Wednesday, September 30, 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 can't believe how fast September flew by. Today is the last day of the month! We are already into Fall and creeping up towards the end of the year. We are looking forward to Halloween next month and starting the holiday season. I am not going to lie, I have been wanting to start watching all the Christmas movies, but I am holding off and settling for some Halloween movies.

Anyways, onto this month's What's Up Wednesday...What's Up Wednesday
Sunday: Roasted Veggie Naan (we substituted naan for the pita bread) with Avocado Dip
Monday: Honey Sriacha Glazed Meatballs with Brown Rice and Carrots
Tuesday: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Wednesday: 15 Minute Lo Mein
Thursday: Unsure
Friday: Dinner out with some of my girlfriends
Saturday: We have a house warming party, so appetizers and dinner over there.

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT... What it felt like to work in an office. I have been working from home for 6 1/2 months and we don't have any plans on going back in anytime soon. I really do enjoy working from home, but I have to be honest, I miss my coworkers and the daily interaction.

Are you still working from home?

WHAT I'M LOVING... I am still loving my new neck/back/leg massager. I have been kicking up my workouts and this thing has saved me after leg days. Plus I have been using it a lot on my back. I know I wrote about this last month, but I have been using it a few times a week now.
Shiatsu Massager

Also, I have been loving my hair. Yep. I got hair extensions and I feel so different now. I love the way my hair looks and how easy it is to get ready everyday (minus hair washing days.

I have been using this dry shampoo in between washes and it make my hair feel cleaner, have volume and smells amazing.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...Well the girls started golf this month. They go every Sunday morning and they have been having a blast and are really learning to swing the club and move that ball.

We have also been going on lots of walks, going to the park and just trying to get outdoors as much as we can before the weather turns.

We have been baking.

We have been growing pumpkins and other veggies.



And we went to Apple Hill, but I have a post coming with all that goodness.

WHAT I'M DREADING... Nothing really. Maybe the cold weather, but that is more like the rain and snow and temperatures in the 30s and 40s.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON... Just work and blogging mostly.

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

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING... I am currently reading Sadie by Courtney Summers.

As for tv shows, I have been binging How to Get Away with Murder. It has been on my to watch list for a long time, but I never got into it. Well I was looking for a new show to watch and finally started it. I am on season 2 and I am loving it. Also some of my shows are starting to come and I am really excited about that. Fargo just started this last weekend. Also, I have been watching Bloodline with Rory since I watched it a few years ago and he never did. Such a great show.


WHAT I'M WEARING... Well we haven't gotten the notice here that it is Fall, so we are still wearing a lot of shorts, dresses and light breezy clothing. I have been wearing my Gibson maxi dress on repeat. Pretty much every week. This dress is so comfy and covers me up.
Gibson Stripe Rib Knit Maxi Dress

Even though it is warm out, I have been wearing my new leggings while I am inside. It gets chilly in my house, so I either wear shorts/dress and wrap up in a blanket or I wear my leggings and a tee/tank top.

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND... Well I was supposed to be going to Mexico this weekend, but American Airlines screwed up our flights and now we are not. I guess it wasn't mean to be. I am sad that it was cancelled again, but I had a feeling it would be. We have had 5 flight changes recently and legs of our flight cancelled. Sooooo now we are going to a birthday party and then a housewarming party on Saturday and golf for the girls on Sunday. Plus Walter has a grooming appointment on Sunday. Oh and I have drinks with my girlfriends on Friday!

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH... October brings Halloween, a mini trip to Tahoe, a couple house warming parties and some friend time!!!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW... Nothing much.
Monday, September 28, 2020

Show Me Your Books - September

 *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.

Last month I read three books and this month I read 4 1/2 books. One of them I did not finish, but I made it half way through. I almost finished another book before I published this post, but I didn't quite make it through to give you a full review.

