We Went to Europe and All We Got Were Selfies…


If you follow me on social media, you would have seen that Steve and I just spent the last two weeks of September traveling through Europe.


Our trip was an absolute dream. It was two glorious weeks of walking, talking, eating, and sightseeing. My desire for this trip was to blend in and hopefully appear as locals. Personally, I felt we didn't look very touristy. No fanny-packs, Hawaiian shirts or white knee-high socks. We used our phones for maps rather than clutching a folded paper map. The backpacks we carried weren't too large; perhaps people would think we're students. But this hope was quickly derailed every time Steve threw the Canon strap around his neck and I whipped out my phone to take videos; and this happen A LOT.

We saw everything we could think of and then some more that we just stumbled upon. We came home 16 days later with an unbelievable number of photos and hours of video. A tad overwhelming now, but in the moment, we wanted to capture all we could. As I began to sort through the photos, I started making a list of what we'd do with all of them. I fully plan on making a shadow box for each country, a photo album is likely, and then there is the Christmas card. 


I knew before we left we'd use a photo from the trip for our Christmas card this year. We like to choose a single photo that shows one of our best moments from the past year. 2016 was a picture from our trip to Alaska and the year that before was a photo from our wedding.

I have a short list of qualifications for choosing the perfect Christmas card photo. To start, we both need to be in the photo (duh!). But beyond that, we need a memorable backdrop, good lighting, and be sunglass-free. This is where things start to get tricky.

We came home with several photos that met these requirements. I don't know how I am going to choose!  Luckily, choosing the perfect photo is going to be the hardest part of creating my Christmas cards, all thanks of Basic Invite.

Basic Invite is an online retailer that carries Christmas and Holiday cards, as well as stationary, announcement cards, and any invitation you may need.

To begin, they have nearly unlimited color choices. Once a design is selected, you'll have the ability to change the color of each detail on your card. With over 180 color options, Basic Invite truly gives you the opportunity to create a unique, one-of-a-kind card. This is something you don't find with most online stationary stores. From there you'll get to pick your envelope color from another wide selection of color choices.

Once your design is complete, you'll have the opportunity to receive a printed sample. You can actually see, touch, and feel your card before placing your final order. There is something so comforting about holding the card in your hand before making your final decision. It gives me confidence in my choice and design; something a virtual sample just can't do.

But my favorite Basic Invite feature? They offer recipient address printing for Christmas card orders, no additional charge. They also offer an address capture service. Use any form of social media to reach out to your family and friends and request their address. Once they send it to you, it'll be stored in your account to use now and in the future.

With over 250 Christmas card and Holiday card designs, it's easy to find something you'll love! Below are just a small sample of some of the designs options Basic Invite offers to their customers. 

You can follow @BasicInvite on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter for more examples and inspiration. 

Right now, Basic Invite is offering 30% of their Christmas and Holiday cards by using promo code: holi30. Now, I just need to pick a photo! Let me know below which one if your favorite. 

 As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support Kaleidoscope Spinning. All opinions are my own. 

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Fall '17 Bucket List


As a new season approaches, so does a new bucket list!

Oh fall! Jeans, boots, and sweaters. Changing leaves, pumpkins, and apple pie. Hot drinks and cold nights. Currently, Steve and I just got to Germany, where we're lucky enough to be visiting with friends. You'll notice below in the list, there is no mention of anything related to this trip. While our European adventure was the perfect way to start the season (and celebrate my birthday!), this trip has been on the "Lifetime Bucket List". It's an item I am overjoyed to cross off!

To start fall off on the right foot, I present my Fall Bucket List. I'm hoping to get everything crossed off by December 21st, the last day of fall. 


1. Attend a football game (college or pro)


2. Go to a haunted house (any suggestions for the KC area?)


3. Decorate the house for Halloween/fall


4. Make pumpkin bread


5. Host my first Thanksgiving


6. Organize my daily work schedule


7.Clean up/out our backyard


8. Begin to paint the interior of our house


9. Finish Etsy site remodel


10. Visit local Kansas City coffee shops


11. Save some money for Cyber Monday shopping


12. Go to the Renaissance Fair

What do you want to accomplish this fall? Always looking for new suggestions. No reason the list has to stop at 12!

