STOP BUYING DISPOSABLE CLOTHES, DO THIS INSTEAD

One year ago, I decided to stop buying clothes from fast fashion brands. At the time, I was already aware of all the problems fast fashion brings to the environment and to the garment workers. Still, I occasionally felt into temptation and bought some clothes from fast fashion brands. The last time I went to one of those stores and saw everything on sale made me feel so bad, that I promise myself to not buy new cheap clothes again.

Before my conscious time, like most consumers, I was unaware of the real impact of cheap clothing. They’re designed to be thrown away after a few washes. The fabrics are mostly synthetic, which isn’t sustainable in the long run when you consider the amount of water and chemicals used for the production. On top of that, when a garment is so cheap, it’s a sign that the person who made it was not paid a living wage for their work.

This last issue is the one that bothers me the most. The majority of the garment workers are women under the age of 25. They come from poor regions and have no other choice than work for a low price in horrendous conditions. The more I read about this issue, the more I feel that I can not support unethical brands anymore.

As a fashion lover, it was hard for me to make the decision to stop buying clothes from cheap brands and instead to look for ethical brands. But I decided it was the right thing to do for our planet and for all those women out there who didn’t have the “luck” to be born in a middle-class family like me.

As an Instagrammer, I have a constant change in my wardrobe. But now I change it in a conscious way. Instead of buying cheap clothes, I do other things:

1. Second-hand shopping.
When I “need” a new piece of clothing, I first search all the second-hand and charity shops around my city. My tip: Be patience. With that, I always find what I need. By doing this, I save money and I reduce the production of new garments.

2. Care more for the clothes you own.
Now that I buy fewer clothes, I take better care of the ones I have. I learned to wash less and air them more often. At the end of the day, I hang the clothes that I used on an open space instead of leaving them on the floor. This helps me to keep my clothes in good condition. As for my jeans, I wear them more than 5 times before throwing them in the laundry. I wash my laundry in the washing machine in the 30° degrees setting. I use a little bit of detergent or washing nuts from Seepje. And I add some vinegar in the softener space.

3. Search for outfit inspiration on Pinterest.
There’s a big chance that your closet is full of clothes that are not being used to their best potential. If so, try to pick one item and look for outfits inspiration on Pinterest. Write down, for example: ‘red sweater outfit ideas’, ‘green pants outfit ideas’… This trick helped me to wear the clothes I already have in different styles and made me feel as if I got new clothes.

4. Shop less, choose well.
To do this, it’s important to be more organized with the clothes you own. Sell or give away all the clothes that you don’t like anymore. Keep only the clothes that you love. This helped me to have an overview of my clothes. It makes it easier to check if I really need a new piece in my closet.
But when I do buy a new piece of clothing or accessory, I make sure it’s an ethical brand. To find out, I search information about where the garment is made and from which materials it’s produced. If it’s not on the brand’s website I email my questions to them. If their answers feel good, I proceed with getting new clothes. Buying like this, helps me to choose well when I want to buy something new. I have learned to take my time when I search for a new piece. If you don’t have the time to do the search, you can check this list: “sustainable shops guide”. I have collected those names since I started my journey. Sustainable fashion brands are a little bit more expensive than fast fashion brands, which helps to buy only the garments that you really need.

5. Lend clothes from friends and family.
Do you have a wedding/party/gala coming up? Before looking for something new, ask your girlfriends or sister/cousins to lend you clothes for special events. It’s very common to own fancy dresses but only wear them once. Probably your friends have this kind of dresses as well. By lending a piece you will be saving money and no more clothes will need to be produced.

To leave you some inspiration, here are some of my outfits from last year. All from second-hand or ethically made clothes.

