Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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.

We flew through October. The holidays are starting, the weather is changing and I couldn't be happier. If we are still in this covid thing, then I want to enjoy it with all my Christmas stuff slowly appearing. Don't worry, I am still enjoying Thanksgiving, but we already started watching Christmas movies, starting buying more Christmas decorations, and we will be decorating a bit earlier this year.

I almost didn't get this post out today as I had a major security attack/breach yesterday and I spent most of the day fixing it all. To say I am exhausted is an understatement. Change your passwords!

Anyways, onto this month's What's Up Wednesday...What's Up Wednesday
Sunday: Went out to dinner with Rory for a sushi date.
Monday: Pasta with Peas, Pancetta and Asparagus
Tuesday: Beef Stew and Crusty Bread
Wednesday: Crockpot Sausage, Peppers and Onions
Thursday: Take Out. Rory and I have a zombie paintballing event with his co-workers.
Friday: Unsure.
Saturday: We will be attending a Halloween party and eating there.

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT... What it felt like to work in an office. I have been working from home for 7 1/2 months now. I went into my office on Monday to add some data from a thumb drive to our network and it was just so eerie and quiet in there. It will be so weird when it is full again. If that ever happens.

WHAT I'M LOVING... I have been working out in a gym for about two months now and I am loving it. You wear your mask to go inside, but then can take it off if you are doing anything physical. I was walking and running all Summer, but after the gyms were open for a few months, I decided to join a new gym and try it out. I have been upping my weight training (while being careful with my hernia), doing the stair stepper, running and stretching and I feel so much better. I have lost some weight, I have built some muscles and my mind is so much healthier!

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...Well we have been:

Trying out new recipes.

The girls have been golfing (they finished their last lesson on Sunday).

Rory and I took a mini trip to Tahoe since we couldn't go to Mexico.
Lake Tahoe - Incline Beach
Lake Tahoe - Incline Beach

We did a memorial walk and polar dip for my cousin who passed away two years ago.

We have been watching Halloween movies.

I went to a memorial for my best friends mom who recently passed away.
Sand Harbor

I went out with some girlfriends a couple times this month.

My sister announced that she is pregnant!

And I voted!

WHAT I'M DREADING... Election Day. It is always chaotic. People are up in arms that the count is taking too long. Everyone is fighting and I just want to know the results. Make sure you vote!

WHAT I'M WORKING ON... Just work, blogging and starting Christmas shopping!

WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT... The holidays!

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING... I am currently reading The Last Flight.

As for tv shows, I have been binging How to Get Away with Murder. In the last month and a half, I have watched 5 season. I am currently on the last season. It only has 15 episodes per season, so it goes quick. Especially when you watch at the gym and in the evening.

We have been also watching Flip or Flop, This is Us (it started last night) and a bit of the Bachelorette. I am just waiting for the rest of my shows to start!


WHAT I'M WEARING... Well the weather finally changed, so I have been wearing leggings, t-shirts or sweatshirts daily. I do wear jeans and cuter tops during the weekend. These leggings have been a huge favorite of mine lately. Now if I could only get another pair and not pay $98?!

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND... It is Halloween!!! So we are going to take the girls trick or treating to our nearby neighbors houses and then go to a small Halloween party. I am not sure what else we have planned for this weekend since Friday night I have a facial and massage! Stay tuned for some fun Halloween pictures of my family!

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH... November brings Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and a charity event. We are also having a couple Thanksgivings this year, so I am very much looking forward to seeing family!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW... Nothing much.
Monday, October 26, 2020

Show Me Your Books - 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.

This month I read three books. I had the chance to read more, but I felt a bit burnt out on reading. All of my holds were coming up at the same time and I put extenders on my holds. I did get three good books. And one of the authors, Janelle Brown was new to me. Her books are really good. They are mystery style. And these two have roots/connections to Lake Tahoe, so it was fun reading about where I live and seeing if things match up. Most of it did, but some of the names and lingo is a bit off. But nonetheless, you wouldn't know unless you lived here.

