Current faves: A busy week, a book, a Les Mills discount code, dresses and workouts

Hi, friend! How are you?

This past week was a whirlwind of activity! We returned from our Florida trip on Sunday evening, and it’s been go-go-go since then. I say this all the time, but here I go again: I love everything I do in my life and in my various jobs (group fitness, blog, Beautycounter, momming), but sometimes it all stacks up at once, and I get overwhelmed. After taking a weekend off of work for the trip, I’ve been playing catch up all week, moving from one project, to chore, to activity, to class, to the next. 

This past week, I taught my usual five classes and subbed an extra barre class. I went to a tennis clinic, Dave and I helped my mom actually move into her place (her stuff finally arrived from Florida), I began working on a new barre routine for next week, and we had some people in our house trying to fix our garbage disposal, which had been leaking, so we ended up getting a new one. (Yuck.)

I’m heading out for dinner with my neighborhood lady friends tonight. Then tomorrow, Brady has soccer, I have tennis, and we have two birthday parties on Sunday. Other than that, I’ll be fitting in finishing up creating and learning my new barre routine and working on some blog content too.

Speaking of busy-ness: This is where I’ve truly failed to meet my goal I set out at the beginning of the year to not get over-scheduled. But here I am. I feel like maybe I need another session with my life coach soon to get me in order. One of the big things my life coach helped me with two years ago when I met with her regularly was prioritizing my deadlines and schedules. I guess I could go back and read my own post on what I learned from her too. (Here it is, in case you want to revisit it.)

Enough of this rant, let’s move into the faves for the week …

Current faves


“One Italian Summer” by Rebecca Serle

This book was recommended to me. And because I really loved reading “In Five Years” also by Rebecca Serle, I was excited to open up “One Italian Summer.” I will say that I heard from a few of you on Instagram that you weren’t as big of a fan of this title. But I really enjoyed it, even with its flaws. I read some reviews on Amazon, and many people had mixed emotions too — but the joy in the escapist part came through for a lot of people and it definitely did for me.

In fact, I finished this book up on the plane-ride to Florida last week, and I was absolutely bawling my eyes out for so many reasons. The basis of this book (much like Serle’s other book I read) is a real story, with a tiny bit of un-real thrown in. A woman loses her mother to cancer, and then she takes the trip the two had been planning together to Positano, Italy. While in Italy, the woman (apparently travels in time) and meets her own mom, back when her mom was just 30-years-old and spending the summer in Italy. Through their relationship, she learns things about her mom’s history (intertwined with her own history), that she didn’t know before, and it changes the way she views the world.

One Italian Summer by A Lady Goes West

(“One Italian Summer” by Rebecca Serle)

I understand that this is not realistic, but Serle’s writing makes us think it is. And even though you could poke holes in many parts of the narrative, I didn’t care at all. It was an escape and a journey reading this book, and that’s what I like about fiction. Not to mention, I could picture myself in Italy, a place I’ve always wanted to return to after studying abroad in Florence, Italy back in college. It felt like I was there experiencing it, for some reason, and I felt super strong emotions through it all too.

I read this book pretty quickly, I enjoyed the experience of reading it, and I’d recommend it. So there you go. Another solid library choice! (Fun fact: I returned this book way past its due date and thought I owed money, but it turns out, once the book is back, they take away the fee you owe.)


A discount on Les Mills Smart Tech equipment — ASHLEY10

I’m super excited about this offer, and it’s only for one month, so jump on it if you need some motivation to lift weights at home!

If you follow my Instagram stories, you know that I’ve been back to using my Les Mills Smart Tech equipment at home about once a week and doing the new Les Mills Strength Development workouts on Les Mills+ (formerly Les Mills On Demand).

Whenever I post about my Les Mills Smart Tech Smartbar or Smartstep, I get a ton of questions. Well, Les Mills was so kind as to give me my OWN discount code for you. If you want to invest in this equipment (or give it as a holiday gift) you can save 10 percent off your order of anything from the site, with the code ASHLEY10. There are never sales on this stuff, so even 10 percent off really matters. This code works for one month only, so get to it.

Les Mills equipment by A Lady Goes West

(Les Mills Smart Tech equipment)

Here’s why this equipment is better:

It lasts. I’ve had my original Smartbar for eight years, and it doesn’t show its age and works perfectly. I added on to my collection with the Smartstep and other pieces last year, and I love those too.

