Poland 2011

Look at how much T1 has grown in 6 months time! We were in Poland in September of 2011 and I’m writing this post in May of 2012. Prompt recaps just really aren’t my thing, you know? This is a little taste of the happiness we found in That Husband’s hometown.

My in-laws have a gorgeous backyard filled with trees and bushes that were bursting with fruit when we were there. Pears, berries, apples. We missed the mini kiwis by only a few days!

T1’s grandparents on both sides spoil him shamelessly. On this visit to Poland he found a special chair in the kitchen where he could sit and drink his milk while watching Teletubbies (in Polish of course).

A favorite from the trip!

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Italy Panoramas

I’m still only like halfway through all of my photos, but some of the first edits I did was putting together the panoramas I made using the Brenizer method* (see some really phenomenal examples of what this method can do for portraits here). It’s so fun to see the end product after Photoshop stitches all of the photos together! I thought you might enjoy seeing the first photo for each panorama, as it gives you a small idea of the actual scale of the view from where I was standing. I can’t show you all of the photos that make up the image (sometimes I take like 50 pictures and have Photoshop stitch them all together into one!) but I will show you the very first one I took. Unless otherwise noted, these were all taken with my 50mm 1.2*.

If you’d like to see one of my all-time favorite Jenna Cole photos, taken using the Brenizer method, click here!

I took this one in my in-law’s backyard. I wanted to try to convey how lush and green it is back there, full of fruit that was perfectly in season when we arrived this year!  (I need to build in the sky on the left side if I’m going to do anything with it, I for some reason didn’t take any pictures of that area).

The first shot in the series.

My favorite panorama. This is the dome of Florence, taken from the tower that sits next door, and as you can see from the original photo below, we were much closer than you realize when you look at the panorama.

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Polish Wedding Traditions Video

Only one more post on Europe 2010 after this one! We leave for Europe once again 4 months from now so it won’t be long before I’m recapping once again. 🙂

I took several Folklore classes in college, which I loved, and it sparked an interest in traditions and customs in different cultures and regions. I wanted to put together a video from the wedding that shows some of the unique traditions that Polish weddings have, but I was restricted a bit by the groom who insisted that his face not be shown online. Some tricky editing helped cut him out or focus on other areas when he showed up in the frame, but there are definitely clips from the video below that are much more beautiful when they aren’t cropped in. The video is also quite long, but it was hard to eliminate things! I’ve placed subtitles throughout that help explain what is going on, but do keep in mind that these explanations come from my experience (remember I don’t speak Polish!) and may not be the full story.


Polish Wedding Traditions from Jenna on Vimeo.

If you are Polish and have some experience with Polish weddings I’d love to hear your comments below!

Europe 2010: Pt IX

First the ceremony, then the food, now it’s time for the biggest post of this Polish wedding series, the reception! I’ll do my best to explain what was happening, though the language barrier means I’ll be guessing at times. Feel free to correct me if you know better. 🙂

This is chlebem i sol?, or bread and salt. It’s presented to the bride and groom as they walk into the reception.

The bride and groom stood in the middle of the room while the guests sang to them. They drank out of the glasses they are holding here and then tossed them over their heads. Z supervised while K swept up the shards of glass.

My in-laws stepped forward and threw some coins at the new couple, and they handed me a few so I could do the same. The same thing happened at our wedding. 🙂

We all stood around while they bent down and picked up the coins.

Then it was time for dinner. The first course.

As you’ll see, TH spent most of the night with his cousin Kuba (I have no idea how to spell this nickname of his so that’s my best guess).

The bride had a few moments to relax while we ate.

And then the dancing and games began.

Hours and hours of dancing, most of it paired off and so fun.

That Husband and his cousin spent most of the time like this. Kuba has been to a lot of weddings and he’s a bit jaded about the whole thing.

Since they weren’t dancing I asked TH and Kuba to come outside and take pictures with me.

Kuba ended up being an excellent photographer. I didn’t have to provide much direction at all!

Sporting my new pretty heels.

My cute in-laws.

And TH’s aunt who has always been so sweet to us. We love her!

