My Top 5 Tips for Moving Away From Home, from a Christian Homeschool Graduate in College || College Lifestyle

Hello friend! Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about moving to college, and the transition between living at home and living in a place by yourself for the first time, especially as college admissions are rolling in. There’s a lot I could say about this topic, but today I thought I would start by writing down some of the most important things that I’ve learned living alone at school.

A little bit about my background: I attend a public university in the United States, so that’s where I am coming from. I was homeschooled from K-12, and while I currently live in an off-campus apartment with friends, I have also previously lived in a dorm for almost 2 years (I didn’t get to finish out my second year due to the pandemic). I still live in the same state as my family, so I’m able to see them as often as I like, which was very frequent in the beginning and less so as I’ve become more independent.

Obviously I don’t have all of the time or space to cover all of the intricate details about living alone and moving out and all of that, but today I thought would give a broad overview about moving out and some tips I would give to someone who is thinking about moving out for college, particularly in a dorm, but also just in general.

  1. Own who you are and where you came from. Moving somewhere new is always the perfect excuse to reinvent yourself, and start a lot of your things in your life afresh: your friend circle, your likes and dislikes, and a lot of small pieces within your personality, and that’s great! As you do that, though, don’t try to completely reinvent yourself. Hang on to the parts of your personality that make you who you are, and although it might be tempting to completely start over, own who you are! Own your story, and don’t be afraid to share it with the people that you meet. Chances are, they’re going to think it’s cool instead of strange, and if they do think it’s strange, well, it’s their loss.
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  2. Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself. The first month or so of moving to college, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make friends, and be constantly hanging out with people, afraid to miss out on anything. While it’s definitely important to put yourself out there and make friends, also listen to what your body is telling you. Is it telling you to sit alone in your room while your roommate is out and reading a book? Then do it. Is it telling you to sit in the lounge, but not participate in the conversation? Do it.
    Although I went into college an extrovert, by the end of my freshman year, I’d become a hardcore introvert. What changed? When I was homeschooled, I’d never had to be around someone else 23 1/2 hours of the day, but when I got to college, that changed: when I wasn’t in class, I was with friends, and if I wasn’t with them, I was with my roommate. Even the bathroom was a floor-wide communal one, so even in the bathroom I wasn’t completely alone. Your mental health is important, and you don’t have to be hanging out with people constantly if your body is telling you not to.
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  3. No one is out to get you. A lot of the narrative about going to college, especially to a public university from being Christian and homeschooled, is that people will constantly be drinking and doing drugs and having sex blatantly, and that they’ll try to get you to join. Nothing is farther from the truth. While there are definitely people who go out partying, and who smoke weed in their room, no one is going to pressure you to do anything you don’t want to do. While there are certainly people who might be like that, my personal experience is that everyone is very respectful with your boundaries and choices, and so long as you’re clear about your boundaries are to yourself, you will be fine. (Obviously still be alert, because once people are drunk, they might do things that they wouldn’t normally do, so definitely keep yourself safe! but in general, it’s way less of a problem than people make it out to be.)
  4. Keep an open mind. You are going to meet so many people who have had different life paths and stories than you. They may have made different personal choices than you that you don’t agree with. Listen to their stories. Listen to what they have to say, and don’t dismiss what they have to say just because they have made decisions that you don’t agree with. This particularly applies to topics such as homosexuality, race, and money. Just as you don’t want people interfering with your life choices, don’t interfere with theirs.
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  5. College (or wherever you’re moving) is not your mission field. When I was getting ready to start college, I had a lot of people say that they were praying for me to “be a good witness” or “show Christ to others”, and while being Christlike is obviously SUPER important and if people are interested in what you believe in, seize that opportunity to tell them about the gospel, but you are not responsible for the salvation of your friends. That is simply too much pressure, and if sharing the gospel in where you’re living is your calling, then 100% go for it! When I first moved to college, I felt a huge sense of responsibility for the people who I lived with, and I eventually realized that it was not a healthy mindset to have. Simply being a Christlike example is enough, and the Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of those around you with your witness as an example.
    My first roommate was not Christian, which we discussed the first day we lived together. She was very respectful of what I believed in, and while she wasn’t interested in becoming a Christian, we had a lot of good discussions about what I believed, and why I believed it. At the end of the semester, she understood the gospel a lot more and had a much more favorable perspective about Christianity than she did in the beginning.
    Is it important to hold tight to your morals and faith? Absolutely. Do you have to convert your roommate and friends to Christianity? Absolutely not.

