As the story has it, I woke up and found myself on the very opposite side of the globe – the flipside. I arrived February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d simply do a year, then leave. Years later and I’m still here. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company, Flipside Fitness, and CEO of my own boxing club, Korea's largest -- Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing.

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I picked up one day and left. I returned to Toronto, Canada but only to pack up my bags and venture out again. Now I'm living in Makati, Philippines. Life for me is better in Asia and I'm so happy here. This isn't a new chapter in the book of my life though, it's a whole new book I've started!!! I'm a whole new woman. I left Korea with Flipside Fitness on my brain, Hulk's in my heart, boxing in my bag, and my four-legged friend Balboa Button by my side.

Life is an adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Surrounded by Success

I posted this picture tonight on my Instagram and Facebook, and noted how you should do your thing unapologetically.  Be proud of who you are, do what's best for you, and always surrounds yourself with those who life you up and not pull you down.
I got all dolled up tonight for yet another business networking event.  
This time it was a wine tasting at a wine museum.
I didn't really know what to expect from this event but I really did enjoy it.  It was interesting to hear the long history behind this age-old family company that started back in the 1800's then to meet some of the family and mingle with those in attendance.  

It Just Keeps Getting Bigger... Tuesday, July 25

Met up with Launch Lab today to go a business idea of mine.  I'm looking to hire them to take care of a part of my business.

Wait... what is your business, Amy?!

Good question.

It's funny just how many people are supporting me and encouraging me with launching my next business, my third business I should note, but just how many have no idea what my business actually is.

It's like my original company, my first business -- Flipside Fitness, however it'll be somewhat on the level that Hulk's was but different.

It's a female-only clubhouse, ran by women for only women... and I'll stop and just leave it at that.

Today I went to Launch Lab to discuss their potential and possible involvement with my business and in telling them my thoughts and exchanging ideas I realized that perhaps yes, this is more than I can chew off, but perhaps I can actually pull it off.

I'm contemplating taking on a partner for my business venture.

This will definitely have to be a corporation.

At this point in my business planning I am just as excited as I am scared about what I'm proposing.  I'm looking to launch something that's going to have any where from 10-18 people working directly with my at my clubhouse, another handful of people outside of the clubhouse who'll be taking on the responsibility and workload of particular parts of my business, and then there are the investors, my PR rep, the graffiti artist, my main business mentors, and my suppliers.  I'm looking at establishing a team of at least 40, and then of course there is the crew I need to hire to get this clubhouse physically up and running -- the contractor and his construction crew, the electrician, the corporate lawyer, etc.  And last but definitely not least, there are also the clubhouse clients -- the people I really want this clubhouse to really help and make a solid, healthy, happy community for.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Balboa, the Smallest Dog with the Biggest Heart

Unconditional love, defined by me as someone who loves me despite how gym nasty sweaty I get.
Balboa unconditionally loves me and after my morning run he was the only one who ran to me for hugs and kisses, despite how sweaty and smelly I had got from my run.
I think all the hugs and kisses I gave him after my run exhausted him because by the time 
I showered and sat down to relax for a bit he was already passed out.
An afternoon break from work meant no break from Balboa.
That boy is always on me, literally.  Whether it's sleeping on my lap as I do computer work or sitting on me when I take a quick break on the couch, he's attached to me like an added body part... an added body part that's always demanding extra love.
 Finally got away from Balboa.  Hit the gym for a solid upper body workout... and then returned to Balboa.  Again super sweaty but yet again that was okay by him.  He wanted more hugs and kisses.

Stuck on a Bump... Monday, July 24

Yesterday was Snickers' birthday so I wished him a happy birthday and reminded him of the divorce papers.

Ouch...?! No. It's not new news. He and I talked about this before. I dropped the "d" word way back but we had a real, let's-cut-to-the-chase serious conversation about it back in December. December 7th to be exact, the day I got my left forearm inked, over seven months ago now. 

