Emma's 5 Secrets to Success

5 Secrets to Success on A Beautiful MessWhat in the world is "success" anyway? Good question. And honestly, I think only you can answer that for yourself. For example, I'm not all that great at math. In college I only had to complete two algebra courses in order to finish my degree (in philosophy). I went to every class, turned in every assignment, and voluntarily attended a free tutoring session twice a week that my college offered. At the end of each of these courses I got the same grade, a "B." To me, this was major success! I was, and still to the this day am, so proud of that grade! I know some students would have been disappointed with a "B," as they would have been striving to receive an "A." The point is, you decide your goals. You make your dreams. And this gives you the power to be successful. It's totally in your hands. I could have compared myself to other students who received better grades, but what's the point? I worked hard and achieved my goal. That is success. No comparisons needed. 

I don't know everything (like at all). And I certainly don't know everything about success. But, what I have learned over the last few years I'm happy to share with you. Here are my secrets:

1. Positivity is a powerful force.

Being positive about your ideas is like allowing a plant to get sunshine. Good luck growing anything in the dark. I know lots of people who never actually do anything because they think all their ideas are too dumb, impractical, too random, or that if they put anything out there they will get made fun of or criticized.

Listen, the whole world is filled with critics. It's the people who choose to be creators who stand out. Choose to be a positive force in your life. When you have an idea, instead of immediately thinking of all the reasons why it's not very good or won't work, spend a few minutes thinking about how it could be improved. Assume you have a good idea; now how can it be better? Some ideas will end up getting discarded, but not every single one. Be positive first, then think critically to refine your idea. 

Also, and this one is hard, strive to surround yourself with people who build you up (rather than tear you down). Having a constantly negative friend or family member can make it difficult to achieve your goals. How you navigate those situations can be tricky, but staying positive and surrounding yourself with positive people is one of the keys to success.

2. Make realistic AND lofty goals.

The fact that I'm encouraging you to set goals probably doesn't surprise you. If you don't have goals, you likely won't get anything done. Duh. But have you made it a habit to set goals that you know you can accomplish as well as those that scare you a little? If you don't have a goal in your life right now that absolutely terrifies you, like you don't even want to tell anyone about it because it's so crazy, get one in your life. Now.

Attempting the seemingly impossible over and over again is good practice. You won't achieve it every time, unless you're Superman or something. But, like most things you practice at, you will achieve it some of the time, and as you get better and better you'll have more and more success. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to fail 100 times if it means I'll achieve one impossible goal versus never failing and never achieving that lofty goal. Failure is often just a step toward success.

Pro tip: don't put all lofty goals on your to-do list. You've got to keep those more realistic ones on there too. Failure, although a key a success, is also super discouraging. Achieving those realistic goals keeps you grounded and will help you through those discouraging moments.

Emma Chapman3. Don't wait for perfection. 

Sometimes we all need a drop-dead date, you know? It can be hard to finally let your idea out into the world. We all have a tendency to keep refining things, wanting to make them absolutely perfect before we show anyone. And I do think a certain amount of this is totally worthwhile and professional, but sometimes you just need to set a deadline and hit it. Even if the result is less than perfect. 

For example, as I'm drafting this we have right around 3,900 posts on this blog. Guess how many of those were absolutely perfect before we pressed publish. I don't know, but it for SURE wasn't all of them! Not even close. And yet ABM attracts right around 1.5 million readers every month. That's right, an imperfect website has that kind of appeal. We strive to produce the best articles we can, but if we waited until everything was perfect we would not be where we are today. 

I've also been conducting a bit of an official experiment for the past year and half or so. I try to note every time I find a typo in books I read. Guess what? Since starting this experiment I haven't read a single book that was 100% typo free. Many of these books were NYT bestsellers and/or written by famous authors with impressive bodies of work. My point is not to focus on flaws, but to know that flaws do not equal failure. Success is often imperfect. So, you don't have to wait on perfection before you put your work out there. Strive for it, but don't wait on it. Press that "publish" button, and if something isn't perfect, well, you're gonna learn something that will help you keep moving forward. You'll never learn anything by hiding your work behind a closed door.

4. Start now.

This one I am SO guilty of. I think, "Oh, I'll have more time next month to do XYZ. So, I'll work on it then." Or, "I don't feel great right now; I'll work on that later." And so on. I like to think that I'll do everything tomorrow, never today. And that's a great way to get nothing done. 

