As Within So Without

Latest Post

Unlocking the Dutch Secret to Blissful Busyness

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, many people are trapped in a perpetual state of busyness. The constant demands of work, family, and social commitments often leave us feeling overwhelmed and longing for a more straightforward, more balanced way of life. Surprisingly, a solution to this modern problem has emerged from an unexpected source: the Netherlands. With their unique approach to work, leisure, and personal well-being, the Dutch have captivated the world with their ability to find a harmonious balance amidst the chaos.  The Netherlands continues to rank among the happiest countries in the world. 

Picture of Netherland

 At the heart of their solution lies a profound commitment to a healthy work-life balance. Unlike many countries where long working hours and relentless schedules reign supreme, the Netherlands values leisure time and personal well-being above all else. 


Picture this: a typical Dutch worker revels in an average workweek of around 29 hours. Yes, you read that right. While others toil for countless hours, the Dutch have embraced the notion that productivity and fulfillment can be achieved without sacrificing precious moments with loved ones or neglecting personal passions. Dedicating fewer hours to work creates ample opportunities to connect with family, pursue hobbies, and embark on soul-enriching study and adventures.

countries with best work life balance

This emphasis on personal pursuits translates into higher satisfaction levels and reduced stress, proving that life is meant to be enjoyed inside and outside the workplace.


The Dutch approach to work-life balance goes beyond just the number of hours spent on the job. It encompasses a fundamental shift in mindset. Rather than glorifying constant busyness and measuring success solely by how much one accomplishes, the Dutch embrace a mindful approach to work. They recognize that it's not about how many hours you put in but about the quality and effectiveness of those hours.


In the Netherlands, efficiency and productivity precede the illusion of busyness. The Dutch ensure that their time is well-spent by prioritizing outcomes, setting realistic goals, and focusing on meaningful work. This deliberate and purposeful approach minimizes unnecessary stress and allows them to create space for moments of reflection, creativity, and innovation.   

The Netherlands is renowned for its impressive achievements, including remarkably low levels of unemployment among young people, exceptional literacy rates, below-average child income poverty rates, and an abundance of childhood happiness. For instance, a staggering 93% of children aged 11-15 express above-average life satisfaction

Dutch living Kids Book

buy now

Beyond work, the Dutch have mastered savoring life's simple pleasures. Their commitment to leisure and personal well-being extends to all aspects of their existence. Instead of rushing from one obligation to the next, they embrace a slower pace, immersing themselves in the beauty of the present moment. This can be witnessed in their love for gezelligheid, a quintessentially Dutch concept that embraces coziness, friendliness, and the joy of shared experiences. 


 Another aspect of the Dutch solution to busyness is their transportation choices. The Netherlands is renowned for its extensive cycling infrastructure, making cycling a popular mode of transportation for daily commuting. Instead of rushing through traffic jams or dealing with the stress of finding parking spaces, the Dutch opt for cycling, reducing congestion and promoting physical activity and mental well-being. This emphasis on active transportation helps them incorporate exercise into their daily routines, enhancing their work-life balance.


Dutch on bikes transportation style

Moreover, the Dutch prioritize social connections and community-building. They understand that nurturing relationships is essential for a fulfilling life. Whether gathering with friends in cozy cafes, joining local clubs, going to church, or engaging in regular social activities, the Dutch place a premium on human connection. By fostering a sense of community and support, they build a network that acts as a buffer against the stresses of a busy life, creating a solid foundation of happiness and well-being.

The Dutch recognize the importance of rest and recreation. They have mastered the art of taking regular breaks during the workday and throughout the year. Vacations are cherished, and leisure activities are seamlessly integrated into their routines. By valuing rest, the Dutch recharge their batteries, gain perspective, and guard against burnout. This intentional commitment to self-care enhances productivity and creativity and allows them to enjoy a more balanced and fulfilling existence. 

