Lonneke Engel for Grazia Nederland

A few months ago I did my first photo shoot in 2 years, and the result was published today. In Grazia 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 the past 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 also adopted the best dog ever: Vito The Dog. You can say that the past 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.

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. 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.

Check out the interview in the magazine at news stands in the Netherlands right now. I will post more behind-the-scenes on my new website Lonneke.com, which includes hundreds of my favorite photo shoots  of the past decades. (So check that website out as well!)

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 Nederland


My photoshoot in Aspen

Working as a model has brought me so many opportunities, and one of the most challenging is to deal with the constant change of weather.

As for now I'm enjoying a great warm Brazilian summer, but a month ago I  was in NYC with the blizzard invading the American sky, I was freezing! This past November I got to work at a photoshoot in Aspen, Colorado. It was my first time visiting a place with ski stations in the mountains. I got really excited as soon as my cold feet stepped into the city so I went straight to exploring this different kind of city that was all new to me!

Exploring

I couldn't help but noticing that I wasn't prepared at all for the low temperatures, and after 15 minutes walking and taking pictures, I could barely feel my fingertips anymore and it only got worse... So I took my strong Brazilian body back to the hotel, but only after finding my supplies for the night: fresh pressed beet,carrot,ginger, lemon juice and a yogurt parfait with organic berries - I was lucky to find a nice café house opened out of season.

Getting ready to shoot in the cold weather
Getting ready to shoot in the cold weather

I ended up eating my homemade bowl of food for dinner and the juice and yogurt parfait in the morning. As you guys know, I always carry some food with me for unpredictable moments. I wrote an article about in the past read it HERE .

Nothing better than my own food made with love
Nothing better than my own food made with love

Basically it was made of organic veggies such as brussel sprouts, aspargus, carrots and a fish fillet with organic quinoa, SO Yummy !!! I ate half of portion in the airplane and the rest of it comfortably chilling in my hotel room. Next day I was ready to work hard whenever they needed me at my photoshoot in Aspen... I got lucky we shoot most of the pictures inside a beautiful location house in the middle of the mountains.  So inspiring!

The other "model" for the day and I . Feeling happy!
The other "model" for the day and I . Feeling happy!

Aspen seemed to be a nice warm and cozy little place despite the white mountain tops covered in ice...I really like to come back another day to enjoy some ski fun and hot cocoa with friends ;)

Will share more stories of my shoots and healthy foods I take with me with you in the future!

Love, Carol


Be healthy on the GO!

I've been asked a lot what I do to avoid unhealthy eating habits , so this article is dedicated to that. Some basic actions can really save your day!

Everywhere I go, I try to look for new places where I can find exciting organic food options. Also I go for greener options as much as I can, re using plastic and paper bags or water bottles for example - and always manage my diet to be the best as possible in the most different situations.

foto 1

I don't like how plane food tastes and how it makes you feel bloated - so I've found a solution for it: always pack a few healthy snacks and a nice home made meal to eat on the plane...

I spend so much time in airports and airplanes that if I don't take proper care, I'd end up eating something not good for me. At the first time I made my own bowl with plenty of healthy food I felt much more vitality and energy to handle those never ending 10 hours seated on a plane. Everyone should try it! No shame! Even the plane staff helped me out heating the meal, and there it goes a tip if you wanna do the same: take an aluminum bowl to make it easier, then ask someone to heat for you just the way they do it with regular food they serve it.

fotoThis beautiful plate was made with love by my boyfriend and it's all organic quinoa beets and carrots with tilapia fillet and caramelized onions and some boiled egg whites! YUMMY

foto 3That meal was the first one we made to eat healthy on the go: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes and fish fillet

 Sometimes at work, snacks before or after lunch time, are not nutritious enough to help me get going through my day of hard work. So again I've found a solution. I ALWAYS take with me energy protein bars, nuts and other organic snacks in little bowls that fit in my bag. I will never go to work unprepared, because we never know what's for breakfast and lunch. I'm known by stylists and beauty artists for doing it ( they usually sees me sneaking in my purse ), they call me "smart girl" and I have the pleasure to share my treats with them.

foto 2

foto

These are a few simple things you could integrate in to your routine, or if you don't have a routine (in my case).  You just need to think ahead of all difficult situations you're gonna be dealing with, so you are prepared for everything!

Follow these tips on a daily basis, and you will not regret anything after all :

  • Try not to stay more than 3 hours without eating, ALWAYS have some good snacks with you, otherwise will won't even notice that it's been hours since you bite something.
  • Drink water! sometimes your body will trick you, so you might think you're hungry and would end up cheating with bad snacks, when your body it's JUST thirsty !
  • If you don't exercise that much ( or as much as you'd like to ); always goes for smart choices: stairs instead of elevators, go walking or biking to work  - do not ever lose a chance of moving your body!

foto

Stay healthy!

XO Carol


Aire de Bardenas

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

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 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 did I 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.

