Friday, May 30, 2014

Five on Friday {May 30, 2014}

Hey Gals! We hope that you enjoyed a short work week thanks to the holiday and that this Friday is the start of a fabulous weekend. Our blogiversary giveaway ended earlier this week, and the lucky winner was Leeann of Join the Gossip - thanks to all who entered! As always, our weekend festivities begin with five things we're loving this week:

ONE | Memorial Day picnic

We all love a long holiday weekend, and this one was no exception! New York City was blessed with gorgeous weather on Memorial Day, which perfectly lent itself to a potluck picnic in Central Park. We feasted on pasta, cheese, wine, and salads, while occasionally throwing in a game of Celebrity or tossing around a football (I may have sat out that particular show of sportiness and helped myself to some extra cheese instead!). A day full of sun, delicious food, and the best of friends...can't really ask for anything more than that!

TWO | Fage yogurt

I've mentioned before that breakfast isn't really my thing, but I've made a big effort this year to find some quick and easy breakfast options for my on-the-go lifestyle. I've always been a bit wary of yogurt and was never a fan of the texture, until I discovered it just me, or is this seriously the best yogurt ever? The Cherry Pomegranate is my favorite flavor, though sometimes I'll switch it up with Blueberry or Strawberry. As much as I love the Fage flavor, the thing that caused me to fully hop onboard is the company's choice of celebrity spokesperson:

True confession - I've had a celeb crush on Bobby Flay for years! In fact, I once dorkily ordered an autographed photo of him from Ebay and hung it on my fridge all through college to serve as my culinary inspiration haha. Basically, if it's good enough for Bobby, I'm happy to be on the Fage bandwagon!

THREE | Summer hair
All hail LC, queen of the side braid!

Lauren Conrad has come a long way from Laguna Beach and is an indisputable style icon for California beach chic looks (even though I still can't keep myself from humming the "Come Clean" lyrics every time I see a photo of her on a beach). One of LC's signature looks is a slightly messy side braid accent in her long, tousled waves - we love to recreate this warm weather look with a fishtail or chain link, and have been experimenting with other new braid styles to jazz things up. Let us know if you have any new favorite braid looks - we'd love to try them out!

FOUR | Jumbo wine bottle

Two very generous friends of mine gifted me with this enormous bottle of wine when I recently hosted a dinner party, and I couldn't help but chuckle over the hilarity of its size. I've visited this vineyard (Wolffer Estate) during two previous trips to the Hamptons and sampled this particular rose, which has been nicknamed "The Gatorade of the Hamptons" due to its widespread popularity. This big novelty bottle made me smile, though I'll definitely be saving it for a night when I have a few guests over to help me work my way through it!

One of my friends who gave me this comical wine bottle, showing off its jumbo size

FIVE | Summer cocktails

In keeping with the drinks theme, I'm so happy that the weather is finally warm enough to bring back some of my favorite summer cocktails! My most popular creation of last summer was my spiked raspberry lemonade, and I'm pleased to report that I recently stirred up another batch and it's just as tasty and refreshing as I remember. Try it out at your next barbecue or outdoor gathering - your guests will thank you!

What's your favorite summer cocktail?

We are linking up today with DarciNatashaAprilChristinaAmandaJennie, and Lauren!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 Easy Steps: A Chain Link Braid Tutorial

It's time for another braid tutorial! I've pretty much had the same hairstyle my entire life minus one unfortunate attempt to pull off a bob in 8th grade (unlike M's new bob, which is super cute!). Because my hair is so long and I'm not adventurous when it comes to haircuts, I'm always trying to find new (but not permanent) ways to change up my look, and there is nothing I like more than a bit of side braid to add some interest to a classic blow-out. This chain link braid is a favorite look for a casual outdoor picnic, since you don't have to worry about the loose knots looking too perfect. Actually, I think it looks better when it's slightly disheveled because if you make this braid too tight and neat, it comes off slightly princessy (as opposed to effortlessly chic)!

Here are the 5 easy steps you need to recreate this look:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five on Friday {May 23, 2014}

Happy Friday Gals! Can you even believe it's Memorial Day weekend already?! I certainly can't, but I'm not complaining! It's been a busy week, and I can't wait to soak up some sun this weekend and enjoy the unofficial start of summer! Here are the 5 things that have been running my world for the past week:

1 | Sister M is graduating!

Today my younger sister is graduating from Montclair State University! I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to attend her graduation ceremony and celebrate this great accomplishment together. And after having her live on campus for the past 4 years, I’m also selfishly excited to have her moving back to the area so we can see each other a lot more and get in some much needed gal time!

