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


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9.28.2016

Getting into Knitting


Since nearly all of my hobbies have magically turned into my job, I am on the hunt for new ones. I need something completely separate from my sticker, YouTube, blogging life to keep things interesting and to fill any (rare) downtime I may have. Enter knitting.

I learned how to knit on one very strange trip in middle school with my best friend/maid of honor Lauren. Her grandma got us supplies and we spent a good week knitting terrible-looking scarves we never actually finished. Fast forward to present day during a game night with a few new neighborhood friends. Amy showed me some of the stuffed animals she's knitted for her two daughters and I about died from cuteness overload. I had to create them.

Amy was kind enough to bring over a few extra knitting supplies to practice with the next morning when I couldn't get the knitting desire out of my head. I relearned everything I didn't really know how to do in the first place and she and I talked about what pattern to start out with. I'll be knitting an adorable hippo stuffed animal in no time.

So far I keep dropping stitches a little too often, but it's been a great way to get to know one of my neighbors better while giving me a pointless project to work on. I've also joined a neighborhood book club to get me back into reading and Alex and I are having more fun preparing unique dinners. 

I never really knew how important hobbies were until I no longer had them. I've missed doing things just for the sake of doing them, not because they put food on the table. And who knows, maybe I'm a knitting savant and just haven't uncovered my talents yet!


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9.27.2016

Summer Highlights






With the first day of fall come and gone I think it's about time I officially said goodbye to summer. Although the weather is still holding on, I must admit I'm pretty excited for everything autumn has to over. Yet this summer has to be one for the history books and as I was gathering photos that I thought really captured the season, it became that much more apparent.

We moved into our new house in March so we had a summer filled with exploring our new city, flowers in are gardens, and lots of delicious baking. We made countless meals in our kitchen in sheer excitement over the fact that more than one person could easily be in it without being squished. We made candy sushi, way too many desserts, and started building new memories.

But above all this summer, we got married at the tail end of it. I'm still eagerly waiting for the arrival of all of the photos and videos, but our photographer kindly gave us a few teaser shots to tide us over until then. It was a fairy-tale wedding I never thought could be possible. I still can't believe it and only when I finally see the video then I'll be able to no longer deny that it really did happen.

There will be many, many photo heavy wedding posts to come, but I just knew I couldn't say goodbye to this summer quietly as if it didn't mean anything to me. This was the summer that started the rest of our lives together. A new home, a marriage, and many memories I won't soon forget.
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9.26.2016

IT Cosmetic's Exclusive Bye Bye Skincare Line at Sephora

IT Cosmetic's Exclusive Bye Bye Skincare Line at Sephora

IT Cosmetic's Exclusive Bye Bye Skincare Line at Sephora

My biggest complaint about IT Cosmetics? The brand wasn't at Sephora. It's as if they knew my strife and rectified the situation in one amazing, flawless swoop. IT Cosmetics has launched a seriously lush, exclusive skincare line along with the announcement that they're now at Sephora. I can die happy now.

I am lucky enough to get a first look at the line that's only available at Sephora and I couldn't resist doing a little first impressions post before I really dive into testing out all of the glorious new products. They're just too photogenic to pass up this double-post opportunity. 

What's so unique about this launch is how IT Cosmetics is blending together skincare with makeup. Take the Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Concealer for instance. It's the popular Bye Bye Under Eye concealer, with anti-aging magic that instantly brightens skin. The CC+ Skin-Perfecting Brush is infused with antioxidants in the brush itself. How sci-fi is that?!

The quality of the packaging is fantastic and runs on par with all the high end brands Sephora has to offer. The jars are heavy duty, the plastic tubes thick, and the Je Ne Sais Quoi Lip Treatment has a magnetic closing lid that makes me feel like a wizard every time I close it.

I'm jazzed about the entire collection, but I'm particularly eager to try the Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm (similar to Clinique's offering perhaps?), the lip treatment, the fancy brush, and the Bye Bye Pores Primer. Like any good blogger I'll report back in a few weeks once my little mitts have adequately tested everything out.

