Tuesday, March 29, 2016

12 Things to Do This Spring

Spring has officially sprung, and I've always loved the start of this season since it feels like the slate has been wiped clean and we get a fresh start (and, ok, I may also like the beginning of spring since my birthday coincides with the first day of the season!). In order to maximize some season-specific fun, I've put together a list of 12 things I'd like to do this spring:

* Enjoy a leisurely picnic: Once the temperatures creep up just a bit more, I'm ready to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in Astoria Park with some freshly-made salads and sandwiches and a good book (and fingers crossed, perhaps I can also convince T to bring along his guitar).

* Visit food markets: I love going to all sorts of food festivals but most of them have been shut down for the winter, so I've marked my calendar with the opening dates for my favorite markets so that I can taste-test the various booths and bring home some fresh produce and protein for dinner. Speaking of which...

* Try 1 new recipe a week: As much as I enjoy soups year-round, I'm excited to spice up our weekly menu with some spring-ready veggies and new, lighter dishes.

* Increase my yoga routine: I started getting back into yoga over the past few months and really want to amp up my efforts by visiting a studio at least once a week.

* Outdoor happy hours and dinners: Can't wait to clear off the dust from our patio furniture and start enjoying some alfresco cocktails and meals!

* Declutter and organize the apartment: My Konmari obsession continues to grow and I'm determined to declutter my belongings and reorganize them as part of my spring cleaning effort.

* Increase weekend neighborhood walks: Ever since we got Fitbits in the fall, T and I have been taking long strolls around our neighborhood over the weekend. It's one of my favorite ways to spend time together (and get my steps in) so I definitely want to increase the length of these walks now that the weather is getting nicer.

* Attend a baseball and soccer game: I've been lucky enough to attend several basketball games throughout March Madness, but now it's time to take the sports back outdoors and cheer on the Yankees and our local New York City soccer club!

* Plan a weekend getaway: My Florida trip was only last month but I'm already itching for another long weekend away...perhaps Charleston, Nashville, or Boston...the possibilities are endless!

* Host a Cinco de Mayo taco night: I can never resist a fun Mexican fiesta, so Cinco de Mayo is the perfect opportunity to put together a taco bar and serve up some frosty margs!

* Enjoy a Kentucky Derby promenade: Don't get me wrong, I love the mint juleps but my favorite part of the Derby is all of the fancy finery! I'm excited to put on some dapper Derby duds and promenade through the neighborhood.

* Pick fresh strawberries: Strawberries are my very favorite fruit but they are in season for only a very short window of time in early June, so this year I'm determined to find a pick-your-own farm and not let that opportunity slip me by!

Are any of these items on your spring list? How do you plan to enjoy this season?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

DIY Easter Place Settings: Bird Nest

If you're looking to add a little pizzazz to your Easter table without spending a lot of time or money, try these easy DIY bird nests! They are cute, customizable, and a total snap to put together.

* Eggs
* Easter egg dye
* White crayon
* Jellybeans
* Brown crinkle paper shred
* Small soup bowls

* Using the white crayon, write each guest's name on an egg. Dye the eggs in a variety of pretty colors and allow them to fully dry.
* Fill the soup bowls with the crinkle paper shred, and add some jellybeans along the edges.
* Place the large dyed egg in the center of the bowl. Add to each place setting at your Easter table and enjoy!

And if you're looking for some additional Easter inspiration, check out some of our previous holiday-related posts:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Cocktail: Peeps on the Beach

It may have snowed a little bit here in NYC on the first day of spring, but Easter is still right around the corner which means that we're doing some menu planning and selecting this year's signature cocktail! This Peeps on the Beach martini features yummy tropical flavors that will make you wish you were floating in the ocean alongside that lucky Peep (seriously, doesn't the drink's aqua color look like the Peep is enjoying some amazing beach vacay? We wish we were there, too!).

For an extra dose of cuteness, you can download some of our free Easter printables and pop them on some straws for your drinks.

They work equally well on some toothpicks as treat toppers, too!

Peeps on the Beach Martini

* 1 oz. vodka
* 1 oz. peach schnapps
* 1 oz. blue curaƧao
* 3 oz. pineapple juice
* 1 Peep

* Pour all alcohol into a shaker filled with ice; shake and pour into a chilled martini glass.
* Float a Peep on top!

