Episode #141: Our Routines

Today’s episode is all about routines. We love this topic! Routines are life changing and can help you so much. 

Plus, we are answering some really fun listener questions and talking about what we’re putting in our Easter baskets.


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 Modern Fertility, BetterHelp, Function of Beauty, and A Beautiful Mess Courses. 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:

Emma’s morning routine: wake up between 6-6:30 a.m., play in bed with Oscar, drink coffee while Oscar eats his snack, take Oscar to daycare at 8:45 a.m., and then start work.

Elsie’s morning routine: wake up at 5 a.m., do a creative passion project or listen to an audiobook while using her exercise bike.

Emma’s night routine: Put Oscar to bed between 7-7:30 p.m., eat dinner and watch TV with Trey, do a puzzle or does her nails. Sometimes she will read and do a self-care routine.

-This is the color correcting serum Emma uses and a link to Frownies.

Elsie’s night routine: reading (here’s a link to her reading pillow and pillow mist).

Emma’s healthy work from home routine: take a walk on lunch break, eat a salad with whatever she throws in the air fryer, and stay hydrated

Elsie’s healthy work from home routine: batch working and rewards when finishing projects.

Emma’s parenting routine: reading to Oscar before bed and taking him with her on daily walks.

Elsie’s parenting routine: reading and collecting books.

Emma’s grocery routine: Goes grocery shopping once a week.

Elsie’s grocery routine: Goes to Trader Joe’s once a month and the local grocery store once a week.

Elsie’s joyful routine: listening to audiobooks.

-Tips for decorating on a budget: shop used, use paint for an easy makeover, and add different lighting.

-See Elsie’s favorite light fixtures here.

-Check out our book: Happy Handmade Home

Emma’s style icons: Gabby Gomez, Beth Jones, and Gen Sohr

Elsie’s style icons: Hunter Shaffer, Michelle Williams, and Iris Apfel

Emma’s fantasy vacation with Elsie: Japan

Emma’s fantasy vacation with her husband: Antarctica 

Emma’s fantasy vacation with her family: Costa Rica

Elsie’s fantasy vacation with Emma: Paris

Elsie’s fantasy vacation with her husband: Italy

Elsie’s fantasy vacation with her family: Salem, Massachusetts

-Easter basket ideas: Easter-themed gingerbread houses, playdough, slime, markers, crayons, paint, pajamas, and practical things your kids already need.

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 141 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. I don’t think we’ve ever done a whole episode on routines and I love this topic. So today is a routine episode. Routines are everything, they’re life-changing, they can mess you up, or they can help you so much. They can bring you a lot of comfort during a challenging season. We’re also answering some really fun questions and talking about what we’re putting in our Easter baskets. So before we get into talking about routines, I thought we should talk about our Easter baskets. Are you making Oscar an Easter basket this year? 

Emma: I saw that we were going to talk about Easter baskets and I was like great because I need some advice. This is my first year, and I won’t lie, Easter is just, I would like to get into it more. Not necessarily the religious aspect, but just celebrating spring, celebrating seasonal things, just like Christmas and Halloween. But I don’t really know what to put in the Easter basket. I don’t know how to make it special. How do you do yours? Is it like it’s there when they wake up in the morning like Christmas?

Elsie: Okay, so here’s the deal, however high you set the bar for yourself is how high it will always be. So in the spring of 2020, which we all remember it was the hardest spring ever, our Easter Bunny brought the kids scooters and now that’s our bar. Now we always have to live up to that bar. Last year, we didn’t. It was brought up several times, brought up again recently. So that’s my only advice is like you get to pick. If your Easter, bunny brings you a little doll and three candy eggs, then that’s what it is every year. And if your Easter Bunny does a whole table full of sh*t, then that’s your bar that you just set for yourself. So I think think very thoughtfully about that. It’s kind of the same thing with Christmas. Whenever you set the bar too high, you just have to remember that you have to keep it up every year. 

Emma: No, that makes sense. Yeah, I think I am a little off the hook though this year, Oscar wouldn’t know one way or the other.

Elsie: You’re definitely off the hook. So my advice is to get clothes or like something that makes you happy. So okay, I’ll tell you everything that’s in ours, because we have a four-year-old and a six-year-old so I feel like that’s like primo high expectations, children’s ages. So the things that they’re getting, so recently we were getting down are like we saved our plastic eggs from the previous year because we were able to reuse them. Then I noticed they were all still full of candy. And I realized it was kind of like a whole basket full of Easter candy from last year that never got eaten. It was just sitting there all year and I didn’t even realize it. So I was like, okay, that is gross. I was like this year, we’re not having all this extra candy. It’s just gonna be a little bit of candy in the eggs and that’s it. I think it’s like too much. It’s kind of like Halloween, our kids can’t eat that much candy. It just ended up being more of a burden to us. So I tried, I’m gonna put these all in the show notes, by the way, I tried to think this year a little more creative so I found at our grocery store locally, I’ll see if I can find these online to link, we had some like Easter gingerbread houses, like Easter-themed gingerbread houses. So I got two of those, this is like a fun activity. It can be like a part of what’s in their basket and we can do them on that day because I know they love to do gingerbread houses. Then I got some playdough and some slime because those are like things they’re really enjoying at these ages. And then, they’ve already recently got like markers and crayons so I won’t do that, but those are good ideas if your kids need anything like that, paint. I think fill it up with creative things. I think I might do bicycle helmets too, just because one of our kids outgrew their helmet. So I think think of something like practical that you already need, things like that and creative stuff. 

