Friday, January 29, 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! I survived my first week after surgery. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. They were heard and felt!! I am slowly feeling better each day and hope (and know) that this will be my last surgery for a long time. I don't want to say ever because you just don't know the future, but for now, it will be the last for a long time (years hopefully).

Onto Friday Favorites and happenings.

ONE. I have been binging shows like crazy. Especially this week. I finished Tiny Pretty Things and Dare Me. Plus I caught up on some movies that I had saved on Netflix. Oh and my guilty pleasure, Riverdale, is back!

Anyways, I definitely recommend Tiny Pretty Things. It is about a ballerina school and it is a bit dark, provocative (lots of sex scenes) and the dancing is amazing. It is like Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl. 

Tiny Pretty Things

Dare Me came up as a recommendation and it is very dark, has a lot of kids drinking and partying, some murder and cheerleaders. It is full of vulgar rap music, and makes you a bit worried for our kids as they grow up. BUT it was still good. It took me a bit to get into it as some of the cast members are a bit hard to handle, but I did enjoy it. Plus I love watching cheerleader shows and seeing dance routines.
Dare Me

So tell me more shows that I can binge on Prime, Netflix or Hulu. I still will be stuck to my chair for the foreseeable future.

TWO. So remember how I told you that I received the Bala Bangles for Christmas from my sister and brother-in-law? Well I have been using them for about a month now and I love them. This is (was for right now) my workout schedule...Monday, Wednesday and Friday I do a combination of stair stepper, walking or elliptical and then weights. Monday is legs, Wednesday is arms and Friday is back/core. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I walk on the treadmill and do a lot of stretching.

But I have incorporated the Bala Bangles when I walk on the treadmill. I usually put them on my ankles, but sometimes my arms. It adds just enough weight to notice it and the calorie burn goes way up. After I am healed, I want to use them on the stair stepper.

If you have been going back and forth on these, I say get them. I love them.

Bala Bangles

THREE. So after talking to my husband about Valentine's Day, we decided to go out for it....BUT not on actual Valentine's Day. It is tough to get a reservation as we are at 25% capacity in restaurants. And they usually offer a prefix menu which is costly and not always what you want. AND we are doing this for our monthly date night. My parents (hi! and thank you) are taking the girls overnight the day before V-Day and we are going to a new-to-us steakhouse in town. Plus my friend is a waiter there and will be serving us! So fun for everyone.

Now normally we do something at home like a little date night and spoil the girls with something small, but this year we are just treating ourselves to dinner...oh and spoiling the girls a bit.

What are your Valentine's Day plans?

FOUR. This is your yearly reminder to back everything up to your iCloud, external hard drive or where ever you keep your data. I have been awful about this and my personal laptop is now 10 years old. 

After my mother-in-law sent us a video of the girls in the NICU, I realized that I don't have those videos on my phone anymore. I am not sure if they are on my iCloud or not as I took them with an old iPhone. I pray that they are as back-up. But I have been trying to update my laptop, so I can add them to my iCloud from there. It is just a slow process. 

And I also bought an external hard drive to put everything on. We have one somewhere, but last year after we finished the renovation, we moved all that stuff into a room in the garage and haven't brought it back out yet. So I bought this one as a back up, so I can add everything as soon as it arrives.

This is the one that I bought.


1 Terabyte Hard Drive

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

Been there, but not this bad.

This is how 2020 felt.

Sadly, I am sure a lot of people who don't know how to cook have done this.

This has happened way too many times to count.

If you can even read the shirt, bravo. It was sooo poorly designed.

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Kids Valentine Gifts

*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 week I asked if you guys wanted gift ideas for Valentine's Day, and I had a few people who wanted some ideas. I am only doing a few kids items, as gift ideas for men and women can be found in my Christmas gift guides (here and here). 

Kids Valentine Gifts

Heart PJ Set (top and bottoms) - We order a lot of things from Primary and these pjs are so cute. Plus you can get the whole family matching pjs!

Lip Smacker Lip Balm - I have given the girls these lip balms before and they loved them. They had the watermelon flavor and used every last bit of it.

Heart Tattoos - My girls love fake tattoos and these are ones that you can share with your classmates too.

Heart Sunglasses - How cute are these sunglasses? And they are polarized too, so better for kids eyes.

Heart Joggers - This could have gone under the Valentine's Day clothes post, but my girls would rock these year round.