So those are my top 5 tips that I would give to someone who is worried about moving away from home for the first time! I would be more than happy to answer any more questions that you might have, and if you have any more topics that you would like me to share about, feel free to suggest topics for me to talk about!


If you haven’t moved away from home yet, what are questions you still have about living alone? If you have moved away, what is something you would tell yourself at the beginning of your journey? Is there anything else you want me to discuss? Leave a comment and let me know!


P. S. I have a new video up on my YouTube channel! It is a productive day in my life, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out, so I would love if you checked it out!

Book Review: Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn (Defend and Protect #1)

Unknown Threat

About this Book-

US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He’s an expert at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection.

FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is driven to succeed and confident in her ability to solve every case she’s assigned. She’s been put in charge of the investigation into the unprecedented attacks, and with Luke’s life in danger, the stakes have never been higher. But it’s hard to know how to fight back when you don’t know who the enemy is.

As more agents are targeted, Luke and Faith will have to work together to bring a killer to justice and prevent any more names from joining their fallen brothers and sisters on the Secret Service Wall of Honor.

My Review-

This was such a fun book! Over the past year or so, I’ve been really into reading suspense Christian fiction and exploring new authors that I haven’t read before. This was the first book I had read by Lynn Blackburn, and I was really excited for it. It was super fast paced and exciting, and I enjoyed it so much!

If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be fast. This book moved SO quickly! The entirety of the book takes place over the course of about a week, and it starts off with a bang, literally! It begins with an active gunman shooting at one of the protagonists (and his friends), and it does not slow down from there. (Not a spoiler since it’s in the blurb).

There were a ton of characters in the book, and while they were a little bit tricky to keep track of, it only took me a little bit to get the hang of who was who. The main characters were Luke and Faith (though future books promise the stories of other characters!), who were both such good characters! Most of the story was told from Luke’s perspective, though Faith also had intersecting chapters.

Faith was such a neat character, if albeit a little unrealistic. She was smart, witty, and hardworking, and the story covers her first major case. She felt a little unrealistic at times, but I think that was due to the writing of the character: her descriptions simply did not flow as well as Luke’s did, for some reason. Both she and Luke had deep and traumatizing backstories, and as the case unfolded, so did they.

The rest of the cast were super fun too: they bantered a lot with each other, and they did all the things friends did: banter with each other, have inside jokes, and have deep conversations. Several of the running jokes throughout the book were really amusing, and not overdone or cheesy, which I’ve not found in many books.

So much happened in this book, but the pacing was just right: it never felt too fast or too slow, and there were just enough things happening to keep the story moving, without being overwhelming. It was a lot more character based (though definitely not character-driven) than some other suspense novels that I’ve read, but overall, the story moved smoothly.

I definitely wasn’t expecting the ending, though through no fault of my own, I don’t think. The actual plot, motive, and cause were really strange to me: I didn’t quite expect or understand what the motive behind the killings were. I don’t really mind, because in suspense books a certain level of suspension of disbelief is needed, but for those who think this is ~the real deal~, I . . . would be a little wary.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! The pacing and character banter made it really enjoyable, and I look forward to reading more books from the author.

My Rating-

8/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

10 Places To Declutter That You’ve Never Thought Of Before || Minimalism and Simple Living

Over the past few months, I’ve slowly been transitioning into living a more minimal life. I’ve found that living more simplistically is so much less stressful, and is just so much better for my mental health. Over the past month, I decluttered 500 physical items from my room, which has been so great for my mental clarity! I filmed a video of the process, and it’s at the end of this blog post if you’re interested in watching it.

Anyone who’s spent any time browsing Pinterest or YouTube knows the common places that are suggested decluttering spots: closet, kitchen cabinets, the bathroom, the catch-all drawer, and so on. For today’s post, I thought we would talk about 10 Places to Declutter That You’ve Never Thought Of Before!

I have 5 digital locations and 5 physical places that I’ve either recently decluttered, or am in the process of decluttering that are hopefully helpful to you!

