Dirk, Lonneke and Bane

My top 10 charities to give to this year

If you don't know to which charities you should give money, here is my top 10 charities to give to this year. Charities that, some big and some small, give focused help. Therefore you get more "use" out of the money you spend on these charities. While there are many organizations that do good, I have listed charities I have experience with/donated to in the past/or have been to their charity events.  Either I have seen it with my own eyes or I just really trust these organizations, these are my favorite 10 charities of 2013/2014:

My top 10 charities to give to this year

1. Animal Haven

Category dogs and cats in NYC, USA. This is a boutique no-kill shelter for dogs and cats. They don't have a big budget, but seem to really be efficient with their funds, and they help a lot of dogs! Many come from the NYCACC kill shelter, but they also take dogs in need from all over the World. My dog BANE came from Animal Haven and we adopted him from there a few years ago! They took care of him for 10 months before he came into our lives. The dogs are extremely happy and well-behaved who come from this shelter. Volunteers and employees really do everything to make their short-term stay (hopefully) as comfortable as possible. Their new location even has airconditioning in the rooms that are spacious for the dogs and cats! My dog Bane loves to visit them. I think that says a lot if a dog likes to return to a shelter!

Dirk, Lonneke and Bane
Dirk, Lonneke and Bane

 

2. Stichting Dimarte

Category: horses, the Netherlands.

Stichting Dimarte is a dutch charity that gives a home to abused and injured horses. Dimarte, led by Hester and her team, rehabilitate the horses both emotionally and physically. Most horses have so much trauma that they can't be ridden ever again, so they stay there until their last breath. Volunteers help with the daily care. This charity is also doing a lot on the social level, helping young kids and teenager who are having troubles rehabilitate too. There is a lot of emphasis on education of care for horses. I had been looking for a nice place for my 2 horses for years (as many of you know my horses were unfortunately abused by the people I paid to care for them, and I am still in a court case about it after almost 6 years!). I was happy when Dimarte helped me find that place. Regularly I receive pictures and videos of U2 and Cooper having a good time. All the other horses seem to be doing well too. If you want to support this cause too, you can go to their website or Facebook page to get more info on how to donate. I know each Euro or dollar will really do a lot of good here at this small charity! www.stichtingdimarte.nl 

horses U2 and Cooper with Hester

U2 (dark bay color) on the left, and Cooper (chestnut color) on the right, with Hester.

3. ASPCA (USA)

Category: dogs, cats, horses USA - The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I have been supporting, donating and going to their charity events for years now. Why? I think the way you treat your animals says a lot about you. In most cases when people find animal abuse, there are other problems in place. Finding animal abuse ism besides helping animals, sometimes also the first step to help the people who own them. I have seen with my own eyes how they take in dogs & cats that are abused, neglected or malnourished, or are on the list to be euthanized in other shelters. They will bring them back to health, and find new forever homes for them. People who can't afford it, can get free veterinary care for their pets. Also, the ASPCA has been doing the same for horses all across the United States. In 1866, this charity was founded by Henry Bergh to primarily help sick, injured or abused horses. in 1902 they were the first to have an ambulance in NYC to take carriage horses of the streets that were injured. (Read more ASPCA history HERE)

lonneke aspcaAttending an ASPCA charity event in NYC, photo by Sonia Moskowitz (?) for ASPCA

3. NYCLASS (USA)

nyclass logoCategory: workhorses NYC - New Yorkers for Clean, Livable And Safe Streets. Although some people think the horse drawn carriages in NYC are so very romantic, the fact is that this is true case of horse abuse. There are many reasons why the 220 carriage horses of NYC should be taken of the streets. First of all: horses don't belong in heavy and loud traffic of one of the busiest metropoles of the World. Horses get into accidents, and every year it seems to be more and more. The horses work too long hours, in extreme cold and extreme heat, 7 days a week. Sometimes doing double shifts if the owner wants to make an extra buck (that's over 16 hour days then) They are never turned out or walked without a carriage so they can just stretch and be a horse. Their living conditions? Appalling. Some horses are stabled even on the second floor of buildings that were obviously not meant to have horses reside there. Ever seen a horse walk up the stairs? Well, some do it every day. Not to mention the small spaces they stay in. Some horses can't even turn around. During Sandy in November 2012, These horses were not allowed to be on the streets. Where were they? Suddenly, after working every day, they stayed INSIDE their stables for the full week! If that is not bad for a horse, I don't know what is! To make a long story short: NYCLASS already has a loving and forever place for each of the 220 NY Carriage horses once the bill is in place to take the horses of the streets of NYC.  There is even a great alternative I wrote about earlier:  the horseless electric carriage. How Smart! These days they focus also on more animal-related issues. Attending a NYCLASS charity event in NYC

