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

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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!

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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.

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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

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Little Rock, AR KSxLR

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As you may have noticed on my Instagram, a few weeks ago Steve and I traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas for a quick trip to visit some college friends. We had a wonderful time and spent the majority of the trip outside.

The trip started with different travel plans. Steve was already in Dallas for a work trip, so he flew directly to Little Rock. He got in few hours before me. I left Kansas City after work and took on the six hour drive. By the time I got there, it was late so we spent the rest of the evening drinking beers and catching up.

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Day 1

We woke up and drove out to Petit Jean State Park. We hiked through forests and meadows and hoped over streams until we made it to a gorgeous waterfall. Every step brought a new beautiful view to see.

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Afterwards, we headed home, got cleaned up and ready for the rest of the day. We went into downtown Little Rock for some dinner and then to a baseball game. The Arkansas Travelers are a Minor League team with a huge following. The game was packed and afterwards there was a huge fireworks show! While we were at the game, we tried a local beer called Lost Forty; and then drank it for the rest of the weekend!

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Day 2

Another early start as we headed out to go zip lining. I haven't gone zip lining since my honeymoon; I forgotten how much fun it is! The view continued to be spectacular as we climbed higher and higher. It was so much fun, but there was so much more hiking than we expected.

Exhausted, we drove into Hot Springs to get a late lunch at Deluca's Pizzeria Napoletana. The food was delicious! We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through Hot Springs. It was such a sweet little town.

We concluded our day with an evening at their home to watch the Mayweather v. McGregor fight. Now I am not one for boxing, however I did find the fight so interesting! I was cheering for Mayweather the whole time!

We woke up the next day, backed our bags and headed home. It was a fantastic trip. We left with some great memories and a lot of mosquito bites!

As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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A Cozy Fall Sweater

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Wild Thing Sweater | Jeans | Adidas Shoes | Nails

There is a crisp fall breeze, Starbucks has brought back PSLs, that means sweater weather is quickly approaching! Yay!

This is such a comfy, cozy sweater. I have been wearing it constantly since I bought it at CorePower Yoga. It's light-weight, but manages to keep me so warm. This makes it a great layering piece. This, plus the fact that it looks amazing with jeans, skirts, and leggings, makes it perfect! And I love this added detail of "Wild Thing" on the left side.

Spiritual Gangster no longer has this sweater available, but it is on YogaOutlet.com! Sizes are limited, so check it out!

As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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Set Your Intention: Indulgence

"Every once in a while, you just need to indulge yourself. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured."

When you hear the word indulgence, chances are your mind immediately goes negative. Rightfully so, because typically when we hear "indulge", we usually then think of gluttony, entitlement, and privilege. And yes, sometimes that is the case. There are plenty of people who regularly over-indulge, which can lead to arrogance and an excessive collection of "things". This has resulted is us feeling guilty when we indulge in anything, even when it's something we’ve earned or deserved.

I believe it's time to change our perspective on "indulgence". When an indulgence is chosen and used in moderation, it can be a wonderful thing. An example I like to use is a chocolate chip cookie. Let's say you find yourself craving a singular chocolate chip cookie. But you're trying to remain healthy. So you find a box of reduced fat crackers and chose to eat that instead. But because you didn't feed your small crave, you wind up eat the whole cracker box in an attempt to curb your crave. So, which is better for you? A singular chocolate chip cookie at 78 calories or a box of so-so crackers at 1040 calories. Sometimes embracing that small indulgence can be healthy. Besides, life is far too short to go without the occasional chocolate chip cookie.

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"Instead of indulging in 'comfort food', indulge in comfort meditation, comfort journaling, comfort walking, comfort talking, comfort manicures, comfort reading, comfort yoga, comfort hugging. It's a healthy indulgence."

Can we have truly healthy indulgences? To indulge means to take pleasure in an act. If you can find pleasure within a healthy practice such as yoga, why wouldn't you indulge yourself in it. If yoga isn't your thing, then find your healthy indulgence. Meditation, running,  journaling, reading, are all excellent options. The point is, if you have found something that brings you joy, gives you pleasure, and is non-harmful, why wouldn't you indulge in it?

