Friday, February 15, 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.

It's Friday and we are officially half way through February. Time is flying and I am ok with it (kinda) since I am itching for some Spring weather. It has been cold here. I love the snow, but I am not digging the teens to 30 degree weather we have had. I am looking forward to the long weekend. We don't have much planned and that is very welcoming!

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. Rory loves working outside, he loves the outdoors and he loves Birkenstocks. When I saw the "rubber" Birkenstocks, I knew it would be a great gift for him. He can wear them on our Graeagle trip, while he gardens or to the beach. They get amazing reviews and I got them for him for Valentine's Day.
Waterproof Birkenstock Arizona Sandals

TWO. So I bought myself some new work shoes this week. About once a year, I treat myself to a new pair of flats that I basically wear daily to work except during the winter when I wear boots more due to rain and snow. Anyways, a couple of people turned me onto Rothy's pointed flats and their regular flats, so I ordered the pointed ones this time. I ordered a size up from my normal size since that was recommended with the pointed ones. I usually get a size up for pointed shoes. Anyways, I always go with the basic black ones, so that they go with everything.

These shoes are pretty amazing because they are machine washable. That means I can still wear them on my daily walks at work, I don't have to worry about them getting dirty and they are made from recycled bottled water bottles.

If you want $20 off a pair, you can use my code here. Enjoy.

THREE. Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw the funniest memes. It was NFL Valentine cards. Here are four of my favorite ones that I saw.
NFL Valentine Card Memes

NFL Valentine Card Memes

NFL Valentine Card Memes

NFL Valentine Card Memes

FOUR. So I had a few people ask me what sweater I got at Nordstrom Rack that was originally $248 and was on sale for $41.98. So I have linked it below. The one available online is the black or mustard yellow one. The one I got was a light blue. It is soft, flattering and has the cutest button details on the shoulder.
Joie Gadelle Button Shoulder Sweater

Joie Gadelle Button Shoulder Sweater

FIVE. When I was also at Nordstrom Rack, I picked up a pair of heels since I didn't have any that are a lower heel and in decent shape. Or they were a bright color. I needed a new pair of black heels. When I saw these Vince Camuto Pointy Heels, I tried them on and bought them right away. They are $39.97 which is less than what I bought them for.
Vince Camuto Jaynita Pointy Toe Pumps

SIX. While browsing for some basic tees (since my beloved Rag and Bone ones are sooo expensive. Anyone have an outlet near them?) online, I found the cutest top for Mexico. And it is one sale for $14.95 with free shipping which is a no brainer.
Eve Rainbow Stripe Tie Waist Tee

Have a great weekend!
Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

*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 hope you have a great day today. Not just because it is Valentine's Day, but because I want you all to have a happy day. I know in the past Valentine's Day has weighed on me whether I had a significant other or not. I feel like the day has Hallmark written all over it and we should celebrate our loved ones everyday.

That sentiment has changed a bit over time as I have had children. I shower them with love everyday, but I get them a little something to make their day more special. We didn't go overboard this year and really never do.

The girls are receiving a Valentine's card, a Valentine Pez dispenser and Pez plus a book each (this one and this one). Simple and sweet. I got Rory a card and something, but I can't share it until later since he reads here.

And we plan to get take-out or cook at home.

What are your Valentine's Day plans?
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Pinterest Recipe Successes and Fails

I go to Pinterest for the majority of my recipes. Either I search out a certain dish or I go with a generic search term like easy weeknight meals. Then I usually find a couple websites that I check often for their new recipes like Pinch of Yum and Skinny Taste. Sometimes the recipes are successes and I make them a lot or sometimes they are just awful. Here are some recent goods and bads.

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup

I made this soup last week. The only thing I did different was use a bag of tortilla strips and I think I will make the strips next time. I just didn't have the time, or I thought I didn't have the time. This dish is full of flavor, some heat, you definitely need that squeeze of lime and the cheese. Total winner in my house.

Honey Garlic Butter Glazed Carrots

I made these carrots to go with our Christmas dinner. I let them get the caramelized color and added the herbs at last minute. They were really good and matched our Christmas dinner perfectly. I would make these again.

BBQ Beef Pockets

I made these thinking the girls would love them since they love burritos, they love sloppy joes and they love pie. But these were just not good. I followed the recipe exactly and we didn't like them. They were bland. We will NOT be making these again.

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

I have made this about three times since we tried it and that was only a month or so ago. I was really nervous about putting the pesto in it, but the flavors are on point. I had no idea what bulgar was before this recipe, but we love it. And the leftovers are even better!

Mississippi Pot Roast

I heard a lot of good things about Mississippi Pot Roast. I never thought to put peppers into my pot roast, but it just works. This dish is super simple to make and really packs in the flavor. Just make sure to skim the fat off. 

Sheet Pan Mongolian Beef

I have mentioned this dish on here before, but it is soooo good. I have made this a few times and I even doubled the recipe (hello leftovers). The doubling was a bit of a trial and error, but it works. If you want to double the recipe, cook the green beans fully before. Then remove to a cover plate and proceed with the meat. This way you can cook the meat all at once. Then I just combine it on the sheet pan or in another casserole dish for serving. This dish over brown rice is amazing. And don't skimp on the flank steak.

