Friday, August 31, 2018

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.

And just like that, we are at the end of August. I know I said it earlier this week, but this month has flown by. But I am very excited about this weekend and September. We have our first Nevada football home game, trying to buy a new couch, going shopping for London and the beach. I say this weekend will be a good one.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. On Wednesday, I mentioned that I bought a hemp tank and it came with a tree medallion. I registered my code on their website and my ten trees are planted in Senegal and they are fruit trees. How cool is that?
buy hemp products for trees

buy hemp products for trees

TWO. A while ago, I mentioned some bathing suits that I really wanted from the line Andie Swim. Caitlin bought a bikini and a one piece (she may have more) and posted them on her IG stories. When I saw the fit, I knew I wanted one. But the price. Ugh. So I waited and then finally bought one. Plus I had to wait for the top to come back in stock in my size. I wore this all last week in Graeagle and plan to wear it to the beach this weekend.

These bikinis and one pieces are amazing. They have better coverage (especially for us moms), are made with quality material and are super cute. This isn't a sponsored post....I just love my new bathing suit. I will be buying another one next year.
Andie swim bikinis
 Top is sold out (similar)  |  Bottoms

THREE. The girls started ballet and tap class last weekend and they loved it. We had purchased everything ahead of time except the tap shoes. I didn't even think about it and the lady at the store didn't even mention it either. So many of the girls had to borrow tap shoes for the class, but then I went on amazon and scooped up two pairs of Capezio tap shoes. These were the tap shoes that the teacher recommended and the girls already love them. 

What is nice about these shoes is there is an elastic band that goes over the foot and then a ribbon to tie over it. This keeps the shoe on, but still look cute. Plus the girls said they were comfy. Who knows if that is true, but they already love them.
Capezio Toddler Tap Shoes

FOUR. I have mentioned health insurance a few times on my blog, but I am going to mention it again. I am very thankful to have a job that provides insurance. Sure it isn't as great as it used to be (like when I started 12 years ago), but it is pretty good.

Let me back up a bit. When I first started my job, I got PPO plan which was pay 20% and no monthly premium. I got this since I was single. I had knee surgery not long after I started my job and I paid 20% of the surgery which was around $1,500. This included all equipment, pre-ops, post-ops, MRIs, etc. Then I changed insurances to our HMO plan since we were planning on having kids. This meant a higher monthly premium (but only about $150 per month) and then just a standard co-pay per visit. This plan saved our butts since I had twins, they ended up in the NICU for 4 weeks and then all the visits for the year after. The girls NICU cost over $250,000 alone. We paid $1,000 ($500 for each baby). When the girls were 2, I changed back to the PPO plan since we didn't use the insurance that much from year 1 to 2. I stayed on this for two years. This is also when Sutton bit through her lip. We had to pay for the entire ER visit and doctor visits out of pocket since the deductible for family is sooooo high. So when it came to deciding our new insurance for the year, we decided to go back to the HMO plan (or the new version of it). It is a higher premium (around $280 per month for the girls and I), but the same co-pays for each visit.

What I am getting at is, since we changed to the new insurance, I pay more monthly (Rory helps out with the girls portion), but have standard co-pays now. My nose surgery was billed at $26,000 (and change) and I paid $350. That is amazing. And now my nose is recovering and I will soon be able to breathe better than ever. Fingers crossed.

FIVE. This week I posted an IG photo of the girls in their new Gymboree outfits. I worked with Gymboree and they sent me new clothes for the girls going back to preschool. The girls are obsessed with pink, so I went with pink leggings, pink jackets/zip-ups with a rainbow heart and two different tees. When we got the clothes, the girls tried them on immediately and wanted to wear them. They have been wearing them since the photoshoot and absolutely love them. 

I also wanted to get them these sparkly skirts and a top so they could wear them for family photos later in the year, but Rory said to just wait and get those later. But I definitely want this shirt for the girls. Perfect for the holidays.

