The Secret Sister Project (9)

secret sister project

I cannot believe that it is already time for round NINE of #OTSPSECRETSISTER!!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

The two most important things to do when signing up to be a part of this project are:

  1. Head over to the google form which coincides with your monetary tier and fill it out in full. NOTE: If you forget to do this then we cannot pair you, it is what we use to do all of our pairings.
  2. BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please thoroughly read our FAQ and Rules post. Memorize the rules and refer back to it throughout the project to make things easier for everyone.

Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to read.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” for which you sign up. Those in the pen pal tier are not expected to send gifts, that is strictly letters/cards AND you will NOT keep your identity secret if you are ONLY in the pen pal tier. Those in monetary tiers: you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication IN ADDITION to packages. Please remember: this is not a subscription box. It is not about the gifts. It’s is about the connections you are making!

Last thing, sign-ups run from July 13 to midnight on July 27!

NOTE FOR INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPANTS: Due to time zone differences and issues in the past with late questionnaires, etc. we are only able to give you until July 22 to sign up for round 9 of The Secret Sister Project. More details on how to sign up as an international participant below.

The Rules:

  • You must “know” one of the hosts in order to join! 
  • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project 
  • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
  • If we have to reach out to you more than once to ask if you why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating. 
  • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US.
  • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately.
  • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (email addresses, please) of a “buddy” who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy to contact.*Don’t stress out about this. This person will be available to ask you questions from your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Additionally, do not bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!
  • Below, you will be asked to provide a Goodreads or Amazon wish list with 20 or more books including newer and older titles that is specific to The Secret Sister Project. *Do not share this list with anyone else!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough.
  • Keep in mind that there is strong emphasis on the pen pal aspect. Meaning that if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letters to your sister.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag
  • Do not send swag
  • Pay attention to your sister’s likes/dislikes and wishilists
  • ARCs and shipping do not count toward your monetary limit
  • Do not send packages directly from Amazon without speaking to your point person first

Please read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post and remember that we are here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to use if needed, we want to help you and can’t unless we know what is happening! This all probably seems like a lot – but please keep in mind that we have over 200 participants at any given time and we ask you to follow these guidelines to make things easier on us as we all share in this community.

Okay, now we can move on to the fun stuff!

So how do I sign up?

It’s easy! Just answer every question in the questionnaire below and email it over to onthesamepagesecretsister@gmail.com by midnight on July 27! ALSO In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. This is what we will be using to pair you, so do not forget!

For those of you wishing to join the Pen Pal Tier ONLY: please still fill out the questionnaire in full with the exception of your wish lists. The questions will be a good way for us to pair you up with someone, and for your pen pal to get to know you. REMEMBER: Your identity is not to be kept secret from your pen pal.

International participants: Please use this Google form to sign up instead of one coinciding with the tiers. There will be a place for you to fill out your preference of which tier you would like to belong but we can not guarantee this. Due to international participation being low, we may have to put you all into the same tier, or may not be able to include international participants this round. Please remember that you have until midnight on July 20 to sign up as an international participant.

Here we go!

Name: 

Mailing Address: 

Is the above address a residence/PO Box/Condo/place of employment: (*As in, will your mail get to you when the tracking says delivered, or will you need to wait to get to the mailbox/mailroom?)

Email Address: 

Blog: 

Twitter Name:

Did you participate in one of the prior rounds of the Secret Sister Project? If yes, which round?

If yes, please provide us with the names of your former sisters (those you gave to, and received from – it is okay if you don’t yet know who is sending to you this round):

How much are you willing to contribute to the project monthly? Choose one (NOTE: this is just a range, you can of course go over the limit but please keep the pen pal aspect in mind, and please remember that is about cheer and not just gifts.) REMINDER: International participants are to fill out THIS google form only, do not fill out one provided below.

  • Pen pals: That’s right, this is strictly letters and cards. No trinkets, no extras, nothing besides letters. If you want to send ANYTHING more than a letter or a card every month then we ask that you sign up for one of the higher monetary tiers. NOTE: YES you may sign up for a pen pal tier and a monetary tier. Ensure that you fill out a google form for BOTH. *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE PEN PAL TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $5-$10: (Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, baked goods, homemade bookmark or other DIY project, or how about a movie night box with a DVD (thanks to the $5 bin at Walmart) and some candy for a movie night!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $5-$10 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM.
  • $15-$20 (Any of the possibilities listed above and perhaps a newer hardcover from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $15-$20 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $25+ (The sky’s the limit here, we just ask that you remember to reign it in a bit and remember the goal of this project is for cheer, and joy and forging positive relationships, not excessive gifts. Send those heartfelt letters!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $25+ TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM

Your OTSPSecretSister “buddy’s” Twitter or email: (*We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy to contact.)

