10 Envelope Decoration Ideas and Pen Pal With Me || Collab With Sophia Small

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday! Today I’m back with one of my favorite blogposts to write lately: one about letter writing! However, today, the blogpost is not actually here! I’m just popping in here to let you all know about a guest post I did on Sophia Small’s blog, Tea Stained Adventures! She is relaunching her blog, and I’m posting over there to celebrate!

I’m over there today talking about 10 ways to decorate envelopes! One of my favorite parts about writing letters is decorating the envelopes to go with it, and so I decided to share some of my favorite ways that I’ve discovered to decorate them today!

Find the post here.

To go along with the post, I filmed a Real Time Pen Pal With Me video! I love watching these types of videos when I write letters or do other crafty things, and I wanted to make one as well! Enjoy!

What is your favorite envelope making supply? I think mine is kraft paper and washi tape! Do you like watching pen pal with me videos? Leave me a comment and let me know!

My Top 10 Reads of 2019 || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 6

Hey everybody! Today I’m here with one of my favorite wrap-up posts to make: my top 10 reads of the year!! I did this last year, and really enjoyed it, so I’m doing it again this year! I read a ton of amazing books this year, and it was a little bit hard to narrow them down. I did my best though, and here are my top 10 reads of 2019, in no particular order!

  1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. This was my first read of the year, and it was such a great book to start off the year on. The characters, the writing style, the setting, ALL OF IT. Read it if you haven’t yet. (also I had a tweet go semi-viral about the Scorpio Races lol)
  2. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. This was SUCH a good book! While I didn’t agree with everything in the book (i.e., there was a lot of Content for people who are more sensitive to these types of things), the writing style was so beautiful and family stories get me EVERY. TIME.
  3. More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer. Wow this book made me S O B. The length was perfect, the characters were perfect, the story was so nice to read, and it HIT SO HARD. There was a small Christian/homeschooling bash, which some people don’t like, but I LOVED THIS BOOK
  4. To Best the Boys by Mary Weber. I went into this book not expecting much, as I hadn’t really enjoyed the other two books of the author’s that I’ve read. However, this one was different. It’s like The Scorpio Races meets Caravel, and I loved it! The main characters were SO PRECIOUS and so distinct and so well written, and there were badass girls and women in STEM and disability rep and a beautiful writing style and honestly why haven’t you read it yet. (Full Review)
  5. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand. This was such a beautiful book: I resonated a lot with it, and I read it all in one sitting despite having 6 hours of class the next day. Although it’s technically considered middle grade, it had topics that were introspective and deep and lovely and it wonderful characters and beautiful writing and just..WAS A GOOD BOOK. It made me sob quietly in the corner of my room while my roommate was asleep. I love this book.
  6. The Color Project by Sierra Adams. AAAAAAND yet another book that made me sob late at night while my roommate was asleep!!! All of the characters were SO GOOD and it had the perfect balance of fluff with depth and love and sorrow and I SOBBED. This is by far my favorite read of the year, and I will forever scream from the rooftops about it. (ALSO LOOK AT THIS COVER. IT’S GORGEOUSSSSSSSS)
  7. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. The way you would think from having read this list, you would’ve thought I spent all semester sobbing while reading a book while my roommate was asleep, because this was another one. It’s technically a middle-grade, but it was SUCH an amazing middle grade: there were amazing descriptions and characters and topics that were covered and it was just wonderful. Also it made me want a baby kitty.
  8. Romanov by Nadine Brandes. Although it hasn’t been apparent so far on this list, I really love historical fiction, and this is a historical fantasy. It’s a retelling of the Anastasia Romanov story, and the characters in this one were so so good: each of them had their own personalities and were distinct from each other. The historical part of it was also so beautifully written and well researched, and I just really loved reading about it. It had good pacing, history, characters, and just EVERYTHING. If you like history, read this book. (Full Review)
  9. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews. Wahoo, it’s another contemporary that made me crYYYYYYYY. There was so much emotion written into this book, even though it’s pretty short (I read it in under two hours), and I cried three times while reading it (and this was only because I started sobbing 70 pages from the end and didn’t stop until 10 minutes after I’d finished it). Beck is my favorite and August is also my favorite and August’s family is my favorite and lasagna is my favorite and Beck and August is my favorite and I already need to reread it.
  10. Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love (an anthology) edited by Elsie Chapman. This was such a fun read: it was a collection of connected short stories about food by assorted authors, and I loved it so much!! Each of the stories were distinct but were also connected and I enjoyed it so much!

