Camping: Back to Basic!

I want to go down memory lane and tell you about a photoshoot I did a long time ago for dutch Glamour Magazine with photographer Paul Bellaart. Stylist Jetteke van Lexmond insisted on having me to shoot this story. It was a lovely experience to visit the Netherlands, and just the right kind of place for me!

The location of the shoot

We shot at a camp site at an Estate called "Thornspick" located in one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands: the Veluwe. This estate had only 4 tents, surrounded by trees and plants, they were very luxurious and looked more like safari tents.

And now the fun part that I like:

To use the luxury you needed to work:

  • To get warm water you had to heat it.
  • To have electricity you had to ride a bike to generate electricity, that was then stored in a battery and was then ready for use.
  • Cooking was done by yourself ( that's ok!)
  • ...and for doing the dishes as well ( that's too bad...)
  • But... This way the camp site is CARBONEUTRAL! Pretty cool huh? Just like camping, that's cool too! The company is called "Het Verborgen Verblijf".

Translated in English it is something like "The Hidden Place". The link is in dutch, but you get a feeling of what it looks like.


Going back to basic, doing everything yourself, together and with nature. I grew up camping with the family. We went multiple times a year. Those are my fondest memories of my childhood. We would stay in a "vouwwagen" or tent, and our daily entertainment wouldn't cost a thing. We would just go on an adventure in the woods next to the campsite, and bake potatoes and marshmallows on a bonfire. We would swim in a pond, or a river nearby. I would make friends from far away cities like Delft, or Leeuwarden, and we would become penpals and stay in contact after the vacation was over, and send each other mail the old school way. We played games. Not on a computer, we would play boardgames  and bingo until late at night, or we would make up our own games with whatever we found on the site. Good memories..

I hope more people will start seeing the beauty of going back to basic and instead of spending lots of money, go to nearby campsites, like this one. The kids will love it much more than an expensive hotel room!

The shoot went well and we all had renewed energy of being in a place like this. I went home with a box full of organic eggs, that were very tasty!

These were the pictures we shot that day!


Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick


Love, Lonneke

First published in 2013, updated in 2019

la Pause, Marrakech, Morocco

My job has taken me to amazing places, and I want to go back to one of my favorite memories.

One time, I spent at week in an oasis, in the desert about an half hour outside Marrakech. I shot there again for Scapa, this time in between horses, hills, desert and camels. And yes, I rode my first camel!

Although I did not get to see the beauty that Marrakech offers, I got a lot of serenity & beauty at La Pause. La Pause - the name says it all- makes the time stop, makes you chill out. This resort is as I mentioned before, located in an oasis, hidden in hills ,in the middle of nowhere.

La Pause Marrakech

Image courtesy of La Pause

You could either sleep in bedouin tents, or in the cubical houses, made of clay and hay. Inside you light candles to actually see a thing, because there is no electricity. The women who take care of this place, light dozens of them before you arrive back after your dinner. It is so romantic! There are working toilets ( I am still figuring out where the pipes go to...)and a shower gives a bit of hot water.

La Pause Marrakech 2

Image courtesy of La Pause

For a few days I was basically out of touch with everyone and I couldn't reach anyone, and that was kind of great actually. Be in the moment.  They had 2 super sweet dogs that would come keep me company when I was laying down in the sand on the hill, gazing at the thousands of stars in the midnight sky...

La Pause Marrakech 3

Image courtesy of La Pause

The food was great, a lot of fresh vegetables ( I mean A LOT) so for vegetarians it's heaven! Talking about fresh rucola that was still in the ground about half an hour before lunch... so nice!

But I think the meat and chicken are organic, so meat eaters, there is something for you too. Only problem?: You eat too much. Good thing: It is all pretty low calories,as cheese and fatty sauces are not used. I mean, where are they supposed to keep those things cooled? There is no electricity!

And phone service, if you are lucky , is only working on top of the mountain. And there is a generator, that once a day, will be turned on to clean the pool ( yes there is a tiny cute pool!) Plug in your phone charger if there is an outlet left!

