Episode #86: The Best Business AND Life Advice We’ve Ever Received

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Show Notes:
This week, we’re chatting about advice, so there are not as many links are usual. We provide a full transcript here in the show notes if you’d prefer to read along.

-We mention Ryan O’Neal’s enneagram 101 in Episode 62.

-Elsie mentions The Righteous Gemstones.

-Elsie mentions her dollhouse (part one and part two).

-Emma mentions Shailey’s recent home tour.

-Elsie mentions these wood croissants and wood donuts.

-Emma mentions Andy’s Frozen Custard.

-You can now leave us voicemail questions on our hotline, 417-893-0011.

Thank you so much for listening!

Episode 86 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast, we’ve been given some incredible advice in our lives, and this week we’re paying it forward by sharing the best advice we’ve ever received with you. We’re also chatting about our current guilty pleasure and how the pandemic has changed us forever. Emma, what have you been up to?

Emma: Well, so normally we do a little bit of batch working, but this week you’re hearing us like we’re recording it the week of, which is nice.

Elsie: Yes, like days before it comes out

Emma: Rarely happens! Yeah. So I feel bad for our team. Sorry everyone. But so one thing that I did recently is I am now getting to the point in my pregnancy. I’m like 33 weeks where I’m just like wind it all the time and very tired and just generally uncomfortable, which is fine.

Elsie: You just moved your office upstairs and the stairs at Emma’s house are like very vertical.

Emma: I was so tired that day. I was so tired. I was like in a bad mood. At the end of the day, I was like, I can’t go up the stairs anymore. I didn’t even carry anything that heavy, just, you know, like a laptop. And I was like, I’m so winded right now.

Elsie: Yeah!

Emma: But anyway, but it’s really not like a big deal. I’m not complaining. So I’m really grateful to be pregnant. But that being said, I recently had some maternity photos done. And on Sunday, so yesterday, by the time you’re hearing this.

Elsie: They’re beautiful by the way, I saw them in my email late last night. Beautiful. Stunning.

Emma: Thank you. I’m not sure I’m going to share very many online other than our newsletter. So I kind of wanted to put it out there to our podcast listeners because I feel like they’re our real friends. We always say that. (laughs)

Elsie: It’s true. If you’re listening to the podcast, you’re already in our inner circle. So you might as well get on the newsletter because we do personalized newsletters almost every week. And actually I’m like always late sending mine and Emma is always on time, so…(laughs)

Emma: I’m mostly on time. I can be a little late. I just — we I feel like one thing we didn’t say in our batch working episode that came out a little while ago…was also if you work with any size team — like we have a really pretty small team, but any size team, if you’re not working ahead, you’re kind of making their life terrible.

Elsie: Oh, my gosh. That’s actually a great point!

Emma: When I turn in something late, I know it means that Keely or whoever else on our team has to kind of scramble to finish their part because I turned it in so late, you know. So anyway, so. Yeah, so I put my maternity photos in the newsletter and I might put a couple online, but it’s just one of those like kind of you’d think I would…I talk about this in the newsletter, but you think I’d be really used to getting my photo taken as a blogger. I think people think of us as like, oh, you get your photo taken all the time like a celebrity on the red carpet. I’m like, actually, no. Most of my life is like at my house. And I mostly take photos of, like, food, like that’s actually more how I think of my life. (laughs) So I still feel very self-conscious. And I also think I usually do photos with you.

Elsie: That’s true.

Emma: Like there’s two of us, and so it doesn’t feel it’s like all about me, like look at me, you know. So but anyway, I wanted to get these photos done just for me, just for fun, just to like, you know, document like this time in my life being pregnant. And I love how they turned out and I’m so happy with them. I worked with my favorite photographer, Jenae Hardy. My friend Emily Edgar did my makeup like I made a whole day of it and it was really fun. And yeah, they were in the newsletter yesterday and I’m kind of thinking I’ll probably put the first photos of my son once he’s born in our newsletter. So if you like stuff like that, I’m just putting it out there…the newsletter is more personal than like blog content or Instagram or whatever.

Elsie: And if you’re not sure how to sign up, just go to abeautifulmess.com and it is right there on the sidebar, a place where you can sign up. We give away a lot of like freebies and like printables. I do those bucket lists every season. We usually put those in there and then we’ll put other fun things, like a grocery shopping, like printable, like, you know. Cute things like that that you can print out and use. So anyway, yeah. I think newsletters are the future, right?

Emma: I think so. I also just think if you want more, it’s not that it’s crazy personal, but just stuff that isn’t so searchable or I just kind of think of different parts of our brand is like for different people.

Elsie: Yeah, I agree. I think sharing like your really personal photos in the newsletter are smart, because then you haven’t just like put them out there for all eternity. It’s kind of like you share them, but then they’re not, you know, on the website forever. So I think that that it’s kind of like a good way to share if you’re a private person, like a Snapchat for old people.

