Abigail O'Neill's Model Chocolate book

5 recipes for chocolate lovers

Who doesn't love chocolate? Lonneke Engel and her fellow contributors shared their love of chocolate with you in these 5 recipes for chocolate lovers. 

First of all, did you know that Organice Your Life® contributor Abigail O'Neill even came out with a recipe book all about (raw) chocolate called "MODEL CHOCOLATE" ?

Model Chocolate

Whether it is Valentine's Day or not, here are 5 recipes for chocolate lovers you must try to make for the ones you love. (or just all for yourself!).

1. Chocolate Eco Block by Abigail O'Neill

Abigail O'Neill made this delicious piece of chocolate that should be a staple in your household!

Chocolate Eco Block recipe by Abigail O'Neill.

abi's chocolateee

2. Vegan black bean brownies by Lonneke Engel

This bean based vegan black bean brownie is delicious and a great snack for when you crave chocolate, or when you are just hungry! You might not even realize there are beans in it!

Vegan Black Bean Brownies recipe by Lonneke Engel

Black-Bean-Brownies-Lonneke-Engel

3. Healthy Brigadeiro by Carolina Fontaneti

Brazilian beauty Carolina Fontaneti tried to make a healthier version of the famous Brazilian Brigadeiros. Delicious!

Healthy Brigadeiro recipe by Carolina Fontaneti.

IMG_9400-e1432862089966-710x355

4. Raw chocolate fondue by Abigail O'Neill

Many people like any ingredient just better if there is a layer of chocolate melted on top of it. Abigail O'Neill gives some tips to maken amazing chocolate fondue!

Raw Chocolate Fondue recipe by Abigail O'Neill

Model Chocolate Raw Chocolate Fondue

5. Frosty Fruity Chocolate by Abigail O'Neill

Another favorite by Model Chocolate Author Abigail O'Neill: Yummy fruits mixed with chocolate are always a good idea!

Frosty Fruity Chocolate recipe by Abigail O'Neill

Frosty Fruity Chocolate
Enjoy!

Love,

Team Organice Your Life®


5 Reasons to shop locally

Shopping is fun for most people. You go shopping and usually you buy what you need or like. It is a fun process for many. Most of the time the criteria to shop are if the items are of good quality, and if they have a price tag you are willing to pay. But there are more criteria for shopping that will be very interesting for you to think about for a moment. For instance, do you know the whole history behind the product or the shop you purchase goods? Do you know where the money you spend goes to? Besides you buying something new and exciting, you spending money at a certain local shop can be life-changing for many people, for many reasons. Let me explain this a bit more.

Some communities make easy guides to their local shops.Some communities have easy guides to their local small businesses and shops 

 

5 reasons to shop locally and support small businesses

1. When you shop at a local shop, you spend your money in a way that helps the shop owner and his or her family directly.

You are not sending your money off to another big corporation. If these small business owners earn money, they can take care of themselves and their family, and keep their business open. Sometimes you even get a better deal than at a big brand store. But most important: you are basically making sure these people, your neighbors, can make a living. Isn't that alone already a really good reason to spend your money in local shops?

Lonneke at AUH20 I love the cute finds and incredible low prices at AUH2O in the East Village! (Still in business!)

2. You get the best service

Small, local business owners care about the goods they sell very much. They have the most know-how of the products they sell, sometimes they make it themselves. In that case you can find out exactly how the products are made, something I always like to know. You just can't get any better advice on these products anywhere else. (Imagine big shops with employees that really don't care about you or the products they sell?) In the case you experience a problem, it is easy to speak directly to the person who owns the shop. These small business-owners exist on giving good service, and will find a product or service that will custom-fit your needs. They also will be helping out when there is a problem. They just want you to be a returning and loyal customer, and will do almost everything to make you, the customer happy with your purchased goods. When shopping locally, you can feel like people really listen to you, and really want to help you.