Heart Fluffy Pillow - My girls love pillows and all things cozy just like their mama. And this one is pretty big so it can be used for more than decoration.

As you can see, pretty much everything is hearts. I feel like it would be harder to shop for boys gifts, but some of these would work for them too.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Or do you just do things for your kids? 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Show Me Your Books - January

*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 didn't do a Show Me Your Books post as I read one book. And this month wasn't much better, but I did read some good ones. I am combining this month's and last month's books. Yep I managed to finish two books, one each month. But to be fair, I am almost done with another book and will probably finish it at the hospital this morning...because I have to be there 2 1/2 hours early.

The Weight of Lies - Emily Carpenter

The Weight of Lies - Emily Carpenter

I got this book for free with my Prime membership and it is still free, so grab it! This is a new to me author, but I enjoyed this book. It took me awhile to get into it and I don't think it is because of the book, but more so the lack of time. But once I was half way through the book, I read the rest in one evening.

The book starts off with Meg Ashley, daughter of famous writer, who wrote the book Kitten. Kitten is based off a murder on Bonny Island. Frances who wrote the book, spent time there when she was 19 years old. When she was there a child was murdered and she wanted to bring light to the story. 

Now almost 40 years later, Meg wants to bring to light how badly her mother raised her and treated her by debunking the book that her mother wrote. She wants to go to Bonny Island and find out what really happened all those years ago. Plus she wants to pepper the book with her own story.

Meg quickly learns that everything isn't as it seems on the island. Who is she to believe? Will she uncover what really happened all those years ago?

I liked this book. It goes back and forth between passages from the book Kitten and Meg's story. Some parts were a little drawn out with life on Bonny Island, but overall, I enjoyed the book. I would give it 4 stars.

Here is Amazon's synopsis:

Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

Lies She Told - Cate Holahan

I blew through this book in a day. I loved the set up of it. The book is seemingly about Liza Cole who is a best seller author trying to come up with a new idea for her book. She writes romance suspense novels. One chapter is a chapter from her book and the next is about her life.

Liza's husband's best friend goes missing and after a month, her husband is arrested for his murder. All the while, she is writing a book that has similar themes to it. Is she using her life as a template? Everything gets worse once her husband's friend is found. Who is lying? What happened to her husband's best friend? What secrets will Liza unearth?

I don't want to tell more as it could ruin the story. Just know that the book grips you and has some trigger moments towards the end of the book. It was a very good book, but not very lighthearted towards the end. I would give it 4 1/2 stars.

Here is amazon's synposis:

Liza Cole, a once-successful novelist whose career has seen better days, has one month to write the thriller that could land her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses weigh her down in her professional and personal lives, Liza escapes into writing the chilling exploits of her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth, a new mother, suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she aims to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then, the lines between Liza’s fiction and her reality eerily blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including her own. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

What did you read this month?

Friday, January 22, 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. 

I am just days away from surgery and my fingers are crossed it happens this time. I have posts planned for next week, but I will be on here, here and there. My surgery isn't until 11:30 am (PST), so I have some time Monday morning to read blogs and keep my mind off of things. And after that, when I feel good, I will be reading more. 

Onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. So I have had my Our Place - Always Pan for a month now. It took forever and a day for it to arrive at my house, but once it was here, I broke it in quickly. And let me say that there is no breaking in the pan. That is just wording.

I had read a few reviews out there saying it wasn't big enough and that it was just ok. Well, I use this pan, my Le Creuset Brasier and my Le Creuset Stockpot. I have other pans, but I just don't use them anymore. I have made eggs, pancakes, pasta sauce, enchilada filling, stir frys, etc. in it and nothing sticks, it cleans easily and it is plenty big enough. 

It comes with a spoon/spatula that sits right on top of the pan. And it comes with a steamer basket which I have yet to use, but I know I will. 

Here is proof that I use and love this pan.

TWO. My girls got American Dolls for Christmas, and they absolutely love them. What they also love is brushing their hair. At first they were using their own brushes which are the Wet Brushes and it was pulling out so much hair. Then I looked on American Girl's website and everything is pricey and includes shipping. I didn't have a free ship code or any rewards (I used them), so I went looking online. 

The girls got some clothes for their dolls from Target's line Our Generation. So I went looking for brushes there and they had some with great reviews. I bought them online and had them sent to my house since they didn't have enough in stock at my local Target. 

