LOVE AND BE LOVED

Hello guys. Inspired by my life and love I have to share some words with you!

True Love

Everyone wants to love and be loved. I hear it a lot that isn't an easy journey to find TRUE love. Actually it can be really simple, in my opinion. Listen to your heart , to your true self that knows everything... it doesn't look that simple to you?? I will explain:

1. Love yourself first

It is impossible to give and receive love without loving yourself more than anything! Loving YOU first means respecting your opinions, your feelings and your wishes... and that makes it all easier. It comes from the inside out. Your true voice will talk, your heart will feel and you'll respond to your feelings.

 

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2. Finding love

I won't say love is around the corner, because I know we don't find it every time we cross the street. But when you find it, you will know. There is no other way around, there is no doubt! It is just there... it's not a PERFECT feeling... nothing in this World is perfect. But it is just right, just the way it has to be, it's just enough, it's FULFILLING.

I know, I know you must had heard that a million times: " one day you will find it"...

So don't torture yourself on your way to this beautiful path. Just go with the flow. Do never forget, YOU always come first.

 

3. Little tips to follow when you have found love:

  • FOOD tastes much better if made with love! So cook with your heart and for the ones you cherish. Try these 5 recipes for chocolate lovers (1 is my recipe!)
  • Give yourself some little "me time" once a while. Take little breaks only to do your hobbies, or something that makes you happy.
  • Sunbathe. You won't believe how wonderful you'll feel after some sunshine on your skin (don't forget the sun screen)
  • Be around people that make you feel good and share good moments with them!
  • Have a pet if you can... loving the animals is one pure great feeling!
  • Spend time with children! They make you happy, they make you LOVE them.

 

love my cat Ninis with Fabio

All those little actions will surround you with love and great feelings!  We know we attract more and more of whatever we're feeling or experiencing. So treat your whole world with love!!

The pictures in this article represent LOVE to me, including my love Fabio Nunes!

 

Love under the water!

Xo Carol

 

First published in 2013, updated in 2019


A Dog is Part of the Family

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

Dogs can heal you

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

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

My life with dogs

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

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

My dog Bane
My dog Bane

A dog is part of the family

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

A dog needs a lot of care and attention

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

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

Adopt a shelter dog

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

Check out my other articles on helping shelter dogs:

5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog

10 ways to help a dog in need

Good People help dogs in need

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

Quotes that I love:

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

And:

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

So true!

I love my dog Bane

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

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

And never forget:

Love, Lonneke

first published in 2018, updated in 2019

 


Why smiling is healthy

A well known song of Charlie Chaplin (performed in a very moving way by Jermaine Jackson, at the memorial service of Michael Jackson, and below by Nat King Cole ) has the following passage:

'Smile! What's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.' 

Beautiful, right?

Laughing is healthy, they say, but why? For many reasons, actually!

Smiling is healthy physically

When you smile/laugh (the louder, the better) your brain releases a chemical called endorphin. This is a natural painkiller and has a soothing effect, which lowers blood pressure. Laughing also strengthens your blood vessels as well as increases the blood flow, so it's very good for your heart!

It strengthens your immune system

Furthermore, your immune system is strengthened during laughing. Your body produces so called natural killer cells. This type of cell is comparable to M-O of the movie Wall-E, it scans every cell and destroys the 'bad guys' like tumor cells.

And gets rid of stress hormones

During a good laughing fit, antibodies are produced, that get rid of stress hormones. So laughing is seriously stress reducing! (In the clip below that fact is demonstrated in a very funny way :D)

Do the smiling test

Getting back to Charlie Chaplin, the good man was absolutely right. Even when you don't feel well, and smiling or laughing is the last thing you want to do, it helps when you just make yourself do it anyway. Slowly, but surely, you will actually start to feel better. You are kind of fooling your own body, but it really works! A fun detail (about which I could fill a whole other blog) is that it is not as easy to fool other people. A fake smile is usually easy to spot. Try doing the BBC-test  on real and fake smiles check how well your people insight is ;)

XOXO Maruja

Follow my work for Vocal Psychology, where I will teach you to sing your heart out, putting a smile on your face for sure!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rkNBH5fbMk

First published in 2013, updated in 2019

 

 

 


Beautify with essential oils

Today I'm going to discuss just a little of the amazing benefits of essential oils, particularly for your skin, and how I make the most of them in my beauty regime.

essentialoils2

 

An essential oil for every ailment

It's no secret that aromatherapy is a buzz-word for the health conscious. There's practically an 'oil' to help every and any ailment from the common cold to tummy upsets and everything in between. In the beauty aspect - everything from thinning hair to skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne to more beautiful nails can be improved by the use of specific essential oils.