As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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Summer '17 Bucket List Recap


At the start of July, I posted my Summer '17 Bucket List. Now, nearly, 3 months later, I can now give you a recap of the 8/12 items I crossed off!


2. Have a picnic with Steve

I surprised Steve with a picnic for our 2 year wedding anniversary.

4. Make our own homemade ice cream

We tried s'mores ice cream a few weeks ago and used graham crackers instead of spoons. Highly recommend.

5. Visit Nelson Atkins Museum

Finally made our way there thanks to the Strawberry Swing.


6. Travel to Little Rock, AR

We had a wonderful and adventurous time! Gave a full recap last week.


7. Dye colored streaks in my hair

I more so ended up dyeing my whole head pink, but it was fun! Wished the product lasted a little longer though.

10. Begin to clean out and decorate the house

Yes, this has started and is no where near done! But at least we're getting somewhere.

11. Attend a summer concert

One Republic at the Sprint Center. One of my favorite bands. They are so amazing live!

12. Meal prep on Sunday night

Some Sundays yes, but I could definitely do a better job.

What was on your summer bucket list? Were you able to accomplish the whole list? Hopefully one of these seasons I'll get all 12 items crossed off! Fall '17 Bucket List coming next week! 

As always, thank you for reading,

XOXO Helen

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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

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Summer '17 Bucket List

Honesty time. I did a terrible job of trying to complete my Spring Bucket List. Had my list said "Be busy every weekend" I would have completed the list very easily. In the 12 weekends of spring, 10 of them were spent either with us out of town, someone visiting us, or a big event in Kansas City. As for the weekdays, between Steven's travel and my evening yoga schedule, we barely saw each other.

But the saving grace in this whole spring madness has been summer! While we still have a few things planned, in the coming months, but for the most part we are free and I am determined to get this list done!

Read 5 books

Have a picnic with Steve (Already checked this one off the list!)

Go to the drive-in movie

Make our own homemade ice cream

Visit Nelson Atkins Museum

Travel to Little Rock, AR

Dye colored streaks in my hair

Go to the Overland Park Farmer's Market

Go to the pool with some friends

Begin to clean out and decorate the house

Attend a summer concert

Meal prep on Sunday nights

As always, thank you for reading! XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like The Cotton Year: Our Second Anniversary and Kaleidoscope Spinning Turns One! 

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The Cotton Year: Our Second Anniversary

When looking back upon the wedding, what is the first memory that comes to mind?

Helen: When we first walked into the ballroom and were first introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Harm!

Steven: First thing I think about is being nervous, waiting in the room behind the alter before the processional because I knew your on your way.

What was the highlight of this past year?

Helen: All the travel! We went to 6 new states!

Steven: Obviously, buying the house.

Things the other person can't live without?

Helen: Steve cannot live without all his apple products, country music, and our Amazon Alexa (aka his second wife).

Steven: She cannot live without M&Ms, twifigram (my combination of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Copyright pending :P ), and Real Housewives of any city.

Any favorite traditions?
Helen: We try to have proper dinners as often as we can. I cook a full meal, we sit down together, and take our time eating talk about our day and future plans. Between his travel and my evening yoga schedule, we actually don't get to do this as often as you'd expect.

Steven: We have this recipe for Chex Mix that I love. It's the perfect road trip snack. It's reserved specifically for road trips and we make it every time we have to drive a long distance. It's small, but its our own silly, little thing.

What have you learned about marriage or your spouse in the last year?

Helen: We've learned how to argue better. It's an odd thing to say, but we have somehow learned to remain calm and have a conversation, rather than an actual fight.

Steven: We have to support each other in every possible way. Big or small, it doesn't matter, we always have to appreciate the other.  Something as simple as saying "thank you" can make a huge difference.


What do you hope the next year will bring?

Helen: I want us to stay open to new adventures and opportunities.

