Yes, that’s right. You might have experienced a bit of silence on the blog lately. Even though I’m still very much alive on Instagram, I’ve failed to post as much as I did from the beginning of 2017. Too busy? Too uninspired? Not at all, I decided that after a year in which I’ve been very hard on myself (read all about that journey here, here, and here for example), it was about time I started being a bit nicer to myself in 2017. Sometimes  many times that means buying the damn shoes (I plead guilty), booking that trip to New York (guilty as charged) or deciding to move to the other side of the city, my favourite part actually (yep, moving as we speak). But this also meant: taking time off and stop pushing things that at that time don’t come naturally to me. To be ‘in the moment’ a bit more. To be involved in what’s happening around me instead of living in my own little bubble. So that’s exactly what I did.

And it felt good.

What feels good about being a little bit more in the background instead of having to put myself on display, is the shift of focus: even though I’ll always be that superficial chick that gets super duper excited about a new pair of shoes, what gets me most excited is other people. Some of you might know, some of you might not know, but I never really intended to work in fashion. At a very young age I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to help people that were being singled out. The ones that I thought were pitiful. Because I’ve always been interested in people’s stories. The reasons behind the way they act or fail to act. And why for some people acting out is just a phase, but others can’t seem to take control over their lives. Long story short: I was determined to help out those people. To understand their stories and don’t judge them. So that’s how I got my Master’s degree in Behavioral Sciences and became a behavioral therapist for troubled youth in the forensics department. Quite an interesting job, right?

Being involved has always been something that comes very natural to me. Without wanting to brag, I consider myself a good friend. My friends and I have fun together, but friendship to me also means you can share the not-so-good times. I always try to listen to my friends when they need an ear, always support them in the best way possible, offer help when needed, all that jazz. And the best thing is: I have a bunch of friends that I feel would do the same for me (you know who you are ;)).

But now I want more. I want to help more. I want to contribute more. I want to be more involved. That’s why lately I started doing some research on initiatives that I could support. To begin with something that’s very close to my heart: Dutch society, because that’s where I live. Dutch people are entrepreneurial. Now it sometimes feels like the government is withdrawing themselves from certain responsibilities and expect other parties to take over. This means that it’s the people who need to take on all kinds of social matters on both national and local level. Since 2015 ING Nederland fonds takes their responsibility as one of the big Dutch banks – I collaborated with them earlier – and supports these ambitious people as a company by investing in nationwide social initiatives and plans, but also endorses smaller local projects by giving them the push they need, whether this is a donation or delegation of knowledge.

One of their current activities is that 260 smaller establishments in the Netherlands are participating to be considered to receive a certain donation, so called project ‘Help Nederland vooruit’ (you can vote on this page too, it’s in Dutch though). The amount of this donation is based on the amount of votes they get, so cast your vote if you’re in a helpful mood today ;)

Jacket – H&M / Knit – Costes / Leather trousers – H&M Trend / Sneakers – Nike via Sarenza

–  This post was written in collaboration with ING Nederland, but of course opinions are all my own :)

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