Hello, my friends! How are you? What’s new?
We are not in Charlotte right now! Dave, Brady, Rudy and I are in Columbus, Ohio for the weekend visiting some of our best friends, Grant and Bre, and their kiddos. We haven’t seen them since they visited us in California in the summer of 2019, so it’s long overdue. Yes, this marks our third weekend of fun in a row, which is such a nice change of pace from so many weekends of minimal activities for the last year.
This past week absolutely flew by. Brady was with me all week, now that preschool is over for the summer, but we stayed busy with Memorial Day activities, gym trips, work, classes and all the usual stuff. There was also some not-so-great stuff that I won’t get into today. And I only say this to remind you that we all have problems, and it’s okay to acknowledge that and keep moving forward.
Let’s get right into the faves for today …
A visit from my brother!
This is my favorite favorite, because I enjoyed it so much. My brother, Matthew, and his wife, Stephanie, and their two dogs, came to visit us from Atlanta for the long weekend. They arrived on Saturday and left Tuesday, and we fit a lot in, while also having plenty of down-time just to chill.
We hadn’t seen them since November 2019 for Thanksgiving, and we’ve vowed never to let that much time pass again (which should be easy, because hopefully there won’t be another global pandemic, nor will we live across the country from them).
We spent all three nights on the patio sipping on beverages and eating delicious food, catching up on all things life. Other than that, we did some outings. We took them to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which we had gone to once before.
During this visit to the center, it was way busier, and a lot more things were open than our first visit a couple of months ago. In fact, Dave and Matthew even signed up for the whitewater rafting 90-minute experience and did that. We also had lunch there. We walked around. We people watched. It was a great time, and I think we will continue to take our visitors to this place, because it’s such a cool spot. We even skipped Brady’s nap on this day, because we were enjoying our time so much, and we wanted to fit more in.
(Wearing these new leggings, which I absolutely love. I’m wearing a medium, and they are nice and high-waisted. Also, my code, ASHLEYPITT, gets you a discount on your first two orders of more than $100 on the Carbon38 site.)
We also went to our neighborhood pool for a Memorial Day pool party, and that was a good time too. Brady is a big fan of playing in the kiddie pool, as well as sitting on the pool chair relaxing and snacking. 🙂
We already know we’ll see Matthew and Stephanie at a wedding for a set of friends in July in Orlando so we’ve got that hang-out on the books, as well as a late-summer trip to commemorate my dad in the Keys (more on that soon).
Fun fact: We wanted to have more pictures together as a group during this visit, and we actually posed for one that we had a stranger take while at the Whitewater Center. She counted down for us, and said she was taking several photos. And then I took my phone back at the end, and we walked away. Once we were out of sight, I opened my phone to check the shots — and there were none. Not one. I don’t know if she was playing a trick on us or didn’t know how to use an iPhone. Nonetheless, we didn’t get that group shot, but we did get one the next day at the pool.
I know I’ve said it a ton already, but boy are we loving East Coast living for the very fact that we’ve been seeing to many loved ones, with more visits in the near future.
Also, another quick favorite would be these delicious cupcakes I picked up from Smallcakes, which I had on hand when they arrived in town. All flavors were exceptional, and I will be going back. The Smallcakes folks gave me a cupcake punchcard, so you know I’ll be filling that up to earn a free one.
“All Girls” by Emily Layden
Okay, here’s the deal on this book, “All Girls” by Emily Layden: I found it listed on a website as a highly anticipated new release of 2021, so I checked it out from the library without knowing much else about it. The title and the cover looked cool, and I knew it was about girls at a boarding school. I was in need of some fiction, so thought this would be a great escape. It was, in a way. And I got through it in a couple weeks, which was much faster than I got through “Atomic Habits,” which I reviewed in its entirety here.
The basis of “All Girls” is following a cast of female characters in their teenage years at an all-girls boarding school in New England. The school is rocked by a sexual scandal, and all the girls share a little bit about their lives along the way. And overall, I like the way the author brought to light even the smallest things that can mean so much to young girls of that age, from appearance, to family, to status, to friendships and popularity. It truly elevated issues that can consume young minds, and I appreciated that. I remember being a teenager and worrying and obsessing over such tiny things in life, that seemed oh-so important to me at the time. And this book would make any young girl feel validated, so that’s a big win.
Also, a big thing: The subject of an institution covering up a sexual scandal to protect its reputation and not disrupt the status quo is a topic that needs to be written about. These are all positives and make me appreciate the publishing of “All Girls” by the author.
