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




How to Host a Tiki Themed Party

How to Host a Tiki Themed Party
Over the weekend we hosted a tiki themed party for Alex's 28th birthday. Since we came back from Hawaii last November we've been utterly obsessed with tiki cocktails and aloha shirts. It seemed only appropriate. Plus with Michigan being blanketed with snow, an "escape" to warmer weather could not have come at a better time. 

This part was beyond easy to throw and required very little prep work on our part. In the party invitation I encouraged guests to bring their own tiki mugs to drink out of, then leave behind to add to Alex's collection. It took the guesswork out for them on what to get Alex as a gift, and made it so we didn't have to buy a ton of tiki glasses up front.

How to Host a Tiki Themed Party

We did have our fair of glasses to start with as well. We get ours from Amazon and I really love this set as well as this parrot set if you're wanting to start a little collection. Plus this skeleton tiki mug caught my eye so I had to scoop it up.

All of our drink recipes come from a Tiki Cocktail book I got Alex for Christmas. We've been slowing working our way through it every Tiki Tuesday so we had a few favorites in mind when we drafted our party drink menu. We also made a tiki punch recipe I found online so we had a drink option that served a lot more people.

How to Host a Tiki Themed Party

We picked up our alcohol, lots of fruit for garnish, as well as tiny umbrellas. We also got a bunch of leis off Amazon so people would feel like they fit the party theme without much effort. Presto. Tiki party achieved. Honestly it was SO easy to throw this party together and Alex and I both agree it's the best party we've ever thrown.

I of course vlogged the setup and a little bit of the event. Can you tell that I'm totally drunk at the end of it? Those tiki drinks sure do pack a punch!
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Work Hard, Play Hard February Oh, Hello Box + Giveaway

Work Hard, Play Hard February Oh, Hello Box

It feels like just yesterday I announced the Oh, Hello Box to the world and now here we are talking through the SECOND box already. Whhhhattttt. February always feels like the month of abandoned resolutions. I wanted to create a box that would help motivate and inspire you to keep after your goals, but also remind you to take time for yourself every once in a while. Plus I'm giving away one of the boxes at the end of this post!

Work Hard, Play Hard February Oh, Hello Box

If you're new to the Oh, Hello Box, it's a monthly subscription for $44.95 that comes with over $100 worth of stationery and lifestyle products. There's also an auto-renew option if you're like me and a new month sneaks up on you, every month. This box will be available through March 1st.

Work Hard, Play Hard February Oh, Hello Box

The February box is full of inspiration quotes, desk supplies, and tools to help find a little relaxation at the end of a long work day. My favorite product in the box has to be the makeup bag. There's SO much room in it and it's the product I've used the most from the box so far. 

I'm making it my mission to put something fun in each box for the kid in all of us (or actual kids in our life) so this month a rubber ducky just had to happen. 

Work Hard, Play Hard February Oh, Hello Box

The mysterious cloth pouch contains a relaxation kit complete with pumice stone, bars of soap, and tea. I'm going to leave one of these pouches in our guest rooms for anyone who comes over and needs a little R&R at Hotel Benda (more on that to come!)

Work Hard, Play Hard February Oh, Hello Box

There's also a really adorable pennant with one of my favorite quotes of all time. I constantly need a reminder that things don't happen overnight. Projects take time and patience sometimes and patience is something I definitely lack.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported the box so far! To say thanks I'm giving a box away to one of you! To enter, fill out the raffle form below!

Good luck and don't forget to work hard and play hard!
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Inhaling Lots of Love in. Exhaling Lots of Love Out

It's something Yoga with Adriene says all the time during practices and it's something that's really stuck with me. "Inhale lots of love in. Exhale lots of love out." And with Valentine's Day just around the corner it seems only appropriate to unpack it.

One of my big goals this year is to focus on self love. I've been hard on myself over the years and 2018 has to be one of the worst in the books. It's the year I finally got diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It's the year I started going to therapy and started taking medication for those problems. It's also the year I finally started to actively seek out things to improve my mental health. Yoga became one of those things.

I think it's safe to say that yoga has done serious wonders for me over the past month. I'm more focused, centered, and actively trying to both inhale and exhale love. It's become a mantra that I tell myself when I'm feeling stressed, anxious, or unmotivated. Love has to go inward before it can go outward.

