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




Wednesday, 22 December 2010

WOO-HOO!


The rain that has plagued Los Angeles for ages (7 days straight), is rumored to be clearing up tomorrow, and I hope and believe that my favorite type of weather will be upon us. I predict, with my glass-half-full know-how, that tomorrow will be chilly, and the sun will be shining. That's the kind of winter I'm used to. Perfect jogging/hiking/biking weather - OK, I'll stop being a spoiled native Southern Californian now. The truth is, this is the most rain we've had in ten years. The reactions have been downright ridiculous. Nearly every update on facebook and twitter from LA dwellers has been about the relentless bad weather, and Los Angeleans everywhere are lamenting their asses getting fat because they don't know how to exercise indoors. Crisis truly has hit our fair (or maybe not-so-fair anymore!) city.
No, but seriously -
Stop complaining everyone. It's rain. Just thank your lucky stars, you know, the ones on Hollywood Boulevard, that you don't have to shovel it away every morning.

Love,

Ashleigh :)

Friday, 17 December 2010

A Lost Moment

I'm in a restaurant in the Hong Kong airport. This Airport is way too big; maybe it is just that I'm extremely jet lagged, and walking feels like a chore. I chose this restaurant because of it's proximity to the ladies room.
"Hello, yes, just one please." I'm ushered to a small table in the back by the window. I face the restaurant - I much prefer watching people that anything else. There are two women who look to be about 28-30 to my left. They both have ordered pizzas. I hear the prettier one say,
"Sam and I were talking, and he kept saying how beautiful you were. I said to him, 'are you just trying to butter me up?' and he says, 'yeah kinda.'"
Ouch. Way to deliver a sneaky insult to a friend.
She goes on to state, "I'm just a cut and dry type of person..." and after that I stop listening. People who make statements like that are just doing publicity work, and usually sound more like they are trying to convince themselves of something. It's kind of like facebook, AKA our own self-projected image of who we wish we were.
I think Comedians are kind of geniuses, because they have studied human behavior as an outsider - they are perpetual people watchers, or culture watchers. They are able to find patterns and make tragic (the truth hurts!) observations about life and our nature as a culture of humans. Maybe that's where the "sad clown" stereotype comes from, for he is a man who has thought enough about his own kind to realize the commonality of his own flaws.
The two women just left. The both ate the exact same amount of Pizza.


Recently, I made a decision which will/has already begun to change my life completely. I keep going back and forth about how I feel about it - most days I know for absolute certain that it was the right one. But then there are those few in-betweeners. Those pesky little doubts that creep into my head, quietly at first and then, before I've even noticed it, drown out any and all logic; from there it's just sheer panic. Thank God I'm a list person. Whenever I feel myself start to freak out under the pressure of this aforementioned change, I categorize and organize whatever is going on in my brain into a word document, along with the steps needed to fix/complete/accomplish it, and I feel much better.
This is not one of those days, thankfully. It almost started out that way, but I quickly opened that little "recent document" on my computer, and voila, assurance. (If I were a pessimist, I'd call it denial, but I'm not...right?) All silliness, really. Of course, whatever happens, I know I'm going to be fine. I do tend to think that a little healthy anxiety acts as motivation, so I don't mind it........much.

Last week, I purchased a loverly new camera, the Canon G12. I can't say enough nice things about it. The pictures are fantastic, especially in low light with no flash. YEE! See for yourself...


Last weekend, we went to London for X-factor. I had a great time, despite the cold, and it was so nice to be there during the holiday season - the white lights and wreaths lining every street, the gorgeous red, green, gold and silver shop window displays - it was beautiful! Hannah, our keyboard player from this last tour lives there, and she and I enjoyed an indulgent 3 hour Saturday brunch at this adorable little restaurant in Kensington called "Bumpkin." We hadn't seen each other in the 3 months since tour and thought the occasion called for a Bloody Mary or 2....





As if Los Angeles were trying to prove that it is, indeed, superior to any other city, when I flew back into LAX the weather was perfect. It was warm, the skies were clear, and the wind was pleasant. Matt picked me up and we went straight to the beach to meet friends for a bonfire -bocce ball - BBQ. It was oh-so-nice. Nothin' like watching the sun go down over the ocean in the middle of December!







