Current faves: Dave’s birthday, “MJ the Musical,” pumpkin patch, my first USTA season and more

Hi, friend! So much to share today!

How are you? We’re doing well! There’s been a lot going on over here, and I’m going to cover some of it in this very long post. Grab a hydrating beverage, sit back and enjoy.

First up, our upcoming plans …

This weekend, after Brady’s soccer game, we’re heading down to Orlando to stay for a few nights to enjoy our first family Disney trip. We’re going to Disney Springs for one night for dinner and a show, then we’re spending the next day at Magic Kingdom. We’re only doing the one park this trip, and I think that will make it very manageable for us. Some of you know that I used to work at Disney, and I haven’t been back since I stopped working there (back when I got free park admission, of course). I literally can’t wait to have this experience with Brady and Dave.

Next up, what’s been going on over here …

We’ve been busy, as usual. The last two weeks, I started the training process for another program I may teach at Life Time, I finished up my first USTA tennis season (more on that below), I took Rudy back to the vet for more issues (poor pup), I sold a bunch of baby stuff in a consignment sale (which was a lot of work, but it got it all out of the house), I bought our Halloween costumes (we’ll get to wear them twice this month), I ordered our Christmas jammies (they sell out, so get on it), I booked a local holiday activity for December, I got my car serviced, I went to my monthly wine social with girlfriends, we finished watching “Super Pumped” on Netflix (which is about the rise of Uber and was so good), I worked a lot, and I hung out a little bit extra with Dave too. We’re very excited to share that Dave got a new job, and he’s in the midst of a little time off before the new gig starts, which we’ve been using to the fullest. Yay!

Now, let’s get to the faves …

Current faves


Visiting Carrigan Farms pumpkin patch in Mooresville

A couple weekends ago, we drove the 50 minutes up to the north-of-Charlotte area of Mooresville to check out Carrigan Farms. Not only was I on a mission to film this video for Neighborhood TV, but we were also ready to do something festive for fall. Last year, we fit in apple picking in September, but we didn’t make that happen this year, so we didn’t want to miss picking out our pumpkins.

Pumpkin patch by A Lady Goes West

Pumpkin patch by A Lady Goes West

(I’ve been loving my new sunglasses! After breaking two other sunglasses in less than a month, I’m hoping to keep these safe.)

Carrigan Farms is a family-owned farm, and with your ticket price, you get to pick a pumpkin, walk around the patch, check out the petting zoo (a few goats and pigs), and stroll through the gorgeous sunflower patch.

The sprawling property is very pretty, but there’s definitely not as many fun kid activities there as there are at Hall Family Farm, which is closer to us in South Carolina and where we’ve gone before. I think I prefer Hall Family Farm.

But we came away with great pumpkins, we enjoyed this day in the sunshine, and overall, it was a nice outing. We even met Mr. Carrigan, who lives in a house on the farm — so that rounded out our farm experience.

Pumpkins at Carrigan Farms by A Lady Goes West

Sunflower patch by A Lady Goes West

Before the pumpkin patch, we had a really good lunch at Barcelona Burger, and I’d totally go back there if we ever find ourselves in Mooresville again. If you like antiques, it’s attached to a big antique store.


Celebrating Dave’s birthday with friends and family

Last weekend was Dave’s 42nd birthday, and we had such a good time! The night before his birthday, we met all of our friends at OpenTap for some drinks, food truck food and an informal birthday hang-out (informal is Dave’s favorite way to be).

OpenTap isn’t too far from us, it’s casual, there are plenty of places to sit, and it was just right for our little celebration for Dave. We’ve taken Brady there during the day, and in the daylight, it’s quite family friendly too — but it becomes more of an adult scene at night, for sure,

Ashley and Dave at party by A Lady Goes West

Dave party by A Lady Goes West

(My white booties shown here are sold out, but here’s a similar version.)

The next day, on Dave’s actual birthday, we did things Dave likes to do. We went to the driving range, we went out to lunch at a brewery, we played around our house and we had a little family party for him and ended the night with pizza. I think Dave really enjoyed his birthday weekend, and we’re glad about that, because he deserved it.

Driving range by A Lady Goes West

That concludes our family birthdays for now … until the big one comes up for me in December.


