Current faves: Cirque du Soleil BAZZAR, Monster Jam, a party, a book and more

Hi, friend! 

I hope the first month of the year is going well for you! 

This past week, I’ve been preparing to audition to teach a new program at Life Time. I attended a two-day immersive training for the new program last week, and I hadn’t done one of those in several years. I learned a lot, I earned some continuing education credits for my fitness certifications, and I was inspired to do some new things too. This new program is totally different from anything I’ve taught before, and I’ll tell you more about it soon. It was a goal of mine to learn something new in fitness this year — and it looks like I’m taking care of that the first month of the year.

Now, let’s get to the faves …

Current faves

Enjoying Cirque du Soleil BAZZAR at Charlotte Motor Speedway

A couple of weeks ago, Dave, Brady and I went to see Cirque du Soleil BAZZAR “under the big top” at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Charlotte. This type of Cirque du Soleil show takes place in a temporary structure for a few weeks at a time around the country, and it’s such a good experience. (The Charlotte set-up is gone now, but it was here almost a month.)

Cirque BAZZAR by A Lady Goes West

Here’s the BAZZAR description:

Cirque du Soleil BAZZAR is an eclectic lab of endless invention where a joyous troupe of acrobats, dancers and musicians create an awe-inspiring display. They work together to create a quirky one-of-a-kind world under the direction of their maestro. The dynamic company reimagines, rebuilds, and reinvents vibrant scenarios in a setting where the unpredictable is anticipated in an artistic, athletic game of order and disorder. Come and take up residence in this marketplace of enthusiasm and artistic fellowship. You never know, the story’s conclusion might only be the beginning!

Dave and I had been to three other “under the big top” Cirque du Soleil shows in San Francisco (at the San Francisco Giants stadium), and I have to say my favorite Cirque shows have always been these ones. The set is minimal, every seat in the house is a good seat and you feel really close to the action — much more so than the more grand and permanent standing shows.

Cirque BAZZAR by A Lady Goes West-2

BAZZAR was my favorite show yet! The talent was unreal. There was a live singer, live music and a couple dozen incredibly captivating performers who did tricks you could hardly even believe were real.

I think my favorite stunt was a man/woman duo who did a roller-skating number on a small platform that had me squeezing the bottom of my seat. Brady was a big fan too, and the 90-minute show totally held his attention. We went to the 3:30 p.m. matinee showing, by the way, and it was full of families.

We also saw a Cirque du Soleil show with Brady at Disney Springs back in the fall, and he’s proved he can hang at a performance like this, so I think we’ll do more in the future. Cirque du Soleil (the shows that are family friendly, of course, because some are not), is one of those things that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s a real spectacle. 

Cirque BAZZAR by A Lady Goes West-1

(Wearing my trusty faux leather leggings that I’ve had for like five years now. They run small, and I’m in a medium. Here’s my winter coat, my sweater, and my sunglasses.)

I’ve been a lover of the performing arts since I was little, and I’m excited that we can do these types of shows as a family now. And if you’re into really cool artistic performances, sign up for the Cirque du Soleil emails to see if an “under the big top” show is coming to a town near you. I’ll be looking forward to my next one, whenever that may be.

Going to Greensboro for Monster Jam

I’m all about experience gifts, and this year, one of the things we gave Brady was tickets to see Monster Jam. He’s a monster truck lover, and he’d been wanting to do this.

We took him to a Monster Bash show in Charlotte a couple of months ago, and we all loved it. But he still wanted a chance to see some of the more famous trucks like Megalodon, Gravedigger and El Toro Loco in person (and those trucks are part of Monster Jam). When I saw the Monster Jam tour was coming through a couple towns over, I went for it, and I wrapped up this gift with a small El Toro Loco toy.

The Monster Jam show was in Greensboro, which is about 90 minutes from us. We drove up there a bit early to walk around the downtown and get lunch before heading to the Greensboro Coliseum Complex for the big event. The downtown was pretty dead on a Sunday, but we actually really enjoyed our lunch.

Monster Jam by A Lady Goes West

Our first monster truck experience (Monster Bash) was held outdoors at Charlotte Dirt Track (right near where we saw Cirque du Soleil actually), and that was on a warm summer night — perfect for sitting outside and taking in the action.

