Back To School

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Micah and I. The two of us are obsessed with selfies.


Working on my latest lettering project. Not saying what it is yet! 🙂

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See this schedule? I love this thing! It not only has a time schedule for the day, but to-do lists on the sides and extra space. I found a template on Pinterest, but took it into Inkscape and made it my own. Still, creds to

We started school yesterday. I can’t say I am upset about getting into a schedule again, although it’s always a rough transition for me. There’s something about getting things done, though, that’s addicting. I have my daily schedules/to-do lists all printed up and filled out, my binder decorated with the printable from this post on the front and this one on the back, and my notebooks all set aside, ready to go.

On 9.9.15: My first cross-country meet is this Saturday. I’m nervous, but I know that once I start running, I’ll be fine . . . if I don’t start up too fast and kill myself.

On 9.12.15: So I loved the race! It’s so hard to explain (trust me, people, there will be a cross-country runner in a novel sometime!) the feelings I had throughout the whole race. Like, when I started, I was so nervous I could cry. The last time I had nerves like that was the first day of summer camp this year (I get really homesick), and so I was not happy to be feeling those emotions again! But once I got started, things started looking up. Mile 2 was the best mile, mostly because I started passing people :D. Then, in mile 3, the last 200 meters . . . ugh. Let’s just say I wanted to collapse on the ground, but I still had about two football fields (length wise) to go! Overall, I’m pumped for next Saturday, and I’ve got a feeling cross-country will become an addiction.

And here’s the deal: I am seriously behind on the photography challenge posts. Lauren and I are done with week 5 (floral), and almost week 6 (micro). We’re beginning week 7 (meaningful reminders). I will try to get weeks 5 and 6 posted at some point, but just to let you know, we haven’t given up, and I remember that you’re still here. 🙂

Music Review: The Unmaking

featured image creds

I have to start with a disclaimer on how biased this review will be. Nichole Nordeman’s music has impressed me ever since I could understand the things she was talking about in her songs. (more…)

Never Forget

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It’s 9/11. The anniversary always rolls around before I realize it…not that I remember the actual event (I wasn’t even one yet!), but I still shake my head in disbelief at the numbers.

The number of deaths.

The number of degrees Fahrenheit the fires rose to.

The number of planes.

The number of feet the towers were before they came crashing down.

The number of families left behind.

I will never forget.

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Photographer Interview: Petra Grace

Hey everyone! I’m excited to launch another guest post with one of my dear friends from cross-country, Petra! She’s been a huge blessing in my life, and I just recently realized that she’s a lovely photographer, too! I couldn’t let the opportunity to have her here pass me by, so today she’s joining us to share some tips that will blow your world.

Hey Petra! I’m really glad to have you here today. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog, Petra Grace Photography?

Thank you for having me, Aliyah! Well, I’m a fifteen year old sophomore and the oldest of my family. I’ve always loved photography, but it wasn’t until recently that I got very serious about it.100_3396 (2)
Last year around this time, I began blogging my photography experiences. It was very fun, but it wasn’t very serious (my pictures weren’t all that good).

Your blog revolves primarily around photography. What or who inspired you to pick up photography?

Honestly, I think that I was born with an interest in photography 😉

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When my family first got a point-and-shoot camera (something like 6 years ago), I was the one who used it the most. I loved fiddling with the settings and seeing the different results. Last summer, my parents gave me the option of taking a photography class. When they asked me, I think that my reaction was along the lines of, “ARE YOU SERIOUS? OHMYGOODNESS, THANK YOU!!” I went into the first class, not really knowing what to expect.

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My teacher was amazing. I can hardly put it into words. She made the classes fun and interactive, but she also seemed to build the skill level every time that we met. She also spent a lot of time outside of class answering my questions and mentoring me on the side. I would definitely say that my teacher was a big part of the beginning inspiration.

What do you absolutely adore about photography?

The thing that I love most about photography is the depth of what it captures. One millisecond of all of eternity… And you’ve got it frozen in time. Photography is about capturing the moment, and expressing yourself.