My focus on self love has even seeped into my business and planning life. Last month's sticker subscription was about treating yourself and self love. I'm throwing love into everything I do so that it surrounds not only myself, but the people around me as well.

I've changed my Erin Condren Life Planner cover to one with hearts and foil to remind me of the mantra constantly. To some I may be going a bit overboard with the self love thing, but it's working for me. It's keeping me focused on the positive and pushing away the negative. And that's huge for someone with self-deprecating thoughts struggling with depression. So think what you may, but I'm going all in on this hearts and love everywhere business.

As I'm bringing a lot of love inward, I'm also trying to bring it outward as well. I'm obsessed with the Erin Condren Share the Love Journal  because it's full of prompts to write to a loved one. I have half a mind to get one of these for all the important people in my life. This little book has 50 different prompts to help articulate love in so many different ways. I've already started one for my husband Alex.

So yeah. That's where I'm at on the self love front. It's so easy to neglect yourself when your to do list is a mile long and so many other things are grabbing your attention. I'm done pushing myself to the side and letting my mental health slip. I'm going to continue to inhale lots of love in, and exhale lots of love out. And you should too.

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How I Deal with My Anxiety and Depression in the Colder Months

How I Deal with My Anxiety and Depression in the Colder Months
Ironically as I write this, Michigan is in the middle of a serious snowstorm. We've already have nearly a foot of snow on the ground with more on the way. What better time than to talk about how the winter months affect my anxiety and depression, huh?

Whenever I start to feel anxious or down, I always take a bath. The hot water warms me up both inside and out and I feel immediately relaxed and at ease. I light a candle, dim the lights, and take time to just breathe.

The feeling of an endless winter subsides a little when I do something in the snow. If you can't beat it join it, right? I try to get out of the house, get some fresh air, and embrace the winter wonderland. Of course I bundle up beyond belief, but going for a walk or playing in the snow makes it a lot more bearable. 

This winter, regular yoga practices have been a complete game changer for me. It's designated time during my day to become grounded. I feel stronger, more centered, and more focused. It's helped with my anxiety immensely and in ways I never expected. It's definitely something I recommend if you suffer from anxiety as well. 

Nothing beats the winter blues like having things to look forward to. In the colder months I always try to schedule some parties, events, or outings so I have things to get excited about each week. That way I don't feel like I'm constantly trapped inside or that the days have no point and just keep repeating themselves.

Don't be too hard on yourself if you need to take a day in bed or don't have as much motivation to do things as you usually do. Winters are always the hardest on my anxiety and depression. I cut myself a little slack, watch a bit more Netflix than usual, and try to focus on the positive as much as possible.

If you have depression or anxiety than you already know that it's a "take it day by day" kind of thing. When it's cold out I drink a few more chai lattes, take quite a lot of baths, and snuggle with my cats. Plus I remind myself that it won't be cold forever. That always helps.
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10 Misconceptions About Self Employment

10 Misconceptions About Self Employment

I've been self-employed for nearly five years now. Of course it definitely has its perks (like our cats being our colleagues), but there are a ton of misconceptions about what it's like to work for yourself. Let's tackle ten of the common ones I get asked about most often.

You don't get to wear pajamas every day. Let's address the notion I get questions about more than anything else. Yes, I do get to wear pajamas a lot, but it's definitely not every day. At the very least I don't have to put on business attire every day, so there's that.

There's still a set schedule, even if you're the one making it. When I first started working for myself I had this idea in my head that I'd wake up well-rested and excited to tackle whatever the day had in store for me. It's more like waking up still half asleep and quickly reaching for the mile long to do list. The only way we've found to be successful working at home is to have a set schedule, rather than letting the day take us where it may.

There are still meetings. Meetings were top on the list of things I couldn't wait to stop doing when I left the traditional workforce. Sadly they're still just as much of a thing when you're self employed. We meet people constantly for the promotional business as well as to build relationships and collaborations for the stationery side of things.

You end up working more because you work where you also play. I can't tell you how many weekdays end with us still at our computers only breaking to eat a quick meal (at our desk) before getting back to work. I do miss having a place where I could leave work behind more or less.

People think you have free time, all the time. So often someone will have the day off and think I'm free to spend the day hanging out with them. I wish. If I do decide to take the day off as well, I still have to make up that work time in the evenings or over the weekend. Just because I'm at home, doesn't necessarily mean I can just drop everything.

