Painting, hiking, eating and my weekly workouts

Another good weekend in the books! I sure hope you guys had a great one too.

Friday: Getting artistic with paint and wine

On Friday evening, Dave and I joined a couple of friends at Canvas and Cabernet in downtown Walnut Creek. I’ve wanted to do one of these “wine and painting” nights for a long time, and we bought tickets about a month in advance. 

Canvas and Cabernet fun via A Lady Goes WestWhat am I holding in my hands? Oh you know, just some boxed red wine.

For $45 a person, we enjoyed a three-hour step-by-step painting class, which included all the supplies we needed to create a masterpiece, as well as plenty of time to socialize with our friends, and of course, drink wine. At Canvas and Cabernet, while wine and beer were available for purchase above the ticket price, you’re also allowed to bring your own beverages for a reasonable corkage fee of $20. So Dave and I brought a small box of wine to enjoy.

Canvas and Cabernet has its craft down to a science. The lead artist/teacher stood in front of the class on a little stage and explained a small bit of work we needed to do on our canvas in very easy-to-understand instructions. Then, she would step off the stage, turn up the music, and let us work on our own. After a few minutes, she’d get back up and repeat the process. Therefore, there was built-in time to chat with your neighbors, sip on your wine and paint. About halfway through the class we took a “drying break” for 30 minutes, in which most people left their spots and walked around the boutique or refilled their beverages. While we were skeptical of how our paintings would turn out, in the end I think we all did a pretty good job.

Painting progression at Canvas and CabernetIt’s amazing to see how it all progressed on the canvas, as we kept adding layers and colors, using different types of strokes.

I’d guess there were about 40 people in the class and only three were men. So Dave and the other guy in our party were certainly good sports. Believe it or not, Dave actually enjoyed it much more than expected and told me he’d be willing to go again to do a different painting. Score!

Fun at Canvas and Cabernet in Walnut CreekWe failed to take a “normal” photo during the entire night, outside of this one I shared on Instagram. So this is what you get. The finished product was called “Lover’s Lane,” and is supposed to be a couple walking down a romantic path. Can’t you tell?

After we finished up our creations, we walked across the street to a Pyramid Alehouse and Brewery for a quick and late dinner before saying goodbye to our friends. During dinner, we displayed and admired all four canvases, and it’s funny how they each looked a little different based on our artistic interpretations. 

If you’re looking for a different night out with friends or your significant other, I’d highly recommend something like this. I hadn’t painted anything in years, and it felt good to do so. And hey, you get to walk away with an awesome souvenir. In fact, we already hung our paintings side-by-side in our guest bathroom for all to see.

Saturday: A lot of work and a little play

On Saturday, Dave had to work at the first Warriors playoff game of the season (they won!), so he headed off shortly after breakfast. I used the free weekend time to complete some household chores and a short and sweat-free low-intensity workout at home. I also took a quick trip to Nordstrom Rack and Marshall’s for what my Mom would call a little “retail therapy.” I know I was busy and moving around all morning, because I had hit 70 percent of my daily steps (thats 7,000 steps) by mid-day. Not too shabby!

On Saturday evening, we took a nice stroll to downtown Walnut Creek to enjoy some Mexican food at Maria Maria restaurant. 

Dinner at Maria MariaWe started with chips, salsa and guacamole. Then had a spinach and mango salad, followed by steak soft tacos with rice and beans. 

The restaurant was huge, and we had a nice table outside. While our dining experiences outside of San Francisco have been less than stellar, this one was pretty good. The food was fairly tasty, the service excellent, and the price not too bad. I’d go again just for a margarita and guacamole. Suffice to say, we walked out of there pleasantly stuffed.

Sunday: Sunshine and rest

On Sunday, while Dave went out for a run in the morning, I took advantage of my rest day and stayed in my pajamas on the couch watching a cheerleading competition. I know, how strange. I was never a cheerleader, but for some reason I find these types of events captivating. 

In the afternoon we headed out for a picnic and hike in the sunshine at Briones East Bay Regional Park. It’s days like these that make me love living in our new neighborhood in the East Bay even more, because just a few miles away in San Francisco city proper, the temperatures were about 20 degrees cooler! It was pretty hot, but we were able to stay in the shade for much of the stroll up the hill. We even saw cows.

Ashley and Dave at Briones ParkIt wouldn’t be a hike, if we didn’t take a selfie. And look at that pretty view from our picnic spot. Such a nice day!

In the evening, we made dinner at home, watched TV and prepared for a big week ahead. And that was that!

