A Slice of New York: Wait it’s a state?

When I tell people that I’m from New York they immediately get so excited. “Wow, I loveeeee New York City!!!” But wait, it’s a STATE with 40 million people. I guess it’s kinda like when I just came and moved to England-  many Americans straight up act like England is only London. I’m like…. giant pause. I get it. I get it. I’m not travel or geography shaming. It’s natural to associate with things we are familiar with. But I hope to give you a few suggestions so next time you head to New York you expand your horizons and don’t think the only thing to do is go to New York City! There is room for so many activites in NY state. A huge shout out to my friends from my Facebook page who helped me answer what their favorite things to do were in Upstate!! Couldn’t have thought of everything without you. Writing this brings back so many fond memories and makes me miss home, especially the people that make it my home. No matter how far I go– New York is always so close to my heart.

My hometown– Syracuse, NY- I gotta show ‘Cuse some love. Although I hate the winters there, fall and summer are pretty amazing. And winter is cool for winter sport lovers (which I am not.) Although, I never plan on living back in Syracuse, it’s a wonderful place to visit and call home. The  best time to visit Syracuse is the fall– drive around and admire the changing leaves, apple picking at Beak and Skiff and make sure to eat all of the apple cider donuts and Honeycrisp apples. Trust me on this one. Pumpkin picking. Corn mazes. We have it all. If you can head up to the Syracuse University campus and watch a game at the Dome, go eat and drink on Marshall street or Armory Square. That is a blast. You have never seen so much orange in your entire life.

Food– When I brought my boyfriend to my hometown this summer, I had a list a mile long of food he MUST try. Just like NYC is famous for pizza and bagels- Upstate has some epic meals and specialities you can’t really get other places. Some of my favorites include: salt potatoes, Dinosaur BBQ(the original), Pastabilities, Gannons(best ice cream ever), chicken riggies, Just Donuts and of course– WEGMANS. I kid you not– my father gave my boyfriend a 40 minute tour of our local grocery store. If you have ever been to Wegmans, you understand. It is the best grocery store I have ever been to and I have to visit every time I go home. My Dad was touring us around every aisle, we were eating samples around every corner and  he was introducing us to all of his worker pals. It was a true initiation and sounds hilarious when I say it out loud.

Continue reading

Make your bed= Change your life?

 So the burning question? Should you make your bed? JK.

Everyone is asking me…How is New Zealand?

I know you are picturing me in wide open grassy fields with picturesque mountains, huge sparkly lakes and perfect flowers in the foreground. Maybe bungee jumping, diving into caves or sipping wine in sunny vineyards? Quintessential adventure traveling in New Zeland. I wish that was the case but the nomad lifestyle isn’t always what Instagram portrays it to be. No matter how positive my attitude is the adjustment into a new country, culture, and lifestyle is never simple especially when you leave everything to sort out once you’ve already arrrived. Bank accounts, hours searching for apartments, flatshares, house shares, Air Bnb’s online and then viewing them only to be told they aren’t available for short term leases or you’re sharing the apartment with 6 other strangers. No wifi, finding new phone plans. This is not a rant or a complaining session, it’s simply a dose of reality because I want to help my readers to understand all aspects of the nomad lifestyle, even the not so sexy parts.


Luckily, my first week in New Zealand did start on a high note. My favorite nonprofit organization, One Wave celebrated it’s 4th birthday last Friday. If you haven’t read my blog before or you’re just stopping by One Wave is a non profit surf organization raising awareness for mental health by dressing up in Fluro gear every Friday and heading to the beach for surfing, yoga, and some serious heart to hearts about what it’s like to suffer from mental health struggles. This organization introduced me to the coolest humans and my closest friends in Australia and I was stoked when I found out for the 4th birthday they were celebrating at the a beach suburb in Auckland, Takapuna, which coincidentally was a 25 minute walk from our Air Bnb. I see you Universe, you beautiful thing.

17668679_10208503793337130_1444831183_o17670852_10208503791617087_908942492_o17692369_10208503792577111_1236552516_o17741365_10208503792937120_1463298416_n17692681_10208503792537110_555814634_o17622886_10208503792217102_1671928058_o

Harry experienced his first Fluro, I got to see my Fluro sista from Sydney who recently moved back to NZ, and we paddle boarded in the serene waters at Takapuna Beach. Nothing could make me feel more welcome than bringing my normal Friday tradition with me to my new home. Harry and I headed to the city for brunch and then entered into the life admin stage. Adulting sucks sometimes.

Continue reading

Confessions of an Over Packer

How does packing for a weekend trip, long vacation, or even a move make you feel? Are you an organized planner? Do you do a little bit each day for a few weeks or do you save it to the last minute?