Emma: Yeah. It’s not like I mind if someone were to, like, take them from the newsletter and I wouldn’t be necessarily like crazy upset. I would think it was a little weird and a little obsessive. It’s just not really my personality. I’m just a little more like private, but I do like to show friends and people, you know, if someone’s interested, it’s fun to share. So anyway, that was like one thing from my life this week is maternity photos.

Elsie: Well, I got threw up on for the first time in my journey, so I had an amazing weekend as well.

Emma: Nice.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: What was happening?

Emma: I’m assuming wasn’t Jeremy who threw up on you, so…

Elsie: It was one of my kids, I. Yeah. We were actually getting dressed up to. We were going to try to take family photos in the backyard. So I found a new photographer I never worked with. She did one of my friend’s Christmas card photos. And this year I decided to, like, go full force. So I booked her once a season so that I can try to just get more like family photos. So, yeah, she’s going to come four times this year and just take pictures of us in our yard with the kids. Just because I feel like last year we missed out on a few things. One of them was like getting lots of nice pictures. So trying to catch up.

Emma: Mm hmm. Yes.

Elsie: Yes. So anyway, yeah, but it was canceled, so we’re going to reschedule. (laughs)

Emma: So you’re putting Goldie’s cute outfit on and then…bad news.

Elsie: Yeah. Barf. Yeah it was…

Emma: Poor thing. You and her. (laughs)

Elsie: It was sad. And yeah it’s always sad you know, but it’s part of being a mom. Anyway. OK, so this episode we decided to do an episode about business advice and also life advice. So the best advice we’ve ever received and these are definitely some life changing gems, so we’re excited to share them today. Do you want to start it off Emma with your best business advice?

Emma: Yes. And I was trying so hard to remember who first — I’ve heard this a few times, so it’s not like, you know, it’s so unique that only one person ever told it to me. But I really wanted to remember who was the first person who told it to me. And I can’t remember now I’m going to blame pregnancy brain. But anyway, I wish I could because I like to give people credit. It’s nice, you know, but at any rate, the best business advice I was ever given is simply this: to finish things.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: Yeah. And I feel like the best advice is usually something very simple and something that maybe even comes off as cliche. But if you actually do it, it changes your life. Like to me, that’s the gems of the world as far as like advice goes. So with finishing things, I have so many friends, so many peers where they have great ideas or they’re building something in their business or whatever, and they just get stuck. They maybe get into a place where they’re trying to make it perfect or they get discouraged because usually halfway through your project is the time when things kind of fall apart and you start to get really stressed or you start to do a lot of self-doubt. I struggle a lot with that. You think like, what am I doing? I, I shouldn’t I’ve never done this before. I shouldn’t be allowed to do this. And you just don’t end up finishing and feel like some people think…

Elsie: I have that problem of chronically wanting to restart because I’m like halfway through I realized that I could have done something better. And so I want to just, like, restart the whole project, delete everything I’ve done. And yeah, if I did that every time I wanted to, like, I would get very little done because, yeah, it’s, it’s definitely a bad habit, but it feels like you’re trying to do your best work in the moment.

Emma: Right, exactly. Yeah. And that is to me that’s the hardest one, is whenever you get halfway or two thirds or whatever and you realize there is a better way of doing it and you’re like, do I go ahead and finish, do I start over? And sometimes you should start over or quit. I’m not saying that that never comes up, but I just feel like for every great idea I’ve ever heard, like friends who had an amazing business idea, app idea, whatever, it’s the people who actually finish the ideas that made something happen. Like that’s the real difference. It’s because so often I think people think, oh, you have to have the best idea. And I’m like, no, you just have to be the person who finishes their idea. That’s really like the secret sauce, because when you finish something, you learn from it. So you can then make it better afterwards or you also just like have something to sell or put out there, whereas a half-finished project is kind of nothing. It’s just like something you filled your time with, maybe spent money on. But it’s not necessarily something that you can use in any meaningful way. Maybe you learned, but, you know, I don’t know. I have a lot of friends who I feel like their whole career is kind of half-finished things at this point.

Elsie: Ugh it’s heartbreaking!

Emma: It’s sort of a bummer. Yeah. Yeah, it really is. And I have a lot of finished things that are not great.

Elsie: Me too.

Emma: They could have been a lot better. They were not — like there’s things that I’ve finished that I’m like I’m not even really that proud of anymore, but I think they propelled me to the next thing. And so I think whoever gave me this advice to just finish things and keep going, they were right.

