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I'm Kayla. A 20-something obsessed with beauty, planner decorating, and baking. Working towards a more organized, simplified life one post at a time.


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6.23.2017

The Best Travel Souvenirs You Can't Get from a Store

The Best Travel Souvenirs You Can't Get from a Store

The Best Travel Souvenirs You Can't Get from a Store

After many, many years of doing a terrible job at organizing and storing our collection, we finally found the perfect home for our travel sand and water collection. It's the only souvenir that has stood the test of time and many moves. You definitely need to start one.

We get our little spice jars from Bed Bath and Beyond for a dollar a piece. The display rack from Michael's is actually meant for shot glass collections, but our containers fit like a glove. Then we printed some stickers of all the locations to put on the jars for consistency. You could easily use a label maker as well.

We also allow unique additions from friends and family. It's a fun way to get more people involved and we've found ourselves with a lot of cool, unique samples that way.

It's by far the coolest thing we have from our travels. When gathering samples it feels like we're just picking up more sand, but when they're all together it's obvious just how different the colors and styles really are. Plus besides the cost of the display and jars, these souvenirs were free. We can still remember all of the places where we gathered the sand or the people and their stories who have donated to our collection. 

Now we just have to figure out where to hang it.
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6.22.2017

Thoughts on 25


Today is my 25th birthday. Man do I feel old. Everything seems fine until you hit your mid twenties and realize you're technically supposed to stop eating an entire box of cereal in one sitting. I'm so not ready for this.

Beyond the startling fact that I'm just as close to thirty as I'm away from twenty, I'm pretty excited about this next year. It feels like I'm finally starting to shake off all the insecurities and self-doubt I've felt through my early twenties. I'm beginning to settle into myself, feeling more self-assured, and ready to see what comes next.

I'm at that point in my life when a lot of my friends are still gripping onto college, refusing to abandon multiple day hangovers and dead-end jobs. When Alex and I moved to Grand Rapids it felt like we skipped ahead twelve spaces in the game of life. We found ourselves living a life another fifteen years down the road, right now. It feels like a dream and I'm trying not to blink.

My twenty-fourth year was an amazing one. I got married. I settled into this new home and lifestyle. I took bigger risks with my business. I also failed a lot more. Yet I feel all the better for it and more ready than ever to try new things in my twenty-fifth year.

So what's on the agenda. Our first craft show is in just two days with three more following throughout summer. We're attending more conferences and have travel on the books. We're also eating better, taking care of our relationship, and sending as much time with family as we possibly can.

So although the number is scary, I can't wait to see what happens next. So here's to 25. 
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6.21.2017

Beauty Empties I've Already Repurchased


It seems like ages since I've done an empties post and the products have definitely stacked up. I must say that there is a ton of satisfaction in dumping out a huge bin full of empties into a garbage can after taking the post photo. Almost too much satisfaction.

All of these empties I've already repurchased save one. The Laura Mercier Silk-Creme Foundation just wasn't the right color or coverage for me. No matter how hard I tried to make this work I always looked like I had caked on makeup. It found its way into this empties post because the product went off rather than me finishing it up. Such a bummer.

The rest of the products are downright amazing and I would recommend a hundred times over. I've repurchased every single thing and even have a few more tubes of the IT Cosmetics CC Cream on the way from Sephora so I have the right shade for when winter sadly returns and my tan fades away with the sunlight. 

I'm not going to carry on about how much I love all of these gems because I'm sure they'll continue to pop up time and time again in other beauty posts. So more or less this is me just tuning in to prove that I do in fact use products up. *Pats self on back*

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6.15.2017

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

Although I'm a huge fan of my planner for just daily life, the Erin Condren Life Planner has so many extra features and pages to really step up a planning game. I sat down and thought of 10 unique ways to use your ECLP beyond just the basics. Let's do this thing.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

1. Use the new coloring pages in the back of the planner as trackers. Color in a space for every book you've read, every pound lost, or use it to track daily moods with different colors. 

