round up

Best of Blogtober: Week 3

Best of Blogtober: Week 3 | Writing Between Pauses

Welcome back to week 3 of my Best of Blogtober series! I love doing this series, as I said last week, because it gives me an excuse to read nearly every blog post that comes across my timeline. I love finding new favorite blogs to read.

One new blogger I wanted to share this week is my sister-in-law and her friends new blog, the Lady Chat. Amy has guest posted on my blog before and she is funny, cheery, and always good for talking pop culture. I am so excited about this new venture and especially excited to read every blog post.

Without further ado, let’s get into it. Here are my favorite blog posts from this week:

1. What’s Stopping Your Home from Being a Haven? from Solely Living

2. Top 5 Wellness Apps from Emily Aagaard

3. How I Manage My Time as a Banker & Blogger from Halsadiya Blog

4. Bake With Me: Snickerdoodles from Simply Michelle

5. Black History Month: My Experience Growing Up Black in a White Area from Leticia C

6. My Personal NaNoWriMo Prep Kid from Anisa Nasir

7. Why Babies Can’t Drink Water from the Pink Crib

5 Autumn Sweaters to Cozy Up In

5 Autumn Sweaters to Cozy Up In | Writing Between Pauses

Me: I’m going to buy ALL the sweaters.

Also me: *sees sweater prices* well, let’s see which ones I should prioritize.

I love a good sweater, but sometimes it is hard to sort through all the trendy sweaters (I’m looking at you, Dinosaur Fair Isles that show up at Forever 21 every year) to find ones that won’t just be a good sweater this year, but for the next 5-10 years. I’ve done a little bit of digging and have found 5 of the best Autumn sweaters I can find; these will carry you through not just Fall and Winter, but into Spring as well.

Old Navy Autumn Sweater

1. Classic Boat-Neck Sweater from Old Navy, $20

Who doesn’t love a classic stripey sweater? I love the soft, oatmeal-gray color of this one, as well as the longer, tunic shape. It’s perfect for a quick outfit over leggings; but you can also wear it with jeans or trousers and a blazer for a more work-appropriate look.

H&M Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

2. Knit Sweater from H&M, $34.99

The big cozy. I feel like I’m always looking for the perfect oversized sweater. For being so popular, they are sure are hard to find. This one from H&M is perfect: soft, cozy, and oversized. It will look great with leggings when you’re running errands. Or with your sweatpants when you’re at home. You know, either one.

ModCloth Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

3. Play It Cowl Sweater from ModCloth, $59.00

We often think of Autumn colors as purely in the warm family; however, I consider all jewel tones, like emerald and teal, to also be Autumn colors. That’s why I picked this sweater; I love the rich teal color, as well as the comfy cowl neck. It’s perfect for wearing with trousers to work, then going to a Holiday party afterwards. Honestly, it’s just the perfect sweater. This may be one I’ve ordered for myself. It’s that cute!

American Eagle Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

4. Impossibly Soft Cable Knit Sweater from American Eagle, $44.95

I love American Eagle sweaters and despite being considered somewhat of a “teenager" brand, they hold up really well. This cable knit sweater is such a classic—and I love this burnt orange color! It will look so cute with jeans and a scarf, as well as over a skirt and tights. Plus, it’s super, super soft—that means no itchy wool!

Madewell Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

5. Crofton Striped Pullover Sweater from Madewell, $69.99

Ah, this sweater. It’s cute, classic, and can carry you through all the seasons, at it is a bit lighter than the others sweaters here. I love the colorblocking because you can wear it with lots of different combinations of skirts, trousers, and jeans. I also love the slightly baggy, relaxed shape. It’s a little expensive (nearly $70 on sale!), but with good care, it will last you several years.

The Best of Blogmas

The Best of Blogmas 2017 | Writing Between Pauses

Blogmas has been a real learning experience. As I wrote in both my Blogtober roundup post and my Blogtober reflection, it's easy to lose steam during a challenge like this--but ultimately I found it very rewarding. My traffic was astounding in October and I was hoping to replicate that in December. 

The results in December were... less than stellar. My traffic definitely flagged and didn't rise to the heights of October or even November, which I found equal parts frustrating and disappointing. So, Blogmas wasn't exactly the smash hit I expected it to be in terms of traffic. However, I did find Blogmas to be extremely fun and rewarding in terms of writing output and the content I put out there. Not every blog post I wrote felt like a hit (and absolutely, there are a few I want to redo in the future when I have time), but I wrote posts I wanted to write and I think I wrote some evergreen content that I can refer to throughout the year. 

Without further ado, here are my top 3 blog posts of Blogmas, followed by 3 blog posts I've loved from my fellow bloggers. 

My Top 3 Posts of Blogmas

  1. 5 Free iPhone Wallpapers for Christmas: This is the first blog post idea I had and the very first post of the year. Of course, it's gotten the most traffic from Pinterest because it has the phrase free iPhone wallpapers in it. (Insert laughing-crying emoji here.) I do love this post though because it is so simple. 
  2. A Busy Mom's Gift Guide for Toddlers: Gift guides, I love them and I hate them. I didn't expect this one to be quite the runaway success that it was, but alas, people never know what to buy for young toddlers. This post not only has gotten a lot of traction on both Twitter and Pinterest, but has gotten quite a few clicks over to Amazon. Interesting! 
  3. Why We Don't Believe in Santa: I knew this post would raise eyebrows. Hilariously, I did get asked in a DM on Twitter if I was raising my son to believe in God, if nothing else. (If you're wondering: it's none of your business.) It's something I'm really proud of having written because I know it's an alternative viewpoint on how to raise a child around Christmas, but I know I'm not alone. To my fellow parents who aren't doing Santa, or god forbid those awful elves-on-the-shelves, I have your back! 