2 | New Hair

This past weekend I took the plunge and got a major haircut! After years and years of having pretty much the same long style, I suddenly felt the need for a change and decided to go with a long bob. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, though I am mourning the loss of being able to don a crazy bun on the top of my head – I’m hoping after it grows just a touch, I’ll be able to revive it without too many flyaway’s!

3 | Homemade Iced Coffee

I’m a firm believer in changing my coffee routine with the seasons and now that it looks like the warm weather is (hopefully!) here to stay, I’m in full on iced coffee mode! After about a week of getting mad at myself for unnecessary stops to Dunkin’ every morning, I decided to make a big batch at home! I rely on The Pioneer Woman’s trusty iced coffee recipe and it never fails to disappoint! So if you are looking to enjoy your iced coffee on demand, brew up a batch yourself.

4 | Memorial Day weekend!

As I mentioned above, I can’t believe it’s Memorial Day weekend already – the official kickoff to the summer! After such a brutal winter I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for summer to come! I’m headed down to the Jersey shore this weekend for some sun, a family bbq and hopefully a little time on the water. 

5 | Sequiney Giveaway!

Our big, sequiney anniversary giveaway ends this Sunday at midnight, so make sure you enter if you haven’t already done so!! And in case you need a little more convincing, above is the final teaser of what we'll be sending to the winner.

Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We're excited to link up with DarciNatashaAprilChristinaAmandaJennie, and Lauren!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

1 dress, 3 ways: The ultimate Rent the Runway order

We're all familiar with Rent the Runway by now, right? We've been completely obsessed with it for years, and the company just keeps getting better and better. One of the best things about RTR is that you can borrow a fabulous frock for a special occasion without feeling guilty about only wearing it once. I recently fell in love with this lip print dress by Erin Fetherston - its whimsical kiss pattern seemed appropriately romantic for an upcoming engagement party and at only $35 for a 4-day rental, it couldn't have been a better deal.

Then I started thinking...since I love it so much, why limit this sassy little cocktail dress to only one night out on the town? After all, it had a 4-day date with my closet, so it deserved to be taken out for more than one spin before I had to bid it farewell forever. An idea started hatching that turned into an experiment - could I successfully pull off three different looks with this dress in only one weekend?

A weekend full of kisses: Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon

I'm happy to report that overall, the weekend was a success (though I was definitely ready to finally change into different clothes by Sunday night!). Here's how I was able to make this the ultimate Rent the Runway success story:

On Friday night, I traveled to the Upper East Side for cocktails and dinner with a few girlfriends. This chiffon dress was fairly formal and difficult to dress down, but I did my best by pairing it with:

* black boots * a black belt * a denim jacket * a chunky two-tone pink statement necklace * a gold spikey ring * an oversized hot pink clutch

In addition to these accessories, my fishtail braid also helped lend a more casual vibe. I was concerned that I would do something silly like spill red wine on my dress before the engagement party, so I actually wore the size 2 version of the dress on Friday night and then the size 0 on Saturday and Sunday (Rent the Runway allows you to rent 2 sizes of the same dress for 1 price to ensure a perfect fit - amazing!). Plus I was happy for the roomy fit during dinner, since I maaaaay have slightly overdid it on the pasta!

When Saturday night rolled around, it was time for the main event! I went with a classic straight blow-out and kept my accessories simple with:

pink drop earrings * silver ring * hot pink stilettos * small silver snakeskin clutch * red jacket

I loved mimicking the unexpected pink/red color combination from the dress in my shoes and jacket! I really wanted the fun print of the dress to be the star of the outfit, which is why I shied away from any statement necklaces or fun bracelets. This dress was perfect to dance the night away, and I received many compliments on its unique pattern.

The last day of my rental was Easter Sunday, so I wanted to make the dress a bit more conservative by camouflaging the strapless top. I completed the look with:

a mint green/gold statement necklace * a white headband * tan heels * a white cardigan * a white clutch * a tan cropped jacket

It was a lovely daytime look that still featured the unexpected lip print while making it more appropriately prim for a family brunch.

As if getting three amazing outfits out of one designer dress for $35 wasn't enough, Rent the Runway kindly included a few other goodies in my package.

I received a facial mask sample and coupon, plus an offer to receive $20 off my next RTR order simply by tweeting a photo of my most runway-worthy hair (thank you, engagement party blow-out!). I've received the $20 coupon code so now the only question is...which dress should I rent next? 

