Episode #37: Our Dream Home Offices

Hi there! This week’s episode is all about our dream home offices. We’ve both spent a LOT of time dreaming and visualizing, so this episode is full of hopes and dreams. We also get back to our roots with some guilty pleasure treasures!

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

Show notes:

-Emma wants an office with a DOOR, lol. By the way, here’s a photo of Emma’s current home office. See more photos here.

-Elsie’s dream office is basically a replica of Darcy Miller’s office, who is a FOREVER inspiration to both of us. You can follow Darcy on IG here.

-A photo of Emma’s “diaper dog” Love Love (aka Lovers). He’s a good boy!

-Elsie’s office struggles are currently related to not having a home office at all. If you work from home without a proper office space, I’d love to hear your tips and tricks! To make it even trickier, we also don’t have any dining room tables yet … but we will probably next month. Specifically, where do you keep your printer and your essential documents/files?

-Here’s a pic of Elsie’s former office (it was always a LOT messier than this). More pics here.

Here’s a link to Elsie’s printer (the big one—it prints up to 13×19) and Emma’s printer (which includes a scanner).

-Do you enjoy perusing stationery supplies just for fun? We do!

-Emma makes a good point that you may spend more time in your office than any other room, so prioritizing your office and making it beautiful, organized and functional makes a lot of sense!

-Here’s a photo of the modern room dividers Emma mentions as a solution for her no-door issues.

I found this image at IkeaHackers, but I am not sure that’s the original source. If anyone knows the original source, please let us know in the comments so we can link them.

-Elsie talks about open vs. closed shelves (in kitchen, but this applies to offices as well). If I had to choose 100% open or 100% closed, I would choose OPEN every time. But I think the best office or kitchen for me would be a combination of both open and closed storage!

-Elsie’s guilty pleasure treasure: Open Book by Jessica Simpson (10/10)

-Also loving the Libby app for listening to audiobooks for free!

-Emma’s guilty pleasure treasure: Seedlip non-alcoholic spirit.

-Here’s a link to our mocktail recipes, and this one too, if you like Bloody Marys.

-Check here for our home office budget finds!

Thank you so much for listening! :)) There is no mini episode this week. If you have topic requests for future episodes, we’d love to hear them!

P.S. We have been working hard to bring you a weekly transcript of our podcast, so that is coming soon!!

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 37 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. The beginning of every good room makeover or DIY is having a dream. We spend a lot of time dreaming about rooms, so today we’re here to chat about our dream home office. We’re also bringing back one of our favorite segments that we haven’t done in a while, Guilty Please Treasure. So our first order of business is labeled Rant Time. And this is where we get to talk about the things that aren’t great about our current home office situation, because this whole episode is about our dream office. And I feel like since, you know, the quarantine and working at home with your partner, like Emma and her husband are still working together, basically in the same room all day long for the beginning of the third month now. We’ve learned a lot of things. So. It was a good time to evaluate right?

Emma: Yeah. It’s never a bad time.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: OK. Well, I’ll start my rant.

Elsie: Go for it sister.

Emma: Yes. Ok. So the main thing I’ve learned since quarantine, but also this is just something generally, I’ve lived in my house for a little over four years or maybe almost five years. I don’t remember. And so I’ve had the same home office that whole time.

Elsie: Mm hmm.

Emma: And I’ll put a picture in the show notes at abeautifulmess.com/podcast. But basically, my home office, if you don’t know, is part of an open floor plan. That is our kitchen dining room and this kind of like entryway living room. It is a living room, but it’s small and it kind of leads to our garage. We have a second living room that’s more traditional. Anyway, and my office is one of those open spaces, so it’s kind of available to see all the time. It’s also easy for me to go from my office to the kitchen to the window where I photograph, I develop recipes. That’s a big part of what the content that I do…

Elsie: Snack time.

Emma: Yeah. Also snack time. Yeah. So, yeah. So it’s in this open floor plan and it has really high ceilings. And yeah, my dogs hang out with me all day, all that stuff. So there’s a lot of things I like about it. Here’s some rant things. Here’s some things I don’t like about it. So especially during quarantine. But even before I really wish I had an office that had a door. (laughs) So during quarantine, it’s not that my husband…he does not talk to me all day. He’s very focused on his own work. But there’s something about just having someone kind of in the background, whether they’re on a call or, you know, just stuff happening there. It’s very easy to get distracted.

