Friday, February 28, 2014

Five on Friday {February 28, 2014}

Yay, Friday is here once again! As usual, we're linking up with Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina to share five things we're loving this week.

1) Pamela Barsky makeup bag

I've been eyeing these sassy pouches for quite some time now, but haven't been able to narrow down my selection until I spotted this clever beauty at Chelsea Market earlier this week. It's perfect for my emergency makeup stash that I keep in my office for last-minute touch-ups! If you're not in the NYC area, you can still snap up a Pamela Barsky creation through her Etsy shop.

2) Annual hot chocolate festival
Image by Robyn Lee via Flickr
I stopped by City Bakery to check out its annual Hot Chocolate Festival - every day in the month of February, the bakery featured a new flavor of gourmet hot chocolate. My cup contained the delicious Banana Peel hot chocolate, complete with a huge homemade marshmallow on top. It was definitely a decadent way to kick off the weekend!

3) John Green novels
I read The Fault in Our Stars last year and was immediately smitten with this author but I didn't jump into his other works right away. That changed this week when I devoured An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska. If you're looking for additions to your reading list, his entire canon should jump to the very top.

4) My new friend, Smitty

While on vacation in Florida (I wish I was still there!), I made friends with an alligator named Smitty (that's him above, just after he smacked me with his tail - I like to believe it was out of love!). I'm not exactly what you'd call an outdoorsy gal, so getting this close to Smitty was a bit out of character for me! However, I did keep my distance from Smitty's other pal, the alarmingly-named Crazy:

5) New job!

And while we're on the topic of trying new things, I'll be starting a new job next month! No, you did not somehow wind up rereading M's post from last Friday about her new job...amazingly enough, M and I both wound up getting new jobs within the same week! A job search can be very stressful, so it was wonderful to have my co-blogger/BFF going through the same process at the same time - we definitely leaned on each other through the tough parts and cheered each other on when we succeeded! I'm so excited that this new opportunity will reconnect me with my theater roots and I can't wait to get started!

Have a beautiful weekend!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Coffee Cake Martini

Coffee + cake = love.

Ok, maybe this cocktail recipe is slightly more complicated than that (but not really, I promise it's totally easy). Y'all already know that I'm a huge fan of dessert martinis, so here's my first new one of 2014 for you to enjoy. Coffee and cake are two of my very favorite things, perhaps topped only by a strong cocktail...therefore, combining these items into a martini makes perfect sense!

I'm obsessed with cake batter ice cream, so cake vodka is obviously the next natural step. I purchased a big bottle of Three Olives Cake Vodka around the holidays and this is my first time busting it open, so consider yourselves warned - we WILL be featuring many more cake vodka recipes on the blog (but no one's complaining, right? Good, I didn't think so.)

For my first venture into the world of cake vodka, I decided to call in some reliable partners - Bailey's and Kahlua.

You can never go wrong with Bailey's and Kahlua, right? 

Coffee Cake Martini

* 3 oz. Three Olives Cake Vodka
* 1.5 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
* 1.5 oz. Kahlua

Shake all liquids over ice and pour into your favorite martini glass to enjoy! 

I knew that these reliable flavors would not let me down - the Bailey's and Kahlua blend perfectly with the cake vodka to create a liquified coffee cake. What would you like us to create next with cake vodka?


Friday, February 21, 2014

Five on Friday {February 21, 2014}

Hey Gals!  Happy Friday and welcome to our favorite link up of the week - Five on Friday, courtesy of Gals Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina Despite the holiday this past Monday, this week has felt super loooong and I'm more than ready to welcome the weekend! So in honor of it being Friday, pour yourself a cocktail and enjoy the five things I've been obsessed with this week!

5 months

One of the few pictures I was able to snap where he wasn't eating the sticker!

This past weekend Baby M turned 5 months old!  I know everyone says it, but I really can’t believe how fast he’s growing up!  And this past month I feel like we’ve observed the most noticeable changes with him and he seems to have become such a little man overnight!  This month’s photoshoot was definitely the most challenging to date – all he wanted to do was tear that sticker off and eat it (and by the end he pretty much succeeded!) 

Buzzfeed quizzes

Hey Gals!

Is it just me or have these buzzfeed quizzes been everywhere lately?!  It seems like every time I look in my newsfeed, someone is posting about the latest quiz and what their results are, which of course then leads me to also take said quiz!  I think my latest favorite fave has got to be the 'What Type of Emoji Are You?" quiz.  B and I have been known to have full on text convos with just emoji’s, so I was pretty obsessed with this quiz from the start.  And my resulting emoji is the Hair Toss Gal, and is pretty spot on, since I use this one all the time!

