February 27, 2017

Hannah || Portraits

Looking back, I guess part of it was my fault...
Not that I was driving the Prius, but I definitely did say that we should try to make it up the mountain.
And it went really well.... for the first 20 feet. At that point, our progress slowed slightly. When I say slightly, I mean that we stopped. completely. After trying again and again we decided to face our fate.
We were REALLY stuck.

We struggled for the first 20 minutes until finally deciding that calling my brother to pull us out was probably going to be the best course of action. Unfortunately, we forgot that Prius's don't really have much metal with which to attach a strap to... So it ended up that pulling us out turned into digging us out. Man! I got myself one great Big Bro!

Don't worry tho, I thanked him later on by making Blueberry Coffee Cake. 

Back to the story! 
That was the beginning of Hannah's photo shoot. I had a few days at home so I contacted another local photographer (shoutout to Dakota) and she let me tag along on this photoshoot.

I can't remember a photoshoot being quite this exciting.... except for the one engagement session that involved a flat tire and a lost cell phone. 
But that's another story.

Anywho! So I'm off to finish editing a few other pictures. Enjoy!







Hannah, twas quite a pleasure getting stuck with you. 
Let's do it again sometime! 
(Minus the getting stuck part. ;)

xoxo,
Anna Rose

February 14, 2017

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies


These cookies are the best of both worlds and the bomb.com all at the same time!
There's that incredible peanut buttery taste, and the super smooth-melted chocolate taste... These cookies disappear like crazy!

My biggest tip for this recipe is to not over bake the cookies. I'm one of those people who like cookies super chewy and warm.... and it doesn't get much better than when you add a chunk of chocolate on top. 







Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (Stir the flour and then scoop it, so it's not packed into the measuring cup/spoon.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 30+ Hershey Kisses

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix well and scrape the bowl.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture all at once and mix until just incorporated. *this is where you set aside a bit of dough to eat later. ;)
  4. CHILL dough for 2 hours in fridge or 45 minutes in the freezer. (This keeps the dough thick and puffy / helps it not spread too fast while baking.)
  5. Scoop dough and shape into balls, about 1 rounded Tablespoon each. Place 2-inches apart on silicone lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately place a single Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie while still warm. Rest for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store cookies in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Enjoy!!
xoxo,
Anna Rose



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February 2, 2017

Europe || Part 2

Okay, So when I left off, We were floating down the Rhine River...I think. 

This river was INCREDIBLE. Castles galore and such cute little towns situated in a straight line. This was due to the rocky hills that go steeply down into the river, not allowing much room for the towns to grow anywhere but sideways.





Our next stop was BERLIN >> GERMANY
It was decided that we would get a better experience if we walked around Berlin. We definitely got a better idea of what life is like in Europe! Most people walk or ride their bikes when they want to get somewhere.




This is the World Time Clock. It was neat watching it move and see all the different times and places around the world.
Also, there were street artists all over the place in Europe...  I saw accordion players, guitar players; some people would even bring their keyboard and play in the middle of a square.




The Brandenburg Gate was a must-see place while we were in Berlin. We also stopped to see the Berlin Wall, as well as Checkpoint Charlie. After a long day of walking around Berlin, I was thankful to have a few minutes to sit in our bus before the next concert.

*Story Time*
 I was in the airport recently, and I met a older man from Berlin. It was fun to show him some of the pictures that I took in Germany and hear him say, "I know where that is!!" 
It made him so happy to see someone who knew the places he knew and loved. 




Ohhh my. This youth hostel was gorgeous!!
We had a little extra time on this specific day for some reason and I was making my way to breakfast (carrying my camera, as usual) when I saw a door that was opened slightly to let a breeze through the building. I walked over, took a little peak and gasped because what I saw was exactly what I imagined the Secret Garden would look like. 

The walls were stucco white, and there was an arbor of blooming roses. There was a little wicker chair in one corner and the ground was cobbled. The raindrops from the night before glistened as the morning sun hit them, making it look like there were thousands of diamonds among the roses.

A few minutes later, a lady came and told me to leave. I think. She said it all in German, and I assumed that was probably what she meant.

So I guess I snuck into her private garden on accident.... but it was definitely worth it. 







I thought maybe.... JUST MAYBE I would be able to finish up about my Europe tour in this post, but I'm running out of room, and there are things to do today, so I will leave you one last shot.

This, my friends, is Neuschwanstein Castle.
It is often better known as the Cinderella Castle, and is nestled at the base of the Bavarian Alps

I walked around a corner in the forest and then I saw it through the trees,
and it took my breath away.



Next time, I will share some of the things that God taught me while traveling and singing with my team. They are like my family, and I made friends and memories that I pray I will never forget. 
xoxo,
Anna Rose



January 24, 2017

Snapshots of Life >> Part 1

Life has been changing a LOT.

I finished up at college, hung out in Washington State for a while, and now I'm back in the northland of Minnesota. While that all might sound terribly exciting, trust me, not all of it is.