Deadlines are still very much a thing. Honestly I think they're even worse now that I work for myself. Before I had a team of people helping me reach a deadline, but now it's usually just me. Sure I'm also the one that makes the deadlines, but my company and my audience are relying on me to hit that deadline. The pressure feels more intense now than ever before. 

Finances are always a concern because they very often rely solely on you. If you work for a larger corporation, you very rarely worry about if you're going to get paid that month. When you work for yourself, that question pops into your head more often than you would think.

There are seriously dry spells that you wouldn't really consider. Planner supplies don't sell well from now until about May. So finances are always top of mind this time of year as we try to navigate the drought. 

It becomes lonely once the novelty of not having to work with other people wears off. At first I loved not having to make small talk in the break room, but now I'm starved for human interaction with someone other than my husband. Whenever I hang out with friends I feel like I haven't seen another person's face for years and word vomit all over them.

The threat of competition is real and it's everywhere. Sure this also exists in regular 9-5 jobs, but when you're self employed, it's all consuming. Because being better than the competition means whether or not you get to pay yourself this month. Even when you try to do your own thing, it's nearly impossible to ignore what other people in your field are doing.

Despite all of these things, I still would choose this life over and over again. Self-employment definitely has it's upside, but there are a ton of misconceptions out there about the glamour of working from home. Alex has this great metaphor about self-employment. He says it's like smoking. You'd never recommend to anyone else to start doing it, but you're completely addicted.
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How I Plan to Live a More Intentional Life in 2019

How I Plan to Live a More Intentional Life in 2019

I've never been one for a word of the year, but this year felt different somehow. There has been so many changes going on in my business and personal life that it felt right to pick something to focus on in 2019. No silly new year's resolutions. Just one word to keep me focused on becoming my best self over the next year. INTENTION.

Just picking a word has me feeling different and more...well...intentional. It's always in the back of my mind as I go about my days. I find myself subconsciously asking, "How can I live my life with more intention today?" I teamed up with to do just that.

This year I want to be more intentional with my relationships. It's so easy to get caught up in my daily to do lists that I forget to reach out to friends or family that I don't see every day. I've scheduled in my planner to write a few letters every month to the people I care about and the all occasions card pack makes it super easy to have any type of card I may need on hand.

How I Plan to Live a More Intentional Life in 2019

I also want to take my blog and brand more seriously in the new year. As you guys know, I recently re-branded to better align with the Oh, Hello brand. I want to make more intentional decisions with my company. I picked up new stationery and business cards to celebrate the name change. It has me so excited to send out mail to brands I've worked with in the past to build better relationships with them. 

How I Plan to Live a More Intentional Life in 2019

Along with being more intentional with my brand, I want to send more thank you notes to people we work with this year. It's not only a nice thing to do, it's a good business practice to get into. It's so easy to just send a quick email and think it'll do the trick. But a handwritten card? It'll set you apart in the business world. Sometimes old school is the way to go.

This isn't a sponsored post, but I'm excited to take all of my new products and use them to become more intentional this year. It'll not only build my personal relationships, but my business ones as well. Win-win all around. My favorite kind.
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Details from My Studio

I'm fortunate that there's extra space in our home for me to have my own studio. It's completely changed how I work by providing me a place to leave set up and constantly ready for my next creative project. In the past I may not have taken advantage of creative moments because it was just too much work to bring out all my lights and set everything up. Now when the mood strikes, I hop over to my studio, flick a few lights on, and I'm ready to go.

I keep the space pretty open and free of clutter so there's room to work, but there are a few items here and there that really make the space my own. From the My Little Pony and Shopkins collections to my giant squishy watermelon, I wanted things that made me happy, but also looked pretty in the background of videos and photos.

So here's a little glimpse into my happy place. Let me know in the comments if you're interested in a full video tour of the studio!
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Free Downloadable: 25 List Prompts to Kick Off 2019 on the Right Foot

25 List Prompts to Kick Off 2019 on the Right Foot

With one week into the new year I hope you're all starting to write the date correctly again! That always seems to be the hardest thing for me to get right. Rather than focus too heavily on new year's resolutions this year, I wanted to pay more attention to my word of the year. It seems much more manageable and something I won't abandon come February. My word for the year is Intention. So in an effort to kick 2019 off on the right foot, I started a list insert in my traveler's notebook. I wanted a place to write down the things that matter to me most, that bring me joy, and that will help me live a more intentional life. 

