Thursday, July 31, 2014

Party Like a Pop Star

What occasion could possibly bring Lorde, Miley Cyrus, Sia, Lenny Kravitz, Lady Gaga, and Justin Timberlake all together in the same room?

(Hint: It isn't the Grammys).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Frozen Hot Chocolate Martini

After getting so much love for my no-frills frozen hot chocolate hack a couple weeks ago, I decided to take it up a notch and make a version that was more appropriate as an after work treat.  Along with this recipe being super easy, it combines my favorite things – chocolate and alcohol! And thanks to the sugar free hot chocolate, it’s still skinnier than using a chocolate liqueur.. so feel free to pour yourself a second once the first one disappears quickly!

Ingredients (makes 2 – feel free to cut in half for a single serving):
1 packet of sugar free hot chocolate mix
½ cup of cold water
3 shots of whipped cream vodka
2 shots of Baileys

Mix chocolate mix and water in a cocktail shaker (without ice!) until fully dissolved/no lumps remain.  Add all other ingredients and fill the shaker with ice.  Shake until nice and frosty.  Strain into a martini glass, and enjoy!  It’s like Christmas in July/a trip to boozy visit to Serendipity 3, without the snow and annoying crowds!  What’s your favorite way to spice up an otherwise non-alcoholic beverage?!

Thrilled to be linking up today with EmilyKateJennifer JuniperEmilyKristenEmilyMandy, and Mandy!!!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Guest posting - Six on Sunday

Hey Gals! Are you loving this fabulous weekend as much as we are? As an extra treat, we're guest posting today over at The Diary of a Real Housewife by participating in the Six on Sunday Q&A series. Check out our answers to Jennie's fun questions to learn a little more about the gals behind this blog!

The Gals

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five on Friday {July 25, 2014}

Yay, it's Friday! Who else is excited for the weekend? We're ready for some fun and relaxation, so let's take a peek at our five obsessions of the week:

ONE | NYC Blogger Meet-Up

Calling all NYC-area bloggers! After seeing all of the fun that other bloggers have been having on their blates recently, we thought it would be fun to arrange a brunch chat with others from blogland who reside in the NY/NJ area. The brunch will take place in Manhattan on a weekend in August or September - comment below or email us if you're interested in participating, and stay tuned for more details coming soon!

TWO | National Ice Cream Day

This past Sunday was National Ice Cream Day...I mean really, what's not to love about that? I promise not to tell if you've decided to extend the celebration into the rest of this week! My tasty treat to celebrate this holiday was Van Leeuwen Mint Chocolate Chip - soooooo refreshing and delicious!

THREE | LeAnn & Eddie

Did anyone else catch this new reality series trainwreck? We are definitely Team Brandi when it comes to picking sides between Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Brandi Glanville and her ex-husband, Eddie Cibrian with his new(ish) wife, LeAnn Rimes. It seems like Eddie and LeAnn have grown sick of Brandi trashing them on her show and in her (hilarious) books, so they've launched their own series to show us their side of the story. 

My biggest problem with the show is that it's too boring - there is no drama or interesting plotline! However, it does give me a chance to watch the beautiful (though shady) Eddie Cibrian, which is always a plus (side note - M and I have decided that while he is cute in pictures, he is downright smoldering in action on TV...does anyone else see this?). I may give it another shot in case things start to improve, but right now Bravo does not need to worry about me losing my viewing time to another network!

FOUR | Taylor Swift musical tribute

A good friend of mine was the music director of a tribute to Taylor Swift that took place this week at 54 Below, a fantastic NYC cabaret venue. I was super impressed by how the group was able to rearrange these songs and put new twists on them, while also delivering fierce harmonies and powerful belts. While I'm familiar with TSwift's major hits, this concert has inspired me to check out some of her lesser known tracks (suggestions are welcome!). Some fantastic tunes plus a yummy blackberry mojito...not a bad way to spend a random weekday evening!

FIVE | Bachelorette weekend

My friend Alyssa (who recently had a beautiful, sparkly bridal shower) is having her bachelorette party this weekend! I'm hosting cocktails on my patio, then we're heading out to a nice dinner at the Gansevoort Hotel before dancing the night away at R Bar. I'm so excited to have a fantastic night out on the town with some of my very favorite people (plus it's a chance to dress up and throw on some sparkles and gems - yes, please!).