Elsie: I agree. And I’ll say one more thing. I think that it’s it feels better to finish and still fail than to not finish and wonder what would have happened. Last year I did a book proposal and it went nowhere. And I decided early this year I told my literary agent, I’m done with that book. I’m not doing it. I might repurpose the content on something else or whatever, but it just feels good to know that I like, gave it its best shot. I made like the full, like, really good pitch, like it was beautiful. I wrote sample chapters, I did a photoshoot like did all the things. Didn’t work out, you know, and I don’t have to wonder like what could have been with that.

Emma: Yeah. Because that’s another part of it. When you don’t finish is like it’s almost like it becomes this like fantasy.

Elsie: It’s like more powerful than it ever really was. It’s like the one that got away.

Emma: Yep, exactly. It’s the one that got away and it’s like maybe it wasn’t even that great, but now you’re kind of stuck on it in your mind. And if you just had finished it, you might have been like, oh, that was great. Or Oh actually that wasn’t so great. Never mind, you know, and then you get to move on…

Elsie: She’s giving you good advice so take this advice. The finishing is Emma’s life mission.

Emma: This could be dating advice, too.

Elsie: And it’s one of the main things that you’ve taught to me is how to be a finisher, because people always ask me that. They’re like, if you’re seven, how do you get so much done? And I’m like, Emma! It’s Emma. Emma trained me in, you know, the importance of following through. And eventually it worked.

Emma: Well. And I think of our friend Elise, because you’re seven, we’re talking about Enneagram. Elsie is a seven, I’m a nine and Elise is a three. And I feel like threes are the ultimate, you know, can finish things because they’re so goal-oriented and, you know, wanting to achieve. And yeah. So I’m kind of like I consider myself sort of in the middle because I do like to dream and I, I have a lot of unfinished craft projects around my house, trust me, (laughs) that are like, OK, I’m probably never actually going to finish that. But I also try to a certain percentage to get it done.

Elsie: To me there’s a difference between an unfinished craft project and unfinished business plan. You know what I mean?

Emma: True.

Elsie: Like, the consequences are not the same.

Emma: Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to at least I don’t want to give the impression that I finish everything that I start, because that is certainly not true. But to be fair, I start a lot of things. (laughs So, yeah, I think that’s all I got on on my business advice, which is: finish things. So let’s hear what was the best business advice you were ever given?

Elsie: Ok, so I know for certain that I’ve shared this on the podcast before, but I’m going to share it all over again because it’s worth it. It’s so good. So this is coming from my friend Carter Bryant. So really early in my career. I had sort of like lost my job, and I was trying to live off my Etsy shop. I opened a shop that was honestly like a really bad idea, like it was… (laughs)

Elsie: Like a local…

Emma: Yes, I opened a local shop where there was really no demand for the things I was selling and I was just trying to make it work, that it was fun. It was a dream. Like opening a shop is like so many people’s dream. And if it’s your dream, like, look at me, I’m doing the finger thing with my eyes, like we have the same dream. Because the other night I watched You’ve Got Mail with Jeremy and he was like, “Oh, you want to open a shop now, don’t you?” And I was like, “yes!” I always, no matter what happens in life, I will always want to open a shop. So anyway, I had my little shop and Carter Bryant was my friend. He’s like a little bit older than me, definitely a little bit wiser than me, more advanced in his career. And he would drop by frequently and just like have coffee and chat with me. And he kind of…

Emma: Well, maybe you should say what he has done in his career or at least a couple of highlights if people don’t know. I know who he is but…

Elsie: Right so Carter’s like, Claim to Fame is that he created the Bratz dolls, which we all know what the Bratz dolls are I don’t need to, you know, no introduction needed. I have one in my office that he autographed. It’s like a bowling Bratz doll and yeah, it’s very special. So anyway, we lived in the same hometown and I found out that this man lived in our town who had invented the Bratz. And I was like, holy shit, I need to make best friends with this person. And I did.

Emma: Obviously.

Elsie: Yeah, because it’s just so interesting. And I would love…I’ve always had a dream that I would love to be in the toy industry. I did a big pitch when I was in my mid-20s. That was a fail. But it was like a great life experience. Like Emma just said, you know, the finishing I feel like I really like gave it my all. And I still have the box of samples that we created, like somewhere in my storage in my garage, and I’ll never get rid of them, even though it’s like — I also don’t want to open the box. It’s one of those weird things. But anyway, so Carter kind of took me under his wing because I think he could, like, see that I had potential and that I had some talent, but that I really was lost as far as like a sense of business and being able to create a solid income for myself. I was very unstable. I was broke as hell, let’s put it that way, and struggling. So anyway, he came in, I was young. I was like figuring it out. And I asked him, like, what should I do to try, you know, to make my business stronger because it was just really hard. I was staying up all night just trying to make my next five hundred dollars all the time. And he said to think of your business as a table with four legs and you need to have four income streams all the time. So right now you have one: your shop. And let’s count your website as you know, the same income stream because one of them was making basically no money, it was just costing money. And he’s like, you need to find three more. So I took his advice. And over the next — the next year after that, we launched our first course. And that was a game-changer for us because it gave us some semblance of a solid, consistent income. And then after that, we started to sell ads on our blog like advertisements in the sidebar. So even though it wasn’t a big income, it was steady and it came in every month. And then, you know, we started to do sponsored posts a few years after that. So over time, we created those four revenues and then we did it for our next business and our next business. And I also did it for my personal life as well. Like, you can do it in your family as well. So maybe like you have an income. My husband has an income. Maybe there’s a way you could have a side income. Maybe there’s a way you could have some kind of investment that is sort of creating revenue as well. So I think it’s great advice. It changed my life and I always want to just tell it to everyone, because if you’ve never heard it, it’s it’s like so simple, but it really worked.

