Patriotic Photography – A Collab With Chachel @ Wild Sketch

Patriotic Photography

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Today is one of my favorite holidays for several reasons – food, family, fun, freedom – and photography!

That’s why I’m teaming up with Chachel from her awesome art blog, Wild Sketch! Chachel, also known as Rachel, does amazing DIY tutorials, shows her beautiful artwork, and posts pictures of her adorable cat, Gosha. Go follow her lovely blog right now!

It’s actually kind of funny. My first photoshoot was a 4th of July photoshoot I did last year, and here I am with another one. Kind of sentimental, when you think about it!

Chachel and I decided that for our collab, we would take patriotic pictures for the 4th. I dressed up my dolls in red white and blue outfits and took them into the backyard for a patriotic photoshoot. Here you go!

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Happy Independence Day! And make sure to check out Chachel’s blog here!

Which picture did you like the most? What are you having for dinner today? Does your town do fireworks? Are you going to check out Chachel’s blog? Let’s chat in the comments!

AGs in Alaska

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Travels With Grace #5: Texas

Hiiii, fellow travelers! It’s Grace again, with our last post from Texas! A big thank-you goes out to AGs in Alaska’s Texan friend, who helped her take some of these pics. Now, onto the photostory!

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I am Grace, the fearless adventurer

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Today I am on a search

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A search to find a dangerous beast of Texas

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The beasts are hiding today

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I must remain silent and still

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And creep stealthily

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They hide amongst the shadows

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And stalk their prey

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I remain unnoticed

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Waiting and watching

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Every snap of a twig

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Is an animal’s footfall

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Every breath of the wind

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Is the pant of a beast

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I am Grace, the fearless wanderer

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Out on a search

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A search for a wild animal

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Where are they today?

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Still hiding

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I am unable to find a wild beast of Texas

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And so I will return

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Aha! What is that I spy?

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A wild beast of Texas!

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Grace, the fearless adventurer, has succeeded in her mission

And so another journey ends, my friends. We have returned to Alaska. I hope you have all enjoyed “traveling” with me, Grace – the fearless adventurer.

Grace

Travels With Grace #3: Texas

Heyyyyyy, guys! Yes, we’re still in Dallas – and this time at the Dallas World Aquarium. There are so many cool animals here! Anything from manatees to sawfish to tarantulas . . . okay, those weren’t very cool. In fact, I avoided eye contact completely.

And to brighten your day, some funny things AGs in Alaska said on this trip!

“We have to pay sales tax here!” (There’s no sales tax in Alaska.)

“I’ve forgotten what it’s like to see houses with no driveways.” (Those aren’t really a thing in AK, either.)

“THOSE TREES ARE GREEN!!!!!!!” (And this one is pretty self-explanatory.)

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Underwater rocks
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Sting ray
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An alligator
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Very loud flamingoes
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PENGUINS!!! Cute but smelly . . . 
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Toucan!
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A parrot?
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Turtles and sting rays!

 

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Some shark . . .
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Manatee

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! There may or may not be a bonus post this weekend – AKA, the last post for the Trials of Tessa!

Grace

Travels With Grace #1: Texas

Hola, y’all! Grace here! See how I combined a Spanish word and a southern phrase into one sentence? I’m so cool!

Scratch that. I’m actually really, really hot right now.

Why?

We are in Texas!

As you hopefully already got from the title of this post.

I got such an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm from my last Travels With Grace series, in which I went to Washington State, that I decided to do the exact same thing for Texas!

Instead of staying in one town, AGs in Alaska and I will be traveling to several parts of the state. We just got into Dallas today after a total of eight hours in a plane. (AGs in Alaska hasn’t slept since the day before yesterday, but she’s wide awake. It’s beyond me.) I’m going to keep the other cities a surprise for now, but until then, you can view my adorableness in these epic pictures AGs in Alaska took!

Aquí!


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So, those photos were taken in the backyard of the house we’re staying in. I hope y’all liked them!

