My Tips for Packing to Travel with Kids for Spring Break

My Tips for Packing to Travel with Kids for Spring Break | Writing Between Pauses

It goes without saying: almost everyone loves the idea of traveling, but the actual traveling is hardly anyone’s favorite part of it. Moving from A to B, B to C, and C to every other letter of the alphabet definitely takes more patience than anything else.

Now add to that a child, who may or may not be old enough to understand patience (or might just not feel like it at that moment), and things get really sticky. I’ve written about traveling with young toddlers before in the form of everything I learned about taking a (mostly) solo road trip and my 4 tips from when we went to Disneyland (and drove the whole way).

We were just recently looking at our photos from our trip to Disneyland. It’s funny to think that was two years ago—and Fo looks so small in all the photos! He was a younger toddler then and now he’s a kid—and things are definitely different now.

When we first had Forrest, it felt like we might never be able to travel again. Even just a trip to the mall felt like I needed to pack an entire army—and if we did travel anywhere, it felt like I had to pack up my whole house and just take it along. We ended up at our destination with bags and bags and bags of stuff for just a few days! And don’t get me started on the pain in the ass it was to take along all my pumped milk, plus my pump, plus formula, plus bottles… I still remember trying to label the tops of my expressed milk to take in the car on our first spring break road trip after having Forrest, pumping in random parking lots throughout the 9 hour drive there, and much more.

I’ve definitely been able to streamline things as Forrest has gotten older, especially when it comes to packing. I thought I’d share my tips for how I keep everything organized in the car. If you’re planning to travel (for the first time or the 100th time) with kids this Spring Break, this one is for you.

1. Invest in Boxes

The best decision I made before going to Disneyland nearly two years ago was buying 2 clear packing containers. They are about a foot deep, measuring 12 inches by 10 inches at the lid. They aren’t super big, but they aren’t teeny tiny either. I used them to pack supplies for Forrest on our trip and so they would be easy to stack and see inside of.

When I tell you I use these every single road trip now, I’m not joking! They make it so easy to keep supplies together. I tend to keep all our travel stuff in one of them; that includes things like sunblock, our emergency kit, some non-perishable emergency snacks, and things like that. I also keep the small DVD player we use in the car for Fo in that bin as well, just so I always know where it is!

2. Everyone Gets One (1) Bag

I’ve definitely made the mistake in the past of packing In a way that doesn’t make a lot of logical sense, like packing one bag for clothes and one bag for makeup. In general, I know if I need more than one suitcase, I’m probably overpacking and need to talk to myself about what I’m doing.

Overpacking is a great way to ruin your spring break (especially the traveling portion), so our rule now is: everyone gets one bag, even Forrest. He gets one bag for clothes and toys. That keeps us from overpacking and means we have room for everything else we need, or any souvenirs we might pick up on our trip.

3. Keep Snacks Contained

My husband Danny and I are very big on travel snacks. It gives us something to do as we drive (especially on a long road trip) and also makes it easy to keep Forrest occupied (“throw him another snack”). I know this isn’t the healthiest way to travel, but honestly, what’s the fun in having a super healthy Spring Break? (Ok, there might be some fun in it.)

We often have this issue of snacks getting absolutely everywhere in the car: bags of candy in the glove box, bags of chips open in the backseat, you know the drill. Suddenly, I need to vacuum my car really bad.

We designate one spot for snacks in the car (as well as where we store extra drinks and water) and really stick to it now. This keeps me from absolutely feeling like I’m losing it and also keeps the car clean. We usually choose the space behind the passenger seat, as it’s easy for Danny to get out and grab (as I usually drive).

4. Think About What You’ll Need Access To

Have a DVD player for your kiddo? Keep movies within arm’s reach of the passenger seat.

Know you want to drink lots of water? Keep water bottles handy within reach.

Pack your car so that you have access to the things you know you’ll need to grab as you drive—and don’t worry about the rest. Charging cables and extra battery packs can be kept in the glovebox or console; books can be kept in door pockets. Pack accordingly.