4. Pencils of Promise. (USA)

Pencils of Promise logoCategory: children/education/worldwide - Founded by the manager of Justin Bieber, Adam Braun, this charity builds schools worldwide in places where kids otherwise would not go to school. It is that simple. Every penny goes to the schools. They have projects in countries like Laos, Guatamala & Ghana They have a goal of 100 schools by the end of 2012. They already finished about 75 of them. This year I attended the PoP gala where Usher was being honored, and also bid 12000 dollars on a cute labradoodle puppy he called "Poppy". This way more and more is raised for education for kids! So join the movement!

lonneke Pencils of PromiseAttending a Pencils of Promise event in NYC in 2012

5. Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Fund.

Category breast cancer/cancer /research/women's health - A charitable organization originated by Ralph Lauren, which supports breast cancer research and prevention all around the World. You can donate directly, or buy one of their Pink Pony products to show your support and that way donate to this good cause. I also posed for Ralph Lauren Pink Pony once.

Lonneke Pink Pony

6. Washington Square Park Conservancy

Category: parks & recreation

This is my favorite park in NYC, and a favorite of many New Yorkers and tourists alike.  Creative and musical people find this place inspiring. Every day I walk here I feel like I am on vacation. A Mix of all kinds of people are enjoying themselves. My father figure George Vellonakis redesigned the park a few years ago and is now working for the Washington Square Park Conservancy to upkeep the park and it's beautiful plants, trees, history, famous arch and famous fountain. The Conservancy hires many homeless people to do the landscaping of the park. That way they help them get work experience and get them back on their feet.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

7. WSPA International.

Category factory animal welfare/food safety

Helping factory farm animals around the World who are raised for consumption. The WSPA protects and helps all animals around the World where help is needed. They bought agree that animals should not be raised in a factory as this is a situation of prolonged suffering for the animals. The practices used to raise these animals are upsetting and make you not want to eat meat again if you see it. Unfortunately a lot of people are closing their eyes for these practices, and keep buying these products, to which the industry continues to use these practices. As the consumer is King, if they would refuse to buy these animal products, the industry would have to change their practice. it is that simple. So you can help these organizations by buying animal friendly products consciously to show your support. Only consumers can truly change the system by asking for better living quality for the food they eat, and not let a few cents make the decision of what animal products you eat or not. The money you save this way short-term will get back to you in health problems the long way, as these animals are treated with hormones, cruel feeding methods, lots of medication, and are just unhappy. You eat that energy and bad energy is never good for you. Think about helping these organizations and think when you buy your food next time in the grocery store. You are what you eat.

wspa logo

8. The Non-GMO project.

non gmoCategory food safety. While most people are becoming more aware of the reasons to choose and eat organic food, just buying products that say "Organic" on it, is not good enough anymore to assure what you eat is truly as nature intended. Big corporations are making "organic" a business and are trying to sit on the fine lines of what is organic and not. A product can get an "organic" seal even if the product is not 100% organic. You can't be totally sure anymore unless you investigate yourself some more of what you and your family eat. It is important to investigate even further what you eat, on a molecular level. Since a few decades some big corporations have invented "GMO" , and they are selling it and you are buying it. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, and means that the food that you consume, is genetically altered. (You should read my article on GMO to understand what it is.) There are many reasons why one should not consume GMO, and this non profit organization is showing you all the facts. But it is a personal choice if you want to know or not. Now the Non-GMO project is labeling food that is without GMO, it has become much easier to know what is in the food products you buy. I appreciate their work so much! Now I know what to buy or not in the store. As food, together with clean water and clean air are the essentials to live, I think this is something that is important for all people. Your support will help them bring more awareness and better food to you. Keep an eye out for this label!