Goodreads Profile (*so that they can access your wishlists! Make sure to turn off the privacy setting & try and keep it updated!):

Goodreads/Amazon bookish wishlist: (*must have at least 20 titles of older and newer titles, please try not to purchase any books off of this wishlist and if you do please let your sister know via your buddy or one of us. Do not give anyone else access to this list. Not parents, husbands, friends, co-workers, secret santas…etc. If you do not want to share a wishlist by making it public, you may list the books here instead.)

“Other” wishlist: (*Keep these within reason for prices, etc! Please do not include pricey things, this is more for places like Etsy or for cheap DVDs on Amazon, and so on!)

Important Dates to Remember (*This can be anything and everything! Your birthday, the day you are expecting your baby, the day you are leaving for your next vacation, your anniversary with your partner, a big test you have coming up, the first day at your new job, the anniversary of the day you quit smoking, even a sad anniversary on which you would need some cheer!)

Your favorite items under $5: (things like stationary, nail polish, fav candy etc.)

Food Allergies:

Fandoms:

Your Likes (*Give us an array of things here! Types of snacks, TV shows, movies, bands/types of music, art):

Your Dislikes (*Example: chocolate covered cherries, anything cinnamon flavored, the color brown):

Do you have a favorite store?:

Are you okay receiving a gift card? If so, to where?

Would you be comfortable receiving baked goods of some kind?

What Do You Splurge On?: 

Favorite Flowers: 

Favorite Color?:

Favorite (or least favorite) smells: (*for things such as candles, soaps, bath bombs/bubbles, perfumes)

Do You Collect Anything?:

Do You Drink Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?: 

Do You Have an E-reader?: 

Would you be okay being gifted an ebook? If so, please provide the email associated with your e-reader:

List some of your favorite genres or authors: 

Are there any authors or genres that you won’t read? 

T-shirt size:

Hogwarts House:

Favorite Disney movie and/or princess:

Any magazine that you wish you had a subscription to? 

Anything else we should know about you? (*Be thorough here! There is no such thing as “saying too much,” the more your “secret sister” knows, the easier it is to spoil you!)

Third and final reminder that you MUST also fill out a google spreadsheet which coincides with your monetary tier. Links can be found above.

As always, please remember that you can always reach out to us with any inquiries or issues, that is what we are here for! Especially reach out to us if you have not received anything by the first of the month. We want to keep everyone active and honest! Use the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag to talk with us and your fellow sisters, the best part about this project is the community. Thank you for helping us continue to spread positive vibes and cheer throughout our community!

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The Secret Sister Project: FAQs

secret sister project

Hey there, friends! I am here to do some tiny edits to the FAQ post since we have been doing this for so long and we want to make sure that everything is crystal clear! For those veterans, this is all the same thing you’ve been doing, so don’t fret!

First, I want to say thank you! Thank you to those who have stuck with us and to those who have just recently joined. To those who have been so wonderful and supportive of not only your sisters but to all those in the community. It is such an uplifting thing for me to know that you are all out there doing good through your connections with each other. I really appreciate you.

Some of you may have seen some blah tweets from us regarding the project and saying that it isn’t what it used to be. That’s just the way of the game! We worry that some people may have lost sight of the reason behind the project. To sum up: I was at a loooooow point and wanted to combat some negativity in my life by providing some happiness to someone else, and I needed a friend. So I created this project to build a community of strong, resilient and kind people who can lift up one another. It is not about the gifts. It is about the connections. I cannot say this enough.

All of that being said, the project is wonderful but a lot of work. So that’s why we created this FAQ post! We ask that you read this post thoroughly, and refer back to it PRIOR to reaching out to us with questions during the project. In addition, keep in mind that the hashtag #otspsecretsister is ALWAYS a fantastic resource for information, people are always happy to help.

The Basics:

The What:

The Secret Sister project is essentially a cheer club. Think Secret Santa but all year round (in 6 month intervals) with less emphasis on presents, and more thoughtful notes, cards, small somethings sent just to let your secret sister know that you are thinking about her!

The When:

  • Sign-ups vary throughout the year, we always always tweet about it

The Who:

You guys! But there are some conditions that must be met prior to signing up, we are going to outline those below under “The Rules.”

