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I'm Kayla. A 20-something obsessed with beauty, planner decorating, and baking.


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2.22.2017

Do This One Thing to Make Taking Blog Photos Easier

Do This One Thing to Make Taking Blog Photos Easier

Do This One Thing to Make Taking Blog Photos Easier

Do This One Thing to Make Taking Blog Photos Easier

Do This One Thing to Make Taking Blog Photos Easier

If I've learned anything from seven years of blogging, it's how to make the tedious task of blog photos easier. Photos are vital to getting people to check out your blog, so anything to make that momentously important task a bit easier, I'm all for.

The one thing I've learned above all other blog photo hacks is to have a bin of props. A place to stick cute plates, paperclips, and anything that could help make a product photo a little more interesting.

It's just that simple. I tote this bin around with me from surface to surface in my house and grab this or that depending on what photo I'm taking. Beauty products get fellow beauty bits, planner related posts get paperclips and pens. Having these things with me makes the process a million times faster. I'm not running around my house looking for a cute pen or plate for each photo.

It's important to have options in the bin. A few plates, a few notebooks, etc. so that the photos don't get boring quick. You don't want it to look like the same photo over and over again because you don't have a wide variety of props to choose from.

I also haven't spent much on these supplies. Unless you're a big time blogger with a lot of brand sponsorships, it's likely you don't have a dime to spend on the hobby. I picked up a lot of the plates from the Target Dollar Spot. Most of the other things I already had on hand. A lot of the makeup in here is expired or empty, but the packaging is still cute. The journals and pencils were gifts. Just collect cute items around the house or go to Goodwill for some simple plates. 

This prop bin has done wonders for the variety and consistency in my blog photos. I'm able to take a lot more photos in one sitting while still being able to keep each one unique and interesting. So poke around your house looking for cute decor items not in use to pop into a bin. It'll make a world of difference.


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2.21.2017

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact Foundation

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact Foundation Review

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact Foundation Review

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact Foundation Review

Before the IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact Foundation, I had never tried a non-liquid foundation before. Everything has always come in plastic tubes or glass bottles so I was nervously excited to test this new product out. It's opened up a whole new world of what foundation can be for me.

Let's get the specifics out of the way first. The foundation comes in seven different shades in a gorgeous metallic compact with a hefty mirror. It comes with a little face blotter and the foundation itself is beneath a plastic cover. The foundation has SPF 50 which is going to be a godsend come warmer months when I need all the help I can get shielding my bright white skin from the sun. At $38 it runs around the same price as most high end foundations. At first the price worried me a bit seeing as it doesn't feel like you're getting as much product. But after first application I knew this little compact can go a long way.

As for shades I find myself somewhere between fair and light like I am with the Your Skin But Better CC Cream. I've found a makeup sponge to be the best way to get a smooth application. I dab my sponge into the foundation with a little swirl to pick up some product on the sponge. A little bit at a time I dab the product onto my skin and smooth out like I would any other foundation.

As for finish I'd say it's medium to heavy coverage depending on how much you apply. It leaves a satin matte finish that can look a bit powdery on the skin, but I think in warmer months it will do a great job staying in place and reducing the look of oily skin. I have fairly dry skin and I didn't find it looking patchy or dry in places. I always finish with a setting spray so that helped to reduce the somewhat powdery finish. 

Overall I'm pleasantly surprised with this compact foundation. It seems much more portable than most foundations and easier to use during travel and on-the-go. I'll probably bring this with me for my trip to San Francisco next month to avoid a catastrophic foundation explosion in my suitcase. 

If you're in the market for a foundation, definitely give this a swatch.

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2.18.2017

The Best Way to Organize Your Planner Stickers

The Best Way to Organize Your Planner Stickers


I've tried quite a few sticker organizational methods over the years of planner decorating. From using clear protective sheets to a boatload of washi tape to hold down all my individual sheets, I've tried most of the methods out there. Using an accordion file is by far the best way I've found to store planner stickers.

