Fuller Lips
Hi, friends! Today I'm sharing 7 easy steps to achieve fuller looking lips naturally, without going ham on the over-lining... and without having to use one of those scary lip plumping devices. ;)  

Step One: Prep and Moisturize. I always like to start with a moisturizing base. If your lips are feeling a little dry, try exfoliating. Check out our Grapefruit Lemonade Lip Scrub DIY for inspiration! After exfoliating, add a little bit of your favorite balm. I've been hearting the Glossier Balm Dotcom in Coconut. Smells like the beach and summer and everything good about the hot months. 

Step Two: Add a little highlight. If you've read any of my posts at this point, you know I love me some highlight. I think this just adds a tiny dash of shimmer and light that really brings the eye to the lips. Using a small brush, I just blend out a tiny amount along my cupid's bow. I like to do the highlight first so that my lipstick layers on top of the shimmer and just peeks out over the top of the lipstick a little. 

Full Lips DIYStep Three: Using a liner very similar to your natural lip color, shape and line your lips. Since my lips tend to be pretty uneven, especially around my cupid's bow, I take my time to create an even shape. To give myself a fuller look, I'll slightly over-line my liner, still sticking very close to my natural lip line. The nude liner not only creates a more "plump" look to your lips, but it will also keep our lipstick from feathering, especially since we over-lined just a little. I've really been digging this Plump and Define liner from Becca Cosmetics. 

Step Four: To really get a fuller look, I love using a light/nude colored lipstick. Devotion by Axiology is one of my favorites right now. It also has the perfect amount of sheen to really give my lips a nice dimension. 

Full Lips DIY Step Five: Using a shade slightly darker, apply to the outer corners of your top and bottom lip. Use a lip pencil or your finger to blend out. This just adds a subtle ombre effect and makes your lips look like they have more dimension. I used the color Worth from Axiology, which is another one of my favorites from their line! 

Fuller Lips       Step Six: Using your favorite nude gloss, just add a touch to the center of your lip, again to add in a beautiful dimension. 

Step Seven: Grab a bronzer just a few shades darker than your skin tone and lightly dust a little underneath your bottom lip to create a little more shadow and the appearance of a fuller lip. Be sure to blend it out good so you don't look like you have a soul patch coming in... ;)

Full Lips DIY  And done! My favorite part about these steps is that they give your lips a "my lips but better" look. They look fuller, more even and super glam without being scary and overdone. 

Fuller Lips And now I'm off to put these lips to the test and smooch on my kiddos. ;) Lots of love, Sav

Credits//Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. 

Olympic Medal Popcorn Balls (via abeautifulmess.com) Olympic Medal Popcorn Balls (via abeautifulmess.com)   Are you guys watching the Olympics? Are you a casual watcher or completely obsessed? Growing up, Elsie and I were probably more on the obsessed side, especially when it came to gymnastics. I've always loved to watch all the diving competitions as well. Some of the heights they dive from are just unbelievable to me (but I'm very afraid of heights, admittedly). This year I've been a little more of a casual viewer, just catching highlights and watching some on the weekends mostly. Either way, it's hard not to get swept up in all the Olympic-fever-feelings (as I call it) because it's just so inspiring to watch people break records and compete to be the best in the world. Plus rooting on your country is always a blast – go team USA! 

In honor of the summer games, we worked with CVS Snacks. I'm particularly impressed with their Gold Emblem Abound line of snacks. I got to try their Heavenly Light Popcorn, which I used to make these treats, and I also tried and loved their Jalapeño Cheddar Quinoa Puffs. The Gold Emblem Abound line has lots of lighter snacking options, and we'll tell you more since we will be giving away a big goodie bag of them at the end of this post. So stayed tuned!

Olympic medal popcorn balls DIYThese snack medals are a super fun and easy treat you could make for an Olympic viewing party or other get together soon. I've got a few tips for how to make these come together lightning fast – like, we're talking Usain Bolt fast! 

OK, maybe not that fast, because that's like, really, really fast. But these do come together quickly. Here's how to make your own. 

How to make popcorn ballsOlympic Medal Popcorn Balls, makes 10 (You can easily adjust the following measurements to make more or less depending on what you need.)

