red heart with hands

5 tips for a Good Heart

Everyone wants to do something Good for others once a while. You can give money to a charitable cause, or volunteer to show your "good heart". You can just give away things you don't need to others who can use it very well. There are so many things, big and small, easy or difficult, you can do for others. Doing good for others feels good!

About Organice Your Good Heart:

Good Heart definition

My 5 tips to do good for others:

  1. Take care of yourself first. If you are strong & healthy, you have the best chance to succeed to help others. (Example: when an airplane is in trouble, you first put on the oxygen mask yourself and then help other passengers.)
  2.  Choose your focus. Choose your charity. What is the most important to you right now? Even if you want to, you can't save the World and everyone on it. If everyone focuses on their own subject of passion, there will be more results possible faster and without too much waste of time and money.
  3.  Find out what you can share or give. If you have a lot of money, you can give money. If you don't have money but you have time, you can volunteer. If you don't have any of those, you can share knowledge or connections. You can maybe share products or services. Fact is that a lot is valuable. Money or things like knowledge: it is all worth a lot!
  4.  Look around your surroundings and in your group of friends/relationships to see what is needed and what people focus on. Sharing is caring. Together you are stronger.
  5. Organize. The better you are organized (or "organiced"), the more success you will have.

My focus with Organice Your Life is to share knowledge and information. Besides that I love animals so I focus on charities that care for animals. Because Gandhi said it well:

Gandhi quote animals

What I support

I support most of all the Charities in my heart, while my focus is to support to a few local NYC charities.  My unwanted clothes ,household products and groceries I bring to friends, and local people who don't have much to spend. It feels good :)

What do you focus on?

Love, Lonneke


The best of San Francisco

San Francisco is a lovely city on the West Coast in California. A lot of people around the World know it as the place where Full House was filmed. But San Francisco has more to offer than the typical tourist hotspots, especially for those eco-conscious people. Luckily we went to visit our friends Jen Ferland and Daniel Zmak just before they were getting married, and Jen is like me a health-freak. They gave us great tips, and we also discovered a few ourselves! In total we stayed 10 days in the SF area.

Common touristic things to do

Going to the island of Alcatraz and learn about this once high security prison. In high season tickets are hard to get, reserve months ahead of going is advised.

Ride a cable car. Pretty cute way to see the city!

Visit the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, you probably have seen that famous orange bridge on TV before! We drove over it, but we also went to get a gorgeous view from the Presidio National Park in SF. On the other side of the bridge is a cute town you should go visit, named Sausalito.

Walk around Fisherman's Warf, one of the most touristic and busy areas of SF, but you have to see it so you can cross it off your list.

Visit the Painted Ladies. A row of Victorian houses, overlooking a park (known from the last shot of Full House intro). By the way, we saw much better looking Victorian Houses on our many walks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EL65KLdEHE&t=5s

Climb the Twin Peaks, and overlook SF. We thought it was nice to see, but very windy, as I had fear of heights I was worried we were going to get blown off!

2016-08 San Francisco Twin Peaks

Lombard Street: The famous street with 8 hairpin turns in Russian Hill. It is fun to drive down to show your manoeuvre skills, or just take a picture in front of it. A cable cart stops right in front of it on the top, so that's easy.

Coit Tower observatory. A little climb up the stairs and you get a beautiful look of San Francisco. (pictures below: #1 you see me after the hike up to the Coit Tower, #2 Coit Tower on the right on the hill, and Alcatraz Island in the middle)

Go to a Game of the San Francisco Giants, in their AT & T Park stadium which is located literally right on the water. You can also canoe like some people do, and catch a ball.

Well that's all great, but I think there are better reasons to visit San Francisco than only for the famous tourist attractions!

My reasons to visit San Francisco

San Francisco( SF) has a lot of hills. It is actually said to be built on seven hills. It is easy to explore the many different neighborhoods by walking. Yes, you can take the typical cable cars, but climbing those hills are a great workout for your behind! SF is definitely a place to be active. And being active is good for your health. Great! You can really get a good view of the cute victorian houses, not to mention get great pictures of those crooked houses on the steep hills. I know I had a lot of fun with it as you can see:

Every neighborhood in SF has its charm, and there are many neighborhoods all together! Great to explore on foot. Our favorites are:

Family oriented: Noe Valley. A nice flat area with a Whole Foods (we love that) cute houses and cafes, and a nice view of all the hills surrounding it. Oh, and the rumor goes that Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy, lives here when he is in SF. There is also a very fun store called Green 11 (UPDATE 2019: this store is permanently closed unfortunately), where they have all your household and personal items for you to refill your bottle or jars. Very eco-friendly I must say!

2016-08 Green 11 Noe Valley2016-08 Noe Valley inspiration

Gay: Castro. For the colorful amongst us, the gay-oriented Castro is a nice area to see and hang out.

Young and hip: Hayes Valley. Maybe my favorite area. A relative new neighborhood in SF, I love that they have sustainable fashion stores like Alternative Apparel, which is one of my favorites stores in NYC. Also seen are many juice bars and healthy coffee stores. The houses are cute, the stores are cute, no wonder many young and hip people gather around here.

2016-08 San Francisco Alternative Apparel Hayes Valley

People and Character: North Beach. This area is like little Italy with cute Italian cafés to get your morning coffee or a good pasta at night. It even has a Washington Square Park like NYC has. Great to walk around. You can walk to the Coit Tower from here.

Lights and fun: China Town. Of course no city is complete without a China Town. Many lights, and many restaurants: it's even considered the largest China Town outside of Asia, and the oldest in the USA!

Hippie Chic: Haight-Ashbury, The district in SF which is considered the birthplace of Hippie Culture. Great shopping! I especially loved the vintage stores, Wootbear/(like KidRobot, which sadly closed its store in SOHO, NYC) and the specialized socks shop, I found a nice pair of socks made of bamboo by Goodhew.

2016-08 Sockshop on Haight San Francisco

Beautiful homes: Walk around Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow and Nob Hill. The latter one is also a great place to stay in a hotel. We also liked driving around Sea Cliff, where many rich people have their mansions overlooking the ocean.

Historic ambiance: Stay at the Fairmont Hotel in Nob Hill (like we did) or have a lovely breakfast or tea here.

