Life

Everything I Know About Being Prepared for an Emergency

Everything I Know About Being Prepared for an Emergency | Writing Between Pauses

On February 24, around 12pm, it started snowing.

It snowed for the rest of the day without stopping. By the time it got dark outside, we had 2-3 inches. My husband and I excitedly talked about a potential snow day (he is a teacher after all and sometimes, they do get excited to have a snow day!) as we got ready for bed. However, our lights started flickering on and off around 8pm. They kept going off, then coming back. Twenty minutes later, it would repeat. We went around unplugging things, sure that if they went off, they’d be on within a few hours like always. We started a fire in the wood stove and left it for the night.

We climbed into bed and fell asleep. At midnight, the lights went out for real. At 2am, Forrest woke up, terrified in the dark. I brought him to our bed and as he went to sleep, I realized I could hear strange sounds outside. Crashing sounds. I shrugged. i hadn’t looked out a window. I didn’t know then that it was still snowing.

It snowed into the next morning. We got up at 6am and got the wood stove going again. As I let Remus out, I realized that branches were falling off the trees. Those were the crashing sounds. When we stood outside, we could hear not just branches falling, but entire trees. The cedar tree right next to our house was swaying. As it got light outside, we saw how bad it was: multiple large branches had fallen off the cedar tree.

I got dressed in a snow jacket and gloves, pulling on my boots. My mom and I had been texting all morning; their driveway was blocked and my dad had gotten his truck stuck trying to find a way out. I started down our driveway, slightly terrified by how many trees were falling around me, to find that we were also blocked in. 4-5 trees had fallen across our driveway. The snow was almost up to my knees then and still coming down.

Throughout the day, I packed up our emergency supplies: a suitcase of clothes, our box of important documents, things for Remus. If we needed to leave, I told myself, we would be able to. I kept repeating that to myself, even though I knew our car couldn’t get down our driveway. The cedar tree outside our house lose 5-6 large branches, but none hit our house. By the time it stopped snowing, everything was a mess: our internet satellite dish was snapped basically in half, our backyard was a mess, we had no power and very little food, and we couldn’t leave.

That was Monday, February 25. The next day, my parents were able to help us clear the driveway and we were able to go to their house. The day after that, we were able to get to town and buy canned soup and extra water. And the day after that, my parents’ power was restored. Our power wouldn’t come back until Sunday, March 3. It was such a relief when it did.

During the week of the snowstorm, Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, declared a state of emergency. All the power companies were completely overwhelmed; the road I live on, for example, had almost every single section of power line damaged by a falling trees. On the road just beside my house, all the trees had fallen into the road, blocking on lane on a tight corner. The roads were covered in snow and ice, almost no one could get down their driveway unless they had a larger truck, and as I live in a rural area without city water, none of us had access to running water.

Before the snowstorm, Danny and I had often talked about being prepared for emergencies. We talked about things we needed to get, how we should have some batteries saved up, but we never did it. I did have about 6 gallons of water saved in our pantry, but that was it. When our power went out, we weren’t ready—and we definitely weren’t ready to be without power for 7 full days.

When we finally got our power restored, I got so many questions about being prepared for an emergency on Instagram that I knew I had to write about it. But I do want to start with a disclaimer: I’m definitely not a doomsday person at all. I think being prepared for an emergency is something we all have to account for; we never know when a big storm will hit, leaving us all without power for a long amount of time. It never hurts to be ready, even if it never happens.

With that out of the way, here’s what I learned during the big snowstorm.

1. You’ll Need Way More Water Than You Think

When our power went out, I had maybe 6-7 gallons of water saved up. For reference, most people say to be prepared, you need 1 gallon of water per person in the house (as well as any pets) for each day. That means if we were to be prepared for 2 weeks without water, we would need 4 gallons of water per day for 14 days. That’s 56 gallons of water! For the average person, it’s just not possible to store that much water, so my advice is: keep as much water as you are able to store. For us, the floor of our pantry is now dedicated to water storage: every time we use up a thing of juice or a gallon of milk, I clean the container out well, sterilize it, and fill it with fresh water. I have about 20 gallons right now, which is much better than 6!

