wrap up

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.

Monthly Wrap Up & Empties: September 2018

Monthly Wrap Up & Empties: September 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

Originally, I planned to do an Inspiration Sunday post for Blogtober today. But then I realized I had September empties to discuss and it felt more important to do this post. Well, maybe important isn’t the right word… rather, it just seemed to fit better!

September was a big month for us: we were super busy with back to school, Forrest’s birthday, and lots of stuff. And that trend isn’t letting up in October. I have Blogtober, of course, and my birthday on the 20th. Forrest and I are on a mommy-son trip this weekend (I’m writing this in advance, don’t worry!). Next weekend, we have Danny’s parents visiting. Then the last weekend of October will be our Halloween weekend. Then suddenly it will be November. Whew!

I have a lot to talk about for this wrap up, so let’s get started!

Empties: Everything I Used Up

Empties 1

1. OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo: I reviewed this shampoo here. I love this shampoo and it’s my current favorite. Of all the shampoos I’ve used, it’s the only one that really soothes my scalp and leaves my hair feeling nice. At this point, that’s all I ask!

2. Love Beauty & Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Magic Masque: I used this mask to help repair my hair after a disastrous PR shampoo I received. (I’m not even reviewing it, it’s that bad!) But I loved this mask! It smells lightly of roses and was so thick and lovely. It immediately helped my damaged, dry hair. You can buy it here.

3. Bliss Drench & Quench Moisturizer: I reviewed this moisturizer here. It’s not my favorite moisturizer ever, but it wasn’t awful. It was mostly just very expensive! This little tub lasted about 6 weeks and cost $20. It’s not a repurchase, that’s for sure.

4. Rosehips Oil: I recently added rosehips oil to my routine to help my dehydrated skin. As you probably know, I sing the praises of jojoba oil for removing makeup and helping improve my skin. However, jojoba as a moisturizer can give me a lot of texture. So I added rosehips oil as a sealant after my moisturizer to help my skin absorb a bit more. It has helped a lot, but I don’t love this one; I suspect the orange oil it’s mixed with hasn’t been helping my skin much!

5. Coty Flawless Complexion Tinted SPF Moisturizer: I discussed this SPF moisturizer in my Ipsy bag review here. I love this SPF, which sucks because it was such a teeny tiny tube! But it is absolutely lovely, hasn’t made me break out, and wears great under make up.

What I’ve Been Up To

Remus 1

Yes, that is the very rarely featured Remus. If you didn’t know (and most probably don’t), I have a beloved chocolate lab named Remus (as in Remus Lupin, the greatest werewolf). Despite playing second fiddle to Forrest, Remus remains my biggest baby. I don’t have any reason for this photo other than I took it while I was doing product photos for my Ipsy bag in September, Remus looked cute, and I can’t resist his big, golden eyes.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few things I enjoyed from September here for your enjoyment!

1. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: I impulsively borrowed this book from the library because the jacket contained the words “Highgate Cemetery” and “Victorian.” For whatever reason, when I started it, I thought it would be set in Victorian times. It is absolutely not; it’s set in the early 2000s, which leads to some truly hilarious ensembles worn by the main characters (remember white denim skirts!?). That being said, I still really enjoyed it. Highly recommend! How’s that for a tiny review?

2. Dr. Death: I started listening to this podcast after it was recommended on My Favorite Murder. This was a tough podcast for me to get into, because as I’ve written before, my grandfather was paralyzed by a neck surgery. The center of this podcast is a neurosurgeon who performs bad, irresponsible, and devastating neck and spinal surgeries; he paralyzes multiple people and kills a few. That being said, I really enjoyed it.

3. Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams: I have been waiting for this book on digital hold from the library for weeks and finally, I got it! I was so excited to read it. It’s set on a fictional island off the coast of New York where wealthy families summer for years on end. It was so good and kept me captivated the entire time.

4. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: Another book I had waited for weeks on hold! I keep doing this thing where I put holds on books, they take ages, and by the time I get them, I’m not “in the mood” to read them. I had to force myself to read Truly Devious about 4 days before it was due and I am SO glad I did! It was excellent and I found myself so disappointed that the sequel isn’t out yet. If you like mysteries and murder podcasts (which play a surprisingly pivotal role!), you’ll love this book.

Oh yes, Fall is finally here! Gosh, it feels like time goes by so fast! I hope you’re having a great October and you’ve been loving all the cozy Blogtober content around lately.

Everything I Used in July 2018

Everything I Used in July | Writing Between Pauses

Another month, another empties post! Just like last month, this month felt a bit "light" in terms of things I used up. Some months, I fly through products; and other months, especially when I'm traveling, I just don't use as much. 

Here's everything I finished up in July. 

