I'm Kayla. A 20-something obsessed with makeup, planner decorating, and board games. Working towards a more organized, simplified life one post at a time.

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I Stopped Using Plastic Straws Two Months Ago | Why I Did It

I Stopped Using Plastic Straws Two Months Ago

Two months ago Alex and I decided to stop using plastic straws completely. We're always trying to find small ways that we can make an impact on the environment and this seemed like a no-brainer. Over 500 million straws are used DAILY (find out more stats and info) and we didn't want to be a part of that statistic anymore. Straws are incredibly difficult to break down and most types cannot be recycled. Plus tons of them end up in the oceans causing damage to wildlife. I'm not in the business of harming poor sea turtles.

Honestly I thought it would be a lot harder than it actually was. But it became obvious after the first day just how often plastic straws pop into our lives. And it's so easy just to say no thank you to a straw, or pass one back through a drive-thru window. I also keep track of just how many straws we've saved over the past 60 days. We've avoided using 70 straws so far. Not too bad.

Having drinks in the car did prove to be the most difficult thing to overcome. So we purchased these metal straws from Amazon and now drinking on the go is super easy. Plus I really like how cold the metal straws get. 

We also don't try to pressure other people to not use straws when we're out to eat. I don't want to become that person who shoves my opinions down other people's throats. But more times than not, people will skip out of using straws for that meal too.

Now I know it may not seem like we can save the oceans by not using straws, but it's definitely a start. It's so easy to feel like the problem is too big and that there's nothing little old me can do about it. But that's not true. I've saved 70 straws that could end up harming an animal or making the oceans worse. And that feels pretty damn good.

So give it a try. Even if it's just for a few days, say no to plastic straws. It's a whole lot easier than you think.

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Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Lip Gloss Review

Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Lip Gloss Review

Let's be honest, I never thought I'd be writing a post about lipglosses. I swore them off years ago once I left my preteens and tossed the sticky messes into the trash. Yet here we are. The Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Lipglosses* have me singing another tune.

These glosses are thick, super easy to apply, but with no sticky, goopy feeling in sight. The color payoff is great for a gloss, but they really shine when put over similar colored lipsticks. They also have a solid lasting power on the lips if you aren't eating or drinking too much.

Plus they're minty. Like Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie minty. Those just happen to be my all time favorite...and it's not just a brief minty flavor that leaves after a few minutes of wear. Oh no, it lasts the whole. dang. time.

I'm most impressed with the shade range. 16 different shades to choose from including metallic bright gold. Sure I personally don't have the courage to rock those deep purples in the line, but I'm glad they exist for those who do.

Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Lip Gloss Review

It's no surprise that the mauve options and pinky nudes are my faves. Pictured above (from left to right) is "Fuel," "Naked," and "Beso." I'm also a fan of "Rapture," "Obsessed," and "Midnight Cowgirl" that fall into the same color family. 

I'll have to look twice the next time I pass a collection of lip glosses in Sephora or the drugstore. Hell we can unlock our phone with facial recognition, it was about time lip glosses lost their stickiness and became full of glossy goodness.

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Things I Do to Help Manage My Anxiety

Things I Do to Help Manage My Anxiety

I have anxiety. Specifically diagnosed as high-functioning anxiety, but anxiety regardless. I'm trying to be as open I can about the entire process and have posted a video all about my journey so far, but there are a ton of questions about what exactly I do to manage it. 

First and foremost, I see a therapist once a week. I do plan on cutting it back to every two weeks, but starting therapy did serious wonders for my anxiety. I've noticed more than anything, it's helped me to become aware of the various stages of my anxiety that leads to panic attacks. Awareness helps me acknowledge what's happening sooner, to help me start to try and come back from it sooner. If you take anything away from this post, definitely consider going to therapy. 

When it comes to doing things at home though, I have a few tricks. When I feel myself being particularly anxious, I try to switch up what I'm doing. A lot of the time what I'm working on is giving me stress, so I try to take a break from what I'm working on to focus on something else and come back to it. Usually I'm able to work out of the mood rather than trying to force myself through it.

I also communicate to my husband Alex as soon as I start feeling the signs of a panic attack coming. He's my best defense for anxiety and the sooner he knows what's going on with me, the better. He helps distract me, tells me things will be ok, and works me through a panic attack if it does happen.

Social media plays a huge impact on my stress and anxiety levels. Although I can't avoid it completely because of my job, I don't look at it when I wake up or before I go to sleep. This helps to keep my mind from wandering to unhealthy places at two very anxiety-prone times of the day.

