Sparkling Hibiscus Sangria

Summer is finally here, and there’s a lot more to be excited about than just the weather—like refreshing beverages to cool you down! Sangria has always been one of my favorite large format drinks because it’s easy to whip up and is everything I’m looking for to quench my thirst on a hot day: fruity, sweet, dry, refreshing and BOOZY! Its origins are Spanish and usually consist of red wine, orange juice, chopped fruit, and brandy, but I have come up with a spin on traditional sangria using hibiscus tea and bubbles! I know what you’re thinking, “Tell me more!” Okay! Okay!

Sparkling Hibiscus Sangria, serves 4-6

3 hibiscus tea bags, like TAZO Passion
1/2 cup sugar
1 bottle of sparkling wine
2 cups grapefruit juice
1 1/4 cups pisco
1 mango
1 grapefruit
1 orange
raspberries
blackberries
ice for serving

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add tea bags and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove bags and discard. While tea is still hot, add your 1/2 cup of sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Cut up the fruit and add it to your pitcher or large serving vessel.

Pour tea, grapefruit juice, and pisco into the vessel. Then cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. The longer you let the fruit steep the better in this situation and preparing it the night before you’re going to serve it would be ideal. If you’re not familiar with pisco, it is a type of brandy produced in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. So it’s a spirit distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice, but unlike a cognac, it is not aged in a barrel.

Just before serving, add ice and top with a bottle of sparkling wine. In this recipe, I only used one bottle, but if you want to make a boozier punch, up the sparkling wine to two bottles and leave the other ingredients the same. This recipe is also great with white wine as well, like a fruity and citrusy sauvignon blanc.

I love adding an iced tea element to cocktails in the summer, and the addition of tropical hibiscus tea in this sangria is perfect. It adds a lot of fruit and herbal elements while complimenting the wine and other flavors in this recipe. It also adds a vibrant magenta hue which I’m not mad about! This was so lush, smooth, and refreshing I can see myself making this all summer long. I think I’m in love! If you decide to make this at your next gathering, take my advice and double up. It is sure to go quickly! Tag your photos with #ABMhappyhour and don’t forget to pass the sangria! 😉 xo – Natalie

Credits // Author and Photography: Natalie Jacob. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.
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10 Incredible Ways You Can Use Witch Hazel!

Have you jumped on the witch hazel train? I don’t even know if such a train exists, but if it does, I’m here for it. 😉 I LOVE my multi-use products, especially when it comes to beauty goods. I mean, who can get enough of coconut oil, essential oil and witch hazel?! I am celebrating all the ways you make our lives better and give us healthy, nontoxic options!

So what is witch hazel exactly? Witch hazel is a plant and comes from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel shrub, which is made into an astringent or hydrosol. It has been used throughout history especially for its benefits on the skin. Basically it’s magical, and partnered with a few of its best friends like essential oils, water and coconut oil, you can do SO much to improve your beauty routine with nontoxic DIYs!

Here are just 10 of my favorite tips and tricks for using witch hazel in my beauty routine:

1. Glowing Toner – Add some alcohol free witch hazel to a 2oz spritz bottle. I love using rose witch hazel for this! Top it off with a few drops of lavender essential oil for a beautiful skin toner.

2. Acne Treatment – Combine some witch hazel with a little bit of melaleuca (tea tree) oil on a cotton ball and apply to problem areas.

3. Razor Burn – Apply to skin after shaving to help prevent razor burn and ingrown hair!

4. Linen Spray – Add to a 2oz spritz bottle along with a few drops of your favorite essential oil and spritz anytime you want to freshen your air or linens. I love combining cedarwood and orange essential oils for this recipe! Peach witch hazel is such a yummy addition to this recipe!


5. Jewelry Cleaner – Use a toothbrush to apply witch hazel to give your jewelry a shine.

6. Nail Polish Thinner – Is your favorite color getting a little goopy? Add a few drops of witch hazel to thin out your polish and give it new life!

7. Makeup Priming Water – Love the Smashbox priming water? Dupe your own with 5 tablespoons of witch hazel, 3 tablespoons of glycerine, and a few drops of lavender and cedarwood essential oils. Spray on your face before applying makeup for a beautiful finish and lasting stay.

8. Makeup Remover – Combine 1 cup of hot water, 2 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of your favorite gentle cleanser, 1 teaspoon of witch hazel and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Add to a mason jar and pack in cotton rounds to soak in the mixture. Pull out cotton rounds and use to remove makeup as needed! Yas!

9. Mermaid Hair – Add alcohol free witch hazel to a 2oz bottle with a few drops of lavender, cedarwood and rosemary. Apply to damp hair and work into scalp for happy, healthy hair! Bonus: Add an adorable decal to your finished recipe!

10. Cooling Summer Spray – Cool your skin and relieve sunburns! Fill a 2oz spray bottle 80% with water. Add in 2 teaspoons of witch hazel, 20 drops of peppermint and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Feels incredible during the summertime!

I just kept this post to 10 of my favorite ways to use witch hazel, but there are seriously countless ways to use this magical elixir. Just give Pinterest a good search, and you will be adding SO many recipes to your “to make” list!

Also, while plain and simple witch hazel is amazing, I love finding witch hazels infused with beautiful smells like peach, rose and aloe vera. They smell AMAZING!

Have any favorite witch hazel uses or recipes to share? Feel free to comment below with your favorites!! With love, Sav.