I did not know what bubble tea I should choose, so the owner of Thirstea NYC made me a custom-made bubble tea.the owner of Thirstea NYC in East Village made me a custom-made bubble tea (unfortunately out of business)

3. You support your local community

When you get out of your house, and see how the streets and shops in your neighborhood look, or how the local children's playground looks, imagine that when you spend your money in a local shop, your money will help care for these important building blocks in a community. Whether through taxes, or through direct payments from local business owners, they all together can make living in your community a pleasure. So putting it simple: when you spend locally, most of your money stays locally, and is spend again locally.

Lonneke Engel at Sustainable NYC

My friend Munemi and I at eco-friendly shop Sustainable NYC in East Village (unfortunately also out of business)

4. Bringing diversity to products offered

If we only buy products from big companies, the diversity in offered products will decrease. That's why it is important to shop with people who offer different products, and maybe even show their true craftsmanship. Also, by giving individuals a chance to make a living, it can pave the way for new ideas to develop into better products than the ones that already offered.

Actress Jennifer Esposito has a gluten free bakery in the East VillageActress Jennifer Esposito opened an 100% gluten-free bakery in East Village NYC: Jennifer's Way. (also out of business)

5. Social contacts

If you shop locally, you get to know who lives in your neighborhood. Your social contacts will become stronger. Remember, a community is build on the people who live in it. The more active the people in a community are working on strengthening their local community, the better and nicer it will be to live in it. And you might even make new friends too!

Vito the Dog, Navy Lamey at Local NYC

Vito the Dog and my nephew Navy Lamey are chilling at Local Cafe NYC in Soho after our trip to the East Village. Local has since become a bar to have drinks at night instead of a café.

What I like the best about shopping locally is the enthusiasm of local business owners. They are passionate about what they sell, they really chose to be in that business. I love all the information I get from them, and I am always excited to return. I hope my 5 reasons to shop locally has inspired you to explore your local community.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Because of the coronavirus hitting the USA and especially my hometown of New York City, I hope you can commit to at least try to buy locally and support small businesses, because many, many families are suffering and otherwise go bankrupt. We all need to step up and help these hardworking small business owners as they are the engine of the USA economy. Thank you!

WATCH MORE: Check out my daily update of the NYC Lockdown due to the Coronavirus

Love, Lonneke

First published on July 29th 2015, updated in 2020

p.s. As you can see most businesses I gave as an example have gone out of business. Unfortunately that is what happens if too little people support them so they are financially strong to survive. So if you know of a small business in your hometown, please support them, so they can stay in business and feed their families!

 

 


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! (not an option during a stay-at-home order or lockdown!)

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


That time I did an 1 day juice cleanse

I once did an one day juice cleanse. All the way with the cheesy "I kiss my juice" pictures as proof.  I had a bit hangover from just drinking 2 bellinis at the Operation Smile Ball the day before. So when you don't feel so great, what do you do? Exactly you take care of yourself! Eating really healthy is your own medicine. So I decided to visit Organic Avenue.

About Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue was a vegan and rawfood chain in New York City. It was founded by Denise Mari, and back in the day I did an interview with her. There were so many new Organic Avenue Locations popping up around town at one point. To me it seemed they had a lot of success, but they also seemed to grow too fast. After a few years Denise sold the company, and from what I've read, she came back on board to run the company.  OA incorporated different foods into the menu besides cleanses (the vegan chicken and waffles was great!) but eventually they went out of business :( . Sad story of a vegan health food store I enjoyed so much in NYC! I notice many of my favorite restaurants have gone out of business, it is just part of doing business in New York City.

Organic Avenue Soho location
Organic Avenue Soho location before it closed

Now back to the juice cleanse story: There used to be an Organic Avenue Location in Soho, close to where I live, and I decided to do their one day cleanses.

The 1 day juice cleanse

I received 7 bottles of juice. 1 small one to start the day with chlorophyll, and 6 juices.  You were told to drink water in between..

