November 30, 2013


Our first Thanksgiving... a tiny pumpkin we acquired from work after Halloween served as our autumn decorations for the year. I got up early and made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and vegged out on our new couch with my stack of library books. I found a festive sticker on an old piece of mail, and decided to play around with the A Beautiful Mess app that just became available for Android phones (and had fun playing with it all day, as you can see).

This was my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, my first time cooking a big meal in general. Justin helped a lot and was there to calm my nerves when I got stressed out. I can only hope things go easier as far as cooking is concerned when we have more than just one pan to cook with on the stove, a few cookie sheets and cake pans to put in the oven, and some tupperware bowls to store stuff in. For our limited resources, I was so proud of this dinner.

Our menu included a turkey roast, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy (or sour cream if you're like me), green bean casserole for Justin, corn and peas for me, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, with French Silk pie and a Reeses Creme pie for dessert.

It was weird spending Thanksgiving without my family this year. My dad called and we chatted for a little while. My mom and I texted each other and we kept each other updated on our days through Facebook and Instagram pictures. I'm so grateful for my parents and being 3 hours away from them on such a family-oriented holiday felt strange and so so weird, but it's nice to know that we know how to keep in touch. And we always say "I love you."

Did you guys have a good Thanksgiving? :)

November 29, 2013

around here

My go-to breakfast lately has been Multi-grain Cheerios and lemon tea.

Downtown is decorated for Christmas already, which makes me want to wear my gold loafers non-stop.

My brown boots again... They've become my favourite boots since my beloved grey ones bit the dust.

Hazy sunsets & good makeup days are my favourites. Justin made a comment the other day that I was taking too long in the bathroom and I said, "Do you know how long it takes to get winged eyeliner perfect? A LONG TIME." He laughed at me... dumb boys.

The ice that appears on our windows at night has become one of my favourite things to photograph, because there's usually a different pattern every night. I have to learn to find good things in winter, otherwise these next 5 months are going to be very very long.

I hope you all had a splendid Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving!

My grandma rolling out Thanksgiving pie crust, 2011

This is my first real Thanksgiving in a lot of ways... It's my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, my first Thanksgiving without my family, my first Thanksgiving with Justin. It's exciting and terrifying in a lot of ways, but it really makes me think about what I'm thankful for this year.

I'm thankful for photography (what else, right?), and I know I say this every year, but every year photography becomes more important to me. This year it saw me through two jobs, a family meltdown, a move, and getting used to cohabiting with another human being. Self portrait therapy saved my soul this year.

I'm thankful for my independence and my strong family ties. Moving away from home this year forced me to become a ~responsible adult~ and it made me realize how much my family and friends mean to me. I miss my parents and my grandma and my best friends more than I can put into words. I haven't seen them since Labor Day weekend, and I'm really hoping I can make it home for Christmas for a long-overdue reunion.

I'm so beyond thankful for Justin and everything he's done for me in the past 7 months, as well as the past year and a half. I can't put into words how much I love him and how much he means to me. I'm grateful for his existence.

My heart is so full of love today. I'm so excited for the rest of 2013.

November 26, 2013

it's been a long year

Hat & Cardigan & Dress: Old Navy, Shirt: JC Penney, Tights & Socks: Kmart, Boots: Mom

I have bittersweet feelings about today, as it would have marked the end of second 365 project. Another 365/365. I quit my project back in September, shortly after reaching day 300, because all I was doing was taking crappy Instagram shots and calling them good enough. I didn't want my photography to be ever be "good enough." I want it to be spectacular; I want it to make me feel alive. I want it to make the viewer feel something.

Only photographing on my days off now makes me feel good. It's productive: my camera isn't sitting in the corner, gathering dust, and I get to make a blog post. It gets my creative juices flowing, and for that I am always thankful.

Thinking back on my 365 project makes me realize how much has actually changed in a year. A year ago I was living at home, commuting 50 miles back and forth every day to a job I wasn't even sure I wanted anymore, and Justin and I were still stuck on Skype every night. Turn an entire 360 degrees to now: I live with Justin, we work together, we have our own apartment. I have become a fully independent person. I learned how to use this blog to its full potential instead of just letting it gather dust.

I'm grateful for so much... but that seems like a more appropriate post for Thursday. ;) I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for me and Justin and I'm mildly terrified because this will be my first time actually cooking a huge dinner. Cross your fingers for me!

November 22, 2013

first snow

I woke up this morning and groggily looked out the window to see snow. Like a little kid on Christmas, I grabbed my camera and ran outside to photograph it. The first snow is always so exciting to me, even if nothing really accumulates and it's all gone a few hours later. That's what happened today, actually, and now our parking lot is one big sheet of ice and frozen leaves. I usually like to keep a tally of how many times I beat the ice during the winter, so it's Anna: 1, Ice: 0 for right now. I'm the biggest klutz, so that will probably change soon...

I'm making it a point to get some Nutella and some peanut butter when we go grocery shopping this week. My hot cocoa cravings are out of control, and I prefer hot cocoa made on the stove with a few add-ins. I'll probably share a few of my concoctions here as I develop a new recipe for this winter. (Nutella hot chocolate was the 2011 favourite, and peanut butter got a gold star for 2012.) Do you guys do crazy things with your hot chocolate?

