Interview with Wendy Parr on Vocal Health

As a singer-songwriter, I’m always looking for tips from people in the industry about vocal health and wellness.  I have learned a lot from my close friend, singer-songwriter Nikki Jean. After collaborating with Lupe Fiasco on his single  "Hip Hop Saved My Life," Nikki joined Kanye West's  Glow in the Dark Tour and had to perform consecutive nights in front of large audiences. One of the best tips from her and other singers in the spotlight, is the importance of vocalizing and diet. Nikki recently performed on the David Letterman Show and invited me backstage to watch vocal coach Wendy Parr warm her up before taking the stage. Wendy has trained an impressive list of talented recording artists across genres from Regina Spektor to Kelis. What struck me most about watching Wendy work was how much of Wendy’s instruction went beyond scales and incorporated a mind, body and spirit approach to mastering the human instrument. I interviewed her and wanted to share the advice:

Do you believe that diet affects the voice? And if so, what should singers strive to incorporate into daily eating or avoid?

Absolutely, diet impacts the overall wellness and function of the whole body so it's best to create a way of eating that supports your individual wellness, providing nourishment and vitality. Some things that adversely affect the voice: drugs, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, dairy and sugar. That being said, enjoy your life! Sometimes it's about choices and timing. Alcohol for example swells the vocal cords, this doesn't mean don't ever have a glass of wine, but it's best not to drink 48 hours before a gig or recording. It can damage, injure and just plain make it much harder to sing. Smoking and caffeine are dehydrating, dairy can cause mucus and phlegm.

Have you noticed a correlation between exercise, such as Pilates or Yoga, and breath control? Would you encourage your students take up either practice?

Both pilates and yoga are great for singers for so many reasons. I'm a big fan and long time practitioner of yoga. Overall wellness, suppleness, flow of oxygen to all the muscles, mental stillness, overcoming challenges, present moment awareness... I could go on and on…we actually calibrate the breathing by correcting the function of the cords and larynx. We are born with the body doing its job without our "help". A lot of learning is unlearning habits that get in the way and allowing the body to do it's job again…making music a part of your life improves the quality of life.


Wendy Parr, Vocal Coach

Should a singer vocalize every day? In your opinion, how much singing is too much in a 24-hour period?

Yes, working out daily keeps the singer in shape. Duration depends on the singer's skills and current health and habits. For new students who are learning from me, changing old habits and learning new healthier ones, I recommend 15 minutes of vocalizing a day and another 15 minutes of working on songs. Repetitive, attentive and effective workouts far outweigh long ones that reinforce bad habits. A little bit of quality practice daily can create major improvements.

Practice and growth are much more than just doing scales. Singing is about sharing yourself through song so many skills are valuable to develop - being inspired, listening to music, learning rhythm, how to allow your emotions to come through a melody, improvisation... creating a full and enriching life.

Is complete vocal rest before a performance a good idea? If so, for how long and to what extent?

This really varies on the singer. Rest is always important. Silence the day of a show, conserving your energy is wise (whispering is worse than talking), then warming up for about 20-30 min about an hour before the show, waking up the voice and getting physically and mentally focused.

Wendy is also a songwriter. Her song "Dreams on Fire," co-written by AR Rahman, is featured on the Grammy and Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. To read more about Wendy and her vocal technique please visit:

Interview by Antoniette Costa on September 21, 2011. Updated in 2019.

Fabio Nunes of Masterchef Brasil

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

1. Organice your Home

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

The Kitchen

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

The household

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

2. Organice your Agenda

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

3. Organice Yourself


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


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

Himalayan Salt Lamp

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


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

4. Organice your Relationships


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


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

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

Cooking with love

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

5. Organice your Good Heart

Giving back

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

READ MORE: The Heart of Fashion

Eliminating food waste and conscious cooking

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

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

Masterchef Episode 1 with Fabio:

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


About the Circle of Five by Organice Your Life

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

Interview with raw vegan ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier

Organice Your Life is a place where I feature interesting people from all walks of life and in all fields of expertise. 

Interview with Brendan Brazier

Lonneke Engel interviews Brendan Brazier, Ironman Triathlete, plant-based nutrition expert and Vega founder. The location is  Candle Cafe West in NYC a delicious vegan restaurant!

Check out Lonneke visiting vegan sister restaurant Candle 79

Check out Lonneke's 10 vegan friendly restaurants in NYC featuring Candle Cafe. 

Read more about Brendan Brazier



first published in 2012

Interview with Infinity, Multi-Platinum Grammy Award-Winning Producer

I am so excited for the chance to interview the talented multi-platinum Grammy award-winning producer, Infinity, who is credited with hits for Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Lupe Fiasco, Bow Wow and Omarion, Chingy, Raven Symone, Ludacris, Flo Rida, Ciara, Melanie Fiona, Jacob Latimore, and many more.  Most notably, his first placement was "Take Me As I Am" for Mary J. Blige, which quickly shot up the Rnb/Rap charts to #3 and to #1 on Adult AC.  This hit led to his Grammy award winning album "The Breakthrough,” the opportunity to work closely with Atlantic Records to craft the smash hit for Lupe Fiasco's LP, "1st and 15th" album, "DayDreaming.”  His latest accomplishments include "Shattered" from the Backstreet Boys’ newest album, "Echo", and "Banging the Headboard" on R. Kelly's album "Untitled.”

