Best of 2022 & Year Review
It's time y'all! I'm breaking down the best of 2022. And in true Helene IN BETWEEN fashion it's a mix of, well, everything in between. From the best travel gear, trips, products I love, and things I think you just need. Plus I can't live without sharing my favorite music and books.
I'm breaking it down into categories to make it easy!
Best of Travel
Gosh this was so hard. If you've ever met me in real life, I am obsessed with asking favorites. Some really memorable trips are:
- Dog sledding in -40 Minnesota
- Being in the Vatican with only 5 people and opening the doors of the Sistine Chapel, then going to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica.
- Going to the incredible country of Jordan.
- Visiting to Edinburgh… twice! Once for a glorious trip with Visit Britain and once to attend The 150th Open! I swear I manifested our stay at the Balmoral hotel. I've always wanted to stay there. Well on our first trip I took pictures outside of it. Then we got invited back… to stay at that VERY HOTEL!
- Christmas Market River Cruise- I hosted a trip with an incredible group of people starting in Switzerland, going thorough Germany, France and ending in Amsterdam and attending some of the coolest Christmas markets! Full review here.
We bought a cabin in Broken Bow! I'm extremely excited and proud of us for taking this next step. We wanted a place we could share with you and we felt like this was the perfect opportunity. After staying in over 1,000 hotels, we created a cabin with everything we love. It's the perfect oasis in one of our favorite places. Only 3 hours from Dallas, it's an incredible place to relax and unwind. Hiking, lakes, fishing, restaurants, so much to do! You can check it out here!
I gained over 70,000 followers on Instagram in less than a year! With the help of Reels, I was able to see huge growth on Instagram – @heleneinbetween.
Hugo was “The Boy Who Lived.” Hugo had an absolutely horrific ordeal in September. His kidneys essentially shut down. I remember standing in the waiting room as a tinny version of Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” played as the administrator gave us cremation options. We spent a small fortune but I'm so glad we did because he's acting very normal now!
Speaking of Harry Potter references, Michael finished reading the Harry Potter series! I actually asked him to read it as a birthday gift. He did, and I can now confirm he's a fellow Potterhead.
One of my goals of 2023 is to share more stories. I intend to write more interesting stories and adventure mishaps on my newsletter. Make sure you're on the list, here:
Best Travel Gear
Hiking Boots – Newton Ridge
No one is surprised. If you follow me on Instagram, you know this is my signature shoe (well, that and white Reeboks). I've had these shoes for years and they surprisingly look brand new, and always look cute in Instagram pictures. Okay, more importantly, they are extremely comfortable, durable, great for hiking, waterproof and last forever.
These are TSA approved, come in pretty colors, and never break. I've had mine for over a year and they are both aesthetic and keep my liquids in tact.
Move over AirPods, and try these ergonomic wireless, bluetooth earbuds. The sound is amazing, it's easy to pair, and they feel great. I know, because I routinely sleep with them on the plane. I've lost a couple over the years and I've always replaced them!
Travel Back Pack – Osprey Porter 46
Can't write a post without including my ride or die travel backpack! It's the best for carry-on (and let's face it, we should all be carrying on!) See how I pack it here!
If you must check, make sure you have an Apple Air Tag!
Or as y'all called it “the face bra.” Michael and I love these because the elastic doesn't bother you and it cups your eyes so it doesn't smoosh your lashes or eyes. We each keep one in our bag, by our nightstand and we even put them in our cabin!
I wore the heck out of this dress! It's so great to travel with! I wore it in Edinburgh, Rome, Pacific North West and on my girl's trip to the beach!
These are game changers! They are fleece lined tights, that look translucent! So you can wear skirts and dresses without freezing your butt off! I got so many compliments on these when I wear them.
This has 25,000 3.5 star reviews on Amazon! I brought these with me to Europe for the Christmas markets and wish I bough more! They are thin enough to not look bulky but thick enough to keep you warm.
A FreePeople dupe, this sweater is perfect for chilly airports, layering, and wearing over leggings. I have it in 4 colors!