Those are my top 10 reads of 2019! Have you read any of them? What are some books that you recommend I read? What were YOUR top reads of 2019? Drop me a comment and let me know!


My Top 10 Reads of 2018 || Blogmas 2018 Day 16

Hey everyone! Today, we’re talking books again! I’m going to tell you about my top 10 reads so far this year!

I’d planned to read 120 books again this year for my GoodReads goal, but it looks like it might be the first year in 4 years that I might not be able to make it! But I have my fingers crossed! All that to say, this list isn’t comprehensive, but we’re going to make the best of it!

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  1.  Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I mean, OBVIOUSLY. I read the Lunar Chronicles this year, and they were absolutely amazing and mindblowing and AH. I love this series so much!!! If you haven’t read this series yet, you’re seriously MISSING OUT.
  2. If I Run by Terri Blackstock. Christian suspense, man, is a WEIRD genre. But this whole series was a trip and a half and I LOVED it. It was so so well written. There were so many plot twists and action and faith content and just AH. I need to reread this series already!
  3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. This book really blow John Green open for me, and I really started to enjoyed contemporary books after I read this one. The portrayal of mental illness was so good as well!!
  4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. This one made me SOB. WWII stories of any sort already have my heart, but this one absolutely destroyed me. It’s short and sweet but SO POWERFUL.
  5. Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker. This one was written by a homeschooled young author, and it was SO GOOD. It was so pure and light and summery, but it also talked about much more than just fluff. It also made me cry, and it was so so cute!
  6. Wild Blue Wonder by Carrie Sorosiak. This one I just picked up because I saw it in somebody’s book subscription box unboxing video, and thought I might as well check it out. The setting reminds me of where I grew up in Michigan and it was so well written AND surprise, it made me cry.
  7. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. This was a genderbent modern-ish retelling of Sherlock Holmes, and it was so fun to read! I definitely need to read the rest of the books in the series, and see what I think about them as well.
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcer’s Stone by JK Rowling. I turned 18 this year (yay @ being homeschooled Christian), so I started reading the series, and I love it!! I can totally see why everything is so hyped and loved. I’m only 2 books in, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books!
  9. A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden. This was a fun Christian fiction book to read: it had suspense and villains and New York City and fun history bits, and I enjoyed it a lot!
  10. Heart on the Line by Karen Wittemeyer. I apparently have a thing for telegraph operators, because this is a book about one as well! It had mystery and sass and agh it was just fun.

So here are my top 10 books from 2018! Let’s be honest, most of them are either just amazing series or books that made me cry, but they’re ranked high on my list! What are some of your top books of 2018? Let me know down below!

10 Books To Read This Winter || Blogmas 2018 Day 9

Hello friends! Today, it’s time for another bookish post! We’re going to be talking about 10 books you should read this winter!

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These books aren’t necessarily set in the winter, or have anything in particular to do with the winter time, but they are amazing books that you should definitely read!

So here, in no particular orders, are books I think are worth your time this winter.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
81T8Z4wOnlLCinder is for a long afternoon, when you just sit down in one sitting and devour this masterpiece. Cinder is about love, about finding yourself, about snark, and saving the world. Meyer is an absolute genius and this work only starts off a series that gets more and more mindblowing as it goes along.
(10/10 recommend reading the rest of the series as well)

Worlds Beneath by K. A. Emmons
Worlds BeneathWorlds Beneath is one for when you want to be thrown into an alternate world, first for the world and the characters, but then for the symbolism, the themes, the truth and the drive. It has white wolves and snow and powers and the storyline was forever unexpected. It’s a book if you want to be thinking for days.
(Book 2 of a trilogy)

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
All the Bright Places is for when you want a lovey story, but not just one that is any old sappy love story. It is a story of heartbreak but also love, it goes deep into life and mental health and love and friends and meaning. All the Bright Places is one for if you want to fall in love, then sob your eyes out.
(Trigger warnings exist for this book)