2016-08 Fairmont hotel 12016-08 San Francisco Fairmont Hotel roomservice

The vibe is great in this beautiful historic building, and in the hall ways towards the tower rooms you find many historic photographs explaining its long history of Presidents and other important people visiting. We had a room with a fantastic view of the whole city, with Alcatraz lying right in front of us. And did you know this hotel has like the largest Penthouse Suite totalling 6000sq feet spread over the entire 8th floor? Famous NYC Vlogger Casey Neistat was lucky to spend a night here:

[youtube id="8sqY6QXtTsI" align="center"]

3. Parks: We loved Mission Dolores Park! We were lucky to visit it on a Sunday, and locals were enjoying themselves in this parc, even having little picnics, like I am used to in Central Park in NYC and Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Alamo Square Park (the park across from the Painted Ladies) was under construction at the time, but that seems to be a nice park too. But Golden Gate Park is a must-visit, which is close to Haight Ashbury on one side, and the residential Richmond district, with the nice Botanical Garden which we visited, and the Japanes Tea Garden, the oldest in the USA.

2016-08 San Francisco Botanical Garden Bamboo

4. Drinks: There are other nice places close to the Fairmont to visit. The Fairmont has a famous Tonga room & Hurricane Bar in its basement. A place that serves tropical cocktails and food, and has a thunderstorm show every 30 minutes. Also across the street you can find the Scarlet Huntington Hotel with it's restaurant The Big 4 (named after the Four men who were for a long time reigning supreme in San Francisco). This restaurant is very chic, and the inside give you a feeling of going back in time. Usually a Pianist is playing. The "Top of the Mark" bar in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins (Mark Hopkins was one of the big 4) is also a place with a great view. I loved reading about the history of how San Francisco started, with Nob Hill and these residences in the center of it. I am sure our favorite areas I mentioned before have more nice bars, so check it out! (We just preferred drinking Kombucha and going to bed early to get a good rest)

5. Food: We were lucky enough that our friends cooked for us one night. Daniel and Jennifer made the best deviled eggs, sautéed scallops and 2 salads. We brought baked treats for dessert that we gathered on our walks through SF. I love their cute Miniature Bullterrier Tusker Bear who was best friends with my late Bullterrier Vito.

Even though San Francisco does not have a Le Pain Quotidien which is my favorite easy-going organic place to go to in NYC, there are other healthy food places to try out. Jane on Larkin or Jane on Fillmore for instance, is a hip place to get your avocado on toast, and glutenfree treats. The Plant Cafe is totally organic, and has many locations. Our favorite was in the Dogpatch Neighborhood (an upcoming artist oriented neighborhood), as the kitchen was extremely clean and organized, and we ate the best food here. I found that the other locations needed a bit of improvement on certain things after visiting it twice.

2016-08 The Plant Cafe Dogpatch lunch

We also found a French bakery with organic baked goods and delicious treats. So many, we couldn't choose which ones to take! The first time we came in, the owner was very rude. We hoped the owner (French?) had a bad day, and because her treats were so good, we decided to go back and give her another chance. Well... she was rude again! I guess she doesn't want customers coming in and buying her food. Anyway, if you don't care about how you are treated and just want nice organic and glutenfree food, BIO Cafe is the place to go. (picture is us trying out all the goodies at our friends house in SF!) UPDATE 2019: I heard this place went out of business,and the link is now a health page?

2016-08 SF baked goods Jen Ferland

We also went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's in Pacific Heights, and went to Gracias Madre restaurant in The Mission area, which we didn't think was as good as the one in LA, but still o.k. to go to. Their kitchen was very organized and clean as well. We also had a lovely dinner at neighborhood restaurant Olea in Nob Hill.

6. Shopping: Union Square has all the high-end shops, and is usually very crowded. There are many artists in the square showcasing their art. I prefer to shop along Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights in one of the many little boutiques, as well as Haight-Ashbury area for vintage and Hayes Valley for modern and sustainable options like Alternative Apparel and Amour Vert.

7. Nice unknown places to visit:

  • Sutro Baths. This historic landmark is nice to walk around, and learn about its history, built in the 1800's by Adolph Sutro, a selfmade millionaire. It used to be a magnificent glass public indoor saltwater pool, once the largest indoor swimming pool facility in the World. but a fire destroyed this beautiful glass and steel structure decades ago. Now you can see the remains, and enjoy a tranquil walk around, get a tea at the cafe, shop at the shop, or have lunch or dinner in the restaurant Cliff House. If you drive a little further, you find a beautiful beach as well, called Ocean Beach.
  • KitTea. San Francisco's first cat Adoption Café. If you want to hang out with the cats in the cat lounge it is recommended to make a reservation in advance, as space is limited for walk-ins.

8. Weather: SF is colder than for instance LA, and the weather even changes in what neighborhood you are. If you don't like the heat, or the cold, SF is the place to be. It is almost always pleasant. San Francisco does get foggy frequently, which sometimes clears up during the day. The valleys are usually more grey, foggy and dark, and the hills experience more wind and sunshine. it is always smart to bring a light sweater even if it seems hot out. You don't know if you end up somewhere more windy or cold. High season is not the best time to visit San Francisco. The best time to visit San Francisco is September to November. Tip: bring a bodywarmer like Dirk did. I borrowed it most of the time!

Best overall tip for San Francisco: Rent a car for a day. Drive all around San Francisco neighborhoods, and take a drive to Palo Alto, THE place where the tech World comes together. Facebook, HP, Tesla and other tech companies are based here. But don't dream of buying a house here; the prices for even a small house are ridiculous, everyone wants to live here it seems. But it is nice to see it all for sure! Also visit Stanford University with its beautiful buildings, which was founded by Leland Stanford, who started this little town.

 

2016-08 Palo Alto Stanford University

You can also drive by the little garage in which Hewlett Packard started many years ago. It is just in a suburban neighborhood, but it shows you that you can make it with a good idea, even if you start small. We did not have a lot of time here, but we had a great gluten free and health lunch at LYFE Kitchen before driving back to San Francisco. UPDATE 2019: too bad this place is also out of business, otherwise you could have tried the chia ginger cooler.

2016-08 LYFE kitchen chia ginger cooler

And when we were early for our car return, we did something fun: we went up and down the high hills of Nob Hill, which was scary and fun. All together we had the best day!

I hope you enjoy San Francisco just like we did, let me know what you think, or  love about San Francisco?

Also check out my articles about My Los Angeles Hotspots and My California Road Trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco!

