Internet or lots of chocolate

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“My Dubio” is a virtual space where Dutch social psychologist Joyce Croonen shares her passion for design and fashion. Once you enter Joyce’s playground, you might want to stay there for a long time.

- Joyce, what inspires you most in this beautiful world?

– In general I’m very much inspired by people who, no matter what the consequences, go for what they believe in. Take Malala Yousafzai for example. A sixteen year old girl from Pakistan fighting for worldwide access to education, especially for women. In 2012 the Taliban entered her school bus and attempted to kill Malala. They failed. She was shot in the head but somehow she came out of it alive. Malala still continues to fight for what she believes in. She knows there is a chance the Taliban will make another attempt, but she prefers to live a short life doing what she believes in than a long life in fear. And although I’m nowhere near as brave, people like Malala inspire me to be my best!

Of course I’m also inspired by a lot of other things. Museums, for example, especially when the building itself exudes a certain atmosphere and enhances the art. My love for simple and clean lines also translates to the kind of art I love, so I visit modern museums the most (loved Tate Modern in London!). Besides museums, I draw a lot of inspiration from magazines (I-D for example and VT wonen, a Dutch interior design magazine) and other bloggers. “Love AfterDrk”(, “Love-Aesthetics”( and “Stop It Right now”( for fashion, “A Merry Mishap”( and “Annaleenas Hem”( for interiors. And many more, of course!

- And what inspired you to start your own blog “My Dubio”?

– After working as a social psychologist for quite some years, I started missing a creative outlet. In high school I was always busy painting or drawing (not that I was any good), but since university I kind of stopped doing that. After doubting for a few years if blogging would be for me (I was convinced that nobody would follow me — way too boring), I thought, what the hell, let’s just give it a try! And I’m so happy I did! It became the perfect playground and it gives me so much pleasure to share my passion for fashion and interior design with so many others.

- Ten interesting facts about you?

– 1. I couldn’t hear rhythm until the age of 12. I was that awkward kid in the back dancing out of sync while being way too tall not to get noticed. And I didn’t even care!

2. I’ve never tried any drugs in my life. I know, I know: my fellow Dutchies are ashamed of me.

3. I eat chocolate every day.

4. I can tune out in the middle of a conversation and not even notice it. My friends hate it!

5. I’m a total nerd, I even graduated Cum Laude.

6. When people first meet me they think I’m well-organized; the people I’m close with know better…I forget appointments, I loose stuff: chaos!

7. I had this enormous plush bear in my bed until I was 18 (I’m very ashamedindeed, let’s just forget I mentioned it, okay?).

8. I’ve become pretty good at salsa dancing.

9. Secretly I’m a total hermit. I’m always relieved when a jam-packed day is followed by solitude — all those scary people I get to meet every day.

10. Whenever I have to speak English I’m ashamed of my Dutch accent, hate it!

- How would you describe your personal style? And how do you understand this tricky word, “style”?

– Style is indeed a tricky word. For me style is the undercurrent of the way someone dresses over the years. You can incorporate trends, but always in a way that matches your personal style. For me that’s a basic and simple way of dressing, with a focus on shape or fabric. And although I like sneakers and sport influences, somehow I’m never gonna be that sporty urban chick. I tried to, but my style always ends up too chic to even come close. So I guess my style is a mix between androgynous and no-frills elegance with a Scandinavian aesthetic.

- Where do you find stylish things for your home and your wardrobe?

– Well, I’m an online shopping addict, so I buy most of my stuffonline. But whenever I’m in Amsterdam, I like to visit these shops:Bijenkorf (big department store with brands such as Acne, Alexander Wang, but also Topshop and COS, and Hay for your home).Frozen Fountain (from furniture to interior accessories, they sell unique pieces but also brands such as Hay and Eames). Hay (love that Hay opened a store in Holland, it’s hard to not buy something when you’re there). Rika (I love to visit this shop, they sell the most perfect pieces from bags to skirts, but somehow I always leave empty-handed). Acne (as a true Acne addict, I hardly ever skip this store).Skin cosmetics (they only sell perfume, make-up and skincare products that aren’t very well-known in the Netherlands but have an iconic status abroad).SPRMRKT (a concept store with amazing ready-to-wear collections from brands such as Helmut Lang, Ann-sofie Back and the Dutch brand Avelon). COS (for their great basics of course).