This has dragged out for so long and I know it's because despite what he did to me and let me go through in Korea, he never really believed I'd ever leave him.  I went from being so in love with him to being scared of him but sticking around because I had made my dream come true -- I had created Hulk's Boxing.  I absolutely loved my club and my members so much so that I moved into my club so I could be there more often.  Hulk's was my life and I was the happiest when I was there.  Outside of Hulk's, slowly but surely I started to lose all that I had because I had started making a wall around myself.  I couldn't let anyone know what was really going down in my life.  I wasn't ashamed and it's not like I was embarrassed, I was confused.  I just didn't know how we could have gone from one extreme to the other.  Everyone was so oblivious and I kept it that way even more so after I reached out for help and those I reached out to saw nothing wrong with what was happening to me and gave me the most bizarre of advice.  Later I concluded that I had been searching for answers from them but the fact of the matter was they were a part of the problem.  

What happened to me in Korea has forever changed me, I know, but it often peaks it's ugly head out and affects me in the present day.

Tonight it peaked it's ugly head and I was totally called out on it. 

"I don't know what it's called but you have it", Skittles told me.  He was so upset with me.  He was referring to Stockholm Syndrome, that was the term he was looking for but couldn't remember.  I knew it.  I knew it because he wasn't the first person who has said this to me.  

What is Stockholm Syndrome, you ask.  Stockholm syndrome has been labelled as being a phenomenon in which victims of trauma or kidnapping sympathize with their captors.  I was never kidnapped but I was in an unhealthy relationship with Snickers and it involved more then just him, it also included his immediate family and some of his close friends.

I never knew what it meant to feel alone until I got married but sometimes I find myself defending Snickers in what happened.  If I was under so much pressure in Korea for being a Western woman than I knew he must be so stressed too for having married a Western woman.  We both were under a lot of pressure, it may have been coming from different angles but none the less it was stressful.  And we both dealt with it in different ways.  For me, I really limited how much time I'd spend with his family and some of his friends.  I even put time limits on my visits with them.  Often it was only 20 minutes every couple of weeks and I went so far as to use a stopwatch to enforce this.  Snickers went a totally different route with dealing with the stress.  He took it out on me, he stopped training, started drinking, and he started being rebellious and very careless.

It was me against Korea.  Everyone saw Snickers spiralling downward but instead of trying to help him, they simply wrote it off as "understandable" because he was married to me, a Western woman.  "If he had married a Korean woman he wouldn't be like this", I once overheard someone say.  It was my fault because I was white.  Those who tried to help me helped me more so to be more Korean, as if that was the answer to the problem.  

I spent 11.5 years in Korea, over half of which was with Snickers, his family and his friends, but in the two years I've been out of Korea no one in his family has reached out to me nor has his friends.  I've contacted them, his friends that is, to ask them about my dogs and the club but that's the extent of it.  Not once have any of them ever asked if I'm okay or if I miss Korea.

They know I'm better off.  They know I don't miss the rendition of Korea I was stuck in for so long.

Do I miss Korea?  Of course.  But will I ever go back to live there?  No.  It'd be the death of me.  It's nerve racking enough knowing I live but just a short plan ride away from Snickers and the dark side of Korea.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

From the Corner to the Floor

In my corner I had Coach Jun Jun.
In my opponent's corner, she had Coach Bon and two of her good friends.
Sunday morning sparring with a new sparring partner.
I was told we'd go three rounds but after two rounds we took a one round break and then went for two more.  It was great to have a new sparring partner to train with.  She seems really sweet and she gave a good fight in the ring.
See that cutie sipping on her drink and her table of 14, I'm with them. Celebrating a family birthday with lots of food, jokes and giggles.
Being healthy is a mind, body and spirit thing and my mind is definitely at ease seeing the amazing artwork in action of the very artist I plan to have illustrate my clubhouse wall.

Definitely Not a Day of Rest... Sunday, July 23

I was just suppose to go to the market today and then go to church but that's not how today went down.

