Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday Favorites and Happenings

* This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

Can I just complain for a minute? It is May and this month started off with beautiful weather, but now we are just having crap weather. It has been raining for days and we even had some snow here. No thanks. We are supposed to go camping this weekend and next weekend starts our annual Graeagle trip and the weather isn't looking good. I think we need the weather gods to push these systems out quickly and allow the warmth to come back. I want to have a fun and warm trip.

Anyways, onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. So I have had my Fitbit Versa or about 5 months now and on Sunday evening, it started freaking out a bit. It was scrolling through my steps, calories and beats per minute. It also said I was burning about 4,000 calories a day. That would be nice if it were true. Anyways, I did a soft and hard reset on it, I charged it and let it be for that night.

I put it back on on Monday morning and by the time we were in the car driving to work, it went crazy again. But this time, it started workouts and said my heart rate was at 202 bpm while driving in the car. I was the passenger. By 3 pm, it died completely and wouldn't charge or turn on.

Luckily, I went on Fitbit's chat that morning to figure out what I can do. My Fitbit is still under warranty because it has a year warranty on it. They asked me a few questions and then sent me an email for my options. I could get a new replacement or 50% off another Fitbit. I chose the brand new one of my Versa since I really do love it. I love how it tracks this accurately, it tracks my sleep, my workouts and it has the best alarm.

So I am without my watch and I feel naked without it. But just know that Fitbit has amazing customer service. This is the one that I have.
Fitbit Versa

TWO. So speaking of camping, we needed a few new items and I thought I would share them here with you all. First, we needed new sleeping bags for the girls. No they won't be sleeping in a tent with us. They get the luxury of sleeping in my parents RV. But they really needed new sleeping bags for our Graeagle trip. The girls sleep on these mattresses (they are amazing. We have taken them everywhere.) and have used their Melissa and Doug sleeping bags in the past, but we need those for the girls recital which is the following weekend. And they need to leave them with the school in the meantime. So we bought new ones. Rory and I did a bunch of research and these seems to be the best fit for us. The only thing that I don't like is they are hand wash. 
The Shrunks Toddler Blow Up Mattress with Sides

The girls currently have these sleeping bags which are perfect for their recital, for cabin camping or sleepovers.
Melissa and Doug Kids Sleeping Bags

And these are their new sleeping bags.
Teton Sports Celsius Junior Kids Sleeping Bags

THREE. And speaking of camping in a tent, Rory and I needed new mattresses or something to sleep on. We traditionally have slept on the queen size blow up mattress which is fine, but not comfortable when you have a 6'2" husband sleeping next to you. Plus it deflates a bit as you sleep on it. So I looked around and we bought ourselves a camping mattress pad each. These got amazing reviews, are long enough for my husband and they are self inflating.
Wellax Ultra Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

FOUR. So I have been trying to be good and not go out and get a latte everyday. It is hard. I love my lattes and I am not the biggest fan of just a cup of coffee. I like it fancified. Is that even a word?

But I need to be better about my coffee drinking, so I went to the local restaurant supply store and bought some vanilla syrup (you can buy it on amazon here). If you have a restaurant supply store in your area, I would go. We get our everyday compostable take-out containers that I use for our lunches there. We also get paper plates (compostable), food and what not. It is like a Costco, but for restaurant and food supplies. Anyways, I got my syrup and a pump there for really cheap along with some more take-out containers.

