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


Top Down Planner Review & Walkthrough

Top Down Planner Review & Walkthrough

Top Down Planner Review & Walkthrough

Top Down Planner Review & Walkthrough

Top Down Planner Review & Walkthrough

For almost the entirety of our relationship, I've been trying to get Alex into a planner. Low and behold when the Top Down Planner came into our lives, we found just the thing. It's a very goal-orientated, business mindset planner that Alex can't get enough of. He even agreed to film a review of it since he's been getting more usage out of it than me!

xoxo Kayla
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Kushyfoot Tights

Kushyfoot Tights

Working from home doesn't require many dress up days, so when I get the chance to pop on a dress for an actual reason, I go all out. Michigan's officially in winter mode so tights are a must. I had the opportunity to test out some of Kushyfoot's tights recently when Alex's family and I went to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas. At first I thought, "heck these are just tights I'm sure they'll be fine," but there's actually a noticeable difference between these tights and other brands.

I wore the Shaping Tights for the entire day and by the end of it I was seriously in love. The tights were such high quality; thick, but breathable. You know when you buy a cheap pair of tights and they just seem thin? These felt so much nicer. I didn't worry about runs or tears like I usually do because they were just, better. The shaping effect I was a bit worried about, but I felt secure and knew my tights weren't going to get loose throughout the day and slide around. I can't really comment on how "shaping" they really were as I tend to have a very, unchangeable shape, but I loved everything about them.

I can't wait to keep testing out all the other types of tights from Kushyfoot. I never thought I'd become brand loyal for things like socks and tights, but these guys really know what they're doing.

xoxo Kayla
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New Beauty Bits & Old Favorites

I've fallen in a habit of constantly repurchasing tried and true favorites. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but new products have to try their hardest to even get a second glance from me these days. With the recent Sephora VIB Sale I found myself stocking up on holy grails rather than seizing the chance to branch out.

I've purchased the Stila One Step Correct so many times I've lost count. I grabbed two in this order hoping they would last until the next VIB Sale. I also snagged up a full size of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask as I'm just about done with my smaller tube of it. It's a great mask in the winter when my skin gets exceptionally dry and needs some serious help. 

I almost purchased another Living proof Perfect Hair Day Styling Treatment when I saw it was a 100 point reward. Sephora (online at least) has a rule where you can only get one type of reward per order so in my infinite wisdom I ended up placing four different orders to end up with the same ounces as a full sized bottle without spending any extra money. Savvy saver award right over here please. Plus it meant I could get the same free sample each order so I could really test out the products rather than just getting a tiny sense of them. Score.

I did however branch out a bit from just purchasing favorites when I stumbled upon a Body Shop while out shopping with Alex's family the other day. I went in with my mind on the essentials, but ended up walking out with two new purchases in a range I've loved in the past. I added the Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask and the Face Mist just to give them a go. I'll definitely report back and share how the (tiny) adventure into the unknown goes. I also purchased two more Vitamin E Hydrating Toners and another two Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polishes. My favorites and ones I'm sure to use up in no time.

So there you have it. A haul from a beauty gal who's stuck in her ways as of late. But sometimes when you find a good thing, why mess with it?

xoxo Kayla
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Must Have Beauty Desk Essentials

beauty desk, hair products, must have beauty desk products

beauty desk, hair products, must have beauty desk products

beauty desk, hair products, must have beauty desk products

Although I've paired down my makeup stash exponentially since the start of this year, the beauty bits that remain on the side of my desk have been remaining strong in number. I keep this little dish on top of my Alex drawers that reigns in all the products that are better off standing or close at hand. There's just something about this fleet of products that I can't say no to.

Nearly all the products are hair products as I haven't been able to find a better alternative to store them. I do very little to my hair (we've come to a sort of agreement) so if I do use product, these fair few are it and I rarely stray. My two go-to products are the Oscar Blandi Texture & Volume Spray and the Living proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling treatment. Both work so well together to create a messy, lived in look while adding volume and keeping the oils at bay.

