Friday, December 30, 2022

8th Birthday Interview With Sutton and Avery

In honor of my little ladies 8th birthday, I wanted to interview them again. Here is last year's answers. Let's see how much they have changed over the last year. I (once again) borrowed my questions from Lindsay since she has a great set of birthday questions on her blog.

First up, Sutton (since she is the oldest by a few seconds):

1. What is your favorite toy? Play kitchen.

2. What is your favorite stuffed animal? The big Squishmallow (it is pretty big!).

3. What is your favorite sport? My favorite sport to watch is football and my favorite sport to play is softball.

4. What is your favorite book? Fancy Nancy. (she said this last year too).

5. What is your favorite TV show? Full House.

6. What is your favorite movie? Minions 3.

7. What is your favorite song? Shallow from A Star is Born. (they haven't seen the movie, but LOVE the song).

8. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas.

9. What is your favorite color? Pink.

10. What is your favorite animal? A chiweenie because that is what Wawa is (Walter).

11. What is your favorite snack? Popcorn.

12. What is your favorite treat? Yogurt Beach (frozen yogurt).

13. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Mom's homemade pizza.

14. What is your favorite restaurant? Bangkok Cuisine (Thai food).

15. Who is your best friend? Tamsen, Camille, Avery, Harper and Evenlyn (I think these were the same from last year).

16. What do you want to be when you grow up? A chef (same thing as last year).

Next up, Avery:

1. What is your favorite toy? Kitchen supplies.

2. What is your favorite stuffed animal? A tiny cat that says Purrfect from Valentine's Day.

3. What is your favorite sport? Gymnastics (even though she hasn't tried it yet).

4. What is your favorite book? Itchy the Goat (written by her great aunt's friend).

5. What is your favorite TV show? Butterbeans Cafe (because it is cooking).

6. What is your favorite movie? Sing 2.

7. What is your favorite song? Edging by Blink 182 (I don't know if I should be proud or not, ha).

8. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

9. What is your favorite color? Gold

10. What is your favorite animal? A chiweenie because of Walter.

11. What is your favorite snack? Popcorn.

12. What is your favorite treat? Rainbow lollipops.

13. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Mom's homemade pizza (they love my pizza).

14. What is your favorite restaurant? Bangkok Cuisine.

15. Who is your best friend? Harper, Evelyn, Tamsen, Camille and Sutton.

16. What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom and a chef.

Happy 8th Birthday, My Beautiful Girls!
Friday, December 23, 2022

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I was going to write a Friday Favorites post, but I have been busy baking, wrapping and getting ready for Christmas this weekend. And that is also why I haven't read any blogs or responded to any comments. 

I am also dealing with my nose issues and after seeing my doctor no solution was given. Basically to sit and wait for it to heal before doing anything. But the problem is it won't heal and pumping me full of antibiotics for 7 weeks is not the answer. So I am seeking a second opinion. 

I hope you all have the best Christmas weekend! 

I hope to be back on Monday or Wednesday!
Monday, December 19, 2022

Mexico 2022 Days 5 and 6

We left off at the end of day 4, so we are starting days 5 and 6. I was going to put the last 4 days into one post, but I took too many pictures to cram it into one post. Day 5 was Wednesday, October 5. 

We woke up, had some coffee and I was scared to do anything. Rory had a massage at 10 am, and mine was at 12. I wasn't sure if I could go, but I ended up going. I took the girls to breakfast at Casa Nicole for some amazing pancakes with strawberries. We definitely had to go to the pharmacy and get some meds for me and rush back to the condo. 

I took some medicine that was recommended on Tripadvisor and it helped me so much. I wasn't in the bathroom every hour or afraid to leave the condo. It didn't get rid of it, but helped. It was my turn for the massage and I was worried, but I made it through my massage and it was amazing.

After my massage, I met everyone back at the condo. Rory and the girls had gone to a lunch and were ready for some swimming. After showering, I went into the pool for a bit. I was still nervous, but did just fine in the water. 

