June Oh, Hello Box | Adventure Awaits

June Oh, Hello Box | Adventure Awaits

June Oh, Hello Box
With more solo travel in the planner this year, it seemed like the perfect time for a travel Oh, Hello Box. Gotta have travel supplies, right? I wanted this box to have a ton of really useful travel related products. Whether you’re travelling international or taking a road trip, this box can help make your next adventure even better.

June Oh, Hello Box
One of my favorite products in this month’s box is definitely this travel pencil case. It enlarges and zips closed to keep all of your writing supplies safe. When you want to use it, just push the top section down and presto, pens at the ready. The front little pocket is a great place to store sticky notes too.

June Oh, Hello Box
I’m always losing my travel earbuds so this case should help me keep track of them better (and not tangled)! Sure I love my larger headphones, but sometimes I just need something small to throw in my carry on. I’ve used this three zipper pouch for a few trips already and it’s amazing at keeping my jewelry separate and untangled. The compartments are great at organizing things will still keeping everything in one place.

June Oh, Hello Box
The Novel Coffee collaborated with us for this month’s box! Just look at those adorable kawaii travel stickers. I love all of the collaborations we’ve been doing lately and there are definitely more in the works for future boxes. 
Be sure to check out the video to see everything in the June Oh, Hello Box available Saturday, June 1st!

Homemade Cat & Dog Treats ft. Our Family

Homemade Cat & Dog Treats ft. Our Family

Homemade Cat & Dog Treats
Let’s get into the recipes first because no one likes to scroll through a mountain of text trying to find the recipe…I’ll see you on the other side…
Homemade Three Ingredient Cat Treats

Ingredients

10 oz canned salmon or tuna undrained
1 egg beaten
2 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°. Pulse 10 oz canned meat (undrained) in a food processor and chop as finely as possible. If you don’t have a food processor, use the back of a fork to break the meat into small pieces.
  • Combine meat, 1 egg (beaten) and 2 cups flour in a bowl until dough forms. If dough is too dry, add up to 1/3 cup water. If dough is too wet or sticky, add a bit more flour. Dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  • Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use a 3/4-inch cookie cutter in the shape of your choice to create your treats. I used a silicone mold to make cat paw shaped treats!
  • Place treats on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. When they’re slightly browned and crunchy, they’re done.
Homemade Cat & Dog Treats
Homemade Four Ingredient Dog Treats

Ingredients

2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour, or more, as needed

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs until well combined. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.
  • Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the baking sheet. I used a silicone dog bone mold.
  • Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Homemade Cat & Dog Treats

I’ve worked with Our Family* in the past on another baking post so I jumped at the opportunity to try some recipes for the furry guys in my life. Our cats seriously go nuts for treats, so I’m glad I now have a recipe that I know exactly what’s in it.  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.
Plus the Our Family peanut butter doesn’t contain any ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Just make sure to not feed any to cats as it’ll upset their stomachs.
Homemade Cat & Dog Treats
After all of these treat filled photo shoots I’m definitely the favorite in this household. That’s for sure!

*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.
How I Decide What Goes into the Oh, Hello Box Every Month

How I Decide What Goes into the Oh, Hello Box Every Month

The Oh, Hello Box is six months old! Putting together the box every month is one of my favorite things about my job. Sure there are a few boring parts like budgets to deal with, but it’s mostly just a whole lot of fun.
When planning what goes into each of the boxes, I first look at current trends and any particular seasonal factors for each month. The summer is usually filled with grilling, travel, and lots of sun, so it makes sense to create boxes around those ideas rather than cuddling up with a nice book. I keep a running list of theme ideas in a notebook whenever something pops up in my head. So I look through that and decide on a theme before doing anything else.
Next is deciding on the budget and number of boxes for that month. We have a set budget for each box to guarantee we’re making good enough margins for the box to be sustainable. Plus we want to make sure we have enough boxes for growing demand.
Now comes the fun part. Once I have the box theme in mind (say…travel) I get to run with it. I’ll flip through countless promotional item catalogs my husband Alex keeps for his business. Of course there are a ton of items that would fall under the travel category, but I like thinking out of the box and seeing if I can incorporate items that don’t necessarily fall into the category on their own. That’s where designing comes in. I’m always on the lookout for practical items people will actually use rather than having stuff that’ll just take up space. The great thing about the box is how shareable it is. If there happens to be something you just aren’t crazy about, you can easily pass it along to a friend or wrap it up for a gift.
After my list of products has been roughly outlined, I start figuring out what I want on them. This is the point where the box really starts to take shape. A “meh” item can be turned into the most popular thing in the box if it has a really awesome quote or great design on it. I need to know what the items are before I start designing to make sure the designs make sense with each item and can work cohesively to the theme.
Honestly having a husband in the promotional products business makes assembling the box every month a complete breeze. I’m fortunate to have someone who is constantly up on the most popular items and coolest gadgets that we can share with all of you.
If you have any questions about what it’s like to put a subscription box together every month, drop them in the comments!
My Journey to Depression Medication

My Journey to Depression Medication

Let’s be honest. I never thought I’d have the ovaries to write a post like this. Here I am just airing out all my personal laundry for the world to see. But you know what? It’s important. It’s so important to me that I allow myself to be vulnerable and share these usually kept secret things. Because we are all going through something in some shape or form. And we all could use a post saying that we aren’t alone. My hope is that when I truly need it, I’ll find a post like this one to help me through a tough time. So I hope this post can do that for you too.
I’ve talked a bit about my anxiety journey in videos before, but I haven’t really unpacked the baggage that is my depression. Mostly because it took me a while to realize that’s what I was. Depressed. I thought I couldn’t possibly be. There’s nothing “wrong” in my life. I’m in a happy marriage, have family and friends who love me, and have a rewarding job. And yet despite all the surface things, I still felt like shit. I slept a lot. I stopped caring about work. I didn’t have the drive or interest to hang out with people. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and just…NOT. Yet despite all the signs, I couldn’t possibly believe that I, Kayla Benda, was in fact, depressed.
I chalked most of my feelings up as symptoms of my anxiety. And sure some of them might have been, but most of them weren’t. During this time I started taking medication for my anxiety when I started to feel a panic attack coming on. Still in denial about my depression, I went to a doctor’s appointment to discuss how the anxiety medication and I were getting on. As I waited for the doctor, a nurse handed me a survey to fill out. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most days, how often do you feel hopeless? How frequently do you have trouble staying focused? How often do you feel worry that things will never get better?
Before I knew what was happening, I was in tears. This form literally described me to a tee and the flood gates opened. My doctor consoled me and suggested depression medication to see if that could curb some of these feelings. I left with a prescription I didn’t expect to receive that day.
I started taking depression medication back in October and kept it between my husband and myself for months, not comfortable sharing with even my close knit family out of embarrassment. I felt like a failure for needing help to “feel better.” But as the medication began to really kick in over the next few months and regulate the chemical levels in my brain, it became incredibly obvious how much I truly needed some help. 
So here I am almost eight months later and feeling like myself again. Now I know the medication route is not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. I’m hopefully that one day I may be able to ween off of the prescription, but in the meantime, I’m completely happy with the assistance. I’m also more than aware that you can’t be “cured” of depression. It’s something I’m sure I’ll be living with and navigating my entire life. But there’s comfort in knowing that there is a way to feel better. Whether it’s therapy, medication, or a nice long hiatus to Sweden, there are things out there to help. 
Why I’m Doing More Solo Travel This Year

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.