Woo! We’re so excited for our first episode of 2021!
Big thanks to Issuu for sponsoring this week’s episode!
-We each share our favorite memories from our 2020 quarantined Christmas (it’s mainly making cookies).
-Emma promises to post Barbara’s sugar cookie recipe soon. Update, here it is!
-Elsie shares the rooms she is currently working on, what’s complete and what’s coming to the blog soon.
-Emma shares how she’s making the holiday house her own. Here’s a link to the kitchen she’s adding to.
-We mention the Unpopular Opinions episode.
-We mention The Twelve Week Year–if you want to listen in advance, you can be in our “book club.”
-Elsie … puzzles.
-Emma … Shark vacuum.
-Emma also mentions Mrs. Hinch.
Thanks so much for listening! If you have 2021 episode requests, please leave them in the comments here. xx!
Episode 70 Transcript
Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast, welcome to the first episode of 2021, we made it!
Emma: We are excited for a fresh year of podcasting with you each week. This week we are catching up on what house projects we’ve been doing and sharing a few topics from our upcoming podcast season. We’ve missed you.
Elsie: We missed you!
Emma: Yeah, for real. I really did. Like Elsie can see me, but I’m fully dressed. I have makeup on. I’m just kind of pretending that I, I’m catching up with all my friends because, you know, this is what I got. (laughs)
Emma: So here we are.
Elsie: Yup, yup, yup. We are here guys, we are recording at 8:38 in the morning remotely via Skype, which I just learned that Skype is for old people, which we are.
Emma: That makes sense.
Elsie: Yeah I know. I love it. OK, yeah. So we missed you. It’s actually been a little while since we recorded because we have been trying batch working, which is our great passion in life. And so we haven’t recorded I think since the very end of October, because we did like all of our holiday episodes in a batch and now we are doing 2021 episodes in a batch. So this is a great week and we are so excited to be back. We miss — like I love podcasting.
Emma: Me too. And I also I was like, oh, am I going to be a little bit rusty? Cause I haven’t talked on the podcast since like October and it’s now towards the very end of December when we were recording this, but yeah it’s just talking! (laughs)
Elsie: It’s a muscle memory. At very first it was difficult and now it’s like it’s easy. It’s fun. OK, so before we jump in, I thought it would be fun if we shared — if we each share our favorite memory from our 2020 quarantined Christmas, because this is actually only the second Christmas of our whole lives that we spent apart.
Elsie: We have almost spent no Christmases apart. But this Christmas we spent apart.
Emma: What was that first one?
Elsie: It was when you lived in California and remember, you stayed home with Caleb one time.
Emma: Oh, I don’t remember if I did or not.
Elsie: Because you had to work.
Emma: Yeah, I probably did after work. Mm. Yeah. It’s been a while.
Elsie: It’s been a while. All right. So each our favorite memory of our quarantine Christmas. So mine without a doubt is cookie marathon because this is how I set us up for success. About two weeks before Christmas I started making cookies and then I just never stopped. And the way that my cookie projects are, it takes a couple of days for each one. So it just never stopped. We’ve just been continually making cookies for weeks and it is a very joyful memory. My kids love to do the icing. They love to do the decorating. We also made other treats that were easier, like brownies and Rice Krispie treats and things like that. But yeah, I highly recommend it for anyone who is having a stay home Christmas. And you’re a little bit anxious, like what do I do with my time? Cookie. Marathon.
Emma: Mm hmm. I’m assuming you did some royal icing cookies. What other types of cookies did you do?
Elsie: Yes, so I spent a Pinterest deep dive night just searching cookies, and I made a list. So I did what I consider to be all the classics. So I did the cornflake wreaths.
Emma: (gasp) Yes!
Elsie: Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s like a wreath dyed green…
Emma: Yeah, I’m from the midwest. Yes, I know what you’re talking about.
Elsie: Yes. It’s a grandma cookie. And then the classic, the snowballs…the snowballs. Cupcakes with the — where you use the ice cream cone to make it into a tree.
Emma: Yes. Mmhmm.
Elsie: I got my first set of frosting tips. I started learning like something besides royal icing — buttercream frosting, which is so fun and so different. And it’s also like one part craft…It’s mostly craft. It’s not really like, baking.
Emma: It’s mostly craft. Yeah.
