My Friday Favorite Five

It’s time for another Friday Favorite Five!

It’s been a while since my last Friday Favorite Five post. I’m excited to be doing another Friday Favorite Five post today. 🙂 Here we go…..

ONE: Cheesy Rom-Coms

I have always loved and will always adore cheesy rom-coms. The first rom-coms that I ever watched were Kate & Leopold and Leap Year, and ever since those movies I’ve been addicted. Hallmark movies are some of my favorites, and Christmas is one of the best times for romance movies! Last night I watched Life as We Know It (SO cute!), and as I type this post, the Hallmark movie From Friend to Fiance is playing in the background. If you guys have any good rom-com suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

TWO: Chilled Chai Lattes

I’ve been working on creating a chilled (I don’t have ice okay??) Chai latte recipe, and I think I’m getting close to creating THE ONE. Basically I steep two Chai tea bags in 2 cups of water in the fridge overnight (start with hot water so that it is stronger). The next day, I remove the tea bags and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two tablespoons of brown sugar. I make sure it’s all mixed together, then pour the sweetened concentrate into a glass and mix with almond milk. This drink has been satisfying my cravings for Chai during these hot, sunny days, and it’s delicious!

THREE: College Vlogs

My freshman year of college is coming up, and I am so excited! I’ve been watching some college vlogs to learn more about what a little bit more about to expect, what to bring, etc. Here are two vloggers whose vlogs I’ve learned a couple tips from:

Marrisa Nicole | Ohio State University | College Tips and Hacks + Vlogs

Sophia Pruett | UNC Wilmington | College Guide + Vlogs

And here’s a blogger who has been helpful as I’ve been creating a packing list: Sophia Lee of By Sophia Lee

FOUR: Surfaces Music

Surfaces has been one of my favorite music groups to listen to lately! Their music is so fun, bright, and positive. You might know their song “Sunday Best.” It’s one of my favorites of theirs!

FIVE: Poldark

You all may be thinking… Does this girl do anything but drink Chai, listen to music, and watch TV and YouTube???? The answer is yes, I do, but I’m just listing some of these kinds of things that I’ve been liking okay??? Okay, back to Poldark…..

My mom and I just finished the last season of Poldark (which is on Amazon Prime). It was such a good show, but I felt a little unsatisfied by the ending. Nevertheless, I’m hoping to rewatch it soon. 😉 Seriously, if you like period dramas, try POLDARK. I want to read the books too!

What is one of your favorite things?

June 6, 1944

I’ve been to Normandy.

I’ve walked on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. I’ve seen the church that American paratrooper John Steele’s parachute got caught on (he pretended to be dead to avoid being killed). I’ve visited the Airborne Museum and the Utah Beach Museum. I stood at Pointe du Hoc, looked down the treacherous edge, and wondered how on earth Army Rangers had climbed up. I wondered “how did they do it?” a lot at Normandy.

My memories of visiting Normandy have faded a little bit.

I remember Normandy, but not as vividly as I used to. I remember the feelings of being there more than anything. I remember feeling a little strange, walking through a place that was now so beautiful, peaceful, and, in some ways, touristy. It felt strange knowing that years ago, people did not come to this place to take pictures, vacation, or buy postcards. Instead, brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen came to this place and broke through the Atlantic Wall to free Europe from Nazi Germany’s clutches. A battle had raged here, on the beaches, on the cliffs, in the towns.

I felt sad and solemn walking on the beaches, staring at the memorials, hearing the waves hit the sand, and seeing things such as canteens and patches in glass museum cases. While Normandy did feel a little touristy, it was also a very solemn place. It was solemn, as if the places and things, remembered what had happened at Normandy too, and they kept quiet and still in remembrance. It was indeed sobering to know that so many men had died on D-Day.

But there were other feelings that I felt as I wandered around Normandy. Pride was one of those feelings. I felt proud of what the brave servicemen had accomplished at Normandy. And the other feelings were deep gratitude for their sacrifices and service, admiration of their bravery and selflessness, and respect for them. After all…

Because of what happened on June 6, 1944, I am free.

Because of D-Day, I live in a better world. Because of the sacrifices of so many so long ago, I and many others enjoy many freedoms, from the freedom to worship as we please to the freedom to write what we believe. We owe so much to the men who fought for freedom on June 6, 1944.

