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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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8.31.2016

The Best Board Games: If You Want to Work Together


Board games have become somewhat of a staple in the Benda household these past few years. We've pushed aside Monopoly for more "indie" board games and haven't looked back once. In an effort to drop some amazing board game knowledge on you, I'm bringing you a series where I share what types of board games are for which type of players and styles. Up fist, collaboration games.

Castle Panic Review

Castle Panic is one of those kid friendly games where everyone is trying to protect their castle from encroaching orcs and goblins who are trying to destroy it. Everyone works together discussing strategy, sharing cards, and winning (or losing) together. It's a great game that starts off pretty calm and ramps up quickly after every turn as more and more creatures emerge from the forest. The game dynamics are clear and well thought out. Plus they provide you with a little cheat sheet card so you cn remember the stages of every turn. It's definitely defeatable among adults as we've done it a number of times, but it would still be fun to play with a younger crowd to help them develop more strategic skills.

Monikers Review

Monikers is an adult game that's best in groups of 5-6. It's a blend of taboo and sherades done in such a way that even the shyest of game planners won't feel the pressure to perform. Each game consists of three rounds with a deck of cards handpicked by everyone in the group. The first round you can say and do whatever you need to in order for your team to guess what's on the card. Next round you can only use one word. The final round you can only act. 

The best part? The deck of cards you use never changes throughout the whole game. After each round when all the cards from the group-made deck have been claimed by either team, they get shuffled back together and used for the next round. Suddenly the game dynamics shift and you can visibly see first-time players "ah-ha" moment as the second round begins. You've already seen and heard all of the cards in play be described in the first round so things get a whole lot easier, and funnier in the second and third ones. It's an amazing game that leaves you talking about it for hours after it's over. It takes off the pressure I for one always feel playing these types of games and you're left with just a good, hilarious time had by all. 

Escape, the Curse of the Temple Review

Escape, the Curse of the Temple has to be my favorite board game we've played yet. I constantly find myself convincing people to play with me as it's only a ten minute game from start to finish. You and your friends are a team of explorers uncovering the mysteries of a secret temple by revealing tiles as you explore. Your goal is to uncover gems while looking for the exit by using custom dice to help you move around. Sounds simple until you add in the element that everyone plays at the exact same time, constantly. So everyone is rolling dice, exploring all at the same time all the while listening to an included soundtrack that builds the tension. The soundtrack tells you at two different times when you have to quickly run back to the center of the map or fear losing a dice for the rest of the game. The dice can also betray you by showing black skulls that you have to roll gold skulls in order to unlock. It's a collaboration game of course so if you're in the same room as another player, you can share your dice to help uncover gems together or unlock a friend who has rolled all black skulls. If you don't clear off enough gems and escape the temple through the exit before the soundtrack ends, everyone in your party loses. 

Now I know it sounds pretty complicated in a brief description, but it's a fun, fast-paced family friendly game that people figure out after one quick round of diving into it. I've never felt so much adrenaline from playing a game and everyone always ends up in a panic throwing dice around trying not to get trapped when everyone is rushing back to the center of the map. It's hilariously fun to watch as a bystander and even has expansion packs that make things more challenging once you can escape the temple like a pro.

If you want more in-depth descriptions of the games, there are actually a lot of game-plays on Youtube. I have wasted many hours watching other people play through games that it's kind of absurd. Also, if there are any categories of games you want to see my favorites of next (games that screw your partner, strategic games, etc), leave requests in the comments.!

Yours till the board games,

Kayla

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8.30.2016

A Wedding is In the Details


I'm realizing as we round the corner to just five days away from the wedding, that a wedding really is all in the details. Sure the venue matters and what song you walk down the aisle to, but for me, it's about the little things that make this wedding mine.

I'm going to be putting out the shirt Alex used to propose to me in this video. Just in case someone happens to not know our story at the wedding, they'll be able to watch it while they wait for the ceremony. I'm also going to be having these little charms of my grandparents hanging from my bouquet. I always imagined them at my wedding so now that they can't physically be, I'm finding a way to make them still a part. My garters are Doctor Who themed in honor of how Alex and I actually started talking/dating in the first place.

All of these things are seemingly tiny details in the scope of planning such a huge affair like a wedding (and it really does end up being a huge affair no matter the size). Yet they're the ones I'm fussing over the most. These are the pieces of the wedding I'm sure I'll remember most.

That's the thing. There's someone getting married somewhere right at this moment. So why would my wedding be anything special or different from the millions of weddings happening all the time? Because it's my wedding. It's special to me and Alex and that's what makes it matter. That's what makes anything matter really.