Steven: I hope to see a lot of growth with us as a couple and as a family overall. 


As always, thank you for reading! XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Kaleidoscope Spinning Turns One! and The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary

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Kaleidoscope Spinning Turns One!

On this day, one year ago, I posted this, my first blog post. Thus began a year of many changes and many adventures. 

Top: Mossimo (similar here and here) | Tank: Merona | Skirt: Mossimo (similar here and here) | Shoes: Mossimo | Watch: Old Tommy Hilfiger (similar here and here) | Sunglasses: American Eagle | Nail Polish: Essie | Lips: CoverGirl | Balloon: Pink Antlers Studio

Words cannot truly describe how incredibly the last year has been, but I'm going to do my best!

I should start by thanking all of my friends and followers who have supported me throughout the past year on this fun adventure. The positive response I have gotten from everyone has been overwhelming and just absolutely wonderful! I couldn't be happier! In addition to the blog, this is also the anniversary of my Etsy Page.

I constantly go back and forth about which was more of a risk; my blog or my Etsy page. Both have required to me to be vulnerable and transparent. I've put myself out there in my writing, my photos and my designs; Open to judgment, critique, and potential failure. Kaleidoscope Spinning was born from a need for change. I've had this call inside of me to do this for quite some time, but ignored it for years.

Finally, one year ago, I decided I was tired for waiting. I had dreams and goals and I decided to stop waiting for someone else to tell me it was okay to chase them.

I've learned a lot about myself this year, as I am sure you guys have too. It's been a wonderful year, filled with some amazing memories. But now, onto the future. I have some big plans for the next year, specifically the next few months, and I am so excited to get started!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like The Other Side of my 20s and The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary.

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P.S. Photo shoots with a ballon on a windy day can be difficult! See below!

Spring '17 Bucket List

Spring is finally here!

Gone are the chilly winter evenings, dirty snow and slush covering the streets, and potential ice storms! Granted this past Kansas City winter was minimal, I am still happy to smell the fresh spring air.

When we moved into our new house the leaves had already fallen off the of branches and covered our dirt filled backyard. So while you will see below that one of my goals this season is to seed and clean up the yard, I am very much looking forward to seeing our trees full and green!

To get spring off to a great start, I have created a Spring Bucket List. I'm hoping to get everything crossed off by June 20th , the last day of spring! 

Visit my local Farmer's Market

Clean up and seed our backyard

Finally visit the Nelson Atkins Museum


Read 5 books (then recap them for you!)

Add some floral pieces to my wardrobe

Take Dakota to a local dog park.

Attend 3 yoga classes a week


I am so excited to get this season started! There is so much going on and so much to look forward too! In addition to the pending foliage, and my bucket list, we are just so busy this spring. Between weddings, graduations, and babies, there is also a lot of travel in our immediate future too.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like The Importance of Voting and Fall 2016 Bucket List

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Photo Cred

The Importance of Voting

Disclaimer: I am not going to be trying to convince you of one candidate or another. I have my beliefs and you have yours. It ends there. I'll begin with a story.

In October of 2004, I was in 8th grade. It was the year of the United States Presidential Election, but it was also the year Afghanistan held their very first election. I was in my Social Studies class and my teacher was explaining how historic this election was for Afghanistan. She explained to us how there were very few voting booths in the country and that citizens had to travel for hours across the country to get to their nearest voting booth. Then she said something that has stuck with me to this very day.

"None of your parents would travel that far to vote."

Even at 14, I was taken aback by that statement. My parents would! My parent would definitely travel that far to vote. I knew my parents would go as far as they needed to have their vote count. I confirmed my theory when I got home that afternoon. I told my mother what my teacher said and her response was exactly what I expected: She would travel a hundred miles to vote.

This memory sticks out to me because it was the very first time I realized that many people in this country don't value voting. I consider myself lucky to have been raised in a home that valued not only voting, but politics and government. My parents constantly had the news on (much to my annoyance growing up), they would listen to both sides of the aisle (even if they didn't agree), and they believed in America, (even if they didn't like the president). My parents have strong values that they graciously passed down to my brother and I. When we believe in something we fight for it. When we have the opportunity to make a difference, we take it. Voting always makes a difference.

