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

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HOW TO BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE

Confidence / noun:
A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one´s own abilities or qualities.

Since last year I am working consciously to improve my self-love and self-appreciation. In this social media era, it gets hard sometimes, because I tent to compare myself to others, even though I know I should only compare myself to the person I used to be. It is a rollercoaster but I am getting better at it.

Last week on Instagram, I asked my followers “What does confidence means to you” and here are my favorite answers:

 

Ph: Marisa Elisa Photography

 

marisaelisa.jpg Confidence for me is being daring, having trust in myself, that one way or the other you will be able to cope with whatever life has in store for you. Seeing that there is no failure but just growth through good and bad. Having balance in mind and soul 🙏🏼

laurabbehnke Confidence is believing in who you are and what you’re doing without worrying what others think. That’s when you are at your best.

astrid_ray2004 Doing the things you love to do and inspire other people.

vegancouture_ At the core of it is self-love.

alexlight_ldn For me it’s feeling comfortable in my own skin.

sarada.sup Knowing your worth, Knowing your truth, self-love, and self-knowledge.

stylethesustainable Confidence is being happy with yourself and believing in what you do. We could all do with more of it at times! 💙

jonelinf Confidence is knowing that I am ok the way I am. Loving life and excepting that others are the way they are also helps. Confidence often has to do with the way we think others think about us. Letting that thought go is really helpful.

alisson_simmondsConfidence for me it´s to love and trust myself, not caring what others think, being honest and courageous.

We are all clear about what confidence is, but how do we growth confidence in ourselves? Here are some of the things that I do to help me boost my self-confidence:

1. Wear only clothes that you love at all times. 
The last months I have been busy with minimalizing my wardrobe, and one thing I learned is to wear and own only the clothes I love and make me feel good. Even when I work from home, I dress as if I´m going to the office. This helps me to feel good about myself at all times. I also have comfy clothes, but those I leave for the chill nights and Netflix kind of days.

Ph: Marisa Elisa Photography

2. Meditate.
Meditation has helped me to be at more in peace with my thoughts. I still have negative thoughts sometimes, but by meditating it helps me learn not to engage with those thoughts. It is a long process, but I feel every day better and the best thing is that I feel the improvement. I use an app called “Headspace“. At least 3 days per week I wake up 10 minutes earlier and do the meditation exercise for beginners.

3. Stop apologizing for everything.
I realized that I did say “I´m sorry” a lot. Sometimes to apologize for my awkwardness, my nervosity, my been loud… I realized I was apologizing too much for being me! I decided to consciously stop doing this. This has helped me to recognize how I am and to accept and love myself a little bit better. Of course, I do apologize when I do something wrong, I just stop apologizing for been myself.

4. Write on a diary.
Writing has helped me to release unnecessary stress and thoughts. On my diary, I write my struggles and my worries but also I write the positive things that happen in my life. Once I see them on paper I realized how blessed I am and this helps me to boost my self-love therefore my confidence. Besides a normal diary, I started a “confidence” diary from The Happiness Planner (see it here).  This is a 30 question journal that helps you think about your current confidence level and set goals to increase it and be confident in different aspects of life.

Screen_Shot_2560-06-01_at_11.31.30_PM_3b147a3d-a070-4461-bbe3-721463801eef_1024x1024
Ph: https://thehappinessplanner.co.uk

5. Take care of your posture.
Working on the desk, walking, biking and most of the time, I remind myself to stand tall and straight. Once I do it I immediately feel better. I don´t know if its proven, but it’s a little thing that makes me feel good.

6. Exercise your gratitude.
Since I read the book “The magic by Rhonda Byrne” I have been using gratitude and it has improven my life. Being grateful for what I have in my life, for the simple reasons of been healthy, alive, and the people in my life is a humbling thing. It charges me with positivity and helps to improve my self image wich silently helps to boost my confidence as well.

Working on your confidence is a procces and it´s totally normal to feel bad at some points, and that´s ok. We are humans and we love to add a little bit of drama in our lifes. But when you are feeling down, try to accept it, feel bad for a while and move on.