Sometimes, change is not something I care too much for. While I do enjoy traveling, flying to different states or countries, and driving all over the country, I like routine. I like knowing that I have a routine to go back to once all of the traveling is over..... I guess the best way to phrase it (without sugar coating) is that I like being comfortable. I think many of us would agree that we all like the feeling of safety, and that often manifests itself in having a dependable and reliable routine.

That being said, I haven't always had the best attitude about all of this change that has been going on.
And over the last few months God has been teaching me TONS.  I'm just going to take a moment and share the two big ones, in hopes that it can encourage you in some way. :) Trust me, this won't take long to read!

(P.S. I just had to stick some pictures in here, so for your viewing enjoyment I have chosen pictures I've posted on Instagram recently. :)




1.     GOD KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING

God has me right here, right now, for a specific purpose. It's not like He said, "Oh....I haven't figured out yet what Anna should do between graduating and going to Africa.... so I think I'll send her to Minnesota because I'm not sure what else to do with her."

That's not at ALL what God did. He knew that there were lesson to learn, people to meet, and the ability to grow closer to Him HERE that I would not necessarily have anywhere else. And the lessons that he is teaching me HERE are things that I can apply LATER.

Ok. One down.



The next thing God has been teaching me is...

2. WAITING IS A SEASON TOO 

Right now you may be thinking, "Really Anna?! It took you THIS LONG to figure that out?"
...I already had that head knowledge. But applying it was/is MUCH harder.

Here's the main thing God taught me about this.... He doesn't want me to be content with just waiting. He wants me to be busy, and He wants me to be serving Him even when I'm "waiting" for the next big thing that He has for me. 

Now, all that being said,  going to Africa is the next big thing that God has for me (that I can see). But there's a lot of learning that has to happen before I leave. God knew that...and being completely honest.... I didn't.

That's why when I found out it wouldn't work well for me to head out of Africa in February, I honestly was a pretty bummed. In my mind, I pictured me living in Africa from around February, till right before my college graduation.  At that point, I would come back to the US, walk in graduation and continue on with whatever next thing God had for me. It made perfect sense, the timeline worked. Nothing about it didn't make sense. And through all my planning, I forgot that...

GOD DOESN'T ALWAYS MAKE SENSE.

 His will is so far above mine, that there are *MANY* times when I don't have a CLUE of what the purpose is behind something.

But God knew better. He knew I wasn't ready, and He knew that there were a few quirks that needed to be worked out before I left. And so now, I am here. 
I'm waiting, but just because I waiting DOES NOT mean that God expects me to stop serving Him.



Anywho! 
That is a little bit of a glimpse of my life....Interspersed with random pictures from the last month and a half of life. :)

XOXO,
Anna Rose

January 8, 2017

Fresh Snow + A Slight Hike

In the small town I grew up in, we happen to be blessed with an enormous amount of fabulous scenery. This fact could not make the local photographers any happier. 

Plus, when there's a fresh layer of snow on the ground and the makings of a gorgeous sunset, it's hard to not want to take some pictures. 
So it was that after a stop at the local coffee shop, I found myself and my go-to adventure buddy, Dakota, once again chasing the sunlight before the sun slipped over the edge of the mountains, leaving us with only the light of the moon + stars.

We ended up driving almost to the top of one of the mountains.... 
Unfortunately, we didn't realize that the road was accessible ALL the way to the top and so there was no need for us to hike the last section...like we had just done.  

I'm positive one of us made a sarcastic comment about how we always manage to do things the harder way, usually on accident. There was one time that we got her Prius stuck in the snow.... but that's a different story for a different time









The climb to the top was well worth it. We got there just as the sun was beginning it's disappearing act, and had plenty of time to grab some pictures + enjoy the view.

Now, if I'm remembered correctly, there's some Blueberry Coffee Cake downstairs that is calling my name!

xoxo, Anna Rose

January 1, 2017

Oh the Places You'll Go [2016]

“It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.”
Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


2016 was a travel-filled year for me. And when I say travel-filled, I mean crossing-continents-and-oceans travel-filled. 
It was also full of soccer, photography, college, and learning, and it came with a whole new list of things to experience and grow from. 



 Hannah and Mason got my year off to the *perfect* start. And when I say perfect, I mean splendiferously wonderful. We got coffee and then went to one of my favorite places for pictures. This places was  also where Mason proposed to Hannah - so it's a little extra special to them.

Christmas break wouldn't be quite the same if my Dakota-friend and I didn't get together and talk about the new things of our lives. She got married and I kept doing the college thing.




I went back to school towards the middle of January! I was able to be on my school's chorale again this year which gave me lots of opportunities to travel.

 During Spring break, we all got on the bus, drove to Colorado... that was where the majority of our concerts were. It was a grand adventure that included visiting the Garden of the Gods and sing in the Cathedral at the National Air Force Academy.

After the Colorado trip, we got back to school only to leave for a long weekend singing in Chicago. We also managed to do a wee-bit of sight seeing, as well as trying the food from local famous food joints.








 I got to help photograph Hayden and Carrie's wedding in April. Her ring was gorgeous and those blue mason jars were just *perfect* backdrops.

