Fortnight of Fright (6)

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Wow. I can’t believe we are doing this for a SIXTH year in a row! B (blog and Twitter), Ame (blog and Twitter) and I try and host this two week feature where we celebrate all things Autumn and (if you want) HALLOWEEN!

I am basically just going to copy the same blurb I have for years cause 1. I am lazy and 2. It’s the pertinent info that ya need….SO for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (hello, and welcome!) Fortnight of Fright is a time in which we host and share different posts related to Autumn and Halloween! We work with you guys and sometimes amazing authors to showcase some creepy books, interviews, movies, and SO MUCH MOAR! There is no limit on what you can post about! Do you have a signature Halloween or Autumn cocktail recipe? Pinterest board filled with DIY decorations? A book recommendation for those of us who love to be scared? We want it all!! JOIN US!!

Sign ups will be open from 9/11-9/22 and you will be notified the following week to confirm your post topic, and so on. We are going to ask that all posts get to us the week of 10/9 as we will be hosting you during the event which runs from 10/17-10/31! As always, the more the merrier, so scroll on down to our Google Doc and sign up to help us out!

Wondering what we had going on from years past? Check it out:

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The Secret Sister Project (7)

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I cannot believe that it is already time for round SEVEN 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. Only those in the pen pal tier are not expected to send gifts, that is strictly letters/cards. IN ADDITION to packages, you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication. 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 July 7 to midnight on July 21!

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 16 to sign up for round 7 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!

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 21! 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, 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.

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. *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! Use the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag to talk with us and your fellow sisters! Thank you for helping us continue to spread positive vibes and cheer throughout our community!

Fortnight of Fright: Mulled Wine Recipe by Shannon

 

Hi, friends! Today we have Shannon from The Champagne Was Excellent sharing an AMAZING mulled wine recipe…I cannot WAIT to make this! Take a look at what she has to offer and 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!

 

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Hey y’all!

This is my very first guest post on a blog… I am so excited AND nervous!

First, a pre-apology for the way I had to edit the photos. Guess what’s really hard to get good lighting for? Red wine.

I’m not great with the scary/thriller/horror parts of the October season, but I AM great with the cozy/delicious/witchy/mysterious parts, so for this post, I’m going to give you one of my favourite recipes and some of my favourite books that feel like cold noses and red leaves and that deep breath you take the first time it SMELLS like fall… which is to say, they feel like coming home.

Lets get to it, shall we?

So, London is part of my DNA. London is a sentient being to me and it is entwined with my heart and soul.

Longest story EVER, shortened- When I lived in Oxford for a semester, there was a pub that I went to almost daily and it’s where I had my first mulled wine.

After I got back to the States, I kept trying to recreate the mulled wine and never could. When we went back a few years ago, I visited the pub and the family and my first sentence to the lovely owner was “HI I MISSED YOU SO MUCH PLEASE FOR THE LOVE TELL ME HOW TO MAKE YOUR MULLED WINE.”

And then I cried for a while because that pub saved my life and NOSTALGIA.

Mulled wine is amazing for any fall or winter party, but I also like to make a batch just for myself, so I can curl up on a cold night with a warm cup of wine and a cozy book.

Alright. Let’s wine.

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The One Where I Binged All of the Shows (and Read None of the Books)

Hello, beautiful friends! How is everyone? Things have been pretty quiet for a while around the blog, eh? I feel like every year I hit a point mid year where I am like whoa…haven’t posted in a while, maybe I should do a mid-year check-in so people know I’m alive and well! So here it is…it’s summer and things get crazy, work is busy with summer reading and life is busy with love and just all good things! So let’s catch up…

What I’ve been doing:

So much! January brought me to ALA in Boston with Amy and Brittany, and we were able to see our PEOPLE and it was glorious and wonderful. I got a pretty good haul, too!

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Then of course we had BEA in Chicago this year and I got to hug Kiki again much to her dismay! I went to fun dinners and outings and got to spend time with some of my very favorite people in all the land and it was lovely.

