Current faves: A great book, a glamorous party, the Fourth Ward home tour and more

Hi, friend! How are you? We’re over here finishing up a busy week! I taught an extra class this week, bringing my total to six, and I also went to a tennis clinic, visited the dentist for a cleaning, took Brady to his swim lesson and worked. On a less-than-fun note: One of our garage doors totally broke and my car got stuck inside the garage for a whole day, so that was lovely. We’re hoping it will be fixed today though. 

Also this week, Brady and I did some of his daily science experiments (from this science advent calendar that my brother and sister-in-law gave to him), and these have been a fun little addition to our afternoons in December.

Brady doing science experiments by A Lady Goes West

How was your week, friend? I hope you’re hanging in there during December, which can be a tough month with extra stressors for us all. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself! 🙂 

This weekend is going to be full of fun. Tonight, Dave and I are going to see a comedy show (I bought him tickets for the show for his birthday, and it’s finally here). Tomorrow, I’m taking Brady to his friend’s birthday party during the day, then Dave and I are going to a holiday party at our neighbor’s house in the evening. And on Sunday, we’re going to The Polar Express experience, which I’ll definitely report about soon. I’m knocking on all the wood that we’re staying well this season too, thank goodness. I hope you are too!

Alright, let’s get to the faves …

Current faves


“The Dinner List” by Rebecca Serle

This book! I checked this one, “The Dinner List,” out at the library, because I recently finished two other titles by the same author, Rebecca Serle. Of the three books of hers I’ve read, this one was my least favorite, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it — because I still really liked it. I just loved the other two a lot more. I wrote about those two here and here.

Serle writes fiction books that are very relatable, however, there’s always a slightly fantastical element to the storyline. Once it was time travel, once it was seeing the future in a dream, and in this one, it was bringing back people from the dead for one night. I know this sounds crazy, and I’m not into science fiction or anything supernatural, but somehow in Serle’s books — it works.

The Dinner list book by A Lady Goes West

(“The Dinner List” by Rebecca Serle)

Like the two other books from Serle I’ve read, this book follows the main character — a young woman in her late twenties — and covers her career, relationship and adulthood struggles. It also covers loss. The main character finds herself at a dinner with five people from her “list” one night, and this evening is where much of the story takes place.

With the way the narrative of this book goes, I really can’t describe much more than that without spoiling the story. I will say that I cried so badly at the end, which I did with Serle’s two other books too. And while I don’t love to cry, it’s always a sign of a good book that you’re so wrapped up in the tale that you get emotionally involved, right? 

There’s just something about the way Serle puts together the real and the not-quite-as-real that does it for me. That’s three books in a row of hers I’ve enjoyed. This one was my third favorite, because I wasn’t as captivated throughout the whole thing like I was with the other two, but it did pull me in toward the end, and I read it fairly quickly.

I’ve totally changed genres for my next title and am now reading a Tony Robbins book. But I’ve liked my departure into fiction lately. Variety is a good thing.


Great Gatsby themed holiday gala

Last Saturday night, Dave and I went to our country club’s annual holiday gala, and it’s a favorite for sure! We were looking forward to this party for weeks, and it certainly delivered. Almost all of our neighborhood friends were there, and we had a chance to dress up, enjoy great food and drinks, as well as a lot of dancing (both to a live band in one room and a deejay in another).

Family before the BCC holiday party 2022 by A Lady Goes West

BCC holiday party desserts 2022 by A Lady Goes West

BCC Great Gatsby party 2022 by A Lady Goes West

BCC holiday party 2022 by A Lady Goes West

BCC Great Gatsby party shoes 2022 by A Lady Goes West

BCC holiday party ladies 2022 by A Lady Goes West

(I’m wearing this dress in a small, these shoes and this headband.)

The party’s theme was Great Gatsby or Roaring Twenties, and the evening was most certainly full of glitz and glamour. The organizers did an excellent job.

I wanted to dress the part at least a little bit, so I ordered this dress, these shoes and this headband, and I was very happy with my outfit. I also made a little video about the party, which you can see here. Good times for us all, but dang, were we tired the next day. We’re lucky we had a free babysitter that night and into the next morning. (Thanks, Mom!)

Right before finalizing this post, I got some of the professional photos back from the party, and I wanted to share them. These are all taken by the Kristin Byrum Photography team (a local wedding photographer), and Kristin and team did an amazing job, so look them up if you have some event photo needs in Charlotte.

BCC holiday gala scene by A Lady Goes West

BCC holiday party couple shot by A Lady Goes West

BCC holiday party ladies shot by A Lady Goes West

BCC holiday party by A Lady Goes West-1

BCC holiday party by A Lady Goes West

Historic Fourth Ward Sip & Stroll in Uptown Charlotte

My mom and I had the nicest evening out last week. We went to the Historic Fourth Ward Sip & Stroll in Uptown Charlotte, and it was a very cool activity. I had heard about this from a couple of friends, and it ended up being even cooler than I expected. Both my mom and I loved it.

