Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How Instagram Helped with My Anxiety

How Instagram Helped with My Anxiety

Anxiety isn't something I talk about much on the blog (or anywhere for that matter), but the last couple of weeks it's been harder than normal. I just wasn't feeling myself. I was overwhelmed, stressed, and didn't really see the point in anything I was doing. One night amidst the anxiousness, I decided to start another Instagram. Sure one would think adding another Instagram to the mix would make things worse, but for me it did just the trick. 

The problem wasn't that I felt too busy, but that I felt busy in the wrong sorts of ways. Everything I worked on had a purpose, an end goal with timelines and checklists. I craved something that was completely pointless and completely mine just for the sake of being mine. So Homebody Dreams came to be.

In my head I see the life I want as a blend of whimsical and simplistic. Soft tones, beautiful patterns, every day a Sunday. I always feel like that was in the future if only I could get there. I wanted a place to show myself that a life like that already exists and I don't have to wait for it. It all mattered on perspective. And it's working. 

Every time I log in or post a new picture I feel calm and like I'm living the life I thought was always slightly out of reach. I've started seeing my life the way I desperately wanted to see it, all because I was able to compile it in one place. After sort of forcing the first few photos I began seeing and feeling the calm everywhere. It's a wonderful feeling and the anxiety has been nudged back into the little hole where it doesn't bother me so much.

For a while I didn't share the account with anyone. I didn't want it to become another chore or something controlled by followers and likes. But over time I realized that if it could provide my overactive brain a sense of calm, it could maybe do that for someone else. 

Scrolling through the photos I'm able to see the life I've always wanted, that's been around me the entire time. And that's some sort of wonderful.

xoxo Kayla

Monday, November 23, 2015

StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner Review

StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner Review

I'm going to be honest, the StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner had me a bit apprehensive at first. The name alone leaves a gal wondering if her skin is going to completely fall off and a new one would pop up in its place. Yet after the first use my anxiety was instantly put at bay and I found myself with a pretty solid product.

The directions say to put this on at morning and night after the rest of your skincare routine; something I found a bit odd but I followed the directions. It's a somewhat thick cream-like lotion that's scentless and sinks into the skin very quickly. It reminds me a lot of a thicker moisturizer, but it wasn't overly hydrating so I still used another moisturizer just in case.

The best part? I could actually see a change in my pores after using it a handful of times. They definitely weren't as noticeable and my complexion looked more even and smoother. It's gentle, the little pump on the end is a great touch, and it didn't irritate my skin. All good things.

The biggest turn off is the price. $99 is quite a gamble for a product that may or may not do what it says on the tin. Even though I did notice a change in my pores and overall appearance of my skin, I still don't know if it's worth a hundred dollars to achieve. I'm cheap and know it's likely there are other, more affordable options out there that could do the same thing.

It's definitely a product to check out if you're in the market for something gentle to reduce the appearance of pores. As always, not all skincare products work the same for everyone, but this one definitely did something for mine. That price though. What a bummer.

What skincare products do you use to reduce the appearance of pores?

xoxo Kayla

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL Longwear Eyeliners

Lancôme has always seemed like an older woman's brand, but boy did I miss the mark on that one. I recently had the chance to test out their DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL Longwear Eyeliners and the colors alone make it obvious that Lancôme is trying to shake those labels.

I'm quite on the fence about these. I've tried quite a few shades and love the color range and options, but am not sold on the product itself. It's incredibly soft textured, but doesn't apply terribly well to the tight line. A regular lining of the lids works better, but I usually opt for a tight line over the effort of fully lining my lids as I can get quite messy and shaky handed. They tug ever so slightly when applying, but the lasting power is seriously impressive. The colored options are incredibly pigmented (in a good way), but the lighter shades barely show up. 

When there's a positive there seems to be a negative right behind it leaving me unsure on my overall opinions. I know I'll definitely get some usage out of the greens, purples, and blues in the collection, but I wouldn't necessarily run out and purchase these on my own accord when I find the Stila eye pencils to be just as creamy, but overall better at with what the Lancôme ones lack. I'm happy to have them, but I wouldn't necessarily say you need to run out and buy all of them immediately. It's a good product, but I could recommend others that are better.

All in all I can appreciate what Lancôme's doing and look forward to seeing what other products they come out with as they work towards breaking their "elder" appearance.

Have you tried these before? What's your go to eyeliner brand?

xoxo Kayla

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are my weakness. Put glaze on a delicious, cinnamon bun and I'm done. When I decided to hop back into baking again this was the first recipe I tried from the 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats. I just couldn't resist.

I've gotten into a habit of writing down when I first baked a recipe and jotting down notes in the margins. I like the feeling of a used recipe book. Plus my oven is iffy on the best of days and I really need to keep track of proper oven times.

