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


That One Time When I Was in a Shitty Relationship

The photo of adorable Gallifrey is here to keep things in perspective. My life and relationships now are stronger than ever. I'm happy. I have a husband and cats that love me. It's all good. But let's talk about that one time I was in that shitty relationship shall we?

There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself about that craptastic relationship in college. But I don't actually regret it. Sure I definitely wouldn't repeat it, but I learned a lot about myself, my worth, and the love I deserved. If time travel becomes a thing, I have a few things I'd tell myself (besides 'end it' of course).

Words and actions aren't the same thing. Just because they say one thing, doesn't mean it's true. 

Being in a bad relationship is more lonely than being alone. There's so much doubt and distrust in an unhealthy relationship that you spend more time wondering and worrying what they're up to than anything else. I felt constantly paranoid (and for good reason because he was definitely cheating on me) and unsure of myself. I felt crazy, jealous, and alone.

If it's work, it's not worth it. A relationship shouldn't beat you up mentally. It should make you feel like you've found something that's been missing. That you've found a missing piece of yourself that you didn't know you needed. It shouldn't hurt. It shouldn't be soul-crushing.

Leave the self doubt behind when you leave him behind. It took me way too long to regain the self-confidence I lost in that shitty relationship. I felt worthless, not sexy enough, not funny enough. Just not enough. My self worth got wrapped up and twisted into making him like me that I didn't even care if I liked myself.

I am the accumulation of all of my past experiences. That shitty relationship gave me what I needed to become a person I wanted to be. I learned to say 'no' and to fight for myself. It wasn't easy, and it didn't happen overnight, but I took how terrible I felt those brief months in that relationship and put it on the never-again list. I hope none of you experience a shitty relationship, but if you find yourself in one, have the courage to take yourself out of it sooner rather than later. You deserve better.

Yes you.

You deserve better. 

(Also I sincerely hope that shitty guy reads this post...just sayin')

*plays Lizzo's "Good as Hell" on repeat*
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My Blog Post and YouTube Video Content Calendar

My Blog Content Calendar

From Google calendars to notebooks, I've tried quite a few ways over the years to keep track of my online content. Since blog posts and videos often change based on my mood and what's relevant, I need a system that can adapt and change with me. Of course Google Calendar is great for that, but I much rather use stickers. I mean...who wouldn't?

So lately I've been operating on a two monthly calendar system. I created my own frankenplanner with two monthly calendars back to back. The first is my main calendar to track travel and appointments, and the second is for content. That way I have everything in one place, but separate to keep things from getting too messy.

I stick with functional stickers and use the boxes with the white insides for blog posts and the shaded ones for videos. I put all of the stickers down at the start of the month and fill in posts and videos as I go along. Having all of the stickers down at the start of the month makes it easy for me to see where and when I need content. It also helps me coordinate blog posts to go along with videos. I use rectangle boxes to mark any travel or big events that will likely affect content.

If I decide to change up a post or a video after writing something down, I place another sticker on top of it. Sure I could use erasable pens or remove the sticker, but I find putting one on top of the other is the fastest and laziest approach. 

I'm sure my system will continue to change and adapt depending on my needs, but this method combines my love of stickers and desire to use a tangible planner into one happy solution.

How do you keep track of your content creation?
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How I Use the Day Designer Planner

How I Use the Day Designer Planner

As far as daily planners go, the Day Designer has to be my favorite. It's my go-to planner when I'm feeling particularly overwhelmed with my schedule, have a lot of meetings, and don't want to overbook myself. It's gorgeous, heavy-duty, and has tons of space for to do lists and appointments.

How I Use the Day Designer Planner

Since I use the Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly as my main planner, I decided to keep the monthly view simple in this one. Some Mildliners to mark appointments and travel did the trick. That way I can quickly glance at the monthly view if necessary to see any big events or plans while working on my daily pages.

How I Use the Day Designer Planner

This ruler trick is one of my favorite new discoveries. Place a sticky note on the ruler to track a list throughout the entire week. Presto. Planner magic. 

