Archive for Home Sweet Home
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Welcome to the Home Sweet Home blog circle, where a group of talented photographers around the world share why their hometown/state is the most fantastic place to visit! Should you find yourself in Texas, feel free to follow along with this series to find some of the most amazing hidden gems in the Lone Star State. After reading this post, be sure to follow the blog circle around the world to Anna Francken’s blog in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Her photography is always stunning and full of delightful European details!

This month’s Home Sweet Home post is a little personal as I introduce the newest member of the Wollschlager family. Meet Maximus Aurelius, or Max for short. Max loves shoes, balls, playing tug of war, and will do almost anything for a treat. He is the reason my social media and blogging has been obsolete as of late. D and I found him while perusing our local shelter here in Abilene on our June wedding anniversary. I told D that we would not make it out of the shelter without bringing home a dog. I know myself and I just can’t say no! Max was the cutest fluffiest dog there and I still can’t get over how much he and Marlie {my childhood dog} look alike. Everything from their mannerisms to the way they sit and play. We actually had the chance to introduce the two dogs on Father’s Day weekend. Needless to say Max is the punk teenager and Marlie is the seasoned veteran.

It’s been serious work having a dog around the house. Max still has plenty of puppy in him so while he may be potty trained, we’re currently working on no jumping and no biting. I know this is weird to say, but I feel like a first time mom. It’s the only time I’ve ever been fully responsible for someone other than myself all day every day with no break. Sure I watched my brother as a kid and even spent a fair amount of time with Marlie… but when push came to shove, Mom and Dad always stepped in and took the bulk of the responsibility. I worry about Max all the time although it’s getting less and less the longer he’s with us. I feel like a mom with tourettes when I’m talking to people on the phone… they’ll hear “Oh hi, Shelby! Soooo good to hear from you! DON’T TOUCH THE SHOES!!!!!!! How have you been? I SAID NO SHOES!….” Thankfully most of my friends either have small children or dogs themselves and are incredibly understanding.

Here are some Abilene dog tips… We highly recommend Dr. Bloodgood as a veterinarian. His office the Mobile Veterinary Clinic is on 3401 S Treadway Blvd Abilene, TX 79602. Their office number is 3256984900. He and his staff are absolutely amazing with the animals. I couldn’t believe how gentle and kind they are! They know that these pets are “our babies” and the uphold the promise to take the best possible care of them at all times. If you like the dog park scene, there is a dog park near the Abilene zoo called “Camp Barkeley”. They have an area for large dogs {30lbs and over} and a smaller one for small dogs {30lbs and under}. It’s great for getting your dog socialized and used to being around other pets!

Mostly it has been a joyous adventure to have Max be a part of our family. With a little training, patience, and lots of love things will continue to get easier. Huge shout-out to the husband for all of his hard work and for putting up with my current bouts of dog mom insanity.

Be sure to hop on over to Anna’s blog next to see her view of her home in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Add a comment or hit the like button to show some love!

Until July’s insight into the goings on in the great state of Texas, I am wishing ya’ll a beautiful month!

Did you know that you can have posts from Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog sent directly to your email? Be sure to sign up here! Emails not your thing? Then check out Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog on Bloglovin! Here you can follow along just like on the old Google Reader and never miss a post!

 

 

 

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Welcome to the Home Sweet Home blog circle, where a group of talented photographers around the world share why their hometown/state is the most fantastic place to visit! Should you find yourself in Texas, feel free to follow along with this series to find some of the most amazing hidden gems in the Lone Star State. After reading this post, be sure to follow the blog circle around the world to Anna Francken’s blog in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Her photography is always stunning and full of delightful European details!

This month D and I traveled to San Marcos, Texas to visit my baby brother in his college town. For those of you oblivious to Texas geography, San Marcos about four hours slightly southeast from Abilene right smack dab in the middle of the gorgeous Texas hill country. My husband was in shock at the terrain {“You mean Texas has hills??? and roads that don’t just go straight???”} and we had the best time touring the town, despite the monsoon like downpour all weekend.