My weekly workout recap

Now, as we do every single Monday to stay on track. Here’s a look at all of the ways I got moving over the past seven days …

Weekly Workouts from A Lady Goes West

Weekly Workouts

  • Monday –Did a 30-minute CXWORX core workout at home with weights and a resistance tube, taught a one-hour BODYATTACK class, foam rolling
  • Tuesday – Did a 20-minute online yoga class at home, taught a one-hour BODYPUMP class, foam rolling
  • Wednesday – Taught TWO one-hour BODYATTACK classes, foam rolling
  • Thursday –Did a 10-minute online yoga class at home, taught a one-hour BODYPUMP class, foam rolling
  • Friday – Taught a one-hour BODYATTACK class
  • Saturday – Did a 30-minute CXWORX core workout at home with weights and a resistance tube, did a 10-minute online yoga class at home, foam rolling
  • Sunday – Rest day

What was good about my week of workouts?

While this past week looks like it was super full of workouts, there was plenty of variety of intensity and movement, and quite frankly, I felt absolutely great. I taught four BODYATTACK classes, which is a ton of cardio for me and one more class than usual. I also taught two BODYPUMP classes, which gave me the chance to enjoy two long strength-training sessions. I also did two core workouts at home using weights and three short sessions of yoga. I’ve decided that splitting yoga up into small segments throughout the week gives me more benefits than doing one longer session, so I may keep this up. Overall, I had plenty of stretching and rolling and a full rest day to make this a great week of fitness.

What could have been better about my week of workouts?

This past week was probably a bit cardio heavy, as they seem to be lately due to my teaching schedules. I would have gone to the gym on Saturday for a heavier weight-lifting session, but of course, I couldn’t get sweaty because of the keratin treatment I had done on my hair on Friday. Thus, a short core workout and yoga session were all I could do, with the window open and a cool breeze blowing directly on me. I really would like to see myself get some more weight-lifting done during the week, but it just hasn’t been working out that way. Not a huge deal, because things are always changing.

Alright guys, I’ve said enough. I hope your Monday is just lovely! See you soon, my friends.

P.S. Congratulations to the winner of the CanvasPop photo-print, Jennie W. Thank you to everyone who entered. I loved all of your comments and will be bringing you another giveaway very soon.

Questions of the day

What did you do this weekend?

Do you usually take time to stretch before or after your workouts?

What’s something fun you’re looking forward to in the next month?

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Friday Favorites: Fun stuff and a giveaway

Happy Friday to you! Who is happy that the weekend has nearly arrived? This morning, as usual, I’m up early to teach a BODYATTACK class. Then, I’ll be wrapping up some work and heading to a hair appointment. The frizzy mess on my head needs a little taming, so I’m going to get another keratin-smoothing treatment today. That means no sweating for me this weekend, as my hair has to settle. I see a couple of rest days in my future.

And tonight? I’m super excited about my plans for the evening, because Dave and I are going to a little shop in downtown Walnut Creek called Canvas and Cabernet with some friends. As you may be able to guess from the name, we will be drinking wine while painting on canvas. I’ve wanted to do one of these types of activities for a while and can’t wait to test out my painting skills. 

The rest of the weekend is pretty up-in-the-air, outside of Dave working at a Warriors playoff game tomorrow during the day. (Go Golden State!) Without further ado, let’s get to the latest weekly edition of “Friday Favorites,” and there’s a sneaky giveaway in here too, so play along if you want to win.

My favorite new piece of art

I have always been a fan of photo-print canvases (not to be confused with the blank canvases we will be painting on tonight!). Not only do Dave and I have a few on our walls, but I’ve also given these as gifts a couple of times before. So of course, when the nice folks at CanvasPop reached out about sending me a canvas print and doing a giveaway on the blog, I had no problem saying yes. I sent in a picture and received a 16 x 20 high-quality canvas print, which was delivered to me in less than a week. It’s sturdy, well-done, and the colors are perfect. Because I like it so much, I haven’t even decided where we are going to hang it yet, so right now it’s sitting out in the living room on top of a bookshelf. I really need to hang it up and give you guys a house tour soon. 

CanvasPop picture via A Lady Goes WestWait a second, who is that girl with light hair standing next to Dave? That’s me rocking some blonde hair nearly two years ago. This is an older picture from a trip to Florida for a wedding, but one that we both liked.

