Episode #122: Book Report + Holiday Movie Picks

Today, we are sharing a book report episode along with our favorite holiday movies. We are also sharing an exciting charity project that we are starting this month that we want to invite you to be a part of!

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

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Show notes:

-Elsie’s book picks: Playing Big and The Artist’s Way

-Emma’s book pick: Atomic Habits

-We mention starting a book club. Let us know your ideas in the comments!

Emma’s favorite holiday movies: Love Actually, Die Hard, and Home Alone

Elsie’s favorite holiday movies: The Holiday and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Click here to shop our Charity project sweatshirts and coffee mugs (100% of the proceeds go to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline).

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Episode 122 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the Beautiful Mess Podcast. Today we’re sharing a book report episode and also our favorite holiday movies. We’re also sharing an exciting new charity project that we’re starting this month that we want to invite you to be a part of. So yeah, this is our book report episode. We love doing these. This is one of the types of episodes that we come back to over and over and over again. So in this episode, I’m going to do two books and Emma is going to do one book, and we’re going to blame who?

Emma: Everyone, no. 

Elsie: Baby Oscar. 

Emma: Yeah, Elsie was like, can you do two books for the upcoming episode, and I was like, I haven’t really had time to catch up on audiobooks lately. I love audiobooks so much and reading and podcasts. But yeah, I’ve just been a little overextended but I do have one book to share. I wrote down like three or four little tidbits from it that are really excited.

Elsie: I read both of my books when I was driving to Missouri, recently, about a month or two ago to set up the pink house. So that was my only alone time this whole season. I read both of these books during that time. So I definitely relate to what you’re saying. We’ll read more next year. So my first one is probably the best book I’ve ever read in my life. I’m going to move it right up to my number one position because it was life-changing. I’m planning to reread it on my next trip to Missouri next week. It is a banger. So I want everyone to read this book, please. I’m begging you. So Ramit recommended this book to me. I recently had a little chat with him and he told me one of the things that I should work on in my life is having more strong women to look up to. The more I thought about that, the more I realized that that was really, really good advice and something that I have been working on ever since.

Emma: He gave you a lot of good advice. Obviously, we love Ramit, but I wish you could do like a mini that’s just like, Here’s what Ramit told me to do because it’s really good. Elsie has been talking about this book nonstop.

Elsie: The book is called Playing Big by Tara Moore. What would I classify it as? I guess I would classify it as a, I don’t want to say self-help book,  maybe in that general category. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a business book but it’s sort of working on your own confidence. For me, it applied a lot to business. For other people, it might apply more to different things. Like what we talked about in the astrology episode, I’m just wired to be like a 90% business human. I can’t change that about myself. Not everyone is that way and I love that for you. So anyway, I’ll just say a couple of the things that I got out of it that were really, really helpful. So the first one is that when she dives into it, she says, that she’s gonna help you kind of overcome, a lot of us are self-sabotaging. It’s a part, for many people, how we were raised, the culture we were raised in, the messaging we received growing up, and I know for myself, a lot of it, I had to wipe clean from my brain and replace with new information and this book was really helpful for that. So anyway, I think in the second chapter, she does this future self visualization. It’s actually more like a guided meditation if you’ve ever done one of those, where you lay down and close your eyes and it’s like, 10 minutes long. They’re taking you through many different steps of things that you’re visualizing, you’re reacting, but internally only, it’s one of those types of things. I did mine three times, I just felt like I was having a really hard time getting my mind clear enough and sort of like letting go enough, that’s kind of hard for me. You’re supposed to sort of be able to see your future self in this visualization. It’s yourself 20 years in the future. You’re supposed to receive from that some confidence and inspiration. There’s supposed to be something about it that’s surprising. It’s not just like who you wish you would be, it’s more than that. That’s why I did it so many times because I was trying to get that little element of it and then I finally got that.

Emma: Question, what helps you get, so you said you did it three times and you’re having a hard time and then it sounds like you’ve had success on the third time, so for anyone who’s going to do an exercise like this, what was it about that third time that worked that time? It sounds like you almost have to go into a bit of a trance in a way.

Elsie: I don’t know if it’s a trance but you sort of have to let go of your own imagination a little bit. If someone’s like, think about what you would like to have for dinner. I’m like, okay, it could be this and this, I’m just like a very quick reactor, I guess. I had to sort of turn that part of my brain off a little bit to just kind of let it happen. I don’t know if I would call it in a trance because I was just laying on my bed listening to my headphones. She’s like, don’t get too sleepy because you might fall asleep. I don’t really feel like I can fully do it justice. I just want everyone to do it. I did the audiobook. So if you do the audiobook version, you can just listen to it and it’ll take you through it. If you read the book version, I think that she has some type of an online resource where you can hear, because you have to hear it in your headphones to do this exercise. But it was very powerful. I would definitely describe it as life-changing. The whole book was just like, mind blown after mind blown for me, I loved it. I think that it just came at the perfect time. I’ve been reading a lot of self-help books the last two years and when I thought about it, they were all written by men, I think. So it’s kind of cool in this episode, it’s two books written by women that I’m talking about and they were both bangers. I hope that more people will listen to these and yeah, it was just so good to me.

