Dirk, Lonneke and Bane

My top 10 charities to give to this year

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

My top 10 charities to give to this year

1. Animal Haven

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

Dirk, Lonneke and Bane
Dirk, Lonneke and Bane

 

2. Stichting Dimarte

Category: horses, the Netherlands.

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

horses U2 and Cooper with Hester

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

3. ASPCA (USA)

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

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

3. NYCLASS (USA)

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

4. Pencils of Promise. (USA)

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

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

5. Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Fund.

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

Lonneke Pink Pony

6. Washington Square Park Conservancy

Category: parks & recreation

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

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

7. WSPA International.

Category factory animal welfare/food safety

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

wspa logo

8. The Non-GMO project.

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

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

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

food water watch

10. Justgiving

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

just giving logo

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

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

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

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

Love, Lonneke

all photos courtesy of myself or the charities mentioned.

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


Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Wubbo Ockels and his Universe of Happy Energy

On May 18th 2014 dutch physicist Wubbo Ockels died. I interviewed Wubbo a few years earlier, on May 21st 2011. I like sharing it with you as Wubbo inspired a lot of people with his stories, achievements and energy. May he rest in Peace. 

Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

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 his “Happy Energy” project. He does all of this while dancing his way through life and enjoying it fully, and by surrounding himself with the young people of our future, sometimes even at the Supperclub in Amsterdam. It certainly does not seem like he’s going to stop anytime soon.

“Optimism is a responsibility one cannot win without” - Wubbo Ockels

Interview by Lonneke Engel. Pictures by Alique.

Lonneke- 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?

Wubbo: 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 Alique

 

L: You went to space in a Space Shuttle about 26 years ago, in 1985. can you tell us what it feels Like to travel there, and see things from that perspective?

W: 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.

L: 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? Will fLying into space always be dangerous?

W: 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.

READ MORE: OYL Circle of Five by Wubbo Ockels

L: 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?

W: 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. In 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.

L: what do you think the future of space travel will be?

W: 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.

L: Do you believe in life outside of Earth?

W: 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 the 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 others 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.

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

W: 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.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

L: You Like to travel. what is your favorite place on Earth to travel to?

W: 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 Band 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.

READ MORE: OYL Checklist by Wubbo Ockels

L: 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?

W: 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 wantto 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.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

L: What is your mission with Happy Energy?

W: 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. 

READ MORE: www.happyenergy.com

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

W: 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. I worked from 1994-1998 on the Euromoon 2000 project from 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).

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

W: 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.

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

W: 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 coalmine, 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”.

L: The Mind Shift, what should that be?

W: 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 howto 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. - May 21st 2011

If the world ends today, I’ll be ok because I am happy with the way I lived my life

- Wubbo Ockels

Wubbo Ockels : Almelo March 26th 1946 - Amsterdam May 18th 2014

READ MORE: Wubbo Ockels: Goodbye with a smile

 

Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

All pictures copyright by Organice Your Life® and Alique. First published in Organice Your Life magazine in 2011, and online on February 18th 2012.


Lonneke Engel for Grazia Nederland

A few years ago I did my first photo shoot after 2 years of being ill, and the result was published in 2014.  In this edition of Grazia magazine I share my story of recovering from a burnout and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as suffering from an autoimmune disease. I also open up on how I spent those 2 years. The shoot was conveniently at my own loft in New York City, as well as on the streets of my favorite city.

Burnout

This period was the toughest for me so far in my life, with many ups and downs. I quit modeling while I was recovering from a burnout, but I was also getting married. I turned out to have hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's Disease but I also adopted the best dog ever: Vito The Dog. You can say that those 2 years forced me to look at my life and think about what I really want in life, and focus 100% on my health and happiness. It made me go in a totally new direction than I was going in before I fell ill. Right now I feel it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me who I am today, and I am much happier, and have more love in my life than ever before.

Now it is 7 years later and I am going to share more about how to deal with an autoimmune disease in the future, and how I got myself healthy from feeling really sick. It did not happen overnight, I had to take it easy for at least 6 years.  I hope I inspire people that these things can happen to anybody, and to "Organice Your Life" is a continuous process throughout a lifetime, with a few bumps in the road. I am here to take these bumps with you.

Love, Lonneke

Client: Grazia Magazine

Photographer: Christian Högstedt

Stylist: Erin Walsh

Make Up: Dominique Samuel

Hair: DJ Quintero

Location: New York City

Lonneke Engel Grazia NederlandFirst published in 2014,updated in 2019


10 fun things to do in the Weekend

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

Lonneke- Ralph Lauren

Lonneke by Regan Cameron for Ralph Lauren.

