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



Getting Back Into Skincare

Phase should be my middle name. I've been going through them my entire life. From wanting to be an interior designer to suddenly becoming interested in cheerleading, I'm a girl who loves her phases. Now that I'm older things have slowed down a bit, but I still find myself switching interests and focuses. Skincare takes the hit quite often. I'll be going hot and heavy and then suddenly, bye bye skincare routine. The new IT Cosmetics skincare line perked me back up again and I found myself rifling through my skincare drawer (yes a whole drawer) to get back into the swing of things. Here's the routine I've developed in the past couple of weeks.

The 3-in-1 Bye Bye Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm kicks off the routine. I love balms you first apply on dry and massage the makeup off. Add a splash of water and you now have a cleanser to get deeper into the pores. This is so similar to the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm a Vs. post is definitely in the works. If I'm feeling especially grimy I'll follow up with a second cleanse. Since I've been terrible with any sort of skincare routine as of late, a second cleanser is a must. I always go back to the Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish for its bright citrus scent, exfoliating bead-like properties, and how clean it's able to get my face. 

Now that my face is nice and clean it's on to toning. I seriously cannot force myself to even bother to look any farther than the Vitamin E Hydrating Toner. It's so gentle, so refreshing, and even wipes away any makeup still clinging on. This probably is my favorite step to the whole routine. My skin never feels truly clean without it.

Now on to the creams and serums. This is the part of the routine I find switches up most regularly. There are just so many different products out there that are relatively the same thing. I usually will pop on a bit of the Vitamin C Skin Boost as I find my skin is often quite dull from day to day. It always leaves my skin feeling a bit odd, so I quickly will add the rest of the creams. Under eyes come first and I'm currently using the Bye Bye Under Eye Cream. It's a really pretty pale blue color and blends into the skin super quickly. No tugging or blending under the eyes which my future, older self will thank me for.

On regular days I'll finish the whole routine off with some High-Potency Night-A-Mins. It's hydrating, fairly thick and has a very earthy smell. It's a solid night time cream that doesn't have any fuss or frills to it, it just works. If I'm in the mood for serious hydration, I'm looking at you winter months, then it has to be the Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Basically a hydrating mask you leave on your skin, this literally is like a night and day difference (see what I did there?!) In the mornings my skin is plump with moisture and I can actually go outside without feeling like my face is going to crack off and fly away in tiny particles of dust.

All in all this routine takes me about five minutes and my skin is thanking me for it. It looks so much better and the little bumps that have been hanging around on my forehead are quickly fading away. I'm a beauty blogger, I know how a good skincare routine can work wonders. The lazy girl in me just forgot! 

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How Joining a Neighborhood Book Club Helped Me with My Anxiety

Earlier this week I went to my first neighborhood book club meeting. The introvert, anxious mess of a person in my head kept telling me to just skip it. I wasn't feeling that well and I didn't think there would be anything to even talk about at the meeting since we had already discussed a bit in our Facebook group. Yet I knew a few of my friends were going and I didn't want to flake out on them. The ultimate struggle of an introvert.

So I went a number of houses down and arrived a bit too early. Classic Kayla. At the very least it was at a house where I had been before, and I really enjoy spending time with the couple and their kids. All easing me into this book club thing. That's the trick for anxious introverts. There are certain things that can make a very anxious situation easier. A familiar place, some familiar faces, and being prepared.

This definitely wasn't like school where I never read the books and had to pretend I knew what I was talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale (review if you're interested) and had a lot of opinions on the topic.

Yet it still was a very nerve racking experience to sit down in a small circle with women from my neighborhood all of which seemingly have their life more together than I do, to talk about a book. And you know what? I didn't suck. All the pieces came together for me to be comfortable enough to push my anxiety aside, at least for a few hours.

Nothing went terribly wrong and I didn't make enemies for life. That's the funny thing about anxiety. The worries and concerns don't necessarily make sense or are rational, but they still grip to you like a needy preschooler who doesn't want to go to class without you. 

I managed to talk and participate and share some of my differing opinions on the novel. I spoke up during periods where a few people started to talk (you know how it goes in group discussions) and people allowed me to speak rather than talking over me. I was an actual part of the discussion and it felt really great.

Afterward I felt proud walking home and didn't find myself running over the whole evening in my head like I usually do. I didn't analyze everything I said, and just let it be. It was a somewhat alarming, yet comforting experience not stressing over what people thought of me or if I said something weird. I just let the evening be.

