la Pause, Marrakech, Morocco

My job has taken me to amazing places, and I want to go back to one of my favorite memories.

One time, I spent at week in an oasis, in the desert about an half hour outside Marrakech. I shot there again for Scapa, this time in between horses, hills, desert and camels. And yes, I rode my first camel!

Although I did not get to see the beauty that Marrakech offers, I got a lot of serenity & beauty at La Pause. La Pause - the name says it all- makes the time stop, makes you chill out. This resort is as I mentioned before, located in an oasis, hidden in hills ,in the middle of nowhere.

La Pause Marrakech

Image courtesy of La Pause

You could either sleep in bedouin tents, or in the cubical houses, made of clay and hay. Inside you light candles to actually see a thing, because there is no electricity. The women who take care of this place, light dozens of them before you arrive back after your dinner. It is so romantic! There are working toilets ( I am still figuring out where the pipes go to...)and a shower gives a bit of hot water.

La Pause Marrakech 2

Image courtesy of La Pause

For a few days I was basically out of touch with everyone and I couldn't reach anyone, and that was kind of great actually. Be in the moment.  They had 2 super sweet dogs that would come keep me company when I was laying down in the sand on the hill, gazing at the thousands of stars in the midnight sky...

La Pause Marrakech 3

Image courtesy of La Pause

The food was great, a lot of fresh vegetables ( I mean A LOT) so for vegetarians it's heaven! Talking about fresh rucola that was still in the ground about half an hour before lunch... so nice!

But I think the meat and chicken are organic, so meat eaters, there is something for you too. Only problem?: You eat too much. Good thing: It is all pretty low calories,as cheese and fatty sauces are not used. I mean, where are they supposed to keep those things cooled? There is no electricity!

And phone service, if you are lucky , is only working on top of the mountain. And there is a generator, that once a day, will be turned on to clean the pool ( yes there is a tiny cute pool!) Plug in your phone charger if there is an outlet left!

And my favorite thing: we could go on a horse riding trip, by sunset for instance. What was great is that the foals of the horses you ride, actually go with you on the trip. This way it feels like you are in a wild group of horses, as they are running around while you are enjoying the view!

Besides that you can rent quads, ride the camels or use the homemade sauna.

Owner Frederic, arrived there years ago, and made la Pause a wonderful place to find tranquility, good food and wonderful nature.

I had a great time! I would definitely recommend going to this place on vacation. Or even go for lunch when in Marrakech. It is worth it! ( For instance, when I was there, ex-professional cyclist Richard Virenque visited La Pause for lunch with friends & family)

Below is a compilation of my favorite pictures from the photo shoot. I think it turned out great and captured the feeling of this magical place. Photos are by Paul Bellaart

www.lapause-marrakech.com

Love, Lonneke

P.s.: Everything was great but I was a bit upset about the many dogs , donkeys and horses I saw on my way to La Pause, that are trying to survive by themselves. A lot of people in Morocco see these animals sometimes just as means for survival themselves. If you want to do something, visit the websites of a few great charities below, that do their best to help animals around the world not suffer.

www.wspa-international.org


Organize your shoe closet

Shoes. Shoes Shoes. I have too many of them!

I LOVE SHOES. Just like most girls in the world. The problem is: I used to never get rid of a pair. So my collection was getting to an Imelda Marcos’ size until I really downsized. (Imelda , First lady of Philippines from 1956 on for twenty years, was known for her huge collection of about 2500 pairs. But also for her lavish lifestyle which she paid for reportedly with public funds. That’s bad, but us girls, we work hard for our shoes!) Now I have a few pairs I am going to sell.

Seven tips to "organice" your shoe closet

  • Really, the shoes you haven't worn the past 5 years, have to go. Unless they have some emotional value to you. Then they go to your box with memorabilia, and are put away.
  • Shoe boxes are genius. You can put them on top of each other ( have u tried that with shoes themselves? Quite hard!) And the shoes are protected.
  • If you use shoe boxes, you can write down on the box, what shoes are in there. For example: “ Black Christian Louboutin platform High Heels” or “ Favorite Zara golden sandals”
  • You can even put a picture of the shoes on the outside. So you don’t have to open the shoe box.
  • Put shoes with the same use/ color together: High heels with High Heels, sneakers with sneakers, running shoes with running shoes.
  • Another suggestion: Write down exactly how much you wear a pair of shoes, That clears up whether the shoes are a hit or miss. If you were expensive shoes every day, they have been a great buy. If you never wear them, it was a bad decision.
  • Best of all is a closet specially made for shoes, just like mine!

If you want to get rid of a pair of shoes, sell them to a vintage store close to you, like Beacon's Closet in New York City, or bring them to one of the collection points for clothing collection. Selling shoes can be done online on websites like Ebay, The Real Real, Poshmark, or an app like Letgo.

And last tip: First check your closet before you go shopping, you might find something you did not know you had!

Love, Lonneke


Modeling: The Option

Option. What a word. First, let me quickly explain what this word technically means in the modeling world. We all have agencies that try to get you booked for jobs. A client might be looking for a certain kind of model, and will start checking with different agencies which models they have that would fit their idea. The ones they like the best (with or without a casting), they will put on option.

Marius and Lonneke for Kuyichi by Pablo Delfos

What does The Option really mean

Alright, that was the more technical definition. Now here is what it means: we might pick you. Then again, we might not. For now, we just want to know if you're available. And if you're not, get available.

The word 'option' is without a doubt the most hope-giving and disappointing word in the modellng industry. A good option is like having an amazing guy or a girl flirt with you, and you know somewhere deep inside that that person is just too good looking, too perfect for you. Yet sometimes he or she will come and talk to you and other times, well, they go home with someone else.

What makes the option such a difficult concept as well is that the agencies normally don't help. Think about it from their point of view. They want to tell their models they are on option for big campaigns or good money jobs, because it shows the models that they are working for you. We got you an option! Yet it is always surprisingly hard to figure out how many models are on option. This is, of course vital information for your excitement. But in my experience, the answers remain rather vague. There are reasons for this: one agency might not be sure how many models are on option with other agencies. But I think there are also reasons for an agency to keep it a little vague, or to make the option seem stronger than it actually is: they need you to keep that day, or those days free. If an agency tells you you're on option, together with the major part of the models present in New York, you might plan a beach day. If it unsure how serious it is, or they tell you it is indeed serious, you'll be available.

