To the motherless daughters on Mother's Day

Ah, Mother's Day. Here we are again for another year.

I was in a bit of a funk last week - things were busy at work, I was hustling in my coaching business and I just didn't feel like I had any downtime. I felt burnt out for the first time in awhile. And then I also realized that the halo of Mother's Day was shining down on me, and my feelings made even more sense.

I'm always hyper-aware of Mother's Day and how quickly the cards and flowers and mentions pop up after Easter. Part of me thinks "shouldn't every day be Mother's Day?" With my mom being gone 18 years, I think that's how I feel.

I was reading an article about Michelle McNamara's death yesterday and something her daughter said really stuck with me: “When your mom dies you’re the best memory of her. Everything you do and say is a memory of her.”

I've often said that I am the person I am now because of my mom's life and her death. Losing her at 13 took my life on a different course and things turned out a bit differently than perhaps I envisioned. A family member recently told me that I looked like her - which I took as a huge compliment and was also a bit hard to hear.

To the other motherless daughters - I feel you.

And I'm right here with you amid the greeting cards and flowers and brunches and plans and ridiculous email subject lines. As a motherless daughter you know that even a phone call would mean the world. For us, every day is a version of mother's day - and we carry it heavy in our hearts.

I keep waiting for the year that Mother's Day will just pass like any other day in the year. Here we are at number 18 and I haven't gotten there yet.

My best suggestions for managing the day include making nice plans for yourself - with someone special, a friend, another maternal figure or just on your own. Make yourself a priority and be kind to yourself. You may be fine, you may not be -- and that's totally ok. Feelings

Find a way to honour your mom -- maybe through journalling, visiting a special place or even just talking about her. Sharing memories of my mom is one of my very favourite things. There are so many people who are now a part of my life who didn't get the chance to know her, and so just talking about her is very important to me.

You're not alone in your experience and we motherless daughters and those who feel sadness on this day need to stick together.

As I wrote in the above card in 1993, "you're a very special part of our lives and you'll always hold a very special place in our hearts". Little did I know how true that sentiment would truly be as the years went on.

So here we are.

Being a constant memory of my mom. And holding onto any and every memory I have of her for dear life. Sunday will pass and Monday will be a brand new day.

More posts on Mother's Day (2011, 2012, 2013)

This is 32

Ashley Gibson Toronto black and white

I celebrated my 32nd birthday on April 8th and I've gotta say, I still feel very similar to how I did last year on my birthday

Ashley Gibson Toronto Damzels dress

I celebrated my special day with some of my very favourite people and lots of great food. It was a Friday, so I started the day with a workout and then had a great day at work. We finished early and I had a beautiful walk in the sunshine and a manicure.

Tori's After Hours Toronto cake

In the evening, Jessie, Lindsay and Corbin joined me for a spectacular dinner at Tori's After Hours. I've been to Tori's Bake Shop before (which is an all vegan bakery in the beaches with a really great selection of gluten free options). I had wanted to check out the After Hours for awhile, and my birthday seemed like the perfect excuse to do so!

cheese plate - Tori's After Hours

mushroom pate - Tori's After Hours

gnocchi - Tori's After Hours

vegetable plate - Tori's After Hours

birthday cake - Tori's After Hours

The food was AMAZING. From gnocchi in a cheese sauce that I wanted to slurp up with a straw, to an incredible cheese plate with delectable gluten free crackers, amazing vegetables and a chocolate chip cake to top it all off - I couldn't have asked for a better menu. The kitchen even sent out a bonus mushroom pate appetizer because we were wearing birthday hats.

Ashley - Tori's After Hours Toronto

BFF birthday love

BFF birthday love

If you're in Toronto, I highly suggest checking it out - especially if you're with a small group! It's a great opportunity to order a bunch of dishes and sample the menu.

Ashley and Corbin

Corbin and I continued the festivities the next day with a delicious brunch at Harvest Kitchen followed by cupcakes at Almond Butterfly

best gluten free cupcake Toronto

Oh gosh, so good!

Corbin was leaving for Europe for a month a couple days later, so it was extra nice to have some quality time together. It was another beautiful, sunny day so we enjoyed the sunshine together and got to have a really nice meal! Harvest Kitchen is a great option for vegetarians and omnivores alike with lots of gluten free options. And Almond Butterfly just has the best gluten free cupcakes in Toronto - hands down. That weekend they had chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cupcakes that both Corbin and I devoured. 

I had a wonderful weekend and couldn't have asked for better company or more delicious food!! It was exactly what I hoped for and I felt very spoiled by all the love. 

In honour of my birthday, I started to make a list of all that I've learned in 32 years and it developed into a manifesto of sorts.

birthday manifesto - words to live by

Those are the ideas I plan to live by as I head into this new year of my life! 32, let's do this.

