Tips for surviving a major hair changeThey say, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life,” but I don’t really buy into all that. A woman who cuts her hair probably got bored! I get "hair bored" all the time. With my most recent chop, it was a mix of boredom and necessity—all of my bleaching and dyeing earlier this year left my hair pretty damaged and begging for a major cut. I lost a lot of length, but it didn’t faze me much since I’ve been through this before as well as a few other random stages of pink hair, pixie cuts, and what-have-you. I haven't always been this chill about my hair; I once spent a sleepless night before a hair cut wondering if I was making the right decision or if I’d regret it instantly. And I'll still have a freak-out moment if I trim my fringe too short and end up with Bettie Page bangs! But hair cuts happen and sometimes major hair changes happen by choice or necessity, so here are a few tips if you’re getting ready to go under the scissors (or dye!) and are feeling nervous about the process.

Tips for surviving a major hair change-Wear something cute. This might seem like a bit of odd advice, but I think it’s helpful to go to your favorite hair salon wearing something cute when you’re going to come out with a very different look. (The blue floral dress I’m wearing is not by chance; it’s one of my favorite dresses that I always feel good in!) Cutting off a lot of hair can be a bit shocking, but if you’re wearing your favorite dress when you see your new look for the first time, it can soften the blow and help show you just how good that new cut can look once the shock wears off! Speaking of shock…

-Give it a week. Don’t write off a new hair cut or color for at least one week. I’ve had friends who try something new—like a fringe or shorter hair—but decide within 24 hours they can’t stand it and start pinning their hair back straight away until it’s back to their old style. To me this doesn’t make any sense. They never gave themselves a chance to adjust to the new look. It might take you a few days to get over the “wow that’s different” feeling to actually “see” what you look like. So give yourself time. Don’t pin or hide your new look for at least a week, look at in the mirror often and get used to it before you decide whether it’s right or wrong.

-Know what you want. Of course while it takes time to adjust to a new haircut, you should also have a very fixed idea of what you want if you’re going for a major change. Create a Pinterest board with the new style you want to try and try seeing the style from different angles (front, side, back, etc.) to get a very firm idea of what you’re going for. If you’re dyeing, do you know what shade you want—even if you decide to go blue, it could be dark, pastel, more aqua or ombre! Know what you want and bring loads of pictures and examples to your hair dresser to help you communicate the new style clearly.

-Be willing to go in stages. I had a hair stylist in the past who said she wouldn’t cut someone’s long hair into a short pixie cut in one sitting, but insisted they cut off the hair in two or three appointments. She had too many women crying in her chair over a drastic cut to do it again! I also went from long hair to a bob before committing to the pixie. It definitely helped me adjust to short hair to go for an in-between cut for about a month before my final chop. With dyeing, it can take a few visits as well, especially if you want to go for a bright, unnatural color. So don’t get discouraged if you book an appointment and find out not everything can be done in one day. This is also important to remember in reverse—once you commit to certain styles, it will take awhile to get back to what your hair was before, so know what you are getting into.

-Remember it's all temporary. If you take the plunge with a style and it ends up not being what you want, try not to worry too much because it's all temporary. I'm not a big risk-taker in life. A lot of decisions you can make in life can have permanent or at least lasting consequences (as a kid I was terrified of things ending up on my "permanent record" and was really worried as a senior when I got a detention that it would blemish this record), but hair? Hair isn't permanent. Bad cuts will grow out, as will dye which will also fade (usually quicker than you want it to). In a few months or a year, no one would even know you had blue hair or a shaved side cut.

Tips for surviving a major hair change2A big hair change isn't for everyone; I envy those who know their style or themselves well enough that they don't have to mess around. I think it'd be cool to have a signature style à la Anna Wintour, but for those of us who wonder "what if I had purple tips" then maybe these tips will help you make that plunge. Hair changes don’t have to be daunting, I mean they shouldn’t be daunting—it should be about having fun or trying something you’ve always wanted to try (like dyeing my hair an unnatural color as an adult because I never got permission to do it when I was a kid). After all, it’s just hair. These tricks always work for me if I start to second guess a hair decision, but I’d love to hear what works for you! Cheers, Rebecca.

