Minty Chocolately Goodness for the Long Weekend

An art store on Yonge is clearly down with the Summer of Popsicles



Love it! This week we had mint chocolate... 



I ran out of agave so I couldn't make the chocolately drizzle and instead I melted chocolate chips and added a chocolate coating. Not the most attractive picture of life, but it tasted delicious. My roommate and I even had one without chocolate, and they were just refereshing and minty with a wicked texture. So far I've been delighted with the results and my roommates' enthusiasm for my project. Next week: something fruity and awesome with a new recipe in the works. Stay tuned. 

Stoked for lots of fun in the city this week! Happy Pride! Happy birthday Canada! And Fringe starts on Wednesday (What are you seeing? I'm excited to blog about some great shows!!). And it's a long weekend... though given my schedule of late it just feels like some more great summer days ahead. 

Summer is oh so sweet... 

Where are the Boys, I have a Milkshake...

Yesterday I declared it the summer of milkshakes popsicles


I wanted last summer to be the summer of popsicles, but somehow it never panned out. We've had a bit of a heatwave this week and I've felt inspired to keep cool in as many ways as possible. especially since we don't have AC at home. I decided that awesome homemade popsicles would be the only way to go. 


I procured some popsicle molds at iQLiving (love that store), started up a pinterest board and the Summer of Popsicles was in motion. First up? Roasted strawberry and coconut 


So maybe roasting strawberries in 34 degree heat wasn't the best idea I've ever had, but to be honest, our house was so hot that I don't think it mattered, and it was only about 30 minutes of oven time. Roasting the strawberries with a bit of sugar made them so sweet and juicy and I used my immersion blender to create a delicious puree. Mixed with coconut milk and a bit of agave, 8 hours later (at midnight) one of my roommates and I were enjoying delicious popsicles


Oh. My. Gosh. They're so f-ing delicious. Creamy and strawberry-y and not too sweet. So easy to create, making them the perfect treat for summer. The worst part is waiting for them to freeze... I think these guys are up next. 

Yes, this WILL be the summer of the popsicle. And maybe they'll even bring the boys to the yard. That's if I want to share...

What's your favourite popsicle flavour? Post links to your favourite recipes / pins in the comments!

Ending my War with the Scale

Before I started Weight Watchers in 2006, I wasn't in the habit of weighing myself.

We never had a scale at home growing up and in my early 20's I would only occasionally peek at a friend's scale or check in at the gym if I felt inclined. Should I have been paying more attention? Maybe. But it wasn't until 2006 that I really started to think about my weight when a director asked me to lose 20 lbs for a role and then again when I returned from 3 weeks in Europe unable to recognize the girl that was staring back at me in the photos.

Doing Weight Watchers, becoming healthier and losing the weight that I did was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I stand by the fact that it absolutely changed my life and set me up for success in so many ways.

It did however create a bit of an obsession with the scale.

It's interesting that as a leader I was able to support so many members through their weight loss journeys and encourage them to look beyond the scale, especially when things weren't going as they hoped. I would often remind them that it wasn't just about the scale and that there were so many other factors that they could examine - health, eating habits, clothing sizes, fitness level, measurements - and celebrate as a measure of their success. While I definitely believed this myself, I, like so many others, had trouble always putting it into action.

Looking back at my weight loss journey, I can tell you that I was never really happy or satisfied. I was unhappy at my heaviest. I was unhappy at my thinnest (which came as a result of a lot of stress in my life). And at my fittest, I still wrote in my journal about wanting to lose 5 more lbs. I was notorious for stepping on the scale all the time, and far too often, the number that appeared would consume my thoughts and influence my mood. There was a point in 2011 where I nearly took a leave of absence from Weight Watchers because I was obsessing about my weight and didn't know how to turn things around. I worked through it, changed my perspective, but my weight still held great power over me.

This year I started to feel more comfortable with my body, though as part of my job with Weight Watchers, I needed to weigh in at least once a month and send my weight to head office. After I stepped down as a leader in March, I still intended to weigh in each month as a Lifetime Member, and did so just after I left. For whatever reason I wasn't able to weigh in in April or May and recently it dawned on me that it had been a long time since I had weighed myself.

I also realized that I felt really great.

