Episode #139: Our Favorite Things

Today, we are doing a favorite things episode! We’re also sharing our pet peeves, guilty pleasures, and our book report on Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty.

We made a just-for-fun quiz I think our podcast listeners will like. It’s called “What Nancy Meyers Movie Are You?” Tell us in the comments what movie you are (and I’ll tell you what I got).

Favorite trip:
Elsie – Blue Lagoon in Iceland, Great Wall in China, and Disney
Emma – Norway

Favorite parenting memory so far:
Elsie – Making books and the song Moon River
Emma – All of Oscar’s firsts and monthly pictures with donuts

Favorite side characters from Harry Potter:
Elsie – Fred and George
Emma – Dobby

Random pet peeves:
Elsie – Leaving a glass in a room she just cleaned, when people think they’re always right
Emma – Loud chewing, spacial awareness in public, and negativity

DIY you would never do again:
Elsie – Trying to squeeze something in when I don’t have the time
Emma – Binding a quilt together

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week we’re doing a favorite things episode that’s random and fun. We’re chatting about our pet peeves, guilty pleasures, and we’re also sharing our book report of Think like A Monk by Jay Shetty. All right. All right. I’m excited. 

Emma: Okay, so this episode is about favorite things. So this was a listener request situation, which, honestly, a lot of our podcast episodes are listener requests. So if you have a request of something…

Elsie: You say it, we do it. I just like to write down everything that people send us. Every single week we get a message that’s like you did my idea.

Emma: Yeah. We’re like, yeah, we did so there you go. So we’re just gonna go through like lots of different favorite things. We did an episode like this really early on but that’s been so long that I feel like and these are like, new favorite things, I guess you could say. 

Elsie: This is like favorite things of all time type of situation. Not like favorite things of last year. 

Emma: This one is a past year, though, favorite book you’ve read this past year, preferably one we haven’t necessarily talked about, not from the book club. 

Elsie: Yes. Because yeah, I have talked about most of the books I’ve read, but I do have one that I haven’t, or that I haven’t talked about yet. That’s station 11. So I am obsessed with station 11. So first, it started with this. We watched the TV show, didn’t even know it was based on a book. But I loved the TV show. So then I heard that it was based on a book because as soon as I was watching the show, I was like Googling around because I wanted the comic book from the show. So anyway, the novel that was a bestseller I guess for like a really long time, like 10 years ago or so. So Emma was like, yeah, everyone who reads already read that book a long time ago, Elsie. And I was like, okay, well I that I’ve never even heard before. But I heard people say that the book is really different from the TV show and they’re both so good. So I read the book after that and it was incredible. It was really different from the TV show. So yeah, I could talk about that for a really long time so I’ll just cut myself off early and just say, it doesn’t matter what order if you want to watch and read. You cannot spoil one with the other because I think that it’s almost like the TV show was a fanfiction of the book because they changed so many things that I thought it was really interesting and cool. So anyway, what book have you read lately? 

Emma: Well, with station 11, though, I did read that a long time ago. I like how you revealed that I’m just like a snobby b*tch to you behind the scenes.

Elsie: No, I mean, honestly you weren’t the only person that said that. I know now that it’s a really famous book I just didn’t know that at first.

Emma: No, it doesn’t matter at all. It’s very funny. Yeah. So anyway, so two books I read this past year that I loved a book called Yolk so like an egg yolk, and it’s about two sisters living in New York, it mainly centers on one of them, and they kind of reconnect. They’re both Asian and Korean so they kind of have like this sort of family dynamic with their mom with that. I won’t say too much. It’s not that they’re spoilers, but I think you can just get into it. But I will say upfront, it does have to do with eating disorders so if that’s the thing you don’t want to read about just heads up. But it’s beautifully written. This author, she has, I believe, three novels out, I’ve read all three, I love them. I am a huge fangirl, follow her on Instagram, leave her messages. She’s just really, really cool and this book was excellent. I loved it. I read it this last summer, still thinking about it. Then the other one is The Lager Queen of Minnesota, which is about brewing beer. It’s also kind of about two sisters and some family dynamics between them. It’s multi-generational. This author is a man and I believe he’s written two books, this is the second and they both have really well-written strong female characters. Not that men can’t write that way because of course they can. But it’s just interesting. I love this author. I love both of his books so much. This one was really beautiful. You also bonus get to learn a lot about brewing beer in the book as well. 

Elsie: Oh, that’s very fun. 

Emma: Just putting it out there in case anyone doesn’t know, I post a lot of books that I read on my Instagram, which is @emmaredvelvet. I have a hashtag which is #emmareads. So if you want to see things I’ve read that’s the best place to see it. 

Elsie: That’s awesome. Okay, so the next question is a favorite nostalgic movie that you can watch over and over. This is my ultimate.

Emma: Yeah, so mine doesn’t say nostalgic. So I don’t know if mine qualifies, but I put down Knives Out.

