2015 Year In Review

In getting ready to write this post, I peeked at my blog's archives of New Year's Eve posts. I can't believe I started writing this blog back in 2008, and my post preparing for 2009 tells the story of a very different gal in a very different place... But I digress.

All around 2015 was a pretty awesome year. While I did my best to live boldly, I don't think it was entirely in the ways I expected!

I got to take some amazing trips - to Florida, Nashville, Alberta and Halifax.


Both trips to the US found me hanging out with some incredible Beachbody coaches, working out with celebrity trainers (including Shaun T - ahhh!), exploring fun new-to-me cities, eating great food, enjoying warmer climates and generally having the best time.
My trip to Alberta was an adventure with Corbin's family to celebrate his Grandma (Dixie's) 80th birthday. It involved visits to Calgary, Canmore, Banff and a road trip to the village of Empress, Alberta where Corbin's dad grew up. It was my very first time seeing the mountains, and the sights in Alberta are absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed some really lovely day trips including an adventure to the Columbia Icefield, hiking in the Rockies, visits to Lake Louise and other beautiful glacial lakes and some great time spent in Canmore. It was an awesome trip and I was happy to expand my Canadian horizons to the west.

I also expanded them to the east! We were only back in Toronto for a couple weeks before we took off to Halifax for a wedding. We drove there and back (and by we I mean Corbin drove, and brought snacks and downloaded the entirety of Serial and The Mystery Show for us to listen to) which was quite the adventure in itself!! Once we got there, I fell in love with the Halifax! The weather was perfect and it was wonderful to be so close to the ocean. I visited with friends (old and new!), scoped out the farmer's market, ate yummy food and did all-things wedding related! It was a beautiful event and a really fun reason to take a trip out east!

In 2015, I continued with my fitness journey completing 2 rounds of Insanity Max:30, 21 Day Fix Extreme and getting started with The Master's Hammer and Chisel! This is the most consistent I've ever been with fitness and I attribute a lot of that success to my incredible challengers, coaches and monthly support and accountability groups. Without them, it's just me working out in my room and that just doesn't do it for me!! Today marks day 4 of Hammer and Chisel, and so far it is KICKING MY ASS. I'm so excited to share my journey with you and see the final result 56 days from now. Here goes nothing!

In the spring, I took a job with Meghan Telpner and it has been a great fit! I have the best time with our team, I love the work that we're doing, I get to use my full range of skills and I'm constantly learning. We were super busy with the launch of her second book and running the CNE Program for the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, but it's been a truly awesome ride.

I've also been growing my role as a health and fitness coach, and it's been so cool to see our team's growth and the progress our challengers have made. I've had the opportunity to help a lot of people work towards their health, fitness and business goals and look forward to continuing with this in 2016!! We have an awesome group of peeps ready to go for our January Group and I can't wait to see our team grow and thrive. I paid for all my Christmas gifts with my Beachbody income and I'm looking forward to pushing towards some really big goals in 2016!!

(Our next online support and accountability group starts on Monday and I would love for you to be a part of it so I can help you work towards YOUR 2016 goals!! Send me a message)

This is Your Year
While both of my jobs keep me busy, I'm still finding ways to perform. I had the opportunity to be a part of the first 'intimate' Confidential Music Theatre Project show in April which was one of the scariest things I've done in my life to date! I'm grateful that I had the experience, and it certainly showed me what I'm capable of doing. I also love that each year I get to do a show with our Ashnaba group, and we had a really great show in May where I performed one of my very favourite songs.


I'm also having a lot of fun making videos that include singing and getting involved with other people's fun projects - like when I got to dress up as Posh Spice for a great project earlier this week (video of that will be up next week - stay tuned!!)

I read lots of great books, saw some incredible theatre and concerts, Fringed, watched the entirety of Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad and House of Cards, spent great time with friends, rode Cecily all over the city, moved twice, made nourishing meals (including ones with meat again) and continued to be crazy in love.

