Friday Favorites: Shopping, events and a book

Happy Halloween to you and yours! First of all, this is the 30th, yes, I said 30th week in-a-row that I’ve shared a “Friday Favorites” spread with you. Seems like just yesterday this little blog was getting off the ground. I hope you like this weekly occurrence, and be sure to let me know in the comments section below, because I definitely have fun putting these light and fluffy posts together for you.

Now you’re probably wondering what Dave and I will be doing for Halloween in this big exciting city of ours. Nothing. Yes, nothing. It’s a normal day for us. I was supposed to be teaching my regular Friday evening BODYPUMP class tonight, until the gym decided late last night we could cancel it. So I guess we will use this rare free Friday night to hit up a neighborhood happy hour and do some people-watching, but I’m not quite sure yet. Of course, I have to be up to teach BODYATTACK in the morning tomorrow, so I know we’re not really going to partake in any of the revelry. Living here, we do get other chances to dress up throughout the year, for instance just a few months ago during Bay to Breakers, which is a super crazy San Francisco annual event, so I’m not too sad. 

Let’s get rolling with my favorites as of late …

My favorite new finds from the UNIQLO grand opening

Last night, I was invited to attended a fun grand opening of a big UNIQLO clothing store at a Great Mall south of San Francisco in Milpitas. UNIQLO is a Japanese company that is just starting to appear in big cities in the U.S., and we’ve had one in San Francisco for just under two years (and I always bring my visitors to check it out, because it’s quite different). For this event, we met at a downtown hotel and hopped in a chartered motor-coach for the trip. The best part was, I was able to bring a guest. Even though the ride was pretty long in traffic, I didn’t mind because the event was a good time. Not only were we given $50 UNIQLO gift cards to spend, but we were also the very first ones to enter the store after a pretty good pre-opening champagne and hors d’ oeurvres cocktail party. To mark the grand occasion, they didn’t actually cut a ribbon, but they did have some Japanese drummers play a loud song while the curtains were rolled back. And there were models walking around, who let us try things on them, which was cool.

UNIQLO grand opening eventShown from top left: The vest I purchased, me learning to pose from the models, the display of my favorite jeggings and a couple more shots you can identify yourself.

I got to hang out with Nancy and Jessica, some local bloggers I’ve met before, and Dave got to catch up with a friend from college who was visiting to handle PR for the event. A win-win for everybody. Dave and I both used our gift cards for some great finds, which brings me to my favorites: this cream down-quilted puffer vest and these cream stretchy jeggings. I’ve had a pair of black UNIQLO jeggings forever, and they fit like a glove. I jumped at the chance to get more, and I also bought a flannel shirt. After shopping, we hopped back on the bus with our small group and ended up back in San Francisco just after 9 p.m. Definitely a good time.

My favorite new book: Gone Girl

I haven’t read a real book since finishing up “Beautiful Ruins” over Labor Day. And that book was the first I purchased all year and took it in my bag for our June Cabo vacation, so there hasn’t been a lot of offline reading going on over here. Fast forward to last Friday at the San Francisco airport, when I picked up “Gone Girl” in the bookstore.

Gone GirlDoes anyone else out there try to not bend the pages? I always use a bookmark!

I guess you could say I jumped on the bandwagon on this one, because I didn’t really know the premise of the story until buying the book. I knew I hadn’t seen the movie and had no interest in seeing it either. But now that I’m three-fourths of the way through this plot-twisting mystery, I’m absolutely interested in seeing the movie. I know a lot of people are all about their Kindles these days (yes, even my sweet Mom uses a Kindle), but I like a good old-fashioned book in my face. I am loving this book. Hands down. I won’t say anything else about it. 

My favorite creation at the Baubles and Bubbles blogger event

Last week, I attended another Lululemon-hosted blogger event, and this time it was held at Brit + Co‘s MakeShop, which is a cool little place in my neighborhood, where you can make things, shop and take crafty classes. I made a mala bead bracelet and browsed around the DIY tutorials (that’s Do-it-Yourself, for those of you not in to the lingo). True story, when the bright orangey-red mala beads get wet, the color runs. I thought I had ruined my favorite white and yellow Lululemon sweatshirt on the plane to Florida last Friday when I got the bracelet wet while washing my hands, but luckily the dye came out in the wash.

Baubles and Bubbles eventShown from top left to right: My hand-made bracelet, the MakeShop, a silly picture of me and the bracelet in action.

Nonetheless, I chatted with some local bloggers that I see from time-to-time, like Chanda and Catherine. And I also met some new bloggers, mostly in the fashion world who were all dressed to the nines. Do people even say that phrase anymore? Well, I do. It was a good time, worthy of a little “Favorites” write-up, and I love that there are so many fun little events like this in my neck of the woods.

My favorite links 

You don’t want to miss out on some of the fun on A Lady Goes West this week:

That’s that. I’ve got a meeting this morning and am going to partake in some yoga, because my body is already sore from a killer Barry’s Bootcamp session yesterday. Go off and have a wonderful day and weekend!