Elsie: I put Knives Out too. Okay, Knives out is, it’s rewatchable. The first time I watched it I didn’t think it would be because it’s who done it, like clue. It’s rewatchable for other reasons, for the house porn as you all know. It’s a big deal to us. 

Emma: Rewatch all the time. Sometimes if I just want something on in the background and I’m hanging out with Oscar. We’re not really watching TV, just so there’s a little bit of noise. 

Elsie: That’s how I should have phrased it is like background. Okay, so my other ones are depending on the time of year. I love rewatching Father of the Bride, and also the there’s two Father of the Brides. Also, did we ever talk about the Father of the Bride like two points whatever. 

Emma: I don’t think we did. 

Elsie: I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this. So if you didn’t know, they made a Father of the Bride short film, the original cast recently. It was like kind of a quarantine theme. They clearly made it in in 2020 and Zoom situation and I bawled. I like bawled. We watched it recently when Emma visited me and Jeremy was like, I think they made that thing just for you. I don’t think it would be rewatchable but it like got me in a heartwarming place. 

Emma: It was very sweet. It was also a very interesting creative exercise because it was like, we’re going to write a short movie, but everyone’s going to be on Zoom. So it’s like, well, what can happen? What could possibly you know what I mean?  I thought they did an excellent job. It’s very fun. So look it up. It’s on the YouTube. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s on YouTube. Then my last one is Hocus Pocus. I am so excited. This fall is finally gonna be that sequel that I’ve been waiting for, like three years. It’s definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s silly. It’s for kids. But every fall I like to just like put it on while I’m working. Especially if there’s like a fall craft. Okay, the next favorite thing is a favorite blog you read So, recently, a lot of people have been asking us what blogs do you read, but people usually phrase it as like still read. I hate how people talk about blogs. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. So I still use Bloglovin and it’s a subscription site where you can just subscribe to all your favorite blogs. It’s not a subscription, it’s a reader. So basically you go on the website every day and it shows you the first thumbnail and the title of the blog post. 

Emma: It’s kind of like when you subscribe to podcasts and then they pop up in your library as they have new episodes, same thing but for blogs. 

Elsie: So if you want to follow a bunch of blogs, but a lot of the ones you follow don’t update every day, then Bloglovin is a good resource for that. So anyway, my favorite blogs are. I have two, they’re both by someone named Julia. So the first one is Chris loves Julia, which is, it’s a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful home blog. I remember back in like, the very old days I was on their podcast, they don’t even have a podcast anymore. They’re wonderful and I love their blog. I like following their renovations. It’s very consistent. They have a new post almost every day, which I love that. My other favorite blog is Julia Berolzheimer’s blog, and I love it because it’s actually mostly just a shopping theme. Every day she shows you beautiful lifestyle pictures and then shopping links. A lot of it is organized by theme. She has a lot more home stuff now than she used to so it’s not all fashion and she also has two kids. Oh, she just had a child named Marigold. Did you see that? 

Emma: Oh, I don’t see what she did. 

Elsie: Anyways, I’ve loved her for a long time but I would say out of all the bloggers’ houses she’s probably got like my number one favorite blogger house. It is stunning. Yeah, and her fashion style is incredible. She likes weird little things like weird little home things and I like that stuff. So yeah, it is a good read. We’ll link all of these in the show notes by the way. What are your favorite blogs?

Emma: So I put down three, two are food blogs. Surprise, surprise. Two food blogs that I check all the time is Pinch of Yum and also Half Baked Harvest. 

Elsie: I love both of those. 

Emma: Yeah, I love them so much. I’ve made so many recipes from both of them. Half Baked Harvest, Tegan, her photography style is kind of very different from other food blogs that I follow and it’s just really cool. I feel like she kind of does this almost like anthropology catalog food blog style or whatever. It’s really, really inspiring.

Elsie: It’s like a little bit rustic, a little bit moody. 

Emma: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. A little bit moody, darker colors at times. She also has these barns and she lives in one and she has a kitchen in one. They’re like very renovated. Those are really beautiful.

Elsie: She has a pizza oven in her kitchen. 

Emma: Yeah, it’s worth clicking all around her site if you haven’t visited it before. So yes. She has cookbooks out. I’ve made lots of things from her cookbooks, love them so much. Then also Steffy’s Pros and Cons.  

Elsie: I love Steffy. 

Emma: Yes, I feel like everyone follows her on Instagram as you should because she’s just a dose of happiness. But her blog has even more. So if you like her on Instagram, you should read her blog. Sometimes she’ll like to have kind of a longer form talking post, or just share just a little more than what you see on Instagram. So it’s fun to catch up on that and I really like it. Okay, next one favorite comfort food. 