When a panic attack feels particularly imminent, I stop everything I'm doing, wrap myself up in a blanket, and watch a drama-free show (usually the Office). It's hard for me to just stop working and do this "lazy" action, but it helps me to avoid a panic attack that could ruin a good couple of days. I rather be "out of commission" for a few hours rather than a few days.

It's definitely a learning process. My anxiety and panic attacks are constantly changing and adapting and I'm always trying to find the best ways to deal with them in a healthy, thoughtful way. I'd love to hear what your methods are when you find yourself in a thought spiral.
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Why You Should Have Business Meetings Even if You Work for Yourself

Why You Should Have Business Meetings Even if You Work for Yourself

How cute is this photo of Alex and I from a recent shoot we did for our new traveler's notebooks?! It's too perfect not to use for today's post about business meetings. Even when it was just the two of us in our business, we found it more important than ever to have consistent business meetings. And when we didn't, it was obvious. Here's why you need to have them too.

  • Meetings help to keep you on track with what you should be working on. Especially if you're working with someone else, meeting every other week or so can really help you to focus on projects that have a bigger priority than others. It's the whole "out of sight, out of mind" situation. If you aren't meeting, you aren't talking about what's coming up, and then suddenly a deadline is upon you or you've missed it. Meetings help give you regular checkpoints to know what's happening.
  • They're also great tools to help you brainstorm new ideas. Setting aside specific time to talk about the growth of the business (even if it's just with yourself!) is so important. Plus if you do have someone else there, you can bounce ideas off of them for new products or designs.
  • Setting aside time for a meeting also puts you in a different mindset than a regular workday. There's just something about stopping whatever it is that you're doing to focus on specific ways to improve your business. After the meeting you'll feel more focused and motivated to get things done rather than listlessly wandering through the day hoping you're making progress.
  • Kind of along the lines as the last point, meetings help you take a break from the normal day to day stuff to focus on the big picture. So often Alex and I find ourselves only working IN our business, rather than ON it. Meetings help us to change gears and focus on bigger picture ideas like where we want to see our business in five years, rather than the orders we need to finish that day.

It's definitely a lot harder to have business meetings if you work alone, so try to find a group or someone who doesn't mind being a sounding board for your ideas. No matter your business, it's important to take the time to reflect on what you've been doing and plan out what to do next. When Alex and I don't meet, it's hard to get on the same page and know what the other person is up to. We've had way more success with short meetings once a week than we ever have going it alone. So pull out that planner and schedule some time to meet with yourself or your partners. It'll make a world of difference.

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The Best Daily Planners | KitLife, Day Designer, and Simplified

The Best Daily Planners

Daily planners are a necessity for my planning routine. They're the perfect tools to get down to the nitty-gritty of projects, write detailed to do lists, and keep you on track for everything you want to accomplish. Plus no matter how a particular day ends up going, you can always turn the page and start over. So whether you're not sure if you should add a daily planner to your lineup or are looking for a new primary planner, these three are my absolute favorites.

The Best Daily Planners

Up first is the Day Designer. This one is the largest of the three with a very sturdy cover and metal edges to stand up to wear and tear. It's an hourly/to do list combo (my favorite), but has a ton of added sections that the other two do not. There's space for gratitude, money spent, top three priorities, deadlines, etc.

It's great if you're looking for more structured planning in your life. But if you want space and freedom to plan your own way, this may not be the best choice. I love how much space there is for a daily to do list, but the hourly times (starts at 5 goes until 9) aren't that realistic to my daily schedule. You could definitely tweak the layout with stickers to customize the sections to your needs.

The Best Daily Planners

You'll definitely start to see a common theme between dailies with a few variations. The KitLife Planner is a smaller planner with a more flexible cover and standard coil. It has some solid weight to it, so definitely keep that in mind if you're planning on making a daily an everyday carry. The watercolor backgrounds change from month to month and there are a ton of helpful tips and tricks at the start of each month.

The simplicity of the spread is fantastic and leaves tons of room for customization. The top section is super roomy for to do lists (you could make two columns) and the hourly section is much more accurate to my life. I love the top three section to keep me focused on primary tasks. The wellness and gratitude sections can be used for marking those things, or covered up to track something else.

