Things Are Changing! (A Personal Update)

Tomorrow is a pretty momentous day for us, and there’s been a lot going on at HowToGYST HQ. So, seeing as it’s been a hot minute since I shared a personal update, I thought I’d fill you in.


Personal life

After over a year of waiting, tomorrow’s the day we can finally, FINALLY file for permanent residency here in the US.

Because the USCIS has been working on a huge backlog, we had to pull up a pew and wait impatiently. While the green cards themselves won’t come through for quite a while yet (current estimates suggest it’ll be at least a year and possibly as many as three), we’re also filing for travel and work authorisation.

Let me explain.

Once our application goes in, we will be banned from traveling internationally. That’s a pretty huge deal for me. Initial whisperings suggested we’d be able to file in November so I booked flights home for the end of October to see my family and friends before the ban.

Flying Over Greek Islands | Kos, Greece

As it turns out, we can file a month earlier so I’ve had to cancel those flights. (We did have the option of keeping the flights but, long story short, it would have meant having to delay filing by several more months and would have incurred several thousand dollars in extra fees. Boo to that.)

As well as filing for permanent residency, we’re also applying for the travel and work authorisation I mentioned. Assuming it’s approved, the travel ban will be lifted in 4-6 months (hurray) and – most momentous of all – I’ll FINALLY be permitted to work here!

That means that HowToGYST is about to be LEGIT in the States. As soon as my authorisation comes through I’ll be able to apply for a social security number and, thereafter, officially register the business.

So 2020 is gearing up to be a pretty groundbreaking year.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to get this show on the road. It’s been a long journey, and I’ve been held back from doing so many things because of my status here. So, assuming all goes well, you can expect big things in the second half of next year.


It’s officially football season which means Sam is now working 6 days a week. It used to be much harder on me when Scout was younger but now that she’s more independent she can amuse herself for the most part and I don’t feel quite so stifled and ‘stuck’ by the whole thing.

Speaking of Scout, she’s in first grade now. She seems to be enjoying it overall but I do know she’s struggling with the fact that there’s slightly less freedom and fun involved.

And oh, the homework.

It’s not bad but it’s just a pain to be forced to sit down and do something every day. When she gets home all she wants to do is play outside with her friends. I try insist on getting homework done first but I also feel there are more important things in life than spelling tests, so right now it’s a balancing act.

She’s also taking swimming lessons, and just passed up another level. My 6 year old can officially swim better than I can. (It helps that she actually enjoys it, whereas I despise being in water.)


Health-wise, things have been a bit up and down but, overall, I’m OK. I’m forever plagued by mystery illnesses, which is very unfortunate, but mercifully it’s never anything serious.

It’s been just over a year since I burnt out and it’s only now I’m starting to feel like I’m getting back on track. I thought it was an insanely long time to be still feeling the effects of it but, from some general reading, the year timeframe doesn’t seem to be all that unusual.

I did have some other issues – one that required a biopsy – but, again, nothing major there. I have some other niggling concerns that I may need to see a doctor about if they don’t clear up soon but, other than a recent cold, I’m generally feeling fine.

Feet Up At The Saguaro Hotel, Palm Springs


I recently read two of Cal Newport’s books – Deep Work and Digital Minimalism. The first is completely changing the way I work, and the latter has made me more determined than ever to cut back on my use of social media.

I’m still posting to my business profiles but I’m no longer scrolling through my Facebook or Twitter feeds (I just check notifications once a day), and I only allow myself to check Instagram twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.

Between the ‘deep work’ and the digital detox, my days have been transformed.

I’ll be sharing more soon.

"Deep Work" by Cal Newport


A few weeks ago I received word I’d been nominated for ’20 On The Rise’, an award that recognises people making waves in their industry. It was a complete shock, but a very welcome one, and I still have no idea who’s responsible.

If you’re the person who put my name forward, I can’t thank you enough. I’m still stunned that someone would think of me for something like that.

I honestly have no idea what’s involved in the process or how winners are picked but they’re being announced in the middle of October.

Flower bouquet in smiley face mug | Yellow roses & white daisies

Something else that’s happening in October is the acceptances for Alt Summit speakers. Speaking there earlier this year was such a highlight for me and, regardless of whether I have the honour again next year, I’m definitely heading back to Palm Springs to attend. Tickets, flights, and hotel are already booked.

But oh, to speak again!

My public speaking is definitely something I want to improve. Being a lawyer (in a former life) means I don’t have much trouble standing up in front of an audience, but it’s a completely different dynamic when you’re presenting a case to a judge than when you’re vibing off an engaged audience.

I need (and want) practice at that.

Wanting to give myself a decent chance of success I opted for not one but three pitches. I admit I’ll be disappointed if none are chosen (though, in fairness, I’m up against some ridiculously stiff competition so I’ll understand), but I’ll also be completely overwhelmed if all three are chosen.

Sometime in the next four weeks I should find out my fate. But as I said, I’ll be attending (and am very much looking forward to it) either way.

Exciting times ahead, as you can see.

What’s on the horizon for you?

