WCW: Ashley Katchadourian

It’s March and what do you know I made you wait all month for this #WCW too. 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 Ashley.

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Ashley and I met at an event in Sydney, Australia called Rad Livin. I found this event on Instagram and decided to go by myself even though I didn’t know anyone. Ashley had the same calling (except she came all the way from California!) Luckily I saw this pretty brunette sitting by herself and decided it would be a good seat. We instantly bonded over being American and then figured out we had a lot in common. We spent the whole day together at the festival and everyone thought we came together. Luckily, thanks to the power of social media we stayed in touch and eventually Ashley moved back to Sydney. I have seen Ashley transform from talking about her dream life the first time we met to actually living which is pretty fricken amazing to witness. Thanks, Ashley for all you create in this world. Thanks for your young, hungry, hustle mentality and being someone I can always bounce ideas off of. I’ll let her take it from here.

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

A woman living passionately doing what she loves.

  1. What do you do for a living? What is the most challenging part about it?

The most challenging part about what I do for a living is explaining what I do for a living. Simply put, I am a content creator. Right now, I’m the community manager and do video for festival called #RadLivin, an annual festival held in Sydney, Australia created to inspire people to do what they love now. Additionally, since I graduated university, I have oscillated working for my family business, which is how I finance everything I’ve done for the last 3 years. I am currently in the application process for a video gig in Manhattan, NYC.

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We Can Do Hard Things: Week 8

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I can’t believe phase two is over. Honestly, it has been much more exciting of an experience than I thought it would be. I have never committed to something for this amount of time before and although I am very consistent without this type of intense program, this has taken my discipline to a whole new level. Here is my latest vlog recapping the past two months.

I have worked SO HARD for the past 52 days– I’m not sure how many of you have been following my whole journey but I took on a BRAND NEW 80 day workout & nutrition program. It’s no joke but I feel stronger than I ever have and I feel so proud of the discipline I have cultivated. What have I learned so far about health & really about life?

1. GOING ALL IN is the only way to GO! You gotta say I’m gonna do this NO MATTER WHAT if you want to do anything. 2. FOOD FEAR IS REAL. I am eating SO MUCH (of the right things)  and I am loosing inches and getting the body I’ve always wanted.
3. Discipline creates freedom. It’s much harder for me to NOT follow a plan. I love having a plan.
4. Alcohol is not so great. Being without it for 52 days (minus ONE SINGULAR  pint of Guinness in Ireland) has been AWESOME.
5. Your progress might be slow. It might look different than everyone else but if you are making progress DON’T STOP.
6. Our body and mind are so closely intertwined it’s SCARY! My mind is stronger than it’s ever been because my body is.
7. Celebrating victories doesn’t have to be with food- there are so many other ways to celebrate.
8. Self care is critical. YOUR HEALTH SHOULD BE YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.
9. Doing what you said you would do feels damn good.
10. YOU CAN DO IT TOO

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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.

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Change is Coming: Week 3

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Week 3 was the start of a roller coaster. I felt so strong and motivated to keep upping my weights and getting stronger in the program. I knew that on Saturday I would be flying to Ireland and facing some challenges of getting my workouts in at my Air Bnb and staying on track with my nutrition in a country that is known for its alcohol and hearty foods. Since I knew I was going away, this made me focus on my nutrition and workouts even more for Week 3. I finally felt like I was in a routine with the timed nutrition and really feeling good about the workouts. Hear all about it here in my Week 3 vlog. My visible physical progress feels as if it plateaued a bit BUT visible physical progress is not the goal here. It’s a side effect. I’m still showing you my photos to hold myself accountable. 

Unfortunately I knew that disorder was on the horizon. First would be my 4 day holiday to Ireland and then a week long trip to NYC. I will share more about those in my Week 4 blog, but I want to focus on Week 3. On Saturday I woke up early and got in my cardio routine before we headed to the airport. My boyfriend meal prepped our food for the plane so we had healthy lunch and snacks. When we arrived in Dublin we took the bus to our Air Bnb only to find out that apparently heat wasn’t in the cards and it was freezing in that house. Not letting it get us down we walked over to the local vegetable market and butcher and picked up some essentials for dinner Saturday night and meal prep for all of Sunday because we had a 12 hour tour booked to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway on the other side of Ireland.

