Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our New Home

Well thanks, Leo, we're pretty excited about this too.

The Gals are thrilled to announce our new location:

Make sure you update your bookmarks and links, and grab a glass of champagne to toast our new home!


The Gals

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sequiney Pinspiration: Summer Lovin'

Happy Labor Day Weekend Gals!  We can't say goodbye to summer without a proper send off, so today's Sequiney Pinspiration features a little summer lovin'!  While we are super excited for all of the autumnal goodness that's to come, we'll sure miss all of the sunshine, bright colors and refreshing treats.  So soak up the sun for a just a little bit longer and enjoy some of our favorite summertime pins!  Can't get enough?!  Hop over to our Pinterest page and start following the Gals!

sun sparkle // rainbow ice cream spoons // campfire bars // clementine sorbet // night time beach party // sprinkle pops // neon mani // cantaloupe daiquiri 

- The Gals

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Low Calorie Raspberry Lemonade Cocktail

One of my favorite ways to relax on a hot summer afternoon is to kick back on my patio with a refreshing cocktail. Beat the heat with our take on a spiked, low calorie raspberry lemonade - it was a huge hit at my decent Potluck Pig Out Barbecue and would be the perfect refreshment at any upcoming Labor Day event!

Ingredients for a 12 ounce cocktail:

* 9 oz. lemonade (I used Trader Joe's Low Calorie Lemonade)
* 3 oz. raspberry vodka (my selection was Raspberry Pomegranate Smirnoff Sorbet Light)
* Lemon slices (for the drink) and one lemon wedge (for the rim)
* Raspberries

Place 2-3 thin lemon slices and 5 raspberries in a mason jar. Shake the lemonade and vodka over ice and pour into the jar. Garnish with a lemon wedge, add a fun straw, and enjoy!

What's your favorite summer beverage? Are you thirsting to give our low calorie raspberry lemonade cocktail a try?


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shopping Spree: Non-Traditional Baby Bags

I bet you didn’t realize that having a baby lends itself as an excuse to buy 2 new bags for yourself?!  Not convinced.. well just hear me out!  As my pregnancy is nearing the end (woo hoo!), I realized I was in need of not one, but two new bags – a sturdy travel bag that I could use to pack all of the things I need for my upcoming hospital stay, and also a diaper bag.   While I know these might not sound like the sexiest of purse purchases, I was on a mission to make these bags multi-functional, while still keeping with my personal style.  After doing some research (and sale hunting!) I was able to find the perfect two baby bags that not only fit my needs now, but also in the future!
First up is my non-traditional, camera bag/diaper bag!  When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew I’d be needing a diaper bag but hated most of the options available.  Even my gal Kate Spade let me down in this area!

Sorry Kate, but I'm just not feeling it.. especially with that $400 price tag!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Party Planner: Potluck Pig Out Barbecue

While I often enjoy being the hostess who creates and executes the full party menu from start to finish, it can also be a lot of fun to let friends show off their culinary talents by organizing a potluck event. I recently held a barbecue where I provided the basic barbecue essentials (meat, buns, condiments, and adult beverages) and asked each guest to bring an appetizer, side, or dessert to share.

The BBQ basics are all set, with a few delicious sides!

Spreading the tasks out among the group made this event very easy to plan, which allowed me to take a little extra time developing a signature cocktail and working on a few crafts!

Refreshing raspberry lemonade on a hot summer day

I was inspired by the marvelous Sara of Confetti Sunshine, where I discovered these adorable "Pig Out" printables that she had created for her husband's birthday party (check out the party here) - it was the perfect theme for a Sunday barbecue for friends with big appetites! I cut out her adorable food tents (seriously, how cute are those pigs?!) and mounted them on glittery cardstock to display our menu items.

Guests' names were typed onto the food signs then used as drink tags

I used a circle puncher on the food tent design to make drink tags that were placed on the mason jars full of our signature cocktail, a low calorie raspberry lemonade.

Confetti Sunshine also designed a great Pig Out flag and cute pig placemats - I printed these out and used them as decor on the appetizer table and the utensil station.

Left: The Pig Out signs on the utensil station
Right: A dessert food tent (item written in metallic pen; because it was potluck, I didn't know what we'd be serving until the guests arrived so I left the cards blank)

I wrapped up some quick utensil packs with the same raffia that was used to tie the name tags on the mason jars (crafty, but also functional!). It turns out that the name tags were much needed, as everyone really loved the signature cocktail so everyone's drinks looks identical (recipe to come soon). Many thanks to Sara of Confetti Sunshine for providing these fantastic free printables - make sure you head over to her blog and check out all of her beautiful parties!