Yes, I've been doing lots of great things physically and with my eating, but I believed that there was a direct correlation between how I was feeling and the fact that I had no idea what the scale had to say.


I bought a new bikini last week and posted the above picture on Instagram with a comment about the fact that I was feeling great in my own skin and that I hadn't weighed myself in a few months. The comments I received from people were amazing and unexpected; I only posted the photo as a testament to my own feelings of empowerment and happiness in this new state of being, but the idea really resonated with people, as did the quote on my mirror (get rid of the thoughts that don't serve you) and I'm pretty sure a bunch of boys just pressed like because I posted a photo of myself nearly naked. I'll take it. I feel awesome and appreciate that other people can get behind it too.

I plan to continue on this path without a scale for as long as it feels good. I've started to take some classes at Primal Movement, I'm getting back into the swing of things at the gym and I'm eating mindfully to nourish my body. These are all good things that make me happy, which is something the scale hasn't consistently done ever really. We'll see how this goes. I would like to get back to WW as a member at some point, but I think this break is doing me so much better than a monthly weigh in could. I'm done with giving so much power to a silly inanimate object.

Without the scale I feel lighter.

Does the scale help or hinder you? How do you stay on track without weighing yourself? What are your measures of success unrelated to the scale?

Just Say Yes

The decision for me to go back to New York happened on a total whim.

I was sitting in my favourite coffee shop working on some emails and blog stuff when I noticed a notification pop up in Facebook. I clicked on it only to find an invitation to a Master Class series being put on by one of my favourite contemporary composers, Jonathan Reid Gealt (who wrote Quiet and Mama Don't Cry). When I saw the line up for the weekend and realized I could make the dates work, I immediately sent an email to Jonathan only to receive a response 4 minutes later saying there was a spot for me if I wanted it and the next thing I knew I was planning to be in my favourite city less than two weeks later.

Then I started to freak out a little bit.

After receiving the email from Jonathan I began worrying about money, but somehow the funds sorted themselves out, and I found really inexpensive (amazing!) accommodations on airbnb (such a great site!) and a bus ticket to NYC for $90. I then started to doubt myself - I was going to be in a class full of New Yorkers with teachers I idolize including Adam Guettel, Tituss Burgess and Jonathan himself. After breathing a little I realized that I just had to embrace the opportunity and trust that I was doing the right thing. I knew I was going to be pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, but that is one of the reasons I do what I do; If I wanted comfortable and easy, I wouldn't be performing! I knew that this trip was going to be amazing and possibly game-changing, but I had to allow myself to be open to the experience in order to do so.

Cue end of Ashley's freak out.

The first couple weeks of May were stupidly tough and I absolutely could have sat and wallowed in my negative feelings, but instead I chose to say yes to life. While this is generally a theme in my life (and written many times here on the blog, even right there in my beautiful new sidebar), it has been especially prevalent in all that has come along in the past few weeks. A couple days before I left for New York, my sweet Jessie helped me write a list of good things in my life (complete with pictures), which I tucked in my purse as a reminder of all that was wonderful.


Feeling excited, nervous and brave, I found myself on a Megabus bright and early on a Wednesday morning. It was anything but glamorous, but I finally arrived in NYC about 12 hours later.


A day of traffic delays, boredom and explaining my life story at customs would be enough to put anyone in a bad mood; instead I arrived in NYC feeling gracious and happy to be there. I made a stop at the always amazing Blossom and enjoyed a stellar meal of raw sweet potato rolls (filled with jicama, coconut, sweet peppers and avocado), eggplant rolatini (stuffed with tofu ricotta and covered in a housemade marinara) followed by the most BRILLIANT lavender coconut creme brulee.



To top it all off, my lovely server brought me a glass of red wine to accompany my dessert after he heard about the hard time I had been given at customs. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end a really long (and sometimes frustrating) day of travel. I was exactly where I needed to be.

And all because I said yes.


So much more to come on my NYC adventures including some delicious eats, visits with friends and an incredible experience in my master classes... 

New Look and What's to Come

I got back from NYC on Monday and have some great posts in store... It might sound dramatic but it was a life changing trip.

In the meantime, I want to celebrate my new blog design and new domain!! Thank you to My Girl Thursday for creating something so perfect for the bloggy. I'm seriously thrilled. And my new domain - www.dancingthroughlifeblog.com is also making me very happy.