9. Food & Water Watch, Category air/water/food safety

This organization covers many issues we have these days. Issues that come from water pollution to fracking, from factory fish farming to bottled water and many more that affect everyone. this website is a great resource already to get your info on what's going on in the World these days, so you can make the right decisions on what to support when it comes to the knowning what food you eat and protecting the water you drink.

food water watch

10. Justgiving

Category charity website.  And to conclude my 10 favorite charities to give to this year, I added a website to which you can browse yourself to find your preferred charity to give to. You can search on Just Giving for or a charity you like and donate online. Over 10.000 charities, big and small, are waiting for your donation!

just giving logo

I hope these 10 great organizations have helped you to find out whom you are going to support this year!

Other charities that were brought to my attention on Twitter when I asked my followers which charities should add, but did not make my top 10 are: Net4KidsLendahandGive Directly, Reporters without Borders,  Stichting Vluchteling Artsen zonder grenzen; Warchild; Human Rights Watch; Amnesty International; Greenpeace; Bits of Freedom; Wikileaks; Tess Unlimited, Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij KNMR,  World Wildlife Fund WWF. Plan Nederland, Terre des HommesStichting Hulphond Nederland, ,Inloophuis de Eik ,De Snoezelbus in Rotterdam ,Even a charity to make cannabis legal named VOC  .Thank you followers for sharing these with us!

Forbes also made a list of the top 50 largest USA charities, which can help you make a decision on what charity to support this year too!

What is your top 10 of favorite charities to give to?

Love, Lonneke

all photos courtesy of myself or the charities mentioned.

(if you are a photographer featured please let me know so I can credit you accordingly :) )


New York City Winter Movies tour

Whether you are visiting New York City during the Winter or Christmas, or are just at home and want to see some nice family movies during the Holidays, here are my 5 favorite movies to watch in the Winter time. And maybe you can go visit the film locations in New York City! Check my New York City Winter Movies Tour, starting with no. 1 on top:

1. Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

This is the all-time favorite, not-to-miss movie starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, who by accident gets on the wrong plane and flies to New York City by himself, instead of Florida with his family. While the Plaza hotel does exist (it is now half a residential building and half a hotel) The toy store in the movie does not really exist -the movie's toystore "Duncan's Chest" was filmed in Chicago - this is the movie's version of FAO Swarz, a toy store a few blocks to the East of Plaza Hotel, on 5th Avenue. You can go there and enjoy the toys. Go see the movie, and go see the Plaza hotel from Central Park. You can also book a room here and order room service just like Kevin did in the movie. I also love the Home Alone 2 trivia, as there are more interesting facts to this movie and film locations.

The Trailer of Home Alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0kJieJ1k6k

2. Serendipity

Probably one of my favorite romantic movies ever made. A lot is filmed around New York City in the Winter. It is a very nice movie for the Winter nights, with lots of love, Winter season activities and snowflakes. The story is about how Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet at a kiosk at Bloomingdale's to buy gloves. Sara decides it should be faith if they should meet again,and she writes her phone number and name in a book. Jonathan writes his number on a dollar bill. The whole movie you see them trying to find each other's phone number and hoping destiny will bring them together.There is actually a restaurant in New York City named Serendipity 3 (225 E 60th street, between 2nd & 3rd avenue), and that's where a few scenes in the movie are filmed. Jonathan and Sara share a Frozen Hot Chocolate here, a famous drink from Serendipity they even trademarked. It is not so healthy but so fun to go and have one yourself!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePU2Ux9JIMM

Other places you should visit are Bloomingdale's (1000 3rd avenue & E 59th street) where Sara and Jonathan meet, The Waldorf Astoria hotel (301 Park Avenue between 49th & 50th) where Jonathan's wedding takes place, Wollman Rink in Central park where Jonathan and Sara are going ice skating and where they reunite. More locations of this movie you can find HERE>, as they also were filming in my neighborhood, as well as some unknown trivia questions HERE>

3. A night at the Museum

A fun movie with Ben Stiller, who plays Larry who becomes a guard in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (Central Park West & 79th street)  He is supposed to " not let anything in, and not let anything out". He later finds out what that means when he is by himself at night at the museum. (This movie was also directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed Home Alone 1 and 2.).

The Trailer of A Night at the Museum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2G-8raHvOU

 

4. Elf

A true Christmas movie. Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) is an adult human who was raised by elves. He is going to New York City to meet his real father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) who is on Santa's naughty list. If you watch this movie you want to go visit the Empire State Building (350 5th Avenue at 34th street) and you want to go see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th & 50th street). A joyful funny movie for the whole family!