The One - John Marrs

The One - John Marrs

When I heard this book was being made into a Netflix show, I had to read it. I love reading the books before the film/tv series comes out. This book hooked me right away. It goes back and forth between several characters - five to be exact. Each one of their stories unfolds and when you think you know what happens to each, you don't.

The One is about finding your one true soulmate. Even if you are married and think you have the right one, your body chemistry could tell you different. Would you dump your husband/wife to go meet your chemically chosen soulmate? 

I went back and forth on loving the main characters and hating them for the choices they make. But in the end, this book gripped me in and had me wanting to figure out what happened. I would give this book 4 1/2 stars.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

You Are Not Alone - Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not Alone - Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I loved the Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, so I have added any books I can find of hers to my to be read list.

The book is centered around Shay Miller. She leads an ordinary life, but wants all the things life has to offer. She wants a family, a nice house, nice things and more friends. But at what cost will she get those friends? Shay witnesses a horrible accident and soon two sisters, Cassandra and Jane enter Shay's life. They befriend her quickly and Shay couldn't be more ecstatic. She would do anything for them. But why are these two rich, beautiful and kind woman befriending Shay? What does Shay know that could get them in trouble?

I thought this book was really good. I wanted to know what really happened, but I just kept wondering why Shay was so gullible and couldn't get over things? I enjoyed this book and would give it 4 stars.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.

Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better.

Shay would die for them to like her.
She may have to.

The Hunting Party - Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party - Lisa Foley

After reading The Guest List last month, I added the Hunting Party to my list. I received it quickly and got to reading it. I made it about half way through the book and I just couldn't read anymore. The first half of the book just builds the characters, but I felt that I was reading the same thing over and over again. You get a glimpse into what happened, but not enough to keep me reading. I got bored with the book and just couldn't stick it out.

 A group of friends celebrates NYE with each other every year. Most of them are former classmates, but some bring their spouses each year. This year Emma organizes everything. She brings them to a remote estate in the Scotland Highlands. The only people who work there are a woman who is hiding from something that happened in her former life and a former marine who also seems to be hiding from his past. 

The gatekeeper finds a body one day while the Oxford group is staying with them. But I never got to find out who died and what happened as the book just wasn't going anywhere. If you read this book or get through it, let me know if it is worth it. I may try to read it again if it gets better.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

The trip begins innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps, just as a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead. . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage says. But how close is too close?


The Wives - Tarryn Fisher

The Wives - Tarryn Fisher

The Wives was definitely not what I had expected out of the book. Maybe I forgot what it was about when I put a hold on it, but I was surprised when I started reading it. Thursday (this is the main characters name) has a husband named Seth. Seth has two other wives. He splits his time with each wife. Thursday doesn't like this arrangement anymore, so she starts to look into the lives of his other wives. She also befriends them since they don't know who each other is. Thursday slowly unravels who her husband is, what secrets he holds and more about the other wives.

I read this and just kept wanting to slap Thursday. Why get yourself into this situation willingly? Then the story unfolds and you realize what is really going on. I liked this book, but the ending was flat for me. I would give this book 3 to 3 1/2 stars.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

The Night Swim - Megan Goldin

The Night Swim - Megan Goldin

When my app said this book was available, I didn't even remember putting it in my que, but after reading the synopsis, I thought it was right up my alley. No wonder I added it. I read this book in a day. I just had to know what happened.

Rachel has a successful podcast. She talks about previous murders in seasons 1 and 2 of her podcast. But with season 3 approaching, she wanted to do something in real time. She wanted to cover a trial as it happens. This means going to court everyday and writing about it on a blog and then recording episodes every few nights.

The podcast is about a rape trial. The star Olympic swimmer is accused of raping a teenage girl. But as Rachel is exploring the trial, she gets letters from Hannah asking her to help find out what happened to her sister, Jenny, about 25 years ago. 

The book goes back and forth between the trial and the crime 25 years ago.

