Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Instagram photos

I love to see my Instagram account as my personal archive of memories - and by going through my own feed, I come across some of the best memories that I have made this past year. On the latest day of the year I would like to talk about the past twelve months and all the things that made them unforgettable. My Instagram photos sum these up perfectly, and they remind me of how 2016 was a great year: this blog name was changed into The Blog Editor, me and Mitchell moved in together, I completed my foundation year at University, I visited Copenhagen, London, Hong Kong, Curacao, Thailand and Budapest, I became the editor-in-chief of, and I quit alcohol entirely. 

In January this year, I was still in the middle of the psychology foundation year at University, and this month contained a lot of exams, deadlines and studying. I did go to a cabaret performance by Najib Amhali and spent a lot of time with family and friends. Another notable event was that Caroline, a late-joiner at our sorority/fraternity, became the eleventh member of our year club (photo #1)

Every February, Carnival takes place. One day I participated in a parade with Mitchell and his friends (photo #2) and another day I spent in Cuijk to celebrate Carnival there with my year club. After Carnival, I went to Copenhagen for a city trip with the association for psychology students (photo #3). A week later, we had a family of Syrian refugees over for dinner and learned more about their culture and habits. I also spent a day at a wellness center, had visitors from Budapest for their exchange trip after we had been there a couple of months earlier, and visited the ballet show 'Mata Hari'.

March started with a formal dance at my sorority/fraternity for first years (photo #4 and photo #5). A few days later, it was my birthday and I turned 19 years old. I celebrated my birthday with some friends (photo #6). A week later, me and my year club prepared a dinner night for other members at the 'club house' - every course out of 3 was Spanish and started with a Q, just like our year club name 'Querencia'. Later that week my sister and I went to a lecture by famous philosopher Daniel Dennett, I held a girls night with some friends and went to a classic concert called 'Mattheus Passion'. I also made a city trip to London together with Mitchell and another couple (photo #7 and photo #8). Furthermore, me and my year club threw a party at the sorority/fraternity's club house with a 'Seven Sins' theme (photo #9), me and Mitchell and two other couples visited Antwerp together (where one of the girls had moved for college) (photo #10), I prepared an Easter lunch for my family, and I went to Amsterdam together with my year club to meet up with a group from another sorority/fraternity. 

In April me, Janne and Tess went to a the 1975 concert, me, Janne and some other friends went out in Utrecht as a going away-party before Janne left for her trip to the USA, my cousin visited me in my apartment (photo #11), my year club and me participated in the sorority/fraternity's volleyball tournament (but we sucked) (photo #12) and we went to an intern ladies night (photo #13 and #photo 14). Later that month, I went to a formal dance from my former high school together with some high school friends (photo #15) and I took my mom to the sorority/fraternity's 'parents' day' to show her around. In April this year me and Mitchell were together for 1 year so we spent a day in Amsterdam (photo #16) and another in Utrecht to celebrate it. 

In May I went to Hong Kong for 10 full days on a study trip with the association for psychology students. I was in the committee to organize the whole trip so me and the other members had been working on all the preparations for months before we finally took off (photo #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26). Immediately when I got back, my sorority/fraternity celebrated its 26th Dies (birthday) for a whole week, beginning with an opening party (photo #27 and photo #28), an open party for all students in Nijmegen (photo #30), and ending with a huge formal dance held in a castle (photo #31 and photo #32). In the middle of that week, Mitchell turned 21 and I threw him a 21-Dinner with the help of my amazing friends (photo #29). I also attended a live broadcast of RTL Late Night with Michelle, after we went to the Amsterdam Skylounge (photo #33). At the end of the month, I got to take photos and my sorority/fraternity's 'Croquet & Croquettes'-tournament for which a chic look was desired (photo #34) and I went to see the musical 'Soldaat van Oranje' for a second time for Eva's birthday.

In June Eva graduated from high school so we celebrated that in town (photo #35). I went to Pinkpop Festival (photo #36, #37 and #38), got a cacti obsession (photo #39), and listened to Rihanna's new album ANTI for days on repeat (photo #40). Me and Faye went to the Rihanna concert in Amsterdam (photo #43 and photo #44) after spending a day in the city (photo #41 and photo #42) and going to an exhibition of Jimmy Nelson's 'Before They Pass Away'. Me and Janne visited Philipse Koffie & Brocante in Nijmegen (photo #45) and we went to Amsterdam (photo #46) were we visited the Stedelijk Museum (photo #47). Anne visited me in Nijmegen (photo #48 and photo #49) and me and Mitchell drank tea with a befriended couple (photo #50).

In July, me and Mitchell got the keys for our new apartment (photo #56 and photo #57). I went to McDonalds a lot this year (photo #51), I went to one of the last greatest parties at the sorority/fraternity (photo #52Manou and I went to Amsterdam to visit the Moco Museum (photo #53), I went to Pitch Festival with Michelle (photo #54), and to By The Creek Festival with Lies (photo #55). I went to Curacao with my family for a week (photo #58 and photo #59) and partied at the famous 'Vierdaagsefeesten' in my city Nijmegen (photo #60 and photo #61). Then me and Mitchell left for a 3-weeks backpack trip in Thailand (photo #62, #63, #64, #65, #66, #67, #68, #69). 

