Our Carefree Housewarming Decor

How to style a front porchSmile and waveElsie and IQJeff and ChrisKatie and LauraAdam and JackiLauren SlaterA Beautiful Mess shoesJeremy and ChrisAs I mentioned last Friday while trying to convince you to give pavlova a try (did you do it???), we recently hosted a housewarming party so our friends could come by and see the nearly finished house. Our plan had been to host most of the party on our front porch and the back party alcove. We've been sprucing up those spaces this summer, so it was time to enjoy them! But then the weather got chilly. So we did spend quite a bit of time hanging out on the front porch and playing a few yard games. But, once the sun began to set, we all quickly headed indoors.

Elsie and JoshFunny how plans don't always turn out how you think. Or maybe it's just my luck? :) Honestly though, if you find yourself surrounded by good friends, it's hard to complain.

Balloons are always a good ideaDecor ideas for a front porch partyHow to style a front porch  Parties are the perfect excuse to buy fresh flowersLaura GummermanWe kept the decor pretty simple. We bought some balloons for the front entrance. I love balloons at a party because they can quickly signal to guests which house they are looking for. Have you ever almost walked into a house the first time you are going over to a friend's for a party, only to realize it's not the right house!? No, just me? Ok, well, it happens, guys. And balloons can totally solve this unless the whole neighborhood is having a party. Also you can send the balloons home with any little party guests at the end of the evening. :)

Parties are also the perfect excuse to buy yourself some fresh flowers. Do it. You know you want to.

Laura created that cute paper garland you see hanging up around the porch. She cut circles from paper in our party colors, and then sewed them together. Once the party was over, we took the garland indoors, and I'm pretty sure it's going to last for quite some time as long as we don't get it wet or let it fade in the sun. Easy, inexpensive, and cute—go, Laura!

How to style a front porch     How to style a front porch      How to style a front porch    How to style a front porch   How to style a front porch Outdoor pillowsHonestly, the reason I don't think we felt like we needed to go overboard with the temporary party decorations is because we've been sprucing up these spaces all summer. We added the swing, herb table, railing, house number, and bench on the front porch. Laura made tons of our outdoor friendly pillows. And Elsie created those colorful felt pillows (on the swing). Most of these updates were relatively inexpensive although certainly more costly than paper garland. But now these spaces feel like they are ready for guests to enjoy at almost any moment (provided we keep things picked up and clean). And that makes it a worthwhile investment. I mean, I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend some money on items I'm going to use again and again or that spruce up my space for years to come rather than spending tons of money on temporary decorations. Just my two cents. But what do you think? 

DIY felt pillowsDIY front porch rail Thanks for letting me share a little about our housewarming party. If you have any tips or housewarming party stories you'd like to share, let us know. xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited using A Beautiful Mess actions.

A Beautiful Mess App and iOS 8

Abm appThose of you who have updated your phones to iOS 8 might've noticed the A Beautiful Mess app not showing any photos when you go to import. This is because in iOS 8, Apple decided to do away with the Camera Roll in favor of that "Moments" view that separates and groups your photos by date and a "Recently Added" folder that only shows photos from the past 30 days. The quick view in the Add Photo screen in the ABM app is tied to the Camera Roll—something that doesn't exist on iOS 8. It's affecting any app that defaults to the Camera Roll for its import.

We're working on an update, but there's a workaround in the meantime:
• On the Add Photo screen, slide up the photo selection view
• Tap the white arrow, and that should bring up all your photo folders, where you can select your photos.

It's a couple extra steps in the meantime, but we're actually going to expedite an update that could be up as soon as next week. So for those of you looking for another reason to procrastinate updating to iOS 8, here you go! 

-Trey

 P.S. If you're having any other issues at all with iOS 8 and ABM, please email us at support AT redvelvetart DOT com. Just let us know which model of phone you're using and be as specific as you can describing your problem.

Peach Pavlova with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Easy make ahead dessertLast week Elsie and I hosted a housewarming party at the ABM studio. I know, we're super late! But we've only just recently felt like the house is *almost* finished. Many of our friends haven't even been over to see it in person, so we decided to throw a little party. Next week we'll be sharing more about the party, like how we decorated, activities we had prepared, food we served, cocktails we made, who was there, what they wore... all the juicy gossip.

Jk about that last part. Guys, it was just a fun little party. NBD. But, I think parties can be intimidating to host. So seeing how others do it is something I've always enjoyed. 

A Beautiful Mess front porch party A Beautiful Mess front porch party  A Beautiful Mess front porch partyFancy make ahead dessertFor dessert I served peach pavlova parfaits with bourbon whipped cream. I know, sounds fancy and somewhat unusual, right? Maybe you've never had pavlova before. I certainly did not grow up knowing what this delicious dessert was. Here's the secret, it's simply sweetened fruit (think jam or pie filling), meringue, and whipped cream. Once I figured that out, I was all in. I grew up loving lemon meringue pie and absolutely anything topped with whipped cream. 

What I love most about this dish as a party treat is you can easily make the meringue the day before, the whipped cream earlier in the day, and the peaches just sit in a slow cooker until you are ready to serve. So you won't be stuck in the kitchen while guests are over having a good time. You can have a good time too. I think it's a host's duty to have the best time, if you can call that a duty. :)

How to make pavlova Peach Pavlova Parfait with Bourbon Whipped Cream, serves 6-8

6 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup sugar

24 oz frozen peaches
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon

For the meringue, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt for about 3 minutes until the mixture begins to look white and frothy and starts to thicken. Slowly add the sugar while your mixer is running until you have added all the sugar and the mixture forms stiff peaks (see the photo above). You should mix for about 6 minutes total. 

How to make pavlovaPipe the meringue onto two baking sheets lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. You can do this using a pastry bag fitted with any tip you like (I used a star tip), or you can just dollop small amounts onto the baking sheet using a spoon. Just depends what kind of look you are going for. Bake at 250°F for 1 hour and 20 minutes, rotating the pans once during baking so they will bake evenly. 

Once they are done baking, allow to cool before you try to remove them from the baking sheets. Place in a large ziplock bag or other air tight container to store them (they will last for up to 3-4 days this way!).

For the peaches, simply place the thawed peaches (or mostly thawed is fine), brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 2 hours. Most slow cookers will keep food on a warming setting once the cook time is over, and this is perfect for a party so guests can assemble their dessert whenever they are ready. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon to remove excess liquid when you are ready to serve.

For the whipped cream, you probably don't need any directions. But, just in case, beat the heavy cream on high for a couple minutes until it begins to thicken. Slowly add the sugar and then bourbon. Once the mixture looks like, well, whipped cream, you're done. Store covered in the refrigerator if you don't need it right away, but it's best if you use the whipped cream the day it is made.

Peach pavlova parfaitThanks for letting me share my fancy-seeming but actually way-easy-to-make-ahead dessert! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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