Category Archives: Personal

Cosmopolitan X Levi’s Denim Night in Amsterdam!

I love reading Cosmopolitan, it’s easily one of my favorite magazines around. In their March issue they talked about their new #cosmocommits campaign and their collaboration with Levi’s. Levi’s created a white tee with the catch phrase “This Is What Confidence Looks Like“, matched with of course the perfect pair of jeans. A limited amount of Cosmo readers were invited to be a part of the Special Levi’s Denim Night and I was selected as one of them. (YAY) My best friend Marlies tagged along and we drove to Amsterdam.

The Cosmopolitan X Levi’s Denim night took place at a new Levi’s store (Leidsestraat 8). Right before the evening started I got a huge stain on my black jeans so I awkwardly had to hide that with my long black scarf. Great. You really can’t leave the house with me. Anyway. We were welcomed with snacks & lovely drinks (organic & delicious). The store looks beautiful & very clean. Upon walking in I immediately saw tons of things I loved. A little after 7 we were welcomed by Anne Marije, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan NL. She explained why we were there and they prepared a little presentation for us about strong women. Some beautiful, independent woman were asked to share their opinions on what confidence is to them. Vreneli Stadelmaier recently wrote a new book called “Fuck die onzekerheid” (which pretty much translates into “Fuck insecurity”). She shared some facts (women apologize way too often) with us and introduced her book. Sarah Reinhoudt (from Levi’s) and Sasha Burger (Fashion Director Cosmo)  then talked about finding the perfect fit and Levi’s new 501CT jeans.

While eating delicious snacks I was determined to find the perfect jeans. I always end up picking jeans that (sort of) fit while trying ’em on, but then end up being way too big after wearing them a few times. Or I would buy jeans that would fit, but are too long. For some reason I just can’t seem to find a good pair of jeans. One of the lovely Levi’s employees took one look at me and knew what size I was. I was a bit skeptical because how would it be possible that he needs 5 seconds to figure it out, meanwhile it takes me years. I tried on the High Rise Skinny Ankle and guys, miracles exist. I was wearing the perfect jeans. He just knew straight away what size I was. Needles to say, I was very impressed.

Every Cosmo reader got a 20% discount on everything in the brand new Levi’s store so I was stoked to pick up my new pair of jeans for only 79,96 euros! I love me some discounts. I mean, who doesn’t.

At the end of the evening I left with a stunning pair of new jeans, my “This Is What Confidence Looks Like” Levi’s shirt, a John Frieda conditioner (not too happy about this one because it’s specifically for blondes.. and I’m a brunette..) and the March issue of Cosmopolitan.

Confidence to me means taking risks even when there is a possibility to fail.

“What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly?” – Erin Hanson

What is confidence to you? I am working on a blogpost about confidence and I would absolutely love to feature some of your quotes and what confidence means to you! So please share as many quotes & ideas as possible.

Create your own good vibes jar!

So I recently bought two jars, you know, the hipster type of jars people end up drinking hot chocolate out of. I use one of them to drink gin tonic in. See, super useful. But then I still had one extra jar and I thought it’d a cool idea to put good things that happened to me in a jar. I think I must have seen this idea somewhere before and I loved it.

So I started writing down some great memories I’ve created over the past month and a half on a little paper. I will continue to do this whenever I experience something great in 2015. I think I will open the jar at the end of the year, or when I’m feeling a little down and need some positive energy.

All you need is (love):

  • a jar
  • paper
  • scissors
  • a pen

Have you ever created a similar jar? Let’s spread some positive energy into the world and our own lives!

My “volunteering with wild cats” adventure

After receiving quite a few questions about my trip to South Africa, I decided to write another blog about my volunteering work I did for two weeks in Bloemfontein.

I’ve been wanting to “work” with wild cats for the longest time. Lions are the most magnificent animals and being able to be up close to them, other than staring at them while they’re living their miserable lives in a zoo, has been a dream for as long as I can remember. So in September of 2013 I did some research on whether this was possible and where. I eventually came across a video on YouTube from a girl who volunteered at this place called “Cheetah Experience“. I googled their website & Facebook page and I was convinced. So I ended up e-mailing them for more details on their volunteer program. I was very excited because of their answers & fast responses so I ended up booking the trip, a couple months later, in December of the same year.

