home decorating

3 Best Candles for Autumn

3 Best Candles for Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

It’s finally here: Blogtober (and October). This is the month I look forward to most throughout the year: it’s my birthday month, the start of the holiday season for me, and include Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. I love the colors of falling leaves; I love pumpkin patches; I love warm, spicy scented candles, orange holiday lights, thick scarves, and boots. I love everything about Autumn.

I’ve been looking forward to Blogtober for ages. It hasn’t been far from my mind since the beginning of August. Yep, that’s when I started making graphics, drafting posts, and getting everything scheduled. I know that seems quite early, but posting every single day takes a lot of advanced effort!

Without further ado, let’s jump into the first post: 3 candles perfect for your home, apartment, or bedroom this season. When picking scents, I stuck to my favorites: I like sweet, spicy scents, as well as more herbals scents. I hope you love these ones as much as I do! And don’t forget to leave me your favorites in the comments.

1. Leaves from Bath & Body Works

If I had to say a favorite candle from Bath & Body Works, it would be this one (or maybe Kitchen Spice, which they don’t make anymore). Leaves is scented with apple, nectar, and clove spices, making it the perfect almost apple cider scent: not too apple-y, not to sweet, very Autumnal. To me, this candle can also smell very pumpkin-like, as well as that smell of crisp leaves. Nothing gets me in the Fall spirit quite like this candle!

2. Hickory Clove from Decoware

My husband picked out this candle--and he picked a winner. I’m a huge fan of the smell of clove; it is so perfectly spicy. It reminds me of gingerbread! This candle promises “musk-infused oakwood” scent with “warm amber, spiced evergreen, and autumn herbs alongside clove and vanilla bourbon.” It reminds me a lot of the Spiced Bourbon candle that I got at Bath & Body Works last year! It is absolutely lovely. We’ve been enjoying having it in our bedroom the last month or so.

3. Sage & Citrus from Yankee Candle

I rarely buy Yankee Candles full price; you can often find them at stores like TJ Maxx for about half off, which is pretty decent. That’s how I found this Sage & Citrus scented candle. This is a less stereotypical Fall scent, but if you’re looking for something that is a little more herby and light, it is absolutely perfect. I love the smell of citrus, but especially around Autumn, I like for everything to be more orange-scented. This candle has notes of lavender, as well as patchouli and musk, so it’s perfect for a more “masculine” scent.

Product Review: Photowall*

Product Review: Photowall* | Writing Between Pauses

If you're like me, you have photos of just about everything. I have more photos of Forrest than I truly care to admit to (it's numbering in the 10,000 range, ok?) and I have a lot of them printed. I am a little obsessed with creating collages of all kinds. I love being able to see photos throughout my house; I think it makes a house feel really warm and lovely to have photos everywhere. Plus, I just like showing off our cute little family!

So when I was approached by Photowall to review a product from their website, I jumped at the chance. 

Photowall is a Swedish-run website that produces wallpaper and canvas prints. They have hundreds of designs available, plus you can upload your own photos and have a canvas printed with that photo! There are lots of websites that do this and I have used them before--but I'll be honest, Photowall is the highest quality canvas I've ever received!

Photowall Review 1 | Writing Between Pauses

It took me what felt like forever to choose an image for my canvas! I originally wanted to have a family portrait printed, but I couldn't decide on one, many of my photos (being from my iPhone) were just a bit too low resolution, and I really hemmed and hawed. Then I started browsing Photowall's catalogue of available prints and realized there were so many options! I almost got a floral design; I almost got a print of Portland, OR's skyline; and then, I found this one. 

It's a grove of aspens with yellow leaves. As we all are probably aware of at this point, I love Autumn--and I have a grey painted wall in my living room. I love grey and yellow together; my kitchen is grey and yellow themed. So it seemed perfect to get this canvas and do a little redesign in my living room. 

