Jodi: My favorite photographer.

On one of my annual visits home to Michigan a few years ago, my sister Abby mentioned something about Jodi taking amazing photos. Instagram was really new to me at the time but I followed her Giving Tree Photography page. Ever since then her incredible photos have been popping up on my newsfeed. I swore if I ever needed a photographer she would be the one. Now all of that sounds really weird even to me because I didn’t know her {yet}.

At the time, I was living and working in Georgia about 90 minutes south of Atlanta. I was so impressed by the way she captured the beauty of the world and the love that couples had for each other. She inspired me to buy a camera of my own.  I had been planning for a solo trip to Europe that fall and I wanted to tell the story of my journey through pictures alone. After all, the memories you carry home with you are by far my favorite souvenirs. I did some research and bought my first DSLR camera.

I am one of those people that can’t stay in one place for very long. I’m always thinking about what’s next, in life and in my career. As I was looking for my next job I came across a few quick fill positions, one in Hawaii and the others in Germany. I was utterly shocked! How were those jobs even available?!? So I emailed my boss and she said to go for it.The next few months went by in a whirlwind. Instead of a solo month of travel, I ended up moving to Europe. Three days later Dan and I went to a weekend long softball tournament. That weekend I started taking pictures and now I can’t stop. It’s a hobby I absolutely love.

After Dan and I got engaged we brainstormed a lot of options on how and where to get married (It’s a little complicated in a foreign country). We changed our mind at least a dozen times about the details. We both wanted something intimate and simple. We wanted our focus to be on the promise we were making and not on planning, so we chose to elope.

Originally (by this I mean plan #17) we were supposed to get married on Cala Conta beach in Ibiza, Spain. We were going to have friends of ours take pictures and celebrate with us afterward.  I’ll admit it was me that pushed us to plan #18. We were laying in bed unwinding after a long day. Dan was catching up on sports center news and I was flipping through Instagram. This picture below popped up and I said: ” #givingtreetravels”…that made me wonder… Maybe…just maybe Jodi would be free that weekend.

Now let’s just pause for a second… I’m a little bit crazy to think someone as insanely talented as her, didn’t already have a wedding booked for Fourth of July weekend especially because it was just a few weeks away.  I couldn’t help myself, I posted a comment on that picture… Something along the lines of “I wish you would travel to this side of the world for my wedding in Ibiza!”

Now I knew there was a 99.7% chance she would already be booked or reserving that weekend for some much-needed family time. She replied within 3 minutes and said: “email me and let’s talk”. I quickly emailed her and proceeded to jump out of bed and dance around the room.

Right about then, Dan thought I was literally insane. He said something along the lines of “Get your crazy self back over here and tell me what’s going on.” I quickly regurgitated the story above. Let’s just say he didn’t quite understand. He kept saying “Why her when there are hundreds of photographers here in Europe?”

Let me tell you why:

  • She captures love in its purest form.
  • She is artistic and outrageously talented.
  • She is brave and willing to hike, run or swim to get the best angles you can imagine.
  • She is a professional to the core.
  • She loves the outdoors and shooting in the beautiful, natural scenery God created.
  • She is flexible and spontaneous.
  • She works so hard and puts others far before herself.
  • She has such a huge adventurous heart and pours her feelings of excitement through her beautiful blue eyes.
  • Her teaser photos make you feel like you are standing right next to the couple she’s photographing.
  • After following her work for so long I knew without a doubt…If I didn’t pick her, I would forever regret it.

After a few (extremely excited and barely coherent) emails from me and a few super professional well-written replies from Jodi, we had a plan. Now I just had to convince Dan. That took a day or two but I won him over. The plan was to have Jodi’s husband come along as her assistant. (He was an absolute champ! He deserves a few gold medals in the husband/assistant Olympics but more on that later).

We arranged their travel so they arrived in Ibiza the day before us. I knew they would need it for the awful jet lag you experience flying this far East. We also wanted to give them time to explore the island and find the spots they thought would be great to shoot pictures at.

They met us at our hotel for poolside drinks the night before our ceremony. We laughed more than we talked. I think she was surprised with how relaxed Dan and I were about most of the details of the day to follow. We sipped Sangria and caught up on the changes happening near my hometown. We stayed up pretty late and decided to do our vows at sunset the next day instead of in the midday heat (SO thankful for that decision!).