My 20+ essential oils

Pictured are just a few of my 20+ essential oils which I've been collecting for some time now. I just love them! I use the oils after almost every shower or in my baths to uplift, re-energise or calm depending on what I need at the time. I also use them to ward of sickness or headaches for myself or my family. Popping them directly on the feet is amazing! Your feet will absorb the oils and transport them quickly into the bloodstream. I personally can recommend Young Living as my favourite. I've tried many brands over the years and have found these the best for both potency and purity. I also love their blends suited to so many of my varied needs. Of course there are many other lovely oils available from various companies. Only check that they are therapeutic grade before purchase.

Essential oils for your face

Just now though I want to zone in on what I do for my skin - the skin on my face that is! As many of you will know who've read any of my previous posts, I believe in beauty from the inside-out in every respect. What you eat really is what you'll become on the outside and what you think will also determine much of what is expressed in your person. There are few beauty 'products' as such that I would recommend one actually put on their skin. Essential oils are something I can certainly vouch for as enhancing my complexion, increasing tone, and evenness in skin tone.

Essential oils against acne and ageing

Frankincense is the king of oils for my face. I am totally in awe of it's effectiveness to lessen if not completely fade pigmentation. This is what I use it for most! If you want to remove age spots or scarring naturally, look to frankincense essential oil to do the job. This essential oil has been revered since ancient times as a healing agent for various conditions, and has been used on the skin for countless treatments. It has several different healing properties, including being a cicatrisant, which means it is capable of promoting wound healing and fading scars on the skin. I've never experienced acne or breakouts personally, but frankincense would be perfect for you if this is a condition you have suffered from and have scarred skin as a result. As well as frankincense I also enjoy pure essential oil of Sandalwood as an extra preventative measure against ageing. It's wonderful for wrinkles!

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my daily regimen with essential oils

I shower and exfoliate my skin to cleanse and remove dead skin cells leaving it silky smooth and absorbent. Then, using my fingertips, I simply smooth over 5 - 10 drops of the Young Living essential oil of Sacred Frankincense - usually I do this in the evening. I may also then pop a couple of drops of Sandalwood oil to any lines on my face, followed by some pure organic, cold pressed Jojoba oil. I love using my DIY face mist as well, often in the mornings, which includes frankincense essential oil as well with rosewater as a toner and freshener for my skin.

Any other questions on my choice of essential oils, or to experience Young Living essential oils for yourself, feel free to ask me via my personal YL page  here.

You can read more beauty tips I live by a recent interview for the well known Australian website Beauticate, here.

Love, light and everlasting beauty to you all

xxx Abigail


Organice my home on a budget

One year, we had a big renovation in our rental house. Finally we got double (or insulated) windows, central heating, a new ventilation system, new kitchen, bathroom and toilet, and new balconies. Everything was really old and dirty, so we were happy for this big change in our house. Not to mention the mount we would save on our energy bill. We had to move out for several weeks, and when our house was finished we wanted to make a fresh start!

Window during winter before renovation, window winter after revovation
Windows before/after renovation
Old stuff for flea market
Old stuff for flea market
Moodboard of pictures I've made (@ headquarter Humanoid) and pictures we found on blogs.
My mood board

We had the idea to change most of our furniture, but we didn't had much money. So what to do?

A few weeks before our renovation we had to pack all of our stuff in boxes; the house had to be empty for the construction workers. Best moment to make choices: what are we going to keep? And what are we going to throw away?

Or better: what are we going to sell? We wanted to sell all of our old stuff at a flea market, to create money for new furniture! We packed ten moving boxes, got one big clothing rack, and collected so much more.

With a lot of enthusiasm, fun and sunshine, me and my husband had a great day! Sales of this day? 530 EUR (715 US dollars)!!!

So now we had a budget: 530 EUR to buy furniture. We didn't want to buy new stuff, cause we prefer vintage furniture. We love the old look and feel of a used piece. We made a mood board with some pretty things, and then we went searching: flea markets, second-hand stores, internet.

And we found some real good stuff!