I'm nervously excited for the big day. Time really has flown by and I feel a part of one big cliche. And you know what? I kind of love it.

Yours till the flower bouquets,

Kayla
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8.27.2016

August Favorites in a New Format




I've been making favorites videos and posts since I started this blog almost four years ago. The format needed a shake up. Enter a two-minute video jammed packed with eight of my favorite products from the month. I love how short, to the point, and so much more fun this is over the usual sit-down-and-talk-about-it alternative.

Although the Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo is super new to my collection, it became a fast favorite after just one use. We have pretty hard water in our house, plus with infrequent washes and a lot of products going into my hair, it definitely needed something to pick it back up again. This shampoo does exactly what it says on the bottle down to leaving my hair actually squeaky clean. What a sensation.

The Tangle Teezer is one of those products I thought for sure was just abuzz because of good marketing by the brand. Yet after sucking it up and giving it a go I quickly shut my skeptical mouth. My wet hair is literally a disaster that requires me to spend way too much time tugging at it every morning, yet this little thing had no trouble. Plus I didn't end up ripping out half my head of hair in the process like I usually do. I'm a convert.

I've already featured Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer in a post all about the new line, but it still deserved a spot in this month's favorites lineup. It's the perfect in-between concealer sitting happily between the NARS Creamy Concealer and the Urban Decay Naked Concealer. It's a bit on the thicker side, but blends in without any trouble at all.

Squirrel Girl is my favorite Marvel cartoon character and when I stumbled upon this shirt in the sale bin at FYE I had to have it regardless of it being a size too big for me. It's the perfect veg around the house shirt getting things done. And I'm all about snapping sayings.

Blobby is a character I made up for our sticker shop Oh, Hello and it's been love at first doodle. He's the perfect little character to mark however I'm feeling and I love getting back into designing. Alex usually does all of our sticker designs so it's nice to pitch in and have something to show for myself at the end of a long work day.

The Erin Condren Cactus Cover graced the front of my planner all summer long. It's the perfect representation of this hot, stifling summer. I tend to be a planner cover snob and switch covers often, but this one has lasted much longer than the rest.

In an effort to have more hobbies that aren't jobs, I've picked up brush calligraphy this month. I just posted a video about getting started and what worksheets I like to use, including the one featured in the video. So it's definitely worth a look over. It's been nice to just relax, take things slow, and learn a new skill.

One of my favorite Helloigans Aurelie sent me the Recipe Girl Cookbook off of my wedding registry as a surprise and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's the perfect recipe book for practically every occasion and even has a section in the back where it gives you party themes and the perfect menu (with recipe page numbers) for the event. I've read this bad boy cover to cover and can't wait to start showing you guys some new recipes.

August flew by and now I'm just days away from becoming Mrs. Benda. Eeek!

Yours until the milky ways,

Kayla
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8.26.2016

Big Day Preppin'

Wedding Day Beauty Prep

The big day is literally just days away now and I've been trying to keep myself, and my nervous brain, busy rather than stressing. So there's been a lot of beauty prep going on to make sure I'm ready for that iconic walk down the aisle. I'm definitely not ready yet, but at least I'v got some pampering in anyway.

There's been a lot of focus on hair and nails this week. I recently got a haircut to freshen up my ends and make sure there's something going on in the layers department. My stylist recommended that I get a clarifying shampoo and I didn't pause a beat before running to Sephora to snatch up the Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo. I've wanted this for years and finally had a professional excuse to get it. After just one lather, rich use my hair felt noticeably better and cleaner. I'll be writing a full post on it soon, but it's made me feel a lot more confident that my hair will be at its best for the special day.

I've also been working hard to grow out my nails and avoid chipping. No easy feat for someone who constantly breaks off nails just living her life. ButterLONDON's Horse Power Nail Fertilizer popped into my head a few days ago and I quickly ran to it. You put a coat of this shiny clear stuff on dry, clean nails once a day for a week and then remove it. Repeat again for stronger nails. No joke. My nails are noticeably stronger and have reduced chipping thus far. Here's hoping that it's my saving grace and I'll have amazing nails when I get them done next week. Unfortunately I couldn't find this exact product when I was hunting for links for this post, but here is something similar.

As for toes I'm opting to do those myself since no one will really see my feet over mountains of off-white dress. I purchased a bunch of bottles of China Glaze's "One Track Mind" for my bridesmaids' gifts when I asked them to be in my wedding. It's the perfect navy blue without being too dark and I've always loved China Glaze's formula and packaging. I like to apply my toe polish pretty far in advance. It just tends to settle in better and not look so out of place on my toes this way.