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

2. Use the year at a glance as a mood tracker if you rather just color in your coloring pages like normal. After every day, shade in the corresponding mood and after a full year you'll have a rainbow of feelings.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

3. Use your monthly view as a gratitude journal and write something you're grateful for every single day. Add in a sticker or two to spice things up. 

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

4. Use some note pages to make a bullet journal within your ECLP. Track movies you've watched, books you've read, places you want to travel, tv shows you want to watch. The sky's the limit and there are plenty of pages to track anything you can think of without needing another planner.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

5. Use your planner as an actual scrapbook. Planner decorating is more or less just "daily scrapbooking," so use a coil clip or some glue and put down photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos into your planner. I recommend adding them in little by little so your planner doesn't get too bulky.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

6. Use the note pages as places for self reflection. Write who you are currently on one side and who you hope to become on the other. A big part of self-improvement is being accountable. Writing it down in your planner can definitely help. Try the exercise every few months to see how much you change and grow.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

7. Use the yearly plan page as a monthly memories recap. Write down big events that happened each month, add photos, and throw in a sticker or two. By the end of the year you'll have all the highlights in one place.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

8. Use the note page before the monthly spread for a large project you want to complete in a month. Maybe you plan on redoing a bedroom and want to write down everything you need to accomplish. Maybe you have a big project at work. Use the circles for main objectives, the two lists for ideas and tasks, and the bottom section for inspiration.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

9. Use the yearly plan page to tackle a year long project. Home improvements aren't so intense when they're split up a month at a time. Use this page to plan out when everything will get done and the note pages before the months to break it all down.

10 Unique Ways to Use Your Erin Condren Life Planner

10. Use your planner as a baby tracker/baby's firsts keeper. Use the monthly spread to write something new that happened every day and the weekly pages to track things like breastfeeding, sleep schedules, and daily photos. After a year you'll have a lovely book of memories.


I'd love to hear if you have any other unique ideas for Erin Condren Life Planner uses beyond just daily planning. Leave your thoughts in the comments!





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6.14.2017

5 Other Uses for Makeup Bags Beyond Storing Makeup


There's just something about a small makeup bag/clutch that I can't seem to get enough. I probably own a good twenty of them. And sure I definitely need to cut it back a little, but there are a ton of other ways to make use of all those little bags you're hoarding beyond just storing makeup.

How to Use Makeup Bags Beyond Storing Makeup

Store planner supplies. These little cases are perfect for toting around a few pens, scissors, and your must have planning accessories. It's so much better than just throwing those items into the bottom of a bag and having to dig around for them later.

Create a mini walking pharmacy and first aid kit full of must-haves. Include things like Tylenol, band-aids, hair ties, wet-ones, and scissors. Add things depending on what you or your family may need so you're never without anything. Plus just like the planner supplies option, it's easy to transfer the kit from one bag to another.

Along the same lines, it's always helpful to have feminine pads and tampons tucked away in little pouch. So many times I've had girlfriends ask me if I have one and it always makes life easier to have a few on hand. 

How to Use Makeup Bags Beyond Storing Makeup

Turn one of your spare makeup bags into an electronics holder. That way your headphones aren't making a mess in the bottom of your bag and you have all your chargers and accessories right by the electronic device. This could also work for kindles or small e-readers as well. I personally use one to store all of my Polaroid Zip items so I don't have to run around searching for more paper or a pair of scissors to cut out my photos.

Use makeup bags to make packing easier. I always have a makeup bag filled with our usual travel toiletries. It's so much easier than having to dig around our drawers trying to find everything we normally need. This way I'm not forgetting anything and if I'm in a rush to pack, it's basically already done ahead of time. You can also use makeup bags to section of packing. Use one for socks, one for underwear, one for medicine bottles, you name it. Makeup bags come in all shapes and sizes so you're sure to be able to have something you can use already on hand.

I figured we could all use a post justifying our massive collections of little makeup bags and clutches. And the next time you feel the impulse to pick up a cute one you see at a stationery shop, you'll have a good reason to.

What are some ways you re-purpose makeup bags?


