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


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2.29.2016

February Favorites



I'm more than happy to have February over as it means we're that much closer to moving into our new house! We are in crazy house mode around these parts, but I still managed to find a few favorites I've been loving this month.

I've been all about the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation lately. It's such a drastic coverage change from my usual BB cream, tinted moisturizer ways. It's not too heavy coverage by any means and leaves this amazing glow to the skin that really does look great in photographs. It's definitely a good'un.

MAC's "Crosswires" made it into my lipstick rotation this month. I'm feeling very spring-y and this pinky mauve shade is the perfect thing to brighten my spirits with the weather being all over the place right now. It's not overly pink though which makes it the perfect shade for a mauve obsessed gal like me. On the complete other side of the lipstick spectrum is Urban Decay's "714." I talked about this at length in my recent Urban Decay Gwen Stefani collaboration post so I won't repeat myself too much. The highlights? It's an incredibly matte lipstick that still wears well on the lips without being super drying. The color has the perfect undertones for anyone who can't seem to pull off the tradition red lipstick. It has me on the lookout for creamier reds with similar tonality in the future.

On to none beauty bits and of course there's always a couple planner things thrown in. I've never actually featured the Polaroid Zip in a favorites video so thought it was about time to pop it in. This handy little photo printer prints on sticker paper making it a breeze to add scrapbook like photos to my planner. Planner goals met. I've also been perpetually staring at my lace cover I recently snapped onto my planner. It's too gorgeous.

I finally got my hands on the very much belated Christmas gift from Alex. He ordered me The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking back before the holidays and it finally arrived at the start of February. I've loved flipping through the recipes and dreaming about all the delicious food I'm going to make in our nice new kitchen. 

What products have you been loving in February?

xoxo Kayla
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2.26.2016

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Collection Makes Me Go Heart-Eyed Emoji







Ok confession time. Before the Gwen Stefani Urban Decay Collaboration I wasn't the biggest fan of Gwen. Honestly I didn't have an opinion either way, but after hanging out with a lot of the products from the new range, the tides have definitely turned.

Let's start with the lipsticks. "Wonderland" (from left to right) is a reddish berry shade that seems the most friendly out of the bunch. This shade range is seriously intense and the majority of the colors are definitely not everyday material. "Rocksteady" is the vampy berry while "Firebird" is the most full-on purple shade I've ever been in ownership of. Let's be honest, it's the only one I've ever owned. "714" is my favorite from the range as its a nice bright red, but still wearable for someone who really only wears mauves. "Spiderweb" takes "714" and kicks it up a notch while "Phone Call" is a seriously Barbie doll pink. 

There are a variety of formulations in the collection from sheer to cream and matte. "714" formulation wise is the most matte lipstick I've ever used. From application to removal, it's more like powder on the lips than anything else. It's not necessarily a bad thing as matte lipsticks are drying by nature, but since I'm downright terrible at applying a dark lip in normal circumstances, a lip liner is a must to create any sort of definite line. The other formulations are much easier to get along with and are creamier and simpler to wear. Wearability changes from shade to shade as well so definitely do your research and swatch in-store before purchasing.

That brings us to the liners, which I love. They're Urban Decay quality liners through and through and make it super easy to define the lips and fill them in for longer lasting coverage. They're lip liners go by the same names as the lipsticks to remove any sort of confusion. Great products on their own and a must to make the lipsticks fully worthwhile.

My absolute hands-down favorite from the entire collection is the Blush Palette. A combination of subtle highlights, soft contours, and some gorgeous blushes, it's much more than a blush palette in my book. The shades are creamy and incredibly pigmented for a heavy handed-blush applier like myself. A tap off before application is a must to avoid clown face. The packaging is heavy duty and elegant. I love the fact that there's obvious weight to the palette. I want to feel like a boss when applying my makeup.

I'm still on the fence about the Brow Box in "Bathwater Blonde." It's the only color option in the range and can work for my brows, but comes off a little too cool-toned for my liking. The packaging is well thought out with a compartment in the bottom for a few little tools, but I just can't get along with the product. Maybe a more match-able shade range is needed, but I'll stick to my handy brow pencils for now.

Overall I completely love the collaboration Urban Decay has created and I really hope they do more of them in the future. The lipsticks are a great variety of knock-out color options and formulations encouraging me to branch out and explore less neutral colors. The blush palette is divine and I'm in love with the lip pencils. But the packaging of this collection alone is enough to make me spend all my money in seconds. Urban Decay did pretty darn well for themselves with this one.

Have you tried anything from the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani line?

xoxo Kayla

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2.25.2016

The Perfect Products for Lazy Shadow Days


Working at home means most days are lazy shadow days, so I've become sort of a resident expert when it comes to keeping things simple on the lids. These are the perfect products to make you look like you tried a lot harder than you did. My usual motive.