The rest of my hair essentials are Bumble and Bumble products from one set or another. They all do more or less the same thing in the end, but I prefer using the Thickening Dryspun Finish over the Surf Spray or the Thickening Hairspray. It works quite similarly to the Oscar Blandi spray, but holds a bit differently for a more gritty look. I've also been testing out the Living proof Instant Texture Mist, but I haven't been a fan.

I'm desperately in love with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray so it's great to have it so readily available. It sets my makeup with a flawless, blended finish and everything is brighter, longer. I also keep a couple of lotions from Soap and Glory if I ever need a quick dose of moisture.

One day I hope to have a little less of an out in the open solution, but it is nice to look over to see all these beauties lined up in a row.

What do you keep on your beauty desk?

xoxo Kayla
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How Instagram Helped with My Anxiety

How Instagram Helped with My Anxiety

Anxiety isn't something I talk about much on the blog (or anywhere for that matter), but the last couple of weeks it's been harder than normal. I just wasn't feeling myself. I was overwhelmed, stressed, and didn't really see the point in anything I was doing. One night amidst the anxiousness, I decided to start another Instagram. Sure one would think adding another Instagram to the mix would make things worse, but for me it did just the trick. 

The problem wasn't that I felt too busy, but that I felt busy in the wrong sorts of ways. Everything I worked on had a purpose, an end goal with timelines and checklists. I craved something that was completely pointless and completely mine just for the sake of being mine. So Homebody Dreams came to be.

In my head I see the life I want as a blend of whimsical and simplistic. Soft tones, beautiful patterns, every day a Sunday. I always feel like that was in the future if only I could get there. I wanted a place to show myself that a life like that already exists and I don't have to wait for it. It all mattered on perspective. And it's working. 

Every time I log in or post a new picture I feel calm and like I'm living the life I thought was always slightly out of reach. I've started seeing my life the way I desperately wanted to see it, all because I was able to compile it in one place. After sort of forcing the first few photos I began seeing and feeling the calm everywhere. It's a wonderful feeling and the anxiety has been nudged back into the little hole where it doesn't bother me so much.

For a while I didn't share the account with anyone. I didn't want it to become another chore or something controlled by followers and likes. But over time I realized that if it could provide my overactive brain a sense of calm, it could maybe do that for someone else. 

Scrolling through the photos I'm able to see the life I've always wanted, that's been around me the entire time. And that's some sort of wonderful.

xoxo Kayla
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StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner Review

StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner Review

I'm going to be honest, the StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner had me a bit apprehensive at first. The name alone leaves a gal wondering if her skin is going to completely fall off and a new one would pop up in its place. Yet after the first use my anxiety was instantly put at bay and I found myself with a pretty solid product.

The directions say to put this on at morning and night after the rest of your skincare routine; something I found a bit odd but I followed the directions. It's a somewhat thick cream-like lotion that's scentless and sinks into the skin very quickly. It reminds me a lot of a thicker moisturizer, but it wasn't overly hydrating so I still used another moisturizer just in case.

The best part? I could actually see a change in my pores after using it a handful of times. They definitely weren't as noticeable and my complexion looked more even and smoother. It's gentle, the little pump on the end is a great touch, and it didn't irritate my skin. All good things.

The biggest turn off is the price. $99 is quite a gamble for a product that may or may not do what it says on the tin. Even though I did notice a change in my pores and overall appearance of my skin, I still don't know if it's worth a hundred dollars to achieve. I'm cheap and know it's likely there are other, more affordable options out there that could do the same thing.

It's definitely a product to check out if you're in the market for something gentle to reduce the appearance of pores. As always, not all skincare products work the same for everyone, but this one definitely did something for mine. That price though. What a bummer.

What skincare products do you use to reduce the appearance of pores?

xoxo Kayla
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Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL Longwear Eyeliners

Lancôme has always seemed like an older woman's brand, but boy did I miss the mark on that one. I recently had the chance to test out their DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL Longwear Eyeliners and the colors alone make it obvious that Lancôme is trying to shake those labels.