I love having lots of pictures on the wall, especially big and colorful ones like this, because they make me think of happy times and enjoyable memories every time I walk by. Let’s just say, I’m super pleased with the service and outcome of what I got from CanvasPop. And if you’d like to order something from the company as well, there is a full line of canvas and framed pieces available that you can customize to your liking. You can use the promo code ALGW35 for 35 percent off your entire order. This code is good until the end of April, so act quickly.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Now, CanvasPop would like to give away one 16 x 20 canvas print with a .75 depth to a reader of A Lady Goes West (more than an $80 value!). To win, all you have to do is leave a comment below on this post. Any comment will do. I’ll randomly select the winner on Sunday night around dinner time on the West Coast, so this is a quick and casual one. But for extra good luck, you should probably follow CanvasPop on Facebook or A Lady Goes West on Facebook, and leave a separate and additional comment letting me know if you do either of those. Just sayin’ …

My favorite fitness gear

I think I need some to invest in an additional dresser to store all of my workout wear. Being that I wear activewear every single day to work in gyms (or work from home), I have a big collection of pants, tops, sports bras, jackets, etc., yet it’s never enough to sustain me. I still find myself repeating things over and over again, especially on days in which I wear more than one workout outfit. Therefore, this past weekend, Dave and I took a quick trip to the Livermore Outlets and stopped in Under Armour and Nike

Under Armour gearI got these shiny black capri leggings, a loose top, a high-impact sports bra, a pack of socks, some underwear and two sweatshirts, all in one fell swoop. 

I snagged all of this stuff for just over $200, which is actually quite a steal for high-quality items. I also did something I never do, which is that I took the tags off and wore some of this right away to teach BODYPUMP on Tuesday night. I usually save stuff for a few weeks with tags on (I don’t know why I do this, but I do), so I was proud of myself for debuting it right away. It all fits great, moves well and will be put to good use.

My favorite chocolate treat

When I want a dessert, I do not reach for a square of dark chocolate — like not at all. I reach for an entire cheesecake. But I must admit, I recently tried some chocolate bars that are quite satisfying and much more decadent than what you would think by the looks of them. 

Alter Eco barsCheck out these Alter Eco, Organic Chocolate, Dark Salted Burnt Caramel Bars. You can buy these online or at your local health-food store (i.e. Whole Foods), so keep your eyes out for them, if you’re into chocolate.

I discovered these because I won a cool giveaway on Whitney’s blog, which included a bunch of new healthy food products that were debuted at Natural Products Expo West, a big food convention in Southern California that took place last month. My favorite things I’ve received so far have definitely been these bars from Alter Eco Foods. These aren’t your average candy bars. In fact, there are levels of real cocoa in chocolate products and apparently 70 percent is good, which is what these bars have at a minimum. These bars are also organic, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, Fair Trade Certified and have no artificial flavors. Nonetheless, the healthy aspects aside, I really like the taste and texture. No bitterness. Lots of flavor. And I had these both last weekend. Salty and sweet? Yes, please.

My favorite seasoning

Okay, this isn’t new, because Lawry’s Seasoned Salt has been around forever. But I bought some a few weeks ago and have been using it as my number-one seasoner. I’ve been sprinkling Lawry’s on veggies, rice, pasta and even on eggs. Now I know some people have a problem with seasoners like this because they could contain traces of MSG (even though the product claims to have none), but honestly — I feel like you pick your battles. I do the best I can, and a little seasoning doesn’t scare me.

Lawry's Seasoned SaltDo you think I need a larger pan for roasting? Sometimes I just smash as many veggies as I can together, and they still turn out alright, even when cooked in such close proximity.

I must admit, there have been a couple of meals in which I overdid it with this orange goodness though. But a heaping helping of Lawry’s is still a great sensation on the tongue, even if a little much at times. Hey, if you need a bit of spice to jazz up your meals, may I suggest this affordable classic?

My favorite video of the week

The other night, Dave and I were watching all the most popular YouTube videos. (Yes, we can be losers at times.) During that laugh-out-loud session, we came across the most amazing black-and-white video of a girl singing an older alternative classic. Please do yourself a favor and enjoy this one  — “Creep, Vintage Postmodern Jukebox Radiohead Cover” by Haley Reinhart. I think this gal was on American Idol and didn’t win, which is amazing because she’s got some major talent. In addition to that, I just like the whole scene.

My favorite links of the week

There were some good things going on around here on A Lady Goes West this week …

Keep in touch with me over the weekend on Instagram, my friends! Have a great couple of days!

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, Clare 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.

Questions of the day

What’s your plan for the weekend?

When is the last time you did something artistic?

GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Do you want to win a free canvas print? If so, let me know by saying hello or leaving a random thought in the comments below. And leave a separate comment if you like us on Facebook. This giveaway closes Sunday night. And it’s open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada. 

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