Blogtober 2018

Sweet, Spooky & Super Busy: My October Wrap Up

Sweet, Spooky & Super Busy: My October Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

How was your October?

More importantly, how was your Blogtober?

This year’s Blogtober felt like a little more of a challenge than last year. I had a lot going on this month—visitors, a lot of client work, Forrest in school, and a lot more. I’m also trying to get my house cleaned up and looking better for my own mental health and Christmas, of course.

I’m going to have a best of post going up tomorrow of my favorite Blogtober posts, plus my favorite posts from other bloggers. However, today, I wanted to go through some of my highlights from October. Let’s go!

1. Making These Cupcakes

Chai Spice Cupcakes
Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

So I just made these today, but oh my gosh, they turned out way better than I planned! I wanted to get some kind of skull or spider decoration for the top, but couldn’t find anything at the grocery store. They’d already cleaned out the Halloween stuff except the candy!! So I settled for a bag of candy corn and I’m glad I did; they turned out so, so cute! They are my usual spice cake recipe with chai steeped milk for regular milk, plus two tablespoons of molasses. They are for a potluck tomorrow at work and I’m so excited to take them!

2. Going to the Pumpkin Patch

It goes without saying that one of my highlight every single year is visiting the pumpkin patch. We love visiting our local farms every year. We went apple picking in September and to the pumpkin patch in October. It’s always a good year when we get both in! I wrote about visiting the pumpkin patch here.

3. Going to Sunriver

We took a short family trip to Sunriver right at the beginning of October that was somewhat anxiety-inducing for me (nothing like a 3-4 hour drive with a toddler alone to make you feel like a parent), but ended up being a really great time. It gave Danny and I a little bit of a break, plus we had lots and lots of fun.

Beauty Review: Sephora Overnight Gel Masks

Beauty Review: Sephora Overnight Gel Masks | Writing Between Pauses

I have always been a little bit suspicious of sleep or overnight masks. I sleep primarily with my hands touching my face, or blankets touching my face, or on my stomach, so the idea of a mask scared me. Because I knew it would get all over my pillow, hands, and blankets throughout the night and really, I thought, what’s the benefit of that?

However, the slew of overnight masks I’ve tried recently have been ones that essentially dry down—like a heavy moisturizer or a gel. This has made me totally change my mind on overnight masks. So much so that I actually have worn one every single night for… two or three weeks. And my skin has absolutely thanked me for it!

On my birthday, I “treated myself” to two Sephora Collection sleeping masks. I picked the green tea (mattifying & anti-blemish) and pearl (brightening & perfecting) varieties. They are only $4 a piece and even though they are quite small, I have found that each mask technically has 4-5, perhaps 6 uses. So one mask can reasonably last a week if you wear it every night, longer if you skip nights.

I used the green tea mask first and I’m so glad I did. This mask left my skin feel super soft, hydrated, and poreless the next day; some blemishes I had had pop up were gone and the clogged pores I get on my jawline were gone. It felt amazing! At first, I thought perhaps it was just a fluke; but every time I use this mask overnight, my skin looks better and better.

I used the pearl mask after about a week straight of using the green tea mask and, while it did make my skin feel very soft and smooth, it did make me break out a little bit. It is always hard to tell what exactly makes me break out: it could be stress, hormonal, or something I’ve tried. It’s just so hard to know! However, I used it a second night and, again, woke up with several new whiteheads, something I rarely get, on my chin and forehead.

So the pearl mask isn’t for me—but the green tea mask? I’m going back to Sephora to buy a few more of it. It’s absolutely worth the $4!

Inspiration Sunday: October 28

Inspiration Sunday: October 28 | Writing Between Pauses

Happy Sunday!

October always feels like a very long month, which is good because it’s my favorite month. But as we get closer to Halloween, it starts to click in just how long this month is. Forrest has been asking nonstop to go trick-or-treating; the concept of days is still a bit strange to him, but I made him a little calendar and we cross off each day to Halloween now. He’s so excited to experience Halloween, which makes me so excited because I’ve always wanted him to love Halloween as much as I did and do! He gets to have a Halloween party at school this week, so I may have gone a little wild and made goodie bags for the other kids in his class.

