Thanks for joining me for another Nine Favorite Things post!

Nine Favorite Things | halfbakedharvest.com

Happiest Valentine’s Day everyone! It’s a very snowy Valentine’s day here, so absolutely no plans other than cooking all day and testing new recipes! I’m not someone who goes all out for Valentine’s Day by any means. But I do have fun with just about any holiday. I love any excuse to enjoy some candles, flowers, and chocolates…valentine or no valentine. How about you guys?

I’m obviously flying solo this year and not stressing about it either. Oddly that’s not something I feel a whole lot of pressure on, which is strange since I stress about almost everything. I feel like there’s no point in stressing. When the time is right, and the person is right, the stars will all align. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I’ve got so many other things in my life to focus on right now. So, if anyone else is also flying solo this year, don’t be bummed, you’re not alone. Find something you love to do today and pour yourself into that. Have confidence that your time will come, but don’t stress on it. Live your life and just let it play out. That’s my two sense anyway…but I’m by no means any kind of relationship expert.

No matter how you’re celebrating today, I’m hoping you have something fun and or relaxing planned. And no matter what, I hope you end the night with chocolate. It’s an absolute must. I might try and do a little girl’s night with Asher since I’ve been blowing her off for weeks on our sister’s night. Tonight feels pretty fitting. Any good, must-see movies? I didn’t grow up watching the classic “chick flicks”, because I was the biggest tomboy. Kind of hard not to be with five brothers and a mother that was never really into girly things. So I need ideas! All I know is Pretty Women, which honestly, she’d probably love because she’s 12 going on 18. Oh! Maybe The Devil Wears Prada? I feel like she might love that too. What’s your favorite chick flicks?

Let’s see, what else. Not much new to report around here. I’ve had my head down writing the last few days really trying my best to finish up a project. But it’s hard when we have multiple projects we’re trying to juggle and manage. One of them being a site redesign that’s so close to being completed. Read so close. I’ve been slacking big time on the launch due to timing issues. I want to be sure it’s pretty close to perfect before we launch so there are no issues. So something new to look out for that’s coming soon. We hope it’s going to improve your experience reading HBH. And a big shout out to my mom, who’s really the one that’s been working hard on that.

Question: Before we finish everything up, is there anything you’d love to see improved on the site? You guys know I really love your feedback, so let me know!

Lastly, my disaster of the week? I baked up a cake four times in one day, making just the slightest adjustment with each test. On the fourth test, I got it just right. Twas’ the perfect cake, it looked incredible and smelled even better. As I was pulling it out of the oven I dropped it. I almost cried, but then I just laughed, threw it up on Instagram, and moved on. I get a lot of questions about how I do things so perfectly all the time. That example right there goes to show you that I’m just like everyone else. I make mistakes, and trust me, I make them often.

Coming up this week in HBH, we’ll be sharing a new Mexican recipe that’s a healthier version of one of my brother’s favorite dishes. Then a simple blueberry dessert that’s perfect for wintery baking days. For Wednesday, we’ve got a fun new meatball recipe. And for Thursday, something light and fresh. For Friday, we’ll of course have something sweet to end the week…which is honestly still up on the air. And…maybe even a new cocktail recipe coming up on Saturday…if I can pull it off.

Actually, speaking of cocktails, I’ve been thinking it would be fun to bring them back once a month. Say the first Saturday of every month? I love to share new cocktails with you guys. But I usually reserve them for my holiday cocktail series that runs from October through December. So my question is, would you enjoy a new cocktail once a month throughout the year? Once a month is a little more manageable than every Saturday, so let me know what you think!

1. Things i’m loving, wanting, and excited to try…

watching…Framing Britney Spears. Have you seen it yet? I don’t have Hulu, but am considering at least doing the free trial just to watch this. I’ve heard it’s a must-watch and I have to admit, I am pretty curious.

loving…Tan Luxe. I recently start using the face drops, body drops, and then also the gradual tan lotion. I’m loving the added color on my skin. Equally awesome is that there is no weird residue or orange hands.

listening to…Tom Brady: How to Reach Peak Performance on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. I didn’t know anything about Tom Brady before listening, so I found this so interesting.

loving…Zara Home Finds. I’ve been waiting for this terracotta plate to become available for weeks. I’m loving this matte copper flatware. And this mini wood stool would be so cute in a bathroom.

loving…these Knotted Sandals from Zara. I’m ready for that tropical vacation…which we don’t have planned, but you never know!

ordered…Alo Alosoft Lounge Legging. In black this time. I am obsessed with these, they’re so comfortable.

loving…these Light Switches. One of my biggest pet peeves is visible light switches and outlets, but these are so “chic” that I don’t think I would mind.

listening to…Bobbi Brown Shares Advice For Aspiring Entrepreneurs on Life with Marianna.