Needless to say, hearing you have a big option is always nice. It's always better than having no options at all. But how to handle this terribly exciting word?

Marius and Lonneke for Kuyichi by Pablo Delfos
Marius and Lonneke for Kuyichi by Pablo Delfos

How to deal when an option falls through

  • First of all, never ever take it personal if you don't get the job. Think of all the times you didn't get a job. If you would have to be personally insulted all of these times, you'll be very busy, have a bruised ego and a lot of spite towards many people you've never even met! And the worst part of it is that nothing changes because of it. They were looking for a different look, a different style. They didn't reject you personally.
  • From the moment you hear you are on option for something big, you're going to try to not think about it too much, but somewhere in the back of your head you booked it, did well, and you're spending the money. So, a second tip: do not count your chickens before they hatch. Do not spend money that's not yours yet, do not claim a campaign that's not yours yet.
  • A third tip would be to not tell too many people about a big option. Think about it, why would you? Sure, it's exciting news, but on the other hand, it's not news yet! And then when the option doesn't go through, you'll be stuck with curious friends with the best intentions constantly reminding you of the disappointment, by asking you if you got it or not.
Marius by Alique
Marius by Alique

My Strategy

My strategy, after some too exciting options that bombed in the end has been to ask my agencies not to always tell me all the options. To let me know when it really gets serious. Like this, I don't get needlessly excited, and I know that if I do get a call about an option, it really means something. And from there on I move around with my fingers crossed.

Maybe by now I've slightly terrified you of this innocent-looking word, and if I did, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.  I've just been fascinated for years by this word and the implications of it. To end it on a bright note, it's good to remember that no matter how deceptive the word is, you will always first need the option before you get the job.

Cheers!

Marius

First published on May 12th 2012, Updated in 2019


Give a Tree

We love to give inspirations for gifts to your loved ones, and this is a great one!

Give a Tree

A fun gift, to give and to get is a tree. So why don't you give a tree?

You don't have to go to a florist, instead you go online and buy a tree or certificate at one of the many websites of organizations that plant trees, all over the world.

These initiatives plant trees, for the environment. Young trees absorb CO2 and give back oxygen.So you do something good for the environment! Not only that, a tree has been the symbol of a new life for ages.So think about a tree next time you need to give a present to someone!

give a tree

Here are a few links I found online where you can adopt or give a tree to someone:

http://www.co2less.org/en/public/HowGiveTree.aspx

www.arborday.org

www.lovetrees.ca

Love, Lonneke

First published on August 28th 2013, updated in 2019


5 tips to Consume Less & Live More

When you look around, you probably see ads everywhere. Whether on the street, or on your computer, TV and phone, you are constantly triggered to look at advertising that wants to push you to buy this and that product. For instance, makeup. The time when all you needed was a simple black mascara and some lip gloss is over according to a lot of makeup brands. They now have eyebrow gel, shine for your eyes, cheek blush, lip liner and more and more. This is in every color, and of course you should really get each one of them. If you have enough money, you can buy it all. But most of us are living on a budget, and buying everything is simply not an option. So how to decide what you really need, and only buy what you need, in a way so you don’t miss a thing, always look great, have no worries, and are definitely not in debt?

quote by Organice Your Life Consume Less Live MoreA simple formula for a great life: Consume Less - Live More

“Consume Less, Live More” is the quote I live by and share with people. We consume too much in our society, and most of it is not essential for survival in life. Let me explain what I mean. Shopping can take over your life. There are even people with shopping addictions, which is not so weird if you think of the constant soliciting from companies. With all these commercials saying you can’t live without their product, and people telling you to do more, more, more, it is sometimes hard to distinguish what you really need, and what you really want. Let’s figure out how to deal with it—it is really a psychological thing. So you can easily change your life by changing your mindset. Here are my five thoughts on this:

1. You don’t need all that

First of all, know that you don’t need much to live. Most of your purchases and daily actions are about wanting more. What you really need each day is good health, water to drink, food to eat and a place to sleep at night. In essence, you don’t need much more. That cute dress you saw on sale is not really a basic necessity, even though you feel like it is at the moment of purchase. That big apartment you want to buy, even your big career. You don’t really need it. You want it. So what is an easy way to financial freedom? Not wanting to have it all, because wanting things comes with a price, whether via a purchase, loan or debt. Or it comes with a physical and/or mental price. Is it worth it?

2. Know your financial situation

You can’t go shopping and plan purchases if you don’t take a long, hard, honest look at your bank account. And this means taking all your debt into consideration. And no, credit card maximum limits are not part of your budget. Even though it feels like free money, in the end you are paying for it, and mostly with interest added onto it. Only buy things you can pay for right away, or absolutely need to live. Even if it looks like a great deal, and you can pay in terms, in the end you have paid much more than if you had bought it right away for the full price. There will always be that next sale, and that great outfit, or other amazing product for you to buy. You are not missing out on anything if you can’t buy it right now. It actually can give you a goal to save money for something that you really want. And in the meantime while saving you can rethink if you really need it. And maybe you don’t want to have it all anymore once you can actually pay it. That’s why I love something I call “pre-shopping.” I go shopping one day and look at everything. Then I go to sleep at night and think it over. The next day I go back to the things I couldn’t stop thinking about and buy them. This way I rarely have to return something. And it protects me from buying things I don’t need.

3. Break the curse of owning stuff which can enslave you

Owning too many things can also make you a slave to your stuff, because all the things you own need time to upkeep. The bigger your apartment is, the more there is to clean. It is also likely more expensive to live in each month. And if you have too much stuff, you need to probably rent storage space. Besides that, if you own expensive things, you worry that they might get damaged, or that you will lose them, or that someone steals them. And insuring things costs a lot of money. So owning something costs money just owning it. Also, think about how much time it costs you every week or so to clean out your closet. If you have less stuff in it, you save a lot of time.

