Current faves: “City of Girls” book, catch-up, leggings, family fun and workouts

Well, hello there, my friends! How’s everything been going with you? We’ve been busy, busy, busy over here and have a lot to catch up on.

This is launch week for the latest Les Mills group fitness class releases at my gym, so I’ve been cramming choreography and practicing leading up to it. I taught BODYATTACK 107 on Tuesday (it’s crazy hard, but fun) and will teach BODYPUMP 112 today (also crazy hard, but fun), as well as Sunday morning with another instructor. And for all you Les Mills fans, YES, I will share my thoughts on both releases in a few weeks after teaching them a few times, because I always get requests for that.

Speaking of Les Mills, tomorrow I am going to a special workout with Lisa Osborne, the program director of BODYATTACK, who lives in New Zealand but has traveled here for this event, and I’m BEYOND excited. She’s a huge celebrity in the Les Mills world, and being able to actually take a class from her is such a big deal. Can’t wait!

In addition to that, we’ve got two holiday parties on the agenda this weekend and my annual truffle making with my girlfriends, oh my! But today, I’ve got a set of faves for you, so let’s just get to it …

Current faves


“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book was one of the more popular books released this year. In fact, I had my name on the waiting list at the library for it for quite a while. I’ve read a couple books by Elizabeth Gilbert before, and she’s an excellent author — who does both fiction and nonfiction.

City of Girls” is actually a letter that a woman writes to another woman detailing her life starting out in the 1940s in New York City, while she works for a small theatre company, all the way through her later years. The first 350 or so of the 450-page book were incredibly captivating, full of drama, glamour and even a little adventure. However, the last 100 definitely slowed down a bit, which was a little disappointing. I was eager to see how things ended, and at the end, we were left with this life lesson: “You don’t have to be a good girl, to be a good person.” I guess that’s the truth. 🙂

City of Girls book by A Lady Goes West -- December 2019

(“City of Girls“)

I’m always interested in show business, if you will, so I liked the behind-the-scenes look at the theatre world in Manhattan during that time, as well as how life changed during the war too. Overall, even though the last bit of the book lost a little steam, I would still recommend this — because the first half is sooo good. Someone told me it is going to be turned into a movie, and I definitely want to see it.


All the fun things we’ve been up to lately

Thanksgiving time and ice skating with the fam in Atlanta

We went to Atlanta to see my family for Thanksgiving and had a great time — our travel was long, but really not that terrible, even with Brady and Rudy in tow on the two busiest travel days of the year. While in Atlanta, we did a lot of relaxing around the house, watching Christmas movies, eating too much sugar and even playing games together (my parents came up from Florida, so it was my whole family staying at my brother’s house in Alpharetta).

Family in Atlanta for Thanksgiving 2019 by A Lady Goes West -- November 2019

(Wearing my favorite high-rise skinny jeans from Everlane in this picture.)

I loved visiting my brother’s neighborhood and taking walks around there too — it’s gorgeous and the weather was super fall-ish. But perhaps one of the cuter highlights was taking Brady ice skating for the first time. He was NOT a fan and wouldn’t let his little skates touch the ice, so Dave had to hold him as he skated around, and Brady wouldn’t say a word. The good news is that Dave is a really skilled skater, having grown up in Maine. I am not, but I still have fun out there. I didn’t fall once. Yay.

Ice skating in Atlanta for Thanksgiving 2019 by A Lady Goes West -- November 2019

Overall, it was SO good to be with my family for the first time this year — long overdue and very much enjoyed by all.

Date night out for “A Christmas Story”

Last weekend, Dave and I went on a little holiday date night, which included an early dinner, followed by seeing “A Christmas Story” musical at Berkeley Playhouse. We had dinner at Revival Kitchen in Berkeley and had some really tasty food. The show itself was good, but not exactly amazing. It was a community theater, and the actors were excellent and the price was right, but it wasn’t a Broadway production by any means — still fun and festive nonetheless. And who doesn’t love a good Christmas musical?