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

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)                 One of my favorite skill sets I have from living the “homeschooled-and-my-mom-is-an-art-teacher” life growing up is that my mom taught me to sew simple projects. I would make stockings for Christmas and hem pants. Then in my teen years, I started my own fashion label called FlipSide and sewed my own, uh, unique creations. Thankfully I am no longer sewing velvet panels into the sides of my pants, but I can still make a few fun projects with the sewing knowledge I’ve retained.

Since we’ve been adding some really cute touches to Elsie’s kid’s room lately (like these cactus plush and succulent garden plush DIYs), I thought it would be fun to create a pizza plush to add to the room as well! As sewing projects go, it’s pretty simple, but it looks totally legit once put together. Especially since we got to work with our friends at EverSewn sewing machines for this project. Not only are their machines cute, but they're super easy to use! And as a bonus, they're giving away one of their machines and a Starter Kit to one lucky reader! You can learn more about the giveaway below. Let’s get started!

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-EverSewn Sparrow25 sewing machine
-tan duck cloth (1/2 yard should be plenty)
-white felt (1/4 yard)
-pink felt (small sheet would be enough)
-gold vinyl or leather
-plush stuffing
-tan thread
-fabric glue
-straight pins
-fabric scissors

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)    I’ve used the Sparrow25 for a few projects now, and I’ve been so happy with its performance. For one thing, I love that it has the easy top loading bobbin thread (so much easier than the old style I grew up with) and a self-threading arm as well. It also has an extra high presser foot option so you can easily get bulky material under the presser foot. I also love when machines let you move the needle position right or left for optimal placement based on your project needs, and this machine also lets you adjust the speed slower or faster, which can be SO helpful in different situations. The EverSewn sewing machines can be found via this link or on their website with their find a local retailer tool. I also got the EverSewn Starter Kit that has lots of helpful little items (like my favorite tool lately, a pair of thread snips) to help with all my sewing needs.

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial) First you’ll fold over your tan fabric and cut a large pizza triangle shape (make sure you leave about ½” around the edges for seam allowance). I made mine 16” wide at the top and 17” long down the middle. Round the edges of your triangle as you cut the shape with fabric scissors. Measure the circumference of your triangle and cut a 2” wide strip of tan fabric a few inches longer than the circumference (this will be the sides of your pizza).

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)  Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)
Use the gold leather and white and pink felt to cut out shapes for the cheese, a crust, and heart shaped pepperonis for your pizza. Use the fabric glue to attach the cutouts onto the front triangle of your pizza plush, and then sew around each item with a corresponding thread color to secure. Doing projects like this is one reason I love the speed control on the Sparrow25. It can be tough to sew around the edge of small shapes (like the hearts) if your machine only goes full blast, and it’s a lot easier to get a clean, even thread line if you can go slow. You can see that since the leather is a bit thick, I didn’t have it go all the way to the edge of my fabric (like I did with the felt) so I could sew around the seam allowance without all that bulkiness in the way.

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)       Once all your shapes are secure, pin the long side strip of your pizza all the way around the top panel of your plush. You can either sew your side strip into a closed loop once you have it pinned and know the exact length the loop should be, or you can fabric glue it closed to save a step.

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)        Sew all the way around the triangle with a ½” seam allowance.

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)          Repeat the process of pinning the sides to the bottom triangle of the pizza but remember to keep a 2-3” opening when you sew the bottom piece so that you can turn your pizza right side out when finished.

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)          .      After you’ve sewn all the way around, pull your pizza right side out through the opening you left, and stuff your pillow to the density you like (you can also iron all the seams flat first to make the edges a bit more crisp). Once your pizza has taken shape, use a blind stitch to close up the opening, and your pizza is complete!

Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)                   Too Cute! Pizza Plush DIY! (click through for tutorial)                   AGHHH! Adorable! As a pizza lover, this makes my heart so happy, and I love the little details of the gold crust and heart-shaped pepperonis. You can make this as big or as little as you like based on your room or kid size. How cool would a giant one of these be just for lounging? Sign me up.

To enter for a chance to win your own EverSewn Sparrow25 sewing machine and Starter Kit, all you have to do is fill out the form below! The giveaway is open until 9/29/16, and the winner will be contacted directly. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I just got hungry for some ‘za… xo. Laura

Sparrow25 Sewing Machine Giveaway

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman

Emma Chapman Gingham dress for fall Aviary in Springfield MO Round sunglasses Gingham dress for fallI would probably put coffee and croissants in my top five list of favorite afternoon snacks. Although "coffee and _____" would comprise most of the list since I am addicted to coffee. :) Of course the problem with croissants is I always want another one. Ha!

