Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)Hey, guys. I'm Sarah from Arrow + Apple (and I used to take photos for ABM in another lifetime!). I'm so excited to share with you guys our little nursery we put together for our son, Loyal! Currently you can find us flipping and designing homes in Phoenix, Arizona, but I definitely get to have the most fun with our own home. I mean who doesn't like your own style more than you do, right?!

Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!) Putting together a nursery is pretty daunting. Admittedly, poor Loyal didn't have his own room until he was like six months old. I knew I wanted to do something with big personality, lots of color, but not to overwhelming for him. It's kind of a tough line to walk! Another caveat: Loyal's room is TINY. We are talking maybe 6 feet by 9 feet! With such a small blueprint to work with, we had to get pretty creative! We also didn't want to lose any personality in the space, so we decided to go BIG with a pretty crazy statement wall, but limiting the painting to just one wall helps the rest of the tiny space feel airy and fresh.

Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)  I started out planning his nursery inspired by Salvation Mountain (you can see my pinboard for his nursery here). I love the freehand, creative feel of Salvation Mountain, and as we live in the desert of Phoenix, AZ, it seemed like a good fit for us, too. We are also both really passionate about encouraging creativity with our kids and want their rooms to feel like magical places full of life!

Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)   Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)   Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)   To start off with, I bought a couple different shades of blue sample jars of paint, mixed them with a little bit of water (to create the drippy effect), took a paintbrush and just went for it on his back wall! It turned out even better than I had hoped it would. It's pretty bold, so I get it's not everybody's style, but I think even on a smaller scale (smaller blobs, less water and fewer drips, a lighter shade), it could be really pretty. My husband, Josh, made the mountain backdrop to hang over the bed, as well as the wall shelf and the honeycomb nightstand. I'm so glad to have him on my team! I also hung a few photos from my digital print shop that went with the desert theme, and some photos of our little guy as well. Over the chair hangs the sweetest and most magical moon and stars mobile from Baby Jives (find it here). We had a Baby Jives mobile in Imogen's room (see her old room tour on ABM), and it's still hanging in her room now. It's a perfect bit of magic that every kid needs.

Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)      Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)      Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)      Speaking of this amazing chair, we were so glad to work with Article to find the perfect, smaller-profile chair to fit this crazy tiny little room! I love all of their furniture, and it's such high quality (similar chair here and pouf here). I know gliders are so big for nurseries, but we lived without a glider in Imogen's room, and so I didn't place a glider as a high priority. I figured an accent chair is a better investment for us because you only use a glider for so long, but accent chairs are so versatile and usable in pretty much any room (if you're insane and love switching your furniture around from room to room like I do!).

Our indigo dyed pouf is also from Article, and it's a favorite with the kids! Perfect height, and it's nice and plush for when things get rowdy. Plush things are kind of a must with littles, right? We also love our comfy rug from Rugs USA. It's nice and neutral, and will be able to work with pretty much any design we have as he grows into a bigger room in our next home! Plus, it was insanely affordable. When you dream on a budget, affordable helps!

Loyal's Nursery Tour (click through for more photos!)         So that's Loyal's little space in our home! Thanks for reading along—I'd love to know, do you think you would go bold on a nursery or stay soft and neutral? -Sarah

Credits // Author and Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Clean + Modern Photoshop Actions.

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)       I will quickly admit that I am a lover of all things lucite. There's something about it that looks so "otherworldly" and luxe that I'm always quickly drawn to it in stores or online shopping. While it can be expensive to buy large lucite pieces, I have several smaller bits of lucite throughout the house (like these bathroom towel and hand towel holders). When I saw some lucite blocks for sale, I thought they would make great photo holders for a mantel or bookcase.

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial) Supplies:
-Canon PIXMA MG7720 photo printer
-photo paper
-4x6" lucite block
-gold photo corners
-painter's tape

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)We worked with our great friends and longtime partners at Canon USA for this project! I used my gold PIXMA MG7720, which I can always trust to create really quality images. First you'll want to resize your photo smaller than your lucite block so it will leave a border around the edge (I made my photo 3x4"). Print your photo onto photo paper.

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)Cut our your picture using scissors or an X-Acto knife.

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)
Use  a ruler to make sure your area is centered and mark off with painter's tape a space the size of your photo.

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)Attach four picture corners in each corner of your taped off space.

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)     Slide your photo into the corners (you may need to cut it down a bit more to fit depending on how thick the photo corners are), remove the painter's tape, and your new photo frame is ready for the mantel!

Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)            Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)Lucite Block Photo Frame DIY (click through for tutorial)LOVE IT! You can also orient your picture as a landscape instead of horizontal if that works better for your photo, and you could even make two sets of four photo corners side by side if you wanted to display smaller photos or two instax pictures. The lucite and gold look so pretty with the other gold accents around the house (and you can use whatever color corners you want), and I also like that I can switch out the photo whenever I like as well. If you ask me, this project is clearly a good idea! xo. Laura

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

 

Springfield-style Cashew Cauliflower (via abeautifulmess.com) Springfield-style Cashew Cauliflower (via abeautifulmess.com)  I love my hometown of Springfield, MO. I suspect that many people feel similar, and I guess since it's where I grew up, I am a little biased. BUT, it's also a really awesome city. AND we've got some pretty major claims to fame. 

1. It's where Brad Pitt is from. (!!!!!)

2. It's the home of Springfield-style (the only style if you ask me) Cashew Chicken.

Springfield-style Cashew Cauliflower (via abeautifulmess.com)I grew up eating (and loving) cashew chicken. Also, fun fact, the restaurant credited with creating the original recipe (Leong's) is where my parents had their first date back in the day. :) 

Anyway, love cashew chicken. Only problem, I don't really eat chicken. I prefer a mostly plant-based diet for health reasons, and I don't like to support factory farming for moral reasons. But I still love cashew chicken. So, I decided it was time to find a solution to this life crisis. (OK, maybe it's not a life "crisis", but I do sincerely miss this childhood favorite!)

After having a General Tso cauliflower dish while in NYC with Elsie late last year, I realized it would be super simple to swap out the chicken for cauliflower so long as I worked on figuring out an easy homemade version of the sauce. I also decided to bake (rather than fry) the cauliflower and to serve it with brown rice for added nutrition. So although I don't know if everyone would consider this dish "healthy", as that word can have so many meanings, it's certainly a lighter version of a favorite guilty-pleasure dish. 

Have I convinced you yet? If not, let me just say, this is seriously SO delicious. It does take a bit of work, but it can still come together in around 30 minutes and is SO WORTH IT. I promise. 

Baked cauliflower wingsSpringfield-style Cashew Cauliflower, serves 2

1 head of cauliflower
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
2/3 cup bread crumbs (I like Panko here)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup brown rice

For the sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup vegetable stock
1/3 cup chopped cashews
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the bottom leaves and stem from the cauliflower head and cut into small florets. In a bowl, stir together the flour and milk. In another bowl, place the bread crumbs. Dip the cauliflower pieces in the flour mix, then in the bread crumbs. Then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and coated in the olive oil. Once you've dipped all the cauliflower pieces, bake for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the rice according to the package directions. I cheated and used a rice cooker. :)

Springfield style cashew chicken sauce recipeDuring the last 10 minutes of the cauliflower cook time, make the sauce. In a small to medium size pot, combine the sesame oil and minced garlic over medium heat. Cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the remaining sauce ingredients: oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, onion powder, red pepper flakes (if using), and cornstarch. Give that a good whisk. Then slowly add the vegetable stock. The mixture may appear very thin at first, but keep cooking over medium heat and it will thicken up (like gravy). Once it reaches the desired thickness, remove from heat. Taste and add salt or more soy if you think it needs it. 

Once everything is ready, layer on the rice, baked cauliflower, sauce, cashews, and then green onions. Serve hot. 

Springfield-style Cashew Cauliflower (via abeautifulmess.com)   A couple of notes about this dish:

-If you want to make this 100% vegetarian, be sure to use vegetarian oyster sauce as not all oyster sauce is. 

-If you don't care about keeping this 100% vegetarian, you just want to use cauliflower to get more veggies in your day, then you can also swap out the vegetable stock with chicken stock if you prefer. I'd recommend seeking out something organic and free range if possible if you go this route. 

-If you don't mind fried cauliflower (who would?), maybe try this recipe for General Tso's Cauliflower. It looks amazing. 

Thanks for letting me share a lightened up childhood favorite with you guys. Also, if you try this and like the cauliflower, then you will probably like this Hot Cauliflower Pizza too as the cooking method is very similar. Viva la Springfield! xo. Emma

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

Nursery wallpaper Earlier this month Jeremy and I completed our dossier, which unlocked a new level of baby prep—NURSERY DECOR. 