4. Minimize shopping as it can be an addiction

Shopping gives you a rush each time you go. It is the same feeling of when you fall in love, or meet your celebrity crush. Your heart beats faster. But this feeling can also come to you in other situations that cost less money. Helping out at a shelter, for instance. Donating unwanted clothes to someone who really loves or needs them also gives you a feeling of happiness. If you find other ways to get that same happy feeling, ones that are free, it will help you realize you don’t need to go shopping at all. And I am sure most girls can go shopping in their own closet and they will find a few items they’ve never worn. You can wear them or resell them so you have money to buy other things! And if you really want to go shopping, make sure you buy goods of the best quality that’ll last a lifetime and are always in fashion. They will usually be a bit more expensive, but will save you money in the long run, and they will always look great. Consume less but buy more quality. Also, make it a challenge to find recycled objects. Like vintage fashion, or go to a thrift shop to find a gem for not much money. It is very hip right now to go thrift shopping and vintage hunting. You will find amazing items that you can’t believe you can buy for prices as low as 99 cents. Even Macklemore loves it. (p.s. one of my favorite happy songs!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

5. Realize that Society makes you want more, more, more!

We are taught that the bigger job, car, home, and more expensive clothes and handbags you have, the better your life is. The governments and banks around the world have made it very easy to borrow money and get major loans. Student loan, home loan, car loan, all made possible for you to get even more. Even if you can’t really pay for it. But do you really in essence want all that, considering the risks and responsibility to pay it back that it comes with? Do you really need that bigger car, or that amazing handbag, only to show off to the neighbor or your friends? What are your real dreams and goals in life, where is your heart, really? Funny thing is that for a lot of people what they want most in life are priceless things, like being healthy, having a lot of free time, being with the ones they love, and doing something that they are passionate about. Being worry-free and debt-free. But you can’t have any of that if you constantly buy things you don’t need. To me it comes across as a bit weird. Why do people work so hard then, and not see their family much, and not have much free time to do things they like to do? Just because they want that career and to make that much money? Because that’s what people do, and what other people expect them to do. Because the bigger career and success in life, the more money people seem to make, and that is considered better. Money that they need to pay the bills of the things they buy when they make more money, but which they wouldn’t buy if they made less money. It is a vicious cycle.If you realize you need less and have enough already, you are more likely to be happy with what you have right now. You probably have more time for yourself than you realize. And you are more likely to live in the moment and enjoy it fully, and do things in your daily routine that are more emotionally fulfilling. Needing and wanting less gives you less debt and fewer worries. So if you can make your mind realize that you don’t need all that, you can save yourself a lot of stress, time and money!

Love, Lonneke

The article is protected by copyright by Lonneke Engel and was first published on Youbeauty,  the website of dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen:

YOUBEAUTY - LONNEKE ENGEL - A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR A GREAT LIFE: CONSUME LESS- LIVE MORE

 

 

Consume less live more


10 fun things to do in the Weekend

Most people use the Weekend to recharge for the following work week. But when the Weekend comes, all they want to do is relax and do nothing. But some people actually get bored doing nothing. So what can you do on a Saturday or Sunday that is fun, but doesn't feel like work too much? Here is a list of 10, with 5 ideas following our circle of 5 by Organice Your Life®!

Lonneke- Ralph Lauren

Lonneke for Ralph Lauren.

1. Organice Your Home

 The Weekend is a perfect time to just do the chores in your home you have been putting off for so long. So your house is clean and organized for the week(s) to come.

READ MORE: Tips and articles on how to Organice Your Home

2. Be creative

Draw, paint or do home improvement in the Weekend. Also, you can be creative with boxes of memories: You know you save a lot of things as memories, but they usually end up in a box. Or more than one box. They take up a lot of space and before you know it you don't look in those boxes anymore because it is just too much stuff. Maybe it is a good time to take that box and file all your papers you want to keep as memorabilia? It is a nice thing to, to make an album with your favorite memories, pictures and papers. And it is also a great conversation subject next time friends or family come over. Not to mention just for your own history, you need to file it the way you want to be remembered!

3. Organice Your Agenda

Pay the bills you have been putting off. Make a to-do list for the following week so you feel organized in your head. Check your agenda what you need to do that week and maybe you can already prepare a few things! Because putting things to do off until the very last moment brings a lot of stress, and if you have some time to work on it, even on a free day, maybe that put your mind more at ease the rest of that free day. Are there fun events coming up? Maybe you can already look for the perfect outfit!

READ MORE: Ideas on how to Organice Your Agenda 

4. Local activities

Check your local news to see if there are fun events happening in your neighborhood this weekend. Like flea markets, street fairs or music festivals. Always fun to go to, even at the last minute!

5. Organice Yourself

Take some time to pamper yourself. Shave, massage or paint your nails. Put on a mask or do a zen meditation. Work out, or do a session of pilates. Anything that makes you feel good inside and outside, a free Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to focus on that! Plus take a nice long nap to feel great again!

READ MORE: Tips on how to take care of yourself

6. Go for a long walk around your neighborhood

Fall or Spring, Summer or Winter, every season it is a great time to go outdoors and see what your city or village has to offer. A great way is to walk the dog if you have one. Not only your dog gets his or her needed exercise, you do too! Walking every day is the best way to reduce the risk of the most common diseases like cardiovascular disease. Walking is in our list of 5 Easy tips for Healthy Living.

7. Organice Your Relationships

Spend time with the people you love! Go visit your friends or family who you maybe haven't seen in a long time. Spend time with your loved one doing something he or she really loves doing. Or if you live far away, Facetime or Skype with the ones you care about. Trust me doing that in a weekend is a perfect time to bond with each other!

READ MORE: Things you can do to connect more with your favorite people

8. Play a (board) game with friends or family.

It is super fun but also really good for relationships to spend time together. Not only that, playing games train the mind And maybe you win and your weekend is even better!

READ MORE: Some games to play for fun or for brain training

9. Organice Your Good Heart

Charity work in the Weekend! Go help out a local animal or people shelter. Or help your neighbor or friends with doing daily chores. Makes you feel great inside too!

READ MORE: Things you can help to do good for others

10. Have fun in the Kitchen

Go through the ingredienst you still have in your pantry and create a delicious meal with that. Work on your cooking skills and become a great chef. Cook for friends, or for yourself the rest of the week.

READ MORE: Browse through the delicious, healthy recipes on Organice Your Life

Circle of Five

 

I hope this gave you some inspiration to what you can do in your Weekend!

