Monday, November 28, 2022

Mexico 2022 Days 3 and 4

We left off on Sunday evening, so I will start with Monday October 3rd. It was a beautiful morning and the hurricane had went up north leaving some beautiful views. We got ready and the girls asked me to snap a photo of them.

Then we headed off to another favorite breakfast place, Coco's Kitchen. We had the best breakfast with fresh smoothies and coffee fraps.

It was finally pool day and the girls were so excited! We spent a good 4 hours on the rooftop pool. As always, I take a ton of photos up there because you can see the whole Bay of Banderas. 

Puerto Vallarta

We had the pool to ourselves most days. There was also another couple and an older lady that we have seen there many times that we hung out with at the pool. They gave us tons of food recommendations!

After a day of swimming, we headed out to dinner. Now this is where I got Montezuma's from. I went back and forth on posting where we went, but decided to do it. We all shared everything except this one taco that I got, a garlic shrimp taco. We had tuna tar tar, firecracker shrimp, octopus tacos, a shrimp tostado and margs (us not the girls) and the only thing different was I got the garlic shrimp taco and the girls and Rory shared the octopus tacos. 

The food was amazing, but it hit me hard that night. I was too scared to leave the condo, even though we did quite often. Ha.

The best mango margs.

Something in this wrecked me.

I didn't feel it right away either. We went to an American style bar and watched the Niners game til half time there. I had a glass of wine, so it wasn't that either. Then we went back to the condo to watch the rest of the game, put the girls down and enjoy the Niners win!

That evening I woke up about 2 in the morning and spent a lot of the night in the bathroom. I never threw up, but had other issues....for weeks. 

I grabbed some pastries down at a little Parisian shop for breakfast, but just wasn't feeling great at all. 

We headed into town to go to their mall for some shopping and then next door to Walmart to try to get me some meds and basically a pedialite for me. I needed to rehydrate and feel better. Then it was some pool time. Well for Rory and the girls. I was too scared too. I didn't take many photos that day as I was too sick.

That evening we went to Italian food and ate some amazing food at Trattoria Di Nuovo. My stomach was still rough so we didn't get to enjoy a ton of appetizers, but the bruscetta, wine and pasta was amazing!

This picture was taken and within minutes, we had to move tables as part of the restaurant has an open roof and it started dumping on us.

Some killer pasta in Mexico!

The girls love tiramisu and ask for it all the time now.

It never stopped pouring, so we had another glass of wine and tried to wait it out. No luck. When we got outside it was still dumping and the streets were flooded. In the roads, it was about 8 inches or more of water flooding. We sat under some awnings and tried to wait for a taxi. 20 minutes later and a $5 cab ride for less than a mile and we were back at the condo. I have some amazing videos of it.

We watched the storm roll through on our balcony, but it rained for hours that night. Only that night too.

And that concludes days 3 and 4.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Friday Favorites and Happeings

*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 Friday! And Happy Family Day! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving yesterday. I am shopping some online Black Friday deals today, but I will do most of my shopping come Monday. Can you believe that December is just a few days away?

Onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. Our elf will be making his appearance on Thursday next week, so I thought I would share some of what he is bringing in case you need some ideas.

Charm Advent Calendar

There is a $4 off coupon, making the charms $5.98.

A Christmas Princess Book

This book looks so cute and perfect for the Christmas season. Plus we all know that Mariah Carey is the Christmas queen.

Canvas Christmas Bags

I got my bags like this at the Target dollar spot, but these would also make great bags for Christmas gifts from Santa.

Star Snuggly PJs

These are on sale for $8.40 right now and so worth it. They are so soft, can be worn for longer than Christmas and cozy. It comes in a few other prints too. The cream colored ones are so pretty in person.

TWO. I recently got my hair done again which really means I got a new set of extensions. My old extensions I got for free from the company because the previous pair was breaking and it was a problem with a lot of people's extensions (just this one company). I had this last pair for about 6 to 7 months and it did the same thing again. My hair dresser has been using another company since then and it was time to get a new pair. The price sucks, but these should last me a long time. Over a year or more. Fingers crossed. 

But I went from this....

To this...

Such a huge change. I love them!

THREE. This is something random, but if I find a good find or deal, I like to share it. I bought a pair of work slacks on Amazon a few months back and hated them. I returned them and vowed to get my pants at Express like normal. But then I saw these and thought they were cute and a change up to my normal work pants. Plus they came in long which is a huge deal for all 5'9" of me. And they are on sale right now from $49.49 to $22.42.

High Waisted Pencil Pants

FOUR. Weekly funnies.

Have a great weekend. I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything.     

