Mary Jane - for my mom on her birthday

When I was in the sixth grade, Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill album was everything to me. It was one of the first cd's I owned, I knew all the words to all the songs and sang along with them (much to the dismay of my mom at times - she politely explained that it wasn't a great idea for me to belt out all of the words to You Oughta Know...) It was an iconic album for all of the girls in my class, and we bonded over creating new lyrics to Ironic to share some of our elementary school problems.

I grew up listening to a lot of music in our household. My parents introduced me to Motown, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Madonna, Bob Marley, Sheryl Crow and more. Alanis made her way into the rotation, and I was proud to share the same musical tastes as my mom.

There was one song on the album that we disagreed about: track nine - Mary Jane. At that time it was probably my least favourite and I would skip over it whenever we were listening to the cd. If my mom was around, she would ask me to go back and play the song. I didn't understand why she liked it so much, and hadn't yet come to the realization that perhaps it was the song on the album that she most related to. I would oblige and let the song play out.

The year that album became a favourite in our house was a tough one for our family. We were living two hours away from Toronto, almost all of our friends and family were back home, my dad was commuting back and forth for work, and my mom was especially unhappy. It was really hard on all of us, and I know an especially bad year for my mom's depression. We lost her less than two years later.

After my mom's death, Mary Jane had new meaning.

It's a long way down
On this roller coaster
The last chance streetcar
Went off the track
And you're on it...

What's the matter Mary Jane?
Tell me...

Spending time reading her journal and examining the time leading up to her death gave me new insight into how she may have been feeling, and why this song resonated with her so deeply.

This will be the 20th time I've watched her birthday pass on the calendar since her death.
In February it will be 20 years since she's been gone.
I still wish we were celebrating her birthday together. 

I've sang Mary Jane many times since my mom died - on my own, in the shower, in rehearsal and in shows. It holds a special place in my heart, because I know it was a song my mom really enjoyed. I wish she too could have watched me sing it onstage. While the rest of Jagged Little Pill holds a lot of nostalgia for me, Mary Jane is on another level. 

I never skip track 9 anymore.

Happy birthday mom xo


Ashley Gibson Piano: Tara Litvack Guitar: Brandon Wall

Recorded at the 120 Diner by Chris James. Special thanks to Jeni Walls

Weekly Adventures 10.20.17

I'm back! And managing jet lag and the post-vacation blues.

leaving Hong Kong

My flight home was pretty normal, except for the fact that I experienced my first typhoon. It was a level 8 typhoon and Hong Kong was hit with some pretty intense wind and rain, but the city seemed mostly unfazed by it. Our flight boarded on time and left the tarmac about 40 minutes later than we were scheduled. I made it home in under 15 hours while managing to sleep a bit and plough through season one of The Good Wife. 

This weekend I'll be working on a full post (or two) with the full details of my Hong Kong trip. As I mentioned before, I loved being there and just soaked up everything there was to offer. My last few days were a lot of fun and it's been quite a shock to my system to head back to work and wear layers because autumn has certainly arrived here in Toronto.

Hello 123 lettuce wrap paleo party

I've been fighting the post-vacation blues with lots of sleep, downtime, getting back into daily workouts and catching up with friends. Last night I went to Hello 123 on Queen West for the first time and really enjoyed it. Really tasty vegan menu that's almost entirely gluten free. I enjoyed the Lettuce Wrap Paleo Party and it was an awesome mix of things that was super delicious! It looks like it's already becoming a bit of a hot spot, so try to get there early or maybe stop in for lunch so you don't have to wait for a table.

rupi kaur the sun and her flowers

Oh, it's beautiful and heartbreaking just like her first book.

I love hearing Esther Perel talk about relationships, so this podcast that gives you an insider perspective to some of her sessions with couples is next level. 

I hope you're all staying cozy as we head into autumn! Any tips for beating the post-vacation blues? Seems to be the most popular one is to start planning the next vacation...

Weekly Adventures 10.13.17

Hello from Hong Kong (complete with these LINE friends)

We've been having another fantastic week exploring, eating all sorts of delicious food, visiting with family, shopping, swimming and enjoying the hot weather. We also busted out the ukulele for a wee show for the family and to participate in the #ukesnotnukes virtual flashmob for peace.