I received my accordion file as a gift from a subscriber, but you can find them on Amazon (like this similar one) or the Container Store if you're blessed/cursed to have one close to you.

In today's video I show my sticker categories, but ultimately you'll want to divide up your collection into whatever sections that make sense to you. Have a lot more stickers than I do? Have a separate accordion for kits functional stickers, and decorative so it doesn't get overwhelming. Plus you can always have an "on the go" case for the stickers you use most often.

How do you store your stationery supplies?
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2.17.2017

Your Home | An Extension of You




This has been something I've been thinking about a lot lately. We live in a neighborhood of very established homeowners with picture perfect, enviable houses. Seriously. Straight of of a catalog beautiful. And I know I could easily thrift pieces and create a home very similar (for less of course), but I've decided against it. Sure I would love for a home so well put together, thoughtful, and gorgeous, but I can have that without losing the quirk of who Alex and I are.

So I've been abandoning the Instagram-perfect look for something more, us. Gilmore Girls Funko Pop Figurines are in our hallway, board games are floating around in our living room. I have one too many squishies on display. And it feels great. I love our house even more with these little touches here and there. I worried our quirkiness would take away from the aesthetic of our home, but it adds to it in so many ways. 

Now when you walk into our home, you know it belongs to us. It doesn't feel like it could be anyone's home anymore. It belongs to two board game geeks who love comic books and kawaii things. 

I know it's hard when we're constantly seeing picture-perfect homes, but making your home an extension of you will be so much more fulfilling in the long run. The knicknacks on your shelves will mean something to you rather than being just a handful of trinkets you picked up from a craft store. It's all about finding that perfect balance and I think I've finally started to find ours.

What items in your home make your house, yours?

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2.16.2017

IT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Line

IT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Line

IT Cosmetics has quickly become my favorite brand these days. I'm downright obsessed with their Your Skin But Better CC Cream and now their Je Ne Sais Quoi line has stolen my heart. Everything in it revolves around the same gorgeous color that you just have to check out. Here are my favorites.

Je Ne Sais Quoi Hydrating Color Lip Treatment is definitely my favorite of the Je Ne Sais Quoi line. It's the best lip balm I've ever tried and worth the price. I've always been so skeptical of higher end lip treatments, but after using almost a whole stick of this stuff, I'm convinced. I'm on to my second one and not looking back. It provides a nice, thick coat on dry lips without being sticky or overwhelming. The packaging is seriously luxe and includes a magnetic closure. If you're looking to spoil yourself this is the product to snag next.

The Bye Bye Pores Blush is in a fancy matte black compact with an even more impressive product inside. It's buttery in application and gives the best flush to the cheeks with no effort. Build it up for even more of a rosy glow. It lasts all day long too without budging. 

The Blurred Lines Smooth Fill Gel-Crème Lipstick is unlike anything I've tried before. It's so slippery on the lips, but in a good way that provides hydrating and a gloss-like shine. If lip glosses were anything like this I'd use a whole lot more of them. Of course the color is gorgeous and a great everyday option.

I added the Heavenly Skin Complexion Brush #704 into the mix because I couldn't help but talk about this new gem in my collection. The brush is so soft and incredibly dense. The perfect brush to blend in foundation and it leaves a really great, smooth finish. A lot of the complexion brushes leave some streaks or brush marks I need to blend out with my fingers afterward, but this brush makes it exceptionally easy.

IT Cosmetics really hit it out of the part with Je Ne Sais Quoi. The shade is gorgeous and all the products in the range are seriously impressive. It feels like a special treat every time I use one of them, and that's what I really want in a makeup routine.

Have you tried anything from IT Cosmetics? What's your favorite?





