Sleep Is Essential For The Mind And Emotions

Sleep is very important for health. Everyone has heard about it. But when life gets busy, sleeping is the first thing to get sacrificed. This is actually very bad. Good sleep is as important as eating healthy and exercising. While we are sleeping, the body is working hard maintaining the immune system and metabolic function, processing the day’s memories and maintaining normal body weight, is rebuilding muscles that have been worn down during the day and is cleaning away harmful plaques and waste that is produced in the brain.

Sleep is also essential for the mind and emotions. Being sleep deprived can increase your emotional response to negative feelings by 60%. A lack of sleep makes it difficult for the body to regulate appetite, the immune system, good metabolic function and the ability to maintain normal body weight. Sleep plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythm (AKA internal clock). This clock runs on a 24-hour schedule and regulates when you feel awake and sleepy. Not sleeping long enough, sleeping at odd times of the day and exposure to bright light at night may throw off this inner clock and the many processes it regulates.

The goal of this week is to sleep between 7 and 9 hours per night. If for you is really a challenge, start out by going to bed every day 15 minutes earlier than normal until you reach your wished night time. 

Hopefully, you will join me on this week’s focus. If so, let’s connect on Instagram and exchange tips on how to go to bed earlier.

Sleep is good for you
Picture via Unsplash

Sleeping tips
17 Tips to sleep better
Easy things you can do to fall asleep

 

12 Loco Things Dutchies Do Part 2

This month I celebrate that I live in The Netherlands for three years. It’s the third country I have lived in and the third one I call home. Before NL I lived in Germany. I thought I didn’t need to integrate or learn about the culture anymore. But the past three years have totally shown me the opposite. I already blogged about 12 crazy things that Dutchies do, but today, I want to share with you twelve more habits that I haven’t seen people doing in any other place I’ve lived before. Get ready!

1. Bread
Dutch people love bread. For breakfast and for lunch, bread is the Dutchies favorite food. Every Saturday before doing grocery shopping, a good Dutchie makes space in the freezer to be sure that the four extra loaves of bread will fit so a happy week can begin.  Dutchies know every trick on how to unfroze bread. The favorite trick is to put the bread on top of the heather or on a spot where a sun ray is shining.

2. A closet full of food
A typical Dutchie house has a special place, mostly under the stairs. Full of food! They call it a ‘voorraadkast’. Three pots of peanut butter, five bars of chocolate, twenty different kinds of cookies, chips, cans of soup, bottles of cola, beer, cleaning stuff… Dutchies are well prepared in case of… war? a surprise party?
Dutch Funny Habits

3. Birthday calendar
The best place to remember when ‘tante Marijke’ has birthday number sixty, is in the comfort of the toilet. Dutchies love to hang birthday calendars in their bathrooms. More precisely in the guest bathroom. It’s very handy to remind yourself that you have to send a ‘verjaardagskaart’ when you are doing your business.

4. But please only one
When you get invited to have a coffee at the house of the parents of your Dutchie partner, remember to answer with the word ‘lekker’ when they ask you if you want coffee. Besides coffee, you will be offered cookies, chocolate OR cake. OR, not AND. This means you are expected to eat only this one thing you choose. If you happen to eat more than one piece, you can expect a comment like ‘Oh, but you already had one’ or ‘you must be hungry’. It makes you feel very guilty about eating two or more pieces of sweet. This rule applies to birthdays as well. There might be three different cakes. But you are allowed to choose only one piece.
Dutch Vlaai

5. Is water not ok?
As soon as you visit a Dutchie, you will be asked ‘Wat wil je drinken?’ (What do you want to drink?). Coffee, tea, something fresh, juice? You are not even done hanging your coat and you are already welcomed with that question. If you politely answer the question with just some tap water, your Dutchie host will surprisingly repeat that you could get a soda or a juice instead. Dutchies don’t like to offer water. I guess they don’t want you to think that they are cheap?

6. Camping
A well-respected Dutchie goes or has been going to ANWB’s recommended campings of the south of France and Italy in the summer. When I hear my Dutch partner talk about camping, I imagine a tent in nature, ‘The Revenant’ style. Oh, how wrong I was. Dutchies go camping deluxe. They take their whole house with them (camping version). From cutlery, pans, pots, cups, chairs, fridge, heater, veranda to air mattress plus bed. Dutchies have all they need to go camping for weeks. The campings have, all they need to survive in nature. Washing machines, restaurants, swimming pool, disco, pubs…
Dutch Camping7. The (test) emergency alarm
Don’t be scared if you hear a frightening sound on the streets in the middle of the day. It’s not that the Hunger Games have started. It’s probably 12:00am on the first Monday of the month. The day where the emergency alarm gets tested in the whole country. Dutchies are used to it and just ignore it. I keep on fantasizing about being the chosen one to represent my district. Now for real. What happens if there is an emergency on the first Monday of the month at 12 o’clock?

