In all honesty, I have struggled to drum up enough courage to write or speak openly and publicly about my own mental health, which feels contradictory to what we’re trying to accomplish through U!Shine in the first place. That being: normalizing the mental health conversation and shattering the stigma that surrounds it. Stating that the conversation should be normal is one thing, carrying it out in real life is quite another.Read More
May 3, 2018 is the day Michelle and I signed U!Shine Vienna into creation. We sat opposite our lawyers who laughed at us while we excitedly took pictures of each other signing the documents and freaking out. Then we left the building and screamed on the sidewalk. It was a good day.Read More
Several weeks ago, I met with Simon Horowitz, the British muscle man behind the name ‘FitBritVienna,’ to offer up a collaboration to start U!Shine Vienna’s spring season. The two of us came up with what we thought to be a good idea, got our details straight, and set the bar at a limit of thirty participants. My co-founder, Michelle, put it up on Eventbrite and we, as always, eagerly awaited for the ticket sales to come rolling in.Read More
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until, well, always: We are made for each other.
We are communal beings who thrive when we’re actively engaged in healthy and helpful relationships and communities. However, there’s a cruel irony that takes place when we, as individuals, encounter life’s challenges and either forget to lean into or lack a safe community for support, thus leaving us to deal with our stuff on our own.Read More
In mid-February, the event organizers of U!Shine Vienna set up the first Board Game Night of the year. We decided to create Board Game Night as a way for people in the U!Vie community to come together, have fun, and not feel like they have to talk about any struggles they’re going through.Read More
“A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” ― Rosalynn Carter
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge two truths: One, we need relationships. Two, relationships are hard work.
Any human being who has ever known another is aware of the double-edged sword that is being in a relationship. Though beautiful and necessary to our survival, relationships are messy, confrontational, and even at times, painful.Read More
After months of living and working in limbo, we were ecstatic and equally relieved, to finally reach a place of completion with the U!Shine Vienna website. At that point, we felt appropriately prepared to begin hosting events for those in the community we are hoping to reach. Before we could start with workshops and seminars on mental and emotional health, however, we wanted to answer a question on the minds of many: What and who is U!Shine Vienna?Read More
If you’ve been following our dream for U!Shine Vienna from the beginning, then you know 2018 was a huge year for us. It was a year all about building: Working to get U!Vie (our self-dubbed nickname) founded as a legal entity, gathering a team, opening a bank account, creating a website, finding our voice on social media, and networking among a number of other exciting moments.
It was also a year of extraordinary and excruciating growth. Extraordinary because, whoa, U!Shine Vienna exists and we’ve met so many phenomenal people in Vienna, immigrants and locals alike, due to its existence. Excruciating because, as growth does, we’ve been stretched in uncomfortable, disappointing, and at times, disheartening ways. I tell you this not to kill the mood, but rather, to be transparent in how we’ve experienced the realities of founding this organization.Read More
In late Winter of 2017, Michelle contacted Holly out of interest to meet her for coffee. Both Holly and Michelle are American-expat bloggers in Vienna and have been followers of each other for a long time. They met in Cafe Little Britain - an oasis of a cafe with British charm, culture, and delicious English breakfasts. Interestingly enough, this cafe is Holly’s sanctuary - a special place in Vienna where she feels safe and at peace - and found out about this cafe through Michelle’s blog.Read More
To think back to the person, the Holly I was in 2014 and 2015, generates feelings of disbelief, sorrow, curiosity, and joy. My person, the part of myself that makes me ‘me’ was there as it always has been. But the rest? The rest of me was lost in the thickest mental fog I’d ever experienced in my life.Read More