Again, since we were at the massages, I didn't take any photos until we went to dinner that night. We went to Gaby's (per our friends recommendation that we met at the pool). We had Caesar salad (did you know it was created in Mexico?), and I had chicken mole enchiladas. The food was really good and the drinks were strong!

Then we walked the Melacon (boardwalk) to take photos, see the sunset and enjoy the nice weather. 

Those are light up swords that the girls got on the Melacon. We also got some ice cream.

Every night a pirate ship sails around the bay shooting off fireworks for the people aboard. And we all get to enjoy it as well.

We started day 6 off with coffee and another massage for just me this time. Rory didn't want one two days in a row but that was all that they had. I opted to go and it was amazing. Then we all went to brunch at Mi Cafe which is one of Rory's favorite places. Then we walked around, hit the pool again....wash, rinse, repeat. We had dinner at Don Chava's. The girls got pastor tacos after some chips and guacamole. Rory and I got dishes with pastor, onions, peppers and potatoes. Soooo good. I couldn't even finish my dish.

Once again we took a walk along the Melacon and back towards Los Muertos Pier. We walked through the sand to watch the sunset and took some photos on the pier. We also grabbed another bottle of wine on the way home.

We went back to the condo, relaxed, read and went to bed. Did I mention I read 2 1/2 books on the trip?

That concludes days 5 and 6. Only one more post to go with days 7 and 8.
Friday, December 16, 2022

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 Friday! I can't believe we are half way through December and have about two weeks left of the year. Time flew these last couple of months. I wanted to share a few gift ideas and things that will help you have that perfect Christmas Day.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. I don't know if you have ever had Pizzelle cookies, but they are amazing. My grandmother and great grandmother would make them every holiday season. I would eat so many of them. Unfortunately, I didn't have the pizzelle maker. I am actually not sure who got it after my grandma passed away. BUT if I can ever get that one, I will take it in a heartbeat. 

In the meantime, I bought one from Dash. I seriously have three, now four different makers from them. A popcorn maker, a mini waffle maker, a second themed waffle maker and a pizzelle maker. Buying this pizzelle maker means you can only make one at a time, but I don't care as I don't have the space for a 2 to 4 maker. And I really want my grandma's in the future (if that can ever happen).

So if you want one, this one is only $12.99 and it gets amazing reviews on Amazon, Target and Williams Sonoma.

Dash Mini Pizzelle Maker

And if you don't have a recipe, here is the one I followed this holiday season.

Skinny Taste Pizzelle Recipe

TWO. This next item would make a great stocking stuffer for yourself or any makeup lover in your life. I travel a lot and when I travel, I wrap Kleenex around my foundation brush, my eyeshadow brush and my blush/bronzer brush. But then I saw this little holder for my brushes and knew I had to have it. So I purchased it and I am putting it in my stocking from Santa. 

Right now it has a $2 off coupon and all colors will be here before Christmas except the pink. I got it in brown.

Silicone Makeup Brush Box

THREE. I am always looking for new shows to watch and love when others make recommendations, so I thought I would share a show that we have been loving lately. It is called, The Mosquito Coast. It is on Apple TV which we recently got for 3 months for free due to me getting a new iphone 14 pro max (back in October), but not activating it until recently. We binged Severance very quickly (and can't wait for another season), and then moved onto The Mosquito Coast.

The cast is great, the show is amazing and we are binging through it very quickly.
The Mosquito Coast

FOUR. Speaking of updates, I have one for you. Monday night I was watching the show, The Mosquito Coast and I felt something in my nose. I tried to get it out with my nail, but I could only feel something. So I tried to blow my nose and it came to the tip of my nostril, but I couldn't get it out, so I blew again, and out popped this.

Silicone Nasal Septal Button

Silicone Nasal Septal Button

What is that? A Silicone Nasal Septal Button. The one that I had put in back in September 2019. One that wasn't supposed to come out. But now that it has, I should have seen the warning signs....bloody noses, multiple sinus infections and my right nostril is collapsing in again.