One more note on this: some people think if they have city water, they won’t need to worry about this as their water will still run even if their power goes out. However, many people further into town during the storm did not have access to water as the sewers became backed up. Whether you have city water or a well, you should stockpile clean water no matter what, just in case something detrimental happens to the water supply.

2. Have Lots of Food On Hand

Because we were without power for so long, we had to throw away everything in our fridge and freezer. It was all unusable and went bad fast. (More on this later.) That meant, we only had a little bit of food available. I tend to prefer to eat fresh foods: fruits and vegetables, meats and cheese. You know, the basics. We survived on oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches for the first few days, until I got some cans of soup at the grocery store.

My stash of canned food was shockingly low. Because we have a wood stove, I was able to cook food like oatmeal or make soup, but I didn’t have much. My advice is to always have a supply of good canned food available, as this will stay good the longest, as well as things like canned milk and canned broth. We also were able to make coffee with a French press, which sounds like a luxury, but it was often the one thing I looked forward to!

3. Make Sure to Empty Perishable Items

If your power goes out and there is no estimate for it to return (by the second day of the storm, our utility company was saying to be prepared to be without power for up to two weeks), you’re going to want to throw away your perishable items ASAP. This will save you a huge headache, as it means you won’t have anything rot or drip all over your fridge or freezer. It will also make clean up once power is restored a lot faster. It feels awful to throw away so much food—as an example, I had to throw away a bunch of Costco freezer items I had literally just bought, including a $20 box of chicken nuggets. I nearly cried. But trust me, it can’t be saved. It can’t be saved.

4. Keep a Large Cooler Available

Well, ok: remember when I just said, it can’t be saved? Well, that’s kind of not true. Some stuff can be saved.

If you’re in the middle of a winter storm, my advice is to get a large cooler and fill it with snow; put it outside; and put as much perishable food inside as you can. This is how Danny and I saved our milk and coffee creamer. We could at least keep that routine for Forrest (having milk ASAP in the morning), which was good. In the summer, this wouldn’t work obviously, but it made me feel better to at least save even 5% of our fridge.

5. Everything You Need a Stockpile Of

I don’t need to explain this at all, but here’s a list of everything you need to have a stockpile of:

  • Flashlights (probably one big, sturdy one; one lattern; and several small, easily portable flashlights)

  • Batteries (of all kinds)

  • Candles

  • Matches

  • Medical supplies (any medications you take, as well as you’re preferred pain reliever, bandages of all kinds, gauze, tape, scissors, antiseptic ointment and wipes, soap to wash wounds, and more)

  • Pots and pans that can be used over direct fire or on a wood stove (that means, no Teflon coating or plastic handles/lids)

  • Blankets and towels

  • Antibacterial wipes to wash hands

  • Gasoline or diesel fuel for your car and/or generator

  • Wood (if you have a wood stove or fireplace)

  • A power pack to charge phones and any communication devices

  • A hand power or solar powered radio

6. You Need an Alternative Heat Source

We were incredibly lucky to have a wood stove, as it kept us from being too cold and we were able to cook on it. Even during the summer, we would be able to use our wood stove to cook and boil water to clean with. It goes without saying: an alternative heat source is incredibly important for any emergency preparedness.

If you aren’t able to add an alternative heat source into your home, investing in a generator is another option; there are lots of generators available these days and they are relatively easy to set up (you just need a specific outlet on the outside of your home).


Whew! That’s it (at least for now). There is a lot more about emergency preparedness that I could write about—and I definitely haven’t covered everything you need to be prepared for an emergency. But these were all the notes I kept track of while we were without power.

Have something to add? Let me know in the comments!

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!

Monthly Wrap Up: January 2019

Monthly Wrap Up: January 2019 | Writing Between Pauses

Another month gone by, another wrap up post, another “can you believe how long/busy/exhausting this month was?” question. Sometimes, it is hard to sum up adult life in things other than cliches. What else can I say for myself other than, “I was very busy in January, and it was a very long month, and I’m desperately trying to be the best version of myself”?

Yeah, I guess that’s pretty good.