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Stronger: Week 2

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Week 2 has come and gone and I am feeling an extremely positive energy this Monday. Watch my vlog and soak up some of those good vibes. The second week is typically harder because the newness wears off. The workouts are just as hard but they aren’t brand new so it’s easier to think about the reasons why you want to give up rather than the reasons you want to push harder.

I finished my workout this morning and I took my progress pictures and I was in awe by what I saw. In just 14 days I see a change in my body and spirit. I feel empowered. I feel disciplined. I feel confident.  I feel like I want to shout from the mountain tops. Movement. Whole foods.  Community & Support- THAT’S ALL YOU NEED. It doesnt’t mean that it is easy but it does mean that it’s simple. The recipe for success with your health and fitness is pretty simple but the mental journey is what sometimes makes it complicated.

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The Power of New: Week 1

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I am sweating bullets right now. I am trying to wrap my head around how I can better serve others in their healthy lifestyle pursuit. Everytime I commit to a new workout program & nutrition plan with my online fit community- it blows my mind how transformative it is. Not just the inches lost and the new healthy habits gained, but the actual mental and spiritual effects- I feel I have trouble conveying with sweaty selfies. I have done many programs all out in the past but it never occured to me to utilize my other biggest passion to document the journey. Not just my Instastories of daily workout moves and recipe ideas (which definitely are there– you want them follow me there @ensusiasm) but the deeper side with my words.

While I was working out today , I decided– it’s not too late! Week 1 is in the books so from now on I will share a weekly review both on video and here on my blog. Here’s my first vlog.

Of course I will discuss the logistics of meal plan, workouts, etc. but this is more for you to walk hand in hand with me and see what goes on mentally throughout the process. You can follow along for inspiration in your own journey or just to see what happens for me. I hope it is one more way I can use my own journey as a message of hope and inspiration for those who are struggling. If you have any questions or want help starting a journey of your own, my inbox is always open for you. My job is to help others get started and I would love for you to be apart of the magic. Here is my starting point.

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WCW: Veronica Drayton

2018’s first WCW is an extra special one. 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 Veronica. 
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I met Veronica when my very first #WCW of the series, Hollie, invited me to The Goddess Group picnic in Sydney. Not only did I get to spend time with the founder of the Goddess Group, Melissa Ambrosini, but I also got to meet all of the wonderful women who had been attending the groups.
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Veronica and I got along right away because of those North American vibes! I was drawn to her beautiful tattoos and her kind but very commanding personality. We were the last people at the picnic and took the bus and train together so we had the maximum time to chat. Anyone who can willingly talk as much as I can instantly gets brownie points in my book. We connected on many levels and I remember getting off the train and thinking, “I really like that girl. I hope we become friends.”  Unfortunately I met Veronica shortly before I had to leave Sydney but I got the opportunity to attend one of her Detox Your Life workshops and she sparked a new love for essential oils in me and strengthened my love for meditation. Luckily after I left Sydney, we have remained in close contact with social media and the interwebs.

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New Year, New You: Balance is a lie  

Some days I amaze myself, other days I eat hummus with a spoon and no pants. It’s all about that balance, right?

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Wrong. What if I told you balance is a lie. It’s a false ideology that you are never going to achieve and actually may cause you more heartache than inspiration. Well, that’s dramatic. But parts of it really ring true so let me help you shift your perspective a bit.

I wrote this blog post last night and I woke up early sat on my couch with my essential oils and my crystals and pressed play on the Calm app for my meditation as I do almost every morning. Each day has a theme and today’s was “Sharpening your Saw” I always wrack my brain for what it could mean  and then it’s always better than I expected. Oddly enough(you’ll laugh when you read the rest of this blog) the meditation was about balance. But the sharpening of the saw analogy is one I must share.