Picked up veggies at the market.
Sparring at Elite in the morning.
Birthday lunch out in Eastwood.
Checked out a friend's artwork out in BGC.
Enjoyed a refuel day back in Makati.

One day, three cities.

I never did make it to church. 

No sooner did I finish sparring and go a few rounds on the heavy bag but I had a special visitor at the boxing club who had come to invite me out to a birthday lunch.  The birthday lunch was held over in Eastwood, the city where I use to live.  I don't care for the city but I care a lot for the people at today's special celebratory lunch so of course I went.

Lunch at T.G.I.F. was followed by a small blizzard at Dairy Queen.  

...and then I had pizza back at my condo.

It was a refuel day and though I vouch I ate pretty clean at T.G.I.F. (I ordered chicken and brown rice), I did nibble on some of the plates of those around me.  Hey, what can I say, the Filipinos do communal eating like the Koreans.  Anyways, the meal was pretty clean but I had a blizzard.  I asked for a mini and was given a medium so I scooped 2/3rds of it into someone else's cup to eat.  

But the pizza.... yeah, that's where things went a bit over the top.

We ordered a medium pizza, him and I, and I think I ate more than him.  I ate half.  

Yup, in my little 5ft 2" body that weighs in at around 125lbs, I packed in half a medium size pizza.

I could say "I'm bulking" and laugh at the lie of that statement but instead I'll just say it was my refuel day.  I eat super clean and no I don't believe that just because I train hard that I can eat anything I want.  People who say that, well, I want to punch them in the throat because it's absolutely not true.  Just like one good meal doesn't make you fit, one bad meal doesn't make you unfit, but a bunch of those similar meals does add up and stunt your progress.  I kill myself at training and though I'm no where in my health and fitness journey where I use to be, I am not where I want to be yet, and one of the main keys to it all has been food.  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fully Focused on Training

It's only fair that if I photobombed their picture that they'd be allowed to do that to mine... nice.
They didn't speak a word of English and my Tagalog is limited but one 
called me strong so I told them "I love you" in Tagalog.
 In attempt to make this week's morning fasted cardio more "enjoyable", I Googled a route and it lead me to Ayala Triangle Garden.  My new favourite spot in this amazing city; I love it!!!
Running in the morning and weight training in the evening. 

Working on My Branding... Saturday, July 22

Last night I had one of those moments when I felt some sense was shaken into me and today I woke up with the situation still fresh on my brain.  I was personally invited to a business networking opportunity last night where I was quite to shut off and dismiss someone.  After the meeting I was then taken aside and talked to.  There were three of them that sat me down and talked to me.  At first it was a bit humbling and I was embarassed for my silliness but I knew well enough to know that they only had my best interest in mind.  I know they're all in my corner with regards to getting my business off the ground and I'm completely and so incredibly blessed to have all three of them in my life.  

I knew I was in the wrong and I admitted it.

I left them having felt like I had been shaken, knocked some sense into my body, and today I woke up wanting to really be proactive with the advice and comments they had given me. 

So I went out for a run.

I had already scheduled to do a morning fasted run but today I mapped out a route and anticipated it being a longer run and definitely a better one than last Saturday's one.  And it was.  It was a fabulous run and I came home super hyper about a zillion billion ideas I had pondered about my business during my run. 

After showering and eating, I then got busy with working on my business.

Today's business was going to be on my branding... branding myself.

My brand is fierce and strong, and it has a dash of boldness and a splash of badass.

I've started to incorporate my branding in my pictures that I post on Instagram.  See the above pictures.  I was playing around with editing styles and love the look that a mix of colour blocking with gray tones in the background looks.  I started using that for all the pictures I post on Instagram. I think it gives a more focused and edgy look that's in line with my branding.

