Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favs

I survived my first week back in the office and it's finally Friday. I have never been so happy to see you. Being back in the office after being out for two and a half weeks is rough. Sure I had tons of emails to catch up on, lots of work to do, but jet lag kept creeping up on me.

Anyways, let's get onto our Friday Favorites with Karli and April.

One. We have family photos tomorrow. Finally. I am excited and nervous about it. Excited because we need updated photos of our cuties, but nervous because it is in between meals and they can get cranky and want their naps. Our pictures are scheduled for 9 am because the light is perfect then and we have a busy day ahead of us. I have our clothes mostly picked out, but hoping (more like stressing) that they go together.

Two. That brings us to our busy day after pictures. We are taking the girls to my in-laws house for their first sleepover away from home. My in-laws are beyond excited. We picked up another pack n play from my aunt this week and now we just have to pack for the girls overnight trip. Why are the girls going on an overnight? Well Rory and I have a wedding to attend tomorrow afternoon and we don't want to come home (the reception is a mile from our house) slightly tipsy and worry about taking care of the girls. So we did the responsible thing and asked if the grandparents wanted a sleepover. It wasn't a hard sale at all.

I received my dress a couple weeks back and I loved it until I tried it on when I got home from Tel Aviv and as Rory was zipping it up, the zipper busted. It zipped but had that gap in the zipper. I freaked out a bit, but managed to get it off and get it unzipped without damaging it. But I was worried it would happen again when wearing it. I contacted Lombard and Fifth and they were super sweet about it. They sent me a new one and the next size up just in case. And then I send the damaged one back along with the one I don't want and it is all free shipping. Amazing customer service.

Three. Nordstrom is price matching Ray-Ban glasses and I really want to pull the trigger on these. I loved my Ralph Lauren aviators and I tried these on and need them. And they are on sale. Should I? On sale for $116.

Four. Speaking of more shopping, I want to get some peep toe booties or booties in a nudish color. I have my eye on these two. Need, want, must have.

Five. I am on the hunt for a water table for my girls. I have looked a few up on amazon, but I want to hear which ones you have and ones that you love. I think my girls would love one this summer. Send me your picks.

Six. I had to throw one more in here because I love this stuff. I know I have mentioned it before, but I love Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser. This stuff is gold. I never got dark circles until I had my lady babies. I tried to get by with a little concealer and then Jess (from The Newly) mentioned this dark circle concealer and I knew I had to try it out. It hasn't disappointed at all. I pretty much use this stuff daily and I am only a quarter through the bottle and I have had it for months. Buy this stuff. It is so much cheaper than the YSL stuff I was buying and works just as good, if not better.

Have a good weekend!

*This post contains affiliate links.
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Currently (April)

It has been a long while since I did a Currently post, and since I don't have Part 2 of our Mexico Trip done, I thought now was as good of a time as any.

Drinking/Eating. Coffee and forever staples. I have given into my sweet tooth and have been eating AirHead bites and gummy bears from my trips. Gotta finish them up and they cure my sweet tooth in an instant.

Planning. A Picasso and Wine day with my mom and sister. I got my mom a gift certificate last year for Mother's Day and we are finally getting around to using it. I can't wait. I am also making Father's Day plans (way in advance since we go on vacation right after).

Reading. I finished reading two Shopaholic books (you know the Confessions of a Shopaholic series) that another blogger recommended and I just downloaded I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends by Courtney Robertson because I am a huge Bachelor fan. Next, I want to read Emily's tell all book.

Dreaming of. Another vacation (ha!) and finally renovating our kitchen.

Wishing/Hoping For. That my next work trip is moved to July instead of early June. I would love for a longer break between out of country travels. Fingers crossed that we can make that happen. Remember how I told you I couldn't say where yet? Well now I can....England, Scotland, France and Gibraltar. Soooo excited. I want to travel to as many European countries as I can in my lifetime and this will cross off another three for me (I have already been to England).

