Sunday, October 15, 2017

The science of the soulmate

Have you ever come across a person in your life who just instantly got you? Someone who you have that instant click with, don't have to hide anything from and who you can be instantly yourself with? 
Another soul who understands what you feel and think without you having to explain it, who seems to read your mind. Finishes your sentences, always seems to be on the same page. It's like you have a connection with them that goes far beyond any regular relationship. As if your souls are so in tune, you are one the same wavelength. 

Your soulmate. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pumpkin Pancakes

A fall family favorite

Tis the season... For pumpkin spice flavored everything! The first day of fall was upon us last week so not only did I kick it off by decorating the house with fall worthy decor. I also decided to share one of my favorite fall staples with you to welcome the season in appropriate fashion! 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Five stages of Loss

First written down by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying" these five stages were solely focused on the processing of grief after a death. 
Speaking as someone who has gone through losing a loved one, I have passed through every single one of these stages. I know what they all feel like. 

Over the course of years though I've come to realize that it's not just after the death of a loved one that we humans process loss. I've also seen (and personally experienced) these feelings in other types of loss. For example a loss can also occur with a personal terminal illness, the end of a slowly disintegrating friendship, an ended relationship, estrangement in relationships, getting fired, loss of money, the death of a pet or animal, and some might even argue waking up on a work day! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Broccoli Soup

A skinnier Panera copycat recipe.

I don't know if you've ever tried it, but I love Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup. Introduced to me by my sister in law, it's become one of my favorite comfort foods to indulge on when I don't feel like making lunch myself. Or when I am out shopping somewhere and I'm starved for something and there just so happens to be a Panera near by.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mourning death vs. Celebrating life

People all over the world process loss differently. Every culture all over the world has a different way to approach death and its aftermath. 

In some cultures there is a designated mourning time. Like in Hinduist, Islamic, Catholic and Jewish traditions. Elsewhere in the world people have traditions that center around celebrating life. Consider a fairly new development in South Africa: an 'after tears party' which is held after the funeral, when friends and family get together to drink, joke, focus on comforting each other and remembering the deceased with fondness. A similar tradition is found in Irish culture. 

I do not think that the way mourning happens in the Netherlands, where I am from, is necessarily based on a religion or specific tradition. It is just something that is rooted in the attitude of the Dutch and in my family also based on mere practicality. But recently someone I care about made me question the way loss is approached. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Adopt, don't shop

Today on Lightstyle I would like to talk about something that's very dear to my heart. ARF animal shelter in Walnut Creek is offering free adoptions through June 11th. We adopted our fluffy love at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation over a year ago and couldn't be happier with the service and the entire adoption process they offer. 

Let me tell you why you should go take a look for yourself, by telling you a little story. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Communication 101

Improve your communication

and conflict resolving abilities

First of all, let's look at what communication is exactly. The most basic way to describe communication is the conveyance of a message from a sender to a receiver.
Staticly it looks like this:

As communication is a very complicated process, there are many other factors that influence how and if a message is received and also if it's received correctly.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Austrian Kaiserschmarrn

Every winter growing up, my parents and I would make the 9hr drive from our home town in Holland to our second home town in Austria; Hopfgarten. That sounds like a long drive, but to us it was so worth it. Nine hours in the car for ten straight days in the snow. 
These weeks were by far my favorite time of the year. No school, no work, just me and my parents in the snow. Skiing to our hearts content. And eating to our hearts content, because man was the food amazing. Wiener schnitzels, germ knödel, pom frites, Tiroler Gröstl, Brixentaler knoblauch suppe. And my all time favorite Austrian dish, Kaiserschmarrn. I would eat this every single day. Although technically a sweet dessert, I would have this for lunch, breakfast, dinner or desert. It didn't matter as long as I had it at least once a day. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Maria Susanna de Bruijn - Kamperman

Maria Susanna de Bruijn - Kamperman 

The remarkable woman I was named after. (Marjolein Susanna Alida van Leeuwen was the name my parents gave me at birth). 
I couldn't be more proud to carry my grandmothers name. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Slow cooked BBQ pulled pork sliders


Slow cooked BBQ pulled pork

This is a favorite recipe of mine for any potluck, BBQ or game time party. It's very easy to make (hurray for crockpots!) and if you serve it with sliders also looks super festive.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What is your love language?