Ok, back to what I was saying. So when I get to work, we make coffee and then I add a pump of the vanilla to my very large cup of coffee (I am talking my cup is enough for 4 to 5 cups at a time. But I usually do 2 to 3.) and then add cream and then the coffee. But I upped my game even more with a milk frother. I got it on Amazon and it is amazing, cheap and works soooo well. Now I get a coffee latte at work daily and I am not missing my lattes as much. Don't worry, I still get them on the weekends.
MilkBoss Milk Frother
MilkBoss Milk Frother

FIVE. Have you heard about Rocksbox? I am sure you have. But if you haven't, then let me tell you a little about it. You sign up and create your wish list profile. You first answer what kind of jewelry you like and dislike. Then it builds a big list of items they think you will like. You can pick a bunch of jewelry and add it to your wish list. Then they will choose three items to send to you. You can go online before it ships and swap out pieces as well. So if you have an event coming up and you want something specific or fancy, you can add that. They will then ship you out three pieces of jewelry and you can keep them as long as you would like. It is basically like renting the jewelry. Then you send back the pieces that you don't want and you can keep any that you do want. You get your styling credit added back to that purchase (so $21 off) and then they will send you another box.

For my first box, I got two Kendra Scott pieces (a necklace and earrings) and then Avarose earrings. I wore the Kendra Scott necklace the following day and I have plans for the earrings coming up. 

If you want to try it out, the first month is free with my code sparklesandlattesxoxo 


I am linking up with AprilA Little Bit of EverythingMeet @ the Barre and Becky.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Show Me Your Books

* This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

I am not linking up with anyone for this, but I do see these posts a lot and I wanted to share what I have read lately. I have talked about a few of them in previous posts, but no ratings or what I thought about them.

The Good Daughter
The good daughter

Here is a synopsis of the book from Amazon:

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…
Rating: 4 stars
I really enjoyed this book and the reason I didn't give it 5 stars was it was slow in some parts and a bit too long. This book is graphic. There are parts that will make you feel a bit uncomfortable especially if you have children. But this book is very well written. I read it while I was on vacation and I couldn't put it down. Even through the slow parts.
Then She Was Gone

The synopsis for the book:
Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a cafĂ©, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?
Rating: 5 stars
I really LOVED this book. Sure it was twisted at parts, but it was very well written. I thought I had it all figured out, but then there were things that I had not guessed. I really enjoy crime shows and figuring how what happened and this book is definitely one where you can do this. It also makes you more aware of the things that can happen to your kids and how you can help prevent them. I definitely recommend this book.
Hidden Bodies

The synopsis from Amazon:
Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
I want to start by saying that I had not read the prequel You. I only watched it on Netflix and loved it. It is twisted and I really liked Joe as a character. You shouldn't like Joe, but you just end up rooting for him and then remembering that no you need to dislike him.
Anyways, I just read the spoilers on the book since my co-worker told me that there were some differences in the book and tv show. I don't think they were that crazy different and I figured some of them out as I read Hidden Bodies. 
Anyways, Hidden Bodies follows Joe to LA and his taste for the rich life, his obsession with a new girl and just how far he will go for the ones he loves. It was a really good book and a bit racy. You will definitely read a lot of sex parts. But don't let that stop you from reading this. It is a good book and I really hope Caroline Kepnes puts out another sequel.

What have you read lately? Any books you can recommend? These are the three I plan to take with me on my trips: What Alice Forgot, The Anonymous Girl and Where the Crawdads Sing.
Monday, May 20, 2019


* This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

This weekend was hard. It was hard because we said goodbye to a relative and the girls were just acting out around us. Around family, they were fine, but around us, they were defiant, wouldn't listen and it was just tough. But we made it through and hopefully this week is better. Fingers crossed.

Friday after work, I got some lunch and then went to Target for some new mascara and body wash. Then I headed home and folded laundry (glamorous) and picked the girls up from school. I got them ready for swim class and then headed there. 

The girls practiced floating on their backs and going under the water for 10 seconds.

After swim, I took the girls to pizza where they saw their classmate and played with them while we waited for our pizza. After eating, we headed home and gave Rory our leftovers. He was golfing with work that afternoon.

Then we did some packing, bathed the girls and went to bed early.

Saturday, we were up bright and early to head to California for a memorial service for Rory's cousin. But first we stopped in Truckee for our favorite breakfast at Marty's Cafe.
This was Rory's burrito. I had grilled ham, a potato cake, a biscuit and eggs.

