My dear friends, I have some EXCITING news to share! In fact, over the years I always wondered when this day would come and it has and I’m so happy! As you know, I’ve been very busy since I started this blog over 7 years ago and was always very focused on my career first. It meant a lot to me to build something up for myself and over the years, I’ve made so many important, meaningful connections and some of the best friends I’ve ever had. But something else was always on my mind – kids. We knew that we eventually wanted children, well honestly only ONE child, but didn’t know when and frankly, we were having so much fun with our careers, freedom, traveling… We didn’t make it a priority. We were perfectly happy being childless for awhile. Our big plan, back when we lived in Boston, was to relocate to Germany to start a family where my husband was born and raised, so we moved over in 2009 but then my career really picked up, I wrote two books and we’ve been here for 4 years already and time just keeps passing by…
I’ve been talking to some really close girlfriends about having a child since the beginning of last year and they all gave me the same advice. Do it and stop thinking so hard. But it was only recently when I had a chat with a friend in America this past March, that the “baby advice” really sunk in. And though this will sound dramatic, her advice changed my life and I want to share it with you.
I told her that I wanted to have a baby but needed to think about when the best time would be. “It can’t be this year”, I said, “because I have speaking engagements lined up and I need to finish writing my third book… And it can’t be in 2014″, I told her, “because my book tour will kick off in the spring and I want to go back home to Boston to visit friends and family”… I can’t, I don’t know when, I need to think about… These words were the opening line of every reason I had for waiting to start a family.
Yet I really wanted to have a child, not because I’m trying to fit some image of what a woman should be doing because honestly, I don’t care about what we should and should not be doing at “stages” in our life. I am a firm believer in timing and that YOU know when you should (or should not) do things and you have to trust your instincts on this stuff, especially the big stuff. And I’m not getting younger with each passing year, who is? So what would it be, I thought… My career or a child?
Then my friend tactfully, but firmly, spoke words that were honest, simple, and changed my life in the most beautiful way. She said that I didn’t need to choose to have a career or a baby. I can simply decide to have both. She said that I needed to give myself the permission to have both and stop thinking that a parent has to fit a specific mould. It’s okay to want a career and a family (men do it all of the time) and that I don’t need to give up one to have the other. I just need to stop stressing out over it, relax a little and give myself permission because I deserve to be kind to myself. She said I should support my own dreams – and that there are plenty of women who love their jobs and their children and have no regrets doing both and they still travel and have great careers. She told me if I was waiting for the right time to forget it, that it will never come. Gosh, after hearing all of that I thought, “Okay, time to make some changes in my life!”.
After our conversation, I started to feel more at ease. I began to cut back a little more on work commitments and take more vacation days and I started to say NO to things more and YES to only what I wanted to do. Her advice was already sinking in, I was learning to be kinder to myself. I stopped worrying about everything and I mean everything. I let stuff go. I stopped worrying about people I cannot change (including some of my own family members) and people I cannot help (friends who never want help yet complain for help constantly). I started to wander in parks and gardens more and burn time doing nothing so I could just think about the direction of my life.
And then, 3 weeks after our conversation and without trying at all – I got pregnant for the first time in my life without any effort other than the obvious. And five weeks after that I found out (and my husband and I jumped up and down!) through a home pregnancy test and now I am in my second trimester, I’ll be 15 weeks on Monday, and the baby is healthy and doing great.
BUT. It’s not been fun and games since week 6. I have had a really hard first trimester — I lost 14 pounds due to constant vomiting and exhaustion. I’m still constantly sick to my stomach but less tired (thankfully) and the feeling of being eternally hungover is starting to pass BUT I still feel quite seasick. My husband totally took over our household – which is a huge relief – so he is cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, running errands and talking so sweetly to me about our baby that I feel nothing but love. And I need that because sickness is no fun. I’m so glad that my husband is so loving and supportive. You really know if a person truly loves you when times get hard and you can no longer be 100% for them but they are still cheering you on and supporting you. You also really see a person’s heart when they are constantly tested as he has been without any support from me for the past few months. The house is spotless, laundry is done and the fridge is stocked. And I didn’t do any of it. This is really the best time of my life, despite all of the sickness, and I just had to share it with all of you. And by the way, the moment we find out the sex, I’ll let you know.