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


Love Somebody

Love Your Body

I started as a model when I was 13 years old. I was only about  5'6. I started straight with bookings like Abercrombie & Fitch, Italian Vogue, Versace, Guess? & Ralph Lauren. I was very lucky to be with the right people, at the right time. After a few photo shoots, I found out I liked modeling. I never doubted I could make it, even if I wasn't the "perfect model size". Because there hadn't been anyone telling me I couldn't be successful because I was short. In fact, I only had people around me who supported me and believed in me luckily. I was good at posing in front of the camera and giving the right looks that the clients and photographers wanted. It turned out I was a good "seller" of clothes, makeup perfumes and other things. No one ever spoke about me being short, which you can't really see in a picture anyway. So I did not worry about it and just enjoyed the opportunities that were given to me. I was young and still growing. The following years I grew about 3 inches. I got hips and I lost "baby fat". I changed from a girl into a woman.A lot of models these days look like grownups, but in fact most of them are very young still . Their bodies are in development. Their hips are not fully grown, and sometimes they will even grow a few inches in height. Just like me. I am 5'8 now but my measurements have never been in the perfect zone.

"Savages" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals

Lonneke at the Savages premiere NYC 2012

Most models are part of the 1 % of the population that have so-called "right looks and sizes". But everybody has problem areas, or are not confident sometimes, every one of them. And most pictures are photoshopped, which is great for the person in the picture because he/she will look better usually, and disguise that occasional pimple or dimple. They can change everything and anything. eye color, body shape, or remove some hair from your face without you knowing there was a hair in the first place! I can definitely recommend a photo shoot like that once a while, you will feel great about the perfect pictures. But it can definitely blur your vision of what is real and not.

Nobody is perfect. So do not try to achieve that, because it is quite impossible. What you see in the magazines and on TV is not reality. There is a big team of make-up artists, hairdressers, stylists etc involved to make me and the other top models look so gorgeous. And these experts do a great job!

But I also experienced those moments of stress when I felt like I did not fit in with other models I had to "compete" with. Those moments when I wanted to try to achieve a perfect body. Those moments when I started eating perfect meals and working out twice a day. It became an obsession for a moment and I knew right away that it was not healthy. Even models that say everything comes natural: I know how they feel sometimes being watched continuously and being a model 24/7. It is all about the way you look as a model and it is tough sometimes. A client picks you because of your strengths and looks. And if they choose someone else, they don't want to go for your look. It is nothing personal. I had to print that in my brain over and over again, everytime I did shows, or was up for a major add campaign. I was always seen as a very confident girl, but even I got insecure a few times. Which I think is a normal reaction when you are put into a small waiting room with literally the most beautiful women on Earth at a casting. But worrying did nothing positive for me.So right at those moments I would immediately tell myself:" Lonneke, stop that and act normal you are perfectly good the way you are, focus on your strengths!" And I would relax because I knew what I could do and what I had achieved so far.

So at shoots, I looked at my body and would see the plusses and minuses.  But I also do that in real life. I try to accentuate the good parts, and disguise the things I don't like as much. By wearing the right clothes that emphasize my good parts, and by standing in the right poses on the set. This is the body for me in this lifetime and I intend to take good care of it.

So you can find your own perfect body shape too. Take care of your body in the best possible way: drink enough water, work out regularly and eat healthy. Junkfood is really bad, just like soda drinks, and drugs, smoking and liquor. It gives you a greater chance of gaining weight or getting a deadly disease. Or, even worse: You get wrinkles sooner! Try on many clothes until you find the clothes that look good on you. When I gained weight when I retired, some clothes looked much better on me than before. I did not expect that but I loved my new shape. Changes are good, when they are healthy changes. But I don't get fooled by women who say they are "natural full-figured" or have "heavy bones" either. Truth is most of them really are fuller because of what they eat. It is just the way it is. Diet is the most important for your body, whatever shape you are. If you have a healthy diet with 3 nutritious meals, you are less likely to be underweight. And you are much less likely to be out of shape if the foods you eat are super healthy!

You are what you eat, So look at every bite as if you can identify yourself with it. I think I am more like a juicy organic apple,than french fries or a milkshake. Love your body. it is your vehicle every day. You do take good care of your car always, making sure it gets oil and a check up on time to make it work the best? Do the same with YOUR BODY.

Love yourself, and your body will love you back!

loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/

www.now.org/issues/health/loveyourbody_quiz.html

Love, Lonneke 


Olympic Gold Medal London 2012

Go for GOLD! part 1

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012
Olympic Gold Medal London 2012

Are you watching the Olympics in London?

Are you just as inspired to get in shape by all these amazing athletes? I know I am!

Swimming just finished, And the Netherlands had great success with 2 Gold medals by Ranomi Kromowidjojo besides some silver and bronze medals. I recently interviewed Ranomi about her sport and inspiration and you can watch that interview here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHhQzrz4kCI[/youtube]

 

Ranomi Kromowidjojo
Ranomi Kromowidjojo
Go Ranomi
Family of Ranomi are there to support her
Ranomi with 3 medals
Ranomi on Instagram @RanomiKromo

Other great achievements were the ones from Team USA Michael Phelps becoming the athlete with the most Olympic  (Gold) medals ever won by any Olympic athlete in history.

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps

Ryan Lochte was also successful and won medals, but he was more in the news because of his looks and what his mom said about him and women. He is also in the race to become #HottestOlympicAthlete. A contest I am holding on Twitter. Join me there if you want to tell me which athlete, man or woman, you think is the hottest one!