In August I was a guide for a group of new psychology students during their orientation week together with Freya (photo #70 and photo #71). My mom and I went to Amsterdam to see the Helmut Newton exhibition at Foam (photo #72), do some shopping (photo #73) and have a high tea at Bridges. Janne and I had a delicious and healthy smoothie at the Vitamin store in Nijmegen (photo #74). Me and my year club went to Amsterdam for our first year club weekend (photo #75, #76, #77 #78). And most importantly: in this month blog name got changed from Chapter75 to The Blog Editor!

Me and Janne went to the Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin (photo #79 and photo #80) and spent some days in Berlin as well (photo #81). I had a BBQ dinner at the Waal beach together with my year club (photo #82), our car broke down when Lies and I were driving to Janne's birthday party (photo #83) and me and my mom had lunch at Bairro Alto (photo #84). This month as well: I received my foundation year certificate, I became the editor-in-chief of (a platform for students in Nijmegen), I became the babysitter of a new family (photo #90) and I quit drinking alcohol completely.

In October my friends came over for my housewarming party. I attended two day courses, one for travel journalism and one for travel photography. Michelle, Manou and I went to an Amsterdam Dance Event party (photo #85), I had lunch with Merle (photo #86) and had a shopping day in Amsterdam together with Michelle and Manou (photo #87). I liked this box of popcorn a lot (photo #88), I rediscovered make-up after a long time (photo #89) and I went to a Halloween houseparty dressed up as my hero Harry Potter (photo #91).

In this month, Trump became president, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them came out, I had a Bal Masque party at the sorority/fraternity club house (photo #92 and photo #93) and had a girls' night with my year club (photo #94). I also went to Budapest for my mum's birthday for 5 days (photo #95, #96, #97, #98, #99, #100, #101 and #102).

Me and Janne went on a mini cruise daytrip to Newcastle, me and my year club celebrated Eva's 21th birthday at her 21-Dinner (photo #103, #104, and #105) and we had an early Christmas dinner (photo #106 and photo #107). I went to the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar and celebrated Christmas with my family by having brunch and dinner. Yesterday me and Mitchell had dinner in Amsterdam and today we're celebrating New Year's Eve with a befriended couple here in Amsterdam.

And in between everything mentioned above, I went out for lunch and dinner quite often, went to the movie theater a couple of times, did some studying for school, spent time with family and friends, and did a lot of blogging: 123 posts were published this year!

So without truly realizing it when it happened, 2016 meant a lot of exciting events and a lot of changes. I may only hope that 2017 will be at least just as good as 2016 has been to me!

Have a great New Year's Eve! ☆☆☆

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

A room for reads and thoughts + giveaway!

Christmas break principally means to me a relief of my obligations and responsibilities, and I like to use the extra time that comes with it to make some progress on decorating my home. We moved in here last July, yet it is still far from perfect. Although most of the rooms are perfectly livable, I'm still wishing for many items to put the icing on the cake. Our sunroom is one room that is the furthest from being finished - as it's a conservatory room, the room temperature is often almost equal to the outside temperature, being too cold in winter and too warm in summer - so when it comes to decorating it, it wasn't on top of my list. I'm planning on decorating it as my atelier in the future, but I didn't want it to be used for storage only in the meantime. So I spent a day turning this lil sunroom into a reading/relax room. The hammock chair that I received from Tropilex came in very handy.

Some other items in this room that should be highlighted: an elephant ear plant that I got from my year club at my housewarming party, two Turkish cushions from a local store in Nijmegen, an elephant patterned shawl from Madrid, a lil rug that I brought from my trip to Morocco. I love to collect items from all over the world and from all these different cultures, and I hope to collect many many more so my home will be filled with it!

With the end of the year getting closer, a place to relax and reflect on the past year is incredibly satisfying. Not the mention this is the very moment we need something to remind us of summer, and that it will soon be here again - a hammock will do. The day after Christmas seems to be the green light for everyone to start complaining about the cold and winter in general - before Christmas, winter is wonderful, happy and cosy, but as soon as we had our tummy-warming Christmas dinner and tons of gifts by the fire, there's no more reason to appreciate the discomforts of winter. You may imagine how much I longed for summer when we were scraping the ice from the car windows for an hour this morning.

I am giving away a hammock or a hammock chair from Tropilex of your choice!! Click here to see which hammocks and hammock chairs you can pick!

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  • COMMENT on this blogpost to let me know that you're participating!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Boxing Day dinner 2016

On Boxing Day mom and I prepared a simple but delicious 4-course dinner. In this post I'd like to share what we made and all the recipes - because this food is not only for the holidays. We started with tiny carpaccio rolls as an amuse (and these, when not cut in small pieces, could go very well for lunch or even dinner). Then we had a shrimp cocktail as an entree. Here the guys (my dad and partner) complained they did not like shrimps, which meant I could have a lot of their cocktails as I thought they were DELICIOUS! For the main course we had beef steak with mushroom cream sauce, broccoli with herb butter, and jacket potato with a quark topping. As a dessert we had a 'Christmas wreath' brownie cake, and I couldn't have wished for something else to finish our Boxing Day dinner.