The day of our wedding was absolutely perfect. Jodi captured the little things that we may have overlooked at the time but will forever cherish. Her husband Jeff was the best assistant ever. He dropped us off and parked the car miles away (or at least it seemed that far to me). He helped Dan and I rock climb down the cliff to take pictures by the crystal clear water. He carried SO MUCH stuff (shoes, the dress, water, snacks, multiple cameras, backpacks and lenses). I’ve never met someone so selfless and humble. He’s such a cool guy and I’m happy he was there to make things so easy for Jodi and us :).

After shooting photos by Cala Conta, the first beach Dan kissed me…. In true Antinucci fashion, we stopped for Magnum Ice Cream bars to celebrate. We had dinner at our hotel and then headed up to Es Vedra to do our vows at sunset. We left dinner slightly late and ended up hiking as fast as we could up the mountain. We finally arrived at the ancient tower and I put on my dress.

I knew from this day on my life would forever change. This was the easy part: getting all dressed up, professing our love to one another and promising forever. The messy, hard part was yet to come: fights over things that don’t matter, stubborn challenges and cheering for different football teams. Despite the crazy journey of life we had ahead of us, we were ready to free-fall together. (Figuratively and literally as we cliff dove into the Mediterranean Sea).

She captured it all: the smiles, the laughter, the “I’m too hot for this shirt,” the ice cream, the nervous trembles, the tears and the comforting {everything is gonna be okay} hugs. I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more. Immediately after our vows, we ran down the mountain to soak up the last bit of sunset.

Jodi and Jeff treated us like family by laughing and celebrating with us. They made us feel so special. We are so very thankful for their friendship. We wanted their hearts to love this place as much as we did. We had them take a picture together at Es Vedra just before the last bit of light faded into darkness.

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They are an incredible team. They are selfless and loving, encompassing everything one would want in a marriage. After a long, happy, smiles and tear-filled day, they packed up to leave and we waved goodbye.

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The moment they left Dan leaned in and whispered to me “You know what, you were right. I’m so glad you picked her.”

I may be a little biased but Jodi will ALWAYS be my favorite photographer.

Love,

Jenny

Ps. Do yourself a favor and hire Jodi, you won’t regret it. Her website is Giving Tree Photography or you can follow her amazing journey of love on Instagram–> @givingtreephotography and remember: #givingtreetravels

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Disclaimer: These photos were borrowed from Jodi Bodtke 🙂

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Denmark, A Journey of Love: Marriage

Living in Europe has it’s perks and choosing the perfect spot to say our vows was difficult to say the least. We fell in love in Ibiza, Spain and decided that our little piece of paradise was perfect. It was only missing one thing, we had to be Roman Catholic to officially get married there.

After examining our options (including flying back to the states) we decided to sign our official marriage paperwork in Denmark. We had friends of ours that recently got married in Copenhagen, Denmark through the company Danish Island Weddings. They had such a positive experience, they referred us to them.

From the moment we contacted this company, they made it so outrageously easy. After one email containing a marriage application and a scanned copy of all our important documents….. we had a date to get married. I was shocked when I received the approval email so quickly. I was in Poland at the time for work and it brought tears to my eyes.

We opted to get married on ÆrøIsland in the Old Merchants Courtyard. From the pictures of the island it reminded me so much of my hometown. The people were friendly and very helpful. They spoke perfect English (the small joys in life) and went out of their way to ensure we had a wonderful experience on their island.

The day before we got married we woke up early and had breakfast with all of the couples that stayed at our accommodation the night before. It was around a large rustic dining table and we ate a typical European breakfast. Fresh rolls baked that morning by the owner with a variety of cheeses and meats. There were vegetables grown from the garden including cucumbers and green, red and yellow peppers. The jam selection was made by hand by the owners mother (absolutely the best). One of my favorite new combinations for breakfast is plain greek style yogurt, corn flakes and a drizzle of the local honey. It was sweet, crunchy and tangy #allofmyfavoritethings. In my experience you have to try new things to see if you like it or not. (Ask my friend Marcus… a few weeks ago I made him try everything in my lunch). Exploring your tastebuds is one of my favorite parts of traveling. If you don’t try it… you’ll never really know!

