Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies (via'm filing this one under inspired by childhood favorites. I was definitely one of those picky-eater kids who likely drove my parents completely insane as I refused to eat much besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I am not proud of this era of my life, but I must admit that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still totally OK in my book. :) 

These cookies are the dessert version, with a cookie base somewhat resembling white bread, and then a peanut butter and jelly jam glaze top. They pair well with milk, as you can probably imagine. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies (via  They are also a twist on the classic black and white cookies. I grew up watching Seinfeld after school and always loved the black and white cookie episode. Surprise, the girl with a sweet tooth likes the episode that revolves around being in a bakery. Ha! And the very first time I visited NYC when I was nineteen or twenty years old, I promptly walked into a random corner bakery and bought a black and white cookie like a total tourist. No shame, no regrets. I mean, who could regret buying a cookie? 

If you want to make a homemade version of the classic, then check out the two recipes I used to create this twist version. They both rule and come from sites I love. :)

Peanut butter and jelly cookie recipePeanut Butter and Jelly Cookies, makes 12-15
Adapted from Annie's Eats and Smitten Kitchen Black and White Cookies 

2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup whole milk

For the glazes:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons jelly or jam
2-3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to remove any clumps in the cake flour, set aside. 

In a large bowl combine the softened butter and sugar, cream well. Then stir in the egg and extracts. Then stir in the milk until combined. Now add the cake flour mix to the bowl and stir until your cookie batter forms. The batter will kind of be a cross between cake batter and most cookie batters, soft but won't spread much as you spoon it onto a baking sheet covered in parchment or a baking mat. 

CookiesBake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes. The bottom edges of the cookies will begin to brown and the centers should look cooked (and not gooey). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. 

In the meantime make the glazes. For each, in a microwave safe bowl or small pot, combine 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. Stir together well as you heat (or, if microwaving, cook for 30 seconds on high and then stir to combine well). Then stir in 1 cup of powdered sugar. Then stir in either 2 tablespoons of jelly or peanut butter, and if the consistency seems too thin and runny, add another tablespoon of jelly or jam. 

GlazesFlip all the cookies over, as you want to glaze the flat bottoms. Add some wax paper under the cooling rack to catch any run off glaze. Then spoon the glazes over half of each cookie. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies (via Enjoy! Personally, I like to get a little bit of peanut butter and jelly in each bite, but you can eat these however you like. Just a couple notes here:

-I used a no-sugar added blueberry jam that I love, but if you want your jelly glaze to have a super uniform and smooth consistency, then you might consider going with the real deal childhood grape jelly. I liked the little specks of blueberry you could see in my glaze, and I didn't want to buy a different jelly just for this one recipe, but if the look bothers you, just use something more uniform in texture. 

-You may have some leftover glaze after icing all the cookies. I worked on this adaptation a couple times and found it hard to make just the right amount of glaze. This was as close as I got. The original recipes have you make twice this many cookies, which is great if you want to make that many, but I was aiming to make around a dozen so worked up glaze recipes that corresponded. See what you think and let us know how it went for you. 

Thanks and happy baking! xo. Emma

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

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)Hello, everyone! My name is Natalie, and I’m a bartender turned blogger who will be contributing all things booze related here on A Beautiful Mess. I’m SO excited to be bringing drinks into all of your homes, so let's get started.

For my first recipe I’m making a delicious Frozen Avocado Margarita—just in time for National Margarita Day! You heard me right: instead of putting it on your toast, which I totally support, we are going to be adding it to our drinks. I promise you’re going to love them, because seriously, have you ever met a person that didn’t enjoy a margarita? There might just be some avocado left over for that toast I mentioned or, who knows, maybe even a taco. Please let there be tacos! 

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe) Frozen Avocado Margarita, serves 1

2 oz tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
avocado cut into quarters 
salt and chili pepper
lime wheel for garnish

If you’re making these for more than one person, just multiply the recipe accordingly. You can also adjust this drink to taste. I have a very high tolerance for spice. So if you like spicy, too, you can go a little heavy handed on the hot sauce. If you’re sensitive to spice, I would say dial it back a little and maybe only use a dash or so.

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)  In a shallow bowl or on a plate, mix the salt and chili pepper. Run a lime wedge around the rim of a glass and then dip in the salt mixture so that it is evenly distributed. 

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)   I don’t know about you, but I love it when there is enough salt for every sip of my margarita. Salt makes this savory drink so much tastier, so be generous!

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)     Juice your limes and add tequila, lime, agave, tabasco and 1/4 avocado to a blender with ice. 

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)      Blend on the smoothie setting and pour into your salt rimmed glasses. Extra points for cute glassware like these vintage Blendo margarita glasses! I found a whole set at a Goodwill. Best find ever!

