Oopsy! With fall showing up I have been in crochet, cleaning, knitting, sewing and eating mode! Here’s some pictures to show you what I’ve been up to the past month!
It’s no surprise that I LOVE my bike. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m in a relationship with my bike. I commute to work everyday on it, choose to ride long distances because it’s just so fun, and prefer to take a ride on my bike rather than use the car. From Memorial Day to Labor Day I managed to hit 1000 miles, despite one nasty crash (sprained the membrane between my ulna and radius), a car wreck, and three flats. Here are some funny/nice/awesome moments of my first summer cycling in Chicago.
Me and Yoshi right after reaching 1000 miles on 8/29/2014.
That time I wore this white Nike top and there was a surprise downpour on the way home….. AWKWARD.
Giant Bike Packs. Gotta be prepared I guess.
One Year exactly. 8.26.2013 vs 8.26.2014. HUZZAH.
On the ride air pumps. This was the first of 3 flats I encountered – all within the same week too!
Gorgeous view from my long University of Chicago Campus rides – total distance that day 35 miles.
Work is nice enough to have an indoor bike rack. Yoshi never has to brave the elements without me.
The aftermath of Yoshi vs. Car. Twisted handlebars… thank goodness no other damage was done.
Sorry for my butt… about a week after my first crash. It took two months for that bruise to totally disappear.
On the road with Yoshi and Leopold. If only that squirrelly little pug would sit in a basket… sigh.
Here’s to many more 1ks on Yoshi!
wow. Well I guess with labor day this weekend, the summer is officially over. I, for one, had the best summer of my life. I learned so much about myself, conquered some really big personal mind-blocks, and did a bunch of cool shit. Plus I let go entirely of the control I felt I had on my life and in doing so was surprised to find what I’d hoped and dreamed for all along.
I’m a fan of lists so I guess I’ll just do a little list of the things I experienced this wonderful wonderful summer.
1. Rode 1000 + miles on my bike – yep from memorial day to labor day. I hit the 1k. SO RAD.
2. Learned to brew my own Kombucha, make my own Kale chips, and can my own shelf stable foods.
5. Ran the majority of days during lunch – with awe inspiring views.
6. Let go of bad self-esteem and closed the door on relationships that make me feel badly.
8. Got tattooed.
9. Did the Whole30 Challenge with Lois.
10. Embarked on a new adventure with lots of motorcycles, antiques, and laughs.
It was a damn good summer. Now that it's over I need to focus and get it in gear for a productive and great Fall. That means, tightening up the budget, dedicating myself to 3 days of boxing a week, focusing at work and hustling for a promotion hopefully, and giving GFK + the etsy store my undivided attention.
lesssss dooooo this.
In the past several months I have developed a strong liking and inclination for kombucha. For those of you who don’t know what kombucha is, let me explain. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is cultured with a mushroom “SCOBY” and sugar. Okay, okay, I know that sounds effing nasty. Well…. I mean lots of fermented foods sound gross in theory, but then when someone produces some amazing sauerkraut, kim chi, cheese, or Worcestershire sauce it’s easy to forget the process and just enjoy the taste. Food preservation and discovery is fascinating and is what makes us as people so special and wonderful. I don’t know who first let their tea sit out for way too long and then had the nerve to drink it, but I’m glad they did. PLUS – there are quite a few health benefits from drinking Kombucha – it aids in digestion, helps detox the liver, and although no super scientific research has been done people just say it makes the body feel better. I can totally jive with all those claims, but the bottom line for me is that it’s tasty as hell.
Anyways, buying kombucha at the health food store can set you back $4 a bottle and believe me this stuff is the jam – so the cost suddenly becomes pretty obvious when you get a full blown kombucha addiction rolling. I started thinking about brewing my own especially because I have SO MUCH amazing tea from T-we Tea in San Francisco (btw the boys at T-we Tea are the most wonderful small business owners ever). So I started doing research about brewing my own kombucha….. There are many ‘how to’ and ‘101s’ online and after reading enough it was obvious the ‘fail-proof’ method for starting a successful SCOBY was to buy one. I used Kombucha Kamp as my SCOBY provider and used the kombucha mamma’s guidelines to brew my own. You can buy a ‘mother’ SCOBY for around $20 and that will yield countless gallon brews. PLUS each brew creates a new ‘baby’ SCOBY that you can transfer to a new gallon glass jar and thus yield another gallon! Straight up every brew MULTIPLIES! I bought 2 to start because – well go big or go home I guess.
For my tea, again I used Twe-Tea. I’m an addict of theirs so it was natural to use their product. I have brewed Flailing Princess (a darjeeling with coconut and rose petals), Ooh Laa Cocolong (a jade oolong with coconut ribbons), and Guurl Grey ( sri lankan ceylon with orange peel and jasmine). All three have produced very tasty kombucha. I have also added ginger juice to several of the kombuchas after I bottled them.
My first brew experience went something like this:
1. Day 1 :Brew tea / mix as directions said – add SCOBY. Cover with normal muslin and put in kitchen cupboard. Giggle and wait.
2. Day 5 : WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE BUGS IN MY TEA?!
3. Day 5- Day 6 : Dump the maggot tea – Retained both mother SCOBYs and let ‘sit’ in small container to see if maggots had infested MOTHERS. coupled with panicked research and Kombucha horror stories.
4. Day 7 : “I spent $40 on these mother-f*cking SCOBYs and by jove I’m not gonna waste them – I don’t see any bugs/larvae – eff it! let’s do this again.’
5. Day 8 : Re-brew tea / mix as directed – add non-bug SCOBYs. Cover with super tight doubled up muslin, create ‘fruit fly trap’, put in kitchen cupboard.