Elsie: Yeah I Facetime you constantly, like three or four times a day and he’s always there. He’s always listening! (laughs)

Emma: Yeah, he’s always back there. Yeah. Yeah. We can’t talk about him like we normally do. No kidding. But yeah. So having a space where you can be really secluded is nice generally. But I also really appreciate it whenever I’m doing parts of my job that are more creative. Whenever I have to basically live in a little Make-Believe world for a little while and that’s kind of what you’re doing when you’re creating basically anything, I guess. But for me, that’s usually writing. So yeah. So I wish I had a door. There’s really no great way to do that in my current office. So yeah. So there’s that. And then other than that, I have…it’s a little like drafty. Like I have a space heater all the time in the winter and it just gets kind of hot in the summer. But that’s sort of a high ceilings issue. You know, if you like high ceilings, then you probably have fairly drafty house, kind of how it is. I mean, this was built really recently. And, you know, I don’t know. You have some kind of magic going on. So there’s that. And then also, I love that my dogs hang out with me all day. But also…

Elsie: I knew there was gonna be a but. (laughs).

Emma: Well, I don’t really want to change it, but the the downside of having your dogs around you all day is they bark a lot. Like if there’s ever a delivery or just anything, a squirrel in the backyard, which is all the time, then they bark a lot. And that’s kind of annoying if I’m on a meeting call.

Elsie: It’s nice to have options when it comes to having your pets work with you or not. I feel the exact same way like…sometimes it’s kind of nice and really cute. And sometimes I just need my space.

Emma: Well, when they’re taking a nap and they’re quiet and they’re not tracking mud into my office or, you know, one of my dogs is in diapers, so he has little accidents. So when they’re not doing any of those things. I love having them in my office.

Elsie: Let’s put a picture of your diaper dog on in the show notes because it’s actually really adorable.

Emma: He has this huge dog bed in my office, too. It’s like I take the cover off every single week and wash it. It’s like machine washable, so it helps with the smell. Anyway, I got a lot of dog problems in my life generally, but in my home office especially. But that’s pretty much it for me. That’s my rant is I wish I had a door. My dogs kind of get on my nerves, but I also love them. What can you do?

Elsie: Yes. Yeah. Okay. Mine are very different. So we recently moved, as you know, if you’ve been listening for a while. If not, I’ll just sum it up quickly. We moved from a substantially larger house to a smaller house. We’re planning to do an addition, we’re doing all the planning phase right now and it’s not going to happen until at least next year. So we’re just living in a much smaller space than what we were used to, which has had some good things about it. I’d like to do an episode about this in the future. It has some good things about it, but not having an office, it is by far the thing that I dislike the most. By far, it’s been very challenging. During the quarantine with my children at home, it became 10 times more challenging to do my work. We just have a very small space with a lot of things going on. And so, yeah, it’s it’s definitely been something I’ve spent a lot of time fantasizing about — my dream office. So I’m really excited that we’re doing this episode because currently I’m working pretty much most of the day from my bed. So if you ever have one of the Zoom calls or the Skype, we do a lot of Face Timing in our business — it is always in my bed.

Emma: Yeah, and your last office wasn’t a huge office. It was, I think, the smallest room in your house.

Elsie: So let me describe my former office. So my former office was nothing that great. I’m just gonna be honest, I shared quite a few times, like how messy it got. It got crazy messy in there because it was kind of like…this is actually a nice thing, just not once in your office. But it was the room closest to the front door where you could just, like, throw all the Amazon boxes and throw all that extra stuff, like if you have to clean up in a pinch. Having guests over whatever, you can just throw a lot of stuff in there. So it was pretty much always messy. But just now, the things that I miss the most or just simply having a place where I can go and shut the doors for the meetings, that where it’s like clearly, you know, an office and nobody’s gonna, like, come into the room, like to get, you know…

Emma: Momma momma!

Elsie: Yeah. Stuff. And then the other thing is just having — this is such a small thing, but it’s become really big to me, having a place for my printer, because you all know, I love my enormous printer. I have this giant black printer and I use it everyday, really use it every day and there’s just no place for it. So we’re working on that now that in the short term, finding just a place for that printer besides my bedroom floor is our first goal. And then in the long term, this dream office is something that has…it’s really helped me when I’m feeling especially kind of angry about the situation to just think towards the future about what kind of office would I like to create, because it’s nice that we have an option for that. Just not today.

Emma: Yes, I totally agree. I really identify with two things you said, the having a place to kind of like shut stuff for if you’re having friends over, like if you’re hosting and you just need to, like, put some things away just to minimize the visual clutter. Just having a space to kind of shut it away and which is nice. And also, I also have a printer. Mine isn’t as big as yours. I forget the number right now. But you can you can find it on our blog. We talked about our printers a lot. We’ve worked with Canon for a long time.

Elsie: We can put them in the shownotes.

Emma: Yeah.We’ll put them in there.

Elsie: We’re definitely very loyal to our printers. I get a lot of DMs about…

Emma: Oh, yeah.

Elsie: …What kind of printer to buy. And I am very passionate about it. It’s just huge.