On this 76th anniversary of D-Day, let’s remember the men who fought in Normandy. Let us remember them and their courage and sacrifice. And let us honor them by living lives of courage and sacrifice.

Free Printable Library Play Set

Hey everyone!

I have something fun for you and the little ones in your life today. I’ve created a free printable library play set. I created this for my siblings a couple months ago, and I thought it might be fun to share this. It’s a play set for “The Lion Library” (named because of the lion statues outside of the New York Public Library), and it has a lot of fun printables for you to create a library corner with!

Included in the Play Set Are….

  • A Lion Library Sign
  • A Customizable Lion Library Event Poster
  • A Customizable Lion Library Reading Challenge Poster
  • “Open” and “Closed” Signs
  • A Lion Library Book Drop Sign
  • A Lion Library Rule Poster
  • Lion Library Library Cards

I also created a set of logs: One for your kiddos to track books they’ve read and another to track books that have been checked out of the library!

To Get the FREE Library Play Set, Simply Click the First Download Button Below. To Get the Library Checkout Log and Book Log, Click the Second Download Button Below.

You can use these printables to create your own little library for kids at home! For my siblings’ little library, I used a sturdy cardboard box for a book drop, a TV tray covered in a red tablecloth as a “front desk,” and created a little shelf system with kids’ books. I hung the signs up around the little corner and checked out books for the library patrons and their dolls that came by. We also did a “library event” by reading Curious George by H.A. Rey, eating banana chocolate chip muffins (mini ones were served for the doll patrons, of course), and talking about our favorite parts of the book. Everyone had a lot of fun, and all patrons were encouraged to read more by using their book logs. I would love to see what kind of fun you all can come up with!

I had fun creating these printables, and I hope that you all will enjoy using them! Please don’t forget share these with anyone with kids who might enjoy this, and as always, stay stellar!

Do you have any younger siblings?

10 of My Favorite Quotes About Reading and Writing

Hello, Everyone!

I hope that all of you are well. Today I thought that it would be fun to share some quotes that I love about reading and writing. I hope that they inspire you as much as they inspire me! 🙂

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

                        -George R. R. Martin

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

                        -C.S. Lewis

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

                        -Ernest Hemingway

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” 

                        -Desiderius Erasmus

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

                        -C.S. Lewis

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”

                        -William Faulkner

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

                        -Edgar Allan Poe

“Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face. But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.”

                        -Guy de Maupassant

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

                        -William Wordsworth

“The world calls them singer and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”

                        -L.M. Montgomery

What is one of your favorite quotes about reading or writing?

London, 1941 / A Short Story

“London, 1941” by Micaiah Saldaña

“Emma! Emma!”

I scream her name over and over again, hoping that the noise reaches her ears. Emma. The word vibrates as it leaves my mouth and floats into the air. I will never be able to hear it, but I know how it feels. 

Right now, it feels shaky. Breathless. I am gasping for air tainted by London’s charred remains. 

She couldn’t have gone far. Surely she knew to find an air raid shelter in London’s belly. Surely someone helped her… “Emma!”

So why do I feel so wrong?

One could say it’s the greying sky littered with clouds and German aircraft, but those are now like roast on a Sunday before the war. Constant. Predictable. Normal.

“Emma!”

I trip along what used to be a busy street. The remains of London crunch underneath my feet. I scramble around debris. In the distance, firemen try to put out one of the hundreds of London’s fires. 

“Emma!”

My throat scratches against the word. Please be near. Please be safe. 

Buildings that remain gloriously, miraculously, untouched reach out to the sky as if to defy the enemy soaring above. Their fallen comrades lay in shambles and hang in crooked structures, skeletons of what once was.

This place, this place that smells sour and burnt, is no place for a little girl. And yet this is my sister’s playground.

“Emma!”

I cannot hear the planes above, the screaming sirens, or the bombs rushing to the earth. But I can feel them. Their steady hum of destruction and wings electrifies the air. Suddenly, the earth rumbles. I stumble against a brick wall. That felt… Close. My heart beats ten times faster. My palms begin to sweat. 

“Emma!”

Where is she? Is she safe? I swallow, tasting bile and defeat.

Please let her be safe. 

The world shatters into a million pieces and fire ignites the sky. 

A Note From the Author:

Thank you so much for reading my little short story. If you enjoyed this, please be sure to give this post a like or leave a comment and share it with friends. Please let me know if you all would be interested in reading more things like this on my blog. Again, thank you for reading and for your support. It means the world to me. Stay stellar!

