Tag Archives: personal

on love

Well folks, Happy Valentine’s Day! :) Today, on this day that the world celebrates love, I want to share a personal post featuring my family – some of the most important people in my life! This past summer, my entire immediate family carved out a weekend to spend together. Now, this is no easy feat. At the time, we had 10 adults, 11 kiddos, several different jobs and travel + sports schedules to manage, yet we were able to pencil off a few days to share some space together. We packed up and headed to “the Thumb” to spend a few days at my grandparents cottage on Lake Huron. This place is a nostalgic + cozy – it’s been in the family for over 25 years. The cottage is nothing fancy, but it’s absolutely perfect and I loved watching my nieces + nephews explore the landscape as I did many, many years ago. It was one of my favorite weekends of the summer and I’m so thankful we were able to create some memories and celebrate our love as a family.

So today, here’s to love – the love of family, the love of friends, the love of a spouse, partner, children, co-workers… whatever love you can celebrate today, celebrate it. And, in case that’s not enough, here’s to summer and sunshine… and the promise that it will return… soon. :)

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october travels + a coffee farm tour

Today, I’m taking a break from my “normal” posts about newlyweds + families + babies to share some images of a recent travel adventure. If you live in Michigan, you’ve been buried in snow for weeks now, so I figured some images of sunshine + warmth would be ok… is that ok? :)

Jonathan + I recently had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with our friends + housemates, Steve + Rachel. Steve + Rachel are in the coffee business. Over the last several years, Steve has worked at a few different coffee shops around West Michigan and this past April, they opened their own shop – a cozy, happening little place called Lantern Coffee Bar & Lounge. Lantern is located in the Heartside District of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s been such a joy to watch their dream of owning their own shop evolve and their plans unfold as they created inspiration boards + found an available building + built out the space + opened the shop + kept it running… whew.

In October, the four of us were able to take a trip together to Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala. This was a region where Steve lived for several months after college and, it also happens to be a very rich area for coffee farming. So, of course, we were excited when we found a great rental house right on the lake that allowed us access to coffee farms + adventures. It was a week filled with relaxation, exploration, and coffee drinking (duh!). It was a welcome end to a busy summer season for myself and a great time to rejuvenate + celebrate with Steve + Rachel. Without further adieu, here are a few of my favorite images from the week along with an in-depth look at our coffee farm tour!
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When we arrived, we took a taxi, a bus, and a small boat to reach our rental. By the time we arrived to the house, it was dark and rainy and honestly, we had no concept of our surroundings other than the fact that we were in a house on water. When we awoke the next day, we were in awe of our view…
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Fishing is a huge “industry” on the lake… and we were greeted our first morning by a crab fisherman who had just emptied his traps.
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Coffee plants were LITERALLY everywhere around us! Guatemala-Travel-Photography-17Guatemala-Travel-Photography-15

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Coffee beans grow on bushes/trees in cherry form. They start as green fruits and turn to red when they are ripe + ready to be picked. Inside each fruit are usually two coffee beans that can be harvested + roasted.
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We took a boat across the lake to San Juan la Laguna for our coffee farm tour.
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Coffee plants begin in a nursery before they are transplanted to the farm.
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The most interesting fact from the tour was that farmers naturally allow for organic composting to happen. The coffee plants are grown in-and-amongst unharvested avocado trees, banana plants, etc. When leaves + fruits fall from the trees, the soil is naturally enriched for the coffee plants. Also the trees allow for some shade which produces higher quality coffee.
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This road intentionally separates the organic coffee plants and the chemically-treated coffee plants. The beans that grow on the organically-raised plants will be shipped to specialty craft roasters (i.e. Stumptown and Intelligentsia) and the chemically-treated coffee beans are sent to mass-produced comodity roasters (ie. store-brands like Folgers and Maxwell House). Lantern Coffee specifically only sources beans from craft roasters with sustainably distributed beans. Their house-roaster is Populace Coffee out of Bay City, Michigan.
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Unfortunately, this past season was hard on this particular region of coffee farms because they experienced an epidemic of “coffee rust”. This is a fungus that drastically decreases production and causes the fruit to rot.
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Raul, our tour guide, took us to the bean-processing facility nearby. Unfortunately, we were there about a week before harvesting began, so we weren’t able to see the beans being sorted, dried and bagged, but it was still cool to see all the equipment and understand the process a bit more!
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These green coffee beans have been dried and are waiting to be shipped around the world. Green coffee beans can last a long time in storage, but once they are roasted, they should ideally be brewed within the first 2 weeks. If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee from a craft roaster, it is so delicious – because it’s fresh!
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We ended the tour with a cappuccino at one of the local cafes! Mmm.
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What a week! I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to explore Guatemala, expand our horizons, and learn more about coffee with these two. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out Lantern Coffee Bar & Lounge… you should definitely do so ;)
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jonathan + rachel // asheville anniversary session