What are you most excited to try from the new range?
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9.24.2016

Korean Beauty Box by EsianMall

Korean Beauty Box by EsianMall

Korean Beauty Box by EsianMall


Asian beauty products have always fascinated me, so when I got the opportunity to try the EsianMall Korean Beauty Box, I was totally down.

At $25 a box, I had the bar set pretty high on product quantity and quality. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but am pleased with all the goodies that I got. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, which I must admit I was a little hesitant about finding some crazy themed product inside. Five full size products and one travel size facial wipes package is fantastic for the price. My favorite part of the entire un-boxing has to be the adorable packaging. Asian products set the cuteness quota to new heights and I still can't get over how adorable the lotion packaging is. Not to mention the black head strips come in pig-themed packaging. I'm sold.

I'm most excited about the Botanic Farm Eyebrow Pencil, the Strawberry scented lotion, and the makeup sponges. They're product categories I use a lot more often than the others so I tend to gravitate towards them subconsciously in beauty boxes and stores. I'll be giving everything in the box an honest go though.

EsianMall is a pretty cool site that also offers snack boxes in various sizes, plus an entire store filled with unique Asian products as well. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to get my hands on one of those snack boxes next and see what crazy things I can convince Alex to try.

You can save $5 off your first box if you're interested in checking out the subscription company. I'm definitely keeping this subscription box in mind when getting Christmas gifts this year. It'll be perfect, unique gift for a beauty addict rather than trying to figure out what makeup they don't have. 

Now I'm off to remove my little piggy black heads!


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9.23.2016

The Face Bin


I've been pretty chuffed with my makeup collection after the latest purge. Things have been whittled down to all of my favorites and my face bin in particular makes me all sorts of excited to put my makeup on. Here's what is still lingering about.

Most of this bin is made up of blushes, but there are a few other face products worth mentioning. My favorite, everyday sinch-to-use bronzing powder is Soap and Glory's Solar Powder. I'm seriously no good at contouring and this makes it super easy to get a more chiseled look without risking dark streaks. Just the right amount of color. I'm also still toying around with the Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder. The container is a serious pain, but I love the somewhat beige coloring and how it doesn't look cakey on the skin. I'm still not overly sold on powders, but when I'm feeling too shiny this is what I reach for. If shiny is what I'm going for, enter theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer. A beautiful shimmery champagne highlight that can go from barely noticeable on the skin to serious disco ball in a matter of a few swipes. 

For blushes there are five that suit my needs just fine. My favorite of the bunch for everyday wear is Urban Decay's Afterglow Blush in "Video" for a perfectly natural looking flush. I also really enjoy theBalm's FratBoy for a similar effect. Revlon's "Wine Not" is my perfect fall/winter berry and there are two Tarte blushes with very basic shade options that I keep around if I need something to really last.

I also have my favorite champagne, gold eye shadow tucked in this bin as it's the only single shadow I have. Stila's "Kitten" is my life force and a shade that just screams Kayla. I used this shade up like it was water in a palette and had to get it on its own.

Want more details on any of the products I mentioned? Drop it in the comments!

Yours till the traffic jams,

Kayla


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9.22.2016

My Top Five Favorite Board Games



In the Benda household, we're all about board games. We have quite a few and our collection is constantly growing (two new games just entered the mix this week!), but there are a handful that I keep finding myself coming back to. In today's video I'm finally diving into my top five favorite board games. They're all completely different from each other and a load of fun.

String Railway is all about making your string trains reach more stations than the other players. The Resistance has the good guys trying to figure out who are the spies in the group all the while doubting their allies. Sheriff of Nottingham has players lying and smuggling to another player and quickly finding themselves being lied to when the tables have turned. Takenoko puts players in a Japanese garden where you either focus on growing bamboo as the gardener, organizing the garden tiles into patterns, or eating up all the bamboo in sight as the panda. But my favorite of them all is Escape, the Curse of the Temple. I've gone into detail about this game in particular in a recent post about good collaboration board games, but nothing gets the heart racing like this fast-paced all-or-nothing game. 

