Friday, July 3, 2015

Five on Friday: {July 3, 2015}

Happy July 4th weekend Gals! I cannot believe how quickly the summer is flying by and that we're already into July! Sadly, I think I'm one of the only people who actually still has to work today, but I'm still super excited for the holiday weekend ahead! And at the very least, I am coming off of a short week thanks to my fabulous Florida getaway, so I guess I really can't complain too much! As always, we're kicking things off with our five favorites of the week:

Florida Vacay
This pretty much sums up the entire trip!
As I mentioned above, this past weekend was my long awaited Florida vacay to celebrate the wedding of GG's college friend, A. We had such an amazing time, and even though we were only away for 4 days, it truly felt long to us and was just what we needed to recharge our batteries and also enjoy a little adult time together. 
GG and I before the wedding
 We were able to enjoy lots of fun in the sun, relaxing reading on the beach, and some fruity cocktails, so all-in-all, it was a great trip! 
The amazing resort pool
By Monday I actually was ready to come home, especially to give Little M tons of hugs and kisses! It was great having some alone time with GG, but we both missed him terribly and were very grateful for lots of facetime with him while we were away!

Wheel of Fortune
nbd - just some wheel of fortune swag I won during the audition
Upon arriving home Monday night, I was greeted with some pretty amazing news in my mailbox - I was selected to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune! After B's Millionaire performance, I totally got bit with the game show bug, and decided to submit an audition when I heard they'd be coming to New York for tryouts in June.  So I quickly put together a jokey 60 second audition video, submitted and about 2 days later found out that they wanted me to come and audition!
Yes, I totally kept that pencil as a keepsake
 The audition process was pretty crazy (and I'm planning to do a full recap soon in case there are any other hopefuls out there!), but overall I thought it went well and I left being told that if I was selected, I'd receive a letter within 2 weeks with the details. I was getting pretty nervous before I left for vacay since it was exactly 2 weeks since I had auditioned, but lo and behold, the letter was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got back!
 So now I continue to play the waiting game, and will be called once they have selected a film date for me, which could be anytime in the next 18 months! I'll be sure to keep everyone posted and in the meantime, I'm planning to be a hardcore wheel watcher to get in as much practice as possible!!

Party Planning for Little M's 2nd Birthday

I cannot believe in about 2.5 months, my baby will be turning 2 years old!
When did my baby become a little boy?!
 After having a pretty big first birthday party for him (check out the details here), I originally wanted to keep it low key for this year.. BUT... you know I can never resist a good party, especially one with a theme, so I threw all of that out the door and decided to do it up again this year, haha! I'm really not planning anything too crazy - we're just planning to have close friends and family over for a BBQ, but the devil's in the details and I can't wait to put together tons of personal touches and fun, crafty details.
 I'm pretty sure we've settled on a train theme (Little M loves himself a choo choo!), and have already sufficiently pinned my little heart out with cute ideas - I'm thinking more vintage train rather than the Thomas/Chuggington variety, so stay tuned as I embark on lots of party planning goodness!

Fireworks at the Beach
Our July 4th will be fairly low key this year, though I do have big plans to take in the fireworks, since it just isn't 4th of July without them! We're headed down the shore to my in-laws beach house, and I'm excited for Little M to really experience fireworks this year - and fingers crossed he isn't scared of them!

Skinnygirl Giveaway

Don't forget to enter our Skinnygirl giveaway! I know I'll be in need of some smart snacks after all of the indulging I'm planning to do this weekend!!

What is everyone else up to for the holiday weekend?!

Cheers to April, AmandaJennieKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Heather, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chocolate Graham Cracker Fro-yo Sandwich + Skinnygirl GIVEAWAY!

We've all had those moments when your tummy is growling and your brain is telling you to pick the apple, but your stomach is yelling, "I WANT CHOCOLATE!" What's a hungry gal to do?

