Updated: Jan 5, 2019
I love dogs more than people. I speak sarcasm fluently. I am the definition of a strong and independent woman. Give me a cup of coffee and a fire in the winter, and alcohol on a boat in the summer. I have a special love for travel. Lake water flows through my veins. I’m not biased, but I think my family is the best. I am an Enneagram 8. I have two master’s degrees. I have about 8 different laughs, all of which are unbearably loud. I am an optimist. Hope is my favorite word. I believe strongly in the need for justice in our world. I also believe I can make it through any day with a great outfit on, and my support system cheering me on.
Hi! My name is Alyssa Anten, and that is a brief snapshot of who I am! To round out the picture, I currently live in Grand Rapids, MI with my husband CJ and our beloved pow, Dakota. Dakota is a staffy/shar-pei/ boxer mix who truly stole our hearts when we adopted him about 4 years ago. Dakota joins us on almost all of our adventures and is a true lover of car rides. His most favorite activity though is boating- just like his mom and dad!
CJ and I both grew up in Holland, MI and met in high school. We like to say we fell in love on a mission trip we took to Ecuador right before CJ left for college. We officially began dating three days before CJ took off to Michigan Technological University; about 10 hours away from where I lived. We then dated long distance for four long years. We were both growing and learning as individuals, which ultimately made our relationship even stronger. We were certain in our chosen career paths, and confidently knew it was worth it. We knew one day we could be together. We got engaged before my junior year of college, and one year later got married! Here we are five years later, and we are happier than ever! We just got to celebrate all of the goals we accomplished, and openly look forward to what the next five will bring!
CJ is a mechanical engineer and works for a company that makes conveyor belts for distribution centers and warehouses. He is incredibly analytical, calm, and a patient problem solver. He is the perfect match for my big picture dreaming and fiery personality. He keeps me grounded and focused, but encourages and empowers my endeavors. I love him so much for how he makes up for my faults and consistently makes me better, without ever asking me to comprise who I am.
I have my Master’s of Social Work and my Master’s of Divinity, which is the perfect marriage of my two passions I love serving and ministry, but care deeply about justice and reconciliation. I see more connection in the two than discord, and my whole life’s work is to help others see the same. I currently work at HQ Grand Rapids, a drop-in center for homeless and runaway youth. My days are spent building relationships with young people in crisis, and empowering them to realize their dreams. I love my job more than anything. I feel so humbled and amazed by my youth, and always want to bring them my best self. I also recently became the associate pastor of a small church outside of Grand Rapids, which has been incredible! Both roles keep me focused on what really matters- serving those in my immediate community and actively representing Christ to them. I couldn’t be happier to be able to pursue both passions.
TheRetailTherapists is one of those big dreams of mine come true! While I was earning my Master’s, I worked in retail for about three and a half years. This experience gave me so much confidence in my personal style, as well as how to show others the power of their own style. Ever since I had my own job in high school, I was proud to be able buy my own clothing and let that be a way for me to express myself. I was never super confident in how I looked naturally. I had struggled with acne, had straight mousy brown hair, and didn’t love my curves. How I dressed myself was a way to cover up those other imperfections I wasn’t comfortable with, and helped me eventually come out of my shell. When I look back at pictures of myself, I definitely see some cringe worthy style choices, but I also see a girl who became more sure of herself with every great outfit. I eventually began to take more steps towards being totally comfortable with every part of me, and now know how critical style can be as a first step towards confidence. What I wore was a way to articulate who I was and what I was about, and allowed me to be bold.
I now unashamedly express who I am in every way, but style is still one of my top favs. I love the idea of TheRetailTherapists being a way for me to help other people either begin or continue that same journey! My whole life is dedicated to helping people grow into their fullest, God given potential, and this is just one more avenue for doing so. I don’t believe that fashion is shallow. It is truly a hobby of mine, and one I am not ashamed to use as therapy! I have pretty poor impulse control (so my husband says), but I really think its because I know what I love and just love the feeling of adding something great to my collection. My closet is a reflection of who I am- bold yet accessible, fun yet relaxed, and one of a kind yet trendy.
Madeline is the perfect person for me to begin this journey with. She and I have so many similar values and goals, and I believe that together we can empower all of you to live into your whole self and true style! We are so thankful you have chosen to follow on this journey with us!
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