Adventures in Kombucha

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Sometimes I think it is essential to look the part, to play the part. No?

My rad friends got me this, “But First Kombucha” shirt for Christmas. They’re awesome and totally get me.

So when I wanted to learn the ropes of kombucha, I had to wear the shirt.

This post is about human connection and community as much as it is about kombucha.

I remember when I first met my friend Kate at the market. She had on this cool hat, awesome socks, she was pretty much cool. I could tell right away she was like an earthy soul sister and all around good person. I came to her booth and we went to compliment each other at the same time (me on her general look, and her about my baby pink hair). She was there selling cheese for a farmer, but some how we got talking about kombucha. This was a while ago. Fast forward to me joining the market and Kate carrying kombucha at the market. It was sooooo good. Cherry was favorite because that’s my favorite food. But the market let me not only interact with Kate on a regular basis, but I got to try loads of different flavors. There was strawberry mint and one with turmeric and so many more, I can’t think of all the kinds I’ve tried over the years.

I’ll note that this was before kombucha was easy to find at the store.

But Kate stopped doing the market at the end of the summer………………..

And I moved to Champaign……………………

I didn’t want to pay a small fortune for a bottle of kombucha at the store. Plus I am very much one of those self-sufficient types and I have wanted (even before my first encounter with Kate) to make kombucha.

I was intimidated to make it, though, because reading on the internet makes it scary, I feel, and there can be a lot of horror stories.

And I always had Kate, but then I was on my own, and the time was right to learn for myself. Because why not learn from someone who’s been doing it for a long time, with no troubles? So I messaged Kate and scheduled something. I also invited my girl Crystal from church, because we talked about kombucha, farming and more the first time we met. I knew she would love it.

So we set off with our glass jars, ready to learn and see for ourselves.

I cannot even put into words our little adventures. It is more than kombucha. There is a reason I love farmer’s markets. Why I’ve visited farms in the past. Why it’s an integral part of the future I see myself in.

Kate and Jason live on a little slice of heaven. We pull up and they have grass-fed dairy cows chilling in their front yard. You can see all of Jason’s hives in the back yard. Further away their are chickens. And in the woods are hundreds of logs ready to grow mushroom. We drove for miles surrounded by traditional corn and wheat fields to this oasis of life. There are gardens. There are trees. It’s quiet and peaceful and perfect.

Besides this, however, are the people. I love markets because of the connection factor. Not just making a connection to my food (okay this is the person growing, baking, making, etc. my food), but the person behind it. That is something in this society. In a society, where frankly I think we are distracted and numb to our own lives, I think this matters. In a time of technology, where you see sad photos of us stooped over our phones. Of a family or friends sitting in the same room, utterly engrossed in another reality.

So true human connection matters to me. It should matter to us all. Having conversations, real ones with eye contact, interaction, listening, engagement, is beautiful. I get a high leaving the markets in the summer after meeting and interacting with new people all morning. Continue reading “Adventures in Kombucha”

Who am I to be Happy?

self worthWho am I to be happy?

Who are you not to be?

I have gotten back-lash in the past for being happy or positive. Or written off. Oh Brittany she’s a hippy. She talks about love and is always trying to put a positive spin on something. Going against the grain, can mean being categorized and pushed aside.

But we have created this society. A society where we accept depression and stress. Depression is the norm. We talk more about our problems and struggles than we do our joys. We hate our jobs. We butt heads in our relationships. And we just give up on them and let them disintegrate. How else could divorce rates be so high? It is easier to give up and not deal with something or someone than it is to truly feel something. We would rather drink and do drugs, or whatever vice we may have than feel pain. We avoid it. We cover it. We blame. We accept the suck in our lives. But it is not our circumstances or lives that suck, we do. We suck. We accept the negativity as a norm.

We will wallow in our pain. We love that. To complain. To find faults. We bring depression upon ourselves. Our limited scope of the world, of life beyond a current circumstance, limits us. It’s like looking out of a dusty, dark window. As Thoreau has said, it’s not what you look at, but what you see.

Life is perspective. How you view it. Choice.

