Episode #129: Favorite Things of 2021

This is our last episode of 2021, and we are recapping all of our favorite things from the year. We are also sharing our first selections for our new book club that will be starting in the new year!


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

A big thank you to our sponsors! Check out the offers from Bev, Girlfriend Collective, Olipop, and Modern Fertility. And, if you’re looking for a specific code you heard on the podcast, you can see a full list on this page!

Show notes:

Elsie’s favorite blog post she wrote: Elsie’s Office Tour

Elsie’s favorite ABM podcast episodes:
How to “Nancy Meyers” Your Home
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Elsie’s favorite podcasts:
Sharon Says So
Your Woo Woo Best Friend
The Office Ladies
Spooked

The best thing Elsie bought for her home: The Bar Island Console Table by Serena & Lily

Elsie’s favorite beauty item: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Elsie’s favorite book: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Elsie’s favorite fashion trend: big collars

Elsie’s favorite album: Montero by Lil Nas X

Elsie’s favorite TV shows: Succession, Better Call Saul, and The Handmaid’s Tale

Elsie’s favorite movies: The Godfather, The Godfather 2, and The Ring

Something Elsie tried for the first time that changed her life: Manifesting (check out Andi Eaton’s Free 8-Step Manifestation Guide).

Elsie’s proudest achievement: helping Jeremy start his business, Teletone Audio

Emma’s favorite blog post she wrote: My Son’s Nursery Tour

Emma’s favorite ABM podcast episode: Raising Creative Kiddos with Elizabeth Chapman

Emma’s favorite podcast: Crushing with Abby O

Emma’s best thing she bought for her house: a hidden trashcan

Emma’s favorite beauty item: vascular laser treatment (her review)

Emma’s favorite books: Yoke and Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi and The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

Emma’s favorite fashion trend: claw clips

Emma’s favorite album: Star-Crossed by Kacey Musgraves

Emma’s favorite TV shows: Ted Lasso and Cobra Kai

Emma’s favorite movies: Till Death and The Suicide Squad

Something Emma tried for the first time that changed her life: becoming a mom

Emma’s proudest achievement: Oscar

Our most popular blog posts of the year:
Overnight Baked Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal
Easy Hack to Patch a Drywall Hole
No-Bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Our most popular podcast episodes:
Elsie’s Evangelical Upbringing Story
What to Expect When Emma’s Expecting
Elsie & Emma React to 2021 Trend Predictions

Check out Episode #119: Gen Z Home Decor Trends

Check out Episode #122: Book Report & Holiday Movie Picks

Our Podcast Book Club selections for 2022:
Playing Big by Tara Mohr
Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Thank you SO much for your support this year and making the podcast such a special space for us to share and learn. We love you! Elsie + Emma


Episode 129 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This is our final episode of 2021 and we’re spending it all recapping our favorite things from the year. We’re also going to share our first four selections for our new book club, which will kick off after the new year. So you’ll have time to pick up some of these books and get a head start reading if you want to join along. Okay, let’s jump in. I’m really happy that we’re really doing the book club. That’s one of my joyful things for the season. I hope that everyone’s excited. We’ll save it for the end but we picked, I think, a pretty cool variety of books. 

Emma: Yeah, I think it’s gonna be a fun mix and it’s gonna be low-key, but we’re gonna get some books read and it’s gonna be awesome. 

Elsie: Yes. Okay, so we do this episode every year, best of the year. We’re going to share some of our personal favorites. Then towards the end, we’ll share the most popular blog posts of the year and the most popular podcasts of the year, which is always fun and surprising. Well, some of it’s not surprising, actually. Emma’s oatmeal. 

Emma: Oh, she spoiled it. 

Elsie: Spoiled it. You guys know about that oatmeal money, right? 

Emma: Yeah, they know about oatmeal money. 

Elsie: Okay, so I made some ground rules for this because, you know, we are kind of like big on our disclaimers and our run along sentences and what’s the other thing, add ons, add ons, lots of add ons. So for these, you get one or two free passes to say a bunch of extra things but for most of them, you do have to really pick one favorite thing. I think that’s a good rule because our recommendations do mean more when we pick the one you know. 

Emma: First up, what was your and I’ll do mine too. What was your favorite A Beautiful Mess blog post from the year? 

Elsie: Okay, well, I picked one of my own blog posts. I don’t know if we were I meant it as like, 

Emma: Yes, that’s what I assumed you meant. 

Elsie: What was your favorite one that you wrote? 

Emma: Right, yes. 

Elsie: Okay. I think my favorite one was my office tour. It’s called Elsie’s office tour. By the way, we’re going to link to every single one of these things in the show notes so it’s gonna be like a mega show week. So don’t even worry about it if you need a link, just head to abeautifulmess.com/podcast and it’ll all be there. Anyway, I picked my office tour. The reason why is because it made the biggest difference in my quality of life. It is also the first room that I felt was really finished in the house. During a year when basically nothing was finished, it was sort of like this one beautiful Home Alone feeling room. What was your favorite blog post of the year?

Emma: I do a lot of food blogging, but I looked through my archives, and I went with something different. My favorite of the year was my nursery tour because…

Elsie: Oh, I love that. 