This all leads me to the point of this post: what do we do when we get to a big event we have been beyond excited for?

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For me, I always feel a bit ho-hum and let down after big events. A prime example is my wedding; I planned, I excitedly looked forward to, I had fun on the day and then, the next day… there were no big to do lists, no things to check, no plans. I’m somehow to works best by always having something to look forward to, a deadline to hit, and when I don’t, I find it hard to focus my energy. That’s why I liked being pregnant so much; I knew my body was working towards something very specific. That’s a little bit why I struggle with eating regularly and working out the way I know would help my body; I don’t have anything that I’m specifically working towards.

I always stress a bit how to not pass on this trait to Forrest, because, in general, it’s kind of a difficult one. Having to always set deadlines for myself to tasks so I don’t just languish on something is really challenging. So we often take to Forrest about how exciting things can be every single day, instead of just on days of big events. I try to make him excited for our regular days, by doing crafts and activities and lessons, having him help make dinner, playing games, or learning about chores—but still, I can tell he is just plain more excited for Halloween and he wants the days to hurry up so we can get to Halloween already!

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The most challenging part of being a parent, for me, is looking at the big picture. It can be a pretty dismal way of looking at things, to be always focused on what positive traits I’m passing on: I want him to be tidy, like I am, and not prone to being messy, like Danny is, but I don’t want him to be obsessive about it, like I can be. When I reduce my parenting to purely “passing on positive traits,” it can get really overwhelming. And ultimately, Forrest is going to pick up what Forrest picks up!

It is more important for me, as a parent, to work on the things I can change; this shows Forrest, more than anything, that nothing is set. It’s ok to change and it’s ok to adjust your behavior and work on the things you need to improve. A lot of people are so set in their ways because they think their negative personality traits are set in stone; but that’s just not true! My indecisiveness isn’t set in stone; I can choose to work on it, to not get decision fatigue, and to have the confidence to take charge.

So whether Forrest feels let down after Halloween or not, I know I need to let him have that feeling. It's ok to feel that way. But I know it is more important for me to allow him to feel that way, but then also show him ways to keep moving forward, even after a big, exciting day.

This is a bit different of an Inspiration Sunday post. It’s been something I’ve been mulling over for the past few months. And moving forward in my 30th year (!!!) on this planet, I know it’s time to start really working through all these things. What’s inspiring you this week?

Things I Love: October 27

Things I Love: October 27 | Writing Between Pauses

Another week, another TiLT! I wrote about turning 30 last week, because I was feeling sad and a bit panicky. But I’m going to return to my original format this week because I have a few things to talk about. (As always, you can read all my past Things I Love posts here.)

Here’s everything I loved this week.

1. New Skincare Products

I swear, I’ve been inundated with skincare products this week. Skincare is one of the hardest things for me to try and review because it takes a long time to get an idea of what the product does. And as someone whose skin is almost entirely controlled by my hormonal cycle, it is just really hard to know if results are because of a product or because of a change in my hormones!

However, I received these products from Influenster, which is very, very exciting. I don’t react very well to vitamin C serums, but hyaluronic acid is my absolute best friend these days. I’ll have a full review of these soon, as well as some other exciting skincare products!

2. Tan France Being Tan France

If you haven’t watched this new clip, a promo for Hasan Minhaj’s new show, then stop everything and watch it. Tan France is such a delight and so is Hasan (who I loved on the Daily Show). Them together is absolutely magical. (And I really need to know who hurt the girl around the 2:30 minute mark! Tell us everything, sweetie!)

3. The Trees Outside My House Are Finally Changing

I remarked on Instagram last week that the leaves still aren’t changing around my house yet. Some trees had already gone and were losing leaves. But the huge maple outside my house was ALL GREEN. Well, finally in the last two days, they started to change. It is finally getting a bit colder here and we had our first rain yesterday. The winter is on its way, but I am soaking up these last days of Oregon’s Autumn. The leaves are all beautiful right now because we haven’t gotten much rain. Everything is lush. I’m in heaven.

What are you loving this week?

