Chocolate Bubble Waffles

Chocolate Bubble Waffles (via A Beautiful Mess) I'm still obsessed with my bubble waffle maker! Today I thought I'd share a chocolate bubble waffle recipe with you all. Keep in mind that you can also use this same batter in a Belgian waffle maker. But whatever you do, be sure to fill (or top) these with sliced banana and Nutella.

Chocolate Bubble Waffles (via A Beautiful Mess)But if you're not feeling the Nutella, I also highly recommend bananas and peanut butter. Really, anything that goes well with chocolate goes well with these waffles. If you are making bubble waffles, I recommend folding them into a taco shape before filling as it makes it easier to eat. 

Chocolate egg waffle recipeChocolate Bubble Waffles, makes 3-4.

3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup milk
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter
bananas and Nutella for serving

In a bowl combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Whisk to combine and remove any lumps from the cake flower and cocoa, which tend to clump. Stir in the milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract and melted (but cooled) butter. 

In an electric mixer beat the egg whites until very foamy/frothy. Gently fold the egg whites into the thick batter until just combined. 

How to make bubble wafflesFollow your waffle iron manufacturer's directions to cook the batter. If you're making bubble waffles that you plan to fold and fill, I recommend draping cooked waffles over a glass just after they come out of the iron, like in the photo above. This helps them not crack when you're ready to fold them later.

Chocolate Bubble Waffles (via A Beautiful Mess)  Slice up a banana, drizzle on the chocolate spread, and serve these warm with a tall glass of milk. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. If you're curious about my waffle maker click here.

Ways to Self-Promote without Being (Too) Annoying

Tips for self promotingFirst off, if you are a creative entrepreneur of any kind (blogger, artist, photographer, musician, etc.), you've probably already realized that promoting yourself and your projects/business is absolutely vital to your success. And for many of you that probably makes you feel SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE. I think many of us (myself included) grew up hearing that we shouldn't talk about ourselves too much as it might come off as bragging or like we are full of ourselves or something. But, if you're about to launch your latest line of handmade necklaces and you don't tell people... well, chances are no one is going to buy one (because they've never heard of it!).

Self-promotion is key to a creative entrepreneur's success. It is absolutely vital and there's really no way around it. If you're still in the boat of I-don't-feel-comfortable-promoting-myself, let me gently encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. You can do this. You really can! And there are lots of ways to self-promote without being (too) annoying. But the bottom line is you have to give yourself permission to talk about the things you work hard on. Here are five ideas to get you going:

1. Start a newsletter/email list

Ground breaking, I know. But here's some real truth, we didn't start a mailing list for the first six years we had a blog. We already had multiple books and an app out before we ever started one. So silly! I think for a long time we thought no one would want to sign up for an ABM newsletter, but we were wrong. The great thing about an email list (or newsletter, I'm using the words to mean the same thing here) is users have given you permission to contact them by joining the list. They WANT to know if you have a new product out or are offering a sale.

You can find about one million articles online about starting and maintaining a newsletter. One resource I really like is the Smart Passive Income Blog, so check out Pat's site if you haven't already. There are also lots of different sites that can host your email list. (I recommend using a reputable one as there are legal considerations when you start a newsletter—mainly that users are able to opt out anytime they choose. So pick a site that can facilitate this.) We have used and liked MailChimp, but it can become costly the more your list grows, so do your research and find a source that works for you.

Once you have a newsletter, just remember these three things: make it easy for users to find it and sign up (don't bury it in your website design or no one will sign up since they can't find it!), occasionally reward users for subscribing by offering a special discount or a free download of some kind (depending on what type of products or services you offer), and don't be afraid to use your newsletter often. We used to be very afraid that if we sent out too many newsletters everyone would unsubscribe because it might feel too spammy. If people want to unsubscribe, they will. Don't worry about it. Just make sure you are offering real content with each newsletter and see how your users respond, then adjust accordingly.