Elsie: Oh, yeah. We should also say everyday food that was on Instagram. Everyone wants to know like your like, favorite everyday dinner. Okay, so my favorite comfort food is definitely pasta. I have two, pasta and cereal milk ice cream from Milkbar is my new favorite ice cream of all time. It is amazing, mind-blowing.

Emma: Yeah, I had it with you and it was so good. I actually don’t want to buy it for my house because I know I’m just going to eat it so much. But my number one comfort food is probably baked macaroni and cheese. I think of it as kind of a holiday food. I do make it outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas but I always make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When anyone’s gonna make me a homemade dinner that’s like for my birthday, that’s one thing that I often request is baked macaroni and cheese because I love it and it’s just so indulgent. So, I guess similar, pasta because it’s pasta.

Elsie: My everyday dinner like my easy go-to dinner is definitely dumplings. So frozen dumplings from Trader Joe’s, we eat them at least once a week. I eat them for lunch a lot and kind of just like anytime I need something really fast. I usually air fryer them. I think they’re really good steamed also, but I like the crunchy air fryer thing so I usually do that. What about you?

Emma: Mine’s air-fried too, dinner that we have at least once a week is air-fried chicken wings. We make hot wings every week. I have that on the blog. I can link it in the show notes.

Elsie: Okay, so what is your favorite trip you’ve ever been on? 

Emma: Probably my favorite of all time is when Trey and I went to Norway. We went to an area that’s, I think you pronounce it love Lofoten, something like that. It’s just a really beautiful place. I love being warm and I love warm weather but for whatever reason, I’m really drawn to places that are just like cold and quiet. You can see the Northern Lights, I have a real affinity for the Northern Lights. My dream vacation someday is to go to Antarctica so that’s kind of pricey. So we’ll see. But one day, I’ll get there.

Elsie: That sounds magical. 

Emma: I also love Iceland. That would be like my runner-up. I’ve been there twice and also got to see the northern lights. 

Elsie: Nice. So I kind of want to say Iceland. I kind of want to say China, but it’s like China wasn’t really, adoption trips are pretty different from vacation, but it was still like the best trip. I don’t know. Okay, I’ll just say the when we went to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, that moment from that trip, and when in China when we went to the Great Wall and we got to go down the giant slide. 

Emma: That was cool. 

Elsie: That was like so special and cool and weird and Nova got to do it with us too. It was magical. But yeah, as far as my favorite, at this moment in my life, my favorite memory of trips is honestly going to Disney with my kids. I understand it’s like so cliche but there is just nothing better than taking your little kid that loves Frozen on the Frozen ride and doing it five times in a row, There’s just nothing better in the whole world when they’re in that deep of an obsession. I don’t know. I would really like to, I don’t know how it’s gonna work out, but I would really like to go to some of the International Disneyland parks. I think that will be very interesting. Especially the Japan one or maybe the Paris one. Hopefully in the next few years, we’ll get a chance to do that but we’ll see.

Emma: Yeah, that sounds really fun and different. I’d love to do that. This one is favorite or most memorable parenting memory so far. I feel like the so far was for me because it’s only like nine months plus a pregnancy.

Elsie: Oh, I think always so far. It’s always like that because you always feel like the best times are still ahead of you. So my kids have this thing, I don’t know how it started, but it’s so magical. So every once in a while, they’re not always in the mood to do it, but every once in a while, I would say like every six months, they do this thing where they make like 10 paintings in one day. Then we make a story to go with it and I write down the exact words of their story. I can read you one of them if you want to hear it but it’s very clearly written by a four year old or six year old. Then after they’re dry, we staple the edges all together and put a little binding on it. I print out the words and then we just kind of glued them onto the pages. It’s one of my favorite experiences because you can spend a whole day doing it. It’s just one of those things that’s like rare because it doesn’t always happen but when it does, it’s really special. They’ve both made them now. Then also our Moon River Song is our other thing where it’s our snuggle song and I highly recommend anyone who’s a new parent to pick a snuggle song because you’ll never be able to hear it the same for the rest of your life. It’s so special.

Emma: Now when you say snuggle song, it means kind of like the wind-down song, like getting ready for bed?

Elsie: When Goldie was a little baby, we used to use Moon River for her bottle song every night. It was the Andy Williams Moon River and then another like, I can’t take my eyes off of you would come on after it so that was kind of like her too. She thinks of those as her songs. Then with Nova, the Frank Ocean version of Moon River is our special song because I don’t know sometime in like the early quarantine months we started this thing of like laying under a blanket, closing our eyes listening to the song and it is just this magical cocoon-like feeling. it’s like the densest form of nostalgia that you can possibly have. It’s really nice. I love that.