January always feels like a very long month. The joy of the holidays is officially over—and it’s not coming back. Everyone is a little burnt out. We all are trying to make up for all that time we took off for holiday traveling, or just revelry, and we might have some interesting credit cards bills from gift giving (or drinks out with coworkers or friends). It’s a lot of “adulting,” to use a word I hate. Plus, the sun is officially behind the clouds 90% of the time, like 75% of the country is current behind an actual ice wall (we’re just gonna call the Midwest the North know and they are all white walkers). We’re all vitamin D deficient and doing our best.

So, January is hard. But actually, January was kind of fun this year. Let’s get into the post and I’ll stop writing quips that I think are funny.

Monthly Empties

med_res.jpg

I’ve been trying to use up my shockingly large mask collection. I have so many, guys. This month, I finished up the Body Shop Tea Tree Clay Mask (which I reviewed here), the Jejuien You Can’t Handle This Sheet volcanic ash sheet mask, and the YesTo Cucumbers Calming Mud Mask (from one of the clearance gift sets I bought at Target after Christmas).

Not a lot of empties this month and here’s why: I feel like I’ve barely worn make up or done anything to my face. I’ve been in kind of a rut, probably partly caused by SAD and needing some sun exposure, regarding my skincare and makeup. It’s just been… not as high of a priority for me, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I really love taking care of my appearance and when I stop having the patience for it, I know I’m either 1) burnt out or 2) depressed. So, that’s been something I’m working on. However, I did rediscover my Wet’n’Wild Cushion Foundation again this month, so here’s to two months of cushion empties. Cheers!

Best Moments

January was full of lots of good moments, really. But here are a few:

  • Forrest going back to school

  • Having good enough weather to play outside at least once

  • Making plans for our summer vacation and spring break

  • Getting back into bullet journaling

  • Sharing photos of myself for the first time in 3-4 years

  • Mary Oliver’s passing bringing out the poetry lover in everyone

  • Watching “Sex Education” with Danny

  • Going to my work’s Christmas party for the first time… ever

I have been trying to keep track of my “good” versus “bad” days in my bullet journal. And something about writing it down, and keeping track of it, helps me to think more about whether I really had a bad day—or whether things were just difficult. It’s really helped me to see more “fun” moments.

What I Learned

This is related to recording my bad days, but again: I feel like the biggest lesson I learned in January was that I get to choose how I feel about each day. Having a rough day with Forrest doesn’t mean the day was bad; there were still hugs and kisses and funny moments in between the meltdowns! Keeping track of that, and journaling every day, has been a huge help in contextualizing everything.

And doing that has also made me realize all the ways I need to improve as a parent. I think sometimes I focus too much on just surviving and getting through each day—and I end up spending most of my time on my phone, or watching TV, while Fo plays. That’s not super active. I could be working, or cleaning, or taking him to the library, but being exhausted makes me choose the easiest option. One of my big goals for February is to just plain be more active: spend more time moving, playing with Forrest, and not just sitting on the couch on Instagram or Twitter.

What I Learned from My December Slump

What I Learned from My December Slurp | Writing Between Pauses

I didn’t mean to just stop blogging for most of December. I just sort of… found myself forgetting. Part of this was intentional—I wanted to spend less of December rushing around, trying to get a million things done and more time with Forrest, with Danny, with the important people in my life. And part of this was unintentional—I helped plan a wedding, attended that wedding, made more Christmas cookies than I probably should have, and in the evenings, I was so tired that it never even occurred to me that I needed to be writing those Blogmas blog posts I had planned in approximately June.

Part of why I fell behind was that I didn’t do enough forward planning.

And another part of why I fell behind, and stopped blogging, and struggled to restart was that I was just plain burnt out.

The first week I missed, I told myself that I’d work on it and I’d get my blog posts written over the weekend. I was just busy, I thought. That’s it! Nothing big!

But by the 2nd week of one measly blog post, I knew it: I was burnt out. I needed to take a break or I was at risk of just breaking myself.

I decided to keep doing just the bare minimum. I know that sounds awful. We are trained to believe that the “bare minimum” is the worst thing you can do aside from just quit, but I knew I was at risk of not just not being able to blog for myself, but for my day-to-day work. You know, the stuff that pays my bills.

