Blogtober 2019

5 Essentials for a Cozy Night In

5 Essentials for a Cozy Night In | Writing Between Pauses

I’ve never been much for going out in the evening—although there is something delightfully nostalgic about late, Autumn nights out with friends. When school starts back again and you have a football game to go to, or you just spend the evening at someone else’s house… everything just feels a bit surreal on those evenings, with the leaves changing, the temperature just a smidge colder than you remember it being barely 3 weeks ago when you were spending summer nights outside. But that being said: I would much rather spend my evening at home rather than going out.

Forrest’s sleep schedule has been bonkers the last few weeks, so Danny and I haven’t gotten as many of our cozy nights together as we like. However, he’s finally figuring things out and getting better, so we’re already planning an Autumnal movie marathon (which is our personal favorite way to spend the evening in Fall). I thought I’d share a few of those cozy night essentials that everyone needs—with some links to my favorite products.

cozy night in products

1. A Hot Toddy

Do you like hot drinks? Over the past year, I’ve definitely become more of an iced coffee person—but my day doesn’t start without a hot, cup of coffee. And sometimes in the evening, there is nothing like a good hot toddy or nice cup of tea. I had originally planned to have 4 of my favorite drink recipes up today, but I still have to photograph one of them. Instead, I’ll share these for now: my 4 favorite autumnal teas (still my top 4 Fall favorites!) and 4 hot toddies just for the holidays. Whip up your favorite, settle into the couch, and get ready to be cozy.

2. A good movie

As I’ve said, I have extremely specific movie preferences, but if you’re in need of motivation, here are a few posts I’ve written on the matter:

hygge night in

3. A good board game

Danny is a huge fan of board games and I, unfortunately, am not necessarily. I’ll play, but I don’t love it. He’s always quite fond of card games and has somehow talked my entire family into being obsessed with Cover Your Assets. If you’re indifferent to games and love them, they’re a great way to spend a cozy evening that isn’t watching TV or playing on your phone (although I will personally be curled into a ball on the couch playing with my phone).

4. Your (new) favorite cuddly socks

Little known Michelle fact: I am deeply, deeply obsessed with socks.

One of my weirdest OCD triggers is stepping on any sort of debris in my house in my bare feet, so to minimize this (since it’s impossible to keep your floors 100% clean when you have a dog and a preschooler), I wear slippers and socks nearly constantly in my house. I go through 2-3 pairs of slippers every single year, but in the winter, I start wearing heavy socks.

I, of course, have sock recommendations if you love cozy socks. These are also great under boots if you live in a colder climate, but I mostly wear them around the house so my feet don’t absolutely freeze.

5. Good snacks

Who doesn’t love snacks?! I’m sure there is someone out there and you know what? You are valid. (Also, please send me your tips for hating snacks. Thanks.)

Danny and I usually try to have one very healthy snack alongside something slightly more indulgent: we might pick, say, a Daily Harvest* smoothie to share plus Doritos. Or pretzel chips dipped in Hungryroot Almond Butter and buttery popcorn. It’s about balance. On a cozy night in, we like to have a small spread of snacks to eat: fruits & veggies, smoothies, chips, pretzels, a good mix of sweet and savory. Keeping things balanced can keep us from feeling that specific “food hangover” feeling in the morning.

(Psssst… not to be a total shill, but if you want to try Daily Harvest, they have some amazing Autumnal smoothies & harvest bowls right now—and they just introduced grain bowls! You can use my code PAUSES for 3 free cups in your first order!)

My Favorite Scary Stories

My Favorite Scary Stories | Writing Between Pauses

Danny and I always say there is a shortage of good, horror novels. There are some out there in the world, but really good horror novels (that are on-par quality and writing wise with other novels) are so hard to find. As I was writing notes for this post, I kept asking him: have we read anything really scary in the last year?

Neither of us could think of anything that was really, really good. Or October-y. Or spooky.

But we did put together a list of novels that were straight up scary the first time we read them—while also being really well written. I wanted to share that list because these are the spookiest books I could think of to read this month.