Shortly after that, two of my dear friends from camp got engaged and we went to a gorgeous park for their pictures.




OH MY! This is my favorite part.... and when I say favorite I mean FAVORITE.
Folks. I got to go to Europe. EUROPE.

Eery few years the chorale from my college tours Europe.... and this was one of those years! We were gone for around 24 days, and wow! It was the most wonderful, exhausting, out-of-my-comfort-zone trips I have every been on. There were people who didn't speak my language, foods I had never eaten....much less heard of. But all in all, it was a life changing experience!

We had a concert almost every day and the few times we had down time, we were able to go sight-seeing.














^^ That's us singing in the streets.... proof that we actually were singing. I'm the short one on the left. ... for those of you who were wondering. :)

After getting back to the USA, I was able to help photograph my cousin's wedding. He married to one of my college friends, and I'm so stoked to have her as part of my family!




This summer was fantastic! I lived and worked in Minnesota  When I say "lived" I mean, I stayed there between my different trips back to Iowa and Washington... but that's getting ahead of myself.

 Pretty soon now, I'll leave Washington state and officially move to Minnesota for a few months until I leave the country for my next big adventure in July.

You'll read about that trip in a later blog post. :)






Remember those trips to weddings I talked about? Well, I flew back to Iowa to shoot Ryan and Carissa's wedding and to celebrate July 4th with some friends, and then (a few weeks later) I got to fly to Washington.

I had forgotten how absolutely beautiful this part of the country was!



Oh! P.S. One of my best friends got married!
And WOW! She was a gorgeous bride!

I also was a *HUGE* fan of the homemade pancakes, farm eggs, and fresh huckleberries that go along with being back in Washington.







The Big Brother and I also carved out some time to go on a wee adventure up my favorite mountain.

I can always count on him to be ready and willing to go on adventures with me. <3



I remember waking up around 5 or 6 AM Saturday morning (my body hadn't adjusted to the new time zone) going out to the garage, grabbing some wood, and starting to create. Pretty soon Daddy came out and helped me finish up my few projects.

I had been planning on this project for quite some time and I'm glad I finally finished it.



Then it was back to Minnesota to finish up my summer job. I also had some time to do a little bit of exploring around that state. I'm looking forward to getting to explore a bit more soon.




I took senior pictures of my cousin Bethany >> Class of 2017



Abigail, another cousin, got her senior pictures taken too >> Class of 2017



Then it was back home to Iowa where I went to the Iowa State Fair with some great friends and then spent a few days at my "other home" in Iowa with some of my favorite people. 

I got to play with cows and spend the last few days of break relaxing before soccer training week made every muscle in my body sore. 



I also started a new hobby. For quite a while, I've been interested in lettering, but this year I expanded a little and started painting barn board signs. They're so much fun and I love how each sign has its own personality!


Next thing on my schedule was to photograph the proposal of some of my friends from camp. I worked with Will at camp two years ago, and Arien worked there a few weeks as well. 

I think it was almost a year and a half ago when Will asked me if I would take pictures at his proposal, and I told him I would do my best to be in the area. It just so happened that I WAS in the area, and so I got to photograph their sweet proposal.





This year, in and around school, I got to see a glimpse of what harvest in Iowa is like. I spent almost every weekend at a farm learning all about harvest and combining and corn and beans. 

It was totally new experience to this small- town Washington girl who grew up surrounded by fields of wheat. 







Hannah >> Class of 2017
Her brother and I went to school together, so when she spent a weekend visiting, we decided it was the perfect chance to sneak in some pictures!

I also took full advantage of that deal that Starbucks had going on (remember the one.... buy one get one free?!) Breaks from studying are made way better when you grab a friend and go get free coffee!




I spend a great amount of my free time making and painting wood signs. I was able to get together with some friends and have a small booth at a Christmas craft fair. 



This handsome guy is another cousin of mine.
Jacob >> Class of 2017

Man.... Minnesota sure knows how to do these sunsets right. 



My last proposal of the year was for Nolan and Grace.
Grace has been one of my best friends while at college, so I was beyond exciting to get to shoot her proposal! 



Then it was back to the Iowa farm for a week before I headed back to Washington.



It's been fun to be able to relax and not worry about school. But just because I'm not in school anymore doesn't mean I plan on not drinking anymore coffee!

I've already been to my favorite coffee shop several times, and I have more plans to visit again.






Dakota, this sweet friend of mine, loves to take pictures and drink coffee as much as I do, so she makes the perfect adventuring buddy!




Also, a little preview into this next year's blogging schedule.... I'm planning on creating several different posts including some of my FAVORITE recipes that I have found in my many, many, vast years of cooking experience.
So, if you want some good recipes, hang around!

It's my personal goal to blog once a week, probably on Wednesdays or Thursdays. It's also my goal to have a prayer journal this year, so I guess I'll have to go out and buy a pretty one that will inspire me to pick it up every day.


I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful 2017!
Happy New Year!
xoxo,
Anna Rose