I called my doctor on Tuesday morning and asked what I should do. They told me that I needed to use an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and to keep it moist. I already had an appointment for Wednesday the 21st, so I am keeping that and finding out my options. But it isn't looking great. Ugh. Send some positive thoughts my way.

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Mexico 2022 Days 7 and 8

This is the last post of our Mexico 2022 trip. We did a lot of the same things day in and day out because it was so hot out during the day. I am talking high 80s to low 90s and 80+ humidity. We did go shopping and walking around a bit, but mostly we just went to the pool during the day.

Day 7 started out with us walking almost a mile and a half to breakfast. Rory wanted to try this place (can't think of the name or find it) really bad. So we walked there and sweated a ton. I am talking lots of boob sweat. Ha. Oh and I still wasn't feeling in tip top shape still. 

I had another frap type of drink and Rory got a smoothie with cold brew, peanut butter and cocoa. It was really good.  The girls opted for fancy toast with peanut butter, honey and fruit. I had a bowl that had chicken, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, jalapenos, avocado, brown rice, seasame seeds and a killer spicy sauce.

We walked back to the condo so Rory could do some work and we could cool off. Us girls ended up at the pool hanging out with our friends (and when I say friends, I mean friends older than me, but loved hanging out with the girls too) and Rory came up after an hour and a half. This is when I was also checking into our flight and got everyone but me checked in. I was deemed not able to check in until I got to the airport which sucked as we were flying Southwest. That meant that Rory and the girls were in A group and I had no group (meaning I would get C group at the airport).

I had to go back down to the condo and call Southwest to figure out what was going with me not being able to check in. Turns out when you have two foreign trips within a week of each other, it looks bad, so I had extra security to go through. But in the end it was ok. It just took me longer and Rory and the girls had to save me seats. 

After our last day in the pool, we went back to the condo as we were trying to go see the baby turtles being released, but one place cancelled on us and the other place was full. We were planning the excursion all week only to be cancelled on. That is also what happens during the October are right at the end of the low season and coming back to the higher season, so things get changed or cancelled often.

We opted to just stay in our area and went to dinner at Il Pesce. This is the same place we went on our last day last year in Mexico. Avery had been wanting to go there but it was closed until the day before. We all had calamari (the girls loved it), pasta dishes, wine, and basil gelato, plus wine. The girls didn't like their gelato, so we took them down the street to another place and took it to the wine bar two doors down.

My pasta


Check out Avery's hair from the humidity and her messy face.

The wine bar we went to.

After dinner, we walked back down the Melacon one last evening and went back to the condo to go to bed.

Saturday morning we got up, went to breakfast at Coco's again and had the same dishes and the same smoothies and frapp. It was all amazing. We tried going to farmer's market, but it wasn't going on due to it not being high season yet. We were so bummed as we always get gifts and snacks there each time. We walked back to the liquor store so Rory could get some tequila to bring home. Then we went to a few stores to let the girls spend their remaining pesos. Then we went back to the condo to shower and pack before heading to the airport around 1:30.

As I explained earlier, the airport was fine. It just took me longer to get to our gate. Oh and we had to purchase masks to go just through security which sucked. I also had an extra pat down at the gate before boarding. Oh the joys of travel. 

We made it home around 10:30. We unpacked, showered and went to bed after seeing our pup. And that concludes our Mexico 2022 trip. I think we will go back in April next time like we normally do. We loved how quiet it was, but hated that many restaurants were not open and the excursion situation wasn't as good as April. 
Monday, December 12, 2022

Show Me Your Books - September and October

*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 haven't done a show me your books post in months. I read 3 1/2 books in September and October. I am just waiting to get that 4th book back to finish it. But in the meantime, this is what I read while I was away.

I'll Be You - Janelle Brown
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 3 1/2 stars  

I'll Be You - Janelle Brown

I wouldn't call this a thriller at all, but more like a mystery. I was intrigued by this book as it is about identical twin sisters, Sam and Elli. As children, they are approached on the beach to be child actors. One of the sisters loves it and continues it on into their adult life. The other, Elli, wants to live a normal life. They grow apart and live different lives. Until their parents call Sam saying that Elli has gone on a retreat and she has left her daughter with them and they need Sam's help. Sam takes care of Charlotte, but starts to question where her sister is and what is going on.