I go into a lot more detail in the video and get way too excited. Sounds about right when I'm chatting about tabletop games...

Yours till the board games,

Kayla

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9.21.2016

How to Blog Without Always Buying New Stuff

How to Blog Without Always Buying New Stuff

Blogging is a piece of cake when mountains of new products are flooding to your doorstep on a weekly basis. But for us average folk, there isn't a constant intake of new products to talk about, making it sometimes difficult to find topics to blog on. I for one go through product droughts like no body's business where I have to rely on creativity to keep the blog content flowing. It's time I drop some blog knowledge on you if you can't scrounge up new products to talk about.

  • When in doubt, lifestyle posts are always a great way to flesh out your content. Write about what you've been enjoying lately, your favorite shows, or how you spend your Saturdays. Life is constantly changing and there will always be something going on in your life you can blog about.
  • Collection posts make it easy to take products you've already talked about and showcase them in different ways. Share your blush collection, favorite pink makeup products, or favorite historical fiction books. Whatever you blog about, you can always do collection posts in different categories to rearrange products in new way.
  • Share your expertise and write a few "how to" posts. Maybe you're great a photography for blogging or are wicked good at keeping to a schedule. Or maybe you're good at something completely non-blogging related. Share those experiences with your readers.
  • Don't be afraid to talk off blog topic. Nothing frustrates me more than when blogging friends say they have nothing to write about because they feel like they have to stick to what they're blog is about. Just because your blog is about books doesn't mean you can't talk about other things. Books extend beyond just tangible things to include a whole variety of similar, but different things. Plus no reader wants to hear 24/7 about one topic over and over again. Variety can not only help you figure out what to write about, but it could increase your reader engagement too.
  • Start taking photographs of random items together and you're sure to come up with some ideas off of photographs. I tend to come up with a post and then take the photo for it, but if I'm ever struggling, I just take whatever photos inspire me and see what comes from it. Maybe two blushes look great in a photo together and suddenly you have a brilliant idea to write a post about blush combos. You never know what'll come from putting your usually blogging process on its head.
Blogging on a budget or no budget at all can seem like a daunting task when other blogs are featuring the newest items, but there are still tons of ways to keep blogging without having to buy new stuff. Leave any of your tips or suggestions in the comments so we can keep the discussion going!

Yours till the blog posts,

Kayla
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9.20.2016

What I've Learned After Two Years of Oh, Hello Stationery Co.


Today marks the second anniversary of starting Oh, Hello Stationery Co. I owe this company so much that I felt the urge to reflect on how much it has taught me in the past two years.

I've learned a lot about myself while running this business with my now husband. I've never been more passionate than I am when it comes to running this small business. I'm also surprised at how protective I am to keep it a small business even though it has the potential to grow larger and more profitable. I find myself happy with where we are and not too eager to trek into uncharted territories on the hopes of an expansion I don't really want.

I've also become aware how terrible I am at leading. I find delegation hard, and asking for help even harder. I'm a lone ranger when it comes to a lot of things in my life, but I've had to learn how to let other people (and their ideas) in to make sure this business survives. It's a daily struggle not to clutch on to Oh, Hello with dear life, keeping it away from others out of fear they'll change it. Collaboration is what creating Oh, Hello, and it's how it'll be successful in the future.

It's also just as obvious today as it was the first day I started Oh, Hello, that being self-employed is terrifying. Every day I worry about maintaining a lifestyle I've grown to cherish and crave. If sales drop it becomes a panic about whether or not Oh, Hello will fail. I've never had such a looming fear of failure like I do with Oh, Hello. Alex and I have risked so much to work on this business full-time and even though we've rounded two years, we're still an incredibly young business.

These two years have taught me I don't want to do anything else. I want to make stickers, videos, and blog posts for the rest of my days. I've never been happier than I am right now, so here's hoping for many more years just like this one.