Emma: I’ll probably just buy him the plastic eggs this year that we’re going to reuse for all those years and most of them I’ll probably leave empty and a few of them I’ll probably put his little puffs in. He can just open them and discover the puffs in some of them He has a basket because I think Barbara, Trey’s mom made him an Easter basket last year, even though he wasn’t born yet, which was very sweet. I have it in his closet. I just need to go dig it. That’s probably all I’ll do this year because he’ll only be like 10 or 11 months, well, 10 months by the time Easter rolls around. So that sounds good. That’s enough, we’ll just get the plastic eggs that we’re going to reuse.

Elsie: That’s really cute. Age two or three is where it really starts to ramp up. 

Emma: I can see that. 

Elsie: You’re gonna love it though. It’s so much fun. I think it’s magical. Another cute thing you can put in his pajamas, like a new pair of pajamas for Spring, like maybe the ones with shorts. That’s a cute idea.

Emma: Yeah. Which for Oscar is his clothes as well, because he wears his pajamas.

Elsie: Yes. Awesome. Okay, so yeah, let’s talk about routines. So this question was from Jenna Pool whose email inspired this episode. She was saying that she’d like to hear more like a day-in-the-life type of stuff. So I wrote out different sections for routines. I thought we could just share something meaningful or helpful from each one. We have morning routine, night routine, a work from home routine, a family or parenting routine, and creative one or something that’s just random.  So should we begin with morning routine?

Emma: Yeah. 

Elsie: Do you have a favorite? 

Emma: I’m just gonna kind of explain my current morning routine, which obviously revolves around Oscar. So many different phases of life but right now my morning routine is very much about a baby. So for us, he gets up sometime between usually 6 and 6:30. Trey and I both get up with him. I change his diaper, Trey makes his bottle, and he has milk. Then he usually plays in our bed for a little bit. He sleeps in his crib at night, after he has his milk in the morning, he usually just kind of plays in our bed. I like to think of it as cuddle time but honestly, he’s mostly pulling our hair and I’m saying oh, don’t pull, be gentle, or he’s just like crawling on the bed frame. We’re just kind of holding him and you know, so it’s sort of snuggling, but sort of just playful. He’s a very busy guy. So he does that. Then he’ll play in his walker for about 20 or 30 minutes, which is one of those things you can set him in and he can walk around and it rolls with him. It has a tray on the front. So it’s kind of like he can’t really get into anything so that’s a good time for me to like, go to the bathroom, or brush my teeth or anything. I could still hear him but he’s can’t harm himself when he in that. So he does that kind of independent playtime but it’s only like 20 minutes. But we’re still around. But anyway, so we do that, I also usually make coffee while he’s in that. Then he’ll have a morning snack and I’ll drink my coffee and then he usually goes to daycare around 8:45, 8:55. Our daycare is very nearby. Trey takes him and I pick him up. That’s our routine. Then I go to work. Sometimes I like quickly get ready and like five minutes after he’s left for daycare. Then sometimes he kind of like gets ready with me like he’s in the bathroom and his walker and he’ll play with my hairclips and I’ll put my makeup on. Kind of depends what mood he’s in. But there’s been lots of other seasons of my life where I had more of a morning that was more like more things for me like a little bit of self-care time, or I would listen to the daily podcasts and get a little bit of news. But the stage I’m in right now my mornings is just like time that I spend with Oscar and then I’ll just quickly get ready. It’s a treat if I have a day where I get to spend more time doing my hair or doing my makeup.

Elsie: I totally understand that. So before the New Year this year, that is kind of similar to how my morning was. I was waking up around like 6:3-, 6:45 every day, and then jumping straight into like the kid routine. Make the kids breakfast, get them ready for school, take them to school. But I did start my waking up early thing around, I don’t think it was like exactly on January 1st, but it was like that week. It has been amazing. So I’ll talk about that a little bit. First of all, like, let me just say that I always found it very annoying when someone especially a mom would talk about waking up at 5am before her kids to get me time because I get it. If that’s not an option for you or you’re not willing to do that or you’re like that just sounds horrible, I need my sleep. I get it. Okay, you’re heard, you’re seen. I decided to try it because I do go to bed very early and that was kind of like a COVID thing for me. I just started going to bed earlier and earlier. It did get to the point where I was like, I think I could wake up at whatever time I want. I enjoy going to bed early now. Now I wake up at five and I do it most of the time unless I’m like not feeling well or sometimes on the weekend, I don’t set my clock and I just wake up naturally, but I do it most days. I’ve been alternating between a creative passion project that, I’ll talk about it later on in the year maybe but I’m not ready yet. So my little secret project, or sometimes I just listen to audiobooks and ride my bike. So I just do either one. I have about an hour and a half then of alone time and I usually drink like two coffees and it’s just really nice. It is mentally healthy for me because I think that just getting time to myself before I have to go into the kid rush is something that I really needed that I didn’t know. It was like, kind of driving me crazy to wake up every day and like already feel behind. So yeah, that’s my morning routine at the moment. Okay, let’s talk about night routine.

Emma: Yes, night routine. So for us, Oscar usually goes to bed sometime between 7 and 7:30 usually. He’s not a great napper, but he’s actually a really great night sleeper. I’ve talked before we did sleep training. Since then he sleeps really well at night and it’s definitely affected his mood. He seems like much happier kids since we figured that out. So works great. I guess I should say his little bedtime routine is really simple and just like change him, every other night we have a bath, sleepsack, get his room dark, put on a sound machine, before that we read a couple of books. I love reading books so much. Trey and I will kind of trade-off some nights, he does the bedtime sometimes I do it. I love doing it so much. I dreamed for so long about having a kid that I could read the little kid books too and now my dream has come true. I love it. I love trying to do like stupid little voices and just trying to make him giggle. Oscar’s at the age now he loves to turn the pages. I’ll read the book and he doesn’t have them memorized or anything like he’s not at that level but I’ll be like, okay, do you want to turn the page and he’ll just turn the page like he knows.