For An Anxious Heart {Playlist}

Dear Anxious Heart,

I don’t know where you are, or what exactly is weighing you down. I don’t know how anxiety is affecting you personally. But during this time of widespread anxiety, I hope that I can offer some words of encouragement through this playlist that I’ve created. It is a collection of songs that have helped calm the storm in my own anxious heart during times of trouble and worry. I hope that these songs offer some respite for your anxious heart as well.

If clicking on the above photo isn’t working for you, listen to the playlist on Apple Music by clicking here.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

You Made A Difference {A Tag About Blogs}

Time for another fun tag!

Today I am doing the You Made a Difference tag created by Jem Jones. Thanks for creating this fun tag, Jem, and for tagging me! ❤

The Rules

Answer all the questions. The answers to your questions are the people that you tag! You can tag as many or as few people as you’d like. Have fun!

Now, onto the tag…

Old friends

  • Who was the first blogger you followed? (or the first few you remember)

The first blogger that I followed was Hanna of Taking My Time. It was Hanna that inspired me to start blogging myself. I’m so thankful for her and her friendship. ❤

  • Who was the first person to comment on your blog?

The first person to comment on my first blog was Savannah Grace of Savannah Grace Writes. She hasn’t been blogging lately, but you should definitely check out her past posts and her writing!

  • Sometimes bloggers stop blogging or go on indefinite hiatus – who do you miss now they’re gone?

Hannah Rodriguez of Furious Ever Afters. I loved the playlists she created and overall her posts. She is definitely missed in the blogosphere!

  • Who started blogging around the same time as you? 

I honestly cannot think of anyone that started blogging when I started blogging in 2015. There were people who were already blogging, and I just sort of joined in with them.

*short break for my blogging backstory* In 2015, I started a blog called A Little Bit of Everything. I literally blogged about everything there, from snapshots of my life to fantastical serial stories. In 2016, I moved my blog to Ramblings of a Writer. I got more serious about blogging about reading and writing! I finally moved to Notebooks and Novels in 2017, and I’ve been here ever since! 🙂

Current bloggers

  • Do you have a blogging friendship which has extended beyond the screen?

I’m afraid that I haven’t gotten to meet any of my blogging friends yet, but I hope to one day!

  • Which blogger has most influenced your current blogging or writing style?

Hhhhmmmm…. I’m going to say Cait of Paper Fury (Jem is right-I think that all of us book bloggers want to be like her). She is a blogging QUEEN, and once I discovered her blog I knew that I wanted to be as passionate and excited about blogging as she was. I also wanted to take pretty pictures of books like Cait does (her Instagram is SO PRETTY I love alll the books!) and have a pretty website too.

  • Who was the last person who tagged you?

The last person to tag me was Jem Jones! She is so nice and has a great blog. Go check her blog out by clicking here!

Tag! You’re It!

The Questions

Old friends

  • Who was the first blogger you followed? (or the first few you remember)
  • Who was the first person to comment on your blog?
  • Sometimes bloggers stop blogging or go on indefinite hiatus – who do you miss now they’re gone?
  • Who started blogging around the same time as you? 

Current bloggers

  • Do you have a blogging friendship which has extended beyond the screen?
  • Which blogger has most influenced your current blogging or writing style?
  • Who was the last person who tagged you?

Who are some of your favorite bloggers, and what are their blogs? Share with me in the comments so that I can go follow them!

The Mystery Blogger Award

I am so excited to be doing the Mystery Blogger Award today!

Blogging awards and tags are so fun, right? Many thanks to Rachel of Joyful Creations for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Be sure to check out Rachel’s lovely blog, Joyful Creations. She has lots of great posts! Now, onto the award…

The Rules Of The Mystery Blogger Award

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog (broke this rule for aesthetic reasons, haha).
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well (I’m afraid that I couldn’t find the creator’s blog).
  • Answer the 5 questions you were asked.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 10-20 people (I mighttt be breaking this rule too xD).
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

Now it’s time for the questions!

Are you an early bird, night owl, or neither?

I would say that I am neither an early bird or a night owl. I have a hard time waking up early and staying up sometimes. I need my sleep to say the least. xD

What’s your favorite YouTube channel or blog?

I have lots of favorite blogs, but my favorite YouTube channel is Abbie Emmons’ YouTube channel (her blog is also great!). Abbie posts lots of good videos about writing; I highly recommend her channel! Click here to watch some of Abbie’s amazing videos.