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

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

*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.

And just like that August is over. Maybe it was due to having vacation and surgery, but August flew by in an instant. Faster than any month recently. But I am rolling with the punches and I am excited for September! September brings Fall, football, travel, the leaves changing, cozy sweaters and one of my favorite times of the year.

What's Up Wednesday


Sunday: Spaghetti bolognese with a simple salad
Monday: Stuffed bell peppers and a salad
Tuesday: Take out. Mama has a hair cut and color!
Wednesday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Thursday: Take out salads since Rory has softball.
Friday: Tailgate food. It is our first Nevada football home game of the season!
Saturday: Not sure.


Vacation last week, how much I just went through with my septorhinoplasty and how big my girls are getting. Seriously, they are so tall. Way taller than kids who are already 4 years old. Time slow down a bit.


I feel like I haven't really bought anything new lately. I am going shopping this weekend for the Labor Day sales and to stock up on some clothes for my work trip, but I don't have much new to report. Probably better for my wallet.

But I am loving some items that I have had for a long time and am about to replenish. Like the No Poreblem primer. I love this stuff. It goes on smoothly and keeps my foundation and concealer looking flawless all day. I rarely have to touch my make-up up. And if I do, it is more of me wanting to make sure I last all night long.
No Poreblem Primer

Thank you for all the recommendations on Arnica. I started taking it the day of surgery and I am still taking it. My bruising went away pretty fast. My swelling is going down daily and I definitely think Arnica helped. I take the tablet version (since I can't rub the gel on my face) and my doctor and nurse said my swelling and bruising looked like I was 3 weeks out instead of 1. That is huge. I used these this one (from amazon) and this one (bought locally).

While I was on vacation, we stopped in the local shops and I bought a hemp tank (I did buy something recently, but not like I usually do). I love the idea behind this company. For every item purchased, they plant 10 trees. You can see where your tree is planted by taking your medallion (that is included with the tag) and going online and typing in the number. So cool. I got this tank. It is sooo comfy and made from hemp.
Hemp Tank
Hemp Tank (I got mine in gray)

Well I started the month off with a birthday and then I had septorhinoplasty. I spent the next two weeks recovering from surgery and then went on vacation to Graeagle and now I am just trying to get back into the swing of things before going on my really long work trip (how will I ever be gone from my family for that long?!).


Being gone from my family for 15 days.


Trying to get a bunch of posts written ahead of time before I leave on my work trip. Trying to photograph the girls clothes to put up on Poshmark. I am also trying to do some meal prep/make casseroles ahead of time for Rory and the girls while I am gone. If you know of some amazing casserole or make ahead meals, please send them my way.


Fall, football, my work trip and continuing to recover from surgery. I love seeing the progress and being able to start to breathe again.


Well I finally finished reading The Woman in the Window. It was really good and I didn't expect the ending at all. Then I mentioned last month that Dana sent me Dead Girl Running. Well over my vacation, I read it and finished it. I really liked it a lot. I thought part of the ending was far fetched, but the last line I didn't expect AT ALL. It was really good. Now I need to download more books for my work trip. I usually can get through a few of them. Also, if anyone wants to read Dead Girl Running, let me know and I will send it to you. I love passing on books that I enjoyed.

As for TV, I feel like I am behind since I was either loopy from surgery, went on vacation and have a backlog or spent my time binging Younger. But I am enjoying The Sinner season 2, I just finished this season of The Affair (wow), love Million Dollar Listing NY, Better Call Saul, Masterchef and Younger. 


Just Pandora as usual or my co-workers Sirius XM.


Well I spent much of this month in pjs (during surgery recovery) and shorts and tank tops. But I am hoping for some sweaters, jeans and boots soon.


Friday we have our first Nevada football game of the season. Then Saturday we are going couch shopping. Sunday we are hitting up the Labor Day weekend sales. Monday we are going to the lake with the girls. Gotta get my lake time in before it gets cold.