Photo credit Michelle Doucette Photography
Photo Credit: Michelle Doucette Photography 


Oh, and I chopped my hair off and dyed in dark brown.

pixie





It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns (I had a wicked flu in March that took me out for 10 days, moving twice in 5 months was less than ideal and with all of the changes that happened, I definitely had to sort out what a routine looked like for me!) but all in all, it was a very transformative year and a mostly enjoyable one at that!

Over the last few weeks, I've been setting intentions for 2016, making goal lists and vision boards while reminiscing on all that has happened in 2015. I'm looking forward to riding the momentum that I've built and striving for an even more awesome year. One of my goals includes blogging more regularly again, so be sure to watch this space.

2016, let's do this.

Happy New Year, friends - I hope 2016 brings you adventure, wonder and all kinds of awesome xo

The Master's Hammer and Chisel Kick Off

Starting a new workout program is kind of like the first day of school - you've thought about what's ahead with trepidation and anticipation, you prepare yourself mentally, you get all your gear together and then you show up! That's how I'm feeling today as I embark on The Master's Hammer and Chisel.



As I mentioned before, when I first learned about this program at Coach Summit, I wasn't sure if it was going to be the right program for me. But after trying out a preview workout and focusing in on my vision for 2016, I decided to jump in with both feet! I've always enjoyed working out with weights (in various classes or with personal trainers) but until 21 Day Fix Extreme, it was never really part of my routine at home. I've been more focused on body weight focused-workouts and have had super results. 21DFX reminded me how much I enjoyed working with weights and what kind of results I could achieve.

On Saturday I finished another round of Insanity Max:30 which felt great! With a cruise coming up in March, I knew that doing The Master's Hammer and Chisel was going to be the next super challenge for me. I was very excited when I received my copy in the mail last week!

I also picked up this set of resistance bands with a door attachment on Amazon for just $17. Thanks to some sweet Christmas gifts and a little bit of strategic Boxing Day shopping, I've been able to gather a bench, stability ball and weights to do this program. The program is a bit more equipment heavy than others that I've done, but there are options depending on where you're at / what you want to acquire (you can use a stability ball in place of a bench, resistance bands in place of a chin up bar etc) I'm really looking forward to measuring my progress and increasing my strength through my Hammer and Chisel journey.

I've decided to go all in with this program, so I will be following the portion controlled container system for my meals and snacks. (I said goodbye to Christmas cookies yesterday...)




I'm doing this to really challenge myself and work towards getting the very best results from the program. I found that I felt really great when I followed the containers diligently during 21 Day Fix Extreme and also want to create some helpful resources for other people who may be following this program. Here is my meal plan for week one:

Hammer and Chisel week one meal plan @ashleydtl


Many of the recipes came from The Master's Hammer and Chisel meal guide as well as the guides from 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity Max:30 and the Fixate cookbook.

Today I'll be taking my before photos, measurements and then getting started with Chisel Balance. I'm super excited, but also really nervous! This is outside my comfort zone, but I'm really looking forward to a brand new challenge and the results that follow. Over the next 8 weeks I'll be sharing my thoughts on the program and at the end of February I'll be sharing my results -- let's do this!

Comment below if you're getting ready to start something new for 2016


Prepped Organics - Organic Meal Delivery Service

I love cooking and meal planning and take great pride it nourishing myself and Corbin each week. With that being said, there is something really nice about having people cook for you! So when the lovely team at Prepped Organics reached out to me about sending dinner over one night, I jumped at the opportunity!


Prepped Organics provides delicious, nourishing and organic meal delivery in Toronto. You choose from their menu of dinners each week and they provide delivery Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I love that they have gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options for 1-5 people to cover a variety of preferences and lifestyles!

They have a unique menu each week and you can choose the option best suited to your tastes and dietary preferences. The meals come fully prepared with instructions on assembly and heating.