I hope this tips helps you to boost your confidence. If you also have a good tip, please share it on the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

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12 LOCO THINGS DUTCHIES DO

This month I celebrate that I’ve been living in The Netherlands for two years. It’s the third country I have lived in and the third one I call home. Before NL I lived in Germany, so I thought I didn’t need to integrate or learn about the culture anymore. I genuinely thought that Dutchies are similar to my last homies, the Germans. These two years have totally shown me the opposite. With you, today, I want to share the things Dutch people do that I haven’t seen people doing in any other place I’ve lived before. Get ready!

1. Three kisses
Dutch people greet with three kisses. I had to get used to that. But it get’s even more confusing when after you gain some trust with the person you greet, three kisses will eventually turn into one. This makes you feel totally weird because you finally got used to the three kisses. I know my in-laws for seven years now, and it still doesn’t get less awkward.

2. Congratulations to everyone! 
When someone of your family or friends celebrates his birthday, not only the birthday person gets congratulated, all the family members as well! Please note that only the birthday person will get a present and not you.. 🙂

3. Boterham
Instead of just calling it a sandwich, in NL there is one right word to name the piece of bread you eat during breakfast or lunch.. ‘Boterham’! The Dutchies take the word very serious because they spread butter on the boterham before any other spread comes over it. So here is how it goes: Bread + butter + Nutella. Or, bread + butter + jam. Or, bread + butter + peanut butter, bread + butter + hagelslag… You get the point?

Boterham

4. Werkse, sterkte, sportse!
Dutch people are very kind. So kind that they have a word to wish you a good day at work: werkse! A good day at the gym: sportse! A good day when you are feeling sad or sick: sterkte.

5. The cheaper, the better
If you ever give a nice compliment about a piece of clothing or accessory to a Dutch person, they don´t only thank you for that. As well they will answer you with pride that they bought it on sale for 70% less of the price. Oh! how they love to show you they made a cheap deal..!

6. Names
Gijs, Thijs, Tijn, Matthijs, Stijn, Marijn, Merijn, Martijn, Tijmen, Jasmijn, Gert, Meike, Verlee, Kaj, Joost, Koen… Odds are that if you don´t speak Dutch, you are pronouncing them all wrong! Dutch parents like to give their kid names that are very hard to pronounce for non-Dutch speakers. On top of that, some kids have two names. A real name and a ‘roep’name”. Example: His real name is Gerrit but the name of how to call him is Gert… Say Whut!?

7. The weather
It is very common to see these highlights in the news: ‘today is the coldest/warmest day ever since… last month?’, “Today a heavy storm is coming to the coast, code red everyone! The storm will last two minutes. Better be safe!” Everyone in The Netherlands loves the news about the weather. Better yet, they all know everything about it, thanks to the app: Buienradar. On this app, they can see the exact time it will rain and for how long.  Can you imagine how I feel, when at 11 am the sun is shining, and then I hear my Dutch colleagues telling me “Oh but today there’s going to be a storm around 8 pm”. I think Dutch people secretly love the rain.

8. Biking to anywhere. Regardless the weather.
There is nothing that can stop Dutchies biking to work or school. Rain, snow, ice… Dutchies are unstoppable. My first surprise ever was back in 2013 when I did an internship in a design office in Amsterdam. It was the first rainy day since I started and while I was looking through the window, wondering if I should wait until the rain stops or go walking to work with an umbrella, the outside life looked as normal as ever. People wear their Hema rain suits, hop on the bike and off they go. Some even biked with an umbrella! I did go walking to work that day and when I arrived all my colleagues were soaking wet, hair all messy, jeans wet. But that´s not a reason to stop working. Just hang your wet jacket, shake your hair and the day can begin.
Oh, and the Dutchies are so handy with their bikes. Don´t be shocked to see how they bring their three kids to school on a bike, with the dog on the leash and while biking they are putting on their jackets! In the mean time, it still takes me five minutes to lock and unlock my bike.

Dutch weather
Ph: © 2011 – Bas de Meijer

9. Lekker
The favorite word of the Dutchies: ‘Lekker’. It means tasty, and mostly it refers to food, but Dutchies find some other things tasty as well. It´s common to hear:

– lekkere broodjes of soep (tasty sandwiches, soup – food related)
– lekker rustig (when it’s nice and quiet)
– lekker weer (when the weather is good, finally)
– niet lekker (when something is not tasty)
– slaap lekker (sweet dreams)
-lekker gezond (when something is healthy)
– lekker ruim (when a place is spacious)
– lekker biertje (when they drink the first beer of the weekend)
– lekker! (the answer when someone asks if you want coffee. Please note: You never answer yes or no, you answer with lekker and always accept the coffee)

10. Coffee O´ Clock
Dutch people drink coffee ANYTIME, the WHOLE DAY and I am not exaggerating. The first coffee is in the morning, then in the middle of the morning, then after lunch, then 4ish, the last one is after dinner around 7pm or 8pm. To stimulate the amount of coffee they drink, the supermarkets dedicate one whole isle to cookies and taartjes! Most of these cookies are with butter and a looots of sugars, so I don´t eat them anymore, but before my vegan time my all-time favorite where the bokkenpootjes and gevulde koek. Oh and the stroopwafels and stroop cookies.

