A Lady Goes West 2018 year in review: Biggest life moments, top posts and more

How did 2018 fly by? This year was somehow the fastest of my life, with perhaps the most growth. Yet, it was also a different year, in which my focus was on the life of others almost more so than on my own life at times — which is definitely a first for me. 

I will never forget 2018, although so many moments of it are blurry already, as Brady grows by the day, we learn by the day, and life just … happens. It was absolutely a year of ups and downs, with so much happiness thrown in, intertwined with the hard times too.

Let’s look back at some of the highlights …

A Lady Goes West 2018 year in review 

A Lady Goes West Year in Review 2018

The biggest life happenings

Buying our first house

Dave and I were over-the-moon excited that after a lot of struggle with putting in offer after offer in a very competitive market, we finally scored the perfect house in January of this year. With Brady just 12-weeks-old and snug in the Baby K’Tan, we moved our entire lives about five minutes down the road from the townhouse we rented for three years (after moving from Nob Hill in San Francisco to Walnut Creek in the East Bay).

New digs in Pleasant Hill by A Lady Goes West

I don’t know how I possibly packed up all of our belongings and coordinated life in a new place (and all of the logistics that requires) on minimal sleep with barely any help and a needy non-sleeping newborn in my care. This all happened during a very busy season for Dave’s work, and I had to do much of it — with him assisting when he could until he could take off some time from work once we were all the way in the new house to get settled (we did use professional movers, but did all the packing, minus the kitchen, on our own). I think I’ve blacked out that time actually, because it was rough. But the good news is that it was 100 percent worth it.

Ashley and Brady and Rudy parenting blog post by A Lady Goes West -- October 2018

2018 family holiday photos 15 by A Lady Goes West

We took our time to fill the rooms of our house and are finally mostly done with decorating, so I promise to share some pictures soon. I LOVE our home. I love our neighborhood, and I feel like we’ve lived in this place forever. It’s just right for our little family, and this is one of the biggest things of the year. Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for it. And it’s not lost on me that we are homeowners in the Bay Area — certainly not something I had planned for years ago, but am absolutely happy with.

Celebrating my brother’s wedding

I only have one brother, and I didn’t know how it would feel when he got married. Well, it felt GREAT. I was beyond excited when Matthew proposed to Stephanie, and I knew I wanted to be a part of every activity as best as I could — even if it included traveling solo to Chicago for Stephanie’s bridal shower with Brady when he was only 5-months-old.

Our little family at Matthew's wedding by A Lady Goes West

Dave and Brady at Matthew's wedding by A Lady Goes West

Dave went to Matthew’s bachelor party in Vegas, and I went for a night to Stephanie’s bachelorette in Vegas separately as well. True story: Matthew’s wedding was perhaps one of the most fun weekends of my entire year, and I absolutely loved hanging out with his friends (some of whom I’ve known since I was in elementary school), Stephanie’s family and my family. It was our only wedding of the year, and it was 100 percent awesome and perfect. And Stephanie is the sweetest, and I’ve truly gained a sister with her addition to our family! 

Bridesmaid at Chateau Elan by A Lady Goes West

Passing my NASM certified personal trainer exam

Professional stuff too! I was in need of renewing my first personal trainer credential and decided I wanted to go through a new certifying agency to learn even more and challenge myself. I worked with the NASM company to try the guided study program, and it included weekly lessons, quizzes and discussions all online in a big group forum. I learned a ton, passed my NASM exam and felt great about it — having utilized almost all of Brady’s then twice-daily naps to work on this project for 12 weeks.

Ashley and 14.5-month-old Brady by A Lady Goes West -- December 2018

Even though I don’t train clients one-on-one any longer in the gym setting, as a fitness writer and group fitness instructor, I think it’s very important to stay up-to-date in the industry, and this was definitely the right way to go about that. I still think anyone talking about fitness or interested in fitness could benefit from a CPT certificate. And I use what I know in every workout that I do and class that I take. 