Decorating the house for Christmas

We put up our tree before our Thanksgiving trip, and finally got our Christmas lights up this past weekend. I also picked up some poinsettias from Target, which just make me so happy to have in the house. Brady loves the Christmas tree, which he calls a “Cashmash tree,” and he enjoys trying to turn the lights on it himself. So cute. Christmas decorations are a favorite, and that is all. (P.S. Yes, we do a fake tree. It works just fine!)

Christmas decor by A Lady Goes West -- December 2019


The best-selling Spanx leggings are back in stock!

I put these leggings on my gift guide, because I am such a fan, and then they were sold out shortly after that post went live. Well, they’re back again, and I highly recommend a splurge on them.

Ashley in Spanx by A Lady Goes West -- December 2019

(The greatest leggings.)

I’m wearing a medium, and they fit perfectly. They go with sweaters, flannels or even t-shirts. Just do it, before they sell out again. I’m also wearing them in the ice skating picture above, and they were quite comfy even for an activity like that.


One more day for the FLASH SALE on safer holiday sets

There’s a special flash sale for 20 percent off nine of the Beautycounter holiday sets (all clean, nontoxic, effective and in a special holiday box), and that deal ends tonight (Friday night). Shop the sale here if you need to finish up your gifting.

Flash Sale for Beautycounter

I highly recommend the Counter+ Skincare Favorites as the best deal for all the hero skincare products I use and love in one set, but you can’t go wrong with the any of them!

ALSO … The last day to order from Beautycounter and get your products by Christmas is Monday, December 16 for standard ground shipping and Monday, December 23 for next day air. Let me know if I can help you pick anything out.


Weekly workout recap

Here are my workouts from the last two weeks …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

Thanksgiving week

  • Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute CXWORX, 10 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: 30-minute weights workout (shown below), 12 p.m.
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Rest day

Last week

  • Monday: 30 minutes of BODYPUMP and 15 minutes of BODYATTACK practice, 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute CXWORX, 10 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Taught 1-hour BODYPUMP, 9:30 a.m., taught 1-hour barre, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre, 12 p.m., 30 minutes of BODYATTACK practice, 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 45 minutes of BODYATTACK practice, 9 a.m.
  • Saturday: 1 hour of BODYPUMP practice, 9:15 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

These past two weeks of workouts were quite different! I thoroughly enjoyed my rest days over my Thanksgiving trip, but I also enjoyed getting back to my routine when we returned and teaching classes and preparing for the launch this week of the new Les Mills programs. 

Here’s the solo workout I did in Atlanta, when I went to Planet Fitness with my brother, sister-in-law and Dave. You can find more of these workouts on the “workouts” story highlight on Instagram or in this post.

Short Atlanta workout by A Lady Goes West

Best reads

A few things from around the web …

  • Group fitness inspiration. This is an awesome article about why it’s important to teach every class like there are a million people in the room, but also focus on the individuals who showed up — not the ones who didn’t. Love it. Then this is an awesome article about how BODYPUMP is changing with the times, and I can attest to the fact that it’s getting more innovative and harder too.
  • Parenting for kindness. Wow! Food for thought in this article all about how we should teach our kids to value kindness over achievement. I’m all for that.
  • Downtime is in. I’m also all for having downtime regularly to regroup. People are so busy and stressed these days it’s crazy. I love to hear that scheduling in downtime is a trend we’re going to see more of in 2020. Here’s more on why that is.

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

Calm quote on judgement

A Lady Goes West favorite archives

The best gifts for her for 2019 (fitness, fashion, beauty, health) by A Lady Goes West

How to work out at home safely (and effectively) by A Lady Goes West

Have a great weekend. And thank you so much for coming by A Lady Goes West today! 🙂 xoxo

Questions of the day

How are you?

What are you up to this weekend?

Have you read anything good lately worth sharing?

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  1. Ooh I loved City of Girls! Even the ending, I love following someones life from beginning to end in a book.

    Totally unrelated but would it be okay to email to pick your brains for some San Francsiso recs? We are there in 4 months so really starting to think about planning! 🙂

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