The trailer of Elf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW9wRNqQ_P8

5. Noel

They want us to believe it is all filmed in New York City, but most of it was in fact filmed in Canada. So it should not really be on this list. You do see Rockefeller center and other nice shots of New York City in Winter/Christmas time. But as Paul Walker has a lead roll in it next to Susan Sarandon and Penelope Cruz,  I thought it was a nice gesture to include this movie in my top 5 list in his memory.

The trailer of Noel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLjj5EwviQY

 

p.s. I found a great website with more New York City film locations of all your favorite New York City movies in one place: On the set of New York

 


The Power of Bone Broth

Everytime Fall arrives I can't wait to eat lots of stews, soups and broths! 

Warming up inside

One thing that I discovered is making me feel good and warm inside, is a warm broth especially a bone broth. Yes, you can also drink vegetable broths, and I do love them too. But decades ago bone broths were very normal to drink, they were all over the place and made people feel better. The past few years in NYC, I noticed that bone broth has definitely made a come back! While vegan food was the hype these past years, some vegan and organic businesses have gone out of business since. (think my favorites Organic Avenue, Gusto Organics and Souen) The new kid on the block is bone broth, and more bone broth places are opening up. (like Brodo.)

What is bone broth

Bone broth is made of leftover bones and tissue of animals, like chicken, cows and meat. Some broths are more thin because they are made of only the meat, others are called bone broths and they are thicker due to the gelatin of the bones. A good butcher will use everything "nose-to-tail " of an animal and the leftover bones will go into a big stock pot with water and maybe other ingredients like herbs and vegetables that help the bones release their powerful marrow, gelatine, amino acids and minerals.

Broth can also be made vegan with mushrooms, seaweed or vegetables.

When do I drink bone broth

I like to use bone broth in cooking stews and soups following the AIP diet (Autoimmune Protocol Diet) which I try to follow as many days of the week. But I also like to just drink bone broth on its own. Where other people order a $12 cocktail, I like to order a $12 bone broth like I did the other day at lunch at Cafe Clover in NYC.  Their bone broth has the following ingredients: grass fed beef broth chaga mycelium, wild kombu, daikon radish, ginseng. Delicious!

READ MORE: Make your own bone broth

Eating meat again

I started eating meat again recently because it made me feel better. It was a choice between my values and my health. It was a hard decision but I do not regret it. I still love vegan food and vegetables a lot. I actually am now more excited to eat local, with a small footprint using everything while honoring the animal. True food from a farm instead of from a factory.

100% grassfed

I learned that 100% grassfed beef and bone broth is the best as grass is the only food a cow should really eat! make sure the beef is pasture raised, 100% grassfed and grass finished. Luckily there are nice butchers in NYC that offer these options, whether they offer it at the local farmers market, or they have an actual store. I like to go to Hudson & Charles They also make great bone broths and organic chicken soup. If you eat meat, you need to find the best meat out there, of people who humanely raise their animals. You will also taste it.

Sustainability

Recently I have been thinking more and more that supporting small, local and sustainable businesses and families that care for the planet and who do not have a lot of waste are maybe the best way to tackle animal cruelty, erosion of lands, economic problems and social issues. if we all eat like our grandparents did, from local sources, we create less carbon emissions that come with the transport of avocados from Mexico or shrimp from Thailand. Also, while a lot of people who eat vegan rely on colorful vegetables from all over the World, and vegan products that are made in a factory, maybe just going to a local butcher and eating foods with only 1 or a few ingredients that are not processed is maybe the way to go? What about a circular economy of animals that replenish the earth with essential minerals?... what about using all parts of an animal, and not letting anything go to waste? Don't get me wrong: I LOVE vegan food, but I also learned that I feel better eating a diet like the one I grew up with (Will elaborate more in another article.)

Commercial bone broths

I also like these bone broths from Kettle & Fire to add to stews or just to heat up when I need to warm up. (especially the chicken and mushroom one). Instead of a coffee or a tea, it is a great hot drink!

(click on picture below for more information or to purchase a variety pack to try out!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking bone broth warms my soul and grounds me for sure!

Love, Lonneke

p.s. I have not been paid for this article, actually I buy these products myself, and am just giving my honest opinion! :)


Helping the homeless on cold days

The days have become shorter, the leaves are starting to fall. In all colors they cover the ground. The wind is picking up, you are starting to get cold and you have to wear a warm sweater.