  Say Goodbye To Labels And Hello To Crafting  Personalized Stylea little boy in bespoke fashion ion In a world dominated by mass-produced clothing and  labels, where people become walking advertisements for  brands, the art of bespoke fashion stands as a testament to individuality and craftsmanship. Bespoke fashion allows individuals to express their unique style while enjoying the luxury of custom-made garments explicitly tailored to their measurements and preferences.

    The Origin and Evolution of Bespoke Fashionmeasuring beautiful purple fabric From its humble beginnings in the 18th century to the modern-day revival, bespoke fashion has evolved to embrace both classic elegance and contemporary trends. The origins of bespoke fashion can be traced back to Europe, particularly to the United Kingdom. The term "bespoke" itself comes from the English word "bespeak," meaning to "speak for" or "order in advance." It originated in the 17th century when tailors would take individual orders from clients for custom-made garments. London's Savile Row became synonymous with bespoke tailoring in the 19th century, gaining popularity among the British aristocracy and upper class. The tradition spread to other European countries, with Italy, especially cities like Milan and Naples, renowned for their craftsmanship in creating custom-made garments. Today, bespoke fashion is a global phenomenon, extending beyond traditional tailoring to encompass footwear, accessories, and even high-end technology, providing customers with personalized items crafted to their specifications.

The Bespoke Experience

tailoring equipmentFrom Consultation to Creation: Unlike ready-to-wear clothing, bespoke fashion involves a collaborative journey between the client and the tailor. It is a customized process, from the initial consultation, where ideas are exchanged and measurements are taken, to the selection of fabrics, patterns, and details that make each garment genuinely one-of-a-kind. 

fitted pants romperFitted Dress

Unparalleled Fit and Comfort: One of the most remarkable aspects of bespoke fashion is its focus on fit and comfort. Every garment is crafted to the individual's precise measurements and body shape, ensuring an impeccable fit that flatters their unique silhouette. This personalized approach eliminates the frustrations of ill-fitting clothing and enhances confidence and comfort. If you have the time and attention to detail, you can design and sew the pieces yourself! Most people don't, which is why most people see a tailor, but either way is worth it to create at least a few pieces that embody your style and identity. 

girl sewing

And let's not forget its timeless luxury and sustainability. Bespoke fashion aligns perfectly with conscious consumption in a world moving towards sustainability. Their superior quality and timeless appeal make them enduring pieces that can be cherished for a lifetime. By investing in customized fashion, individuals contribute to reducing the environmental impact of fast fashion and promote ethical craftsmanship.

woman in fitted clotes with flowers around her

Bespoke fashion is a celebration of individuality and craftsmanship. It allows us to break free from the homogeneity of mass-produced clothing and embrace garments tailored to our unique personalities and bodies. From its rich history to its unparalleled fit, comfort, and style reflection, bespoke fashion stands as a testament to the artistry and elegance that can be achieved when clothing is crafted with care and devotion. Whether you seek a perfectly fitted suit or a breathtaking gown, the world of bespoke fashion invites you to indulge in the luxury of personalized style.

🌧 Chic Waterproof Fashion🌧 

cool rain jacket

RAINS Curve W Jacket - Waterproof Jacket for Women Coat with Belt $108

 Waterproof clothing has come a long way since its early days as a bulky, unflattering option for rainy weather. Nowadays, you can find stylish, chic options in every price range and for every occasion--from chic rain boots to super comfy and stylish rain jackets. 

Types of Waterproof Fabrics

Several different materials can be used to make waterproof clothing. The most common are:
  • Gore-Tex: This is by far the most popular material for waterproof clothing and is also one of the best. Gore-Tex is made from polyester or nylon fabric coated with a thin layer of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) resin to create an outer membrane that keeps water out while allowing sweat and moisture from your body to escape. It's durable, lightweight, and breathable--and it'll last years if you take care of it properly!
  • Neoprene: Neoprene is another excellent option if you want something durable but with more flexibility than Gore-Tex provides; this type of fabric stretches easily, so it won't restrict movement when worn under clothing like jeans or leggings during activities like hiking or biking where comfort matters most!

