August 5, 2015

Secret Sister: It's Like Secret Santa Except for 6 Months

Last summer, the bloggers at On the Same Page came up with the Secret Sister project. Whenever I tell my family and in-person friends and acquaintances about it, they're always very confused. So I describe it as Secret Santa that runs for six months, and you don't just send gifts. Brittany adds that the focus is more on spreading positive thoughts. I absolutely agree with that; I never felt pressured to buy anything fancy or big for the girl I was Secret Sister for. I just got her things I hoped she'd like, I baked for her, and I sent her a postcard. (This next session, I want to make sure to send more cards, postcards, and letters because mail always makes my day.) 

I didn't sign up for the first session because I knew I was going to college the month it started and I didn't want the pressure of sending stuff on time to someone while trying to adjust to a lot of changes. So I signed up for the second session, which started in February and ran through July. And let me tell you - it was some of the most fun I've ever had in the blogging community. Everyone participating can ask questions on the Twitter hashtag so not only do you get to (hopefully) find out some pertinent info about who you're a Secret Sis for, but you also get to know others in the program. Plus, everyone was encouraged to post under the hashtag when their monthly gifts arrived and seeing what everyone got was so exciting. There are some creative ladies in the Secret Sister program and also some very caring, giving, thoughtful ones. 

I was Secret Sister for Jessica. I didn't have a theme for the February box, but I sort of did for the rest of the months.
March was fandom month. I included Downton Abbey tea, a T-shirt for The Office, and little pins for Friends (plus a couple books, candy, and book swag).
April was Disney month. I sent her a postcard at the end of the month that had the lantern scene from Tangled on it. But the box included Beauty and the Beast tea, a Peter Pan necklace, a Jasmine card, and my favorite retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
May was road trip month. Jessica describes herself as having a gypsy soul, so I used that for inspiration. I designed some notecards on Vistaprint, sent her more pens for her art journaling, included my favorite road trip book, and included a couple notebooks with travel themes (plus some cookies I'd baked).
June was her birthday month, so there wasn't really a theme outside of that. I got her a couple books from her wishlist and baked brookie bars (sugar cookie/brownie bars).
July was the Big Reveal month. I wanted to kind of theme the box around myself so she could get to know me. So I included postcards from the places I've lived in the past few months, some cross-stitching I did, more baked goods (brownies this time), my favorite writing pens, Funko Pop! Mrs. Potts and Chip (since I like Beauty and the Beast and Funko Pop!), one last book from her wishlist, and a book I liked that I saw on her TBR list.
Jessica was absolutely lovely after the reveal. She had such kind words for me, and I can't wait to continue to chat with her more.

And then my Secret Sister was... Audris! Honestly, she was the best, and I'm so grateful for everything she sent me. Audris was very thoughtful (and I'm not just saying that); literally, everything was creative and sweet and exactly what I would want. A couple times, when she sent books through Amazon, she sent them through a mutual friend so that kept her identity a secret. (And I actually thought the mutual friend was my Secret Sister for quite awhile, lol.)
For February, she sent The Blood of Olympus, The Darkest Minds, a Frozen tote bag, chocolate, hot cocoa mix, little sticky notes, and one of the most gorgeous notebooks I have ever seen.
March had a little bit of a Disney theme, since she'd gone to Disney World earlier that month. She wrote her note to me on the back of a picture she took of Cinderella's castle, and she got me smashed pennies, which I collect, from all the parks. The rest of the gift included a paperback copy of Cress (which I wanted since my blog name is in it), sidewalk chalk, a cute little blackboard sign that she wrote "Emma's Library" on, candy, a mini Disney Princess bucket, tea, and a Belle mug. 
Her April gift got there right as finals week started, and it was just what I needed to make it through the week. The book for that month was The Game of Love and Death (one of my most anticipated reads of 2015). She also included a flower crown, cute kitty socks, Kit Kats, bookmarks, One Direction's latest album (my roommate was envious), and a jar stuffed with quotes from my favorite books.
For May, she sent a box from Etienne St. Clair, which made me giggle and swoon and made my mom side-eye me. She included Uninvited and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour for books, a Funko Pop! Elsa, baking tools, and a cookie mix. 
For June, she knew I was moving so she sent two books through Amazon so they'd arrive in time. And they were two books I wanted very much! Edible French (a book of French food-related idioms and expressions that I first saw in French class during our chapter on food and restaurants) and Nearly Found by Ellie Cosimano (the sequel to Nearly Gone). I vowed to be good and save the latter for our two-day drive to Virginia. I did not uphold that vow.
Finally, for July, it was the big reveal. She themed the box around superheroes, which meant a cup with Thor on it, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and superhero mix CDs (one for my superhero days and one for my days off). She also included gum and a coloring book (for relaxing on my days off from saving the world). Thank you so much, Audris! I can't wait to get to know you even better!

I can't wait to see what round three of Secret Sister holds. We got our new assignments a few weeks ago. I do wish the new Secret Sis had written a longer application, but I am going to be creative and make this work! She's been great about answering questions on Twitter, though, so I've already got ideas brewing for a lot of surprises. And I can't wait to start guessing who has me. :)


  1. This round is my first time participating and I'm already in love with this project! I feel like I've already made new friends and I can't wait to spoil my sister for the next 6 months :D

  2. So I really wanted to participate in this, but I can't make myself commit. I'm notoriously bad about sending things out on time so I didn't sign up. I would hate to disappoint my sister by completely dropping the ball you know? But maybe if I pre-plan it out kind of like you have i would be able to do it. Have fun!

  3. Yes. You got Steelheart. You must read it NOW. And then you can read Calamity . . . and then join the rest of us in going crazy because the third book doesn't come out until JANUARY and WE CANNOT WAIT THAT LONG.


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