Would you rather eat 3 bowls of ice cream or an entire bag of potato chips?

Three bowls of ice cream for sure! Ice cream is one of the greatest things EVER. Right now, vanilla ice cream with fruit compote sounds AMAZING.

If you could be a professional sports player/Olympian, what sport would you chose?

Gymnastics! I would love to be able to do all of the things that gymnasts can do, from the flips to the jumps to the amazing feats of strength and balance. But realistically, I think I’ll stick to writing. xD

What’s your favorite season?

I love every season for different reasons, but I think that my favorite season is autumn. Crisp weather, pumpkins, colorful leaves, Chai lattes, apples, flannels, sweaters, boots, cozying up with a book, campfires… Oh, I love autumn!

3 Things About Me

  1. I love anything with salted caramel and/or chocolate.
  2. While we’re talking about sweet things, I love to bake! I’ve baked things from croissants to macarons to layer cake, and there is still so much more that I want to make!
  3. I have Sears typewriter from 1977.

My Most Popular Post

My review of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is my most popular post.

My Five Questions

  1. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  2. What is your favorite Disney movie?
  3. When and why did you start blogging?
  4. What is one of your favorite quotes?
  5. Who is someone that inspires you?

I Tag…

Elizabeth Anne of Stories and Sketches, Jem Jones, Jeanette of Only by Grace, Penny of Jane Austen’s Lightsaber, and YOU!!!!!

Come back next week for a tag about blogs!

What is one random fun fact about you?

What Goodbye Hasn’t Taught Me (And What It Has)

This is taken from a writing exercise that I completed at the Young Writer’s Workshop at Messiah College. Registration for this year’s workshop is currently open! Click here to learn more. If you would like to support the scholarship fund for this workshop, please consider purchasing a copy of The Young Writer’s Workshop Journal: Messiah College 2019. It features works by myself and my friends from last year’s workshop, and a purchase helps other writers have the opportunity to go to the workshop! Click here to get a copy.

Goodbye Hasn’t Taught Me…

  • What staying in one place for more than three years feels like.
  • How to leave or be left without pain or tears.
  • Why some goodbyes don’t feel like goodbye.
  • That goodbye gets easier as time ticks away.
  • That home is a place.
  • Where I’m “from.”
  • How to forget.

Goodbye Has Taught Me…

  • How to leave a place you love for a place you know only by name.
  • Home is people, not a place.
  • That leaving or being left by people is a thousand times worse than leaving a place. 
  • Why savoring every moment is important.
  • To look on the bright side.
  • That watching your home fade into nothing is as painful as watching a part of yourself slip away.
  • To remember that not all goodbyes are sad ones. 
  • Goodbye doesn’t always mean the end. Sometimes, it means once upon a time…

What has (or hasn’t) goodbye taught you?

My Friday Favorite Five

I’m starting a new blog series today: My Friday Favorite Five!

Basically, every once in a while (and on a Friday, of course) I’ll be sharing five of my favorite thing, from quotes, songs, recipes, and books to random little things like mugs of cocoa and colored pencils. ❤ Here we go….

ONE: Little Women Anything and Everything

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is one of my favorite books of all time. My lola took my sisters and I to see the new movie in theaters, and we loved it! IT IS SO GOOD GO WATCH IT (especially since it is now on digital!). Also, the soundtrack is the greatest to turn on while studying, folding laundry, or really just doing anything.

And I can’t not mention The Little Women Cookbook by Wine Moranville that my sister got me for my birthday. ❤ So far, I’ve made Jo’s gingerbread cake, milk toast, and Hannah’s turnovers.

TWO: Cozy Socks

The cozy socks from Old Navy (which are now no longer available :() are my FAVE. I have a bunch of them that I have stocked up on over these last couple winters. I wear them all the time, and they are so cozy and comfy!

THREE: Mechanical Pencils

I don’t think that I would be able to get through high school or even WRITE without mechanical pencils.

FOUR: Chai Lattes

I have a new obsession y’all: CHAI LATTES. Chai lattes, hot or iced, are DIVINE. I’ve been trying to make them at home, and they’re not as good as some I’ve had at coffee shops, but they satisfy my craving.

FIVE: These bits of truth.

“I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow.” -Unknown

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

What are some of your favorite things right now?