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




10 Quick Tips to Having a Very Productive Week

10 Quick Tips to Having a Very Productive Week

Ah Mondays. They get a bad rep. Mostly because we don't prepare over the weekend to make sure it starts off on the right foot. If you're looking to have the most productive week yet, here are 10 quick things you can do to set yourself up for success.

Create a to do list the night before Monday. That way when you've dragged yourself into work the next morning, you know exactly what you need to do rather than messing about on Facebook for a few hours before finally settling down to work.

Prepare meals for breakfast and lunch so you're making healthier choices than a late afternoon trip to the vending machine. Having them pre-made makes it easy to just grab from the fridge and go in the morning too. Basically, do all the thinking the night before so you don't have to worry about anything bright and early Monday morning.

Finish your laundry. I can't tell you how many times I get halfway through the week and run out of underwear. Finish your laundry over the weekend so you aren't having to do it during the week when you're swamped with spontaneous events and nights out. Plus you'll have all of your favorite clothes.

Make sure your car has gas. Another one of those better safe than sorry tips. This list is pretty much an exposé of all of the dumb things I did when I had a desk job. So many Monday mornings I find myself in a car that's on E and rushing to the gas station, already late to work. Give yourself at least a fighting chance and make sure you have a half a tank or more.

Pack your bags for the next day. If you have plans to go to the gym, pack that bag the night before and put it by the door. Any lofty goals current you has will be immediately forgotten by future you if you don't make it as easy as possible.

Have an idea of what you want to wear in mind or picked out Sunday night. That way you'll look your best and start the week feeling great.

Charge all of your electronics. If you have a fitbit or Apple watch, make sure your devices are charged to kick the week of on the right foot (literally). 

Map out the week ahead so you have a sense of where you need to be and what you need to do. Have a lot of meetings on Tuesday? Push preparing for that big presentation to Wednesday so you won't be interrupted by meetings. 

Get to bed early. Turn off Netflix before eleven and you'll be bright-eyed the next morning. 

Drink a lot of water Monday morning. I mean, drink a lot of water period, but especially Monday morning. But you knew that, right?

What are some of the ways you prepare to have a very productive week?
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5 Things I've Learned This Year

Halfway done with 2019 and it still feels like I'm just getting going. Isn't that always the case though? Despite still feeling like I'm in 2018, I've learned a few big lessons this year that feel worth sharing. Even if it's just for future Kayla to look back and think, "oh how quaint."

All things are difficult before they are easy. I've started a lot of new projects this year. I launched a subscription box, am deep into creating a coaching program, and am taking active steps towards a retail location. And it's hard. I have no freakin' clue what I'm doing most of the time. But things become easier the more you do them. The box process has become a well oiled machine after six months and I'm sure everything that's difficult now will become easy soon enough.

Anything can be accomplished with time and effort. This kind of goes with the first lesson. I never in a million years thought I'd be creating curriculum for an online coaching program. But with time and a whole lot of effort, even the most daunting thing (I'm looking at you retail store) can become a reality. 

I'm a social introvert. This year I joined the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce's ambassador program kind of on a whim. It's a whole lot more socializing than I originally expected, but I'm realizing that's ok. I'm still a hardcore homebody who loves to be alone with her husband and her cats. But I can also be that socialite attending networking events and grabbing coffee with strangers. 

That you can't always dip your toe in. This feels 100% true with the retail shop venture we're embarking on. It's definitely not something to just "try out." There are leases, commitments, and so many other factors that can't be half-assed. It's time to go all in on Oh, Hello.

Don't say 'no' to yourself for someone else. So often I find myself thinking, "oh there's no way they'll want to collab with me." I'm literally saying 'no' for them before I've even asked. So many times this year I've been pleasantly surprised by responses to emails and inquiries. You never know what they're going to say, so don't say it for them.

I'd love to say that I learned something small like how to clean the oven (I still don't know), but these past six months have been packed with some big "aha" lessons. How has the first half of 2019 been treating you?

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My Top 5 Travel Tips

We talked about travel anxiety in a recent post, but I wanted to dive into the tricks I've learned along the way that has made travel a breeze. I travel about once a month and these tips make it possible.

