This week, we are talking about how to be more content with your home NOW.
We are also doing our book report on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and we’re talking about ways to spend less time on our phones.
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Tips for staying off your phone: Leave it in a room or certain spot in your house, and try moving the apps around on your phone.
Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. this week we’re talking about how to be more content with your home now, sexy fairy stuff so we’re doing our book report for A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. We’re talking about ways to get off our telephones. Nice. Okay. We are so excited because we get to see each other this weekend. We have been looking forward to this and looking forward to it. I haven’t seen you in a few months. Was it since our Palm Springs trip?
Emma: Yeah, since our Palm Springs trip. Yeah and by the time folks are listening to this, we will have already seen each other but we’re seeing each other for Mother’s Day Trip with also our parents, our husbands, and our kids.
Elsie: And our brother.
Emma: Yeah, and our brother and his wife,.
Elsie: If I had a dollar for every time someone asks, every time we do an AMA, someone asks if our brother feels jealous and or left out because he is not a part of A Beautiful Mess. I just want to set the record straight on his behalf. Our brother, okay, so first of all, we’re really close with our brother. He’s one of our best friends and we have a family text. We are always sending all the stupid sh*t to each other so don’t worry about that. We’re very close. He’s also very successful. He has his own career and he deleted his Instagram last year. I think he’s like, honestly, so much happier not being in our little internet world and I don’t think he would enjoy it or anything. So no, he’s not jealous at all.
Emma: No, he don’t give sh*t, he’s got his own thing.
Elsie: But we didn’t leave him out on purpose. Maybe when we were little kids, we left him out of things because he was our little brother but now he’s like one of our closest friends.
Emma: It turns out he was the coolest of the three of us. We just were the two older sisters who were kind of bratty sometimes. We had our own little girl club, which makes no sense but when you’re little you know how you are.
Elsie: Yeah, we are evil. Oh, also, the other funny thing that I’ve been getting a lot of questions about is a lot of people are taking the third sister talk literally. It’s actually like a joke. So we should set that straight too. The third sister thing is totally a joke that Elise is our sister. I mean, it’s like my name is Elsie, her name is Elise. No mom would name their kids that right?
Emma: I also think of us as like Goldilocks, and the different levels. I’m like Elsie is on this extreme side. I’m kind of in the middle and then Elise, our third sister but not really, is the other side.
Elsie: Actually, she thinks she’s in the middle of us. So you guys can figure that one out.
Emma: Yeah, I get that but no, I’m in the middle.
Elsie: I definitely agree that I’m the extreme one but yeah, she’s our honorary third sister. So we didn’t leave anyone out.
Emma: She didn’t even ask for that. We’ve made her, it’s a forced honor.
Elsie: If we want to be your sister, you’re going to be our sister.
Emma: Yeah, that’s just where we’re at.
Elsie: Anyways, we’re excited to see each other and my kids are so excited to see baby Oscar. So I’m sure we’ll have a beautiful weekend and it’s magical. We are going to St. Louis.
Emma: Yeah, we’re going to St. Louis. We’re staying in St. Charles, our brother and his family live in St. Louis. They moved there right before the pandemic kicked in. I feel like I haven’t got to see a lot of St. Louis yet because it’s like when I would visit them, we would just stay at their house. We didn’t really go anywhere. Obviously, it was all shut down for a while. So I feel like this is the first time that we’re going to all be in St. Louis together and actually go do things, which is exciting. So anyway, it’s gonna be fun and it’s my first Mother’s Day.
Elsie: Yes, it’s Emma’s first Mother’s Day. So Happy Mother’s Day, Emma.
Emma: Thank you.
Elsie: Yes. Okay. So this week’s episode is inspired by a listener question we received in our email as always. It’s just like what we’re doing lately is the listener question inspired episodes. We love it.
Emma: Okay, it says, do you have any advice on being content with your home while you’re in the midst of saving up for a bigger place, better furniture, better decor, or even when you’re shopping for something and you can’t seem to find the pieces you really like? How do you know when a room or area is finished and nothing else needs to be added or changed? So it’s kind of a twofer because it’s about contentment with where you’re at right now even when you know it’s not the end. Then also, how do you know it’s the end? How do you know you’ve reached the finish line? So it’s like both of those things.
Elsie: I think this is a great question because it honestly, at least from my perspective with my personality, it never gets easier. When you’re younger you think, oh, if I just had more money, I could finish my house the certain way that I want to. Then when you get older, in my zone of life right now, with little kids, I’m like, oh, if I only didn’t have kids, then I could renovate more because I wouldn’t be disturbing our lives. There’s always something. There’s always, always, always, always, always something. So I want you to know that up front, there’s never this perfect time and perfect situation. The internet, probably ourselves included, makes this type of thing look easier than it is. It just does. It’s not easy for anyone.
