Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Puerto Vallarta Days 1 and 2

* 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.

If you have been following me for awhile, then you know that I go to Mexico pretty much yearly. Well ever since I have been dating Rory. I think in the almost 10 years that we have been together, we have missed one year and that was because I just had the girls a couple months prior. We have even brought the girls to Puerto Vallarta twice now. We had every intention on bringing them this time, but after consideration from the grandparents, we all decided to just have Rory and I go. And it was amazing. Of course we missed the girls, but it was very much needed and appreciated.

We left on Friday April 12th at 6 in the morning. And now I am singing Justin Timberlake's song Filthy. We flew into Phoenix and went into the American lounge for 4 hours. We watched some of the Master's, ate, read books and watched a bit of Netflix. Then we flew to Puerto Vallarta and for the first time in a long time, we didn't have ANY wait in Customs. 

We quickly got our luggage and made our way to the taxis. Word of advice, don't get a taxi inside the airport. At least go outside. They will try to tell you that you can't do that, but you can and should. It is way cheaper to go outside or even go across the highway (there is a walkway overpass) and get a taxi.

We took our taxi ride into the Zona Romantica which is the heart of PV. This is way past the hotels and near the Melancon (the boardwalk). We got settled into our condo, unpacked a bit and then headed next door to see Rory's family. We talked with them for about an hour or two and then headed off to watch the sunset and eat dinner. We also stopped at an ATM to get money. Another tip: get money out of an ATM and not the money exchange places. You get a better rate and usually only pay a dollar or two in fees compared to $10 or more in the exchange places.
Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta

Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta

Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta

Sunsets in Puerto Vallarta

For dinner, we went to Jorge's Hideaway Shrimp Shack. We go there every year and they always recognize us. It is a bit of a trek uphill, but amazing. We both got a blackberry margarita and shared a salad that had jicama, grapefruit, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, corn and balsamic dressing.
Blackberry margarita at Jorge's Hideaway Shrimp Shack

Then I got my favorite which is a spicy shrimp inside of a pineapple with pineapple chunks and some cheese. They pair it with a red rice and a salad.
spicy shrimp inside of a pineapple

Rory got this spicy shrimp dish with sauteed veggies and rice. It was sooooo good.

Then they gave us a complimentary drink after dinner. We were full and wanted to walk off some of the food, so we walked the Melancon. It was a Friday night, so it was busy, but warm and beautiful out. Then we made our way over to Bar La Playa which is a specialty cocktail bar that we found on our last trip. I got a drink called the Senorita which had vodka, hibicus and coconut water. So good. Rory got a mezcal drink.
Bar La Playa

Saturday morning we slept in and then headed to the roof top deck to do a little workout. We jump roped, did push-ups, fast walking and some yoga stretches. Then we showered, got ready and headed out to the farmer's market. We go every Saturday and it is amazing. They have great food and amazing vendors there. We picked up some bagels for ourselves and for Rory's great uncle. Plus we hung out with his cousins there. We ate some lunch there before saying goodbye to his cousins who had to leave for the airport.

After the farmers market, we went to a local brewery to pick up some beers for our condo. We did a taste testing at Monzon Brewing Co. and then brought 4 cans back to the condo.
Monzon Brewing Co

Once we got back to the condo, we changed into our bathing suits and put on sunscreen. We read a bit and then headed up to the pool deck. I wore my new high waisted bathing suit.

We spent about 3 hours at the pool reading, sunbathing and swimming. It was perfect. When we were finished, we cleaned up and then headed out for tacos at our most favorite hole in the wall, Pancho's Takos. We go to this place multiple times per trip. You have to get there about 30 minutes before opening or expect to wait up until an hour. They specialize in the al pastor tacos. Heaven!

Of course we ordered too much food. We got guacamole, grilled onions, a pepper and onion quesadilla and pastor tacos. All to share. Plus beers. And our total was about $16 with tip.

Pancho's Takos 

Pancho's Takos 

Pancho's Takos 

Pancho's Takos 

After eating, we walked the Melancon again and enjoyed the sunset.
Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta
Sand statues along the Melancon

And that concludes days 1 and 2! Stay tuned for more next week with even more food, drinks and fun.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Easter Weekend

My weekend was short as part of it was spent traveling home. We flew home from Mexico on Saturday and got home around 7:30 pm. We got home in time to talk with my parents, give the girls their gifts, get them ready for bed, give them big snuggles and then put them down for the night.

Once the girls were down for bed, I got out the plastic eggs to put Starburst Jelly Belly's in some of them. I had already stuffed a bunch with rainbow/unicorn tattoos and money. Then I hide those around the house. I also brought out their baskets, took a few photos and then moved onto the outside. Avery had remembered that the Easter bunny left footprints outside the year before and had mentioned it, so at 10 pm, I was out making those.
Easter baskets

Easter bunny footprints

Then we settled in and went to bed.

