A Lady Goes West 2016 round-up: Top posts, life happenings and thoughts

When I typed up this post, I initially titled it “A Lady Goes West 2017 round-up,” in case that gives you any indication of how 2016 has been. 

It seems like the media is calling 2016 a terrible year because of the drama of the election, the death of many beloved icons and even the advancement of global warming. While I’m not going to touch on any of those subjects, I will look back at 2016 for its highs and its lows in the life of me and this here little space on the Internet — A Lady Goes West.

2016 year in review by A Lady Goes West

State of the job

There were some major changes this year, one of which was most definitely the fact that I nearly cleared the slate at the end of January of 2016 and started a new full-time job with 24 Hour Fitness. I left my coaching role at Orangetheory Fitness, said goodbye to a ton of other group fitness classes and ended some freelance and blog relationships in order to make the transition. While I already worked for 24 Hour Fitness as a group fitness instructor, I took on the additional role as the editor of the company’s new blog 24Life.com. Transitioning from a fitness/blogger/trainer/freelance writer into a full-time corporate employee who teaches just a couple group fitness classes on the side wasn’t easy. And it still isn’t. I struggle every day with the right balance and never think I’ve quite achieved it. But I learn to manage and am thankful for having a very full plate and endless opportunities for learning!

State of the blog

That being said, in 2016, A Lady Goes West went from a five-times-a-week posting schedule to three, finally landing on two, where it mostly stands today. But we’re still going strong and most of you have stuck around, with a few new faces too. Thank you!

Because of my time commitments for the job, I had to say no to most sponsored campaigns and opportunities that came my way and also said no to far too many blogging events in San Francisco. But I still sat down to write at least twice a week and managed to “keep it alive.” In spite of not being able to put as much time and effort into A Lady Goes West as I would like to, I’m still totally proud of this space. (And grateful for you reading this!) And I promise you I have some cool things planned for 2017 here.

Top posts from 2016

Just as I expected, nearly all of my top posts on the blog as ranked by visits in 2016 (although not necessarily written in 2016) were fitness related. Here they are in order …

  1. Everything you need to know about the Orangetheory Fitness workout
  2. CXWORX 101 overview and tips for first-timers
  3. Class review: CorePower Yoga is hot, hot, hot
  4. BODYPUMP 101 overview and tips for first-timers
  5. How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout
  6. A super-fun Key West bachelorette party
  7. BODYATTACK 101 overview and tips for first-timers
  8. Signs you’re taking a class from a bad group fitness instructor
  9. How to make zucchini noodles 
  10. How to beat the afternoon slump

And while these didn’t rank in the top 10, here are a few of my favorite posts from 2016 …

State of my life

I didn’t set any goals for 2016, unlike other years, so I don’t have any big checkmarks to make on a list. But I will tell you that I encountered some ups and some downs — accomplished a few things I didn’t expect and fell short on others. I like to keep most of the ups on A Lady Goes West, and keep some of the downs on the private side. But you can be sure that a lot of growth was had! Both professionally and personally as I moved through the months.

Overall, I’m incredibly grateful for my amazing husband, Dave, our fuzzy guy, Rudy, my family and my health. We love our home in Walnut Creek, our great group of friends in the Bay Area and in Florida too. Dave’s job is better than ever, and we never have a shortage of fun things to do. So that’s all good stuff.

Looking back, this year had some major highlights. For instance …

  • Family and friend visits. While 2015 was light on visitors, I was incredibly happy to have two visits from my Brother (once with his girlfriend), two wonderful long visits from my Mom, as well as a visit from my dear friend Judy too.
  • Vegas baby. The most fun vacation I’ve ever had with Dave and our best friends, Grant and Bre, in wild Las Vegas happened in August, and we are still laughing about it and telling the stories.
  • Work travel. I went to L.A. for my 24 Hour Fitness job about six times and was able to take part in so many cool fitness and wellness photoshoots (including one with the E! network in which I met Chalene Johnson and Travis Kelce and one in which I interviewed my favorite podcaster Shawn Stevenson on camera). I also went back to IDEA Fitness Convention and IDEA BlogFest and got to hang out with my blogger friends and learn, learn, learn!
  • Recognition. Dave and I were named part of Diablo Magazine’s East Bay “40 Under 40,” which was super cool. And some of our friends still joke that we’re a “power couple.”
  • Local fun. I went to Napa four times, a bunch of Golden State Warriors games, including game 7 of the NBA Finals, as well as did some hiking, hit up Santa Cruz, a San Francisco 49ers game and much more. The Bay Area is the greatest!
  • Travel. Dave and I went to Carmel twice, to Mendocino for the Fourth of July and we joined my family in the mountains in Georgia too. I also went on my first official press tip in Tahoe and had an awesome experience.
  • Fitness. I took on a new program,  went to instructor training and became certified to teach Bootybarre, which is a great addition to my repertoire. I also got to be an extra in a Les Mills Reebok commercial shoot, but got cut out of the final footage heheh.
  • Blogging. Toward the second half of the year, I went to a few more blogging events around food and fashion and got to meet new local bloggers, which I absolutely love. Speaking of events, I’m hosting a free class on Sunday, January 8 at Kit and Ace in Walnut Creek at 10 a.m., and I’d love for you to attend. Email me for details!
  • Holidays. A beautiful Thanksgiving in Carmel with Dave’s family and a sunny Christmas and holiday trip to Florida with my family.

