I Love Arkansas: Introduction and Giveaway Winner

First things first – the giveaway winner is Lucy Gaddy! Congrats, Lucy!!

Okay. Let’s talk about Arkansas. Probably because I am about to move 2000+ miles away, this Arkansan has recently been quite nostalgic about my home state. There are so many things that I love about Arkansas and I will dearly miss living a 6-hour drive away from my family and some of my best friends. Thankfully, I was able to spend a week in Arkansas before the move to Oregon (I still cannot fully comprehend that in a matter of days I am moving halfway across the country. Alone).

During my trip, I had a conversation with my dad about a time when he was working in Little Rock with coworkers from out-of-state. He would suggest one of Little Rock’s many great restaurants and a delicious dinner would inevitably be followed with a comment such as, “That was a great restaurant…for Arkansas.” Always said with a slight tone of surprise, his co-workers comments suggested that Arkansas was not a place where one would expect great restaurants. This (il)logic would extend to other areas – Arkansas could not possibly have culture or history or nightlife or anything fun to do. And when such things would be encountered, as they of course would, they would be met with the surprise of surpassed expectations. Because I think it is a shame that the world at large expects so little from a place that I love, I am taking it upon myself to share some of the amazing things about Arkansas – the food, the outdoors, and other activities. Some of these are things I enjoyed during my recent trip, whereas others are activities or restaurants I have either experienced in the past or have always wanted to do. I am by no means an expert, but I want to share some of my favorite parts of a special corner of the world before (and while!) I move far away. So up next on the blog (on an as yet to be determined time frame contingent upon internet access during the move) will be some of the great things about Arkansas!

I Love Arkansas: The Giveaway

Update: The winner of this giveaway is Lucy Gaddy. 

Last week, I was browsing the cute shop attached to an ice cream parlor in Little Rock where I had just enjoyed a delicious ice cream cone with my cousin and her family (more to come on what they dubbed “The Day with the Crazies…”). The problem was I really wanted to buy something. That was a problem because I hardly needed one more thing to pack up and move to Oregon. So, I decided to host my first ever blog giveaway! I got to buy something fun, but without having to keep it.

The giveaway includes a handmade soap and a chapstick. Both are all natural and made in my very own home state of Arkansas. As I prepare to move to Oregon, I know I will miss being close to “home.” There are so many things that I love about the state where I grew up. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling me where home is for you and/or what you love about it! Entries will be accepted through midnight central time on Saturday August 16 and a winner will (probably) be announced on Sunday August 17. Good luck!

Packing Post: 10 Days in Arkansas

Although I have made considerable progress in improving my packing skills, I have yet to pack for a longer trip in a carry-on suitcase. I decided that my trip to Arkansas was the perfect time to finally accomplish that particular feat. I used my usual, super precise method of laying a bunch of stuff on the bed until I figured out a combination of clothes that worked. In the process, I realized that: I have too many clothes… and that I need more basic, solid-colored pieces of clothing. I am not yet sure how I can accomplish both.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with:

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One dress, 3 pairs of pants, 8 shirts, one cardigan, 4 pairs of shoes, and a few accessories. With a bit more effort I could have probably narrowed it down a little more. But instead I used that effort to make cookies.

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Once I chose what I wanted to bring, it was quick business to break out and fill my trusty packing cubes. Amazingly, all of these clothes, plus undies and pjs fit into two cubes.

Sydney is making sure that she's on the packing list.
Sydney is making sure that she’s on the packing list.

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Once the cubes and my shoes were packed, there was still plenty of room for everything else I needed to put in the suitcase.

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Where are the treats, Mom?
Where are the treats, Mom?

Seeing how easy it was to pack for 10 days in a small suitcase, I sort of wonder why on earth I lugged around large suitcases for all these years. In the interest of full disclosure, I also brought a small bag for Sydney and a backpack with my hiking stuff, so technically not everything was in the suitcase. But, I’m still pretty proud of my most recent packing success.

Tips I Should Have Followed and Didn’t (e.g., Don’t Be Like Me):

  1. Pick a single color scheme for your travel wardrobe. Unless by “single color scheme” you just mean “color,” I’m pretty sure I didn’t follow this tip. Someone who actually knew what they were doing would choose a neutral color like brown, black, or gray and build their outfits around that. Not even my shoe choices were all that basic. Speaking of…
  2. Only pack two pairs of shoes – one casual/comfortable and one that can be a bit more dressy. And maybe a pair of athletic shoes. So, see those four pairs of shoes (plus, my hiking shoes). Yep, didn’t follow this tip either.
  3. Bring pieces of clothing that can multi-task or be worn multiple times. I guess I didn’t do too bad with this one.
  4. Accessories are your friend. At least I did something right. Of course, the one tip I actually followed was not necessarily focused on minimizing.
  5. Use packing cubes because even when you continue to overpack, you can fit a bunch of stuff into them and seem like you are good at packing. Okay, I just made that one up. But it is true.
  6. Ummm, let’s not even talk about my toiletry situation. That is still a work in progress.

Moral of the story: Do as I say, not as I do.

Second moral of the story: Even a recovering overpacker who remains a bit of a hypocrite can fit over a week’s worth of stuff into a small suitcase.

The move to Oregon is less than a month away, which is just about the craziest sentence ever, so I am not sure how much time I will have to focus on the blog. I will eventually write about some of the fun things I did while in Arkansas and before I know it I will be writing about the fun things I am doing in Oregon! Meanwhile, I am going to pretend that I am not freaking out and try to apply my minimal packing skills to packing an entire apartment. Any pointers? Or volunteers?!