I picked up a handful of the KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows in a variety of wearable shades when I was in Italy a few years back. They're great to swipe a bit of product on the lids and then do a quick blend in with the fingers. No brush necessary? Now that's super lazy. Another great lazy option is the Eyetini Shadow in "Ambrosia" that stumbled into my collection from an Ipsy bag quite a while back. Its wand applicator acts just like the KIKO sticks in slapping product on the lids in seconds flat.

Now if you aren't going full on lazy day and can be bothered to pick up a brush, the Urban Decay Basics Palette or the butterLONDON Shadow Clutch in "Natural Charm" are two seriously amazing neutral options. They're great for a sweep of shadow or doing a little bit more shading and blending. If one shadow will do you then nothing beats the Stila shade in "Kitten." It's safe to say this is my single most used shadow and one of a slim few that I have as a single packaged shade. It the most gorgeous shimmery champagne shade that brightens up the lids and overall face with barely any effort. I'm sold. 

What products do you use for lazy shadow days?

xoxo Kayla
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2.24.2016

How to Keep Your Makeup Collection to Must-Haves

How to Keep Your Makeup Collection to Must-Haves

Now I must admit, this post is just as much for me as it is advice for all the beauty horders out there. I do love a good drawer bursting with makeup, but I've found that life is so much simpler when everything in it are products I love and reach for often. So here's how to keep your makeup collection to must-haves.
  • Shop your stash whenever you're in the mood for a new makeup purchase. Chances are there's a product you haven't given much love that'll feel like a new product to you! Plus shopping your stash can always uncover products that have gotten tucked away that may need to be tossed.
  • Check expiration dates and take them seriously. Toss any products that are too old to use.
  • Be brutally honest with yourself about some product categories. I for one have way too many blushes at any given time. There's only so many ways you can do pink, so be honest and keep only one or two blushes of a shade.
  • Keep an area for favorites and see which products are constantly in it and which ones aren't. The products that never end up in that area should probably find a new home since you clearly aren't using them.
  • Start a project use-up to get rid of the remaining bits of products lingering around. That way your drawers will be less cluttered and you'll be able to really see the products you may have been neglecting. I always end up having four to five mascaras open at one time and really have to focus to use them up. Finishing just one or two always makes a huge difference in that bin.
  • Don't allow for overflow into other areas. I keep all my makeup in one drawer and don't allow myself to merge over to anything else. Having a set amount of room for beauty and makeup means you'll have to really get picky when the drawer fills up.
  • Use the one in one out method for buying new makeup if it just can't be avoided. If you get a new blush, get rid of something else to make room for it. This really works with the tip to not allow for overflow. 
I love makeup like the next girl, but keeping my stash to must-haves makes things so much easier in the mornings and reduces serious makeup stress.

xoxo Kayla
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2.23.2016

The #1 Thing I Learned While Planning Our Wedding


Our wedding is about six months out and we're knee deep in planning preparations. Our save the dates are out, or venue picked, and dresses obtained. Through this whole process so far there have been the fair share of headaches and people who want to help but just are being pushy. Yet through all this classic wedding planning woes, I've learned one very important thing.

It's just a party.

At the end of the day all we're really planning is a party. It's not a life or death event that determines how our marriage will be for the rest of our lives. It's just a gathering of people we love who want to see us succeed in a nice place with pricey chicken. 

And you know what? Keeping that sentiment in my heart throughout this whole process has made it a million times less stressful. Sure I still want things a certain way and I have an idea in my head of what I want it to look like, but at the end of the day the wedding won't be ruined if the centerpieces don't look a certain way. All that really matters is that Alex and I celebrate our love for each other.

It's a freeing thing when you realize a wedding is just one over priced party. Now I can actually enjoy the entire journey rather than being a ball of stress. Because I love the man I already consider my husband without the legal document. And that'll make our wedding the best ever.

xoxo Kayla
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2.22.2016

Why There's No Good Time To Start a Business


There really isn't a good time to start a business. I've been thinking about that concept for a while now and I really do believe the stars just don't align one day making it the best possible time and place to start that project or business idea you've been talking about for months or years. So why not just start now?

There are a lot of people in our lives who constantly come up to Alex or I and tell us about this "next great idea" they have. At first it was flattering because they were taking an interest in what we are doing, and sought us out for help on their ideas. But then we quickly realized after a few failed attempts at helping these people out, that they never actually wanted to start the business they so eagerly talked to us about. We jumped feet first into an idea and when they came face to face with the prospect of it actually happening, they chickened out. They were interested in the dream more than the actual doing it.