Ryan Lochte
Ryan Lochte

I watched all the swimming from my cute hotel room in Paris because I was in Paris to work:

My Paris hotel room
My Paris hotel room
My Paris view with Eiffel Tower in background
My Paris view with Eiffel Tower in background
Lonneke work in Paris
Lonneke work in Paris in an old Mansion/Night club

 

The rest of the week I am going to enjoy the equestrian sports. The Dutch team can win a team medal and Adelinde Cornelissen & her horse Parzival could potentially win an individual medal as well in dressage.. Great-Britain and Germany are other contestants that could win a medal in this discipline... Germany already won team Gold in the Eventing and at this moment all countries are competing in Jumping as well... exciting!

Extra attention to Salinero, the horse ridden by Anky van Grunsven in dressage: It is 2 TIME OLYMPIC GOLD WINNER Salinero's 3rd Olympic Games and with his 18 years old he might be a Senior but he is in really amazing shape! Anky is up for her 7th (!) Olympic Games. They are up for a good placing as well!

Anky van Grunsven & Salinero
Anky van Grunsven & Salinero

See their Olympic Gold ride in Beijing 2008 here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV3HYtIZ-NM[/youtube]

Good Luck to all remaining athletes competing. May the best one win!

What are your favorite sports or athletes? Let me know who you are rooting for!

Love, Lonneke


Lonneke for SI

My 2 week Diary

UPDATED DAY 15, 11am Ibiza, Spain time, Scroll down.

If you want to join on Twitter please use hashtag #2weeks2fitness

Hi all!

I decided I want to get in my best shape for my vacation. I will be going to Ibiza beginning of June! I want to get in best shape possible for my bikini those days of course. So I decided to keep a (food) diary. Food and work out is a big part of looking great! So I am going to go for as close to 100% eating perfect, and working out every day. Plus I will get some great treatments, to improve my appearance.

This is what I look like right now:

Lonneke by JBC
Lonneke for JBC

Not bad, I did this job in Corsica a few weeks ago, but I am noticing I am not as toned as usual. And a bit pale :s. I have been working too hard on organiceyourlife.com I have not worked out as much! Bad girl...  I want to get back to my Sports Illustrated shape as below!(with the tan preferably ;) ):

Lonneke for SI
Lonneke for Sports Illustrated 2010-2011

That means I have to be tough on myself! No chocolate all the time, eating healthily and also moving my *ss more! You have to work for result... So, I am telling you exactly what I am doing coming weeks. What do I do to get in Top Shape again? I will show you my improvements, and you will also get to see what I eat, and how I change in shape and how my skin will improve! Trust me it will happen, just from one day, you already start having hydrated skin if you drink a lot of water... Will you join me coming 2 weeks and keep track as well? Let's motivate each other! Read this article every day as I will update it continuously! And follow me on Instagram (LonnekeEngel), Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

We can all look great then coming sunny days!

Hope to hear from you soon?

Love, Lonneke

 DAY 1: To start off, I am making it very difficult for myself, as today right away I am taking a flight to across the Atlantic Ocean! But I took the time to wake up (if I get up fast I am tired all day, so I wake up early and take some extra time to just relax in bed before I get up) . I saw all the support tweets and messages and got excited! I started the day with a shot of Chlorophyll on an empty stomach. In the USA it is easy to get, it is the same as in a wheat grass shot, try to find it in your local health store. Chlorophyll is critical in photosynthesis in plants (absorption of energy from light). Then I looked what I still had in my fridge... And made a smoothie! Smoothie: Banana, coconut water, fresh lemon juice, flax seeds.

Banana- coconut -lemonjuice-flaxseeds-smoothie
Banana- coconut -lemonjuice-flaxseeds-smoothie

Workout: 25 min treadmill. I hate doing things for prolonged periods of time. but running while watching something on the iPad is good, and I put my favorite dance music on when I jump on trampoline. I DON'T like work out but I know that every time I start I get in greater shape and feel great after, like I can conquer the world. And feeling sweaty feels good too (release of toxins from your body) It makes your skin soft and nice too! At noon I went to get a nice facial at Tracie Martyn. Getting facials makes your skin glow! Deep cleansing and microdermabrasion. Find a good place close to where you live.

Tracie Martyn 1
Tracie Martyn Salon NYC

For lunch: I was cleaning out my fridge as I am leaving today. So I made soup!

Soup by Lonneke
Soup by Lonneke

Vegetable Soup 1

Author:
Recipe type: soup

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • chopped fresh parsley (lots of it)
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onions
  • rosemary
  • oregano

Instructions
  1. saute onions in a pan
  2. other stock put add water, salt, pepper, soy sauce, chopped tomatoes, parsley, oregano, rosemary, onions, sesame oil.
  3. After 30 min, when soup is done, serve and let cool off
  4. add cilantro for flavor and as garnish.
  5. enjoy!