11. Fries are a Dutch´s best friend
The Netherlands biggest delicatessen is fries. You can eat them on the street, in fancy restaurants, at the beach and even during weddings. They sell fries at every train station, and on every ten meters of a city center in places called “Snack Bar”. What makes the patat so special is the way you can eat them. In a puntzak and with A LOT of sauce. And by sauce I mean mayonnaise. I never understood Pulp`s Fiction scene about The Netherlands until now. For your education: these are some toppings with their official names they use:

-Patat speciaal: Fries with mayo, ketchup, and onions
-Patat oorlog: Fries with peanut sauce, mayo, and onions (oorlog means war, I leave it to your imagination why they call it like this)
-Patat joppie: Fries with a secret sauce called: Joppie
-Patat met: Fries with mayonnaise unless you ask for another sauce like ketchup, curry, peanut sauce.
-Patat zonder: The least chosen one. These are fries without any sauce.

I have to admit, I used to find it too loco to eat fries with onions. The smell is truly awful, but after two years I have blended very well with the locals. Now I can enjoy a good puntzak of patat speciaal.

Patat speciaal

12. Wedding celebration of 12,5 years
Dutch people celebrate 12,5 years of marriage. Why? I don´t really understand. Where I am from, we celebrate complete years. 1, 5, 10 etc The first time I was invited to 12,5 years of marriage I thought it was a joke, but no, it´s a real thing to celebrate, and it´s actually a nice reason to get together (maybe that´s the reason?).

13. When a baby is born…
Not only your family get´s the memo, but the whole street has to know that there is a new baby in the world. Parents go loco and decorate their house with blue or pink (depending on the sex of the baby) banners, balloons, an inflated stork and anything they can possibly find baby related. While in Colombia, when a baby is born, you call the parents, the grandparents and eventually go and visit the baby. In the Netherlands, the parents send birth cards to the whole family and friends. Normally the card shows the time and date of birth, the weight, the length (very important) and a picture of the baby. I can´t help but wonder when on earth do the parents have the time to do all this, while there is a newborn in the house?
If you got the birth card, that means you have to make space in your agenda to go visit the newborn (kraambezoek). During the kraambezoek you will get a treat from the parents: A biscuit with (of course) butter and little aniseed balls colored pink for a girl and blue for a boy. “Beschuit met muisjes” Oh! it makes the visit more gezellig and totally stress-free.

Hoera!

 

I´m going to leave the house birth, the haring, the real life doll when someone turns 50 and some more loco things for another post. For now, I can only say that even though the Dutch culture is different than mine, I have learned to like it and embrace it. Some things I find funny, other I really like and I´m learning from them.
Thanks to all the Dutchies that have embraced me and made me feel welcome in The Netherlands the past two years.

With love,

Alisson

 

 

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LITTLE CHANGES I MADE TO REDUCE MY PLASTIC WASTE (THAT YOU CAN DO AS WELL)

Last month I joined the most challenging diet that I have ever tried: A Plastic Diet. The goal was to reduce single-use plastics during 30 days. This diet made me realized the amount of plastic we use in our everyday life. Plastic is a big problem to the environment, it ends up in landfills, is regularly eaten by numerous marine and land animals, to fatal consequences. It does not biodegrade. Ever. It just sits and accumulates in landfills and in the oceans forever.
It might be difficult to stop using plastic from one day to the other, but little by little it is possible.  Here are some plastic products that I stopped buying:

1. Plastic bags
Even though I have reusable bags at home, occasionally if I forgot a bag, I would accept one when I go to a shop. Now I am more aware of this so I always leave one reusable bag in a pocket of my purse so I always have one with me.

