Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Diet Cocktail

Happy Black Friday, Gals! Whether you're snuggled up in bed or joining in today's shopping madness, we hope that your Thanksgiving was full of love, family, and of course, fantastic food. Since you may still be feeling a bit stuffed from yesterday (we know we are!), we've devised the perfect Black Friday diet cocktail that will keep you feeling light and festive (and not full and sluggish) throughout this holiday weekend.

This skinny cocktail requires only two ingredients - vodka, and the Sparkling Ice beverage of your choice (I selected Pomegranate Blueberry). Sparkling Ice is a flavored water with zero calories, so it's a fantastic diet cocktail mix-in!

Here's what you'll need for a 6 oz. cocktail: 

* 2 oz. vodka
* 4 oz. Sparkling Ice
* Lemon (for garnish)

Shake over ice, pour into your glass, and garnish with a lemon slice.

Light, tasty, and refreshing, it's the perfect skinny cocktail to wash away yesterday's Thanksgiving indulgences (because let's face it, no matter how full we're still feeling from yesterday, there is always room for a holiday weekend cocktail). 

Good luck with your Black Friday shopping (for those of you who are shopping online from the comfort of your homes, we hope this diet cocktail makes your day a little more fun!). Did you get any good deals today?


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from The Sequin Notebook!

We feel so lucky that we have so much to be thankful for this year, and hope that you are enjoying this special day with your nearest and dearest. Topping the very long list of things we are thankful for in 2013 is obviously the birth of M's son and our littlest Gal-in-Training, Baby M! We are also so grateful to you, our TSN readers, for making our blogging dream a reality. Thank you for helping The Sequin Notebook grow so quickly, and for being such loyal readers. We welcome your feedback on how to make TSN even better, and can't wait to continue bringing you more wonderful parties, crafts, and cocktails! 

Happy Thanksgiving from M and B!
Catch up with our Thanksgiving posts:

The Gals

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mixy It Up: Thanksgiving Edition!

Hey Gals!  Only 3 more days until Thanksgiving and it wouldn't be a holiday at the M family table if there wasn't a mixy playing in the background!  This year I'm headed to my parents house and with me I'll be bringing the perfect Thanksgiving playlist to accompany the whole day's festivities.

  I encourage everyone to be prepared with a mixy of your own, since most hosts will be too concerned with the menu and won't give the music selection a second thought (well, unless the Gals are hosting, of course!).  Here are my top picks that will take you from the parade all the way to that last piece of pumpkin pie (or in my case, pumpkin pie martini!)  And don't be afraid to sprinkle in a couple of your favorite Christmas songs to get everyone in the holiday spirit since Friday marks the official start of the season!

Pre-dinner apps and cocktails

1. Best Day of My Life - American Authors
2. Best I Ever Had - Gavin DeGraw
3. Feel Again - OneRepublic
5. You and I - Ingrid Michaelson
6. Who's Lovin' You - Michael Buble
7. Home - Phillip Phillips
9. I'm Your Man - Michael Buble
10. Something to Talk About - Badly Drawn Boy


1. Keep Your Head Up - Andy Grammar
2. The General Specific - Band of Horses
3. Songbird - Glee Cast
4. Come To Me - Goo Goo Dolls
5. Better Together - Jack Johnson
6. Sunday Morning - Maroon 5
7. Stubborn Love - The Lumineers
8. I Got It Easy - Michael Buble
9. Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
10. The Heart of the Matter - India Arie

Dessert and Cordials

1. Feelin' Good - Michael Buble
2. Burn - Ellie Goulding
3. Cosmic Love - Florence and the Machine
4. Told You So - Guggenheim Grotto
5. Moonlight Kiss - Bap Kennedy
6. She Talks to Angels - Black Crows
7. Warwick Avenue - Duffy
8. Me and Mrs. Jones - Michael Buble
9. Secrets - One Republic
10. Gravity - John Mayer

What are some of your favorites that you'll be blasting this Thanksgiving?  Any must plays I need to add to my list?

- M

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sequin Shopper: Ebates & Shop At Home

Only one more week until my favorite shopping day of the year...Cyber Monday! I've always appreciated the convenience of online shopping but ever since I moved to the city, it has definitely become my top way to shop. In addition to the appeal of being able to shop at all of my favorite stores from just one location (usually my couch), there are lots of online discounts available to make your shopping trips event smarter.

I have always been a bargain hunter, so before I click "Confirm Purchase" I make sure to google and search for promotional codes to get the best possible deal. Once I learned about Ebates and Shop at Home, it completely revolutionized my online shopping routine!

Both Ebates and Shop at Home are cash back shopping sites - simply log in, click through their links to your favorite stores, and you will receive a percentage of your sale back in CASH. Yes, cash. I know it sounds too good to be true but I've been shopping through both sites for several years and can personally vouch that I have received multiple checks from both companies, simply by clicking through their links!

