Loving Lately // January 2017

I thought it would be fun to introduce a new series once a month called Loving Lately.
Once a month, I will post about things I am loving lately!
Here are some things I have been loving lately....

// ONE //
I am loving this nail polish color. It has been my go-to nail polish color for the past few weeks. It's a perfect grey!
 This is my favorite type of nail polish because if you use the base coat & top coat, I have found that it doesn't chip for about a week!!!
I have 7 colors, but it comes in 65 different colors! I am telling you, this nail polish is the best!

// TWO //
My girlfriends and I watch the Bachelor together every Monday & we are doing the ESPN fantasy league. We had to pick a screen name for that & mine is “NOPE” because Nick is a big NOPE.
I am not on Team Nick...this is your 4th time being on one of these shows...NOPE.
Let someone else have a turn!
I ordered this Nope Shirt from here.
I will be wearing it every Monday night when I watch Nick's season of the Bachelor :)

// THREE //
These booties....absolutely loving them....so comfortable!
And, not too big of a heel #tallgirlproblems

They are on sale right now, you can save 15%.
They come in 8 colors. I have 2 colors, check them out here.

// FOUR //
Oh, the Instant Pot.
You are going to hear me talk about this A LOT.
I am obsessed.

I got mine in the Fall & I am shocked about how awesome it is.
It is way better than a crock pot.
I have posted two Instant Pot recipes so far...Korean Beef and Grammy's Split Pea Soup.
I am on a mission to convert all my favorite recipes to Instant Pot recipes....stay tuned!
I have the 6 quart, but the 8 quart is on sale right now for $30 off!

// FIVE //
One of my favorite things I am loving lately is planning Kate's birthday party that is this weekend!
Can you guess the theme?
I got those cute glitter picks here.
I can't believe she will be 10!!!!!
Stay tuned for the party post next week!

// SIX //
I finally started this book....Hope Heals.

Last Spring, our church had a women's dinner and Katherine Wolf and her husbands were the speakers....they were amazing. I loaned out her book and forgot about it...now I have it back and started reading it. Such an inspirational story!
Speaking of books....check out my post about the 60 books I read in 2016 here.
Any other book nerds out there?

// SEVEN //
I am loving the look of this Fit Bit bracelet.
I've had my eye on it for a few months because I think it looks better than the rubber fit bit cover. Does anyone have this? Thoughts? Do you like it?

// EIGHT //
These grey jeans are so comfortable & they are long enough!

I have been loving wearing grey jeans this winter...so versatile! And, they are on sale!

// NINE //
If grey jeans aren't your thing, try these grey cords! I got these last year & they are so soft and comfortable.

They are  on sale & under $35. Such a great deal, get them here.

// TEN //
The final thing I am loving lately is the rain....here is our forecast....I love it!
As you know, California has been in a big drought for the past 5 years, so all of this rain is welcome. 
 They are lifting drought restrictions throughout the state, so that is great news!

As I just looked back at things I am loving lately, for this month..... I noticed that they had a theme....they were all grey/silver in color. Ha!
I don't know if my Loving Lately will always have a color theme, but this month there is one....grey & silver!

What have you been loving lately?


60 Books in 2016

In 2016, my goal was to read more books than I did in 2105.
In 2015, I read 35 books. You can see the books I read in 2015 on THIS post.
In 2016, I ended up reading 60 books!!!!!! 
I couldn't believe I read that many!
Reading is one of my FAVORITE hobbies.
Here is a recap of the books I read......

Favorite Authors I discovered in 2016:
 There are 3 authors this year whose books I read for the first time this year..
I read 4 out of her 7 books, want to read more of them this year
I read all 3 of her books  & loved them all
I read both of her books & loved them both...she is coming out with a new book in February and I have already pre-ordered it.

Favorite Book I read in 2016: 
 This is a tough decision....I can't narrow it down to just 1 favorite book, so here are my 3 favorite books I read:

Least Favorite Books: 

Book that made me cry:
 Ummm....more than half of the books I read made me cry....too many to list.
This year I need to read happier books & ones that don't make me cry so much.
The ones that made me cry the most were....

Book that made me laugh:

Book that made me smile:
 It was so good to read another Harry Potter book, I've missed them!

Best series I read in 2016:
 This is easy....hands down the Women's Murder Club Series by James Patterson
 I started book 1 the first week of summer. 
By the end of the summer, I had read ALL 15 books in the series.
I'm slightly embarrassed by that.
But, they are SO good.
You must read them in numerical order.
And, they are based in San Francisco & the Bay Area, so that is fun.
I was so obsessed with these books that when I finished book 14 when I was in Lake Tahoe, I couldn't wait to get book 15, but I didn't have internet to buy it for my kindle on Amazon, so I went to one of the libraries in Tahoe, got myself a library card for that library and checked it out so I could read it.
That's how good this series is.
Book 16 is coming out this Spring & I can't wait!
Check out the series HERE.

