Ocean waterfall in Big Sur CASo this is my second year posting a "5 Places I want to go in..." in a row. I honestly view this as more of putting my intentions/hopes out into the universe type of thing. What I mean is, I don't truly expect that I'll get to go to all five places I list. But I think it kind of gives me some ideas of the kinds of things I want to try and do/see travel-wise in the coming year. 

Guys, I got one! Trey and I went to Big Sur, CA last weekend, and it RULED. Trey booked the trip for us as a 30th birthday present to me (I turned 30 this past January). He's a keeper. :) 

So what did we do? Well, I'm so glad you asked. 

Best beaches in big sur Ocean door in big sur Pacific oceanWe flew into San Francisco, which is about four hours away from where we were lodging. Big Sur is a long stretch along the coast between San Fran and LA. This might sound like a long drive, but it's mostly along Hwy 1, which is just beautiful! It goes along the coast so you can see the electric blue Pacific Ocean as you wind along the highway. 

Big sur yurts Inside a yurtWe stayed in a yurt at the Treebones Resort. I would totally recommend them; our stay was great if you like glamping. (I sort of hate that word, but it's also kind of funny I guess.) 

Along with yurts, campgrounds, tree houses, and few other fun lodging options, they also have an AMAZING sushi bar. It only seats 10 at a time, and it was easily the best sushi of our lives (and Trey loves sushi, so we eat it pretty much everywhere we go). The chef, Yancy Knapp, is insanely talented and a super sweet guy. I was seriously inspired by his creations, and I'm not even the biggest sushi fan.

Redwood hiking in big sur Where to hike in big sur Redwood treesEmma and trey in big sur ca Hiking in big sur McWay Falls in Big Sur CA Trey and Abby hiking Best beaches in big sur ca We spent two days (it was only a four day trip total) hiking. I really cannot describe how beautiful Big Sur is. It's probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been too. You hike through redwood forests as well as see some beautiful beaches all in the same day. We hiked in Limekiln, Salmon Creek, and the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which is where the famous McWay Falls is located (the waterfall right by the ocean). 

Our friend, Abby, drove down from San Francisco one day to hike and hang out with us. So that was a bonus treat to the trip for sure. :)

Redwood trees  Golden sunsetIf you ever get a chance to visit Big Sur, CA, I highly recommend you do, especially if you like hiking and pretty views. Thanks for letting me share some snaps from our trip. xx. Emma

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

Felt Cactus DIY  When I started brainstorming for our kiddo-friendly guest room, one of the first themes that came to mind was Palm Springs. Not only am I a complete addict for all things Palm Springs, but one of my favorite d.i.y. directions of ALL TIME is turning adult things into kiddo things. Felt desert plants, nods to Frank Sinatra and fun pool floaties and the 1960s... I covered pages and pages in my journal with random ideas for this room. It was a TREAT to work on.... this stuff is magical to me! 

So far I've already shared the gold foiled cactus wallpaper. When it came time to work on the felt plant life, I enlisted Laura's help because this project still haunts my dreams (in the best, most dreamy and slightly-jealous way!) 

Take it away, Laura!! 

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)
-green and brown felt
-fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-plastic planters
-pillow stuffing
-embroidery thread and yarn needle
-hot glue gun

First you'll want to mark and cut the pieces for each of the cacti. Each cactus will have 6 matching panels. The smaller cactus measures 22" x 4.5" and the larger is 32" x 5.5". Use a similarly sized bowl to trace the rounded edge at the top. Cut out all your pattern pieces.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Pair the six panels for each size cactus into pairs of two and sew all the way around the edge of each pair leaving the bottom edge open for stuffing later. Stack the three sewn pairs on top of each other and pin down the middle.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Use your machine to sew a straight line up the middle of the stack of cactus pairs.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Now comes the tricky part – stuffing your cactus! It takes a lot more stuffing than you would think (a large bag for each pair), but it's best to stuff as much as you can into each section opening at the bottom and then use a long ruler or stick to push the stuffing all the way up into the cactus. Keep filling and pushing the stuffing up into each section until your cactus takes on its 3D shape. 

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Use your embroidery thread to make knots of fabric down the "spines" of the cactus and hand sew the bottom openings closed so the stuffing can't be pulled out.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Trace the opening of your planter pot onto some cardboard, and cut the cardboard a little smaller than your tracing. Cut two more holes big enough for each cactus to fit into the cardboard.