1. It by Stephen King

I know! I know! This one’s easy, right? But It is one of my favorite books of all time (minus that one weird scene and you all know what I’m talking about). I’m generally not actually a huge Stephen King fan. I know that’s borderline sacrilegious, but I honestly just don’t like his writing style. Also, he has the bad habit of writing very badly about women like, 65% of the time. Case in point: the way child Beverly is described in this book is one of the most problematic parts of it, and that doesn’t include the infamous scene in the sewers. She’s 11? 12? Dude, calm down.

But problems aside, It is a good book: it’s good at building slow dread and describing the way fear permeates a town. It’s a massive book, and can be slightly slow, but god, it’s worth it.

2. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

This is one of the best books I read in 2017 and I stand by this: it’s scary as all hell. Luckiest Girl Alive is about a girl who went to a boarding school, survived a school shooting, and grows up to be a magazine columnist. Except, there’s more to the story. It is a harrowing story and the description of the shooting itself is one of the hardest chapters of a book I’ve ever read. The main character is simultaneously relatable (her obsession with her weight, her hard exterior, her desire to climb socially), but extremely unlikeable (for all the same reasons and more). The way she grows as a person throughout the story—both when she was younger and when she’s older—is great. It’s a fascinating, scary, well-written book. I actually just ordered a physical copy so I could read it again and make up the margins.

3. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

I read All the Missing Girls in the Spring and loved it. I immediately thought, I’ll come back to this later. It’s a perfect murder mystery to read in the Fall. The way it’s written is probably the best part: it starts at the end and works its way backwards, then moves to the end again. I love a good small town murder mystery and this one is a great read. Twists, turns, small towns, repressed memories… it has it all.

4. I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

This was another book I read in early 2018, I think, that I absolutely loved. It’s the story of a woman who overhears two girls on a train meeting two boys and agreeing to go party. When a few days later, one of the girls is reported missing, she tells what she knows to the police. Then, things begin to spiral. It’s a great, creepy store that, again, revolves around a mystery. This is another book I need to reread!

Tell me your favorite scary stories! Do you have a book that scared the pants off of you? A short story I need to read immediately?

Are You A Blogger? Here Are 5 Props Perfect for Autumn

Are You A Blogger? Here Are 5 Propers Perfect for Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Blogging can be hard business. Taking photos is one of my favorite and least favorite parts of it. Sometimes, I really thrive. (I really hit my strive last December.) And sometimes, I’m like, I forgot how to use my camera. (The last, like, 5 months.) I keep a running Amazon wishlist of props that I like; things I see in photos that I love and want to try, or things that I think would add interest and help my photos be a little more visually appealing.

I thought I’d share a few of these props for Autumn, because we could all use a little inspiration sometimes.

1. These Color-Changing Twinkle Lights

These would be perfect for Autumn (orange! purple!) or for Christmas (multi color!), but they would also be kind of pretty for just putting up in my office. I love using twinkle lights in photos because they can help improve the light situation, plus they just look really pretty. These ones are incredibly affordable and really long.

2. Photo Backdrops

Browsing tableux or flatlay backdrops on Amazon is actually a part-time job, it feels like. There are so many options. I personally love these ones because they come with a storage solution (!!!) and you get a huge variety with your purchase. Back in the day, so many bloggers ordered marble vinyl to put on foam whiteboards or pieces of wood. Now, we can just buy a few sets at once. How times have changed!

3. A Ring Dish

Having little dishes, or bowls, in your photos, especially beauty photos, can take the photo from a basic product photo to a scene. I like buying small, cheap ring dishes to use as props. You can use them for anything (jewelry, rings, candy, make up, whatever) and you can find tons of designs. I like this one with constellations, but there are some with beautiful autumnal patterns.

4. A Scarf or Fabric to Add Visual Interest

Want backdrops but don’t want to spend $35 on backdrops that you’re not sure if you’ll use? Let me let you in on my secret: I often use fabric. I have a ton of plaid scarves that I use as photo backdrops throughout the year. I also usually buy a yard or two of fabric that I like if I see some that I think would work, like plaids or small patterns. This is a great affordable options for backdrops: use something you already own or spend $5 instead of $35.

5. A Small Ring Light

Light in Autumn is always a problem. By the time I’m ready to take photos, the sun is gone, it’s dark outside, or it’s pouring down rain. This mini ring light holds your cell phone, but you can also use it as a lighting source for your photos. Use it to film Instagram stories or IGTV videos, then use as a lighting source when you need it. It’s only $13!