Read more fun Friday Favorites 

If you’d like to see a few more “Friday Favorites,” see below or visit the the link-up hostess, Heather

  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

Questions of the day

How are you celebrating Halloween? Do you have any favorites to share from your week? Are you reading any good books?

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Twenty-minute total-body dumbbell workout

Hello there! How’s it going for you on this fine Thursday? I taught an incredibly sweaty back-to-back group fitness session at the gym last night and woke up rested, so that’s a good thing. But let me tell you, after a week away from the gym and a lot of laying around on my trip to Florida, I had to fight to make it through the two hours of working out and teaching. Oh, and you may have heard the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, so my second class last night was a little sparse due to people watching that important game. Baseball season is over, and now it’s basketball season here in the Bay. Go Warriors!

Nonetheless, on to today’s topic. As a group fitness instructor, I spend a ton of time in the studio working out with other people, but I also like to find time for my own workouts. Just me, some weights and silence. Yes, that’s right. I work out on my own with no music at all.

Lately, I’ve been using just a few pieces of equipment to come up with total-body workouts that can be completed in no time at all. I got some great feedback on the four-move total-body dumbbell workout I created, so I made another one for you, and this one is even shorter. Let’s face it, while group fitness can be fun enough to last an hour, most of the time, we just need to maximize our time at the gym and don’t want to spend all day. But guess what? You don’t even need a gym for this workout.

To start, grab a set of medium dumbbells and a heavy dumbbell. I’d suggest starting with 8 lbs. and moving up to 10 lbs. for the mediums and 15 lbs. for the heavy. I designed this work to target all the planes of motion (that’s front-to-back, side-to-side and rotational), so if you move quickly through the sets, you’ll hit all the big muscles and break a sweat. 

I’d say go for 10 reps of everything and repeat three times. You can also up your weight a bit, do 8 reps of everything and repeat four times, but that will take a little bit longer. Use the light weights for the first move and one heavy weight for the rest of the moves.

Disclaimer: This may not be right for you. It’s just an example of something that I do in the gym. Ask your trainer or doctor before proceeding with caution!

20-minute total-body dumbbell workout

20-minute total-body dumbbell workout via A Lady Goes West

The four moves explained

Below are a few notes on each move, with links to the proper execution from around the web. Let me tell you, when researching these moves, I’ve confirmed that there is a lot of bad form out there, even in tutorials. Be careful what resources you use.

  1.  Lateral lunge to bicep curl  — This moves targets the hamstrings, glutes and biceps. Use the lighter dumbbells. Stand with the dumbbells at your sides, feet hip width. While keeping your chest up, step out long to the side, tip from the hip and push your butt back as your moving-leg knee bends. The moving leg’s knee should track in line with the foot. One you are lunging, curl the dumbbells up, while keeping your elbows back and under your shoulders and your chest up. As your arms come down, you stand up and return to set. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Lying straight-arm pulloverThis move targets the lats, shoulders and triceps. Use the heavy dumbbell. Lay on your back on a bench or on the floor. Hold a dumbbell by the bell portion, pushing your palms in to keep it secure. Start with your arms straight up and over your shoulders above your body. Then, take your arms back over your head behind you, nice and straight. Keep your shoulders back and down and use your upper-back to pull the arms straight up back in front of you above your chest, hold at the top for a second at the starting position. You will feel a little stretch in the chest on the extension portion. At the top you should reset your shoulders down and away from the ears. Try not to let your shoulders raise up, because the work should be underneath your body and in the back of the arms.
  3. WoodchopThis move targets the core and shoulders. Use the heavy dumbbell. Hold the dumbbell with both hands in front of you, arms extended. Squat back, lowering your butt and hips down and bring the dumbbell beside your shin on one side. As you stand up, bring the dumbbell up and across your body, stopping just above the shoulders on the opposite side (it goes up and diagonal). Keep your core tight and shoulders down. Try not to let your hips turn at all, so they stay square to the front.
  4. Resisted hip bridge — This move targets the glutes, hamstrings and quads. Use the heavy dumbbell. Lay on your back, place a dumbbell on your lap, then bend your knees and put your feet about shoulder width apart. When you go to lift your hips, you should hold the dumbbell in place on your lap. Drive your heels into the floor to activate your glutes and squeeze your butt at the top. Try not to over-arch your back, but stop when your body makes a line down from your knees. If you want to make sure your heels are digging in, you can lift your toes up just a bit.

There you go. In just 20 minutes you can tone your whole body and be on your way.

Speaking of toning, I’m heading out in a bit to Barry’s Bootcamp for a little sweat session, and I have a fun special event tonight. I’ll be back in the morning for another edition of “Friday Favorites,” so stop back and say hello.

Enter the Lululemon giveaway

And if you haven’t had a chance, enter the giveaway to win at $50 Lululemon gift card today!

Questions of the day

Do you ever work out at home? Do you own dumbbells? What’s the best thing that has happened in your week so far? Any workout requests?

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