Join every frequent flyer program you can find. No matter what airline I'm flying on, I make sure I'm part of their program to get points for the flights. That way, one day down the road I'll have enough points for free travel. It seems silly if you don't use the same airline that often, but over time it can really pay off. Plus the programs are free so what does it hurt?

Along the same lines of frequent flyers are credit card points. Depending on what card you have, you'll receive points from purchases. We run our entire business through our credit cards in order to get the most points possible. We use those to pay for flights and hotels for conferences and events. As long as you pay off your credit card balance in full every month, it's basically like the credit card company is paying for your travel.

Once you're actually traveling, pack Ziplock bags with you. I usually bring one gallon bag with a few sandwich bags inside. You never know when you'll need a ziplock bag. It's great to keep your liquids separate from other things in your bag if they happen to spill. Maybe you went swimming the night before your flight leaves and still have a wet swimsuit. They're great to have on hand, just in case.

I've personally never been very good at documenting a trip while I'm on it, so I recommend keeping daily adventure lists of what you get up to. Nothing too fancy, just a list of places you went, things you saw, and food you ate. That way when you get back home you won't have to remember all the details when you're trying to document the trip.

Although I'm a bit biased with this one, film it. Film the entire trip in one capacity or another. Even if it's just short clips on your phone, you'll love being able to look back and see better snippets than just posed photos. Phone storage is way better these days so you won't have to worry about using up your space.

Any other seasoned travelers out there? What are your top tips?
film it
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What I Wish I Knew When I Started Decorative Planning

It's been five years. Five years of decorative planning. I've learned a lot over the past half decade (wut. why did I even say it that way? Now I can't get that out of my head...) and I have quite a lot of insight for younger me. 

Dear Kayla from 2014,

You don't need a ton of washi tape all at once. I mean, you'll soon find out you don't like it at all, but you definitely don't need 30+ rolls when you've only used a few inches of the first roll you purchased. Take things slow, figure out your planning style, and then invest in high quality products you'll use until they run out.

It's ok if your planning style changes. When I first started, I felt terrible when I suddenly didn't like the vertical planner I obsessed over for months before purchasing. Planner guilt is a real thing and you don't have to beat yourself up if the system no longer works for you.

Matte stickers are indeed better than glossy. Now, it does matter what type of matte paper we're talking about. That silky smooth type is king and beats out all other types. I know you're obsessed with glossy now, but you'll see.

You'll find other like-minded people. It may feel like you're a weirdo and no one relates to you, but soon enough you'll find your tribe of planner addicts and make a ton of lifelong friends. Just hold out and keep doing what you love.

One day, you'll finally figure out what to do with leftover stickers. I know you're frustrated by them now and don't know what to do with that giant stack, but you'll soon learn to combine like colors and do one color spreads. You'll feel stupid when that retaliation comes.

I know you take your spreads very seriously and what them to be Instagram perfect, but you'll realize (a little too late), that style of planning just doesn't work for you. Function over form because at the end of the day, that planner needs to help you not be a piece of crap more than it needs to look good.

 Kayla from 2019

What are some things you wish you knew when you started decorative planning? 
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How I Take Care of Over 30+ Different Houseplants

We recently hosted my 27th birthday at our house. Always having a flair for the dramatic, I wanted the theme to be "urban jungle." Of course it was met with a lot of confusion from friends who are most definitely not plant enthusiasts. As soon as they strolled through the front door it definitely sunk in. Over 30 gorgeous houseplants all stacked up right there in the living room (with a chair for plant selfies of course). 

Now people knew I enjoyed houseplants, but the party really brought the obsession to light. I get questions a lot online and in person about how I can keep so many (and different) plants alive. I gotta tell you, it really is super simple. I wish I had some super secret magic trick my great-great-grandmother passed down through the generations, but alas. No silver bullet plant growth tips here.

It's all about the water and sunlight. Which I mean, duh, but it's more than just pouring some water in and sticking a plant in front of a window. Plants, like people, are all different. Even ones in the same species have different needs. Plants I mean (well people too I guess!). I found my best plant success when I stopped listening to what the tags in the plants told me to do and started listening to the plant itself. (Insert plant whisperer imagery right here).