The week they sent us dinner, I had to go for the Greek grilled chicken with rice pilaf and Greek salad with a local sheep milk feta. I noted that I was gluten free and dairy free and everything was easily accommodated! They even made me a special dairy free tzatziki to enjoy with my chicken which was a really lovely touch!



I was super impressed with the team hand delivered my package to me and explained everything that was inside. They even included some special raw, gluten free peanut butter cookies as an extra special treat - nice touch!!

The preparation instructions were easy to follow and everything came together in less than 15 minutes, including heating everything up. 




The meal was delicious. I was especially impressed with how moist the chicken was, even after we heated it up. Greek food is some of my very favourite food, so this was a great meal! The portion for 2 people was very generous and we were able to enjoy leftovers of salad and rice the following day.

I loved using their service and will definitely keep it in mind when things get crazy in the future - it's so nice to have an expertly prepared meal that takes the guess work out of shopping, preparing and cooking with organic ingredients. Chef Anna & the team makes the food with care and it shows in the preparation and level of detail of everything included.

If awesome organic food, delivered to your door sounds like it would be helpful (and awesome!) for you, the team at Prepped Organics have a promotion running where you can use the code WELCOME25 to receive 25% off your first order.  Enjoy!!

Coach Summit 2015




This post about Beachbody Summit has been such a long time coming. Life got in the way of writing it and didn't want to half-ass it because it was such an incredible experience - so finally, months later, here is the full scoop!

The City

Nashville is an incredible city - unlike anywhere I've ever been! There is music EVERYWHERE. In every bar, every nook and cranny, even playing out of boxes on street corners. It is AMAZING. And somehow every band is better than the last band you saw. The quality of the musicians there is unreal and for me it didn't even really matter that I'm not a huge country music fan - I just loved being immersed in music everywhere I went.



Southern hospitality is REAL. I learned that during a short stay in Georgia a few years ago, but this was solidified for me while we were visiting. From the staff everywhere, servers, hotel concierge, uber drivers, men who asked me to dance while we were out to the various people that we met - southern hospitality is legit!

The night life is a lot of fun. We went to a number of different places (each with awesome music) but my very favourite was Acme. They had a beautiful rooftop patio and an awesome band on the main floor where we danced the night away.

The Community


Connecting with my team and all sorts of awesome coaches was a gift.

Summit 2015 Team Ignite



Being the token Canadian on my coach's team, I often feel disconnected all the way up here! I talk to these ladies every day, but I don't actually get to see them and hug them very often. It was so wonderful to hang out with them for 3 days straight and be surrounded by 24,000 other awesome coaches who are out there helping others and doing great things in their business.




The Event


Summit was nothing short of phenomenal. I was on cloud 9 from the minute I arrived to the second I got back to Toronto. We attended 2 awesome events in the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play and 2 others in the area where the Nashville Predators play - where else can you house 24,000 coaches?!



These events were full of inspiration, information and another awesome opportunity to connect with fellow coaches. We got to see some wonderful speakers including Simon Sinek, Chalene Johnson, Dewitt Jones and a whole slew of top Beachbody coaches and executives. I felt like a little sponge, furiously taking notes and photos trying to absorb as much information as I possibly could. During the closing ceremonies we got to witness some of the very best fireworks I've ever seen and it was a beautiful way to end our time there.

The Food

While we were at the conference a lot of the time, I did have a chance to try out some great Nashville restaurants in between sessions, on our evenings out and on my Nashville exploration day before I headed home! Some of the highlights included brunch at Biscuit Love, stellar peaches at the farmers' market, southern BBQ, iced tea and treats at Barista Parlor, vegan cupcakes at Khan's Desserts and an incredible meal at Avo,  Nashville's very first raw restaurant!







And what Beachbody event would be complete without a Shakeology bar? I even got to try out some of the new Shakeology Boosts when they launched at Summit.



