Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Apple Cider Sangria

We've already sung the praises of our favorite fall cocktail, the delicious apple cider martini. While hosting a recent Spooky Soiree cocktail party, I wanted to develop a signature beverage that could be prepared in advance and would incorporate the flavors of the apple cider martini - however, since we would likely be drinking this for several hours (my friends enjoy a good cocktail!), I wanted to make sure it was still as delicious as the martini but not quite as strong. Therefore, the apple cider sangria was born!

This sangria is perfect for entertaining because you can prepare several batches of it in advance so that you can just serve it at the party without wasting time to mix new pitchers. Best of all, the flavors marinate when they sit for several hours so it tastes even better the next day.

Here's what you'll need (for one large pitcher):

* 2 Fuji apples
* 3 Bartlett pears
* 1 bottle of pinot grigio
* 2.5 cups of apple cider
* 0.5 cups of peach brandy
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Chop the apples and pears and add them to your pitcher.

Add the pinot grigio, apple cider, peach brandy, nutmeg, and cinnamon to the pitcher. Thoroughly stir all of the ingredients, then cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours (overnight is best!).

Scoop some fruit into mason jars (or the glasses of your choice) and pour the liquid on top.

This refreshing cocktail was definitely a winner with our Spooky Soiree guests, and it was a huge hosting relief to have several batches hanging out in the fridge, ready to be poured. While it's perfect for Halloween, it can definitely transition into November and also be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Which apple cider cocktail is your winner - the martini or the sangria? It's a tie over here at The Sequin Notebook!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DIY Glitzy Pumpkins

With Halloween just a few days away, it's time to add some glitz to all of the spookiness! There's nothing more festive than a decorative pumpkin, but who has the time to deal with all of the knives and stringy pumpkin guts involved with carving? Save yourself a whole lot of mess and add a little sparkle to your Halloween by crafting your own glitzy pumpkins.

As with any kind of crafting, the first step is to gather your supplies. For my six designs I used loose glitter, glitter glue, a foam brush, glitter paint, glitter glue pens, a hot glue gun, rhinestones, pearl stickers, metallic ink, and Halloween stamps.

That's a whole lot of glitter!
First up is a basic lined pumpkin - simply trace the natural grooves of your pumpkin with alternating colors of glitter glue pens for a clean striped look.

If you're looking for something less symmetrical, experiment with loose glitter. I painted on random swirls of glitter glue and topped it with blue and gold glitter.

Next up is a less girly design that I like to think of as a tattooed pumpkin! Using spiderweb and star stamps with metallic green and gold ink, I covered the pumpkin to give it more of a "rock" edge. This is a great way to ease boyfriends and husbands into the wonderful world of crafting!

This polka dot pumpkin also uses the glitter glue pens - simply select your colors and make small dots all around the pumpkin.

If you liked the simple elegance of the original striped pumpkin, you'll also enjoy this next look that adds pearl stickers and plays with various line lengths. 

Finally, here is the glitziest design of all! I used a light layer of glitter paint to add subtle sparkle all over the pumpkin, and then used a lot glue gun to add a layer of shiny rhinestones around the midsection of the pumpkin. Instant Halloween glam!

These mini pumpkins are the perfect Halloween decor because they are small enough to scatter throughout my studio apartment, but each one offered a new opportunity for easy glitzy crafting.

How will you be decorating your pumpkins this Halloween?


Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Candy Corn Bark

Even though we're well past trick-or-treating age, Halloween is still all about the candy (well...and the cocktails). This candy corn bark is a perfect Halloween treat because it's a great excuse to combine several different candies into one snack and eat them all at the same time - it's completely indulgent, and we love it!

Here's what you'll need:

* Candy corn
* Oreos (approximately 15)
* Pretzels
* Peanut M&Ms (preferably the seasonal bag of fall colors)
* Reese's Pieces
* White melting chocolate
* Halloween sprinkles

- Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.

- Break Oreos in 3-4 pieces each and spread them across the wax paper, keeping the pieces close together.

- Break your pretzels and layer them on top of the Oreos.

- Spread approximately 3/4 of the candy corn, M&Ms, and Reese's Pieces on top of the Oreos/pretzels. Try to layer the candy in such a way that it fills in any major holes between the bottom layer of Oreos.

