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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First Impressions | ft. Urban Decay, IT Cosmetics, and More

With all the travelling we've been doing lately I've had plenty of opportunities to put a lot of new makeup to the test. All-day wear tests, hot days, and long flights. So these are really more like second impressions, but that's not a very good blog post title...There are a lot of misses in this roundup and very few hits, so settle in and get your "do not buy" list ready.

The Urban Decay Elements Eyeshadow Palette* is downright gorgeous, but honestly not terribly practical for everyday use. The brown tones are gorgeous and of course UD quality, but the rest of the shades are more for special occasions rather than any ol' Tuesday. It's such a fun palette, but you'll be able to find a lot of the shades in other, more travel-friendly palettes. Save your pennies on this one unless you're in it for the wow factor of the palette itself.

I picked up the DevaCurl Wave Maker after I chopped my hair off again hoping it would help add curl and style to my new hairdo. It did absolutely nothing for my hair. I used barely any of the product the first few times to no avail, so I bumped up how much I was using. It left my hair feeling greasy and flat. Avoid this one for sure.

I'm obsessed with the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream so when they released the Oil Free Matte* version my interest peaked. I usually avoid matte bases like the plague as my skin is already a dry desert, but this cream didn't leave my skin looking dry or patchy. I do still prefer the original formula, but this is a great option if I ever step away from the dewy skin vibes. It's long lasting and can be built up for more coverage. 

I scooped up the Lancome Monsieur Big from a recommendation from The Anna Edit and I must say I'm not overly impressed. It lengthened my lashes, but I'm always on the hunt for bold, voluminous lashes over length. I've been pairing it with the IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara for to add some volume, but I won't be repurchasing this in the future.

IT Cosmetics recently reformulated their Full Coverage Waterproof Concealer* and I'm loving it. It's thick. Like very thick. And the shade range is MASSIVE so finding the right shade takes a lot of time and guesswork. But it seriously works at covering dark under eye circles. I definitely recommend setting it with a light powder to keep it in place and mattifying it a little bit, but if you struggle with looking like a dead zombie, this one's for you.

Even though the weather is getting colder in Michigan, with all the travel to warmer areas I've still needed a good facial sunscreen. The Derma E Sun Defense Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen* has been fantastic at feeling light-weight on my face while giving me some extra protection. It also sinks into the skin quickly which is a definite must for me in the mornings as I run around constantly late.

Have you tried any new beauty bits lately? What have been your favorites?
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Learning to Celebrate Small Accomplishments

It's one thing I suck at. Celebrating small accomplishments when you're running a small business is nearly impossible. You're always moving on to the next thing, planning out the next release, and constantly going, going, going.

It's safe to say that this is one of the biggest challenges I've faced working for myself and with my husband. We've become so engrossed in the next project that we rarely pause, look up, and see how far we've come.

The other week we had the opportunity to make promotional products for Milani Cosmetics through our promotional company we started a little over a year ago. It's one of those "pinch me" moments. Never in my life would I have ever thought we'd be making items for a makeup brand to give out to buyers of companies like Ulta. Like, what?! It wasn't until I took the time to shoot a few photos of the products for our Promo Facebook Page that I really stopped to realize what we had accomplished. And in that moment I kinda became quite sad. What other huge milestones did I not appreciate because we're always so focused on the next thing?

If there's one thing I improve on as we quickly approach a new year, I want it to be my ability to celebrate small accomplishments. To take even just a second to pat myself on the back, hi-five Alex, and be truly happy for everything we've done so far. We're nominated for Small Business of the Year through the Grand Rapids Chamber. It's a huge deal and I want to make it feel like one.

So no matter what you're doing in your life, make it your mission to celebrate a small accomplishment at least weekly. It can be something as small as finally folding that pile of laundry, but it's so important to give yourself recognition for the work you're doing. 

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Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review + New Product Launch

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

Prepare yourselves for a whole lot of photos my friends because these bad boys are so photogenic. 