The Best Daily Planners

The daily I'm currently using is the Simplified Planner. It beat out the other two because it's the smallest, lightest, and had the most pops of color. Plus the layout is simpler than the others in all the ways that I wanted. It focuses on the main things I wanted from a daily planner: hourly slots to write meetings, a big to do list section, and a couple sections I can customize. I'll be sharing in a whole separate blog post how I've been laying it out to work for me.

Although I love the other planners, I find the KitLife one a bit too heavy to lug around with me on a daily basis while the Day Designer is just too big. Plus the Day Designer has a TON of things on each page I just won't use every day. They're all fantastic options depending on your needs.

What daily planner would you choose out of the three?
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How to Get Started on Really Big Projects

How to Get Started on Really Big Projects

When "just starting" seems like a daunting task even in itself. 

So this post is just as much for me as I think it is for all of you. If you read this blog post recently then you know I've taken on some pretty big projects. One of which I have never done before. I'm at the place where I have a million ideas swimming around in my head and I'm ready to start, but I just don't know where. So here's how I would tackle a really big project.

  1. Make lists, and lots of them. What supplies do you need? When are some solid deadlines for the project? what does the finished product look like? Once you have those, write down all the bigger items you have to get done to complete the big project (objectives). After that list, make more lists about sub-items that fall under the bigger items (tasks). Make a list for everything. Putting it all down on paper may not help with the overwhelming feelings, but it will help you to see exactly what needs to get done.
  2. Assemble a team if this project requires one. Take that list you made about all the jobs required for the project and figure out who will do best in which roll. Maybe you need to hire someone. Get started on this now so you won't get held up waiting for someone to get up to speed on any progress made in the future.
  3. Take your lists and find tasks you can delegate. There are always things that you can give to someone else to do while you work on bigger picture items. 
  4. Give yourself deadlines and checkpoints along the way based on the objectives list. Depending on your timetable, so things may need to be done before others. Put these deadlines down in your planner, and work back from them a week. Write down a primary deadline a week before it actually needs to be done so you aren't rushing to finish things up. Write down deadlines for all the bigger chunks of the project.
  5. Set yourself goals for success. When do you know that you've been successful on this project? Do you have to sell a certain number of things? Try to find a measurable goal to help you determine when you've done it.
  6. Now start. To me it's more than "just starting." It's setting yourself up so you can start on the right foot with the right mindset in place.

What do you do to get started on a really big project?

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Making Friends in Your Line of Work

Making Friends in Your Line of Work

When of the hardest things to do now that I work from home, is make new friends. Especially in such a weird career, finding people to talk to going through similar life experiences hasn't been easy. So whether you're a stay-at-home girlboss like me, or just need some inspiration making friends in your line of work, here's what I've found to make the whole process a whole lot easier.

It all goes back to this kindergarten method I talked about a while ago. Check out the main blog post if you want more details, but the gist goes something like: pretend you're a kindergartner again and make friends just like you used to. If you like someone, ask to have coffee or chat. It seems simple, because it is. A lot of my planner friends have become friends because I took the risk just and reached out to them on social media. 

If you aren't sure where exactly to "find" these friends, try attending events or meetups. There are tons of networking opportunities no matter what field you're in. It does take a bit of working finding some events (a Google search or two won't hurt), but it's always worth it to get into a room with like-minded people who already share at least one interest with you.

If someone gives you a business card with their contact info, always write them an email or reach out once you get home. This is probably one of our biggest trade secrets for Oh, Hello. Alex and I always reach out to people we've gotten business cards from. No matter if it was just in passing. You never know what can come from an email.

Once you've found one or two friends in your field, try to find some things in common outside of work. All my shop owner friends I've gotten to know beyond just what they do for a living. Ask about favorite books, tv shows, things they like to do on a Sunday afternoon. Soon you'll find so much more to talk about than just work.

This is definitely true in the business world, but respect some privacy to keep "trade secrets," secret. No one wants to feel like people are just being their friend to find out how to make it big on the internet or make their own stickers. There's this kind of unspoken bond between a lot of my shop friends to not ask too much about how we all do what we do, but if you are worried about crossing any lines, just ask. Set some clear boundaries from the beginning about what's off limits to protect your livelihood.

