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




Why I'm Doing More Solo Travel This Year

Although 2018 felt packed with travel and conferences, 2019 is already shaping up to blow last year away. Before my trip to Las Vegas for Go Wild a few weeks ago, I hadn't traveled alone in years. The itch to push myself out of my comfort zone is real these days as I actively work towards challenging my anxiety and depression. It just seems like the next step to tackling apprehensions and looking fear in the face and saying, "Watch me do it anyway."

 My profession has opened up a bunch of opportunities to travel and teach workshops at planner events. It's definitely an unexpected side effect of my business, but I've completely embraced it with thankful and open arms. Who knew this introvert could get so much joy out of teaching workshops, but you don't know until you give it a go, right? Usually my husband Alex tags along with me, but his promotional business has been really taking off and giving him a lot of travel opportunities as well. So we're doing what any two-business couple has to, divide and conquer.

The Vegas trip although brief, showed me a lot about myself. I transferred flights, took my first Uber ride alone, and navigated hotel registration all on my own. I've always just relied on Alex's extroverted personality to handle things for me. But I did them. And you know what? I barely even broke a nervous sweat in the process.

So I want to do even more solo travel this year. Why? Just because I want to see if I can do it. It's so easy to fall into a routine of taking the easy way out and letting Alex do all the social interactions, but if Vegas taught me anything it's that I'm more than capable to do it on my own. And that's a pretty empowering feeling.

So if you're unsure about travelling alone, try to really figure out what you're so nervous about. Is it finding your gate at the airport? Is it navigating a ride from the airport to the hotel? Once you figure out what exactly you're worried about, then you can actively work to put things in place so you won't be anymore. Ask the front desk which gate you're supposed to be at. Schedule an Uber ride ahead of time or take a taxi from the taxi line. And don't let the fear of solo travel keep you from doing it. You'll be surprised at how smoothly it'll go.
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The Shift in the Sticker Shop Industry | My Predictions

Back in 2014, the planner sticker industry felt like the wild west. Shops were few and far between and every idea worked. I'm ashamed at some of the low quality items I sold thinking they were gems. Here we are five years later and it's definitely a different world. New shops pop up every day and there's been a noticeable shift in the sticker shop world that will continue to change in the next few years.

I predict that by the time 2020 rolls around, a lot of shops will start closing. Whether they just lost interest or aren't making the income they expected, a lot of shops are going to turn the metaphorical closed sign for good. The sticker world isn't an easy one. Competition is stiff and margins thin to the point that a good amount of people will likely throw in the towel rather than hang on. The competition will only get worse as box stores continue to try and get their share of the planner cash cow.

We've already started to see more established shops going after bigger fish like Michael's. The gap between smaller, start up shops and larger shops will continue to grow wider as time goes on. Even Oh, Hello has its eyes on bigger things than just making stickers. 

But amidst all the competition and closed shops, creativity is really going to shine. You can't stick with the norm and expect things to sell anymore. I cannot wait to see the amazing, creative products my fellow business owners come up with in the coming years. 

So yeah. The sticker world isn't what it used to be...but you know, what? Good. Planner addicts deserve amazing products to help make their lives more organized and colorful and tough competition will lead to just that. Oh, Hello doesn't plan on going anywhere anytime soon either.
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Go Wild Memory Journal Flip-Through + Tips and Tricks

It's alarming to think that it's already been a week since I came home from Las Vegas. My first Go Wild Conference could not have been more amazing (and of course I filmed the whole thing) and I wanted to document it better than I ever have before.

This is my first attempt at a memory book and I've learned a ton of tips and tricks in the process of putting this one together. I'll lay those on ya as we go through some of my favorite pages.

If you take any advice away from this post, it should be this. Bring adhesive with you. I LOVE this adhesive runner from Tombow because it makes everything super easy without making a huge mess. It made attaching room keys, postcards, and random odds and ends incredibly simple.

I also brought my Polaroid Zip along with me to print photos at the end of each day. I'm the type of person who forgets things easily, so I wanted to make sure I took the time to document each day to remember all the fun details.

A small pair of scissors also proved to be quite useful to cut washi and trim up photos. I didn't really have any sort of plan when I started this book either. I just put things down as I went along and I loved the freedom of just throwing things into it as I got them. No stress.

Sticker contact cards are the popular way of sharing Instagram names and contact info at planner events these days. I received quite a few within just the first few hours of the conference and I wanted to make sure I had a way to capture them all. I took a few stickers off of every sampler and put them on a couple of different collage pages. I love how it looks when it's finished and I feel like I'm not wasting stickers I may not use.