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6.13.2017

Why I Still Blog 10 Years Later

Why I Still Blog 10 Years Later

I've been blogging for around ten years. My blogging life is the age of a 4th grader. I haven't achieve wide success for my blogging and I definitely can't quit my day job because of it, but I haven't stopped after all these years.

There are a ton of reasons why I haven't given blogging up as a hobby after all this time. Blogging has done a lot for me over the years. It's helped with my anxiety. It's improved my photography skills so much that I've started getting freelance product photography gigs. It's helped me get "real" jobs before I started my own business. 

I've also continued to blog for so long because this is a type of hobby that changes and adapts with the author. My blog has come miles since I first started it and I've abandoned quite a few other blogs along the way for platforms that suit my style better. You get what you give to blogging, which I love. The more energy you put into it the greater self-accomplishment you'll feel.

The main reason though, above everything else, is that it makes me better. It pushes me to create a better post than the last, take a better photo, and encourages me to try new directions in content. It's always there waiting for me, like a loving pet, to type up another beauty post or gab about new planner supplies. It's been my friend when I've felt alone. It's brought me out of my shell and has given me a voice.

So yeah, I'm a big fan of blogging. I'm certain that the blog as it is today won't always be around, but that's ok. My life will change as my family expands and my interest goes into different directions. But it's nice to know that this friend will be with me through it all. And I hope you will too.

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6.12.2017

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

The Urban Decay Naked Heat palette sprang onto the beauty scene out of the blue and boy is it a good one. The palette launches today on the Urban Decay website but on Sephora in July. I'm sure it's going to sell out like gang-busters. The entire collection is so unique and the perfect shift away from the other Naked palettes. Prepare yourselves for a serious rave post.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

Let's talk the other products in the line before diving into the palette itself. There are three seriously startling lipsticks in bronze packaging I definitely squealed over in person. It's the type of packaging you want to put on display. "Heat" is a plum red Metallized shade so it has intense glitter within it. I still don't understand how a lipstick can pack so much glitter without being chunky or childlike. "Scorched" is also a Metallized shade but mauve toned with more of a metallic finish rather than glittery. Seriously gorgeous and one I'm sure I'm going to reach for when I want to spice up my usual everyday lip.

My favorite of the gang has to be "Fuel" (pictured above). It's a downright gorgeous nude shade with hints of orange. It's a Cream formula so it's incredibly buttery and glides onto the lips without accentuating any dry patches or cracked areas. It's light on the lips while remaining in tact for quite a few hours before fading away nicely.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

Next are the 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils which at first I thought were lip pencils since their shades are unlike anything I've considered using for eye liners before. That's what I really love about this collection. It makes nontraditional shade choices much more obtainable without being too full on. The darker of the two shades is "Alkaline" and what I used in the look below. It's a very flattering plum shade that blends out into a nice smokey finish. "Torch" is more of an everyday liner with burnt orange tones to help make it look more natural on the lids. Both apply smoothly and blend out without any trouble. I do find that the Urban Decay eye pencils aren't the best for water lines, but look fantastic used anywhere else.


Now to the main attraction. The palette has a nice thick plastic packaging with the words raised up on the lid. There's a really quality two-sided brush inside and twelve shades I can't stop staring at. They're all so unique, but still so wearable. Plus they're buttery and pigmented to no end. At first glance I worried a neutral, simple girl like me couldn't make this palette work, but as soon as I started applying shadows to my lid this palette surpassed the other ones in my book. 

Every shade is wearable. They look quite red-toned in the tin, but on the lids look so natural. I built things up a bit more than usual in the look I created for this post, but this palette is more than capable of being for every day. There are five lighter shades that could easily make a great understated eye while the rest of the shades can be interchanged to add a bit of pop.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

For this look I used "Low Blow" all over the lid and up to the eyebrows. The I added "He Devil" to the inner corner and a blend of "En Fuego" and "Ashes" to the outer edge. A light brushing of "Ounce" under my brow bone and some more of "Ashes" smudged out on the bottom lash line and the look was done. "Fuel" is on my lips.

I'm seriously impressed with this launch. It's incredibly unique while still suiting a wide range of makeup styles. Everything is such high quality. If you're even remotely a makeup lover this palette is a must get. 