Dungarees and sweater from a second-hand shop in Amersfoort, shoes from Nae and beanie from a vintage shop in Paris. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
Dress from Jan n’ June and bag Matt & Nat. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
Dress from Studio Yunit, bag from Matt & Nat, second-hand and boots from The Next Closet. Picture by: Jacco Oskam
Pre-own shirt from a friend, skirt from a flea market, bag from a charity shop and shoes from a second-hand shop in Amersfoort. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
Second-hand jacket and trousers from a charity shop and pre owned shoes from a friend. I got them via a swap party. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography

With Love,
Alisson

Read more about fast fashion:
5 Truths the fast fashion industry doesn’t want you to know
The high cost of our cheap fashion
Fast fashion, cheap fashion
Why I stopped shopping at H&M
What H&M doesn’t want you to be ‘conscious’ about

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13 THINGS I DIDN’T EXPECT WHILE EXPECTING

As you might know, I was unexpectedly pregnant and not busy at all with anything that has to do with the topic. The information I had about pregnancy came from movies, series and some women who shared their experience with me. I thought I knew what to expect: tiredness, vomiting and feeling nausea. I survived the first 27 weeks and realized that there were many things I didn’t know. Every single woman has different experiences but here are a few of the things I’ve learned from my own pregnancy.

It took me some time to accept this pregnancy and to go through my first weeks. Forget everything you have seen in movies. This is how it really feels:

1. The pregnancy test is positive, let’s call the doctor!
Wrong! I live in The Netherlands, where pregnancy is followed by midwives. The chances that you will see a doctor are very little. The first thing you have to do when a pregnancy test is positive is to call your midwife. Don’t feel surprised when you get your next appointment in at least four more weeks! They will first want to see you when you are 8+ weeks pregnant. And remember: you are pregnant from the first day of your last period. Make sure you have your agenda with you when you do the phone call.

2. If everything is alright, you will only have one sonogram per trimester.
If you are as naive as me and think you will get a sonogram every month, you are wrong. If everything is ok you will only get one per trimester plus the one at 8 weeks. In total, you will have one sonogram at 8 weeks, at 20 weeks, at 30+ and one close to the due date to see if the baby is positioned well.

3. Your belly is not growing but your hips and butt are.
Say goodbye to your normal jeans and say hello to: leggings? Well yes. You will be too big for your normal clothes, but too thin for maternity clothes. Much of the first trimester is a strange experience. You know that you are pregnant, but you don’t feel pregnant.

4. From one day to the other you will turn into a dog
Oh, all those smells you didn’t mind before, you do mind now. A lot. I couldn’t stand the smell of onion, red bell pepper, my kitchen, my bathroom, dirty clothes, the sink…

5. Morning sickness or better yet all-day-sickness
From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep you might feel nausea and disgusted by food. I couldn’t eat anything until 4-5 pm. Besides dry crackers, everything else made me want to throw up. This feeling started to disappear from the 14th week on.

6. You will forget what it’s like to eat normal food again
Crazy cravings are something inevitable. But for me, rather than cravings, I got into a fight with some ingredients. I couldn’t see or smell onions, leeks, red bell pepper or spinach. As a vegan, it was hard sometimes to cook without those ingredients. Luckily my partner did all the cooking because I felt too nauseated to cook.

7. Your breasts will get bigger
Or not, like mine. My boobs haven’t got any bigger and there’s a big chance that it’s going to stay that way. For my mother, it was the same, but she was still able to breastfeed three beautiful daughters. It’s really true that not all women are the same.

8. The pregnancy glow
Before looking pretty and radiant you might look ugly and tired. During the first 20 weeks of pregnancy my skin started to change, I had more freckles than before, my scalp began to get dry and my hair began to fall off, which gave me empty spots in my scalp. Luckily now, after 27 weeks all those things disappeared. I wouldn’t consider that I glow, but I don’t have those symptoms which made me feel “ugly” anymore.

9. The tiredness is real
Your new bestie is your bed. You will spend the whole day dreaming about when you will get to lie your head on your pillow again. Some days I could sleep all day, wake up to eat and go back and rest again. You will feel bad – when your husband has been neglected. You get over it quickly and then get kind of mad that he doesn’t have to feel like a big piece of poop like you. Totally unfair. This feeling of being tired all the time disappeared when I was around week 14. Slowly it started to come back at week 16 and it keeps on during my pregnancy so far.

10. Sleep on your belly while you still can
From week 20+ it starts to get challenging to sleep. You can only sleep on your right side, and you will constantly wake up to go to the bathroom. By week 25 it gets really difficult for me to sleep comfortably without waking up in the middle of the night to find a comfortable position. On my right side I get heartburn and on my back, I can’t breath good. The only side I can sleep on is the right one. Just the one side I was not used to.