Checklist to organice your home on a budget

Old furniture

  • Collect your old stuff in your house. Take your time; do it when the weather is bad, or when you are bored.
  •  Take pictures, and put it on internet (eBay, marketplace, etc) so people can place bids. You can also rent a stall at a flea market in your neighborhood.

New furniture

  • Make your own moodboard. What do you like? Buy magazines, follow vintage blogs, look around, visit second hand stores and make pictures.
  • Make time to search for beautiful vintage furniture on the internet. When you find something you really want mail or call the seller immediately! Place your own bid!
  • When you want to buy something from the internet, don't check everything all the time. Check the new advertisements every day. Look at old advertisements when you have more time.
  • Take your time! You don't have to hurry. Tomorrow is another day to look around. Make your own plan, make it fun. But don't hesitate when you find something you really like: buy it!

Places I visited

I hope you are inspired.. I'm in love with our home on a budget!

Joey 

p.s. Visit my work at Haus of Joey!


Easy Clean with soap nuts

Did you know you can wash your laundry with soap nuts?

My introduction to soap nuts

WOW. Now I really know nature has it all. I'd never heard of these clean as a whistle little munchkins until I attended a soapmaking class. The information shared was AMAZING. Afterwards, people lined up for ages to purchase soap setting boxes, natural ingredients to make soap with...AND the best thing ever! SOAPNUTS. They look delicious don't they, & yet they are, SOAP?? Yes. Soap, in a nutshell! I'm still wowed out that these grow on trees (actually they are soap berries or Sapindus mukorossi) Anyway... All you do is boil 6 of them up in half a liter of water for 20 minutes & you have your very own, liquid soap. Strain before filling a pump 'foaming' bottle & keep near the kitchen sink, bathroom vanity or laundry to wash your hands without chemicals!


Isn't that simply 100% genius from mother earth? I think I'll add a little essential oil to mine...& apparently, you need to use it up within two weeks. That's because there's no nasties!!!! No evil preservatives. MMMM I like this soap.

Here is a little video for you to get an idea what you can do with soap nuts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q315kdYxr9M

More information on Soap Nuts you can read HERE

Xoxo

Abigail O'Neill


5 tips for a Green World

Most people want a Green World. But how do we achieve that goal?

I recently came across this quote by Carl Sagan on the Stop Fracking Instagram account that made me stop and think. I searched for more and discovered that this man, who brought the cosmic universe in understandable language to us, gave us inspirational things to think about and maybe even make a change.

A Better World

We all notice something is in need of a thorough inspection and update in our World today. The idea of making money, a career, to have a house (with a mortgage) and a car (with a loan), fame ( & power) and buying, consuming & owning expensive "things" is just not that satisfying for most of us anymore. And we see a LOT of problems unfolding in front of our eyes.

What is going on these days? What are the issues of our generation? Why are people worried and upset?

People see that the energy supplies are drying up and we need a new way of energy. People feel they can't trust anymore what they eat. Our food system is being endangered because some big corporations are trying to change DNA structures of plants (GMO). Nature is being demolished for industries worldwide. There are worries about the Climate Change and if the air you breathe is still good enough and the water you drink from the tap is not contaminated in the future. People worry about possible nuclear bombs and terrorism. Species become extinct, people are being suppressed in countries. (Gay) people are being bullied and attacked. Even pets are legally seen as a material object, a "thing" not a living being and part of your family.

The World sometimes feels like it is messed up

And we all feel this, one way or another. Everyone wants to change something. People want less stress, less responsibilities, more time to spend with loved ones,  more happiness, greener nature, less abuse, less violence, more Peace between people and the Earth. But most people wait until others to take the lead... But why wait? All issues going on in society are influencing us all, if we want it or not. We can sit by and wait and see, or have an active attitude.

Like the quote says:

without clean air and water all our dreams and ideas for the future cannot become reality.

And if we don't speak up what we want ourselves, no one will, and money will continuously rule our World.

But it all feels like too. big. of. an. issue. to. deal. with. and. to. fix.

Where to begin? I hear you asking.

It all starts with our excessive consumption pattern of this moment. That. needs. to change. No way out.

How to start living a better, more sustainable and fulfilling life for a Green World,  without coming across as a drastic activist?