Overall, this life we’re living is a new adventure every single day. This year, I’ve tried to let go of looking for perfection and instead seek a little bit of happiness in the present. It’s a daily process, and I will keep working on it in 2017. Throughout it all, I’ve got good people in my life and a lot of positive things going on.

Thank you, friends, for letting me share my life with you. I promise to keep getting better and trying to give you cool information along with regular old stories from the day to day. And I have a few things up my sleeve for the new year, which are going to be awesome. Sending you so much love, everyone! I’ll see you next year!

A blog round-up! Check out the top posts of 2016, life updates and thoughts by @apstyle ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What was the highlight of your year?

What are you most looking forward to in 2017?



  1. Happy New Year! Your blog is still my favorite blog–first one I read. I am so looking forward to this new year! I have been teaching group fitness since 1991 and am anticipating cutting back on the number of classes I teach. The highlight(s) of my year–spending time with my 2 beautiful granddaughters in Charlotte, NC.

    1. Hi Linda! Thank you for the sweet words and I love that you’re a reader! Wow! You’ve been teaching a long time so you have lucky students who get to benefit from your experience. And we all need to step back sometimes (like I did this year) so I hope you enjoy the extra free time! And family time is always a highlight. Happy new year!!!

  2. So many great accomplishments and fun in 2016. I love the feeling of a new year, new goals, and a fresh start. Almost every year I always set a goal to be more spontaneous and say ‘yes’ to more things, and I’m really committed to making it happen more in 2017. Happy New Year!!!

  3. Happy New Year! I think it’s actually been a blessing for us as readers to have you switch roles, not that we didn’t love what was on the blog before but nice to see things from a different perspective and get fresh ideas from the blog! You’ve always been such an inspiration and I can feel the positive attitude from the other side of the computer! Plus your life, in warmer weather, helps me feel less cold in these long months (lol) Hope you have an amazing New Years and cheers to a new year!

    1. Oh Fiona, How I have REALIZED that I relate so much more to my readers when I’m doing the job that I am. It’s not easy to eat healthy and work out a lot when you have zero free time and a desk job. I get it! I have a new perspective on connecting to people who don’t have the freedom and flexibility to do whatever they want when they want. And I LOVE that we’re connected and staying in touch. And I seriously want you to send me a pic of the little one! Happy new year. Bundle up! 🙂

  4. I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog this year and will continue to do so in 2017! You have handled many changes with a lot of grace and poise. You should be so proud of all that you have been able to accomplish. I wish you and your husband a happy and blessed 2017!

    1. Oh Heather, you are SOO sweet. Thank you for these kind words, lady! It’s so great to be connected to you. And I wish YOU a wonderful new year too!

  5. Thanks for the 2016 recap! I just love following your journey and reading your posts every week. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you, though I’m sure it will at least include Rudy, salmon and laughing at YouTube videos.

    1. You know I love all of those things, my friend! And I can’t thank you enough for reading and engaging! I LOVE that we stay connected online like we do. 🙂 Here’s to a GREAT start to 2017 for us both.

  6. It was a good year for you! You’re always up to something so fun and fabulous. I love what you said about letting go of perfection. That’s something I’m working on every day, but I think 2017 I’m gonna do more of it. I need it!

  7. I just loved reading your recap, Ashley! I love how real you are on your blog- just being straight with your bloggers without putting on a “face” that everything is always 100% perfect (because life isn’t!). And at the same time there are SO many awesome things that have happened! So thankful that I can follow your journey- you inspire me!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.