However, it wasn’t the best book to me, because there were so many characters in the story, it was hard to keep track of them all. I almost feel like I wish there were less characters, and we were able to spend more time with them to get to see their stories move forward more. But, even just writing this review, I think I realize that the point was not necessarily to dive deep into each girl, as it was to show the breadth of experiences, the breadth of problems and elevate the fact that young girls are so much smarter and more capable than society often thinks, if that makes any sense at all. I do love reading a big climax and resolve in a narrative, and this book didn’t exactly have that, because a lot of things were left open ended. So once again, the ending fell flat to me. But I think it was intended to be vague.
So who would like this book? A young girl, a parent of a young girl, someone who is interested in finding out more about what a fictional boarding school is like, etc. This isn’t a true favorite for me, but it was worthy of a report in this post. I’m back to non-fiction now after this one.
Quick disclaimer: This is where I share all the workouts I did the previous week. And please remember that my workout schedule works for me and it may not work for you. I’m a fitness instructor, and not only do I teach classes, but I’m used to having a very heavy workout schedule. Right now, my schedule is much lighter than it used to be, but it’s still a lot for the average person.
Your workout week should be one that challenges you, but also keeps you feeling energized and strong. You’ll know if you are doing too much or too little, because your body will start to tell you.
- Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
- Tuesday: Taught 45-minute bodyweight Barre Burn on Motus, 3 p.m., 10-minute yoga, 6 p.m.
- Wednesday: Took 45-minute barre class with light weights at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
- Thursday: Taught 45-minute bodyweight Barre Burn on Motus, 3 p.m.
- Friday: Took 1-hour barre class with light weights at Life Time, 10 a.m.
- Saturday: Took 45-minute lower-body weights class at Life Time, 8:30 a.m.
- Sunday: Rest day
This past week was an all-class workout week, meaning every workout I did was through teaching or taking classes, both in-person and virtual. I have been a bit light on cardio (although we do cardio in the barre classes I teach and take), but I do need to fit in some cycle sessions more regularly. I already know I’ll have a full-hour cardio class on the agenda this weekend in Ohio with Bre, so that takes care of that for the week. Nonetheless, it’s awesome to be teaching three classes a week again (one in person and two virtual).
A Lady Goes West recommended favorite products
I only share what I use and love in my own life, and here are some of the brands I swear by. And when you use my discount codes and links, you support me, so thanks for that …
- Carbon38. I’m always wearing stuff from here, and it’s the coolest activewear around. Get 15 percent off your first two orders of $100 or more using the code ASHLEYPITT.
- G2G protein bars. I love these tasty and minimal-ingredient protein bars. You can get 15 percent off your order on the G2G Bar site with the code ALADYGOESWEST.
- Organifi superfood supplements. I’m all about the Organifi Complete Plant-Based protein powder. You can get 15 percent off your order on the Organifi site with the code ALADYGOESWEST.
- Four Sigmatic. These superfood coffees and teas are so good — I especially love the Cacao Chill and Lion’s Mane Latte. Get 15 percent off your order with the code ALADYGOESWEST.
- Beautycounter. The best safe skincare and makeup. Send me a message, and I’ll share a 20 percent off code for your very first order.
- Les Mills On Demand streaming workouts. My favorite fitness brand. You can do a whole month of workouts during a free 30-day trial by using my special referral link here.
A few things from around the web
- Self-care that works. This is a great article on why self-care does not need to be an all-or-nothing thing, especially if you’re super busy and feel like you don’t have any extra time to take care of yourself. It’s another one by my favorite nutrition coaching company, Precision Nutrition.
- Sheet-pan recipes. Would you believe I’ve never actually made a sheet-pan recipe? I haven’t, but it does seem like such a great way to save time and save dishes. Here’s a list of some sheet-pan recipes to spice up your dinner routine.
- Scary sunscreen ingredients. I know I’m a broken record when it comes to talking about product safety and how Beautycounter is superior, but this latest finding should help you to agree too. An independent lab found that some super-popular sunscreen brands actually contain benzene, which is a carcinogen linked to cancer and other illnesses. Find the full article here. Ick!
Here’s the quote of the week from the Calm app …
A Lady Goes West favorite archives
- Advice. I hope you’ve enjoyed this new series. Here’s the latest set of questions and answers … “Ask-me-anything A Lady Goes West Advice Corner: third edition.”
- Skincare. Because taking care of your skin will never go out of style … “The five best Beautycounter products for aging skin and fine lines.”
If you ever have questions, comments, feedback or want to reach out, feel free to do that. I’m best with email and Instagram DMs. And with that, have a great weekend. I’ll share some stories from our trip on Instagram, so catch me there, until we meet back here.
Questions of the day
How was your week?
What are you up to this weekend?
Have you read anything good lately?