Friday, October 15, 2021

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! And we are officially half way through October. How is that even possible. Soon it will be Christmas and then 2022. I started Christmas shopping this week. With the threats of shipping delays, wanting to spread the cost out over several months and stores not having any products, I thought I would start now. And I am sure I am still behind. Ugh.

Anyways, onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. This one is just a personal favorite, but also a big accomplishment. I have been at my job for 15 years now. I hit 15 years on Saturday October 9th. So crazy to think it has been that long. I have traveled to 26 states and 12 countries with my job. Now I have traveled to other countries on my own since then and some of it is in part because of my using miles and points.

And just for fun, I went back through some photos and found this gem. This is me and one of my friends not long after I started my job.

Since I started my job, I have moved countless times, change worked teams about five times including once when Rory and I started dating (we were on the same team), got married, had my beautiful twin girls, been promoted and learned a lot about myself.

TWO. As a blogger, have you ever been scammed by a company? Where they said they wanted to partner up with you to review a product and they would pay you for the images. They even sent over a contract that you had to read, sign and send back over. Then you get the product, take the photos and then they ghost you? And their website is all of a sudden gone as well as their instagram. 

This is what happened to me recently. And the lesson that I learned from it? To google the company along with collaboration reviews to see if it is a legit company and to read from others who have worked with them. 

Once I did this, I saw the scam alerts on Reddit, other blog reviews of said company and then a website that shows credibility ratings.

Totally disappointed in myself, but figured I should share this so others can avoid it happening to them.

THREE. Have any of you seen and used the highly viral Revlon Oil-Absorbing Stick? I saw it recently on someone's IG stories and I want to try it out. BUT I wear foundation daily and I want to know if it still soaks up the oil from your forehead even with foundation on. So if you have used it, can you share if you liked it, if you used it with make up on and anything else I should know. I have used the blotting papers, but sometimes you just go through them more quickly.

Revlon Oil-Absorbing Stick

FOUR. As I said above, I have started my Christmas shopping this week. As I purchase things, I will share them because I have been at a total loss on what to get the girls this year. Yesterday I purchased them new scooters. They have been asking for the two week scooters ever since the neighborhood boys have started riding them. 

We did have these three wheel ones which was been amazing and have been used for about 4 years now.

Kids 3 Wheel Scooter

And here is what I bought them yesterday. It has a kickstand and folds up easily.

2 Wheel Foldable Scooter with Kickstand

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Apple Hill 2021

It is time for my annual Apple Hill post. This year we chose to go during the week and more specifically during Fall Break for the girls. That way we could avoid the crowds and find parking. We went last Wednesday and while that was a good day overall, I think we may go on Thursday or Friday next year as two of the places I had in mind were closed and were only open Thursday through Sunday.

If you don't know about Apple Hill, let me tell you a little bit about it. Apple Hill is located in Camino, California. It is a bunch of apple/berry growers along with some Christmas tree farms, breweries and wineries mixed in. There are a ton of stops you can make, but since we ever only go for a day, we usually hit up 5 to 7 places. I do want to go back for a weekend away and hit the wineries and breweries more.

Apple Hill Map
We first went to Boa Vista Orchards. This is one that we go to every year. They have apples of all kinds, pumpkins, other squashes, jarred goods, wine, beer, cider, a bakery, a bbq set-up and crafts. This is always a popular one, so we usually head there earlier in the day. 

This year we came looking for our favorite pickles and jam. We also scoped out their pumpkins, but felt like we wanted to get some from a place that you could pick them (a pumpkin patch).

We headed through the crafts and the girls spotted a face painting booth. They got their faces painted here last year and they wanted them again. They chose the same thing, even though we suggested they get something different.

Then we grabbed two slices of pie, one classic apple and one sour cream blackberry apple pie, and ate those while people watching.

Since it wasn't as busy as it normally was, we were out of there pretty quickly. Then we headed over to High Hill Ranch which is another favorite. This is a giant craft fair with a bakery and fudge shop sprinkled in. They also have a pond where you can fish at and on the weekends they have some farm animals out.

We immediately got our pies and then took them back to the car. After that, we walked over to the fudge shop and got some fudge (mint and divinity). Then we headed over to the wine/beer garden and got an apple beer (for Rory) and an apple and pomegranate cider (for me). We sat down and Rory took a work phone call at that time. I talked with the girls about the other places we would be going.

Then we went to all the craft booths. We ended up buying a ceramic sponge holder for the kitchen since ours was getting old and gross.

Next, we headed over to Rainbow Orchards to grab ourselves some apple cider donuts. Usually this line to get into the orchard is insane and then the line to get donuts and other goodies is crazy too. But not last Wednesday. I think there were a total of 10 cars there. 

We parked, went to the barn, and the girls picked some small pumpkins for the house. Then we went to the bakery and purchased a half dozen apple cider donuts and a corn dog for the girls. They were already hungry again.