It’s versatile. You can use the plates as dumbbells (they have a grip), or you can add them to the barbell easily without any clips. There aren’t a lot of good barbell sets out there on the market. And no matter what you get for your barbell needs, you have to spend some money. You’d likely be better off investing in something like Les Mills Smart Tech that is so solid and will be multi-use and will last.

It’s motivates you to do resistance training at home. There’s only so much you can do with a set of dumbbells, but with the Smartbar, you can do heavier resistance training, which is what I always need, and what I’ve been doing with Les Mills Strength Development on Les Mills+. I literally wouldn’t have survived COVID at home in California with no access to a gym, if I didn’t already have my Smartbar to keep me sane. I will forever be grateful for it, and I love pulling it out now too.

Les Mills offers warranty and a payment plan, so you can get your money back if you don’t like your new equipment (but I bet you’ll like it). 

If you want to read my full review of the Les Mills equipment line, head here:

And if you want to read my full review of Les Mills+ streaming workouts, head here:

Even though I’m back at the gym most days now, I’m going to try to fit in my home strength sessions about once a week — using my Les Mills Smart Tech equipment, likely doing Les Mills Strength Development workouts on Les Mills+. I’ll write more about the Strength Development workouts once I get into them more.

If you’ve been thinking about investing in weights for home — this is definitely the route I’d go. And if you use my code ASHLEY10, you’ll be supporting me too, so thanks for that! 🙂 

*I’m a proud affiliate for Les Mills and I have been for five years. I taught Les Mills group fitness classes for 10 whole years before moving to Charlotte, so I’m a real fan of the brand. And when you use my Les Mills links, you support me, and I appreciate it.


My two dresses for our Florida trip

I linked out to these new dresses in my trip recap, but I wanted to share them here again …

This blue dress is structured at the top and loose from the waist down. I’m wearing a 2 in it, and it’s tight up top, but I like the way it looks everywhere else. You can find it here. It was very comfortable, and I see myself wearing it this fall with some booties. I had the sleeves pushed up for the Florida heat, and they stayed put, but I like the look with them extended all the way.

Ashley and Brady at the resort by A Lady Goes West

This pink floral dress is super cool, because you can wear the sleeves up or down on your shoulders, and it has ruffles and a slit. I found this in the store, and the one I wanted was ripped, so I had a new one rush shipped to me to arrive in time for the wedding. I love this dress and hope to wear it again one day soon. I’m wearing a small in it. You can find the dress here. I ordered a plunging sticky bra to wear with it that worked well too.

Ashley and Brady at the wedding by A Lady Goes West


My workouts from last week

Here’s where I share a recap of my previous week of workouts. I share this to show you how I try to get diversity in my week, and how I always take a rest day (almost always). But remember, I do a little bit more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor. 

New weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 10/10

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class with light weights, 9:30 a.m., took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday: 45-minute Les Mills Strength Development via Les Mills+ 10 a.m.., taught 45-minute barre class with light weights, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class with weights, 9:45 a.m.
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week had three full days off, because I skipped my workouts when we were away in Florida. Yes, you can exercise when you travel, but sometimes you don’t have the time or desire, and that was me on this trip. At least I got plenty of movement the first part of the week, and then I enjoyed some rest.

Best read of the week …

Here’s a light read that I thought was interesting:

Pumpkin bread recipes. I wish I was someone with the time or inclination to bake. But I’m not. I do like baked goods though, and I need some pumpkin bread in my life. Here’s a list of top pumpkin bread recipes with comparisons of each. Are you doing any fall baking this weekend? If you do, save some for me!

Quote of the week …

Here’s a thought for you:

You are worth it quote by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week …

Let’s look back at two blog posts worth revisiting, including a recent one:

Florida. Here’s a recap of our trip down to Southwest Florida, which marked our first time in Florida in more than a year … “A weekend in Lido Beach, Florida for a family wedding.”

Lido Beach Resort by A Lady Goes West

Food. We haven’t done a food post in a while, so let’s look back at this one … “10 easy, healthy and quick meals I’ve eaten recently for lunch and dinner.”

10 easy, healthy and quick meals I've eaten recently for lunch and dinner by A Lady Goes West

That’s it for today, my friend! Thank you for stopping by the blog. Have a great day! 🙂 

Questions of the day for YOU …

Have you read anything enjoyable lately?

Do you have a barbell at home?

Are you working out at home or at a gym/studio these days?

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