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)       I absolutely love how this drink turned out! I had a similar drink at a tequila bar in Disney World this past fall, and I’ve been dying to recreate my own version of it ever since. It’s a spicy and savory version of a classic margarita, and it is best enjoyed in the company of tacos. OH—I meant others.

Frozen Avocado Margarita (click through for recipe)        If you decide to make this recipe, I would love to hear about it. Comment below and don't forget to tag your photos #ABMhappyhour. Cheers, everyone, and Happy National Margarita Day! xo. Natalie

Credits // Author and Photography: Natalie Jacob. Photos edited with Just Kissed from the Natural Beauty Collection.  

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa Plant Shelves/DIY.

Hey, friends! We have a special At Home feature for you today. Lifestyle photographer Lindsay Kujawa is sharing her renovated home with us today, and get this. It used to be a barn! 

Here's some before photos—

BeforeBefore  And after!

At Home with Lindsey Kujawa                    "Around January of last year, my husband Ian and I started throwing the idea around of us possibly moving. We loved Temecula Wine country (in California) and knew we wanted to be in that area, but none of the houses for sale were our style. Then one evening, my husband pulled up a 12 stall horse barn that was for sale on Redfin and asked me what I thought about it. He said maybe we could gut it and completely transform it. I am usually the one with the crazy ideas, so this was completely unexpected coming from him. I LOVED the idea of a possible barn conversion, so the next morning we decided to go drive by the barn and see what we thought.

At Home with Lindsay KujawaSofas/Thrive Furniture, Coffee Table/Mt Hood Wood Works.

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa                     "I remember driving by slowly and immediately getting goosebumps and teary eyed (I'm an emotional person, haha). I KNEW it was for us! I also knew it would be the craziest adventure ever, but we decided to jump in with both feet and go for it! We did a ton of the renovation ourselves along with the help of family and friends, which made it that much more special in the end. 

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa                        "Our two chairs in our living room were thrifted Danish midcentury chairs that my aunt found for me, and we had them reupholstered with West Elm fabric. And I would say the thing that I am most obsessed with (ha) in my home is my plant wall. My motto has always been, "When you can't find art, add plants." And I feel like the more plants you have the merrier. :)

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa                 Pendant Lights/Barn Light Electric.

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa     Dining Table/Pottery Barn.

"My favorite space in my home is the kitchen. It's a little bit modern and a little bit country, and I just love it! I always dreamed of having an all white kitchen with open shelving, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. We love to have friends and family over, and it's always the space that everyone gravitates towards. I also decided to leave the ducting exposed, and I feel like it's the perfect industrial touch for our home.  

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa      At Home with Lindsay Kujawa        Headboard/DIY.

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa                    At Home with Lindsay Kujawa            Nightstands/West Elm.

"When we took on this renovation, we wanted to try and reclaim as much as we possibly could. The ceiling is all lined with the original horse stall wood. And all the exposed beams were wrapped, and then we hand distressed and stained them ourselves... that was a lot of work, and I don't think I ever want to do that again. Haha, but it was worth it! I would call my style modern farmhouse, and I love mixing new with old and giving thrifted items new life again.

At Home with Lindsay Kujawa             At Home with Lindsay Kujawa              "We have lived in our home for a little over a year now, and it's just such a rewarding feeling to know that we did so much of it ourselves!"

We're in love! You can find more peeks of Lindsay's home on Instagram. xo.

Author: Lindsay Kujawa. Photography: Lindsay Kujawa and Paige Buffington


Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        Hi Guys! Most of you know by now that I'm pregnant and our little #gummerbaby is due in May (yay!). We decided to take a Babymoon trip to Palm Springs last month while I could still easily travel and we invited a few of our favorite pals to come along and make the trip even more fun! Since my list of things to do before the baby comes only seems to get longer and longer, I wanted to make sure and make a mini photo book of our trip ASAP before I ran out of time! It's was pretty easy to get a lot of cute pictures in Palm Springs because, well, the whole place is just so darn cute! Here's a few highlights from the mini book of our trip...

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        Since I knew I would want to use some gold embellishments, this gold mini album was perfect for this book (page inserts here). The first time we passed the official "Welcome to Palm Springs" sign it was pouring down rain and already dark, so I was glad we could come back later and get a better picture of it while the sun was out. The desert area behind the sign is so pretty!

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        We loved our Airbnb house and since we went in January it was really important to find one with a heated pool, hot tub (not for this pregnant lady though-wah!), and fire pit! 

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        The Parker hotel is amazing!! The gardens were closed to non-guests on the weekend, so I need to go back and visit that spot again next time...

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        We found the door!! So funny to be excited to see a "celebrity door" in person.

