Wraparound braid tutorial (click-through for the full tutorial)-1A simple side braid is probably my favorite hairstyle. It’s easy and does a great job of keeping hair out of your face and off your neck in summer – that is if your hair is long and you don’t have too many layers! I’ve been trimming off my damaged ends lately, which means my hair is long in some parts and short in others, and every time I do a side braid, I end up using a handful of bobby pins to try to keep it together! Quite the struggle bus for a style that was initially my favorite for being so easy. Lately though, I’ve started doing a wraparound side braid, which is a little harder at the start but works like a charm with my uneven layers! I highly recommend trying this style out for anyone with lots of layers who wants to keep their hair out of the way on a hot day!Wraparound braid tutorial (click-through for the full tutorial)Step One: Start with clean, brushed hair swept to one side. I like to sweep my hair to my right side and start the braid on my left.

Step Two: Take a small section of hair just above your ear and split that into three sections.

Step Three: You can make your braid a traditional French braid by crossing the sections over each other or a Dutch braid (as I did here) by crossing them under each other. Cross the furthest right strand under the middle, then the furthest left strand under that new middle strand.

Step Four: Add some hair to your furthest right strand and again cross it under the middle strand. Again cross the furthest left strand under the new middle strand. Unlike other braids where you add hair to both outer sections as you braid, this style works best if you only add hair on one side.

Step Five: Continue adding hair to one side and crossing your strands under as you move along the nape of your neck. Try to keep the braid low and tight.

Step Six: You should add your final section of hair to the braid when you reach just below your right ear. This will help your braid fall nicely on your shoulder. 

Step Seven: Finish braiding to the ends of your hair and tie off.

Wraparound braid tutorial (click-through for the full tutorial)  -1That’s it! It looks like a simple side braid in the front, but has a little surprise in the back that is as functional as it is pretty! If you don’t have bangs (or have longer bangs), then you can also start your braid higher towards the front of your face and bring it all the way around the back. Another way I’ve loved wearing this style this summer is finished off with a hat; it works nicely with hats that sit a bit higher on your head. Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. 

Eggplant Parm Baked Potatoes (via abeautifulmess.com) Eggplant Parm Baked Potatoes (via abeautifulmess.com)  This is one of those meals that's pretty much just inspired by me trying to use things from my CSA box. I almost never buy eggplant when I go to the grocery store, but we've recently gotten a few in our CSA box. So I was trying to dream up some kind of interesting dinner to use them in. This was the result. And I think it might be a new favorite! It does take a little longer to prepare (mainly because potatoes just take a while to bake), but it's SO worth it. You should definitely make this for yourself and/or your loved ones soon. 

Eggplant Parm Baked Potatoes (via abeautifulmess.com)     I will for sure be making these again, especially once the weather cools down. A warmed baked potato stuffed with crispy eggplant and gooey cheese sounds like the perfect autumn comfort dinner. So even though the idea came this month, I'm filing this away as a possibly-even-better-in-the-winter recipe.

P.S. Is it too early to start getting excited for fall? It is. OK, forget I said anything then. 

Eggplant parm ingredientsEggplant Parm Baked Potatoes, serves 3-4

3-4 russet potatoes
1/3 cup oil, divided
one small to medium eggplant (approx. 8 oz.)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely shredded or powdery Parmesan
2 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
5-6 medium to large basil leaves, torn
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to season

Begin by rinsing the potatoes and patting them dry. Use a fork to poke holes all over the potatoes, piercing the skin. I usually insert the fork 5-6 times per potato but you don't need to be exact. Lightly oil each with about 1/2 teaspoon of oil per potato and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle on a little salt. Bake at 375°F for 50-60 minutes. My potatoes were about 12-13 oz. each, so you may want to bake your potatoes a little longer (or less) depending on the size. If you are unsure, it's better to over bake a little rather than under bake them. You can test them by trying to cut through with the side of a fork. If it's too hard to cut, then bake them longer. 

Eggplan parmMeanwhile prepare your eggplant coins. Here you need three small bowls. In one bowl add the Panko and Parmesan. In another bowl combine the eggs and whisk well. And in the third bowl, add the flour. Add the remaining oil (about 1/4 cup or a little more) to a large pan (I used a large cast iron skillet), and heat over medium high heat. You can adjust the oil amount here to whatever works best with the pan you plan to use. Mainly you're just looking to have plenty of oil in the pan as we are pan frying the coins, but you don't need so much that they will float (like you would in deep frying). So long as the entire bottom of your pan is covered in a thin layer of oil, you are good. 