1 day cleanse from Organic Avenue
1 day cleanse by Organic Avenue

8.30 am

Let's start this juice cleanse! I woke up tired and had my first juice at this time. A chlorophyll shot that made my tongue green! It has a specific taste, but it is not bad. Chlorophyll comes from plants and is an "extremely important bio molecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light."- Quote from Wikipedia  

chlorophyll shot
chlorophyll shot

10 am

My first real juice is a nice simple orange juice. A great way to start a morning with some sweet citrus fruit juice.

orange juice
orange juice

12 pm

Green Love juice. Cucumber, celery, chard, spinach, pear, collard greens, kale, romaine, parsley, lemon juice. This one is a bit hard to drink due to the large amount of greens in this juice. So it took me a bit longer to drink this juice!

Green Love juice
Green Love juice

2.30 pm

Turmeric Tonic,  lemon juice, ginger juice, purified alkaline water, coconut sugar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cardamom, himalayan salt. This one was spicy but I actually liked this juice! It tasted a bit like something from the Middle East because of the spices. I drank it quite fast.

Turmeric Tonic
Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic

4.30pm

Veggie Vibe: carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, lemon. This one is hard again! Took me longer time to drink. But you feel really healthy drinking it.

At this point I felt really energized and fit! Getting so many minerals and vitamins in, plus water is really doing good for your body, right?

6.30 pm

Spicy Avocado Soup: avocado, purified alkaline water, spinach, lime juice, celery, cilantro, garlic, Himalayan salt, jalapeño, cumin. This is my least favorite. maybe because of the garlic and that it is thicker. It took me some effort to drink it.

Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup
Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup

8pm

Last juice of the day! Fresh, sweet coconut juice. I love ending a day like this with something super yummy!

Although some people do cleanses a few days in a row, I think it was nice to just do a one day cleanse. This way it does not "shock" your body while still replenishing your body with the essential nutrients. It is also a great that for that day you have a plan, and the 7 juices keep you on track. You don't have to think what you are gonna eat or what's for dinner at night. The cleanse is telling you that already so it relieves stress that way as well!

Why a one day juice cleanse might be good for you

Because you drink the whole day so you are very much hydrated.  And you don't have much time to feel hungry. Right when you feel hungry, you have the thicker Spicy Avocado soup that is filling. I think anyone can do a 1 day cleanse to just feel better and get rid of toxins or indigestion, if you don't get tempted by any food! So do this during a rainy day when you are likely to stay at home, or if you are stuck at the office with no food in sight, that's my recommendation.

You start to appreciate food more while on a cleanse, that is for sure!

Why juicing might not so good for you

You notice there is a lot of parsley added to the juices. This is because parsley contains lots of Vitamin K, a lot of antioxidants, which helps our bones and strengthens our nervous system.(that's good!) But I only learnt later that Parsley, other green leafy vegetables and beets contain a lot of oxalates and goitrogens. I will go into that some other time why that is actually not so good for some people like myself (oxalates can form crystals in your body and can cause kidney stones, goitrogens slow down a thyroid). Not to mention the high sugar intake which research suggests due to the lack of fiber that helps release sugar slowly into the blood system, a juice is causing a sugar spike. And juices that are not pasteurized, can bring harmful bacteria to your gut which can cause a whole other range of issues.

Maybe, just maybe, juice cleansing was a hype from 2006-2016, and now people just have one juice once a while and are onto another fad, like Keto or Paleo?

Related: Why no one does juice cleanses anymore

Organic Avenue used to offer their juices in glass bottles, but they were more expensive as there was a fee for returning the bottles. Now they serve the juices in BPA- free plastic, I thought that was a nice thing! Of course with the demise of Organic Avenue, their bottles are gone too. (I just kept one as a souvenir).

If you want to do a cleanse, there are many places in New York City and beyond to get a juice from, including Juice Press, Pressed Juicery ,Blueprint and Juice Generation

Related: 5 cleanses that get delivered to your door in the USA

p.s. for my readers in the Netherlands: you can order from Sapmeesters.

Final thought on cleanses: You should decide yourself what works for you! I will now enjoy a small juice once a while!

Love, Lonneke

First Published on May 6th 2012, Updated with new insights in 2019

 


Me with Betty & Jerry

A day at the beach with friends

A spontaneous trip to the beach is a great thing to do to unwind!

