3 Outfits for Holiday Inspiration

3 Outfits for Holiday Inspiration | Writing Between Pauses

Another day, another outfit post! Today, I wanted to share 3 outfits I put together inspired by some of my new favorite Christmas songs. I hope you love them as much as I do! 

When it comes to dressing for the holidays, I firmly believe that comfort comes first. Nothing is better than a sweater and jeans combo--but that doesn't mean we shouldn't dress it up a bit. Let's get started. 

1. Candy Cane Lane

This sweater from Topshop is what started it all (just click the name of the outfit to see all of the outfit details). It's absolutely so adorable and perfect for a casual holiday party. Pair with jeans or leggings, boots (heel optional), and a basic bag for a more simple look; you can add jewelry or a scarf as well. 

2. Winter Things

The song "Winter Things" is about enjoying Christmas even if you list somewhere that's warm around the holidays. So, if you're in a warmer climate, this outfit is for you! This dress is a gorgeous Winter white and the pattern is beautiful; I picked a few colors out of it to focus on. If you're the hat wearing kind, adding a beanie and cardigan always makes everything a little more wintery; pair with these gorgeous oxblood flats from Zara and keep your make up simple but bold (like with a metallic oxblood lip). 

3. Snowman

I know, I know, another sweater and jeans combo. But I want you to consider: all white. White fair isle sweater, paired with metallic white shoes and a cute, graphic white bag. Keep your make up simple: blush, pink-mauve lip (Wet'n'Wild Rebel Rose is my favorite), and a gray-toned smoky eye. Simple, chic, and perfect comfy for lounging around the Christmas tree. 

4 Tips for Winter Hair Care*

4 Tips for Winter Hair Care | Writing Between Pauses

While my skin has always been a struggle for me (as my post about my acne demonstrates), I've always been incredibly blessed to have good hair. My hair is naturally very dark (almost black); it grows incredibly fast; and it's a good texture (very fine, but I have a lot of hair... like double the amount most people have). In many ways, having good hair has made up for my bad skin; if nothing else, my hair always looks great. 

Aside from graying pretty early in life (my first patch of gray hair was discovered at age 11), my other hair is has always been having a dry scalp. How is it that I struggle with way too oily of a face, but a bone dry scalp? What is going on there!? 

Every winter, undoubtedly, my scalp starts to really struggle. It gets itchy and flaky, even when my hair is greasy. I either wash too much or too little--and I can't tell which is worse! I spend a fortune on fancy shampoos, trying to find something cruelty free to use... only to crawl back to Head & Shoulders because while it is chemically blue and tested on animals, damn, at least it works, right? 

This year, I started my research early. I wanted to avoid the Head & Shoulders crawl and find natural, cruelty free products that worked. I was lucky enough to receive a sample of Tea Tree Oil shampoo from Maple Holistics.

I decided to write up my 4 tips for hair care during the winter. These tips will keep your scalp clean, non-itchy, and moisturized, while ensuring your hair looks gorgeous. 

1. Find a Good Shampoo

Like I said, I feel like I spend a small fortune every winter trying to find a shampoo that will help my scalp--and yet, I always end up back at Head & Shoulders. I'm so glad I was able to find a shampoo that actually works. 

The Tea Tree Oil Shampoo from Maple Holistics* really is one of the best shampoos I've used for my scalp. It has a lovely, tea tree and rosemary oil scent and helps keep my scalp from flaking and getting too dry. Maple Holistics also has an amazing free sample program, so if you want to try some of their products, you can sign up for that here.

While it might not be the perfect shampoo, it's definitely worth a shot--and at $8.95 for a bottle, it's very affordable; as well, it's cruelty free and made with all natural ingredients. And for me, that's worth a lot! 

2. Shampoo When Your Hair Needs It

For a few years, there has been a back and forth about how often to wash our hair. Growing up, I was taught to wash my hair nearly every single day. Skipping a day, to my mom, was really gross. However, as I got older, I realized that washing my hair every day made my scalp really dry and my hair really frizzy. In college, I would go 2-3 days between washes, but I still kept a very strict schedule. Recently, my friend said that her dermatologist's advice was: "wash your hair when it needs it." 

God, that seems so simple, right? If your hair is greasy, wash it. If your scalp is dry and itchy, wash it. If your hair feels like it needs washed, wash it! Even if it was just yesterday the last time you washed it. You don't have to follow anyone else's schedule for their hair. 

3. Use Jojoba Oil 

I've seen lots of posts about using coconut oil for your scalp. I've used baby oil and olive oil in the past as well, but as I've written before, jojoba oil is the closest oil to what we produce naturally. Therefore, I just trust it more when it comes to moisturizing! Coconut oil made my scalp break out severely once (it is comedogenic, so never ever use it on your face... seriously), so I don't recommend it. However, a few drops of jojoba on my scalp at night before bed, especially when the weather is cold and dry helps my scalp to not be so itchy. 

