As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Asia February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d 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, reality TV star, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company (Flipside Fitness), CEO of my own boxing club (Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing), and now I'm launching my 3rd business -- Empowered Clubhouse.

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and left. I returned to Toronto, Canada 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. But then I left again. This time it was for the Philippines. That's where I'm at now, living in the land of the happy people.

The struggles are real and the struggles are many but I'm living life on my terms, I'm calling the shots, and I'm doing what I love.

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Longest Friday Ever

 Had a funeral out of town to attend to today so I was up and out of the house by about 7am.
Snickers paying respect to his grandmother.  
He lit a cigarette for her, poured her a Cola and offered her some of her favourite snack.
Upon returning to BGC, I then had to rush and get ready for my 4pm meeting.  I was meeting with my business development partner first and then we had an investor's meeting at 5pm.
I wasn't able to go to boxing today, too much going on and by the time I finished my investor meeting and then talked to one of my business mentors about it over at The Refined, it was getting late.  Ended up being treated to some of my favourite food ever -- spareribs!  
It had been a long gruelling day that had started at 6am and didn't end till about 8pm.  So sitting down on the curb side for some amazingly delish street food was perfect.  I finally got a chance to breath and relax.

An Important Day... Friday, February 16

On this day 14 years ago I first moved to Korea.  I acknowledge this day every year.

Today this day is important for other additional reasons.

Today was the funeral for a family member.  She lived an amazing life of 101 years and if that in itself doesn't impress you then what they said at her ceremony all all the amazing people she helped as a doctor would.  She put many of her grandkids through school and today they spoke about that.  They also spoke about how her favourite patients were the poor ones because they always gave heart-felt gratitude and thanks.

Today was also the death anniversary of Snickers' grandmother so I was introduced to her at her gravesite.  It was interesting to note the similarities between how he celebrated her anniversary and how Korean's typically do it.  Quite the same, minus the bowing and picking of weeds.

Today was also the first investor's meeting that I had where I was accompanied by the newest addition to my Empowered crew -- my business development partner.  I recently added her to my team to help out with some of the background work, particularly the investors.  I have a list of investors but I'm brutal when it comes to talking about money and asking them for how much they want to invest.  I've given my industrial partner a percentage of my company and in return she's the one who will be closing the deals with my investors.  She's my closer, she's a go-getter and she's super supportive of me.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Staying Focused and Fed

The morning after Valentine's, waking up to Balboa being sweeter than ever... he's actually
letting me use some of my pillow, thanks.
Tomorrow's a holiday here in the Philippines which means today and tomorrow's deliveries for Yummy Diet and Supreme Diet all came today.  Now the challenge is to not only find space in my fridge for them but also fight the urge to dabble in all the meals at once.
And, of course, I ended my day with a good overdose of sweaty boxing.  Love it!!!

Someone Else Knows... Thursday, February 15

When I walk to the Philippine Army for boxing, I have a 2.5km walk.  Often I listen to music and sing along, other times I let my mind wonder and think of random things.  

Today, on route to boxing, I thought of all my struggles I've been through to get to this particular point, this very spot -- me walking down a busy road in the Philippines, heading out to boxing.  I thought of the hard times in Korea that, at the time, seemed like they'd never end.  The crazy amount of money we borrowed to make Hulk's, the stupid things we did to make Hulk's even happen, the dirty business we got into to make our business legit.  No one will ever really know the excitement and fear I felt owning and operating Hulk's.  To have finally had my dream come true but then needing to step away from it in order to save myself, literally and figuratively save myself.  

No one will ever know. 

And I know, no matter how I explain myself or what finer details I reveal, no one will ever really know.  No one will every fully comprehend my story.

No one will ever really know.

I had just blurted out that last sentence, "no one will every really know", when suddenly a jeepney slowed down and honked at me.  No one got into the jeepney, no one got out of it, and I wasn't close to one of the jeepney stops on that road but there it was, slowly down and honking at me. I stopped, looked up at it and what should be written across the top windshield of that jeepney but two words, "God knows".

And then it drove away.

I was left there standing like a deer caught in the headlights.  I didn't know if that was a sign or just a fluke coincidence and I didn't know if I was freaked out by the relevance of that or comforted.  All I know is that it was too on point.  I had literally just finished saying "no one will ever know" when that happened.  The timing was impeccable.  