Felt Cactus Plush DIY (click through for tutorial)Trace your cardboard onto some brown felt and cut the felt a bit larger than the tracing of your cardboard. Use glue to attach the felt to the cardboard disk.

You can either wedge the cardboard down into the planter or glue it in place, but depending on how sturdy your planter is, you may want to add something heavy in to the bottom so that your tall cactus shoots aren't heavier than your planter, which might cause it to topple over (we added rocks to each plastic planter). Add your cactus into the holes and your cacti are ready for the desert!

Felt Cactus DIY Each cactus is about three feet high, and they make the perfect accents for our kiddo room. I will share more of the WHOLE space with you very soon. 

These can be customized in size, shape or color to make them perfect for your space! 

Felt Cactus DIYThis project makes a huge visual impact, is kid friendly, and honestly makes me smile every single time I walk into the room! 

XOXO! Elsie 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Project: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Elsie Larson and Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

DIY Campaign DresserI searched far and wide for the perfect dresser for our bedroom. I looked and looked, but I kept coming back to a classic white design with gold campaign hardware. The only problem was, those are 'spensive! I'm talking $1,000+. But my heart said yes, so I started looking at DIY options. 

You guys know we do things in a pretty big range of budgets around here, and I love the occasional splurge. However, I FIRMLY believe that you can create the styles you love on any budget. And today's post really speaks to that! 

Around the time I figured out what I wanted to do, IKEA approached us about doing some DIY projects. And since I was already planning to use their dresser, this was a perfect fit. So today we're working with IKEA to show how to spruce up the MALM Dresser in just two steps. And after that I'll share a few quick organizational tips for your drawers as well! 

DIY Campaign Dresser First things first, you need to source and buy your hardware. Here's what I used – 15 inch Lewis Dolin Bar Pulls (you'll need six). These are gorgeous, but not cheap. They actually cost more than the dresser, but the overall savings is still super legit! I also used 2 inch corner braces (you'll need 24). Since the braces were shiny brass and the rods were matte, I spray painted the braces so that they would match the finish of the rods. Now, we don't recommend spray painting hardware that will be touched (like a bar pull), but since the braces were decorative, that worked out. If it's something like a bar pull you need to recolor, you should have it metal plated by a professional

DIY Campaign Dresser  Next, just measure and install the hardware. You'll need to drill pilot holes for each screw. 

These simple additions make a HUGE difference! Here's the before.... 


And here's the after.... 

DIY Campaign DresserIt's the perfect addition to our bedroom! Light and airy with gold details. LOVE IT. 

DIY Campaign Dresser   And here's a side view. 

If you wanted to customize it further, you could always paint it a fun color or wallpaper the outside of the drawers before you install the hardware. 

DIY Campaign Dresser     DIY Campaign Dresser     DIY Campaign Dresser     DIY Campaign Dresser     You didn't think I'd forget to show you the organization ideas, did you??? 

DIY Campaign Dresser         First up, line the inside of your drawers. You can use contact paper or wallpaper. I had this single roll of wallpaper leftover from a project at my last house that never happened, so I finally got to use it!!! You don't need to permanently adhere it, just use some double-sided tape. 

DIY Campaign Dresser          Next, fill the inside of the drawer with containers. You might want to do this with the top one or two drawers and leave some of the bottom ones open for stacks of clothing. 

I used two of these large acrylic GODMORGON containers, some of these FRYKEN baskets (with the lids removed), and a couple of wicker pieces I had laying around the house. 

Next, the fun part!! 

DIY Campaign Dresser            Fill the containers with all your favorite things. Things you reach for often. A curated accessories drawer. And be sure to add scissors because I am forever needing to cut off a tag or a loose string. 

DIY Campaign Dresser             I like the mix of baskets and acrylic. 

DIY Campaign Dresser              Doesn't this make you want to organize something? :)) 

I hope you guys enjoyed this! I am really REALLY happy with our new dresser and so amazed by how easy it was to put together. It was a one day project for sure. SO satisfying!!!! xx- Elsie 

Credits: Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

Elvis Overnight Oats (Peanut Butter + Banana!) Click through for recipe   While it's great to have some foods that are a weekend brunch staple (like this sweet potato hash), I like to have some faster options that are better suited for busy weekend mornings. One category that's perfect for a quick breakfast are overnight oats! You basically make the oats the night before and let the flavors combine in your fridge overnight so the work is done by the time morning arrives. And since we are now residing in Elvis' home state of Tennessee, I thought it would be a fun tribute to the King to make a peanut butter and banana version – YUM! 