Like any place, what do you do when it’s raining out side? You make your way to the local brewery and sit down for a pint. In our case, my brother PT had found the most amazing local brewery in Blanco, TX called Real Ale Brewing CompanyThis delightful town sits about 45 minutes north of San Marcos. He’s been trucking it up there since the beginning when the tastings were free for as much as you could stomach. Currently it’s still the best drinking deal in town with samplers starting at just $4.00!

Real Ale Brewing Co began brewing in 1996 with a passionate heart for being Texan and brewing in Texas. Their goal is to brew the best possible beer around because “Texans are a thirsty bunch”! Real Ale Brewing is a unique company in that they only sell beer in the great state of Texas so that they can focus on quality rather than quantity.

We’re Texans. We care about Texans. So, we want to make sure the people we care about have the highest quality beer possible. And let’s face it, Texans are a thirsty bunch. – Real Ale Brewing Co

They start with water from the nearby Blanco River using no preservatives or artificial colors. We’re talking artisan ale here folks. They have everything from a Belgian Style Tripel {Devil’s Backbone} to a Rye IPA {Full Moon} to a German-style Pilsner {Hans’ Pils} to the ever popular, and my favorite, a blonde ale {Firemans #4}. They have 9 signature beers followed by 3 heavy hitters in a larger size. Plus their seasonal brews, PLUS their Brewers Cut and Mysterium Verum. It’s a brewers paradise I tell you.

D and I each started with a sampler, mine included the Devils Backbone, Hans’ Pils, Full Moon, & Brewhouse Brown Ale, while D’s only varied by The Devils Share. I was floored!!! I hadn’t had beer this tasty since living abroad. My brother’s Scots Gone Wild was matured for 12-14 months to deliver tart flavors that will blow your mind! It’s beautiful to see such craftsmanship both in a product and all of their marketing materials. You can buy awesome t-shirts, tour the brewery all while sipping their tasty wares. They’re even dog friendly!

This company has it down and I HIGHLY recommend that you visit them should you find yourself in the hill country. Stop in, they say they’ll “welcome you with open taps”!

So take that road trip you’ve been meaning to take this summer and head out to the Real Ale Brewing Company in Blano, Texas. Their address is 231 San Saba Court Blanco, Texas 78606. Call their office for more local information on opening times and tours at (830) 833-2534. If you’re a love of a quality hand crafted beverage made by those who are passionate about Texas, you will absolutely LOVE it!

Be sure to hop on over to Anna’s blog next to see her view of her home in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Add a comment or hit the like button to show some love!

Until June’s insight into the great state of Texas, I am wishing ya’ll a beautiful month!

Did you know that you can have posts from Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog sent directly to your email? Be sure to sign up here! Emails not your thing? Then check out Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog on Bloglovin! Here you can follow along just like on the old Google Reader and never miss a post!

 

 

 

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This post is a part of the “Home Sweet Home” series created by my fantastic international friends. The best part? You can follow the blog posts from each of us {as we have linked to each other at the end} and go all the way around the world to read about what makes each of our hometowns memorable. This month I link to Ana Quiroga who lives in Barcelona, Spain. Ana’s post are always full of the vivacious life that only Barcelona can provide! Be sure to click the link and head on over to Ana’s post after this one for a spectacular read and amazing photographs!

I have been DYING to explore downtown Abilene since we moved here in January! I have been so busy with wedding season this year that we have not been able to get out much. Which means I was extremely psyched to get the chance to walk around and photograph after church last Sunday. The most amazing thing about downtown Abilene on a Sunday? It’s a ghost town!!!! A little sad for businesses and hangry stomachs around lunch time, but it’s FANTASTIC for photographs! I can hardly wait to book a downtown urban session with a lovely couple or family…. heck a 2015/16 senior photoshoot would be so much fun!!!