Emma: Yeah. Well in mine…my isn’t` as big as yours and I use it for photos and craft projects, but also for all of the documents and things that I do for our company. And so I print stuff every single day and I probably scan stuff most days to like if I’m making a copy, I use it like as a copy machine. Not that I make hundreds of copies, but like I do have a lot of documents that I have to sign a lot of things for banks and other institutions.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: So not whenever I don’t have my printer set up and I can’t scan. That’s a major like oh I can’t get my work done. Like this is a big deal.

Elsie: Absolutely. No, I feel that way. Even just doing like returns like you want to return something, you have to print it out. Like I’ve had a lot of stress surrounding this. So, yeah, it’s exciting to talk about the dream office today. And so my dream office is basically Darcy Miller’s office. So I’m just gonna go ahead and say that up top. It’s the most beautiful office I’ve ever seen. Yeah. Emma and I got to meet Darcy last year. And if you don’t know who she is, she was…in my formative years, she was the editor of Martha Stewart Weddings. And she has a fantastic art business, design business. She does a lot of – every year she sends a little Valentine from her and her girls. She’s just very creative and inspiring and definitely a woman we look up to. And her office is a real dream office when you see it. It’s like a catalog. It’s like a mag— I mean, she’s a magazine editor. I guess that’s that’s why. But I basically just want to copy her office and then maybe add and customize a few little things. But it’s just perfect. So I’ll put that in the show notes. And then we kind of each wrote down three things that would make our dream office a real dream. So if you’re planning yours, hopefully this will be helpful. If not, I just think it’s fun to dream about.

Emma: Yeah. Tell us your first thing.

Elsie: I’ve always loved offices like I’ve always been that person who likes to peruse Staples or Office Depot for fun.

Emma: Oh yeah, me too. Oh yeah. Buy a new notebook. That’s like a whole…that’s a fun little moment for me right there. That’s like. That’s when you know you’re an adult because you’re like, this is a fun treat. I’m gonna buy myself some more office supplies that are cute. Yeah, but I. I do think that your office, when you’re an adult, is very much like your bedroom when you’re a kid, because you it’s the place that you get to customize and it’s kind of like your space. Even if you have like a cubicle at a, you know, more corporate place, you still probably get to like. Put up photos or decorate it in some way, you know? So that and then also you spend a lot of time in your office. You spend 40 plus hours, probably if you work full time. So that’s a lot of — a lot of your life is spent in this space specifically. So I think it makes a ton of sense to, like, care a lot about your office, whether it’s at your your home, like for us or, you know, at an office building. But, yeah.

Elsie: I 100 percent agree with that. My first dream is to — and this is definitely as a result of my recent experiences, which have been somewhat unpleasant — having access to all of my art craft, DIY supplies 24/7, just like having my own little Joann craft store, mini, inside my home. I’m very lazy, even when it’s not quarantine time, I’m very lazy about not wanting to run to the store for just one thing. So if it’s possible that it’s in a box in my office, I will go through every box and find it. It’s just how I operate. So I just love the idea of if you you know, sometimes you just get an itch to make like a random craft. And I just love having the stuff already ready to go.

Emma: Oh, yeah, I’m the same way. I have lots of random little bits and pieces that I’m always like. I get so upset if I buy a duplicate of something and I’m like, oh dang it I already had glue dots and I bought glue dots, you know, just feels so, well one, it’s just kind of a waste of money. You’re like, oh, I could have saved myself money. And so it’s…but it’s also just like…

Elsie: You’ll use the glue dots, you’ll probably use them all on one project. That’s what I always do.

Emma: Yeah. Well yeah. I mean glue dots or Penny will come over…

Elsie: I’m always out of glue dots.

Emma: Yeah. That’s why I brought it up with glue dots. That’s kind of the number one thing you need. OK. Anyway, my number one dream trait for an office is you could probably guess by my rant, is a door.

Elsie: (laughs) I can’t believe you just said a door. Oh that’s funny.

Emma: A door or just like a wall. You know, like I want it to be a room. And this isn’t going to work in my current home. So this is not like something I’m planning to do in my it’s…

Elsie: Something you would look for when you’re house shopping.

Emma: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because I think turning my space currently into a room would really kind of make the layout of our home a lot worse if we were ever going to resell. I mean, I would, I don’t plan to do that. Yeah. I don’t plan to do that at all. I have been, though, looking up and I’ll show you a photo later, Elsie and I could maybe put in the show notes. It’s not my photo though, and I’m not sure of the source. I was just looking on Pinterest, so I always hate…I’d like to put the source if I know. Anyway, though, it’s these kind of like modern room dividers and it’s not the folding kind. It’s not like that. It’s more like a built in. And it has little vertical slants of wood, like pieces of wood that look like they’re floating and they’re held there by like steel. And then it has almost kind of like a little built in side table or console or something like that. So basically, it would kind of be a see through wall, which is not the same thing.

Elsie: Yeah. That doesn’t sound right to me. But I want to see the picture.

