Pumpkin Spice White Russian

Pumpkin Spice White Russian recipe (YUM!)All you pumpkin spice haters better cover your eyes and leave the room because it's pumpkin spice time around here. Today we're making our own pumpkin spice syrup (double spice bc it's twice as nice), and then combining with vodka. Yep, vodka. Only the best for you, my lovely readers. ♥ 

This is my favorite autumn party drink (okay– it's a tie with this one). 

Pumpkin Spice White Russian Pumpkin Spice White Russian, serves one 

2 ounces vodka 
1.5 ounces Bailey's (original flavor)
1 ounce half and half 
1 ounce pumpkin spice syrup*
honey or agave
nonpareils
cinnamon stick 

*To make the pumpkin spice syrup, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice in a small pan. Heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Let it cool, strain into a container, and keep it in a sealed container for up to two weeks in the fridge (use it for coffee, tea, or cocktails!). 

To make the drink, fill a glass with ice and combine vodka, Bailey's, half and half, and syrup. Stir and serve. 

Pumpkin Spice White Russian  To make your drink extra pretty, use agave syrup or honey to stick nonpareils to the outer rim of the glass. 

Pumpkin Spice White Russian   Pumpkin Spice White Russian    Garnish with a cinnamon stick. I hope you enjoy this simple, festive variation on one of our favorite treat cocktails. xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Edited with Charlotte from The Lightroom Collection

Try This: Easy Marble Utensil Holder DIY

Try this! Recover your utensil holder with marble contact paper for a inexpensive marble look I am pretty sure that I'm not alone in this sentiment, but I looooove the look of marble. My dream would be a marble countertop in my kitchen (although I know they aren't as stain resistant as other stone options), but since that renovation is still a long way off, I'll have to get by with my marble cheeseboard instead. I was wondering what else I could make marble to add that textured look to a kitchen space. Since almost everyone has a utensil holder somewhere in their kitchen, I thought that would be a great place to start. 

Try this! Recover your utensil holder with marble contact paper for a inexpensive marble look  The key to this makeover is finding a realistic marble contact paper (I chose this one) to use on your utensil holder. I just cut a piece that was a little taller than I needed, applied the contact paper to the outside of the utensil holder (thankfully, you can peel if off and start over if your placement is wrong), and then ran an X-Acto knife along the top and bottom edges to trim the excess paper. Done!

Try this! Recover your utensil holder with marble contact paper for a inexpensive marble look    Try this! Recover your utensil holder with marble contact paper for a inexpensive marble lookOf course, the great thing about marble contact paper is that it is a fraction of the cost of real marble, but you still get the fancy look of the real thing. What other items would you cover with the contact paper? xo. Laura

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

3 Ways To Style A Pixie Cut

3 Ways to Style a Pixie Cut via A Beautiful MessMy friend Lauren is a darling. She has the sweetest pixie cut to match her equally sweet personality. Look at them eyes—they don't lie. She's been feeling a little bored with her pixie cut lately, so I jumped at the chance to help her switch it up a little and show her some easy styles to make her excited about that hair. Because it's good hair. Really good hair.

Pixie cut before stylingHere is Lauren's hair before styling. Her layers are a little longer than when she initially chopped her hair off. I personally LOVE this length!

Okay, let's talk about the first look. Wanna?

Dry shampoo is great for textureStep One: To begin, I sprayed some dry shampoo under Lauren's layers. She has pretty fine hair (ooooohhh, so fine), so this helped add some texture. I then chose large sections toward her crown and backcombed a little to give some extra volume.

Flip ends with a straightenerStep Two: I used a straightener to flip the ends of Lauren's hair out (I use this GHD iron and I love it). I feel like you can possibly go too crazy with this step, so start off subtly and add more flippies where you need them.

Hair wax is great for styling a pixie cutUse hair wax to get a tousled lookStep Three: Use a little hair wax and pull at the ends of the hair. This helps the ends keep their texture and shape. Be sure not to use too much or your hair could end up really gummy. Finish this look with a couple squirts of hairspray!

Darling pixie cutDarling pixie styleSee what I mean? Total doll.

Alright, let's get on to the second look, shall we?

Comb hair over to create a deep part
Step One: Use a comb and create a very deep part. 

Twist the hair and pinStep Two: Take a section of hair from the thinner side and twist. Pin with a bobby pin.

Use a small curling iron or wand to create textureStep Three: Use a small barrel curling iron or wand and wrap longer sections of hair around it. Don't clamp the ends if you are using a curling iron— this just helps to add even more texture! Once you are satisfied with what you've curled, finish with a little hairspray. You can pull some hair over to cover the bobby pins if you like.