Hope everyone is happy and healthy this winter! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New year!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

EMA's, NYC, SNL., and other 3-letter acronyms...

Some highlights of the past month... :)


Kim and I feelin' so fly on a G6


I took them to my favorite little Parisian brasserie, Flottes, that has my favorite onion soup...everyone was satisfied!

Kim and I looking Gangsta with a capital G in our European Music Awards look

Hanging with the Ke$ha tour fam in Madrid!



the chandelier above the SNL stage

The kids at the Fish. ("Max Fish," bish.) NYC


Nuno contemplating The Nickelback....
Our friend Wendy, who used to tour with us back in the "Good Girl Gone Bad" days, tours with them and invited us down to Anaheim to see the show and hang out.



The crowd lining up for the MTV show in Times Square

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Fire (Fi-yah)


I'm in New York City. We're here for an MTV show called "The Seven," which we filmed today in Time Square, and for Letterman and Good Morning America. It has been some time since last I've posted, and that feeling of guilt over this horrific neglect has become too loud to ignore. It isn't that I regard this blog as a chore; on the contrary, I quite enjoy it - its just finding the time. So much has been happening, and I have several partially written entries (which I still fully intend to share), and myriad more in my brain, waiting to be released to paper (or, keyboard, as it were). . .
One of my high school best friends was married November 6th, to the most perfect-for-her man, and I missed it. I was working. It feels as though I'm doing that a lot lately - missing things. It makes a person wonder about the proper way to go about living. Am I doing it wrong? Am I constantly preparing, thinking about the future, and missing what's happening presently? I routinely check myself for these ailments. I believe it is important to do what we must now, in order to do as we please later, but I sometimes wonder how much. After all, one could argue that later doesn't really exist anywhere else but in our brains, and I'm inclined to agree. Why not live exactly as we please, right now, presently? Within reason, of course - it isn't a get-out-of-jail-free-card for hard work, but it does eliminate fear as an excuse not to take action.
It is thoughts like these that have lit a fire under me with regards to my own career. And man, is it blazing hot. With the help of the talented Jon Hill, I've filmed a music video, my first one EVER (hopefully the first of many). I've written more than an album's worth of material, and am in the process of meticulously recording each song, and ruthlessly narrowing down the bunch to a solid 8 or 9 tracks, which will be released sometime in January. I have a million ideas brewing, and don't see the point in waiting any longer to make them a reality. I am electrically excited. Here's a few screen shots from the video, which I will put up sometime next month! Yay.



Wednesday, 4 August 2010

From the mouths of babes


I am nothing special. And yet, I am. If everyone is different, then we're all the same. What now...?

Babies are incredible, no? Maybe we all think so because we all were one once and no one can remember it...so we study and play with and hold close these tiny us's in hopes of memory jogging by osmosis. Maybe we don't remember because while life was experiencing us and vice versa at that age, there was no pretense. Each party was completely new and foreign to the other, so there was no choice but to experience wholly and openly. A baby has never seen himself so he does not recognize himself or his own kind in you. He doesn't even know that he has a "kind," and so he treats everything with the same care and the same curiosity. It isn't until he begins to have personalized experiences with each element of life/earth/environment, that he begins to "learn;" assign labels, categorize occurrences, etc. Picture a child holding something new. Something she's never seen or felt before. She feels it all the way around, shakes it, tastes it, listens...it's brilliant, and incredible that instinct goes there. The assumptions we form that early on stay with us for the rest of our lives and our the source of our passions, our actions/reactions and myriad issues. And then we grow into big babies. ;)

Tonight I am in my quiet hotel room in Toronto. I just spent a very active few days in New York, one of my favorite cities in the world. I won't wax poetic about it right now, because I've already done that enough about NYC on this blog, and you all know how I feel about the subject. Suffice it to say that yoga was practiced, miles were walked, (and jogged) music was played and heard (and interpreted through awkward dance moves), food was eaten, and life was lived. I just need a bubble bath and a good book now. I'm missing home, but loving mobility. I just wish I could take everyone with me....no no, we musn't be selfish...

