Earth Day is SO over…right? Twelve Ways to Bring it Back Every Day.

April 24, 2014 by  
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Well, it is. It was two WHOLE days ago. In this Millennial society, that allocation of time may as well be, what, five thousand light years? I am certain that you've long forgotten the cobalt globes from your newsfeeds; the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle memes; the celebratory planted sapling or the release of fledgling butterflies (true story from Alabama).

I, myself, thought: "Gee, I write a blog on thrifting, I should really celebrate this day and pull something huge off."  And then, life happened to me, in this totally messy, "I've got people coming for dinner and a seven year old with homework and five loads of laundry to fold" kind of way. 

As I lay in bed later that night, feeling like an eco-failure, it occurred to me: April 22nd doesn't need any help. It's fully saturated, like a greasy onion ring; sunken and trapped in the bottom of the fryer. Thousands of Earth Day messages--some powerful, some trite, some meaningless, and many for a PR show--come and go, and they are all forgotten the next day. 

WHAT IF Earth Day was like New Year's Day? What if people scrambled to make their resolutions (even with the looming reality of failure, which is a natural part of success) every year like clockwork, promising to try their best to make changes that could potentially slow global climate change, make the Earth a cleaner and healthier place to live, and most importantly, CONNECT them to this homebase as animals, spiritual beings and CO-INHABITANTS (you know, with the billions of other species who like to hang out here).

I know resolutions are hard. I'll be honest: ten years ago, I wasn't doing so hot. I wasn't recycling my trash at home, because I didn't have access to service, and I was too lazy to drive my recycling across town (thankfully, I don't have to deal with that anymore). I drove a car that used more fuel than I'd like to admit, and I bought a lot of grocery and household products with packaging and chemical additives. I am STILL working on removing some of those products from my life! (Damnit, Lysol, why must you smell so fresh?) However, despite my shortcomings as a flawed human, I still strived to change, a little bit, year after year. 

I can't say that my efforts were inspired by Earth Day, because, well...Earth Day is like any other holiday now. Think about all the t-shirts that are silk-screened to spread a positive message on that day each year regarding the Earth (even if it is on recycled organic cotton). Think about the time, energy and resources that are wasted on advertising campaigns and public service announcements! YES...IT IS FOR A GOOD CAUSE's become a commercialized, sensational event.

Anyone can share a "Happy Earth Day" graphic on their Facebook wall, but do you have what it takes to procure a REAL change in this world? Join me, in a challenge to reduce your consumption of all things new, and to thereby reduce your carbon footprint. It's not just a more conservative way of life, it's a BETTER way of life--for your physical, emotional and spiritual health as well!


Can you set some goals for yourself? This year, one of my main goals is to continue connecting outside with nature as MUCH as possible, SLOW DOWN, and to grow even more of my own produce. I also hope to continue increasing the amount of home made products I use for cleaning!

Do you need some ideas or inspiration? Check out this list I made (corresponding to the graphic above) that highlights some of the things I did last year to reduce my consumption and live more conservatively. 

1. I wore all thrifted outfits--all of the time! I reduced my new clothing (and household decor) purchases to an all time impressive low of 2%--that's what I've calculated as far as new undergarments and shoes go, plus the occasional "must have" clothing purchase. 

2. Re-purposed items like these black dress shoes that I transformed into Saddle Shoes! Check out the DIY here! 

3. Supported the local economy and reduced consumption by frequenting consignment, mission thrifts, and secondhand stores close by.

4.  Incorporated secondhand and vintage pieces into my home decor as much as possible. See my thrifted bathroom makeover and my apartment tour!

5. Grew as many herbs and vegetables as possible in the small space I live in; check out my garden in upcycled containers here (it was last year's LATE Earth Day post, haha!)! That same post also includes the biodegradable dish-washing detergent recipe I use every day! 

6. I pickled that. And made soup. Homemade salsa and other toppings...from all the scraps in my kitchen that would otherwise go bad. Ever heard the expression "garbage stew"? ;)

7.  I ate less meat, and cooked almost every single meal of every day in my own home with fresh ingredients (Some of my recipes are right here in the blog, but if you check out the hashtag #Channyskitchen on Instagram (also in the menu above) you can keep tabs on what's for dinner. MORE VEGGIES! MORE! I'm an omnivore who lives more like a vegetarian, who sometimes eats like a vegan. 