Love, Lonneke


Fabio Nunes of Masterchef Brasil

We asked Chef Fabio Nunes - famous for competing on Masterchef Brasil, and currently on Masterchef Brasil A Revanche -  to share with us how he "organizes his life in an organic and nice way" by using the Organice Your Life Circle of 5. Enjoy!

1. Organice your Home

I like to live in an organized environment. Before, when I was living in my hometown and at my parents' home, I didn’t have any idea about the importance of an organized home. Later on, I have lived everywhere in the World sharing apartments with roommates and I learned from this experience that to be called ‘Home’ it needs to feel "homie", it must be organized, be functional…

The Kitchen

The kitchen is where I like to focus my organization. I know how important is to have a good 'Mise en place’ to the whole process of cooking. So I try to take that idea as a model, as a professional chef and apply it to everything else I do in life. I also try to be consistent, there are certain things I have to do every single day, at least for a few minutes a day. But consistency is very important when you are trying to achieve your goals.

The household

I'm glad that I have a great partner in life to help me organize my clothes and my closets, because I’m the worst at foldings my shirts ( and she’s the best at it by the way ). 

2. Organice your Agenda

I like to wake up early everyday it’s possible and I love to have a good night sleep of 10 hours every once in a while… I don’t like to make people wait for me, or be at places with some time to spare ahead of the time of the meeting. I get pretty anxious about leaving my house in big cities where you have to keep track of traffic jams and other inconveniences. So I tried my best to keep my schedule on time by planning my day ahead, something I usually do every morning. Now I can luckily count on car services and fresh organic food delivered to my door, which makes living in a big city much more enjoyable. I have always tried to balance my time between running my errands and taking care of stuff, with fun moments of relaxation where I get to enjoy a little bit life and have a brake. Usually I go to the gym, or I just sit and play some videogames. I also love to search online for new ideas of recipes, so I spend a lot of time in front of devices, and maybe that's not too 

3. Organice Yourself

Nutrition

Cooking to nourish my body and to keep me energetic through the day, is what I do every weekday. On Weekends we are free and some weekdays as well.. I live a happy life and I'm happy eating whatever I want, even though I’m completely aware of the importance of a healthy diet.

Workout

I love exercising at open spaces and recently I have joined a group to practice running. Im in love with the activity, I have also meet wonderful people through it and I even ran a half marathon!

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Because I spend a lot of time in front of devices, I always have my Himalayan salt lamp light up during the evening. 

Aromatherapy

Also at night, I get the benefit from aromatherapy with therapeutical organic oils I mix with water on my diffuser. That’s how I end up the night, just before sleep, I practice a mindfulness exercise that really gets me ready to unplug my mind and calm my thoughts. 

4. Organice your Relationships

Family

I live far away from my family. So I take advantage of social media to stay in touch with. Not seeing my niece growing up, is not pleasant and I'd love to be in my hometown with more frequency. I try to do my best even with a busy agenda and living abroad for all these years. I have been present in the most important moments I guess… for instance, one night my best friend had his daughter when I was there. She’s my Goddaughter. Recently my sister got pregnant and had her first baby girl - I was there too. I also went to her graduation and my nephew’s . So I’m pretty happy with it. It’s a real struggle living far away from each other, but we have been able to manage it. 

Love

I have been together with Carolina Fontaneti for more than 10 years already, and they are the best years of my life. We’ve learned and evolved so much from each other's experiences that I just want to have her in my life to keep that feeling forever. She’s my best friend and she’s the best person I met in this life. She truly inspires me, one of the reasons I started caring more about the culinary World, and building on this passion by her side was joyful.

Love under the water!
Me and my cat Ninis when he was a little kitten!

Cooking with love

I just really love to cook for my friends. It's one of the things I love most in life, that’s why I always say that 'I cook when I love’.  So in the best case scenario, at least once a week I get my friends or family together to prepare something delicious, I usually get inspired with an urge for cooking with a particular ingredient, or sometimes I bump into an amazing piece of ‘something delicious’ that I simply have to take back home. I like to serve my loved ones with love and care, of course reflected in the food I prepare them.

5. Organice your Good Heart

Giving back

I’ve got amazing opportunities of working on giving back to my community more and more. For many years I’ve been part of The Heart of Fashion Organization that does beautiful work with some institutions all over Brazil. My favorite one - and the one I like to visit often - are the 'Taiguara Houses'. They are committed to help homeless kids who are living on the vicious streets and provide them a home and opportunities to study and get a job or get connected to their once lost families again. 

READ MORE: The Heart of Fashion

Eliminating food waste and conscious cooking

'Invisible Food’ is an amazing project that I'm very happy that I've joined as it brings together two great passions of mine: food and conscious cooking. Thousand tons of food are thrown away every single day all around the World, but we found a way to begin the process of saving this food locally. With the 'invisible food truck', the whole team that is part of this very passionate movement and I were able to save a lot of ingredients with a full potential of being saved and transform into beautiful and tasteful food. The idea is to bring awareness about how much food we could feed the ones in need just by changing a few wasteful horrible habits. It starts at the producer of the foods, and goes all the way to the final consumer. We all need some enlightenment about the urgent food issues to be solved. I want to live in a beautiful sustainable world, and I believe I'm doing my part to it.

 Follow Fabio Nunes on Instagram , Twitter, and check him on the new episodes of Masterchef Brasil A Revanche!

Masterchef Episode 1 with Fabio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw5orx_47uY&t=28s

The full episode you can find on the Masterchef Brasil Youtube page!

 

About the Circle of Five by Organice Your Life

Organice Your Life® revolves around the OYL Circle of Five. With these 5 steps you can organize your life in an organic and nice way. The OYL Circle of Five can help you improve your home, your finances, your career, your health, your relationships, and your good charitable work for others. Giving you the tools so you can make each area of your life the best possible! These simple five steps can create big positive change.


10 good things about working out

I think a lot of people are like me: I don't really like working out. I did it a lot for a long time when I was actively modeling, but since I retired from fulltime modeling and discovered I have an autoimmune disease called Hypothyroidism aka Hashimoto's Disease,  I have no interest to test my limits anymore. But when you get older, you realize your body is telling you something: you need to move your body to stay healthy! So here are 10 good things about working out.