Emma: Yeah, I put it together before my son was born and it’s also just a room in our house that’s very colorful. The wallpaper I put in there is very colorful and he loves it. He loves to stare at his wallpaper. So I’m so happy about that. It’s just a room that I’m in all the time, obviously, like in the morning when we’re playing before daycare or on the weekends. We’re just in the room a lot so it’s like, I don’t know, just a space that I was like, oh, I think I have to pick that as the blog post from the year for me.

Elsie: I love it. I mean, that was definitely one of my favorites from the year too. I’m happy that I feel like you’re becoming a wallpaper person. Which is my dream. 

Emma: I like wallpaper. I don’t know if I ever going to be on the level of you with it. 

Elsie: No one is but that’s okay. 

Emma: Yeah, okay, so next up what was your favorite podcast episode from the year, A Beautiful Mess podcast, we’re gonna talk about other podcasts but what are your favorite A Beautiful Mess podcasts from the year?

Elsie: My favorite podcast of the year is number 96, How to Nancy Meyers your home and that was one while you were off on maternity leave. I did it with Keeley. The reason why it’s my favorite is because first of all, I did watch every movie to prepare for it. So it was the most prep I ever did for an episode for sure because every Nancy Meyers movie is a lot of movies like 10 movies are so. The other reason is just because I do feel like it gave these practical simple tips, like having the croissant, what do you call it? 

Emma: The cake stand. 

Elsie: Yeah, the cake stand in your kitchen. Each week you refill the croissants, like just these little, like each week you buy the hydrangeas, little things that you can do to achieve this Nancy Meyers cozy feeling that we all crave. So that’s why I’m proud of it and it was just fun and it was different. It was, you know, a lot of our episodes were responding to something or we’re filling in on something. This one was sort of like, it sort of had research, which is very different for us so that’s fun. 

Emma: Nice. Mine was also one where I was on maternity leave it’s episode, I believe it’s 108. 

Elsie: You picked one of my episodes? Yeah, that’s so sweet. Which one is it? 

Emma: I mean, as much as I love to listen to myself talk, I like this episode with you and mom, about raising creative kiddos. That one’s my favorite for the year. Okay, what is the best thing that you bought for your house? 

Elsie: Okay, I’m gonna have to go with, I bought a Serena and Lily entryway table that I agonized over. Actually, I had first ordered another table to go there. Then I realized that table would work in my office and I sort of had a second chance because I was about to buy a TV table for my office and then I realized, okay, I’m gonna move that one upstairs because it wasn’t quite right, Then I splurged on the Serena and Lily one and that you better believe I found a way to double the coupons and all of that. It’s just amazing. Sometimes when you just think about something for so long and agonize over it, it does mean more. So I think that that’s why because it definitely was not an impulse purchase. Yeah, what was yours? 

Emma: Two words. Hidden trash. 

Elsie: Emma, it’s like the thing you bought. It’s not like a renovation, it’s the thing you bought, a thing you bought.

Emma: I bought a cabinet or bought a cabinet and it has a rollout hidden trash. It’s great. I think that’s going to be the name of my memoir, hidden trash. 

Elsie: Oh my gosh. That’s a terrible memoir name but it’s funny. It’s an inside joke.

Emma: Yeah, it’s funny. 

Elsie: I actually think okay, if I can go on my tangent. Now, my one tangent pass, I’m gonna cash it in. I’ve been wanting to make those little stickers for Instagram, the gifs just for our podcast inside jokes. So maybe this will inspire me to really finish that and really do it. But if I do, I will definitely make you a hidden trash one. 

Emma: Please do. Hidden trash and then also oatmeal money. That’s got to be one. 

Elsie: Oatmeal money. Oh my gosh. Okay. You really don’t have anything else that you bought for your house this year? You really don’t? 

Emma: Ah, no, no, that’s what I wrote down, hidden trash. You said one thing so here I am.

Elsie: That’s fine. That’s cool. It was hard for me. That was probably the hardest one because I bought a lot of things for my house last year. Okay, what’s the next thing? 

Emma: Okay, next is top beauty item you tried and loved this year.

Elsie: Okay, so this one was a little tricky for me because I did not mix up my beauty routine very much at all last year. I tried like two new things the whole year. I mostly stayed true to my faithfuls, which is not a bad thing. But the thing that I added and I went really hard for it is the Laneige Lip Mask. So every blogger talks about it. It’s kind of like Shape Tape. Every blogger talks about it at all moments and everyone says this is the greatest lip mask of all time. It’s the one that’s in the little pot.

Emma: I have one by my bed. 

Elsie: Oh, you do? Nice. Yeah, the classic scent or flavor is my favorite. I don’t know if it has a label but it just tastes kind of lightly fruity. I like the classic ones and I like the peppermint one which is a holiday one. I will link to them but I honestly have like six of them. It’s like in my purse, in my bathroom vanity, by my bed, in my office, I think in the car would probably be a good idea. Basically everywhere that you are, there’s a lip mask and it really is my favorite thing of the year. 

Emma: See and I would say that right there is one of the main differences between me and you because I thought I was fancy. I bought that, I saw you talking about it, I bought it put it up on my bed and I was like man, I have a lip mask that I put on every night. Meanwhile, your advice I have one in my office, I have one in my bedroom, I have one in the kitchen, get one for your car. I’m just like what? 