A day at the Beach

Let me take you down memory lane again, as this lovely memory just popped in my head: Once upon a time many years ago when I was visiting the Netherlands for work, I went to meet top model Dewi Driegen right after the job finished. So we decided to take her dogs to the beach! This beach in Wijk aan Zee was about 35 minutes from Amsterdam, and it is famous for kite surfing. So we saw many of these kite surfers on the beach. (you can see the many kites in the air if you look closely). The dogs enjoyed it a lot, and therefore we did too!

Beach Wijk aan Zee

 

I don't have a picture of me and fellow-Dutchie Dewi unfortunately ( I do have many with her dogs Betty & Jerry). Dewi and I were just there having a good time unwinding and relaxing with the Sun on our faces while catching up. I met her through modeling (during fashion week in Milan in 2006 I believe), so we both knew what our crazy modeling lives felt like, so it was always nice to catch up.

 

Me and JerryMe with Betty & Jerry

Beach club

I am always very pleased when I go to new places and restaurants that implement organic in a very natural way. Just like beach club Aloha. The food was delicious and all organic and many healthy options. And a great mindset also:

 

Pumpkin soup at Aloha

(Ok, I did have a slice of the delicious Apple pie. but sssst, don't tell anyone!)

Eating apple pie

We had a great day!

I always loved doing spontaneous things. When your life is "organiced", you have the time to do just that. I still get stressed out when my week is planned ahead. I prefer to just go with the flow. And spontaneously visiting the beach with friends to just relax and unwind, is one of those great things that bring joy to my life! I love to visit the beaches in New York State, especially in the Fall. Because I am not a bikini-beach person, I am more of a windy-Fall-bring-your-dogs- kind of beach person :) The beaches in New York State remind me of beaches on Texel, the island in the Netherlands that we visited yearly with my family when I was a child. So I hope to visit the NY coastline here with my love, family, friends and my own dog sometime soon!

Love, Lonneke

First published on August 10th 2012, updated in 2019


10 good things about working out

I think a lot of people are like me: I don't really like working out. I did it a lot for a long time when I was actively modeling, but since I retired from fulltime modeling and discovered I have an autoimmune disease called Hypothyroidism aka Hashimoto's Disease,  I have no interest to test my limits anymore. But when you get older, you realize your body is telling you something: you need to move your body to stay healthy! So here are 10 good things about working out.

10 good things about working out

  1. The number 1 reason most people start working out: You get in better overall shape and can lose weight. Your fat gets used for fuel for your muscles. It is a really good reason to start working out, because people who are overweight have higher risk of a range of health problems like stroke, high blood pressure and (Type 2) Diabetes.
  2. You get better muscle tone, and a better body image. Your metabolism increases, and processes in your body can work quicker and better.
  3. You get rid of toxins stuck in your body. Each day you consume many toxins. Whether in the food and drinks you take in, the skincare and makeup you put on your body, to the air you breathe. Your liver has a hard time getting rid of it all. There are a few ways to do that. Through breathing, and going to the bathroom, but sweating is a very good one too. And when you work out, you sweat more!
  4. Your skin can get better. Due to what I named at nr. 3 you get rid of dirt and toxins through your skin when you work out, and unclog potential pimples.(Wash it off quickly after work out, so the dirt doesn't stay on your skin which can clog the pores again) Also, it supports good processes in your skin like skin rejuvenation and releasing stem cells which can make you look younger a study found. Sounds good to me!
  5. When you work out, your quality of sleep will get better too. Not only because you are tired from working out, but your body has de-stressed during a work out,  and therefore gives you a more peaceful sleep.
  6. Working out activates your thyroid, which can relieve hypothyroidism and other auto-immune symptoms in people suffering from hypothyroidism which influences your whole body. The problem is that when you have an under active thyroid, you have no energy to do anything at all. And sometimes working out heavily has a reverse effect on your well-being. That's why it is important you gradually increase workout, with the help of your doctor, and possibly medication.
  7.  Working out seems to work against high cholesterol. You activate everything and your body seems to eliminate the cholesterol. So this is something serious to consider when you want to lower your cholesterol, besides starting a healthier diet.
  8. The one thing that starts you up every day is your heart. Some daily cardio work out increases your heart rate and helps you getting your heart in better shape, and increasing blood circulation throughout your body. The heart is a muscle too that needs a workout once a while too to keep it strong and healthy. Even walking up and down the stairs until your heart rate goes up (which I do) is a good way to do cardio.
  9. A work out increases your stamina, which helps you get through a busy day at work or at home with your kids physically and emotionally. Also, when you work out, you are also better prepared for traumatic situations like a disaster or an accident. I hope you don't get into one, but if you are in good shape, your recovery time and chances to survive are much bigger.
  10. Working out starts off MANY feel-good chemical reactions in your body and brain. Working out regularly makes your brain release chemicals like Serotonin and Dopamine which contribute to you feeling happy. It is very likely you will feel very proud and good about yourself after you have finished a good work out, and when you start to see results. You just have to start doing it!