8. I relished the beauty of Lake Michigan, and simply put, practiced being "present" through my runs, which is my preferred way to connect outdoors. 

9. I learned more about the incredible importance of Michigan's wetlands, from air filtration to habitat, and decided to become more involved in wetland stewardship.

10.  I grew my own alfalfa sprouts--and they were delicious (and inexpensive!)

11. I taught young children each week about different parts of the world and their respective cultures--and learned a lot about the world in the process. (I've been a music teacher for the last 14 years, both in early childhood and as a private instructor.)

12.  I tried to be mindful for the beautiful, simple gifts that nature bestowed upon me each day--like sunsets, rain, and this box of dandelions that my son brought to me as a gift. 

How will you celebrate the earth every day this year? And...GO!

Shades of Blue

April 23, 2014 by  
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Outdoor Easter dinner at my brother's last weekend called for shorts with a sweater. Kyle got to meet the rest of my family, my puppy got to play outside in the woods all day with my brother's pup and I got to drink cheap watermelon flavored wine and overeat my own chorizo cheese dip. All in all, a good day.
[ombre sweater c/o Aeropostale, shorts by Levi's, heels from Kohl's, vintage jean jacket]
Photos by Kyle Keberlein

Workout Look + Tips For a Better Butt

April 21, 2014 by  
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I asked personal trainer Kalea Delezenne for some tips on how to tighten and lift those glutes, my ongoing fitness goal. I participate in her classes at least once a week since she's such a great instructor and could think of no better person to provide some tips for us. Read the interview below!
[Back Me Up Reversible Sports Bra and matching Lift Me Up Long Leggings with Z Dri Technology c/o Zumba (now serving as a Blogger Ambassador!), bag by Rebecca Minkoff]
Interview with Kalea Delezenne, Personal Trainer
As a trainer I am in a unique position when it comes to assisting people reach their health and wellness goals. I get to motivate, encourage, dispel myths and occasionally help people over hurdles that they have placed in front of them. It is a rewarding career to say the least. There are a few areas that women are consistently looking to improve no matter their age; arms (“less waving hello after I stop”), abs (“this part RIGHT here”) and glutes (“how do I make this stick out more?”). While there is no magic method for improving our body (other than time, consistency and challenging ourselves) there are proven exercises we can perform that will help us reach our goals; in this case ‘I would like more junk in the trunk’.
1)     What is the best exercise to improve a sad, flabby ass?
There are a few exercises that will help us improve our backside, but a guaranteed Queen of the Hill is the squat. Before you think ‘ugh I don’t like those’, think about what you are trying to accomplish. What is more important? The goal you want to achieve or taking on a challenge that will help you get there?
In addition to the squat, lunges and climbing stairs are excellent choices.
2)     What is the best exercise to do if you’re in a time crunch and don’t have time to hit the gym?
Body weight exercises are great for this. Pushups, planks, wall sits, lunges and even a few burpees (if you are feeling up to them) will target all of your muscle groups in a short amount of time. Depending on your current fitness level you can start with 3 rounds of 2 pushups, 2 burpees and 2 lunges on each side and perform the plank and wall sit for 10-15 seconds.
3)     Any tips or tricks for intensifying these exercises?
To intensify any exercise you can add weight through dumbbells or a barbell, increase the speed or number of reps, or decrease the time you spend resting in between.
4)     What muscles make up our core?
Our core is comprised of our glutes, hip flexors, rectus abdominals (6 pack muscles), obliques, tranverse abdominal (our inner girdle), erector spinae (the muscles that run along our spine) and hamstrings. 

Shop My Closet!