Hey Infinity! So…tell us about yourself - your background and how you came to be such a successful multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning producer.

I’m a Sagittarius for starters! (born December 2nd)  I was born in Connecticut, and moved all around from Florida to Atlanta to my home now - LA.  I’m really laid back and down to earth. On the music side, I've been producing for 7 years now. I started off playing drums at the age of 4. I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock, i.e., The Beatles, Yes, The Who, & Squeez. Somewhere in between the 14 years of me playing everything but urban music, I made the transition to the urban world when I moved to Orlando at 16.  From then on, I just worked to perfect my craft, and in 2005, I got my first official placement.

So you’ve had a very successful career as a music producer.  What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far and why?

My first ever placement led me to win a Grammy.  It was for Mary J. Blige's "Take Me As I Am.” The album won a Grammy for best R&B album and sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Prior to this placement, I ran into so much drama with all types of people in the "business" who said they could take my career higher.  So I think this was important to me because when I got this song placed it made me feel like everything before happened for a reason.  I had to jump over a few hurdles. All this nonsense that I went through turned out to be a huge milestone for my career.

You definitely lead a very busy life.  Can you tell us what you try to do to keep healthy and fit even though your job requires you to work long hours in the studio?

It’s been tough over the years to keep a consistent and healthy lifestyle while being in the studio anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day. That being said, I had to start making sure I watch what I eat, and when I eat.  Studios are known for junk food!  It’s about understanding the consequences of eating at 2 am. What really helps is that I bought a BBQ grill for the studio. I eat mainly grilled chicken and chicken dogs (way better than beef or turkey).  Now I just have to learn to hit the gym four times a week!  If I can do that I’ll be in great condition, ha!

Good luck!  Try not to stay so late working at the studio, or actually early mornings, at 7am!  Thanks for sharing with us.  We really look forward to seeing more of your stuff in the near future and hearing of your success!

Read more about dj Infinity (real name Jordan Suecof)

first published in 2012

Interview with Dutch Olympic Swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo

Organice Your Life is a place where I feature interesting people from all walks of life and in all fields of expertise. 

Interview with Ranomi Kromowidjojo

When I visited my hometown of Eindhoven, I met up with dutch Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

Read more about Ranomi's successes and life story

Follow Ranomi on Twitter

Follow Ranomi on Instagram


Love, Lonneke

first published in 2012

Beau Young: Peace be with you.

A conversation with Beau Young

The name Beau Young conjures up a gorgeous image which inspires me! It's one of my favourite Aussie surfer, poised on the nose of his 9.4 surfboard, five toes over, left leg bent behind him from the knee with foot raised behind him, arms outstretched - 'crucifix five.'

How is it that I was the spoiled model who, just this morning, managed to catch a wave and speak a few words with someone that cool. In 2004 Beau Young won the world longboarding championships for his strong yet finesse surfing.

These days, Beau is pretty much a singer and songwriter full time, and - as I found out – the most passionate of animal lovers!

To refresh my memory, I played Beau's first CD 'Waves of Change' on the drive to meet him. I wanted to get a feel for his style, his emphasis on life through the words of the songs. His voice is 'Bob Dylan-ish', it's raspy tones likeable with his unpredictable emphasis, you can sure sure hear 'soul'. I played my favourite song on the disc, 'Peace Be With You' twice. It's catchy, it's kind of surfy, it's fun... 'As the last wave of summer, rolls on, along... don't waste a second, coz when it's gone it's gone... Let your future, break on down the line... Peace be with you, in your time...'

Of course I brought chocolate. I found out his favourite flavour (Beau loves white chocolate!) the day previously, and made a natural variation which I'll share the recipe for in another post soon. Chilled bottles of freshly made almond milk went down well before the surf, and we enjoyed blueberries, organic apples and my cinnamon tahini cream.

We chatted like old friends. Beau's dogs name is D-Dawgitty. He is a Yogi. He has a spot right between the ears, and loves my chocolate. Beau is so crazy mad about animals, and
lately he's written over 80 kids songs with different animalistic impersonations! I was intrigued.

So apparently lots had happened since 'Waves of Change'! As well as working on a few mainstream music albums, Beau now has a music dimension just devoted to children. His band is called ANIMALS ROCK. He played me a few new songs he'd been working on from his Iphone as well as surprising me with a gift of two childrens CD's, 'Farm Animals', and 'Wild Animalz'... he sure can impersonate some wild noises with that voice! He dresses up in animal suits too. Wow, nothing could have prepared me for this. This guy is seriously amazing.