More dancing while TH looks on. He danced with me one time, and I got a little too excited and freaked him out with my jumping around and mad swirling/twirling.

The band was fantastic, by far the best I’ve ever heard at a wedding. They didn’t take very many breaks, but when they did they sand a song that went something like “Now we need to take a break and drink some vodka,” and then they went and drank some vodka.

All of the not-dancing I was doing with my husband was getting kind of boring, so I started playing around with the tilt-shift lens I rented for our trip.

They broke the dancing up with all sorts of games. I have videos of a few of them that I’ll put up. In case you need any ideas for your own wedding. 🙂

I’m not really a soda person, but I needed this Pepsi to stay awake through all the partying.

TH had a chance to catch up with a girl he used to torture in elementary school. Apparently he used to throw plums at her, but she was kind enough to forgive him.

I did do a little bit of dancing without my husband, once with the groom and once with the father-of-the-bride.

The cake and another dinner course were wheeled out in a very dramatic manner with ominous music and sparklers.

One of my favorites, brother and bride dancing together.

The bride dancing with her bridesmaids to her favorite song.

Toward the end of the night it was time for the garter and tie toss.

The girls in the room gathered around and made a circle around the bride. Then the groom wove around them trying to break through their circle until he was able to touch his bride’s arm. He removed her garter (with his teeth!), and then tossed it over his shoulder to his groomsmen. She repeated the process trying to break through a circle of boys and then removed his tie, which she tossed to her bridesmaids.

More food came out, more dancing happened, and That Husband and I were ready for bed. Somehow the bride, groom, and guests kept going in this manner for several more hours. Maybe it was the vodka?

There were a few more things that I only have video of, which I hope to get approved by the groom and uploaded soon. My pictures just don’t do this day justice. I am so grateful we were able to share this experience with That Husband’s family. I just wish he had more siblings so we could go back and do it all over again!


Europe 2010: Pt VIII

This post contains pictures of nothing but food. It will bore some but foodies like me will love it!

One minor little detail that made a big difference for my dining experience was the sheepskin pads resting on the benches we sat at for dinner.

Around the room they had displays of food that sat out for the entire night, so guests could keep dancing all night long.

This guy kept watch over the dishes you see below.

I asked TH to help me identify everything. This is a plate of cheeses (which for some reason I never sampled, so unlike me!)


Some kind of herring dish. I couldn’t get any m ore than that out of TH because he wasn’t immediately familiar with it, but he said it looks delicious and he wants some right now.

To me this looks like pulled pork, but TH said it is probably a vegetable dish of some sort.

Vegetables and meat in meat gelatin.


Another type of gelatin dish with some sort of chunks floating in it.

I am a little ashamed to say that I didn’t try any of the dishes you saw above! I’m not very brave when it comes to food sometimes, and now I kind of regret it.

This isn’t for eating, it’s part of a Polish tradition which I’ll talk about in my next post. Isn’t it pretty?

What could all of these fruits be for?

The chocolate fountain!

I don’t know if you know this, but in America catering companies usually cut the chocolate with vegetables oils to keep it liquid. This fountain was obviously made with chocolate and heavy cream, and the difference was obvious. I went back for seconds and thirds and kept right on going from there!

Dessert trays that we grabbed and brought back to our tables after dinner was served. I liked the little cookies the best.


Someday we will go back to this lodge just so we can have this soup. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be this.

The first course of dinner.

TH doesn’t remember broccoli until after Communisim fell. Isn’t that interesting? If it wasn’t common until the fall of Communism, that might explain why it would be such a great luxury at weddings.

These dishes kicked off the second course.


Boiled potatoes with dill.

Baked potatoes.

The first round of desserts was an ice cream sundae in a waffle cone for each person.

A little later in the night they brought out even more food, cuts of meat, vegetables, and other things.

And then they fed us again! They brought out a pig with fireworks coming out of it and served us this delectable ham. This ham was also probably the best I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what the white thing is, but the dish in the bottom left of the plate is sauerkraut.

We left at about midnight, right after the cake was served, but the part went until 2 am and it’s entirely possible that they brought out even more stuff after we were gone.

Definitely the best wedding food I’ve ever had!