Anything I thought I could remotely use in the book, I snagged up. I took brochures at various hotels and maps from help desks. I didn't use many of them, but I am obsessed with this map of the strip and of course the little llama sticker to mark the conference location.

Our swag bags included a roll of conference washi tape so I disregarded my usual "meh" opinions of washi to create this dashboard on one of the pages. When in Rome right? Or in this case...Vegas...

I do a full flip through of my memory journal in this video if you want to get a better look at all the pages! Do you keep memory books? What are some of your tips and tricks?

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Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

It's the most wonderful time of the year for planner addicts. It's safe to say that it's a bigger deal than Christmas. The annual Erin Condren launch of new planners is just around the corner (May 8 my friends!) and I got an early peek at everything coming our way in just a few short days. If you want to see a side by side comparison with this year's current player, check out my video or head to the bottom of this post. 

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

This year's first big change is the pattern. Kaleidoscope?! Count me in. I haven't been this excited about a pattern well, ever. This one definitely ticks all the aesthetic boxes for me. EC has gone away from the zipper pockets and introduced a new planner box where you can store you planner. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the box for storage purposes, but I'll definitely be keeping it around as a gift box.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

The planner pages have quite a few changes from previous additions and I have some serious mixed feelings. The goals page from the front of the planner is more or less unchanged, but there's a new quote and the addition of lines.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

The monthly dashboard page is a completely new addition to this year's planner. And I must say, I'm not a fan. I know a TON of planner addicts will love this, but I miss older renditions that didn't have so much structure. I'll give it a go though and see if I'm just being a grandma about it and not welcoming change. 

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

The monthly view also has me a bit "meh." I already miss the full color header and hate the tiny pattern strips. The new pattern is so gorgeous so why is it so tiny and unimportant on the monthly page? Plus there's a colored sidebar (shown in more detail in the video) that has me not thrilled.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

The weekly view definitely makes up for a lot of what the monthly view lacks. Sure I don't currently use a weekly view, but this has me feeling the itch to go back. I love the date in the corner, the rounded edges, and the colored bottom boxes.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

I mean just look at that pastel goodness.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

Near the back of the planner is a new page that instantly gives me InkWell Press vibes. This page is unlike anything I've seen the EC team produce and I'm not quite sure what the point of it is. Goals? Tracking? I'm looking forward to seeing what other planner people have in mind for this one...

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

With the new planner comes a whole slew of new accessories to go along with it. There is a larger pack of markers (four of which are brand new), a new sticker book, and a new planny pack.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

There are new clip in bookmarks as well.

Erin Condren 2019/2020 Preview & Review

But my favorite new launch has to be this gorgeous ballpoint pen. I'm a bit worried about the price of it (yet to be announced when I wrote this post), because it's such a gorgeous pen that I don't want to have to spend an arm and a leg each time I want a new one.

Overall I think this new launch is good, but it just doesn't blow me away. There are quite a few design choices that I'm just not a fan of, despite completely loving the new pattern. 

Be sure to check out the video if you want to see a side by side comparison to the current planner as well as all the accessories that are launching May 8th.

In celebration of the Erin Condren launch I'm giving away a bundle of new accessories! To enter, fill out the form below.

What do you think about the new planners? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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Easy Ways to Adopt a More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

I'm a self described modern day hippie and I could not be more proud of the title. Sure I still shower and maintain a sense of grooming, but I've been taking big steps toward a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. And honestly, it's been so easy to make the switch. One of the biggest hurtles to becoming more eco-friendly is the inconvenience, but these few steps make it way easy to reduce your footprint, save the turtles, and feel a lot better about yourself. 

I said goodbye to plastic straws first. I wrote about the experience in a post a few months after I started, but it's been over a year now of actively giving back straws through drive-thru windows and toting around metal straws with me. I estimate that I've reduced my straw usage of about 300 straws in one year. That's a lot of straws that won't be bothering the poor sea turtles.

Another easy switch is to take reusable bags to supermarkets. Sure you can bring back plastic bags to the store to recycle, but it's just so much easier not to get them in the first place. I keep a few in my car, a few in each of my bags, and some where I grab my keys. That way I always have a bag no matter when I decide to pop into the store.

If you're a frequent Starbucks groupie like I am, their reusable cups are a must. They'll give you $0.10 off your drink order when you use the cup, and the ones at the register cost only $2. Anything to reduce the guilt of hitting up the Starbucks drive-thru for the third time this week, right?