Answer: One step at a time. Here are 5 tips for a Green World Inspiration:

1.  Information is Powerful

Read and learn about things before consuming something or buying something. I read everyday all day and listen to inspirational people, experts in their field, to learn about their findings. And if you made mistakes in the past, and people are continuously pointing out all the things you do or did wrong: focus on what you do right at this moment. People will always try to find something to bring you and your good intentions down. You can start any moment to live a better and a more green life to work together with millions of others to create a Green World! (Good news huh?!) I made mistakes too, and sometimes worked with companies that are not doing so well on the ethical or sustainable level. But the money I made I now put where my mouth is. Know that every day is a new day to change your lifestyle.

2. Each time you buy something, you vote with your purchase

You can either sustain or change a situation using your power of spending. When everyone stops buying products that don't have a good ethical side to it, producers will change to fit the customers needs. It is that easy. So next time you buy something. THINK about what you are buying. And choose good stuff! For instance, if you buy cheap clothing or fast food, you are likely to vote for underpaid unethical (child) labor, depleting nature from essential minerals, contaminating drinking water and bad living conditions for animals as well as voting for a bad health of yourself, to name a few gigantic problems our World faces these days. Cheap means, the money savings have to come somewhere. So you might have a fashionable shirt you wear probably only a few times. And then throw out (creating enormous waste). Or eating a cheap meal.  The impact on yourself and the planet is so devastating you probably would think twice to purchase it if you saw all of these problems that come with that purchase unfold at once in front of your own eyes. The amount of chemicals and genetically manipulated ingredients used in the production of cheap food like products and fashion is alarming. And it is in almost all the stuff you have at home probably, unless you live under a rock. So it affects ALL OF US. Choose wisely for a Green World.

3. Think long-term, not short-term

Some people think about the short-term cost of things, in other words: what does it cost today? While I always think long-term because that is the best for a Green World. If I am healthy and stay healthy for a long time, I need less doctors for disease, less medication, and that way I save a lot of money! I believe that investing in health, by going to doctors to manage my health ,and by buying good products in the beginning will save money in the end compared to people always buying cheap food and cheap products. Cheap food gets you sick, cheap products don't last long, are unethically made, and need to be replaced all the time.  Think about your karma, your conscience.. Can you live with the situation you sustain by buying that product? Your choice if you want to save money now, or your money, your health and your karma in the end. Don't you want the best for your kids? Think about every aspect of their lives. What do you feed them, what do you make them wear, where do you let them play...what quality is the air their young developing lungs breath... each thing, each action is of an incredible importance to the rest of their lives. Be aware, be conscious. Are you protecting their future? Are you fighting for clean soil and organic food, clean air & water? Or do you just sit by and watch the big corporations & government ruining it all just for the Sake of profits? For our children and their future: you can't stay in silence, speak up and demand better & healthier products, protection of people, animals & nature and safety all along. There is enough of everything for everyone and for our future, but we are all using it up now. Pretty selfish don't you think?It is a fact that buying cheap stuff will only give you short-term happiness when purchased. And it might give you a good feeling for a moment: the ones involved in making it are not happy at all. Let's be honest here: a 1 dollar meal or 5 dollar shirt sounds like a bargain, but HOW in the world can that 1 dollar product be made with respecting people, animals & nature? Answer: no way. And the bad ingredients in cheap processed foods can help you get serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity to name a few. The toxins used in producing cheap fashion can cause lung & skin problems and the amount of waste created this way... forgetaboutit. If you knew that junk food, soda drinks, buying toxic clothing, shoes and other products would be harmful to your health and that of your family in the long run, would you think twice about buying the cheap, unhealthier version?

4. Think quality, not quantity

While a deal of 2 or more for the price of one sounds like a great deal, it usually only comes for products that aren't really healthy or well made, and actually could be harmful to your health. While our society has the idea that "We want MORE" is the way to go, and buying lots and lots of things and owning lots and lots of things are the best for you, I believe in Less is More. Also, knowing where your products come from gives a certain extra value to the purchase, besides knowing you help a local producer and the safety of knowing who made it. That is true quality. I keep downgrading my life daily, so I can enjoy my life more without the continuous bills coming my way and the worries that come with it. So I don't have to work to keep up with the bills, and don't need that much time keeping up, and organizing my belongings. So I have more time to spend with who I love, doing what I love. It's an enlightened feeling if you can say: I don't need all that. Our family doesn't need all that. I am perfectly happy with the stuff I already have