Of course I had to share my list prompts with all of you! Download the PDF here to have 25 different list prompts to help you be more mindful in 2019. They'll help you sort out what matters to you most while eliminating anything in your life that doesn't serve you. Plus it'll be fun to look back at the start of 2020 (that felt weird!) to see how your thoughts have changed over the year.

So print off the list, find a notebook you've been hording, and set down to write out some lists to help you become more mindful in 2019. If you feel comfortable, share with me what's on some of your lists! Be sure to tag me on Instagram @ohhelloliving.

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How to Build a Brand Toolkit for Your Blog & Company

How to Build a Brand Toolkit for Your Blog & Company

One of the very first things I did before 2019 hit is to finally get my blog brand in order. The name change was just part of the larger picture to get a more cohesive brand identity. Now that all my back links have been fixed and redirects are in order, I thought I'd share with you how I built my brand toolkit to better convey what my blog is all about. It's honestly a lot easier than you think.

1. Define your brand's story or identity. What is your blog/company about? What's its mission? If someone were to describe your site in a few words, what would they be? What are things that interest you? I have a serious love for plants, minimalism, and modern design. I wanted all of those elements to come through in my new branding. My blog is all about making your life simply beautiful through planning, organization, and business tips. Sure I throw in the occasional board game review here or there, but the overall message is clear. 

2. Define your official brand name/logo. If you already have your name and logo, great! For me, Microscope Beauty just did not fit my brand's story or identity anymore so I needed to switch it up. I chose Oh, Hello Living because it coordinates well with my main company Oh, Hello Co., but also has more of a lifestyle feel to it. If you haven't figured out your name yet, take your brand's story and brainstorm some ideas that clearly embody your brand identity. Leave yourself room for growth with your name too. You don't want to call your blog "Cooking with Casey" when a few months down the line you might want to expand into book reviews. 

3. Explain your logo and how it should be used. Once you have your name and logo, give clear rules as to how that logo should be used. Oh, Hello Living for example is a straight across line of text. Decide now if you're ok with the text being broken up into separate lines, or if you want to be more strict with your brand. 

4. Brand color palette. This is definitely my favorite part of the brand toolkit process and the easiest one for me. Choose at least three colors that represent your brand. Have two main colors, and a few supporting colors as well. These colors you'll use across everything so make sure you pick ones that look good together and help share your brand's story and identity.

5. Fonts that fit your brand identity. While building your toolkit it's also super important to pick which fonts you're going to use to represent your brand. You don't want employees or yourself down the road getting willy nilly with the font. Choose a nice serif and sans-serif font and maybe one or two other options. That way you'll have a cohesive brand look across any platform.

6. Supporting visuals and information. Think of this as the mood board for your brand. Whether its tangible or digital, find images and elements that help to communicate your brand's story. The simplistic home drawings of my brand can be seen over all of my various platforms so you know you're on an Oh, Hello Living site when you're there. Using cohesive elements gives your audience a better understanding of your brand and makes it easier for them to recognize at a glance.

I recommend opening up Illustrator or even a Microsoft Word document and dragging different elements, fonts, and colors into one place so at the end of these steps, you have your brand toolkit all in one place. Print it off, pin it up somewhere so you can see, and get the year off on the right foot with a more cohesive brand.

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What's Inside the First Oh, Hello Box + WIN A BOX!

What's Inside the First Oh, Hello Box

The day has finally arrived. And it can only be outdone by the actual box release date. I've somehow managed to keep my spoiler-loving butt from spilling ALL the secrets about the contents of the first #ohhellobox. That is, until now. So let's dive into this packed box filled with items you won't find anywhere else on! 

When I decided to make the subscription box, I wanted it to be more than just stationery supplies. Sure I'll be sure to include pens and notepads galore, but there's also going to be a ton of lifestyle products coming your way. This first box is themed "Brunch Bunch" and has a gorgeous embroidered apron ($30) with adjustable neck and waist fabric. 