The daily views have a timed section to write down meetings and scheduled events, plus a to do list area. The top section has places to write due and don't forget items as well as the day's top three.

How I Use the Day Designer Planner

The weekend's are on one page with a next week view at the bottom. This is super helpful to know what's coming up the following week that I can prepare for over the weekend.

The Day Designer is an amazing planner if you're quite busy and your day to day changes often. There's plenty of space to write to do lists, plan big projects, and schedule appointments. It has been a savior for me this past month.

Hear more about the planner as well as enter the giveaway to win one for yourself in the above video.
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How to Make To Do Lists Like a Boss

How to Make To Do Lists Like a Boss

Now of course I wish to do lists contained only important items like "pet puppies" and "eat ice cream," but alas they do not. But in order to get to those two happiness boosting activities, we have to get all of the "meh" things out of the way. Here's how to make a to do list like a boss so you can get on to the things you rather be doing.

Keep it realistic. Your to do list needs to be realistic above everything else. You know how much time you have in the day to actually complete things on the list. Keeping your list realistic makes you feel more accomplished when you check things off rather than disheartened when you barely make a dent.

Limit the list to three top priorities and around six other items. This helps with keeping the list realistic. Have three things that HAVE to get done that day, and around six other action items that you'd like to complete as well. That way you aren't trying to eat the whole elephant so to speak and are taking it one bite at a time.

Don't micromanage yourself. Putting every step in the process may seem like a good idea, but you don't want to micromanage yourself. You know everything that goes into say, writing a blog post. You don't need to list each step along the way (take the photo, write the post, publish, share on social, etc), but can say "Blog Post" on the list instead. It'll keep your list visually manageable despite there actually being a few smaller steps for each item.

Take steps towards your bigger goals. If you have quarterly goals or bigger things you want to accomplish, try and put one thing on your list every day or every other day to help you work towards those goals. That way you're getting closer to the finish line without feeling rushed or overwhelmed at the scale of the project.

Cross things out. It feels oh so good to take a big line through a to do list item. That's while I'll never switch to digital to do lists. It's too dang satisfying to cross things off.

Transfer unfinished items from one day to the next. If you don't have as productive a day as you thought you would, don't sweat it. Transfer unfinished to do list items to the next day's list. That way you don't forget something that still needs to get done. Be kind to yourself. You aren't going to finish every single to do list every single day.

Of course if it helps you stay productive, add fun colors, stickers, and anything else to keep that list top of mind. 
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10 Quick Tips to Having a Very Productive Week

10 Quick Tips to Having a Very Productive Week

Ah Mondays. They get a bad rep. Mostly because we don't prepare over the weekend to make sure it starts off on the right foot. If you're looking to have the most productive week yet, here are 10 quick things you can do to set yourself up for success.

Create a to do list the night before Monday. That way when you've dragged yourself into work the next morning, you know exactly what you need to do rather than messing about on Facebook for a few hours before finally settling down to work.

Prepare meals for breakfast and lunch so you're making healthier choices than a late afternoon trip to the vending machine. Having them pre-made makes it easy to just grab from the fridge and go in the morning too. Basically, do all the thinking the night before so you don't have to worry about anything bright and early Monday morning.

Finish your laundry. I can't tell you how many times I get halfway through the week and run out of underwear. Finish your laundry over the weekend so you aren't having to do it during the week when you're swamped with spontaneous events and nights out. Plus you'll have all of your favorite clothes.

Make sure your car has gas. Another one of those better safe than sorry tips. This list is pretty much an exposé of all of the dumb things I did when I had a desk job. So many Monday mornings I find myself in a car that's on E and rushing to the gas station, already late to work. Give yourself at least a fighting chance and make sure you have a half a tank or more.

Pack your bags for the next day. If you have plans to go to the gym, pack that bag the night before and put it by the door. Any lofty goals current you has will be immediately forgotten by future you if you don't make it as easy as possible.

Have an idea of what you want to wear in mind or picked out Sunday night. That way you'll look your best and start the week feeling great.

