Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Year in Review: Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2013

2014 is right around the corner which means a fresh start and new beginnings, but before we wrap up 2013 with a big, sparkly bow, let's take a look back at our favorite moments The Sequin Notebook's very first year. Here are our 10 favorite posts of 2013!

1) Pumpkin Pie Martini and Shots

This dessert martini was a big hit with y'all as a decadent holiday treat, though it can definitely be enjoyed year-round.


2) We Love It: Top 10 Sex and the City Episodes, Part One and Part Two

In honor of Sex and the City's 15 year anniversary (it still makes us feel old to type that!), we counted down our top ten favorite episodes (which was NOT an easy task)!

3) Craft It: DIY Homemade Thank You Cards

This tutorial provides a simple way to add some extra sparkle and personal touches to your cards and notes.


4) Party Planner: Fun and Sassy Baby Shower Games

M's Glitzy Blue Baby Shower featured non-cheesy shower games that were fun for all of the guests (though they certainly also enjoyed the DIY nail polish favors and baby face cake pops!).


5) Product Love: Simple Sugars Body Scrub

This product review let you in on one of our favorite beauty secrets.


6) Apple Cider Martini

It just doesn't feel like fall until we've mixed up our first Apple Cider Martini of the year! You may also enjoy its sibling drink, the Apple Cider Sangria.

7) Meet TSN's Newest Little Gal in Training

You know that someone special has arrived when Michael Buble is only the second best person we've met all year - M's son, Baby M, arrived in September and made his online debut on The Sequin Notebook!

8) Sequiney Pinspiration: DIY Glitzy Wine Bottle

Pinterest success! This recreation outshines the original inspiration.


9) Shopping Spree: Non-Traditional Baby Bags

M may be a new mom, but that's no reason to suddenly turn frumpy - we love her new spin on non-traditional baby bags.

10) 5 Easy Steps: A Fishtail Braid Tutorial

For days when a blow-out is out of the question and a ponytail just won't do, our fishtail braid tutorial has you covered.


Thanks for making our first blog year so much fun - we can't wait to bring you more sequiney goodness in 2014! What was your favorite TSN post of the year?

The Gals

Monday, December 23, 2013

DIY Ornament Cup

Hey Gals! All set for Christmas? If you're looking for an easy DIY project to add a little flair to your Christmas gathering, look no further than this ornament cup. Yes, we are using real ornaments and no, they will not roll off your table!

Supplies (from left to right): Crochet rings, sparkle paint, foam brush, clear glass ornaments, pom poms
All of the supplies above can be found at Michael's or any other local craft store. Once you've gathered your supplies, follow these easy instructions:

1) Remove the silver hook tops from the ornaments and thoroughly wash them.

2) Paint your crochet rings in the color of your choice (I used sparkly green paint) and allow them to dry completely.

3) Using a hot glue gun, run a thin line of glue around one side of the crochet ring, and then stick the ornament on top. The ornament will nest nicely within the ring so that these cups can be placed down without rolling over.

4) For optional embellishment, glue multicolored pom poms around your glass. I glued mine on top, but next time I might try gluing them around the base of the glass so that you can see the ornament shape on top.

Once the ornaments are fully dry, use a funnel to pour your beverages into them. Make sure you have straws on hand as well, since it could get messy to drink directly from these glasses!

What DIY projects are on your list for this year's holiday parties?


Our Top 10 Ridiculous Made-for-TV Christmas Movies: Part Two

We're back with even more ridiculous made-for-TV movies to put you in the Christmas spirit! Part One of our countdown featured some completely insane holiday hijinks, so let's continue that theme with these next 5 films.

5) Holiday in Handcuffs (ABC Family)

Very thoughtful of our heroine to wrap up a Christmas gift in the midst of her kidnapping plot.
Trudy (Melissa Joan Hart) is a waitress who has just been dumped by her boyfriend right before she was supposed to bring him home for Christmas to meet her nagging parents, who have basically given up all hopes of Trudy ever snagging a man now that she's reached the ripe old age of 27. Trudy goes completely insane and literally kidnaps David, a diner at her restaurant (Mario Lopez) to pose as her boyfriend, Nick (holiday name alert!). He makes a few half-hearted attempts to escape but honestly, it does not seem like he really tries too hard, and of course he starts hitting it off with Trudy and her family. David is finally rescued by the police after his real girlfriend tips them off (oh yeah, he was just about to get engaged to someone else!) and Trudy and her family get thrown in the slammer, but he decides not to press charges because he is in looooove. After surprising Trudy at her art show (because he's a sensitive ABC Family hunk who wants her to follow her artistic dreams), they start making out and it appears as though they will live happily ever after.