5. If you’re stopping midway, think of what you’ll only need for that night.

We often have a bin (throwback to item one on this list!) that is just things we need for at night. Oftentimes, we break up long drives with a stay overnight along the way—traveling with a toddler, it’s just easiest for us. We don’t want to totally unload the car, so we usually just take what we need: our bags, our snacks, and the overnight bin (as well as anything valuable, like laptops). That means leaving in the morning is way less hectic as we don’t have to repack the entire car.

6. Remember a Trash Bin

All those snacks, as well as stops along the way, wiping faces, and more… you need a trash bag. I usually grab 4-5 plastic Target bags and stow them in the car, then we use this as trash bags through the drive, throwing them away whenever we stop. It just makes it so much easier to keep the car clean if you have a specific spot to put trash.

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo*

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo* | Writing Between Pauses

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a review of Maple Holistic’s Tea Tree Shampoo (one of my favorites). You can read that here.

As you all surely know by now, shampoo is one of my bugbears. I have a very sensitive, dry scalp; shampoos will work for a little while to relieve the dryness, then stop. I have reviewed so many shampoos and while they all worked for a while, eventually, my scalp went back to its usual: dry, flaky, itchy, sensitive.

When Maple Holistics reached out to me about reviewing their Silk18 Shampoo*, I was excited… but aware that like most shampoos, my dry scalp will probably acclimate to it. I’ve started to realize that I need to focus more on nourishing my scalp between washes, instead of expecting the shampoo to do all of the world.

My review of this was slightly complicated by the power outage at the end of February. I wasn’t able to shower for the first 4 days, by which time I was on day 7 with no washing. My scalp felt great and I realized I needed to start giving myself more time between washes. I used the Silk18 Shampoo for that first shower and oh my gosh… it felt amazing.

I really like Maple Holistics for a lot of reasons; the first one is that all of their products are cruelty free and ethically sourced. This helps me feel a lot better about the products I use, even if I can’t guarantee it for everything that works me & my hair! I also like that their products contain natural, soothing ingredients that are low on a toxicity scale, which helps keep our waterways clean.

Maple Holistics shampoo

The Silk18 Shampoo from Maple Holistics promises the following:

Achieve stronger, smoother, more luscious hair with silk18 shampoo. Infused with a rejuvenating blend of 18 silk amino acids which help fortify hair follicles and strengthen strands to protect hair from dryness, breakage, damage, split ends, and hair fall. The nourishing formula gently cleanses dandruff, excess sebum, and impurities to leave your hair and scalp feeling fresh but not stripped. Enriched with argan and jojoba oil to add supreme softness and a luminous shine. Our shampoo is sulfate and paraben-free making it great for all hair types, color treated hair, and sensitive skin.

All of those things are definitely true. I have slightly drier-than-average hair (although not bad compared to my scalp) that can get slightly frizzy and ugly after a few days (usually if I wear it in a bun too much). However, this shampoo definitely gave my hair most luster and shine than any other shampoo I’ve used recently, which is a definite plus. I used it in combination with my Formulate conditioner, which was really, really lovely.

Good shampoo for oily scalps

You might be wondering, what about your scalp? Well, it didn’t help my dry scalp as much as I would like—but it didn’t make it worse. When it comes to shampoo, that’s really all I can ask for! Some shampoos definitely make my scalp feel awful and this isn’t one of them.

So what’s my final verdict?

I love this shampoo for my hair. I like it for my scalp. I have found that using it in combination with my blend of half Head & Shoulders and half my Formulate shampoo on my scalp, then this on my ends… I get the absolute best wash I’ve gotten in a while. I’m currently working on washing my hair much, much less often to see if that will help my scalp health overtime. (I’m talking… like washing my hair every 10 days here, which seems like so long!) If you have drier hair, this is a great shampoo to try for a little extra moisture here at the tail end of a very, very cold winter season.

You can try the Maple Holistics Silk 18 Shampoo yourself by purchasing here.