8. Dus
If you want to show off in front of your Dutch friends or colleagues, just add the word ‘dus’ (‘so’) in all of your sentences. At the beginning or at the end, Duchies use the word ‘dus’ a lot! It can be used to communicate a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It can be everything from an angry stopword to a suggestive come on and more.

9. Fireworks
Most countries will have a few safe firework displays on New Year’s Eve. It starts at midnight and lasts around 20-30 minutes. And that’s it with the fireworks. Everyone can go back to the party. On the other hand, in The Netherlands, the fireworks are the party. Every year Dutchies spend a lot of money and go fireworks-mad. The steady stream of fireworks begins the 31st of December around noon. Climaxing with utter chaos at midnight. Grown-ups and !children! will light up the fireworks one after another until around 2:00am. I’ve never seen anything like this. I might be a party pooper, but this custom I dislike a lot. And by the way, my dog as well (he’s from Spain).

10. Dutch old houses… why?
Most of the old houses in The Netherlands are designed very weirdly. In theory, the idea is good. It’s all about hygiene. But in practice: super annoying. I am talking about having the toilet separate from the shower. Not only in a different room but on another floor! And how about the mini sink that you can’t actually use, so you end up washing your hands in the kitchen. And please! Why old houses have dangerous stairs?

11. Geslaagd!
Walking around the city at around June – July you will wonder two things. The first is why do Dutchies hang the Dutch flag in the middle of the summer. And the second is why is there a backpack hanging below the flag? Well, Dutchies are very proud to announce that they have a graduated kid from school. So proud the whole neighborhood should know. I think this weird tradition is actually cool! I guess this is a way of saying goodbye to school and embrace new changes.
Funny Dutch Habits

12. December
December is the most wonderful time of the year. Dutchies makes sure of that. The celebrations start on December 5th with Sinterklaas. A holy old man that comes all the way from Spain on a steamboat to bring you presents. You set your shoe by the chimney and Sinterklaas, fills it with treats. Then the 24th there’s Christmas evening, the 25th is the first Christmas day where Santa Claus (or the Kerstman) brings more gifts. And because two days of Christmas is too less to get around to all friends and family Dutchies also celebrate the second Christmas day on the 26th. So much Christmas. I love it!
Sinterklaas and AmerigoI´m going to leave the ‘haring”, the real-life doll when someone turns 50 and some more loco things for next year. 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, others 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 years.

With love,

Alisson

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Read 12 loco things Dutchies do part 1

The Perfect Goodie Bag

Who doesn’t love presents? And even better; who doesn’t love a goodie bag!
Last weekend I had my best friends flying from Germany to The Netherlands, to celebrate my baby shower. A baby shower is a celebration for expecting mothers. The idea of the party is to help the mother-to-be to get the things she still needs for the baby. And of course to celebrate the coming birth of the baby. Before living in The Netherlands, I lived in Germany. That is where my best friends live as well. When I told them I was pregnant, they started organizing the shower for me. I felt really honored and special, and as a way to thank them for all they did for me, I decided to give them a goodie bag. These are the products I gathered for them:


This canvas bag is from the shop Kado Design. The bag is fairly made and from 100% cotton. It has the perfect size to fit a 15” laptop plus all the stuff you need for work and it is also great to use it for groceries.
See more of Kado Design.

4 IMG_9141Bee’s Wrap is a natural alternative to wrap food in plastic. The ones in the picture are from the shop ‘Eco Warehouse’. They make it with organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. How to use it: you have to fold a piece of Bee’s wrap around a piece of food or over a bowl and use the warmth of your hands to shape and seal it. Bee’s wrap is washable, reusable and compostable.
See more of Eco warehouse.

5 IMG_9150

Marbles By MG (Marit Groen) makes jewelry that cherishes moments. From communion, wedding, to grief processing, you can give your own meaning to it. This helps you to capture, cherish and remember the most special moments of your life. Marit makes all the jewelry herself. To celebrate the baby shower I got a pink bracelet that is called ‘The milestone thread’. It has a rutilated quartz on a very soft pink thread in silver.
See more of Marit’s unique collection.

6 IMG_9254
Zoya Goes Pretty is a brand based in Bulgaria that makes organic skin care products. They use 100% raw, unrefined and organic butters. All of their blends are as simple as possible with cold-pressed Shea butter and are melted below 40° to keep all essential nutrients. In the process, there are no toxic chemicals used. All the products are cruelty-free and vegan as well.
See more of Zoya Goes Pretty.