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Men's Christmas Gift Guide

*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 is time for another gift guide and this time is men. I feel like they are hard to shop for. At least my dad, father-in-law and husband are. Some of these are my go-to gifts and others are items I have in mind for this year.

Men's Christmas Gift Guide

Rothy's The Driving Loafer  My husband saw these and wanted them. I love Rothy's and told him how amazing they are and now these are on his wish list. You can wash them in the washing machine, sole and all, they are breathable, fashionable and very durable. You can get $20 off your first pair by clicking this link.

Ugg Ascot Slippers  My husband, dad, father-in-law and brother-in-law all have these and love them. They hold up for years, are cozy and you can replace the insole to make them fluffy again after years of use.

Blackstone Griddle Grill Top 28 inch, 36 inch  I got this for Rory two years ago for Christmas and it has been a huge hit. Now my father-in-law has one, our good friends have one and I am always recommending it. We use ours about 3 times per week. It cooks everything from breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc), to grilled cheese, to carne asada, to fried rice. We love it!

Carhartt Jacket  This one isn't an affiliate link, but I just love the look of this jacket. It gets amazing reviews, says it is very warm and perfect for the Winter.

Crystal Whiskey Glasses  Now my husband has a bunch of small whiskey glasses where he does bourbon tastings out of, but these glasses are perfect for old fashions and other cocktails which require one large ice cube. These have amazing reviews too.

Bath and Body Works Flannel Candle  My husband really likes this candle and so does one of his co-workers. They often burn this one in their office and it smells really good.

LL Bean Rugby Robe  My husband has an older version of this robe. I got it for him and he loves it. It is heavy duty, has a hood, is very warm and very well made.

Men's Bean Boots with Shearling  My husband has some of these boots but without the shearling and he wishes he got the shearling like I did. I buy them during the Black Friday online sales for about 25% off. That is a huge deal for LL Bean.

Bushnell Wingman GPS Speaker  This is another Rory contribution. He bought this for golf and uses it every time. It is a speaker, GPS distances, mounts to the cart, and has a rechargeable battery via USB.

Solo Stove  We do not have one of these, but we have gifted them twice now and have used them plenty of times when we got camping. It puts off great heat, leaves little dust/ash and you can place it on your grass. It is such a cool campfire.

Almost everything on this list is on sale and loved by my husband or a guy in our lives.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Kids Christmas Gift Guide

*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.  

As promised, I am starting to share my gift guides. I know that these are helpful to me when I see them, so I hope they can help someone out as well. Most of these are items that are in my cart for my girls, already purchased and one or two that they already have. 

Also, please share your gift guides too as I need gift ideas for everyone. I have been shopping when I see deals and I have a lot of items on a "watch list" for the best price.


Girls Christmas Gift Guide
3D String Art   If your kids are anything like mine, they love crafting. I saw this and thought it was such a cute idea. It comes with everything you need and requires minimal supervision.

Instax Mini 11 Bundle  My girls would love this. It has been on their list for years and this year is the year. This bundle comes with a package of film as well.

Tabletop Instax Flip Frame  I want to get this to go with the girls camera. This way they can display their pictures and change them out.

Personalized Necklace  I had one of these when I was growing up and loved it. It was sadly stolen when our house was broken into in 2011. I did already grab these for the girls. And they are on sale.

H&M Warm Lined Boots  My girls have these and love them. They have them in pink and I wanted to get them this version this year.

Light Up Alarm Clock  My girls have an OK to Wake Clock which we loved. But they are getting older, reading the time more and I thought this was more appropriate for them. I bought it in white and can't wait to give it to them.

Stanley Water Bottle  My girls always get a new water bottle for Christmas. I know that everyone loves the Stanley bottles, so I found one that I like for the girls. This one doesn't have a straw, is insulated, has a handle and comes in pretty colors.

Gold Hoop Earrings  My girls have their ears pierced and prefer the hoop earrings so the stud doesn't stab them in the back of the earlobe. They have been wanting more grown up ones, and these fit the bill. Plus I scored them on sale.

Nail Kit for Girls  My girls love getting their nails done. This kit gets amazing reviews and allows them to be creative with some stamps and nail art.

The Never Girls Books  My girls are really starting to love to read chapter books. When I went searching for chapter books for their age range, these had great reviews, so I snagged them.

Pocket Water Color Books  I saw these on an Instagram ad and then went searching for them. You can find them so much cheaper on Amazon, so that is where I grabbed these for each girl.

Kinetic Sand Kit  My girls love to play with Kinetic Sand and Play Doh still. They use it in their kitchen and asked for a cooking set, so I grabbed this one for them. It was on sale too.