After adding together all the dry ingredients (see the full recipe below), you mix together all the wet ones before pouring them together. There's just something so satisfying about separating the egg yoke from the egg white. I had never done it prior to this recipe and it makes you feel like a baking ninja.

Once all the wet items are whisked together, they're mixed with the dry to create a soft, moist dough and it's set aside. Next is the filling. A blend of a couple different sugars and even more cinnamon for a nice paste. 

After the filling is blended, it's time to roll out the dough. I find my dough to be fairly sticky more often than not, so I use a healthy amount of flour on top of the parchment paper I've laid out. That way the dough won't stick when I roll it into a log. 

I'm sure there's more of an official way of spreading the filling out on the dough, but I take the back of the spoon and just go crazy. It's all going to the same place in the end anyway!

This next part makes me feel like a true baker. You take the parchment underneath the rolled out dough and pull it up and roll the dough into a log-like shape. Then you take a very sharp knife and cut it into even sections. The recipe says it makes eight, but I always end up with 10-12 in the end.

Pop them down on your parchment lined, greased tins and pop them into the oven!

As they're baking, make the glaze. Boiling water is definitely a must to make sure all the ingredients melt and create a nice smooth glaze.

This cinnamon rolls are heavenly and I must admit I've made them a few too many times to count. It's definitely going to be a recipe I use for years to come.

Makes 8-12 cinnamon rolls

  • 7 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (seriously. self-rising is a must)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (more if you want it super cinnamon-y)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • generous 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar
  • heaping 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 oz cream cheese, softened (make sure it's softened or you'll have a tough time)
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • about 2 tbsp boiling water (it means boiling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Line round cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter
  • Place flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in large bowl and mix
  • In separate bowl place butter, egg, and milk and whisk together
  • Combine with dry ingredients and mix till soft dough forms
  • Mix filling ingredients together in separate bowl
  • Place dough on floured parchment and roll out to about 12x10 inches
  • Spread filling on dough evenly
  • Take edge of parchment and pull up, rolling the dough on top of itself to form a log
  • Cut log into equal sized pieces and place pieces equal distance apart in the cake pans
  • Bake for 28-30 minutes
  • Sift confectioners' sugar into large bowl and make well in the center
  • Place cream cheese and butter in center
  • Take bowling water and pour on top of mixture and stir to mix
  • Add vanilla extract and set aside until rolls are done
  • Let rolls set for 5 minutes before adding icing glaze
  • Serve warm and try not to eat too many

Definitely send along a photo if you make these!

xoxo Kayla

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November Planner Addict Mystery Box & Giveaway

Oh, Hello had the great pleasure of getting to be a part of the November Planner Addict Mystery Box which meant I got to experience my first ever box! 

What I love most about the Planner Addict Box is the variety in it. It's not just stickers, but stationery and office goodies as well. There's a great mix of products, but I'm a sucker for a themed box and these don't really have that. It's a lovely collaboration of different brands and companies all working together and loving the crazy planner world. I definitely can get behind that.

Although I loved the box I wanted to share the love and give away some of the goodies I wouldn't enjoy as much as someone else! I'm giving away these goodies to anyone over 18-years-old or with parental consent. The giveaway is open internationally!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

how to take your blog to the next level

So you've been blogging for a while and loving every minute of it. But there are always ways to get even more out of blogging. I've poked around the internet and gathered some helpful resources to take your blog to the next level.

The thing about blogging is that even if you've been doing it for a while, there's always something to learn. You can always get better at no matter what you're doing. There's someone out there doing it slightly differently and you could take what they're doing and make it your own. There's always more and that's what I think makes blogging (and life really) so dang great.

xoxo Kayla

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Gift Guide for the Planner Addicts (& Giveaway!)

The only gift guide that matters in my tiny little world is the one for the planner addicts. I'll be the first to raise my hand and say my Christmas list is literally only planning stuff and beauty bits. The planning community is a vast and sometimes confusing one, so I've brought it all together to bring you the ten items for the planning addict in your life.
  1. Helloigans Tote Bag
  2. Erin Condren Jot Your Thought Journal Trio
  3. Erin Condren Sticky Notes
  4. Washi Tape Tubes
  5. Planner Addict Starter Kit
  6. Oh Hello Deluxe Monthly Sampler Set
  7. Pipsticks Subscription
  8. Magnet Bookmarks
  9. Pencil Cases
  10. Polaroid Zip
To get into the planner addict holiday spirit I'm giving away a tube of holiday washi tape! The giveaway is open internationally to anyone over 18-years-old (or with parental consent).

xoxo Kayla