It got us thinking. Do people just like to talk about a better future full of nice things and a comfortable life once their idea takes off rather than just doing it? I mean I for one wouldn't have taken the leap into Oh Hello if it wasn't for Alex believing in me. Yet when we believe in their projects they believe even less than we do. Why is that? Why would people rather dream about their perfect life than go out and get it?

I guess I'm writing this as a plea that if you have an idea or a business you've always wanted to start then now's the time to do it. You'll never be in the perfect place in your life where you have mountains of unscheduled time to dedicate to it. It's just not going to happen. But rather than being that person who always talks about opening a bakery one day, be the person who actually does it. Or at least come face to face with your dreams and decide if they're really just dreams, or if you want to turn them into actual goals.

Trust me, there's a lot of risk and scary parts to putting faith in yourself to take a chance. But at least at the end of the day you'll know you tried when others just wistfully dream about it and never get off the couch to do something.

xoxo Kayla
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2.19.2016

Dynamic Duos: My Favorite Pairings

Dynamic Duos: My Favorite Pairings

A great beauty product on its own is quite a nice discovery, but I get a bigger kick out of when two different products come together to make something downright amazing. These are my favorite dynamic duos and why I love them even more together than apart.

Everyone knows my obsession with the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer, but some days I need a little more oomph to cover up a bad night's sleep. Adding the Bobbi Brown Corrector on top of the concealer gives the added coverage I need while cancelling out any serious undertones. The Bobbi Brown Corrector on its own just doesn't have enough coverage for day to day wear lately, but with the UD Concealer you couldn't even tell I was up until two binge watching The Office.

I like a mascara that can hold its own, but for special occasions I may combine two together for even more length and volume. My favorite pairing is Maybelline's The Rocket Volum'Express and the Lancome Hyponse Drama. Lancome's offering lengthens more than Maybelline's while Maybelline's provides serious volume. Together my lashes go on for miles and miles of volume.

Both the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue and the Make Up For Ever UltraHD Foundation are great on their own, but I love what happens when I combine the two together. You've seen me go on and on about the Complexion Rescue so I'll just give you the highlights. It's as light-weight in texture and feeling on the skin as it is on coverage. Nothing but a dewy finish and a decent lasting power. The Make Up For Ever Foundation is a bit more satin/matte in finish and a lot heavier coverage. Together I get the best of both world's and a coverage that's exactly what I'm looking for. Plus they last even longer on the skin when teamed up.

For primers I've been loving a mixture of Stila One Step Correct and Make Up For Ever's Hydrating Primer. Both pack a punch in the hydration department and when I'm looking for something extra to help out my winter skin these two make the perfect pair. There's not much visible difference when they're combined, but it makes all the difference in feeling and moisture.

Hair is something I don't like to over-complicate so my routine usually will only consist of these two products anyway. The LivingProof PHD 5-in-1 Styling Treatment is the perfect first step before blow-drying to keep my hair vibrant and full of life all day long while the Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume Spray adds the finishing touch of volume and oomph. It's also great to use throughout the day if I'm going out in the evening and want that "just washed" fresh hair look. 

My favorite duo of them all has to be the discovery of what a beauty blender and the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray can do together. Spray some of the setting spray on the beauty blender and press in the makeup to know 100% that it's not going anywhere. I love doing this for long makeup days or when I really want everything not to budge.

What products do you love pairing together?

xoxo Kayla

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2.18.2016

Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer


Eye primers are those beauty products that either people swear by, or people don't see the point of. I personally am on the side of the swearers as primers are a fantastic way to make all your hard work last longer. My favorite? The Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer.

This primer is definitely a lot thicker than most I've used in the past, almost like it's supposed to conceal tattoos or something or work as a concealer. When I say a little goes a long way, it's definitely the littlest bit. It's very easy to blend everything in evenly without much effort. It leaves lids with a beige toned canvas that's ready for anything you put on it.

What I like most about this primer is knowing that it doesn't just dissolve into my lids without a trace leaving me hoping it'll actually work. You can visually see it create the base on the lids and know that it's going to at the very least provide an even base for shadows. Another perk has to be the cost. At half the price of the NARS eye primer, you get more product that will go a lot farther in the long run. Ticks all the boxes for me.

Have you tried anything from Kat Von D? What should I try next?

xoxo Kayla
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2.17.2016

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks

Bite Beauty teamed up with Influenster and both were so kind to send me some of the yet-to-be-released Amuse Bouche Lipsticks for testing. I hadn't tried Bite Beauty yet as I knew I definitely do not need another lipstick brand to fawn over, and they really are quite good.