After our meeting with Ulrich we were reassured everything would be perfect the next day. She re-booked our return ferry for the next day ensuring we made our flight in Copenhagen (Just barely… see Dan’s post here–>Punctuality: Panic at the Terminal ). We barely made the connection, not because of the ferry/car rental but because I was buying postcards to send to our families back home. Next time I’ll hurry {maybe}.

The morning of our wedding Dan was both happy and anxious. If you’ve ever travelled with Dan you’ll realize he’s a “Nervous Nelly Traveler.” Or atleast thats what I call them. Every family has one. They’re the ones that show up 6 hours prior to their flight. Then they wait around because it’s far too early to consider going through security because even the flight crews haven’t decided what gate to put the flight at yet (they’re still in line for coffee so they can tolerate obnoxiously rude travelers–>don’t be that one!).

To his surprise I got up EARLY which is a huge struggle for me. (High five to all my fellow 5+ times alarm snoozers). However, the promise of french press coffee and the potential of leaving this gorgeous island married was a huge motivation. Since we were carrying all of our luggage throughout both Denmark and Norway we opted to just pack backpacks for the week. I packed a simple sundress for me and a polo for him. If Dan loves anything he loves the simple life. Opposites attract right?!?

After arriving to the building in Old Merchants Court, I gave Dan the option to run. He looked at me and laughed. He pulled me in close said “Come on you knucklehead, you’re gonna marry me.” So we went up the stairs to this vintage style decor room with beautiful paintings of the island and got married. Dan’s brother Eric joined us via Skype.

It was perfect. So simple. The judge said… “Before performing the ceremony the Council wishes to remind you of the meaning and importance of the promise you are going to give each other. Matrimony implies in general a pledge to live together in mutual affection, helpfulness and tolerance.” {I’m pretty sure she emphasized the word tolerance but maybe I was just imagining that}.

We both repeated the same vows we had said to each other on an ancient tower over looking the Mediterranean Sea (PICTURES TO COME SOON!!). We kissed and it was official. We were MARRIED. We kissed again and signed the papers (that were in four different languages). Then we toasted with champagne and celebrated with a few pieces of delicious chocolate.

After getting engaged in Germany, married in Denmark and having our ceremony in Spain….

We know without a doubt, no matter where in the world this love story takes us… at least we have each other to laugh with, love and tolerate 🙂

Love,

Jenny

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I wanted to see how cold the water was… Not nearly as cold as I imagined it would be.

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I love these rocks.

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Beers in the Courtyard
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The view from the cliffs

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A beautiful Lighthouse near Soby

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The golf course surrounding the lighthouse in Soby
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Squinting hard against the wind
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Storm rolling in

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Danish Island Weddings:

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Eric on Skype
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“A pledge to live together in mutual affection, helpfulness and tolerance.”

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Ulrich was the absolute best!

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Champagne and Chocolate
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Waiting for the ferry with our little white rental car
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Sunrise on the Baltic Sea

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All these hearts led to you

ps. Our Ibiza wedding ceremony coming to the blog soon!

Punctuality: Panic at the Terminal by Daniel

Before I begin my soliloquy, let’s set the mood with the following definitions of punctuality, as explained by myself and my lovely wife.
Definition per Jenny:

The act of being present directly prior to departure or an event starting. May or may not include airport shopping, applying mascara or grabbing a last minute coffee as long as you are there prior to departure you are punctual.
Definition per Daniel:

Proper planning to prevent frantic and chaotic events such as last minute application of make up, packing of suitcase, photography, etc. in order to prevent sprinting to every destination seconds before the deadline. This includes not having to be nagged relentlessly by significant other in order to make said deadline.

Fade in… I am sitting at the airport gate for departure from Copenhagen, Denmark to Bergen, Norway. Ten minutes before the plane is scheduled to start boarding, Jenny decided to use the bathroom and buy postcards. She claims she would be right back but in my experience, right back has a time frame from 1 to 180 minutes.