FlyWheel vs. SoulCycle class review - September 2018 - by A Lady Goes West

Hosting Brady’s first birthday party and first year

This was huge! We had a ton of people at our house and we celebrated our little man’s first birthday. I had no idea how significant this day would be to me, and WOW, did I feel emotional. I’m so thankful for the people that showed up and participated. And the best part is that my mom, brother and Stephanie and cousin (and Dave’s sister and cousin) were all able to make it for this big day to have family represented. It was the BEST!

Until I became a mom, I did not realize what a big deal a first birthday is — it’s not just “a party for adults” it’s marking the occasion of making it to that point — your tiny child you created and birthed and cared for turns one and you can actually thank yourself and your partner for what you’ve both done to get there — perhaps the hardest year of our lives in some ways — in many ways — but the most beautiful too.

Brady's first birthday - family with Brady and Rudy - September 2018 by A Lady Goes West

Brady's first birthday - family - September 2018 by A Lady Goes West

Brady’s first year was full of ups and downs and SO much learning — as I truly tried to figure out how to be a full-time caretaker, who also works, teaches group fitness, has friends and a husband. It is a balancing act that I’m not sure has any balance at all — but I’m doing the best that I can.

Motherhood and Brady are certainly the true accomplishments of 2018, but I’ll leave this as just one bullet. Suffice to say, I love that little man like crazy, and I really do love him more and more every single day.

Ashley and 14.5-month-old Brady by A Lady Goes West -- December 2018

By the way, here are some of the things I’ve learned from my first year of parenting.

So much travel all over the country

We went a lot of places this year, and some places were for the first time, some were repeats — all were pretty quick visits, with a whirlwind of airport adventures and a lot of packing and unpacking!

Ashley hiking Hanging Lake by A Lady Goes West

Family Thanksgiving 2018 by A Lady Goes West

It all started with San Diego for Dave’s Dad’s surprise birthday weekend. Chicago for Stephanie’s bridal shower. Vegas for Stephanie’s bachelorette. Atlanta for my brother’s wedding. San Diego for IDEA World Fitness BlogFest (such a fun and educational trip). Florida to visit my parents. Colorado for a fun press trip with Chevy. Columbus to visit our best friends. Florida for Thanksgiving. Geez!

Ashley and Dave tailgating in Ohio by A Lady Goes West -- October 2018

Boca Grande Beach fun by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

And because of all of that, I was able to write what I’ve learned from traveling with a baby across the country multiple times.

Our 2019 doesn’t have any trips on the agenda yet, but we think a vacation is in order! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Other big life events and fun stuff …

  • Back to teaching. I took a pretty long break from teaching group fitness after Brady was born, but happily accepted my first regular class back in January of this year teaching Bootybarre. I still only have one weekly regular class, but I have subbed BODYPUMP quite a few times. I’m dying to get my own BODYPUMP class (or maybe one day BODYATTACK???), but unfortunately, my gym and area are full of instructors, and there are never any permanent open classes to take over — like EVER. Maybe one day, because I sure do love teaching Les Mills, and I’ve put way too many years of work into it to be done with it now. I do think taking a break made me realize even more that I always want to be a group fitness instructor — that in-person connection can’t be beat. 
  • Joining Beautycounter. I want you to know I’ve turned down so many chances to sell products over the years, and this is the one brand that I believe in and actually use the products. And it’s more so about trying to show you that we need to actually start looking at the ingredients of our personal care products, just like we do with food. It’s been fun to connect with a lot of you through your interest in this awesome company, so I see myself keeping this up.
  • The Warriors. I can’t forget to mention that the whole reason we moved to California was because of the Golden State Warriors basketball team — which was NOT good at all when we arrived. Now, six years later, Dave has three blinged-out championship rings, and 2018 was another winning year. It’s awesome to be a part of this, even if I only went to two games last year. And it’s not easy for our family for Dave to be gone so much for a job like this, but at the same time, it does have some perks too — so it is what it is. We are incredibly proud of Dave and all that he does!
  • My mom’s long visit. I looked forward to my mom’s extended visit all year. She stayed with us almost the whole month of September, and it was great to have her around for so long. She’s not only a huge help, but she’s also my friend. And now that I’m a mom, I appreciate what she must have done for me all those years when I was little too. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

