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.

IMG_0405

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

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

 

 

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

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

SaveSave

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

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

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

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

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

1

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

6

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