Every traveler has to deal with the task of packing up their suitcase or backpack for their journey ahead. I am notorious for being a last minute over packer. I analyze every situation that might happen and why I just have to have that extra maxi dress. Not only has packing up this time called into question my packing habits but it also makes me question my relationship with material things in general.

After watching the Minimalism documentary on Netflix I felt very inspired to try to cut down the amount of stuff in my life. I have lived abroad for almost three of the past four years post graduate school. I learned to live off of one suitcase or even a couple backpacks for year-long stints living abroad but I also have a walk in closet and a whole bedroom full of “stuff” waiting for me at my parent’s home in New York. When I came home from Australia for a visit after a year of living there I felt truly shocked and saddened by the amount of clothes I had just sitting there. In some ways it was really exciting because it was like going shopping in my own closet. There were so many things I forgot I even had but I still had a full suitcase full of stuff I had brought with me. What’s the constant need for new stuff?

I will never be a true minimalist. I like clothes. I like fashion. I think the way we present ourselves to the outside world is important. When I dress well, I feel good. I live a diverse lifestyle and have different wardrobes based on those roles I play. I have my “teacher” or professional clothes, my growing activewear collection and then my casual wardrobe. I struggle with this because I truly do believe in experiences over things. I would way rather buy a plane ticket than a designer hand bag. But when I am packing I realize that I am still part of this material world., I can’t decide how I feel about that. I have donated a lot of things but my ADHD and anxiety lead me to worry easily about freeing myself of too many things. What if I “need it”? I am sure many of you reading this can relate. How often do you ask yourself these types of questions? How often do you go shopping for new things that you “need”? How many things just sit in your closet untouched?

Continue reading

How to not give up this time.. even if you already did

Do you feel frustrated with yourself? Maybe you already broke your “resolution” for the new year or you “gave in” to Netflix and wine instead of what you thought you should be doing. Maybe you didn’t write down any goals but you still feel “the same” and you can’t figure out why? Or did you go in full force and now you feel like you failed because you’ve already skipped the gym for a couple days? Did you succumb to the persuasive power of Ben and Jerry again? Now is the time most people are quitting when the shiny glow of the new year starts to fade. How do you make yourself part of the group that didn’t give up this time…even if you already did?

STOP RIGHT THERE! Take a deep breath.

The new year is an awesome time to start chasing after new goals but the amazing part is, we get a clean slate everyday. You have the power to rewrite your story, every single day. The question is will you let yourself? Are you hiding behind fear? Let’s get to the bottom of this so you can figure out how not to give up this time.

Celebrate progress– Progress comes in many forms- small and large. Saying no to cookies in the staff room or choosing to take a deep breath instead of lose it on your partner- that’s progress. Even if it’s one time! Find something that you feel like was a success everyday and start building on that.

Acknowledge your power- When we give up on our goals we try to place blame on everything around us. I’m too busy, I’m just not good at eating healthy, I have no willpower. How many times can you feed yourself excuses before you begin to acknowledge that that is exactly what they are. Lying is awful and when you lie to yourself, you’re wasting everyone’s time and energy especially your own. YOU HAVE THE POWER. You always have. Act like it.

Try new things– If the same gym membership and Lean Cuisine diet isn’t doing it for you and it hasn’t for the past five years, why do you keep thinking this time will be different? If you want different results DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Don’t just say, “Yeah, that would be nice.” “Someday.” DO it now, for goodness sake. If you hate it, then at least you tried!

Non-food rewards– You are not a dog. You do a trick, you get a treat? Come on. Even if you LOVE food (trust me- so do I) try rewarding yourself with things other than food. Manicures, facials, massages, a bubble bath, new workout gear, or a Groupon for a fun and active date night.  Branch out. Stop saying okay, I ran 3 miles now I shall eat my body weight in pizza. You are not a pet, don’t treat yourself like one.

Allow yourself to quit– What? This sounds silly. No, it’s not. If you sign up for Crossfit and you end up HATING Crossfit, do yourself a favor and find something you do like. Human beings were born to MOVE, so I promise you there is something that will feel good for your body. Don’t see exercise as a punishment but as a gift and blessing.

Find your tribe– MAN. I don’t know how many times I can say this. Find people who motivate you. Find people who don’t sit around on the couch every night. Find people who want to plan the trip, take the class, run the race, start the business. Fire breeds fire. Find people who make you HOT!