Obviously, the kidnapping is totally absurd and could never, ever happen in real life, but there are a few other crazy things in this movie that lands it on our list. First of all, the crossover appeal of Clarissa and Slater winding up together is just irresistible. Also (and I mean this as the highest compliment), Melissa Joan Hart is reeeeally good at acting over the top and giving us some fierce crazy eyes. Everyone loves a sassy, gun-toting grandma, and this movie delivers one in the form of a grandma who apparently used to perform on Broadway and uses that as an excuse to inject extra drama into everyone's lives, so obviously I approve of that. And finally, the handcuffs in the title don't only refer to the kidnapping; multiple pairs pop up throughout the film, including a pair of red furry ones at the very end when our leads finally get together (come on kids, save it for the bedroom!).

4) A Bride for Christmas (Hallmark)

Hey guys, do you think they'll wind up getting married? Thanks for the spoiler alert, Hallmark!
After breaking off three engagements (wow, quite an achievement!), interior designer Jessie has sworn off all men but can't quite resist her new client Aidan. Plot twist: serial bachelor Aidan has made a completely nonsensical bet with his friends that he can convince a woman to marry him by Christmas. He selects Jessie as his target at an art show, and proceeds to stalk her by hiring her to redecorate his apartment. She tries to resist his advances but falls prey to his charm, despite the fact that she is still being pursued by her latest fiance. Since this is a Hallmark movie, Aidan starts to develop real feelings for Jessie so he calls the bet off, but of course she finds out about it anyway and breaks up with him. However, her family meddles and arranges a wedding for Aidan and Jessie to be held at their house on Christmas Day; even though Jessie had stopped speaking to Aidan and wanted no part of him, of course she still goes through with this surprise wedding that her family decided to force her in to.

As if this plot isn't ridiculous enough, I've saved the best detail until now...the entire movie takes place over the course of only 4 weeks! That's just 28 days between when the bet was made and when the wedding took place! Even if they somehow managed to hang out every single day during that month, that's still a crazy-fast timeframe. Also, doesn't the premise of the bet basically make Aidan a total jerk? I mean, what was he planning to do if some poor girl that he never developed feelings for agreed to marry him, just dump her at the altar? Also, perhaps Jessie's family should be a little more concerned about their daughter's obvious commitment issues instead of shoving her down the aisle mere weeks after her last broken engagement (though perhaps they were able to recycle the flowers and other decor from her almost-wedding, since I'm sure they were still fresh).

3) A Very Merry Mix-Up (Hallmark)

This guy is our romantic lead? I demand a recast with Cameron Mathison!
This movie is based on SUCH a ridiculous premise that it actually made me angry! I need to break down each plot point:

- Alice is staying with her fiance Will's family for the holidays, but workaholic Will needs to settle some business first so Alice travels on her own a few days early. She has never met his family before - why on Earth would she go by herself to stay with them?? So awkward!

- While traveling, Alice loses her luggage and breaks her phone, but luckily, she just so happens to bump into her future brother-in-law Matt at the airport. It's completely ludicrous that she would just assume that Matt is Will's brother based solely on the fact that they have the same last name! Will has never mentioned having a brother and Matt had no idea that his brother (who is of course, also named Will!) was even dating anyone, let alone bringing her home for Christmas, yet they both just hop in a car and head on over to Matt's house.

- While en route to the house, they get into a car accident and (stay with me) this somehow causes their phones to no longer work, which is the flimsy excuse given for why Alice doesn't get in touch with her fiance for days, even though she was just in a car accident and is allegedly staying with his family!!!

- Of course, the fake family is lovely and just adores sweet little Alice. I don't have to tell you just how opposite the fiance's real family is, right?

I could go on and on pointing out all of the major plot holes, but let's cut to the chase - obviously Matt and Alice have fallen in love over the two days they spent together, which clearly means that she should dump Will just because his family is kind of snooty. The absolute absurdity that Alice and Will would have zero contact for almost a week is what qualifies this snoozefest as one of our top ridiculous movies!