I'm quite on the fence about these. I've tried quite a few shades and love the color range and options, but am not sold on the product itself. It's incredibly soft textured, but doesn't apply terribly well to the tight line. A regular lining of the lids works better, but I usually opt for a tight line over the effort of fully lining my lids as I can get quite messy and shaky handed. They tug ever so slightly when applying, but the lasting power is seriously impressive. The colored options are incredibly pigmented (in a good way), but the lighter shades barely show up. 

When there's a positive there seems to be a negative right behind it leaving me unsure on my overall opinions. I know I'll definitely get some usage out of the greens, purples, and blues in the collection, but I wouldn't necessarily run out and purchase these on my own accord when I find the Stila eye pencils to be just as creamy, but overall better at with what the Lancôme ones lack. I'm happy to have them, but I wouldn't necessarily say you need to run out and buy all of them immediately. It's a good product, but I could recommend others that are better.

All in all I can appreciate what Lancôme's doing and look forward to seeing what other products they come out with as they work towards breaking their "elder" appearance.

Have you tried these before? What's your go to eyeliner brand?

xoxo Kayla

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Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are my weakness. Put glaze on a delicious, cinnamon bun and I'm done. When I decided to hop back into baking again this was the first recipe I tried from the 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats. I just couldn't resist.

I've gotten into a habit of writing down when I first baked a recipe and jotting down notes in the margins. I like the feeling of a used recipe book. Plus my oven is iffy on the best of days and I really need to keep track of proper oven times.

After adding together all the dry ingredients (see the full recipe below), you mix together all the wet ones before pouring them together. There's just something so satisfying about separating the egg yoke from the egg white. I had never done it prior to this recipe and it makes you feel like a baking ninja.

Once all the wet items are whisked together, they're mixed with the dry to create a soft, moist dough and it's set aside. Next is the filling. A blend of a couple different sugars and even more cinnamon for a nice paste. 

After the filling is blended, it's time to roll out the dough. I find my dough to be fairly sticky more often than not, so I use a healthy amount of flour on top of the parchment paper I've laid out. That way the dough won't stick when I roll it into a log. 

I'm sure there's more of an official way of spreading the filling out on the dough, but I take the back of the spoon and just go crazy. It's all going to the same place in the end anyway!

This next part makes me feel like a true baker. You take the parchment underneath the rolled out dough and pull it up and roll the dough into a log-like shape. Then you take a very sharp knife and cut it into even sections. The recipe says it makes eight, but I always end up with 10-12 in the end.

Pop them down on your parchment lined, greased tins and pop them into the oven!

As they're baking, make the glaze. Boiling water is definitely a must to make sure all the ingredients melt and create a nice smooth glaze.

This cinnamon rolls are heavenly and I must admit I've made them a few too many times to count. It's definitely going to be a recipe I use for years to come.

Makes 8-12 cinnamon rolls

  • 7 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (seriously. self-rising is a must)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (more if you want it super cinnamon-y)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • generous 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar
  • heaping 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 oz cream cheese, softened (make sure it's softened or you'll have a tough time)
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • about 2 tbsp boiling water (it means boiling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Line round cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter
  • Place flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in large bowl and mix
  • In separate bowl place butter, egg, and milk and whisk together
  • Combine with dry ingredients and mix till soft dough forms
  • Mix filling ingredients together in separate bowl
  • Place dough on floured parchment and roll out to about 12x10 inches
  • Spread filling on dough evenly
  • Take edge of parchment and pull up, rolling the dough on top of itself to form a log
  • Cut log into equal sized pieces and place pieces equal distance apart in the cake pans
  • Bake for 28-30 minutes
  • Sift confectioners' sugar into large bowl and make well in the center
  • Place cream cheese and butter in center
  • Take bowling water and pour on top of mixture and stir to mix
  • Add vanilla extract and set aside until rolls are done
  • Let rolls set for 5 minutes before adding icing glaze
  • Serve warm and try not to eat too many

Definitely send along a photo if you make these!

xoxo Kayla
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November Planner Addict Mystery Box & Giveaway

Oh, Hello had the great pleasure of getting to be a part of the November Planner Addict Mystery Box which meant I got to experience my first ever box! 