RBL Beauties

Rescue Beauty Lounge - A Poem Colleciton

These beauties landed in my mailbox today and I can’t wait to break them open this weekend!  Even though I really did not need any new polishes, RBL happened to have a presale of their latest collection during my Birthday week, so I was able to score 25% off!  And these colors are not like anything in my collection, so I just couldn’t resist!  How beautiful is that chunky purple and black glitter?!  And if you aren’t signed up over at Rescue Beauty, you really should create an account and register your birthday so you can enjoy the 25% off during your birthday week too!


Do you guys remember the show Sister, Sister starring twin gals Tia and Tamera Mowry (and if not, I’m sure you at least know Tia from her starring role in holiday classic, The Mistletones!)?  Well I recently discovered their reality show on the style network, which was running a marathon of old eps.  While binge watching (what can I say, the show’s pretty endearing and totally sucked me in!) they featured a product they had recently launched to help breastfeeding mama’s increase their milk supply called Milky.  It contains a bunch of herbal supplements, including Fenugreek, that have been concentrated into 2.5 oz tea that tastes great and is super easy to take since it’s so small.  I was pretty skeptical, but figured it was worth a shot and I am so glad I did!  I’ll spare you the details but basically this stuff is amazing and has completely restored my supply, which took a hit once I returned back to work recently.  After a couple of weeks of being super stressed, I’m no longer having any issues at all, and I’ve even been able to freeze a little bit of the extra I’m producing (and enjoy a glass or two of wine after those particularly tough work days!)

New Job

I’m super excited to announce that I’m starting a new job in 2 weeks!  One of my New Year’s Resolutions that I couldn’t share with you Gals was to find a new job that allowed for better balance now that Baby M is here.  My current job has pretty long hours and an awful commute on top of it that had me out the door at 6:30am, and usually not home until 8pm most nights.  Needless to say, it was not something that would be sustainable for me long term!  So last week when I was extended a formal offer for a great opportunity with a company much closer to home, I happily accepted! After almost 10 years at my current job, it certainly was a bit scary to make this change, but overall I think it’s going to be a great move for both my career and my family life and I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come!

Are you Gals as ready for the weekend as I am?


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Omelet Muffins

Despite all of those "it's the most important meal of the day" warnings, I've never been much of a breakfast eater (and we already know that I'm definitely not much of a cook). Anything that is tasty and that makes lots of portions at once is a huge plus in my book, which is why I'm in love with these omelet muffins.

Since I'm never too hungry in the morning, each one is a perfect portion for a non-breakfast eater like me. Best of all, this recipe makes six muffins at once so I typically whip up a batch on Sunday morning, eat one right out of the oven, and refrigerate the rest for quick breakfasts that I can eat on the go or bring into the office throughout the week.

I whisk up six eggs... 

...then add my fillings to the muffin tin (for this batch, I used spinach and shredded cheese, but feel free to experiment with different varieties).

Pour in the egg batter...

...then bake for 18 minutes. Voila, omelet muffins!

Omelet Muffins

Ingredients (for six servings)
* 6 eggs
* Mix-in fillings of your choice (some great options include shredded cheese, spinach, ham, bacon, onions, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms)
* Salt and pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper.

3) After greasing the muffin pan, add the mix-ins to each cup.

4) Fill the muffin cups with the egg mixture (leaving a bit of space on top, since they will expand while in the oven).

5) Bake for approximately 18 minutes (insert a toothpick on top - when it comes out mainly clean, the omelet muffins are finished).

Once the muffins are cool, pop them out of the tray and wrap them up so that you can grab one to-go on your way to work each morning. They really heat up well in the microwave and taste great, I promise!

What's your favorite quick breakfast for a busy morning?


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sale Alert: Presidents' Day Deals

I'm back from my Floridian vacay which means I'm back to the cold, so what better way to stay warm on this day off from work than by doing some online shopping from the comfort of my couch? There are tons of Presidents' Day deals happening online today, so here are just a few of my favorites (and remember to pair these deals with either Ebates or Shop at Home to get the most bang for your buck!).

Through Tuesday, 2/18, Papyrus is offering free shipping on all orders! Best of all, there are tons of holiday greeting cards on sale so you can stock up for next year's holiday season (just like I did with my Papyrus wine gift bags) and save yourself some dollars (and shopping time!) when the holidays roll around again this year.