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"In order to give of yourself to others, you must first have something to give. So enjoy your life. Have fun. Indulge yourself. Be good to yourself. How can you hope to bring happiness to others, if you are not happy?"

By allowing yourself these precious moments do to what you crave, you will begin to redefine your self-worth. You will become healthier, happier, and stronger. Then, you will be able to take this strength and happiness and pass it along to those who matter to you. Then, hopefully, from there, you can grow those relationships beyond what you could have imagined.

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"Keep you sunny side up, keep yourself beautiful, and indulge yourself!"

Please feel free to join me this month at Corepower Yoga.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

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Charleston, SC: KSxSC

A tad late on this one, but I am (finally) sharing a recap of our trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Day 1

We landed in Charleston in the late afternoon. Once we got to the hotel, we were able to freshen up and then head to a dinner. We went to the Tattooed Moose which I found on Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins. It was a hole-in-the-wall bar with unbelievable food. The roasted garlic + blue cheese fries are an absolute must!

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Day 2

Took an Uber to Folly Beach which ended up being the cutest town. Think if Stars Hallow was a beach town. We spent a couple hours soaking in the sun and walking into the water. Afterwards we headed to lunch at a place just off the ocean called Rita's Seaside Grill. We ended up meeting an old college friend there as well, who lives a tad more inland.

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Before we said out goodbyes, she took us to see this massive tree called The Angel Oak Tree, which is 400-500 years old!

We ended the day with dinner in the city and drinks at a gin bar; but not before I got my hands on a glass of rose!

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Day 3

We started our day with a walk through the city market. Hundreds of local vendors set up in this designated area everyday to sell their products.

Steven found what I dubbed "The Most Amazing Sandwich Shop in Charleston" for lunch. Brown Dog Deli had amazing food and décor.

After lunch, we continued to stroll through the city and finally found out why we were seeing pineapples everywhere!

A staple for any "Harm Trip" is to see something historical. So we took a boat trip out to Fort Sumter. While I usually smile along and indulge Steven with this part of our trips, I truly enjoyed this one!

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With some time to kill before dinner, we took a walk through Battery Park. We saw some of the most beautiful homes and the famous Rainbow Road.

As our evening started to wind down, we found a rooftop bar for a quick happy hour and follow it up at a brewery for dinner. 

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

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Labor Day Sales and Deals

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*Outfit details in this post!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! Steve and I opted out of traveling this weekend in order to enjoy a quite weekend at home. And by quite weekend, I mean football games for Steve and online shopping for me! Take a scroll through these sales and deals to stock up on your favorite fall basics.

Asos // 20% off order

Bloomingdales // Save 40-60%

DSW // 65% off plus triple points

Express // 40% off everything

J.Crew // 30% off order

J.Crew Factory // 50% off everything

Kate Spade // Extra 30% off sale

Kendra Scott // Up to 25% off

Levi's // 30% off order

Lulu's // Extra 40% off sale items

Nordstrom // up to 40% off

Old Navy // 20% off order

Shopbop // extra markdowns!

Victoria's Secret // Free Shipping

Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

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Friday Favorites: New Month, New Name!

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Happy September everyone!

September has always been my favorite month. For starters, it's my birth month, which automatically makes any month more special. Additionally, September comes with the early days of fall, pumpkin flavored anything, and the best clothes. Everything just feels more crisp and fresh. It makes me excited to start new.

So I thought I would switch things up with Friday Finds and turn it into Friday Favorites. Instead of sharing articles I've read online, I'm going to start sharing products and places I've seen and done. Hope you enjoy!

New favorite YouTube series.

Finally got my hands on a glass of froze!

I hope I don't lose these new hair ties.

What I add to all my fruit smoothies.

Did anyone else know Lilly Pulitzer had leggings?

Saw this woman speak on Monday; now I want her book.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Friday Finds: Let's book a ticket! and  Friday Finds: It's Time to Go Shopping

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My Only Staple Button-Down

J. Crew Button Down | Camisole (Old Who What Wear Collection similar here and here) | Mix No. 6 Shoes | J. Crew Shorts | Kendra Scott Kiri Necklace

Typically, I am not one for button-down shirts. I find they don't fit my body type as well as expected. So when I tried this blue and white striped shirt, I was shocked to see how well it fit! 