The process is the same for both sites, though you'll want to check the current percentages offered because sometimes one site will have a better cash back deal than the other (for example, Macy's is currently offering 7% cash back at Shop at Home, and only 6% at Ebates). Here's a step-by-step guide to how you can start saving through these cash back websites:

1) Create an account at Ebates and Shop at Home.

2) Before making any online purchase, check both websites to see if they are currently offering cash back on the store where you are planning to shop.

3) Once you have logged into your account and found the appropriate store, click its link so that Ebates and Shop at Home can track your shopping activity.

4) After your purchase is completed, you will receive a confirmation e-mail stating how much cash back you will receive for that purchase.

5) Wait for your check to arrive in the mail!

Best of all, these sites are not just limited to standard mall stores - Travelocity, Dell Computer, and Groupon are just a few of the other online stores that you can save on through these websites.

I hope these sites can save you some money during your holiday shopping these season! What are your best online shopping bargain tips?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Craft It: Sequiney Thanksgiving Printables

Hey Gals!  With Thanksgiving right around the corner (less than a week away!), we thought it was only appropriate to give thanks to all of you Gals out there, and giveaway some free Thanksgiving printables!  Print out a couple copies of these and feature them throughout your Thanksgiving table this year - they would work great as wine charms on the bottom of your stemware, tied around a mason jar, coupled with some Apple Cider Sangria, of course, or paired with your favorite autumnal cake pops!

Download here: Thanksgiving Printables
Thank you to all of our sequiney readers for following us throughout the year - we hope you enjoy this small gift from us!  And we'd love to hear what other sort of printables you'd be interested in!  It's always fun to whip up a new batch, so please share your ideas and you may just see them featured in a future post!

- M

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pretty Polishes: Deborah Lippmann's Jewel Heist Mani

Hey Gals!  Just as I was swearing off buying any more new polishes, beautybar tempted me with a $15 credit.. so I caved and bought a couple of beauties from Deborah Lippmann's Jewel Heist collection.

But these aren't just any polishes, they are so beautiful and I've had my eye on them ever since pinning them way back over the summer.. so really I like to think that I actually had a lot of restraint holding off so long in purchasing AND I didn't even buy the whole collection!  Besides, after testing them out, I have no regrets - these polishes really are that special!  After adding and removing each polish from the collection to and from my cart about 7 times, I finally settled on Rolling in the Deep, a luscious inky dark blue, with subtle shimmery flecks, the complementary glitter, Va Va Voom, a glitzy navy holographic glitter, and finally, Glitter and Be Gay, a gold holographic glitter that is so much more than any description I could possibly provide!  It has flecks of purple and green, but also picks up on the colors of the base coat you use.  And the holographic nature of these glitters really make them stand out from just your normal run of the mill glitter polish - when the light catches, it's gorgeous and I find myself staring at my hands all day long!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pomegranate Cranberry Martini

When I visit my parents and we go out to dinner, we like to hold a family happy hour in the kitchen before heading out to the restaurant. It's one of my favorite family traditions because sharing stories and laughs over a couple of cocktails is a fun way to kick off an evening of quality family time. While our family bar is always fully stocked and my dad is a great mixologist, I keep on coming back to one drink in particular.

This Pomegranate Cranberry Martini (also known simply as "The Pink Drink" in my house) is a great pre-dinner choice because it's a low calorie beverage, so it won't fill you up too much before the main meal. Cranberry and pomegranate are great fruity flavors of fall which makes this an excellent November drink, but this cocktail can definitely be enjoyed year-round.

Here's what you'll need for an 8 oz. cocktail: 

* 4 oz. cranberry-pomegranate juice (I use Ocean Spray's Diet Cran-Pomegranate Juice)
* 1 oz. POM juice
* 1 oz. triple sec
* 2 oz. vodka
* Dash of lime juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and pour into a chilled martini glass, rimmed with colored sugar. For more great autumnal cocktails from The Sequin Notebook, check out our recipes for Apple Cider Sangria, Pumpkin Pie Martini, and Apple Cider Martini!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

iPhone Backgrounds: Paper Source Inspiration

Inspiration can sneak up on you when you least expect it! After a lovely impromptu dinner with a friend last night, we stopped into (where else?) Paper Source on our walk home. We may have mentioned our love of Paper Source before on The Sequin Notebook, as it is one of our favorite craft supply destinations. Even better, they stock tons of beautiful sheets of wrapping paper that can be used to create unique, personalized packages to showcase your gifts.

While lusting over these gorgeous papers (yes, we may have an addiction), my friend snapped a photo of one of his favorites. I love updating my iPhone background to suit my mood or the season, so I captured a few of my favorite Paper Source gift wraps and will be keeping them in my photo gallery so they can be rotated in and out of my phone. Below are a few of my personal favorites from tonight.