My current exercise routine

I personally do not run as much anymore but I do still think about these 10 good things about working out all the time! I am more of the "long walks" kind, especially with my dog Bane. This because I noticed my autoimmune disease flared up after a work out. For me it is better to do a less strenuous exercise like walking, biking, swimming and Pilates and move around enough during the whole day. Every person has a preferred exercise and that is great as there are so many options to move your body!

Lonneke and Bane at the NYC Farmers Market in Union Square

Track your work out

My husband gave me a "smart watch" which counts my steps, measures my heart rate, and checks my sleep. I can see the difference before and after a work out. It can help you too living a healthier life with more healthy work outs. There are many different good ones available, but I like my Fitbit watch.

Organice Your Life choice: Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate & Fitness Tracker, One Size (S & L bands included), 1 Count

I also check my heart rate and blood pressure by my own blood pressure  monitor.

Organice Your Life choice: Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor; 2-User, 200-Reading Memory, Backlit Display, TruRead Technology, Bluetooth® Works with Amazon Alexa by Omron

Mix a work out with household choirs

I get water bottle deliveries every few weeks, and we use this to do some light cardio by carrying them up the stairs to our apartment.

Also doing house work is a great way to be active too. Some activities make you sweat, like vacuum cleaning, lifting boxes and furniture, and window washing.

Be inspired!

I hope my 10 good things about working out motivated you to start, just like it did with me! There is no excuse to not work out in one way or another, there is always time, you just have to MAKE TIME to work out. Start before it's too late!

And if you need new running shoes, check Brazilian top model Carolina Fontaneti's article on how to find the right running shoes.

Let's all live a long and healthy life together :)

Love,

Lonneke

Lonneke Engel running 2

 


Vintage is the original Green Fashion

Really, you can officially call all clothing made before the 80's "vintage", but let's just call all the good, quality and beautiful clothing vintage. Are you with me?  I hope so!

What is vintage

Vintage is really recycling and keeping clothes from going into the landfills, so Vintage is the original Green Fashion!

Vintage is the original Green Fashion - Lonneke Engel

I always feel very happy when I find an item that used to be pricey, is in great shape, and looks beautiful.  And if the price is low now, and it fits me, it's a deal!  Most of the time people compliment me more when I wear something that they don't recognize as something they have seen in recent fashion shows.

Great vintage shops are everywhere!

New York City for instance has many secondhand and vintage stores.  Some focus on the 40's and 50's, others on mainstream brands for extremely cheap. The trick is to really dig in, and really look at each piece of clothing.  Maybe one of them is your gem.

Other places to find vintage

There are many other places to find amazing vintage.  What about your mom's closet?  Maybe your grandmother's closet?  The thing with fashion trends are that they come back every so many years, of course reinvented.  So what is old and ugly right now, you might want to keep in your closet a few years--it might be fashionable again.