I booked my flight about four months in advance (I went to Africa in March of 2014) with KLM Airlines. There was a direct, international flight available from Amsterdam to Johannesburg. The flight was around €500 if I’m correct, which isn’t too bad at all considering it was an 11-hour flight. Johannesburg wasn’t my last stop. I eventually had to get to Bloemfontein, which is about an hour flight away from the major city, 3 hours if you drive their. But considering it was my first time in South Africa I had no interest in sitting on a bus in a relatively “un-safe” country for a couple hours. I booked my flight with South African Airways.

When arrived in Bloemfontein someone from Cheetah Experience picked me and my cousin up (she decided to tag alone). The airport was +- 30 minutes away from the sanctuary.

We stayed at the volunteer house (included in the price you’d pay to go there) which was a 2/3 minute ride from the sanctuary. Breakfast & lunch was served daily and you’d be taken to the supermarket twice a week to buy dinner & other things you’d like. The cost price for two weeks there was around €500. However I don’t know the exact prices for 2015.

Arriving at Bloemfontein and being surrounded by cheetahs, lions, leopards, wolves and more animals was the most incredible feeling. My cousin (Shana) and I were welcomed by the staff members & other volunteers from all around the world. (Most) of them were very welcoming and they immediately explained to us what we’d be doing over the course of two weeks while we were there. All the chores were divided into two groups: the lion-side & the cheetah-side. You’d work on one side one week & the other side the next. The lion-side meant you’d work with/for the leopards, lions, wolves, caracals & servals. Working on the cheetah side meant, well, working with & for the cheetahs.

Duties included, but not limited to, cleaning poop (wolf poop SMELLS SO BAD and they poop.. A LOT, like A LOT), checking the fences, feeding the animals, checking whether all the animals appear to be healthy, guide tours, work at the curio shop and more.

On a regular day you’d have from 12 to 2 off, unless you’d have to guide a tour during lunch time. When there are a lot of volunteers (full capacity at the volunteer house) you’d have more free time compared to when there aren’t that many. Free time means you can interact with the animals (wolves, the tame cheetahs and the smaller animals), read a book, relax, do whatever you feel like doing. Interacting is only allowed when you feel comfortable AND when the animals feel comfortable around you. Most of the animals were brought up in captivity (please don’t confuse this with a zoo, because it is very different) so they are pretty tame, but they maintain wild animals.

Now that I just mentioned it I’d like to explain the differences between a regular zoo and a sanctuary, or Cheetah Experience in this case. The animals live in a much, much bigger area. Most, or a lot, of them are rescued. At a zoo the animal gets food and that’s pretty much it. At Cheetah Experience the volunteers & staff members try to make sure the animals don’t get bored, still try to let them use all their senses, enrich the animals (almost on a daily basis) and more.

Back to the volunteering. (I’m so sorry this story is so long) Day in day out you’d wake up when the sun comes up, which is pretty epic, and the first thing you hear are the lions roaring. I can guarantee you, there’s no better way to wake up. We’d start our day, work long hours and we’d get the chance to get to know the animals a little bit more. I especially enjoyed spending time with the wolves. Wolves are obviously a lot like dogs, but I consider them to be even more loyal, more trustworthy. You know how a dog knows when something’s wrong? A wolf does too. It takes quite a while before a wolf gets used to you and ‘accepts’ you. At Cheetah Experience you have to get accepted by Shakira, the alpha wolf, before you can spend time with them. How can you get accepted? She must lick your face. That way you know she feels comfortable around you. She can sense when you’re afraid, she can sense when you disrespect her. I loved spending my lunch break with them. They have a little ‘house’ they can climb on and I would go on there, bring a book and the two wolves would often join me.

Two weeks was too short now that I look back at it, but those two weeks were some of my favorite weeks in my entire life.

Have you ever volunteered (with animals) before? Would you want to do something like this one day?

