Monday, March 31, 2014

Banana Pineapple Peanut Butter Smoothie


As part of my 2014 resolutions to be healthier by cooking more, I've been trying to make breakfast a regular part of my daily routine. In addition to whipping up some omelet muffins to take with me to the office, I've also started drinking some breakfast smoothies. This Banana Pineapple Peanut Butter smoothie is a bit on the sweeter side and was a nice way for me to ease into the more hardcore smoothies with ingredients like kale and chia (one step at a time!). This smoothie is delicious, refreshing, and like a breath of fresh air now that spring is (finally!) here!


Banana Pineapple Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 small banana
* 1/3 cup frozen pineapple
* 1 tsp. creamy peanut butter

Add all ingredients to your blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!

Do you have any favorite smoothie recipes to share?

Don't forget to enter our Milky! giveaway!



xoxo
- B

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five on Friday {March 28, 2014}

Wow, what a week this has been! We're linking up with the lovely Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina and wishing everyone an amazing weekend! Here are five of my favorites from this week:

1) TSN's 1st Giveaway!


Earlier this week, we launched our very first blog giveaway for a 6-day supply of Milky! While this product is geared towards young mothers, you certainly don't have to be one to enter our giveaway - as the single, non-mom of our blogging duo, I would still have plenty of use for this prize as I have many friends that I could pass it along to who would be thrilled to have it! You can read M's full review and enter for your chance to win here - spread the love by passing it along to some other young mamas (or hey, increase your odds by asking your friends, moms, husbands, and sisters to enter too!). Everyone loves "Sister Sister"and you know we can never pass up a viewing of "The Mistletones" so we're thrilled to partner with the Mowry twins and Need Brands on this giveaway!


2) Job Transition!
I finished up at my old office and will be starting my new job on Monday! I'm so excited for this new challenge and can't wait to be back at an arts organization. I'm still thinking about ways to prettify my new office space, and am off to a good start thanks to these white/metallic gold file folders from the Nate Berkus for Target line (thanks for the fun folders, M!):


 Sadly, the online Target store no longer seems to carry Nate's office line so if you happen to come across any desk supplies from this collection in your Target travels, please let me know so I can call and beg them to ship to me in NYC!


3) Oh My Blog shirt

When I saw this adorable shirt pop up in a Rue La La sale, I knew I had to have it! It's cute and cozy, and has become my new uniform for my Sunday afternoon marathon blogging sessions.


4) Michael Kors Bradshaw watch



Last week I was swooning over this gorgeous watch, and I was lucky enough to receive it as a generous birthday gift from my family. I've already received so many compliments on it and it was the perfect statement accessory to go along with my birthday party dress!


5) My birthday party

 

I've got to give one final birthday shout-out to everyone who helped me celebrate last weekend! Turning 31 is not so bad when you have fabulous friends by your side, and I was fortunate to have so many of them with me at the party.
I'll be spending this weekend preparing for my first day at the new job - what's on your agenda?

xoxo
B


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Milky! Review and Giveaway! {Winner Announced!}

Update! Thank you to everyone who entered to win our Milky! giveaway!  
Our big winner is Dana S.!!!

Congrats Dana!!!

Hey Gals! You may remember me spreading the Milky! love a few weeks back in our 5 on Friday. Today I’m back to give a full product review of Milky! and also announce that we’ve partnered with Need Brands to give our readers the chance to win a 6-day supply of Milky!

Here at The Sequin Notebook, we’re usually giving you Gals the rundown on cocktails rather than lactation supply beverages, but I’m hoping my review will help all of you breastfeeding mamas and moms-to-be by introducing you to this fabulous product! I think my personal experience will resonate with a lot of you Gals who are trying to balance being a mom with all of the other competing priorities that help to keep you a sane and well-rounded mama!