4. Avoid Wearing Hats & Ponytails With Wet Hair

What's the number one cause of dry itchy scalp? Popping a hat on your hair when it is still wet or putting it into a ponytail or bun when it is still wet. This traps moisture on your scalp, which makes it a breeding ground for bacteria--causing dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and more. If you need to wear a hat, make sure you blow dry your hair thoroughly or let it air dry before putting it on; same with a ponytail. 


*Disclaimer: As always, use of a single asterisk in the post title denotes that I received free product or payment in exchange for this post. However, all recommendations and opinions remain my own! You can read more about my disclosure policy here

4 Hot Toddies Just for the Holidays

4 Hot Toddies Just for the Holidays | Writing Between Pauses

I love hot toddies... but I don't hold myself to the typical hot toddy definition. A hot toddy, traditionally, is some mix of spirits topped with hot water and lime. Basically, it's warm, watery alcohol. That doesn't sound exactly appetizing, does it? But replace that hot water with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or hot apple cider, and you've got yourself a deal. 

For this round up, I gathered my four favorite hot toddy recipes that deviate from "the traditional". Whether you love hot cider, tea, or coffee, I've got something for everyone. 

1. Tea Hot Toddy

This recipe uses black tea, apple cider, ginger, cloves, and honey, so if you're a little under-the-weather this month, it's the perfect drink; but add a little bit of rum to make it a party drink. I use chai tea (one of my favorites from my list here, of course) and a high quality, local apple cider. Yum! 

2. Hot Peppermint Patty

Love hot chocolate? Love peppermint? This creamy, delicious hot toddy is for you. This isn't just peppermint schnapps added to hot cocoa mix; this is schnapps, creme de cocoa, and creme de menthe blended with hot cocoa. (I would use the Starbucks Marshmallow hot cocoa, because it's my favorite.) 

3. Apple Cider Hot Toddy

This is really similar to the tea hot toddy, but using green tea instead of chai (interesting twist!) Add extra lemon and a slide or two of apple for an extra apple twist. 

4. Holiday Hot Toddy

This is a coffee hot toddy, which is actually my favorite kind. It combines coffee, whipped cream, and rum for a delicious, creamy, treat. 

A Busy Mom's Gift Guide for: Bloggers

A Busy Mom's Gift Guide for: Bloggers | Writing Between Pauses

In keeping with my gift guide series, I wanted to include a gift guide for a group that's very hard to shop for. I'm talking bloggers, of all shapes and varieties: body positivity bloggers; fitness bloggers; mom bloggers; lifestyle bloggers; fashion bloggers; and everyone in between. 

Blogging, and being an influencer, is big business these days. And most bloggers tend to be the kind of people that if they want or need something for their business, they just go ahead and get it. Even if it's something they just personally want, they aren't the type to just sit around and think about it. 

So if you love someone who is a blogger (and perhaps they've sent along this post to help you out with your shopping), this post is for you. 

Rose Gold Phone Stand | Writing Between Pauses
Marble Notebook for Blogger | Writing Between Pauses

1. Rose Gold Phone Stand

A phone stand comes in handy when you're working on your computer and also keeping track of all those notifications (like on Instagram). This one is rose gold, lightweight, and very affordable. Perfect for the girl with everything who just needs a hand, er, stand. 

2. Marble Notebook 

The blogger stereotype of loving marble is getting a little tired, isn't it? But I have two marble items on this list and by golly, it's not going away any time soon. This notebook is perfect for finally starting that bullet journal or just keeping track of posting schedules, content ideas, and more. 

Marble Adhesive | Writing Between Pauses
Floral Laptop Case | Writing Between Pauses

3. Adhesive Marble

Another day, another marble. If you've ever wondered how all bloggers seem to own marble surfaces, look not further. It's actually not a surface... it's vinyl cover. This final cover! And you can never have enough. You can use this adhesive marble on cups, boards, your desk... anywhere that needs a little cleaning up. 

4. Rose Pattern Laptop Case

A blogger's laptop is her key to success and this case is both affordable, cute,and roomy enough for everything, including a planner, notebook, and more. It's also perfectly Instagramable, so you're basically providing content with it! 

5. Items from the Beauty Crop**

The Beauty Crop has affordable, cruelty free, and all natural make up--perfect for any blogger who likes looking good and trying new things. I recommend the Espresso Yourself eye palette**, the Lovable Nudes Set**, and the Friday Night Lights Make Up Kit**. 