Please feel free to ask me any more questions in case you have ’em! Wanna read more about this incredible experience? Check out the Bloemfontein/South Africa category! And for more photos click on the Africa tab.

Reales Alcázares, the prettiest place on earth

Reales Alcázares also known as The Alcázar of Seville also known as the Royal Palace also known as my new favorite place on earth. I have to thank Sarah Says for this because we at first didn’t think about taking a ton of time out to visit this place, but then I remembered Sarah’s blogpost about Real Alcázar and I knew I would need more time.

We went very early in the morning, I’m certain we entered just a couple minutes after they opened up the doors and I am very happy we did because just a few hours after we got there (yes we stayed there forever) it got super busy.

We walked through the doors and I was already amazed by how beautiful everything looked like. However I wasn’t too surprised because I feel like everything in Sevilla is stunning and I’m sure everything who has visited this city before knows how I feel.

They created plans to build this magnificent place back in 913. Yes, 913. They continued working on it in the 11th century. After the “Reconquest of Sevilla” by Fernando III el Santo in 1248, the history was interwoven with the deeds of the Kings of Castile. And in the 14th century they made it even bigger & even more impressive. They continued to add more details in the 16th century. Pedro I, known by some as “the cruel” would eventually leave a lasting mark on this palace. This palace is the creation of different kings and times. And that’s exactly why it’s so impressive. It’s so detailed you have to stop every five seconds. The handwork that can be found here is just incredible.

Fun detail: the King & Queen stay here when they visit Sevilla.

From the small hallways to pretty much everything else. So stunning. But then.. then we entered the gardens and my jaw dropped. I felt like I just entered real life jungle book. Oh My God. This place is not just a Royal Palace, this place feels like a completely different world. I must have taken over 300 photos of this stunning palace alone.

I especially enjoyed walking around both the gardens of the palace because even without a guide, there was plenty of information to be found everywhere both in English & Spanish.

We also ended up having lunch at the cafeteria in the garden and at the moment I realized how incredibly lucky I was to be there, with a new friend, eating a delicious sandwich & a great cup of tea, while staring out into the garden.

For more details definitely visit their official website. This is not just a place you have to visit, this is THE place you have to visit. Reales Alcázares is, next to the Point Lobos State Reserve in Monterrey (California), my favorite place in the world and easily my favorite place in Sevilla.

I honestly forgot how much tickets were but I think I paid around €10 for mine and my friend who’s still a student barely paid €2.. Once again a huge discount for students, so don’t forget your id + student card and take advantage of this!

Have you ever been before? How incredible does this place look?

PS- I tried posting every single day of the week but if I wanna continue to post interesting, or at least I hope I am posting interesting things, content I’ll have to slow it down a tad so I’ll be uploading a new blogpost 4/5 times a week now!

Parque de María Luisa + Plaza de España

Plaza de España is rated the number one attraction to visit in Sevilla and I completely understand why, however I have a different number one. You can visit the Plaza for free and considering it got rated so high on tripadvisor I went there the first morning. The sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold so I had an incredible time. The Plaza was designed by Aníbal González and he is Sevilla’s best known twentieth-century architect. The entire main building is made out of brick, but beautifully decorated by ceramics. The Plaza starts and ends with two massive towers.

You can walk from the center of the plaza to the other sides, connected by adorable bridges. You can even rent a little boat and relax on the water, while looking at this stunning place.

I think I must have spend at least 3 hours there because every single detail of this place was just too beautiful to ignore.

Plaza de España is located in the Parque de María Luisa and walking through the park is an experience on its own. It’s a beautiful, very relaxing area with a couple cute restaurants and a touristic/information desk. I picked up a map & a couple other things to make sure I wouldn’t get completely lost in this city. (Thank God for Google Maps)

As mentioned before no fees have to be paid to enter Parque de María Luisa or Plaza de España so I definitely recommend going here to relax and take all the photos. And with all the photos I actually do mean ALL the photos.

Have you heard about this plaza before? If you’ve been already, what did you think about this stunning place?