Have props you love? Share your tips & tricks in the comments!

My Top 10 Autumn Essentials

My Top 10 Autumn Essentials | Writing Between Pauses

Are you ready for a very basic, self-indulgent post? Well, here you go. Your wish is my command!

I know often people ask me what makes me so excited for Autumn. It’s hard to put words on why you like something that you just inherently like. For me, Autumn reminds me of school (I loved school and continue to wish I could be in school forever); Autumn was my birthday season; Autumn had Thanksgiving and beautiful leaves and cozy evenings at home. Autumn had my piano recitals, which I remember for scratchy dresses and standing in a cold hallway waiting to play.

(Here’s a funny story: I thought I had finished and scheduled this post yesterday and was super confused when I didn’t see it go up. Then, realized I hadn’t actually finished it… then I wrote it, accidentally exited without saving it, and now I’m just a wreck.)

I felt like if I had to boil it down, I would probably pick these 10 things as my favorite things about Autumn and/or the things I need the most to make the season happy for me. I’d love to hear what people love or consider essential to their season!

1. Decorative Candles

I normally am pro-scented candles and find the LED light candles kind of hokey… but ever since I had Forrest, I’m more careful about candles. These ones are perfect for a little ambient light in the evening without having to worry about Forrest bumping into them or knocking them over.

These are also great if you have cats, as cats can be super disruptive to candles.

2. Autumn-scented oils

Another alternative to scented candles? Scented oils. This brand can be used for soap making or to diffuse. If you’re nervous about scented candles, these are a great alternative. I have this Autumn set and, dang, it’s so good! Every time I use it, people ask what I have baking! They also make some winter and Christmas themed sets, as well as a Halloween set that looks amazing. Diffusing is a cheap and safe way for people with kids and pets to scent their homes. However, make sure to check the ingredients and your specific pets; some oils aren’t good for pets to get on their skin or inhale.

3. Cozy Sweaters

Did you think I’d skip this?! I’m a sweater girl; if I could wear sweaters year round, I probably would. I hate t-shirts. I hate blouses. I hate anything fussy.

I have this one from H&M, as well as this one from American Eagle that I’m absolutely living in lately. There are a few things I look for in a sweater:

  • soft with no wool at all

  • baggy

  • a neck line that won’t ride up as I’m trying to fix my forward leaning neck (listen, I’ve been using computers like 8 hours a day for 7+ years, it’s a struggle)

4. Good Rain Boots

Growing up, I never owned rain boots. In Oregon, most people operate under the belief that you don’t need day-to-day rain gear unless you’re doing something like hiking or camping. So, yes, every time it rained when I was younger (which was… like, every day of Fall, Winter, and Spring), I just had wet shoes, wet hair, and wet clothes.

I’ve been trying to walk more in the evenings, which I found has helped my stress level a lot. For my birthday, I asked for a pair of good rain boots and friends, Danny delivered. He got them for me early, since it is already cold and rainy here in Oregon. Danny got me these rain boots from Ugg in hunter green. I am obsessed with them.

5. A Good Rain Jacket

Re: rain gear never being a priority… I wanted a good rain jacket this year too. I’ve been searching for the perfect rain jacket (not a coat—I just want something light I can layer over sweaters and dresses). I am particularly attracted to this one. I ended up ordering this one, however, because it’s sherpa lined; I love sherpa everything, obviously. It just looked a little warmer for my early morning walks, plus I liked the olive green color. I’ve been wearing it basically nonstop on my more casual days and gosh, I really love it.

6. Mini Pumpkins

Me walking into the grocery store: stressed, a little angry

Me seeing the little baby pumpkins I can now buy at the grocery store: happy

7. Cozy Movies

Hocus Pocus has been on Freeform nearly every single day of October so far, which is good/a problem because I will literally sit down and watch it every single time. So, I’ve watched Hocus Pocus every single day of October so far.

I love a few, very specific movies for rainy, cold Autumn nights (Hocus Pocus, Trick or Treat, and Coraline), as well as very specific movies for foggy early Autumn mornings (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter movies) and very specific movies for crisp, Autumn afternoons (Monster House, the Addams Family, and Nightmare Before Christmas*). It just depends on the vibe, you know?