Disclaimer: As always, as asterisk (*) in the title of this post denotes that I received this product in exchange for review. However, all opinions remain my own! Posts like this help me keep the lights on at Writing Between Pauses. To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2019

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2019 | Writing Between Pauses

If you’ve read my blog for any stretch of time, you know two things about me: I love Fall the most and February is always the worst month. I’m not going to say that how much February sucks is because of astrology… except I am. Mercury Retrograde almost always hits at some point in February, plus it is Pisces season.

This February was no exception to the rule: I got a lot done, but a lot of stuff went absolutely bonkers. Totally haywire. It’s so hard for me to even summarize February because… where do I begin?! I guess I should start with the Snow.

1. The Big Snow

Oregon Snow
Snow in Oregon

It started snowing on February 24 at about noon. It did not stop for over 24 hours. By the end, we had about 14-16 inches at our house; at my parents’ house just a mile down the road from me (but slightly higher elevation), they had closer to 18-20 inches. In some drifts, there were nearly 2 feet of snow! The roads were a mess. And what was worse: the weight of the snow itself caused trees to fall, branches to snap, and power lines to be severed.

Our power went out around midnight between Sunday and Monday. Monday morning, I woke up with Forrest (he’d gotten into our bed because he couldn’t sleep alone in the dark) and went downstairs, got a fire going in our wood stove, and then opened the door to listen. It was only then that I realized how bad things were; it was still snowing and everything was extremely quiet… but I could hear breaking and crashing sounds in the woods all around us. And worse, the power line that goes over our yard kept shaking violently, including the power pole. I was suddenly not just annoyed that I didn’t have power, but pretty scared.

Once it got light out, I walked down our driveway to see what it looked like. We had about 4-5 trees down across our driveway and the snow was deep. There was no way we could get out. Throughout the rest of the morning, branches fell off the huge cedar tree right next to our house, crashing into our backyard, fence, and porch. Thankfully, nothing big hit our house—but it was scary.

Trees down in Oregon

My parents managed to clear their driveway, but it was nearly dark by then. They finally came over Tuesday to clear our driveway and we went to their house for a little while, as they have a generator. The next few days were basically the same pattern: we’d go to their house every day. The roads were bad. Here’s what they looked like in my area. That’s just one section; there were so many places where the road was reduced to nothing because trees had fallen inward on both sides, taking down power lines.

After 4 days, my parents got their power restored, but we didn’t. The line from our power pole to our neighbors house was still disconnected, which meant there was something wrong with the transformer on our pole. We waited and waited. It felt like an eternity! We went to my parents’ house every day to get some work done, shower, and charge our devices.

On the plus side, I got way more sleep that week than any other time in my life! I read a lot, did a lot of embroidery, and learned that I definitely need to be better prepared for emergencies. I have a blog post about emergency preparedness that I’m working on, so stay tuned for that.

Thankfully, our power was restored on March 3, but our internet satellite dish had been damaged. Having power was so nice though; I did so much laundry, cleaned everything, ran the dishwasher 3 times, and vacuumed up all the debris around our wood stove. It’s been a wild ride, but I am very done with snow and February.

2. Books I Read

Gosh, having no power makes you really get into reading. Here is every book I read during the outage:

  • I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, by Richard Hell

  • Find Her, by Lisa Gardner

  • Cutting Season, by Attica Locke

  • Verity, by Colleen Hoover

  • Carnegie’s Maid, by Marie Benedict

  • The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert

Whew!

3. What Else?

For the sake of space, here’s a few little things that happened in February:

  • My work is moving offices. However, unfortunately, our new office was not ready before the end of our lease… so we are all working from home for the entire month of March and last week in February. As you can tell, that meant my work week was an absolutely wash because of the snow—and I wasn’t alone. Going back to work was honestly the most exciting thing in the world, but I didn’t didn’t have internet until last Friday!

  • We got our taxes done and despite paying in extra this past year… we still owed to Oregon and got a very small return from Federal. We’re trying to crack the code here and figure out how much we need to overpay to make even!

  • We planned our coast trip for this summer and fantasized multiple times about running away to Disneyland. (Once I could get my car out of my driveway, it was definitely hard to not just start driving to somewhere, anywhere else.)