Now if you're really down to help the Earth, let's talk about composting. I recently got a Lifetime Compost Tumbler from Costco (this one is similar) and have started to make my own compost. This video I saw on Facebook made it look so easy that I finally took the plunge and purchased one. So far we've been putting in food scraps and collecting leaves. It feels so good to not throw away scraps from cooking. We still have quite a while until we have any compost, but it's been a fun process. Plus Starbucks sometimes has coffee grounds for free you can add to your compost or use in your garden.

It hasn't once felt inconvenient to bring a reusable bag or hand back a plastic straw I won't be using. I finally feel good about my involvement in helping the environment. It's so easy to think "it's too big of a problem for little old me to do anything." But with the environment that's just not true. There is so much we can do every day that you'll feel ridiculous waiting so long to start.
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Clever Fox Pro Planner Review

Clever Fox Pro Planner Review

It's about time that planner turmoil struck again, right? One of my favorite parts about the planning experience is finding a new planner that shakes things up and makes me question my routine. Enter Clever Fox planners.

Clever Fox Pro Planner Review

Clever Fox has a ton of different planner styles and covers to choose from. I'm showing you the PRO Weekly in Maroon*, but each style comes with a variety of soft-cover options. Plus it comes with stickers...what's not to love?

Clever Fox Pro Planner Review

There's a whole flip through of the planner in today's video, but let's cover some of the highlights. This 12-month planner is undated so you can start, stop, and resume to your heart's content. All of the monthly views are grouped together at the front of the planner with the weeklies in the back.

Clever Fox Pro Planner Review

Each month has a review section filled with reflective questions and this amazing little pie chart. I love this to visually see exactly where I'm spending most of my time and what sections I could improve on.

Clever Fox Pro Planner Review

The weekly view is filled with prompts, goal setting, and opportunities for self improvement. The PRO does a fantastic job at guiding thought processes and looking at life/work balance in ways work-a-holics like me desperately need.

I mentioned the awesome sheets of stickers, right?

Be sure to check out the video for a full flip-through of the planner. It's a fantastic planner for people with a somewhat consistent schedule that want to focus on goal planning and work/life balance. It's a super simple and functional layout that needs color and stickers to liven it up, but that's part of the fun of planning. It's at a solid price point and available on Amazon too so you don't have to wait long to grab yourself one.
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Friendships in My 20s | Three Types

It's no secret that making friends as an adult is hard. You're no longer surrounded by the same people every day in class, and if you work from home, it's even harder to meet people. At the start of my 20s, I had friends few and far between. I felt lonely, unlikable, and just plain down on myself (I'm sure un-diagnosed depression didn't help either...) I actively had to start seeking out friends in the planner community, in my neighborhood, and beyond. Keeping in touch became more important than ever. It's taken a few years, but I've learned that not all friendships are going to be the same. As I get deeper into my 20s three types of friendship types seem to keep popping up.

The old school BFF. This is the friend that's been around pre-puberty and holds all your most embarrassing secrets. The type of friend who you've known since childhood and still keep in touch with even if you haven't seen them in ages. Yet when you finally get back together, it's as if no time has passed. I'm fortunate enough to have three people who fall into this category. The older you get, the more exclusive this category becomes. 

The budding friendship. I read somewhere that it takes around 200 hours to become close friends with someone. With busy work schedules, kids, and significant others, it takes way more time to get to 200 hours than it did when we were kids. There are a few women in my life that I've met a year or two ago and seem like they could be amazing friends over time. We have a ton in common, but it takes a lot of planning to find time to get together for coffee or a night out. This category of friend has a lot of promise, but it's not going to happen overnight.

The comer and goer. When I first moved into our neighborhood I made a bunch of fast friends. Over time they've faded away as I've found other people I have more in common with and shared interests. And you know what? That's totally ok. There are going to be people in your life who come in for a certain amount of time and then move on. I find these friends incredibly important, but I've also learned when to let go. 

When I finally started to understand that not all of the friends in my life will reach "old school BFF" status I became a lot more relaxed. The pressure lifted to become best friends overnight. Now I have friends I see maybe once a month, and others I talk to on a daily basis. Not all friendships are created equal, and it's about time I started realizing that it's ok.

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Coffee Shop Vibes | April Oh, Hello Box

April Oh, Hello Box

Is it fair that I feel like I get to celebrate Christmas every month? Is there such a thing as too much excitement? I may die from it if that's the case. Building the Oh, Hello Box every month is literally my favorite part of my job these days. So thanks for that, planner friends.