The How:

On the date specified in our tweets, we will be posting questionnaires on our blogs for you to fill out. In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. We use the Google form to pair you, so if we don’t have your name on there, you will not get paired.

FAQs:

What will I have to do if I sign up to be a secret sister?

Please know that this is a commitment. There are people out there expecting to have a connection with you. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” for which you sign up. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. If you cannot give 100% to this project please don’t sign up. When people don’t follow through or make the effort at connecting with their sister it sends negative vibes no one needs.

Do I have to send presents?

Yes, unless you are signing up for the pen pal group you are expected to send a little something on top of a card or letter. Keep in mind that this really is meant to be more of a cheering up sort of club, so though you must abide by the price guidelines you should also be sending letters and cards to keep communication open. But please note: This is not a subscription box filled with gifts. You need to make friendships, talk with your sister, thank your sister from whom you are receiving packages, etc.

Look at how extravagant that package is! I don’t have that kind of money…

Neither do I! This is why we have different price ranges, one of which is strictly pen pals – that means NO trinkets, etc! You should never, ever feel as if your package is inadequate as long as you are meeting your price range “standards.” Anyone who is getting caught up on the size of the gifts is missing the entire point of the project and will be dealt with accordingly.

Do we have to remain secret?

No, though that is part of the fun! Just leave your name off of the card or box you are sending if you want to remain secret, and reveal yourself whenever you wish! Some have used the same sending and return address, which is sneaky and perfect. It is entirely up to you! (If you are looking for some tips on how to remain secret -like if you want to send an e-book, for example, we can help ya out!)

Do I have to be a blogger to join?

Technically, no. You should be bookish, however. We are book people over here!

Is this project international?

It has been in the past We are going to have to again gauge how many international participants wish to join, and see if we have enough interest. The international interest has been waning because the group was so small, so we have gauge interest for every round.

Umm…I’m a guy so…

That is wonderful! Welcome! I know it is a little off putting to see the word “sister” up there but honestly we just did that because it sounded better than “The Secret Person Project.” I personally would love a secret bro, pal, dude, or friend regardless of gender and we had a few males join us the past few rounds!

What are the price ranges, and can we have some examples of what a package would look like for each range?

  • Pen pals: That’s right, this is strictly letters and cards. No trinkets, no extras, nothing. If you want to send ANYTHING more than a letter or a card every month then we ask that you sign up for one of the higher monetary tiers.
  • $5-$10: Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, baked goods, homemade bookmark or other DIY project, or how about a movie night box with a DVD (thanks to the $5 bin at Walmart) and some candy for a movie night!
  • $15-$20 Any of the possibilities listed above and perhaps a paperback from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!
  • $25+ The sky is the limit here, we just ask that you remember to reign it in a bit and remember the goal of this project is for cheer, and joy and forging positive relationships, not excessive gifts. Send those heartfelt letters!!

The Rules:

We ask that you pay attention here because we are going to hold you to these standards with no exceptions. I am sure that you all realize how time consuming it is to run project of this size. If you think our “rules” are too strict and “not fair” then we are sorry you feel that way, but we made some exceptions before and spent a lot of time chasing after people and yes, even kicking people out for neglecting to do their part.

