Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New Home!

HEYYY, How are you? I have moved, my darlings, to Tumblr at this address: Please visit me there and follow/reblog and enjoy whatever other lovely things tumblr has to offer. Love you!

- Ashleigh

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tokyo, Japan

My last trip to Japan was recent, quick and heartwarming. The culture is so deeply rooted, the people are delicate, gentle and polite, and the city is an exquisite juxtaposition of modern and ancient. Temples rest between high rises, statues guide your way throughout the day, and the serious lack of trash bins is perplexing. This city is one of the cleanest, most organized, and most efficient I have ever seen. They honestly think of EVERYTHING, right down to the warmed toilet seat in my hotel room.

Courtesy is of the utmost importance here. They must think of Americans as barbarians, the way we chew with our mouths open (actually, a major pet peeve of mine. I'm with ya on that one, J-Pizzle), laugh and talk loudly about lewd topics, and refuse to yield when walking straight toward someone on a busy sidewalk. I went for a casual lunch with a friend, and the hostess took my coat, folded it neatly across the back of the chair next to me, and placed a large suede square of fabric over it so it would look pretty. Then she handed us steaming towels to wipe our hands! Before every meal, no matter where you are, you are given a warm towel - We even were handed them on the airplane! Can Americans please get with this practice?

Every time I go to Tokyo, I make it a priority to ride the train to the Harajuku district. This is one of the biggest shopping areas of town. The main street is lined with upscale boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, etc. Behind those are a twisty labyrinth of small roads filled with local and international designers, vintage and novelty shops alike. I love walking around and looking at all the stylish guys and gals!

After a long day of sightseeing and shopping, we all went to a traditional Japanese dinner. No one wears shoes in this restaurant, even the servers! The meal was seven courses! Admittedly, some of what they brought us wasn't quite to my tastes, but I did at least try everything. I can't get over how amazing the sushi is. That is definitely THE thing to eat.

We had such a wonderful time. I love Japan, and with everything that is going on there right now, I encourage anyone and everyone to donate money, time, good thoughts, and prayers to this beautiful and unique country in need. Here is a link to the American Red Cross if you wish to donate.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Out There

Last night, I watched Disney's "The Hunchback of Notredame." I had all but forgotten about this movie, until a friend referenced the movie's ballad, "out there," which begins with the villain, Frolo, telling Quasimodo that he isn't fit to be loved, let alone the outside world. Frolo convinces the hunchback that he deserves to be isolated and alone, for his own protection. There is something about underdog stories that just make me lose it. The last time I was in New York City, my good friend Jess and I went to go see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and even though both of us had seen the show more than once before, we left the theater and walked several blocks before the tears stopped flowing.
If someone makes you believe you can't/shouldn't/don't deserve to shine in every way you are capable, they do not have your best interests at heart. More likely, they are afraid of what would happen if you did. Would you leave them? Would it shed light on their own shortcomings? Probably. Fear is only useful as a red flag in physically compromising or dangerous situations. When you make decisions, make sure that what you are choosing is what you actually want, not whatever is the less frightening option. Be active; not passive, be on offense rather than get the idea. We only have one chance at this, and everyone is rushing towards the why not live as wholly as possible on the way there? Make mistakes, get messy, laugh, cry, feel, be.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Stop Eating so much Got-Damned bread

The title of this post is the last item on the to-do list I just typed out for myself. I added it unconsciously, and then agreed with myself after I read it back. Recently, I finished a 21-day-raw-food-only detox (that means no starches of any kind, no sugar, no caffeine, no meat, no dairy, no cooked ANYTHING) during which I lost about 12 pounds. I didn't need to lose that much weight; when I glanced in the mirror, I saw someone who looked alarmingly like Gollum.

Since I had been so disciplined for 3 whole weeks, I began to reward myself in the form of wonderful, deliciously decadent and starchy dishes... which are great, but now that I don't look like a cave creature anymore, I'm trying to find some form of balance.
Ah yes, Balance.
Maybe it is the fact that I am a creative type, surrounded by creative types, but I'm finding that things are extremely one way or exactly the opposite these days. One week I am incredibly focused on music, and all the lovely, careful, fleeting nuances that go along with crafting something beautiful/terrible/insightful/sarcastic/insistent-upon-itself. The next 7 days I spend glued to my computer, answering the emails I neglected, promoting shows coming up all too soon, trying to wrangle band members for rehearsals, and generally stressing out. And that's just the career side of life... I feel a bit guilty that I haven't spent enough time with my family lately, and there are definitely several good friends that I've been "meaning to call," and haven't because I can't find a solid hour to catch up and I know that's how long we'll need.
I'm not complaining, Lord knows I'd rather be running around like a chicken with my head cut off than bored, but I need a little organization, and while I'm at it, maybe I could squeeze a little quality time with myself in there too. (giggity) ;)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Six Down, One To Go

I just realized that, after my recent trip to South America, I have stood and sung on every continent in the world, except for Antarctica. Jeez Louise.
We went first to Santiago, Chile, and next to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Both were lovely and beautiful and SUNNY (It's summertime there...ya know, Southern Hemisphere, or So-He, as I like to call it)! The seafood and red wine in Chile are worth the trip alone.