Elsie: That does summarize the difference between me and you. I just go too hard for everything. 

Emma: You do. You really hit it and meanwhile, I think that I’ve done the thing, and then it’s like oh, she’s doing it five times. 

Elsie: I mean, you know people like sometimes leave me in comments about how I’m excessive and that’s why because I am so. 

Emma: Well not right now because you’re doing the kindness challenge. Oh, I didn’t say mine. Okay, so mine is not an item. I kind of broke the rule, but I still stuck with one thing. 

Elsie: D*mn it, Emma,  you can’t keep doing this. Hidden trash is not a thing you bought for your house by the way. 

Emma: I can keep doing this. 

Elsie: Go ahead. Are you gonna say a treatment? 

Emma: Yes. 

Elsie: That is not a beauty item at all go ahead. 

Emma: But it is about beauty and I spent money on it. Well, I wrote a blog post about it, but my vascular laser treatment. When I was pregnant, I got these broken capillaries on my face and it was driving me nuts. I have a special concealer that I was using because it was just like this bright red in the middle of my forehead. So I did some research and I found this treatment and I found somewhere in town to do it. I went and got it done and I loved it. I wrote a blog post about it. The end.

Elsie: Yeah, I mean, it’s like a modern miracle. I love beauty treatments. It’s all great, but it is not a beauty item. So do you have a beauty item also? 

Emma: No, because I only wrote down one thing because you said we can only have one. So there you have it. 

Elsie: Okay, my favorite TV show of the year is the next one. This is a big question. 

Emma: Okay, this one I wrote down two.

Elsie: This is where I could go off the rails. Okay, go ahead.

Emma: This and the movies I wrote down two so those are the only ones I’m breaking the rule in. Mine are very random, but for me, it’s Ted lasso and Cobra Kai.

Elsie: Oh, that’s cute. Those are like kind of sweet shows, right?

Emma: Yeah. Kind of sweet. Kind of funny. I don’t know if they’re both comedies. Ted lassos is definitely a comedy, but I think Cobra Kai is a comedy. Also, it has touching parts. It’s kind of like, what would you call the OC? Like a nighttime soap opera? It’s like a little bit of that too, you know what I mean?

Elsie: I would call it a TV show from a different time. 

Emma: Okay, well, there you have it. 

Elsie: So yeah, I mean, I see that like. She likes her positivity. 

Emma: I do. 

Elsie: I’m going in the other direction. So my favorite show of the year by far is Succession because it is the greatest show. I mean, it’s definitely the greatest show that is airing right at this moment. Our other favorite show, but didn’t have a season this year, is Better Call Saul. You know, I love The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s like my guilty pleasure. But it’s taken a lot out of me. 

Emma: You just listed three. One of them didn’t have a new season.

Elsie: Okay, let me just talk about Succession only. I love TV. I just love TV so I’m using one of my passes. Anyway, Succession, a lot of people think it is too crass maybe or too depressing. All the characters are quote-unquote bad. That makes people not enjoy it but I love it. I love it so much. I find it hilarious and sometimes heartwarming, and very, very sad. Very, very sad, great range of feelings. I like the mind game of a show about billionaires because billionaires are very different from millionaires. A lot of people don’t realize how different and I think that this show really highlights those things but I love it. So I’m sure most people are probably already watching it if they’re interested. That’s my number one. All right. What’s next? 

Emma: Next up is favorite album of the year. I wonder if we’re gonna say the same one. I have a feeling we are. 

Elsie: Really okay. Are you gonna say Montero? 

Emma: No. 

Elsie: Oh, well. Did you not know I was gonna say Montero?

Emma: No, I did not. 

Elsie: I talk about it like every day. Okay. What’s yours? You go first. 

Emma: Okay. What’s Montero? 

Elsie: It’s the Little Nas X record. 

Emma: Ah, okay. Yeah, I guess I could have guessed you were gonna say that. No, I was gonna say, which is a great album, but I was going to say Kacey Musgraves Star-Cross. 

Elsie: Oh, okay. So tell us your Star-Crossed review. 

Emma: I think it’s great. It’s very, as Kacey Musgraves is, very easy listening. A lot of it’s kind of slower but still a little dancey. So I love that vibe.

Elsie: Nice. Yeah, I definitely listened to it on the first day it came out. Okay, so I picked Montero and it’s definitely my favorite record of the year. So Emma knows and I think that I’ve surprisingly, not really talked about my Frank Ocean thing on this podcast before. I don’t really talk about music much on here. Just to fill everyone in, I have a very, very small musical spectrum. Basically for the past, I don’t know, seven years or six years, I only can listen to old music. I really like Elton John, Nancy Sinatra, you know, that type of era. I only listen to old music and Frank Ocean and nothing else really penetrated for all that time. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word penetrated, but nothing else really got into the groove. So anyway, enter Montero and I was like for one second like Frank Ocean who? So amazing. I love it. I listen to it all the time. When I’m painting, just like all the time. It’s great bike music, too. Obviously, the videos are amazing and his fashion is everything. But yeah, I really like the record. It goes in a lot of different directions. If you haven’t listened to it, let me just put a little teaser out there. It has a song in it that reminds me of the Postal Service. It goes in a lot of different directions that you don’t expect it to go in. It’s really, really meaningful to me. I love it. One of the songs came along at the time when we mentioned in a previous episode when we had a family member pass from suicide. His song, Sun Goes Down, came out just like right at that perfect time and I listened to it all summer. So anyway, it was just a special album this year.  