A woodcutter who was very busy cutting wood started with a very sharp saw. The more he cuts the more dull the blade becomes and the less efficient he is cutting wood. But he worries about stopping the process to sharpen the blade because he already has so much cutting to do. Little does he know stopping will actually maximize his efficiency and improve the process overall. She equated this to our self care practices. Often times we believe we don’t have time to exercise, meditate, go for walks or take a nice bubble bath. But stopping to “sharpen our saw” doesn’t waste time, it in fact allows us to have more energy for all our other responsibilities and relationships. It might seem like you are using your energy selfishly for self-care but truly it is the most beneficial thing we can tilt our time and energy into. Listening to this was eye-opening and reinforced the concept I am about to share with you.

About a year ago I read an article, by my beautiful and talented friend  Hollie, about tilting. I understood this concept for myself but I never knew it had a name. Hollie explained, “Tilting prioritises making choices each day depending on what is going on in that moment.”

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WCW: Laura Oxley

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! December’s WCW is a special traveling sista. 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 Laura

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The crazy part is…I met Laura online in a travel group and reached out to her for some advice about New Zealand. Remember when I told you to meet strangers online.. I meant it. She quickly became one of the most helpful online pals I’ve ever met! She was so thorough and genuinely wanted to help me enjoy my time in Auckland. I was and still am very grateful. She ended up being Canadian but she moving to the U.K. so we kept in contact and are still in the process of meeting IRL. She interviewed me for her blog and I feel as if I’ve gotten to know her so well through her blog, her social media presence and bonding over expat struggles.  I’m so grateful I met you Laura and I can’t fricken wait to meet up IRL soon!! I’ll let her take it from here– just by her answers it’s clear to see why I like her so much!

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

Confidence. Someone who knows who she is and really doesn’t give a Sh*t what people think about that (one way or another). I think society makes it hard for women (and men too) to be who they really want to be without the stigma of “is that what the norm is?”. So I have so much respect for women who are so unapologetically themselves in every situation.

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The No BS Truth about Following your Dreams

“Every quest begins with a question– what did I come here to do with my life?”

Listening to Oprah’s podcast this morning featuring one of my greatest inspirations in my writing career, Elizabeth Gilbert, I was brought to tears. At  8 o’clock in the morning. In the middle of my workout. In my apartment by myself. Why are you crying Susie? It’s not even that time of the month. She discussed finding your calling in life. We all have this question spring up. Luckily, we live in a time in our society and world that we have the ability(especially as women)to follow our calling in a way that wasn’t feasible before. But it can’t be depicted as rainbows and butterflies, flashy aesthetically pleasing Instagram feeds and comped trips around the world. Following your dreams may look like that– but that is not the whole true story.

Follow your dreams, quit your 9-5, travel the world and all will be right in the world. No. The part that we don’t want to talk about following your dreams is that is hurts. It is a lot of work. You question yourself every single day. You question your worth. You cry a lot. You question your capabilities. You feel like you want to give up and retreat to safety and comfort– a “normal life.” You would rather watch Netflix and chill. Sometimes you definitely do watch Netflix and chill. You have to learn to rewrite your internal dialogue and be your own biggest fan. You have to seek self improvement, keep yourself motivated, organized and inspired. You have to do all of that and you have to LIKE IT– because you’re lucky. You’re following your dreams for goodness sake.

Why doesn’t everyone get started then? I’ll chase my dreams when I have enough money. I’ll do it when I have more time. I’ll do it once my kids grow up or I pay off my loans or I figure out what my dream really is. I don’t have anything I’m that passionate about. I’m happy doing what I do.. For now.