Love, Lonneke

Photos Copyright Dirk Verest, Lonneke Engel & Organice Your Life ©


My Los Angeles Hotspots

Los Angeles (L.A.), the City of Angels, is a city on the West Coast of the United States of America.  I have visited LA many times for work, and this time I took 3 weeks to explore it in-depth on my California Road trip! Although it looks like LA is really spread out, it is in fact an area called Los Angeles County that consists of multiple cities (88!) like Beverly Hills, West-Hollywood and Los Angeles itself.

Day 1: We flew with Delta and arrived in the afternoon in LA. A nice breeze and the Sun hitting my face, I knew this trip was going to be great! We stayed at the famous Sunset Tower Hotel on the famed Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. I have stayed at The Sunset Tower hotel before for work (when it was named the Argyle hotel) and I remember loving it. A long time ago it used to be an apartment building where people like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor used to live. There is so much history in this place, especially from the 40's and 50's, and you can still feel it when you are there. Besides that, it is the first building that was built with reinforced steel, which is nice to know when you are in an area that is known for earthquakes.

We got an upgrade! A corner room with great views of the hills and downtown LA. It had a little sitting area, and a separate bedroom. The bedroom overlooked a big dogrun, which was fun, but also a bit hard as we had just lost our beloved dog Vito. One great thing about this hotel is that they are pet-friendly. So next time we will bring our new dog with us! We stayed here for 2 weeks and felt very much at home. Breakfast is in a really nice setting, but it's not the best breakfast I have every had (I must say). Roomservice is decent though! There is a mini swimming pool, and enough beds to sunbathe. but due to the small area most people decline to go for a swim. It is nice to look at though! Overall, I would definitely come back for the service, the hospitality, the nice ambiance and the good feeling this hotel gives me.

Day 2: I took time to recover from the flight, and we explored the neighborhood a bit. Even though LA is made for driving, the area where the hotel was, was nice to walk around. We could go to Melrose, and walk to Beverly Hills. Along the way we found a Le Pain Quotidien, which is always a safe place to eat when you are on a trip. They have organic bread and salads with organic ingredients. We did our shopping at Trader Joe's in West Hollywood.

Day 3: The main reason for our visit to LA was that my best friend of 23 years - Maruja Retana - got married to her longtime love Ross Palmer! She arranged a multi-day wedding which was so much fun!

On our way to the rehearsal dinner from Sunset Tower Hotel:

Maruja and Ross got married on Santa Monica beach (oh yeah!). A super clean beach with white sand just like you remember from Baywatch. Definitely worth a visit. Afterwards they had rented a nice house in the Hollywood hills with a beautiful view, and the hottest pool I have ever been in. Maruja and Ross hired a pizza chef and he made amazing pizzas fresh for all the guests, and the best gluten- free pizza I have ever had! Of course the dessert was Krispy Creme donuts, as those 2 are obsessed with donuts! (of course my wedding gift included some donut inspired gifts as well)

Day 4: We had brunch at the pool house. All the guests enjoyed the Sun, the pool and we made good food. It was such a nice experience as many of our mutual friends flew over from the Netherlands. It was great to catch up with them!

 

Day 5: Dirk and I met up with Maruja, Ross and the guests who were still left and went on a hike in Griffith Park. We walked all the way up to the Griffith Park Observatory and we bought tickets to see a show in the building. It is part museum and part a Planetarium. First of all, the walk gave us gorgeous views of LA, you can even see the Hollywood Sign (that means it could be crossed of the to-do list), but the show itself was unexpected but very nice! We watched the show that told us more about the Universe.

Day 6: after Dirk and I went to stroll around the neighborhood, with of course a stop at Urth Caffé on Melrose. They have good organic food options, I especially like the tea selections. This time I ordered their huge (decaf) cappuccino!  My advice: All of LA goes here so go there early before it gets busy. Afterwards we visited Beverly Hills, the City Hall and the Hermes store.

Dirk has a membership with a gym with a location in LA, so he went to train there every day. I enjoyed writing and walking around the areas with Dirk. We tried to find places to eat, and asked everybody in LA their favorite restaurant, but everyone we asked had a difficult time answering that question. (If you ask someone in NYC, they come up with a list of restaurants that you can't even try all in 3 weeks time!) We found a few nice places, by googling on "organic and vegan".

Day 7: Of course we walked to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Besides that I thought it was very unimpressive, I considered it a Place of Hell with all the tourist traps and homeless people that we passed along the way.  That is also Los Angeles: You can walk from one nice , clean super rich area, and one block further you see homelessness everywhere.

Day 8: we ordered an Uber and he brought us to Downtown LA. I told Dirk: "I want to go everywhere but not Skid Row!" (an area with many homeless people living on the streets) We were dropped off in a seemingly normal business area of LA, walked by the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry.

Dirk is a photographer in his spare time, and loves to take pictures. He was on the hunt for cool looking buildings like that building. But this seemed more difficult in LA. (I guess we are a bit spoiled living in NYC.) We did see an awesome art instalation at the Museum of Contempory Art, made out of old airplanes:

Downtown LA looks a bit more poor and unclean, with a few hidden gems, like the Grand Central Market,  which is nice to visit when your are downtown LA. One of the food vendors in the Market is named Eggslut, they have all egglicious dishes for sale. (They just opened a location in NYC in the Chefs Club Counter.)

When we looked on a map we noticed that the Art District was not far. We are used to walking as we are from NYC, so we went to walk over there. When we walked one block, we noticed it started smelling like pee. The second block we saw many homeless people, looking at us like we are 2 tourists who are lost. We asked a Police Officer how to get from there to the Art District, and he urged us to wait there at the Police station and order an Uber. Supposedly we had landed on the beginning of Skid Row. The Uber driver took us around Skid Row. Definitely not an area where the 2 of us should walk around. It seems many people have lived like that for a long, long time. I wonder why no one is doing anything about it? It is so sad!

Tip: Even though LA is a place you need a car to get around, getting around in LA without owning a car is easy! On top of that we discovered that Uber/Lyft in LA were very cheap compared to NYC!

The moment we got out of Skid Row we immediately arrived in a super nice area called Downtown Art District. Here apartments are millions of dollars, and again there is an Urth Caffé in a super nice art deco building, and a valet parking for the Urth Cafe visitors. It doesn't seem many people walk over here. They all arrive by car. This area has many nice old industrial buildings that are converted into lofts, just like in NYC. You can also find a few young designer shops around here. This place is definitely upcoming.

We had decided we had seen enough of Downtown LA, and went back to the Sunset Tower Hotel.

Day 9: We decided to move from the Sunset Tower Hotel to the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey. This is where all the boats are, and close to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. This way we can explore this area more.