Emma: Okay, most memorable. So, you know, Oscar’s nine months so he has a million like first. That’s what this year is, it’s just first everything. So the first time I heard him cry, first time he gave me a little wet kiss. He’s now starting to take steps. He can’t walk without holding on to something but he has this little toy pushcart thing and he walks around with it. He can kind of walk. Yeah, he’s getting there. So many first. Another little memory that I didn’t totally realize I was even making it at the time was I wanted to do one of those year-long like you take their picture each month so that you can see them grow. Then you put them all together at the end. So I decided to do one around food because as I already said so many times I am a food-obsessed person. So I did it with donuts. So each month I do a picture with him and it’s the same box but obviously fresh donuts but like the same box, same blanket. He wears a little white onesie. He’s obviously grown out of his first one so he’s growing and growing. You get to kind of see how long he is compared to the box and his facial expressions and his hair fell out and now it’s come back in and it’s a different color and like just all of it. I also have a folder on my phone that is like favorites, and it has all those pictures in it. At the end of the project, I’ll probably go back and edit them so they match better or whatever. In the meantime, I like to look at this folder because I like remembering the day that we do this photo. Trey usually helps me just so it’s like a fun experience for everyone. Usually Oscars into it but this past month he was fuzzy and he didn’t want to do it. I don’t know it’s something about it is just like special where I’m like this is our little thing we do each month and I just look at the photos and it’s like this fun little weird moment that I didn’t even really realize I was making these little like memory moments. I was just wanting to do the photos where you watch him grow because he grows so much the first year. 

Elsie: Family photos are definitely memorable.  Whether it was a good moment or a bad moment, you never forget how you felt when those photos were being taken, for real.

Emma: Yeah, this last one he has such a scowl on his face. I showed Trey and I was like, well, this is the best one we got this month. But it’s great because so many of the months he’s like smiling and laughing. So I like seeing all the different sides of him. So it’s really great. Doing my month long thing when I’m done with it this June, because, on June 2, he’ll turn one this year, but I’ll put them all together sometime that month, and probably share something about it on the blog. I just think it’s a really fun thing to do if you get the chance or if you have any interest and you’re going to have a kid. I’d like to put together like maybe a whole bunch of ideas that someone could like, browse through and pick something or because I don’t know about you, but I did not feel my most creative when I had a newborn. I just like something where someone can kind of help me come up with an idea. 

Elsie: So I have a couple more favorite things questions. These are ones that I just collected from Instagram so Emma hasn’t had time to prepare for any of these. I don’t think you need much preparation. Your favorite thing as a teenager.

Emma: To do like activity? 

Elsie: Just like your favorite thing? 

Emma: Probably thrifting 

Elsie: Yeah, I’m gonna go with She’s All That with Freddie Prinze Jr. That was my favorite movie as a teenager and I still think about it sometimes. It had like, do you remember like the Six Pence None the Richer placements? The placement of the century. I love that movie. Anyone wants to watch it, let’s have a movie night. Okay, your go-to coffee order.

Emma: Vanilla latte. How basic can you be? 

Elsie: I have two. So like 99% of the time, I would just get like black coffee, especially if it’s like my first coffee of the day.  I’m a black coffee person but every once in a while when I’m feeling crazy. I get a chai latte and that’s my fun drink.

Emma: Ooh, yes. Every now and again I get a chai latte too and that is a fun, like changing it up. 

Elsie: They can be not that good but they can also be really good. 

Emma: They can be a little watery. It depends where you’re at. 

Elsie: Okay, you’re gonna love this one. So your favorite character from Harry Potter. I feel like it’s implied that you can’t pick Harry, I mean, your favorite side character from Harry Potter. Should we say it that way?

Emma: Okay. Yes, probably Dobby, the house elf.

Elsie: I knew you were gonna say that. 

Emma: I love them. He gets it.

Elsie: I wrote down like five but I’m just gonna say my number one obscure Harry Potter character is Fred and George. I love Fred and George. I was telling Emma that my favorite moment from all the movies, except for the Halloween dinner. That’s my number one. My second favorite movie moment was when Fred and George get their magic shop. They spend a lot of time just going through every detail of the shop and I just really liked that scene. I think about it a lot. 

Emma: They do the fireworks dragon and disrupt the end of the year test. Elsie and I were talking about this, but like, if I was their mom, I’d be like, okay, you’re in trouble because you shouldn’t have done out of school. But also, what a great marketing plan. You nailed it. I’d be so proud. You got everyone’s attention and you communicated what your store was and wow, like excellent marketing.

Elsie: I know that their mom is proud of them always. Okay, the last favorite thing is favorite holy grail skincare item. The one, the one, the one, the one and I would say for mine it is the thing I’ve bought over and over the most is how I selected mine. 

Emma: I bet we have the same thing. Wait, maybe we’ll see. 

Elsie: I picked the Blue Tansy Mask from Herbivore. Have you ever tried that?

Emma: Yes, I have and it’s very good.

Elsie: I love it. It is my favorite mask. I mean, like I love masks. I’m a mask person. I pretty much put on a mask before every single time I take a bath. It’s like part of the ritual but this one is sort of like my relaxing mask. The smell of it is so nice. I just really love it.  Yeah, I’ll link it in the show notes.