Work-based friendships are still friendships. So spread a little kindness by sending them thoughtful gifts that could make their life easier, or trade products that each of you make. Surprise acts like these can really strength a relationship and show each other that you value the friendship. 
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5 Things To Do Today to Jump Start Your Online Business

5 Things To Do Today to Jump Start Your Online Business

Starting a business can be (and definitely is) a daunting task. It's so hard to figure out exactly where to start that more times than not, things never get off the ground. So here are five things you can do today to help jump start your online business. Because sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.
  1. Pick a name and use NameCheckr to see if it's available on social media. Nothing is worse than committing to a great name just to find out that it's not available on Instagram. So put some of your favorite names into NameCheckr to see on what platforms they're available. That way you can work to find a name that you can use across as many platforms as possible. It'll make it way easier for people to find you once your business is up and running.
  2. Create a list of 5-10 products you want in your shop starting out. Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to plan 20-30 different products. You'll never get anything done if you're starting at a huge list of things to do. So start small with a few products you can make right now. That way you can get your shop up and running as soon as possible.
  3. Give yourself a small loan to get started. It's important that you give your business a fighting chance by giving it some money to get started. I recommend around $500 so you can buy any supplies, machines, website domains, etc you may need. Plus you won't be dumping money into a business and not knowing how much you've actually put into it.
  4. Once you have a few products, take photos of them! Do standard, bright product shots, but also show them in action. Lifestyle photos are so much more engaging on social media than boring white backgrounds. So try and give whatever you're selling some life!
  5. Tell people about it. Nothing makes you more accountable than telling people you're going to do something. No one wants to be that person who's all talk. So start spreading the word about your business and follow through by making it happen.
Let me know in the comments if you found this post helpful and I'll keep sharing my tips and tricks to getting started!
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What It's Like to Work with My Husband

what it's like to work with your husband

The question I always get asked when I share that I work from home with Alex is, "What's it like to work with your husband?!" Let me tell you, it's not what you think.

First and foremost, it's the best. I would much rather work with my husband every single day than work anywhere else with anyone else. He's my best friend. So it's great to have someone who knows me so well and I enjoy to be around. Plus I can wear whatever I want which is a nice bonus.

Beyond the mushy, "I love him" stuff it's really simple. We are completely different in so many way that it works in our favor to get stuff done. I like to work in quiet either in bed or within eyesight of bed, while Alex is the exact opposite. He needs a designated space, as much music and coffee as possible, and room to brainstorm. I also tend to be more of a details person and he's all about the big picture. We're just so different, and it works.

And to be honest, we really don't see each other that often during the work day. We message each other over the internet with questions, projects, and other information, but more times than not we're doing our own thing. We usually meet up over lunch or dinner, but keep to our projects and to do lists.

We also keep our job tasks quite separate from each other. We both have things we're very good at, and things we're awful at. So the job roles were pretty easy to define and stick with.

I think that's why we're so successful. We understand our vast working differences, and don't hover over each other. We let each other do our own thing because that's what has worked for us so far. I also don't think working with your significant other is for everyone. We sometimes do get short with each other, but we try our best to not let that flow into our relationship outside of work. It's important to have that separation because if you don't, it's hard to see where your relationship ends and work life begins.
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Two Conferences. Two Weeks. Two Big Ideas.

Over the past two weeks I attended the Chicago Planner Conference and PlannerCon 2018 in San Francisco. Back to back conferences proved to be quite a lot to handle while trying to build inventory for or vendor booths, prepare for our workshops, and speak on panels. But I've come out on the other side (with vlogs to show our adventures) and I feel like things are definitely different.

I've been to planner conferences in the past, but these left me feeling a mix of motivation and fear. After every speaker I became more aware of the fact that my business needs to change. For years I've been happy maintaining what I built in 2014 without much variety or advancement. But I can't keep continuing like this and expect my business to sustain itself without any effort on my end. That's a scary thought to have while everyone around me flashed smiles and gabbed about what was in their swag bags. 

So I started to make lists. To figure out what I needed to do to keep Oh, Hello running and growing. Alex and I talked for hours on car rides, plane rides, and continue to dig deeper into the business now that we've made it home. We stopped taking risks. And now we're gearing up to take more than we ever have before. We have two big ideas that began growing in our minds thanks to these two conferences.

We're going to expand. We're going to hire employees and take ourselves even more seriously. We're going to double down on our new traveler's notebooks since they're something we created completely on our own. We're going to delegate. We're going to wake up early. We're going to spend more money in the hopes to make more money. We're going to accept that it's ok if everything comes crashing down in a year, because it's better than watching the ship sink slowly.

