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




Life Lately | Cats, Planners, and The Usual

Although we're vlogging pretty regularly over on our vlog channel, a good ol' life updates post once and a while never hurt anyone. And with a new addition to the family and lots of new things in the world of planning and beauty, it felt about time.

Let's start with an update on our newest furry friend Gallifrey. I wrote an introduction post recently, but since he's a growing kitten a lot has already changed. He's become a lot more adventurous, has developed a very annoying 5am wake up routine for first breakfast, and Tardis and him fight like siblings (in a good way). I must say although getting him came out of the blue, he's the perfect addition to our family and just what we needed. He's perfect at making us take a moment, put down the stickers, and enjoy a little family time. Fur babes are good for that.

Guys. I own a traveler's notebook. I still haven't a clue what I'm doing with it, but my first intro post will be up tomorrow with what I've learned so far about the entire thing. Spoiler, I love it. I'm not giving up my Erin Condren Life Planner anytime soon, but this bad boy is already a great addition to the team and has me ignoring the Rifle Paper Co planner I used to go on about. This one is just so much more customizable, change-able, and smaller. But more on all of this tomorrow.

With fall in full force the beauty launches are rampant lately. I'm lucky enough to get some PR samples sent to my door occasionally including the new Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara. My thoughts? It's not worth the hype. The packaging is to die for, but the bristles are small and my lashes look great for a light-makeup every day look. But at least for me I don't see what all the boasting is about. Just thought you guys should know before shelling out some good money on a higher end mascara. The Perversion mascara by UD is loads better and another tube is already waiting in my Sephora cart for my next purchase. Plus it's a dollar cheaper, and that stuff matters to a penny-pincher like myself.

Besides the dud of mascara, there are a ton of new launches and exciting things to talk about on the blog. So prepare your eyes for some good old fashion makeup review posts. That's some old school MicroscopeBeauty for you.

Now I have to rush pack for an overnight trip across the state at Alex's parents' house. We're making an impromptu trip over since they won this sailing trip through a raffle or something. That seems like a totally Alex's parents thing to have happen. So off we go sailing in the middle of September. Where's my coat?!

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Three Years of Oh, Hello Stationery Co.

Today marks the third anniversary of Oh, Hello Stationery Co.  What. How is that even possible. I still feel like I'm that same, unsure girl who opened her shop up back in 2014. But now the stakes are higher, the competition stiffer, and everything's a whole lot more complicated.

But I'm not that same girl from three years ago despite sometimes feeling like I still don't have a clue what I'm doing. So much has changed since then and it's crazy to actually think how far we've come with our business.

This photo showcases the first shop we ever sold our stationery in. It was a crepe place in downtown Flint and we sold about five cards, but it gave me the confidence to try and do more. We're now in two large retail stores and have craft shows booked up through the new year. We're trying new things regardless of setbacks. I think that's probably the biggest thing that's changed over three years. We, I, don't give up so easily.

A lot of thanks for our success goes to my always daring husband Alex. I'm basically one big chicken when it comes to trying new things and yet he's constantly taking whatever crazy idea I have and making it a reality. From building the most amazing card stands I've ever seen to helping us break into the traveler's notebook world (we're expanding!), I've never met someone so courageous in the face of possible failure. I sincerely hope you all can find someone like him to have in your life. It's world changing.

So here we are, three years in and still no clue what the next three years are going to be like. That's the thing about small business. You never truly know if it'll just stay small, grow, or shrink to nothing. I've learned so much about myself, about my relationship, and about who I want to become.

Now off I go to buy myself a celebratory cupcake and maybe a chai tea latte with pumpkin spice. You gotta celebrate the small victories, right?

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How I Run Three YouTube Channels Without Going Crazy

How I Run Three YouTube Channels Without Going Crazy

Three YouTube channels is a bit excessive, I get that. And in my defense they are all very different. I'm more hoping to prove with this post that you can definitely start and maintain a YouTube channel if you've been thinking about it. Trust me, you can so do it.

Honestly a huge reason why I can keep up with my Microscope Beauty channel, our vlog channel, and the Oh, Hello Stationery channel is because they're so different. Together they cover all the bases of things I love. But beyond just enjoying the content I'm creating, there's a lot of scheduling and planning ahead involved.

So once we get over the "I do it for the love of it" thing, it really just comes down to content scheduling. I keep a very extensive Google Calendar system that has a bunch of different calendars for each of my channels. That way I can schedule what posts are coming up weeks in advance. Plus Google Calendar makes it so simple to just drag and drop content from day to day if I have to switch anything up. It also makes it a lot easier to see what content I'm posting where so I can try and do a coordinating blog post or make sure to write a newsletter or something. 