The moment she left I accepted the reality that there was an overwhelming probability that we would not be boarding this flight. Sure enough 10 minutes went by and no sign of Jenny. I hear over head the boarding call for our flight. Not many things stress me out or give me anxiety but traveling with this woman is about as stressful as unexplained chest pain radiating down my left arm.

Fast forward

Half the people have boarded the plane. No sign of Jenny. My initial thought was to go find her but carrying two fifty pound back packs (12 pounds of which is my stuff) aimlessly around this massive airport honestly would have made me look completely foolish. Picture me carrying two back packs with a cast on my broken hand, mindlessly shouting Jenny’s name. I can picture the looks from the passengers in the terminal now.

My next option which sounded pretty good at the time, was to board the plane without her. In my head it sounded like a great life lesson for Jenny. Until I woke up back to reality and realized the severe repercussions that would surely be heading my way. All I can say is that if I would’ve gone through with this plan, I thank the big man upstairs that I do not have an international data plan on my phone. Of course over the next five days of solitude I would have to completely change my identity and enroll in the witness protection program. That sounded like too much work though.

Two thirds of the plane has boarded. Any one within twenty feet of me can see the perspiration pouring down my face. I have no doubt that the utter panic on my face coupled with the sweat made everyone around me extremely uncomfortable. At this point I made my decision, if Jenny is not back in 5 minutes I am boarding the plane without her. As stated before, I was fully aware of the grave danger I was putting my life in with this decision. Now reading this you may have your doubts about the validity of this story, but anyone who knows either myself or Jenny knows that this is just another Tuesday afternoon for us.

Just like a Hollywood script, less than one minute remaining until I board the plane without her and effectively ending my life, guess who strolls up? Now you would think seeing me standing all alone with a panicked look on my face would provide some inkling of urgency. Well you obviously don’t know Jenny. The best part…we don’t even know our seat assignment on the flight because our electronic boarding pass says n/a. After all that stress and worry, we successfully boarded the plane. Sure enough we were just about the last two people to sit down. I love this woman with all my heart, but every travel adventure leaves me with a little less hair on my already balding dome.

Every day is a blessing but Lord baby Jesus grant me strength,

Daniel

(We spent a lot of time waiting for ferries, planes and buses. The picture above was one of our favorites of us waiting this trip.)

Denmark, A Journey of Love: iPhone edition

We started our trip with a 3:30 am wake up call. (Thankfully I finished packing our stuff around midnight so we got a few hours of rest.) We took the ICE train to Köln and walked around a little bit. We ended up going to the airport early because our backpacks were pretty heavy and almost everything is closed on Sundays in Germany.


We bought a deck of cards and realized that in Europe instead of Jacks and Queens they have B’s and D’s which was so odd to me. We played black jack until we could pass through security. Once we were on the other side Dan passed out and we almost missed our priority boarding. #lackofsleep


The moment the plane landed in Denmark I realized how rainy it was. Immediately I thought of Dan’s cast and how we were going to keep it dry. So before we even left the airport we scored an amazing deal on a dressy raincoat for him. 

I grabbed this baseball hat to keep dry during this week of our first outdoorsy vacation. Peak performance is a European ski apparel company based it of Sweden. It’s new to me but I love the quality of this waterproof hat and it saved my lashes on this vaca! 


After some slight confusion at the airport,  Dan and I grabbed our rental car and drove a few hours away to the ferry dock to get to Ærø island, where we were staying. We missed the ferry by 12 minutes so we stopped at Bella Italia for wine, margarita pizza, cappuccinos and ice cream. We walked around the small harbor and enjoyed the crisp night air. It was such a peaceful place and reminded me of my hometown!



We finally got on the ferry at 10:05 pm and arrived on the island at 11:30 pm. Holy moly what a long day. We travelled by train, plane, automobile and ferry… In that exact order. 

When we arrived to our hotel, the Andelen Guesthouse we were greeted by the owner. You know you’re in a small town when you’re immediately treated like family. He gave us a quick tour and invited us to the group breakfast at 8 am the next day. We assured him we had everything we needed and immediately crashed into some much needed sleep. 