    • You must “know” the hosts in order to join! The hosts are myself, (@withthebanned), Amy(@trippingbooks), or Brittany (@bookaddictguide). What does “knowing” us entail? First and foremost, you should be following all three of us on Twitter, you should know our names, and if one of us reaches out to you, you should know who we are. We are all pretty active on Twitter and really like chatting. Tweeting at us a few times saying “Hi! I want to join The Secret Sister Project!” does not count. We want to get to know you, there are three of us and our tastes range – this shouldn’t be too hard. We even wrote up a “get to know us” post to make it easier for all of you to chat us up! We promise we are friendly and just want to see that you are serious about the project and don’t just want gifts.
    • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project
    • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister to thank your sister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project. We get TONS of emails asking things like “It says my sister’s package was delivered last week but I never heard anything? In addition to this “rule,” you should use the hashtag to interact with one another, ask questions, and answer questions put forth. We promise, this makes the whole project more fun!
    • If we have to reach out to you more than once to ask why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating. If you are going to be late, tell us. You will not be in “trouble” if life gets in the way and you let us know. We all have things going on, we get it!
    • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating. Just be honest.
    • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US. We have had some who have reached out to us at the end of a round to say they hadn’t been receiving. Please don’t do this. We need this information to help you and ensure that no one suffers in the same way in future rounds. Please do NOT ever feel uncomfortable reaching out to us to say that you didn’t receive something. We WANT to help you with this, you DESERVE to get cheer as you are sending cheer!!
    • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately. We will not judge. We will not ask why. We will simply thank you for informing us and then pair your sister off to someone else so she isn’t missing out.
    • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (email addresses, please) of a “buddy” who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy to contact.
      • Your sister will contact this person to ask things such as “Can you ask Sally if she likes citrus or flowery smelling candles better?” This person can also say things to your sister such as “Hello Joan, Sally ended up buying a copy of “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” off of her wishlist so please do not purchase it.
      • Your buddy will also be there to receive messages from your sister if she is going to be late, etc.
  • You will be asked to provide a Goodreads or Amazon wish list that is specific to The Secret Sister Project, start working on this now!
      • The wishlist must have 20 or more books on it and must contain new and older titles – SOME ARCs are fine but keep in mind your sister may not have access to these.
      • This list MUST contain books that you are not going to purchase for yourself. IF you simply cannot resist a title here or there then please let your “buddy” (see above)  know PRIOR TO BUYING so that they can tell your sister – but please try to refrain from doing this.
      • Do not give anyone else access to this list. We had a lot of people buying things their sister already owned due to someone else buying off of this list, and it was a waste of money for your sis.
      • If your Goodreads profile is private, your sister cannot view your wishlist.
      • If you do not wish to make your Goodreads profile public then you may use another format for your wishlist such as, Amazon, or by providing one in the sign-up email.
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough.
  • We are asking that you put a little more emphasis on the “pen pal” aspect.
      • This means if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letters to your sister. This is one of the things people have been asking for, so please don’t forget.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
      • OK to say: “I love owls!” “OMG I am obsessed with sugar skulls at the moment!” “I just got engaged!!”
      • NOT OK to say: “Please send this to me…” while providing links to something expensive or “#OTSPSecretSister this toaster would look excellent in my new apartment!”
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag.
    • Things such as “Wow, I wish I knew if my sister got her package” or “I wish my sister would use the hashtag more” are statements that promote negative communication. If you have issues like this, reach out to the person your sister designated as her “buddy” or to your point person and we will do our best to solve any issues.
  • Do not send your sister ARCs unless you are also sending additional things to compensate as we know no one pays for ARCs and you are to meet the monetary limit.
  • Do not send packages straight from Amazon. We had some people who completely forgot about their sister and then sent things directly from Amazon to try and make up for it and it resulted in some hurt feelings. The emphasis should be on the cheer and the thought that you are putting into your sister and her happiness.
  • Please refrain from sending “swag.” Unless you KNOW that this is something your sister would love.
  • Please pay attention to your sister’s likes, wish lists etc. This is hard to say, because it seems as if we are emphasizing the gift aspect, but it is a waste of money for you to send something that your sister will not enjoy. If your sister says she loves coffee mugs, try and cater that to her fandoms, etc. There are exceptions to this of course but we don’t want you to waste your money on things!
  • If allowed to participate, you will be given the contact information for one of us. You are to contact that person, and that person only regarding any and all Secret Sister Project questions, or concerns. This will help us keep things more seamless, and will let us have divvy up the “work” a little better.

Anything else I should know?

Use the hashtag and interact with one another! The whole point is to bring positive feelings into the our community. Be as thorough as you can when answering the questions. There is no “writing too much” when answering these questions! The best advice I can give you is to be creative and keep in mind the entire reason for the project is NOT about gifts, but fostering a positive environment. If you are looking for ideas, chat us up, we would love to help! Or ask your fellow sisters! I saw some fantastic monthly themed packages last round! We tweet from our own handles pretty frequently, but don’t forget to follow us all over at Gals on the Same Page)!

READ THIS:

We can’t say this enough…please PLEASE only sign up if you are willing to send something monthly and give 100% to this project. Please recognize that this is a commitment and that there is someone out there relying on you to follow through.

So how do I sign up?

The sign-up post with all questions that need to be answered will be posted on our blogs and promoted via Twitter. Please do not forget to sign up via the Google form in addition to sending your sign up email. Sign ups will run for two weeks.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you, friends! If you still have any questions then please reach out on Twitter. If you are new to the project then I encourage you to use the hashtag to talk to your fellow sisters as they may have the answers you are looking for! Thanks for sticking with us and being so generous and kind! 