J. Crew Button Down | Camisole (Old Who What Wear Collection similar here and here) | Mix No. 6 Shoes | J. Crew Shorts | Kendra Scott Kiri Necklace

Currently there are plenty of sizes available. I sized down for a more fitted look. 

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J. Crew Button Down | Camisole (Old Who What Wear Collection similar here and here) | Mix No. 6 Shoes | J. Crew Shorts | Kendra Scott Kiri Necklace

This top can dress up any outfit, whether it's a skirt, jeans, or in my case shorts. I love throwing this shirt over a camisole with a rolled up sleeve for a more relaxed style. 

As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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Sixty-Five Roses

Once upon a time, a little boy overheard his mother on a phone call. He kept hearing his mother say the same phrase over and over again, "sixty-five roses". Eventually, he went up to his mother and said, "I know who you are working for… You are working for Sixty-Five Roses". Little did he know, not only was she actually volunteering for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, but he and his two other brothers also had cystic fibrosis.

Since then, "65 Roses" has been used my children and adults to describe the disease. The rose has also become a symbol for the CFF.

Inspired by a friend, who has CF, I have created this print. There are exactly 65 roses throughout the shape of this dog. This print comes in several different colors, as well as custom colors upon request. A name/phrase can be added to the print as well, just leave a comment in the notes. More animals will come soon!

Most importantly, a portion of the of the sales of this print will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

This unique print looks great by itself, or on a gallery wall with other prints. It would be a perfect gift for holidays, birthdays, or housewarming parties. And of course, a great gift for yourself!

Interested in learning more about CF? See links below.

About Cystic Fibrosis.

About 65 Roses.

Daily Life with CF.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

 

Set Your Intention: Your Self

Self-Worth

"No one can validate you enough to make it last. Outside approval feels great but true self-worth lies in the ability to give it to yourself."

What is your worth? How do you value yourself? Different from self-esteem, self-worth is about who you are, not about what you do. Those who determine their self-worth on external factors lead more stressful lives and risk issues with their mental health. But for those who determine their self-worth on internal factors lead happier, fuller lives. While real accomplishments are wonderful and should be celebrated, your self-worth should focus more on your unique qualities.

Self-Care

"You cannot pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first."

Take this moment while I'm writing the first draft of this post. It is nearly midnight on a Sunday. I'm tired and I have to teach yoga in the morning. But I stay awake writing and stressing myself over a self-imposed deadline.

When we are stressed, self-care is the first thing to go; which only just makes things worse. Abandoning essentials like sleep, meals, and physical activity are damaging to your mind and body. Self-care isn't a reward. It isn’t something we treat ourselves to when we’ve finished our to-do list. It should be one of you highest priorities. 

Self-Talk

"When you do talk about yourself, to talk to yourself… try to picture your talking to your own daughter or your younger sister. Because you would tell your younger sister or your daughter that she is beautiful, and you wouldn't be lying. Because she is. And so are you" - Amy Poehler

Self-talk is not discussed enough. We hear a lot about self-worth and self-care, but self-talk is it's own animal. The things we say to ourselves, about ourselves can be meaner then anything we would say aloud. It is hard to identify in a friend because we don't know what someone is thinking. For some people, these thoughts are pronounced and overwhelming, and they are hard to avoid. We need to go easy on ourselves, and remember we are just trying our best. 

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Self-Love

"Worry about loving yourself, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you."

To start, abandon this idea that self-love means you're selfish. Doing things for yourself and taking care of yourself is wonderful. We There is nothing wrong with loving who you are, flaws included. This is life. Life isn't about being perfect. It isn't about living happily ever after. It's about working on yourself, finding yourself, and loving yourself . It's a simple idea, but so hard to achieve.

Please feel free to join me as we further explore our selves throughout August at Corepower Yoga.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Yoga Playlist Vol. 2 and Set Your Intention: Creativity 

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Friday Finds: Let's book a ticket!

Eight stories, items, and other finds from this week.

