A Beautiful Mess tee shirts Emma Chapman Plant lady teeI feel so STOKED for the next few months—there's some exciting times ahead. Mainly I'll be traveling to Nashville to visit Elsie three times in the next two months. Yes, it's mostly for work-related reasons, but I guess one of the new benefits of my job is I get to visit my sister in her cool city. So I can't complain. :) The seven hour drive gives me plenty of time to catch up on all my favorite podcasts and also talk to myself like a crazy lady. Ha! But really, it just helps me process sometimes. I talk to myself when I walk our dogs around our neighborhood too, and I'm pretty sure by this point our neighbors are unsure about me. :)

I'm also really excited for a few fun things happening with ABM in the coming months. We have a big project planned for next month that involves giving back to both our communities, and we're going to get you all involved—so that should be fun. I'm also sort of interested in trying out FB Live videos. Do you guys watch those? Would you be interested in seeing us do that from time to time? Idk. 

Cute tee shirts Faux lepord purse Pastels and plant lady tee Emma of A Beautiful MessEmma's Wearing: Plant lady shirt/Oui Fresh, Collar shirt/ShopSosie, Jeans/CP Jeans, Shoes/Circus by Sam Edelman (similar), and Purse/Fossil

What about you, Sister? What's got you excited lately—other than me visiting, obviously. :) 

Exciting timesSo many exciting things going on over here! This week I am filming my first online class that is almost entirely a video class. Really excited to teach this way because it's a way I enjoy learning. 

This past year went by in such a blur, I'm excited to slow down (although this season isn't feeling very slow so far) and nest this winter. I feel equal parts business minded and homemaker minded. I want to exercise my homemaker side more, and I'm not just talking about decorating. I would really like to throw parties and have people over more often. That's something I'm excited about. OMG—and Friendsgiving! My favorite tradition is coming up very soon!! 

Jeremy and I have some exciting things going on over here (#notpregnant) that I will share with you soon!

Exciting times Exciting times Exciting times Exciting times Exciting times Elsie's Wearing: Dress/Pixie Market (similar), Sunnies/Zero UV, Bag/OuiFresh, Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens

Credits //Author: Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson. Photography: Janae Hardy and Amber Ulmer. 

A Beautiful Mess Favorite Camera Gear List (Click through for links)As you can probably imagine, we get a lot of questions here at the blog about what our favorite camera gear is. For that reason, every so often we like to update you guys and give you the inside scoop about what camera gear we are loving (and don't worry, the items have a range of prices depending on your budget)! The list has a few reliable standards as well as some new items we've discovered along the way. So let's dive right in!

1. Canon 5D Mark III: This is the camera that we've all been using for years now, and we LOVE it! It's amazing how much more you can fit into a full frame camera shot, and since we switched over, we hardly ever have to pull out the wide angle lens anymore. It's great in low light situations, can handle a higher ISO, and while it is a lot more expensive than a starter camera, it's definitely an investment that we were so glad we made!
2. Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Controller: Most DSLR cameras already come with a self-timer function, but it's really handy to have a remote to take selfies or any other kind of photo where you don't want to run back and forth for each snap. The Canon RC-6 is a great choice, but we love this remote as well.
3. Wacom Tablet: This tablet is great for adding handwriting or drawing to photos and makes certain editing tasks a lot easier as well. There are a couple of good models out there for less than $100, but this is the one that we've been using (the newest version of it is this one).
4. Cute Camera Straps: Camera accessories don't have to be basic! Get yourself a few cute straps to switch out and be a shutterbug in style.
5. White Balance Cards: Emma swears by these cards to get her white balance just right, and these are small enough to throw into your camera bag without taking up all your space.
6. Canon EOS 80D: If you want to up your camera game but aren't ready for the price jump of a full frame camera like the Mark III, then this 80D may be the perfect middle ground for you. We have all used at least one of the previous versions of this camera (starting as far back as the 20D), and it's a great model for bloggers and was even used when we wrote our first book as well.
7. A Beautiful Mess Photoshop Actions: If you've ever used actions on photos, then you know what a crazy difference they can make when it comes to creating clean, bright, and powerful images. It makes your editing process so much faster and gives you a more consistent look—we love them!
8. Reflector Set: Having a good reflector set can be a lifesaver in certain lighting situations to help you manipulate the lighting tones and shadows. This is a 5-in-1 set that is collapsible and is a great deal considering it's under $20.
9. Large Camera Bag: If you are going to have to lug around all your camera gear, you might as well have a cute bag to carry it in! This bag is a good size to carry your camera and 2-3 lenses as well and has several divided compartments for storage. And in case you're curious—yes, we are working on a NEW A Beautiful Mess camera bag, but it's not quite ready for us to reveal just yet. 
10. CamFi Wireless Camera Controller: This device is a newer find for us, but it allows you to use your phone as a wireless remote for your camera so you can see in real time through your phone what the shot looks like and adjust accordingly. You can also download the photos right to your phone when you are done for instant uploading. Genius? We think so!
11. Camera Tripod: Tripods come in handy in a million situations, so make sure that you have one that you love. We've had a great experience with this tripod, but it comes in a newer model as well.
12. 50mm lenses: For a great, everyday lens, we suggest this 50mm f/1.4, but if you are wanting to get a starter 50mm at a lower price, it's hard to beat this 50mm f/1.8 for the quality and value. Emma swears by this EF 50mm f/1.2 lens for all her food photography needs.
13. 35mm lenses: The lens that we probably use the most would be this Canon 35mm f/2 (it gets used for the majority of the shots we take). If you can only get one lens, this would be the one we suggest as it's really clean and has a more moderate price point. We also love this Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L lens for taking crisp portraits (the quality is top notch).
14. Small Camera Bag: Sometimes you don't need or want to take all your gear options with you, and it's nice to have a smaller bag to keep your camera handy but also protected. Just make sure and measure your camera before buying your dream bag to ensure it will fit!
15. Canon Rebel: If you are just getting into the photography game, the Rebel is a great starter camera for also being on the lowest end of the price scale. Don't let the price point fool you though, it's still a quality camera for the novice or a blogger on a budget. 
16. DSLR Basics eCourse: Does all this talk about camera gear make you want to get into the photography game (or at least up your current game a bit)? Well, don't forget that we have a DSLR basics eCourse as well as a Photoshop for Bloggers course—you can even get them both for a discounted price!