The Secret Sister Project (8)

secret sister project

I cannot believe that it is already time for round EIGHT of #OTSPSECRETSISTER!!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

The two most important things to do when signing up to be a part of this project are:

  1. Head over to the google form which coincides with your monetary tier and fill it out in full. NOTE: IF YOU FORGET TO DO THIS THEN YOU WILL NOT BE PAIRED. THIS IS LITERALLY WHAT WE ARE USING TO PAIR YOU UP, IF YOU AREN’T ON THE FORM, WE CAN NOT PAIR YOU.
  2. BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please THOROUGHLY read our FAQ and Rules post. Memorize the rules and refers back to it throughout the project. We have had to put more strict standards in place due to prior issues and therefore there is little leeway for tolerance of people not abiding the “rules.”

Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to reference.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” for which you sign up. Those in the pen pal tier are not expected to send gifts, that is strictly letters/cards AND you will NOT keep your identity secret if you are ONLY in the pen pal tier. Those in monetary tiers: you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication IN ADDITION to packages. Many people asked for their to be an emphasis on the pen pal aspects of this project and we have been working hard to remind everyone that it’s not about the gifts, and this seems like the perfect way to do so. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

Last thing, sign-ups run from January 12 7 to midnight on January 26!

NOTE FOR INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPANTS: Due to time zone differences and issues in the past with late questionnaires, etc. we are only able to give you until January 20 to sign up for round 8 of The Secret Sister Project. More details on how to sign up as an international participant below.

The Rules:

  • You must “know” one of the hosts in order to join! 
  • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project 
  • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
  • If we have to reach out to you more than once to ask if you why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating. 
  • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US.
  • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately.
  • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (email addresses, please) of a “buddy” who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy or comfortable to contact.*Don’t stress out about this. This person will be available to ask you questions from your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Additionally, do not bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!
  • Below, you will be asked to provide a Goodreads or Amazon wish list with 20 or more books including newer and older titles that is specific to The Secret Sister Project. *Do not share this list with anyone else!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough. We will absolutely be sending emails back to you that we deem “incomplete.”
  • Keep in mind that there is strong emphasis on the pen pal aspect. Meaning that if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letters to your sister.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag
  • Do not send swag
  • Pay attention to your sister’s likes/dislikes and wishilists
  • ARCs and shipping do not count toward your monetary limit
  • Do not send packages directly from Amazon without speaking to your point person first

I cannot say this enough times, read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post and remember that we are here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to use if needed, we want to help you and can’t unless we know what is happening! This all probably seems like a lot – but please keep in mind that we have over 200 participants at any given time and we ask you to follow these guidelines to make things easier on us as we all share in this community.

Okay, now we can move on to the fun stuff!

So how do I sign up?

It’s easy! Just answer every question in the questionnaire below and email it over to onthesamepagesecretsister@gmail.com by midnight on January 26! ALSO In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. This is what we will be using to pair you, so DO NOT FORGET. Please remember to thoroughly answer each and every question, and keep in mind that there is no such thing as saying “too much!” If you need some help filling this out, head back over to a previous round’s FAQ and Rules post and check out the example we provided!

For those of you wishing to join the Pen Pal Tier ONLY: please still fill out the questionnaire in full with the exception of your wish lists. The questions will be a good way for us to pair you up with someone, and for your pen pal to get to know you. REMEMBER: Your identity is not to be kept secret from your pen pal.

International participants: Please use this Google form to sign up instead of one coinciding with the tiers. There will be a place for you to fill out your preference of which tier you would like to belong but we can not guarantee this. Due to international participation being low, we may have to put you all into the same tier, which will most likely be chosen by the majority vote, in order to ensure that you all get a match! Please remember that you have until midnight on July 16 to sign up as an international participant.

Here we go!

Name: 

Mailing Address: 

Is the above address a residence/PO Box/Condo/place of employment: (*As in, will your mail get to you when the tracking says delivered, or will you need to wait to get to the mailbox/mailroom?)

Email Address: 

Blog: 

Twitter Name:

Did you participate in one of the prior rounds of the Secret Sister Project? If yes, which round?

If yes, please provide us with the names of your former sisters (those you gave to, and received from – it is okay if you don’t yet know who is sending to you this round):

How much are you willing to contribute to the project monthly? Choose one (NOTE: this is just a range, you can of course go over the limit but please keep the pen pal aspect in mind, and please remember that is about cheer and not just gifts.) REMINDER: International participants are to fill out THIS google form only, do not fill out one provided below.

