A Beautiful Mess Academic Agendas are here!          A Beautiful Mess Academic Agendas are here!          A Beautiful Mess Academic Agendas are here!          A Beautiful Mess Academic Agendas are here!          A Beautiful Mess Academic Agendas are here!          Sign up below to win our 2015-2016 Academic Planner (for sale now!) There are three awesome covers to choose from. Check out all the cover designs and more details about our Academic Planner here

Three lucky ABM readers will win the planner of their choice! 

Academic Planner Giveaway

(NOTE: If you're already signed up for our newsletter, just enter it here again, so we can verify.)

Giveaway is open until 8/25, and the winner will be contacted directly shortly after. xoxo. The ABM team.

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for moreWe have officially entered the dog days of summer here in New York City! I am fully aware of the many adventures that still await during these last few weeks. My days were packed, cramming in whatever activity I had all but forgotten, until these heavy and muggy last few weeks of summer  arrived. 

There's just so much that I want to see and experience, and there is so little time to fuss on makeup these days. Why should I? The makeup will probably just melt off at some point or another. 

I pride myself on many things, being one that rocks a makeup-less face with confidence is not one. Maybe one day I'll get there, but not today. I much prefer an overall pulled together, light makeup face, despite the heat. Over the summer, I've developed a foolproof routine that pulls me together just enough, makes me feel pretty, doesn't sweat off (and if it did, I wouldn't look drastically different), and takes just three minutes from start to finish. 

Here's how to look polished with just a few easy tips!

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more The summer sun, mixed with working out and sweat and more sun, has caused my face to break out a bit. The tip of my nose, between my brows, and a bit of my cheekbones, to be specific. Every morning after rinsing my face, I use a spin brush and Thayers Lavender and Aloe Witch Hazel to clear it up. It leaves my face feeling fresh and the perfect, clean palette for a little makeup. If I was to just go out without makeup, I would do that morning step and leave my face like the picture above. 

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more  Here are a few products I use to create a easy summer glow:

-Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel 
-Johnson's Baby Oil
-Nars Concealer
-EOS chapstick
-a gold eye shadow for the inner corner
-a bronzer for cheeks (I skip the bronzer and go straight for my favorite shimmery eyeshadow. You can do this too if you have a shade you already love.)
-liquid eyeliner 
-a brush for applying your eye makeup

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more   After I rinse my face with the witch hazel and spin brush, I pull out my witch hazel once again to create a highlight for my cheekbones. On a piece of folded tissue paper, or a small makeup sponge, I apply a few drops of witch hazel. After you apply your drops, apply a drop of baby oil. Yes, baby oil! Blended with the toner, it creates a smooth shine that gives you an off-the-beach glow. 

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more    After applying my cheekbone glow, I apply my concealer. I think it's far too easy to overdo the concealer part. I try to only put it halfway under my eye, and I always rub it in with my index finger. It helps keep your face looking more natural. 

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more      I feel like eyeliner and a bit of eyeshadow in the inner corner is essential to getting the pulled together part of this makeup look. It's not too much. Just enough. I tend to do a cat eye on days like this simply because I won't be wearing lipstick. But if I'm wearing lipstick, I'll skip the cat eye and just do the eyeliner. 

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more            I like to use my eyeshadow as a bronzer simply because it's light and it's the shade that looks best with my skin. But if you have a color that works, and it's an actual bronzer...go for it! Since you already put that toner and oil on as a "glow," you don't need to apply a lot. I put on just enough for a slight sparkle, nothing too obvious. I also apply a little to the tip of my nose and my chin. 

Et voila! It's airy and it's bright. Perfect for summer's heat! 

How to Look Polished (Even When It's Hot!) click through for more             I recommend wiping off your makeup at night with makeup remover and your Thayers. I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your exciting summer! xx. LaTonya

Credits//Author: LaTonya Staubs. Photography: Peter Staubs. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Everybody has a list of foods that make them think of their childhood (like these orange scones I recently made), and although my mom kept her baking on the simple side for the most part, I always think of the focaccia bread she made for us any time it comes with something at a restaurant. It was actually my sister Rachel who enjoyed cooking the most in our family, so I'm pretty sure it was her who got my mom to give it a try. But either way, I was happy to eat the fruits of their labor since I'm the biggest sucker in the world for fresh bread. It gets me every time.

