Current faves: City adventure, creative inspiration and weekly workouts

Hi! How are you, my friends? And just like that we’re moving into the final weekend of October, oh my. This past week was pretty typical for me, but I did get out to catch the Warriors season opening game last night with a friend. This weekend, we’re going to a dinner party, then I’ll be working on preparing for my POP Pilates instructor training next week and hanging with my boys.

Let’s do the faves of the day …

Current faves


City adventures and a movie with Dave

This is a favorite, favorite. Dave and I left Brady for 24 hours, and it was a lot of fun! We went into the City for the day and night and hung out as adults, no changing diapers, no washing sippy cups and no adorable crazy-haired toddlers taking all of our attention.

We walked a lot (like 15,000 steps in one day, according to Dave’s Apple watch), had delicious food (my winter salad from Blue Barn that’s shown below was to-die-for), chatted, relaxed and even saw a movie in the middle of the day.

Blue Barn salad by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Ashley in SF with latte by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Milkbean latte by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Speaking of the movie, we haven’t been to a movie since before Brady was born. Quite honestly, while I do like movies, I would never get a babysitter to come over and watch Brady just to go see one — they just aren’t a priority for me. But once Dave and I knew we were going to have a free afternoon together, we figured seeing a movie could be a great treat for us. There wasn’t anything playing that we were dying to see, so we chose an IMAX showing of “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”

Ashley and Dave in SF by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

We went into the movie knowing very little about the story and didn’t even find out it was a sequel until after seeing it (an example of how we are clearly out of the movie loop). However, it was SO good. The IMAX experience is a little jarring though, and although I’d been to several IMAX movies before, it seemed really loud to me this time — especially with all the action in this particular film.

We sat back in our chairs and did nothing but watch the movie for two full hours — and I seriously loved the escape of it. I didn’t check my phone, think about my work or think about anything other than what was happening on screen, and that is amazing. We both thought the movie was really entertaining, even though we hadn’t seen the first one. It had a lot of special effects and great acting, so I’d recommend it. Not for kids though!

Wine at the W Hotel by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Ashley and Dave at the W Hotel by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Moving on, the rest of our City time was perfect. We went to a nice dinner at Wayfare Tavern (always a favorite), had some dessert from The Cheesecake Factory, stayed at the W Hotel in downtown, tried two new local coffee shops and fully enjoyed ourselves. We made it home mid-morning on Sunday, and Brady had clearly had a ball with his Auntie Gwena, so it was a win-win for everyone involved. 

This little adventure reminded us that we have to continue to make time just for us — even though we always want to include Brady and all his cuteness. Easier said than done for sure, but an important thing to think about.


Animal print slip-ons

I’m in love with these shoes. I ordered them online last week and wore them in the City just a few days after they arrived. They are comfortable, very reasonably priced and of course, feature faux snake skin and faux leather — so what else could you ask for in a casual shoe? I might have to get them in additional patterns and colors.

Ashley at Bluestone Lane by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019


“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m not sure why I keep picking up books before knowing what they’re about, but I do. (Actually, I know why: When I go to the library, I always have an active companion who needs constant supervision with me, so it’s usually a grab-and-run situation.)

I reserved “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” at the library a couple weeks ago based off knowing the author alone, Elizabeth Gilbert. I had only read a fiction book from Gilbert before, but “Big Magic” is very much a non-fiction title all about the creative process.

Big Magic book review by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

It’s broken up into these sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. In each section, Gilbert shares a personal story from her career, as well as stories from other notable artists throughout history. She uses the stories to prove the point that oftentimes the creative process is not linear. And it’s certainly not always easy, with tons of rejection and failure along the way, as well as a lot of self doubt.

Perhaps one of the most significant things in the book to me was the idea that an idea “finds you.” And sometimes, if the timing isn’t right, the idea leaves you and finds someone else. This spoke to me. It really did.

I enjoyed this book, not because it has a strict beginning, middle and end (in fact, you could pick it up and read it from anywhere in text and get some valuable inspiration), but because it’s completely not like anything I’ve read before. It’s not about wellness, fitness, or self improvement even, it’s about giving yourself the ability to be creative, express yourself and know that no matter the outcome, your creative work is worth doing. She encourages curiosity above all else. And I think we can all stand to have a little more curiosity in our lives.

If you’re someone who needs a little kick to start a creative outlet or an artistic hobby, I’d recommend reading this book to help you get going. If you’re someone who likes straight-up fiction or structured books with actual how-to tips, then this book isn’t for you … but then again, maybe it’s just what you need to veer off course?

Speaking of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, I’m still on the waiting list for her latest book “City of Girls” so hopefully that one will come in soon — it’s fiction.


Beautycounter secret sale ends tonight

Woohoo! There has been a super short secret sale on all Beautycounter products for just a couple days this week, and it ends tonight (10/25). Enter the code YFT at checkout to get 10 percent off your order (this promo code is not advertised on the site), and this even applies to the Flawless in Five makeup set and the regimens, which are already discounted and are usually excluded from sales. Shop here if you want to take advantage of this rare deal, and send me an email if you need help picking out what’s right for you.