Emma: I love it. No, I love the passion. 

Elsie: Hopefully I’ll get to go to a show or something eventually because. like I said before, my Spectrum is so small I don’t have a lot of like, and Frank Ocean doesn’t perform, so a lot of opportunities to see my favorite artist playing a record that’s currently right now. So this is very cool for me. 

Emma: I love it. A favorite podcast you listen to this year, obviously not ours, obviously. 

Elsie: Right and that wouldn’t be my favorite anyways.  Not as a listener. That would be so weird if we listened to it for fun. 

Emma: Yeah, it would. 

Elsie: Anyway, so I’m using another free pass on this. So I do have to say our… 

Emma: Hold up. You’ve used like three passes at this point. 

Elsie: Who’s counting, Emma?

Emma: Well, you were like two passes ago was like I’m using my last pass.

Elsie: Okay, this is my last one. 

Emma: All right. You just made a big deal about the rules and now you’re breaking them for almost every single one. 

Elsie: Okay, okay. Our friend of the podcast, Ramit Sethi, he launched a podcast this year and it’s called I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast. I listened to it over the weekend. It’s really, really good. It’s really interesting and weird because it’s married people talking about their money problems to him and they go really deep. They’re really honest, which I am amazed how much he somehow gets people to open up and feel comfortable is amazing. That’s not even the one I’m picking. That’s just my mention, but it’s so good I had to mention it. Then I also have to mention, the Sharon Said So podcast. First of all, I don’t know if I’ve ever said that I went on there as a guest one time but there is somewhere in there an episode where I’m a guest. That was fun. Anyway, the Sharon Said So the podcast is so great because I just love everything about Sharon. She’s like really, really helped me to grow in directions that I wanted to grow in at the right time. It feels really, really good to learn, to learn without an expectation. It’s not about being right or it’s not about proving anything. It’s just learning a lot of the time and I love that. Then I also will mention My Woo Woo Best Friend. So I did that, that guest episode recently, but that’s such a good podcast too. I am in my woo woo phase fully now for the first time in my whole life. I’ve never even been into woo-woo stuff ever until this year. Emma’s astrologer lady snapped me into it hardcore. So anyway, with all that said, I had to mention our friends’ podcast because they’re all so good.

Emma: I listen to all three of those podcasts. I’m subscribed and I see their new episodes pop up and they are all awesome. I agree. But I stuck to the rules and only picked one so let’s go ahead and hear. 

Elsie: Yeah, I mean, I only picked one too, this is the one. Okay, so I stuck to the rules too. 

Emma: Wow. Okay. 

Elsie: Okay. I’m going with my heart on this but have you ever listened to the podcast Spooked? 

Emma: No. 

Elsie: It’s a ghost story podcast. I listened to it for a whole day when we were driving to Missouri recently with Jeremy because I’m really into that Polaroid ghost story so those people were on there. They don’t do very many interviews anymore. They’re not actively into their ghost story interviewing as much. Anyway, so it’s like, if you never want Halloween to end, which I don’t, then you can just listen to Spooked all year round. Some of the stories are better than others, of course, because that’s how ghost stories are. I found some really good bangers on there. I just wanted to mention it because I pretty much know for sure that you weren’t gonna say it, and that a lot of people haven’t heard of it. There’s also more than one podcast called Spooked, which is really annoying. So I will link in the show notes, the correct one. I’ll even link to the ghost Polaroid episode so that everyone can find that because it’s a great story. So yeah, my podcast current obsession is Spooked. What’s yours?

Emma: I love ghost stories. I’m gonna listen to that. I hadn’t heard of it actually. Mine is a new podcast that came out this year. It is called Crushing. It’s Crushing with Abby O. Abby is a lash artist, also kind of a fitness influencer. She does a lot of stories from online dating, and just like dating life stories. Also, the podcast is kind of like self-empowerment and different topics like that. It’s really a little bit eclectic but it does all fit together. It’s really fun. She recently did a live taping in Springfield, Missouri and I went to it, it was awesome.

Elsie: Nice. Okay, well, we’ll link to all of those. I think that it’s good to have a variety of podcasts that you’re listening to. I didn’t even mention The Office Ladies but now I just did. 

Emma: Next up is favorite book that you read or listen to. I broke the rule on this one, too but I only went with two fiction. I didn’t do any nonfiction because we kind of do our book report episodes and I thought, well, I’ll just leave that there and I’ll just do two fiction reads.

Elsie: Yeah, I feel like I’ve talked about a lot of the books that I was really into this year already so I picked a book that I haven’t talked about yet. 