2. Host a giveaway

Everyone loves getting something for free, right? I know I do. Hosting a giveaway is a great way to remind people about your projects but also offer them a chance to win something. Let's say you just launched your first e-course. Hooray! You post about it online and wait for the students to start rolling in. After a few days or a week your post is buried and forgotten. So how can you remind people without being a broken record? One option is to give away a few "copies" of your course. This will generate interest, and it's a way to get your course in front of eyes again without having to say the exact same message you posted before.

One word of caution on giveaways is you have to be strategic and also cost effective. If you're promoting a digital product, like my example with the e-course, then you can afford to giveaway as many copies as you like since there are no printing or shipping costs involved. But what if you make custom wedding dresses for a living? How can you possibly host a giveaway? If it's not cost effective to giveaway a custom wedding dress, what else could you offer that relates to your product/service? Could you create a downloadable mini wedding planner you could giveaway? Do you have the skills to create a necklace or other accessory that might not need to be sized and can more easily be made and shipped without costing you an arm and a leg? Sometimes you have to get creative to get your idea out there. 

3. Offer a discount or sale (for a set amount of time)

This is a similar tactic to hosting a giveaway. Basically when you host a sale you get to talk about your project again but without being a broken record (because you're informing everyone about the sale). If your discount or sale is only for a set amount of time, even better! This gives people a more immediate call to action letting them know they only have so long to take advantage of the sale, and it gives you the ability to talk about your sale at least twice: once to announce the sale, and once toward the end of the set time to remind everyone the sale is about to end. Setting how much you can discount your project for is up to you and your margins. 

4. Publish related (free) content

This is most effective on a blog or website, but it can also work on many social channels as well. Let's say you are publishing a cookbook. The day comes and you blog your heart out about your new cookbook! OK, great, now what? It's two weeks later and you want to remind everyone about your cookbook again, but how can you do this without being totally annoying (and you already hosted a giveaway too :)). Why not post an original recipe (not found in your new book, or one that is), and at the end of the post say something like, "If you enjoyed this, then you'll love my new cookbook where you get over 100 original recipes. Click here to learn more!" Yes, it's got a touch of sales-y in there for sure, but what you really just did was give people something for free and then offer them more if they want it. That's not annoying, that's actually a lot of work and really nice. And it's a great way to remind people of projects!

5. Incentivize others to promote too

If you don't want to do all the talking yourself, or if you want to reach people that you don't currently have a connection to, then I highly recommend you look for ways to incentivize others to promote your project. The ultimate example of this is to set up an affiliate program. If you're not familiar with affiliate programs, google it. But basically it's a way to partner with others so when they promote your project and sales are made, they receive some set amount of payment or a percentage of the sales. 

Other ways to get others to help promote is to offer them your project early or at a discounted rate. For example, when we released both of our apps, we sent goodie bags with iTunes gift cards to friends and other influencers a week before the launch. They were able to learn about our app, download it for free, and get a few goodies while we hoped they might like our new app and post about it on their channels. If you go this route, know that not everyone you send a goodie bag to is going to necessarily post about your venture. But if they like it, they might. And if they don't, just chalk it up to the cost of doing business. 

I could probably write another 1000 words on each of these five ideas, but I think I'll leave you with these thoughts for now. If you have questions regarding any of these, or if you have other small business questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for letting me share and to all you creative entrepreneurs reading—GO YOU! We're totally rooting for you here at ABM. xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photo by: Sarah Rhodes.

Chocolate Coconut Cookie Dip (Dairy Free!)

Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe   I am all about the late night snack. We just refer to it as the "fourth meal of the day" at our house because there's pretty much zero chance of it not happening. I do love a good weekend celebration snack night with all the junk food I can handle, but I try and keep the snacks on the healthier side during the week to balance out my weekend splurges. I had been making (and really enjoying) this healthy cookie dough dip recently, but I couldn't help but wonder how I could make it more chocolatey because, you know, chocolate = better. And what's a great way to make chocolate even more delicious? That's right, coconut!