Friday, July 21, 2017

An Overdose of Business and Food Today

See all these people, they're waiting in line for this particular food vendor hotspot.
I didn't join their line but instead was treated to a private lunch menu launch party 
at the restaurant beside it.
Just recently the Belle & Dragon has revamped their lunch menu.
A local bar isn't exactly where I'd think to go for food let alone good food but their food was out of this world.  Seriously, it was so delish and we all left with mad food coma.
There were four of us who were pampered by the entire staff at Belle & Dragon.  
We were totally spoiled.
 After lunch, I was taken to Launch Lab, a company that helps revamp restaurants, along with other food services it provides.  Today I was introduced to them and I hope to meet with them next week to go over a more detailed approach to how they can help build my business.
 So much for early morning boxing.  I didn't get into training till much later and Coach Bogs was so surprised to see me so late.  I've never trained this late here before.
The boxing club was completely packed.  I counted 24 of us training.
 After training I eat... am always training and always eating.
Tonight I was treated out to SaladStop!... a favourite place for clean eats.
No sooner did I arrive home from dinner but then I was being called out by one of my business mentors.  We met at a local restaurant that was situated by the Japanese restaurant I ate at the other week so we dropped in.  My business mentor is familiar with them.

I had trained hard today but had also been treated to an overdose of food but what was one cookie, right?!  Right.  I just wanted to smell it but when the chef called me behind the dessert counter I knew it was game over for dodging the sweetness of these cookies starring at me.  I indulged in one.

Never As Planned... Friday, July 21

Today's ORIGINAL schedule:
10am            Boxing
2pm              Meeting with 3 gyms and 1 boxing club
9pm              Weight training

What REALLY went down... 
12pm            Lunch menu launch party at Belle & Dragon
1:30pm         Head over briefly to Damiana's (check out their graffiti mural)
2pm              Introduced to Launch Lab
5:30pm         Boxing
8pm              Dinner out at SaladStop!
9:30pm         Business network meeting at Smith Butcher & Grill
10:30pm       Visit Ikomai Touch
11pm             Business mentoring meeting at Mantra 

Today I was suppose to hit up 2 boxing gyms and 4 gyms via my boxing training, my weight training, and four meetings.  However, I only got in my boxing and I didn't get into train until much later.  Instead of those 6 training facilities my day was to be centered around, I paid visit to 7 different food places -- 6 restaurants and 1 food prep company.

I trained late and ate late but just when I thought my day was done I was called out for some business networking. A successful local business man and his wife have kind of taken me in and have been really helping me with my business planning. Tonight they wanted to introduce me to some possible important contacts. We then headed back to my area to chat at one of the neighbouring restaurants and that went late into the night. I got home well after 1am.

...and that's how my days are lately, so unpredictable but always work, work, work.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Location Hunting and Hating Theses Heels

Despite already having my heart set on a location, today I headed out to see some more.
This place was pretty awesome.  The parking alone was fantastic but the building came with too many complications in terms of how the owner is splitting it up and trying to rent it out.
After seeing three possible spots, I decided to walk in the direction of my home, to see the area.
Ran into some spots that definitely fed the outsider's view of what they think the Philippines is.
The Philippines is nothing like what most people think it is, those who have never visited that is.
Here is the Philippines that's not really advertised, the bigger part of the country that is gorgeous and overly populated with lots of trees and plants.
In the evening I headed out for a Louis Vuitton private party so I had to get all dolled up for that.
I got dolled up, sure, but I wasn't exactly comfortable.  I'm an athlete before I'm a lady.

I Was a No-Show, Kind of... Thursday, July 20

Standing in line, waiting to get in at the Louis Vuitton private party, I realized just how much I don't fit the "Vuitton crowd".  The women were all super dolled up, wearing quite the elaborate dresses, picture-perfect makeup, and salon-styled hair.  And there I was, wearing a short black dress with tape on my nippled under it because I didn't have a strapless bra but don't exactly have the larger chest anymore than really needs the support.  The dress was tight enough as it is; the tightness of it's fabric was enough support.  I had tried to do a cat eye with my makeup but my eyes always get watery whenever I try to wear anything beyond mascara so I had pretty much wiped off any traces of the makeup I had put on back at my condo.  I had done my hair like usual but added a bit of hairspray and that was pretty much the extent of me getting extra dolled up.  