I have more items on their list, but these are the definitely purchases. What is on your kids Christmas lists?

Friday, November 18, 2022

Friday Favorites and Women's Christmas Gift Guide

*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 Friday! I can't believe we are heading into Thanksgiving next week. How has November already gone this quickly? We have a lot planned this weekend. I have a hair appointment this afternoon, a pre-Thanksgiving dinner tonight, the last Nevada home football game tomorrow, Christmas tree cutting and Christmas decorating. I usually wait until after Thanksgiving, but this year I am starting on Sunday. My tree won't be up and done until Wednesday though.

I thought I would share my first gift guide today instead of a Friday favorites post as most of these are my favorites that I currently have and then a few of them are things that I want for Christmas. 

Women's Christmas Gift Guide

Converse Shoreline Shoes  I have these in black and white and my black ones are needing to be replaced. I wear these shoes more than any other shoe. I love how they slip on super easy and are so comfy with the extra padding inside the sole.

Women's NFL Tie Sweatshirt or Here  It is no secret that I LOVE the 49ers. So when I saw this shirt in the Eagles, I clicked the link to see the 49ers one and loved it. I really want this shirt and it is so cute for all the sports teams.

Shark Flexstyle  I bought a few weeks ago and I LOVE it. I wrote a whole blog post here on it. It is worth it. Get it for your loved one! Don't forget to sign up for the email and get 10% off. 

Vans No Show Socks  I have about 5 pairs of these. I wear them with my little black booties and my converse shorelines. They are thick, comfy and stay on the foot all day long.

Noise Cancelling Headphones  I bought these during Prime Day deals on a whim and now I use them at the gym and when I travel. They really do keep the noise away, have good sound to them and are not expensive like Bose, Sony and Beats.

Our Place Perfect Pot  I have both the Pot (on sale from $165 to $115) and the Always Pan (on sale from $145 to $95) and love them both. I use them both daily when I cook. The pot works great for soups, spaghetti bolognese and braising. The pan works great for eggs, pancakes, rice, tacos, etc. I want a second pan as sometimes I want to make two things that require two pans.

Lululemon Belt Bag  This bag is beloved by many including me. I have the silver one and the black one. I don't have the fuzzy one, but it is definitely cute. I just don't need another one. 

Nespresso Vertuo with Frother  I got this for myself two Black Friday's ago and I use it every day at work. When I purchased it, we were in the thick of Covid and I didn't want to make a full pot of coffee daily. I purchase the Vanilla Custard Pie pods on Amazon every 2 to 3 months (on subscription). 

Stanley Quencher Tumbler  I do want this pretty tumbler. Not sure if it is worth the hype, but everyone seems to love theirs.

Rare Beauty Soft Pink Liquid Blush  I saw this on Instagram and loved how it looked. I got it in Encourage during the Sephora sale and it is so pretty on. I put two to three dots on my cheek and blend up into my cheekbones. 

Here are some other gift ideas that are definitely on my list:

A Massage

Lululemon Gift Card

Kerastase Blond Absolut Line (Shampoo, Conditioner, Mask)

American Eagle Boot Cut Jeans

Lush Happy Skin Face Wash


Lululemon Tech Textured Gloves

Have a great weekend. I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything.     

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Shark Flexstyle Review

*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 taking a tiny break with my Mexico recaps to write about my favorite new item....The Shark Flexstyle. I have wanted a Dyson Airwrap for a very long time. It has appeared in basically every gift guide for the last year or so. But I can't fathom spending $600 on it. I won't. 

About two months ago, my friend Erika sent me some photos and info on the Shark Flexstyle. She has extensions and blond fine hair just like me. She told me the combo that she purchased and how much she loved it. She said it has a learning curve as it took her the same amount of time or a bit longer to do her hair than normal, but as she used it, it was faster. I was hooked. I checked out the price, $249.99 for the main piece and three attachments. Not bad at all. And if you want all 5 attachments, it is $269.99. Plus if you sign up for emails, you get 10% off which you can (and should) use on it. That brings it down to $229.99. So much better than the Dyson Airwrap. 

I watched a bunch of Youtubes on comparing the products. The Shark Flexstyle wins in almost all categories (price, favored attachments, power, lasting hairstyle, etc.) other than Dyson recently came out with the curler that you just change a button instead of changing the curler from right to left or vice versa. Also it comes in a beautiful carrying case, but I can find one of those on Amazon for cheaper.

Now I took these the day I got it and used it. So this was my first time. Each time has gotten easier. Also, read the little guide it gives you. It tells you the best temperatures and fan speed. Plus it gives tips that most people didn't give in the Youtube videos that I watched.

