Sarah's Living Room (Before + After!)

Sarah's living room tour!     Back when my husband and I bought our house in May of this year, Elsie and Emma asked us if we'd be willing to share a couple of our home rooms on our blog once we finished getting settled! So today we are really excited to show you our finished living room. I mean whatever—nothing is ever really finished, right? If you're like my husband and I, you find ways to keep the projects rolling (I already have a project in mind involving painting our two vinyl armchairs you'll see here! Should I do it!?).

Sarah's living room - before and after! Sarah's living room tour - before and after! If you have followed my personal blog or my Instagram, you have probably been along for the whole process of finding our dream house and doing some minor unplanned renovations along with a lot of cosmetic changes! When we first walked into our house, although the decoration wasn't our style, we were able to see that we loved the style of the home and all of the beautiful details. I have to say, the previous owners did an incredible job decorating this house to be very consistent with the Victorian time period! We have a lot of respect for them and the detail and care they put into this home. It just didn't really match anything of ours, and even though the room didn't look very dark with the wallpaper, it was amazing how much brighter the room became after we removed the wallpaper and painted the walls white (We used Valspar—Ultra White). It's funny—I didn't even realize until I made this before and after photo that we actually have the same furniture arrangement! 

Sarah's living room tourOur house has two living areas (one is upstairs—it's like our messy den space where we can watch movies and be lazy and leave kid toys everywhere), and this living room is our more formal living room that is downstairs. We were kind of stumped with this room because we're not fancy people, and the idea of a formal living room seemed kind of impractical. So we really wanted this space to be totally usable. I love this room—every morning we make coffee and sit by the fire while we all wake up and Imogen plays with her toys and dances to records. It's our new routine. I love starting off our days in this room. Because this room has a lot of traffic, we went with a gray rag rug, found here. I think the first thing we purchased for this room was this crazy large pendant lamp, (found here) because we were looking for something bold and different for not a million dollars!

Sarah's living room tour!  Sarah's living room tour!                    My husband Josh and I spend our days working for ABM—himself as a maker, and myself as a picture taker. But we love spending our spare time with our daughter Imogen (we also call her by her initials, IQ) and working on our home. We're kind of huge on being thrifty, so a lot of the things we've gathered have either been thrifted, re-purposed, found at estate sales, or Craigslist finds! But the thing we've found is that when you want to be thrifty, it takes a lot longer to get a room the way you'd like it, especially when you have limited hours to scour Craigslist! But for us, the process is a lot more rewarding. Our coffee table, for instance, was $5, and the map roll and paint-by-number paintings were thrifted and estate sale finds. The vinyl armchairs were Craigslist steals at $10 each. And it sounds like a joke, but we even got our sweet dog on Craigslist (best find, ever!).

Sarah's living room tour!                  Sarah's living room tour!
Sarah's living room tour!   Sarah's living room tour!    The Hopson Sofa from Joybird (in Track Charcoal) is my favorite piece in the living room. It's cozy and I love the lines of this sofa! I'm a huge sucker for mid century modern design. I'm also a big fan of baskets, especially when you have a little one. I promise all the toys that are normally in this room are still in here—you just can't see them! We tuck them away in baskets or inside Josh's clever side tables because they have a lot of storage (a DIY for these is coming up soon!).

Sarah's living room tour!        Sarah's living room tour!       Sarah's living room tour!         Sarah's living room tour!          Sarah's living room tour!
The beautiful wall weavings are from our friend Rachel! She is incredible—she also taught a weaving class right here on ABM. I'm inspired to give it a try now.

Sarah's living room tour!           Josh painted this huge painting for an art show when we lived in Phoenix, and it's one of my favorite things he's ever done. I love the home that we've found for it here! The antique lion is something Josh bought at a flea market before we even met, and it's a super big hit with any kids that come over.

Sarah's living room tour!                 Sarah's living room tour!
Sarah's living room tour!             Sarah's living room tour!              Sarah's living room tour!               I would say I'm a very colorful person, and Josh is very minimalistic, so with this house we have had to work to find our balance! I think we're doing pretty okay at it if we're both content. Thanks so much for letting us share our home! xo - Sarah

Credits // Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photography: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Leona, Joey, and Lillian from The Lightroom Collection.