I began by asking him what it was about kids & animals that motivated him, a world champion longboard surfer to reach out to them?
Kids are our future and they are so so intelligent from such a young age these days. Instilling a love of the natural world, our environment and our fantastic, remarkable extended family - that is the animal kingdom - on the youngest of generation gives me more pleasure than I could have ever imagined!

I wondered how Beau envisaged his work for the future? What it was that he dreamed of, and what, he would change if he could, today?
“There are so many things I would change today if I had the chance. For a start I would be playing music to millions of kids and instilling the importance of love and understanding and all the proceeds would go to great causes. Today if I had my way (the government already knows this is possible) I would have only air and water powered cars, wind and solar would be the only method of obtaining energy and everyone on any income could have there needs met. People with too much would be encouraged to give to those in need. This is a very broad question but for a start there would not be one more hole put in our earth via the coal seam gas fracking process. One more hole they would say and I would scream “No fracking way my friends.”

Beau had a few words to say on the phrase 'Organice Your Life, World' ~ His mind runs so expressively...
“To me to OYW sounds like a universal understanding that together we are one. No segregation due to skin colour, race, religion or monetary income. Everyone together. The world as we know it has a very small voice and the voice should not only sit with the few. They say charity starts at home and with the family. Well this world is our home and and we are all in this together. The one thing we truly need is to look inside ourselves and from there our environment, how fortunate we are and deep down understand that it may begin at how but I swear this planet feels like it has less than 6 degree's of separation and you know what everyone I happen to talk to these days ultimately feel the same way. So just when you thought this world was spinning faster and crazier than ever, it turns out - we're all grounded and believing in the same positive vibe.” As he spoke I could hear the lyrics from 'Peace Be With You' playing in my head, 'Doin' it ain't so difficult, couse we'll all be honding hands... Doin' it ain't so difficult, but we only got this one chance...'

Any health tips from Beau Young?... Organice Your Life readers might like to know?...
“For me and how I like to feel, it's all about yoga, exercising once a day and eating well. I like to try and stay strong and positive in mind and body as much as possible. I think it tends to keep everything on an even keel. It ain't easy but just like love, there really is no other solution than the positive. Hiccups occur and things happen all the time, the bright side of life definitely is the way and I can breathe it all in through a slow Hatha yoga and meditation session at any time of the day; and just like surfing I can take that emotion and empowerment with me.”

Beau dedicates monies from his work to charities for endangered animals, and for children who are deaf and hearing impaired. It seems if he can't touch them with his music, he'll touch them – with his heart.

First published in 2012, updated in 2019


OYL Circle of Five by Wubbo Ockels

The 5 steps of the Organice Your Life Circle of Five can help you organize and improve your home, your finances, your career, your health, your relationships and you supporting others. How are other people doing it? We ask them!

Organice Your Life Circle of Five: Wubbo Ockels


Organice Your Home:

“I have solar panels on my house. I also sold my 4 cars and now
 I don’t own any car. I take my bike everywhere, or I take public transportation if I have to go somewhere far."

Organice Your Agenda:

“I like giving lectures and teaching, especially to young children because they soak up the things they hear. I think education is something we should really put time into. I also think that the
 term “profit” making is shifting away from simply meaning money making and more towards making friends and doing the things that you love to do.”

Organice Yourself:

“I like going out, and I love dance music with a groove. For instance, the Supperclub in Amsterdam is a spot I like to go to with friends. O also like the Supperclub cd dJ Jorg made a lot. Without groovy music, I get sleepy.”

Organice Your Relationships:

“I've known my wife Joos for 47 years, and we’ve been married for 42 of those years. We have 2 children: our son Martin (30) & our daughter Gean (37). We have 2 grandchildren ages 6 and 1. and two bosom friends 
a man and a woman. I also enjoy spending time with young & fun people, it keeps me young as well!”

Organice Your Good Heart:

“A lot of the projects I am affiliated with are non-profit, like Happy Energy and the Frisian Solar Challenge."

Amsterdam, May 21st 2011 


In Memoriam Wubbo OckelsWubbo Ockels March 28th 1946 -  May 18th 2014

Read Wubbo Ockels' In Memoriam on the website of Happy Energy.

OYL Checklist - Wubbo Ockels May 21st 2011

OYL interview with Wubbo Ockels by Lonneke Engel May 21st 2011

Wubbo Ockels: Goodbye with a smile May 18th 2014

Text by Lonneke Engel. Photos by Alique. Copyright Organice Your Life®


OYL Checklist - Wubbo Ockels

We ask our most inspiring people what personal things they have on their checklist. This is the checklist of late dutch Space Shuttle astronaut Wubbo Ockels.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Organice Your Life Checklist - Wubbo Ockels


“Purple Rain” by Prince. I took it with me to Space, it was and still is my favorite song and a strong human expression.”


“I got the Happy Energy logo tattooed on my arm, it was a present for my 65th birthday.”


“I like fish, especially prepared the way they do it in the South of Italy. I also like risotto.”


“I think fashion is the way to get young people excited to make changes in their lives. that’s the reason Happy Energy works together with other companies 
to create nice clothing, maybe even from recycled and/or organic fabrics.”


