What’s in my Carry-On

What’s in my Carry-On

Not only have I been traveling my entire life, I’m also a licensed flight attendant.  Over the years I’ve mastered the art of packing my carry-on bag.  A full-size is a different story…but as long as I’m under 50lbs I’m good, right? RIGHT?!

Take a peak at the list of what I pack below. (Pssst: I have a link to a printable packing list at the bottom…)

      (PS…this bag is on clearance at Target! Find it here!)

Boarding Passes: I like to print mine just so I have backup because, ya never know
Flight Info


Kindle Fire: pre loaded with a couple of book options
Headphones: pack a splitter if you’re traveling with someone! Makes sharing to watch a show or movie much more enjoyable
Charging stick: because an open outlet can be impossible to find
Chargers for all electronics: be sure you pack any lithium ion batteries in your carry-on because there’s a chance they can catch fire if under the plane

Tinted Moisturizer
Hand Sanitizer: the things you touch in the airport are grosssssss
Emery Board: not the sharp metal ones…just the little drugstore cheapies
Hair Brush/A few hair ties: my hair is INSANE with all the static so this always comes in handy
A couple of bandaids: in case of blisters or small cuts
A few safety pins:  these suckers come in handy in so many ways

Cozy socks: I HATE cold feet and flight attendants can’t change the temperature of the plane so if it’s freezing then that’s most likely how it will be for the duration of the flight.
Shawl or small blanket: just a head’s up…if the blanket a flight attendant hands you isn’t wrapped in plastic it’s been used repeatedly by countless people…ew.

Protein Bar
Water bottle: empty, of course, but I fill it up after security

Longer flights:
Adult coloring book/colored pencils
Travel pillow

Depending on where I’m going I’ll throw in a bathing suit or a change of clothes just in case (and heaven forbid!) my luggage gets lost en route to my destination.

Of course these are just my carry-on absolute must-haves.  I know people that pack more than I do and even some that pack less–which I don’t understand how that’s even possible but good for them!  Click here for a printable carry-on packing list.

What are your travel must-haves?


7 Steps to Accomplish Your Goals This Year

7 Steps to Accomplish Your Goals This Year

It’s the third week of January, how’s that New Year’s Resolutions list holding up?  Still going strong?  Or like most, have they fallen to the wayside?  Don’t fret, you aren’t alone!  Unfortunately, each year many of us make New Year Resolutions and more often than not, we fail at them after only a few weeks.  It’s not over though, it’s STILL a new year and you have 348 days until 2018.  Let’s start over!

What can we do to ensure success instead of failure?

According to Psychology Today, “Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, says that resolutions are a form of “cultural procrastination,” an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, he says. Pychyl argues that people aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate. Another reason, says Dr. Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network, is that people set unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions.”

Does this sound like you? Ok, well let’s figure out a way to change that!

Knowing this information we can better prepare ourselves for the rest of the year.  Here are seven ways to help make those resolutions stick:

  1. Make them GOALS, not resolutions.  The definition of a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something” whereas the definition of a goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”.  In simpler terms–a goal is basically something you work towards whereas a resolution is telling yourself you are or are not allowed to do something.  Sometimes all it takes is a little mind trick, so change up your thinking!  Instead of saying “In 2017 I’m going to lose weight” say “my goal in 2017 is to lose x amount of pounds”.  Set a specific goal to work TOWARDS not just a new rule you have to follow.
  2. Focus on fewer.  I know I’m guilty of making a huge list for myself each year and I usually fall off the wagon immediately.  So take a look at that list you made and pick the most important ones to you and stick to those.  Once you start working towards and accomplishing your goals you can set new ones to work towards.  Don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning because this can lead to discouragement.
  3. Be realistic.  This one goes hand in hand with step number 2. It sounds self-explanatory, and it kind of is, but don’t put more on yourself than you can truly handle.  Any goal you have will be a mountain at times and it’s better to try climbing one metaphorical mountain than to bounce around on many.
  4. Find yourself an accountability buddy (or accountabilibuddy as South Park would say).  I know you’ve heard people discuss this type of thing when it comes to weight loss but it can work for so many different types of goals.  For example, when I lived in Tennessee my mom was always my accountability buddy when it came to morning runs whereas my Dad was my accountability buddy for my financials and my boyfriend helps keep me accountable when it comes to working towards my dreams of self-employment.  So find yourself someone you trust to help keep you accountable when the going gets tough.
  5. Figure out ways to motivate yourself.  Watch a motivational video on Youtube each morning during your coffee (or tea!).  Write words of affirmation on your mirror so that you see them when you get ready.  There are tons of motivation lists online…try out different things and see what works for you.  There will be days when you feel down in the dumps and discouraged and these can help pull you through.
  6. Make the attempt to reach your goal a daily HABIT. It is said that all it takes to create a new behavior is 3 to 4 weeks, so commit to your “new habit” or attempt at reaching your goal for 30 days.  Just 30 days and then see where you are.
  7. Remember to love yourself and forgive your mistakes.  I think this is arguably the most important on this list!  It’s so easy to get down on ourselves for slipping up but it doesn’t have to be that way!  We are only human and we are completely imperfect–take a step back, realize the mistake and try, try again.

Go ahead, dust off that list you made a few weeks ago and get back to it!

What are some of your goals for the year and how are you planning on reaching them?  Do you have any suggestions for better ways to keep motivated in 2017?


Honey, I’m home!

Honey, I’m home!

So this blog has been around for awhile now and unfortunately it’s been dormant for most of its sad life. The past two years have taught me so much of who I am and what I want (and don’t want) and I’m ready to actually do this thing.  No more half-assed posts that I throw in there just because I feel pressured to do it or to just fill space. I’ve been planning and dreaming up this relaunch for months and I’m terrified and excited that the time has come to release it out into the world.

Anywho, without further adieu, welcome!

The new Chance & Coincidence will be a blog that focuses on my journey to creating and expanding my side hustle (aka my shop), outfit posts, DIYs, travel, tips, ideas, inspiration and things that genuinely make me happy.  I may occasionally throw in a story or a memory because let’s be honest–weird stuff tends to happen to me, but I’m going to try my best to be much more focused in my approach.  I’m hoping that as I do this more and more the blog will continue to organically grow into something that I’m truly proud of.

Take a look around…you’ll notice some new sections that I can’t wait to delve into in the coming weeks. This is what you can expect from each section–new and old:

Start Here/Meet Me: my about me section so that you can take a tiny peek into my head
Projects: DIYs, things I’m working on, etc.
Life: this will eventually be split into sub-sections but for now it’s a space for tips and tricks, anecdotes, inspiration, current music playlists, guest posts, things I’ve been into lately, fitness, food, things to do in Denver…anything that happens in life.
Adventures: pretty self explanatory–travel and things I get into
Style: Outfit posts, Style tips, things I’m dying to buy, etc
Shop: A link to the Etsy shop which will be relaunching with a new look in February and a link to “Gloria”…you’ll have to wait until Friday to see what the heck that is 😉

You’ll notice that the old content is still here but you can expect new content three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7AM MST.  Follow my Instagram or Snapchat (username: fallingupstairs) for daily posts.

What would you like to see on here?  Leave your ideas in the comments below!


The Crispy, Satisfying Veggie Burrito For the Carnivore

The Crispy, Satisfying Veggie Burrito For the Carnivore

I am a practicing carnivore…give me all the beef and pork in the world, please!  Recently though I’ve made an attempt to add more veggies into my diet so I’ve been giving new recipes a try.  I’m always concerned with not feeling “full” if I don’t have some type of meat in my meal, but these burritos are so good and the beans are such a solid source of protein that they leave my tummy feeling satisfied.