Charge all of your electronics. If you have a fitbit or Apple watch, make sure your devices are charged to kick the week of on the right foot (literally). 

Map out the week ahead so you have a sense of where you need to be and what you need to do. Have a lot of meetings on Tuesday? Push preparing for that big presentation to Wednesday so you won't be interrupted by meetings. 

Get to bed early. Turn off Netflix before eleven and you'll be bright-eyed the next morning. 

Drink a lot of water Monday morning. I mean, drink a lot of water period, but especially Monday morning. But you knew that, right?

What are some of the ways you prepare to have a very productive week?
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5 Things I've Learned This Year

Halfway done with 2019 and it still feels like I'm just getting going. Isn't that always the case though? Despite still feeling like I'm in 2018, I've learned a few big lessons this year that feel worth sharing. Even if it's just for future Kayla to look back and think, "oh how quaint."

All things are difficult before they are easy. I've started a lot of new projects this year. I launched a subscription box, am deep into creating a coaching program, and am taking active steps towards a retail location. And it's hard. I have no freakin' clue what I'm doing most of the time. But things become easier the more you do them. The box process has become a well oiled machine after six months and I'm sure everything that's difficult now will become easy soon enough.

Anything can be accomplished with time and effort. This kind of goes with the first lesson. I never in a million years thought I'd be creating curriculum for an online coaching program. But with time and a whole lot of effort, even the most daunting thing (I'm looking at you retail store) can become a reality. 

I'm a social introvert. This year I joined the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce's ambassador program kind of on a whim. It's a whole lot more socializing than I originally expected, but I'm realizing that's ok. I'm still a hardcore homebody who loves to be alone with her husband and her cats. But I can also be that socialite attending networking events and grabbing coffee with strangers. 

That you can't always dip your toe in. This feels 100% true with the retail shop venture we're embarking on. It's definitely not something to just "try out." There are leases, commitments, and so many other factors that can't be half-assed. It's time to go all in on Oh, Hello.

Don't say 'no' to yourself for someone else. So often I find myself thinking, "oh there's no way they'll want to collab with me." I'm literally saying 'no' for them before I've even asked. So many times this year I've been pleasantly surprised by responses to emails and inquiries. You never know what they're going to say, so don't say it for them.

I'd love to say that I learned something small like how to clean the oven (I still don't know), but these past six months have been packed with some big "aha" lessons. How has the first half of 2019 been treating you?

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My Top 5 Travel Tips

We talked about travel anxiety in a recent post, but I wanted to dive into the tricks I've learned along the way that has made travel a breeze. I travel about once a month and these tips make it possible.

Join every frequent flyer program you can find. No matter what airline I'm flying on, I make sure I'm part of their program to get points for the flights. That way, one day down the road I'll have enough points for free travel. It seems silly if you don't use the same airline that often, but over time it can really pay off. Plus the programs are free so what does it hurt?

Along the same lines of frequent flyers are credit card points. Depending on what card you have, you'll receive points from purchases. We run our entire business through our credit cards in order to get the most points possible. We use those to pay for flights and hotels for conferences and events. As long as you pay off your credit card balance in full every month, it's basically like the credit card company is paying for your travel.

Once you're actually traveling, pack Ziplock bags with you. I usually bring one gallon bag with a few sandwich bags inside. You never know when you'll need a ziplock bag. It's great to keep your liquids separate from other things in your bag if they happen to spill. Maybe you went swimming the night before your flight leaves and still have a wet swimsuit. They're great to have on hand, just in case.

I've personally never been very good at documenting a trip while I'm on it, so I recommend keeping daily adventure lists of what you get up to. Nothing too fancy, just a list of places you went, things you saw, and food you ate. That way when you get back home you won't have to remember all the details when you're trying to document the trip.

Although I'm a bit biased with this one, film it. Film the entire trip in one capacity or another. Even if it's just short clips on your phone, you'll love being able to look back and see better snippets than just posed photos. Phone storage is way better these days so you won't have to worry about using up your space.

