In My Own Words

  1. What is your name?
    Laurel Podulke-Smith
  2. A little about you
    I grew up in the Kutzky Park neighborhood, where I now live with my husband, Darin, two dogs, and a small flock of backyard chickens. After graduating from John Marshall High School I lived abroad for a year, continued my work and studies in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, returning to Kutzky Park in 2007, because Rochester is simply my favorite place on Earth to live. In 2009 I joined the team at the Mayo Clinic’s Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center, heading up the Alexander Technique program and stepping into a leadership role as senior yoga instructor and yoga teacher trainer. The focus of my work is resilience, healthy aging, and maintaining mental, emotional and social well-being.
  3. What does “creativity” mean to you?
    Creativity means a certain quality of letting go. Staying focused on a particular creative goal or outcome can cause us to miss the brilliant little surprises along the way. Keeping all the channels open, letting go of outcome, and trusting creative forces to guide us is one way to engage in truly spontaneous creative expression.
  4. In what ways do you like to express your creativity?
    One of my pandemic hobbies turned into a pandemic passion, which turned into a full on pandemic side-hustle. Kombucha! In 2020 I started a cottage food enterprise in my home brewing 20 gallons of kombucha every week for an ever-growing clientele of kombucha enthusiasts. Instead of buying commercial kombucha from the store, folks get their kombucha from me, which is ultra fresh, innovative, and unbelievably delicious. Kombucha is a continuously unfolding creative endeavor which requires working in a living fermentation process. Kombucha brewing is a humbling process because even in ideal conditions, kombucha will do what it wants to do – it’s actually the one in charge! Sometimes I feel more like a yeast wrangler than a brewer.
  5. If your creative work were edible (if not already edible), what would it taste like?
    My creative work (kombucha) tastes like magical effervescence, sweet and tart perfection, and glorious goodness. The best brew I make is “Coffee Bean Booch.” I invented the recipe. Try it once and you’ll soon be swapping hot brewed coffee for this cool, refreshing, effervescent brew. “Coffee Bean Booch” blends the roasty toastiness of coffee and the exotic tartness of kombucha, with notes of orange peel, cardamom, Madagascar vanilla and honey. A kombucha masterpiece!
  6. What is one of your favorite creative accomplishments?
    In 2017 several friends and I started an improv comedy troupe, The Squirrel Association, based in Rochester, MN. Our shows are family friendly, and full of enough cheeky entendre to be fun for all ages. We are a group of only slightly obsessed improv hobbyists promising to brighten your otherwise dark and dreary day. In the before times we performed and taught throughout the Rochester area. We’re looking forward to a post pandemic world in which we can teach, perform and share our love for improv again.

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