Amuse: mini carpaccio rolls

What you need
  • Small wraps
  • Truffle mayonnaise
  • Rocket
  • Pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Beef carpaccio
What you do
  • Spread some truffle mayonnaise on a wrap
  • Get 3 or 4 slices of beef carpaccio, loosely roll up each slice, and lay them in a vertical line in the middle of the wrap
  • Cover the entire wrap with some rocket, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese
  • Roll up the wrap and cut into 10 pieces. Do not serve the two pieces on the outside.

I know an amuse should be one or two bites, but it would be torture to serve only one or two pieces of these carpaccio rolls per person. So I made sure everyone could have four pieces, and this was quite satisfying.

Entree: shrimp cocktail

I got this recipe from Jumbo.

What you need
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chili powder
  • Lime
  • Coriander
  • 2 avocados 
  • Lil shrimps
What you do
  • Mix 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise with 20g coriander, 1 avocado and lime juice. Add a tiny bit of chili powder (the recipe says 1/4 teaspoon, but I would recommend to put less).
  • Mix everything with the shrimps. The recipe says 200g for 4 people but we put almost 400g (200g in the mixture and the rest as a topping). It's up to you.
  • Put some mixture in a glass. Cut an avocado in tiny pieces and cover the mixture with some. Add some more shrimp. Then go for another layer of mixture, and another layer of avocado and shrimps.
If you like shrimps and avocado just as much as me, you will loooooove this shrimp cocktail. Just be careful with the chili powder, you don't want it too spicy.

Main course: beef steak, jacket potato and broccoli

I got this recipe from Allerhande.

What you need
  • Round steak (from the butcher)
  • (Olive) oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Above average sized potato (floury)
  • Broccoli
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Butter
  • Dried oregano
  • Quark
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
What you do
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Put the potatoes in a oven dish and cover with some oil and some salt. Then put the potatoes in the oven for 60 minutes.
  • Mix some grated lemon zest, lemon juice, a crushed garlic clove, finely chopped chives and parsley with 100g butter. Add some pepper and salt.
  • Put the butter mixture on tinfoil and roll it up. Put in the fridge for at least 20 min.
  • Boil the broccoli in salted water (4 min). Mix the broccoli with pieces of the herb butter.
  • Make sure the steak is at room temperature. Pat dry (with a paper towel) and cover with some oil and some pepper. 
  • Put a pan on the stove and wait until it's hot. Put the meat in the hot pan and cook to your preference.
  • Mix 4 to 5 tablespoons of quark with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, half a teaspoon of mustard, some dried oregano, a lil bit of olive oil, some chives, some lemon juice, and some pepper and salt. Put this on top of each jacket potato.
Make sure you don't burn the meat like I did a little! Baking steak is so damned hard. I didn't like the herb butter so much so I think that next time I will just buy herb butter at the store instead. 

Dessert: 'Christmas wreath' brownie cake

I got this recipe from Jumbo.

What you need
  • Stuff to make a brownie. We bought two packages and used a springform to put it all in.
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Almond flakes
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Strawberries, blueberries and raspberreis
  • Mint
  • Powdered sugar
What you do
  • Make a brownie in a springform, so it's round-shaped 
  • Put some chocolate in a pan and heat it so it'll be chocolate sauce
  • Crumble some chocolate chip cookies and do the same for the almonds
  • Outer circle: put the crumbled chocolate chip cookies in a circle on top of the brownie cake.
  • Inner circle: put the almond flakes in a circle on the inside of the chocolate chip cookie circle
  • Put scoops of ice cream on top of these circles - I did six scoops.
  • Put all the fruit in between the scoops of ice cream. Decorate with some mint.
  • Cover everything with powdered sugar, putting most of it in the middle of the brownie cake.
  • Put some chocolate sauce on top of the scoops of ice cream.

After consuming all this you will most likely feel pretty stuffed, though stuffed in a perfectly satisfying way (at least if our stomachs are equally sized). I had a great Christmas time and I hope so did you!

What did you eat on Christmas/Boxing Day?

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Day L00K: pink velvet dress

Here's what I was wearing at Christmas Day. We spent the day at my parents-in-law where we had dinner, and we did the same at my parents' for Boxing Day. These pictures were taken Christmas' morning (except for the close up picture, which was taken at the end of the day when I was tired and my hair was a mess), which Mitchell and I spent at our own home having a Christmas Brunch and exchanging gifts together. I was wearing this velvet pink baby doll dress and a pair of 70s style disco platform shoes. Those heels are nearly too high to walk on, though I managed to avoid breaking my ankles. I like to wear these to festive occasions in which not much walking is involved. 

As I mentioned before, I spray-painted my (artificial) green Christmas tree with gold, as I didn't like all the green in my living room. I was quite happily surprised with the result and now I am immensely fond of my little golden Christmas tree! So fond that I designated it to be the decor for my Christmas outfit pictures. I decorated it (only at the front side, no one will notice the back anyways) with the ornaments that I already owned, though maybe next year I will put more effort in tree decoration and go for all silver ornaments.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Brunch 2016

Happy Christmas everyone!