Once I know what I want to post about on each channel, I always do bulk filming days. Tuesdays are reserved for filming everything I need for the next week. Sure vlogging happens whenever, but if I haven't started a vlog for the week yet it's nice to have a solid day in mind to begin filming. 

Editing is the same thing. I'll take a few hours usually on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning to edit everything. Regardless if the video is going up a week later, I get all them made ahead of time. That way I can upload them and schedule them to go live so if other things pop up during the week, I won't forget to post. It's super important to finish the project rather than leaving it half done with the hopeful dream of getting it done later.

If I'm having a particularly busy week, I allow myself to take a break with one or more channels. It's completely ok not to post content consistently all the time. I don't recommend posting once a month, but taking a day or two off if things get hectic is completely fine.

If you take the time to plan ahead and really think about content and filming times, YouTube is a lot less daunting to tackle. So grab that planner that's close by and get to content scheduling. I can't wait to see what videos you come up with so leave links to your channels below!

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Taking Skincare More Seriously | My Evening Routine

Evening Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

When summer rolls around I'm absolutely terrible with skincare. My dry skin loves all the added moisture and dewiness of a good hot day and I usually just settle for a quick cleanse and a moisturizer and I'm on my way. But as the weather changes my skin is already starting to tighten and raisin up again. Back to skincare I go.

Evening Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

I don't like to over complicate really anything in my life, but skincare is high on the list. If my face is clean and there is some moisture put back into it, I'm a happy camper. My routine hasn't changed much over the years, but I've repurchased nearly my entire routine a few times over. 

Ironically enough despite my lazy ways, I always double cleanse. I use Clinique's Take the Day of Cleansing Balm to really work the makeup off my face and follow up with The Body Shop's Vitamin C Cleansing Polish. If I skip one of these steps my makeup basically laughs at me as it clings to my skin. The cleansing balm removes everything while the polish cleans up and scrubs my skin. 

Next up is toner to remove any stubborn final bits of makeup and prime my skin for putting all the good stuff back into it. The Body Shop's Vitamin E Hydrating Toner is the only one I've used for literally years. Really shows what a bang up job I do as a beauty blogger trying new products! It's just so light on the skin, refreshing, and simple. 

Evening Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Creams are next and Derma-E's Hydrating Serum has been my go to for six months or so. A lot of serums leave an annoying film behind that makes me feel like I completely undid all the cleansing work I had just finished. This one is water based so it feels delicate on the skin while hydrating. 

I dab on a bit of IT Cosmetic's Bye Bye Undereye Eye Cream in the hopes to slow down aging as much as possible. It's light (are we seeing a pattern here yet?), breathable, and sinks into the skin quickly so I can finish up and hop in bed. 

Depending on the need for moisture and hydration I bounce between two products for the final step. On regular ol' skincare days I use a bit of the Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins. Thick, rich, and creamy in all the right ways it slowly absorbs into the skin as I try to avoid scrolling through Instagram before going to bed. But if things are seriously dry and painful nothing helps more than the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. The next morning my skin feels brand new and full of life. It's has that gorgeous, plump "I drank my weight in water" look that I'm always going for. 

It's about time I started taking my skincare routine more seriously as the cold, dry weather is headed my way. I'm even considering adding it to my habit tracker in my planner, it's just that serious.

What are some of your favorite hydrating skincare products? Any recommendations of other toners I should try?

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How I Get Everything Done

How I Get Everything Done

If you're subscribed to the Microscope Beauty newsletter then it's pretty obvious just how much I find myself getting into on the internet. Currently I'm actively running three YouTube channels, trying to keep up with this blog, and then everything that goes along with running your own business. It's a lot, but it's also totally doable.

The biggest advice I can give anyone trying to squeeze the most out of their week is to have a consistent schedule. Not just when you're posting things online, but for getting them done too. My weeks always take the same general form. Mondays I work on orders and get caught up from whatever happened over the weekend. Tuesdays are devoted to filming anything and everything I want to post that week. Wednesdays are for Oh, Hello. The rest of the week I leave open to balance out the front half but tend to be filled with more orders, new releases, and editing videos and blog posts.

Schedules are key, but I also avoid pointless down time. Sure I take breaks and enjoy a bath every once and a while, but I also don't binge watch Netflix as my laptop sits closed next to me. I'm always working on something or another when the television is on or I'm in a long car ride. That "useless" time is only as useless as you let it be. Even brainstorming new content is a great use of time if you're waiting for an appointment or between classes. 