If tropical flavors aren't your thing and you would prefer to add a little theatricality to your signature Peeps cocktails, make sure you try out our classic Flaming Peeptini recipe!

Linking up today with Jennifer JuniperKaryn, KristenEmilyMandyMaryMandySusanLisaPamSarahLoriTammyand Natasha!

Friday, March 18, 2016

33 Things for 33 Years

After reading fellow March baby Biana's post about 29 things about herself for her 29th birthday, I thought it would be fun to use the same format in anticipation of my birthday this Sunday (well, my list has a few more items than hers to account for my additional years!). Here's a mixed bag of 33 things to help you get to know me a little better:

1) My very first job was spent folding knee socks and silk screening gym clothes at the school uniform store during my high school summers. As a big bonus, that's when M and I first became friends!

2) People are always curious about my height, so...I am officially 4'8.5" (though my license says I'm 4'10"). I can always tell that a new person is starting to get comfortable with me when they ask me how tall I am.

3) I absolutely love living in NYC and always thought I'd be one of those people who never leave Manhattan, but living in Astoria this past year has been pretty amazing and I'm so happy to call it home.

4) I've always had a hard time decluttering and paring down my many possessions, but I'm now totally obsessed with the Konmari method. For the first time, I've been a purging machine ever since reading this book, and I already feel so much lighter just from getting rid of these things I don't need!

5) I have a Master's degree in Theatre.

6) When I was in college, my singing group went to Vienna for spring break and I got super sick right at the beginning of the trip. It was so bad that I had to fly home early and I was violently ill on my return flight from Vienna to Paris. In the Paris airport, I curled up on the floor before boarding the final leg of my trip and thought I would never be able to stand up again. Suddenly, I saw someone kneel down beside me and start playing the flute. When his song was finished, he introduced himself to me and said he had just completed snake charming training. I immediately felt healthy again and made a full recovery right away.

7) I (somewhat reluctantly) joined Snapchat recently (follow me at: SequinNotebookB) and I have to confess that I still don't quite get it! Which makes me feel old, haha.

8) I've been a bridesmaid in many weddings and I always fill the same role at the bridal shower...emcee of the party games! For some reason, I just can't resist hamming it up and keeping the party going!

9) Ever since I appeared on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, I've totally been bit by the game show bug and can't wait to apply and go on another one.

10) I have a tendency to hoard crafting supplies, especially tissue paper in a whole rainbow of pretty shades.

11) If health concerns were no object, I would literally eat pizza for dinner every single day.

12) As much as I love pizza, the reverse is true for seafood - no thanks!

13) My #1 guilty pleasure is watching cheesy Lifetime original movies. Yes, they are completely preposterous, and the horrible scripting is matched only by the terrible acting, but they're my jam. I always have them on in the background when I'm working on projects at home.

14) The first concert I ever attended was Michael Bolton (yes, this was the early 90s). Even crazier - Celine Dion was his opening act!

15) I skipped third grade.

16) I am a total morning person and get all of my best work done before lunch. Even on the weekends, I like to get all of my errands out of the way nice and early so that I can just sit back and enjoy the rest of the day.

17) In case you're searching for a birthday treat for me (how sweet of you!), the very best cupcakes are chocolate ones topped with absolutely huge amounts of frosting...Magnolia, I'm looking at you.

18) I like trying different kinds of fitness classes, but Zumba will always have my heart, especially when they start cranking up the 90s hip hop!

19) I've traveled to a bunch of beautiful places, some highlights being: Greece, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Ireland, France, Belgium, England, and more...

20) And I would love to travel to many more! I'd really love to plan a long weekend in Charleston or Nashville this year.

21) I haven't driven a car in close to 5 years and don't miss driving at all!

22) Between Ebates, Dollar Tree, promo codes, and birthday freebies, I'm all about bargain hunting and finding the best possible deal for quality items.

23) As much as I love planning the smallest detail of every party, there is one task that I dread and always pass off to M or T...creating the playlist. For some reason, this stresses me out more than any other party task!