Each subscription box will contain an enamel pin ($7) designed exclusively for each box. So as you receive boxes, you'll be able to collect enamel pins from each one. And I posted a handy DIY enamel pin frame tutorial on YouTube so you can get prepared.

What's Inside the First Oh, Hello Box

This box truly represents where Oh, Hello has been and where it's going. I wanted to include a lot of products that represent who we are, but also start to shift to what I want Oh, Hello to become. So the stationery products are more abundant in this box, as a nod to Oh, Hello's history.

There's a pocket traveler's notebook ($37) with an exclusive cover design as well as a pocket dot grid insert ($4). It wouldn't be an Oh, Hello box without stickers! There are two custom sticker sheets ($6) as well as a bunch of die cuts ($4) of all the brunch bunch characters. 

On top of three sets of sticky notes ($9), you'll also receive our first ever keychain ($8). In the shape of an egg. It's keychain perfection.

What's Inside the First Oh, Hello Box

The first subscription box by me wouldn't be complete without a squishy ($5)!! It had to happen. Nothing brought me more joy than when a giant box packed full of donut squishies landed on my doorstep. 

What's Inside the First Oh, Hello Box

So there you have it. The first box is officially out in the world and will be available for purchase on January 5th. Boxes will be $44.95 plus a flat shipping rate. And as a thank you for supporting me and Oh, Hello I'm giving away a box to one of you!  

Don't forget to subscribe to the Oh, Hello Box Newsletter to stay up to date on launch dates and future boxes!

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Spaces Planner Review & Giveaway

Spaces Planner Review

Let me first start out by saying the Spaces Planner* is by far one of the strangest, most unique planners I've come across. Full stop. It has me so intrigued in so many ways, but also makes it alarmingly clear just how uncreative I am. Shall we?

Spaces Planner Review

The planner kindly has a page to describe the best ways to use the planner to help you start your spaces journey. And oh what a strange journey it will be.

Spaces Planner Review

I love a good overview page. There's room to jot down a few upcoming events or memories from each month in one place.

Spaces Planner Review

The planner itself is quite large and a lot longer than most "standard" sized planners. You can really see the size difference in the monthly spread as the boxes are a lot longer than most. I'm sure you could still go sticker crazy, but you'll want to gravitate away from functional stickers if it bugs you that they don't fit perfectly.

Spaces Planner Review

Now on to the weekly pages and what really sets this planner apart from the rest for me. Each week is divided into boxes. Some are labeled, but the majority of them are left blank for you to customize to your own needs. There's a handy little weekly list at the bottom for at the glance planning.

It's weird. But like, weird in a good way? I don't know. I've talked about this planner a few times now (including in the video I've linked below) and I still don't know how to feel about it. Hence why I'm giving it away to one of at the end of this post. Maybe you'll have more luck sorting out your emotions over this planner than I have.

Spaces Planner Review

Like I get it. If you think of your life in categories this could be fantastic. But I worry that the way I do my planning (heavy on the daily lists), this won't ever work for me. 

Spaces Planner Review

Plus the price has me a bit uneasy. It's a $48 planner without any of the customization options other planners in the same price range have. It seems quite expensive for what you're getting. 

I do love how unique it is, but it's the type of planner that will either work great for you or it won't. There's no maybe with this type of layout. I'm impressed with the commitment to a style, but it's just not my cup of tea.

Take a gander at this video where I show you the Spaces Planner along with two other planners you probably haven't heard of (unless you regularly read the blog).

If the Spaces Planner seems like something that might work for you or someone you know, enter my giveaway! It's open internationally to anyone over 18-years-old or with parental consent!

Are there any other planners you'd be interested in seeing a review for? Let me know in the comments!
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Introducing Oh, Hello Living

New name, who dis? I never know how to start posts like this so I'll settle for awkward and dive into the point of it...

After a lot of thought and consideration, I've said goodbye to MicroscopeBeauty and hello to a new chapter in my life. Quite literally "hello." Although things are definitely not perfect yet (I have so many broken back links and my old url won't forward to my new one), I'm still too excited to share this new transition.

So. Welcome to Oh, Hello Living. Not much will change besides the name. It just felt time to branch out, get a name that makes way more sense with my brand, and move on.

Here's hoping that the back links will get fixed and old domains will forward to the new one, but for now, I'm just going to keep doing my little happy dance and buy new business cards.
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