Current faves: A great tennis fiction book, one night in Atlanta and more

Hi, friend! The faves are upon us! How are you? What’s new?

I’m finishing up a busy week with some extra classes, work, tennis, momming, a quick cryotherapy session, a vet trip for Rudy and more. This weekend, Brady has soccer, we have a kid’s birthday party, and then, we’ll be doing some low-key hanging out after two big weekends in a row.

Also, congratulations to the winner of my $300 NOW e-gift card, Amy D. Thank you to everyone who entered. And if you want to order from NOW, you can always use my discount code, WEST, for 20 percent off anything on the NOW site. I really appreciate you supporting this great partner, and I’ll be back with more from NOW soon.

Let’s get right to the faves …

Current faves


“Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I loved this book!

Several weeks ago, I asked for book recommendations on Instagram, and a few people suggested “Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I read Reid’s book, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” a few years ago and really enjoyed it, and I was looking for an escape, so I put my name on the list for it at the library and grabbed it once it was ready.

“Carrie Soto is Back” is a fictional tale about a female tennis star named, of course, Carrie Soto. Soto lives and breathes tennis, and during her career, she earns more Grand Slam titles than any other female athlete in the sport.

Yet, a few years into her retirement, another superstar comes up in the sport and challenges Soto’s reign as the winningest player. Soto decides to come out of retirement to win back her title as the greatest female tennis player of all time. The bulk of the story takes place during the comeback.

And while this book has a lot of tennis in it (which I enjoyed, being a tennis player myself), it’s also about a lot more than just tennis. It’s about a father/daughter relationship. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about determination. It’s about ambition. It’s about purpose.

Carrie Soto is Back by A Lady Goes West

(“Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid)

Without spilling too much of the story, through Soto, we learn what it takes to truly be great at something. It takes everything. And we get to learn about that through Soto’s first-hand account of her life, from childhood through the close of the story.

I read this book in a little more than a week, which is fast for me. I loved the writing. I loved how we not only heard from Soto in the first person, but we also saw news clippings to recap events and give depth to the story. It flowed so nicely, I often didn’t want to put it down. And on the last night I read it, I probably read almost 75 pages in one sitting.

What I liked about the ending is that I wasn’t sad either. I felt happy, and I like to feel happy when I finish a book. Whereas, sometimes, I get really involved in the storyline and end up sad.

This may be the best book I’ve read so far in 2023, and I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re not into sports, I think that’s okay, but it’s got a lot of tennis talk for sure. It’s just a great story. Well done, Reid! I may need to get another one of her books next.


One night in Atlanta with family and friends

What a blast this was!

Dave and I got away last weekend for just one night to hang out with my brother, Matthew (and my sister-in-law, Stephanie), and a big group of old friends to celebrate Matthew’s birthday.

Right after Brady’s soccer game on Saturday, we rinsed off and hopped in the car to make the 4-hour drive, and we’re so lucky that my mom stayed back in Charlotte with Brady (and they had a nice time doing all the things they do, like go to the library, go out to eat and more). Our drive there was pretty uneventful, and we arrived just in time to meet the group at Main Event Alpharetta, which is a bowling and entertainment place we’ve been once before. It was so nice to see everyone and jump right into the action with bowling, arcade games and more.

From there, we went back to Matthew’s house to hang for a bit, then we went to downtown Alpharetta to a cool indoor/outdoor brewery called Jekyll. We hung there for several hours, and we even went inside for dinner too. After dinner and hanging, we went back to Matthew’s house and played some fun games, before going to bed way too late.

In the morning, Dave and I were tired, but we got on the road around 10 a.m. to head back home, and we hit a lot of traffic on the way back (which is typical of the Atlanta-to-Charlotte drive). 

Ashley and Dave in Alpharetta by A Lady Goes West

Matthew birthday group in Alpharetta by A Lady Goes West

Dave and Ashley Alpharetta by A Lady Goes West

(In these pictures, I’m wearing this navy blue racer-back pima cotton tank in a size small. It’s slim-fit, but felt great with high-waisted jeans. My gladiator sandals are sold out, but these gladiator sandals are very similar to what I have. Love them!)

While we spent a lot of time in the car and really only had about 12 hours of fun in Atlanta, I will definitely say it was worth it. I hadn’t seen some of the friends in attendance since Matthew and Stephanie’s wedding, also back in Atlanta, more than five years ago.

My brother has had the same big crew of close friends since before college, and it’s cool to see they’ve stayed tight over all the years. They are an awesome group, and we had some serious laughs and good times. 

Let’s get to the movement …


My workouts from last week

Each week, I 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 3/20

  • 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, 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Did 45-minute full-body weights workout, 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 60-minute tennis clinic, 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Rest day (took 1-hour neighborhood walk, 5:30 p.m.)

This past week was a bit lighter than the last, but still a great week. I did one solo workout, I played tennis twice, I taught five classes, and I took two rest days.

Here’s the full-body weights workout I did  …

Weights workout March 2023 by A Lady Goes West

Best read of the week

Here’s a timely article that I felt like sharing with you …

Food for sleep. This is an excellent article with tips on how to improve your sleep, as well as a list of foods that support great sleep. I didn’t know this, but apparently cottage cheese has tryptophan in it. Who knew? Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, tart cherries and sweet potatoes are also sleep-friendly options. Check out the full article here.

Quote of the week

Here’s a great thought for you from the Calm app, which resonates with me …

At ease quote by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at two posts worth revisiting, including the latest from earlier this week …

Music. I love music, and I love sharing the music I’m finding and using in my group fitness classes … “The best barbell class playlist I’ve made lately (for your next workout).”

The best barbell class playlist I've made lately (for your next workout) by A Lady Goes West

Anchor habits. What are your anchor habits? If you need a refresher, read this one … “Add more good to your life with anchor habits.”

Add more good to your life with anchor habits by A Lady Goes West

Thanks for coming by the blog today, friend! Be well!

Questions of the day for you

How was your week?

When was the last time you got away for the night?

Have you read anything good lately?



  1. Ooh I liked Carrie Soto too! If you like TJR books try ‘Malibu Rising’ – the character of Carrie appears in it and its a pretty enjoyable read 🙂

    1. Hi Iona! That is so cool — I rarely read books where characters re-appear, and I’d love that. Thanks for the tip! Have a fabulous day, friend! 🙂 xoxo

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