Not to fear - Skinnygirl Snack Swap has your back, and is encouraging all women to make more healthful snacking choices while not missing out on the flavors you want. During the holidays, I wrote about Skinnygirl's quest to satisfy your snack cravings with healthier options that still pack the flavors that you love. Now, the Snack Swap is back with 27 new recipes that match the flavor profiles of the newest Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars! I recently reviewed those new bars and enjoyed all of the flavors, so I was excited to see what new recommendations the Skinnygirl Snack Swap had for me.

When you visit the website, you'll interact with a fun tool that asks you to choose your favorite snack, and then it personally will select healthier, nutritionist-approved snack recipes that still match your craving. I can never resist cookie dough, so I wasn't surprised that my yen for chocolate was met with a recommendation to pick up a pack of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Tasty Nutrition Bars (done, and done!). The snack swap also provided several easy recipes that would still satisfy my need for chocolate, but in a much lighter, healthier way. I opted to try out the Chocolate Graham Cracker Fro-yo Sandwich, which literally took seconds to prepare and satiated my need for chocolatey yumminess in just a few bites. Here's a few simple steps for you to make your own:

Chocolate Graham Cracker Fro-yo Sandwich

* 1 chocolate graham cracker sheet, broken in half (as an alternative, I used individual mini graham cracker bites to make poppable bites, instead of one large sandwich)

* 1/4 cup frozen yogurt, any flavor (I selected French vanilla)

Top one graham cracker with your favorite frozen yogurt, then add the other graham cracker. Enjoy!

It literally could not have been easier, and the little taste of chocolate totally hit the spot. I love that Skinnygirl is encouraging women to still incorporate their favorite flavors into their diet but is giving us the tools we need to make smarter choices about these indulgences.

Now, we want to see your snack swaps! Visit Skinnygirl Daily on Facebook and share your own snack swap photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with the hashtag #SGSnackSwap. To help with your snack attacks, we're giving away a full month's supply of Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars to one lucky reader!

What's your #1 snack craving?

I am a Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bar Ambassador (#SGSavvySnacker) and received compensation in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Linking up today with EmilyJennifer JuniperKaryn, KristenEmilyMandyMaryJessicaMandySusanLisa, and Natasha!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Beach Day Essentials | Guest Post from Bright on a Budget

Since M is on vacay and B is settling into her new apartment, we've invited one of our favorite bloggers, Tif from Bright on a Budget, to guest post today about her Beach Day Essentials! Make sure you visit Tif's blog and say hi!

Thank, B and M, for asking me to guest post while you're away, and hello to all of the Sequin Notebook readers!

Beach/pool season has arrived!  If you (like me) seriously doubted this season would ever arrive after the bone-chilling temperature of this winter, it's okay. We're on the opposite end of the temperature scale now, which means optimal time for hitting the beach!  So I've compiled a few of my beach day essentials that can do double-duty off the beach as well. . .besides the towel, but I guess you can use it at home as well:)

Here are my picks for fun and fashionable beach day must-haves:

Beach Day Essenitals
Beach towel // Straw tote // Sunscreen // Sunglasses // Bikini pouch
Floppy hat // Beach tunic coverup // Bow flip flops

The 1st item on my beach essentials list is sunscreen.  While I've linked to my favorite one above, I know everyone has different thoughts on what brand is best.  Regardless of which brand you use, just make sure you slather some on before getting in the sun:)  Sunglasses are also close to the top of the list, because without shades, it's going to be a loooonggg day out in the sun.  Mirrored sunglasses are everywhere right now, and I love the affordable option from Target shown above for less than $20!

Next up on the list are a beach towel, beach bag, and wallet/wristlet/pouch.  For a beach towel, I prefer a larger-sized beach towel like the above XL option from Target.  That way it covers my lounge chair or let's me stretch out in the sand without becoming a hot mess.  As for a beach bag, I like something big enough to fit all my items and that sand wipes off of easily.  This bag not only fits that bill, but it's on trend with the attached tassels.  Can I just go ahead and get everything with tassels, please?  And let's not forget something in which to stash your credit cards, phone, and other small items (like contact re-wetting drops and a lip balm with SPF).  I've had my eye on this Kate Spade "Beware of Sharks" number since the beginning of summer, and it just hit the sale section of the website!  Technically, it's a bikini pouch, but it's the perfect size to be a clutch and toss in your tote--versatility in action! Plus, if you shop using promo code SETSALE through July 7th, you'll receive an additional 25% off.