Yours till the post cards,

Kayla


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9.19.2016

Why I Switched to Google Calendar for Content Scheduling

Why I Switched to Google Calendar for Content Scheduling

My blog's layout isn't the only thing to get a switch up this past month. I've been keeping a tangible blog content schedule for as long as I have been blogging, but it felt time to change. I've been using Google Calendar to plan on content on this blog and my YouTube channel for a few weeks now and I'm definitely loving the switch.

So why did I change from my previous method? I found myself switching around posts a lot more than usual and it creating a snag in my old system. Sure I wrote everything on stickers so I could switch things around, but there was just so much content changing that I ended up wasting lots and lots of stickers. I wanted something that could adapt and update quickly without feeling bad when I needed to move something around.

I also found myself not always having my content calendar with me. I haven't been carrying around my Erin Condren Life Planner too much so the content calendar also has been staying home. That made it difficult when I had a new post idea to keep track of where I wrote it down. Now that it's on Google Calendar I can access it anywhere and create an event for any new post idea I might have.

Trust me, it does feel weird to turn my back on a tangible calendar for content scheduling since I'm such a strong advocate for in-the-flesh planners, but you have to find what works for you no matter what the format or combination is. For me I still love being able to write daily to do lists down and keep track of my day to day events on paper, but my content calendar seems much happier in the digital realm. 

Have you switched up how you've been planning lately?

Yours till the alarm clocks,

Kayla

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9.17.2016

Home Decor Additions and Tackling the Guest Bedroom

Home Decor Additions and Tackling the Guest Bedroom

Home Decor Additions and Tackling the Guest Bedroom

Home Decor Additions and Tackling the Guest Bedroom


Now that the wedding is over it felt about time to start taking our house into home territory. Over the past few weeks we have done quite a lot of home decor shopping and even started to work on setting up the main guest bedroom. There will be a shiny post all about the bedroom once we get a few more pieces, but a haul video was definitely in order to share all of the things we've gotten lately. There's nothing like a few new items to really spruce up a space and brighten the spirit. I could get used to all this home decorating business.

Yours till the tick tocks,

Kayla
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9.16.2016

The Haircut That Has Me Lovin' Life


One of the very first things I did as a married woman was chop a large portion of my hair off. It wasn't even a question of if or how, I just needed that long mop of hair off my head. I confidently walked into the hair salon a week ago and demanded around six inches to be removed from my person and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results.

I've found my favorite way to wear my new do is in messy curls. It takes more time to get ready in the morning, but when I dreamed of shorter hair, this is the look I imagined. I swear this hair style has given me new life. I've never felt more confident in public, or more beautiful. There's just something about this hairstyle that beefs up my self-esteem and I'm definitely not complaining. Now to try and hold back making it even shorter...

Yours till the hair curls,

Kayla


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9.15.2016

What I Learned Most from Wedding Planning

What I Learned Most from Wedding Planning

It's definitely not how to throw a good party, either. Now that the wedding is a solid week behind me it feels like I'm finally out of the whirlwind and can reflect on the whole crazy experience. There's one big thing I took away from the planning process besides the fact that the wedding guests are really the worst part of the wedding. Let me drop some knowledge on you.

If you make the wedding a celebration of the two of you, it'll be a huge success. At some point in the planning process I stopped carrying about making it the perfect event. I just wanted to have people I enjoyed around me as I started the rest of my life with my favorite person. Everything about the wedding turned to be about Alex and I. It wasn't about the type of cake or how smoothly one event transitioned to another. We wanted everyone to be a witness to our love. And the day couldn't have been more magical.

I remember crying half a dozen times during my wedding day out of sheer happiness. There were many things that went wrong that day from most of my bouquet being dead to the ring bearer refusing to go down the aisle. Yet people still tell me it was one of the mos amazing weddings they've ever attended. To me it was the perfect little fairy tale. All because I stopped stressing about the failed chocolate-dipped pretzel party favors and focused on my love for Alex.

It seems like a no-brainer, but there's nothing like a laundry list of things to do all the while people keep trying to add randoms to the guest list to distract from the real point of the wedding. No matter what, if you focus on the love between two people, the rest really doesn't matter in the end.

Yours till the garter toss,

Kayla

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