2. Plastic bottles
I have a reusable glass bottle that I take with me everywhere. It is more delicate than a plastic one, but I haven’t found any inconvenience yet. I even find it easy to clean and I like that the bottle doesn’t get a bad smell like plastic bottles do. When I happen to forget my bottle and I have to go to the supermarket, I discovered that there are some juices that come in a glass bottle. I opt to buy those instead of a drink that comes in a plastic bottle. Also when I go out to eat or to the movies, I only take drinks that come in glass bottles. 

3. Plastic straws
I stopped buying straws a long time ago, but this one was hard for me when going out for dinner or lunch. I constantly kept on forgetting to asks drinks without a straw. I guess it happened so much that now I learned from it and it´s becoming part of my “ordering food” routine to add “Can I please have my drink without a straw – Thank You!”.

4. Plastic toothbrush
I made this switch a couple of months ago and I´m happy to see bamboo toothbrushes becoming trendy. I bought mine at the “Natur Winkel” in Amersfoort, but you can also get one at Waar, Eko Plaza, Holland & Barret and at Blur.

5. Bread in plastic
Some supermarkets have paper bags where you can put the bread. Otherwise, you can get a cotton bag and bring it with you when you go grocery shopping. There are some unpacked loafs of bread that you can put in your cotton bag. I ordered mine here.

6. Fruits and vegetables in plastic
In mostly all supermarkets you can find some fruits and vegetables without plastic. The ones that you can not find without plastic, you can find at the fruits and vegetable shop. Here in The Netherlands I go to the Fruit Company and bring my own reusable bags. Most of their products are plastic-free.

7. Rice, pasta and dried food in plastic
When you to the supermarket, look for the products you want in a carton box. Most of the supermarkets have options without plastic. The products you can not find plastic-free, try then going to the closest bulk shop. I go to De Nieuwe Graanschuur.

During the past month, I became more aware of plastic, it is really everywhere. The list above is just some little things I started changing and my goal is to reduce every month a little bit more my usage of plastic. The past month I also had some plastic waste that I couldn’t avoid. I like to eat corn, quinoa and rice waffles, and these are hard to find in a paper package. Also occasionally I bought chips and candy and they only come in plastic. I also ordered food once, and got only plastic. In these situations, I felt a little bit bad, but I also realized that I am starting a process and I need more time and experience to have a plastic-free lifestyle. See the reasons why I wanted to start this diet here.

I hope you get inspired to and see how easy it is to make some little changes that have a big impact on our environment.

Interesting documentaries to watch about these topics:
A Plastic Ocean – Watch on Netflix
Plasticized – Watch Here
Garbage Island: An Ocean of Plastic – Watch Here
Chasing Coral – Watch on Netflix

With Love,
Alisson

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I STARTED THIS DIET. DO YOU DARE TO START IT TOO?

Diets have always been in the back of my head. I had done some but never succeeded in keeping up… After watching the documentary “A Plastic Ocean” I decided that it was time for me to start dieting again. This time I need to go on a Plastic Diet. I am committed doing my best to keep it up because I´m not only helping myself but the environment as well. Here are some facts for you to see what I am talking about:

– Plastic is the number one source of pollution in the ocean. It is harmful to the environment because it does not degrade; instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastic and they never disappear. It poses a significant health threat to the various creatures, and to the entire marine ecosystem.

– Over one million seabirds and one hundred thousand sea mammals are killed by ocean pollution each year. Three hundred thousand dolphins die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items.

– Even though the trash and waste dumped into the ocean are released hundreds of miles away from land, it still washes up on beaches and coastal areas and affects everything in between.

– Plastic debris can absorb toxic chemicals from ocean pollution. Small animals at the bottom of food chain absorb the chemicals as part of their food. Then these are eaten by larger animals that again increases the concentration of chemicals. Animals at the top of the hierarchy of food chain have contamination levels millions of times higher than the water in which they live. Therefore people get contaminated by eating fish and seafood.

– There is an island full of garbage inside the Pacific Ocean: The North Pacific Gyre. This is the largest oceanic garbage site in the entire world. There, the number of floating plastic pieces outnumbers total marine life six to one.

The more I read about it, the more I got convinced of reduce my use of plastic. On my research, I found some bloggers that already promote a life without plastic. I am lucky enough to live in the same city as Nicky and Jessie; zero-waste bloggers from the blog www.emmajohn.nl. I visited Jessie in her zero-waste office to ask her for some tips. To my surprise, she in combination with her organization ‘Opgemärkt’, is hosting a plastic diet event during the whole month July. They are going to give tips, host talks, and different kind of events where we can learn more about a low to zero waste lifestyle.