Rinse and cut the eggplant into thin coins, discarding the very top and bottom. Dip each coin in the flour, then into the egg, and last into the bread crumb/Parmesan mix. Fry each coin in the oil for about 45 seconds to one minute on each side. Then remove to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil. You're looking to really get these guys crunchy!

Eggplant parm baked potato recipeOnce the potatoes are baked through, remove from the oven and use a sharp knife to add a slit along the top of each. Press the ends toward each other (with pot holders since they will be hot!) until the baked potato pops open in the center. If it doesn't pop enough, just use a spoon to gently open it more. Inside add 3-5 eggplant coins, topped with marinara sauce and cheese. Then pop these back in the oven for 5-8 minutes just until the cheese is melted. 

Eggplant Parm Baked Potatoes (via abeautifulmess.com)   Top with a little salt, pepper, and a few red pepper flakes. Then tear the basil into small pieces and scatter all over just before serving. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.

Ombre Nails          I'm so excited about this mani tutorial! This is such an easy technique and a beautiful way to really up your nail game. You can choose to go with a monochromatic ombre look and pick three different shades of the same color, or create a swoon-worthy color melt effect by adding in different colors. Pastels look killer with this look and immediately had me craving sweets!  

Supplies:
-three pastel colored polishes (I used colors from Aila Cosmetics.)
-polish remover
-makeup sponges
-Q-tips
-small, stiff makeup brush
-top coat

Step One: Using the lightest color of your ombre look, paint two coats on your nails and let it dry completely. For this look, I used a perfect light pink in Make Him Wait a Day by Aila. I'm seriously obsessed with this color. One of the most beautiful pink nudes I've ever found! Btw, these polishes are 8-free, an incredible nontoxic option and impressive quality too! 

Ombre Nails
Step Two: Grab your makeup sponge and paint three stripes of color in the order you desire on the sponge. Since I wanted to go dark to light, I used Blue Lagoon for my blue base color, No Panty Wednesday (lol!) for my medium pink and Make Him Wait a Day for my lightest pink. When painting your stripes, I suggest letting them overlap just a little bit so the colors melt together. Also, don't be stingy with the amount of polish you put on your sponge. Makeup sponges tend to really soak up the polish! I put about 2 heavy coats for each color on the sponge before applying to my nail.

Ombre Nails Step Three: Now for the fun part! Slowly roll the sponge over your nail to apply the colors. Repeat step two and three for each nail. If you want your ombre look to be more intense, let your nails dry and apply a second coat of ombre to each nail.

Oh, and please excuse my random short nail. #momlife ;)

Ombre Nails   Ombre Nails    Step Four: To clean everything up, dip your Q-tip in polish remover to remove the majority of the polish on your fingers. Afterward, use a small brush to clean up the details and get around your cuticles. This step makes everything look like you got your mani professionally done at a salon. The brush I love using is linked above in the supplies list, but you'll just want to make sure you find something on the stiff side that's small enough to get around your cuticles. 

Ombre Nails      Step Five: Apply a generous coat of top coat to your final look! The top coat completely transforms the look and helps the colors really melt together and look nice and shiny. I'm a firm believer in top coats. They always make my manis last twice as long or longer! 

Ombre Nails       Ombre Nails             Ombre Nails        I've already received several compliments on this look! I love how simple it is to achieve and how many beautiful color combos you can do. If you're feeling really sassy, you could even go for an epic ombre fade and use several shades of the same color. Wouldn't a lilac to deep purple be beautiful? 

I hope you're inspired for your next mani night! Lots of love, Sav

Credits//Author: Savannah Wallace. Photography: Isabel Jones.

Emma A Beautiful Mess Emma A Beautiful Mess Emma Chapman at home Emma of A Beautiful MessLately the weather has dictated that if you plan to venture outside anytime between the hours of 10am and 6pm, then you MUST wear a sleeveless dress. Bonus point if it will easily hide back sweat because no matter how good your car AC is, you will be sticking to the seat by the time you arrive, no matter how far you drive. But, despite the humidity and heat, I truly love living in the Ozarks – it's just a really special place. 

