You've heard of waist training before, I'm sure... The Kardashian / Jenner family has been promoting waist training, or waist cinching as it is often called, for years  and many are curious to see the results for themselves. I've tried waist training for a while and I've tried different types of waist trainers, so in this article, I'm gonna tell you all about the pro's and the con's. But in particular: how waist training can improve your posture and get rid of back pain!

Why would you start waist training?
Most people will start waist training because they want to achieve a smaller waist, which is where the corsets are actually made for. They will not make you lose weight, but they will shape your muscles by cinching in your waist and locally move your body volume. When you wear a waist trainer for a longer time, you will notice how your waist becomes more hourglass shaped.

Why I purchased a waist trainer
I have always had a tiny waist, so I did not purchase my waist trainer to get an even tinier waist. The only reason I got myself a waist trainer, is because this corset type of waist trainer provides major support for your mid- and lower back. I've always had a weak back, so I would strain my back very often. Sometimes it would happen without me making a weird move or bending over too quickly... But usually it happens when I've been doing household chores a lot, lifting heavy things etcetera. My lower back pain can get so extreme to the point where I can hardly walk, because of a shooting pain with every step I take. I feel like my back gets unsteady (which is not the case, it just feels like I have no strength in my back at all) and I have to hold my back with both hands while I walk: not ideal.

So, when I read that waist trainers really offer support and help improve posture and sitting / walking up straight, I ordered one from Miss Belt straight away. There are several brands out there, but I prefer the ones from Miss Belt and Velform Mini Waist.

What waist trainer do I recommend?
There are many different brands and types of waist trainers. For example, there are waist trainers that will produce heat and make you sweat, so your waist is promised to actually become smaller. I have never tried those, so I wouldn't be able to tell you whether they work or not. Then you have the 'Kardashian'  waist trainer, which is a latex corset with usually 3 rows of hooks, so you can adjust the waist trainer in size. This type of waist strainer is a little taller, so it covers the entire area from just below your bra till your hip bones. It's super smooth you can easily wear it under a tight dress as well, according to reviews I've read online.

Then there's a waist trainer like mine form Miss Belt and Velform. This one is not as tall, so it covers the area from the mid / lower ribs up until the hips. The major advantage in this one, in my opinion, is the fact that it's super adjustable with the stretchy velcro. You can go wear it a little looser, or go for an extreme hour glass shape when you pull the two extra straps tighter. The only disadvantage of this one is the noise it makes when you adjust the velcro straps... But other than that, the support this corset gives you is amazing. Because it closes with two extra velcro straps on your stomach, I would not wear a tight t-shirt on top of this waist trainer because you will probably be able to see it. I usually wear mine with a loose tee or sweater, because that makes me feel more comfortable. I like to wear my corset pretty tight, especially when I've strained my back to the point where I cannot walk without a little extra support😂.

It's not a replacement for exercises...
Just like this corset is not going to magically make you lose weight, it's not a replacement for back exercises either. I do visit a physiotherapist for my back problems, but he does say that the extra support will help me sit and walk up straighter and train my joints and muscles to be in this new, healthier position. So whether you use a waist trainer to make your waist smaller, or to help your back problems, also do your exercises :)

Let me know if you have any experience with waist trainers for cinching in your waist or supporting your back? I'd love to read your stories in the comment section.

Drinking water is super important...  So while you're at it, why not drink water in style and in a spiritual way? I've discovered a brand that creates beautiful gem infused water bottles a while ago. The company is called Manipura Malas. I was amazed when I read that their water bottles contain genuine crystals! I am someone who is convinced by the healing powers of crystals. I believe they can help boost your energy, help you feel more empowered and find inner peace. So you can imagine my joy when I received one of these stunning water bottles to review for you!

The citrine water bottle
The bottle I chose is the Citrine Water Bottle, which promises to give you energy, mental clarity, confidence and willpower. All things needed for me to start my new job just a few weeks ago. Call it superstition, but I really feel like it helps, even if  it's just the change in mindset because you want to believe you will get more energy and confidence. For me, this gem water bottle makes me feel not only healthier - because hey, I drink water all the time out of this gorgeous eyecather - but also makes me feel better about myself.