One more quick announcement about this series: unlike last time, where I was in all of the photoshoots/stories, I am going to be more like a tour guide this time, and post lots of pictures of what we do. There will be more photoshoots of me, I promise, but also lots of pictures of the cool stuff we go do.

Bye for now!

Grace

From AGs in Alaska: I sincerely apologize for the no posting on Monday, I was super busy getting ready for vacation!

He Is Risen (A Photostory)

“Good morning, church family,” Grace says. “Happy Easter! We are gathered here today, instead of going to an actual brick-and-mortar building, due to an inconvenient cold that has afflicted two of our sisters.”

“That would be us,” Linsey says.

“We’re going to start off by signing “Amazing Grace.” Will you please all stand and join us?”

We all stand and clear our throats.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.”

“And now we would like to welcome Morgan to the stage. She is going to be our “pastor” for the day,” Grace announces at the end of the song.

“Thank you, Grace,” Morgan says, standing up. “Thank you all for joining me today. As Grace mentioned before, we are gathered here instead of at our usual church. It is allergy season, after all.”

“Thanks, Morgan,” Lindsey says.

“I have a very special message for all of you today,” Morgan tells us. “Did you know that on this day, long ago, Jesus rose from the dead?”

“Yep, that’s right. He defeated the grave! Death couldn’t hold God’s only son down.”

“On Good Friday, Jesus died. His followers were heartbroken. But, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus rose three days later.”

“That’s why we celebrate Easter every year! While the bunnies and Easter egg hunts are fun, the real reason for our happiness is Jesus’ resurrection.”

“The most amazing this is that, if you are a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of YOU. Will you pray with me?”

“Dear Lord, we want to thank You for Your grace and compassion, that you sent your only son to die in our places. While we deserved punishment, You took mercy on us and sent Jesus as a sacrifice. We are so thankful for what you did. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

“He is risen!”

“He is risen indeed!”

“Happy Easter from the AGIA family!!!”

-End of photostory-

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you enjoyed that photostory. Do you believe that Jesus is alive today, and will forever be alive? I do, and I hope you do too!

Here is a bonus picture to make you smile:

Trying to carry all my dolls downstairs . . .

Collab with Elysium!

Collab with elysium!

Hello, everybody! Today is a very special day – I am doing my first collaborative post ever with the very special Elysium from An Author’s Odyssey! As you um, may have guessed from the title? In case you have never checked out Elysium’s blog – um, hello, WHYAREYOUSTILLHERE????? Go check it out and follow! Her blog is all about writing and she posts writing prompts every Sunday, as well as an example short story every Tuesday. I really look forward to her prompts, and I know you will too! So check it out here and be sure to follow!

The way our collab works is Elysium and I agreed on a prompt and my dolls are each writing a short story to go along with it! The prompt we chose is “Worst Fears.” And without further ado . . . here are the stories!

Crystal’s Story

“I cannot wait for the dance tomorrow!” Jess giggles excitedly.

“Me neither,” I tell her, swinging my bundle of shopping bags. Jess and I are at the mall, shopping for Spring Formal. We’re both freshmen, so this is our first one. My best friend and I both love clothes, so we’re downtown at the mall today, picking out the perfect dresses.

We head into the cooking store, where my mom is looking for new cake pans. “Ready to go?” she asks, setting down a tree-shaped pan. Jess and I nod, and we all head out to the parking garage.

As we reach our car, I can tell that something is completely wrong with the car. The windshield is cracked, and there’s glass all over the front seat.

Mom gasps. “Oh, my goodness.”

“What do we do, Mom?” I ask her.

“Well, I’ll have to call Safelite and have someone sent over to replace the windshield,” she says.

She pulls out her phone and makes the call. Jess and I set our bags down while we wait near the entrance to the parking garage.

The Safelite repairman shows up and has the windshield replaced in no time flat. We load the bags into the backseat and set off for home.

Fifteen minutes later, Jess and I head into my room to put on our dresses for my mom, who’s dying to know what they look like.