2) The Mistletones

Time for a celebraTORI movie
As M recently pointed out to me as we were analyzing our favorite things about this movie (because yes, that's something we do), the entire source of conflict surrounds a vocal competition where the prize is to sing at the mall on Christmas Eve. Yes, the stakes are that high! Back during my choir days, no one would have wanted to sing at the mall on Christmas Eve - we'd rather stay at home to open presents and drink eggnog (and seeing as these characters are well past legal drinking age, there is really no reason they'd rather be caroling next to Forever 21 instead of chugging back some holiday cheer).

Our heroine, Holly (of course it's another Christmas name) is portrayed by Tia or Tamera Mowry, and her lifelong dream is to be a member of the Snow Belles, an all-female singing group started by her mother by now led by a fur hat-clad Tori Spelling. Of course, Tori is totes jealous of Tia, and refuses to allow her into the group even though she is clearly the best singer at the audition. Undeterred, Tamera assembles a random group of misfits from her office to form their own singing group to take on Tori and the Snow Belles! Sadly for Tia, her singing group kind of sucks and there is no way that they'll be able to sing at the mall on Christmas Eve (sad face).

But wait - plot twist! Turns out that Tamera's stern, uptight, and totally hot pretty boy boss Nick (drink for another Christmas name!) is a secret karaoke champ (and yes, I may rewind his big karaoke number just a few times whenever I watch this movie)...he is just the secret weapon they may need to snag some Cinnabon and maybe even an Orange Julius on Christmas Eve!

While this movie features plenty of predictable plot points (anyone want to bet on how long it will take Holly and Nick to get together?), the joy of watching it all stems from Tori Spelling's over-the-top, scenery-chewing performance as the fur-and-sequins villain. She is campy, she is a mean girl, and she is NOT redeemed in the end! Plus her lip-synching is completely out of control.

1) The 12 Dates of Christmas (ABC Family)

Spoiler: He never holds a wrapped gift in the actual movie! This picture is full of lies!
Confession: I may kind of genuinely like this movie just a little bit (though there is still much to make fun of!). In my defense, it stars an all-grown-up Mark-Paul Gosselaar and also features Michael Buble's original Christmas song, "Cold December Night"- how can I possibly be expected not to swoon?

Ok, back to the snark - Amy Smart (who I've always been suspicious of ever since she played the irritating Ruby on "Felicity") is a sad single named Kate, who is still mourning the end of her relationship with Jack (who was kind of pinging my gaydar throughout the film). She agrees to go on a blind date on Christmas Eve (which...really? Out of all possible days??) - lo and behold, MPG is her blind date! I would totally count that as a win, but Kate is still hung up on Jack and acts all miserable and bratty on the date. Luckily, the fates smile upon her and she winds up repeating Christmas Eve 12 times, getting it a little more right each time. Along with falling in love with MPG, she also manages to make new friends, set up a new couple in the bar where she has her blind date, gains new appreciation for her stepmother, assists with an engagement, gets to know her lonely elderly neighbor, and more. It's a warm and fuzzy romantic comedy with Christmas as a backdrop, so this light and breezy movie is one that I always like to put on while I'm wrapping gifts (and let's face it, MPG always brings the pretty).

What are your go-to films for the holidays? Will you be snuggling up on the couch to watch any of our selections this Christmas Eve?


Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY Holiday Mug Gift

Christmas is right around the corner, but I can't stop making some more holiday crafts! Just like M's free printables were inspired by Christmas carols, I decided to create some personalized mugs based on a classic holiday tune.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
I'm not artistic when it comes to drawing but I have decent handwriting, so I decided to focus on the text by adding song lyrics on one side of the mug and the recipient's first initial on the other side.

The only supplies that you'll need are porcelain mugs (you can find cheap ones at Dollar Tree) and Sharpie Paint Pens - make sure you buy the oil-based paint pens, and not the regular Sharpie markers! 

Draw your design directly on the mug, then place it in the oven (make sure you put the mug in before turning on the oven to prevent cracking). Turn the oven up to 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn it off and allow it to cool completely before removing the mug. Congratulations, your mug is now dishwasher safe!

Personalized mugs are a simple yet creative way to show someone you care - for extra sweetness, fill the mug with candy, wrap it in Christmas cellophane, and tie it off with a sparkly bow.

Which DIY projects will you be gifting this Christmas?