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2.14.2017

5 Reasons to Add More Plants into Your Living Space

5 Reasons to Add More Plants into Your Living Space

I'm not the greatest when it comes to keeping plants alive. I blame it on the fact that I give too much love. Most of my plants die from over-watering in my attempt to keep them happy. Yet I've been doing surprisingly well with the newest plant additions to our home and I can already tell they've really lifted the mood. So if you're nervous about having plants and trying to keep them alive, here are five reasons you should add more plants to your living space.

Plants naturally have a way of brightening up a living space. Winters in Michigan are brutal and soul sucking, but having a few plants here and there has made a huge difference in our mood. 

Plants make for excellent decor. I've been working on putting together our living room for a couple of months now and a big plant has done an amazing job adding a new element to the space. Living things are an excellent way to add more organic vibes to a room.

Not all plants are high maintenance. There are tons of easy to take care of options if you don't have a green thumb. Terrible at remembering to water plants? Get succulents that barely need to be watered. Don't have a lot of natural light? There are plants for that. There's a plant for everyone.

Oddly enough, plants give off the vibe that you're put together. When I lived in those run-down apartments in college there wasn't a plant to be seen. Established people have plants. Seriously. The next time you stop by a friend's house who is still in college or still trying to get their life together, it's likely they don't have a plant. Or if they do, it's probably dead.

Above all, taking care of something feels good. No one ever looks at a plant and gets angry. Taking care of a living thing feels good and gives purpose. I'm already thinking about what plants I want to put outside our house when spring hits. I can't wait to get a little dirt on my hands and bring life to the outside of our house. Because it feels good.

So go out and buy that little plant. Read the instructions on the tag and if you're terrible at remembering, put a reminder on your phone to water it. You'll be happy to have that little guy in your life.
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Valentine's Day Sticker Giveaway



Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you're having a love-filled day spent with friends and family. It's business as usual at the Benda household today, but we now have kayaks! Alex surprised me a few days ago as an early Valentine's Day gift. Now it just has to get warmer to actually use the beauties. 

Besides the new additions to the family I've been working hard to get ahead this week in order to head out of town a few times over the next few days. Videos being filmed, orders being fulfilled. I still had to stop and do something special to celebrate the day though.

In honor of this lovely holiday I'm giving away five Valentine's Day sticker sheets! The giveaway is open internationally to anyone over 18-years-old or with parental consent! Save the stickers for next year or keep the Valentine's Day vibes going. It's up to you!

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2.10.2017

The Planner That's Changing Everything

Rifle Paper Co. Midnight Agenda Review

Rifle Paper Co. Midnight Agenda Review


For a while there I was pretty fickle with planners. I jumped around like crazy and every few months I was using something different. Thankfully things have settled down and I've fallen into a planner routine I'm quite happy with lately. All thanks to the addition of this Rifle Paper Co. Midnight Agenda.

I've been on the hunt for something to keep my to do lists in for ages. I feel like I've tried everything too. Sticky notes in my Erin Condren Life Planner, erasable dashboard covers, personal sized planners whose only purpose was to do lists, etc. This is the first system that I've stuck with for an extended period of time because it ticks all of the boxes.

The book itself is small (around 5x7) and incredibly portable. The hard, gold-foil cover keeps everything protected and makes it so I don't have to worry about it bumping around in a bag. It's much easier to tote around than my ECLP so I find I take it out into the world more while leaving my ECLP at home to be the more prettier, memory keeper of the two.

The layout is fabulous as well. All the monthly views are up at the front for easy scheduling while the weekly to do lists all fit on a two page spread. A lot of the downfalls of my other to do list planning methods were that I couldn't see the entire week at once. I like to spread my to do list out over the work week so I don't feel overwhelmed at the start of it and constantly trying to catch up as the week goes along. This way I know exactly what I want to accomplish for the entire week, but it more manageable daily pieces.

The weekly view also makes it great if I happen to not finish or complete a task for a particular day. I can still see that unchecked task for the rest of the week and can get back to it at a later day. I'm not constantly moving a to do list item from one day to the next so it leaves things less cluttered. The weekly spread acts as my entire to do list, just spread out over the days.