10 good things about working out

  1. The number 1 reason most people start working out: You get in better overall shape and can lose weight. Your fat gets used for fuel for your muscles. It is a really good reason to start working out, because people who are overweight have higher risk of a range of health problems like stroke, high blood pressure and (Type 2) Diabetes.
  2. You get better muscle tone, and a better body image. Your metabolism increases, and processes in your body can work quicker and better.
  3. You get rid of toxins stuck in your body. Each day you consume many toxins. Whether in the food and drinks you take in, the skincare and makeup you put on your body, to the air you breathe. Your liver has a hard time getting rid of it all. There are a few ways to do that. Through breathing, and going to the bathroom, but sweating is a very good one too. And when you work out, you sweat more!
  4. Your skin can get better. Due to what I named at nr. 3 you get rid of dirt and toxins through your skin when you work out, and unclog potential pimples.(Wash it off quickly after work out, so the dirt doesn't stay on your skin which can clog the pores again) Also, it supports good processes in your skin like skin rejuvenation and releasing stem cells which can make you look younger a study found. Sounds good to me!
  5. When you work out, your quality of sleep will get better too. Not only because you are tired from working out, but your body has de-stressed during a work out,  and therefore gives you a more peaceful sleep.
  6. Working out activates your thyroid, which can relieve hypothyroidism and other auto-immune symptoms in people suffering from hypothyroidism which influences your whole body. The problem is that when you have an under active thyroid, you have no energy to do anything at all. And sometimes working out heavily has a reverse effect on your well-being. That's why it is important you gradually increase workout, with the help of your doctor, and possibly medication.
  7.  Working out seems to work against high cholesterol. You activate everything and your body seems to eliminate the cholesterol. So this is something serious to consider when you want to lower your cholesterol, besides starting a healthier diet.
  8. The one thing that starts you up every day is your heart. Some daily cardio work out increases your heart rate and helps you getting your heart in better shape, and increasing blood circulation throughout your body. The heart is a muscle too that needs a workout once a while too to keep it strong and healthy. Even walking up and down the stairs until your heart rate goes up (which I do) is a good way to do cardio.
  9. A work out increases your stamina, which helps you get through a busy day at work or at home with your kids physically and emotionally. Also, when you work out, you are also better prepared for traumatic situations like a disaster or an accident. I hope you don't get into one, but if you are in good shape, your recovery time and chances to survive are much bigger.
  10. Working out starts off MANY feel-good chemical reactions in your body and brain. Working out regularly makes your brain release chemicals like Serotonin and Dopamine which contribute to you feeling happy. It is very likely you will feel very proud and good about yourself after you have finished a good work out, and when you start to see results. You just have to start doing it!

My current exercise routine

I personally do not run as much anymore but I do still think about these 10 good things about working out all the time! I am more of the "long walks" kind, especially with my dog Bane. This because I noticed my autoimmune disease flared up after a work out. For me it is better to do a less strenuous exercise like walking, biking, swimming and Pilates and move around enough during the whole day. Every person has a preferred exercise and that is great as there are so many options to move your body!

Lonneke and Bane at the NYC Farmers Market in Union Square

Track your work out

My husband gave me a "smart watch" which counts my steps, measures my heart rate, and checks my sleep. I can see the difference before and after a work out. It can help you too living a healthier life with more healthy work outs. There are many different good ones available, but I like my Fitbit watch.

Organice Your Life choice: Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate & Fitness Tracker, One Size (S & L bands included), 1 Count

I also check my heart rate and blood pressure by my own blood pressure  monitor.

Organice Your Life choice: Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor; 2-User, 200-Reading Memory, Backlit Display, TruRead Technology, Bluetooth® Works with Amazon Alexa by Omron

Mix a work out with household choirs

I get water bottle deliveries every few weeks, and we use this to do some light cardio by carrying them up the stairs to our apartment.

Also doing house work is a great way to be active too. Some activities make you sweat, like vacuum cleaning, lifting boxes and furniture, and window washing.

Be inspired!

I hope my 10 good things about working out motivated you to start, just like it did with me! There is no excuse to not work out in one way or another, there is always time, you just have to MAKE TIME to work out. Start before it's too late!

And if you need new running shoes, check Brazilian top model Carolina Fontaneti's article on how to find the right running shoes.

Let's all live a long and healthy life together :)

Love,

Lonneke

Lonneke Engel running 2

 


Red Wine Vegan Risotto

Hello all!

I don't drink alcoholic beverages, but I like to use beer and wine in my food. Again, cooking is not difficult, as long as you have a few good fresh ingredients.

Enjoy this red wine vegan risotto!

Love, Lonneke

Red Wine vegan risotto

Author:
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups of arborio rice, rinsed.
  • 3 cups of chopped fresh mushrooms of your preferred kind (or a mix)
  • 1 cup of chopped onions.
  • Optional: dried mixed mushrooms
  • 2 handfuls of asparagus (or as much as you want)
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt/pepper/olive oil
  • Fresh herbs chopped, (think parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary) and/or a bouillon cube/bouillon to your liking.
  • Red wine (I used organic Brandini Barbera d'Alba Superiore as I had one left from an Organice Your Life party) About 2 cups.

Instructions
  1. Take a large pan and sauté the onions in a bit of olive oil, and add the mushrooms once the onions are glazing. Take of fire once mushroom and onions are done.
  2. Chop the asparagus in pieces of 1 inch, and cook them until a bit tender, but not too much.
  3. Take a casserole pan and fry the arborio rice in a bit of olive oil until they glaze, in about a minute on medium heat.
  4. Put the pan on lower heat, add the mushrooms and onions.
  5. Slowly the red wine, and stir regularly so the rice absorbs the wine. Add the vegan bouillon (cube) and water once the rice is drying up and keep stirring regularly until rice becomes soft and cheesy.
  6. Add the asparagus and optional fresh herbs at the end for flavor and color.
  7. Keep tasting the risotto until the risotto has a nice bite (it needs to be soft) and taste for flavor. Add wine, bouillon, salt to change flavor.
  8. Enjoy!

Notes
you can optionally add (vegan) cheese for flavor.

 


Save the Bees!

It is not something new that bees are having a difficult time and the population has gone done about 85% in the past years! Bees pollinating plants is vital for human foods and this decline could cause a threat to food supplies in years to come.

 

"Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, said in a statement:

"Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature's services in a world of close to seven billion people."

