Current faves: Fitness workshop, new latte spot, books, fun and workouts

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Alright, this week had its ups and downs, to be totally honest, with some unfortunate personal/family stuff going on that I won’t get into right now. But we’re moving forward and chugging along the best we can. This weekend, Dave is gone for half of it for a work trip, so I’ll be hanging with my best toddler, and we’re celebrating that same toddler’s second birthday on Sunday too (although his official birthday is Monday). Let’s get to our weekly edition of favorites …

Current faves


Rooted Coffee Shop

I discovered a new-to-me local coffee shop called Rooted, which I’ve quickly become obsessed with. Why? It’s cute. It’s local. They have a great menu full of healthy plant-based small meals and interesting lattes with plenty of alternative milks (I usually go for almond). For a tea drinker, I certainly have gotten into fancy lattes these days and am now having about two a week. 

Avocado toast from Rooted - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

I took Brady to Rooted last week, and we shared the best slice of thick avocado toast I’ve ever had with chunks of avo on organic sourdough bread and even some cashew cream cheese underneath. I also got a golden latte to go, and it was tasty and very authentic.

There are no high chairs at Rooted, so Brady sat next to me on a stool, right up next to a hipster sipping an iced coffee, and we chatted and enjoyed our meal, as Brady occasionally tried to babble toddler gibberish to his neighbor hehehe. I’m trying to take Brady out to lunch with me during the week more, and the timing doesn’t always work out with my gym schedule, but it’s always a good experience for us both. We’re usually glad we made the effort, because he loves to be out and about.

And when it comes to Rooted, they may not have high chairs, but they have some little toys for kids, so Brady liked that …

Brady at Rooted - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

Golden latte from Rooted - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

We were such fans that we even took Dave back to Rooted over the weekend. My local peeps, I highly recommend — it’s on Oak Park in Pleasant Hill, and they have a frequent drink punch card, which I got my hands on during my second visit. Yay!

Swinging through the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival

Who have I become that I went to a wine festival and didn’t get any wine? Here’s what happened: We wanted to find something fun to do on Sunday after Brady’s nap, and because that’s such a small window of time before his bed-time, we popped out to the tail-end of the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival.

We only had about an hour there, and you couldn’t just buy a drink, you had to buy a drink cup and tickets, in a long line, and it was a whole production. So Dave and I just decided to walk around and then hit up some of the kiddie rides for Brady, instead of taking all our time to get one beverage. Dave took Brady down the fun slide, and I took him on a train. Good times were had by all, and a few tears were shed when we got off the train, because he totally loves trains. It was a great end to our weekend!

Ashley and Brady at festival - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

(I’m wearing the best plain white shirt, which I recently bought from Everlane.)


“I Owe You One” by Sophie Kinsella

I picked up this book, “I Owe You One,” off the new release section of the library as Brady was running around a couple weeks ago, and I didn’t even have a chance to read the description, but knew I had read something pretty good before by the author, Sophie Kinsella. (That other book was “Surprise Me.”)

I Owe You One book - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

Here’s the deal on this book: It’s fun to read. It’s a story about a family who owns a store in London, and while trying to manage the store, they uncover some family problems and have to work through them. The narrative is entertaining, and it’s just one of those fluffy books that goes by quickly. The ending was definitely easy to predict, but this book served as a good night-time read for the two weeks it took to get through. If you’re into that type of thing, you’ll like this — once again, not an award winner — but a light read, and sometimes that’s just what we need.


Les Mills instructor workshop

Over the weekend, I attended a Les Mills workshop in Alameda at Bladium Fitness all about maximizing the group effect. Bladium is a huge gym, and I hadn’t been there since I attended a Les Mills Advanced Instructor Module 2 maybe five years ago or so — oh the memories of that incredibly challenging weekend, in which I gave blood, sweat and tears all in the name of growing as a BODYPUMP instructor.

