for good

I’m really excited to be heading into 2012.

It’s been quite a journey over the last two years, and for the first time since 2009, I feel like I’m starting off a new year standing on solid ground.

Now don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot of good things in 2010 and 2011, but I really feel like they’ve been two really big years of transition. I really started to realize this after a number of conversations in the last couple of weeks coupled with looking at a whole bunch of old pictures (thanks Facebook Timeline)

The pictures from the end of 2009 make me especially sad. I looked sick. And truth be told, I had stopped eating, so this fact isn’t surprising. I was so stressed and sad and lost and heading into a crazy, new life without the partner that I had spent the last 3.5 years growing alongside. Our break up was absolutely the right thing for both of us, but it hurt immensely and meant that 2010 was an even bigger year of change that I had originally anticipated when I quit my job and decided that I was going to go back to school. While I enjoyed many parts of 2010, I also spent a lot of time figuring out who I was, what I wanted and how I wanted to be spending my time.

2011 brought lots of good things, but was really up and down in a lot of ways. I went back to work full time in March, which made me feel like a big fat failure. Isn’t that what I was fighting against? Slowly I began to realize that I had made the right decision and that working full time as an executive assistant was a pretty okay thing, and that it gave me time to do all the things that I loved. I also realized that I didn’t want to be a nutritionist, and that this fact was perfectly fine. I loved nutrition school, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do as a career. Working 9-5 also meant that I was free to perform, and in the last 2 years I’ve had some amazing opportunities to be onstage with some incredibly talented people in musicals, concerts, and cabarets, including 3 Ashleyx2 shows.

Ash bought me Kristen Chenoweth’s book (gosh, I adore Kristen. I think we’d be such good friends. And how wonderful is Ash for getting me such a perfect gift?!) for Christmas, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this song while I finished reading the book on the train home from Belleville.

Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good”.

The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, the friends I’ve counted on, the places I’ve been, the tears I’ve shed, the mistakes I’ve made, the victories I’ve had – all of these experiences over the last 2 years have absolutely changed me to be the person I am at this very moment.

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Who knows what the future brings, but I’m ready for it.

2012, here I come.

This is my Winter Song to You

The last few weeks have been crazy and awesome and hectic and hilarious. I can hardly believe that it’s December!! This week marked the beginning of what I like to call the Holi-month and I had a blast with a lot of wonderful people at some great events.

On Tuesday I went to Hip and Urban Girl’s Champagne and Cookie Party with my sweet friends Reggy and Christine.

charlie's angels HUGcookies Dec 2011

I promise, that if you put 200 women in a room with cookies and booze, there will be madness! There weren’t a ton of gluten free and vegan options aside from the BabyCakes snickerdoodles that I brought

DSCN0739and the delicious cookies that Reggy made (there was almond butter and cranberries involved, they were pretty fantastic) I think my favourite moment in the evening was a toss up between coming upon Christine with a platter of a dozen cookies in front of her, each of which had a single bite taken out of it

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or the discussion Reggy and I had with the rep from Ohhh Canada about Tenga eggs making wicked stocking stuffers. Both moments were pretty amazing. Thanks to my Charlie’s Angels for a super fun evening and to Val for hooking me up with the tickets!

On Friday night I headed to the Cameron House with a some of my favourite friends for Graydon James & the Young Novelists’ cd release party.

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The show was fantastic. They have some incredible harmonies, heartbreaking lyrics and the whole band is wickedly talented. The crowd at the lovely Cameron House had a stellar energy, which was enhanced for me by the fact that I had one of my besties on either side of me. And did I mention that there were cupcakes and tea goodie bags?? They are a fantastic band to see live and it was a pretty magical evening. Go. Buy. The. Album.

Finally Saturday I had my own chance to be on stage spreading some festive cheer in another Singing Strong cabaret in support of Buddies in Bad Times theatre.

singing strong backstage 12.3.2011

I had a blast singing with some amazing singers (including my dear friend Lindsay), fabulous musicians (including Tara on keys) surrounded by a really fun audience and some great repertoire. There was an eclectic mix of tunes including some musical theatre, pop and jazz along with some holiday favourites that I got to sing lead on including Baby It’s Cold Outside (which is actually a creepy song…) and Baby Please Come Home.

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Linz and I also sang Wintersong, which is just such a  beautiful song. It’s an amazing thing to be able to take our friendship to the next level by singing in harmony with one another! I also got to sing Christmas Lullaby from Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for World (which is one of my dream roles) And of course the evening was made even better by the fact that there were some really awesome people in the audience to see me AND I was wearing a Damzels dress, which is always a good recipe for a perfect show. It was a brilliant evening and a great way to kick off the holiday season!

My holi-month continues with a party tonight, at least 3 pot lucks in the coming weeks, some more singing engagements and an evening at the symphony for Handel’s Messiah next week!

Do you have any fun plans for the Holi-month? What’s your favourite holiday tune?

PS – did you know I was nominated for a 2011 BroadwayWorld Toronto award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical? If you have a minute, please vote!!