Seeing “MJ the Musical” at Blumenthal Performing Arts

A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I went to see “MJ the Musical” at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Uptown Charlotte. And this multiple Tony-award-winning production is full of really good Michael Jackson music and dancing. 

MJ the Musical by A Lady Goes West

Ashley in Uptown by A Lady Goes West

(Here are my new shoes. I hadn’t bought new heels in a while, and I love these black leather slingbacks with a thick heel.)

Dave had bought these tickets for me for my birthday almost 10 months ago, and it seemed like so far away when he presented the gift. I had forgotten to put it on my calendar, and it wasn’t until maybe August that I had him check back on the tickets to see when we were going. Good thing we didn’t miss the show!

The show itself was really, really good, and I was totally into the singing and dancing. It came at us in two acts, and both were excellent. The lead actor playing Michael Jackson literally nailed his performance.

However, the storyline was very loose, and upon some research, I found out that the Michael Jackson estate helped pay for and approve of the production, so they had some editing power. There’s some bad press about how the show doesn’t dig into all the allegations against Michael Jackson over the years. And while I totally get that — and I don’t condone it — we can’t deny his artistry, and that’s what this musical focused on.

Jackson was a strange man who made a lot of bad decisions, but he danced and sang his heart out, and the talent on stage was somehow able to bring that to life. So good!

The production is no longer playing in Charlotte, but if you’re into pop music, then I’d look out for it on the schedule at your local performing arts venue one day.

Before the show that night, we grabbed a quick small-plate dinner at Cicchetti in Uptown, and it was tasty. We haven’t been good about branching out to new restaurants, so I like it when we do.


Finishing up my first USTA tennis season

I still can’t believe I captained a USTA tennis team, having just started tennis last year and having not played a real match until summer of 2023 … but I did.

It was a lot of work coordinating this season, between making match line-ups, communicating with our team and other teams, inputting scores and organizing practices. I learned a lot in this role, and I’m glad I did it. But … I’m planning to take the next season off of being a captain for a little breather.

Fall 5.5 combo team by A Lady Goes West

Anyhow, back to the team: Our 5.5 combo team (2.5 players and 3.0 players) was made up of a 15 women of all ages from the early twenties to the mid sixties, and we had a diverse team of awesome ladies. We had a doctor, a cyber security specialist, a financial analyst, a project coordinator, a realtor, a retired teacher, a group fitness instructor (you know who that is), some moms, some wives, some single ladies and more.

We all came together to play evening matches for the last 11 weeks around South Charlotte, sometimes playing into the night as late as 10pm (which wasn’t my favorite, but had to happen when our 8pm-start matches kicked off late). And it was most of our first USTA seasons. (By the way, USTA is the United States Tennis Association, and those matches are more formal than the ones I played in the local ladder I started with.)

We faced some really tough teams out there and learned quite quickly the things we needed to upskill on. I think I got a lot better during this tennis season, and I’m proud of my personal match record, which was 4 wins and 5 losses total. Our overall team record ended up with 3 wins and 8 losses, which is respectable for our first time out, I’d say.

Carmel Country Club win by A Lady Goes West

(I wore these same trusty tennis shoes all season long, and they served me well.)

I’ll be happy to have my Tuesday nights back to myself (after taking Brady to his tennis on Tuesday nights, of course), but I will say it was really cool to be out there under the lights playing competitive tennis. And big thanks to my team for playing hard and giving me a little end-of-season gift basket too. Gosh, I’ve come a long way from the day I walked out onto the tennis courts for the first time for my first lesson. (Here’s more about my first year of playing tennis.)

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


My workouts from the last two weeks

Now it’s time to take a look at my workouts from the last two weeks.

I share this recap to show you how I try to get diversity of movement in my week (with a focus on lifting weights), 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, so you don’t need to compare your movement to mine.

New weekly workout recap by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 10/2

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m., played 90 minutes of doubles tennis, 11:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Did 30-minute weight-room workout, 12 p.m., taught 45-minute barre class, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class, 9:45 a.m., took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Did 45-minute weight-room workout, 10 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

Workouts from the week of 10/9

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m., played 60 minutes of doubles tennis, 11:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 9:30 a.m., played in 90-minute doubles tennis match, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Took 50-minute mind/body class, 1 p.m., taught 45-minute barre class, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class, 9:45 a.m., took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Did 40-minute weight-room workout, 9:45 a.m.
  • Sunday: Took 45-minute neighborhood walk, 9 a.m.