1/4 cup butter
1 bag (10 oz.) marshmallows
4 oz popped popcorn, approximately 8 (0.5 oz) bags of Heavenly Light Popcorn
wax paper
nonstick cooking spray
gold and silver edible color mist
flexible wire
patriotic ribbon

Before you begin, wash and cut the wire into 10 to 12 inch pieces. One piece for each medal you plan to make. This is going to go inside our popcorn ball, so that's why we want to ensure it's clean before use. The wire I used I purchased from the jewelry section of a craft store. Just look for something bendable. 

Cut the butter into 4 pieces and place in a large pot, the larger the better. I used a big stock pot and this worked well. Melt over low/medium heat. Once the butter is nearly melted, add the marshmallows and stir with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are nearly all melted. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the popcorn. Take care to make sure the marshmallow mixture gets evenly distributed throughout. This is the (delicious) glue that holds everything together, so make sure it gets on all of the popcorn pieces. 

Plop all the popcorn onto a surface covered in wax paper. As soon as it is cool enough to handle (this took less than a minute for me), remove about a cup of the mixture to a small piece of wax paper coated in nonstick cooking spray, add a piece of wire to the center and wrap the wax paper around the popcorn, pressing into a ball. Remove to a cutting board covered in wax paper. 

Diy popcorn ball medalsNow spray the popcorn balls with the gold or silver color mist. This can get a little messy. I found that doing this in my sink is best so the extra mist sticks to the inside of the sink, and I can easily clean that afterward. So move your cutting board with the wax paper and prepared popcorn balls to the sink and then spray away. Check your packaging for directions to see if you need to shake the can first or anything else. 

Diy olypmic medal popcorn ballsNow wrap the wire around the back of the medal and loop into place. Then use the rest of the wire to create a small circle for your ribbon to go through. Cut your ribbons and assemble the medals. 

This might go without saying, but since this is the Internet, I'll go ahead and say this: clearly there is wire inside the popcorn balls. So you'll want to remove this before consuming. The wire allows the popcorn balls to hang from ribbon, like Olympic medals, but it will easily slide out when you are ready to eat these. Just undo your work and pull the wire. It will slide right out. If you decide to make these for children, use your best judgement on whether they can be safely enjoyed. I don't think these would be suitable for all ages as the wire could pose a choking hazard if you served these to children too young to understand that the wire must be removed before eating. 

Diy olypmic medal popcorn balls Here's the back of one of my medals – you can see how the wire loops around the back, and then you just twist the top together so it stays in place. 

Olympic Medal Popcorn Balls (via abeautifulmess.com) That's it – see... super quick, right? I really don't consider myself to be much of a novelty dessert maker, which means if I can whip these up, then anyone can. Plus these are super FUN to make (and eat)! :) Now for that giveaway, all you have to do is enter your information below and you could win a snack pack courtesy of CVS Pharmacy! It's filled with all kinds of delicious treats. Enjoy! 

CVS Abound Snacks Giveaway

Giveaway is open until 8/25/16, and the winner will be contacted directly. Good luck! 

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman

A Beautiful Mess Giveaway Rules 

Favorite Natural Mascaras (click through for links!)If I only have a few moments (or even a few seconds) to get ready before running out the door, a quick swipe of mascara is usually on the “must-do” list. Since finding less-toxic skin products has been on my radar lately, I wanted to make sure I had a few good mascara options for the ol’ daily routine as well. I had to go through a few different products, but after some trial and error, I found a few options that are keepers for sure!

Favorite Natural Mascaras (click through for links!)Rejuva Minerals Mega Lash: This water-resistant formula is great because it lengthens and thickens my lashes without making them feel hard and brittle. It also comes in a larger tube, so it will last longer between purchases and has a large wand that coats the lashes nicely. It is also organic and mica-free.

Favorite Natural Mascaras (click through for links!)Physicians Formula Organic Wear: This is a great option because this brand is sold in lots of drugstores and makeup sections nationwide. So chances are you can buy it locally or pick it up on a trip as needed. For those of you who like the plastic spiky wand head (as opposed to the bristle type brush heads), this might be your best choice. This brand also has several options for low-toxicity mascara (like this one too), so you can try several and see which one is your favorite.

Favorite Natural Mascaras (click through for links!)Endlessly Beautiful Organic Mascara: Probably my favorite of the natural mascara options due to how soft my lashes feel after application and the fact that I love how this mascara smells (the ingredients contain coffee and vanilla, so the fragrance is kind of awesome). It comes in a much smaller tube than I’m used to, so I do have to replace it more frequently. But I also kind of like that it takes up less room in my makeup bag.