The Ritz Carlton was nice because it had a lovely swimming pool I used every day. But the rooms were noisy, and it was definitely more of a fancy/luxury tourist hotel. I did like the restaurant a lot, for breakfast and dinner. The best part was that it was a nice walk from the hotel, along the Marina, to Venice Beach. Venice Beach is very much hippie and happening.

The vibe there is one of surf dudes and beach babes, most things are around Abbot Kinney Road and on the beach. Like the well-known outdoor Gym "Muscle Beach" . It's famous because of Arnold Schwarzenegger training there back in the day. There are enough vegan restaurants in this area, Like Cafe Gratitude. You can go to the toilet at any of the restrooms on the beach, but plan ahead as on busy days it is busy, and restaurants don't let you use the restroom if you are not eating there.

Day 10: I started the day with a swim, breakfast and off we went! Walking around the area. Maruja and Ross and some other guests who were still in LA joined us for lunch at Seed Kitchen in Venice Beach. it was a really cute vegan, macrobiotic restaurant but unfortunately they closed recently.

From Venice beach we walked to Santa Monica beach over the beach walk way. We walked on to the Santa Monica Pier with the fair, and watched the most beautiful Sunset. We walked into Santa Monica and had dinner at a small Sushi place which was pretty ok. It was such a nice end to our LA trip and say goodbye to the people we spent so much time with the past 2 weeks!

 

Day 11: I enjoyed a last day at the Ritz Carlton. Dirk worked a bit, and I packed our bags. We walked around Venice Beach at night, which was absolutely lovely. Especially the beach, and in alleys located between the cute houses, and the little canals.

The next day was going to be the start of our road trip!

Bye bye LA: It was good to finally really get to know you!

My tip for LA:

  • don't go for the tourist things (unless you go to Disneyland!)
  • It's nice to walk around West Hollywood towards Melrose and Beverly Hills.
  • Stay in Marina Del Rey as it is quiet, and you are close to Venice beach and Santa Monica.
  • Rent a car for a day to drive around, but mostly use Uber or Lyft.
  • There are a few good restaurants, but do some research yourself before you go.

You can read about the roadtrip and visit to San Francisco in my articles:

My California road trip, and My Best of San Francisco!

Love, Lonneke

 

 

 


My California Road trip

One Summer, my husband Dirk and I went on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I do think you need to do a California Road trip once in your life! And if you do, you have to do it the right way.

For a road trip along the pacific coastline of California you have to use highway 1, official name California State Route 1. This route stretches from just below Los Angeles in Orange County, all way up to Mendocino County, just above San Francisco. A road trip from North to South along this highway 1, will give you the best view of the ocean, but at some parts you are very close on the ridge of the beautiful cliffs. If you are not afraid of that, it's nice to start your road trip here. From LA to SF is also very beautiful (but you see the cars in the lane between yourself and the beach), Highway 1 has no alternative routes around Big Sur unfortunately.  So when a big forest fire was threatening the nature around Big Sur when we were there, we had to drive a long detour around Big Sur through the vineyards. So we haven't seen Big Sur, the place everyone wants to visit on a road trip. Although we did not see it, we don't feel like we missed anything because the whole trip was really beautiful.

2016-08 Roadtrip California 1

You can do the whole trip within a day, with 6 hours drive covering about 380+ miles, but I don't recommend it. We did it in 3 days, but I wish I did it in 4 or 5 days, there was so much to do and see!

Renting a car in California is not as expensive, even in high season, as in some other places like New York City. If you reserve in time, you get an even better rate. You can only rent from LA at the airport LAX, but you can drop it off in the middle of San Francisco city center. We rented a standard car, but got upgraded to a small SUV. Some people like to drive this route in a typical American Ford Mustang. A convertible is a nice option too!

During our trip, we stopped many times to take pictures of cliffs, mountains, beach and the sea. So make sure you have enough time in your travel plans to take it easy along the way, and enjoy the beautiful views!

We stayed a few nights in LA with our friends Maruja and Ross who were getting married. This was a nice way to connect again with my best friend of 20+ years, her family and our mutual friends. We enjoyed LA and we feel like we explored every neighborhood really well. We loved walking around West-Hollywood, towards Melrose and Beverly Hills believe it or not. Some neighborhoods are really cute to explore, and are easy to walk, even though LA is known as being a city to drive.

wedding Maruja & Ross

This was our itinerary of our California road trip:

Day 1:

  • 11am LAX Avis car rental: We rented a car at LAX. This is the only place in LA where you can rent a car to drive up north and leave it at another location. First of, we drove all around LA, the nice neighborhoods, Mulholland drive with the amazing view from the mountains looking down to LA, Beverly Hills, Bell Air, Hollywood.
  •  2 pm: We parked our car, and stopped at Gracias Madre for a delicious vegan brunch.
  • 4pm: We drove up North towards Santa Monica, Malibu. We stopped at a few lookouts for pictures. Onwards on Highway 1 we enjoyed looking at people on the beach having fun, the beach waves rolling onto the beach, and the beautiful mountains on our right.2016-08 Roadtrip California 3
  • 6.30pm: Within 2.5 hours we arrived in Santa Barbara, a little town with many cute restaurants and shops, I loved it here so much! We went to eat dinner at The Savoy Cafe, a cute family owned restaurant with a lot of organic, healthy and gluten-free options.  It was so good!
  • 7.30pm: We stayed at the La Quinta inn, which was 1 minute drive from the restaurant. It was cheap clean and fine, and we could park the car at the hotel. ( I had noticed a comment on Trip Advisor saying that the sound of the fridge in the room turning on and off was keeping a woman awake. Well, I was kept awake by it too, despite the comfortable bed, and nice large room.) We checked in and dropped our luggage in our room.
  • 8.30 pm: we walked from the hotel straight onto the Main Street in Santa Barbara. This is a really fun and alive street in the middle of Santa Barbara, that ends up at the beach and the pier. We walked all the way to the pier I loved how the homeless were creative to get money from people. They built games in the sand, so people could try to throw their coin on a certain target, which would activate something like music playing. This gave the people passing by a challenge too, and many were eager to try it out. The street had many fun little bars and restaurants. The vibe was really good!
  • 10pm bedtime!