Anyhow, this most recent workshop was nothing like that — it was more of a fun no-pressure education session, in which we also did some masterclass workouts, then talked about how to get more people consistently coming to our classes, using the draw of the group effect.

Ashley at Les Mills workshop - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

(I’m wearing my new go-to shoe for cardio workouts and for teaching BODYATTACK.)

Why the group effect? People like to feel like they are a part of something, they like to know the rules, they like to have a role in the group, and they like to feel like everyone is working toward a same goal at the same time. These are all ideas that instructors can use to make sure that members/participants feel welcomed, included and have the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in a class setting. I definitely picked up some great reminders on inclusivity and language that I can take back to my own classes, which is helpful.

Now back to the workout portion, during the workshop, we did BODYATTACK, SPRINT and CXWORX (which is now actually called Les Mills Core), and all the workouts were great. I had actually never tried Les Mills Sprint before, which is a newer program, and it’s 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training on a bike. The class was quite effective too — we did interval work focused on power, strength and speed and had a lot of chances for breaks. It was unlike any other cycling workout I’d ever done. But truth be told, it wasn’t fun. I’m way more into the vibe of something like BODYATTACK. 

Nonetheless, this workshop was an excellent way to spend a few hours on a Saturday, meeting some new instructors, who had all come from much further away than me, get re-inspired for my classes and earn some continuing education credits for my NASM personal trainer certification too. A win win. (Speaking of Les Mills, don’t forget that you can try out the workouts on your own using a free 21-day trial of Les Mills On Demand if you want to get moving to some good music at home or at the gym.)

Weekly workout recap

Here’s a look at my workouts from last week …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute CXWORX, 9:30 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 30-minute weights workout, 10 a.m., taught 1-hour barre, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: 15 minutes of GRIT Strength, 15 minutes of BODYFLOW via Les Mills On Demand, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday: 45-minute BODYATTACK, 30-minute SPRINT, 30-minute CXWORX, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was quite full! I had a full day off and a couple of lighter days to balance out the tougher days, including the workshop day, in which I did three workouts in a span of a couple of hours. I’m happy to say that I spent time doing dedicated stretching with a short BODYFLOW session, I foam rolled multiple times, and I even did a solo weights workout — so we’ll call this week a winner, and we’ll also know that this upcoming week will be much less intense.

Here’s the short weights workout I did on my own in the gym … (you can find more workouts like these on Instagram under the “Workouts” highlight of my Instagram stories, or check out this post.)

Bodyweight and weights short workout by A Lady Goes West

Best reads

A few things from around the web …

  • Food gratitude. Okay, I just love some of the things in this article about why you should practice gratitude with your food. If you stop to take a minute to think about what’s on your plate, where it came from and how it got to you, you’re more likely to be mindful and enjoy your meal more. Read this one on why to say thanks at mealtimes. 
  • Healthy wine. Hear me out: I like my wine. Not a weekend goes by that I don’t have a couple glasses. I buy whatever sounds good at Whole Foods each week, usually of the Chardonnay variety, but I’ve been toying with the idea of trying healthier wines. This article talks about why biodynamic wine is the way to go, even more so than natural or organic. Interesting stuff and cheers.

Here’s the quote of the week from the Calm app, which I use for my guided meditations every morning — and you may recognize this one … 🙂  

Calm app quote from Ferris Bueller - by A Lady Goes West -- September 2019

A Lady Goes West favorite archives …

The five best books I've read this year (fiction and nonfiction) by A Lady Goes West

  • Survey fun. Have you seen this one in which I do my take on the Vogue interview series? Strangely enough, this blog post has become somewhat popular after it went live a few months ago, and it still gets a lot of random traffic … “73 questions.”

73 questions by A Lady Goes West

I hope you have an excellent day and weekend, my lovely friends!

P.S. Today’s the last day for the Beautycounter free gift with purchase, and if you order the Flawless in Five makeup set, you get a free retractable foundation brush. Shop here.

Questions of the day

When was the last time you tried out a new local restaurant?

Do you like group fitness?

What are you up to this weekend?


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