Elsie: Is he ripping books yet? 

Emma: Oh yeah, soon as we’re finished, I say the end he always takes the book and puts it in his mouth every time. So we’re still a ways off from going to the library together but it’s so fun. So I love that and then he goes to bed. Then that’s time for Trey and I to make dinner and eat together and chat or watch something on TV, watch a little TV or maybe watch a movie. A lot of times if we do watch something longer like a movie, I’ll do a puzzle or paint my nails. So those are my two hobbies, puzzles and painting my nails. Some nights I’ll read like, I’ll go in our bedroom and read for a while. So when I’m not crazy tired, I’ll be honest, some nights I go to bed I still have makeup on. I just got too tired, I didn’t wash my face. That happens probably once or twice a week at the most. But most nights I do my whole little routine which probably takes like 30 to 40 minutes. It’s like wash my face really really well, use toner, then I do my moisturizer. Then lately I have this serum that I’m trying that’s color correcting. It is for melasma becasue I have melasma. I got a very special kind of expensive facial recently and they these different products and I decided to try one. Trying that and brush my teeth and I use my teeth whitener. I’ve also been using these things they’re called frownies. Have you ever seen them? 

Elsie: Oh, yeah, I have. 

Emma: Yeah, so I put those on my forehead because it’s like I have little wrinkles. Honestly, it’s more that my melasma like mimics the lines in my forehead. So I feel like it’s really the melasma but at any rate, I put these frownies on and I try to do that right before I go to bed because they look very funny. Trey always laughs at them if he sees them because they are very funny but I sleep with those too. So I kind of this whole nighttime routine that’s self-care. If I’m really tired, it feels like a chore. But if I’m not then it feels really nice. It feels like a little at home spa time. I’m still using my rice heating pad all the time because it is starting to get warmer and be spring but we’re not quite there yet. So I still warm it up my rice heating before I go to bed.

Elsie: That’s awesome. My trick is if I am tired or in a bad mood, I wash my face really early in the evening. Wash all my makeup off sometimes I do it right after work. That is like my worst nightmare to sleep in mascara. I hate it. It also like gets me all messed up. So yeah, my night routine. Like I said, been going to bed a little earlier for basically two straight years. So my husband and I have always been really big TV people but recently in about, I would say like the past six months I’ve been going through a lot of changes in my life so everything’s like different recently. I was like, I don’t think I’m gonna watch TV every night anymore, which I never thought I would say that because I love TV, like, I love TV. I’m very proud that we’ve watched every show. I think it’s a great way to unwind. But I realized that I might be getting more out of it if I just watch it like half the week, and then half the week do something else. He has shows that he likes to watch that I don’t like so all that. Also, he has a new business, that it’s still very young and in those years, he feels like he wants to work at night a lot. I don’t want to get in the way of that, like my job right now I think it’s just support his baby business and if he wants to work at night, then I try to be cool with that. So my new routine is I’ve been reading at night. So I got a reading pillow. I’m gonna link it in the show notes, just like a back pillow that you can put behind your other pillows because my board is metal. It’s just like, one pillow is not enough. 

Emma: Yes, please link this because I might want to buy it because I have same problems. Sometimes my pillows, it’s like kind of bothering me but I’m just want to read in bed. He’s watching TV and he’s watching one of the shows that I don’t want to watch or whatever. 

Elsie: I’ll link it. I read every Amazon review about every pillow and this one, I think it was like $60 or $70, which is not a bad price for a reading pillow. It comes in the package, it’s like very, have you ever gotten something that’s like suctioned up so small? So at first, you’re like, this is too thin. This is a tight but it like really fluffs out. So give it a couple of hours, I would say after you take it out of the package and you’ll be surprised how much bigger it is. Maybe I should actually take a picture of mine, that would probably be the best thing to show. Anyway, so I have this certain pillow and then I also have the certain linen spray. It’s from the brand OC and it is the greatest pillow spray of all time. I’ve bought it probably five or six times so I’ll link to that too. I don’t know, it puts me in the mood for sleep. So yeah, I’ve also realized I have a little bit of sleeping problems, not bad, but when I drink caffeine later in the day and just things like that. If I drink alcohol, there’s certain things that can keep me up at night. But I have noticed that when I read before bed, especially if I read for more than 30 minutes, I am so tired and I sleep so well. It puts me to sleep. So if you’ve never tried it because I never really had like I always think reading before bed is a thing that people do in movies, but I never did it. I was just watching TV. But now that I’ve been trying and I’m like this is actually like very amazing.

Emma: There’s a lot of things people do in movies that are actually real. 

Elsie: Do you read before bed a lot? Like I didn’t know.

Emma: Oh, yeah because it does the same thing. They kind of say, the scientist, I don’t know but when you’re watching TV or if you’re scrolling on your phone, or if you’re on your computer doing like Pinterest or working because you do have a new business and you’re building it like Jer. It’s like, that’s all fine, but it kind of does something with your eyes where it’s not going to help you sleep. It somehow stimulates you in a way that’s not helpful. Whereas a book, even if you’re using an Ereader because it has a different kind of light, which I like paper books personally. I know it’s not as good for the environment, but I just love a paper book. Even Ereaders, they’re the lights like different somehow and it’s like more, I don’t know can put you to sleep. Obviously, sometimes you have a book though, where you’re like, I gotta keep reading this because you just too into it but that’s a whole different problem. 

