What I really think about England

Copy of How to Survive the Visa Process

Dear England,

One year ago I stepped off the plane at 1 am and stumbled my way into the long customs line. I was leaving my family and friends & the drawn out, stress filled visa process behind and spider monkey jumping into the arms of my goofy English man. I thought it was my happy ending or maybe my happy beginning.

34605215_10211649792945154_1972013772734201856_o

This was not my first international move, but my fourth. My fourth time choosing to start over in a new country.

This time felt different.

Continue reading

How to Survive the Visa Process

How to Survive the visa process

A year ago today was one of the most emotional days of my entire life. 1 year and 48 hours prior, I received an email that I was waiting for four months. Four long months of being seperated from my partner in crime and the love of my life. Not by choice but because we were simply born in different countries and had different passports. I have to start by thanking everyone who supported us during that extremely difficult time in our lives. You kept me sane and I’m forever grateful.

On this email from the U.K. immigration office, it simply said that the decision for my visa application had been made, not what the decision was. I was staying at my childhood home visiting my parents until I got the decision. I had tracking on the package that contained the decision and my passport so I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know what time so I refreshed the app about 386 times that day.

My mom and I waited by the door the entire day peering out the windows for the UPS truck. I made her stand guard while I did my workout and showered. We took turns using the bathroom. We tried to watch cheesey rom coms to drown out our anxious thoughts but nothing was helping. I have never had so many butterflies in my stomach.

It was such a surreal experience when I saw the brown UPS truck park outside my house. I shot up from the couch and my mom had to catch me in her arms because my legs nearly gave out. I wasn’t sure if I could open it in front of my parents or what I would want to do. As soon as we got the package in the house, I barely remember what happened, the emotions and anticipation flooded my body.

My Dad opened the package for me with a letter opener and handed it to me without looking. My hands were shaking as I read the first line “You have been successfully granted your visa to the U.K…”  and burst into violent tears of joy. Straight up SOBBING.

“I GOT IT!!!!” I screamed eventually because my parents weren’t sure if they were happy or sad sobs. I immediately Facetimed my partner who was waiting for my call in England. I was still sobbing. I won’t lie, I’m a crier but I didn’t expect that reaction. He answered the phone and I was sobbing and within seconds I froze. He had no idea what was happening and thought I didn’t get it. I hung up and tried again and thankfully got a better connection. He was so relieved they were tears of joy. The stress and the build up of almost 2 years of international visa drama were over (for now), just like that with one UPS delivery.

IMG_1392

This all sounds very dramatic, trust me, it was. That’s why looking back a year later I can’t hardly believe that was our reality. When I was going through the process of applying for a partner visa in the U.K. I had no idea where to go to for advice and all I wanted was some personal experience. I couldn’t really find any blogs and all I wanted was someone who understood. It was so stressful it’s taken me a year to even be able to write about it. Every website had conflicting information and you had to pay a lot of money even to get an appointment to see if you wanted to potentially work with an immigration lawyer.

Continue reading

Can you Thrive through the Holidays?

I wanted to write a holiday “survival”-esque blog post  based on the mental health check-in I did with my virtual wellness community. I saw a dramatic response that most people are struggling this time of year and not necessarily feeling merry and bright. So I took to the internet to see what others have done. Every article that I read for inspiration and research said how to “survive” the holidays. I understand that it is supposed to be a joyous time but also is a difficult time for a lot of people. But is that really the standard we want to set for ourselves? Merely surviving?

IMG_1352

There is often a battle happening inside of me. The darkness vs. the light. Usually the LIGHT wins. I’m not sure exactly what has programmed me to be this way but I know that my life and my holiday season is about much more than just surviving. Sometimes, some days, some seasons,  that is really all you can do. I completely understand that especially looking back to the days in my past I was full of grief and heartbreak. But I think to stay fixed in a mentality that surviving is what you are consistently doing is a serious disservice to yourself, others and our world as a whole.

I do want to give you some tips and reminders to take care of yourself just a little bit more this holiday season. If that means survival for your circumstance then that is what you can call it. But as I was watching another episode of Red Table Talk (if you haven’t watched head to Facebook right now and get on it) with Kid Cudi on mental health and a few things stuck out to me. Jada Pinkett Smith shared that sometimes all you can do is lean on something that “keeps your head above water.” I totally agree. But you can’t live there. You can’t stay there. She also said in the episode, “testimony is so much more powerful than advice.” I agree. So here is my testimony.

FullSizeRender

Joking. Kinda. Here’s more of what helps me thrive…

Continue reading

Getting Back on the Wagon

I am announcing this secret to the world again: There is NO WAGON.