I have heard it said that Buenos Aires is like the Paris of South America, and indeed it is true. The city is old and beautiful and romantic, with asphalt hardly covering miles upon miles of cobblestone streets. They are famous for all things slightly naughty and delicious - red meat, art and tango. Lindsey and I walked around San Telmo, the oldest barrio (neighborhood) in the city. It is home to antique shops, tango parlors, cafes and a semi-permanent open air market in the Plaza Dorrego.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Videos, Vices, and Shifting Vistas...

Okay, not really vices, I just wanted another "V" word. Unless you consider procrastination a vice, in which case I, indeed, am afflicted. I have been trying to write a new post for a while now...I don't know whether or not you are expecting one, or wanting one, or care either way, for that matter. The fact is, that I care. I have been needing to write, wanting to write, intending to write, but life keeps getting in the way - or rather, I haven't been making creativity a priority lately. There has been so much planning, negotiating, organizing, promoting, booking, recording, etc. happening, that I have been seriously lacking a quality creative outlet. In an effort to make right with the universe, here I am again.
There have been many ch-ch-changes and many big decisions being made in my life as of late. The biggest, and the one most responsible for a quickly widening ripple effect on the rest of it, is that I quit my job as a backup singer for a certain pop star who's name begins with a "Rih" and rhymes with "we wanna." Disclaimer: I loved that job. Obviously it was pretty much the coolest thing in which a girl could dream of being involved. I was able to sing my way around the world several times over, AND they paid me for it. At times, I felt a little guilty, like a reluctant thief...don't they know I would pay for this experience??? So, why quit, you ask? I'll tell you, it was not an easy decision. What it comes down to is this: I am not a backup singer. I write songs. People like them sometimes. I sing, and when I do, people smile and clap. I started to believe that I belonged in the shadows, supporting someone else's voice/dream/passion. I realized that, as much fun as I was having out on the road, there was a void that could not be filled by bright lights, ancient cities and tour buses. A huge part of my soul was missing, and that hole was growing smaller by the day due to neglect. I was forgetting.
So I made a music video, and I put out a single on itunes. It is a small step, but if you could see the effort behind the shifting of direction, you wouldn't discount it. Here's the video, if you'd like to see it, and below that is a link to BUY the song on the inter web. Hint, hint. :)

Rainbow Killer on itunes

I can't wait to show you what else I have been working on! There are some very exciting things that I'm not quite allowed to tell yet, but soon soon.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for reading, for sharing, and for stopping by to say hello. My hope for you this week is that you finish everything you set out to accomplish, because damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Fondly Faring-Well

As I sit here at the kitchen table in my mother's house, the same table at which I would sit every morning before elementary school, reading the backs of every cereal box in our cabinet and scarfing down my Golden Grahams, I come to a realization: this holiday season, I have been "home" for the most consecutive days in almost 4 years. I've been here 5 days. Between making home-made meyer lemon curd and cookies for the neighbors, three nights in a row of prime rib, beach jogs, and movie watching, suffice it to say that this weekend was one of indulgence, togetherness, and joy.
The past year has been incredible. I have ridden camels, motorcycles, jet skis, horses, and private jets. I have stood on the southernmost tip of Greece with the ocean air in my face, and hiked to see a giant Buddha on a mountaintop in China. I have wept from the deepest part of my soul at the wailing wall in Jerusalem with hundreds of other women, and rejoiced at the beauty of being so close to such rich, meaningful history. I have gazed up from underneath the Eiffel Tower at night, and strolled through Monte Marte on a Saturday afternoon. I have discovered vintage stores I will always return to in Berlin, London, Paris, and New York. I have toured the world with friends and collected new ones in each place I visit. I have fallen in love.
I am the luckiest bish I know. Seriously. Hey God? Thanks. <3

Monte Marte in Paris

Hannah, Tanaka, and some of the crew on the roof of our hotel in Israel

View from the water in Tel Aviv

Hong Kong high rises