I've only got a few days left, but I know that I'll be looking forward to coming back very soon. As a city girl at heart, I feel quite at home here. Once I'm back, I'll be sharing all the details of our adventures and eats! 

Weekly Adventures 10.6.17

I had an awesome plan to write a weekly adventure update last week, but packing and planning got the best of me and the next thing I knew I was on a 14.5 hour flight to Hong Kong!

I've been waiting for this day for a couple of months now, and having been in Hong Kong for nearly a week I can say that I love it here - what an incredible city. I can't wait to share more of my faves and photos in a proper, upcoming post. For now, I suggest you follow along via Instagram where I've been sharing daily snippets as part of my story - you can find me @ashleydtl

In the meantime, thanks for your awesome response to my break-up advice post and I hope that all my Canadian friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Break Up Advice: 9 Things I've Learned

Break-ups suck. There, I said it.

While dating in my 20s after my first big relationship ended, I had my fair share of "break-ups" but when you've only been seeing someone for a few weeks, or a couple of months it doesn't usually have the same intense ramifications of the break up of a long term relationship. Sure, you're sad and it hurts and it sucks, but in my experience I was able to dust myself back off and keep moving forward. Sometimes the ghosts of those relationships would pop back up, but it mostly felt manageable.

With everyone I dated and subsequently broke up with, I learned things about myself and what I was looking for in a relationship. And then I took those things with me into the next encounter or person I dated. 

With my most recent ex, our break up hit me hard -- because for a long time I believed he was "the one". I thought he was the person that I had been looking for, and that everything that I had learned had led me to him. It was a difficult thing to come to terms with and hit me hard.

By the end I knew that it was time for me to move forward and I've spent the last 9 months working on healing and re-establishing who I am, and what I want in a relationship. And while I know our break up was the right thing, I still have moments of intense sadness. In those moments, these are some things I've learned along the way.

1. Random things will make you sad

"Oh hi new season of the show we used to watch together"
"Weird -- I know the people in those photos and those were taken in my old house"

After a break up there, are times when you'll expect to be sad (When you find a photo of the two of you, their birthday, a song you both loved comes on, when an acquaintance asks about them, when you decide to write a post giving break up advice...) And then sometimes the sad break up feelings surprise the heck out of you at the most random, mundane moments - like when Netflix releases the newest season of your favourite show, or you catch a glimpse of a photo of them on a friend's social media stream, or when you pass someone wearing their favourite fragrance in the street. 

It's ok.
You're totally normal.
And it's really ok to feel the sad feelings.

2. You're going to have awkward conversations

...With people who don't know you've broken up, or when friends run into your ex or catch something they post on social media. It's going to be uncomfortable and may cause some sadness, but these moments will decrease over time.

3. People will take their side

This usually comes in the form of their friends and family members, but sometimes you'll be surprised by the people you thought fell into "mutual" territory. You could be ignored, deleted and/or blocked. Do your best not to take it personally.

4. You lose more than just the partner

To be totally honest, losing my partner's family ranked high as one of the really tough things about our break up. They became part of my family and I felt very thankful to have them in my life. We shared a lot of really great memories on holidays, vacations and at random family dinners and they provided me with a lot of love and support. Last Christmas was so hard because it was the first one I wouldn't be spending with them in 4 years. A friend recently wrote an article about maintaining relationships with with your ex's family, which I found interesting, but it hasn't been an experience that I've encountered so far.

5. Having support is key

Whether that be your best friend, your trusted aunt, a therapist or any combination of these people, having support while you're going through this tough time is absolutely key. It's so tough and there are a lot of emotions to process and logistics to sort out, but you don't have to do it alone. Talk to someone and let them be there for you when you need to cry or vent or pack up your belongings to move to your new place. I was very thankful to have incredible support from my friends and therapist while I was going through my break up. It helped me to feel less alone and allowed me to process everything that I was feeling and working through in a very safe way.