I first discovered Milky! while watching a marathon of Tia and Tamera’s reality show on Style network. At the time I was still on maternity leave and wasn’t having any issues with my supply, so I didn’t give it too much thought. If anything, I was dealing with a bit of an oversupply and with a freezer full of reserves, I’m ashamed to admit that I was feeling pretty smug. Fast forward to a few weeks later, and I found myself with one nasty case of mastitis, a baby who wouldn’t touch the frozen milk that was on the older side (who knew that your milk changed as the baby grew?!) and a maternity leave that was fast ending. All of a sudden I felt very panicked that I physically wouldn’t be able to send him off to daycare with the 4 bottles he needed (3 plus a back-up just in case).

After pouring through tons of mommy blogs and message boards, I kept seeing other moms recommend fenugreek tea. That’s when I remembered Milky! I quickly googled some more to try and find some reviews of Milky! but unfortunately couldn’t find too many out there. I learned a bit more through the Need Brands website, and saw that Milky! contained the fenugreek that was coming so highly recommended, along with other natural ingredients to help boost the quantity and quality of your supply. I also really liked that it came in a super convenient 2.5 oz bottle that seemed easy to take. I figured I had nothing to lose and quickly ordered myself a 6-day supply, figuring that it wasn’t a huge investment if it was a bust. 

A couple of days later my box arrived and I was eager to try it out (bonus points that it arrived only a few days after ordering!), though it came on a Friday and I figured I would wait until Monday to start. Turns out I’d have even more of a need for the Milky! because that Sunday I had some bad take-out food and wound up with food poisoning! Cue even more panic from me, as my supply once again took a hit due to the dehydration. Finally by Tuesday, I was able to stomach some food again and was ready to give Milky! a try. I had previously stuck my box in the fridge as I had read it tasted better cold. I tentatively took the first sip and wasn’t quite sure what to make of the taste. It had a strawberry flavor which was pretty tasty, though it also had a very strong “herbal" taste. Luckily the bottle is very small and after just a few sips, I was done!  I have to say that now that I regularly drink Milky!, I actually love the taste! I think I just wasn’t used to the herbal taste at first, but now I practically crave it. I took Milky! again a couple of hours later, as recommended. One thing to note was that I personally found that my stomach became upset if I took the 2 bottles too close together, so after a couple of days I started taking one first thing in the morning, and the second when I get home from work at night. I tend to have a weak stomach, so I’m not surprised that the ultra concentrated dose of herbs bothered me a bit, but now that I space the two bottles out, I don’t have any issues at all.

I started noticing results the very next day. Between chugging lots of water to help with my food poisoning dehydration and the Milky!, I saw a jump in the amount I produced during my first pump at work. Previously I’d be luckily if I produced 5 oz combined, but now I was getting 7! In the days to come, I would see anywhere from 7 to 9 ounces per session during the two times I pumped at work! Suddenly, the constant stress I was feeling about being able to feed Baby M went away and I was truly relieved to be back on track.


I mentioned in the beginning of the post that I was really happy to find a balance through Milky! At the end of the day, my number one concern was being able to feed Baby M and if it came down to it, I certainly would have switched to formula if I had to. However, I was determined to give it a fair shot and I’m very happy to have found something that works. Now I’m able to produce enough to get through the day, and actually build up a bit of a freezer supply! I also learned the importance of rotating out the frozen supply since Baby M isn’t a huge fan of the older stuff (truly a boy after my own heart, as I tend to hate leftovers!). Now that I’m not living from pump session to pump session, I’m able to have a glass or two of wine after a particularly long day and I don't have to stress if Grill Guy and I have plans and I know that I’ll need extra bottles during the weekend.  All in all, I’m a huuuuuge supporter of Milky! and absolutely recommend it to anyone having supply issues or just looking to build a little extra supply. After my third day of using Milky! and seeing such tangible results so quickly, I immediately ordered myself a 30-day supply (and have since reordered when I finished that one)! 

Milky! starts at $29.99 for a 6-day supply or you can buy in bulk to get a discount of up to 33% off and free shipping. You can purchase Milky! directly through the Need brands website, and it’s also sold in Destination Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity and Diapers.com. But what’s even better than ordering Milky!?  Winning a free box, of course!  I’m super excited that Need brands has generously offered to send a 6-day supply out to one of our lucky TSN readers, so hurry down to the entry box and enter for a chance to win! We have a bunch of opportunities for extra entries too, so be sure to take advantage of them all!

