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.

10-img_8259-e1510832532961.jpg

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.

1 IMG_8277D

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

Follow me on Instagram
Follow me on Pinterest
Like my Facebook page
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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
3 DSC_9050
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

Follow me on Instagram
Follow me on Pinterest
Like my Facebook page
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

 

FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY: PERFECTLY EXPLAINED IN 15 MEMES

A little bit of pregnancy fun. As you know, I had a rough time accepting my unexpected pregnancy. With some professional help, I have been able to feel better and better. I survived the first trimester and found these memes that best explained how I felt during those months. Here they are for you to enjoy:

1. The oh-so-annoying nausea.

1

2. The whole day. Every day.

2

3. Can’t remember when was the last time I enjoyed food.

3

4. Pregnancy weekends be like:

4

5. The struggle is real.

5

6. Is it clear now? Thanks.

6

7. Please don’t judge me.

7

8. Eating get’s harder and harder.

8

9. Fatigue.

9

10. Will never know.

10

11. All that space!11

12. Yes, please!

12

13. It doesn’t matter. Always tired, never not missing normal life.

13

14. Yep. Too big to fit my normal clothes, too thin to fit pregnancy clothes.

14

15. Yes, it’s so beautiful to be hungry.. and to feel nauseated.. and to not be able to eat, and to start crying, and to hold it… I need to pee!

15

16. One extra because I say so.

16

With Love,
Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

OUTFIT: ETHICALLY MADE IN POLAND

Yes! I found another fair and ethical fashion brand. This time I want to introduce you to Jan ‘n June. Jula and Anna started the eco-fashion label out of personal need for stylish, sustainable and affordable clothes. Back in 2013, fair fashion wasn’t easy to find.  After a summer night and a couple of wine glasses, they decided to start with one.

Transparency it´s at the core of Jann ‘n June. For Jula and Anna is very important to produce the clothes as responsible as possible with the environment and the garment workers. The clothes are produced in Wroclaw, Poland in a family-owned factory, where the girls keep an eye on the production. They visit the manufacturer on regular basis to define the workmanship for each article and auditing the factory. They only work with one partner in order to keep it simple and transparent. All the materials come from Turkey, Portugal or India and are GOTS or IVN Best certified. On every garment, you can read about the origin of it.

On these series of pictures, I´m wearing the dress “Cannes Flow Black” from Jan ‘n June. The pictures were made in Amersfoort by the photographer Mitchel Lensink.
Check his work HERE.

Picture by Mitchel Lensink

 

 

 

2 Mitchel Lensink_ Alisson-27
Picture by Mitchel Lensink

 

Picture by Mitchel Lensink

What I´m wearing:
Dress // Jan ‘n June (Get it here)
Bag // Matt & Nat (Get it here)
Boots // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)

With Love,
Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

PRODUCTS I USE AS BODY LOTION

All my life, I’ve been using regular body lotions and body butter. The ones from Nivea, DM, The Body Shop, Victoria Secret and all those magic brands where you can not only get one but stack for the whole year. I never thought bad of them, but I  never thought that they did a good job. Some lotions left my skin soft, but after a couple of hours, it left my skin dry, needy for more lotion. Since I started to be more aware of which ingredients are in the products I use, instead of regular body lotions I started using natural oils.
There are many differences between lotion and oil, but toxins are a big one. Body moisturizers often contain synthetic chemicals and petroleum by-products. These substances penetrate our skin and may be bad for our health in the long term. Organic plant-based oils are made without added ingredients and are in fact effective at keeping the skin hydrated, and also less risky for our health. The fewer ingredients the better. Today I share with you the products I use as body lotion:

Argan oil: As a whole body moisturizer. In my hands, I mix almond oil with 2-3 drops of argan oil and rub it on my body. On the parts of my body where I have stretching marks, I warm a couple of drops of pure argan oil in my hands and gently rub the areas I have the marks. Argan oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, anti-oxidants, omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid. It can help prevent stretch marks by improving the elasticity of the skin. The vitamin A and vitamin E will help to rejuvenate the skin while moisturizing it, making stretch marks less likely to form.
If you already have a stretch mark or two (or a lot like me!), start by massaging argan oil and brown sugar into the affected areas before your next bath. Rinse well and apply the oil as I explained.

Almond oil: As a whole body moisturizer. I mix it with argan oil and rub it all over my body. Sometimes, when I´m feeling lazy I use it pure. The almond oil has the ability to keep skin looking and feeling good, it´s rich in vitamin A and vitamin E.
I bought mine while on holidays in Colombia. But you can find it at any organic drugstore.

Castor oil: I use it on the driest parts of my body. On my feet, elbows, and knees. This oil penetrates deeply and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. This helps to soften and hydrate the skin.

Love and light from Lush: I use it on my hands every now and then. To be honest, I got this cream as a present. I like the brand Lush and what they do to reduce packaging waste, but some of their products have safe synthetics, and even if they are safe I want to reduce as much as possible those ingredients from my life. I decided to keep the cream and finish it, rather than throw it away.