6. Months later you'll have more clarity

In the moment, it's so hard to recognize this and not feel anything but sad. But the days will get easier, especially if you practice good self care and surround yourself with an awesome team. Your gut will tell you that you've made the right decision, even if it didn't feel easy at the time.

7. Once you're out of the woods, you'll hopefully be able to reflect on the good things you had

We always remember the beginnings and endings, but when it comes to relationships I feel like it's so easy for us to ruminate on the not-so-great things, especially at the end. There will come a day when you'll hopefully be able to reflect on the great memories, the laughs you shared or at least the positive things you gained from the relationship (even if they don't involve the person directly). I recently came across some photos of my ex and I, along with some cards and while they made me sad on one hand, I was also able to smile and remember some good feelings from those moments in our time together.

8. One day you're not going to think about them

And you'll realize it and feel strange.

This person was a daily fixture interwoven into your life for the duration of your relationship, and suddenly they don't even cross your mind and aren't a part of your life anymore. You'll start to have more and more of these days.

9. You probably won't be able to be friends

Some former couples defy this and manage to have healthy friendships, but after you break up with someone you'll probably realize one of 3 things:
  1. You have nothing to be friends about. Your relationship started in flirtation and dating, went on to be a partnership and after it's over there isn't really a reason for you to stay connected. 
  2. They're not a good person and you don't want them in your life at all.
  3. It's just too difficult for one or both of you.
This could change and evolve over time, but being friends with an ex can be really, really hard.

If you're going through a break up, give yourself some grace, surround yourself with some awesome people to support you and continue to practice self kindness. I don't really want to give you cliched advice like "it's going to make you stronger" -- but it's kinda true. You'll get to the other side and realize new things about yourself, who you want to be in a partnership and the kind of partner you want to be with.

The feelings I've had following this break up have continued to surprise me, but I'm proud of the growth I've felt along the way. I haven't felt paralyzed by my thoughts or feelings, but instead it's been an opportunity to reflect, re-evaluate and do my best to take care of myself.

Weekly Adventures 9.22.17 (Wedding Edition)

Last week was extra special because I was in Ottawa / Wakefield celebrating my best friend Mel's wedding. It was pretty magical.

I flew Porter, which meant that I was able to walk to the airport with my carry-on. I stayed in an adorable airbnb during the week whilst spending time with Mel, the bridal party and her other wonderful friends in the city.

Mel and I have been friends for 14 years, and while she's been in Amsterdam for the last 3 we've done a good job at maintaining our friendship across many, many miles.  Spending time together was bittersweet - very special to celebrate her love, the wedding and hang out together, but also sad because it made me miss her more. I know that I have a trip to Amsterdam coming up in my future, and our time together reinforced how much I need to work on making that happen ASAP.

It was a particularly beautiful week in Ottawa, which was especially wonderful since the wedding was outdoors; they couldn't have asked for a better day!

I rented my dress from Rent Frock Repeat, and since they have a location in Ottawa I didn't have to pack it with me. It was such a fun dress to wear!

And honestly, I can't say enough good things about my time with these gals. From doing Beyography choreography, laughing between courses, getting our hair and make up done together, travelling throughout Ottawa to Wakefield and back, sharing stories, hanging out in robes whilst taking photos, giving speeches - it was all a really lovely bridal party experience.

As a friend, it's such a joy to see the people you love the most find their most special people and celebrate that love. Over the last 4 years, watching all 3 of my best friends get married and being a part of their weddings has been such a gift. Mel's wedding was no different and I made a lot of memories that I will cherish for a very long time! I am over the moon thrilled for Mel and Alexei, and wish them so much continued happiness in the years to come.

I've got some fun events coming up over the weekend and then I'll spend the week prepping to head off on another adventure a week from today - more on that to come!

Cheers to love xo

Weekly Adventures 9.8.17

Now that this is my third post in the weekly adventure series, this means it's a trend, right?? It's fun to be banging out these little updates and I'm stoked for other content that is in the works and on its way!

