As soon as I discovered I was pregnant, my search for sustainable baby clothes started. I want my baby to wear natural fibers and pieces that are made for children, not ‘by’ children. Here is a list of brands that I have gathered so far:
Sets of 100% organic cotton. GOTS certified. Comfortable for babies and practical for parents.
Bamboo Baby bedding and fashion. Dutch design. 100% produced in Italy.
Organic apparel for kids. Run by a Dutch momboss from Rotterdam.
Bio wool clothes for babies and children. Wool regulates your child’s body temperature throughout the year and also reduces the risk of grabbing a cold. Dilling offers organic baby underwear in different designs and colors.
Bio and fair trade certified brand for babies, kids, and home. Made in Germany.
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?
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.
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 the 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.
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?).
One more extra…
13. When a baby is born… Not only your family gets 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.
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.
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)
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:
I hope you feel inspired to start this challenge. Read more information about it here.
The color yellow represents sunshine, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy and other positive feelings. Still, it is a complicated color to use on a regular basis. I wanted to experiment a little bit more with that color and realized that I do like it, and it fits good with my skin color. While second-hand hunting I found this yellow top and I made it part of my 33 items.
Hese are my favorite pictures wearing it:
These series of pictures were made by the photographer Marisa Broekhuizen Check her work HERE.
What I´m wearing:
Yellow top // Second Lifestyle Amersfoort
Black destroyed pants // Kringloop Amersfoort
Birkenstock sandals // Episode Utrecht
Bandana // Vintage shop in Berlin
Fair fashion clothes have the bad reputation of being expensive, lumpy, itchy, hempy and unstylish. Nowadays producing ethical fashion and good looking pieces is becoming more of a priority for brands. It can be hard to look for those brands but luckily some web shops make it easy for us to find them. I want to show you my latest discovery: www.geitenwollenwinel.com This shop sells only sustainable clothes from green, fair and vegan brands.
After checking out their current collection, I listed out my favorite items under €50 for you:
These Melissa rain boots are made out of 100% Melflex which is an hypo-allergenic, void of animal products, and recyclable kind of plastic. This brand pays its employees above average wage, and their benefits are exemplary. When their shoes can’t be sold from a previous season, they are melted into new styles. About 99% of their industrial waste is recycled including painting residues, production water and PVC. Price: €39,95
Thanks to my friends Gita and Tamara I discovered the second-hand world. Back when I was living in Cologne we used to go every Saturday to the “Unicenter flea market”. Once people started asking about where my clothes come from and how come they look so cool my fascination for second-hand shops and flea markets became so big that now over 80% of my clothes are second-hand and I am not ashamed of it. Through out last year I put up some outfits together that I showed on my Instagram. Here are 10 of my favorite looks:
What I´m wearing:
Jacket and top // Kringloop Amersfoort
Jeans // Street market at the Albert Cuypstraat in Amersfoort
Shoes // Not second-hand or ethically made – bought it before my conscious time
What I´m wearing:
Jacket and jeans // Kringloop Amersfoort
Shoes // Preowned by my friend Alejandra A.
What I´m wearing:
Turtleneck shirt // Kringloop Amersfoort
Denim skirt // Exchanged via United Wardrobe
Jacket // Not second-hand or ethically made – bought it before my conscious time
Shoes // Kringloop Soest
Bag // Lievevrouw snuffelmarkt Amersfoort
The 17th of June I attended the Fair Fashion Festival in Rotterdam. It was an afternoon full of inspiring people and brands. I got to know a lot of new brands and here are my favorites:
1. Pretty & Fair
Pretty & Fair is a Dutch brand that makes shoes from sustainable materials. The Founder, Alinda van Teeckelenburgh worked in the shoe industry for over 15 years. During that time she realized that the production of shoes is more about the numbers and prices than about planet and people. She decided to start her own sustainable shoe label in 2016. She uses materials such as natural rubber for the soles, recycled PET bottles for the zippers and water based glue. The shoes are produced in Portugal by a small family company that offers good working conditions for the makers.
2. Lizet van der Knaap
Lizet van der Knaap is a Dutch fashion designer. She handmakes colorful and beautiful backpacks and totes using sustainable materials.
3. Wolf and Storm
Wolf and Storm is the online destination for sustainable and vegan clothes and accessories. They sell from brands such as Denise Roobol, A Beautiful Story, Matt & Natt, Miss Green, People´s Avenue and a lot more!
Natur-el is a fashion store that sells only sustainable brands. Such as Armed Angels, People Tree, Miss Green among others. The address is zwaanshals 33 in Rotterdam.
5. Granny’s Finest
Granny´s Finest is a Dutch fashion brand. The products are handmade by grannies all around The Netherlands and are designed by young creatives. They use as natural and organic yarns as possible. During the festival, the founder Niek van Hengel gave an inspiring speech of how the brand started. You can read all about it HERE.
You can find their products in De Bijenkorf, WAAR, Sissy Boy among other stores and they also have an online shop.
I hope you like my selection and check them out.
The next Fair Fashion Festival will be in Utrecht the 22nd of October. Join me and let´s discover more sustainable and fair brands together.
