Travel

A Busy Mom's Guide to: Road Trips (Featuring Hungryroot!*)

A Busy Mom's Guide to: Road Trips (Featuring Hungryroot!*) | Writing Between Pauses

Danny and I love taking road trips. It used to be something we really looked forward to, especially when we were first dating and, later, first married. Once Forrest was born, we definitely scaled back on the amount we spend driving every summer--but we still love taking a few road trips every single year!

This year, we’ve already been on quite a few road trips: we’ve been to Sunriver several times and Idaho several times. Coming up this summer, we have plans for a big trip to the coast, as well as some smaller trips to Portland, the coast, and Central Oregon.

By no means am I a road trip expert--but I feel like I do know how to do a road trip with an infant, a toddler, and now a preschooler in a way that keeps me from feeling like I’m absolutely losing it! I want to share all my tips and tricks for a perfect summer trip. At the end of this blog post, I’ll also have a FREE download with packing checklists, memory sheets, and much more to make your road trip go just a little bit smoother. I also have an exclusive deal for some Hungryroot snacks!

Packing for a road trip with a toddler

I’m a consistent overpacker. And honestly, I will defend my overpacking: sometimes, you just need extra stuff, especially with kids. The days of Danny and I breezing into hotels or houses with a bag each, and maybe a cooler, are over. These days, it looks like: a storage bin, a bag, Forrest’s suitcase, my bag, Danny’s bag, my computer bag (gotta work!), my tripod… It’s a bit like a clown car.

I just don’t like having to spend money unnecessarily on trips, especially if we are pinching pennies already. That means, I often try to pack anything I can think we might need in an emergency. For us, that’s extra medications, plus any kids medicine we might need (such as suppositories, cough medicine, Ibuprofen, and band ads), as well as a flashlight, some extra food, and a small stash of water.

Here’s a rundown of what my packing list often looks like:

  • Medications

  • Medicine: kids Ibuprofen, kids suppositories, band aids, antibacterial cream, sanitizer

  • Cleaning wipes*

  • Emergency kit: two gallons of water, extra food, extra clothes, matches, small candle, flare

  • Travel potty if your toddler is younger, recently potty trained, or just prone to accidents

That’s just a few extras I add alongside everything else we’ll need, like clothes, laundry bags, extra bags for souvenirs, our charging cables, and more. You know what you’ll need best on vacation, but it’s important to remember on road trips to prepare for what you think you’ll need. In case of an emergency, I prefer to have everything with me, including extra water and more.

A note on cleaning wipes: I know single use wipes have become increasingly unpopular--and I totally agree! However, if I’m traveling and staying at a hotel, I like to do a quick wipe on everything just for that extra level of clean. It helps me feel more at home and feel much better. I like to use the new Everspring line from Target; these wipes are compostable, cruelty-free, and ammonia free. They come in three scents: Lavender & Bergamot, Lemon & Mint, and Citrus & Basil. I like the Lemon & Mint the best. Even better, they are very affordable. You can find them on Target here.

Hungryroot snacks on a road trip

One thing I also like to make sure I have packed? Plenty of snacks! I get bored when I’m driving, especially during long stretches where there isn’t anywhere to stop. When we go to Idaho, we cut through Bend and Burns to Caldwell. The stretch from Bend to Burns and then Burns to Ontario are absolutely grueling; each leg is only 100 ish miles each, but there is nothing between! Nowhere to stop, nowhere to go to the bathroom, nothing. So, snacks are important.

That’s one of the things I love about Hungryroot! On our most recent trip to Idaho, we took along a big box of Hungryroot snacks: the salted pili nuts, coconut cashew granola, crunchy bean toppers, superfood almond butter, and almond milk maca matcha. These were the perfect snacks to have on the road--much better than my usual Cheez-Its! Not only did we feel better about our snack choices, we avoided that nasty travel stomach that is so common from eating food on the road. Plus, all of these options gave us ways to customize hotel breakfasts: we grabbed a few extra yogurts to eat with the coconut cashew granola. Our hotel had a smoothie bar (!) and we used the almond milk maca matcha in our smoothies. Plus, the almond milk maca matcha made a great drink in the morning to get the day started throughout our trip.