Saturday, December 21, 2013

White Chocolate Creamsicle Martini

Hey Gals!  Hopefully you are all done with your last minute shopping and are able to enjoy some time being galish and festive in the remaining days leading up to Christmas.  But if you're like me and shopping to the very last minute, you're probably in need of a cocktail or two as you wind down from a crazy day of running out and about.  After having some delicious and light poinsettia punch, I'm now craving something a little sweeter, so I concocted a delicious dessert martini to indulge in (besides, I'm sure I've burned tons of calories earlier today with all of that shopping cardio!).  This martini is a creamsicle in a glass - the perfect sweet ending to a hectic day!

To make this delicious delight, you'll need:
  • 2 parts orange flavored vodka - I used Skyy Infusions Blood Orange Vodka
  • 1 part Kahlua
  • 1 part Godiva White Chocolate Liquor
  • A splash of Cointreau
  • Chocolate sugar for the martini glass rim
To make, just combine all ingredients into a shaker, then strain into a martini glass, rimmed with chocolate sugar - and if you're feeling extra festive, adorn the bottom of your glass with a holiday printable, such as the Christmas Carol printables we featured on Friday! 

Cheers Gals!

- M

Poinsettia Punch

What says Christmas more than a poinsettia? Once you try this poinsettia punch, you'll have a whole new appreciation for these festive flowers! This cocktail is light and refreshing enough to go with Christmas dinner but flavorful enough to stand up on its own at Christmas Eve happy hour (my family isn't the only one that does a Christmas Eve happy hour, right?).

It's fruity but not overly sweet, and the bubbles give it a celebratory feel. Plus, how cute and Christmas-y are the floating orange slices and cranberries?

Here's what you'll need (for a small pitcher, approximately six servings):

* 1.5 cups of cranberry juice

* 1 bottle of prosecco

* 2/3 cup of triple sec

* Cranberries

* Orange slices

Mix the cranberry juice and triple sec in a large pitcher and refrigerate. Pour a chilled bottle of prosecco and the cranberries/orange slices into the pitcher shortly before serving. Spoon some fruit into each glass, then pour the cocktail.

Poinsettia punch always makes the holidays merry and bright! What is your favorite holiday party cocktail?


Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Carol Printables

Hey Gals!  It's not a holiday without some custom TSN designed printables, so today we're featuring our latest batch, which was inspired by our Very Merry Sequiney Mixy!  After listening to my mixy one too many times, I just couldn't get all of those jingle bells out of my head which lead to the fun idea to use the Christmas Carol lyrics as part of the printable design!  As always, the possibilities are endless with how you can use these, so break out your circle punch and throw together a little extra Christmas cheer with these Mixy-inspired printables!

Download for free: Here

Merry Christmas Gals and Happy Crafting!  We'd love to hear how you plan to use these printables!

- M

Chic Wine Gift

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of holiday parties, and I couldn't be happier about having so many opportunities to spend time with friends and family. I always like to bring a small gift for the hosts to show my appreciation for their hospitality; it's thoughtful to bring a unique gift (and if you need some ideas, check out our gift guide for the happy hostess), but everyone always loves a bottle of wine!

To make your bottle of wine stand out from the crowd (and make it look like you put in a little more effort than just running to your local bodega), here is a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to glam up your wine gift. It requires some advance planning, but the results make the effort worth it!

You'll only need 4 items to create your chic wine gift:

1) Slim gift bag: This is where advance planning really pays off - while you can find gorgeous gift bags anytime of year, the best time to pick up Christmas bags is during the post-holiday sales in late December/early January. Yes, you'll need to store them for awhile, but with prices slashed up to 90% off, it's more than makes up for any inconvenience! I picked up this luxe silver and pink Christmas tree gift bag at Papyrus last year for less than $2 - the retail price was $8!

2) Tissue paper: With beautiful colored tissue paper being distributed for free from so many different retailers, I haven't had to actually buy any in years. This pink paper is courtesy of my Birchbox subscription, though I've also held onto some great papers from Victoria's Secret, Urban Outfitters, and more.

3) Wine: The best part! When I'm not sure of my host's wine preference, I try to find a whimsical label that somehow ties into the event and/or the host's personality. The fox on this wine bottle label looks like he's on his way to a holiday party thanks to his dashing red sweater, so I decided to bring him along to my party!

4) Christmas bells: For an extra festive touch, wrap some jingle bells around the neck of the wine bottle.  The bell ring pictured here is actually supposed to hang from a door knob, but it also fits perfectly around the top of a wine bottle and you can pick it up from (where else?), Dollar Tree!