Water challenge

I love my coca cola, I could drink it every day if I had no clue it is so bad for me. I love my wine, oh God I love wine. But I want to challenge myself. Water is good for you, for your skin, for your body. It’s just, really good for you.

So I want to challenge myself to only (I’m allowing myself to drink tea as well) drink water for a month. I want to see whether it will truly have an effect on me, on how I look and on how I feel.

Every week I’ll try to write a quick blog about how my water challenge is going. After a month I’ll compare two (selfies) photos (before & after) and see whether there’s any physical difference in how I feel and how I look.

Anyone want to do this challenge with me? I’m excited to do this!

PS- I’m flying home tonight from Sevilla and I can’t wait to blog about some of the most incredible times of my life!

Introducing you to my favorite bloggers

I absolutely love reading other blogs. Some of them inspire me to work harder, take better pictures & write better content. And there are TONS of wonderful blogs. Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite bloggers. Bloggers who will hopefully inspire you as well!

On High Heels (You’re Closer to the Sky)

As if the blog name wasn’t brilliant enough, Eline’s layout is absolutely stunning. She takes wonderful photos, has great content & her design in general doesn’t look like anything I’ve really seen before. She blogs about everything, from fashion to DIY’s. Absolutely worth your visit (and bookmark) — VISIT

The Healthy Ever After

The Healthy Ever After is hands down my favorite “healthy food” blog. Carmen is an absolute sweetheart, she shares some incredible recipes (I can’t wait to start and try ’em all out very soon) and has an overall very lovely blog. She blogs in Dutch so this is especially recommended to my Belgian/Dutch visitors — VISIT

With All My Affection

Arielle is the owner of this beautiful blog. She posts about 3/4 times a week and her content is always very interesting. I am in love with the design of the blog and how neat everything looks. Arielle is also very kind & responds to pretty much everything. That’s how I discovered her blog, because she left a very nice comment on mine! — VISIT

The Pyreflies 

Jessica is the owner of the Pyreflies and besides her being an absolutely lovely human, she also has a very fun lifestyle blog. She writes interesting blogs about pretty much everything. I go back to her blog on a daily basis to find out what she wrote about today — VISIT

What are your favorite blogs? And most importantly, what keeps you coming back to a certain blog?

Leaving for Spain today!

I am leaving for Spain today (I’m so excited) so I scheduled a few posts for the upcoming days. I will have tons of new things to blog about after I get back & I can not wait to share my (hopefully very fun & exciting) stories and photos.

I’ll be uploading photos, taken with my iPhone, on my instagram account & will be tweeting whenever I have the chance. Feel free to follow me on both if you want to stay updated while I’m gone. You know, in case you miss my blogs… Juuust kidding.

Ps- I have no idea how in the world I was able to pack for five days, while everything fits in this tiny (hand luggage) suitcase. I think I officially mastered packing.

Music, music & music!

I was going to blog about what to pack for vacation today since I leave for Sevilla on Thursday but I got really sick last night and I’ve been feeling absolutely terrible the entire day. I haven’t really left my couch unless to.. Well yeah. That. Sorry. Way too much information. Anyway. I will still blog about that subject, but it will most likely be for when I get back next week. So today I just wanted to share a blog I kept as a draft for a while!

Music is my favorite thing in the world, well next to traveling. I used to do freelance/voluntarily work  for a music & entertainment website. I wrote tons of reviews and got to interview some incredible musicians. My passion for music only grew when I met more people in the industry and pretty much attended a concert every week. I also got to join some friends on tour and create the best memories.

records

So I decided to include music a little bit more into my blog & write posts about artists I think you all need to discover, concerts you need to attend in Belgium, etc! I created a music page (go check it out!) where you’ll be able to check out the monthly playlists I make on Spotify, reviews of albums & more!

Let me know what you would love to see on my blog, besides music, as well.