A big part of me felt incredibly guilty and bad for the fact that I wasn’t blogging, wasn’t really doing much on social media, and definitely was just trying to get by. I had brands I was talking to, content I needed to create… but I was tired. It was the holidays. And sometimes, I know I do things when I don’t want to at a detriment to myself. So a very small part of me said: this is ok, you need this.

And I did. On January 1, I felt better than I had in months. I didn’t feel the pressure to be constantly writing, constantly working on something. But another part of me still held that guilt. I haven’t been posting on Instagram like I know I should. I haven’t been returning emails as promptly as I usually do and that’s what made me start to feel really guilty.

I had been burnt out and I was teetering on the edge of too much, absolutely too much. Giving myself a break was what I knew I needed to do—but there was still that niggling little voice that told me I was just being lazy. I think this is something that everyone my age struggles with; we’ve been told to work hard, constantly, our entire lives. And we also rely on our 24/7 gigs to get by (or at least I know I do). It makes us unable to do certain small things (like the fact that I’ve been meaning to mail a package for exactly 3 weeks) and it’s honestly just really bad for our mental health.

So, I had a slump. It happens. I took a break. I feel better. But what did I learn?

1. It’s Not That Urgent

I have about 5 emails in my inbox right now that the sender has marked urgent. That’s what it says in all caps in the subject line: URGENT, Brand Collab. Or URGENT, Want to do a giveaway?

And, bless you brands, and your brilliant PR teams, but those things aren’t urgent.

I often struggle with others perceptions of me. I don’t want to be appear lazy or like “one of those” influencers or bloggers. I want to appear capable, down-to-earth, responsible, and dedicated. I reply to emails within 2 days, always (that’s my rule). But sometimes even my two-days-and-I-swear-I’ll-get-back-to-you, I’ll get emails after 24 hours with, “is everything ok? I’m concerned.”

I understand that for many people their jobs are putting them under pressure to get a response. It happens at my day job, it happens in my gigs, and it definitely happens for this blog. But as a society, we really need to put our foot down. Sometimes, when I email a brand back, they won’t reply for a week. For 2 weeks. Then they expect a 3-day turnaround for content. I just don’t have the time! Everything I do revolves around a calendar and right now, that calendar is full. My 30 minutes of email time is all I’ve got.

I’ve realized a lot of this means I need to put up boundaries. In initial emails to brands, I need to tell them about my 2-day rule: If I haven’t replied in at least 3 days, send me a follow up. But don’t badger me. And please, it’s not urgent, we’re not performing surgery here or changing the world. All the reliance on the word urgent, when it’s not, just makes me anxious.

2. It’s Ok, You’ll Survive

About 18 months ago, my husband asked me why my blog was so important to me.

And my answer was: who am I without a blog?

I’ve always been the girl with the blog. I’ve always been that girl.

I don’t believe in being an artist without creating. And a lot of influencers, bless them, are artists without creating. Without naming names, there has been an influencer in the news, after being profiled on a Twitter thread, who is one just like that: she talks about giving creativity workshops, about creating art, but she doesn’t seem to actually create an art. She doesn’t publish, she doesn’t blog, she doesn’t even post on Instagram anymore. I feel bad for the callout, because who isn’t a bit of a poser at 22, but good gravy.

I’m a writer. It’s what I do. And a big part of me believes that if I were to stop blogging, I would lose my last tenuous connection to writing. I know this isn’t true. I know that I write more in my dayjob than most people do in their lifetimes, but it’s an unshakeable notion. I need to be writing, I tell myself, so I can at least convince myself that I’m creating.

But that ignores all the ways I do write. During my slump, during my break, I wrote a lot. I journaled, and wrote a few poems, and wrote a few short stories. I had ideas. And I’ve realized that sometimes blogging, as much as I love it, eats up the time I could spend reading, writing things that light my brain up, and being creative. It’s a hard balance to maintain: writing for work, writing for my blog that I love, and writing the stories I want to read. I don’t really know how to combine them quite yet, but I realize this now: It’s ok, I can survive without this if I have to.