Put all four together and you'll no longer have to walk in with a crumpled liquor store bag...

...but instead, your chic wine gift will be the perfect representation of your chic style!

How will you be spreading holiday cheer to your hosts this year?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Very Merry Sequiney Mixy

Hey Gals!  With only one week until Christmas, we are in full on holiday mode here at The Sequin Notebook, which means it's time for my Christmas Mixy!  

My only rule for this one is that I'm a Christmas music purist and will only include holiday songs on my mixy.  But other than that, anything goes!  As far as I'm concerned, the more Christmas music, the better, so I basically include every single Christmas song that I have on my iPod.  I don't even bother excluding duplicate (and triplicate) versions of songs, since different artists can offer totally different versions to songs.  Plus you'll have this mixy on all day long, so you want to make sure it's jammed packed - just be sure to shuffle so the same song doesn't come on twice in a row!  And in case you need a little inspiration to get your mixy started, here are my very favorite Christmas songs, in my very favorite versions.  And yes, I realize that 6 of these are by the great Michael Buble (actually 7 if you count the duet with Blake!), and no, I will not apologize for that - they are just that good!!

1. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
2. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Michael Buble (his version is completely different so it's perfectly acceptable to include!!)
3. All That I Want - The Weepies
4. Auld Lang Syne - Colbie Caillat
5. Ave Maria - Michael Buble
6. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin
7. Blue Christmas - Michael Buble
8. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Michael Buble
9. Cold December Night - Michael Buble
10. Do They Know It's Christmas - Glee Cast
11. Do You Hear What I Hear? - Whitney Houston
12. Happy Xmas - Celine Dion
13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - The Pretenders
14. Home - Blake Shelton feat. Michael Buble
15. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jackson 5
16. I'll Be Home for Christmas - Michael Buble
17. Jingle Bell Rock - Brenda Lee
18. Joy To the World - The Supremes
19. The Little Drummer Boy - Sean Kingston
20. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - N'Sync
21. Merry Christmas Baby - Cee Lo feat. Rod Stewart
22. The Most Wonderful Day of the Year - Glee Cast
23. My Favorite Things - The Supremes
24. Oh Holy Night - Celine Dion
25. Please Come Home For Christmas - Bon Jovi
26. River - Glee Cast
27. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Dean Martin
28. Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
29. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Mariah Carey
30. Silent Night - Stevie Nicks
31. This Christmas - Cee Lo Green
32. We Need a Little Christmas - Glee Cast
33. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve - The O'Jays
34. What Christmas Mean to Me - Cee Lo Green
35. White Christmas - Otis Redding

Merry Sequiney Christmas Gals!  Do you love Christmas music as much as this gal?  I'd love to hear which Christmas songs are must plays on your list!

- M

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sequiney Gift Guide: For the Happy Hostess

Christmas definitely snuck up on us this year, so we're still looking for the perfect items for some special people on our gift lists. If you're like us and still have some shopping to do, you're in luck - we've curated a few of our favorite gift items of the year that will surprise and delight all of the people that you love.

First up are our favorite items for the Happy Hostess - anyone can bring flowers or chocolates to a party, but we've rounded up a few gifts that will please your hostess long after the final dessert plate has been washed and put away.

Clockwise from top left: 1. Pepper assortment  2. Olive oil collection  3. Measuring bowls  4. Cocktail napkins  5. Candles  6. Wine chilling bag  7. Stationery set  8. Glitter canister  9. Chalkboard label mason jars
Stock your hostess's pantry with a variety of peppers that will spice up her appetizers. This beautiful set from Dean & DeLuca is the kind of item that you may not buy for yourself, but would use in all of your cooking once you receive it as a gift.

A variety of dipping options makes any party a hit, and your hostess will be thrilled to have these delicious olive oils on hand when unexpected visitors pop in throughout the holidays.

These gilded geese from Anthropologie will help your hostess measure out the ingredients for her next soiree (and they sure look a lot cuter than plain, utilitarian measuring cups!).

4. Cocktail napkins
We love to design and stamp custom cocktail napkins, which add extra flair to any social gathering. Your hostess will appreciate the personal touch (and if you don't feel crafty enough to make your own napkins, you can always order a custom set online through Etsy).

These shimmering glass globes will add cozy, atmospheric lighting to your hostess's next home event, along with an appealing scent of jasmine, vanilla, and passion fruit.