But my dear friends, when it comes to anything in life take it from me – be kind to yourself. We are often so easily kind to others but unkind to ourselves, without even realizing it. Think about that ok? And this isn’t my family planning advice, it’s more life advice passed down from my friend to me and now to all of you. And you know what? The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Who would have thought? And all I can think about is redecorating my home and organizing every room perfectly and creating a fantastic nursery, complete with this lovely bed shown above in this beautiful photo showing Nord Design bedding. It feels nice to have a shift of focus for now and I invite you all to share my little journey and if you are pregnant too, please let me know so I can cheer you on as well!
Much love, Holly
I recently came across Anouschka Rokebrand’s photography on the Avenue blog and knew I had to reach out to her for an interview and also to profile her work here on decor8. To my joy, she was thrilled to take part and her interview came out so nice – so inspirational – that I couldn’t wait another day to share it. It’s time to meet the lovely Anouschka and to drool over her work along with me. Sound like a good way to begin the day?
Anouschka Rokebrand is the talented lady behind Anouschka Rokebrand Photography and the delightful blog under the same name. Born in The Hague, she currently lives in Boskoop, The Netherlands and loves how centrally located and close to the large cities in her country that she is – which is really helpful to her business. She has a real love for her profession (and her clients) and this passion really shines through in her work. Instead of just looking at pretty photos, I thought I’d give you some more to think about so I’ve asked her some questions about her job with the aim to inspire all us – particularly, those of you who are looking to broaden out your own photography skills and explore doing it for a living. Want to listen in on our conversation? First, some eye candy…
What do you love about your job?
AR: Oh gosh, this is my dream job, no kidding. I LOVE working with couples and capturing one of the most special days in their life. I realize every time I hand over a wedding album to one of my couples, that that’s another heirloom that will be passed down for generations to come. I love the social aspect of it and the creative aspect of it.
How long have you been a photographer?
AR: I’ve been photographing since I was little but I officially launched my business in 2006.
What are your goals when you are on a shoot?
AR: Capturing the authenticity, the emotions, the details as beautifully as possible. I want my couples to be able to relive their day moment for moment when they are viewing their images. I want to create heirlooms for them.
Do you also do the styling or do you work with stylists?
AR: For weddings either my couples or their stylist will style the venue. For editorial shoots I work with a stylist. For styled wedding shoots I either work with a stylist or style it myself. On weddings I will do a bit of styling though, especially during the getting ready part. I love styling their details like shoes, jewelry, perfume etc. Plus I will take away the hideous salt and pepper shakers from a dining table before shooting it.
Do you contribute to magazines and books or are you mostly shooting for private clients?
AR: I mostly shoot for private clients, however, I’m incredibly blessed that a lot of my weddings do get published either on wedding blogs or in magazines or both.
What do you use to shoot?
AR: I’m a Canon girl and I shoot with the 5D Mark III, a camera I absolutely adore to bits. I shoot with prime lenses and I adore every one of them. My favorites are the 50 mm and the 135 mm because I love the bokeh and colours in both so much. I mostly use these two lenses during an engagement shoot.
Do you have favorite photographers?
Your photos are joyful, are very natural and capture a lot of light. Have you always shot this way or did it require a lot of training first?
AR: I’ve developed my style over the years and it took a lot of practice to get the look and feel I wanted in my photos. I love light and airy photos and I adore sun flare. However, living in The Netherlands we don’t always get beautiful sunlight during shoots ;) I’m very happy with where my style currently is.
How did you find your aesthetic?
AR: By attending workshops (Jose Villa and Jasmine Star amongst others) and through Pinterest. I know that might sound silly but when you start pinning photos that you love and start looking at what it is you love about them when you see them all together on a pinboard, you start to find the style you really love. You start seeing similarities between the photos you’ve pinned (certain light, certain posing styles etc). So I also started reviewing my own photos and trying to figure out why I would love photo A more than photo B for instance. That helped me a ton to develop my style to where it is today. Fashion photography and magazines are also a great source of inspiration for me.
How did you learn photography?
AR: Photography school, workshops (both in the US and in The Netherlands) and a lot of practice, practice, practice :)
Any tips for new photographers?
AR: Try to find YOUR own voice and style. Don’t feel you have to copy someone else to be successful. Be you, develop your own style. I get so many questions from photographers who are just starting out about how I edit my photos, how I designed my website because they want theirs to look exactly the same. Trust me when I say, you don’t want that. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. Use what makes you unique: YOU, your eye, your vision. That’s what sets you apart from anyone else. :)
And finally, how has blogging helped your photography career?
AR: I love blogging! It takes a lot of time but I love doing it. It has helped me connect with other vendors and my brides are very dedicated to reading it and keeping up to date with what’s happening in my business and life. I love that! It helps us connect even more. I’ve also heard from other vendors that they received new business thanks to a link on my blog and I love that aswell! I love to give credit where credit is due and if that provides more work for amazing vendors, that makes me very happy!