1. Organice Your Home

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

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

2. Be creative

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

3. Organice Your Agenda

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

READ MORE: Ideas on how to Organice Your Agenda 

4. Local activities

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

5. Organice Yourself

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

READ MORE: Tips on how to take care of yourself

6. Go for a long walk around your neighborhood

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

7. Organice Your Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

9. Organice Your Good Heart

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

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

10. Have fun in the Kitchen

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

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

Circle of Five

 

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

Love, Lonneke


Models listening at IMG model prep 2012

IMG Model Talk

Did you know for years I helped young models live a healthy and organized life? For instance, on September 1st 2011, Anne-Marie van Dijk and I went to my agency IMG for the first annual IMG Model Prep which happens right before the agency's new girls start Fashion Week.

Fashion Week preparations

Not only is the fashion industry a demanding industry, the weeks leading up to Fashion Week season, and fashion weeks themselves can be mentally and physically exhausting. (Young) models have to run around town going on castings, fittings, shows, and afterparties, subway in and out, and this continuous for weeks from the early morning until late at night.

IMG which is the top agency in the World, was the first to create this event where they bring in industry professionals and experts to advise the girls on tips on what to do doing castings and shows, support and how to handle the crazy business that is fashion. Most girls need to HALT at some point because they are "Hungry, Anxious, Lonely & Tired: HALT". A great clinical worker named Betsy Selman-Babinecz explained this principle to the girls.

READ MORE: IMG Model Talk 2012

My IMG model talk

I shared with the girls my past experiences in the industry and starting at the very young age of 13, and how I continued having a successful career. I advised the girls and gave them valuable advice about how to handle the stressful fashion week season (i.e. always carry water, snacks and take time by yourself to recharge and breathe), but also about having longevity in the business, which in my view is most crucial. It is about caring for yourself, so you are able to have a long and healthy future in this very demanding and competitive world.

My friend Anne-Marie introduced her CLEANSE program. It works with models, and the CLEANSE team which is comprised of experts ranging from nutritionists, personal trainers, psychologists and beyond. They have a model counselor who works with the girls individually and allows them to have a healthy body, mind and soul.

READ MORE: IMG Models open to all

Girls were given goodie bags with nice things to help them in their modeling work. There were different tables with nice companies that were giving samples, like the sample juices from BluePrintCleanse.

At the end of the night, everyone left inspired. It was a wonderful evening on the beautiful IMG terrace, celebrating health and hopefully a lot of success of the girls this season and in their modeling career.

Love, Lonneke

First published on September 1st 2011, updated in 2009


Candle 79 vegan restaurant NYC closing in 2020!

When you go organic & vegan, most people think you eat the most boring foods. WRONG! Candle 79 (and its sister restaurants Candle Cafe and Candle Cafe West) show that vegan food can be inspiring, warming and delicious! A great restaurant in New York City especially if you love original vegan food!

UPDATE: Candle 79 will shut its doors forever on January 1st 2020 due to real estate issues. So you have to hurry to enjoy some lovely foods for the upcoming Holidays! Check out what I like about it below!

Candle79-2

Romantic vibes

Candle 79 is a romantic restaurant with nice low lights and candles (the name says it all)  located in the posh Upper East Side neighborhood, and serves high-end vegan cooked foods since 2003. They have a great selection for raw foodies too, but most of it is true home cooked meals brought to another level by owners Joy & Bart. They have been rated #1 vegetarian restaurant by Zagat twice and everyone who loves vegetarian food raves about this place. They bring food from the farm to your table without harming anyone and any animal, only healthy food in a holistic way.

The menu has many options to choose from

When I get here, I never know what to choose, their regular menu already has too many options that make my mouth water, but they also have a few daily specials. What I love here the most is that they are the best at preparing seitan, and all their seitan dished are amazing. (Notice: NOT Gluten-free!) The World Famous Seitan Piccata is one of my favorites, as well as all their dishes with roasted fall vegetables and mashed vegetables. Every dish has many flavors on one plate and that's why this is one of my favorite restaurants in the World. Candle 79 has many homemade original cocktails, with organic alcohol or virgin ones. the coconut and ginger blend is great, as well as the rosemary infused sparkling pear juice.

Candle 79 -2

Seitan entrée with fingerling potatoes, onions, butternut squash, apple & more.
Candle 79 -3Tempeh Entrée with string beans, brussels sprouts, fennel salad, mole, mashed pumpkin

Candle 79 - 4Dessert special: soy vanilla ice-cream, candied figs, almonds & sauce.

