Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

Me last month: Next month’s Ipsy will be better.

Me this month: How is this bag somehow more underwhelming?

It’s not that this month’s bag is bad. It just hits somewhere between “so good I can’t shut up about it” and “so bad I have to laugh about it.” It’s just underwhelming, but hits right in the neutral zone of “I’m neither happy nor mad.” I don’t know if that’s worse than going either direction!

I’m keeping Ipsy until at least December—that’s when I take it off my editorial calendar and I’ll decide then if I want to keep going. It’s funny because I’ve been very happy with Ipsy until perhaps 2-3 months ago; my first almost year of bags were great! I wonder if the novelty of receiving items has just worn off, or what. Either way, though, I have thoughts about everything I received!

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.

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1. Take Home the Bronze in Oliver, $6

I said this in my Instagram story, but i don’t wear bronzer. I just don’t have a face that contours well or wears bronzer well. No matter how carefully I apply, I just end up looking muddy or dirty. It doesn’t suit my face shape or anything. This is a lovely, cool-toned bronzer, perfect for fair and cool-toned people, but it’s just not something I would wear. I might test it as an eyeshadow, but otherwise, I’m looking at regifting this. The full-size of this product costs $17.50 and this sample is about 1/3 the original size. Therefore, I estimated the cost at $6 for this little pan, which is about the size of an eyeshadow.

2. Oryza Beauty Lipstick in Opus, $21

This item doesn’t have a link because this is apparently an exclusive color. It is really gorgeous—a dark wine color. Despite being a traditional lipstick, the wear is amazing. It is very creamy going on, but it does dry down quite a bit and wears for a very long time. I wore it at work, including eating breakfast, and it was still on (if a little fainter) when I left around noon. Pretty amazing, I must say! The Oryza lipsticks are $21 a piece, based on my Google conversion (it’s a British website). The Opus color on the website is not this one; it is a light pink color, which is why I haven’t linked it! Not sure why they would give Ipsy an exclusive color with the same name as an existing lipstick, but what do I know?

The Balm's Take Home the Bronze

3. SOO AE Donkey Milk Sleep Mask, $2 for 2

I hate that I love these masks so much because… these masks are from Wal-Mart, guys. I was so excited to try these because I thought they were ~fancy, but then the next day, I was in Wal-Mart and saw them there for $1 a piece. Ipsy sent me a $1 filler mask. That is fine, but it’s not what I pay $10 a month for, to be quite honest. These masks made my skin feel ok; they clogged my pores quite badly on my chin, but around my eyes was lovely. I don’t know why it annoys me so much that I got sent a 2 $1 masks, but there we go.

4. Taste Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $13.50

I have a tube of Shape Tape that I bought perhaps… 6 months ago? I like it ok, but I’m almost out and wasn’t planning to repurchase (which meant I would have to try to find a concealer that did work). I was almost a little grateful to receive this tiny tube of Shape Tape to get me through! It’s quite small, but I actually like the smaller applicator; the large Shape Tape applicator is FAR too big and gives you too much product. This is perfect sized! It’s about half the size of a full tube, so I priced this at a value of $13.50.

Nebula Blue Highlighter

5. City Color Cosmetics Glow Pro Stellar Highlighter in Nebula, $2.25

This is my biggest “excuse me, but what the hell” item of my bag. Last month, I said, please, please, STOP sending me highlighters. So what do they do? Send me a BLUE highlighter. I will literally never put this on my body. It’s… so much. I am over highlight, to be quite honest; I think it looks really bad on me and in general, i’m tired of the same 3 colors of highlighter getting released and having to act excited. It’s sparkly white, it’s sparkly bronze, it’s sparkly champagne. How exciting. I don’t need more and I definitely don’t need a BLUE version!! The worst part, to me, is that this highlighter is valued at maybe $2.25. $2.25. I found it on City Color Cosmetics as part of a palette that costs $9!! Another $2 item, great.

Ipsy Bag Swatches

Final Thoughts

The total value of this bag is… $44.75. And that was estimating quite high on some items (I’m still a bit dubious that the tube of Shape Tape is even half of a full tube, but I didn’t feel like weighing them). I think this is the lowest value on a bag for a while. And while I don’t like to determine my enjoyment of a bag based on the value, but there is something a bit more satisfying of a bag worth $70-80 when I pay $10! Paying $10 to receive 2 $1 masks, a $2 highlight, a full size lipstick, and then two products that I will never, ever wear is not a good value to me.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so neutral on this bag; I like the lipstick, I’m happy with the Shape Tape, and the masks are ok, but it’s the value. I don’t pay $10 to get sent things that I can go buy at Wal-Mart and already have access to! I want to try new things or samples of things that are far out of my price range!