I found this Crispy Black Bean and Rice Recipe here and decided to try it out.  While her recipe is amazing in every way, I made them a second time and changed some things based on what I had on hand.

Oh, and did I mention that this recipe is a ONE POT recipe?!  Even better.

Here’s how I make mine…


Green Bell Pepper
Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Can Black Beans
3/4 Can Sweet Corn
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Packet Taco Seasoning
Fiesta Blend cheese
Cooked brown or white rice

burrito 1

Dice up all veggies.

burrito 2

Throw the peppers, corn, black beans, onion, cilantro and oil into a large skillet or pan to medium heat.

burrito 4

Stir in some taco seasoning to taste.  I used half of the package but you can use what you decide.  Mix veggies and seasonings well.

burrito 5

Turn the heat up to high and saute the veggie mixture for about 3-4 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

burrito 6

To make the burrito: add rice, veggie mixture, cheese and a little bit of salsa to a tortilla and wrap that baby up.  I pressed mine in a panini press for about a minute to melt the cheese inside and to crisp up the tortilla.  You could also do this on a grill or in the oven.

burrito 7

Grab some chips & queso and enjoy your veggie burrito.

Mine made 6 large burritos but this will vary depending on size of the tortilla and how much “stuffing” you put in the middle.

These are also great to wrap up and put in the freezer as they last for months!

Do you have any vegetarian recipes that you love?


2016: A Year for Change and Growth

2016: A Year for Change and Growth

2015 was a year of major changes for me.  A lost job. Opening my Etsy shop. Selling the majority of my belongings. A cross-country move. A new apartment.  A new job.  As winter got started I started letting myself drown.  Drown in my Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Drown in a lack of motivation.  Drown in comparing myself to others.  Drown in time management.  I needed a mental break, so…I took one.

I allowed myself time to step back and really think of how I wanted to change for 2016–not only mentally but also the way that I do/don’t do things.

I set goals.  I did research.  I decided that in 20 freaking 16 I was going to truly start making things happen.

Then on New Year’s Eve, Jonathan and I celebrated like there was no tomorrow.  Seriously though, it was one of the best, if not THE BEST, NYE of my life and it really got things started on the right foot.

We’re now a month in and I can honestly say that things are really, really great.  I’m not going to sit here and say that everything is perfect and that I don’t have rough and emotional days (because boy do I!) but I’m sticking to my goals and really learning how I work best.

My first order of business was turning one of my bedrooms into an office/studio space.  I realized that every time I felt inspired I lost it as soon as I started digging for the supplies I needed (they were shoved in a closet or under my bed).   I also received a new sewing machine and a Cricut for Christmas and knew that I needed space to work.  The last straw though was getting an Etsy order for a skirt that I COULDN’T FIND.  I started ripping the apartment to shreds knowing that it had to be somewhere…a couple of hours and a panic attack later I found it…in a box in my laundry closet.  After the New Year I tackled the room.  I dismantled the bed, organized my closet space and made a huge IKEA run for organizational supplies.  The room is not finished…I need another desk or two and a futon but it’s fully functional and I use it every. Single. Day.

Second, and I’m embarrassed to say this, was learning how to be good at housekeeping.  Honestly this isn’t one of my strong suits and I’ve really had to put in effort.  I have just always procrastinated and found other things I’d rather do than to clean so, in order to combat this, I put together a cleaning schedule that has taken some getting used to but has helped me tremendously.  I’ll share that in a later post for any of you that might be struggling with the same problem.

Third, I needed to get a handle on my Etsy store.  I was doing great and then the move happened and all of my inventory was shoved in boxes everywhere.  Again, I had an issue with motivation, and when I was motivated I kept having problems with the weather cooperating for shoots.  I found excuse after excuse. I bought a lighting kit and decided to stop having excuses.  I’m still learning the best way to take the pictures and edit them to make them look professional–but I’m doing it.

Fourth, I have so many projects that I’ve started and not finished.  I’m still working on those BTW.  But now I have a game plan.