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

It was only a matter of time before Erin Condren put their hat in the traveler's notebook ring. On October 9th they're launching their On-the-Go Folios*. There will be two color options to choose from for $20 with the option to add embossed initials for $5 more.

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

Each design comes with the signature asterisk on the cover of the faux leather material. 

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

The cover is sturdy, yet floppy and malleable. There are four elastics that look pretty strange when they're empty. Look at those poor elastics all sad waiting for notebooks full of ideas...

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

The covers can comfortably fit four Erin Condren Jot Your Thought journals. The notebooks run flush to the edges of the cover and it doesn't seem like you can do that much jump banding for more inserts.

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

I'm definitely most excited about the new petite planners that are being released alongside the folio. There are a ton of new options dropping, but the daily planner has my interest peaked.

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

The new petite planners come with a functional sticker sheet in the back packet just like the other editions.

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

If you're a sticker junkie there are a ton of new sets debuting as well. Although I'm not a huge fan of the puffy stickers they've been releasing lately, the more functional boxes are on my must use list.

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

There are also two new sets of washi tape! I wasn't joking guys. TONS of new products are coming our way over the next few weeks. Choose between the asterisks or the foil scallops that made their first appearance in the fall seasonal surprise box. 

Erin Condren On the Go Folio Review

There's also (I swear I'm almost done!) a new weekly schedule pad that I'm already planning on purchasing multiples of for holiday gifts. It's such a simple design, but the gold foiling accents add a level of class. 

Phew. We made it to the end! So my thoughts. If you have yet to try a traveler's notebook and have quite a few Erin Condren products, this could be a really great option to dip your toes into the world. It's at a fair price point, but doesn't come with a lot of bells and whistles (I'm talking pockets and a pen loop). It's a great solution to how to organize all the petite planners, but it seems like a product you'll grow out of after a few months once you figure out exactly what features you want in your notebook. 

I would love to see more adventurous pattern covers as well beyond just a rose gold and charcoal option. I'm lookin' at you rainbow hexagons! The daily petite planners are my definite favorite from the launch and I'm hoping they release more insert options over the next few months.

Oh, Erin Condren. You did it again didn't you....
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2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

If I were to do college all over again, this would be the planner I splurged on. It's the type of planner that just makes sense if you're in school. You'll see what I mean as we go along. Plus one of you lovely lot will win this planner! I've reviewed previous additions of this planner in the past, but for anyone new out there, let's get into all the details about the Ashley Shelly planner shall we?

2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

There's a nice sturdy pocket in the front and a few icon stickers in a snap seal pouch. Plus the coil has plenty of room if you're sticker obsessed and want to pack them in throughout the year. 

2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

The monthly spread is lined! I love a good lined monthly view and wish more planners threw in some faint lines to help us crooked writers out.

2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

There are two pages at the start of every month to really help you focus on the days ahead. There are places for goals, bucket lists, and spots to get your mindset right before diving into the month ahead.

2019 Ashley Shelly Planner Review & Giveaway

It's the weekly spreads that really make this the perfect academic planner. On the left side there is space to write class times, work hours, and appointments. On the right side there is space for six to do list items (the perfect amount to get done in a day). There's a section to write anything that's due that day as well as record dinners. It's so simple, but so effective. I was a huge color-coordinator back in college and it would totally work in a planner like this to have different colors for work, clubs, school, and homework. 

If I were to go back and time and find myself in my freshman year of college, I would use the monthly spread to mark upcoming events, keep track of travel, and record important school dates. The weekly spread would be all about homework, sorority events, and work shifts. Splash a few stickers here and there and my stress levels would have been greatly reduced if this planner appeared in my life back in 2010.

Although I love this planner inside and out, it'll be more useful to one of you! The giveaway will go on for one week and is open internationally to anyone 18-years-old or with parental consent.

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Goals for the Rest of 2018

I feel like I've mentioned this on the blog before, but I'm garbage when it comes to goal setting. Sure I have goals, but I can never seem to put the right benchmarks in place to get them done in a timely fashion. So here's hoping a blog post will keep me accountable to get these things done by the end of 2018.