Cheers to AmandaJennieAmyKarli, and Lauren for hosting today's link-ups!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Opening Lines: The Real Housewives of New Jersey

After what has seemed like an eternity, our Jersey housewives have recently returned to Bravo! While we don't like to play favorites with our housewives series, the Jersey gals always hold a special place in our hearts because, well...we are Jersey gals too! Even though it's not always portrayed in the best light, we still get a kick out of seeing our home state "on display, on display."  
With three departing cast members, three brand new cast members, and one returning familiar face (welcome back, Dina!), our Honorary Gal Andy Cohen has given the series a much-needed shake-up. Just like we did for the most recent Housewives installments of New York City and Beverly Hills, it's time to rate the new opening lines! To be perfectly honest, we were slightly underwhelmed during our first listen, but hopefully that will change as we hear them again and again throughout the season. Let's jump in and see what the ladies have in store for us this time!

TERESA: You never know how strong you are until it's the only choice you have. it looks like we're going "serious" with the taglines for this season. As every Bravoholic knows, Teresa has been with this franchise from the very beginning and is the break-out star. She is also currently embattled in a legal dispute that may involve jail time, and could even result in deportation for her husband. I understand why she wants to present herself with a less frivolous tagline this season, but it's not too fun for us viewers (remember last season when she was calling out the "haters" because all she does is "love, love, love"? That's the kind of galish line I was hoping for!). Basically, this line is missing Teresa's trademark sass, so it's also missing the mark for me.

MELISSA: I've learned to forgive and never regret.

Alright Melissa, we get it – your storyline no longer involves fighting with Teresa. And while I’m all for moving on with some fresh drama storylines, I’m not a fan of this tagline at all. Melissa is far from being the bigger person that she’s desperately trying to portray, so I’m not buying that she’s learned to forgive. And as for the second part, what does that even mean?! I’m pretty sure she has lots of regrets, since she’s the first to backpedal every time she gets called out on her bs! Maybe I’m being too harsh on Mrs. Gorga with this one, but like with Teresa, I’d much rather a fun and sassy tagline instead of this annoying one.

TWINS - NICOLE & TERESA: You're not seeing double - you're seeing trouble!
First and foremost, I’m shocked that these new gals decided to do a shared tagline! I get that you’re twins and it's clearly their thing, BUT, based on the little I’ve seen from them so far, neither seems to shy away from the spotlight, so I don’t know why they wouldn’t each want their own tagline and identity!? But putting that aside, it’s not a completely terrible tagline. At least it’s not as serious as some of the others, and it does give the promise of some drama, so I suppose it’s perfectly fine… not great, and certainly not making any top 10 lists (umm.. and side note, we totally need to put one of those together in the near future!), but just fine.

AMBER: I'm a survivor - no one is bringing me down.

Ok, I had really high hopes for Amber since I’m pretty sure she’ll be stirring the pot plenty this season. And while I admire her strength as a cancer survivor, I don’t like that she’s ripping off one of my favorite Jersey taglines of all time – Teresa’s from a couple seasons back, which was “I’m a Jersey Girl, nobody can knock me down!”. I’m sorry, but it’s completely unacceptable to take from a former tagline, especially when it’s from your own location!

DINA: I'm back to bring the zen - Namaste, bitches.

Dina is my favorite Manzo (though let's face it, she wasn't exactly facing too much competition from the Caroline clan!) so I was thrilled when I learned she was returning to the series this season. However, I was less than thrilled to see her new Earth Mother personality (maybe that's why she and Danielle always fought when they were on the show together - they were too similar with their "love and light" attitudes!). She is really forcing the zen angle this season, though at least she slightly tempered it with her oh-so-ironic "Namaste, bitches." Does this maybe mean that we can count on Dina to bring some drama this season? Pretty please?

Now let's rank our favorite and least favorite lines:

This is a tough one for me because I am just not that impressed with anyone's opening line this season! I tend to like the fun, punny lines (like Aviva's leg comment for the past season of NYC), so these are a bit too somber for my taste. Having said that, a winner must be crowned and for me, that honor goes to Dina by default. Her line isn't fantastic by regular Housewives standards, but at least she attempted to be slightly saucy.