A gem infused bottle for everyone
There's many more gem infused water bottles  to chose from, you can pick one that matches your needs. For example, there are rose quarz, amethyst and obsidian gem infused bottles as well, and each bottle has it's own healing powers. Except the fact that I love what these bottles look like and how it can help you feel better, healthier, more positive and so on, here's why I love Manipuara Malas bottles even more:

  • The bottles are made out of glass and stainless steel: it's 100% BPA and Lead-FREE; Hard; Clear; Temp-Resistant, and dishwater safe.  
  • You save the Ocean with each bottle! No more plastic waste!
  • The bottles are wrapped up as gifts - so if you want to give yourself a present, you know what to get ;)
Discount code: BLES15SUMMER for 15% off
Of course I'd love each and every one of you to experience these stunning bottles too. The lovely owners of Manipura Malas were so kind to provide me with a discount code so you can get  15% off selected items. Add code BLES15SUMMER in your shopping cart for 15% off.  The code is valid till 31 July. Take a look at their webshop and see for yourself which gem infused bottle is most perfect for you😄

REVIEW | Vinada Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine & Rosé

As a true wine lover, I was very excited when I came across a press release in my mailbox of the non-alcoholic Vinada wines. I really enjoy a wine with my dinner or during the weekends, but as we all know: alcohol is not that great for you. I try to stick to two to three glasses of wine a week, but sometimes - especially on special occasions - it's just too good to pass up on! Imagine my joy and curiosity when I was sent two bottles (a white wine and a rosé) to try and review for you😋

First of all, it's good to know that Vinada wines are available in and outside of The Netherlands, as well in stores as online. Go and take a look to see if Vinada Wines are available in your country :) When I got a box of these wines in the mail, I was so excited to try these wines. They look REALLY good. The packaging itself looks very fancy, like an actual bottle of wine. After I chilled it in the fridge for a while, I tried the white wine first.

Like wine, but also like champagne
Pouring the non-alcoholic wine into my wine glass, I noticed that it's a sparkling wine (which was on the label, but I was too curious to read the label before tasting it) There are actual wines that contain alcohol and that are sparkling as well so nothing strange here... Then it was time for some proper smelling (hey, as a true wine lover, I follow all the steps involved in a good wine tasting). Sniff sniff... Yup, smells like wine! Also a little bit like apple juice, but just a teeny tiny bit. Then I took a sip and I instantly thought it tasted like a combination of wine, champagne and apple juice. Or perhaps the Jillz ciders. It's a slightly sweet and refreshing.

The funny thing is, I drank this like I would drink an alcoholic wine - with small sips. It just feels like you're drinking wine, instead of some sort of soda. I really enjoyed it! And what I enjoyed the most? No single side effect of alcohol! If I had to choose, I do prefer an alcoholic wine, just because it's got a stronger taste and of course, the 'real' wine taste. But for an alcohol-free wine, this comes super close! The Vinada wines are actually wines and had the same wine making process ( it's not just grape juice, haha), but the alcohol has been removed out of it. The wines come in 200ml bottles, but I really wish they would be available in 750 ml bottles.... I read on their website that they're developing new flavors and considering bigger bottles too, so fingers crossed!

Why Vinada alcohol free wines are great!
If you're pregnant and would like to have a wine, it's perfect!
Great option for drinking at a party and being able to drive home
Can't consume alcohol (anymore) for medical reasons? Vinada is perfect for you!
Vinada wines contain less calories than regular wines

As you can see I also received a sparkling rosé, but I haven't tried it yet. I was so enthusiastic about the white wine that I decided to post this review already. Want to hear my thoughts on the rosé as well? Make sure to follow me on Instagram - I will share my experience in Instagram stories :)

REVIEW | Vinada Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine & Rosé

REVIEW | Vinada Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine & Rosé

REVIEW | Vinada Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine & Rosé

REVIEW | Vinada Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine & Rosé

A lot of women like to pamper themselves every now and then, getting their nails done or enjoying a beauty treatment for example. As us ladies know, it can take quite some time and money to look the way we look! For me personally, there are a few things I won't spend my money on when it comes to beauty or lifestyle. Not because I'm a total cheapskate - I tend to splurge on luxury handbags and fancy dinners instead - but because a) it's just as easy to do at home or b) I simply like doing it myself!

A while back when I talked to my friends and a few female colleagues about this, I realized that I actually have quite a few things that I don't spend money on where others would do that almost every month. Here's what I'm talking about: these are the things I won't spend money on and do at home instead!