April Oh, Hello Box

This month's theme is Coffee Shop Vibes. I wanted a box that contained things you would usually see, do, and use while at a coffee shop. Of course a large coffee mug topped the list of things I had to add. Motivational quotes are my jam and nothing starts a day off better than a quote reminding you that it's a good day to have a good day.

April Oh, Hello Box

Of course I had to sprinkle in my love of plants into the box with this rubber key chain as well as a blossom kit where you can grow your own poppy flowers!

April Oh, Hello Box

Probably my two favorite items in this month's box are the tartan tote and the coffee cup dangle enamel pin. I love how classy the tote feels while still giving off serious oh, hello vibes. Plus the enamel pin is just so cool. I mean come on, the spoon dangles. Witchcraft I tell ya.

April Oh, Hello Box

There are a ton of other products I haven't highlighted in this post, so if you want to see them all be sure to watch the video! This box will be available Saturday, April 6th all the way through the month or until they sell out. Each box has over $100 in lifestyle and planner items and costs $44.95 with a flat shipping fee!

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On Butterflies and Breaks

A week or so ago my husband Alex and I took half the day off to go to Frederik Meijer Gardens for their annual Butterflies in Bloom event. In the three years we've lived in Grand Rapids, we've never been. We of course have talked about it, but always found some excuse as to why we were just too busy to go.

Now my mental health journey is no secret to regular readers around these parts. And in an effort to actively work on bettering my mental state, I've taken a lot more care with myself. More breaks, more understanding, and more love. 

It was so easy to push aside whatever work we had that day to go see the butterflies. A lot easier I think than either one of us expected. We're so consumed by work that we barely come up for air. The break felt more than just a break, it felt like a rediscovery of what really matters.

Alex and I bought ourselves a membership to Frederik Meijer so we can go back anytime we want throughout the year. We're making a conscious effort to put our mental health and relationship at the forefront, rather than constantly pushing them aside for more work. 

I guess the point of this post is to act as a reminder to take a break, do something you've talked about doing but haven't made the time for it yet, and remember what really matters. It's something I think we all have to actively work on...and you can bet that I am.

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My Tips for Getting into Planner Stamping

My Tips for Getting into Planner Stamping

Alright. I admit it. I've become addicted to planner stamping. You know it must be true if there's a blog post about it, right? I'm sure there's a video to follow at some point. This girl just can't help but share her latest obsession with whoever is listening on the internet. But I digress. 

One of the biggest reasons it's taken me so long to get into stamping is how overwhelming it all seemed. I didn't have the slightest clue where to begin, most stamp sets felt overly expensive to me, and I didn't even know if I would like it. So here are my tips if you're interested in giving stamping a go, but don't know where to start. Don't worry, I've done all the fumbling around so you don't have to.

1. Don't buy everything at once. Give it a go first to see if you even like it. It's so easy to want to purchase everything out there or what you see someone on YouTube using in a tutorial. Save your pennies until you know whether or not stamping is even for you. If you happen to be at a planner meetup or event, check the destash table for any unwanted stamps left behind (I've found quite a few there myself) or buy a variety set from Erin Condren (like the ones in the photo) or Amazon (this is a set I've been looking at). You'll have to pick yourself up an acrylic block as well as ink pads, but to test out stamping shouldn't cost you more than $25-$30. 

2. Practice on things you don't care about messing up. This is a big one. If you're a planner perfectionist like me, you'll want to practice on scrap paper to get the hang of it before diving into your precious planner. It took me quite a few tries to understand pressure and how much ink to put on the stamps. 

3. Be open to mistakes. It's part of the process. Regardless of how much you practice, there's still a good chance you'll mess up. I've "messed up" literally every time I've stamped in my "good" planner and yet that's part of the charm. I weirdly love how a slightly imperfect stamp looks in my planner now. If I want perfection, there's a sticker. If I want a little personality, I'll stamp.

4. Look for variety ink sets like this one on Amazon or these from Erin Condren to make switching colors easier. It really helped to keep costs low when getting started while still giving me a ton of freedom of different options.

5. Clean off your stamps after every use. I use these wipes from Erin Condren, but any technology alcohol wipe should do. Cleaning off your stamps makes them last longer and stay in good condition so you can stamp away without worrying about residues or damaged stamps. Get into the practice now when you're just getting started.

Of course, I'm still a stamping novice myself, so any stamping experts out there, leave your tips in the comments!
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What's in the Save the Earth Oh, Hello Box

Oh, Hello Box Review

It's safe to say that putting together the Oh, Hello Box every month is my favorite part of my job these days. My favorite box is constantly changing to whatever new box is available. I swear they're getting better and better every month. But of course I'm a bit biased.