Emma: I would also say regarding the kind of finish line part. When do you know the space is done or when do you notice stop adding things, I feel like growing up in my mind, our parents’ house was done. I was like, oh, they’ve done their achievement level or something. Now that I’m older, I’m like, oh no, my parents are redoing one of their bathrooms this year, right now. I was talking to my mom the other day, she’s been picking out tile for a bathroom project. The same house, they live in the same house that I think we moved in right before I started kindergarten. So I don’t know, I think of it too kind of like when I was growing up when I was a kid, probably middle school, high school, maybe even college, I kind of thought like one day, I’ll be an adult with a career. We’ll all be like, that’s it. Now I just kind of coast the rest of the way. It turns out, that’s not really a mindset you ever reach. You’re always kind of in this like stumbling through life feeling of like, I don’t totally know what I’m doing. I thought at some point, I would know what I’m doing but I don’t. So I just feel like this finish line is kind of this elusive thing that is maybe more of something to aim for but it’s okay if you never really feel it as concrete as you thought you would. Maybe it’s not a real thing. Maybe it’s a myth.
Elsie: I think it’s definitely the mindset, like thinking of all of like many, many comments I’ve ever gotten that are like, why do you quote-unquote, waste so much time on a house that you’re just renting or a house that you’re only planning to stay in for, not forever. A lot of people have that mindset as well. If you’re not planning to stay somewhere forever, then how much do you invest? How do you get to that contented place and then stay there for the maximum amount of time while you’re living in this space? I think this is an important thing for renters, for people who are living in their first home that they think of as a starter home, and for people of all spectrums, all places in life. I have some examples to share. When we moved into our renovated 1990s McMansion I felt very unsettled. So it’s like, we’ve all had this experience, or probably most of us, you move into a home and it’s like this house is not me. ait’s just not and you want to make it feel like you, but you have certain obstacles. So my certain obstacles were that I knew I wanted to renovate it extensively, but just not yet. So we didn’t start doing big renovations for over a year after we moved them. So how do you find your own way of feeling? I think this is, it’s almost the same thing as a renter who’s only planning to save for a year or two. It’s like, how do I make it feel really good, but I don’t spend too much money like whatever your amount is where you feel like I can spend this guilt-free to just feel good for now and enjoy this for now. The mini-makeover zone, I think that’s really good. Anyway, so I struggled with it big time, and we kind of are through it now so I can share my tips. So my first tip is to embrace the phase one makeovers. I can now confidently say it’s been almost two years, and we’ve probably renovated half of our house. So I really know now what the joys of the things we did the first year, like how much payoff they’ve been. Then also the things that we just left them and they’ve stayed the same the entire time. I kind of have regrets now. So I guess from my perspective, the more mini makeovers you can do at the very beginning to make it feel like you really fast. Whatever you consider a budget that’s this is inexpensive. This is not a big deal to me. I can spend this much money just to make it feel good. I think you should do it. I think you should go all in on that phase one, like settling in renovation. I honestly wish I would have done more. In the beginning, I think I was holding back too much because it was a little overwhelming. But the things that I did do I regret none of them. I am so glad that I did all of them. Even some of them I feel like have sustained me for longer than I thought they would. I never thought we would wait more than two years to renovate our kitchen but we ended up extending the timeline, and then I didn’t mind as much because it feels pretty good.
Emma: Yes, my first tip kind of goes along with that, which is I would remove that kind of mindset of, oh, you’re wasting your time if you’re not going to stay in this space forever or for a long, long time. If you’re a person who you’re renting somewhere, maybe you’re only going to be there for a year or two. Maybe that’s what your lifestyle is like. Maybe you move around a lot or maybe you just got a new job and you want to save up a little bit and get to know the area before you buy whatever the case may be. I just would remove that mindset of like it’s a waste. Well, let me back up, let me say this if you’re a person who enjoys decor and you want to decorate your space because not everyone does. I kind of assume everyone listening to this show, probably to some extent enjoys interior design. They like decorating their space. Some people don’t and I get that. So if you’re like, I don’t care, and it’s like, oh, yeah, just do like, functional things, great, that’s great for you. But if you enjoy decorating, I would remove the mindset of like it’s a waste if it’s not something that’s going to be there forever. Because I think we really need to think more when it comes to hobbies, which I would say decorating your house is both a hobby and oftentimes kind of functional. It can be both, it kind of bleeds into two areas, think of it more like it’s the journey. It’s about the making. It’s about trying something. If you paint a room and it turns out you don’t love that color and you repaint it a year later, that doesn’t mean it was a waste. That means that you tried something and you hopefully tried to enjoy the process of painting it and you learned something, which was that that color wasn’t right. You now probably have some ideas of like, why that didn’t work out and how you can avoid that in the future. You wouldn’t have that if you hadn’t gone through the process of it. So I would just remove that piece of it of like, oh, if I’m not living in my final forever home, I’m not allowed to spend any money or do anything. It’s all a waste. It’s like just remove that from your mindset.
