Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Dip


There are tons of pumpkin recipes everywhere this time of year, but I promise that you'll want to make room on your dessert list for just one more pumpkin recipe...this delicious dip!



This pumpkin dip could not be easier to make - if you can hand mix a few store-bought ingredients, you're golden! This fluffy, light dip has all the autumn flavors you love (pumpkin! cinnamon!) and is the perfect party dessert. I served this at my recent murder mystery party and the guests devoured it immediately! If you have 10 spare minutes, you have more than enough time to prep this crowd-pleasing dessert. 


Pumpkin Dip
(Adapted from Carolina Charm's recipe)

Ingredients
* 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
* 5 oz. of sugar-free, instant vanilla pudding powder
* 16 oz. low-fat Cool Whip
* 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
* 1 tbsp. cinnamon
* For dipping: apple slices, gingersnaps, vanilla wafers


1) Mix the dry pudding mix, Cool Whip, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice by hand in a large bowl.

2) Chill for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).

3) Immediately before serving, stir the dip and sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

4) Serve with apple slices, gingersnaps, and/or vanilla wafers.


In the rare event that there are any leftovers (which is HIGHLY unlikely), simply place the remaining dip in a Tupperware container and enjoy it for up to a week.

What's your favorite fall dessert?

xoxo
B

P.S. Don't forget to enter our Rituals giveaway!
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Linking up with Meg, Leeann, Molly, Lisa, Emily, Jennifer JuniperEmily, Karyn, KristenEmilyMandy, Mary, Jessica, and Mandy!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five on Friday {October 17, 2014}

TGIF! This week has been a particularly stressful one for me, so I'm very much looking forward to some low-key family time this weekend. Here are the 5 things I'm loving this week:

ONE | Rituals Giveaway
Have you entered our giveaway yet? We're obsessed with Rituals Cosmetics after our visit to their Upper West Side shop, and we know you will love them too! Don't miss out on your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway TWO | Song of the moment: "Take on the World"

I'm pretty sure that I'm way too old to be rocking out to Disney Channel theme songs since I'm not a 10-year-old girl, but this song is super catchy and the lyrics are actually pretty empowering for days when I need a little extra boost, haha! Yes, this is the theme song to "Girl Meets World" (I'm hiding in the corner in embarrassment) and it's sung by the show's two young teen stars (yes, now I'm completely cringing), but give it a listen anyway (and let me know if you can ever get those "oh, oh, oh"s out of your head - go ahead, I dare you).

THREE | How to Get Away with Murder

Ok, I know I can't be the only gal out there who is already OBSESSED with this new show! Only 4 episodes in and I'm already totally hooked - it's the perfect Thursday night blend of soapy drama, intrigue, and of course, MURDER! Who else is a fan?! I want to hear your theories on the mysteries!

FOUR | Pumpkin Tree Branches
Image via Tilly's Nest
Is this not THE cutest fall decoration you've ever seen? I mean, they are pumpkins...on a stick...and they're actually REAL (well, they are technically a form of eggplant, which surprised me at first since clearly they are so pumpkin-y). When I saw them chilling in the floral buckets at my local Trader Joe's, I knew I had to feature them at my recent Alfresco Autumn Brunch. Check back here on TSN next week for full details on the brunch, including how to incorporate these bad boys into all of your fall events!

 
FIVE | Rescue Beauty Lounge SALE!

It's no secret that we're big fans of the pretty polishes from Rescue Beauty Lounge, and they are having a big sale that just launched today! All polishes are buy 2 get 1 free, with free worldwide shipping! These gorgeous polishes rarely go on sale, so make sure you do some shopping before this incredible deal ends on Monday, 10/20 at noon EST. I'm planning to do some damage this weekend and purchase some early holiday gifts (and maaaybe a couple for myself, of course!).
xoxo
B

Thanks to our gals AmandaJennieKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Natasha, and Lauren for hosting today's link-ups!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DIY Tulle Monster Centerpieces

We are absolute Halloween fanatics here at The Sequin Notebook, so get ready for lots of candy-filled, costume loving, crafty goodness in these last weeks leading up to the big day! Today I’m sharing a fun tutorial from Little M’s Monster Mash for DIY Tulle Monster Centerpieces.