It also helps that my planner is surgically attached to me. It does the remembering so I don't have to and that makes the world of difference. So many non-planners in my life are constantly feeling overwhelmed or like they're forgetting things. Nothing a hefty to do list and a few adorable stickers can't solve. 

But no matter what, I try not to be too hard on myself if I can't get everything I want done in a day. Sometimes I'll take the week off of filming videos to focus on new releases. Other days I'll devote to writing tons of blog posts rather than making new releases. I allow myself to find a balance and forgive myself if some days it just doesn't work out. There's always tomorrow!

Take a look at how you spend your days and weeks. There's definitely some time in there somewhere that you can set aside for that YouTube channel or getting your blog back up and running. Maybe watch a few less cat videos? That definitely did the trick for me.
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The Story of Our New Kitten! Meet Gallifrey

This gorgeous cat was definitely not planned. We woke up Sunday morning with no intention of bringing home a new member of the family. By the end of the day we both found ourselves laying on the floor swooning over the cutest little kitten. What a very crazy turn of events.

To be fair, Alex and I have been considering getting our six-year-old cat Tardis a friend for a few years now. So when one of our neighbors posted a week or so ago about having Maine Coon kittens available, we started to really think about it. We've both wanted a Maine Coon since we discovered the amazing breed about five years ago. They basically are the dogs of the cat world. Seriously google them. They're massive. 

It seemed like fate that out of the blue there happened to be a litter in our neighborhood. But we just didn't know if getting one was the right move for us. I'm sure you're aware by now that we're pretty cautious decision makers and enjoy extensive research for nearly every choice we make. We can't even decide where to eat without serious googling first.

We avoided our neighbors' house for about five days. We told the owners it just wasn't the right time for us and tried hard not to swoon over the photos of the kittens. One by one the litter found homes and we thought we managed to escape the allure. Then on Sunday Alex randomly suggested we just, "Go and see the last kitten. And at the very least make some new neighbor friends." So off we went.

We spent the majority of the time at the neighbors' getting to know them. Alex did all that he could to avoid looking at the kitten and I knew as soon as I walked into the door I wanted this little guy in my life. I'm a sucker for a good ol' kitty.

Fifty minutes later we started walking back to our house and knew it was over. By the time we reached our front door we were texting the owners that we wanted the last kitten they had left. We picked Gallifrey up about an hour later after shopping for supplies.

He's perfect. He's so playful, spunky, and already has Tardis chasing him around the house. The two have been getting along famously but I have yet to sang the perfect profile picture for their shared instagram account. Prepare your eyeballs for cuteness if you head over there for a looksie.

This week has been one blur of kitty cuddles and sleepless nights ever since. Who could possibly blog when there's such cuteness trying to electrocute itself on my laptop cord? 

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On the Go Planning Supplies

On the Go Planning Supplies

On the rare occasion that I do leave the comfort of my bed for any extended period of time, I can't go anywhere without my planner. I'm the type of person that wouldn't know where I am going or what I am doing without my trusty sidekick. I manage to refrain from bringing every planner supply I own by sticking to a basic formula and focusing on the must-haves. 

No matter what I bring with me, I always carry it in my Oh, Hello Stationery Planner Case. They're way more affordable than the Erin Condren ones and are literally identical apart from the Oh, Hello ones being an inch or so bigger. I use that extra inch to pop in some back up pens just in case I lose any or they die. Plus the case acts as a guide to how much I can bring. If it can't fit inside the case, it's too much.

My planner pops right in there and then on to the more rotational bits.

On the Go Planning Supplies

I like to use the Erin Condren Planny-Pack to hold any colored pens I'm using or random bits so they're not flying around inside the larger planner case. Then I collect only the stickers I'll be likely to use depending on where I'm going. It's usually whatever kit I'm using that week and some coordinating colors for the next few monthly view months.

Lately I haven't been without one of the new Oh, Hello Traveler's Notebooks. They're the perfect size to pop literally anywhere. I've been using mine for all sorts of different notes from daily to do lists to shopping lists. They'll be live on the Oh, Hello website Sunday, September 10th in limited design quantities.

And that's it. Just a few things all zipped up nice and neat in a planner case. No fuss and no frills. Things change a bit if I'm travelling or going on a longer trip, but daily adventures don't require too much in the planning department.

What planning supplies do you bring with you on a daily basis?  

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What's in My Planner

Since weekly plan with me videos fell to the wayside a few month's back (I explain it all in this blog post) I've started to really miss sharing what's new in my planner with you lovely lot. So introducing a new somewhat semi-regular post about what's been going on in my planner lately.