The Sweet Smell of Christmas: TooFaced Christmas Treats Liquid Lipstick Collection

The Sweet Smell of Christmas: TooFaced Christmas Treats Liquid Lipstick Collection | Writing Between Pauses

I am not much of an impulse shopper these days. I usually plan all of my purchases to a degree that drives Danny a bit crazy (“do we really need a 15 minute discussion about our Costco trip?” he asks, every two weeks). However, as I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post, I kind of decided spur of the moment to treat myself to the Too Faced Gingerbread Palette and then, shockingly, this lipstick set in Ulta.

This is the Sweet Smell of Christmas: Christmas Treats Liquified Lipstick Set, a set of four Melted Matte lipsticks.

I would never, ever buy 4 lipsticks at once. That just feels like too many. But then I did, because I felt like it and it was there and $25 seemed like a good deal. So, let’s walk through the basics of this lipstick set.

Here’s what the set has to say for itself:

Melt your heart out with this stocking-sized collection of Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks in yummy Christmas scents: Pumpkin Spice, Sugar Cookie, Cinnamon Bear and Hot Buttered Rum. Too Faced’s innovative formula glides over lips like a gloss but dries to an ultra-matte opaque finish.

They promise these benefits:

  • Each shade has a unique Christmas scent

  • Infused with Volulip for a no-sting plumping and smoothing effect

  • Features avocado oil, vitamin E, and hyaluronic filling spheres to moisturize and smooth lips

  • Lightweight, long-wearing formula wears comfortably

That all sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I’ll be honest, I’ve never really used Too Faced Melt Mattes before. I’ve heard good things, but a full size is about $25 per lipstick—a bit too steep for me! However, this set is a $48 value and sells for $25. These lipsticks are deluxe sample size at 0.1 fl oz. The standard size Melted Matte is 0.23 fluid ounces (or 7 ml). That’s still quite a lot of product and for $25 for four, I really couldn’t pass it up!

 From left to right: Pumpkin Pie; Sugar Cookie; Cinnamon Bear; Hot Buttered Rum.

From left to right: Pumpkin Pie; Sugar Cookie; Cinnamon Bear; Hot Buttered Rum.

This set includes the following 4 shades: Pumpkin Spice, a spiced rose brown; Sugar Cookie, a sugared nude; Cinnamon Bear, a matte cinnamon red; and Hot Buttered Rum, a warm caramel brown. They are all gorgeous and scented like the dessert they’re named after. My favorite scent is Sugar Cookie and while I initially bought the set almost entire because I loved the Pumpkin Pie shade, my favorite shade has quickly become Cinnamon Bear. I’m not a huge fan of the smell of red hot cinnamon, but this color is absolutely gorgeous.

Having worn all four shades by now (including Cinnamon Bear to an event on Saturday where I ate and drank a lot), I can say that these are some of the most comfortable, long-wearing lipsticks I’ve ever worn. And I wear a lot of matte lipsticks!

The only shade I’m not 100% sold on is Sugar Cookie; I suspect it might just be a little light for me, but I’m going to be brave and wear it again and see what happens. It’s just a different shade than what I’m used it! I really like Hot Buttered Rum as well; it looks quite brown in the bottle, but it’s so pretty and caramel-y on. It’s one of those shades that I think looks a bit different on each person.

TooFaced Melted Matte Christmas Shades

This little set would be a great gift for the holidays—it’s relatively affordable for $25. You get a lot of product for $25! If you’re looking to fill out your lipstick collection, these are also 4 absolutely lovely shades. I think Cinnamon Bear would be an pretty close dupe of (or replacement for) Kat Von D’s Nahz Fur Atoo.

Best of Blogtober: Week 3

Best of Blogtober: Week 3 | Writing Between Pauses

Welcome back to week 3 of my Best of Blogtober series! I love doing this series, as I said last week, because it gives me an excuse to read nearly every blog post that comes across my timeline. I love finding new favorite blogs to read.

One new blogger I wanted to share this week is my sister-in-law and her friends new blog, the Lady Chat. Amy has guest posted on my blog before and she is funny, cheery, and always good for talking pop culture. I am so excited about this new venture and especially excited to read every blog post.