They work great and it comes with a little spray bottle just in case the hair is really tangled. Plus they are $5.99 each and I think I got them on sale for $4.99 plus my Target card 5% off.

Our Generation Doll Hair Brush and Spray Bottle

THREE. After seeing Lindsay post on the heart shape plates at Target earlier this week, I decided to grab four of them for us. I saw them at Target when I was there last weekend, but I didn't grab them. And now they are sold out. So I ordered them online and I hope they ship properly and are not broken. But tell me these are not the cutest plates? And at $3 a piece. A steal.

Heart Shaped Plate

FOUR. Weekly funnies.


This is basic math people.

How I feel about most Zoom meetings.

Considering I USED to fly all the time, I would not be up for this.

It's called the Covid 15 or 19.

I saw so many Bernie memes and they were all sooo funny.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Valentine's Day Wear

*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 know Valentine's Day isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I still celebrate it. It is a bit different now with kids in that we focus more on them for this day than my husband and I. We have in the past gone out to dinner, but with the pandemic still going strong, I am thinking we will have a date night in. Maybe filets and lobster tails or crab legs. The possibilities are endless.

Anyways, in year's past I did gift guides, but with gift guides from Christmas so recent, I didn't know if you all want one. So do you want a Valentine's Day gift guide? Or a gift guide for kids? Or skip it this year?

I did come here today to show some Valentine's Day wear. Most of this you can wear all year long. Last year, I bought this sweater and plan on wearing it again this year. 

But if I was to get another sweater, it would be this one. I love that it is a light sweater and perfect for February weather in Nevada.
Women's Heart Sweater

Shopping for boy's Valentine clothes was a bit harder, but I think these two shirts are so cute!
I Steal Hearts Shirt

Little Valentine Shirt

And while I was at Target last weekend, I saw this and soooo wanted to get it for my nephew, but he won't be born until April (or around there).
Boys Suspender Valentine's Day Outfit

And now for the little ladies. I know my girls will want both of these, but not sure which one I will chose.
Amour Sweater Dress

Girls Heart Tulle Dress

I couldn't find anything note worthy for men. It was all pjs and underwear.

Are you dressing up for Valentine's Day?
Monday, January 18, 2021

Umbilical Hernia Repair and Diastasis Recti Repair Surgery Update

So I didn't want to put this out there until I was closer to the date, BUT I am having surgery next Monday morning (January 25th). I finally got everything rescheduled and with a different doctor. It is one of the original three doctors that I saw for a consult and I just feel like this is the safest option and I wasn't "pulled around" by them.

Let me back up...after my last surgery was postponed/cancelled, I was told that I would have surgery in January. I needed to follow certain steps to make sure I was healthy and could reschedule on January 4th. I was told that they were holding a time slot on January 21st for me, but to call on January 4th to confirm. This was after jumping through several hoops and after their vacation was over. 

I called on January 4th right when they opened, and was told that the first opening was on February 4th, but they had to call the hospital to make sure there was availability. I asked why the 21st, 26th, 28th and February 2nd had already been booked? She didn't have an answer for me. She said she would call me back that afternoon and I said ok. I never got a phone call back that day. Then I called the next day to pay my bill that was sent the day before, and was told that I would get a call back regarding my surgery that afternoon. Great. Guess what, no call. I even called her back and left her a message a day after.

And I still haven't heard back from that surgeon. When there is smoke, there is fire. I worry that even though I am a long time patient of hers (2 previous surgeries with her), that her front staff is just lacking. She is an incredible surgeon, but I feel like God is telling me that this isn't the right doctor this time. I also worry that they will mess up the coding with my insurance and have to deal with that on top of recovering from surgery. Or that my surgery will be scheduled for end of February (at this rate) and I have my sisters baby shower, Mexico and the pandemic could get worse and cancel surgeries. Plus the biggest concern is my pain. I have had a lot of pain over the last month. Sometimes stopping me in my tracks and contemplating the ER. I don't want to go that route as that means it is an emergency surgery with my intestines/bowels coming through the opening.

This wasn't a decision that I took lightly. This other doctor specializes in this and was recommended by the other plastic surgeon that I saw for a consult and did my hernia repair in 2016. He was fantastic and did an incredible job, but he felt that I was safer this route and had a significantly less chance of my belly button dying due to lack of blood supply. 