If you’d like to stock up on some healthy snacks before your next road trip, I can’t recommend Hungryroot enough! And even better, you can use the code PAUSETRAVEL to get $25 of your first two boxes (that’s $50 total).

Hungryroot promo code $25 off
How to plan a road trip with a toddler

“But Michelle,” you ask, “how am I supposed to keep a toddler entertained on a road trip?”

You know those two 100-mile stretches between Oregon and Idaho I mentioned? Those are often our hardest on the road. So here are my tips:

  • Play car games. Whenever Forrest starts to get whiny or bored, I say, “I spy something… blue!” And we start a game of I Spy. Or, we’ll play Bingo. Car games seemed so lame to me when I was younger--my parents were not fans--but I totally get them now. This can fill up time and keep your little one from getting too distracted.

  • Get a travel DVD player. LISTEN! I know what I say about screens and we don’t let Forrest have a tablet… but I would literally lose my mind without our travel DVD player. It is perfect for when there is no stop along the way to stretch our legs. Pop in a Daniel Tiger DVD and hit play, then Danny & I can relax. You can find these for really affordable on Amazon and in stores too.

  • Look ahead and plan fun stops. One thing Danny and I do before any road trip is plan somewhere to stop for fun. Whether it’s just a cute shop we see on our route (such as the Crescent General Store after the Willamette Pass) or something bigger (like a rose garden), we try to plan a few short (like 15-20 minutes total!) stops to stretch our legs, let Forrest have a bathroom break, and break up the monotony of the drive.

For me, these things are all part of planning our trip. We aren’t just looking at hotels to stop along the way, but rather activities we can do together. This might include things like stopping at the Mount Shasta viewing area on the way to Disneyland (this feels like a lifetime ago!), going for a walk along the river in Bend on our way to Idaho, and more. If you’re staying a few nights at a hotel on your road trip, you can always look for places to go around it; you’ll have a few hours in the evening, of course, so you can always do some walking (to release pent up energy!) and find somewhere fun to eat.

One important aspect of planning your trip… is planning how you’ll pack your car. Danny and I like to pack the car in a way that makes sense to us, although we used to just throw things in and hope we all made it in one piece! Now, we arrange everything depending on what we know we’ll need throughout the trip. This means, our travel potty is in the back seat, along with some paper towels and a trash bag; our snack bag is within reach; our bag with activities for Fo is right in front of him where Danny or I can reach it. How you arrange your car is totally your preference, but this will save you so much hassle on the road! Basically: organize your car and keep it organized!

Staying in a hotel with a toddler

It goes without saying, but: on vacation, your child just isn’t going to sleep like they do at home. That’s an important expectation to keep if you’re staying at a hotel throughout your trip or just on a few stops on the road. They might get better as time goes on through the trip, but I think it’s so important to keep your expectations quite low when it comes to sleep when you travel!

When we travel, I make sure to bring two things to make it easier on Forrest: his sound machine and one of his blankets. Before, we would bring stuffed animals he had been sleeping with, but Forrest isn’t a lovey kid—he doesn’t have anything he feels particularly attached to. However, having a familiar blanket definitely helps with the sleeping. As well, the sound machine helps all of us sleep, drowns out noise from the rest of the hotel, and reminds him of home. He usually still wakes up at 3am on the dot in hotels, but it could totally be worse.

The sound machine we use is not currently made anymore, but this one is from the same company and looks like it has many similar features.

As I said in the planning section, doing something fun at the hotel when you arrive, even if it is perhaps a little later than usual for your family, can help little ones settle in, burn off some energy after being in the hotel all day, and sleep better. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Visit the pool to splash & play around before dinner.

  • Walk to dinner! This is a great way to explore the area, find somewhere interesting, and stretch your legs (as well as get some steps in if you, like me, are a slave to your Fitbit)

  • Visit a local attraction for a quick visit. A good option is a rose garden or an art exhibit.

  • Find a local ice cream parlor to take everyone to.

