Friday Favorites: Toiletries, gifts and more

TGIF! What a week! I started this one in Florida and am ending it back in the Bay Area after some unfortunate travel-related events. This morning’s agenda calls for teaching my first BODYATTACK class in a week-and-a-half, lots of catch-up work and perhaps some yoga. Tomorrow, I’m back at Orangetheory in the morning to teach a couple of classes and take a class. And we’ll just have to wait and see what the rest of the weekend entails. I sure hope that rest is a big part of it. I need it.

This week’s Friday Favorites

But you’re here today for some light-hearted chatter about the things that I’ve been loving lately. Ladies and gentlemen, here are my latest “Friday Favorites” … 

My favorite new toiletry

True story: The state of Maine has a special place in my heart. Dave grew up in Maine, and we’ve visited there together a couple of times, and I’m absolutely amazed by how beautiful it is. In fact, we got engaged just off the coast of Portland, Maine on a lovely little island called Peaks Island, and we still call that our “Maine-gagement.” Outside of wonderful memories for us, a lot of other great things are made in Maine, including incredible companies that give back. I was recently introduced to one of those companies, Tom’s of Maine, and its new line of Long Lasting Natural Deodorant. *(A big thanks to Tom’s of Maine for sponsoring this!)

Tom's of Maine deodorantTom’s of Maine and pool-time in Florida. It just works.

Tom’s of Maine has been making natural products for more than 45 years, selling natural toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, lotion and even baby products, while donating 10 percent of its profits to help the environment and the planet. And although I had heard of the company before, I hadn’t tried anything until this new line of deodorants came out. These new deodorants are free of aluminum, are not tested on animals, do not include animal ingredients, nor artificial colors, flavors, fragrances or preservatives. And they are also made using mostly recycled packaging, which is something I’m beginning to appreciate more and more. 


I will say that natural deodorants aren’t exactly designed to keep you from sweating, but they do shield odors. When you switch to a natural deodorant, it may take a few days for your body to get used to it. I tried the “Natural Powder” scent during my recent trip in Florida and was very pleased with it. Right away I noticed that it glides on so very smoothly and clearly, and the scent is great. Also, it didn’t give me that stinging feeling that some regular deodorants do, which I absolutely despise. It kept me under control throughout the day, and the scent had some staying power, although I wasn’t maintaining my regular workout routine. Would this product work for my super sweaty husband? Probably not, but it’s sure good for me on a regular day when I’m not teaching BODYATTACK. 

While I’m enjoying using Tom’s of Maine natural deodorants, I’m most enjoying the fact that I know what I’m using is made with the environment in mind. The planet is a pretty important resource and any company keeping that in mind is a good one in my book. Check out Tom’s of Maine on Instagram too! 

My favorite new gifts

In case you missed it, yesterday I talked all about the fun wedding activities I was part of in Florida over the long weekend. I was a bridesmaid for my long-time friend Melissa, and it was a lovely experience during the three days of celebrations. I came back with some memories and some loot. Melissa gave her five bridesmaids some really cute gifts …

Bridesmaids giftsYes, I pulled it all out to stage a photo shortly after receiving my gifts! And then I put them all to good use.

This little gift set, which Melissa gave us at the rehearsal, included the following:

  • A monogrammed tote bag, which I used on wedding day and as a carry-on bag yesterday during my travels.
  • A silver clutch purse, which we all used at the wedding.
  • A monogrammed water cup with a straw, which I know I’ll get a lot of use out of.
  • A pair of silver dangly earrings for us all to wear during the wedding. So pretty.
  • A mini spa lotion. Who doesn’t need more of that?
  • A wedding koozie, donned with Melissa and Neal’s wedding logo and the date.
  • A seeing-eye bracelet, which I also wore during the wedding and yesterday.
  • A navy sundress, which we all wore on the day of the wedding to get ready.
  • A silky hanger for displaying our bridesmaid’s dress.
  • Some Greek cookies. And I probably had about a dozen of those over the course of the wedding events because they were always around.

All of these gifts were themed perfectly with the wedding, and I love that about them. A big “nice work” going out to the busy bride, who pulled it all together.

My favorite news of the week

Of course, I need to give a big shout-out to the Golden State Warriors, who are now officially in the NBA Finals, which start next week. As you can imagine, we’re pretty excited out here in the Bay Area, seeing as this is the first time in 40 years that the Warriors have made it this far. Dave changed his flight to fly back early from Florida, and he was glad he did, so he could experience the Warriors clinching a spot in the Finals in front of a sold-out crowd at home. Cool stuff! Being that many of our friends, as well as Dave, work for the Warriors, this is a big deal! I’m looking forward to going to a Finals game.

My favorite dessert of the week

Leave it to my wonderful Mom to have a celebration cake made for every occasion. Even though we didn’t get to do what we had planned on our three-year anniversary, Dave and I still commemorated the day with a cake and nice dinner at home with my family while we were in Florida earlier this week.

Anniversary Publix cakeSweet frosting, chocolate and vanilla on the inside and so much deliciousness. We had the chance to enjoy this cake two nights-in-a-row along with ice cream.