Our favorites at this restaurant

  • Anything with their seitan : it's amazing! Like Seitan chimichurri, or seitan piccata with lemon caper sauce.
  • Avocado tartare with kale chips
  • Their ravioli or any other pasta
  • Dishes with any of the following: garlic mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, mashed pumpkin, roasted brussels sprouts, porcini mushroom sauce, marinara sauce, grilled tempeh, grilled seitan.
  • Seitan piccata
  • Their daily specials
  • Any of their virgin cocktails  or "Smooth sippers" as they call them.
  • Also, even if you never take desserts: Candle 79 makes desserts so good you can't believe it is vegan!

 

Cookbooks

They also have great cookbooks!

I love to make their seitan piccata lemon caper sauce from this cookbook (Click on picture for more information and/or purchase)

 

And they also have a great vegan Holiday cookbook! (Click on picture for more information and/or purchase)

Address

Candle 79

154 E 79 street

(between Lexington & 3rd)

Or try their other 2 cafes in NYC!

Love, Lonneke

First published on November 28th 2013, updated in 2019


Mano Macchiato by Joey Holthaus

My friend Joey Holthaus (Illustrator) and Mano Macchiato, known for their exclusive hand-painted shoes, collaborated on an exciting project.

One of a kind sneakers

You know, craftsmanship is the future, and you will see it more and more around you. People want to know how things are made! People want something unique. That's why I am excited when I see people around me being super creative, it gives me energy! And don't we all love shoes, and especially these one of a kind sneakers. A true piece of art!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QWLrWBXzbU

READ MORE: 5 tips to consume less and live more.

Mano Macchiato is known for transforming luxury leather items into a hand-finished art pieces. It was founded by brothers Dirk & Pim Verest. They started hand-finishing dressed shoes (patina), which became a big success. Pim Verest can go all over Europe to show his unique finishing techniques, Dirk is based in the USA. A typical dress shoe takes about 2 to 6 hours to finish, depending on colors and design. All wishes from customers can be granted as Pim finishes each shoe from scratch. Since the start Mano Macchiato also transitioned in the World of leather furniture, horse tack and car & yacht interiors. Basically anything made from leather can get a Mano Macchiato touch. Mano Macchiato will also offer leather goods using sustainable materials like biodegradable eco-friendly leather and natural coloring. Great idea! (Also check out their more affordable line Miotinto!)

Joey Holthaus

Joey Holthaus creates original illustrations with his HAUS OF JOEY. He has designed amazing artwork for Organice Your Life ® and many other people & companies. But Joey's biggest passion is using the inspiration of pop culture to make his illustrations. His best work includes Illustrations of Madonna, Prince, Lady Gaga to name a few.

Check out these new sneakers they made together. What do you think?

video credits:

Sneakers illustration: Joey Holthaus for Haus of Joey

Sneakers hand-finishing by Pim Verest for Mano Macchiato

Executive producer, film & editing: Mano Macchiato

Love, Lonneke


Sunset at Palmetto Bluff

My stay at the Palmetto Bluff Resort

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin (now known as Hailey Bieber) got married at this beautiful resort in South Carolina, called Montage Palmetto Bluff resort. Funny thing is that I had a photoshoot there for Ralph Lauren a few years ago, and I wrote an article for Organice Your Life about it! 

My trip to Palmetto Bluff

I am so lucky that I get to go to amazing locations for shoots. One time, I landed in Savannah, Georgia, and drove to a nearby town called Bluffton, where this amazing resort was located: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff.

The Cottages on the property.

Photo shoot

Here I shot Ralph Lauren, together with John Dennis, a male model I know from way back, when we shot Ralph Lauren when we were really young. That's the nice thing about the Ralph Lauren team: you really get to know each other, and become friends! This team was again a group of people that I have worked with for years, so it almost feels like going on vacation! 

The Spa plus pool & Gym

The resort itself

Back to the resort: The Palmetto Bluff is located on a 20.000 acres (!) piece of land. It used to be owned by a big industrial company, but then got sold and became a resort around 2006. And in and around 2008 it was taken over by the Auberge group, and it seems that in 2013 it was taken over by Montage Resorts . Now it is just an amazing resort with cottages, little villas, a little wedding chapel and located next to the beautiful May river. The food is great and you can find the southern hospitality here.

 

My roomservice salad with green beans, yellow beets and goat cheese.

The rooms

My cottage had a fireplace that turned on with the switch of a button. It also had a steam shower (loved it!) and a nice bathtub. Wireless internet is also for free, and there are a lot of local tv stations. You get a bike for free with your cottage so you can ride anywhere yourself (smart!). Or the golf carts can bring you anywhere.  Since our flight got delayed a day, we ended up spending more time at the resort, which was definitely not a bad thing!