And I'll definitely go back and do it again. Look out world, Kayla's in a book club now.

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Game for Fame Board Game Review

Game for Fame Board Game Review

Game for Fame Board Game Review

Alex and I are kind of board game snobs when it comes to what we usually like to play. In an effort to break out of our snobbish ways we've been trying to play a bigger variety of games lately. Enter Game for Fame

Game for Fame is a team based charades/Pictionary/taboo high-bred. All of the classic games rolled into one where everyone is an actor trying to make it big and win the most money. Ultimately there is only one winner as sometimes team members are pitted against each other to win bonus cash.

Right off the bat the rules seemed a little too oversimplified. I do love a short rule book that gets you playing quickly, but the "bank of celebrity" wasn't made entirely clear at the beginning. After teammates compete against each other, another team secretly selects who won and writes the appropriate amount of cash on a bank of celebrity card. That card is then put into a pile upside-down. It took a few turns of confusion to understand exactly what do to with this part of the game. Once we figured it all out the game became a lot more fun. It adds a level of mystery as to who actually has the most money as the game progresses.

The cards themselves range from super easy to really challenging in almost unfair ways. Sometimes we had to act out certain words in a story where it was super easy to just use context clues to figure it out. While other times we had to act out one animal while making the sound of another. I'm still not sure how a person acts out "ant." 

Yet all the confusion and occasionally challenging rounds aside, this game was a lot of fun in a larger group. We played with four people, but this could be lots of fun with larger parties and more people on a team. There were fun twists like people changing teams and hidden tasks people can perform to earn extra money. Rounds got people moving, writing creative poems, and laughing. It's a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, in a good way.

Now if you don't really like games where attention is on you while you're doing incredibly silly things, I'd pass on this one. But it's a great one for families with somewhat older children or adult parties who are just looking for some simple fun. I'd definitely play again and I'll offer it as a recommendation if someone's looking for a lighthearted game for family game night.

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My First Knitting Project

So I'm here to tell you that anyone can knit. When I started about a month ago the only thing I had was a faint memory of knitting failures from middle school. Seriously how can someone start out making a scarf then end up with a jagged looking triangle from accidentally added stitches?! Yet knitting has totally become much more doable all thanks to the internet.

It's crazy to think that I sucked at knitting because I didn't have the handy dandy internet to help me, but it was just getting started during my initial failed attempts. All I had was a crappy tutorial DVD and a little book that came with the beginner supplies. Now you can literally look up anything and everything and have tons of how to videos to guide you.

Plus the patterns. I never even knew about all the patterns! I was turned on to a lovely website called Ravelry where this cute little (and pretty straightforward) owl pattern just waited to be made. There are loads of free patterns with handy guides next to the instructions to explain all the knitting jargon us newbies never understand. If I still didn't know how to do a certain step, I would just google it and watch a tutorial. Now I know how to add stitches, on purpose.

Now I'm definitely no expert and must admit I also have a knitting guru in my neighborhood helping me out when I twist something or get into a panic. Hopefully as I get better I can provide some actual tips, resources, and tricks to people who want to get started. Until then though all I can do is share my projects and encourage you to give it a try, it really isn't as hard as you think it is.

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Bloom by Estée Lalonde | Book Talk

Bloom by Estée Lalonde Review

Bloom by Estée Lalonde Review

I'm a big fan of Estée Lalonde. She's one of the first people I started reading and watching when I entered this crazy blogging/video making world. I still vividly remember driving to Toronto to meet her. Hundreds of other people had the same idea and only by luck did I end up next to her as the mob moved locations. We took a selfie together. She was fabulous and I felt awkward. Life made. So when she announced the release of a book about navigating style and life, I knew I had to support my home girl. 

The book is non-fiction, based on her life experiences and diving deeper into topics she never really mentions online. I love how the book is split up into sections from beauty to style to home. It feels cohesive in a way, like we're exploring the favorite aspects of her life in an orderly list. 

At first I wished Estée would dive deeper into some topics. She talked about her depression, but only for a page or two. I felt like I wasn't getting the complete story. But as I continued reading it became obvious that she purposely didn't feel the need to dwell on certain things. Life isn't about hanging on to the bad parts of your past, but acknowledging how they shaped who you are and moving on from them. 