I was delighted to find a coffee shop and a brewery, and while they were not open, D and I will definitely be trying them out very soon! The whole of downtown has a very art deco/art nouveau 1920s architectural style. I love the building details in the pre-cast concrete and stone. Apparently my favorite high-rise is full of loft apartments! How great would it be to live in one of those?!? *sigh* It just goes to show my passion for urban living is still alive and well.

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As you can see Abilene is chalk full of hidden gems like the National Children’s literature Museum, The Grace museum and so many other fun finds! I could not have asked for better lighting or prettier skies!

Be sure to hop on over to Ana’s blog next to see her view of her home away from home, Castilla and Leon. Add a comment or hit the like button to show some love!

Until May’s insight into Abilene Texas, I am wishing ya’ll a beautiful month!

Did you know that you can have posts from Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog sent directly to your email? Be sure to sign up here! Emails not your thing? Then check out Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog on Bloglovin! Here you can follow along just like on the old Google Reader and never miss a post!

 

 

 

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March 05, 2015
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After reading this post be sure to follow the blog circle around the world by reading Anna Franken’s latest post as she explores her “Home Sweet Home” Utrecht, The Netherlands. Anna is an incredibly talented photographer who writes in both English and Dutch! Our friendship was cemented over a mutual love for sealing wax. calligraphy, and of course European coffee!

Welcome to the middle of nowhere… here the flat land stretches as far as your eye can see, and the skies are vast and endless. You can see the desert creeping in via the various cacti that dot the landscape every twelve feet. The dirt is red tinged, tumbleweeds are definitely abound, and Texas pride is visually apparent around every corner. Welcome ya’ll, to Abilene Texas….

I grew up in big city Dallas, but went to college in Lubbock {Wreck ‘Em Tech!} which is about three hours west from Abilene. So while this land may be familiar, I haven’t been back in over six years, and Abilene is quite different from my university town. I managed to get out and explore a little recently as the ice finally melted and the sun made a surprisingly brief appearance in the afternoon. I haven’t had much time for new home “adventuring” due to my latest bespoke invitation suite deadline… but I was thrilled to finally get out of the house! We’ve had so much ice lately the cabin fever was killing me!

There is a strange beauty in this land… it has a quiet stillness like a deserted ghost town. I was puzzled to find all of the land fenced in… no more vast open fields of Germany. This strikes me as very odd, because what is anyone going to do? Steal the land?? “Private Property” signs be damned… I will find an available scenic location yet!

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet Home

We are on the cusp of spring here, but even still the color pallet is made up of muted dusty tones as if the real hues themselves had been sandblasted. The only thing outrageously vibrant is the sky. Ohhhhhhhh how I have missed Texas skies. I look forward to hopefully capturing some epic landscapes in the coming months to share with you here.

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet Home

The people are ever so nice here though! I was stopped no less than three times by women as I walked along the roadside, all of them asking ask if I was having car trouble. They all chuckled as they saw my camera and realized I was out taking photographs, but I thanked them profusely anyway, because what if I had been in real trouble?

As a treat, I was buzzed by a B1 bomber flying around the city… I’m not a plane girl, but these beasts are truly beautiful as they soar arcs across the sky. The noise is practically deafening!

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet Home

There are these creepy awesome abandoned parts to the town with buildings pictured like the one below. I just feel like there are so many untold stories in this image. Who did this house belong to? What happened here? Was there a family? If only the walls could talk….

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet Home

Abilene’s climate is super dry… always in need of rain. D and I consume crazy amounts of water everyday. On the upside, it is wonderful for us girls who have naturally curly frizzy hair, as you’ll never see the frizz EVER. You can straighten your hair and it will stay straight, even as you go out in bad weather!

I am also wonderstruck by the amount of mistletoe you see everywhere during the cold months. D thought they were birds nests and I had to explain. It makes me want to grab a shot gun and shoot it off, Texas style!