Sure I start off doing what the tag suggests, but I keep an eye on the plant to see if that's what it really wants. I always start my plant off in a location I hope it'll like and works with my decor, but more often than not the plant wants another spot. Over the next month or so if the plant doesn't get any new growth and starts looking sickly, I'll move it into more light or less light depending on where it is. 

As for water, I water all of my plants once a week but vary the amount of water that goes to each plant. Succulents and cacti get just a little to get the top soil a bit wet while the rest of the plants get water based on the size of their pots. All of my plants have a bed of rocks and sand at the bottom of their pots before the soil, so I never worry too much about over-watering them as they have a place to store that water away from the roots. The larger the pot, the more water as it dries out quicker. Plus the plants are usually larger in those pots and need more water anyway. I also recommend rotating your plants as they'll start to bend towards the light source over time.

It's honestly quite simple. Your plant will tell you if it's happy with new growth, and it will tell you if it's not with brown leaves and droopy looking branches. Plants are quite hearty creatures, but do demand a little attention now and again. I find that succulents and cacti are the hardest plants to keep happy as they don't show effects as quickly as other plants. So I tend to stick to the tropical or vine varieties that give me quicker satisfaction in seeing them grow.

Now you definitely don't need 30 plants, but one or two will make all the difference in a space. Start that urban jungle!
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What's Missing from Your Planning Routine

What's Missing from Your Planning Routine

Whether you're a weekly planner, bullet journal-er, or avid to do list maker, don't forget to make sure this one particular thing is in your planning routine. Memory keeping.

For the longest time I avoided memory documenting because I thought I had to be good at scrapbooking (which I most definitely am not). It seemed like such an expensive hobby to get into to be any sort of good at it and it just wasn't what I wanted to spend my free time on (I rather be napping honestly). So I added a few photos here or there but didn't really do any memory keeping. I missed out on preserving a lot of awesome moments and now I'm here to make sure you don't miss out like I did.

What's Missing from Your Planning Routine

My first attempt at memory documenting happened when I went to Las Vegas for Go Wild. I literally had no plan whatsoever on how I wanted to do it. I kept it light, added things as the weekend went along, and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I became hooked and now it's a vital part of my planning routine especially to document travel like my recent trip to Washington state.

So why should you start? Because it's super easy. I just use the softbound notebooks from Erin Condren and paste down business cards, birthday cards, ticket stubs, and of course photos. My rule of thumb is if I have at least photos and one memento from an event, it's worth documenting.  

What's Missing from Your Planning Routine

It may seem silly to document little things like a baseball game now, but I know future me will appreciate the effort. One day I'll look back and easily remember the event and it'll be awesome to see me and Alex in our early years of marriage.

So whether you add some memory planning into your current planner on some note pages or you break out a whole new notebook, just start. Grab the scissors and glue and get to work. You'll become addicted to it in no time.
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How to Embrace Burnout

I'm no stranger to burnout. It's like anxiety in how it constantly hangs around, unwanted, giving unnecessary feedback. Sure I much rather have it not exist at all, but burnout is a part of any profession in one way or another. So here's how I've learned to embrace it over the years.

First off, I've accepted that burnout is inevitable. It's going to happen no matter how hard I'm motivated or passionate about what I'm doing. Sure it may become less frequent, but it can't be avoided forever. I think once I accepted this fact, burnout stopped being so crippling. I no longer feel like a complete failure if I'm feeling burnt out, but rather that it's just part of the cycle and I'll be back to being motivated in no time.

I've also started scheduling more mental health days to try and add more distance between burnouts. I'll take a half day off of work to do something just for fun. It helps reset the batteries, keeps me motivated, and usually has a way of inspiring me in the process.

When burnout eventually does strike, I look at it as an opportunity to try and look at things from a different perspective. I'll try and work on another project or putz on things around the house. I find it's when you're not paying attention that creativity strikes. And if a great new idea doesn't strike during burnout to jump start things again, that's ok too. I try to remind myself why I started to remain positive and let the burnout pass. 