What I love so much about this book is how I feel like I could have written it. All of her school struggles and body image struggles feel like I wrote them. Her transition into being more confident and finding her personal style feels as if we took the same path. It's all so relatable in such a deep down, personal way. 

There's one point of the novel in particular that stood out to me. She writes, "The relationship you have with yourself is the longest relationship you'll ever have." Sure it's kind of an obvious statement, but I never considered the fact that you can have a relationship with yourself and should. It felt like a door suddenly opened and "me time" and "treat yo self" took on a whole new meaning.

Overall Bloom feels like a road map to navigating the ups and downs everyone goes through but no one really wants to talk about. It's the perfect, gorgeous photograph filled book for young teens and girls going through that never-ending awkward phase. Estée doesn't tell you how to live your life, but how to be happy in your life. That feels like a much more genuine approach to self-help. 

It's always amazing to see fellow bloggers and YouTubers take steps beyond the computer screen into the real world. It gives hope for us little guys. 

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Hosting My First Planner Meetup + Giveaway

On Saturday I hosted my first official planner meetup. It went amazingly well despite feeling completely under-prepared and more nervous than ever. Sure I had prepped for months in advance making sure the swag bags were stocked with great goodies from some amazing shops and getting the venue sorted out. Yet nothing can prepare a hard core introvert for a room full of fifty or so planner gals.

AWifenMother Annie Smith presented about including other people's plans in your planner and it really helped me to see just how uncomplicated it can be. We had a Q&A session where a lot of seriously good questions were asked. 

Since it was such a small event and we actually sold out of tickets for it, I wanted to give one of the swag bags away to one of you lovely lot! Giveaway is open international to anyone 18-years-old or with parental consent. 

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Three Easy Halloween Treat Recipes

Three Easy Halloween Treat Recipes

Nothing says Halloween like delicious treats. Sure candy is the easiest to snag up, but I wanted to try my hand at three different Pinterest recipes that are seriously getting me in the festive mood.

The Peanut Butter Spider Cookies are a fun spin on a classic cookie. The recipe is pretty straight forward, but I definitely recommend using pre-made icing or an actual piping bag for the legs. Things got intense and very messy when I tried it the original ziplock bag method. I made these bad boys to bring to a neighborhood game night this evening. We'll see how they go over!

My personal favorite of the bunch has to be these Mummy Pumpkin Pie Cookies. Basically a pumpkin pie meets poptart, these cookies are seriously cute and look a lot more impressive than they actually are to make. The biggest downside is how small the serving size is. If you're going to go through the effort to make these mummies, definitely double or triple the recipe to make it worth your while.

I desperately wanted to make the Monster Cupcakes in order to try my hand at cupcake decorating. I've never used piping tips before and after a lot of trial and error getting the frosting the right color, we were in business. This is such a fun activity for kids and really pumps up the creativity. Plus if you get a tip set it's a blast trying to figure out what each one does. The candy eyes aren't too difficult to find in the baking aisle of most super markets and it gives classic cupcakes a spooky vibe that's just perfection.

This has been one crazy baking filled week. Now to sit back and eat way too much.

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My Prima Planner Walk-Through and Review

My Prima Planner Walk-Through and Review

My Prima Planner Walk-Through and Review

My Prima Planner Walk-Through and Review

My Prima Planner Walk-Through and Review

My Prima Planner Walk-Through and Review

When there's a new planner hitting the scene, my greedy little hands are all over it. You never know if the perfect organizational system is just one planner away, so I'm down to try anything and everything for the pursuit of planner peace. I was lucky enough to get an advanced shipment of the new My Prima Planner collection that's expected to launch in a few days. And it's oh so good.

I received the "Breathe" A5 sized planner with rose gold accents. Lush to the max. The cover is plush and heavy duty to protect all the goods inside. There are tons of pockets to store notes, coupons, and cute details on the side and back covers of the planner. Plus the rose gold hardware and clasp add an elegant touch. There are a few other planner options as well, but this one seemed so simple and elegant I couldn't resist.

The contents of the planner itself are seriously beefy. A whole year of undated horizontal layout sheets that also feature a lot of brainstorming pages and room for creativity. Plus each month comes with three different dashboards that you can rearrange and create your own sections beyond just the calendar.