1. Precision Beauty Under-Eye Pads Cucumber

These under-eye masks are a TJ Maxx purchase--and this was actually my last one in a box of 10! I think it was $5.99 for a pack. I don't know if they actually do anything, but I do really like how they feel. They're relaxing and I like doing them before I do my makeup for the day, as I find them help hydrate my under eyes (which are unfortunately getting crepe-y as I age, sigh). 

2. Callysee Caffeine Rush Nourishing Face Mask

This mask was from my July Ipsy bag. I did really like this mask, it smelled really good, and it did make my skin quite soft--but gosh, it made me flushed! For about 20 minutes after I used this mask, my face just felt like it was warm--not burning like it was irritated, but warm, like I had worked out. It's not unpleasant, but it is a little disconcerting. 

3. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Loose Powder

This is my favorite setting powder of all time. I recently replaced it with a more affordable powder that I wanted to review and without spoiling things, let me just say, I'm already a bit sad about it. If you have oily skin, this powder is a must have! 

March 2018 Wrap Up

March 2018 Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

March has been an absolute whirlwind of a month. I'm still a little surprised to find myself at the very end of March, looking into April. Didn't March just start? 

It's often odd to me that the months I feel go by really fast are often months that weren't exactly bad, but weren't good either. March was a bit of a rough month for us, thanks to a general lack of sleep and a major change to our routine. 

Things I Learned

I learned to not take advantage of good luck.

Forrest switched to a "big boy bed" at the very tail end of February. For the first week, he did really great... I thought things would be fine. However, he started really struggling to both go to sleep and stay asleep, two issues that we've never had with him. He's also started waking up at 3 or 4am and playing for hours, without making noise, until we wake up at 5 or 5:30 and see that he's out of bed! (Thankfully, he can't get out of his room.) 

This isn't something I would typically write a post about, but wow, it's been rough. You think that once you get through the newborn sleep problems and eventually talk yourself into sleep training that things will be fine. Forrest has been sleeping 12 hours a night straight, without fail, since he was 9 months old. Since then, we've never struggled with his sleep, so we've been a bit spoiled. I've been massively sleep-deprived the last few weeks, more than I have been in a while, and as a result, my tension headaches and migraines have been absolute killers. 

I'm hoping we're through the worst of it and have a good routine figured out. Otherwise, I'm going to just need a constant drip of coffee going. 

Things I Loved

Daffodils. IT'S HERE! Spring has arrived! Sort of. I took this photo halfway through the month. Last Friday, it snowed the entire day and through the night. On the first day of Danny's spring break! The daffodils that had bloomed are unfortunately now frozen, but at least I got a photo. 

Danny's birthday. Danny turned 29 on March 14; I've been 29 since October, so it was nice of him to catch up! He had a fun birthday (well, as fun as it can be when you're an adult working) and I treated him to a few new clothes, a new movie, and a cake. 

Sulfate-free shampoo. I've been really struggling with an itchy scalp for a few months. I've tried a few things that work for a little while and then stop. Finally, I bit the bullet and invested (literally, this was $10 shampoo!) in some sulfate-free shampoo. Alongside using pure tea tree oil (diluted, of course), I've already noticed an improvement in my scalp. I'll write more on this later! 

My Favorite Content

Thanks for reading! Tell me: how was your March?

My February 2018 Wrap Up

My February 2018 Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

As I wrote in my January wrap up, January felt like the longest month ever. Conversely, February feels like the absolute shortest month. How does that happen? February has notoriously been an important and hated month for me, evidenced by this tweet: 

Thankfully, this February has been relatively quiet. I did get called for jury duty, but thankfully, there are no jury selections scheduled for my day--score! (And before anyone asks, I understand jury duty is my civic duty... however, I've been called 5 times since I turned 18! The first time I was in high school. I've served way more than others!) 

A few really great things happened this February, which makes it stand out in a long line of bummer months. Let's talk about all the good stuff! 

Things I Loved

  • I know from many parents that all toddlers eventually develop their first obsession. For some, it was Monsters Inc., or Toy Story. I know Forrest's now. It's the Little Einsteins. It's a Disney Junior show where four very diverse characters (one is a conductor, another a ballerina, etc.) fly in a rocket ship to play music and solve problems. It's not a terrible show, but the rocket ship song will haunt my nightmares. This is motherhood, ordering 5 Little Einsteins DVDs only for your child to only want to watch one of them over and over and over...
  • Danny and I took a weekend trip to a family cabin in Sunriver, Oregon. It was so nice to get away for a little while, even if Forrest chose that weekend to throw several massive tantrums! It snowed, both there and at home, so we got a bit of fun weather. 