I also snacked on a honey glazed nut crunch thingie:

honey glazed nut crunch snack
honey glazed nut crunch snack

and I drank this drink:

Mamma Chia drink
Mamma Chia drink

I made a salad to go to the airport, which I ate: romaine lettuce, walnuts, cucumber, yellow peppers, a few pieces of old Gouda cheese, grapes, olive oil, salt, pepper, cilantro, parsley:

Day 1 Lonneke 2weeks2fitness dinner
Day 1 Lonneke 2weeks2fitness dinner

During the day if I felt hungry I snacked on some cherries, grapes and nuts. I took a flight from NYC to Amsterdam with KLM. Before that I took a 30 min back massage at Express Spa. You know the one where you sit in a chair and they put their elbows in your back. I love it! So I fell asleep easily on the flight and got a few hours of sleep on the way over. Day 2: I landed in Amsterdam at noon. I went to the hotel. When you are running around you sometimes forget to eat, therefore it is always good to have some sort of snacks with you, that you can eat while on the go.  I went for lunch: a nicoise salad with grilled tuna. Then I walked around the "Vondelpark" with my nephew Navy and his father (my brother-in-law Michael Lamey) for a few hours. We were so tired when we got home as it was so sunny and warm too! I also had to carry Navy, on my back or in my arms, so that was a great work out. For dinner I had a couscous salad with grilled shrimp. And a decaf latte (sorry I could not help it it helps my digestion after a flight) I was so busy all day doing fun things that I forgot food. i just made sure that when I ate, it was delicious! Tomorrow I am going vegetarian I think. I hope they have some good options at the shoot... Day 3: Sorry I did not update this day earlier, but I was shooting today for a campaign with Dutch top models Cato van Ee & Sophie Vlaming.

Lonneke & Cato
Lonneke & Cato

in the morning I ate breakfast in the hotel: 1 banana, 1 slice of bread, a few strawberries, fruit yoghurt, green tea, orange juice, 1 hard boiled egg.

Breakfast Lonneke 2weeks2fitness Day 3


Valentina by Alique

Interview with Top Model Valentina Zelyaeva

Valentina by Alique
Valentina by Alique

Get to know top model Valentina Zelyaeva through the Organice Your Life® circle of 5: What’s it like to see yourself in almost all the advertising for Ralph Lauren? What does the perfect day look like for her? What does she love? Valentina, top model and THE face of Ralph Lauren, gives us a sneak peek into her life following the circle of 5 from Organice Your Life®!

 

Lonneke: Can you give me a short introduction to yourself?

Valentina: "I was born in Ulan Ude, Russia. My father was in the military (a Russian colonel), so my family had to move from place to place. Finally, my parents settled down in Moscow, where I grew up. Being the tallest and the skinniest girl in school, I was constantly being picked on by the others. Growing up, I wanted to become a flight attendant - traveling all over the world was my biggest dream. When I was 16, my friend took me to the Elite Model Look competition. I thought if I made it, I would make some extra cash for me and my family, but I never imagined that I would be living in New York and modeling full time. I didn’t win the modeling contest; I didn’t even take any place. In fact, my two friends won. But I did meet a scouting agent from Tokyo. He invited me to go to work in Japan for 2 months. I spent 2 years in Tokyo, modeling for local catalogs. I have traveled all over Japan, and I loved living there. I got to know the Japanese culture and I received a lot of modeling experience like traveling by myself, speaking English, becoming comfortable posing in front of the camera, etc. When I was 20, I came to New York for the first time. It was September fashion week. My agency sent me to meet with clients and designers. I had booked a few good shows, but the biggest and the most important show of my career was Ralph Lauren SS2004. Ralph Lauren chose me out of hundreds of girls to open his show. It was a huge start for me, the start every model can only dream of. And it happened to me! After opening the Ralph Lauren show, I booked ads. After that, I signed an exclusive contract. I think this was due to the fact that I’m very professional and that I take my job very seriously. I’m in the middle of a great, and most importantly, long career. After discovering raw food, the organic lifestyle, eco-friendly and natural products, I have really learned how to take care of my body, my skin, and hair through healthy eating and regular exercise. Modeling is all about the looks, so it is very important to always be in your best shape and to be healthy! Also, it’s very important to maintain a good relationship with clients."

Valentina and her dad

 

Valentina with her dad as a young girl

 

ORGANICE YOUR HOME:

Where is home? And why do you like it there?

Valentina's view in NYC
Valentina's view in NYC

"New York has been my home for the past 9 years , but about 2 years ago,  I got a cute place in Miami, Florida. Since then, I have been alternating between living in New York and Miami Beach. I just LOVE the weather in Miami! But I miss New York a lot when I spend too much time on the beach. New York is such an exciting city. I never get bored here! Besides, I know all the best restaurants, farmers markets, juice bars, healthy food stores, gyms, and places to see. I truly feel like home here!" 

In what style did you decorate your house?

"My home has to be in clean, calming colors - it is my place to relax after a busy day. I love candles, so you see them all over my place. I love fresh flowers, and I always bring home live flowers after visiting the farmers market. I want to start framing the pictures that I took while traveling, and put them on the walls. It adds a personal touch to a place."

Her apartment in NYC
Valentina's apartment in NYC

What is your favorite room in the house? 

 "When I’m in New York, I love to sit on my cow chair with an iPad and my cats close by.  Here I find myself relaxed and inspired to write new posts for OYL And when I’m in Miami, I spend my time on the most comfortable sofa in the world, reading a book or watching a movie."

What “green” or healthy contraptions do you have in your home?

"Well, I have few “green” things that I would highly recommend for everyone. Here they are:

1. Last year I finally installed a Kangen water machine. Basically what it does, is that it turns tap water into alkaline oxygenated healthy living water. I drink this water, I cook with it, I wash my face... It is the best investment in your health.

2. I also bought produce bags (no more plastic bags for wrapping apples).

3. I have a tea container made of glass, which I take with me when I’m working so I don’t have to use plastic cups and throw them away right after.