Reuters -

My memories with bees

At my high school, my biology teacher (and neighbor coincidentally) was a beekeeper in his off-time. He would incorporate this into his every day teaching, and during biology, or after school activities we would be reaping honey, or care  for the bees that were on the school's property. We would also make beewax candles. At that moment I didn't think about it twice, but years later I heard vandals burnt down the beehives, and I was quite sad! Now especially as I hear more and more about bees and how they are collapsing worldwide.

What can you do to save the bees

There are actually many things:

  • don't use chemical fertilizer in your home, or bug spray for your lawn (even the ones legally sold in garden stores can be harmful) there are great organic ones!
  • Let different plants, trees and flowers grow wild in your garden or balcony, so if there are bees in the neighborhood, they have something to eat!
  • You can actively get people involved in your neighborhood to become beekeepers, or have the environment suitable for bees to live in...
  • But there is more!

Many companies and buildings are giving up space to get beehives installed. You can now buy local honey from bees even from busy places like Soho or Brooklyn. Check out Andrew's Honey, they have beehives all over New York City!

My friend Johan Koeman of Wicked Tulips Flower Farm (formerly Ecotulips) is offering organic flowers to help the bees, together with his wife Keriann!

RELATED: Organic tulips that are edible

LEARN MORE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqA42M4RtxE

There are many ways to save the bees, just start now!

Love, Lonneke

First published on August 2nd 2013, Updated in 2019


40 things to do with kids in New York City

If you did not know yet, I tell you now: New York City is a great place to live, and to visit!

In 2012 NYC broke a record with the amount of visitors & tourists they welcomed: 52 million! And it has been going up ever since. Mayor Bloomberg, who resigned at the end of 2013, has spent a lot of his 12 year term as a Mayor, making New York City great for citizens, and even more attractive to tourists. NYC is not only a city for grown-ups. It is a very safe and fun place, and there are a lot of things for kids to do in New York City!

Pictures by Fairest Photo.

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Things to do in New York City

Let me share with you some of my favorite activities for kids in this wonderful City. Whether you live in New York City, or are just visiting for a short amount of time, there is so much to do. And some things will cost you, and some are free... but all are really fun!

Of course you can go play with your kids at one of the many playgrounds around the City, go shopping with your kids, and eat food at one of the 25000 restaurants & deli's New York City has. There are many FREE outdoor swimming pools available to all young kids in NYC in the Summer (with parental guide, there are pretty strict rules so read them first) and there are also many indoor pools. I recommend just walking around different neighborhoods in Manhattan. When you walk, I guarantee you will find a hidden toy shop, or a cupcake bakery. New York City is the place of discoveries! We always play this game with kids:

When the light turns white,

you follow your way.

But you turn left or right,

When the red light means Stay.

This will result in you walking through different streets than you would normally do, so you see new things!

A list of 40 things to do with kids in New York City ( and fun for parents too!)

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1. Central Park

Central park is so big and has so many attractions itself. It is the big heart of NYC and the tranquil quiet place amidst the buzz of the busy city. The lawns are beautiful and the meadows are so large you and your family can run free and play fun games like ball games.

2. Rent a bike in Central Park

You can rent a bike with your family and ride around Central Park.

3. Ride the Carousel

Ride the merry-go-around, the Carousel, in the middle of the park.

4. Explore the nature in Central Park

Walk around the preserved nature of a few hidden areas of the park. Go find them! I love the Rambles, with its idyllic bridge, waterfalls and views. But you shouldn't miss Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon with his "Imagine" mozaic. And the Alice in Wonderland bronze sculpture.

5. Ice skating in Central Park

In the Winter you must go iceskating at Wollman Rink. (For years owned and developed by mr. Donald J. Trump)

6. Central Park Zoo

You can also visit the Central Park Zoo (or the Brooklyn Zoo or Brooklyn Aquarium.) This Zoo was used as inspiration for the animated movie "Madagascar".

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Side note: I personally wouldn't take a carriage ride in Central Park. These horses are working long hours, and are stabled in small stables in NYC. They never have a day off. Mayor Bill DeBlasio promised before election that he would change a lot for the horses in NYC. I was wrong about Mayor DeBlasio, he is not keeping his promises. But he did open the way up for new animal shelters, as NYC has many homeless cats and dogs. So that's good.Check my article on the NYC carriage horses and a great alternative.

7. Picnic in Central Park

You can buy food at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle, take the food with you and walk to Central park, and have a pic nic at Sheep Meadow enjoying the clouds passing by.

8. Boating in Central Park

You can also rent a boat and go boating on The Lake, Central park's second largest water body, or rent a model boat and navigate it in the beautiful pond on the East Side of the park.

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Basically all of Central Park is worth to explore with kids. Central park has manicured areas, lots of history, and even wilderness with real waterfalls!

9. Visit the Observatories of NYC

Visit the Observatory at the Empire State Building, or Freedom Tower One World Observatory. While the wait can be long sometime, the view of the city is amazing for every age. (this is also the area where the 911 Memorial Museum is located. This is an impressive, but very quiet museum). Best is to book tickets online so you don't have to wait in line!

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10. Go on a New York City tour

There is enough to see on a city tour, and kids can sit and watch the whole city pass by. Kids especially love all the lights, so doing a walk or a tour at night is worth it too.

11. Statue of Liberty

Take a Water taxi all the way downtown and go to the Statue of Liberty.

12. Times Square

It is just fun to see all the lights. It's so bright and there is a lot to see!

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My "underground" favorite things to do with kids:

13. Hudson River Park

Visit the Hudson River Park all along the Hudson River on the westside of New York City. I love this park the most and go running/walking or picnicking there. It stretches from the Financial District to all the way uptown. The park has many activities for kids, like mini golf and (water) play areas. There are in fact many free playgrounds for kids to play all over town.  But I especially love the ones at the Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. When the weather is warm, there are many water -based games to be played. And the park along the Hudson River, is great to walk.

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14. The Highline

The Highline used to be a train track bringing in live animals that would get butchered in the Meat Packing District. Now it is a beautiful park along 12th street all the way up north. It is a nice long walk, with many nice plants trees, design elements, amazing views. At the end there is a little kids playground!

15. Helicopter ride

You can also take a helicopter ride above the city. The helicopter pads are on the West of Midtown at Hudson River, or at the Lower East Side Piers on the East River. You be surprised what the price is. It is not cheap but not so expensive either. Check it out!