The fireplace.

Ghost stories

I was told a story about a possible ghost haunting the premises, but I have not seen him! It is supposedly a little boy, who died over 100 years ago on this property. The manager of the resort told us he appeared to cleaners in the gym/spa area, and now nobody dares to clean by themselves. Honestly, I was fine, was not scared by that ghost, but did watch out for the alligators that are in the waters in the area.

The cemetery on the property of Palmetto Bluff. one of the people who died is a 3 year old boy, is he maybe the ghost?

Staying at Palmetto Bluff

But back to the good stuff: I really like the nature, the water and the resort in this area, and think it is beautiful to have a luxurious vacation, golfing or enjoying the high-class spa, or even get married! (This is most likely the chapel that Justin Bieber and Hailey got married in.)

 

The little chapel where you can get married, really cute and romantic!

Palmetto Bluff in the early evening.

 

I hope I can go back again sometime! I can recommend this beautiful property for a wonderful vacation or even a wedding. Wishing the Biebers lots of love in their marriage!

 

Love, Lonneke

First published on December 3rd 2010, updated in 2019


10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants

I love eating healthy food and I prefer to visit affordable restaurants! This is the list of my 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants in 2019, where you can go and find healthy food any time of the day. I have stated which ones have good gluten-free options, and all restaurants are in different price categories as well as locations on Manhattan (where I live) My first choice would always going for an organic restaurant, and most of them in my list do focus on offering organic food, except for a few. These are easy going restaurants the bring-your-friends-or-family kind ( no reason to overdress), with a good take-out and delivery selections.

MY Top 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants of the moment:

  1. le Pain Quotidien (LPQ): This is a staple place to visit whenever you need a good breakfast or lunch. As a true dutchie, I love bread. Since I stick to a gluten-free diet, I am so happy that they have THE BEST GLUTENFREE BREAD IN THE WORLD! There, I said it. LPQ also has great salads, breakfast items, many vegan and vegetarian options (a leaf sign on the menu means the dish is plant based), and most of what they serve is organic. This also counts for their coffee and decaf coffee. My favorites are the different tartines, the chia seed pudding, the lentil avocado salad. LPQ is take out and sit down. Multiple locations around the city. $ www.lepainquotidien.com 
  2. HU Kitchen: This is a great place with paleo dishes and take out treats and juices. That means everything is gluten-free, no dairy, and organic. They serve organic meat, chicken and vegetarian plates.  My favorite is the chicken burger. Every weekday they have a special, sometimes that is a vegan and gluten-free pizza (love it!) One location on 5th avenue between 13th and 14th $$ www.hukitchen.com 

    HU Kitchen NYC
    The Paleo Chicken Burger at HU Kitchen
  3. Dr. Smood: a chain with restaurants all over the city, this place calls itself "probably the healthiest cafe in town. They have a philosophy that people should spend their money on organic healthy food (the real healthcare as they say) and not on doctors. I love getting chocolate treats here, and the strawberry shake is delicious. www.drsmood.com
  4. Caravan of Dreams: A hole in the wall, this eclectic restaurant is dark and cosy, and a perfect place to take your friends for a vegan meal. Everything is vegan, organic and even kosher. They also serve a lot of raw food dishes. They have live music almost every night of the week. Favorites: all salads are amazing! I like the house salad dressing a lot, and the mediterranean salad. I love their seitan. Also the smoothies are great, and i like the ravioli of the day with sautéed greens, garlic tomato sauce and avocado. The raw brownie for desert is delicious. $   www.CaravanofDreams.net
  5. Spring Natural: Formerly Spring Street Natural restaurant, I order from here a lot as well, as they have daily changing menus, with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. On top of that they try to get organic and local ingredients where they can. Think of this place as an American healthy diner. The salads are huge and their stir fry with veggies and rice can never go wrong. After 40+ years they moved from Spring street to a location just around the corner on Kenmare street. $    www.SpringStreetNatural.com
  6. Bare Burger: Yes it is an organic restaurant and serve juicy and calorie-rich burgers and milkshakes, they also have a big selection of tasty salads and even many vegan and vegetarian options for a burger. I LOVE the black bean burger, and the fava bean falafel. $ www.bareburger.com