Things I Learned

  • First things first, we have to talk about my newest podcast obsession: This Podcast Will Kill You, a podcast about infectious diseases. It combines history with biology in a way that is so fascinating. The hosts are funny, educated, and insightful. The smallpox episode and the HIV episode stand out as my two favorites, but they're all good. As a warning, it can be quite gruesome--buth the payoff is great. I can't wait for season 2! 
  • My other new favorite podcast: Witch Please! Another podcast hosted by two women where they discuss Harry Potter in a way that is purely academic, funny, and purposefully ignores authorial intent (aka the bane of my existene when I talk critically about Harry Potter). I'm still binging, but I really, really love this one. 
  • If you haven't read the article from New York Magazine about the worst roommate ever, please click here and read it. Like many, I have a terrible roommate story (I learned my lesson and never had another), but goodness gracious, can you imagine living through that!? I am obsessed! 
  • One of my favorite artists is Sizzy Rocket, who just released a 3 song EP called Mulholland. Listen, that's way too few songs because it is so good. Please listen here

My Favorite Content

  • If you haven't been following my thread of observations I've made, after switching from a Personal Instagram to a Business Instagram, I highly suggest you click here. I'm going to be writing a much longer blog post on this eventually, with some quantified data (well, as good as my non-math brain can) and decisions about whether it's worth it. 
  • My February Ipsy Bag review: this is a favorite only because I'm so impressed with my own photography!
  • My Spring Color Series: I'm finishing up this week, but I've been having so much fun writing these, finding inspiration, and finding pieces that everyone can use to add some color to their winter wardrobes! 
  • My review of Lush's Bella Fruta box: This review was several weeks in the making; I put a lot of work into it (all those baths, "work") and I'm really happy with how it came out. My only regret? That I started using items before I took a better picture! You live and learn! 

I hope you all had a wonderful month. Drop your favorites, loves, and learns in the comments! 

My January 2018 Wrap Up

My January Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

Tweets like this have been going around for what feels like the entire month, but: did January feel really, really long to anyone else? 

Last week, I distinctly remember thinking... "it's finally the last week of January." But it wasn't. It wasn't even close! I was still 10 days away from the end of January! Yet the first 20 days of January felt like, easily, 3 or 4 weeks. 

January is always kind of a slog of a month; we're all making up for the holidays (either at work/school or in our finances or, worse, both or even all three); it's cold or wet or both; we're tired, we're cranky, we've had a "break" that might not have felt like a break (and some of us don't really get breaks). It's a rough month, set in the dead of winter, with no signs of spring yet. 

But January wasn't all bad. One of my goals, privately, for January was to try and remain positive even in the face of feeling... really, really not positive (negative, Michelle, that's called negative). I've done great in some areas of my life and not-so-great in other areas, but I am supremely proud of myself in a lot of ways. Because I really felt like I rocked it this month, made steps towards being a better version of myself, and grew in ways I didn't really think possible. 

Things I Learned

It's ok to let things go. I'm not someone who causes a ruckus, really. In fact, I've always been one of those people who doesn't say when something bothers me or when something bad happens... and then, 2 weeks later when someone else finds out, they ask me why I didn't mention it to anyone. I just don't want to be a bother. I always second guess myself when I don't say anything. I've always felt a little bit like "maybe I am a pushover" when I have those moments, but recently I realized that sometimes it's ok to just wait for people to feel bad about what they've done, notice their mistakes, or experience enough karma to realize they did something wrong. I'm ok with being the kind of "say nothing" personality that I am. 

It's ok to define my version of success. I started listening to the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You--specifically, the episode about working mothers which focuses on redefining success and motherhood and the ways they overlap. While listening, I felt so inspired to redirect myself and my energies and how I define "success" as both a mother and a member of the workforce. (And it should be said: even if you're a stay at home mom, you're still working!) I am someone who definitely struggles with making comparisons between myself and others, and judging myself harshly for "falling short"--so deciding, as I was listening at my desk at work, to redefine how I view my own success was such a breakthrough moment. 

Things I Loved

  • It goes without saying, but the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast is great! 
  • I also started listening to the Is This Adulting? Podcast this month and it's another new favorite. 
  • Being a real dork about getting Dove PR
  • This tweet
  • I always hate writing things like this, but: January has been the best month for my blog since October--and is on track to surpass my October numbers (which were really, really good). I'm absolutely stunned because I felt like I had been falling really behind in terms of scheduling social media, pinning to Pinterest, and more. I just want to say thank you for helping me to feeling like this little blog of mine is becoming a success (in my terms, no one else's!); if you're reading this, you're part of it too! Thank you! 