The Workouts

We each got to pick 2 workouts while we were at Summit and of COURSE I wanted to work out with my love, Shaun T! Insanity is what started this whole coaching journey for me so that was the obvious choice, and Cize was actually coming out while we were in Nashville, so I thought that would be super fun!

My Insanity workout was nearly the first thing I did while I was in Nashville. After getting up at 3:30am a busy morning of travel and 2 flights, I arrived, dropped my things at the hotel, went to registration, stopped for a group photo and then busted my butt for Insanity. The program IS called Insanity so it seemed fitting for it to be under insane circumstances...


It was all sorts of amazing.

I also got to try out Cize the following day. The workout was PACKED because everyone was so stoked for the workout to launch! I absolutely LOVE Cize -- a workout that doesn't feel like work because you're dancing?!? YES!!



I am so thankful that I had the chance to take this trip. I earned my ticket to Summit by being a Success Starter (which means that I hit certain milestones in my first three months as a coach) which was so cool! I've already got my ticket for next summer's summit and am really looking forward to being back in Nashville with my team again!!

Do you want to join me in Nashville this summer? Become a coach on my team and let's talk about how you could earn your own free ticket to Nashville!

Cara's All Natural Products

Last summer, when I had the pleasure of participating in the very first Confidential Music Theatre Project I had the chance to share a very unique experience with some incredible Toronto talent. One of the very special people that I met was Cara Adams.


In addition to being a lovely operatic soprano, Cara also runs her own company selling all natural beauty care products. It all started with a passion for natural skin care products as she was concerned about the things she was using on her own body. Cara went on to share some of her creations with close family and friends, who went on to share the products with their family and friends, and so a business was born.

Being in the opera world, Cara created a special body butter blend for her friend Measha Brueggergosman which has definitely helped to channel some attention to her brand!

I love that the products have very few ingredients, and Care speaks passionately about her reasoning for including each one. Her products are also free of parabens and synthetic fragrances. She uses many organic ingredients and works hard to use the very best sources for her ingredients. I've had the pleasure of trying out a selection of products from both Cara's regular and luxury lines and I've definitely found a few new favourite things!!


Of the products I tried, my favourites would have to be the Rosemary Mint bodywash, Ultra Rich Handcream and moisturizing lip balm (in coconut macaroon!!) 

I love the fragrance of the Rosemary Mint Body Wash, but didn't find it to be overpowering. It lathers nicely and a little bit went a long way. The ultra rich hand cream also doubles as a beautiful face cream. As someone who doesn't use a tonne of creams or moisturizers, I liked that it didn't make my skin feel oily or gross - just hydrated and happy. And I'm obsessed with the coconut macaroon lip balm - cocoa butter & extra virgin coconut oil come together to make a deliciously moisturizing lip balm -- I want to get one to put in every bag / pocket I have!! Cara also carries a selection of baby products as well as sugar scrubs and bath salts. 

You can order Cara's All Natural products through her website and you can get more details about local events where she will be selling her products on her Facebook page. With the holidays around the corner, she will be at a couple of upcoming markets including the French Christmas Market this Saturday December 12th



and the Vendor Queens Market at Markham House from December 17 - 20. 


It's so wonderful to see friends doing awesome things out in the world! If you're looking for a new Canadian-made brand of natural products or perhaps you are looking for a holiday gift - be sure to check out Cara's lovely products! 

Free December Accountability Group

Can you believe it's December? Christmas is in 3 weeks and I'm in a wee bit of shock about it. The holi-month is in full swing, and the next thing you know it's going to be 2016!



To help you manage the craziness of the holi-month, I'm running a free fitness & healthy eating accountability group beginning Monday December 7 - 18. There will be streamed workouts, healthy recipes, tools for managing the holiday season, prizes and more! It will all take place in a private Facebook group and will be a great chance for you to connect with some awesome, like-minded people this season.

If you'd like to be a part of the group, send me an email with the subject line "I'm in" and we'll get you into the group!

Happy December!