Fifth, is this blog.  I love writing and taking pictures and sharing with all of you, but unfortunately I found myself continuously comparing myself to other blogs and bloggers and I lost myself and my direction.  I have spent hours and hours thinking about what I want to do and things I want to see happen here this year and I’m really excited about getting back on the “blogging horse” if you will.

Things you will see this year on Chance & Coincidence:

  • Style posts: more of them!
  • Wanderlust posts: because I love researching trips and planning them in my dreams…why not share them?
  • Interviews: just taking time talking to people in my life that inspire me (bloggers, artists, fitness gurus, entrepreneurs, makeup artists)
  • Stories: because weird stuff really does happen to me on the reg
  • Inspiration: beautiful scenery, interior design, architecture, street art–really anything that’s been inspiring me as of late
  • Tips & Tricks: as I learn things that help me adult, I want to share them with you
  • Recipes: I love trying out new things (especially in my Crockpot) and want you to know some of my favorite meals
  • DIY: more projects, more tutorials!
  • Store Updates: because I want you all to help me grow this year
  • Consistency: In the past I’ve had a real problem with consistency and I want to work on that.  I’m going to start with trying to get 2-3 steady posts a week…my plan is to start that next week (The first of February) so stay tuned!

Anywho, if you read all of that thank you and I’m looking forward to a really great year with you all!


Tips to Thrift Like a Pro

Tips to Thrift Like a Pro

I’ve been thrifting my entire adult life.  I don’t remember just how far back my love of “treasure hunting”, as I like to call it, goes but I distinctly remember going in high school to find cool vintage tees.  There’s just something about digging through a pile of old, thrown away and forgotten clothing only to find a Dior suit or a pair of Frye boots that just makes me happy.

Throughout the years I have been asked countless times “how do you find the good stuff?”, or “I wouldn’t have thought twice about buying that but it’s really cute” and “can I come thrifting with you?” so I thought it would be a good time to share some of my tried and true tips so that you can have the same ‘luck’ that I do…

  • Choose where you want to go.
    There are tons of secondhand stores that you’ve probably never heard of…just Google search ‘thrift stores’ and tons will come up.  I suggest trying out the smaller, lesser known stores instead of heading to Goodwill; prices and selection tend to be much better.
  • Many stores don’t have fitting rooms so plan accordingly.
    I try to wear a pair of leggings and a close-fitting top so that I can throw things over to roughly see how they fit.  If it’s cold out, I’ll wear layers to stay warm because some stores don’t have the best heat!

thrift 1

This mirror and rack in the back of the store is considered the “fitting area”.  You most likely won’t want to be getting naked back here.

  • Carry a little backpack or a cross-body purse so that you can have both hands free.
    To find the goodies you’ll be digging in the racks (most stores are sorted by color…not by size) so make sure those hands aren’t taken up by lugging a bag around.
  • Clean out your car.
    You never know when you’re going to find the perfect coffee table (that you weren’t looking for) or you need to buy EVERYTHING in the store.  Many places will hold items for 24 hours but I find it easier to just take it with me.
  • Pack a tape measure.
    That way I always know if things will A. fit in my car and B. fit where I want them to go.

thrift 5

My trusty little tape measure. (My mom taught me this trick)