April 18, 2014 by  
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Time for spring cleaning! Email me at if you're interested!
Diane von Furstenberg bag, $100 + shipping
Foley + Corinna bag, $40+ shipping
Kelsie Dagger platform heels size 8.5, $10 + shipping
Jeffrey Campbell wedges size 8, $25 + shipping
ShoeMint flats size 8.5, $7 + shipping
SOLD Rag + Bone jeans, size 27, $25 + shipping
J Brand velvet pants, size 28, $25 + shipping
BB Dakota leather leggings size 4, $35 + shipping

Check me out on MICHIGAN RADIO–Today!!

April 16, 2014 by  
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Hey everyone!! Don't miss me today on Stateside with Cynthia Canty, from Michigan Radio
a part of the NPR network. 

Stream it at 3 and 10 p.m. today, April 16th, here online:

I'll be talking with the show's host, Cynthia Canty, as well as Brenda Parker, PHD from the University of Illinois about trends in thrift, being eco-conscious, and also body image!

Tune in on the following radio stations to hear me:

91.7 Ann Arbor

91.1 Detroit

104.1 W. Michigan

Wearing Spring

April 16, 2014 by  
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It's that time in the year for me when I retire the crewneck sweatshirts and get back in touch with a more feminine side with floral prints, dresses and shaved legs. And last Saturday's spring outfit all started with the summery cardigan.
Nailah of the Office Armoire and I went shopping together at Kohl's to shop and style the same item for funzies. We have such different styles, but I appreciate and admire her polished looks and cool ass hair. We ended up choosing this great cardigan that I can't wait to style over tanks and shorts, but for this wear, I tossed it over a simple floral print dress and felt pretty polished. Check out how she styled her cardigan (will be up later today)!
[Pink Republic Crochet Cardigan and heels (last year) c/o Kohl's, hat by Nine West, dress from F21, bag by Rebecca Minkoff, initial cuff c/o Kristine Lily]
Photos by Kyle Keberlein

Can’t Wait For Warm Weather

April 15, 2014 by  
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Can't wait for warmer weather so I can wear these inspired by looks :)

Brunch Buffet Attire

April 14, 2014 by  
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I love a good buffet and by good, I really have no standards as long as there are ample choices of treats and bacon. I could spend the rest of my days enjoying meals at a Ponderosa or an Old Country Buffet, but yesterday called for a more upscale version at a local hotel restaurant.
I took a big risk by wearing this shirt out to the buffet and hallelujah, not a single stain. I plan on wearing this shirt again to work this week with leopard dress pants, but for a low key sunday, jeans, cap toe heels and a bright colored clutch was all I needed.
[Paper Dolls White Textured Top c/o Little Mistress, jeans by J Brand, Beige Jazzy Mid heels c/o LeBunny Bleu, aviators by Rayban, rings from Banana Republic, clutch c/o Shiraleah, bracelet c/o Favery]
Photos by Liz Vartoogian

Spring Workout Gear

April 12, 2014 by  
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Some people look at fit people on Pinterest to get re-motivated for fitness, but I find myself looking for colorful sports bras and these amazing mint colored shoes.

1. Hangout Pant, $49.95
2. Up Tempo Tie Dye Bra, $48
3. Autoseal Grace Water Bottle, $10.99
4. Colorblock sports socks, $6
5. Performance Capri Tight, $27.99
6. 501 Classic Run Shoes by New Balance, $65
7. Peace of Mind Cami, $59
8. Nike Elastic Hairbands, $10
9. Double Strap Sports Bra, $10.80

City Pants + New Puppy

April 10, 2014 by  
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I had been on the hunt for my own Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and yesterday, I got to bring mine home! Kyle and I planned a low key night with him including a walk in our neighborhood, a run to the pet store and grabbing dinner from a taco truck. We quickly realized James doesn't naturally understand how to walk on a leash and we skipped that struggle and just carried him.
I changed from my dress from work into Athleta Andale City Pants, semi sheer tank, leopard slip ons and a hat for our evening activities. The perfect layered outfit for on-the-go and chasing a 10 week old pup.
[Andale City Pants, Intertwine sports bra and Illuminate tank c/o Athleta, long-sleeved tee from Athleta, hat from Imogene + Willie, leopard slip ons c/o Lulu's, aviators by Rayban]
Disclosure: Apparel provided by Athleta
Photos by Kyle Keberlein

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