This planner feels like a creative organizers dream. Tons of things to color, arrange, and transform the planner into an inspiring place. I love that I can take everything I don't want out in seconds and only have the necessary pieces left. 

I think the true winners in this launch are the accessories. Prima went all out and created a huge collection of paperclips, sticky notes, stickers, tassels, and bookmarks. Plus you can get even ore color-able dashboards if the three per month that come with the planner don't suit your fancy. Even if you aren't in the market for a new planner, the accessories alone are worth checking out. I've never been so obsessed with binder clips in my entire life, but these rose gold ones give my life purpose. Who can resist some good stationery?!

It's nice to see more companies getting into the planner game and taking it serious. Long gone are the days are lackluster planner launches that are missing more than they offer. Now to piece together the perfect planner and find a reason to use it!

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It's OK to Not Be the Same Person You Were Yesterday

The truth is I'm not the same person I was yesterday, or the day before. I'm barely the person I was last week. The same goes for you. Who you are today is not who you were yesterday. And I have to realize that being someone different is ok. It's not a case of the body-snatchers 180 personality switch, but in smaller, almost unnoticeable ways. 

I've been reading more, I've started knitting, I've put more effort into baking. I'm taking care of my relationships more, my house more. I've been working less. My family is going through a terrifying shift that none of us expected, but could be exactly what we need.

I think it's pretty obvious that I've been going through an existential crisis lately. Things that were once working just aren't now, whether it's outside factors or me. It boils down to the fact that I'm just not happy with how things have been going the past few months. I'm not content with this blog space or what I'm writing about, my YouTube videos feel uninspired while my subscriber count continues to drop, and I can actively feel my interests changing.

And it's caused me a lot of panic. All of this self-doubt and fear that everything I've worked so hard for is slipping out of my grasp. It's crippling, paralyzing. Am I not interesting anymore? Have I said all that I can say in this space? Will people not care what I have to say if I'm not talking about the same things I did when I started out? Will people still like me if I'm not the same person I was? You know, the usual stuff.

But I can either destroy myself with fear or adapt. I can face this weird shifting period head on with an open mind and see what happens. That's very unlike me in every sense of the word. But what else can I really do? I've already been subconsciously making a content shift while still feeling almost an obligation to continue writing about the topics that interested me in the past. Amidst the usual content there are posts that I'm really passionate about. There are videos that get me more excited to post than others. It's those things I need to focus on. Sure it'll probably be a rocky transition filled with readers/viewers saying a silent goodbye, but if I don't do this for me there may not be any content left.

Thank you all who have stuck with me thus far as I refused to acknowledge to myself a change needed to happen. A bigger thank you to everyone who's going to hang on while we go on this new journey. Let' snow be the same people we were yesterday. Let's be better.  

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When You Take Some Hits Creatively

So lately I've been losing followers. A lot of them. Everywhere. Of course I tell myself that it's not about the numbers and to just continue on creating things I love, but it is about the numbers when this is my job and supports our lifestyle. Nothing zaps creativity more than working hard on a video or blog post and not getting a response, or any, on it. It's like throwing all that hard work out into the void for it to disappear without a trace.

Sure there have been downswings in followers before. I used to blog and create videos for literally no one. But this time feels different. I know what it's like for people to enjoy my content, so now that they aren't, it feels personal. I know it shouldn't be. People's interests change and they move to doing different things. Yet it feels like I'm losing friends who I used to hang out with all the time. That I'm not interesting anymore or the things I have to say no longer matter. 

This could just be one of those fluke periods that have been known to happen, but what if it isn't? It's time for me to figure out if I keep blogging and Youtubing for the love of it, or I take all the time and energy and move it into something more productive. It was different when I had another job that didn't rely on these little hobbies. But now it's one big web of interneting and I feel like I'm letting my company and livelihood down by under-performing.

This isn't a woah is me post to spark pity. I've always aimed to document my life and ups and downs. This just happens to be one of those downs. So now what. I don't know. I'm going to spend a good few hours staring at analytics, looking at my content calendar, and hunting for the next great thing to not only keep my audience happy, but also me happy. Or maybe I take a step away and figure out how to turn this back into something that's a hobby and no longer necessary for living. 

There definitely is a lot to think about...
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The Body Shop's At Home Facial Collection

The Body Shop's At Home Facial Collection

The Body Shop's At Home Facial Collection

This package landed on my doorstep about a month ago and I still get giddy looking at it. The Body Shop recently released their At Home Facial Collection and it's everything I didn't know I needed.