While these particular centerpieces were used for a birthday party, these could easily work for a Halloween party or other fun Monster-type bash! And they couldn’t have been easier to make (I promise!) so novice crafters, don’t be scared off! 

I found all of the supplies at Jo-Ann and scored a great deal thanks to their friends and family they had back in September.  Luckily they're now having a similar promotion for 20% off of everything, including sale items!

Since I made 6 of these babies, I found that it worked best to do each step on all of them before moving onto the next. It also helps get you in a rhythm, especially when crafting with a good Bravo marathon on tv!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rituals Cosmetics Review + GIVEAWAY!

Get ready to meet your new beauty obsession.


I was recently invited to a special Birchbox event at the Rituals Cosmetics store on the Upper West Side. This gorgeous shop is less than a 10-minute walk from my apartment, so I was thrilled to discover a hidden gem of beauty products right in my own neighborhood!


While this company is fairly new to the United States, it's already created quite a stir in Europe. In fact, it originated in The Netherlands, which just so happens to be one of my very favorite places in the world since I spent some time there as a teenager.


While Rituals has European roots, the company has an Asian influence which carries through the products and into its decor. Each store features beautiful cherry blossoms to create a serene atmosphere.



Rituals brands itself as "a story of passion to create pure simple happiness." The lovely ladies who work there talked about how people go through their daily routines without always being mindful of what they're doing, and that Rituals wants us to take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of using beautiful bath and skin products.


Here is how company founder Raymond Cloosterman describes his vision: 
“I passionately believe that we can transform our daily routines into more meaningful moments if we pay just a little bit more attention to the details. This philosophy led to a unique concept of combining home and body cosmetics, and this is how RITUALS... was born. With a luxurious collection of high quality products to enrich body and soul we offer anything from body and facial care to scented candles, clothing, perfumes, gemstone make-up, and tea."

After learning about the company's origins and mission, we roamed the store to sample the various products and learn more about the different lines. Birchbox was kind enough to provide a bountiful breakfast spread, which included some yummy mimosas and macarons.




I seriously could have spent all day in that store (and I've already been back since to do some more shopping!). The scents were all fresh and light, and the creams felt super luxe on my skin. My daily beauty routine has definitely gotten a bit monotonous, so it was great to have some new inspiration to shake it up!


While I honestly loved everything I tried out, I kept coming back to the Laughing Buddha collection. This collection is all about focusing on the positive and adding an extra dose of happiness to daily life, which I think is a great way to start each morning! Plus, the mandarin scent is simply divine!


After receiving a hand massage with the Good Luck sugar body scrub and washing it off with the Happy Buddha shower foam, I was sold on taking home that collection. Birchbox and Rituals kindly gifted each attendee with the product line of her choice, so I was able to take home the scrub, shower foam, and body cream to begin my new daily ritual.

BUT...here's the best part...


Rituals and Birchbox DOUBLED their gift so one lucky reader will also be taking home the Laughing Buddha collection! One winner will receive the same sugar scrub, shower foam (which was in the swag bags at the Golden Globes!), and body cream (total retail value: $69). 

Enter below for your chance to win - the giveaway will run through October 28th, and we'll announce the winner on October 29th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you to Birchbox and Rituals for a fantastic day! Which Rituals product are you most excited to try?

xoxo
B

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Daisy Day

Happy Monday! We're starting the week off with a fun little feature with the other Daisies over at Flowers in My Hair, so pop on over and check us out. Oh, and make sure you come back here tomorrow because we have a FABULOUS giveaway for you!


xoxo
The Gals

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five on Friday: {October 10, 2014}

TGIF Gals!  Another week is almost behind us so as usual, we’re kicking off the weekend with our 5 favorites of the week!  Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend planned, soaking up lots of Autumnal goodness that October has to offer!