Emma: It sounds like a good solution to my current prob…like it sounds like the best solution I could do for my current space. So that’s why I’m kind of like thinking about it. But I’m also like, if I really want this to look super, super nice, I don’t think it’s really a DIY. So I think I’m going to have to invest. Yeah, yeah.

Elsie: You guys, Emma had a dream house and because you haven’t shared that yet on the podcast. She had a dream house for like six months…

Emma: Two years. No it’s two years.

Elsie: Oh my gosh. Two years?

Emma: Yeah. I saw it as a open house like over a year ago.

Elsie: She had this really adorable dream house in the cutest neighborhood of our hometown. And they finally decided to go buy that house. And it was sold. Like, what, a month before?

Emma: It sold like two months before we were trying to offer. Yeah.

Elsie: So she’s a little bit heart broken right now.

Emma: Yeah, it’s OK. It’s one of those. I think it’s just I’m kind of sick of thinking about it. I just want to feel like…

Elsie: I’m sorry I brought it up. I know she was crying a lot last week. It was so sad.

Emma: Yeah, I cried. Yeah, it’s a bummer. But, you know, there are worse problems in the world. But yeah, I just would like to feel settled.

Elsie: And now you need a rebound.

Emma: Yeah, I only plan to move once more in my life for sure. I probably will more, but I only for sure, you know, like I feel like this next one’s it for a long, long time. So I’m not really interested in settling and I’m not, you know what I mean? Like, I’m just like it has to be…has to be the one. Or forget it.

Elsie: Good for you sister. That’s inspiring.

Emma: I guess, but it makes it very like well, this could take many, many years. That was the only one I saw in the last few years that I liked. I’m on Zillow like every day. So I went, well, OK. Anyway, who trait number two.

Elsie: OK, my second one is, I’m dreaming of something kid friendly. And here’s why. I’ve seen some offices that have like a giant island in the middle, kind of like a kitchen island. But, you know, just like as a workspace. And I really, really want to do that in my next office because I’m just imagining that would just be so nice to have a place where my kids can be sometimes while I’m working. You know, if our kids have like a sick day from school or something like that, you know, or just, you know, it’s the weekend and we’re making crafts together or whatever. I would just love to have like a big open space where we can make ornaments together and, you know, all of our little Halloween crafts and stuff like that. So I do really care that it’s kid friendly and there’s like the perfect seat for them, you know, like there’s.

Emma: Yeah I was gonna say…

Elsie: It’s like a whole thing that I’ve taught Emma about kids in chairs. Like, not every chair is kid friendly. And that’s a big thing when you’re picking them.

Emma: Yeah. There’s so much I don’t know about. Yeah. That’s why I’m like…so tell me a little more about the kid friendly. Like you want it to be like a low table? So when they’re short they can still stand there or like what about it is. Do you want it to be made of wood so they can get paint on it and it’s OK. Or like you know what I mean. Like what what exactly makes it kid friendly?

Elsie: If it’s an island, I would probably pick a quartz top because that’s really durable and…but maybe a butcher block too, because I feel like as long as you can mentally handle a butcher block getting some wear and tear from crafting, which I totally can, then that could work as well.

Emma: It’s fairly inexpensive, butcher block. So if it gets ruined over time, you know.

Elsie: Yeah, I wouldn’t pick marble. I’m a little anti marble. I’m like one of the only bloggers who doesn’t pick all marble, everything for my home.

Emma: Well, it’s not very durable sometimes. So…

Elsie: I had some in my last home and I liked it OK. As far as being kid friendly, I just want to have the kind of office where I can see my kids making crafts, you know, and they’re not going to like — chairs that are accessible for them, you know, at their ages. Now, they have those little counter stools where they can stand by the counter. I’ll probably get one of those. If I had an island office situation right now for Marigold’s age, you know what I’m talking about? The little safety kids.

Emma: Yeah. They like can climb up it kind of thing.

Elsie: Yeah. So something like that.

Emma: Oh Goldie.

Elsie: Goldie. She’s the best. What’s your number two?

Emma: Ok. My number two is I think it’s kind of similar to your first one, but it’s essentially storage you can see. When I first moved into this home. We had two coat closets in this hallway that leads from our living areas to our bedrooms. One of the coat closets we used for coats and like our vacuum cleaner and the other one I used as a craft closet. And it had all my extra crafts, supplies and just stuff from work.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: And that was great because it was out of the way. So I always felt like I had a place to, like, put stuff and I would clean it out once a year and like, donate things or give to friends or whatever. But recently I redid my office or like way earlier this year. So now it’s already been like six months. And I added this big metal kind of very industrial. It’s like something usually put in your garage. Just, um, what am I trying to say? Shelf unit. And I moved everything from my craft closet one, I cleaned it out again. And then I guess I was due. And then I put everything on the shelf unit so I can see it all now. And it’s been great. I’ve been making crafts just for fun, like I’ve been making stuff out of clay all this week. And Trey is like, oh, is that for blog post? I’m like, I’m just making it will be like nighttime and I’m just like making stuff with, like air dry clay.