Sometimes I feel so torn between the two worlds in which I exist, touring life and my life at home; and then I remember not to categorize it as such. It is all my life, and all is good. This tour is simply another chance for me to learn and observe, to shake and taste, to listen and live as much as possible.

PS: I have been reading a lot of other blogs lately, and one I particularly like is this one. It belongs to the founder and boss man of hitRECord.org, which is many things, but mostly an incredible interactive community of artists and creative people. A place to meet, collaborate, hypothesize, remix, and everything in between. Basically, I just like what they're about. The photo at the top is one I stole from it, because it inspired this entry. And because that is the most adorable picture EVER - can't you almost hear her little giggle? I'm melting. So Joe if you ever become privy to my photo-thieving, I'm sorry, hope you'll forgive me!

Goodnight moon; though I'll miss you, I am excited for the sun to come up tomorrow.



Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Doin' the dang thang.


We're in Orlando for a few days off...I'm finding it difficult to entertain myself, which has lead me to do what I should be doing anyway, which is work. I'm getting my ducks in a row. I'm aligning all the pieces of the "get-back-to-my-own-life-and-career" puzzle, so that when I actually am home for a while, I can hit the ground running. It feels good. I haven't felt productive for sometime, and now that I do, it seems longer that I haven't. At any rate, it makes me happy and excited. I can't wait to show you all what I've been working on!

For your eyes: some photos from my time at home between the Europe and US tours. :)


The jetty at Dana Point Harbor

Homemade apple-cinnamon jam and butter with orange zest to yummy up that whole wheat toast at Ramos House Cafe in San Juan Capistrano (we went for Father's Day!)

The LA "River" as seen from my south bound train from LA to Orange County

Paddle surfing! If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend doing so.

Llama.

Giant cacti.

Emu.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Summer Playlist





I missed Coachella this year, because the same weekend in April that all of my friends were trekking out to the desert, braving the heat, dust, and crowds of hipsters, I was flying East to begin the first leg of a world tour. I went the year before, and decided then that in addition to my yearly trip out to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, (to actually watch movies, not just participate in the social scene) it would be a staple in my annual extra-curricular schedule. We had SO much fun. I can't wait for next April and the one after that, where I hope to go as a performer. Just putting that into the universe! :)

Basically, in case you haven't figured this out by now, I love music. I am in love with music and everything that it makes you think, feel, do, close your eyes and imagine... There are a number of outlets from which I satiate my hunger for the new and current; of course the music websites, Pandora, itunes, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, etc. BUT, My favorite avenue is my awesome and oh-so-culturally-aware friends. (Eric Rippin, I'm talking about you!) So in an effort to share the wealth, I've put together a playlist of tunes I'm listening to over and over again right now. Some new, some old, all good. Hope you enjoy it, maybe there are a few things on here you haven't heard yet, and if so, I am excited to introduce you...ENJOY! :)


Feast your ears on this: (in no particular order...)


1. Fancy Footwork - Chromeo

2. Heartbreaker (feat. John Legend) - MSTRKRFT

3. Cosmic Love - Florence and the Machine

4. Englishman in New York - Sting

5. Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap

6. Nothing to Worry About - Peter, Bjorn and John

7. Pull My Heart Away - Jack PeƱate

8. You Haven't Told me Anything - Keane

9. Crossfire - Brandon Flowers

10. Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons

11. My Girls - Animal Collective

12. You Know What - N.E.R.D.

13. Anti Matter - N.E.R.D.

14. Iamundernodisguise - School Of Seven Bells

15. Only If You Run - Julian Plenti

16. Walkabout (with Noah Lennox) - Atlas Sound

17. Home - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

18. Run Johnny - Yelawolf
19. Tenderoni (MSTRKRFT Remix) - Chromeo
20. Her Morning Elegance - Oren Lavie



Saturday, 10 July 2010

Full.