  • Pen pals: That’s right, this is strictly letters and cards. No trinkets, no extras, nothing besides letters. If you want to send ANYTHING more than a letter or a card every month then we ask that you sign up for one of the higher monetary tiers. NOTE: YES you may sign up for a pen pal tier and a monetary tier. Ensure that you fill out a google form for BOTH. *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE PEN PAL TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $5-$10: (Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, baked goods, homemade bookmark or other DIY project, or how about a movie night box with a DVD (thanks to the $5 bin at Walmart) and some candy for a movie night!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $5-$10 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM.
  • $15-$20 (Any of the possibilities listed above and perhaps a newer hardcover from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $15-$20 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $25+ (The sky’s the limit here, we just ask that you remember to reign it in a bit and remember the goal of this project is for cheer, and joy and forging positive relationships, not excessive gifts. Send those heartfelt letters!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $25+ TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM

Your OTSPSecretSister “buddy’s” Twitter or email: (*We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy or comfortable to contact. This person will be available to ask you questions put forth by your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Do NOT bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!)

Goodreads Profile (*so that they can access your wishlists! Make sure to turn off the privacy setting & try and keep it updated!):

Goodreads/Amazon bookish wishlist: (*must have at least 20 titles of older and newer titles, please try not to purchase any books off of this wishlist and if you do please let your sister know via your buddy or one of us. Do not give anyone else access to this list. Not parents, husbands, friends, co-workers, secret santas…etc. If you do not want to share a wishlist by making it public, you may list the books here instead.)

“Other” wishlist: (*Keep these within reason for prices, etc! Please do not include pricey things, this is more for places like Etsy or for cheap DVDs on Amazon, and so on!)

Important Dates to Remember (*This can be anything and everything! Your birthday, the day you are expecting your baby, the day you are leaving for your next vacation, your anniversary with your partner, a big test you have coming up, the first day at your new job, the anniversary of the day you quit smoking, even a sad anniversary on which you would need some cheer!)

Your favorite items under $5: (things like stationary, nail polish, fav candy etc.)

Food Allergies:

Fandoms:

Your Likes (*Give us an array of things here! Types of snacks, TV shows, movies, bands/types of music, art):

Your Dislikes (*Example: chocolate covered cherries, anything cinnamon flavored, the color brown):

Do you have a favorite store?:

Are you okay receiving a gift card? If so, to where?

Would you be comfortable receiving baked goods of some kind?

What Do You Splurge On?: 

Favorite Flowers: 

Favorite Color?:

Favorite (or least favorite) smells: (*for things such as candles, soaps, bath bombs/bubbles, perfumes)

Do You Collect Anything?:

Do You Drink Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?: 

Do You Have an E-reader?: 

Would you be okay being gifted an ebook? If so, please provide the email associated with your e-reader:

List some of your favorite genres or authors: 

Are there any authors or genres that you won’t read? 

T-shirt size:

Hogwarts House:

Favorite Disney movie and/or princess:

Any magazine that you wish you had a subscription to? 

Anything else we should know about you? (*Be thorough here! There is no such thing as “saying too much,” the more your “secret sister” knows, the easier it is to spoil you!)

Third and final reminder that you MUST also fill out a google spreadsheet which coincides with your monetary tier. Links can be found above.

As always, please remember that you can always reach out to us with any inquiries or issues, that is what we are here for! Especially reach out to us if you have not received anything by the first of the month. We want to keep everyone active and honest! Use the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag to talk with us and your fellow sisters, the best part about this project is the community. Thank you for helping us continue to spread positive vibes and cheer throughout our community!

#positivityprompts

Hello, my lovelies!

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking RESOLUTIONS and BETTERING ONESELF and boy is that some serious pressure, amiright? Last year I got some great journals and I was definitely convinced I was going to do all of the fun things and then I did none of them and it was a major fail. Some of you have been chatting with me about wanting to try new things in 2018 such as journaling, hand-lettering, being more positive, etc. So I thought…why don’t we make this a feature! Introducing…

posprompts

Wut?

Basically, Amy and I are going to come up with monthly themes (I use that term loosely) and then give daily prompts that fit the theme. Right before the beginning of the month we will post up a nifty little image so you can see what’s coming. Ame and I will post up our pictures on our fancy new Instagram page and then we will repost a bunch of yours! Just follow us and use the hashtag #positivityprompts and/or tag us so we can make sure to see them!

The rules are there ain’t no rules.

(OMG I searched for this gif from Grease and I couldn’t find one!)

You can journal something, you can take a picture of something, draw something, sing a song, interpretive dance…whatever! We just want to make sure we take a few moments to focus on something. I will mostly be doing journal entries because I want to start writing more and I love making lists. I also wanted to get into hand-lettering this year (let’s see how that goes) so this might give me an extra boost. If you hate the theme/daily prompt, you don’t have to do it. (I wish you still would, though, because I think getting out of your comfort zone is half of the battle here.)