I reach into my bag and feel something sitting on top of my dress. It’s fluffy and prickly at the same time. I peer into the bag. Staring up at me is a giant orange and black tarantula.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I shriek. Jess leaps off my bed, and I can hear Mom pounding up the stairs.

“What is it?” my BFF asks, looking panicked.

“Tarantula . . . in my . . . bag,” I stammer.

“WHAT?” Jess gasps. “There’s a tarantula in your bag?”

“What on earth is going on in here?” Mom asks, bursting into my room.

“Get rid of it,” I hiss. “Someone get rid of it.”

Jess explains the situation to Mom, who says, “He must have crawled into your bag while we were waiting for the auto repairman. Calm down, Lacy. We’ll just take him outside and let him go.”

Mom calmly picks up the bag and takes it downstairs, where she opens the front door and walks into the road. She places it on the ground and tips it over carefully. The tarantula crawls right out and heads off down the street.

“You know, Jess,” I say. “I think I’m going to have to return that dress.”

“I agree,” Jess replies. “I don’t think I could wear a dress a tarantula had nested in, either.”

We look at each other and burst out laughing.

Lindsey’s Story

“Are you ready, Chelsea?” asks Kayla, the stage manager.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I reply. I smooth out my tutu and paste a smile on my face.

“Nervous?” Tommi, one of the other ballerinas, asks.

“No,” I say truthfully. “I’m fine. I’ve done this millions of times.”

“Right,” she says, as the music swells and the curtain goes up.

Don’t trip, I think to myself. Falling flat on my face would not be a good start to the Christmas performance for my ballet company.

The music sweeps me up and I twirl across the stage, pointing my toes and fingers and smiling at the audience. Perfect. No mistakes . . . so far.

And then, a little while later, it happens.

Halfway through the first act, while doing a double pirouette, I trip and fall backwards. The audience gasps.

“Are you okay, Chelsea?” Tommi asks out of the corner of her mouth as she twirls by me.

I manage a small nod as I get up. I’m ruining the ballet!

Unfortunately, the accident completely throws me off and I trip several more times during the play. By an act of grace, I don’t fall over again.

When the curtains finally close, I rush off the bathroom, humiliated. What an disaster!

McKenna’s Story

I race down the field, the crowd shouting my name. “An-na! An-na! An-na!”

A confident expression on my face, I pass the ball to one of my teammates. She dribbles it up the field and passes it back to me.

I near the goalie. She looks at me fearfully, not wanting to get hit in the face. I pull my leg back, preparing to kick the ball into the net.

All of a sudden, a tall girl swoops in from the right and steals the ball right from me. Before I can recover, she’s already out of reach, passing the ball back and forth to her teammates. They get the ball all the way over to the other side of the field, and the girl kicks the ball right into the net. Our goalie makes a desperate attempt to keep it out, but it fails miserably.

The girl’s team erupts in cheers, and half of the fans in the stadium get up on their feet and scream loudly.

I can’t believe it! They just won the game!

I kick the grass dejectedly, a few of my teammates coming over to tell me it wasn’t my fault. But, of course, it totally was.

No matter what they say, I can’t escape the truth. I just failed my team. We can’t go to state championships now.

Morgan’s Story

“Careful there, sweetie,” I tell my little sister, Beatrice. “You don’t want to fall.”

“I’ll be caweful,” Bea lisps. She carefully climbs onto the roof of the shed, about eight feet off the ground. I follow her up.

We perch on the black roof, heated from the sun. It’s a warm July day, perfect for being outside.

Beatrice stands on the edge of the shed and flaps her arms. “Look at me, Emma! I’m a biwd!”

“Beatrice,” I warn her. “Sit down, please.”

“But I’m being a biwd, Emma!” she insists. “Watch me!”

My eyes go wide as I realize what Beatrice is about to do. “Bea, no!” I shriek, reaching out to grab her pink cardigan. My hand brushes the soft fabric an instant too late. She’s already plummeting to the ground.