Start right now. Make a goal, make a plan to achieve it, and then immediately start taking steps to complete it. Do something today to move toward your dreams. Planning counts, but you can't plan forever. Action makes things happen. Maybe you will have more time next month, but so what? What can you do today? Maybe you can't do as much as you'll be able to next month, but I bet you can do something. Do it. Don't ever wait for your dreams to come to you; go get them. Today. Now. There will never be a better time than right now to start. 

5. Expand on success, learn from failure, and if necessary, quit. 

You know how people say, "Quitters never win." I could not disagree more! I don't know about you, but my life is not full of endless resources. I have the same number of hours in my day as you. I'm good at certain things and weak in other areas (like math, as I've already admitted to you). To have success, you have to take all of your life's variables into account.

When you do have success, first off, celebrate (you did it!!!!), then evaluate why. What about this situation worked? Did you discover certain natural talents or abilities you may have? Did you uncover a collaborative relationship that worked really well for you? Expand on these things. How can you have even more success in these areas?

When you fail, first off, celebrate (you learned something!!!!) and evaluate what you learned. What didn't work about this situation? Did you find that you are not gifted in certain areas or you just plain didn't enjoy something like you thought you would? How can you pivot from this experience toward success?

If necessary, quit. Sometimes things don't work. It might have nothing to do with you. It could be that the industry you are working in is going through a bad time. It could be the medium you work on is undergoing change. Or it could be you; you may just not be good at something. That's okay! This has nothing to do with self-worth. You are MUCH more valuable than your current accomplishments, and you always will be. But if something isn't working, my best advice is to quit now and move on to something else. I don't want to be a broken record too much here, but my best example of this is when I quit pursuing my dream of acting and moved back to my hometown to work with Elsie. This was one of the very best (and most successful) decisions I ever made, and it all started with me quitting. Quitters sometimes win big. Don't be afraid to change course if it feels right.

No matter where you are at in life right now, hear this: you are awesome. You are original. You have great ideas. And you can totally achieve your dreams. I believe in you 100%. You deserve to hear that every single day, so please at least hear it from me today. Never be afraid to dream big. Never be afraid to quit something if needed. You are as free to live a successful life as you let yourself be. Thank you for being a part of my story. xo. Emma

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

Planning a Budget Kitchen Renovation

Tips, tricks, and advice for planning a budget kitchen renovationHi, guys! It's Mandi. A kitchen renovation is an equally daunting and exciting project. Deciding what you want for your home's main gathering place isn't easy, but it sure is fun! Too bad the project doesn't end with the planning. There's this little problem that we're all painfully aware of—money, honey. Sure, if we'd had the budget to renovate our dingy kitchen the day we got the keys to our 1950's ranch, you better believe we would have! But looking back, I now really appreciate the three years of dreaming big, bringing ourselves back to reality, and then finally making achievable plans for a kitchen we can both love and afford.

With our tight budget, each decision we have made has been very mindful, since every dollar has to count! There are lots of things to consider when planning a kitchen renovation on a budget (whatever your budget may be), and now that I'm nearing the completion of my renovation (what, whaaat!), I have so much practical advice that I learned along the way, in addition to some fun designerly advice.

I graduated from a four-year accredited interior design program and worked briefly in the industry before plowing my own career path as a freelance designer and photographer, so working on the tedious aspects of our kitchen renovation has actually been a really fun blast from the past! In addition to my university training in design, I also have way too much experience with budgets. (Budgets and I have a love/hate relationship.) My husband, Phil, and I function on a mostly cash budget to stay on track with our spending and saving goals. Before we begin any projects or make any purchases, we either have the cash in hand or money purposefully set aside in our bank accounts. This helps us from making hasty decisions or getting ahead of ourselves financially. It really works for us (though it's extremely difficult for me), and sticking to cash makes us appreciate each project all the more, since we have been planning and dreaming during the long time we have been saving.

Regardless of how large or small your household budget is, it's a good idea to have a general idea of how much you want to spend before you get started on your kitchen renovation. Even seemingly simple projects, like repainting cabinet faces, can get out of hand really quickly! If you have no idea how much your dream renovation will cost, you could plan the financial aspect of it backwards, like I did, by making your grand plans first, then trimming them down to a more manageable price range once you see the scary cost of your big dreams. Alright, let's start by talking about your kitchen dreams!