Baby M approved!!!
Good Luck, Gals!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo
- M

Monday, March 24, 2014

Party Planner: The 10th Anniversary of My 21st Birthday

Let's face it - once you get past the excitement surrounding a milestone 30th birthday, turning 31 can feel like a bit of a let-down. Last year, my birthday party featured a super fun 13 Going on 30 theme complete with its own retro cassette tape logo and a youthful yellow/pink color scheme that was incorporated into the decor, cake pops, favors, and custom guest book (yes, I may have gotten a little carried away!). Since 31 isn't a "special" birthday like 30, I wasn't planning to go all out with the party prep like I did last year but I still wanted to come up with a fun theme...


After getting over the initial shock that I turned 21 ten long years ago, I realized that this anniversary theme would be the perfect way to gently poke fun at my (slightly) advanced age! Of course, M and I started to think about what kind of small favor could tie into this theme...we realized that while we're exactly the same now as we were at 21 in many ways, we now usually need a slightly longer recovery time the day after a big night out (I definitely miss the way we could rally back in college!). In order to help our fellow thirty-something partygoers with this issue, we assembled a small kit to help them get back on their feet the morning after my party.

Morning after essentials: Breath mints, throat drops, bandages, and Tylenol
We decided on a color palette of orange, teal, and gold, and then M got to work on crafting some printables for these care packages. We used a round tag on the outside of the bag that stated the party theme, and a little card inside explaining why the items were included and thanking the guests for attending the party.

Don't you just love the cute retro cocktail glass background?


(I think this is the first time my real name has been revealed on the blog haha! It's a little glimpse behind the TSN curtain!)


If you'd like to create these tags and cards for your own party, M has provided free downloadable templates for you:


Once we finished our last-minute crafting, M and I were just about ready to hit the town and get the party started! Before we jumped in a cab, she gave me some very sweet gifts and the gemmiest, most sequiney card I've ever seen in my life:

So. many. GEMS!

Both of us decided to borrow dresses from Rent the Runway for the party - I loved my bright orange dress, which went perfectly with the orange/teal/gold necklace that M let me borrow (hey, I needed to represent the party colors!). 

The Gals have arrived!

We had a fantastic turnout with lots of lovely friends joining us to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my 21st birthday. Even though I'm now 31 and usually ready to head home on the earlier side, I'm happy to report that we closed the bar down at 4:00 - I think our 21-year-old selves would have been proud of us (oh, and then we treated ourselves to a little post-party McDonald's, which never tastes better than it does on your way home from a fun night out!).


And one last thing...it just wouldn't be a TSN party if we didn't sparkle from head to toe.

B's glitzy rose gold pump and M's black confetti glitter pump (apologies for the poor iPhone quality!)

What's your favorite party theme for a non-milestone birthday?

xoxo
B

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five on Friday {March 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 Hope everyone had a great week and a fab weekend ahead!  Here are my 5 faves of the week:


1. B’s Birthday Party!


I am so excited for this weekend because the B birthday celebration continues with a fabulous party out in NYC on Saturday night!  Not only am I thrilled for a Mommy’s night out, but I can’t wait to have a Gals night together with B (and a bunch of her nearest and dearest!)  


2. Spring is here


Is anyone else as excited for Spring as I am?!  This polar vortex filled winter has been absolutely brutal and it’s making me long for tank tops, margaritas on the patio and dinners al fresco!  Hopefully mother nature got the memo that Winter is officially over and the weather starts improving because we can’t wait to post lots of fun Springtime cocktail recipes!


3. I have a 6 month old!




You know I can never resist posting a pic of my little buster, but this week I have good reason because he’s now a ½ year old!  Every day he gets a little bigger and seems to master a new skill and I’m constantly in awe of how much love I feel for this little guy.  Now that he’s hit the 6 month mark, I made a collage of his first 6 monthly pictures and it’s so cool to see how much he’s grown and changed!  I’m so happy I decided to do these monthly pictures since it’s such a great keepsake to have!


