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Ode to Gizmo

As a little kid, the movie Gremlins was one of the movies that gave me nightmares till at least 16.  Strange enough, when I moved back to Curaçao in 2009, I got a Pekingese pup. As soon as I held him, I decided his name would be Gizmo. My little Gizmo was my child and even survived my car accident with me. Sadly enough my baby died about 4 years ago, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. Read More

14 Quotes to motivate your grind

We have entered a new week! And while many of us are grateful and consider the new week a blessing, some of us can be feeling quite (read: very) demotivated.  Which is probably why  you’re reading this in the first place. You might be reading this whilst still in bed, thinking why on earth you would leave your comfortable nest, get up and get to work?

So here are 14 quotes by some people who have quite the experience in putting in the work and who can possibly motivate you to get up and grind!

  1. “There’s no magic to achievement. It’s really about hard work, choices and persistence.” – Michelle Obama
  2. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
  3. “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come to my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass”. – Shonda Rhimes
  4. “I’m gonna go hard no matter what because I gotta feed my family, and I gotta feed myself.” – DJ Khaled
  5. “Nothing will work unless you do. “– Maya Angelou
  6. “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”– Abraham Lincoln
  7. “The key to success is to start before you are ready.” – Marie Forleo
  8. “Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
  9. “I’ve heard of nothing coming from nothing, but I’ve never heard of absolutely nothing coming from hard work.” – Uzo Aduba
  10. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
  11. “Whenever I feel bad, I use that feeling to motivate me to work harder.” – Beyoncé
  12. “Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.” – Kevin Heart
  13. “I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.” – Michael Jordan
  14. “I was never a natural. I got there in the end, because I did believe that if you work hard enough, then you can achieve a lot.” – Victoria Beckham

     

With that said, I want to wish you a good day and an even better week! Make shit happen!

 

Weekly report: 1

Hello there my fellow ALFa’s! Welcome to my first weekly report.

The reason I have chosen to do this weekly report is, because just like any year I have set goals for myself. But I often slack on my goals and a few months ago, I realized why: I don’t have anyone really keeping me accountable on my goals.

I know, no one should have to hold me accountable for my goals. After all they are my goals. True. However, some people still need an accountabillibuddy as an extra push. It’s like having a gymbuddy. Having a gymbuddy means having a spotter or whatever it’s called, have someone to share the journey with and someone who will hold you accountable for slacking. Slack frequently and you lose credibility.

It is for that reason that I choose to do this report. It allows me to share my journey and being held accountable by you, my readers. And hopefully; I’ll be able to even inspire some of you.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I will be sharing all of my goals as I have a whole list of them; for this month, this year and for the next five years. I still believe that some should remain unsaid and be achieved in silence. But sharing some of them won’t hurt.

For now let’s just look at the goals that I have set for January.

Exercise 2-3 times per week

To say that my physique hasn’t been what it used to be, to me is an understatement. I have gained more weight than I would like to admit, I run out of breath when walking up the stairs and I can’t even reach my toes without being sore for at least 2 days. While I used to dance 2-3 hours straight per day and drop in a split as if it was nothing.

So, my first intention was to start subscribe at the Amsterdam Dance Centre, as they offer the classes that speak to me most. It would be a great way to work on my condition and physique at the same time. Not to mention, it is only 20 minutes away from work.

But y’know, I splurged a little during the holiday season. So, I had to cut back on some expenses for this month. This, however, shouldn’t be a reason to change the goal. As the saying goes:

“Change the plan, never the goal.”

Since I already wake up extra early, I figured I could do yoga at home before work. And so, I did. For the last 5 days I spent 15-25 minutes for a little yoga. Guess who got a real slap of reality when she did a simple forward fold? But that’s okay. The most important thing is that we started and we did reach the goal of exercising 2-3 times per week.

Read 2 books this month

Last year, I must have bought at least 8 to 10 books, of which all I’ve started reading. But none I’ve actually finished. So, this year we will read those books (and perhaps even discuss some of the findings, if y’all would like).

This month, I chose to start with “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” by Mark Manson. I chose this book as I believe it fits well to one of my resolutions of 2019: “Less giving a fuck.” To finish this book in 2 weeks, I would have to read one chapter per day. Not gonna lie, this controversial book makes it very easy to keep reading. My preferred times to read are during my daily commute. Headphones on, Beyoncé on, let’s read.

Apply the 50-30-20 budgeting rule

Que idiotic dance while reading this: “I can’t save for shit.”

I swear, one of my biggest weaknesses is handling money. Last year was the first time I managed to save for my vacation and it genuinely was one of my biggest accomplishments. This year, I want to do more and save more.