I love the yummy macaron and doughnut images (though they may lead me to some poor food choices if I look at them every day!), and I am always a sucker for geometric patterns like the gold chevron and the bright triangles. Each of these stunning papers would look amazing on a gift, but why settle for a one-time use when you can appreciate their beauty every day on your phone? We use our phones so much that we might as well have something pretty to look at while we're scrolling through, and it was lovely to find some surprise inspiration tonight to give my background a facelift.

My current winner is the feather paper featured below (and also featured as the wallpaper on my phone). I love how the soft, fluffy feathers are balanced out by the sharpness of the arrows.

Do you like to personalize your phone's backgrounds? When have you been struck by unexpected inspiration?


Monday, November 11, 2013

Thanksgiving Place Settings

In addition to eagerly anticipating my dad's insanely delicious pumpkin cheesecake and my mom's recreation of my grandma's famous stuffing, I'm excited to create festive Thanksgiving place settings. After all, the best place to sit down for a delicious Thanksgiving meal is a beautifully-set table filled with family (plus, it's not as if I would be trusted in the kitchen!). These special Thanksgiving place settings are easy to make, and will create the perfect atmosphere for your holiday feast. 

1) Fall Feathers: Simply place two feathers in mixed colors/prints on top of each napkin for elegant flair.

2) I Am Thankful For: Place a sheet of paper at each setting to give guests an opportunity to share what they are thankful for each year. A pen is wrapped and topped with paper leaves to make filling out the sheets even easier.

3) Chocolate Turkey: I love the idea of leading with dessert! This chocolate turkey is a sweet preview for a decadent meal.

4) Simple Fruit: Sometimes the simplest item makes the biggest statement - add a grosgrain ribbon to the fruit stem to tie this into the rest of your color scheme (and if all of your Thanksgiving apples are already committed to apple pie, try a pear on the plate!).

5) Pumpkin Place Card: If you have any mini pumpkins left over from Halloween, try adding a piece of scrapbook paper to the stem. Cut it out in a swirling flag shape, and add each guest's name to the paper on the pumpkin (instead of just pumpkins, you can also try all different shapes and colors of gourds to mix it up).

6) Kiddie Drumstick: This cheery drumstick (made with brown paper lunch bags) will be a big hit this year at the Kids' Table! Once the drumstick is wrapped, add bright block letter stickers to spell out each child's name. You can also set up all the supplies earlier in the day and let the kids make their own, so that they are busy with a fun craft activity while the adults put the finishing touches on the turkey.

7) Pinecone & Twine: The scattered pinecones and plain "EAT" tag are (literally!) tied together to the napkin by rustic twine. It's easy to assemble, and I like that each plate would be slightly different depending on the pinecone shapes and configurations.

I hope you find some inspiration from these ideas to make your own unique place settings! What will be on your Thanksgiving table this year?


Friday, November 8, 2013

Sequiney Pinspiration: DIY Glitzy Wine Bottle

Hey Gals!  Today we were feeling a little crafty, so we decided to take a little sequiney pinspiration and turn it into a fun DIY project to see if we could recreate one of our recent pins

Well turned out this was a sequiney success, and couldn't have been easier! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Opening Lines: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Hello, daaahling! Christmas came early this week with the debut of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 4. We're beyond ready to jump into another season filled with "chi-chi-chi" as we wonder what can possibly top the leg-stealing, cotton candy sucking, hot mess of screaming matches and tears that we've cherished in past seasons. 

As any loyal Bravo fan knows, each housewife delivers a gem of a sassy opening line in the theme song, and we couldn't wait to hear what kind of zingers the ladies had in store for us with this new season. As our honorary gal Andy Cohen would say, "here's what": let's dive in and discuss the tag lines! 

KYLE: I'm from this town. I know what's real and what's fake!

Oh, KYLE. We've been over this countless times - we know alllllllll about your Beverly Hills upbringing (as you told us in your season 3 tag line, "I'm born and raised in Beverly Hills. This is my town!"). I understand that you're playing on your home turf, but it's time to get a new shtick. As Taylor Armstrong would say, "Enough! En-OUGH!!!"

YOLANDA: Don't tell me you're my friend; act like one.

Yolanda is a straight-shooter who doesn't have time for the high school drama that many of the other housewives thrive on (which is probably why she's not always the most exciting housewife to watch, even though I will always love the way she stood up for Brandi last season against "The Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick"). This line perfectly demonstrates her blunt, no-nonsense attitude.

BRANDI: In Beverly Hills, the higher you climb, the farther you fall.