There are many other horses in the race for least favorite, but I think I have to hand this one to Melissa. I don't like that she's playing the martyr once again by talking about her ability to forgive (especially since I think she's just as much to blame as Teresa for their family feuds), and I really don't understand where she's going with the "never regret" ending - did she steal that from her old high school yearbook? Bottom line - I expected much more sass from you, Melissa!

I agree with B on this one – it’s like we’re picking the best of the worst! I almost went with the twins, but must disqualify them on the basis of having a shared tagline.. I just can’t let that one go! So, I also have to give it to our gal Dina. While I really hate the zen angle, in the end she brings it home with her sassy 'Namaste Bitches'. I do think this means she’s ready to bring the drama back to the Garden State and of all the Gals on this season, she’s definitely my fave, so she definitely takes the win.

As for the other end of the spectrum, I could pretty much make an argument for any of the others to be the big loser (or as Andy would say, the Jackhole!), but since I have to narrow it down, I’m giving this one to Amber! I just really can’t get past the fact that she’s giving us a recycled tagline.. and a worse version at that! And just like B’s gripe with Melissa, from the little I’ve seen of Amber, I was certainly expecting more sass and at the very least, more snark!!

Do you agree with our choices, or does another housewife's line reign supreme for you? Don't flip a table on us, just comment below!

Linking up with Katherine!

The Gals

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Craft It: Glitter Bunting

Hey Gals!  If you are reading this blog, chances are you are a fan of glitter!  I know B and I certainly are, so it should come as no surprise that I recently crafted up a sign that honors my undying love of the glitzy stuff!  

don't we all?!?
I was feeling particularly crafty one day and wanted a way to spruce up my beloved craft room (this was pre-chalk board wall, but you can never have enough pizzazz in a craft room, if you ask me!!).  After scanning through Pinterest and seeing lots of bunting, I knew I found my inspiration.  I decided to use some leftover cardstock from Paper Source that I had in a bunch of fun colors (again, never throw the leftovers away!!) and spell out the word glitter.  And of course, what better way to spell it out, than with actual glitter?!  

Once I had my overall design, it was actually really easy to craft together.  Below are the step-by-step instructions, though feel free to adapt to your style or color palette!  Included below is a free downloadable template of the bunting to make things super easy!  I’ve also included alternate instructions in case you don’t have some of the craft tools I used handy.

Step 1: Print out bunting template
Easy alternative: You can certainly freehand the letters yourself, though I personally have awful handwriting, so I prefer to print out in a really light font and just trace over it!

Step 2: Break out the paper cutter, and cut bunting to size
Easy Alternative: Hand cut with a scissor

Step 3: One by one, trace over your letters with a glue pen, and then quickly cover with glitter or embossing powder* of your choice
Easy Alternative: Use markers, paint, or whatever supplies you have on hand to spell out the letters!
* if embossing, also use your heat gun to firm up the letters
don't forget to save the leftover glitter!!!
Step 4: Apply glitzy pom poms to the bottom of each point with the glue of your choice
Easy Alternative: No poms on hand, no worries!  Just skip this step

Step 5: Punch holes in the top 2 corners of each bunting triangle, and string together with the ribbon or twine of your choice.  Make sure to use a little extra on the end letters so you have ample room to hang!
Easy Alternative: Use regular old scotch tape to adhere the ribbon to the backs of the bunting

Step 6: Hang up bunting, and stand back and admire your craftiness!

What do you think – glitter overkill or are you like me and there can never be enough glitter?



Monday, July 21, 2014

Friend Dating: A Cheap NYC Day!

New York City - the home of countless trendy restaurants, chic lounges, and a never-ending supply of glamour! Which also makes it the home of the $18 cocktail (ouch) and pricey taxi rides - much less glamorous.

Last weekend, my fabulous friend Sarah traveled from Delaware to spend a leisurely Saturday with me in the city. We were super excited to spend time together and catch up, but way less excited to see tons of cash slipping quickly through our fingers. Since we both love a good bargain, Sarah suggested that we skip the lavish meals and expensive Broadway tickets to try to do the ultimate cheap day in New York, and I happily agreed! Hopefully our low-key (and low-cost) itinerary will help you save some dollars during your next friend date so you can focus on the good stuff...all the girl talk!