Pretty much everything I have already talked about above. My work trip (even though it is for sooooo long), football, Fall, cozy weather, fall coffee drinks and sweaters.


Not much. I tell you all everything here...pretty much.


Well since my girls are not old enough for traditional school, I will go with what I use to love about it....getting a new wardrobe. My mom took my sister and I school clothes shopping and I absolutely loved it. Who doesn't want a new wardrobe?
Monday, August 27, 2018

Vacation and Weekending

Vacation was great, but I am glad to be back in my routine. What can I say, I am a creature of habit. I was going to do a recap of our vacation, but time got away from me and now I am swamped at work. That is what happens when you are gone for a week in the middle of chaos. I even did some work while on vacation. Boo.

But I thought I would do a little photo dump from last week and our weekend. Don't worry, I didn't go overboard. Some of the photos I even shared on IG last week. I have about 300 photos and I only chose about 20 to share with you all. Enjoy.
Gray Eagle Lodge
 S'mores at our cabins (Gray Eagle Lodge)

Graeagle Mill Pond
 Graeagle Mill Pond

twins hiking
 A little hike

 Morning snuggles in the lodge.

 Avery being silly wearing Papas glasses.

 The girls pretending to be pregnant with their new babies Gaga got them in Graeagle.

 We played mini golf with the girls for their first time and saw a baby deer along the way.

golden lab dog
 The girls would always pet and play with Una after breakfast each morning. They really loved her and wanted another dog just like her.

golden lab dog

Sardine Sand Pond
 Sardine Sand Pond

 The girls had a blast floating in the sand pond. We saw huge tadpoles, fishies and frogs.


 On our way home, we saw a mama deer and her baby alongside the road. We made sure to notify others driving by so they wouldn't get hit crossing the road. There are soooo many deer in this area.

We got home Friday afternoon and did the usual unpacking, mounds of laundry and ate pizza.

toddler ballet class
 The girls first ballet class (they loved it).

 Our family friends got married in NYC earlier this month and came back to Reno to celebrate with family and friends. We had a reception for them and had a blast. So happy for these two guys!

 The happy couple and I

 Even a sneak peak on how my nose is looking and doing.

 The girls and their "auntie" Kristalei.

We ended our weekend with froyo!

How was your weekend? And your last week? I will be catching up on blogs this week, participating in What's Up Wednesday and will be back for Friday Favorites.
Friday, August 24, 2018

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.

I wrote this post ahead of time because I am on vacation (yes). I may not be doing much other than relaxing, taking walks and enjoying some amazing food, but I am so thankful to have this vacation with my family.

Onto Friday Favorites.

ONE. So last Friday was my anniversary (thank you for all the happy wishes to us) and I said that we were not doing anything other than a spa day together in early to late September. But I forgot to mention that on my birthday, the original place we were supposed to go to dinner at had a flood or something that happened that morning. They told us to come back at a later date for a discount and a free bottle of wine. So we did that for our anniversary. We went to one of our favorite Italian spots and enjoyed ourselves. Plus it was the first time having any wine or alcohol since several days prior to my surgery. My MIL watched the girls and it was nice to celebrate us. We still plan to do the spa day together. Probably at the end of September, so my nose can heal a lot more.

TWO. So my work trip has been booked. We are going to England, Scotland and Ireland. I am pretty excited about this, even though I have been to all of them for work before. But Scotland was one of my favorite places I have ever traveled to (as said in my post on Wednesday's 10 Favorite Places To Travel To) and I get to go again. That means more scotch, more countryside and more adventures. Any Edinburgh, Scotland recommendations?
view from the Edinburgh Castle

THREE. So Lindsay's amazing organizing skills inspired me to start organizing and purging more. One of the biggest things I need to purge is old documents. I am guilty of keeping old bank statements, mortgage statements and things that should have been shredded a long time ago. Problem is...I didn't have a shredder. But that changed. I went on Amazon looking for an at-home shredder and this is the one we bought. It isn't expensive, can shred 8 pages at a time, can go non-stop for 5 minutes, and cuts paper into micro-cuts. So I have been shredding everything.
Aurora Micro-Cut Shredder