Digital Locations
  1. The files on your computer. As a student, I’m constantly downloading files onto my computer: homework assignments, syllabi, data files, and the list goes on. Even if you aren’t a student, digital files add up SO quickly!
  2. Smartphone apps. Are there apps that you haven’t used for months now? What about some that you downloaded to try out, but never ended up using? Delete them, and not only will you free up space on your phone, you’ll free up space in your mind!
  3. Your photo gallery. This one is slightly more frequently mentioned than the rest, but I’m a big proponent of being minimal with your camera roll. Keeping too many photos CLUTTERS the memories of whatever the photo was about, and only keep ones that remind you of memories! (ALSO: students, delete those photos of powerpoints! You’re never going to look at them again.)
  4. Your instagram saved folders. This is one that I just did recently, and it has been so nice! I tend to scroll down instagram, saving things left and right, and if you’re the same way, I encourage you to go through and unsave whatever you don’t need anymore, and file the rest into folders so that you can find the posts easier in the future!
  5. Your spotify playlists. I’ve had a spotify account for 6 years at this point, and it is FILLED with music that 15-year-old-me liked, but I don’t listen to anymore. Go through and delete songs from your library, and if you’re feeling extra, give your playlist covers a facelift! (P.S. if you’re looking for my newly revamped spotify, it’s right here!)
Physical Locations
  1. Under the bed. The spot under the bed is often a hidden catch-all spot. I had all sorts of random things under my bed, and I finally went and decluttered under there this past month. It’s a trickier spot to clear out, but it’s so worth it.
  2. Your notebook collection. This one might be a tad specific to me personally, but I’d been noticing a bunch of my notebooks accumulating for the past few months. I went through all my notebooks, getting rid of whatever ones that didn’t hold significance for me, tearing out pages to reuse others, and filing the ones that I did actually want to keep. I got rid of almost 20 half-filled notebooks, and highly recommend it!
  3. Your souvenir collection. When I’m on trips, I tend to get into this mindset of “save everything as a souvenir,” from napkins to flyers to postcards. Sort through your souvenirs and see which ones actually have memories associated with them, and which ones are actually clutter, and get rid of the ones you don’t need! I’m all for keeping souvenirs, but, like photos, make sure you’re only keeping the ones that are memorable for you.
  4. Old arts and crafts. The thing about being an artist is that you make a lot of things that you can’t keep! Getting rid of them not only frees up space, but also reminds you of how far you’ve come!
  5. Your tea/coffee/warm drink collection. I have no idea why, but tea is just so easy to hoard! Somehow, I always attain tea faster than I can drink it (and I drink quite a bit of tea!). I also have a bunch of hot cocoa mixes, latte pouches, and just drink paraphernalia, and it’s honestly a little overwhelming sometimes. Go through your drink collection and see if there’s anything you don’t want to drink, and get rid of it! It also helps prevent decision paralysis in the future, which is a bonus!

So that’s 10 places to declutter that you’ve probably never thought of before! Both digital and physical locations are so important to keep clear, in order to keep your mind clear.

If you would like to see the process of me getting rid of 500 items from my room in 31 days, here’s the video:


That’s all from me for today! What spot are you going to declutter next? Are you a minimalist, or do you prefer keeping all your things? Leave a comment and let me know!

Book Review: Make Their Day by Karen Ehman

About the Book-

You dream of making your presence really count in the lives of others, but you don’t know where–or how–to start. You want to be remembered as a woman who scattered kindness to everyone she knew, but you feel like your busy schedule constantly gets in the way.

In this practical and deeply touching guide–inspired by her book Reach Out, Gather In–popular author Karen Ehman gives you 101 actionable ideas you can implement today to truly make a difference in the lives of other people. Make Their Day is filled with creative ideas to connect with your family and friends on a deeper level throughout the year. This book will help you develop habits of kindness, reconnect with friends and family, and make encouraging people a priority. You’ll be able to put these ideas into action in real time with everyone in your life–even if hospitality doesn’t come naturally to you or you don’t think you have time.

Let’s outshine the negativity and hatred in our world, and reach out to others with love, just as God intended.

My Review-

This was a fun little book! It was a book of suggestions on how to serve others, and included a bunch of printables/recipes to supplement the ideas. Many of the ideas are pretty cheesy, very churchish (a jello mold with celery and carrots /is/ suggested), and involves buying things from the dollar store for people, but overall it was a nice thought and some people might enjoy it.