47380523_2233963906636033_7747431449279594496_n

I made a post on Instagram about this and I got a lot of feedback so I just did an IGTV about it too! Why not throw in a blog post? In my post and my IGTV, I was relating this to fitness. This time of year Halloween- New Years people throw a giant blanket of excuses called “the holidays.” I can eat that… it’s the holidays. I don’t have to workout … it’s the holidays. I can drink five days a week…it’s the holidays. I don’t need to save money… it’s the holidays. And come January every decides they need to get back on that healthy wagon. But my secret is THERE IS NO WAGON. There is no wagon for health and fitness and there is no wagon for life. Ebbs and flows are natural. Last year around this time I wrote a blog about the concept of tilting, and told you that balance doesn’t really exist.

I am still singing the same tune. This concept is not to make excuses for poor choices around the holidays, but because being at peace with a life that is not linear is the most liberating gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Ups and downs are inevitable. Weight fluctuation is inevitable. You can’t go too far one way or the other without paying the consequences but veering off course a little bit each way is acceptable, normal, and just HUMAN for goodness sake. Instead of relating it all to health and fitness, I’ll show you an example of there being NO WAGON when it comes to your creative pursuits (in my case, my blog but for you it may be song writing, painting, jewelry making, or pole dancing.)

Every year since I have started my blog in 2013, I have started the next year thinking “This year is the YEAR! I am going to become and A+ blogger, I’ll write a blog at least once a week, reformat my website, include vlogs, master Pinterest, learn SEOs and knock it out of the park!” I’m reminded every year that: 

  1. That’s not why I started my blog
  2. I don’t do well with pressure, self inflicted or not
  3. I have a successful coaching business & my blog hasn’t ever been used to make me money..AND it doesn’t have to be
  4. It’s really hard to write soulfully every week on top of the other content I produce for my social media platforms
  5. My blog= my rules.

Continue reading

Why you should TRY being a “Morning Workout person”

I wish I could workout in the morning like you.” I hear this ALL the time. I ain’t Superwoman and I’m definitely not NATURALLY a morning person. Homegirl STRUGGLES… just ask my boyfriend. I help support and align clients every single month with workout programs and nutrition plans. In our private fit-fam community we discuss the importance of scheduling your workout like an important meeting you have with someone else and STICKING TO IT. Personally, I find the BEST way to stick to a workout routine is to do it early in the morning. No, it doesn’t work for everyone but I think you should at least consider. Here’s why and how!

CQ8A0620

Photography by: @thebrandingphotographer

WHY DO IT IN THE MORNING?

You immediately feel successful– Just like experts say making your bed in the morning is a habit that gives you an immediate  feeling of accomplishment, think about banging out 30-45 mins of an intense workout! You feel like a rockstar! That mindset is definitely going to benefit the rest of your day.

You’re in a better mood– Endorphins people. It’s no joke. It’s science. Working out has an “immediate positive benefit for your brain- increasing your mood and your concentration” Don’t  believe me? Take it from Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist and watch her epic TED talk about how exercise actually changes our brain. Why save that for after work when you’re just headed home to cook dinner & chill? Get those good vibes flowing in the morning!  

You don’t dread it all day– If I miss my morning workout for some reason, I know that I am going to spend the work day thinking about how I need to get my workout in. Maybe that’s just me? But I’ve talked to many friends and clients who agree. If you don’t do it in the morning it’s at the back of your head all day AND you are way more likely to skip it because things come up after work.. Happy hour, appointments, social activities, tending to your child/fur child/ husband/partner etc. For me, if I don’t do it in the morning it doesn’t get done!

More energy-Even though I need to wake up earlier to workout, I can tell a dramatic difference in my energy levels when I sleep in and don’t workout. I have more energy when I wake up earlier, sweat in my living room and then jump in the shower. If I go straight to work I feel frazzled and groggy in the morning and definitely not bouncing around my classroom like I am after crushing a 6 am workout.

Now the more important question…

HOW do I become a morning workout person?

Continue reading

WCW: Hannah Fitzpatrick

April and May have been CRAZY for me! Tons of travel, a new VISA for England(YAY, finally), and two weeks in Hawaii! The list goes on. Without further ado… here is my belated April #WCW. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Hannah.

IMG_8778

Hannah and I met back in highschool in Upstate New York. I’m not even sure where? Maybe a field party. (LOL) But we always got along great and as we grew up realized we shared a common love for traveling. We had the chance to meet up when she came to visit me while I was living in Thailand and she was traveling through. We made so many memories that trip and realized how much our traveling, writer hearts had in common. I have watched her transition through many life milestones from afar (thanks social media) and always marvel at her ability to seem so incredibly present and grateful for the little things. I’ll let her take it from here.

