Spicy Pepper Chia Seed Jam: #Channyskitchen

July 30, 2014 by  
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I was SO excited to try cooking with chia seeds (mostly for their amazing Omega 3 and fatty acid benefits, but also because I love to cook!), even though they were pricey. (The organic chia seeds I bought at my local health food store were about 12 dollars for a somewhat small bag!) I have heard about buying them in bulk for cheaper prices, but I wanted to get the hang of cooking with them before I committed to a large quantity.

I started with soaked chia seed pudding a few days ago--just a simple coconut milk/lemon zest chia pudding sweetened with stevia. That was pretty good! I knew, however, that my real interest was in making "jam" type concoctions. I made some strawberry chia preserves (and they were super yummy!) but it wasn't long before my mind started going down a savory path...to a road less traveled. 

I present to you, my:

SPICY PEPPER CHIA SEED JAM!

Delicious with meats, on buttered bread, or as a condiment to 
sandwiches, crackers, etc!

Should last in refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks.

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THE RECIPE

You'll need:

--7-8 mini colorful peppers (or 2 large colored peppers)
--1/4 cup chopped onion
--Sea salt and pepper (optional)
--Olive oil for sauteeing
--Dash of honey
--Healthy TBSP of Sriracha (more if you like it hotter! You can also substitute hot peppers with your mild pepper mix, but I wanted a nice, controlled heat).
--1/4 cup dried chia seeds
--1/2 cup water

--Food processor, sauce pan, small to medium jar to hold jam while it cools.

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First, I de-seeded and diced my mini-peppers, along with the onion. I tossed them into my sauce pan with some sea salt on medium heat, and began to caramelize them for added flavor.

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After they had become slightly browned, I added about 1/4 cup of water (additional water for simmering/cooking out and not listed in ingredients above). I let the peppers and onion simmer until they were soft, and the flavors had really been released. Most of the water cooked out, but I left what was there for blending in the next step.

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I blended my pepper/onion mix on high, until quite smooth, with my food processor. It didn't yeild much--maybe about 1/2 cup of pureed peppers and onion. I spooned that, still warm, into my small jelly jar.

Rather than soak my chia seeds in flavorless water, I used the 1/2 cup of water in the ingredient list to rinse the mixing basin of the food processor. I then dumped that watery pepper solution in to a small dish and soaked my chia seeds in it, for added flavor. After about five minutes, I spooned the somewhat gelled chia seeds and excess liquid into the jelly jar with the pepper puree, stirring for smooth consistency. Then, I added a healthy tablespoon or two of Sriracha for some nice heat! 

The consistency of the jelly is very much like a more textured mustard--chia seeds are soft, and don't present much flavor or texture, really. But they thicken the mixture nicely and add so much in the way of nutrition. I absolutely love the flavor of this jam, and even though I put the rest in the refrigerator to cool, I couldn't resist slathering some on a peice of 7 grain oval bread with some real butter to test it out.

YUM.

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ENJOY!

Summer Nostalgia with Lulu*s

July 30, 2014 by  
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I spent my summers in Grand Haven as a child watching the musical fountain with my mom and as a teen trolling for boys and working on my tan. When I was 16 and 17, my friend Kristen and I spent every Friday cruising the strip. We'd borrow her sister's cool car and park it alongside the busy street and sit on the hood as if we were the coolest bitches. If we ever took my little 1990 Mercury Topaz, we hid it in a parking lot and went on a hunt for boys and boats. 
Grand Haven was always a place I could pick a new identity. It was only 15 minutes away from my home, but the town transformed during the summer months with a sea of new people. I used to dwell on that fact that among my friends, my family was probably the least well off, but no one knew that in Grand Haven. I just wanted to blend in and pretend I lived a lifestyle like the families that vacationed there each year. Luckily now ten years later I can visit without worrying what everyone else has. With age and maturity and feeling financially secure and confident where I'm at in in life has helped me get past the comparison of others, at least to the degree I experienced before.
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[Tropical Print Romper, Patent Strappy Dress Sandals and Couples Repeat Gold Ring Set c/o Lulu*s, bag by Rebecca Minkoff, bracelet c/o Rocksbox]
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Ice cream from Temptations, my favorite spot in junior high. Mint chocolate chip for life.
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Photos by mom
Sponsored by Lulu*s

True life: I had a miscarriage

July 29, 2014 by  
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In March, Joe and I were excited and terrified to learn that we’d be welcoming a baby into our lives later in the year. We went to our monthly appointments, got to see his/her little face, hear the heartbeat and spend time planning what we’d name it. We bought a crib and even discussed how do decorate the nursery and what we’d do when it woke us up at night.

Then, at our 16-week appointment, when I was just beginning to show and could no longer wear my non-maternity clothes, we were told terrible news. Our baby no longer had a heartbeat.