And my favorite thing: we could go on a horse riding trip, by sunset for instance. What was great is that the foals of the horses you ride, actually go with you on the trip. This way it feels like you are in a wild group of horses, as they are running around while you are enjoying the view!

Besides that you can rent quads, ride the camels or use the homemade sauna.

Owner Frederic, arrived there years ago, and made la Pause a wonderful place to find tranquility, good food and wonderful nature.

I had a great time! I would definitely recommend going to this place on vacation. Or even go for lunch when in Marrakech. It is worth it! ( For instance, when I was there, ex-professional cyclist Richard Virenque visited La Pause for lunch with friends & family)

Below is a compilation of my favorite pictures from the photo shoot. I think it turned out great and captured the feeling of this magical place. Photos are by Paul Bellaart

Love, Lonneke

P.s.: Everything was great but I was a bit upset about the many dogs , donkeys and horses I saw on my way to La Pause, that are trying to survive by themselves. A lot of people in Morocco see these animals sometimes just as means for survival themselves. If you want to do something, visit the websites of a few great charities below, that do their best to help animals around the world not suffer.

Visiting Brattleboro, Vermont!

I once went to Brattleboro,Vermont for 1 reason: The wedding of one of my best friend Johan van Lierop and his fiancee Brooke Magnaghi


I had never been to Vermont, and as I like to travel, I was looking forward to go to Brattleboro. Vermont is known for beautiful skiing, the trees that change color in Fall, but the mountains are also very pretty in the summer. I love hiking, and lakes: It seemed I would get enough of that in Vermont!

Main Street Brattleboro


Brattleboro (see Main Street above) is a small town of about 12.000 people, in the mountains of Vermont, and about 3.5 hours drive from NYC... if you don't take a detour. Check for everyone renting a car: Get a navigation system AND make sure "Avoid tolls" is disabled. Because if it is enabled, your trip takes about 3 hours more...

The first thing I noticed was that Vermont is very clean. I drove around a lot, walked a lot, and I did not see much littering going on. It seems the state has been on the forefront of taking care of the environment. Is that where the name "The Green Mountain State" came from? Everywhere I looked, I found signs of "going green". The clean waters of the river while I went canoeing (just make sure you put sunscreen on, I got a bit red!), or the recycling bins in the restaurants, and looking at the many antiques, vintage and organic clothing stores, the signs were everywhere!

canoeing VermontLonn Canoeing

Four Columns Inn

The hotel was very cute: Four Columns Inn owned by is a charming little place where we had I think the cutest green room. I would definitely stay here again. We were welcomed by the Innkeeper and she showed us the whole house and restaurant, plus the places where we could relax. My boyfriend and I sat on the front porch one night, just talking and enjoying the nice weather. It was really nice.

Lonneke at Four Columns Inn

The restaurant

The restaurant at Four Columns Inn is known in the area as a really good restaurant. We had to make reservations. The food was amazing, local and delicious, and to my surprise: a lot of vegetarian options, and all local yummy foods. Like gazpacho and veggie ravioli (see pictures below). I was super excited! The restaurant was also used as the breakfast room, and everyday some items changed, but the quality stayed 5 stars, and things you can expect is home made muffins, Egg frittata, fresh cherries from the garden.

gazpacho at Four Columns InnVegetable Ravioli at Four Columns Inn


The location of the Inn

I also swam in the pool, and while it was a bit cold, i t was really nice. The garden and lake around the Inn are very beautiful.