*Danny always argues with me that this is not a Halloween/October movie, but I disagree. I think it is a rare breed of movie that can be watched from September 1-January 1. Please vote in this extremely important poll, thank you.

8. Early Morning Rain

In our new house, our bedroom is in the back of the house and the way the gutters are arranged (we have a lower section just below our bedroom window, so a lot of gutters meet right outside our window) means that we hear the rain about 100 times louder than at our old house. At first, it kind of scared me, because I thought a pipe had burst. It sounded like running water! But now it’s just plain soothing. I love waking up to the gentle sound of rain—it helps that my nightly sleep noise is rain as well.

9. Good Coffee

I have accidentally cultivated a “my personality type is COFFEE” behavior in the last few years, which was unintentional. But I went so long not liking coffee that now coffee is a bit novel. That being said: I like coffee all the time, but something about coffee on a foggy, Autumn morning is just different and better.

10. A Fluffy Blanket

I am a blanket fanatic; Danny makes fun of me because during the winter, I often sleep with our comforter, plus two blankets. I like the weight of a good, thick blanket. I like soft blankets, sherpa or fleece or preferably both. I’m less concerned with aesthetics, but my blankets have to be something I’ll use. Smaller, heavy, thick, soft blankets are my favorite. If I’m sitting down in my house, I undoubtedly have a blanket on or near me. I have an office blanket, a bedroom blanket, a couch blanket… It’s a problem. (No, it’s not.)

My Autumn Skincare Routine

My Autumn Skincare Routine | Writing Between Pauses

Darker mornings (ugh). Rainy weather (yay). Rapid weather changes (ugh). Turning on the heat (… ugh?). There are lots of things about Autumn (or any change in season!) that can throw your skin, and body, and sinuses, into disarray.

A prime example: I spent all day Tuesday with itchy, watery eyes. Did you know Fall allergies exist? Well, apparently they do. One allergy pill later and I felt right as rain, but wow, what a surprise.

Another example: in two weeks, we have gone from summer (80+ degrees every day) to pouring rain (literally, 7 straight days of rain, rain, rain) to colder temperatures (it didn’t get over 45 degrees until 1pm the other day). Those rapid weather changes can do a number to just about everything in your life. Plus, turning on the heat can cause your home to get drier, which in turn can effect your skin.

That’s right: we’re talking about my favorite topic of all time. Skincare!

It’s been a minute since I posted about skincare. To be fully transparent, part of why I stopped posting so much beauty content was because: 1) it wasn’t popular here on the old blog or on Instagram and 2) I kind of fell out of love with skincare for a little while. It started to feel arduous rather than fun—and nothing is worse than when a hobby because a huge pain in the ass, am I right?

However, in the past few weeks, I’ve been getting back into it, slowly but surely. I wanted to share my new, improved skincare routine that is helping me survive these rapid weather changes and the new season. Let’s jump right in.

1. Morning cleanser: ItCosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser | Evening cleanser: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

I love ItCosmetics, but I didn’t realize they had a cleanser until recently. And baby—is this a cleanser or what! It smells like lemongrass and is super moisturizing. I use it after I oil cleanse (plain jojoba oil, then wiped with a reusable wipe) and I make sure to wash my face for 60 seconds total. (If you aren’t following the 60 second rule, get on it!) It makes my skin feel so soft and ready for the day.

In the evening, I typically either use ItCosmetics again or my Murad AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser. I received the Murad cleanser in one of my Ipsy Glam Bag Plus (es?) bags, making the entire Glam Bag Plus experience worth it. (You can read that review here.) It is exfoliating, so I don’t use it every day, but I have noticed with all these weather changes, that my skin texture has been fart noise, you know. Every 2 or 3 days, I use this in the evening. As a note of warning, you shouldn’t use this in the morning because AHA/BHA can make your skin even more sensitive to the sun!

2. Morning toner: Pixi Glow Mist | Evening Toner: Peter Thomas Roth Peptide Peel Pads

I received the Pixie Glow Mist in another Glam Bag Plus (review here). I use it in the morning because I find have a bit of extra moisture helps me apply foundation or concealer, or whatever I’m wearing that day. Plus, it just smells good and feels decadent to put on a face mist.