Elsie: So it’s perfect. I love it. So yeah, we just…
Emma: So all the hits!
Elsie: Yeah. And my husband’s favorite cookie — yes — is Gingerbread, which is a funny favorite to have, but I think they’re really fun. They smell really good.
Emma: Yeah they do.
Elsie: They’re definitely the most fragrant cookies to bake.
Emma: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Gingerbread is really good. I think that’s cool that that’s his favorite because it’s a very spicy…
Elsie: They’re really good right out of the oven I think. And then when they’re — I tried to make mine really soft, because a crispy gingerbread cookie just makes me so sad.
Emma: Right. Yeah. And he’s he likes to cook with a lot of spices. So really that makes a lot of sense that gingerbread would be his favorite cookie. OK, well, my favorite memory from, you know, Christmas 2020 was very similar, I had a day where I made a giant batch of sugar cookies it’s actually Trey’s mom’s recipe. She has a really good…
Elsie: Aw yeah!
Emma: Or maybe it’s his aunt, but his mom always makes them? I don’t know. But I have like the…
Elsie: Do you think you have this recipe? Because I’m sure everyone would love to see it.
Emma: I should. It feels very Christmassy to me. So maybe I missed it for this year. I don’t know. But I have the — saved on my phone like a handwritten recipe card from his mom, you know. Yeah. And I actually text it to a few friends. So anyway, I made a giant batch of that and then also my Oreo truffles and then also my puppy chow mix, which is pretty classic, but it just involves a little bit extra salt, basically. But it’s on the blog now. And I packaged them all up and put them in bags and like delivered them to friends doorsteps, like just left it on the doorstep and then…
Elsie: Oh Emma, cute!
Emma: Yeah, it was really fun and it was just kind of fun also to drive around that day and listen to Christmas music in my car because I really don’t go that many places. So just to drive around and listen to Christmas music was kind of fun too as I was delivering these. So yeah. And then a bunch of my friends like loved the cookies. So they were like, text me that recipe. So I was like texting Barbara’s recipe around. (laughs) So yeah, it was very fun.
Elsie: Oh my God. I want to try them.
Emma: They’re really good. Yeah.
Elsie: Oh wonderful. Well so both of our favorite memory was something in the kitchen which I think that makes sense for 2020 — best part of 2020 was cooking at home and now it’s over. Goodbye.
Emma: Yeah, well I’m still cooking at home but yeah. Yeah. Goodbye 2020. Let’s do a little catch up on house projects. What we’ve been working on lately because as you mentioned, we haven’t really recorded since October. So a few things people might have seen on the blog, but generally there’s probably a lot of things that are in progress.
Emma: I know your house is kind of always in progress. So what have you been working on since we last recorded?
Elsie: All right. So I am just about finished with our girls’ shared bedroom, and that’s been so much fun. It will probably be on the blog this month in January. It is so frigging special. Doing a kids room is definitely the ultimate, at least for a mom of little kids. It’s just so much fun. And the day that we put up the wallpaper, they were so amazed by how much they loved the room. It was the best feeling in my heart.
Emma: Aw, that’s cute. They love their wallpaper. I love that.
Elsie: Yes, we just completed my pink closet, which was the most special thing I can ever imagine because I’ve always dreamed of having like a closet-closet. And this is my first one. I mean, probably my only one (laughs), but this is like the one. And so we did a low waste renovation, which means we took what was there and added to it and built it out and customized it. So we didn’t rip out the closet we just built what was…we ripped out a couple of things, but we built out what was there and made it way better. So I’m really excited to blog that. It is, it feels really, really good. The first time I went in it with the kids when it was completed, Nova was like, is this room bigger now? And I think that’s like the best review you can say about something is that when it gets finished, it feels like there’s more space.
Emma: Yes, I agree. I like that that was her note. She’s very perceptive of like decor stuff. It’s very cute.
Elsie: She does whenever Collin put up the wallpaper, she asked if he took down the white wallpaper and this was under it. (laughs)
Emma: Oh, (laughs) I like that. she knows that you uncover wallpaper. That’s part of it sometimes.