Body lotions
These are the products I use as a body moisturizer. The brown bottle without the sticker is where I store the almond oil.

Next week, I´ll be sharing the deodorant I have used and the one I´m currently using. Stay tuned!

With Love,
Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

9 SWEATERS FOR A COZY WINTER

Winter is coming! Let’s try to make this coming season as green as possible by investing in fairly made and organic sweaters. You might ask why to invest in organic cotton? Here some facts:
– Organic cotton is grown without the use of insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
– It protect the farmers, from being exposed to toxic chemicals
– It eliminates the greenhouse gas emissions created through the production of chemical fertilizers.
– The soils remain healthy and sequester more carbon helping to mitigate against climate change.
– Water consumption is reduced as well as the C02 emissions per tonne of cotton fiber.

Today I listed out my favorite sustainable sweaters for you:

1. Sausage dog sweatshirt from Armedangels

Sausage sweater

For the doggie lovers. Made from 100% organic cotton.
Price: €49,90

2. Red sweater from GOAT organic apparel

Unisex cut sweatshirt with a relaxed fit silhouette. Made from soft organic cotton.
Price: €44,95
(See here for outfit inspirations with this sweater)

3. Grey asymetric sweater from YUNIT

Made from 100% organic cotton. 300 grams were used for it. The sweater was designed in Amsterdam and produce in Turkey under fair conditions.
Price: €79,95

4. Orange jumper from People Tree

Dressed up or dressed down, this jumper is a must-have. Fairly made in India from 100% organic cotton.
Price: €115,-

5. Navy crochet jumper from People Tree

Perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Made from 100% organic cotton and fairly hand knitted in Nepal. 
Price: €129,- now €50,85

6. Blue sweater from Noumenon

For the ones who wants to make a difference. Made from soft and organic cotton. 
Price: €155,-

7. Pink sweater from Jan ‘n June

For the pink lovers. Fairly made in Poland from 100% organic cotton.
Price: €80,-

8. Creme bell sleeve sweater from Alchemist

Made under good working conditions (FairWear label) from 40% Alpaca 10% Wool and 50% Nylon. The wool and Alpaca are organic and animal-friendly.
Price: €139,95

9. Black sweater from Armedangels

Made from 100% organic cotton.
Price: €59,90

 

I hope you get inspired and next time you are looking for sweaters, give it a try and look for organic cotton as main fabric. If you are out of budget, before buying something new, try going first to a second-hand shop. There are a lot of “old” clothes ready to have a new life.

With Love,

Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

SaveSave

RESTYLE IN AMERSFOORT: RECYCLING AT IT´S BEST

Since I moved to Amersfoort I have been a regular client of “Kringloopcentrum Amersfoort”. I love to go through the clothes section and hunt for treasures. A lot of my outfits have pieces that I bought there. They looked like new and ready to have a longer life. When a sister shop of this Kringloopcentrum opened it’s doors last September, I was eager to check it out and see what they had to offer. I went there and learned more about their concept.

The shop is called “Restyle” and there you will find everything you need for your sewing addiction: Antique buttons, beautiful fabrics, yarns, jewelry, sewing books and patterns and more to perfect your sewing skills. Besides, you can find the nicest vintage clothes and bags. Lastly, you will find clothes from their house brand as well, which has been previously restyled. You can recognize them by the extra logo of a circle. The artist/designer behind this is Sally Pittman. She and a group of other people are constantly giving old clothes a new life.

The atelier where they work is on the second floor of Kringloopcentrum Amersfoort. Up there they are busy with recycling and finding ways to make old textiles into something new. Most of the time Sally makes bags, cooking aprons, pillowcases and more. All fabrics are unique and 100% from recycled materials.

Next time you go to the Kringloop take a look at this vintage initiative.
Restyle is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 13:00 to 17:00 o’clock. The address is Zwaaikom 29A in Amersfoort.

With love,
Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

 

 

 

 

NATURAL HAIR CARE ROUTINE

On November 2016 I stopped using regular shampoo. It´s been a process and I want to share with you what I have done so far. First of all, I want to remind you why I decided to do it (more about it here). Store bought shampoo have chemicals ingredients that are bad for you, and for the environment. Out of curiosity I started reading about the ingredients in my Garnier shampoo and realized how little I understand them and how chemically it all sounded. During my research, I discovered that chemicals in regular shampoo, strip away the hair´s natural conditioning making the oil glands to release extra oil, causing the hair to look greasy and making us using shampoo again and often.  An alternative to this method is the “No-poo” method. That was the first method I tried:

The “No-poo” method
This method suggests that by washing your hair with a more gentle product or even with just water only you´ll achieve clean hair without the damage or dependency in regular shampoo. I was washing my hair once per week with a mix of rye flour and water as shampoo and apple vinegar as conditioner. I only use the vinegar for the tips of my hair.  Every 4-5 washes I used baking soda as shampoo. To prevent dandruff, I massage my scalp with lemon every three or four weeks. I used corn flour (maizena) as a dry shampoo once or twice in between washes. I apply the powder to my hair with a make-up brush. When I felt the tips of my hair too dry, I used argan oil as a hair serum. I was happy using this method until I went one month on holidays to Colombia and wasn’t able to find the ingredients there, and honestly, I found it too much work. Please note: it takes time for your hair to adjust to this method. The first weeks my hair was more greasy than it was before, but after the 3rd to 4th week my hair started looking prettier than ever. Read more about my first weeks here.