Honestly this week wasn't super exciting, because it's one of the only weeks in September where I'm actually here in Toronto! I have some great travel plans coming up so I think I was hibernating in anticipation of everywhere that I'm off to. The long weekend was pretty relaxed and I allowed myself to lay low, nap, watch Drag Race, get my September group started and be very low key.

I did head down to Harbourfront for an awesome show with Sharron Matthews and Shawn Hitchins. They are two of my very favourite performers (and people!) in Toronto and it was a joy to see them onstage together. Shawn has a new book out called A Brief History of Oversharing and based on the story he shared from the book onstage, I think it's going to be a lot of fun to read. Really glad that I got to see the show and was an awesome night out.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned Impact Kitchen on the blog, but if you follow me on social media you've certainly seen me share my experiences there. It's so good! They use real food ingredients and their meals have a paleo focus. I love that I can go there and it always fits right into my style of eating. I treated myself to the paleo waffles and they were crispy, smothered in cashew cream and fruit and absolutely lovely. I can't wait until they open their location on the west side - even though it's going to be totally dangerous having it so much closer to me!

In other mundane news, I'm working on growing out my hair - so this teeny tiny ponytail made an appearance in my week. After having very short hair for the last two years, I'm ready for a bit of a change so my stylist is helping me to make the transition. This means that the back left side of my hair is longer than the right side and I sort of feel like an awkward teenager. We'll see if I last through actually growing it out into something longer!

I randomly ended up with a bag of puffed quinoa and I'm trying to sort out how to use it. So far it's just gone on top of yogurt, but I may try to recreate some puffed quinoa squares...

What I'm listening to: Everything Todrick Hall

Oh ehm gee -- what rock have I been living under??! Todrick Hall is giving me LIFE. What a phenomenal talent. His 90s mashups are just a small sample of what he does and I absolutely want to see him on broadway ASAP.

Quote of the week: Do something today your future self will thank you for

Next week I'll be coming at you from Wakefield, Quebec where my best friend will be getting married a week from today!! I am over the moon thrilled to see her and be a part of her very special day. Looking forward to a great adventure!

Happy Friday kittens xo

Weekly Adventures 9.1.17

Well, hello there September! You've certainly come in with a bang -- of cold air! I was out at a show last night and when I was leaving I was freezing in my summer dress, cardigan and bare legs. I hope that we still get to enjoy a blast of summer temperatures before it stays in that cooler range.

Happy September

Last weekend I enjoyed an end of summer tradition and went to the CNE!

Canadian National Exhibition

I've missed going over the last few years (probably 5 or 6!) and so it was a real treat to visit. I've been going to the CNE for as long as I can remember and have lots of fond memories of the end of the summer wave that hits me once I walk through those gates. We enjoyed some tasty food (I opted for cabbage rolls, which were delicious!), the Superdogs show, the cat show plus a whole lot of wandering in the sunshine. It was an awesome day and I'm glad that I went this year!

sriracha roasted cauliflower

This week I was mildly obsessed with roasted cauliflower. I picked up a giant head of Ontario cauliflower when I was doing my groceries and enjoyed it roasted with sriracha, gluten free tamari, garlic powder and sea salt. I don't think I'll be getting tired of it anytime soon!

eggwhite protein oats

I also rekindled my love of protein oats made with egg whites, cinnamon and vanilla with a dollop of cashew butter on the side. Such a great mid-morning meal!

ashley gibson toronto

I recently started watching RuPaul's Drag Race and am doing my very best to catch up on all the seasons and all of the Untucked episodes -- it's so awesome and I can't believe I haven't watched it up until now! A friend who was championing the show for me told me about this podcast and now I have a gazillion episodes to catch up on. I love Ru and Michelle's rapport, the topics they chat about and their perspective on the world.

Quote of the week: Replace excuses with effort

ashley gibson toronto

I've started a new workout program this week that's 30 minutes a day, every day and I've been challenging myself to get it done every morning no matter how I feel. Some days are better than others, but I know that I always feel better once I've done! Ditch the excuses, find a solid why and get it done.

I'm looking forward to enjoying a long weekend (it keeps catching me by surprise!) without any big plans. There's lots of fun and travel in store for September, so I'm going to take advantage of this very quiet weekend while everyone else is out of the city. As always, I'll be over on Instagram story-ing it up.