7 IMG_9130

On The Rocks notebook. The specialty of this book is that the sheets are made from stone paper instead of normal paper. The stones they used for the paper come from mines. The color of the stones is the color that the paper will take on. In the production of this paper, there is no water needed!
See more of On The Rocks.

8 IMG_9122
These cool socks are from the webshop ‘ToffeSokken.nl’. They sell a different kind of motives and a couple of different brands. Leonieke and Stijn started selling socks as a hobby, and now the webshop has grown to a place where you can look for the coolest and craziest socks you can’t imagine.
See more of ToffeSokken.nl.

10 IMG_9137
Weleda is a Swiss company that makes organic skin care products. They are free from synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals and essential oils. All the products are cruelty-free. Weleda has the NATRUE certification, which means they make 100% natural and organic products.
See more of Weleda.

Here is the whole goodie bag:
2 IMG_9169

Did you like the products I chose for my girlfriends? What would you add?

With Love,

Alisson

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13 THINGS I DIDN’T EXPECT WHILE EXPECTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

With love,

Alisson

 

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

 


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SUSTAINABLE GIFT GUIDE

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

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

 

 

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

With Love,

Alisson

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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

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FOR THREE MONTHS I WORE THE SAME CLOTHES

Three months ago I decided to do project 333: The minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to create and live with a wardrobe of 33 items or less for 3 months.
I wanted a smaller wardrobe to be conscious of the clothes I like to wear and to get to know my style a little bit better. I also wanted to see if I would have less decision-stress at the moment to choose what to wear every morning.

Three months have passed and here is what I learned from wearing the same 33 pieces of clothes over and over again. (Check HERE to see my 33 pieces)

Learning points:

  • During these three months, I didn’t feel guilty of not wearing an item of my wardrobe. Before I occasionally felt bad that I had clothes I didn’t wear so often – almost never – but still had a place in my closet. This guilty feeling didn´t come back.
  • I found it very easy to choose what to wear every morning. This challenge made me a lot more creative with clothes and outfits combinations.
  • I took better care of my clothes. During these months I washed my clothes less often and I stopped letting the clothes I used during the day on the floor. Once you own less, you feel more the need to be kind to few clothes you have.
  • Social media can be your worst enemy. Even though I know social media is not real, some days I felt bad about myself and sometimes even boring and ugly. When I scrolled down Instagram and saw all the amazing bloggers with amazing new clothes I felt a little bit left out. This took me some mind work, but I just kept on reminding myself why I started this challenge and I just left my telephone aside and went back to feeling good with the challenge.
  • This challenge learned me that the most important thing is to feel good about myself. This is what I will reflect, regardless what I wear. You will never find something that makes you feel beautiful, smart, and loved. until you believe you are all of this.
  • The last two weeks of the challenge were very hard. At some point, I was a little bit tired of wearing the same. I eventually had favorites within my small closet, so I kept on repeating those items, making me feel a little bit done before the end. I could have replaced the items that I didn’t like anymore but I was almost ready with the challenge. The last week I cheated a little bit and wear two different pieces of clothes that were not in my closet.
  • The weather where I live (The Netherlands) is bipolar. This made it hard for me to chose my items, so I opted to have basic pieces making my wardrobe looking to save and sometimes boring. Even though I chose only pieces that I love, next time I would like to choose more colorful and printed pieces. To be honest, I missed more dresses and summer clothes, but I was so scared of the weather that I played it safe.
  • I can not say that I know my style 100%, but I know which are the pieces that I like, and which ones I don´t. I hope this will help me in the future to buy more consciously clothes.
  • The item that I wore the most was my black destroyed jeans and the black jeans, what I wore less was the striped dress.
  • What I had less trouble with: repeating shoes.
  • At my work, I didn’t hear any comment regarding me, repeating clothes. When I talked about the challenge with my colleagues they didn’t notice before that I was repeating clothes. I was so scared of people realizing that I was wearing the same clothes over and over again, but soon enough I realized that nobody cares! I was maybe too egocentric to think that people would notice, but the truth is that the only person who cares what you are wearing is yourself.

The challenge is over. What now?
No polyester! I want to start removing polyester from my life and start having clothes from more sustainable materials. I shop a lot at second-hand shops and markets but I want to be more aware of this low-quality material and start refusing it. I want my clothes to last and to be good with the environment.

More ethical brands. I started investing in fair fashion brands, and I would like my wardrobe to have more of these brands. I do combine it with second-hand because that’s also a more sustainable way of shopping.