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Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists

How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)Hi, guys, LaTonya here! Lately I feel like the question I get asked the most when out and about is: "How'd you get your hair like that?!" Surprisingly, I receive the question from other natural-headed women the most. I've noticed that most of the women I've met have yet to find the right products for their hair, or a go-to style for their hair. Both of these things take time and money, but once you've found what's perfect for you, it's smooth sailing from there on out!
 
Depending on the day, month, and season, my hair will vary in how "big" it will get, and for me that's okay, most of the time. Thankfully, I can count on my curl pattern to be the same if I follow these exact tips I've outlined here for you. More importantly, by following these steps, I've turned the dreaded "wash day" into a small nap activity! I can hear the " No way!" from the other side of the screen. Seriously, it's true! ;)
 
Here is how I created my two-strand twist out!
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
When beginning any real style, I always co-wash my hair. In other words, I always wash my hair with conditioner only. This helps keep the moisture locked in. Shampoo strips your hair of vital nutrients, and it's quite difficult to get it back. My natural hair is evidence of what I'm putting in and on my body. For me that means great food, loads of water, and great natural products as well. (Not the hair dye. Nothing about my color is natural, I'm a sucker for light brown.) 
 
I've noticed that my hair looks so much better in the end if I let it air dry a bit prior to styling. If you have thick hair like mine, this will work wonders for your final style. Also, instead of washing and styling your hair at night, try doing it during the day. You want to let your hair dry out in the twists as much as possible, and it's hard to do so when you're sleeping on freshly twisted, damp hair. 
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
These are a few of my go-to products, and they are what I will use for this twist-out.  
-Wide tooth comb 
-Hair ties
-Curl Mousse
-Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding
-Raw coconut oil 
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)   How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)    After your hair dries a bit, it's time to part it into four sections. You can do so by creating a t shape in your hair. I personally prefer a side part instead of a middle part. So after creating my t, I usually bring more hair over. It's important to part your hair the way you want your hair to lay after you take them out. 
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
Take your coconut oil (or any base moisturizer you use for your hair) and rub it in your palms. After rubbing, you will want to rub your hands in the hair that's out, and then gently untangle it. At this point you can also use your wide tooth comb for gentle detangling, but I always recommend using your hands if they do the trick. Natural hair thrives when it's left alone and isn't pulled on or pulled out in a rough manner. 
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
Then, take a small piece of your hair and separate it into two pieces. Grab a finger tip worth of your styling products. In my case—mousse and curly pudding. Take the tip of your finger and just rub it on your hair from root to tip, and then begin your twisting. 
 
You want to always try and have smaller twists in your hair if you are trying to create a more defined curl pattern. If you have thick hair and large twists, they will surely come undone and leave you with an uncurled fro. 
 
When I reach the tips of my hair, I like to grab a little more coconut oil and styling cream to moisturize and lock the ends. 
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)       How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)
Continue to separate hair, moisturize, apply products, twist, and reapply products at the end to lock each twist. 

How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)         Continue following the same steps with each section. By the third section, you will probably be ready to give up and go on about your merry way with half a head. I know the feeling! At that point I sit and take a break. I try and think about how much money and time I'm saving in the long run by not having to go to the hair salon every few weeks. I think after a few times, your hands get used to doing the style, and they automatically just do the work without you really paying attention to what you're doing. 

How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)          And you're finished twisting! I like to keep my twists in for the rest of that day and the next day to make sure they're all the way dry. Normally, I will throw on a scarf or a hat, or wear them as is.

 The next day is so incredibly easy. All you have to do is moisturize your hands with your moisturizer of choice and undo your twists.
 
After taking out your twists, grab your comb and just tease your roots a bit if they're falling a little flat. 
 
How to Get Natural Hair Two-Strand Twists (click through for tutorial)           This style will last a good week or so for me, with barely any maintenance except a good moisture and large re-twist here and there. It prevents me from touching my hair too much. And it makes my busy days so much easier because I have one less thing to actually do. 
 
I've fallen in love with this style over the last few months, and I feel like my hair is much more manageable since having this style. With that said, every type of hair is different. We all respond differently to various products, but from what I've gathered, this style is beautiful on almost all grades of natural hair and lengths too! If you have natural hair, and you haven't tried this twist out, I hope you'll give it a go! -LaTonya
 
Credits // Author: LaTonya Staubs, Photography: Peter Staubs. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
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Thin Crust Pizza Dough (Yeast-Free!)