Emma: Yes, I’ve used that and it is great. I was gonna say Leilani Bless Bomb because that’s the thing I’ve bought over and over again every time I’m empty. 

Elsie: Yeah. It smells incredible and I love that so much. 

Emma: Yeah, it’s awesome. 

Elsie: Okay, so that was the end of our favorite things. So next thing we need to discuss is our pet peeves. 

Emma: This was a listener question. 

Elsie: A listener question is, what are your random pet peeves? I feel like everyone’s pet peeves are random. Isn’t that like kind of the point of it?

Emma: I think so. 

Elsie: Although one of mine I put is kind of a serious problem so I don’t know. 

Emma: Yeah, I’d say one of mine is kind of serious, like bigger thing. Then two are like, these don’t matter they just annoy me but it doesn’t matter if people do them. 

Elsie: Say yours first. 

Emma: Okay. My little one is like loud chewing. So you’re just chewing really loud. Every now and again, I feel like I’m doing it. When I’m in a movie theater if I like got some popcorn or if I got something that’s loud and there’s a moment where the movie kind of goes quiet and I can hear myself crunch. I’m like, dying on the inside. Because I’m like, what are you doing? Like because you don’t know when a quiet moment going to happen sometimes. I also don’t like hearing other people chew. So I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m making everyone listen to me chew. I just lose it. Anyway, so that and then also having spacial awareness when you’re in public. I swear this is a germs thing or a COVID thing. I’ve always been this way. There are times like you can’t help it, you’re in a crowd, you have to touch people, they touch you, it’s not a big deal. But there are other times like someone will sit down very close to me and they don’t need to, or they’re like kind of leaning on me and they really don’t need to. I just don’t like that. I’m like, I don’t know you. Please don’t breathe on me.  I am not the type of person where I feel comfortable kind of pushing someone off unless they were doing something that was like, truly, like you’re touching me in a weird sexual way or something that I would push them off, but like just leaning on me. They’re not really realizing that they’re doing it. I don’t have it in me to be like, please don’t touch me. I don’t have a nice way that I can think of to say that. So I’m just not going to.

Elsie: Do you like just scoot away?

Emma: Yep, if I can, or I just die a little bit on the inside and just move on with my life because it’s fine. It really doesn’t matter. It’s not bothering them. It’s not doing anything to me. I notice it and I don’t like it. So those are my two little things they truly don’t matter. 

Elsie: That’s interesting because I don’t feel like strangers get into my personal bubble space very much. So I’m like curious is like, am I not aware of it?

Emma: That’s because you’re probably doing it. Which I actually noticed that we were walking in Palm Springs, which I don’t care because you’re my sister and I know you. You knocked into me lots of times and I don’t think you realized it at all.

Elsie: Okay, yeah, I think I just got caught.

Emma: Now you know how crazy I am. It doesn’t matter so like, why would I bring it up? I think you should say things if it’s like an actual thing. This is really not a thing and I don’t need to be so precious. But I do notice it and it’s like in my little brain swirling. 

Elsie: It’s on your major pet peeve lists so I think next time you should just tell me to back away.

Emma: I’ll just push you into the street. Touch me again, I don’t like it. No, but those are like little things that don’t matter.  I notice them but they do not matter. The big one that I kind of think does matter that’s my pet peeve is just like straight-up negativity. It’s cool to vent. I vent sometimes. I just did it right now about loud chewing people and people that touch me. I really notice when I have casual acquaintances or casual friends or if I’m in a work meeting, and like people always veer towards negativity. I notice that and it’s something that I tend to kind of back away from. I just feel like it rubs off on you and so I just like don’t want to engage. I don’t like gossip. I don’t like turning down ideas when you haven’t really explored them. I love a devil’s advocate in a like exploring an idea of here like doing the opposite side just to see, that’s fun to me. But to me, I don’t really view that as being negative. I view that as like actually trying to explore the thing from both sides. But yeah, just like straight-up negativity, like let’s sh*t talk someone I’m like, yeah, I’m not interested, honestly. That’s not fun for me. So yeah, I don’t want to do it.

Elsie: Cool. So I asked my husband Jeremy, like, what’s my pet peeve. He seriously, he like sighed and then he walked into my office. Then he listed off like 20 things in a row that were all directed at him that were petty. They were all petty things. It was not my high point of my day yesterday, but yeah, let’s just say that, like, if I just recently cleaned a room, don’t leave a glass in there or don’t mess up the pillows. Leave it as you found it. But yeah, I hate myself a little bit for that and it’s whatever. It’s funny. I’m laughing at it. But yeah, my online biggest pet peeve, this is definitely like a mega event for me. Okay, is people it’s like oversimplifying. Another way to say is people who choose one tiny narrative, to be the only focus or the only thing that they believe. A lot of times, it’s just so frustrating. I wish that I could have back all the hours of my life, probably like hundreds that I’ve wasted talking to, arguing with, and thinking about these conversations that were not even really ever a two-way conversation, to begin with. It was just like beginning with a mic drop. So I guess that’s what I don’t like is like, if you only see things one way, and that’s that. This is the beginning and end of reality and I’m right, and nothing else anyone has to say will change my mind, then that’s definitely my biggest pet peeve. It’s just impossible to have a conversation. Womp womp.

