A study week, lots of food favorites and weekly workouts

Hi, my friends! How’s the week? And how’s life? Is it hot where you are? It is here in the Bay Area. Welcome to summer!

Today, it’s our usual random selection of favorites, links, workouts and chatter, so thanks for stopping by to read. And if you’re new around here, I promise there are more structured and valuable posts too … but today … it’s random. Enjoy! 🙂 

Life updates

Study, study, study for the NASM exam

This week has been a busy one for me, as I’ve been using every spare moment to continue to study for my NASM personal trainer exam, which happens to be today. (In case you’re wondering, I’m already a certified personal trainer with the NESTA organization, but wanted to get an additional credential, even though I have no plans of training clients one-on-one any time soon again, I just love the education aspect, because it totally helps me to be a better fitness writer and group fitness instructor too. I’ll be writing more about this soon, so if you have specific questions, let me know.)

I shared briefly that I enrolled and went through the NASM CPT Guided Study course, which was awesome, but there’s still been a lot of studying to do after the course finished to be totally ready for the exam. I’ve been using Brady’s daily naps to get a chunk of work done, and then been hitting it hard again after he goes to bed (there is no such thing as being productive when he is awake). That means, Dave and I have been eating dinner even later than our normal late-ness once I’m done. I’m talking 9 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. dinners this week with zero chill time. Geez.

By the way, I finally have a desk in my office, so that’s my new favorite place to study and/or write when Brady is asleep, and I love it. (The room is not done yet, otherwise I’d show you. I know, I haven’t showed you official house pictures at all, but it just doesn’t seem complete yet. Maybe it never will.)

However, after today’s exam, I’ll feel a big weight lifted off of my shoulders for sure. I look forward to using all of the study and course time for more writing.

Heading to San Diego for IDEA World

But it’s right back to busy-ness after the exam, because I need to get a lot of things done to prepare to be out of town for a week, leaving Wednesday morning. We’re packing up the whole fam (Rudy too) and heading down to San Diego. I’ll be attending the IDEA World BlogFest and IDEA World Fitness Convention.

I’ve been to IDEA two times before and had an amazingly fun, educational and social time all at once. Basically, it’s the biggest fitness convention of the year, where you do workouts, learn about new things up and coming in the industry and get continuing education credits for your personal trainer certifications. Then, there’s the blogging portion, which is where I’ll meet some new ladies and hang out with old friends too.

We’re staying at Dave’s parents’ house, so there will be plenty of help around for little Brady while I’m gone during the days, and we’ll be hanging out with them too on my off time. I’ll be sharing a lot of Instagram stories next week, so make sure you’re following along on IG with me.

Past IDEA recaps …

Now that we’re all caught up, let’s do the faves!


Revive kombucha

Always on the hunt for new and tasty kombuchas, I picked up two bottles of Revive Kombucha from Whole Foods last week and was so pleased with this particular one, so I had to share it …

Revive kombucha by A Lady Goes West

Hibiscus fruit. It’s red when it comes out of the bottle and has a mild, yet delightful flavor. It also is caffeine free, which isn’t the case with most kombuchas (they are made from tea). 

By the way, if you’re just not a kombucha fan, that’s totally okay. I know I post about it a lot, but that’s because I truly enjoy the texture and flavors of so many kombuchas. But you should never drink something you don’t enjoy — except for water — always drink water.

Bare Snack veggie chips

You know I love my Bare Snacks, so I was super excited to get a delivery while I was gone in Florida last week with the new veggie chips. They are beyond tasty and have the perfect crunch and the cleanest ingredients list. It’s like you are eating regular chips, but they are super healthy (no oils, no preservatives, just baked chips) and even have beneficial nutrients. Love that.

Bare Snacks veggie chips by A Lady Goes West

They come in carrot, sweet potato and beet. My favorites? The sea salt flavored beet chips, of course. Thanks, Bare!

Bare Snacks beet veggie chips by A Lady Goes West

Hilary’s Eat Well root veggie burgers

Clearly I’m on a root veggie kick, because our next food favorite today is the root veggie burger from Hilary’s Eat Well. This brand is one of my personal favorite veggie burgers, because there is no soy, and the ingredient list is really clean, and they get crunchy when you cook them.