4. Sequiney Shoes




Clearly we love a sequin here at TSN, so I just couldn’t resist these fabulous sequiney pumps that were recently on clearance at J.Crew (though I did frantically text B for approval just to make sure I wasn’t being crazy.. turns out the only crazy thing would have been passing up on this sequiney deal!)  Since receiving them, I’ve been longing to break these in and B’s birthday party provides me the perfect opportunity!  Plus, the chunky heel ensures I’ll be able to dance the night away and still be relatively comfortable.


5. Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful Mascara




I’m a huge fan of Bobbi Brown cosmetics (I won’t leave home without a swipe or two of her shimmer brick on my face!) and was excited to hear about a new mascara she recently launched.  100% of the proceeds go to her Pretty Powerful Campaign - a foundation started in 2013 by Bobbi Brown to fund non-profit organizations around the world that provide women and girls with the education and resources to be their best.  And as if that wasn’t reason enough to purchase, the product itself is fabulous!  It’s super pigmented and makes my thin lashes look thick and lush. 




xoxo

- M

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Birthday B!!!


Hey Gals!  I’m so excited  for today since we have a lot to celebrate on The Sequin Notebook!   Today brings us only more day until Friday, it's the first day of Spring, and most of all, it’s B’s Birthday!!!!   Talk about a jam packed day!  So today I honor my co-blogger, partner-in-crime, and most of all, my BFF, by paying tribute to her the best way we know how here at TSN, by featuring all of her best posts!!  So please join me in wishing B a very Happy Birthday, and let her know which post you are most excited to take a second look at!  Personally, I can’t wait to revisit them all, but I'm especially excited to pour myself a big pomegranate-cranberry martini!

Happy Birthday B!!!  You are the best friend a Gal could ask for and I hope you are having a fabulous day full of cocktails, nail polish and glitter!












5 Easy Steps: A Fishtail Braid Tutorial






xoxo
- M


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

B's Birthday Wish List

With my birthday around the corner, I've rounded up just a few of the items on my wish list (I mean, you guys definitely want some inspiration on how to treat your favorite blogger, don't you? Of course.)
Pillow / Bracelet / Watch / Rings / Bag

You can never have enough jewelry, right? I've had my eye on an oversized rose gold watch for a while, but could never find exactly the right one until now. The midi rings intrigue me (though I worry that my fingers might be too big for them!), and I saw a coworker wearing this nail bangle bracelet a few weeks ago and wanted to steal it right off of her wrist (probably best to buy my own instead)! The crossbody bag (which comes in a wide variety of colors - love the mint green!) is a necessity for city life, and I'd love one (or more) of Alexandra Ferguson's sassy pillows to spice up my couch (she seriously has sooooo many fun pillows, it was really hard to narrow down!).

What's on your wish list this spring?

xoxo
B

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DIY Coconut Oil & Honey Hair Mask

M and I are hardly the first gals to jump onboard the coconut oil bandwagon - it has tons of beauty and cooking benefits, and is a low cost ingredient for many beneficial home remedies. On my first trip abroad to Europe during my sophomore year of high school, I packed a coconut shampoo so the scent always reminds me of vacation and adventures. Because of my positive associations with the scent and coconut oil's effectiveness for fighting frizz and deep conditioning hair, I knew that I had to try it out in a hair mask.


This hair treatment is a snap to throw together, and will leave your hair feeling silky and smooth - best of all, it's all natural! Here's what you'll need:

* 1-2 tsp organic virgin coconut oil (The shorter and thinner your hair, the less coconut oil you will need. My hair is extremely long and thick, and 2 tsp was still more than enough for me.)

* 1 tsp honey

* 1 drop peppermint oil (optional, for scent)


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until they form a paste. Using a wide tooth comb, distribute the mixture throughout your hair from the roots to the scalp (make sure you spread it out evenly, so that none of the sections get too greasy). Sit with the mask on for 30-40 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and shampoo/condition as usual.


This hair mask left my hair feeling incredibly soft and light! I will definitely be working it into my regular beauty routine to combat hair frizz.