  1. Sign up for another workout class. I take a HIIT class once a week, but I really need to increase it to two classes a week for my mental sanity (as well as my physical health of course). I'm thinking either a spin class or a yoga class. There are a bunch of places in the Grand Rapids area, but it always takes me a lot of mental pep talks to try something new.
  2. Start work on a planner subscription box. I'd love to launch a planner subscription box in 2019 with all the fixings. I'm talking planners, clothing, home accessories packed into a quarterly released box. Right now it's only just an idea, so I'd love to make some sizable progress on box design and themes by the end of the year.
  3. Check in with friends two more times. When I get busy the letters and text message check ins fall to the wayside. I'd love to check in with my friends and family two more times before the year is up. Luckily Christmas cards can definitely count as one! I still try to do this despite busy schedules to make sure they all know just how important they are to me.
  4. Take some time off. Like legit time off. Not work travel or family visits, but legit do nothing time. I'm even open to a staycation. 
They say you should make your goals doable right?

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Perfect Gifts for the Cotton Anniversary

Perfect Gifts for the Cotton Anniversary

Alex and I just celebrated our second wedding anniversary and we take gift giving very seriously. We decided last year to stick to the "traditional" anniversary gift themes to keep us creative.When our cotton anniversary approached, we both knew the competition was on.

Let's start with what I got Alex. Of course the best place to go is Etsy when you don't have a creative DIY bone in your body. I knew Alex had a love for cross stitch (seriously how did I find this unicorn of a guy?!) so it seemed like a no-brainer to get a custom portrait of our family at this moment in time. There are a ton of shops to choose from, but I selected this one because the style really fit us and it came in a frame. The owner worked with me over a few weeks to make sure our cats came out just right and everything was perfect. It came from overseas so definitely give yourself a good two months lead time to make sure it arrives.

Perfect Gifts for the Cotton Anniversary

Alex knocked it out of the park with his gift. He found this shop to make us custom dolls. The details are insane on these adorable things. Poppy dress? Check. Bow tie? Check. I love how similar but different our gifts ended up being. What can you expect when you spend nearly every day together?! It got to the point that we had to tell a friend what we were getting the other person just to make sure we weren't doing the same thing.

So if you're in the market for a good cotton anniversary gift or just want to mix things up, definitely check out these shops on Etsy. They made our second anniversary really special.

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Current Beauty Favorites | End of Summer Edition

The summer blew by in a blink with all the travel we got up to. We only went kayaking once! What a serious shame. I did find some time to shake my my makeup routine and a few products stood out as summer favorites I'm sure I'll be using even as sweater weather hits.

When I made the shocking discovery that the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue shade I've been using for years is in fact TOO DARK FOR ME, my world changed. A bit over-the-top sure, but going down a shade or two made a huge difference. I went from shade five to two and now mix the two together since I have the slightest of tans. I've loved the coverage and dewy finish of this for years, but am so glad to finally have the perfect shade. I can only imagine what other foundations I'm not wearing the right color of...

I'm still in a real Glossier moment with my two favorite products being their Boy Brow in Brown and their Cloud Paints. I've been wearing Dusk all summer long and have to actively try to wear other blushes just to mix things up. It's a gorgeous coral-pink that gives a nice flush to the skin without being too overly blushy. It's also the most buildable blush I've ever used. Boy Brow is a brow gel that I use as a brow filler. Lazy me loves swiping this on my brows and calling it good. Plus it darkens up my pretty light brows so you can actually SEE them.

Occasionally I force myself to step away from the Stila One Step Correct and try another primer. I've been giving the new bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Primer a go and although it's not going to replace One Step Correct, it's definitely a great alternative. It's hydrating, smooth on the skin without feeling silicone-y, and leaves a nice base to put makeup on top of. If you're in the market, check this one out.