Elsie: That hasn’t happened to me at all. It just like puts me to sleep.

Emma: When I first read the Twilights I was up like three nights in a row because I was just reading all the Twilight. 

Elsie: Yes. Okay, well, I’ll let you know when it finally happens. 

Emma: Maybe the sexy fairy book will get you. We’ll see.

Elsie: What’s next? 

Emma: A healthy work from home routine. 

Elsie: Whoo. Okay, what do you got? 

Emma: I love working from home. I love working by myself. I’m just like, for me, I feel a lot more efficient and there’s just less distractions. I know it’s different for other people. Some people are like I need to work at a coffee shop because I need the accountability of people around me or like stuff like that. I just like working alone. So a couple of healthy routines, they’re more revolve around my lunch break, which there’s no like bell that rings or anything but still a lunch break. If it’s nice at all, basically just not pouring rain or sleeting snow, I go for a walk anytime I can even if it’s a short one, shorty, or a long one. So I love to go on walks, I’ll listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Sometimes I’ll listen to nothing and basically talk out loud to myself. I do my thing that I call my gratitude practice where basically just talk about things that I’m really grateful for in my life.  So I do a lot of that. Then I’m also like, here’s what I consider my healthy lunches. It’s basically sh*t I throw in my air fryer and then put it on top of a salad. So these are things like toasted ravioli, popcorn shrimp, or even weird little things that I just find at the grocery store. I’ve actually been working on a blog post, and I might make it a reel too that’s like, my favorite things to throw in my air fryer. It’s not really recipes. It’s more just like, I like this item from the frozen section, all these different things, but most of them, I just throw it on top of a big salad and that’s how it goes. So that’s a lot of my lunches and I think that works out. So that’s great. I also am way better I’ve noticed at being hydrated when I work from home. It’s because I can go pee as often as I want and not feel like I’m annoying everyone or I don’t know like everyone’s looking at me. Whenever I travel, which isn’t often but lately I’ve gone on a few trips, I don’t drink at all, because I’m like at airport and I’m like, oh, I don’t know if I’ll have time or what if I have to run to my next, so I just don’t drink any water all day. So when I’m at home, I feel like I’m really good about drinking a ton of water or tea in the winter. It’s like tea, tea, tea.

Elsie: Me too. I have my bottle. It’s always with me. I think that kind of thing really helps. 

Emma: Yes, yes. So those are kind of my little healthy routines that I do that mostly revolve around my lunch break. 

Elsie: Nice. Okay, mine’s more like, mentally healthy. Mine’s not actually like eat a salad or anything. Okay, so my work routine is that I am so into batch working. Batch working is the ticket I think to someone who I’m easily distracted, I’m very excitable, I can really waste some time. If my brain starts thinking about target, I’m going to target, like just all the things, all the bad things that you can do as a work from home person, I’ve probably done them all before. Batch working is like the one thing that holds it all together because then I get so much done that I’m able to fit in those other things, and not be perfect because I’m never gonna be perfect. If I were to have one of those schedules where it’s like, every 30 minutes all day you do something different I would never thrive. That’s just like the worst, maybe it would be great for someone but for me, that’s the worst possible schedule. For me, the best thing to do is like every two weeks like today, we have a day where we do podcast, and we usually do two at a time. I know somebody’s like, oh I don’t like, trust me, we wouldn’t have a podcast every week if we didn’t do it this way. It’s like that with every other thing we do blogpost, reels, projects, supply shopping, everything we do, we have to do a bunch of it at once. It is the f*cking key to life so I love that. That’s my thing and then my other one little thing is rewards. So I live or die by a checklist with a reward at the end of it. If you haven’t tried it, just give it a shot one time and see if you’re someone who loves rewards as much as me. 

Emma: I love it. 

Elsie: So the next one is a family or parenting routine. So basically like a personal life routine, like what’s a routine that has helped your life? 

Emma: Yeah, so I feel like I kind of said a couple of them with my nighttime routine of how I wash my face and the moisturizer and all the little things that I do so that’s kind of like one. I also talked already about how much I love reading Oscar books before bed, his little nighttime routine. It really just fills my heart and it’s a thing that happens every day. It’s just the best. But another one is, and this is more of a weekly routine, it’s not usually every day but come this summer it might be, but it’s taking Oscar on walks. Sometimes it’s just me and Oscar but oftentimes Trey comes with us too do it’s like a whole family walk. We have this coffee shop that’s near our house. Sometimes we’ll stop and get a coffee. But we just walk around and he’s now in the stroller attachment where he faces out. I actually don’t love it as much because I don’t get to see him before he was in one where he kind of faced me like you could see him and now he’s facing out.  I miss looking at him. I really do and I’ll stop every once in a while just to peek around so that he knows I’m still there and just see how he’s doing and he’s just loving it. He’s just like staring at everything and looking at everything. Also, I see his little hand pop out as he’s like, kind of waving at things like cars or whatever. He’s just loving it so it’s great but I kind of miss seeing him the whole walk. But anyway so we walk a lot and look at houses and I talk to myself. I’m sure Oscar does too in his head or talk with Trey if he’s with us. So that’s one of our big routines. So yeah, being in a walkable neighborhood is big for me. I’ve also talked about this before, but the stroller was a big thing for me. I wanted a stroller that I was really excited about because I really wanted to make walking with my son a big part of my life that I’m really happy I prioritize that for myself because I love it. I have used the hell out of that strollers. It’s great. 