The center of Brattleboro is really small, but cute. ( see picture on top of Main street Brattleboro) There are a few places worth mentioning:

My favorite store in Brattleboro

This has to be Twice upon a time!  This is the mecca for Antique and Vintage shoppers. They have over 10.000 square feet of space full of anything from furniture, clothing to jewelry and things for your home. Their great concept is that they have over 100 vendors and over 3000 consignors sell their things in this store. The store has a lot of sections where each vendor showing their sales items. I spent a few hours browsing and found great things! Including a drawer that I loved right away, for 1 tenth of the price it would be in New York City. Other finds: A beauty-case in fun colors, 70's glas milk bottle, a gift for Johan and Brooke as they were expecting a baby girl (a 40's girl's baby food plate), an 60's chef's dress, a nice table cloth, a bracelet..vintage napkins I needed for the wedding because I was crying the whole time. A lot of things and I did not even browse the vintage clothing section!

Twice upon a Time 1Jewelry Twice Upon a TimeTwice Upon a Time 2Twice Upon a Time 3


Lunch in Brattleboro

And for breakfast or lunch: The Works Bakery Cafe. The pesto/artichoke sandwich was SO good! This take out/sit down cafe looks cute. It has many healthy options.

The Works Artichoke Sandwich

The Works Artichoke Sandwich ingredients

The Works Logo

When you throw your garbage away you see that you need to separate your waste into 3 bins. I think the words on the garbage bins say it all :)

The Works waste bin 1The Works waste bin 2The Works waste bin 3


Overall, I really want to go back to Vermont, because it has everything I love: Clean air, beautiful nature, lot's of green, mountains, rivers, creeks and lakes! I especially want to go for "Indian Summer": When all the trees change to beautiful colors: red, orange, purple. It is supposed to be amazing and I can't wait to see it!

Love, Lonneke

River BrattleboroVermont


Twice upon a Time,
63 Main St.
Brattleboro, VT 05301
(802) 254-2261

Four Columns Inn

On the Green,

Newfane, Vermont, 05345


The Works Bakery Cafe

118 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301


First published on August 15th 2011, updated in 2019

My California Road trip

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

Pacific coastline road trip

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

2016-08 Roadtrip California 1

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

Car rental

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

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

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

wedding Maruja & Ross

Our itinerary of our California road trip:

Day 1:

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

Day 2:

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

Day 3:

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

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

Love, Lonneke





Los Angeles Hotspots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

My tip for LA:

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

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

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

Love, Lonneke




Making of Model Chocolate

Carolina, Fabio, Dirk and I spent some time in my Organice Your Life® kitchen in NYC making delicious chocolate treats! We first went through the Model Chocolate book by top model & OYL contributor Abigail O'Neill, and picked our 2 favorite recipes.

Lonneke & Carolina making chocolateLonneke & Carolina 

Model chocolate book

Australian model Abigail just released her first chocolate & super foods book full of yummy desserts & treats called "Model Chocolate". And send us a copy too to try some desserts! So we spent the whole night preparing the recipes and we had a lot of fun!

From the many, many recipes, I chose the pie Love Me Bittersweet Jaffa Pie and Carolina chose the cookies.

model chocolate book

Love Me Bitttersweet Jaffa Pie

The pie is a mix of pure, organic ingredients like shredded coconut, pure chocolate nibs & powder, orange oil, orange juice, macadamia nuts and dates.  It is probably the most expensive pie I ever made, as most of the ingredients are not cheap, but it is one of the best pies I ever tasted! The amount of each ingredient was really perfect, you could really taste the orange oil & juice in the "aftertaste". And all the ingredients are uncooked, organic and actually healthy for you! Of course you don't eat the whole pie at once, so after the pie was made, and we all had a piece with a nice cup of tea, we split the remaining pie and Carolina & Fabio took their half home. We later found out we all ate a little piece each night after dinner as a treat until it was finished! So the whole week we all enjoyed it. So in the end it was something we could enjoy for so long it wasn't an expensive pie at all.

macadamia dates coconut flakes 1The ingredients for the crust of the pie are mixed together in a blender.

making crust of raw pieFabio is making the crust of the pie by pressing the pie mixture really well to get a solid and strong bottom of the pie

pouring of chocolateFabio ads the chocolate mixture onto the crust

Carolina pouring chocolateCarolina sprinkles raw cacao nibs on top.