I love cold days

What I like when it gets colder (but not too cold) Is a long walk, breathing in the fresh air. The feeling you get when you get back to your warm house, priceless. The hot shower afterwards is even better! A real treat after a workout, because a long walk is good for you.

READ MORE: 5 tips to Stay warm

Homeless on the streets of NYC

I know I am lucky. When I see the homeless, I feel bad. In NYC there are a lot of them. These are people that just can't function well in society. And for those there is no place, except outside, on the streets. I used to give them money. But you never know what they spend it on. I have been disappointed one time when this man came out of a supermarket with a beer in his hand, bought with my money.

READ MORE: 5 tips for a Good Heart

What is the best way to start helping the homeless on cold days

We have to be smarter: We have to donate money to different places, places where homeless can get a good meal and a place to sleep. Like the Bowery Mission, very close to where I live. Every donation really does a lot. You can also give them clothing or food directly of course!

Homeless in NYC copyright Fairest Photo

My tips for helping the homeless on cold days

Every season I clean out my closet. After my friends and cleaning lady dig in and look for things they like, I take the leftover clothes to Union Square, where they collect used, but good clothes. Or we bring them to a consignment store, drop them off at Salvation Army or at The bowery Mission.

READ MORE: 10 charities to give to this year

You can also drop off groceries and essential toiletries at a soup kitchen or specialized organization. One time I helped out an afternoon at Lunch Break in New Jersey, USA. I packed bags for people with low income or who did not have a home. They need simple things like deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Canned food is always good (Luckily a lot of organic food options were donated) and the soup kitchen cooks with it so the homeless can come have lunch, or they can come pick up essentials and food items. It really felt great helping out!

ACE NYC Charity

Many people from abroad sometimes think that the USA is not taking great care of its people. There are a lot of homeless, that is true. Some have come from other countries and are illegal, some just can't keep up with the hustle and bustle of life these days, and others are simply addicted and need help. But the USA is also the country that is placed very high on the lists of countries that donate the most per citizen to charity., the World Giving Index (one is Myanmar apparently!) And there are indeed many people and charities that help homeless get back on their feet, like ACE New York.  ACE New York helps homeless by guiding them in the process of getting back to work. In the meantime they become part of Soho's cleaning team and they keep the streets clean. in return many buildings in Soho donate to this organization because they help keep the streets clean. it is a win-win situation! I used to work a lot with this charity by helping their secondhand store Use Your Head by giving advice, raising donations and organizing events. 

Small things can make a big difference. I hope to do my thing for the homeless, especially now the cold days are coming our way.  And when I walk in the street on one of my walks? I say hello at least. These people are being ignored by most people, and they are just like us! Life is sometimes unfair, but everyone can do something to make it a bit better for others. Think about that the coming months.

Below are some local initiatives in NYC and beyond, that can inspire you to start helping others on cold days.

www.bowery.org

Salvation Army

ACE New York

First published on September 30rd 2009, updated in 2019


Organice Your Home

Organize Your Life: Make Your House Your Home

The first step in the Organice Your Life circle of 5 is : Organice Your Home. Let me give you a short introduction to how you make your house your home!

Organice Your Life - Circle of FiveTo start “organizing your life in an organic and nice way", also known as "Organice Your Life", you should start with your home base, and do a complete inventory and organization of it. You can’t see clearly what part of your life needs improvement, when the place you live or staying at, is not organized. A cluttered home equals a cluttered mind. Whether it is your home or a temporary stay, you need to know what your foundation is made of. See your life as a house. You can’t build a solid house from the ground up, if the foundation is weak. Your place of residence is your foundation. So, how does it look? Start first by cleaning up, organizing and fixing things. Maybe adding some TLC . After "organicing" your home, you know exactly what you have, what you don’t have, what you need or don’t need. Getting rid of things feels like eliminating toxic waste. Plus, next time you go shopping you only buy what you truly need. By making the place you live comfy and nice, will make everybody present feel good.

The Five steps to Organice your Home

1. Organice Your Living Spaces

Settling the different areas of your house. 

The layout of your home is very important to create a good "flow". Are all the rooms and spaces used the right way? Is all the furniture in the best place? Maybe reorganize and make it flow better!

READ MORE: Organize your Bathroom

2. Organice Your Household

Managing the cleaning & organizing of your house.