- Melt your white chocolate and evenly spread it on top of the mixture.

- Before the chocolate dries, add the remaining candy and top it off with your Halloween sprinkles.

- Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to harden for at least an hour. Once the bark is completely set, break it apart into small pieces. Serve it to your lucky guests, and store any remaining bark in an airtight container for up to a week.

Mmmmm....enjoy your sugar high! 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

TSN Giveaway: Free Halloween Printables!

Hey Gals!  Clearly the Gals are huge fans of Halloween, as seen here, here, and here!  And what's a holiday without some festive printables?!  Today we are giving away a free downloadable set of printables just in time for Halloween!  Perfect for adding a little extra touch to any Halloween party or project, such as cake pop tags, goodie bag labels, or even mason jar decor!  Hope you enjoy this free printable and we'd love to hear what other printables our gals would be interested in having us feature in the future!

Download Here

Happy Halloween and Happy Printing!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sequiney Pinspiration: Halloween Magic

Happy Halloween Gals!  Halloween is upon us next week, and the Gals at TSN couldn't be more excited!  What's not to love about a holiday that celebrates getting all done up in costume?!  To get everyone ready, today we are presenting some of our favorite Halloween pins.  Want more spooky goodness?  Follow us here!

trick-or-treat // batty // queen bee // pumpkin favor // bottoms up // pageant gal // glitzy skull // pumpkin cooler

Happy Halloween!
- M

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Party Favor: Pumpkin Hand Sanitizers

To kick off the upcoming Halloween festivities, I hosted a Spooky Soiree last night that featured Halloween-themed cocktails and desserts (full details to come soon!). There were lots of sugary sweets at the event, so I decided to do something a little different for a party favor...

Keep those scary germs at bay with some pumpkin hand sanitizer!
I always keep a travel-sized tube of hand sanitizer in my bag (since I ride the New York subway every day, it's definitely a necessity). Bath and Body Works has tons of seasonal scents, so I thought this would be a perfect non-candy treat for my guests. 

Pumpkin Caramel Latte, Pumpkin Cupcake, Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, and Creamy Pumpkin are just a few of the yummy fall scents offered by Bath and Body Works.
At the low price of 5 for $5, this favor definitely fit my party's budget. I bagged each of them individually and tied a Germs are Scary tag (designed by eighteen25) around each bottle. The bottles were then piled into a Halloween-themed treat box and guests could pick one up on their way home. 

This was one of the easiest favors I've assembled in quite a while, and I loved finding the perfect gift tag to accompany the bottles!

Will you be knocking out germs with your next party favor, or will you be following the traditional candy route?


Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Hey Gals! With Halloween quickly approaching, we're thinking of some fab costume ideas for every member of your family...including your dog!

M's dog Fred posing in her Halloween finest!
Back when M still lived in the city, we took her dog Fred to a local Halloween costume contest parade for dogs. Her costume was a last-minute decision that we quickly crafted together, but it was obvious when we got to the parade that the other dog owners took this very seriously and had put lots of thought into their costumes. Here are some of our favorites...hopefully they will inspire you to let your dog join in the Halloween fun this year!

The Medusa in the bottom right corner is a fun look for any dogs who won't immediately shake those snakes off of their heads! We also love the lobster costume, Dog Elvis, and the doggie dreidel. We're still tying to figure out exactly what's happening with the dog in the carriage, but we know that we're obsessed with his furry hat!

Of course, our favorite is still Fred's Queen Bee costume. She was far from the only bee in the parade, but she was definitely the glitziest! This costume was created by adding sequins to a yellow/black tutu, sticking yellow pom poms onto black pipe cleaners, and using gold garland as trim. 

All hail Queen Bee Fred!
It's also fun for you to join your dog and make it a group costume...Fred convinced us to be her worker bees at the parade. Our black leggings, yellow sweaters, and black/yellow bee headbands created the look, and we had a little bit of Fred's glitziness thanks to our gold garland necklaces. 

Queen Bee Fred wound up taking home 11th place that year (out of a few hundred dogs)...we'll be back to try to take home the top title!

The Queen Bee and her two worker bees
What will your dog be dressing up as this year?