5. Be creative

Companies have tried to make us all look the same: "We give you a lot of the same looking products and you all buy it from us, and you don't know where it is made, from what it is made and who made it". It is the easiest and cheapest for companies to produce this way. And the more you buy, the more money they make, which will only benefit a very small group of people. Also, these clothes have usually a bad carbon footprint (Think made fare away like "Made s in "INSERT SOMEWHERE IN ASIA") and create a terrible amount of waste. Just saying. Back to the "Be creative" part. I hate the idea of wearing an outfit and someone else walks by in the exact same shirt from a chain store. So I try to stay as far away. I absolutely LOVE my vintage shopping, the hunt for that one-of-a-kind piece, and buying from unique designers and local craftsmen. Less carbon footprint: a happier World. Also for furniture the same. Commodity is no fun.  Be original. Exchange products with your friends (and save money too), let people see who you truly are, choose things that are original, that are YOU. And u know what? People will recognize and praise you for your courage and your great eye and originality! Because most don't have that much originality unfortunately, but they will see it when it is in front of their own eyes. Bonus: being original and recycling products like vintage and antique is usually cheaper to purchase, create almost no waste. The clothes actually are recycled in the economy as well so worth more economically per garment (if that makes sense). It takes creativity, and we lost it somehow the past decades when industrialization and mass production came into our lives, but we can get it back!

The World is not lost yet, it can still be a Green World

We have been taught that our voice does not make a difference by the people who run the world in the Old Economy. It is quite the contrary. If you feel like you want to make a change, you can totally do that as every little bit counts.   Because all those little bits together become a big chunk. And people will notice. Companies will notice and will make a chance. Just focus, everyone has their own favorite issue they want to change. And yes, you might experience a bit of a struggle in the beginning, but easy things are no fun. Success is only satisfying when it takes effort to get to that point.

I encourage you to start changing your consuming pattern for the better. "New" isn't always better," cheap" is usually not right. If you only become more conscious about your actions, and the things you buy each day with the hard-earned money you made, we are half way there. Don't believe all advertising, some are misleading. Trust me I know. The way you consume things and leave your footprint on this Earth matters. Every positive little (green) change helps to change this society for the better. And people lead by example.

Open your mind, explore, learn, send out your message and connect with people who believe in a Green World.

And foremost: Put your money where your mouth is if you believe in a Green World. Buy from true organic & green companies, local farmers & craftsmen and buy GMO free produce.

The World is not lost yet. There are a lot of people still focusing on the money aspect of things (so last Century) But even the most corrupt and money loving people and corporations have a heart... somewhere. They just lost the right path a few decades ago, and can't seem to find it anymore. They only go for the short term profit; they lost the touch with the people who work for them, the animals and products they work with and the environment they work in. But with our efforts and little changes to a greener life we will push them to find the right path again!

Together we stand, all that is important is us, our children and our future.

Love, Lonneke

Founder Organice Your Life®

Carl Sagan quote 2


Avocado on bread

More Bread Please.. or not?

I  love to get fresh baked, organic bread.  Eating it with some fresh organic butter, yum! Many people say it is not so good for your body ( think bloating, gaining weight etc.), and some say it is especially a bad idea when you suffer from an autoimmune disease like Celiac disease or Hashimoto's disease. Scientists think people who have an autoimmune disorder like Hashimoto's disease like I have, have a body that sees gluten as an foreign invader and want to fight it, but accidentally mistake thyroid cells for gluten therefore also attacking the thyroid, oops! But I LOVE bread! How can I live without bread? Is that even possible? It is! I have been gluten-free and eating no bread for almost 10 months now on the AutoImmune Protocol diet, and it is hard, but my bloodwork does come back better with 35% less inflammation if I strictly stick to this AIP Diet. But I still crave bread every day. I think I always will have a bread addiction, even if I don't eat it. Let's explore my love of bread a little more!

Different kinds of bread that I love

The famous Italian ciabatta, the French baguette, the multi-grain breads that you can find in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden to name a few countries with great heave multi-grain breads. Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods in the world. Nothing gives a house a nicer smell in my opinion, than a loaf of fresh baked bread.

