Monday, October 14, 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.

This month I read three books and I started on another. I am hoping to read five this next month. We shall see. These three books are great and I would recommend them.

Girls Like Us - Cristina Alger
Girls Like Us - Cristina Alger

I think it was Missy (from My Shitty Kitchen) who recommended this book and I am glad she did. Just when I thought I knew who killed the girls and why, I was thrown a complete twist. This book keeps you guessing and hoping it isn't who you think it is. And seeing the past and how it relates to the future made this book even better. I would give this book 4 1/2 stars.

Here is the synopsis:
FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn't been home in ten years. Nell and her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, have never had much of a relationship. And Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven.

When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in so that she can spread her father's ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father's partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect--and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother's murder--and her own role in exonerating her father in that case--Nell can't help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Adriana Marques and why. But she may not like the answers she finds--not just about those she loves, but about herself.

Confess - Colleen Hoover
Confess - Colleen Hoover

I started this book towards the end of my "rental" period and I made it half way through before it was returned. I tried to extend my rental, but that didn't happen. So I waited about two weeks and I got it again and finished it in two days.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the opening and figuring out how Auburn and Owen were connected. You don't find that out until the very end. But you do get bits and pieces as it goes. Owen is an amazing painted who has an open studio once a month. But in the meantime, he has a box outside of his studio to submit confessions. And then he takes some of those confessions and paints a piece for them. Then he displays the painting with the confession next to it. All anonymously.

Auburn ends up working for him on his open house night and Owen knows he knows her. And then it just unravels from there. I really enjoyed this book. Like a lot. It is different from other Colleen Hoover books and I am ok with it. I would give this between 4 1/2 and 5 stars.

Here is the synopsis of the book:
At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

The Bankers Wife - Cristina Alger
The Bankers Wife - Cristina Alger

Missy recommended this book to me and I knew I had to read it. I was a bit confused at first because you go back and forth between characters, but I caught on pretty quickly. Matthew and Annabel moved to Switzerland for Matthew's banking job with Swiss United. Matthew dies in a plane crash on his way home from London with another woman on the plane. All sorts of things go through your head like an affair or how another book I recently read went down. But things start to unravel and you are wanting to know what went down. It also makes you think about how something like this has probably happened before. 

The story also focuses on a journalist named Marina and how she is trying to uncover what happened to Matthew and if the banks dealings are really good in nature.

I really enjoyed this book and would give it 5 stars.

Here is the synopsis:
On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Werner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew's death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies.

Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she's engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York's social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including a few who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel's heartbreaking search--if Marina chooses to publish it.

The Banker's Wife is both a high-stakes thriller and an inside look at the personal lives in the intriguing world of finance, introducing Cristina Alger as a powerful new voice in the genre.

Friday, October 11, 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.

We survived another week. I feel like time is just flying by. We are almost at the end of a decade and that to me is just crazy. Soon it will be Halloween and then Thanksgiving followed by our Disney trip and then Christmas. And with all the other crazy things happening in our lives, it is sure to come quickly.

I am out of town the next week for work and a bit of fun and I couldn't be more excited. I get to meet Lynn from Motherhood in Motion and go see my best friend in Oklahoma and meet her little one. This is a long time coming and I can't wait.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. I got my brows microbladed on Wednesday. If you remember, I had them done before, but it was a disaster. It took 4 hours for the initial visit and 4 hours for the touch-up. They both should have taken less than 2 hours each. And it hurt soooo bad. It was really awful, so I had my worries this time around. wasn't that bad. 

They numb you up and I filled out a form while it was setting. Then she answered some questions about the procedure and then I looked at Instagram on my phone until the 30 minutes were up. Then she did the mapping on my face. She uses some sort of string and draws on it to get the lines to go on your face. Once she has it mapped, then she draws around it and creates your brows. Next, she put four dots of color on my forehead to see which color I liked. I told her I use the Anastasia Brow Pencil in taupe, so something similar to that. We ended up mixing two colors to get my desired color.

Then she started the process. I chose microblading for my first session, but I may add in the powder brows as well in my touch-up for a combo look. It took her about 30 to 45 minutes to get all the strokes in and she put on the numbing cream between each pass (full pass on each brow). 