  • I started learning embroidery. It’s been really fun and I’ve been loving the process! You can follow me on Instagram to see some of my projects.

Well, that’s about it for February. I’m excited for March; I’m really ready to be in Spring (even though it’s not my favorite time of the year), but I want to be far from the possibility of snow right now!

Beauty Review: Holika Holika Piggy Nose Pore Strips

Beauty Review: Holika Holika Piggy Nose Pore Strips | Writing Between Pauses

I feel a little out of practice writing blog posts! If you’ve followed me on Instagram, you know we were out of power in the last week of February. The Willamette Valley got hit by a huge snowstorm—and by huge, I mean, I had about 16-18 inches of snow at my house, and in the town and city, it was 6-8 inches. That’s a lot for this area! We had thousands of people without power. Our Governor even declared a state of emergency!

Our power was thankfully restored on March 3, after 7 days without, but we had to have our internet repaired as well—and that didn’t happen until Friday! Talk about having a rough two weeks.

I wanted to write about these Holika Holika Piggy Nose Pore Strips. I’ve written before about the same brands, similarly named peeling gel. Which I love, of course; it leaves my skin so smooth.

I’m naturally suspicious of pore strips, because I know they don’t work. The dots we often see on our skin are actually sebaceous filaments, a natural part of our skin that we can’t get rid of; because of how common air brushing is, however, we think they are blackheads. But they’re not!

That being said… clearing that oil can help us reduce our pore size. It’s a double edged sword: it’s very cathartic to rip out those little oil plugs; but once you know that they’re always going to be there, you start feeling a bit… bad about it, for a lack of better term!

Let’s get on with the review.

Holika Holika Piggy Nose Pore Strips

I found these at TJ Maxx (of course) for $3. For 5 sheets, that actually is quite steep—it’s only 5 pore strips! However, they technically have 3 strips per sheet, that you do in a specific order, so… I’ll take it.

These are very similar to the Tony Moly 3-step pore strips as well.

Here’s the instructions as they read on the packet: “1. After cleansing, place step 1 on nose for 15-20 minutes. Remove slowly and wipe off any blackhead or impurities in pores. 2. Wet nose with water and place step 2 on nose. After 10-15 minutes, remove slowly from the edge. 3. After step 1 & 2, place step 3 on nose. Remove after 10-15 minutes and gently tap for better absorption.”

Even if you stay in the bare minimum time, these pore strips take 35 minutes total! That’s a lot!

The first step smells a lot like the Clean & Clear salicylic acid toner I used to use in high school. It also smelled slightly sweet, almost artificially, beneath the very sharp, chemical smell. I’m not sure what to make of that. It seemed to be designed to “bring up” the oil in your pores and open your pores a bit more. Without knowing based on the instructions, that’s my best guess. It didn’t burn my skin or feel any which way in particular.

Step 2 is the step where you actually “cleanse” the pores: aka, you rip that shit out. This step is so reminiscent of other pore strips; you wet your nose and apply the dry strip, adhering it to your skin; it dries; and then you peel it up, revealing a little teeny, tiny forest of oil plugs. This strip worked… I would say better than the Tony Moly strips and not as good as the tried-and-true Biore Pore Strips.

The third step seems to be a toner; I think it’s designed to further cleanse your pores, as the packet mentions “absorption”. This one smelled very similar to the first one, but was very dry. Step 1 is a very wet packet (almost like a face mask with a serum), Step 2 is dry, obviously, and Step 3 was, surprise, also dry.

Do pore strips work

So, did I like these pore strips? They’re a K-beauty brand, so I really like them as an alternative to Biore Pore Strips. I know I shouldn’t, but I really do love using pore strips every few weeks to help with my pore size (and congestion). Since they work about the same (if slightly less well) as Biore, I’m willing to make the switch to them.

My one concern really is with the amount. In a box, you only get 5 sets… which may last a while, but since they are $14 on Amazon for a box of 5, that is quite expensive, comparative to other brands. However, I did really like them and you really can’t beat cute packaging.