The packaging for each of the masks is seriously luxurious. Heavy glass jars, crisp color coordinated labels, and a satisfying twist off lid. The kind of packaging that makes you feel like you're in an old age apothecary where you know products are going to work magic. Every mask is a different color inside and works to target different problem areas. Plus they're 100% vegetarian which always makes me feel fancy. Let's run through the magical pots of goodness.

First up is the Amazonian Acai Energizing Radiance Mask. A lovely berry shade, this mask works to wake up the skin, making it more vibrant and healthier looking. If you're a busy student or a working mom with children, this is right up your alley.

One of my favorites of the bunch is the Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask. Looking very similar to actual honey, this mask is all about comforting dry skin and adding much need nourishment. It instantly made my skin feel more moisturized and helped retain hydration longer. Most of my skincare only works for most of the day and I'm left with dry, almost painful skin. This mask kept my skin feeling better, longer.

The Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask tones the skin while removing dullness and unevenness. It claims to minimize pores while reducing imperfections. I could definitely seem the redness reduce on problem areas on my face and the bright white mask was fun to slather all over my face. I may have meandered around the house acting like a ghost for a few minutes...

Next up is the British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask. Another of my favorites from the lineup, this mask smells amazing and is very similar to the Amazonian Acai mask in color and texture. This is another mask option that's great if you have tight, dry skin like I do. I swear some mornings I wake up and my skin feels so tight that it actually hurts. This mask has aloe to comfort and calm the skin while quenching the skin with much needed moisture. 

Last in the collection is the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask. This bad boy reminds me a lot of the Origins Mask with a similar name. I'm obsessed with that mask so this one fit in quite nicely to my normal routine. I find charcoal masks excellent at getting really deep down into the pores and cleaning out anything that's managed to escape regular cleansing. I never do the full time amount on these masks since my skin is so dry, but even a shortened amount still provides great results. 

Now to be completely honest, I couldn't really tell a massive difference between each of the masks when I tried them out over the past few weeks. But what I can tell is that all of them made my skin happier, healthier looking, and just better. I'd suggest picking up one or two that suit your targeted issues and leave it at that. They're all packed with amazing ingredients that won't clog up or harm your skin. 

If I had to pick just one or two it'd be the Charcoal mask to clean out any junk and the Honey mask to restore all the good stuff back. They complement each other nicely and I fond myself reaching for them over the others when in the mood for a mask. It's definitely becoming apparent that my go to skincare brand is The Body Shop. I'd be more than happy to write up a post featuring my favorites if you're interested!

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Erin Condren Luxe Quote Clutch and Enamel Pins Review

Erin Condren Clutch and Enamel Pins Review

Erin Condren Enamel Pins

Erin Condren Enamel Pins

I fell in love with Erin Condren because of their planners, but stay for the constant new products they produce. Recently they launched a line of enamel pins and a designer clutch. Once my heart eyed emoji face went back to normal, I quickly scooped up every single thing to get it a full look over to see if it's really worth the fuss. Girl loves her enamel pins a bit too much.

As far as quality goes the clutch fabric feels nice, the zipper heavy duty, but it's not a structured clutch like I expected. I have a lot of random makeup clutches similar to this that are much sturdier and hold their shape when stood up. This one slouches a bit and is more flexible. Not a negative per say, but definitely something noteworthy and not what I was expecting. Yet the gold detailing seems like it's not going to crack or fade easily. However I think $20 is a little much for such a small clutch when you can get many similar to it from Forever21 for more than half the cost. 

In regards to the pins the Stay Gold one is definitely my favorite. It's the largest and the only one I can really justify the price for. $8 is usually the norm for enamel pins (ours are less though, just saying!). The asterisks are barely a centimeter large if that and don't really draw the attention well. The silver and gold ones are very similar in color that it's hard to tell the difference at first. They're all backed with a rubber backing rather than the metal clasp. Lots of pin enthusiasts say the rubber backing is more secure, but I don't really have a preference one way or another and have never had issues with either.

Overall I'd say get the clutch when there's a sale (like $10 off your first order) and grab the Stay Gold enamel pin if you're trying to get to free shipping or want to treat yourself. I don't regret the purchase at all, but if you're trying to save some money and make smart buying decisions, I hope this helps. 

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