This time was so much easier. Do you have any questions on microblading? I can put together a post on your questions if you all would like.

 After - my brows weren't nearly as red as last time and I wasn't in pain. So much better.

Thursday morning before getting ready for the day.

TWO. So I have no idea if I mentioned it on here, but we are going to renovate our house. We did a kitchen renovation three years ago this month. It was a long and tough process. You would think we would have learned our lesson, but we didn't. 

We have been going back and forth on if we want to sell our house and buy a new one, renovate our current house (more completely) or just leave it be. Well I didn't want to just leave it be and after lots of chats with our family, talks with friends who are really into real estate and talking to our mortgage broker, we decided to renovate. 

We are going to renovate two of our bathrooms completely and one involves moving plumbing and gutting the entire thing. Our half bath will get a new toilet and vanity as it has new floors from our last reno. Then we will put new wood floors in our living room dining room, hallway and closets. Then we are having all of our closets redone. And new carpet in all of the bedrooms. We have a few other minor things happening as well.

I am excited, but nervous. And today we are starting to pick out material for it. Have a bathroom you love or a bathroom you always swoon over? Send the pictures my way. I love inspiration photos and home renovation shows.

THREE. I am an ambassador for Shop Miss Lulu Pearl and I recently got two amazing items. I bought a beautiful cardigan sweater that I wore to Apple Hill and I bought some leather earrings. I have been wanting a pair of leather earrings for a long time and never bought them. Well when she offered them to me as part of my ambassadorship, I couldn't resist. I got them in black as I wear black all the time. Next, I want the rose gold ones.

Here is the cardigan I got:

And these are the earrings I got:

You can use my code (Danielle10) for 10% off any item. Also, follow her on Instagram as every Wednesday she releases new items and has items for pre-sale. That is when I got the cardigan above.

FOUR. Funnies for the week!

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

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Apple Hill Weekend

I haven't done a weekend update in a long time, but with one of our favorite Fall weekends, I had to recap. Last weekend, we went to Apple Hill and Ferrari Farms Pumpkin Patch. We crossed off at least two big Fall bucket list items.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed up to Truckee for breakfast at Marty's Cafe. We love this place. You want to make sure you get there right when they open up at 8 am to get a seat. After breakfast, we headed to Apple Hill.

Our first stop was Lava Cap Winery. We have never been there before, but it had amazing reviews on Yelp. We did a wine tasting while the girls hung out on the deck with some coloring books.
Lava Cap Winery
 You can taste as many as you want for $5, or free with the purchase of one bottle.

Lava Cap Winery
Deck views.

After enjoying some tasting and buying a few bottles, we headed to the next stop, Abel's Apple Acres. This apple orchard is geared towards kids. They had all sorts of picture displays, a goodie store, farm animals, bounce houses, sand candle making, crafts and more.
Abel's Apple Acres

Abel's Apple Acres

Abel's Apple Acres

Abel's Apple Acres

After hanging out for awhile, we headed over to Boa Vista Orchards where the girls got their faces painted, we walked around the crafts, bought a bunch of goodies and had fantastic people watching.

We were all starting to get hungry, so we headed over to the Jack Russell Brewery for a beer and some lunch!

After lunch, we headed over to Bodhaine Ranch for some pie. We had never been here before, but we heard they have amazing pies. We got a frozen pie and a caramel apple bar to go. While Rory was paying, I took the girls to the bathroom. It was a handicap bathroom, so we asked if the girls could use it since they refuse to use a porta-potty. The owner dropped many f-bombs at the employee who asked him for us and we could hear it all. I wasn't happy to say the least. I think their pies are good, but the owner needs to learn some manners. Not sure if we will be back or not.

Next, we hit up Apple Ridge Farms. We walked through their crafts, their Christmas house, the food, and over to the kids area. This is where the girls started melting down, so we decided it was time to head back so they could finally nap in the car.

We stopped at our favorite pizza spot in Lake Tahoe and watched the Georgia game. Then we headed home.