    Bare Burger dinner
    turkey burger with gluten free bun and sweet potato fries at Bare Burger
  7. Cafe Clover: This restaurant has a very beautiful look, and I love their out-of-the-box healthy salads and dishes. Sometimes a bit small, and maybe sometimes pricey, it is a nice place to have a nice date with a friend or lover. You can sit outside on the nice terrace too! By the way if you go here, also check out the Clover Grocery next door, as it has delicious organic treats! $$ www.CafeClover.comCafe Clover Salad
  8. Eataly: This inside market across the street from Madison Park gives you a chance to eat the most delicious local dishes. Everything is divided in categories. Of course I like to sit in the vegetable section, and sometimes in the fish section. It is worth a visit even if you don't sit down for food. $$ www.eataly.com
  9. Candle Cafe: I am always amazed by the warm filling nurturing delicious dishes they come up with. Full of many veggies, they are a treat and I keep coming back. The restaurants are completely vegan restaurants and located uptown in the Upper East and Upper West side.  Favorites: anything really. I am drooling just thinking about it. And especially the dishes with seitan. $$ www.Candlecafe.com .
    Candle Cafe
    2 of the yummy vegan Candle Cafe dishes that change daily.

     

  10. Westville. Probably not organic, but they have the biggest selection of vegetables. I love to order the market vegetables plate with a choice of four vegetables on the market vegetable list. they also have other nice options, I also like the veggie burger. Nice ambiance to hang out with friends.  Multiple locations $ www.westvillenyc.com

Love, Lonneke

All pictures by Organice Your Life®

Curious to know what changed in my list of 10 best healthy NYC restaurants since my last top 10 list? Check out my previous 10 favorite restaurants HERE!

Last tip: If you suffer from celiac disease you should be careful with these restaurants even if I state they have gluten-free options. There is no guarantee that there is no cross-contamination.


Models listening at IMG model prep 2012

IMG Models open to all!

I am so happy when I find out that people in the fashion industry are making a difference! Especially when you have been seeing it up close from the beginning. That's why I love my agency IMG.

My years with IMG Models

I have been with IMG Models worldwide (New York, Paris, Milan, London) since 2005. Right from the beginning, they have embraced who I was and what I brought to the table, no matter my size or shape. I think they only measured me once, and I did not fit the standards, which was not really an issue, as they worked around it. (I have never been the perfect size ever FYI). Compared to other agencies I visited when I was looking for a new agency back in 2005 who all had a different vision of me, IMG saw my qualities and gave my career a new boost with many new campaigns, after my exclusive Ralph Lauren contract ended. I loved my agents Peter in NYC, Jurgen in Paris, and Andrea and Giovanni in Milan, and Kirsty in London, as they always were very helpful and got me great bookings. Also Ivan, who is the Vice President of IMG Models, was always there if I needed advice. I know it is different at many agencies.

Certified Health Counselor

In 2008 when I became a Certified Health Counselor, they asked me each year to come speak to their young models at their yearly Model Prep 101 event just before September Fashion Week, and give them tips on how to be healthy during Fashion Week ,and every day working as a model. I have done that 3 or 4 times now, and this year I unfortunately couldn't join the team because of my illness that made me quit modeling.

IMG Model Prep

It was also a first in the industry: an agency that organizes a great event to help guide their models the right way. Previously agencies were just the ones that booked the job, and agents did not have time to be the go-to person for the models for any other business than the show business, but these days IMG agents are helping girls on every level they can. Need a trainer? They arrange it. You need a new outfit? They help you. You need someone to talk to? They are there for you.

Lonneke IMG model Talk 2012
Lonneke at IMG Model Prep in 2012

READ MORE: IMG Model prep 2012 story by me on Organice Your Life®

Fashion Week

IMG Model Prep 101 usually is on a night before the September NY Fashion Week, when the girls are gearing up for castings, fittings and shows. A team of about 5 or 6 experts come in and give a short speech on their subject of expertise, and the models can ask questions. It is really an event to support and embrace the girls, and organized by IMG'S David Cunningham and his team. One thing David Cunningham said to the models at the event that I remember well and thought was great was: "You are all here because we believe in you. If you do well at NY Fashion Week, that is great! But if you don't book many shows that is O.K. too! Because we believe in you, you are here and we hope to work with you for a long time in the future, no matter how many shows you book"  These words I thought really gave the girls a good feeling, because their career did not rely only on the success of their NY Fashion Week. After all, runway work is a totally different thing than modeling for pictures or video, and every girl has their own talents! The event is held on the beautiful terrace of the Penthouse office of IMG Models in NYC. There are always great healthy foods and drinks sponsored by NYC vendors, and the goodiebag is really, really good (trust me I have gotten many goodiebags in my life and IMG's goodie bag is one full of useful products, especially for models.) A few things in the goodie bag: All stars Sneakers, makeup, fitness clothing, teeth whitening system, skincare, discounts, free gym membership, drinks and more. ( I know you like to hear about those details!)

