This is 32

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ashley Gibson Toronto black and white

I celebrated my 32nd birthday on April 8th and I've gotta say, I still feel very similar to how I did last year on my birthday

Ashley Gibson Toronto Damzels dress

I celebrated my special day with some of my very favourite people and lots of great food. It was a Friday, so I started the day with a workout and then had a great day at work. We finished early and I had a beautiful walk in the sunshine and a manicure.

Tori's After Hours Toronto cake

In the evening, Jessie, Lindsay and Corbin joined me for a spectacular dinner at Tori's After Hours. I've been to Tori's Bake Shop before (which is an all vegan bakery in the beaches with a really great selection of gluten free options). I had wanted to check out the After Hours for awhile, and my birthday seemed like the perfect excuse to do so!

cheese plate - Tori's After Hours

mushroom pate - Tori's After Hours

gnocchi - Tori's After Hours

vegetable plate - Tori's After Hours

birthday cake - Tori's After Hours

The food was AMAZING. From gnocchi in a cheese sauce that I wanted to slurp up with a straw, to an incredible cheese plate with delectable gluten free crackers, amazing vegetables and a chocolate chip cake to top it all off - I couldn't have asked for a better menu. The kitchen even sent out a bonus mushroom pate appetizer because we were wearing birthday hats.

Ashley - Tori's After Hours Toronto

BFF birthday love

BFF birthday love

If you're in Toronto, I highly suggest checking it out - especially if you're with a small group! It's a great opportunity to order a bunch of dishes and sample the menu.

Ashley and Corbin

Corbin and I continued the festivities the next day with a delicious brunch at Harvest Kitchen followed by cupcakes at Almond Butterfly

best gluten free cupcake Toronto

Oh gosh, so good!

Corbin was leaving for Europe for a month a couple days later, so it was extra nice to have some quality time together. It was another beautiful, sunny day so we enjoyed the sunshine together and got to have a really nice meal! Harvest Kitchen is a great option for vegetarians and omnivores alike with lots of gluten free options. And Almond Butterfly just has the best gluten free cupcakes in Toronto - hands down. That weekend they had chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cupcakes that both Corbin and I devoured. 

I had a wonderful weekend and couldn't have asked for better company or more delicious food!! It was exactly what I hoped for and I felt very spoiled by all the love. 

In honour of my birthday, I started to make a list of all that I've learned in 32 years and it developed into a manifesto of sorts.

birthday manifesto - words to live by

Those are the ideas I plan to live by as I head into this new year of my life! 32, let's do this.

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday messages and wishes -- I truly appreciate it!! xo

Cruising for the very first time

Thursday, April 14, 2016

That is the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas compared to a regular cruise ship. When I signed up for the 2016 Success Club trip back in January 2015, I had no idea how much fun I would have aboard my very first cruise!!

Each year Beachbody hosts a trip for its coaches, and we get the opportunity to earn the trip by helping people - how awesome! I registered for my spot while waiting at the airport to board my flight back to Toronto. March 2016 seemed a million years away, but as time went on the trip got more real. I was lucky enough to be able to bring a guest - so obviously I picked Corbin! We've had the chance to travel together (to New York, Alberta and Halifax) and this seemed like another awesome adventure that we could take together. The cruise was the thing that helped get me through February, and before I knew it - it was here!

I took lots of photos and videos and I'm stoked to share them!! If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably gotten a bit of a sneak peek - but here is the full scoop!

Cruise Life

Having never been on a cruise before, I now understand why people enjoy cruises! There is literally everything you can possibly imagine at your fingertips. Restaurants, parties, nightlife, an endless itinerary of activities, shopping, pools, hot tubs, cozy nooks, a library, park - the list goes on!

I got into the habit of going through our daily itinerary and highlighting the things I wanted to do each day as a means to plan our days (I'm a nerd like that!) In addition to the normal cruise activities, Beachbody had also planned some awesome events for us including daily workouts with our favourite trainers, a panel with the trainers and a panel with the Top 10 Coaches from 2015. I did my best to take advantage of EVERYTHING that was offered and loved every minute.