Right off the bat let's address the scent/taste. I personally rather have my lipsticks smell and taste like absolutely nothing than risk adding a flavor to them and Bite definitely toes the line with these. They a citrus/lemon scent and are quite pungent when first put on the lips, but fade away to nothing in a few minutes. If the smell lingered I could not get along with these so I'm thankful that it's just the initial application as they're great lipsticks other than that.

As for application they remind me a lot of the Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks; thick coverage in the best way with a long lasting finish. They're hydrating and stay put on the lips despite being more obvious and never flatting down to a matte finish. "Pepper" is an obvious favorite as it so closely resembles MAC's "Syrup." It's a bit more purple while still being wearable every day. "Gazpacho" is the red shade which I'm still working with to get the application right. I tend to need lip liners for darker shades as I'm a hot mess when applying. "Beetroot" is the darker berry that'll take some motivating to wear out of the house. It's not super dark, but I'm just a dark lip chicken through and through.

The color range on Sephora looks like it's going to be seriously impressive and I may pick up a few more "me" shades once the line is officially launched. I love everything about them except for the scent and I'm sure I'm a party of few with that complaint. Be sure to check these out when they launch as they're going to be quite the hit.

What do you think of Bite Beauty?

xoxo Kayla
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2.16.2016

The Body Shop's Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask

The Body Shop's Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask

The Body Shop has always been that brand I've really wanted to explore more, but just never got around to it. So a few months ago I finally decided to take the plunge and dive deep into the brand and see what comes of it. There's going to be a fair share of Body Shop posts over the next few months as I go on this little adventure, and the Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask is going to kick the whole thing off.

I picked up this mask thinking it could be some what comparable to the Origins Intensive Overnight Mask that I love so much. They're marketed to do practically the same thing, but they're not quite dupes for each other. The Body Shop's mask is much lighter on the skin and sinks in incredibly fast. It smells delightful and definitely brings moisture back, but it's not as full on as the Origins offering. It does however leave the skin feeling plump and healthy in the morning. It's just not as much as the Origins mask does.

The Body Shop Moisture Mask is what I would consider an off season leave-on mask while the Origins one is what you break out for the really dry cold months. Both a great, but just seasonal dependent. I definitely don't use the Origins one in summer when my skin has good hydration and moisture on its own, but the Body Shop one might be perfect for when I want just a little extra. So whether you're looking for a light leave-on mask or a heavy duty one, these two definitely have you covered.

Have you tried anything from the Body Shop before? What should I give a go?

xoxo Kayla
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2.15.2016

Ten Things You Don't Know About Self-Employment


Self-Employment is a confusing blend of how I expected it would be, and how I could have never imagined it to be. When I tell people I'm self-employed and work from home, it's often met with sighs of, "oh how lucky" and "I bet you just sleep all day long." So I thought I'd share ten things you may not know about self-employment.

  1. I wake up the same time I did when I was working my "real job." Sure I may push snooze a couple more times when Wednesdays roll around (my least favorite day), but I'm usually at my desk before or around 9 am every morning, including the weekends.
  2. Weekends don't really exist. Sure I take more time off during the weekends since our friends and family have those days off, but more often than not I'm working. Most jobs have a clear start and end time, but with self-employment everything gets a bit muddled.
  3. Working in pajamas definitely does happen, but I like to get ready every morning as if I'm going to a desk job somewhere that's not in my living room. 
  4. It's not as glamorous as one would think. I literally work in our living room. My desk is right next to where we relax and I'm in eye sight of our cat's litter box. Working from home definitely has its pros, but it's not as fabulous as I imagined it would be.
  5. I'm not free whenever people call or ask to hang out. Our friends have the hardest time understanding that just because we set our own schedules, doesn't mean we can just pop out any time we want. There are deadlines and structure to our days just like any other job. Sure, it is a bit more flexible, but I'm definitely not at the beck and call whenever it's convenient for other people.
  6. When gloomy days happen, they're so much worse. Usually if I'm feeling down and out I would just take the day off of work and stay home, but working from home you just don't get the same feeling. If I'm having an off day I feel even worse about it because I see Alex working away and I'm laying in bed feeling sorry for myself. I think our tiny apartment amplifies this too.
  7. Every day I worry about our future. With my university job I never felt that much worry or insecurity, but since we work for ourselves it's become that much more stressful. It's a constant blend of self-doubt, fear people will just suddenly stop buying stickers, and concern about keeping things going. 
  8. I get seriously stir crazy. Alex and I will just leave the house to go walk around Target and not buy anything, just to get out of the house. I think this also has a lot to do with our tiny living space, but I'm sure in our future home we'll feel the itch to just get out and get some fresh air. 
  9. It's a lot more complicated than you think. When I first decided to quit my job I had no idea the information I was going to learn. We had to find our own health insurance, figure out much more complicated taxes, and tons of other adult things we just never really worried too much over. There's so much more to learn than just how to work for yourself. I'm still so clueless about a lot of things involved in working at home.
  10. I wouldn't have things any other way. I love working for myself and working from home. It's everything I've ever wanted and most of the trouble comes in worrying that it'll go away. Yet I don't want to do anything else ever again if I can help it.
Do you have any questions about what it's like to be self-employed? Leave them in the comments!