Weekly workout recap

Here are my workouts from last week …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: Practiced BODYATTACK 30 minutes, 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute CXWORX, 10 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 45-minute SoulCycle, 8:30 a.m., taught 1-hour barre, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre, 12 p.m., practiced BODYATTACK 30 minutes, 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 30-minute weights workout, 10 a.m. (shown below)
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was definitely light in the resistance training department — very light in fact. But I did switch it up with a SoulCycle class with a friend, and I took two full rest days over the weekend. I’m going to be back to more weights this week, but here’s the one solo weights session I completed this week. It was a good one …

Weights workout by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

You can find more workouts like this in my “workout” highlights tab on Instagram in my profile, or check out some inspiration in this post.

Best reads

A few things from around the web …

  • Sweat. Did you know that some people are prone to sweating more than others based on their genetics? It’s true. Here are some more myths about sweating that you may want to know. Very interesting stuff.
  • Supporting bloggers. I LOVE LOVE this post from Diane about how you can show support for the blogs that you read regularly. Blogging is a new-ish and funny business — that’s why hearing from readers, getting likes, shares and comments on posts and on social media really helps — never forget that. 
  • Personal development. This is a topic I’d love to explore more, because it’s so important and not often discussed — what it means for others in your life when you’re on a path to improve yourself. This episode from the Rise Together podcast is all about how you can get your partner interested in personal development, if you’re into it — and how you should always surround yourself with people who lift you up, including other couple friends.

Here’s the quote of the week from my morning meditations …

Rain quote from CALM app by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

A Lady Goes West favorite archives

11 Super simple and healthy lunch ideas by A Lady Goes West

Have a wonderful weekend! Thank YOU! 🙂

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend?

What was the last movie that you saw?

Have you listened to a great podcast episode lately worth sharing?

Did you get the third edition of the ALGW newsletter this week? It went out Wednesday. Sign up here to get the next one.

By the way, if you need a workout over the weekend, you can give Les Mills On Demand a try using my special referral link that provides you with 21 days for free. Just do it!



  1. I went to a women’s conference in Philly a few weeks ago and Elizabeth Gilbert was one of the speakers. She did a great job and had some really interesting stories to tell so I would definitely like to check out this book, thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley! That’s awesome! Tell me more about the women’s conference? What did you take away from it? I’ve always wanted to go to one of those!

      1. It was a really great experience! First of all, it was just really neat to be surrounded by so many people (nearly 10,000 attendees!) But there were a lot of inspiring speakers, useful and practical workshops on things like career advancement, finances, etc. and a lot of cool exhibits from different fields, as well. My company purchased a table of tickets so it was nice to spend the day with colleagues I don’t get a chance to interact with much, too. I would definitely recommend it!

  2. Your weekend sounded so fun! I think I may have commented before but we are going to San Francisco and Vegas next year for our honeymoon, definitely need to get some city and winery recommendations nearer the time!

    I haven’t seen either of those movies, last one I saw was Rocketman, it was great if you’re a fan of Elton Johns music!

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. Hi Iona! Ohhh I would LOVE to put together some recommendations for you for both Vegas and SF — those are great spots to visit for your honeymoon! I saw previews for Rocketman and it looked really good. Maybe I’ll catch it on TV release haaha. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

  3. Hey Ashley, first, thank you so much for linking to my how to support bloggers post. I’m so happy you thought it was worthwhile and I hope it gives some of your readers a peek behind the curtain. A bunch of my readers thanked me for the info and had no clue how much little things help us or why!

    You do a really great job on these roundups. So much info and it’s put together so well.

    OK, now for a question. I am low-maintenance (with sensitive skin and a citrus allergy) when it comes to makeup and have never ordered anything from Beauty Counter. What are your favorite products or things that you always recommend to newbies? Would love to support you by trying something…

    Last thing, you and Dave always look like celebrities in your pics!!
    That is all. 😉 Enjoy your weekend!


    1. You are so sweet, Diane!! I loved that article and props to you for thinking of it and sharing it. As far as Beautycounter, nontoxic beauty and skincare is the way of the world now, so it’s a good brand to try. I think starting with the dew skin daily moisturizing foundation is always a good choice, as well as a lipstick or lipgloss. And of course, the charcoal face mask treatment or overnight resurfacing peel are favorites. Sadly, Beautycounter doesn’t ship to France though! 🙁 I’ll email you separately about this. Have a wonderful day!

      1. Hi Ashley. We aren’t movie goers either. Last movie we saw during July 4th week. Believe it was Ocean 8. My favorite shoe is New Balance. Been wearing them my entire running life. I tried other brands but always came back to them. Whenever put on a new pair fit as comfortable as the old ones. A podcast I have been following is Danica Patrick, race driver. She interviews some interesting guests. Does a great job asking the right questions.

        1. Hi Richard! I love listening to interview podcasts the best, so that sounds interesting. And I also love New Balance but haven’t worn any of that brand in far too long. Have a great weekend!! 🙂

  4. My husband and I went out for our first movie since baby last weekend too. We saw Zombieland and it was funny and entertaining. Nice to get out since we tend to spend most of the time with our two year old!

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