2. My Top 5 Date Night Recipes

One Skillet Greek Meatballs and Lemon Butter Orzo | halfbakedharvest.com

One Skillet Greek Meatballs and Lemon Butter Orzo

Saucy Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Rice Noodles | halfbakedharvest.com #shrimp #easyrecipes #healthy #seafood #thairecipes #asian

Saucy Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Rice Noodles

Spicy Pesto Pasta Alla Vodka | halfbakedharvest.com

Spicy Pesto Pasta Alla Vodka

Easy Sheet Pan Tomato Herb Pizza | halfbakedharvest.com

Easy Sheet Pan Tomato Herb Pizza

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Pesto Pasta

Bonus Desserts…

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake | halfbakedharvest.com

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake

Easiest Coconut Banana Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting | halfbakedharvest.com

Coconut Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Strawberry Conversation Heart Cupcakes | halfbakedharvest.com

Strawberry Conversation Heart Cupcakes

3. Favorite Table Lamps…

As you guys know, I’m really into home improvements right now. I’ve been trying to do little things each week that will hopefully add up to a completed space that feels warming, welcoming, and inspiring. I’ve had the same desk lamp since the time I was in middle school (I’m talking 6th grade). It’s a Target buy and I’m going to be honest, while it’s held up well, I couldn’t be more over the purple shade with beads handing off of it. It’s time for an upgrade. Here are the ones I’m loving most right now…there are SO many.

4. Favorite Questions of the Week…

q: What is your Hogwarts house? 
a: I would hope Gryffindor!

q: How much time do you work on photos, Instagram, and blogging?
a: Photos take up a HUGE chunk of time. I only use natural light, so when I’m cooking/photographing I’ll spend the entire day working through recipes and photos. Sometimes photos go quickly, but most of the time I spend way too much time making the photo just right

Instagram also takes up a HUGE chunk of time. I put a lot into it and try to be as active as I can with you guys. So I spend a good chunk of my mornings and nights working solely on IG… creating stories, posts, reels, and messaging you guys. I love it though!

And I write 6 blog posts a week, so I spend a lot of time on the blog too! I don’t track hours, so it’s hard to give exact times

q: What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
a: Definitely hiking. But I love anything outside. If I happen to be in Florida, all I want to do is sit in the sun…someone please take me Florida. Haha!

fun fact: palm trees are my favorite! I love them. I think the trees in Florida…or tropical destinations specifically…are just the BEST. They just scream RELAX!

q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure meal that you have not posted on your site or in your cookbooks?
a: It’s not a guilty pleasure, I don’t really believe in that. BUT If I had to pick something, I would say I just posted it last week. It took me forever to share my buffalo chicken pizza and it’s for sure one of my favorite foods. I actually love it minus the chicken and plus a whole lot of buffalo sauce. So a buffalo hold the chicken cheesy pizza.

q: What’s the next place on your travel bucket list?
a: Anywhere with turquoise blue water. Right now Brazil is at the top of my mind.

5. Inspiring Me On Pinterest This Week.

(above photos via our Pinterest Home board)

(above photos via our Pinterest Flower board)

(photos above via our Pinterest Beauty board)

(above photos via our Pinterest Inspiring Quotes board)

6. Morning Routines, do you have one?

It feels like everyone is talking about their morning routines, do you guys have one? I have to say, my morning routine is one I have down to a T. I look forward to it every day. Since I get this question so often, I figured I’d share mine with you guys. It’s pretty basic, but it really does work well for me.

I’m up pretty early, usually between 6 and 6:30, I always strive for the earlier time, but I sleep through my alarm almost daily, so it’s closer to 6:30 am. I LOVE being up early. The first couple hours of the morning are when the least amount of people tend to need me, so it’s usually my only time that I’m really able to disconnect. I pop out of bed and immediately drink a glass of warm water. I wish I did warm water and lemon. Somehow I just can’t seem to commit to squeezing a fresh lemon first thing in the am.

Once I have water in me, I’m literally out the door for a hike within ten minutes of getting out of bed. I throw on my clothes and shoes and I’m gone. This is my favorite time of the day. I don’t listen to anything while I am hiking. Instead, I let my mind wander. Sometimes I think about work, sometimes recipes, and then sometimes it’s just very random life stuff. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s nice to not be “on” and to think freely.