This morning I woke up pretty early as I felt very ambitious to make this Christmas brunch for two work. I'm not exactly bad at cooking, though it's always challenging each time I try something new. Thankfully I got some help from Mitchell today so at least we didn't starve.

What we had for brunch & how to make it yourself:

Cinnamon rolls 
I got the recipe from Roos's blog, but I left the pieces of apple out and used chocolate (cheap ass chocolate bar chopped in lil pieces) and coconut flakes instead.

I think I left the rolls in the oven for too long, but I saved them in time from turning all black. So as a result the rolls got pretty hard and I didn't like them so much for it, but Mitchell thought they were good because they were "crunchy, much like a cookie".

Deviled eggs
I'm very much into eggs for food and deviled eggs may be my favorite type (no close up photos, bc even though they taste good, it looks disgusting in photos). For Christmas I liked to do something extra, so I added smashed avocado and truffle mayonnaise to my common recipe: After boiling eggs, let them cool in cold water before peeling. Slice eggs vertically and get yolk out. Put the yolk of all of your eggs in a bowl together. Add regular mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add these ingredients as preferred. Put this mixture back in the egg. Then make yourself some bacon bc you deserve it.

Quark bowl
Put some jelly to cover the bottom of a glass. Add a layer of quark. Add a layer of muesli, and not, like me, forget this layer. Add another layer of quark. Add fruits, I used bananas and blueberries.

Sea salt & caramel hot chocolate
I got this recipe from Proper Tasty and it's basically just warm milk with chocolate, a tablespoon full of caramel, and a tiny bit of sea salt.

All these things are quite simple, though it took me a great part of my morning to get it all finished. For special occasions I can enjoy cooking a lot, although it gets me very stressed when I need to get several dishes finished by the same time, but I hate that I'm not at all creative when it comes to food! Due to a lack of knowledge about ingredients, food preparations, sauces and spices, I often have completely no inspiration to make up an entirely new dish - nor do I have the patient to make some things myself. Call me lazy, but I prefer canned soup over spending three hours making a homemade version.

Even though me and my kitchen are having a complicated relationship, food is an important part of my life, and I must admit that a lot of it evolves around consuming food. So naturally I hope to learn more on how to prepare delicious things and maybe some day I will get a grip on how Jamie Oliver and colleagues are able to think of new and incredible meals in a second - right now I'm pretty sure it's magic.

Anyhow, we enjoyed our little brunch together before heading to Mitchell's parents to celebrate Christmas there. Tomorrow we will spend Boxing Day at my parents', and here my cooking skills will once again be tested: my mom and I are preparing a small dinner, and let's admit that we both won't know what the heck we're doing. Looking forward to it.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera 2016

Merry Christmas Eve! As it was only about five years ago that I discovered the existence of Christmas Eve, I've never cared too much for it, but as it is always a peaceful evening, I considered it the perfect time to put some words down about the Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera (I would like to state here that this discussion on Jesus Christ Superstar is very appropriate at the day before Christmas with Jesus Christ being the birthday boy and all that, but the rock opera tells the story of Jesus's last week before he got crucified, so this discussion would perhaps be more suitable around Eastern, although I suspect that they're having shows here around this time because more people would feel a connection with Christianity around Christmas and literally nobody cares for Eastern). The Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera tour has currently arrived in our country and I went to see it together with my mom and my three aunts. They would originally do only three or four shows, for which we bought tickets ages ago, but due to their great success they have extended performance date throughout the entire month of January! Not very surprising though: when they did a supposedly three-months-tour starring Ted Neeley in the 90s, it was extended for five years! The current show is an English-spoken Italian production, that did shows in The Netherlands in 2015, and 2016 will be the very last year you will be able to see this original rock opera by Tim Rice (script) and Andrey Lloyd Webber (music) starring Ted Neeley as Jesus Christ. 

Why is that such a big deal? Well, the rock opera is from 1970 and was performed at Broadway for the first time in 1971. Ted Neeley was involved in this first production, initially as Jesus Christ's understudy, and later got casted to play Jesus in the film that was released in 1973. After that he did some other things and some more Jesus Christ Superstar shows and tours, and by this time he has played the part of Jesus Christ more than 5000 times! The man is 73 years old today, and he's still playing Jesus like it ain't no sh*t. But when he was doing the movie, he must have been around 30 years - and when I watched the movie I was like: "Good Lord! Jesus Christ is hot?!" 

We will have a short break to appreciate that.

Of course my mom and her sisters loved the musical. It was in their time that the movie came out, and it happened to be the very first movie they had ever seen at a movie theatre - they even went for a second time. By now they know all the songs by head (so basically the entire show bc there are just songs, no regular lines) and seeing the rock opera performed live on stage brought nostalgic feelings to them. The day we went, I had not seen the full movie yet (just some scenes for educational reasons in high school) but I'm kinda familiar with the storyline as I've read quite some parts of the New Testament - though Jesus Christ Superstar is only loosely based on what's said in the Bible, and some parts are completely made up (as in, even more made up than the Bible's original).