Day 2:

  • 8.30 am: breakfast. The hotel had very simple breakfast. People could make their own waffles which looked cute, but we wanted something healthier. We went back to The Savoy Cafe for breakfast, and I ordered the Gluten-free Lemon french Toast, yum!2016-08 Savoy Cafe Glutenfree Toast 1
  • 9.30 am: Shopping! I had seen this cute vintage shop on Main Street, called Renaissance, and I wanted to check it out. There was a couch for Dirk to sit while he waited (sorry Dirk!) But we ended up having a great conversation with the sales person, and another customer.  They had so many amazing pieces. I bought a few (fake) pearl necklaces. Overall a great success! 
  • 12 noon: We stayed a bit too long at the vintage place so we had to rush to check out. And again, we went to Savoy for lunch, before we went on with our trip. I wish this place was close to where I live in NYC!
  • 3pm: Drive to Monterey. We first drove all around Santa Barbara to really get a good idea what this town is all about. Cute Spanish inspired houses with many red roofs, I really liked it! Unfortunately there were many forest fires in the time we were in California, so the highway 1 was closed off for days around Big Sur. We couldn't go there, so we took the detour route through the vineyards.2016-08 Roadtrip California 2
  • Sunset: We arrive at the Intercontinental hotel, which was on the water. our room was nice. Out of our room we could see the small swimming pool. We called it a night and ordered roomservice. We wanted to get a good night sleep.

Day 3:

  • 6.30 am. We were on the 4th floor, but we were woken up by loud noise and shaking of the ground. I thought we were experiencing an earthquake. I did not know what was going on, and it kept going for at least 1.5 hours. We called downstairs what was going on, and they would check. Later on it turned out some guests used the fitness area, which turned out to be on the 2nd floor. They were throwing weights around. The people below us must have heard and felt it much harder than we did. Also, the walls were paper thin, and I could hear the neighbor cough like she was in our room. When at breakfast we saw a seal in the water next to the hotel. The staff heard about our rough night and offered a free fruit plate. The town of Monterey is very much a fishermen's town, and I wish we could explore it more, but we did not have much time. We drove around though. (which is my favorite thing to do anyway).
  • 12.30pm: We had lunch at organic Tillie Gort's cafe, which was o.k. (UPDATE: after 49 years this place has now closed) The menu is very American, with a few organic and healthier options included. I wish we went to the Studio Cafe at Wave Street Studio, which have an organic salad bar. Oh well, next time!
  • 1.30pm: Driving to San Francisco. We could drive part of the highway 1 again, and enjoyed the views. We stopped at a cute coffee place that looked not great from the outside, but had the best gluten-free home-baked brownies! It was a gem, and I can't find the name anywhere on internet, but it was a little place stating "coffee house" on a sign that I believe was yellow.
  • 5.30pm: We arrived in San Francisco! Getting fuel and dropping of the car at Avis, and via Uber brought to our hotel.2016-08 San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Lonneke Engel 2

We loved this little 3 day trip! We stayed a week in San Francisco and explored it like locals. Please check out my article on my Los Angeles Hotspots, and my Best of San Francisco!

Love, Lonneke

 

 

 

 


Oven cleaning with lemon

For everyone who needs to "Organice" their home, and especially clean their home regularly, it is great if you know smart tips to make it easier and more fun! Here is another one for your oven.

OYL-Home-Banner

As you know I love cooking,as cooking yourself is just the healthiest thing you can do! But that means I am using my oven a lot so that it becomes dirty. But I don't worry, as I have the perfect thing to help me clean my oven faster and easier!

This is my oven cleaning tip: oven cleaning with lemon! Take a bowl that is heat resistant and fill it with water. Then take a lemon or a lime, cut it in half and squeeze the juice so it mixes with the water. Put the lemon or lime also in the bowl. Put this in the oven and turn it on until the water starts to boil. Then, turn off the oven and let it cool off with the door closed. This little trick will not only make it much easier to clean your oven, as the bowl will attract the dirt and grease from the oven, but it also smells delicious.

p.s. a lemon is also great to clean the top of the stove with. it is anti-grease!

Love, Lonneke


Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe

Everybody should take the time to read a good book! I just started reading this book about "The Beauty Diet".  It is called Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe, a guide to becoming healthier and more beautiful.

Eating for Beauty David Wolfe

 

David Wolfe

For you who don't know who this David Wolfe is, he is an expert in the field of nutrition, especially raw food, and what he calls "Superfoods". In "Eating for Beauty" he explains his nutrition plan to achieve beauty, and it is not about restriction, but about adding in amazing super foods.

David Wolfe

Institute of Integrative Nutrition

When I went to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, he came as a guest speaker and was very captivating. He was like giving light almost that was how positive he was about the World and food! He believes in raw foods, as they have the most enzymes and most life in them. (that means: not heated over 120 degrees Fahrenheit). He works with pictures called Kirlian photography, that show how much energy is in each food item. What you see in this way of photographing, is rays of light in different parts of the food. When you do this with raw foods, there are more and stronger rays, then when you do it with cooked or processed foods. You have to see it to understand so click to this page for the explanation: Kirlian photography.

Superfoods

There are certain foods that have so many good qualities, minerals, antioxidants or other good things in them, people call them: Superfoods. David Wolfe believes eating those kind of foods helps your cells function better, which could help you become the healthiest and most beautiful you can be!

David LOVES food, raw and vegan. He says there are so many varieties and colors in plant based foods, that eating these nutritious foods are like orgasms for your

taste buds !( his words not mine!) I think he especially likes avocado, as his nickname is supposedly David "Avocado" Wolfe!

Some say he says crazy stuff, but I think he inspires people to eat healthier.

Some things he says in the book stayed with me for a while. He is absolutely right: Positivity is the way to go about food, not restricting, dieting, or being afraid of it! Your thoughts, and actions in every part of your life are connected to the way you look and feel. That's what I believe too!

Here are a few quotes I thought were very powerful:

"If you want to become beautiful, you have to become that type of person on the inside first, and then attract beauty to you. It seems to work this way in all facets of life"

"The logic of "You are what You eat" implies that those who wish to become healthier should eat the healthiest foods. Those who wish to beautify themselves should eat the most beautifying foods"

I think David Wolfe is an inspiring person. Besides Eating for Beauty he also wrote Naked Chocolate (all about chocolate) and The Sunfood Diet Success System (in which he explains more about his theory of fresh, raw and vegan (super) foods).

www.davidwolfe.com

Love, Lonneke


10 ways to help dogs in need

Did you know many shelters in NYC and in USA have a kill policy?