  • Stop by the ATM beforehand.
    To cut costs even further some stores only accept cash and some will charge tax or a credit fee on your card.  I typically take out $20-60 depending on how many stores I’m heading to or what I’m looking for.
  • Go through the racks hanger by hanger.
    Or box piece by piece.  You get the idea.  You can’t tell what an item looks like by seeing a sleeve.  A lot of times the goodies are wedged in there.
  • Try to see things not how they are but how they could be.
    Sounds so deep doesn’t it?  Haha but for real, do you like the print on a long skirt but it looks too old-lady?  What if you cut it and made a cute mini out of it?  That oriental looking muumuu?  Add a belt and it’s an amazing dress. That old bridesmaid dress?  Add a few pieces of gold chain and viola, a formal dress.   And a pair of perfectly worn in mom jeans become those high-waisted cut off shorts you’ve been eyeing at Urban Outfitters.  When you’re spending $3 on something you can really go wild with cutting it up.  You can see a couple of things I’ve changed up here and here.
  • Don’t feel obligated to buy a two-piece set if you only want part of it.
    This was a mistake that I used to make all the time because I was too afraid to ask and I ended up with pieces that I just had to re-donate.  Some places will only sell it as a set but a lot of stores will let you buy only the item you want, just ask.
  • Check for stains, holes, broken zippers, missing buttons, etc.
    Some things can’t be fixed, like an ugly, 20-year-old coffee stain, but stitching up a hole in a seam or adding a button (or changing out all of the buttons) are easy fixes.  As for stains, always look over the item carefully, they can be easy to miss but can make something completely unwearable.  I don’t know how many times I’ve come home super pumped about something only to get it into the natural light and there’s a hideous stain on it…if there’s a window in the store take the item over to it and look it over…many stores aren’t well-lit places.

thrift 2

This stain will most likely never come out of this satin skirt and it’s SUPER noticeable.

thrift 3

This would be an easy fix.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount if something is damaged.
    I’ve gotten things handed to me for free because I’ve brought it up.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away from the item.
    If you’re going to have to put in a ton of work and the store won’t give you a discount is it really worth buying for $3?  Usually my answer is no but that’s always going to be up to you.
  • If buying shoes, check the soles.
    Over time they tend to break down and fall apart.  I’ve worn super cute shoes (that looked like they were perfectly fine) and after about an hour I walked right out of the soles…another time big chunks just started falling off everywhere that I walked.  When shopping pick up the shoe, turn it over and bend it.  Is it cracking?  Falling apart?  If the shoes are worth it you can have them re-soled but I usually just put them back.

thrift 4

  • Look through all of the sections.
    The little boy’s section is perfect for finding a great fitting shrunken blazer and the men’s section is great for finding that perfectly oversized shirt.
  • Try everything on.
    Vintage sizes can be much different and very deceiving on a hanger.
  • Look for things when they aren’t in season.
    For example…ugly Christmas sweaters.  Most places will put them out all year so you’ll find the better ones when it isn’t holiday season.
  • Become friends with the staff or get on their email list.
    Many places will have discount days that are totally worth going to…these can be anywhere from 50% off everything to $10 for anything you can stuff into a shopping cart.  Be careful if furniture shopping though…some places will mark everything up the week before so that half off isn’t super cheap.
  • Give everything a good washing.
    Most people clean things before they donate but they can take on a musty, old smell.  Be sure to check the tags to see if it’s dry clean only and if it’s something super old and fragile wash on the gentle cycle.  You can also get tips on how to clean hats and shoes if you’re worried about cooties and critters (although I’ve never seen anything like that).
  • Keep a list of things you’re looking for.
    I keep a running list in my phone of all of the things that I’m currently in the market for.  Right now I’m looking for flannel, faux fur and a small desk.  Just write down what you definitely need and any dimensions that may be important to buying furniture and other items.
  • Always remember that just because it’s at a thrift store, it might not be the best price.  I’ve seen many pieces of furniture, household items and toys that could definitely be bought new for around the same price, or less, so keep that in mind as you’re shopping.

thrift 8

  • Some things that you can thrift but may not think about it:
    -Christmas lights (always plug them in to make sure they work)
    -Picnic blankets or, in my case, festival blankets
    -Pet gates (baby gates)
    -Flower Vases
    -the perfect flannel shirt
    -furniture ottomans (so easy to cover with new fabric)
    -old books for decorating (look for the old Reader’s Digest Condensed Books…they always have great covers)

If you have any questions or a tip you’d like to add, I’d love to hear them!  You can email me or leave a comment below.

Happy treasure hunting, friend!

Pin It on Pinterest