Then we made our 4 hour drive to the Bay Area for the service. It was pouring when we got there and it didn't stop. Kind of fitting since we were there for a service. We hung out with family, reminisced and grieved.
 The view

 My nephew climbed into the ice cream truck and "drove it". We are now the proud owners of this baby. The girls LOVE it.

Cousin and my niece. She clearly wasn't having it, but she looked sooo cute.

After the service, we stayed and chatted for awhile and then headed to dinner where our hotel was. We ate, watched the Warriors game and then went to our hotel.

Sunday morning woke up and slept in a bit which was nice. Then we got ready and headed to breakfast. Breakfast in the Bay Area is expensive and small. Ha.

Then we went shopping since we were in the area and I really wanted some new Le Creuset cookware. We bought the 5 qt braiser and the 2 3/4 qt dutch oven. We really wanted to replace some of our pots and pans and I have been searching for the perfect ones. I own a bunch of Le Creuset items from our wedding, but the braiser and the dutch oven were on our list. With the braiser, you can saute things, make spaghetti, risotto, pan fried chicken, etc. It is very versatile. And the smaller dutch oven that we got will replace our sauce pan that we use for rice, mac n cheese, pasta, etc.
 Le Creuset 2 3/4 qt dutch oven
Le Creuset 5 qt braiser

We also stopped at North Face, Columbia, J Crew, New Balance and Samsonite.

The girls were having meltdowns, wanted food, wouldn't listen and were knocking things off the shelves. It was a disaster, so we left and headed home.

We drove the remaining 3 hours and stopped once along the way for gas and coffee.

We got home around 4 pm and then unpacked. While unpacking, I went through the girls toys and books since they got a few from their cousins. I packed everything up and took it to the donation place before going grocery shopping. Then I headed home, cooked dinner and then we got ready for the week ahead. And put out a few tantrum fires along the way.

How was your weekend?
Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Favorites

* This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

And just like that, we are half way through May. Time is flying by. The days seem long, but the months and years are flying by. I am officially over 2 weeks out from my nose surgery and I am really liking the results so far. I am starting to breathe better and the tenderness is getting better each day.

We have a lot on our plates the next few weekends, but it is a lot of fun things....mostly.

ONE. Do any of you follow Becca or Garrett from the Bachelorette (a few seasons back)? Well if you do or you watched the show, then you know that Garrett is from Reno, Nevada. And that is where I am from and live. Anyways, Garrett has worn my friend Sommer's shirts many times and I LOVE her stuff. She has recently done a With Love, From Reno crop sweatshirt that sells out super fast. But with a little DM on when they were going to be restocked, I was able to snag one. 

I know that it is coming up on Summer, but this sweatshirt will be perfect for the chilly mornings, camping, our Graeagle trips and then come Fall/Winter. And it is the softest material ever.

She makes shirts/tanks/sweatshirts for other places too with a custom order. Just go to her Etsy site.
With Love From Reno Sweatshirt

TWO. I watched the TV show You and LOVED it. Yes it is creepy and crazy to think of it ever happening, but I liked the show for what it was. I was going to go back and read You since I enjoyed it so much, but my coworker said the book wasn't as good as the show. She said it was too slow, but to look up spoilers because there are differences in the show and book. So I did that and then I read Hidden Bodies. And quickly. Y'all it is soooo good. A little racy, but seriously really good. I kept reading Joe's parts with Penn Bladley's voice and I just couldn't put it down. I sooo hope she writes another sequel to this one. Have any of you read it? What did you think?
Hidden Bodies

THREE. I follow Jenica who blogs over at A Slice of Style and she recently talked about how she teamed up with Cents of Style (clothing company) to create a shirt for hope and infertility. Jenica had infertility issues and ended up using IVF to have her beautiful twins. 

Now I don't talk much about my fertility struggles, but we were seeing a fertility doctor, tried a few options that didn't work and we were about to start Clomid when I got pregnant with the girls. Now my fertility struggles are not as bad as some, but we definitely took a lot longer to get pregnant than I thought we would.