Wearing. Jeans and sweaters. We have had lots of wind, clouds and spits of rain the last couple days. But hey, when I get to wear jeans to work, I am one happy lady. We get two weeks of wearing jeans for employee appreciation. I will take it.

Enjoying. Watching my girls interact. They may take things away from each other and hit each sometimes, but when they are apart, they (fake) cry for each other. It is so sweet. Plus I have been enjoying lots of cuddles and slobbery kisses from my girls since being home.

Loving. The way my hernia surgery turned out. I can't wait to show you my progress. I am so blown away how much better this surgery was compared to the last one. So thankful for my doctor, his extra care and my results. I don't feel as embarrassed to wear a bikini now.

Looking Forward To. Mother's Day weekend. My sister-in-law is coming into town that weekend and we get to see her belly! We haven't seen them since the girls' birthday party. We also get to celebrate her birthday (which is a week later). And then it is Mother's Day and my husband has something special planned for me. I can't wait to spend the day with my sweet family.

Pinning. Ha, whats that? Just kidding. I haven't pinned much lately since I have been out of the country for the last 2 1/2 weeks. But I should be pinning some new week night recipes and some crafts to do with the girls.

Watching. Grey's Anatomy (still love the show), The Family (so good, but so scary to think of this happening), Better Call Saul (just finished the season finale), Silicon Valley (love this show) and Gilmore Girls (on Netflix since I never watched it when it was on tv).

And that is what I have been up to when I am not traveling.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our Mexico Vacation Part 1

It's time to recap my vacation in Mexico. I will probably split this up in two or three posts due to the large amount of photos.

I am going to skip over most of the travel part and save that for my Traveling With Toddlers post. I could write a novel after traveling with toddlers. Add the second toddler in and I have a trilogy. Just kidding. Kind of.

We flew into San Francisco for an almost two hour layover. We knew we needed to get some food for us and the girls and get the girls some milk for our next leg. Everywhere we went in SFO either had a long line or no high chairs. We were feeling like we might have to get bagels and call it good when we found Gordon Biersch had some seats and high chairs. Enter our $90 breakfast. Ouch. We had three breakfast plates, a bottle of whole milk, a bloody mary and mimosa for $90. So not worth it, but we had to make due.

We ate, changed some poopy diapers and made our way to our gate for Mexico.
Sutton's selfie with mommy

Four hours later and we were in Mexico. One 20 minute cab ride and we were at our condo and our home for the next 8 days.

My in-laws greeted us at the door, helped us in and got us settled in. We were able to unpack (while the grandparents played with the girls), change and settle in.  Side note: our condo had two bedrooms in it and my in-laws gave us the big room (master room with bathroom) for our 8 days there. They had it prior to our arrival and moved to the other room when we got there. We had two pack n plays (larger than the normal ones) set up, fresh sheets and plenty of room.

Plus we had coffee waiting for us. The girls settled in nicely to their Mexico way of life...hanging out in a onesie, having picnics on the floor and crawling/walking every inch of the condo.
 Sutton walking all over the balcony
 Avery playing with her toys on the balcony
Baby butts

After getting settled in, my in-laws suggested we go out to dinner while they watched the girls, fed them and put them down for the night. Don't mind if we do.

We ventured out to Pancho's Takos for their amazing pastor tacos. I found this place on Trip Advisor on our last trip (in 2014) and it has become a family favorite ever since. We were seated promptly (mostly because we went at 6:30 pm and they eat later in Mexico), made our order and were brought out beers. Then a tub of oil was spilled and when it hit the floor it splashed all over my back. Ugh. They were super nice about it though. They and Rory tried to clean it off as much as they could, gave us free beers, a free appetizer and apologized. Hey, it happens. Even though it ruined my shirt. Boo.

We had their guac and it was to die for. We ate every last bit of it. Then they gave us blistered onions in this heavenly sauce and followed it up with our tacos. I had 5 and Rory had 7. Way too many, but so heavenly.
 Working on the pastor meat
Heaven on a plate

Meanwhile, the girls were hanging out with my in-laws and having a great time.