Emma: Okay, so is that the main thing you took from it, was this kind of visualization, future planning, or was there anything else? Other tidbits. 

Elsie: I guess the other tidbit that I had was, there’s a part of it, where you sort of like recognize a calling inside of yourself and it can be anything. I think that a lot of people, it’s sort of like a charitable thing, or something that is like a very different career from what they’ve been doing. Mine was like, it was really strange. I was listening through the book, I was answering all the questions. I think that it’s definitely the kind of book where you’re gonna want to have a journal the whole time and be filling it as you go, taking breaks and writing pages, journaling stuff is a big way that I process things that I’m learning. I probably should have read the journal right before I started recording this because also how I remember things. So when she was doing the exercise of recognizing your calling, the thing that kept coming into my mind as my calling, I’m not going to share exactly what it is because it’s too embarrassing at this moment. I will later I promise, but it was really sort of random. It was really, really random. That’s what I’ll say. It’s like everyone else is calling is like, I want to start a water charity or, something that’s very important, and mine was like, I want to build the world’s coolest dog house. It was really random but then as the weeks went by after that, it was sort of like the first piece of a puzzle. I started to see that it actually is a real calling that I have that I was born with that I’m just now realizing, as you know, I’m 38 years old. I’m just now realizing this calling that I’m going to be doing in my life soon. It was sort of just like the first glimpse I had of it. So I would just say when you’re doing the book, reading the book, doing the exercises, don’t judge, just like let it happen and you might be kind of surprised. I was very surprised by what I felt was my next step but I was very excited to have a next step that I hadn’t thought of before. I mean, like, isn’t that the coolest thing ever?

Emma: Before we move on to another book, though, could you tell me more like you said, it’s kind of about how we self-sabotage and get over some of those things. You don’t have to share how you self-sabotage, like if it’s too personal, but what are some general things she goes through around that because I’m just really curious? I think that’s really true and I just want to know more.

Elsie: Yeah, there’s a whole chapter about apologizing language and diminishing speech patterns, I think is what it’s called. It was like, I do all of the things, every single thing that she described was a thing that I could work on. So there was a lot of stuff like that where I was like, wow, this is just a habit. It’s not an intentional thing that I do because I feel bad about myself or anything like that. It’s more just like a bad habit that I didn’t know I had, which was really cool to recognize. So I’ve been working on those and that’s definitely a thing that takes time because when she explained all the diminishing speech and apologizing and things like that, like removing unnecessary apologies from your life is something that I’m starting to realize I’ll probably be working on it for like a year. Whenever I’m walking my cart through the grocery store, I say sorry to every single person I see. It’s so ingrained, it’s just a habit. Anyone who feels like you have anything like that where you apologize, but you don’t really mean it or not like you don’t mean it but you don’t really need to. You know you don’t need to but it’s just how you express politeness, I think that this is really, really helpful for things like that. For me just like getting a vision, the last six months of my life, I had a little bit of a dark cloud. I just was like, I want to know, like, what’s next. I was having these feelings of like, everything on my list is checked off, we’ve achieved all these goals and I just want to know what I can look forward to in the future. This book helps me with that 100 million times over and that’s why I’m gonna reread it. That’s why I’m gonna force it on our book club next year, I’m gonna force all my employees to read it. I just really think that it’s like the magic.

Emma: Yeah, there’s a part of me that’s like, maybe I should buy this and a couple of other books and other more fun things as we always buy presents for our staff for the holidays.  I’ve been thinking about books but I always am a little nervous that it’s gonna come off like, here’s what I think you need. 

Elsie: Our grandma does that. She gets us books that are a little bit passive-aggressive. If you’ve ever gotten a self-help book and it was like a hint. You don’t want it to come off that way but I don’t think it’s just something that we’re genuinely so excited about.

Emma: Yeah, I’ll think on it more, because I would never want to come off that way. But I just like know I want to read it for myself then I want to share it with all my friends. You know what it means. So anyway, I’m also going to put it out there, our heater went out this week and so you might hear some noises in the background. This is just the time that they could come so I’m really sorry. I know it’s unprofessional. There you got though, I don’t have any heat in my house.

