16 Days in a Carry-on: Confessions of an Over-Packer


It all started a few months ago…

Steve and I had just booked out flights to Europe. Then he turned to me and said, "I want to do this trip in a carry-on". I laughed. "No way in hell", I responded. We had just booked a 16 day trip and he thought our luggage would fit in an overhead compartment? Our honeymoon, just eight day trip, required a checked bag, plus carry-ons. So how could a trip twice as long be condensed to a carry-on each? Also, I am a textbook over-packer.

Steve started to pull up articles and YouTube videos about packing for a multi-week trip in a carry-on. We spent a couple hours watching and reading. After some time, not only did I start to believe we could do this, but I also saw the benefits. Currently, the plan is to hit 3 countries, (maybe 4! stay tuned) and I liked the idea of not checking a bag. It would make things a lot easier, especially in a foreign country, to always have our luggage with us. Laundry wouldn’t be difficult to do either because we are visiting friends during the second leg of our trip. It all started to seem conceivable.

Today, we are flying out to our first stop, and I am pleased to report, we both have one suitcase and one backpack. How did I do it? Well for Steve it was easy, but for me, it took quite a bit of planning and some lessons learned along the way.

Here is how a classic over-packer condensed her suitcase and curbed her need to pack EVERYTHING!


1. Get used to the idea early.

If Steve had approached me with this idea last week, rather than several months ago, it would have been a hard no. I would have been mentally packed and not prepared to take on the task. But over the months, I've had time to plan accordingly and do proper research.

2. Get real with your plans.

The reason our honeymoon required a checked bag, was because I over-packed. I had 9 pairs of shoes and at least 2 outfits for each day, including eight dresses. (I would like to note, I did, wear all eight.) Realistically, I did not need all of that. But the purpose of the trip was to relax and enjoy our vacation. I had the luxury of changing outfits midday and wearing high heels to dinner. This trip however, is a different story. We will be on the move from sunrise to way beyond sunset. For this trip, I need comfortable footwear and an outfit that would work all day.  Once I realized this, half of what I would have brought in a checked bag was cut.

3. Check the weather.

In the week leading up to the trip, I monitored the weather in each city we'd be visiting. I was using this to help plan the clothes I would bring. Paying attention to the weather allowed me to make smarter choices in the clothes I was bringing on the trip.

4. Remember you can always buy something there.

Assuming your traveling to a developed country, you'll be able to get anything you need in the hotel lobby or a local drugstore.


5. Don't skimp on what's important to you

When carry-ons were first discussed, Steve told me I shouldn't bring my hairdryer because it's bulky. I said no, because I use a hairdryer everyday to style my bangs and I don’t like using hotel dryers.

6. Only pack for one week

Let's be honestly, you cannot pack 16 outfits in a carry-on suitcase. You can, however, back for about a week. So do just that and toss in a few detergent pods.

7. Do you wear it at home?

If you don't wear it at home, you won't wear it when you travel. Pick clothing items you know you are comfortable wearing out.

8. Don't go shopping!

I resolved to do this early. I knew if I bought something, I would feel obligated to bring it on the trip. I decided it would be best to save money leading up to the trip. We have a lot of actives planned, but I wouldn't mind doing a little shopping over there as well. I would much rather purchase something while I'm in Europe and bring it back to the states, than the other way around. 

9. If you're worried, do a practice pack.

A week before we left, I did a quick practice pack to make sure everything I was planning on taking would fit. It was worth it because it assured me that I didn’t have too much.

Below I have put together an abridge list of what I am packing for clothing and accessories.

• 8 tops

• 2 pairs of jeans

• 2 pairs of shorts

• 8-10 pairs of underwear

• 8-10 pairs of socks

• 2 pair of shoes

• 2 bras

• 2 jackets

• Leggings

• 1 sports bra

• 1 of each beauty item (ie: 1 eye shadow palette, 1 concealer, 1 blush, etc.)

• Minimal jewelry

• 1 Hair dryer

• 1 Curling wand

 All of this is currently packed in my carry-on suitcase with room to spare!

To keep up with our travels for the next two weeks, make sure you're following me on Instagram and check out the hashtag #KSpinningTravels to stay up-to-date! 

 As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Alamo, TX: KS X TX

A couple of weeks ago, Steve and I took a weekend trip down to Alamo, TX to visit his grandparents. Steve's parents we're also in town for the weekend as well, so it was a lovely weekend filled with family and laughter.

Even though we we're only there for a quick trip, we spent the majority of the time being lazy, sitting outside and enjoying the wonderful heat. I couldn't believe I was able to wear a bikini and sit by a pool in the middle of February! And I drove a golf cart for the first time!

Texas became our 8th and final state in a span on 1 year! Our travel board has really grown!