I always feel a bit whiny when I don’t like a bag. I am a natural critic, so I’m a bit critical of everything in my life (especially myself), so it’s something I really try to not indulge in when it comes to reviewing products. But good gracious, the more I write about this bag, the more annoyed I get!

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy yourself, you can sign up using my code here.

Do you get Ipsy? How have your bags been lately?

Best of Blogtober: Week 2

Best of Blogtober: Week 2 | Writing Between Pauses

Hello and welcome to another week of my best of Blogtober series! In this series, I’m highlight 5-10 blog posts that I’ve loved through the previous week.

This week has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. On Sunday, I had the (somewhat shocking) realization that I turn 30 on Saturday. And while I thought I was fine, totally fine, with that… I found myself lying in bed sobbing hysterically. Then I couldn’t sleep. I managed to turn myself around by Tuesday, but it was a rough few days and I fell very behind in both my Blogtober writing and reading. But just writing that out just now made me feel a lot better (weird how that works, right?) and I am ready to try to get ahead on Blogtober again.

All that to say: writing that made me feel loads better; I had a ton of great blog posts to choose from this week; and reading all those blog posts really helped improve my mood. Here are my top links from this past week. Hope you enjoy!

1. Maternity Outfit: Conkers & Pumpkins from Rebel Angel Blog

(Can you tell I read Sian’s blog religiously?! We’ve been blogger friends for ages, but now that she’s doing pregnancy diaries every week, I find myself refreshing to see if she uploads one!)

2. How to Get Your Autumn Wardrobe on the Cheap from Bee Money Savvy

3. A Weekend in Boca Grande, Florida from Carley Creative Concepts

4. The Upside of My Job from Weird & Liberated

5. Michael Bublé by Invitation Noir from Kabuki Rune

6. Jane Iredale Triple Luxe Lipsticks Review from Sparkle & Style

7. How to Support Small Businesses from An Ocean Glimmer

Are you a blogger? Have a post you want featured? Leave it in the comments below or let me know on Twitter.

What's in My Cup This Fall?

What's in My Cup This Fall? | Writing Between Pauses

I didn’t really drink coffee until I was 26. I had drank Starbucks drinks, of course—but I think we can all agree that those are mostly milk and flavors and much less about the coffee. (No shade, though; I love a latte!)

For a long time, I drank coffee very, very weak with a scoop of hot cocoa powder, milk, and Truvia. That sounds so gross to me now because my love for coffee has only grown. People really aren’t kidding when they say that the taste of coffee will grow on you; I absolutely used to hate the smell and taste of coffee, but now it’s one of my favorite things in the world!

These days I have two favorite types of coffee: the 1850 Black Gold dark roast from Folgers and Starbucks French Roast. Both are dark roasts. I use almond milk, salted caramel non-dairy creamer, and Truvia in my coffee every single day. It’s the best part of my morning some days, to be honest.

I feel like coffee is one of those extremely personal drinks that everyone has. And everyone has their preference. Some people live by creamer. Or half-and-half. Or black coffee. Some people only use sugar. My grandma still only uses Sweet’n’Low, which tastes so awful to me I can barely stand it. Usually around mid-Spring, I go through a phase of not really drinking coffee—and then by Fall, I’m ready for hot beverages again!

How do you take your coffee? Does it change seasonally?

What's So Special About a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch?

What's So Special About a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch? | Writing Between Pauses

Every October, we do a traditional visit to the pumpkin patch with Danny’s parents. They only visit about twice a year, so this is a big occasion for us. Last year, Forrest could have easily spent about 2 or 3 hours in the pumpkin patch. This year, he wasn’t quite as obsessed with pumpkins, but he still had a lot of fun.

We went to Lone Pine Farms in Eugene, which is where we go every year. I suspect they did not have a great pumpkin harvest this year; a lot of the pumpkins were rotten, damaged, or just starting to turn already… and the patch has only been open 2 weeks! We still found quite a few great pumpkins, though, so we can’t complain.

Pumpkin Patch Visit
Say Pumpkins!
Batman and Pumpkins
Lone Pine Farms

It was one of those perfect Fall days that feels absolutely perfect. It wasn’t too hot (mid-60s, a little windy), but it was sunny. The patch was crowded, but not like last year, so crowded that it felt claustrophobic. There was room to take all the photos I wanted of Forrest. It was just a day that felt really perfect and special.