“’The Age of Stupid’ by Franny Armstrong.”


“I am dyslectic so I don’t like to read that much. However, my daughter wrote 
a book about my life called: “the Seven lives of Wubbo Ockels” (7 levens van Wubbo Ockels) about all the really unbelievable, life- threatening situations I have been in in my life. Including the issue with the Challenger.”

Inspired by:

“W. Herman Sheer, a german politician that promoted sustainability. Fritz Butcher, a biochemist who was part of the Club of Rome.”


“Perspective beyond today’s problems gives you the power to solve them.” and I also 
like the one that John F. Kennedy said: “We choose to go to the Moon [We choose to do these things] “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Amsterdam, May 21st 2011

Wubo Ockels - Goodbye with a SmileWubbo Ockels March 28th 1946 –  May 18th 2014

Read Wubbo Ockels’ In Memoriam on the website of Happy Energy.

Interview Wubbo Ockels by Lonneke Engel, May 21st 2011

OYL Circle of Five by Wubbo Ockels May 21st 2011

Wubbo Ockels: Goodbye with a smile May 18th 2014

 Text by Lonneke Engel. Photos by Alique. Copyright Organice Your Life®

Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Wubbo Ockels Interview by Lonneke Engel

Prof. Dr. Wubbo J. Ockels (1946) is a brand in itself. His track record is impressive. He was the first Dutchman in Space aboard the last successful trip of the Space Shuttle challenger before it exploded on its 23rd flight. Wubbo Ockels is a physicist, a professor at TU delft University of Technology, director of ASSET (applied Sustainable Science, Engineering and technology), and not only that: Wubbo Ockels is THE man who has put sustainable energy on the agenda in the Netherlands and beyond. In addition, Wubbo Ockels has survived many life- threatening situations, including an airplane crash and having his heart stop beating for 6 minutes.

But that doesn’t stop this optimistic “Energy Hero”. He started many international power projects including the Superbus, the Ecolution Ship, the Nuon Solar team challenge, and most recently his “Happy Energy” project. He does all this while dancing his way through life and enjoying it to the utmost, surrounding himself with the young people of our future, sometimes even at the Supperclub in Amsterdam. It certainly doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop anytime soon. “optimism is a responsibility one cannot win without” is his motto, along with “if the world ends today, I’ll be ok because i am happy with the way I lived my life”. OYL is ready to get a lesson in living a sustainable, successful, and happy life.


Interview Lonneke Engel with Wubbo Ockels

Let’s go back to the beginning when it all started. You were the first Dutch person to go into Space. Have you always been interested in going to Space?

I wasn’t particularly interested in Space in the beginning. in reality, what happened was that one day, I came across an advertisement from the European Space Agency (ESA), looking for people who would want to go “to Space”. I signed up. I think it was a bit of a coincidence. I think I was a difficult student in school. I was even thrown out of High School at some point, but I followed my own talent for physics, and later on I even graduated Cum Laude from the University, and that got me the chance to go to Space. I think you need a bit of luck in your life, and to be able to catch opportunities when they come your way.

Wubbo Ockels by photographer AliqueYou went to Space in a space shuttle about 26 years years ago, in 1985. Can you tell us what it feels like to travel there, and to see things from that perspective?

The take off was really intense. But then, you get the first view of the Earth, and it is overwhelming - you feel extraterrestrial. it is something you have to experience to understand. on that note: I have ambivalent feelings about commercial Space travel. When you see the Earth like that, you get an even stronger desire to protect our planet. But on the other hand, we travel too much already. it is a consuming activity and one that is bad for the environment. Do we really need to start regular flights into Space? don’t people just want to escape their environment for something new? that is something we should think about. But the view is amazing, that is for sure.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Perhaps there is some inherent risk in flying to Space as well? I mean, The flight you were on was the 22nd flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger, flight STS-61a. That was the last successful flight of the Challenger before it exploded mid-flight killing 7 crew members including your roommate Dick Scobee. It was one of the great “challenges” in your life so far. How did you react to it when you heard the news? Did you feel like you escaped a disaster? And will flying into space always be dangerous?

I learned about the Challenger’s disaster when I saw film crews at my house. I asked my wife if there was something wrong with our kids. I was relieved to discover that that was not the case. then I was told about the explosion and about the death of the 7 crew members, and the passing of my roommate, Dick. I felt really sad. My 2nd emotion later on was that I got angry. As it turned out, there was a design flaw in the solid rocket boosters that could have been prevented. Later, we found out that
of the 23 flights of the challenger, 8 had issues with this problem, including my flight. So this disaster could have struck on any one of those flights. So yes, I feel extremely lucky that I am still here. Later on, I was impressed by NASA - they did some very good and thorough research on the Challenger.

One of the reasons NASA sends Space Shuttles (although now the program is almost discontinued), is to do experiments. What do you think has been the most important result to come from those experiments?