I'm not a Louis Vuitton kind of girl.  I'm more of an Adidas girl.  You can get me dolled up but I rather be in sneakers and training clothes.  I'm an athlete, my life revolves around changing from one sports bra to another.  Plus I've got better things to spend my money on that overpriced bags... like training and protein!!!

I think if I had crazy money to spend I wouldn't buy anything at Louis Vuitton or by any high end fashion name.  

Top ten things I'd spend my money if I was rich...
  1. I'd have a personal chef come to my condo to cook my daily meals.
  2. I'd make a nonprofit spinoff of my Second Dream for young girls.
  3. I'd invest in some of my coaches here so they didn't have to work the slave hours they do.
  4. I'd put Balboa in part time doggie daycare so he'd have four-legged friend bonding time.
  5. I'd fly Pacquioa and Pyen Chi to Canada to live with my family.
  6. I'd pay for my close friends in Canada to come visit me here.
  7. I'd buy a guitar and take guitar lessons.
  8. I'd get private tutoring in Tagalog (Filipino).
  9. I'd get a weekly full body massage.
  10. I'd get some new electronics -- I need a new laptop, iPad and cell, and I want a GoPro.

I had been invited to the private event but never did go in.  Instead, I sat by the performance stage in the casino, ordered juice and waited for my friends as they attended it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

From Beast to Beauty

Today I went from beast... beauty... or at least I tried.
I had a business dinner to get to so I had to get my exhausted, gym nasty sweaty self dolled up.
Tonight's dinner party was being held at the spectacular a restaurant located at La Shangri Hotel.
The restaurant was called the Raging Bull and at the next table over sat some local celebrities.
I snapped this picture of them as I left.  I'm not into the life of the so-called rich and famous but that's the kind of clientele this place attracts.  It's a pretty posh place.
 It definitely had a rich vibe to the place -- stunningly gorgeous.  
I argue that the company who joined me at my table made the restaurant and evening memorable but it definitely helped that the salmon I ordered was melt-in-my-mouth delish and the apple crumble pie gave me the warm fuzzies. 

Fumbled but Not Out of the Game... Wednesday, July 19

I definitely fumbled the ball in tonight's pass but I don't think I'm totally out of the running.

If I may compare my situation tonight to the game of football here.... not like I really know about football.  I don't actually know much about the game despite my use of it as an analogy so bear with me here.  I promise it's not going to be a big analogy.

I fumbled the ball, I totally fumbled.  The setup was perfect too; I just had to catch the ball and go with it.  There was absolutely no one in my way... no one but me that is.  I had the opportunity to really score big but I fumbled and this isn't the first time I've fumbled.

I really need to put myself out there more, really go for it.  Holding back isn't helping my situation.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Working Out the Funk

I was having such an off day, was in such a funk, 
but I managed to push myself to get in a solid workout.  
I think I may have pushed myself a bit too hard in this workout though.

Feeling the Pressure... Tuesday, July 18

I was totally in a funk today.

I'm grateful to be here in the Philippines and am blessed to have my dad's driven focus and my mom's optimistic but I'd be totally lying if I didn't admit trying to launch my business here wasn't trying, testing or stretching myself thin.  

Some days it gets to me and today was one of those days.

What I'm wanting to launch is so much greater and so much more impactful than Hulk's but I'm doing it alone and it's as exciting as it is scary and intimidating.  Some times I step back and think perhaps I've bit off more than I can chew but then I realize I was the one responsible for Hulk's.  

Hulk's was my dream.  