Elsie: Yeah, I know it’s so sweet. OK. So we finished the wine cellar, which that has already been on the blog. That was our — that was my special week between Christmas and New Year’s post, because you always have to have a good post that week because it’s such a weird week. So I will link that in the show notes if you missed it, it is so much better. It’s probably the best before and after I will ever have because when we bought the house it was the worst looking room by a lot. Oh, and we’re finishing my new office, which is so exciting. So the wet bar has already been on the blog. I will link to that. It’s the first time I’ve ever branched out from white tile and done a color tile in my house. And now I’m not going to stop there. I’m going to keep doing colored tile. It’s very exciting, very inspiring. I did something mauve which I’ve never done before. I’ve always just done like light pink, light pink, everything’s light pink. And this cabinet is definitely dark pink, which is different. And yeah, it’s just this cute little nook in my office. And now we’re building out the rest of the room to make it like an actual working office where I can work. So I’m very excited about that because the room I’ve been working in, I discovered recently doesn’t have any heaters or any vents. It’s just kind of like a an extra room that isn’t really made that way.
Emma: Right mmhmm.
Elsie: It’s too cold. And I don’t like working in there anymore. So I’m very, very excited to move into my real office with real heat.
Emma: Yeah, we are moving into the cold, cold months here like the next three months or so. Yes, it just got super cold here. Like you don’t want to go outside cold. So anyway, my schedule, I think I’m going to talk a little more about it in the next episode, so I’ll stop for now. But my remodel schedule for the year is poppin.
Elsie: I love it.
Elsie: What have you been up to in your house?
Emma: Well, so as I think most people know, but just in case not, I am currently living at what we used to call the holiday house and now I’m just going to call it my house. (laughs) I have started to like kind of get ideas of little things I want to change or just make a little bit more functional. Since I’m not an AirBnB guest, I’m more of a long-term tenant at this point? (laughs)
Emma: So anyway, the first big one that I’m doing, I’ve already ordered it, but they haven’t come in yet, is I wanted to add a few more kitchen cabinets in the kitchen. So it’s kind of a horseshoe shape and then there’s a wall that’s empty, doesn’t really have anything on it, it has like an outlet. And at the moment there’s a kitchen cart with a microwave on it and two trash cans like sitting up against the wall. So I ordered three new kitchen base cabinets that match the other ones we already had, which is like, I think Hampton Bay Shaker, I want to say. But I’ll link the kitchen so you guys can see the kitchen in the show notes. But I’ve always had a dream of having hidden trash (laughs) in my kitchen…
Elsie: This is a surprisingly big deal to her.
Emma: It really is.
Elsie: She talks about it a lot.
Emma: I feel like everyone who has hidden trash — don’t take it for granted every time you pull out that drawer, just celebrate a little, because some of us out there, we’ve been wanting this and just haven’t ever had it — hadn’t had a way to install it. Like didn’t have the right set up. And I you know, I haven’t had a kitchen that I was completely gutting. So anyway, I have two pull out trash can base cabinets that I ordered. So there’s a trash and a recycling. And then there’s also a bass cabinet that has a kind of like an empty built-in space and you can put a microwave in it. So I’m really excited to have a built-in microwave like it’s like in the cabinet and then two pull out trash cans. I just feel like it’s going to make the kitchen feel a little more streamlined. And I’m very excited. And the cabinets match. I wasn’t able to get the same countertop. They no longer sell that one.
Emma: I know we got it like a little over a year ago I think, so not that long ago it was from the Home Depot, but it’s a certain type of quartz. They didn’t have it. So I was like, all right, I think I’m just going to do butcher block. I’ll do a butcher block top because this doesn’t connect to the other area. So I feel like it’ll actually be kind of a cute little contrast. So no big deal there and that’ll be cheaper anyway so…
Elsie: It’ll be cute.
Emma: But I was going to match but didn’t work out. So I’m going with the butcher block, so I’m really excited for that. And I just think it’s going to have kind of the same function as what I have now because I have the microwave and I have the trash and recycling, but it will just look like finished and polished and I also will get more counter space. I’ll probably turn it into a little like coffee area.
Elsie: Yeah, you’ll gain a little bit of storage too, right?
Emma: A little bit. Yeah.
Elsie: Nice. Well I think it’ll look a lot nicer. Like having clean counters is surprisingly like a big deal I think like mentally just to walk into your kitchen in the morning and have I love cleaning my counters. That’s one of the chores I enjoy.