I think the Hubble Telescope has given us so many insights and beautiful images of the Universe. It might have raised more questions than answers. On my flight I was most fascinated by the Human Being experiments, like awareness of state and position, and reflexes, etc. take the “Gaze Experiment”: When you focus on a spot, and close your eyes, you know where it is when you are on Earth. But in Space, you can’t do it. It has to do with time maybe? it made me think differently the rest of my life, and it made me think differently about our notion of time.

What do you think the future of Space travel will be?

In the next 20 years, commercial Space flights will grow enormously. But we can’t afford the rocket launches since they require large amounts of fuel and are hazardous to our environment. So, I think we are going to use cables to basically “lift” us into Space, using nano tubes made of strong fibers. I think this technique will also be developed more in the coming years. I might go on one of the first commercial flights that will take off from Curaçao, but only on the condition that they use their profits to clean up Curaçao and make it a nicer place.

Do you believe in life outside of Earth?

I think it is unacceptable that we think we are the only ones who are aware of the “Cosmos”. Extraterrestrial life is all around us. We just see what we know around us: Earth type parts of the Universe. Since Galilei, we have built instruments to learn more about the Universe, but for instance, the Egyptians thought he Earth was the center of the Universe and Galilei thought it is the Sun. Our interpretation of what we see changes when we learn new facts but our eyes still see the same. Now we think we are in a non-specific place in the Galaxy. Suppose you ask the old Egyptians: “is there another Earth?” they would answer: “wrong question, the Earth is the center!” and when you would ask Galilei:”is there another Sun?”, he would answer similarly. I compare that to asking today: is there another now? Is there another time? I think other lives have different time and that is why we don’t see them (yet). Everything is related to the present time but I am curious about what we can do with another notion of time.

After your work in the field of Aerospace, you shifted your interest towards sustainable engineering and technology. Where did this interest come from?

Really, Space is not so unique. But Earth is unique. if you could see it from Space, you’d know what I mean. The Earth has the blue of water, the green of trees, and so on. I learned that the Earth is beautiful and that we have to take care of it. I was always an inventor my whole life. I like to think outside of the box, and some say it might also be my handicap. In 1972, I had an eye-opening moment when I read “The Limits to Growth” by the Club of Rome. In 1996, I started inventing again, and in 2004, I got a professorship in Sustainability at the University of delft. I enjoy working on different projects, and with a new way of looking at data.

You like To Travel. What is your favorite place on Earth to travel to?

I used to travel a lot, but I have cut down on it recently. I also think there are many beautiful places to visit close to home. I like the “Waddeneilanden” (islands north of the Netherlands), I like Amsterdam, and I also loved Big Bend National park in Texas when I lived there for 4 years. I think many people travel now just to change the scenery, like they escape from their own reality. We might need to restrict our travel because it is not good for the environment.

What do you think the situation of Earth is as of now? What do you think we should all do for Earth in the coming years?

I think we still have a way of doing business on Earth where profit is the driving force. The Earth has been suffering because of it. I see that we have to make a change in our mindset. We need a different culture. There is also a big potential for recycling products, and we can still improve in capturing heat from existing buildings and products to heat our houses. there is a lot of potential to do better, but we all have to look at ourselves and change our ways. For instance, in my opinion, a car using the commonly used fuel is so old-fashioned. I think if you want to make the world a better place you need to embrace the future. Electric cars will make tremendous progress, and you will see many more on the streets in the coming years as batteries get better and the total production of electric cars becomes more sustainable. And once you realize the true beauty of a car is not the noisy engine, but rather the silence of an electric car, we will have made the right shift. I think we have all gone too far with certain ways of capturing energy, including nuclear energy.It is the arrogance of the industrial revolution. This way of getting energy is too big for human kind. That’s also why I started the Happy Energy movement as a new way, a new paradigm in looking for energy, that does not harm people, animals, or the Earth.

What is your mission with Happy Energy?

I want to encourage young people - the people of the future - to think about sustainable energy and to help them set up projects that use renewable energy sources. I embrace new ways of communication like social media to get them excited.

Wubbo Ockels by photographer Alique

Can you tell us a bit about the projects you are you working on and what you think the World of sustainability will look like?

I have been working on a lot of different projects over the past years. They are all in some way related to new ways of using certain types of energy. Some are successful and went into production, others were just ideas. Iworked from 1994-1998
on the Euromoon 2000 project by the ESA. We as Europe mark a space in history so this project would have been an extension
of that. The idea was that we put an extraterrestrial station on the moon, and use the moon for energy. One idea was putting up solar panels there that would give us year-round solar energy. We would live there through village robots in what is called “telepresence” so, while not actually living there.

I also worked on the “laddermill” concept, that is an attempt to “ grab wind energy” high up in the sky.

The “Superbus” concept will make a difference for travel over roads, with luxury transportation to wherever the passenger wants to go (usually zipcode to zipcode travel).

What can you suggest  for someone who wants to become more sustainable? What can he or she do to start?

First of all, I encourage people who want to become more sustainable, to go to people who have the knowledge. Education is key. learn how you can do better. also, I think solar panels will flood the world in the coming years as they become cheaper. They are a great way of capturing energy that is basically free. So, adding that to your house is a great step forward. maybe countries should encourage their citizens to use more renewable energy sources. and companies can be more forward in giving suggestions to their buyers.