Jenica helped create the Hope Relaxed V-Neck T-shirt and a portion of the proceeds go to Bundled Blessings Fertility. They also just came out with Spring colors and I scooped up the lavender one. It even has a little tag on the bottom for what this t-shirt represents. 

They are $29.95, but with the code Hope, you can get it for $19.95. This isn't sponsored. I just wanted to share this since it means a lot to me and is near and dear to my heart.
Hope Relaxed V-Neck T-shirt

FOUR. A long time ago, I used Cover Girl's mascara primer and one of their mascaras (I still use that mascara), but then I found out about L'oreal's Voluminous Lash Primer and this stuff is a game changer. Nothing compares to this primer that I have found and I will buy this stuff until it is discontinued. I recently ran out of it and had to buy it at Target the same day, so I wouldn't have to go without it. 

You need this stuff. I put it on my lashes (they will be white) and let it set for about 30 seconds and then I put my mascara on after it. My lashes are fuller, longer and come closer to what they were when I had lash extensions. This stuff is amazing. Plus it is only $5.59 at Target.
L'oreal's Voluminous Lash Primer

FIVE. I got my Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Complexion Brush and it is EVERYTHING I hoped for and more. I have been using the Beauty Blender for a few years now and wasn't to sure about going back to the makeup brushes, but this brush is solid.

I used to use the brushes, but I felt like they left brush strokes on my skin, so that the foundation was never smooth. I have been using it for a week now and I LOVE it. It goes on smoothly and the concealer side is amazing. I was using a mini beauty blender, but this gets right under the eyes for the full coverage that I need under my eyes. 

I would totally recommend this. It is pricey at $40, but you can sign up for deals on the Charlotte Tilbury website and get 10% off. That is only $4 off, but it is soooo worth it. 
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Complexion Brush

I am linking up with AprilA Little Bit of EverythingMeet @ the Barre and Becky.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

3 Things in May

I saw Andrea post three things for May and I wanted to join in.

1. If April showers bring May flowers, what 3 kinds of flowers are you planting this Spring?
Well, we have peonies (my favorite), tulips and wild flowers. I love how my husband just puts a bunch of wild flower seeds in a barrel (half of an old wine barrel) and they grow like crazy.

2. Cinco de Mayo. End of the School Year. A long Memorial Day weekend. How are you celebrating the kick off to summer?
Well I feel like the big kick off to summer is our annual trip to Graeagle to stay at Feather River Resort. We stay in cabins, golf, cook, play and just have a great time. We go every year in the beginning of June and it definitely kicks off Summer.

Some snaps from last year's trip.

Plumas Eureka State Park

Plumas Eureka State Park

Feather River Resort Golf Course

3. What 3 qualities make a great mom? Or show us a picture of you and your mom and tell us why she is so special to you.
1. Being patient. I feel like that is a constant struggle for me, but I am working on it and I feel it is something that is soooo important.

2. Talking to your kids and not at them. I read an article a few years back and it showed how Kate (Prince William's wife) knelt down and talked to her kids. They respond better that way instead of talking down/at them. I try to do this as often as possible.

3. Loving your kids unconditionally. Being a mom is tough and I have shed so many tears over it. There isn't any manual that tells us how to be a parent, but we do it through trial and error and no matter what I love my girls unconditionally.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Mother's Day Weekend

* This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

We had a pretty good weekend with some bumps in the road, but nothing too bad. My weekend started off on Friday after I got off work. Since I wasn't going to the gym, I was off at 11:30. I went to a favorite restaurant and had some pancakes and a cucumber lemonade. Both were amazing and I couldn't even finish the pancakes.
frozen cucumber lemonade

After lunch, I headed home to take a nap and catch up on some shows. After Rory got home, he suggested we walk to the girls school to pick them up. I hadn't done much walking or moving around since surgery, but I said ok. It was tough, but I made it. Gotta push yourself a little bit. 