We definitely took the Pig Out theme to heart and had a blast sampling each other's offerings.

Which kind of entertaining do you prefer - potluck-style, or planning it out entirely on your own?


Thursday, August 22, 2013

What's in our... Beach Bag!

Hey Gals! Today marks our 50th post here at The Sequin Notebook and we couldn't be more thrilled!! We hope everyone has been enjoying their daily dose of TSN and to celebrate the big 5-0, today we are bringing back our "What's in your.." series. With Labor Day right around the corner, we thought we'd hold on tight to these last summer days ahead of us, and present What's in our... Beach Bags!

1Melvita Floral Water
This refreshing floral water mist carries a light rose scent and is the perfect pick-me-up on a hot day. Beat the heat by gently spraying your face for instant hydration!

2) Books
A juicy page-turner is the perfect beach accessory! Grab a paperback to pass the time in between ocean dips. If you need some recommendations, check out our favorite summer beach reads.

3) Water Bottle
And speaking of hydration, don't forget to keep the water flowing! Any water bottle will do, but I'm currently loving these chic pastel bottles from Anthropologie.

4) Coppertone Sport Sunscreen (SPF 80)
The most important thing to pack in your bag for a day at the beach is obviously sunscreen; thanks to my pale skin, I've always been a fan of a high SPF count (this is one of the few things that M and I do not agree on!). Because it was designed for athletes, I like this sunscreen (even though I'm far from sporty) because it doesn't get greasy or sweaty, and the bottle design is very easy to grip.

5) Sunglasses
Sunglasses are definitely a must-have item for any beach bag. I always love the look of an oversized frame, but large glasses also serve a practical function of protecting the delicate skin around your eyes from the sun's pesky rays (and warding off wrinkles!). Kate Spade has lots of pretty options for beach-appropriate shades.

New York Magazine has been a favorite of mine for years, but now that I'm out in the suburbs, I find that I hardly have time to enjoy, especially without that daily subway commute.  So I usually throw a couple of weeks worth in my beach bag and indulge under the hot sun!

2) Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle
The beach can often wreck havoc on my tresses, so I really love this leave in spray. After taking a dip in the ocean, I spritz it all over my hair and then wrap it in a bun and I find that my hair is a lot softer and easier to brush once I get home.

3) Coppertone Sport Spray SPF 30
Like B, I too realize that spending a day with sun gods requires some SPF!  I am still a Jersey Girl at heart, though, so I usually go for the spf 30 so I can still come home with a little color while not doing too much damage to my skin.

4) Sunglasses
As B mentioned, sunglasses are a must have and I could not agree more!  For me, the bigger, the better, and I love this pair of Fendi shades.  A bit of a splurge, but I wear them daily, so it's helps me feel a little less guilty about the steep price tag.

5) Vitamin Water Zero
I've mentioned my love of vitamin water here, so I certainly couldn't take a trip to the beach without a couple of bottles stashed in my bag.  It's very important to stay hydrated when spending a day in the sun, and vitamin water zero keeps my thirst quenched all day long.

So what are all of your beach bag musts!?  We'd love to hear what you pack so we can steal some ideas for our last summer trips to the beach!

- The Gals

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TSN Giveaway: Baby Shower Printables!

Hey Gals!  While B has been busy recapping all of the fabulous details from my amazing glitzy blue baby shower, we thought it'd be fun to giveaway some of the printables that were used.  And of course we couldn't forget about all of the baby gals out there, so we also have a minty pink set to go along with it. Hope you enjoy and I promise a tutorial will be coming soon on how you can make your own printables too!

Download Baby Blue
Download Minty Pink

Monday, August 19, 2013

Best Summer Beach Books 2013

It doesn't get much better than relaxing on the beach on a sunny day with a refreshing beverage in one hand and an engrossing book in the other. My reading time is typically limited to my 20-minute subway ride every morning, so I'm looking forward to spending some time at the shore these next few weekends and catching up on my reading material! I'm going to share five of my favorite beach book recommendations with you, along with five books on my summer reading list that I'll be packing for my weekend getaways!

B's Favorite Summer Beach Books

Jennifer Weiner is the queen of smart chick lit; everyone remembers her debut novel, Good in Bed, and The Next Best Thing is just as witty and charming. Set in glamorous Hollywood, this novel follows a television writer trying to make it big in show biz while also trying to overcome her past to make her personal dreams come true. 