I thought this was well written, captivated me and had me guessing what happened to Jenny and could it all be related? I would give this book 4 1/2 stars. If you love podcasts, you will love this book.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name—and the last hope for people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The new season of Rachel's podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation—but the mysterious letters keep coming. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insist she was murdered—and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases—and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

What did you read this month?

Friday, September 25, 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! We are officially into Fall and I am very excited about all the cozy clothes I SHOULD be wearing. But we are still sitting in the mid 80s here, so that will have to wait. Until then, we are soaking up all the warmth and sunshine that Summer brings.

Onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. I once again drank the blogger Koolaid (stole that saying from Lindsay) and bought the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo. I have used so many dry shampoos over the years. When I didn't use it often, I went with Not Your Mother's. It is cheap, smells fine and does a decent job. Now that I am using dry shampoo more often, I needed something better. I used to use Bumble and Bumble, but I didn't go to Sephora to buy it, so I opted to try out the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo.

So far I really like it. Just make sure you read the directions and don't just spray it in and move on. You need to spray 6 to 10 inches away from your scalp, wait 30 seconds, then rub it into the roots. You may have stuff that falls out, but basically it is just the dry shampoo doing its job. It supposedly cleans your hair, drys the sweat and oil, volumizes and gives your hair a cleaner look. 

Once I used it for a few days, I fell in love.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

TWO. I am trying to not buy much right now, BUT when my favorite pj place launches their Fall line of pjs, I had to grab a pair of the jam pants set. I have two dresses/nightgowns from Lates by Kate, but have never been able to get a pair of the pant sets. I bought one yesterday when they launched their new line and I got the red and white polka dots ones. I figured these are perfect for the Winter/Christmas season (hello Christmas morning photos) and something I can wear while working from home because let's be honest, some days we never get out of our pjs.

These pjs are soft as butter, comfy, stretchy and amazing.

Lates by Kate Jam Pants Set
Lates by Kate Jam Pants Set (no affiliate link. I just love these.)

THREE. Another item that I bought this week (2 of them) was for housewarming parties that we have coming up. I got my guggle jug when I was in Avalon, New Jersey. We went to our cousins (my cousin-in-law) wedding there when I was about 6 months pregnant with the girls. In Stone Harbor, they had the cutest shop and we found these. They had an area where you could test them out and they make a glug glug noise when you pour the water out.

Ours has been the topic of conversation so many times and everyone always wants one. It is the perfect gift for a wedding or house warming. Plus how cute are they? You want to make sure you get a real one. This one on Amazon is from the same company that mine is (even though mine was sold through a store front).

I have the green in XL (10 inches).

Gluggle Jug

FOUR. Weekly funnies.

This is petty, but it does feel good seeing how messed up they are after 15 years.

It's not as bad as Al, but sometimes flannels just don't work with my body type.

Dying over here.

Sorry Mom.


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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fall Favorites: Fashion

* 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.

It's time for another link up with Emily for Fall Favorites and this one is all about Fashion. I pretty much post a lot of what I have been wearing or wanting on Friday, but I do have staples that I wear and love for Fall and Winter.

I also posted about some Fall Sweatshirts that I really want and you can find that here.

Fall Favorites: Fashion

First up, a long cardigan. I live in cardigans during the Fall and Winter since I get cold all the time. I have this Leith Cardigan in black and green. I got both of them during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, but they are worth the price even when they are full price.

Leith Cozy Cardigan

I also bought the notorious Barefoot Dreams Cardigan that everyone raves about. And they are right! It is sooo comfy, cozy and perfect for people like me who get cold all the time. I will be wearing this daily especially while working from home.
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan

I will also be living in my 90 Degrees by Reflex Leggings. I am all about these leggings. Not only are they priced amazing at $28, but they suck you in, don't stretch out, are not see through and are comfy. The only drawback is they attract dog hair. But I just use a lint roller if I am leaving the house.
Reflex 90 Degree Leggings

My other favorite leggings are the Lululemon Align 28 inch Legging. These are probably the best and my most favorite legging. They are comfy, buttery, suck you in, are long enough, are not see through, and they hold up for wash after wash. The only drawback...price. But if you invest in one or two pairs, you won't regret it.
Lululemon Align 28 inch Legging

Fall Cozy Dresses are also on my list. I try to buy a dress or two each Fall that I can wear to work or on the weekends and last year I got this dress. It isn't available, but it fits my MO for what I like. Long sleeves, comfy, midi length and can be layered with a cardigan (ie the Leith black cardigan above). Sweater dresses are a Fall favorite of mine...even in quarantine.