In the evening, I use the Peter Thomas Roth Peptide Peel Pads. (I reviewed the entire Peter Thomas Roth Peptide collection here.) I repurchased these peel pads because I liked them so much; they definitely help with my skin’s texture and my acne, plus they’ve helped reduce my redness and acne scars. A win-win. They can be quite strong, so if I notice my skin feeling sensitive, I’ll skip them for a night and just use more Glow Mist.

3. Morning Moisturizer: Purlisse Blue Lotus Daily SPF 30 | Evening Moisturizer: Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Cream + Purlisse Watermelon Aqua Balm

All three of these are also from Ipsy, which really seems like a shill, doesn’t it? I swear it isn’t, but why waste product?

Everyone should be wearing an SPF 30 or HIGHER, applied in the morning. Period, I won’t be discussing it any further! I like this one from Purlisse because it isn’t too heavy and doesn’t leave a white cast on me. (I want to note here: I have no idea if this would leave a white cast on darker skin. I tried searching for some reviews, but can’t find anything. If you know or have used it, please let me know and I’ll update accordingly!)

At night, I mix a small dollop of the Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C cream (still reeling that this costs $85 a pop!) with a squeeze of the Purlisse Watermelon Aqua Balm. I love how the CEO cream makes my skin feel, but it is so heavy; the aqua balm helps cut it a little bit and not leave me feeling disgusting.

4. Products I Might Use

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm: It’s actually just lip balm, but honestly, you could use it on your nipples if you’re breastfeeding (or just feel like you need it, no shame). I use this for my extremely dry lips that I get whenever the season changes, the dry spots I get under my ears in the winter (it’s eczema, I know it is, please), and anything else that might call for it (like a sore nose from a cold). It’s unscented and lovely. I actually used all of the tube I received as a sample and bought another one. I’m very cheap, so that’s a testament to how much I like it.

Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream: I love moisturizers and this one is very, very light. If my skin is feeling sensitive, but not exactly dry, I like to use this one. It’s great for when I’m breaking out and don’t want to feel even more like a grease ball. It is a little expensive, but I feel like it’s worth it. (And if you can snag a sample from Ipsy, it’s even more worth it!)

NEOGEN White Truffle Oil Serum: When my skin needs a little extra TLC, oil is where it’s at! I use this before my moisturizer and let it dry for 10 minutes. It’s technically an oil, but it absorbs like a serum, so it won’t act like a sealant. I like to use this at least once a week, just for that little extra added boost.

IBOM Lemon Verbena Clay Mask: This is one of my favorite masks at the moment. It smells amazing and, like any good clay mask, helps suck all the impurities out of your skin. Oil, acne, whatever you need to purge, this mask is ready and waiting. It does have some exfoliating elements so I don’t use this when my skin is particularly dry or sensitive, and I rinse very gently.

There you have it! My skincare routine, start to finish, morning and evening. How do you switch up your routine in the Fall?

How I Deal with Darker Mornings & Evenings

How I Deal with Darker Mornings & Evenings | Writing Between Pauses

It’s well-established that I do not like the summer months. However, every single Fall, when the nights start coming earlier and I start waking up at 7am to pitch black outside… I’m shocked. I always kind of forget how early it gets dark in the Fall and Winter.

And as much as I love Fall, it is kind of a bummer to wake up totally in the dark every single morning. It can be really hard to start happy & healthy with such early nights and late mornings.

I live in Oregon, which can also be a bit dismal the entire Winter: it can be rainy & cloudy for days, weeks, months at a time. And without any snow, there isn’t even any cheery winter vibes either. Just rain, just clouds, just dark mornings spent driving in the rain. I know many can relate when I say that it can get old fast; it can make days feel longer; and it can make your mood go south fast, especially if you’re pre-disposed depression.

People often ask (not just me, but everyone) how to deal with seasonal affective disorder, or just how to deal with those dismal, dark mornings and evenings. I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped me over the years—so I can love Fall without being miserable.

1. Invest in a good light therapy lamp.

A few years ago, Danny & I bought a Happy Lamp, a light therapy lamp, at Costco and it was a total game changer for both of us. We both noticed that during the winter, we both got sluggish and tired. (This has only increased since we had Forrest and I’m beginning to suspect it’s just my life now.) But the Happy Lamp worked a lot: we would turn it on in the evening as we sat and watched TV, or worked in our office. Within a few weeks, we noticed a marked improvement in our moods.