**Note: Links marked with double asterisks are affiliate links. This just means that I receive a small compensation from every purchase made through this link; this helps me keep Writing Between Pauses going. But believe me when I say, every recommendation is made honestly. To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here

Why We Don't Believe in Santa

Why We Don't Believe in Santa | Writing Between Pauses

Writing this post is really difficult. For a while now, Danny and I have gone back and forth on whether or not we should introduce the idea of Santa to Forrest. Before he was born, we debated about it even more. Now that he’s 2 years old, it’s really hard to not have Santa in our lives. Every TV show, every movie, has Santa; believing in Santa is something children are encouraged to do. 

And if you’re on the fence about whether or not Santa is something you want your child to believe in, it can be extremely difficult. Explaining to Forrest at his current age that Santa isn’t real isn’t exactly easy. The difference between “pretend” and “real” is incredibly thin for him; he knows he isn’t really feeding his baby doll with a plastic spoon. But he also doesn’t really get that the movies we watch aren’t real, either. When we took him on Pirates of the Carribbean at Disneyland (this was a mistake, remember?), we realized that, to him, that's all technically real; differentiating between "real" and "fake" at 2 years old is extremely challenging.  

Let’s start at the beginning though. 

Why Don’t We Believe in Santa? 

This is the question I get asked the most. “Why don’t you want Forrest to believe in Santa?” 

It’s not that I have anything against Santa. And if other parents choose to do “Santa”, that is fully their right. I still struggle with whether we’re doing the right thing or not. 

What I do have an issue with, however, is the idea of making Forrest think that if he is “good,” he gets rewarded.

To me, I want to raise Forrest to be a good person, regardless of whether he gets a reward for it. The reality is that sometimes we have to do the right thing and we never get recognized for it; sometimes being good is just for the sake of being good, not receiving an award. The idea of bribing my child to be good, so that he will be rewarded in the near future, doesn’t sit right with me as a parent. I wouldn't bribe him to do anything else in life, so why would I present Christmas as a bribe to be "good"? 

That isn’t to say we won’t talk about Santa. 

What We’ll Do Instead

We still want to watch Santa movies, talk about Santa, and read stories about Santa. Santa Claus is a fun story and it is an essential part of Christmas. Just because we won’t encourage Forrest to believe that Santa is real (and judging him for his actions so he can get treats), doesn’t mean I want him to miss out on Santa in general. 

We will, however, present Santa as a fun story and game. Instead of, “Santa will only come if you’re good and in bed tonight!” We’ll say something like, “Tonight, we’ll play the Santa game: you go to bed and when you wake up, we’ll have put presents out!” This way, he still gets to have the fun of presents “magically” appearing, but without actually believing in Santa. 

Do I worry he’ll ruin it for other kids? 

This is another question I get frequently and it makes me very uncomfortable. I know some parents take believing in Santa very seriously; they consider it equivalent to religious beliefs (we can thank the Polar Express for that metaphor), as well as tied to childhood innocence. To not believe in Santa, it seems, is paramount to being forced into adulthood or losing their innocence. 

As I said, every parent has the right to approach Santa how they wish. It’s truly no one else’s business. But that being said, I don’t think I should have to worry about my son “ruining” Christmas for another child. Frankly, there are going to be disappointments in life; if my son not believing in Santa disappoints another child, well, that's just kind of part of life. I don't really have control of what he does and doesn't tell kids in the future. 

There are always going to be kids who never believe in Santa (I never did; I think I was 4 when I told my mom I knew it was her) and there are going to be kids who believe in Santa for perhaps longer than they should (I’ll never forget breaking the news to my best friend when I was 13). Sometimes, your child will be disappointed; they will be told something (like that Santa isn’t real) you wish they hadn’t been told. That’s just the reality of being a parent! It's up to you to deal with those situations. 

To me, it’s equivalent to food choices. Some parents choose to feed their child extremely healthy, like foods with no added sugar. Some parents (like me) walk the line between super healthy and “fun” (like fruit juices and Goldfish crackers). My child eating Goldfish crackers while yours eats kale chips (or yogurt or whatever) doesn’t mean that I shouldn't let my son eat Goldfish crackers; we’ve made different choices and maybe our kids will be disappointed with what other kids have or how their households work. Again, that’s just part of life; learning to deal with it is fundamental and trying to always prevent them from being disappointed or jealous is just going to lead to a needy, spoiled child. 

But we should talk to our children about never making other kids feel bad about how their household works or what they have access to; and how while they might feel jealous of other kids, it is not the fault of the other child that they have something or believe something that we don’t. 

Conclusion

More than anything, I hope presenting Santa as a game and story (instead of something real) will help us enjoy Christmas even more. We’ll never have a disappointing Christmas where Forrest learns that Santa isn’t real and we’ll never have to struggle with him being good only to receive rewards. To me, as a parent, those are two things I really believe in. 

