Alexa & Judith’s Epic Summer: Childhood Friendships

August 23, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Read-Along, 2 comments


In Second Chance Summer, Taylor reconnects with her childhood best friend after a long separation. In today’s posts, Alexa and I are talking about our own childhood friendships. Childhood friendships, to me, mean everything during my elementary school years. Age four to twelve. That’s exactly how long my friendship with childhood friends lasted.

Of course, there was some time before and after that. My best friend, Nikki, and I met in preschool, actually, but then I started out at a different elementary school. After a year, I transferred because my school was terrible, and specifically asked to be placed in the same class as her. (It probably sounded less eloquent though.) I remember being so happy my first day. Nikki and I were pretty steady throughout elementary school. I don’t think we ever fought, and I felt right at home at her house. I could be loud and silly with her the way I couldn’t at school, because I was too shy. Nikki’s family was also important to me, and especially her mom, who supported me in every way. She accompanied our “groep acht” camp, and helped me through my homesickness. Even though Nikki and I didn’t do everything together, because we had other friends too, I have always counted her as my best friend.

Other girls I used to hang out with (because I only had girl friends) were Anouk, Sarah, Rosanne and Lisanne. I met Lisanne during a race in our “groep drie sportdag”. I count her as my friend, but I didn’t always like her because she was manipulative and sometimes mean and thank god I was clever enough to see that and just complain about it to my parents. Still, our parents were friends and I spent a lot of time with her and we also definitely had fun. I slept over at her house a lot and I usually had lunch there between morning and afternoon school. Anouk was great, but also way ahead of me with everything. She was talking about boys while I was still playing with lego and dolls. Sarah was very sweet, but unfortunately, moved across the country. And Rosanne was angry, because her mom was very sick, and not many people liked her but I did. These are the girls I most regularly hung out with.

Once I started high school, I rarely saw my elementary school friends. All of them went to different schools or different levels in my school and I was on my own. We separated when we went to high school, and we started different levels of education. Anouk was held back a grade, Sarah moved across the country, Rosanne went to a different school, and Nikki and Lisanne went to a different level. They became more interested in boys and hanging out in the city, and I was still interested in hanging out with family and friends like always. I was a latebloomer, and I guess that was that caused us to drift apart. I don’t mind. We are completely different. But I have fond memories of them, because elementary school was my safe place, and I am thankful for that.

No pictures this time, because I’m not sure if I have the right to post those. Make sure to check out Alexa‘s post as well!


Alexa & Judith’s Epic Summer: Family Relationships

August 22, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Read-Along, 3 comments


Because of the beautiful family relationships in Second Chance Summer, Alexa and I thought it would be fun to tell you a little more about our own relationship with our families. I talk about my family a lot on Twitter, because they are a huge part of my life, but I’ve never really talked about them on my blog. So let’s fix that!

I come from a family of five. My parents, my two younger brothers, and me. I would say that for the most part we are, and always have been, pretty close, but especially in the last couple of years, which have been rough. They have helped me through some of the worst times, and I am so thankful for that. We are all very loud and silly and we love making fun of each other more than anything. My parents met in Greece and my mom wore jeans to their wedding because she was pregnant with me. We lived in a teeny tiny house that was barely big enough for two people and a baby. We moved when I was nearly two years old, and my brother Tim was born. He was my opposite in every way: I was quiet, he was loud, I liked talking, he preferred to walk everywhere, I read books, he stood in the toilet and tried to climb over the fence at three years old. We fought a lot. Still, he was my baby brother and we grew up together.


When I was seven, my mom got very sick. I don’t remember much of it myself, but I knew it was bad. She spent so much time at the hospital and everyone said she didn’t have much time left. It was scary, even though I was too young to really experience it. Luckily, the doctors eventually found out it was a very severe case of celiac disease. What everyone was sure had been cancer or some kind of rare disease turned out to be a digestive disorder, and something that can easily be lived with. It was such a bright moment, and it got even more amazing when my mom found out she was pregnant again (which the doctors had said was impossible). Two years later, my brother Sam was born. Kind of a miracle. Now it’s almost twelve years later, my mom has been completely healthy (if you don’t count the disorder) and my brother just started his first year of high school. I refuse to accept this. Why can’t babies just stay little forever?


