Easy Black Bean Soup

Easy Black Bean Soup via A Beautiful Mess Whoever invented or came up with the idea to can cooked beans is totally my hero! I don't mind cooking dry beans, it just takes so much longer. But armed with a can of ranch style black beans, I can make myself some soup in as little as twenty minutes. It's amazing!

On a related note, I might be easily amazed. 

Easy Black Bean Soup via A Beautiful Mess  One thing that's a little bit different about this soup is the addition of carrots. Carrots and black beans? Yes. Do it. It's delicious. In truth, I've been putting carrots in most soups lately. I just love how they soften and take on the flavor of the soup during cooking. Makes them a perfect soup veggie if you ask me. 

Black bean soup recipeEasy Black Bean Soup, serves 2-3.

1 15 oz can ranch style black beans
3 oz carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
sour cream, cheese and cilantro for garnish

First chop up the carrots, garlic and onion. In a medium sized pot, cook the vegetables in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. While they are cooking, season with cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper. You'll note I didn't add any amounts to these and that's because it's a very small amount you're going for here. Keep in mind you can add more of any of these to the soup later.

How to make black bean soupAdd the stock and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the carrots begin to soften. Then stir in the beans. Cook until everything is nice and hot. Taste and add more spices or salt as needed. 

Easy Black Bean Soup via A Beautiful MessGarnish with sour cream, cheese and cilantro. Eat under a cozy blanket and watch TV. Oh yes, I know what happens at your house during dinner time, and that's because that's exactly what happens at our house. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair

Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair-Yes Please! (click through for tutorial)         Everybody has their style icons that they look up to for fashion, hair, or just overall swagger tips, and I'm no exception. Being a blonde that also loves mod style, thick lashes, and a nude lip, it's no surprise that the bombshell Brigitte Bardot is at the top of my muse list. Since both time travel and body switching are still new sciences that haven't been perfected yet, I'll have to settle for the occasional nod in her direction with a few clothing details or hairstyle choices. One of Brigitte's greatest attributes is that she can style so many "easy going" traits into a classic and sexy look. I love how she makes even a simple headband seem like a glamorous choice, and it's one of her looks that I like to recreate the most. Here's how you can do it too!

Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair-Yes Please! (click through for tutorial)
-teasing brush
-medium hold hair spray (I like this one)
-Bumpits in your hair color (I use the medium size)
-black cloth headband (almost every store that sells a hairbrush will also sell these)
-curling iron or hair straightener

First you'll want to put your headband on over your head, but keep it around your neck until it's time to pull it into place.  Lightly hairspray and tease the bottom half of your hair to the roots at the very back of the top of your head (this is where the Bumpit will sit). Place the Bumpit on top of your teased roots and wiggle it into place. The Bumpit has little teeth that will grab onto your hair, so wiggling it will help the teeth grab hold. Once the Bumpit feels secure, continue to hairspray and tease the rest of the hair in front of the Bumpit in small 2" sections. Pull your headband up into place and smooth out the top layer of your teased hair. Spray the top of your hair in place. Use a large barrel curling iron or a straightener to create some curls on the bottom half of your hair. Repeat with another light misting of hairspray or use some spray wax to add some texture to the ends.

I use the Bumpit because my hair doesn't hold volume very well and it helps me keep that shape for the duration of the hairdo, but if you don't have a problem with volume, you may not even need to use it. If you normally part your hair in the middle like I do, I would also suggest blow drying your hair straight back after you wash it so it won't fall back into a middle part once you put it in the headband.

Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair-Yes Please! (click through for tutorial) Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair-Yes Please! (click through for tutorial) Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair-Yes Please! (click through for tutorial) Brigitte Bardot Headband Hair-Yes Please! (click through for tutorial)     Aren't those chair photos so cool? We did a throwback pose to recreate a classic Bardot snap. Don't feel like you have to brush all the visible teased parts completely flat either. Leaving a bit of that texture is what helps give your hair that bedhead look you're going for. This is a pretty quick look to achieve as far as hair tutorials go, and you could skip the curl part or put your hair in a ponytail for a different variation. Hope you decide to add a little Bardot to your day, you won't regret it! xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Janae Hardy Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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Work Wears: Playing Catch Up

Work Wears on A Beautiful MessHey, friends! I feel like I've been playing the world's longest game of catch up. Ever feel that way? I'm working through it, and I'm optimistic that by next week I'll be feeling normal again. Thumbs up! 