xoxo Kayla
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2.12.2016

A Valentine's Day Look that Seems More Complicated Than It Is





Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that a lot of people are on the fence about. I personally love a good reason to mix things up and there's nothing wrong with celebrating love! Alex and I don't have plans to do anything super special, but continuing to watch the Office is definitely in our future. But if you're doing something a bit more exciting than us this holiday, this simple, yet great looking makeup could be just the ticket.

Although I always use a primer, it's vital for special occasions when you want your makeup to not budge all day. I've been using the Too Faced Hangover Primer and have been enjoying the switch up from my usual go to. It's quite tacky in a good way to make sure makeup doesn't budge. I don't see a huge difference in my complexion with just using this, but foundation does seem to last longer and look brighter over time. Next is foundation and something a bit heavier coverage is a must like the Make Up For Ever UltraHD Foundation. It's medium coverage but has a lovely satin finish that won't need to be fussed with throughout the day. I always follow up with my Anastasia Brow Wiz in "Soft Brown" to give my brows some shape, and then start in on eyes.

I prime my lids with the Kat Von D primer and then keep it super simple with shadow. I just use one or two shimmery brown shades from the Urban Decay Naked Palette for a nice coat of color on my lids, but don't bother with defining or adding in extra fuss. The effort goes into the liner. I like to use the MAC Kohl Pencil in "Teddy" because it's easy to smudge it out for a neutral looking smokey eye. I apply it to the outer halves of the top and bottom lash line to add definition and a little voomph to the look.

For mascara anything would do really, but I like the butterLONDON Iconoclast mascara as it does wonders to lengthen my lashes while still providing decent volume. Once the eyes are done and dusted I go in with a healthy helping of the Urban Decay Naked Concealer under my eyes, around my nose, and on my chin. I blend it in with a Real Techniques Contour Brush and use the same brush to add some setting powder from the NYX Pro Contour Palette. If it's a really special occasion I'll use this palette's grey toned shade to do a bit of contouring. Since it's Valentine's Day I couldn't help getting an extra pop of pink with the Tarte Blush in "Fearless" on the apples of my cheeks drawn upwards.

Lipstick can really be anything you like with this look, but as I'm a simple gal I just used the MAC Lipstick in "Syrup" to draw more attention to the eyes. Everything gets set in place with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray dabbed into the skin with a beauty blender.

I love this look when I want to put a spin on my usual style. It's just different enough to look like a lot of effort was put in when it really wasn't so complicated. I'm sure I'll be doing this look whenever I need to add a little something special without trying too hard.

Hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day! Let me know what you're getting up to in the comments!

xoxo Kayla
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2.11.2016

Good Vibes Beauty


There are always those bits of makeup in your stash that make you feel like a million bucks. I have a small arsenal of tried and true products that I know won't let me down, but there's something about this handful of beauty items that really put on the good vibes and confidence.

theBalm's FratBoy blush has been around for quite a few years now and is still a blush I know will make any makeup look that much better. It's the perfect rosy flush shade that lasts ages and blends out like a buttery dream. It's a good pal of mine and the vintage looking packaging is always a perk.

I have a lot of mascara loves, but Lancome's Hypnose Drama is just a dang good one. It separates my lashes, lengthens them, holds a curl, and builds volume. All my lash boxes are ticked with this one. Now if only it wasn't so dang expensive.

Now the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Lipstick in "714" is definitely not one I'll wear every day, but nothing makes me feel more like Taylor Swift than this bad boy. I've finally found a red shade that makes me feel all sorts of good and it doesn't take too much effort to keep it in check throughout the day. It's a matte formula that wears really well while drinking and eating, and is just the right shade blend of mauve undertones for us my-lips-but-better girls who usually shy away from a red lip. 

When I really want my makeup to be on point and have my back throughout the day, the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation is the one I reach for. It's the heaviest coverage I own, but in a very natural, perfect way. It covers all imperfections, blends like a dream after a few minutes of buffing it in, and lasts literal ages. The finish is a step below dewy without getting to matte. It doesn't extenuate dry patches and creates the perfect base for some light contouring and blush additions.

There's nothing like some good vibe beauty products to turn any day into a kick ass one. What products are you go-to's when you need a boost of confidence?

xoxo Kayla
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2.10.2016

Moving is the Best Time To...