The boat was so massive that it amazed me that a) it could float and b) I didn't feel it moving for the most part! I didn't experience any sort of seasickness and for that I felt very lucky! It was neat to have the mix of days at sea as well as our port days (in Jamaica and Bahamas)

Some of my favourite activities were ice-skating (so Canadian!), watching the live shows (including an amazing a cappella group from Florida called The Edge Effect), reading & napping in the solarium and nightly karaoke!! Yes, I got to sing my little heart out every night and made a bunch of new friends who loved doing the same.

Swimming with Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins in Jamaica was truly, truly magical. It was everything that I could have hoped for and was literally beaming the whole time.

We got to see a bit of Jamaica on the hour long drive to Ocho Rios and our sweet tour guide gave us a great rundown of history and fun facts about the places we were driving through. Once we arrived at Dolphin Cove, we got to enjoy a whole slew of other animals as we headed down to the dolphin zone. There were cats, love birds, iguanas, bunnies and sting rays that we got to make friends with along the way. So fun! I also added some sweet reggae dance moves to my repertoire.

Finally it was time for dolphins!! There was about 10 of us in with the trainer and 4 dolphins. Our dolphin's name was Stan and he was super sweet! He pulled each of us along in the water, gave us a smooch, we smooched him and then we got to touch him. It was unbelievable. I was BEAMING the whole time and maybe had some feelings in my eyeballs.


There was food everywhere. Like, everywhere.

I understand why people can go on cruises and gain weight - it's just so accessible! I was impressed with the gluten free options and the efforts to avoid cross contamination. Menus were labelled with gluten free / allergen friendly / vegetarian options and in one of the buffets there was even a gluten free corner. I learned quickly that I could ask for gluten free bread if it wasn't available, and one night I even convinced the pizza place to make me a gluten free, cheese free pizza.

We also learned that we could order room service, so that's what I did each morning! We would put our little card out with our requests the night before, and then in the morning after my workout, a platter of breakfast / snacks would arrive. There was fresh fruit available at all meals and room service, so I would usually snag a banana or apple to munch on later in the day.

The sit down meals were pretty incredible and we started going to the dining room for most meals to take advantage of everything that was available to us. Some days at meals we had couple time, we enjoyed a few team dinners and we also had the chance to sit with some awesome coaches who were total strangers when we sat down!

I definitely ate more than I normally would, but didn't go too crazy! I was working out every morning, walking a tonne  drinking lots of water and eating fruits & veggies. It felt like a vacation - but I didn't feel gross when it was done.

The Workouts

Ahhh the workouts were so much fun! 
You can see in the video that I decided to get up for the early workouts each morning. Because we arrived on the eve of daylight savings time, it was dark and windy each morning for the 6:30am workout! That didn't stop me - I just learned to bring a sweater with me!!
 I loved having the chance to workout with Autumn, Tony, Sagi, Joel & Jericho and it felt good to get my sweat on each morning. I found a great spot to workout with lots of space and made some lovely new friends every day. We were treated to a Shakeology bar after each workout and it was truly an awesome way to start the day. How incredible to be working out in the middle of the Caribbean, surrounded by other coaches while the sun was rising?! 


Most of all, it was so inspiring to be surrounded by some of my very favourite people, meet coaches and trainers that I admire and have the opportunity to be a little Beachbody sponge and soak it all in. I connected with some amazing new friends and took copious notes in our trainings. Having the chance to spend time with my coach, her coach and a bunch of kick-ass leaders was just the best. 
It was also really cool for Corbin to be there to meet all these people who I talk about all the time! So much of what I do is online, and I think it made it REAL for him. He's always been such a supportive partner in this journey, but I think he 'gets' this coaching thing + our wonderful community that much more now. 
It was truly an incredible trip for SO MANY reasons!! And I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on my very first cruise, surrounded by so many awesome people and have so many experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime!!
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