What does your workout mean for you by A Lady Goes West -- October 2018

The biggest blogging happenings

Top 25 posts on A Lady Goes West in 2018

Let’s look back at the top posts on A Lady Goes West this year. These posts may have been written before this year, but they were the most visited. And it’s no surprise that FITNESS wins out. Here we go …

  1. Everything you need to know about the Orangetheory Fitness workout
  2. What is CXWORX: CXWORX 101 overview and tips for first-timers
  3. What is BODYATTACK: BODYATTACK 101 overview and first-timer tips
  4. What is BODYPUMP: BODYPUMP 101 overview and tips for first-timers
  5. How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout
  6. How to modify a BODYPUMP class when you’re pregnant
  7. Signs you’re taking a class from a bad group fitness instructor
  8. Class review: CorePower Yoga is hot, hot, hot
  9. A super-fun Key West bachelorette party
  10. Vanilla banana protein superfood baked oatmeal recipe (gluten-free) (2018)
  11. Review of Kelsey Wells’ PWR workout program and the Sweat app (2018)
  12. Top 10 ways to grow your group fitness classes
  13. My experience with the NASM CPT Guided Study Program and passing the NASM exam (2018)
  14. 15 things you should know about working out when you’re pregnant
  15. Class review: The Bootybarre workout
  16. Class review: The Bar Method (2018)
  17. How much cardio should you be doing each week (2018)
  18. 13 ways to teach a good group fitness class
  19. How to become a group fitness instructor when you have a full-time job
  20. My journey to get pregnant and how I overcame hypothalamic amenorrhea
  21. 25-minute power-walking treadmill workout
  22. Life after recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea
  23. Superfoods 101: Why to add superfoods into your life
  24. About
  25. A 20-minute BODYPUMP-inspired full-body barbell workout

It’s funny when I look at this list of posts, because SO many of these were drafted in 2015, when I was blogging every single day, working as a coach at Orangetheory and teaching 15 group fitness classes around town at other gyms too. I don’t know how I handled all that, but I do know it was nothing compared to be a mom of a tiny tot. I guess I wrote more worthy posts back then because they sure do fill up my most popular posts list.

Ways to know what health and fitness information to follow by A Lady Goes West

Some of my favorite posts to write have been the more personal ones about parenting, motherhood, health, balance and so on. Here are my top choices from the year …

I’ve tried to keep this blog a place of diversity, by sharing some of my professional knowledge and fitness tips with life, motherhood and fun thrown in too. You can’t do everything, and you can’t please everyone, but I hope because you’re reading this today you find enough to on here to keep coming back.

Speaking of which …

Thank YOU, my friends!

I have to thank each and every one of you who show up to read this blog. I know I’ve gone through many life changes along the way since I first hit publish in September of 2012, and WOW, if you’ve been around for much of that — you’ve seen me grow and struggle and thrive and struggle again over the years. You are my FRIEND! What’s amazing about this blog is that I will never know some of you who read it. You may never comment, never like a post, but you’re there. And that’s okay with me. I appreciate you! I really do!

Ashley at the Whole Foods Northern California dinner by A Lady Goes West -- December 2018

What’s next for A Lady Goes West?

This is an amazing question. I feel like I’ve “maintained” the blog this year, by putting up 2-3 posts a week every week, working with brands when it seemed right and trying to write valuable content most of the time. But quite frankly, I’d like to “grow” the blog in the future, I just haven’t quite put the planning or time into it. So for now, I’ll keep showing up here and hope you’ll do the same.

Thanks for stopping by today, my friends! Have a great week!

What a year! Rounding up the top posts and life happenings for 2018 on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

How long have you been reading A Lady Goes West?

What was a big highlight from your year?

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

How was your weekend?

What’s your favorite kind of blog post to read?



  1. Wow what a whirlwind year! I’m tired just reading it! haha! I think I started reading in 2016 or so when I was a brand new blogger. Glad to keep reading and following along especially now that we are both mamas!

  2. Ooh I can’t even remember when I signed up to follow you – maybe 2016?! I definitely found you through doing Les Mills research tho!

    Now I stay because your personality shines through in your posts and I love your writing. I love long posts with plenty of content.

    Still waiting for the home decor pics ha!

    2019 for me is going to be about wedding planning… eek.. and an accompanying fitness regime I hope!