Magic closet

Also, I keep a "Magic Closet", where I store all my unwanted clothing.  Coats, dresses, bags, shoes, you name it. I either sell, give clothes away, or donate. I also look into this closet every few months, because you might start liking an item again, maybe because you lost or gained weight and it now fits!  If you do have unwanted clothing, you can do the same. You can donate, sell or swap, or bring it to collection points in your area.  Those clothes will find a good new owner. You can sell it online at many places including RealReal,Letgo, Thredup, Poshmarkand Ebay !

READ MORE: Organize your shoe closet

Swap Party

Organize fun parties with your (girl) friends to swap clothes. Super fun! My friends come whenever they want, and exchange clothes with me.  This way I find something new, and they do as well.  It gives you the same feeling as when you go shopping; but this way it is shopping for free, so it feels even better!

If you are actually looking to expand your wardrobe, ask first if friends have some stuff they want to get rid of.  Most of the time they then suddenly think of that one dress they haven't worn and you might like... Otherwise: go shopping!

Did you know a lot of celebrities get their unique pieces from vintage stores or flea markets?

In the Netherlands my friends of Doortje Vintage (great online vintage webshop) started LENA Library in Amsterdam and they have made it a business for people to borrow vintage (or green fashion) from their fashion library. You become a member and can come get nice pieces all the time! Check them out when you are in Amsterdam.

A few of my favorite vintage stores around NYC

AUH2O

Best prices and cute clothing. I have found many things $3-10 that I wear a lot!

located in the East Village.

www.AUH20.com

Beacon's closet

You can also bring your clothes here to sell! Really nice collection they have of vintage and some more modern day designers.

Great prices.

Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

www.beaconscloset.com

Stella Dallas

Unfortunately, they just closed my favorite location on Thompson street!

But this is the place to go for 50's & 60's dresses. I found my wedding dress here!

www.stelladallas.com

INA NYC

High-end designer consignment.

www.inanyc.com

What Goes Around Comes Around

More really old pieces, found all over the world, really one of a kind leather belts, antique clothing and more

www.whatgoesaroundnyc.com


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 

www.lapause-marrakech.com

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.

www.wspa-international.org


Legalize Gay

Gay Pride NYC

This year was going to be the 50th anniversary of the NYC Gay Pride, but due to the covid-19 crisis, it had to be cancelled :( A good moment to take a trip down memory lane to share with you my experience of gay pride in 2012, to make up for this cancellation. I hope we will have a wonderful gay pride in 2021!

Summer 2012, NYC Gay Pride

New York City was full of gay men and lesbians who were partying like their life depended on it. for good reason: It was the annual Gay Pride Parade! I love to be in NYC when this parade is happening. Everybody is so happy and smiling! The streets are a big mess (but the City cleans up perfectly at night).

Gay Pride NYC 2012
Gay Pride NYC 2012

For me growing up in a liberal country like the Netherlands, I do not even see the difference between straight people and gay people as a human being. They are all equal and I don't even think twice. Unfortunately in some places in the world they still think gay people are not equal which I think is insane.  Nobody should tell you who you can or cannot love.

 

Legalize Gay
American Apparel understands it! "Legalize Gay"

I even have 2 older men in my life who I call my "Gay Dads": George & David. Since my real dad passed away 10 years ago, they are my adopted surrogate parents. They are always there for me. whether it is to talk about my love life, or important decisions I should make, or just to hang out. I love them! And I have to say, the best remedy to get over a heartache as a girl is to hang out with gay men! They cheer you up right away!

George & David
George, David and I.

Creativity is rampant during NYC Gay Pride

Many people come out and wear the most creative outfits during this day! And some wear almost nothing... This day is all about fun, music, dance and people enjoying themselves. For years I have been going with my friends and enjoying it a lot, also because usually it is a wonderful Sunny Summer day.

 

Dress up at Gay Pride 2012
A lot of people did dress up at Gay Pride NYC 2012!

Lots of nakedness

It is a very fun time for many people in NYC, although I want to add that for some young children in NYC they are exposed to very naked men and women, which maybe is not great for them. Hopefully the people taking part in Gay Pride will be thoughtful around children, and the parents of these children avoid the route of the gay pride. Problem solved!