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I got a new tattoo that I am in love with, as you know I am very much into the idea that you make your own choices and are Queen (or King!) of your own life and that’s what the tattoo represents! Speaking of Queens, Alexa and Kelly came to see me and we spent the day at The Book Barn and walking around the town of Niantic. Always fantastic to spend time with people who just get you and offer no judgment on who you are on the inside ❤

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Hmmm what else…Oh! I am running a summer reading program that I created from scratch at work and it’s tons of work. Like…cue weekly panic attacks over it lots of work. So far we have done Cupcake Wars and Trivia Night and both have gone over very well so I am pleased but still have to hope that I come out on the other end unscathed.

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Dr. Seuss FTW!

What I’ve been watching:

Ohh so I am currently obsessed with playing The Witcher! By obsessed I mean that I will play for HOURS for DAYS and then won’t pick it up for a month…but it is SO. GOOD. Also I am so behind on reading (as I’ll show you below) so I have been binging too many shows, such as:

  • Twin Peaks: OMG why did it take me so long to get into this?! Could. Not. Stop. Have made multiple people start watching so we can discuss WTF is even HAPPENING.
  • Preacher: I read a few of the comics and it doesn’t seem to follow the story TOO closely but hoo boy is our Preacher good lookin’ I am completely on board.
  • Lucifer: I tried to get into these comics and it just wasn’t working for me, but the show is fantastic. Also again with the handsome male lead.
  • Game of Thrones: This season has been SO. GOOD. I don’t want to spoil even though I hope people are caught up by now but oh man….I was on the edge of my seat every episode. It was a VERY different experience being that it was the first season that surpassed the books so I didn’t know what was coming but still saw some theories come to light and it was just amazing *sheds a little tear*
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Quick, fun and hilarious. Everyone recommended this to me because I love The Mindy Project and New Girl (though I am SO MANY episodes behind on both that it’s shameful) and they weren’t wrong. Loved it.
  • Downton Abbey: It’s over! I can’t believe it! I was honestly sad to see this one go, but will definitely be going back to re-watch. I thought the ending was superb, I loved how things were tied up.
  • Gilmore Girls: Ah! My re-watch before the miniseries comes out! I am on season 4 now and just had some MAJOR Jess feels! I will say it is so strange to watch this now and relate to Lorelei instead of Rory! It is a totally different experience but I love it so.

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I am so so behind. I have lowered my Goodreads challenge TWICE and I am still two books behind. I am in a slump! Since I have only read 23 (ugh) books this year lemme share!

I finally read Alanna!

I binged the entire Mara Dyer series and loved it

The Smell of Other People’s Houses was surprisingly wonderful

Romancing the Duke was my first try at those so called “bodice rippers” and SIGN ME UP, I loved it so!

I finished The Lunar Chronicles, Winter took me ages but it was worth it and Stars Above gave us the very best epilogue ever *swoon*

Ghostly Echoes was possibly my favorite of the three Jackaby novels, I loved learning about Jenny!

I finally got the courage to read The Rose and the Dagger and finish the series and it was so beautiful. It took me so long because I just kept re-reading passages over and over.

Me Before You was not as good as the movie (GASP!) In fact, I had a hard time liking the novel on the whole

I read the BFG to prep myself to see the movie with my niece. Unfortunately, I hate read most of it and will be writing a post all about the why!

Currently I am reading The Gunslinger and I am really liking it which is great because I generally do not enjoy King’s writing. I am also reading and LOVING My Lady Jane and Lost Gods which was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Also! I was just approved on Edelweiss for an ARC of Yesternight by Cat Winters and I cannot WAIT to delve in!

What’s to come:

Hmm…Our next round of Secret Sister (omg round 5!!) starts in just a few weeks. Amy is coming to visit at the end of the month. Soon it will be FOOTBALL SEASON aka pumpkin flavored everything season aka scarf season aka holding hands while traipsing through a pumpkin patch season aka THE BEST SEASON! I’ll hopefully review some of those books I’ve been reading…or not cause I am very “I do what I want” and sometimes reviewing feels like a chore, what can I say? Oh and in November I will be heading back to Illinois for Friendsgiving with Amy and Britt which is basically the highlight of my year, every year. That’s pretty much it for me…As you all know I give too much away on Twitter and share too many pictures of my books and cats on Instagram! ❤