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        It wasn't easy to find clothes in January for a Palm Springs trip when you're almost 6 months pregnant, but I was so glad I at least had a few looks that made me feel special for the trip—and they are all things I can wear post baby too! Yay!

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)        This was a fun book to use some 3D stickers with so I could place little flamingos or palm trees in certain spots and add a little dimension.

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)      We took a few panoramic shots during the trip so I used both sides of the pages to create one long photo and they look great! It's a nice way to break up all the single photos on the rest of the pages.

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)           Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)          I love using stickers whenever I can to spell out words or phrases. It takes a little longer than writing it out, and you need to have various sizes on hand, but I love how it looks when finished!

Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)           Laura's Palm Springs Mini Album (click through for more photos)           How cool are those gold chipboard letters? Love them. This was a great album to use gold letters and embellishments in and really compliment the gold of the album cover as well. I feel like this album has a colorful and fun vibe to it, which is perfect because so does Palm Springs! I can't wait to go back on another trip sometime, but until then, I can always take a stroll down memory lane with this cutie album...xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.

Elsie Larson ©AlyssaRosenheckA renovation is a HUGE undertaking. It can shake even the strongest relationships and test even the most organized people. It's rough stuff. But I'm happy to report that ours is starting to feel like ancient history!

It's been over a year since we moved into our new home and more than six months since our frequent contractor visits have dwindled down to nothing. If you've lived through a renovation, you can relate with everything I am saying, but if not—just trust me... it's not all rainbows and gold hardware. 

But I'm not here to write a novel about our renovation woes. I'm here to share the fun stuff—OUR REGRETS. And also those things that we don't regret. As always, it's a mixed bag! I spelled out my big picture mistakes here, but today I want to go into specifics on our different choices. 

And I'll share some confessions about decisions I made based on Internet peer pressure—the absolute worst!! 

That Turquoise Floor. 

Let's start with the stuff people warned me I might regret! The decision to stain our living room floor a COLOR was a bold move. And, if you remember the whole story, the reason I chose it in the first place was because there was a stain in the middle(ish) of the room, and so the ultra light whitewash we did on all our other hardwoods wouldn't cover the stain. 

And it's funny because I remember standing in the room thinking it would be great if we could just cover this with a rug or a sofa, but the placement was all wrong. Well, fast forward a year and half.... our sofa is TOTALLY covering that stain. So in hindsight, I could have totally just done the light stain. 

However, I'm honestly glad we ended up with what we did. And even if we have to change it when we move (and we might now), it's just ONE room. It's not that hard to do and a completely fair trade in comparison to choosing dark floors for our whole home, which I just did not want. 

Elsie's living room ©AlyssaRosenheckThe verdict? No regrets on the turquoise floor. 

Contrast Grout. 

There are things that you just don't know about yourself until you've lived with something. When we moved in, I was gravitating heavily toward a light, airy, very clean aesthetic. But still I was nervous to do white grout with white tile because I was afraid it would look dirty or age badly. My instincts said low-contrast, but the logical side of my brain said "dark grout no matter what." 

Well, I ended up redoing (or recoloring) the grout in three spaces in our home. I just couldn't live with it. With the kitchen backsplash, there were just some sloppy lines that stood out in the gray grout (now they're basically invisible, and we did the whole thing with a white grout pen by the way!). 

I also originally asked for gray grout on our marble floors in the kitchen, and after I saw it halfway in, I FREAKED OUT and had to change it. It just looked dirty to me. (I'll talk more about our new white grout in that high traffic kitchen below.) White was so much better

This is definitely a personal choice, and I LOVE high contrast in other people's homes. But I will say that with tile, the craftsmanship has to be a lot more pristine. Especially with small tile (that comes on the mesh sheets), if the lines aren't perfect, the high contrast makes it stand out even more. It's one of those things where once you see it, you can't unsee it, and now everywhere I go I am checking out coffee shops and hotels' tile jobs. Haha! 

Elsie Larson's Kitchen ©AlyssaRosenheckThe verdict? No more contrast grout for me. And in general, I've realized my eyes love a low contrast design... at least in my own home where I see it all day, every day. 

Marble VS. Quartz Countertops. 

This is a BIG one. The biggest. 

I knew I wanted to do quartz countertops all throughout our home because they are easy to maintain and age well (if not perfectly). But marble was/is SO TRENDY. 

Right before I ordered all our countertops, I read a blog post where an interiors blogger was dissing quartz because it "can't look real" and "isn't as pretty" as marble. 

I couldn't get her voice out of my head. And when you're spending thousands of dollars on these big choices, it can feel like a very scary commitment. So I split the difference, and I got the more practical choice (quartz that kind of looks like marble) for our kitchen and the prettier choice (real marble) for our bathrooms. 