I turned 18 six weeks before the 2008 election. I was a senior in high school. My mom called me out of my first period class to take me to the polling station to cast my vote. I entered the little booth and stared at the computer screen. Up first, the presidential election. I looked at the names staring back at me: Barack Obama and John McCain. It blew my mind the value of what I was going to do. I was about to make a choice that would effect the future of this country and the history that would one day be told. But most of all, my opinion mattered. I was able to take what I believed in and do something with it. My voice was being heard. It mattered; I mattered.


The act of voting means you believe in something. What that something is depends on the person. Some people believe in only one candidate. Some people believe in one party and will always vote for them regardless of the candidate. Some people believe in certain topics like health care, social issues, immigration or economics and will cast their vote based on that. Our beliefs are powerful. They motivate us to act, to speak, and in this season, to vote. But if we don't stand for what we believe in, we could fall for anything.

So I ask you, what do you believe in?

It is so easy to say, "I'm one person, my vote doesn't matter", but it does! How often in life do we get the opportunity to choose our superiors? We can't pick our teachers, our bosses, but we can choose the president of our country! We can choose who represents us in our congress, in our states, in our county and city. How wonderful is that?! It is also so easy to say, "I don't like either candidate, so I'm just not going to vote." The problem with that thought is, somebody is going to win this election. Whether you like it or not, one of them WILL win. So you might as well vote for the one you believe in.

Below I have some links to helpful you get started.

Not registered? Do so here!

Feeling lazy? Vote absentee!

Don't know who to vote for? This is a good place to start!

Don't like Trump or Clinton? There are other options here and here!

Still don't see the point? Well, I've done my best to convince you otherwise.

So I encourage you to take the brief amount of time to vote. It's just a few minutes every four years, but it will literally make a world of a difference.

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like The Other Side of my 20s and Dakota’s Story

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Fall 2016 Bucket List


One of my  favorites parts about my birthday is that is it always the Autumnal Equinox aka the first day of fall! I am unabashedly a  very basic girl. I love leggings, sweater weather, PSLs, and instagraming leaves. Fall is literally the best season! To start my fall off right, I have created a Fall Bucket List. I'm hoping to get everything crossed off by December 21st, the last day of fall!

coffee_cups_bucket_list_11. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

coffee_cups_bucket_list_22. Move into our new house and completely unpack

coffee_cups_bucket_list_33. Host Family and friends in our new home

coffee_cups_bucket_list_44. Have cozy coffee/cocoa dates with Steve

coffee_cups_bucket_list_55. Make an apple pie from scratch

coffee_cups_bucket_list_66. Fill our new home with autumn candles

coffee_cups_bucket_list_77. Mail out our holiday cards

coffee_cups_bucket_list_88. Make/Get Steve and I stockings for Christmas

coffee_cups_bucket_list_9 9. Visit a Haunted House

What are you plans for the fall? I'd love to hear!

Happy Fall! Let's celebrate with PSLs!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Summer 2016 Bucket List Recap

and What’s In My Bag?

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The Other Side of my 20s

Today, I celebrate my 26th birthday. I am officially in the latter half of my 20s. (Not to be confused with my late 20s. That begins at 27!) Despite any technicalities of when my late 20s begin, I have found myself very reflective this birthday. I keep thinking back to when I was 16…

birthday_16My Sweet 16th Birthday

My parents threw me a big Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party. The house was filled with family and friends, most of whom had known me my entire life. It was a wonderful party and a great way to start what would be a very transformative year. Two weeks after my party, I got my drivers license and officially became the first of my friends to do so. Two months later, I performed in my first improv show at my high school. This show became the first of many. Just weeks after that show, I landed a coveted spot in my high school's Variety Show Comedy Team; as dream of mine since I started high school.