As far as defining what "natural" means, the Rejuva and Physician's Formula are both rated a 1 out of 10 on the EWG toxicity scale and while they don't have the Endlessly Beautiful option in their database yet, most of the ingredients are rated a 1 with a few that are a 2-3. While I know that using a site like the EWG isn't a totally perfect system, it has been well recommended by people I trust and I do find it really helpful when looking up ingredients since I'm obviously not a biochemist myself!

With any of these products, I like to do one coat of mascara, wait about 20 seconds, and then do a second coat for added volume and length. While I’m still on the hunt to replace other beauty items with new products I like just as well, it’s great to have several options I love for my mascara routine. Do you have a natural mascara that you love to use? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. 

Networking ettiquetteWe're back with another Blog Q&A from our new series. If you missed the first two, you can find them here. Today's question is about making online friends and networking, and it comes from a Blog Life student. She asks:

"I just read through the section on networking: "friends first, networking later." This is something I've struggled with for years as a blogger. Is it possible to establish friendships with other bloggers through email, or is it mostly through social media these relationships are forged? And if it's through email, how do you send an email that's not too fangirl or awkward... I just often leave thoughtful comments on blogs in hopes that one day they'll notice me, but connections aren't being made for me that way. Help! What do you guys do? And how do you recognize a genuine hello-let's-be-friends from a because-you're-famous one?" 

Awesome question – because reaching out to anyone online can feel totally intimidating sometimes! I still get nervous to email or reach out to people, so I get it. Let me just start by saying that I think friendship and networking go hand in hand. Some people view networking as almost a dirty word, which I can understand, but I don't necessarily agree. It depends how you go about it. If you go through life just using people, then you are missing the whole point – and you're cheating yourself out of some amazing friendships. 

OK, so first rule is be friendly. This should be EASY, guys. Just email people, comment on their site or their social media, and say something nice. Give them a compliment. If their work has made a difference to you or you found it useful, tell them so. Another great way to let people know you love their work is to link them or share their work with your audience. Be confident, and it won't come off awkward, I promise. Anytime someone has emailed or left me a comment about how they liked XYX that I did, it totally made my day – there's nothing fangirl about that! It's just plain nice. Just keep your tone confident and casual and never be afraid to email or reach out to anyone no matter how "famous" you may perceive them as being – we're all human at the end of the day, right? :) 

I recommend you work to make this a weekly or bi-weekly practice. Don't just follow people online, reach out and give them a specific compliment. They may not always see it, as the Internet moves fast and not all correspondence gets the attention it deserves. But doing this all the time is not only a good habit, it will also increase the likelihood that you will be seen at least some of the time. 

OK, so you're friendly and over time you will probably make friends with various people online. Hooray! Now let's say the day comes when you'd like to promote your new project. How can you ask your friends to help without fear? Here's a few tips. 

1. Be clear and concise in what you're asking.

There have been many, many times over the years that someone I know from online emails me with a super vague request or a super long email that seems to be asking for some kind of promotion, but I feel like I need a key to decipher it. Don't do this. People are busy, respect their time by keeping your request concise and easy to understand. If you want them to give away a copy of your new book on their Instagram account, then say so. They may say no, but at least they know what they are saying no to. Otherwise they may not take the time to read your super long email, or they may not take the time to try and clarify what you are asking of them. 

2. Be polite and, if possible, offer them something in return.

Now likely you are asking your friends for marketing favors because you want to collaborate and learn from them, AND probably your marketing budget is small to ZERO. That's nothing to be ashamed of. We've all been there, friend! But, if you are asking for something, then a very friendly thing to do is offer something in return. You can be specific about this or you can throw out a few ideas and tell them that you'd love to hear their goals right now to see how you can help. If you're not willing to do a favor for them, then you probably shouldn't be asking them for one. But of course this doesn't mean you have to do anything they ask. It's OK to say no; I say no all the time. But, it never hurts to try and explore a mutually beneficial opportunity that you both might benefit from. I truly believe that if we are willing to help and willing to ASK when we need help, we can all help each other make our dreams come true. I really do! So it doesn't hurt to ask, just make sure you're willing to give just as much as you're willing to receive. :) 