Ordering was super easy; you choose your print, or upload a photo, choose your sign, pay, and that's it! Shipping was super fast too. I ordered this on a weekend, I believe, and it arrived on the following Friday. 

When it arrived, my husband said, "this is way too small for a canvas!" That's because Photowall ships with everything for you to stretch your canvas yourself. You have a roll of canvas and a few pieces of wood for the frame, plus screws to secure it together and a hanger for mounting on the wall. Putting it together was super easy and the instructions were very clear. It was also really fun! 

In the future, I think I would go bigger; I got the smallest size canvas, as I just wasn't sure how it would look in the space (it's a little less than 16 inches). I definitely wish I had gone 24 inches or larger, I think it would work just as well! But I really love how it looks and I feel like I'm slowly but surely sprucing up our living room to look like grown ups (and not just a toddler) live here. 

If you'd like to try Photowall, just visit their website here and use my code MichelleLockeCampaign2018 for 20% off your order. My code is only available until the end of April, so order soon! 

*Disclaimer: As always, the asterisk (*) in the title of this post denotes that I received product from Photowall in exchange for a review. However, all thoughts and opinions remain my own. I really love Photowall and hope you will too! 

3 Ways to Spruce Up Your House for Autumn

3 Ways to Spruce Up Your House for Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Every year, I take on a few Autumn crafts. Mainly, it's just fun to make something to decorate your house with. I keep a collection of potential crafts throughout the year and then once Autumn roles around, I pick my favorites. 

This year, I'm sticking to some kid-friendly crafts so Forrest can help me with them. However, here are 3 that I'm going to take on in the evenings sans Forrest! 

1. Paper Leaf Wall Hanging

This is so cute! It uses watercolor paper (perfect for older kids to take on) and then a cutting machine to create them. However, I really think you could just use a larger leaf pattern and cut them out by hand. Click here

2. Autumn Candle DIY

This is a super easy craft! You can buy the supplies for it at the dollar store too, which is really cool, and it would make a great Thanksgiving centerpiece. Click here

3. Autumn Embroidery DIY

I'm really into embroidery lately and this craft would definitely be a little bit more of a challenge for me! It's so cute and would be perfect for the entirety of Fall and Winter. Click here

Things I Love: Seasonal Scents

Things I Love: Seasonal Scents

A few weeks ago, I posted a thread on Twitter about the scents I like in my home during specific seasons. I, luckily, live in a place with 4 distinct seasons and for that reason, I'm very particular about home decor and smells during those seasons. I get very caught up in the whimsy of changing seasons and what each one represents. If you want to see my original Twitter thread, click here. (And share your favorite scents with me there too! Why not!?) 

I thought it would be fun to do a round up of my favorite candles, air filters, and more to help bring these seasonal scents home. Here they are. 


My favorite scents in the summer are fruity, citrusy smells: lemon and orange, specifically, but also pineapple and coconut, as well as mint, eucalyptus (very clean), and even something kind of smoky, like a musk or bergamot. 


Fall is my favorite season and, therefore, contains my favorite scents: flannel shirts, crunchy leaves, foggy early air, cinnamon, caramel, sandalwood, and bergamot. Deeper, rich, spicy scents alongside smoother, sweeter ones. 


Winter is my second favorite season, so, obviously, these are my second favorite scents. Because I celebrate Christmas, a lot of my scent memory comes from Christmas. That means, evergreen trees, pine needles, cloves and ginger, coffee, cinnamon rolls, and the smell of wrapping paper. One of my friends on Twitter pointed out one of the smells of Winter: that smell when you first turn the heating on in your car or house after a long time. It's that dusty, dry, warm smell. It's so distinctly wintery. 

  • From Yankee Candle, the Winter Glow candle is so perfect. Oranges, rosemary, cedar, amber, and spruce combine to give that perfect light, winter smell.  
  • Another Yankee: Soft Blanket has bergamot, blackberry, vanilla, rose, amber, and musk for that perfect mix of sweet and subtle. Great for a classy party. 
  • From Archipelago, the Black Forest Diffuser is a perfect moody winter scent. It combines black currant, ebony wood, and douglas fir tree for a luxurious, cozy smell. 