A car at Gay Pride 2012
Always safe sex of course!

If you want to read a touching story about what it is like to be gay and trying to be accepted, read Joey Holthaus' story: Proud to be Gay.

Love, Lonneke

First published in 2012, updated to today's reality in 2020

 


Shop for a good cause

A trip down memory lane! Founder Lonneke Engel and the other girls that supported Organice Your Life organized many events in New York City over the past decade to bring awareness to different causes. Let's check out this one shop for a cause event!

Shop for a good cause party

April 26th 2011 Fabiola Beracasa, Lonneke Engel and Valentina Zelyaeva hosted a charity event in one of the most beautiful vintage boutiques in New York called“Use Your Head”.  (a great name if you want to become more aware of your choices in life!) The owner of the shop, Henry Buhl (Founder of ACE), was kind enough to let us make this event happen. And of course, charming Brazilian manager of the shop – Carlos Barbosa- was a shining star of the night!

Organizing for the party

Lonneke, Carlos and Valentina spent hours during the week before the party organizing the store. The result? A very beautiful high-end looking boutique with clothes displayed beautifully! We were very proud of it. Lonneke said she is going to volunteer more often to help the store stay in good shape! During the party, we all got together with our friends to shop and/or donate our unwanted and gently used clothes.

Profits going to ACE New York

All the profits made a the store, go 100% to  “ACE” , which is a New York organization that helps homeless off the street and back to work, as well as improve communities and clean the streets of Downtown NYC.

Sponsors

It was a fun night where “Organic Avenue” (unfortunately out of business these days) provided us with fresh alkaline water and samples of freshly made juices for everyone. People could ask questions about the cleanses we were doing together with the other OYL contributors and even sign up for it. People got 20% discount on the LOVEdeep 3-day cleanse by using the code "OYLDEEP" at checkout when buying the 3-day LOVEDEEP cleanse at Organic Avenue , they would get 20% discount!

Also a big Thank you for the girls from Organic Avenue who had a wonderful display at our party! And for those who weren’t doing a juice cleanse, we were serving organic sparkling wine. (provided by Valentina! )

La Perla had donated a few amazing dresses! And top-model Doutzen Kroes donated beautiful high-end designer clothing worth thousands of dollars.

A special Thank You goes out to “NAGO” capoeira academy for their donations and presence.

Win- Win

It feels great to have a party and in the meantime raise money for a good cause!

Here some of the photos from the event! Images made by Josh Wong Photography

From Left to Right: OYL's Kate Dillon, Munemi Imai, Lonneke Engel, Valentina Zelyaeva.
Use Your Head shop manager Carlos Barbosa and friend.
Valentina and friends shopping for a good cause!
Lonneke talking to 2 people from New York Magazine.
Fabiola Beracasa and her crew.
Organic Avenue supplied their signature alkaline water and juice samples.
Valentina & friend.

Models love to shop vintage!

Lonneke & Valentina with The Organic Avenue team!
Fabiola & Lonneke checking out the store for great designer must-haves!

All profits went 100 % to charity and the shop was run by volunteers. Use Your Head was located at 262 Mott street in NYC. They went out of business a few years ago unfortunately :(  But you can still support the homeless people of Soho and beyond by going to ACE New York.

Love, 

Team OYL

First published on April 28th 2011, updated in 2020

 

 


Lonneke chilling in the park

Picnic!

What is a fun activity to do, when the weather is nice, that doesn't cost a lot of money? Something that is active as well, and a great time with friends?

A Picnic in the park!

Invite your best friends, and together go to a nice park/forest or field. Take a bike or walk, instead of a car, it is better for the environment and for your fitness too!

What do you need?

  • A sturdy large blanket, for everyone to sit on.
  • Good food( like baguettes, cheeses, fresh fruits, pasta salads, homemade hummus, veggies to grill etc)
  • Water and Drinks
  • Cool Box to put the drinks in.
  •  BBQ to grill food
  • Plates/cups/napkins/cutlery for everyone. Preferably made from recycled materials, or good to reuse.
  • Frisbee, (American) Football or any other fun sports to play outside( good for a workout!)
  • A board game, or a book
  • Some music ( not too loud!)
  • Umbrella against the sun, or (hopefully not) against the rain.