Emma: Unfortunately, online that’s sort of a place for all of that to fester because you can’t really have a back and forth conversation. People think you can they’re like, oh, leave a comment. Someone leaves a comment back and all that. It’s like, yeah, but people sort of like leave their comment and then drop out. That’s more what happens. They’re kind of doing the mic drop. Really what’s happening is you’re performing because you know everyone else is watching. When you’re having a conversation just with people, like Elsie and I right now, we’re having a real conversation and we recognize that we’re performing. We know that a lot of people are listening to us right now. That’s different than when Elsie and I are talking and we’re not being recorded. It just is. I think if you’re not really honest about that then you’re missing the point. There are so many people online who want to like give there like very narrow point of view or little soapbox speech. They’re like I’m not performing. I’m just doing the right thing. It’s like, no, you’re performing. Maybe you’re also doing something that you really believe in and that’s great. You should say the things you really believe in, but you cannot really be online and not perform. That’s the nature of it. So you need to kind of recognize that and be honest about it with yourself and with everyone around you, I think because otherwise, you’re just missing it.

Elsie: Yeah, that’s it. That’s a thing. Okay, next topic.  Okay, we have one more listener question before we do our book report. So I love this question by the way. It is when it comes to DIYing what’s one thing that’s easier than it looks and one thing that you would never do again? Okay, so for mine easier than it looks, I have such a strong one I don’t think I’ve talked about this yet is balloon arches. So balloon arches are, they’re pretty expensive and they’re really beautiful. They’re really elaborate. I know some people don’t like the way they look. If you love the way they look, here’s what I would tell you. You can make them in like two or three hours at the most. For a small one, it might be less than one hour. I recently made a huge one. I will put a picture in the show notes for our Chinese New Year party. It only took me a couple of hours, I was able to listen to an audiobook most of the time. It’s just so much easier than I ever thought it would be. So when it comes to parties and stuff, I will always make my own now if it’s something that I think we need or want decoration-wise.

Emma: For my easier, I put that I think using saws are easier than you think. I feel like a lot of times people, this comments I’ve seen, they’re like, oh, this is a cool project, I’ll get my husband to do it or whatever. So the thing with saws and power tools generally is I actually think they’re easier to use most of the time more than you think. But they obviously cost money, you’d have to buy the tool or rent it or borrowed from a friend. You tend to need a lot of space. You need space if you’re working on a larger wood project. That’s just a reality and if you don’t have that, then that’s more of a limitation I would say. But like actually accomplishing it, I don’t have very strong hands. There’s lots of times I run into a jar that I have a hard time opening. I understand feeling like oh, I don’t know if I could do that like I get it. But generally, I would say that stuff’s easier than you think. Just if you have an interest, but you’ve stopped yourself before because you’re like, I’m not sure my hands are strong enough. I think saws are easier to use than a staple gun. I think some staple guns are impossible and a saw actually pretty easy.

Elsie: I haven’t tried that so that is interesting. But I’ve heard Laura make the same case before too.

Emma: Laura’s the queen too, queen of the jigsaw.

Elsie: For my never again, so this is what I really think you can do almost any project if you can clear your schedule. Take the time and watch the YouTube videos, and give yourself the space to make a mistake and redo it. But for me, I think my never again is like trying to squeeze something in, like trying to finish.  I recently, this is so sad. I’ll just tell you because it’s, it’s so sad but you can make fun of me if you want. So I was bragging to Emma about how I was going to paint our hidden library myself because it saved money. First, before you paint it, you have to do all this prepping. It’s like caulking and sanding so I gave up. So I tried, I spent like two whole days, not two whole days, but I spent two separate days with hours in that room trying to fill the cracks. It’s like hard like the prep is way, way harder than I thought it would be definitely way harder than painting. After that I finally was like, okay, I give up. I’m going to just text my contractor and tell him that I’m giving up and I need to have the paint people come back and do it. That’s what I did. So I think that mine is just like trying to squeeze something into a space that won’t go. I think at different parts of your life you have to recognize like what capacity like is it worth it to me to do this DIY to save this amount of money or is it more worth it to me to pay this money to save this time? 

