About ABM


Welcome to A Beautiful Mess! We’re Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. We’re sisters. Together we own A Beautiful Mess, a women’s lifestyle company focused on creating happiness every day through a homemade lifestyle. On this blog we share home decor projects, recipes, and crafts, as well as bits of our life here in the Midwest. Our company is dedicated to being a positive force in the world and on the internet. We try to do this by keeping our site focused on positivity and love and we use our business to try and give back when we can.

If you want to learn more about what we write about, what our other businesses are all about, and the books we’ve written then check our START HERE page.

Cheers to doin’-it-yourself, always learning, trying, failing, dreaming big, enjoying the small stuff, and above all else … embracing imperfection. Life is better when it’s a little bit messy.


meet the team!

Elsie Larson

Founder & Creative Director

I started A Beautiful Mess in 2007, but didn’t truly find my groove until I teamed up with my sister and business soul mate, Emma, in 2010. Today I mainly focus my energy on the creative side of the business. I oversee the look and feel of A Beautiful Mess’s online content as well as products and side projects (like our apps, books, and products). I would say I have just enough free time to keep redecorating my home but never enough to get bored. ūüėČ

Spirit Animal: An old pug
Go-to road trip snack: McDonalds french fries
Favorite movie: Rosemary’s Baby
Celebrity crush: Steven Colbert
Guilty pleasure: Shania Twain
Non-blog hobby: Eating my way through Nashville
Childhood hero: Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

Emma Chapman

Founder & CEO

Emma is my sister and the co-owner of A Beautiful Mess. She oversees the business side of what we do and made it possible for us to be where we are today! Recently Emma has also taken on an editorial role for both the blog and our online education program. Most people know Emma for recipes, which she is amazing at (see here for proof), but what people don’t often know is that she has a talent for business. She’s a forward thinker and pushed to create our first app despite family and friends discouraging the risk. She’s also a real big sucker for photos of baby pigs.

Spirit Animal: Pug, especially my pug, Love Love
Go-to road trip snack: Heath bar
Favorite movie: Stranger than Fiction
Celebrity crush: Hugh Jackman
Guilty pleasure: Hot fudge sundaes, for no reason
Non-blog hobby: Sewing, reading, and Les Mills Body Pump ūüôā
Childhood hero: Donald Duck

Laura Gummerman

Staff Writer

Laura is a staff writer for the blog and produces weekly posts that include home and fashion DIYs, healthy recipes, lifestyle articles, and purrrrfect cat-related projects. She also helps out around the office as a project assistant for other writers as well.

Spirit animal: Snow Leopard
Road snacks: Latte and Cheez-Its
Favorite movie: Charade or The Way We Were
Celebrity crush:¬†Old School‚ÄĒRobert Redford, New School‚ÄĒChristian Bale, Young Buck‚ÄĒLiam Hemsworth
Non-blog hobby: Singing karaoke by making my husband play Amy Winehouse and The Cardigans songs so I can sing along
Childhood hero: Audrey Hepburn, always and forever

Jacki Moseley

Community Engagement Manager

Jacki manages and coordinates our social media and keeps things running smoothly around the office. She also assists with all sorts of tasks within our sponsorship program and digital publishing program. She’s the best and helps us keep some order amongst all the chaos.

Spirit Animal: Boston Terrier
Go-to road trip snack: Sonic (tots forever)
Favorite movie: Rosemary’s Baby
Celebrity Crush: David Duchovny
Guilty pleasure:¬†Listening to 90’s R&B and dance music like it’s nobody’s business
Non-blog hobby: Yoga, cycling, and running an Etsy shop
Childhood Hero: Ramona Quimby

Claire Shaffer

Business Development Manager

Claire manages our advertising and sponsorships program. Her roles covers all sorts of responsibilities including pitching and managing our sponsored content program, not only on the A Beautiful Mess site, but across all our social channels as well.

Spirit Animal: Snowman
Go-to road trip snack: Twizzlers and Turtle Chex Mix
Favorite movie: If it’s Disney or Audrey Hepburn I’m good!
Celebrity crush: Chris Evans
Guilty pleasure:  Fixer Upper and Bones reruns
Non-blog hobby: Reading and running
Childhood hero: Lois Lane or Wonder Woman

Keely Rust

Shop Manager/Marketing Director

Keely is THE gal behind the e-commerce side of ABM including our brand Oui Fresh. She is the brains behind so many things including: shop marketing campaigns, product creation, and overseeing brand photo shoots. We love her creative energy!

Spirit Animal: Leslie Knope
Go-to road trip snack: Seasonal Reese’s shape, the ideal chocolate to PB ratio
Favorite movie: That Thing You Do!
Celebrity Crush: Chrissy Teigen (we are BFFs in my mind)
Guilty pleasure: One Direction
Non-blog hobby: Making themed Spotify playlists
Childhood Hero: Harry Potter and Baby Spice, equally

Jeremy Larson

Staff Videographer

Jeremy creates many of the videos you see on ABM. We love the travel videos he’s created for us (see Austin, Nashville, Palm Springs and Costa Rica). His latest Violents album, Awake and Pretty Much Sober¬†launched this year and it’s amazing!

