Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and yours.

I wish you a brilliant day filled with wonderful people, magic, delicious food and a whole lotta love.

Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas with Lindsay and her familia and friends with dinner and a heated Kris Kringle game. Lindsay's mum had requested that we sing Wintersong, which is her favourite... so here it is a capella, complete with a gorgeous & gigantic Christmas tree, Christmas cracker crowns and Lindsay and I being giddy at the opportunity to sing together



I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my Christmas Eve. I am looking forward to spending the day with even more wonderful family and friends and wish the same for you xo

Before this and after this - Intention setting for 2013

We're drawing close to the end of 2012 and with that comes reflection on the year that has passed, and looking ahead to what is to come. Setting intentions has been a theme in my life over the last few days in things I've been reading (like Meghan's latest blog post) and in a big conversation I had with a group of my girlfriends over the weekend.

It's interesting to me because I've felt like for the last three years that around December I've looked back on the previous 12 months and attributed them to be intertwined with a whole lot of transition. At the beginning of 2012 I felt like I was in a really solid spot - in a job that I loved, a part time job that I felt passionate about, performing a lot, healthy, happy, surrounded by amazing people and about to take a life-changing trip. Now that I can reflect on the year, I can see how much transition I've experienced once again since leaving both of those jobs, having an entire summer off, bouncing around between Toronto, New York, Las Vegas and St. Lucia and having the pleasure (and sometimes pain) of having amazing people come in and out of my life.

Sometimes I feel as though my life should be a movie (hello, Truman Show?) and when I tell people about the things that happen to me they tend to draw that conclusion on their own. I think this has a lot to do with my say yes to life (even though it may devour you) mentality. I try to be incredibly open to whatever experience life throws my way and embrace it as best I can. Sometimes this is absolutely spectacular, and other times it can be really painful, but these collective experiences have made me the person that I am today.

When I was chatting with my girlfriends about what they wanted 2013 to be about for them, I encountered a wide variety of answers: travel, learning, stability. I joked that I wanted 2013 to be "the year that doesn't suck". While I really don't believe that any of my years on this planet have sucked, some have definitely had more challenges than others. Upon further reflection, I've decided to embrace the transition and immeasurable experiences life has thrown me in the last few years and make 2013 the year of Serendipity.

I am going to continue to laugh loudly, dream passionately and love completely, because these qualities have brought me so much joy, wonder, happiness and love into my life. Even the things that have brought me immense sadness have taught me something about life and myself. While embracing serendipity may sound like a passive approach to life, I think I will just continue to go forward with passion, ambition and drive, but really work to enjoy everything else that comes along the way. The year of serendipity will allow me to ease into whatever transition I may encounter and enjoy the happy accidents that come my way.

There is a big project that is already in the works for 2013 that is going to push me emotionally and creatively. I can't wait to share details with you and am already working hard behind the scenes to make it happen. There will be a blog and social media component alongside a performance component and I hope that it will raise awareness and help me to honor someone very special and the impact that they have had on my life. It's going to be amazing.

I saw a quote on Pinterest recently that said "There are moments in life when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this and after this". I look at the events of the last few years and all of the transition that has occurred and recognize how much that quote resonates with all of that. Everything has brought me to the place I am today and everything that has happened has been a catalyst for other things and people and moments. I have more reflecting to do on 2012, but I am ready for the serendipitous year 2013 is going to be.

What kind of intentions are you setting for 2013?

Did you see My Party Dress?

Did you see my party dress?

 

If you're a friend or reader of this a blog, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you've probably already figured out that I'm rather notorious for being in a dress or a skirt pretty much all the time. I've always been girly, but in the last 3 or so years my style has been punctuated with a whole lot of femininity and not many pairs of pants. For me dresses are an everyday thing, but I do still have a lot of fun daydreaming about ball gowns or just getting dressed up for special occasions.

With December being the crazy social month that it is, I've happily had quite a few opportunities to throw on some of my favourite party dresses, beginning with last weekend's show at Buddies. The grey dress with the sparkled sash was a purchase from Banana Republic last year. It's one of my favourite winter dresses, but this year I managed to forget how itchy it is on the inside!! By the end of the night I was pouting and couldn't wait to get it off - this is a personal reminder to wear a camisole underneath the dress to avoid being so uncomfortable next time!

This past weekend involved 4 parties over the course of two days. With a whole lot of rest in the middle, I felt up for the challenge! On Friday night I decided to go really retro with one of my favourite dresses from Damzels


Whenever anyone asks me where I like to shop in Toronto, I point them towards Damzels. Kelly and Rory are two amazing women, who have this gorgeous shop filled with amazing dresses, skirts, shoes, accessories and other fun items. I always leave their store feeling joyous and always receive incredible customer service whenever I visit. They carry some awesome lines as well as creating their own line seasonally. I bought this dress a couple years ago for my birthday and it has been getting great wear ever since! On Friday I paired it with some 40's inspired Isaac Mizrahi from Target heels and a red belt for a pop of colour for a delightful tree trimming party, complete with some incredible mulled wine.