  • Window shop!

Once you’ve made it through the evening, grabbed dinner (I highly recommend getting pizza delivered if you’re absolutely exhausted, which kids also love), and slept (maybe), it’s time to think about breakfast!

Like I said, Hungryroot is a great way to augment a potentially lackluster hotel breakfast—if your hotel provides one. It might not, which is totally possible! Hungryroot can help there too. A great option are the Hungryroot oatmeal cups, like the Cherry Chia Maple Oatmeal; you only need to add hot water, so if your room has a coffee maker, you can easily use that to heat water and make oatmeal for everyone.

However, if your hotel does offer breakfast, you can use plenty of Hungryroot options to make it just a little bit better: adding some granola to those little tubs of yogurt makes it much more filling and delicious. Or you can add some granola on top of a waffle or eat with milk and any fruit offered. The hotel breakfast doesn’t have to be sad, cold bagels and bad coffee. A little planning ahead can make it much more filling and healthy for everyone in your family. Don’t forget you can use my code PAUSETRAVEL for $25 off your first TWO boxes of Hungryroot; that is $50 total.

Once you’re ready to head out, check your room for anything left behind and get on with your vacation!


Danny & I enjoy road trips. And even though I’m on record as saying I don’t love traveling, I do love giving Forrest memories that last forever. Road trips can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you’re a new mom or you’re just an anxious person (like me). I hope these tips help you make the most of this summer. And of course, I hope you take the chance to try some delicious Hungryroot snacks & food options to make your summer even better.

As an added bonus, I have an exclusive download just for you! This include itinerary planning for your trip, hotel information sheets, journal pages for your memories, and packing checklists perfect for new moms & experienced moms alike! Click the button below to download.

I’m turning it over to you! What are your big tips for traveling with kids?

Disclaimer: Products for my recent road trip were provided to me by Hungryroot in exchange for mentioning them, as well as a small kickback whenever you use my code. Posts like these have helped me keep Writing Between Pauses going! If you’d like to learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Travel With Me: Sunriver, Oregon

Travel With Me: Sunriver, Oregon | Writing Between Pauses

I’ve been going to Sunriver, Oregon for a long time. I think the first time was when I was 7 or 8, or at least in that age range. Sunriver is technically a resort town, or a planned community, and my family has been renting houses there for a long time. In recent years, my family decided to purchase a home in Sunriver as an investment property, which has been great for helping us take more vacations!

(You can read my previous post about traveling to Sunriver with a toddler here.)

Sunriver is located in central Oregon, about 20-30 minutes from Bend. This means visitors have access to basically all of Bend easily—that means more restaurants and shopping, as well as attractions like the High Desert Museum and the Lava Caves. I’ve been going to Sunriver for so long that I feel like I have a very set routine—but it also means I feel like I know just about everything there is to know.

Rarely ever do I do travel posts, but it’s been something I wanted to start sharing a bit more.

Sunriver Oregon
Wine in Sunriver Oregon

We headed over to Sunriver on Friday evening. Forrest had been having a pretty rough day; he’s been having more separation anxiety from me lately (something he has literally never had before!), and got sent home from school he was so upset. We had a good talk about learning to calm himself down. It probably didn’t help that we’d had a big day Thursday and his nap and sleep schedule were totally off. However, we made it to Sunriver on time to eat dinner.

We ate the Village Bar & Grill. Like most of the restaurants in Sunriver, they have a smaller menu than most people are used to, but they have really good, if slightly expensive, food. I got the Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad, which was spicier than I expected (but still good). Forrest got typical kid food: a hot dog and fries.

After dinner, we made our way to our house. Sunriver had some permanent residents, but is mostly rental houses; my family owned a small house previously, but recently sold it to purchase a different home. It was my first time seeing it and it was as lovely as I’d been told it was!

Forrest played for a little while and then we went for a short walk on the bike path, before I put him to bed. I drank a glass of wine and relaxed with my family for a while before going to bed myself.