Oh, Hello Box Review

This month's theme (available until April 1st) is all about the Earth. From a reusable tote bag that zips up into itself to a glass bottle, this box is packed with products to help make going green a bit easier. Of course I had to include a full sticker kit and a fun octopus plush. I just couldn't help myself. 

Probably my favorite things in the box though are the metal straws and the beeswax wrap. It's been one year since Alex and I made the vow to reduce our straw usage and metal straws are the only way we've been able to do it. I like to use the beeswax wrap in place of saran wrap or zip-lock bags. The material sticks to itself from the heat of your hands and it can easily be washed and reused with just a little soap. It's important to me to not only bring customers stationery products they'll love, but also educate them about products they may not know about yet (but I know they'll love soon enough).
Oh, Hello Box Review

This is the most popular box so far and I couldn't be happier that people are embracing a more environmentally friendly lifestyle! The hardest thing about any new habit is getting started and I hope this box makes it just a little bit easier. Plus there's an auto-renew option for the box so you don't have to worry about signing up every month.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite product from this month's box is! Plus if you have any suggestions on future themes I'd love to hear them!

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Chocolate Banana Muffins ft. Our Family

Chocolate Banana Muffins Recipe

Chocolate and bananas? Count me in. I promise not to do that annoying thing baking blogs do where they ramble on about their kid's soccer tournament for paragraphs at a time before finally getting into the recipe. That's what you're here for right?

Chocolate Banana Muffins Recipe

I've teamed up with Our Family* to bring you a seriously delicious muffin that definitely feels like dessert when you eat it. Rich cocoa, tiny chocolate chips, and bananas all mixed together in perfect happy harmony. They're not financially sponsoring this post, but they kindly sent along a mountain of chocolate chips that inspired this recipe.

Chocolate Banana Muffins Recipe

You can pick up Our Family brand baking products at Family Fare or D&W if you're in the Grand Rapids area. They're affordable, high-quality, and are what I usually reach for when I'm grocery shopping. Now on to the delicious recipe!

Makes 24 muffins

3 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar

1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips and nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend bananas until smooth. Then add in butter and yogurt and mix until well combined. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in sugar until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine wet and dry ingredients, add in milk and stir until just combined, do not over mix. Scoop into cupcake liners until half full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. 

I would say these are great muffins for breakfast, but they're almost too decadent to feel right eating them so early in the morning. But I won't tell if you won't...

*This is not a sponsored post. I'm not being paid for this post and all opinions are my own. Our Family kindly sent over the products shown in the first photo to include in this post.
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How I'm Stepping up My Hosting Game this Year

How I'm Stepping up My Hosting Game this Year

My husband and I love to host parties and gatherings in our spare time ever since we started dating in college. Free evening during the week? Dinner party. Spare Saturday night? Themed gathering. When we moved into our house the guest room became the first room to be deemed officially "finished."

Overall I think Alex and I are pretty good hosts, but I wanted to step my game up this year and really knock it out of the park. Enter Hotel Benda.

How I'm Stepping up My Hosting Game this Year

We started calling our place Hotel Benda after a string of friends came to stay over the course of a few months for various meetings, conferences, and interviews. I made the title official just recently by creating a fact sheet for the bedroom (along with the hashtag #HotelBenda). Sure I may have gone overboard with the lamination and the souvenir stickers, but the content is pretty straightforward. The WIFI information is a must, but I also included info about our tricky bathroom faucet and where to park cars.

Nothing gives me more piece of mind when I'm staying at someone else's house then feeling like I don't have to constantly ask them where things are. Definitely if I'm stepping out of a shower and can't find a towel anywhere. I wanted any #HotelBenda guests to feel comfortable in our home, know where important things are, and have access to our awesome internet.

How I'm Stepping up My Hosting Game this Year

Of course being the truly EXTRA person that I tend to be (I mean come on...souvenir stickers wasn't enough?!), I set out a little relaxation bundle from our most recent Oh, Hello Box. It has a pumice stone, some tea, and some handmade soap bars. Just a little something extra for our guests to feel home away from home. Let's not forget the rubber ducky in the bathroom that says "Oh, Hello" on it either...I'm surprised I even have friends at this point...

So if you ever find yourself in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, hit me up. I'll see if Hotel Benda has any openings! Is there anything that you do to make your guests feel comfortable when you're hosting them? 
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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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