Ask for help– You don’t have to do ANYTHING alone. If you are struggling with mental health issues, see a doctor. If you are struggling with your relationship- ask a friend or someone you trust for advice. If you can’t get your diet and exercise under control SEEK HELP! There are experts in every area of your life you want to improve and you’re probably already friends with them. It doesn’t have to be paid advice or programs, just seek out what you need and be open minded!
Be flexible– You should NEVER be so set in your ways that you hinder yourself from finding and creating the life of your dreams. This goes along with trying new things, allowing yourself to quit and asking for help. Be flexible. ALLOW yourself to grow. Don’t feel like you MUST do what you have always done. It’s so incredibly sexy and fulfilling to better yourself. HOP ON BOARD.

Continual Forgiveness– Alright, you messed up? Welcome to the club. Seriously, it will never be an uphill progression. It’s a roller coaster. Be kind to yourself. I don’t like to say be “easy” on yourself because that leaves  a lot of room for excuses. Be kind but firm. Alright, beauty you messed up- let’s do better tomorrow. YOU GOT THIS.

16128492_10207946742211200_1791595288_n

 

 

Bah, Humbug: How to Cope with Holidays Abroad

This is the part they don’t talk about. Quit your job, travel the world, you will have the best adventures, change your life and find yourself. But what about the hard stuff? Moving across the world can’t always be easy… Missing weddings, holidays, birthdays, and all of the silly days in between is not easy. Sure, you are the one who chose to leave but that doesn’t mean you don’t miss the people who you left behind. It doesn’t mean that half the stories out of your mouth aren’t about your family, this one time in college or the adorable photos you just got of your niece in the Nutcracker. The travel blogs and instagrams you idolize may not show photos of them tearing up in the middle of the street because they just want to go home. Or the feeling when all of your family is together and you are sick in bed. As usual, I am committed to being raw and sharing all parts of my adventures with you, so here is the truth behind never being home for the holidays.

Moving abroad to Thailand and Australia and being able to teach and adventure in both places have been the most rewarding experiences of my life but that is not to say they haven’t had their fair share of lonely moments as well. Yes, you will feel homesick. Yes, you will get sick of being the face on the Facetime screen, so close and yet so far from being involved in all the memories happening at home without you. The holidays make it especially difficult so I wanted to send some encouragement to my fellow expats, travelers, or anyone who can’t make it where they consider “home” this holiday season. This is the most wonderful time of the year, but like all good things, that puts a hell of a lot of pressure on you to feel merry and bright. Here is how I survive the holidays:

Bring traditions with you– If you are far away from home, find a way to decorate and spread a little Christmas or Hanukkah cheer. Watch your favorite Christmas movies, bake your Grandma’s famous recipe and make sure to share it with the people you’ve met or love abroad. Sharing our traditions with others makes them special for a whole new set of people. Luckily, I am a teacher so I always get free reign to teach my students all about American culture and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

untitled-design

Continue reading

Have a Mimosa

I have been in the LAX airport for almost 24 hours. My connecting flight from Chicago was delayed last night which led me to miss my connecting flight to Sydney. Little did I know that there is only flight from LAX to Sydney per day with United Airlines and thanks to poor customer service and my overtired frustration-it landed me sleeping in the airport. Around 5 am I peeled my eyes open, wiped the drool from my neck pillow and half way sleeping limped my way to the United Club lounge. I paid for the day to eat, drink, and lounge in comfy leather chairs as I wait for my flight to leave for Sydney tonight. I was sitting next to two young Australian girls in line at customer service last night who were chatting and laughing saying they were lucky their other friend went a different route home or he would have been pissed and miserable. They were in the same boat I was but just didn’t seem to be letting it phase them. I realized, although I was not their friend, and too tired to even form friendly words, I was the friend being pissed and miserable. I’ve spent 24 hours  in the airport after one of the best month vacations of my life. I’m alive, I’m in great health, my family is loving and supportive, I got to spend time with SO many people who I love dearly,  I have a sexy English boyfriend who is picking me up at the airport and the happiest little life to return to down under, WHAT THE HELL DO I HAVE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT?

It’s funny because while I was driving down to NYC with my parents, I was browsing quotes and musing about my trip and I came across a photo of a dandelion with the quote, “Some see a weed, some see a wish.” I discussed in my post how happy I was that I had the ability to see the worst scenario as a chance to grow and learn. And then, there I was in a shitty situation(a day later) feeling angry, victimized, and exhausted to the point where I contemplated a 5 year old brat meltdown as a viable option for my frustrations. I am telling you this not because I am still angry but because I want to remind myself how easy it is to let trials and tribulations in life overwhelm us. It’s funny, it was like I knew that my future self needed that advice.  It doesn’t matter how happy you are, what job you have , how much money you have in the bank- we all get overwhelmed by the stress and curveballs that life throws our way. Just because I consider myself to be a positive person, does not mean that I am immune from these feelings or situations. What it does mean is that I know how to fix these feelings… quickly.