“Beatrice!” I cry, sliding down the side of the roof. I race up to my little sister. “Beatrice, can you hear me?” I tap her arm.

There’s no answer. “Bea, can you hear me?”

Still no reply. I whip out my cellphone and dial 911.

*three hours later*

“It’s okay, Emma,” Mom says, wrapping me in her arms. She smells of cinnamon and lavender.

“But it’s my fault she broke her neck,” I sob.

“The doctor says Bea will be fine,” Mom tells me. “Would you like to go see her?”

I nod and stand up, smoothing out my skirt. A nurse leads me and Mom to Beatrice’s hospital room.

The nurse opens the door, and my eyes are instantly drawn to Beatrice’s pale face, a start contrast to the bright blue sheets she’s lying on.

“Hi, Emma,” Bea whispers softly, her eyelids fluttering open.

“Hi, sweetie,” I say, touching her hand lightly. “How are you feeling?”

“Bettew, now that you’we hewe,” she saying, gripping my pinky.

I smile. “I love you, Bea.”

“I love you too, Emma,” Bea replies before drifting off to a peaceful sleep.

Emily’s Story

“And our next speech will be presented by Gia Ross. Gia?”

Legs shaking, I walk up to the podium. “Um . . . thank you, Mr. Roy.”

I take the microphone from the principal. I turn to face the audience – 300 strange faces – and gulp. “Um, hello.”

Dead silence in the crowd.

“I’m Gemma Ross, and I’m an eight grader at Jordan Middle School,” I begin. “Erm . . my presentation is on water pollination.”

Snickers from the audience. Several kids elbow each other and point to me.

“Sorry,” I say with a blush. “I mean water pollution.”

More snickers.

“Millions of animals live in our polluted oceans,” I say, clearing my throat. “Fortunately, many people do not realize the effect littering has on these creatures.”

I look out at the audience, who give me confused looks in return.

What did I say? I think. I play back my last sentence in my mind. I start to get dizzy. Imagine them as underpants, I think.

Underpants. I suddenly imagine Captain Underpants flying across the audience. My head starts spinning.

And then everything goes dark.

I wake up a few hours later in my bed. “What happened?” I mumble to no one in particular.

“Gia?” a soft voice says. “It’s me, Mom. You blacked out. Something about underpants?”

Molly’s Story

“Three, two, one. Begin, please.”

I flip my history test over and write Elizabeth Thompson and the date at the top before looking at Question 1.

Which pharaoh unified Upper and Lower Egypt?

A) Cleopatra

B) Menes

C) Narmer

D) Pepi II

I circle B) Menes without hesitating. Easy-peasy.

Nefertiti was the goddess of:

A) Cats

B) Water

C) Fertility

D) Livestock

I pause. Cats? No, that’s Bastet. Water?

The more I think, the more confused I get. Five minutes passes before I realize, so I decide to move on to the next question.

Egypt was known to the Ancient Egyptians as:

A) Memphis

B) Kemet

C) Nile

D) Lemer

I know it’s not Memphis – an Egyptian city – or Nile – the famous Egyptian river – so I have it narrowed down to B and D.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember my history class ever going over the old name for Egypt, so I’m lost.

I glance up at the clock. Thirty minutes left . . . and I have thirty questions left.

I hurry through the rest of the test, only confidently knowing a few of the answers. I take an educated guess at some, but lots of them I don’t remember ever studying.

The next day, my history teacher passes back our tests. A big fat D- glares at me from the top of the page. I cringe. This is the worst grade I’ve ever gotten.

Grace’s Story

Diced tomatoes. Olives. Black beans.

I mix the ingredients into a simmering pot, humming to myself. This is going to be my best chili yet!

Hola, Angelina,” Tí­a Sofí­a greets me. “Is my lovely sombrina making chili again?”

“You got it, Ti­a,” I confirm. “A new recipe, too!

“Ah, I am so proud of you,” Tí­a Sofí­a tells me. “There has never been a better chili maker in the family than my little sombrina.

