My five-year-old daughter Maggie is in preschool five mornings a week. This leaves me missing my time with her. (As a stay-at-home mom, I never thought I'd lament the day that one of my children was more independent, but I do!) So last Saturday I decided to somewhat remedy the situation by taking her out, just the two of us. I'm so excited that she’s finally at the age where we can do mutually fun "girl stuff" together. I filled the afternoon with a haircut for her, manicures, shoe shopping and lunch—all in Annapolis.

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Downtown Annapolis has many, many options for hair and nails, but I chose Varuna Salon Spa located at 1 Park Place #11, near the Westin. Varuna is an Aveda salon, which gives it name recognition. A friend actually recommended it to me because she takes her young son there for haircuts, and seeing as this was Maggie's first "big girl" haircut complete with shampoo and blow dry, I actively sought a vetted kid-friendly location. You can make an appointment by calling 410.268.2828 or visiting Varuna's website.

Maggie began her appointment with her haircut. The stylist led her back to the shampoo bowl and hiked Maggie up on a booster seat so her head would reach the curve of the bowl. Maggie found the entire experience hilarious! She couldn't get over the water, which apparently (literally) tickled her. She giggled so much that I didn’t think the stylist would be able to finish the shampoo. Being the five-year-old that she is, Maggie asked a lot of questions at each juncture ("What is that? Why are you putting it on? Where did you get it from?"), and I was thoroughly amused. Maggie even exclaimed, “Mama! This is funny! We should do girls days more often!"

IMG_3190 My daughter and I on our "girls day out".

Following the shampoo, we made our way to the stylist chair for the cut and blow dry. I should brief you: My daughter has a lot of thick hair. It's genetic. We're Nutwells on my mother's side, and if you've ever known one (there are a bunch of us roaming around Southern Anne Arundel County), you have probably noticed the head of hair that comes with the territory. My aunt has breast cancer and she didn’t even lose her hair at the appointed time. No joke. So Maggie’s chair experience was not as pleasant as the shampoo experience, simply because it took forever to cut and blow dry her mane. I did my best to distract her and tell stories, but her only questions during this portion of the day were, "Are we done yet?" and "When can she be done?

Fortunately nails were next and she was amped up to pick "sparkly" polish. The stylist ushered us back to the nail area, which is very private and Zen-like. I was thankful there wasn't a massage in-session because keeping a five-year-old quiet (or at least my overly friendly five-year-old!) is nearly impossible. Maggie quickly selected sparkly gold and I chose a more neutral pink. I can't say the manicure was relaxing, but as someone who washes hands—mine and theirs—a million times a day, it was necessary and much appreciated.

We left Varuna on a mission for a balloon, per my date's request, so I sought shoes from Nordstrom (in the Westfield Annapolis Mall) where they give balloons to shoppers in the children’s department. She needed spring sandals, so I thought: Two birds with one stone; perfect! Maggie chose plastic, jelly-like Jack Rogers' sandals, much to my chagrin because I truly doubt the between-the-toe stiff plastic will be comfortable for my active child. But man are they cute! I wish I dressed myself even half as well as I dress my children.

We rounded out our day with a quick lunch at Chipotle, also in Westfield Annapolis Mall, because Maggie was craving quesadillas. I admit, I wanted more of a sit-down experience; after all, this was my girl’s day out too. But as a mom, the name of the game is always "adjusted expectations". What I envision is never quite what I end up with, and we certainly had a few bumps and necessary attitude adjustments, but overall I really loved my day with my little girl. Next time you have some time to spend with your loved one(s), I hope you find what you’re looking for in Annapolis.