Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial)Once the weather starts to warm up every year, it’s time to catch up on the things I’ve missed all winter long–creamy milkshakes, cold cocktails and fresh berries, to name a few! This vodka-laced strawberry milkshake just happens to check all those boxes. Oh, and don’t forget the shortcake rim... in case you needed one more reason to drop everything and make one right now.

This milkshake cocktail is a breeze to whip up–just throw your berries and dairy in a blender. While the shortcake crumbles are getting golden and toasty in the oven, don’t forget to whip some fresh cream to top the whole thing off! It takes 10-15 minutes to make from start to finish and way less time to polish it off. Pro tip: use a straw to to get every last drop!

Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial) Grown Up Strawberry Shortcake Shake, makes two

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 inch slice of shortcake or poundcake
2 cups strawberries
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup milk
3 oz. (2 shots) whipped cream vodka
1/2 cup whipping cream

Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial)     Make a simple syrup by dissolving a 1/2 cup of sugar in the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat to cool. Combine the strawberries, ice cream, milk and vodka in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth.

Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial)    Chop the shortcake into breadcrumb-sized pieces. Toast in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet in a toaster oven or in a standard oven at 200º F for 3-4 minutes until golden and slightly dry. Meanwhile, beat the whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add the teaspoon of sugar, and then continue beating just until stiff peaks form.

Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial)  Add a shortcake rim to your glasses by dipping the glasses into a 1/4 inch of simple syrup and immediately rolling the rims in the shortcake crumbles. Fill the glasses with the strawberry milkshake and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with a strawberry slice.

Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial)      Strawberry Shortcake Shake with Vodka (click through for tutorial)        This cocktail reminds me of strawberry milkshakes from my childhood, but the vodka adds a fun grown up twist! If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Don’t forget to tag your photos #ABMhappyhour so I can see what you make! xo, Kayleigh

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

How to write and pitch a book proposalHi, friends! Today I am REALLY excited because we are opening back up our course, How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal, written by our friend and literary agent, Lindsay Edgecombe. This course was originally launched in April 2014 and after re-evaluating, adding some new images, sprucing up the text, and just generally giving this course a few updates to make it that much better, we are excited to offer it up to you all again. 

This course is designed  to help aspiring authors take their book ideas and turn them into A+ proposals that will stand out to both literary agents as well as publishers, and hopefully lead to a book deal. How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal is not overly long—but it definitely has everything you need. I cannot tell you how much I believe in this course, but you don't have to take just my word for it. We were super excited when Anuschka Rees, the author of The Curated Closet (a book we LOVE), agreed to share her story with you:

The curated closet"I’ve wanted to write a book ever since I can remember, but I never actively pursued a career as a writer because, 'There are too many jobless writers already' and, 'It’s close to impossible to get a book deal these days' – that’s what they say, right? It wasn’t until my blog gained some traction (after 3+ years) that I started to think, 'Hey, this stuff that I’ve been writing about… that would actually make a pretty good book!' 

I started to look around for information about how one might go about not just writing a book, but then also about finding someone to publish it. I eventually stumbled across Lindsay’s course on A Beautiful Mess, read the whole thing in one go–and felt very relieved because I now had a concrete roadmap for what I had to do next. 

The course walks you through every component of a great book proposal, from your pitch letter to your chapter summaries. Two things surprised me initially: for one, that book proposals have a set structure that you need to stick to, and secondly, that a huge chunk of it should be dedicated to marketing. In other words: You need to present your potential publisher with a clear plan of who is going to buy your book and what you will do to promote it. Those chapters were definite wake-up calls because while I had already meticulously planned out each chapter of the book, I had pretty much ignored the entire business side of being an author. Thankfully, Lindsay does a great job explaining both the creative and the business components of the proposal in detail and gives you plenty of ideas for everything. There are also several examples from real authors, which I loved, and of course, lots of insider tips from Lindsay herself. I also found it very motivating that throughout the course, she emphasized that agents and publishers WANT to hear great pitches and are rooting for their authors. That little bit of extra encouragement made me feel like my proposal wasn’t going to end up in the slush pile—at least not if I gave it my best shot. 

When I finished writing my proposal, I first sent it to the same literary agency Lindsay works at because I felt like I had already gotten to know her and her philosophy through her course. I was going to research more literary agents the next week, but guess what? I didn’t need to because Lindsay replied, we chatted on the phone, and just like that I had found my agent!

Within a couple of months, Lindsay had negotiated a book deal for me, and I could start writing my book! The Curated Closet came out in September 2016 in the US and Canada, and is due to be released in several more languages. Right now I am working on my next book. This time I already have an agent, but I am still going to use Lindsay’s course as a guide to fine-tune the overall concept of the book and make sure it’s well thought out from both a creative and a business perspective."-Anuschka Rees

How to write a book proposalIf you've ever dreamed of writing a book, this course can help you shape your ideas and maybe even turn that dream into a reality. Here's what you'll learn:

•How to know if you're ready to pitch your book
•How to write an awesome pitch letter (sometimes called a query)
•How to draft an overview of your idea
•Crafting an attention-getting biography
•How to think about your potential audience
•Growing your platform as an author
•Drafting a great chapter outline

Lindsay has packed the course with encouragement as well as industry insider knowledge from her experiences in the publishing world over the past ten years. The course also includes three sample proposals as a bonus! Giving you even more guides to follow. 