We intentionally saved this whole she-bang for this stage in our adoption because this is where it gets REAL hard. Yeah... filling out hundreds of pages of paperwork is easy when you compare it to waiting. And we have no idea how long our wait will be. We've been told to prepare ourselves for up to ten months before we may be matched with a baby. So while we're, of course, hoping for a shortish wait, we're preparing for the long haul.

So we saved this nursery decorating process for now.... to distract me! And what a beautiful distraction it is. My husband knows me so well! 

So far I only have a few things picked out. I know I am using a wallpaper from Lulie Wallace's new line (pictured above). She's one of my favorite artists of all time, and shortly after we decided to adopt, she announced she was doing a wallpaper line. So it was a no-brainer. Her prints are so gorgeous, I had a really hard time choosing. I love the bugs and the swans (and honestly a bunch of the floral prints too—she did NOT make it easy). But I decided to go with Lulu

As far as a theme, we don't want to make it too theme-y, but there's a bit of an animal theme that just kind of happened. I like it because teaching our kiddo to love animals is almost as high up on my priority list as teaching her to like Justin Timberlake. 

Similar to our own bedroom, I want to make our baby's nursery a light, airy space. To me, that just feels like comfort and SLEEP. 

Wicker animals The week last summer that we told friends and family we were adopting, Laura gave me this giant wicker giraffe (you can't see the whole thing here, sorry, but it's a planter too). It was such an insanely risky, but perfect gift. It made me realize that she really does know my style because this giraffe is now the inspiration for the rest of our nursery. (Love you, gummergal!) 

This elephant hamper was the first thing I ordered, just recently. I felt like they made a good pair. I'm probably pretty close to filling my wicker quota now. Planning to focus on white wood for the furniture, and I've been eyeing a blush pink glider. 

So far it's turning out very soft and pretty, so I'd like to add some elements that are on the fun and bold spectrum as well. Or maybe I'll save that for the playroom since I've already got a head start with that rainbow wall

My friend, Cayt, gave me the advice to create a low, accessible bookshelf. So I am definitely planning to do that. I've already got a few cute board books added to my collection. 

I want to hear your mom advice! When you put together your nursery, what things did you love OR regret in the long haul. What was useful? What wasn't? 

Also! Where do you love to shop? I'm already a verified stalker of The Land of Nod

Oh, and while we're at it—I'd love to hear what shops you like for kiddo clothing as well! 

Keep in mind our baby will most likely be above the age of one, so we're not planning for a newborn (but Laura is, so I'm sure she'd love to hear your advice!). It's definitely a priority to me to create a space that can evolve throughout our daughter's childhood.

I'm really excited to spend A LOT of time on this room in the coming months as well as the playroom! It's my favorite project ever. xx -Elsie 

ps. If you missed the news that we are adopting, you can read our announcement here

MinimalNailsDIY
I first have to note that I purchased this striping tape on Amazon, spent $6.00 and got 20 different colors, and each roll has TWENTY yards! I don't understand how I'll ever use that much striping tape, but I'm in love! This was such a fun technique to try, and I love all of the different applications and designs you can do. I went for a really varied minimal look, but you can easily make this look even more minimal with just one stripe per nail or go ham and create some amazing designs. I'm really excited to try out some different looks in the future! 

Supplies: 
-curved manicure scissors (the curve makes it easier to cut a good angle on the tape)
-polish of your choice
-top coat
-striping tape

StripingNailsStep One: Paint two coats of polish on your nails and let dry. 

Step Two: Select a few of your favorite striping tape colors. I was all about the coppers and blues. Start by cutting a small amount and carefully lay on your nail. Use the scissors to press down on the tape to make sure it's secure on your nail. Once secure and in place, use the scissors to snip the remaining tape, getting as close to the nail as possible. I even cut off just a little bit extra so nothing was layering over my nails. Use different colors and angles to finish creating your designs. 

MinimalNailsDIY             MinimalNailsDIY           MinimalNailsDIY          MinimalNailsDIY       MinimalNailsDIY      Step Three: Apply a good top coat and don't forget to coat the tips of your nails to make sure everything is set nicely. Let dry completely!

I love looking down and seeing such a simple shine and design. I was impressed with how easy the tape was to work with. It laid on the nails beautifully and made it easy to create fun designs! 

MinimalNailsDIY MinimalNailsDIYEnjoy your next mani night. ;) Lots of love, Sav

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

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