Some of my friends often ask why our trip to the pumpkin patch is such a big deal. Well, first of all, pumpkin patches are really only open for one month a year. October. That’s it! That’s all the pumpkin patch you get! As well, the farm stands attached to pumpkin patches really depend on the business, as they often close for the season on November 1, or shortly after. Visiting local farms during the summer to buy produce, and then buying pumpkins from them instead of from a grocery store, helps me to support a local business.

Second of all, pumpkin patches are fun. There is always a lot to do. Lone Pine even has a whole playground set up so kids can play for a little while as their parents pay or browse the farm stand. There are games. There are hayrides. A cow train. Horses and goats to pet and feed.

It’s a special trip we take every year and one we all look forward to. If you don’t regularly visit a local pumpkin patch, you’re really, really missing out on an opportunity to not just have fun, but support a local business.

Family Photo at Pumpkin Patch

What’s your October tradition?

10 Quotes to Help You Fall in Love With Autumn

10 Quotes to Help You Fall in Love With Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Autumn quotes, they float around everywhere, don’t they? Some of them we are familiar with (“I’m so glad I live in a world with Octobers”) and some of them are new. I am a quote collector; I’ve kept a spare notebook to write down lines from books, articles, and just about everywhere for years. This is one of my more neurotic tendencies towards collecting, but it’s come in handy! I always have quotes at my disposal for just about everything.

I picked 10 of my favorites quotes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest for this. It’s always nice to have some new Instagram caption ideas, huh?

(And in the means of disclosure, I tried to source all of these images the best I could; if they have a source, it is in the hover caption. If they don’t have a source, it’s blank. However, if you recognize a photo & know its source, please let me a comment to let me know and I’ll add it immediately!)

 Source: Fiverr

Source: Fiverr

 From  Love and Space Dust      by David Jones

From Love and Space Dust by David Jones

Autumn Quote 3
Autumn Quote 4
 Source:  Katie Daisy

Source: Katie Daisy

 Source:  Celeste C Clark
Autumn Quote 7
Autumn Quote 8
 Source: MakeMediaCo

Source: MakeMediaCo

Autumn Quote 10

What’s your favorite Fall quote?

Inspiration Sunday: October 14

Inspiration Sunday: October 14 | Writing Between Pauses

Welcome to Inspiration Sunday! I used to this posts year-round on my blog, almost 6 years ago, but gradually stopped when I started making my blog less of a diary and more of a, well, blog. However, I like to do them throughout Blogtober because they are a nice break from having to write content that requires a little more thought and research.

You can read all my Inspiration Sunday posts from last Blogtober here. Without further ado, let’s hope right back into Inspiration Sunday!

1. Making Fall Memories

One of my best Fall memories is attending a birthday party for one of my best friend’s at a local pumpkin patch. I remember it being dark when my mom came to get me and I got a goodie bag that was in one of those shiny, mylar bags that was shaped like a witch’s head. The whole ride home I babbled on and on and on to my mom about the pumpkin patch, the games we played. I don’t remember any of it, but I do remember how excited I was (and realistically, as a parent now, how overtired I was).

I think about that every time I take Forrest somewhere to do something new. At 3, he’s starting to form more solid, long-lasting memories. He remembers when he hurt his arm in April, for example. And he remembers our trip to Idaho in July. But he doesn’t remember Christmas last year. It’s funny to think he’s building his lifelong memories of Fall right now and, honestly, as someone who loves Fall… I hope I’m building good ones for him.

2. Really, Really Good Tea

One of my first Blogtober posts was about tea and I actually found two teas I mentioned at the grocery store last week. For the past 3 years, I’ve been on, essentially, a coffee bender. I’m 100% about coffee 100% of the time when I used to be exclusively a tea drinker. However, in the past few weeks, I’ve been drinking more and more and more tea—and turning to it over coffee in the afternoon. Sometimes, you just need to be inspired and honestly, Salted Caramel Chai is a great way to be inspired.

3. Comfort

There is something about Fall that makes me just want to… be comfortable. To wear big sweaters. To wear my favorite wool socks. To drink a lot of warm beverages while watching my favorite, familiar movies. I don’t want to wear high heels or tight clothes. But I’ve realized lately that sometimes I behave in ways that avoid making me uncomfortable. I don’t stretch myself in my writing, because I’m comfortable where I am and I’m “good enough”—to try more makes me uncomfortable. But sometimes, being uncomfortable can be the best thing for us. Fall is a great season, because it reminds us that things change; we can’t live in Summer forever, the leaves have to turn so that we can have Summer again. So as much as Fall makes me want to be comfortable, I’ve been trying to find ways to actively move out of my comfort zone.