What's your favorite use of coconut oil?

xoxo
B

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five on Friday {March 14th}

Another Friday is finally here! As usual, we're sharing five things we're loving this week - big thanks to Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina, our fab link-up hosts!

1) Blog makeover

We're so excited that our big blog redesign finally launched this week! We love the hint of sparkle and the pretty pink and gold fonts against the crisp white background. What do you think?


2) Burgerfest

Every now and then, a girl's gotta splurge! I went with 7 other friends to Burger Joint for a relaxed night of cheeseburgers, hard cider, endless fries, brownies, milkshakes...we definitely indulged. It was a laid-back night to relax with some comfort food and catch up with a lot of friends all at once - such a good mid-week treat!


3) National Craft Month

Did you guys know that March is National Craft Month? No wonder I was born this month! I need to take a peek at our Crafty Gals Pinterest board to find a new project in honor of this month. Also, I'll be creating some favors this weekend for my upcoming birthday party, plus making a few DIY decorations. Which projects will you be taking on in honor of National Craft Month?


4) A spontaneous Saturday stroll

One of my favorite things about living in New York City is the ability to get lost in a new neighborhood and discover tons of hidden gems along the way. I met up with a friend to see a matinee and we wound up staying in the area for an impromptu brunch. On our way out, we were offered mimosas-to-go (which technically isn't a thing here but hey, it looks like orange juice!) and spent a couple of hours strolling and popping into some small clothing, book, and paper stores in the Village. My favorite new place that we stumbled upon was Milk and Cookies Bakery where we indulged in overstuffed ice cream sandwiches, customized with the freshly baked cookies and homemade ice cream of our choice. I opted for toffee cookies with chocolate ice cream, while my friend selected M&M sugar cookies with vanilla ice cream - absolutely delicious!


5) Pre-birthday swag

There are so many fantastic deals that come along during a birthday month! Here are just a few that I'm planning to take advantage of prior to my actual birthday:

- Rent the Runway Pro membership includes a $50 birthday dress credit. I'll definitely be picking out something flashy for my party!

- During your birthday week, Benefit Brow Bar offers a free eyebrow wax.

- By showing your Beauty Insiders card at Sephora during your birthday month, you will receive a free gift (in the past, I've received great products include a mini lip set from Fresh - love it!).


We're so happy that the weekend is finally here - enjoy it!!!

xoxo
B


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Opening Lines: The Real Housewives of New York City


The Big Apple ladies are back! We're total Bravoholics and have been anxiously awaiting tonight's premiere of season 6 of The Real Housewives of New York City. The fabulous ladies of NYC are back and, judging by their opening lines, they are sassier than ever! We're taking a page out of our Honorary Gal Andy Cohen's book and rating these new opening lines, just like we did for the most recent season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Let's see which housewife gets our mazel of the day!

Carole
CAROLE: If you're going to talk about me behind my back, at least check out my great ass.

This one literally made me burst out laughing the first time I heard it - I like that Bravo is leading with such a cheeky soundbite! Carole's whole persona on the show revolves around being a sexy widow who is back in the dating scene, so it's no surprise that she'd want people to be aware of her best asset (sorry, it was just too easy!). I also like this line because of its implied kiss-off - Carole usually stays out of the drama on the show, so I feel like this line is her way of saying that no matter what the other housewives may think of her, she's still coming out on top! It's a strong start for the opening lines, and definitely sets the tone.

Aviva
AVIVA: When people tell me I'm fake, I know they're just pulling my leg.

When I first heard Aviva's line, I had to rewind it to make sure I heard it correctly...then I rewinded it again to double check...then my jaw just dropped that they actually went. THERE. 

To catch all of you non-Superfans up to speed, Aviva certainly made a splash during her first season as a housewife - she was always at the center of the drama, whether she was attempting to set Sonja up her randy father, calling her fellow housewives "trash," or throwing a temper tantrum when she and her husband weren't welcomed by a parade and marching band for managing the grand feat of...getting on a plane to a tropical vacation. Aviva has had plenty of accusations of fakeness tossed her way, so I love that she addressed it in her opening line.