At the beginning of the show, it took me some time to get into it. I thought it was quite chaotic and dull at times, but those thoughts soon changed as the show proceeded, and at the end I loved it! Judas played his part extremely well, Mary Magdalene sung incredibly beautiful, and I loved the scene with king Herod, which was portrayed almost dragqueen-ish, though very entertaining. I liked how 70s influence could still be seen clearly (just as in the movie), with people wearing sleeveless jackets, maxi-skirts and tie-dyed T-shirts - even though the story is set in the Middle East in the year 30-something. Then it was also interesting how they did not portray Judas simply as a traitor, but rather as a person with mixed and contradicting feelings, who was continuously having mental breakdowns and who's choices made were not quite incomprehensible. Jesus, on the other hand, was portrayed as a lot more agitated and aggressive than the Bible does - the discrepancy was a lot like that between book-Dumbledore and movie-Dumbledore in the Goblet of Fire!

Decor was simple, which was not bad as it emphasized the acting and singing, but what they should leave out next time are those "special effects", a.k.a. projecting Word-art like texts in the background, with letters toe-curlingly spinning around - it seemed quite unprofessional. Also I didn't quite understand why pictures of all kinds of catastrophes, disasters and wars from the last century until now could be seen when Jesus was beaten forty times - as if they were suggesting that those things have happened because of Jesus's suffering for forty times in a row?!! I found it quite disturbing and unnecessary.

Of course there was also a lot of vague stuff in the storyline that left you with a lot of questions, but honestly what else would you expect from a story based on the Bible? I think it's may be best to see this rock opera as completely separated from the Bible and all that it state has happened before the events that the rock opera includes, and see it as most importantly a story on its own, to avoid thoughts and questions that are too complicated and that will distract from the incredible performance and wonderful show that is put down.

If you get the chance, I would absolutely recommend you to go see it! I guess this is a typical must-see musical, not only because it's a classic, but also because this will be your last chance to see it starring Ted Neeley in the "role of his life" (That's quite touching actually).

Now that I'm done writing a little something about Jesus Christ Superstar the musical, I'll spend the rest of this wonderful Christmas Eve having some quality movie time with Mitchell. I'm excited for tomorrow though - I've been running around all day to do some preparations, like last minute gift shopping, doing groceries for a Christmas brunch that may or may not succeed, and spray-painting my (artificial) green Christmas tree gold, because I like traditions but I hate a sh*tload of green in the center of my living room. The good (g)old tree may make it's debut on the blog soon.

Have a Merry Christmas! 

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

L00K: my long-lost dress

If you read my blogpost about my friend Eva's 21-Dinner party, you might have spotted me wearing this little black dress with yellow flower print - and perhaps not, as it was quite hidden away behind my lovely friends in all the group pictures. However, Eva's birthday party was not the only occasion for which I pulled on this dress - Honestly, I've been wearing this dress to almost every occasion a couple of days in a row! That works out perfectly well, as this dress is not only très chic, it's very comfortable as well - it would be the comfiest dress on earth if only it had been a little bit closer to my knees. To think that I could have begun to enjoy the pleasure of wearing this dress years ago! It was indeed some years ago, maybe three years or so, when I discovered it in an online webshop, and ordered it with immediate haste. Only afterwards it came across my mind that this long-sleeved dress might be unsuitable for the summer season that was coming up, so as the dress was delivered to my house, it disappeared in the back of my closet. Quite understandably, after those long and sultry summer days, I must have forgotten about the dress and it's entire existence. In the years after this dreary event, I had graduated and moved out my parental house, leaving behind a lot except for my most important belongings. It was only recently, when I was back at my parents' house to go through the shitload of stuff that I own, when this dress crossed my path again. As soon as I touched its fabric and saw it's painted-like print, everything came back to me: I immediately recalled it to be the very dress that I stupidly ordered in the wrong season, and that was never worn ever since. Poor little dress! What else could I do but give it a proper life after all? 

To be honest it felt as if I got a brand new dress for free, even though I paid for it some years ago. And it reappeared at the exact moment that it was needed. My old dresses had abandoned me because of widened hips and fattened thighs (damned puberty!) and after my teenage obsession with dresses, I had not worn nor bought so many dresses for a long time. Not only had a renewed interest in dresses grown in me, it was also that time of the year were the last months are dreading near, which are always full of dressy occasions - so this dress has saved my butt for a couple of times already.

Anyhow, one of the occasions for which I wore this dress was a daytrip to Newcastle together with Janne, who took the pictures in this post while we were there. I hope to share more about our Newcastle-trip here on the blog later this week.

A while ago I wrote that I dyed my hair one shade darker to get rid of the lighter ends, but now that I look at these pictures I notice that my plan has not completely succeeded (I didn't notice this before because I'm too short for our bathroom mirror to see the ends of my hair entirely), although it is surely a whole lot better than it was before. I shouldn't complain though, my hair has been doing a whole lot better lately than a couple of years ago, when it was simply impossible to tame - disastrous!