We picked up the girls and then walked back home to get them ready for swim class. They did amazing this week. They were able to put their heads under water for a lot longer and are definitely starting to get the hang of it. 

After swim class, we headed to a make your own pizza place (like Mod Pizza and Blaze Pizza) and the girls were rowdy. They wouldn't sit still and they kept demanding their food and ranch. It was sort of rough. After dinner, we headed home and Rory bathed the girls while I relaxed on the couch. Soon after, we did their bedtime routine and they went down. I went to bed pretty early too.

Saturday morning we got up and Rory went out to grab some zucchini bread and coffees. We had those and then got ready for the day. The girls had ballet at 10 am and we were only able to watch for a bit since they are getting closer to their dance recital. Then the parents hung out in the lobby and talked.

After ballet, we went to the outdoor mall for some new shoes for the girls. We threw away two old and worn out pairs and they asked for new ones. We also stopped at Bath and Body Works for some candles (buy 2, get 2 free) and Rory and I may have scooped up a pair of shoes for each of us as well. I bought these Sperry Lounge Away Boat Shoes (that's the amazon link since I couldn't find them at the store I went to).
Sperry Lounge Away Boat Shoes

Then we went home and had leftover pizza for lunch. The girls went down for their nap and I took my car to get it washed and dropped off our winter comforter off at the dry cleaners.

Once the girls got up, we got them ready and then headed over to my friends daughters birthday party. The girls are in dance class together and Jess and I have been friends for a very long time. The kids played in a bounce house, in a pool, a pinata, had cake, tacos and so much fun. The adults had a great time as well. Plus we stayed out way later than the girls bedtime, but it was so fun and so worth it.

 The kids

naked cakes

Sunday morning, Rory and the girls let me sleep in. Once I got up, we relaxed and the girls gave me their gifts that they made at school. They were wrapped in tissue paper and then in a bag that the girls decorated.
Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

Then Rory and the girls gave me the Uncommon James earrings that I put on my Mother's Day Gift Guide. You might be able to spot them in some of the photos.

We all got ready and that is when the chaos started. Avery changed out of her clothes three different times. She put on a black dress at first and within 5 minutes wanted to change. She hated the dress. So being Mother's Day, I didn't want to argue and changed her into a watermelon pom pom dress that she picked. Then she hated that one and wanted the black one back on. At this point, I just excused myself to the bathroom to get ready and Avery threw the biggest tantrum EVER. It was awful. 

Then we headed out to Mother's Day brunch. It was sooo good, but Avery spilled coffee all over her sister by accident and there was more chaos for a bit. But then our friends from the night before showed up and all was right again. The kids played and the adults got to hang out.
 Mother's Day brunch with friends.

My girls and Piper (it was her birthday party the day before).

After spending a few hours at brunch, we all parted ways and headed home. We just sat outside and relaxed a bit before I headed out to get my nails done. Then I stopped at Sephora to see if they had my Charlotte Tilbury brush that I ordered from Sephora since they cancelled my order on Sunday morning. They did not have it and I was pretty bummed. Then I went grocery shopping and headed home to cook dinner. Yes I cooked on Mother's Day. It was fine since I hadn't cooked in two weeks given that I had surgery. I think my family all appreciated a home cooked meal by me.

After dinner, Rory gave the girls a bath and then headed up to his moms house to drop off some flowers for her. They were headed back from Mexico and due late that evening. I got to hang out at home in peace and quiet. It was nice.

Rory and the girls got home and they read us books that night and then went to bed. I went to bed around 9:30. Overall Mother's Day was good and I owe that to my husband for taking care of my crazy girls all day.

How was your Mother's Day?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Still Weekending

I had every intention on getting a Mother's Day weekend post up early this morning, but my dog got out early this morning and we couldn't find him. Luckily we did after some searching, but I was pretty panicked this morning. So I will have that post up tomorrow.