Elsie: I completely agree with that. I think that two years or even a year is a long time. For some of us, it might be like our most magical years with our little kids, or for a new couple, you really remember those first years together. There’s just certain times in your life that you’re gonna look back and you’re really gonna remember the spaces I know. I have those. I’ve probably lived in like 20 different houses in my life, but there’s probably like four that are special to me. You know what I mean? I don’t know, it just like stays burned in your mind the most. So yeah, I think that anything you can do to set yourself up for beautiful memories right at the beginning right when you move in, especially if it’s something as inexpensive as a bucket of paint. Frigging go for it! We support you Okay, my next tip I love this contentment theme though, it makes me so happy because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I had like kind of an unsettled year and I don’t know just kind of like Ewww I so I get it. I think we all are, very many of us are going through these unsettled feelings right now. Okay, so my next tip is to focus on decorating one room at a time. I love a project and I love taking off or biting off more than I can chew like taking on too much or overfilling my plate. That’s definitely my vibe but with decorating it makes it not fun. So I think that the way to keep decorating fun and I’m specifically saying decorating, I’m not saying renovating because renovating is different. But decorating, it’s like you want to put your heart into it. You want everything to match or vibe together and like layered and create an atmosphere. So I really believe that you can’t decorate more than a couple of rooms at a time at the most. The best possible way to do it is to focus on one at a time. So yeah, I think to really get obsessed with your living room and make it your version of perfect with what you can do right now. You can always have a list of things you want to add later. But I think do that and then move on to your kitchen and then move on to your bedroom and don’t feel like you have to do the whole entire house at one time. Even if it’s like, one every week or every month, depending on how obsessed you are, I think that’s a cool thing to do. When you go to the thrift store or the flea market, you know what I mean, it’s good to think about just like a couple of goals instead of like 80,000.
Emma: I think too, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So I think it’s good if you’re moving into a super blank slate or whatever, it’s not a bad idea to think about a color scheme for your entire home that you’re going to somewhat stick to. I think that’s great but then beyond that, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, I would yeah, definitely just focus on one room. If you’re like, I don’t know which room to pick, I would pick the room that you are in the most, whatever you spend the most time in, do that one first. It’s probably going to be a kitchen or a living room but maybe it’ll be a home office or who knows. I don’t know, if you have a studio apartment, it’s gonna be really easy to pick. I don’t know.
Elsie: Remember when you tried to say I have podcasts records of this, you tried to say that the main bathroom was the most important room and I was like, no, it’s not.
Emma: I mean you are in it every day.
Elsie: Yeah but it’s kind of like never the most important room in my opinion.
Emma: Yeah, I guess I would have to say maybe it’s the kitchen. It’s hard to know what your most important room is. It’s also like, I don’t know, I literally have lived in a studio apartment before where it was like one room and a bathroom.
Emma: Oh, I remember. I slept in that room with you and your roommate.
Emma: Yeah, it was awesome.
Elsie: Yeah, it was very unique. It was like a bed where you sleep and also a bed where you eat your Thai food and also a bed where you read novels and also a bed where you do your homework.
Emma: These aren’t different beds, same bed.
Elsie: I love that apartment. I love thinking about that.
Emma: It was pretty great. I think about it sometimes. I gotta put it in a book one day. Okay, so my second tip is, so I was thinking about contentment and thinking about if you’re on a tight budget or if you’re like, I’m really not going to be here super long but I’d love to feel more like happy with my space, what would be a tip I would give? So that’s kind of where this one’s coming from. I think what you should do is focus on improving practical everyday tasks. So yes, this has to do with function but I think it’s really fun to infuse function with form. So find a way to make that beautiful. So for me, little things are like I created this tea drawer in my kitchen.
Elsie: I got a tea drawer too and I love it.
Emma: I got these little clear containers so all the little tea satchels can like sit upright in them. It’s really easy to sort through them and get the one that you want. I honestly show people all the time. Like if someone’s coming over to babysit Oscar or something I’m like, and also just so you know, I have this tea drawer in case you want some tea later. I just love this little tea drawer and it cost basically nothing. But it just made me love my kitchen a little bit more so like little things like that. So this could be adding some kind of better or more storage to a functional area like a kitchen or a bathroom. I also think just going through and deep cleaning and organizing can sometimes really help you see like, oh, what if I added some wallpaper inside of this closet that might be easy and cheap because I could just get a really small amount. You know what I mean? Sometimes there’s just little things that can kind of make you smile throughout your house that doesn’t have to cost a lot. There’s just more of like effort and thought and if you infuse those into the things that you’re already doing every day, so again, probably like kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, I think that that can just add a little spark of joy.
Elsie: I’m gonna give that a hell yeah. I totally agree organizing projects are one of my top most gratifying types of projects because you can usually do it in a day or a few days.
Emma: I’m still going through season two of the Home Edit on Netflix. Why I’m going so slow is it’s like kind of my guilty pleasure show that I watch when Trey’s not around but what happens is I get so jazz that afterward, I have to organize something. So if I know I have a really busy day, I’m like, oh, I can’t watch that over my lunch break today because I’ll then waste an hour afterward. So I have to be careful with it because it’s such a fun show. It’s so inspiring.
Elsie: I mean there’s worse things to be obsessed with. I love taking cluttered space which I have lots of those and making it into a cute organized space with little containers. What’s not to love? We should be able to embrace the simple pleasure in our lives.