DSCF7344 (2)God has created a moving picture for us to live in; much prettier than anything we could capture (and try to recreate) with a camera. God is in everything beautiful. And when we capture something beautiful on camera… It’s really hard to put into words.

When is your favorite time of year/time of day to shoot? When is your LEAST favorite time of year/time of day to shoot?

I don’t have a favorite time of day to shoot. They all work beautifully for me.

DSCF7281 (2)Ah, the age-old question. I love every time of the year, I really do. However, I would have to say that my favorite time of the year to shoot is autumn.

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Not only is the scenery beautiful, but it doesn’t take that much effort to just go out and do it (you’ll understand what I mean in the next sentence, or so). My least favorite time of year is winter. I’m not hating on winter, believe me. It just takes a lot of extra effort to get good pictures. Between the gazillion layers of clothes, the foggy lenses, and numb fingers… It just takes more time. However, the tradeoff is the pictures that you get in the end. Winter pictures are gorgeous.

What area of photography is your favorite (i.e. landscape, macro/plants, portrait, etc.)?

This is a tough question. Recently, I’ve been doing more landscape/plants/outdoorsy type of things. But I LOVE doing portraits. I would have to say that portraits are definitely my favorite.

DSCF7161 (2)Flowers are great, but you can’t really ask them questions about their family.

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And they never laugh at my jokes, which is a little bit discouraging.

Is there an inspiring bit of advice were you given as a beginning photographer that you’d like to pass on to us?

One thing that my teacher told me time and time again is to just keep practicing. Practice makes perfect, as the old saying goes. And in this instance, it’s true. The only way to improve your pictures is to practice your techniques.

What’s the #1 mistake you’ve made in photography that you’d like to steer us away from?

Without a doubt, comparison. You should never compare your photos with somebody else’s. One thing that almost crippled me at the beginning of my journey was comparing my pictures. Look at other photographers’ pictures. They can be very inspiring. But don’t compare their apples to your oranges. I say that because no photographer uses the same techniques.

DSC_2739 (2)Everybody is different in the way that they approach things. Starting out, your pictures aren’t going to look like the pictures of an experienced wedding photographer. Chances are, they have totally different gear and years of practice.

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Use great photos to set your standards high, don’t use them to tear your spirit down.

What kinds of cameras have you used and what kind do you recommend?

I have had different experience with different cameras. Honestly, I don’t really care what the camera is. I adore my camera, but I’m not married to one brand. I began on cheap point-and-shoot cameras, then I stepped up to a film DSLR, my next one was a really nice point and shoot, and then I found a really good deal on a digital DSLR. My camera is Nikon brand and I do like it, but I haven’t really had experience with other brands. There is a really good resource that I found, which makes buying a camera 100% less stressful: This website features and sells gently used gear for amazing prices. I was shocked at the good deals that I found. I was able to purchase my body camera for around $70.00 and a new lens for another $70.00.

If you could take pictures of any place in the world, where would it be?

This is a great question. All of the places that first came to my mind are in Europe. I’m just going to say Europe 😉

Thank you for having me on your blog, Aliyah! This has been fun!

My note: wasn’t that one of the best interviews in the world?! Give her a big hand, all of you. She did fantastic.

Welcome, November!

Mmmmm. Vanilla ice cream with fall leaf sprinkles.
Mmmmm. Vanilla ice cream with fall leaf sprinkles.
With the time change, I can now see the sunrise without getting up super soon.
With the time change, I can now see the sunrise without getting up super soon.


FROST. Isn't it lovely?! Click to zoom in and look at the ice crystals. So gorgeous.
FROST. Isn’t it lovely?! Click to zoom in and look at the ice crystals. So gorgeous.


One of my favorite shots from this fall. I love the delicate blue sky with the vivid leaves.
One of my favorite shots from this fall. I love the delicate blue sky with the vivid leaves.
A rosy pear sitting in our windowsill.
A rosy pear sitting in our windowsill.