Elsie: Here’s the thing, I know that on occasion, you can hear like a vacuum cleaner, or a hammer or a dog barking or something like that in the background of our podcast. But I don’t think that we should have to apologize for it because, first of all, isn’t that the charm of doing it in your own home? Second of all, we couldn’t do it without those noises. It would be impossible.

Emma: Yeah, it’s true. I mean, if anything, I kind of think it’s just funny to be like, hey, I don’t have any heat in my house this week. That’s just where I’m at in life. I don’t know, it’s kind of funny to let people know what’s going on with you I guess.

Elsie: That’s true. 

Emma: But yeah, it doesn’t really matter. I know, it annoys some people but it truly doesn’t matter. I listen to tons of podcasts where there’s all sorts of things in the background, and I don’t care. But anyway, moving on. So I’ll tell you about the book that I listened to.

Elsie: Okay, I’m excited about this one because I listened to it also. I think we were very aligned on this one.

Emma: Yeah, Trey listened to this too. I think I stole it from him afterward. So it’s Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s not super, super new, it’s been out for a little bit. I loved this book. I found it super valuable. If I had to just give a quick synopsis, as you can guess it’s about habits and about changing your habits, building new habits, letting go of bad habits, that’s probably pretty obvious from the title. But one thing that he comes back to over and over again, that I loved, is it’s really not a book about willpower, just try really hard and you can do it but if you don’t, then you failed and you just are a weak person. ait’s never like that. All of the advice is about making habits that you want easier, or more accessible, or tying rewards to them, or finding ways to make some bad habits that are no longer serving you ways to let them go,  just making them harder to do or inaccessible in some way. I just really appreciated that perspective because I think so often I think like, oh, I have this bad habit, I can’t stop biting my nails because I was a nail biter for so long, like 35 years. So well, I guess I didn’t bite my nails when I was a baby, 30 years, let’s just say that. I just had so much shame around it when you have a habit that you feel like you just can’t let go of. If something came off kind of lecturey, it would just make me feel more shame and I don’t think I could deal with that. So I love that this book is just not, it’s not that.

Elsie: I mean, I think also that type of advice is just very boring, because it’s like we’ve all heard a lecture before. If that would have changed our lives, we wouldn’t need to keep looking for more solutions. Yeah, I felt the same way. I loved the book. I think I listened to it in like one or two days. It was a drive. 

Emma: It’s pretty short. 

Elsie: Yeah, it was pretty short. I was surprised by how quickly it went by. So I would definitely recommend the audiobook on this one. The thing I liked about it is that in the season of life I’m in right now, I don’t really have the space or the capacity for most types of a sweeping change. Like if you’re like, I’m gonna wake up at 5am and work out for two hours every day. That’s not going to work for me right now. So this book was like advice about how small changes can add up and that is something that I can use right now. So I think that there’s probably a lot of people who relate with that. It was very encouraging because I can be a little bit of an extreme person, a little bit of an all or nothing. One of my husband’s biggest pet peeves, you know, you get pet peeves about each other, one of the ones he hates about me is that I can’t start doing something unless I think I have the full amount of time blocked off to do the whole thing. So I’ll like leave my closet so messy, or it’s mostly messes. I’ve been saying, there’s this one closet in our house that’s full of boxes from our move that we haven’t addressed yet and I keep taking them out and then not finishing the project. Then we have to stack them back up when we have a guest or something. Basically, if I just would have the attitude in my life more often, that a little bit each day is good enough, I would get a lot more done instead of saying like, I can’t do this project, or I can’t start this hobby until I have this huge amount of free time that I’m not going to have for a long time. Yeah, I would definitely recommend the book. It was just one of those books where you can use the things you learn like today, which is nice.  

Emma: I just wanted to share a couple of little tidbits from it, just for funsies. So one of my favorite parts is he tells the story about an art class, I think it’s like a college art class. It’s like photography, and the professor gives an assignment. I don’t know if you remember this part, but he gives an assignment to the students, it’s like for half the students, their grade is based on one photo, they have to take just one really great photo. Then for the other half of the students, their grade is based on how many photos they take. They don’t have to be good. They just have to take as many photos, lots of lots of photos and their grade will be based on how many photos they take. So it’s a quantity versus quality type exercise. 

Elsie: Interesting. I don’t remember this part at all.

Emma: I loved this part so much. You are about to see why. Because the students who came out with the best work, the highest quality photos, were all in the quantity category. Yeah, because they were practicing. They were doing it over and over and over again and they weren’t worried about each one being perfect. Each one being the best photo they’ve ever taken. They were just doing it over and over and over again. His point was kind of like, let go of perfection, let go like I have to get it perfectly right. Just keep doing it, do it a whole bunch, and you’ll get better and better. I just love that because I am definitely a person who feels like I am not perfect at anything and it stresses me out to think that someone wants me to be perfect at something. That makes me kind of want to shut down and not even do it. But I am a person who can finish things and do things a lot if that’s the goal. I’m like, I could do that I could get a good grade for the quantity but the quality photo if I had been put in that category, I would have failed that class for sure. So I just love the lesson there.