Elsie: That’s so cute.

Emma: Because I can just see it all and I kind of, you know, know where everything is. And I just can very quickly…I don’t have to like go into the closet and turn on the light and look out for a spider and dig around for something I can just like see on my, you know, shelf unit in my office that I can look at all the time if I have it or not. Or I can very quickly look in the bins and see. And I will say I, I do think, you know, the problem with storage you can see is you have to really keep it minimal and keep it clean or it starts to look kind of janky and it can really cause a lot of visual clutter in your life. But I really like it because I think it helps me to like know when I have some supplies or like, oh yeah, I was meaning to make something with that.

Elsie: I do agree that open storage is better than closed storage. This is similar, but different. But I just wrote a blog post about our kitchen, which I think will be up around the time of this podcast.

Emma: No, I think it’ll be just after.

Elsie: Just after. OK, so it’ll be up this week anyway. A lot of people have asked me, do you like the open storage better because we had the open shelves in our previous kitchen, or do you like the closed better? And a lot of people thought I was going to love the closed better. Much better. And I will say I like them both. I think the ideal perfect situation for my dream kitchen will be having a combination of both. I don’t think every single shelf needs to be open, but I really love open shelves and I miss having them. And if I had to pick between one or the other, I would pick open. And the main reason is just because I can see everything and I know it takes a while to learn your kitchen and stuff, but I’ve lived in our house for almost three months now and I still just kind of feel like that, you know, and I’m like trying to cook and stuff. So, yeah, I miss the open shelving and for a craft room or anything that’s just functional, I guess I’m conflating craft room with office now. Maybe some people wouldn’t have any craft stuff in their office and they’re like, why are you talking about crafts so much? This is just us. But anyway…

Emma: I have craft supplies everywhere.

Elsie: …whatever stuff you have to store, like some people have the office that’s kind of like the fashion blogger office where it’s basically a closet with a desk in it, you know? Same thing, but different. So anyway, yeah, I like open storage.

Emma: I do too. And just to add to that, I feel like I kind of said it. But just to add to the you know, you like it because you can find things. I also think that the open, which closed is fine too, I have closed up at my kitchen and it’s great, but I do notice that I tend to kind of fill up the space and then just shut the door, you know, on the cabinet and not necessarily take as much time to organize it or to really be like, hey, do you really use all of the appliances that you have shut away in this cabinet that you don’t have to look at? Do you really use all these craft supplies that are shut away in this closet? And the answer is most the time. No, because that’s why it’s shut away, because I don’t really need it. So I like, I kind of like open because it reminds me what I have in it. It reminds me, are you using this? Do you find it valuable? If you don’t, do you really need it in your life? You know, maybe you should donated or at least stop buying it if you’re not using it, you know, whatever it is.

Elsie: Definitely. So my third one is I spend a lot of time, I mean, it’s definitely a DIY blog. We make crafts, we do all these cute things. We have a ton of supplies. But the majority of my work day is working on my computer. Being on my computer and doing meetings and phone calls. So that’s really what the office is for, also printing papers, as we’ve discussed. So having a space that is just organized and clean is really appealing to me. So something that’s kind of like easy to keep clean. And for me, this is kind of random and maybe just like strangely personal. But for my next office, it’s really important to me that it’s really far away from the front door because of a huge problem I had in my last home of it becoming an Amazon box graveyard at all times. And just like the one room, it was the one room where you could shut the doors. It was very small. So people would just like, well Jeremy and I would just throw everything in there, you know, to clean. And there was times when there was stuff like to my knees. So for me, the biggest thing is something that I know I can keep clean. So I think having a lot of storage, having some like, I really like to my last office, how I had the bottom cabinets that closed. Kind of like, you know, your bottom kitchen cabinets. And then there was open ones on the top where I had a bunch of little simple IKEA storage boxes that were labeled. And that was perfect. That was plenty of space. It was a tiny, tiny little office. I think it was considered like a study like it in the old days. Tiniest little office. Although I do want the big island. I think my dream office is kind of crazy.

Emma: Well, it sounds like you’re still developing it. You know.

Elsie: That’s true.(laughs)

Emma: You’re in the dreaming phase. It’s okay.

Elsie: I’m enjoying thinking about it every day as I work from my bed. (laughs) What’s your third thing?

Emma: OK. My third thing is way less specific because I don’t really even know how it would come to life. It is either, so beautiful natural light of some kind, which, by the way, I already have in my office. I have really pretty natural light, although I hate skylights.

Elsie: I think that that is an excellent thing to put on your list because you don’t miss it until it’s gone.

Emma: Yeah. Wait, there’s more.

Elsie: Oh, OK.