The Truth about shelters in the USA

Some dogs that come in are euthanized within a few days or a week. They don't get a fair chance to get adopted. Many "mega" shelters get 80 to 100 dogs A DAY to care for, dumped by their owners, found as stray, confiscated by the Police due to abuse, you name it. Many shelter employees experience traumatic situations everyday, but pick themselves up by knowing that they are still helping the majority of the dogs. My first dog Vito - a Bull Terrier - came from a shelter in the Netherlands. When he passed away at an old age, we first fostered and then adopted our dog Bane. He was on Death Row at the NYCACC shelter, and Animal Haven shelter saved him just in time before he was killed...

Lonneke en Bane
My dog Bane

Sweet pitbulls have a bad reputation but are in fact great dogs

In the USA right now there is a big problem with pitbulls, American Staffordshire terriers and American Bull dogs. And any "scary" looking dogs. Not the dogs are the problem, the dogs of these breeds are in fact the most loving and amazing dogs I know, but the owners are the problem. In certain parts of the USA society, and other parts of the World, even in my home country of the Netherlands, people use these dogs for dog fighting. They look ferocious and some people own them only for that reason. These dogs are amazing. Why? They are so loving and so loyal to their owners, they will do everything for them. And even when these dogs are rescued after having experienced the worst they could ever experience, most of them can still get rehabilitated in loving homes. That's how amazing that breed is.The show Pitbulls and Parolees is a good example. People who are involved in any of these scams, should of course be prosecuted for these criminal charges. And never be able to own a dog in their life again.

Dogs in need are all around us

Dogs in need suffer all over the World each and every day. People are putting these dogs outside with no food, water, shelter or attention. Leaving your dog alone at home for most of the day is not dog-friendly either. Most dogs that have behavioral problems, are caused by their owners. Dogs have feelings just like we do. They get hungry, they feel pain, they get cold. Caring for a dog is like caring for your child. You should treat them how you treat your children, and how you want to be treated. It is no wonder that families where there is animal abuse, there are usually also other problems within that family. Animal abuse is therefore a good indication that these people might need more help. Sometimes dogs are wandering around as stray dogs. They are not neutered or spayed and therefore start families. Who then again are also homeless. These mutts usually have a hard time getting adopted too.

Must Read: 5 Reasons to adopt a shelter dog

Lonneke, Bane en Dirk
Lonneke, Bane & Dirk

10 ways to help dogs in need

  1. Firstly realize that dogs have feelings just like us. They feel pain, they get cold. Treat them how you want to be treated.
  2. More dogs need to get adopted, EVERYONE can help out.
  3. Think everything out before you get a dog. People should not get a dog if they can't give them a lifetime commitment, or a safe home. Most dogs reach an age between 10-15 years, sometimes even more! And if you do want a commitment for such a long time, getting a senior from a shelter is a good idea; You give him or her a few great years, and he or she gives you unconditional love and attention.
  4. Think about what your dog, or a shelter dog needs. Feed them enough of the right food, and give them the right (medical) care in time. Prevent your dog from getting too cold, too hot, hurt, hungry or depressed. Don't leave dogs unattended,  especially during cold and hot days. Dogs can overheat or cool down quickly and not show signs until it is too late. Make time for your dog. If your dog has behavioral problems it is most likely due to a fault of the owner.
  5. Don't buy a puppy, choose a shelter dog! Shelter dogs are a much better choice for many reasons. You know what you get, they are very well supervised and analyzed for their behavior, and sometimes even trained well! And one fact: When you buy a puppy: a shelter dog get's killed. It is that simple.
  6. Adopt, Foster a dog and/or Donate to your local shelter. You can even give dog food, new toys, blankets and beds. Fostering a dog really saves a dog's lives!
  7. If you see a dog in need, you need to take care of it and bring it to the attention of animal rescue organization in your area. Always think that you are the only one that will do something about it. Most people think; " Someone else will help that animal" and walk on. But in reality most people think like that and therefore many animals suffer!
  8. If you know of or see animal abuse, notify the local police. We need higher criminal charges for animal abuse and more people telling the Police what they have seen or know about.
  9. Become a volunteer at a shelter and walk dogs. A lot of dogs at shelters are 24/7 in their cages because there aren't enough volunteers. Even an hour a week would help out a few dogs!
  10. Use social media to bring awareness to dogs in need. Any like, click, share will help!

Here are a few shelters you can go to right now and help out!

USA:

NYC:

The dogs will thank you even if you help out just 1 of them. If we all do a little bit of work, we can create a big chance for all of them!

Love, Lonneke

Must-read: A Dog is part of the Family

 


Spaghetti Squash Pasta Recipe

If you crave a pasta dish, but you don't want to go for a heavy wheat pasta, than this Spaghetti Squash pasta is a yummy alternative!

Spaghetti Squash is a kind of squash that is yellow on the outside, and the inside is made out of yellow "strings" of squash. If you cut your squash in half and take out the seeds, and cook it in its skin, you will be able to to carefully scrape out the insides. You will see the strings, and the texture is a bit crunchier than normal squash. Add your favorite pasta toppings, and enjoy! I was so surprised how tasty and light this dish was, a definite delight for the vegetable lovers out there.

(This recipe has added smoked salmon, but of course you can make a vegan version as well.)

Enjoy!

Love, Lonneke

Spaghetti Squash Pasta Recipe
A delicious light version of a pasta by using spaghetti squash instead of real spaghetti

Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 2

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 3 cups chopped and drained peeled tomatoes.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 table spoon bouillon powder, cube or paste.
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole spaghetti squash (4 cups of squash after cooking)
  • 4 slices of smoked salmon
  • Handful of roasted pinenuts
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Instructions
  1. Cut the Spaghetti Squash in half.
  2. Take out the seeds
  3. Cook the spaghetti squash until tender
  4. For sauce:
  5. in a saucepan add cold pressed olive oil for cooking and put on stove on medium heat
  6. Add the garlic.
  7. Add the onion once garlic is browned
  8. Add the tomato sauce
  9. Add the bouillon and stir
  10. Taste the sauce, and add salt to your liking
  11. In meantime, in a pan roast the pine nuts quickly until light brown.
  12. At end add the basil and pine nuts and stir for 2 minutes.
  13. Serve the squash with the sauce.
  14. On top add the smoked salmon (which will get cooked a bit due to the heat)
  15. Add parsley, and black pepper to garnish.
  16. Enjoy!