Sunriver Bike Paths
Sunriver Walking

The next day, I went for a walk myself in the morning. The best part about Sunriver really is all the bike and walking paths. It is still pretty chilly in the mornings in Central Oregon, so I had to bundle up. However, I was excited because I was going to pick up Danny around noon.

Danny had been at a teaching conference in Eagle Crest, which is also not far from Bend. I planned to pick him up so he could join us in Sunriver.

When I got back from my walk, I helped clean up after breakfast and played with Forrest a bit. He was feeling antsy and excited, but really, really didn’t want to nap at all, despite waking up at 3am. (Yes, he woke up at 3am. Kids and vacation are often harder than I expect.) While I tried to get him to nap, the rest of my family played Yahtzee, which is a Sunriver family tradition.

Once he woke up, I got him ready for the rest of the day and we blew bubbles outside for a while. Then, when my mom got back from a walk, I borrowed her car to go get Danny. He was as excited to see the new house as I was, so we didn’t stop much on the drive back.

The afternoon was spent showing Danny the house, going on a walk, then going out to dinner for my brother’s birthday.

The Village at Sunriver
Sunriver Bookstore

On Sunday, we planned to have a barbecue, so I baked my brother a birthday cake. Then, I went on another walk alone—then a walk with Forrest, because he insisted. When I got back, my mom and brother were planning to go on a walk as well, so of course Forrest wanted to go on that one as well! I think Forrest walked a total of 6 miles!

Once they got back, we headed to the Village to pick up a few things at the grocery store. Forrest had also been promised a book by my mom, so we went to Sunriver Books to pick one out. He picked an ABCs of Oregon book, which I was really proud of; he’s been very interested in letters and knowing what things say lately. We headed back to the house and started working on lunch.

Sunriver Oregon Vacation

We headed home not long after lunch. It’s such a short drive between Sunriver and Eugene, only about 2-3 hours (depending on traffic and the weather), it makes it easy to take small weekend trips. I’m already so excited for another trip. There are so many things I love doing in Sunriver—the bike paths along the river, as well as the horse stables, shopping at the Village, bike riding, and visiting the High Desert Museum, as well as exploring Bend—it’s hard to pack it into one trip!

Have you ever been to Sunriver? What’s your favorite thing to do?

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.

Here's What I Learned from An Autumn Road Trip (with a Toddler)

Here's What I Learned from An Autumn Road Trip (with a Toddler) | Writing Between Pauses

I am not a traveller.

I know, I know. It seems like everyone these days talks non stop about traveling. Everyone wants to travel and see the world. And in some ways, I definitely want to see the world. But I don’t like traveling.

I don’t like driving for long periods of time. I don’t like airplanes. I don’t like the stressed, naked feeling of being transitional between two places (home and destination). I don’t like the anxiety it gives me. And now that I have a small human I’m responsible for, I absolutely do not like having to pack up everything I can think of for him (including but not limited to: blankets, toys, any medication he might need, extra food, juice, cups he can use, forks he can use, emergency meals, and milk). The amount he needs has consistently gone down since he was a baby (no more giant container of formula, bottles, bottle wash, sanitizer bags, Pack’n’Play, and more), but it’s still a lot.

And doing it by myself? Excuse me, no thanks.

Well, I did just that on Friday. Danny had gone over to Central Oregon (Sunriver, to be exact) for a teaching conference in Bend. My parents have a cabin in Sunriver, so we had decided it would be a family vacation. But with Forrest in school now, I didn’t want him to miss a day so we planned to go over once he got done with school.

As the days lead up to Friday, I started to seriously panic. Taking a three-hour plus road trip by myself with a toddler? Packing up the whole car on my own? I was nervous. Danny told me he would be fine if I decided not to do it, but I knew he really wanted me to. And of course, Forrest was excited at the prospect of a vacation. Nothing makes him nervous.

As I wrote on Instagram, I didn’t want my anxiety to make Forrest miss out. Yes, it would have been better for me personally to stay at home for the weekend. But Forrest would have missed out on some potential fun and that prospect made me sad.

So I did it. On Friday afternoon, I packed up the car, got Forrest a Happy Meal (no judgement), and drove 3 hours with a potty trained toddler. Here’s everything I learned.