How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal is a work-at-your-own-pace e-Course, available for $15 USD. 

Lindsay, Emma, ElsieLindsay has represented Elsie and I for many years. She helped us land our very first book deal, and we are currently finishing up work on our third book. Not only is Lindsay a great agent, she is also a friend, and there is no one else I would recommend learning from more. You're going to love her and her course. :) You can read a bit more about How to Write and Pitch a Book Proposal, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below. Thanks! -Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy, Anuschka Rees, and Emma Chapman. 

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Pretty decorative boxes are one of my favorite things to have around the house (usually in little groupings with other candles or figurine type things). A lot of the time though, I love a box or container, but I'm not sure what to actually store in it! It occurred to me that most decorative boxes are actually the perfect size to be a jewelry box, and with a few quick tweaks, they can be really useful around the house as well as pretty!

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Supplies:
-decorative box with lid (I used this one, but this one would be great too.)
-1/4 yard velvet fabric (this is a good pink option)
-straight pins and sewing machine
-hot glue gun or fabric glue
-cotton batting
-fabric scissors
-cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           First you'll want to double over your batting and cut a piece that's as wide as your box and long enough to make a 1" thick roll when all rolled up. If you make them about 1" wide, then you can know how many you need to make to fill your box (a 5" wide box would need 5 rolls, etc.).

Cut and roll all your pieces and pin in place for now.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)    Use a cloth measuring tape to measure the circumference of your batting rolls and add 1/2" to your measurement (this will give you a 1/4" seam allowance when you sew it later). Cut your velvet fabric into a rectangle that's 1" longer than the length of your batting roll and as wide as the circumference width found in the first step above.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Fold your fabric lengthwise (right sides facing each other) and pin in place. Sew down the open side with 1/4" seam allowance and turn your velvet tube right side out.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Stuff your cotton batting into the tube (don't forget to take that pin out!), and repeat the sewing and stuffing process for each batting roll.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           To close the ends, put a dollop of hot glue (or quick dry fabric glue) directly onto the middle of the batting end inside the velvet tube and fold the bottom of the velvet up into the glue. Add more glue to fold in the sides one at a time, and then use a final drop of glue to fold the top flap down in place. Repeat process on the other side of the tube, and then with each additional tube.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Place your velvet tubes snugly into your box, and you just created a new jewelry box!

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)             Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Not gonna lie, I love that marble, pink, and gold combo together, but of course you can do whatever box or color velvet you like! I have a lot of dainty gold stacking rings, so I have to keep ring dishes and boxes all over the house or they get lost really fast! As you can see, it's pretty easy to make your own jewelry holder with whatever box you happen to love, and if you vary the size of the batting rolls, then you can have more or less rows to add your jewelry into. Hope this DIY is just what you need to keep your space useful and pretty! xo. Laura

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

Shower Melt DIY   Sometimes the closest I get to some spa time is the 5-10 minutes I slip away to take a shower while the kids are napping. It's sacred time, people! ;) Lately I've been trying to think of ways to make shower time a "treat yo self" experience. Yummy smelling shampoos, fancy masks... but recently I've been loving these little DIY shower melts. 

The peppermint and eucalyptus (with a touch of orange) smell SO incredibly refreshing and always make me feel more awake and ready for my day! 

Shower Melt DIYSupplies:
-corn starch
-baking soda
-witch hazel
-peppermint, eucalyptus & orange essential oils
-silicone mold
-food coloring

Step One: In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of corn starch. Stir. 

Shower Melt DIY      Step Two: Slowly add 5 tablespoons of witch hazel to your mixture, making sure you get out any lumps. Once combined, add in a drop of food coloring. I added a touch of green to give it a minty looking color. If your mixture seems a little dry and hard to stir, add just a touch more of witch hazel. Finish by adding in 5 drops of orange, 10 drops of peppermint and 6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your shower melts. 

Step Three: Once everything is combined, use a spoon to fill your silicone mold. This recipe made 8 small stars. 

Shower Melt DIY     Shower Melt DIY    Step Four: Put your shower melts in the freezer overnight to harden. Keep in a cool place like the fridge to prevent them from melting. When you're ready to use your melts, simply put them in your shower away from direct water so it can melt slowly. I like to put mine on the ledge of the bath in the corner or on a soap holder. For a little boost of smell, add an extra 1-2 drops of essential oil to your shower melt once it's in the shower. Breathe in and enjoy!!

Shower Melt DIY  Shower Melt DIY These make the perfect gift for anyone in your life in need of some "me time"! ;) Store or give them in a cute jar or bowl, and don't forget to keep them chilled! Lots of love, Sav.

Credits//Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.


Check out our new product line,
Photoshop Actions and E-Courses!

Back to Top