The experts speaking have changed the past year, but some have been regulars like Betsy Selman-Babinecz, a Board Certified Clinical Social Worker who really helped girls- and myself-  by giving "emotional tools" to deal with the pressure in the Fashion Industry. Also present were Nian Fish, a Creative Director/Producer who started the CFDA Health Initiative, and Casting Directors like James Scully. Other experts the past years included trainers, lawyers, PR agents,and more. Last year Jessica Stam spoke shared her experiences as a top model, and I gave tips on healthy food and essentials for Fashion Week. All our tips were put together in a nice booklet provided by IMG. I hope to be part of this great initiative for more years to come!

READ MORE: NY magazine article on the IMG Model Prep 101

My life after modeling

When I decided regular modeling was not for me anymore, as I worked as a model for over 20 years and I feel there is not much to "win" anymore that way in the fashion industry, IMG was very supportive.

Lonneke for Twirl fragrance by Kate Spade, shot by Phil Pointer, booked by Peter from IMG Models NY
Lonneke and other models for Twirl fragrance by Kate Spade, shot by Phil Pointer, booked by Peter at IMG Models NY 

The future of IMG Models

I am happy to see that IMG is also still developing in an even better agency. I was very excited when I read this interview with Vice President Ivan Barth for Cosmopolitan, in which he shares that IMG will from now on just focus on the best models and personalities, no matter age, size and shape. Because really, great women come in all shapes and sizes. It is a great development in an industry I find has become too much fast fashion and everybody looking the same. I don't see any fun in extremely thin girls that all look the same, and even I, someone who has been in this industry for so long, can't say who's who anymore sometimes. I myself gained some weight and I feel happier and look better this way I think than when I was trying to fit in as the standard size model. I am happy to know that IMG models really wants me to be me, and that will only make me a better public figure, and a happier person.

Lonneke for Clarins, booked by IMG Paris
Lonneke by herself as a canvas for Clarins, booked by IMG Paris

Lonneke for Brunello CucinelliLonneke and other models for Brunello Cucinelli booked by IMG Milan

Fashion Insider

I will share more fashion secrets on Organice Your Life I want to make this industry a healthier place by sharing my experiences,  as I know us models are role models for women around the World.

So good news for everyone dreaming of being a model. You now have a chance with IMG Models no matter what size, shape, length, age or color you are: Because only the best is good enough for IMG Models.

Love, Lonneke

Featured image: Lonneke for JCrew booked by IMG NY (note: not all models are represented by IMG Models in this picture)

 

First published on November 18th 2013, updated in 2019


Aire de Bardenas

I am so lucky with the places that my modeling jobs have taken me to! I am taking you on a trip down memory lane for Organice Your Life®. This time: Aire De Bardenas in Tudela, Navarra, Spain.

Hotel Aire de Bardenas

I stayed at this amazing place in Tudela, Navarra, Spain called "Hotel Aire de Bardenas" once for a photoshoot of a few days for a luxury leather brand called Delvaux. It is located in an area with a large natural park with one of the most beautiful views ever! The design of the hotel is very futuristic and feels like it is standing in the middle of nowhere. The luxury of this hotel is not only found in the modern rooms, with minibar, great bed, and rain shower(love it!). It is also found in the view.

Aire de Bardenas 1

Check more pictures of this hotel here at the architects Lopez-Rivera website.

It. Is. Amazing.

There is nothing in front of u. Besides the landscape and maybe some windmills in the distance, is what you see.
And the beds in the window, are a great place to oversee it all. The hotelrooms are all cubes, some just one room, and sometimes more together in the grey cubes. The hotel is surrounded by big stones, it gives a cool look to it all.

Of course I had a great time there!

The restaurant

The restaurant at the hotel serves foods that come from their own vegetable garden! The tomatoes for instance, were simply delicious, don't remember a time when I had better ones. And the orange juice..mmm!

The hotel is so nice, and one of a kind. If you love a design hotel with organic ethics, and piece and quiet, go here. It will be a nice experience.

How to get there

I took a flight from Madrid Barajas airport to Zaragoza with Iberia, and then took a taxi about 50 minutes to Tudela. You will find the hotel just outside of the center of this village.

Modeling

I worked there for Delvaux. They are a luxury leather brand from Belgium, and make beautiful handbags. I am happy I worked with them so I could experience this nice place! It was a lot to arrange as I was told they are only allowed to have one photo shoot a month in the natural park of Bardenas Reales, to ensure the park stays good. Check out below how beautiful it is at Bardenas Reales!