Road Trip 1
Road Trip 2

1. It’s probably going to all be fine.

Probably. My biggest worry was that, while going over the pass, Forrest would need to use the bathroom. Since he’s relatively newly potty trained (it’s been about 3 or 4 months), when he has to go, he usually has to go immediately. This is fairly normal for preschool age kids. However, while driving across a mountain pass, the last thing I wanted to do I was pull over and break out the little potty we keep in the car. However, my anxiety was for nothing: we stopped at a rest area before the pass and he was fine all the way until we got to the cabin.

So yeah, the thing you worry about? It’s probably going to be fine. (Please remember to tell me this next time I go on a real vacation aka go flying.)

Road Trip 2
Road Trip 4

2. It’s ok to do things you normally wouldn’t (or that you would).

I had all these plans for things Fo and I would do. Museums. Outdoor parks. Everything. I wanted him to have as much fun as possible while we were on our own mini-trip, especially as Danny was still in a conference on Saturday. However, we ended up going for a nice long walk to get coffee and a treat, then went shopping and spent time relaxing in the cabin. I felt bad that we hadn’t done any of the exciting stuff I had planned, but we did have a nice lunch out together (my first time taking him to a real restaurant on my own) and he really has fun no matter what.

Road Trip 6
Road Trip 5

3. The weather won’t cooperate, but that’s fine.

Part of the reason we didn’t do all the fun stuff I had planned? It was raining! I think of Central Oregon as very cold and relatively dry. But it had been raining at home and that rain followed us on vacation. So, the museum I wanted to go to? Mostly outdoors. The walking trails? Off limits thanks to the puddles and downpour. We made it for our walk in the morning, but that was about it. We had fun jumping in puddles outside the cabin, then retreating inside to warm up and go pick up Danny from the conference. The weather wasn’t really what I had planned on, but that’s Autumn for you, really!


This is a much more personal post than I usually post for Blogtober, but I thought I’d try something different! I had so much fun over the weekend (even when Forrest pretended to have a stomach ache to get us to leave dinner!) and I tried something outside of my routine—and it was all fine! What’s something you are challenging yourself to try this Fall?

How to Maintain Your Skincare Routine While Traveling

skincare routine while traveling.png

I know I'm not the only one who feels like traveling does an absolute number on my skin. Switching between different time zones, climates, and more can make my skin go absolutely haywire. Case in point: I spent a week in Idaho this month and even though I kept up my skincare routine, I was left with rough, bumpy, red, dehydrated skin by the end of the week. *Cut to me whining here.* 

Skin is a delicate thing. Sometimes, I wish I worried just a little bit less about my skin--but I've been chasing "perfect skin" for a long time. I know it's not going to be attainable; skin is supposed to have texture, pores, and more. But dryness? Redness? Irritated bumps? No thanks. 

Without further ado, let's talk about how to maintain your skincare routine while you're traveling--and that includes packing everything up. 

1. Narrow down what you need to bring. 

I think most people with serious skincare routines experience that our routines are changeable, depending on what's going on. A prime example, for me, is that if I'm noticing a lot of dryness, I'll use a hyaluronic acid mask or serum; if I'm breaking out, I'll stop using whatever foundation is hurting me and start using a little extra jojoba oil. It's a balance and unfortunately, on vacation, you're stuck with the bare essentials of your routine. So narrow everything down: what is the order of things you do every single night? For me, it includes: 

  • Make up remover: jojoba oil 
  • Face wash: The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Wash
  • Toner: Mario Badescu Rose Toner
  • Moisturizer: Pacifica Crystal Youth moisturizer

That's just the barebones essentials, the things I know will keep my skin as good as it can, even in dry, super hot weather. 

2. Packing it up. 

Now, how do you pack all things? Personally, I do not like traveling with my giant bottle of jojoba oil and face wash. I try to keep my packing to a minimum. So here's what I do: I put dollops of everything I need in contact cases. You heard me: those little wells are perfect for packing two or three days worth of oil, moisturizer, and face wash. I usually use one case per item. You can buy a value pack of contact cases that are color coded at Target. Then, I just pack those contact cases into a makeup bag, along with a few other essentials. They are less likely to leak and help you stay organized. 

