The ultimate back-to-school shopping list for grown-ups! (click through for links)It's that time of year again! Back-to-school shopping was always the dreaded event as a kid or teenager as it signified the end of summer freedom, but at least you got to pick out some extra cute notebooks and a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper to ease the pain. Just because you're an adult now, who says you can't join in on the fun and treat yourself to some goodies anyway?

1. Keep your papers safe in this adorable pink folio.
2. Who says your pens can't have a little bling too?
3. Love these ampersand push pins for a bulletin board.
4. This stapler is clearly a winner!
5. This ruler certainly isn't short on charm!
6. Keep your files upright and organized with this file sorter.
7. Speaking of files, this patterned one is just too cute to be tucked away in an unseen cabinet.
8. Pack your essentials in style with this cutie backpack.
9. These gold scissors are to die for!
10. If gold isn't your thing, these babies come in several different colors to match your office scheme.
11. Study in style at this modern desk.
12. Keep your space neat with this desk organizer.
13. Love this file sorter too!
14. This alligator letter opener is ready to get to work!
15. Orange you glad this stapler exists?
16. Keep your spirits high with these rainbow compliment pencils.
17. There's plenty of space to doodle your crush's name in this notebook.

Makes you kind of wish you were headed to 8th grade art class right now, doesn't it? Whether you just need an excuse to buy something fun for your craft room/office or you really are hitting the books this year again for higher education, this list ensures that you'll feel like the head of the class!

Filter stacking with A Color StoryOne of the big reasons we opted against the VSCO or Instagram model of filtering that doesn't technically apply a filter until you save is because we knew we wanted to be able to stack filters! Mix and match, save, and make your own flair. So we're bringing in another AMAZING A Color Story user and master mural-hunter, @rclayton, to talk about her favorite filter combos that can offer a subtle but impactful touch.

Hey, guys! Rosie here, and I'd like to share some of my favorite A Color Story filter combinations with you. Layering various ACS filters can really make your photos come alive. Each filter you layer on will pull out different color elements in your photo and pop varying features. This creates more depth and interest in your photo. I find that the order in which the filters are applied makes a difference in the final photo since each filter is playing off the previous color edit. After I play around with the filter combinations, I make small adjustments with tools and curves to finalize my edit. 

My favorite filter packs are Essentials, Good Vibes, and Chroma. I go to these packs first, and then move on to the others when playing around with the filter combinations. I also tend to use Everyday from the Essentials pack in almost every edit since it's a good baseline and helps boost the brightness and saturation of my original image. Very rarely will I go above 40% on a filter just so the image maintains a natural feel, but there's always an exception!

Filter stacking with A Color Story 31% Lipstick {Essentials}, 16% Everyday {Essentials}, and 9% Punch {Blush}

The Lipstick filter warmed up the photo before anything else, Everyday was added for brightness and some vibrancy, and Punch does exactly what its name implies as well as brightens and adds contrast. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story        24% Lipstick {Essentials}, 15% Pop Song {Good Vibes}, 10% Everyday {Essentials}

Here's a similar but slightly different filter combination where you can see the results. First, I used Lipstick to warm up the pink and blues, then Pop Song to brighten, saturate, and add warmth, and Everyday to again, brighten, even, and add a touch of overall saturation. After this, I worked with tools and bumped up the saturation a ton to create a bolder color combination.

Filter stacking with A Color Story       25% Pool Party {Airy}, 21% Lite Bright {Essentials}, and 12% Punch {Blush}

I found the cutest wall at dinner one night, but we were in a dimly lit space. I took this photo with my iPhone, and the image was really dark and yellow before I applied my ACS filters, which made all the difference! I started with Pool Party to lighten and cool down the image – 25% seemed just the right amount without adding too much blue. After that filter provided some color correction, I wanted to brighten the photo with Lite Bright. Side note: Lite Bright, Ice Ice, and On Lock are my favorite whitening and brightening filters – Lite Bright will whiten and brighten, Ice Ice does the same with a bit more blue and a slightly faded look, and On Lock whitens and brightens with deeper contrast. Punch was the last filter I applied to make the colors pop a bit more. After those three were applied, I played with curves, added brightness, more saturation, decreased warmth, and sharpened. Remember to always use the tools after you apply the filters. Tweaking the image in this final step really makes the photo crisp, vibrant, and puts your own signature on the image.