If you’re a pore strip user, this is a definitely a great, fun option to try. If not, I wouldn’t say, you need to go buy this; it’s definitely a novelty, purely for people who already love a good, guilty pore strip.

the 3 Beauty Basics Everyone Should Have

The 3 Beauty Basics Everyone Should Have | Writing Between Pauses

One of the criticisms I hear most about the beauty community—from Instagrams to YouTubers to bloggers—is: no one posts any beginners tutorials anymore.

We all share our favorite foundations with the knowledge that everyone reading probably knows how to apply foundation.

We review products with the understanding that everyone has a grasp of the basics.

That leaves a sizable gap in information; those who might be interested in reading beauty reviews are left out. What if they don’t know how to apply foundation? Or they don’t know how to use setting powder?

One blog post isn’t going to totally fill that gap. And it’s hard to tell the beauty community to take 20 steps back and explain the beginning. But starting to open up the beauty community to not just amateur artists, but those who want to learn, will help make it a better place.

For that reason, I thought I would share what I consider to be 3 beauty products everyone needs—regardless of their skill level, makeup level preference, and more. For me, this serves as starting a basis for getting into beauty; if you’ve never worn makeup before, but want to start, or you’ve never had a skincare routine before, but want to start, these are a good place to start in establishing your own routine.

1. SPF

I go on about this a lot, but it is worth restating over and over and over again: you have to wear SPF every day.

Back up, rewind, read it again: you have to wear SPF every single day.

This is pure protection for your skin. Using a daily SPF on your face, neck, and shoulders (and if you want to be truly dedicated, your entire body) is a great way to protect your skin and keep it looking amazing. Not only is moisturizer one of the best ways to prevent aging, SPF only helps in that regard. Take it from someone with melasma on their face: please, please, please wear your SPF every single day.

How do you choose the best SPF? For me, I try to find a non-greast facial SPF in as high of a rating as possible. Right now, my preferred one is Aveena, which is only 15 SPF, but it doesn’t make me break out. I also use an SPF spray (watch for sales of this at Ulta) throughout the day during the summer to keep my makeup set and to reapply. (Remember, if you’re outside in the sun, you have to reapply SPF every 45-60 minutes. An entire day in the sun should use at least an entire bottle of sunscreen!)

For more about choosing a good SPF, here are two blog posts I have written previously: Summer Skincare and Protecting Your Skin. And don’t forget to protect your eyes too.

2. A good brush set

Some people prefer makeup sponges. Some people swear by beautyblenders. But everyone uses brushes, in one way or another. If you’re just starting to wear makeup, the power of a good brush set cannot be overstated. Brushes can help you be more refined in your makeup application. You learn to blend and handle makeup. And, honestly, brushes just look pretty on your vanity.

Lots of people have different preferences for brushes. Personally, I’ve only ever bought ELF and Wet’n’Wild brushes (I’ve received others in my ipsy bags). If you want to build a brush collection, I highly recommend signing up for ipsy or checking for brush sets at Ulta. The brushes you should definitely have in your collection are:

  • A fluffy face brush

  • A smaller, denser blush brush

  • A large, fluffy eyeshadow brush

  • A foundation brush (kabuki-style)

  • A small eyeshadow brush

With those 5 brushes, you really can do just about anything. Obviously, you can add more to your collection as time goes on, but those really are a good place to start.

3. A good concealer

If you’ve never worn makeup before, it can be challenging to jump right into foundation. Foundation can be challenging to match correctly to your skin tone and skin type. Concealer is a little bit easier; it’s like taking a baby step into foundation, without having to fully commit. If you’ve never worn foundation before, and aren’t sure if you need it, then you might end up not wanting to wear foundation. Some beauty gurus famously don’t wear foundation (like JKissa).

Concealer is perfect; you can use it on your under eyes to brighten, cover any small blemishes, and tone down any redness. But without the cakiness that can happen with foundation. I personally love Tarte Shape Tape; it took me a while to love it, but now I do. I also love the ColourPop concealer.

Finding one that suits you and your skill level, as well as your specific skin type, can take a little trial and error. I love Paula’s Choice’s tips for finding a good concealer.