Breakfast the next day was similar to having breakfast growing up. It was loud and entertaining. They had a 10 person rustic dinning table with a spot for each guest. The only differences were that it was immaculately set for a formal breakfast and everyone was speaking different languages. The people were friendly and very happy that we were joining them on the island. 

After breakfast Dan proceeded to nap and I completed my morning yoga routine. Traveling takes its toll on the body and yoga simply makes my life so much easier! If you struggle with back pain while traveling I would highly recommend it. You can download free podcast classes that range from 20-60 minutes. 🙏🏼 #namaste

When he woke up I was ready to go exploring….. but waited (im)patiently for him to get ready.  

I’m completely ready to go and Dan says “I’m gonna shower.” …..

We set out on a mission to find thebeach and happened to find a beautiful path right on the water. 

Our walk led us past the the harbor and police station. We laughed because the only cop in town works from 10 am-12pm on Thursdays. The path eventually led us straight into town. We had lunch and a beer at an adorable outdoor cafe.



We met with Ulrich about our ceremony the next day. She was probably the nicest woman I’ve ever met. She assured us everything was perfect and they could adjust our ceremony time so that we would make our original flight to Norway! (That saved us 900 Euro 🎉🙌🏽😁). In true Antinucci fashion we celebrated with ice cream! 

Ice cream looks so good on you.

We took a quick trip to cliffs and the lighthouse on the island. A storm was brewing and the wind was picking so don’t mind the scary faces, it was hard to smile against the wind. 


It was a quick trip but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Still drinking Cappuccino all over the world💖. 

Love, 

Jenny
Ps. Denmark part 2 coming soon!

I’ll Pack light… and other lies I tell myself.

Whewwww… It seems like every time we plan a trip I tell myself I’ll be ahead on the laundry and I’ll pack a few days before we leave. Guess how many times that has actually happened… <NEVER>. It sounds like the perfect solution to my never ending packing catastrophes but in reality we are too busy to actually make it happen. So here we are less than 12 hours from leaving and I’m doing laundry and packing light (yeah RIGHT!).

It starts out like this: Ok… what do I need? Pants… I’m always cold so I’ll pack some skinny jeans but really I need to pack leggings–>because I’m all about being comfortable while traveling. In go a pair of jeans and two pairs of leggings. Wait… maybe I should check the weather…


Oh crap it’s going to rain too. Alright now I need a versatile jacket that’s waterproof preferably with a hood. I wore my black one recently to the gym… now where is it? Ahhh the laundry. Back to square one. I’ll put that load in next. It’s also going to be partially sunny… let’s be honest my legs could use some sun. I’ll bring two pairs of shorts just in case.

Ok.. so on to activities.. We will be hiking, walking and potentially kayaking (just me since Dan is still in his cast!). So now I need to pack workout gear. More leggings, long sleeve shirts and a few tanks go into the back pack.


I swore to my friends I wasn’t going to pack cosmetics this trip. Although at the time this seemed feasible…I’m changing my mind. I always feel more prepared to take on the day once I have mascara on (and a few shots of espresso too). I absolutely love these little sample size products you get from Sephora or Nordstroms when you order a certain amount. They are PERFECT for traveling. I even got a few of the fragrance samplers so I don’t have to pack a bulky perfume either.

As for make-up I’m bringing my trusty old Lorac pro- 3 shadows mini palate. It’s perfect for travel. I’m also bringing my Everything Eyes by Bobbi Brown. The Bobby Brown eyeshadows are not as pigmented as I’d like but are buildable… and it comes with these perfect mini brushes for travel. That’s what sold me on this palate.


On to shower supplies—> A mini shampoo/conditioner/bodywash, mini hairspray, comb and teasing brush. I refuse to leave home without my Mary Kay facewash, lotion and mini MicroD set…it’s the one thing I’ll never cheat on. I’ve been using it for ten years and I’m still in love. #teamclearskinforthewin

Last but not least, shoes. This trip is going to be mostly outdoors so sneakers, flip flops and one dressy pair of sandals too. Three pairs of shoes for one trip is a huge WIN in my book!

Don’t forget to pack undies! (Or go commando if that’s your thing!)

Love,

Jenny

 

Ps. A special thanks to my best friend for always carrying the heavy back pack. That’s why you’re my favorite!😉

My sweet Aria