Oh yeah, and she only has one leg which makes her line absurd and makes me obsessed! 

Heather
HEATHER: A true New Yorker never backs down, and I'm no exception. Holla!

Ok, first of all, thank god the Holla! is back! Seriously every time the intros run, I can’t help but yell Holla! along with Heather because it really is that ridiculous! But even with the Holla! back in town, I’m just not feeling her tagline. She’s not even actually from NYC (only Aviva can stake that claim, as we know from last year’s tagline!). I guess it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but I’m just sort of meh about it. My only hope is that this is her way of saying that she’ll be in the middle of many a crazy and dramatic fight this season - Holla!


Kristen
KRISTEN: I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I'm pretty!

Where do I even begin with this one?! Girl, I’m sorry, but you’re a rookie housewife rolling up in Season 6 and this is the best you can come up with?! When I first heard this I was ready to write her off as one of the one and done duds (Hi Cindy, I’m looking at you!) but based off of the little I saw from Bravo’s preview special, she actually doesn’t seem that devoid of personality or a complete moron, so I’m pretty baffled that this is what she went with. Apparently she’s also a model, so I guess she decided to play off of that but I suspect if she’s back for a second season she’ll be fast to change up this ridiculous tagline!

Ramona
RAMONA: Get the Pinot ready, because it's Turtle Time.

I have mixed feelings about this line, so let's start with the good - you can't have Ramona without her constant companion Pinot Grigio, so of course her trusty sidekick warrants a mention in her opener. True Sequin Notebook story - we once tracked down a bottle of Ramona Pinot Grigio (yes, she has her own line!) at my local liquor shop just so that we could live a little more like Mrs. Singer herself, and we were told that Ramona had recently been in there signing bottles! Obviously, I now always look for her every time I'm in the store. The point is, I'm totally cool with the beginning of Ramona's opening line.

However, she loses me on the second half - Turtle Time is some kind of Ramona phrase that originated on the show. Unfortunately, I am certainly an avid viewer but I can't really remember what Turtle Time is all about, so I'm not confident that less-obsessive viewers will connect with it. Luckily, I did some extensive research (no journalistic stone is left uncovered on The Sequin Notebook) and discovered Ramona's definition of Turtle Time: “cutting loose, having some Pinot Grigio, and even dancing.” I can definitely get onboard with all of those activities, but I'm still not a fan of the phrase!

Ramona, stop trying to make Turtle Time happen - just drink your Pinot Grigio!


Sonja
SONJA: Sometimes Sonja has to go commando. What can I say?

Can we all give a collective Huh?!? on this one? I know it’s Sonja and she’s completely crazy (and from the looks of things, unraveling even further this season) but this one is out there even for her! I don’t even know where to start with it! I guess she’s trying to play up her fun and free spirited nature with this one, but I just can’t get past the fact that she’s summing it up with the need to go commando. But if this insane tagline is any indication for the nonsense she has in store for us this season, then we are in for a real treat with her this season and I for one cannot wait!

While it's extremely difficult to select our favorite/least favorite lines from this amazing group, it's our responsibility as Bravo-addicted bloggers to judge! Here are our selections:


It's tough for me to pick a least favorite because I don't think there is a loser in this bunch but since I have to select one, I'll go with Kristen. Yes, it's easy to pick on the new girl, but I think she could have upped her game by coming up with something more witty instead of putting down her own intelligence.

My favorite is clear-cut for me - while I adore them all, it's Aviva (and her leg!) for the win in my book!


I'm completely with B on picking a least favorite - they really are all winners this season!  But if I must pick, sadly I need to go with Ramona.  As much as I looove her nod to Pinot Grigio (and yes Ramona, I will be getting the Pinot ready!), that turtle time just kills it for me.  She's trying way too hard, and as B said, stop trying to make Turtle Time happen!!

My favorite goes to Carole.  I think she's stepping up her game this season and I can't get enough of the sass in her tagline, especially after her nonsense princess tagline of last year.

Now it's your turn...which opening line is your favorite/least favorite from this bunch?

xoxo 
The Gals
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