Horchata Custard Pie

I really can’t even hear the word horchata without thinking of that Vampire Weekend song. And even though that song seems to be about winter, I guess I got into that album in the summertime one year because the song always makes me think of summer. That may have been part of the inspiration for this recipe idea, in fact. Well, that and this is pretty similar to buttermilk pie, which is one of my favorites. 🙂

If you’ve never had horchata before, it’s a sweet, spicy milk mixture that is often made with or served with rum. Sort of the cool cousin of a White Russian, I guess. So of course that already sounds like a great basis for a dessert, right? And then if you’ve never had buttermilk pie before, it’s a custard-based pie made with tangy buttermilk (and still plenty of sugar, so it balances). So this feels very similar, but with more cinnamon and a few more flavors. And if that didn’t get you excited for this pie, I don’t know what will! I’m sort of wishing I had another piece right now.

Add a little fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to the top and you’re in business!

Horchata Custard Pie, makes one

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
3-4 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup horchata (recipe to follow)
2 tablespoons flour

First, make the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and use a pastry blender or your clean hands to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. It should look like small grains or pebbles. Then add in 3 tablespoons of cold water and try to press the dough into a ball. If the mixture seems too crumbly to stay in a ball, then add another tablespoon of cold water. Once a dough ball forms, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to three days. I usually make my pie crust a day or two ahead of time, so it feels like less work on the day I make the pie.

While that chills, you can make the horchata. I used a variation of this Martha Stewart recipe, basically cutting it in half and upping the flavor some. First, I heated 2 cups of whole milk with 2 cinnamon sticks until very hot (but not boiling) Then remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup almond flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour, then strain with a fine mesh strainer. This will make twice as much horchata as you need for this recipe, but it’s difficult to make such a small amount. Plus, why not have a little extra you can mix with rum and ice for a fun cocktail later? 🙂

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each well. Then whisk in the 1 cup of horchata and 2 tablespoons of flour. Roll out the pie crust and add to a pie pan that has been lightly buttered and dusted with flour. Poke a few holes in the crust with a fork. Then pour the batter in.

Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to bake for 45-50 minutes. The pie will puff some by the time it’s done, but it will flatten back out as it cools.

Allow to cool before trying to slice and serve. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
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Anniversary Giveaway: Smartwatch!

Hooray for another fun reader giveaway! In case you missed out, this month we are celebrating A Beautiful Mess turning 10 years old with 10 awesome giveaways for you all! If you missed our anniversary post, see it here. This past year, we got to work with Fossil during their holiday campaigns and it was a blast, so we were so excited when they offered to give away one of their beautiful (and super useful) hybrid smartwatches.

The Q Accomplice watch is pretty rad in that it can do all sorts of things like: track fitness goals, receive and alert you of notifications, and even take photos from your phone (it acts as the trigger). Along with each of our anniversary giveaways, we also try to add in a few little peeks back to the past as we celebrate a decade of blogging. And since we’re giving away a smartwatch here, we thought we’d include a little look back at our app journey.

As you all know, A Beautiful Mess is mostly a blog focused on crafting, decorating, and cooking, among a few other topics we go into from time to time (we like TOO many things, clearly). So when we first decided to create a photo editing app back in 2012 (released in 2013), you could say we were a little out of our element. But that would be the understatement of the year. Ha! Elsie and I always think of that first app as one of the biggest and scariest business decisions we’ve ever made and we are so, so grateful that the app was received well and helped to propel us forward. It wasn’t perfect and we ended up needing to rebuild the entire thing once, among other frustrating setbacks. We learned and we grew. Eventually, we released a second app, Party Party. And last year, we launched our third app, A Color Story, as a company all on its own and we’ve watched it grow. It’s been amazing. We still feel so lucky and grateful for this part of our story.

You can read through our entire app archive here.

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me a little there! And now here’s your chance to win a hybrid smartwatch. Giveaway will be open until Wednesday, 7/26 and the winner will be contacted directly after.

Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch Giveaway!

Credits//Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
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How to Transform Any Room with Color

#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover AUGH! I can’t even express how excited I am about today’s post! So we affectionately named the new project house #ElsiesNashvilleBNB and today I am here to share the first ROOM MAKEOVER with you!

I am so, so, so glad I challenged myself to use a completely different color palette than my own home. At first, I was tempted to make this project a continuation of what I always gravitate toward and love, but branching out has been really inspiring! I am already learning so much.

Step 1
Ace Paint
 We partnered with Ace Hardware on this post, and they were super helpful to work with while picking out paint colors for this room. Ace actually just started a program called the Extra Mile Promise, meaning they’ll help you with a checklist in store and promise to help you get everything you need for your paint project in just one trip! We’ve all been there when you realize you’re just short on supplies and have to make all those trips back to the store (Ha!). And at the bottom of the post, I’ll share three ways to transform ANY room with color.
Time for project photos … but first, a little walk down memory lane. Although this time we don’t have to time travel too far because it looked this way only a few weeks ago!
Remember how I said there was a “Frozen” themed room?
 Here it is in all its glory. Blue walls, blue trim, blue doors and a blue ceiling. All the blue.
To get started, Collin painted the whole room white. FRESH, CLEAN WHITE. He used Marshmallow, which is what I used in my house, and after talking with the team at Ace we learned that it is a universal color. That means you can order it from any brand. So we ordered it in flat, interior Valspar paint for the walls and ceiling.
For the trim, I always like to go as white as possible, so we chose untinted, pure white Valspar Aspire paint in semi-gloss. We also replaced all the plates with bright white and swapped out the old wood veneer fan for a white modern fan.
Step 2