There are some twists, and I was intrigued by the twin story line, but I wasn't a fan of the ending. I was also watching the Netflix series, Echo during the time I read this and they have a similar feel. 

I would read it, but know that you might not like the ending.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role. 

But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years. 

Sam hasn't spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew. 

Things We Do in the Dark - Jennifer Hillier
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4 stars

Things We Do in the Dark - Jennifer Hillier

I was looking for a book to read before my Mexico trip and this one was on hold for about 10 weeks, so I purchased it. I was intrigued by the storyline because it seemed like a tv show I would watch or something a celebrity would really get caught up in. 

The book begins with Paris waking up next to her dead husband, Jimmy. Jimmy is a long time comedian with many Netflix specials and one that is soon to come out. He has had his battles with drugs and alcohol in the past, but married Paris and has been living his best life. Paris is shamed in the gossip magazines because she is much younger than Jimmy.

Paris is arrested for Jimmy's death. All the while, Paris has been getting letters from Ruby who is in prison for killing her boyfriend, and Ruby is trying to blackmail her. If Paris doesn't pay Ruby, she will expose Paris' secrets about her past. 

The stories intersect and keep you guessing what really happened to Jimmy, what is Paris' secret, and how does she know Ruby?

I guessed some of the story, but not all of it. I enjoyed the read and would recommend it.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom―covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her―she knows she'll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it's not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it's only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she's worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.

Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she's unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris's secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all.

Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are 
two murder charges.

A Flicker in the Dark - Stacy Willingham
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4 stars
A Flicker in the Dark - Stacy Willingham

The story centers around Chloe. It goes back and forth between present day and when she was twelve. When Chloe was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her hometown, including one of her friends. Her father was the one who was arrested for the missing girls/murders and he has been serving his sentence for the last twenty years. Chloe hasn't kept much contact with her father since then.

Fast forward to present day. Chloe is about to get married, but then girls start going missing. This time it is in a completely different place, but the one common denominator is Chloe. She starts to suspect everyone around her. Even her fiance. 

I really liked this book and just learned that it will be made into a limited series. The one thing that I wasn't a fan Chloe's addiction to prescription pills. She takes them a lot and it makes you think that she isn't the best judge of what is going on in life. She takes the pills way too often to be of sound and mind. Anyways, just keep that in mind.

The last 15 to 20% of the book is where everything comes out. I didn't guess the big twist, but I guessed some of the twists that came earlier in the book.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren't actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?

What have you been reading? 

Friday, December 9, 2022

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 Friday! What a week it has been. I started this post last week and got caught up with work that I didn't finish it. But the good news is, some of the sales are still going on. We are still busy and enjoying the holiday season.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. I wanted to share this deal with you all because it is still going on. My girls have had an older version of this denim jacket for years. They wear this denim jacket most days and they were getting too short in the arms and body. So one of their Christmas or Birthday gifts is an updated version of the denim jacket. They are normally $48, on sale for $24. This is such a steal.

OshKosh Denim Jacket

TWO. Another random gift purchase that I got for the girls is this foot spa. It has those squishy beads in it too. It has good reviews and the only negatives I am really seeing is to not put too many beads in at once and to make sure to put a towel under the device. I know my girls will think this is the coolest thing. 

Orbeez Foot Spa

THREE. Our elf came last Thursday and since I didn't do a Friday favorites post, I didn't get to share his return. I put everything that I listed in this post out plus our elf. We have been moving him and hanging him from different places each evening. The girls are getting such a big kick out of him this year.

FOUR. Last Thursday night I went out to dinner with some friends for two of my girlfriends birthdays. We went to a place that I was supposed to take Rory to for his birthday right after covid started. But we were unable to and I haven't had the chance to go back. It was really good and we had such a great time. Some of our friends bailed due to it snowing and the roads being crazy. But we all still had fun!

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

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