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet HomeKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas | Home Sweet Home

As the sun goes down I can see the windmills in the distance turning in time with the wind. I used to drive past many of these modern energy efficient power houses on my way to university many years ago. Now, however, they also remind me of driving along the rolling hill crests of Germany.

Until next months exploration, I wish you all a fantastic March!

Don’t forget to follow the blog circle around and visit Anna’s blog, to hear stories from her home in the Netherlands! It is surely worth the read and super fun as she writes in Dutch and in English!

Did you know that you can have posts from Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog sent directly to your email? Be sure to sign up here! Emails not your thing? Then check out Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog on Bloglovin! Here you can follow along just like on the old Google Reader and never miss a post!

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February 01, 2015
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Welcome to the new blog circle theme for 2015! Two years ago I met a fantastically talented group of photographer ladies in Amsterdam during the Clickin’ Mom’s Clickin’ Walk for 2013. I adored all of them so much and due to today’s awesome technology we were able to keep in touch after the meet up. These women decided to create a blog circle and I excitedly accepted the invitation to be a part of something so globally awesome! Each month we will be contributing one blog post in accordance with the theme, and you as the reader can travel around the world to see what the theme looks like in the eyes of so many different cultures. Last year’s theme was “Happiness Through My Eyes”, which was a ton of fun to write each month, sharing what made me hyperventilate in excitement. This year the theme is “Home Sweet Home”. I found this extremely applicable as I have just moved from Landstuhl, Germany back to Texas, my home state. Get ready to follow KAPD’s journey while getting re-antiquated with being home and the hilarious and beautiful stories of moving somewhere new.

Once you have finished reading this post, feel free to follow the circle around the world by reading what home is in the eyes of my dear friend Jessica Aiduk on her blog “There and Back Again” who lives in Otterberg, Germany. She is a powerful crunchy mom, who continues to inspire me in every aspect of my life, including photography! Our friendship formed over a love for coffee, delicious pretty food, alcohol, & being high functioning type-A personalities. So go on! Visit her blog and show her some like & comment love!

 

 

This was the last photo I took of our home in Landstuhl Gemany. I LOVED this apartment. We had 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and more space than I could ever dream of. We had a gorgeous view of the German forests living on the ninth floor and it was only a short walk in to town to get whatever I needed. Blissful sigh….

It was super hard to say goodbye to a place we loved so much. I think though, when life throws you out of your comfort zone, you become a better version of yourself… a stronger, more balanced, well rounded person.

You also start to figure out how misplaced your priorities are…. and how much “stuff” you have accumulated while staying in one spot. and ohmigosh did we manage to acquire alot of crap. D and I figured this out when we were house hunting in our new town of residence, Abilene, Texas. We realized we were used to having four bedrooms…. that’s two guest rooms plus an office! By the grace of God, we managed to be eligible for a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, two story on Dyess Airforce Base. We took a leap of faith and chose to accept. Having sworn I would never live on base, this came as quite a shock to me…. but the proximity to the gym was a huge selling point. As was the two car garage, AND I’d have an office!

After being homeless and bouncing back and forth between families over the holidays for a month, we FINALLY had a place to call our own! I was overjoyed, relieved, tired, & thankful. No matter how you slice it, moving is hard. It’s stressful and draining and ugly. But there is something so beautiful and rejuvenating about coming out on the other side. We had made it back to Texas, and everything was actually going to be okay.

Being back in Texas the USA has been surreal. It’s been two and a half years since Dana and I were back stateside. Everything is faster and flashier… the cars are HUGE… and the commercialism is enough to make your head spin. D and I had constant headaches for the first two weeks of being back. You also feel like your hearing is super sonic, because you realize you are listening in to everyone’s conversations because they speak English. Going to a restaurant was insane because I couldn’t tune it out… I was out of practice. Welcome home!