After dinner, we knew we needed to walk off some of the food we just ate, so we headed down to the pier and people watched for awhile.

Then we decided to hit the Melacon for more people watching and maybe some ice cream. The Melacon is the best place to people watch. Plus since it was Friday night, they had performers, sand art and all the clubs were opening up. We hit up Buonissimo for some gelato.
 Coconut and coffee gelato

And then we watched the sunset while walking around some more.

And made our way back to the condo for more beers and catching up with my in-laws.

Saturday morning we headed to our favorite breakfast at Fredy's Tucan. It did not disappoint. The girls loved starting their breakfast out with a homemade pastry. So good. And they proceeded to demolish french toast while we had chilaquiles.
 Waiting to be seated to breakfast

After breakfast, we put the girls down for a nap, relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine. We spent our days reading, playing, up at the roof top pool, walking around town, many stroller rides, stopping by our favorite pastry shop and just enjoying vacation.

Saturday night my in-laws headed to dinner first while we fed the girls, got them ready for bed, gave them bottles and put them to bed. Once they were done, they came back and we headed out for dinner ourselves. This happened almost every night as it was just easier with the girls schedule.

That night we headed to Jorge's Highway Shrimp Shack where we had lots of margaritas (mango for me and regular for Rory) and amazing food. I had the tortilla soup and Rory had an amazing salad with jicama, avocado, balsamic dressing and a ton of other veggies. I had the house favorite which was diablo shrimp in a halved pineapple. Seriously the best. It came with red rice, sauteed veggies and a mini salad. Rory had the seared tuna special. Both dishes were amazing. We were given a complimentary evening cocktail and felt like family here. We went for a walk after and headed back to the condo for some wine, the sunset and relaxation.

Sunday morning we headed to Memo's Pancake House for breakfast where we all enjoyed waffles and coffee. We then went back to the condo to put the girls down for a nap and then we headed off to a spa for fish therapy and pedicures. I posted some photos from it on IG and got a lot of questions and comments on the fish therapy.

The fishes come from Russia and once you stick your feet in they start to suck the dead skin cells off your feet and legs. They don't eat the skin, they just suck it off. The water is constantly filtered over and over again and the fishes keep going until you take your feet out of the water. It does not hurt, but it tickles a ton for the first 2 to 3 minutes and then you get used to it. They will clean between your toes, around your cuticles and even the bottoms of your feet. It feels pretty cool and it was a great experience. We had our feet in there for 20 minutes and then had a pedicure.

Now I had gel on my toes, but they assured me that they can remove it and give me a full pedicure, so I thought why not. Big mistake. The person that was performing my pedicure was different from the one who told me it would be easy to remove the gel. She started working away and removed gel from two nails. No biggie. Then the third nail, I don't know what she was doing because I was talking to Rory and relaxing, but she ripped 3/4 of my toe nail off and it bled. Bad. She freaked out, got up and I believe was promptly fired or demoted because she changed into street clothes and left.

I was ready to just say let me be and leave because it hurt. It hurt really bad, but then came my godsend. This lady knew what she was doing. She treated the ripped nail, gave me the pedicure of a lifetime with extra foot massage, extra scrubs, a beautiful watermelon pink and an apology. The only thing missing was a shot of tequila to help with the pain. I didn't have to pay for my pedicure and at this point I was batting 0 with a ruined grease shirt and a ripped toe nail.

Meanwhile, the girls were playing with Kleenex and keeping the grandparents busy.

That evening we ventured out to Chenan2 for dinner and it was a huge hit. We started off with guac and some amazing salsa. Rory had the mixed fajitas with filet and prawns and it was to die for. I had the seafood pasta which was full of octopus, mussels and prawns with asparagus, garlic and peppers in a lobster sauce. Amazing. It was served with bread that had a light pesto sauce. Then we opted for the lime pie and Mexican coffee (coffee with liquor). Dinner was amazing and we had a nice walk back to the condo after. And more wine. I had to nurse my hurt foot after all the walking and all.