As always, thank you for reading! XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Boulder, Colorado: KS x CO and  I Left My Heart in San Francisco: KSxSF 

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

Our Travel Board

Several years ago, I began a travel board as a way to document our travels over the years. So far, we have traveled to 13 states. The majority of the photos documenting the first time we had been there together. I love the idea of watching ourselves get older as we explore more of the country and add photos to the board. Our goal, of course, is to hit all 50 states, including D.C.

It is definitely one of our favorite pieces we have in our home and it gets a lot of comments from family and friends. Below is the step by step process to make your own! Trust me, it's easier than you think!

The supplies you will need:

  • A Bulletin Board
  • A Map
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Rubber Cement
  • Pencil
  • Tissue Paper
  • Glue stick
  • Cardstock paper
  • Pushpins
  • Pictures!

Ed Note: Make sure to take opportunity to measure the states before you print photos. States like Texas and California are likely to require a larger photo printed.

1) Cut out the map.


2) Paint the bulletin board. Let it dry. I chose black for a neutral background.

3) Use the rubber cement to glue the cut out map to the board.

4) Use the tissue paper to trace out the state. Cut it out.

5) Glue the picture to the cardstock paper to make it thicker. Once dry, cut out the picture.

Position the tissue paper state cutout on the photo. Tape it down. Cut around the tissue paper. This will ensure your photo is the same size as the state.

6) Position the tissue paper state cutout on the photo. Tape it down.   Cut around the tissue paper. This will ensure your photo is the same size as the state.

7) Glue push pins to the back of the state. {We also like to write down where we were exactly in the state and the date.)

8) Push the pins into the map and you're done!


I hope you take the time to try out this DIY! It's an ongoing project that inspires Steve and I to travel and explore!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, than you will also like Not Your Typical Headboard and International Shadow Boxes.

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

Boulder, Colorado: KS x CO


Last month we took a quick road trip out to Boulder, Colorado.  It was an 8 hour drive, but it was completely worth it because we had a wonderful time! The first place we went to was  Pearl Street. It was a long street in the middle of Boulder filled with local shops and boutiques. We had a wonderful time flowing in and out of stores. We followed it up with dinner at a local brewery.

The next day we woke up early to hike the Flatirons. As we got to the top, the views were amazing! But we struggled in the beginning. The altitude definitely got to us very quickly. It was amazing to see locals so casually climb up and down this mountains while Steve and I were panting and chugging water!


After the hike we took a wonderful, relaxing break. It was just nice to just be completely lazy!

But then that evening, after dinner we went the Gilmore Guys Live Show. I have made it no secret how much I love Gilmore Girls and have mentioned several times how much I love the Gilmore Guys podcasts. So I was thrilled to get to see one of their live shows!


Not only that but I got to meet them too! I was definitely semi-starstuck to meet my favorite podcasters!


It was a great trip and I am so happy we were able to make it out there. Colorado was the 5th new states we've visited this year!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like I Left My Heart in San Francisco: KSxSF and Anchorage, Alaska: KSxAK Part 2.

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

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.



Friday Finds: What Should We Do In Boulder?

Happy Friday everyone! Next weekend, Steve and I will be going to Boulder, CO. We have most of the weekend free and are looking to fill it with the best Boulder has to offer! So if you've been to Boulder, what were your favorite things to do?

Below are some of my favorite finds this week!


Which T. Swift will you be for Halloween?


Basically what I want my apartment to look like.

Lizzy Caplan's favorite things.

Seahorses, mayo, and Jimmy Fallon.

Tim Gunn is the best human.

As always, thank you for reading,

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.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco: KSxSF


If you follow me on Instgram, you already know that I was in San Francisco the last week of July. It was a sort of spontaneous trip. Steve has been traveling to San Francisco once a month for work for the last few months. Since July's trip fell in the middle of four other business trips, we decided that I would go to San Fran with him! I had never been to San Fran before, nor had I traveled with Steve on one of his business trips before; so this was overall a very unique experience. Since Steve had to go visit the client, I had the days to myself. It was a new experience for me to be in a new city by myself. It was kinda great because I got to do whatever I wanted, go where I wanted. I described it to friends as "the benefits of traveling alone, without having to travel alone".

I took advantage of this time to walk around and embrace the city. I tried my best to blend is as a normal San Franciscan, (although my Lyft driver called me out when I asked him to take me to the Golden Gate Bridge!)