Model chocolate book 1Model Chocolate book with the chocolate pie after coming out of the fridge.

Model Chocolate pie 2We love a piece of this chocolate pie!

The whole recipe for this delicious pie you can find in the Model Chocolate book .

Chocolate cookies

The cookies were a mix of ingredients like chocolate powder, spelt meal, maca, macadamia oil, coconut oil. These pictures are going to be posted in an article by Carolina so stay tuned!

What are you making next from the Model Chocolate recipe book?

Love, Lonneke

All pictures copyrighted by Organice Your life® 

First published in 2013, updated in 2019

Wubo Ockels - Goodbye with a Smile

Wubbo Ockels: Goodbye with a Smile

When I was a young girl, I already knew who Wubbo Ockels was. He was the first dutch man to go to Space. I was intrigued by it.

Wubbo Ockels

Iedereen kent Wubbo Ockels als de astronaut, maar de laatste jaren was Wubbo Ockels, professor Aerospace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology bij TU Delft vooral bezig met duurzame projecten. Hij wilde jongeren bewust te maken van de aarde en ze te motiveren ook oplossingen te zoeken. Of het nou zijn Schip Ecolution was, of zijn werk voor TU Delft. Zijn idee om het verkeer beter te laten doorstromen en duurzamer te laten worden met de futuristische Superbus, zijn werk voor Happy Energy om duurzame energie te promoten. Hij vertelde me later ook dat hij wel de ruimtervlucht wilde maken waar hij voor was gevraagd, maar dan moest er wel de natuur van Curaçao er profijt van hebben, want daar schortte nogal wat aan in zijn ogen. Alles wat hij deed moest gewoon iets goeds zijn voor de natuur, aarde en de ruimte.

Interview & shoot for Organice Your Life

Daarom wilde ik met hem een groot interview doen  in 2011 voor Organice Your Life®. En een mooie fotoreportage maken, met mijn favoriete fotografe Alique, die toen nog redelijk onbekend was internationaal. (nu is ze befaamd fotografe voor internationale Vogues). Dus ik mailde met Wubbo Ockels, en samen hebben wij een datum voor de shoot afgesproken. Hij was heel enthousiast.

Op de dag van de shoot en interview kwam Wubbo heel opgewekt binnen. Hij was wel een 60er, maar aan zijn energie kon je dat niet merken! Hij verzekerde mij dat hij nog vaak ging dansen met jongeren in een lokale hippe club in Amsterdam, en dat hij dan vaak het langste doorging. Hij kreeg energie van jongeren, en wilde ook heel actief blijven. Leven als een oude man, dat wilde hij niet. Dus dat deed hij ook niet.

Wubbo had voor de fotoshoot zijn originele helm en ruimtepak meegenomen. Ik mocht hem zelfs op voor de foto! De samenwerking met Alique ging heel goed, en we maakte de ene "iconische" foto na de andere met Wubbo. Voor de cover van Organice Your Life® magazine ging ik samen met Wubbo op de foto.

Lonneke Engel & Wubo Ockels

Ik had zelf ook wat kledingstukken meegenomen, waaronder een witte mannen blouse. Wubbo vond die zo mooi dat ik hem heb gegeven. Van hem kregen we Happy Energy speldjes.

Homemade Lunch

De lunch had ik zelf klaargemaakt. Natuurlijk helemaal biologisch. Ik had risotto met paddenstoelen gemaakt, en een "homemade" paprika soepje en nog wat lekkere dingetjes. Vooral de risotto vond Wubbo erg lekker.

'S middags gingen we samen op Java Eiland buiten zitten in de zon,aan de rand van een gracht. We hebben wel 3 uur gepraat.. We hebben het gehad over alle projecten van hem, en zijn gedachten. Ik wilde ruimte bieden aan al zijn ideeën en zijn bijzondere verhalen. Want wat hij allemaal in zijn leven had meegemaakt, was zeer bijzonder om te delen met de lezers van Organice Your Life.