The Gals

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shopping Spree: Favorite Fall Scarves

One of my favorite things about fall fashion is the impact of dress can take on many looks simply by adding different tights, boots, and sweaters. Of course, a lightweight scarf is the ultimate fall layer - here are five of our favorite fall scarves that will make your outfits extra snazzy and fit any budget (the most expensive scarf featured retails for $185, and the lowest cost option is only $8.80!).

I've been getting a lot of use out of my Amrita Singh Achca scarf this fall, though I wish I could splurge on the Kate Spade Girl About Town Scarf - love how it also functions as a handy Manhattan map! 

Which scarves will you be rocking this fall?


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apple Cider Martini

It's been quite awhile (since last Christmas!) that we've been able to enjoy a cocktail that Baby M is here, we're finally able to sample some fall cocktails. This one is a classic that we return to every year - the apple cider martini.

The cider and cinnamon flavors in this drink will make you want to run to the nearest orchard, load up a barrel full of apples, and bake some homemade apple pie! This drink tasted particularly sweet since it was the first one us gals were able to share together in 2013 - cheers!

Here's what you'll need:

* Vodka
* Apple cider
* One apple
* Cinnamon
* Sugar

Fill a shaker with ice, 2 shots of vodka, and 3 shots of apple cider (you can also throw in a few apple slices).  Run an apple slice along the rim of the martini glass, then dip the edge in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Garnish with the apple slice, and sprinkle a dusting of cinnamon on top of the liquid. Enjoy!

A mason jar can stand in for a shaker...just one more fabulous way to use these versatile jars!
The Gals

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sale Alert: Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters is having a massive blow-out sale both in stores and online through Tuesday, October 15th. You can now take an additional 50% off all clearance items! We’re snapping up some printed headbands and spiky rings for only $1 each, great fall dresses for $15, and patterned leggings for $10. Plus, when you download UO’s iPhone app, you’ll receive free shipping on your purchase! Happy shopping!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Party Planner: Build a Brunch

It's pretty clear by now that we love a brunch gathering - keep things simple at your next home brunch by inviting guests over for a Build a Brunch! A mimosa bar and bagel bar were the focal points of this gathering, with some assorted side dishes mixed in for variety.

First up is the mimosa bar.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY Halloween Costume: Pageant Girl Costume (for Adults!)

Since I love any excuse to go glam, Halloween has always been an opportunity to play around with whimsical wigs, colorful makeup, and of course, an overabundance of glitter! If you share M's and my obsession with brain candy reality shows, there's a pretty good chance that you've stumbled across an episode or two of Toddlers and Tiaras. The soapy drama and the glitziness appeal to us for obvious reasons, but I never imagined that I'd find inspiration for a fantastic DIY Halloween costume on the show! Here's my take on a pageant girl costume (no sewing required!).

Make sure you strike your best "pretty hands" pose!
I had a blast in this costume because it was sparkly, an immediate conversation starter, and an easy DIY project - what could be better? I started with a base costume from the (get ready to cringe) "Sexy Disney Princess" line (ughhh) which is basically just a shortened version of a classic Disney Princess outfit (mine was supposed to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast). There's a great base dress here at Party City if you'd like to do a pale pink pageant look.

After ordering my dress online, M and I took a trip to M&J Trimming to pick up different sequins and embellishments in my accent color, hot pink. Armed with these add-ons, I was ready to plug in my glue gun and get to work on creating the perfect Glitz Dress (yes, I was getting my game face on and using official pageant lingo!). Some tulle netting beneath the skirt kept it perfectly puffed out to the side, as a cupcake skirt should be for an official beautywear competition (now I'm just showing off my newly acquired jargon). 

Of course, a pageant girl is never fully dressed without her accessories. My little white lace anklet socks and white patent Mary Jane shoes were picked up at a Payless clearance. I swung by the drugstore for some bronzer (although I probably should have just borrowed some from M's bottomless stash!) since every glitz girl needs a solid tan - once the bronzer was in place, I was free to go crazy with all sorts of sparkly, dazzling eye makeup.

Since I was obviously planning to be the Ultimate Grand Supreme winner of the pageant, I picked up a cheap plastic crown from the local party store along with a pack of wands, which I hot-glued on to add more height to the crown. My hot pink sash declared my title thanks to a glitter pen, and I mounted some fake money onto a piece of cardboard to flash my money fan prize around. 