Last summer when my parents came to visit, I had my Mom come share her bacon cheddar pierogi recipe with you. So when they came to see our new Nashville house this week, I thought it would be fun to make some homemade bread with her to break in the new place. Bread can be really tricky for me to make (it can be really hard!), but I like that this one isn't super complicated. Even I can do it. Ready? Show us how it's done, Mom!

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Rosemary Focaccia Bread

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package fast acting yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil (I used safflower)
1 slightly beaten egg

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
course sea salt

Mix together your first four ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and yeast), but only add in 1 cup of flour and set the rest aside for later. Stir to combine. Heat your water and oil together in a pot and use a thermometer to monitor it until it hits 120-130°. Add the warm water, oil and egg to the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Stir in 1 1/4 cups of your remaining flour into the wet mixture. When combined, move to a floured surface and knead in another 3/4 cup of flour. You can adjust the amount that you add in when kneading based on how the dough feels. You want it to be smooth and elastic feeling rather than sticky. So add in little amounts until you get that consistency. Cover the dough with an upside down bowl and allow it to rest on the counter for 5 minutes. 

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Place the dough on a baking stone or greased cookie sheet and roll into a 12" circle. Loosely cover the dough first with greased plastic wrap (the greased side touching the dough), then with a cloth or dish towel and allow it to rise in a warm area (about 80-85°) for about 30 minutes until light and doubled in height.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Poke holes in your risen dough at 1" intervals and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped rosemary and sprinkle with course sea salt. Bake in a 400° oven for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from stone or baking sheet immediately and let cool on wire rack.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)      Rosemary Focaccia Bread (click through for recipe)         I always think focaccia is such a pretty bread, and I love breads that have herbs sprinkled on top. Focaccia is great when it's sliced in half for sandwiches, served on the side with soup, or just plain with butter (especially when it's still warm!). We saved the bulk of the bread to eat with our dinner that night, but we couldn't resist sneaking in a few buttered slices while it was still hot. My dad's not really into bread, so it's pretty obvious where my carb obsession comes from—thanks, Mom!

If you're in need of a freshly baked bread fix, I would totally suggest you give this one a try soon! xo. Laura

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

Tips for getting through emailsIt probably sounds really cliche, obvious and super simple, BUT staying on top of your email is seriously one of the best things you can do for yourself in business. Personally, I start feeling super stressed if my box starts to get beyond 50+ unread emails. And sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I become less productive and I'm more likely to procrastinate, on top of feeling a certain level of anxiety and guilt. Which I realize makes zero sense, but it's something that I've noticed. Maybe you relate?

I also want to point out that answering emails often leads to big opportunities. It's crazy to think that there might be an email sitting in your box right now that might lead you to a new venture, a new opportunity, a long term partnership, etc. There might be an unread email sitting in your box this very second that could change your life a little bit—so don't miss it! But, it's hard! Staying on top of an ever-growing pile of messages that need decisions, research, answers, etc. is not always an easy task. But over the years, I feel like I've gotten better and better in this area, and I'd love to share five tips I've learned with you.

1. Answer tough emails first.

I know, you don't want to answer that one first. I get it. And I have a tendency to think, "Oh I'll just gain some momentum by answering these quick ones first, and then I'll get back to that really time-consuming one later." But honestly, it doesn't usually work that way. I usually end up NOT getting to the tough one later, and then putting it off for longer than it needs. Meanwhile it's on my mind and distracting me from my other work. So, the best thing I've found is to tackle the tough ones first. Get it off your plate and out of your mind so you can move on to other tasks.

2. Create template answers for FAQs.

This is especially useful if you are working for yourself and you handle a lot of "customer service" type emails. A lot of times you'll get the same or very similar questions over and over again. Create a template answer that you can quickly copy and paste, and then maybe just customize a little to make it feel more authentic before you hit send. This can save you SO much time. Of course, there are emails where it would be inappropriate to send a templated answer. So just make sure you know the difference.

3. Organize and sort mail into folders.

This is actually a trick that Trey does really well. Not only does it help you prioritize what emails might need a faster response or just more attention, it can also be beneficial when you need to go back through emails to find information you may have forgotten or need again. Depending on what email system you use, there are different ways to accomplish this. And I know one barrier will be finding the time to just set this up, but add it to your to-do list one week to spend a couple hours creating your tabs or folders or however you plan to organize things, and I promise it will be time well spent.