Tips, tricks, and advice for planning a budget kitchen renovation
Planning a Dream Kitchen

Before the days of Pinterest, I'd always clipped images from my favorite home magazines, like Domino and Livingetc, and pasted them into a "cut book." These scrapbooks really helped me refine my decorating style and also helped me build specific dreams for the kinds of things I'd like to have in my own home some day. These days I do all of that dreaming on Pinterest, and boy, is it nice to have all of my kitchen inspirations just a click away! When planning our kitchen reno, I spent so many evenings pouring over the images and figuring out how to infuse the vibes I loved from each inspiration kitchen into my own home. I found some key elements that I knew I could easily incorporate into our budget kitchen renovation without having to make any drastic changes to the architecture of our space, such as specific textures, color schemes, inexpensive materials like paneling, and visual aspects like open shelving. Check out my notes above to see what elements we've been building into our new kitchen design.

Tips, tricks, and advice for planning a budget kitchen renovationMaking Design Decisions

When selecting colors, finishes, and an overall style for our kitchen, there were a few things I kept in mind. I wanted the overall look to match the rest of our home and stay in keeping with the midcentury-modern-meets-country style of our home. (I know, kind of a weird combo, but I can dig it!) I didn't want to create a time-capsule kitchen, though I did want the space to feel timeless while simultaneously current. I wanted it to be something I could really enjoy at this particular stage of my life, but also something anyone else might also enjoy if we sold the home in the next few years. (I'm starting to sound like a nightmare client!) Oh, and did I mention I wanted it to be as inexpensive as possible, without looking cheap? The more I pondered my style decisions, the more I realized planning a kitchen renovation is like planning a tattoo. Whatever you settle on will be around for a really long time, so the design should have staying power but also be true to you and your lifestyle. If you want to change it someday, it will be painful and expensive. So choose wisely while you can!

Planning on selling your home in the next 5-10 years? Then don't get too crazy, kids! Can you still make some gutsy style decisions? Of course! But if you don't want your home to lose value, and if you don't want to do more renovations down the road, just make sure the more taste-specific decisions you make are things that can easily be changed, like cabinet hardware, paint colors, or lighting fixtures. Expensive and labor-intensive changes like countertops, cabinets, and tiled backsplashes are not as easy to change and can look dated really quickly if you choose something trendy. For instance, before you rip out all of your cabinets in lieu of open shelving, just keep those annoying doubting voices of your friends and family in mind. You know the ones. "Really? Open shelving? You'll be doing a lot of dusting!" "You're getting rid of all that storage?" These concerns may not seem like problems for your lifestyle, but they might be for potential home buyers when you go to sell your home one day. So if you want something more unusual like open shelving, maybe you could plan a compromise like I did and mix it in with your current cabinetry situation.

Be sure to keep kitchen standards in mind before moving things around in your kitchen, too. To maintain the functionality of the space and the value of your home, make sure major circulation pathways are at least 36-48" wide; countertops should be 32-36" high, and upper cabinets or shelves should be 18" from the countertop so that they're easily reached but far enough away to allow space for appliances. To be clear, these are standard measurements that contractors usually abide by, but they're not exactly requirements for your specific kitchen. The space between my upper cabinets and countertop was only 15", and I had never even realized the space was smaller than standard.

While considering improvements to your kitchen, keep the overall value of your home in mind. I don't live in the best area, and I'd bet the homes in my neighborhood don't have kitchens with marble countertops or beautiful hardwood floors. Because of this, I made sure my design selections weren't over-improving our home; otherwise, we'd never get the money back when we go to sell it someday. We kept most of our original cabinetry (they're generic, but not awful or worth replacing), selected less expensive finishes and fixtures, and decided not to even go near the beast of our terrazzo flooring. We may restore them one day, but again, I worry about recouping the expense of that in the future. Honestly, I'm not the kind of gal who needs brand new appliances or fancy fixtures to make me happy. Mainly I just wanted our kitchen to be a brighter and more neutral backdrop to our home, universally likeable, and infused with our particular style (where easily-swapped accessories are concerned).

Tips, tricks, and advice for planning a budget kitchen renovationVisualizing the Renovation

To help plan the visuals of the space and figure out the spacing and materials required for the job, I laid out the changes in an elevation, which is a to-scale, two-dimensional drawing of a wall. You can easily make your own elevation by measuring your space and using graph paper (every square equals 3" or 6") to fill out your fixtures, like cabinets, appliances, windows, etc. Drawing your fixtures on separate paper makes it really easy to rearrange things on the graph paper until you get things the way you like them. I took my planning a step further and made a rendering of what the space would look like with the changes I'd planned. This was as easy as tracing over a photograph of my space and redrawing certain things as needed, such as raising the cabinets to the ceiling and replacing some cabinets with shelves. If you want more tips on how to realize your decorating plans in a drawing, perhaps we could do a whole post on the subject, if you guys are interested!