Spirit animal: Llama
Road snacks: Coke Zero
Favorite movie: The Deer Hunter
Celebrity crush: Brad Pitt
Guilty Pleasure: Bar Rescue
Non-blog hobby: Cooking
Childhood hero: Dinosaurs

Mandi Johnson

Contributing Writer

Mandi creates incredible projects for us (from big to small!). She has an eye for interior style and great ideas for budget living. See Mandi’s full archive here. She also writes her own site Making Nice in the Midwest.

Spirit Animal: Hawk
Go-to road trip snack: Peanut butter filled pretzels
Favorite movie: Vertigo
Celebrity crush: Jimmy Stewart (You didn’t say he had to be living!)
Guilty pleasure: Eating endless amounts of goldfish crackers during Netflix marathons of Grey’s Anatomy
Non-blog hobby: Volleyball
Childhood hero: Zorro (I scrawled Zs across everything!)

Katie Shelton

Contributing Writer

Katie writes beautiful hair tutorials and kiddo projects for the blog. See Katie’s full archive here. She also writes her own site, Skunkboy Blog.

Spirit Animal: Tacos
Go-to road trip snack: Twizzlers and BBQ Fritos (and heartburn)
Favorite movie: This is an impossible question to answer
Celebrity crush: Jena Malone
Guilty pleasure: Bryan Adams, forever
Non-blog hobby: Music and kids, man
Childhood hero: Definitely Debbie Gibson

Rachel Denbow

Contributing Writer + Product Design

Rachel has been writing for A Beautiful Mess and teaching e-courses with us for the past five years. You can see her archive here! Rachel also has a hand in designing some of the ABM shop products, and she creates beautiful weavings! You can find her shop here.


Spirit Animal: Miniature horse
Go-to road trip snack: Peanut Butter Crackers
Favorite movie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Celebrity crush: Jude Law
Guilty pleasure: Licking the spoon, bowl, & beaters when I bake
Non-blog hobby: De-cluttering the house
Childhood hero: DJ Tanner

Mara Dockery


Mara is a freelance designer who creates many, many things for A Beautiful Mess including newsletters and other fun projects. She also designs icons and other needed items for Emma and Elsie’s app company, A Color Story.

Spirit Animal: Deer
Go-to road trip snack: M&Ms
Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing
Celebrity crush: Ryan Gosling + Lena Dunham
Guilty pleasure: Carpool karaoke with James Corden
Non-blog hobby: Reading + running + baking
Childhood hero: Daria

Rebecca Stice

Contributing Writer

Rebecca writes and photographs amazing hair tutorials for ABM (see her full archive here!) in addition to running her own site, A Clothes Horse.

Spirit Animal: Fennec fox!
Go-to road trip snack: Cheezits
Favorite movie: Charade
Celebrity crush: Ryan Gosling
Guilty pleasure: Eating peanut butter straight from the jar
Non-blog hobby: Pokemon Go!
Childhood hero: Maureen O’Hara

Kara Whitten

Contributing Writer

Kara writes and photographs beautiful tutorials for ABM (see her full archive here!) in addition to running her own site, A Kailo Chic Life.

Spirit Animal: Lion
Go-to road trip snack: Gummy candy and beef jerky
Favorite movie: 13 going on 30
Celebrity Crush: Zac Efron
Guilty pleasure: Pastries
Non-blog hobby: Gardening
Childhood Hero: Martha Stewart

Kayleigh Kosmas

Contributing Writer

Kayleigh writes and photographs beautiful tutorials (see her full archive here!) for ABM in addition to running her own blog, Oh Honey.

Spirit Animal: My cat Bisou
Go-to road trip snack:¬†Trader Joe’s (faux) bacon popcorn
Favorite movie: Funny Face
Celebrity Crush: Tina Fey
Guilty pleasure: Staying in my pj pants all day
Non-blog hobby: Growing fruits and veggies
Childhood Hero: Hermione Granger

Natalie Jacob

Contributing Writer

Natalie writes and photographs delicious cocktail and food recipes for ABM (see her full archive here!) in addition to running her own site, Arsenic Lace.

Spirit Animal: Flamingo
Go-to road trip snack: Coffee and donuts
Favorite movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Rear Window
Celebrity Crush: Bruce Springsteen forever and ever
Guilty pleasure: Binge watching ID Discovery
Non-blog hobby: Thrift stores and flea markets
Childhood Hero: Audrey Hepburn

Alana Jones-Mann

Contributing Writer

Alana is a stylist, designer, and baker¬†(see for yourself here). We’re so happy to have her amazing desserts on A Beautiful Mess!

