Ever since we stumbled across Christine Liu’s blog Simply By Christine and picked up her book Sustainable Home, we’ve been enamored with her simple, slow and sustainable way of living. This Earth Day, this Californian lifestyle expert opens up to us on how to avoid over consumption, create a capsule wardrobe and rethink our period products.
KAYU: You were educated in industrial and packaging technology and worked in packaging sustainability at Cisco Systems, have you always been interested in sustainability?
I never thought I would work in environmental sustainability, but had a deep respect for nature since I was a kid. I think going out camping every summer, biking with my family, and enjoying the outdoors made me realize what a valuable gift it was. But it wasn’t until I was in college, studying packaging, that I saw the opportunity to be smarter about waste, as it was affecting our environment and our health in negative ways.
KAYU: How can we avoid over consumption?
From my personal experience, I’ve found that overconsumption is quite psychological – it was when I wasn’t satisfied or grateful that I would find a reason to buy something new. It takes some digging within and reflection to control your consumption, but focusing on things to be grateful for can definitely be a route to start.
My number one tip is to always refuse a future purchase for 30 days. After the 30 days, determine if you’re truly miserable without that product, and if you are, go ahead and buy it. Time will always tell!
KAYU: Personal style? Tips for creating and maintaining a capsule wardrobe?
My personal style fits my lifestyle needs at the moment – I’m usually at home, doing chores, taking care of my dog Cooper, or filming. I draw inspiration from eastern Asian styles, Californian designers, and natural materials, but make sure that each piece is simple, functional and timeless.
When it comes to a capsule wardrobe, choose pieces that make you feel your best. It doesn’t matter the style or color, as everyone has different preferences – it’s just important that you love each piece! As mentioned, it’s also helpful to choose pieces that fit your lifestyle and climate, so make sure the majority of your wardrobe fits those everyday situations.
KAYU: On sustainable period products
I use a combination of thinx period panties and some reusable pads I had purchased years ago when I first started zero waste living. I love thinx because they don’t feel all that different from regular underwear, and if you want $10 off to try a pair of two, go to the link here (;
KAYU: Your puppy Cooper is adorable! Do you have any sustainable pet tips?
Thanks! Cooper lives quite similar to me, being as minimalist and zero waste as possible. To name a few, we feed him Open Farm pet food which has a Terracycle package recycling program, opt for natural or recyclable toys (his favorite is West Paw), and make our own newspaper poop bags to reduce our plastic usage! I have a post all about zero waste dog care on my site if people are interested too.
KAYU: Are there any natural cleaners or disinfectants you recommend (especially as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to purchase things like bleach and Clorox during the current pandemic)?
It’s tricky with COVID-19, as you need stronger cleaners to do the job. Typically, vinegar and baking soda are my go-to ingredients, but I’ve been able to get refill 99.9% rubbing alcohol at my zero waste store, The Source Zero, which is sourced from a local distillery. I put it in a spray bottle to spray down surfaces regularly.
KAYU: What keeps you sane (especially during this crazy time)?
My faith is definitely one of the main things that keeps me grounded, but I always like to make sure I’m taking care of myself. Eating balanced foods, getting outside every day with my family, and staying in touch with loved ones!
KAYU: What do you most value?
Relationships. At the end of the day, the people (or fluffy friends) around me bring me the most meaning, purpose and joy.
KAYU: 5 books on your night stand?
We don’t keep books on our nightstand since we like to keep it clutter-free, but here are the last few things I’ve read:
- The Bible
- Moment Magazine (not a book, but I’ve authored one of their columns for the past year. It was such a treat!)
- Sing! by Keith and Kristin Getty
- Eco House Book by Terence Conran
- How to Draw Almost Every Day by Kamo
KAYU: Some things you are loving right now?
- Getting outside for a warm, sunny run with my dog
- Oren’s Hummus Shop
- PEACE by Hillsong Young and Free
- Black Crane clothing
- Danish interior design
KAYU: Can you share a bit about your writing process? How did the idea of your book Sustainable Home come about?
I was actually approached by my publisher about authoring a book when I was blogging back in 2017. I didn’t think much of it at first but because I was working full time, I didn’t have much time to work on my blog, so plenty of ideas were swimming throughout my mind. I sent over, what seemed to me, was a logical outline for someone to start having a more sustainable lifestyle at home, and from there, I got the approval to write my book! It was a grueling process as I was doing program management at Cisco and planning my wedding at the same time, so I would come home, write as much as I could, and shoot as many pictures as possible over the weekend while there was still natural light. I can’t believe I finished it but am so thankful I did.
KAYU: What’s next?
It’s been over a year since I quit my corporate job to pursue freelance work and to dedicate my efforts towards simply by christine, and I still can’t believe I’m where I am today. Perhaps I’ll be authoring a future book, or who knows, working on making a future home more sustainable once we can settle into our very own space!