I am not happy all the time, but I am a lot better at catching myself. When I find myself having negative thoughts. Feeling stress. Being judgmental. Lacking compassion. Feeling sorry for myself. I catch it. I rebuke it. I go back to gratitude. What I am thankful for. How blessed I am. I cannot be down, when I am so blessed. We have to be self-aware. Call ourselves out. Be willing to change in an instance. You can decide not to be depressed. Not to be suppressed. To say no temptations. Reach for joy, rather than allowing yourself to be pulled down. Continue reading “Who am I to be Happy?”

Relationship Goals

16105973_10101593919414983_6300044595962405942_nRelationship goals.Let’s talk about it, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day and that time when we talk about love.  I see this a lot, this term relationship goals.. Usually referring to some celebrity couple. One in which we see one instance, but know nothing of the actual dynamic. We see the pretty polished package to the world. Such is social media too. A slippery slope into comparison. Relationship goals are good, but how we idolize others and theirs, maybe isn’t as good. Relationship goals should be unique to us. When we embrace our own unique selves, then we don’t have to compare to others. Plus we can be content within our lives and our relationships, instead of wondering why our significant other isn’t like _______  (insert a celebrity or someone you look up to). We meet and love them as they are. We truly open ourselves up to loving that person with an everlasting love.

This picture above, these are my relationship goals, happening now, in real life. My examples of love and marriage are beautiful. My parents are going on 38 years, my grandparents all close to 60 and lots of aunts in uncles in 25+ years of marriage. These relationships are not perfect. They have ups and downs, but they are shining examples of commitment. No matter their fights or the struggles they face, they are extremely loyal and have the others back. Family. Love. This was embedded in my upbringing and it is essential to me. I didn’t want to merely be married, a partner, for the rest of my life. Beyond the wedding, I wanted the raw commitment that comes with it.

For over a decade I patiently waited and prayed for this relationship. For this man. I knew the goals in my head and heart. I wanted someone fully committed to me. Who took and loved me, just as I am. A companion. Someone I enjoyed spending time with, so that spending the rest of our lives together (and eternity), would be a breeze. Someone I could travel the world with. And climb mountains. Someone by my side. I would see couples on trails, a little baby strapped to the front and I wanted that. That outdoor family life. To live in the woods and spend time on the road, exploring this magnificent world.  Continue reading “Relationship Goals”

Let Your Message Be Love

ffed970dab661f3caec63907d94b49f0.jpgIt is the presence of love in our lives, not money that makes us wealthy in life. Do that fiercely.

~Me, Brittany Polifroni January 24, 2017

So I have been winding this piece on purpose and following God’s calling for a couple weeks. All things lead me there. Every sermon each Sunday. Every worship. And it’s coming, but this morning I got a little derailed with a phone call from my father. And this piece weighed heavily on my heart and I had to share. And this little quote came to me on my walk here to write.

Even though I have been thinking a lot on purpose and calling and talents, like I know I have a talent for cooking and that I am supposed to share that with people. Today, though, I can’t help but delve a little deeper. The purpose driving me behind my way of expression. What is my message in this life?

My whole life I have felt this strong relationship with God. Even when I was exploring or reading other religious text, I prayed to God (harder). The mindfulness and meditation that I took away, cleared space for me to truly listen. It gave me the stillness I needed. And he has always spoken and guided me on this journey. For I think I have known for a long time that I (we) are not in control of anything. But I have always been guided by a strong intuition, which I obediently followed, because I was being pulled by something bigger and stronger than me. Because I have done some pretty out-of-the-norm things without really knowing at the time why (although I can see why now). And it’s amazing to look back and see how we are being guided and taken care of. How even our greatest struggles, are leading us to our biggest revelations.

For a decade the words and messages I have been receiving are much like this one I got this morning. Always telling me to:

LET YOUR MESSAGE BE ONE OF LOVE. Continue reading “Let Your Message Be Love”

Grand Adventure

And sometimes the grandest adventure is not where you go, but who you are with.