Hygiene is important. Find a routine in cleaning your home. The more of a routine you have, the more clean and organized your space will look most of the time, and you won't create a big mess that takes even longer to clean up! This way you will also know where everything is. When you need those items, they are easier to find.

READ MORE: Oven cleaning

3.  Organice Your Home Design

Making your house feel like home.

This is all about renovation and interior design of your home!  Paint and the right furniture, pictures, you name it. A little bit of updating here and there, painting and maybe a new piece of furniture? Add those special ornaments that mean so much to you, or those pictures that bring back memories.

READ MORE: Renovating my Bathroom

4. Organice Your Home Ambiance

Bringing some nice atmosphere to your home.

You can create a nice "vibe" by adding the right lights and candles, heat, scents and a good air flow. Anything that makes you "feel" great inside your home! I love salt lamps, essential oils, little candles and an air purifier to help the environment of my space.

READ MORE: salt lamps

5. Organice Your Home: Flora & Fauna

Taking care of your plants and pets, indoors and outdoors.

Plants can be beneficial for the air quality and bring joy to a home. They need care and attention just like your children, pets, relationships and of course, yourself.

READ MORE: Vertical Garden

Many households have pets. These loving animals also need their space in your home. When you have given them a spot that they love too, you will see the whole home is coming together just right.

READ MORE: A Dog is part of the family

Get a schedule together for the care of your plants. Get a schedule for the care of your pets. Make it a routine and they will do really well.

Start organizing your home by following these steps and think about how you can make your house your home!

Love, Lonneke

 


5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog

Many people want to have a dog in their lives. I understand, because they are the most amazing animals, full of love, and they love to be by your side! Many people are swayed by cute puppies, and don't really understand the reality of having a puppy in their home. That's why I am sharing with you my 5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog, and why I prefer a shelter dog over a puppy at a pet shop or breeder.

1. When you buy a puppy, one shelter dog dies

It sounds harsh, but that is the reality. The most amazing dogs are killed or left behind in cold shelters because people don't choose them but instead buy puppies from breeders, or even worse, from people who just want to make money and import the dogs from far away not caring about the health and wellbeing of the mother and puppies. If you buy a puppy (because he or she is "sooo cute"!) you are contributing to the problem and you keep unhealthy practices going. Dogs are being killed everywhere - even in my hometown of NYC - EVERY DAY. I believe that if breeders truly love their breed, they would rescue dogs of their breed, and re-home them (for a fee) until all of the dogs of their breed are out of the shelter, before they breed even more puppies that will add to the problem. 

2. You know exactly what you get when you adopt a shelter dog

A dog in a shelter shows you exactly who he or she is. You can meet them more than once, walk them, play with them to see if your characters match. The character of an older shelter dog has set, and he or she has been assessed by the shelter staff. Even though dogs until very old age can learn new tricks and rules, it is nice to know what your dog prefers or not. When you adopt a shelter dog, you know if the dog is a barker, will chew on your stuff, can be home alone, likes to run or has medical issues. A lot of inbred puppies these days are born with incredible complex medical issues, which most of them don't show up in the first year of the puppy. It's something many people forget. (If you can insure your dog for health costs, that is a good option) When you adopt from a shelter, you know if the dog is housebroken or not. (most of them are in fact!) All these things give you so much more information on how your life is going to be with your dog, than when you buy a puppy whose character and behavior is still a total mystery. It could go well (which all new puppy owners hope for, but is only possible with lots of correct and daily training) or totally wrong giving you a hard time and maybe even forcing you to re-home your dog, which will give you and your dog much heartbreak. It would also result in more dumped dogs in the shelters because they end up not matching the envisioned lifestyle of the owner. Be smart: Adopt a dog that matches your life! 

3. A shelter dog is less expensive to purchase than a purebred puppy

Adopting a shelter dog is very cheap! While a puppy with a breeder will set you back anywhere between 500 and 10.000 dollars, a rescued dog will only cost you between 100 and 500 dollars (senior dogs are much cheaper, and sometimes even for free). You also know if the dog has expensive medical issues, or has had a fairly good life so far and not too expensive in upkeep. For your financial situation is good to know what you are getting yourself into!