Choosing the Right Waterproof Clothing

Choosing the proper waterproof clothing depends on fabric, style, color, fit, and price.

The fabric you choose for your waterproof clothing will determine how it feels on your skin. The best materials are breathable (to prevent sweating) and flexible enough to move with you as you work or play in the rain. Cotton is an example of an absorbent material that can get heavy when wet; polyester dries quickly but can be stiffer than other materials; nylon is lightweight but less durable than cotton or polyester; wool is warm yet breathable, so it keeps moisture away from your skin while still allowing air circulation through its fibers--it's also naturally water repellant thanks to lanolin oils produced by sheep during the shearing season. 

And lastly but most importantly: don't forget about fit! Nothing ruins an outfit faster than ill-fitting clothes. 

Tips for Styling Waterproof Clothing        

Surfer Wave Waterproof Bracelet $12.99

  • Layer. Waterproof clothing is excellent for layering, especially if you want to add a layer of warmth or protection from the elements. Wear a waterproof jacket over a sweater or t-shirt or under your parka in winter.
  • Accessorize or Mix 'N Match There are so many fun ways to accessorize with your waterproof pieces--think hats, scarves, and gloves that match your coat color scheme. If you're feeling really bold, go wild with prints. There is even waterproof jewelry you can wear! Just have fun with it. 

Beyond Books: The Many Benefits of Libraries for Communities

Man sitting in front of ton of books reading

Libraries have played a critical role in society for centuries. From ancient Alexandria to modern-day public libraries, these institutions have served as gateways to knowledge and learning for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, education level, or cultural background.

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.”

—T.S. Eliot, poet

Access to this free information can be a lifeline for those without internet access or who are facing dire and unfortunate situations. It can provide hope, inspiration, and the knowledge needed to improve their circumstances. Whether learning about a new trade, gaining a fresh perspective on a problem, or discovering a new passion, the library has an endless supply of knowledge to help them achieve their goals.

man in dark reading at library

Libraries promote literacy, helping people develop reading skills. They offer reading programs for children and adults and loan out resources like audiobooks and e-books that can make reading more accessible for people with different learning needs. Supporting libraries is also supporting education. Libraries provide textbooks, research databases, and study materials. Many libraries also offer tutoring and homework-help programs for students. 

Kids reading books

Libraries serve as community centers where people can learn, share ideas, and connect. They host events like book clubs, author readings, and cultural programs that unite people from different backgrounds.

Libraries also play a vital role in keeping our history and cultural heritage. They collect and archive materials like manuscripts, photographs, and documents that can help us better understand our past and inform our present and future. 

Libraries promote democracy by providing access to information and resources to help people make informed decisions. They also serve as polling places during elections and offer resources to help people register to vote. You can find out at the library no matter what you want to learn.

Libraries deserve our support and investment to ensure that they can continue to serve future generations.

When we invest in our libraries, we invest in ourselves and our collective future.


I encourage you to start supporting your local library. 

  "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." - Anne Herbert

Here are 10 ways you can support your local library:

1.    Donate books: Check with your local library to see if they accept book donations. If they do, donate any books in good condition that you no longer need. This will help to grow their collection and provide more resources for the community.

2.    Attend events: Many libraries host author readings, book clubs, and workshops. Attend these events to show your support and also to learn something new.

3.    Volunteer: Libraries often need volunteers to help shelve books, assist patrons, and organize events. Contact your local library to find out about volunteer opportunities.

4.    Become a member: If your library has a membership program, consider joining. Membership fees often go towards supporting library programs and services.

5.    Use the library: One of the best ways to support your local library is to use it. Borrow books, movies, and other resources, and attend library events. The more the library is used, the more likely it is to receive funding and support.