How would you like to style this lip dress? Have I convinced you yet to give Rent the Runway a shot?


P.S. Our blogiversary giveaway ends soon - don't miss out on your chance to win! In addition to the previously revealed Essie nail polish, cocktail swatch book, and crafting glitter, a few other items include a craft punch, glitzy sprinkles, and festive flamingo straws - this giveaway is starting to feel like a party! Keep checking back for more sneak peeks!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summertime Sips: Don't Waste That Leftover Fruit!

Hey Gals!  As summer approaches and the temperatures are rising, I find myself loading up on tons of great fruit during my food shopping trips.  And with so many amazing seasonal fruits available, I inevitably buy tons of different varieties and can never seem to finish it all before it goes bad.  With my recent foray into making baby food purees, it made me realize - why couldn’t I puree and freeze up my leftover fruit as well!?

In the summer, I’m constantly reaching for my blender, whether it’s to make a smoothie, a margarita or some other slushy concoction, so by freezing up my leftover fruits, I now have a freezer full of fruity goodness just waiting to be blended into a delicious summertime sip!   This past weekend, I found myself with a huge watermelon, half a container of strawberries and a frozen bag of mixed berries.  Now obviously I could have left the frozen berries as is, but by cubing them up, they are perfectly portioned out for me! 

The watermelon was the simplest...all I did was blend it up and pour into an ice cube tray.  If your watermelon has seeds, feel free to strain before freezing.  For the strawberries and mixed berries, I simply heated them on the stove top until they were nice and mushy and juicy, and then blended them up, and poured into my ice cube trays.  If your fruit isn’t that sweet, you can also add some sweetener such as agave, but I found my berries were sweet enough as is!  Then I froze my trays for a day and viola!  I’m now ready for a summer of blended goodness!  And I already tested out the watermelon and strawberries this morning, and it was delish!  I simply mixed 3 cubes with a cup of greek yogurt, a couple of ice cubes and some coconut water and I have a delicious and healthy smoothie!  And I can’t wait to try these out blended with some skinnygirl margarita, since I tend to like frozen margs better than on the rocks!  It’s such an easy and resourceful way to make sure you never waste another piece of fruit again.

Seriously the hardest part of the process is just cleaning out your blender!  What are your favorite summertime sips? 

- M

P.S. Don't forget to enter our blogiversary giveaway!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Five on Friday + Giveaway {May 16, 2014}

We've got a whole bundle of awesome things to share with you this Friday, including a giveaway at the bottom of this post in honor of our blogiversary! Let's jump right in - don't forget to enter below!

ONE | Chorus Against Cancer

My friend Brian Miller of Chorus Photography (check out his stunning photos, he is the best!) is participating in the Man of the Year campaign to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) which funds research, therapies, and treatments that continue to save lives. Every dollar his team raises through June 11th counts as one vote, and the candidate who raises the most money will be named Man of the Year at the Grand Finale. Throughout the campaign, Brian has been hosting several fundraising events to fight the battle against blood cancer including a wine tasting and an upcoming Night of 100 Gift Baskets (there are some fabulous prizes, including Gals Night In basket donated by The Sequin Notebook). There is even going to be a fun Princess Day filled with pampering and sweet treats - how cute!

Every single dollar given to this campaign helps support LLS research as well as patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services. Please join my friends Brian and his wife Michele in standing up against blood cancer by learning more here, where you can also make a donation. Additionally, you can lend your voice by joining the campaign's Facebook group and if you happen to be in Limerick, PA area, by attending the Night of 100 Gift Baskets (May 31st) or Princess Day (June 8th). There is less than a month until the Grand Finale - I'm hoping that Chorus Against Cancer will come out on top!

TWO | Comp day!

I was so thrilled with how my first big event at my new job turned out, and very touched when I saw flowers on my desk from the boss later that week. However, I practically jumped out of my chair and did a victory dance in the office when my boss uttered those two magic words: "comp day!"

My reaction upon hearing the good news

I broke up my week by taking Wednesday off, and it was such a perfect day! I waited online for Broadway rush tickets at the box office for The Bridges of Madison County and snagged the last two tickets for the matinee (which just so happened to be in the very front row and cost me only $37 each, thank you very much). If you happen to be in New York City and want to see a beautiful show with gorgeous music (not to mention a steamy leading man), RUN to that box office before this musical closes on Sunday! After the show I went out to dinner and then capped the night off at a karaoke bar. Nothing too crazy, but it made me feel refreshed and appreciated to have this unexpected bonus day of fun in the middle of the week.