Round Up: My Best Blogging Articles

Round Up: My Best Blogging Articles | Writing Between Pauses

If you haven’t heard the news, I’m re-launching my newsletter! It’s called the Pause, a no-nonsense newsletter all about blogging, from the perspective of a busy mom who doesn’t really have time to mess with jargon, paid plans that don’t pan out, and much more. If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a blog, or have a blog but feel lost in the massive landscape of blogging advice, this is the newsletter for you. You can sign up here.

Before that, however, I feel like I should put my money where my mouth is. For my day job, I often write about the data of marketing; I like to have evidence for the things I say and what I decide to do. That’s just how I am (aka I have to have a reason for saying something). Sometimes, this is pure data. And sometimes, this is based on experience.

I’ve been blogging since 2009. That’s right: 10 years this year. It feels like it’s been way longer than 10 years, but also not nearly as long as 10 years! 10 years ago, I was 20 years old, living in a dorm, and idolizing Gala Darling. I remember the days of personal blogs that absolutely exploded (Gala Darling being one), people who monetized their personal lives before "being an influencer” was even a thing. I remember the days of lookbook.nu and those websites, fashion blogging using photos taking on a point-and-shoot in my dorm room (or propped on a retaining wall in my college’s quad, which is very embarrassing to think about now).

There are years I blogged a lot (2012-2013), and years I barely blogged (2014-2015). Years where I thought for sure it was time for me to quit blogging (2015-2016) and years where I couldn’t imagine not having a blog (pretty much the rest of the time). I love blogging. And I realized I loved writing about blogging too.

This isn’t a blog about blogging. I find those a little annoying, especially when run by people who haven’t managed popular niche blogs before. That’s why I wanted to restart my newsletter; I feel like that’s a much more personal, easy format to write about blogging without coming off like a jerk.

However, I have written a few posts about blogging—and I wanted to put these all in one place for anyone who is curious about my perspective about blogging. I’m definitely a hobbyist; I think longterm careers in blogging are difficult to come by. However, blogging can be a great resume builder and it can be something you are really passionate about, alongside your current career or life goals.

Without further ado, here’s everything I’ve ever written about blogging.

How to Plan Social Media for Your Blog

3 Ways to Achieve Your Blog Goals

How to Write Better Instagram Captions

3 Ways to Improve Your Flat Lay Photos

5 Tips for Starting a Newsletter

30 Ideas for Your Blog

4 Tips for New Bloggers

7 Tips for Starting a New Blog

5 Must-Have Blogging Resources

Should You Use An Editorial Calendar?

Improving Your Blog in 4 Steps

Here Are 5 Steps You Need to Know to Write Killer Blog Posts

4 Tips for Taking Better iPhone Photos

Even better, I have an entire board dedicated to blogging resources on Pinterest. You can check it out here.

If you haven’t signed up for the Pause, of course, you can do that here. The first issue comes out March 2 and it will be the first Saturday of every month after that (unless, of course, you ask for more!)

Beauty Review: Alba Botanica Acne Patches

Beauty Review: Alba Botanica Acne Patches | Writing Between Pauses

Back when I was in middle school, Clearasil came out with these acne patches—little clear, round patches that you could put over zits and pimples with the intention to help them heal faster. They definitely worked, because I used them somewhat religiously for at least 2 years. But then they stopped making them, I stopped looking for them, and I never thought of it again.

However, in the past few years, tons of brands have come out with things that are very similar. And as it turns out, you have been able to buy essentially what Clearasil marketed for years in the pharmacy—it just wasn’t marketed to teenagers. Cool!

Sometimes, physically covering a pimple is the best way to keep yourself from picking on it—I know that’s true for me. I really wanted to try some of these “new” (to me) patches, but often found the cost prohibitive on the ones my friends said really worked. I asked tons of beauty groups and they all recommended K-beauty brands—which is fine and good, but so expensive to order sometimes.

