Wednesday, April 29, 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.

I feel this like month's What's Up Wednesday post is going to look a lot different for people. I am sure we will all have very similar what we have been up to's. I am really hoping to get out of this stay-at-home order soon so we can slowly acclimate back to "normal" life.

Onto this month's What's Up Wednesday...What's Up Wednesday

Sunday: Weeknight Spaghetti by Ina Garten
Monday: Turkey burgers with fries (from the air fryer)
Tuesday: Carne asada tacos with guac and fruit
Wednesday: Sausages and steamed artichokes
Thursday: Take-out pizza
Friday: Not sure. We are running out of ideas on what to make at home.
Saturday: Ditto to the above.

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT... Going to restaurants, going to playgrounds, going to the bowling alley, going to the beach....just about everything that isn't at home.

WHAT I'M LOVING... Being able to sleep in each day. My typical work day, I would get up at 5:30 am. Now I get up about 5 minutes before 7. 

I am also loving all the walks we take each day.

Family time.

Playing basketball and getting little workouts in.

Saving money. I usually fill up with gas about 4 times per month. Sometimes more if we go to the beach or somewhere more than an hour away. Also, we haven't been getting take-out that much, so that has saved us too. But our grocery bill is insane.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...Pretty much what the rest of America is up to...we have been hanging out at home, spending time with family and cooking a lot more.

WHAT I'M DREADING... That we won't get back to a normal for a long time. That we will miss out on a lot of the Summer activities because we can't get out of this stay-at-home order.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON... Keeping up with my blog, working out way through some tv series and working from home.

WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT... We rebooked our trip to Mexico for October, so I am excited about that. I am also excited about our upcoming Graeagle trip as long as we can still go in June.

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING... I recently read 
Room 553 - Britney KingThe Housekeeper - Natalie Barelli and Open Book - Jessica Simpson. Now I am reading The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell.

I am watching all of my usual favorites like:  Good Girls, Botched, Top Chef and Riverdale. And we finally started watching the last season of True Detective. We quickly binged Ozark and are awaiting Working Moms and Dead to Me to come out next month.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO... The TV in the background.

WHAT I'M WEARING... We finally have temperatures in the 70s and 80s, so I have been wearing comfy dresses and shorts. I have been wearing this dress that I bought last year and I recently bought another one.

Daily Ritual Black Sleeveless Dress

I have been wearing these shorts on repeat as well.

These tanks from Nordstrom are getting a lot of wear as well.
Chelsea28 Jersey Tank Top

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND... I am sure we will be taking walks and being outside.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH... I am hoping that May brings the end to the stay-at-home order and we can start to get back to normal. That means going to restaurants and taking the kids to play places like the playgrounds, trampoline parks, etc.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Show Me Your Books

* 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 had every intention on reading book after book during this quarantine, but that did not happen. I am not sure why. When I did read books, I flew through them in a day to two days. I think I need to read more books because it helps break up the work day, gives me a break from my kids, and a break from everything else.

So what have I read recently?

Room 553 - Britney King
Room 553 - Britney King

After I read Britney King's book Her, I was hooked by her writing. Her books are easy to read, captivate you right away and are just really good. Room 553 is about a two people who engage in an affair. After someone ends up dead in Room 553, everything leads back to Max, one of the people in the affair. Max is trying to prove his innocence and figure out how he was set up. But was he set up? Did he commit the murder? 

I had no idea of the twist that was coming, but I definitely liked the twist and finding out what really happened. This book is really good. Bottom line: read it.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

"She felt no remorse for drawing blood. In the context of their relationship, it had its place." 

For Max and Laurel, nothing is off limits when they meet in room 553. Their illicit affair is exhilarating, passionate--and dangerous. 

Driven as much by compulsion as pleasure, Max can't stop. His mistress is Jesus on the streets, and Satan in the sack. But when things take a sharp and sudden turn for the worse, he finds himself ensnared in a trap of his own making. 

Under heavy scrutiny by the police and the media, Max is hailed as a cold and evasive womanizer. He made mistakes, to be sure. But does that make him a killer?

Unnerving and addictive, Room 553 is a vivid and sensual psychological thriller that weaves a story of cruelty, reckless desire, and blind, bloody justice. 

The Housekeeper - Natalie Barelli

After I purchased this book on Amazon, I saw a friend on Instagram post about it. She said it was so good and to read it. Luckily, I already had it. This books grips you from the very beginning. Claire is obsessive. She stalks people on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. She pretends that their lavish lives are her life. All she does is lie to her one friend and her life is basically a big mess.