Shark Flexstyle

I chose the Curlers (you get a right and a left one), the paddle brush and the styling concentrator. I have fine hair and these are the best for that. I didn't think I needed the round brush and after seeing Youtubes, I am glad I didn't get it. It is just too bulky it seems and not for my fine hair.

Shark Flexstyle

Shark Flexstyle
So easy to tell which one goes for which side.

So first I blow dried my hair using the style concentrator. You only blow dry it to about 80%. There is a button on my back that shows a circular arrow. You push that and turn the top and it looks like a blow drier.
Shark Flexstyle

Then I took the paddle brush attachment and put it on by pushing down the lock button and pulling the styling concentrator off. Be careful as they get hot. I did the top of my hair using the paddle brush for smoother hair.

Then I took off that attachment and put on the right curler. Now I will tell you the tip here, so you don't have to look it up. But grab a 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunk of hair and hold it about 4 inches from the ends. Turn on your Shark Flexstyle and put it behind the hair. The Shark Flexstyle should grab the hair and start wrapping it around the barrel. Then I turn it like I would a curling iron until it is close to my head. I hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds and then push the cold shot button. It is a blue circle. Hold that for 10 seconds, turn off the Shark Flexstyle and pull down. The curls are tight and amazing. Don't brush it. Move on to the next piece. Once one side is done, put on the left curler and do the same. I also put my hair that I wasn't doing either behind my back or in a loose ponytail. 
Shark Flexstyle

It worked amazing and my hair had so much volume. I have been using it ever since and love it (so basically a week and a half ). 
This was right after I was done the first time.

This was after I brushed my fingers through it.

I did buy a continuous spray bottle on amazon so I could make my hair damp and refresh my hair on non hair washing days. Once my hair has cooled (5 to 10 minutes) I spray in my dry shampoo, let that rest for 30 seconds and then run my fingers through my hair and work the dry shampoo into my scalp. It looks great on non hair washing days too!

This the spray bottle I got ($6.99).
Continuous Spray Bottle

So all in all, this was a great purchase and a great gift idea. Do you have the Dyson Airwrap or the Shark Flexstyle?
Monday, November 14, 2022

Mexico 2022 Days 1 and 2

I am first posting our Mexico trip since it came first and then I will move onto my Austria and Poland trip. And mix in some gift guides and other things in between.

We went to Mexico for Fall break which was October 1st through the 8th. We traveled on Southwest this time as I grabbed tickets the day they went on sale. We usually fly United or American and we think we will stick with that unless we are not traveling with the girls. It was too much of a hassle with the checking in right on the dot and still getting far down in B. Just not my thing when I travel. 

Anyways, we fly out bright and early at 5:20 am. The girls were so excited. We have never been during October and let me tell you, it is more quiet but way more humid. You will see how crazy our hair got over the trip. Especially the girls.

Did I mention that it also rained a lot more? But usually a half hour or less and cooled things off.

This building in the back in something I had to post. It has been half built for years and they are finally tearing it down!

Another view.

We had a hard time with dinners. We always go to a few places and those were either closed the entire time we were there or some opened the last couple days. In Mexico, it gets too hot, so when we came is when they usually start opening things back up. Lesson learned but we still found great places to go to.

The first night we had tacos at Sonorita Olas Atlas. We have been there before and it is always good. The girls loved the pastor tacos. And it rained really hard for about 20 minutes while we were there.

After dinner, we walked around, got some money and enjoyed the cool air. We also grabbed a bottle of wine from a local place and took it back to drink it on the patio.
Oh and the first two days we had sirens going off at 10 pm for about 15 minutes warning of a hurricane coming in. It went north of us and we only got some rain from it.

Sunday morning, we got up and headed to our favorite breakfast place, Fredy Tucan's. We wanted to go swimming after, but they told us that due to the storm, they wouldn't open the pool until Monday. So we had to find something else to do. We found a 4D museum a few streets away which was really cool. We got a personal tour and the girls were free. Make sure you check out Tripadvisor for deals.

My breakfast!

Everything was in black light and 4D. The pictures don't do it justice.

After the museum, we grabbed a quick lunch and then went to dinner at Monzon Pizza and Brewery. We have gone there a lot and it gave us leftovers for lunches to take to the pool. I didn't get any pictures of it though. We also watched some football.

Next up, will be days 3 and 4. Spoiler, I got montezuma's and had a rough time the rest of the trip, but still made the most of it. Also, it was my first time getting it in 14 years, so that is saying something. Do I know what I got it from? I am pretty sure, but not 100%.

Until next time!