Book that surprised me:
Love Mary HIggins Clark books....always surprising!

Biggest Beach/Fluff Read: 

Book I couldn't put down:
 All 15 of the Women's Murder Club Series by James Patterson
Most likely to recommend:
  The Women's Murder Club Series by James Patterson....you have 15 books that you get to read and all of them are great.
Author I want to read more from in 2017:
I would also LOVE to hear YOUR recommendations!
 What are your FAVORITE books of 2016?
What books do you recommend that I add to my reading list in 2017?
Can't wait to hear your suggestions & what some of your favorite books are!
           I can't wait to hear your book recommendations!
 I read a ton of the books you guys have suggested, so THANK YOU!
Book nerds unite :)


Grammy's Split Pea Soup

One of my favorite recipes is my Grammy's Split Pea Soup.
Every single time we went to my Grammy's house, when we arrived there would be Split Pea Soup on the stove. It didn't matter if we were visiting her at Thanksgiving or in the summer when it was 100 degrees out....No matter what time we got there, without fail as soon as we walked in her door she would tell us to wash up and go sit down & she would serve us her famous Split Pea Soup.

This was our welcome to Grammy's house and she did this up until she was 103 years old and lived on her own. Now that she is 105, she lives in a retirement home & sadly can't cook anymore.

Because Grammy is old school (aka...born in 1911) and never used a crock pot, she would have this soup simmering on the stove for 12+ hours. 
I got Grammy's recipe from her years ago and I converted it to a Slow Cooker recipe because I LOVE using a slow cooker and I don't have time to stand at my stove for hours stirring this soup.
As you might remember, I got an Instant Pot last Fall. 
To say that I am obsessed with it is an understatement. 
You can make Grammy's Split Pea Soup in a slow cooker in 6-8 hours.
You can make Grammy's Split Pea Soup in an Instant Pot in 45 minutes!!!!!
Here is what you need:

1 lb. bag of split peas
1/2 onion, diced
3 carrots
3 ribs celery
2 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced
2 T minced garlic
1 bay leaf
½ T smoked paprika
¼ tsp thyme
Cracked pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable/chicken broth, plus 2 cups of water
(or 6 cups of broth, up to you!)
****Optional: A Ham Hock. Grammy ALWAYS had a ham hock in her Split Pea Soup, but if you don't have one (or if you are a vegetarian) you can still make this soup. The smoked paprika gives the smoky flavor that a Ham hock would give. Sometimes I use a ham hock, sometimes I don't, but I always use the smoked paprika!*****
Dice the onion, carrots and celery (or if you are lazy like me......I use the mirepoix pre-diced carrot/celery/onion mix from Trader Joe's because it's already diced for you! So Easy & perfect for soups!)

Peel and dice the 2 potatoes:

Place the onion, carrots, celery, potatoes & garlic in the pressure cooker:

 Add the split peas:
 then add the bay leaf, smoked paprika, thyme & pepper
Add the 4 cups of broth & 2 cups of water (or you can add 6 cups of broth). Stir.
Secure the lid on the pressure cooker, close the steam valve, and set the cooker to high pressure for 15 minutes (Instant Pot: Manual function, set time to 15 minutes). 
After 15 minutes of high pressure, allow the cooker to release pressure naturally. After 15 of natural release, you can move the valve & release the rest.
Once the cooker returns to normal pressure, open the steam valve, open the lid, and stir the soup.
Total cook time with coming up to pressure, cooking, and natural pressure release is less than 45 minutes.
Taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings as needed. 
Serve & Enjoy!!
 If you make this soup in a Crock Pot/Slow Cooker, then you would just add all the ingredients and cook for 6-8 hours on low, stirring every 1-2 hours.
I hope you love this soup as much as I do. It is super healthy and SO easy to make.
I make it about 2 times a month during the winter months and I eat it for my lunch.
It stores for up to a week in the fridge and reheats beautifully. 

To quote Grammy..."This soup will warm your bones"

If you aren't a fan of Split Pea Soup (I'm talking to you, Kevin) then it's okay..... I will be sharing more a lot Slow Cooker recipes that I have converted to Instant Pot recipes.

If you missed my first Instant Pot Recipe, it was Korean Beef that I posted in October:
You can see the Instant Pot Korean Beef recipe HERE.
(I also have the slow cooker version of the recipe on that post also) 

I'm having so much fun using the Instant Pot. I didn't think anything could replace my Crock Pot...boy was I wrong!

So, stay tuned & let me know what kinds of recipes you would like me to blog, I plan on sharing at least 1 or 2 Instant Pot recipes per month.
In the meantime, you can check out all my other recipes HERE or on the Recipe Box tab above!

Happy Friday!


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