Emma: Yeah, it’s true. It’s the best. It’s the best feeling.
Elsie: Alright, I have a great tip. You’re gonna love this. My tip is just to work on your contentment and work on sort of developing your style and stuff, it also helps with, that is indulging yourself in a Pinterest habit. So I am on Pinterest every day. It’s like my nighttime thing. I usually do it while we watch TV at night. I snuggle with my elderly pug and I go on Pinterest. My Pinterest is amazing. It is on fire and you guys can’t even see all the private folders. I don’t know why I have some of them private and some of them public because they honestly look the same. I just like I love it. I do think that over time, it helps you to see what things, you like you can see like when you look back a year, like oh, I was pinning that kind of kitchen for a while. Now I can see that maybe for me that was like kind of a trend. Then there’s this kind of kitchen that I’ve been painting for four years and it is maybe for me what is like a classic. I get a lot out of it and I learned a lot about myself. Also, it’s just like sort of like this weird creative release. I don’t exactly know, like what itch it’s scratching, but it’s doing something good.
Elsie: Yeah, maybe that’s what it is. It’s a free way to sort of like, it’s better than the other habit I have, which is filling up cards that you don’t check out on. It’s more useful than that. So I don’t know, I just think it’s something that I feel like I’m working towards a goal. It makes me feel like there’s time and we’re working towards this big eventual, quote-unquote, perfect house that my older self will live in. But at the moment, it’s like, I’m just kind of on a journey discovering what that means. I don’t know, I hope that’s relatable to someone because it’s helped me quite a bit. I think that it’s probably one of the most useful things I do to like know what I really like. Sometimes you see something in someone else’s house, and you’re like, oh, I love that but then you realize later I love that for them. But I don’t necessarily like want that for me.
Emma: Yeah, I agree with this tip, like 100. It was kind of like on my list, but it doesn’t really need to be repeated. It’s really just like you said, I think enjoying the planning and building process and viewing that as like not a hurry up, hurry up so I can get to this finish line. But like that’s part of it, that’s really an important part and you should enjoy it. It’s not like something to get through. It’s not like a flight as you’re trying to get to vacation. It should be more like you’re wandering through the scenic route of whatever. I don’t know, I don’t really have a good analogy here. Just don’t skip that part and don’t view it as just something to get through because that’s what life is.
Elsie: Yeah, I mean, I guess you would think of it this way, it’s like you can spend the next 10 years making houses that have a good resale value and I tried to save as much money as I could and I tried to get a good deal. Or you can spend 10 years making houses where it’s sort of like your creative hobby that’s fulfilling and maybe that can be both for you. But I think that it’s really important that the creative part is in there as a part of it.
Emma: I think it should be both. I think so often it’s so easy for us to put a value on things that have a price tag because they literally have a dollar value to them. So if you’re like, oh, I’m redoing this part of my house and it’s gonna make my house worth this much more so that’s how valuable it is to me. Yes, correct. That’s like how this thing works but we don’t really put a money value on our hobbies and our creative projects. I think that’s fine. I’m not advocating that we should, but I do think we should put value on them. It doesn’t have to be a dollar amount just because something doesn’t make money, maybe it even cost money. That doesn’t mean that it’s not valuable. That doesn’t mean it’s not adding to your life, adding to your family’s life, adding to your own contentment and enjoyment. I wouldn’t downplay it. I think so often, it’s just easy for us to kind of belittle. I see that a lot people kind of belittle home decor or things of that nature, like, oh, that’s not important. It’s like, well, if it’s not important to you, that’s fine but don’t belittle something that’s important to me. That’s not really fair.
Elsie: I totally agree. Yeah, that’s the blogger in us. We’re used to being belittled. Okay, I have just one more. This really helps me like, I don’t know if it’s my seven or if it’s something else. So do a little five or ten-minute meditation and visualize yourself and how you’ll feel in this home or apartment on the day you move out from there. Think like, would you have any regrets? Is there anything you wish you would have done? Are you gonna like fix it all up to make it nice to sell to the next person? Then you’re like, oh, I could have been living with it this nice for five years or whatever, that type of thing. I think just imagining that and realizing that in one way or another, someday you’re going to be that person on the last day of living in this home and it’s going to feel like it went by in a blink. So are there any memories that you wish you would have made or like more of a life that you wish you would have lived in this space now? I really think that’s sort of the key to contentment that works for me.
Emma: Yes, and on the outline, you literally typed out, don’t put off making memories and I just loved that. I think that’s so easy to do. If you’re like, oh, I really want to redo my dining room so I’m not going to host any dinner parties until I’m done.
Elsie: That is the most heartbreaking thing when you don’t choose to invite people to stay as your guest or you don’t choose to have a party yet. I’ve done it too because you’re thinking like, oh, it’s gonna be so much better once I’ve done this renovation or this decoration. Maybe it will be but I think it’s so important to realize that a lot of times we move before we expected to, and you don’t always know how much time you’re gonna have. I mean, it’s kind of just like life. It’s like, the most important thing is making those memories and sharing time with people you love in your home. So anything you can do to make your home a place that welcomes that kind of activity, I think is worth it.