I kind of got caught up in sharing the family history. Oops? I will actually start talking about the family relationships now. My parents are complete opposites, but I can relate to both. My dad is calm and quiet and practical, whereas my mom is loud and outgoing and creative. I find myself in all of those things, though I think I’m quieter than my mom and more creative than my dad. My dad is the one who used to read to me when I was little and he’s the one who got me into reading in the first place. Right now, I’m closest to my mom, because we have the same interests and are very much alike and I just find it easier to talk to her about things. They are both elementary school teachers, at different schools. Admittedly, there have been times I have been annoyed by my parents, but I’m very much aware of the fact that they would do anything for me. And have done everything for me. At the risk of sounding cliché, they are my safe haven.


My oldest younger brother, Tim, is nineteen years old. As we are only two years apart in age, we used to fight. A lot. We still fight, but not all that often anymore. More than that, he comes to me for advice, and we watch shows and movies together. I’m very happy we have finally established a good bond now. My youngest brother, Sam, is eleven. My relationship with him is very different, obviously, because I am nine-and-a-half years older. Sometimes it feels like he’s my kid instead of my brother, but I love taking care of him. I’m mostly very proud, because he’s such a kind and sweet person, and sometimes scared because he is so much like me. Tim, Sam and I know each other perfectly. I didn’t think it was possible to have an entire conversation through looks but that’s what we do very often. We get the same references and laugh at the same jokes and all act silly all the time. As much as they annoy me at times, I love it.


Alexa & Judith’s Epic Summer: Road Trip Wardrobe

August 21, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Read-Along, 2 comments


A good road trip isn’t complete without some fun, summery and, most importantly, super comfortable clothes. And hi, I like clothes. Alexa and I decided to make a list of three outfits we would wear on our trip, and I have been spending waaay too much time on this, because I kept checking all my favorite online shops and honestly wanted to buy everything. But I’ve been good and haven’t actually purchased anything yet. I did put some things on this list that I already own, though, because they are perfect for a road trip. The three looks I created (it feels very weird saying this) are for chilling in the car, chilling at the beach and chilling in the city. Everything is very chill.


Jacket: Goosecraft | Top: New Look | Jeans: New Look | Shoes: Converse

EXPLORING A NEW CITY: This is an outfit I wear on a daily basis, because it’s just so comfortable. I’m very much in love with that top from New Look, because I love patterns so much and these bright colors are great. I picked the Goosecraft jacket because a girl can dream, right? They are very expensive though, so probably never in my life. But they’re so beautiful and leather jackets always work. And Converse, because my feet need to be happy. I just realized I left out accessories, but I’m thinking big earrings and rings, because I almost always wear those.


Top: New Look | Skirt: Zara | Sandals: Lazamani | Hat: Zara | Necklace: Pieces

RELAXING AT THE BEACH: This summer I “discovered” (aka became obsessed with) maxi skirts. They are super comfy and cool and you don’t even have to shave your legs or get a tan to wear it (thinking practical) (and superficial, maybe). I love this Zara skirt because it’s very thin and great to wear with flip flops or Converse. And a patterned top, because it’s me. The Zara hat is amazing and I almost bought it yesterday, but it’s quite expensive and it’s just a hat, still. Finally, the Lazamani sandals are by far the most comfortable summer shoes I’ve ever had. I just recently bought my second pair because I don’t want to go anywhere without them. They are so sooooooooft.


Cardigan: Nümph | Top: Nümph | Shorts: New Look | Boots: Lazamani

DANCING IN THE CAR: I have been wearing a similar outfit way too often this summer (because lol, we don’t do sun). The Nümph cardigan is sooo soft and one of my favorite pieces of clothing ever. I basically live in it, and it would be perfect for a car trip because it’s very warm as well. I also adore the top, but I have yet to find it anywhere. I must explore some more. Jeans shorts are always good, and these Lazamani booties are, again, so amazing. I wear them almost every day, but especially because they are my favorite shoes to wear while driving. I don’t know why.

Make sure to check out Alexa‘s three outfits as well!


Alexa & Judith’s Epic Summer: Road Trip Playlist

August 20, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Read-Along, 4 comments


I’ve been on road trips a couple of times, and only ever to France. Each time, I was in charge of the music, a task I took way too seriously. I used to make about ten mix CDs for each holiday. Dedication, yo. Road trip playlists, to me, are about happy and empowering songs, with the occasional quiet song in between. I want songs that sing about being young and wild and free, because that is exactly how being on the road makes me feel. I love it. Here are ten songs that would most definitely end up on my mix CD if I would make one now.

