Remember that time I was in the Fringe?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I can't believe Fringe ended over a week ago. Between seeing 13 shows, performing in 7 of my own and spending a whole lot of time frolicking in the sunshine and mingling in the beer tent, I was one busy gal. While I may not have been posting on my blog, I was popping up in various places on the internet, including a piece on Fringe on Photojunkie's blog


and my beautiful & creative friend Stefne’s tumblr

Steph1Steph2 (unrelated -- I've been reading lots of fashionista blogs lately and I want to add a weekly outfit post to my blog. Stay tuned!)

I feel so lucky to have seen some pretty fantastic shows and performances. Standouts included Kim's Convenience, Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party-a-go-go, 5th Element, Mickey & Judy, Ellamentary, Infinitum and Hypnogogic Logic. I saw 3 shows on both Fridays and managed to squeeze the others in amid the craziness. Between 2 performer passes, some advance purchases and some comps, I was a very happy theatre-goer. It was really amazing to see so much talent and ended up feeling very inspired by the fantastic work around me. If you missed Fringe or didn’t get to see all the shows you wanted, The Best of Fringe Uptown is happening until August 5th.


Cellar Hotel went well. We had a sold out show on the first Saturday and a nearly sold out house for closing. I received some sweet compliments on my performance and it was an honour to be onstage with such a talented group of people.


But to be honest, I was really thankful when it was over.

Working 2 jobs and doing 2 shows was really taking a toll on me. I developed a cold just before opening and I just found myself exhausted. As per usual when I'm doing a show, I didn't have much time for myself or groceries or sleep or working out. It was really nice to get back to all of those things once the show had its final curtain call.

I'm now only working 2 jobs and rehearsing for ONE show.

From August 18-21 I'll be playing Rapunzel in Into the Woods. I would love for you to come out and see this show, it is absolutely one of my favourites. And playing Rapunzel means I basically stand in a tower and scream as a blonde for much of the show. Why would you want to miss that!? You can get tickets here.

Summer seems to be about seeing shows, which is totally fine by me. I was lucky enough to see Next to Normal last week as it opened at the Four Seasons. What an incredible show with some ridiculously talented performers. I knew a few tunes from the show and the basic plotline before going in, but had no idea how close to home it was really going to be. I did a lot of crying and was lucky enough to be sitting between two of my best friends. It runs until Saturday and I would highly recommend nabbing tickets if you can. I was also really thrilled to see Ashley in A Chorus Line out in Brampton, have been trying to map out some plans to catch some Summerworks shows and need to get to Stratford ASAP.

That should tide me over till I'm seeing Bernadette Peters onstage on August 25?

Oh yes, I'm back in New York City in less than a month. The squeals have already begun...

Coming up on the bloggy -- my final NYC post and some fun summertime frolicking! Also really excited to have a new digital camera (mine died in NYC), which means there will be some foodie goodness pictures coming up.

How is your summer? Did you Fringe? Have you seen any good shows of late?

Ashley Takes Manhattan–Part Deux

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

After less than 24 hours, I was already in love with the city.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to take a little solo adventure. I threw on a dress and some sunscreen, did a little google-mapping and headed to Chelsea Market to visit One Lucky Duck. SANY5213_thumbSANY5227_thumbWhile I knew that I was going to be having dinner at Pure (squeal!!), I was still looking forward to visiting One Lucky Duck for some yummy breakfast and some treats. While everything looked AMAZING I opted for some cinnamon crispies, macaroons and raw granola in a sweet pink tote. SANY5226_thumbAnd a spanking SANY5228_thumbof the smoothie variety of course!! Fresh coconut, blueberry, banana, cashew milk, cinnamon and vanilla blended together to make sweet sweet love in my mouth. It was stellar. Feeling giddy and full of deliciousness, I was fuelled up for some shopping in Chelsea which included a stop at Anthropologie where I found an amazing dress and skirt on sale for so much less than it would have been at the Canadian location.

I was thrilled for the next stop on my adventure, which was a tea date with the beautiful Sheryl!SANY5237_thumbI can’t even remember how I found Sheryl’s blog, but it was certainly one of the first Weight Watchers blogs I started reading back in 2007-2008. It has been incredible to follow her weight loss journey and I think I cried when she reached her goal weight. It sounds so corny, but it was a dream come true to finally meet her in person and I loved how easily our conversation flowed and how much we had in common. 247063_10150196801089143_598069142_7We stopped off for iced tea and coffee at Starbucks before wandering around, ogling sailors and taking a speedy trip into Trader Joe’s because I had never experienced one! The two of us received lots of compliments on our outfits and Sheryl’s awesome Hello Kitty bike garnered lots of attention too.

Our time together also included a trip to Lula’s Sweet Apothecary. IMG01098-20110528-1839_thumbOh. My. Gawd.

It was like I had died and gone to heaven in a sea of vegan ice cream. They had a huge selection of vegan ice cream, including soft serve! It was so hard to choose, but I opted for the cashew based peanut butter chip over a gluten free vegan brownie. I wish I had words to describe just how amazing this was, but it really made me long for something similar in Toronto.

I met back up with Jer and spent the afternoon wandering around Soho doing some shopping. My favourite stops included Cafe Kristall / Swarovski store where I purchased an amazing Swarovski ring (on sale, no less) and the Harney and Sons tea shop.