So I have umbilical hernia repair and diastasis recti repair next Monday. The diastasis repair (DR) is to close the gap in my abs from my sternum to the top of my belly button, so that another hernia won't (or has a less chance of happening) come back and to strengthen my abdominal wall. This is my third umbilical hernia and hopefully my last. During my second hernia repair, the plastic surgeon who recommended this new doctor, fixed my hernia and repaired my abs from my belly button down to my c-section scar. So that part is stable and strong, but my upper area isn't. 

I looked back on some blog posts from both hernia surgeries and after reading the second surgery post and recovery, it reminded me how hard this recovery will be. BUT hopefully this is the last time. Fingers crossed. 

If you could keep me in your thoughts and prayers next Monday, that would be amazing. 

Friday, January 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. 

We are half way through January 2021. And yesterday was one of my best friends birthdays!!! I wish I was celebrating with her, but maybe we can take a trip to Boise in a couple months. Fingers crossed.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. If you remember, I posted a Women's Gift Guide for Christmas. I said how I wanted the Ugg Sneakers and the Tory Burch earrings soooo badly. I have missed out on the Uggs countless times as my size always sells out and the TB earrings, I wanted sooo badly in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and missed out again. Well, my husband got me both for Christmas and both have been worn several times. 

Ugg Olive Sneakers

Also, I got the Bala Bangles from my sister and brother-in-law. They are awesome. I wear them around the house and started wearing them while I do the stair stepper at the gym!!!

Bala Bangles

TWO. One of the non Christmas items that I recently purchased and absolutely love is my Shark handheld vacuum. I have a Shark vacuum for regular vacuuming and it is the best that I have used. No sense in paying $500 plus for the Dyson when Shark is just as comparable if not better (in my opinion). So when I saw this handheld vacuum at Costco, I did a bit of research on it and then ultimately went back to Costco and picked one up. 

You guys, I use this thing daily. I have a Roomba that runs daily, but sometimes she doesn't pick everything up or my kids crumbs get everywhere. I have even used it in my car. So worth the price (which isn't bad at all). 

It is easy to use and has a charging station. Plus the cup/bin holds a lot of dirt, crumbs and messes.

Shark WandVac Handheld Vacuum

THREE. So one of my "goals" and I say that loosely is to drink more water. I set this all the time and some days I kill it and others I barely drink 24 ounces (of just water...not coffee, wine, tea, etc.). And I blame it on pure laziness. 

When I worked in the office, we had a water service. I would fill up my Hydro Flask every morning and throughout the day. It was a way of getting up, getting at least 250 steps in an hour (that was my Fitbit, now I have the Garmin), and just moving. Now that I am at home, I fill up my water cup, drink that along with coffee and then I don't fill it back up until dinner time most days. 

So I thought I would change that. I got myself a gallon water bottle. Yes it is massive, and I bring it to the gym, but so far it has held me accountable. I finish it daily and feel like I drank a lake of water daily. Ha. And I pee way too much now. Ha. 

This is the water bottle I got. I fill it up in the morning with filtered water and a ton of ice. That way my water stays cold all day and I get the right amount of water.

QuiFit Gallon Water Bottle

FOUR. I feel like I am jinxing this putting it out into the universe, but hopefully third time is a charm. We booked a trip to Mexico for Spring Break. The girls get a week break in mid March and our family had an opening at their condo that week, so we grabbed it, rebooked our flights and are hoping for the best.

The biggest thing that stopped our trip in October was American Airlines changing our flights 5 times and cancelling one leg of our trip. The flights that were changed or cancelled with the tiny planes with two seats per side and about 18? rows. The new flights are all 6 seats, 3 seats per side and are filling up. So fingers crossed. Plus, fingers crossed that with the vaccine out that things start to get better COVID wise.

Are you going anywhere for Spring break?

FIVE. Weekly funnies.

Yep she is just crazy. Who has time to mow their lawn twice a week?

She is definitely winning!

This is sooo true. The only problem is when your glasses fog up.

I have been in many meetings that feel like this. And for the record, I have two tattoos.

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

Monday, January 11, 2021

Twins Birthday and NYE Recap

I can't believe the holidays are over. It is a bit of a let down with taking all the Christmas stuff down and moving on. But I was so ready for a new year, so I am embracing it. And yes, all of my Christmas stuff was down prior to New Year's except my two trees. Those came down 2 days after New Year's.

The girls birthday was on a Tuesday this year, but that doesn't mean that we didn't celebrate with them. They sooo wanted to have a party, but with all of our closures, lockdowns and the state of the world, the girls are going to have to wait til their next birthday. But we still made the most of it.