We’ve used it religiously ever since.

We moved in July and now have separate offices, so I’m looking to buy my own light therapy lamp. As I said, we bought ours at Costco and it was around $40, totally worth it. It’s not a sun lamp, exactly, but mimics the light from the sun to help us get more vitamin D. I’ve found a few contenders, but I think I’ll be purchasing this one for my office this year.

2. Establish a routine that brings you joy.

For me, this is:

  • Light a candle

  • Take a bath

  • Read a good book

On days where the darkness is just getting to me, this helps me feel better and break me out of the cycle. It might be different for you though! This definitely isn’t prescriptive. Doing something that makes you happy, that comforts you, is perfect for those dark mornings and evenings. So whether you’re starting your morning with something you love (like going for a run) or ending your day with a good self-care ritual (like a face mask and painting your toenails), find something that brings you joy to lessen the darkness.

3. Get outside.

“But Michelle! It’s pouring down rain/snowing/20 degrees below 0!”

Ok, extreme weather not-withstanding, go outside. I promise! Really! Taking a 10 minute walk outside is better than sitting inside your house until it gets dark, then feeling miserable. Put on a good podcast, lace up your sneakers (or invest in a very good pair of rain boots), and go outside.

4. Talk to your doctor.

If you notice yourself getting really miserable and struggling with how late the dark starts and how early it ends, talk to your doctor.

In the US, seeking mental health help can often be a huge pain in the ass; it’s not accessible to everyone, which is why I’m sharing some other ways to help yourself. But I’m not a doctor! If you’re really struggling, antidepressants might make Fall & Winter just that much more doable for you this year.

My October Reading List

My October Reading List | Writing Between Pauses

It’s here: Blogtober! If you missed my post about Blogtober two weeks ago, you should still totally download my free Blogtober planning guide. It’s not too late to start your own Blogtober schedule.

Here’s the thing about Blogtober & me this year: I’m not going to be posting every single day (I just can’t commit to that alongside everything else), but I am planning to post 3+ times a week; some weeks, it will be 4, or 5. It just depends. I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself, as I want to be fresh for NaNoWriMo.

My first Blogtober post, I wanted to share my reading list. I don’t often talk about the books I read on my blog; I have very strong opinions about books and I’ve never made friends with them (my Goodreads is a mess because I love writing funny reviews). The last book review I wrote lead to an email in my inbox from the author themselves, chewing me out for not getting it.

However, there’s nothing wrong with a reading list (book twitter has entered the chat), so I wanted to share.

Here’s what I’m reading this October.

1. Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone, by, well, duh

Yeah, so my first book is actually one I’m doing as a buddy read with a few friends. I’m really excited to reread Harry Potter as I haven’t done a complete reread in a while. The first book is actually one of my least favorites (I’m surprised it hooked me enough to keep reading, that’s all I’ll say!), but I’m actually considering buying a new copy to take notes in.

2. Know My Name, by Chanel Miller & Over the Top, by Jonathan Van Ness

Ok, I am including these on my list (because they are in my picture), but the truth is I actually already read them in a total lack of self control. If you’d like full reviews of them, please let me know; I’m always willing to write a good review, because these were amazing books.

3. Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi

I’ve been on the wait list for this book from the library for about 3 months so of course it downloaded three days ago. I’ve heard great things about this book; it’s magical realism (one of my favorites).

4. The Vine Witch, by Luanne G. Smith

I only needed one line of the synopsis for me to buy this book instantly: “A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.” Yes, yep, I want to read that… once I’m done with Harry Potter and Gingerbread.

What are you reading this October?

Blogtober 2019: 10 Blog Post Ideas for Blogtober

Blogtober 2019: 10 Blog Post Ideas for Blogtober | Writing Between Pauses

Personally, I love Blogtober.

I know every year, someone publishes a blog post with the title why you shouldn’t do Blogtober!! or start talking about how puffed up traffic from daily content isn’t better traffic (…. which I don’t agree with).