Of course I still add stickers. That's what I love so much about this little guy. It still lends itself incredibly well to adding cute stickers. I tend to buy a lot of decorative stickers without really having a plan for what to use them for, so this gives me a reason to pop a few cute ones here and there to snazz up the weekly spread.

As for events I use these skinny labels to write down anything that's happening that day above the to do list. That way I know what's going on without it taking up too much space. It helps me rearrange my to do list for that day to make sure I'm not over-reaching on my goals since there's something else that'll take up some of my time.

This planner is a fantastic addition to my planning routine and has made me much more productive and organized. Plus it's only $15 right now! Score!

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2.08.2017

Styling a Coffee Table on a Budget

Styling a Coffee Table on a Budget

Styling a Coffee Table on a Budget


One of my favorite things to do is shop around for a good home decor deal. There's just something about interiors that makes me never want to spend anywhere near full price to get a look I want. I've been tackling our living room recently and it's drummed up some ideas and tips on how to style a coffee table on a budget.

First things first, the table. I found ours for only $150 on Amazon and I couldn't be more thrilled with it. It's rustic, industrial, while still working with a modern style house. Assembly was a snap and the quality is just as good as stores selling something similar for double the price. Amazon is a fabulous place to find affordable pieces that are still high quality. A lot of our guest bedroom came from Amazon. Plus this way I don't have to drag items out of the back of my car; they're delivered to me.

As for styling the table, a tray of some sort is a must. I found a lot of my items from Hobby Lobby, but any discount home decor store will also do. Be sure to get a tray that doesn't overwhelm the table by being too large, but don't get anything too small that disappears on the top. 

Decorate your tray with something that has height (cactus ceramic is from Hobby Lobby), something living, a candle, and something of interest. I'm still on the hunt for something of interest, but having this variety keeps the table engaging while not looking overly matchy-matchy.

Keep it simple. Don't overwhelm the table with bits and bobs making it so it no longer can be used to set drinks. A coffee table's ultimate goal is to keep you and your guests comfortable in your living space. A crowded coffee table can distract, become a dangerous obstacle, or take away from the inviting space you're trying to create.

My biggest tip? Use things you already have. I popped a few board games on the bottom shelf to add more interest and color while providing a conversation starter. So many people have asked us about the board games (Junking, Alhambra, and Five Tribes) and it usually leads us to playing one of them. So include any interesting books you might have, travel trinkets, or mementos. Don't forget to have fun with it. Your house shouldn't feel like it could belong to anyone. It should feel like your home, so include any quirky items (like a little gnome in the plant) to make the space special.

What are some of your tips and tricks to styling a coffee table?


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2.02.2017

My Day in Photographs | A Photo An Hour


8:58 am. Let's go to work.


9:23am. Filling in the last few days.


10:17am. Surprise package from Planneresque.


11:13am. Trip to the library.


12:26pm. Schedule friends visiting.


1:46pm. Lunch.


2:08pm. Write postcards to friends and family.


3:58pm. Take orders to the post office.


4:25pm. Organize stationery supplies for upcoming video.


5:16pm. Desk work.


6:49pm. Dinner.


7:38pm. Snuggle up with Netflix. Work day over!
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2.01.2017

10 Ways to Use That Empty Notebook

10 Ways to Use That Empty Notebook

We all do it. Horde those gorgeous notebooks with grand plans of what we'll one day use them for. But of course we never do. I think it's safe to say I have a good dozen or so of these empty notebooks I'm saving for a rainy day. I'm saying enough is enough and finally putting them to good use. Here are some easy ways to finally use that empty notebook.