Instead of strolling through neighborhoods where we may have been tempted to pop into some boutiques for a little shopping, we set up camp at an iconic New York City location - Central Park.

Even though I live within a three-minute walk of Central Park, I wish I was able to spend more time there as I always feel very relaxed and zen when I visit. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we laid out a blanket and settled in for a leisurely afternoon. Instead of going to a pricey brunch together, we picked up some sandwiches, salads, and snacks at a local market and packed a picnic basket - not only did this save a lot of cash, but it also allowed us to bring a big bottle of white wine to enjoy throughout the day!

This was Sarah's very first trip to Central Park!
We had also considered going to the Central Park Zoo, the Museum of Natural History, or free kayaking at the local pier, but we wound up chatting so much that the hours flew by. However, if you're looking for low-cost NYC activities, you should definitely check those out!

After the park, we went back to my apartment and rested up for the evening by kicking back on my patio. Before we knew it, it was time to get primped and ready for dinner! Surprisingly, there really are lots of restaurant deals in New York if you know where to look for them. I started out by checking Savored the week before Sarah visited, but eventually settled on an amazing deal. I purchased a $50 gift certificate for only $20, and wound up actually paying only $10 for the certificate since there was a sale happening! So basically, it was a free $40 in our pockets.

Unfortunately, we didn't take too many pictures at dinner - I blame this.
Instead of expensive entrees, we split a few appetizers along with a bottle of wine (hey, it's more economical than ordering individual glasses!).

Basically, a cheap friend date in one of the most expensive cities in the world can be accomplished if you plan ahead:

- We specifically selected that restaurant because of the deal we were able to secure, and made reservations in advance to make sure we could dine there. Once there, we split a few options instead of ordering separate, more expensive meals.

- We researched and identified free and low-cost afternoon activities to have affordable options available depending on our mood.

- We planned ahead by packing our picnic so that we wouldn't need to order any food at any of the pricey food trucks in the park. 

- We rode the subway between the train station and my apartment, as well as on the way to the restaurant (though we did splurge on a cab to take us home at the end of the night). 

We had a jam-packed day and even though we didn't spend a lot of money, it certainly didn't feel like we missed out on any fun! After all, as long as you're in the company of a good friend, it doesn't really matter what you're doing or where you are!

What are your favorite ways to save money when you're on a friend date?

Special thanks to Sarah for being an awesome friend and loyal TSN supporter, and to today's link-up hosts: Meg, LeeannKimberleeMolly, and Carly!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Five on Friday {July 18, 2014}

Happy Friday Gals!  Hope everyone had a great week and fun weekend plans ahead - here are the 5 things I've been obsessing over this week!

ONE | New Nail Polish
Image Courtesy of Vampy Varnish
During our recent post-Buble Gals day, B and I hit up some of our favorite NYC hotspots, including Beauty supply store Rickys. Naturally we headed straight to the nail polish section, and we couldn’t resist picking up some new lovelies from the sale section. One of my favorite finds was this unique polish from NCLA named Cookies and Gold. I loved the layered look of the glitter and it’s a brand new (to me) polish brand, so I can’t wait to try it out this weekend!

TWO | Baby M is walking

Baby M is officially mobile and has been keeping GG and I on our toes ever since!  He has yet to officially crawl, but apparently whoever said you need to learn to crawl before you walk hasn't met Baby M!  During 4th of July weekend he took his first steps and now we can't keep him down.  It's been a fury of getting our house baby proofed and spotting him since he's still pretty tipsy on his feet, but nothing beats getting to see those first steps - I'm so happy GG and I were able to witness them together!

THREE | Date Night!
Congrats J&J!!!
Last Friday GG and I were able to get away for the night and celebrate our friends J & J's wedding! I’m a sucker for a good wedding, and even more so now that I don’t often have the opportunity to get all dressed up and stay out for the night. And to top it off, the couple had so many great personal touches, including a fun photo booth with lots of great props, and slurpee machines in honor of their wedding date being on 7/11. It was definitely a great night and we were so excited to celebrate the happy couple!