Although we're currently hitting a few unfortunate snags on the moving front right now, I still wanted to write this post anyway. Kind of like a pick me up, "you'll move eventually and stay positive" type of post through all this confusion and stress. I'm sure I'll go into the whole story in more detail once it finally is over, but until then just vague sentences from this girl.

So on to the point. Alex and I have started to slowly pack up a few things here and there and have found that moving is a really good time for a lot of different things. It's a great time to take inventory of all the things we never realized we had. There's always that closet that just eats up everything and becomes this vortex of unnecessary stuff. We're still tackling ours at the moment. Moving and packing up your life makes you really consider what you want to take with you. There's nothing like an ever growing pile of boxes you'll have to move down three flights of stairs with no elevator that makes you rethink some of those extra scarves and dishes. 

Moving is also a really great time to assess your personal style. Alex and I are in the post-college "none of our furniture really matches" phase and have been enjoying figuring out what we want our style to be in our potential new home. It's a great time to take stock of what we have, figure out what we want to sell or give away, and start research on the best place to purchase pieces that fit our new style. 

Let's not ignore the fact that moving is also the best time to be unbelievably stressed out with to do lists and serious adulting. Lots of paperwork, budget making, and being just overall concerned that we're making the right choice. You know, the usual. 

When the moving date actually becomes official and you're moving a decent distance away from where you currently live, it's the perfect time to complete any last minute activities. Maybe you've always wanted to go to the aquarium in your area but never ended up doing it. Moving is a great time to be a tourist in your current location and check off everything on your bucket list before moving to a new place.

I have a love/hate relationship with moving and the stress is definitely getting to me. But moving is a really good time for certain tasks we all just put off for another day.

What's your favorite part about moving?

xoxo Kayla
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2.09.2016

Beauty & Planner Supplies Haul!





It's been ages since my last good ol' haul post. When it comes to frivolous spending I usually only have eyes for makeup and planning supplies.

For beauty it's a mixed back of skincare and makeup that I can't wait to dive into and really test out. The Too Faced Hangover Primer is up against my beloved Stila One Step Correct and I've really been enjoying it so far. It's completely unlike the Stila option, but one you'll be hearing more about in the future for sure. 

For skincare I have a few products from the Yes to Coconuts range and a multi-action cream from StriVectin. I'm usually on the fence about switching up my skincare routine, but I've really wanted to give the Yes to brand a test out and StriVectin has yet to disappoint. We shall see what happens!

I've wanted to shake things up in the makeup department as I've really been enjoying breaking out of my daily routine. I took the plunge and picked up the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Photo Edition Foundation after a lot of mental discussion. It's way heavier coverage than I'm used to, but the finish is fantastic and it lasts ages. The Gwen Stefani collection with Urban Decay sucked me in and I've been poking around it for ages. I ended up with the Blush Palette which is a dream of a product and a few lipsticks. My favorite has to be "714" as it's a wearable red for the red-phobic like myself. 

For planning supplies I couldn't avoid getting a new Valentine's Day cover from Erin Condren as well as their new monthly sticker book. 

What products have you picked up lately?

xoxo Kayla
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2.08.2016

10 Ways to Save Money

10 Ways to Save Money

Alex and I are in full boxing mode to prep for the move and really working on our budget. Getting a new home can definitely put a new strain on finances so we've come up with a few ways to save money in the process. So whether you just want a few extra bucks in your pocket or are making a big housing leap like us, here are ten ways to keep more cash.

  1. Sell unused things to consignment shops, in garage sales, or to thrift stores. Sure you won't make mountains of money, but if you were just going to throw them away anyway this could be a great way to get something back before they get passed on.
  2. Shop your stash rather than buying new things. Do you really need that nail polish or are there other ones like that in your collection? Take a shopping trip to your makeup drawers or in your closet. You never know what you might find.
  3. Have a swap with friends to exchange clothing and makeup. That way you will feel like you're getting new things without having to spend any money!
  4. Implement a No Buy if you want to get really serious. It could be just on one type of expense like eating out, or you could go crazy and start a no buy on frivolous things. It all really depends on what your goals are.
  5. Create lists and stick to them when shopping. Don't get sucked into the Target vortex. Create a list and only get the things on it.
  6. Use coupons whenever possible and price compare. Never go to a craft store without one and try really hard to only stick to one or two items since the coupons often only apply to one product at a time.
  7. Go places during specials throughout the week. A local Italian restaurant here does 35 cent pasta nights or a lot of restaurants do certain days that kids eat free. If you're trying to save money but still want to go out to dinner once in a while, create a chart to know which days your favorite restaurants have specials and pick from there.
  8. Create an honest budget not one you wish you could stick to. If you like eating out like Alex and I, it's unreasonable to yourself to cut the food budget in half with dreams that you'll cook every single meal at home. Be honest with yourself and don't cut everything you love just to pinch pennies. There are plenty of places in a budget to cut down without losing your favorites.
  9. Save your change rather than letting it get lost in seat cushions. Over time loose change can really add up!
  10. Buy in bulk during specials on products you use the most. Sure it'll feel like you're spending a lot of money at one time, but stocking up means you won't have to buy more at normal prices if you run out and desperately need it.
You definitely have to take saving money one day at a time. It's kind of like a financial diet and you can't constantly starve yourself thinking you'll have the biggest success. Each day will be a new challenge with new temptations (like at the Target Dollar Spot), but you'll save money by implementing some of these tricks!