THREE | New post series: Just Us Gals

Is there anything better than a marathon girl talk session with your best friend? Throw in some wine and you have our favorite kind of night! M and I kicked off the first installment of our new Just Us Gals series last weekend, where we'll interview each other and explore those topics that tend to come up between best friends during a late night bonding session. Since this is a new blog feature, we need your help: which topics would you like to see appear in this series?

FOUR | Giveaway winner!

I've always had bad luck when it comes to raffles or contests - in fact, the very first thing I ever won in my entire life happened just last year, when M and I had lunch with Michael Buble! Clearly I've been storing up my luck for years to only win the most amazing prizes, which is why I was so excited to learn that I won the Spring for Coffee giveaway! The new spring polish I've been lusting after, a pretty hand-painted mug to join me in my new office, a candle in one of my very favorite scents, some great new additions to my ever-growing collection of paper straws, plus a gift card to support my Starbucks habit...these ladies really know how to curate an amazing giveaway! Make sure you visit their fantastic blogs and show them some love:

FIVE | Enter to win our Blogiversary Giveaway
We're paying the good giveaway karma forward by hosting our own Sequiney Giveaway in honor of our first blogiversary. We've absolutely loved blogging together over the past year, and are so thankful for all of our lovely readers who keep coming back to our little blog. What better way to celebrate than hosting a giveaway? The mystery prizes for one lucky winner are some of our favorite things (we're basically mini Oprahs), and we'll slowly reveal teasers between now and the end of the giveaway. Here's the first sneak peek of just a few of the many prizes - an Essie nail polish, beautiful glitter for crafting, and a cocktail swatch book from Mrs. Lilien:

Don't miss out - enter our giveaway here or below!

We're excited to link up with DarciNatashaAprilChristinaAmandaJennie, and Lauren!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

DIY Banana Sugar Body Scrub

You know how sometimes you buy a bunch of fresh fruit with the best of intentions, but it starts to go bad before you have a chance to eat it and you feel totally guilty about throwing it out? The next time you're about to toss a brown banana, try this DIY banana sugar body scrub instead. After all, who doesn't love a beauty home remedy?

You just need a few simple ingredients from your pantry to create this sumptuous scrub:

* 1 overripe banana

* 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Using a fork, mash the ingredients together until they form a thick, slightly chunky paste. Massage the scrub over your body in the shower and rinse with warm water.

That's it - it seriously could not be easier! I have to admit that unless I'm putting them in a smoothie, bananas are not my favorite fruit (yet I keep buying them at the grocery store with grand plans to eat them, but usually wind up making this body scrub instead!).

What's your favorite refreshing homemade shower treatment?


Sunday, May 11, 2014

It's Time to Celebrate!!! {Winner Announced!}

Congrats to our winner Leeann - you are now the proud owner of a box of sequiney goodness!!  Thanks for being a TSN fan and thanks to all of you Gals who participated!  


That's right Gals, today is our one year blogiversary!!  Can you believe it?!  We certainly can't believe it's been a whole year of finally making our blogging dreams come true!  

I know, Kim! We can't believe it either!!
And we are so thankful to have gained all of you loyal readers and have the opportunity to make so many great new blogging friends. 
So in honor of our big birthday and of course, as a way to thank all of our Gals, we have an amazing giveaway!!!  We have curated a surprise box of our most favorite sequiney things.. we don't want to ruin the surprise and give away too many details but let's just say we're super jealous of the lucky Gal that wins this box!  And last, but certainly not least, we've rounded up a special top ten list of our most memorable posts over the past year.  So help us celebrate in the ultimate sequiney fashion by painting your nails in a super glitzy polish, cracking open a bottle of wine with your best gals, and take a sequiney walk down memory lane!  And then be sure to enter our giveaway below - we promise it won't disappoint!!!

Our most viewed post: 

Pumpkin Pie Martini and Shots

M's favorite post:
B's favorite post:
Most commented on post:

Most pinned post:

Glitziest post:
Most galish post:
Craftiest post:

Our 100th post:

and last but certainly not least, let's take it back to where the magic began...
Our very 1st post:

- The Gals

Linking up with LeeannKimberleeMollyMeg, and Carly!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Just Us Gals: Mommy Talk

We have to kick off this Mother's Day weekend post by giving thanks to our two fabulous mothers. We love you so much - you're simply the best!