4. I have a glass straw, which is a brilliant way to replace all plastic straws! (I wrote about it in our first issue of OYL magazine)."

 What other places on this earth do you love and Why?

"I love warm countries. I like visiting Brasil. I feel like the people there are always happy no matter what! Besides, the abundance of fruit and vegetables is just beyond belief! I went to Anguilla last year for a photo shoot, and I was lucky enough to stay a few extra days. I fell in love with the island! It’s so tiny you can cross the island by car in 30 min., but there are so many beautiful spots for snorkeling. That’s what I did for the rest of my stay! I also love my mom’s countryside house, not far from Moscow. My mom has planted tons of vegetables, berries, herbs, and flowers. I go there every summer for a health boost, to hike in the nearby forest and to swim in the lake. Last summer I went to Santorini, Greece. It was so romantic and so beautiful! We rented a boat for a day, and did a round trip around the island. We snorkeled, ate local grapes, drank organic house made wine and we watched the sun go down. Santorini is the #1 place on Earth for the most breathtaking sunset!"

 

ORGANICE YOUR AGENDA:

Ralph Lauren.

RL ad Valentina

 How is it to have been the iconic face of Ralph Lauren for so many years?

" I can’t describe enough how lucky, grateful, and proud I am to have been the face of Ralph Lauren for ALL THOSE YEARS!  To me, he is the best designer in the world and the best American clothing designer! I was a big fan of him before I came to the US for the first time, and from the moment I signed an exclusive contract, it was like a dream come true. To have such a contract for so many years is the best thing that can happen to a model."

 What  is Ralph Lauren like in real life?

 "Working with Ralph Lauren closely is like watching a great artist. He is aware of everything and he is involved in every step of designing the clothes. He is a generous person and has a great sense of humor.  He is very loyal to his employees, some of them have worked for him for over 25 years! It is extremely rare in this ever changing fashion world. I'm proud to say that I have been working with Ralph for almost 10 years now! He comes from immigrant parents, was born and raised in the Bronx, a self made man. Today he is one of the most successful designers in the world."

What does a day of work for RL look like?

" I always look forward to RL photo shoots, because the whole team has become a big part of my life and I love them all. The locations are always exciting and the pictures we create together are of timeless beauty! So, if I have to travel for a shoot, I usually leave the night before the job. The day I arrive on location I have a fitting, then I have some time to relax. I usually go to a spa or sauna, or go for a walk to explore the location and maybe to buy some souvenirs. The night before the shoot, I have a very light early dinner (room service) and go to bed. I usually have a vegetable salad with olive oil and a cup of chamomile tea. Call time is around 7 AM. We meet with the crew at the lobby, then I’m off to the location. While getting my hair and makeup done, I chat with the makeup artist and hair stylist. We have known each other for a long time so we have lots of catching up to do. If I need to cut my hair, I always take the opportunity to do it on the set. And I always get the best results! Before lunch time, we go through half of the outfits - around 5-6 pictures. The lunch is always great! I try not to over indulge, so the food doesn’t drag me down. If I need a boost, I ask the production team for a cup of green tea or I snack on dark chocolate. There are always lots of snacks around: fruits, veggies, guacamole, nuts. We finish at 5 p.m. or so. After that, the team gathers together and we go to a local restaurant for a dinner to celebrate a successful day."

Valentina shoot
At a Ralph Lauren Shoot

Modeling.

 What do you like best about modeling?

 "The best part of my job is the chance to see the world. I travel a lot, and I have been to many amazing places. I enjoy the chance to meet with different people from different countries. They all have great stories to share and great experiences. Many people also have great advice. Because of my job, I speak foreign languages that I could never have imagined being able to speak."

And the least?

"My least favorite part of my job is feeling homesick, jet lag, and sometimes lack of healthy food on the set." 

 What has been your favorite trip for a modeling job so far?

"My favorite trip was 4 years ago when I went to Zihuatanejo, Mexico to shoot Ralph Lauren ads. We were shooting at a private house, located on a cliff facing the ocean. We had private chefs who prepared food for us. I have never eaten so much, or eaten such good guacamole as I had there! The hotel I stayed at was located right on the beach. It was the time of the year when sea turtles lay eggs on the beach. The hotel staff had collected tiny little baby turtles in a special pool, and at night all of us guests of the hotel had a chance to release baby turtles into the ocean! It was like an episode from National Geographic. These are the type of memories I will never forget. We had to stay an extra couple of days because some of the outfits didn’t arrive on time. A couple of crew members and I used this opportunity. We took a van and drove to the city. I bought a nice handmade necklace for myself. We had a chance to visit the farmers market and flea market. I love when I get to see local places. At the end of the shoot, the owner of the house hosted a dinner party with the best Mexican food and margaritas! We also enjoyed the live band a lot! Wow! It was by far the best trip I’ve ever had.Plus, the pictures came out absolutely stunning - one of my favorite ads."

with the baby turtles!
with the baby turtles!

 What do you do on a day off?

"When I have a day off, I use it as much as I possibly can! For instance, I organize my desk, my closet, and old stuff that has been lying around that I haven’t decided what to do with. I also use my day off to take care of myself - pedicure, manicure, massage, and facials are involved. I check my fridge and see if I need to make a trip to the farmers market to buy fresh, local produce."