Filter stacking with A Color Story      21% Everyday {Essentials}, 13% Lipstick {Essentials}

So not every edit I do has three filter layers (and rarely do I use more than three). Here's an example of a very clean, simple edit with Everyday to brighten and add a bit of "oomph" to the original photo. I layered in Lipstick because I wanted to make the sky a warmer blue and bring out the happy, sunny color in those yellow stripes. I boosted the brightness and saturation to make the image bright and bold. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story   26% Everyday {Essentials}, 13% On Lock {Essentials}, 6% Punch {Blush}

Here, Everyday provided an even brightness and saturation boost, On Lock whitened and brightened further, and Punch really made the colors POP! I love this wall, but because of the browns and maroon color, the photo can look a bit dull – I always trust the ACS filters to really brighten it and bring the photo to life!

Filter stacking with A Color Story    22% On Lock {Essentials}, 24% Everyday {Essentials}, 17% Disco Ball {Good Vibes}

As I mentioned previously, On Lock brightens, whitens, and adds contrast. It's such a great filter for white based backgrounds and really cleans up the photo. Everyday was added to boost a little color saturation and vibrancy, and Disco Ball was the finishing touch to cool and brighten because Everyday brought out a bit of the yellow from the track lighting in the space. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story  17% Everyday {Essentials}, 18% Toasty {Essentials}, 13% Magic Hour {Good Vibes}

This photo was on the cooler side due to the silver outfit and the dark green, shaded wall, so I wanted to add some warmth to the image. I used Everyday to add some bright saturation, and then Toasty warmed up the colors and added a touch of yellow/green. Magic Hour was the final filter to warm a bit more with a golden tone. 

Filter stacking with A Color Story     So I know that was a lot to go over, and it seems overwhelming sometimes, but I love that the team at ACS has provided us with so many different filters to give us options. Each image is so different, and you'll definitely find yourself gravitating towards a few specific filters that become your go-tos. Be sure to play around and tap various filters to see how they enhance each image. The one thing that really helps me is using the filter names as a guideline. I bet the team spent hours coming up with just the right name for each filter, and they really do make perfect sense! If you have any questions, feel free to email me, and I'll try to answer them as best I can! -Rosie

Thanks so much, Rosie! Get the app here if you haven't gotten to try A Color Story yet!

Credits//Author and Photography: Rosie Clayton.

Chipotle Tempeh Fajitas (via  As a mostly vegetarian, fajitas is a go-to order of mine when at a Mexican or Southwestern style restaurant. It's an easy thing to get vegetarian. It usually consists of stir fried peppers and onions, maybe with other vegetables thrown in if I'm lucky. Add some beans and guac to this, and I think it's a pretty satisfying meal. At home we make fajitas often since it's one of those meals that can come together really easily and I can use pretty much whatever vegetables I have on hand. But, I especially like this version. 

Chipotle Tempeh Fajitas (via love tempeh in all sorts of recipes, so if it's a new ingredient to you, I highly recommend you give it a try. Some people think of tempeh and tofu as "meat substitutes", and I get that, but I think of it as its own thing all together. I mean, imagine people are expecting you to be just like your sister, but you're like, "Hey, man, I'm a totally different person. We're not substitutes for each other. Geez." 

Oh wait, is that oddly specific. Never mind. 

(Also I'm totally kidding, just so we're all clear.) :)

One thing I love about it is it can take on all sorts of flavors with the addition of a good marinade or sauce, which is exactly what this fajita recipe is all about! You will have to let the tempeh sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours, but if you throw it together in the morning or over lunch (if you go home for lunch), then you'll be ready to go at dinner time without any waiting. 

Marinated tempehEasy Chipotle Tempeh Fajitas, serves 2-3

8 oz. tempeh, one package
2 chipotle peppers (the kind that come in adobo sauce)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic (or two if your cloves are on the small side)
1/2 of a small red onion (about 2 oz.) 
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 bell peppers
1 avocado
6-8 corn tortilla shells
1-2 tablespoons oil for cooking (I use olive oil most of the time.)
lime, cheese, or sour cream to serve

Cut the tempeh into strips, kind of like skirt steak, and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the chipotle peppers, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/4 of the onion (about 1 oz.), cumin, and salt. Pulse until a thick paste forms. In a large ziplock bag, or two small ones if you realize you are out of large size bags, combine the tempeh with the marinade. Seal the bags, removing any air, and gently mash it around so the tempeh gets completely coated. Refrigerate for 2+ hours (overnight would be OK too).