Tips, tricks, and advice for planning a budget kitchen renovationCreating an Initial Cost Sheet

After I was able to literally visualize the changes that were to take place in our kitchen, I figured out the materials I needed for new fixtures (such as shelves) and for updates to old fixtures (such as paint). Using a spreadsheet, I determined the total cost of the project by adding together the price of every can of paint, shelf bracket, tub of wood putty, box of sandpaper, cabinet knob... You get the idea! Boy, was I surprised at the cost! $660 for all of my cabinet knobs? And that didn't even include the hinges or fasteners, much less anything else in the kitchen! I knew immediately I had to make some adjustments to my plans, which required some hard decisions.

Revising Design Elements to Save Money

After my initial shock at the first cost sheet, I had to get real with myself. How much exactly were we wanting to spend for this project at this point in our lives for this particular home? What number wouldn't shock my pants off? What dream elements could I sacrifice for the sake of other fancy things?

The most expensive changes I was planning on making in the kitchen were my cabinet hardware and my countertops. I originally had wanted solid-surface or quartz counters because of their durability and the light colors available. But we just don't have the money for that kind of material, considering how much counter space we have to cover, and we couldn't justify a splurge, since there are lots of other important home improvement projects waiting in line for our money. My compromise was a beautiful butcher block counter that is less than half the cost, though it will require more gentle use and maintenance than a product like Corian or quartz.

Another way I was able to cut down on the cost of this project was by mixing our cabinet hardware styles. I originally wanted all of the cabinet doors and drawers to have long brass bars on them, but each bar I wanted cost $22 (check them out here), putting the total cost of handles at $660! I couldn't believe it. I knew that new hardware would dramatically change the space, though, so I compromised and decided to get a smaller version of that pull for the drawers only, and for the doors I would use closely-matching knobs I found at a local hardware store for around $2. That put my cost at $40 for door pulls and $168 for the drawers, giving me a grand total of $208 for my new hardware. Making that compromise wasn't my initial plan, but it did save me $452!

I was able to shave down money here and there by compromising on several smaller details too. I went through every item on my wish list and thought about what I really liked about it and considered if there was a way to achieve that for less money. That white globe light that I liked at West Elm? Sure, it has pretty brass detailing, but it was the shape that I really liked, and I found a less expensive globe light on Amazon that fit the bill. I originally wanted white subway tile for a backsplash, but after thinking about it, I realized what I really wanted was a white backdrop with textural interest. DIY painted paneling will bring in that texture I love for a fraction of the cost. New, sleek, Ikea cabinets? Maybe less expensive than custom cabinets, but still more money than I wanted to spend. How about I just refinish and paint the ones I have? So many dollars saved.

Tips, tricks, and advice for planning a budget kitchen renovationBeware of Unforeseen Expenses

Now that we're nearing the end of the renovation process, I can sheepishly admit that there are several things I hadn't planned for and should have, like tarps and outlet covers. Sure, these surprises meant more work for me (so many trips to the store!), which wasn't that big of a deal, but the main problem was causing my budget to stray from the original estimated cost. The key to sticking to your renovation budget is to initially plan that budget to include everything required for your job. It's a good idea to add 5-10% to your expected project cost to allow for mistakes or any additional materials that might be required. But to help you do it right the first time, I made a list below of items that are easily forgotten when preparing for a kitchen renovation. Can you think of any other often-missed expenses? I'd love to read your stories in the comments below!

General expenses I omitted from my cost sheet:
-shipping costs for online orders
-taxes
-ear plugs for use around air compressors or other loud devices
-electrical nuts and electrical tape for changing light fixtures
-outlet covers & switchplates to match new paint colors
-proper bolts and screws for mounting sinks, cabinetry, counters, and shelving
-masonite or plywood for making templates for new sink holes, etc.
-fresh blades for clean cuts with Skil saws
-renting spray guns, air compressors, other equipment

