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.

Saying Goodbye to Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village

As a native Torontonian, I was incredibly sad when it was announced that Honest Ed's would be closing.

My first memories of Honest Ed's come from when I was in elementary school. My Nana would take me back to school shopping there and we'd hunt down the best Yikes erasers and coloured pens. When I was in musical theatre college, Ed's was my hub for batteries, cassette tapes for my dictaphone and the occasional snack.

Over the years I would find myself shopping inside for toboggans, men's ties, home decor and random souvenirs.

I spent many a late night in the alley chatting the night away during the Fringe. It was always impossible to leave because by the time you got to the end of the alley you would have run into at least 7 other people you knew and someone would inevitably offer to buy you a drink.

I was happy that I was able to visit the building one last time, during its closing weekend in an amazing event called an Honest Farewell.

There was beautiful art installations, performances and a chance to visit all sorts of neat nooks and crannies, whilst getting lost one last time. I explored, watched some theatre, listened to music, ran into all sorts of friends and reminisced all of the time that I had spent amid Ed's treasures.

The end of Honest Ed's also means the end of Mirvish Village - including one of my very favourite restaurants: Butler's Pantry.

In December I felt an inclination to go visit and have dinner. I started going to Butler's during college, and had some really special meals there with friends, as well as great solo time doing work or learning lines. I knew the menu by heart and the Butler's salad dressing is like no other.

By complete coincidence, that dinner in December turned out to be its closing dinner service. The owner came over and comped our meal. I was thankful that I felt compelled to go when I did. It happened during the end of December when everything in my life was changing, and it as a pretty special experience. They still have a location on Roncesvalles, but I know that it will never feel the same as those giant window booths.

It's barely been a month since the big bash, but the lights are off and there's graffiti covering the building. It will be so strange to see it torn down and a condo erected in its place. Rumour has it that the sign will be incorporated somehow, but it will never be the same. The Fringe tent will move this summer and we'll have to adapt to a whole new setup.

I already miss the iconic lights at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, and all the great memories along the way.

with photos by Corbin Smith

How I Grieve

It's February 24th, which means that it's the 19th anniversary of my mother's death.

Year after year, February throws me into a tizzy and leaves me feeling sad. I've shared before the idea that grief is like the seasons - ever changing, but always present. While I know this and believe it, February continues to hit me like a tonne of bricks every year.

My mom isn't buried in a cemetery, nor do I have a place to visit her in any way, so each year my blog has become a forum for me to honour her memory and reflect on each new season of grief. This is where I'm at today.

It's ok to not be ok.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Most of us are guilty of reassuring people that we're ok. I myself found myself telling my therapist that I was "mostly ok" -- and that's totally fine if it's true. But it's also really ok if it's not. And it's also ok to admit it.

In this glossy, social media-driven world it's easy to view one another's lives as polished, easy, ideal or even perfect. But you never really know what's happening behind the photo or what their expression looks like in between camera clicks.

I encourage you to truly ask those around you how they are and adequately prepare yourself for a real and true answer. It's not always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns -- and that's really ok.

And in those darker days, I encourage you to reach out. Ask for help if you need/want it. Practice self care that helps you to feel safe. And do your best to find a glimpse of light in the darkness, just to make the day a tiny bit easier.

Feelings are valid, whatever they are

In past years I've gotten down on myself for anticipating February 24th or just feeling upset as soon as the calendar turned to February. I've worried about being "too upset" or "getting myself worked up". I've been working to remember that my feelings are valid and normal and it's totally ok to feel what I'm feeling. Getting anxious over "getting too upset" doesn't serve anyone, especially me.

Grief is such a difficult thing - it comes in waves and sometimes hits you when you least expect it. There are so many things that have triggered my grief - other deaths, special occasions, difficult life changes, happy life changes, photos, memories, conversations -- the list goes on and on.