16. American Museum of Natural History

Go to the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. It is huge and you see many dinosaurs  & mammoth skeletons. kids love it!(And watch the movie A Night at the Museum, as it is filmed in this museum.)

17. Chelsea Piers

Go to the Chelsea Piers, and go hit some balls at the Golf plaza, play bowling or play Basketball with a nice view of the City or the Hudson River. On their website you can see what is possible! At Chelsea Piers there is  also the Trapeze School of New York City. You can learn to fly and hang upside down in the air. Really fun especially for the older kids amongst us.

18. NY Watertaxi

Take the NY watertaxi boat tour around the island and see everything. It has a few stops on the riversides of Manhattan.

19. Broadway musical

See a Broadway musical or play. Even if you don't like musicals: there is nothing like seeing a show on Broadway.

20. Washington Square Park

Go to Washington Square Park, my favorite park with the famous Arch, and see all the diverse people hanging out, performing, or playing chess, and the dogs in the dog parks. This place is definitely for culture, but you also have a great view of the Empire State Building, and the Freedom Tower on the other side.

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21. Rent a bike in the city

You can find Citibike everywhere, and you can ride all around Manhattan via the Hudson River Park south to the Financial District, and back up along the East River (for older kids).

22. Visit the Intrepid

The Entrepid Museum. This used to be a warship, and when it was taken out of service, it became a museum. You can find the Concorde here, and other interesting (war) airplanes. (NY Fleetweek May 25-30!) Currently showing a "Star Trek  Academy Experience".

23. Visit Street fairs

See where there is a street fair going on in the City, and enjoy the locals and their food and merchandise!

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24. Swim in public pools

In the Summer you can swim at one of the many outdoor swimming pools from NYC Parks.  You can find current opening hourse HERE> Last Summer when my young nephews were in town, they went almost every day!

Day Trips

25. A day at the beach

You want a day at the beach? Take a ferry to the beach! Yes, Seastreak offers multiple daily trips to the New Jersey Shore. Take the stop Sandy Hook and enjoy a day at the beach.  I have done it! It is a nice short trip over the East River. Leaves from East River at Wall street, or East 35th street.

26. Visit a themepark

Go to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey in Spring and Summer. It's about an hour and 15 min drive, and you can either rent a car, or go by NJ Transit.

27. Visit an indoor water park

Go to any of the indoor water parks that you find around New York City. Some are a day trip, and some include stay at a hotel. The website Mommy Poppins.com has pointed out  7 great indoor waterparks in the neighborhood.

28. Go on a train ride

Take the train along the Hudson River upstate! Also a nice day trip, to enjoy the beautiful nature of Upstate New York. Go to Central Station (which is already beautiful to see) And buy a ticket at Metro North Train (MTA) Take the Hudson line up. Nice villages to go to are Peekskill, Hudson (where there is lots of art) but my favorite is Cold Spring as you get a beautiful view of the Hudson River, and it has an idyllic street with many little shops. Go to dinner at Hudson House Inn, as this historic inn at the riverfront has a nice view and food is great, as well as the people. Here is a nice page for more tips on visiting the Hudson Valley by Rail.

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CLICK HERE FOR SPECIAL THINGS TO DO IN THE WINTER/CHRISTMAS TIME WITH KIDS

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Food

29. Eat a burger

Try any of the organic Bare Burger restaurants in NYC (see my article in the link). There are all over the City and serve delicious organic burgers and salads and it is the perfect place to experience an American Burger the healthy way, your kids will love it.

30. Eat the best breakfast in town

Norma's: the best breakfast in the City ( my favorite!) This is a restaurant only open until 3pm every day, located in the Parker Meridien hotel. Sometimes there is a wait if you don't make a reservation. The restaurant looks clean, but the food... they make the best pancakes and waffles with fruit (I always order the Wazza waffle) and other breakfast food. Kids love it.

31. Visit nature in the city

Do you want to teach your kids about vegetables and plants? Go to the beautiful Bronx Botanical Garden! They have a rose garden, a part of a forest you can walk through safely, and on the top of the hill they have an area specially for kids where they can learn everything about gardening and even cooking what they grow in the garden!

32. Family style restaurant

If you want a more laid back atmosphere and a different neighborhood, Bubby's downtown in Tribeca is a great option too (the restaurant is owned by Robert DeNiro), they serve great scones and all American Breakfast.

33. Easy and delicious American Food

Underneath the Highline is the Standard Grill. When it is nice out, you can sit outside in the cute Meatpacking District area.

34. Drink a Juice

Whether it is on of the locations of the Juice Press ,Dr. Smood, or another brand a fresh healthy juice is a great start of the day, or a nice refresher. Some of these are also organic. You want to give your kids the right nutrients right?

35. Cupcakes, Bagels & Donuts

Of course you have to make a stop at Georgetown Cupcake, famous from their TLC show, and they even have gluten free and vegan options. They are located on Mercer street in Soho. My favorite Bakery is Le Pain Quotidien, and Maison Kayser with their organic breads. You find them throughout the City, and are great to go with kids to have lunch.

36. PIZZA!

Even though Rubirosa is my favorite pizza place, with kids it is better to go to Lombardi's, or Arturo's pizza. You can also take out pizza and take it to a nearby park and eat it.

Shopping

37. Build your own toy

Build a custom made teddybear at Build-a-Bear on 5th Avenue. You can choose the color of the bear, and what he or she will wear.

38. Shop for kids' clothes

You can shop for kids clothes everywhere, but around Soho there are many small boutique cute clothing stores for kids. If you need warm clothes I like the Patagonia Store on Greene street. Patagonia tries to do good for the environment, their clothes are not expensive and really nice and warm. If you want something really nice & fashionable, Trico Field on West Broadway are places where you find very special items for your young kids.

39. Science & history related gifts

The Evolution Store on Broadway. Kids love these dead animals and skeletons. You have objects from 1 dollar to thousands of dollars!

40. Make art with your kids

Children's museum for the Arts on Charlton Street: Let your kids find their art, this is a nice activity for around 2.5 hours.