Things I Love: October 13

Things I Love: October 13 | Writing Between Pauses

You know what I love most about these posts? Being able to look back and see what was going on in my life this time last year. (You can read all my past Things I Love posts here.) It’s funny to imagine a year from now remembering this week through this very post.

It’s been a big week here! Danny’s parents are visiting, Forrest has had a third cold, and Danny had a day off yesterday. I’ve been working nonstop it feels like, plus I’ve been deep cleaning just about everything in my house. (Is this, perhaps, the Mrs. Hinch effect?) I have a lot of things on my list this week, but as usual, I’ve narrowed my TiLT to just three.

1. Fall Leaves

TiLT 1
TiLT 2

It’s so funny that some trees are already completely gone over to yellow, orange, or red; some trees are still half-and-half; and some trees, like the gigantic cedar just outside Danny & I’s house, are still completely green! I’m so thankful this year that the changing leaves is less all-at-once and more one-at-a-time. It gives me a little bit more time to enjoy those leaves (and take photos like these ones).

2. Spooky Season Is Here

Danny and I have a rule that we don’t watch certain movies outside of October. They are specifically for the run up to Halloween. This includes the Saw series, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Coraline, and a few more. Every night for the past week, we’ve been picking one of our scary movies from our collection and watching it. I don’t mention this much, but Danny is a movie collector, so we have a ton of movies—and I’m really grateful for it this time of year! I love finishing my workout, then going home to cross stitch and watch a classic scary movie!

3. Early Birthday Treats

Birthday Gift to Myself
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Loose Powder

My birthday is the 20th and I may or may not be turning 30 years old. I’m trying not to actively freak out about it because 30 feels very big. I don’t remember being freaked out by turning 20, but I do sometimes wish I’d been a more teenager-y teenager instead of the anxiety monster I was! Anyway, it’s a big birthday, obviously, and I’m easing myself into it by getting myself a few treats.

And surprise, Danny gave me some early birthday presents this week too. He got me a new deck of Tarot cards, as well as a book on witchcraft that I’ve been wanting. I treated myself to the Too Faced Dew You foundation, as well as a new pot of It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores, my favorite setting powder of all time. I’ll have a full review of the foundation next month, but gosh, I love it already; it smells like watermelon!

Well, that’s it for this week. What have you been loving?

How to Make Simple Pumpkin Hand Pies

How to Make Simple Pumpkin Hand Pies | Writing Between Pauses

The other day as I left work, I got the idea in my head that I needed—absolutely, positively needed—pumpkin pie. Not just any pumpkin pie, but a hand pie.

Hand pies are, obviously, small, hand held pies. And pumpkin pie, traditionally, is not a great filling. The recipe that most people use for pumpkin pie is quite runny with a lot of egg and cream. The entire drive home from work, I found myself thinking of ways to make pumpkin pie filling without evaporated milk and 5 eggs. There had to be a way, right?

I ended up (of course) searching Pinterest and cobbling together 3 different recipes for pumpkin hand pies. They were super simple to make and even though I tried to keep the portions smile, I made 12 hand pies and have enough filling in my fridge for at least 12-24 more. (That’s… a lot of hand pies.)

Pumpkin Hand Pies

(I know this isn’t a great photo. Low light, what can I say?)

Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 rolls of refrigerated pie crust (you can make your own, but I had store bought in my fridge)

  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

  • Egg wash (1 egg + water)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, start by unrolling your pie crust and rolling it a bit with a rolling pin to flatten it completely and thin it out a bit more. Then, using a pumpkin cookie cutter, cut out pie shells. Arrange half the shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The other half, cut out jack-o-lantern faces or “pumpkin marks”. Put about 1-2 teaspoon of filling (it will depend on the size of your cookie cutter; my pumpkins were quite small, so 1 teaspoon was almost too much!) in the center of the bottom shells, brush with egg wash, then top with the decorated pie shell. Press around the edge with a fork. Repeat until you’re out of dough or filling*. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until browned.

*Extra filling can be stored for about a week or so. I ended up baking mine in muffin cups on top of graham crackers!

You can also sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar after brushing with egg wash; I am going to try that next time and see if it makes them just a bit prettier.

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies
Simple Pumpkin Hand Pies

That’s it! Simple, easy, delicious hand pies! I am actually going to try doubling the filling recipe and using it in an entire pie, as I like the taste of the filling a lot more than usual pumpkin pie. It is less sickly sweet and more nuanced, thanks to the Greek yogurt and maple syrup. Let me know if you try these—I’d love to know what you’d change to make them better!