6. Day 9-23 : Compulsively check kombucha brews for fruit-flies and any other abnormalities. Deep Breathes everyday as it actually was going well.
7. Day 24 : Time to taste test this….. please don’t taste like barf….. WOW DELICIOUS!
8. Day 25 : Bottle 2 gallons on Kombucha. Add ginger to 1/2 dozen jars. Start new Kombucha brews.
9. Day 25 – 40 : Enjoy my own Kombucha!
I’ve successfully brewed and fermented two batches of two teas from my SCOBYs so far. I absolutely LOVE how my brew tastes too. I did finally get the nerve to have someone taste the tea and they said it was so great! Huzzah! Anyways – this experiment was totally worth it. Aside from the maggot hiccup on batch #1, I have the method down already. I’m thinking I’ll split my SCOBYs tonight and start 4 batches this time! Making stuff is so fun!
During my trip in Denver my babes of friends threw me a little birthday tea party. I just still can’t get over how much fun it was and how amazing these girls are to me. We played an awesome game called Munchkin, ate, laughed hysterically, ate more, and just had a damn good time. Plus tea! It was just so thoughtful and wonderful and I’m smiling wide just thinking about it again.
Here are pictures of the decorations, the games, and the amazing desserts. That coconut macaroon! 😍
Wow. It has been one entire year since I stopped drinking. I remember on day 4 looking at my ‘quitter app’ thinking ‘gosh four days is not very long… but soon this will say 1 month, then 6 months, and then 1 year – you can do it.’ I had no idea I would grow and change so much. I had no idea I wouldn’t have to endure my life anymore. I had no idea how fucking happy and awesome I would become during these 365 days. I shouldn’t act like I can’t believe it, because I can – I made all the choices to stay sober and did all the work. I guess if anything I just can’t believe how amazing life is sober and I am in awe everyday at how much more awesome life gets.
On July 24, 2013, I knew I was done with alcohol indefinitely. It had been a long time coming and after years of saying I could control my intake and my drunk behavior, I reached a point where I knew I was not in charge of my drinking anymore. Drinking just was not fun. I would lose important things, spend money I barely had, looked terrible, felt terrible, and emotionally was just a vacant person with no self esteem. I wasn’t drinking round the clock or taking nips here and there, but I was not able to separate drinking and priorities anymore. That sounds sad, and honestly it was. I would try to do things and ultimately I would psych myself out or not be reliable or consistent about anything. Then, I think of all the drama and the anxiety I have caused for family and friends. The erratic and inconsistent behavior was just a drag for me and for everyone around me. Living paycheck to paycheck because of uncontrolled spending sucked too. Drinks? Sure! Dinner out? Sure! Random crap because drinking makes preplanning impossible? Sure! Plus don’t forget I was supporting a household!
The first few months I felt firm in my decision and very nervous around drinkers, like I had something to hide or be ashamed of. I can laugh at that now because I’ve come to find being sober is a characteristic almost all people envy. Heavy drinkers always commend me on my sobriety and ‘wish’ they could do it. I’ve had people be critical and worried that I chose to get sober without AA or a formal support group, but honestly it’s been incredibly easy to be sober. I don’t put myself in situations that would illicit me not being sober. That means emotionally and psychically. I can very easily go to bars/clubs/events and have a blast – the best part is that I don’t spend hundreds of dollars, talk out of my ass to strangers/friends, and then I remember everything and truly enjoy it.
Probably the reason I made it past my birthday (July 30) and remained sober for those first few critical weeks was my dearest friend Tannith. Our friendship, her support, and her own sober journey allowed for me to have someone I trusted to turn to when I had questions or just observations about this new sober world. Her support and enthusiasm for sobriety showed me that it entails a world without ‘missing’ because her life is so much more full in sobriety too. Tannith, you were my rays of sunshine in the dark and lonely storm. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you and your family sharing this journey with me. I am especially glad that we have a true friendship and can experience it all sober. I love you and am so grateful for you.
While I’m thanking people I should also commend my family. Mom, you were always right – booze is lame. Thank you for supporting me and dealing with the old Brianna. Thank you for not ever saying ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ and especially thank you for being my friend. Words can’t even express my gratitude for your love. Dad, thanks for reminding me to not be so hard on myself and taking me to the edge of my thoughts and comfort zones. You are able to transform the way I see things and I’m so grateful for you.
Honestly, I think back to the person I was a year ago, and I don’t even know her. I am so happy. Truly happy to be sober and to be enjoying my beautiful life. The more removed I get from my old life, the more wonderful I become. I cannot stress that enough, sober living is so marvelous. This world is stunning and for me, alcohol makes everything fuzzy. I will never be sad that I cannot drink or rather will not drink, because I am in love with reality.
I am so fucking proud that one year ago today I finally let go of alcohol. I gave myself the opportunity to grow and to become this person I truly love. Goddamn, life is good.
I have been quite the crafting fool lately. I have had several custom orders from people through Instagram and now with that momentum I have decided to open an Etsy store as Ghostfaceknitter!
Huzzah! I’m guesstimating in the next two/three weeks I will go live with that store – and you all will be in the know when I do – have the confirmed timeline. Let’s take a look at some of the items I’ve been stock piling, custom making for you lovely lovely GFK supporters.
What do you think? I’m think about cowls, sunglasses cases, different skirts/shirts/dresses, and of course more cakes! 🙂
I like to individually wrap my bars in parchment paper and keep them in the freezer. Then I take them everywhere with me to avoid ‘hanger’ and for some energy on the go!