It was 101 ideas, which makes it a rather short book (I read it in an afternoon), and it’s divided up into several sections (along the lines of family, friends, neighbors, church friends, your community, etc), which makes it easy to navigate. Both of these together make it a pretty easy book to read, but not one that I wouldn’t personally buy. The tips that are included are not particularly creative, so while it is nice to have a compilation of ideas, the tips can easily be looked up on Pinterest or something of the sort. The cover is very cute though, so it would make a very cute coffee table book if that is what you are going for.

Overall, personally I think the market for these types of books is both saturated, and made obsolete due to the existence of the internet, so I cannot honestly recommend it. This ironically would be a good gift idea for an older lady at church, or your grandma, or something, so if that’s what you need, then it would be a good fit for you. 

My Rating-

5/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

My 2021 Bullet Journal Setup || Bullet Journaling

Hello friends! It’s 2021, can you believe it! Welcome to my 2021 bullet journal set up! In this blogpost, I’ll be sharing with you a flip through of my completed bullet journal, but if  you would like to see the process of me setting it up, I filmed the whole process and there’s a video up on my YouTube channel now that you can go watch! I’ll link it at the end of this blogpost as well.

Setting Up My 2021 Bullet Journal

The supplies I used this month are very similar to the ones that I have used previously: the Michaels Dot Grid Notebook, the Pentel Energel 0.7 black pen, and the Zebra Mildliners, but this year, I’m also using the Neutral Portrait 10-Pack of Tombow Dual Brush Pens, which I got for Christmas and that I’m super excited about!

Some links are affiliate.

To start off, this is the bullet journal that I’ll be using: I’ve decorated it with some stickers from Redbubble and etsy such as this one (the rest are gifts so I’m not sure where they’re from).

bullet journal set up yearly tombow dual brush pens habit tracker monthly tracker monthly spreads bullet journal inspiration bullet journal inspo stickers bullet journal giveaway

The first couple spreads in my 2021 bullet journal are my index and grid spacing chart, exactly like the ones I made last year, so I’m not going to show them. The one after that is my 2021 future log: I’m super pleased with how it turned out, and while it’s super time consuming to make, it’s also my favorite spread every year.

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After that, I have a couple of my yearly trackers, as well as my 2021 New Years Goals and Resolutions page. The left column of the yearly tracker is my photo-a-day tracker, which is a habit that I love keeping up, and the right column will be a very similar one, but one to track my reading instead. My goals and resolutions spread is the same as the one from last year: I felt it worked really well for me so I just duplicated it this year.DSC_0018

Next up are some spreads that are new, which I’ll be trying out this year! Instead of doing monthly habit trackers like I have been in the past, this year, I’m going to be trying out yearly habit trackers! It will save me the time of setting it up every month, and I think that being able to see habits tracked throughout the whole year will really motivate me and keep me on track with them!

They are structured like the photo-a-day one, with the months of the year written across the top and the days of the month going down the side. I’ll make a colored dot if I complete the habit that day, and I’m really looking forwards to seeing my habits tracked across a whole year!DSC_0020

Next up is my TBR and my 2021 favorites spread. 2020 wasn’t a great reading year for me, and so I really want to make an effort to read as much in 2021 as I can. On the left, I’ll be writing in books that I want to read, and on the right, I’ll be writing in books that I have read and enjoyed. I will also make another spread to track all the books that I’ve read this year, but it definitely won’t be as elaborate as this spread!DSC_0023

After that is my address book and happy mail tracker! In 2020 I really fell back in love with the art of pen-palling, and I wanted a place to track the addresses of the people I’m writing to, as well as when I wrote to them. On the left is my address book, where I’ll write the name of the person in the envelope “flap,” and their address in the envelope “body.” On the right is my happy mail tracker, with the columns “recipient,” “from,” “sent,” and “notes” to track the letters that I’ve received and sent out. I’m super excited to keep writing letters in the new year, and this spread will be perfect for organizing it!DSC_0025

After that is my social media growth tracker, as well as my blogpost tracker. Like last year, my Instagram growth tracker is in the shape of the notifications on Instagram, which I’ll color in as I hit milestones. My YouTube growth tracker is similar, except instead of Instagram notifications, I’ll be coloring in play buttons.