Darling pixie stylesLove this adorable pixie cutThis look is my personal favorite for Lauren! It's so good on her.

Okay, time for the third and final look for this group of styles!

Add hair wax for holdStep One: Follow the first and second steps for look one. Once you have a little messy texture in your hair, grab some of that handy-dandy hair wax and rub a little through the front section of your hair. Again, not too much or the front of your hair could look kinda yuck.

Back comb and pin hair back with a bobbi pinStep Two: Give the back side of that section a little backcombing action. Once you've done that, smooth the front and pull back with a bobby pin. It helped me to twist the ends of Lauren's hair when doing this so her hair stayed where I wanted it to.

3 Ways to Style a Pixie CutAdorable pixie haircutSeeing how easy and adorable these looks are almost makes me want to bring back my own pixie cut. It's been a lot of years ago now, but I'll never forget how freeing chopping all my hair off was! Maybe one day... xo. Katie

Credits: Author and Photography // Katie Shelton. Photos edited with Petal from the Fresh Collection and Imogen from the Folk Collection.

Broccoli & Cheddar Bake

Broccoli cheddar baked soup Whoever invented soup was a genius. I hope they somehow monetized the whole idea for themselves because they deserve it. 

Do you know what soup is? It's regular food, cooked until soft, then blended up (sometimes super smooth and sometimes left chunky). That's it. They took good food and blended it up. Made it slurp-able. You can transport it in a thermos. It's food they serve you as a course before other food at a restaurant. 

The whole thing is baffling really. And I am totally on board with it. I l-o-v-e soup.

Broccoli cheddar pot pieI am a bit partial to broccoli cheddar soup. I don't know if I would go so far as to say it's my favorite, but it's definitely up there.

This is broccoli cheddar soup but with a bit of a twist. It's got dumplings/biscuits baked into it. So it's kind of a soup, pot pie hybrid thing.

And if you don't like the idea of bread baked into your soup... dude. What's wrong? What happened in your life that this doesn't excite you? I mean, I guess we can still be friends but, like, I bake bread into soup and you're apparently a food-hating monster, so I don't know how good of a friendship it's gonna be.

Overreacting? Me? Never.

Ingredients for broccoli cheddar bakeBroccoli & Cheddar Bake, serves 3-4

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 broccoli florets, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
biscuit mix (I used Bisquick, which required I add water to the mix. Check yours for additional ingredients you may need.)
salt + pepper

First up, prep all your vegetables as prompted in the ingredients list. I generally like to do all my prep work at the same time before I start cooking. This ensures that I won't be cutting up something super quickly, hurrying because something else is almost done cooking. That's a good way to cut yourself unless you feel like you already have Iron Chef type knife skills. 

How to make a rouxIn a large sauce pan or pot, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a couple minutes until they begin to soften. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to form a thick paste. 

Pour in the first cup of stock and whisk until you've created a gravy-type consistency. Then add the broccoli, garlic, remaining stock and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until well combined and the cheese begins to melt. If you want to use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the mix, do so at this point, or you can leave it chunky. Up to you.

Broccoli cheddar dumpling soupMix the biscuit mix according to the package directions; I added 1/2 cup cheese to my mix to make cheddar biscuits.

Pour the soup into a casserole pan, sprinkle on the remaining cheese, then drop the biscuit dough on top. Bake at 450°F for 15-18 minutes.

If you'd rather bake the biscuits separately and just serve them alongside the soup, you can. You can just use the soup recipe and ignore my advice about baking the biscuits on top. Whatever.

Broccoli cheddar baked soupThis makes an awesome winter dinner option. Try it. Bake the biscuits on top. Do it. xo. Emma

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

Weekend Goal: Clean Out My Closet

Tips for cleaning out your closet Sometimes I just feel like I'm in a clothing rut, you know? Here's how it usually happens. I realize I'm wearing basically the same thing everyday. I simultaneously realize my closet is basically full. My closet isn't massive like Cher Horowitz's. As if. But I still feel like if my closet is full, then I have enough clothes. So then I start to feel really guilty for owning plenty of clothes but wearing the same thing all the time. And I feel like I shouldn't buy anything new since I already have tons of stuff... I just don't wear all of it. 

Ugh. 