Also, raise your hand if you like polka dots? Yeah, me too. So even if I've worn this dress probably one too many times lately, so what – everybody loves polka dots anyway. So it all works out. 

Some random facts from my life lately:
-Nail update: still not biting them. Woot! Sometimes it's still a struggle, but I feel I can confidently say I am in recovery. :)
-Currently loving Raury. Have you heard his music yet? 
-Really excited to see the new Star Trek. I love blockbusters, but I am an especially big fan of sci-fi geared blockbusters, and I loved Star Trek growing up!
-Getting back into my love of library. I hadn't been in well over 6 months, which is such a shame, but I'm back in the club now and so happy to be. :)
-If you've never checked out Julie Blackmon's photography, you NEED to. She's from my town (or I'm from hers?), and I'm currently obsessed with her work – so interesting and inspiring.
-Trying to decide if I should have a garage sale next month or not. It's so much work, but we have quite a few things that I hate to donate because they are nice. Hmm...

You got any random facts you'd like to share, Sister? 

Polka dots Summer vibes  Summer vibesEmma's Wearing: Shoes/ModCloth (last year), Dress/Be Bop, Denim top and sunnies/F21, Purse/Marc Jacobs via Sarah's IG sale. 

Elsie LarsonElsie LarsonHey there. Yes – it's still both super hot and super rainy here in Nashville. People who have lived here a long time keep saying this rain is uncommon. It's pretty most of the time, like when we're hanging out in our sunroom. Not so much when I'm driving on the highways though. :/ 

Some random updates from my life lately:
-I have puppy fever. Probably not going to act on that, but still... 
-Our house is so much closer to complete now. Getting real cozy over here! 
-I am so excited because we found ONE species of prickly pear cactus that can live outdoors through the winter here in Tennessee. Thinking we're going to plant some of them in the back of our house and peonies in the front? 
-Been trying some long dresses (as you can see here). I still feel more comfortable in short dresses, but these are fun! Trying to branch out. 
-Half of me is super excited for autumn and the holidays (approaching even sooner from a blog-planning perspective than a real-life perspective), and the other half of me wants to burn down Hobby Lobby for having ALL the Christmas decor out in August. Yikes! 

Elsie Larson  Elsie Larson  Elsie Larson  Elsie's Wearing: Dress/H&M, Jacket and Bracelets/Madewell, Shoes/Swedish Hasbeens. 

And since I know some of you will ask, my planter (on a stand) is from West Elm, the geometric one is from CB2, my sofa is from Article and my smoke bomb print is from A House In The Hills. I'll be sharing a full tour of this room this fall! :))  

This month's Messy Box is perfect for summer road trips. Grab yours at www.aBeautifulMess.comPlease tell me summer isn't really over yet! I'm officially in the denial camp and our latest attempt to squeeze every last drop of summer break at the public pool was thwarted by lightning and one of those Midwest thunderstorms that just won't quit. I demand a do over!

This month's Messy Box is helping me deal with my inability to let go by getting some of my favorite summer memories printed out and in my scrapbook. It's got a vintage camp vibe with some late summer colors and so many embellishments! There are some great chipboard shapes with fonts that feel special, one of my favorite typewriter font sticker sets, and painted wooden stars that add a lot of dimension to those photo pockets. Oh, and painted cork stickers! 

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I used one of the 3" x 3" photo pockets for this page and printed out some fun summer memories from the last three summers. They each instantly recall how much smaller our kids were and those special memories we made! I added some fun doodles on one photo and used one of the mountain cards as a journaling spot. I like how the fonts and colors work especially well together in this kit and that you can end up with something that works well for those that prefer lighter colors and subtle patterns or that love something a little moodier and earthy.

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I couldn't help but make a mini book using some of the 4" x 6" cards as my base pages. I added in some smaller cards and embellishments and some more recent photos, but this would also make a great summer travel book. If you've still got a little road trip left in you or even have Labor Day plans, take a pre-made mini book with you and fill it with journaling and instant photos as you go!

Mini Book

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I almost exclusively used the August Messy Box for these two, but you could stretch it much further by mixing and matching with some of your go-to favorites. Mix in ephemera from your summer adventures, ledger or graph paper, or pages from your favorite clothing catalog for an art journal vibe. You can't go wrong with this month's kit, friends! -Rachel

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