October 2018

Sweet, Spooky & Super Busy: My October Wrap Up

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

How was your October?

More importantly, how was your Blogtober?

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

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

1. Making These Cupcakes

Chai Spice Cupcakes
Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

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

2. Going to the Pumpkin Patch

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

3. Going to Sunriver

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

Beauty Review: My October 2018 Ipsy Bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7228.jpg

1. Take Home the Bronze in Oliver, $6

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

2. Oryza Beauty Lipstick in Opus, $21

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

The Balm's Take Home the Bronze

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

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

4. Taste Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $13.50

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

Nebula Blue Highlighter

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

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

Ipsy Bag Swatches

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Photo at Pumpkin Patch

What’s your October tradition?

10 Quotes to Help You Fall in Love With Autumn

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

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

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

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

Source: Fiverr

Source: Fiverr

From  Love and Space Dust      by David Jones

From Love and Space Dust by David Jones

Autumn Quote 3
Autumn Quote 4
Source:  Katie Daisy

Source: Katie Daisy

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

Source: MakeMediaCo

Autumn Quote 10

What’s your favorite Fall quote?

How I Edit My Photos in Autumn

How I Edit My Photos in Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

In 2017, I shared how I took better iPhone photos—and that included my editing process in the app, A Color Story. (You can read that post here.) My process has changed a lot in the last year. I primarily take blog photos with my DLSR these days (iPhone photos just end up too blurry in blog posts, as you can see from my post yesterday) and then use my phone to take photos for Instagram.

I recently started trying to keep a “theme” on Instagram. I had been planning to use a darker, orange-based filter for Autumn since at least late spring (yes, I am embarrassing) and when I finally got to start doing it, I was so excited. My feed looks lovely and I’ve had quite a few people message me asking about my process for editing.

Instagram 2
Instagram 1

So I thought I’d share a quick blog post about how I edit my photos. The process is pretty simple. Sometimes, it feels like people really complicate their photo editing process. I like to keep mine simple by saving my favorite filters in a sequence in A Color Story; this helps me always get roughly the same look (although sometimes I do adjust things later on).

Let’s start with a basic photo.

Before Photo
Color Story Photo
After Photo

This is the process I use for a low-light photo. These are my standard filters; October is from the Seasons pack on A Color Story, Brent Wood is from the Mood pack, and Cashmere is from the Fawn pack. You can see that it increases contrast, adds a moody feel, and increases the warmth of anything that is golden- or warm-toned to begin with (like my skin and table). I will use this for darker photos as well and photos taken in better light. (I didn’t have any photos in need of editing for this example, so I know it’s not the greatest!) This set of filters is how I got the look on most of my photos on Instagram.

However, I do have a secondary set of filters that I use on Instagram specifically for photos where I don’t want my skin tone or Forrest’s skin tone to end up looking pumpkin colored.

Before Photo 2
Process Photo 2
After Photo 2

In this photo, you see that Forrest’s skin tone was warmed up a little, but not much; the background is darker, the photo is moodier, and in general it looks like it would fit right in on my Instagram. (I love this photo of Fo because he looks like a little alien!) Cashmere, again, is from the Fawn pack; October is from the Seasons pack, and Venice is from the Mood pack. In general, this filter set is just a bit “lighter” on skin tones than my other, making it perfect for selfies.

So that’s it! That’s my process for editing photos for Autumn. Do you switch up your process seasonally?