Emma: Well, I’ll say my two fiction picks. One I read this summer, it’s called Yoke, like an egg yolk. I love this author, she has two other books out and this was her third. It’s really, really, really fun. It does have to do with, the main character has an eating disorder so just a heads up on that. It’s so insightful. It’s so funny. It’s about two sisters living in New York and I loved it. I love all of the books by that author so I’ll link those. Then the other one is another author I love and it’s his second book. It’s called The Lager Queen of Minnesota. His other book is called Great Keepers of the Midwest. Both his books are very Midwest and I’m from the Midwest, and I don’t know, but I love his character development. He writes a lot of very interesting female characters, just very quirky. It also tends to be a lot about food or like making some kind of food. This book had a lot to do with brewing beer so that’s like, kind of features into the story. So anyway, it’s really good. Love them. Those are my two fiction picks. How about you?

Elsie: Nice. I’ve never heard of either one of those. So the book I’m reading right now that I’m really enjoying, it’s a nonfiction book. It’s a mindset thing. It’s called the Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s definitely like something, I’m gonna have to listen to it a solid twice, to fully understand everything. I’ve never been taught any of this stuff before. What I’m getting from so far is basically that the voice in your head, we think of that is our inner voice and you trust it, but maybe you shouldn’t trust it. Maybe you shouldn’t think of it as your inner voice. Maybe in some ways, you should question it and reject it and try to silence it, because it can be really unhelpful. Anyway, it’s a really, really, really great book and very, I wanted to put it in the book club, maybe we will in a future season. For me, it’s a lot like just absorbing it and putting it into like, because everything that I’m learning I want to put into practice. It’s gonna take a while, but you know, whatever. I love the challenge. It’s definitely fun to learn something that you’ve never heard before. I love that feeling. 

Emma: No, I love that. That’s awesome. That sounds like a really good book. I’m into it. Okay. something lighter favorite fashion trend for the year. 

Elsie: Okay, can I go first? Okay, I’m so happy that big collars are back in style. The Peter Pan collars, some people call it like the Wednesday Addams looking dresses. I love those.

Emma: You are a big collar kinda girl. You’re right.

Elsie: I love them. They were really, really in style a long time ago when I first met Jeremy. Of course, like things are you have to take a break from it. I’m so happy they’re back, though I was really never ready for that trend to go away. I’m so happy it’s back. I basically am like stocking my closet with every kind of big collar thing in case they aren’t in style next year because I just want to wear them all the time and I love them. It feels like a part of who I am. 

Emma: I’m collecting mine as well. My favorite trend is claw clips, mentioned in a previous episode.

Elsie: You are collecting those.

Emma: Yeah, I’m into them. It’s my mom hair, is how I describe it because I can pin it back so Oscar doesn’t pull it. I’ve gotten now to a point where I have so many claw clips, I need to figure out a way to organize them in my bathroom so I can see all of the colors and designs that I have. When I started I was like, oh, I had like two or three and I just keep buying new ones every few months have like more and more. So I probably am up to like almost 10 now.

Elsie: That’s awesome. Well, you should take a picture for the show notes and link some of them. That’s fun.

Emma: This next one, something you tried for the first time that changed your life this year? Kinda open-ended. Yeah, I was like Whoo.

Elsie: It’s a big one. Okay, you go first. 

Emma: Well, so I was really thinking about this one because I was like, this is an interesting, open-ended question. The thing that I just kept coming back to was becoming a mom because that was just such a big part of my year this year. My son was born on June 2 and obviously, that changed my life.

Elsie: That’s really sweet. I actually felt like you were gonna say that. It is something that you tried for the first time. 

Emma: Yeah, it technically fits the question. 

Elsie: It does technically fit the question. Mine is very different. I love being a mom too, but mine is manifesting. It’s real. It works and it’s so cool. I’m going to link to Andi’s manifesting guide again I linked to it when We did our episode together but I’m going to link to it one more time if you want like a 101. I thought it was really good and really helpful and it gives you a step-by-step, which I think is very helpful for the first time. I am having a woo-woo phase and it’s so much fun and so exciting just to see the world in a different way. If you would have asked me at this time last year, I wouldn’t have had any opinion about manifesting. I would have just been like, next question. I just didn’t care about it. It’s not that I didn’t believe in it. It was like, good for you, not for my type of thing. Now I’m like, I think that this is changing my life, and bringing a lot of good things, a lot of joy/ A lot of it is focusing on gratitude, which is, you know, it can be a very similar thing to how some people think of praying and other things, journaling. That was cool. I feel very open to new ideas right now, which feels really good. I think that’s the theme of my life is that I just don’t want to be closed-minded to anything. The next one is favorite movie, but I did say doesn’t have to be a movie that came out this year, it just has to be a movie that you watch this year, just because not as many movies are coming out still because of COVID. I didn’t watch that many movies this past year that came out this year. But I did watch a movie basically every single week. 

Emma: Well, I have two and I believe they both came out this year. 

Elsie: Oh, great. 

Emma: Yeah. So okay, they’re very random, though.  So the first one is, it’s called Till Death. Have you heard of it? 

Elsie: No.

Emma: It stars Megan Fox. Basically, she’s in a situation where she kind of gets trapped, but in a really weird way. The whole movie is just her trying to get out of it. Ah, okay. I wasn’t expecting to love it necessarily. It was just something random that we saw was available and we were like, okay, well watch that, just one random night. It has really stuck with me. The premise is very simple but it was just really good. I think Megan did a great job. There’s other actors in the film and everyone did a great job. She’s really the star though. The whole thing very much revolves around her. It’s a really small story, but they do such a great job with it so I loved it. If you want kind of a gritty thriller, that’s a good one. So that was fun.