Elsie: It’s too much pressure. 

Emma: So another little tidbit is he does a whole section about habit stacking. If you naturally do one thing kind of stack another habit that you want to get in on top of it. So here’s one from my life, obviously before I go to bed, I brush my teeth. I’m just in the habit of that done it for years. Easy. Not hard for me just to obviously most people are in the same boat.

Elsie: Couldn’t stop it you tried. 

Emma: If you get into bed and you could feel you didn’t brush your teeth, you’re like, oh, gotta get up brush teeth. So right next to my toothbrush. I put my eye drops because I still have very dry eyes, which I talked about in an episode like two years ago. I still have dry eyes and I very often forget to use eye drops. I’ve now noticed like when I get up in the night to nurse my son, my eyes hurt so bad. I feel like I can’t even open them at times if I don’t use the eye drops, so I set them right by my toothbrush. So it’s like I brush my teeth and then there’s the eye drops so it’s like this habit stacking thing where I don’t forget because I see it right there. They just go hand in hand. So anyway, that’s like a small thing but habit stacking is awesome. 

Elsie: I love that. One of our children has an ongoing medicine that they need to take and we just moved it to the bathroom by the toothbrush because it just wasn’t working in the kitchen and it’s working great in the bathroom. The same thing, I put my vitamins in the bathroom by my toothbrush and stuff and that’s much better than. Before I had them in a cabinet in my laundry room that makes no sense at all. No wonder I didn’t get to take them every day because your brain just doesn’t work that way. Yeah, I love the idea of either building in a little reward or just making it so easy that you can’t forget, that was definitely my favorite part of the book.

Emma: It’s just great little life hacks. Then the last one is just play a game where the odds are in your favor. The example that he gives in the book is two Olympic athletes. One was Michael Phelps, the swimmer and I can’t remember the other one but it was a long-distance runner.  I can’t remember the gentleman’s name. 

Elsie: I remember this part. It was so interesting. 

Emma: His point was if I switch these two, he talks about their height and their weight and some things like that and he’s like, if I switch these two athletes who are both Olympic athletes, so very athletic guys, have the right mindset to be winners but he’s like if I switched their events. So the swimmer became the runner and the runner became the swimmer, they would not win Olympic medals anymore, because the odds are just not in their favor, based on not only their experience, but also just their body type, and weight and some things like that. I just like the idea that it’s like, don’t necessarily set your sights on a goal that isn’t going to serve you. That isn’t going to fit into your life and what you have access to and who you are as a person. You should think more about your destiny is fitted to who you are. So you should play a game where the odds are in your favor because then you’re more likely to have the success that’s going to make you happy, that’s going to make you feel fulfilled, and you’re going to be more likely to I think, uncover your destiny in this lifetime. Anyway, I loved that point, too. And I think it was just something interesting, something that I wish someone had told me when I was 17. So you know, a very insightful and useful little bit. That’s about it. I feel like now nobody even needs to listen to the book, they can just get my synopsis.

Elsie: Well, that’s what’s funny is that after my review, they still completely need to listen to the book because I did such a bad review. After yours, you really summarize the book. It’s more like one of those, what are those little yellow guides that they used to sell?

Emma: Cliffnotes. I could of written cliff notes for sure. I would nail it. 

Elsie: Oh my gosh, wait, before we move on, I have to tell a stupid story. This is so funny. Jeremy and I like talking about how things that happened in our childhood, that would be impossible now because just the differences in technology in our lifetime is very extreme. We’re at a very, very special age where we got to do both, a completely offline childhood and we’re basically internet people for a living for our whole adult life. Just like as a matter of luck of the year we were born. So anyway, Jeremy recently confessed to me that as a child, when they did book reports at school, he completely made up the whole thing, just so he didn’t have to read a book. He would make up the title, the author, the year it was written, the story, the whole book report was fake. He said he never got caught. I almost think that that’s like a show of talent. 

Emma: I mean, that’s like some guts right there, for sure. So it was just like, there was no way to look it up so the teacher was just like, I guess so.

Elsie: He was like, no one could catch me because they would have to basically accuse you of lying, because you couldn’t look up books because there was no internet when we were little kids. Isn’t that funny? 

Emma: Man. What a bad kid.

Elsie: A  little bit, but also like I’m impressed. 

Emma: Yeah, I kind of am too. 