  1. What do you think makes a woman worth “crushing” over?

I think any woman that is working to better herself is worth crushing over. Generally speaking, as a culture, we are all too quick to judge others. Even if it’s unintentional, sometimes we look at other females and whether it be out of jealousy or self righteousness, we think we’re somehow doing better. But at the end of the day, we all have struggles and I think every single woman that sets goals, small or large, and inspires other to do the same is worth crushing over.

Continue reading

Oh, We’re Halfway There: Week 7

Week 7 Operation Obsessed

I can’t believe I am writing this half way through our 13 weeks. Halfway doesn’t even seem that far but seriously the time has flown and I have grown leaps and bounds, mentally, physically and emotionally.  Here is a my vlog recap to get you up to speed! 

Honestly, I’ve found it hard to write and take photos every single week. I’m not sure why but mentally I’ve been in a place where I don’t feel like much is happening in my body day to day. I feel like my results aren’t “worthy” of sharing because I didn’t have 20 or 30 pounds to lose. It’s scary to put yourself out there when you know how hard you are working and people discredit, criticize or dismiss your hard work. But honestly, I know how much work I have put in. I know the level of commitment I’ve kept and how hard I’ve been pushing every single workout. Everyday I show up. I’ve been feeling fabulous. I’ve been following the plan. And my confidence and self love is through the roof. That alone is reason enough to celebrate.  If you do want more of that behind the scenes make sure you join me on Instagram. Instastories  is a slice of daily workout moves and recipe ideas (you want them follow me there @ensusiasm)

The creator of this program said that Phase 2 is designed for “building” and I am lifting heavy weights and eating a lot of food. To be totally transparent with you I felt like I wasn’t seeing progress anymore and I was feeling a bit “fluffy” or feared that I was hitting a plateau. I felt like I was working so hard but maybe it wasn’t worth it? Then I saw my progress pictures.

Continue reading

Rolling with the Punches: Week 4 & 5

Week 4-5 Operation Obsessed

Rolling with the punches, baby. I am back!! Although I may have gotten behind on my blog posts I certainly haven’t with actually following my program! I decided after it was Saturday of week 4 that I was just going to combine Week 4 & 5.  I mean this is my blog, after all 😉 The amount of change that has happened in the last two weeks is pretty intense. After I left Ireland I went to NYC to stay with one of my best friends from high school. My travel back to NYC was long but I prepped enough food to stay on track with timed nutrition even in the airport and airplane. Did you know you can bring your own food in? I feel like a lot of people don’t know this!   As soon as I arrived in NYC I got the dreaded news that my bag didn’t make it on the connecting flight and was still stuck in Norway. So my friend picked me up with no luggage. Luckily I kept my sliders, loops and laptop in my carry on and some extra workout clothes. Preparation is key. 

The next morning we went grocery shopping and my bestie couldn’t believe that was actually what I ate. But once I started prepping for him and showing him how often you can eat when you eat clean, he wasn’t complaining too much! He was a trooper and even completed a couple 80 Day Obsession workouts with me.

I had multiple social events in NYC but I kept my self control and only had a few bites of dessert and indulged a little at the Art of Food Event my bestie invited me to in NYC. It was basically all the best restaurants in the Upper East Side coming together and offering a sample dish for you to taste. Luckily the portions were small and the dishes were quite healthy. I refrained from drinking even though everything was free!

Despite my luggage being lost I just focused on the things I could control, like my workouts, my meal plan and my attitude. I had no idea how I could stick to this very strenuous program while being in 4 different cities and drastically changing my current reality and home but honestly, it all starts with mindset. If you become a “victim” in the situation of course you aren’t going to stay on track. I was in NYC for the first time in 6 months- do you know how badly I wanted to eat EVERYTHING especially pizza and bagels? But I knew that they would be there when I returned and I was committed to trying my personal best despite the circumstance.  I was not the victim. I was the caption of my ship despite the stormy seas. Week 4 ended on a high note getting my luggage back and feeling immense pride for sticking to my schedule and completing the first phase of three in the program. 

Week 5 is the first week of Phase 2 and we got 6 new- more advanced and challenging workouts. I started again in a new place, this time moving in temporarily to stay with my brother and his family for the next few months while my visa for England is sorted out. Again, on the first day I headed to the grocery store( THEY HAVE ALDI HERE- YAY) , explained to them I would need a bit more room in the fridge than a normal guest (LOL SORRY GUYS) and got down to business. Since I will be sharing the fridge with a busy family of four I decided to do bulk meal prep and just keep all the veggies in one, meat in another and carbs in another. This way I can easily plate up my meals but I won’t disturb order too much.