1| Halloween Costume Crafting
Can you believe Halloween is only 3 weeks away?!  I personally love all things Halloween, but most of all, I love getting dressed up in costume!  Last year Little M was too small to go trick-or-treating, and while he’s still a little young for candy, we’ll definitely be taking a spin around the neighborhood.  We decided to do a family costume and go as characters from Peanuts – Little M will of course be Charlie Brown, thanks to his baldy status, I’ll be Lucy, GG will be Linus and of course Miss Fred will be Snoopy!  Funny enough, the hardest element of these costumes has been finding a dog Snoopy costume!  Turns out not too many dog owners dress their dogs up as a different type of dog – haha!  But that just means I’ll need to craft up my own version, and if we’re being honest, I’d prefer to make it myself anyway!  I promise lots of pictures and a tutorial once I figure out just how to craft it up!

2| American Horror Story: Freak Show

And speaking of Halloween.. is anyone else thrilled (and petrified!) for the return of American Horror Story this past week!  I usually haaattte scary movies, but for some reason I’m obsessed with American Horror Story and find that each season and storyline has been better and better!  I won’t give away any spoilers but let’s just say that I think this season is going to be the scariest one yet.. I mean, just look at that clown!!


3| Leopard Clutch Love
Clare V: Saharan Leopard Clutch
I received this Leopard Clutch in my latest Rent the Runway Unlimited box and I’m obsessed!  I seriously love me some leopard print, so I was ecstatic when this baby arrived in my mailbox.  It’s the perfect fall accessory in my opinion and I love finding new ways to dress it up and dress it down.  Now the only problem is that I eventually have to give it back..

4| Continuing Education

This week I embarked on some continuing education for myself in an attempt to learn a new tool – Adobe Illustrator!  I’ve been mostly self-taught with Photoshop (though I’m definitely still learning!) but when I decided to add a new Adobe tool to my arsenal, I decided to seek a little professional guidance, and enroll in a continuing education class at The New School.  The class is online, and only lasts a month, so it works great with my jam packed schedule and I’m super excited to hopefully learn some new tricks of the trade and really take my Printable game to the next level!

5| Update on Fred!
She was feeling self conscious about her cone so she insisted on wearing her monster hat

I’m thrilled to update everyone from my last 5 on Friday that all of your well wishes and good thoughts paid off because she’s doing great!  Her surgery was a complete success, without any complications and yesterday the doctor officially gave her the go ahead to stop wearing her big purple cone.  She’ll need to continue on a regimented diet in order to try our best from having the stones return but I’m just so relieved that my Gal has her spunk back and is doing better than ever.  Thanks again for all of the positivity – one of million reasons why I love this great blogging community!

What’s everyone else up to this weekend!?

Thanks to our gals AmandaJennieAmyKarliClare, Rebecca, Katie, Natasha, and Lauren for hosting today's link-ups!

xoxo
- M

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Party Planner: A Murder Mystery

As a former actress who still works in the theater, it's fair to say that I've always had a flair for the dramatic. Despite having a phobia of horror movies (or really, anything remotely scary), I've always loved Halloween because it's one of the very few times that it's acceptable for adults to play dress up! Pretty costumes, dramatic makeup, an aura of mystery, lots of glitter (and candy)...it sounds good to me! I usually host an annual Sweet Treats cocktail party for Halloween, but this year I decided to put a new twist on it by turning the party into something I've always wanted to try ever since I saw it on The Golden Girls back in the 80s (and let's face it, those ladies knew how to party)...a murder mystery night! 


I searched online for some free murder mystery games (there are plenty out there) and settled on a particularly soapy tale entitled The Sour Grapes of Wrath, thus satisfying both my bookworm and wino sides. As always, it just isn't a party until I demand that M creates some printables to set the tone (and if you're in the market for any custom prints, make sure you check out her Etsy shop). She played off of the story's vineyard setting by using a bleeding grape motif in each of the printables:

Favor tags

Accusation sheets for the detectives to solve the mystery

Name tags for the suspects
Since I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many custom signs at parties (after all, they all enhance the theme!), I slapped a "Poison" label on my drink pitcher which happened to be filled with something much tastier than poison - the signature cocktail! I created a frozen grape martini to stick with the vineyard theme (recipe coming soon).