While Elsie has been away on vacation (to Palm Springs—jealous? Me too!), I've been back at home in Springfield, enjoying the weather as it cools down. I've especially been loving the sunsets lately. They come earlier and some nights they are just the craziest colors!

Aviary in Springfield MO Emma Chapman Emma's Wearing: Dress and necklace/ASOS (similar), Shoes/H&M (similar), Sunnies c/o Lulu's, and Purse/Rebecca Minkoff

Take it away, Sister:

I second your thoughts—chocolate croissants are definitely in my top 5 snacks. That and happy hour with a cheese board. The best! 

Elsie at The ParkerElsie at The ParkerWe were waiting for our friends in the lobby before breakfast, and we had a few minutes and a camera, so we took these photos real quick because it was completely empty for just a bit. So fun! 

Elsie at The Parker  Losing my mind over this collection. Geeking out juuusst a bit!

The Parker is one of my favorite spaces... ever? 

Elsie at The Parker    This fireplace IS my bucket list. 

Elsie at The Parker     Elsie at The Parker     Elsie at The Parker     Elsie's Wearing: Jumper/Madewell (similar), Bag/Golden Ponies on Etsy, Shoes/Swedish Hasbeens, Sunnies/ZeroUV, Hat/ModCloth (similar), Necklace/Danny Brito on Etsy

xoxo! Emma + Elsie 

Autumn Bliss Salad with Stuffing Croutons (via abeautifulmess.com)It might be too early to be dreaming about Thanksgiving menus (or is it?! :), but autumn is in full swing and I am celebrating with STUFFING CROUTONS! Can you tell I'm excited? This salad not only tastes amazing, boasting crisp apples, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and all the flavors of Thanksgiving day stuffing in those croutons, but it's also incredibly easy to make. Plus it makes your kitchen smell like Thanksgiving day (I suspect it's the sage-rosemary combo). 

Autumn Bliss Salad with Stuffing Croutons (via abeautifulmess.com) Autumn Bliss Salad, serves 2

3-4 oz bread, cubed
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped sage
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 celery stalk, sliced thin (approx. 1 oz or slightly less)
1 clove of garlic, minced

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
plenty of salt and pepper

For the salad:
1 head of romaine lettuce 
1 apple cored and cubed, I really like honey crisp here
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Cube the bread and slice the celery, then place in a bowl. In a small bowl or cup, stir together the melted butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, herbs, and minced garlic. Toss with the bread and celery. Place on a baking sheet lined with a baking mat (or lightly oiled), and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes. 

Stuffing croutonsEasy apple cider dressingMeanwhile, in a small jar, combine the apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Shake to combine well. (You could also whisk in a small bowl, but shaking is more fun!) Taste, and add salt and pepper. 

Wash and dry the lettuce (if needed), then chop up. Toss the lettuce, cubed apple, and dressing. Divide onto two plates. Top with the pumpkin seeds, cranberries and the stuffing croutons. 

Autumn Bliss Salad with Stuffing Croutons (via abeautifulmess.com)  Notes:

-I used a small pretzel loaf for the bread here, but pretty much any bread you have can work. I think something on the thicker side is best. Also cornbread would probably be amazing. So don't be afraid to change it up. You can also double the crouton recipe listed above and save some for another salad later in the week, just keep in a sealed bag or container after baking.

-My one issue with dried cranberries is it's extremely difficult to find them without added sugar. I try to avoid added sugar in savory foods so I can enjoy it more in treats. :) If you're feeling similar, you could swap out the dried cranberries here for pomegranate seeds instead. 

Make this salad soon, guys—it's too good to miss! xo. Emma

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

What to do about hatersWe're back with another article in our Blog Q&A series, which you can see all of here if you need to catch up. Today's question comes from a Blog Life student:

"My blog exploded in readership when I started, and because of that paired with the content of the blog (vegan recipes), I received so much negativity from the beginning. Ever since, I haven't looked at any of the press we've gotten, and I rarely check comments. The worst part is, I've been stuck posting really 'safe' content that's boring to me only about once a week because I'm scared of going through all of the hate again. How do I get back to being positive and not letting negative people dictate what I want to say?"