 What are your favorite pastimes?

"My hobbies are reading inspirational books, searching the internet for more info on raw food and a healthy lifestyle, skiing, wake-boarding, capoeira, cooking, creating new smoothies and juice recipes, watching movies on Netflix, and writing for OYL."

ORGANICE YOURSELF:

 Body.

 What is your secret skin care regimen that leaves you looking so healthy and beautiful?

"It is more important what you put inside your body, than what you put outside. So I eat lots of fruits and veggies. I mean, really a huge amount - I make vegetable juice first thing in the morning (cucumber, fennel, kale, oranges, celery) followed up by big fruit smoothies (apple, banana, celery, strawberries). Then I snack on more fruits in between the meals, and I have a big salad or two during the day. My skin care routine is quite simple: I wash my face before I go to bed, using a toner followed by a treatment serum (Vitamin C). First thing in the morning, I dry brush my face with a very gentle face brush. It helps to remove dead skin and helps to renew my outer layer (better than a scrub!). After that, I spray Evian water (I try to stay away from tap water as much as possible) and, using cotton, I wipe my face with alcohol-free toner. Then, I take moisturizer and add a few drops of Argan Oil. I apply it all over my face, and then I use light eye cream. That’s all I do!"

Your favorite workout?

" I have a few favorite work outs:

1. I practice capoeira in New York with a private trainer twice a week.

 

2. Sometimes I take a yoga class when I feel like I need a good stretching or just to release stress.

3. I just discovered Pilates! It does wonders to my body.

4.  If I’m in Miami, I go for a run on the beach. Running helps to clear my mind and to release negative emotions. "

What do you do to relax and/ or pamper yourself?

" I can truly relax at home doing nothing! I put on some music without lyrics. I call it “spa music.” I make myself a cup of herbal tea, read books, or watch movies that make me feel good."

Raw.

You are into raw foods. Why do you think it is so important to eat foods raw?

"This is one of my favorite topics of conversation. I can go on and on. But I’ll try to explain it in a few sentences. When we cook our food, we destroy 50% of the vitamins and up to 80% of the minerals. Worst of all, we completely destroy essential enzymes that every living food has. We need these precious enzymes to digest the food that we eat. When you eat cooked food, in order to digest a meal, your body must steal its enzymes from itself. By doing this, we age slowly and different sorts of diseases start to appear (cancer, heart decease, diabetes). It is very important to include as much raw food in your diet as possible. I’m not suggesting to go 100% raw, but start to add more salads, juices, and smoothies to your diet. And, by “raw food” I don’t mean sushi or steak tartare! I’m talking about fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds."

 

 What is your favorite recipe?

" I love this recipe for gazpacho tomato soup. All you need is blender to make it. No cooking involved, and it takes 3 min. to make it:

•4 tomatoes •1 celery stalk •1/2 red bell pepper •1/2 cucumber (skin removed) •1

clove garlic •2 Tsp olive oil •Sea salt + pepper Blend everything in a blender. Ready!"

 What do you eat when you cheat on your diet?

 " I love seafood pasta! I have it, when I am in a really good Italian restaurant. I like milk chocolate, so I look for organic/fair trade chocolate. I can't get enough of Laduree macarons from their store in Paris! "

 Favorite restaurant?

"I like  "Caravan of Dreams" in NYC. It is a vegan place with lots of raw food options. For fresh seafood I go to "Avara" Greek Restaurant. "Le Pain Quotidien", they have great vegan and vegetarian choices, plus they mostly use organic ingredients. I go to "One Lucky Duck" it is a raw place with a great juice bar and amazing salads."

Fashion, design & shopping.

Favorite shop?

" I shop at Ralph Lauren all the time. I always find great items. Sometimes I go to Intermix, as well as Barneys. I love the vintage market on Lincoln Road for unique jewelry."

What is your favorite thing to shop for?

"I love to shop for natural beauty products:  essential oils, organic skin care, natural sunscreen, chemical-free shampoos, natural tooth paste, aluminum free deodorant... I like to shop for kitchen tools: new pots, a new blender, glasses, etc. I also like to shop for fruits and veggies at farmers markets, because I always discover new things. I also like to go through vintage jewelry at flea markets."

 Have you ever made a mistake purchasing something that you did not like in the end?

"This used to happen to me all the time, but now I only shop if I really urgently need something. I was going through my closet and found out that I have so many clothes that I bought but never wear, or only have worn it once! I was able to make four big bags and send it all to my sister and cousins in Russia."

 Best buy?

"My best buy is my juicer! It was money well-spent, because I juice every day, even sometimes twice a day.

 Favorite piece of clothing you own?

"My absolute favorite piece of clothing is a Ralph Lauren cashmere wrap sweater. I use it everyday: at home, underneath the jacket when I go outside, and I wear it on the plane when I travel. I’m thinking of buying it in all the available colors."

RL ad

Favorite designer or artist?

"Favorite designers would be Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney. Their clothes are timeless, classic, and beyond chic! Both of them do not use real fur.

 

ORGANICE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS:

Friends.

What do you like to do most with friends?

"We like to go out and dance, catch up over lunch, and discover new and healthy restaurants."

 Best way to stay in contact with friends?

"The best way to stay in contact with friends is to pick up the phone and call them. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Vkontakte, Skype, etc. And I think this is a great way to find your friends and stay in touch with them. But nothing compares to lunch or dinner with a group of friends."