To prepare for the diet, Jessie gave me tips and showed me some products that I can get in order to get started. I have listed them out for you:

1. Bamboo toothbrush

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This toothbrush is made out of bamboo and the brush is BPA-free. The package is made out of recycled cardboard. This brush is vegan, cruelty-free, and fairly produced. The price is €3,99.

2. Toothpaste

5 Tooth pasta

Dental tablets are meant to wash your teeth the same way toothpaste does. They are free of preservatives, aluminum, and micro-plastics. Available with and without fluoride. How to use it? Chew a tablet and wet your toothbrush well. Brush your teeth as usual. The 100 grams package has 300 pieces and it last around 3 months. The price is €12,95

3. Bread bag

3

This bag is made out of 100% organic cotton. The dimensions are: 31 × 47 cm and it´s suitable to store any kind of bread (also good to freeze it). Check out the FAQ of this product on this page. Price per piece: €5.95 or 3 for €16.95

4. Washable make-up pads

4.Washable make up pads

These pads are made of biological cotton with a GOTS certification (which means that this product is fairly made and the cultivation and production of the cotton are made without pesticides). The pads have two sides: a smooth side and a side with more structure to clean up your face better. These makeup pads are washable. The price for 5 pieces is €11,95 and it comes in a cotton bag that you can reuse as a laundry bag. 🙂

5. Reusable coffee cup

7 Coffee to go

Every year, 100 billion coffee cups are thrown away. You can reduce that number by getting your own to-go coffee cup. Every time you buy coffee on-the-go you can kindly give your cup instead of the to-go ones. The cup is made out of bamboo and the lid is made out of non-toxic food-grade silicone. The price is €10,99

6. Menstrual cup

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If you still don´t use it I encourage you to order one now! Read all about it and my experience with it HERE.

You can find all these products at the webshop Bag-again.nl and by using the code: plasticdieet2017 you will get an extra goodie with the order.

If you feel inspired and want to start the diet with me, you can register HERE and you will get everyday tips and tricks on how to live a zero-waste life.

Follow Nicky and Jessie HERE to get even more tips from their experienced zero waste lifestyle.

Are you brave enough to join me? Let me know in comments below,

With love

alisson-simmonds-rosado-con-hoja

JUNE FAVORITES FROM BLUR

Blur is a new storyteller store located in Amersfoort. Rianne and Sanne started the shop with the mission of bringing sustainable product makers together. I have the pleasure to join their mission and since last month I started working in the shop.
On this favorites series, I am showing you my top 5 favorite products of the month: June

1. Candles poured in recycle wine bottles by Munio Candela

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These candles are poured in wine bottles collected from restaurants. The ingredients are all-natural making it non-toxic! They use vegetable wax that comes from the oil of soybeans and is scent with natural fragrances like dry flowers. The packaging is from recycled unbleached cardboard. Once the candle is is empty, you can reuse the container as a glass or a vase. The candles are made in Latvia.

2. Hair brushes made out of responsible wood

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Evo makes professional brushes and combs for all hair types, styles, and lengths. The brushes are made of wood from well-managed forests and natural rubber. The bristles are from nylon, ionic pins or from wild boar hair.  (This last one is not vegan). The “Conrad”. “Tyler” and “Bruce” brushes are not vegan, but all the rest is. These brushes help towards hair growth, adds shine, cleans hair and among other benefits, it helps to spread the natural oils through the hair. This is great if you are a no-pooer ;). Evo is a brand from the UK.

3. Juulry: Jewelry made in Amsterdam

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The minimalistic necklaces are made by an Amsterdamer woman name Juul Evers. This series above is made with marble and the chains are made of brass with a layer of gold. Juul makes also another kind of minimalistic necklaces and earrings but this marble series is my favorite.

4. Bags made out of vegan leather

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Denise Roobol is a fashion designer from Rotterdam. She makes high-quality bags using high-tech vegan materials coming from the surroundings of Hong Kong, an area that has the lead in developing high-quality vegan materials. By the usage of this new material, she encourages others that it is definitely possible to have fashionable vegan products. I am currently saving for the “Day & Night” bag in the sand color.

