October 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 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 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?