Hulk's was my design, my ideas.  Everything from where the heavy bags would hang to the tiles in the mens shower room were my ideas.  Snickers originally wanted to rip out the massive counter at the entrance but it was me who had the idea to turn it into a juice bar so I fought him on that.  I fought him on many things before he gave in and gave up, allowed me full control of the total design of the place.  Everything from how much clients paid to starting up a running club for our members were all ideas I thought up and put into action.  

Hulk's was mine.  Snickers only helped in supporting my ideas and helping bring them to life.   

I ran the juice bar, I ran the mini pro shop, I coached the females and mini Hulkies, I ran the Crossfit circuits, I ran the running club, I ran all the social events, I ran the fitness challenges, I did the book keeping, I kept track of the members, and I even took charge of the parking area -- dealing with all those pesky parkers.  

Looking back at it, I feel as if I did do it alone.  Snickers was there but he was more like a security blanket for me to fall back on, a means of bouncing ideas off of (or fighting with him about).  

Now it's totally me though and today I really felt it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Jumping Full Force into the New Week

I'm all about positive affirmations and sometimes wearing one on my shirt is all it takes to get me refocused and training hard.  Today, my shirt read "I'm not here to be average, I'm here to be awesome".
Some days it's hard to bring 100% to training but today wasn't one of those days.
Friday, yes, but not today.
In the evening I attended a business networking event I was invited to.
The event was for budding entrepreneurs, particularly Fil-Ams (Filipino Americans).
I ran into a friend of mine, a fellow female entrepreneur.  
Her boyfriend is a pro boxer whom I've actually trained with.
The event was held at a local bar and both the bar area, the patio and the main room quickly became so packed with people that many opted to sit on the floor.  And yes, even a four-legged guy attended.
It was a great event, full of numerous entrepreneurs who ranged from budding to full on bloomed.  I mingled with them all afterwards, exchanged stories and business cards, and then went home with a headful of new ideas and leads to follow up on.

[Note:  I didn't actually get in on this shot.  I am neither Filipino or American so I sat out.]

This Week in a Nutshell... Monday, July 17

10am-12:40pm  Boxing
1pm                      Lunch
2pm-5pm           Business prep work
5pm-6pm           Weight training: legs
7pm-11pm           Business networking event

Boxing at Elite
Weight training
Evening business networking social

Weight training
Evening run with the Makati Running Club

Boxing at Elite
Location viewing for possible building
Business dinner with 2 possible investors

Special breakfast out
Business meeting with 3 gyms and 1 boxing club
Weight training

Boxing at Elite
Weight training
Possible sleepover party with nieces

Morning run
Local Market

1.  Meet/arrange meeting with Mr. J
2.  Meet/arrange meeting with Mr.R
3.  View 2 more locations
4.  Count to 10 in Tagalog
5.  Mail fan package
6.  Visit 4 more gyms
7.  Create 1 YouTube video
8.  Take body measurements
9.  Test out new gym with free pass
10.  Contact Spartan race organizer

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Never a Dull Day Here

Trying to simply enjoy my breakfast with my beautiful boy Balboa at the local Sunday market.
 However, what went down was nothing simple when a girl put down a bag at the next table.

 On a totally different note, I'm thinking about changing my hair.  My hair cut already makes me stand out here but the response I get from onlookers is positive.  I'm different here but different here sparks curiosity.  In Korea different was wrong and it sparked dirty looks.  The Philippines surely isn't Korea and God bless it for that.  Having said that, I feel more free to get adventurous and really ramp up my looks.
Today is my Rest Day, my one day off ANY and ALL training so while you see this picture and see the beauty in it, I see three reasons why Rest Day is so stressful...
1. My condo pool... I want to do laps!!!
2. My condo gym... I want to weight train!!!
3. My boxing gym (the building behind)... I want to box!!!

No training for me today, boo to Rest Day, so I stared at the pool, sat by the fitness gym, messaged my boxing friends, thought about training all day, and signed up with a local running club... frustrations 101.

...the struggle to NOT train was real!