Spring is not my favorite season. It's very ho-hum for me. However, there are still some scents I love, that make me think of Spring and Spring only. I always think of lemon soap (different from lemons!), roses, linen, rain, and the smell of wet roads. 

  • From Archipelago, the Magnolia Diffuser has the perfect smell of a magnolia flower tree. It's also very classy looking and perfect for hiding up on a shelf. 
  • From H&M (really), the No. 9 Tulip candle is a light, sweet, floral scent--very reminiscent of the Tulip Festival in Oregon every year! 
  • The Mineral Springs candle from Bath & Body Works is a really unexpectedly amazing smell: mineral water, water lily, and a dash of lime. It's fresh without being over scented. 

A Little Reading Nook Inspiration

If you follow me on any social media, you know that on Friday, I was hit by the flu. Well, both Forrest and I were hit by the flu. Having a toddler get so sick is bad enough. But trying to take care of him while simultaneously being taken down by a 103 degree fever is even worse. Nothing anyone can say will fully prepare you for the moment you just can't get off the couch to stop your toddler from throwing every book over the baby gate. But it happens. We've made it through the worst of it. All Forrest has left is a small cough; he's finally eating again (thank goodness!). 

I, on the other hand, can't sleep at night I cough so much and my throat hurts so bad. I have absolutely no voice (try ordering a tea at Starbucks with no voice, it's fun for everyone!). But we're making it through. 

One thing that fell by the wayside over the weekend was, obviously, my blog. I thought and thought about what I should try to post and one thing that came to mind was... reading nooks. 

I've been reading a lot since I got sick. When I wake up in the middle of the night and slather myself with Vick's VapoRub, I often read for an hour until I get sleep again. Looking at reading nooks on Pinterest is also a great way to pass those wee morning hours until everyone else wakes up. 

So here's a little fun reading nook inspiration. Just because it's fun to imagine. 

I definitely have a preferred "look" when it comes to reading nooks. This one (source) is pretty much perfect. The natural wood, tons of books, a bed. I could sleep there. Forever. It's very "cupboard under the stairs" in terms of size, but looks way cozier than Harry Potter's former bedroom. 

That being said, I'm really into these two opposing nooks: you can roll from your computer nook to your reading nook. The window seat reading nook is super popular and you can find tons of options for it on Pinterest. To tour the entire house that features these nooks, click here

Let's get back to my aesthetic, however. If I had to have the flu anywhere, I'd prefer to have it here. Because it's just... better than anywhere else. A big comfy bed and a bunch of books (plus maybe some DayQuil and a few boxes of tissues and someone to bring me tea) would be much better than chasing a toddler and falling asleep on the couch while he watches BabyFirst TV. You can check out an entire Buzzfeed article of these beauties here

I had to include one more just for practicality. When it comes to reading nooks, ones that also act as bookshelves are genius. I love this style and could for sure see myself sleeping there for several days in a row. I couldn't find an original source for this, but you can view the Pin from Pinterest here

Did you enjoy this little reading nook relaxation post? If so, I'd love it if you'd sign up for the Writing Between Pauses newsletter! You can do so by clicking here

What is Hygge? + Inspiration

It seems like, out of no where, this thing called hygge started showing up on social media. From Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, social media decor seems to be dominated by #hygge (hashtag-hygge, as I often say to my husband). I can't deny the allure of what appears to be a focus on warm, cozy spaces. So I thought I'd share a few bits of inspiration for hygge--as well as talking about what hygge is, practically. 

So, what is hygge? 

According to KhachiLife, hygge is:

"hard to pronounce and directly translate (try saying ‘hoo-gah,’ then Denmark-ify it). It’s also hard to describe, mainly because it’s more so a state of mind and heart and less an actual thing or action. The two closest English words that offer a good start to understanding this positive attitude are ‘warm’ and ‘cozy’."