However, this past weekend, the monster truck show we saw was indoors. It was windy and really chilly, so an outdoor show wouldn’t have worked weather-wise, but I didn’t love the indoor setting at all. The seats were tight, the arena was small, and it just didn’t seem like enough space for these big trucks to show off. Dave and I weren’t huge fans of this show, but Brady loved it and was happy to see the popular monster trucks there.

Monster Jam by A Lady Goes West

Being inside for monster trucks was incredibly loud. Actually, just too loud. We came armed with two types of ear coverings for Brady (inner-ear blockers and over-the-ear noise cancellers), and he needed both to be comfortable. Dave and I only used the inner-ear blockers, and I was wishing I had over-the-ear noise cancellers as well. I was shocked to see how many people (and their kids) had no ear coverings, and that made me uncomfortable just knowing what they were hearing/experiencing.

Here’s the deal: Monster trucks are huge, and it’s fun to watch them do tricks, but quite frankly — the bigger name Monster Jam didn’t put on as good of a show as the lesser-known Monster Bash we saw months before. A couple of the trucks (Gravedigger and El Toro Loco, to be exact) did some cool tricks that were wow-worthy, but otherwise, the run of show moved really slowly. I was happy to see that two of the eight drivers were women though.

Brady loved this present, and he thought Monster Jam was amazing, so we’ll call this a favorite. But for me … well, his enjoyment was mostly all I got out of it. And I told Dave on the drive home, I think we’re good on monster trucks shows for now. I’d much rather pay for Cirque du Soleil.

Monster Jam by A Lady Goes West

(Here are my go-to shiny gold sneakers.)

If you’re considering taking your kids (or yourself) to a monster truck show, I’d highly encourage you to find one that’s outdoors. You’ll still need ear coverings — save those ears!

My 40th birthday party

Even though I wrote a whole post about 40 things I’ve learned by my 40th birthday, I wanted to take a minute to talk about my 40th party itself.

Dave and my girlfriends held the party for me a couple weeks after my birthday (because I was sick on my actual birthday and so was my mom). And the party was worth the wait. Not only did it mean that Christmas Eve was not the next day, but it also meant I had something to look forward to after the holidays were over, and I loved the build up.

40th birthday party by A Lady Goes West-2

40th birthday party by A Lady Goes West-9

While I knew the guest-list and time of my party in advance, I had thought it was being held at my girlfriend’s house. But when Dave drove us to a different location that night, I was surprised by the change. The group decided to move venues and the party was instead held in a banquet room at Zinicola, which is an Italian restaurant we love very close to us. The food is good and so is the vibe, and this was a great spot for a small dinner party for six couples. Dave and I have had a lot of nice dinners at Zinicola, and my very first dinner with my neighborhood girlfriends was at this spot too.

40th birthday party by A Lady Goes West-7

40th birthday party by A Lady Goes West-14

(I loved wearing this gold sequins dress, and it’s on super sale right now. And I loved wearing these shoes too.)

We had appetizers and cocktails while we mingled, then we sat down at the long table. Right before dinner started, Dave got up and did a little presentation (he’s very good at presentations, and this particular one had videos, facts, old pictures and graphics all about us). This presentation went through some fun and significant times in our lives, and the best part was that Dave had asked for some of my friends who don’t live in Charlotte to send in video greetings for me for this night. I had no idea that this was going to happen, and it brought me to tears. I loved feeling like I was sharing my birthday party with some of my California friends and many of my dear Florida girlfriends that I’ve known my whole life too. Also, words of affirmation are my love language, so this was an incredible gift for me. 

The rest of the night was spent laughing, chatting, eating and digging into some of the special desserts including an incredible home-made carrot cake made by my girlfriend and my favorite cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, yum.

40th birthday party by A Lady Goes West-8

Overall, the party was really fun, and I felt fully celebrated! I’m so thankful for Dave and this awesome group. Also, my mom was there to join the good times, and that was really special too. 40 is off to a great start so far!

Reading “Maybe in Another Life” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I think I’ve read the majority of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels by now, and I’ve liked them all. This one, “Maybe in Another Life,” is my most recent read.

This book was definitely enjoyable, but it wasn’t my favorite of hers. I think “Daisy Jones & The Six” holds that top spot still, or perhaps “Carrie Soto Is Back.” In case you haven’t checked her books out yet, Taylor Jenkins Reids tells a captivating story, and I always feel connected to the characters and eager to follow the narrative. I’ve never had to force a page because her books just flow. 