I usually buy the original veggie burger, which comes in the green box, but recently found this red box of the root veggie variety. My new favorite.

Hilary's Eat Well root veggie burgers by A Lady Goes West

I found the box at Whole Foods, but not at Safeway, so perhaps the root veggie kind isn’t carried everywhere, but if you see it and you’re a veggie burger person, jump on it. There’s a slightly sweet taste and the perfect texture. I love a crunchy veggie burger, and I will definitely be getting more of these.

Vital Proteins peach matcha

Collagen, collagen, collagen. I’m going strong on taking some form of Vital Proteins collagen every single day since Brady was born, and it’s usually in my morning tea. Some days, I also get a second helping of collagen with an afternoon matcha latte, which I make at home. You can find out how I make my at-home matcha latte in this post.)

Peach matcha collagen by A Lady Goes West

Anywho, just in time for summer, I’m currently using the Matcha Collagen in Peach (<—affiliate link), which has just the faintest touch of peach flavoring to it. It’s delish. By the way, collagen supports a healthy gut, strong hair, nails and skin and even joints too. Who doesn’t want all of that?


Dave’s first Father’s Day at Gott’s Roadside

Although Dave has been Rudy’s dad for three years, this was his first Father’s Day with a real live human baby, so I wanted to make it special for him to thank him for being so amazing. I got up before him and made us both pancakes for breakfast to kick it off. I usually make some form of alternative pancakes with almond flour or chia seeds — but this day, it was straight organic pancakes from the Foodstirs box with real butter, eggs, yogurt and maple syrup. I decided to keep it simple for Dave, who often puts up with my strange healthy concoctions. 

After Brady’s nap and opening some presents, we went to downtown Walnut Creek to eat at Gott’s Roadside, which is a super popular chain around the Bay Area, serving burgers and other delicious food. I had never been before, and Dave had and had been dying to go back, but I never really wanted to wait in the long lines … until Father’s Day, of course.

Dave at Gott's Walnut Creek by A Lady Goes West

Well, we got there at just the right time and barely had to wait (there is usually a long line to order and then get a table — it’s fast casual with no waiters). It was a miracle.

I was very happy to see they had kombucha on tap — (they actually had the Revive Kombucha hibiscus flavor I mentioned above, which is how I first learned about it before picking it up at Whole Foods).

Things continued to look up as I found out they had not only sweet potato fries, but also a falafel salad with all sorts of veggies in it, and it was all darn good. Like wayyyyyy good. I would highly recommend a visit, but as usual with these super-tasty and trendy places, it’s not cheap, so not your everyday spot. Well, and you probably wouldn’t want to get the fries every day either, because that’s more of an occasional food.

Falafel salad and sweet potato fries at Gott's Walnut Creek by A Lady Goes West

We sat outside and had such a nice lunch, people watching, chatting and eating. Brady was awake but just chilling in his stroller enjoying the fresh air.

Ashley at Gott's Walnut Creek by A Lady Goes West

From there, we made a return at Macy’s (two things I bought Dave needed to be exchanged and one item still had the security tag on it … which I guess I didn’t notice set off the alarm when I was leaving after making the purchase the day before — womp womp). Speaking of Macy’s, big sales this weekend.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at home hanging out. Now that the basketball season is finally over, Dave is happy to have more time at home on the nights and weekends and is soaking up our outdoor area, as we were still in our townhouse this time last year with no real patio or backyard. Being outside in the evenings is the best. Soooo relaxing!

We finished up the night with pizza and another episode of the second season of “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix, and that was our Father’s Day. Lots of good food and good family time together. 


Weekly workout recap at 36 weeks postpartum 

Now on to fitness. Here’s a look at my workouts from last week …

Weekly Workout Recap by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: 30 minutes of barre at home, 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Rest day
  • Wednesday: Took 1-hour BODYPUMP class, 9:30 a.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour Bootybarre class, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: 45-minute SoulCycle class, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: Taught 1-hour Bootybarre class, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This week of workouts saw a slight return to normalcy after my very light week the week before when I was visiting my parents in Florida. I’m back to teaching Bootybarre twice a week regularly, so you’ll see that appearing on Thursdays and Saturdays, because I do the whole workout with the class as I teach it.