Elsie: Yeah, that’s wonderful. Okay, so my meaningful family/parenting routine is reading and collecting books. So we have been working on our kids’ library this spring. One of our kids is learning to read. It’s the most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, phase. She’s just like, on the brink of it. So I think it’ll just get better and better for the next few years. Building that little library, which if you haven’t seen it, it’s sort of like above our so we had a double-story entryway. We decided that basically, we didn’t like the vibe of it, it was too hard to decorate. It looked very 90s. So we sealed in between those two stories. So now, when you walk into our home, it’s a regular ceiling entryway, that’s the same as all the other ceilings. Then above it, it created this little bonus room. So we made this armoire access secret hidden library. 

Emma: Yes, Elsie send it in our sibling text yesterday or the day before. I showed it to Trey too and he was like, are you going to put that on the internet and I was like, duh, it’s the coolest thing ever. 

Elsie: Okay, I have to tell you the cutest thing ever. So I tried to make a reel, the one I sent you guys was like I was making it but then I was like, I think I need to decorate a little more and do this again.

Emma: Did feel undone, but it also was the coolest thing. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s the coolest, it’s so cool. The other day, for example, we had the wallpaper installer people over and Nova was on spring break so she was with me. As we were in that little foyer room talking about the wallpaper, she opened the door to the armoire and showed them and they had no perception that it was a door at all. They were like shocked. It’s like the coolest reveal.

Emma: It looks amazing. It’s so cool. 

Elsie: Here’s the thing that’s like, sad/adorable, is we made the little video that I sent to you and Doran and the other day, she asked me our six year old, can you please not put that on the internet? I don’t want anyone else to know how to get in there except for our family. She wants it to be a secret. So I was like so yeah, I am gonna post on the internet. But I love her idea that she doesn’t want the world to know how to get in there. 

Emma: Yeah, that’s very cute. 

Elsie: So sweet. 

Emma: It does take the magic away. You want to have the big reveal. That’s hilarious.

Elsie: Anyway, the last few months really I’ve been shopping for books, kind of always. It’s like my perma setting is bookshop. Pretty much every week I get something that they’ll be really excited about and I just kind of like put it in there, display on the shelf, and then wait for them to find it. So they’re always finding new books, and it’s just really magical. I know that not everyone’s gonna have a hidden library in their house but I will say that like if you have little kids getting really into buying used books is such a fun hobby with such big payoffs. it means a lot.

Emma: Yeah, no, I love it so much. I can’t wait to come visit and just like sleep in there. 

Elsie: Okay, so next up is just basically like one more chance like anything else I put like a creative or a meaningful routine. Anything else you want to share? That’s been a game-changer for you.

Emma: I don’t know. I had a question though. I’m kind of curious what you do. So I’m a once a week grocery shopper, and I make a list and kind of plan some dinners. Then we also have like some groceries we buy every single week and then I go get it all. I really prefer to go buy my groceries than to have them delivered. I feel like we all started getting delivery during the pandemic and I did that some but I really always have liked going. Do you buy groceries once a week, do you buy them more than once a week? Do you buy them once a month? You have more freezers than me, so I’m like, maybe the freezers make the difference.

Elsie: True. Okay, so I go to Trader Joe’s once a month and that is like my freezer thing. Then other than that one of our favorite grocery stores is next to Goldie’s daycare. So I go there a lot just like right after I drop off from school. So I go at least once a week and just to pick up vegetables and stuff. 

Emma: Yeah. Fruits and things. Yeah. 

Elsie: Yes. Like my husband is always out of coffee. That’s always a coffee emergency.

Emma: We have a coffee subscription. Actually, we have two coffee subscriptions. Now that I think about it because you always run out of coffee a lot too and it’s very annoying. 

Elsie: That’s a good idea. I actually love grocery shopping. Recently, I love following Remi on Instagram, he was saying that people of a certain income should get their groceries delivered or get someone to your grocery shopping for you. I was looking at that and thinking about it and I was like, okay, nope. I actually just love the feeling and the experience of grocery shopping.  I think there’s other things that I hate, like doing laundry, that like maybe would fit more in that category. I don’t think I’ll ever not want to go to the grocery store myself. It’s joyful. 

Emma: Yeah, I’m the same. I also just like have pretty strong preferences about little weird things. So I just hate grocery store delivery, because I feel like they will get a slightly different brand, or size of something, or just leave something out. Then I’m like, that was a key ingredient for a meal I have planned or whatever. So I just can’t do it. I can’t deal with it. I don’t like it. I like going down the aisles and seeing if there’s something weird. I just enjoy it. I think it’s fun. It’s like shopping that I enjoy, grocery shopping and thrifting I’m like love it. Other shopping is like kind of fun, but I get pretty worn out with it. It’s more of a special thing once in a while. 

Elsie: Shopping for clothing? 

Emma: Clothing, even home stuff even like holiday stuff. I love it but I just can’t do it all the time. It’s not like a hobby for me shopping, whereas I like grocery shopping and thrifting. I could do that every week forever. 

Elsie: Yep, same. Okay. My last little random one is audiobooks. So I love podcasts too but the last, I don’t know, like six months or so I’m really into audiobooks. I do feel like they’re my best friends. I do feel like when people say books are my best friend I always thought that was like, I don’t know, I was confused with you all said that, and now I finally, truly do understand the feeling. It feels like, I just can’t wait to keep listening to them at all times and I’m always doing it. Then I’m always like finding an excuse. I think it’s because I started listening to fiction audiobooks, because nonfiction, no offense to it. It is fun to learn and I love to learn, but it’s way more exciting and contagious to hear a story. 