Marinated Tempeh FajitasSlice the pepper and remaining onion into small strips and stir fry in a little oil over medium heat. Once those have softened, remove to a plate. Then lightly pan fry each tortilla just until they begin to puff on each side. Place those on serving plates folded in half so they will keep their shape for a few minutes. Last, stir fry the tempeh for 3-5 minutes until each piece has browned on each side. 

Divide peppers, onions, and tempeh among your prepared shells. 

Chipotle Tempeh Fajitas (via Top each with a slice of avocado and a squeeze of lime. If you want to add cheese or sour cream, feel free. Enjoy! xo. Emma

P.S. If you don't end up consuming all the tempeh just save it in a ziplock and use in scrambled eggs, a BBQ grilled cheese, or on top of a salad. I've done all three before—I love this tempeh!

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman

Fuller Lips
Hi, friends! Today I'm sharing 7 easy steps to achieve fuller looking lips naturally, without going ham on the over-lining... and without having to use one of those scary lip plumping devices. ;)  

Step One: Prep and Moisturize. I always like to start with a moisturizing base. If your lips are feeling a little dry, try exfoliating. Check out our Grapefruit Lemonade Lip Scrub DIY for inspiration! After exfoliating, add a little bit of your favorite balm. I've been hearting the Glossier Balm Dotcom in Coconut. Smells like the beach and summer and everything good about the hot months. 

Step Two: Add a little highlight. If you've read any of my posts at this point, you know I love me some highlight. I think this just adds a tiny dash of shimmer and light that really brings the eye to the lips. Using a small brush, I just blend out a tiny amount along my cupid's bow. I like to do the highlight first so that my lipstick layers on top of the shimmer and just peeks out over the top of the lipstick a little. 

Full Lips DIYStep Three: Using a liner very similar to your natural lip color, shape and line your lips. Since my lips tend to be pretty uneven, especially around my cupid's bow, I take my time to create an even shape. To give myself a fuller look, I'll slightly over-line my liner, still sticking very close to my natural lip line. The nude liner not only creates a more "plump" look to your lips, but it will also keep our lipstick from feathering, especially since we over-lined just a little. I've really been digging this Plump and Define liner from Becca Cosmetics. 

Step Four: To really get a fuller look, I love using a light/nude colored lipstick. Devotion by Axiology is one of my favorites right now. It also has the perfect amount of sheen to really give my lips a nice dimension. 

Full Lips DIY Step Five: Using a shade slightly darker, apply to the outer corners of your top and bottom lip. Use a lip pencil or your finger to blend out. This just adds a subtle ombre effect and makes your lips look like they have more dimension. I used the color Worth from Axiology, which is another one of my favorites from their line! 

Fuller Lips       Step Six: Using your favorite nude gloss, just add a touch to the center of your lip, again to add in a beautiful dimension. 

Step Seven: Grab a bronzer just a few shades darker than your skin tone and lightly dust a little underneath your bottom lip to create a little more shadow and the appearance of a fuller lip. Be sure to blend it out good so you don't look like you have a soul patch coming in... ;)

Full Lips DIY  And done! My favorite part about these steps is that they give your lips a "my lips but better" look. They look fuller, more even and super glam without being scary and overdone. 

Fuller Lips And now I'm off to put these lips to the test and smooch on my kiddos. ;) Lots of love, Sav

Credits//Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. 

Olympic Medal Popcorn Balls (via Olympic Medal Popcorn Balls (via   Are you guys watching the Olympics? Are you a casual watcher or completely obsessed? Growing up, Elsie and I were probably more on the obsessed side, especially when it came to gymnastics. I've always loved to watch all the diving competitions as well. Some of the heights they dive from are just unbelievable to me (but I'm very afraid of heights, admittedly). This year I've been a little more of a casual viewer, just catching highlights and watching some on the weekends mostly. Either way, it's hard not to get swept up in all the Olympic-fever-feelings (as I call it) because it's just so inspiring to watch people break records and compete to be the best in the world. Plus rooting on your country is always a blast – go team USA! 