Notes
You can make this pasta with pa pre-made pasta sauce you like.
You can make this pasta vegan by leaving out the smoked salmon
(remember the smoked salmon will add a bit of salt to the dish)

 


OYL Leftover Minestrone Soup

You know I love leftovers! I always find a way to make something delicious with it. A Leftover minestrone soup is a great leftover dish using fresh and leftover ingredients. You can even use the (vegetarian) pasta sauce, and the pasta you made the night before! Also, any vegetables left in your kitchen, can usually be added to this soup. So clean up your fridge and make a lovely soup!

Love, Lonneke

OYL Leftover Minestrone Soup
A hearty Italian soup full of healthy vegetables.

Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Zucchini chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cups of water
  • 1.5 cup of your favorite pasta, cooked al dente
  • Olive Oil (for cooking)
  • 2 tbsp dried Italian herbs ( a herb mix, for instance with oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, marjoram, thyme)
  • 1 Bouillon cube ( or a cup of bouillon liquid, 1 tbsp of powder, or 1 tbsp of bouillon paste, adding extra for flavor is optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions
  1. Put a pan on the stove and lightly sauté the garlic in the olive oil
  2. Add the onions and zucchini until golden brown
  3. Add the water and bouillon, turn heat low.
  4. Add the carrot, tomato paste and chopped tomato
  5. Add the herbs and chickpeas
  6. Let simmer for 20 min, occassionally stirring.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  8. At the end, a few minutes before serving, add the pasta and parsley

Notes
Soup tastes the best when it has cooled and is reheated. To add extra flavor to this healthy soup, you can prepare it the night before (minus the pasta, you need to add that just before serving)

You can add leftover (vegetarian) pasta sauce to add flavor, or instead of bouillon. Add and taste until you like your soup!

If you use dried chickpeas, you need to wash and soak them overnight the night before, and add them in the soup a bit earlier, because they need to cook more.

Other leftover vegetables you may add are bell peppers, celery, (cooked) green beans, spinach(add at the end), mushrooms, (cooked) potatoes, green peas, and more!

OYL Minestrone Soup

 


Coconut Water

I love coconut water! I predicted about 10 years ago in NYC that "This drink is going to be big in a few years!" And I was right. Although the USA has already grown accustomed to cooled coconut water drinks for sale close to the cash register at supermarkets , Europeans have recently discovered this amazing drink. Of course those living in South America, Asia and other places where coconuts grow, already know about the amazing properties of coconut water for centuries!

Lonneke Engel drinking fresh coconut water

Recently the public has grown fond of coconut water and many have even begun incorporating it into their daily diet. So I am one of these coconut water connoisseurs myself and personally enjoy drinking it first thing in the morning before I get my day started. Its revitalizing taste and ingredients also come in handy before a run or when I need that extra boost at work. Also, when suffering from hangovers, illnesses or burnouts this drink can give a feeling of well-being.

Contrary to what many believe this flavorsome water does not come from ripened coconuts, and rather, is taken from green, unripe ones. This is because ripened coconuts are higher in saturated fat whereas unripe ones are lower in calories, rich in minerals (including potassium), and low in sodium. These nutritious elements help to give coconut water an edge against competitors. Delicious!

Where to buy coconut water and my favorite coconut water brands of the moment

Because of the recent growth in popularity coconut water can now be found in most grocery and drug stores. Usually sold in cartons the following coconut water brands are just a few of my personal favorites I like to stock up on regularly (of course fresh coconut water in a coconut is the best).

 

My 3 favorites of the moment:

 The many health benefits of coconut water

Not only is coconut water rich in minerals and low in sodium but it is also low in calories. For instance, one serving (one carton) of Vita Coco contains only 60 calories. This makes coconut water great to incorporate in your diet everyday, or when you are on a special diet to get in shape. Another added benefit many rave about is  as mentioned, coconut water seems to help alleviate hangover, as it hydrates and re-energizes those feeling under the weather better than your average sports drink.

A fun fact about coconut water's history

Even though it’s only recently that coconut water has gained popularity with the general public it has been helping people for years. In World War II injecting coconut water directly into soldiers’ veins helped to save the seriously injured. This is because the electrolyte PH balance found in coconut water matches that of human blood. This little fun fact is just yet another reason why you should take a moment out of your busy day to sip on some delicious coconut water!

Love, Lonneke

Coconut water nutrition facts

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 79 kJ (19 kcal)
Carbohydrates 3.71 g
- Sugars 2.61 g
- Dietary fibre 1.1 g
Fat 0.2 g
Protein 0.72 g
Water 94.99 g
Vitamin A equiv. 0 μg (0%)
- beta-carotene 0 μg (0%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin 0 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.03 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.057 mg (5%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.08 mg (1%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.043 mg (1%)
Vitamin B6 0.032 mg (2%)
Folate (vit. B9) 3 μg (1%)
Vitamin C 2.4 mg (3%)
Vitamin E 0 mg (0%)
Vitamin K 0 μg (0%)
Calcium 24 mg (2%)
Iron 0.29 mg (2%)
Magnesium 25 mg (7%)
Phosphorus 20 mg (3%)
Potassium 250 mg (5%)
Zinc 0.1 mg (1%)

organic home cooked dog food

In the beginning of 2013 we adopted a senior shelter dog, a bullterrier named Vito. Little did we know back then that he would turn out to become a local celebrity in New York City. He had his own popular Instagram page on which I shared his life with followers. He even had a page article in the New York Post! I was working on a book about his life but when he passed I couldn't get myself to finish it, it was too hard.  I had cared a lot about Vito, he was in my life for 3 of the hardest years of my life. I felt it was my responsibility to make sure he would get the best care and love possible! I would like to share with you a bit about what organic home cooked dog food I fed him.

Vito the Dog and Lonneke Engel in the New York Post
Vito the Dog and Lonneke Engel in the New York Post

As most humans like to eat healthy food, it is also good to look at what you feed your dog. Have you ever looked at the ingredient lists on the dog food labels? Well, if you want to get a grip on your dog's diet, I recommend that is the first thing you should do. get familiar with the foods you give your dog, and its ingredients. Ask yourself what they are, and find out by online searching if it is good for your dog. Curiosity is always the first step.
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Just like with human food, in the dog world there are many options and opinions on dog food. Some dog food brands are healthier than others. Some swear by giving a raw food diet to their dog, others only give dry food, and others only cook for their dog. It depends on each dog individually what is good and what is not, and it is always wise to discuss this with your veterinarian at your next checkup. Basically it is also trial and error you find out what diet is best for your dog.

2014-05-20_1400587311
Vito in the Shelter before we adopted him.

