Summer 2016 Bucket List Recap

Three months ago I posted my Summer 2016 Bucket List. Sadly, summer has officially come to the end because tomorrow is the autumnal equinox, the official first day of fall. And while the weather in KC may still say summer, I am ready for sweater weather and pumpkin everything!

Below, I have a recap of what we were able to accomplish this summer!


1: Travel to Northern California. We did! I joined Steve on his work trip to San Francisco and had the best time. You can see all of the pictures here!

3: Attend a Big Summer Concert We almost didn't make this one, but then in late August we attended a Def Leppard Concert with some of Steve's coworkers. We were definitely the youngest people there, but it was still an awesome concert! Their openers were Tesla and REO Speedwagon.

img_86044: Being the House Hunt. Not only did we begin the house hunt, but we found the house and closed last week! Moving soon!

5: Learn to Make Ice Cream. We received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift in the summer of 2015 and we finally used it! I made some delicious chocolate ice cream! With fall beginning, I'm looking forward to trying out some pumpkin and apple flavors!

6: Continue to grow my Etsy Page. Since I posted this bucket list in June, I have added 38 new listings! And there is so much more to come!

Alaska_117: Hiking in Alaska. Truly one of the best experiences of my life! We hiked up 4600ft elevation and a round trip total of about 10 miles. The entire trip took 6 hours; 4 hours up and 2 down. Such an accomplishment. And yes, we could barely move the next day! Pictures here and here.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like What’s In My Bag? and Dakota’s Story

Don’t forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.



Saturdaze: July Update


July was insanely busy! We were in Alaska and San Francisco, and the weeks in between, Steve was traveling for work. My mom was in town for a few days, which was amazing! I realized she and I hadn't spent multiple days together, just the two of us, in years! So we really enjoyed our time together :D In July, I…

Watched: UnREAL. My friend told me about this show while we were watching the Bachelorette. It's so addicting! I highly recommend it, especially if you like reality television. I've also started Breaking Bad for the very first time!

Wore: Pants and jackets. Shorts and tanks. I spent half this month in colder cities and the other half in 90+ degree weather in KC.

Heard: New podcast fav: How Did This Get Made?

Read: I've added What Alice Forgot to my never ending pile of half-read books.

Traveled: Traveled to Alaska and San Francisco! You can read about it and see pictures here, here, and here!

Saw: The Secret Life of Pets and Ghostbusters. We saw them at the Boulevard Drive-in Movie Theater, which was so much fun!  We also saw the new Star Trek movie.

News: We've officially started the house hunt! I've also added a bunch of new prints to the Kaleidoscope Spinning's Etsy Page, including 4 USA prints!

Something I am most looking forward to in August is the completion of my CorePower Yoga Teacher Training! It's been such a wonderful experience and I can't believe it's almost over. Also keep your eye out for new prints on the Etsy Page!

As always, thank you for reading,



P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Saturdaze: June Update and Saturdaze: May Update.

Don’t forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Our Gallery Wall


My husband instilled something in me when we first moved in together. At the time we were recent college grads and newly engaged, and I wanted this first apartment of ours to look amazing. My instinct was to go to Target and buy wall décor to fill space and cover our ugly beige walls. But Steve stopped me when I was discussing my plans. He told me how he prefers the décor in his home to be personal. Rather than picking up items because they "looked cute", he wanted to have items I created or prints that had meaning to them. With this in mind, I abandoned my original plans and took a look at what we already had. A few worthy item according to the new criteria and some obvious gaps that needed to be filled. Given how I now wanted everything to have meaning, I didn't rush the process. It's now been three years and we've gone through 4 versions of our gallery wall. I think this one is the best by far. In those three years, I've added items and taken some away, but the purpose has always remained the same.