Spirit Animal: A pug, of course!
Go-to road trip snack: Dried mango
Favorite movie: Wizard of Oz
Celebrity Crush: Ryan Gosling (I’m so basic)
Guilty pleasure: Eating way too much mint chocolate chip ice cream in one sitting
Non-blog hobby: Hunting for vintage treasure at my local thrift stores. Also spending every free minute I have with my two pugs!
Childhood Hero: My Dad

Sarah O'Callaghan, RD, CSP, LD

Contributing Writer

Sarah is a resident nutrition expert and writes about all things nutrition for the blog. She is a registered dietitian with a board certification in pediatrics. She hopes to inspire healthy habits and positive relationships with food for all ages. Sarah is based in Springfield, MO. Be sure to check our her Etsy shop, Homemade Housewives.

Spirit animal: gazelle
Go-to road trip snack: puppy chow
Favorite movie: The Royal Tennenbaums
Celebrity crush: Chris Thile
Guilty Pleasure: ghost stories and donuts, together at once
Non-blog hobby: reading, hiking and discovering new podcasts
Childhood hero: Topanga Lawrence

Lindsey Kelsay, MS, RD, CSG, LD

Contributing Writer

Lindsey is a resident nutrition expert and writes about all things nutrition for the blog. She is a registered dietitian with a passion for whole foods and works as a professor of nutrition. Lindsey is based in Springfield, MO.

Spirit Animal: Fox
Go-to road trip snack: Popcorn
Favorite movie: Gladiator
Celebrity crush: Jared Leto
Guilty pleasure: Learning pop songs on the guitar
Non-blog hobby: Music
Childhood hero: David Bowie

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don’t you post more meat recipes on the blog?

Emma develops the majority of the recipes on ABM and she is a “mostly vegetarian.” She prefers a plant based diet for health as well as some moral considerations. But you’ll find an occasional meat or seafood dish from time to time if you’re paying attention. ūüôā

I’m coming to Springfield! Do you have a list of fun places should I visit?

Yes, welcome to our hometown! Here’s a list of a few places we love: To eat, we like Aviary Creperie, J.O.B., Gailey’s,¬†Taylor’s Drive In¬†and Casper’s. Our favorite coffee shops are The Coffee Ethic + Kingdom. Our favorite bars are¬†Scotch & Soda¬†and The Golden Girl Rum Club. If you have time to shop check out Staxx.¬†Don’t forget to drop by Elle’s for some homemade ice cream!

I want to submit my home for your ‚ÄúAt Home With‚ÄĚ feature. Who do I email?

You can email us a couple photos at submit AT abeautifulmess DOT com. Please keep in mind that during times that we receive a higher volume of submission we are not always able to write back to everyone. BUT if we do want to feature your home you will hear from us, so there is no need to follow up. Thanks!

Who takes your photos?

Most writers on ABM take their own photos in whole or in part. We also have a few awesome photographers we work with. Who took the photos of any post is listed in the credits at the bottom of the article. We started doing this a few years ago so our very old posts may be missing this info. But our aim is to update as we can. ūüôā

Which iPhone apps do you use?

We are bias, but we love A Color Story for filters and other adjustments. Our aim was to make that the very best photo editing app on the market. We also love A Beautiful Mess (how could we not?) for collages and adding text as well as art elements to images.

How do you draw on your photos?

Most handwriting you see on the blog (including the banner) is Elsie’s handwriting. She uses the Wacom Bamboo Tablet.¬†You can read about it¬†here.

I’m new to blogging. Can you give me advice?

We shared some tips here, co-wrote an article for new bloggers with a blogger we mentored here and shared perspectives on our young industry here. We also have an e-course FULL of personal stories and advice for any new blogger looking to grow.

The best piece of advice we can give to a young blogger is to write the blog you want to read. Being good at anything takes time, and blogging is no different. Keep going, be consistent, and make small goals for yourself.

Can I post your DIY project or recipe on my blog?

Yes, but please follow these guidelines: You can post one photo of our finished project or recipe with a link to our original blog post. You also have our permission to pin our photos on Pinterest.

DO NOT post the entire content of any blog post, DIY step-by-step photos, or written instructions without written permission. A Beautiful Mess is protected by copyright laws.

If you are a print publication wanting to use a high res image or have any other questions about usage of a photo of ours, email support AT abeautifulmess DOT com. 

I want to grow my blog. How did you build a readership?

We¬†built a readership over the course of many years. Some things that have worked for me are focusing on quality posts that take time to write and develop, being consistent (I’ve been posting almost every day for several years), and being myself. It’s a slow and steady process, not an overnight thing. We spend a lot of time planning and developing the ideas you see here on the blog. It’s the product of hard work, constant evaluation, and lots of love.

We have (and will continue) to share lots of blogging tips, which you can browse here. We also wrote an entire course on blogging, called Blog Life,  so if you are looking to become a blogger or grow your site you might check that out as well.