The five minute braided bun (click-through for the full tutorial)My favorite hairstyle is an easy hairstyle! I like to air dry my hair because yes, it is a bit better for your hair, but really it's because most days I can't be bothered to blow dry. Too much effort! So while I love playing with my hair and trying new styles out, if the steps are too complicated or it takes too long—I'm out! Thankfully there are a lot of fun styles that look fancier and trickier than they actually are, like today's super easy five minute braided bun. Seriously, this bun will only take you five minutes to do, maybe even less than five.

Five minute braided bun for medium length hair (click-through for the full tutorial)Step One: Start with clean, brushed hair. Your hair doesn't have to be straight; textured and curly hair will also work for this style.

Step Two: Separate a small section of hair on either side of your face and pull the rest of your hair back into a low ponytail. 

Step Three: Twist your ponytail into a simple bun and secure it in place with a hair elastic and a few bobby pins.

Step Four: Braid both of the small sections of hair you left down. You can leave them thin or pancake them a bit to look fuller.

Step Five: Take one braid and bring it back across your bun and pin in place. Repeat with the other braid.

The five minute braided bun (click through for the full tutorial)Add a fun hair fork or festive pin in your hair if you want to get fancy, and you're done. This hairstyle is perfect for ladies like myself with short-to-medium length hair who want to get that up-do look. The low bun means you don't have to worry about those super short pieces in the back, and the braids totally give the illusion that you have longer hair! If you do have longer hair, you can still recreate this style. Just wrap the braids fully around the bun, or even play with texture by making fishtail braids instead. Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess Presets for Lightroom

Creamy Winter Pasta Salad (via  Is there anything better than pasta salad? And yes, it might normally be thought of as a great side dish option at summer backyard bar-b-cues, but this version keeps all the best things about pasta salad (like the pasta and a creamy dressing) and updates it with some of my favorite winter flavors. Yum!

Creamy Winter Pasta Salad (via pasta salad is excellent as a big side dish option, but if you end up with leftovers, it's great for lunch the next day too. On the day I photographed this, I ended up eating it for lunch and dinner, and I was not one bit sorry about it. :)

Butternut pastaCreamy Winter Pasta Salad, serves 5-6 as a side dish or 3-4 as a meal 

14 oz. pasta (butternut squash pasta is preferred!)
8-9 oz. brussels sprouts, about 2 to 2 1/2 cups once shaved
1 granny smith apple
3 oz. dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1/3 cup mayo
2 tablespoons sour cream or greek yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

First cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and allow to cool. 

Shaved brussels pasta salad recipeAutumn pasta saladCut the brussels sprouts into very thin pieces, discarding the bottom stems. Core the apple and chop into small cubes. 

In a small bowl stir together the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dry mustard. In a large bowl combine the pasta, brussels, apple, dried cranberries, and pecans. Drizzle the dressing over everything and toss so it all gets coated in the dressing. 

Creamy Winter Pasta Salad (via Serve right away or cover and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Man, I love pasta salad! So good and also insanely easy to make. I bought my butternut squash pasta (shaped like pumpkins!) from Trader Joe's, but it looks like it's also available on Amazon. You could also use regular (not flavored) pasta instead and this recipe will still be just as good. I'd recommend farfalle or fusilli. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Let's talk about carpetFor this next Home Design Q+A post, I got an interesting question from a reader named Laura! 

Q: I've noticed that many lifestyle bloggers have left carpet behind once they move or renovate. Hard flooring with rugs is the new white wall! Haha. How do you personally feel about carpeting, and why did you opt for area rugs instead? Is your decision more practical or aesthetic based? -Laura

A: Great question. Recently Jeremy and I were watching Rosemary's Baby, and I was crushing HARD on the design sense in their apartment in the film. I noticed that a lot of the rooms had carpet, which is pretty typical of a home from the 1960s. I said to Jeremy, "Do you think carpet is going to become trendy?" and he said to me, "Of course it will." 

What's kind of funny is that, you're correct, the vast majority of bloggers who identify their style as mid-century inspired still opt for no carpet or minimal carpet (just in the bedrooms).  

I love hardwoods for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Here's why: 

-A consistent wood stain color throughout the home can really tie your rooms together. It can create strong contrast or an airy vibe, depending on the stain you choose. Wood floors can really set the tone for the entire home. 