      1. #Stelen2015 was our wedding hashtag. Inspired by the "celebrity name" given to us in college (Steven and Helen) and the year of our marriage. The Stelen2015 canvas was a wedding gift from a sweet college friend.
      2. A Valentine's Day gift from me to Steve, in the middle is a photo from the first time he visited me and my family in Chicago. Around the photo, I wrote the lyrics to "Crazy Girl" by the Eli Young Band. We considered it our song and eventually had our first dance to it at our wedding.
      3. Another gift from me to Steve. I took a wooden plaque and hammered in nails in the of the state of Iowa. The heart was placed in the center for the location of Iowa State University in Ames, where Steve and I met.
      4. A print from an Etsy shop. I originally was planning on purchasing one for some friends, but I felt it applied to Steve and I as well. In his job, he travels at least once a month, but usually more. Steve was also grew up moving every other year because his dad was in the Air Force. Because of this he believes in taking advantage of living in new places.
      5. A gift from Steve to me on our very first dating anniversary. The frame, from an Etsy shop, says. "I Love You to the Moon and Back".  The photo contains a picture of us a couple of days before our first date and a photo a us exactly one year later.
      6. A photo from our engagement shoot.
      7. The Kansas City Skyline print from Etsy. When we moved to KC, I wanted to buy a bunch of KC artwork to commemorate the move. The Skyline is made up of words that have to do with Kansas City.
      8. A print we picked on our honeymoon in Antiqua. It is of a part of the island that holds the National Park.
      9. A How I Met Your Mother print from Etsy. It has the famous "yellow umbrella" on it. This was a show that Steve and I loved to watch (except for the last season!)
      10. A gift from Steve to me. It says "Steve Lassos to Moon" with a image of a man actually lassoing the moon! He gave this to me because "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of my favorite movies. But the best part? It's not a print, its all sewn onto a canvas!
      11. An abstract map of Ames, IA.
      12. The cutest little print I picked up from Paper Source.
      13. This is actually a lawn sign from Iowa State's 100th Homecoming celebration. Steve and I were both on the committee to plan Homecoming that year.
      14. A photo of the Northern Lights, taken in Alaska, which is where we picked it up. If only I had seen them myself!
      15. Yes, that is a very tiny photo from our wedding, but we have much bigger ones in our living room!
      16. Another photo from our engagement shoot.
      17. This is a fun little item. I took the top off of a shadow box and left the glass and backing on. This is where we put old tickets from concerts, movies, and games.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at our gallery wall and learning a little bit more about me, and my life!

As always, thank you for reading, Helen

P.S. You may also like Not Your Typical Headboard and International Shadow Boxes.

Anchorage, Alaska: KSxAK Part 2

It is Part 2 of my Alaskan Recap! In case you missed it, check out Part 1!

- Day 5 - The day after our loooong hike, we decided to take it easy with a 6-hour boat ride along the coast of Alaska. This boat ride showed us a ton of wildlife! We started off with seeing whales everywhere! Alaska_25

- Day 5 - Aside from the whales, my favorite animals to see where the sea lions!Alaska_26

- Day 5 - But the best part of the boat ride was this glacier! It is the size of Rhode Island and we came within .25 miles of it!Alaska_17

- Day 5 - Not sure how they did it, but the boat crew was able get a piece of floating ice from the glacier and brought it on the deck!Alaska_23

- Day 5 - After the boat trip, we stopped by the locate Sea Life Museum before dinner. Alaska_18

- Day 5 - We were able to see the birds we saw during the boat ride, up close. Alaska_28

- Day 6 - We woke up early, dressed in many layers, and went rafting!Alaska_19

- Day 6 - I'm in the back. And if I look terrified, it’s because I was!Alaska_20

- Day 6 - Overall thoughts on rafting; it was a unique and fun experience. I'm glad I did it!Alaska_21

- Day 7 - We woke up, backed our bags, and headed to the airport for another long day of travel. We had such an amazing time and we were so sad to leave!

 As always, thank you for reading, Helen

 P.S. you may also like Anchorage, Alaska: KSxAK Part 1 and What I Packed for Alaska.