Now we can take some reader questions. Would anyone like to ask Anouschka a question about her work?
Thank you so much Anouschka for being here on decor8 with us today, I admire your work so much and am happy to have met you! And readers, if you PIN anything in this post, please credit Anouschka Rokebrand with a link to her website on Pinterest. Thank you!
(images: Anouschka Rokebrand)
Hello everyone! It’s Holly Marder from Avenue Lifestyle visiting you today on decor8. I thought I’d stop by to bring you all some some inspiration in the form of a wonderfully eclectic and colorful family home in the Netherlands. I showed these images to Holly and she immediately accepted my offer to do a post about this fun home, so let’s get started!
I am so fortunate with my work to be able to peek into beautiful homes on a regular basis to document the style and personal stories of their owners, and one look at this home and I was bursting at the seams to share it with you! Owned by interior designer Femke Dekker of Femkeido, you’d better believe it’s a colorful feast for the eyes!
This is her more “formal” living room off of the dining room and kitchen area.
And this is her more informal living room…
The way Femke layers color upon color is nothing short of inspirational. Her modern home, which she shares with her husband and three young children, blends both old and new items against a neutral backdrop, upon which she cleverly weaves in colors of all shades. “I don’t think too much about how I decorate my home, I just do what feels natural and add pieces that I love,” Femke says. “When I work with clients, I really think about the space and how it all comes together, but my home really is my playground.”
Downstairs, a single wall drenched in charcoal grey extends the length of the open living, dining and kitchen while the rest of the space relies on crisp white as a canvas upon which neon and pastel hues come alive. Concrete floors throughout and a couple of masculine pieces contrast Femke’s playful use of color, giving her home a feminine but ultra sophisticated vibe. So what tips does Femke have for those of us looking to add color to our homes without going overboard?
“I always start with a neutral base, which gives me flexibility for when I want to use color. I like to add color in the accessories, so will layer in pastels and soft tones. What I then do is take a step back and if I feel that it’s lacking something, I add a strong, bold color. The finishing touch for me is always the strongest color, which can then be taken away later on if my taste changes.”
What I personally love about Femke’s space is that her color choices always return, so while the space is fun and bright, it’s also very consistent. A couple of examples are that fabulous antique buffet cabinet painted in pastel blue, which comes back in the pendant lamps, or the various neon pink touches seen throughout. “The blue cabinet was originally white, but because the wall behind it was also white at the time, I decided to paint it. I chose this pastel blue because it matched the pendant lamps. I was so surprised at how fabulous it looked against the wall once we had painted it grey!”
Femke finds inspiration in bold, graphic prints and quirky accessories, but also in the work of designers such as Ilse Crawford. “Her work is a bit quirky. Her interiors combine modern with authentic details and fun wallpapers but never over-the-top. She really creates interiors that are livable but very different.”
I hope you enjoyed that little peek into the home of a Dutch interior designer. Femke, thank you for opening up your home for us all, and a big thank you to Decor8 for having me!
So. Are you feeling inspired to get colourful at home, or what?! -Holly
(text/photos: holly marder)
Hello sweet decor8 readers, it’s Rincy again with my monthly Simple Times post and I am so excited to be writing to you from my travels here in Hungary. In my column last month, I encouraged you to explore more in your local area. This month, with many taking summer vacation, perhaps you can travel where your friends live and tap into their local expertise. I’ve only been in Hungary for a few days and already I am completely and utterly enchanted with this sweet country because I am with friends who know this region and somehow they make it seem like nothing is off limits! Suddenly statutes and bridges have stories, the hidden nooks and crannies of roads lead to the most beautiful surroundings and when the night lights turn on- it really feels like the most special place in the world. This is a simple pleasure that a travel book cannot provide – locals who happen to be friends that want to share the magic with you. I feel so lucky!
It may be one of the smallest states in Europe but right now it seems so big and full of inspiration. The land of castles, vineyards, thermal spas and gulyás is every bit as magical as I hoped it to be. I look forward to seeing what each day brings and would love to share it with you soon.
Have you ever been to Budapest or a place that instantly seemed like a fairy tale to you? Will you be visiting somewhere soon to explore with local friends or family? I’m so curious to know, so please share. A girl can certainly dream.
With lots of love and light, always – Rincy, your little bird (whose wings are just starting to fly!)
(images: rincy koshy)