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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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.

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2. The whole day. Every day.

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

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4. Pregnancy weekends be like:

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5. The struggle is real.

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6. Is it clear now? Thanks.

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7. Please don’t judge me.

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8. Eating get’s harder and harder.

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9. Fatigue.

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10. Will never know.

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11. All that space!11

12. Yes, please!

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

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

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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!

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16. One extra because I say so.

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With Love,
Alisson

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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

 

 

 

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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

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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

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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

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