Y tho?

Honestly? This whole thing came out of me needing to keep myself in THE MOMENT if only for a few. I personally think it will help me to write out some self love talk, or share my favorite song lyrics, or…take a picture of something blue. I did the #100happydays project a few years ago and it really did help me stay positive and focused. I think it is important to just CHILL for a few. I also really love our community and want it to grow and think this might be a good way to do so. I cannot wait to see what you all have to share with us!

So again….FOLLOW US

Fortnight of Fright: Halloween Movies with Abigail

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Hey there! Today we have Abigail telling us all about her favorite Halloween movies! I looove the Corpse Bride but have never seen Over the Garden Wall. I will be adding that to my list for sure! Have you seen these movies? What do you think? Head over to Amy Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

This month, to prepare for Halloween (because of course this whole month is about the wonderful autumn holiday) I’ve been watching weird, comedy and Halloween-like movies. I am not a horror fan, I just don’t handle it well. So for me these films are a good compromise for wanting to watch Halloween-esque stuff. Also because I had a strange childhood I didn’t see a lot of films that most people have seen, so this gave me a good excuse to catch up on all Tim Burton’s work. 😉 But without further ado, here is the first part of my list.

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Shaun of the Dead: I’d heard a lot about this film, and I decided to finally sit down and watch it after my brother-in-law told me how much he loved it. Shaun of the Dead is everything you would hope from a British comedy that makes fun of zombies. Shaun spends the first part of the film hilariously unaware that the world is going to hell around him. The ending didn’t really go where I thought it would, but I still enjoyed the film overall. I would give it 3 stars on a 5 star scale. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Apple Tart Recipe With Kritika

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Hi friends! Today we have Kritika sharing a DELICIOUS fall recipe with you all! It is FINALLY starting to feel like fall out here in New England (what took you so long, Mother Nature?!) so I can’t wait to delve in and make me this tart! YUM! After your mouth finishes watering head over to Amy Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

I just moved from California to Michigan for grad school this year, so it’s been so much fun to experience my first actual fall. I’d never gone apple picking or had apple cider with fresh warm donuts before (California is more of a strawberry/cherry/blueberry picking kind of place), so of course when I went apple picking for the first time I got a little too excited and ended up with waaaaaaaaay too many apples!

Whenever I have too much of an ingredient in my kitchen, my solution is always to bake something with it. I ended up making apple streusel muffins, apple jam, and even some apple grilled cheeses (which were surprisingly good!!) but my favorite recipe is this French apple tart recipe. I made two of them  because I loved the taste so much!

This recipe is adapted from this Williams Sonoma Apple Tart recipe, but I used store-bought pie crust instead of making my own tart dough because 1) I’m too lazy and 2) grad student budget doesn’t have room for buying fancy things like tart pans XD

Ingredients

1 9″ pie crust

Frangipane filling (sweet almond paste)

3/4 cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Apple filling

2.5 Apples, cored, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp apricot preserves (for glaze)

Recipe

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2) Use a food processor to blend the almonds, 1/3 cup sugar and the salt until the almonds are finely ground. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter and blend until you have a thick paste

3) Pour the frangipane into the pie shell and smooth it out with a spatula/spoon

4) Toss the apple slices in the lemon juice. Place the first layer of apples on top of the frangipane in a spiral.

5) Keep adding layers of apples until you’ve covered the whole tart or run out of apple slices!

6) Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over everything and stick the tart in the oven for 1 hour.

7) Once the tart is cooled, warm up the apricot preserves until they’re syrupy and brush them onto the apples

I thought this pie was delicious, I hope you enjoy it 😀

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Fortnight of Fright: Favorite Episodes of Lore by Kathleen

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Today is fun for me because my good friend Kathleen is here to post about one of my favorite podcasts which is run by someone I think is pretty swell! Kathleen is here to tell us all about her favorite episodes of the podcast Lore. I have spoken about Lore before because I looove it. Those of you into history will enjoy it and those of you into the somewhat creepy history will LOVE it. I really don’t think it is too scary for those of you who don’t enjoy horror, however. So read on about what Kathleen has to say, go listen to Aaron’s soothing voice tell you some nice stories and then head over to Amy Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

lore

Have you heard of the podcast LORE yet? No? Well go and correct that immediately! The podcast LORE is created and hosted by Aaron Mahnke and focuses on lore throughout history and true crime. I was first introduced to LORE by the lovely Alyssa, and I’m so happy I gave it a shot because it’s my favorite podcast out there. LORE was created in March of 2015 and Aaron has been producing biweekly episodes ever since. Not only does Aaron do the LORE podcast, but there is also an Amazon Prime TV show that’s available starting on 10/13 and he has multiple books coming out soon. (All of which I’m VERY excited for!) Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Spooky Podcasts With Maggie