Stay tuned for the rest of our trip. 
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

10 on Tuesday - Mother's Day Gift Ideas

It's Tuesday and that means link up time with Karli over at September Farm. I haven't participated in one in two weeks and I really missed it. But I am back at it again to share with you the 10 things that I want for Mother's Day. 10 seems like a lot, but some of it isn't goods.

One. To spend the day with my girls and husband. I am not sure what they have planned for me, but as long as it involves family time, I am game.

Two. To not have any blowouts like last year's Mother's Day (see here). Sutton decided to blow her diaper out all over her car seat when we were shopping in Trader Joes. I am talking all over and not the best way to end Mother's Day. At least her cute smiles made up for it.

Three. Sleeping in. Can I please sleep in until 8 am? Maybe even 8:30? Is that too much to ask? After all the traveling recently, teething and life, I just want to have a good nights rest.

Four. A Strange Bikini bathing suit. She makes custom bikinis in Reno and I am dying for one. They are a bit pricey, but it is custom, so it will fit to perfection. She posted this one last week and I loved it! Now to design my own.

Five. A Tiny Tags Dog Tag Necklace that has my girls names on each dog tag. I have been looking for something like this for awhile and then Madison did a giveaway a few weeks back on these and I knew it was something I wanted for my collection. Simple, small and elegant.
Here is Madison's Necklace with her daughters name on it (source)

Six. Something sweet. Yep. I want an amazing cupcake (hello Cake on Sunday) or pie to end my day. I found my love of sweets again once I became pregnant with the girls and as much as I deny that it is still here, it is and I want something sweet for Mother's Day. And to forget about all the calories I will consume. Calories don't count on Mother's Day.

Seven. A massage. Need I say more? Ok, a 90 minute heavenly massage. Please and thank you.

Eight. An adjustment. I have been dying to go to the chiropractor since before my hernia surgery and now that I am back home, recovered and exercising, I could use an adjustment. I am sure I will feel like a million bucks after it. Sure, I can make the appointment myself and pay for it, but that takes time and effort that I haven't put forth yet.

Nine. A gift card, so I can buy myself something. I have been pretty good with only buying what we need instead of splurging (hello I didn't really buy myself anything in Mexico or Israel) and I want to treat myself! So a gift card to J Crew, Pearl and Monroe Boutique, Lululemon, Nordstrom or anywhere else I shop.

Ten. Not really something I want, but something I want to remember. I want to remember this post that I wrote last year about my first Mother's Day. My girls are the reason I get the title of Mother and one I cherish so much.  
Monday, April 25, 2016

I'm Back and It Feels So Good!

Wow, it feels crazy to be back and writing an actual post...on the computer. These last two weeks were pretty amazing. I traveled thousands of miles, ate incredible food, walked more than I have in my entire life, drank a lot of coffee, soaked in the culture, worked, shopped, sun bathed and took it all in. It was a life changing two weeks and for that I am forever grateful.

Now I have a bit of a cold, am back to reality and trying to recover from the 10 hour time difference. But I am home and that feels great. Traveling has always been something I have been passionate about. It is the top reason I took my current job. I want to see the world before I die and I am slowly marking countries and places off my list. But there is nothing quite like coming home. It is so comforting.

Plus I missed you guys. I missed blogging. I missed reading your blogs. I missed responding to comments and commenting on your blogs. I also missed out on a huge change in the blogging world.

One of my favorite bloggers, Jess from the Newly, had her life and safety compromised. A psychotic lady stole her pictures, blog posts and updates and passed them off as her own. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more. Much more scary stuff that has happened to her and her family over this. She has since stopped doing what she loves...blogging and sharing her life. And I don't blame her one bit. You need to protect yourself and your family.