Let me hear your thoughts: What do you think of this look? ☺

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

7 movies/TV-shows that interest me as a psychology major

The main reason why I choose to major in psychology is that I find it interesting to know why people are who they are and why people behave the way they behave. And these happen to be the major topics that are discussed in the field of psychology (although nowadays I feel that in college it is much more focused on mental health and tiny biological details than it used to be, and this is unfortunately of my lesser interest). Considered separately from psychology in college, I find it interesting to see psychology related topics in films and TV-shows - when the effects of behavior or the change in people really shows, or when a film or show makes you think about the motives of a person's behavior, and how these motives came about. What factors contributed to a person to behave a certain way? I could endlessly tease my brain over these kind of questions!

Here I listed 7 movies and TV-shows that I appreciate most for their psychological aspects - and non of these are psychological thrillers, because I don't like the scary stuff, but instead they come very close to the real deal, and that's what makes them so interesting.

Girl, Interrupted
When I first watched Girl, Interrupted, perhaps some years ago, I was very impressed, and not at least by young Angelina Jolie's acting skills. While Angelina Jolie plays the supporting role of Lisa Rowe, Winona Ryder has the lead as Susanna Kaysen, on who's true story the film's plot is loosely based. In the movie, Susanna is admitted to a mental institution after an attempt to commit suicide (although this is denied by her) and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, even though it is clear that she also suffers from depressive symptoms and a lack of motivation. In the psychiatric hospital, Susanna befriends some other patients, but she is most fascinated by Lisa, diagnosed as a sociopath, who has been in the ward for some years already. The two become friends, but Lisa's does not have a positive influence on Susanna. Throughout the film we learn more about psychiatric disorders and insanity and what it's like to live in a mental hospital (during that time though - the film takes place in the 60s), and most importantly, the film seems to suggest that (at least in that time) perfectly sane people who end up in a mental institution have a hard time to get out, because once you're in there, people automatically assume you must be insane. And this is something we've learned in college about too: conducted researches that had sane subjects check themselves in to a mental hospital with some vague complaints, who easily got a diagnosis, but they would not be released even when they acted as their sane self again as soon as they were in. That is a crazy effect, the way that the role you play in the setting of a mental hospital can be enough even for health professionals to view you as mentally insane. Susanna, in this case, may have been a little troubled and stuck in life at that point, but to label her as a borderline patient may have been unnecessary. Nowadays psychologists are way more aware of these facts and the danger of labeling, but there is danger in that even today.

Inside Out
After watching the animated film Inside Out I was quite convinced that it is the best animated film for children ever made. This movie explains to children in a fun and accurate way all these neuropsychological things - what emotions are, how the brain works, how emotions effect your behavior, how things are remembered, and what personality is, but also what it's like to move into puberty, and, in a broader sense, how people change over time when they grow up. All this is visualized in the funniest way and quite understandable for children, even though all the information was based on actual scientific research that I recognized from my lectures in college. This they achieved by portraying emotions as little living creations in your head who control your behavior by using a huge console, key aspects of your personality as islands that are created by the sum of many memories, and longterm memory as an endless amount of shelfs filled with memories, around a deep hole in the ground known as the "Memory Dump". The story is set in the mind of a girl who is forced to move away from her familiar surroundings to another state along with her parents, and throughout the film we see what's going on in her brain while she has to deal with these events and how her brain reacts to them. While this film is indeed very educational, even if you're completely unaware of that, it's still a great movie that will keep your attention for the whole 94 minutes.

Emma Wil Leven (documentary)
Emma Wil Leven is a Dutch documentary about a girl who died from anorexia after 6 years of struggling. This documentary consists out of footage from her time in a clinic in Portugal, where she received customized treatment as a last resort after there was nothing else they could do for her in her home country. Even though some people would have liked to see more of Emma and less of her therapists and other people around her talking about her, this documentary does stress some very important things: not only does it learn the laity that anorexia is not just about starving yourself, but also a great deal about coping, fear and stress, it also makes clear the importance of customized and personal treatment when standardized procedures do not succeed (if research shows that a treatment works for a large amount of the patients, then what do we do with the patients for who it does not work?), and the importance of health care providers from different disciplines to work together and communicate with each other. These are subjects that are discussed in lectures that I have in college as well, but the importances become a lot more clear when being confronted with a real life case. So even though I value this documentary because it teaches a lot of ignorant people about anorexia as a disease, I value it even more for what it teaches professionals about health care provision, as I believe that there are many more patients around who may struggle with a completely different disease, but who equally and desperately need treatment that is personal adjusted to them as standardized treatments do not work for them. It should be easier for health care providers to leave the regular path when they notice that a patient will be helped by something different from what most patients with the same disease are helped by. Unfortunately this is not so simple to achieve.