Look, it's 2023 and I do not like the peach fuzz on my chin. I have tried dermaplaning but I end up looking like I got in a fight with a small cat. This little handy tool removes peach fuzz. It literally sucks it out?! I love it. I use it every other week.
Your Top Picks
AKA my airport uniform. I wore this shirt at least a dozen times to the airport. It's just perfect. Thin but long enough to cover your butt. It's just perfect
I might as well be a spokesperson for these leggings. I wore them to death. I get a new pair or two every year. I probably wear these at least 4 times a week. Y'all loved them too.
My most requested link in the DMs is: what mascara do you use. I've been using this one for years! It's the best.
To quote one of y'all, “Now that I tried this coat, I trust you with my life.” It's just the best. Keeps you warm, comes in tons of colors, pockets, sturdy hood. It checks all my boxes!
I used to never wear jeans. I just felt like I looked terrible in them. This year, I became a jeans girl. Thanks to Abercrombie's “Curve Love” line. These jeans were the top seller for me and my most reached for jeans.
After y'all convinced me to get these because so many of y'all have had a pair for over a decade, I'm hooked!
We went on a flip flop journey together. It's so hard to find good, sturdy flip flops! But we found them in these Vionic flip flops!
The best sherpa of the season. Comes in 6 colors, is uber soft but doesn't pill. Still looks the same as the day I got it. I have it in pink and brown.
It was the year of the tennis dress or workout dress. I tried so many and this one was absolutely the bet. It's on major clearance!
I've now given this as a gift to both my sister and Dad! Oh, and I have one and am currently typing this with it on my lap. It's the best price, so cozy, tons of colors, and works.
I wore this so much and all over Europe. It's just so cozy and cute. Currently on sale!
If you like to see what I wear and buy, make sure you follow me on LTK. I update often with everything I wear, pack, and favorites!
Best of Beauty and Health
The best thing for pimples, ever. When you get a pimple, put a patch on overnight and it disappears. It's sort of soothing to see all the oil extracted in the morning. Game changers!
The reviews on these are wild. Basically, it helps tighten your chin. I found these are great for events or parties and I visibly saw a difference.
Hair Treatment – Olaplex No. 3
I swear by this and use it every other week, or every time I come home from a trip. I've been using it for 3 years and my hair feels so much thicker and healthier. It helps to build the bonds in your hair and prevent breakage.
Foundation – It Cosmetics Nude Glow
My favorite foundation for everyday wear. It has a light to medium coverage, and a gorgeous dewy finish (I'm all about that glow!). Plus it is packed with skin-loving ingredients like SPF 40 (hello, so important) and skincare. Plus, it doesn't budge when you're traveling. It's natural but has the perfect amount of coverage. I'm in shade “Fair Light.”
Can we live without lip balm? Personally, I don't want to live in a world without it. This Brown Sugar lip balm trio is the best. It smells incredible and makes my lips feel supple and healthy. Plus it comes in a beautiful bag with vitamin e oil AND a delicious smelling brown sugar scrub. Also cutest gift for a friend.
Light Makeup Days – Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter
This item has recently become so popular on TikTok for a reason! I adore wearing it alone to get that natural radiance or underneath my foundation to create a soft and illuminated makeup look. There are multiple ways of using this product based on your personal preferences, all while granting skin an illuminating, vibrant, and even result.
I've raved about this for years and years. Because it's INCREDIBLE. I have trouble getting mascara off, I have somewhat sensitive skin, I have dry skin. This melts away makeup, it's easy to use, and it leaves my skin feeling hydrated and healthy. It's a cult favorite for a reason.
Teeth Whitening Strips – Crest
I am asked nearly every day about teeth whitening strips. I've tried many, these just work. I personally use 2-3 every few weeks to maintain white teeth!
Sunscreen – Coola Stick
I always thought of SPF as a necessity, rather than a product I get super excited about. However, Coola changed all that with their Stick. I can throw it in my bag and because it's in a stick form, it can easily go in my carry-on! It is extremely hydrating but feels so light, and adds a luxurious glow after applying.