What countries do you think are doing well on that subject, and what countries can improve?

Germany is doing well. their government has made a clear decision to promote sustainability. They have about 350,000 people working now in the sustainable sector. My own country, the Netherlands, is really not focusing on green ways at all and I wish they did. As it turns out, doing business with green ethics in the end will be at least as profitable as not thinking about it. So there is no reason not to do it. China will also probably save the world. their government is different than in the Western world, and they keep a long political strategy. When they open a coal mine, they already plan for its closure in the future. the essence of sustainability is the treasure of the future. not just thinking: “it’s so far away, let’s only think short- term”.

The mind shift, what should that be?

Right now, society seems to be largely managed by fear. People communicate with prejudgement that has to do with fear, and they use that fear to set up more armies, boundaries, walls, etc. We need to learn how to communicate with each other based on trust. When we all live without fear - and are positive - life becomes more beautiful. and we can all live with happy energy from within ourselves.


1994-1998 Euro Moon

A plan to bring a European-built lander to the south pole of the moon. The special landing site was called “Peak of Eternal Light” because this elevated part of the rim of the Shakleton crater is always lit by the Sun.The presence of frozen water in the crater would, combined with the permanent presence of solar energy, be the ideal place for the first extraterrestrial outpost. A mission was designed with support from most of the European Space industry, combined with a student satellite, Lunarsat. The lack of full political support ended the project.

2001- present Nuon Solar Team

The Nuon Solar team works to make the fastest solar energy powered vehicle out there
called “Nuna” to compete in the World Solar challenge in Australia every two years. They have won gold four times and silver once so far already! This year Nuna 6 will start on the 16th october. Wubbo’s role is advisor/coach to the team.

2007-2011 Ecolution

An autonomous sailing ship that provides a home to live in, using two big turbines to produce energy (stored in 12000 kg battery banks) during sailing. The modern two- mast aero rig allows for short hand sailing. full redundancy gives a high level of reliability and avoids time urgency.

Wubbo Ockels by photographer Alique

2008 Laddermill

Because wind power is one of the biggest growing sources of energy, the laddermill concept was born: a large number of kites are lifted into the air (up to 30,000 feet) and are held together by a cable moving in a loop with downward and upward motion to capture wind energy. A small version with one “pumping” kite (25m2) was created and can produce up to 20 kW of power.

2010 Nederland2050

A petition to have dutch people sign for a sustainable and 100% clean country by 2050. (previously known as Ladies First):

2010 Superbus

A new method of sustainable transportation is possible with the Superbus. It is a 15 meter long electrically powered vehicle that can go up to 250km an hour and will be used as flexible public transportation, traveling based on the needs of the passengers instead of relying on fixed routes. It provides seating for 23 passengers. in order to improve comfort and to allow individuality, it has 8 doors per side and it looks like it came out of a Batman movie! www.

2009 TEDx Talk on time and gravity

a new hypothesis was developed, turning around the roles of aging and time in physics. The talk is based on the personal experience of the difference between Space and Earth, and on the studies done by his Phd student, Suzanne Nooij on subjects exposed to hyper g (2-3g) in a centrifuge.

2008-2010 Natuurlijk Afsluitdijk

Two natural dikes are placed, made of sand taken out of an artificial lake for storing energy. The space in between the two dikes provides new nature fishing grounds, tourism and agriculture. A reverse osmosis power plant was proposed mixing the fresh water with saline water before releasing it to the sea, lowering the impact on nature.On the existing dike, a Superbus track is planned. The plan has been worked out in a consortium of Royal Haskoning, Lieversen, Van Oord, Rabobank, and Eneco.

Wubbo Ockels by photographer Alique

2011 Happy Energy

A young initiative that advocates a positive and sustainable culture. One which strives for a society that makes maximum use of recyclable products and clean energy, using the Happy Energy logo as the new universal symbol for sustainability. The Wubbo Ockels Happy Energy fund is a fund to support young people who are working in the field of sustainability.

Amsterdam, May 21st 2011


Wubbo Ockels March 28th 1946 –  May 18th 2014

Wubo Ockels - Goodbye with a Smile

See also:

OYL Circle of Five by Wubbo Ockels, May 21st 2011

OYL Checklist - Wubbo Ockels May 21st 2011

Wubbo Ockels: Goodbye with a Smile May 18th 2014

Read Wubbo Ockels’ In Memoriam on the website of Happy Energy.

Interview by Lonneke Engel. Photos by Alique. Copyright Organice Your Life®

Rebecca Taylor

Fashion Designer Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca TaylorRebecca Taylor is a busy bee. Originally from New Zealand, this businesswoman is an entrepreneur, but also a wife & mom, and this all in one of the busiest places on Earth: NYC. For Organice Your Life® we asked her about her family life and how to juggle her career, as well as what charity has her heart.