My goal for the year is to put out 24 blog posts and 12 videos, so the circles at the bottom of the YouTube tracker, as well as the entire spread on the right, is for tracking that. I’ll be able to mark whether I’ve put out a video, as well as write in the title of the blogposts that I publish.DSC_0029

Next up is my minimalism tracker. This is the least thought out spread I have, but on the left side, I’m tracking my decluttering process (the beginning of which I’ve been logging over on my Instagram) and on the right, I have a wishlist of things I want, so that I hopefully won’t impulse purchase as much. DSC_0031

The last spread that I’ll be sharing is my January monthly layout! I’m really pleased with how it turned out: now that I don’t have as many monthly habits to track, it’s much easier to make it pretty. At least, that’s what I think. This year, my goal is to focus on making my bullet journal more usable, and I definitely also want to make it prettier as well!DSC_0033

So that’s a flipthrough of the bullet journal I’ll be using for 2021! Like promised, here is the video of me setting it up:


So that’s my bullet journal for 2021! What was your favorite spread? Are you trying out any new trackers in 2021? What is your favorite stationery product? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Book Review: Dreams of Savannah by Roseanna M. White

About the Book-

Cordelia Owens can weave a hopeful dream around anything and is well used to winning the hearts of everyone in Savannah with her whimsy. Even when she receives word that her sweetheart has been lost during a raid on a Yankee vessel, she clings to hope and comes up with many a romantic tale of his eventual homecoming to reassure his mother and sister.

But Phineas Dunn finds nothing redemptive in the first horrors of war. Struggling for months to make it home alive, he returns to Savannah injured and cynical, and all too sure that he is not the hero Cordelia seems determined to make him. Matters of black and white don’t seem so simple anymore to Phin, and despite her best efforts, Delia’s smiles can’t erase all the complications in his life. And when Fort Pulaski falls and the future wavers, they both must decide where the dreams of a new America will take them, and if they will go together.

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

tw // rape and sexual violence

This was an interesting book! I have read many of Roseanna’s books before (and have even met her in person once!) and loved them, so I was excited to read her new release. It was very different from her previous books, and while this one was also good, it wasn’t my favorite.

First of all, this book was set in the Civil War era, in the Confederate states. The main characters, Cordelia and Phineas, are members of two families who own slaves/plantations, who have liked each other since before the book started, and get into an “understanding” fairly early on into the book. Since Phineas, or Phin as he likes to be known, is a Confederate soldier, most of this book details the time that they are apart, and the individual struggles and growth that they go through.

With that premise, it makes sense that this book is very white focused: both Cordelia and Phineas have slaves (although they call them servants), and despite being more open to the fact that black people aren’t merely animals, they still treat their servants as below them for the vast majority of the book, which is my main concern with this book. Despite the main characters being more sympathetic to the black people working for them, they still treat them in a “less than” fashion. With that, I did like the parts of the book narrated by the black people in the story, as well as their portrayals in general: as the story develops, the humanity of the black people comes to light. Although I understood why this story was told the way it was, I’m kind of wondering what a black reader would feel like reading this book.

Moreover, this book felt quite “preachy” for a lot of it. There were a lot of “spontaneous” sermon-conversations, a la characters randomly breaking into song during a musical. There were some really /interesting/ conversations meant as “the message” that was intended to be conveyed, such as one at the beginning where Phineas asked a tall black man, essentially, “if you weren’t made to work in the fields, why do you look like that?” Again, as the story progresses, both the main characters (as well as some of the white side characters) begin to learn the value and importance of black people, which somehow wasn’t really made clear in the beginning? As someone who is not black, I can’t say whether or not that is a fair portrayal, and I understand why the story was told how it was, but at the very least, it bears mentioning.

Not only that, there was a LOT of just . . . violence. Nothing actually portrayed, but there was a lot of suggestions towards sexual violence, especially towards slaves. There was one particularly sleazy character, who was very interested in (marrying) Cordelia. While Cordelia understood that he did not have good intentions, she didn’t really try to do anything about it, other than pawning her sister off on him (since she already had a love interest)??? SO that was something that bothered me, although it was only mentioned once. Someone important to the story had also taken advantage of a black slave woman, and the resulting child was also not treated well by the man. There was also several scenes where aforementioned sleazy character pulled a girl into a secluded room and attempted to kiss her (and it is suggested that he would go farther than kissing, although it never happened). There was just a LOT of implied sexual violence that was not only unnecessary, but also A Lot to read.