Happy September, friends xo

Weekly Adventures 8.25.17

I've been writing this blog for a long time, and steadily over the last few years I've been writing less and less. While I love writing, blogging always seems to be the last thing on my to-do list, and often I feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating something that's worthy of sharing. I've got draft upon draft of unfinished posts along with a laundry list of ideas written in notebooks and my planner that have never come into fruition

That ends now!

I miss blogging regularly, and so to force myself to get something in here at least once a week I'm starting a series tentatively titled "Weekly Adventures". In this post that I'll share on Fridays, I'll share some highlights from my week, along with things that I'm reading or doing, plus things that are inspiring me along the way. Part of what has stopped me from blogging previously is that I felt like my posts needed to be "about" something specific. This new series will take some of that pressure off, and give me an excuse to write and share more about my adventures. So here we go!

I feel like I'm sort of cheating to start this new series this week, since it was a pretty eventful one!

Over the weekend I attended canfitpro's World Fitness Expo once again, and got to work out with Shaun T and slip in for a meet and greet. He's always so inspiring and his workout was a doozy. This time I managed to contain my crying for just the workout and enjoyed every moment of the meet & greet.

On Sunday, I took a leap outside my comfort zone and completed my certification to become a CORE DE FORCE instructor!!

I got to attend the training with Joel and Jericho, and spent the day learning more about the program, the details of the movement, along with how to teach a live class. It pushed me mentally and physically, but I'm excited to keep learning and growing with the goal of teaching my first class before the end of 2017. Between Saturday's intense workout and Sunday's all-day training, on Monday everything hurt. Like, everything. Even muscles and body parts that I didn't know existed!!

What I'm listening to: Coldplay

On Tuesday I got to go to the Coldplay concert at the Skydome and it was phenomenal! They put on an amazing live show - I was honestly so impressed with everything from the set list, to the lighting / video, to the talent of all the musicians and their energy. I got to enjoy the show from a TV box, complete with space for a dance party and our own private washroom. It was a pretty special evening!

What I'm reading: Ashley Amplified
Thanks to Kelly from So She Glows for featuring me this week as part of her Patchwork Project.

Quote of the week: Be badass.
Badassery inspired by my instructor training and the incredible Joel & Jericho.

This was the first instalment of my weekly adventures!

While I've got a bunch of other posts in the works (including lessons learned from therapy and my break-up, my experience doing the ketogenic diet, the workouts I've been loving and more) I'd love to hear if you have anything you'd like me to write about! Message me here or find me on Instagram. Over there you can also follow along with my weekly adventures in real time as I share things in my Instagram Stories!

Have a great weekend!


Toronto Fringe 2017

What's summer without the Toronto Fringe?

Year after year, the Toronto Fringe Festival is the event I look forward to most each summer. With 160 shows to choose from this year, it's set to be an amazing event From July 5-16, 2017.

This marks a new era for the Fringe with a brand new location for the Fringe tent (at Scadding Court at Bathurst & Dundas) and some new venues (including the Theatre Centre). It will be very strange to not be in the alley at Honest Ed's but the new venue is close to home and I'm sure we'll all transition nicely to the new space.

As always, there is some great pre-coverage popping up (including lists from Derrick Chua and Steve Fisher, whose opinions I trust!) and I'm starting to mark up my own program and make a game plan for my Fringe itinerary. I'm not in any shows this year, but I have been helping to do PR and social media for one. As someone who loves theatre and the Fringe, it's been great to be immersed in the press releases and all the buzz surrounding this year's shows.

About a week away, here's what I'm looking forward to:

Pineapple Club Toronto Fringe 2017
Katherine Fogler Photography
Pineapple Club (Factory Theatre Mainspace) - In getting ready to write this post, I pulled up my Fringe posts from the last couple of years, and lo and behold Dance Animal was at the very top of my 2016 list (and I loved it!) I started working with the team doing PR and social media a couple of months ago. In this time, I've gotten to see a behind-the-scenes peek into Dance Animal Director / Choreographer Robin Henderson's process as she's worked with Paul Barnes, Jonathan Shaboo and Pascale Yensen to create this brand new show. It's part comedic dance, part sketch comedy and part social commentary -- which is such a great mix. This team is incredibly talented and I can't wait to see this show come into fruition.