Credits // Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
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Five Easy Hairstyles With a Headband

So I’m kind of into headbands at the moment. I used to love to style my hair in braids around this time of year (when it gets warm and windy!), but after chopping a lot of my hair off last fall, most of my favorite braided styles are beyond me right now. Headbands are kind of filling that hole and keeping things interesting. I mean, I can basically roll out of bed with messy hair, stick a colorful headband on and make everything look intentional. They look chic with your hair down, or a bit of flair around a ponytail, but if you’re interested in a few more interesting styles that can be styled in no time at all, then maybe these easy tutorials will get your creative headband juices flowing!This is a super easy bouffant style that doesn’t call for any teasing. Start with brushed hair and separate a small section of hair on top of your head. Tie that off with an elastic. Take the small ponytail and roll it under, and then tuck that up under your elastic; this will push the top of your hair up into a bouffant. Move the hair around a bit to get it even and to sit the way you want, and then use a few bobby pins to keep everything in place. So easy and perfect when you want to channel that Brigitte Bardot look for summer without the pain of teasing! You can find a more detailed tutorial for this no-tease bouffant here.  This is a simple style that I come back to again and again. Start by placing your headband on top of your hair. Use a few bobby pins towards the front of your face to hold your headband in place if it is sliding around too much! Take a small section of hair, pull it up over the headband and then down and through the headband—you’re basically looping your hair around the headband. Keep taking small sections of hair and looping them around the headband. Add a few bobby pins inserted horizontally to keep everything in place. That’s it! This is definitely my favorite style. I wear my hair like this at night to give me a little natural curl and bounce in the morning. It’s also a great style to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day.  These are seriously the easiest milkmaid braids ever! Start by dividing your hair into two even sections. Lay the headband across your shoulders so that it is even on both sides. Braid one side of your hair, including the headband in one of the sections of your braid. Tie it off with a small elastic. Repeat on the other side so you have two braids with your headband woven through both. Pull the braids to the top of your hair and twist the headband together to hold the braids in place. That’s it! Easier than even the usual milkmaid braids style—I don’t even need any bobby pins to make this style last all day. This is really just a bit of a dressed up take on those super popular “fun buns” everyone seems to be styling these days. Start by dividing your hair into two sections and tie each section off in a high pigtail. For a full bun, tease your pigtails a bit, and then loop them around and pin in place. Tie your headband on top (either tied in the front or with a bow lower in the back), and you’re done! I like to think the headband keeps it from looking too juvenile, but since everyone I know is doing this style right now, who really cares if it does look a bit young?!Start by making a couple of small braids in your hair. These will add some texture and interest to the finished style. Then place a headband on top of all of your hair; you might need to use a couple of bobby pins to keep the headband from sliding around! Take small sections of your hair and loop them around your headband. Repeat the loops with your small braids and use a couple of bobby pins to keep the loops from coming undone. You should insert the bobby pins horizontally or parallel to your headband. This style looks nicest when you only use small sections of hair and leave open areas for the headband to peek out.

That’s it! Another fun style pulled together with a simple headband that shouldn’t take more than five minutes to do. I used a wire headband for these styles, but you could easily make them with a simple scarf (rolled into a headband) or even a flower crown. Which style is your favorite? Cheers, Rebecca.

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

Looking for something quick and filling? Maybe something you could bring to your next potluck BBQ? Look no further because this pasta salad is full of summer flavors plus whole grain goodness. Yum!

And normally when I see the word “creamy”, I assume there’s going to be some dairy involved but not here. The whole wheat pasta gets dressed up in mostly plants (hello veggies + nuts)! I think you’re gonna like this one, friends.

Creamy Strawberry and Avocado Salad, serves 4 as a meal or more as a side dish (see notes)

12 oz. whole wheat pasta (spirals or penne is great here)
10 oz. strawberries
1-2 avocados
1/2 cup sliced almonds

For the dressing:
1 avocado
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons water, if needed
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well and allow to fully cool. Sometimes I make the pasta the day before I plan to make pasta salad so I don’t have to wait on the noodles to cool off (as I think pasta salad should be served cold).

In a food processor combine one avocado, lime juice, garlic, salt, and honey. Pulse well. Add the oil slowly while the food processor is running, or if that isn’t possible (some food processors don’t allow for this), add it in 2-3 batches, pulsing well in between. The sauce should be like a thick salad dressing, think ranch or caesar. If it’s too thick (more like guacamole), then add some water to thin it out. Taste and add more salt if you think it needs.

What a crazy fun color right? It’s kind of secret-of-the-ooze looking here. (If you get that reference, then we’re real friends.) 🙂

Hull and slice up the strawberries. Chop up another avocado, or two if yours are on the small side. Combine in a large bowl with the pasta, then pour the dressing over everything and toss. Top with the almonds and poppy seeds, and you’re in business!

This makes a really fun side dish, but if you’d like to turn it into more of a lunch situation, then just top a big pile of salad greens with some of this. Yum! xo. Emma

Notes: If you use this as more of a meal (on top of salad greens), it will probably be more like 4 servings. But if you plan to serve this alongside a main course, like veggie burgers or grilled salmon, then it could go further to serve more like 6-8. Great for a potluck.

This is best the day it’s made, preferably consumed within 2-4 hours of making. The chopped avocado, as it’s prone to do, will begin to brown after a while. I had some of this batch leftover and tried covering it well and refrigerating to see how it was the next day, and although the flavor was still great, the pasta had dried out some and the chopped avocado was brown and not super appetizing looking. So you don’t want leftover with this one, FYI.

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