My 16th year came with some wonderful highlights, but in turn, I was also hit with some low moments. I found chemistry impossible and French was just not sticking. Pressure to do better in school was amplified by the beginning of my college research. If I was going to go to a good school and get the degree I wanted, I needed to start working harder. On top of this, I was dealing with some issues with my groups of friends. This later turned into me leaving the group in pursuit of a better one.

birthday_18My 18th Birthday

I didn't know it at the time, but I now consider that year to be my first real year of life.

It was the first year I had to start really considering my future. It was the first year my actions could drastically effect that future. It was the first year I made some amazing new friends, and let go of some terrible ones.  It was the first year I began to set personal goals, and more importantly began to achieve them!

birthday_21My 21st Birthday

No year of my life has ever been perfect; each year has come with highs and lows, achievements and failures, rewards and rejections. And while some years can be better than others, each year came with a healthy balance of some very real moments.

So here I am with a solid 10 years of life experiences behind me. Life definitely didn't go the way little 16-year-old Helen thought; and thank goodness for it! I am braver, stronger, and happier than I could have imagined.

birthday_22My 22nd Birthday

So cheers to 26! May it be filled with some beautiful moments!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Summer 2016 Bucket List Recap and The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary

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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

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What's In My Bag?


I'm always fascinated by what others girls have stashed in their purses, so today I am sharing my own "What's In My Bag?". Whats_in_my_bag_2b

  1.  My Wallet. I love this wallet! I just got it a few weeks ago and it is the best. I got it at Charming Charlie. The interior has so many slots for cards, money, and receipts and an interior pouch for coins. My favorite part about this wallet is my phone fits perfectly in the front flap! I have gotten so many compliments on this wallet. One of the best parts of this wallet is the price!


  2. Hand Sanitizer.
  3. Lotion. I have this weird fear that I am going to get an itch on the leg and not have lotion to help. The result became, me always carrying lotion.
  4. Compact Mirror.
  5. Cover-up.
  6. My iPhone. When it's not in my purse, it's glued to my hand!
  7. Gum. I try to always have gum on me. This particular one is flavored Rainbow Ice. I was just standing in the check-out line at Target and was so intrigued by the name of the flavor, I had to buy it! It's good too. Tastes like an icey rainbow. :P
  8. Sunglasses Case. I found having a sunglasses case to be a lifesaver since I am the queen of breaking sunglasses! I've stepped on them, sat on them, and scratched them to no end.
  9. Sunglasses. I've noticed cat-eye sunglasses becoming so popular lately. These are from Lulu's and they are so fabulous!
  10. My portable makeup/lipstick/toiletries bag. The amount of things I cramp into this little bag is endless!


  11. Lipsticks. I always, always always, have lipstick in this bag. I can have anywhere from one to 5 different tubes of lipstick in that bag at a time. Weird? Not to me! My mom is the same way! I have my go-to lipstick: CoverGirl Outlast All-Day LipColor in Lingering Spice 619Lingering Spice 619. I cannot stress enough how amazing this color is! It's a beautiful, natural lipcolor that truly lasts all day! I also have Eternal Flame 521 for those time when I need a little extra flair!
  12. Band-Aids. Every girl should always have at least one in her purse
  13. Nail File.
  14. Cold Medicine.
  15. Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. I cannot recommend these sheets enough. They are great, especially for the summer, to just dab the extra oil off my face in the late afternoon. Bonus: it doesn't take off my make up!

Finally, the bag! I've had this Kate Spade bag for a year now and it has proved to be a wonderful summer purse! The color is a beautiful soft, cream that goes with everything. It has three separate compartments inside of the bag, plus and extra small pocket for easy phone access. It fits perfectly on my shoulder, in the crook of my arm, and in my hand.

Unfortunately, this bag is no longer available, but you can find similar here, here, and here.

As always, thank you for reading, Helen


P.S. If you liked this, you will also like Summer Shoe Favorites and Seeing Through Rose Colored Glasses.

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Dakota's Story

Tomorrow will mark two years since we have welcomed our dog, Dakota, to our lives. To celebrate, I wanted to share how we got this crazy bundle of joy.