My 3 Favorite Posts from Other Bloggers

  1. 20 Ways to Stay Calm At Christmas from Hello Bexa: Do you get anxious around the holidays? Being cooped up inside, with nowhere to go, often makes me feel very anxious. These tips from Bexa have been really helping in keeping me soothed and from getting too high strung. 
  2. Tips to Fight Off the Winter Blugs from Its Bethan's Blog: A similar post, but this one is all about warding off the winter blues. As someone who hates summer, but also has SAD, these tips are absolutely wonderful.
  3. Instant Download Christmas Cards from A Life of Charlotte: If you, like me, are permanently getting to around December 20 and realizing, "Oh, I haven't done Christmas cards...", well then, this post is for you! These instand downloadable cards are super gorgeous and perfect for those last minute moments when you're about to head to someone's house for a party. 

Do you have a favorite Blogmas post? Share with me in the comments!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! | Writing Between Pauses

It's officially the spookiest day of the year! I always so look forward to Halloween. This year is going to be especially fun; I'm taking Forrest to a Halloween event while Danny is still at work, then we will meet up for dinner, then make the rounds to my parents and grandparents so Forrest can show off his costume. Then, once Forrest is in bed, Danny and I will undoubtedly watch Nightmare Before Christmas and Trick or Treat, in that order, eat popcorn balls, and drink some spooky wine. 

Yesterday, I shared my 5 favorite Blogtober posts. But today I wanted to share 5 posts from others throughout Blogtober that I absolutely love. Here they are: 

  1. How to Throw a Grown Up Halloween Party, from Cardigan Jezebel
  2. This outfit of the day, from Heart Shaped Bones 
  3. 20 Best Halloween Movies, from Carpe Diem Emmie 
  4. What's On Our Halloween Bookshelf, from Bump to Baby
  5. Taking Embroidery Into Autumn, from loulabellerose

Happy Halloween reading! 

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

3 Easy Autumn Make Up Routines

3 Easy Autumn Make Up Routines | Writing Between Pauses

I love make up, but I tend to wear the same looks every day. Either a brown-toned or rusty-pink toned eye look, the same blush every day, and really similar lipstick every day. (I'll cop to admitting way too many lipsticks, but really only wearing 4-5 colors.) 

For that reason, I've been looking for new looks to try. I wanted to share some lovely bloggers and YouTubers in this post and avoid the "big beauty gurus" (you know who I'm talking about). I think you'll love these three looks--I can't wait to emulate them with my make up collection! 

1. Grungy/Matte Autumn Look from Rachel Leary 

Personally, I've been on the hunt for the perfect oxblood lipstick for ages; I think I finally found one recently. Paired with a cranberry eye look, it's lovely for a late Autumn glam look (like on Thanksgiving)! 

2. Everyday Autumn Makeup Look from Emily at Under the Scottish Rain 

I love this lovely, bright look from Emily at Under the Scottish Rain. An understated eye look with a bright lip is so lovely, especially when the weather outside is getting cold and rainy (or snowy!) Check out Emily's post here

3. Fall Make Up Tutorial from Chezza Bee

This make up tutorial from Chezza Bee is so lovely and such a traditional, pretty Autumn look. A copper-y eye with a mauve-y nude lip? So in right now and really, really pretty. 

5 Easy Autumn Dinners to Make This Month

5 Easy Autumn Dinners to Make This Month | Writing Between Pauses

The truth is I’ve been hoarding Autumn recipes on Pinterest for weeks. About halfway through August, I started really craving soup. Two weeks ago, when it started to rain in Oregon, Danny had to remind me that we can’t eat just soup all week. Why not?! For that reason, I limited myself to ONE soup recipe in this round up. Why? Because maybe you aren’t into soup as much as I am or maybe you don’t own a crockpot. No matter what, these recipes scream Autumn—they are warm, cozy, and a little heavy. Enjoy! 

1. Crockpot tomato soup

This is one of my favorite soups of all time. I used to hate tomato soup—that is, until I started making tomato soup this way. I use the above recipe, but I changed a few things to make it my own. Mainly, I don’t use a parmesan rind (dairy free) and I don’t add any milk or cream. I do sauté the onions and garlic before adding to the crockpot. I add sweet mesquite seasoning, lots and lots of garlic, and a little pinch of cinnamon (you heard me). If you want to add some extra nutrients, a bag of spinach before you blend it up really punches up the health aspect. 

2. Butternut squash and spinach tortellini

I love a pasta, especially in the winter. One of my favorite ways to eat pasta, especially heavy dishes like fettuccines and mac’n’cheese, is to use blended up squash instead of something like heavy cream and cheese. This butternut squash and spinach tortellini recipe looks so good and it’s perfect for a weeknight dish when it’s a little rainy outside. 

3. Sweet potato & black bean tacos

A list of easy recipes wouldn’t be complete with tacos. Tacos are one of the easiest things to make on weeknights—and I love using Fall veggies like sweet potatoes, delicata squash, and butternut squash alongside black beans. I would also probably add some sweet corn if your local farmer’s market has any left! 

4. Salmon & potato bake 

Creamy potatoes and salmon in one dish? Sign me up, I’m there. This would be perfect for a Friday night when you just want something heavy and warm to soothe your soul. 

5. Spinach & lentil fritters

I’ve been a little obsessed with fritters lately. Something about them is just very Autumnal to me. These lentil and spinach versions really back a punch. Serve with some pita or nan and some cucumber-yogurt dipping sauce and they’d be absolutely delicious. Or serve with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. Either way, serve them because they’re yummy.