Bye bye, hairdresser
Don't laugh, but the last time I went to a hairdresser I was about 10 years old. Okay, my mom (who has her hairdressers certificate) cut my hair when I was younger, but pretty soon after I was allowed to dye my hair I started doing that myself. It took a few wrong turns to eventually do it right, so now I've been cutting and dying my hair myself for about 8 years. Yes, also cutting bangs and trying out crazy hair colors. Even if you go to the hair salon to get the ends trimmed, it's still a lot of money. I once calculated that cutting my own hair, dyeing my own hair and doing my own (clip in) hair extensions saves me up to 400 euros a year. Yeah, I won't go to a hairdresser for as long as I can do it myself - and don't fail at it😜

Gel nails
Those long nails? They're fake! People often think they're my natural nails, which I take as a major compliment. When they ask me where I get them done and I tell them I've been doing my own gel nails for over 10 years they're pretty surprised. I am quite the creative type, I LOVE doing my manicures myself! I simply use tips, a good nail glue and a professional gel nailpolish - and that will keep my nails going strong for at least 4 weeks every single time. Let's say I were to go get my nails done professionally every month? It would cost me an average of 45 euro's.... Which I save up! The set of tips I buy (look on Ebay or Amazon) costs me less than 10 euros for 100 tips. A bargain😊

I have actually gotten a spray tan once and it was horrible. And way too expensive. As soon as the summer starts I take out my selftan mitt and a selftan lotion or mousse and I tan my entire body in the comfort of my own home. Scrubbing beforehand makes the tan last even longer, but usually I will reapply my tan after 4 days. Tanning beds are less expensive than getting a spray tan, but because I want to avoid getting skin cancer, I would never ever go lay under a tanning bed in the first place. A spray tan is about 20 to 30 euros for one treatment... You know what's cheaper? A bottle of tanning lotion (around 10 euros!) that will give me around 15 tanning sessions.

Beauty treatments
I do enjoy beauty treatments, as skincare is very important to me - and I would do anything to prevent wrinkles - but I am super picky. And I won't let anyone touch my eyebrows, ever. Over the years I've learned quite a lot about skincare, so I enjoy pampering myself with a nice scrub, face mask and luxury creams in the comfort of my own home. If you go to a beauty salon regularly and get your brows done as well, you would easily pay around 70 euros every other month... So that's not something I would do very quickly, as I can easily achieve the same results at home.

Whitening my teeth
I do have to start off by saying that getting your teeth whitened professionally gets you WAY better results. But at home treatments do work as well, the results just don't be as drastic as when you would get it done by a salon. I use the Crest White strips every few weeks, just to give my teeth a little touch up. After  every 30 min treatment I see a difference, so for me those strips work great! Getting my teeth whitened at a professional salon would easily cost me around 200 to 300 euros a year, whereas the Crest White strips are around 30 euros a year.

At home workouts
Okay. I have to admit that if I were to pay for a gym subscription every month, I would probably actually GO😹. Now I just work out whenever I feel like it. I am currently trying to get back into my hulahooping routine (with a weighted hula hoop, not those fun light hoops we had as kids). I used to hoop for 40 minutes almost every single day and I noticed a major difference in my stamina and I got stronger abs, back and leg muscles. There are so many exercises you can do at home - or go for a run outside- you don't need to pay for a gym to get some exercise. So if you like hula hooping to some fun music, it might be a fun (and INTENSE) workout to do at home.

So, these are the things I don't spend my money on and do at home instead. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section :)
Make Your Social Media Post Stand Out By Using Fonts

In a time were algorithms may not be on your side, it can be hard to make your post stand out in your followers timelines. Sure, striking images or videos can help you get someone's attention, but there is something else you can try. Something I've been doing for a while now - and I can tell you already: it works! I'm talking about using a different font to stand out from the online crowd.

You've probably noticed that all posts in your timeline have the same font as every other post. The only thing you can really stand out with is using emoji's, images or video's. But have you ever seen those nice fonts that people use in their Instagram names and profile descriptions? There's a website called Lingojam that allows you to enter text and it will convert the text to a few different fonts. You can then copy-paste your text in a nice font and put it in your Instagram bio, for example. But you can also copy-paste that text into your Facebook or LinkedIn post.

I usually only enter the headline of my post in a bold or italic font, that makes it obvious what your post is about in a glance. Just entering the headline of your post in a different font is enough to grab your followers attention, instead of posting your entire text in an italic/bold font. Here's an example of how I make my social media posts stand out by using a different font.

Go ahead and try it for yourself😊

Make Your Social Media Post Stand Out By Using Fonts

Longer lashes with baby powder

I've worn false lashes for probably 3 years straight, until I decided to ditch the falsies for a while. It became too much of a fuss to apply false lashes every day before going to work, so I just stuck with mascara instead. But there's just something about the look of false lashes ... I wanted to achieve the same results without actually having to apply lashes or invest in eyelash extensions. I tried this hack I read about online and it definitely works!