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday messages and wishes -- I truly appreciate it!! xo

Cruising for the very first time

That is the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas compared to a regular cruise ship. When I signed up for the 2016 Success Club trip back in January 2015, I had no idea how much fun I would have aboard my very first cruise!!

Each year Beachbody hosts a trip for its coaches, and we get the opportunity to earn the trip by helping people - how awesome! I registered for my spot while waiting at the airport to board my flight back to Toronto. March 2016 seemed a million years away, but as time went on the trip got more real. I was lucky enough to be able to bring a guest - so obviously I picked Corbin! We've had the chance to travel together (to New York, Alberta and Halifax) and this seemed like another awesome adventure that we could take together. The cruise was the thing that helped get me through February, and before I knew it - it was here!

I took lots of photos and videos and I'm stoked to share them!! If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably gotten a bit of a sneak peek - but here is the full scoop!

Cruise Life

Having never been on a cruise before, I now understand why people enjoy cruises! There is literally everything you can possibly imagine at your fingertips. Restaurants, parties, nightlife, an endless itinerary of activities, shopping, pools, hot tubs, cozy nooks, a library, park - the list goes on!

I got into the habit of going through our daily itinerary and highlighting the things I wanted to do each day as a means to plan our days (I'm a nerd like that!) In addition to the normal cruise activities, Beachbody had also planned some awesome events for us including daily workouts with our favourite trainers, a panel with the trainers and a panel with the Top 10 Coaches from 2015. I did my best to take advantage of EVERYTHING that was offered and loved every minute.

The boat was so massive that it amazed me that a) it could float and b) I didn't feel it moving for the most part! I didn't experience any sort of seasickness and for that I felt very lucky! It was neat to have the mix of days at sea as well as our port days (in Jamaica and Bahamas)

Some of my favourite activities were ice-skating (so Canadian!), watching the live shows (including an amazing a cappella group from Florida called The Edge Effect), reading & napping in the solarium and nightly karaoke!! Yes, I got to sing my little heart out every night and made a bunch of new friends who loved doing the same.

Swimming with Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins in Jamaica was truly, truly magical. It was everything that I could have hoped for and was literally beaming the whole time.

We got to see a bit of Jamaica on the hour long drive to Ocho Rios and our sweet tour guide gave us a great rundown of history and fun facts about the places we were driving through. Once we arrived at Dolphin Cove, we got to enjoy a whole slew of other animals as we headed down to the dolphin zone. There were cats, love birds, iguanas, bunnies and sting rays that we got to make friends with along the way. So fun! I also added some sweet reggae dance moves to my repertoire.

Finally it was time for dolphins!! There was about 10 of us in with the trainer and 4 dolphins. Our dolphin's name was Stan and he was super sweet! He pulled each of us along in the water, gave us a smooch, we smooched him and then we got to touch him. It was unbelievable. I was BEAMING the whole time and maybe had some feelings in my eyeballs.


There was food everywhere. Like, everywhere.

I understand why people can go on cruises and gain weight - it's just so accessible! I was impressed with the gluten free options and the efforts to avoid cross contamination. Menus were labelled with gluten free / allergen friendly / vegetarian options and in one of the buffets there was even a gluten free corner. I learned quickly that I could ask for gluten free bread if it wasn't available, and one night I even convinced the pizza place to make me a gluten free, cheese free pizza.

We also learned that we could order room service, so that's what I did each morning! We would put our little card out with our requests the night before, and then in the morning after my workout, a platter of breakfast / snacks would arrive. There was fresh fruit available at all meals and room service, so I would usually snag a banana or apple to munch on later in the day.

The sit down meals were pretty incredible and we started going to the dining room for most meals to take advantage of everything that was available to us. Some days at meals we had couple time, we enjoyed a few team dinners and we also had the chance to sit with some awesome coaches who were total strangers when we sat down!

I definitely ate more than I normally would, but didn't go too crazy! I was working out every morning, walking a tonne  drinking lots of water and eating fruits & veggies. It felt like a vacation - but I didn't feel gross when it was done.

The Workouts

Ahhh the workouts were so much fun! 
You can see in the video that I decided to get up for the early workouts each morning. Because we arrived on the eve of daylight savings time, it was dark and windy each morning for the 6:30am workout! That didn't stop me - I just learned to bring a sweater with me!!
 I loved having the chance to workout with Autumn, Tony, Sagi, Joel & Jericho and it felt good to get my sweat on each morning. I found a great spot to workout with lots of space and made some lovely new friends every day. We were treated to a Shakeology bar after each workout and it was truly an awesome way to start the day. How incredible to be working out in the middle of the Caribbean, surrounded by other coaches while the sun was rising?! 