Burnout is going to happen, especially if you're working in a creative field that constantly demands new things from you. It's better to embrace it rather than fight it, because burnout will win in the end. So go along for the ride, take a day off every once in a while, and don't stress out too much (I'm talking to you Kayla in the future).
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My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

Today marks the first day of the Oh, Hello Box Bits Sale so what better way to celebrate than to talk about some of my most used box items (available individually until Sunday) from the past six months. Of course I love everything in the boxes (I designed and curated them after all), but these products are the ones I use most often in my everyday life.

My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

My enamel pin obsession knows no bounds and I'm still completely in love with them. Each box has an exclusive enamel pin and I love seeing how the collection continues to grow each month. It's an amazing way to remember all of the boxes so far. I also find myself using the toiletry bag often with all the trips we've been taking lately. It's incredibly roomy and fits everything I and my husband need for a long weekend away.

My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

The three zipper pouch is also a favorite for convenient travel packing. On our last trip to Washington state I used it to organize my makeup. I love the compartments to separate out brushes and makeup bits into categories.

My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

I never realized how badly I needed the tech taco in my life until I had one. It's the perfect tool to keep my cords from getting tangled in my bag and has saved me a lot of frustration trying to untangle cords. It's such a simple thing, but has made my coffee shop work outings so much easier.
My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

However I think my most used item out of all the Oh, Hello boxes has to be this pocket sized traveler's notebook from the very first box. It goes everywhere with me and houses any random ideas or notes I take on the go. It's my constant companion.

My Most Used Oh, Hello Box Items

My most complimented item is definitely the tartan tote from the coffee shop themed box. I grab it whenever I'm headed out to make returns or bring items to a party. It's heavy duty while still flexible to fold up and put in my suitcase too. It's like a classier version of a reusable tote.

Be sure to take advantage of the Box Bits Sale this weekend through Sunday. Quantities vary from item to item in the sale and there are a ton of other products I didn't mention in this post. Plus use coupon code BOXBITS to save 20% off everything in the sale!

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How to Deal with Travel Anxiety

How to Deal with Travel Anxiety

Oh travel anxiety. I swear no matter how often I travel I still get anxious before flights. What's that about brain?! While I try to figure out a way to trick my brain out of anxiety, here are some things I do that could help you reduce travel apprehension. 

Do your research. A lot of my anxiety stems from a lack of control. I like having information, the more the better. So I always do my research about what's around the hotel I'm staying at so I know options for food and shopping if I happen to need something. I look into weather forecasts and the distance from the airport to the hotel. I print off schedules if I'm going to a conference. The more information I can find the more at ease I am.

Have a packing list that you can continually update after every travel adventure. For the longest time I kept forgetting my hairbrush. Nothing annoys a planner more than when things don't go according to plan. So now I stick firmly to a packing list on my laptop that I'll print out and use for every trip. 

Set a loose schedule of what you want to do at the destination. The key word is loose. I tend to have a problem of over planning which leads to expectations being crushed when we don't get to everything on my impossibly long schedule. I like to choose two to three main things I want to do every day and leave room for a little planned spontaneous (see what I did there) adventures in between.

Prepare where you can and try to let go of worrying about what you can't. This is a discussion Alex and I have constantly. I can't control if our plane is delayed or not, but I can control whether or not I have things to do if it is. Have things in place just in case some of those silly anxieties actually come true, but don't stress about things you can't control.

Now plan that next adventure and face that travel anxiety head on. Don't miss out on amazing memories.
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5 Ways to Make Mental Health a Priority

5 Ways to Make Mental Health a Priority

It's so easy to ignore mental health as the calendar fills up and the days get busy. Yet when your mental health suffers, everything suffers. So here are five easy ways to make mental health a priority in your life.

Plan fun outings and events to have something to look forward to beyond work. A few weeks ago I went with my friend Taylor to a candle bar to make our own custom candles. We were only gone a few hours, but the adventure did WONDERS for my mental health. Plus it gave me something new to talk about besides work things! Something as simple as going to the movies and taking a break from reality can hugely improve your mental health.

Create a list of stress reduction activities that you can reference if you're feeling anxious or stressed. My list includes things like a long bath, a walk outside, and a hydrating face mask. Write down things that bring you joy and help you to get out of  your head.