3. If you don't hear back, only follow up once or twice.

Now this only applies to those times you are asking for things or looking to collaborate in some way. If you are simply sending out your weekly kind words, then you don't need to hear back. Just assume the good vibes are out there and don't worry. You can always send some more love their way later in life, no biggie. But when you are asking to work together, or do some kind of marketing push together, I do think following up once or twice is OK. After that you should move on. I generally will follow up once by the original method I contacted them (email, DM, etc.), and then maybe say something to them on another channel just so they know I'm around. People are busy, so follow ups help oftentimes because it's very possible they saw your request, meant to respond, got busy with something else, and then totally forgot. So a polite follow up is great. But if you follow up over and over again, probably they aren't interested AND you should be using that time and energy to contact someone else or in another way to benefit your overall goals. I have asked people to work with me on many things over the years, and I've gotten plenty of polite no-thank-yous as well as plenty of just plain ol' never-heard-from-them-again. I could spend time taking it personal or staring at my computer screen thinking how to write them again so maybe they will respond – or I can move on. And the moving on is usually the best thing since time is precious for all of us. 

Other than this, my only other tip would be that you really should not take anything too personal. If someone doesn't want to work together, this could be for ALL sorts of reasons. So don't take it to heart. There's always more opportunity out there too. One closed door just means it's time to knock on the next one. And above all – be a good person. I think this is probably obvious, but as long as you always remember to give of yourself and to spread love and kindness where you can, you don't have to be afraid to reach out and try to make connections. So long as you do it with love, you're doing it the right way. 

If you have any other networking or making online connections tips or stories you'd like to share, feel free! Or if you have any other blogging or business questions, let us know as we're always happy to have more to add to our list for this series. Thanks! xo. Emma (+ Elsie)

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography + Design: Sarah Rhodes and Mara Dockery. Some questions have been shortened from their original form simply so they fit better within this series's format. 

Elsie LarsonEvery few seasons I feel the need to "clean house" with my inspirations. I like to evaluate all the things I love from colors to music to blogs, how I decorate (etc! This list is getting long...) and figure out what is still inspiring me and bringing me joy. It's a time to let go of a few trends or styles that I'm not feeling anymore and make room to try something new. 

I realize I might sound a little crazy here, but knowing what you LOVE is a huge part of having a style in any creative project you want to do! 

This season my new crush is the combo of pink and orange, and also pink and yellow. Also combining a bubble gum pink with a blush with a hint of lavender... yes, please! 

Evaluating my inspirations also makes me feel more confident in the things I love season after season! For clothing, it's bell sleeves, vintage scarves and clogs. These are things I love season after season... just like The Beach Boys. 

What about you, little Sis??

Elsie Larson  Elsie Larson  Elsie Larson  Elsie Larson  Elsie Larson       Elsie Larson       Elsie's Wearing: Dress/ASOS (Similar here), Bag/Kate Spade, Sunnies/Forever 21, Choker Necklace/DIY, Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens

Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess Black and pastels Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess   Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess Trench vest and lavender purseOh yes, I'm basically the same. And I know you well enough, Sister, that I pretty much feel like I understand your sentiments here exactly. Like, I am a total creature of habit (as I know you can be too). I feel best when I spend lots of time being a homebody. And I wouldn't say that my style or likes drastically change from year to year. BUT, I do crave change now and again. It does kind of feel like a cleaning house thing, so I like that you put it that way.

Right now I am in the midst of slightly re-doing my home office. I haven't even been working from home for a whole year yet, but I'm already changing it – ha! Part of it is I feel like I have a better grasp on how I can make the space more functional. So that's a very legitimate reason to change it all up. But then, if I'm being totally honest, the other part is just that I want to change up my daily surroundings from time to time, and my home office space is the area I spend the most time. I just crave different colors, moods, and the overall vibe. It keeps me feeling fresh. 

Another random thing I never thought I'd be getting into is pastel colors. I guess I'm mostly talking about fashion here since I don't decorate our home in pastels much. But I have been gravitating toward more pastel tones in my wardrobe, even though I'm a mostly wear-black-always kind of gal. :) 

I'm pretty sure pastels were big about two years ago... so I'm really on top of the trends, clearly. :) 

Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess    Trench vest Lavender purse Trench vest  Emma's Wearing: Shoes c/o Seychelles, (similar pair here), Jeans/F21, Shirt/sample for Oui Fresh (we are testing lots of different fits right now to try and find the perfect ones for our clothing line), Trench/ChicWish, and Purse/ShopSosie

What about you? Are you craving change currently? xo. Emma + Elsie

Credits // Authors: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, Photography: Amber Ulmer and Janae Hardy. 

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