Emma: Yeah. We still do this in our business. And it’s interesting because, you know, every blogger, every, you know, online influencer kind of has different ways of making money, different revenue streams, and some people are very focused on one, and some people are more like us, where it’s a bunch of different ones, like we probably have even more than four at this point. But yeah, and I sometimes do get a little jealous of the people who just have one main thing, like one revenue stream because I just feel like it’s easier.

Elsie: Because they’re able to focus on it.

Emma: Yeah. You can focus on it and it just feels simple. And I, you know, but whenever something weird does happen, the industry changes in a drastic way. I’m always really grateful that we do have these other legs on our table.

Elsie: Right. Like it means that your table, if you lose a leg, it might become very unstable, but it’s not going to instantly crash the way that it would with one leg only. So, I love that advice. And I think you should use it in every like possible place you can in your life because it’s just stability, it’s just basic stability. OK, let’s take a quick sponsor break.

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Emma: Maybe we should talk about life advice because when we were kind of prepping for this episode, we were just talking through like, you know, different bits of advice we’d gotten over the years. And so often I do feel like life advice and business advice can bleed into each other. So, yeah, we were like, let’s just do both. (laughs).

Elsie: Oh, yeah, I mean, they’re both equally important. So, OK, tell me what is…I’m so curious to hear the best life advice you’ve ever received.

Emma: Ok, so here’s mine and I definitely think it’s a little bit colored by the year I’ve just had, which, you know, we all just have been through…

Elsie: Pure shit.

Emma: …whatever you’ve been through. Yeah. (laughs) Basically. So it is to enjoy what’s in front of you. Which again I think is so simple and probably a little bit cliche, but for me and my personality type, it’s something that I needed to hear and that I need to hear over and over again, because I’m a very goal oriented, future focused type person, like I’m always thinking about, or at least I used to be. I think I’ve I think I’ve been changing in the last few years, and I’m actually really proud of that personal growth. But I think in general, I’ve been a person who’s extremely like, what’s my next thing, what problem am I trying to solve right now? What goals do I have that I’m working on? Like that’s always on my mind. I love that stuff. And that’s never really going to change about me. I think that is a good and healthy way to live life for me anyway. But I think the drawback is a lot of times you can kind of not enjoy what’s in front of you or you miss out on the little moments that happen in between. And those are really what life is made up of, you know. And I think also for me, it’s a goals are awesome, but they are a fantasy. Like they are like, you know, your expectations are high, like what’s my next house going to look like? In my mind, it’s going to be perfect, you know, but in reality, there’s going to be something about it that’s not perfect because that’s what houses are. They’re real places.

Elsie: There’s no perfect house.

Emma: Right. So just as an example. Exactly. So and that’s what life is to. There’s no perfect life. Like it’s just not no matter how hard you try, no matter how focused you are on personal growth or goals or whatever it is, there is no perfect life. There is no perfect house. There’s no perfect relationship. There’s no being a perfect mom. There’s no perfect career. You know, there’s just what you have in front of you. And I think learning to really appreciate it and especially sit in those moments of pure joy is a certain amount of wisdom that I haven’t had in the past that I’ve been really cultivating.

Elsie: That’s beautiful. Yeah, I feel the same way. I think thinking about the future, you know, it has its time and place, but at a certain point you have to learn to just worry about today. Like I’ve been thinking a lot lately, like my Instagram. It is like not I am complaining so I’ll just…whatever, but it’s like so many people every single day. They’re just saying, your kids are so big, your kids are so big, your kids are growing, your kids are bigger. And I’m like, hello, I know that, I buy their clothes like I realize, like more than you do how much they’re growing. But I think the thing for me every day that I’m trying to focus on is that they’re still little now that they’re growing. Not that like it’s all over because it’s like it’s not over. They are three and five years old like the time is now. So really, I feel like I have to cancel out the message that I’m hearing every single day and remind myself they’re still little like this is our moment. Oh, my God, I’m going to cry.