Elvis Overnight Oats (Peanut Butter + Banana!) Click through for recipe   Elvis Overnight Oats, serves one

1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy will work)
1 cup quick cook oats
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 ripe banana, sliced
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon honey
dash of salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Elvis Overnight Oats (Peanut Butter + Banana!) Click through for recipe   Add the milk, oats, and peanut butter into a container that has a lid. Use a fork or the back of a spoon to mash the peanut butter into the oats and combine it with the milk until mixed well.

Elvis Overnight Oats (Peanut Butter + Banana!) Click through for recipe   Add in the banana slices and mash to combine the banana into the oat mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients, combine well, put the lid on, and allow the mixture to sit overnight in your fridge.

Elvis Overnight Oats (Peanut Butter + Banana!) Click through for recipe   In the morning, spoon the oats into a bowl (or eat straight from the container!) and add more sliced banana and chia seeds for a garnish. Enjoy!

Elvis Overnight Oats (Peanut Butter + Banana!) Click through for recipe
The salty peanut butter mixes with the sweet banana and honey and is a great way to start your morning right. I also like that the hearty oats and chia seeds help keep me feeling fuller until lunch time. It's also really easy to make a double or triple batch of this if you are feeding more than one person. You definitely don't have to be a fan of Elvis to eat this dish, but if you suddenly decide to listen to "Jailhouse Rock" while you eat your oatmeal, that's totally up to you!! xo. Laura

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

5 Natural Lipstick Brands You Will Love

It’s no secret that I’m slightly obsessed with all things beauty related. I find an odd sense of joy opening a fresh tube of lipstick, using a new makeup brush or having an insanely good makeup day. Being a mom of two little ones under two, those good makeup days don’t come as often as they used to, but when they do, I’m sure to capture the proof with a few good selfies. ;)

5 Natural Lipstick Brands You Will Love

Naturally, I couldn’t help but get totally geeked out about sharing some really incredible natural lipstick brands with you. I can be a little bit of a lipstick snob, so I’m always looking for a lipstick to meet a few requirements...

The Formula: It has to be smooth, buttery and feel great on my lips all day. No making my lips feel dry or sliding all over my face. Bonus if it's extra conditioning and anti-aging! 

Beautiful Packaging: I appreciate and definitely value good packaging. While it’s not the most important aspect of a product, I really want my investment to also be display worthy! 
Great Color Range: I’m a collector, so when I find a great brand, I love knowing that it has a good color range so I can pick up a few more. ;)
And… most importantly, the ingredients! While not all of the lipsticks I own are natural and organic, the idea that we ingest so much of the lipstick we wear has me wanting to really take a closer look at what I’m putting on my lips. No thank you to icky and potentially harmful ingredients! 
So if you’re looking for natural and organic lipstick brands that meet all of the above requirements and are really very incredible, keep reading...

Natural Lipstick You'll Love    Axiology: Stunning gold packaging, moisturizing, sustainable, vegan and organic. I’m absolutely in love with their presentation, and they have a great color range from neutrals to daring blues and purples. Their lipsticks also have a lovely citrus scent. Wearing Worth.
Natural Lipstick You'll Love
100% Pure: Their fruit pigmented anti-aging lipstick is incredible. And SO smooth! All of their ingredients are pure, organic and don’t contain any nasty toxins. They have the perfect “everyday” color line. Wearing Foxglove.

Natural Lipstick You'll Love
Bite Beauty: Bite is a brand you can pick up at your local Sephora, and I love that they carry this brand as a natural option. Their lipsticks smell beautiful (like oranges!) and are food grade, so you really could eat them! Although I wouldn’t recommend it. ;) They offer a huge line of colors great for any skin tone and personality. Wearing Sweet Cream.

Natural Lipstick You'll Love   ILIA: Packaged in super chic recycled aluminum cases and filled with organic ingredients. Beautiful, classic color range. I especially love their tinted lip conditioners! Wearing Pink Moon.
Natural Lipstick You'll Love
Red Apple Lipstick: Gluten free, allergen free, vegan and natural! I love their chic packaging. They also have a great classic and everyday color range! Wearing Audrey.

5 Natural Lipstick Brands You'll Love (click through for details)
Does finding amazing lipstick brands make you feel excited too?! I’ve been wearing each of these nonstop lately. I love the way they make my lips feel and I love the fact that I can smooch on my kiddos and go about my day without worrying about the ingredients. Yes please to beautiful, natural lipstick! Lots of love, Sav.
Credits//Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. Edited with A Beautiful Mess actions


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