So, Emma had the idea to switch up our Work Wears feature for the new year and share three outfits at a time. Way more fun, right? Emma's full of good ideas. 

Casual outfits are my everything. I do wear heels to work sometimes, but a lot of days I keep it way casual. There's a fine line when you're a business owner because I can wear yoga pants to work if I want to (and I have, a lot), but I also feel totally normal when I dress up. And since we do so many different things with our days, I kinda just let my to-do list dress me. So when I'm shooting a video, I dress up more, and when I'm working on my computer, I dress down. Duh. OK. Moving on... 

Work Wears on A Beautiful Mess Work Wears on A Beautiful Mess  My grandmother has an awesome ritual of taking me out birthday shopping and to lunch every year. We've been doing it ever since I was a little girl (I'm the oldest grandchild). This year I picked these yellow converse, and I think of her every time I wear them. 

Outfit: Glasses/Bonlook (I think this style is out of stock at the moment, but they'll be back), Earrings/Vintage (from Jeremy's grandmother), Top/Anthropologie, Jeans/Jessica Simpson, Shoes/Converse. 

Work Wears on A Beautiful Mess   Got double awkward poses for you here! Couldn't choose between tight-rope-walker and flamingo leg. Niiiiccce. 

Outfit: Scarf/Vintage, Top/ Half of Half, Cardigan c/o ModCloth (old), Jeans/Jessica Simpson (again—I have three pairs of these. I wear them so much in the winter.), Boots/Urban Outfitters, Bracelets/Vintage & Madewell, Bag/Gift Shop Brooklyn

Work Wears on A Beautiful Mess    Work Wears on A Beautiful Mess    It's challenging for me to break out of the jeans routine in the winter time. Tights work, but not with all my shoes. Leggings are great, but I don't have very many long tops. I'm still working on this, but at least I didn't wear black jeans in every photo. Good enough! 

Outfit: Dress/Jessica Simpson, Necklace/LaMalconttenta on Etsy, Glasses/Bonlook (I call these our "Clark Kent glasses"), Shoes/Swedish Hasbeens (c/o ModCloth forever ago). 

Thanks so much for reading! Love you guys. Happy weekend! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Emma Chapman and Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

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Elsie's iPhone Photo Challenge

Elsie's iPhone photo challengeToday I wanted to share a little about a personal challenge that I've just given myself. First, let me set the scene. For the past few months I've been feeling super motivated to work on my photography. I spend a good portion of my work days working on our new photography e-course as well as another lifestyle photography/scrapbooking class that is coming out really soon. This was a lot of fun and also really healthy for my personal growth. I've been using my DSLR daily, which feels awesome! 

So, you're probably thinking, "Well, what's the problem then? That sounds great." Right? Well, I often think that creativity is a swinging pendulum, especially for those of us who like to do a lot of different things. And in that time when I was bonding with my SLR, I didn't notice I was kinda un-bonding with my phone. And sometime around the holidays I started to post less on Instagram because, well, I didn't have anything to post. Not that there's some kind of rule that I have to post, there's not. But ever since I started Instagramming (sometime shortly after our wedding) it's been a daily part of my life that I really, really enjoy. And suddenly I wasn't enjoying it anymore, and I didn't like that. 

Elsie's iPhone photo challenge So I spent a few weeks analyzing my funk. You know, not constantly or anything, but I did spend some time asking myself questions like, "Do you even want to improve your iPhone photos? Do you care?", "If you're so bored with Instagram, could it be your own fault?" (guilty), "OK, so, what can you do to make it fun again? What can you do to feel inspired and fresh?" 

And then all of a sudden, it all felt more clear.