Emma: Yes. Yeah. Well yeah. In the morning you’re starting to make your coffee or whatever. If you walk in and your kitchen’s all clean and things are put away, it feels great. So that’s been my thing lately and I’m sure I’ll put something about it on the blog. It’s not like a DIY or really anything other than just I bought these cabinets and had them installed. So I don’t know how great of a blog post it would be…
Elsie: Well you can talk about — I have put your block to now just a little bit in my office and in our wine cellar. We did a little tiny counter in there and I love it. It’s the first time I’ve ever put butcher block in a house before and I really love it. So maybe we should do a post just about it sometime.
Emma: Yeah, we could do that. Yeah. I’m like I’d love to show it off, but I just don’t know how exciting of a post it would be really. But anyway.
Elsie: Oh it’s exciting.
Emma: So that’s what I’ve been, that’s the main thing I’ve been working on, is making my hidden trash dreams come true. (laughs)
Emma: So yeah. Yep!
Elsie: Yes. Emma loves her hidden trash can and I, I agree. A hidden microwave was a great idea as well.
Emma: Yeah, I know you don’t like microwaves, that was in our unpopular opinions episode but…I love microwaves.
Elsie: I would still rather it be hidden than be on the counter, so.
Emma: Right. Mm hmm. Yeah, me too. So what I’m doing it, I’m making it happen.
Emma: And now we’re going to take a short break and hear a word from our sponsor.
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Emma: Ok, so let’s share some upcoming podcast episode topics, give people a little teaser for what they can expect.
Elsie: Yes, OK, so we have been saving up some really exciting episodes and they are going to start dropping. It’s going to be really fun. So here’s a little taste. First of all, in a couple of weeks, we have a huge announcement. It’s probably the biggest announcement we’ve ever had on our podcast, which we’ve had a couple of big ones. So we can’t wait to share that, get excited.
Elsie: You can’t get too excited because you’re — it’s going to deliver. And then we are going to do a two-part, at least two-part series on our evangelical upbringing, which we’ve had countless requests, like this is definitely one of our most requested topics. And although our category of podcast is Home and Garden, it’s something that is a big part of our lives that I think a lot of people relate to. And it is, oh, I’ll be honest, a real, real hard episode to develop. So just like getting into it and feeling like we’re ready to tell those stories and that we’re going to be able to tell them the right way is a lot of pressure. So we’re excited about that. But also very nervous. We’re going to do an episode about vintage shopping, an episode about batch working, which is truly life-changing. We’re going to do some more book report episodes this season. We have a Zillow obsession episode where we just talk about how we have an addiction to Zillow. And then also Ramit is going to come back on our podcast this season, and this time Emma is going to interview him, which I’m super excited about, because he was one of our most popular guests from last year.
Emma: Yeah, we are big fan girls, so excited to have him back. And we’re going to be talking about some more things that might be a little more relevant right now in early 2021, you know, pivoting, starting new careers, some different things like that, because a lot of us, our lives have kind of changed. And, you know, hopefully we’re finding new ways and new hope in this new year. That’s what I hope for everyone.
Elsie: Yeah, well, we will do our best, especially in the book report episode — right now. And then I are reading this book called The 12 Week Year, and I’ll just like throw that out now in case you want to, like, read it and then pretend like you’re ike we’re book clubbing together. It’s so good, I’m listening to it actually. It’s it’s life changing.
Emma: It’s a good one.
Elsie: Also this year we are going to do our own version of a book club. So we’re going to put out books, read them, talk about them, and we will share it ahead of time so that you guys can read along. So let’s move on to our segment, Sparks Joy this week, because so this segment is just sharing a little thing, an affordable item that came into your life at the right time and brought you a lot of joy.
Emma: Oh, I don’t know if mine’s affordable. I didn’t know that part of it.
Elsie: Oh, it’s OK.
Emma: Well, it’s not crazy expensive. I’ll just tell you what mine is.
Elsie: Okay! (laughs).
Emma: So I got influenced by Mrs. Hinch. If you don’t follow @mrshinchhome on Instagram, you should. She’s awesome. She is like just really cool person. But I guess you would say she’s a cleaning influencer? She does a lot of cleaning in her house and shows off cleaning products. She’s also British. So she to me has a very admirable accent.
Elsie: I love a British accent. That’s right.