There's only one product you'll need to add to your mascara routine: babypowder! It doesn't matter what brand you use, as long as it's baby powder you'll achieve the look of falsies in just seconds.
All you need to do is apply a generous amount of mascara on your lashes, then dust some baby powder on small brush and sweep it along your (wet) lashes. It will form a layer on top of your lashes and it extends them as well. You can repeat this for as many times as you'd like, but this method does give you spider lashes easily! Don't forget to apply the last coat of mascara on top - other wise you'll look pretty crazy with white lashes ;)

I personally like the look of thick, chunky lashes over super seperated lashes, so this works wonders for me. I included a before and after photo below: the results are pretty obvious, right? I think it's definitely worth trying what this trick does for your lashes. If you don't like it, you can use the baby powder for many more creative solutions... like dry shampoo when you have greasy hair. Do you know more baby powder hacks we should learn about? If so, feel free to share it in the comment section👌

PS. If you not only fancy full eyelashes but also thicker, naturally fuller brows: this is the wonder oil you will need to apply!

Longer lashes with baby powder

Wait, what? An outfit post!? It feels kind of strange (and new again) to make an appearance on my own blog, in the form of an outfit post. It's been quite a long time since I last shared my own looks here on BLES Magazine...  I no longer see myself as a fashion blogger, so I didn't really intend to share outfits anymore. My sister and I were goofing around with the portret mode of my iPhone 8 Plus and we realized that this camera takes the exact same quality photos as my professional SLR camera used to take! We were kinda shocked, these random outfit photos came out so well. I figured, why not share them here.

In case you were wondering if you can take proper outfit photos with an iPhone 8 Plus - you definitely can! The depth is amazing, I might just do this more often (let me know if you think I should). I wore this outfit on a relaxed day of strolling through the city on a Saturday afternoon.  This is what I love to wear in weekends: leggings, oversized sweaters and comfortable shoes. Especially when strolling through the city for hours. If you follow me on Instagram, you might recognize my faux fur coat...  I am pretty much living in this pink fluffy coat this winter, I wear it on all my Instagram photos! It's definitely my most favorite coat, as I've been obsessed with faux fur and this nude/pink color for years. 

This is the second year I've worn this coat, I've washed it as well and the quality is still very good! So as longs as the temperatures allow me, I will wear this coat from Zara many more times. Check the details below for the rest of this super rare outfit post👀

Coat: Zara | Sweater: H&M | Leggings: Topshop | Shoes: H&M | Scarf: Zara | Bag: Ralph Lauren

3 Ways To Start Your Day With Motivation

Do you also have a hard time getting out of bed and starting your day with motivation? You're not alone, because especially during the fall and winter times, more and more people struggle with this. Whether it's because of the darker days, the cold or just because you're tired or in a rut... Here are 3 ways to start your day with motivation!

Positive vibes are different for everyone, so I must say that these 3 tips are based on my own experience. I have a hard time getting up because I'm often still super tired when I wake up and I am always cold. SO cold. Which makes me want to dive back into bed, but nope… Work’s waiting for me! So, here are my tips for a motivated start of the day.

1: Make sure you don’t have to hurry
I used to set my alarm clock as late as possible so I could get my maximum amount of sleep… Which only caused me to wake up feeling stressed already, because I knew I only had a short time to get ready. I skipped breakfast and ate an apple instead while I ran to the bus station. That doesn’t work, so I learned. I was exhausted before I even made it to work. Nowadays I make sure I have at least an extra 10 minutes so I can get a cup of tea before I leave the house. I pack my lunch, my stuff and walk out the door knowing that I won’t have to run to catch the bus. Those extra 10 minutes save a lot of stress in the morning when you have a bad hairday or if you need to fix a make up mistake. But most importantly: I take more time to wake up with a cup of tea and a proper breakfast. Way to start the day!

2: Put on some good music
While I get ready and do my hair and make up, I like to play some music on my phone. Silence makes me sleepy again in the morning, so I go for happy beats that instantly make me feel good and excited. I always notice a major difference when I wake up and play some music versus when I don’t. If you have a hard time waking up or if you often wake up feeling moody, try playing some of your favorite songs! Make sure you don’t put on songs that make you want to dance, or you’ll be back off with point 1 😉

3: Make a to do list
This one is crucial for me! I absolutely hate waking up thinking: I have a lot of stuff to do, but I don’t know exactly what, when, where or how!… To clear your head, make a to do list on your phone or just old school on paper. I make to do lists for work every single day, so I don't have to worry about forgetting any important tasks. But also for random stuff like reminding myself to put money on my public transport card, or buy groceries, or make an appointment for the dentist... I write everything down in to do lists. It simply makes it easier to let go of things that other wise run through your mind and make you worry. As long as you have a visual checklist, youl’ll be able to clear your head and get reminded of important tasks you should not forget about. Love it!

What are your tips to start the day with motivation?