The Other Mrs. - Mary Kubica
The Other Mrs. - Mary Kubica

Sadie and Will have moved to a small town after Will's sister has passed away. She leaves behind a daughter, and they try to make the new family dynamic work out. Not long after arriving to their new home and life, their neighbor Morgan dies and the police suspect murder. Sadie becomes paranoid and thinks the murderer is lurking around the neighborhood ready to kill at any moment.

The book goes into Sadie and Will's life along with Morgan's life (the one who was murdered). Who killed Morgan? Was it the husband? Was it a stranger? Was she having an affair? The book has some big twists that I only partially figured out. 

I liked this book a lot. It had me guessing until the end. Read it. I would give it 4 stars.

Here is Amazon's sysnpsis:

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

Sadie - Courtney Summers
Sadie - Courtney Summers

I read about 15% of this book. I had ever intention of reading the whole thing, but as I was reading, I just couldn't get past the stutter. A podcaster named West gets a phone call to look into a missing girl, Sadie. Her sister was brutally murdered and Sadie hasn't been seen since. It sounds like a book right up my alley. BUT when Sadie talks (what you read) is constant stutter. I just had a hard time reading it and gave up.

Has anyone else read this? Does it get better?

Watch Me Disappear - Janelle Brown
The Flanagan family seems perfect. Billie is the traditional SAHM, Jonathan is the dad who works too much and their daughter Olive is finding herself through high school. Billie loves going on adventures. She used to be an activist in her early days. Billie goes on a hike in the Lake Tahoe area and goes missing. After a year, her family seeks to declare her dead, so they can move on and get back on their feet.

But Billie's life starts to come out and her family wonders if they even knew her. Did she really die? Her daughter Olive seems to think not as she sees visions of her. Jonathan finds her computer and a secret file on it. Could this let him know of a life she had that he never knew about? Is she really alive? 

I enjoyed this book. I would give it 4 stars. It is a long book, but so worth the read.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Pretty Things - Janelle Brown
Pretty Things - Janelle Brown

When I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it. It takes place mostly in Lake Tahoe which is basically my backyard. It was so much fun to read about the places I visit, see how things match up and say, "hey I hiked that hike too". 

Nina grew up with just her mother. They always moved around from place to place. Fast forward twelve years and Nina's mother is sick and they need a lot of money to pay for her treatments. She turns to her friend, Lachlan, to run the ultimate con on Vanessa. 

Vanessa's family wronged Nina when she was in high school. Nina and Vanessa's brother were very close. They both had families who made them live in Lake Tahoe and were the weird new kids. For revenge, Nina and Lachlan plan to steal from Vanessa and make her pay for her families wrong doing so many years ago. 

Of course things don't go as planned.

This book is a long one, but a good one. I enjoyed everything Lake Tahoe, the character build and wanted to see how it played out. I give this book 4 1/2 stars.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable fa├žade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

Currently, I am reading The Girl from Widow Hills.

Friday, October 23, 2020

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 all! I have been so slammed at work that I didn't get a post out on Wednesday. I want to post quality posts and I knew I couldn't get one out to my standard, so I skipped it. And that is ok. Sometimes that happens. 

We have a pretty chill weekend ahead of us and I am good with that. Next weekend is Halloween and we will be busy. We have lots of things coming up (an early Thanksgiving dinner), Thanksgiving, tree cutting, a charity event, a boys weekend away (for Rory), so a chill weekend is definitely ok. I can't believe the holidays are here (starting with Halloween). Have you started Christmas shopping? I got the girls two things and that is it. I have a list started and I am trying to space out my spending, so hopefully I can get some deals between now and Christmas.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have already seen this, but now that the cat is out of the bag, I can share some great sister and her husband are expecting their first baby! I couldn't be more excited for them. I get to be an AUNT (again), but this time the little peanut will be close to me. I can't wait to snuggle, babysit and love on my niece or nephew. 

They are going to find out the gender and that is on November 20th. I am not a surprise person at all, so I definitely love that they are finding out. Oh you best bet that I already got the baby a gift (gender neutral).

The patch isn't the only thing growing a pumpkin (that was their caption).