Most of all, it was so inspiring to be surrounded by some of my very favourite people, meet coaches and trainers that I admire and have the opportunity to be a little Beachbody sponge and soak it all in. I connected with some amazing new friends and took copious notes in our trainings. Having the chance to spend time with my coach, her coach and a bunch of kick-ass leaders was just the best. 
It was also really cool for Corbin to be there to meet all these people who I talk about all the time! So much of what I do is online, and I think it made it REAL for him. He's always been such a supportive partner in this journey, but I think he 'gets' this coaching thing + our wonderful community that much more now. 
It was truly an incredible trip for SO MANY reasons!! And I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on my very first cruise, surrounded by so many awesome people and have so many experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime!!

Become a Coach on our Team

Last week was an incredible trip! I got to spend the week with 5,000 other coaches on the Oasis of the Seas with stops in Jamaica and Bahamas. I can't wait to share the details with you (that post is coming up!)

{If you'd like to learn more about my journey to becoming a coach, 
you can check that out here and here}

But today I want to talk about something that has been on my heart in a BIG way since coming back: welcoming new coaches to our team. 

Beachbody Coaches Toronto

With my coach being in Florida, and many of her coaches being in the States as well, it means that I only get to see our amazing team a couple times a year. I have the opportunity to connect with them daily through the internet, but it's extra special when I get to see them in person. 

Beachbody Coaches - Oasis of the Seas

These ladies have become some of my very best friends, and without coaching, I probably never would have met them. The coaches on my team are spread out through North America as well - also connected through social media and our awesome support & accountability groups. 

We're all from different places, different walks of life with very different stories. What unifies us? 

A shared passion for helping others while continuing to work on ourselves. 

Dynasty United Beachbody Coaches

On the trip I got to connect with coaches from our larger coach family as well as many other coaches from all around North America. And with every new coach that I met, I realized that was the common thread the bound us together. 

As I've thought more about the culture of our team, I've thought more about the values we share and the qualities that I'm looking for in new coaches:
  • thinks of others first
  • contagious passion
  • can-do spirit
  • stands out from the crowd
  • desire to make a difference
This week I'm hosting a call to share more about coaching and what it could mean for you to be a part of our growing, thriving team.

Fill in the form below to RSVP and I will send you the link. If you're unable to join live, there will be a recording available. If this speaks to your heart, I would love for you to join our call and learn more. 

Fill out my online form.

The Master's Hammer and Chisel Progress

Progress comes in many shapes, forms, sizes and ways. Sometimes it's obvious and other times you need to hunt for it!

When I started The Master's Hammer and Chisel, I think that I expected my progress to be some HUGE physical transformation and that suddenly I was going to have all kinds of abs and shiny muscles. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but I realized a few weeks in that this was going to be about more than trying to lose inches or shed weight.

I finished The Master's Hammer and Chisel over a week ago and felt extremely proud when I put those weights down.

Mission Accomplished - The Master's Hammer and Chisel

Over the course of 8 weeks and 48 workouts I:
  • found a love for morning workouts (this coming from the gal who used to love snuggling in bed for as long as physically possible)
  • got into a great groove with my eating - sticking with the portion fix container system and eating to fuel my body
21 Day Fix approved snack

21 Day Fix approved meal

21 Day Fix approved taco bowls
  • saw improvement with the amount of weights I was lifting - across the board! The girl who started with 3s and 5s with 21 Day Fix Extreme was using 7s, 10s and 15s regularly with 20s and 25s thrown in on some days. I tracked my weights for every workout and it was incredibly motivating to see those numbers going up workout by workout
  • felt stronger every day. This was attributed to the consistency in my workouts, lifting heavier and new muscles that started to develop and show up on my body
Ashley Gibson Master's Hammer and Chisel transformation
Overall, I saw changes in what my body looks like and spotted new muscles popping out! I'm especially proud of my back, arms, shoulders and lift in my booty. I think back to when I first did Insanity, and can recognize that I've come a long way since then! To me, that is progress. 

Master's Hammer and Chisel flex progress

Fitness and working out is still something that I need to work at, but it's truly become a lifestyle for me. I thrive with my daily workouts in the morning. On rest days I felt like something was missing and craved the endorphins and good feelings that followed a solid sweat session in the morning. I rekindled my love for lifting weights and can't wait to get back to it!

I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a challenge, who has a baseline of fitness (this is not a program to pick up if you haven't worked out in a long time), or is looking for a new challenge or routine for lifting weights. I love the combination of Autumn and Sagi as trainers in conjunction with the meal plan.

Autumn Calabrese and Sagi Kalev bobbleheads

I am looking forward to getting back to this program (perhaps when we get back from the cruise) and look forward to seeing continue progress in many shapes and forms. While my physical transformation may not be huge, there were so many positives that came with completing this workout and overall, I'm really proud that I finished it!

If you would like to learn more about how The Master's Hammer and Chisel could help you reach your goals or choose another fitness program that you can do at home, I'd love to have you in my next challenge group!