Emma: At the very least, don’t let your home be a reason that you put off making memories with people you love. It’s fine if you feel the need to right away apologize when somebody enters your home like, oh, we’re going to redo this so sorry, fine, do that. But at least still invite people over. At least still make those memories because like you won’t regret it. Ten years from now you won’t be like, oh man, I’m so glad I didn’t invite people over before we finished that dining room makeover. You won’t feel that way, trust me. You’ll be so glad that you made memories of people you care about. So yeah and then my final tip is when you’re having those down moments where you’re like, God, I wish we had the money to redo this, or oh, I ordered this couch and it took a year to get in and it finally got here and it just wasn’t right. You’re just feeling down. What I do is I will try to identify my favorite things and you’re like, well, that’s kind of vague, what did you mean? What I do is I think like if I had to move unexpectedly, what would I miss the most. So like, there’s days where I’m annoyed that like we only have a one car garage like today, it’s pouring rain and I’m like it’d be nice if we had a two car garage. Someone’s gonna get rained on and one of us is gonna have a car seat, all these things. So it’s really easy to get hung up on stuff and it’s fine to feel those feelings but I try to always really focus when I’m out on a walk. And I’m like, I love walking in this neighborhood if I ever moved that’s what I would miss. I would so miss walking to this coffee shop. I really try to like, it’s so easy to focus on those little negative things or when something breaks like a towel rack falls off the wall while you’re taking a shower and you’re like, oh my gosh, not again. I get it like those things happened to everyone.
Elsie: A tree comes through your office wall unexpectedly.
Emma: You wake up in the morning and a tree is on your house. You know how it is guys? Yeah, it happened to Elsie recently. All that so it’s normal. It’s fine to feel frustrated with stuff like that.
Elsie: You can let a little curse.
Emma: Definitely. You should, you have to definitely. But then also I feel like you’ve got to also let out the little happy curse for all the good things which I feel like it’s easier to miss somehow. I don’t know about anybody else but my brain is kind of wired to focus on the negative focus, on the problems because I think I’m a problem solver. Most people are so you’re really focused on like, this is broken, I want to make it better. This isn’t that cute yet, I want to make it better. It’s like that’s great but really focused on the things that you also love and that you would miss if you moved unexpectedly or that you know is something you’ll remember from this time of your life living in this, whatever space you’re in.
Elsie: Oh, I love that. I love it. I can think of what mine are just like straight away. I’m going to appreciate them more now just from thinking about so hopefully everyone’s thinking of what your thing is that you would miss.
Emma: Hopefully it’s a few things.
Elsie: Yeah. Okay. So exciting times. We are in book report zone. This week, we are doing A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J masse. So this book, okay, I know we told this previously, but tell them about the lady that ran up to you in the airport and it wasn’t a blog reader. It wasn’t someone from the podcast, it was just a stranger, who saw the cover of your book you were reading.
Emma: So I was at the airport, I was going to meet Elsie, and someone came up to me. We all had our masks on, still everyone wearing masks at the airport. Every once in a while people come up to me and are like, hey, I read A Beautiful Mess. This does not happen to me all the time. I feel like I really need to make that clear because I don’t want anyone to think that it’s really not true. It’s rare but it does happen every once in a while. Someone comes up and it’s like, oh, I read A Beautiful Mess, especially happens if Elsie and I are together. So I feel like you recognize us together more. Anyway so someone was kind of coming up to me.
Elsie: It happens to me every day.
Emma: She’s the famous one. So I was like, in my mind, I was kind of like turning my eyes up from my book and I was like, either this person needs me to move out of her way, like move your feet so I could get through here, or something. Or she’s about to say that she reads A Beautiful Mess, that was like what I had in my mind. So I look up, and the woman wants to talk to me and she says, I love that book. I’m reading the next series and she holds up her book. I haven’t read this other series but it’s the same author and I recognized it. She just like really wanted to connect with me just about the book that I was holding. She had no idea who I was. She didn’t need me to move out of her way. She just wanted to talk to me about this book. I was like, wow, I am like in this like passionate club and now that I’m on the third book now in this series, I’m like, you know what? Yeah, if I see someone reading this at the airport, I would go talk to them I’d be like I’m in the club. I get it. I’m like, yes, I’m with this lady now.
Elsie: That’s awesome. Okay, so I will say one of the top things that I enjoyed about reading it is that it makes me feel it’s kind of like watching The Bachelor or like reading Twilight or remember when the Harry Potter movies were coming out? It’s like you’re a part of culture because you’re part of popular culture and like guilty pleasure popular culture. So yeah, I enjoyed that part of it. We put a funny reel on our Instagram last month about this book and it definitely got the most comments than any reel has gotten for a long time. Because it’s like a moment. It’s just, it’s like a thing. So now that I’ve read it, I get it and I’m a part of it. I love that for me.
Emma: Yes. Okay, so we’re about to talk about the book, we will have some spoilers, so if you haven’t read it or finished it, stop here. Listen to it later.