To describe how much I'm feeling right now, I would need a dump truck full of made up words. My body - exhausted, limiting, and on the upswing of a brief but violent sick spell, and mind, the same. The biggest part of my life, the thing I spend the most time doing, and the thing that allows me to live comfortably is currently the Last Girl On Earth Tour. Recently while performing in it, it's felt more like watching a movie that I also happen to be involved in, rather than the usual adrenaline-rushing, emotion-swelling, smile-generating activity that my heart beats and my voice lives for. I haven't written on this blog about tour in a while because I felt like I should have only positive things to say...but we're humans, and thats not always how life is, and I think that honesty is best and always more interesting. Besides, denial sucks. I miss my friends and I miss my family and I miss my boyfriend. I miss the awesome work I was getting into while at home, and performing shows with "my" band. So there.
That being said...
Tonight, our first headlining tour show in the US was in Sacramento, California. The arena was large, but shallow in depth, so I could see all the way back to the very back row. It was oddly calming. As I looked out at the arms waving, the faces yelling and cheering, and the moves being "busted," (because honestly, that's exactly what some of them were! ;) it suddenly felt so...real. I was overcome by how much love and joy was in that room. And then I remembered: I love performing because it makes people happy, and feeling that happiness radiating back and forth between the stage and the house is where the adrenaline and the high comes from. I had briefly forgotten and performing the show had been, for a time, a selfish act I was looking to "get something" from. I was frustrated with other things and looking to the stage to heal me, when I should have been looking just a little further.
I am SO grateful to be able to travel around and play some part, no matter the size, in bringing smiles to the faces of so many people. Actually, I'm blown away by it. Watching the audience tonight, I was struck by the span of this woman's reach. There were upwards of 17,000 people there this evening, and that is just ONE city. In just ONE country! This woman whom I have come to know as a spirited, fun-loving, compassionate and pretty normal girl, all things considered, has been able to touch so many lives with her art. Wow. I love that something like that is even possible. To anyone reading this and planning on attending a future date on our tour, keep jumping and waving and smiling, because I can see you.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Love

Thoughts on this topic have been running around in my brain recently, and I have been wanting to write this entry for a while. Growing up is a funny/interesting/painful/wonderful inevitability. My favorite part about it is figuring out why I act and react the way I do to certain things, which in turn allows me to more fully understand why others act and react the way they do towards certain things.
The thoughts and knee-jerk reactions I have previously had regarding "Love" have recently been exposed and placed in the center ring for no one else but me, myself, and I to watch passively and note the horrific disfunction.
Mind blowing discovery #1: Love is not something to fear, or to fear the loss of. This seems like common sense, obviously. However, it is human nature to want what we cannot have. To hold onto that which is scarce. Love is not a supply-demand kind of business. Love should be always abundant. Not smothering, but active, aware.
Love is not tumultuous - it is peaceful, and that serenity comes from confidence in oneself and in the relationship. I can't tell you how many times I have made excuses and convinced myself that I was the one who was wrong for feeling upset, disappointed, or left high and dry. Its almost as if people love and thrive off of the drama, the pull and the abuse of a "relationship." At least they have something to vent about to their friends (or on a blog, haha).
Here's a bible verse that you have probably heard read at nearly every wedding you've ever attended; rightfully so, because it rings true, now, for me, more than ever.
"Love is patient, Love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
and endures all things."
Corinthians 13:4-7


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Organized Chaos

Does anyone else find it peculiar that we all are assigned a name and a number? Quite a few numbers at that. Starting the second we arrive on this planet, the government catalogues our existence with a number. "United States Citizen Number 795-xxx-xxxx." When taking into account the miracle (or complex scientific coincidence, however you may choose to look at it) that is life, it seems rather neanderthal to attempt to file it as just another occurrence. Then we get a bit older, and we get a drivers license, earn a degree, accumulate medical records, bank statements, credit histories, etc - all of which are carefully documented. So much paperwork is involved in being a functioning human, its exhausting to think about, and makes vagrancy almost sound appealing... And yet, we have all accepted this as "the way things are," because of what? Fear? That people would run wild in the streets if a piece of cardboard with a number on it didn't hold them to a certain standard of conduct? What would happen if people were just people, and not a stack of paperwork, telling them who they were? I think there would be more creativity, for one. Chaos: maybe. Things would certainly be a lot more interesting.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

YAY... Athens!



Being shown a city by someone who knows is the best! As much as I love playing tour guide, I also appreciate a little guidance. Here are some photos of my Athens experience, thanks to a one Mr. Joshua Piller.





video