3. Making time. 

This is the hardest bit on vacation, isn't it? Making time to actually wash your face at the end of the day instead of collapsing into bed with some room service or snacks. The way I do this is that it gives me about 10 or 15 minutes to decompress every evening of vacation. I find traveling very stressful (I'm actually not a huge fan!) and so those 15 minutes are my life blood; I need them in order to sleep well and make it through the next day. It also helps ground me and make me feel a little bit more at home. And if my skin is going haywire from the weather or a different climate, well, it makes me feel like I'm doing a little something that makes a difference. 

4. Correcting when you get home. 

Maintaining your routine while traveling can go a long way towards ensuring that your skin keeps looking great. But a lot of things are out of our control on vacation. As I mentioned, my skin got incredibly dehydrated while I was in Idaho: not dry, but I started noticing bumps and redness that is typical of when my skin is in need of some major TLC. Once I got home, I started using rosehips oil (great for when your skin needs extra moisture, as well as to reduce redness) and my hyaluronic acid mask. If your skin decides to go off the rails while you're on vacation, you can always pop into a drug store for a mask or add an extra moisturizer to your routine; and when you get home, you can take steps to baby your skin and give it that extra TLC. 

4 Essential Items for Spring Travel

4 Essential Items for Spring Travel | Writing Between Pauses

It's Spring Break! At least for my husband, Danny. We always look forward to spring break because we spend it either visiting his parents or relaxing. This year, his parents are coming to us. 

I try not to turn trips into excuses to buy a whole bunch of new stuff. But there is something very exciting about treating yourself to a few little things for your trip, whether it's just a new makeup bag or an outfit. I put together a list of 4 great essential items to treat yourself to this year. Whether you're leaving tomorrow or in a few weeks, these will be perfect to take along. 

Spring Essentials Graphic

1. Wet'n'Wild 10-Pan Palette in "Nude Awakening", $4.99

I know what you're thinking: a $5 Wet'n'Wild eyeshadow palette? Listen, I thought the same thing when I first bought one of these palettes (they have them in 4 different color stories). But these shadows are really, really good. The Rose in the Air one is a dupe for Modern Renaissance. This palette is perfect for every kind of look: simple day looks, single shadow looks, and smoky, dramatic night looks. And for only $5, it's a total steal. 

2. ASOS Mix'n'Match Star Print Dress, $23

This dress is so cute: long enough without being fussy. And no weird cut outs. (Trust me, I checked.) I love the mix of star prints, as well as the shape; with the nipped in waist, it flatters every body type, but isn't so cinched that you'll be uncomfortable. 

3. Unique Vintage Hello Sunshine Sun Hat, $32

A sun hat, especially if you're traveling somewhere very warm, is an absolute must. Protecting your skin will keep you looking flawless. (So don't forget SPF either and if you tan, you're still damaging your skin!) I love this one from Unique Vintage; it's almost like it was made for cute Instagram photos. While it's a little spendy for $32, it's very sturdy and will hold up to just about everything. 

4. ModCloth Swan for the Books Make Up Bag, $14.99

Going on a trip means you need a new makeup bag, right? This one from ModCloth is so cute--and sturdy. I love the swan print; it's cute without being "too much." It's the perfect size for carrying everything you need for a short trip. Plus, it's on sale right now! 

The 5 Best Apps for Disneyland

the 5 Best Apps for Disneyland

I've written two posts about going to Disneyland in June: tips for taking your toddler here; and everything you need to pack into the parks here. I wanted to write just one more: the apps that made our Disneyland experience much, much better and easier. 

Apps are definitely not something I first think of when it comes to Disneyland. Isn't that odd? But my last two trips, I have found myself downloading apps while in the park so we can better plan our day. Want to know what I used on our most recent trip? 