-Day 1- I walked to Fisherman's Wharf. The area was so big and full of the cutest, little shops. And, of course, boats everywhere! SF_1

-Day 1- From Fisherman's Wharf was a huge pier. At the end it gave me this spectacular view of the city. SF_2

-Day 1- On the other side of the pier was Alcatraz. I wasn't interested in actually taking the tour, but it was nice to see. SF_3

-Day 2- I walked to Alamo Square. Unfortunately, the whole park was under construction, but I did get to see the beautiful houses surrounding it. SF_4

-Day 2- I went to the Golden Gate Bridge! When I first got there, it was so foggy! I decided to wait a bit to see if the fog cleared. It didn't but I kept seeing people begin their walk on the bridge. So I decided to go ahead and go through the fog. SF_5

-Day 2- Thankfully, I went because the further I walked the clearer it became! SF_6

-Day 2- I ended up walking the entire bridge there and back! A total of 3 miles! SF_8

-Day 3- I took the famous San Fran Trolley around the city! The wait was so long but the ride so much fun! SF_9

-Day 3- My final stop was the AT&T Park, home of the San Fran Giants. Note to Self: Always check the team's schedule before visiting a stadium. I got there right when a game finished. It was so crowded! SF_10

As always, thank you for reading, Helen

P.S. If you liked this, you may also like Anchorage, Alaska: KSxAK Part 1 and Anchorage, Alaska: KSxAK Part 2.

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...

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


The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary


Today is mine and Steve's 1st anniversary! This year has gone by so quickly, and so much has happened. To help celebrate, I decided to have both Steve and I answer a few questions about our first year as a married couple! I hope you enjoy our answers, as well as some photos from the big day! EP4_2614

How long have you been married? Helen: 1 Year - 365 days of marital bliss! (Actually 366, it's a leap year)

Steve: 1 year officially, but in the eyes of our friends and family we have been "the old married couple" for about 3 years now.

When looking back upon the wedding, what is the first memory that comes to mind? Helen: The moment right before I walked down the aisle. All of the family and bridesmaids were lined up, and began walking. Then it was my turn! I grabbed my dad's arm. I wasn't nervous at all. I was filled with excitement! I was literally walking into the next stage of my life!

Steve: It had to be everyone in the pews standing up to the first note to the bridal precession, seeing my beautiful wife-to-be down at the end of the aisle, and praying to God I didn't mess anything up during the service. :)


What was the highlight of this past year? Helen: We've done a lot of travel this year! Starting with our honeymoon, which was the first international trip, we've taken together. It was so wonderful, and from there we’ve continued explore more of the U.S. We've also grown so much together as a couple. I didn’t expect that level of growth because we’ve been together for so long, but it has been great!  Finally getting to use the word "husband" has been so much fun, too!

Steve: We've had quiet a wild year. I think my favorite experience this year was the honeymoon. It was an incredibly fun trip full of memories that will last a lifetime. My other favorite highlight of the year isn't a particular event, but more of a feeling. On a random Saturday night, I know there are single people out there trying find their soul mate. But I already have mine asleep on my numb arm on the couch watching reality TV trash, and thinking I was the luckiest guy in the whole wide world.

What was the low point of the past year? Helen: I've had a rough year for work. It really was the only glitch on an otherwise fantastic year; but it was a big one. Steve has been so supportive throughout all of it. I really don't know what I would have done without him. He's my rock.

Steve: I think the low point of the year was some dynamic shift at my work. A lot has changed since I started and while I am eager to take up the challenge, I know it does sometimes put stress on our relationship. There have been nights when I get home from work and need to go to the office and keep working almost immediately after dinner.


Have you learned anything new about your spouse in the last year? Helen: I learned that Steve will always humor me when I try to cook healthy meals for us. He'll smile and eat what's on his plate, then grab the Oreos. I've learned that even though he still denies it, he does, in fact, like Gilmore Girls. He is also a strong provider. He's had this vision for our future, and he's working so hard to make sure we get there. I also learned that Steve has the ability to set off the fire alarm by boiling water. :)

Steve: I learned that she does in fact sunburn, weather she likes it or not. She may or may not occasionally snore (not brave enough to put that on the record - so I plead the 5th). She has become an amazing cook!. Especially since in one of our first dinners she added 3 heads of garlic instead of 3 cloves of garlic :p. I also learned she has a fierce determination to continue on and always looks to the future no matter what, she always strives to look forward and see the best future for us. JL7_9220

What do you hope the next year will bring? Helen: More travel! We have quite a few trips in the works right now that will hopefully come to fruition in the next year. Travel has been so important to us and we want to take advantage of these opportunities while we can. We're also looking forward to strides in our careers. And, of course, I'm looking forward to our relationship to continue to grow and succeed.

Steve: I hope next year will bring more incredible adventures. Hopefully one of them is a commitment to a four walled structure we actually own (that's right, I've convinced my city-loving wife to buy a house in "the burbs"). I also hope we continue to grow our love and our relationship each and every day. Our planned 2 week trip to Europe won't hurt either ;)

Steve and I have had a wonderful and memorable first year! It's gone by so quickly and we have so much more to look forward to in the future!