We're partnering with Califia Farms, who happen to make my favorite coconut almond milk, to make this chocolate coconut cookie dip. It tastes like you're dipping your favorite fruit or pretzels into a chocolate coconut macaroon, and since it's dairy free and I make mine with a natural sweetener, it's a pretty healthy option that I don't have to feel guilty about! Hooray!

Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe   Chocolate Coconut Cookie Dip (Dairy Free!)
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie's Healthy Cookie Dough Dip

1/4 cup Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almondmilk 
1 1/2 cups of white beans (a 16 oz can drained and rinsed)
1/8 teaspoon salt (rounded)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup nut butter (choose almond or cashew butter unless you want it to have a peanut butter taste)
1/3 cup oats
sweetener to taste (you can use honey, another natural sweetener, or regular sugar)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut

Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe Add all of the ingredients (except the coconut) together in a food processor and blend together until the mixture is pretty smooth.

Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe Toast the coconut in a dry pan over medium heat until it turns a golden brown color. Watch it and stir often so it doesn't burn!

Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe Sprinkle the coconut into the processor and pulse to blend together. You can eat it right away, but I usually chill it for an hour or so in the fridge before I eat it.

Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe Chocolate coconut cookie  dip (non dairy!) click through for recipe Don't forget to save a little toasted coconut to sprinkle on top of your dip as well! The coconut almondmilk really does make all the difference in the world here, as the coconut flavor really comes through and brings it all together. This dip has a great texture that's perfect for scooping onto a pretzel or a piece of fruit. To be honest though, I usually just grab a spoon and eat it straight from the container! I think that's a pretty good sign though, so I'm OK with that...get your snack on, people! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

April Fools' (Outtakes!)

ABM documentary outtakesWe had so much fun making the April Fools' trailer for you guys! It was seriously a blast to do something that totally pokes fun at ourselves! We collaborated with our longtime friend Brandon Goodwin on the concept, and he shot all the footage in one day! It was the best and weirdest day at work we've had in a long time. We were basically crying from laughter all day. 

Some of our favorite comments were from those of you who didn't know it was a joke until the very end of (or even halfway through!) the video. We don't know how to take that. haha! #shame

Either way, we are happy we got some of you!! 

Brandon put together an outtakes version which is mostly just us cracking up and messing up! But there's a pretty s-weet Emma joke in there too. ENJOY! 

And if you haven't watched the trailer yet, you can find it here. 

We love you guys!!! xx. Elsie

Sister Style Number 149

Sister Style number 149Hey, friends! Can you believe this is our 149th Sister Style post! Time flies. 

We're trying to think of something fun to do for our 150th. I mean, it's kind of a big deal... right? Nah. Not really. It's just crazy how when you do a series like this it adds up over time! 

Recently we were talking about how we envision our brand in 10+ years. And it's kind of fun to think about! I've heard people say before that they can't see themselves doing outfit posts when they are 40 or 50 years old. But we feel the opposite. We would LOVE to keep sharing outfits though all the decades of life. I can't imagine a time, no matter how old I am, when I don't still enjoy fashion and making things. So for the first time we realized that we could actually become blogging grannies if we wanted to! I LOVE THAT IDEA.

Sister Style number 149 (We're cool.)

Sister Style number 149  Sister Style number 149  Elsie's wearing: Pizza Tank/LoveMeBright (It's on sale! It's actually a loose crop top, but I have it tied in the back here), Plaid skirt/Urban Outfitters, Fluffy sweater/Forever 21, Booties/TopShop, Clutch purse/Annie Williams

Sister Style number 149     Sister Style number 149     Emma's wearing: Dress/F21, Hat/H&M, Necklace/Nasty Gal, Shoes/Shoe Mint (stolen from Elsie!)

Sister Style number 149         Thanks for tagging along with us for (almost) 150 Sister Styles. We enjoy looking back through the archives to see how our styles have evolved and what has stayed consistent. I'm excited for the next 150! If you have to get dressed every day, you might as well enjoy it. Right? Right! xx- Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

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