OYL: Being a designer, an entrepreneur, mother and wife, while living and working in one of the busiest cities in the world, how are you able to maintain balance and peace in this whirlwind we call life? 

Rebecca: "I am not sure if you ever truly find balance; it’s quite difficult to juggle it all, but I take it one day at a time and try to keep focused on my priorities.

OYL: Now that you are a mother, what values do you try to instill in yourchildren? Do you carry over the customs and traditions from your own childhood?

Rebecca: "Definitely. My children are still very young, but I teach them to always be respectful of others, to take care of each other, and to follow their passions. I have one brother and two sisters, and we are all very close. my mother was quite strict when wewere growing up, but she always gave us the freedom to follow our dreams. I would like to give my children the same encouragement and support my mom gave us."

OYL: Being from New Zealand, which is hom to abundant nature and beautiful landscapes, do you find it difficult to adjust to New York City Life, Especially now that you have children?

Rebecca: "Well, I've been living in NYC for 20 years now, so I've had some time to adjust.New York City offers so much; there are always so many wonderful things to explore with the children. however, at times nostalgia does set in, and I find myself missing the gorgeous landscape of my seaside village.

Rebecca Taylor

OYL:At Organice Your Life® we are very involved with charities and their work, what are some charities that you support or belong to?

Rebecca: We support a lot of charities throughout the year, but to name a few:

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

make-a-Wish Foundation 

The Foundling Foundation

OYL: Within your life and environment, do you try to live a "Green-er" life? In What ways?

Rebecca: "Yes, I try to be very conscientious of being ‘green’ on a daily basis. I don’t usually print anything unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I am really strict about recycling. We are actually looking into recycled fabrics as well for the line. I feel it’s our duty to preserve the Earth as best as we can."

Visit Rebecca Taylor's website to see some over her exquisite designs.

interview by the OYL team. First published September 2012

Interview with Gui Valente by Valentina Zelyaeva

I had a chance to interview a black-belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu - Gui Valente. He is well known jiu jitsu teacher in Florida. At "Valente Brothers Jiu Jitsu" he teaches  law enforcements and military among other students. I personally, never tried jiu jitsu before, but after interviewing Gui, I think I might want to take a couple of classes next time I'm in Miami :)

Who is Gui Valente?

Firstly, thank you for the invitation and for the opportunity to talk about our lifestyle. I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and for the past 13 years Miami Beach has been my home. I moved to South Florida as soon as I graduated from high school in Rio to attend Barry University. I chose Miami mostly because of the warm weather and the beaches. Coming from Rio, I felt that it would be a lot easier to adapt, especially because of our diet. In Miami, you can always find a great variety of fruits and vegetables all year round. Also, Rio and Miami share many other similarities; the Latin influence and the ability to practice water sports all across the city are just a few. Another reason why I chose Miami was because my older brother Pedro already lived here and had started his own Jiu-Jitsu school. Growing up, Jiu-Jitsu was always part of our lives and coming to Miami made it easier not only to train with my brother, but also to help him with the school as well.

How did you get involved into jiu-jitsu

Actually, I do not even remember the first time I trained Jiu-Jitsu. In our family lifestyle, training starts when you are still an infant. I was fortunate because my dad was already a black belt and got me started before I could walk. When I was two years old I began taking classes from Grandmaster Hélio Gracie, the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (also known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and continued to be his student until he passed away in January of 2009.

 Who is your inspirational figure

My father, Dr. Pedro Valente and my teacher, Hélio Gracie. Together, they taught me valuable lessons about the mind, the body and the spirit. Through their teachings I learned how to protect myself physically and intellectually. I learned that there is no better investment than in our own health. I learned to understand and respect the laws of nature and that everything happens for a reason. I learned we should always try to better ourselves in every thing we do and that we should always continue to learn.

What does Gui Valente eat?

My diet consists primarily of fruits and vegetables and follows three basic elements:

  • Food selection,
  • Food combining,
  • Spacing between meals.

Gui's favorite beverage

I am still not a full vegetarian, but I stopped eating red meat in 2007. Growing up, I learned that a good avocado and some Brazil nuts are much healthier sources of protein than beef.  I also learned to respect food and to only eat what is healthy. In a normal day I'll have a fruit smoothie for breakfast; a nice green salad with plenty of raw vegetables, legumes, cashews and a plate of whole grain and fish, and my carrot juice, for lunch; and for dinner, another fruit smoothie – and, if I am hungry, a couple pieces of whole wheat toast with honey or dates.

My favorote beverage is coconut water, from the actual coconut and fresh watermelon juice from my juicer.

What is “Gracie” diet?

My diet is based on what is known today as the “Gracie Diet”. Growing up we called it "O Regime" (The Regimen). In simple terms, it is a method of eating based on naturalist and hygienist philosophies and developed during 65 years of research and first-hand use by Grand Master Carlos Gracie, my teacher's older brother. It is based on selecting natural foods that do not poison the body and combining them in ways that allow for an efficient digestion.

Tell us a little bit about your academy.