24) Here's my cycle of making cake pops: Get excited about the adorable, delicious design I have planned / run out of time and launch a marathon cake pop session that takes hours and hours / get delirious from lack of sleep and cry when a cake pop falls off its stick back into the chocolate / swear that I am never making cake pops EVER AGAIN / serve the cake pops at the party / receive showers of praise for the cake pops / begin planning the adorable, delicious cake pop design for my next party.

25) In order, my top 3 favorite celebrities that I've met are: Michael Buble, Andy Cohen, Bethenny Frankel

26) I'm terrible at remembering quotes from TV and movies with one notable exception: Sex and the City. I consider myself an expert on the series and can still find ways to apply its storylines to almost any situation.

27) Pampering is fantastic...pedicures and massages will always be a treat but if I really want to do something special for myself, Drybar tops my list every time!

28) This probably won't come as a surprise to other bloggers, but I am definitely the planner of my friend group. When an event or group outing needs to be organized, I usually take a lead role and while it's a lot of work, I like taking charge to make sure that everything gets done!

29) One of my favorite roles is being a godmother to Little M - he truly lights up my day every time I see him! It doesn't hurt that Little M and T have become big time buddies...the last time we saw Little M, he point-blank asked T, "When are you coming to my house?" so I'm excited to plan a playdate with my favorite little guy soon!

30) My birthday is March 20th, which is the first day of spring and the last day of the zodiac.

31) I've never been very athletic, but I was a cheerleader for many years and loved being at the top of all of the pyramids. This was also a great spot for me since I never learned how to do any gymnastics, not even a cartwheel, haha.

32) This may be my New Jersey background showing, but I'll always have a weakness for sequin heels and anything leopard print.

33) As I'm on the cusp of 33, there's so many things I still have to learn but here's one little bit of wisdom about friendship I've picked up over the years...if you expect all friends to be all things to you at all times, you'll inevitably be disappointed. For example, there are some friends that are super fun to hang out with at happy hour, but who I'd never call to discuss a work problem or family matter (luckily, I have M on speed dial for that!). I've come to appreciate my friends for the value they each individually bring to my life, and not expect them to fulfill all of my needs.

Can you relate to any things on this list? Cheers to the weekend, I'm excited to ring in 33!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Treat Yourself: MORE Freebies for the Birthday Gal!

Hey Gals! A quick bit of blog business before we jump into today's post...M is still on a short break due to her personal, family matter but she sends her love and can't wait to be back on the blog soon. In the meantime, B is happy to be back especially since it's her birthday week!

This upcoming weekend will mark my 33rd birthday (seriously, when did that happen?!). One of my favorite things about birthdays (besides all the cake, cocktails, and presents!) is the amount of free stuff that's available to celebrate your special day. I previously shared some birthday freebies from Starbucks, Benefit Brow Bar, Sephora, and more, so this year I'm adding on some additional places where you can score some free birthday swag:

* Au Bon Pain: I pass at least 5 of these on my walk from the subway to my office every morning, so I will definitely be cashing in on this deal. When you register on their website, you'll receive a coupon for a totally free sandwich or salad that's valid until a week after your birthday - I'll never pass up a free NYC lunch!

* Auntie Anne's: I have always been a huge pretzel fan (so much that I sometimes eat too many in the afternoon and then have no appetite for dinner, oops); it's my go-to snack anywhere from an NYC street cart to that stand at the end of a random hallway of your favorite mall. This deal is straightforward - one free pretzel for the birthday gal can be yours when you download their app!

* Sprinkles Cupcakes: Sprinkles cupcakes are not only delicious, but extra adorable - after all, this is the company that brought us the Cupcake ATM (an on-the-go necessity!). When you sign up for their Perks program, you'll not only receive a free cupcake during your birthday month, but you'll also be entitled to a bonus free cupcake right away just for signing up! 

* Baskin Robbins: Baskin Robbins always brings me back to my childhood, and you can feel like a kid again too by redeeming their birthday perk - one free scoop of your favorite ice cream on your special day.

I'm excited to cash in on all of these fabulous deals during the next couple of weeks! Do you have any favorite birthday deals to add to this list?

Linking up with Kristen, Jenn, Tuesday Talk, Natalie, Joey, Monica, and Amanda!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A brief pause.

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here lately. A personal, family matter has come up that requires our full attention, so we are taking a short break.

We look forward to bringing some glam and glitz back to the blog soon and in the meantime, thank you for your support during this difficult time.

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