With it being so hot here lately I've taken to actually using powder to keep the shiny away. I'm always a fan of dewy, but greasy and sweaty is just too far. The It Cosmetics Airbrush Perfecting Powder helps to set everything in place without looking cakey or too matte. It also helps to make sure nothing slides off my face during the day. It also has SPF 50 which is bananas. All good things, right?

I've also been using a setting spray like nobody's business. Urban Decay's All Nighter is my usual go to, but I've been using Chill and honestly can't tell the difference between the two. They take some time to settle onto the skin, but my makeup lasts so much longer when I use a spray over when I don't. 

Dry lips are basically my MO all year round, but I wanted to mix things up from using my usual plain vaseline to something a bit more festive. I know...look out...Kayla is over here really shaking things up. Vaseline Rosy Lips has everything I love about vaseline, but with a bit of color thrown in. Wild child is my middle name.

Summer has been so hectic over here that I must admit I'm pretty excited to wave the humid weather goodbye and throw a cozy sweater on. Remind me of this when it's the dead of winter, k?
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Forever a Cat Person and Other Adult Decisions

I strongly believe that when you hit a certain age, you suddenly develop opinions on things you never had opinions on before. For me that age is 26. Here I am, basically the same human I was 365 days ago, but with some strong opinions. Here's what they are.

I'm a cat person. Full stop. Sorry dogs, you're cute and all, but it's the cat life for me. Just look at that photo of Gallifrey a year ago. Adorbs. For a while I would appease people by saying we had only cats for convenience's sake. I'd assure them that I was both a cat, and a dog person. A few years ago we almost purchased a corgi puppy. That Kayla didn't know what she was thinking. This Kayla? Oh I'm sure. Cats all the way baby.

Do whatever you want as long as it doesn't bother anyone else. Specifically enjoy whatever hobby you want. I recently started playing Dungeons and Dragons. Two years ago I would have hesitated and really thought about if I wanted that fact on the interwebs. Now? Screw it. It's a whole lot of fun, gets me and Alex out of the house, and I'm not afraid who knows it. When we're younger we're always trying so hard to keep up with appearances. I'd play down the things I love (board games, houseplants, etc.) and play up the things I knew other people like. Just plain silly.

I've also firmly decided I'm a plant lady. It's taken me quite a while to get to this place. Unfortunately a lot of dead succulents along the way, but here I am. There are twenty-five glorious green creatures in our house thus far and as long as Alex is cool with it, I'll keep adding more. 

When Alex met me six years ago I think it's safe to say I was a materialistic, shop-o-holic mess. Now? It's more about the moments than the things. If I suddenly had to uproot, downsize, and travel the country in a tiny house I wouldn't hesitate to grab my cats, a few plants, our board games, and be on my merry way. Over the past few years I've abandoned my attachment to stuff and become more attached to the adventures instead.

I'm sure over time I'll make even more adult decisions, maybe change a few along the way, and stop being phased by what everyone else is doing. Sure being an adult comes with joint pain for no apparent reason, but it also comes with self-assurance. And I can dig that.
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Well...this is awkward.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Is this thing on? I think I may have completely forgotten how to blog. Is it like riding a bike? I was always rubbish at bicycles and have quite a few scars to prove it. Here's hoping I can get back into blogging better than I ever got back on a bike. Honestly I don't remember the last time I was even on a bike, but I digress.

So it's been a minute. A long minute. So the only way to really dive back into this thing is to tell you what's been going on in that very long minute. Prepare yourself for a whole lot of links.

I've been travelling for work, a lot. Since I work for myself that may sound a bit odd, but my husband and I (Alex, you remember him right?) have been travelling the planner conference circuit. The PlannerCon Parties circuit to be exact. We've been to Salt Lake City and Cleveland so far (click for links to vlogs) and have Charlotte, San Diego, and Honolulu (squeal!!) on the books. Plus there's a Wisconsin event thrown in there next month for good measure. It's been a whirlwind of an adventure so far and I have plans for a post all about travelling for work to really get into the deets.