5. 100% natural shampoo bar

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This block of soap is a natural alternative to regular shampoo. The soap is handmade and takes about as long as two bottles of shampoo. Since last year I am a No Pooer. I wrote about it here and here. I use natural shampoos and avoid these two ingredients: SLS and SLES. If you are new to the no poo, your scalp needs some time to get used to this shampoo alternative and might feel greasy on the top the first few times, it will all disappear with the time and your hair will start looking amazing.

I hope you like my selection of products and if you are ever in Amersfoort, come by and say hello! The address is Mooierstraat 18 3811 EB.
See you soon?

With Love,

alisson-simmonds-rosado-con-hoja

CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR. BIG MAGIC BY ELIZABETH GILBERT. FAVOURITE QUOTES.

“Q: What is creativity?
A: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.”
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

When I was a little girl, I secretly used to play with my mother´s make-up, clothes and shoes. There were no better toys for me than in the closet of my mom. The years passed by and my love for fashion and make-up only grew stronger. But after I finished high school, I had to choose for a ‘real’ carreer. Fashion was left out of my professional path but never out of my mind. It has been a couple years ago when I decided to so something with that passion of mine, and that´s how I started this blog. This came along with some struggles and lots of fear. Fear of being too old, not good enough, not stylish enough and so on and on. My mind always finds reasons not to do this, but fortunately my love for fashion wins the battle every time.  I am still on this journey, some periods are easier than others. To keep my mind fit I like to read books about this topics. During a recent travel I read the book ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ – by Elisabeth Gilbert (You might know her from the book Eat, Pray, Love). While reading it I highlighted my favourite quotes and here they are:

1. “Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one. To even call somebody “a creative person” is almost laughably redundant; creativity is the hallmark of our species. We have the sense for it; we have the curiosity for it; we have the opposable thumbs for it; we have the rhythm for it; we have the language and the excitement and the innate connection to divinity for it.
If you’re alive, you’re a creative person. You and I and everyone you know is descended from tens of thousands of years of makers. Decorators, thinkers, storytellers, dancers, explorers, fiddlers, drummers, builders, growers, problem-solvers, and embellishers–these are our common ancestors.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

2. “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

3. “You’re not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words, it also doesn’t have to be important.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

4. “Recognizing that people’s reactions don’t belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you’ve created, terrific. If people ignore what you’ve created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you’ve created, don’t sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest – as politely as you possibly can – that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

5. “I made a decision a long time ago that if I want creativity in my life – and I do – then I will have to make space for fear, too.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

6. “Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way.”  ― Elizabeth Gilbert

7. “Perfectionism is a particularly evil lure for women, who, I believe, hold themselves to an even higher standard of performance than do men. There are many reasons why women’s voices and visions are not more widely represented today in creative fields… …Too many women still seem to believe that they are not allowed to put themselves forward at all, until both they and their work are perfect and beyond criticism. ― Elizabeth Gilbert

8. “Pure creativity is something better than a necessity; it´s a gift. Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe. It´s as if all our gods and angels gathered together and said, “It´s tough down here as human being, we know. Here – have some delights.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

9. “It starts by forgetting about perfect. The writer Rebecca Solnit puts it well: “So many of us believe in perfection, which ruins everything else because the perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it’s also the enemy of the realistic, the possible, and the fun… The most evil trick about perfectionism, though, is that it disguises itself as a virtue.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

10. “Take your insecurities and your fears and hold them upside down by their ankles and shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what your require in order to become creatively legitimate.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

11. “Quit your complaining. It´s not the world´s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It´s not the world´s job to enjoy the films you make, and it´s certainly not the world´s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camara if you must, but stop whining ang get back to work” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

12. “You can resist the seductions of grandiosity, blame, and shame. You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there’s plenty of room for everyone. You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

13. “As Manson writes with profound wisdom: “Everything sucks, some of the time.” You just have to decide what sort of suckage you’re willing to deal with. So the question is not so much “What are you passionate about?” The question is “What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreeable aspects of the work?” Manson explains it this way: “If you want to be a professional artist, but you aren’t willing to see your work rejected hundreds, if not thousands, of times, then you’re done before you start. If you want to be a hotshot court lawyer, but can’t stand the eighty-hour workweeks, then I’ve got bad news for you.” Because if you love and want something enough—whatever it is—then you don’t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

