FoD with textphoto by @TaylorSterling, edited with Cassidy in #FlashesOfDelight

You guys, it's finally here!! We are absolutely thrilled to announce you can now get the new #FlashesOfDelight +pack in the A Color Story app. No exaggeration, Glitter Guide was one of the first partners that came to mind when we were thinking about who we wanted to work with on expanding the look of our filters. As you know, we've got plenty of options for that bright pop, which we of course still love. But that means we were still missing the softer, warmer, more muted look that gives you some options for brighter photos, indoor shots, and skin tones. 

01-CASSIDY-@ DrCassidyphoto by @DrCassidy, edited with Cassidy in #FlashesOfDelight

When Taylor was concepting looks for this +pack, she looked at the filters we had already and then just started thinking about what her dream collection would be. And it couldn't have been more perfect, as we were in dire need of something that worked well with neutrals and soft pinks. 

02-LOLA-@drcassidyphoto by @DrCassidy, edited with Lola in #FlashesOfDelight

While the names of the filters aren't as literally descriptive as some others in A Color Story, Taylor instead chose to name them after women that inspired her. Absolutely love that!

10-AMÉLIE-@dulcetcreativephoto by @dulcetcreative, edited with Amélie in #FlashesOfDelight

In all our testing, this one quickly became a new go-to +pack for me. I think I'm sort of obsessed with it right now, and we loved working with Taylor and the rest of Glitter Guide to create it! Hope you love it as much as we do. Go download it now in A Color Story. xx. Elsie (+ ACS team)

Color Combos Elsie LarsonColor Combos Elsie LarsonColor Combos Elsie LarsonColor Combos Elsie LarsonColor Combos Elsie LarsonElsie's Wearing: Dress/Boohoo (comes in black too!), Over-the-knee boots/Jeffrey Campbell, Bag/Moorea Seal (comes in black too), Necklace/Madewell

Color Combos Elsie Larson       Let's talk color! 

I find that my go-to colors cycle every 1-2 years. I will passionately love a color (or combo of colors), and then get tired of it for a while. It's a cycle. 

Last October when we watched Rosemary's Baby, it launched me into an INSANE inspiration reboot, and at the moment I am obsessing over 1970s colors... even sometimes 1980s... you guys—who AM I? 

I love the changes, though. It's fun to slowly evolve, reinvent and eventually... come around the same circle again! 

What about you, Sis? 

Emma Chapman  Cateye sunnies Emma Chapman Sweaters and tights Emma ChapmanMaybe I should take this time to admit that probably around 70% of my wardrobe is black. I wear SO MUCH BLACK. It's nuts. And honestly, I tend to incorporate black and white into my home decor choices pretty often too. I think I am drawn to contrast, and also I tend to pick "safer colors" when I'm shopping. Of course that's not to say I don't love color, I do! I just think I use it more often as an accent in my clothing. 

Also, I will forever love glitter. I don't care if that makes me basic. GLITTER FOR LIFE! 

:)

Sweaters and tights Emma of A Beautiful MessEmma's Wearing: Sweater/Big Bud Press, Sunnies/Moorea Seal, Purse (similar) and boots/ASOS (similar boots here), Skirt/H&M (similar), Tights/Target (similar here). 

What about you guys? Do you have any favorite color combos you've been crushing on lately? xo. Emma + Elsie

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

Vanilla Bean and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com) Slice and bake cookies are the best for two main reasons. The first is the most obvious. Having some frozen, ready to bake cookie dough in your freezer makes it super easy to just be minutes away from freshly, home-baked cookies. So if you end up with unexpected guests, this little trick will ensure you still end up looking like a real life Martha Stewart. 

Oh, that's not one of your goals? Well, just me then. :)

Vanilla Bean and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)But the second reason is actually my favorite. Having cookie dough in your freezer, ready to go means you can bake just 2-3 cookies and save the rest for later. Freshly baked cookies just for me?! Uh... yes, please. Sounds more fancy than heated tiles. 

These little slice and bake delights combine the flavors of vanilla bean and thyme for a sweet and slightly herbal flavor. These cookies are rich and buttery with a texture somewhere between a crispy sugar cookie or a soft shortbread. They go well with afternoon tea. Or late night movie watching—whatever your speed. ;)

Slice and bake cookie recipeVanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies, makes 26-28 cookies 

1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, plus more for decorating
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, cream together the butter, sugar, and the seeds from the vanilla bean. To remove them just slice the bean down the center, and then use the tip of your knife to scrape the seeds out.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the thyme and egg and whisk together until well incorporated. 

Thyme glazeThen stir in the flour and salt until a dough ball forms. You may need to use your (clean) hands to press the dough together here. Roll the dough into long cylinder, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight. You can keep this frozen in your freezer for at least a month (probably longer). 

When you are ready to make cookies, remove from the freezer and allow to sit out for a few minutes while your oven preheats. Then slice into 1/4 inch or slightly thicker rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. 