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We have Maggie from Macarons & Paperbacks telling us all about her favorite spooky podcasts. I loooove podcasts and some of these are my favorites, but others I haven’t listened to before! Check out what Maggie has to say and then  head over to Amy Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

I love listening to podcasts. I find that it’s a great way to fill up my time when I’m on my work commute or doing housework and I don’t feel like listening to an audiobook or putting on music. The podcasts I listen to tend to be of the historical or true crime persuasion, and some of them can get pretty spooky (especially when they’re about real life events). If you’ve visited my blog, macarons & paperbacks, you may know that I identify with Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey: we both like to indulge in scary stories, specifically at night so our imaginations can get the best of us.

Here is a list of some spooky podcasts that have kept me up at night (and have given me the heebie-jeebies even in broad daylight). Since I’m a Classics lover (if you couldn’t tell from my Northanger Abbey reference), I’ve also included some narrations of my favorite gothic short stories. Let’s me honest: no one does scary better than Edgar Allan Poe 😉

Stuff You Missed in History ClassStuff You Missed in History Class – “The Hinterkaifek Farm”

Let’s start off with a mild one; although it’s about a gruesome unsolved family murder so I don’t know if that can be considered mild. Tracy and Holly host the SYMIHC podcast, where they “teach” about a variety of interesting topics and events throughout history. Usually they focus on topics such as war battles, royalty, and important figures in STEM fields, but sometimes, especially this time of year, they cover unsolved murders. One of the first SYMIHC episodes I listened to was this “History Mysteries Double Feature”, and it really creeped me out (but also made me become a regular listener to the podcast). The first part of the episode is about a couple that vanished on their honeymoon, and the second part, the really creepy part, is about a family that was murdered by someone who may have been hiding in their farmhouse for weeks or months. Have fun sleeping after listening to that story… Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Witchy Films & Morning Brews from Cassie

I have one of my faaaavorite people on the blog today! Cassie from Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile! Cassie is here today to talk about two of my favorite things….witchy films and DRANKS!! Take a look at what we have going on today and don’t forget to head over to Amy & Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

witchy brews

Hi Everyone! It’s finally autumn and Halloween is just around the corner…EEEK. I’m ecstatically happy to be part of Fortnight of Fright this year. In this post, I have paired two of my favorite beverages with my most cherished films: Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic. I love witchy movies, and these two films hold a special place in my witch-loving heart. So I present to you the pairing of my favorite films with two amazing drinks that you can sip during a breakfast or brunch movie marathon.

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First up, I have Hocus Pocus paired with the Hallowed Ground Latte. This sacred coffee will open your eyes to another glorious morning. Sip this sweet coffee while you watch the Sanderson Sisters run amok around my favorite witch city: Salem, Massachusetts.

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Ingredients and directions:
Brew some coffee and pour it into your favorite Halloween mug. Add steamed milk or sweet creamer. Top it off with some whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Flash Fiction From Danielle E. Shipley & Tirzah Duncan

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Hi, friends! Today we have Danielle E. Shipley, author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas and the novel Inspired (see her other features on my blog here and here). Also contributing is Tirzah Duncan, writer of novels, short stories and poetry. They are here to share some truly awesome flash fiction to help us celebrate Fortnight of Fright this year. I have always been a fan of Danielle’s work and after reading this post I am sure that you will want to read more from her and Ms. Duncan for sure. Take a gander below and don’t forget to head over to Amy Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

Once upon an October years ago, there transpired what might only be described as a supernatural occurrence: A total stranger became my best friend.

Since then, fellow wordsmith Tirzah Duncan and I have gone on to engage in all sorts of uncanny behavior – from getting sucked into the spirit world of the characters in our joint custody, to writing the opening and closing acts of paranormal collection “Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss”, to our most recent collaboration: “The Dark Siren” – a co-authored short story for the “Arcane Arts Anthology”, in which a world-weary skeleton teams up with a child’s soul to stop life from going all-too-literally to hell.

Just for 2017’s Fortnight of Fright, and illustrated with creepy findings from my related Pinterest board, here are two new pieces of flash fiction featuring the “Dark Siren”s protagonists and their shadowy pasts. Continue reading