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas

I have been experiencing a profound longing for things I had known in Germany, but the most hilarious part is the quirky things that you get used to when living in foreign country that are just plain different back in the USA. So, as comic relief to all the hardship, here is my list of things I noticed and had to re-adjust to upon returning home.

  • The light switches are higher in the states. I am used to reaching around walls to flip a light switch and imagine my surprise when I have to hunt for it for a solid minute only to realize it’s much higher than I’m used to. It’s enough to make you think you’re losing your mind.
  • The keys are inserted flat side down. In most places in Germany the flat side is up. Welcome to opposite world.
  • Exit doors swing out again. Traditional egress code did not exist in Germany. In fact, most doors swung in! I got so used to this that I am now the idiot that pulls instead of pushing.
  • OMIGOD. THE SUN!!!!! I am blinded on a daily basis by the brightness of Texas. It’s been WAY too long since I have had this much Vitamin D on a regular basis! AND… it’s JANUARY!
  • Did the cars get bigger? Seriously. I feel like I’m driving on the highway with a fleet of massive whales.
  • Speaking of highways, five lanes across?? On one side?!? WHOA. I forgot how big highways are here. and how high they go in a maze of concrete interlaced ribbons.
  • Slow speed limits. Holy take your lead foot off the accelerator Batman…. We’re not in Deutschland anymore….
  • Texas is FLAT. omg. I don’t remember it being this flat. EVER. It’s like I’m seeing it for the first time. Where are the mountains? Where are the trees? Where is all the GREEN???  You’d think I had never been to this state, more less lived here for most of my life.
  • All people do in America is buy things. I realized this while touring the metroplex when my husband leans over and asks me “Is there anything to do in Texas besides go shopping?!!?!?” Ha.
  • So. Much. Space. Everything is so spread out here! I had forgotten…. it’s no wonder everything is bigger in Texas.
  • Options. Too many options. From the grocery stores, to the restaurants… you are constantly overwhelmed with choice to customize and get exactly what you want. Or it’s an indecisive person’s hell with more options than they know what to do with.
  • Everything is just SO easy. What? You mean I can go to a store and get exactly what I need to finish a project? I can seriously check the five Target’s in the area if one has something out of stock? OMG the convenience! It’s going to make me lazy….
  • Faster mail. All hail the closeness of the USPS! I can order something online and it’s delivered to my door in three days. Max. *blank stare of shock and amazement*
  • Dear sweet Mexican food, how I have missed you. Enough said.
  • The stars at night are big and bright…. I have dearly missed Texas. In every way. It’s good to be home!

Our belongings arrived this week and I have never been more thankful to have a chair to sit in. We had been in the house for a week without furniture, which was completely do-able, but rough. A leaky air mattress, no chairs, no internet, 10 gig of phone data, and seven days later we were super grateful to see our belongings being unloaded. Now we have the crazy mess below to contend with, seemingly a million boxes to unpack, and a serious round of purging to go through. On the plus side D and I have been finding things that we thought were lost in the move to Germany! W00t!

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, TexasKirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas

The good news is that Germany will forever be with us no matter where we go. I may be home, but I’m definitely not the same girl I was when I left three years ago. A little older, a little wiser, and that much more experienced. I am amazed at how life molds you through experience and those you interact with. I greatly look forward to what this year brings for D and I. KAPD is officially registered in Abilene, Texas and will re-open soon! Thank you Lord, for this beautiful life!

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Abilene, Texas

Don’t forget to follow the circle to Otterberg, Germany and hear all about “Home” through the eyes of Jessica Aiduk on her blog “There and Back Again”.

Wishing everyone a beautiful end of the month!

Did you know that you can have posts from Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog sent directly to your email? Be sure to sign up here! Emails not your thing? Then check out Kirsten Ashley Photography’s Blog on Bloglovin! Here you can follow along just like on the old Google Reader and never miss a post!

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