 Love.

Are you in a relationship, if yes, Why is this person so important to you?

"I have been with the same person for almost 7 years now. He always supports me in every situation no matter what. He is always on my side and is always there for me when I need it most. With the time passing by, I'm falling more and more in love with him. I'm so incredibly lucky to have found a person like that!"

What do you see for yourself in the future when I say: baby?

"I can’t wait to be a mother! I truly hope my  husband and I will be a great example to our kids as loving and caring parents. I will do my best to raise my kids to be healthy and happy."

 What is your favorite thing to do on a special day like Valentine’s Day?

"To me, every day with my boyfriend is Valentine’s Day, but to make it even more special on the 14th of February, I’d like to give him a sweet little present, cook a dinner at home, open a bottle of wine and cosy up on the sofa."

 

ORGANICE YOUR GOOD HEART:

Charity. 

What charity do you support?

"I support the breast cancer charity Polo Pink Pony. Money goes to a cancer research center. Also, I support a charity called LakayPam. Donations go to victims of the earthquake that happened in Haiti a few years ago. 

Polo Pink Pony
Polo Pink Pony

What else have you done to help others in your life?

"It’s hard to remember everything, but the first thing that comes to mind is:

•sometimes I send donations to a charity that provides food for homeless people.

I send money to children cancer research center.

•I send money to my family in Moscow, and with it they were able to build a country house.

•I adopted my cat from a vet hospital in Miami.

•I buy organic produce from local farmers markets. By doing this, I’m supporting small farmers and helping them grow.

•I have signed up for one of the local and organic home delivery services, that way, I can also support small farmers.

 

Valentina loves:

•Animal: Siberian Tiger

•Color: White, green.

•Fruit: Persimmons

•Tv Program:  "SMASH" & "Downton Abbey"

•City: New York City

•Travel: Caribbean Islands & Brasil. 

•Car: Tesla Model S (all electric car)

•Movie: Documentary “Food Matters”

•Song: “Coming Back” by Citizen Cope

•Inspiring person: Dalai Lama

•Favorite quote: “Value who you are. Enjoy your uniqueness and don’t compare yourself with others and put yourself down. Love is everywhere!” Deepak Chopra

Valentina on Cover of Organice Your Life® magazine nr 4.

Blue Print Cleanse

Blue Print Cleanse

Hi all! I needed something to get back on track (o just this one day of eating sugars, carbohydrates, drinking wine turned into way longer)

After trying the Blue Print Cleanse about a half a year ago with great success I decided to embark on it again before heading back to Europe for a few weeks of modeling, to get myself back into a healthy eating mindset. This cleanse also helps boost your immune system as well as clears your skin! (sounds good to me!)

Today is day one of three. Thankfully these juices are tasty... I'm not going to say I havent thought of pancakes or a sandwich or mmm..ok need to stop this is making me hungry.

The best part about these juices is they get delivered to your door the night before you start. The bottles are numbered from 1 to 6 so you cant screw up the order you are supposed to drink them in. You get all sorts of tips from blueprint cleanse via email throughout your cleanse which I like.

go to the website to order your own juices! http://blueprintcleanse.com/

 


5 tools for a healthy kitchen by Valentina Zelyaeva

Want to change your diet and achieve a radiant health? But don’t know where to start? Start with your kitchen. Make it a healthy kitchen! Here are 5 essential tools that will help you to create delicious and healthy meals. I have all of them and use it every single day. I can’t imaging a healthy kitchen without those 5 musts.  Ok, here they are:

1. Blender

2. Juicer

3. Bamboo steamer

 

 

4. Nut mylk bag (for making almond, hazelnut, brazil any kind of nut mylks)

 

 

5.  Ceramic knife and bamboo cutting board.

[poutsch id="1007132" width="490"]

 Love, Valentina


A Snake's Tale

I wish I didn't have an excuse to not have written on Organice your Life, but I do: I've been recovering from a very unusual episode while being on vacation in Thailand. Below you will find a summary of the e-mails that I have sent to friends and family during this period (the ones that either knew I was in Thailand, or heard what had happened). Like this, it saves me having to rewrite and remember some stuff I really don't feel like remembering just yet. Organice Your Life is about health, and I don't think I have ever been happier to be regaining my health than at this moment. I am doing well enough that tomorrow I am even flying off to Capetown to work. The thought of not constantly thinking about all that has happened and at least partially having my normal life back is making me very happy. This might be the longest post on OYL up to date, and I apologize. So here it is, an unexpected turn of events in Thailand.

