Friday Favorites: A bunch of feel-good stuff

The day has come. It’s moving day for Dave and me. But for you, hopefully it’s just another fun Friday not full of boxes, stress and duct tape. Regardless of what’s going on in my day, I’ve got a few things to share with you. So let’s get right to it! Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you this week’s “Friday Favorites.”

My favorite thing I did this week

Yoga. But not your everyday yoga session. Yoga on the Labyrinth, set to live music inside a beautiful and iconic church. You see, in my neighborhood, there is a gorgeous old church on a hill called Grace Cathedral. I’ve been to services at this church with both my Mom and Dave, and it’s the most breathtaking building both inside and out. Months ago I heard about a weekly yoga session held there and finally got around to trying it out this week, my last week living so close by. All I can say is, wow, I should have gone sooner.

Yoga on the Labyrinth via A Lady Goes WestShown above from top left to right: The street view of Grace Cathedral, yogis waiting for the session to begin, two live musicians and the inside of the beautiful church.

This yoga session took place at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday night inside the church’s main atrium. There were hundreds of people already set up in every little crevice of the area when I arrived about ten minutes before start. I was absolutely blown away by the turn-out, and the fact that mats were nearly on top of each other. But this was not a packed and sweaty power class, in fact, it was much more about healing the body, getting centered and opening the heart. We moved slowly, but with purpose. And we took a lot of time to breathe.

The class opened with a welcome by the priest, a dedication by the yoga instructor, Darren Main, and then about an hour of gentle and nurturing yoga, which was just lovely on all accounts. There were two musicians playing some soft music on a harp with a little bit of singing. And there were assistants walking around to help people with form and adjustments. In such a serene setting, with tons of people around and soothing music, this was a fabulous experience. I just loved it. I felt so amazing after all was said and done.

For those of you in the Bay Area who are interested, Yoga on the Labyrinth asks for a donation of $10 to $20 for attendees, and it’s well worth it. Oh and guess what? The team from LUNA Bar was there giving out some samples, so I walked away with some tasty bars as well. Namaste!

My favorite meal of the week

Changing subjects to something less spiritual. Do you guys brunch? You know, go out to a mid-morning meal on Saturdays or Sundays? I have to admit that Dave and I do not brunch. We’re definitely in the minority here in San Francisco, as brunch is a huge deal. However, up until just a few weeks ago, I taught group fitness classes on the weekend mornings, so that usually eliminated my ability to brunch.

Epic Roasthouse brunch via A Lady Goes WestShown above: Dave and me in front of the Bay Bridge after brunch at Epic Roasthouse. Food shown includes sparkling wine and grapefruit mimosas, lamb meatball skewers on tzatziki couscous, warm spinach salad and yellow-tail ceviche with avocado.

However, this past Sunday, Dave and I joined a couple of our friends for an outdoor brunch at Epic Roasthouse on the Bay. It was so wonderful. The weather was perfect, the food was good and so was the company. It felt strange to get up and get ready for a nice meal out so early in the day, but it was definitely worth it. While I don’t think Dave and I will be standing in 90-minute lines for brunch like the rest of the City any time soon, I do think we’d consider going again. And mimosas? Yes, please.

My favorite at-home treat this week

Have you guys heard of Zeel? It’s an on-demand service for same-day or next-day massages in your own home. How cool, right? The folks at Zeel reached out to me to try out the service gratis. Well, I obliged and am so glad I did. It was so easy, and I had a fabulous massage in the privacy of my own little apartment. All you have to do is sign up via an app on your phone, choose the time, whether you want a male or a female licensed masseuse, a Swedish or deep tissue massage and that’s about it.

Zeel on DemandThat’s my masseuse’s shirt. She was so kind as to hold it out so I could get a good photo.

Shortly after booking a service, I received a call from my friendly masseuse confirming my appointment for the next day. On the day of, she arrived fifteen minutes early, with a portable massage table and all the tools we’d need for a massage, including some spa music and scented oils. All I had to do was provide an area for the massage table and two sheets and a pillowcase. Easy enough. 

My experience with Zeel was great. I found the app easy to use, I found the customer service excellent and I found my massage just what I needed. I would definitely use this service again. The coolest part to me? Typically, when you go get a massage and you finish up, you’re in a very relaxed zone. You don’t want to re-enter the real world, pay for your service and schlep home, completely erasing your feeling of zen. Therefore, getting a massage at home is perfect. I was not sure what I would think about doing something like this in my tiny apartment, but once you lay down and close your eyes, it seems like a spa. Sure does. 

Right now Zeel is available in the Bay Area, New York area, Los Angeles area and South Florida, but they are expanding to new cities soon. And guess what? Zeel is so kind to offer A Lady Goes West readers a chance to sign up and get $25 your first service. You can use this for a one-time massage (normal price is around $110 in the Bay Area) or for a monthly subscription in the Zeelot program (normal price $84 a month in the Bay Area), which also means you get a massage table to keep at your house and reduced massages. Use the promo code: ZeelALGW. And enjoy!

My favorite links of the week

A few things that you may have missed on A Lady Goes West:

I also really enjoyed these great tips on cooking from The Huffington Post, “50 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks the World Needs to Know.”

Speaking of food, CHECK THIS OUT! Here’s a fun one that I wrote for the Wine Sisterhood blog on how to manage your portions without using a measuring cup: “New Year. New You. Simple portion control tips.”

Okay guys. That’ll do it. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It’s time to get this move done! See you soon!