Not sure how I got to the 50-30-20 rule, but reading about it on The Balance certainly was an eye opener and something I wish to apply. Scratch that. Something I need to apply.

50-30-20 rule by thebalance.com

But in week 1 failed to apply. Not gonna make any excuses, but like I said before: I splurged a little (too much) during the holidays and still had rent to pay. So let’s just say this week was more of a…80-
20 rule. Of which the 20 was for my wishes a.k.a ordering takeout.

 

But(!!!) I also started a 52-week savings challenge with my mother and sister. This, I did accomplish to do.

Want to save around €1400 along with me this year?
Download my free printable and join me on my 52-week challenge!

 

As for posting on my own blog 2 times per week. After my “Less/More” post, you have now reached post #2 for the week.  I think it’s safe to say, I’m on the right track.

How is the first of the new year going for you so far?

 

 

My less/more list for 2019

2018 Is coming to an end and according to society this means it’s time to make new year’s resolutions. Only this time next to my never-ending list of goals, I chose to make a list things I want less of (read: leave behind in 2018) and what I do want instead.

I do wanted to add a little note concerning the final point: “giving a fuck”. Because this can call up the notion that I am intending on being careless for the next year. This is not the case, but for the past few years I have allowed the fear of opinions of others hold me back to doing what I truthfully want. In order to grow, I have to care less about what people could be thinking about the steps I am taking.

With that said, I want to wish you all a great new year!  May you check off your bucketlist, smash your goals and, of course, live healthy. Let’s kill 2019!

Want to make your own list? I got you! Click  here to download your own template.

 

 

Empowering a billion women by 2020 – My experience

One of my goals this year was to attend more events that can help me expand my network of like-minded individuals. I’m not gonna lie…Up till now, I haven’t visited as much events as I was hoping I would due to work. But, I have visited a couple which left me inspired, driven and some even disappointed.  Read on to found out what my experience was with EBW2020.

But what is EBW2020?

EBW2020 identifies themselves as a global community of business women. On their website, they state that their purpose is “to empower women to build a global sustainable future through the elevation of women, and to demystify and democratize access to capital resources for women everywhere.” Their goal: to deliver a complete system, combining mentorship & training along with products and services, to current and future female entrepreneurs, which will allow them to build businesses of sustained value and create the economic & social progress the world desires.

Hmm…Sounds interesting, right?

Allow me to tell you. It is.

I attended an event 3 weeks ago organized by the chapter of Amsterdam in the Andaz Hotel. Sidenote: they refer to a division of the organization as chapter. The lovely Melissa Tolud -founder of the Mellola Movement – invited me after I couldn’t attend the previous gathering in May.  Like I said, the mission of the organization sounded very interesting, so I took this opportunity with both hands.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be one of those pretentious events where everyone feels entitled? Would it be one of those cozy homelike events? Would it be interactive? Would it be 4 hours of non-stop listening? I had no clue. It was after all being held in the luxurious Andaz.

Warm welcome

Unsure of what to expect, I was welcomed with open arms. Literally. Melissa immediately received me with a warm embrace.

The kind Melissa Toulod, founder of the Melolla Movement, and I

The kind Melissa Toulod, founder of the Melolla Movement, and I

Still, I didn’t know what was coming, but I did feel very comfortable. As we were waiting for the rest of the invited to arrive, the other few ladies already present engaged in conversation with me as well. And allow me to say; I suck at making conversation with people I don’t know. But these women made me feel quite at ease.

Marketing in the digital world

The topic of this month’s gathering was about ‘Marketing in the digital world’, given by Veronica Guguian. Veronica is a strategic marketer with a passion for stories and startups. With her company SPIN Ideas, Veronica’s goal is to help entrepreneurs create a solid and authentic marketing strategy based on their stories, and help them find their place in the market.

Veronica’s presentation was clear and very interactive. If you’re a noob in the digital world of marketing and social media, she’ll make you can understand how things work.

Because we were a small group, we had room for questions and discussion during the presentation. As a matter of fact, because it was such a small group it actually felt like a class in marketing. Based upon the questions given she was able to apply it to our personal situations.

So, will I attend again?

Even though I expected many more to attend, I actually appreciated the fact that we were such a small group. Being a small group allowed for more personal attention and more connection with one another. Seriously, how often do you go to events with tons of people, talk to many and end up remembering perhaps 2-3 of whom might have forgotten you already?

In this case, I was able to remember them all, connect with them all and get a taste of that sisterhood they promote.