My dream since I was a young girl was to be a writer. I wanted it from deep within my bones. I wrote stories for fun at and age most kids couldn’t construct a paragraph. I didn’t understand why anyone would complain about an essay assignment. At one point I wanted it so badly, I decided I would be a teacher, and then become a professor and THEN I could publish my book. Once I had some street cred. I wanted to be a writer so I felt like I would just take those traditional steps, ones that felt comfortable and logical in my academic family. I wanted it so I knew I would do what it took.

Once my best friend Corey committed suicide when I was 16 years old my world turned upside down and I decided that would be my first book. A story honoring her life and her story. I started writing it then and I still haven’t finished. But I know that I will. I often wonder why I haven’t yet.

But I didn’t ever lose sight of this dream. It is real to me. It’s not a far fetched thing. It exists in my future. But I can’t say it was always at the forefront of my actions. I felt called to write but I didn’t always do it. I had the calling– but I didn’t always listen and hear it.

And then, I started my blog. I realized that I didn’t have to write a 10 page research paper with cited references and quotations to write. I realized I didn’t have to write the perfect young adult novel to get my words out there.  I realized that my voice and my words were relevant. They were important. I realized that the only way to be a writer is to write. And once I started to share what I wrote about my travels, I realized that other people cared what I was writing. They liked it and they thought I was kinda talented.

I knew this, but I didn’t own it. I questioned it. I was frightened to step into my truth and be a creator not a consumer. I was frightened that no one would care. But finally, I realized that I didn’t need them to care. I love that people respond to my work and my words. I love motivating and inspiring others. But I don’t need them to love what I write because I love it. I feel as if it is my calling to construct words, poems, blog posts, content, and novels. I don’t feel like it is an option– and I do it for free. I would continue to do it for free forever.

I also have gone down the path of becoming an entrepreneur… starting a business that is based predominantly on social media marketing and creating content. I still followed the traditional path and got my BA in English and my MA in Secondary Education. I taught for 3.5 years but I decided to do it in Thailand and Australia. On the side I started my blog– for fun and I also started my business– as a hobby. Through it all, I have been given the chance to use my calling– and I listened. You don’t have to have a blog to do what I do. I often put my words on the back burner because I need to complete my MIT’s(most important tasks) for the day. But now I realize that I have an even bigger chance to use my calling for impact, creativity and  information. Why wouldn’t I?  

That’s why I’m here writing this today.  I do it because I love it. It’s where life makes the most sense and I experience true flow. I could write for hours and never get bored.

That is how I know that this is my calling. That is why I was crying in my living room listening to this podcast at 8am because you can hear the same message 100 times but it is up to you to HEAR it. It’s up to you to HEAR your calling from inside and to act upon it. And it will not be easy but that’s not what you have to focus on.

As I was writing this– an Amazon delivery arrived at my house(weird, that never happens) and I received a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages. The Universe Has Your Back. How ironic. I began to read the introduction before I finished this. This line nearly had me in tears again, “You may be doing all you can to create freedom, connect to flow, and release your fear-based habits, but it’s likely that the moment you feel some sense of relief, you’re blindsided by the shadow of fear that dwells below the surface.” Touche Universe, I hear you.

For everyone following your dreams and pursuing your calling- either as a career or as a hobby.. I see you. I feel you. I applaud you. Turning your passion into your career isn’t just a catchy motivational quote on Instagram. It is a recipe for magic. It is painful. Don’t negate the emotional rollercoaster you have to endure. Don’t pretend it’s all rainbows and butterflies.

If you are following your dreams or if you need that extra nudge- I hope I can encourage you to pursue your calling, listen & hear your true purpose and then ACT upon it. Imagine the vision of your life.

And then level up– evolve and transform until your life matches that vision.

The essence of who you are should be personified in what you create and if it’s not– keep creating.

Summon that abundance into your life by taking ACTION.

To be a writer, you have to write.

Here I am showing up for you, not with the answers but with the question– what did you come here to do with your life?

I came here to write so that’s what I’ll do. I’m so grateful that you come along. Let’s use this beautiful day as a moment to pause- listen & hear and then take action. Because, you beautiful creature, the Universe definitely has your back.

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