Emma: Natural light and or, it’s an and or, because I feel like they could go together but also maybe not. And or a pretty view.

Elsie: A view!

Emma: A view. Yeah I know. And I don’t even know because like I’m not really planning — because I’m like oh it be amazing to have a view of the ocean, but I live in Missouri and I’m not really planning to move, so I don’t really know what that like. That’s kind of a stupid dream…

Elsie: That’s not stupid! From a lot of the rooms in our new home, it’s just a view of trees, but it’s really beautiful. They’re really close up and the windows are big. And it’s one of my favorite things about the whole house.

Emma: Yeah. And I definitely have a view of the forest in our backyard right now, which is really nice. I do like it, but it also, I don’t know, gets kind of muddy. And there’s this chain link fence and one time there was a really large snake. I don’t know, there’s some drawbacks too, so.

Elsie: Snakes.

Emma: Yeah, but so I don’t really know exactly. I feel like I kind of already have this one. So maybe more what I’m trying to say is like I value this thing I already have. And I wouldn’t mind if it was different, but I don’t want to lose it if I ever have a different office. I really like having a space filled with light or that feels like I can see a little bit of nature in some way. Even if it’s a snake, that only happened one time.

Elsie: So, OK, here’s where I struck gold in my marriage. My husband’s dream office is really dark. He likes his spaces really dark. He likes to have candles, he likes to have twinkle lights like that’s how he likes his offices. He doesn’t care at all about having…

Emma: More of a lair.

Elsie: Yeah. It’s more of a. So he always takes like the basement areas for his studios in our last two homes. And that really is perfect because I would not I would not at all want a basement studio that was like closed off and but it’s like perfect for a music studio. So yeah, I want the windows too.

Emma: Yeah, I like windows, but not skylights.

Elsie: Why don’t you like skylights?

Emma: I like them OK. I think sometimes they cast really weird light. And then it makes it hard to photograph things. And I don’t have the kind of skylights that, like, have any kind of curtain or you can block it like you have no control over it.

Elsie: Oh because you have shades on them. Some people have like the remote…

Emma: Yeah. And I don’t have that. So I would probably need to get that. I guess I don’t really know. I just feel like they’re really high up there and kind of unpredictable. But I do like the sound of rain on the skylights. I’ll say that. Whenever it rains, it’s very soothing. So that’s nice.

Elsie: I always like it when I see skylights in a home. I mean, yeah, really pretty, but that makes sense if the uneven light is a thing.

Emma: It just gives it kind of a weird like a glow from below. Whenever you’re trying to photograph something and it seems strange. OK, should we do Guilty pleasure. Treasure or did you have anything else you can say about your dream office?

Elsie: I am ready for the guilty pleasures.

Emma: OK, cool. Well, tell us yours.

Elsie: OK, so recently. So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here on the podcast before, but I have this app called Libby and it lets you check out library books and you can check out audio books on it for free, which is really cool. You just have to enter in your library card number. And so I listen to a ton of audio books on it. I usually have at least one or two. Sometimes you do have to wait like multiple weeks for a book, which is fine. It’s just hard to remember that, you know, that you were way right. And like, right now I have to and I feel a lot of pressure because it’s only 14 days and I’m like, oh, God, I have to get on this. But anyway, my favorite one that I’ve listened to recently was Jessica Simpson’s Open Book, which I knew it was a guilty pleasure when I pressed download on that, obviously, but I didn’t know how much I would love it. Like it. It is a legitimately amazing story just all around. Amazing story. Ten out of ten, if you’re even a little bit interested in Jessica Simpson or just learning about a pop career and an incredibly successful fashion career. It is a very interesting book. And what should I say about it?

Emma: Yeah, I want to hear a couple things from it.

Elsie: A couple of specific things.

Emma: Because I love Jessica Simpson. She’s way rad.

Elsie: Yeah I love Jessica Simpson. So before, I had heard a couple of the like John Mayer slash Nick Lachey’s new wife like responses to the book. And so I knew I was going to have a lot of drama. Like, it was going to tell some really personal stories about other people’s lives, too. So I was prepared for that. But it definitely delivers in that department. It’s very, I don’t know what the word is — juicy? It’s extremely juicy. It goes into detail. I don’t think that it says anything that would really make you like, hate, any of the other celebrities. It just makes them seem more human to you, which I thought was…I liked it. I enjoyed it. And it’s one person’s story, you know. So in that context, I really enjoyed listening to it. And then she talks a ton about what it was like having the pop career, and then was like having her fashion brand, which was, I believe, the first celebrity fashion brand to reach a billion dollars.

Emma: Oh really, it was the first?

Elsie: Yeah. It was.

Emma: Wow, that’s amazing.

Elsie: I think it’s still the most successful celebrity fashion brand. It’s a very, very big, successful brand.

Emma: I have owned a number of things from her line.