To wrap up my essentials, I've shared my picks for a beach hat, coverup, and flip flops.  Floppy beach hats have taken over Instagram, and this black-and-white will stand out in a crowd.  I adore the gauzy coverups from J. Crew, and the one above is in their sale section!  My advice is to grab it before it sells out.  It comes in three colors, but the white is my favorite.  Finally, my all-time favorite flip flops are from Roxy, as they tend to be very comfortable.  The cute bows on these add the perfect touch!

Whether you're at the beach or hanging by the pool, I hope these Beach Day Essentials add some flare to your wardrobe!  Will you be rocking any of these on your vacation?

Tif  is an attorney, mom, and dedicated bargain hunter blogging about style, beauty, and life at Bright on a Budget.  She is also one of the co-hosts of the High Five for Friday weekly linkup.  You can follow her on Instagram, Bloglovin', or GFC.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five on Friday {June 26, 2015}: Moving Edition

My moving day is officially here, and it's definitely bittersweet. I have absolutely loved living in my little Upper West Side apartment; it was the perfect place to call home when I first moved to Manhattan, and it has brought me many happy memories over the past four years. Everyone says that it takes a couple of tries to find a great NYC apartment since real estate is so brutal here, so I've always felt fortunate that I hit it out of the park on my first try! As much as I'll miss this place, I am ready to move on and thrilled to build a new home together with T. I hope you'll indulge me as I pay homage to the 5 Manhattan things I'm loving, and will be missing! 

The Patio

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would find a Manhattan studio with outdoor space. Amazingly, my apartment came with a private patio that is large enough to fit a table of 10, along with a grill! This patio has hosted many theme parties and gatherings of friends, and holds some of my happiest memories of the past four years.

Location, Location, Location

This is probably the thing I will miss most about moving to just can't beat the convenient location of the Upper West Side! I am within a two-minute walk of two different subway lines, Central Park is steps away from my corner, there is a Drybar literally around the corner from me, and my couch-to-desk total commute time tops out at 25 minutes. I adore being smack dab in the middle of all of the Manhattan action, so it will probably be a bit of an adjustment to have a slightly longer commute.

Secret Single Behavior

M and I once shared our Secret Single Behavior (or as we call it, SSB) which we first discovered via (what else?) Sex and the City. You can read all about it here, but basically SSB is about the secret things you do when no one else is around. Since T and I have basically been unofficially living together the past few months, I think he's pretty much seen it all, though I should probably still try to limit my pretzel dinners!

My brownstone

My UWS street is simply beautiful (there, I said it) and I will miss the charms of my building very, very much.

Delivery zones

You really can get pretty much anything delivered at any time in Manhattan. I'm sure that will mostly be true for Astoria too, but the central location of the UWS means that I always have tons of options for late night snacking! Besides, I can always have my cravings delivered to my office and take them home with me :)

It's been a wonderful four years, but I'll happily trade in my short commute and midnight cupcake deliveries because nothing could be better than this new step I'm taking. I still remember chatting with Kristen, Pam, and Kari over drinks when I told them I was hanging out with T later that night, who I had recently started dating at the time...and now, here we are!

Farewell, Manhattan - I will be sure to be a frequent visitor.

And...hello, Astoria! I look forward to bringing you tales of my new neighborhood, along with some moving tips and home d├ęcor posts! Have a beautiful weekend (I hope you won't be stuck sweating under moving boxes, like me!).