Elsie: I knew it was a book about fairies. I remember the first time when we were in Palm Springs. I was like, this is my question to Emma, I was like, what size are the fairies. I was thinking like Tinkerbell. I was trying to get a picture and she’s like regular people size but with pointy ears. I was like, okay, and then I found out from our Instagram comments from people who are mad that I spelled faery wrong, that it’s like F, A, E, R, Y, Faery. Then in the book is called hyphae. Okay, I will say Lord of the Rings adjacent is the best descriptor that I can give to this book because it’s just like is. It belongs in that universe. It’s a fantasy book and if you like that sort of thing, then you probably would like this sort of thing.
Emma: It has world building. There’s a map at the beginning of the book. I always know when I’m gonna love a book because when they have a map in the beginning, and I’m like, oh, we’re about to get into it, here we go. There’s different, I guess species or races, whatever you’d like to say. There’s different types of fairies. There’s different types of creatures in the book and that’s always one of my favorite things. Some of them are like on each other side, I guess you could say they’re good and some are evil. I’m not really sure the book would really frame them up that way, necessarily but some are kind, some are cruel. Maybe that would be a more straightforward way of putting it. So yeah, so then you meet a whole bunch of different kinds of hosts, and then also the fairy characters, and really most of the creatures that aren’t humans, they live much longer. The humans seem to have a very, very short life compared to all the faeries.
Elsie: The Faeries are immortal. That’s what it says in the book. Okay, so basically, it’s like a Beauty and the Beast type of story. So that’s one of my other notes is like Disney story for adults. It has like some components, I would say mostly Beauty and the Beast with like 10% Cinderella, and then like sexy stuff so it’s sort of an adult book, too.
Emma: I also think it has a little bit themes of Hunger Games because our main character, the protagonist, she is a female character. She’s quite young and her family is going through economical, very hard time so they’re all hungry. So she has taken it upon herself to learn to hunt and go hunting so that she can provide food for her family and sometimes make money from the thing she kills. So in that sense, she kind of reminds me of Katniss from The Hunger Games as we made her and she’s kind of in the stage in her life, where she’s pretty desperate. She’s having to rely on basically her physical strength and her cunning in order to survive and to also take care of her family. The weight of taking care of her family is on her shoulders and she’s quite young. I think that’s, again, like kind of a theme that’s explored in a number of kind of fantasy or dystopian type books. I think Belle, Beauty and the Beast, that kind of thing happens for her too because her father gets captured and it’s on her to go save him. So there’s some themes like that in the book as well. But yeah, there’s a lot of sex too, heads up.
Elsie: I wouldn’t say a lot, not as much as I was expecting there to be. But I’ve been told hundreds of times that book two has the most sex and that a lot of people say Book Two is the best one so I’m excited. Okay, so the thing that was surprising to me is I thought the faeries would be females because I just think of Liv Tyler, with her elf ears from Lord of the Rings.
Emma: That’s an elf but I know what you’re saying.
Elsie: But it’s like the men characters in the book are the faeries. Anyways, it was a journey. I like couldn’t even give it a score on Goodreads because I just couldn’t. I was like 50/50. I do kind of love this in some ways but then in some ways, I also don’t get it. I don’t know, it was confusing to me.
Emma: Not me. 10 out of 10, love it.
Elsie: I thought it was fun.
Emma: I’m on the third one. Love it so much.
Elsie: I felt like I was indulging. Yeah, I can see that our third sister, Elise, has been also reading them as well.
Emma: We’ll have to see what she says then too. Yeah, I think okay, so I want to hear what some of your favorite parts are. I do love the love story in this but I also feel like the book was, I knew before the even the ending, which the ending I think kind of gives it away. I was like I think she’s setting it up for a bit of a love triangle. So I don’t know how I feel about that. Now that I’ve read ahead so I’m not gonna say any more about that but I was like, I don’t always love love triangles as a plot device so I was just unsure on that. But one of my favorite things is like I mentioned, I love meeting all the different creatures and different kinds of races and things that they create in these books. I was telling Elsie from Lord of the Rings one of my favorites was always the ent, which is the tree characters, which I feel like they are in the movies but they’re not very well represented. I mean, they’re in the movies but in the books, there’s so much more about them and I always love that part. I remember falling in love with the ents when I was in high school reading those books.
Elsie: Emma, you are like a special nerd right now. I’m so happy.
Emma: I am a special nerd, always have been.
Elsie: My heart just got bigger and bigger, like three sizes bigger when you said that.
Emma: I’ve always loved those ents and in high school, I was like these ents they talk so slow, and they’re so thoughtful and thorough. I want to be more like that in life. They’re just like very intentional living. That’s what the ents are about. Anyway, that’s Lord of the Rings. In this book, my favorite moments and creatures we meet was like one, I don’t know how to pronounce it correctly but it’s I think it’s the Serral. It’s a creature that she traps and this creature somehow is always going about the world, like through the wind or something so they know everything. If you trap them, you can ask them a question and they’ll answer you. It can be anything and you’ll get the real answer. But they’re quite dangerous so most people don’t trap them and so she does. I just really liked the description of it. I liked the moment of, she’s a human when she traps it and the stakes are really high. So I really loved that. I thought that was fun in the book. Then there’s also a part in the book where she has to fight. It’s like called a maiden worm or something, mitten worm. I don’t know, I’m sure. I’m sure the real nerds out there will let me know how wrong that is.