TWO. Last weekend Target had a sale on boots, buy one get one half off. I bought two pairs of boots and they are sooo cute. I tried on about 10 different pairs and I settled on these two. Right now, they have a 20% off these boots through Saturday. Sooo worth it.

Nora Cut Out Ankle Boot

Kamryn Lace Up Combat Boot

THREE. I love showcasing local stores and one of my favorites has an online boutique. I have bought several things from here. During the early days of the pandemic, you could shop online or through their Instagram and they would deliver to your doorstep. These ladies work hard and have the cutest clothing in their boutique. I have this dress in black and blue with a tie dye effect. It is double lined, soft, hides bulges and imperfections, is a great length and the perfect going out dress. They also have it in a long sleeve version which I have my eye on.

Double Lined V-Neck Dress
Double Lined V-Neck Dress (non affiliate link)

And I have my eye on this skirt. Pair it with a chunky sweater or a long sleeve wrap shirt like you can sort of see in the photo. This outfit (with the chunky sweater) would be perfect for family photos or holiday wear.

Ribbed Side Slit Skirt

Here is their Instagram, so you can check out more things from them.

FOUR. I got the girls the cutest shoes/boots last weekend at Nordstrom Rack. They are boots, but they have a small wedge to them. The girls feel like they are high heel boots this way and had to have them. If you see these at your local Nordstrom Rack, get them. The girls said they are comfy. Plus they are cute and perfect for Fall/Winter.

Harper Canyon Alexandra Wedge Boots

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

My husband was just joking with me about this. He said he remembers dating me (and others) and having to deal with this.
Sometimes this is me and other times I want a text back right away.
This is 100% true.

This has been me for the last 7 months.

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

Monday, October 19, 2020

Our Halloween Costumes

* This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

We were invited to a Halloween party this year and since things are still weird and crazy with Covid, we thought it would be a better idea to go to the small party than trick or treating. Plus the kids can trick or treat in this gated community.

BUT we needed costumes. Now Rory isn't one to dress up. Like at all. But every so often I can get him to. I told him to think of a group idea and he didn't give me one, so I searched the internet and found a few. I had ideas of being superheroes, but the hosts are being superheroes. Then I thought about Rory being Prince Charming and us girls being princesses. Finally, we decided on Toy Story.

Sutton is going to be Bo Peep, but she didn't want the pants costume. It had to be a dress, so we are going back to the first movie.

Bo Peep Costume

Avery has decided to be Jessie, but she also wanted a dress version of the outfit.
Jessie Costume

I thought about being Buzz Lightyear, but Rory said that it is a boys costume. Psh. So I decided to be Barbie from the 4th movie.
Barbie Leotard

Rainbow Leg Warmers

And finally Rory will be Ken. He went back and forth between Woody, Buzz and Ken. Ultimately, he wanted to match me. So Rory will wear this shirt and pair it with some blue shorts that he already has and loafers.
Men's Leopard Print Button Up

This is the look him and I are going for.
Ken and Barbie from Toy Story 3

What are you guys doing for Halloween? Will you dress up? Will it be a family costume?

Friday, October 16, 2020

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 everyone! Today is my childhood best friends birthday. Sadly, I haven't seen her in years, but we keep in contact through Instagram. And my fingers and toes are crossed that I can travel in the New Year and see her as I have a case that takes me to where she lives. It would be amazing to see her after this long.

Anyways, we don't have much planned this weekend. Today it is supposed to be a high of 72 and tomorrow 83. Our weather is just all over the place right now. But I am hoping that we can take the girls to a local pumpkin patch (one we go to every year) and grab a few colored pumpkins and check out the sights. What do you have planned this weekend?

Onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. So everyone was hyped up about Prime Day this year since it took place over two days. I for once didn't need much. I looked for a Nespresso, but they sold out quickly. I also looked for some beauty products, but none of the things that I wanted were on sale. I also looked for toys for my kids and didn't see anything that grabbed my eye. 