As for the characters, I was honestly not a fan of the main (white) characters. The protagonist, Cordelia, was simply unlikeable, not in any particular way, but I never really connected with her. She had a very vivid imagination, and wrote a ton of stories, but that was pretty much her only character trait. Her parents were also selfish and generally terrible people (both to her, as well as to their slaves), and she really did not question it until the very end of the book. Phineas was a slightly more likeable character: his growth development was incredible, and more noticeable starting midway through the book. He did start out the book being very much a “woo confederacy” type, being excited to go into the Confederate army and kill the “Yankees that are ruining everything.” His view on slavery was very much ‘it’s bad but there’s nothing I can do about it’ and he used the excuse that Georgia didn’t allow people to free their slaves as the reason why he kept them so that was . . . Not Great. He was more likable than Cordelia, and I connected more with him in general, but he’s nowhere near my favorite fictional male characters.

The black side characters–Selina, Luther, River, and all the servants–really made the story much more enjoyable. Their characters were somehow more fleshed out than Cordelia and Phineas, and their motivations, personalities, and beliefs, were significantly more enumerated, and thus, relatable. I found myself more invested in them than the main characters, and their story was just . . . better (than overcoming racism, which was what Cordelia and Phineas were going through).

The spiritual content was very well done: there was a lot of mentions of God, and references to prayer, and just an overall spiritual focus throughout the book. Scripture was quoted several times, and in that regards, I do like it.

Overall? This was a very deep and heavy story. It meant to cover both sides of the Civil War, and to tell the story of humanity on both sides. I think it did achieve that purpose, however, I think the way it did so was lacking. There was a lot of violence and unsavory characters and situations, and while it is mostly resolved in the end, it does not mitigate the generations of suffering of black people at the hands of white people, and this portrayal is more harm than good in my opinion. Quite honestly, as I was starting this book, I expected that I would not like it as much as the author’s other works (which are among my favorite books), and I was right.

My Rating-

3/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Active Defense by Lynette Eason (Danger Never Sleeps #3)

Active Defense

About the Book-

As a former field surgeon in Afghanistan, Heather Fontaine is used to life-or-death situations. She just didn’t expect them to follow her home. When she returns from a party to find that someone has broken into her house–and threatened her friends–she assumes it is the stalker who has been following her and creeping her out. She hopes to find safety and peace of mind by leaving the city and hiding out in a small town. But trouble has followed her even there.

Luckily, a stalker isn’t the only one watching Heather. Travis Walker has been secretly watching out for her for weeks. As owner of his own security agency, it’s what he does. Together, Travis and Heather must figure out who wants her dead–and why–before it’s too late.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason will have you looking over your shoulder as you dive into this fast-paced, suspense-filled story about losing control and finding something even better.

My Review-

tw: suicide, ptsd, emotional abuse, child abuse

This was such a fun suspense book! Christian suspense fiction has definitely become a genre I’ve come to enjoy more and more, and while it isn’t necessarily the “best” fiction or the most realistic, I still enjoy them & think they’re really fun!

I started this book around 11pm, thinking I would read a few chapters before bed. Bad idea: it was 4 am before I finished the book and went to sleep. While I didn’t really enjoy the other book from this series that I’ve read (Acceptable Risk, book 2 in the series), I found this book really fun and super exciting!

The main suspense plot of this book was that of Heather, a medical doctor who suffers PTSD from her time in Afghanistan, and a stalker, who quickly becomes violent and begins to pose a threat to her safety. The love interest is Travis, who has liked Heather for a while but has never made a move, as she was never interested.

Overall, there were several plot points that didn’t seem very feasible in real life, and several that were just a tad unrealistic, like one of the large plot points about Heather’s PTSD (a viral video of her in Afghanistan is involved & just ???? that doesn’t make you famous/a target for people trying to kill you?). Many of them were good, but there were just some that were just too perfect, in my opinion.