Then we sat in the orchard and enjoyed our donuts. They were still hot, fresh and covered in cinnamon and sugar.

After we were done with our donuts and corn dog, we headed over to the Jack Russell Farm Brewery to relax and have a beer. This allows the girls to run around and play and for us to sit, relax and people watch. The brewery wasn't too crowded, but it was definitely a favorite of peoples.

Rory and I enjoyed a blueberry beer each and then got a crowler (can growler) of the blueberry beer and a peach cider crowler to go.

Jack Russell Farm Brewery

Next, we headed to Bodhaine Ranch for apple pies (whole apple pies), but they were closed and doing some renovations. So we went across the street to Grandpa's Cellar for pies, and they were closed as well.

So then we headed across the street again to O'Halloran's Apple Trail Ranch for some pumpkins. This place has a pumpkin patch, so we were able to pick out our pumpkins for carving. Plus we got a few Cinderella pumpkins for decorations outside as our pumpkins did not grow this year. Ugh.
This doesn't even show a quarter of the pumpkin patch.

We almost went back to get more apple pies at another place, but my parents went last weekend and we asked them to get us one since the places we were going to go are open on weekends. 

And that concludes our Apple Hill trip of 2021. 

I definitely recommend going on a weekday, but a Thursday or Friday is best, so that most places are open. Weekends are obviously the best for everything being open, but crowds. And it gets very crowded in Apple Hill on weekends.

And I will leave you with this because it is so true. But it isn't as fun when you just get them from the grocery store.

Monday, October 11, 2021

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.

I read two books last month. I started another book, Rock Paper, Scissors, but I haven't had time to finish it yet.

So what did I read this month?

Not A Happy Family - Shari Lapena
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense (but I feel like it is read like a Mystery)
Rating: 4 Stars

Not A Happy Family - Shari Lapena

I had been waiting three months for this book to arrive in my que. Everyone I knew said they really liked it. And I did as well, but I was a bit disappointed in who did it. I kind of figured out who did it and why, and then when it came out that I was right, I think that is what disappointed me the most. I love when I am left flabbergasted. But all in all, the book was enjoyable.

The book is about a wealthy family who has their children over for Easter dinner. But just two days later, the parents are found brutally murdered. Who did it? Everyone thinks it is an inside job and each child has motive. 

What really happened to the Merton's?

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there, and Fred and Sheila Merton certainly are rich. But even all their money can't protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered after a fraught Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.
Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of the siblings is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know.
Wouldn't you?

Survive the Night - Riley Sager
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 3 1/2 to 4 Stars

Survive the Night - Riley Sager

I love reading Riley Sager's books, so when I saw this one coming out, I added it to my list right away. It did take a few months for it to show up in my que. Now I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't my favorite. It was predictable, but that is maybe because I watch too my true crime shows. Though there was one twist that I did not see coming at all.

Charlie wants to move back home after her roommate is murdered by the Campus Killer, but she has no ride home. So she seeks out someone to drive her home through the campus notification board. Soon she meets Josh who agrees to drive her home. But as she gets to know Josh more, the more it seems like he could be the Campus Killer. Will Charlie make it home?

As I said, I guessed part of the ending, but there was a twist I didn't see coming. 

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the shocking murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father—or so he says.
The longer she sits in the passenger seat, the more Charlie notices there’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t want her to see inside the trunk. As they travel an empty, twisty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly anxious Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s jittery mistrust merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?
One thing is certain—Charlie has nowhere to run and no way to call for help. Trapped in a terrifying game of cat and mouse played out on pitch-black roads and in neon-lit parking lots, Charlie knows the only way to win is to survive the night.

What books did you read this month?

Friday, October 8, 2021

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 have another busy weekend. I feel like I say this each week. But we have another home football game and it is one of our friend's birthdays this weekend. And can you believe that Halloween is just over 3 weeks away? I can't.

Anyways, onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. I am going to share something that has been bothering me lately and maybe you are experiencing the same thing. What am I talking about? Dandruff. 

I have never had dandruff. Maybe that is because I used to wash my hair daily, but in the last month or two, I have had it. And it has gotten worse. So bad that I had to get something to stop itching my head. Yes, it was that bad. And I know I mentioned on Monday that I got a shampoo to help, which it has, but it shouldn't be used daily. Basically only once a week.

Anyways, I talked to my hair dresser and she said it is because all of the nasty fires we have had. The smoke and gunk from those months of fires went into our skin and systems and now it is slowly "leaking" out. And mine is doing it in my scalp and my skin. Everything is so dry. 

Well, I looked online for a good 4 hours trying to find hair oils or product to help. And I think I found something amazing. The first night after I got this stuff, I put it everywhere on my scalp. I used the dropper and put 3 to 4 drops in about 8 sections of hair. Then I massaged it in and I had instant relief. I did this at night for an over the night treatment. Then I washed my hair the next morning and put a little bit around my extensions, so it wouldn't look greasy. And it helped. 