3. I Don’t Know What To Do With Empty Time

This is perhaps my starkest lesson. After the holidays, when I cleaned up our house, took down the tree, and spent several frantic hours cleaning, I realized that, once I’m done, I don’t know what to do. What do people do with free time? Even in my downtime, when dinner is over and Forrest is playing and I don’t have any cleaning or work to do, I find myself getting antsy. I have to be doing something. I struggle to watch TV shows. Sometimes, I even struggle to sit still to read. I like being productive. I like moving. I like producing things. While many assure me there are worse ways to be, I realize I need to work on the fact that I always feel like time needs to be filled. That I have to go somewhere or do something. It’s ok to just sit and look out the window. It’s ok to play on my phone. It’s ok. It’s all ok.

My Monthly Wrap Up: December 2018

My Monthly Wrap Up: December 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

December was quite the month, wasn’t it? It always is (what with Christmas and everything), but this year felt particularly… full.

Let’s see: Danny and I went to Idaho for Thanksgiving, so we got back home just in time to get ready for Christmas. I had a load of sponsored content in December, all with deadlines. Plus, I had work. Forrest got sick. Then I got sick for what felt like 2 entire weeks. My brother got married (and as his accidental wedding planner, I felt like I was the bride a bit with how much work I ended up doing at the wedding). Then we had my mom’s birthday. Then Christmas. Then the New Year.

Now, Forrest is sick again, I’ve got a sore throat, and I feel like I’m rushing 24/7 to get caught up on how frenzied everything was in December. I didn’t have much time to write blog content, or social content, or actually do any kind of work whatsoever, between sickness, family events, and more.

It’s nice to think of January as a time to just relax, but I feel like I’ve jumped right back into being super, super busy.

And it should be said: I loved every minute of December. I love being busy! I love having lots of things to do and not being able to sit still. When I get bored, I get anxious. So December was a lovely month, but I would like to have time to actually blog this month!

Let’s get into this wrap up, shall we?

December 2018 Empties

My Empties

I feel like I used up a lot of products this month, despite really falling off the bandwagon with my skincare. (That’s probably why addressing my routine is one of my New Year’s Resolutions.) Here’s everything I used up:

  • Lump of Coal Charcoal Face Mask from Bath & Body Works

  • Egg Essence Mask Sheet

  • Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover Pad

  • Sephora Express Eye Make Up Removed Pad

  • Tarte Shape Tape Deluxe Sample

  • Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser

  • Sephora Charcoal Nose Strip

  • Sephora Bath Fizzes

  • Sephora Overnight Mask in Pearl

A lot of these were things from my Sephora Advent Calendar that I was trying to use up! I also received the Bath & Body Works mask from my mother-in-law in my Christmas present. Everything else was just a matter of using up: the Sephora Overnight Mask was leftover from a while ago and I was tired of seeing it on my bathroom counter; the Clean & Clear Cleanser was a sample I needed to get rid of (and I love how it feels even though I know it is garbage); and the Shape Tape was from my October Ipsy bag.

I feel like it was a good month for using things up, clearing out my drawers, and making room for, of course, more stuff.

My December Highlights

Posting More Photos of Myself

It goes without saying that i’m never 100% happy with my appearance. (And if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know this is a journey that I have been on for a while.) Being a mom is hard, but the hardest part about it is feeling this pressure to not fall into a specific stereotype of a mom. Even though I know it is garbage and I know I shouldn’t do things to suit what others think of me (we can never control anyone’s perception of ourselves, right?), and I know that I am kinder to others than I am to myself, it is still a huge challenge for me. So, my goal has been in the last few months to post more photos of myself and to taking the stupid photo for the content that I’m working on. I tend to want to stick to product shots—do I matter? I ask—but I know it hurts my blog to not have very much of my own face on here.

So, if you noticed more photos of my on my Instagram this past month, it’s true. There are more! And I have even more that I plan to post! So fancy.

Getting Professional Photos of Forrest

I’m a little embarrassed that, despite my status as a mom who is pretty obsessed with my own child, I’ve never gotten professional photos taken of him. I wanted to when he was a newborn, but he was so small, so fragile, I felt like it was a bit of a “playing with fire” thing. By the time he was big enough and sturdy enough, we were paying hospital bills and having enough disposal income for a photo shoot wasn’t a luxury.

So, in November, I paid for actual, real professional photos of him and, gosh, they turned out amazing. I’ve gifted them, made Christmas cards with them, and basically just stare at them constantly. We had our photos done by Angelique (AH Newborns) and she did such an amazing job. I cannot recommend her enough!