Young Ones – Di-Rect

I’m early like the sunrise, I got my back to the grass
I’m one with the shadows, in the hollow of time
How you breathe in and sigh, holding life like a lover
I’m waiting to embrace your presence, right here

We are the young ones, we don’t decide
The future’s endless, so is tonight

Wild – Beach House

And in a while
You start a smile
The earth is wild
You’ve got no time

Wild in our ways
What we are making
Heartless to say
You go, go on pretending

Young Volcanoes – Fall Out Boy

We are wild, we are like young volcanoes
We are wild, Americana, exotica
Do you wanna feel a little beautiful baby?

Old Pine – Ben Howard

Hot sand on toes, cold sand in sleeping bags
I’ve come to know the friends around you
Are all you’ll always have

Smoke in my lungs, or the echoed stone
Careless and young, free as the birds that fly
With weightless souls now

Don’t Look Back – Kensington

I’ve been waiting for this
I’m wide awake

Don’t look back, don’t look back
Can’t stop running
I’ll be on my way
I will feel alive someday

Rivers and Roads – The Head and the Heart

Been talkin’ ’bout the way things change
And my family lives in a different state
If you don’t know what to make of this
Then we will not relate
So if you don’t know what to make of this
Then we will not relate

Heartbeats – José Gonzalez

One night of magic rush
The start, a simple touch
One night to push and scream
And then relief

Ten days of perfect tunes
The colours, red and blue
We had a promise made
We were in love

My Silver Living – First Aid Kit

I hear a voice calling
Calling out for me
These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free

Be it for reason, be it for love
I won’t take the easy road

Alright – Supergrass

We are young, we run green
Keep our teeth, nice and clean
See our friends, see the sights, feel alright
We wake up, we go out, smoke a fag
Put it out, see our friends
See the sights, feel alright

Are we like you?
I can’t be sure
Of the scene, as she turns
We are strange in our worlds

Home – Dotan

The sound of the wind is whispering in your head
Can you feel it coming back?
Through the warmth, through the cold, keep running till we’re there
We’re coming home now, we’re coming home now

Why? I chose “Young Ones” because I think it fits the idea of a road trip really well, and I love Marcel Veenendaal’s voice. “Wild” is my second favorite Beach House song, and I adore the sound. “Young Volcanoes” makes me really, really happy and I especially love the energy of this live version. “Old Pine” is perhaps my favorite song of all time. Ben Howard’s music is so beautiful and the song reminds me of summer. “Don’t Look Back” is my favorite song to rock out to, and road trips need to have dance sessions occasionally. “Rivers and Roads” is perhaps too sad/melancholy for a fun trip, but I think it would be amazing to listen to driving in the night. “Heartbeats” is a song I really love because it’s such an interesting contrast: the song is about breaking free but the sound is very calm. I like “My Silver Line” because of the music more than the lyrics. It’s just so cool. And finally, “Home” is such a powerful song that makes me want dance around a fire and sing at the top of my lungs. What is your favorite road trip song?

What else is happening?


Alexa & Judith’s Epic Summer: Road Trip

August 19, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Read-Along, 6 comments


Dear Alexa,

For this post, we decided to plan a road trip for the other, in honor of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. As you know, I was supposed to go on a road trip to Italy this year, but unfortunately, that got cancelled. When I told you about this, you loved the fact that it’s so easy for us Europeans to visit other countries. Even though I didn’t get to make this trip in real life, I thought it would be super fun to go on a similar trip together (with a little detour, because Paris wasn’t actually part of the plan this year, but I thought you’d appreciate it. Hello! It’s PARIS!). So, my dear Alexa, welcome on the All Roads Lead to Rome trip, also known as Five Countries in Twenty Hours. I planned everything out, so all you need to do is sit back, relax, take care of our snacks and road trip tunes, and let me do the driving. Here’s what’s happening:

As you can see, I live in the north-west of the Netherlands, so that is where we’re starting. We are actually skipping Amsterdam, because since you have been staying with me before we went on this trip, we have already spent hours and hours exploring this favorite city of mine. (Just so you know: we did everything I talked about in this post on Ginger’s blog.) Now it’s time to get in the car, put on some of our favorite music (knowing us, The Script) and LET’S GO!