Elsie's iPhone photo challenge  I realized that I was using my SLR camera for all the photos in my life that I considered "important", and I was using my iPhone for all the photos that I considered "boring". Unless, of course, I only had my iPhone handy, like with this photo above. This photo above is absolutely on my 2014 top ten photos list. It's so special to me and I don't necessarily think I would love it any more if it had been taken with an SLR.

I realized that if other people could take incredible, inspiring photos with their phones, that I could too. I just wasn't trying. I wasn't giving it a chance. I was making myself bored

And that thought was encouraging to me because as soon as I realized it was my own fault, I realized I could fix it myself too! 

I knew what I had to do next. 

Elsie's iPhone photo challenge   So, here's my solution. I am going to try to take ALL my personal photos with my iPhone for a month or maybe two months. I don't know, however long it takes me to feel like I can get really great photos with my phone. It's that simple. 

Elsie's iPhone photo challenge    I'm so excited and inspired. My goals are to play with color and to focus on capturing Jeremy's and my everyday life in a way that doesn't feel boring to me. I have my little idea notebook in my purse. (That's how you know I'm really into something, it always gets its own notebook!)

Elsie's iPhone photo challenge     I realize that pretty much all that's changing is my mind, but that's OK. I needed to remove some mental blocks and rules and get a fresh start. It feels good to have a mini-goal going on. In a couple weeks we're going to take a trip and I really might leave my camera at home, which is something I've never done before! I'm excited to learn and grow in a new area. This is going to be fun. Follow me on Instagram if you want to. Cheers to doing old stuff in a fresh new way! xx. Elsie 

Credits: Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos taken with the iPhone. 

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15 Easy & Healthy Recipes for the New Year

Quinoa stuffed peppersPersonally, I believe almost everything is good in moderation. So, I try to eat mostly healthy all year long with room for occasional treats and splurges. But I love using the new year as a time to reset and refocus my mostly-healthy eating habits. It feels like a lot of people use January as a time to kick start in this way too. So if you're looking for some more healthy options to spice up your weekly meals, here are 15 ideas to try. First up are these quinoa stuffed bell peppers. Yum!

Brussels sprouts saladBrussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables, and I love this warm brussels sprouts salad

Farro and kale saladThis farro and kale salad is super delicious and filling. It would make a great take-to-work lunch too.

Carrot and ginger dressingI think I could easily eat a salad every day for lunch if only I have a good variety of dressings to keep it interesting. One favorite of mine is this carrot and ginger dressing

Vegan chocolate puddingHaving a chocolate craving? Yeah, me too for the last 28 years. Ha! Try this no-dairy chocolate pudding recipe—it's amazing!

Cauliflower crustLighten up your favorite pizza by swapping out your usual crust with this cauliflower crust. Who knew vegetables could be so amazing like that!?

Fresh spring rollsFresh spring rolls can feel like such a treat when paired with a great dipping sauce. Yum! 

Easy chia puddingA little over a year ago we started loving chia seed pudding and life has never been the same. 

Kale hashBut what about breakfast? Try this kale and potato hash.

Garlic green beansIf you are a garlic fan (raises hand emphatically!), then you're gonna love this green bean dish. Serve it alongside some brown rice and you've got a super filling meal. 

Lightened up browniesFeeling the need to bake this season? I hear you. Try these lightened up chocolate and orange brownies. Yum!

Kale saladThis is easily one of my all time favorite salads—kale, apples, and a creamy dressing. What's not to love?

Quinoa shrimpQuinoa and shrimp scampi, a slightly more healthy version of my favorite red pepper shrimp scampi

Melon sorbetDid you know that you can turn frozen fruit into a delicious ice-cream-like dessert? Try this melon sorbet and you'll see. No ice cream maker required.

Quinoa pattiesI'm currently loving these peas and pesto quinoa patties. They make a great meal when paired with a salad, or you can snack on left over patties for a quick afternoon pick-me-up without any guilt. Mmm.

What about you? What healthy recipes are you loving this month? xo. Emma

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