Without further ado, let’s get into it. Here are my favorite blog posts from this week:

1. What’s Stopping Your Home from Being a Haven? from Solely Living

2. Top 5 Wellness Apps from Emily Aagaard

3. How I Manage My Time as a Banker & Blogger from Halsadiya Blog

4. Bake With Me: Snickerdoodles from Simply Michelle

5. Black History Month: My Experience Growing Up Black in a White Area from Leticia C

6. My Personal NaNoWriMo Prep Kid from Anisa Nasir

7. Why Babies Can’t Drink Water from the Pink Crib

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Mask & Cleanser

Beauty Review: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Mask & Cleanser | Writing Between Pauses

As I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post this week, I bought one of the L’Oreal Pure-Clay Face Masks at TJ Maxx this weekend. Usually, these are around $10-12, depending on your drugstore; that’s a little steep for me, especially in a non-cruelty free mask. However, for $3.99, I’ll try it!

The one I chose in TJ Maxx came with a small sample of the Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser. I was really excited to try both of these, the mask and the cleanser, so I can know if they are worth the relatively hefty price tag at my local Wal-Mart. I’m always down for a new mask, as you all know, and $13 is slightly better than the $17 of my favorite Body Shop mask.

L'Oreal Calming Pure-Clay Mask

The Pure-Clay mask I picked up is the Clear & Comfort mask; it is, as you can tell, bright, bright blue. Here’s what it promises:

3 Pure Clays and Seaweed. Clears & Comforts Stressed, Uncomfortable Skin. Visibly reduces imperfections. Indulgent. Transformative. Perfectly Clean. L’Oréal Paris created a new super-charged Pure-Clay face mask with seaweed to clear and comfort skin in just 10 minutes. Our indulgent and powerful formula with pure clays and seaweed provides a luxurious experience while helping comfort stressed skin. This creamy, indulgent formula gently yet effectively cleanses to leave skin clean and clear. Clear and Comfort Clay Face Mask addresses your skin’s imperfections to reveal purified and healthier looking skin.

The one thing that throws me really is the blue, blue color. It is very blue. It does wash off completely though, even though I was a little worry about staining my face blue. It is a really smooth texture, not sticky. It doesn’t remind me of other clay masks; there is something almost whipped about it (as opposed to muddy and heavy). It is very light, but, like I said, very bright blue. It feels lovely on and dries down really well. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling super tight.

Afterwards, my skin felt absolutely lovely and in the last few days. I did notice a distinct reduction in small blemishes and clogged pores along my jawline. The blemishes I had on my chin were looking much smaller the next day. I did really like it. I’m still a little bit hesitant about the $13 pricetag, but I do really want to try the other varieties (especially the yellow one and the white one) because I do really, really like this mask.

Are the L'Oreal Pure-Clay Masks Worth It?

Now, let’s talk about the Pure-Clay Cleanser. I was truly planning to hate this cleanser. I am a tried-and-true devotee to the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Facial Wash. However, I really loved this cleanser. Like a lot. So much that I plan to buy a full size version of it! Let’s look at what it promises:

Detoxes & Brightens Dull, Tired Skin. Removes everyday impurities.

L’Oréal Paris Skin Experts created our 1st range of clay-to-mousse daily cleansers that leave skin looking perfectly clear. Each cleanser is powered by 3 different clays in their pure form and enhanced with a nature-sourced ingredient.

This cleanser starts out as a clay-like mousse and then foams up to a pretty average cleanser. However, it removes makeup like nobodies business and left my skin feeling so soft! The cleanser is only $6.99 for a full size, which is absolutely worth it. I love that it has charcoal and clay in it to help with my oily skin.

If you’ve been wanting to try these Instagram-hyped masks, I think they are worth it if you’ve got $13 to splash around. And if you’re in the market for a new cleanser, then definitely try the Pure-Clay Cleanser. It’s amazing.

Is This the Perfect Autumn Palette? | TooFaced Gingerbread Spice Palette

Beauty Review: TooFaced Gingerbread Spice Palette | Writing Between Pauses

When the Gingerbread Spice palette was announced, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy it. I didn’t need it! I never buy holiday palettes! It probably wouldn’t be that good! I swore and swore to Danny that I wouldn’t get it. But then, I swatched it in Sephora a week ago and… I loved it. I loved it from the moment I saw the promo images, but I especially loved it when I swatched Gumdrop and Hot Toddy.