One of my favorite ways of incorporating the Halloween spirit into the decor was by offering each guest a welcome shot in a test tube. They were so adorable, and the pumpkin pie cream liquor they contained was also a big hit.


Unfortunately, the test tube rack I ordered to hold them was a bit precarious, so I had to come up with Plan B (and like we mentioned when we guest posted on Pam's blog, you always need to build in extra time to deal with the unexpected hurdles that inevitably surprise you right before the party). Luckily, M and I had a quick phone chat and she came up with the brilliant idea of using flutes to hold the tubes, which wound up looking even cuter.


Each guest received a gift bag that contained a mini bottle of wine and (of course) lots of candy.



Oh, and here's a close-up of the pretty autumnal flowers, just because I love you.


Onto my newest party obsession - the photo booth wall! I have to admit that living in a studio apartment presents some challenges for hosting - namely, that there is NO extra space! I worked around that issue by draping some crepe paper, a glitter skull banner, a metallic Halloween sign, and some caution tape around my closet doors. My favorite find for the photo booth wall is that long leaf strand - it's hard to see in the picture but it actually contained hanging clusters of red grapes!


This next part of the decor is probably my favorite, and was actually an unplanned, last-minute project. The day before the party, I had the idea to steal funny pictures of each of the "suspects" from Facebook, print out enlarged copies, and hang them on a "suspect wall" with their name tags. It was functional since it helped the detectives remember their character names and relationship to the victim, but it was also pretty hilarious to watch everyone's reactions to spotting the photos. I think my favorite one is either the shirtless selfie (for the character portraying the amorous farmhand) or the one where my friend's face is blocked by her cat (because she was playing a crazy cat lady).


Once the apartment was fully decorated, it was time to lay out the snacks. Because the game was broken into six rounds and it was a dessert party, I thought it would be perfect to bring out a new dessert to feature each round. For the pre-game snacks, I set up a bunch of munchies - several different candies (including the yummy Screme eggs), mini peanut butter cookies, and chips and pretzels.


Throughout each round, the suspects revealed more information about their whereabouts during the crime, along with hidden secrets about their characters. The detectives had the opportunity to interrogate them and question their motives and alibis - it was really fun to see people getting into the spirit of the game! As the host, I portrayed the game's victim, Elizabeth Killingsworth, and read aloud the scenario for each round (this also led to me being dubbed the "ghostess").


Despite my best intentions, I got caught up in the whirlwind of the game and unfortunately did not capture a snap of each of the desserts, but here's how they broke down:

Round 1 - Pumpkin dip with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, and sliced apples


Round 2 - Pumpkin ice cream sandwiches

Round 3 - Raspberry tart

Round 4 - Bourbon pumpkin pie milkshakes:


Round 5 - Fresh berry skewers

Round 6 - Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream


All of these were winners, but I would say the pumpkin dip and the milkshakes were the most popular (recipes coming soon).

After the game concluded, our shady suspects had some fun in front of the photo booth wall (and in case you stumbled upon our little blog while searching for information about The Sour Grapes of Wrath, the photos below contain spoilers about the mystery's solution so read at your own risk!):

Enrique Graves (The Farmhand) and Dr. Chelsea Barron (The Neighbor)

Dr. Chelsea Barron (The Neighbor) and Kathryn Lawless (The Friend) may cause a second murder at Killingsworth Farm!

Norman D'Adly (The Brother-in-Law) is once again using a wine corkscrew, his favorite murder weapon - this time he has his eyes on Detective Carol, who is holding her prize for solving the mystery and pinning Norman as the murderer!

The cast and the Ghostess

The detectives
The party was an amazing night thanks to the commitment of the suspects and detectives - everyone truly got into character and relished their roles, which made it so much more fun! Even the detectives adhered to my (slightly ridiculous) request that they all dress in dark, funeral-appropriate garb (hey, the suspects all had costumes, so I figured they should try to be authentic, too!). We finished the night by grabbing some more beverages at a bar down the street, and I'm still working on getting rid of all these leftover desserts and candy!

Have you ever attended a murder mystery party, and would you host one of your own?

xoxo
B

Linking up with Leslie, Michelle, and Courtney!
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