This is such a great question, as I feel like it applies to SO many areas of life and not just blogging. If you've ever put something out there that you worked hard on (especially if you put it on the Internet), then you may have encountered some "hate" before, no matter whether you're a blogger, artist, writer, politician, mom, business owner, etc. This list could go on and on! Pretty much anyone who is doing something (as opposed to just watching—more on that in a second) is going to encounter some form of criticism or even hate during the course of their life. So what can we do about this?

Haters vs. Constructive Criticism

First I think it's SUPER important to understand the difference between negative feedback we should ignore and negative feedback that we should consider. I'm sure we could define "haters" all sorts of ways, but what I think of is spectators who are not interested in adding to a conversation or building anything. They would rather tear you down possibly to make themselves feel better about their inactivity. It's easy to criticize; it's much harder to create. So if you are creating anything—articles, projects, content, music, literature, anything really, then you are likely to stir up some hate as those spectators have to face that they are not creating while you are. As Aristotle said, "To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." Does that sound like an exciting and fulfilling life to you? Yeah, me neither. :)

So if you encounter criticism that you can basically summarize as, "You are ugly. You are dumb. You should stop doing things. You disappoint me because you did something I personally don't enjoy. You suck." Or any combination of these, here's what you do—ignore. If needed, delete those emails, comments, or whatever. Don't even respond because it's a waste of your time. You are on a mission to make and the spectators in the cheap seats are just gonna slow you down. Press on, friend! I know I'm making this sound easy, but trust me, it's incredibly hard to do. We all struggle with this from time to time. 

But what about that criticism that we should consider? I would call this constructive criticism (from non-crazy people). This usually comes in the form of questions that they feel your project didn't address, or offerings of solutions to perceived problems or weaknesses in your project. Most of the time people are either A.) Actually interested but something about your project confuses them or doesn't work for them, or B.) They see how they think your project could be better and so they tell you. Even if this criticism has been worded in a way that stings a little, try to assume they mean well and do your best to evaluate the feedback. Useful, constructive criticism can make us SO much stronger—so don't live in a bubble and miss out on these opportunities! You may receive feedback that you don't agree with, or that doesn't fit your overall goals for the project, and that's OK too. But it doesn't hurt to evaluate it as it will help you see things from other perspectives. And if you are selling or monetizing your offerings, then it's especially important to care what your customers think, even if you can't cater to every single suggestion.

Don't live in a bubble, but do protect yourself.

If you need to take a break from reading comments on your site or something from time to time—do it! Just give yourself a week or a month and come back to it later so you don't miss any useful or kind feedback while you try to avoid some hate for while. Also, don't google yourself or go to areas of the Internet that you know are just filled with hate (like mean message boards or gossip sites). If you're gonna waste your time, waste it on something fun. :)

Protect yourself as best you can and ask for support from family and friends when you need it! We all feel down sometimes, we go through ruts, we feel completely uninteresting, unoriginal, useless. It happens to everyone, reach out to loved ones for support—we all need it!

Don't let negativity steal your creativity. 

Take a second to think of your favorite writer, musician, or artist. The person you are thinking of right now, I promise someone told them they sucked and they should quit. Aren't you glad they didn't! The world is full of beautiful and interesting things because people refuse to stop making, and I personally want to join in this movement in whatever way I get lucky enough to contribute. We can't let negativity stop us from doing this or scare us from trying. Sometimes it's hard, but you have to force yourself to go all in and do the thing, or write the post, that you are most passionate about. Do not let fear of negativity water down your brand/vision/goals! As Andy Warhol said, "Don't pay attention to what they write about, just measure it in inches." Ha!

And for anyone going through the hate right now, please hear this: YOU are valuable no matter how much people like or dislike your stuff. This is totally something my mom would have said to me in middle school when I would wear the weirdest, homemade clothes to school. But you know what—she was right. Don't let anyone else dictate your worth!

I could probably talk about this for WAY longer as I am a big believer in the power of creativity and positivity, the enemy of which is usually ourselves or haters. But I've already made you read over 1000 words, so how about I let you add to the conversation now. What do you think? Have you dealt with hate? Did you let it steal your creativity or did you do something else? Share your story or questions! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Image design: Mara Dockery. 

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