Autumn Reading List

You can put me down as a "bookworm" all year round, but I especially love cuddling up with a good read once the weather turns chilly—bonus points if there are freshly baked goods involved. :) So I thought it would be fun to put tougher a list of books I'm currently reading, just finished, or that are on my list to get to sometime soon (fingers crossed) in case you are in need of more book recommendations this season. 

01. Before the Fall. If you follow me on IG, then you know I recently read this book and LOVED it. It's sort of a who-done-it after a plane crash, although I wouldn't quite call it a mystery novel. It's also got some REALLY interesting side commentary on the current state of media, which is especially relevant right now as the USA (where I live) is going through a presidential election year. That's not to say it's a political book, as it's not, just a super interesting and beautiful read that feels very on-the-nose for this year. 

02. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore has been on my to-read list for quite a while. A weird, mysterious book store is the setting—complete with a new employee who begins to discover that the store may be more than it seems. You had me at book store. :) Bonus points—the cover art is too cute. 

03. The Girls sounds a little like it might be a kind of coming of age story set in the 1960s within a cult organization. What? OK, I'm listening. This one is making it on to my to-read list for sure. 

04. I am currently listening to Rising Strong on audio CD in my car. I'v been getting little bits and pieces of Brene Brown teaching me about shame and getting up from failures for a few weeks now, and it almost feels like on-the-go therapy. I don't know if that's a good thing, but it's been pretty great to me. I randomly picked this up at the library, and although I am loving it, I realize I probably should have checked out her other books (Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection) before this one. 

05. I forget where I first heard about The Last Boy and Girl in the World, but it sounded a little melancholy mixed with a love story—so basically the perfect novel to have a glass of wine and unwind with (maybe while wearing my Wine Teeth tee... too much?). There's just something about the premise of the book that totally appealed to me, your town is being destroyed by some kind of natural disaster so you decide to throw a big party before you have to leave forever. Intriguing, right? I think so. 

06. Modern Lovers is the book I am currently reading. I'm probably about 2/3 through the book, and I am already dreading the end because it's such a fun read, and I have gotten quite attached to many of the characters. Plus this is the kind of novel that makes me wish I lived in NYC—it's cool, guys. Read this book!

07. I will probably listen to The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo on audio book as I love to hear comedians read their books even more than I love reading them. I think Amy Schumer is hilarious and beautiful, and I absolutely LOVED Trainwreck. So, I'm excited to hear her book soon. :)

08. The night I got engaged, Trey and I saw Silver Linings Playbook. So Matthew Quick will probably always have an unfair advantage over other authors with me. But I also LOVE the characters who live in his books. They are always super quirky yet relatable, which I think is a feat to pull off as often as Quick does. For this reason, I am excited to check out Every Exquisite Thing, hopefully soon. 

09. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is about magicians, guys. Do I need to say more? I fell in love with the Harry Potter books when I was twelve, and I've been a sucker for magician protagonists ever since. Probably always will be. And I'm not sorry. :) 

Have you read any of these? Thoughts? Also, what are you guys reading this season? Also, I'm thinking about bringing back the ABM book club—you in? xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Cover art of books found via Amazon and linked throughout. 

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial)  I've been working on our guest bathroom this past month. One of the suggestions Laura had for making a bathroom look more luxe is to get an extra long shower curtain that goes all the way to the floor. It was one of those things I never even thought about, but it made total sense! 

So for this DIY, we added macrame trim to a simple/boring curtain that was the right length. The finished result is a custom shower curtain that you can't buy in any store! 

Here's how it's done— 

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial)
Supplies:
-white shower curtain (I am not sure of the exact one, but I think I found this on Overstock.com
-macrame lace (similar here, here, here, and here)
-fabric glue or sewing machine
-fabric scissors
-Fray Check

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial)Cut a macrame lace strip to be just as wide as the bottom of the curtain. Pin your lace in the location you want it along the bottom of the curtain and use a ruler as you go to make sure the top of the lace is even with the bottom of the curtain.

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial)Using a ruler again, add and pin your next line of lace, and repeat with each layer you want to add.

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial)Use fabric glue along the top edge of each piece of lace to secure, or sew along the top line with a sewing machine.

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial)Add some Fray Check to the ends of all your cut macrame pieces so they don't unravel, and hang up your curtain to see your finished product!

Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial) Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial) Macrame Shower Curtain DIY (click through for tutorial) I'm really excited to share this whole room with you soon. It's so close to being complete! xx -Elsie 

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

NaturalLipstick
I get a little... OK, maybe a lot excited talking about lipstick. ;) I love discovering new-to-me brands and finding lines I can really get behind. The first 5 Natural Lipstick Brands You'll Love post was SO fun to curate, and since there are more and more new and exciting natural brands of lipstick available, I had to share 5 more that you need to check out if you're shopping for nontoxic, organic lipstick options. You won't be sorry. All of these have a wow factor and are so comfortable to wear! 

Fall Natural LipstickJane Iredale: Jane Iredale has several lip options, but I really enjoy the Lip Plumper line. It's infused with ginger root extract, which is supposed to increase circulation and make your lips appear fuller. While I didn't notice a difference in the fullness of my lips, I did really enjoy the slight tingle and cooling feeling it left throughout the wear. The colors are so beautiful with just a touch of shimmer and are very easy to apply. I found that this color especially was an easy "no-mirror needed" lipstick. If you enjoy the plumping/tingling type of lip products, then I think you'll really love this pick! Wearing NYC

Fall Natural Lipstick      Tata Harper: This is such a beautiful product. The green and gold packaging makes me want to display it on my vanity along with my other visually pleasing favorites. :) I've always been a huge fan of multipurpose beauty products, and I especially love that this can be worn on the lips and cheeks. Again, very easy to apply and super comfortable to wear. The scent actually reminds me a little bit of a strawberry smoothie, and I kinda love it. I love that the color I picked had a neutral vibe with a pinch of burnt orange, very appropriate for the transition of the seasons! Wearing Very Vivacious.

Fall Natural Lipstick
Beauty Counter: If you're a lover of sleek gold packaging, then this is your lipstick pick! These lipsticks have such a buttery, soft application. They are a little on the sheer side, but you can definitely build up the color. They have a natural vanilla scent that is so warm and yummy too. I'm kinda obsessed with this plumy/brown color! Wearing Raisin

Fall Natural Lipstick  Vapour: Super chic, sleek packaging and a very silky application. I love that the color is more full-coverage, and they have a great selection of colors to choose from! The scent is slightly pomegranate. Definitely one of my favorites for a night out. Wearing Bold

Fall Natural Lipstick    Kosas: This packaging really speaks to my minimalistic loving heart. I'll always be a fan of black and white. This line is definitely the most full-coverage of the bunch and really performs more like a typical lipstick, less buttery, which gives you a little more control and precision if you are wanting to spend a little more time on your application. They have 8 colors in their line, all of them totally covetable and beautiful. I love wearing a poppy red/orange color at the beginning of fall. Wearing Thrillest.

Natural Lipstick  All five of these picks are really high quality, perform beautifully and feel so comfortable to wear. Each are made with nontoxic ingredients that will leave your skin and lips super thankful! *celebration hands emoji*

I so hope you enjoyed these picks. Feel free to share some of your favorite natural and nontoxic picks too! Lots of love, Sav.

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

Laura's Summer Tour Mini Book         If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (both under "gummergal"), then you've probably seen both me moaning about having to spend most of the summer apart from my musician husband, Todd, as well as the happy joys of getting to visit him out on tour. His band MUTEMATH opened for Twenty One Pilots on their summer arena tour, and while that's such an exciting opportunity for them, I was more than a little bummed that the tour happened to span almost the entire summer season. BUT, whatchagonnado but make the best of it, right? Although we did spend more time apart than I would like, we got to have some really special days together out on the road. So I decided to make a little mini photo album to commemorate the summer tour adventures.

Laura's Summer Tour Mini Book            Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookI was excited to team up with our good friends at Canon USA again! When scrapbooking, it's great to be able to print the photos at home so they can be customized into different shapes and sizes. I used my PIXMA MG7720 for this project. The colors are fantastic, and I can print several on a page without losing any quality. 

Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookI decided to do a 4x4 mini book since they are small and cute and perfect for reusing photos that you've already edited and cropped for Instagram use.

Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookI usually like to find a cute stamp to create a repeating pattern on the front and back cover of a photo book to add a bit more personality to the book. Since the times I was with Todd were the happiest moments of the summer, this little smiley face stamp was perfect!

Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookI usually like to make a cover page to show what the book is about, so I got some holographic glitter paper from a craft store and used stickers to make a travel-themed opening page. Let's go!

Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookWe got to spend our 6th anniversary in Austin and had such a good time running around the city for a day. We also got a VIP tour of the OK City Zoo and got to meet galapagos turtles, sea lions (including a baby one that was 2 weeks old!!), feed stingrays, and pet a baby elephant. SO FUN!!

Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookI do some handwriting on photos with acid-free pens (these are great), but lately I love doing as much with letter stickers since it always looks so clean.

Laura's Summer Tour Mini BookLaura's Summer Tour Mini BookLaura's Summer Tour Mini BookI used glitter tape in a few spots to be the background for letters to stand out against (that's Amelia, one of the band babes, and me in matching outfits for some ice skating—too cute!). While I was so glad to get to be with Todd this summer for some special moments (like his first show playing Madison Square Garden), I'm also SO happy to have him home now for a bit. It's important to stop every so often and document your life through photos though since it can go by so fast! Thanks for the memories, summer of 2016! xo. Laura

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

Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!)       I am totally one of those people that absolutely has to have some sort of chocolate after dinner. Or after lunch. Or just randomly when the feeling hits me. Since I do a pretty low sugar diet, I've developed a few sweet treats over the years to satisfy that chocolate craving without having to dump a dose of refined sugar into my body as well. The base of cocoa powder and virgin coconut oil is great because the cocoa has the benefits of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc, and the oil is an antioxidant that contains lots of benefits for your skin and hair. It's actually way easier to make a coconut oil chocolate bar than you would think, and you can customize it a million ways too! Here are three of my favorites right now...

Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!)Lately I like to use Xylitol as the sweetener in my bars, but you can use whatever you like! Sometimes I will sprinkle it into the mold before I pour in the chocolate to add a little crunch to the bar, and other times I make a Xylitol simple syrup and pour that in to taste to keep the bar smoother (just warm equal parts water and Xylitol over medium heat until it dissolves to create the syrup). You can use refined or unrefined coconut oil for this recipe, but the unrefined has a bit more of the coconut taste, which you may or may not want depending on your flavor combo. I like to use this chocolate bar mold since it creates dividing lines. That way I can snap off a square at a time, but you can also line the bottom of a loaf pan with wax paper and pour it into that.

Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!) Tropical Coconut Bar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of salt
2 tablespoons of dried bananas, chopped
2 tablespoons of coconut flakes, chopped
2 tablespoons of dried mango, chopped
sweetener of choice to taste
chocolate bar mold (or you can use a baking pan lined with wax paper)

Mix together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Add your sweetener of choice to taste. Pour the chocolate mixture into your mold, and then sprinkle the banana, coconut, and mango on top. Place in the refrigerator until set, and store set bars in the fridge as well.

Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!)   Cherry Crunch Bar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
dash of salt
2-3 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped
1-2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs
sweetener of choice to taste

Mix together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Add your sweetener of choice to taste. Pour the chocolate mixture into your mold and then sprinkle the cherries and cacao nibs on top. Place in the refrigerator until set, and store in the fridge as well.

Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!)    Almond Swirl Bar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of salt
2 tablespoons of smooth almond butter mixed with coconut oil until smooth
2 tablespoons of chopped almonds
sweetener of choice to taste

Mix together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Add your sweetener of choice to taste. Mix your almond butter in a cup with a bit of coconut oil until it's a consistency that you can drizzle. Drizzle the almond butter into the bottom of your mold and put in the refrigerator until partially set. Pour the chocolate mixture into your mold, and then sprinkle the chopped almonds on top. Place in the refrigerator until set, and store in the fridge as well.

Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!)      Healthy Chocolate Bars 3 Ways!  (click through for recipe!)     The only downside to this type of bar is that since coconut oil has a low melting point, you have to keep it in the fridge or it will start to melt pretty quickly (even as it warms up in your fingers!). I usually just break off a few squares at a time and pop them in my mouth as I walk away from the fridge. So good!! I love things that I can customize based on what I have on hand, and since I always have coconut oil and cocoa powder around the house, I know I'll never be more than a few minutes away from a square of chocolate ever again! Isn't that a great feeling? What flavor combos would you be excited to try? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman

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