What ways do you use to save money?

xoxo Kayla
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2.07.2016

Sunday Makeup



It's been a good long while since my last Sunday post and I must say I'm pretty jazzed about finally getting my butt in gear to at least attempt one. Sundays are never very heavy makeup days, but when I do feel like slapping a little bit on my face, it's a simple five step routine.

The Stila One Step Correct acts more like a final skincare product in my routine. I love how hydrating and moisturizing it is. I'll often put a bit of this on my face regardless of whether a base is going on top of it, I love it that much. I will follow up with some Urban Decay Naked Concealer to help out my always tired eyes and red nose. These two together make it super easy to skip a foundation without looking too rough.

Brows and mascara make a look for me so they're great at giving a false impression of more makeup than I'm actually wearing. I'm still smitten with the Anastasia Brow Wiz in "Soft Brown." Such an easy to use product that always produces great results. If I'm not wearing any eye shadow I tend to reach for my beloved Maybelline The Rocket Mascara as it provides a serious punch of volume to my lashes. I hardly notice my lack of shadow when this makes my lashes so bold and noticeable.

A neutral lip on Sundays is a must and I feel like you already know which one I'm going to say. The Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in "Rush" is my go to for most days, but on Sundays it's almost a sin not to wear it. The best formulation I've found in a while, it's creamy, moisturizing, and long lasting. No fuss and my type of product.

Sundays are the best and this makeup routine makes it that much more enjoyable.

What makeup do you wear on Sundays?

xoxo Kayla
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2.05.2016

How My New Stationery Organization is Keeping Me Honest



Stationery hording is like my thing. Drawers overflowing with sticky note pads I'll never use and the crazy hunt to find the elusive page flags at Target. With our impending move to our new house I decided enough was enough and now I have an organizational method that won't let me drift back to those crazy stationery days.

I've started using two drawer units from T.J. Maxx that really limit how much stationery I can actually keep, and I'm loving it. I parted with mountains of notepads and washi tape and am only left with what I love and will actually use. Plus with such limited space I'll have to adopt the one-in-one-out rule in order to keep things from overflowing.

I can't wait to get to our new house with less mess and a more streamlined collection. Now to tackle my absurd planner collection...

How do you organize your supplies?

xoxo Kayla

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2.04.2016

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Muffins



Nothing like a good recipe to get us through the rest of the week huh? I found this recipe while popping around various blogs and decided to add my twist to it! It's so simple and you'll be making
them in minutes. You can make mini muffins like the original recipe, but I love them normal to large size. It's a small recipe that only makes about six normal sized muffins.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (I own both types of flour, but if you only have one type that'll work for both)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy depending on what you like)
1 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
6 tbsp milk
3/4 cup chocolate chunks (add more based on preference or use regular chocolate chips)


Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375º F. 
  • Grease/spray two mini muffin tins with cooking spray. 
  • Beat butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in large bowl until creamy. 
  • Add egg and milk; beat until smooth. 
  • Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt into peanut butter mixture.
  • Beat until just blended. 
  • Stir in chocolate chunks. 
  • Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out slightly sticky. 
  • Let cool and enjoy!

They're oh so tasty and the perfect little snack for after work or for kids!

xoxo Kayla


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2.03.2016

All You Need to Know About Primers

All You Need to Know About Primers

Ah primers. One of my favorite parts to my makeup routine that often goes unpraised. Of course you've heard me rave my heart out over the Stila One Step Correct primer, but I thought it time to give you all the info you need to know about primers.

For everyday use: The Stila One Step Correct will always be the forerunner for best everyday primer. It's hydrating, nourishing, and makes my skin feel ready for anything I may put on it. However the Korres Anti-aging primer is also a really great, comparable choice. Both are smoothing and don't leave your skin feeling weird since they don't have any silicone in them.