Even though my brothers and I were brought up in the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu tradition we never expected to have a Jiu-Jitsu school. We all graduated from American universities and the plan was to pursue our own careers as businessmen. However, as I learned, everything happens for a reason; and the school that my older brother started, just to have a place to train as he completed his studies, has in fact become our lives’ focus.

Today, I work with my two brothers, Pedro and Joaquim, doing what we love, Jiu-Jitsu.

Our system has three main objectives:

  1. First, the system teaches the most powerful self defense method in the world, as proven in the original Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC),
  2. Second, our system constitutes one of the most complete forms of exercise in existence,
  3. And third, it represents an incalculable moral and educational value.

Our headquarters is located in North Miami Beach. The school is just a few miles from the beach and right across a beautiful park, which makes us feel very much in contact with nature.

Valente Brothers Jiu Jitsu Academy in Florida

Who are your students? Do you have women- students?

The motto of our school is “Jiu-Jitsu for all”. Men and women, girls and boys, regardless of age, may safely experience the benefits of learning Jiu-Jitsu.  The techniques we teach at our schools are based on natural movements that can easily be performed by anyone. Currently, our eldest student is 74 years old and our youngest is 23 months old.

Interestingly, women usually learn better and faster than men.  This is because they are less inclined to rely on muscular power and tend to adapt to the efficient techniques of Jiu-Jitsu very quickly.

 What’s the best to eat before and after workout session?

One of the main objectives of our diet is to provide our bodies with a constant and balanced energy level throughout the day. As Carlos Gracie often said, we teach and train almost the whole day and we cannot afford to feel weak or too full. Following any workouts we always try to drink coconut water, as it provides a natural way to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat.

Are you involved in any charity organization?

We really enjoy working with children. Recently, we designed a program to offer Jiu-JItsu in public schools in Miami. Also, in partnership with one of our students, we created a scholarship program called “Jiu-Jitsu For All”.  This program provides the opportunity for a number of underprivileged kids to enroll in any of our schools.

 What is your motto?

The famous latin saying, Mens sana in corpore sana (A healthy mind in a healthy body).

Gui Valente

Links to Gui Valente:

Visit our website at
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Interview published on by Valentina Zelyeava on September 26th 2012

Top model Lisalla Montenegro

Lisalla Montenegro 1

 Lisalla Montenegro, a 23 year Brazilian girl,  has been modeling for almost 10 years. She is adventurous, passionate for sports and a healthy lifestyle. We asked her what she has been up to, and what she is planning in the future. And of course how healthy & green she lives everyday!

OYL: When did you start modeling?

Lisalla: I Started Modeling when I was 15 years old. Everyone around me told me that I should look for a modeling agency, So when I turned 15 I did a photoshoot to celebrate my 15th,  After that I showed the pictures to my family and friends and  their reactions were all the same: "You were born to be a Model!" After that I went to an agency in my city. After signing with an agency I was called to participate in the Beauty Contest –Miss Goias- 2004.

Lisalla for Maybelline

OYL: What was your favorite job so far?

Lisalla: In my carrier I have been luck to work with amazing people and did a lot beautiful campaigns.  I Don’t have one favorite job, all of them were very special for me and I'm really grateful for each one! I do have my favorite places: the Beaches or the locations in my beautiful country, Brazil where I am lucky enough to shoot!

OYL: Are you into healthy and/or Green living?

Lisalla: Yes,I am. I am into to Both, Healthy Living and Green lifestyle. First I take care good care of my body by eating healthy food and working out.  I also like to help our environment by reducing, reusing and recycling.  Saving water,  using energy more wisely.  In My house in Brazil its full of flowers and plants I also teach my family and friends to take care of our environment.

Lisalla for Vogue

OYL: What are your dreams for the future?

Lisalla: On of my Dreams is already on the way which is to write a book about how to have a better lifestyle and I believe that anything that you dream about, you have to start with a healthy life. A Better you.

OYL: what are your favorite beauty products?

Lisalla: One of my favorite beauty product is by La Mer: Eye Cream. I use it before bedtime. Over all my favorite beauty treatment it is simple and easy: I drink water all day and always love my beauty sleep.

OYL: What is your life motto?

Lisalla: Live,Laugh and Love.

Lisalla 1

OYL: Who is your inspiration?

Lisalla: My Grandmother is my inspiration. She had 13 kids (!) ,loved them more than anything. A wise  loving strong woman. I respect her a lot. I’m like her in a lot of ways, I get bored easily, so I am  always on the go, in action, doing something new or leaning new things that helps me become a better woman everyday…

Lisalla 2

OYL: What is your favorite food?

Lisalla: Fruits. I like fruits as my favorite food because I can get almost all my nutrients and vitamins that I need throughout my day.

OYL: Do you support any Charity?

Brazil Foundation

Lisalla: Yes! Brazil Foundation. Check it out:  We do have a Huge Event coming up on September 19.  Get your ticket, it will be unforgettable.

Thank you Lisalla! Good luck on your book and I hope you book many more great campaigns in the future!


Follow Lisalla on Twitter.