I went to bed on the airport chairs with my tiny navy blue blankets and my possessions strategically stacked under me in case of criminals lurking in the night. I was still beyond annoyed but thinking about the chipper girls in line behind me just laughing it off and rolling with the punches, I felt even more frustrated because usually that’s me. I woke up to airport staff clearing out everyone from our section because they needed to rearrange the seats. I was startled and half asleep and felt like I was in some sort of homeless person village with all of the fellow travelers in the same boat as me. I woke up surprisingly in a better mood. I realized that this isn’t the worst thing that could happen and gave me a built in day to catch up with my clients, coaches, emails, messages, and now my blog. I’ve watched a few Ted Talks and YouTube training videos from a few entrepreneurs and people I look up to. I spent a lot of time in Podcast land. Sure, I’m a little bored but I’m using it as a positive, focused time to work on my business and myself. And, after a few mimosas life doesn’t seem so bad.  

Continue reading

Chasing Summer

I will spend my life chasing summer. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve checked in due to my crazy schedule for my holiday in America.  I escaped the Australian winter and took off to the US for a month of fun in the sun. It has been nonstop since I landed in NYC and reunited with so many sorority sisters and friends from college and apparently, believed that I could still party like my former sorority girl self. I spent many of my first days in America hungover until the afternoon when I could finally recoup, exercise and then get back at it again. This lasted for my first weekend and then my body rebelled. It was so amazing to see my friends and my family and even though I haven’t seen any of them in person for a while we just carry on the conversation like it never stopped. It’s pretty amazing how that works. It’s also crazy to genuinely realize that you are past the age where partying is worth it. I enjoy a few glasses of wine. I always will, but I wholeheartedly would rather stay in with friends and family, or even alone, than suffer through the misery and anxiety hangovers bring. Is this growing up?

Luckily, I also managed to have a few “touristy” experiences in NYC because even though it’s my favorite city in the world I’ve been to countless times, I still want to be a tourist because I’m rarely there anymore!  I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, went on a food crawl, did an amazing hot yoga class, took my first Soul Cycle class and spent time with so many people near and dear to me. New York is one of the few cities that I believe has a pulse. You can actually feel how alive it is. Before I knew it I was on a plane and off again to Nashville to attend my annual coaching convention. I experienced this event last year for the first time and this year did not disappoint. There is something so tangible about gathering together that many positive and motivated people for a fitness convention to celebrate our successes, attend seminars and trainings, attend live workouts with our celebrity trainers and just bond with our teammates that we work with predominately online. This time it wasn’t the city that felt alive, but the energy from the people in it. I lost my voice the first day from having so many heart to hearts and possibly from belting out country songs at the crazy bars on Broadway. Just because it’s a bunch of fitness coaches together for a work convention doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of fun! It’s an awesome balance and one I attempt to emulate in all of my personal travels… until someone introduces the idea of a tequila shot.

Continue reading

I’m dreaming of a Thai Christmas

Thinking of the holidays brought about melancholy feelings. Paired with the loss of a good friend from college, I have been battling some serious sadness the past week or so. I honestly feel guilty when I feel sad in Thailand because I am so appreciative of my life here. I love my job, I love my students, I love my new friends who already feel like family, but I can’t help but think of my family and friends back at home especially during Christmas time. I think of those who have lost their loved ones, like my friend Steve’s family and all of our WVU friends and my friend Corey, her parents and our whole Bishop Ludden community. I feel blessed to be healthy and happy, even if I am on the other side of the world. I am happy to be alive, young, and too naïve or too wise to be jaded. I am also happy because I love Christmas. I love the decorations, the food, the cheer, the giving, the family time, the music, etc. I could keep going. I’m basically Buddy the Elf Junior!

Two years ago, I couldn’t imagine not sharing such a special day in the “traditional” way. But last year I got some practice in spending Christmas in a “non-traditional” way. I spent Christmas in Hawaii with my boyfriend and his family. It definitely was not traditional but it was still incredible. I will remember Christmas night at the Royal Hawaiian for the rest of my life. I sat with Yale, Izaak, Zach and Krista all dressed up and in awe of my surroundings. The scenery was breathtaking with palm trees and warmly lit lanterns everywhere. We went around sharing what we were thankful for this Christmas. Yale went first and I was blown away by his comments. He isn’t exactly the mushy, sentimental type but his words were so honest and heart felt he set the bar high. We each took a turn sharing and I realized in that moment that Christmas isn’t about where you are or how you celebrate. Christmas is different for every family. Some Christmas’ are fancy and over the top, some are spent working, some are spent overseas in the war, and sadly, some are spent alone. Christmas in the end is just one day. The real message and meaning behind Christmas is one that we should carry with us and remember all throughout the year.