Emma: That’s interesting, because that’s kind of the second trap is like I get stuck in the trap of future thinking, like, oh, my expectations are high and I’m thinking about my next goal. And that is the other one is like living in the past and wishing for the thing that was yesterday. And it’s — it’s good to remember the past. I think that’s kind of the whole point of photos for me and like saving all my memories. But also it’s like what’s in front of you, present tense. That’s like so it’s magic and it’s like only there in that moment because otherwise it’s the future that you’re thinking about or it’s the past that you’re wishing you had back. So it’s like enjoying playing with Nova and her Woody doll right now this week, instead of remembering her tiny pigtails from two years ago or whatever, which it’s good to remember it, it’s just what’s in front of you. And it’s so hard to do that. I don’t know why it’s so hard to live in the present, but it really is.

Elsie: I think it is for everyone. And I think that’s a really good thing to focus on. Um, probably no matter where you are in life, is to just try to appreciate right now. That’s definitely what I’m trying to do. OK, so my best life advice and I like you said earlier, I can’t remember where this came from or I would totally give it credit. I have no idea, though. But it’s the idea that my children’s childhood that they’re having right now is actually also my second childhood. So and I love this concept that when you’re a kid, you have a childhood. But how much of it do you remember? Like, you know, like how many times do your parents tell you these stories? And you’re like, I don’t even remember that, you know, like it’s you have these magical, nostalgic little feelings of, like, cookies on Christmas Eve and like certain pajamas and certain wallpaper and certain, you know, things you remember. But there’s so much of it that you can’t really you know, you don’t even know that it happened like a lot of years from your childhood are completely a mystery, like it’s only in your parent’s memory. So, yeah, I think it all comes back to this time a few years back when my dad said that the happiest years of his life were when we were little kids. And I was like, oh, my God. Like, I really lost it. I didn’t know I was in a crying mood today, but I am. Anyway. So I know right now that I’m living every day in the best years of my life. Oh, God! (sniffles)

Emma: I like that we started the episode with you telling a story of getting barfed on and here you are saying I’m living in the best years of my life! (laughs)

Elsie: Right? I mean, it…it feels…it’s the best. It really is the best. So, yeah, I think that when we do our little vacations, our memories, our weekend activities, I know that my kids aren’t going to remember a lot of it. And that’s fine because I do a lot of it for myself. And I try to remember that this is their childhood that I’m giving to them. But it’s also like a part of it is for me to like I get to experience this with them. So. Oh, my God! (crying) OK, I’m going to have to move on from that point. But I think it’s a really powerful thing if you have little kids or if you’re moving into that stage of life soon, remember that their childhood is also your childhood to enjoy with them and never forget that.

Emma: I love that. Yeah, because I think it can be so easy to, I don’t know, just kind of think, well, they won’t remember this anyway or, you know. Oh they, they didn’t enjoy that as much as I thought they would. But it’s like, you know, it’s for you too! Just have fun with them.

Elsie: It’s true. There’s so many things that are a lot of work that you do like..the first maybe 100 times you paint with your kids, they might not remember it. And the first 40 times you make cookies together, they might not remember it, you know, but I think that it’s important to remember that it’s not just like the value of it isn’t just if they remember it or not, because these are your memories that you’re going to, you know, have forever. (laughs/cries)Yeah!

Emma: Well, we’re going to give Elsie a minute. She’s crying. But we do have an honorable mention.

Elsie: Yeah, let’s say the honorable mentions. All right. So my first honorable mention is in the life advice category. This is like this is kind of not advice, but it kind of is…hear me out. So understanding my Enneagram and also the Enneagram of my loved ones. So my husband, Emma and our coworkers even and you know, our parents, it’s helped so much like we spent whatever was the recent time figuring out our brothers Enneagram. (laughs) And that was so fulfilling. Also, I think that when you …which I have to give a shout out to Ryan O’Neal. He’s the one who got me into the Enneagram, he and his wife Kate, and he is in Episode 62, going over Enneagram like Enneagram 101. So if you don’t know what we’re talking about, save episode sixty two for later and enjoy that. But yeah, it’s a very, it’s, I think Enneagram is such a funny thing that it became so popular and important. It’s way more important to me personally than astrology and other things like that.

Emma: me too.

Elsie: It’s just — it’s been really beneficial and I feel like I understand. I understood myself and for the first time I understood sort of like how I had power to improve and also just understanding why other people are different from me. So that was very life changing for me.