Emma: Yeah, it’s a whole different thing. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s like there’s no work to its just entertainment. 

Emma: It’s like watching a movie versus watching a lecture. You can’t watch a lecture every single night but could you watch a movie every night? Sure. Yeah. Especially if it’s a fun movie. 

Elsie: Exactly. Yeah. So yeah, that’s my like routine now that is joyful and an obsession and I don’t know, just so fun.

Emma: Listener question. This question is from Jackie. She asked, how did you budget for decor and design when you didn’t have as much money? You’re on a tight budget or maybe you have no budget, I’ve been there too.

Elsie: Yes. I love this question. I have been a homeowner, because being from Missouri, since my early 20s and I lived in lots of apartments too. I have had lots of houses in the past where it was like an apartment where I was only planning to live for a year or so and I didn’t want to spend too much or in some of our first houses, we had a low income or we were saving for something, and I think this is a super-duper relatable situation to be in. My two tips that I have used, there are hundreds of ideas on A Beautiful Mess in our archives that support these types of ideas. Also, our first book, our first home book, Happy Handmade Home is really in this vein, but my two tips are one to shop used. So thrifting, Facebook marketplace, eBay, all of that, even Craigslist free we’ve talked about that before. Trading with your friends, things like that. If your grandma’s cleaning out her house, tell her to put you on the list for a free sofa. I think that finding ways to like transform old things is so inspiring and anyone can do it. I think that the stakes are low if you have something that’s like a sofa you got for free, or you paid like you got it from a garage sale or whatever, and you don’t like the color of it, or you’re going to try to reupholster it yourself. It might turn out bad but the stakes are low. The worst thing that can happen is you end up putting a quilt on it for a year. It’s not so bad. So yeah, the other thing is to paint everything. So there are so many inexpensive things you can find to buy used. Then I think just paint them with your color scheme. If you keep your color scheme tight with paint, you can make a house that looks really pulled together and even like expensive, with all thrifted stuff. It is possible. I think it’s really, really inspiring too. 

Emma: Yep, and I’m gonna show Elsie on our Skype here, but I didn’t know what she was gonna say and my notes literally say thift, paint.

Elsie: That’s funny. 

Emma: Then one other thing just to put out there, those are the two main ones because we clearly agree, but then also, I would say Christmas lights or any kind of lighting. Just get a little like vibe going because a lot of times when we’re in our homes, it’s the evenings after we’re done with work, after kids are in bed, after whatever and so having kind of a little vibe with some twinkle lights, fairy lights, whatever you call them. I just call them Christmas lights. That’s like a really cheap way and if you’re going to use them at Christmas, just put them somewhere else the rest of the year. So there you go. 

Elsie: It’s true. Yeah, in one of our first houses, I had a ladder that was just like a regular old ladder in my bedroom with Christmas lights on it. It was sort of like our lamp. It was our ambiance. It was really cute. I loved it and we used it like that for so long. It costs basically nothing. Okay, so the next questions are from Rachel and I gave her two because she sent us this whole amazing email with tons of good questions so I picked my two favorites. I hope you like them too. Okay, so the first question is style icons, someone younger than yourself, someone about your age, and someone older than you. What do you love about their style and why?

Emma: I went with people that I follow on Instagram in large part because I love their style. What I kind of realized after the fact as I was writing them down was I was like, I actually don’t really know these women’s ages. Unlike a celebrity with a Wikipedia page or whatever. So I’ve just kind of like guessing, I know she asked us to do someone younger than you and your age and older. I’m like, you know what, I think these women are kind of like different ages, but I actually don’t even really know so I just love their styles. 

Elsie: Doesn’t matter. Emma’s clearly saying she’s not judging your age and she doesn’t know.

Emma: I don’t know. 

Elsie: Tell us who because I’m excited to hear because I picked more like celebrity people. 

Emma: Cool. Okay, Gabby Gomez, who her Instagram name is @giftofgabbyg. Her style is so cute. I love all of the cuts, she’ll do a lot of high-waisted things or things with a waist. I’ve actually bought a couple of items because I saw her wearing something similar. LShe has this kind of like harness belt thing that she’ll wear with different outfits, but like a loose shirt, so it kind of makes it have more of a waist or more of a like around your bust area. It’s so cute. I bought one because I saw her wearing something like it. I’ve literally saved her outfits before so that when I go thrifting I can try to find things. I was like, oh, I love how she’s wearing the sheer top and she’s very colorful. She usually has pink hair. She’s also really fit and really beautiful but it’s just a very colorful, feminine, great cuts. That’s how I would kind of describe it. So I love her style so much. 

Elsie: I love her too. Yeah.

Emma: The second one is Beth Jones. She does @bejonesstyle on Instagram. I followed Beth forever. She’s amazing. She also kind of has the sort of ombre hair, which is what I have. So in my mind, we vibe. Yeah. She’s just like the thrift secondhand vintage queen, and she will put things together that I never would have thought could go together and it will look amazing and everything I swear she could have got this whole outfit at Goodwill and somehow looks really high end on her. She’s just so good at putting things together and coming up with very different outfits. High School Emma would have idolized her and actually current day Emma idolizes her. I love her style so much so I follow her. The last one is Gen Sohr, which is that how you pronounce that she does Pencil and Paper Co? 

Elsie: Yeah, I love Jen. I got to meet her recently. Yeah, she lives in Nashville and I love her blog also. I want to be just like her as well. I want her whole closet. Okay, go ahead. 