I've found myself feeling sad over the last few weeks and doing my best to practice self care, but I've had moments where I've been paralyzed by grief. I've started and ended workouts really quickly, cancelled plans and put myself in bed to manage my emotions. I've been having some really helpful conversations with my therapist and being honest with where I'm at day to day, hour to hour.

I read this quote last night in Brené Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection "owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do", which rang especially true.

Showing or expressing feelings is not a sign of weakness. It's not a competition to try and be better or stronger. Feelings are valid - whatever they are.

19 years later, it's still important for me to honour my mom

I moved into my new apartment on January 1st and I've been enjoying making it my own and creating little projects for myself. One of the things that makes me really happy is that there are lots of pictures of my mom throughout my space. I look up in most rooms and she's there.

My mom wasn't a huge fan of having her photo taken, so each of these photos feels like a pretty special gift. Having these photos, talking about her, sharing my thoughts through social media helps me to feel closer to her.

I'm afraid of next year

It blows my mind that 19 years have passed since I've had any contact or a conversation with my mom. I have no frame of reference for what it would be like to have her in my life. I'm an entirely different, grown up person from 13 year old me.

If I'm being totally honest, next year's anniversary scares me a lot. Two decades. 7300 days. Her physical presence in my life feels like more than a lifetime ago. 20 years feels like it has added significance somehow.

Today I will feel what I need to feel. I will continue to practice good self care, surround myself with wonderful people who I love, take time and space to feel safe and remind myself that whatever my feelings are today, they're valid, real and significant.

"As far as I can see, grief will never truly end. It may become softer over time, more gentle, and some days will feel sharp. But grief will last as long as love does -- forever. It's simply the way the absence of your loved one manifests in your heart. A deep longing, accompanied by the deepest love. Some days, the heavy fog may return, and the next day, it may recede, once again. It's all an ebb and flow, a constant dance of sorrow and joy, pain and sweet love." - Scribbles & Crumbs

Therapy Doesn't Have to Be a Taboo #BellLetsTalk

Two weeks ago, I opened up on my Facebook about going to therapy. The response that I received what phenomenal and I was overwhelmed by the incredible support, love, reassurance and conversation that ensued. Given that today is Bell Let's Talk day, it seemed fitting to keep the conversation going. 

I want to talk about a subject that can be really taboo in our society:


I've been seeing a therapist over the last few months as I worked through challenges in my relationship and now in the aftermath of our break-up. I have an appointment tonight and I'm so thankful to have someone outside of my normal life to talk through the way I'm feeling right now.

Before this, I hadn't had a very positive experience with going to therapy or working with a therapist. I tried once when I was in college and another time in my 20s. I didn't jive with the therapists and was basically told I was "fine".

As someone with a lot of feelings, I had an instinct that seeing a therapist would be a beneficial thing, but both of those experiences kind of rubbed me the wrong way and made me pessimistic about the potential of seeing someone else. I also felt like I had a good support network and that I was pretty good at handling things on my own.

That changed when things started to get hard in my relationship. We were working through some difficult things and I was trying to navigate through a lot of unfamiliar, vulnerable and scary feelings.

A friend recommended my current therapist and she ended up being a great fit. For the first time, my needs felt heard and I jived with her approach.

Asking for help can be really scary, but it's so important.

Going to a therapist doesn't make you weak.
It doesn't make you a bad person.
It doesn't mean you're "too emotional".
Or that you are incapable of handling your shit.

Asking for help and learning more about your feelings actually makes you really, really REALLY brave.

And if you're like me and didn't necessarily have a good experience the first or second go round, take your time and try to connect with someone else - who follows a different modality or comes with a recommendation from someone you know/trust.

If finances are a concern for you, there are programs you can access to find someone to talk to for a lower cost. It may take a bit more digging, but they're out there.

If you're not ready to take that step or it doesn't feel like the right approach for you, don't be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member.

You are loved.
You are worth it.
You are not alone.

There doesn't need to be a negative stigma around therapy or mental health or mental illness -- we're all just trying to do the best we can.

And you don't have to do that on your own.