I didn’t do my always-a-goal of three weightlifting sessions, but I did pick up tiny weights in SoulCycle and Bootybarre and have a full-body workout with BODYPUMP, so there was at least some resistance training. I guess I’m still in the mindset that all movement is a win for me right now, so it’s all good.

Speaking of SoulCycle, I had a “ride” date with a girlfriend on Friday night, and it was a great kick-off for the weekend. The instructor had some great words and soulful insight for us, and it totally sent me off in a good mood, which is by far my favorite thing about attending SoulCycle. 

Ashley at SoulCycle Walnut Creek by A Lady Goes West

Suggested reading

Best links from around the web

  • Trends: You know I can’t miss a chance to share a post about wellness trends. CBD oil, mitochondria, the death of multitasking, etc. — quite interesting.
  • Women’s health: Know your cycles, ladies. This is a good one all about why.
  • Eggs: My favorite brand of pasture-raised eggs is called out in this article telling you all about the difference between eggs and what all the labels mean. So helpful.

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I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend, my friends! Thank YOU! 🙂 

Questions of the day

How was your week? 

What are you looking forward to this weekend?



  1. GOOD LUCK on your exam! You’re going to rock it!!

    I would actually LOVE a post at some point on using your CPT to support your fitness writing and group fitness work (as you mentioned above).

    I just got my NASM CPT in March. I had absolutely no background in fitness but knew I wanted to get involved in the industry somehow….so I figured I’d start with the comprehensive CPT cert. My first steps into the industry have been into group fitness….and I honestly don’t know if I ever want to train clients one-on-one (at least right now). I recently had a friend comment to me that they don’t understand getting the CPT if you’re not going to train one-on-one, and I had a really hard time explaining my perspective on the value of that individualized background. ALLL that to say, again, I’d love to hear your thoughts since you’ve been in the industry for so long!

    1. Kaitlyn, knowledge is POWER! So the more you know, the better instructor you are, the better fitness lover you are and all of that. Yes, it’s a lot of work to get a PT cert, but if all it does is help you create your OWN workouts and fix your OWN muscle imbalances, it’s worth it. I didn’t love training one-on-one, so I know it’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want or get to be a fitness expert. And the same goes for you! So glad you’re into group fitness now, lady!

  2. Hey Ashley, Good luck on your exam. I remember that feeling getting that test off my shoulder. Turning in that term paper on the last day of class was the biggest weight off my shoulders. I found out when taking a class as a grad student with a mixture of undergrad students the grad students were assigned a term paper cause they were expected to do more to earn the class credit. I am glad you made Dave’s first official Fathers Day so special. You know how much I like spin classes. I am going have to try a Soulcycle class. It really sounds like a special experience. I have never heard of one in the Tampa Bay area. Have a great educational trip next week.

    1. Hi Richard! Ohhh yes that feeling after exams are done is AWESOME! And I think SoulCycle would be a very fun experience for you! Hope you get to do it one day! 🙂 Happy Friday to you!!

  3. Woohoo! Good luck today, but I know you don’t need it. I agree with you in that I just love the education aspect– when you are passionate about something, learning is SO much fun!

    Haven’t tried Hillary’s, but I will take your recommendation. I started eating Dr. Praeger burgers because of you and I LOVE them, so you give good recs, hah!

    1. Oh yay! Love to hear that, Carrie! I think you’ll like the root veggie of the Hilary’s for sure! Hope all is well, my friend! Happy Friday! 🙂

  4. Congrats on passing! Yes, I am from the future (or actually I am just late to commenting and already know the results). And have a great time at IDEAWorld and Blogfest. I will miss (again) seeing everyone, but I have so many amazing memories from my 2 years at the convention.

    1. Hi Susie! hahahah helllo from the future! So funny. I was secretly hoping you may be making the trip to BlogFest, but I know it’s not quite as easy these days. 🙂 heheh I’m only able to make it work because I can bring Dave and Brady, so I’m happy it’s in SD this year. You will be missed! 🙂

  5. Ahh I went to Blogfest the first year back when I lived in LA. I so wish I could go again, I’m hoping for next year! 🙂
    Also I’m thinking of getting another certification in the future too….I have my CSCS but always like learning something new! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    1. Hopefully we will both go to BlogFest the same year one day! I missed the first one hehhee. I’d love to know more about your CSCS. Have you done a post on it??

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