-I love that rugs are changeable. I have moved mine around countless times. And as a pet owner I find them very practical. Our dogs are trained now and don't really have accidents 99% of the time, but in our last home, it was a big issue. When we moved, I was grateful for the option to throw away a few rugs rather than invest in a LOT of new carpet. And as a person who changes their mind a lot (and a trend addict), I like that a relatively inexpensive rug swap can really revamp a room! It's nice to have that option. 

-Wood floors are more durable. There's no question that wood floors age better and more slowly than carpet, especially since the current trends tend to favor light colored carpets. 

That said, a lot of rugs are expensive. Sometimes, really expensive. I have gotten a lot of mine on sales. Maybe I can blog about sales another time, but let's just say that Anthropologie double sales and West Elm e-mail list sales are my best friend when it comes to rugs! But even with sales and comparison shopping, large area rugs tend to be pretty pricey. 

But a lot of the rugs in our home are not expensive at all. Like this light jute rug we used in both our bedroom and Jeremy's studio. It's around $300 for a 9x12 rug, and it's holding up really well. I also love cowhide rugs, which tend to cost a couple hundred dollars, because they're easy to clean and pet friendly. 

Anyway—I'm veering off track. Back to talking about carpet! 

I love my wood floors, but I don't hate carpet. When I peruse vintage magazines, I am amazed by how bold and stunning their colored and patterned carpeted rooms look. Incredible! But when I see a house listing full of beige carpet, meh. It's not for me. IF I was going to get into carpet, for me, it would be the same as wallpaper—a statement. And that's a big commitment. 

So for now, I think I will safely err on the side of wood floors with area rugs. It's a safe and practical choice for me. 

Now, I want to hear from all of you who LOVE the carpet in your homes. Please tell me all about the advantages! I'm so curious. 

Bye Carpet*The photo above is from our current house on closing day when my husband discovered undamaged hardwoods under most of the carpet. 

xoxo! Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. 

A Color Story :: New Weekend Filtersphoto by @ariellevey, edited with Weekend in Weekend

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our newest filter +pack in our A Color Story app, Weekend! Designed by the amazingly talented SoCal photographer, Arielle Vey, this +pack offers something a little different from the rest of the app. While we offer a lot options to achieve the bright, fresh look, we also LOVE Arielle's bold and rich photography. So we pretty much just gave her free reign to make filters she'd most want to use.

A Color Story :: New Weekend Filters   photo by @ariellevey, edited with Seafoam in Weekend

We couldn't have been more thrilled with the results! Best for sunsets, water, florals, and just everyday life, you can feel a little piece of California in each filter.

A Color Story :: New Weekend Filters   photo by @ariellevey, edited with Glow in Weekend

A Color Story :: New Weekend Filters  photo by @ariellevey, edited with Pacific in Weekend

A Color Story :: New Weekend Filters     photo by @ariellevey, edited with Boulevard in Weekend

You can get it now in the A Color Story app! We hope you love it as much as we do. Arielle will actually be on the blog later this week to talk about how to get the most out of each filter. So stay tuned for that! xx -Elsie (+ A Color Story team)


MoonMani  Hello, friends! Are you ready for this trendy mani? Psst, it's also really easy too! I love how simple it is to up your mani game with this technique. I couldn't help myself and just had to add a little glitz with some crystals I picked up from the craft store. You can absolutely keep it simple with just the half moon look OR give into the sparkle and add a little shine. ;) 

-small, stiff makeup brush
-polish remover
-polish of your choice
-top coat
-reinforcement labels

MoonManiStep One: Place the reinforcement label on the bottom of your nail. Secure it as much as possible. This won't keep all the polish from running, but it does provide a good base and makes it much easier to clean up! For this mani, I found it easier to do one nail at a time. 

Step Two: After your label is in place, paint on two coats of polish. Immediately and carefully remove sticker. Don't worry, it won't be perfect yet!

Step Three (Optional): While the polish is still wet, drop a crystal in the center of your nail.

MoonMani           MoonMani          MoonMani         Step Four: Using a stiff makeup brush and polish remover, clean up the entire area to achieve the sharp, half moon look. 

Step Five: Apply 1-2 coats of top coat to secure your crystal and give it a beautiful shine. Repeat steps for each nail.

MoonMani    MoonMani
All done, babes! Such a beautiful modern look and so festive! Lots of love, Sav

Credits//Author: Savannah Wallace. Photography: Isabel Jones. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.


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