Emma: Yes, yes. So she also does really beautiful home design and just super talented, tons of other things other than just your fashion. I’m just talking about fashion right now. But she’s very colorful, and it does feel kind of fancy southern lady type style. 

Elsie: Very preppy. 

Emma: Yeah, a little bit more Kate Spade, like that type of vibe, if that makes any sense. But I just think that she looks like she’s having so much fun with her outfits and she always looks very put together, very beautiful, and fun and colorful, but still elegant if that makes any sense. Sometimes I feel like you have to wear all black to be this elegant and she doesn’t do that. She does something really different and it’s so cool. So I love her style. I love seeing her outfits.

Elsie: Yeah, her blog is one of my favorite blogs for shopping links and stuff because she does have such amazing taste. 

Emma: She does. Yeah. I don’t really know all of these women’s ages, but they seem like pretty different ages so there you go. 

Elsie: Okay, so for my younger self, did you watch Euphoria?

Emma: No I haven’t. I don’t know, I just haven’t. everyone talks about it.

Elsie: It’s a journey. We just completed it, last week or the week before. It’s amazing. It’s incredible. Everything that everyone says about how it’s too intense and stuff is true. But it was more beautiful and it has musical numbers. It had this part with a play that was really beautiful and it was almost like a movie. So I was really into it. I really enjoyed it. It was not what I thought it would be at all. But anyway, the actors are all amazing. This is just like instant girl crush on every single actor. They’re all probably 25, they’re playing high schoolers like how it is in Hollywood if you’re playing a high schooler, you’re usually not really a teenager or whatever. So anyway, they’re all cute, and I love all their styles. But the one that I love the most is Hunter Schafer because all of her makeup on the show. She has the eye makeup that’s just like the white lines or the neon yellow. That was all like really, really inspiring and I can’t actually pull that stuff off but I do like to try it. I do have all these colored eyeliners in my boring makeup cabinet with all my boring makeup. I just like every once in a while just like pull them out and try to like have crazy eyeliner. It makes me happy.

Emma: I have one blue one which is my crazy. Yeah. I got a blue eyeliner, I’m doing things.

Elsie: Yeah. It was a good education for me about young people too because it’s a young people show. I felt like I’ve been watching a lot of old people TV. So yeah, it was fun. Okay, so for my similar age I picked, so whenever it’s time to pick celebrity street style outfits I always find that kind of challenging to find someone who I relate with because either their clothes are like so fancy or sometimes their clothes are like really cool, all like band shirts and like really edgy. The person that I always come back to as relatable to me is Michelle Williams. I love her outfits. She is just like very, I don’t know like her everyday style speaks to me. So that’s how who I picked for that and she’s so cute. Yeah, I love her. Then for my older self, I picked Iris Apfel of course, like there’s no one else I could pick. She is the most iconic human alive and I just love her. I’ll link her on Instagram if you don’t know who she is. There’s also a coffee table book about her. It’s beautiful. She’s just iconic, like the most fashionable elderly woman who’s probably alive. She’s the one she’s just like incredible. If my BFF didn’t already name her kid Iris, I probably would have named my kid Iris because it’s, she’s just like such an inspiration. So yeah, love her. 

Emma: Yes, an icon indeed. Okay, and then Rachel’s second question was fantasy vacation. Yeah. Where would you love to travel with your partners, the whole family, and as sisters? 

Elsie: Love it. Love it. Love it. I love dreaming about vacations. Our little Palm Springs trip like really opened up my mind. It made me feel like I want to think about traveling again.

Emma: This is why I put for sisters, I put Japan because I just think that would be very fun, but I feel like you’re gonna go with your family. So just putting it out there that’s also okay, I could also just tag along.

Elsie: I did put that for my whole family, but I’m gonna change it now to a different answer. We could totally go to Japan. I’ll go to Japan as many times as you want. I’m so excited to go.

Emma: It seems wonderful. It would be very fun. So that’s what I put for my sister’s trip. For with husband partner, Antarctica is a dream place I want to go. I actually would also go by myself. I wouldn’t mind that. I think that’d be really fun. Something about it just looks so photogenic but I also think it’d be a very chill trip. So it could be very romantic and fun. You have to take a cruise to get there. There’s no other way. Anyway, so I think that could be cool, too. 

Elsie: Do people live there? 

Emma: No, it’s just tourists and scientists. Wow, that’s it. So yep. Then family is someday soon, maybe within the year0 maybe, we’d like to, Trey and I and Oscar, go to Costa Rica. I need to get his passport really bad. It’s on my list every week of like, I got the application printed, step one. I need to move forward though with more steps. 

Elsie: God help you getting that baby passport photo. It’s one of the hardest things I ever did.

Emma: That’s the part I’m kind of dreading. 

Elsie: Ours got rejected several times. It’s so hard. It’s like their ears have to be showing in a certain way their face has to be angled in a certain way. Our kids definitely won’t look at the camera. There’s just like a lot. 

Emma: He’s very squirmy, wherever we go Walgreens or whatever just take a whole bunch, I’ll pay for it. Just keep going. I gotta get one of these. I don’t know.

Elsie: We did that twice and those ones got rejected so we ended up doing it ourselves. Then we had a friend who’s really good at Photoshop, Photoshop out all the shadows because it can’t have any shadows at all. Anyways, I’ll give you a tutorial when you get there because it’s so frustrating.