Emma: I agree. I think it’s such a powerful tool for growing empathy, your empathy muscle, which I think is something, you know, we should all be doing all the time. And it can be confusing because you obviously you experience the world and even the behavior of others through your own lens. And so I just sometimes find other people, especially in the past. But I’m sure I will, again, just kind of confusing. Like I like I don’t understand why you’re going about this in that way. Like, I’m so confused. And for whatever reason, Enneagram is like one thing that has kind of helped me to at least broaden my expectations or my mind or my views on people and be like, OK, you’re this number. I’m not that number, that’s a very different number for me. OK, so you…Like it just helps me to kind of open up my mind a little bit and not be so narrow, which I think helps me to understand or just try to empathize at the very least, because of course, we can never totally like know what’s going on in someone else’s head. But I think trying to get there is really, really helpful. And yeah, I also wish that is where we’re actually hiring at our app company right now. And one thing I kind of wish we could ask every applicant is like, what’s your Enneagram? But not everyone knows!

Elsie: Yeah I don’t know if that’s an appropriate question or if it like signals to them that like you’re in a cult that they’re not in yet or something.

Emma: Exactly (laughs)I don’t want to turn them off!

Elsie: But I would also benefit a lot from knowing that, but I feel like I don’t know, it feels like a weird question. I bet there’s someone that’s gonna write into us and say “I ask every applicant that it’s no big deal.”

Emma: Right. Which is fine. Yeah if you do great. But I think yeah. Just so sometimes I meet someone and I’m like I’m not sure if they know what this is and if it will come off the way that I would like it to come off. So I don’t know. But yeah, I find it really helpful to know, like, if I’m going to work with someone or spend a lot of time. Someone in some way, like working together, like what their number is, because it helps a lot.

Elsie: Right. Emma and I used to get in so many fights when we were younger because I always wanted to either rebrand or to change the name A Beautiful Mess, like I always ever since the early days, I always wanted to change the name. And she was always like, Why are you like this? Why are you like this? And now she knows.

Emma: I was like, “I don’t understand why you’re focused on something that doesn’t matter”. That’s what I said!

Elsie: Yeah, and I just kept…

Emma: You were like “It does matter!”

Elsie: Like it was like my like it magnetized me back to it every time. And now I know why. It’s just like my need to like always be resetting things like I make a mood board for my home and my like my closet and like my life at like all the time, like every month I make a mood board. But I just don’t do that for A Beautiful Mess anymore because I know it annoys everyone.

Emma: Well, and I think too, like I always thought that I needed to steer you like you were some kind of ship. And I have to be at the big wheel in the front like a pirate. And I have to, you know, keep you on course. And now I think of you as more like this really powerful river. And I should see which way it’s flowing. And just like dig a ditch that direction, because that’s going to be the powerful way to, like, channel this, you know.

Elsie: Yeah. (laughs).

Emma: You know, it’s an imperfect system, but I’m like, well, that’s where it’s flowing and let’s go that direction if possible. So and I just feel like it’s, you know, made me more flexible, but also made me understand, I don’t know, like maybe we can understand each other a little bit better and what our strengths and weaknesses are and like kind of get out of each other’s way a little bit. But also be honest when something isn’t working and know, like, OK, she’s probably not going to take this well and we’re just going to have to talk it through, you know. Yeah. Just like how it goes.

Elsie: We don’t fight that much anymore. So I think that it would be unsatisfying to people if they heard, like, our worst fight from last year, like, I can’t even think of what it would be. It’s probably stupid, though,

Emma: Probably because we’re…we’re grown ups now.

Elsie: (laughs)

Emma: Now, we’ll take a little break and hear a word from our sponsor.

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Elsie: So there’s one thing we haven’t done in a very long time.

Emma: Yep.

Elsie: It’s Guilty pleasure treasure! OK, so I have two guilty pleasures to share this time. I’m still kind of crying from earlier. I’m really trying to get past it. But it’s not working.

Emma: (laughs)

Elsie: Okay, I don’t…I hope that was the most emo thing. Oh, my God. Like, OK, so…

Emma: I don’t know.

Elsie: (laughs) Here’s my guilty pleasures. So first of all, we just watched the TV show, it’s season one only: the Righteous Gemstones, for the third time, three times. I think it’s been out for a year and a half. So we’ve watched it three times and I already want to watch it for a fourth. And I just saw the news that they’re filming season two. So I am so excited. It’s definitely one of my favorite TV shows that’s still currently airing. And yeah, I’m a super fan!

Emma: Oh, so you said you had two guilty pleasures.