Still, I would love attend one of their meetings with more people. And I will attend again, because if the presentation given was as informative and useful as Veronica’s and the warm energy is even bigger; EBW2020 is definitely a tribe I’d wouldn’t mind being part of.

Their next gathering of the Amsterdam chapter will be on October 20th in the Andaz Hotel. For tickets and more info click here.

Review: Purpuz Planner 2019

Last year December, I had my mind set on finding the perfect planner. Because I’d be damned if I would’ve had to enter 2018 as a hot mess. Luckily I wasn’t the only one. I landed on this Facebook post in a group where someone asked for recommendations for the perfect planner. Scrolling through the comments I’d find myself repeatedly reading about this “Purpuz Planner”.
Clearly I had to go see what the whole fuss was about.
An hour after reading the most promising reviews about the planner, I found myself buying the notorious Purpuz Planner. No more than a week later, I received 2018’s Purpuz Planner and the reviews didn’t lie. It was love at first sight. I could tell we were about to go on an incredible journey together.

And now, I get to review the 2019 Pink Purpuz Planner!

A lifecoach in paperform

The Purpuz Planner was born after Clen Verkleij experienced a burn out and went to a coach for guidance to find balance between work and his private life. During the process of finding balance, Clen noticed he was also becoming happier. And from the desire for everyone else to gain that balance and experience happiness in their lives, he combined the tools given by his coach and turned them into the Purpuz Planner. Basically you have a lifecoach in paper with you.

8 Tools

The uniqueness of this planner are the 8 tools given to truthfully turn your dreams into goals.

      1. Purpuz Map
        Helps you visualize your dreams
      2. Purpuz Matrix
        Helps you organize your dreams
      3. Purpuz Plan
        Helps you divide your goals in steps
      4. Purpuz Path
        Helps you divide you organize your goals in timeframes and order.
      5. Monthly overview
        Offers overview of the entire month
      6. Weekly overview
        Plan in your daily activities from
      7. Daily reflection
        Reflect on the day; what went right and what can you improve?
      8. Questions to ask yourself
        Reflect upon past month, the present and the future

The first four steps might sounds like hocus pocus, but the beauty of it all is that each step is thoroughly explained. One by one.

Also in the 2018 version, these were in the back of the planner. For the 2019 version it’s in the first few pages, which has my preference, because I wouldn’t go to the back of the planner as easy as in the front.

All in one

Every year I’d get myself a new notebook with the idea to write down all my goals. A few months later, I’d decide to get a new notebook. This one would be for my bucket lists. Later on I’d get another one and this one would be for all my creative ideas. By June I’d walk around with 5 different notebooks, none functioning for their purpose and a malfunctioning shoulder.

I even tried bullet journaling. It seemed like a perfect thing for me! I could fill the pages with the things I wanted and the categories I needed. Wonderful, right?

Turns out, I’m far too lazy to do all the drawing, lining AND the planning. Around April, I had called it a day.

But then I found this gem who has it all in one and more! It offers inspiration, motivation and encourages productivity as well as creativity. I carry it with me at all times, as I’ve made it a habit to check up on my tasks regularly. It has helped me to create more structure and refocus on my goals. Every day, every week and every month I can reflect and see where I am and where I’m heading, thanks to the Purpuz Planner.

Okay, I know it might not seem like it gives me structure. But that’s ‘cz I’m an organized chaotic.

Oh and did I mention that even though there are plenty of blank pages which can be used as you please (read: bucket list), the 2019 planner now has a page which is actually meant for a bucket list.

Despite only being in September, I can’t wait to use cmy new baby. And I’d encourage anyone who wants to regain balance and structure in their lives, to try this Planner. It can offer you great help and insight on your life. But, don’t forget: it’s a tool. Only you can actually turn the dreams into reality by putting in the work.

Order your Limited Pink Purpuz Planner here. Oh, and for the men amongst us: don’t worry, it’s also available in grey 😉

10 Easy ways to treat yourself

My 2 week vacay has recently begun. And this vacay is all about treating myself. I made the mistake to wait till my vacation to do so, but you don’t have to. We work and deserve a bit of happiness everyday.  If we, don’t we’ll just get dragged along in the slums of our daily lives. Treating yourself is a form of self-love. And if you don’t love yourself, who will? So, let’s look into the ways we can love ourselves a little.

      1. Stay in bed longer – How often do you actually sleep in bed during the weekend? Quite often we use the weekend to do all the things we can’t do during the week. Which requires waking up early and leaving bed. Instead of getting up at 7, how about you stay in till 9?
      2. Have breakfast in bed – Ah, so maybe you do have to get out at 7, because just like moi, in the weekend your stomach is your alarm. No biggie. Get up and make breakfast (or warm up your leftovers), then take them back to bed with you.