Maybe someone else does know and I've just been too caught up in my own thoughts to realize that.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lots of Love Today

Happy Valentine's Day from my little faithful companion, Mr. Balboa Button, and me.
This holiday is all about love and I have nothing but love for this little four-legged boy so in celebrating this day, don't forget your four-legged loves.  Give them extra kisses.  
 Happy Valentine's Day to everyone on my street who were greeted to the firemen doing drills outside.  Not a bad sight to see first thing in the morning.  I'm not complaining.
My Valentine's Day look -- hot pants, killer heels, a white tank top, and a boss babe blazer.
This is my first Valentine's Day here in the Philippines and I loved it.
Holidays seem to be more amped up than in Korea and Canada.
 Picking what to eat for dinner tonight.  
"Your choice", he said... oh that was a dangerous move on his part.  I wanted it all.
 Leave it to me to use every utensil available.  I should have just used a shovel... hahaha.
After dinner, we decided to buy donuts for the workers at The Refined.
I'm not into donuts, they're way too sweet for my liking, but I did like seeing how they're made.
In trying to take a picture of just how pretty the donuts looked, I was then photobombed by the workers.  It was too funny.  First one dude jumped in and then they kept on coming into my frame.  Viola the final picture.
Ended Valentine's Day with movie tickets to go see The Black Panther.
Sorry I'm not sorry but Wonder Woman and her long-haired ladies can step aside.  The warrior women in The Black Panther were so much more badass and empowering... LOVE THEM!!!

Empowered Women to the Core... Wednesday, February 14

If the movie Wonder Woman got mad crazy reviews in the theatre for it's empowered women then the women in The Black Panther stole center stage. 

Step aside Wonder Woman, let Okoye, Naika, the Queen, and Shuri show you how women empowerment is all about. Take a lesson from them. You've got a scientist, a warrior, a queen mother, and a spy. They're all incredibly intelligent fierce women and if they're brains doesn't intimidate you then their passionate personalities and beauty will. Okoye sports a badass bald head and a bold redlipstick while leading the all-female special forces and slaying the bad guys, while the Queen rocks some badass snow-white dreadlocks.

I particularly wasn't impressed by the Wonder Woman movie and was left rolling my eyes at one too many scenes in it.  It was okay but I thought it was definitely did not live up to the hype.  But the women in The Black Panther... damn.  There wasn't anything I didn't love about them and I left totally ranting and raving about them.  My favourite character was Okoye and my favourite scene was when she came face to face with the man she loves.  "Would you kill me, my love?", he asks.  "For Wakanda [my country]? No question" she tells him.  He then drops his sword and drops to one knee before her.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, definitely go see.  Go see it and then tell me if the women in The Black Panther didn't just totally kick Wonder Woman to the curb and show what women empowerment really is.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Overdosing on Coffee in the Morning

I'm not awake until my breakfast hits my belly and my morning coffee works it's magic on me.
Morning meeting with one of my architects.  Super excited about designed the Empowered Clubhouse with her.  She has some fresh ideas and I've got a great feeling about this.
This is happening... love, love, LOVE it!!!
By the time 10am came around, I had already had two cups of coffee.
The early bird really does get the coffee, nice.

The Look and Feel... Tuesday, February 13

Sat down with one of my architects today, to go over my design ideas for the Empowered Clubhouse.  We met in the morning, super early, and my morning coffee hadn't yet hit me so I opted for a second cup.  

The coffee then hit me and so did the excitement over Empowered.

"This is happening", she said to me.  I know it's happening but her saying it to me really made what she was saying feel so real.  This IS happening.  This is REALLY happening.  

After my meeting my head was full of additional ideas so I went home and started a new board on Pinterest that is specifically a collection of pin ideas I like for the Empowered Clubhouse.  I then made various collages of pins to add to my investor's pitch deck.  I have several look and feel screens to present and later this week I'll be presenting them to two investors of mine.  

The look and feel of the Empowered Clubhouse is industrial and badass.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Starting the Week Strong

How I roll -- flip flops, leggings, a tank top, and Balboa by my side.
Well... in between my feet.  Trying to train him some off-the-leash rules.
Check it out!!!  Officially launched the Empowered website!
Yeah, yeah, yeah.... exciting!!!
That's right guy, I see you walking down the street, checking out my website.
Balboa, do you want to see it too?!
Had a serious MonSLAY vibe going on so I snapped this pic because I was grinning from ear to ear and feeling the awesomeness of the day, the fabulousness of the slay.
Then I continued my MonSLAY by representing us fierce females at a next-to-empty boxing club, the Philippine Army Gym, and killed it round after round.

A Strong MonSLAY... Monday, February 12

I've been working for awhile on a website for Empowered.  I pick at it, add things here and there, drop things, adjust other things, and play around with some ideas on it.  It's not yet done but will it ever really be?  It'll always be evolving, just like me.  I overthink a lot of things, I know, I'm well aware of this, and often this is what holds me back.  I want to prepare and then prepare some more.  My move to the Philippines wasn't a planned thing, I was just suppose to be here for three months, so my move here was totally unexpected.  But it's proven to be so worth the jump.  I took a leap of faith, jumped with two feet, and landed nicely here in The Fort, BGC.  