There was no way around it: I was getting this palette.

I’m a one-palette-a-year kind of girl. I don’t buy eyeshadow palettes super regularly, usually just as my favorites expire or as trends change. I might by some small single eyeshadows once and a while, but not super regularly. I’m not a makeup collector and I don’t want to be.

However, this is the first time I really spur of the moment decided to buy something. I had a 20% off prestige coupon for Ulta, as I mentioned in my Inspiration Sunday post, so I knew it was the ideal time to buy it.

Now, TooFaced has the reputation of making gorgeous palettes that can fall flat. A lot of people don’t love their eyeshadow formula. I own the Sweet Peach palette, as well as the Peach Velvet Mattes palette. I love both, but they are an eyeshadow formula that I like working with and that works for me.

So with that in mind (that makeup is a preference and what works for one person might not be what works for another), let’s jump into a review!

Gingerbread Spice Palette | Writing Between Pauses

First things first, yes I did accidentally stab Gingerbread Latte with my fingernail right off the bat!

How’s the matte formula?

The matte formula is almost exactly like the Peach Velvet Mattes palette. It is an easy-to-blend, slightly dry formula. This is the formula i prefer (as opposed to the very pigmented, almost buttery formula of something like Anastasia Beverly Hills) because you can easily build color. My favorite matte shades at Lookie At My Cookie, Gingerbread, and Gingerbread Latte; these are the 3 I can see myself using over and over throughout the fall and the holidays!

How are the shimmers?

There are almost two different styles of shimmer or glitter in this palette. Spiked Eggnog and Frostbite Me are more shimmery, whereas all the others are more thick with glitter. (Does that make sense?) Both Spiked Eggnog and Frostbite Me are lovely and very, very easy to use.

For me, the hit of this palette was Hot Toddy and then Bake It Till You Make It; both swatch beautifully, but on brushes, are difficult to apply. However, I found a spritz of setting spray or a just slightly moist brush made a huge difference. They also apply great using your fingers. For some people, that can be a major turnoff because they like to use brushes for everything. It’s not to me, as I find it easier to adapt my method depending on formula to get the best look! And almost everyone applying makeup has fingers.

How Wearable Are These Shadows?

This is the question I ask before I buy any new makeup: how wearable is this for every single day? If I’m buying a makeup palette, I want it to be something I use more than once a year.

Some of the shades are definitely less for everyday wear; the shimmers are so bold, they can be a bit overwhelming, but used sparingly, I think they can work. Most of the matte shades are perfect for everyday eye looks. The only shades I think are really more for special occasions, at least for me, are Gumdrop and Frostbite Me. Frostbite Me is so icy and shimmery, it is more for a standout look. And Gumdrop is gorgeous and so bright, but it’s not an everyday shadow for me. However, that’s only 2 out of 18 shadows.

What About the Scent?

One of my biggest critiques about both of TooFaced’s peach palettes (and honestly, most of TooFaced’s stuff) is the scent. The peach scent of the first Sweet Peach palette was extremely strong; the Velvet Mattes palette is better, but still quite strong. The Gingerbread Spice Palette is supposed to be scented, but I have trouble really… smelling it? It smells faintly sweet if I get really close, but it is not overwhelming like the peach scent is and I honestly can’t smell it unless I shove my nose in it. For me, that is a major improvement!

Is This Palette Worth It?

The cost of this palette is $49 at both Ulta and Sephora. I love this palette; I’ve used it every single day since I bought it. I’m on record saying I’m done with warm-toned shadows, but here I am, with warm-toned shadows again. But these are warm tones that work for me because they are brown-based (as opposed to orange- or pink-based).

However, is $49 really worth it? I think if you’re in the market for a palette like this for Autumn and Winter, absolutely, it’s worth it. It has a lot of product and you get a variety of shimmers and mattes. If you have that 20% Ulta coupon, it’s an even better deal.

Do you have the Gingerbread Spice palette? What do you think of it?