Emma: I don’t know if I have a never again. I was trying to think of one because I’m sure there’s things I’m like forget it. But there’s two things that I thought of are more like, these were much harder than I thought, which is one, binding a quilt together. You’ve made the quilt top, and if you’re doing a quilt bottom, then you’ve made the look but now you’re putting the batting in between and you’re sewing those pieces together. You have to kind of bunch it up in your machine when you’re doing the middle of the quilt. It’s just I thought really frustrating. Maybe I just have too small of a machine or I don’t know, but I was like, you know what, if there’s a place where I could mail the quilt top to and they would do that stuff, I would pay for that because it would look better. I really enjoy putting the pieces together, the puzzle that is the top of your quilt that’s fun. I like that part. But the sewing the whole thing together and kind of like trying to bunch it up in your machine but not get your lines all off. I did not enjoy that part. So that and then the other thing that I just would say is harder than you think, at least for me is Exacto knives. Anytime I have to do a project where I’m using an Exacto knife, I just in my mind bow down to Laura Gunderman because I just don’t have the precision and drawing and skills with your hands where you have to do perfect lines and things. I’m like, wow, I am not good at this. This is so much harder than you think it is. Even if you use rulers and things like that, it’s just harder than it looks.

Elsie: Yeah, no, I completely relate with that. I think meticulous work, anyone who’s. 

Emma: I’m a messy, messy person. 

Elsie: Yeah. Anytime you watch someone do even like a pretty simple gallery wall on Instagram or whatever, it always looks 20 times easier than it really is. That kind of stuff is intensive in real life for sure. 

Emma: Yes, for sure. 

Elsie: Okay.

Emma: Time for the book report. 

Elsie: Okay. So this is our last book of Q1. The book is Think like A Monk by Jay Shetty. I think that I originally heard about this book from Laura.

Emma: This episode is kinda about Laura. We’ve brought her up a few times.

Elsie: She’s getting a lot of shout-outs. This book, I really enjoyed it. I finished it yesterday, just in the nick of time. So it’s very fresh on my mind, which is good because sometimes if I do a book report, and I haven’t read the book for a month or two, you can kind of tell. This book was great. So Think like A Monk is a book by Jay Shetty about his time he spent four years as a monk. So he teaches lessons from that time in his life. Now he’s living, I don’t know what you call it like a civilian life. He’s not a monk anymore. He’s a public figure, writes books, going on Drew Barrymore show. He’s married like not a monk. But he is teaching like the takeaways and the principles, the things that we can all benefit from about the monk lifestyle. So easy read. I did love the audiobook. I love his voice and it’s one of those books where everything you read, you can apply to your life immediately like today. I will say that from the upfront, I haven’t had the most experience with meditating. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to get more into, and I’m interested in, but it’s something that I think I was nervous to try or you try it a couple of times and it doesn’t go real well. 

Emma: That’s actually what I would say it was one of my main takeaways, I guess, It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read the book or anything. It’s just that I thought it was going to be all about meditation. It’s actually not and it does have that. That is awesome and important. But I’m just kind of putting that out there in case anyone’s on the fence about checking this out. They’re like, well, I don’t know, if I want a whole book about meditation, I don’t know if I’ve spaced out my life, or whatever your hang-up might be. I think it’s actually a lot more about identifying your core beliefs, or things that might be from your childhood that you’re like living by, and maybe you don’t need to be or maybe you do need to be. It’s actually about a lot of other things, too. So just putting that out there in case anyone is like, I’m not sure about a meditation book. It has that but it has so much more. 

Elsie: Well, yeah, I’ll explain all the things. But the thing I most got from it was this forgiveness chapter. It was extremely powerful for me. So I wrote down this quote, I loved its Einstein quote, I don’t think I’ve ever said an Einstein quote on this podcast, but it is, if you can’t explain something simply you don’t understand it well enough. I love that quote. I think that’s something that I’m going to think about because a lot of times I just like to start talking and I don’t know what’s at the end of the sentence. It’s one of those. I think that that’s something that Jay does really well in the book is it always. It feels very simple. There was never a part of it, where I was like, this is overwhelming. There is a forgiveness exercise in the book that I thought was extremely powerful. So I’m just gonna explain how the exercise goes. So even if you don’t read the book, do this part. I think that we all have, maybe not all of us, but I had a couple of people in my past that I was like, I want to do this exercise for this relationship and this relationship. So the exercise is kind of specifically for someone that you want to forgive, but you don’t have to call them, you’re gonna write a letter, but you’re not going to send it. It’s not like reopening an old wound. It’s just for you and I think that that is really cool. This is the kind of thing my therapist is really good about giving me these types of exercises. I’ve just really liked them but this is something just a little bit different from anything I’ve ever tried before. Okay, so here’s the basics. The first step is you imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes completely. When I did it, I found that to be a really deep source of compassion, empathy, and just really heartbreaking. Then the next step is you write them a letter, and you already know you’re not going to send it. So you write the whole thing down and write everything about how they’ve wronged you and everything you need to get out. Then after that, you ask for forgiveness for the things that you’ve done wrong and the things that you regret. Then after that, you record yourself on your phone, reading the letter. Then the last step is that you close your eyes and you listen to the letter as if you’re the other person receiving it. Then after that, that’s it you just throw it away and move on with your life. But I thought it was beautiful, like, I don’t know.