This is how I know it's time to clean out my closet. Cleaning out my closet accomplishes two main goals. First, I can get rid of anything ill-fitting or that I just don't feel confident in. Second, it forces me to go through all my clothes, which reminds me of what I already have (and love!) and need to wear more. 

Here are four steps I usually go through when I clean out my closet (usually twice a year).

Tips for cleaning out your closet1. Remove Clutter.

This is tough as it involves getting rid of stuff. The cheap gal inside me wants to keep everything. I feel like I'm throwing money away if I get rid of something that I didn't wear very many times. More guilt! But the truth is, if I keep lots of clothes that I don't wear, then I'll never have room to store clothes that I do wear. It's that simple. So I try to keep this in mind while I go through everything. 

I love these seven questions to ask yourself while you clean out your closet. I could not agree more. I try to go through all my clothes, shoes, purses, tights, swimsuits, and jewelry asking these types of questions. One thing I learned this time around was that I got rid of quite a few items I had thrifted but never wore. This bummed me out because I LOVE thrift store shopping. I've been addicted since high school. But I need to make sure that items I buy are either the perfect fit or I need to learn to alter clothing. I had a lot of items with cool patterns or that were really interesting garments that didn't quite fit, but they were so inexpensive I just couldn't pass them up. But then I never wore them. So, I need to pay attention to this more next time I'm thrifting. I did keep a really amazing black velvet dress I thrifted but haven't worn yet simply because it's long sleeve and kind of fancy. So I plan to wear it to our company holiday party this year. 

The other thing I learned... I don't need to buy any more tights this winter. I think they get buried and I forget I have them, but I have plenty in lots of different colors (and about five different black pairs too). So next time I see some cute tights, I'll remember this and skip it. I don't need anymore right now.

2. Evaluate Where Clutter Should Go.

I very rarely throw an item away. Usually it has to be really stained or just generally trashed before I'll throw it in the garbage. I usually sort items to give to friends or take to the thrift store (and then go shopping, circle of life!). Another great option is to sell items.

Random story: We actually had grand plans to host an IG sale (for charity) from donated items from our staff at ABM. Everyone at the office brought their items in, but we've just never found the time to take all the photos, post them, run the sale, and then we'll have to ship stuff. So, it's kind of turned into an ongoing clothing exchange, which has been pretty fun. I guess my point is, get creative with donating clothes, and when all else fails, take it to a thrift store.

3. Organize What's Leftover.

I feel like most people stop here. Or at least I have before. I clean out the closet, donate those items I don't need, and then I'm done. I've learned over the last few years that it's best, for me, if I take the extra time to organize my closet. I've tried different things, but this time around I organized everything by what the item was. So all my dresses are hanging together, all jackets together, all tops together, and all skirts together. I also have a dresser for underwear, pajamas, and sweaters that I don't want to hang because they will get stretched out. 

You could also organize by occasion (all office wear items together, etc.), by color, or whatever method makes the most sense to you and will help you find your clothes quickly. I don't like standing in front of my closet for ten minutes in the morning before work wondering where my X is. Make everything easy to find, accessible, and (if possible) visible.

4. Make Some Goals.

Here I go again talking about goals. Sorry guys, it's just how I understand the world. Maybe you're wondering what the heck kind of goals I might need to make at the end of cleaning and organizing my closet. I mean, that was just a goal we finished, right? Let me tell you the two goals I made this time around and maybe that will help. 

First off, I decided that sometime this week I'm going to spend a couple hours one nigh to make up a bunch of outfits, and then take cell phone pictures of me in them. Lots of ugly, dimly lit selfies are in my future this week. :) The idea is, I have lots of clothes I love, but sometimes I pick out a skirt in the morning and feel totally stumped on what to wear it with. My brain just doesn't work well until I have coffee. But when this happens, I can just review my library of dim selfies and find something that works. No brain power needed. 

Second, I identified a need in my closet. I need to purchase a pair of tall black boots that will last me multiple winters. Last year I wore the same pair of black boots over and over again. I wore them with jeans, leggings, and over tights with dresses. They kept my feet warm and dry while also matching almost everything I like to wear. The only problem was, I bought a pretty inexpensive pair last year (around $50), and they did not hold up to all the wear I put them through. They were coming apart and some of the faux leather was flaking off. I still feel like I got my money out of them since I wore them so much, but this year I think I'll save up a little more and try to invest in a pair of black boots that I can wear for lots of winters to come (provided I care for them).

Ok, that's about it. Thanks for letting me ramble on about cleaning out my closet. If you have any closet cleaning experiences or tips you want to share, feel free. xo. Emma

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

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