What I love most about the Planner Addict Box is the variety in it. It's not just stickers, but stationery and office goodies as well. There's a great mix of products, but I'm a sucker for a themed box and these don't really have that. It's a lovely collaboration of different brands and companies all working together and loving the crazy planner world. I definitely can get behind that.

Although I loved the box I wanted to share the love and give away some of the goodies I wouldn't enjoy as much as someone else! I'm giving away these goodies to anyone over 18-years-old or with parental consent. The giveaway is open internationally!

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How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

how to take your blog to the next level

So you've been blogging for a while and loving every minute of it. But there are always ways to get even more out of blogging. I've poked around the internet and gathered some helpful resources to take your blog to the next level.

The thing about blogging is that even if you've been doing it for a while, there's always something to learn. You can always get better at no matter what you're doing. There's someone out there doing it slightly differently and you could take what they're doing and make it your own. There's always more and that's what I think makes blogging (and life really) so dang great.

xoxo Kayla
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A Gift Guide for the Planner Addicts (& Giveaway!)

The only gift guide that matters in my tiny little world is the one for the planner addicts. I'll be the first to raise my hand and say my Christmas list is literally only planning stuff and beauty bits. The planning community is a vast and sometimes confusing one, so I've brought it all together to bring you the ten items for the planning addict in your life.
  1. Helloigans Tote Bag
  2. Erin Condren Jot Your Thought Journal Trio
  3. Erin Condren Sticky Notes
  4. Washi Tape Tubes
  5. Planner Addict Starter Kit
  6. Oh Hello Deluxe Monthly Sampler Set
  7. Pipsticks Subscription
  8. Magnet Bookmarks
  9. Pencil Cases
  10. Polaroid Zip
To get into the planner addict holiday spirit I'm giving away a tube of holiday washi tape! The giveaway is open internationally to anyone over 18-years-old (or with parental consent).

xoxo Kayla
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The Desk Tour of a Self-Employed Sticker Maker

It's one thing to be self-employed. It's another to be self-employed making stickers. My desk is a crazy combination of refusing to grow up and all things planning. From a wall filled with lovely, thoughtful notes from Helloigans, to way too many Shopkins to admit to, my desk makes me feel at home. It's a little place just for me to feel inspired and push myself to keep creating bigger and better things.

xoxo Kayla

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Current Makeup | The Natural Edit

It's been quite a while since I've taken photos of my face and boy let me tell you there were some really terrible ones! I've been loving the same makeup routine for nearly two months now and thought it was time to share my secrets behind my dewy, simple makeup look.

Working from home means I can wear sweatpants and no makeup any time I want. So when I do feel motivated to put on some makeup, I gravitate towards a more natural look. I start off by priming my face with the Stila One Step Correct. It'll be damn impossible for a primer to beat this one out of my routine. I've used up a good five tubes of this stuff and the love affair is going strong. It's not silicone-y, sinks into the skin in seconds, and evens out any discoloration before I move on to my base. The BareMinerals Complexion Rescue is one of those products that either works for you or really doesn't. I'm obsessed with how dewy and healthy it makes my skin. I massage it in with only my fingertips (it provides the best finish) and instantly my skin looks a million times healthier. Plus it lasts all day!

For blush I'm still in love with the Max Factor X blush in "Seductive Pink" that ChrissyLilly gifted me back when we did our international beauty swap. It's just the right flush of pink to bring some color back to my skin without looking too overdone or unnatural. If I'm feeling super fancy I'll brush some of Soap and Glory's Solar Powder for an extra boost of color.