And of course, this cake is from Publix. My favorite grocery store, which I visited several times for sushi, subs and other things during my time in the Sunshine State. Publix rarely disappoints, and for those of who you have never experienced it, I hope you do one day.

My favorite links of the week

Did you miss out on some of the good stuff on A Lady Goes West this week? Even though I was in the midst of travel and family time, I tried my best to get you a fresh post each day. Here’s what happened …

I hope you have a wonderful Friday and weekend, my friends! 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, HeatherClare and Katie

  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
  43. A bunch of feel-good stuff
  44. Home, car and fitness finds
  45. Sweets, cooking, beauty and blog
  46. Gold, yoga, photos and more
  47. Celebs, scents, games and more
  48. Food, shoes, stretches and fun 
  49. Purse, snack, plant and more
  50. Fresh, healthy, clean and square
  51. Pilates, sneaks and much more
  52. Quite a few good things
  53. Food, jewels and sweat etc.
  54. Fun stuff and a giveaway
  55. Goodies and a yoga giveaway
  56. Orange, bikes and healthy food
  57. Food, tech, sparkle and more
  58. Clothes, home, a roller and more
  59. Florida, tech, tea and more

Questions of the day

What’s a favorite thing you’re loving this week?

What are your plans for the weekend?

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom’s of Maine for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

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A Big Fat Greek wedding and some Florida fun

Well let’s see, where do I start this one out? First of all, Dave and my trip to Florida didn’t go exactly as expected. We had a great time at a bunch of wedding events for my dear friend Melissa, which I’m going to detail below, but there were a few hiccups.

For instance, I wrote most of this post from the Tampa airport on Wednesday night, but I didn’t fly out last night like I was supposed to. After making the two-hour trip to the airport and getting through security, my Mom had to come back to get me about 45 minutes after dropping me off. Not only was my first flight very delayed, but there was a good chance it would get cancelled altogether due to a mechanical issue and I would have missed my connecting flight in Denver and be stuck there all alone without getting back to the Bay Area. Therefore, I ended up changing my flight to Thursday morning. But that meant driving the two hours back home again to my parents’ house. So that’s what we did, and it was a good thing we took that route, because I got a text from Southwest that my original flight ended up being so delayed that it would have made me miss my second flight after all. So I’m glad I made that choice. And of course, Dave wasn’t with me at all through this, because we ended up changing his flight to leave super early yesterday last-minute, so he could make it back to work at a Warriors playoff home game last night. All of this was in addition to the fact that sadly, my older brother was really sick during much of our visit and not really able to hang out much. He made the trip to see us from Atlanta, with a new girlfriend in tow, which we truly appreciated, but as it goes with life, some of our fabulous plans were foiled. Other than that, over the past six days, we spent time with my family and friends and soaked up some Florida sunshine.

But I digress, because the wedding stuff was so good. And there’s a lot to share. I’m going to keep it fairly brief and hit the highlights only.

Friday grooming and shopping

On Friday, I got manis and pedis with some of the bridesmaids and had lunch at the Port Charlotte mall in the food court at the bride’s family restaurant, Nicky D’s. I went with hot pink polish on my fingers and toes and even got gel polish on my toes for the first time. After that, my Mom and I did a little shopping (Dillards — my favorite!), got drinks at Starbucks and I went for a spray tan to bronze up for the big day.

Nicky DsSome lovely ladies and my grilled chicken salad.

On Friday night, Dave and I hung out at home with my family — drinking wine, catching up and laying low.

Saturday rehearsal, Greek dance practice and party

On Saturday, I went with the rest of the folks in the wedding party to a rehearsal to walk through our roles in the ceremony at a Greek Orthodox church in Fort Myers. After that, we went back to a nice hotel in Punta Gorda, The Wyvern, where many of the wedding guests were staying, and changed into some casual Florida summer-worthy clothes. We joined a big group for Greek dancing practice, which took place in a torrential downpour under a partially covered gazebo at Laishley Park. Once we had learned a few new dances, we all went our separate ways to prepare for the final event of the day — the rehearsal dinner. Dave and I went back to a hotel room with the bride and groom and got ready for the party with them.

Rehearsal dinner at Captain's TableRehearsal dinner shots of me with my two BFFs.

The rehearsal dinner party was huge, with nearly 170 guests, at a restaurant called the Captain’s Table in the Fisherman’s Village area of Punta Gorda. They had the whole restaurant rented out, and in that sea of people, I ran into so many wonderful familiar faces during the few hours we were there. It was awesome! (That rehearsal dinner was bigger than my own wedding!)

While this was more of a cocktail party than a sit-down dinner, the very best part was the “open mic” portion, in which guests of the bride and groom could get up and say something about them. I did not plan on saying anything, knowing that there would be a lot of people speaking. But after a little encouragement from a few friends, I ended up popping up to say a few things about my dear friend, Melissa, and her husband-to-be, Neal. I actually really like to speak in front of a group, so I pulled a couple of stories and thoughts out from the past about the bride and told them how happy I was for them. Several people came up to me after-the-fact and told me I’m a great speaker — I chalked it up to my time on the microphone multiple times-a-day as a group fitness instructor. So true!