4. Unsubscribe to junk.

I am subscribed to quite a few newsletters. I use the information many of them provide and I do want to receive some of them (like for sales at favorite shops, etc.). I know a lot of people will set up a different, more personal, email for these types of things so that it won't distract from their work email account (and if you work at a company that issues you a specific email, then you already have this built in). But it can also be a good exercise to go through and make sure you are actually still using and enjoying all the newsletters you are signed up for. If not, unsubscribe. It will only take a few seconds and will save you time as you won't have to receive those emails any longer. You can always sign up again if you find that you want back in. :)

5. Out of Office setting is only for when you actually need it.

This is partly a tip and partly a pet peeve of mine. When I email someone about something important, like potential freelance work, and I get an out of office response (or no response at all for 2+ days), then I expect they are on vacation or in some situation where they don't have Internet. BUT, if I hop on Instagram and see that they are not on vacation, I likely will reconsider working with them because I find this to be very unprofessional. We all have to take time off or have situations from time to time where we don't have good Internet access and can't respond. I am the same way. I also don't always check email on the weekends, so I don't usually expect others to. But sometimes I see people, especially creatives who tend to mostly freelance or work for themselves, use vacation settings as a way to simply not answer emails in a timely manner. Don't do this. It looks unprofessional to others and it's certainly a trap for yourself. Don't give yourself a free pass just because you've gotten overwhelmed. Get in that email box and make some progress. You got this. 

If anyone has other tips for getting through that sometimes-overwhelming email box, feel free to share! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Scrapbook Sunday fun with Messy Box. Get more details at www.ABeautifulMess.comThis week's Scrapbook Sunday is all about the summer vibes inside the August Messy Box. I fell in love with the ombre, tie-dye effect on the paper in this kit and loved the marbling. I may be hoarding the rest! The oversized alpha were really fun to play with, and I put the lip stickers and dots to work for a bit of that pop art vibe. One of my favorite things about the smaller paper options in this kit is that there were prints on both sides. So this would be the perfect set of papers for a summer mini album!

ScrapbookSunday-August Messy BoxSummerVibes2The gold overlay on this card meant it needed to be one of the focal points of this page. I paired the pink with some sherbet and mint colored photos and then added in some photos from last summer and an Instax from our vacation to So Cal. The crystal illustration was a postcard that I cut down to size, and I used a ledger paper from this pack as well.

SummerVibesI wanted to see how I could customize one of the larger alpha, so I rubbed it directly on an ink pad. It had kind of a watercolor effect with some ink pooling. I let it dry to see what would happen and it has a little depth to it. It almost looks like a swimming pool. I thought it still needed something, so I just added some journaling on top of it with a messy pen and it didn't bleed or smear. So it was a win!

SummerToDoListRoadTripFor this page I wanted to include specific photos that didn't necessarily fit into designated pocket squares. I cut an Instax down on the sides and just stapled a larger print from Artifact Uprising centered over four empty squares without stapling the inserts closed. Then I added a few of the smaller cards from the Messy Box and a few more photos. 

Go On an AdventureI didn't alter the large alpha for this page because I wanted the white to help balance out all of the busyness on this page. I was going to use the blue sky for a journaling spot but then filled it up with some fun stickers from a previous Happy Mail package

VacationPage1SummerDieCut2I was thinking of another way to customize the alpha die-cuts when it occurred to me that they would work really well as templates. I found a full bleed page in a catalog I was hoarding that didn't have any text and decided it would be perfect for cutting out my word. It had three layers of color and wasn't so busy that the shapes of the letters would be hard to make out once cut out. You could also use a personal photo printed as an 8" x 10" or larger and cut out your text. Once I had my letters traced and cut, I stapled them onto the transparency with the gold marbling effect. I'll add this in to my album and layer the other two pages behind it. 

SummerDieCut-August Messy BoxAugust Messy Box-Scrapbook Sunday 1It's so much fun to get lost in a project like scrapbooking and I love that it's helping me think ahead to print out more photos and get these memories off my camera and into an album! Have you already started scrapbooking your summer memories? -Rachel 

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions


Check out our new product line,
Photoshop Actions and E-Courses!

Back to Top