Elsie: She has to fight a worm in the mud.
Emma: A giant worm, a giant worm that’s going to eat her. She has to fight it like in its worm layer so it’s like mud tunnels. She’s definitely at a disadvantage because she’s kind of like in its own, but she wins. I won’t say how, you have to read it. It’s really fun and it’s very thrilling. I just thought that was very inventive and just a really fun moment to read. I felt my heart racing, like how she gonna beat this worm but she does it and it’s very cool. So I really enjoyed those sections of the book, along with all the sex.
Elsie: Okay, so my favorite part, I loved her painting hobby narrative. I thought that was so fun and magical. I want like a Painting Hobby and it’s just sweet. She’s trying to survive and the only thing she wants is a little bit of extra time to paint. I could relate with that because creative stuff is a big part of what makes me either thriving or wilting away in life. Overall, I don’t know, I just like thought it was fun in the same exact way that I love Lord of the Rings. It’s just like, you sit back and you’re just like, I don’t know like this is weird.
Elsie: I feel like I said this on the podcast before but I can’t remember. But my number one Lord of the Rings tidbit moment. Well, I have two but this one is about you is one of the movies was coming out. Okay, one of the movies was coming out, it was the second or third, it might have been the third. I was like 16. It was around my birthday so you were taking me to see the movie, you knew how much I loved Lord of the Rings. We’re sitting in the theater and the lights go down so it’s about to start and it’s time be quiet. You turn to be and you go, okay, so what’s this movie about? I just remember turning to you with my eyebrows raised because I was like, there’s no way I can explain to her. She’s so far behind and we’re about to sit through a three hour movie. I was like, oh no, she has no idea what this is. I don’t know what you thought. I’m sure you’re like, huh? So anyway, that’s a random story about how sweet Elsie is but also how much you didn’t know about Lord of the Rings and I was like, oh no.
Elsie: Anyway, okay. Then are you going to tell about your costume?
Emma: Yeah, that’s my other tidbit for Lord of the Rings. I don’t know why this is it turning into a Lord of the Rings talk?
Elsie: Let’s just finish this part and then we’ll stop Lord of the Rings comparisons. We can’t stop but we will.
Emma: The other one was I was in high school. As I mentioned, one of the Lord of the Rings was coming out, second or third one. I don’t remember probably the same year that Elsie and I went to the movie theater. Anyway, I went to school dressed as a hobbit but essentially Frodo Baggins. So I thrifted everything and kind of cut the pants up and I even had a replica of the One Ring and I wore it as a necklace. My hair was shorter at the time so I feel like I just kind of made it kind of like curly, so I wasn’t like trying to be Frodo exactly but with the necklace I feel like it kind of just was Frodo. I didn’t wear any shoes because obviously, hobbits don’t wear shoes. So I was walking around school dressed as a Hobbit, excited for the movie to come out. I remember one of my teachers, I think it was my social studies teacher, nice guy. He was like, so you’re not wearing any shoes, I’m not sure that’s allowed. But he kind of looked at me and he was like, did you read the books? I was like, yep and he goes, yeah, it’s good. He was like, oh, you’re reading? That’s great.
Elsie: That’s a part of an authentic Hobbit costume.
Emma: You can’t be a Hobbit and have tennis shoes on, are you joking? That’s not what a hobbit is.
Elsie: I love it. Okay, so no more Lord of the Rings. Okay, so I think I liked the love triangle. I kind of felt like it needed something. So I’m into it because it was like, beautiful man, perfect. The only thing wrong with him is he has a mask stuck on his face and he can’t get it off. Then it’s like, I’m also a beautiful man. He’s a bad guy. No, he’s not. He’s good. That’s my impression.
Emma: Yeah, but you’re also like, okay, so they’re supposed to fall in love but he kidnapped her. It’s very the dilemma of Beauty and the Beast, which is kind of the Stockholm Syndrome. How do you navigate this? How are we going to navigate this? It’s interesting to see an author try to go through it.
Elsie: She sidestepped it pretty well. It wasn’t as kidnappy.
Emma: Yeah, not as bad as Beauty and the Beast.
Elsie: Okay, I just don’t know if I’m doing good or bad on this but it is what it is.
Emma: I’d say we’re doing pretty bad. but we love this book. You should read it
Elsie: It’s fun. I think we’re gonna get people to read it.
Emma: or Lord of the Rings.
Elsie: Okay, guilty pleasure treasure. 100%. A plus. That’s my review. That’s my official review.
Emma: Yeah, I mean if you like fantasy, if you like romance, give one of these sexy faery novels a try. This is probably up your alley.
Elsie: Yep. It’s like being a part of culture because if you read this book, someone might run up to you and decide to be your best friend. So it’s also a good way to make friends.