So I have made this twice now. The first time, we thought it was good and the second time we just didn't like it. I made it originally because at a tailgate someone made a similar dish and I couldn't stop eating it. But when I made this one, it didn't taste the same and it didn't caramelize like above. I think that is the biggest problem and I cooked it in a cast iron skillet. I wouldn't make this again.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I have made this twice now and we love it. It is super simple, flavorful and makes for good leftovers. The first time, I used the iceberg lettuce that it called for and the second I used live butter lettuce. Both were great. And make sure you get the sauce. I ordered it online since I didn't find it at Whole Foods or my local grocery store.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Lastly, sloppy joes. My girls and I love sloppy joes. I grew up on Mamwich at school and I loved it. But then as I got older, we realized what was inside that can and now we make ours from scratch. My mom started this as we got older and I used that recipe for a long time and now I use this one. It is very similar to my moms, but this one has a bit of mustard in it. Packs in the flavor. I usually make this when Rory travels for work, but I recently made it for him and he really liked it too.

Do you have any recipes to recommend to me? I love trying new ones.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019


I haven't done a weekend update in a long time, so I thought I would share one with you today. I hoped to have had this done for yesterday, but sometimes life gets in the way and it just doesn't happen.

Friday after work I ran a bunch of errands. I had to go to Sephora, Nordstrom Rack and the dry cleaners. I bought way too much at Sephora and really didn't need anything from Nordstrom Rack. I went in looking for a Rag n Bone t-shirt that I love so much, but they didn't have any. I came out with a sweater that was orginally $224 on sale for $41 and a pair of heels. I wanted to wear heels out for our date night that evening and all of mine are trashed. But then it ended up snowing Friday evening, so I didn't get to wear my shoes out. Whomp whomp.

Friday evening we had our steak dinner that I treated Rory to (since I went on a foreign travel trip). We ate soooo much food, but had a great time.

Saturday morning I was hungry...starving really since I had mostly protein and veggies for dinner. We decided to go to Pine State Biscuit because I wanted their chicken biscuit sandwich and I had worked out hard all week. The girls were with their grandparents.
Pine State Biscuit McIsley

After breakfast, we headed home, built a fire and I read more of my book Verity. Just before the girls got home from their dance class, I had to go meet my sister at the bank to exchange some leftover money from my trip.
toddler ballet

I came home and the girls were just getting settled in and finishing lunch. They went to bed not long later and I read some more. Rory left for the Wolf Pack basketball game which we watched from home. We had plans to go to my friends house for his House Warming Party, but the girls slept longer than I anticipated.

We watched the rest of the game and then headed out to pizza (I know, very gluttonous day). We came home and watched the snow fall and stayed inside with the fire.

Sunday morning we woke up to almost 10 inches of snow. It was crazy. So we headed out to a quick cheap breakfast and then came home and built a snow slide. We tried making a snowman, but the snow was too soft and wouldn't form into a ball. We built up the slide, took turns going down the slide and kept rebuilding it to be even better. After awhile, we decided to shovel our neighbors sidewalk since they hadn't. Rory had shoveled our driveway and sidewalks, so I did our neighbors. The girls helped me.


 Avery's turn

After sledding, we showered and then went grocery shopping for the week. The girls napped while I was gone since they had to be up early for a birthday party. One of our friends daughters (who is also in the girls dance class) had her birthday party at an arcade place. They played games, ate pizza, cupcakes and ice cream and played all afternoon.

After we left, we made a quick stop to Whole Foods and then went home to make dinner and relax for the evening. I made Pinch of Yum's Red Pepper Pasta with Cauliflower and it was a huge hit in our house. I used a spicy marinara sauce like it suggested and we loved it.
Pinch of Yum's Red Pepper Pasta with Cauliflower

We spent the rest of the evening getting ready for the week ahead. How was your weekend?
Friday, February 8, 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.

I survived my first week back in the office. Can I just say how hard it has been to get over the jet lag this time? I feel like I was gone just long enough to get used to the 9 hour time difference and then came back and had to get used to my normal time. I was falling asleep at 8 pm several nights, up at 2 am starving and just couldn't get back into my rhythm. I know, I shouldn't be complaining because I got to go on an amazing trip, but it is harder to re-adjust when you have kids.

Anyways, lets get on to Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. Is anyone like me and they have the hardest time remembering to buy new razors? Like I remember when I shave my legs and then I forget once I am at the store. It is total laziness, but whatever. My husband is part of the dollar shave club and I had once thought about joining that or stealing his razors, but then I kept seeing the Billie ads popping up everywhere. I finally bit the bullet last weekend and signed up for it.

Here is the process I went through (and no this isn't sponsored):

You go to and chose get started. Then it asks you some questions. The first is to pick your color of razor.

Then it asks you how often you shave?
 This is sad since I used to shave way more often. But this basically decides how often to send you replacement razors.