Not Enough (Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace) - Another name that has popped up on my Fringe lists over the years has been Megan Phillips. We connected years ago through a message board, and I'm so glad that she makes the journey to Toronto each year to be a part of the Fringe. I got to see this show last year when she was previewing it here before taking it across Canada, and it's a funny, candid take on change, forgiveness and becoming enough.

Soaring in Liquid Skies (Theatre Pass Muraille Backspace) - I've had the chance to see Franco Nguyen do sketch and standup a few times recently, and he is a fantastic, charismatic performer with a unique point of view of the world.

Maddie's Karaoke Birthday Party (The Monarch Tavern) - Add some of my favourite performers in the city with one of my favourite pastimes and that's a show that's right up my alley.

James & Jamesy in the Dark (Al Green Theatre) - I got to have tea onstage with James & Jamesy a few years ago at Fringe, and nearly peed myself from laughing. I'm pumped to see them back and this new show, set entirely in the dark, sounds like it's going to be something completely unique, hilarious and magical.

Other shows I'm looking forward to: Bendy Sign Tavern - Sex T-Rex is another Fringe favourite of mine and I'm excited to see them jump into a rom-com with puppets in a bar, Weaksauce - Sam Mullins is one of my favourite storytellers and this show was charming when I saw it a few years ago, Contagious - love this premise and another solid creative team, True North Mixtape - I was obsessed with Summerland 2 years ago, so this is absolutely on my list, Jay and Shilo's Sibling Revelry - while it's made for kids, the story sounds adorable and I'm a huge Jeni Walls and Justin Bott fan, and Ten Creative Ways to Dispose of Your Cremains - which I had no idea about until I saw it on every list under the sun and it has caught my attention!

As word of mouth starts to spread my list will be constantly changing and evolving, but I can't wait to dive into 10 days of talent, frolicking from theatre to theatre and seeing all of my theatre friends (and random people I know) in the Fringe tent.

If you'd like to follow along with my adventures, I'll be tweeting away @ashleydtl (I think Fringe is one of the only reasons I keep my Twitter going...) and posting on my Instagram story (also @ashleydtl)

Grab yourself a Fringe program and take the time to see a show (or 4!) from July 5 - 16. All ticket sales go back to the artists involved and be sure to take a moment to tip the Fringe.

What are you looking forward to this Fringe?

Shift Shop with Chris Downing

I am thrilled to share the details of Beachbody's newest workout program, Shift Shop, with trainer Chris Downing!

My first introduction to Chris was a team call with him a few weeks ago, and after hearing his story and inspiration for this program, I knew it was going to be a game-changer. I got to try the first Ship Shop workout last week and it has me counting down the days until July to get started.

Here's the scoop on Shift Shop:

  • 3 week program, 6 workouts per week
  • 8 workouts in total ranging from 25-45 minutes in length
  • awesome meal plan focusing on whole foods with a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and fat
  • clear, comprehensive instructions for every move
  • modifier for every move
  • minimal equipment needed except for agility markers 
The program starts off slowly with 25 minute cardio and strength workouts and an easy-to-follow meal plan. In week 2 the workouts increase to 35 minutes and your protein intake increases to ensure that you're fuelling your body. For week 3, the workouts are 45 minutes each, higher in intensity and you really dial in your nutrition.

Not only that, but Chris is all about motivation in a very different way than any other trainer I've seen. In the first workout, the motto is "Try before you modify", which is such an important thing to remember. So often in workouts (and life!!) we try to modify or take a short cut even before we give it our best shot. Give it a solid try first and you may surprise yourself. This nugget along with so many more are waiting at the Shift Shop.