Behind the scenes pictures of this shoot:

Delvaux bhs 1

Delvaux bhs 2

Delvaux bhs 3

Delvaux bhs 3

Delvaux bhs 5

The end result. Campaign pictures of Delvaux:

Delvaux 1Delvaux 3Delvaux 4Delvaux 5Delvaux 6Delvaux 2See here the links to the gorgeous hotel and the brand I worked for!

Love, Lonneke

www.hotelairedebardenas.com

www.airedebardenas.com

www.delvaux.com

 

First published on August 22nd 2013, updated in 2019


Why Friends is the Best

This year marks 25 years since the first episode of the sitcom "Friends" first aired. While the 25 years celebrations are still ongoing (the anniversary was in September 2019) I just started watching a full rerun of Friends AGAIN on Netflix. I might be able to do another rerun just before the end of the year, when Friends is bound to leave the streaming service and go on to another adventure. Here I am going to explain why Friends is the Best, even after 25 years, and why I will keep watching it even when I am 80 years old!

The Storyline of Friends

Friends is about 6 friends: Rachel Greene(Jennifer Aniston) Ross Geller ( David Schwimmer) and his sister Monica Geller( Courteney Cox), Chandler Bing(Matthew Perry), Joey Tribbiani (Matt Leblanc) and Phoebe Buffett (Lisa Kudrow) who are living in New York City. It is mostly centered around a lilac colored apartment in the West Village on the corner of Grove street and Bedford street. Across the hall is a second apartment that gets a lot of air time. The friends spend a lot of time together, each have a special bond with one another, and you really see them mature in front of your eyes while we follow them in what life throws at them. Even though the storyline is a bit outrageous here and there, it is well-written by the shows creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, and all show's main characters shine at their own times. The whole show is thought out so well, that every part is why the show is such a success and most people love to watch it over and over again!

Friends intro

First of all, the intro helps this sitcom be a success. You hear an upbeat song that is easy to sing along and you are excited to watch another episode. Even if you are watching episode after episode, I notice I do not skip the intro but let it play, as it really makes me happy every time I hear (and see ) it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs-HbHCcK58

 

Apparently the show was going to be called differently first "Friends like us" and the theme song would be REM's Shiny Happy People":

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl5751mttoE

As you can see this song is beautiful, but wrong. If they would have gone with this song and intro, I think it wouldn't have become such a success. Most people do not realize what an intro song does to how you perceive the rest of the show. The intro sets the tone. if the tone makes your heart make a little jump, most likely you also enjoy the rest of the show.

READ MORE: The story of the shoot for the final FRIENDS intro

Also, the lyrics (written by the Shows writers!) is like it really resonates with you.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job's a joke, you're broke
Your love life's D.O.A
It's like you're always stuck in second gear
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year, but....
I'll be there for you.....

Everybody has that feeling sometimes where everything is not going well and you have to keep the Faith and keep going!
or as Monica would say:

Welcome to the real World. It sucks, you're gonna love it

My thoughs on the storyline

Partly believable. For instance, the rent of the apartment of Monica and Rachel would be so high in real life they were probably not able to afford it. But what happens to each character in career and private life can happen in real life as I have been living in NYC for over 15 years and have seen even crazier things happen to myself or my friends! New York City is a place where spontaneous things happen. You go to a meeting and you end up at a theater show. You go grocery shopping and end up joining friends to a gallery opening. Anything is possible if you do not plan but just let life happen while being in NYC. (that's what I love so much about this City!) I also love Rachel and Ross getting together, even though I think Rachel was a bit hard on Ross at times. Chandler and Monica should have started dating earlier in the series if it was up to me. Phoebe had her shining moments with her songs "Smelly Cat" and others that stay in your head... Joey's storyline was great that he was so nice and struggling in his acting career but kept going and made it! Phoebe, Rachel, Monica and Joey all struggled throughout the ten years, but kept going. This is very normal in NYC. People never give up in getting a career. Ross had a steady job and even though Chandler switched jobs, he also had a more steady income stream. But most of all: I just love how most scenes happen at their cosy home. This is how I love my life too: with my best friends spending quality time at home!