11. Say goodbye to the morning sickness, say hello to more discomfort
As soon as you start to feel better about the morning sickness, other discomforts may appear. For me, I felt good for about one week and then some pains started to come up. The body is constantly changing and adjusting to the new life you are creating. For me, it started with heavy migraines. From one day to the other I had a very bad headache that turned into a migraine. It lasted two days and went away. Then a lower back pain and pelvic pain followed. Some days it was heavier than others. It lasted a couple of weeks but it eventually went away. Suddenly I started having heartburn. That is a burning sensation in your chest after you eat. It’s caused by the hormonal and physical changes that happen in your body. This symptom disappeared after a couple of times. Since the beginning of the pregnancy I was having bladder control problems, but since week 24 it got worse. I might need to do some pelvic exercises to get back my control. Since my body is making extra blood from week 20, I started to have heart palpitations. This extra blood results in a heart rate that’s about 25 percent faster than usual. This feels like your heart is beating extremely fast. Heart palpitations can be normal and nonharmful during pregnancy. When I feel it, I have to sit down, breath and wait for it to pass. The latest discomforts I have are leg cramps, thanks to my growing belly and the pressure from my growing uterus. All these discomforts are for a good cause. But we are still allowed to joke about it right?

12. From one day to the other your belly will grow
I spend the first 5 months waiting for the belly to start showing. Sometimes it got a little bit awkward because people started wondering if I was really pregnant. When someone asked how the baby was doing, I felt insecure because the belly was still small. As if something was wrong with the baby. Suddenly between week 24 and 25, my belly started to show. But it wasn’t until week 27 that you could really see the belly very well. Some women have big bellies, some small, but the size has nothing to do with the health of the baby. This was my mantra to avoid feeling bad when someone had a negative comment on my small bump.

13. You will question everything
The voice in your head can make you crazy. Suddenly from the second semester on, I developed a little voice in my head, suggesting that I was doing everything wrong and probably was killing my baby. You start questioning everything you do, from the way you sleep to what you eat and so on. I am a little bit controlling so maybe this symptom was bound to be worse for me. My Google searches showed me that it’s clear that many women are asking the same questions: “Is it okay to do this? Is it bad to drink that?”. The best thing to do is to let go and trust that everything is alright. Because most of the times, EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT.

 

Being pregnant is a miracle. The female body is a miracle. To be able to grow a life inside is almost surreal. Even though being pregnant has been tiring for me,  I try to celebrate the good things and not to focus on these annoying symptoms. So, my dear fellow pregnant friends, let’s all relax and enjoy this moment. (I’m saying this now because I had a good night of sleep. Tomorrow I might feel annoyed by my own advice).

With love,

Alisson

 

More pregnancy topics:
Flying while pregnant tips
Perfect outfit for a growing belly
Unexpectedly expecting

 


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SUSTAINABLE GIFT GUIDE

Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about: presents! Shopping for presents can be a hard job. Even harder if you want to give something ethically made, organic or vegan which doesn’t break your bank account.

On my Pinterest account, I have gathered 50+ ideas for sustainable presents. From wooden watches to DIY whisky bottles. They are not only eco-friendly but also mainly chosen to suit both men and women. This makes your holiday giving a little bit easier.

 

 

Check the whole gift guide here:
https://nl.pinterest.com/alissonsimmonds/sustainable-gift-guide/

With Love,

Alisson

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TIPS FOR FLYING WHILE BEING PREGNANT

Flying while pregnant might feel a little bit scary. Some women have to travel for business, some other for pleasure. In my case, I wanted to travel to my hometown in Colombia to visit my family and spend Christmas together. I am currently living in The Netherlands and had to take an intercontinental flight to visit my family. Luckily I was well prepared and now I want to share my tips with you.