Not only was it a change in location but a change in schedule as I took on a few part time nannying gigs while I’m here and will be helping out with my niece and nephew too! Everyday I do my workout in the living room and a lot of days I have those little eyes watching. They ask me questions about my superfood shake, they ask questions about the workouts, the food, everything and I love to plant little healthy seeds from their crazy fitness coach auntie.

FullSizeRender (17)

In Phase 2 the new workouts have been hard– but in a good way. I also bumped up to Plan C in the meal plans and have been lifting heavier weights. The amount of food I am eating y’all– it’s unbelievable. To be honest I feel like I saw less progress in Week 5 as compared to the other weeks but I think my body needs to get used to the increase in calories. These weekly progress photos aren’t necessarily to show epic change just to document the process! 

Overall, I am feeling so proud of myself and ready to crush the rest of this program. I have come this far and stuck to it despite so many temptations and “reasons” to cheat. Despite two countries and 4 cities. I didn’t think it was possible. Like I said it hasn’t been perfect but it’s been damn near close for me. Rolling with the punches, indeed.

New Years PLOT TWIST

Last year for my end of the year project I did a series of excerpts from 2016 blog posts and I loved how it turned out. I felt proud of my creativity and enjoyed reflecting on the year past. This year felt a bit different. Content, content, content. You have to give your readers good content. But sometimes, you simply aren’t sure what will be meaningful or useful to your readers. I will give you a summary of my reflection on 2017 and my intentions for 2018 based on the questions I found on Melissa Ambrosini’s blog, someone I really admire. One word to describe 2017 was unexpected and one word I want to describe 2018 is transformative.

It’s easier to reflect on the year when you feel really accomplished and proud. I can’t say that’s my gut feeling going into reflecting this year, but after I answered the questions and dug deeper into myself I realized I am extremely proud of myself.

FullSizeRender (9)

If you are new here or you need a recap, I started 2017 living in Australia, teaching part time at an English language college and running my coaching business as a part-time side hustle. After about 1.5 years in Australia, I finally found my true girlfriends and I was lucky to be a part of an awesome community One Wave. I was truly creating a community of my own networking with other travelers on a similar path. In February 2017, my partner and I got the news that our sponsorship visa had been denied and we had 28 days to leave Australia. We were shocked and I was actually heartbroken but my partner was determined to stay positive so we booked a trip to Bali and applied for a visa for New Zealand. We decided we would use this as a transition to hopefully make our way back to Australia.

Life seemed to have different plans for us. After 5 months in New Zealand we left for an epic long term travel adventure to America and Europe(mainly to meet each others families in America and England and other important events along the way.) Our two month trip was incredible. One of the best adventures I’ve ever had. By the end of it we felt called to stay in England and try to plant our roots here. Once again, we have the obstacle of a visa to face. I’ve spent September- January here in England on a tourist visa and I will return to America early next month to apply for my more permanent visa. This process will likely take a few months and there are no guarantees not to mention my partner and I will have to live separately for a few months. I am starting 2018 still in a transition period. This is my reality and to be quite frank, it’s not easy. 

Continue reading

A Slice of NYC: My tips on the Big City

Sitting down to write a blog post on NYC is pretty intimidating. I am originally from New York(the state) but I have very strong ties to New York City as it’s where my parents met and fell in love, many of my family members still live and arguably my favorite city in THE WORLD. How could you really give a must do list when you can honestly do anything and everything. This summer I got to play tourist(and tour guide) in NYC showing my adorable english boyfriend the ropes. I haven’t shut up about New York since we started dating almost two years ago so I had to blow his mind. Here is what we crammed into 5 days and some additional tips from my insiders who have lived in the city for a long time. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this article!!

Photo cred: @thereelnickbell

Accommodation: Luckily I don’t really have to worry about this one because I casually couch surf between my brothers, childhood besties and college besties who live all around the area. But I highly suggest getting out of Manhattan!

Public transportation is accessible and Ubers are everywhere. The prices will be much better a little further out. I prefer Brooklyn to any area in NYC. It has so much charm, good food, funky art, a fun nightlife and it’s much less crowded than Manhattan. Sure, go see the hussle and bussle but if you have more than a night or two I would recommend staying in Brooklyn to get a broader perspective of what New York has to offer.

Brooklyn spots: Brooklyn Promenade, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Museum,  Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, A raging warehouse party(usually promoted by word of mouth), Brooklyn Barge, Brooklyn Brewery. Drop in for a yoga class at Yoga to the People.

 

 

Classic NYC spots: Central Park (go to the reservoir on E 90th St.) & Time Square- Awesome experiences but don’t spend all your time there!!! There is so much more to see. The Freedom Tower & 9/11 museum, Washington Square Park, Bryant Park. Shopping on 5th ave(head to Madison Ave for the same shops but less people.) 

Continue reading