When we got Vito, he was a bit overweight. He weighed in at over 70 pounds. I switched him immediately from regular dry food to organic dry food. In the USA I gave him the grain free dry food by Organix . We also gave him a can of wet food once a while he really enjoyed. I even tried at one point frozen raw meat that you thaw first before you feed it to your dog, but Vito became an "espresso machine" as my husband calls it politely. So we found out after trying a few times, that raw/frozen food was not so good for him, he was too sensitive to it. And my research continued. Vito turned out to become an espresso machine when he ate something bad, or when things were raw. Since he is a bullterrier and that breed is known for eating everything that they find along the way, it was hard to make sure he would only eat what we fed him.

After our trial and error period with Vito, we discovered what diet worked best for him. As we work from home, Vito was always with us. So we started to give him food spread over a day,  instead of giving him once a day a lot of food. When he wakes up, he would get a bit of dry food, because otherwise he gets acid reflux during a walk. Then throughout the day we would give him food after exercise, like after a brisk walk. Basically when we would eat, Vito would get food too. He knew that he can expect food after we have eaten, so he always waits without a fuzz, and never begged for food. He ate the food we would give him when he wanted to, sometimes leaving a bit for later. At the end of the day he ate just as much food as he would have if we fed him once, but now it was spread over the day, which we thought is better for his digestion. and it gave him something to do all day. This has made him to be a wonderful well-behaved dog as well, who knew what to expect. He never chewed on or broke things. His days were all about sleep, walks, playtime and food, and he was in excellent shape (until he got sick because of a vaccination, which is a different story).

Vito and his bullterrier puppy friend Darwyn
Vito and his bullterrier puppy friend Darwyn, November 2015

During the time of getting to know Vito we would feed him only organic and simple snacks once a while: He enjoyed raw carrots, bananas, apple parts, melon parts, cooked eggs.

After a while I was convinced I wanted to try to cook for him. But where to start? What is good for a dog, and in what ratio do I give it to him? My first step was to search online and see what are good foods for my dog. In the beginning I only dared to cook organic chicken and rice for him, as they vet always advises that when a dog has an upset stomach. In the beginning I would only give it once a week, but later on I started incorporating more foods to his diet and gave it to him more regularly. Vito was over the Moon when he smelled the food I was cooking, and would sit next to me in the kitchen.

This article on whole-dog-journal.com I used to decide what I wanted to cook for my dog

Vito the Dog in the kitchen waiting for his food
Vito the Dog in the kitchen waiting for his food

Home cooked dog food options

Foods I now use in cooking are: organic chicken incl. skin, organic chicken livers and hearts (organ meat not more than 5% of total food I give him), organic rice, organic sweet potato, organic squash, organic carrots, organic broccoli, organic string beans, organic coconut oil. I noticed if I cook low-fat for Vito, he doesn't have enough energy. So I add a bit of chicken fat that comes from boiling a whole chicken, and coconut oil. Also, when the veggies and carbs are cooked, Vito digests them well, compared to raw vegetables that come out the same way they went in.

I mix all of these cooked ingredients together in different combos, and it became like 40% of Vito's daily diet. In a cooked meal Vito ate about 75% animal protein, and 25% cooked rice and veggies. Again, there are many opinions on what diet is good for your dog, and what ratio is good, but we discovered this worked for us. He would still get dry food, but of course less than before. This way I knew he would get all the nutrients he needs, while I perfect my home cooked dog food cooking skills. I know that if I feed him only home cooked food, I need to add a supplement into the mix to get the right calcium - phosphorous ratio in his meals. I still need to learn more about a balanced diet before I can transition fully to a home cooked dog food meal. but the first steps are made!

Vito the Dog and his food
Vito is looking forward to his dinner tonight!

My husband was in charge of the vitamins we gave to Vito. Since he was older, he would get a daily mix of vitamins that were customized to his needs. To support his joints, kidneys, immune system and overall health. People are amazed when they saw how good he looked!

Vito is regularly checked by a vet, and his bloodwork has come back better than before. He is now on a healthy weight of 65 pounds, and still very active. which is good for an almost 13 year bullterrier.

What I want to say to you is that, as a responsible owner you need to research what food works for your dog. Some things I said may be great for your dog, and some things are not so great. Every dog is different, and different times and events force you to make changes to the diet. Again, check with your veterinarian what diet and supplements are best for your beloved pouch. But your dog will love you for it!

LOVE, LONNEKE (& Vito)

Lonneke Engel & Vito the Dog

 

 


Urban rebounding workout

I am not a big fan of working out to be honest. But I have to sometimes do it for my own health. I need to activate my muscles and my lungs so my blood can transport oxygen better to the essential areas in my body. I will get better skin, better functioning vital organs, and better muscle tone. But as running wasn't my thing really, I had to find a good workout that I like, besides walking my dog, and one that will be good for me too.

I discovered the mini-trampoline, or the so-called rebounding workout already back in 2005 ,when I started to join classes at my local gym in New York City. It was so fun as it is a workout for all ages. It works the muscles but spares the joints. I would go 3 times a week and had a very enthusiastic instructor. The movements were very diverse and not boring. I felt very lean and flexible after just a few weeks.

urban rebounding

Another good thing: Studies show it actually works the lymphatic system, that excretes toxins out of your body. And that sounds like music to my ears!

It is really fun so every time I for some reason had to quit working out, I would go back to my rebounding workout to get back in shape. When you put some music on during your rebounding workout, you don't realize you start sweating a lot. After 45 minutes of jumping fun you are full of sweat and the workout feels like it was no biggie at all.

It is also not really about how high you jump, it is more about how you jump. (you jump IN the trampoline not high up). It is easy, anyone can do it.

I first followed the Urban Rebounding system by founder J.B. Berns. I ordered an urban rebounder for home and watched his video to show me how to do it the right way. At one point I wanted to become an Urban Rebounder Instructor as I got so into it! But the online service wasn't working at that time, so I couldn't. But I still love jumping the trampoline.

There are a few rebounder brands, so you can see for yourself which one works for you! (see link below) The one I have now, the Urban Rebounder Gym, was $129,95 when I purchased it years ago. I am sure there are new ones available and probably different (and better) prices.

You can do it alone, or with a friend, both jumping on a trampoline. With my bff Maruja Retana we would together think of a dance routine, with the basic Urban Rebounding movements in mind.

For instance we would put a Song of Michael Jackson on, and then jump to it! You feel like you are an amazing dancer, because of the bounce the rebounder gives you.

it is so much fun and it never bores me!

Love, Lonneke