There were zero warning signs. I had morning sickness, couldn’t brush my teeth without gagging (the worst), and was gaining some weight. I never felt cramps, never bled- nothing. As my OB told us the bad news, I was fairly certain she was joking. After all, I had been doing everything correctly, following the rules, taking my vitamins, and everything that you’re supposed to do to keep the fetus healthy. In the end, it didn’t matter. There wasn’t anything we could’ve done. The entire process was devastating and terrifying. I had to have surgery, which was a first. I’ve never had an IV in my arm, never had any surgery, save for a bone graft in my mouth, but I don’t count that.

In the span of 10 seconds we went from happy and excited to devastated and worried. After all, I haven’t been pregnant before, I had no idea what to expect. We knew a miscarriage was a possibility, but were told that it was extremely rare past 12-weeks (only 2% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage after 12-weeks). Joe was (and still is ) a trooper. He was more concerned with my, my emotions, my feelings and how I was handling things. I’m still not OK and still won’t be OK for a while.

We had told our friends and family when we hit 12-weeks that we were expecting. So Joe had the tough task of telling his mother and my mother. I laid on the couch and cried. I kept trying to remind myself, ‘you can’t miss what you’ve never had,’ which is easier to swallow now than it was at the beginning of June. My emotions are sometimes compounded when the few friends/family members who found out they were expecting around the same time talk about finding out their baby’s sex, getting to see their baby at their 20-week appointment, and mentioning how excited they are, because that should’ve been me and Joe. It’s hard to be excited for them, yet grieve for our own loss, you know?

All things come in time, I suppose. It’s been about two months since we found out, and we’re much better emotionally than we were then. Why am I telling you all of this? Why am I airing my personal, private information for public consumption? Because I felt so very lost in the month after, and still do at times, that I’m hoping I can give someone else a little comfort by letting them know they’re not alone. I know I’m not the first, nor will I be the last person to have a miscarriage. It’s not anything I would wish upon anyone.

Miscarriages suck. But you’re not alone.


Chilly Summer Days

July 28, 2014 by  
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Even though I'm for once enjoying summer and taking advantage of summer activities, I've been pretty pumped each time a cold front rolls in and cools it down for a couple days. Each time it's happened the last couple weeks, I've styled something very similar to this look.
For a day filled with errands and lunch with my mom on a rooftop deck, I styled plaid and shorts with comfortable black boots. As the day wore on, I added the leather jacket since I'm perpetually cold.
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[top + shorts c/o Aeropostale, bag by 3.1 Philip Lim, boots c/o Trask, glasses c/o Firmoo]
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I'd also like to alert you to the fact that Aeropostale is launching AERO NOW today. The new collection comes out today and you can get 30 percent off in stores and online with code THIRTY, which is ironic since I'm almost 30 and I started wearing aero in junior high and I like that there are options beyond tees with their name, like I thought they only carried (and what I wore in the 7th grade.)
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Photos by Mom (Happy birthday to mom, she's 51 today!)
*Aeropostale provided me with a gift card to pick out cool shit

Home Office Tour

July 25, 2014 by  
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So I bought a cowhide rug for the living room, but it didn't look right. Then I thought I would copy a Pinterest image and position it under the dining room table. Kyle hated it, I got pissed that he hated it (I secretly didn't like it there that much.) After much furniture moving and disagreements, I put it in the room I have complete control over: my office! It actually looks the best here.
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Before Kyle moved in, I put this desk in the living room in the back corner. I love the natural light in the living room and having the TV on as background noise while I worked. It didn't work so well with boy and dog so I changed my closet overflow room to a more functioning office space.
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The fur and pillow were placed here by default. I bought an extra one of these shearling throws just because I like them and once I sold my two living room chairs, the beaded pillow moved from living room chair to office chair and I was like "damn that looks good."
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More recently I've become interested in pretty notebooks and thank you/notecards. I write a to-do list everyday and instead of using a standard boring notebook as I've always done (efficiency over aesthetics in my work life), I hunt for a new notebook at Target and find pretty thank you cards at Target and on Etsy. I have the shittiest handwriting in the world too so I should probably stick to electronic forms of thank you's, but I keep trying.
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Last week, I learned about the merits of the 3m hook. Kyle opened my eyes to a new way of displaying art without destroying apartment walls and I went a little crazy with them here to hang/display hats and bags that fit nowhere else. Also, this closet holds my light jackets and blazers on the right side and on the left side, the two closet rods hold tops. The main bedroom closet holds all my jeans, sweatshirts and dresses and Kyle's stuff. I also stuff my sneakers and flats in this closet with most of my heels on the two bookshelves converted to shoeshelves.
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A new LBD

July 23, 2014 by  
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I scored this dress on major sale and was so excited to wear it to a rehearsal dinner a couple weeks back in Grand Rapids and of course, I forgot it in the hotel after the wedding! I called and they can't find it so I hope whoever snatched it up enjoys my little clearance black dress. As far as styling it, I channeled my inner diva and brought some bling bling to the black dress with the silver shoes I wore in the wedding and more jewelry than I normally wear. 
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[dress from Asos, bracelet and chevron rings c/o RocksBox, heels by BCBG, clutch by Clare Vivier]
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Photos by Kyle Keberlein (^that dude)

Join me for a Goodwill Pop Up Shop!