Lonneke at a farmers market looking at organic bre
Lonneke at a farmers market looking at organic bread

A few fun facts on bread

  • *Bread is usually made with simple ingredients, love & attention. You only need (wheat) flour, water, yeast and salt to make the bread. An oven to bake it, and some time to spend to make it. Bread is usually eaten the day it is baked.
  • *You know the French bread goes stale pretty quickly, as they are not allowed by law to use preservatives. That's why some French people buy fresh bread twice, in morning, and afternoon for dinner time (imagine the image of a French person on a bike with baguettes in the front basket or on the back of the bike under the carrier straps) You can revive stale baguettes by spraying it lightly with cold water, wrap it in a towel, and then put in a preheated oven on 350F for 5 minutes. You can also use stale baguettes by chopping it, spraying it with olive oil, and putting it in a preheated oven on 350F until the pieces get a brown color and become crunchy. Great addition for soups or salads. Talking about recycling!
  • French toast, a worldwide favorite sweet dish, is made with leftover bread slices. (another great way to recycle bread) Dipped in a mixture of lightly beaten eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon and then baked in a bit of butter. In my home country it is called "Wentelteefjes". Adding a bit of maple syrup, agave syrup or anything else sweet you like, it is a great Sunday Morning breakfast. There are so many different varieties in the world!.

    French Toast
    French toast
  • Another great thing is bread machines, if you are not that great of a baker. You can add all the ingredients and after about 4 hours you have fresh baked bread. There is a timer so you can time it. You can wake up in the morning with a great smelling house and warm bread! I can also add flaxseeds, raisins, cinnamon, nuts. Or olives, dried tomatoes for savory bread. The shape is not really like what you are used to for a loaf of bread, but it does taste good!

Abigail O'Neill shared a great recipe to make your own sourdough bread.

Avocado toast is my favorite

Check out this earlier article I wrote about Avocado Toast

Avocado on bread by Cafe Gitane
The famous Cafe Gitane avocado toast!

Going gluten-free

I was very sad when I found out I should not eat gluten anymore. I now only look and sniff at organic breads at farmers markets and bakeries. But luckily, more bakeries bake gluten-free bread, which is a great idea! You can also bake it at home, and I will go into gluten-free baking more on organiceyourlife.com in the future.

Le Pain Quotidien has their own loaf of bread made of seeds and gluten-free grains.

In Memory of Bread

To get over my mourning over bread, I read this great book called "In Memory of Bread" by a guy who was just like me obsessed with bread (and he was also obsessed with beer) until he found out that was exactly what was making him sick. (He suffers from a serious wheat allergy). His book shows him mourning over the loss of bread, his memories of eating freshly baked bread, brewing beer and his road back to health. While sharing reasons why he got to suffer from a serious wheat allergy, he is also finding solace in his gluten-free food future.

book in Memory of Bread by Paul Graham
Book in Memory of Bread by Paul Graham

I will always love bread, and if you can still eat it, please enjoy it as much as I always did!

Love, Lonneke

 


Travel Checklist

If you are going on vacation this year, there is a lot to arrange or to think about. What to bring? What to wear? How can I get my suitcase to close? A lot of things you need to do!

Things you should check before you go

Using the OYL Circle of Five:

1. Organice Your Home

  • Arrange for your house to be taken care of when you leave. Or at least let your neighbors know when you are away. This way they can keep an eye on your property.
  • Security of your home while you are gone: Besides having people watch your home, you can also set timers for curtains to open or close, or lights to go off and on, so it looks like you are still home.
  • If you need to have an extra key made, or have mail checked, arrange accordingly.

 

2. Organice Your Agenda

  • make a to- do list of everything you need to do before you travel, or things you need to take with you on vacation.
  • Check hotel, airport and travel agent along the preparation  to see if everything is going as planned.
  • Identity cards: Do you need a passport? Or is a drivers license enough? Are they both still valid?
  • Visa: Do you need a visa for your destination? If Yes, apply on time.
  • Insurance: Do you have a travel insurance, or a cancellation insurance?
  • Money: Is your Credit Card or ATM card valid? Can you use it in the country you are going to? Is there a sufficient balance on the account? Are you gonna take cash?What is the currency there?
  • Car travel: In Europe, if you use a car, you need to have certain things with you in the car in certain countries, like a first aid kit.and some countries you need a pass to drive on certain roads. Check on: www.aaroadwatch.ie/euregulations/

3. Organice Yourself

  • Do you need to get vaccinations for the place you are going to? Better check this first as some vaccinations need to be taken some time ahead of travel. So first check with your health care specialist.
  • Bring a first aid kit with you with basic essentials like aspirin, your daily medication, bandaids, alcohol wipes and definitely sun protection. maybe birth control like the Pil and/or condoms? And for girls: Bladder infection medication. ( I learned the hard way) Check your medication with your doctor if it is legal to bring to the country you travel to. Put it in your carry-on so it is easy to get to, and in case your luggage does not arrive on time , you have it with you.