Beyond travelling Alex's promotional business has really gotten off the ground. I've even started sticking my toe in and have my very first coffee and promotional chat on the schedule. The introvert in me is dying, but my girl boss exterior couldn't be more excited to take a crack at honest-to-god-in-person-sales. 

I think I've finally settled into a new planning style with my deluxe monthly setup and traveler's notebook. I've been going into intense detail about it on my YouTube channel where I haven't fallen off the posting bandwagon.

Time is going by at the speed of light. A week off of blogging has turned into months and here I am, awkwardly returning. So let's do this thing like it's been going on this whole time...shall we?
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Why I Left My Erin Condren Life Planner for the Deluxe Monthly

Why I Left My Erin Condren Life Planner for the Deluxe Monthly

I have very strong feelings about "planner peace." Frankly I don't think it exists, and this past month definitely proved that to me. Planning should adjust with your needs, your lifestyle, and what you have going on. So when I started to feel unhappy with my Erin Condren Life Planner hourly layout, I knew a switch was just around the corner.

About a year ago I really started to get into my groove with the monthly views. I found my style, how I like to set it up, and found myself leaving my planner open to that page more than the current weekly view. So when the new Deluxe Monthly Planner launched on the Erin Condren website, it felt like a sign.

I go into a lot of detail about why I made this switch in my latest video if you want to take a gander, but ultimately I've been SO happy with the switch. I still have to figure out exactly how to utilize all of the notes pages that come along with it.

Don't be afraid to switch things up if it's just not working for you. Honestly I was quite nervous to post this video. It's hard to admit when the norm isn't working for you, but I'm glad I did. Not all planners are going to be Instagram perfect, but they just have to be perfect for you.

I'll be sure to keep posting about my journey as it unfolds!
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5 Products You Need to Buy This Month

5 Products You Need to Buy This Month

There are some new loves (and an old favorite) in my makeup collection that just haven't gotten their time in the sun with a blog post yet. So here we are! Let's dive right in with the five products you need to buy (or at least swatch) this month.

Urban Decay's Born to Run Palettelanded on my doorstep on my birthday so it felt like a nice little gift from UD to me. It's quite possibly my favorite palette by them ever and I've given all the Naked palettes a go. It has that classic UD quality, but the color range has everything you could possibly need. There are a ton of neutral shades for everyday, but some great options if you're feeling a bit adventurous. Plus the packaging is high-quality and gorgeous.

5 Products You Need to Buy This Month

For all my fellow translucent pale people, contouring can be quite the struggle. I spent ages hunting around for a good, light contour option that wasn't too orange. Although the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder costs a pretty penny, it's one of the best makeup purchases I've ever made. Plus it's lasted me six months or more so far without really making a dent in it. It's the best for contouring if you aren't too sure of what you're doing, or need something on the cooler toned side of the spectrum. There's also some darker shades as well.

Every year for my birthday I pick up two new Mac Lipsticks to add to my collection and although I love the other shade I purchased, "Retro" had to be mentioned. It's this gorgeous burgundy red shade that isn't too much on the lips. And it truly makes me feel retro when I wear it. There's just something about the tones in it that are so 1950s.

5 Products You Need to Buy This Month

I've had a serious obsession with Glossier lately and you should too. They're makeup is perfection if you're wanting a no-makeup-makeup look. Everything is so natural and glowy that I have to stop myself from scooping up one of everything to try. My two current favorites are Boy Brow and Cloud Paint in "Dusk" and both are staples in my every day routine. Boy Brow is the most natural looking brow product ever and does wonders at darkening my brows while filling them in. It never looks like I have anything in them, but they always look full and amazing. The cloud paints are a bit odd at first to get used to, but I just dab the product onto my cheeks and blend it out with a small fluffy brush. Perfect finish every time. Save 10% on your first purchase with my affiliate link!

So if you find yourself near a Sephora or an Ulta this month, definitely pop in for a swatch or two. These five have shaken up my makeup routine and I'm loving every glowy, colorful second of it!