6.    Spread the word: Tell your friends and family about the library and encourage them to use it. Post about the library on social media and share information about library events.

7.    Make a financial donation: Consider donating to your local library if you can. Even a small donation can go a long way in supporting library programs and services.

8.    Advocate for the library: Speak out in support of your local library. Contact your local representatives and tell them how important the library is to you and your community.

9.    Participate in fundraising events: Many libraries hold fundraising events such as book sales or auctions. Participate in these events to show your support and help raise funds for the library.

10.   Give feedback: Let your library know what you like and what you think could be improved. Your feedback can help shape library services and programs to better meet the community's needs.

How Kindness Can Stop Wrinkles 

Have you ever noticed that kind and compassionate people seem to have fewer wrinkles and look more youthful than their grumpy, angry counterparts?


Angry vs Happy wrinkles

 There may be a scientific explanation for this phenomenon.

Research has shown that kindness and compassion can have a positive effect on our physical health, including the health of our skin. When we experience stress or negative emotions, our bodies produce cortisol, a hormone that can damage collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep our skin firm and supple. Over time, this can lead to wrinkles and other signs of aging. On the other hand, when we experience positive emotions like kindness and compassion, our bodies produce oxytocin, a hormone that can counteract the effects of cortisol. Oxytocin can also boost circulation, which can help to nourish our skin and keep it looking healthy.

The skin of someone empathetic and considerate will age slower than that of someone hostile and aggressive. 

Telomeres, which act as protective end caps on our DNA, can determine our biological age by their state and length. Studies have revealed that living in a stressful environment can lead to the wearing away and shortening of telomeres in our genes, causing cell death and aging. However, being in a nurturing and kind environment over time prevents telomeres' shortening, halting DNA aging! Wow! 

In addition to the physiological benefits, kindness and compassion can also improve our mental and emotional well-being. When we act with kindness, we feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment, boosting our self-esteem and confidence. This, in turn, can make us feel more optimistic, which can also positively affect our physical health.

 "I always say that life is in your head," says Doris Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical School and author of Forget the Facelift. "Meaning, your moods and outlook have the greatest impact on how you look, and how others perceive you."


One exciting way to show kindness is participating in a community "caremongering" group. Caremongering groups are volunteer-led groups that organize to support their communities, especially the most vulnerable members, during challenging times. These groups can be found on social media platforms such as Facebook and are based on a mutual aid model.

Members of caremongering groups offer help and support in their communities in various ways. For example, they might offer to deliver groceries or medication to someone who is immunocompromised or elderly and cannot go out to the store. They also offer emotional support to someone struggling or provide information about available resources in the community.

One of the exciting aspects of caremongering groups is that they are decentralized, and anyone can start or join a group in their local area. Group members can then communicate and organize through social media, making it easy for people to get involved and help others in their community.

Participating in a caremongering group can help strangers in your community who may be struggling and create a more caring and supportive community overall.


Other ways to show kindness to friends or strangers:

1.    Write a positive note: Leave a small note with an uplifting message for someone to find. It can be as simple as "You are loved" or a funny joke to make them laugh. You can stick the note on a bulletin board, leave it on a park bench, or even slip it under someone's windshield wiper.

2.    Offer a compliment: When you see someone who looks nice or has done something impressive, offer them a genuine compliment. It can be about their outfit, their smile, or something they did that you admire. A kind word can go a long way in making someone's day.

3.    Buy a stranger's coffee: The next time you're in a coffee shop, offer to pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line. This simple gesture can brighten someone's day and create a chain reaction of kindness.

4.    Help with a small task: If you see someone struggling with carrying groceries, opening a door, or carrying something heavy, offer to help. It's a small gesture but it can make a big difference in someone's day.

5.    Share your knowledge: If you have expertise in a specific area, offer to help someone struggling. This could be offering directions to someone lost, helping someone with a task on their computer, or simply sharing your knowledge about a topic they are interested in.