And we're also going to start a planning magazine. Now you're hearing it first and this idea is about a week old at this point. But it's a void in the community that I think we have some amazing ideas to help fill it. Think tangible magazine/subscription/swag box all rolled into one. We've picked a name and snagged up the social media for it (here's the completely empty Instagram if you're curious). Now to find a team (email me at if you have any design experience) and start turning some crazy ideas into something real.

This blog has been a bit quiet as I've come to terms with the twisty-turny road we've decided to take. But I'm excited to share the uncertain journey with you. Even if it's to document the failures as well as the successes. So let me know if you want more of something in particular as we head down this road. I'm more than happy to go into specifics. Because it's annoying to hear about people's journey without tangible steps on how you can trek down a similar road too.

So yeah. Here it all is. The scary truth and a promise to try despite the fear and potential of failure. Two big ideas that I can't wait to tackle.
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I'm Finally Trying Glossier! (And Other Beauty Additions)

Guys. It's finally happening. I finally got off my butt and placed my first order at Glossier. Can I have my beauty blogging street cred back now? (Can you imagine if beauty blogging street cred was actually a thing?!) After a whirlwind of a weekend last week at the Chicago Planner Conference (watch the vlog if you haven't the foggiest clue of what I'm talking about), I decided to treat myself to some new beauty bits. Glossier was my first stop followed quickly after by Sephora.

I have yet to really test out any of these products so expect more posts and reviews in the future!

At Glossier I kept things simple. I went for their Phase Two set to test out three of their popular products while saving some extra cash by getting the bundle. I also picked up the Moisturizing Moon Mask after hearing The Anna Edit rave about it one too many times. Plus click here to save 10% off your Glossier order.

StriVectin also sent along their new Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer. I'm getting the sense that they might start venturing into the makeup game. I love a lot of their skincare items so I can't wait to give this an honest go.

My pal Aimee from Lilac Pineapple Co is a couponing wizard at the drugstore and gifted me a TON of new drugstore bits to try out. I made it one of my beauty goals of 2018 to get back into drugstore so I'm definitely well on my way with all of these products.

I think I'm most excited about checking out this Magnif'Eyes Shadow Palette by Rimmel. They are one of my favorite drugstore brands and this palette sure looks impressive in the packaging. Now to find out if they're as great as the look...

Aimee gave me a few single shadows that look gorgeous as well plus a Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick that looks right up my alley. 

My Sephora order contained just two items, one of which is a repurchase. I'm still only about half way on my Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo but it's such a favorite I made sure to get a backup. Plus it helped me get to free shipping which is always a must.

The First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer spurred the Sephora purchase in the first place. I got a small sample of this a few months back and recently started testing it out. It's love. Heart-eyed emoji love. It's even started to replace my beloved Stila One Step Correct as my primer before foundation. It's just that good. More to come on this I'm sure.

So this girl has a lot of new products to slap on her face and report back. Let me know in the comments if there are any products in particular you want to see first!

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5 Things Blogging Has Taught Me

Whenever I find myself falling slightly out of love with blogging (key word slightly. I can't quit you blog!) I always like to think about what the last ten years have taught me. A blog is more than just its daily posts. There's a whole lot more to it than that...

1. Consistency. I've talked about how this blog has landed me actual jobs in the past and that's largely due to consistently posting. This blog has shown me that I'm not going to be an instant success overnight, but with a lot of hard work this space has truly become something.

2. Photography skills. Ironically enough I thought I was a pretty good photographer when I started this blog, but boy have I improved since then. With every post my skills have gotten better and better. Now I do freelance photography for other companies. All thanks to this piece of the internet.

3. Pride in my work. This goes along with the first point, but I'm so incredibly proud of Microscope Beauty. For the longest time I didn't feel comfortable sharing this blog with people in real life, but now I talk about it to anyone who will listen.

4. It’s ok to be different and have a weird hobby. What used to make me uncomfortable about beauty and lifestyle blogging is now such a defining trait. I love that what I'm into isn't super common or a popular hobby. And that's ok.

5. You don’t have to spend tons of money on new products to be a good blogger. I'm fortunate enough to every now and again have the opportunity to review pr samples, but for the longest time this blog ran on literally no spare money for new products. Instead of giving up I found other things to blog about to fill the gaps when there weren't new products. It helped me become a stronger writer, be able to brainstorm a bigger variety of posts, and improved my blog overall.

I'm pretty sure you all know now my complete and utter love for blogging. I sincerely think everyone should have one. So get to it!
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