The bed I chose was a very simple platform bed. I loved how clean and simple it was, but to be honest, it was a little boring. And the room looked empty. So I decided to create a faux headboard with paint!
Not going to lie, I spent forever choosing the color and I fell IN LOVE with this color once it went on. It’s Thunderbolt by Valspar (in flat finish). I love it because it’s a pop of color that doubles as a neutral.
We taped off a rectangle around the wall behind the bed to create the faux headboard. It can be any size you want, but be sure to choose the size when you have the pillows on the bed how they are going to be, because they add a lot of height.
Step 3

I forgot to do the BEST TRICK EVER—paint a coat of white (or whatever your base wall color is) first before the accent color and there will be no bleed and great lines.
I had to do a teeny touch up round with a small brush and white paint, but it wasn’t too bad.
Peeling back the tape is my favorite moment!
Completed Headboard

Here’s my faux headboard. I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out! It’s clean and modern, but still cozy.
This was shockingly easy to throw together. Anyone could do this project in an afternoon!!
Step 1

I wanted to use my new favorite color in at least one more spot in the room. So I decided to create a really unique shelf situation from budget-friendly shelving and a little paint in the shape of a half circle.
First, tape a straight line where you want the base of your shelving to be. Pro tip: A lot of people hang everything (shelves, art, hooks, etc.) too high. Keep it eye level, which I know is relative—so we usually split the difference between eye level for me and my husband.
Hold a string down in the exact center of the taped baseline. Pull it tight and draw the half circle (pulled tight the entire time) with a white pen or pencil.
Step 2
Step 2
Use lots of small pieces of tape (and extra patience) to tape the half circle. Then paint and remove the tape right after your last coat!
Then screw your shelf onto the wall and paint the shelf the same color, so it all blends together. We used simple brackets and shelf board to make our DIY shelf.
Completed Shelf

Here’s the completed shelf. I love how the pops of color tie in together.
One more little DIY detail!
I took a plain gray planter and added rainbow paint all the way around it! I did so in a messy way without any tape and I love how it turned out.
Planter Steps
The colors I used are Aromatic Blend, Cosmic Sunset, Pineapple Lily, Promised Land, Wild About You and Harmonious by Clark & Kensington. I also snuck in a little bit of the room color: Thunderbolt by Valspar.

Here’s the finished result …

#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
And here are some more images of the completed bedroom.
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover
#elsiesnashvillebnb Bedroom Makeover

Three ways to transform any room with color. 
1. Go bright.
This past year, I have started to notice colorful painted walls coming back into style, but white walls are still a solid choice in my book! What I love about white is that it can so quickly make a room look larger, more airy and open. It can also hide architectural flaws and generally make a space look more clean.
I love color, but when I choose a neutral I almost always go for bright white over beige or gray. I tend to choose wallpaper or painted walls for my more dimly lit rooms and bright white for space I want to seem endless—like a hallway, a living room or open living spaces that connect.
If you are someone who craves a home full of bright light, I highly recommend sticking as close to untinted white as possible. I’ve never found any other color that creates the same airy feeling.
2. Go bold. 
As I said above, color is most definitely making a comeback. And as much as I love my white, I CRAVE color and welcome this change in trends.
There is nothing that can transform a room as quickly as a bold paint choice. While white may make rooms appear bigger or brighter, bold colors can give your rooms big personalities!
Bright yellow is one of the happiest colors in the world, in my opinion. Blush pink can make a room feel romantic and very cool. Poppy red is inspiring me like crazy lately. Black rooms are insanely stylish. And I am pretty sure I will be using this Thunderbolt color in other rooms through my project house. Maybe kitchen cabinets or possibly in the dining room?
Going bold with color is so worth the risk because if you hate it you can always paint over it!
3. Choose a tight color palette. 
Rooms decorated with every color in the rainbow can be stunning, but they can also look messy and cluttered FAST.
To transform a room quickly and ensure it feels curated and intentional, limit yourself to three main colors. Less is more!
Thanks so much for reading. I am having SO much fun with this house. It’s a dream project for me.
If you have any questions about sources or anything, just ask me in the comments!
xx- Elsie
Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Amber Ulmer, Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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Anniversary Giveaway: Halo Top Ice Cream

If you haven’t heard, we are celebrating A Beautiful Mess turning 10 years old this month!!! If you missed it, check out our anniversary post that has lots of peeks to the past decade of blogging. And as a thank you to all our readers, we are hosting 10 giveaways this month. Today, we have a super sweet one for you: One lucky winner will win $100 worth of Halo Top ice cream!

Elsie and I are huge fans of this brand, so we are beyond thrilled to host this giveaway to you all! If you’re not familiar with Halo Top, you should go check them out. It’s high-protein, low-calorie ice cream, and if that sounds too good to be true, believe me, I know! I didn’t believe it until I tried them, but now it’s the only kind of grocery store ice cream I buy. It’s so good and we love that it’s a little bit better for you. Plus, their branding is adorable. 🙂 I haven’t tried every single flavor yet, but so far my favorites are s’mores and birthday cake. If any of you are already Halo Top fans, we’d love to hear your favorites!

With each of our anniversary giveaways, we’re trying to highlight memories and just little moments or fun content from the past that might be related. So, of course, I thought I’d share some of our favorite past lighten-up dessert recipes, just for fun. 🙂

Non-dairy, naturally sweetened chocolate pudding (!!!!)

Naturally sweetened chocolate shake

Easy at-home nice-cream 🙂

Lightened up Nutella spread 

Enter for your chance to win below. This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, 7/25, and the winner will be contacted directly after. Open to U.S. residents only. 

Halo Top Giveaway!

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

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