As soon as there was even the slightest hint of fall I switched my planner into full on autumn mode. I've been itching to do fall spreads for months now since we design for seasons and holidays anywhere from two to four months in advance. 

The hourly layout just speaks to me lately. And surprisingly enough I haven't felt the urge to hop back into the vertical even though I'm approaching the usual time that I would make the switch. It's when I'm feeling truly frazzled and stressed out that the hourly shines. Sure I still don't pay attention to most of the time slots, but having each day in one nice long block just clicks with me. 

I've also rekindled my love with putting photos into my spreads to keep the memory saving going strong. There has been a ton of events lately so it's been easy to throw in a photo every few days. And since I'm basically rubbish at doing anything with the photos I take, this at least connects them to a date and gives them life outside of my phone or laptop.

I feel like I've really settled into my hourly groove. I've got my spread layout down pat and can whip together a new week in no time flat. And honestly I don't miss the weekly plan with me videos. It's just so much more enjoyable to slap stickers down in a robe from the comfort of my bed than the hassle of setting up for a video.

What's been going on in your planner lately?

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Erin Condren's Fall Seasonal Surprise Box Review

Erin Condren's Fall Seasonal Surprise Box Review

Are subscriptions no longer cool? I can't tell and I've never been one for being very trendy. I'm still obsessed with Erin Condren's seasonal surprise box and lucky for my wallet it only comes out once every few months or I'd be seriously broke. I've also reviewed all of the other boxes if you want to check those out.

Erin Condren's Fall Seasonal Surprise Box Review

I'm a bit biased about this box since fall is my favorite time of the year, but this subscription is seriously packed with goodness. Plus there are a ton of box exclusive items that make me feel oh so special. Like I'm part of the cool kid's planner club or something. There is an exclusive set of three new shades of the colorful dual-tip markers that I use primarily for my gratitude journal so I'm pumped to add them into the collection.

Erin Condren's Fall Seasonal Surprise Box Review

There's also a roll of thanksgiving-esque washi tape that I'm just not crazy about. I've gotten their washi tape in orders before and find it odd and difficult to work with. It feels more like actual paper with an adhesive back than washi tape. The enamel pin did get me pretty pumped though to add it to my always growing enamel pin board. They also included a few of their large gift stickers which are always gorgeous, but definitely items I forget when the time comes to wrap a gift.

Erin Condren's Fall Seasonal Surprise Box Review

The box just keeps on going. I feel like they're getting bigger every time with more and more delicious products. Products can be delicious right? The leaf planner cover is probably my favorite thing from the box as my planner has been craving a revamp. There's a skinny sticky note pack and an autumn themed dashboard. Plus a handful of greeting cards and a coupon code to save $10 off a coiled book. You can get $10 with this link too!

Phew. What a box. Sadly they're always sold out by the time they ship out to everyone, so you can't snag this one, but I highly recommend it for any planner addicts who are obsessed with Erin Condren products. It's the best way to get a bunch of items for a really reasonable price ($35). Keep a lookout for a giveaway coming soon of the products I'm not interested in!

What are your favorite products from this season's box? Did you order one?

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One Year Later

Today marks one year of marriage. One year since the quickest day of my life flew by in a love-filled blur. When they say it goes fast, it truly does. This whole first year seemed to speed by and now here I am thinking back on what it's like to be one year in.

Being married now is better than it was yesterday and countless times more than on our wedding day. Every day is better than the one before. It's definitely something you can't really explain to people who haven't gone through it. This feeling of knowing you have a partner in crime by your side no matter what. Having a live-in best friend who just gets you. It's basically the best thing ever.

So today we're taking the day off. We've already rewatched our wedding videos and flipped through our photo albums. We started a yearly tradition of writing down what we've learned about marriage and each other and now all we have left to do is spend some quality time together. Plus eat a very gross looking year-old wedding cake. Wish me luck.

Years in the Benda household are packed full of change and excitement. I'm sure year two will be no different.

These are the two videos from that seriously awesome day. One is the professionally done one, but the other is our behind-the-scenes take on the entire day. Thanks so much for sharing in this with us!

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The Good Stuff in August

August lingered in my life a lot longer than most months. It gave me plenty of time to discover some new favorites and seriously check things off my to do list, so I'm not complaining. 

