photoshoot don’ts

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I have to admit, these snapshots by Jordan Burch Photography completely and totally exceeded my expectations. While I had high hopes, I never thought something quite this special and this spectacular would be the end result. Joost and I couldn’t be happier with our photog choice and will certainly cherish each and every picture, til death do us part.

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But of course, behind every picture is a story… and… maybe a little… drama.

While Joost had his final training period in the great state of TX, I went home to Florida for wedding prep and QT with the fam. Of course being newly engaged, I had 1,000 (now that I think of it, more like 4,000) to-dos on my list and didn’t immediately plan for an engagement shoot (shame on me), until I met with my (then potential) photog. When she mentioned an engagement shoot, the timeline lightbulb finally went off, as I realized, once Joost was done with his training in TX, we most likely weren’t going to be together again in the US, until the wedding. After some scurrying about and race-against-the-clock type planning, we all seemed to find our way to the great city of Austin, TX.

Incase you have any upcoming shoots, I thought I’d share a few pointers (or if you don’t, hope you have a couple chuckles).

1. No facials 5 days prior to shoot – at first thought, a facial seemed to be a good idea (relaxing and rejuvenating, right). Well, unless you have flawless skin, the truth of the matter is, they aren’t. Great cleansing effort for your face? Yes. Great for pictures? No (unless you’re going for a red-spotted dalmatian look). Thankful for a little thing called makeup.

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2. Know you’re meeting point when being escorted by a high-ranking military officer on base – I wish this pointer was a completely made-up, bad joke. Oh, but it isn’t. Jordan and I were supposed to meet one of Joost’s superiors at a nearby Subway, so we could be escorted on base. Of course, the correct Subway wasn’t loaded on the GPS – how does this even happen? So, after visiting every single Subway in a 10 mile radius, we had the bright idea to drive to a Subway, in the next town, a good 25 minutes away. Excited to see someone in a military uniform, we approached his car and asked, “Hi! Are you in the Royal Netherlands Air Force?” The look on his face said it all and we quickly peeled out of the parking lot… Come to find out, the mystery Subway was 1 mile from the apartment we were staying in… and we were only an embarrassing 45 minutes late.

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…But, being late did result in some pretty awesome natural sunlight.

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3. Don’t climb big, heavy machinery (like Apaches) in short dresses – or everyone and their mother will see hot pink leopard things they shouldn’t.

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4. Don’t plan everything – because unplanned moments, might turn out to be some of your favorite ones.

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5. Don’t assume your man has something to wear – why yes, another mindless mistake. While I thought, “Joost bring everything you packed for TX” would allow for sufficient choices… Oh my, I couldn’t have been more wrong (seriously though, he packed swim trunks, yellow shorts and random tees – bless his heart). So, the night before our shoot, we arrived at the mall at 8:40p, and when I say I was running through the men’s department throwing shirts at Joost to try on… That’s exactly what I was doing. But hey, an 8:58p checkout resulted in a  J & W win!

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6. Some things should be planned – like bike riding destinations (especially when trying to stay “pretty” for pictures). We thought it would be a fun and very Dutch idea to rent bikes and bring a little of Joost’s culture into our shoot. Not sure when we decided to make the Capitol our final destination or how long it took us to get there, but all I know is, we did a lot of pedaling.

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…But when you do decide on your final biking destination, you capture sweet moments like this…

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7. Don’t have your photog fly out of an airport 75 minutes away from where you’re staying… at 9a… on a weekday – because even though you leave at 6a, you’ll hit big city traffic, go 3 mph for 45 minutes and make your flight low on breath and with minutes to spare.

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Come to think of it, my don’ts would still be my do’s… Minus the whole being late when dealing with the military… Not a good look. At all.

Until next time – tot ziens!

XX – Whitney

i said yes! well, kinda

It’s official! I’m a future M-R-S and couldn’t be more excited (but don’t underestimate the possibility of bridezilla making an appearance).

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Joost proposed on Thursday, September 5th and it couldn’t have been more dreamy. While I always envisioned an over-the-top, elaborate and public proposal (I know I’m not the only one), ours was intimate, personal… and perfect. I would share pictures of the moments following, but my face was streaked with mascara, makeup, tears and to be honest, it’s not a good look (so below you’ll find a next day photo opp). The moment I saw Joost get down on one knee and open “the box”, I lost it. Really. Lost it. In fact, I never said yes… but I guess the continuous sobbing, and once I regained control of myself, near tackling hug made Joost assume I, in fact, accepted.