Let's take a closer look at how it all came together:

The sash, tiara, pageant shoes, anklets, money fan, curly blonde wig, and lots of hot pink embellishments transformed me from a second-rate Belle into a glitz pageant superstar!
If you're thinking about creating your own pageant Halloween costume, remember that you definitely don't need to be a skilled seamstress - all of these pink items were glued on and they lasted throughout multiple Halloween parties. Just start with a basic dress and add on lots of embellishments - the best part is that more is more with this costume. It's impossible to go too over the top!

This look was certainly an attention-grabber - in addition to my Ultimate Grand Supreme title, I also won first prize at one of the Halloween parties I attended (which netted me a delicious bottle of Smirnoff Whipped Cream vodka - yum!). 

And just! Your adoring public awaits!

Such a ham
Are you excited to create your own pageant girl costume, or are you all Honey Boo Boo-ed out? Let us know what's on your DIY costume agenda this Halloween!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Just Us Gals: Lazy Galish Sunday

Hey Gals! It's not too often that us TSN gals get to spend a lazy Sunday together, but we're hanging out and working on some new and exciting crafts, giveaways, party plans, and more that you'll see soon on the blog! And yes, ALL of the gals are together today...

M, Baby M, and B hard at work on the blog!

The Gals (B, M, and Baby M!)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Halloween Cake Pop Creations: Pumpkins and Monsters

From baby faces to watermelons, we love creating a perfectly themed cake pop for every occasion. Here are two Halloween designs that will tickle your sweet tooth - pumpkins and monster eyes!

The tastiest pumpkins and monsters ever...a guaranteed Halloween party hit!
To get started, follow the instructions in our basic cake pop tutorial. Once that part is complete, you can move onto the specific instructions below to create these particular pops.

1) Pumpkin Cake Pops

You'll need:
* Orange candy melts
* Assorted orange sprinkles

While your pops are wet, cover them with the orange sprinkles of your choice. Top it off with a green star from your star sprinkle medley serving as the stem (press the star directly into the top of the ball to give it the appearance of a leaf growing from the pumpkin).

2) Monster Cake Pops

You'll need:
* Candy melts in the color of your choice (I used Wilton purple candy melts)
* Assorted sprinkles

Use a toothpick to run lines through your wet cake pops to create a scraggly, veiny effect, then cover them with sprinkles. Press an eyeball (or two!) into the front of the cake pop. For an extra dose of fun, you can add a few drops of food coloring to your cake crumbs to create a spooky surprise when people bite into the pops!

What are your favorite Halloween sweet treats?


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pretty Polish: Rescue Beauty Lounge Cerise Noir

Hey Gals!  As I've been settling into life with my new little favorite gal, I'm realizing everything I was warned about in these first couple weeks is true!  Showering has become a luxury that I'm not always afforded and my hair has been in a constant messy bun.  One way I've managed to maintain a little normalcy and not feel like a total disaster is with my nails (of course!).  I find that as long as I have a beautiful polish on my hands, I'm able to feel at least a little put together.  Since the little guy does leave me so strapped for time, I knew that my first mani as a new mommy would need to have one with staying power, so of course I turned to one of my favorite nail polish brands, Rescue Beauty Lounge!  Rescue Beauty Lounge, or RBL, polishes have an amazing formula that actually resists the normal chips that I usually see by day 2 of a mani. Also, their creme colors are a dream to apply, and all I need is two coats, max. You may have noticed from my Polish Display Post that I have quite the collection of RBL's, so choosing a color is usually half my battle!

 For this mani, I decided to do a more classic look and went with Cerise Noir. As described on the RBL site, it's "black cherries wrapped in dark chocolate. Decadant, luscious, and just a bit dangerous." I just love a dark nail, especially for fall, so this was a perfect choice!

I always start my mani's with RBL's Treatment System. - Currently it looks like it's only available separately, but I definitely recommend it. I start with the Base Coat Prep, then follow with the Base Coat, and finish up with the Top Coat after I apply my polish.

Below is two coats, before I applied the shiny Top Coat:

And here is after the Top Coat is applied:

Today is day 3 of my mani, and still not a chip in sight! What do you think of my Mommy Mani- are you a fan of the classic, dark color, or do you prefer something a little more cray?

- M
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