The timer on the stove dings. “Ah, Tí­a! Time to see if the customers like my new recipe.”

“I know they will, Angelina,” Tí­a tells me. “I know they will!”

I dish the chili into bowls, passing them off to my older sister, Alejandra. She swoops out of the kitchen to deliver the chili to our customers.

I start working on a batch of cookies for my little brother’s birthday fiesta tonight. Fifteen minutes in, Alejandra swoops back into the kitchen. “Angelina. What did you put in the chili?”

“Just some beans and olives and stuff,” I reply. “What’s wrong with it?”

“What spices did you use?” she demands.

I go to the cupboard and pull out a few packets of chili powder. “Just this stuff.”

Alejandra’s eyes go wide. “Angelina! This is chili powder from before you were born!”

“Uh-oh,” I say. “What do I do?”

Alejandra grimaces. “You’re just going to have to go out there and apologize to everyone I just served chili too.”

I sigh, but know she’s right. “Okay.”

Humiliated, I follow Alejandra to the front of the restaurant and apologize for the awful chili to everybody Alejandra served it to.

As soon as I say sorry to the last chili eater, I rush upstairs to our living quarters. “Tía! I ruined the chili!”

Tía Sofía chuckles. “So I heard.”

“It’s not funny,” I grumble.

Tía gives me a look. “You cannot become good at anything without making a few mistakes along the way, sombrina.”

“I know,” I say with a sigh. “Can you help me this time?”

Tía Sofía nods. “Of course, sombrina. But this time, let’s make something other than chili, alright?”

We laugh. “Sure, Tía. Something other than chili.”

Tessa’s Story

“Are you excited for your new pottery class?” Grandpa asks, pulling into the community center’s parking lot.

“Yep!” I reply eagerly. “New friends, new dishes to put in the cupboards at home . . . what could be better?”

“Well, have fun,” he says. I kiss him on the cheek and race inside the community center.

After checking in at the front desk, the receptionist leads me to the room my class will be in. “Here ya go, sweetie.”

“Thanks,” I reply, opening the door.

“You must be Cara,” a tall, elegant Japanese woman greets me. “Welcome to Intro to Pottery! I’m Mrs. Wong.”

“Hello,” I say. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“You’ll be working in Group B,” Mrs. Wong informs me, leading me over to a table filled with girls my age. Perfect. New friends!

I take a seat next to one of the girls, who has a long blonde ponytail. “Hi, I’m Cara.”

“Um, hi,” the girl replies, raising an eyebrow in the direction of the girl sitting next to her. They both roll their eyes.

Okay . . . so maybe they aren’t the friendliest girls in class. Whatever.

A little while later, while we’re working with fresh clay, I try again. “Hi, I’m Cara,” I say to  a girl across the table.

“Hey, wassup?” she replies in a bored tone, looking up for only half a second before returning to her work.

I sigh, feeling dejected. This isn’t working out.

After class, I pack up my stuff and thank Mrs. Wong, telling her I’ll see her next week. I head out of the classroom and down the hall to lobby.

I check out at the front desk and walk through the sliding glass doors. As I’m walking down the path to. the parking lot, I hear giggles in the bushes next to me. Through the tall plants, I see several blonde ponytails. The girls from class.

“Did you, like, see her? Talking to Alexa?” one of them giggles.

“What a dork,” her friend replies.

“I cannot believe she actually tried to talk to me!” a third voice exclaims.

More giggling.

Tears filling my eyes, I race down the pavement and out to Grandpa’s car.

“How was it, Cara?” Grandpa asks.

“Horrible!” I exclaim. “I think I’m going to drop out of class.”

“What?” he asks. “Why?”

“It’s . . . complicated. Can we go home, please?”

Grandpa pulls out of the parking lot. I take one last look at the community center, determined to never come back.

Which story did you like the best? Are you going to check out Elysium’s blog? Based on their stories, can you guess which fear each doll has? Do you like writing short stories? If so, check out An Author’s Odyssey!

AGs in Alaska