Next it asks you if you want any add shaving cream or lotion. I opted for shaving cream for the first time.

And that is it. It adds everything to your shopping cart, you check out and then it charges you monthly, every other month or every three months depending on your needs.

If you want to sign up, you can use my referral here.

TWO. I posted this on my IG stories a couple nights ago, but I just can't believe how amazing my Wolf Pack is playing. They are currently ranked #6 and have pretty much stayed between #4 and #10 the entire season. They are just dominating and have only lost 1 game this year. Let's hope this keeps up. This photo was taken after their win against Colorado State on Wednesday night. They play tomorrow at home against New Mexico which is the only loss that the Pack has. It is hard to play in New Mexico, so hopefully this will redeem that loss.
Nevada Wolf Pack Basketball

THREE. When I was in Paris, I finally bought myself a Longchamp bag/purse. I have wanted one for awhile and since I was in Paris, why not. I originally wanted the extra large tote for my work trips to hold my wallet, my work book, tablet, etc., but I bought myself a Michael Kors bag. So when I walked into the Longchamp store, I didn't think I would buy anything. But then I did. I bought one of the smaller purses that fold up. I bought this because it is also perfect for travel. I bring my huge Michael Kors bag and then need a smaller bag for walking around the cities I visit. This is where this bag comes in. Plus it folds up nicely for travel. And I got it at an even better price buying it in Paris.
Longchamp Le Pilage Small Tote

FOUR. So about a year ago we bought a Leesa mattress and we loved it at first. I still think it is fine, but Rory's back and hips have been killing him for the last month or two. He uses the foam roller twice a day to try to help his back out, but he wakes up every morning with pain in his butt and back. So I am looking for suggestions on a mattress topper, a new mattress or something to fix this situation.

FIVE. I picked up two cute books from Amazon this week to give to the girls as part of their Valentine's Day gifts. I wanted to share them today, so you can order them for your kids in time for Valentine's Day.
The Very Fairy Princess

Pete the Cat Valentine's Day is Cool

I would share Rory's gift on here, but he reads here, so I don't want to spoil it.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Valentine's Day Dresses

*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.

While we will be celebrating Valentine's Day at home, I know a lot of people like to get dressed up and go out. We won't be going out for Valentine's Day, but we do have that steak dinner planned and I hope to scoop up one of these dresses for the occasion. Plus I really need more "going out" outfits in my wardrobe. Or at least some of my twin mom friends say I do!
Valentine's Day Dress Guide

ONE. The Off-the-shoulders Bodycon Dress has amazing reviews. They say it fits pretty much any body type. I love the ruffle sleeves off the shoulders and the ruffled hem.

TWO. I am a sucker for anything hearts and this dress fits the bill. I wish it had longer sleeves to wear in Nevada winters, but it is still super cute.

THREE. This Ruffle Strapless Velvet Dress is the perfect length, color and has the perfect slit up the thigh.

FOUR. I had to throw in a black lace dress in here. I love the see through tummy, but yet it is still covered since it has lace over it.

FIVE. This red dress is similar to the black one before, but it is red and longer. I love the lace details and the length of this dress.

SIX. Another bodycon dress, but this one is suited for moms, postpartum moms and pregnant moms.

SEVEN. I love sparkles and sequins and this dress is just that. I love the shape, length and color. It is perfect for an evening out.

EIGHT. This Danica Dress is on sale for $120 right now. I love the crossover under the breast and the shape of the back of the dress. Plus it has a cute tie in the back.

What are you doing for Valentine's Day?
Monday, February 4, 2019

TBB Asks Relationships

So I’m back and ready to catch up on all of your comments for the last week or so. Thank you for all your comments. I am ready to get back to everyday life. At least for a bit. Today is a TBB Asks post and the topic is relationships. .

1. Who is your oldest friend/how did you meet? Well other than family, that would be Brandy. We met when we were super young. Like Kindergarten. Even though we have families, busy work schedules and life that gets in the way, we try to meet up a few times a year. I wish it was more but we live about an hour apart.

2. Tell us about circle of support. Who are your people? Well my blogging community. I have made the best friends who listen to my rants, who answer my texts at all hour and are there cheering me on. Also my family. Immediate and extended. My family watches the girls, comes to all the parties, celebrations, dinners and everything in between.

3. How did you meet your partner? At work in October 2006.

4. How is Valentines Day celebrated in your home? We usually do a dinner at home now that we have kids. I usually get Valentine cards and goodies for my kids and husband and keep it simple.

5. What is your love language? I still need to take a test and really find out.

6. Do you prefer receiving flowers or chocolates? Flowers. But I have a ton of chocolates that I just brought back from Belgium so everyone is getting chocolate this time.

7. What is the most meaningful gift you have ever received or given? Wow that is hard. I did give Rory a Valentine’s gift of concert tickets to see Black Keys and a weekend getaway with it. But otherwise it would be a sentimental piece of jewelry that I have received. Like pearls for graduation from my parents or many pieces of jewelry that Rory gave me that we’re stolen when our house was broken into in 2011.