So, that makes it... easier? 

In general, on Pinterest, it seems to center around being cozy, using lots of throw blankets, and make sure your living space is warm, inviting, and relaxing. In general, decor has recently been what I consider rather cold (the all-white walls, the stiff, retro couches, the uncomfortable dining room chairs that look pretty); hygge is totally opposite. I would say my mother's living room growing up was "hygge": it was safe, it was warm, it was perfect. Even if it wasn't in Martha Stewart Living. 

Want a little hygge inspiration? 

Here are a few lovely resources I've gathered up. 

My friend, Sian, at Rebel Angel has a great post on hygge. She covers some elements of hygge that are easy to include in your own home. 

25 Ways to Fill Your Life with Hygge. I love this list of 25 ways to add a little hygge to your home (without going totally overboard on one design concept). Most importantly, this list invites you to make hygge your own. 

A free hygge printable, from Design by Claire. I love this pretty little printable. I actually printed it out myself and put it up in my bathroom (which is teal and embroidery themed, in general!). It fits perfectly. 

12 Ways to Create the Danish Hygge Look at Home. Again, great suggestions to adding a little hygge to your life. Of course, the photography is top notch. If only my own hygge home looked that pretty all the time... I notice none of these decor blogs feature toddler-destroyed living rooms as hygge! 

From Oprah (the queen of comfy & loving bread), a few ways to embrace hygge. I do enjoy the reference to calling candles "living lights." Very hygge. 

If you want even more hygge inspiration, be sure to follow my #hygge board on Pinterest

I Stopped Trying to Have a Perfect Home

In college, I watched the TV show Hoarders every week. I obsessively planned to watch each new episode. And after each episode, I would mop my floors, vacuum, fold my clothes and put them away, make my bed, reorganize my bedside table, clean out my drawers, etc. I cleaned, in short. I cleaned my house from top to bottom. 

As time went on, each episode got harder and harder to watch--and my post-Hoarders cleaning spree got longer and longer. I realized that Hoarders made me way too anxious. There is no reason to go through life making yourself miserable over and over again, so I vowed to never watch Hoarders again. 

Despite the fact that I stopped watching Hoarders, my obsessive cleaning didn't stop... and my sense of never having a clean enough house increased. After I moved into my new home in December 2013, I have ping-ponged between "it's not so bad" and "I should just burn this house down." 

But sometimes, it just didn't feel like enough. When my house is dirty, I feel very anxious and easily angered, very on-edge. It drives Danny crazy. At times, I felt like my house would never be as clean and cute as I want it to be.  

But then, someone will come over and I'll mention how messy or disorganized it is, and they'll give me this look of vague disbelief. "Michelle," they'll say, "your house is, like, nearly perfectly clean and organized and decorated. You're crazy." 

My due date group recently had fun making home tour videos: everyone walked through their house, filming with their phone, and posted it. When I posted mine, I, of course, included, "It's so messy." And you know what? Most people said it wasn't messy. 

I look around and I see stuff; I see the dog hair I've been meaning to vacuum up for a week; I see the trash that needs taken out, the book shelf that needs gone through, the Goodwill piles I need to just load up and move. But other people don't see those things. 

My house is never going to look magazine-ready. My living room has been taken over by primary colored baby toys and a monstrous baby gate; my kitchen has a high chair in it, the counters are covered in bottles and formula, and I have a massive bottle drying rack next to the sink. Martha Stewart is never going to come here and compliment that. 

Growing up means giving up things that were important to you. One of them, for me, is the perfect house. As people, we are messy and disorganized. We don't always keep the counters clean or our desks organized into perfect still lifes. And that's ok, really. It doesn't need to be. It's ok to be messy sometimes. 