July 21, 2014 by  
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Goodwill + Fashion Frugality

I was ALL ears a few months ago when Suze contacted me a few months ago about working with Goodwill to style some outfits for a pop up shop they were putting together for the Detroit Eastern Market. If you've been following me on instagram or twitter, you know that I've been hopping into my little Smart car and shopping and styling my little heart out ever since!

Here's the pop up shop's, YB Blue, details before I get any further:
WHEN: Sunday, July 27, 2014 from 10am-4pm
WHERE: Shed 2 at the Detroit Eastern Market, Michigan
WHO: Goodwill outfits styled by me & hand-picked home items!
WHY: Shop-Save-Donate-Help ----> Your donated/purchased goods help put people to work while you save money on great items!

Each Sunday the YB Blue pop up shop has had a different Detroit-based stylist selecting the pieces you can purchase! Each shop features between 30-50 styled outfits and accessories along with hand-selected home items and even vintage pieces that Goodwill has curated!

As you probably know by now, I'm an avid thrift store shopper. I've come to a point in my life where, nine times out of ten, I prefer an item secondhand because it not only works for my budget out of necessity but also out of desirability. I can always find five (or more!) well-made pieces of clothing for the price of one piece at a non-secondhand store. And that one piece is probably not as nice as those five I can find at the thrift store. I also like the variety of items I can find in one store, as I'd say my style varies from different looks depending on the day... I don't have to wander from store to store to find what I'm looking for - I can find it all within one Goodwill shop!

I have spent the last few months visiting each of the three metro-Detroit area Goodwill stores selecting pieces for outfits I've put together with every size kept in mind - from extra small to 2X. I tried to make sure to include every beautiful size and every kind of style. I, myself, like I said, like a good mix in my closet. I think you'll find the same to be true here - from work appropriate (but still sassy!), to vintage, to summer ready, to ready for winter... a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I hope everyone can find something that they are looking for, or, better yet, that special piece that you didn't even realize was missing from your closet! :)

But, wait, are you new to shopping second hand? Not sure if it is for you? Or maybe you like shopping second hand but have a hard time finding the time or the patience to put pieces together? Then the YB Blue pop up shop is perfect for you too. I think it will give thrift-newbies and impatient shoppers an easy shopping experience! The outfits are already put together for you and you get a curated taste of the great items that you can find at Goodwill without becoming overwhelmed with everything you might see in one of the stores.

Here's a little sneak peek at some of the outfits I put together for the shop...


Want to see more? You can find these images and more if you follow me on instagram and/or twitter. Want some general outfit inspiration? Follow me on pinterest and pay close attention to my dedicated YB Blue Inspiration board where I'm pinning all sorts of outfit ideas with the pieces I have already selected kept close in mind!

Can't wait to see you at the shop!

All The Pretty Colors: Street Fashion in Grand Rapids, Michigan

July 21, 2014 by  
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ALL THE PRETTY COLORS:
Street Fashion in Grand Rapids, Michigan



Meet Briana! I ran in to Briana at a heavy/sludge/punk show in Grand Rapids, Michigan (I was there to enjoy the music and take pictures--see some of my photography from that night here!). I noticed her sitting on a bench, waiting for the show to start, and loved her colorful ensemble and brown eyes. Naturally, I had to inquire whether or not she liked to thrift. To my delight, she told me that everything she was wearing was second-hand, and the rest is history!

Today in street fashion, what you can learn from Briana!

Take risks
Try floor length dresses with boots 
(combat, granny, high heeled, cowboy)
Combine mustard yellow with floral print (it works!) as Briana did with the scarf in her hair
Add structure with a belt
Be natural and beautiful

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Corner Store

July 21, 2014 by  
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This old gas station was once a busy little corner store where I would regularly walk from my house to buy pixie sticks and rent VHS tapes. It's the same place where my stepdad won big on a scratch off lottery ticket and the nostalgic spot where I dented and scratched the passenger side of my very first car while trying to pump gas. 
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[shorts by Levi's, boots from ShoeMint, necklace c/o Noonday Collection, bag by Chanel, Rayban aviators c/o Sunglasses Shop]
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Photos by mom

Fitness Friday: Getting Back on Track

July 18, 2014 by  
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I headed off to my workout classes this past Monday sporting this monochromatic outfit. I've been trying to kick my workouts up a notch since the last couple weeks have been busy with work events, weddings and distracting fun stuff like beach days where I eat and sit on my ass in the sun. I knew keeping up a routine in the summer would be more difficult for me. I always gain weight this time of the year because I'd prefer to eat a hot dog outside at a baseball game than commit to a sweaty workout.
I've been feeling a bit lackluster lately and it's probably due to the increased consumption of donuts, egg mcmuffins and hot and ready Little Caesar's Pizza. I've set a couple of new goals for myself that I've fallen on including: 1. Drink more water. 2. Eat more veggies! 3. Remember to take vitamins. 4. Try new fitness classes to add variety and more excitement. Wish me luck! If you have tips, please share!!
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[So Shaded Capri Leggings and sports bra c/o Zumba Wear, tank c/o Aeropostale, shoes by New Balance]
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Photos by Kyle Keberlein

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