Alba Botanica is a drugstore brand—you can find it at Target—and they sell “Acnedote Pimple Patches”. I looked at them in Target, then backed off at the price. $10, for a set of 40 patches. That felt like quite a bit. (I just looked at the Target website and they are $6 on there—but recently Target has made clear that there are things that are more expensive in store than on their website. So make sure to scan everything with the Target app and get price matches done!) I decided to pass.

10 minutes later, I found the exact same thing in TJ Maxx. For $4. Score.

So, here’s the real question: are acne patches worth it? Do they still work as well as I remember them working in middle school?

The answer is, yes and no.

I had two larger pimples on my chin that I wanted gone, so I slapped a patch on them and left it on overnight. In the morning, both pimples had large whiteheads. I remember this happening when I was younger; if nothing else, the patch would make the pimple get a head so you could pop it. However, I’m at an age where i know that’s not a good thing to do. However, when I peeled off the patches, it peeled the thin skin off and popped them for me.

So I was left with two big scabs.

Yeah, not sure that’s an improvement.

Do Acne Patches Work?

The two scabs did heal pretty fast after that, as I babied them. I decided to try these patches with some smaller whiteheads that popped up around my temples (thanks to my glasses rubbing) and they were much better at getting rid of those overnight, without a damaging scab in its place.

Basically, I think there are two really good ways to use these patches:

  1. To stop yourself from worrying a large pimple (such as a cyst)

  2. To get rid of small comedones

However, my big warning is: these patches do help make zits more “poppable”, which is debatably a good thing. If you have a big cyst, sometimes you just want to be able to pop it so it will stop hurting. In that situation, these are miracle workers; they help drain the inflammation and create a head, so you can get rid of the cyst faster. For comedones, they really do get rid of them overnight.

Are these worth it? Yes. I’m going to keep testing them out throughout the next few months, and try to find other brands to test alongside, but I do like them—even though my first experience was a little negative. I think, as with any beauty product, you have to keep your expectations realistic, especially in terms of what it achievable and what isn’t.

3 Quick and Easy Valentine's Day Crafts for Kids

3 Quick and Easy Valentine's Day Crafts for Kids | Writing Between Pauses

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and if you’re like me, you kind of forget Valentine’s Day exists until it’s, well, a day away. You, like me, are probably racing to the Dollar Store for whatever Valentine’s you can find for your kids, or yourself.

I love doing holiday crafts with Forrest. It’s a great way to use up a little time during long days. Plus, it’s a little more heartfelt than a store bought Valentine. I’ve collected a few of my favorite crafts from Pinterest—as well as one we’ve done ourselves recently!

1. Love Canvas

kids valentine's day love canvas

Supplies needed:

  • 1 small-to-medium sized canvas (I found them for $1 at the Dollar Store!)

  • Acrylic paint in the colors of your choice

  • Paintbrushes

  • Masking tape

  • Sharpie

I made these with Forrest for his grandparents a few weeks ago (hopefully, his grandparents in Idaho have received theirs and this is not a spoiler!) I found canvas at the Dollar Store, as well as some acrylic paint; so the cost for making 4 of these was only about $10. That’s pretty good!

I started by making a heart out of masking tape on the canvas, then I let Forrest go to town painting. We used red, pink, and white paint on both paintbrushes and round sponge dabbers. He really liked using the sponges. Next time, I want to do heart-shaped sponges and see if that helps him a little more! I wished I had a little bit of blue paint, because he kept asking for purple. But they turned out beautiful!

When they were dry, i peeled off the masking tape, then drew phrases on (Love You! or just Love) in pencil, before tracing in black Sharpie. They turned out so cute!

2. Paper Plate Unicorns

These are from one of my favorite craft blogs. Paper plate unicorns! I have about 1,000 leftover paper plates from parties over the years and honestly, I’m trying to get rid of them in a mindful way. This is a genius craft. It would be particularly good for playdates or preschool classes. Perhaps minus the glitter!

3. Fingerprint Heart Trees

This is another great craft for sending to grandparents or family who live far away, because it is a small piece of your toddler or child. I love how these fingerprint trees look and they use just paint and probably a lot of patience. They would look beautiful framed in a gallery wall as well. The best part is that you could really switch up the color scheme for any holiday.