Don't worry, there was more decorations around the house.

We took the girls to their favorite breakfast spot. Well the runner up as their favorite was closed on Monday and Tuesdays. And they wore their new J Crew dresses and sparkly velvet leggings. Oh and the Frozen 2 sequin jackets they got for Christmas!

After breakfast, we headed home for a bit so we could get some work done and the girls watched some shows. Plus the girls opened up their gifts from us.

Then we headed to a local trampoline park to jump for two hours. They have the best set up right now. You make reservations online for your jump time and only people 10 years and older wear a mask. Plus they have you sanitize your hands every 15 to 30 minutes. There were people there, but you are so spread out and they only let so many jump at a time, so it was perfect.

After two hours of jumping, we were all tired. We headed to Adidas to exchange the girls new shoes for a size bigger for Sutton. Avery took Sutton's size and we got Sutton a new one.

Then we headed home to work more while the girls played with their new toys.

That evening my in-laws came over and we had pizza (the girls choice and from their favorite place) and then had cake. My girls love cupcakes and pie, but are not huge cake fans, so I got them an ice cream cake. Look at how cute it is. The only problem was it said to sit out for 10 minutes before cutting, but after 30 minutes it was still difficult.
They forgot the Happy Birthday Sutton and Avery candy sign. Ugh.

After cake and pizza, the girls opened gifts from my in-laws and then they played with them for awhile. The girls then went to bed as they were headed to my parents house the next day to celebrate their birthday and allow us to work.

Even though it wasn't the birthday that I imagined for them, I think it was still fun for them. Hopefully this year they can have a party!

Onto, New Year's Eve. We made some last minute plans to head into the mountains with some of our friends and kids to celebrate NYE. It was just 8 adults (and some were family) and then 5 kids. It was a lot of fun. We had steak and crab plus sides for dinner, drank champagne, celebrated early with the kids and then again at midnight just the adults. We stayed up there from Thursday to Saturday morning and had the best time. We all were safe and thought this was a better idea than going out. Here is some pictures from the evening!

Yes those are cozy sequins joggers. The best!!!!

And that is how we rang in the New Year! How did you ring in the New Year?
Friday, January 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. 

And just like that we are into 2021. How crazy is that? Let's hope this year is kinder to us all and things start to normalize. I feel like I have been saying that for many months, but let's just hope it finally becomes true. 

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. I didn't blog last Friday since it was New Year's Day and I wasn't reading any blogs, so I didn't know if anyone was reading my blog. So this is the first Friday favorites of 2021. And where I want to ask you all what do you want from my blog? More of the same? More family life/motherhood? More fashion? More recipes? Bring back weekly updates/weekend updates? 

TWO. Last year I set a mini goal to read four books a month. It wasn't an official goal, but back in January 2020, I said I would try to read four books a month. A few months I surpassed it and many months I read only one or two. Like December. But I averaged three books a month for a total of 37 read. I think that is pretty great. Now I want to set the goal of reading 4 books again. Let's see if I can do that this year.

THREE. On New Year's Eve, I wore the comfiest sequin joggers. I have seen some fellow bloggers wear these, and I grabbed a pair locally. They have an online store too. These are amazing, comfy, hold up well even after washing and perfect for celebrating while quaranting.

Party at Home Sequin Joggers

I am wearing them here! And they are pulled up a bit with the bottom cuff tucked. You can make them as long or short as you want!

FOUR. You all know my love for Lululemon Align Leggings. I own two pairs and want another 5 so I can wear them daily. But they cost a lot and I just wait to get gift cards, wait for sales and then occasionally add a new pair to my collection. Well, Lululemon has an area called We Made Too Much and they have sales on those items. They put out another style to the align leggings with a twist top. I read the reviews, ordered these and got them. And I am happy to report, they are amazing. I order down in the align leggings. I am between a 4 and 6 in most Lulu items, but I get a 4 in these. 

I was worried you would see the twist with tops when you don't want to, but it lays really flat. They stay up all day and are as buttery soft as the regular align leggings. And they are still on sale. Grab yourself a pair!! Normally $118, on sale for $69.
Lululemon Align Twist Legging

FIVE. Weekly funnies.
I know many of us are feeling this way.

Another reason to love Ryan Reynolds.

Thank goodness I haven't had a Zoom meeting yet.


I don't know why I found this so funny, but I did.

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