Up until about 6:07pm on Saturday night, I was convinced that I was going to wear another Damzels dress, but had a last minute change of heart and wanted to wear something a bit more sparkly


I opted for this BB Dakota dress that I picked up last year after falling in love with it on Elsie's blog. I happened upon it one day at Tabula Rasa and had to have it! I kept it simple with some nude fishnets, nude heels and a couple of sparkly jewelry pieces before dashing off to 3 parties that night. By the end of the evening I was completely wiped, but had a lot of fun with friends and coworkers celebrating the holiday season!

And even did my worst best dinosaur impression


Maybe I'll just stick to singing. 

With a couple more weeks of December still to come, I'm looking forward to a few more opportunities to pull out my party dresses and enjoy some festive cheer! 

How do you feel about dressing up? Do you have any favourite shops?

The video of My Party Dress was shot at the very first Ashleyx2 cabaret way back in September 2010, but I've only just added the video! The song is by Kerrigan and Lowdermilk and I'm sure that less than 10 people on the planet have actually seen me in pants on a regular basis. Hope you liked the video!

Goals for December

After a busy day of singing on Saturday, I enjoyed an incredibly relaxed day on Sunday which included watching Gross Point Blank on the couch, eating gluten free pancakes and sipping tea whilst writing in my journal


It's been nearly a year since I left Weight Watchers, but I often associate certain times of year with things I would do with my members. December is always a tough month for anyone trying to lose weight with so many social activities, tempting foods and booze popping up everywhere. I was always a big advocate of setting small, realistic goals for December to help stay on track and give everyone something positive to focus on amid the frenzy. 

So I decided to utilize my own advice. 


After writing them in my journal on Sunday night, I posted a list of some realistic goals to focus on in the month of December. I have to say, that so far things are going really well! I've already surpassed my goal of walking to work at least 3x/week and am drinking lots of water and eating mindfully. I did a great spin class last night and have some more workouts planned for the rest of the week. 

I know that the next few weeks are going to get even more insane, with lots of social gatherings, pot lucks and a performance, but I'm happy to have these goals to keep me in line! They're also nice things I can do to take care of myself. While it's only a 10 minute subway ride to work, taking the extra time to walk gives me a moment to breathe and clear my head. Self care is definitely a really good thing!

I feel awesome about having these goals for the month and look forward to continuing to work at them! I'm also really excited about some cool things I have planned for my workouts coming up. The awesome people at Beach Body are going to be sending me a couple of their programs to review! I've watched a few friends have some amazing results with their programs which has been really inspiring. I'm going to be starting with 10 Minute Trainer in December, and then in January I'm going to start Insanity. Not gonna lie, I'm mildly terrified for Insanity, but I feel like I'm up for the challenge. Shaun T seems like a pretty cool dude, but I know he's going to kick my ass. 

What are some of your goals for December?

Singing with Lindsay

Meet Lindsay.


I am so blessed to call this gal one of my dearest friends. We first met through Weight Watchers way back in 2008 and both of us knew that we would fall in love and be great friends. It started with dinner and an Idina Menzel concert and took off from there. 

Lindsay was one of the few people brave enough to cook for me when I started my elimination diet and changed my diet so drastically. She went on a mission to make me gluten free things that were delicious and wonderful, even making gluten free pita one night when I was coming over for dinner. She has since gone on to be a bit of an expert in gluten free bread baking, even teaching a class in Meghan's kitchen (which I was lucky enough to attend in the spring!)


oh yes, that is gluten free

She is the cutest teacher and everything was so yummy. I've made her gluten free chapati quite a few times because they're super easy and delicious!!

I'm also ecstatic to be one of her bridesmaids for her wedding in June!! It was actually at her bread baking class that she officially asked me to be in her wedding party and we certainly lived up to our hashtag of #twosquealingsopranos. Bridesmaid planning has been a blast so far and I'm over-the-moon thrilled for her big day in the summer.

Lindsay is also a beautiful opera singer and voice teacher, and we've had the opportunity to sing together a few times, which is just the most fun. We had the chance to share the stage again this weekend at Buddies for Singing Strong's Holiday Magic cabaret.


I've probably said it before, but singing with people you love is one of the best feelings in the world. This show was no exception. While we didn't do a duet this time around, it was still so magical to be onstage with her and also get to watch her perform. 

Lindsay is such an exceptional person and I am so thankful for the opportunity to sing with her, cook with her and most of all, call her one of my best friends.