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6.10.2017

The Cruise Vlogs


It's been a week since we returned from our cruise and the last vlog went live yesterday. Seriously sad times. I'm already craving my next vacation! Enjoy all of the cruise vlogs in one convenient location. And let's start planning a blog reader/Helloigan cruise soon please?







So there you have it. One amazing trip wrapped up into six vlogs. Now I'm off to Traverse City for some kayaking and celebrating my cousin's wedding. 
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6.09.2017

Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box Review | Summer

Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box Review


Erin Condren's third seasonal surprise box has to be my favorite. Due largely to the fact that everything inside the box isn't available on the website yet or is exclusive to the box. I can't help but get pumped over hard-to-get items. Plus they're all downright fabulous.

Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box Review | Summer

So here are the deets. Boxes are released every couple of months for $35 with free shipping. At first they seemed incredibly limited in quantity, but there seemed to be more available this go around. It's currently sold out on the website, but you can sign up for notifications on the next one.

Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box Review | Summer

The box contained nine different items. My favorites have to be the Oh, What a Week Notepad and the Shine On Clutch. Stationery is what sent me down the path of decorative planning all those years ago so whenever a new notepad enters my life I get super excited. It's on quality thick paper and has quite a few sheets. I've already started using it in excitement. I also feel like no woman can have too many little clutches. I have dozens no doubt but can't help the rush when another one joins my collection. This one definitely inspires me to clean out my collection so I just have high-quality ones left. I love the rose gold detailing and the logo as the zipper. So plush. So fancy.

The box also had two sheets of stickers that will likely go into my growing collection and remain there, horded. They are gorgeous with foil detailing, but I can never convince myself to use them. The metallic cover is seriously gorgeous and I've already popped it onto my planner in a hurry.

For the smaller items there's a new set of pencils, a small notepad, a turquoise elastic keep-it-together band, and a lip balm. Out of the group I'm most excited about the small notepad of course. The other items aren't terribly exciting, but round out the box nicely. Plus they'll make good giveaway items or gifts down the line.


Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box Review | Summer

Overall the box is definitely worth way more than the $35 price tag. The clutch alone is $20, with the pencils being $6 and the sticker sheets at $3 a piece. Metallic covers are usually around $13. Plus there are still the two note pads, the lip balm, and the keep it together band not included in the price.


If you're a fan of Erin Condren or planning supplies in general, this is definitely a great box to try. It's getting better and better with each release and I for one can't wait to see what's in the fall box. There's also a metallic cover I've popped onto my planner already. Check out today's video if you want my first impressions and a closer look at each product. 

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6.08.2017

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

One of my favorite things about the Erin Condren brand is how it's constantly evolving and adapting. It's a company I truly admire. So when they recently released Hardbound LifePlanners I had to give them a once-over. You know, for research. 

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

Up first is the vertical layout. It's 8x10 so all of the dimensions are slightly larger than the regular coiled vertical layout. A bit frustrating for us sticker makers, but change is change.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

A lot of the inside of these planners follows the layout of the coil options, but the vertical offers this more floral interior. There's a yearly overview page for future planning. It's a great space to use dot stickers to mark vacations, sick days, and other broader subjects.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

The vertical layout also has a spread for goals. Lots of room to track weight loss, business successes, family memories, monthly projects, and loads more.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

The monthly views are all different colors, but have the same floral pattern at the top of every month. I do really enjoy how large the monthly view seems with just an extra inch on either side.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

The weekly view looks just like the coiled version, just slightly larger. 

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

My favorite section of the planner is still in the back of the hardbound options. I love having a space to write in next year's appointments, weddings, and whatnot. Nothing is worse than having to schedule something that's beyond your planner's dates. This way it all stays in one place and I don't overbook myself the following year without knowing it.

As for paper quality, it feels a bit lighter than the new coiled planners, but still a nice thickness that doesn't feel cheap.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

The horizontal option follows the same setup as the vertical, but is smaller than the coiled planners. So the hardbound options cover other parts of the size spectrum the original coiled planners haven't hit. It has the same swirl pattern like the hardbound vertical.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

The weekly pages have a nice pop of color and just enough room to jot down a few appointments or meetings. 