Bake at 325°F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack. 

In the meantime, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, then place back on the cooling rack to allow excess glaze to drip off (put some wax paper underneath for easy clean up). If you are feeling fancy (remember, we are going for real life Martha here), you can decorate the tops with a few thyme leaves as well. 

Vanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (via abeautifulmess.com)Here's a few notes about these cookies:

-I find the best way to soften butter is to leave it out on the counter (out of the refrigerator) all day, or all night before you want to use it. 

-These cookies are super delicious even without the glaze. So if you ARE just making 2-3 for yourself one night, feel free to skip the glaze if you don't want to waste any. 

-You can use leftover vanilla bean pods (what you scraped the seeds from) for making your own vanilla extract

-You can swap out the thyme for rosemary or (food grade) lavender. I'd use a little less of either of these as thyme has a milder taste, at least to me. ;)

Happy cookie baking! Also, if you're not feeling these delicate little slice and bake cookies, might I recommend Chocolate Snowcap Mountain Cookies or Blueberry Muffin Cookies. xo. Emma

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

December DailyAh—December Daily. Such a fun tradition. What I love about it is it makes me more intentional about saving memories and getting cute photos throughout the month. This was probably the most rushed and stressful holiday season I can remember, but I can STILL look back on it with a smile because of this book. I love that! 

I've done this a few other years, I think this was my third time! Here's 2014's album and 2013's album. Last year I intended to do it, but I never got around to it. I definitely regretted breaking my tradition. So I vowed to complete it this year no matter what! 

December Daily On the inside cover, I added a fun little hand painted stripe. 

December Daily  Pro tip—always lead with your most flattering photo! 

December daily 2016I don't really like to journal that much in my scrapbooks. That will probably change when we have a kiddo, but for now this was about all I had to say. 

December Daily   December Daily    Pretty much 100% of the photos I used this year were taken with my phone. I remembered to screen shot a lot of stupid IG story and Snapchat photos this year... It adds character...? 

December Daily     This face swap moment was full-page worthy. 

December Daily      December Daily       December Daily        I'm thankful for my phone because if it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't have any photos. You saved me, iPhone. 

December Daily         My favorite pages. 

December Daily          I decided to include our NYE party in the book because A. I have WAY more cute photos of it, and B. it was one of my favorite holiday memories ever. It was so much fun and a great bonding experience for J and I to tag-team throwing a big dinner party. 

December Daily           My favorite photo. 

December Daily             Awwwe. 

December Daily              December Daily              December Daily              And the main reason why I LOVE this project is that it gives me a place to store all the cute holiday cards we get in the mail. It hurts my heart too much to throw them away. 

OK! That's all for this year! Thinking ahead for next year, I think I would like to change it up next year. I was thinking about it as I was putting this together. I think next year I'd like to focus more on photography and maybe tell a handful of stories, but mostly make a big photo book with big photos. That's pretty far off, so we'll see what I'm feeling when the time comes. Laura also did December Daily this year, so here's a few shots of what her December looked like!

Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)Laura's December Daily 2016 (click through for more!)All in all—this project is always 100% worth the effort! I love looking back on past years' albums! 

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

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      Jewelry DIYs are one of my favorite things to make. They are relatively quick, easy, and you can make something that's totally specific to your taste. Do you wear silver? Gold? Like bright colors or mostly neutrals? The same exact concept can look like a totally different piece once you customize it to your taste and put your own spin on it. I thought I'd make some pretty dangle earrings, and a simple gold pair with pink pearls at the end sounded like just enough fun to be special but not too over the top so it could be worn a little more casually too. 

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      Supplies:
-jump rings
-jewelry head pins
-link chain
-jewelry side cutters, needle nose pliers, and round nose pliers (you can buy them all together if you don't have some)
-ball earring posts
-8mm pink pearl beads

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      First you'll want to use your cutters to cut two lengths of chain (make sure to make one set of two for each earring). One length will be 3" long and the other 2 1/4" long.

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      Use your pliers to open a jump ring, loop the top of both your chains through the ring, and attach the ring onto your ball post. Close the jump ring with the pliers.

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      Insert a head pin into a pink bead and use your cutters to cut the pin a little more than 1/4" above the top of the bead. 


Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      Use your round nose pliers to make the top of the pin into a rounded hook like in the photo above, but right before you close it completely, attach the hook to the bottom of one of your earring chains so the pearl dangles from the end. 

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      Repeat the process 3 more times so each of your chain segments has a bead at the end of it, and your earrings are done!

Pearl Dangle Earring DIY (click through for tutorial)      So pretty! And so easy too, right? You can definitely do more lengths and segments, different colored beads or even multiple beads on each strand to mix it up a bit. If you're an earring girl, I think you'll have a really fun time making and customizing your own pair. So give it a shot and see what you come up with! xo. Laura

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

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