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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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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Planner Supplies Cart Tour

Planning supplies are the first things to get out of hand in my household. It's so easy to get swept up in washi, stickers, and countless planners one person could never use. So I try to keep my obsession corralled to one IKEA cart to make sure things don't spread across the entire house.

I think it's super important to have a designated area for supplies so you're not only able to find things, but you don't go overboard with things you probably won't use. These carts come in a bunch of different colors and are sold practically everywhere now. They're great because they can be pushed around from room to room, but are also portable enough to pop into a closet.

So in today's video I'm giving you a walk-through of all the bits and bobs I keep jammed onto this cart on a regular basis. My traveler's notebook supplies are kept elsewhere, so let me know if you want a tour of that stuff as well.

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Small Business Resources

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MintMONGOOSE Jewelry Subscription Review

MintMONGOOSE Jewelry Subscription Review

A few years ago I got rid of over 90% of my jewelry collection. Everything felt too childish, not me, and cluttered my brain just as much as it cluttered my beauty drawers. I've been slowly rebuilding my collection to include more timeless, stylish pieces. So when MintMOONGOOSE popped on my radar offering to send me a subscription to check out, I couldn't wait. Let someone else do all the work choosing the perfect pieces? Sold!

Each subscription comes with three jewelry pieces every month for $12.99 plus shipping and handling. They also offer a deluxe version for $22.99 that comes with four pieces of jewelry and two accessories. Definitely a fair price point considering how much jewelry from Forever21 and H&M costs these days. Plus I've always been a fan of surprises.

The jewelry picks are exactly my style. They're simple while still feeling high-quality and chic. The two tier necklace actually has the ability to split apart to become two separate necklaces. How cool is that?! I'm still pretty jazzed about it.

And I love that there are earrings. I don't think I've worn earrings in 10 years, but I've always kept the holes in my ears open just in case. I tried these gorgeous tassel earrings on and suddenly started to feel the allure again. Who knows...maybe I'm an earring person after all?

Use code MICROBEAUTY to get your first first box for just $5+s/h. It's a great way to try out the brand and has me already itching to sign up for another box.

Do you love subscriptions or just don't like surprises? Let me know in the comments!
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Great Programs & Apps for Your Small Business

Great Programs & Apps for Your Small Business

I'm a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel. Someone, somewhere has made something that can make your life easier. You just have to know where to look. This is definitely true when it comes to small business. Although I love social media, I don't love spending a ton of time promoting my business when I should be running it. So here are some of my favorite apps and programs that make my business life a whole lot easier.

  • Later. This is definitely my favorite program to use to post on Instagram and Facebook. It has a super easy to use interface that allows you to add a bunch of photos, plug them into a calendar, and write up captions for them. Plus there is a feature where you can see a preview of how they'll look in your profile feed. It doesn't auto post for you, so you'll have to download an app that notifies you when it's time to post. It's super easy to use and doesn't feel like a burden to post. It's free for 30 posts a month.
  • Planoly. This platform is strictly for Instagram and you have to pay to use it. It works just like Later does, but now has the capability to auto post for you (I have yet to check this feature out). Plus Planoly lets you respond to comments right in the browser. To me it's the beefier version of Later and takes a bit more time getting used to and figuring out all the bells and whistles. Let me know in the comments if you want a more detailed walk through. 
  • Tweetdeck. If you're on the twitter train, Tweetdeck is super easy to use and allows you to run multiple accounts and follow different hashtags all at the same time. It's owned by Twitter and and allows you to schedule tweets ahead of time.
  • Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a one stop shop for social media. It allows you to run a ton of social accounts in one place so you don't need to have multiple programs for different platforms. You have to pay to use it, but you're able to respond to comments and manage everything from one place. Definitely an option if you've stretched yourself a little to thin over a bunch of different accounts.
There are a ton of platforms and apps out there to help run social media smoother for your business, but these are the ones I'm most familiar with. If you'd like more specific walk-through's on any of these platforms, leave a comment below and I'll type up a more in-depth look.

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Treat Yo Self with Love Beauty and Planet

Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo Review

Happy Valentine's Day! I wanted to do a treat yo self post today in honor of the day of love, but really it started to become an ode to a new brand I've recently discovered. This isn't a sponsored post, but if you're reading this Love Beauty and Planet, I'm definitely down (wink wink).

Love Beauty and Planet is a new brand that focuses on looking good and doing good all at the same time. They're focused on sourcing ingredients responsibly, reducing waste, and helping the planet in the process. So you can feel good when you're pampering yourself. You're conscious of the environment while smelling super delicious. Win win.

The packaging of their products is high-quality and gorgeous. I immediately popped these into our guest bathroom after a few uses because I want guests to think we're way fancier than we actually are. Because these products are SUPER AFFORDABLE. The shampoo and conditioner are around $14 for both on amazon. The shampoo lathers up great and washes away easily without any build up or greasy feeling on the hair. The conditioner is light while being super nourishing. My hair doesn't feel weighed down or greasy throughout the day, something that happens to my hair often. There are a variety of different scents that focus on different hair concerns. 

There's also a body wash to match the Murumuru Butter and Rose scent that's just as luxurious to use. It lathers up super easily and doesn't leave my skin feeling like there's a residue or anything left behind. The scent isn't overbearing and doesn't linger noticeably throughout the day. Something I'm a huge fan of.

To me, Valentine's Day is just as much about showing yourself a little love as it is other people in your life. So start your day off with a nice long shower, buy yourself some chocolate, enjoy a nice warm bath in the evening with your favorite bath bomb (I love Sky Organics), and give yourself a truly pamper filled day.

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