Last month I joined a new flea market concept in Amersfoort that is called “2nd Hand Outfits Market”. I joined other girls and sold the clothes that I don´t wear anymore. The price per clothes rack is 25€. You’ll get 45 clothes hangers and space to put your shoes on the floor. You can put some bags on the side as well. I liked this market because it’s indoor, so you don´t have to rely on the Dutch weather.
2hand Outfits Market
2hand Outfits Market
2hand Outfits Market
The market is at “Sint Jorisplein”, a central spot in the shopping area of Amersfoort. It’s located between the H&M and the Bershka, a perfect place because it attracts a lot of people.
2hand Outfits Market
2hand Outfits Market
The shop is decorated with a vintage style and all decoration is for sale.
This was my clothes rack around 15:00 o’clock. I had more clothes than this but they were sold very fast in the morning. I had a lot of success with my rack and sold most of my clothes! Since I was selling good, I went on to check the clothes from all the other sellers and I found some nice things for myself.
I found a fake leather pink jacket! I have been looking for something pink for such a long time and finally found it (an outfit post will definitely follow soon). I also found black basic chino pants and black basic heels. The heels are like new! I can see that they weren’t on the street much. I might not use them often neither but this is the kind of shoes I like to use for special occasions.
Do you feel inspired? Do you want to sell or go shopping at the 2nd Hand Outfits Market? Come this weekend (1st and 2nd of April) and take a look at Sint Jorisplein in Amersfoort.
If you want to rent a clothes rack yourself, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you know any other second-hand markets I should visit in The Netherlands? Leave me your feedback on the comments below.
Lack of confidence is a topic that I am currently working on. Since I am more active on social media, I feel more aware of my insecurities. Every time I post a picture I am aware that people might criticize. And for some time, it affected me. That´s when I realized that I needed to work on my self-esteem.
I have some personal insecurities and one of them has to do with my smile. It took me years to accept the fact that I have big gums and little teeth, and for that many years I was ashamed of laughing to hard because then my gums would show… How crazy is that right? Just like this insecurity I have some other that I am currently working on. Thanks to my friend Laura, I started reading the book “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. This book was for me a life changing experience. While reading it I highlighted my favourite quotes and here they are:
1. “What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.” ― Jen Sincero
2. “You created the reality you now exist in with your thoughts, which means you can use the very same power of thought to change it.” ― Jen Sincero
3. “What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.” ― Jen Sincero
4. “You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.” ― Jen Sincero
5. “Our greatest fears are the greatest waste of time.” ― Jen Sincero
6. “Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.” ― Jen Sincero
7. “It’s just as easy to believe we’re awesome as it is to believe we’re giant sucking things.” ― Jen Sincero
8. “So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.” ― Jen Sincero
9. “All that matters is what’s true for you, and if you can stay connected to that without straying, you will be a mighty superhero.” ― Jen Sincero
10. “We are so unbelievably blessed to have all the things we have, all the opportunities and ideas and people and tasks and interests and experiences and responsibilities – choosing to freak out about it all, rather than enjoying the living of our lives, is like throwing pearls before swine. Such a waste of such a glorious gift.” ― Jen Sincero
Picture by Marisa Elisa
Picture by Marisa Elisa
Picture by Marisa Elisa
Hello smiling Alisson. Hello to my gums and my little teeth! 🙂
11. “Holding on to my bad feelings about this is doing nothing but harming me, and everyone else, and preventing me from enjoying my life fully. I am an awesome person. I choose to enjoy my life. I choose to let this go.” ― Jen Sincero
12. “You need to go from wanting to change your life to deciding to change your life. If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you’ve to do things you’ve never done.” ― Jen Sincero
13. “Say nice things about your body, dress it up, and take it out. Give it hot sex, luxurious baths, and massages. Move it, stretch it, nourish it, hydrate it, pay attention to it—The better our bodies feel, the happier and more productive we are.” ― Jen Sincero
14. “There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do.” ― Jen Sincero
15. “Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities.” ― Jen Sincero
16. “Follow what feels good in the moment, every moment, and it will lead you through a most excellent life.” ― Jen Sincero
17. “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. —Lao Tzu; ancient Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism, could have been one guy or a mythical compilation of many, nobody really knows for sure”” ― Jen Sincero
18. “You are loved. Massively. Ferociously. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are. It’s got you wrapped in a warm gorilla hug of adoration. It wants to give you everything you desire. It wants you to be happy. It wants you to see what it sees in you.” ― Jen Sincero
19. “Forgiveness is all about taking care of you, not the person you need to forgive. It’s about putting your desire to feel good before your desire to be right. It’s about taking responsibility for your own happiness instead of pretending it’s in somebody else’s hands. It’s about owning your power by giving all your anger, resentment, and hurt the heave-ho.” ― Jen Sincero
20. “You are a badass. You were one when you came screaming onto this planet and you are one now. The Universe wouldn’t have bothered with you otherwise. You can’t screw up so majorly that your badassery disappears. It is who you are. It’s who you always will be. It’s not up for negotiation.” ― Jen Sincero
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 NL HERE or in English HERE.