1. Get a pregnancy statement from your midwife or doctor.
Most of the airlines will allow you to fly up to week 34 of the pregnancy. Before that time you will need a recent pregnancy statement with information about the due date and any complication. Regulations differ from one airline to the other, always check before you travel. Two days before the flight, I went to my midwife and had a regular control. There I got the pregnancy statement free of charge. I am currently at the end of my second trimester of pregnancy, which is the best time to travel. I was 26 weeks on the day of my flight.

2. Wear comfortable clothes.
The best thing to do is to wear separate pieces of clothes. Forget about jumpsuits and overalls. Wear instead leggings and a big sweater, or a dress. You will be going to the bathroom more often and you need easy clothes to make the process less annoying. Bring some extra clothes in your carry on bag for when it get’s cold in the airplane. During my trip, I wore a legging with a big sweater. Under the sweater, I wore a spaghetti top. As extra layer, I had a basic long shirt for the cold and a thin blouse for when we arrived. We flew from Madrid to Bogota and the difference in temperature was very big.

3. Wear long socks.
Long socks help you against swelling and aching legs. Best is if the socks are a little bit tight, to keep the blood flowing. During the flight, I only wore one pair of socks, but I had an extra pair of thick socks just in case it got cold.

4. Wear easy to take off shoes.
Comfortable shoes are a must. The best is if the shoes have no laces but expandable elastic panels. It is very common for the feet to swell. Elastic shoes makes it comfortable for you to survive the pit stops to the toilet. Every time I went to the toilet I put my shoes on and when I came back I left them under my seat. If you don´t have this type of shoes, you can wear your regular shoes but bring a pair of slippers to wear around the cabin.

5. Choose a seat in the aisle.
Since you will be standing up more often than normal, it´s better to have a seat in the aisle. For me, it didn´t matter much because I was sitting next to my husband and he didn’t mind standing up every time I needed to go out. It helped him to do some stretching. But if you are travelling alone, it’s better to sit in the aisle. I personally don’t like to sit close to the bathrooms because of the smell. Since the pregnancy, I have turned into a dog. I can smell everything very well. This time I chose a chair far from the toilet. That way I was able to walk a little bit and do some stretching.

6. Walk and stretch frequently.
It is important to walk and stretch in the cabin every one to two hours. Even if you don’t need to go to the bathroom, you should get up or do some stretching while sitting. Sitting for long periods of time can make your feet and ankles swell and your legs cramp. Take off your shoes and elevate your legs by resting your feet on your bag under the seat in front of you. If the seat next to you is empty, put your feet up on it. Pregnancy makes you more susceptible to thrombosis and varicose veins. It’s important to keep your blood circulating. When you are walking make sure you sit down as soon as there’s a whiff of air turbulence and while sited always keep your seat belt fastened under your belly and low on your hips.

7. Drink plenty of water.
The air of the cabin is dry, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated and drink as much as possible: only water. Try to avoid coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks.

8. Bring enough snacks for the flight.
Pregnancy can make you more hungry than you were before. During a long flight, you will get enough food, but in my experience, it’s not enough for pregnant women. The same morning of the flight, I stopped at the supermarket in the airport of Amsterdam and bought snacks for the flight. Remember that you can’t bring any liquid. Choose solid foods like nuts, wraps, sandwiches, cake, and bread. You can store the food in your carry on bag and have it always with you.

9. Spend the night in a hotel before.
If your flight is early in the morning and you need to be at the airport before dawn, the best is to spend the night in a hotel close by the airport (unless you have someone to bring you at that time). This was my first time to spend the night before in a hotel, and I found it very relaxed. I was able to sleep  longer than if I would have slept at home. The hotel offered us a ride to the airport that only took 10 minutes. I felt good to starting the long trip in a relaxed way.

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Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight! I hope these tips help you to have a smooth flight while being pregnant. Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

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OUTFIT: PERFECT FOR A GROWING BELLY

Dungarees are perfect for a growing belly. They are practical, comfortable, stylish and versatile. Last summer, I was lucky enough to score a second-hand denim overalls at a vintage market in Amersfoort. As my belly begin to grow, I have put them back in my closet and now wear them almost daily. When I wear it, I simply adjust the straps to my comfort and voila! This is my favorite piece of clothes at the moment, I have been wearing it since week 15 and hope to still wear a couple of weeks more.