17 October, from Phuket Hospital

"For those of you that don't know, I got bitten or stung in the toe by something while snorkeling at Maya Bay, off Ko Phi Phi island now about 40 hours ago. The pain was immediate and spreading fast and we took the boat back to the island ASAP. The color of the front part of my foot was darkening. Also the toe was getting very swollen. while walking to the hospital my leg started to stop working more and more and I could feel I was getting close to losing consciousness. I ran to the hospital where they told me it was a stingray. This is still a possibility but I still find it unlikely, there were many fish around me but I didn't see a stingray and they're hard to miss. They gave me some medicine and said, don't worry it's fine. I later found out that this 'hospital' is run by volunteers and there are no doctors. But, I felt a bit relieved and went to bungalow to shower. When I tried to walk to have dinner I realized my right leg was dragging behind me, it felt rubbery and I lacked control. Also, there was big color and temperature difference. This concerned me enough to start coming home sooner, this is not how you want to feel on an island with no roads and medical care. With help of my wife and my parents I was going to come home yesterday (16 October), taking the first boat off the island. I had noticed as well a numbness in my right arm, but it was minimal. After the boat in the taxi to airport was when the real concern began, since the numbness and lack of muscle control started spreading fast through my right arm, then left arm and then up my neck. At this point I had been already at the airport but decided to go find a hospital since I was afraid that it might be too late by the time I would finally get to Holland. In the hospital here they ran blood tests, did cardiograms and other tests and they have been in touch with toxicologists in Bangkok and based on the story and symptoms (in the blood you cannot see exactly what animal bit you) they say it was a highly poisonous animal that bit or stung me, either a stingray, water snake, or others. Highly poisonous, but not poisonous enough to kill me, and they are quite sure also not poisonous enough to leave permanent damage.

For now they are keeping me here in Bangkok Hospital in Phuket town and today my amazing wife and superhero brother are flying here, and will arrive tomorrow morning for which I am extremely grateful and happy. It's been a little tough being alone.

Now, for some good news. I have slept alright, even though I look like a junkie at the moment with the amount of injection holes I have in me (those of you that know my little problem with needles are allowed to giggle) and the numbness in some parts of my body are definitely getting better. My leg is still a problem, I still have a Hollywood-movie-killer dragging leg, but I think it might be feeling less numb this morning. I am extremely tired both mentally and physically. The hospital is nice, my room prettier than any of the huts and bungalows I've slept in in this vacation.

The prognosis is that everything should return to normal in some days, I am hoping I can fly home with my wife and brother on Wednesday night but it all depends a bit.

It's been a tough time since it happened, but now I feel safe and confident it will be alright.

A big hug, hope to see you soon in Holland."

19 October, from Phuket Hospital

"Goodmorning,

First of all thanks a lot for all the messages, calls and mails full of get well wishes, how are you's, bad jokes and threats to the ocean in general.

My right leg is slowly getting better, still not recovered though. Yesterday my wife and my brother have arrived, hard to explain how happy that made me. The alone days before have been very very tough. I feel very weak, my whole body is just so tired. Hopefully every day this should get better. Maybe it's even an effect of the medicine or something.

Today is both a scary and a good day: we're flying home. Makes me nervous because I hardly have the energy to get to the bathroom, but going home is an overriding thought. Also, there will be wheelchairs at the airports and the insurance has bumped me to business class. Tomorrow I'll be going to the tropical diseases department of the Amsterdam hospital (AMC) to double-check if all is well and to hopefully hear a bit more how long full recovery will take.

Again thanks for caring guys, the prognosis is still full recovery! I am happy this bad episode is hopefully coming to an end soon.

A big big hug,

Marius"

21 October, from Amsterdam

"Hello,

I have been at the hospital at the tropical centre today and had a diagnosis which was different from the one I had received until now in Thailand. First of all, just like the first email, I want to stress that they also assume that there will be a full recovery in the end.

The poison that went into my body was most probably a neurotoxin, and not something that just affected the muscle. They also found a significant effect still not just on my right leg, but also right arm. I figured the arm was fine since the numbness and tingling was gone, but apparently I miss strength. They are not sure what it was (they are almost certain it was a water snake), and based on photo's I made during and after and based on the story they are now researching, hopefully to get more info. This could have been deadly, but I have been extremely lucky that it happened in an extremity, being my big toe. This part is the part I would like to focus on, and not linger too much on what might have been, and how close I came.

I will be going back there weekly, so they can monitor my progression. Their prognosis is that in a few weeks the effects should be gone, if not, they got a next doctor ready who can start examining my nervous system. I am confident it will not come to that.  I feel like I am still improving daily, even though I have massive swings in energy levels, am very tired and I sleep a lot.

Talking tires me very quickly (for those of you who sometimes wonder if I would ever shut up, all it needed was a watersnake) and also it is not really easy for me to talk about this at the moment.

I do love your emails, I read them almost the second they come in and thank you for all the get well wishes.

The news of today was a bit of a shock, but in the end it changes nothing: I should be fine in the end.

A big hug to all of you,

Marius"

25 October, from Amsterdam

"Hello!

A good update this one will be. Today we have been to the doctor again and to a neurologist. Things were getting better, but then during the weekend we had a bit of a scare again since some of the symptoms (tingling) were returning. Today, at the neurologist a lot of tests were done and I came out alright! I came out so well that the neurologist is even doubting the other Amsterdam doctors who think they were neurotoxins. Basically, it will probably remain unclear exactly what animal got me. Whatever it was, I share the hopes of my father-in-law who told me straightaway 'If this is the effect it had on you, he's gotta be dead' :)

The tiredness, weakness, headaches and still some lack of strength in arm and leg are normal after the poison, and it should subside in upcoming weeks.

So! I am a very very happy guy, and I think this will be my last update mail, since if all goes well, there is nothing left to update you about anymore. It's been a difficult week and a half, but now all should be fine in time, if I just take it easy and recover.

Once again, thank you for all the messages, mails, cards and even a book today, I hope to see you soon.

A big hug,

Marius"