Go to therapy. Whether it's every week or a few times a month, set aside time to talk to someone. Even if you don't think you necessary "need" therapy, schedule an appointment anyway. You'll be surprised at how much lighter you'll feel after an hour of judgement free conversation.

Unfollow and defriend accounts that bring you stress. Whether it's that second cousin who is constantly starting political fights on Facebook or that Instagrammer with the unrealistically perfect life, delete them from your social sphere. Don't think about it, just do it. The effect will be nearly instantaneous. You won't feel crappy after a quick scroll through Instagram but rather inspired by feeds that make you feel good rather than like shit.

Schedule time each week for mental health activities like yoga or meditation. Even if it's just ten minutes before bed to journal about the day, set aside time for YOU. 
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Know Your Worth | How to Get Paid for Things People Want You to Do for Free

How to Get Paid for Things People Want You to Do for Free

Trust me, I'm still learning this one. When you have a creativity related job, it's easy for friends and family to assume you'll do work for them for free. "Oh, it's just a few photos" or "Can't you just whip up a logo really quick?" We are constantly getting bombarded with requests to do things for free and free doesn't pay the bills. So here's what you should do if people want you to do any sort of work for free.

Be up front about your costs. Especially if you work in a creative field designing websites or doing photography, make sure people know what you charge. Create a pricing sheet or have an email template you can send to anyone who asks you to do something for them. That way they know immediately that you aren't an intern and deserve proper compensation for your work.

Provide a friends and family discount if you feel so inclined. You definitely shouldn't feel like you have to offer special pricing for people you know, but it could be an easy way to appease people while still getting paid.

Try the barter system if someone just doesn't want to pay you. If you still want to work with them, try exchanging goods and services instead. Maybe they have a rental space you could use for free in exchange for some photography. Figure out a way that both parties are satisfied.

Create a site or portfolio of your work to boost credibility. A lot of the time people don't really understand what my husband and I do for a living. The ignorance leads them to assuming graphic design or photography is just a hobby, rather than our way of feeding ourselves. Having a website or portfolio of your work will not only show moochers the quality you produce (and not for free), but is also a great way to get more clients.

Make very few exceptions to the rules. It's super important that you don't do a favor for someone "just this one time" because that could start becoming the precedent. You don't want word spreading that you did Jack's logo for free because Susan is going to expect the same deal.

Friends and family don't perform their jobs for free, so neither should you. Just because you may have a non-traditional job in a creative field does not mean you have to be a starving artist.

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Erin Condren Summer 2019 Seasonal Surprise Box Review

Erin Condren Summer 2019 Seasonal Surprise Box Review

If it's tropical thing you can basically assume I'm going to love it. It's been a while since I've received an Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box* so I could not wait to rip this box open. I've generally really enjoyed past surprise boxes because there's just something about exclusive items you can't get on the site. Exclusivity is basically death to my bank account.

Erin Condren Summer 2019 Seasonal Surprise Box Review

If you're new to the surprise box, they're released every quarter for $35 (plus tax) and contain over $65 in exclusive and sneak peek products. The themes usually stay pretty close to whatever season the box is for. I've reviewed a few other boxes in the past if you want to check out those posts.

Erin Condren Summer 2019 Seasonal Surprise Box Review

My favorite items from this box are the wristlet, palm paper clips, chase the sun cover, and asterisk pen. I've already used the wristlet as a pouch for my carry-on liquids since it's see-through and can go through security. 

The pocket sized traveler's notebook insert is interesting, but I'm more curious to see if they come out with a line of smaller traveler's notebooks since this particular insert is exclusive to the box. Otherwise this little guy is basically pointless. The larger insert is a summer petite planner where you can write down summer plans and document memories. I have my own style of documenting memories that I'm a fan of more, so this will likely be passed along to a friend.

Erin Condren Summer 2019 Seasonal Surprise Box Review

Overall I think this box is worth the $35 price tag since a lot of the exclusive items I really enjoy. It's when the exclusive items are meh that it doesn't really seem worth it since you'll be able to get the sneak peek items from the box on the website in a few weeks. I love seeing the company branch out into new types of products like the paperclips and pens. Who knows what they'll come up with next...

What do you think of this seasonal surprise box? Did you snag one? What past box is your favorite?

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