Elsie: Ok, the second one is I got back in my dollhouse zone and I started redecorating our dollhouse. So you all know, maybe that we made a dollhouse two Christmases ago. It’s a DIY. I will link it in the show notes. And then I also showed it like finished. And then recently I started redecorating it because I was like, actually, I got excited because Kate Zaremba, who is an Etsy shop, she did the wallpaper for our guest room. And then she asked me if I wanted a tiny one for my dollhouse. And I was like and I lost my mind, of course. And I of course, said yes. So she sent us some tiny wallpapers. And then I just like started buying pink sofas and little like things on Amazon and I couldn’t stop. So I’ll put a few links and I’ll show you a picture of how it’s looking right now. I still have one more room I really need to work on, but this dollhouse is very much like a gray area, like is it for the kids or is it for you? It’s like it’s up on my desk in my office now where my kids can barely even reach it. And it really is bringing me a lot of joy. So it’s inspired by the Dollhouse from Mary Poppins with the two doors that open where it’s almost like a shelf, you know what I’m saying? Yes. So, yeah, I love it. It’s one of my favorite DIYs we’ve ever done, and I will link it as much as I can. And then hopefully sometime, maybe the summer, I’ll do like a dollhouse, updated like blog post and show all the stuff because it’s kind of a lot. I found it wicker, like a hanging chair that looks like our hanging chair on eBay.

Emma: I think I saw one of those somewhere. I can’t remember where. Maybe it was a podcast listener. Yeah. Anyway, I was like, oh, Elsie has got to get this for her dollhouse. I’m definitely going to have to do a dollhouse for my son someday.

Elsie: You have to it’s so fun!

Emma: Right now it’s just a big choking hazard. (laughs) So not right now, but yeah,

Elsie: I would do it at age 3.

Emma: Age three. Yeah. Yeah, not right now. He’s Yeah. But my friend Shailey, who we shared her home tour on the on the blog. So I’ll put that in the show notes, she lives in my neighborhood. Anyway she has a kind of vintage kids kitchen, you know, the little you know how it’s like you can buy one from IKEA and do special hacks. We have a bunch of those on our blog. This one is like a old timey vintagey look, and it’s not that old timey, but like kind of so I’m going to put that in my house pretty soon. I feel like I can put some little things on that that are not choking hazards, things that he can, you know, not right away, but like over the next year or two.

Elsie: Ok, well, I just found where they have like a wood croissant. I’ll send you the link. It’s so cute. I just got it for our kids and also some little wood donuts. It’s adorable. The play kitchen is like the toy…it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. It’s definitely one of the best toys in our home. Do you have a guilty pleasure Emma?

Emma: Yes. So mine’s pretty simple. It’s food-related, surprise. Feel like it’s always food or romance novel related with me. But mine is, I haven’t really had pregnancy cravings exactly. But one thing I have been eating a lot more of, and it may just be the time of year, is Andy’s frozen custard.

Elsie: That is such a BFD in Missouri where we’re from, and they have it here in one of the suburb towns not that far from us. But I actually don’t like frozen custard.

Emma: I know it’s not like not everyone likes it, but I love frozen custard. I kind of go through phases with it, it’s very rich but I am into it right now.

Elsie: So what’s your order?

Emma: My order is a chocolate sundae with strawberries. So it’s just a whole bunch of chocolate custard with strawberries basically. So yeah, I’ve been getting that for myself a lot.

Elsie: That’s awesome. Well, she’s at the very, very end of her pregnancy now. Her doctor told her the baby could like…it’s already like a small but fully formed baby in there and it could come out at any time. It’s crazy.

Emma: Yeah, she was very like, if you feel, you know, contractions just go on to labor and delivery. And I was like, whoa, we’re not quite to that point yet. (laughs) No! I should come here, right? We’ll just check in. And she’s like, no, no, no. I’ll just go right on to labor and delivery. Just, you know, just in case I’m like, Ok, yeah. All right. (laughs)

Elsie: Treat yourself Emma, anything you want is yours!

Emma: We have one more segment, which is…

Elsie: So for the final segment, I thought it would be maybe interesting, maybe sad, maybe fun to share about how the pandemic changed us, because now it’s been more than a year and I don’t know about you, but I spent last month really reflecting on just how so much had changed. And it’s something. So you want to share how you feel? (laughs)

Emma: Yeah, let me see. So my life advice is kind of, you know, part of it. I actually mean, I’m showing Elsie. Well, I don’t think you can see it our Skype here, but I have a notes app that just says 2020 lessons when it’s just like…

Elsie: Wait, can you read them?

Emma: Yeah I have one, two, three, four, five. So I’ll just kind of read them and not go too long on each one because that’s too many. So my notes app says. Human interaction is a gift, always lean into it, live in the now and be more available for people and conversations, cherish the people you love and any time you get to spend with them, like kind of the same as the first one. But maybe I thought it was a revelation at the time. (laughs) Stay curious about people, about everything. It’s a choice to be curious. And the last one is lean in. Don’t be lazy, have fun if there’s fun to be had there usually is.

Elsie: Aw Emma!