For eyes: I stumbled upon the Kat Von D High Voltage primer on accident when I couldn't stomach the sticker price of the NARS eye primer, and boy do I love it. It's thick in a good way to leave the perfect matte base for shadows. By the end of the day my shadows are still in place and as pigmented as ever. Plus the packaging is huge and I doubt I'll ever run out of this stuff.

For dry skin: Both the Make Up For Ever Nourishing Primer and Hydrating Primer are excellent options if you have super dry skin like I do. They act more like skincare to provide the right amount of moisture and hydration without making skin feel oily and slick. The only difference I've found between the two is the texture on the skin and how long they take to sink in. Other than that they're both incredibly similar in giving skin a hydration boost without going overboard.

For the long wearing days: If you're in the market for a primer to help keep makeup in place for hours on end, the Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer is your man. It creates a smooth, even base that helps makeup not budge throughout the day.

What's your go to primer? I can't get enough of them and would love some new recommendations!

xoxo Kayla
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2.02.2016

All Things Planner Giveaway




Planning is quite a frequently talked about thing around these parts and I thought it time to share some of my favorite products with you all! From some seriously awesome Shopkins erasers to my favorite notepads and stickers, this giveaway has a bit of everything you need.

The giveaway will go for a week and is open internationally to anyone 18-years-old or with parental consent! I'll be contacting the winner via the email used to create an account with Rafflecopter to enter so be sure to use a common one and check it!


Good luck!

xoxo Kayla

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Backed Up Beauty Bits


There are those products in your life where you just don't want to go a day without them. The holy grails, the good'uns that need to be in stock at all times. There is a drawer in my beauty collection where all my favorite products have a few extras on deck. Just in case.

I rarely keep back ups of makeup products since there are just so many other products to test out and experiment with, but I can't help but always have the Stila One Step Correct. Although I've been getting better at using other primers, this one is still by far my favorite one. I've probably used five or six different containers of this so far and always have at least one extra.

There's also a new Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in my back up drawer since mascara is such an important part to my makeup routine. I use a ton of different mascaras at one time, but I like to have a trusted one on hand just in case.

Skincare is the big one for backed up products. I'm still madly in love with my current skincare routine so having extras of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, the Body Shop's Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish, and the Vitamin E Hydrating Toner is a given. The Body Shop is always having a buy three get three free sort of sale going on, so it makes sense to do a large stock up every once in a while to get the best deal.

Since I can never be too sure if I'm close to running out of makeup wipes, I always keep one package on hand. I really love the Equate ones since they're so affordable and just the right amount of wetness. 

A couple of months ago I placed a number of different small Sephora orders in order to use my VIB points for travel sizes of my beloved Living Proof 5-in-1 Styling Treatment. I ultimately saved about $30 placing a bunch of different orders rather than one big one since you can only use your VIB points on different samples in one order, you can't get the same one multiple times. I felt like a genius and now I have four little tubes of holy grail hair.

I try to keep my back up drawer within reason and not be too presumptuous that I'll keep using a product I currently love. These products are definite favorites that I can't get enough of.

What products do you always have backups for?

xoxo Kayla

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2.01.2016

The Empty Ones

Products I've Used Up

There's just something about using up the last bit of a product I always find somewhat difficult. Plus it always takes me ages to get a large enough collection of empties to make them worth mentioning, but I've finally gathered up enough used up/expired products to chat about.

I've been using this can of Dove Hair Therapy Volume Dry Shampoo for a good year or so now and am happy to have finished it up. It's not a bad dry shampoo and I really loved it when I first discovered it a few years ago, but lately it's just not my cup of tea. I'm in the market for a new option so leave suggestions in the comments.

If you are a regular reader of Microscope Beauty than you already know about my bareMinerals Complexion Rescue obsession. I've finished up the first tube of it and already am well into my second. It's the best light-coverage every day base that leaves my skin glowing and looking healthy. 

The Nourish Organic Coconut lotion finally saw its end recently. I really enjoyed using it, but lotions are the kinds of products that are so easy to jump around within the category that I doubt I'll ever pick up another one in the full size. Great lotion though if you're in the market for one!

For random products I've used up/they've expired before I can finish them, there are a couple of StriVectin products that I never got around to using up. The first retexturizing scrub was a bit too harsh on my skin so I never could get along with it. The eye concentrate didn't really seem to do anything like I find for most eye products. It's so hard to tell if they're working and I usually just stick with one I know and love rather than jump around. I've been enjoying quite a few StriVectin skincare products these days but these two just couldn't do it for me.

The Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer and the Anastasia Brow Wiz are both staples in my makeup collection and I go through quite a few throughout the year. They're reliable, great quality products that never let me down.

What products have you used up recently?

xoxo Kayla
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