Elsie: Yeah. Because being from Springfield, Missouri, the best store is Dillard’s, which nothing bad against Dillard’s. But it’s the best store in our home town…

Emma: In the mall for sure. Other than that I’d say Stacks. Have you been there? Anyway, let’s. We don’t need to go into that.

Elsie: A local shop is also really good.

Emma: It’s good. Anyway…

Elsie: So anyway, they I’ve bought so many pairs of Jessica Simpson jeans when I still lived in Missouri and even some since I moved here. And she also has like kids clothes, maternity clothes, really good shoes. She is like very short, like we are. So she has lots of heels which I like. So anyway, yeah, ten out of ten definitely recommend. I didn’t at all think I would have so much in common with her. The book opens. Okay. This is the last juicy thing. The book opens with her talking about her addiction to drinking and like her last day of drinking ever, I guess. So it starts off with a banger of a story and then just gets better and better.

Emma: I didn’t know she was sober. I didn’t know she didn’t drink anymore.

Elsie: Yeah. She has a really interesting life. And she’s a good writer. Yeah. So I was overall, just super impressed and enjoyed it. Like, I like reading memoirs, so it’s definitely like a category that’s enjoyable. But this one was better than most. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Emma: Cool. Cool. Well, speaking of being sober…I’m doing, not the same thing but just a month off of drinking, which I do every now and again. I do it at least once a year. It’s just a nice little reset button. I like to drink and I will be returning. And I think it’s nice to take a break so that I can you know, I like to make sure I’m still in control, make sure it’s not becoming a habit that I am getting too much into. You know, all those things. So anyway, so this month I’m. Taking a month off of drinking and a friend of mine knew I was doing that. Brandon Goodwin. And he left me this bottle of it’s a non alcoholic spirits. It’s like a distilled spirits, but it’s non alcoholic. And the name of the brand is Seed Lip. And they have multiple different flavors and kinds. I think they’re kind of meant to taste. I mean, they’re all kind of different, but they’re kind of like a gin, is what I would say. Oh, hey.

Elsie: So it’s herbal-y.

Emma: Yeah, it’s herbal-y. They have different flavors, but it’s kind of herbal-y. And so it’s citrusy. So anyway, he left me a bottle of that. I think he just kind of had. And so he was just, you know, being nice. He knew I was doing a month off drinking. And so I’ve been using that. And I make what’s essentially a nonalcoholic lemon drop martini. Most nights.

Elsie: Oh, my gosh. I just had the best visualization. But please, please, for the love of God, take a lemon drop martini picture for our show notes. I’m begging you!

Emma: I just ran out of the spirits, like yesterday. I’ve been drinking them. Well, it’s not real spirits, but, you know, I have to say. So, yeah, it’s…I use. I’ll use like my little shot glass. And it’s like one shot of fresh lemon juice, one shot of simple syrup and I just make my own and have a little bottle in my fridge. And then two shots of this Seed Lip spirits, nonalcoholic spirits. And I shake it up in a cocktail shaker and I strain it with my strainer and I add a little lemon rind wedge to it and I squeeze it over. I do the whole, like I think for me, I just like making a cocktail. I mean, I like to drink, but I also really do enjoy, like, making a cocktail. Like, I just I like cooking. I like making things.

Elsie: I definitely agree with that. I feel like the presentation and making it beautiful and making it feel…like last night I made this kind of like orange rosemary margarita and making it, like I put a little bit of salt on the rim, making it look like a restaurant cocktail is really important to me. And just other than that, I would just drink canned wine.

Emma: Yeah. Which I totally do. Yeah. Lots of I mean, I will be next month when I’m back. Don’t you worry. But yeah. So I think for me too I really enjoy having some kind of drink like a special little something. Doesn’t have to be alcoholic obviously, but something when I’m making dinner at night. To me that just feels like man I’m fancy. I’ve really made it in life. That’s that’s my rich life is like making dinner and having a cocktail, a fancy cocktail or a glass of wine. And since I’m taking this month off of drinking, I make these nonalcoholic cocktails every night when I’m making dinner, not every night, but most.

Elsie: I love that because I feel like the tradition is a big part of enjoying it. It almost doesn’t even matter if you have alcohol. I mean, it does matter, but you can still enjoy the tradition of it.

Emma: Yeah, exactly. I really sincerely do. Like I look forward to my little end of the day, quote unquote mocktail, you know, and yeah, I don’t know. Trey seems to get out the shaker and he’s like, oh, she’s making her mocktail. Yeah. So anyway, that’s that’s it. I’ll put a link. But if you’re interested, it’s SeedLipdrinks.com and we’ll put a link in the show notes. I really like it. And I am about to hit a milestone on a certain goal which we’ll talk about in another episode. But when I do, I already have it in a cart like on on my computer. I’m gonna buy me this little like it’s it’s not like a small sample, but it’s a pack of all three of the Seed Lips spirits like flavors because I’m really into it.

