beloved K-pop (Korean pop), top 40 hits, salsa, some Motown, bachata, and classic house.  We ate a fantastic buffet dinner, and then did the candle ceremony.  15 important people from DD’s life came up and lit candles with her, then sang Happy Birthday as she blew them all out.  An ice cream sundae bar was enjoyed.  I threw my heels off at some point.  We gave out the favors.  Later, DD herself gave a bilingual “thanks for coming, and thanks mom and dads for the party” speech that I was very impressed by!  I hadn’t reviewed it, she just ran it by my mom and cousin for proper Spanish grammar.  Nice job, DD 🙂  We all took hundreds of pics and video, and caught up w/friends and family members.  My parents looked so happy, and my sister, too.  They were instrumental in helping us pull this off from across the country, and I was glad to see them having so much fun.

All too soon, 5 hours had passed, and the DJ was announcing the last dance.  I had requested Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  A beautiful song, with a nice nod to both the crossing-over aspect of a Quince party, and to our Hawaii home.  More crying here.

We had had great service by all of our vendors, and I made sure to let the DJs and the banquet captain aware of our appreciation <wink, wink, slipped them a cash tip>.  We gathered everything up, and trekked back to the hotel.  DD had some fun counting up her haul (cash/jewelry are the traditional Quince gifts).  She had happily shed the heels, crinoline, tiara, dress, and makeup as soon as she got to the hotel room.  She feel asleep next to me, looking much like she did when she was a little girl, just taking up more of the bed now.

I stayed awake a bit longer, contemplating the huge milestone we had just completed.  At the entrance to the party, we had the traditional portrait of the Quince girl, in her party dress.  I had made it a collage, with 1 picture of DD during every year of her life alongside the dress pic.  Next to that collage, we had another, which displayed pictures from my mother’s Quince, my sister’s Quince, and mine.  I loved my Quince and look back on those memories very fondly.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of “Circle of Life” from Disney’s The Lion King. I don’t know where she will be going to college yet, who she will marry, or where she will be living as an adult, but I hope that someday in the future, DD will have a quiet moment to herself, remembering her Quinceañera in 2016, and looking down at her little girl as she sleeps.

2 responses to “Quinceañera Trip Report Part 3: eyebrows, holograms, and the Circle of Life

  1. VivaLaDiva405 says:

    :: ugly cry emoji ::


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