Once I’m home, I make coffee, always add protein powder to the steaming cup, and grab something to eat. I’ll usually sip coffee as I shuffle through things on the computer for ten or so minutes (I love these ten minutes so much). This is usually when I find most of the links I share below for all the “links I am loving”. I save them in my notes on my computer throughout the week.

I don’t ever open my phone or email though. I’m really good about not getting on email or my phone until I head to the studio. And I don’t usually open up Instagram until 9 am or so. I don’t want to be distracted by DM’s, texts, and emails in the morning. Instead, I want to focus on my task list and what I need to get done that day. Once I have my day figured out, then I’ll usually throw up an Instagram story or post, and then I’ll start the workday.

It’s nothing crazy by any means, but it does work for me.

Improvements I would love to make?

– making my bed every morning. Of everything listed here, I think this will be doable for me. I started today and it took maybe 3 minutes. I can handle that and I love the feeling of having my bed made and looking cute.

– adding lemon to my water. This could be tricky, but if I get into the routine of doing it, I think I can stick with it.

– 5 to 10 minutes of stretching. I’d love to do this in the morning, but I admit that realistically, I see this happening more at night.

– writing in a gratitude journal. I’ve heard so many people rave about gratitude journaling first thing in the morning. I’ve never been one to journal, like ever, but I am curious to give it a try.

Sooo, I’m curious: do you have a morning routine? Is there anything you do that you swear by?

7. Favorite Links I am Loving…

The Biggest Takeaways From the ‘Free Britney’ Documentary…have you watched it?

See Leanne Ford’s Latest Project…before HGTV viewers do.

20 Years Later, Justin Timberlake Has An Apology For Britney Spears & Janet Jackson…Sunday reading

How Miranda Kerr Feels at Home…love her kid friendly home

8 Trends That Will Infiltrate Every Stylish Home This Year…loving the velvet trend and statement pieces. 

At Home with Roman & WilliamsRoman and Williams Guild is one of my favorite places to shop for tableware (though it is very pricy), love this interview. 

Kelly Wearstler Unveils New Paint Color Collection with Farrow & Ball…love these colors. Especially Tar and Palm.

Brow Boot Camp…obsessed with a thick eyebrow, loving these tips.

Designers Compete for Their Own HGTV Show in Design Star: Next Generation…see the exclusive trailer.

10 French Windows Define This Photographer’s Bordeaux Apartment…such a cute French apartment.

My Friend Looks 10 Years Younger Than She Is, So I Did Her Skincare for 5 Months…love reading other people routines. If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s read this for tips. 

6 Bridal Trends We’re Betting We’ll See Once Weddings Are a Thing Again…some of these dresses are beyond gorgeous. The Oscar de la Renta Spring 2021 Bridal Collection is just so pretty. 

3 Protein-Rich Smoothies That Taste Like Actual Dessert…perfect for breakfast on the go or just an afternoon snack.

The $20 Oil-Serum That Banished Our Dry Winter Skin…I love this skincare line.

9 Easy Date Night Ideas for Every Relationship…including the one with yourself.

4 Non-Toxic Face Tanners…if you are looking for a glow.

The Best At-Home Valentine’s Day Plans…last minute ideas for today.

8. Casual + Cute Winter Looks…

Lots of Nordstrom sale finds!

9. This Weeks Dinners.

Easy Greek Sheet Pan Chicken Souvlaki and Potatoes | halfbakedharvest.com

Monday: Easy Greek Sheet Pan Chicken Souvlaki and Potatoes

Saucy Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Rice Noodles | halfbakedharvest.com #shrimp #easyrecipes #healthy #seafood #thairecipes #asian

Tuesday: Saucy Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Rice Noodles

Flaky Broccoli Cheddar Soup Mini Pies | halfbakedharvest.com

Wednesday: Flaky Broccoli Cheddar Soup Mini Pies

Weeknight Ginger Chicken Pho | halfbakedharvest.com

Thursday: Easy Sesame Chicken and Noodles in Spicy Broth

Pesto Potato and Burrata Pizza | halfbakedharvest.com #pizza #easy #recipes #spring

Friday: Pesto Potato and Burrata Pizza

Brown Butter Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookies | halfbakedhavrest.com

Saturday: Brown Butter Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Raspberry Lemon Brioche Rolls with Whipped Ricotta Cream | halfbakedharvest.com

Sunday: Raspberry Lemon Brioche Rolls with Whipped Ricotta Cream

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  1. I love your morning routine, adding the walk sounds like something I would enjoy (not a hike since I live in the city). I am so not a morning person but I do the lemon water thing with a little cheat. I squeeze a few lemons at a time into a container that I keep in the fridge and just pour a little in my cup each morning. It’s not as fresh but it’s just more manageable early in the morning.

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