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Stay

NYC is expensive, and the city is battling short-term rental companies by putting in laws that make most short term rentals not allowed. But it is in court so it is important you check out the local status of Air BNB and other short term rental laws. Your accommodation is an area where you usually have to accept that you won't have too much space in your hotel room. But hey, you are going to be outside all the time anyway! I would suggest to stay away from very busy areas like hotels around Times Square, or hotels in 20-50s streets. Uptown close to Central Park is the best bet, as well as hotels downtown. Here is a link  with some more information and another one with tips. The Soho Grand is a nice hotel in Soho, and I used to stay at the luxury Le Parker Meridien hotel close to Central Park with my family years ago: they even have a swimming pool on the roof and restaurant Norma's is in the hotel! (as well as a great burger restaurant called Burger Joint) When you are on a budget, try Holiday inn, Courtyard and Four Points by Sheraton in Soho, Financial District and Tribeca. You have to do some research, but remember with kids: the area and safety of the hotel is more important than size of your room.

Getting Around:

You can walk to the curb, raise your hand and get a "Yellow Cab". When the number is on, it is available. When all lights are on (on left and right of the number) the taxi is off-duty. When the light is off, the Taxi is taken. They usually take 4 people at once. If your family is bigger, you can order a Lyft, Uber, Via, Gett or Juno by downloading their apps and ordering a car in the right size. There are other good Limousine services like Carmel and Dial7. Taking your kids in the subway is also a very easy and convenient way to get around. And of course, you should walk as much as possible, it is my favorite thing to do in NYC!

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And finally: Take a lot of pictures. Make lasting memories with your kids. New York City is definitely something they will never forget in their lifetime!.

I hope these suggestions help you when visiting New York City, because there are many things to do for Kids in the Best City in the World! :)

For more current kids activities and more inspiration please go to: Time Out NYC KIDS

Love, Lonneke

p.s. all thanks to Navy, Milo & Lux Lamey (my nephews and niece) who came to visit us in NYC  <3

First published in 2017, Updated in 2019


A Dog is Part of the Family

I love dogs. My dog is always part of my family!

Dogs can heal you

The relationship I have with my dog is one of the strongest relationships I have in my life, as that relationship is one of the reasons I am now back to being a contributing member of society after I suffered from a burnout, PTSD and an autoimmune disease.

As a Certified Health Counselor I was helping other people live their best life, but I had to stop working for Organice Your Life for a few years, as I suddenly had to focus on my own health. I got a dog and started my process back to health. Not knowing it would take me a few years. But my dog is the reason I am back :)

My life with dogs

When my dog Vito passed away a few years ago, I was devastated for months on end and it set me back again for a while. It only got better when I ended up adopting Bane. Both dogs we found in a shelter, both did not have the best past and present, but their future was going to be for sure very great! I went to the shelter a few times to meet different dogs, to see which one fit best with me and my life. Then Vito turned out to be the best fit. Later in life when Vito had passed, I found Bane. It was meant to be. I have a special place in my heart for the dogs that are the most difficult to adopt, and I don't mind a challenge. It feels great when you can prove to everybody that the dog that everybody passed on, is now this awesome dog living a wonderful life!

Any dog - no matter how bad their situation is - can become a GREAT dog in a balanced, stable and loving environment. Do not give up on any dog!

My dog Bane
My dog Bane

A dog is part of the family

My dog is a valued family member in our home, and I take his wellbeing in consideration every single day. Taking care of my dog takes a lot of time, but what I get back is unconditional love, and a household in harmony. It takes a lot of work, but it is worth it! We are a team and wherever I go, Bane goes. He is very respectful of our home, but can sit and sleep anywhere he wants to. We have a special understanding between us, which I cherish as I invested so much time and attention into him to get us to where we are now.

A dog needs a lot of care and attention

What I don't get is that so many people get a dog, and just think that they don't have to put much time and effort into it, because hey, it is "Just a dog". Why don't they just get a stuffed animal I wonder? A dog has a soul and feelings. They crave love, understanding, attention and cuddles.

To me it seems to be just about as much work to do it right, as taking care of a child. I mean, you need to feed them, give them regular exercise (at least 1.5 hours a day but I take him everywhere and we walk sometimes 4, 5 hours a day). You need to take them to the vet regularly, you need to watch them all the time just like you have to look after a young child. (Adult dogs apparently have the mental capacity of a 2.5 year old.) All together it is full on work and a lot of responsibility! Not only for the dog, but also for your family and society, as you have to make sure all stay safe all the time.

Adopt a shelter dog

Some people don't do a lot of research and want a purebred puppy just because they like the look of it. And puppies are sooo cute of course! They then pay a lot of money to get a purebred puppy somewhere. But I will tell you the truth about dogs: The shelters are overcrowded with every type of dog - mixes AND purebreds - so it makes no sense to get a puppy. Because when you get a puppy, ANY PUPPY, one dog in the shelter gets killed. Yearly about 2.4 million dogs get killed in shelters across the USA.... I wrote about it before. Many times it turns out that the puppy people bought was not a good match, because it grew up and is not as cute anymore, or it needs much more attention and exercise than they are willing to give, and so that dog ends up in a shelter. Be smart and get a rescue dog with the help of a reputable rescue organization! There is one close to you! And it is much cheaper than getting a purebred as well!

Check out my other articles on helping shelter dogs:

5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog

10 ways to help a dog in need

Good People help dogs in need

Luckily there are many people who go above and beyond to help dogs in need. I salute every one of them, because it is a very difficult task, and it breaks your heart all the time when you see the suffering many dogs have to go through.

Quotes that I love:

"Saving one dog will not change the World, but surely for that dog the World will change Forever"Unknown

And:

"People who say money can't bring happiness, have probably never paid an adoption fee"Unknown

So true!

I love my dog Bane

My rescue dog Bane is with me now for 2 years. It amazes me how he still improves and gets better every day, after all that he has been through in his young life! I can still teach him new things, even though he already probably knows more than 99% of dogs in the World! I still can't believe that he was one of those millions of dogs that end up in the shelter yearly, and he was almost one of the 2.4 million dogs that are killed at shelters each year! Luckily he got rescued in the nick of time by Animal Haven in NYC, the place where he stayed for 10 months until we found each other.. and the rest is history!

I will share more stories about Bane, Vito and how I care and work with my dog each day, and you can follow him as well on his own instagram page Everybody Loves Bane!

And never forget:

Love, Lonneke

first published in 2018, updated in 2019