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

The layout is super simple, but it compliments the smaller size and hardbound nature.

Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

So my overall thoughts. I love that Erin Condren is giving more options since no two people plan the same way. These planners are cheaper than the original coil options ($30 for the small and $35 for the large), making them more accessible. I imagine these hardbound planners working best for people in school or just starting into decorative planning. Since they are hardbound, sticker bulge will be a serious problem over time. They're definitely not for heavy sticker application, which lends them more towards simpler planning styles. 

They seem sturdy enough, but over a year's worth of wear and tear will definitely be seen on these. The coil options also take wear, but you're able to switch out a cover and make it look like new. So if you like to tote your planner around with you like a security blanket, I'd highly suggest getting a planner case to protect it.

These planners are definitely not for me, but as a certified planner addict I felt it my duty to give them an honest flip-through and relay my thoughts back. I'm giving the smaller horizontal layout to a neighborhood friend just dipping her toes into the planning world. 

But I'm giving away the vertical layout TO ONE OF YOU!


Erin Condren Hardbound LifePlanner Review & Giveaway

To enter to win the vertical hardbound planner, a PlannyPack, and the new Erin Condren sticker book, just enter the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway will run for one week and is open to any planner lover 18-years-old or with parental consent.


What do you think of the new style of planners? 
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6.07.2017

Finding Motivation after Travelling


It's been a whopping three days since we returned from our cruise and it honestly feels like we never left. We dove right back into work like nothing had changed. Although I would have much rather stayed out at sea for another year or two, I felt excited to get back to work. It's a whole lot easier when what you do for a living doesn't really feel like work, but not all of us can be so fortunate.

I think what truly helped the most at giving me motivation to get back to work after travelling is the fact that I didn't think about work at all the entire time we were away. It definitely helped that I had no internet or cell phone reception the entire time. It was quite the welcomed social media break that left me feeling refreshed and untainted by trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing. I'm strongly considering implementing social media breaks on a monthly basis. Everything I do for a living is online and I'm never really not working unless I turn everything off.

When we got back within cell phone reception it all came flooding back. We had quite a few orders from throughout the week and everything we had on our plates still remained on our plates. It honestly felt like we hit pause on our real lives for a week. Lovely, but now incredibly daunting.

The best way to tackle anything is to make a to do list. So we did. Then I proceeded to do all the easy things on the list first (classic) and work my way up to the bigger tasks. There's a saying that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. A bit morbid, but completely true. 

The best way to find motivation to get back to work? Thinking about how hard work now means more vacations in the future. That got my butt in gear!

How do you find motivation after a break or vacation?
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6.06.2017

My Top Tips for Travel Planning


The cruise ended much too quickly and I'm now back home wondering if it's too soon to book another one. Although I've had a planner during travel in the past, this was the first trip I really hunkered down to figure out a system to document the adventures. Plus I filmed a before and after video to show you what I completed before we set sail and what I added afterward.

My biggest advice for travel planning is  don't complicate things. Keep it as simple as possible. That could mean not bringing any supplies with you at all and doing all the documentation once you're back. I kept my supplies to a minimum, but probably only took out my planner twice during the entire week. You shouldn't worry about planning and documenting while on your trip. If it doesn't happen, don't sweat. You can always do it when you get back.

Before you leave on your adventure, write down where you're going at the top of the planner. Just writing out our ports helped me immensely in remembering them even when I didn't have my planner around. Plus it helps to give your spread an outline during the trip.

Add in what you do know. Leave space for what you don't. Put in any information from itineraries that you know is going to occur, but be sure to leave room for trip spontaneity. 

My favorite thing about travel planning is adding photos. I'm a dreadful scrapbooker, so being able to add photos into my spread helps me get around that fault of mine so I can look back and see what we got up to. It's a super easy way to round out a travel spread and adds a lot more value to your planner. Decorative planning is basically daily scrapbooking after all.


How do you document travel in your planner?


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