Elsie: That’s your reward.

Emma: Yeah, it’s my reward. And I think even though next month I plan to start drinking again, I like the idea of having nights where I’m still making a nonalcoholic cocktail just to kind of mix it up.

Elsie: And it’s also very important when you have guests over to have something festive to make for, you know.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: If there’s someone who’s a non drinker or someone pregnant or, you know, any number of reasons. I think that it’s really nice to have, like, to give them a real mocktail instead of just a LaCroix.

Emma: Yeah. Yeah, I do too. I totally agree. Yeah.

Elsie: Okay, well I want to try that. And also in the show notes let’s link our, we did a mocktail post once, we came up with some really good ones.

Emma: Yeah. You could make some pretty delicious mocktails so. Well that’s it for this episode. Thanks so much for listening. And as you know, we’re still only thirty seven episodes deep. It still means a ton to us if you share our podcast or help us grow in any way. And another way, if you’re like, I don’t want to share it, but I do want to help in some way. We’re always looking for podcast episode ideas, things you might be interested in hearing from us. And you can leave a comment on our blog at A Beautiful Mess dot com. Or you can write us at podcast at A Beautiful Mess dot com.

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  • Thank you Elsie for mentioning Libby today! So many people are unaware of how much material they can get for free from their public library. And electronic books and ebooks are a no-contact solution. I also nodded my head listening to Emma and her diaper dog – ours uses a belly band. I can completely relate. You ladies are the best!

  • I’m very curious to hear y’all talk about creative blocks and how to overcome! Really love the podcast, it’s lovely to feel like I’m getting to know you both better 😀

  • Hi Emma and Elsie! I am a huge huge fan of your longtime blog and now podcast! I started following you all back when you posted the kitchen with the “stamped” oranges on the walls.

    Listening to the podcast this week I heard you both mention that you’re short. Can you pretty please do an episode about being short/dressing and shopping for short people?? I’m only 5’2” and most times have a hard time figuring out how to make mainstream clothes fit and look good!! Share all of your tips!!

  • Hi! Loved hearing you chat about your offices and organizational styles! The way you were talking about open vs. closed storage reminded me of a home organization blogger/podcaster called “Clutterbug” – she has a great quiz and rubric to figure out these best way to organizer your home based on your “clutterbug”
    personality. It’s really neat to think about! I love both of your office spaces!

  • I had my husband out a shelf and an outlet in a closet for our printer. With the kids having distance learning and is printing at home it’s been so great. Before I’d just plug it in when needed. We also just bought a metal filing cabinet for the garage for papers we both need to keep that can’t fit in our single file drawer inside the house. I didn’t want the cabinet inside.

  • I like that Elsie’s current office setup faces the window, Darcy’s office is so visually pleasing.

  • Hey Elsie and Emma!
    I just wanted to leave you a note saying I’m loving the podcast and look forward to new episodes every Monday. We met briefly in Amsterdam a few years ago, when I was speaking (about Pinterest) at a blogging conference that you were keynoting for and I’ve been following you both since. Love the honesty and vulnerability in the podcast episodes and especially love the more business-focused episodes mixed with your personal stories and tips.

    I would LOVE to hear more about how you girls moved your business from let’s say ‘economy class’ to ‘business class’ (I’m a travel blogger, so can only think in travel-related terms, haha), with which I mean the process of first starting to hire people (where did you find them, what tasks did you first outsource?), getting started with your first products – and maybe even more about dealing with having other people contribute to something that is such a personal thing like your blog that you’ve been running alone for a few years.

    Is it really ‘only’ a matter of setting clear goals of where you want your business to be and then making conscious decisions such as hiring for your weaknesses? Or did(do) you feel that you have to actively keep balancing the line between wanting to keep full control and have creative freedom (and maybe sabotaging/holding yourself back a bit because you’re scared of what comes next) versus just getting over yourself, getting s- done and asking for help because that’s what will keep moving your business forward?

    I’m always scared that in order to take that ‘next step’ with my own blog, I have to either disconnect emotionally a bit or give something up in order to get there (#TeamPerfectionist #TeamControlFreak) – would love to hear what your experience was with building a team and if you have any advice for bloggers on developing a growth/business mindset.

    Hope my question(s) makes sense. Keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to future episodes!

    Love from Amsterdam,
    Nienke (pronounced ‘neen-kuh’, – when I’m at Starbucks on my travels I have them write down ‘Susan’ because it’s easier for everyone, ah well…)

    • Hello again. What an incredibly thoughtful comment / question. We’d love to talk on this more in a future episode. Thanks for taking the time to connect!

  • perusing stationery supplies and using them are two separate hobbies 😉

  • I’ve really been enjoying the business episodes of the podcast! Even though I’m a government employee… I guess I have other dreams…

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