On these series of pictures, I show you how I style the dungarees in two different outfits. The pictures were made in Amersfoort by the photographer Mitchel Lensink.


What I´m wearing:
Dungarees // Blur goes vintage market in Amersfoort
Sweater // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Shoes // Pinatex via En& vegan webshop
Beanie // Vintage kilo-shop in Paris

 

What I´m wearing:
Dungarees // Blur goes vintage market in Amersfoort
Sweater and bag // Kringloop Amersfoort
Shoes // Pinatex via En& vegan webshop
Sunglasses // Unicenter market in Cologne

P.S.: I made a Pinterest board where I gathered my favorite pregnancy styles. Check it out for more maternity outfits ideas.

With Love,
Alisson

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THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

To keep my mind fit I like to read books and watch TED talks about these topics. Last summer I came across this talk about vulnerability by the Dr. Brené Brown:

As soon as the talk was finished, I discovered that Brené Brown has written a couple of books where she explains topics like authenticity and worthiness. I decided to learn more about it and got the book “Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution”. This book teaches us to rise from our falls, overcome our mistakes, and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and wholeheartedness. Brené describes this in a three-step process:

The Reckoning: Accepting our story and be aware of our emotions.  Allow yourself to be curious about your emotions and how they connect with the way we think and behave.

The Rumble: Owning our story. Get honest about the stories we tell about ourselves. Then challenge these assumptions to determine what’s truth, what’s self-protection, and what needs to change if we want to lead a more wholehearted life.

The Revolution:  Writing a new ending to our story based on the learnings from our rumble and use this new story to change how we engage with the world.

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Today I want to share my favorite quotes of the book with you:

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” ― Brené Brown

“There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed.” ― Brené Brown

“The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.” ― Brené Brown

“…sometimes when we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, “Man, I’m doing the very best I can right now.”  ” ― Brené Brown

“C. S. Lewis captured this so beautifully in one of my favorite quotes of all time: To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― Brené Brown

“I define wholehearted living as engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging.” ― Brené Brown

“TEN GUIDEPOSTS FOR WHOLEHEARTED LIVING” Cultivating:

  • Authenticity: letting go of what people think
  • Self-compassion: letting go of perfectionism
  • A resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  • Gratitude and joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  • Intuition and trusting faith: letting go of the need for certainty
  • Creativity: letting go of comparison
  • Play and rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  • Calm and stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  • Meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  • Laughter, song, and dance: letting go of being cool and “always in control”.

― Brené Brown

I hope you enjoy them and get inspired to read the whole book.
Did you already read the book? How did you like it?
Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,
Alisson

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5 ETHICAL, ECO & VEGAN SHOES FOR THE WINTER

Leather alternative quality shoes it is a relatively new product which makes it difficult to find in regular shops. Luckily I found the Dutch webshop “En-&“. The owner: Laura, started the webshop where she only sells eco and vegan shoes. For her, it’s important to wear fashionable shoes, that no animal was needed to be the harm in the process. If you are looking for a more sustainable pair of shoes, then En& is the place to be. After checking out their current collection, I listed out my favorite pairs for you:

1. Bline black or brown

Made from microfibers with a special “leather” look. The microfibers are made from a combination of nylon, cotton, and polyester. The material is OEKO-TEX certified which guarantees that the production don’t make any waste of water or energy. Microfibers are as tough as leather and less prejudicial to the environment.
Shop the boots here

2. Etna airbag white

Ecological, breathable and anti-allergy boots made of recycled airbag. The production comes with the intention of giving a new life to a material that is no longer useful, reusing the nylon present in the airbags and give them a new purpose.
Shop them here

3. Basic black or white

Made out of Pineapple leaf fibers. This fabric is produced by an English company that works with local farmers in The Philippines. The pineapple production is not specifically to make shoes, they only use the pineapple leaves from pineapple that are consumed. The production is made by local farmers where the human rights and the labor laws are respected. Pineapple leaves are waterproof, breathable and anti-allergic.
Shop them here

4. Bare black

Picture by Mitchel Lensink

Made from pineapple leaf fibers. Available also in white and gold.
Shop them here
(See here for outfit inspirations with this sweater)