Any other seasoned travelers out there? What are your top tips?
film it
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What I Wish I Knew When I Started Decorative Planning

It's been five years. Five years of decorative planning. I've learned a lot over the past half decade (wut. why did I even say it that way? Now I can't get that out of my head...) and I have quite a lot of insight for younger me. 

Dear Kayla from 2014,

You don't need a ton of washi tape all at once. I mean, you'll soon find out you don't like it at all, but you definitely don't need 30+ rolls when you've only used a few inches of the first roll you purchased. Take things slow, figure out your planning style, and then invest in high quality products you'll use until they run out.

It's ok if your planning style changes. When I first started, I felt terrible when I suddenly didn't like the vertical planner I obsessed over for months before purchasing. Planner guilt is a real thing and you don't have to beat yourself up if the system no longer works for you.

Matte stickers are indeed better than glossy. Now, it does matter what type of matte paper we're talking about. That silky smooth type is king and beats out all other types. I know you're obsessed with glossy now, but you'll see.

You'll find other like-minded people. It may feel like you're a weirdo and no one relates to you, but soon enough you'll find your tribe of planner addicts and make a ton of lifelong friends. Just hold out and keep doing what you love.

One day, you'll finally figure out what to do with leftover stickers. I know you're frustrated by them now and don't know what to do with that giant stack, but you'll soon learn to combine like colors and do one color spreads. You'll feel stupid when that retaliation comes.

I know you take your spreads very seriously and what them to be Instagram perfect, but you'll realize (a little too late), that style of planning just doesn't work for you. Function over form because at the end of the day, that planner needs to help you not be a piece of crap more than it needs to look good.

 Kayla from 2019

What are some things you wish you knew when you started decorative planning? 
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How I Take Care of Over 30+ Different Houseplants

We recently hosted my 27th birthday at our house. Always having a flair for the dramatic, I wanted the theme to be "urban jungle." Of course it was met with a lot of confusion from friends who are most definitely not plant enthusiasts. As soon as they strolled through the front door it definitely sunk in. Over 30 gorgeous houseplants all stacked up right there in the living room (with a chair for plant selfies of course). 

Now people knew I enjoyed houseplants, but the party really brought the obsession to light. I get questions a lot online and in person about how I can keep so many (and different) plants alive. I gotta tell you, it really is super simple. I wish I had some super secret magic trick my great-great-grandmother passed down through the generations, but alas. No silver bullet plant growth tips here.

It's all about the water and sunlight. Which I mean, duh, but it's more than just pouring some water in and sticking a plant in front of a window. Plants, like people, are all different. Even ones in the same species have different needs. Plants I mean (well people too I guess!). I found my best plant success when I stopped listening to what the tags in the plants told me to do and started listening to the plant itself. (Insert plant whisperer imagery right here).

Sure I start off doing what the tag suggests, but I keep an eye on the plant to see if that's what it really wants. I always start my plant off in a location I hope it'll like and works with my decor, but more often than not the plant wants another spot. Over the next month or so if the plant doesn't get any new growth and starts looking sickly, I'll move it into more light or less light depending on where it is. 

As for water, I water all of my plants once a week but vary the amount of water that goes to each plant. Succulents and cacti get just a little to get the top soil a bit wet while the rest of the plants get water based on the size of their pots. All of my plants have a bed of rocks and sand at the bottom of their pots before the soil, so I never worry too much about over-watering them as they have a place to store that water away from the roots. The larger the pot, the more water as it dries out quicker. Plus the plants are usually larger in those pots and need more water anyway. I also recommend rotating your plants as they'll start to bend towards the light source over time.

It's honestly quite simple. Your plant will tell you if it's happy with new growth, and it will tell you if it's not with brown leaves and droopy looking branches. Plants are quite hearty creatures, but do demand a little attention now and again. I find that succulents and cacti are the hardest plants to keep happy as they don't show effects as quickly as other plants. So I tend to stick to the tropical or vine varieties that give me quicker satisfaction in seeing them grow.

Now you definitely don't need 30 plants, but one or two will make all the difference in a space. Start that urban jungle!
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