- Why is beauty important in your everyday life?

– I love to look at beautiful things! Life is already difficult enough and I think making things beautiful is an easy way to celebrate the best things life has to offer. A great poster, a perfect shape or a beautiful picture, these are all things that can give me joy on a daily basis.

- You’re working on a book about success and failure. Tell us a bit about it. Where should one look for success? Where is it hiding?

– When I started writing the book, I thought it would be a piece of cake, but boy was I wrong! I interviewed a broad range of people from the extremely successful to ordinary and incorporated those stories into psychological research about success and failure. It’s still not finished and I’m starting to wonder if it ever will be. Being a perfectionist can get in the way sometimes! Here’s my first tip: whenever you have an idea and you believe in it, just go for it. It doesn’t have to be perfect right from the start, just begin somewhere and work your way up.

The second tip I can give is the most important one: be persistent and fight for your dreams. Don’t give up when things don’t work out the way you planned, find other ways to get there. Almost all of the successful people I spoke to were convinced that being persistent is what got them their success. They all encountered setbacks and they all had their doubts along the way, but because they persisted they became successful in the end.

And the third tip is something I learned over these last few years: don’t compare yourself all the time. We have this tendency to compare ourselves to people who are more successful and this demotivates us. There always will be someone who is more successful, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there. Don’t get frustrated but do look at what they are doing right and what you can learn from them.

- On your blog you say that you’re living your life just the way you like it. What does being successful mean to you?

– Exactly that: living your life the way you want to. It’s not about the money you make (although having enough certainly makes life easier), but about enjoying the things you do and having the people you love close to you. But I have to admit that these last few months have been a roller-coaster of emotions. I love my job but I also love blogging and my blog is taking up more and more time. I’m at a crossroads and I will have to make some decisions soon, but I’m still not sure what to do.

 – What are the little mood-lifting pleasures you allow yourself when feeling a bit down or simply when you think you deserve it?

– The internet is a dangerous thing. Whenever I feel reallysorry for myself, I’m convinced I deserve something nice. More often than not I buy something small for my home, but sometimes The Outnet has too many great deals to ignore. That or lots of chocolate!

- Tell us a bit about your home. How do you decorate it and what’s your favorite corner?

– I’m a Scandinavian addict. I love clean minimal homes with a white base and black accessories and that’s what my home looks like too. I give special loving attention to the chairs we have, my favorites being secondhand Harry Bertoia diamond chairs and Ant chairs by Arne Jacobsen. For accessories I like to mix DIYs with brands such as Hay and Playtype.

My favorite place is our workspace. It’s light, there’s enough room for all our books and office stuff, and it’s the room I spend most of my time in. Because we renovated the entire house (we even lived in a trailer in the back yard, it was that bad…), we could create the rooms exactly the way we wanted to. So I love the big kitchen and bathroom as well.

- What do you like to read before falling asleep?

– I never read anything anymore before falling asleep because my boyfriend and I always talk about our day and we fall asleep halfway through the conversation. But I used to read lots of books before going to bed. Mostly feel-good novels, because any book with too much action kept me up all night. Couldn’t stop reading them until they were finished!

- What would your last post on the blog be about?

– The last post as in after that the blog would no longer exist? A big huge thank you to all of my readers and followers who supported me all this time and thought it was worth their time visiting!

For more images from Joyce Croonen’s beautiful home take a look at the new issue of Llamas’ Valley magazine.

Download the interactive version on your iPad (available in the App Store).


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