Where I go for a picnic

I love picnics!  for instance in Central Park, or at the Hudson River in NYC. I like biking there with some good stuff in my back pack. My friends are joining me, so fun!

Lonneke chilling in the park
Lonneke chilling in the park

Important tips when picnicing in the USA

  • Make sure you leave everything clean when you leave.
  • Don't show any opened or unopened alcohol bottles or cans. Put beer and wine in a brown bag. I know because I got a ticket once for a bottle of wine that was unopened (we were drinking only kombucha tea at that time) but since it rolled out of our shopping bag and was a bit visible, the park's officer thought it was appropriate to ticket everyone one of us, while our neighbor was actually drinking a beer, but in a brown bag. Oh well, those are the rules I guess, we did not see the wine fell out of the shopping bag. So good tip for you when having a picnic!

Love, Lonneke

p.s. if your area still has social distancing implemented, please take that into account!


Organice Your Home

Organize Your Life: Make Your House Your Home

The first step in the Organice Your Life circle of 5 is : Organice Your Home. Let me give you a short introduction to how you make your house your home!

Organice Your Life - Circle of FiveTo start “organizing your life in an organic and nice way", also known as "Organice Your Life", you should start with your home base, and do a complete inventory and organization of it. You can’t see clearly what part of your life needs improvement, when the place you live or staying at, is not organized. A cluttered home equals a cluttered mind. Whether it is your home or a temporary stay, you need to know what your foundation is made of. See your life as a house. You can’t build a solid house from the ground up, if the foundation is weak. Your place of residence is your foundation. So, how does it look? Start first by cleaning up, organizing and fixing things. Maybe adding some TLC . After "organicing" your home, you know exactly what you have, what you don’t have, what you need or don’t need. Getting rid of things feels like eliminating toxic waste. Plus, next time you go shopping you only buy what you truly need. By making the place you live comfy and nice, will make everybody present feel good.

The Five steps to Organice your Home

1. Organice Your Living Spaces

Settling the different areas of your house. 

The layout of your home is very important to create a good "flow". Are all the rooms and spaces used the right way? Is all the furniture in the best place? Maybe reorganize and make it flow better!

READ MORE: Organize your Bathroom

2. Organice Your Household

Managing the cleaning & organizing of your house.

Hygiene is important. Find a routine in cleaning your home. The more of a routine you have, the more clean and organized your space will look most of the time, and you won't create a big mess that takes even longer to clean up! This way you will also know where everything is. When you need those items, they are easier to find.

READ MORE: Oven cleaning

3.  Organice Your Home Design

Making your house feel like home.

This is all about renovation and interior design of your home!  Paint and the right furniture, pictures, you name it. A little bit of updating here and there, painting and maybe a new piece of furniture? Add those special ornaments that mean so much to you, or those pictures that bring back memories.

READ MORE: Renovating my Bathroom

4. Organice Your Home Ambiance

Bringing some nice atmosphere to your home.

You can create a nice "vibe" by adding the right lights and candles, heat, scents and a good air flow. Anything that makes you "feel" great inside your home! I love salt lamps, essential oils, little candles and an air purifier to help the environment of my space.

READ MORE: salt lamps

5. Organice Your Home: Flora & Fauna

Taking care of your plants and pets, indoors and outdoors.

Plants can be beneficial for the air quality and bring joy to a home. They need care and attention just like your children, pets, relationships and of course, yourself.

READ MORE: Vertical Garden

Many households have pets. These loving animals also need their space in your home. When you have given them a spot that they love too, you will see the whole home is coming together just right.

READ MORE: A Dog is part of the family

Get a schedule together for the care of your plants. Get a schedule for the care of your pets. Make it a routine and they will do really well.

Start organizing your home by following these steps and think about how you can make your house your home!

Love, Lonneke