4. A rescued shelter dog is so thankful

A shelter dog has been through a rough time, and feel so happy to be with you in a safe home! They show you their thankfulness in almost human like affection. And a rescued shelter dog is just as cute as a puppy... maybe even cuter! No wonder the hashtag #rescuedogsrock and #shelterdogsarethebest are my favorite tags!

5. You become a shelter dog rescue hero 

When you do the right thing for yourself, for your community, and especially for the shleter dog, the feeling you get from that, is much more rewarding than that cute puppy. Everybody can buy a puppy, but not everyone can rescue a dog. It's a much more special achievement.This of course counts for adopting any animal: Cats, rabbits, horses you name it! And when your rescue a shelter dog we will salute you!

So rescue your four-legged friend from a shelter near you. And if you don't want to make a longterm commitment or want to have a trial period, you can always become a Foster Parent. Fostering saves many dogs' lives.

We loved our shelter senior dog Vito so much, he was the best. He passed away after a short illness because of cancer, 3 years after we adopted him as a senior dog from a shelter. Those were the best 3 years! We saved him, but he definitely saved us too. That's what shelter dogs do, they have a certain magic to them. Our current dog Bane was also a shelter dog from Animal Haven in NYC.. he chose us! and he has been with us for more than 3 years already. We feel blessed that we could do something so easy, with such a big impact

 

 


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

 


Organice 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


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


What is vegetarian cheese?

When you order something vegetarian at a lunch room, you probably get a sandwich or salad with cheese in it. But did you know cheese is actually not vegetarian usually? So all those restaurants are wrong when they serve dishes with cheese in it and say it is vegetarian. Unless they can prove that the cheese is actually vegetarian. Cheese might be the nr 1 food product in the Netherlands, every Dutchie loves it, and many Americans love their "Gouda" too!

What does vegetarian mean

First of all, What does "vegetarian" mean? Most people consider food vegetarian if  no animal has been killed to produce that food product. So with that explanation foods derived from animals, like eggs, milk and butter can be used as the animal has not been killed for it. But some people argue that the production of milk and eggs is also not that humane for the animals and they also refuse to eat that too. So there are many different kinds of vegetarians, that the exact meaning of being vegetarian means something different to each person. On the most extreme end is veganism, and vegan food which means the food has no animal derived ingredients whatsoever. There are vegan cheeses on the market. But I personally don't like "fake" vegan cheese.  A lot of times vegan products are too processed, or are full of fats and/or sugars to make it taste good.

Is cheese vegetarian

Cheese is only vegetarian if vegetarian rennet is used to produce the cheese. Most cheeses use animal rennet. Rennet is a complex of enzymes found in an animals stomach, to digest the mother's milk. These enzymes coagulate the milk. (separate into a solid curds and liquid whey) To get this rennet you have to extract substances from animal stomachs.... (yuck!) They are a byproduct of veal production. So there goes your idea you save an animal by not eating meat...

Vegetable rennet

Vegetable rennet is made from either fungal/bacterial sources or genetically modified micro-organisms. (different plants like figs, nettles, thistles, mallow, and ground ivy (Creeping Charlie) to name a few) Sometimes it is even made from the mold Mucor miehei or soybeans. These plants  also have coagulating properties.

GMO rennet

I was taught that there are even cheeses that are made with GMO (vegetarian)rennet, so besides checking what rennet is used, you should also find out if the cheese is made with GMO ingredients or not. In the Netherlands, organic cheeses and cheeses for export do not have GMO. The cheeses made in the Netherlands and sold in the Netherlands usually do.

READ MORE: The Story behind GMO

READ MORE: About rennet and vegetarian cheese

READ MORE: About vegetarian cheeses

Love, Lonneke
p.s. for the Dutchies: Vegatopia has a list of cheeses sold in the Netherlands and you can read about vegetarian cheeses ( in Dutch).
First published on  July 30th 2013, updated in 2019

Brain training: Play a game!

I want to keep my brain in good shape. So I like to do some brain training once a while.

The old board games

The old board games especially look great. I love the design of the games of the 70's and the 80's. The time when internet was not used throughout the World, and families spend more time together to play games at night.

I love to play Yahtzee with friends. You just need 5 dice and a paper to write down your score, That's It! It does not cost much and gives you a lot of joy.

When I was younger I always played the Game of Life. Trying to collect as many babies as possible (you would get money for that) and get the best job and best retirement fund. It was fun! Although my real life looks a bit different than what I got when I played it.

