Sunday, June 30, 2013

TSN Giveaway: Free 4th of July Printables!

Hey Gals!  In honor of America's birthday, we're featuring some free 4th of July printables, exclusive to The Sequin Notebook!  We recently whipped up a batch of our famous cake pops and realized we needed some fabulous tags to adorn them.



So we crafted a couple of printables and are excited to share them with you all today!



We hope that you enjoy these festive tags!  Let us know what creative ways you plan to use them!

xoxo
- M

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dessert Table: Star-Spangled Barbecue

What's more American than an indulgent buffet? An indulgent dessert buffet composed of red, white, and blue treats to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Clockwise from top: Vanilla and chocolate mini cupcakes,  chocolate-covered pretzel rods, chocolate-dipped strawberries, two varieties of sugar cookies, brownie bites, chocolate-dipped marshmallows

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Menu: Star-Spangled Barbecue

Hey Gals! We are almost a week away from the 4th, so it’s time for us to kick it into high gear and make sure everyone is ready for some fabulous star-spangled bbq’s!  In case you missed any of our prior posts, you can find them here, here and here. We’ve already gotten you all liquored up with festive cocktails, so today we will be laying out the perfect menu to keep you and your guests from starving with our light and easy barbecue menu! 


As with all party elements, preparation is definitely key when it comes to food. I find that the more I can make in advance, the better! You certainly don’t want to be stuck slaving over a hot stove all day (though we did obviously stick Grill Guy on grill duty!). When mapping out our menu, again we didn’t want to go overboard, so as a rule of thumb, ensure you have one or two proteins, and buy enough so everyone can have seconds, and then add in a vegetable or two, and a starch or two. Lastly, have some chips and dips on hand for your guests to munch on all day, and there you have it, the perfect 4th of July bbq menu!



For our proteins, we decided on sticking with the classic bbq selection of hamburgers and hotdogs – there is a reason they are such a bbq mainstay, everyone loves them! If you are having any vegetarian guests, also plan to have a couple veggie burgers on hand. Also, don’t forget to stock up on your favorite condiments, garnishes and cheeses – nothing worse than a naked burger! 

Dress me up!!
For our vegetable option, we decided to go with a corn salad. Not only is it delicious, but it can be made the night before! This particular corn salad included grilled bell peppers and onions, and was finished with a sherry vinegar dressing, but feel free to supplement any other of your favorite vegetables! Also, while this can be made in advance, wait to dress the salad until right before serving to ensure it doesn’t get soggy. 

 For our starches, we made up 2 quick pasta salads that were you guessed.. made the night before! When making a pasta salad, I use a basic formula which always turn out delicious: 1 lb of cold pasta in the shape of your, some sort of dressing, a cheese and a vegetable. This time around, I chose rigatoni, balsamic vinaigrette, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes for one, and for the other I did small shells, roasted red pepper vinaigrette, goat cheese and fresh peas. Super easy and easy to adapt! As was the case with the corn salad, just wait to dress the salads until right before serving, and also season with salt and pepper to taste.
Lots of empty plates and happy guests!
After putting out some tortilla chips and salsa and our favorite Trader Joes ranch/cheddar/bacon dip (yes, it’s as good as it sounds!), we were all set and hardly broke a sweat. Once our guests arrived and had some time to mingle and settle in, we sent Grill Guy over to grill to fire up our hot dogs and hamburgers while we set out our salads and that was it!

A little salt is the perfect accompaniment to go with your watermelon cocktail in my book! 

What are your summer bbq staples? Any festive favorites that I’m forgetting?
xoxo
- M

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fireworks Mixy: Star-Spangled Barbecue

Hey Gals!  Now that we've inspired you with some festive cocktails and patriotic decor, it's time to talk music!  I've already stressed the importance of music at a party, and the 4th of July is certainly no exception.


When making up this mixy, my rule was that it could only contain American born artists!  After all, it's America's birthday, so we need to honor our gal with some good old fashioned American music (sorry Buble, consider this the only mixy where you won't be included).  As with the Memorial Day Mixy, you'll want a good mix of rock, pop, and classic crowd favorites.  Also, when possible, be sure to feature some songs that actually reference our great country, such as a little Tom Petty's American Girl (though if we had our way, it'd actually be called American Gal!).  Below is the full rundown from our mixy from last year, with a couple of new hits mixed in.  We kick things off with some Katy Perry in honor of our mixy's namesake, and by the end bring it home with our Gal Miley!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sale Alert: Papyrus


Who doesn't love receiving a pretty greeting card in the mail? TSN is partial to Papyrus's gorgeous cards that are full of sparkles, texture, and lovely metallic envelopes, but the costs can add up very quickly. Luckily, you can hop over to Papyrus's semi-annual online sale - ALL sale cards have been reduced to only $1!!!


There is a great assortment of beautiful sale cards for all of the major holidays (I saw some reduced from as high as $10!), so stock up now and save yourself some time and money later. I utilize the Notes app on my iPhone to keep a running list of both cards that I need to purchase and ones that I've already checked off my list so that I don't forget about the Christmas card that I purchased back in February.

Hurry on over to Papyrus - these cards will be gone in a snap!

xoxo
B

Decor: Star-Spangled Barbecue

In addition to fantastic liquid refreshments, M and I were determined to have every inch of the decor scream "AMERICA"! We decided early on that this would be a traditional red, white, and blue affair, and that all of the decor would reflect this classic color scheme.

One of the challenges of throwing this party on my city patio is that we were very limited in space, so we had to be quite selective about which items to include. Luckily, our old pal Dollar Tree (who provided the yellow napkins that we stamped for my 30th birthday party) was fully stocked with tons of festive decorations that prettied up the party yet required minimal storage space.