Elsie: I absolutely want a gritty thriller. 

Emma: Then here’s the blockbuster movie that I was not expecting to like, but I thought was awesome. The Suicide Squad, that one from this year 2021. I think the title is just the Suicide Squad. The director is James Gunn. If you’ve seen someone of the other Suicide Squads, and you didn’t like it, I get it but maybe give this one a try.  I feel like they nailed the vibe. It’s very funny. It’s also surprisingly beautiful. There’s these certain fight scenes and different things that happen in the movie that’s just visually very cool. So there you go. 

Elsie: Okay, mine are so cliche. They’re so cliche, but I love that. The last two years, we’ve been doing all the classic horror movies. It started the Halloween before. We’re trying to watch every single 70s, 60s, 80s horror movie. Why not? This year for the first time I watched the Godfather and we watched the first two both of them. I loved them. For the story, I liked the Godfather one. For the parts that I think about, think back and remember I liked Godfather two. For the house porn, I liked Godfather two, but I just didn’t really love the colors and the set design. It’s just like the perfect 70s like beautiful filters. Then the other thing, this is so funny, so completing our horror movie, watching basically every single horror movie, this I don’t think I had seen before The Ring. In the early 2000s, The Ring, just like the most famous horror movie. We watched it last week. It is such a good time capsule of that time. I don’t know if it was in the late 90s or the early 2000s but Naomi Watts’ wardrobe is really funny now, in a good way. It was a good movie. Jeremy stands by it that it’s the best horror movie from our high school and college era. I thought it was really good as well. So those are my weird movies I’m picking and standing by it.

Emma: Those are weird. Yeah, we got some weird pics on that one. Okay, I like it. Next one is your proudest achievement from this year. So I feel like mine’s probably obvious, but I’ve got to say Oscar because that’s just like what I’m doing this year. It’s epic and wonderful and a lot, very consuming and I love every minute of it. It’s been probably the best year of my life. So I love being a mom.

Elsie: Yeah. Being a mom is the best. I remember that new mom feeling. It’s like its own special year. So yeah, that’s really special. 

Emma: So that’s mine. Pretty obvious. What was yours? I don’t know what you’re gonna say, so what was your proudest achievement from this year? 

Elsie: Yeah, mine’s a little random. The last like a year and a half, I spent helping my husband start a business on the side and I’m really proud of it. It was a big achievement for us because he spent a lot of years sort of unfulfilled in his career. So finding the right business idea, and then starting it, and then making it work, and then building it, and just like all the steps, I felt like, I got to live that new business feeling again, which it’s been a while for me. We started our businesses a long time ago. I’m very proud. The first year or two of starting a new business, it just kind of feels like it’s like your kid or something. It is really consuming. Then after a while, it becomes a very maintenance phase.

Emma: Tell the listeners a little bit about, just a small summary of what his business is. 

Elsie: So his business is called Teletone Audio and it is a software company for producers. So anyone who makes music on their computer could use his type of product. It’s virtual pianos and other instruments that you can use like a keyboard. Anyway, but it’s just been fun, making him like starting his social media and the marketing and the emails and just all of that has been something I’ve just been doing a little bit on the side. It’s been fulfilling and makes me really proud. It was also just like a good bonding experience for us because we’ve never done business together before.

Emma: I love that. That’s awesome. Okay, so now we are going to do the listeners’ favorites, blog readers’ favorites. So Elsie knows the answers. I don’t and I’m going to guess.

Elsie: Okay, so I do deeply regret spoiling the number one blog one, so maybe we’ll start there. So the number one blog post of our year was Overnight Baked Oats, Emma’s recipe. 

Emma: No, no, the title is Overnight Baked Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal. 

Elsie: Okay, sorry. So we’ll link these in the show notes. That was our number one blog post of the year by a lot. Emma has talked about it because it was viral and it was kind of like a big, big moment for oatmeal

Emma: Big moment for oatmeal. I think that overnight oatmeal was like trending on Tik Tok or something this year like that was a piece of it or something. 

Elsie: Interesting. Okay, so can you guess the number two or the number three because I only wrote down the top three. 

Emma: These are just blog posts that were written this year, and they’re at the top three?

Elsie: These are only counting blog posts that were published in 2021. The top from that segment. 

Emma: Maybe the no-baked key lime pie. Is that up there? 

Elsie: Nope. 

Emma: Oh, I don’t know then. 

Elsie: Okay, the second most popular post of the year is Easy Hack to Patch Dry Wall, Laura’s post. It’s like if you have a drywall, like kind of like a hole in your drywall, easy way to patch it, which makes sense because it’s useful. Then the third most popular post of the year was another of yours, No-Bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. They were kind of like chocolate no-bake cookies, but they were pumpkin. That makes sense because pumpkin Spice always has a moment every year. 

Emma: It does. Okay, well, you also had the most popular podcast episode of 2021. I don’t know what it was, but it did have a guess. 

Elsie: Okay, what’s your guess? 

Emma: I think that it is Elsie’s Evangelical Upbringing. That’s my guess. 