This program is for you if:
  • you want to see results quickly
  • you're getting started in your fitness journey -- this will be your perfect on-ramp to guide you
  • you've done other programs and you want to kick things up a notch
  • you've done the whole health and fitness thing before and you need to get back into the swing of things
On Monday July 17th, I'll be kicking off my Shift Shop Accountability Group for those who are looking to commit to 21 days of this program with me. I will take you through meal planning, establishing a great mindset, modifications and be working out alongside you for daily accountability and support. The weekend before we start, I'll be hosting a kick off call for everyone participating to help you get set up for success and connect with the group.

This is your shift. The one you’ve been talking about. You can do this.

If you want to be a part of this motivating and game-changing group, fill in the application below to save your spot. We're getting started on Monday July 17 -- are you ready to make the shift?

Have a question before you commit? Feel free to send me an email - let's talk!

I can't wait to get started with this program and hope that you'll jump in with me.

33 Self Care Ideas to Nurture Yourself

How's your self care these days?

With Mother's Day coming up on the weekend coupled with a busy time at work and having a lot of feelings, I've been working on my own self care this month. As a self-admitted perfectionist who sometimes feels like they need to be "on" or "doing something" all the time, it needs to be a choice for me to slow down. And it isn't always easy. 

But I know I'm better for it when I slow down, give myself some time and get on the self care piece. 

I've been thinking a lot about what self care looks like for me, and wanted to share some ideas for ways to practice self care in your own life -- as a regular practice, but also in times when you really need to nourish your soul. For me that looks like busier than normal periods in my life, but also tough days like Mother's Day or my mom's death anniversary. It's an important habit to get into. You deserve it!

Here are 33 self care ideas to help you nurture yourself:
  1. Take a walk
  2. Read your favourite book
  3. Workout
  4. Nap
  5. Take a bath
  6. Watch your favourite movie/show/Netflix series (bonus points for a full season)
  7. Go out for brunch
  8. Buy yourself flowers, a cactus or succulent
  9. Get a manicure, pedicure or facial
  10. Journal
  11. See a show or concert
  12. Spend time with someone special
  13. Go to an art gallery or museum
  14. Meditate
  15. Sing
  16. Bake some donuts
  17. Say no
  18. Shut down your technology and take a social media break
  19. Do something crafty or artistic
  20. Diffuse essential oils or light some candles
  21. Spend time with animal friends
  22. Go to a farmer's market and make a nourishing meal
  23. Phone / Skype / Facetime a friend
  24. Play
  25. Make an awesome playlist and have a dance party
  26. Enjoy the sunshine / rain / stars
  27. Make a pot of tea
  28. Colour
  29. Go to your favourite coffee shop and have the best warm beverage
  30. Hang out in nature or near water
  31. Learn an instrument (or practice that one you used to play)
  32. Go for a bike ride
  33. Breathe
Over the past two weeks, I've been working hard at numbers 3, 4, 6, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 23, 27 and 33.

Ways to practice self care

One of my best friends came for a visit and brought me beautiful flowers. Time with her + tulips = 2 wins in one!

ways to practice self care

And since the weekend I've been teaching myself ukulele (you can follow my adventures over on Instagram!) Learning something new in a gentle way plus having the opportunity to sing and surround myself with music I love has been a very positive thing for my mental health this week. 

Whether you're going through a stressful time, find yourself losing momentum in the hustle or just need a little bit of TLC -- make some time in the near future to do something nice for yourself by practicing some good self care. (Pin this for future reference!)

Self care ideas to nurture yourself

What are your favourite ways to practice self care?

The Unicorn Frappuccino is a Disgrace to Unicorns

Unicorn Frappuccino

Guys, unicorns are awesome 🦄🦄🦄

The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino however, is not.

The internet has been agog over the last couple days about the limited edition Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino.

People like Starbucks. 
People like unicorns. 
People like pretty things to post on Instagram and show the world how much fun they're having.

I would hope that people would also like things that are delicious and filled with less than 60g of sugar in one serving - oh yes, that's what's happening in the Unicorn Frappuccino. 

Courtesy of various syrups and sugars that make up this concoction, this rainbow-hued beverage has 59g of sugar in just one cup (and that's if you go for a Grande - a Venti has more than 75g of sugar)

59g of sugar. 
In a beverage. 
You don't even get to chew it. 