The marble is prettier. 100%. 

But those real marble countertops are probably my single biggest regret. For one, there were small marks and texture differences before we even moved in (thanks, contractors!). And over the past year, we've gotten a few more mystery stains. 

Now I will say, they are small and probably not noticeable to 99% of people. I don't feel like we're going to have to replace them. I just feel like for me, personally, I'd rather not be constantly stressing about it. 

Yes, they are sealed (like 3 times), but it's just a part of having real marble that small imperfections and wear will happen over time. Even from things as simple as water and soap! And I use a lot of face oils in my beauty routine. So I do feel like I'm constantly thinking about it, wiping the counters up, and checking under things for marks—haha. 

I know so many people who have real marble and it's not perfect, but they LOVE it and it's worth it to them. It's NOT for me. In the future I will stay in my lane and just do the quartz. Even if it's not quite as pretty. 

Elsie Larson's master bath ©AlyssaRosenheckThe verdict? If you value your ability to be lazy or messy—don't get marble countertops. Big regret for me. It's pretty though. 

White Marble Floors. 

OK, so we also got REAL marble floors throughout our kitchen, breakfast room and sunroom (a lot of square footage of high traffic living space). And we LOVE it. 

I know you're thinking, "Lady! I just had to hear your long a$$ rant about marble counters, how can you love your marble floors?" 

I still don't completely understand! Haha! 

I think it's because they are lower to the ground. They do get small spots and texture differences over time. We use coffee, oils, lemon and red wine in our kitchen on a weekly basis (I think those are the really bad ones), and it's not a problem. We sealed them ourselves three times while they were still perfect, and now we use a cleaner with a built-in sealer. And the floors still look AMAZING. 

But the white grout.... that's a different story

The grout didn't age well in the kitchen. But we came up with a couple solutions, and now it's going great. The first solution is to do a yearly (or hopefully longer than a year next time) grout refresh with the Miracle Grout Pen. Those little pens really are a miracle for touching up grout! 

The second solution we now use is that we tightened up our "no shoes in the house" habits. Now, just Jeremy and I keep to that. We don't ask guests to do it, but I do feel like it generally helps keep the house cleaner longer (which has been great for us since we don't have a house cleaner anymore!). 

Elsie's breakfast nook ©AlyssaRosenheckThe verdict? I would do marble floors again. I consider them a lot easier to care for than countertops. Although now that my friend has been putting quartz tile floors into his flip houses, I am curious to try that as well! 

Ask me again after I've had a kid for a year or two.... haha! 

Painting Brick, Stone and Dark Wood White. 

I'll sum this up quickly. 

Zero regrets. 

I firmly believe in decorating your house how YOU want to. When we looked at this home for the first time, I was madly in love with it, but I told Jeremy that I wanted to paint the dark stone fireplace and the exterior white. And that it was a deal breaker for me. He agreed, and since painting both those things, the house felt 100x more my style. 

You do you! So many people don't do what they really want because they're afraid of resale opinions. But what if you knew that you didn't paint that brick you REALLY wanted to paint, but then the next person after you did??

Jeremy + Elsie LarsonBefore:After Back of the house!It's just paint. No regrets. Let's move on. 

Open Shelving in the Kitchen. 

Every time I post a photo of my kitchen, someone asks me something about how hard it is to keep clean. I have learned quickly that open shelves really scare people! 

I have to say—I don't get it. 

I love our open shelves. Yes, it helps to have kitchenwares that match (ours are almost all white with a little natural wood). Yes, once a year I have to take everything down and scrub and wash everything including the shelves (which I LOVE doing). Yes, things can get dusty or a little greasy up top (we don't cook with that much oil and never deep fry, so it's not that bad—plus using our hood when cooking helps a lot).

THAT SAID, it's not a daily inconvenience. The stuff on the lower two shelves gets used so often that it doesn't have time to get dusty or anything. The stuff at the very top is what we use more for parties, so when I get it down, I give it a quick wash or a wipe if it's been up there a long time. Not a big issue. 

Every single day our kitchen makes me smile. Every day. The other day I posted a pic of it right before we cleaned. And it's crazy because even when it's at its messiest, it is still pretty photogenic. 

I love our kitchen, and I would totally do this design again in a future house... if it fit the house. 

Elsie Larson from A Beautiful Mess ©AlyssaRosenheckThe verdict? Zero regrets

Well, that's all I can think of for today! Let me know if you have any questions about our renovation or how our choices are turning out over time. I love being open and honest with you, sharing the good and the bad. I learned a lot on this renovation! xx -Elsie 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Alyssa Rosenheck for domino magazine (aka—the shoot I will NEVER stop using in my blog posts because I love it so much!)  


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