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

Brain training

These days we play more games online, in a virtual world.  I play online too sometimes, but nothing beats the real board games. Those board games, Jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles are all great for brain training.

READ MORE: How crossword puzzles may keep Alzheimer's away

Because playing games is supposedly good for your brain! I have heard that if you solve a crossword puzzle every night before you go to bed, it helps train your brain. That's what I was told when I grew up. My grand mother made it to 94 and she did crossword puzzles every day until an old age. She had a sharp mind even on her last day on this Planet.

Playing games

I once was addicted to Mahjong online for a while. I did it when I had to wait a long time at an airport. Or I would play a game on my Blackberry, like Poker or Brickbreaker, until I had a high score. Later on, I downloaded an app for Yahtzee on my phone, or played a slot machine app by Willy Wonka. But nowadays I prefer the games like the old days, playing with others in the physical World.

Games are good for relaxing, brain training, or just waste your time. What I find most important is that it is fun. Especially when you play games with friends or family.

Dust off the board games and play a game!

Love, Lonneke

 


Happy Thanksgiving with your Loved Ones

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and spend time with your loved ones. Here are 5 things for a happy Thanksgiving with your Loved Ones.

Organice Your Life - Circle of Five1. Organice Your Home for Thanksgiving

Clean up and organize your space. Make sure you have some  nice lighting like a fire places, candles or holiday lights.

Listen to beautiful music, like Maruja Retana's Thanksgiving playlist

2. Organice Your Agenda for Thanksgiving

Make sure you send your invitees a reminder of your and let them know if they need to bring something or not. Start planning and preparing your Thanksgiving celebration a day or 2 ahead of time. Make sure you have enough time!

Play an old fashioned board game with your guests. Not only good for your brain but also a lot of fun!

Or Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade!

3. Organice Your Self for Thanksgiving

Again, make sure you have enough time to dress up and look great when you host your Thanksgiving get-together ..Take a nice shower or bath, relax and sleep well the night before. Hosting and preparing a Thanksgiving celebration is stressful even though it is nice to do, so you need to take the necessary steps to make sure you make it through without a migraine or exhaustion.

Read More: Skincare

Read More: sleep well

Cook a beautiful dinner

Try one of the Organice Your Life delicious recipes below!

Starter: Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Delicious light, smooth and sweet soup, a great start of any holiday dinner. (click on the picture for recipe)
Apple Butternut Squash collage

Main Course : Can be anything roasted

Like a Roasted Turkey, pot roast or a vegetarian substitute.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Antoniette Costa.

Antoniette Costa's brussels sprouts

Sweet potato Puree (Remove skin of sweet potato, cut in pieces, cook in water until soft. Drain and mash. Done!). or Roasted sweet potatoes!

Cranberry sauce (Cook fresh cranberries in apple juice and apple sauce. mix when soft. Add honey to make sweeter if desired).

Dessert: Abigail O'Neill's Pumpkin Pie

(click on picture for recipe)

Abigail O'Neill's Pumpkin pie

Organice Your Relationships for Thanksgiving

Try to invite people who are likely to have a good time together. Think less is more, meaning focus on a few good friends and family. If you don't have (a good relationship with) family, or if you live far apart, you invite your best friends. Remember, family doesn't have to be blood-related: you create your own family of loved ones! The more people you invite, the party will become more work and become less personal. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for your closest friends and family, and just have a beautiful time together!

READ MORE: Love and Be Loved

Organice Your Good Heart for Thanksgiving

You probably prepare too much food for Thanksgiving. Make something with the leftovers the next day, or make a leftover meal for yourself, or for those who did not come to your party. ((actually, our friend MasterChef Brasil contestant Fabio Nunes once made an amazing Turkey for dinner, and the next day came over to make the most unbelievable turkey, vegetable frittata I ever had!) Just know that a lot of people are pretty lonely during the holidays. If you know of someone that is going to be alone, invite them to your celebration! You will make it a night they will never forget. Sometimes doing a good deed is as simple as that!

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Love, Lonneke

One of the many Thanksgiving's at my home in NYC with my friends Fabio, Carolina and Dominique
One of the many Thanksgiving's at my home in NYC with my friends Fabio, Carolina and Dominique
Another Thanksgiving with my friends Fabio, Carolina and Alessandro
Another Thanksgiving with my friends Fabio, Carolina and Alessandro