Anchorage, Alaska: KSxAK Part 1

It is Part 1 of my Alaskan Recap! Make sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2! We had a great time in Alaska! Including our travel, we were gone for 7 days. Since Alaska is such a visually beautiful state, instead of trying to explain everything, I'd rather show you all of the majestic scenery with captions.

How we ended up in Alaska: One of my best friends, Elena, from my childhood was relocated to Anchorage, AK for work about 18 months ago. Determined to visit her in the summer months, we planned a trip for 4th of July weekend, along with our other best friend, Alicia, Alicia's boyfriend, and Elena's sister.

- Day 1 - Flight to Alaska!Alaska_16

- Day 2 - It was just the two of us on this day, so decided to play tourist in Anchorage. We started with walking along the coast, then brunch. Alaska_1

- Day 2 - We spent the afternoon in the Anchorage Museum. It had a healthy mix of art (for myself) and history (for Steve).Alaska_2

- Day 2 - We saw on Trip Advisor that this painted wall was one of the top "Things To Do". So when we drove by it, we pulled over and made sure we got a picture with the Whaling Wall!Alaska_3

- Day 3 - The rest of our friends flew in that morning and we hopped right into the car. We started with a wildlife tour where we watched a bear feeding.Alaska_7

- Day 3 - We continued on to see a ton of other animals including bald eagles, foxes, and wolves.Alaska_8

- Day 3 - After the tour we did a quick hike up a glacier. The scenery was seriously unbelievable! Alaska_4

- Day 3 - So much fun (and weird) playing in the snow in July!Alaska_5

- Day 4 - We piled in the car and drove for 2 hours to Seward, AK.  When we got there, we began our 6 hour, 8 mile hike!Alaska_15

- Day 4 - Ed note: I'm eating pretzels in this shot hahaAlaska_10

- Day 4 - The scenery throughout the whole hike was amazing!!!Alaska_13

- Day 4 - Showing Iowa State pride at the very top! 4600ft Elevation!Alaska_11

Make sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2! You'll see pictures from a glacier the size of Rhode Island and rafting!

As always, thanks for reading, Helen

P.S. you may also like What I Packed for Alaska and Ohhhh Canada...

Saturdaze: June Update


June felt slow mostly because of the anticipation for our Alaskan trip. I tried to keep myself busy to help the days go by faster. This resulted in a lot reading, yoga, and, of course, podcasts!

Watching: The Hills. Mostly because of this new podcast I found. Also watched all of Orange is the New Black with in 36 hours!

Drinking: Water. I have found myself dehydrated lately, so I'm trying to make an effort to drink more water.

Wearing: Yoga Pants. I officially started teacher training with CorePower Yoga in June! I'm only a few classes in, and the experience has been amazing so far!

Listening: Still completely obsessed with podcasts. But the new OneRepublic song has been on repeat for me as well.

Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is still on my night stand, but I've also began The Beautiful and the Damned and One More Thing. I think I have book commitment issues.

Feeling: Empowered and calm, mostly because of all of the yoga.

Traveled: Left for Alaska!

Saw: The Lumineers at the Power and Light District, a Kansas City Royals Game, and houses! We’ve started going to open houses on the weekends to get a better idea of what we're looking for in a home. Expecting to find a relator this month so we can really dive into house hunting.

News: Mentioned above, but I've started Teaching Training with CorePower Yoga! This has been something I have had in the back of my head for YEARS, and I've finally begun! I am excited to take you guys on this journey with me.

I'm expecting to just be hot in July. After spending some time in cold weather, coming home to 90+ degrees was quite a shock! Thank goodness for air conditioning!

As always, thank you for reading, Helen

Friday Finds: What are you watching?

Happy Friday Everyone! Back home in KC after our unbelievable trip to Alaska! After a big trip, I'm always drained. Very rarely do I just jump right back into my everyday life. I am using this as the perfect excuse to start watching a new TV show. Now I just need to pick one!

Below are some of my favorite finds this week!


Probably Jonah Hill's best performance.