These past two weeks of movement were good! I had a couple rest days, I got back out for a neighborhood walk, which I hadn’t done in a while, I stuck to my weekly weight-room workout, I taught my usual classes, and I played tennis a bunch too. I feel good in my workouts, and I’m pretty pleased with what I’m able to fit in right now.

Here’s the 40-minute weight-room workout I’ve done two Saturdays in a row with a friend (because repetition is important in fitness) …

October fitness floor workout by A Lady Goes West

Best watch of the week

Here’s a video worth sharing with you …

Recycling tips. I learned a lot about recycling when filming this video for Neighborhood TV. Did you know you shouldn’t put paper towels in your recycle bin? Recycling guidelines can differ depending on where you live, so head to your local recycling website to find out what goes in your bin.

Quote of the week

Here’s a thought worth sharing with you from Positively Present

Your attention quote by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at two posts worth revisiting …

Glimmers. Did you catch this post about these important feel-good micro-moments? … “What is a glimmer and how to find one every single day.”

What is a glimmer and how to find one every single day by A Lady Goes West

Healthy habits. Here are a few things I’ve noticed a lot of healthy people do … “Common habits shared by fit and healthy people.”

Common habits shared by fit and healthy people by A Lady Goes West

That’s all I’ve got for you today! I’ll be sharing some of our Disney trip on Instagram and promise a full blog post about it upon our return. Have a great day!

Questions of the day for you

Have you ever been to Disney World?

What’s one glimmer you experienced in your week?



  1. I have season tickets to Broadway SF and MJ is on the ist for the upcoming season. Funny enough, the show right before it is the Wiz
    I am super excited for all the MJ music! Funny, my fiance thought it would be about Michael Jordan…
    Congrats on the Tennis clinic and good luck at Disney! that will be a fantastic recap!!
    Happy birthday to Dave and congrats on the new job! Sounds like a great celebratory weekend!

    p.s. when you reply, I get an email but I never see the reply from you. NBD at all but an FYI

    1. Hi Sabrina! I LOVE to see comments from you and I’m so sorry you don’t see my replies. I have something called “cache” turned on my website to make it load really fast, so when you come back to see the reply, you see the same webpage you saw the first time to cut down on load time. You’d have to click away from it (like to the homepage), then click back to the post and then click refresh to see your comment reply. I know that’s an annoying couple of extra steps, and I’m sorry it’s like that. But the speed thing is supposed to be important. Nonetheless, I TRULY appreciate hearing from you. And also — I LOVE that you support the arts in SF too! xoxoxo

  2. Happy birthday for Dave and congrats on his new job! We’ve been to Disney Orlando once with the boys and that was almost two years ago at 7 and 4. It was a good time to go because of their excitement. We went on rides, ate expensive fast food at the parks, explored all day. The big bummer was the characters couldn’t take pictures with the kids or sign autograph books around the park or when dining at a restaurant where character were suppose to greet you. They were either behind a rope, far away or usually there wasn’t anyone there. 🙁 That was a big thing for me growing up. Hope you guys have a fun weekend!
    That happens to me too. I get an email you replied but when I click on the link your reply isn’t there. Sometimes it pops up after refreshing but usually it doesn’t. 😉

    1. Hi Joanna! I’m sorry you didn’t get to hug the characters during your Disney trip, because that certainly is a great gift! You are due for another visit hehehe — as far as not seeing my comments, yes, it’s a refreshing thing. I have a “cache” on my site to make it load faster, so you have to refresh a few times to see any changes. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I ALWAYS LOVE to see your comments and hear from you! xoxox

  3. Loved your post as always. I have never been to Disney world but my daughter and son in law took my 3 year old granddaughter there a few months ago. She had a wonderful time – meeting all the princesses. She can name them all but I can’t 😂

    Thank you for your advice to see glimmers. I see a glimmer every time I pick up my granddaughter from preschool and with her smiling face she says “Grandma”! I also see a glimmer when I am greeted by a smiling face at my hot yoga studio.

    1. Hi Martha! I love these glimmers you have shared so much! We loved our Disney trip, and it’s surely a special thing to do with a little one! 🙂 xoxo

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