Having a Venti is like the equivalent of eating 3 Snickers bars. That's insane. 

We know that increased sugar intake has bad effects on our body, right?

One of the things that freaks me out about this drink is the "sour blue powder" -- aside from oranges, there's no good flavour that is described merely by its colour. If you've eaten any candy in your life, you can probably reflect on what 'red' or 'yellow' tastes like. "Sour blue" is not a flavour I want to slurp up. Ever. 

I've also seen the flavour described as a "creamy, mango white mocha". Those are not things that should go together. 

I was actually shocked by the number of these things that popped up in my newsfeed this week - but no one was shouting from the rooftops about it, proclaiming their love and how they wanted to go back for another. When I posted about it on my Facebook on Wednesday night, someone mentioned drinking one and feeling ill all day, and another chucked hers in the trash after 3 sips (and the aforementioned pretty Instagram photo)

And the only people who are having fun are the people who are ripping it to shreds all over the internet, because surely the baristas aren't enjoying it, and neither are the people shelling out $6-$7 for one.

Unicorn Frappuccino vs Shakeology

I wanted to compare the Unicorn Frap to Shakeology, as it's something I drink each day.

Looking at the ingredients side by side is a no brainer - the frap has 7 different kinds of sugar, a variety of artificial colours and a whole lot of no thank you. Shakeology is full of vegan protein sources, superfoods and greens. Shakeology isn't sugar free - but has less sugar than an apple, and those sugars are derived from non-refined sources. It's also significantly higher in protein and fibre (Protein 16g vs. 5g, Fibre 5g vs. 0g) which is going to help stabilize your blood sugar and impact your feelings of satiety (feeling more full)

Shakeology may not be rainbow coloured or unicorn themed, but I'll take a glass of that any day over a glass of rainbow coloured sugar with mango flavouring and sour blue dust.

I definitely have a sweet tooth and it's taken me a long time to deal with my sugar cravings. I still enjoy a treat now and again, but having my chocolate shake each day definitely helps to manage. Breakfast that tastes like cake, but works like a salad? Yes please!

One of the best things I've seen said about the Unicorn Frappuccino is that "it's where unicorn spirits go to die" and that pretty much sums it up. It's only got a few days left of the menu, and hopefully it won't make a comeback.

Let's just go back to unicorns being awesome, ok? 

The Things I Would Have Told Myself

I'm gearing up for a really fun weekend that includes my birthday and latest cabaret, "The Things I Would Have Told Myself".

I often find myself reflecting on the things I've learned on my birthday. I've celebrated quite a few since writing this blog. I still believe in the manifesto I created last year and I'm still trying to figure out all of this grown up stuff.

The show is going to be about all of that, plus the advice I would have shared with myself along the way. I wish I could go back and tell myself that I wouldn't get married in my 20s, offer some sage advice on the people I should (and shouldn't have dated) and share details of the future to my younger self that probably would have made me squeal.

When I moved into my new apartment at the beginning of this year, it marked the start of a new chapter for me. Not only was it the end of my relationship, but it also marked the first time that I've ever lived on my own. I worried that I would get lonely or that I just wouldn't feel comfortable - I wish I would have had the opportunity to do it sooner.

Living in my own space has been such a blessing for me. I love not talking to people. Leaving things in a spot and then returning to find them exactly there. Having friends over. Enjoying a whole fridge to myself and not having to share shelves. Keeping it tidy (or not). Decorating and creating the space that I want to live in. And accumulating a glorious collection of throw pillows on my bed and couch. 

I still think it would be charming to go back and tell my 8 year old self all the things I know now, but the list of lessons learned seems to grow longer as the days and years pass by. I doubt my younger self would have listened to any of this, but it might have been nice to try.

I'm looking forward to spending the weekend with people I adore, enjoying some shenanigans, treating myself to some red wine and cake and having the opportunity to do what I love onstage whilst sharing some innermost thoughts with the crowd.

33, let's do this. 

If you'd like to come celebrate with me on Sunday at 7pm at Club 120 (above 120 Diner), you can get your tickets here.