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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

2.27.2019

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

Ingredients
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

Directions
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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2.22.2019

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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2.11.2019

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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2.03.2019

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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2.01.2019

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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