 Not only should we be grateful for what we have, but also we must remember that giving is truly the best manifestation of humanity that we possess. In the words of my good friend Dave Matthews,  “When you give, you begin to live, you get the world, you get the world…” And giving doesn’t have to mean material objects and gifts. Giving your heart, your love, your laughter, your time, or your understanding is more meaningful than anything you can buy or wrap or make.  As cheesy and cliché as it is, “the best things in life are free”, couldn’t be more true.

This year was probably the best Christmas of my life and oddly enough I was absolutely dreading it. I woke up at about 5:30am and opened three packages from my parents, my boyfriend and his family. I began to cry when I read my boyfriend’s Christmas card. I loved every single gift but the card was by far my favorite. He captured the meaning of our love and Christmas so well and I felt so proud because he does not enjoy expressing his emotions through words. He says that’s my job! Once I opened everything I went on a Facetime rampage talking to my parents, Yale & his family, and my brother & niece. I was so happy to talk to them and it made me feel like they were right there in my room with me. Since I know you are reading this right now, I love you all to the moon and back. Thanks for making me feel so loved.

When I got to school I was happy to see a huge Christmas assembly being set up! All the teachers from the Foreign language department were decked out in head to toe Christmas outfits from Santa Clause to reindeers, elves and everything in between. We belted out “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” even if it was terribly off key. Jackie and I spread Christmas cheer through our office and to our students by passing out Christmas cookies, candy and pencils! Then our friends who teach on the other side of our school (non-english program) invited us to come see the Christmas festivities they were putting on.

We jumped on the opportunity and stepped out of Thailand and straight into Santa’s workshop! There were decorations everywhere and even a whole classroom transformed into a pseudo photo booth with costumes and festive backgrounds to take pictures. Jackie & I spent a good thirty minutes in there with all the students taking hilarious pictures. As if the day couldn’t get any better we got to watch part of the talent show/Christmas singing competition put on by the students. It was so cute to see the Thai students singing and dancing to our traditional Christmas tunes. I initially was upset that we had to come to work on Christmas but I truly wouldn’t have had half as wonderful a day if it wasn’t for my school! After school we decided to keep up with our Insanity regime and burn off a few of those Christmas cookies we had for breakfast. Finally we ended our Christmas day by going out to dinner with our American crew of teachers. We had a little Chinese gift exchange, a bottle of wine (each haha) and tons of Thai food. It was delicious and hilarious and even though I was thousands of miles of miles away from my family, my home, and snow, I felt so merry, bright and Christmasy. We definitely celebrated in a non-traditional manner, but it reminded me that Christmas is a lot like life. You can’t try to confine and define it, you must accept it as it is and be grateful for what you have. Comparing your life or Christmas to a status quo is poisonous to their true meaning.  

I can honestly say, I had one, if not THE best Christmas of my life even if it was 85 degrees, I had to work, I wasn’t with my family and I was in a predominately Buddhist country 14,000 miles from home. Thanks to technology I even got to see and speak to the most important people in my life. As much as our society depends and relies on technology and as much as I bitch and complain about technology taking over, today I am truly indebted to technology. I am so happy and blessed to have seen the smiling faces of my loved ones on Christmas. I am so happy to see their facial expressions, their Christmas trees, their eggnog, and their furry friends. I am so happy to hear them say “I love you”, hear their laughs and look into their eyes. If I could write a love letter to whoever created video communication I totally would. Thank you for making my Christmas complete!!

After a pep talk from one my best friends Krohl, I feel very inspired to write. His enthusiasm about reading my blog made my heart smile. I love to hear that you enjoy sharing my experience because it connects us even if we are worlds away. I hope that every one enjoyed their Christmas as much as I did. I hope you remember how lucky you are. I hope I never forget how happy I feel in this moment. Tomorrow I am leaving for a 3 week backpacking trip all over Thailand and I couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present to myself. I am going to write in good ol’ fashion journal for the extent of the trip and then update my blog when I return! Don’t forget about me while I take a break from the digital world 😉 I promise to have tons of adventure tales when I return! I hope we all carry the Christmas spirit with us today and always and remember giving, laughing and loving is the best medicine in the universe! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Cheers! ❤ xoxo

 

Image

 

Image