Working with Formulate

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being able to work with Formulate this month. I wouldn’t normally include this in a wrap up, but I’ve had so much fun taking photos, writing content, and testing out my personalized shampoo. Most importantly, I’m so excited to be able to host a giveaway with them. I love being able to provide something to my readers; without you guys, this blog wouldn’t really be anything! And you’re the ones who enable me to be able to work with cool companies like Formulate. If you would like to enter my giveaway, just click here. I’ll have a blog post about my experience in the next few weeks.

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2018

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

November felt like… such a big month.

November 1, for me, is the start of the Christmas season. Now, I know some people find that frustrating. (And trust me, I totally see your point of view. I just think you are wrong.) For me, Christmas makes me happy; Christmas decorating makes me happy; having a clean, Christmas-y house makes me happy… why should I put that off so I can only enjoy it for a week or two? No, I need two solid months!

So yes, November 1, I got out my fake tree, hung up our stockings, and began annoying my husband with Christmas music.

November wasn’t just a Christmas month, it was a busy month. And it’s sad to say, I feel like I had a migraine for a good 45% of November. I’ve been struggling with migraines off and on for the past year; some months are better than others. November happened to be a not-so-great month in terms of my migraines. However, it was still a really fun month. Let’s look at some highlights!

Towards the end of the month, I partnered with VisionWorks to promote an event at my local mall. I’ve never done any work like this for my blog before, but I really enjoyed taking on a new challenge.

Danny and I bought our first couch!! I know this seems like a strange thing to be so excited about—but we’ve needed a new couch for a while and I’m notoriously trigger shy when it comes to spending more than $25 on anything, let alone a massive piece of furniture. Our house consists of mostly hand-me-down furniture, as well as bargain furniture from Ikea and Wal-Mart. Everything we have is quite nice, but I’m also always aware that none of it really matches! Getting a couch that really matches our aesthetic was a huge step towards finally having the house we want.

I’m almost all done with my Christmas shopping!! I just have a few things left to get. I’ve written before about how Danny and I are both the worst at waiting until Christmas to open our presents. Well, now that Forrest is old enough to understand what’s going on, it’s become a lot harder for us to participate in our favorite tradition of opening presents inappropriately early. It is a little bit more fun though!

This is a shorter monthly wrap up than usual, but November was a busy-but-quiet month for us! Mostly just Christmas decorating, traveling, and getting ready for an even bigger month in December. Hope you’re all having a lovely first few days of December!

Things I Love: December 1

Things I Love: December 1 | Writing Between Pauses

I can’t believe Blogmas is here! I can’t believe I’m already a bit behind! Isn’t that typical? Who knows if I will actually keep up on Blogmas this year—I did well with Blogtober, I knocked NaNoWriMo out of the park, but to be quite honest, I’m very tired. Like, extremely tired!

I’ll be resting on my laurels just a wee bit this Blogmas and doing a lot of Things I Love and Inspiration Sundays. Would you expect anything less from me? Or perhaps, more? (*laughing emoji here*)

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Danny and I took a trip to Idaho for Thanksgiving. And gosh, sometimes I forget how much I like Idaho. I hated it in college, but it’s a different animal now. I was listening to a podcast recently about the book A Separate Peace, which I think is still a common high school assigned reading; they talked about how when you stop going to school (like a university), it sort of ceases to exist and every time you go back, there is a surreal quality to it because it is both changed and unchanged. The College of Idaho exists in my head exactly as when I went there… but it’s been completely changed in a lot of ways since then. It makes me super nostalgic, but also really sad because I wish I had more time as that version of myself.

It goes without saying… getting my house ready for Christmas is one of my absolute favorite parts of the year. I made this palette art last year in a class—and that’s a Balsam Fir scented candle from Bath & Body Works, of course.

This week, I impulsively bought these candies at Target. I don’t know why, but I expected mixed candy… and inside was a bunch of smaller bags of candy. They’re pretty delicious though and give me something sweet to eat that isn’t just chocolate. I’ve never been a big gummy candy fan (except Sour Patch Kids). Forrest has, of course, eaten all the little candy canes.

What are you loving this week?

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.