Elsie: That’s right. 

Emma: Yes, I got it! 

Elsie: I think I probably would have guessed it too, just because I’ve never in all my years of everything, I’ve never had that emotional of a response for our readers on anything. It was like I shut down and couldn’t even write my friends back by the end of the day. It was such a supportive, overwhelming sea of different people’s stories and experiences. Overall, a few people fighting it with me, overall, very heartwarming, and it was absolutely worth it sharing the story. I know I didn’t share it perfectly. Emma’s was also it was in the top five, by the way. We know that we didn’t share them perfectly. I don’t think that you ever could because if you try to tell the most one of the most traumatic stories of your life, I promise you it’s harder than you think.

Emma: I think I shared mine perfectly.

Elsie: It’s really tough. Oh my god. Okay. But anyway, I’m glad that we put it out there. It felt like it was worth it, just because so many people have either been through something like that, or they have a warning that is helpful or useful for the future. 

Emma: I think too, like we kind of view our podcast listeners as like, our real friends. As far as our audience goes so we’re just trying to, you know, at times share another side of us. I mean, it’s still going to be mostly holiday decor and the kind of stuff we do on our blog because we’re not really all that interested in sharing our personal lives over and over and over again. But we are friends so we want to share some things here and there and I think it’s fun. 

Elsie: Okay, so the second most listened to podcasts of the year was What to Expect When Emma’s Expecting, which I take credit for that title. That’s like, a zingy f*cking title, don’t you think.

Emma: That is a zingy title indeed. 

Elsie: Pretty good. The third one was something you would never guess this, I love that this is up there, Reacting to 2021 Trend predictions because we’re going to do another one of those next month. I love that kind of stuff too. I feel like that’s the kind of thing where we can all relate to because we all have opinions about trends. We can all just sit there and even if you’re not the one talking, you’re listening, you can sit there and think about what your opinions are and analyze them. I think that that’s so much fun so I’m glad that our listeners enjoy that as well. 

Emma: Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, I agree.

Elsie: I thought that the Gen Z thing was probably the most creative segment we did for the year and it was definitely like a listener suggestion. Everyone really liked it because I think that the titles are so mind-blowing. 

Emma: Every time I see something with a mushroom now I’m always like, Goblin Core. I know. 

Elsie: Exactly. 

Emma: Alright, well, let’s tell the listeners about book club. 

Elsie: So we heard your feedback about the book club, and it sounds like everyone is into it. So here’s a little bit of like, groundwork for the book club, if you want to read along with us, awesome. If you don’t have time to or you don’t want to or you just don’t get around to it, it will essentially be the same as listening to one of our normal book report episodes so that’s okay, too. Don’t ever feel pressured or you’re behind or you have to actually read all of them. We decided to do it quarterly. So we’re going to give you the Q1 or the winter selections now and we’re doing four for each quarter. You can kind of pick and choose if you have the time to do all of them, awesome. I’m personally probably going to do almost all of them as audiobooks because that’s what works well for my lifestyle so everyone can do their own thing.  Okay, so I’ll say the nonfiction and then you can say the fiction. How’s that sound? 

Emma: Sounds good. 

Elsie: So for nonfiction, we are doing Playing Big by Tara Moore and I talked about it in our most recent book report episode. I said that it’s the number one book that I want every woman to read. I mean, it can be for women and men, but definitely want every woman to read this book. It’s incredible and it changed my life. I’m excited to reread it. I will see if we can connect with Tara Moore, for sure. Maybe she would come on as a guest or maybe we can just ask her a few questions or like you know, anything. Then we are going to read Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty. Jay is British and his voice is amazing so you’re gonna love that. I started listening to the audiobook yesterday because I wanted to listen to a couple of chapters and make sure it was the best fit for our selection because I haven’t listened to this one yet. I had heard it recommended a lot of times. 

Emma: No, I’m excited to read that one. 

Elsie: Yes, I’m excited, too. It’s supposed to be helpful for inner peace, that was what the one-liner said and sounds good to me. I know we’re all interested in that. Okay, so tell us the fiction selection them. 

Emma: So I have two fiction books. These are not brand new, I think they’ve both come out in the last two to three years. So hopefully, they’ll be pretty available, in case we have people who want to get them from the library. So the first one is Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett. I haven’t read this yet. I haven’t read either of these. But this one, I literally already have the audiobook so I’m ready to go. I know it centers around two twins who are light-skinned black girls and it’s kind of a little bit about race, but also about life. I know they run away from home as teenagers but that’s really all I know. So that was like a quick synopsis and I was like that sounds interesting. That author is really cool. 

Elsie: When I saw that cover, I feel like I’ve been seeing that book recommended a lot. The cover is really stunning and memorable. I’m excited to read that as well. 

Emma: Then I also put in a young adult pick. I already have this book sitting on my shelf. I bought it because I’ve been really excited to read it. It’s A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. This is a young adult thriller, a kind of mystery. It centers around a 17-year-old who is investigating a murder case and the murder has been solved but I think she uncovers that maybe it wasn’t solved. I do think it is a little bit dark and gritty but like I said it’s young adults so it’s not. It’s on that level.

Elsie: Twilight gritty. 

