Let’s Celebrate: International Self Care Day

In honor of International Self Care Day I am taking care of my soul the best way I know how. I haven’t felt quite like myself in months. My business partner and I had a video chat yesterday and as I opened up to her and we quickly realized what was missing for me. As I sat down on the train this morning ideas started pouring out of me and I realized that I haven’t written a “headspace” article in so long or really any blogs AT ALL! 

I won’t lie, for a writer, I suck at sticking to weekly blog posts. Why? I create content every single day for my social media. I create content to mentor my coaching team and in my wellness groups. I create lesson plans & writing activities for my classroom. I often justify not sitting down to write because I know I can’t spread myself too thin and I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I need to focus on tasks that push my business forward.

But I when I discuss mental health, self-care, self-love, and doing what you love- I am immediately drawn back to my words. If you are a writer you understand. If you are a dancer you understand. If you feel called to any creative expression, you understand. Simply put, when I don’t write, I don’t feel like myself. When I don’t feel like myself sometimes I don’t write. Sometimes the very thing that seems the most difficult is exactly what you need.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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A Slice of England: Beyond London

 

I came to England for the first time in August to meet my partner’s family and travel in Europe for the summer. My partner and I decided to stay longer term and I’m hoping to make it my home now(after a few months of sorting out my visa.) Many people think London as soon as you say England, but just like New York is much bigger than New York City– England is much more diverse than London. London is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but newsflash to my American peeps..  I don’t live in London. I am definitely not an expert on England and I still have tons of places I want to visit but I am going to share with you the gems I’ve discovered since living in Southern England for the last four months! When you plan your trip to England– explore a bit more and see what else this historical and adorable country has to offer.

Glastonbury– This was my first stop when I came to England because it’s my partner’s hometown. It is most famous these days for the huge Glastonbury music festival so most people know the name but haven’t been there when there aren’t 100,000 others lined up in tents raving for five days.

The town itself tiny- it’s colorful, charming and very spiritual. The history runs very deep.The streets are lined with crystal shops, vegan and vegetarian cafes and hippie clothing stores. Right in the center of the town are the Glastonbury Abbey ruins– a former monastery from the 7th century that was burned down in 1184. Christian legends claim the abbey was founded in the 1st century by Joseph of Arimathea.  Another famous landmark in Glastonbury is the Tor. You can see the giant hill with Saint Michael’s roofless tower from miles away. It is said to be a very spiritual location linked to many myths about King Arthur and has a lot of other lasting mythological and spiritual associations. The hike up is steep but the view at the top is incredible.

 

Some of my favorite spots: The Chalice Well, Rainbow Cafe, Red Brick Building– morning yoga classes, brunch at the Boca Bar(which also turns into an amazing night out- think silent discos, live local music and art gallery & bubbles type events) and simply wandering down the high street peeking in all the crystal, book and charity shops and people watching– you will not be disappointed as the fairies, witches and quirky attire is plentiful.

Bath– I fell completely in love with England when I step foot in Bath. It is the definition of a quaint English town with so much character- it almost doesn’t even look real. When I first arrived in England everything looked miniature to me. The houses, cars, buildings, roads. When my partner’s mom picked us up from the airport(we were exhausted traveling from New Zealand) I woke up in a panic in the back seat because I thought we were driving down a one way street! I couldn’t believe how narrow the roads were, and that wasn’t even the worst of them!

Bath is most well known for its natural hot springs. There is a large museum at the site of the original Roman-era Baths with many ancient artifacts, statues and temples. They have audio guides you can get more detail and it’s easily accessible for museum goers like me. I definitely want to see it but I don’t want to spend 2 hours at each exhibit. Quick and dirty is my approach for museums.

Some of my favorite spots:  the Botanical Garden and Royal Victoria Park, a picnic in front of the iconic Royal Crescent, Kennet and Avon Canal and just walking around exploring the amazing architecture, shops and cafes throughout the city. We only had a day there and I felt like we saw a lot but if you have more than one day there are many art galleries, fashion museums, history museums I have on my list for next time.

Bristol– This place is turning into the coolest city and county in South West England. While in England I have lived 30 minutes outside of Bristol(in a quriky little beach town called Weston-Super- Mare)  so I have been there quite a few times and everytime I discover something new to love about it. It has a bigger city feel but there are so many unique areas along the Bristol Harbour and adorable spots like Clifton. The arts are a plenty, the food is delicious and there is always something going on. I’m no expert but these are the places I have enjoyed so far

Clifton Suspension Bridge– In August right when I arrived we went to Bristol for the popular annual Balloon fiesta- bought a little picnic and climbed the hill to Clifton Observatory which has an incredible view of the bridge and the city! Unfortunately the windy weather lead to the balloons being cancelled but the view itself was magical!

Brunch spots– I’ve brunched a few times in Clifton. Proper brunch menus with avocado toast, eggs benny, and my personal fav shakshuka. Primose Cafe and Bistro on Boyce Ave has outdoor seating and very affordable brunch prices. The Crafty Egg was a cozy spot my friend introduced me to with an epic shakshuka and serious good vibes. The Grain Barge is an awesome converted barge that offers delicious brunch, pub grub, drinks and awesome views.

The Crafty Egg

Some of my favorite spots: people watching Queen Square, Arnolfini- an international arts center I saw the Grayson Perry exhibition, Street art- the birthplace of Banksy Bristol has tons of his work and many others scattered about the city. If you want to see more here’s an awesome guide.  Seasonal favorite was the German Christmas Market ( in November-December) and shopping/grabbing drinks along the harbor anytime of year.

Those are the main places I’ve frequented- but I’ve made awesome day trips to Wells, Burnham on the Sea, Sand Bay, Cheddar Gorge, Lyme Regis Beach,West Bay, Totness and Bantham Beach. All pictured below & worth checking out!

The most exciting part is this is only a tiny sliver of this beautiful country and I haven’t even explored the rest of U.K. yet. When you book your trip to England consider making your stay in London a bit shorter and get out there and explore. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Cheers mate. Happy travels! xxx

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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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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.

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WCW: Jessica Rooney

It’s November 1st but I had to wait till Wednesday to bring you October’s WCW I have a special treat for you. 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 Jessica.

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Jessica and I met through a mutual friend, Ariella while we were all traveling in Bali. We are all a part of the Facebook community, Girls Love Travel and Ariella and I connected and had been virtual friends for a while when our paths finally crossed in Bali. We were all able to attend a yoga class together. When Jessica and I got to chatting poolside, Ariella was like “yeah, I think you two have a lot in common.” Somehow this escalated to an outdoor shower photoshoot for our Instagrams and I knew I loved her.

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