Emma: Yes, exactly.
Elsie: Okay, so should we move on to our voicemail question?
Voicemail: Hi Elsie and Emma. This is Bianca from North Carolina. I’m wondering if you have any tips or recommendations for me about how to just put my phone away and stop wallowing in the inertia of not having started a creative project so that I can really spend the time that I have outside of work more intentionally. I know that you guys are both so good at motivating yourselves and tiny habits so I’m curious if you have any tips or tricks. Thanks.
Elsie: Hi, Bianca, thank you for leaving us a voicemail. I love these voicemails, they are so fun to listen to. Some of them, just so you guys know, some of them aren’t questions. Sometimes people just leave us messages and we just listen to them and those are fun as well. We just don’t play them on here because it’s like, there’s no question, but we love them so if you want to leave us one of those, do it. Okay. So I love this question because putting my phone away is something I’ve been working on really hard recently. I’m so proud, like most weeks, you know how it gives you the thing, I think on Sundays where it says did you go up or down in your screen time and I usually go down, which is like really a big victory I feel like. I’m one of those people, like with budgeting, my way to save money is to hide money from myself. So I just put it in the savings account and don’t see it in the checking account. It’s the same thing with my phone, my way to just get it away from me is just to get it out of my line of sight. Even just setting it, like in my office, I have two little love seats, even just sitting on the faraway part of the other loveseat where I can’t reach it keeps me off of it like strangely. So it doesn’t even have to be in a different room. It just has to be like a little bit less accessible and I really swear by that. I mean, that’s pretty simple and there’s not much to it. I think that just, like for the first few years I had Instagram, I didn’t really notice how bad it was getting but just to constantly be picking it up and looking and it’s like this habit that formed that I didn’t realize at first. I was doing it like at all times. I was doing it when I was having dinner with my husband. I was doing it in the car while we were trying to talk to each other. I was just always doing it. By the time I realized it was becoming a problem, this is the first generation that we’ve had these problems, there’s no one there to teach us like we’re learning it all in real-time. So yeah, once I realized it was a problem I’ve been trying to cut back and so far that’s my best solution. If anyone has other solutions I would love to hear it because I think we can all probably improve in this area all the time. Do you have any good tips?
Emma: Here’s what I do and it works for me but everybody’s different. So yeah, like Elsie is saying whatever works for you. I think we’re pretty much all kind of realizing we’re addicted to our phones so I can always appreciate when someone admits it. I’m admitting it too. It is very addictive and I’m not sure it adds to happiness. So, yeah, it certainly doesn’t add to quality time with people you’re hanging out with in real life. So what I do is my main issue is with Instagram. So everybody’s different. Maybe your thing is like, Reddit, maybe it’s games, whatever. So whatever it is the little app icon on your phone, I move it around periodically. One time I moved the Instagram app icon on my phone and I replaced it with the Domino’s Pizza app. I opened that Domino’s app so many times and every time I did, and I love Domino’s Pizza like that’s why I have the app, but whatever reason it just like so kind of like shamed me a tiny bit each time I opened it because I was like, oh, you’re just doing this habit. You’re just clicking on this spot you always click on and now the pizza apps open again because you’re not even paying attention to what you’re trying to do here. So that and then along the same lines, I did this thing recently, where I put my Instagram app in a folder with some kind of unrelated things, I still know where it is because I do have to use it for work, and blah, blah, blah.
Emma: You hide it in a folder in a folder just to try to keep it out of your line of sight.
Emma: Basically just adds a couple more tabs for me. Just makes it just a little bit harder.
Elsie: Maybe it works for like one day, but I don’t think it works for like a month.
Emma: For me, it just gives me a little bit more time to, so one, it kind of breaks the habit of like it’s not in the same spot or I have to now tap twice before I can open it. But it also gives me just this little more time. It’s kind of like I’m also periodically a nail-biter. I’m way better this past two years and ever before. But in the winter when I have gloves on, I’ve noticed that it’s a whole other thing. It doesn’t mean that I never bite my nails but it’s just like, I have to all of a sudden take my glove off. If I’m have them on before I could bite my nails. It just gives me this one extra little movement or second where I have to say to myself, is this really what you want to do? Do you really want to bite your nails? Do you really want to open the Instagram app right now? Are you opening it for work? That’s fine. You need to look something up, okay, but are you just wasting your time, or are you just like maybe even in a weird social setting, and you’re kind of just hiding, which is sometimes like me? It’s like if you want to open, it’s great, but it just gives me this little extra, forces me to be a little more intentional about it, I guess is what I’m trying to say.
Elsie: I love that. Yeah, I hope one of those things will help.
Emma: Thanks so much for listening. We would love it, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to our show, and then you’ll get the new episodes right away. If you know anyone who might like the show, they just need something light in their life, two random sisters chatting please share it with them. Then also it does mean a whole lot if you leave us a review. That’s one way that you can help us grow so if you haven’t, it means a lot, only takes a few seconds. So yeah, thank you.
Elsie: Be back next week.