Supernanny Jo Frost
When it comes to the field of psychology, children, education and development are of my particular interest. And this is not so much because I love children (however I do), but the more because I find it very interesting to learn about what factors contribute in both positive and negative ways to what a person will become in his adult life, and so in a broader sense: the effects of certain characteristics and events on certain indicators that differentiate one person from another. The question "what is the proper way to raise children" is a very interesting one when it comes to developmental psychology. And it is particularly interesting to see the answer put into practice by 'Supernanny' Jo Frost. She obviously makes use of Skinner's reinforcement theory when she punishes and rewards a child for respectively bad and good behavior. She literally does this for every single family, but I have to admit (although not very unexpected, considering the scientific proofs): it works! Yet her approach to each family slightly differs from each other, based on the specific and personal needs of the family in question. Once again the importance of personal adjusted treatment is stressed. Jo Frost's amazing work on television got me thinking that if I will ever work in the field of psychology, I would like to do what she does: to help people when they have trouble raising their kids - only not on TV. And if I won't, then I will be forever thankful for her TV-show when I have to raise my own offspring one day.

Family Island
I hardly ever watch television, nor does television ever make me cry, but RTL's Family Island had me do both. More precisely, I watched and cried for every single episode. Great reality TV indeed! In Family Island, four families, each containing a teenager who is the main cause for the large family issues they have to deal with at home, all fly to a small uninhabited island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, all with a single goal: to solve their issues and to become a whole and happy family again. This is achieved with the help of a couple of professionals, who give the family members personal adjusted tasks that should contribute to a better relationship between teenager and parent in particular. As we watch the four families over the course of a couple of weeks, we can actually see these people change. Analyzing is quite easily done: in curious wonder, you naturally start to ask yourself these questions, as to what factors contributed to the teenager to behave this way? What is the share of the parents and their nurture in this behavior? It was very interesting to learn more about these people as to how they have come to this point at which they are desperate and stuck in their own family affairs, and even more about how these families learn to function as a proper family again with the help of the wonders of personal adjusted therapy! It's not only an interesting, but also a beautiful thing to see. I very much hope that there will be a new Family Island season next year, and if so, I would absolutely recommend you to watch it!

American Beauty
American Beauty is a film about a family, their neighbors and their daughter's friend, all having their own (psychological) issues that contribute to the events of the story. At first it seems as if the story mainly focuses on the father of the family, who is having a major midlife crisis and who is dealing with sexual thoughts about his teenage daughter's friend, but later it becomes clear that all characters in the story do have some sort of dysfunctional characteristics, and this makes it the perfect film to psychologically over-analysis it all. Besides the psychological struggles of the characters, the film deals with several important themes as appearances, happiness, freedom, love, family, sexuality, identity and the American Dream, and it's pretty interesting to think about what the movie tries to tell us about these topics. So basically, why I love this film is because it conveys multiple layers, and on each of them you can let your thoughts loose: why do the characters behave this way, what are their motives, what are their goals? What is this film really about? I love to scour the internet to gobble up all there is to know about theories and analyzes on this movie. I will not spoil and ruin it for you here, as this is not the time nor place anyways, and because there is a certain pleasure in figuring out yourself the what's & why's of a movie such as this one, before consulting an online searching engine to find out if other people's theories are close to your own. I consider a film terrific when it gives you food for thoughts to study on long after it has ended on screen.

Die Welle
As Die Welle was based on a real life experiment conducted by a teacher in the United States, I was immensely struck by it when I first watched it in high school. In this German production, a class of high school students do not believe that what happened in Nazi-Germany in WOII could ever happen again today. Their teacher argues that this is not true: masses can be easily manipulated. To demonstrate this, he starts an experiment in which the group becomes a movement that shows clear parallels with characteristics of Hitler's Nazis. The way the experiment works out is striking and terrifying: it gets completely out of hand. And of course it has everything to do with social and mass psychology. Even though this is a topic that is hard to grasp for us who have not lived in times of war, in this film we get a little more insight in how the events of WOII could ever take place and that we should be aware that it is not guaranteed that it will never happen again.

Did you see any of these films/TV-shows? I'm curious to know your thoughts! :)

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Eva's Birthday Party: 21-Dinner

Last week my friend Eva (who is in my year club "Querencia") celebrated her 21st birthday, and as is a tradition for sorority/fraternity members, she celebrated it with a "21-Dinner". For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, I will quickly explain the importants: when a young person turns 21 years old, he or she becomes financially independent from the parents, or at least for the law, and so he/she is law-wise the most adult-ish as it can get. To celebrate this milestone, the birthday is celebrated at the parents house with usually a sumptuous dinner, prepared by the parents, and the fellow year club members (or dispute members) are invited (and sometimes the high school friends too) so the parents can get to know their child's college friends. The guests show up looking fabulous (sometimes there is a specific dress code, and for this time it was all dresses), and they sit down at a neatly set table. After dinner, the party continues in a club in the birthday boy/girl's hometown, one that he/she used to go to as a teenager. For Eva's party we all went to Arnhem, and afterwards we spent the night at her parents' house.

Eva's 21-Dinner was particularly special to all of us, as it was the first one of many that will follow. We were all super excited and the evening exceeded our expectations by far! Eva had made perfect preparations, the food was so good, and everything - from the table to herself - looked beautiful! 