Planning unplanned trips.

Crazy iPhone gadgets.

Hermione Squared.


The original television antihero.

Do you have any suggestions for new shows I could start watching?

As always, thanks for reading, Helen


P.S. You may also like Friday Finds: Do You Hike and Friday Finds: It is HOT HOT HOT

What I Packed for Alaska


We are in Alaska! Yesterday, we took our long flight from KC to Anchorage. The travel time, including the layover, was 8 hours. But I came prepared with things to do, like writing this post, so the time went quickly.

Prior to the trip, my friend we're visiting sent us a "must pack list." This list contained items that we would need specifically for our Alaskan adventures.  Because of this, we had a bit of an unusual packing list. Some key pieces are included below!


  1. Leggings on leggings on leggings. We will be going on hikes, among other outdoor activities, and leggings are perfect for all of them.
  2. Hiking boots. As you may have read in last week's Friday Finds, I recently bought hiking boots for this trip.
  3. Rain Coat. This was actually a wonderful excuse to buy a rain coast, which I have been meaning to get for years. A necessity because we will be doing some ice hiking and boating.
  4. Hat. It may be summer, but it's still cold in Alaska.
  5. Swim suit. You may have read my statement above and thought, "If it's cold, why the swim suit?" One of the places we're going has a hot tub, so we gotta be prepared!

Then, of course, we had to pack the typical clothing items and usual travel accessories. The weather is expected to be mostly in the 50s and 60s. So I packed jeans, leather leggings, sweaters, tees, and booties. The cooler weather is definitely welcomed after the 100+ heat wave in Kansas City!

If you're interested in seeing photos from Alaska in real time, check out my Instagram page.

As always, thanks for reading, Helen


Summer Bucket List

Today is the summer solstice! This is one of my favorite days  because it is the longest day of the year. I love, love, love sunshine, so to have it for almost 15 hours is amazing! As if today wasn’t already wonderful, my sweet mother-in-law informed me that there will also be a full moon tonight. To have the summer solstice and a full moon on the same day is very rare! Summer_Bucket_list_h

To start the summer off right, I have created a Summer Bucket List. I'm hoping to get everything crossed off by September 21st, the last day of summer! The toughest ones on the list? #1, #3, and #9!

  1. Travel to Northern California
  2. Go to Overland Park Farmer's Market
  3. Attend a big summer concert
  4. Begin the house hunt
  5. Learn to make ice cream
  6. Continue to grow my Etsy Page
  7. Hiking in Alaska
  8. Attend a Sporting KC Game
  9. Visit Worlds of Fun

Happy Summer Solstice and enjoy the sunshine! Helen

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Saturdaze: May Update

May has been filled with the idea of "going home". Moving to our new home, visiting my in-laws, and visiting my parents. This resulted in living out of suitcases and boxes for a good portion of the month. Thankfully, and finally, we are down to two last boxes in the apartment. But despite moving and traveling, I've managed to start watching two new shows, and catch up on my favorite podcasts!

Watching: Veep Season 5, Real Housewives of Dallas, Game of Thrones (started watching for the first time!), and Cheers

Drinking: Filtered water 

Wearing: Jogger Pants - I've become obsessed! I want this pair next!

Listening: The soundtrack to Hamilton and my two favorite Podcasts: Gilmore Guys and Best of Friends.

Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Feeling: Busy. As mentioned above, May has been quick a chaotic month! We moved, attended my brother-in-law's college graduation and spent a week with my parents.

Traveled: Ames, IA for the graduation, Chicago to see my parents, and a brief stop in St. Louis to see one of my best friends and her fiancé.

Saw: Two Kansas City Royals Games and Captain America: Civil War

News: If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know this; one of my dearest friends asked be to be one of her bridesmaids! Her wedding will in April and I am so excited for her and her fiancé!

I'd like to say June will be calmer, but it won't! We've got a few things going on for this month. Including a trip to Alaska! But more on that later… :)

As always, thank you for reading, Helen