The Green Fashion Competition

Deze samenwerking zorgde ervoor dat we zo nu en dan contact hadden. Ik was op dat moment Ambassadeur van The Green Fashion Competition die toen nog bestond, en nodigde Wubbo ook uit om front row te zitten samen met zijn vrouw Joos. Daarna is hij nog regelmatig naar Amsterdam Fashion Week gegaan als front row gast.

In Memoriam Wubbo Ockels

Hij was een charmeur, en heel opgewekt elke keer dat ik hem zag of sprak. Steeds bezig met netwerken en nieuwe duurzame projecten op te zetten. Met zijn verleden als astronaut, en professor bij de TU Delft, kreeg hij veel voor elkaar.

De laatste contacten met hem waren nadat hij had gehoord dat hij (weer) ziek was. Hij vroeg mij of ik nog goede diëten en boeken wist die hem konden helpen. Ik heb hem een titel van een boek doorgestuurd, en hem heel veel kracht toegewenst. Het was duidelijk dat hij ALLES wilde doen om weer beter te worden. Hij wilde nog zo graag leven en wilde daarom alles aanpakken. Niets was hem te gek, zijn lichaam was het belangrijkste.

Jammer genoeg heeft hij, ondanks zijn inzet en energie, de strijd verloren. Zijn ziel is nu het heelal in gevlogen, maar zijn duurzame, en vooruitstrevende ideeën hier op aarde zullen altijd bestaan. Wubbo is een inspiratie voor mensen over de hele Wereld, jong en oud.

“If the World ends today, I'll be okay because I am happy with the way I lived my life”  Wubbo Ockels, interview Organice Your Life, 21 Mei 2011


Wubbo's last speech one day before his untimely death

Wubbo, rust zacht, het was heel bijzonder om je gekend te hebben.

Ik wens de hele familie Ockels veel kracht in deze tijd. Samen zorgen we dat de gedachten van Wubbo Ockels altijd zullen blijven bestaan.


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

Read more:

Interview Wubbo Ockels - Lonneke Engel voor Organice Your Life® 21 Mei 2011

OYL Circle of Five by Wubbo Ockels 21 Mei 2011

OYL Checklist by Wubbo Ockels 21 Mei 2011

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


Our wedding in the news!

Since we broke the news about our marriage we have received many well-wishes from all over the World! Thank you all so much!

A lot of  websites have written nice articles about our announcement. I have added them below.

More details about our wedding part 1 will follow coming weeks! And I will share some secrets to our wedding Part 2 and 3 ;)

Love, Lonneke & Dirk








Just Married!

On the birthday of my late father Rob Engel, 29th of January, Dirk Verest and I, Lonneke Engel, would like to announce our marriage to the World! I am a lucky woman and have never felt more excited for our future together! 

Just married!

Dirk and I are extremely happy with our intimate & spiritual wedding, in our beautiful loft in New York City, in November 2013. Surrounded by close friends, we were married by Brooke, an ordained minister, who is a close friend, and my best friend Johan's wife.

Married life feels good! You have someone in your life you love, who loves you back. You have someone in your life to lean on, and together you are a team. Dirk and I are a team. For better and for worse, for real. And that's something I have longed for, for years.

Love, Lonneke

 My DIY wedding bouquet

Our Wedding in the News


Featured Image by Sophie Blackall, our wedding card.

Peacefood Cafe NYC review

Peacefood cafe 1NYC is the place to be for vegan food! This is another one on my favorites list: Peacefood Cafe NYC.

I have been to the one in the Upper West Side of NYC, but it is a bit out of the direction I usually have to go when I am in NYC, so I am very happy they opened one downtown just a bit South from Union Square!

Peacefood cafe 4

Their menu needs a bit of investigating to discover the great things they have to offer. You have to realize everything they offer is vegan: nothing is made with animal products. But they serve great healthy things, and some that resemble the bite of meat too!

It is a great place to just go for a snack or coffee/tea with a sweet bite, a vegan sandwich, as well as for a full dinner.