I have thought about where I stand and what I want to do given this information and I have decided to continue blogging for now. I love writing and connecting with you all. I don't want to stop and so I won't. But I will take extra precaution when doing so. I have been researching ways to protect myself from psychos and awful people and plan to do a post on that later on. But for now, know that I will continue to blog. And if you ever see fake accounts or people trying to pass them off as someone else, please alert the real person.

Anyways, back to what I have been up to. I had some pretty amazing bloggers do guest posts for me while I was gone and I am so thankful for that. I love reading the comments they got and I can't wait to do, create and drink the ideas that were shared.

I plan to do some recaps about my Mexico trip, my Israel trip and traveling with toddlers in the next week or two. And if you have any questions on anything, please email me so I can include them. Especially in the traveling with toddlers post.

But for now, know that my weekend was spent cuddling my babies and pup, reconnecting with my husband, watching a lot of tv shows (I didn't watch much the last two and a half weeks with everything being in Spanish and Hebrew.) and being sick on the couch. My head cold has moved down to my throat today, so I am hoping it is gone by tomorrow. Makes sense right? Ha.

Have a good Monday! And today I am back to linking up with Biana from B Loved Boston.
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Confessional Thursday

It's Thursday and I have survived my week. Even though I'm still away, I managed to whip up a post for Thursday Confessions. Now let's hope I can remember to link up since the time change has me all messed up. I'm (hopefully) linking up with Jess from The Newly.

I confess that writing blog posts on an iPad is harder than it should be. I miss my real keyboard.

I confess that jet lag sucks. I have been up since 2 am (Tel Aviv time which is 10 hours ahead of PST) and the time change has me all messed up.

I confess that even though I'm tired, Tel Aviv has been a fun place to visit. The food has been good for the most part, the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful, the people are nice and work has went well.

I confess that I miss my husband, my girls and my pup. After spending 8 days with them in Mexico, it is hard to be away from them. We have FaceTime'd and it has helped. Can't wait to see my favorites tomorrow.

I confess that I walked the most steps this week since getting my Garmin watch. Over 26,000 in one day!

I confess that I miss reading my daily blogs, interacting with you all and writing daily. I can't wait to get back to that next week.

I confess that I am so grateful for all of you who wrote guest posts for me while I have been away. You girls are my tribe and I can't wait to catch up on your blogs.

And with that I'm going to try to squeeze in an extra hour or two of sleep. Happy Thursday all!
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Guest Post - DIY Canvas Prints

Sorry I have been MIA for a few days. I had a long 14 hour flight to Tel Aviv, but I am here and settled in. I can't wait to tell you all about it! But in the meantime, I have Jess from Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom guest posting for me today. Jess is pretty amazing and someone I call a great friend. She has a handsome son, Cameron who loves Superheroes and a beautiful daughter, Emmy who is a spunky toddler. Emmy had a helmet just like my girls! So Jess and I bonded and the rest is history. Enjoy this post from Jess!

Hi!  I'm Jess from Secrets of a Stay at Home mom!  I'm so excited to be guest posting for Danielle today.  We "met" through our blogs a while ago and first bonded over sharing and supporting each other through our daughter's helmet experiences.  It was so nice to have someone else who understood what we were going through.  Since then we've realized that we have a lot in common and have become very fast friends.

I asked Danielle what sort of post she'd like me to do and she was totally open to suggestions, so I gave her the option of a mommy post or a DIY post.  She chose DIY, which I loved.  I had so many ideas, but finally narrowed it down.  I've recently changed up my children's bathroom and had numerous projects on the list to make it complete, so today I will be sharing a really quick and easy way to add just a little something to any room in your house.

Supplies Needed:
4 - 6x6 canvases (bought mine in a 4-pack at Michaels for $20, but used a 40% off coupon)
Paint (any colors you choose)
Foam brushes
Mod Podge
4 - 5x5 photographs

1. Paint your canvases.  I suggest using foam brushes because the paint goes on a lot nicer.  I did one with a regular brush and it left a lot more streaks.