I recently picked up the Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer on a bit of a whim and am definitely patting myself on the back for picking this one. When I say a little goes a long way I mean the littlest amount of product possible and my eyes are set to cling to my eye shadow for ages. It's creamy and provides the blank slate I long for in a primer. 

At some point I'll break in the normal routine to fill in my brows. I do this step whenever I get to the point where I want my face to seem like it's actually coming together. Filling in my brows always makes me feel more like a human. It's funny because six months ago I would have never filled in my brows and now it's a step I'll do even if I'm not planning on wearing much makeup that day. The Anastasia Brow Wiz in "Soft Brown" is my go to and has never led my brows a stray yet.

Back to the eyes where I've become smitten with the butterLONDON Shadow Clutch Palette in "Natural Charm." The shades are so perfect for a natural eye while still providing the right amount of pigmentation and pop. I'll usually follow up after my eye shadow with concealer. I've found it best to smooth out any stray eye shadow marks I may have made in my sleepy application. I'm nearly done with the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer and have already purchased another to wait in the wings. It's the perfect amount of coverage while still being light and hydrating. The only downside is the somewhat odd smell, but I can live with that.

Next is mascara and after curling my lashes I'll jump between a few options. I still have a thing for the Maybelline LashSensational mascara though and am scraping the sides of this tube. It's a natural looking mascara that provides a good amount of length and volume without looking too over the top with the rest of the makeup. I'll then apply a neutral looking lipstick like the Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in "Fiend" and be as good as done.

If I know I'm doing a lot of different things that day I'll spray a few spritzes of the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. It really helps to put a finishing touch on the makeup and blend everything together in a natural looking way. I'll skip it if I'm just poking around the house, but if I'm filming or running some errands it's a must to keep everything looking like I just applied it.

I'm seriously enamored with this makeup routine and know whatever follows will have to be seriously amazing to trump this!

What's your current makeup routine?

xoxo Kayla
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How to Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog in 10 Easy Steps

I've had my fair share of blogs over the years and have become somewhat of an expert at collecting them. Blogging isn't terribly hard, but getting started can seem like a daunting task. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the whole thing a little bit easier.

  1. Figure out what you want to write about so there's some focus for your blog. It's so much easier to come up with blog posts and keep the blog alive if you have more than just "your life" as the focus. What about your life specifically do you want to write about? Parenting? Travel? Home decor? Give yourself a few key words to help guide the whole blog.
  2. Do your research and check out other blogs. You'll figure out what template style you like, the best sizing for photos, and maybe a few blog post inspirations along the way.
  3. Start small and don't worry if things aren't perfect. Pick a blog design that's simple and you can tweak along the way. My blog design is the "simple" option in the template bar in Blogger and I couldn't be more happy with it. Over the years I've been able to tweak it to how I want. If you don't try to aim too high starting out, you'll be able to progress more smoothly and not lose motivation.
  4. Plan out two-three weeks worth of content before even writing your first post. You'll be so focused on that first post that once it's done, you'll have nothing to follow up with. Create a mini content schedule for the first month's life of your blog so you won't get too overwhelmed.
  5. Pay attention to your photos and try to avoid blurry, dark cell phone photos. We all start our blog with ourselves in mind, but eventually it would be nice for someone else to read it. Take the effort now to produce really nice photos so that when people do come to your blog (and they will in time), it's something they'll enjoy looking at.
  6. Don't stress over equipment or buying new cameras. You don't need a great camera to take good photos. Just make sure you have good lighting and nice composition and it's likely no will ever know. You don't need to go out and spend an arm and a leg on new equipment to start your blog. Over time you may find value in a few upgrades, but see if blogging is really something you enjoy before you invest a lot of money in it.
  7. Keep things simple and don't overdo it. A nice logo could just be your blog name in a nice font. You don't have to get flashy or crazy unless that's your thing. There's nothing wrong with simplicity.
  8. Get Bloglovin' so people can easily follow your blog. It's the best platform to not only read other blogs and keep up with everything you like to follow, but it's also a great way to be discovered when people are exploring new reads. Definitely add a follow button to your sidebar as well (Bloglovin' walks you through all of this) so that people can follow you with just one click!
  9. Write about what you know and you'll have no trouble. If you're passionate about baking, you'll blog will show it and you won't get bored. Don't try to write posts you know will get readers just because their catchy. You'll never be able to sustain it and you won't enjoy blogging in the long run. 
  10. Read posts like this to help guide you in the best practices for making your blog a success and not a burden. You'll find tips like bulk photo taking, how to best edit your photos, when's the best time to post, and so much more.
If you'd like a more detailed post about how to literally start a blog from scratch, I can definitely do that! These are just a few pointers and tips when pondering over the idea of a blog to keep you focused and in the right direction.