By using online discount code EXTRA50 on your order, you'll save (you guessed it) an extra 50% off. The only catch is, this deal only applies to final sale items, so make sure you order the correct size and color because you can't return it!

This crafting store is offering $1 flat rate shipping with discount code STAR048 and is stocked with lots of Valentine craft items on sale, so head on over before they're all gone!

Happy shopping!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Five on Friday {February 14, 2014}

Greetings from sunny Florida...this NYC gal is thrilled to be escaping the bitter cold up north for a little slice of beach time! Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day to all of our gals (I'm starting to lose track of the days down here)! On this day of love, we're excited to link up with Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina to share five things that are stealing our hearts this Valentine's Day!

 1) Fun in the sun
See that tiny speck up in the top left corner? That's me, enjoying the beautiful beach with only a good book and refreshing cocktail for company!
I know we've been complaining just a bit about the nonsense polar vortex and icy weather that have been plaguing the northeast. This seemed like the perfect time to fulfill one of my New Year's resolutions and escape the cold by jetting down for a week in Florida! This trip could not have come at a more perfect's helped me to relax and clear my head a bit, and my mood has definitely been enhanced by feeling the warmth of the sun (and a cute bikini doesn't hurt, either!).

2) Gold heart phone case
Available at H&M
 How adorable is this gold phone case with cut-out hearts? I love that it's Valentine-appropriate without being too over the top, and the low price tag of $7.95 makes this a guilt-free holiday treat.

 3) Cheesy chocolate boxes

Because we firmly believe that everything can be related to an episode of Sex and the City, I think that my random love for gaudy Valentine heart candy boxes is very similar to the episode where Carrie declares her love of carnations - she knows that they're cheesy (or in Charlotte's words, a "filler flower") but there is something about them that just gets her every time.

Well, these chocolate boxes are my carnations.

Yes, the plastic flowers may seem tacky. Yes, the ribbons are cheap and the doilies are a bit too frilly. Yet something about them strikes me as romantic in an innocent way, and I will accept one of these heart boxes just as happily now as I did when I received one from my sixth grade crush (and hey, no matter what kind of box they arrive in, chocolate buttercreams are always delicious!).

4) Drybar

If I was going on a hot date tonight instead of lounging on a pristine beach during my tropical getaway (ok, that's my last vacation brag, I promise!), you can bet that I would have made an appointment at Drybar to prepare. This blowout-only hair salon is my go-to indulgence for all special occasions that require me to look my very best. M and I love to go there together for a BFF date during our Gals Weekends (it would also be the perfect afternoon activity for a bachelorette party). You get to be pampered while watching chick flicks and sipping free champagne (seriously!), and you walk out in less than an hour with supermodel hair - what could be better?

Whether you're having lunch with Michael Buble or celebrating your birthday in style, a trip to Drybar is definitely in order!

We shared our love of Birchbox with you back in the fall - M and I have subscribed to this monthly beauty box for over two years and they've really been upping their game lately with great new products. Not only have I discovered some favorite new items through my subscription (like Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, which goes on smooth and doesn't get tangled up in your lashes) but I've built up a sample stash that comes in handy when I'm traveling or have guests visiting. I'm especially appreciative of my Birchbox items now that I'm on vacation (oops, it slipped out again!) because I simply threw a bunch of samples in my suitcase instead of having to lug heavy bottles of full-size products with me - very efficient!

M and I hope you're having an absolutely lovely Valentine's Day - we love YOU, and all of our TSN readers!

I couldn't resist throwing this pic in here just one more time!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Which Bublé Gal Are You - The Ultimate Valentine's Day Playlist

Cupid may be the official mascot of Valentine’s Day, but here at The Sequin Notebook, we prefer to honor our ultimate crush and celebrity valentine – Michael Bublé! I challenge you to find a more debonair, charming, dreamboat of a valentine – it’s not possible! And I certainly can’t think of a more perfect holiday than Valentine’s Day to feature his musical stylings! His music pretty much suits any mood or situation you may find yourself in this Valentine’s Day. The Gals will obviously be playing his entire collection throughout the holiday (and let’s be honest, every day after that as well..), but in case you are looking to narrow down your mixy selections, we’ve come up with the ultimate Michael Bublé Valentine’s Day song list, with a little something for every Gal out there.
Yes Michael, we will be your Valentine!