Elsie: Anyway, so my third book is the Artists Way by Julia Cameron. This book is like a double banger. Ever since I was basically a child, when I was college age was the first time someone gave me this book and people have been recommending it to me for almost 20 straight years. The first time that I listened to it was this year. So I finally got there. It’s been in my ears all these years and I always knew that there was probably something really good to it. But actually, what made me listen to it was I randomly listened to Jenna Fisher’s book about how to become an actor and it’s because I thought it was a memoir and then it turned out not to be, but I had already bought the book on my audible so I just went ahead and listened to it for fun. Now I know how to become an actor. But anyway, she was really, really recommending the Artists Way. I guess I got more interested in it because I didn’t realize that you could use it for any kind of creative venture. I was thinking of it as art like painting, I wasn’t thinking of it as acting or what we do for a living, blogging, and podcasting. So once I realized that it could be useful for everything we do, it shot back up to the top of my list. So I listened to the Artists Way as an audiobook, which was a journey, because it was very, very obviously recorded at a time when you probably got your audiobooks on, maybe even cassette tapes, definitely CDs. It was recorded a very long time ago. I kind of liked that part of it, that part of it is kind of appealing to me, because I like my old-timey things, as everyone knows. But the reason why I wouldn’t recommend as an audiobook is because it’s really like a workbook. Most of it is journaling prompts. Really what the Artists Way is a collection of amazing journaling prompts. If you’re not willing to do it as I think it’s a 40 day challenge, is it a 40 day challenge? I’m not sure. It’s either a number of weeks or 40 days, it could be like 10 weeks or something I’m not sure. But obviously, I haven’t done that part yet so now I feel like I also have to go back and do this one in the recommended time schedule and do all of the journaling because I did do some of them. Since a lot of it, I listened to it in the car and on a road trip. With that said, I think that for anyone who’s struggled with journaling, this is a book I would highly recommend because I’ve struggled with journaling a lot. When I was in high school, my dad read my journal, which like, I know, my dad listens to our podcast so hi, Dad. Then he talked to me about it and it was just so embarrassing that I never got over it. I’ve always had a thing with journaling, where I feel I can’t just focus on what I’m writing, because I’m just worried about who’s gonna read it, or you know what I mean? So this book was definitely key to getting out of that and I’ve been journaling more recently, and it’s been great. I do plan on throwing them away, and not keeping them around for like my grandkids read or anything.

Emma: You could do it on the computer and then save them in a way where it’s not super easy to access. On my computer, you have to type in a password before you can, you either use it as a guest or use it as me. 

Elsie: That’s true. So anyway, the book is lots and lots of creative prompts and a lot of it is journaling. There’s this morning pages part and then there’s lots of activities to help you get out of your rut and thinking of creativity in a new way, trying things you haven’t tried before so I thought it was amazing. I loved listening to it, actually. So I would recommend it as long as you are willing to do the whole thing twice.

Emma: Yes, I started listening to it but then I didn’t feel like I had the time to complete all the exercises so I’m waiting. But I did start doing morning pages and I really enjoyed that. I didn’t use mine as journaling. I would kind of do whatever I was in the mood for so sometimes I would write as one of the characters from my book that I’m trying to work on. Sometimes I would journal like thoughts that are just stuck in my head but it was just nice to be like, oh, this is just whatever right now. Maybe it’s kind of like that thing from the last book we were talking about, like the taking photos, the quantity, it’s just doing it, you’re just doing it, creativity doing it over and over, muscle that you just have to build up. 

Elsie: That’s true. Actually, for me, the thing that helps me the most in the morning is to write an extensive to-do list because that’s the only way that I can stop feeling panicked and start feeling I’m able to focus on one thing at a time. 

Emma: Same 

Elsie: I’m one of those people like if I wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking about what I need to do the next day. The other night how did I think for several hours about how I needed to get the living room furniture moved for the wood floor people. For several hours!

Emma: I do this too and it’s like I wake up and nurse Oscar my son, and then I put him back in his bassinet in our room and then I immediately and it’ll be like 4, 430, 5,  not quite time to wake up but I just started thinking about everything for work or everything I need to do that day or things were out of that I need to buy at the grocery store. I’ve now started, I have this little thing I tell myself I’m like you can worry about that when you wake up right now you just have to sleep. Just like telling myself that over and over like stop, the to-do list right now is you need to get a couple more hours of sleep. So it medium works.

Elsie: Okay, so the Artist’s Way, recommend it. I think that it’s for anyone with any kind of a creative job. Even if you don’t think of your jobs as creative. I kind of think it’s a book for everyone and it’s definitely a classic because it’s pretty, super old.