xoxo Kayla
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Brand Overview: butterLONDON + Giveaway

It was about time I gave butterLONDON the full attention it deserved on this blog. I've really gotten to know the brand over the past six months beyond just nail polish and it's definitely worth giving a once over the next time you're browsing the interwebs.

Let's get what butterLONDON is known for the best out of the way first. Their nail polishes are the best I've ever tried (in my limited polish experience tbh). Their creamy, pigmented, and long lasting. Plus the color range is insane and the packaging makes you feel super fancy. Always a perk in my awkward, unfancy book.

What really makes butterLONDON a brand to be reckoned with is their makeup. It's definitely underrated by most, but can hold its own against a lot of the big name brands in quality and style. The Shadow Clutch Palette in "Natural Charm" has to be my favorite product I've tried from them. I've done a full write-up about this gorgeous customizable palette a week or so ago, so definitely check it out for a better look at this bad boy. To give the two-cent summary, it's pigmented, long-lasting, and the shade options all work like a dream together. The mirror is massive, the packaging well thought out, and a palette I've reached for more than any other since it joined my collection.

Another favorite has to be the Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayons. Another product that has gotten its own feature a few weeks back, these are just seriously stellar lip pencils. They're creamy, pigmented, hydrating, and even come with their own built in sharpener. butterLONDON really thinks out their products and gives them a style I haven't seen in the beauty world in quite a while.

Their mascaras are alright, but I still find the drugstore alternatives better options. You just can't beat a drugstore mascara in my book. The WINK Eye Pencil in "Union Jack Black" however is a great dark navy/black eye pencil that's creamy and easy to use. I haven't been one for eye pencils as of late, but this would be the one I reach for when I'm back in the habit again.

Overall I love this brand. They're constantly surprising me with clever packaging, great products, and a style I can get behind. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

I want to share the butterLONDON love with one of you! You'll win a bunch of nail polishes along with some lip crayons and a lovely eye pencil. The giveaway is US only and will go for one week. 18-years-old or with parental consent to enter!

Definitely give butterLONDON's makeup a chance and good luck with the giveaway!

xoxo Kayla
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Erin Condren Haul ft. Stylish Storage Pockets & Journal Trio

Erin Condren Haul ft. Stylish Storage Pockets & Journal Trio

Erin Condren Haul ft. Stylish Storage Pockets & Journal Trio

Erin Condren Haul ft. Stylish Storage Pockets & Journal Trio

If you haven't popped over to the Erin Condren website, then you're seriously missing out on ridiculously adorable planner supplies and stationery goodies. It's a planner addict's heaven over there and I can't seem to go a month without placing another order or two. They've been releasing a lot of awesome new products for the holidays (I'm crafting up a planner addict gift guide soon) and I found quite a few great excuses to make a purchase.

What I love most about Erin Condren is how customizable everything is. Change you cover for the season, clip in pockets for coupons or receipts, stickers galore. It's quite a lovely world I stumbled into almost a year ago now.

I wish I could say that I'm good for a while, but I've already placed a few more orders since this one. Maybe on second thought you should avoid the site and save yourself. But if you want to tumble down the rabbit's hole, enjoy $10 off while you do it.

Now to hide all the evidence so Alex doesn't know what I've been up to...

xoxo Kayla
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