Friends reruns over and over again

Why do I watch Friends reruns all the time and not other sitcoms? I mean, I watched other sitcoms, and also ones that are based in NYC like "How I Met Your Mother", "Seinfeld" and even "Sex and the City". But for some reason they all have something in the show that makes me not wanting to watch it again. Or that I am happy I watched it, but it was something that I watched during a certain stage of my life. Why do I keep watching Friends? I have thought about it, and these are my reasons why I still think Friends is the Best:

My 14 reasons why Friends is the Best

  1. Every time I hear the intro, it makes me happy!
  2. With everything bad going on in the World sometimes, it is great to just tune out and turn on a familiar sitcom you know is going to make you feel better!
  3. Everything was just better in the 90's/beginning of 2000's. When people did not have a cell phone yet and people would leave messages on their answering machines. If you watch the show episode after episode you see that this is a topic that comes back all the time.
  4. When I have to do household chores or work on my website or other serious things and I have to focus, I play a Friends episode in the background.
  5. Watching the show feels familiar as I also live in NYC and certain scenes are exactly like how a New Yorker would do it. For instance the episode where Rachel and Ross are going to do laundry together. It is so New York! (even though I am now one of the lucky few who has her own washer and dryer in her apartment, a true luxury in NYC!)
  6.  I walk by the street where the apartment is supposed to be located almost daily. Whereas the steps to the house of Sex and the City's Carry is not attracting as much attention anymore compared to years ago, the facade of the building that we see all the time in "Friends" episodes still gets many fans to visit to take pictures.. even though the apartment is not there as everything inside was filmed in a studio in Hollywood!
  7. The apartment itself is like a copy of my own apartment in NYC. I moved into my loft in 2006. My friends who have visited my apartment since, and who I have spent endless nights with chatting and cooking together remember the colorful green, orange, lilac, and blue walls all over, and the eclectic mix of furniture and little ornaments that I found at flea markets, the colorful and overpriced "Bazaar" ABC Carpet, or even sometimes on the streets of NYC (because New Yorkers throw out the most expensive stuff as space is expensive and storage is as well, throwing out a piece of furniture is a better financial option than storing it). I also had magnets on my fridge, I also had a weird lamp. Everything in my apartment goes together, while nothing matches and everything is all over the place. The way Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Monica and Phoebe use apartment 20, is how I have used my apartment over the years. A place to hang out for me and my friends and to host lovely holiday parties. While I have since toned down the colors on my walls ( I have grown up after all) the spirit of my apartment is still the same and I still love to have people over just like Monica did! And by the way.... I also have a naked guy in the apartment across the street in the Summers for years.
  8.  What Friends character am I? Reading the previous comment it is obvious that I am a "Monica". Or "Lonica" (how many people in the USA pronounce my name) I might just be a mix of brother and sister Geller. I am a cleaner, a cook and a perfect host, and a bit uptight sometimes ;) But I am also clumsy like Ross, I choose to be a bit naive like Ross, and I am funny when I am not trying to be funny, and I am not funny when I try to be funny: just like Ross. (and I might have been a bit like Phoebe for a while, when I was all into alternative healing stuff and a vegan lifestyle.) I am for sure not Rachel, Chandler or Joey.
  9. I have so many favorite scenes! Probably the ones with Ross (no not the Pivot scene, although it is good!) Like when he is on the phone with Julie and he has an issue to hang up and Rachel does it for him. And I loved the wedding of Monica and Chandler, and Phoebe in the Winter cold. Because I just love NYC in the snow.
  10. My favorite characters are from favorite to least favorite: Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe.
  11. My favorite guest characters are "Richard" Burke Monica's boyfriend played by Tom Selleck and of course.... JANICE!!
  12. I am not a crazy fan of Friends or the 6 celebrity lead actors, I do think they are great. These 6 people are one of the big reasons why this show is a success. What I am trying to say is that I appreciate all parts of the show equally. I also really like the writing and the way the show looked, the stages of the different scenes. It looked so colorful and cozy. Marta Kaufman once said the show is like comfort food, and I think that is exactly what it is!
  13. Rachel (I love her last name) ended up working at Ralph Lauren, Of course I love that because Ralph Lauren is also the reason why I could live in NYC.
  14. Is there something I don't like? Well, now I have matured myself, and now that I am married, I look back at the show a bit different than before. I now watch episode after episode, I noticed HOW MUCH DATING these characters do during 10 years! Just like Sex and the City this show is really pushing the notion that twenty year olds date a lot and sleep with a lot of different people in NYC. It is kind of normal. Now looking back, I think that part could have been a bit less.. But these love interests of the main characters have definitely given enough funny storylines in the show that is for sure!
A Holiday party with my friends at my apartment in NYC back in 2008/2009, when the walls were still bright orange and I had all this eclectic stuff everywhere!

 

Thanksgiving dinner with friends, hubby and my dog Vito at my home (when I had repainted the walls!)

Here are a few lovely scenes for you to reminisce, while I am going to overthink if I should get that "Friends" sweater that I saw at Urban Outfitters today...

Love, Lonneke

 

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