You can never go wrong with bringing wine as a hostess gift; make sure that your wine stays icy cold during your travels with a chilling bag. Just stick it in the freezer a few hours before you head out and it will insulate your bottle. Your hostess will be grateful to pop this bag in the freezer the next time she is heading out for a picnic!

It's always helpful to have beautiful stationery on hand for any thank you cards or "just because" correspondence. We love this set that features our favorite font, Budmo!

This whimsical porcelain canister can store any of your hostess's favorite things. We're happy to follow the instructions of its label and stash our plentiful supply of glitter in there.

These mason jars come with a pre-punched hole in the lid and straws for easy entertaining. Best of all, the chalkboard labels give them the versatility to be used for multiple parties. B recently received this as a hostess gift at her annual holiday movie viewing party, and she's already planning to use them to mix up some Low Calorie Raspberry Lemonade Cocktails

Which item will you be bringing to holiday parties this season?

The Gals

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Martini

It's no secret that we love a delish dessert martini over here at The Sequin Notebook, so for Christmas, we're jazzing up the cookie plate that we used to leave out for Santa Claus and re-imagining it as a grown-up cookie martini! After delivering all of those heavy gifts and keeping a very aggressive travel pace, I'm sure Santa would appreciate being able to kick back with a relaxing Chocolate Caramel Cookie Martini on Christmas Eve.

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

* 3 oz. Irish cream liquor 
I used Bailey's - you can't go wrong with a classic!

* 2 oz. chocolate liquor 
I used Trader Vic's.

I am a big fan of using this line of no-calorie syrups to add some sweetness to my cocktails and coffee (when you order a skinny flavored latte at Starbucks, this is the syrup they are adding in). It's helpful for any hostess to keep a variety of these syrups on hand for mixing up fancy coffee drinks!

* 2 Oreo cookies

Crush one of the Oreos and rim the cocktail glass, saving a small sprinkle of crumbs on the side. Shake the Irish cream liquor, chocolate liquor, and caramel syrup over ice, then pour into your martini glass. Sprinkle the remaining cookie crumbs on top, then garnish with the other Oreo cookie.

There's no way you'll be on the naughty list next year once Santa gets a taste of this.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Craft It: Save That Scrap Paper!

Hey Gals!  Today we are revisiting one of our most vital crafting tips - do not discard leftover craft items!  I may go a bit overboard and save even the smallest of scraps, but for today's tutorial, we show you how to repurpose that pesky leftover scrap paper into a mini craft.  And with the holiday season upon us, these little bits add up to lots of fun embellishments!

We previously showed you how easy it is to jazz up your card envelopes here by adding a liner, and your holiday cards are no exception!  As I crafted up a batch of liners for the M family Christmas card, I was getting frustrated at the thought of throwing out all of these beautiful leftover scrap papers.

But then I remembered our golden rule, and decided I must find a way to reuse these scraps!  After scanning my craft arsenal, I realized I could use my circle punch to craft up some envelope sealers.  Not only does this add a fun little accent to the outside of the envelope, but it's actually quite handy because it ensures your envelope is extra secure!

To make these, just take your leftover scrap paper and use the paper punch of choice to make a bunch of the sealers.  Then either attach a glue dot, or if you want it to have extra staying power, you can run these through a Zyron machine, which is what I did.  Then attach to your envelope!

So simple, cute, and resourceful!  And feel free to break out some of your other punches and make confetti!  I'm picturing lots of cute snowflakes that I can sprinkle on my holiday table!  I also used my tag punch to make custom homemade gift tags - love it!

So tell us, how do you plan on repurposing your leftover crafting items?  Or what is your golden crafting rule that you always abide by?

- M

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our Top 10 Ridiculous Made-for-TV Christmas Movies: Part One

Is there anything better than a cold winter's day spent snuggling up in front of a warm fire with hot chocolate and a holiday movie? Well, maybe if you throw in some freshly baked cookies (and spike that hot chocolate with some Bailey's), but it still sounds like a pretty perfect afternoon to me. While I definitely love repeated viewings of modern classics such as Love Actually and Elf, I usually put "real movies" to the side and load up my DVR with some made-for-tv Christmas films (which provide the perfect background entertainment for Christmas decorating, gift wrapping, and of course, crafting!).