Fourth Ward Sip Stroll home tour 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Drink on the holiday home tour 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Ashley and Ann on the holiday home tour 2022 by A Lady Goes West

The Historic Fourth Ward is one of the original parts of Charlotte’s Uptown, and was once considered an original “suburb.” These days, there are historic homes, some of which have been relocated to the Fourth Ward, and some of which were built there. While you can see the city high-rises in the distance, the Fourth Ward doesn’t have any big buildings, which is part of its charm. It also has some quirky elements, which reminded me of parts of San Francisco, on a much smaller scale.

Holiday home tour 2022 by A Lady Goes West

(I’m wearing these leggings in a medium and this jacket in a small — both of which are items I’ve owned for a couple years and wear all the time.)

During this ticketed event, we enjoyed a few drink samples from local vendors (not that many samples to be honest, and I thought there would be more food and drink, but there really wasn’t). However, that didn’t damper our evening, because walking through this incredible neighborhood and getting a chance to tour inside three of the historic homes was fabulous. There was one home which was so well done, so well decorated and so luxurious, I felt like I was in a movie being there.

We were not allowed to take pictures or photos in the homes, and we had to wear little booties over our shoes, and I can see why. All three of the homes we saw were built around 1900, and all three have been restored. The furnishings and decor in one of them was insane, but the architecture and vibe of the other two were pretty awesome too. (We had to pay extra to be able to tour inside the three homes, and that was by far the best part, so I’d recommend it.)

Even better is that my mom and I drove there on a weeknight expecting traffic and trouble parking in the busy urban area, but our arrival and departure for this event went off without a hitch, and we had no issues. Although, we did have to eat a later dinner when we got home, because we had expected to eat more during the stroll (and there really was hardly any food). Oh well.

If you’re a Charlotte local, I’d totally put this on your list for next year. While I did see some people with small babies strapped to their chests, this event is not at all kid or pet friendly, so just adults. This particular event was only for one weekend, but there are garden tours in Historic Fourth Ward in the spring, so we may have to check that out in the future.


My workouts from last week

Every week, I like to share a recap of my previous week of workouts. I share this to show you how I try to get diversity of movement 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. You absolutely don’t need to compare your movement to mine.

New weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 11/28

  • 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: Did 40-minute full-body weights, 9:30 a.m., taught 45-minute barre class with light weights, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class, 9:45 a.m., took 1-hour tennis clinic, 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Took 50-minute slow neighborhood walk, 11:30 a.m.

This past week of workouts was solid. I taught my five usual classes, went to tennis three times, and did my own solo weights workout. We have a neighborhood gym that we have access to, and we’ve lived in our house for nearly two years, and I’d never visited that small private gym before. I finally decided to give it a try last Wednesday, and I was pleasantly surprised to find I was the only person in there using the weights area. There were two people upstairs using cardio machines, but I had the fitness floor to myself. I did some heavier barbell deadlifts, I used the back extension chair, I did elevated push-ups and even some leg lifts in the Roman chair.

It was so nice to spend time working on a few things I need to work on, taking my time and having the equipment all to myself. Here’s what my 40-minute workout looked like …

Full-body workout November 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Best read of the week

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

The importance of protein. I’ve written blog posts on the importance of protein, and I’m always actively trying to get more into my daily diet — even if I don’t naturally eat high protein based on my likes alone. This article is all about how the trend toward focusing on protein in your diet is actually just taking off. If you’re making sure that you meet a calorie goal every day, are you also making sure you meet a protein goal too? If not, maybe you should. Check out this one for some forward-thinking talk on why we need even more than the recommended amount of protein in our diets, and why we need to place more of a focus on this particular macronutrient.

Quote of the week

Here’s a thought for you from author James Clear via Instagram:

James Clear hike quote by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at these three gift guides I recently published:

Wellness gifts. Are you shopping for a wellness-focused loved one? If so, this list is for you … “The best health and wellness gifts for 2022.”

The best health and wellness gifts for 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Gifts for guys. I think this is a seriously comprehensive gift list for the men in your life, and I hope you think so too … “The best gifts for men for 2022 (gifts for him).”

The best gifts for men for 2022 (gifts for him) by A Lady Goes West

Gifts for ladies. I hope you enjoyed checking this one out for ideas for your personal wish list, or ideas for someone you’re shopping for … “The best gifts for women for 2022 (gifts for her).”

The best gifts for women for 2022 (gifts for her) by A Lady Goes West

That’s it for today, my friend! I hope you have a really nice week! I’ll see you over on Instagram, until we’re back here again. 

Questions of the day for YOU

What are you up to this weekend?

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this month?

Have you read anything good lately?

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