Today I took another jump.  Well, I was more like pushed.

I was pondering over the website when I decided to take a break and go to the bathroom.  I was talking to Snickers and he had been sitting there watching me.  When I was in the bathroom he took out his credit card and went into my wix profile.  

And just like that, my website was launched.

I had already purchased the domain name but hadn't yet paid for wix or made the connection.  Today it happened.

They say if you wait till you're ready you'll never be ready.  Many times there is no waiting till you're ready, till you're comfortable.  Instead, it's just about taking that leap of faith and going with it.  I'm going with my website.  I'd love it if you'd check it out and give me some feedback.  I have a mini blog on it that's more or less just for Empowered-focus things like events and training sessions I'm running and other random notices.  

It's just a website, sure, but it is more of Empowered that I'm putting out there for the world, potential investors and future clients to critic, judge me, and formulate their opinion about me and my company on.  

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Slaying It on a Sunday

Multi-tasking... chowing down on lunch while building my Empowered website.
The weekend means absolutely nothing.  I slay on the daily.
With a bag full of boxing gloves and gear, I waited for the ladies to come out to BoxHIIT.
Before the ladies arrived though, I was joined by some elementary boys.
I had them do some simple agility ladder exercises and then they stuck around to do more, 
an hour later, after I had coached the BoxHIIT session.

It's always super cool to be the one to do boxing with those who have never tried it before.  
Partner exercises bring some fun and teamwork to the training.
Good work ladies, proud of you two.

Full Speed Ahead... Sunday, February 11

I've been going at Empowered at full speed.  Things are coming together, not at the speed I particularly want but definitely at the speed that perhaps is best for me.  There's a lot going on that I need to digest.

My Empowered Team now consists of the following:
  • 1 Industrial partner
  • 1 Corporate lawyer
  • 1 Interior designer
  • 1 Architect
  • 1 Construction crew
  • 1 Branding company

Current Empowered Activities:
  • BoxHIIT in the Park every Sunday.
  • Empowered Small Group Boxing Classes every Tuesday at Hernandez Boxing.
  • FitSquad Mentoring Program launching soon at the drug rehab, DOH TRC.
  • BoxHIIT Special Event in March for a local company.
  • Special Event attendance requested at DOH TRC in July.
  • Galla showing attendance requested at a local school in late spring.

Things to do this week:
  • Launch the official Empowered Clubhouse website.
  • Revise the corporate papers.
  • Work on subscription letters the investors.
  • Sit down with the interior designer to design the new space.
  • Add at least 5 more pages to the FitSquad Trainer's Manual.
  • Design and print the revised Empowered business cards.
  • Meetings with potential investors.
  • Reach out to a particular fitness gym regarding a potential collab.
  • Get the tenant guidelines from the property manager. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Full Action-Packed Saturday

Photoshoot today with a fellow female fighter I originally met at Elite.
It was great introducing her to the Philippine Army Gym.
Truth me told, I get hangry real easily and real quickly after training so sometimes 
I just bust out my meals and eat it cold.  Still tastes super delish.
In the evening I headed out to a special event hosted by a friend and who should I run into 
but one of my boxers and her little cute pup, Ollie.
The event was called Not Your Average and it was all about sick beats and awesome dancing.
It was held out in Poblacion at this amazingly old house 
that had been turned into this gorgeous event space.
Note the massive mural.  My friend painted that for the event.  Love it.

We're All Connected... Saturday, February 10

Every women is your sister, treat her accordingly. This is a quote I posted on my company Instagram page this week but it's one that has a lot importance to me.

I'm all about women supporting women, hello my business is a women-only Clubhouse called Empowered, but I think us women have a responsibility to look out for the younger generation and pass on our advice to them. I know when I lived in Korea, I was always called "Older Sister Amy" by my younger friends and I did really feel like an older sister to them and to my female boxers at my own boxing club.

Just recently I was approached by a younger female boxer who wanted to do a feature on me. Her topic was women empowerment and she said instantly she thought of me. I was asked a series of about 13 questions and then today she came out to the boxing club to do a photoshoot of me while I trained. 

I was flattered she picked me but with it came a lot of personal reflecting. How is it is I embody empowerment, how can I become more empowered and how I can better help empower other women? 