I got three things from Prime Day. First up, a doorbell camera and outdoor camera. I have been wanting a doorbell camera for years, but we just never bought one. Now it seems like everyone has one and with so much package theft during covid, we finally got one. I was going to get the Ring 3 Plus, but after looking into them more, this one fits our needs more. Plus this one has a lot less complaints about it. It has a 32 GB storage or you can purchase a monthly cloud option for $2.99 per month. And it comes with a charger where you can charge it every 2 to 4 months. 

Rory wanted to add in another camera for our backyard and he found a combo, but after looking at the individual items, it was cheaper to purchase them separately. Instead of paying $159.99 plus tax, it was $115 including tax. 

Do you have a doorbell camera?

Conico Wifi Video Doorbell

Conico Outdoor Security Camera

TWO. I also got two of my favorite mascara primers. I use this everyday. I put one coat of it on my lashes, wait 30 seconds and then add on Tarte's Lights Camera Lashes. This primer is amazing and cheap. I got a Prime deal for two of them for $11.02 including tax. They are normally $6.89 each plus tax.

L'Oreal Paris Mascara Primer

THREE. So I have been thinking about getting a weighted blanket for a long time now. I can't sleep without covers, blankets, or sheets on me. I need that comforted feeling. I have heard a lot of good things about weighted blankets, like they help you go to sleep quickier, they help with anxiety, they give you comfort, and help you stay asleep. I was looking around on Prime Day for a weighted blanket, but never bought one. I have my eye on this one, but I also want your opinion. Do you have a weighted blanket that you like?

Weighted Blanket

FOUR. Weekly funnies.

This is soooo us every time we take family photos.
With some people I don't mind this, but other's I am like just text me back. Ugh.

This is life now.
Haha. This is not me, but I see some of my friends like this.


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

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Apple Hill Trip 2020

 Well we went to Apple Hill about two weeks ago and I still haven't gotten around to blogging about it. Nor did I take as many photos as I have in year's past. I blame that on covid and wearing masks everywhere. But anyways, we still had the best time!

Our first stop was Abel's Apple Acres. We went there last year, but this year they didn't have the petting zoo like last time. They did have some horses you could go look at. And things were just not as exciting as last year, so we didn't stay long.

Next, we headed over to Boa Vista. This has always been a huge favorite for us. Again, they limited a lot of things, so we got what we needed and left. They only had about a quarter of the craft stalls and they did not have face painting which the girls were looking forward to. But we did get 3 jars of our favorite pickles from there.

Next, we headed to El Dorado Orchards. This place is dedicated to kids. They have crafts (and they had the normal amount), the train was open, and food was all open. Rory and the girls rode the train (with masks) and had a great time. Then we walked around looking for face painting, but they did not have it. I am not sure if they have ever had it there. We had a little snack and then went to our next stop.

El Dorado Orchards

El Dorado Orchards

Next up, was the Jack Russell Farm Brewery. This is a newer stop for us. This was our third time going here. Occasionally, we add or take off stops depending on what is going on in Apple Hill. This one is sooo fun. They have two or more food trucks, the brewery, a meadery and outdoor seating in the middle of the orchards. We all had lunch and Rory and I had blueberry beers. So tasty that we even got a crowler (can growler) to take home with us.
Yes the girls had more than chips. We also had fries, meatball sliders, and salads.

Jack Russell Farm Brewery

Next up, we headed over to Bodhaine's Ranch. After last year, I vowed to not go back after they were cussing in front of my kids, but Rory loves their apple pies so much, so we stopped there. We got two apple pies and shared a slice of pumpkin pie.

Next, we headed over to High Hill Ranch. Now this is the holy grail when it comes to places to visit. They have a fudge house, a bakery, a place for other baked goods, a pond, face painting, animals to take pictures with, all the crafts and a beer and wine garden. We don't go every year since it gets crazy there. But this year the lines were not crazy, so we went. 

We bought a pumpkin pie (which we devoured in two days including eating it for breakfast), the girls got balloon animals made, we took photos, we bought crafts and hung out in the sunshine.

All in all, it was a successful Apple Hill trip given covid. And this was all in California, which has way more strict rules. If you live near Apple Hill, you need to go check it out!