Demo & repair work:
-tarps
-duct tape for hanging tarps
-Sand & Kleen system to trap dust while drywall sanding (worth the money!)
-both quick-setting and finishing-grade sheet rock (drywall compound)
-drywall mesh and tape for repairing large holes
-drywall spatulas
-chisels for removing old tile
-respiration masks for all helpers
-variety of sandpaper and sanding screens—I generally need more sandpaper than I anticipate. Fresh sand paper helps the job go faster.
-wood filler
-protective eyewear
-ducts and adapters for moving or changing ventilation systems
-quarter round or other molding for covering gaps around cabinets, etc.
-toe kicks for cabinet faces
-caulk—waterproof silicone and construction adhesive as needed
-clamps for Skil saw guides or gluing together pieces of wood

Cleaning supplies:
-chemical cleaners like TSP for washing walls before painting or floors that are badly stained
-chemical-safe gloves
-protective eyewear
-respiration masks
-sponges, brushes, and metal scratchy pads

Painting supplies:
-tarps
-respiration masks for all helpers
-additional brushes, rollers, or trays for any helpers
-brush cleaner for washing oil-based paint
-saw horses and lumber for laying out wet cabinet doors, etc.
-wax paper for placing underneath painted objects that haven't yet cured
-painter's tape

I'm so excited to share this renovation process with you all! I've got a few things to teach you along the way, and a big before and after to show you at the end. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see, we'd love to hear your thoughts! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Spring and Valentine of the Signature Collection.

Cornmeal Churros

Cornmeal churros (click through for recipe)About two months ago I was lucky enough to get to travel with a group of friends to the beautiful country of Costa Rica. It was an amazing trip for many reasons, but one was some surprise churros we ate one day.

Cornmeal churros (click through for recipe)  What's a surprise churro? Just a churro you weren't expecting. Basically we drove back to the local airport (about 45 minutes from where we were staying) to pick up Laura's husband, Todd. He had to come a few days later because he's a rock star (no, really, that's his actual job). And on our way back from the airport we saw a small county fair-looking event off to the side of the road. And they had churros! So of course we pulled over.

Spoiler: They were amazing, with a light corn flavor. I've been itching to make my own ever since.

Churro doughCornmeal Churros, makes 15-18 churros.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cream (I used half and half)
oil to fry (I used canola)
cinnamon and sugar to coat the churros after they are fried

In a small pot, combine the butter, water, and brown sugar. Melt over medium/high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Just before the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and add in the vanilla extract, salt, flour, and cornmeal. Stir until a thick paste begins to form. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between. Then stir in the cream. If your mixture feels too thick (won't be easy to pipe out of a bag), you can add another tablespoon of cream. I only needed one, but you can add more if needed. Place the dough in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. I used a Wilton tip #1M. 

Best churro recipeHeat 2-3 inches of oil in a large pot to 350°F. Pipe the churros into the hot oil, using kitchen shears to cut the batter off when you're done piping. Cook on each side for 30-45 seconds. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.  

How to make churrosFor the cinnamon sugar mixture, I'll go ahead and level with you here, I didn't measure how much I used. (Gasp!) I just filled a loaf pan with a 1/2" or so of sugar, sprinkled in a generous amount of cinnamon, and gave it good stir. Then I dipped my still-warm churros in the mixture to coat them.

I'm sorry for not having exact measurements here, but honestly you really don't need them. This is just to coat the churros. So if you don't make enough, you can always add more to pan if needed. If you make too much, save it and use it in something that you don't mind a little cinnamon sugar on (maybe coffee?).

Cornmeal churros (click through for recipe) We passed these around the office and they were a big hit! They have a subtle, grainy/corn texture due to the addition of the cornmeal. You'll like it. Try it. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Contouring Basics (using Concealers)

Contouring basics using concealers!   Hi, all. AnnaRose here again. I’m sure you all have seen the dramatic Instagram befores and afters of highlighting and contouring with concealers à la Kim Kardashian, and it seems pretty intense and intimidating. I wanted to show you guys a way to contour your face in a similar, but simpler, way.
  
Contouring with concealers - the essentialsContouring basics using concealers!                        For this technique you will need three concealers. I love the ones by NYX; they are affordable and come in a great variety of colors. You will need one that is your color, one slightly darker, and one slightly lighter (I usually try to go one or two shades in either direction, but not much more then that). 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!    1. Apply your base as you usually do (this could be tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or a light foundation).
 