Claire finds someone from her past that she absolutely hates and makes a plan to become their housekeeper. She thinks they won't notice her since she doesn't look the same as she did 10 years ago. Will Claire's obsession get the best of her?

This book was really good. I just can't believe there are really people out there that are like Claire. Bottom line: read this!

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

When Claire sees Hannah Wilson at an exclusive Manhattan hair salon, it's like a knife slicing through barely healed scars. It may have been ten years since Claire last saw Hannah, but she has thought of her every day, and not in a good way. So Claire does what anyone would do in her position—she stalks her.
Hannah is now Mrs. Carter, living the charmed life that should have been Claire's. It's the life Claire used to have, before Hannah came along and took it all away from her.
Back then, Claire was a happy teenager with porcelain skin and long, wavy blond hair. Now she's an overweight, lazy drunk with hair the color of compost and skin to match. Which is why when Hannah advertises for a housekeeper, Claire is confident she can apply and not be recognized. And since she has time on her hands, revenge on her mind, and a talent for acting…
Because what better way to seek retribution—and redress—than from within the beautiful Mrs. Hannah Carter's own home?
Except that it's not just Claire who has secrets. Everyone in that house seems to have something to hide.
And now, there's no way out.
Open Book - Jessica Simpson
Open Book - Jessica Simpson

I had been wanting to read this book for a long time and it finally became available in my queue. I loved reading about her life, the struggles she went through, people thinking she was just a dumb blonde and her family life. I found this book to be very interesting and well worth the read.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

This was supposed to be a very different book. Five years ago, Jessica Simpson was approached to write a motivational guide to living your best life. She walked away from the offer, and nobody understood why. The truth is that she didn’t want to lie.
Jessica couldn’t be authentic with her readers if she wasn’t fully honest with herself first.
Now America’s Sweetheart, preacher’s daughter, pop phenomenon, reality tv pioneer, and the billion-dollar fashion mogul invites readers on a remarkable journey, examining a life that blessed her with the compassion to help others, but also burdened her with an almost crippling need to please. Open Book is Jessica Simpson using her voice, heart, soul, and humor to share things she’s never shared before.
First celebrated for her voice, she became one of the most talked-about women in the world, whether for music and fashion, her relationship struggles, or as a walking blonde joke. But now, instead of being talked about, Jessica is doing the talking. Her book shares the wisdom and inspirations she’s learned and shows the real woman behind all the pop-culture cliché’s — “chicken or fish,” “Daisy Duke,” "football jinx," “mom jeans,” “sexual napalm…” and more. Open Book is an opportunity to laugh and cry with a close friend, one that will inspire you to live your best, most authentic life, now that she is finally living hers.
Friday, April 24, 2020

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 feel like I start every Friday Favorites email with, well we survived another week of quarantine. Because well we did. But I am over it. I am happy that we are flattening the curve, but I am tired of just being home and we are going to just be home for quite awhile. I am hoping that by May 5th, our governor will allow us to go into Phase 1. Fingers crossed. I really want a Mother's Day brunch out and a day to myself. I know all of us mamas could use it.

Anyways, onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. Well I was doing pretty good with not really shopping for anything except for essentials on Amazon and then that went down the drain this week. I bought on a lot of different sites. So many of them had 50 to 70% off of everything. I couldn't help myself. I bought a bunch of Summery clothes which I hope I will get to wear one day. Ha. I bought from J Crew, Sephora, Loft, J Crew Factory and Abercrombie and Fitch. I haven't bought anything from A&F since I was in college maybe? But they have some pretty dang cute things right now and I jumped on that band wagon.

So what did I purchase this week?
A&F Slim Ribbed Crew Tee

A&F Drapey Pull On Shorts

TWO. Since I am a VIP Sephora member, I got 15% off of everything at Sephora. The sale is still going on and I am contemplating a few other items, but everything I bought this time around was a re-stock of items that I love.
Becca Anti-Fatigue Under Eyes Primer

Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize

THREE. From J Crew, I bought this blouse. I had a reward to use, so I grabbed this blouse. I can wear it to work or on the weekends. I got this for $37.50.
J Crew Scoopneck Blouse

FOUR. Loft was having a big sale and I could have bought more items, but I settled on this floral top and earrings. My total was just over $25 for both items.
Loft Flora Henley Linen Tee

Loft Marbleized Resin Earrings

FIVE. From J Crew Factory, I purchased three shirts. I spent $40 total on these three shirts and I got a mix of work and play shirts.
J Crew Eyelet Puff Sleeve Top
 J Crew Eyelet Puff Sleeve Top (I got it in blue, but it is no longer available. This is on sale for $13.96)

J Crew Eyelet Puff Sleeve Top

J Crew Textured Tie Front Top
J Crew Textured Tie Front Top (it is $9.50 right now)

I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything and Becky.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Summery Cocktail

Since we are still in quarantine, we have been trying new drinks like the Dalgona Coffee and cocktails like the one below. I am not sure if it has a name or someone who has dubbed it their own, but I know my friend sent it to me and we LOVE it.