Sunday morning we slept in and then got up and the girls wanted to see if the Easter bunny came. They ran out to the living room and grabbed their empty metal Easter baskets and ran all over the house grabbing eggs. Once they had them all, they opened them up and then went for their Easter baskets. I posted a cute video on IG stories Sunday of them seeing the bunny prints and finding the eggs.

After the baskets were looked through, we brought them out baskets from their grandparents for them to open. Then they each had a chocolate egg.

Since we had just got back from our trip, we didn't have anything in the house. Rory headed out and grabbed some coffee and bagel sandwiches while the girls and I watched Toy Story. After eating, I did some house cleaning and laundry. Then we all showered and got ready. I headed out to the grocery store to stock the house and came home in time to tuck the girls in for their naps. While they napped, I packed up a bunch of things I sold on Poshmark and watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Once the girls were up, I did their hair and then we headed to my parents house for an Easter celebration. We did an Easter egg hunt, had some appetizers, caught up with family and then had a big Easter feast. It was a great time. Plus the girls got to play with their cousin who they had a blast with. They didn't want to leave at 7 pm, but they had been up late the night before and were going to be up a bit later that evening as well.


We headed home and got the girls ready for bed. We did the usual bedtime routine and cuddled a bit before putting them down for the night. Rory walked Walter and I caught up on another show. Then it was bedtime for us as well.

It was a great weekend even though it was short. How was your Easter weekend?
Monday, April 22, 2019

Still Weekending

I just wanted to drop in and say I hope you had a great Easter. We had a great one. I am trying to get together a weekend post and edit all of my photos from our Mexico trip. Stay tuned for those. And see you back here tomorrow with a weekend recap!

Friday, April 19, 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.

Happy Good Friday all! We are just rolling through April so quickly. We have a lot coming up in the next few weeks, and I really hope to document more of it on my Instagram Stories. Still trying to work on being more comfortable in front of the camera. But the weather is finally becoming warmer on a day to day basis and we are looking forward to more sunny days! 

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. Remember last Friday how I shared the Free People cut out bootie dupes? Well now I really want to find a good dupe for the cut out sandal that Free People sells. I tried the ones at Target and just walking around the store, cut my heels up. The actual bootie is amazing, but the sandal ones are not. So please send me your dupes that are actually worth it. I really don't want to pay $168 for sandals. Ugh.
Free People Mont Blanc Sandal

TWO. Easter is just two days away and I know some people are last minute shoppers. Last year, I shared 50 Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas and it was a huge hit. So I am sharing it again in case you need any last minute Easter basket ideas.

50 Non-Candy Easter Baskets Ideas

THREE. In about a week and a half, I am having my revision septorhinoplasty. To say that I am nervous is an understatment. And I think that is because I know what is to come this time. Last time, I had no idea how hard the recovery would be, how awful the pain would be or what to expect. If you have been following me for even a short amount of time, you know that I have had a lot of surgeries in my life and this was one of the worst ones. And now I have to go through it again. Ugh. 

And this one is going to be a bit worse in that they have to cut the back of my ear and take out cartilage from there since they used the left over cartilage last time. Let's all just cross our fingers that this one takes care of my breathing problems and I don't have to go through this again.

FOUR. I have been adding in jump roping into my daily workout and it has been awesome. I remember jump roping as a kid and it was always fun. Well now, it is a lot harder than it was when I was a kid. I found out I have no rhythm or stamina (that could be due to the fact that I can't breathe that well through the right side of my nose), but I am getting better. 

The jump ropes at the gym are awful. I found one that is ok, but it is bulky. I made due with it for a few weeks until I knew that I would stick to it. Then I bought one on Amazon. I love this one because it is light, you can easily change the length (I cut mine down just a bit), it comes with a bag so I can take it on trips with me and it is less than $10.
Sportbit Jump Rope

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

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Recipe: Lentils and Spicy Sausages

I am always on the hunt for new recipes and occasionally my husband sends me a recipe he wants me to make. Now sometimes I flat out say no because the labor required to make it or the lack of ingredients available for it. But other times, like this one, he picks a good one.

I followed the directions to a T on this recipe and I found that it takes a bit longer than stated, so I have made those changes to it.

Warning...this doesn't photograph well, but it tastes amazing.


Serves: 4
Recipe from: Jenna from the Fresh Tastes Blog


1 yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced small
1 stalk of celery, diced small
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups dry green lentils
1 quart chicken stock (I use low sodium)
1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 large hot Italian sausages (you can see mild if you don't like spice)
splash of red wine vinegar
olive oil
cooking spray
Recipe: Lentils and Spicy Sausages


1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add in your onions, carrots and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Then add the minced garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Make sure not to burn your garlic.
Lentils and Spicy Sausages

3. Add in the rosemary, dried thyme, bay leaf smoked paprika and lentils. Make sure you rinse your lentils if the package tells you to. Mix everything and then add in the chicken stock. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a bit higher than a simmer (around medium low to low).
Lentils and Spicy Sausages

4. Right after you start simmering, place your sausages on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Roast your sausages for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cook time. You want to make sure your sausages are crispy and golden before removing them from the oven.