Emma: Yeah, that’s what my notes app says. That’s what I learned, I guess. I don’t know.I just write things down when I’m like in the grocery line. If something occurs to me, I don’t know, I’m like that. So anyway what have you learned?

Elsie: Oh OK. So the thing that’s like funny and ironic I guess in my specific situation is that right before the pandemic started, we were in the process of moving and we had adopted not that long before. So we were just kind of in this already transitional period of our life. And we, because of our younger daughter’s age, she was one at the time. We basically had stopped eating out and we felt that it was very temporary, but it was just a lot. Like we kept going to restaurants, especially on the weekends in Nashville, and they would seat us at, like, you know, one of the small little round tables and for four people. And when you have two toddlers, it was just like not worth it. And we couldn’t, we didn’t have the heart to be like, we only want a giant table or we can’t eat here. (laughs) So.

Emma: Right. Yeah.

Elsie: So there — it just didn’t I don’t know, I guess we were kind of already staying home a lot and kind of had it was just like the worst possible timing. Like we had one date night in 2020 before it started, before we started quarantining…only one. And I had one night out with my friends for one of my friend’s birthday parties and that was it. So it just felt like I was already like one of my goals in therapy shortly before was to go more places? (laughs) And to, like, when my friends invited me out to like, you know, to show up because it was just a time of my life. I think a lot of people understand, like when you have just had a baby or for us adopted a baby, that you can go through a time when you all you want to do is just stay home and hide and like it just it just didn’t feel like I didn’t feel motivated and so anyway, I guess that over the past year of having no option, it has made me a lot more grateful for my online friendships. I think a lot of times in life, people try to make it seem like online friendships aren’t as valid or as real as like, you know, a friend you go to brunch with. But it really is. Like I have several friends who we had regular, like lunch dates with face time all year. And it was really helpful. And my friends with the Marco Polo obsessions and, you know, just a few things like that really got me through. So I think it changed my idea of what a friendship is supposed to be and what a friendship can be. And it kind of made me leave more room for that for the future. Like, after all this is over, I don’t know if I’ll be is like hard on myself if I don’t feel like going out, I think I might just, like, be OK with having friends who don’t care for a while or who, like, want to hang out in our backyard with me. Yeah. Because I just don’t want to go to Broadway ever. Ever.

Emma: Oh burn Broadway!

Elsie: Like I just don’t want to go there. It’s cool if other people do but I just don’t. Why of course. Pandemic or no pandemic. So I don’t know, I guess I just became more of a homebody and I had other things that I think were like sad struggles. I don’t know if I want to fully go into it, but I know a lot of people feel this like almost like anger that if you made a lot of sacrifices and then you feel like other people almost like mocked you for it, that’s really hard.

Emma: Yeah. Yes, I understand. Yes.

Elsie: And I, I don’t know. But it’s like we’re all make our own choices and I’m proud of what we did. I think we did the best we could and I’m proud of the parenting we did throughout. And I and our kids are excited. We told them that in a couple of weeks we’ll be fully vaccinated and that we’re going to take them to Chuck E. Cheese. (laughs) So that’s the thing they wanted. So, you know, I don’t know. I guess I don’t know if that’s like the most beautiful ending or the stupidest ending but that’s what it is, that’s the true ending.

Emma: Yeah, yeah, I like it.

Elsie: Ok, so we have exciting news. We started our own hotline so you can call in and leave us a voicemail asking a question, and then we will possibly play your voicemail in a future episode and answer your question. So here’s the number and we will put it in the show notes too: is 417-893-0011. So thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget that every week you can go to our show notes to see all of our sponsor codes. We have awesome deals in there. It’s at abeautifulmess.com/podcast And oh, we now offer a transcript for every single episode.

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  • I loved the part when Elsie was talking about making her children’s childhood magical. I’ve always tried to do the same. Don’t be sad if your children can’t remember all the fun times. You are right that part of the fun is for you too! I always remember something my therapist told me years ago. Even if children can’t remember an event, their brains remember what they felt. So when they grown up, they’ll look back on their childhood as magical even if they can’t remember all the details.

  • I also really loved this episode! And I really liked hearing the life updates/stories at the beginning—those were really fun : )

  • Really enjoyed Emma’s pandemic lessons 🙂 Time to lean in!

  • “Remember that their childhood is also your childhood to enjoy with them and never forget that.”. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ YES. I love this. Thanks for being so real, ladies.

  • I was super inspired by this episode. Lately, I’ve felt a bit discouraged at work, working from home during the pandemic. I listened to this episode while going for a walk on my lunch break. The tip “always finished things you start” really resonated with me. I went straight home and organized my workday in Trello (love organising) and got going. For me, I feel so great when I am on top of things and get things done, but I tend to forget this when I get discouraged in one way or another, so thank you for sharing your tips. It has really given me the motivation boost I needed <3

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