Summery Cocktail
Makes 1

Bubly Sparkling Water (any will do, but we used the Watermelon one)

1. Muddle 2 blackberries and 2 to 3 mint leaves.
I don't have a muddler, so I made due with my honey dipper

2. Pour 1 1/2 to 2 shots of vodka in your cup. Make sure you use a quality vodka.

3. Add 4 to 5 ice cubes and then fill your glass with your Bubly water.
Watermelon Bubly Water
I searched my grocery store for this sparkling water, but they were all out. But then I came to one other display and there it was. The only box left. I feel like it was good to have a picture of it, so I could find the right color box. This stuff is really good!!

4. Stir everything up and then top with a mint leaf and an extra blackberry or two. Enjoy!
Summery Cocktail - vodka, sparkling water, mint, blackberries

Monday, April 20, 2020

Final Home Renovation Reveal

*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.

So I never really got around to showing you the rest of our renovations. I didn't take photos of our new baseboard throughout the house and I didn't take a ton of shots in Rory's bathroom. Life got in the way, but I did want to show you all an update. I wish you could see it in person because that really shows all the work.

Also, here is the reveal from our hall bathroom.

Here is a few before photos of my house.
 Very dirty carpet and tiny baseboards

This is my closet before. Embarrassing to show you all my shoes and everything messy.

And now for some reveal photos. 
 The girls closet. 

The girls bedroom. This shows the carpet that we chose. We only changed their carpet, closet and baseboards.

 Master Bathroom. I didn't think you cared about the toilet area, so I didn't include it. But look at how pretty the tile work is. And the shower is huge. Plus they moved the shower head and nozzle up!

 My Closet. So much better now. I have three hanging areas, storage for all of my shoes and sweaters and then I have my purses and hats up top.

 Our new flooring and you can see the new baseboards too.

 We got a beautiful rug to go under the dining room table since this photo was taken.

 Guest Bedroom. This give another look at the carpet. That dresser on the right side of the photo is gone. It was one of Rory's old ones and we replaced his two with a big Pottery Bard dresser.

And there you have it. Our house is basically new now. Our kitchen was done 3 years ago and the rest of the house was done recently. The only thing left we have to do is new doors inside and a new vanity in the half bathroom.

Here are some of the items we used:

Master Bathroom
Flooring: Acero Glacier
Shower Walls: Stone Talk Martellata Grey
Shower Pan: Misty Grey Hex Mosaic Netted
Countertops/Step/Niche: Fossil Gray Quartz

Gemcore La Jolla Flooring

Pounce Carpet - Sugar Maple

Local company custom made our cabinets

These were custom built. We have them a rough drawing and they built them from that.

Shower Enclosures
Custom built

Friday, April 17, 2020

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.

We made it through another week of quarantine. I feel like this last week to week and a half have been hard. We have been wanting to get out of the house more, but we can't. We go on walks, but that is it. We want to go play basketball, but our governor shut down all parks, playgrounds, rec areas, etc. I get why, but doesn't make it any easier. Then I pretty much broke down as it is tough working from home, taking care of the kids, schooling the kids and keeping my sanity. I feel like all I do is cook, clean and get a bit of work in. 

I know I should be grateful that I am still working, but sometimes it is just hard. I had my meltdown and I am over it now. I am still trying to look to the bright side, but sometimes it is tough. The girls miss school and their teachers and friends. We miss our friends and family. We miss going out. We miss the freedom to do whatever we want. It is just hard and I feel like it is ok to vent that.

ONE. This last weekend I watched the Joanna Gaines cooking special on the Food Network. Most of her recipes were from her first Magnolia Table book and I have that one, but it was fun to watch her and her daughter make some of the recipes during the quarantine and make substitutes since they are quarantining as well. 

Well, her new cooking show came up and so did her new cookbook that released on Tuesday last week. You best bet that I pre-ordered it and it came last Thursday. I can't wait to make the waffles with strawberry butter, the street tacos with the yummy corn, and the pretzels with cheese sauce. I seriously can't wait to make so many of these recipes. But I know we will have to wait on most of it as I can't find a bunch of the ingredients. I can't find flour for the life of me. Ha.