Emma: Yeah, I think they had their 20th anniversary somewhat recently. So it’s more than 20 years old. I don’t know how old it is actually. But yeah, it’s a classic. 

Elsie: Let’s talk for a second about the book club before we move on to the next segment. So this is just a brainstorm. We would love to hear your thoughts in the show notes at abeautifulmess.com/podcast today, so come over there and let us know if you have any suggestions but I have been reading a lot lately and I love it.  I’ve never read fiction before but I’ve recently started reading fiction for the first time, basically since I was like a child in elementary school so that is really fun. But I also obviously love nonfiction. That’s the main thing that, I love my little pump-up business books. That’s obviously like the main thing that I read just to get inspired and stuff. So anyway, for next year, I was thinking maybe we could do like one of each per month, or maybe like a couple per season. I didn’t know how we should format it but I want to make sure that number one, we have time to talk through them on the podcast, and number two, that people get enough advanced warning where they can listen or they can read along with us or read it before we do the podcast discussion if that’s what they want to do. But for me, I mean, I don’t ever mind hearing about a book before I read it either so maybe that’s not necessary. I don’t know how to format it but if anyone has ideas. Do you have any ideas?

Emma: Not really, the only thing I’m thinking is like if we do a few fiction and there is kind of like a spoiler like you find out who the murderer. I don’t know, let’s just say we could in the episode be like, okay, we’re about to talk about this book, the first 15 minutes anyone can listen to, but after minute 28 spoilers.

Elsie: We will definitely put spoiler alerts if it’s that kind of thing. That’s a good point.

Emma: Yeah, because that’s the one thing that can ruin a book for me is if I know kind of the ending you’re not supposed to know but that’s more of a fiction thing. Not so much nonfiction.

Elsie: Emma had to hear my like, rant of complaints the other night when I finished the last Harry Potter movie. 

Emma: Oh my gosh, guys, it was the best. She was so upset. And I was like, wow, 20 years late to this, but here we go. She’s so mad. She’s like, was that really the ending? That’s really what happens. Yeah, can’t believe you didn’t know that. I can’t believe you never heard anyone say the ending of Harry Potter before. It was very entertaining.  I loved how angry you were. it was awesome!

Elsie: Anyway, I think it’d be fun to have a book club that would bring joy to my life and I think it would bring joy to everyone’s lives. I think we should definitely have a book club for the new year. So let’s think about how we can format it to make it low maintenance and sort of like you come, you go, you can always feel a part of it whether you have the time to read the book or not. That would be my goal. I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re behind on their homework.

Emma: Yeah, but that’s more on them than us.

Elsie: Yeah, but I just wanted to be like fun for everyone. If you don’t want to read, you can just like listen, and have fun, whatever. Like the episodes, we’ve always been doing. I don’t know if people really read all these books we talk about, but  I hope they do, but I know a lot of people don’t and that’s fine too.

Emma: They probably cherry pick the one that sounds relevant to them at that time. It makes sense to me. I think it’s a great idea. I don’t know how we’re going to do it but sounds like we’re gonna have a book club next year.

Elsie: We have to have a book club. Yeah, I’m so excited. Okay, the next segment we have here is sharing our number one most nostalgic holiday movie. I’m making you go first because I haven’t decided yet so this is too hard.

Emma: I was torn between three. I was also filling out my holiday bucket list and adding some things after we recorded that episode. I was putting movies on that I wanted to watch and I realized I kind of had three. It’s Love Actually, Diehard, the first one, and then Home Alone, the first one. 

Elsie: I watched all of those movies last year, and they’re all a 10 out of 10. So agreed. I do love it and I finally do understand why Die Hard is a lot of people’s favorite Christmas movie. It’s definitely not my number one, but it’s definitely fun.

Emma: I love action movies so if you’re in the mood for an action movie, but you want a holiday one then I’m like Die Hard, and honestly, they’re all great, but I just like the original the most.

Elsie: Well, Home Alone would definitely be somewhere near the top of my list. I don’t think that it’s unbeatable. It’s a classic everything about it’s perfect. It’s just one of those little capsules of time. Anything that reminds me of Home Alone is something I want in my life. So anyway, I would add to that, definitely since you said Love Actually all put The Holiday because I think it’s a Christmas movie and it has a lot of those the same nostalgic things that remind me of Love Actually. Just that like feel good, just nostalgia. Yeah. The other one I would add is the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer claymation movie because that’s my kids’ favorite movie. I actually still really enjoy watching the whole entire thing, which I can’t say that about hardly any kids’ movies. I can barely rewatch even the best ones like the Pixar hours. I’m kind of like one and done on most kids movies, but I’d love the kids movies with real people, human actors. The things like the Addams Family and Hocus Pocus, I get really ended those. I also love this claymation movie. I guess I just don’t really like rewatching cartoons. So anyway, but yeah, this one it’s just the perfect, perfect, perfect little like, and we watched his children.  I hope that you know, not very many old movies stand the test of time.  I don’t want to diminish any of the old holiday movies that people love but none of them are as good as this one in my opinion. It’s just like, still perfect, 10 out of 10.