Their Shanghai Dumplings are a great snack, and their pizzas are tasty too.

Peacefood cafe 3But my favorite dish is the simple roasted and sautéed veggies plate for dinner. You can chose 4 of your favorite vegetables. It seems they use a certain oil to sauté it in, so it tastes absolutely delicious! ( I pick Brussels Sprouts, Japanese Pumpkin, Sautéed kale, broccoli)

But I also like to order their special of mashed potatoes, mushrooms, gravy and other vegetables that are in season. It is like what your mother used to make but the healthy version the vegan way.

What I also love here are the special teas (Mother's Bouquet is a favorite).They also make a raw & vegan chocolate pie and I tried the raw key lime pie: so good!

PeaceFood Cafe NYC locations

460 Amsterdam Avenue @82nd street
10am-10pm everyday

41 East 11th street @University Place
10am-10pm Everyday

Peacefood cafe chocolate pie



Salud organic juice bar NYC review

I love exploring New York City and finding great neighborhood gems! This time I discovered Salud, a family owned juice bar business with 2 locations in Brooklyn and NYC.

We went to the NYC location, located on Thompson street in Soho, NYC. Salud Organic juice bar NYC is a small place with lots of turquoise color and many artsy decoration. Which I can understand once I read on the website the juice bar is a creation by a brother and sister, who are a chef and an artist.

Salud organic juice bar 2

The menu is healthy with a latin twist. They have a daily homemade soup ( I had the lentil soup it was delicious)  and a daily special. The regular menu is a mix of smoothies, juices, sandwiches, wraps, tortillas and brunch items including eggs. They serve chicken, but also "Un"chicken sandwiches. But most things on the menu are vegetarian and all is ... organic!

photo 3

We ordered the E-Detox-O ( a detox juice with cayenne pepper) and the Purple Haze, which is now my favorite smoothie! It has homemade roasted amaranth, banana, blueberries and hemp milk. For brunch they have easy organic egg dishes and I love the wrap with eggs, kale and avocado.

I will definitely go back sometime! Very happy it is close by to where we live!

Salud organic juice bar NYC 1

Salud Latin organic juice bar

107 Thompson street NYC

Love, Lonneke

Bachelorette to Prince Charming

I was voted #1 Eligible Bachelorette of the Netherlands by Jackie magazine in 2012. There is a list of 25 eligible Bachelorettes and they put me on top, haha how life can change within a year ;-) But besides that it is a fun award to get, and it was a fun celebration, it also has a thought that I want to share with you:


I became single by my own choice about at the end of 2011. My relationship was not feeling right. I know a lot of people stay in a situation too long, trying to work it out. I did that too. But if you realize you are not happy: choose your own happiness! This "award" some people might see as not fun. I actually loved it! It is also telling me I made the right choice! You know what? If you are happy in your own skin (I am the happiest I have been in 5 years!) you will attract the right people. The opposite also counts: if you are not feeling great/are miserable, you will usually attract the same kind of people. And you don't want that right? So work on yourself to be the best YOU and love will come your way! Who you are is what you attract.

My motto is: Never settle for anything less than amazing. And that amazing is when you feel happy in the situation, not what other people think about you or that person. it is your life and sorry to say it again: You only live once!

OYL Prince-Charming

I enjoyed being single. It  was the last time in my life I found my Prince Charming last year, and we are going to live happily ever after!

So cheers to couples, but also cheers to all you Singles out there! You are cool and if you don't settle for anything less than amazing, you might find the best of the best like I did with my man Dirk!

Love, Lonneke

More info about the Bachelorette event:

We celebrated in Amsterdam with the premiere of Bachelorette the movie. I also went to the premiere of this movie in New York City!

Interview about being voted Bachelorette of the Netherlands (in Dutch):

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The day after interview: (In Dutch, mind the bags under my eyes I was tired hihi):

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Me and Organice Your Life contributor Valentina Zelyaeva at the premiere of Bachelorette in New York City earlier that month:

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