What we had for dinner:
  • Amuse-bouche: Surimi-salad
  • Starter: Leek and broccoli cream soup
  • Intermediate course: Salmon roll filled with cream cheese, horseradish and caviar
  • Spoom
  • Main course: Venison (the meat was from a deer her dad hunted down himself!) with cranberry sauce, haricot verts with bacon, pommes dûchesse, a stewed pear, and red cabbage
  • Dessert: Red velvet cake

In between the courses, we (as the year club) had prepared some surprises for Eva. Me and Lies gave a speech about Eva and the way we have gotten to know her in the past 1,5 years, then we all sang a song that was written especially for her, then there was a special gift - a piece of jewelry with something year club-related engraved in it, and there was a photo album filled with pictures of us and her, plus letters from each one of us to her. A 21-Dinner is all about memories: not only the night itself is memorable, but also all the gifts she got were to remind her of us and her time as a college student when she's older.

Her parents had a surprise for her as well: they showed us all these adorable pictures of Eva when she was a child, and told us about the way they know Eva and what her life was like before she went to college. I found it very special to learn more about a friend and her background from her parents' perspective. And this is another aspect of what makes a 21-Dinner special: it's for your friends to learn about where you come from, and for your parents to learn what you've become. It's this very rare moment in which your past and your future cross each other for once. And this all contributes to a closer bond between all of us. 

It may have been only the second time ever that we were completely together, so of course lots of group pictures were taken. A compilation of some pretty and and some crazy ones:

Seen before on Instagram @theblogeditor...

As many of my fellow year club members turn 21 this academic year, there will be many more 21-Dinners coming up...the next one being next month already! By now I consider 21-Dinners as the funnest sorority/fraternity tradition of all. I'm sure the following 21-Dinners will be just as joyous as was our first! Thank you Eva, I had a blast!

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Friday, December 16, 2016

L00K: ochre yellow sweater

Hellloooo to you! What do you think of this yellow sweater? It's super comfy too! I got it a couple of weeks ago during a shopping day in Amsterdam and I'm glad I took this one home! Funny thing is that I actually copycatted the sweater from my cousin - a couple of weeks before, she walked in wearing this exact yellow sweater when we met, and I thought it looked really good on her and I was reminded that our skin color and hair go very well with ochre yellow clothes. So when I was at the Monki store in Amsterdam, I caught the same sweater hanging there, and recognized it immediately as my cousin's (and I was quite sure it must be the same as I know she buys at Monki regularly herself). I tried it on just to see, even though I already kind of knew what it would look like on me as my appearance resembles my cousin's quite a bit. 

I combined the sweater with golden accessories, black dotted tights and brown gleaming heeled brogues. It's all pretty casual yet not too boring so I like to wear this to occasions where I feel that showing up too overdressed is inappropriate.

Although this look is still very autumn-ish, winter is getting closer and I am very aware of that! The approach of winter is always a hectic time, with Christmas dinners and celebrations, gift shopping and other end-of-the-year preparations...I love it all a lot but I'm already tired as heck! I'm looking forward to a calm and quiet Christmas break (with the exception of the actual holidays), so I can catch up with stuff and hopefully feel re-energized for the new year. Usually I don't attach much value to the onset of a new year, as it often does not differ from the old (the start of a new academic year feels much more like a new start to me), but this year I feel much more as if we're approaching the start of something new. Maybe that's because there are many things I want to do & accomplish in 2017. But first, let's wrap this year up ♥

Thanks to my mom once again for taking the pictures ♥♥

Let me know your thoughts on this look in a comment! :-)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Art on the Blog: Stedelijk Museum

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is my new happy place! This museum holds temporary exhibitions that show exciting artwork and design, both modern and contemporary. Being in this place is pretty much immersing yourself in the wonderful world of mesmerizing psychedelic and artistic vibes, and escaping from the frightening dimension that's called reality.

I love art for the sake of art - whatever the true purpose of a specific piece of art, I like the idea of it being purposeless - or at least purposeless for our society or any practical use at all - and it being solely there as material for our imagination to create a story, or for the admirer to experience certain feelings, or for admiration alone. Most importantly: I like art (and this is for any form of art) because the question as to what it's for is out of place, as art is there for art itself, because there are people who enjoy art solely for its aesthetic value.

Exhibition: Avery Singer - Scenes

Exhibition: Jon Rafman: I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering

Explanations for the artwork here I find largely inappropriate, as those are only fun when looking back at it, not when seeing it for the first time - the real joy is in letting your own imagination at work when admiring the artworks, so revealing the meaning of the artwork as meant by the artist beforehand, is much like knowing the end of a novel before reading it.

My first time at the Stedelijk Museum was a couple of months ago, and this is when these pictures were taken - so the current exhibitions are most likely different from the ones seen in this post. I hope to visit the Stedelijk Museum again anytime soon, and theoretically spoken, I could, guarded with my annual pass for many Dutch museums, visit the Stedelijk every day, if only I would live a little bit closer to our capital city! 

Pictures with me in it are taken by Janne, who introduced me to the Stedelijk and whom I am therefore forever thankful.

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