Maybe in Another Life by A Lady Goes West

(“Maybe in Another Life” by Taylor Jenkins Reid)

This book is one of her earlier novels, and I don’t think she had 100 percent fine-tuned her style yet. But the book was still entertaining, and I stayed up late reading it a time or too … ultimately ending up in tears (as I often do when I’m really into a story).

Maybe in Another Life” is about a woman who moves back to her hometown, and upon her return is faced with a simple choice — that one decision sends her life in a certain direction, while the other decision sends her life in an opposite direction. The story follows both scenarios side-by-side, and it makes you wonder how life can unfold differently based on the smallest of choices. Food for thought, for sure.

That’s it for the faves. Let’s get to the movement and more …

Current fitness

My recent workouts

My fitness routine has been going well lately. I’m still teaching my six classes a week (five of which require me to model all or most of the workout for my participants), and I’ve been fitting in one short solo weight-room floor workout a week too.

I haven’t been playing much tennis the last few weeks, and I’m loosely planning to pull back to one clinic and one match per week moving forward, because tennis (even though I love it) was starting to take up too much of my time. 

Just to switch things up, Dave and I have taken a small-group training class together the last couple of weekends (a class that I teach during the week), and this is what a real post-workout picture looks like after an hour of going back and forth between treadmill and weights …

Post GTX by A Lady Goes West

Dave prefers the cardio portion on the treadmill, but I most definitely prefer the strength portion on the floor. It’s been fun to work out together, and I’m sure we’ll go back again soon.

Favorite fun fact

Here’s an article/fact worth sharing with you

Color of the year. Did you know Pantone chooses a color of the year every year? The color of the year is one we can expect to show up on websites and in decor trends, and Pantone would know — because Pantone Color Systems is the go-to worldwide color expert. This year, in 2024, Pantone says that “Peach Fuzz” is the color of the year. Peach Fuzz is a warm color and it’s supposed to bring people together, which I love. Here’s what Executive Director of Pantone said about the choice:

“In seeking a hue that echoes our innate yearning for closeness and connection, we chose a color radiant with warmth and modern elegance. A shade that resonates with compassion, offers a tactile embrace, and effortlessly bridges the youthful with the timeless.”

Peach Fuzz by A Lady Goes West

(Source: Pantone)

I have to admit, I never choose peach, but I always like to be around it. Anyone else? You can read more about the color of the year from Pantone and what it means here.

Current favorite quotes

Two thoughts worth sharing with you today

You can be good quote by A Lady Goes West

(Source: The Chalkboard Mag)

Love people loudly quote by A Lady Goes West

(Source: Tiny Buddha)

Favorite blog archives

Here are a few posts to check out, in case you missed them

40 things by 40. This post is full of life lessons and pictures from my birthday party … “40 things I’ve learned by my 40th birthday.”

40 things I've learned by my 40th birthday by A Lady Goes West

What I’m planning for the year. Here are some things I’ll be focusing on and some things I’ll be skipping in 2024 … “My “ins” and “outs” for 2024.”

My ins and outs for 2024 by A Lady Goes West

Looking back. The good and the bad from last year and what I learned … “My year in review for 2023.”

My year in review for 2023 by A Lady Goes West

That’s everything for today! Thank you so much for spending your valuable time catching up on A Lady Goes West. I hope you have an amazing day. 

Questions for you

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to in 2024?

What’s one fun thing you’ve done recently?

How can you have more fun in your life?

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  1. It’s been on our to do’s to take the kids to the Greensboro Science Center. It’s an aquarium, museum and zoo and I’m guessing loads of fun!
    Haven’t tried Zinicola but always looking for good authentic Italian. Over Christmas break we tried Little Mama’s on Sharon Road, across from Nordstrom in Southpark. So good and the vibe was cozy/upbeat, the salads, pasta, dessert will definitely bring me back!

    1. Hi Joanna, I’ve heard very good things about Little Mama’s but haven’t been there yet — I’m glad you tried it. I didn’t realize Greensboro had a good a science center and zoo — those are both good reasons to head back there one day. Hope your January is off to a great start, lady! 🙂 xoxo

  2. The day I made the above comment I read one opened at Rea Farms! Can’t wait to check it out, much closer to us.

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