Emma: Now time for what I’ve been excited about our charity project announcement.

Elsie: Alright, so since we’re kind of getting towards the end of the year, Emma and I were thinking we’d like to do something charitable. We haven’t done anything like a big charity project in a little while, although not everyone knows this but we do support charities through A Beautiful Mess every single month. A portion of the money that we earn from the blog, we donate every month. But anyway, we wanted to do something kind of big and exciting. This is a project that’s special to us because we’re donating 100% of the proceeds and it’s like we can promote the hell out of it. Hopefully, you will help us like get the word out and promote it too. Whatever money we earn from it will go straight to charity.

Emma: That was another part of it when Elsie came up with this idea was we will probably change the charity every now and again. It could be every three months, it could be every six months. We also might have a special, once you hear the idea, a special design that comes out that’s for a specific thing if there’s a specific relief effort that we fit as timely as those things pop up. It’s probably going to change some and this just will give us an outlet where we can talk about things that are kind of important to us and it just gives us a way to make that fun and accessible to our audience.

Elsie: Okay, so for the first season, we decided to launch with two sweatshirts. They’re really cute and special. The first one is a shirt that, I’ve wanted this shirt for so long and I really feel like I just made it for myself, but I know you’re gonna love it. It is written and directed by Nancy Meyers. It’s a sweatshirt, it’s maroon, it does come in other colors, but maroon was my preferred color for it and it’s just like a silly funny Nancy Meyers fan club sweatshirt. I feel like that’s like the unofficial theme of our podcast, kinda. Then the second one has a sports font and we call this our own sports theme. It says team cozy on it and it’s just a green, a sort of like a hunter green with a mustard yellow font. Both of these sweaters, we will link them in the show notes and we’ll be posting them on Instagram pretty frequently. We’d love it if you would share them as well.  100% of the proceeds are going to go to our first charity, which is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is the one we decided to support for the first six months. This charity we chose because earlier this year, we lost a family member to suicide and it’s really not our story to share. Until it happened to me, it was life-changing for it to happen to someone who you’re close to and you know, because it just makes the statistics feel a lot different.

Emma: Yeah, and the statistics are really shocking if you’ve never looked them up. So anyway, it’s a great organization. You should learn more about them if you have any interest in giving or if it sounds like a resource that could be helpful to anyone in your life.

Elsie: We picked the hotline, they’re available 24 hours. They are available in different languages. It’s really accessible and it’s helping a lot of people every year. We’ll put the shirts up and if you like them, we hope that you’ll get one. They also come in like T-shirts. It’s one of these things where you can order different things, there’s little tote bags and different options, mugs. I just personally, I’m like a sweatshirt person so that’s the thing I was really excited to get. We’ll probably add more options later on after the New Year as well. Thanks so much for listening. Be sure to head to our show notes at abeautifulmess.com/podcast if you want to see any of the links to the books or to our new charity t-shirt shop that we’ve launched. Thank you so much for listening and we’ll be back next week.

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  • Great episode – wrote all these down to read soon 🙂 Maybe a good format would be mini-episodes for book reports/book club stuff. That way, if we miss the book or don’t want spoilers, it’s easier to skip an episode (rather than stop midway through). Keep up the good work!

  • Hey!
    I listen to your blog with my infant daughter and dog, and I have never noticed any background noise! I may have too much of my own, but don’t worry about it. It makes you guys more real!

  • I love the idea of a book club! It would be fun alternate between fiction & nonfiction. Some fiction titles I enjoyed are An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green & the sequel A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, & Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty.

  • Hi Emma and Elsie! I love your podcast! I started listening about a year ago and worked my way through all of the episodes while I was waiting in the school pick up line every afternoon. I wanted to leave a (hopefully) helpful suggestion for Emma and her dry eyes: I used to have very dry eyes, and the only thing that worked for me was an eye ointment recommended by my optometrist called Refresh P.M. You just squeeze a tiny line of it inside your lower eyelid every night before bed. While using it I didn’t really need any eye drops during the day, but if you do Refresh also makes eye drops. I hope that helps, and I love that my first ever comment on your website was about something so random!

  • I would love if you would do a podcast episode about journaling as a mom for memory keeping. Side note- I took on of your journaling courses back in the RVA days forever ago and my kids just found those journals in the basement. It was a time capsule lol,

    So excited for book club!!