FOUR. How many of you have seen EuroTrip? It is a movie that came out in 2004 about a guy about to graduate high school and he gets cheated on, so he heads to Europe with his friends to find his long time pen pal. My co-worker introduced this movie to me around 2006 and it is quite funny. I watch it anytime it is on tv or on OnDemand. Anyways, there is a catchy song called "Scotty Doesn't Know" in it and I often sing that song as well. I love when it comes on Pandora. It is very crude and awful, but so dang catchy.

Anyways, in the movie, Matt Damon is the lead singer (for the movie, not the actual song). He makes an appearance when the band plays the song and it is quite funny every time I see it. Well anyways, an article was released recently about the history of the song, movie and how Matt Damon came to play that part. It is pretty good. You should check it out if you have ever seen the movie or heard the song.

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

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

10 Favorite Places to Travel To

I love to travel. I think I loved it more before we had the girls because now I miss them when we are gone. But travel is what got me into my current job. I get to travel for work and it has some amazing perks to it. But we also travel for fun too.

I complied a list of my 10 Favorite Places to Travel to. In no particular order.

1. Costa Rica
In 2012, Rory and I took a trip to Costa Rica. This was before marriage and kids. We had the best time. We went to the Guanacaste Province (Tamarindo area). We flew into Liberia and rented a car and drove about an hour west to the coast line. We were told this area is more for relaxation, hiking, exploring and way more calm than the San Jose area.

We stayed in the JW Marriott using Marriott points, so we only had to pay taxes, tips, food and drinks. It was heavenly. We did many tours including horseback riding through the jungle and beach, hiking the volcanoes, hiking to waterfalls, a caterman snorkeling tour, an adventure tour and a food tour. Costa Rica was beautiful and definitely a favorite of mine.
Guanacaste Province Costa Rica

Guanacaste Province Costa Rica
 We got soooo many mosquito bites. Wear pants and get industrial bug spray.

Guanacaste Province Costa Rica

Guanacaste Province Costa Rica
The sunsets are unreal.

2. New York City 
If you have followed my blog for some time, then you know how much I LOVE NYC. Ever since Sex and the City, I had to go there. And in 2010, my job took me to NYC. I have been several times since and I still LOVE it there. Random fact: my SIL and BIL lived there for 10 years.

These photos are from my first visit there which happened to be at Christmas time which was one of my favorite times to be there.
NYC at Christmas time

NYC at Christmas time

NYC at Christmas time

3. Australia
I went to Australia for work in February 2012. We went to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. It was an amazing two weeks. I had always wanted to go there and was soooo excited when I was giving the opportunity.

Again, if you have read my blog for any time, then you know I am afraid of sharks. I also have a weird fascination with them. And Australia is pretty much king of the 7 most deadliest things on Earth, including the Great White Shark. I knew I had to go to Bondi Beach to check it out and I even went into the water for hours. I was told there were nets to help keep the sharks out, but sometimes they get in. I didn't even care. There were so many people around me that I figured they would get bitten first. Ha.


Bondi Beach Australia
 Bondi Beach


4. Alaska
In 2009, I took a family vacation to Alaska. Well it was technically a cruise from Seattle to Skagway, Ketichikan, Juneau and Prince Rupert, Canada.

We went to a Lumberjack cutting competition, had a salmon bake, shopping, Alaskan brewery tour, glacier tour, zip lining, horseback riding and a huge King crab feed. It was soooo much fun and so beautiful.
Alaskan zip lining tour

Alaskan glaciers

Skagway, AK
Skagway, AK (where we did the King crab feed)

5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
We got to PV, Mexico pretty much yearly. We skipped the year right after the girls were born (2015), but have been pretty much every year from 2012 to 2018. And this year, we traveled there without the girls. The girls have been twice and loved it both times.