14. “We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

15. “The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

16. “Let people have their opinions. More than that–let people love their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business.”  ― Elizabeth Gilbert

17. “Genetic randomness had already determined how much talent I’d been allotted, and destiny’s randomness would account for my share of luck. The only piece I had any control over was my discipline. Recognizing that, it seemed like the best plan would be to work my ass off. That was the only card I had to play, so I played it hard.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

18. “Author Martha Beck says of the ego, “Don’t leave home without it.” But do not let your ego totally run the show, or it will shut down the show. Your ego is a wonderful servant, but it’s a terrible master—because the only thing your ego ever wants is reward, reward, and more reward. And since there’s never enough reward to satisfy, your ego will always be disappointed. Left unmanaged, that kind of disappointment will rot you from the inside out. An unchecked ego is what the Buddhists call “a hungry ghost”—forever famished, eternally howling with need and greed. Some version of that hunger dwells within all of us. We all have that lunatic presence, living deep within our guts, that refuses to ever be satisfied with anything. I have it, you have it, we all have it. My saving grace is this, though: I know that I am not only an ego; I am also a soul. And I know that my soul doesn’t care a whit about reward or failure.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

19. “So whenever that brittle voice of dissatisfaction emerges within me, I can say “Ah, my ego! There you are, old friend!” It’s the same thing when I’m being criticized and I notice myself reaching with outrage, heartache, or defensiveness. It’s just my ego, flaring up and testing its power. In such circumstances, I have learned to watch my heated emotions carefully, but I try not to take them too seriously, because I know that it’s merely my ego that has been wounded–never my soul.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

20. “Anyhow, what else are you going to do with your time here on earth—not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and your curiosity?” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

21. “You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

22. “I have a friend, an aspiring musician, whose sister said to her one day, quite reasonably, “What happens if you never get anything out of this? What happens if you pursue your passion forever, but success never comes? How will you feel then, having wasted your entire life for nothing?” My friend, with equal reason, replied, “If you can’t see what I’m already getting out of this, then I’ll never be able to explain it to you.” When it’s for love, you will always do it anyhow.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

big-magic-creative-living-beyong-fear.jpg
My personal book of the month: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

I hope you enjoy them and get inspired to read the whole book.
Did you already read the book? How did you like it? Leave the comments below!

P.S. You can buy the book in Dutch HERE (Big Magic – De kunst van creatief leven) or in English HERE.

With love,

alisson-simmonds-rosado-con-hoja

 

DUTCH FAIR FASHION BRANDS IN AMERSFOORT

Since I started to be more conscious about fashion, I get a lot of questions about where to shop in Amersfoort, the city I live in. I did my research and found three Dutch brands that do a good job towards a sustainable way of producing clothes. This is what I found out.

  1. Expresso

Expresso

Expresso is a Dutch fashion brand with a sustainable and social responsibility mission. The brand is committed to a socially responsible production and ensures good working conditions in the factories, sustainable materials and they donate to charities and social initiatives. On their website they give you this tips about how to maintain your clothes longer: 

  • You don’t always need to wash your clothes after you wore it. Sometimes
    you just need to hang them out in the fresh air and that is enough.
  • Use an eco-friendly detergent. Check on the packaging for the EU Ecolabel.
  • If your clothes are not so dirty, you can wash them at 30°.
  • Air dry your clothes instead of using a drying machine.
  • Instead of throwing away clothes, donate them to an organization that makes other people happy with it. Or they might recycle it.

When you are in the Langestraat you definitely have to stop by at this shop and check out their collection. The address is Langestraat 22 3811 AG Amersfoort
The price range is between €24,-  and €200,-.

Read more about Expresso and sustainability here (in Dutch)

Expresso sustainable shop
The lady that works here is really nice! She was kind to answer all my questions about sustainability. Go there and have a chat!
Expresso clothes
Since 2004 Expresso works with the Fair Wear Foundation. This organization monitors the working conditions in sweatshops.

This picture shows the fitting room. They have a pinkish tropical wallpaper. #inlove

2. Anna van Toor

AnnaToor
The mannequins are cool, right?

Anna van Toor is a Dutch fashion brand for women. They are a socially responsible company that cares for the environment. Since February 2013 Anna van Toor is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

The address is Langestraat 83 3811 AC Amersfoort
The price range is between €50,-  and €200,-.
Please note that Anna van Toor also sells other brands that are not proven to be sustainable. The brand that is proven is the house brand “Anna” and “Anna Blue”.