Joost and I went ring shopping in both the US and Netherlands and decided on a jeweler in the states due to selection. Since he proposed in the NL, I was given a ‘temp’ ring that I now wear around my neck with his dog tags.

Butterflies fill my stomach every time I look at my left hand ring finger… I truly can not wait for the day that we say, “I do” and become one.

Cheers to forever and a day with my one true love!

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Until next time – I’ll be a busy bee planning a wedding!

XX – Whitney

memories of home

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After a 4am wakeup call and 20 hour travel day (which led to a 26 hour day), Joost and I finally made it to Florida… and I couldn’t be happier. Our first day in The States consisted of good ole Southern cooking, a Wal-Mart run (never thought I’d be so happy to see that place), a couple of Starbucks stops and quality time with my parents and sweet little bichon, Muffi.

Growing up in Florida, I often took the sunsets, sights and ski time for granted. Of course, once you move away, you realize the gem you once had and long to have it back. So, it was a given, my first Florida sunset would be at home overlooking the basin. The memories here are countless as year after year, weekend after weekend, there always seemed to be a birthday party, ball team get-together or simply, my favorite, a Monster Tube date with friends. When reflecting on these memories, I couldn’t help but watch the sunset with a big smile and happy heart.

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Until next time – tot ziens!

XX – Whitney

party details

You can always count on holidays being my favorite days of the year as it brings family and friends together for a little R&R, hearty laughs, delicious treats and good company – and this 4th of July was no different. Well, slightly, as the 4th was celebrated on the 6th… and across the pond in Holland. However, the R&R, hearty laughs, delicious treats and good company was still very much there. Words can’t express how much fun I had planning, shopping (or should I say hunting – sometimes I felt like I was on a wild goose chase for the things on my list), decorating, sharing American traditions and being a part of such a fun and wonderful group of people.

The Outfit –

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find Americana wear! I’m talking one store, second outfit tried on easy. If you think I was the best dressed of the party – think again! There were American flag swimming trunks and shirts and stars + stripes everywhere! Absolutely loved.

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The Decor –

I found shopping for party supplies a bit on the difficult side as there’s no “Party City” or places of the like – plus, the actual decor is totally different – BUT, that just allowed for more creativity and craft time. I also learned mason jars do not exist in the Netherlands and ice, along with red plastic cups, are rare finds. Who knew?

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Treats and Spirits –

There’s nothing better than festive treats and spirits at a party – our menu included red, white and blue sangria with pineapple stars, a fruit flag, juicy watermelon, coozies to compliment the beer (apparently very American), buttery nips (also very American) and the star of the night… an American flag cake! We also had delicious BBQ, cucumber bites, potato salad, pasta salad and toasted bread.

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The Entertainment –

After dinner, we enjoyed beer pong tournaments (many played for the first time!) and posing in the photo booth. If you want fun and hysterically comical snap shots from your party – definitely opt for a PB. The next day, with temps soaring in the 80s, we enjoyed a wet and wild water balloon fight.

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Until next time – Joost and I will be on our way to vaca in the U-S-A!

XX – Whitney

‘merica

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Happy birthday, America! Oh how I wish I was there to celebrate, but lucky me will have a 4th of July party on the 6th of July with my favorite Dutchies – wonder if they’re ready for all of the very American shenanigans I have planned… Anywho, I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful day filled with family, friends and delicious BBQ! As you might have guessed, I will be representing from across the pond in my Americana apparel (while trying to ignore the fact I have to wear a long sleeve button-up and jacket over my flag bikini… in July).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the holiday, July 4th is in fact, America’s birthday. During the American Revolution, on July 2, 1776, the original 13 colonies separated and declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It is then believed, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776 by America’s founding fathers (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington). Fast forward to 2013 and America continues to enjoy their freedom due to the sacrifice and commitment of the US Military (home of the free, because of the brave). Obviously, that’s the meaning in a small nutshell, but the significance and importance of this day is far beyond words. Independence Day is commonly celebrated with family/friend parties, parades, barbeques, festive décor and apparel, beating the heat at the beach, river or pool, and of course, once nightfall hits, FIREWORKS! One of my fondest childhood memories is, year after year, going to watch the fireworks by boat.