If you have read my blog for some time, then you have seen my recaps each year. I am going to share with you a couple photos from our first year there as I am pretty sure you haven't seen any of those.
Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Yelapa, Mexico
 Yelapa, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

6. Scotland
Again for work, I traveled to Scotland in 2016. I have always wanted to go there and it did not disappoint. If you love scotch, beautiful green views and history, then Scotland is for you. We worked, but we were able to go to the castle, have drinks in the iconic Big Lebowski's bar, go on a train ride up north to the smallest distillery in Scotland and enjoy the Scottish food.
Edinburgh Scotland
 Edinburgh Scotland Castle

Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh Scotland
 The view from the castle

Edradour Distillery
Edradour Distillery

7. Kauai, Hawaii
We went to Kauai for our honeymoon. We stayed in the Poipu area because it gets less rain there. Kauai is a very wet island, but it makes it so beautiful. Kauai offers so much beauty. We did a hike on the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail, golfed on the Puakea Golf Course which is in Lihue (it has the backdrop of the area where Jurassic Park was filmed), went to Waimea Canyon, ate so much food and even got in another round of golf at another golf course.
Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail
Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

One of my favorite parts of our trip was the Kalalau Trail in the Haena State Park. This hike is hard. You hike over slippery rocks, small paths and change elevations a lot. But it is completely worth it. You end up at a waterfall and can go swimming in it.

Kalalau Trail in the Haena State Par
 After a short hike down to the water

Kalalau Trail in the Haena State Par
Kalalau Trail in the Haena State Par (waterfall)

Towards the end of our trip, we took an ATV tour through Kipu Ranch Adventures. You go through the area where Jurassic Park was filmed along with so many other movies. You also go to the area where they filmed Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is the part where Harrison Ford runs down the hill, grabs a rope swing into the water and then a plane comes and gets him. We were able to do the same thing as Harrison Ford in the same location and it was sooo cool. Not many people did it, but we did. We even got a video.
Kipu Ranch Adventures ATV Tour

Kipu Ranch Adventures ATV Tour

I could go on and on about Kauai. It is beautiful and amazing. Go!

8. Dublin, Ireland
I recently went to Dublin for work and it was a lot of fun. It is so green and beautiful there. We went on the Guinness Tour, to Trinity College, to the Kilmainham Gaol Jail and Museum, the Teeling Distillery and the Temple Bar area. I didn't get to spend enough time in Ireland as I wanted to travel outside of Dublin, but that just means that I need to go back there.
Trinity College Dublin Ireland

Kilmainham Gaol Jail and Museum

Guinness tour

Teeling Distillery

Dublin, Ireland

9. Tel Aviv, Israel
I went to Tel Aviv for work (work travel is pretty amazing) and I loved it. Tel Aviv was a place I was really excited to go to. We were only there for a week, but it was so interesting. The food was AMAZING. Seriously, so much seafood. And I have never walked so much in my life. I clocked in about 35,000 to 40,000 steps per day.

We walked the old city area, went to the open air markets, went to the beach, swam in the Mediterranean and explored. It was truly a great experience.

I don't know where all my photos are, so I managed to only find a few of them.
Dizengoff Square
 Dizengoff Square

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel
10. London, England
I have been to England several times for work. I love the culture, the food (seriously the best Indian food ever), the history and how beautiful it is. I have been in May, September and February now. So I have covered a lot of the seasons there and each time was equally beautiful. But the September one was really HOT! Ha.

I have taken the Jack the Ripper drinking tour, gone to the Buckingham Palace, had a private tour of the Tower of London, been to the oldest pub in London, went on the London Eye, visited Big Ben, toured the Princess Diana Memorial, went to Parliament and so much more.
London Eye

Princess Diana Memorial
 Princess Diana Memorial

US Embassy in London
 US Embassy in London

Buckingham Palace

What are your favorite places to travel to?