Read more about Anna van Toor and sustainability here (in Dutch).

Anna van Toor

Anna v Toor

 

3. Vanilia

Vanilia Amersfoort Langestraat

The Dutch brand Vanilia designs and produces high-quality clothes for women. With the establishment of Vanilia, more than twenty years ago, a private studio was set up in Turkey’s Cappadocia. Vanilia has always been responsible for the entire production and welfare of all employees and invests in good working conditions and secure workspaces. Vanilia is also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

Next time you go shopping in the Langestraat stop by and check their collection and the beautiful location.
The address is Langestraat 9 3811 AA Amersfoort.
The price range is between €15,-  and €300,-.

Read more about Vanilia here (in Dutch)

Vanilia Langestraat
The Vanilia boutique in Amersfoort.

I hope you like this post and I hope you will consider these shops when you go to Amersfoort. Please let me know in the comments below if you know more Dutch sustainable brands.

With Love,

alisson-simmonds-rosado-con-hoja

 

 

 

 

WAAR: FAIRTRADE, ORGANIC, ECO-FRIENDLY AND ETHICAL GIFT SHOP

WAAR is a cute Dutch gift shop that sells fairtrade, organic, eco-friendly and ethical products. From fashion and home accessories to food and books, all their products are sustainably made in one way or another. Today I show you three of the products they sell: Here they are:

Waar gifts
Keep Leaf Reusable Baggie, Seepje Nuts Detergent and Marcel´s Green Soap.

1. Keep Leaf Reusable Baggie
This bag is the perfect alternative to plastic sandwich bag (boterham zakjes). It is made from 100% cotton and it has a waterproof liner inside which keeps the food fresh. The bag has a velcro closure and it is very easy to care: you can hand wash it or put in the dishwasher. This baggie is ideal for sandwiches, snacks and more food items. For me it´s really handy, because since I am vegan I like to make sure that I have enough snacks with me. In this little baggie you can fit in up to three sandwiches cut in halves. I brought carrots, peanuts and gummy bears in it as well. The bag does his job perfectly and it doesn’t take much space in your bag.

 

Read more about Keep Leaf here.

2. Seepje: The Detergent made from washnuts
This sounds crazy right? But mother nature is so perfect that she gives us anything we need. The founders of Seepje, Jasper and Melvin, discovered it and started to sell this incredible product. They make natural laundry and cleaning products based on the washouts fruit from a tree of Nepal. Once the peel of the fruit gets in touch with water, it creates a form of soap. Seepje is not only responsible with the environment, they are busy to create a better living and working condition for the Nepalese farmers as well.
The price of the detergent in the picture below is €9,95. You can find it in The Netherlands at any WAAR shop, Albert Heijn, Holland & Barrett, Ekoplaza, Natuurwinkel, Marqt, 
Wereldwinkel and online.

 

Read more about Seepje here.

3. Marcel´s Green Soap
This brand is run by the Ducth entrepreneur Marcel. He makes soaps and household cleaning products that are environmentally friendly. His products smell good, do the cleaning job and are made from 100% natural ingredients. The soaps are made in a factory in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Marcel’s Green Soap uses 100% recycled plastic for the packaging. I tried the green dishwasher soap that smells like basil and I am very happy with it. It leaves the dishes clean and it smells great! In comparison with other soap, it doesn’t leave my hands dry. I also tried the purple hand soap that smells like lavender. As soon as I ran out I would get a new one. I loved it.
The price of the dishwasher and the hand soap is €3,49 each. You can find Marcel´s Green Soaps in The Netherlands at any WAAR shop, Holland & Barrett, Intratuin, Ekoplaza, Natuurwinkel, Marqt and online.

 

Read more about Marcel´s Green Soap here.

Next time you find yourself looking for a present, go to WAAR and give a sustainable unique gift. You can find WAAR in Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Amsterdam CS, Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Den Haag, Deventer, Eindhoven, Haarlem, Harderwijk, Leiden, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Nistelrode,  Oud-Beijerland, Oosterhout, Rotterdam, Tilburg, Utrecht, Winterswijk and Zutphen.

 

Have you tried these products? Let me know your experiences in the comments below.

With love,

alisson-simmonds-rosado-con-hoja