Hair soap bar from Lush
I discovered Lush´s hair soap bars and got one to make my time during holidays easier. I used the same ingredients as my previous routine, but instead of the rye flour, I was using the soap bar. It is very convenient while traveling. I have to admit that I bought the soap bar on a hurry and didn’t read well all the ingredients. When I did I discovered that the soap bar has SLS. Just the ingredient I have been avoiding for so long. I did, used the shampoo bar until it finished but was glad to found the next one.

Hair soap bar from Vlot Amsterdam
I discovered this hair soap and have been a fan since. The ingredients are castor-, jojoba-, coconut-, olive-, sunflower oil, water and little pieces of dried coconut. Since almost six months I have been using it as shampoo. To use it I first wet my hair and rub the soap on my hands, then I rub my hands on my hair and massage it. I then rinse it with water.
Next to the hair soap, I use these products:

Apple cider vinegar: As a hair conditioner. I filled a small bottle spray with one teaspoon of vinegar and water. Once I am done using the shampoo bar I spray this mix on the tips of my hair and rinse it with water.

Argan oil: As a hair serum. I only use it on the tips of my hair when I feel them dry.

Baking soda: Every time my scalp felt too oily I used baking soda as shampoo. I didn’t use it often but it helped me during the transition time from store bought shampoo to the “no-poo” method.

Fresh lemon or lime: As a mask against dandruff.

Corn flour: As a dry shampoo. I use it with a make-up brush in between washes.

Once per week, I wash my hair and only brush that day. I let it air dry if possible, if not I dry it with the hairdryer. When I notice my hair getting greasy, I use the corn flour on the roots of my hair and remove the rest with a towel. To get my curls looking good, I sleep with braided hair.

2 IMG_8119
These are the products I use for my hair. The spray bottle is where I store the vinegar.

 

Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

Next week, I´ll be sharing the products I use as a body lotion. Stay tuned!

With Love,
Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram

SKIN CARE PRODUCTS I USE FROM THE KITCHEN

The largest organ in our body is the skin. It absorbs most of what it comes in contact with. The majority of store-bought beauty products have artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives and stabilizers that gets absorbed through the skin’s pores right into the bloodstream. These products cause a range of negative long-term health effects. Skin sensitivity, allergic reactions, hormonal imbalances, cancer… the list of side effects and reactions to these chemical ingredients is long and scary. Not to mention the negative impact the production and the waste of these products have on the environment.
Last year I became more aware of the beauty products I use and decided to start using more natural ones. I even started making some of them myself.

Today I share with you the products I use for my face:

Argan oil: As a makeup remover and moisturizer. I first wet a reusable makeup pad, then put some drops of the argan oil and then I rub it in my face. It leaves my skin clean from makeup and at the same time it moistures it.

Apple cider vinegar: As a cleanser and toner. I dilute it with water and rub it on my face after I removed my make up.

Baking soda: Once per month as a deep cleanser mask. Baking soda is a good exfoliating agent that helps to remove dead cells. It also balances the pH level of the skin and it has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. To make the mask I mix one tablespoon of baking soda with some drops of fresh lemon juice, just enough to make a paste. Then I add a couple of drops of wether argan or almond oil. I apply the paste to my face and let it for one minute, then I rub it off using my fingers and lukewarm water.

Coffee grounds: As a daily body scrub. I make it myself by mixing one cup of coffee grounds, one cup of organic sugar, 1/2 cup organic coconut oil and some drops of vanilla essential oil. Coffee and coconut oil are rich in antioxidants, which are very beneficial for the skin. I use it on my face and on my body.

Papaya and sugar face mask from Apsara Skin Care: Once per week as an exfoliator. This facial mask is made with natural ayurvedic ingredients. It has papaya extract, turmeric, and raw sugar which gently loosen dead skin cells so that they can be easily washed off.

Sun safe from The Ohm Collection: As sunscreen. I use it in the summer and for example when I go to Colombia (where I come from). The ingredients are certified organic and from natural essential oils.

 

Skin care products
These are the skincare products I use for my face. The chariTea bottle is where I store the vinegar.

 

Next week, I´ll be sharing the products I use for my hair. Stay tuned!

With Love,
Alisson

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Like my Facebook
Follow me on Instagram