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       If you've ever seen the amazing Bill Murray movie What About Bob?, you already know his theory of the world that claims there are only two kinds of people in it—those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't. Well, I don't know exactly how I feel about Neil Diamond, but that's also how I categorize people, except I substitute ND with pizza. And even within the group of people who like pizza, there are those who like it and those who love it. I really love it. Actually, if I were brave enough, I would admit to you that I had it yesterday for lunch, ate pizza rolls later as a late night snack, and I'm having it again today for lunch. It just always sounds good!

I like all kinds of pizza, but thin crust has a special place in my heart, and I wanted to find a fast and easy thin crust recipe so I could make pizza from scratch more often. If you're wanting to cut down your pizza dough making time, a yeast-free option is the way to go, and I tried a few options before I found one that I think is the best.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Thin Crust Pizza Dough (Yeast-Free), makes two 10" pizzas.
Slightly adapted from this thin crust recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix your flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Mix your water and olive oil together in a separate small bowl and add into the dry mixture as you stir. When it's almost combined, use your hands to gently knead the dough together. Add small amounts of extra water if needed. You want your dough to be dry enough that it doesn't stick to your hands, but wet enough to stay together when you squeeze it.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Once the dough is the right consistency, divide it into two balls, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

You can roll out your dough between two sheets of wax paper, but I actually like using a lightly floured counter instead (I think I can get it a little thinner that way). You want to get the dough as thin as possible, but shoot for around 1/8" thick.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Turn your oven to 425˚F and lightly grease a baking sheet or pizza pan. Place the dough on the sheet and prebake your crust for about 10 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown slightly.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Add your sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings, and bake your pizza for another 10 minutes or until the cheese and crust are golden brown. Slice and serve immediately.

The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       The best yeast-free pizza dough recipe (click through for recipe)       Your crust should be thin and crispy, so adjust your prebaking times as needed to get that perfect crunchy bite. I'm so glad to finally have an easy and quick thin crust option available for when that pizza craving hits. Which, as you already know, is pretty often. Are you team thin crust or thick when it comes to pizza? (Hint: There's no wrong answer!) xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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Washi Tape Wall Decor

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)          It's probably no secret that we love washi tape here at ABM. We use it in projects all the time (like here and here), and we even have our own line of it now too! We're working with our longtime supporters Chronicle Books on this post, who sent us a copy of Fun with Washi! The book is filled with washi ideas we hadn't thought of, and it inspired us to make our own version of their pixelated washi heart, but we decided to do the heart as a wall decal on a much larger scale. Since the washi can be removed whenever you like, this is also a great decor idea for renters and dorm rooms.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)           Supplies:
-2" wide washi tape (this brand is the best washi for walls)
-1/4" washi tape 
-X-Acto knife
-metal ruler
-cutting mat

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  First you'll want to use the 1/4" tape to make a horizontal grid of lines that are far enough apart to fit your wide washi tape between them.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  Make as many lines as you need to achieve the height that you want (mine is about 40" tall). You'll notice that I made the lines shorter towards the bottom and top so I wouldn't waste any thin tape in places where I wouldn't be putting any squares.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)     Next I added some vertical lines to the grid to keep all the hearts in line vertically as well. I marked every other square so I only had to use half the tape, and each space fits two squares with a 1/4" space between them.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  To cut a lot of squares at once, use a large cutting mat and lay several strips of tape back to back horizontally on the mat. Make sure you can see the measurement lines on the top and bottom edge of the mat. Use your X-Acto knife and ruler to cut vertical lines every 2". (I cut down every 2" because that's how wide my tape was, but if your tape is different, then cut your lines using whatever measurement that tape is). You should be able to peel off each square if you just lift a corner with the X-Acto knife.

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)  All I had to do from that point on was fill in the heart starting with one square at the bottom middle position. Once the shape was as wide as I wanted it, I went straight up, made the little "humps", and back down in at the center. If you want to make this exact shape, you can always just count how many are in each row and go from there. Once your squares are attached to the wall, just pull off the thin tape and stand back to admire your results. 

Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)         Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)        Make a removeable wall design with squares of washi tape! (click through for tutorial)       It's just too cute if you ask me! Make sure to choose a good brand of washi (like the one I linked in the supplies) so you don't have to worry about doing all that work just to have it fall right off the wall. Of course, if you ever move, get sick of it, or have a change of "heart", just peel it off, and you should be good to move on to your next idea! xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with  A Beautiful Mess Actions

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