Camping: Back to Basic!

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

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

And now the fun part that I like:

To use the luxury you needed to work:

- To get warm water you had to heat it.
- To have electricity you had to ride a bike to generate electricity, that was then stored in a battery and was then ready for use.
- cooking was done by yourself ( that's ok!)
- and doing the dishes as well ( that's too bad...)

But... This way the camp site is CARBONEUTRAL! Pretty cool huh? Just like camping, that's cool too! The company is called "Het Verborgen Verblijf".

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

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

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

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

www.verborgenverblijf.nl

www.glamour.nl

These were the pictures we shot that day!

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Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

Glamour 2010 shot at Thornspick

 

Love, Lonneke


Vegetarian meat

mc2burger & chicken satay sandwich

If you change from eating meat to a vegetarian diet, it is a big change. But it is worth it. But what happens is that you usually crave some kinds of meat still. I changed about 8 years ago to an 90% vegetarian diet, with a bit of good fish once a while. But I still missed eating a good hamburger (not the ones from fast-food restaurants FYI) once a while . I am still not sure if it was because of the meat, or the bun and all the toppings that accompany a good burger.... Besides that, the texture of chicken meat I did like too so I craved that too.

We all know the truth about that most people eat TOO MUCH MEAT and that that's not good for our health. We just don't need that much protein. Also, the way we produce meat is so devastating for our environment, and the abuse of the animals is so common and awful, that The Earth needs a change if we want our kids to live on a livable planet with clean water, air and biodiversity. Even if you don't eat meat for just 1 day a week, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. The amount of energy it takes to produce one piece of meat on your plate is mind-blowing. And the carbon footprint of a meat eating person is many, many times higher than that of a vegetarian person. So if you want to help make a difference (remember every little effort counts if you add them all up!) you can do that by switching your meat dishes and using meat replacement products if you crave the flavor and texture of the meat.

Because there is a solution for these cravings! Until now vegetarian substitutes for meat where not that great to put it middy, and therefore some vegetarians were a bit sad. But thankfully some people took matters in their own hands and started to find new, all plant based, meat substitutes!

There is a vegetarian butcher in The Hague, the Netherlands. (yes that is a VEGETARIAN butcher, meaning: without animals being hurt, but with all the good taste) "De Vegetarische Slager". I already wrote about them once before and you can read that story HERE. They are in fact the first of their kind in the World. Mark Bittman, the renowned food critic from the NY Times even came to visit the shop once, and loved what he discovered.

So Animal cruelty free, vegetarian friendly, that sounds good to me! I love their products and they sell their prepackaged products already in 200+ stores all across the Netherlands, in health food stores but even mainstream supermarkets are joining in. (You can also order online.)

I spoke to Paul Bom, who is one of the geniuses behind the products, and who is present at their concept store in The Hague at the Spui 167A almost everyday. (across from the City Hall of the Hague). I asked him if their products include soy and if yes, if they are GMO free. He said thesoy used is organic and also gmo free! One other thing they use a lot is a plant called "Lupin" for their meat-like products.

The taste and texture of their products is really good. The chicken pieces are great to fool people thinking they eat real chicken. They also have a range of shawarma (shoarma in Dutch) made of lupin, minced meat, meat balls, and even have a selection of non-fish products. Also the fish products are great to fool someone. I LOVE the non-tuna spread "Tonyn". The mackarel one tastes like mackarel but is a bit too strong for me.

In the store you can buy all these meat products, as well as ready-to-go meals (love the typical dutch dish "Hutspot", a mix of mashed potatoes, onions & carrots accompanied by a meatball in a sauce). You can also buy super foods, olive oils, wines and juices. All of course organic.

The recently introduced their new "mc2burger", which is the name of their hamburger, to the people of France, at an exhibition in Paris. (The name is derived from E=MC2 from Einstein). I think the taste is really good as I got a sneak peak from their burger when I visited The Hague for work.

Besides that I am obsessed with their bread roll made of lupin, with their fake chicken in satay sauce! It is a bit naughty, meaning not that great for the thighs, but very delicious. Hey, models eat bad food too once a while ;-) See picture on top!

Also, today marks the opening of the first ever all vegetarian snackbar, also in the Hague. The MC2burger is available under the name "Vegabom" as well as other "Vegetarische Slager" products.  News item about the opening(In Dutch.)

You can follow de Vegetarische Snackbar on Twitter: @Vegasnackbar

and also "De Vegetarische Slager" on Twitter: @Vegaslager  & Paul Bom: @PaulBom,

I love it that people all around the World are thinking twice about the products they eat, and try to create new delicious vegetarian foods & dishes that can get the pressure off the Planet a little bit.

Love, Lonneke

 


Proud to be Gay

Joey Holthaus has been a singer in a boy band called "All of Us" for many years. Today he works as an illustrator and fashion consultant in the Netherlands. He is sharing his experiences as an openly gay man with Organice Your Life®.

 

... "Hey, dirty F*GG#T!"... Damn! I just did my best to look like a cool dude today. I'm wearing my baggy trousers, old school sneakers, big hoodie, Diesel cap and it's all in traditional masculine colors. Thought I looked like a straight guy, but guess I was wrong. When I look up I see some kids laughing at me, some are giving me the finger. Grrrrrr. Just another bunch of kids who think they have the right to call me dirty.