Emma: I know. Me too. I’m sure if you are British, you’re like, this is nothing new. But to me, as an American, I’m like, I love a British accent. So anyway, and she’s just a very positive person. And so I love to follow people who are just, you know, finding all the silver linings of their life. I’m like, I see you, I get you. I want to be you. So I’m going to follow you. Anyway, I got influenced by Mrs. Hinch to buy this. The brand is Shark and it is a hand-held vacuum. I always call these dust busters, but I think that’s a different brand. But that’s what I think of. I think of my grandma, Norma Jean. She always had this like hand-held kind of bulky Dustbuster growing up and she would be cleaning her house. And I — I’d never have had one before in my life. I’ve only had the push vacuums. And sometimes they’ll have an attachment that you can kind of use to get smaller areas. I’ve never just had a hand-held vacuum and I love it. I have (laughs) like…
Elsie: Tell us what you use it for! In detail, because I haven’t had one either.
Emma: The most satisfying thing is when you, like, sweep a room the floors of a room, but you can’t quite get the corner right. Then I get my little hand-held vacuum and I suck up everything in the corner. And this one, the shark brand, and I’ll link it in the show notes, but it’s really pretty powerful for a hand-held vacuum. And it doesn’t have a cord. You put it on a charger so you can walk all around your house without having to plug it in…
Emma: …and just vacuum up little corners or little areas where you can’t quite get it. It’s also really good for, like kitchen countertops, like in corners, or if you’ve spilled something not liquid, but like crumbs and it’s like kind of gotten where your your child backsplash meets your counter and you can’t quite get it.You can just suck it up with this little thing. So.
Elsie: All right. Well…
Emma: I don’t know. I find it really satisfying!
Elsie: You have sold at least one Shark vacuum to this lady right here! As soon as you put that link in, I’m ordering one. That’s awesome.
Emma: Yeah, it’s it’s really fun. I sometimes, like, just walk around my house with this little handheld vacuum and looking for things to suck up because it’s just kind of fun.
Elsie: I love it! Mine is puzzles. I discovered the joy of puzzles from my friend Kate, who is, as she calls herself, a puzzler. And I was like, I, I think I want to become a puzzler as well. So…
Emma: It sounds like a Batman villain. (laughs)
Elsie: (laughs) Yeah. Yeah. So I bought my first puzzle and Emma and I did it together actually earlier this year. And we actually had one where we gave up. It was too difficult.
Emma: It was too hard. Yes.
Elsie: I won’t say who made it, but it was one photographers on Instagram who is like my favorite of all time. OK, it was KJP. His puzzle was like too hard and it didn’t have the picture on the box of the whole image.
Emma: It was too hard for us!
Elsie: So I love you still KJP, but you lost a puzzle customer here. (laughs) Yeah. Anyway, so I’ve been buying the Emily Martin puzzles and also the Rifle Paper Company puzzles and they are amazing. So I will link those in the show notes. They are wonderful and I’m doing my second one right now of the season, but I feel like it’s just a very nice thing to do. Like when Emma and I are together, we like to do them because it’s a way to get off your phone, off your computer, and you can — you’re sitting there talking, but you also have something to do with your hands and it just is very satisfying. OK, so anyway, I think I’m going to become a puzzle person now. So we just got an entry table in our house like for like a console that is in our entryway. There’s a mirror above it and it didn’t really like — it has storage, but I didn’t really have anything to store in it. And I was like, I think this is my new puzzle place. So over the years, over the next few years, mark my words, I will be collecting puzzles. And if anyone wants to come over and do a puzzle with me after covid, you’re invited. We have our wine. We have our puzzle — ready to go.
Emma: Do you think you’ll ever be the person who, like, glues it together and puts it in a frame?
Elsie: F**k no, never. No, we’re not gluing together puzzles to make wall art out of. That is someone else’s great joy but not mine. Good for you. Not for me!
Emma: OK. Cool. (laughs)
Elsie: Ok, thank you so much for listening. One of the biggest ways you can support us now is by sharing our podcast with your friends who love podcasts. So please share our podcast on Instagram or on Facebook or wherever you hang out with your friends virtually. And if you haven’t had a chance yet, please leave us a review. Gosh, every time I look at the reviews, yes, there’s like two or three mean ones, but there are so many nice kind reviews and it’s really, really encouraging. So thank you for leaving those. We appreciate it and have a great week!