Been there, done that tag

I love reading about everyone’s travel dreams & plans. It inspires me so much and I instantly want to start planning another vacation. I recently came along a wonderful Dutch blog called All Lovely Things and Mandy, the owner, posted a very fun travel tag. I loved the questions so much so I thought answering them would make a fun blog! Which countries have you been to? I’ve been to, I hope I don’t forget any, the Netherlands, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Vatican City, Italy, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, North America, South America, Brazil, South Africa, Luxembourg & Monaco. Oh and I’ve traveled to 15 different states in the US as well.


What is your dream destination? Australia. I’ve been dreaming about visiting for the longest time and hopefully I’ll get to go soon.


What is your most ideal vacation? (beach vacation, shopping trip, cultural vacation, etc.) An exploring type of vacation. I can’t stay on the beach all the time, although I love the beach, because that’s too boring for me. I want to explore, see things, eat new food, meet new people.


Which place has been so special you’d love to visit it again? Probably, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). That place just left its mark on me.


Show us your favorite vacation photo This is so hard! Aaahhh I have so many favorite vacation photos. But I think this is my favorite one, or one of my favorite photos. The timing was perfect. The sun was setting. This was taken on top of the Rockefeller Center with a view of Downtown NY & the Empire State Building.


Have you traveled for work before to a fun destination? If yes, where? I wish.. Hopefully & maybe in the future. That’d be an absolute dream. Combining both traveling & working. That way I never have to work a day again.


Who are you usually traveling with? Usually all alone, but I (most of the time) travel to places where I have friends so I travel by myself but I meet up & stay with my friends when I get to my destination.


Who would you loved to go on vacation with? (this can be everybody: a family member, a friend or a famous person) Someone, this may be someone I know or not, who loves to explore & do things that aren’t always touristy. Someone who’s not afraid to try new foods and to just have a generally good & exciting time.


Who or what would you bring with you to a deserted island? Food.. Because I really can’t see myself catching fish and cook it. Sunglasses because I’m practically blind in the sun and a blanket for colder evenings.


Have you traveled in your own country before? If yes, where? Traveling? Not really, but I enjoy exploring cities nearby. Like Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp! The photo below was taken in Ghent on a cold, but lovely Fall day.


Do you prefer an amusement park or a zoo? Amusement park hands down. I’m kind of against zoos. I understand why zoos exist but half of the time the animals are in very poor condition and I love animals too much to see them behind bars & windows.


Would you rather go on a ski holiday or a summer vacation? Summer vacation because I LOVE THE SUN and the heat so much. I really am not a winter person and although I went skiing once and I loved it, I’d rather be somewhere where I don’t have to wear seven coats & twelve pairs of socks in order to survive.


What is your favorite vacation memory?  I have so many ahhh. Visiting the redeemer in Rio was one of them. Randomly & unexpectedly seeing Gotye in NYC. Celebrating my 18th birthday in Los Angeles, overlooking the skyline. Oh and every time I get to visit a Disney park. The photo below is one of the foggy skyline of Los Angeles after hiking up to the Griffith Observatory!

IMG_2781


What is your least favorite vacation memory?  I have two. The first one was the most recent one. I was volunteering in South Africa with wild cats back in March of 2014. I got a massive sunburn the first day and I ended up having a really bad reaction/allergy/I still don’t know what it was to the heat, the sun and the sunburn so one day it got so bad I had to stay inside. And that was the last thing I wanted to do, stay inside while I could have been spending my time with lions.

The other one was when I was attempting to fly back from Rio to NYC and my flight got cancelled. They announced the cancellation about 30 minutes before our flight was supposed to take off. I ended up having to wait at the airport for a good FIVE HOURS in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT before they were able to put me on another flight the next day. It was miserable, I was forced to take a taxi, in Portuguese (I don’t speak Portuguese), at 3am, back to my friend’s house.


 Where are you going to this year?  Right now I only have one mini vacation planned, a couple days getaway to Sevilla, Spain. I’m applying for several jobs so I hope I get to start working soon. If I end up not finding a job just yet I’m sure I’ll end up traveling a bit more.


Where would you never go on vacation?  I really want to see as much as possible from this world but besides seeing the Taj Mahal I don’t really want to visit India. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind about this.


I hope you enjoyed reading some of these questions & feel free to also blog about this travel tag! I want to read your answers too!