5. Lorena black or brown

Made from ecological breathable microfiber.
Shop them here

With Love,
Alisson

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52 WEEK HAPPINESS PLANNER REVIEW

Living far away from my friends and family it’s hard. I have been writing on a diary years ago. Besides my blank book, I wanted to have another kind of diary with motivational quotes, and that’s when I found: The 52 Week Journal from The Happiness Planner. As the name says, this book is a 52-week journal, not an everyday diary.  This one is good for setting weekly goals and reflect on a weekly basis. To be honest, I have

As the name says, this book is a 52-week journal, not an everyday diary.  This one is good for setting weekly goals and reflect on a weekly basis. To be honest, I have been bad at keeping my diary but I thought this weekly journal will be easier for me to keep up so I decided to try it.

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The journal comes in a box, with extra sheets for years resolutions, habits and goals. The notebook itself it’s 23cm x 16,5cm. It’s a good size for taking on your bag if necessary. The first pages of the book are for you to fill out before getting started. You have to write down what are the things that make you happy and rate them from 1 to 5, you have to recognize your strengths and write them down as well as the things that upset you. These questions of the first pages allow you to reflect on yourself. To me, it felt weird to write about the things that upset me. But when I was done, I realized how unimportant those things really are. The same with writing down things that made me happy. At first, I didn’t know what to write but when I began I couldn’t stop. This made me more aware of the things that I love to do and that I should do more often.

 

Once you are done with the first pages, you will get to the weekly page. Each week, you have a page to fill out. There you write down your weekly personal and work goals, the things you’re excited about and the happy things that you will do that week. There is also a day to day guide, where you can write down your plans and to-dos for that week.

 

When the week is over, before starting a new week, you will find an evaluation sheet. In there you write down the highs and lows of the week, what you’re thankful for, what you learned, and what you want to improve on. It also includes a little rating box where you can circle how you felt that week. I made a routine to write down my weekly planning every Monday and to review my past week.

Since I started with this planner, I feel that I start my week with a more positive attitude, even if unexpected stressful things happen. I like that there is a weekly quote, I secretly like quotes since I´m a teenager. By starting my week like this I am more aware of the happy things that also happened that week.

Since I committed to this journal I feel more aware of doing the things that make me happy rather than just relying on happy things to happen.

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The 52 Week Journal is not dated, you can get started with it at any point in the year you want. You can get it through The Happiness Planner’s  website.

With Love,
Alisson

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OUTFIT: PANTS THAT MATTER

Fair fashion has the bad reputation of being boring and basic. It took me some time until I found MATTER: a brand that makes fashionable and responsible clothes.

Socially responsibility and transparency it’s at the core of MATTER. Their philosophy focus on:
– slow production by choosing quality over quantity
– slow design by collaborating with rural artisans and let them incorporate their cultural heritage in the patterns and techniques
– slow fashion by creating timeless pieces
From design to production the garment takes up to 6 months.

On these series of pictures, I´m wearing the “Sideswept Dhoti Trikora” pants. Inspired by the multifold drapes of the Indian dhoti, this version comes in the geometric Trikora pattern. This pants were weaved in Pochampally and were stitch in Delhi. The material is 100% cotton, selectively bundled and dyed by hand with azo-free dyes, the threads are then hand-loomed.
The pictures were made by the talented photographer Marisa Broekhuizen Check her work HERE.

Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
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Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

What I´m wearing:
Pants // Sideswept dhoti from Matter (get it here)
Blouse and hat // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Shoes // Kringloop Amersfoort (charity shop)
Nailpolish // Color “Ebony” from OZN (get it here)

With Love,
Alisson

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UNEXPECTEDLY EXPECTING. MY JOURNEY TO ACCEPTANCE​

On a normal day at work, I was feeling a little bit sick and extremely tired. All of a sudden, I threw up and the realization came to me: I’m pregnant. My husband came to pick me up and on the road home, we stopped at the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test.

Next morning I peed on the little stick and before I had the time to think what was going on, the stick revealed: I was 5+ weeks pregnant. Suddenly I felt numb, lost and overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that it was happening.