Wild Blue Wonder by Carrie Sorosiak
51HsT95rBTL._SX330_BO1204203200_Wild Blue Wonder is for when you want a taste of summer, of freedom, of outdoor living, for sea monsters, but also of winter, of family, of healing, of guilt, of loss, but also of friendship. It is one for Feeling Things, for thinking, for grief, and for crying.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
81cAi-RIjcLThis book is about mental health and real life problems. It is about soul-crushing despair, but also about hope, about love, about friends, about feeling things. It is a story with a simple plot, but with a punch packed behind the plot.

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
51VUs-fHALL._SX327_BO1204203200_Fawkes is for when you want to just sit and collapse into a story; immerse yourself in a world and a land not your own, one of beautiful swirling colors and masks, of history, of epicness, of sword fights, of love, and of dynamic characters.

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White
A Name Unknown is about intrigue and mystery and deception and double-agents, but it is also about family, and finding yourself, and growing as a person. It is perfect for a relaxed afternoon with a cup of tea.

Bread of Angels by Teresa Afshar
91iee1yEKTLBread of Angels is a unique story, one that brings the Bible to life, one with fun characters, one that will have you making connections all throughout. It also includes independent women, sarcasm, the Good News, and hope.

After a Fashion by Jen Turano
After a Fashion is for a light, happy mood. It is banter and hilarity, awkwardness and love, independent women in a time where they weren’t, enthralling characters, and just overall a fun read.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anothony Doerr
81v5wp2zeQLAll the Light We Cannot See is for learning, for history, for past times, but it is also emotional, and messy, and beautiful, and beautifully crafted words and metaphors and descriptions. It is about those who are special, but cannot. It is so long, but so so beautiful.

So! These are the 10 books that I’ve read over the past year or so and have fallen in love with. What are books that *I* should read this winter? Leave suggestions down below!!

10 Things I’ve Learned From Teaching Piano

This last year, I started teaching piano to the kids of one of my mom’s friends. Although I’d thought I knew what it would be like, I didn’t guess at what I’d learn through teaching.
Teaching’s easy, right?
You sit there, they sit there, you point to the music, they play. Simple, right?
Well apparently not.
Here are 10 things that I’ve learned from teaching piano that I didn’t expect.


  1. Even the basics are hard. Try to explain what a note is. Or a beat. Or the whole measure thing. Or time signatures. Or keys. Nothing’s simple.
  2. You can go fast, but then you’ll have to go slow. I started out my students fast, but at a point it started getting too hard, too fast, and I had to slow down.
  3. They will never know how much angst you put into teaching. When I first started teaching, I was perpetually overwhelmed by feeling like I was going to fail. Did I ever tell them? No. They’ll never know.
  4. Not practicing is the worst thing to do. Not only are you frustrated because you’re playing the same thing again, the teacher’s frustrated because she’ll feel like she failed.
  5. When the teacher gives you a choice as to which piece to learn, CHOOSE! As a student, I hate choosing when the teacher gives me a choice, but as a teacher, I want students to want to play music, and letting them choose is the best way to do it.
  6. Teaching is one of the most awesome things in life. What could possibly be better than transferring something you love with your whole person and allowing someone else to love it as well?
  7. You’re probably a better teacher than you think you are. While this probably isn’t true for everyone, I know at least for me, I could never have thought I had this level of teaching prowess.
  8. Different people learn different ways…and that’s okay. I’m teaching two kids whose learning styles are ultra different. They learn differently, so teach them at their own pace. Let them set the pace.
  9. Let them play what they want to play. They may not want to play a classical hymn with a teacher accompaniment. If there is any special request to play a piece, I’ll do my best to find that piece at their level so that they can play it.
  10. Never sit in a chair with wheels while teaching. It might get pulled out while you’re in the process of sitting down, causing you to sit down HARD on the floor and losing all your sense of dignity. Also all heck will break loose, and it’s not pretty. Particularly not in front of the parents.

And there you have it. 10 things about teaching piano that I have found out from teaching.

It’s not been all sunshine and rainbows so far, but I’m loving it, and I’m looking forward to more teaching!