Next you need a Fall bootie that you can wear everyday and I am still trying to find mine. I have some that I wear out (a pair of Sam Edelman booties that have a 3 inch heel with pointy toes), but I want a pair that are one inch or shorter heel, ankle length and comfy for long walks or travel (if I ever get to travel again).

Comfy tees is my final Fall staple. I wear soft tees under all of my cardigans and all Summer. I am always searching for the best one. So far, my favorite is Rag and Bone, but I only buy them on mega sale at the outlet stores. I refuse to pay $90 plus for a tee. But I bought a few Abercrombie soft AF tees when I went into a store and they are pretty amazing. They are on sale for $15 right now and possibly another 15% off.
I now want to add this top to my collection.

What are your Fall Favorites for Fashion and your go-tos?
Monday, September 21, 2020

The Time I Got Hair Extensions

 So last week I got hair extensions. This was something that I thought about for months. I asked my hair stylist about it on three different occasions and then finally decided to do it. The only thing holding me back was the fact that I am still working from home, so there is less of a desire to do my hair daily. But I don't have to do my hair daily and that is what finally sold me.

In this post, I am going to show pictures of my hair before, during and after. And explain what process I had done. In my next extension post, I will answer some questions that I asked and ones that my hair stylist just answered that are common.

So this was my hair before.

I have an A-line hair cut that has grown out. When I went my previous appointment, I had my hair cut into an a-line (again) and by the time I go back in for my next appointment, I don't have much of an a-line cut anymore as the back of your hair grows faster than the front.

The grown out a-line is why my hair is uneven here.

First, she colored my hair (I get a blonde partial or full weave each time) to my usual liking and brightened up spots in the front of my hair that hadn't had color in awhile. When you get a weave, you are mostly just touching up the roots, but we wanted to make sure my hair blended well.

Then after processing, she took my foils out and put toner on my hair. After that set, then she shampooed and conditioned my hair. After blow drying my hair, we were able to start the extension process.

Here is a photo of my extensions. This matches my hair almost exactly and it even has roots for a more real look since my natural hair is darker than my dyed hair (I have a dirty blonde to dark blonde natural hair color).
Human Hair Extensions

This is a long "piece" of hair. First, she sectioned off my hair right around my ears. Then she pinned my hair up and used these "combs" to keep any stray hairs up. Then she took the hair extensions and had me hold one side in place and wrapped the hair around my head. Then she made a fold in the hair, took the hair off my head and cut it.

Next, she took string and tied it to the first chunk of hair. She did this all along the sectioned hair and added beads along the way. Once she completed the whole first row, she took the hair and sewed it in. Below is what it looks like partially sewn in.

Those black comb things are the things I was describing that hold any stray hair up. As you can see, this piece starts above my ears, but it is at my ear length in the back.

After she had sewn in the first section, she repeated the process about an inch and a half to two inches above.

She did tell me that if at any time I felt pulling, pain or discomfort to let her know right away, so she can adjust any beads or string. You should only feel pulling, but not pain.

After she had both sets of hair in, she cut the extensions to match my hair more. This meant adding in layers to the extensions and my hair for the natural blend. As my natural hair grows out, I will have to add more layering in natural hair.

After a cut, she made sure everything felt fine and I was in no pain. Then she curled my hair and I was done. This is the finished product.

Overall, it was a great process and I am very happy that I did it. Next week, I should have the questions up. In the meantime, if you have any questions, comment below with them and I will include them in the post.