Let's take a peek at how the patio looked before our guests arrived...first up is our "Freedom" banner!

 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Patriotic Cocktails: Star-Spangled Barbecue


Hey Gals!  We are so excited to kick-off our 4th of July party spotlight with one of the most important aspects to any party – the drink menu!! When B and I set about planning our star-spangled soiree, we immediately knew that we wanted to serve punch out of a watermelon boat.  What is more American than a cocktail served out of a watermelon!?  Plus, given the hot July heat, we knew it would be just the refreshing thirst quencher that our guests would be craving! 

Our inspiration, courtesy of Martha
So we purchased the biggest watermelon we could find, and the night before the party carved out our boat.  We decided on a simple design which was pretty easy to carve out.  Be sure to save as much as the watermelon guts as possible, since this is the key ingredient to the punch.  Also, we thought it would be cute to cut out stars in the watermelon, so we tried to keep as much of the watermelon whole as possible, and then used a star cookie cutter to punch out the shapes – it turned out super cute if I do say so myself!  Store the watermelon and the boat in the fridge overnight to ensure it keeps fresh.  To make the actual punch, we decided to use vodka as our main alcohol, and then added in some lemon lime soda and prosecco for fizz.  It was not only delicious, but refreshing.  Though, do watch out, because this punch packs a punch! 

The finished product - it definitely tasted as good as it looks!  And sorry Martha.. our boat is cuter than yours!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Party Planner: Star-Spangled Barbecue

The Fourth of July is only two weeks away, which means it's almost time for sparklers, hot dogs, and a little party crafting! In celebration of Independence Day, we're giving you a glimpse into our personal patriotic party planning to inspire your own all-American festivities. A mellow barbecue with some great friends and special red, white, and blue touches will keep your party manageable, low-cost, and chock full of star-spangled fun!

Clockwise from top left: Watermelon boat, dessert table, utensils, mason jars, freedom banner, gift bags
Our upcoming posts will break down the party food, drinks, decor, games, and mixy - stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Honorary Gal: Andy Cohen



Today we launch a new series to bestow the prestigious title of Honorary Gal upon a very special person, place, or thing who embodies the spirit of The Sequin Notebook! Since this idea was inspired in part by his Mazel of the Day, our first Honorary Gal could only be Andy Cohen.

Official headshot for this special occasion...very profesh!

Friday, June 14, 2013

TSN is on the go!

We have some exciting news for all of you tech-savvy TSN fans...we are now officially on Amazon!!! You can sign up for a blog subscription on your Kindle so that you don't miss a minute of TSN goodness.


Our little blog is only one month old and already growing up so quickly! Stay tuned to see how we top this in Month Two.

xoxo
The Gals



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sale Alert: Butter London


M recently raved about some Butter London nail polishes - now, you can take home some new summer polishes (we know you're eyeing up that Wallis!) with this exclusive deal for Butter London's Facebook fans:


What are you waiting for? Head on over to Butter London's Facebook page, become a fan, and start shopping!

xoxo
The Gals

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Design Spotlight: Nursery Inspiration

Hey Gals!

By no means do we want TSN to be a baby blog, but I thought it would be fun to do a design spotlight on the nursery d├ęcor I’m planning for Baby M (aka, Little Ear.. that’s a story for a whole other day ;)). We’re nothing if not planners here and my pinterest board has been brimming with ideas from basically the second I saw two lines on that little stick!

I had been haphazardly pinning any and everything that peaked my interest, but once we found out Little Ear was a he, I was able to narrow my focus a bit. After browsing on the Pottery Barn Kids website, I found a bedding set that I fell in love with, and it helped to form the theme of the nursery to what it is today. If I had to summarize what my theme is, the best way to describe it would be Modern Safari, though just seeing that written out sounds kinda ridic, so here are some pictures that really sum it up!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Even More Pretty Polishes: Beauty.com Sale Haul!

Hey Gals,

A couple weeks ago, beauty.com had one of their periodic friends and family sales, and were offering 20% off of everything. Naturally this meant I had to load up on some of my favorite beauty items, and what better way to do that than with more nail polishes! I’ve spoken about my polish addiction before, but given the opportunity to snag 20%, I couldn’t resist! Also, beauty.com is currently listed on Ebates, so I was able to get an additional 6% cash back on my order (if you are an online shopper and don’t know about Ebates – hightail it over there immediately and sign-up!! Every quarter they send me a check for basically doing what I do best, online shopping!!)


If you aren’t currently on beauty.com’s mailing list, I also urge you to sign up, as they often have these pop-up sales and also frequently have great promotions! Back in December I was able to get a free bottle of Deborah Lippmann’s Boom Boom Pow just for doing a little Christmas shopping with them! They also ship their items pretty quickly and a mere 5 days after I placed this order, I received it! Now that I’ve had the chance to try out all of my new lovelies, I thought it would be fun to provide some swatches and review them all for you today. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond back!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

We Love It: Top Ten Sex and the City Episodes, Part Two




Here they are...in celebration of Sex and the City's fifteenth anniversary, we're counting down our top ten all-time favorite episodes. If you missed Part One, catch up with it here. Now, onto our top 5!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Cake Pops

What exactly is a cake pop?

The tastiest pumpkin patch
A yummy forest of Christmas trees
Made famous by the incredible Bakerella, this delicious dessert is the perfect two-bite sweet treat. It combines the yumminess of frosted cake and a candy shell into one adorable package!

Farewell party cake pops
Not only is the flavor combination pretty addictive, but I love trying out new colors and designs to ramp up the cuteness quotient.

Cake pops made for a production of Adrift in Macao, in the color scheme of the show
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