Emma: Yeah, I love the putting yourself all the way in the other person’s shoes. Yeah. Then in the end imagining hearing this letter as the person and I think it’s really, really powerful. I really think forgiveness is for us. It’s not really about the other person, the person who’s wronged you or you feel has wronged you, whatever the case may be. It’s so much more like for us in our own hearts.  I love that this exercise that he gives us just like completely about you. The other person may never even know. It doesn’t have anything to do with them really like as far as interaction. So in that sense, it is very much about your own heart, and giving yourself the space to heal and to kind of see it from another side, just all of those things that I think we want to do, but it’s it’s hard to do especially when we’re angry and we feel hurt.

Elsie: Okay, so another part that I really liked, he says this a couple of times throughout the book, but it’s like a monk, would you say, a philosophy, the idea that everyone is always simultaneously a student and a teacher. I thought that was really interesting because I feel that way in life. With our work, it’s like, we’re always teaching, but we’re also always learning. It’s like always both, and you never really do get a chance. At least I haven’t to be only just a student, or only just a teacher. So yeah. Interesting.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: Then the last thing, there’s kind of a, like a little bit of like a career exercise, where you’re working on finding your mission. I liked this part where he was talking about focusing on strengthening your strengths, instead of just strengthening your weaknesses. It really hit me in a good spot because I think that I spend a lot of time thinking about my weaknesses and how I need to do better at them. I think we all do. We’re all probably, for the most part, pretty aware of our weaknesses. I think that to put that same energy into strengthening our strengths, like the things that we’re already great at to become even greater in those areas, that’s an inspiring thought to me.

Emma: I like it. 

Elsie: I love it. Some of my things that I was left with, that I still need to work on. Obviously,  the first one is like, can I benefit from a physical letting go. So I have like a complicated relationship with minimalism. I like the idea of it. I like cleaning out closets and things like that. Finding my own special place within that world as also a person who just loves to collect old things is weird. But that’s not always what it’s about, I think that we can always let go of things that we’re not using anymore, or like clutter and things like that. Obviously, like monks have, like, it’s super extreme version of it. He was talking about how he only had two outfits, and it was like the one that he’s wearing and the one that’s being washed. Which that’s a whole nother level that I’m never gonna experience. So he was talking a lot about how complaining and talking sh*t, which I am like the worst complainer and sh*t talker. So I can raise my hand in a minute in case anyone needs to feel less guilty. I’m the worst, worse than you. It has bad effects like bad physical effects on your body. He was talking about how there’s a meaningful way to do, like therapy, it’s like a meaningful way to unleash all of your bad feelings and work through it. But then there’s also like, just creating more negativity in your life, to do it all the time. That’s something that I’m gonna think about, I’m going to work on. I think it’s interesting that you said it was one of your pet peeves because I think I am kind of negative. It’s like, a bad habit to have. 

Emma: I think that’s part of it is it can become a little bit of a habit. But as you mentioned, I do think there are like, good times to do it, like to your therapist, or your partner or whatever, when you’re working through something. But finding that balance, I think is important, really looking at it, and like, why am I doing this? Is this to help me? Is this to let something go? Yeah, the only thing I would add to your list that was excellent just now was I love thinking more about the core beliefs or values. I think you touched on this a little bit because it could play into career. Actually, we talked about it a little bit in the last episode we mentioned, or I mentioned how, when we were in Palm Springs, we were talking about kind of like the theme behind our brand A Beautiful Mess. How we want it to be like, basically, we’re cheering people on to be creative because one of our core beliefs as far as a business, I think as people too, is creativity, because it was a big theme of our childhood. So anyway, in a similar sense, I’m like, oh, I want to think a little more about my core beliefs, just as a person. 

Elsie: So come on the blog today in the show notes and if you read the book, we would love to hear what your takeaways were, especially if it’s something different, or if you disagree, or just like anything pretty much about the book. Yeah, I’m just excited to chat with some other people who have listened to it or read it.

Emma: Also, along with the discussion of this book. We’d love to know what things you might want to read because we’re going to announce that I think in the next episode, like what our book selections will be for Q2.

Elsie: Yes, so okay, we’ve already pretty much confirmed the selections, but I will say that they are 100% listener suggestions. Yeah, every single one that we’re doing especially like a couple of them was suggested like 20 times over. I think you’ll be really excited about the next quarter’s books. We only want to read books that you guys are into so always tell us what you’re into. We still have three more quarters to go this year so lots more books to read. We’re excited. 

Emma: For sure. 

Elsie: Yes. Okay. So yeah, come back next week, and we will reveal the next book selections and we’ll be back next week. 

Emma: Okay, bye. 

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