    1. Hi Iona!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hahah well thanks for coming around the blog — Les Mills lover! I know about the home pics — hehehe — one day I’ll get those together. And how exciting you are wedding planning! Such a fun time! Also stressful, bust mostly exciting for such a special day!!

  3. Enjoy reading your blog! We celebrated my daughter’s first birthday in November and it has been fun to follow your journey of motherhood as well. Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Jen! Oh yay! Congrats to you for making it through a year of motherhood hehehe! We did it and I’m glad you like hearing about the mom stuff, because it’s ever present over here — how could it not be?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you SO much for reading, lady! Happy holidays to you too.

  4. Long time reader, first time commenter here. This post has really inspired me to do a similar one for my personal journal. We shared a lot of the same milestones this year, with a new house and a new baby too!

    I started reading your blog in 2016.

    In 2019, I am looking forward to getting into a new routine as I’ve learned to become a parent, while still making time for old and new personal hobbies.

    My weekend was busy celebrating my daughter’s first birthday party on Saturday and a Christmas party on Sunday. I only got 3.5 hours of sleep the night before the party because I was baking and cooking, so I was asleep by 9 pm on Saturday night! The party was worth it, and it was so much fun.

    I like reading posts about your life with Brady since I can draw so many parallels to my own life. I also like reading the workout posts since I am just starting to workout 2-3 times a week again (more time for myself now that I no longer have to pump at work).

    1. Hi lady! First of all, WOW, what a big year you had too — way to have a lot of change all at once. I’m so glad the birthday party went great and you had fun — hosting people is a lot of work for sure — but worth it to celebrate your babe (and YOU!). Thank you SO much for reading and for following along, and it’s awesome you are back to working out. Hope you are feeling good and enjoying that time for yourself!

  5. There’s a BodyPump vacancy in the East Bay in a sleepy town called Newark. Granted, it’s far away but would like to see you teach in person. 5:30pm in Newark NewParkMall

    1. Hi Ben! ahhah thanks for looking out — but yes, that’s a bit far. I don’t want to travel too far and I need to work at a club with kids care, so the odds are stacked against me for now. Happy holidays to YOU! Thank you for reading!

  6. Sounds like 2018 has been quite an amazing year for you, Ash! I absolutely love checking in on your blog and getting to read about your life adventures, parenting and marriage, and just general advice. Thanks so much for putting so much time and energy into putting together a space on the web that is truly enjoyable (and informative) to read ๐Ÿ™‚ Wishing you and yours the happiest holiday season!

  7. Hi Ashley,
    How you manage to do all this in 2018 is beyond me. I always find it amazing how you find time to write such long blogs with everything you got going. And the biggest thing is Brady. I know I have been with you before Brady was born. He is my favorite topic to read about. Its going to be fun watching him grow. Especially when he gets older and starts to school and start participating in after school activities. I think he is going to be a left handed baseball pitcher. I noticed you have bike shoes for soleclasses. I wouldn’t spin without mine. The cruise was probably our highlight this year. It was my third one. It was the longest also at 7 nights. With Christmas coming up Brady may be getting old enough to enjoy all the festivities that goes with it. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. Hi Richard! heheheh — yes Brady is the thing that keeps me the most busy for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I use his nap times and nighttimes to get most of my work, including the blog, done! I rent cycle shoes from SoulCycle each class, you are required to have them — it helps keep your feet engaged, which you know as an avid indoor cycler. That’s so great you went on a long cruise this year. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you too!! Thank YOU for being around and reading!

  8. 2018 was a great year for you and your family! I can’t wait to see pictures of your house decorating! I’ve been working on our house one room at a time as well. I love reading a variety of posts. We traveled quite a bit in 2018 as well, Turks & Caicos, Peru, and Colorado! I’m excited for 2019 and all that may happen! I think you need to plan a vacation, you all have earned it!! We recently booked flights to Japan for the end of April and I can’t wait ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Japan! WHAT?? That’s amazing! What a dream trip! You’ve gone to some great places so far this year too, Jessie! Love it! And I feel like decorating one room at a time is the only way to do it! Thank YOU for reading, my friend!

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.