1. The Official Disneyland App

Cost: Free

This is honestly my favorite app. It connects to your Disneyland account, so when you get photos with a character or at a landmark, you just scan the card they give you and it automatically adds the photos to your account. It makes it much easier to purchase photos later! (Note: They are expensive!) Also, the Disneyland app has wait times for everything, from gift shops to rides. It's great for figuring out official wait times, what's broken down, and where crowds are congregating. 

2. MouseWait

Cost: Free

MouseWait is another wait time app, but what I specifically like about it is that it shows the capacity level. I don't know exactly how they calculate this, but it shows at what percentage capacity the park is at. In the off-season, the numbers are anywhere from 10-40%, which is really low and manageable. In the summer, anything over 85% is going to mean crowded walkways and long lines. Danny and I like to go in the morning, then leave once it starts to hit 70%+, then return at night when it's dropped back to 65%ish. 

3. Hidden Mickeys: Disneyland 

Cost: $5.99 

It's not all planning! Hidden Mickeys is a great app for identifying and collecting Hidden Mickeys. Hidden Mickeys are not really my thing that I enjoy collecting, but I do love finding them spontaneously. This app is a lot of fun though, especially if you're a Disney fanatic who wants to find every single one on your trip! 

4. Maps

Cost: Free

"Michelle," you whisper, "That's an app that comes on everyone's iPhone." Yes, and? It's the best. If you have Maps and an iPhone, you can share your location for a single day with everyone you know. That means if, say, you and your husband decide to split up while you change a diaper and he grabs FastPasses, you don't play a super fun game of hide-and-seek in a super crowded part of Main Street USA. My husband and I did this to make our lives easier; we shared locations each day in Disneyland so we could find each other if we got separated. It works like a charm! 

5. A Color Story

Cost: Free 

A Color Story is my favorite photo editing app. It's perfect for fixing up those quick photos you take in the park because you can save pre-set directions depending on how a photo looks. At the end of each day, I would lie in bed at the hotel with ice on my shins (I am old) and edit photos. Because that's what I do. 

4 Tips for Surviving a Road Trip with a Toddler

road trip with toddler

The trip to Disneyland, from where we live in Oregon, takes about 15 or 16 hours, give or take. 

15 or 16 hours, in a car, with a young toddler, can be torture. We had done a few road trips to places like central Oregon and Idaho, but nothing quite like two solid days in the car through the entirety of California. 

A few of my friends suggested driving at night so that Forrest would sleep. A few of them actually did this and had it backfire around the same time as our trip. The truth is, your toddler is not going to sleep great in the car, even if they normally sleep amazing in the car. If they're going to be in that seat for 14+ hours, they aren't going to sleep there very well. So prepare yourself for minimal naps and early bedtimes in hotels. 

We made it though, with minimal tantrums. How did we do it? Here are our 4 tips. 

1. Buy a DVD player for the car. 

Listen, I know. I always said I would never. But then my son reached toddler age and, you know what? Sometimes, you need to just distract them. A DVD player is perfect. We brought a collection of DVDs for him: Zootopia, Peter Pan, a Sesame Street DVD, a Barney DVD, and Toy Story. By the end of the trip, he was singing the theme from Zootopia whenever he had the chance. 

2. Bring snacks. 

When all else failed, we handed Forrest something to snack on. He is particularly fond of cereal bars, so we brought those, of course, as well as Goldfish, bananas, and apple juice. While sometimes he just made a mess (in the last 20 minutes driving home, he opened his milk cup, dumped it all over himself and the seat, and then mashed a cereal bar into it); otherwise, it was exactly what he needed to get over a tantrum. The first rule of toddlers is, if you can, distract them.   

3. Have someone ride in the back with him or her. 

For us, this was big: sometimes, it seemed like he was just lonely in the backseat. So, we would rearrange things and my husband would ride in the backseat with him. They would read books, watch Barney together, or just point out things along the road. 

4. Stop frequently. 

I hate stopping during road trips. I am goal oriented and, often, for me the goal is getting to our location. But with a toddler, it’s good to get out and walk around. We stopped at every other view point or rest area and got out just to stretch our legs; Forrest would walk around with his safety harness. We’d grab a snack or a soda and sit outside for just a few minutes.