Maybe it's because her hilarious book is chock full of witty one-liners (and one of our Beach Book picks), but I expected a lot more sauciness from Brandi. Call me crazy, but doesn't "the higher you climb, the farther you fall" apply in ANY situation and not just in Beverly Hills?! I love you, Brandi, but you can do better.

KIM: Everybody loves a comeback story, especially starring me!

While we're all happy that Kim is healthier than she was in earlier seasons after finally going to rehab, her tag line last year ("Life is a journey, and I'm finding myself every day") was a bit too serious and tame for everyone's favorite turtle-loving former child star. Kooky Kim is at her best when she's being a bit wacky and marching to the beat of her very own drummer, so I'm pleased that this opening line is much spunkier than last year's (and I'm totally rooting for a Kim acting career revival that will lead to some starring roles in Lifetime movies!).

CARLTON: In my world, money doesn't talk; it swears.

This is Carlton's first season as a housewife, so this line is our very first impression of her...and is anyone else completely baffled?! I'm really not sure what she's trying to convey here but considering that she named her children Destiny, Mystery, and Cross, perhaps it's best if I don't try to crawl too deeply into her thoughts.

JOYCE: You can never be too young, too thin, or too honest.

Joyce is the other new housewife this season, and I like that her line is somewhat catty (in asserting her youth and beauty) while simultaneously praising the wholesome virtue of honesty (and we all know that Real Housewives "honesty" is just an excuse to say whatever you want, which usually leads to more fighting!). She's definitely one to watch this season (and not just because of her stunning hair - sorry Kyle, you've officially been dethroned as the Pantene Queen!).

LISA: Life is a sexy little dance, and I like to take the lead.

Yes, Lisa, we know that you were on Dancing with the Stars but thanks for taking the time to remind us once again that you've successfully been able to extend your fame with appearances on other reality shows (including our other reality obsession, Vanderpump Rules!). This line is fine, but it pales in comparison to Lisa's opening statement from last year (which just so happens to be my all-time favorite Housewives tag line from all cities/seasons):

"Life isn't all diamonds and rosé, but it should be."

Ain't that the truth.

Which housewife has your favorite/least favorite line this season?


P.S. When I visited California earlier this year, I had the absolute pleasure of dining/stalking the wait staff at Sur (Lisa's restaurant/the site of Vanderpump Rules). Not only did we have a delish meal and pose by the cute little pink Sur car parked outside, but we met reality starlets Stassi and Katie (and creeped up on them for a photo) - just had to share my mini fangirl freakout collage with all of you lovely TSN readers!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Martini and Shots

Happy November! While we've packed up our Halloween tricks and treats, we're still craving some autumnal cocktails (like our Apple Cider Sangria and Apple Cider Martini). This Pumpkin Pie Martini is a decadent dessert cocktail - it's a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table, or as a chilly Sunday evening treat when you're sitting around around a cozy fireplace (add in a leopard Snuggie and a Lifetime Original Movie and you've pretty much described my ideal hermit weekend). 

Here's what you'll need for a 6 oz. cocktail:

* 2 oz. Whipped Cream Vodka (I used Pinnacle)
* 4 oz. Pumpkin Pie Liquor (I used Fulton's Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liquor)
Side note: I strongly recommend using the Fulton's Harvest liquor. There are several other brands of pumpkin pie liquor that I've tried (there may have been a Thanksgiving table blind test taste involved) and this brand has always stood out as the clear winner.
* Caramel sundae syrup
* Whipped cream
* Pumpkin pie spice
* Cinnamon sticks

Fill a shaker with ice, vodka, and pumpkin pie liquor - pour into a martini glass. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top, and drizzle the caramel sundae syrup across the top. Sprinkle a dash of pumpkin pie spice across the top and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

It's pure Thanksgiving dessert deliciousness with an adult kick! If you want to save room for some of the other tasty pies and cakes around your Thanksgiving table but still want to try these flavors, consider replacing your usual pumpkin pie with a tray of pumpkin pie shots. Keeping the proportions of 1/3 whipped cream vodka and 2/3 pumpkin pie liquor, pour the liquid into multiple shot glasses. Serve them on a tray with a cinnamon stick across the top of each glass.

Don't worry, we won't blame you if you skip the turkey and head right to dessert this year.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Sequiney Pinspiration: Wine Crush

Hey Gals!  We hope you had a fabulous Halloween with a couple of tricks and lots of treats!  As you come off of your sugar high, we thought the best thing to pair with all of that delicious chocolate is a little wine.  Today's sequiney pinspiration is all about one of our favorite fall colors, so pour a glass of your favorite deep hued beverage and enjoy this week's color crush!  And keep a look out in the coming weeks for TSN's party planner where we provide a breakdown on hosting your own wine and chocolate party!

wine and choc \\ bag \\ lip love \\ cerise noir \\ rebel red \\ coat \\ burgundy \\ cake \\ pairing

- M
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