If you want to catch up on other personal updates from me, check out these recent posts:

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  1. Hi Laura,
    I would love to follow how your business unfolds as you build it here in the states, particularly how you set up your Legal, Insurance, Financial and Tax practices and habit-building around those subjects. As a bloomed and wilted online influencer of old, that business-formation part had me done for, ‍♀️, but maybe you could help me to change that. A step-by-step from scratch would be awesome! -I’d be happy to be your guinea pig if you ever want to build an e-course around it and (hopefully) be one of your successful pupils, or contributors!

    • Hi Rena! It’s a little outside the topics I normally cover, I’m afraid, and I’ll have a lawyer, accountant, etc. do a lot of the work for me, so I’m not sure how much advice I’ll be able to provide.

      But I’ll be posting little updates here and there as big things happen. =)

  2. Oh goodness, I remember going through all that with my hubby. He received the travel and work permit stuff back pretty quickly. It felt like the rest took forever. The temp green card came in 4 months or so but the permanent one took 18 months and 2 extensions. We actually got our congressman involved because there had been no movement for 6 months. It got to someone’s desk and sat there. All good now though. I am so happy for you being able to move forward with your business!!! Congrats!

  3. Congratulations on your success this year. You are very worthy of awards in helping others and the awesome work you had done in HGYST. May your health improve because we do need you and your advise
    God bless you and loved ones.

  4. HI LauraI I’m so incredibly happy that your family is finally able to file for permanent residency status. I know what a struggle that has been. So many chips will begin to fall into place, once that’s established. So many vibes and intentions and tons of positive energy sent your way on that working out for all of you.

    Sam being away so much must be a little hard on all of you. Good thing football only lasts six weeks. I’m already over it. So many posts about it on Social Media to waste my time and data. Haha. I’m going to ask my son if he’s seen Sam, yet. He’ll think it’s so cool that I’ve chatted with the celebrity wife of a celebrity commentator. 🙂 🙂

    Homework gets so much worse as kids go up in grades, here. It’s awful. Think that the School Board forcing her to go to school in your district is terrible? Just wait until you see how homework progresses throughout the years. Saying that I’m less than impressed with our school systems and lack of health “care” is a big understatement.

    I almost forgot the best part!! I know you love how American schools have celebrations for everything. Well, I see Scout is already sporting Halloween wear. That’s good since most schools do a Halloween Parade around the school or community. Then there will be some big festivities that night, as well, which will be open to the public, I’m sure. Those are pretty cool because they give parents a safe place to take their children Trick-or-Treating. If her school doesn’t have something going on, check your local YMCA/YWCA. They usually do. There are almost always fun games with cheesy little prizes for candy or small toys.

    I hope this yucky cold or virus has finally run it’s course and gone away. Sending you tons of healing energy and good vibes daily. I’ll continue to do so untill your niggling concerns have cleared, as well. 🙂

    I’ve also started doing a digital detox. A bit harder thatn I initially suspected. I’ve decided to delete most of the apps on my phone. Deleting anything I can access from my browser. I use the Ecosia browser, so I should be accessing everything I possibly can from there, rather than apps, anyway. They plant trees by how man searches you do using their app, so it makes more sense to use it than an app on my phone that is taking up more of my phone’s memory memory and using more data. Definitely a move that I’m feeling so positive about making! I’m looking forward to updates on how that is working out for the better for you and your life. 🙂

    BEST, BEST, BEST of LUCK on the 20 On The Rise Award!!! {Here is their website so you can get info on what it’s about. You have so earned it and are highly deserving of it!!!! Very same for the Alt Summit. Fingers, toes, legs, arms, and eyes crossed for you!!! Haha.

    The best way to prepare for presenting your pitches is to stand in front of a full-length mirror, dressed in what you intend to wear, or are considering wearing, and gived the pitches exactly how you plan to give them to the judges while looking in the mirror. Watch your demeanor, the way you stand, talk, move your hands and feet. Listen to yourself. Is your voice shaky or do you sound confident in what you’re saying? Look yourself in the eyes as you talk. I know it sounds crazy to do all of that, but I promise, it makes a huge difference. I’ve rarely ever been able to speak in public without crying. When I started doing this, I focused more on what and how i was saying my words and how my body was acting and reacting. By taking my focus off of the people I was talking to and putting it on myself, I don’t always start to cry now when I have to speak in public, now. THAT, my dear, is a very big step for me! If you decide to try it, let me know how it works out for you.

    Blessed Be

    • Hi Bonny! Will keep you updated on the green card progress. =) Sam doesn’t travel too much these days, thankfully, he just works from the city office. He leaves pretty early in the morning but he’s usually home for dinner, which is great. Football season lasts significantly longer than 6 weeks though, unfortunately.

      Here in OH you’re required to go to the school within your district (unless you go private). It was unexpected, and not what we’re used to, but thankfully it’s a good school. I’ve heard from other parents in the area that homework actually gets easier after first grade and, so far, Scout’s has actually been very manageable. And yes, they’ll have a Halloween parade at the school. =)

      My cold has finally cleared off. Hurray! Other issues are ongoing but hopefully they’ll clear soon too. And my digital detox is going really well.

      I didn’t win the ’20 On The Rise’ thing, unfortunately, but it was such an honour (and a surprise) to be nominated so no complaints here! I should hear back from Alt Summit in the next 4 weeks. Fingers crossed!

      No worries on the speaking score – I was a lawyer for a decade and have no problems getting up in front of an audience. I spoke at Alt last year too so that will help. =)

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