This past summer, my husband and I went on what we called Grand Adventure #1. This took us across 9 states, to 10 National Parks and over 4500 miles. We saw bears and wildlife. We grabbed the chains at Angels Landing to make it all the way to the top for 360 degree views. We waded in the waters at the base of the Grand Tetons. We stood in complete awe at the Grand Prismatic Spring (which we nicknamed the GPS). We drove around twisting mountains, reaching high peaks, and overlooking long drop-offs. We climbed mountains. We saw the sun rise over the Badlands. Ziplined across Moab’s rocks and once again had stunning 360 views. We slept in beautiful campsite, after beautiful campsite. We stopped and waited on buffalo to cross the street. We had a fox dance around us. We saw breathtaking view, after breathtaking view. We spent hours upon hours in the car together. We slept on top of the car under the stars just outside of Zions. We watched the sunset over Arches and laid on a blanket to watch the sky become lit up by billions of star, and he looked over to ask me to marry him.

And we have a Grand Adventure #2 planned, which goes further north and further west and doubles the amount of National Parks we have visited together. And next weekend we are going camping at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. In November we plan to head to the Great Smokey Mountains. And next Fall we are going to visit his brother in Portland, Maine, and scope out Acadia National Park.

But what if this is not the main adventure?

14485063_10101428617181983_3677499559873771965_n Continue reading “Grand Adventure”

Body Image & Feeling Joy Within

13511042_10101328990240173_9113512781857079739_n“Been thinking for a bit on body image. I once heard that only 4%of women think they’re beautiful, which made me sad because I know so many beautiful, radiant women. I believe then too that even less are happy with their bodies. I believe it is easy for women, especially when we’re younger to be objectified or to identify ourselves by our bodies.
When we had our business, I lived in this physical realm. My validation and happiness centered on my body, weekly weigh-ins, and my body fat percentage. If I lost I was happy. If not I waited for the next week. Does it not seem absurd for a scale to rule my life and level of happiness? Even when I got to a goal (I’ve been 13% with the flattest stomach and abs) it was never enough. So often we feel this way. We compare ourselves to other women (as well as our own former bodies). We are SO hard on ourselves.
I like the line, ‘promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.’ What if we did the same thing with ourselves? What if instead of dissecting our bodies and seeing ‘flaws’ we celebrated? My body allows me to get up each morning. It is healthy and rarely sick. It is strong and lets me do kettlebells. It is flexible and lets me do yoga. I’ve got powerful legs that let me bike or hike for miles. It can endure. It can climb mountains. It lets me pick up my nephews and throw them in the air, so I am rewarded with this beautiful smile. Next week it’s going to take me zip lining and to see the country. It’s let me jump out of planes and have so many adventures. It can do so much. It lets me LIVE my life. It is pretty awesome. Lately I am learning too that if you feel really good and happy on the inside, it starts to reflect and show on the outside. Stop being so hard on yourself, you are extraordinary

I posted this about a month ago on my Facebook, it was the most I could condense the dynamic topic of body image. I will be real right from the beginning, this really hits home with me. This is a daily thing. Sometimes I am better than others. But it is easy to be tempted back down that slippery slope into dwelling in the physical. I worked in the fitness and weight loss industry, so the struggle to leave it behind is real sometimes.

I believe that men too can deal with body-image, but I really feel as women, we are conditioned from a young age. We are infiltrated with images in the media. There is a massive change I feel taking place, but it seems we often think of beauty to be synonymous with skinny or thin. Also a lot of validation comes with beauty and body image. Our outside appearance can often rule our lives and happiness level (this is true for me in the past). We are objectified for our bodies as well, condensed down to chest, waist and jean size. These numbers seem so relevant for some reason. And worst of all (personal opinion), is comparison. We compare ourselves to other women (skinny bitches). We compare ourselves to how we may have been at a lighter weight. Wrong. Comparison kills. It kills your joy. Your love in yourself. Your beauty. God created you perfectly as you are. You have your own personal beauty. Your own body. Find joy in that. Why waste time in being jealous or wanting something you can’t have? That is their body, you have your own. Be happy in what you got. Continue reading “Body Image & Feeling Joy Within”