Now to just tackle that still massive to do list just in time to actually say 'I Do'.

Yours till the wedding bells,

Kayla
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8.25.2016

Makeup Declutter & New Storage







It seems like I can't go a significant chunk of time without getting the itch to rifle through my makeup collection. I had been thinking about moving my stash from upstairs in my office to our master bathroom for quite a while, but couldn't fully commit. Then one of those crappy days rolled around when I needed a little retail therapy so I made a little order on Amazon and the destash began.

After a quick browse around for new storage to hold my entire collection, I opted for this Sorbus Storage Unit. There were literally tons of different drawer combinations, but the four small, three large drawer system seemed right up my alley and perfect for my makeup categories.

Then the sorting began. And boy did it take a lot longer than I expected. I destash quite often so I thought for sure I'd only eliminate a few things here and there. One large bin later (the last photo before the video) and I had just my favorites left. Popping them into the storage unit was a breeze and now I have all of my makeup in one happy place. Plus it just makes sense to have my makeup where I actually put it on (duh Kayla). 

I've already started considering another large three drawer unit for next to this one if my collection happens to expand, as it always does. I just love how it tucks into the spot between the wall and our big mirror like a glove. I'm one happy makeup junkie. Plus I feel like I actually will use what's left in my collection rather than keeping it just for the sake of having it. That's always a good thing.

So here's my destashed collection and new organization. I'm sure it'll change in a handful of months when I feel that itch again, but until then I'm just going to creepily admire it from the next room.

How do you store your makeup? Tweet me a picture to @microscpebeauty!

Yours till the ice creams,

Kayla


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8.23.2016

My Enamel Pin Collection

Enamel Pin, Boy Girl Party, Culture Folk

When I rediscovered enamel pins a few months back, I went a little mad. I scooped up so many over the past weeks that a check-in was due. I love picking up a new pin from a place we've visited or getting one that somehow speaks to me. I also switched my pins over from the large tote bag to something smaller with more structure. That way my collection is easier to show off without carrying around such a massive bag.

The top corgi pin and the introvert pin were both gifts from Alex on my 24th birthday. We've been talking about getting a corgi for months now and it definitely will be happening spring of next year. This little guy is keeping my eagerness at bay as I await the arrival of our own furry pup. Nothing screams Kayla like an introvert pin. I like to imagine that's what I'll look like when I'm older. Still socially awkward and much rather spend time by myself.

The two planner addict pins Alex and I created ourselves to sell at Oh, Hello. The mint green one we made exclusively for The Planner Addict box this month and I couldn't be more proud of our efforts to expand our brand. We have a few more pins in the works for fall too!

The puffin and otter pins are both from the same shop and were the first two pins that kicked off the obsession. I wanted something that represented something Alex and I love, so why not our favorite animals? I think it's safe to say that the shop they originated from is a constant source for pins I've added to my wishlist.

I found the little unicorn through my wanderings on Amazon and knew any pin collection wouldn't be complete if there wasn't a unicorn involved in one way or another.

The remaining pins I picked up during our recent travels. Apparently it's quite common for zoos to have pins so I suspect a growing collection of similar pins as we tend to frequent zoos when we travel. I also snatched up an Upper Peninsula one when we went to Pictured Rocks a few weekends ago.

I've always had a thing for collection and I love that this one is so portable. Now to just tame the beast and stop buying so many!

Yours till the enamel pins,

Kayla

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8.20.2016

Kat Von D Lock-it Collection

Kat Von D Lock-it Collection

Kat Von D Lock-it Collection

Kat Von D Lock-it Collection

Kat Von D Lock-it Collection

Makeup reviews have been quite scarce around these parts lately. I'm on a journey of blogging discovery and have wandered down some different roads lately. It's good to get back into the ol' swing of things with a nice, classic beauty review. So let's dig in shall we?

Kat Von D recently released a new Lock-it Collection that I'm still doing a slow clap for. The shining achievement of the line has to be the concealer, but the whole collection is fab. The concealer is a cross between the Urban Decay Naked Concealer and the NARS Creamy Concealer while being thicker and slightly drier, in a good way. It covers up my always obvious under eye circles like a champ. The Edge Concealer Brush had my skeptical at first as it's such an odd shape and incredibly dense, but it's fantastic at getting into the tight eye areas to blend everything out surprisingly well. 