Read more Friday Favorites

If you’ve enjoyed browsing through this post, see below for previous editions or visit the the link-up hostesses, Heather, Katie and Clare

  1. A snack, a purse and a ritual
  2. A delivery, a bra and a guy
  3. A sweet, a wine and a read
  4. A drink, a gadget and a plan 
  5. A time, a bottle and a powder
  6. San Francisco edition
  7. Beauty edition
  8. Beach vacation edition
  9. Hidden meanings
  10. Kicks, a book and a bowl
  11. The very best sweatshirts
  12. Party hosting and froyo
  13. Fourth of July daytime activity
  14. Beauty basics edition
  15. Workplace edition
  16. Shopping, sales and a show
  17. The foods I always buy
  18. Sushi, a game and pants
  19. Fitness apps
  20. Delicious and healthy products
  21. Comfort, fitness and function
  22. Beauty, buddha and blog events
  23. Dining, the city and gift ideas
  24. POPSUGAR, sweets and such
  25. A bunch of fun stuff
  26. e-book, food, picnic and tunes
  27. A link, a superfood and a mask
  28. Pants, shoes, food and links
  29. Dining, protein and goodies
  30. Shopping, events and a book
  31. A gym bag, pumpkin and juices 
  32. Workout gear, a top and a massage
  33. prAna, a watch, tea and more
  34. Tasty stuff and gift sales
  35. Decor, bars, boots and a drink
  36. Flowers, music and more
  37. Coqueta, a brush and food
  38. My people and the holidays
  39. Beauty, bling and entertainment
  40. A hodge-podge of goodies
  41. Just a few special things
  42. Tasty food, drinks and moving

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend? Any plans for the Superbowl? Do you brunch?

Ashley signature

This Thursday needs some Thinking Out Loud

This time tomorrow, Dave and I will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of our movers. Let’s hope they aren’t late. But yes, we still have a lot more to accomplish before then. And to say that this packing and moving process has been easy would be a lie. There have been a few annoyances here and there. And then there’s this …

Boxes in apartmentHow could a small apartment contain so much stuff that needs to be packed up and moved? That’s not even half of it!

Needless to say, we’re pretty darn excited to be situated once again in a few days. And because I’m living in a little bit of chaos, I thought it would be the perfect time to spew some random thoughts at you in the form of a “Thinking Out Loud” post. Here we go …

Thinking Out Loud

Cardio is my new friend. You’ve probably noticed that I write a weekly workout recap on Mondays to go over all of the ways I’ve been active. And for the past few weeks I’ve been heavy on the weight training and lighter on the cardio. Well this week, I woke up early to do some fasted-cardio on both Monday and Tuesday just to get it out of the way. Just 20 minutes of intervals on the treadmill was a great way to start my day. This reminded me of the days when I used to wake up super-early before my corporate job to get my sweat on. It feels good to get moving before breakfast. 

More classes, new gyms. Next week, I’m changing my group fitness teaching schedule. Because we’re moving out of our neighborhood, I’m going to teach some classes at two new-to-me gyms closer to our new place. I’m looking forward to meeting some new members and spreading the Les Mills love in new time-slots. And I’ll finally be back to more than one BODYATTACK class a week. Kia Kaha! 

Snow days. Snow days are a thing? Being that I was born in Florida and now live in California, I’ve never experienced this phenomenon. While I have experienced a hurricane day, that’s just not as fun when you’re living in fear of a natural disaster. To all my friends on the East Coast who have had major storms this week, I hope it’s been okay for you. From the looks of some pictures I’ve seen online, people seem to take advantage of their time off. And babies in snow-suits? So cute.

Smoothie kick. I’ve had a smoothie for lunch for the past three days. While I used to do green smoothies every day for nearly three months (after transitioning from my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich, of course), I hadn’t had a smoothie in a long time until this weekend. I’ve been making these delicious blue chocolate protein milk-shake smoothies, which have been incredibly filling and satisfying. However, I have a bone to pick with my Nutribullet. Sometimes it gets all jammed up on me. Too much ice? Not enough liquid? Whatever the case, I always end up screaming at it and pounding on it in frustration. Good times in the kitchen.

Moving can be bittersweet. While I have said over-and-over again that I can’t wait to move and to get into a bigger place, of course, part of me is feeling sad and nostalgic. Dave and I have gotten really good at living nearly on top of each other in our cozy little place for more than a year-and-a-half. And we’ve been so fond of our neighborhood, which is right near the hustle-and-bustle of downtown San Francisco and home to many cute San Francisco spots. We’re trading our proximity to the main drag for some more space and a second bedroom, so it will all be worth it. Change is good. And I’m ready for it. Oh, and guess what? This Lady on foot will also be getting a set of wheels. Watch out Bay Area, because I’m a little rusty in the driver’s seat. 

Off the grid. Even though we’ll be in our new place by Friday late-afternoon, we won’t have Internet or cable TV until late on Saturday. That means I’ll be away from the computer. Probably a good thing, so I can focus my efforts on unpacking. But don’t worry, I’ll miss you guys and will try to sneak in an Instagram shot here or there, which will probably look like this …

Wine with boxesThe only thing that makes packing fun? My favorite Wente Chardonnay.

Sadly and embarrassingly, that’s about all I’ve got for you today. This must be my shortest post ever. I bet those of you who like to skim my long-winded essays have enjoyed the brevity. And thank you Amanda for giving me the chance to babble during “Thinking Out Loud.” Okay, my friends, I sure hope to see you back here tomorrow for a light-hearted and positive set of “Friday Favorites.” I’ll do better, I promise. Please go off and enjoy your day!

Questions of the day

When was the last time you moved? What is the best thing that has happened in your week so far? What are you thinking about today?

Ashley signature