My partner and I have had the “baby” conversation before and we agreed on having children. But I never expected it to happen so soon. My negative thoughts and all the anxiety led me to a state of denial and feeling shock during the first four months of my pregnancy. This pregnancy is not necessarily unwanted, it just came as a surprise accompanied by emotions, completely different to how I thought women are supposed to feel about pregnancy.

I am a grown-up woman, married to the love of my life, living in a beautiful and spacious house with an adopted dog, we are financially ok and I feel very blessed to be able to get pregnant. Wasn’t I supposed to be happy now?Cause I didn’t feel happy at all. Mentally I wasn’t prepared to have a baby yet, and I was not feeling joy or happiness with the new reality of becoming a mother in only eight monthsThough, about one thing I was sure: Our baby is definitely welcome. 

Being pregnant is something I have always associated with something bad. Thus, ever since I started to be sexually active, I have been protecting myself against an unwanted pregnancy and I have even had discussions with friends about the different birth controls methods.

A thought that kept me from feeling good is that being pregnant is not so common anymore at my age. I honestly wanted to wait until turning thirty and have a more “successful” career first. In my group of girlfriends, we all felt that way – as wanting to become independent women that work and succeed in something. It seemed as if being a mother, at this age, didn´t go hand in hand with those goals.  

So from one day to the other, I had to accept that it´s ok to be pregnant; that I am old enough and prepared to be a mother. Wait there, a mother! Me?! 

During my first months, I didn’t tell anyone of my friends and family.  My partner and I sought help from the midwife. She was very helpful and referred me to see a specialist in women’s mental health. That’s where my journey to acceptance began.

By talking openly about it, I learned that all the thoughts I had about pregnancy and how women should feel, came from unrealistic sources. I have based my images on movies, series, commercials and on pregnant women in general. Talking with the psychologist and other women with similar issues, made me realize that not everyone feels thrilled about pregnancy and parenting. But the feeling of shame and guilt that comes with not feeling what society tells you one should feel, makes it hard to talk about it. I think it’s not socially acceptable to feel bad for being pregnant because, on the other hand, there are lots of women struggling to become pregnant. In a way, others might have more difficulties than one has. And while I acknowledge that all of that is true, it does not take away from the fact that becoming pregnant at a time when I wasn’t mentally prepared for it, was also very difficult to process. 

Coping with an unplanned pregnancy requires time, space and a network of support. For a few weeks, I felt overwhelmed, lonely and lost. But then, with the help of a midwife, a psychologist, my partner, and Google, I found the energy to do things to make me feel better.

To start, I let go of all the beliefs I had about how I was supposed to feel. I allowed myself to feel everything I was feelingSadness, griefgratitude, worry, confusion, excitement. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. But by allowing myself to feel them, they went through my system and away. I started to remind myself that these negative feelings didn’t make me a bad person. It also didn’t mean that I don’t love the baby I carry.

also found peace at doing things at my own pace. I put on hold all the side things that I wasn’t ready to do. Such as: start telling my family and friends, downloading pregnancy apps, buying clothes, -“how to” books, baby clothes, nursery, toys and all of that. I just didn’t start with this until I felt ready. I decided to first focus on my mental health and to only stress about those other things after.

By staying true to what I felt, I started to feel better. It took me four months to tell my family and friends that I was pregnant. To my surprise, they responded with nothing but joy, and completely understood how I had felt. 

A couple of months ago, it wasn’t in my short-term plans yet to become a mother. My life doesn’t look like now, how I thought it was going to look like, but I feel good about it. I have overcome unexpected situations before, and I know I can do this as well. I have the support of my partner who has been amazing throughout the process. Not ever, has hgiven me any negative feelings. His happiness and positivism helped me cope better with the situation. He is open to adjusting his life and to do this together with me. I have come to realize that I can still do the things I want to do, and it’s more fun knowing that I will have my family to share them with. 

Are you or were you feeling like this during your pregnancy? How did you cope with these feelings? Leave me your tips in the comments below.

Because I don’t only want to complain, I made a list of funny pregnancy memes. Check it out here and let’s have a laugh!

unexpectedly pregnant
This is me while carrying a 22-week baby.

 

With Love,

Alisson

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