I'm still on the hunt for a setting powder after literally years of just not finding one I'm happy with. I'm still on the fence about this setting powder even though the yellow, tan color tone is a much better option than all the white ones I've tried in the past. The real winner in this duo is the Powder Brush makes it so easy to apply just the right amount of product. Maybe that was my problem! I didn't have the right tool to not pile on the product. So although I still have to test out the powder some more, the brush is a sure winner.

Kat Von D has been seriously surprising my lately with quality products so I'm eager to keep poking around the brand!

Yours till the comet tails,

xoxo Kayla

*Influenster sent me these products for testing purposes.

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8.18.2016

How I Fight My Fear of Failure


I don't talk about my anxiety a lot (read: ever) because I don't want it defining me or becoming all consuming. And a big part of that anxiety comes in the form of this overwhelming fear of failure. Ever since I was little I have always avoided failure at all costs. I didn't want to let my family down, my friends down, but really I just didn't want to let myself down.

I feel like a fear of failure is a normal thing to have. That everyone has this voice in the back of their head constantly worrying about sucking. So how do I fight it? I embrace it.

Now I'm not about to say that you need to stroll hand in hand with your fear of failure and become best friends. But I know from years of failing at ignoring my fear of failure, that it's just not going to work to pretend you're above it. It's better to just be honest with yourself (and others) that this fear exists, for good reason, but it isn't going to paralyze progress.

It's when I started talking about this fear and acknowledging that it exists with people close to me, that I started finding more comfort in, and help to fight against it. It's definitely one of those "you're not alone" types of situations. Everyone has this fear. Everyone. And if they think that they don't, they just aren't ready to face it yet.

I'm never going to feel 100% confident and secure in anything I do. It would be ignorant to believe a perfection like that exists. The fear of failure exists because there is failure in every single person's life. There's always something that doesn't work out that makes you nervous to try again. Alex and I have started and failed at a handful of businesses before Oh, Hello. Who knows. Oh, Hello might still flop a year from now. But that fear of failure doesn't stop us from giving our business our all every single day. That fear pushes us harder and makes us better business owners.

So yeah, I'm afraid of failure more now than ever before. There's more at stake, more to lose. But I'm sure as hell not going to sit around and do nothing about it.

So fight on my friends.

Yours till the fortune cookies,

Kayla

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8.11.2016

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

I'm the type of person that if I see a recipe online and magically have all the ingredients on hand, I'm making it that instant. I've been on the lookout for easy to do doughnut recipes, and nothing is easier than a muffin version! I found this cinnamon sugar doughnut muffin recipe here, but as usual I have a few notes and opinions on the process to make them even better.

Ingredients

For Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Topping
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together remaining muffin ingredients in separate bowl.
  • Pour wet into dry and stir until just mixed and no large lumps are visible.
  • Fill muffin tin to 2/3 full and bake 15-17 minutes or until spongy to the touch.
  • Let cool in pan completely. Use a knife to pop muffins free from tin if necessary.
  • While muffins are cooling, melt butter in a bowl and combine sugar and cinnamon into another.
  • Dip muffin tops into butter and then roll into cinnamon sugar mixture. Brush off any clumps or excess for a smoother finish. Repeat for each muffin.
These deliciously sweet muffins are definitely a treat and amazing substitute to the real thing. Now I'm just itching to go to an apple orchard and eat a dozen of the originals. Be sure to share photos if you end up making these yourself!

xoxo Kayla

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8.05.2016

A Day in the Life of My Erin Condren Life Planner




A day in the life of my Erin Condren is a simple, yet tiresome one. I tote my 18-month neutral hourly around with me like a security blanket making sure I have my head on straight when the middle of the day hits. Plus it's just gorgeous to stare at when I'm having an inspiration block. So here's what my planner gets up to in a regular day

8:00 AM - Sitting on my nightstand as my phone alarm vibrates on top of it. 

9:00 AM - On the kitchen island helping me figure out the game plan for the day.

9:30 AM - Up the stairs to my office for its big performance in whatever video I'm filming that day.

10:30 AM - Down the stairs to the Oh, Hello headquarters to keep me company as I check things off my to do list in the office.

2:00 PM - Back upstairs for a break and some Netflix in bed. Plus it needs a break after all that to do list checking.

5:00 PM - Out to dinner with Alex ready to take notes for whatever ideas we may come up with while eating.

8:00 PM - Prepping for the next day while lounging in bed catching up on YouTube videos.

11:00 PM - Getting some rest for the next big work day tomorrow.

Yours till the cat meows,

Kayla

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