It's always fun to see what tools-of-the-trade other bloggers are into lately, so we hope this list has been informative for you! Maybe you've even added a few items to your Christmas wishlist, eh? Happy snapping!

Miso Soba Zoodles (via abeautifulmess.com) Some nights I take time to make a really special meal. But, on an average weekend, I'm looking for something quick, easy, delicious, and heavy on the vegetables. :) This recipe totally fits the bill. I especially love cooking with soba (buckwheat) noodles now and again as they aren't something we make all the time, so it's a fun variation. If you can't have buckwheat or can't find them at your store, you could substitute whole wheat linguine or spaghetti instead. 

Miso Soba Zoodles (via abeautifulmess.com)Miso Soba Zoodles, serves two as a light meal (see notes)

1 small package of soba noodles (3.5 oz)
1 zucchini
1 red or orange bell pepper
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 heaping tablespoon miso paste (White, or sometimes labeled Shiro)
1 teaspoon honey
2 green onions
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Use a spiralizer to create zoodles from your zucchini. If you don't have a spiralizer, you could simply cut off the top and bottom and cut into thin matchsticks. Remove the inside seeds and veins from the bell pepper and slice into thin matchsticks.

How to cook soba noodlesBoil some water in a pot, enough so the noodles will have plenty of room to move around once they soften. Once boiling, add the soba noodles and cook for 7-8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, cook the bell pepper in the sesame oil for 5-6 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, miso, honey, and garlic. Set this aside until you need it. 

Healthy 30 minute dinnersOnce the noodles are cooked, drain well. Add these to the pan with cooking bell pepper along with the zoodles. Pour the sauce over everything and cook, tossing well, for another 2 minutes. Then remove to two plates and top with the green onion and sesame seeds. 

Miso Soba Zoodles (via abeautifulmess.com)  Notes:

-If you want to add some protein or make this a more substantial meal, you could add a soft boiled egg to the top before serving. Or if runny yolks freak you out, then maybe some baked tofu or cooked shrimp? 

-The zucchini pictured here was a little on the small side (6.5 oz). I would recommend using a larger one, but this is what I had on hand the day I photographed this. So I figured why waste it. But if your zucchini is on the small side, you might consider using two. 

-You can substitute brown sugar for the honey if you like. 

Easy, delicious dinners—that's what I love during the week! Try this one sometime soon. xo. Emma

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

Bananas-@mattcrumpedited w/ Bananas from Candy Minimal by @mattcrump

We are super, super excited to announce this new filter +pack and collaboration for A Color Story! A while back, we reached out to the creator of the #CandyMinimal photo movement and avid A Color Story user, Matt Crump, to gauge his interest on designing a filter pack focused on his beautiful photo style.

He was all for it!! :) We got right to work, and after months of working with Matt to get it just right, we now have a new pack of 13 filters available in A Color Story called Candy Minimal.

A Color Story Candy Minimal Pack    edited w/ Dinner Mint from Candy Minimal by @mattcrump

For any of you that may be unfamiliar with #CandyMinimal, it's a photo style that focuses on bright pastels and neons—photos that have at times completely transformed the colors into a candy-colored daydream. As the name would suggest, the compositions are often minimal, letting the bright colors tell the story.

Candy Minimal on A Color Storyedited w/ Jelly Bean from Candy Minimal by @williamgeorgeiii 

So we set out with Matt to make a pack of filters that gives you quick access to his editing styles to make it more fun to participate in #CandyMinimal. 

These filters are best on things like skies, beaches, palm trees, neon signs, buildings, fun colors or minimal compositions. But make no mistake: These filters are intense, and they strongly manipulate color! So they probably shouldn't be your first choice for a quick self portrait or group photo.

A Color Story Candy Minimal Pack     edited w/ Dreamsicle from Candy Minimal by @mattcrump

Anyway, we hope you have as much fun with this pack on your photos as we do. Hop over to the app and purchase the pack now! Also, be sure to follow our friend @mattcrump as well as his @candyminimal account where he features his favorite photos from #CandyMinimal.

Cinnamon Roll-@mattcrumpedited with Cinnamon Roll from Candy Minimal by @mattcrump

xoxo. Elsie + ACS Team

ps. Last week we reached a HUGE milestone, 1 million installs of A Color Story. We couldn't have done any of this without YOU. Thank you for your support, feedback and for spreading the word about A Color Story!!!! We love you guys! 

iOS users: If you aren't seeing the +pack, make sure you've got version 1.1, and then just restart the app.
Android users: Ensure you're updated to 1.1.2. Update may take a few hours to propagate in your store.

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