10 Spring Decor Ideas (You Can Use Right Now)

I have never, in my life, been involved in spring cleaning. Pretty much year round, I struggle to keep up with cleaning: the idea of doing a yearly clean out is ultimately appealing to me, but logistically impossible, especially now. Especially with Forrest. Most days, I can sweep my kitchen floors, wipe down my counters and sink, and start to dust before Forrest needs me (to play with him, to feel him, to hold him, or to just pay attention to him). 

That being said, I'm making a dedicated effort to clean my house more regularly, to get rid of clutter (I proudly threw away a bunch of knick knacks I just don't need the other day), and to work on projects I've been meaning to do for ages. Example: about 2 months before Forrest was born, my mom gave me a mirror with a frame and hooks for coats for my entryway. It leaned against a wall until last weekend. That's a solid 8 months, guys! 

I've been pinning home decor ideas like a mad woman recently. I've decided to start from the front of my house and move back and up (and, yes, obviously, I need to get the faucet that flooded my entryway fixed first, oops). I'm so excited to get my house looking like a put-together house, not just a place to hold a bunch of stuff! Here are some of the things I've been pinning lately. Hopefully they inspire you to get a little work done this spring! (Oh and you can always check out what I'm pinning for home decor by following my board here.) 

1. Get Rid of Bathroom Clutter.

My bathrooms are a weak point: to me, they need to be utilitarian because they get so much use. That being said, I also always wish my bathroom would look like a spa. But with a tiny amount of storage and a baby and a husband who isn't great at being clutter free, it's a challenge. I like all these ideas for organizing your bathroom--and bonus, most of the supplies you can find at the dollar store. 

2. Create Great Canisters for Bathrooms, Kitchens, or Kids Rooms!

I have a million coffee containers and formula tubs I've been saving for months. I don't know why I save them, but I always feel guilty throwing something so useful away. Now, there are tons of tutorials for painting containers and turning them into gorgeous storage containers for around your house. 

3. Use Letters and Thrift Store Frames 

Spelling words or names, or including your initials, in home design is a simple way to add a breath of fresh air this spring! Target sells letters in both large and small sizes--as well as a variety of punctuation. I painted Danny & I's initials teal and put them in the entryway... right above that 8-month-old mirror! I also like to go to thrift stores, buy the coolest frames I can find, and spray paint them to match existing decor. 

4. Get Your Pantry Under Control

About three days before Forrest was born, my mom went to Costco for Danny and I; as a result, Danny and his brother, Nate, put away all the groceries and since then... I cannot find a damn thing in my pantry. It's been 6 months! I need to take care of it! I'm loving this pantry and how it looks. 

5. Create a Terrarium

I've always loved succulents and I've recently become mildly obsessed with cacti. Terrariums are a perfect, no-stress way to include a little greenery in your home. 

6. Make that Entryway Less Embarrassing

Obviously, this is a personal one for me. I love these ideas for improving, organizing, and decorating entryways. Just because it's a place of transition doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a little TLC. 

7. Remind Yourself: Keep It Clean 

I am of the opinion that if you focus on cleaning a little bit every day, you can avoid doing big, massive cleans every week (or, uh, every 2 weeks...). This is a do as I say, not as I do kind of belief, of course. However, I love these tips for how to just keep your house clean. If you can follow through, it makes life so much more fun! 

8. Have a Guest Room? Make It Awesome. 

I love these guest room ideas! Some of them are easier than others. If you have a guest room (ours is Forrest's room... not that he uses it), it can be fun to make these just a little more beautiful, fun, and cozy for your guests. I especially love the framed wifi password! 

9. Clean Your Home Office

Personally, I have a stack of folders, files, and papers on my desk that's been growing/accumulating since September (yep, when Forrest was born)! Someday, I'll get it all filed and organized... and when that happens, I'll use some of these tips to get my office area cleaned up and looking better! 

10. Want a Picture Collage? Use These Tips 

Getting prints of Forrest, and creating a wall collage, has been on my to do list for ages. I love these tips for organizing, great looking collages. 

Share your spring decor tips and ideas with me on Twitter here!