4 Outfits to Wear This Winter

4 Outfits to Wear This Winter | Writing Between Pauses

Winter is one of my favorite seasons for fashion. It might be because I love sweaters; I also just love being warm. However, in the winter I struggle with staying warm, especially at work (and also at home, to be honest). I tend to always be wearing more than one layer at a time. 

For this post on winter outfits, I decided to share some of my favorite outfits I've saved from Polyvore; they've been inspiring my outfits for the last few weeks. With each outfit, I'll provide some modifications for every climate. Let's jump in! 

1. In the Office

I love a long sweater; I've been wearing this similar one from Maurice's pretty much nonstop since September. I love pairing it with dresses and tights; this high-neck floral one featured is perfect, but this is another good option. Pair with loafers if you're somewhere like Oregon, where it never gets too chilly, or boots and over-the-knee socks. 

2. On the Weekend

I love this outfit because it's so light and bright. Sometimes, in winter, it's easy to go for dark colors--but mixing it up with some wintery whites is a great way to change things up. This plaid sweater is adorable; if you want an alternative, this plaid top from Forever 21 is a great statement piece. Pair with your favorite jeans and some gray or tan booties, a rose gold bag, and muted make up for a pretty-and-pale winter look. 

3. At a Fancy Party

Picking fancy party attire is one of my favorite tasks every holiday season. This outfit is incredible because of the sequin top; it's hard to replicate, but this top comes close. I decided to switch the color scheme up and recommend this metallic bodycon skirt. (Remember when everyone wore bodycon skirts every day!?) Finish with some tights to keep warm, your favorite coat, and some cute boots or pumps. 

4. At a Casual Party

Not every party requires sequins, unfortunately. This is one of the outfits that probably everyone can throw together from their closet: a sweater dress topped with your tried-and-true denim jacket and a plaid scarf. Add your favorite boots or moccasins for a look that's comfy and cool. 

A Busy Mom's Gift Guide for: Creatives

A Busy Mom's Gift Guide for Creatives | Writing Between Pauses

Every year, I try to think up some creative ideas for, uh, creative people. Creatives (that is, designers, writers, digital media workers, and the like) can be a fussy bunch, especially when it comes to gifts. They have really particular tastes and styles, so buying a gift can be really difficult. 

The truth is, I know I can seem difficult to shop for. However, I’m the kind of person who is happy with a gift card. For many, they don’t want to go that route for gifts. This gift guide is for you; if you’ve got a persnickety creative in your friend group who you need a gift for, look no further. 

1. Paper Trophy

Paper Trophy | Writing Between Pauses

I love these paper trophies! 3D paper art in the shape of a trophy (like a buck’s head) is a cute, quirky decoration for even the most finicky creative. I’m particularly fond of the rhino head and unicorn. They’re definitely more on the spendy side, so you can always go in with a few friends. 

Fidget Cube | Writing Between Pauses

2. A Fidget Cube

Most creatives work in high pressure environments; they tend to be always “on.” Fidget cubes are perfect for people with nervous energy they need to expel. I got one for my husband and he absolutely loves it. And for only $10, it’s the perfect little gift to go alongside a larger gift! 

Typography Cookie Cutters | Writing Between Pauses

3. These fancy cookie cutters

How cute are these? I’m obsessed with them. For the graphic designer you know, they’re so cool; and they’d be perfect for curated Instagram photos. (Please, just take a moment to imagine it.) Also, they’re only $18, so reasonable even for a Secret Santa gift! 

Grid & Guideline Notebook | Writing Between Pauses

4. Grids & Guides notebook

This notebook is perfect for visual thinkers… or for anyone who likes to keep their notebooks tidy. I just graph notebooks to keep my writing even. This one, especially, has a very good aesthetic with a variety of grids, guidelines, and tables. (Again, it would look great in an Instagram photo too!) And at less that $15, you’ll have a little leftover for an add on gift. 

My Holiday Bucket List

My Holiday Bucket List | Writing Between Pauses

I'm really going to try to not set unreasonable expectations for my holiday season this year. Really. I promise. 

Every year, I want to go ice skating and drink hot cocoa and play somewhere with snow. I want to go to the mountains 

Every year, I barely do any of those things. Realistically, as an adult, planning activities is much less fun; driving up to the mountains isn't exactly my cup of tea, either. Most likely, we will have a few freezes, I'll worry about the pipes in our house and well freezing, and we will spend leisurely evenings at home, watching movies. 

Doesn't that sound better anyway? 

So, this year, I'm keeping my holiday bucket list... reasonable. Nothing extravagant; just the fun, Christmas-y basics. Here they are.  

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