If you liked the twists and turns of Gone Girl, here's another psychological thriller that will keep you in suspense until the very last page (sometimes I like my beach reading to be a little dark!). As the story unfolds and you get more clues about the central mystery, see if you can play detective and put all of the puzzle pieces together.

On a lighter note - who better to take along on a loungey summer day than a professional lady of leisure such as a Real Housewife? Brandi Glanville has become a favorite of Andy Cohen (and us!) thanks to her blunt comments, and this book definitely demonstrates her candid nature. It's like having your favorite gossipy pal on the beach blanket next to you!

Here's another dark one for you - this gripping novel delves into the drama of a high school cheerleading squad that becomes wrapped up in a mysterious death. 

This collection of essays is one of my all-time favorites; I've read it countless times yet it always finds its way back into my beach bag, suitcase, or nightstand. Sloane's hilarious observations make you jealous that you didn't think to put them down on paper first, while also making you scheme about how you can "accidentally" bump into her on the streets of New York City and become besties. I love this collection so much that I once photocopied the opening story and shared it with an ex - I think that relationship lasted way longer than it should have simply because I kept thinking, "But he understands and appreciates Sloane Crosley, which means he understands and appreciates ME!" As much as I love supporting your local library, this book deserves a permanent place on your shelf.

Now onto the books I'll be reading over the next few weeks! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sequiney Pinspiration: Mani-licious

Hey Gals!  Another weekend is upon us, so what better way to kick things off than with a fabulous manicure?!  Our Pretty Polishes Pinterest board is practically overflowing with creative and beautiful mani's that it was very hard to narrow it down to just a couple of gems!  The below are our current faves, though we'd love to hear which you prefer so cruise on over to our Pinterest page and let us know what you think!  What mani-licious polish will you be wearing this weekend?

Leopard Glitz // Chevron and Glitz // Starry Night // Sparkles and Mint // Jewel Heist // Rosy Glitter Bomb // Confetti Mani // Galaxy Love


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Maternity Must Haves - Part 2

Hey Gals!  Today I finish up my maternity must haves with my favorite pregnant indulgences and a little something in between.  Hope you are enjoying these little lists (we love a good list here at TSN!) and I can't wait to hear what some of your fave preg finds have been!

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – Ice cream has definitely been a weakness of mine during this pregnancy! While I try not to indulge *every* night, I do often have a small bowl as a sweet treat after dinner, and Ben & Jerry’s has been my go-to. While the little pints are definitely pricier than just purchasing a large carton, I just love all of their delicious flavors and feel this is a small way to indulge without overdoing it!
Prenatal Massages – This next one is definitely a once in a while indulgence, but a crucial one, none-the-less! I’ve been lucky enough to get 2 prenatal massages so far, and each time was such an amazing and relaxing treat for my body. If you haven’t had one yet (and are through your first trimester) spoil yourself and get to a spa!
Ingrid and Isabel Pleated Tank Dress – As I mentioned above, being pregnant often leaves you not feeling at your cutest. I purchased this LBD in my second trimester and it’s been a staple of mine ever since. It’s soft, stretchy material hugs my prego curves in just the right ways, while being one of the most comfortable clothing options I own at this point! Plus, since it’s such a classic style, it’s easy to dress up or down based on the occasion.
Relaxing Baby Moon – Even before I got pregnant, I heard the term “baby moon” thrown around as a must do during pregnancy. While it’s not always possible to have an elaborate getaway prior to baby arriving (and certainly wasn’t for me), I do think scheduling a little relaxing alone time with your significant other goes a long way! We ended up spending Memorial Day Weekend in Maine, and despite having awful rainy weather, it was just the little getaway I needed to recharge my batteries and enjoy some time with Grill Guy.
Nail Polish – It’s no secret that I’m a nail polish junky, but being pregnant has made me appreciate this little indulgence even more! No matter what size you are, a manicure always looks good and has been an instant pick me up for me! While I usually tend to just do my own mani’s and pedis, every so often I’ll also treat myself to a trip to the salon, which is a double bonus indulgence!