  1. Create a book of lists where each page is a different list. Write a list for places you want to travel, favorite foods, future baby names, favorite Etsy shops, etc. You could easily fill a nice sized notebook with a ton of different lists. Do this every year and see how your interests change over time.
  2. Try your hand at bullet journaling. An empty notebook is the perfect place to start creating your own system of planning. Create a yearly overview, books read, weekly spread, etc. There are a ton of resources on Pinterest including this handy board I've made.
  3. Give journal writing a try. I'm sure we all have those angsty teenage diaries that are cringe-worthy now. But if it can work for our younger selves to work out a few issues it could also help now. Whenever I'm feeling particularly overwhelmed writing in a journal really helps to work out the thoughts and feelings I'm having to make better sense of them.
  4. Finally start work on that big dream you have. I've always toyed around with the idea of opening a brick and mortar store. So I took one of my numerous empty journals and am using it for ideas and inspiration. It's super helpful to put ideas in one place so I'm not just putting them out into the universe with no hope of ever recovering them when the time comes that I need them. Think of whatever dream or plan you've wanted to pursue and make a dedicated notebook for it.
  5. Create a gratitude journal and write a few lines every day about what you're thankful for. This is a perfect way to lead a more positive, focused life and to rid yourself of daily negativity.
  6. Put together a travel scrapbook with all those ticket stubs and pamphlets from that last trip you took. Give each location/event its own page and paste down any souvenirs you may have. Then write in some thoughts about the experience. 
  7. Start a letter notebook with a friend. Write a few pages to your friend and mail the book to them. They'll write their thoughts and send it back. In a few months you'll have a back and forth log conversation. This is great for a significant other who's long distance or keeping in touch with friends.
  8. Write unsent letters to work out your emotions. Maybe you're upset with your boss or a family member. Use the notebook to write out your thoughts and feelings so you don't bottle them up and let them explode in the worst possible way. Of course you'll want to keep this notebook well hidden so it doesn't fall into any unwanted hands. Maybe make a ceremony of destroying it once it's done!
  9. Use a notebook for daily to do lists. That way you aren't constantly trying to hunt down that scrap of paper you wrote on. They'll be all in once place and you can transfer to do list items from day to day if you don't happen to complete them
  10. Write letters to the future. To your future self, your future kids, your current kids, your significant other. This would be a very fun project to look back on ten years down the road and see where you were at in life. 
So let's all stop hoarding those notebooks and put them to good use!

What ways do you use up empty notebooks?


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1.31.2017

Why You Should Check Out Your Local Library

Why You Should Check Out Your Local Library

Poor libraries. I feel like they're being forgotten these days when they're really one of the greatest assets we still have access to. So an ode to the public library was in order. Since we've moved to our new home I've fully realized just how awesome libraries are. Here are a few reasons why you need to go check yours out.

  • They're free. Which seems like a no brainer, but free access to books is a big deal. I joined a book club a few months back and after spending $15 a piece on the first couple of books it became obvious that I couldn't keep that up. Sure I love owning books, but book club was going to get expensive and fast. Libraries have said books, for free. 
  • They'll have what you need or will find a way to get it for you. Sometimes they may not have the book I need for the next book club, but they can easily get it from another branch. I'm a huge fan of placing holds. It's so easy to go online, search what book I need, place a hold, and pick it up a few days later.
  • There are contests that get you free stuff. My library is currently doing a reading challenge that if you read five books in different genres then you can get coffee free from Dunkin' Donuts for a year. What?! Plus they have drawings for iPads and other awesome stuff every few months. My library also had a gingerbread building contest around Christmas. 
  • There are book sales for children's books and novels if you happen to like owning books. You'll get them at a seriously reduced price while helping out your library with funds. 
  • Want to get your kid out of the house and doing something? They have events constantly. Libraries are a fantastic place to find community events that are engaging but also focus on reading and education.
  • Video games. Tons of them. Love playing games or have kids that constantly want new ones? You can check them out from your library, play them all the way through, and not have to spend a penny.
Libraries are freakin' amazing. I basically have about three books checked out at any given time and am constantly finding more ways to use the library system. So go. Check yours out. See what they have to offer and get a library card. You won't regret it.
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