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Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity

Sure Cards Against Humanity is fun and all the first few times, but it's like limiting yourself to the checkers of party games. There are SO. MANY. OTHER. GAMES. out there my friends. Here are a few of my favorites.

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity

Sleep in a Bucket is one of the newest games to our collection and a gives you everything you like about Cards Against Humanity, but lets you own up to your answers before the judge picks a winner. You're given a handful of "would you rather" cards and have to convince the judge that your card is the worst of the mix. There's no player limit and over 250 different terrible cards to choose from. One of my least favorite things about Cards Against Humanity is how little interaction and discussion that happens during the rounds. This game lets you talk it all out. Plus listening to people's reasoning why their card is the worst will sure to get some laughs.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a simple game for up to 10 players. Every player is given a secret role card that has special abilities. Players play out their roles secretly during the "night" phase and it's the villagers job to uncover who are the werewolves while the werewolves try to get the town off their scent. Plus there's a free app that makes the entire game super easy to follow along to. It's quick, fun, and family friendly. Plus there are a ton of different editions to choose from.

The Voting Game is one of our favorites. Cards are flipped over and players must vote on which other player they think the card relates to the most. Cards say anything from "most likely to get arrested" to "who gives the most awkward hugs". It's a fantastically light-hearted game that gets people talking and telling stories. You'll get to know the other players well and it's always fun to see how significant others vote. There are ways to win, but more often than not, we find ourselves playing just for laughs.

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity

The Resistance is one of the oldest games in our collection, but still one of our favorites to bring out at parties. Everyone is given secret roles at the beginning of the game. The majority of players are on the good team, fighting in the resistance to thwart some evil foe. Some players are spies. The game is divided into five "missions" that have to pass in order for the resistance to win. Throughout the game the spies try to keep their identity secret while causing missions to fail. It's a game of deceit, lying to your friends, and wanting to play it again immediately after the first game ends. Things definitely get heated, in a good way!

If you get any game from this post, Sushi Go Party is the my top pick. For up to 8 players, Sushi Go Party is a larger version of Sushi Go but oh so much better. It's a card passing game where you're trying to collect different types of sushi to gain points. Each turn you take a card from your hand and place it in front of you. Then you pass your hand to the left, taking the cards from the player to your right. The round ends when there are no cards left to choose from or pass. Sushi Go Party let's you choose which items (with different point values and specials) you're playing with each game so there is a TON of replay-ability. It's fast paced and kid friendly. 

Monikers combines charades and pop-culture and makes it all a million times better. At the start of the game, all players are handed ten cards and pick five. Those five cards are collected from each player to make the game's deck. The rest are discarded. The player made deck is used throughout three different rounds. The first round, players can say or do anything besides saying the name on the card to get their team to guess the answer. The first round ends once all of the cards from the deck have been guessed by either team. Points on the cards are added up, and the cards are reshuffled together for round two. The second round teams can only use one word to guess the answer. The final round, teams have to act out the answers. What's so amazing about Monikers is that after the first round, everyone should know all of the answers on all of the cards. So each following round is spent trying to figure out which one of the cards their team mates are trying to get them to guess. It takes a lot of pressure off players while being super frustrating at the same time. And it's downright hilarious to watch.

Party Games for When You're Tired of Cards Against Humanity

If you're looking for something a bit more challenging for an eight player game night, Captain Sonar is a great option. I won't go into all of the rules and details here as it definitely could have an entire video and post about it. In Captain Sonar, four person teams are operating a submarine while trying to destroy the other team's sub. It's like battleship on steroids. Each player has a different role that they are doing simultaneously while trying to escape the other team and build up an offensive attack. I really recommend checking out this video from my favorite board game reviewers to get a better sense of how epic this game is. 

Guys. There are so many other games out there you can play when friends come over that are miles above Cards Against Humanity. You'll have way more fun on your next game night breaking out one of these amazingly crafted games. Trust me.

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