In honor of the summer games, we worked with CVS Snacks. I'm particularly impressed with their Gold Emblem Abound line of snacks. I got to try their Heavenly Light Popcorn, which I used to make these treats, and I also tried and loved their Jalapeño Cheddar Quinoa Puffs. The Gold Emblem Abound line has lots of lighter snacking options, and we'll tell you more since we will be giving away a big goodie bag of them at the end of this post. So stayed tuned!

Olympic medal popcorn balls DIYThese snack medals are a super fun and easy treat you could make for an Olympic viewing party or other get together soon. I've got a few tips for how to make these come together lightning fast – like, we're talking Usain Bolt fast! 

OK, maybe not that fast, because that's like, really, really fast. But these do come together quickly. Here's how to make your own. 

How to make popcorn ballsOlympic Medal Popcorn Balls, makes 10 (You can easily adjust the following measurements to make more or less depending on what you need.)

1/4 cup butter
1 bag (10 oz.) marshmallows
4 oz popped popcorn, approximately 8 (0.5 oz) bags of Heavenly Light Popcorn
wax paper
nonstick cooking spray
gold and silver edible color mist
flexible wire
patriotic ribbon

Before you begin, wash and cut the wire into 10 to 12 inch pieces. One piece for each medal you plan to make. This is going to go inside our popcorn ball, so that's why we want to ensure it's clean before use. The wire I used I purchased from the jewelry section of a craft store. Just look for something bendable. 

Cut the butter into 4 pieces and place in a large pot, the larger the better. I used a big stock pot and this worked well. Melt over low/medium heat. Once the butter is nearly melted, add the marshmallows and stir with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are nearly all melted. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the popcorn. Take care to make sure the marshmallow mixture gets evenly distributed throughout. This is the (delicious) glue that holds everything together, so make sure it gets on all of the popcorn pieces. 

Plop all the popcorn onto a surface covered in wax paper. As soon as it is cool enough to handle (this took less than a minute for me), remove about a cup of the mixture to a small piece of wax paper coated in nonstick cooking spray, add a piece of wire to the center and wrap the wax paper around the popcorn, pressing into a ball. Remove to a cutting board covered in wax paper. 

Diy popcorn ball medalsNow spray the popcorn balls with the gold or silver color mist. This can get a little messy. I found that doing this in my sink is best so the extra mist sticks to the inside of the sink, and I can easily clean that afterward. So move your cutting board with the wax paper and prepared popcorn balls to the sink and then spray away. Check your packaging for directions to see if you need to shake the can first or anything else. 

Diy olypmic medal popcorn ballsNow wrap the wire around the back of the medal and loop into place. Then use the rest of the wire to create a small circle for your ribbon to go through. Cut your ribbons and assemble the medals. 

This might go without saying, but since this is the Internet, I'll go ahead and say this: clearly there is wire inside the popcorn balls. So you'll want to remove this before consuming. The wire allows the popcorn balls to hang from ribbon, like Olympic medals, but it will easily slide out when you are ready to eat these. Just undo your work and pull the wire. It will slide right out. If you decide to make these for children, use your best judgement on whether they can be safely enjoyed. I don't think these would be suitable for all ages as the wire could pose a choking hazard if you served these to children too young to understand that the wire must be removed before eating. 

Diy olypmic medal popcorn balls Here's the back of one of my medals – you can see how the wire loops around the back, and then you just twist the top together so it stays in place. 

Olympic Medal Popcorn Balls (via That's it – see... super quick, right? I really don't consider myself to be much of a novelty dessert maker, which means if I can whip these up, then anyone can. Plus these are super FUN to make (and eat)! :) Now for that giveaway, all you have to do is enter your information below and you could win a snack pack courtesy of CVS Pharmacy! It's filled with all kinds of delicious treats. Enjoy! 

CVS Abound Snacks Giveaway

Giveaway is open until 8/25/16, and the winner will be contacted directly. Good luck! 

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman

A Beautiful Mess Giveaway Rules 


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