        This is basically me having breakfast in bed

      3. Netflix and chill – And I’m not talking about the Netflix and chilling you have in mind, I’m talking about the literal version. Open up Netflix and chill the fuck out. Binge watch that one show everyone’s been telling you about.
      4. Make no appointments – This is how I experience adult life: working throughout the day and making appointments in the remaining few hours. Though some of these appointments are probably meetings with friends or family, even that can require a particular kinda energy. You need that energy too. Try having a day or simply an afternoon without any appointments, so you can save your energy for yourself.
      5. Order food – I love eating, but I hate cooking. I cook, because hey, my bank account doesn’t allow me to order food daily nor hire a chef. So by ordering food, I am treating myself on a day off from the kitchen. I allow myself to sit back on the couch and order my food, instead of standing in the kitchen for 1,5 hour.
      6. Go to the library – If your home is not a place where you can enjoy your time off in peace and quiet, the library is. Even if you don’t wanna read a book, most libraries have café’s or lounges with Wi-Fi where you can watch your show on your laptop or whatever it is you’re using.
      7. Be your own date – While some find it very lonely or boring, I personally think it’s quite lovely to be my own date every now and then. Take yourself out to lunch or dinner.

        Tell ’em, sus

        Go to that place no one’s been wanting to go with you and enjoy the meal. Or go to that comedy movie everyone else’s been saying is too corny and laugh! And don’t forget, you’re your own date. So don’t forget to get the biggest popcorn, since you don’t have to share it with anyone else.

      8. Have a party by yourself – Open Spotify, turn up the volume, fill your glass to the rim and just dance!
      9. Buy yourself a gift – Oh, the joy when you come home and you find a package in your mailbox with your name it. Or when you go to town and come home with multiple bags.

        Okay, so clearly that’s more than one gift. But every now and then, that’s perfectly fine! As long as you don’t end up spending the rest of the month eating tuna.
      10. Have a spa-day – The most cliché treat of all; to have a spa day. But fact is, pampering yourself is one of the best ways to treat yourself. Get a massage, release the stress from your body. Get a mani-pedi. Lay back in a hot Jacuzzi. Granted, it’s not the cheapest treat, but Groupon (and VakantieVeilingen for NL) can offer you great discounts.

    You best believe these two weeks I will do all of the above.
    And for those who are continuously grinding, here’s your reminder:


    What are some of the ways you’d like to treat yourself?

 

L E T T H A T S H I T G O

What will happen if I do this? Should I have said it differently? Why would he say that? And the most killing of all: what will people think? Welcome to the train of thought of an overthinker.

As you might have noticed, I am a ridiculous overthinker. My head will do overtime in times when I don’t need it. It also causes me to hold on to a particular situation longer than is necessary, which gives me so much stress. This will be affect me physically, but even worse, also mentally.

This photo is a perfect image of when I do let shit go. When I just live in the moment and my mind is at ease. Circumstances might not allow me to relax at all times, but I do know it’s necessary to make room to relax the mind and just LET THAT SHIT GO.

For the overthinkers like me, who find themselves trapped by their own thoughts, try to make time for your mind to hush up for a minute and enjoy the now❤

You can make a big impact

I am still on cloud nine after yesterday. As yesterday I got the chance to meet with 3 lovely girls who are working on a project to break the taboo on mental health and the prejudices it comes with. The fact that I got a chance to meet with a group of individuals who want to make a positive impact in the world, but also got to share my story, helped me remember why I started this blog: to make a positive impact on others who need it by sharing my story.

There are days when I write and it feels like it’s useless. Simply because I don’t have a big audience I get the idea that my story doesn’t matter. That telling about my personal experience has no effect.

Allow me to introduce you to my insecurity

The voice that tells me to call it a quits, because I am wasting my time on writing. This voice bothers me all the time and caused me to have at least 25 drafts that might never see the world.

Yet yesterday, standing in the room with those 3 girls reminded me that it does matter. Even though, they were just the three of them, they were so grateful with the fact that I was willing to share my story. And it was then that I remembered when I was going through hell, that reading about the personal experiences of others made me feel less lonely knowing there were more people dealing with the same things. Reading how they overcame their situation gave me hope and encouragement. It was inspiring. And I knew that I wanted to do that too.