My Favorite Content

  • How to Write Every Single Day - I wrote this post in a few sessions over what felt like 2 weeks (but was probably closer to just 1 week). It was a labor of love and something I struggled to write because it forced me to articulate a few of my habits that are just, really, part of my being at this point! I'm really proud of it though & think it's really great, no matter where you are in writing at the moment! 
  • My Favorite Lipsticks series - I started this series this month & will finish it next month. I'm really excited and love writing these; I'm making an effort to include photos of myself in my posts thanks to a suggestion from a reader. As terrifying as the prospect of taking photos of myself is, I feel like it's good for me at the end of the day! 
  • How to Stay Creative as an Exhausted Mom - being someone who thrives on my creative spirit, and yet a mom who feels like I never have time for anything, let along creating, I have found little ways to keep myself from feel like I'm just absolutely losing it. This post compiles all those ways and honestly, I love being able to share these tips for people, whether you're a mom or just exhausted! 

I shared this post on Instagram last week. I wrote it in one big, long blurb at work and then, took a break to reflect on it. Nothing set this post off; it was just some thoughts I'd been having since waking up in an absolute funk that morning. Click through to Instagram to read it! 

December 2017 Wrap Up

December 2017 Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

In November, I promised to start doing monthly wrap-up posts. (You can read my November wrap up here.) I always love reading these from my favorite bloggers and it's something that I just enjoy doing. As December winds down and the new year rapidly approaches, I'm a bit busy at the moment... but I'm excitedly looking forward to 2018. (I have some very exciting posts lined up for January!) 

Let's jump right into December, shall we? I'm going to try a new format this month, just to see what I like. 

Things I Learned

  • This was the month where I learned to curl my hair. I know, I know, I've lived 29 years of having straight hair that barely holds a curl and finally I have found a method that works without me having to spend hours using heat tools in the morning. I use this method if anyone is wondering
  • My toddler will always surprise me. I feel like I could probably say I've learned this every month since September 2015, but it still feels very true. This month alone, Forrest has broken out in a full body rash, split his lip open so badly 3 separate times I repeatedly checked his teeth to make sure they weren't cracked, and started saying 4+ syllable words. How is he so smart and yet so willing to run into traffic the moment I turn my back? 

Things I Loved

My Favorite Content

Final Thoughts

December felt like a very good month. I didn't read as much as I wanted to; I didn't do things I fully planned to do; and a lot of things happened that felt like downers. But overall, I've had a lovely month and I'm so excited for 2018. It can only go up from here, right? 

My November Wrap Up & A Few of My Favorite Things

My November Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

Two of my favorite bloggers, Charlotte and Sian, both do monthly wrap ups. It's not something I usually do, but as I get more and more regimented about my blog (imagine me saying that two years ago!), I find myself leaning towards doing them. Well, the time has finally come: I'm going to start including a monthly wrap up, just as a way to decompress about the month, share some favorites, and be a little more personal. 

Here's what I've been up to this month. 


This month has definitely been one of my slower reading months! I usually try to read 4-5 books a month, but for whatever reason, I didn't manage it this time. Perhaps it was because I was sick most of November (food poisoning, then a severe cold). I did, however, read Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star and My Sister's Grave by Robert DugoniSisters One, Two, Three was incredibly good (perhaps one of the best books I've read of 2017). My Sister's Grave is a crime novel, the kind of procedural I usually like, but I found it a little clunky at times. 


It goes without saying that November is always a writing heavy month for me. I expected to be rushing to finish NaNoWriMo at this point in the month; however, by November 18, I was at over 42,000 words and realized I was going to finish early. Not just a little early, but massively early. (I finished the 23rd.) I'm really proud of having finished and actually, I quite like my story; as I've written before, at this point, I write novels entirely for myself. So, it goes without saying, I really enjoy reading the novel I wrote for myself! 

My Favorite Products

What are my favorite products from this month? I'm loving my blush duo from the Beauty Crop in the color Mauve-ulous*. I've also been loving the Beauty Crop's GRLPWR Liquid Lipsticks*; if you're new to the liquid lipstick world, they are the softest, easiest wearing liquid lips. I really want to try the shade Piedaho next! 

(*Note: These are affiliate links. Using them gives me a small kickback. However, I do genuinely love these products!) 

As well, I've been loving my Foot Petals sneakers, my L'Oreal Infallible Pro-matte Foundation (I know it's not cruelty free, but oh gosh, it makes my skin look amazing!), and the BLAQ mask from my October Ipsy bag! 


My two big Netflix watches this month have been Big Mouth and the Great British Bake Off. I watched GBBO while I was sick; I'll fully admit to crying when Candice won in the most recent season (added to US Netflix, at least). Big Mouth is an animated cartoon about puberty; it has some amazing comedians voicing it (like Jordan Peele and Maya Rudolph). If you look back at being 13-14 with both happiness and extreme terror, it's the perfect show for you! 

Well, I think that's a pretty solid round up of my November! How was yours?