My favorite character from this story is Ryker, who is an abused teen that Heather and Travis find and take in. He is so sweet and thoughtful, and his character development is just so cool to read! I also really liked the dynamic of the friend group: although Heather doesn’t want to harm any of her friends, they still all rally around her and give their help, which was just so sweet! I also really looooved the time that they spent on Travis’ farm: the big family in the countryside with animals trope always makes me SO happy.

Unlike in book 2, I didn’t guess who the antagonist was in the book until rather late. Overall, I think this book was better developed than the previous one (albeit still lacking in some plot points), and I did enjoy it more than the other one. I still don’t really agree with the use of the war in Afghanistan as a narrative device, but this one was certainly a lot better than in book 2. I would recommend it to fans of suspense!

My Rating-

7/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

25 Practical and Useful Gift Ideas: A Minimalist Gift Guide || 12 Days of Blogmas 2020 Day 1

Hello friends, and HAPPY BLOGMAS!! I’ve been doing blogmas for several years now, and while I . . . don’t think I’ve ever finished, it’s always been fun to try! I’ve posted some of my favorite blogposts over blogmas, and it’s always fun to start the new year off on a blogging roll, you know?

Like last year, I’ll be doing 12 days of blogmas: 12 blogposts spread out throughout December leading up to Christmas. It’s not going to be super Christmas themed or anything, but I’m excited to do it!

For today’s post, I thought I would do a 25 minimalist gift ideas list. Over the course of the year, I’ve leaned more and more towards living a minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle: 2020 has definitely taught me the value of living a quieter life, and one does not need to have many things in order to live a productive and fulfilling life.

This Christmas, I’m asking for things that are not just more meaningful, but also higher quality and conducive to living a minimalist life, and I thought I would put together a list of some simple gifts that promote hygge and a quiet life. If you have any people in your life that you want to give a gift to, I think these would be really nice gifts: they’re practical and useful, while still being meaningful at the same time!

*Some Links are Affiliate

Health + Wellness

  1. Nice smelling soap or lotion
  2. Essential oils & diffuser (these are the essential oils that I use–this company is not a MLM, but that link is my referral code and gets you $10 off a purchase of $50! I also use Young Living oils and as far as I know, they are the same quality)
  3. Simplistic minimal jewelry
  4. A menstrual cup! Obviously this one depends on your relationship with the person, but I love mine and did a blogpost about it a while back! (You can find it here.) This is the one that I use: Duchess Menstrual Cup
  5. Masks (#2020) or face masks as more of a beauty supply
  6. An aesthetic candle (such as this wood wick crackling candle)

Kitchen

  1. Reusable straws (like these)
  2. A milk frother (A similiar one to mine that has good reviews)
  3. A French press
  4. Your favorite coffee beans (especially ones from a small company like this one)
  5. Loose leaf tea (like from this small company)
  6. A cast iron skillet (like this one)
  7. A spice collection
  8. High quality wooden kitchen utensils (like these)

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Self Improvement

  1. The Little Book of Hygge
  2. Prompted journals: I personally haven’t used them, but these are good ones that I’ve heard of-
  3. A high quality notebook like a Leuchtturm1917 or a Moleskine
  4. A non-fiction book/devotional! Some good ones that I’ve had recommended to me (but that I haven’t read) are:

Home

  1. A good quality set of coasters (like these marble ones)
  2. A good utility knife
  3. Wool dryer balls
  4. A subscription box services to something that you know they will actually use. Some of the ones I’ve seen are

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  1. Items from a small business that are functional and that they would use, like mugs or art pieces. Some of my favorites are:
    • Jenessa Wait (mostly art prints but also journals, mugs, and pillowcases)
    • Rachel Allene (mostly mugs, but also some other hand lettered things like t-shirts and stickers)
  2. Board games
  3. Plants: succulents or otherwise low maintenance ones are the best ones to give as gifts

I would highly recommend asking people for their wish list, and give them thing that are useful and meaningful to them. Use this list as inspiration, but don’t buy someone something unless you know they will need it. If you don’t know what they want, then I would highly suggest a gift card with a thoughtfully written note: the meaning is still there, but you aren’t cluttering up their life with things that they do not need and that do not add to their life.


So here is a sampling of ideas that I am looking to give to people in my life this year! What is on your wishlist? What is something you’re gifting to someone else? Are you a minimalist? Leave me a comment and let me know!