The “Over His Nonsense” Gal:
Cry Me a River 

The “Object of His Affection” Gal:
I’m Your Man 

The “Grass is Always Greener” Gal:
Who's Lovin You 

The “Secret Crush” Gal:
You Don’t Know Me 

For the “Better Off Without You” Gal:
Beautiful Day 

For the “Lucky in Love” Gal:
I’ve Got It Easy 
We'll be any Gal you want us to be Michael!

For the “Bad Boy Lover” Gal:
Call Me Irresponsible 

For the “Still in Love After All These Years” Gal:
Song for You 

The “Down and Out” Gal:

The “Lost Love” Gal:
At This Moment 

For the “Best Friend Turned Boyfriend” Gal:

For the “Happily Married” Gal:
Crazy Love 

For the “Long Distance Lovers” Gal:

The "Cougin" Gal:
You Make Me Feel So Young

For the “Newly Single and Ready to Conquer the World” Gal:
Feelin’ Good 

For the “Scandalous Love Affair” Gal:
Me and Mrs. Jones 
"Loungey in Bed with Buble" Gal

For the “Hopeless Romantic” Gal:
Haven’t Met You Yet 

The "Heart Breaker" Gal:
Heartache Tonight

The “Moves Too Fast” Gal:
Something Stupid 

The “Love To Be in Love” Gal:
To Be Loved 

The “Make It or Break It” Gal:
Hold On 

As hard as it is to limit myself to just one, I’d say Crazy Love fits me best, though that certainly won’t stop me from listening to the entire list! Any other Bublé Gals out there? Which one are you this Valentine’s Day? 

- M

Monday, February 10, 2014

DIY Pipe Cleaner Hearts

If you're looking for a simple and cheap DIY project for Valentine's Day, look no further than these pipe cleaner hearts. Each one takes approximately 30 seconds to make and can be used as a martini glass garnish, a napkin ring, a festive embellishment to a wrapped gift, or just a fun holiday decoration around your house.

As promised in our Love Potion Martini post, here is a quick and easy tutorial to create these glittery little hearts. The only supplies you'll need are the pipe cleaners of your choice - I picked these shiny red pipe cleaners up on a whim during a post-Christmas trip to the Dollar Tree, where a pack of 50 was available for only $1! One of our top crafting rules (in addition to saving your scrap paper) is to pick up cheap supplies when you happen to come across them - I didn't have an exact project in mind when I purchased these pipe cleaners, but I knew that they would come in handy. Since they are a Christmas item and are not currently available in stores, I'm really happy that I bought them in December instead of tracking down a more expensive version at a craft store now!

Let's start with your basic heart.

1) Bend your pipe cleaner in half so that it is shaped like a V.

2) Curve the two tops of the V (about an inch on each side) in towards the center so that they overlap.

3) Twist the two ends around each other and pull the twisted part down towards the center of the V. Adjust the tops of the heart so that they have rounded curves.

Next up is the smaller heart on the end of the pipe cleaner - this shape is great to wrap around a martini glass (you can also make a mini heart on each side of the pipe to create a double heart).

1) Bend about 1.5 inches at the bottom of the pipe cleaner (the part that you bend will become the point of the heart).

2) Fold the end of the pipe cleaner back into the stick, and twist the end of the pipe cleaner around the base so that it makes a small circle.

3) Bend the circle so that it creates the heart curves on top.

How will you be using these shiny pipe cleaner hearts to glitz up your Valentine's Day?


Friday, February 7, 2014

Five on Friday {February 7, 2014}

Hey Gals! Happy Friday and cheers to surviving another week! And with another week down, it means another linkup with Gals Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina to share five things we're loving this week! Hope everyone has had a fabulous week and an even more fab weekend ahead!

1. Snow Day
Winter Wonderland right in my own backyard!

This week brought another couple of snow days to the northeast.. and while I'm pretty over this miserable cold weather, the extra snow did mean that I was able to work from home for a couple days and enjoy some extra snuggle time with Baby M!  Also, I can't possibly be too mad at the snow when it looks so beautiful in my backyard!

2. Winter Cocktails
A couple of these almost makes the winter bearable!

GG clearly knows me very well, as one of my birthday gifts was a copy of the book Winter Cocktails.  It basically combines two of my very favorite things - cocktails and beautiful recipe/coffee table books! And after all of the snow we've been getting, I'd say one of the many hot toddy type recipes in the book is the perfect accompaniment to being stuck in doors!  I can't wait to start sampling the recipes and promise many cocktail reviews in the near future!!