To me, empowerment is all about becoming stronger, more confident, and more in control of not only who you are as a person what you stand for and also your life. So women empowerment is all about women really owning who and what they are and taking the reins to their life. I think I show women empowerment by really owning who I am and being loud and proud of not only what I am but with what I’ve been through, sharing my experiences and struggles, and being real. I think through sharing the ups and downs of my life, it can inspire other women to really mustard up the courage to be whatever and whomever they want. I try to live my life as an example. If I can do it, they can do it too.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Keeping the Faith and the Slay Alive

Some days I wake up totally pumped about slaying it, other days I have no honest idea on how 
I'm going to do it, but I'm learning how to have faith in the journey.
I took this picture when heading off to boxing. I was standing in the middle island when I looked up and thought to myself, this isn't a bad sight to see every single day... a beautiful blue sky and the street lined with palm trees.
Usually I come later in the evening for training but today I went in early, 
I had dinner plans, and I was so glad I did too.
Walked home super excited about the potential of Empowered and the team I'm building for it.

An Amazing Discovery... Friday, February 9

Who I thought I'd have on my team for Empowered and who is on it are totally different.  I went into Empowered by myself originally, then I took on a business partner, was planning on hiring a fellow pro female fighter I knew, and am now back to running the show but bringing on different team mates.  

Who I thought I needed are turning out to be who I wanted and who I need is very different.

I think I may have found a potential boxing coach for Empowered and she's pretty awesome.  I saw her when I arrived at the Philippine Army Gym today.  She was sitting ringside with a guy, chatting.  When she stood up to start her warm-up though, her energy totally changed.  She went from being this giggly, young girl to this very focused female fighter.  The smile left her face like it was game on.  

I started my warm-up but kept my eye on her.

She was sitting ringside when I walked by to turn the round bell on and one of the coaches who had just arrived called me ringside.  "Do you want to spar with her?" he asked.  I looked at her, asked her how much she weighted and then waited for the expected excuses I usually get when coaches randomly designate girls to spar with me.  Usually they act all shy or joke about being afraid I'd kill them in the ring but this girl just sat there.  She sat there looking at me, waiting for my answer.  "Sure", I then said.

I was hitting the heavy bag when she then stepped into the ring to spar with the guy she had been chatting with earlier.  Midway into the first round she took her headgear off; that's hardcore.  She dominated the rounds, then stepped out and went straight to the heavy bag to continue her training, as if that sparring was her warmup.  Wow.  I was impressed.  

I ended up talking to her in between rounds.  Turns out she's 22 and is on the Philippine National Amateur Team, super impressive.  I don't know if it was her English that was a bit off or the fact that she was in training mode but I don't think she really understood what I asked her regarding work.  Nonetheless, I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open for this fierce female and approach her again, tell her about Empowered and if she wants a job.  She had this amazing energy about her, I was so impressed, and though she looked like every other Filipina walking down the street, her confidence and how she carried herself definitely made her stand out.  You knew walking into that boxing club that there was something different about her.  She's totally what I'm looking for for Empowered.  She is Empowered.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Fun in the Sun

Scooting around on a foot scooter with Balboa by my side.  A little daring of me, sure, especially considering it was my first time riding one.
Took a break for coffee, of course.  An afternoon isn't an afternoon 
without a much needed coffee break.

Solid Stuff on the Go... Thursday, February 8

May have a new industrial equity business partner, a fabulously successful female who's got mad hustle.  Am pretty optimistic about the whole situation.  Yesterday I sat down with her to discuss why I want to bring her on board, add her to my crew, so today I worked on some stuff for her to review.

I've got a photoshoot on Saturday for a women of empowerment project I'm being focused in.

I was contacted today regarding hosting a fitness event for a particular company.  With March being Women's Month it's pretty fitting that they ask me, Empowered is all about women, so that's pretty awesome.

My FitSquad Mentoring Program at the Drug Rehab Center is still very much a go but, due to on-site constructions with the facility, we're having to push the launch date back a bit.  No worries there.  It gives me more time to create my Trainers-in-Training Manual and gives them more time to fill the two extra spots I have for their staff.

I trained at Elite today -- got a sweet ride in by the Flyweight crew -- so I was done training and at home by 1pm which meant I had the rest of the entire day to sit and work on Empowered.  It was a super productive day, wow, kicked off by a super killer breakfast at my favourite breakfast diner here in The Fort BGC, Larry's.  

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Happy Wednesday

I was craving my morning coffee, needing my breakfast, and still sporting mad bedhead when suddenly I noticed what was starring back at me -- my Empowered flyer!!!

This is the revised flyer that iBrandU made for Empowered.  It's a double-sided flyer with my BoxHIIT advertised on the other side.  I threw this picture of me holding the flyer online and offered a free boxing class to any lady who got my flyer today.  The free class is theirs if they post a picture of them holding my flyer.
No photoshop needed for Supreme Diet's meals, and Yummy Diet's meals too for that matter.
Yes, the meals do look like the pictures posted online and, trust me, they taste just as good as you imagine.
A workout without the work is just an out but I'm always in... intense, in pain, insanely sweaty. 
Hey I like that; that's a good line. I'm going to use that later this week for my Instagram.