Sunday, my in-laws asked if we were going to go to the same pumpkin patch as last year and we realized that Sunday was the only day we could go this month before Halloween. So we made plans to head over around 11 am. We searched for pumpkins, went on two hay rides, the girls jumped in the huge pumpkin bounce house, they had lunch and ice cream and went to the petting zoo. We spent just over 2 hours there and the girls had a blast!
Ferrari Farms

Ferrari Farms

Ferrari Farms
 We got two pumpkins to carve as a family, two for the girls as decorations and then a monster pumpkin for decoration outside!

The girls enjoying their ice cream near the ponies.

We headed home and put the girls down for a nap. Then we did the usual Sunday things. We cleaned, cooked dinner, went grocery shopping, hit up Costco and prepped for the week ahead.

How was your weekend?
Monday, October 7, 2019

Halloween Shirts for Everyone in the Family

* 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 are like me then you don't want your kids to wear their Halloween costumes to school for fear that they will get torn, stained, missing pieces or broken. If I have extra princess dresses or a costume from last year that fits, I send them in that. Otherwise, you are left without a costume or something fun to wear. So when I don't have an extra costume, I put my kids in Halloween shirts. My girls are totally fine with wearing a Halloween shirt with the promise of wearing their costumes after school. That may change when they are in school next year, but for now, this works.

I like to wear something festive on Halloween as well. Plus, they usually let us dress casually that week, so any of the women's shirts would work except the off the shoulder one.

For Girls
Minnie Halloween Shirt

Minnie Bat Girl Shirt

Minnie Trick or Treat Shirt

Disney Minnie Skeleton Shirt

For Boys

Skeleton Riding Shark Shirt

Long Sleeve Boo Shirt

Mummy T-Rex Shirt

For Women

Women's Off-the-Shoulder Jack-O-Lantern Sweater

Women's Hocus Pocus Shirt

Women's 3/4 Jack-O-Lantern Shirt

Women's Side Zip Scary Jack-O-Lantern Sweater

For Men

1980 Camp Crystal Lake T-Shirt

Men's Boos T-Shirt
Friday, October 4, 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.

Happy first Friday of October. I am starting to feel more like myself again and I couldn't be happier. Yes, I am still going through all the blood work and the drama surrounding that, but my nose is healing and that part of my journey is hopefully over. We have some fun weekends coming up in October, plus the holidays, so bring on all things October.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. So this week, I talked about Halloween costumes for girls. Well after showing the girls all the costumes, they chose Anna and Elsa. Sutton will be Elsa and Avery will be Anna. They LOVE Frozen and are super excited about Frozen 2 coming out next month. These are the two costumes we chose. Plus they will be great for our Disney trip in December!!!
'Frozen's Anna Costume

Frozen's Elsa Costume

TWO. I recently bought the girls rain boots on Zulily, but when they arrived, they barely fit. Like they fit now, but in about 3 or so months, they may not. So I returned them....ugh. I hate paying for shipping and then was going to get another size up, but they were sold out. So I went to the Joules website and ordered them there for the same price, no tax and free shipping. Winning!

I let the girls chose which ones they wanted and these were they choices:
Joules Rain Boots
 Joules Rain Boots (on sale for $29.95)
Joules Rain Boots
Joules Rain Boots (also on sale for $29.95)

THREE. What else is new? Well, I decided to get my eyebrows microbladed again. I had an awful experience the first time I tried it out a few years ago, but I really want "perfect brows". I am going to someone who is way more experienced this time and is board compliant. So hopefully I can stop using my brow pencil and how similar eyebrows. Mine are awful now. I go next week!!! I will definitely show you before and afters along with my touch-up in 8 weeks.

FOUR. Next weekend we have a "mini family reunion". It really isn't a real reunion, but a BBQ that my SIL put together themed as 49ers. We haven't seen some of my MIL's side of the family in awhile, so we are all getting together for a BBQ. It is themed 49ers as that was the theme for a family member's engagement party 5 years ago. 

I wasn't pregnant with the girls yet, so they were not there, but they will be there this time!!! In honor of them attending and not having any new Niners gear, I scooped up the cutest dresses for the occasion. They were $12 each and free shipping. How could I not buy these?
Preschool 49ers Polo Dress

Now I know not everyone is 49ers fans, but Fanatics has up to 60% off most of their NFL gear.

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

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

Have a great weekend!