How To Be Happy

Last weekend, I read a short post on another blog about how life would be so much easier if Google could just tell you how to be happy. As more people who were brought up on the Internet and search engines come of age, I expect we’ll start seeing an increasing amount of that sentiment. Read More How To Be Happy

City Trip Smarts: Dos and Don’ts When Visiting a New City (with bonus London tips!)

Last week I returned from a very successful trip to London which made me wonder, “What makes me so darn amazing at going on and fully enjoying city trips?” I went over the things I do to prepare for a trip and the things I do once I’m at my destination and decided I might as well share them, because I know many people find holidays of any kind, but especially short getaways, stressful to plan and sometimes even hard to fully enjoy. (And if you’re not interested in general tips, I give some London-specific tips at the end of this post)

Read More City Trip Smarts: Dos and Don’ts When Visiting a New City (with bonus London tips!)

Unbreakable: A Photography Project for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Assault

[This post and the links in this post contain images and text which can be triggering to victims and survivors of sexual abuse and rape.] This week, Project Unbreakable came to my attention. Grace Brown, a 19-year old woman from New York, started photographing survivors and victims of sexual abuse who are holding up signs with things their attackers said to them during said abuse. She began posting the pictures online and soon people asked if they could submit their own photos. Read More Unbreakable: A Photography Project for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Assault

“Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost.”

I am writing this in the last hour of my life as a 28-year-old. In 45 minutes, I’ll turn 29 and enter my 30th year of life*. It’s funny how nothing has turned out the way I envisioned when I was younger. Read More “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost.”

What Happens When a Queen’s Respect for a Culture Upsets Politicians

While I was supposed to be putting the final touches on a presentation on Sunday, procrastination on Twitter led me to the trending topic “Kamervragen PVV.” The PVV is the Dutch Party for Freedom, which is headed by Geert Wilders. This man and this party, to me, represent everything that is wrong with my country (well, perhaps not everything, but quite a lot). I’m generally of the opinion that engaging them in any way legitimates them, which is the last thing I want to do, but today I just can’t keep quiet.

“Kamervragen” (chamber questions) are instruments with which Parliament can keep tabs on the government and developments in society. Any member of Parliament can ask ministers or the prime minister questions about anything at any time, and these questions need to be answered within a 3-week period. When the PVV asks questions, you can be quite sure they’re absolutely ridiculous. Today’s questions did not disappoint. Read More What Happens When a Queen’s Respect for a Culture Upsets Politicians

Happy Blackface Season!

This Saturday marked the arrival of Sinterklaas in The Netherlands. Sinterklaas, a holiday celebrated on December 5th, has long been The Netherlands’ biggest gift-giving holiday. In the weeks leading up to it, the figure of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas, historically associated with the Bishop of Myra) arrives in the country and, in the nighttime, visits people’s homes to leave little presents and special seasonal treats. Sint, however, does not travel alone: he has a large entourage of Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters), characters dressed in colorful 19th century costumes and (wait for it) blackface. Read More Happy Blackface Season!

Persephone Pioneers: Aletta Jacobs and Els Borst

This week, the University of Groningen announced that their biannual Aletta Jacobs award would go to former Health Minister Els Borst. This award has been awarded by the university since 1990, to Dutch women with an academic background who lead the way in emancipation and are role models to other women. But who was Aletta Jacobs, and why Els Borst? Read More Persephone Pioneers: Aletta Jacobs and Els Borst

Baking with the Dixie Chicks: “The Heartache’s on Me” Strawberry Muffins

Instead of the banana blondie post I promised (which will happen at some point, I promise), something a little different. Last Friday, I had the opportunity to buy two pounds of fresh strawberries for two euros. Read More Baking with the Dixie Chicks: “The Heartache’s on Me” Strawberry Muffins