Strange. Strange because I'm never ever been a dirty boy (well, not in that way). I take a shower every morning, wash my hair, put on my Aussiebum's (for the straight guys & girls: it's the Bjørn Borg for gay people) & some new fresh socks, and as a final touch my everyday (Malin + Goetz) fragrance. Why? Because I can't stand dirty stuff. I gag when I smell sweat, mold and unpleasant odors. I can't quite place have to disappear as soon as possible. I've heard too many dirty stories, told by my best friends, even though they know I can't stand them (so I run to the bathroom to throw up). I visualize every little thing. So funny, but not for me...

Well, I know that the kids are referring to that other 'dirty' something. You know, how gay people have sex. How they do it. Probably some of those kids also do it with their girlfriends, lovers, or maybe each other? But when gay people do it, they think it's more disgusting. That's why they call us dirty. And say f*gg#t. Right in your face.

I know that it's in fashion for straight people to have a*** intercourse. It's not a gay thing anymore, doing it "the Greek way". When I'm listening to all the many sex stories of my female friends (about their relationships) I know it's true, and they do like it (and quite surprising, some straight men too, if you know what I mean..)

Okay, back to the kids. I'm so surprised they outed me. When you look at all the straight men these days, I can't see a difference in style with the fashionable gay men of a few years ago. Famous metro men (like über metro David Beckham) set the trend, and half of the straight young men followed. It was hot to look good and fashionable for a straight guy. Before David, gay people created the most wanted styles in fashion. Now I can't spot the difference anymore. For me, a normal gay guy, it became very difficult to trust my "gaydar". I thought I had one, but these days I think everybody looks gay. Think my gaydar is really out of order...

Don’t get me wrong, I like to “dress up” for the nights, but my "Yoohooo... look at me, I'm gay" look lies far behind me right now.

I remember my first year in 1996 as a fashion student, when I transformed from a little young boy to a self-assured boy with waaay too much make up on my face. One of my classmates (and still my BFF) looked like the inspiration for Lady Gaga's looks nowadays (but in a so much better and creative way). He was the one who supported me to polish my nails. First I let them grow and then I polished them all black (how gothic). Then I used all kinds of colours and finally I was drawing all kind of little creations on my nails. How creative! My signature eyebrows before my first year Fashion Design looked like I was Bert's cousin (Sesame Street). An ugly unibrow.

During this first year I discovered the magic of a tweezer! First I pulled out a few hairs, then a little bit more, and then... Oi. I looked like I drew two stripes above my eyes. Yikes.

I also put too much make up on my face to cover up the rings underneath my eyes and pimples, and I've made my eyebrows more colourful with a black eyeliner. On top of that you must know that it was very hot to be a fan of the SPICE GIRLS (well that is, if you were a four-to-twelve year old girl, or a screaming young gay like me and my BFF), so imagine what we looked like. Dressed in shirts that were too small, low bootcut jeans,  high (20cm) plateau shoes and blond spikey hair (aaaargh!!!) I was clubbing in Arnhem's gay club Entre Nous every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Like every night we waited (after whining for a long time) till the DJ played our favorite song: "SPICE UP YOUR LIFE"! Shake it, shake it, shake it... ENCORE!

Okay, maybe I looked like a drag queen, but at that time (1996!) I had never been bullied openly on the streets. No one had ever called me "dirty F*GG#T", no matter how flamboyant my outfit was. It’s so sad that the times have changed.

May 2012: On the cover of Dutch magazine "L'Homo" you can see two straight famous Dutch male actors kissing each other, with their tongue. The magazine is telling us that you don't have to be ashamed when you kiss another guy.

                 * Cover Dutch gay magazine "L'Homo" 2012 *

This cover made headlines in Holland. In 2012! Why? Just because of that kiss. Even though Holland seems very accepting of homosexuality to the outside world, in fact gays get bullied here everyday when they walk hand in hand. Some gays get beat up on the streets when they come out of a club. When you kiss your boyfriend, EVERYBODY is watching you. Like you're an attraction at a carnaval.

That’s why "L'Homo" magazine had to make that cover. Those covers HAVE to make headlines. We HAVE to talk about it. We have to get used to it, because most of the people are sadly not.

I’m so proud of president Obama. Last week he told the whole world that same-sex couples should be able to get married. BAM! Thank u Mr. Obama. We (the gay people) just need that kind of support. So stand up with the president & sign here!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQGMTPab9GQ[/youtube]

 

So, how can I support myself and others gays? How can I tell the world that I’m an openly gay man for more than 18 years, and that I'm proud of it? That I love the way I'm living my life, and that I'm not ashamed for being gay? I think this self-made picture of me and my husband says enough:

 

I tweeted this picture to the magazine L'Homo, and they started a contest: Share your kiss & win! You can see Mark and I right here.

I am glad you all can see I'm gay. Looks like I haven't change a bit since 1996. Minus my nail polish, but plus spicing up (& organicing!) my happy life with my beautiful and gorgeous husband Mark.

Be proud. Be yourself.

 

X Joey

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