  • Love the “Playing Big” recommendation. Another good visualization book I picked up a few years ago was “The Way of the Seal: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed” by Mark Divine. The author left the corporate world to become a Navy Seal, and he talks about applying some of the principles he learned as a Seal to everyday life. I really like how he gives you concrete steps to take, and some cool visualization practices such as the “mind gym” where you create like this alternate reality space in your head where you go to create and dream.

  • I loved this episode, thank you ladies! I’ve gotten my last three books from your podcast. I am now learning about Enneagrams and trying to figure out which number all of my peoples are. I think a book club is a great idea.

  • Would love a book club! I think that one fiction and one non-fiction per season would be ideal. And each book is discussed at a different time / episode. Thanks for always recommending your favorite books!

  • Hi Elsie and Emma,

    I LOVED this episode and Emma’s life map episode. It’s so great that you both share your experiences and wisdom with this community and encourage us to keep learning, growing and dreaming big. It’s really special and very appreciated. I love being part of this community and would really enjoy a book club! Also love the charity idea! I’m off to get a Team Cozy sweatshirt 🙂

  • Love the idea of the book club! Also really love these book report podcasts.

    Also, I absolutely recommend Sinead O’Connor’s new memoir, Rememberings. It is so so so good. And I recommend listening so that you can have Sinead O’Connor read it to you. This is top of my list.

  • Yes to the book club!! You used to post recommendations and book posts to follow along with! Love the idea of bringing that back/ something similar!

  • I just binge listened to a ton of missed episodes (been a crazy season!), and I have to say that I am so appreciative of your content, and your down-to-earth personalities really make it feel like a conversation with friends 🥲 (lol I mean it’s a conversation with sisters and we’re just privileged to listen in 🙃)

    Would LOVE to have a book club (I’m a Libby/audiobook user too!) and echo the email list idea!

  • So great to hear about the charity initiative ❤️ such a good cause to get behind!

  • Elsie, I started listening the “Playing Big” after hearing you talk about it on The Woo Woo Best friend Pod you did a few weeks ago… I’m on chapter 7. It is lifechanging! Thanks for the recommendation! I’m glad you mentioned that you did the inner mentor meditation three times, I felt like I got it very vaguely but definitely will do it again on your recommendation. It’s funny, I thought the book would spur me towards “playing big” in my career (I’m a Doctor of Audiology) but the book is helping me realize my “playing big” is actually working on sharing my creativity/artsy side more. I’ve always put aside my creative talents to do something that is safe and guaranteed to make money, because I think I’m afraid of the criticism that would come with sharing something so personal. While I love my job as an Audiologist, there’s a layer of removal from any criticism I might encounter… after all, nobody is going to hurt my feelings if they don’t like their hearing aids! Anyway, loving it and thanks for the good book!

    • Jessica, you put this so perfectly “I’ve always put aside my creative talents to do something that is safe and guaranteed to make money, because I think I’m afraid of the criticism that would come with sharing something so personal” – I know that feeling so well! Best of luck “Playing Big” with your creative pursuits!

  • Hi ladies! Loved the episode- I personally like to call these kinds of books personal development books vs self help. Women authors who write in that category often get lumped into “self help” where as men authors are labeled as “inspirational” or “development” and I think it’s totally a sexist narrative in the industry. Plus I think personal development usually describes the genre better 🙂

    Thanks for making my monday mornings fun every week. Love the charity initiative as well ❤️

  • I read exclusively fiction but am trying to branch out into other genres. I would take part in book club in a heartbeat! I do love Lizzy’s ideas to have an email list and/or a bookstagram. I have a separate IG specifically for my love of books so if you haven’t ventured onto that side of the ‘gram yet y’all should take a looksie! A small survey of people who are interested could also help to guide your book picks (What genre do you typically read? What new genre would you like to try? What’s an “oldie but a goodie?” What format do you use for reading, e-book, physical, audio? etc). Also I assume you will vet anything you choose before assignment, but making trigger warnings clear beforehand are something to seriously consider (for instance, I would personally bow out of anything involving a cancer death… to some that’s simply a literary feature, but it’s too close to home for me). Anywho I love this idea and I hope y’all go through with it!

  • Love the book report episodes always 🙂 Maybe an easy way would be an email list for book club specifically or an Instagram account for the book club. @curlupclub is a book club that is organized via Instagram. I’m super forgetful, so I think an email list would be great! I do check my email! I don’t have notifications on for my Instagram app (for my mental health haha), so turning on post notifications isn’t something I do. Also for fiction book recs – I have started to try and read more fiction lately as well. I need super lighthearted things these days because of *the world* – so I’ve started reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide series and I’m loving it. Super funny and nice escapism!

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