Steve and I both grew up with dogs in our homes. When we got engaged and moved in together, we agreed we would one day get a dog, but not right away. At the time, we were recent college grads and we were on a budget. We agreed to wait one year before we got a dog; but that didn't stop me from constantly talking about it! 

As soon as the year was up, Steve and I started to really discuss a dog. Steve started looking up breeds and pricing. 

I just looked up adorable puppies at local adoption places.


We ran into a lot of problems as we started looking for a dog. We quickly learned the adoption process from certain locations could be incredibly lengthy and incredibly complicated. Applications were pages long and references from previous veterinarians were needed. Steve and I were 23! We hadn't had a pet of our own before and we definitely didn't have multiple veterinarians to refer us. The truth was, we would take nearly any dog. We just wanted to adopt a little ball of fur and I felt most places were making it really hard to do so. I decided to expand my search. 

It didn't take long to find this tiny, little adoption place about 90 minutes south of Kansas City. They had so many new-born puppies available, but as soon as I saw Dakota, I knew she was the one. I called the place immediately to inquire about her. This call was made on a Wednesday, and I learned that on Friday, she would be sent to another location, where she will be 3 times as expensive and much more difficult to adopt. At the time, Steve was traveling for work, so there was no way to get there before Friday. Thankfully, they allowed me to pay for her over the phone, and agreed to hold her until Monday, the day we would go get her.

On Sunday, we drove to Petsmart and picked up all of the supplies we could think of for a pet dog. Then Monday came!


The 90 minute drive down was filled with anticipation. We finally arrived in this teeny, tiny town, with just a handful of houses. We pulled into the driveway of a home, and were lead to the backyard where all the puppies were playing. The owner pointed out Dakota and I practically jumped the fence to get her! 

She was so small; only 12 pounds! We were so excited to get her home!

Since then, she's been a great puppy. She didn't bark at night. She learned her schedule and tricks quickly. She was just always a happy puppy! She also grew quickly! She now stands at a whopping 50 pounds, but looks like she only weighs 30! She's all muscle! 


Of course, we had our rough moments with her. Ripping papers, eating food off our plates, and accidents on the floor. Even now two years later, we can still get frustrated with her. Just yesterday, she ate a tube of Chapstick! Luckily for her, she has the sweetest puppy-dog sad face, making it impossible to stay mad at her! 

We are so happy (and lucky) to have this amazing dog as a part of our little family!


Common Dakota Questions

Her name: I had a friend in high school who's dog's name was Dakota. Since then, I always thought it was a great puppy name!

Her breed: Her mom came to the shelter pregnant, so all we know is that she's 50% basset hound. The other 50% is a complete mystery.

Interactions with people: She loves everyone! Rub her belly and she'll love you forever!

Interactions with dogs: Her bark is worse than her bite. She can act aggressive, but she's a sweet at heart. She just likes to play with other dogs.

Best habits: She always comes when she hears her name. She loves sitting and looking out the windows of our apartment. She loves to snuggle! 

Worst habits: We learned that Dakota can swallow socks whole. She loves biting pillows and ripping fabric. She's even ripped apart a chair!

As always, thank you for reading!


P.S. If you liked this, you will also like The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary and Summer Bucket List

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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

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What’s in a Name?


Deciding to start a blog was easy. Choosing the name of the blog was not so easy. I have always viewed blogging as a creative outlet and a place to show personal style. So naturally, I felt the name should be reflective of my style. When I think about my personal style, several words came to mind, but one truly stuck out to me. Colorful.

If I had it my way everything around me would be filled with color. For me, with color comes happiness. When I walk into a beautifully colored, bright room, I feel instantly happier. The same feeling overcomes me when a colorful meal set before me, or when a simple outfit is brighten up with some colorful shoes. Given my desire for a colorful life, Kaleidoscope, a device whose purpose is to show bright, beautiful colors, seemed like a perfect fit.

Kaleidoscope will be home to food, fashion, DIY, travel, really anything I love! And it will all be done with fun, colorful touch added. Welcome to Kaleidoscope!