Rehearsal dinner outsideSome of my oldest and best girlfriends and me and my Momma in front of the waters of Punta Gorda.

My Mom was at the rehearsal party with Dave and me as well, so we all went home together just after 11 p.m. or so. I must say, I love having my Mom at these types of events, because she knows all of my friends and is great at a party.

Sunday wedding and reception day

On Sunday, I was up and at ’em early to head to the bride’s parents’ house in my old neighborhood of Deep Creek, where I grew up. The bride had some cute little navy dresses for us all to wear while getting ready as part of our gifts for standing up with her. We also got a monogrammed tote bag, bracelet, monogrammed cup, earrings for the ceremony and many more little goodies. Totally an awesome bridesmaids gift, part of which just may show up in tomorrow’s “Friday Favorites.” Thanks, Melissa!

Hair and makeup didn’t take too long and we all ended up being done in time, which is rare for a wedding. I had a few images from Pinterest picked out to give the artists ideas for what I wanted, and I was pretty happy with my both hair and make-up. More so than the primping, I just enjoyed the girl time getting ready together. We put our dresses on around 1:45 p.m. for a few pictures and were loaded up in the limo with a bottle of champagne just after 2 p.m. to head to the ceremony.

Melissa's wedding dayAwkward selfies and a beautiful bride walking down the aisle.

The ceremony was a long one. It was a full Greek ceremony (her husband-to-be converted to the religion), which took an hour from start to end. Even though it was long, it was beautiful. And so was the church where it took place. Quite frankly, I loved the formality of the whole thing, especially how the Greeks do things in “threes,” which is pretty cool to watch in practice. As a bridesmaid in high heels, I was sure to switch the weight of my feet from side-to-side while standing up on the marble surface for the entirety of the ceremony, and it wasn’t easy. My feet were killing me by halfway through!

After the ceremony, the wedding party and our dates hopped on a big party bus, popped open some beverages, and the fun continued. We drove around town to some spots to take photos, we laughed, we danced and we had quite the time. And a GoPro camera strapped to a bottle of the Greek liquor, Ouzo, may have made an appearance. Good times.

Finally, we arrived to the reception site, which was a big Greek events hall also in Deep Creek, around 6 p.m. or so. We went in, were announced and headed to our spots at the head table. Melissa and Neal had a fabulous first dance, they said a welcome speech, and then the feast began. 

Melissa's receptionSome of my favorite photos of the day include those taken while I was wearing a feather boa — a prop from the photo-booth.

Because the wedding party came after cocktail hour, we had to request some of the appetizers, and I’m glad we did. Spanakopita is my favorite, and this one did not disappoint. Nor did the salad before the main entree. And the desserts? Awesome!

Melissa's reception funGreek dancing, dollars thrown in the air, my place setting and a taste of the 12-foot dessert table.

Melissa and her family put so much work into this Big Fat Greek Wedding (of nearly 300 guests!), and it really showed. There was a huge dessert table, lovely place settings, a fun photo booth and nearly everything was white and sparkly. I couldn’t have been more happy to see Melissa marry Neal, and it was a great time celebrating their union at this well-done reception.

Of course, we all did some group Greek dancing, as well as just a bit of regular dancing. I tried to spend as much time as I could with all of my girlfriends, whom I don’t get to see that often, so was moving around all night. The party raged on until the hours, but we left around 12:30 a.m. or so. And I’m afraid I have no choice but to admit that we stopped at McDonald’s for French fries on the way home (I swear it was my Mom’s idea!). Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

Low-key lazy days to finish out the trip

After a fabulous three days of events, Dave and I both slept in late on Monday, which was Memorial Day. Then we hung out for a bit in the pool, laid low and enjoyed a casual lunch and dinner with my family. Tuesday was much of the same. Even though it was our anniversary on Tuesday, we had some unforeseen family things come up, and weren’t able to do what we had planned. But it was all okay in the end. 

Wednesday morning, Dave was up and out before 6 a.m. to head to the airport, and I hung out at home for a while with my Mom and brother. My Mom and I left for the Tampa airport for my failed departure flight at 3 p.m. and returned home at 9 p.m., to eat leftovers and laugh at the whole thing. Then this morning, we headed back out before 6 a.m. to try again.

Moral of the story? My friend Melissa, whom I love so much, had a fabulous Big Fat Greek weekend of wedding celebrations. She looked like a million bucks, I love her husband and her wedding was wonderful. The rest of the trip was not as expected, but included a bunch of family time, which is always a good thing in my book. And then I had to say goodbye and head back to normal life, which just always happens too fast.

Back in action in the Bay Area

Hopefully, I have seamless travel today and make it home in time to change into some workout attire and get to the gym to teach BODYPUMP and a core class in the evening in Walnut Creek. After that, I’ll be unpacking, regrouping and gearing up for BODYATTACK in the early morning tomorrow.

Have a fabulous day, my friends! I’ll see you back here for some “Friday Favorites” in the morning.

Questions of the day

When was the last time you visited your home?

And where do you call home?

What’s your favorite part about weddings?

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