Here’s what I know about Blogtober (and my experience with it): if you approach it in a relaxed way, it can be really fun. If you take it too seriously, it will be a bummer. But it is a pretty great way to boost your traffic, especially if you’re a newer blogger, and in about 8-10 months time, if you pin your Blogtober posts on Pinterest, they can start going viral.

So is there value to Blogtober content? Yes. Absolutely! I think if you plan your Blogtober posts appropriate, you can have some really great, well-performing content that can build traffic both seasonally and over time. It’s just about planning appropriately!

That’s why I’m writing this post. I’ve posted some basic “Blog post ideas for Blogtober” before, but I wanted this to be a little bit more in-depth: where I find my inspiration, how I’ve shifted the focus of my content this year, how I take steps to make daily posting easier on me, and (even better) how I’ve decided to alter my Blogtober schedule this year for my current niche.

You can see a round up of all my Blogtober posts here.

Why I Participate in Blogtober

Because I like it.

There!

Two years ago, I was feeling really down about my blog and my content. Blogtober was the boost I needed, both content and traffic wise. It made me feel really good and helped start me on a path to being more dedicated and focused on my blog’s content.

This year is no different. I’ve been making gradual changes to my content after a brief, semi-hiatus. I’m planning to write more about this later, but I’m planning to use Blogtober as a change to write some more seasonally focused content that fits my niche again. I’m really excited for it.

So, ultimately, if you’re thinking of participating in Blogtober, here’s my advice. When it comes down to it, you should:

  • Want to participate in Blogtober

  • Be excited about the content you plan to write for Blogtober

  • Be organized enough to write the volume of content

That’s it! That’s all! Nothing fancy, nothing special. All that matters is you want to participate and you’re excited about it.

How to Plan Your Content

It’s tempting to fall into stereotypical Fall content. (I used Fall twice in that sentence, but I don’t know how to rewrite it as concisely. C’est la vie!) Especially when you see other people posting things that are getting traction or when you feeling like you’ve run out of ideas. But if you spend time focusing on your audience, and looking at the right sources, you can create content that is fun to write, serves your readers, and fits your niche.

I tend to grab ideas for content from a few sources. Here is a rundown:

  • Pay attention to what my followers like on Instagram stories & Twitter. Do my posts with my Fall coffee mug collection do well? Do hygge-focused posts about books do well? I also run polls on Twitter and Instagram to see what content they want for Autumn—then work on creating that content.

  • Watch trending topics on Pinterest. Autumn quotes, Fall fashion, round ups… these kind of posts do really well on Pinterest. If you’re a lifestyle blog, posting a list of Fall activities might work best. If you’re a travel blog, dream Autumn travel destinations.

  • Write the content that fits your life.

My goal at the beginning of every September is to have my entire content calendar planned for Blogtober—that includes all my ideas, as well as the start of my graphics. If I go about it this way, I don’t make as many mistakes along the way, or get behind, as I am relatively prepared for the month.

10 Blog Post Ideas

Alright, with that being said, I promised some blog post ideas and I’m here to deliver. Here are a few ideas that can be easily adapted for your niche.

  1. 5 Fall Activities (In Your Area/For Kids/For Pregnant Woman/For Single Women/etc)

  2. My Favorite Fall Decor

  3. 10 Instagram Accounts Who Make Autumn Easy (Great for a round up—make sure to contact Instagram accounts before featuring them)

  4. 4 Ways to Edit Your Photos this Autumn

  5. My Favorite [Candles for Autumn/Tea for Autumn/Fall Recipe, etc]

  6. My Dream Autumn Travel Destinations

  7. Preparing for the Holidays (for travel/for work/for family etc)

  8. My Halloween Costume (great for DIYs, kids/families, etc)

  9. 5 Quick Halloween Treats (recipes of your own from the past OR a round up to network with other bloggers)

  10. Preserving Autumn Memories (for families/for future/through writing, etc)

Free Blogtober Planning Guide

This brings me to the most exciting part of this blog post: my free Blogtober planning guide! Want a place to plan your content? To start making notes about what pictures you’ll need to take? Want to map out your content calendar? Plan your promotion schedule during a busy month? I have all of that and more in my Blogtober planning guide. Just click below to download!

If you plan to do Blogtober this year, I want to hear from you! Leave me a comment or send me a note on Instagram or Twitter to tell me your thoughts and what content you’re planning!