And now I can use it if I feel like my head is flaking more and itching. And hopefully our air will improve and my skin and scalp will stop being so dry.

But I wanted to share this amazing stuff if you are going through this. And the best thing is, it uses essential oils and all good things.

Derma E Scalp Relief Treatment

TWO. It is Tarte's birthday, so they have had deals all week. On Monday, I grabbed their Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer (in 29N). Now I know I go back and forth with my love/hate for Shape Tape. But this ultra creamy one doesn't crease as much as the original one does. And it offers more coverage which I feel like I have needed lately.

Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer

Then on Tuesday I grabbed my favorite eyeshadow palette, In Bloom.

In Bloom Eyeshadow Palette

And finally, today I will be purchasing my favorite mascara, Lights, Camera, Lashes.

Lights, Camera, Lashes

If you are a member, you get 50% off. If you are not, you get 30% off. But it is super easy and quick to sign up. 

THREE. Does anyone else run out of all your makeup at the same time? Or close to? I seem to have that habit of it. I recently bought my favorite foundation (ahead of time) and started using the new one yesterday. Then I ran out of my mascara (and I am buying some today while using the last bits of it for a few days) and my eyeshadow primer.

I have been using Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer for years. I am not sure if there is anything else out there that works because this is my holy grail when it comes to putting on eyeshadow. My eyeshadow never creases and I have never had any problems with this product. And it lasts me about 6 months.

Do you have a favorite eyeshadow primer?

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

FOUR. Weekly funnies.

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

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The One Where Nevada Won

I had to document this last weekend as it was not only a fun weekend, but history was made. If you couldn't tell by the title of this post, Nevada beat Boise in football. This has been years in the making. Nevada hadn't won in Boise since 1997. And Nevada hasn't beaten Boise (at home) since 2010. 

About a month ago, we decided to go to Boise for the Nevada versus Boise game. I had never been to Boise, my best friend lives there (for a little over a year now) and a bunch of our Wolf Pack friends were going.

Since we made such late plans, we decided to make the 6 hour drive there. We left Friday morning after dropping the girls off at school. Then we drove 6 hours, checked into our hotel, unpacked a bit and then met our friends downstairs for a bit before heading to dinner at, The Wylder. My friend who lives there recommended it.

We were told there would be a 45 minute to one hour wait. But we lucked out and got a seat at the bar. We ordered drinks and then shared the Buttermilk Market Vegetable Salad, followed by the Mushroom Toast (recommended by the bartenders) and then the Bronco Pizza (salami, burrata and fresno chilis).

Everything was amazing!

Shake Your Coconuts
Shake Your Coconuts cocktail (basically a Moscow Mule, but with coconut)

The mushroom toast has 5 different kinds of mushrooms and was amazing!

They had an amazing selection of liquor.

We then went back to our hotel and hung out at the bar downstairs with all the Wolf Pack fans and some of the football players.

Saturday morning we got up, got ready and headed out to coffee and a quick bite at The District Coffee. We chatted with a bunch of Boise fans on who was going to win. Then we headed back to our hotel to meet up with our friends. Then we headed down to a bar called Double Tap Pub for drinks with the crew that traveled to Boise for the game. 

About an hour before game time, we made our way over to the Albertsons stadium and admired everything along the way. It is a lot like Reno, but cleaner and nicer. Just truly beautiful.

And before we knew it, it was game time. And even though we were up most of the time, it was still very stressful. But we won and it was pretty amazing!
This was right before the game started. The stadium filled up and had the most people ever attend.

Some of the Nevada fans we traveled with. Yes, there were women who came with us too.

And that was the final score! 41 Nevada, 31 Boise

The team celebrating after the big win!

After the game, we went to congratulate the team after their big win before they got on the busses for the airport. 

Then we walked back to our hotel, showered, got ready and headed over to The Fork for dinner. We shared some Asparagus Fries and then I had a burger with spiced bacon and local cheddar cheese. It was pretty amazing. Rory had the prime rib special.
Yes, Rory wore his Birks to dinner. He called this Boise style.

Such a nice downtown area. And we had drinks with our friends at the bar on the left (barely can see it).

Asparagus Fries

After dinner, we headed to The Mode for drinks with friends. We stayed there until 11 pm or so and then went back to the hotel with two friends just to chat and hang out for awhile longer.

Sunday morning, we had a lazy morning since we didn't need to check out until 10:30. We got ready and then walked over to the Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery to have brunch with my best friend and her family. Fun fact....Rory and I introduced these two. They got married and have a little one now.

After brunch, we walked around downtown Boise and grabbed a coffee. Then we headed back to our hotel to leave back to Reno. We snapped this photo before leaving.

The drive home was pretty quick other than a low tire pressure warning. But I think Volvo forgot to change the sensor alert at my service a few days before as the tire pressure on all tires was fine.

We got home around 7 pm and the girls got home around 7:15. We spent the evening catching up with my little ladies and prepping for the week ahead. 

And that was our fun weekend. How was your weekend?