New Mexico July 2015

A few weeks ago the dude and I took a trip to visit my Grandma down in the ‘land of enchantment’ – New Mexico! I have such fond memories of New Mexico (tons and tons of summers there as a child) and it felt so good going back with a clear and sound mind to experience all the things I know as a child I took for granted. I would move down there in a heartbeat too.

It was so great to get to spend time with my Grandma – she is like her own sweatshop with the amount of quilts she produces! But, she is such an inspiring and strong woman. She beat terminal ovarian cancer and now has 15 years in remission! She has blossomed in her own community, even after the death of my grandfather 10 years ago. Plus I LOVE being able to talk to her about crafts, life, and living a happy sober life (this lady has never even been to a bar!).

Since she lives very close to Carlsbad Caverns, the dude had never been to the caves and well… that’s what you do when you visit Artesia, NM! 😉

Here’s some pictures of our cave exploration.

this crazed handsome lunatic is about to go spelunking!

the entrance – can you imagine ‘discovering’ this and thinking ‘gee i guess i’ll head on down!’ CRAZY.

cave parts.

that crazed spelunker is actually pretty handsome. 😉

i swear i was having a good time.

the whale’s teeth. creeepy.

some kind of a lochness monster in the cave made of minerals.

nature is insane.

me and this giant creepy rock skeleton finger.

amazing detail of the stalactites

green lake room

1000 BLEEPING Cycling Miles

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.

BICYCLE RIIIIIIIGHTS.

Me and Yoshi right after reaching 1000 miles on 8/29/2014.

20140903-100604-36364261.jpg

That time I wore this white Nike top and there was a surprise downpour on the way home….. AWKWARD.

20140903-100605-36365019.jpg

Giant Bike Packs. Gotta be prepared I guess.

20140903-100604-36364834.jpg

One Year exactly. 8.26.2013 vs 8.26.2014. HUZZAH.

20140903-100604-36364462.jpg

On the ride air pumps. This was the first of 3 flats I encountered – all within the same week too!

20140903-100605-36365961.jpg

Gorgeous view from my long University of Chicago Campus rides – total distance that day 35 miles.

20140903-100605-36365559.jpg

Work is nice enough to have an indoor bike rack. Yoshi never has to brave the elements without me.

20140903-100606-36366448.jpg

The aftermath of Yoshi vs. Car. Twisted handlebars… thank goodness no other damage was done.

20140903-100606-36366885.jpg

Sorry for my butt… about a week after my first crash. It took two months for that bruise to totally disappear.

20140903-100607-36367461.jpg

On the road with Yoshi and Leopold. If only that squirrelly little pug would sit in a basket… sigh.

20140903-100607-36367075.jpg

Here’s to many more 1ks on Yoshi!

Huzzah!
xxxx
GFK

get it in gear

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.

20140903-093140-34300208.jpg

2. Learned to brew my own Kombucha, make my own Kale chips, and can my own shelf stable foods.

20140818-101332-36812104.jpg

3. Celebrated 1 year sober.

4. Joined Title Boxing.

5. Ran the majority of days during lunch – with awe inspiring views.

20140903-093453-34493396.jpg

6. Let go of bad self-esteem and closed the door on relationships that make me feel badly.

7. Opened an Etsy Store! Weeeee!

custom cake

8. Got tattooed.

20140903-093456-34496335.jpg

20140814-154135-56495595.jpg

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.

xxx
GFK

ONE YEAR BOOZE-FREE.

sober me

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.

xxx
GFK

Ghostfaceknitter Etsy Shop COMING SOON!

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.

red velvet cake
“Mind you drink the cat is an asshole”
geisha cat toy.
geisha baby plush.

orange dreamsicle cake
toddler pocket Star Wars bib.

What do you think? I’m think about cowls, sunglasses cases, different skirts/shirts/dresses, and of course more cakes! 🙂

toodles
xxx
GFK

Lost in Oblivion

Well June has historically been a quiet blog month for me and this one is no real exception. I guess the summer is always strange for me. Don’t get me wrong this one is great so far. I’m loving riding my bike around the city (my arm is finally okay to ride – not okay for pushups/inversions), the warmer weather is so awesome, friends are wonderful, there’s LOADS of events, and just exploring. However, summer is always full of so much change for me. I never have a summer that doesn’t almost ‘redefine’ me. Two summers ago, my grandma died – the dude left me – then I decided to move to Chicago. Last summer, the dude left me again, I got sober and changed most of the things I felt/did/experienced. This summer is the first summer that I am genuinely happy with me, my life, and my goals.

Something I’m working on personally is living in the moment. I tend to be a very goal orientated person. I find that most of my past four years has been spent saying ‘when I graduate…’ ‘when I take the GMAT’ ‘when I get a job’ ‘when when when’…. Well, it’s a fine line to look forward to something, like a vacation or a special occasion, and to live in that moment – instead of this one. I find that my expectations become insatiable when I begin to focus on something in the future. I have to say it was quite the wake up call when I did not do well on the GMAT. To go from such a structured ideology of what my plan was going to be, to actual reality was my signal to slow down. There are so many opportunities and options out there. What is it that I really want? I’m working on that now, because my ‘master plan’ has changed greatly as of two weeks ago.