I have always taken vitamins, especially as a frequent traveler, I know this helps me stay healthy. But AG1 is something special. This isn't only vitamins but also gives you a dose of vegetables and fruits. Michael is taking it too, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology was SUPER impressed that this is NSF certified which basically means every batch of AG1 is 3rd party tested which as Michael said, “is a big deal” and that’s part of the reason it’s this price.
He's obsessed. He spent way too long researching this and now, I'm glad. We use it at least twice weekly to clean the floors. We've had a robot vacuum in the past but we had to empty it every 15 minutes. This is self-emptying and you can program it to run in certain areas of your house!
This was a gift from me, but I nailed it. These keep your feet warm without them sweating. They are very much Michael research approved.
This is what we bought for our deck and I love them! They come in a 6 pack and are solar powered and can fit on a fence post.
Harry Styles – Harry's House
This teen phenomenon is a glorious storyteller. Of course, I love the jazzy and fun “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” and “as it Was” but the song “Matilda” is such a great story. I also can listen to “Love of my Life” and “Grapejuice” on repeat. This was my most listened to album according to Spotify Wrapped. Me and the other pre-teens. Hey, they have good taste.
Big Energy – Latto
I listened to this song about 50 times on my birthday (January 14th) but continued to jam to it all year. I adore the throw-back beat and every time it comes on it puts me in a good mood.
Shady Intentions – NGHTMRE, Zeds Dead
Classic electronic at it's finest. I love the build up and drops in this song.
Purgatory – Tyler Childers
Whenever we go on a trip, we always pick a trip song. This song kept working it's way into multiple trips. It's just such a jam. Then it became a TikTok trend and I had to leave it be.
I watched this on a plane, like I watch all new releases. This is a true stroy of Kempton Bunton, who, in 1961 steals Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. Why and how does this taxi driver do it?! It was full of British charm and I can't believe this is based on actual events.
The Maid by Nita Prose
I'm sure y'all can relate with my past experiences of being let down by lackluster psychological thrillers. Well, this is far from that stereotype: the writing in this novel is on point and the story even more so. You'll quickly fall head over heels for Molly; her peculiar character lacks social awareness but makes up for it in intelligence and wit. She's a maid at Regency Grand Hotel in New York City – who loves her job and excels at it. On one particular day, she arrives to clean a room only to find a man lying motionless on the bed – dead?
The story unfurls, giving us hints as to who did it, as well as sharing about Molly's life. It's funny, witty, and kept me guessing. “We are all hidden in plain sight,” I loved the undertones of talking about societal norms and class in this as well.
I am astonished that this is the author's first novel! The story is so creative and masterfully crafted, it makes me eager for more from this talented writer.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I know this book didn't come out in 2022, but it was a new read for me in 2022. It's just a flat out wonderful, helpful book on building good habits that can change your life. It's science backed but written in a way that makes sense. Simply put, I've already started changing my life because of this book. I feel like this should be required reading.
Best of the Blog
Most Popular Post – New England Fall Itinerary
I was surprised but so happy that this was my most popular blog post for the year! Itineraries are painstaking to create, but a labor of love. I adore seeing so many of y'all tag me on Instagram with your trips in New England this year.
Best Blog Post – Forget Slow Travel, I Want to Do it All
One of my goals in 2023 is to write more travel stories and “thought” pieces. This is definite a very “Helene” post and I love reflecting on it as well as what travel means to me.
Write more! I love telling stories and I often forget to do this. I just cover the highs and lows of a trip. But there are so many incredible stories along the way. So I'm going to share more of that!
More time spent on my health. I do not give myself time to workout or plan out meals. I need to do that because I enjoy listening to podcasts, going for a walk, stretching, and eating healthy meals. But often I don't dedicate time for that in order to get work done. Each morning I'm doing a “health hour” where the first hour of the day is dedicated to health.
Intentional with my time. I read recently to take a deep breath every 20 minutes and reassess what you're doing. Is this actually helpful? Or what you want or need to be doing? I love this. It's so simple but helps reset your mind.
And last but not least… move abroad! In 2023 Michael and I plan to move to the UK! And nope, we still don't know where. Top contenders are Oxford, Cambridge, Windsor, and the Cotswolds. But I'm so excited to move abroad again!