Somewhere in between:
iPhone (crammed with lots of pregnancy apps!) – My iPhone obsession certainly predates my pregnancy (loyal user since 2008!) but I don’t know what I’d do without all of my favorite pregnancy apps! From tracking how long I have left, to a fun naming app, I’m literally on my phone all day long tracking something pregnancy related.
Ingrid and Isabel for Target Tank Tops – As noted above, Ingrid and Isabel is a fantastic maternity clothing line, and I was super excited when I realized they have a partnership with Target! Early on I purchased one of their basic black tank tops, and it has been a life saver throughout my pregnancy. It seriously works for so many different occasions (under a blazer at work, paired with leggings and a cardigan for weekend errands..) that I quickly picked up 2 more in different colors and have lived in them ever since!
Bravo Reality TV – Another love of mine that goes back way before I saw those double lines appear on the pee stick, but still an important pregnancy must have none-the-less! Whether it’s a case where my energy was zapped and I enjoy Bravo from the comfort of my bed (with my snoggle of course!), or I have it on in the backround while crafting (see below!), Bravo has continued to be a go-to of mine during pregnancy and as my belly continues to grow bigger and bigger, so does my love for Bravo (and Andy Cohen, of course!).
Craft Projects – This is another one that isn’t necessarily only a pregnancy favorite of mine, but I’d say that I’ve definitely upped my crafting game over these last couple of months. I’ve always been a bit of a homebody, but now that I’m pregnant I’m even more limited on the activities I can do. Crafting has allowed me to keep my sanity and also produce a lot of great baby related projects (tutorials to come, I promise!)
Simple Sugars Body Scrub – I’ve spouted my love of this product before, but I don’t think I realized how great of a pregnancy product this was! It helps keep my skin feeling smooth and moisturized, and is a great way to feel like I’m spoiling myself on a daily basis without causing too much damage on my wallet!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Party Planner: Girls Night Luau

One of my favorite summer traditions is kicking off the season by hosting a casual Girls Night on my patio with all of my favorite ladies. Even though there are only a few weeks of summer left, there is still time to throw your own laid-back soiree with all of your best girlfriends, so read on for a quick overview of some of our favorite things from our Girls Night Luau!

This party featured a classic Hawaiian theme, with everything from hula girls to palm trees. First, we'll examine the party decor and special touches.

Luau Decor and Details

Clockwise from top:

1) Lollipop Party Favors: Each guest received an assortment of tasty lollipops topped off with a cocktail umbrella. The double purple ribbons echoed the party colors, and each bag was tagged with "Mahalo" (translation: Thank you!).

2) Leis & Palm Tree Straws: As each guest entered the party, she was greeted with an "aloha!" (which got progressively louder throughout the evening) and received a lei. All of the drinks were sipped through palm tree straws that were purchased at our favorite party supply store, Dollar Tree.

3) Welcome Shots: To get into the party spirit, each guest immediately received a welcome shot upon arrival. The shots were served on a hula girl plate with a festive food tent that had been stamped with a tropical drink image. The welcome shots were named "E Komo Mai," which is a Hawaiian greeting.

4) Utensil Packs: There were a few extra leis, so I cut them up and used the extra flowers as craft supplies! These utensil packs were created by punching a hole in the center of two lei flowers, wrapping up a fork and knife in a napkin, threading a ribbon through the lei flowers, and tying the ribbon/flowers around the napkin pack.

5) Door Strings: These decorations were an impulse buy at Dollar Tree, but of course I couldn't resist them when I saw that they perfectly matched our plates! The strings feature images of hula girls, ukeleles, and flowers.

Next, it's time for the food! 

Luau Menu 

Clockwise from top left:

1) Pretzel Dijon Chicken: I'm the first to admit that I'm not the best chef, but since I kept the crafting for this party to a minimum, I wanted to do some experimenting in the kitchen. Instead of one main course, we enjoyed many different appetizers and tapas. One of my favorite dishes were these pretzel dijon chicken bites, accented with green glitter toothpicks (I had to craft SOMETHING!).

2) Appetizer Overview: An antipasto platter, crudite, chips and dip, and mozzarella/tomato/basil sandwiches were just a few of the initial appetizers that were served.

3) Mini Cupcakes: The dessert table had a "mini" theme (that way, we could sample a little bit of everything!). TSN reader Sarah is a brilliant baker who whipped up these mocha/orange cupcakes, which were decorated with cupcake toppers that were leftover from my recent 13 Going on 30 Birthday Party (this is why we always hang onto extra crafting supplies - they usually come in handy!).

4) Mini Doughnuts: How adorable are these doughnuts?! Sarah outdid herself by baking these as well. We served them on a cake pop display stand that was covered with leftover lei flowers.

Of course, the night also included some of our other classic party elements such as a signature cocktail, an M-curated mixy, and much more food, but the best part was having lots of girl talk with a great group of friends. I used all disposable paper goods to make the clean-up easier so that I could concentrate on enjoying the evening with the girls - as usual, Dollar Tree came to the rescue by providing lots of lovely luau options.

If you'd like more details about the full menu or any other party aspects, leave a comment below!

What's your perfect summer party theme?


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