Is there a more appropriate time of year to talk about the way we prefer to express, experience and receive love? On a day where in general everything revolves around love, giving as well as receiving, it can be helpful to look at the best way to convey love.

About a year ago, freshly into my marriage, an acquaintance suggested we read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman to use as a guide to start our marriage off with a solid base. It was proposed as a helping hand to getting to know ourselves and each other as partners better.
After my husband and I had both read the book we discussed it at length. As it turns out, for both of us it clarified a lot of behavioral pattern. Not only in the dynamics between the two of us but also the patterns with some of our closest friends and families were cast in a new light.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Delicious lemon bars

Living in California, I feel very lucky to be able to grow citrus. Where I am from, the Netherlands, it is quite cold and citrus won't grow very well. Now I should also mention that I married a man who has amazingly green fingers. Whatever he touches in our garden seems to turn in to pure gold. So far every year we have had oranges the size of store bought grapefruits, more plums than I will ever figure out what to do with and the same goes for our lemons. Although with a family who loves using lemons for Mexican dishes that's not so much a problem. However, I do enjoy using lemons myself as well. And I can't even begin to say how delighted I am to be able to go outside and simply pick some of our fresh lemons every time I have a craving for lemon bars. Besides, with the recipe I use they're very easy to make and taste delicious!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Eighty-fourth Problem

Once a farmer went to tell the Buddha about his problems. He described his difficulties farming, how either droughts or monsoons complicated his work. He told the Buddha about his wife - how even though he loved her, there were certain things about her he wanted to change. Likewise with his children - yes, he loved them, but they weren't turning out quite the way he wanted. When he was finished, he asked how the Buddha could help him with his problems. 

The Buddha said, "I'm sorry, but I can't help you." 
"What do you mean?" railed the farmer. "You're supposed to be a great teacher!" 
The Buddha replied, "Sir, it's like this. All human beings have eighty-three problems. It's a fact of life. Sure, a few problems may go away now and then, but soon enough others will arise. So we'll always have eighty-three problems." 

The farmer responded indignantly, "Then what's the good of all your teaching?"
The Buddha replied, "My teaching can't help with the eighty-three problems, but perhaps it can help with the eighty-fourth problem." 
"What's that?" Asked the farmer. 
"The eighty-fourth problem is that we don't want to have any problems." 

From 'Being Zen' by Ezra Bayda. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Healthy homemade granola

Healthy homemade granola 

It's an all new year, you know what that means. New Years resolutions. As always we're trying to start the year off right by eating healthy. Here's a quick and easy recipe to help your day off to a good and healthy start. Because breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day!

"Yo soy Mermaid"

Have you always wanted to be a mermaid? You might want to think again.

This past weekend my husband and I watched 'Confirmed Kills' a comedy special by Iliza Shlesinger. (We just got Netflix yay!) Iliza reminded me of a less cynical and sharper type of Amy Schumer. I'm not necessarily a big fan of Amy Schumer, but I'm always intrigued by successful females who try to inspire and empower other women so decided to give it a go. What I loved about Iliza's special was that not only is she quick, razor sharp and funny, her dialogue is very empowering. Which you know I'm all about. There's a part in her special where she hates on mermaids. Mermaids and everything they stand for. Not being able to take a stand (literally, I mean come on they don't have feet), holding up the image of the perfect willing victim for any sailor (scarcely clad, perfect hair) and last but not least, hoarding! "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collections complete?" Well guess again! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Looking back over 2016 there are lots of things we could talk about, politics, artists that made huge impacts on the lives of many passed away, terrorist attacks, wars etc. 
All of these subjects however tend to have a negative note to them, so that is not what I want to talk about at the end of yet another year.  Especially because we're looking at the beginning of a new year with lots of potential. What I want to talk about is about what really matters looking forward.