3. Date Night Birthday Dinner
Char Steakhouse in Red Bank, NJ - can't wait for my fancy date night!

I'm sure you're probably sick of hearing about my birthday, but allow me to squeeze in one last thing!  My original birthday plans had to shift to this coming weekend, which has given me an extra week to be excited for it!  GG is taking me out for cocktails and a fancy dinner, and while that probably doesn't sound too exciting to most, it's just what this mama needs!  It's been a long time since we've been able to go out to dinner just the two of us (or actually, out to dinner at all!) and I can't wait for some delicious food and even more delicious wine.  My parents have graciously offered to watch Baby M, which means that GG get to have a date night and birthday celebration all in one.  

4. Coconut Oil
It only looks no frills!

While I'm certainly not the first gal to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon, I definitely get why I've suddenly been seeing it mentioned everywhere.. this stuff is awesome!  I recently purchased a huge tub of it off of amazon (for less than eleven it!) and I've been pretty much covering myself with it every since.  It's an amazing moisturizer, and super safe to use since it's all natural.  My new favorite trick is mixing it in with some of my more expensive moisturizers and lotions to extend the life of them. Plus it really makes my skin feel amazing post shower, even in this harsh winter season.

5. Adventures in Making Baby Food - Success!
Keep it coming Mom!

As a follow-up to my last Five on Friday, my first round of homemade baby food has been a huge success!  I started with pureed apple, and Baby M loves it!  I mixed it in with a little oatmeal cereal and I pretty much can't spoon it into his mouth quick enough.  Once he overcame a small learning curve of getting used to eating from a spoon, he became a champion eater and now I look forward to our nightly cereal date together!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Valentine's Day for the Single Gal

People usually fall into one of two camps on Valentine's Day - you either love it or you hate it, and very few people fall in between. As a certified single gal, you may assume that I hate Valentine's Day because I don't have someone special to share it with...while it's true that it can sometimes bring up feelings of loneliness, I still love the holiday because it celebrates all kinds of love.

And yes - it gives me a feeling of hope about romantic love, too. I'm a secret sappy romantic optimist!

(Though for the record, I still hate New Year's Eve, which is another divisive holiday!).

Anyway, just because you're between boyfriends on February 14th doesn't mean you shouldn't have a fantastic night! Here are three of my favorite ways to spend Valentine's Day as a single gal.

1) Comedy show

I have to admit, I'm usually scared of comedy shows and try to hide in the back so that I don't get picked on, but last year I went with a big group of friends and we had a blast! The show focused on the absurdities of relationships and heartbreaks, which was a nice reminder that other people have trouble in love too and that all we can really do is laugh about it until the right person comes along. This is a great option if you want to avoid romantic couples out on dates, since it tends to attract a single (and more casual) crowd. If you're really feeling bold, there are also shows where audience members are encouraged to share their tales of heartache, so now you can gain the approval and agreement of complete strangers that yes, your ex-boyfriend really is a major jerk and you're better off without him! 

2) Old-fashioned sleepover

Back in middle school, a sleepover with your best friends was considered a major night out, so try reviving it now that there are no parents to tell you when to go to bed, you can Netflix any movies you want, and you can have wine with your pizza. Throw on some comfortable pajamas and spend a relaxing night in with your girlfriends - to set the mood for the evening, consider watching some sleepover classics (my friends and I were always partial to Empire Records and Clueless), trying out some home remedy beauty treatments, and perhaps even baking some Valentine-themed cookies.

Image by Nicole Danielson via Flickr
A Valentine cocktail is the perfect addition to this holiday sleepover, so mix up a batch of our Love Potion Martini for the ladies (just make sure you don't make any sleepover prank calls after a couple of cocktails...remember how much fun those were pre-caller ID?).

3) Swanky night out on the town

Is a fancy dinner out at a trendy restaurant while wearing a fierce dress what you really have your heart set on this Valentine's Day? Don't let all those couples out there deter you from treating yourself to a special night out - grab your closest gals and make a group reservation at that new tapas place you've been meaning to try, and get all dolled up in your cutest new outfit. Besides, you never know who you may bump into on your way to the restaurant, so there is no harm in looking your best!

No matter what you wind up doing this Valentine's Day, a single gal's friends are what truly make any night memorable. You may not have a man by your side this year but as long as your ladies are around, you have a reason to party it up this Valentine's Day.

Just a few of the ladies who make my Valentine's Day (and many other days!) a lot more fun!
This year is a little different for me because my vacation falls over VDay, so I plan to ring in the holiday by lounging on the beach. How will you be celebrating this year?


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