Sure, these movies certainly don't have the high production values of a Hollywood blockbuster and we may often pause to wonder, "Exactly how many times can Cameron Mathison portray a sexy yet sensitive Christmas-loving widower?", but the cheesiness of these movies is part of the charm. Of course, our favorite made-for-tv movies involve ridiculous plot twists and storylines that would never, ever happen, so if you're like us and want some good old-fashioned guilty pleasure viewing this December, get your DVR ready for these amazingly absurd flicks.

10) Matchmaker Santa (Hallmark)

You're already cracking up just because of the title, aren't you?
Our heroine Melanie (played by Lacey "Gretchen Weiners" Chabert) has an "only in a Hallmark movie" dream job of running her own bakery (where she seems to exclusively make Christmas cookies year-round, non-stop) and a gorgeous, successful boyfriend who absolutely adores her (which kind of already makes her annoying). The BF invites Melanie home for the holidays with him to meet his mother, but when he sends his even more beautiful assistant Dean to pick her up at the airport, wacky hijinks ensue (as they do) and they wind up stranded at a small-town inn run by Mrs. Carol Brady (that's another reason we love these films - the random guest stars!). Of course, there is a man who may or may not be the real Santa Claus at this inn, and he is determined to play matchmaker (title alert!) for Melanie and Dean (...even though Melanie already has a perfectly wonderful boyfriend).

However, don't cry for the boyfriend too much because while Mel is stranded with hot assistant Dean, the boyfriend is flirting it up with his old high school flame who just so happens to have shown up at his home (hmm, we suspect a meddling mother). By the end of the movie, Melanie and the boyfriend (Justin! his name is Justin) happily agree to break up so they can be with the people they were just basically cheating on each other with - thanks, Santa.

9) All About Christmas Eve (Lifetime)

Haylie Duff is pretty much the Tori Spelling of TV Christmas movies.
Let's jump right into the best thing about this movie - the appearance of Laguna Beach's Stephen Colletti as Haylie Duff's slacker boyfriend! A quick glimpse at Mr. Colletti's IMDB page reveals his only other noteworthy acting credit to be a stint on One Tree Hill (well, and obviously his appearance on The Hills was scripted), so it's nice to see that Lifetime is providing its viewers with skillfully crafted performances by only the finest artists. Side note - now that LC is engaged, does this mean that I have to give up on my fangirl hope of her and Stephen getting married??

Aaaanyway - this movie centers around an event planner (Haylie Duff) named Eve (drink anytime a Christmas-y name appears in one of these movies!) who must decide whether to go on a holiday vacay with Stephen Colletti or take an important business trip to Los Angeles. Business gal Eve decides to put her career first by going to LA and we lucky viewers get to see split realities - in one case she misses her plane and stays in New York, and in the other she makes it across the country. Luckily for Eve, she doesn't die in either version (sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow) but it does get very confusing about which version is actually supposed to be the "good" ending. Whatever, I'm not exactly holding out hope for a One Tree Hill reunion, so I'll take Stephen Colletti on my screen however I can find him (and in other random guest star news, Diana De Garmo is in this movie! Playing herself! Which inexplicably makes lots of characters VERY excited!). 

8) A Christmas Kiss (Ion)

A sassy death glare AND a red dress? I think I spy our villainess!
Sweet and innocent Wendy is slaving away for Miranda Priestly-wannabe Priscilla at her interior design firm, dreaming of the day when she will be able to stand up to her monster boss. After putting on a large amount of glitter makeup (yes, glitter makeup is a crucial plot point), Wendy winds up in an elevator with a handsome stranger - when the elevator stalls (as so often happens), they wind up kissing (because OF COURSE). Instead of never seeing him again like any normal random make-out session, of course the Elevator Guy turns out to be (I'll give you one guess)...meanie Priscilla's super rich and important boyfriend, Adam! 

I don't need to tell you what happens next, right? Okkkk, fine - even though they have absolutely nothing in common and Adam seems much worldlier (and frankly, older) than Wendy, of course they are soulmates based on one random elevator kiss and therefore must wind up together. The main ridiculous reason that this movie makes our list is because Adam doesn't realize that Wendy is the elevator kiss girl until the very end because of all of her glitter makeup! Wendy girl, you know I love me some glitter, but it's time to dial it back when you're literally unrecognizable!

Fun TSN fact about this movie - the actress who plays Wendy, Laura Breckenridge, did community theater at the same place as me in New Jersey and we were in a few shows together (once even doubling as the same role in a musical). Now she's playing the lead in Hallmark movies and I'm...writing about them from my couch (excuse me, it's time to pour another cocktail).
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