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Like my DIY Jacket? So simple, yet so special – all you need is a camo jacket (mine is J.Crew from a while back) and SOS’s patches. Sew them on and wah-lah! I actually have a few more to add and look forward to showcasing until there’s, literally, no more room. Out of every single thing in my closet, I receive the most compliments and questions when I wear this jacket – truly a conversation piece.

Until next time – tot ziens!

XX – Whitney

differences v. 2.0

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Apologies for my week-long hiatus. Seems as though Mother Nature wanted to show “who’s boss” after my very proud 29 degrees celcius post. She was so kind to bring in loads of rain and lows in the mid 40s (7 degrees celcius)… which then brought in the good ole fever, cold, cough combo. I can’t even remember the last time I had a fever, but all I know is, it was 0% fun. With the cold/cough still lingering, I decided to shove it aside and make myself feel better with the essentials: bright colors, a poofy skirt, fun jewels and pretty heels. Sometimes, that’s all a girl needs.

My destination since Thursday has been my b-e-d, so I thought this would be the perfect time to showcase a “differences” post focusing on the greeting. Typically in the US, we greet one another with a handshake, simple hello or a light hug (unless your fam and then you get a bear hug) – quite different in the Netherlands.

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In most cases, you greet one another with a cheeky kiss… And not one…

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Switch cheeks… not two….

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Switch cheeks again, but THREE kisses! The only downside of the three kisses – when I get excited, I get excited. So waiting for the ‘kissing’ to be over before talking to someone drives me nuts (thank you mother for passing down your hyperness). I’ve caught myself a couple of times actually sneaking in a, “how are you” (aka “hoe gaat het”) or, “what do you want to do today” in between kisses. Have you ever visited or lived in a country with a different greeting style?

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Last, but not least, I’d like to thank my handshake/cheek kissing partner for their participation. Thanks, Yoshi (I mean Joost)!

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Until next time – tot ziens!

XX – Whitney

belgium brews, chocolates & waffles

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Feeling the need for a mini road trip, Joost and I spontaneously decided to take off to Belgium this weekend (and when I say mini, I mean it, as the Belgium border is about 25 minutes from Breda). When crossing into a different European country, you’ll find it surprising there’s no border patrol, flashing lights or police waiting to check your passports – it’s much like driving state to state in America. Many European countries are about the size of US states (fun fact of the day: Belgium is roughly the size of Maryland), so I guess driving through Europe is comparable to driving through the US, just with obvious differences, such as culture and languages. Speaking of different languages, Belgium has a few of their own. Half of the country speaks a dialect of Dutch called Flems, whereas the other half speak French (and apparently the two sides do not get along, but at least they both make great chocolate and waffles!).

Our road trip took us to the cute, cozy city of Antwerp (shopper’s paradise and second largest city in Belgium). When driving through Antwerp, you can’t help but notice the beautiful church planted in the city center – so it was a given that would be our first stop. The astonishing ‘Cathedral of our Lady’ was built-in 1352, although it’s never been completely finished, and the highest steeple reaches 404 feet high.

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While walking along, you can’t miss ‘the building with the flags’ also known as the Town Hall. Many sights of the city were blocked off and set up for a triathlon, so please excuse the random tents and car display. Joost and I will most certainly have to come back when the skies are brighter and no events are in place. On the other side of the square, you’ll notice tall, narrow and intricately decorated buildings, known as the guild houses. These were homes to the most skillful guilds of the 16th and 17th centuries and the beautifully gold crafted decor are symbolic representations of the guilds who lived in each.

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As our journey continued, we passed the cutest little cafes and shops – oh how I wish I could have delighted in the chocolates and waffles, but I’m currently watching my carb and sugar intake, so a warm coffee on a rainy day sufficed.

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Before the light drizzle turned into a monsoon, we were able to visit the river and even on a rainy day, the sights were beautiful. The Port of Antwerp is actually one of the largest in Europe (believe the Netherlands and Germany are the biggest) and continues to be a solid moneymaker for Belgium. The ships, cobblestone bridge and beautiful views had me at hello.

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Hopefully our next visit will include sunny skies and warm weather, as there were so many things we weren’t able to capture through a lens.

Until next time – tot ziens!

XX – Whitney