Emma: Yeah, he’s just really active now and I’m like, how are we going to get this photo? Everything else is like applications. We both have to go in blah, blah, blah. It’s not that big of a deal. But the photo I’m like, honestly, that sounds kind of hard because he’s very squirmy. So yeah, anyway, those are my fantasy trips.

Elsie: My fantasy trips with my husband, honestly, I still want to go like so many places, but I’m going to put Italy for my first one just because that’s where we’re planning to go next. We have a delayed 10 year anniversary situation that we’re trying to still redeem. So we were planning to go to Italy and Greece. I honestly think it’s too ambitious to go on a double trip and leave our kids right now. So we’ll probably just pick one and do the other one another time. But yeah, that’s where I want to go with him. Then as a whole family, I am dying to go to Salem, Massachusetts, because I heard that it is like if say in Missouri, where we’re from, there’s the city called Branson, Missouri is like the kitschy, like county fair type of vibe. Yeah, it’s extremely cheesy. There’s like shows. I heard that Salem is basically like the brand of New England, and specifically during Halloween because they filmed Hocus Pocus there. They do you have legitimate witch history, the Salem witch trials, like legitimate real, but then also a ton of people making Tik Toc videos, and street food and things like that. So I want to go there desperately. It’d be a great family trip. I think it just sounds really funny and my kids like spooky things. We’ll raise Oscar to be a Halloween kid at all costs. 

Emma: Absolutely. Lord knows I don’t have any ideas for Easter. 

Elsie: Yes. Then for our sister’s trip, I’m totally happy to go to Japan, like you said, but I also really want to go to Paris. I want to have a girly dream Paris trip. We were thinking about bringing our older nieces so we used to have an aunt camp every year with our two nieces. They’re 12 and 13 now and we were thinking about taking them to Paris, although now that I’m saying this on our podcast, it might be like they’ll hear about it, and then we have to do it. 

Emma: They don’t listen to our podcast. They are 12 and 13, they are too cool. 

Elsie: Okay, well, somebody is going to tell them. I think that that would be really, really fun.  I want to take my kids to but Emma was like, No.

Emma: I was like, what about New York at Christmas? That’s just as good but less flying. 

Elsie: Honestly, I want to go everywhere for a sister trip. That’s anything our husbands don’t want to do. Let’s just do it together.

Emma: That’s kind of what I’m like, yeah, what do they not want to do? Okay, great, I’ll do it with my sister. 

Elsie: I love it. Thank you, Rachel, for those amazing questions. If you have questions, you can send them to us anytime at podcast@abeautifulmess.com. You can leave us a hotline message anytime. So we played these on the podcast and answer them. The phone number is 417-893-0011. All right, we’ll be back next week. Thank you for listening and thank you so much. Every time someone shares our podcast on Instagram, it makes our day. It makes us so happy so thank you for doing that as well. 

Emma: Bye

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  • I went to Salem in June 2019 and it is one of my favorite cities! It definitely has the spooky stuff, but it also has an amazing art scene with tons of public art and cute, small shops. The locals were very friendly, too! We got recommendations from locals on where to eat and everywhere was great. They also have a couple breweries and a cidery, which had great outdoor spaces and they were family friendly. It’s really beautiful to be on the water as well. We took a 40 minute train ride from Boston and it was pretty easy to do it that way.

  • I LOVE our family Easter tradition of a scavenger hunt to find the basket on Easter morning! The first clue is left by the bedside and then it’s a race around the house to find where the basket is hidden. I still remember the clue “Mom will make Easter lunch in me, later” and I dashed to the oven to find my basket hidden in there! For those kiddos who are too little to get the clues, we do yarn tied to the end of the bedpost that winds through the house and ends at the basket. My daughter is only three so we are doing clues this year!

  • Had to PAUSE the episode—-Emma, The uppa baby seat can face either way. Switch it to face you so you can chat with Oscar on your walks! Or just to soak in those baby smiles!

    • Katherine – I believe Emma was saying that Oscar used to face her, but now that he is 9 months (or maybe he’s even older) — he faces out. She was just mourning the passing of time. 🙂

      • She made it sound like it doesn’t face out. Also, it’s great for speech development for little ones to face mom &/or dad &/or caregiver in the stroller from time to time!

  • I also like to include summer gear in Easter eggs, like swimsuits or sun hats. We have some really big eggs we hide, and it’s a nice way to get my kids ready for summer (especially with two winter birthdays) and sidestep a ton of candy and tiny plastic stuff.

  • When my kids were growing up we ended with a few Easter “traditions”….. always plastic eggs hidden around the house in the morning when the woke up. By the time they were in middle school, I painted two of them gold and they each got to find a gold one cuz it had $10 inside! But the test held the candy that they then put in their baskets. They always got a small solid chocolate bunny in their basket and a small stuffed rabbit. They kept all if they’re bunnies together in their rooms for years! They might also get a small present in their basket like a Lego or something. But we set the bar at medium so nothing big was ever expected!! Great podcast today!

    • Just wanted to say that I too struggle with the reading in bed/ headboard drama and I have recently acquired a large baby Yoda Squishmallow and it serves as an excellent back pillow.👌 Costco for the win.

  • I loved this episode! We paint wooden Easter eggs as a family each year and it is such a joyful tradition. The kids LOVE seeing their old eggs and seeing them progress from handprints and cute toddler paintings to more advanced designs as the years go by. It’s also an easy tradition because we buy a big bag of eggs on Amazon and keep it in our Easter box and we always have acrylic paint.

  • I just did a girls trip to Salem this past fall and can vouch about how much you would love it, Elsie! Its a great place for a family trip or a girl’s trip! Highly recommend for all the spooky lovers like us out there.

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