Buy only what I need. Even though I am most of the time a conscious buyer, sometimes I do buy things that I regret later on. From now on, I want to have less of this and more smart shopping.

Own fewer clothes. Now that the challenge is over, I took back my box of clothes that were not in the challenge and I still love them, but I feel that I have too much. Maybe I won´t own only 33 items, but I will definitely stick to 50 or less.

Here are some pictures of my favorite outfits:

Picture: Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture: Corine Zomer
Picture: Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture: Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture: Marisa Elisa Photography

 

I hope you feel inspired to start this challenge. Read more information about it here.

With Love,
Alisson

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Easy Things I Did To Reduce Plastic Waste

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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10 TIPS FOR MASTERING SECONDHAND SHOPPING

It´s been now more than 5 years since I started buying second-hand clothes. I have to admit that at the very beginning I was skeptical and didn’t like the idea of buying clothes previously worn by someone I don’t know. That feeling went away as soon as I found clothes that look as good as new and from brands that I would normally also buy new.

Buying used clothes, it´s a more sustainable way to shop because it saves the resources needed to produce an entirely new item. Purchasing used clothing is an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment.

I know that walking into a second-hand or charity shop can be totally overwhelming. Racks overflow with t-shirts, dresses, jackets, shoes, that you don´t even know where to start, I’ve been there too. But practice makes the master, and in the past years, I’ve picked up some tricks for managing the chaos.

Here are my ten tips to help you become a successful second-hand shopper just like me.

1. Do a little research and google the second-hand and charity shops that are around the area you want to go. Once you know where they are, make a little route of where are you going to go first. I save the places as favorite on my phone in the google maps app and the best route will show. 

Picture: Gert Zomer

2. The best is to go with a friend and to make a date out of it. It can be fun to help each other out and you can finish it with a coffee and cake in a nice place ;).

3. Go with a blank idea of what you want to find. Second-hand shops are constantly changing and you will never know what you might find.

Picture: Gert Zomer

4. Once you are in the shop, walk around the entire store and grab everything that catches your attention, even if you are not sure about it and if it´s not your size. You can go through your selection later and decide what to keep.

5. Try on the clothes that you are not sure if they fit you. Then you might decide what to buy and what to leave behind. Please note: Buy only items that fit. Even if it´s something you are looking for. If it doesn’t fit, it is going to end up in your closet doing nothing.

6. Be aware of stains, and clothes that are damaged. The best is to check before you buy them. On all second-hand and charity shops I go, they have a no-return policy.

Picture: Gert Zomer

8. Save your energy and just try the clothes you chose during the first round. Once you tried on and decide what to buy,  pay for your clothes and move on to the next shop.

I go to the closest charity shop at least twice per month. I quickly go through racks waiting for something to catch my attention. Every visit is short and since a lot of the merchandise, I’ve seen before it makes it easy for me to spot what’s new and worthy.

Picture: Gert Zomer

9. Don’t Be Disappointed if you go back home empty handed. Having an all second-hand wardrobe takes time and a couple of visits to the shops. Lots of the time, I go back home without anything, if there’s nothing I like on the racks, I just leave it and save my money for the next visit.

10. If you do find amazing items, as soon as you get home, make sure you put all your new clothes directly into your washing basket and wash them as soon as possible so you can start wearing them.

I hope you like these tips and get inspired to go second-hand shopping. Do you miss any tip? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson
P.S.: All my outfits from this post are second-hand.

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SOME TRUTHS ABOUT THE PROJECT 333

Almost two months have passed since I started the project 333. I keep on repeating outfits and for most of the time I love it, but some days I get tired of it…
These are my outfits from the past 3 weeks.

 

During the 5th week, I replaced a basic white v-neck t-shirt for a blue and white striped top. I didn’t like the feeling I got when I wore the basic white tee so that´s why I decided to replace it.

 Some truths about this challenge: 
I feel good about my clothes and about this challenge, but some days when I go out of the house and see people wearing new clothes, I get caught looking at the latest trends and start feeling that I am left out. This doesn’t happen so often, but somehow I do get influenced by the trends and in the “must-have” feeling.

Checking social media too much can be dangerous. More specific: Instagram. This channel is a constant reminder that your life is not as good as the life of an Instagrammer. They wear the coolest clothes and the latest trends. This can be discouraging while doing the challenge. I have to admit that sometimes I do get bad feelings and have to remind myself why do I do this challenge.

Some days I do feel a little bit bored of my clothes. I chose for basic colors because of convenience, but I do miss some colors and patterns. I might add some items if the feeling stays.

 

Until now, the item that I wear the most is the black ripped jeans, and the one that I wear the least is the denim skirt.

Are you also trying this challenge? Do you come across similar issues? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

 

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