Happy Mother's Day to our TSN moms!
Since we no longer live in the same city, the TSN gals are no strangers to marathon phone conversations (after all, what's better than gabbing with your BFF?). We talk about anything and everything on these calls - even though we're in constant contact over text most days, there is still always a ton of stuff to catch up on during our phone chats! When we're not able to squeeze in a phone date, we have to rely on long email chains back and forth with all of our random thoughts of the day.

Our most frequently used emojis...we literally carry on full conversations entirely in emoji, and I think it's safe to say that not a day goes by that we don't text each other all five of these symbols at some point!

We thought it would be fun to launch a series of mini interviews with each other about some of the topics we explore in our lengthy talks (and if you have any suggestions for the topics of future installments, we'd love to hear your requests!). With Mother's Day just around the corner, we're kicking things off by discussing M's first 8 months as a mother to the amazingly adorable Baby M. Grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine), put on some comfy sweats, and join us for some girl talk!

B: You've been a mom for 8 months. What has surprised you most about motherhood so far?
M: I think I’ve been most surprised about how easily I was able to slip into the role of being a mom.  When I was pregnant I was pretty scared that I just flat out wouldn’t be able to do it once Baby M arrived – I felt extremely clueless having never been much of a “kid person” before.  Even after frantically taking some of the infant care classes they held at my hospital (and taking a ridiculous amount of notes which were never to be looked at again!), I remember leaving and saying to Grill Guy, “Is there really going to be a baby here soon?!  And are we ready to be responsible for another living creature?!”  He always responded with the obligatory "Yes," and whether he knew something I didn’t or was just trying to talk me off the ledge, turns out he was right!  You really do learn quickly, and thank goodness for the internet, for those late night moments when I needed reassurance that it was normal that my baby was breathing loudly!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday {May 9, 2014}

Hey Gals! Happy Friday, and Happy Mother’s Day weekend!  You know we love ourselves a holiday here at TSN, so today’s 5 is all about Mother’s Day Gifts! As a new mom, I’m so excited to celebrate my very first Mother’s Day, and of course, honor my own Mother and Mother-in-Law. The below are a couple of gems I’ve been lusting over along with some great gifts for your own mama. What sort of goodies do you have picked out to honor your mom this year? And for all the mamas out there, am I the only one making a wish list?!

1|Alex and Ani Mom Bracelet
I think I’m a bit late to hop onto the Alex and Ani bandwagon, but after receiving the Sister charm bracelet from my sister Kelsey this past Christmas, I’ve been obsessed and wear it pretty much every single day. I love that it reminds me of my sister every time I look at it, and now that I’m a mom, I’d love to proudly wear the Mom charm alongside it.

2|Nordstrom Tissue Weight Scarf
Bundled up in my favorite scarf for a springtime food festival - and look who we ran into, B's Mom!!
I have a bunch of these scarves that I’ve accumulated over the years and they are pretty much the perfect year round accessory. I live in my black scarf, but love all of the fun colors that it also comes in. And since it’s a light weight cashmere, it’s not only super soft but works for any weather situation. And as an added bonus, whenever I’m wearing one, Baby M always gives me extra snuggles and buries his head deep into it.

3|Cocktail Glasses
I’ve always had an obsession with fancy cocktail glasses (which B can attest for, seeing as she gifted me with crazy beer glasswear as one of my shower gifts!), so I absolutely love these glasses from Monique Lhuillier. A set of these, along with a nice bottle of prosecco is a great gift for any Mom, especially if you include a note that insists it be shared together over some galish conversation!

4|Sly Fox Threads Top Knot Tee
I am absolutely obsessed with this tee ever since coming across it on instragram recently. Since becoming a mom, there hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t pulled my long hair into a big messy bun at the top of my head! And I love a good cheeky saying on a tee, so this was pretty much made for me! And if you are looking for some cute additions for your little one, definitely check out their other products – I basically want one of each for Baby M!!

5|Photo Anything
Thanks Shutterfly - I'll take one of everything!!
Before becoming a mom, I tended to scoff a little bit whenever I’d see a co-worker with their cube decked out with any sort of personalized photo products of their kids, but now.. I can’t get enough of the stuff! I have a photo collage of Baby M as my computer backdrop, and couldn’t wait to make Grill Guy a Baby M mug, which we gifted him this past Christmas. So bring on the photo gifts this year, especially since his little smiling face is the perfect way to brighten up even the most grueling of work days!

Today we are so excited to be linking up with DarciNatashaAprilChristinaAmandaJennie, and Lauren! 
- M
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