I want to make a positive impact

Even if it is for just one person. If I can make one person smile, offer one person encouragement, offer one person hope or anything that helped them to keep going another day…I achieved my daily goal. Which is why I’ll keep going. I will keep writing and I will keep sharing. With the hope that my story will reach the one person who needs it and helps them to keep going as well.

You can make a big impact

So in case you ever felt like whatever you are doing has no use, here’s your reminder that it does. The smallest things you do matter. You might not have the biggest effect on the world, but you might have the biggest positive effect in someone’s world. Don’t underestimate yourself.

Logo of iamanalfa

 

What my 10 days off taught me

My 10 days off are over. I’m not gonna pretend I’m glad it’s over and I can get back to work, because I’m not. And that has nothing to do with me being lazy, but with other factors I will get into later on.

So what all did I find out about myself during this 10 day break?

Apparently, I need at least a week to get used to the idea of vacation

I used to be one of those people who could just wake up and not do anything for the entire day. This was my exact plan for the days that I had. Yet, when I tried to do that, I ended up feeling so miserable. I know this might sound absolutely contradictory as the whole purpose is to feel better and fresh. The first few days I was feeling the total opposite. I would get anxious, because I had been in bed too long. I’d feel guilty for resting, because: ‘How dare you rest while there’s so much you could be doing? There are still goals to complete, get up and get to it.’ Unlike my alarm, my thoughts weren’t just something I could turn off. So, for the first few days it was a rollercoaster ride. Only after a week did I find peace with the idea of not having to do anything unless I wanted to. Okay, that’s not entirely true. But let’s say, after a week I was more comfortable with relaxing.

A night away is always a good idea

The women in my family have all been infected with the busy bee – virus. They’re always busy and their days are always packed. Especially when they have a day off.

I swear, when I talk to my sister in the morning and ask her what she’s up to for the day, she’ll come up with such a long task list…It makes me wonder what kinda coffee she drinks to get this all done. She inherited this from our mother, who inherited it from my grandmother. Sans exaggerating, they’re all like this. And by the end of the day, they’re exhausted. I mean, what did y’all expect? Told you, you weren’t Superwoman.

Joke is though, I have now reached the point where I have the same tendencies. I will pack my days full with shit that isn’t urgent to be done, but I insist on doing anyway.  But you can’t do shit if you’re not at home, right? So, I booked a hotel for a night. Best. Decision. Made.

Being in a whole different environment quite far away from home, allowed me to not think about all the things I should/ could be doing . Instead I was living in the moment. Enjoying my days off by strolling, cruising, having dinner…

Also, the duvet is much more comfortable than the blanket we have at home. Might have to consider investing in those…

I’m losing my way

As mentioned before, going back to work wasn’t something I was looking forward to. And this has nothing to do with not wanting to work. It has all things to do with the kind of work I’m doing. Now, I know I said I wouldn’t complain about my work as it offered me great financial possibilities that I didn’t have before. So I won’t. However, as a creative and highly ambitious individual, financial gain isn’t everything.  It hasn’t been beneficial for my creativity, which basically what I’m passionate about.

Quote by iamanalfa

In other words: I realized I was getting off track. The whole purpose of getting a job was to provide a foundation to grow my creative process. Instead I’m putting in so much energy in a company that I barely put in the energy to build my own way. Luckily these days off gave me the chance to see this and helped me realize this. Meaning, it’s time to refocus on what I truly want to do and where I aspire going.

These 10 days were my first 10 days off since last September . And as you can tell, it was quite refreshing and necessary. For anyone who gets stuck in the drag of their work-life. Take the days you need to collect your thoughts and yourself.  And live in the moment. They’re over before you know it.

Hey, it’s okay…

We sometimes do things that make us feel good, but will have others rolling their eyes at us. Thing is though, we don’t live to make others happy. If whatever it is you wish to do doesn’t hurt anyone else, do it.

With that said; here are a 10 things that are absolutely okay!

I mean, as long as you ate right?

I’m not sure what’s worse cancelling
or meeting up with someone and sitting there against your will?

First of all, if it’s an emergency
you should probably be calling 911 or 112.
Second of all, a text will have the same impact.
Third of all, my phone, my decisions.

The stomach wants what the stomach wants.

Seems like way too many people choose to be sour in the morning.
I mean shit, what did the Universe do to you?

Life is complicated as it is.
You don’t owe it anyone to be content with simplicity.

I mean, if people can have mimosa’s…I can have wine.
Just…Try not to get drunk before 2pm.
And if you do, make sure you have a designated driver.

Live, love, laugh.

What are your guilty pleasures you like to indulge in, knowing people would give you the side eye?