Alright, well I'm buying a ticket? Who's in?

All 18 Pixar movies ranked.

Lauren Conrad's perfect little baby!

Nordstrom Sale ends on Sunday!

Harry Potter meet Meyer Briggs

Well, apparently a barista will do this for you. You have to bring your own container though.

5-time winner over here.

I think most people would be happy with an offer on a Post-It.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Friday Finds: It's Time to Go Shopping and Friday Finds: Mid-Year Refection

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5 Nail Colors for When Summer turns to Fall

Now, I know fall isn't for some time and we are still in the intense heat of the summer. But the nights have started to get shorter and the air has become cooler and before you know it, we'll be craving pumpkins! These five nail colors will work beautifully with any outfit over the next few months. Enjoy the last weeks of summer. 

Essie: Not Just A Pretty Face

I have been obsessed with this color all summer. I just think it is the perfect pink.

OPI: Yank My Doodle

This burnt orange will match the leave as they slowly change colors. Perfect for weather transitions.

Sinful Colors: Hush Money

This color has a beautiful sheen with a dash of sparkle the a perfect rose hue.

Essie: Truth or Flare

Similar to Yank My Doodle, this color is perfect for moving from hot summer days to the cool early fall.

Crayola+Sally Hansen: Purple Heart

This classic purple works on the hottest summer day and the cool fall evenings. Also, how cute is this Crayola+Sally Hansen collaboration?

What nail colors will you be rocking this summer? Let me know in the comments!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Summer Beauty Wish List and Fall Nail Favorites

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5 YouTube Channels I'm Loving

Eleventh Gorgeous

These sisters are beauty/lifestyle gurus and incredibly entertaining the watch! As self-proclaimed drugstore girls, they have introduced me to some of the best products I've used. 

The DeFranco Family

This family vlog stars a precious little man and his mom who is basically #RealMomGoals.

Tati AKA Glam Life Guru

Need to see a review of a beauty product you're interested in? This girl will have it! I don't know if there is anyone on YouTube who strives to test every product out there as much as she does.

Carly Cristman

With Carly, you'll find sarcasm, humor, and incredible style all rolled into one. Honestly, if she wore  something other than black and white, I'd copy her whole wardrobe. 

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Hello October

My favorite YouTuber from across the pod! Her style is a tad more luxury, but her style tips are excellent. I especially love her vlogs around Brighton.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Thoughts about my First Bracket and  Binging Podcasts is the New Black

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Sleeveless Trench Coat

Dress: Francesca's (old, but similar here and here) | Trench Coat: H&M (old, but similar here and here) | Shoes: BCBGeneration | Sunglasses: American Eagle | Nail Polish: Essie | Lips: CoverGirl 

 

When I came home with a sleeveless trench coach in my shopping bag, Steven shook his head. He looked at me and said, "What is the point of a sleeveless trench coat? It's not going to keep you warm." I laughed and while I knew he was correct, I couldn't help myself, I just loved it!

Since it's purchase, I tend to only wear the coat in spring and fall because the black is so heavy.In summer, I gravitate towardswhite and bright, vibrant colors. As a result, I typically find the long black silhouette to be overpowering when paired with summer outfits. Recently though, I realized this coat would look perfect with a black and white lace summer dress I already owned.

I've had this dress for a few years now and in the past, I've worn it with cropped jackets. They give the outfit a finished look, but because of the fuller skirt, there ends up being a boxy feel to it. The beauty of pairing this trench coat with a full skirt is the entire outfit suddenly slims down. I immediately feel taller. I paired the outfit with my black heels and added a bold red lip. Despite the lack of color, I am loving the diametrically opposed colors. While it deviates from what I typically like to wear in the summertime, I find the contrast bold, appealing, and striking.

As a bonus, I have found that this coat does keep my core warm!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Events with Victoria Beckham For Target and Fall Skirt For Spring

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Yoga Playlist Vol. 2

I put together together another yoga playlist that became insanely popular with many of my students. Since the response to this one was as good as the first, I thought I would share it as well!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Set Your Intention: Creativity and Set Your Intention: Find Stillness in Your Mind

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