This moment is special. I am in the best shape I have ever been in, in my entire life – mentally, physically, spiritually. I am so full of excitement about my hobbies and my interests, sometimes I have to just tell myself to ‘simmer down buddy’. This moment is my life. I’m so proud of my life. I’m proud of who I am and I have to constantly remind myself that although I do have goals and that everything is a process, that the journey itself is something to relish in versus endure. I’m not sure why I’m writing something so personal here, I guess I just feel I should document this for myself. This blog is living journal for me and occasionally I’ll randomly read something from years back and just marvel at all the things that have happened. It’s important to remember that this moment is special.

Anyways, I finally understand what everyone was talking about when they said ‘summer in Chicago is so amazing.’ It really is and I’m so happy I gave myself the opportunity to enjoy it.

I’ve been listening to a lot of this song lately too. Oblivion by Mastodon. “Leaving you behind was my lonesome song”

And of course as always Pallbearer.

Perspective

Gee Whiz February Health Challenge you caught me on a day where this is a total loaded prompt for me. Sigh. Perspective.

Well, I guess in terms of perspective, mine has changed extensively in the last 7 months (!). Things I used to see in a certain light are now not even in the light, let alone my thought process. I think honestly, the thing I’ve changed my perspective the greatest in regards to is PMA: Positive Mental Attitude.

People can get a little preachy with the battle cry of PMA, but for the most part I love the idea. Of course everyone has a bad day here or there we are humans living in a challenging world. For example in my life recently: I’m heavily affected by blood sugar and in fact had a ‘bad’ day on Thursday when I didn’t properly feed my body/mind resulting in a quiet and somber afternoon/evening (I literally had to ‘put myself to bed’ early just to get back into balance). However, that didn’t stop me from spewing my irritation about ‘boxed lunches’ and literally a rant occurred about how bread/rice are conspiracy food fillers….. I know, I know – carry a snack always.

But I digress, PMA is just a way of seeing the world. Instead of ‘woe is me,’ ‘the world is out to get me,’ ‘nothing ever goes right for me,’ PMA challenges us to see not only the positives, but identify the underlying ‘problems.’ I’ve been a huge advocate of DO since I changed my life, and PMA is an extension/inclusion/result/cause/action of that. Lots of the roadblocks we face are put there by us. It’s simple to sit back and judge others and their problems/problem cycles, but ultimately, we all have areas in our lives that need PMA. I feel like I’ve only really brushed the very shallow surface of this, but perhaps it got you thinking about the positivity we can bring to everything we do. It’s easy to get into a cycle of shame and disappointment, but literally that is the worst way to go about finding a solution to a problem. Not only will you feel your life becoming a huge drag, but you yourself will become a drag too. Friends and family are always there to support you, but even if the spiral of shame is too encompassing, your drag may start to alienate you further. PMA is necessary to get through the challenges with a lesson learned, not just simply to get through one rough patch to immediately/simultaneously encounter another hardship. Life is difficult – there is a whole wide world of hard out there, but PMA can truly change your life. Focus on the good, enrich the positive parts of your life and the negative, energy wasting, drag parts will subside and be solved. PMA is important for us. It’s hard and no one wants to sound like a cheerleader, but you have to in order to have the life you love and want. At the end of the day, the only person that matters is yourself. With PMA and cheerleading for your own success, the people and things that lift you up will surround you entirely.

Nothing Hill Vimeo from EasyRider Records on Vimeo.

“you are the weakest link between you and your dreams”

xxx
GFK

Summer Epiphany

DANG – November Daily Blog you’re good.

Of course I changed a TON of things in my life this summer, but I will be really candid here in saying the best epiphany that occurred to me was that I should always come first. Has it gotten to the point where I’m annoying about this ‘authentic self’ yet? Over the summer I realized that I had given so much of myself away in the hopes that someone would finally come around and change/give back for me that I had essentially lost myself entirely. I felt like I wasn’t able to do anything that I really wanted – ever. Not to mention I didn’t stand for anything really and was someone I didn’t want to be. I also accepted that I cannot drink at all anymore. I’m sure many of you have known me to throw back a few over the years, so it may be shocking that suddenly I’m sober, but it is the best gift I have given myself. The time was right to cut that out of my life in a rather un-dramatic way. I can look back now seeing how much I’ve done and just kind of wonder where I would be if I had phased that out a long time ago. But, I digress since giving that up was not a big deal at all. I finally feel like I’m on fire. I’m able to concentrate, give the appropriate amount of energy and be motivated about anything I choose.

I generally dislike summers because they require me to re-examine my life and my status quo. This summer was no exception and ultimately, I walked away with the foundations for the authentic self that I am falling hard in love with everyday as well as the gifts of joy and contentment through sobriety. You should always put yourself first. I learned that over the summer and now that it is deep into Fall, I have never been more content and happy.

10765079104_12f2908c55_n

XXX
GFK