Antwerp, Belgium | Language: Dutch (Flemish) | Driving time: 2 hours, 8 minutes | Source

Our first stop is Antwerp in Belgium, which is only a two hour drive from my house and therefore, gives me no excuse to never have visited before. I have always wanted to go though, because everyone who has ever been to Antwerp is in love with this city. We can shop (the city is known for its fashion) and eat chocolate and drink beer and whatever else they do in the Land of the Waffles. We will obviously ask Ellis to meet up with us and show us around, because I have no idea how this city works. All I know is that it looks beautiful and that we are going to have an amazing time here. We are also going to stock up on food (and by food I mean chocolate) for the rest of our journey.


Paris, France | Language: French | Driving time: 3 hours, 35 minutes | Source

From Antwerpen it’s only three and a half hours to Paris. Oh, Paris. You have my heart. I’ll be so happy to explore Paris with you, A, as it is probably my favorite city in the entire world (and I’ve only been there twice). When we’re here, we’re probably going to visit all of the places mention in Anna and the French Kiss, starting at Shakespeare and Company. You will LOVE the bookstore, I promise you. We are going to visit the Eiffel Tower and Nôtre-Dame and Sacré-Coeur. We are going to eat in Quartier Latin and flirt with French boys (well, I am. You’re already married. Sorry.) and eat crêpes and macarons and lots and lots of chocolate. We are going to walk along the Seine and read in the Jardins du Luxembourg and on the Champ de Mars. We are going to visit the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay and Montmartre. We are basically going to have the best time ever. We are also learning French. Oui oui, ma chérie!


Geneva, Switzerland | Language: French (Arpitan) | Driving time: 5 hours | Source

After saying goodbye to Paris (which is going to be very hard), we are visiting another city I have never been before: Geneva in Switzerland. I wanted to include Geneva because it’s such a different city from those we’ve visited before. It has a typical-for-this-area lake and mountains in the background. I haven’t ever seen mountains from the ground (a plane doesn’t count) so I think this will be a great experience. From Geneva you can even see Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. (Even though driving through the mountains is going to require some more experience. Aka, we’re traveling by car train, because I’m not getting stuck in the snow somewhere.) It will be so much fun to explore a city we both have never been to together. Did you know the UN and Red Cross have their headquarters here? Maybe that’s why it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world – and we’re not gonna be able to stay here long, haha.


Venice, Italy | Language: Italian (Venetian) | Driving time: 5 hours, 56 minutes | Source

I was briefly considering making a stop in Firenze but then I changed my mind because I have always wanted to go to Venice. Actually, fun fact, a Dutch young adult novel called Bella Donna has made me interested in this city. The way it was described was just beautiful. In Venice, we can exchange the car for boats and gondolas and let some cute Italian guy navigate us around. And, just because it’s Italy, we’ll have lots of pizza and gelato, because yes please. We can visit the Basilica di San Marco and the Piazza San Marco and the Biblioteca Marciana (BOOKS) and the Palazzo Ducale (connected to the prison by the Bridge of Sighs) and the Grand Canal. Most importantly, we can buy Venetian masks and walk around like it’s a Carnival (which, unfortunately, takes place around Easter).


Rome, Italy | Language: Italian | Driving time: 5 hours, 10 minutes | Source

After the five hour drive from Venice, we have now arrived at our destination (though you could argue the journey was our destination, etc.): the beautiful, wonderful city of Rome. I have been here once before, when I was seventeen with school, but I love exploring this city. From the Colosseum to the Forum Romanum to St. Peter’s Basilica, it is all so beautiful. We are going to make a wish by the Trevi Fountain and eat gelato on the Spanish Steps and eat lots and lots of pizza in one of the the countless of restaurants in Trastevere. We are going to climb the hills that Rome was built on and ride a Vespa and have the best time. Rome is really just a magical city that you can’t just get enough of.

Dear Alexa, we have travelled through the Netherlands, through Belgium, through France and Switzerland and Italy. We have seen five cities (though we have probably taken a million detours to other fun places, like Milan and Firenze), we have indulged in five different cultures, we have spoken four languages in five different accents (if you include English), we have seen buildings and mountains and rivers. And we’ve only been driving for a little over 20 hours! See, A, Europe is a magical place, and you should definitely move here to hang out with me all the time. As for our next travel location, I think we can both agree that London sounds like a nice place to visit. I just love hanging out with you!

xo, Judith