FOUR | The return of RHoNJ
Hey Jersey Gals!
Being a Jersey Girl, I was obviously thrilled for the return of my fave Garden State Gals this past Sunday! And I was even more excited that Andy decided to shake things up and do an overhaul on the cast this season – Dina Manzo was always one of my faves, and while the jury is still out on the new Gals, this season looks more drama filled than ever and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds! And stay tuned this week for our favorite season opener activity – breaking down all of the new tag lines!

FIVE | Frozen Hot Chocolate Hack
Ok, mine doesn't look quite this good.. but it still tastes delish!
If you’ve ever been to Serendipity 3 in NYC, you’ve likely had their amazing frozen hot chocolate, and if not, just trust, it’s amazing! Recently I “invented” a no frills, slimmed down version that satisfies my summer sweet tooth while at the office. It’s basically just a packet of sugar free hot chocolate, mixed with one half and half creamer, then I add about half a cup of cold water and fill with ice.. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was no frills! But it’s seriously delicious, not too bad for you, and definitely helps whenever a chocolate craving strikes! Feel free to skip the creamer, or add a little milk, but I find that it gives it a nice hint of creaminess. And the key is to make sure you fully mix out any lumps before adding the ice!

So excited to be linking up with AmandaJennieAmyKarli, and Lauren - thanks Gals for hosting today's link-ups!

- M

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Now that summer is really heating up, it's time to share one of our favorite warm weather indulgences...the watermelon-tini!

Since we are super dedicated bloggers, we decided to experiment with this cocktail by whipping up a big batch to taste test during our last BFF gals date (it's a tough job, but we're workaholics when it comes to TSN!). Read on to learn how you can create this summertime staple in your own kitchen...


1 part vodka of choice
1.5 parts watermelon rum (we prefer Bacardi)
2 parts fresh watermelon juice

To make fresh watermelon juice, just slice up a watermelon...  

...and puree it in your blender, then strain through a fine mesh strainer to catch all the seeds.  This makes a big batch, so feel free to freeze the rest.

Combine the above ingredients in a martini shaker (or mason jar!) along with a bunch of ice, then shake up and strain into a martini glass.

 Don't forget to an optional watermelon wedge garnish!

This was the perfect refreshing beverage to accompany our night of gal talk and crafting, so we encourage you to share a big batch with your BFF this summer!

(Jokey double martini glass photo shoot with massive chunks of watermelon is entirely optional).

What's your favorite flavor of summer?

Linking up today with Emily, Kate, Jennifer Juniper, Emily, Kristen, Emily, Mandy, and Mandy.

The Gals

Monday, July 14, 2014

Treat Yourself: Freebies for the Birthday Gal

It's always fun to be showered with gifts on your birthday, but the best things in life are free! Here are some fabulous birthday freebies that you can take advantage of to make your special day even sweeter:

16 Handles: When you visit 16 Handles on your birthday, you will receive a free cup of frozen yogurt (up to $6 off). With a jumbo cup and tons of toppings, I pushed my free cup to the limit this year!

Argo Tea: Enjoy a free drink (any size/flavor) during your birthday month. This is a great one to save (especially if you have an early birthday) so that you can extend the celebration by a few more weeks.

Benefit Brow Bar: Get primped for your party with a complimentary brow wax at Benefit Brow Bar during your birthday week.

Pinkberry: Treat yourself to a free small yogurt with toppings on your birthday. It's a great light lunch, especially if you're saving up your calories for a big birthday dinner!

Rent the Runway: When you join Rent the Runway Pro ($29.95 for an annual membership), one of the perks is a $50 rental credit during your birthday month. Such a bargain - the membership pays for itself, and you get to strut around in a fierce designer dress at your party!

Sephora: Sephora loves to give out birthday presents! Stop by any location during your birthday month to pick up a complimentary beauty treat.

Starbucks: On your birthday, pop into Starbucks to pick up a drink (any size/flavor) or food item. My free venti Skinny Vanilla Latte was the first thing I consumed this year as a newly minted 31-year-old!

What are your favorite birthday perks? Are there any other free items you'd like to add to the list?

Linking up with Meg, LeeannKimberleeMolly, and Carly!


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