Jer and I had been texting when I was out with Sheryl and he let me know that he had found “tea heaven” for me and the Harney and Sons store did not disappoint! After falling in love with some of the Harney teas, I didn’t even know where to begin once we were in the store. They were sampling a variety of iced teas, which was a great place to start. I absolutely fell in love with the decaf hot cinnamon tea, which has taken on the title of the sparkle tea amongst my Tea Club gals. I also picked up some Paris tea and Peach Ginger, both of which I love. The person who was helping us at the counter was incredibly knowledgeable and obliged my many requests to smell and sample many teas. After I told him about my love of tea and about our little tea club he let me know that he was actually Emeric Harney, grandson of Mr. John Harney. How cool is that?!? Cue more skipping and squealing.

Stay tuned for part three… which will include my visit to Pure Food and Wine!!

Fringe 2011 - Join me at Cellar Hotel

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh Toronto Fringe, I love you Last year was my first time doing Fringe and I had so much fun with my cast performing our show, promoting, mingling and networking in the beer tent and seeing lots of other great shows (11 in total!) This year I'm performing in Cellar Hotel with 20 other incredibly talented performers. Last night we had our final dress rehearsal and everyone was on their game, the energy was high and all that was missing was an audienceWe open on Thursday and have shows on the following dates at the Bathurst Street Theatre (736 Bathurst)

Thursday July 7, 8:45pm
Saturday July 9, 5:15pm
Monday July 11, 12:45pm
Tuesday July 12, 6:45pm
Wednesday July 13, 3:30pm
Thursday July 14, 5:15pm
Saturday July 16, 11:00pm

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance on the
Fringe site or by coming to the box office one hour before each showtime.

I'm being optimistic and aiming to beat last year's record by seeing 15 shows - yikes! Wanna see some shows (other than mine) but don't know where to start?

  • Pick up a Fringe program or check out the website and read the descriptions for the shows. With 145 shows in the Fringe, there's bound to be something to interest everyone

  • Check out Derrick Chua's list of recommendations. Derrick is a superstar at seeing pretty much every show in the Fringe and is a huge supporter of the Toronto theatre community

  • Check out Now Magazine, BlogTO, Torontoist, Mooney on Theatre or some of the other local newspapers/websites for their picks and reviews

  • Follow the #FringeTO hashtag on Twitter. It's been really awesome to see how much more engaged the theatre community has been this year and I'm sure it will just continue as more people see shows and check in along the way

  • Take a risk and just see something! Fringe is meant to be an exciting, fun avenue for people to perform their work. Don't be like this grumpy-pants and start judging shows before you get there. You never know what you might miss if you take on that kind of bad attitude.
I'm going to try and blog about the shows that I see throughout the week and hopefully that will be of some assistance as well! And if you're hanging around the Fringe tent or catching a show, chances are I'll be somewhere in the vicinity so send me a message on Twitter (@ashleydtl) and let's hang out!

Summer of Love

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people

Last weekend I hosted a yoga class and pot luck to celebrate the end of the 52 Days til Summer challenge and subsequently the beginning of summer! IMG01299-20110626-1042The lovely Ashley taught the class in beautiful Withrow ParkIMG01302-20110626-1057The sun decided to hide away but that did not stop us from enjoying a fantastic class surrounded by an amazing group of women. It was really cool to bring Ash, Lindsay, Reggy, Val, Christine, Katie and Tara together for yoga and foodie goodness. IMG01305-20110626-1236I made Mexican cauliflower “rice” and roasted veggie pasta salad, Val brought a fabulous berry arugula walnut salad, Christine made a yummy quinoa salad, Katie supplied us with veggies, Linz made Meghan-inspired muffins and Reggy made almond-chocolatey muffins that everyone adored! IMG01306-20110626-1239It was such an incredible afternoon and I was so happy to bring together such a cool group of gals. I think I’m going to organize another outdoor yoga class and pot luck at the end of July – details to follow.

This week included more social time and more amazing peeps as I attended Rannie (aka Photo Junkie’s) 10x10 exhibit opening in Kensington.  rannie279958_230381746983522_214671281887902_767235_1013665_oI met Rannie a few months ago at #loserkaraoke and it’s been a joy to get to know him and see his amazing work. Whether it be candids (like the one above) or more structured photos (like those at the exhibit) he captures something really special in his photos and his work makes me really happy. (Especially when it selfishly can involve a new profile pic – like the one below that was snapped at Code Your Art Out)271999_156756777731008_129146523825367_382609_117624_oSaturday brought even more fun and vegan goodness with an awesome vegan pot luck in Trinity Bellwoods, organized by the lovely Dani. 271685_2225432638767_1336291139_32569867_7504476_oRockin’ the veggie diva button I got in NYC

IMG01370-20110702-1606IMG01371-20110702-1623265583_2225416438362_1336291139_32569839_7192194_oSimilar to Dani, when I went vegan I didn’t know many vegans outside of the blogworld or those I read about in cookbooks. The blogsphere and Twitter community has connected me to so many amazing people and I’m truly thankful for that. I had such a great time chatting and giggling with Lisa, Steph, Camille, Marlie, Cassandra, Lisa and Dani. The dessert-heavy meal was delightful and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life over the past couple weeks and I can’t emphasize how blessed I feel to be surrounded by such an amazing support network. I generally like to keep busy, but life is that much more fun when “busy” means frolicking in the sunshine, wearing dresses and flowers, eating delicious food and spending time with wonderful people. Here’s to much much more of that as the summer goes on!

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