Also, I surpassed 10,000 pageviews sometime last night. Thank you guys so much for reading my blog. :)

November 20, 2013

november chill

Hat & Pants: Old Navy, Shirt: eBay, Shoes: Thrifted

You guys... It got COLD. Like I-need-to-wear-socks-all-the-time-because-our-floors-are-cold cold. I got up this morning and made a big pot of lemon tea to go with my Cheerios for breakfast today. With the holidays right around the corner, I'm craving hot cocoa all the time and going through apple cinnamon tea like water. I'm just not quite ready to accept that my favourite season is over.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember a few pictures of this shirt from when I won it off of eBay a few months ago. It sat in my closet unloved and unworn because I didn't know what to wear it with... I'm not 100% for mixing denim on denim, and I thought about wearing it with leggings but then my cords were screaming at me from the bottom of my closet. I paired it with my favourite gold loafers and my winter hat and we were set for the day.

We ran errands today, paid some bills, and stopped at the library. I am officially an owner of a library card now! I've been devouring the books I brought with me when I moved, and I want something new to read. What have you been reading lately?

November 17, 2013

around here

We've been living here for a month now. My wax warmer was the first thing I unpacked, and it's getting its fair share of usage lately. I've packed up all my summer scents and bringing back my spicy, comforting scents. "Spice Market" just smells like fall, and lately I've been slipping in a bit of vanilla to take the edge off because sometimes that smell gives Justin a headache. He's been hiding pennies in drawers and making mashed potato bowls in the oven for dinner. I've been falling head over heels for morning light since we've moved in here. There is a lot to be said for while walls and uncovered windows. I've also been living in my brown boots lately... Fall just calls for boots and these are my go-tos.

It doesn't seem like November should be half over yet. I'm looking forward to spending my first Thanksgiving with Justin and his family in the coming weeks.

November 13, 2013

autumnal adieu

Scarf, Shirt, Tights: Walmart, Dress: eBay, Hat: Old Navy, Shoes & Necklace: Mom

Winter is officially on it's way... I've had to scrape ice off my car this week, and I finally broke out my winter coat (and my hat and my cute new gloves). I'm not ready to say goodbye to autumn, but it is a necessary evil I suppose. November always brings a chill to the air that inevitably means winter is upon us even if the snow is absent.

The dark circles under my eyes are horrific. I haven't been sleeping well lately and I don't know why, minus the fact that last night I was taking care of Justin as he's come down with a touch of the flu. I went on a field trip this morning while he was napping, in between going to the grocery store to get some comfort food and going around town pricing microwaves. At least with me not sleeping, I designed this year's Christmas cards last night in a 5 hour Photoshop coma. ;)

Happy Hump Day!

November 10, 2013

dear me

If you could write a letter to your fifteen year old self, what would you say?

Dear Fifteen year old Anna,

You are so strong. I know it doesn't seem like it, in the midst of losing your first love and the panic attacks and the mind blowing numbness, but trust me... you are the strongest person I know. Fifteen is rough. You learned how to drive that year, you got super into Allen Ginsberg and lugged around that heavy book of his journals for comfort when life got too hard. Your friendship with Noelle grew tenfold that year, through your last Haylofter's kid show and the hard stuff that life always throws at you. She is your best friend, your forever friend, and you will always fight for her as she fights for you.

Remember when family as you knew it exploded forever? Find comfort in your mother. You need her, and as much as she seems like she has it all together 100% of the time, she needs you too. Make her your rock, but support her as she has always done for you. Realize that she is human and she cannot bear all the suffering alone... Remember the introduction of pasta for Christmas dinner, and all the times watching and re-watching Juno on the couch. A hug from her feels whole, at a time when the both of you are breaking.

Take that little film camera everywhere. I know developing film is expensive and you hate scanning the prints (but nothing compares to the eight rolls you send in two summers later after a two week writing camp), but all the documentation is so 100% worth it. When you run out of film, out of inspiration to take pictures, pick up a pen and let the words flow out of you. Write all of that garbage and self-hatred and all of those feelings out of your head. Write the letters that need to be written but never need to be sent. Write down that night over and over again until it becomes bland. Start writing your story, the romance and the mundane and the victimizing. I know it's hard to say it out loud right now, but things will get easier.

You need to learn how to say goodbye, and it hurts--trust me, I know how bad the heartache feels and how, right now, you're confused and babbling and on the phone at 3AM wondering if you're making the right decision. That relationship needed to fall apart so you could separate them, fall out of love with both of them and stop romanticizing your pain, so that you can take the necessary steps to put yourself back together again.

You're so unsure, insecure all the time and listening to the sad songs and trying to figure out where it went wrong. Please trust me that everything will work out in the end. Look past the end of this year, look ahead into the future. I'm waiting on the other side, with a smile so big you could light up the world. And you will. You'll light up the world someday, kiddo, and I love you for that.

xo, Twenty-one year old Anna

November 08, 2013

around here

Mornings seem to be my favourite things lately. I forgot how much I love soft morning light and the way it makes everything seem... new, fresh, and alive. All I need are some Cheerios and a good book (currently I'm making my way through the Harry Potter series... again) and I'm all set.

We've been living in this apartment for almost a month now, and we're still sleeping on the floor (eek!). Monday we're getting our cable and internet hooked up, and on Saturday we're getting some furniture delivered! I'm excited to start making this space feel more like home and figure out where my decorating style lies.

November 05, 2013


this morning i...

padded quietly into the kitchen for a glass of water

watched the sun rise

ate two bowls of cheerios

photographed golden morning light as it danced across the walls

used #brbchasinglight on instagram

read harry potter in bed

took a short nap before work

I think I might be turning into a morning person, and that feels very very good.