Baby, it’s cold outside. Really. Winter is upon us here in Grand Rapids! It has barely stopped snowing in the past 48 hours and I love the constant-snow globe that’s happening outside our windows!! Snow or not, I’m fully embracing the winter season this year. I’m embracing the slower pace, numerous cups of tea, Christmas lights and cozy fires. Also, with the winter season comes a quieter photography season and I’m excited to share previews of sessions + adventures from this past year that I haven’t quite had the time to blog until now.

Today, I would love to share a session from earlier this summer. During the last week of April, my husband + I had the opportunity to travel to Asheville, North Carolina with our best friends to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary. We spent the week in a lodge in the mountains – exploring nature + city life. We ate (a lot) of delicious food, took plenty of hikes + shared many wonderful memories together as we reminisced on their first year of marriage. On one of our last days in the mountains, we spent the afternoon photographing Jonathan (Jonno) + Rachel for an anniversary session and the results of that shoot are here today! Yay!

Standing next to these two on their wedding day (and likewise having them stand next to us) was one of the greatest honors of our lives. I’m so thrilled that they have chosen each other as life partners + teammates and I’m grateful to count them both as forever friends. Jonno + Rachel, here’s to many more adventures together and many more years [wonderful] of marriage! Cheers, my friends!
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four years

This day, four years ago, looked a lot different than today. For one, it was close to 50 degrees, sunshine, blue skies, and no snow for miles. There wasn’t a holiday meal to be shared – that had come + gone (and if I remember correctly, it was a pretty low-key celebration that year). We weren’t driving across the state together. We woke up in metro Detroit, in separate houses, and spent the mornings in different ways (you got to sleep in a heck of a lot longer than me that day ;)). I did blog that morning and we were going to spend the whole day with family, so I guess, in those regards, that was the same (ha!). Four years ago today, we weren’t celebrating Thanksgiving, but as I recall that day, I have much to be thankful for.

Jonathan, I am thankful for your constant care and integrity. I’m thankful for your honesty and your sense of humor. I’m thankful for your leadership and the way you strive to be a better man, a better spouse, a better friend. I’m thankful for your support and encouragement. I’m thankful that you choose to love me and be my lifelong partner every day. I’m thankful that you are my best friend – even more today than you were four years ago. This year, we share our anniversary with Thanksgiving – and I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy the day than with you by my side, spending time with our families and celebrating gratitude + the blessings in our life.

Thanks for being you, hubs. Happy Anniversary and Happy Thanksgiving! I love you to the moon + back! ;)
JennAnibal-Personal-01a look back… YEAR ONE // YEAR TWO // YEAR THREE // ps, that wedding photo? my pal ABBY took that one, and all the other wedding photos you’ll ever see ;)

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summer in the city

It’s a rainy Tuesday morning here in Grand Rapids. I opened the window to my office to feel the breeze and listen to the rain fall as I edit. Unfortunately the breeze is quite chilly, so I may just have to listen to the rain through the windows.

I’m thankful for a cool, quiet morning as I adjust to the rhythm of summer. These days and weeks are spontaneous – filled with hours of shooting or editing, or periods of adventuring or relaxing. Most of June was spent away from home and now most of July will be spent in Grand Rapids. I’m ok with both scenarios, but the introvert in me definitely needs a little space to adjust to the current normal – whatever it may be. So today is a day for waking slowly, listening to the rain fall and quietly thumbing through images from the past few weeks of weddings + sessions + travels. The next few days are going to look quite different – including lots of friend time and the great lake and fireworks – so for me, today is about soaking up the in-between moments. I hope that for you – whether it’s a working day, a vacationing day, a quiet day or a crazy day – I hope that is a good summer day and you’re able to enjoy the beauty of each moment.

And because no blog post is complete without an image, here are a couple favorites from this past weekend with Gracie + her parents. Sometimes, you just need flowers in your hair and to read Mother Goose on a big quilt in the middle of downtown… am I right? Happy Tuesday, friends!

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