As always, thank you 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

Feature Image

Ohhhhh Canada…


Truth time: don't know the rest of the words. If you saw my post about my recent trip to North Dakota, would will know that my husband and I and our two good friends, Rob and Kay, did a day trip to Winnipeg, Canada. We were already in Grand Forks, ND visiting Rob and Kay.  Grand Forks is only an hour south of the Canadian Boarder, and Winnipeg is another 90 minutes. Since none of us had been to Canada before, we decided to take advantage of the proximity and make a day trip up to the Great White North.

The moment we crossed the Canadian boarder, we had an eagle-eye out for a Tim Hortons. We pulled off  of the interstate the second we saw one. Needless to say, I was very happy I finally had doughnuts in my hand, while in Canada.


As we entered into Winnipeg, we ran into a little problem; we couldn't use our GPS since our cellular service was out of range. Thankfully, we had done enough research on Winnipeg to know where we wanted to go and then followed road signs to get there. The first place we were headed to was an area call The Forks.


The Forks was the area we stayed in for the longest time. Clearly a main tourist attraction in Winnipeg, it was filled with walkways to see the city from different angles, and adorable little shops we could weave in and out of in the main area. Also in The Forks were historical spots, which my husband and Rob LOVE to check out when in a new city. While this part of tourism doesn’t always interest me, it makes me happy to know how much my husband enjoys reading all of the signs.


After our a couple hours of being a tourist, we decided it was time for some good old fashion Canadian beer. We found an adorable restaurant in the middle of the city and sat down for happy hour. One thing my husband and I always try to do in a new city to us is taste the local brew. So when the waitress asked, "What will we have?", our answer was simply, "Anything locally made in Canada". Not only was the beer she brought back great, but one of the labels had the Canadian flag on it. So we were very happy!


In our Winnipeg research, we found one of the most popular things to do were Escape Rooms. I had never heard of these before, so I was very intrigued. The one we went to was called, Ultimate Lockdown. Basically, you and your friends, enter a room that is "locked" and you have one hour to use the hidden clues in the room to escape. I say "locked" because, we could leave at anytime and even call the front desk if we needed help with the clues. It was a lot of fun!


We capped off the night with dinner at a local Winnipeg burger joint, called Nuburger. It had some of the most original burger combinations. We had a very delicious meal. Afterwards, we began the drive back to Grand Forks.

It was a quick day trip, but I am happy I can finally say I have been to Canada. We had a wonderful time and I am looking forward to the next time I get to visit Canada! Have you ever been to Canada, specifically Winnipeg? What was your favorite thing to do while visiting?

As always, thank you for reading, Helen



So we traveled to North Dakota


You did not read that title wrong! My husband and I traveled to North Dakota this past April to visit some dear friends of ours. I have known Rob and Kay for as long as I have known my husband. Rob, who is currently in the Air Force, met my husband when they were in 8th grade. Despite both being military children and moving throughout their lives, they remained very good friends and ended up going to college together.


Rob and Kay moved to North Dakota about a year and a half ago to the Air Force Base in Grand Forks. We had planned on visiting for them a since they moved, but between schedules and the VERY cold weather in ND, the plan kept getting pushed back. But when we received the news that Rob was to deploy at the beginning of June, we put a visit on the calendar immediately.

I am not going to sugar coat it; there wasn't much of a social scene in Grand Forks. But because we were with good friends, we were just happy hanging around their house watching movies and catching up. But we weren't locked up in their house the whole trip.

IMG_6995 Rob and Kay live in a house on base, so this was the first time I had ever stayed on an Air Force Base. We toured the base, including were Rob worked. We got to get up close with some of the planes he works with, which was not only amazing to see, but to hear. During the tour, Rob explained to us how the planes operate, where they have been, and some of the stories behind each plane.

One day, they also took us into town to see the city. We stopped in a little boutique which I immediately fell in love with. I walked away with a couple of gorgeous accessories, but I could have purchased the entire store! Near town is also the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks campus, which we also drove through. Unfortunately, the cold weather and off-and-on rain prevented us form walking for much of the trip.

IMG_7002 One of the most darling parts of Grand Forks was the airport. We quickly learned while waiting at the airport, the only way to get to Grand Forks from Kansas City, or any city, is through Minneapolis. When we arrived at the airport, we looked to the Arrivals and Departures screens, to see a grand total of 7 flights listed, all coming or going from Minneapolis! I had never seen anything like this before, so I found it to be so cute and hilarious!

Grand Forks is located about an hour south of the Canadian border. Believe it or not, all four of us had never been to Canada before. So we took a day trip up to Winnipeg, the closest Canadian city to Grand Forks. But more about that on a future post. :)

As always, thank you for reading!