Contouring basics using concealers!      2. Conceal any problem areas, like dark circles or blemishes. 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!        Contouring basics using concealers!           3. Find your cheekbone with your fingers, and apply three dots of the darker shade directly underneath. Do NOT make the fish face to find them; this will result in improper placement of the product (too low and too close to your mouth; this is a good rule of thumb no matter what contouring product you’re using). You can also dot it along your jawline and the top of your forehead for more sculpting. These places aren’t needed on everyone but if you feel like you want to define your jawline or make your forehead appear a little smaller, this is a great trick for that! 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!              4. Blend!! You can use your fingers or a brush; just blend, blend, blend! 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!               Contouring basics using concealers!                5. Dot the highlight color onto cheekbones, inner corners of eyes, bridge of nose, and cupid's bow. 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!                 Contouring basics using concealers!                  6. Blend!! Same as last time; just make sure you clean your fingers or brush off first so that you don’t muddy the colors. 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!                   7. Check in some good light to make sure that everything is smoothly blended, and then set with a translucent powder. 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!                    8. Finish with some blush to warm up the face; this step is the icing on the cake! 
 
Contouring basics using concealers!
Contouring basics using concealers!Contouring basics using concealers!  I hope that broke it down enough for you guys. I love to do this to my face when I know I’m going to be photographed, because it really adds dimension. It does take a little bit of practice to get it down, but it's really simple once you get the hang of it. Always start light and build from there! Good luck! xo. AnnaRose
 
Credits// Author: AnnaRose Kern. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. If you use AnnaRosa's styling tips, feel free to tag her on Instagram or Twitter @theannarose. 

Weekend in Seattle

Trey at the space needleIf you follow me (or Trey) on IG then you probably already know that last weekend we got to visit the beautiful city of Seattle for a short but fantastic three-day trip. We got to visit friends, be tourists, and enjoy tons of delicious food! We stayed at a wonderful little homeaway in Capitol Hill, which turned out to be a great spot as we could walk to lots of awesome places. I thought I'd share all the spots we went to (and loved) in case you plan to visit Seattle any time soon.

Troll sightingPhoto 5Seattle skySpace needleEmma chapmanAt the locksBoatsSitka and spruce 2Sitka and spruceSeattle skylineSpace needle 2Emma Chapman 2Hot pot donuts and a trollAnalog coffeeSeattle waterfrontCoffee Shops:
Analog Coffee—Fantastic coffee and donuts. I also loved their simple but hip decor.

Top Pot—Most amazing coffee and giant donuts. Vintage books line all the interior walls.

Storyville—Fantastic latte; very modern and sleek inside.

Meals:
Sitka and Spruce—Inside the Melrose Market. Small and oh, so charming. Very interesting and delicious menu.

Momiji—Sushi and a great selection of sake. I had a sake flight and was not disappointed.

Six Arms—Great pub style snacks and a good beer selection. I had a beer flight and again, not disappointed.

Cafe Flora—Loved this little vegetarian-friendly cafe. I highly recommend the vegan biscuits and gravy. Yum!

Drinks:
Canon—A little pricey but such a cool place. I loved both cocktails I ordered, and my friend Molly let me try hers, and it was also amazing. I also loved their carrot fritters and beet ravioli. Mmmm.

Activities:
Space Needle—Duh. Super touristy, obviously, but you have to if you've never been. I would skip the restaurant though. The rotating floor is pretty interesting, but the food was not worth the price, in my opinion. 

Troll in Fremont—Fremont is just a cute area, and if you've seen 10 Things I Hate About You then you know the troll I'm talking about. Cute spot to snap a few photos in front of.

Ballard Locks—Watch how they move boats through the locks. Really cool! Also the fish ladder is neat.

Block Party—This only happens once a year, but if you are in town for it I highly recommend it. Seattle music fans are AWESOME. My favorite show was Matt & Kim. They ruled. My only small complaint is I wish the event planners would simply give out bracelets to those who are 21 and up when you enter the event. I had to show my ID about 20 times during the event and it was a bit silly. Also, I imagine the event could save some money if they didn't need to employ what seemed like a 100 people to check IDs all night. But, that's just my small business brain talking—totally rad event that I loved getting to be at this year.

Places I want to go next time:
Moorea Seal's shop—There is never enough time to see everything you want to see in a big city, but next time I'm in Seattle I'd love to hit up her beautiful shop.

Vivace Espresso—Was recommended by some folks who know coffee, so I need to check them out next time.

Serious Pie—Good pizza? Why yes, I'm very sorry I missed that indeed. :)

To everyone who said hi to us in Seattle—it was rad meeting you! Always a pleasure to meet new friends when traveling. xo. Emma

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

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