I've been having one serious love affair with IT Cosmetics lately. After a huge PR package arrived (watch the vlog) the brand took over my collection as I've been giving everything a serious test. I recently shared my favorites from all the new launches, but two have stuck out more than the rest. The Bye Bye Lines Foundation is the best I've tried in a long time. More often than not I gravitate towards tinted moisturizers and BB/CC creams since foundations just don't give that light glow. This foundation finally ticks all the boxes. It's super hydrating and dewy on the skin while being about to be worn light our built up. Just gorgeous. The Brow Power Powder became a fast favorite as well because of just how easy it is to sweep onto the brows every day. Plus it's the perfect shade for my somewhere between light brown and dark brown hair.

My mascara drawer is packed full of currently-in-use mascaras these days, but they've all been letting me down. Nothing seems to do what it boasts it does except Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara. I'm sure I'm moments away from scraping the last bits out of the tube, but it's just so good at giving length while bringing some serious volume. Plus it holds a curl throughout the majority of the day despite my lashes demanding to return to their stick-straight ways.

After what felt like years in fashion hibernation, I'm getting the itch to expand my wardrobe again. I've added a few statement pieces here and there over the past month, but nothing quite like this poppy floral shirt from H&M. I wear it throughout my favorites video if you want to see it on, but it's so unlike anything I've worn in the past. And I love it. Poofy sleeves and a nice fit. Sold.

August packed itself full of work accomplishments, but designing and producing our first wholesale catalog tops the list. I still can't believe it exists in the real world now. Next on the to do list is to start hitting up retail spaces trying to get our products in them. No small feat but we're feeling pretty optimistic.

No favorites are complete without some planner stickers I've been crushing on lately. My bestie Meghan over at The Novel Coffee just released a seriously impressive line of font stickers. There's something like 26-28 different ones to choose from and I basically need them all in my life. Head on over there to check them out and use code "KAYLA" for 15% off if you find anything you just have to have.

What a crazy month that only jumpstarts the even crazier fall months. So much is on the horizon and I can't wait to share all the adventures with you.

What have you been loving in August?
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What I've Learned from My First Few Craft Shows

What I've Learned from My First Few Craft Shows

This summer Alex and I decided to start taking our show on the road. We've done three craft shows so far that have taught us a lot about our business and each other. I'm sure we still have a lot left to learn and already have a bunch more shows on the calendar. Here's what I've learned so far.

Booth fees are more or less made up and don't really reflect how well you're going to do at a location. The higher the booth fee, the more profit they expect you to make, but that's not always the case. The smaller shows we've done have made us quite a lot of profit too. So I try to look for reasonable booth fees or information that guarantees we'll get our investment back in sales. 

You really have to commit to your booth rather than just bringing out a table and throwing your products on it. I have to thank Alex for this one. As soon as I suggested craft shows to him, he hunted around to get us a really great deal on a tent and other supplies. Plus he built us our new card stands from scratch that have seriously made a huge difference. We could have easily kept to our first setup (photo below), but he's constantly trying to showcase our products in the best way.

What I've Learned from My First Few Craft Shows

Craft show days are long and usually last all day. Our shows have been on average eight hours long so far. That's a lot of staying in one place being on the ball, but it's a whole lot better when you have someone there with you. Breaks are definitely needed to get up and wander around. And food is a must.

Having a partner makes all the difference. Alex is a fantastic salesman who can really do the marathon days. He has our "about us" pitch down perfectly, engages with customers, and doesn't seem to ever get tired. Without him we wouldn't nearly be as successful at shows. Have a partner to rely on is huge.

You get a routine with setting up and tearing down. We can be out of a location in around ten minutes after a show ends because we just know who does what. Plus we practiced it a few times before going to our first show so we wouldn't get overwhelmed once we got there. Nothing is more stressful than a bunch of cars facing every which way trying to pack up their booths. Our first show we ended up carting our entire setup down a block to our vehicle rather than waiting another hour to get our truck in front of our booth.

Flexibility is a must because you never know what booth number you're going to get, what the weather is going to be like, or how busy you'll be. We've changed up our booth setup from what we originally planned for every single show. It's important to not take things too seriously and be willing to change things up at a moment's notice.

But the best thing I've learned from my first few craft shows is that it's really cool to see people interact with your work in person. Since we have only ever been online before, I've never been able to see people laugh at our puns or enjoy Alex's design work. It's such an amazing experience to watch people share and relate to our cards. I don't think that will ever get old no matter how many craft shows we do.

This photo was taken back in 2014 at the very first booth I threw together just month's after Oh, Hello got started. It's crazy to see just how far we've come. It's also crazy that I still own both that sweater and jacket.

Are you interested in doing craft shows? What tips or advice would you like to have me write about next?

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