5. Check everything at 25 minutes, but mine took about 35 minutes to cook through and absorb most of the liquid. Add in our dijon mustard and the red wine vinegar. My red wine vinegar has a slit in the top and I just shook it three times for my splash of red wine vinegar. Stir and continue simmering until all of the liquid is absorbed.

6. Once your sausages are done and the liquid is gone from the lentils, combine everything and season with additional salt as needed. I didn't need any extra. Enjoy!
Lentils and Spicy Sausages

Monday, April 15, 2019

My Favorite Hair Products and Styling Tools

* 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 has been almost a year since I have shown you all my current hair products. I basically change my products based on what my hairstylist says. She knows my hair best and doesn't try to just sell me things. Her salon has recently phased out Bumble and Bumble products, so I don't use those as much anymore except for my favorites which I just order on their website.

I have fine and straight hair and it seems like it is tough to maintain or get it looking just right. Add the blonde and now some brown through it and it seems even harder. But I feel like I have gotten a routine down and change it up often to go with the change of seasons and the change in my hair.

Shampoo and Conditioner
I have been using Kerastase since December. I am not stranger to this product as I used to use it at my hairstylists old salon. I loved it before and I love it now. Since I have fine and color treated hair, this stuff helps keep it healthy.
Kerastase Resistance Shampoo
Kerastase Resistance Shampoo

As for conditioner, I use the matching one to the shampoo. I use about a dime size amount and massage it into my hair. I usually wash my face and let the conditioner set in a bit and then rinse out.
Kerastase Resistance Conditioner

Hair Prep

After washing my hair, I love to put two things into my hair. I know it sounds ridiculous. The first is Bumble and Bumble Thickening Full Form Mousse and then part of the Kerastase treatment from above (detailed below). The mousse is to add volume to my rather limp hair. I put it on my roots, rub it in and then add the Kerastase Blow Dry Primer. Then I brush my hair before blow drying it. Also, if you blow dry your hair upside down for the last part of it, it gives it a lot more volume.
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Full Form Mousse

Dry Shampoo

I have tried a bunch of dry shampoo lines. I used to use Not Your Mother's Clean Freak (I still do after the gym), but then I went to the grand opening of my hair salon and they used the new Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-powder and I fell in love. Not only does it smell good, but I can use it for several days and not shampoo my hair. I have never found a dry shampoo that does that. I usually can only go a day in between, but not with Bumble's. This stuff works soooooo good. It isn't exactly cheap, but so worth it. Plus it smells like heaven.
Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-powder Dry Shampoo

Hair Repair

If you are like me and blow dry, straighten and/or curl your hair all the time, I am sure it is a bit damaged. With fine hair, it gets damaged easily. I have been using it daily and my hair has never felt better. I bought this as part of a "kit" with the shampoo and conditioner, but I am still loving it. And I have been using it for 4 months and I still have a ton left. I put about a nickel size amount in my palm and then rub it into the ends of my hair.
Kerastase Resistance Blow Dry Primer

Hair Spray

I have used so many different hair sprays. I have used expensive ones like Bumble and Bumble Does It All, Pureology Hair Spray, Kerastase Hair Spray and then cheaper ones like Tresemme, but the one that seems to do the job and is only $3 to $5, Dove Flexible Hair Spray.
Dove Flexible Hair Spray

Texturizing Spray

I bought some Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Spray a long time ago and never really used it. Then my hairstylist showed me how to properly use it and now I love it. After I curl my hair, I let it cool and then run my fingers through the curls. Then I spray the texturizing spray all over it and then add a little hair spray to hold everything. It is the perfect combo and it gives texture and the lift that my fine hair needs.

Flat Iron

I have been using the same flat iron for about 15 or more years. When my last one broke on my trip to Australia for work, I came back and bought a new one. The same exact one. That trip was in 2012 and this one is still working. It is simple, easy to use and works for my hair.
Chi Original 1 inch Flat Iron

Curling Iron

Another product that I have had for quite awhile is my Target Remington Pro Curling Wand. It comes with a glove which I need because I tend to burn my fingers when I don't use it. I have the smaller barrel, but now that my hair is grown out, I might upgrade to the bigger barrel for looser curls. You can adjust the heat on this and it is super easy to use.
Remington Pro Curling Wand

Hair Brush

When it comes to brushing my hair or the girls hair, we use Wet Brushes. They brush through the tangles easily and don't seem to damage our hair. I haven't found a brush that is better. When I lost my luggage on the way to Israel, I had to buy a temporary brush and I hated it because it wasn't my Wet Brush
Wet Brush

Hair Dryer

I bought this hair dryer on the recommendation of my hairstylist about three years ago. Mine was too hot and was causing my roots to break around my face and bangs. She told me that BaByliss was the best "over the counter" hair dryer that wasn't crazy expensive. I have been using it ever since. I even bought the travel version for vacations. I just make sure to use extra blow dry primer when I travel for work and use the hotel hair dryers (which I hate but I need more space in my luggage).
BaByliss Pro Porecelain Hair Dryer
What are your favorite hair products?