Did you pick up your copy?
Magnolia Table Volume 2

TWO. Has anyone else felt like they were in major cleaning mode since quarantine? I know I have done a lot more cleaning during this time. I have started following the ultimate cleaning guru, Go Clean Co, and I have cleaned out my laundry machine, the girls humidifier, I am going to tackle the floors again and I cleaned the bathrooms using her methods since I had to bathe Walter in my new bathroom. Never underestimate the power of bleach.

THREE. Speaking of cleaning, I bought a steam mop. I now have wood floors, tile floors and a bit of carpet. I have used the swiffer method, the Bono method and a plain ole mop. I feel like the mop does the best job, but I don't feel that comfortable using it on my new wood floors. But one of my friends recommended a steam mop to me. You just use distilled water in it and it gets your wood floors clean. She did mention that you should go over the area twice to get it the cleanest. I ordered mine and she should be here on Saturday. OH the joys of adulthood. We get excited over cleaning products and furniture.
Shark Steam Mop

FOUR. Speaking of furniture, my dressers came in from Pottery Barn. Look at how beautiful they are. Totally the worth the wait to get them on sale.
Brookdale Tall Dresser

Brookdale Extra Wide Dresser

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

I am linking up with A Little Bit of Everything and Becky.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Easter Weekend

I haven't done a weekend update in many months, but I feel like Easter weekend is a good one to recap. Even if we were in quarantine.

Our weekend started off at 11 am on Friday as we only work half days on Fridays and that has continued even when we are working from home. We gathered the girls and Walter and headed over to another neighborhood area to take a long walk. They have the best walking path that is wide, uphill and beautiful.

Then we came home and had sandwiches and the girls went down for a nap. Yes, they are still napping some days if we get them to burn enough energy off in the morning. That usually means a bike ride, walk or scooter ride around 11 or 12.

That evening I made pizzas at home and it is always a huge hit. Sutton always wants pepperoni and Avery wants cheese, so I make a little area just for them. There was also a second pizza that we had for lunch another day. The girls ate all of our toppings, so I am hoping I can make two full alike pizzas next time.

That evening we watched more Ozark. We ended up finishing it Saturday evening and WOW. Just wow. It was sooo good.

Saturday morning we got up, had some breakfast and then drove up to Lake Tahoe. There is a newer trail that runs from Incline Village area to Sand Harbor. We have walked it a few times, but right now is so perfect to do it. We are distanced from everyone, we get to be by the lake, we get outdoors and just have a wonderful time. We almost made it to Sand Harbor, but I forgot to bring snacks, so Sutton was getting tired. We did walk over 4 miles.
Lake Tahoe Nevada

Lake Tahoe Nevada

I posted some of these on Instagram and asked people where their favorite place was? I got a lot of responses about beaches which is definitely our favorite place. Lake Tahoe is my absolute favorite place in the US. It is sooooo majestic.

After our walk, we went over to a local burrito place and picked up burritos, chips and guac and a quesadilla to go. We ate them in the back of Rory's truck picnic style in the sunshine. It was absolutely perfect. Then we made the drive back down home and the girls took a mini nap.

That evening we were not very hungry, so I made this quick stir fry which we love. Then we finished Ozark when the girls went to bed. I also got everything ready for Easter morning. I filled their baskets, stuffed and hide eggs and then made bunny prints up to our doorway. I usually do the whole driveway, but this year, I just did the front step area. The girls loved it.
Easter baskets for preschoolers

Easter baskets for preschoolers

Easter baskets for preschoolers

bunny prints in your driveway

The girls woke up early, but we had them stay in their bedroom as we are trying to keep to a schedule, so the weekdays don't get too crazy with us working from home. Then we gave the girls some baskets and let them roam through the house!

After the girls found their baskets and hunted eggs, we made bacon and bunny cinnamon rolls. Ours looked more like Mickey cinnamon rolls, but the girls still loved them.
bunny cinnamon rolls

Then we took a walk as a family and then came home for lunch and naps for the girls. While the girls napped, I took a quick nap. Then we went to my in-laws house for Easter. Now before anyone jumps down my throat for it, we haven't seen my in-laws in 6 weeks. They have dropped stuff at our house on our doorstep, but never had any interaction since my FIL had a bad cold. Even though we had dinner over there, we did not hug, we kept apart and hung outside most of the time. And it was only the 6 of us.

The girls had another egg hunt, got more Easter gifts and we dined on ham, scalloped potatoes, tomato pudding, salad, rolls and my FILs spicy mustard. Plus we had some dessert before heading home. Overall, it was a great weekend.

How was your Easter weekend?

PS Happy Tax Day! How many of you got your taxes filed before they gave us all an extension? We did!