Cheers to April, AmandaJennieKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Heather, Farrah, Leanne, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Firecracker Martini | Guest Post from A Little Glitter

Hey Guys!  My name is Pamela and I run the website A Little Glitter.  I write about all kinds of things including cooking, shopping, fashion/beauty, books, parenting and local NYC events.  I like to keep things fun and upbeat, I love to make new friends and I hope that you will come by and visit my little slice of the internet sometime!  
A Little Glitter
Today, B & M have invited me to guest post for them and since the 4th of July is NEXT WEEK (how the heck did that happen), I figured I would share a fun drink recipe that would be perfect for it!  Today I am going to teach you how I make Firecrackers Martinis!
Firecracker Martini Recipe

I found the inspiration for the Firecracker Martini when I was perusing the shelves in Party City and came across their royal blue rock candy.  (Does anyone else find themselves roaming the aisles there frequently or am I the only one?)   I thought it would be such a cute decoration for a drink.  This one is super easy to make and very yummy.
Cast of Characters Firecracker MartiniTo create this beverage, I poured one cup of Pinnacle's Tropical Punch Vodka (this is also delicious enough to use for shots), half a cup of cranberry juice and a splash of ginger ale over ice and gave it a few decent shakes.  Then I strained it into a martini glass and garnished with a piece of rock candy.  See!  I told you it was this was a simple recipe!
Firecracker Martini Recipe

Also, when drinking the Firecracker Martini, you can put the candy into it your glass like a stirrer and it starts to evaporate and create pretty swirls of blue.  
Firecracker Martini Rock Candy

I hope you guys enjoyed my post and I would to see you over at A Little Glitter soon – thanks again to B & M for having me today!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Opening Lines: Real Housewives of Orange County {Season 10}

 The original gals of Bravo are back.. ok let me rephrase that.. the original housewives franchise is back! While most of the gals are actually not part of the original cast besides the OG of the OC, Vicki, the OC housewives are back for the tenth season!! How crazy is that?! I was all about the OC when it first premiered, though had lost interest over the years. I've recently started watching again and realized it's time to finally give this pioneer franchise some due and do a taglines round-up.. especially now that they've reached such an amazing milestone - 10 seasons deep and still going strong! So let's crack open some champs and dig into this seasons signature lines!


 "No one's life is perfect ... but mine is pretty close."
- Heather
Ugh such a classic Heather line! I go back and forth on Heather but it's stuff like this that can make her pretty insufferable at times. She often gets annoyed when she's perceived as pretentious and uptight, but she certainly isn't helping shake that rap with a line like this! Sorry Heather, but not a fan!!

"When life gives you lemons, put nine in a bowl!" - Shannon
Even though Shannon's still a newbie, she quickly has become one of my favorites! And this line is perfectly as quirky as Shannon, so I'm giving this one the thumbs up. I think she's in for a pretty tough season with all of the marital problems she's going through (and choosing to film!) so I like that this line gives reference to that, yet still keeps it a little light by also giving a nod to her kooky, holistic ways.

"Boldness comes at a cost, and I'm willing to pay."
- Tamra
Tamra is another one that I go back and forth with, but the girl knows how to play the reality tv game. She definitely is no wallflower, so I can appreciate her calling out her boldness (though I believe this isn't the first tagline of hers to make reference to it). The only thing that puzzles me a bit with this one is that after having come off of a really rough last season (especially the reunion!), her storyline seems all about mending fences and rebuilding her relationships with the other housewives, so I'm not really sure how bold that is, but I guess we'll see as the season goes on.

"I'm the OG of the OC ... everyone else is just a copy." - Vicki
So, I feel like I have to give it to Vicki on this one - I kind of love it! I know Vicki isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the fact that she really is the last gal standing of the original OC housewives is pretty impressive, especially after 10 seasons! She really is the OG of the OC, so why not give some credit to that with your tagline?!

 "Now that I'm in the OC, it's a whole new ballgame." - Meghan
So this tagline is totally cheesy, but I actually don't hate it! The jury is still out on how I feel about this newbie housewife (though I'm pretty sure her husband is just straight up terrible!), but I don't mind this line and think it's slightly clever, even. So it seems Meghan is off to a decent start and from the looks of the previews, she doesn't seem to shy away from the drama, so I'm excited to see how she mixes with the rest of the crew!

And there you have it - another round of taglines in the books. I think if I had to go with a favorite, I'd give it to the OG, Vicki, though my gal Shannon is a close second! Any other OC fans out there? Which tagline is your favorite this season?

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