Emma: Yeah, somewhere on that level. So anyway, so I think that’ll be fun. I love young adult and I also love a thriller mystery. I think that will be fun. 

Elsie: Yeah, I have to admit I love the young adult reads as well. I think it’s because I didn’t read fiction at that age. I have an unfulfilled lust for it now. 

Emma: It’s just a fun thing to read. It really is and it can fly by and it feels good to just like I don’t know, read something quickly. I love the satisfaction of it. So I don’t know if this will be a quick read because I haven’t read it yet but I’m very excited. 

Elsie: Awesome. Okay, well, we’re definitely open to suggestions for future quarters but that is the four books that we’re doing for January, February, and March. We will be spreading out our little book reports throughout those months so we won’t do it all at once right?

Emma: No, we won’t do it all at once. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’ll be spread out. I think that that will be a really good format where it’s kind of like we’re all doing it together, but also comfortable doing it at your own pace. Even if you read something later, who cares? It’s all good. I’m excited.

Emma: Thank you so much for listening and for your support this past year in 2021. We are going to be taking a few weeks off for the holidays, but we will be back on January 17th with a new episode. So in the meantime, maybe listen to one of the books that we are doing for book club, whatever and you can check out our show notes. They’re all at abeautifulmess.com/podcast If you need a little reminder. So Happy Holidays. We’ll see you in January.

Elsie: Happy holidays.

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  • Just started listening to your podcast and now I have a lot to dig into 🤩 Picked one book to read for your book club as I am a big reader and have many on my tbr this month and can’t wait to try the overnight oat recipe with blueberries 🫐, cause I truly need to start eating more healthy breakfasts.

  • Just wanted to say I’ve gotten very into your podcast in 2021 and I really appreciate the creativity and joy you ladies bring! Looking forward to more in 2022 and wishing both you and your families happy holidays!

  • I enjoy your podcast so much! I’ve read several of the books you’ve recommended. Going to check Libby right now for the book club books. Can’t wait!😊

  • Hi Elsie and Emma! Just wanted to leave a note of how much I enjoy your blog and podcast. Emma your memoir title of Hidden Trash and Elsies’s comment “maybe I shouldn’t have said penetrated” 🙂 🙂
    Whenever I need a little inspiration or a spark of joy, A Beautiful Mess is my go-to! Thank you

  • Happy holidays Elsie and Emma! I know I’m kinda late to comment, but Thank you for sharing your favorite things of 2021! I love some of these things to! Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Years! 2022 finally!! :))

  • Since it’s an “end of the year” post, just wanted to say: Thank you for creating a space online that brings so many people happiness! It’s nice to have ONE spot on the internet that just makes me happy – no stress and no push to buy tons of stuff I don’t need, just some wildly talented and creative ladies making their little corner of the internet special! Merry Christmas & happy New Year’s!

  • Elsie & Emma, your podcast and blog has helped me battle this year out! Thank you so much!
    Happy Holidays & Cheers to a prosperous New Year
    Xxx 🎄🎄🎄

  • HIDDEN TRASH as a memoir title!?🤣 I spit my coffee, this is hilarious!

    Thanks for a fun year of podcasts (though where did I miss out on the oatmeal money joke? 😅). This episode inspires me to journal/ask myself the same questions, cause what a great way to wrap up the year!

    Merry Christmas to you and your families!

  • I just want to say that this podcast is one of my favorite things and it has really helped me get through 2021. ❤️ Thank you!

  • I might have missed this but – is there a special email list or anything we should subscribe to for the book club? Or any info on the schedule of which book we should read first? I’m excited, but entering a busy season of life, so I need to plan things to have time for them – haha. I’ll definitely participate in the nonfiction selections!

  • I really enjoy this podcast. I listen every week. One piece of constructive feedback, I have a hard time when Elsie (sometimes) dominates the conversation or interrupts Emma. I want to hear Emma just a tad more. Just something I have noticed over time and the latest episode was a little painful from this aspect.

  • hi girls, thank you for the episode today! so good and fun to recap 2021. elsie you mentioned another podcast, remit’s where he interviews real couples about money. could you tell me the name of it please? thank you again. also, ps the vanishing half is sooooo good. but having read it, your description of it made me chuckle. you’ll see. xo merry christmas

  • Emma + Elsie,
    I wasn’t quite sure where to put this comment so hope you are OK with it here. I wanted to give you an update. Apparently you have both been very influential this season—-my three daughters and I made the Oreo truffles-twice! We saw them on your Christmas special And even though you had mentioned that before on your blog something about the Christmas special pushed us to really give them a try. The second time we made them we put them in mini cupcake liners as Emma mentioned and put them in little boxes (cupcake boxes?) I got from Amazon. The girls gave them to their teachers! They were so proud to give a home made gift! I bought more cream cheese & more gluten free Oreos AND cute Christmas sprinkles and we’ll make them *again* for a family holiday gathering.
    AND tonight I did something *big*. I bought the Holiday and started watching—-I love it so much already! Thanks for your recommendations. 🙂

  • Hi team ! It looks like the link to Elsie’s home office tour is not the right one. I’m guessing because it was published in 2019, and because it doesn’t have the features of Elsie’s current 1990s house. Could you update the link pls ?

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