 

Tips for your luggage

  • Do you have a good suitcase? Or is the one you have sturdy enough for everything I want to take?
  • Check the weather at the destination, and only pack for that. Do not bring things you already think you might not wear, as it is only extra weight for you to carry.
  • Make sure you don't have dangerous things in your suitcase, especially when you travel by airplane.
  • Don't pack too much, as you always bring more home including souvenirs. Make sure you don't go over the weight that is allowed by your Airline or Bus company. Check with them.
  • Don't put your address and contact information on the outside of your bag,( but do it on the inside). "Bad guys" might see it and visit your house while you are gone. And that's no fun!
  • Roll up your clothes nice and tight so they don't get wrinkled so much. Put "wet" stuff like your toiletry bag in a plastic bag, in case something spills while traveling. Try to use every space you can, like put clean socks in shoes to get more use of your bag.

 

4. Organice Your Relationships

  • Make sure you print out all your travel information, and contacts for your hotel, and travel agent and give it to relatives that stay behind.
  • If you have pets, make sure they are taken care of too. If they also need to go to a shelter for the time you are away, make sure you check the regulations considering vaccinations etc.
  • Check all above with your travel mates ( family, partner, kids) to make sure they are prepared as well.

 

5. Organice Your Good Heart

  • Give away all food & drink items that will go bad during the time you are away.
  • Have your neighbor take your newspaper or magazine subscription while you are away?
  • You can leave a present for the person who is taking care of your home while you are away, or bring a souvenir back from your trip. I am sure they will love it that you are so considerate!

 

More important things to check on the day of departure:

  • Charge your Ipod, Computer, iPad, Phone, etc...
  • Bring converter plus all chargers.
  • Bring enough to read
  • Bring some healthy snacks, you never know where you end up being, you want to be prepared when getting hungry
  • Always have a bottle of water in reach.
  • Hand wipes and hand sanitizer always come in handy.

 

Last thing before departure

  •  Everything shut off at home? Gas? Lights?
  • Did you close door and windows properly?
  • Last check of your checklist!
  • If all is checked off you can start enjoying your vacation!

 

A few useful links:

 

Enjoy your travels!

Love, Lonneke

travel-checklist


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

 

 


Ecofont

Save ink with Ecofont

How to save ink while printing

While reading Jason Mraz' blog (not only an amazing singer-songwriter, but also a good writer!) I discovered the EcoFont. This font was developed by Dutch communication agency SPRANQ to create awareness on our overly developed 'printing behavior'. Because there are tiny little holes in the font, you will save up to 50% of ink when you print out your document. In Holland we say: All the small things count!

I discovered this great solution

See the membership options of Ecofont. You can already get these ink-saving fonts for as little as 7 Euro a year!

Or download this Ecofont font for free

XOXO Maruja


Frosty Fruity - Raw Chocolate

I love to talk about raw chocolate! Check out my video and recipe below.

p.s If you would like to make this recipe for Frosty Fruity when you're going to have an actual frosty Xmas day, you can always swap the frozen fruits for some stewed fruit or dried fruits and perhaps some spices such as cinnamon, cayenne and nutmeg to make a more warming kind of chocolate treat.

Video of me talking about my book Model Chocolate and my health

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmVGozECa68

More raw chocolate recipes

My ebook with over 70 superfood chocolate recipes, as well as beauty, fashion, art and featuring some beautiful Australian models, is now live via my site abigailoneill.net for $25.

Love and chocolate xxx Abigail 

 

Frosty Fruity - Raw Chocolate
A delicious frosty & fruity chocolate treat!

Author:
Cuisine: rawfood
Recipe type: snack

Ingredients
  • 60g cacao butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tbs raw organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbs raw macadamia butter
  • 2 tbs raw dark agave
  • ⅓ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup freshly frozen mango, diced
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries

Instructions
  1. Melt cacao butter with vanilla powder and coconut oil in a glass bowl over another bowl of boiled water.
  2. Remove from heat, whisk in macadamia butter, agave and cacao powder.
  3. Line a glass dish with greaseproof paper and squander frozen fruit into the base.
  4. Drizzle raw chocolate on top. Chill one minute in freezer. Serve.