You can see I had a trasher helper.  She loved holding the paints and trying to touch the brushes.

2. Choose and print your pictures.  I got mine through Walmart.  I printed them as 5x5 prints because it was a bit cheaper than printing 5x7's.  Since I was planning on my canvases being hung in a bathroom I took some cute pictures of the kids taking a bubble bath.  

3. Once your canvases are dry (I did two coats) add mod podge and place your pictures where you'd like.  Give them a few minutes to stick.  

4. Once the pictures have had a few minutes to stick, carefully run mod podge and your foam brush across the pictures.  It will make streaks, but they will go away once dry.  

5. And you are finished!  I told you it was easy.  I love that it adds a pop of color to your walls without having to spend a bunch of money on painting whole rooms.

I hung mine in the kid's bathroom that I have been redoing.  I probably would have hung them a little higher and farther apart, but there were already some nails in the walls so I just made it work.  

And there you have it.  Now you can enjoy your handiwork and some pretty cute decorations.  Thank you so much Danielle for letting me take over your little slice of interest.  Have a great day y'all!  

Thank you so much for guest posting Jess. I can't wait to do this with my girls' photos! We have some great bath pictures I want to do this with!
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Guest guest Post - Amy's Favorite Travel Spots

Hey all! Today I have Amy from Keepin' Up with the Smiths taking over for me and she is pretty amazing. Amy has two handsome boys, Cash who just turned 4 (look how big he is) and baby Wyatt. Amy is a stay at home mom and a mother that I truly admire. She does it all and makes it look so easy. Please check out her blog and meet an amazing mommy, woman and friend. 

Hi Sparkle & Latte readers! I'm Amy. I'm wife to Luke & mama to Cash {4} & Wyatt {7 months}. I'm so happy to be filling in for Danielle while she's off relaxing, or trying to relax, in the warm sun with her little ladies. I'm also a bit jealous because I'd love to be trying to relax in the warm sun. ;) Danielle & I "met" last fall during a blogger swap exchange. I'm so glad that this community brought us together. Danielle is so kind, thoughtful & supportive. I love following along with her on her journey through motherhood! Can we just talk for a moment about how cute Avery & Sutton are? The sweetest little ladies around! 

|Easter 2016|
I blog over at keepin' up with the Smiths where I blog about life as a stay at home mama to my two best guys, DIY projects, the occasional recipe & all of the in between. I'd love for you to stop by!

In spirit of Danielle's vacation, I thought I'd share with you some tropical places that I'd love to visit, as well as one of our favorite non-tropical mini getaway destinations.
Turks & Caicos





Now, while I'd love to visit each one of these places, they are currently not in the budget. Grow money tree, grow. Have any of you been to any of the above locations?

Something that is a bit more in our budget & favorite mini getaway location for Luke & I has been Door County, WI. Door County is made up of several small communities in northeastern Wisconsin. There is something for everyone. Luke & I have gone in the month of September over our anniversary each time. We are hoping to go a bit later in the fall to see the colors of the leaves as they begin to change.

Map of Door County, WI
|Door County is outlined in blue.|

Like I said there is something for everyone. Whether you want to go hiking, wine tasting, skiing or just simply want to relax Door County is the place for you. Door County is also a very family friendly destination. Miles & miles of beaches, mini golfing, zip-lining & museums are just some of the family friendly activities. Luke & I can't wait to bring the boys up north! 

Here are a few pictures from our visits to Door County.

See that tower in the picture below, way up there on that bluff? Yeah, I climbed that. Yeah, never again. ;) 

I can't wait to show Door County to my little guys! Do you have a hidden gem or a favorite mini getaway destination? 

Thank you for letting me share one of my favorite places with all of you! And a special thanks to Danielle for letting me spend time with all of you today! Hope to have you stop by keepin' up with the Smiths!