Current faves: Florida fun, dresses, books and weekly workouts

Hi, my friends! How are you? I’m doing well! Back into the swing of things after a week away in Florida for Thanksgiving. We arrived home on Tuesday night to find the air had finally cleared, and it had rained in the Bay Area — two much-needed things.

It was back to business as usual, with unpacking, lots of laundry, a big grocery shopping haul, teaching a barre class, returning to the gym and even beginning to pull out our Christmas decor for our first holiday season in the house.

This week also included an unfortunate situation in the parking lot of Whole Foods, in which I got locked out of my new car through a technical fluke and found myself standing in the sun with nothing but my phone and Brady — who had a wet diaper, was hungry and approaching his nap time — totally stranded with no ability to get around without a car seat. Dave was stuck in an important meeting in San Francisco, so I didn’t even bother calling him. Thank goodness for the smarts of my dear friend, Kicki, who helped me figure out how to get remote access to my car with an app that I didn’t even know existed after about 30 minutes of panic — ahhhh! Good times! Fun fact for all you folks out there: If you put your bag with your key in it in the trunk of the car without first unlocking the car through the door, it will get stuck in there. I didn’t think it was possible with the way keyless entry works these days, but it is! 

Moving on, let’s get to our usual selection of random favorites as of late …


Hanging with friends and family in Florida

We spent a full week in Florida, which was relaxing and wonderful. There’s a new non-stop flight on Southwest between Oakland and Orlando, which we tried out and may do again. Because we always fly Southwest (racking up loyalty points for free flights, no baggage or change fees, YAY!), we are used to connecting, so it actually made the travel part seem not quite as terrible. Brady didn’t nap on either flight, but we were able to keep him busy and even strap him into the middle seat. With our 9th roundtrip flight under our belt with him, I’m thinking of writing a post on how to travel with a baby, so stay tuned for that and let me know if you have any questions about it.

One of the trip highlights? Letting little Brady put his feet in the sand and Gulf of Mexico. He’s been to Boca Grande beach before, but he was a little unsure the first time, so this time was a lot of fun for him. We went with my parents, and it was such a nice adventure. I love the gulf air!

Boca Grande Beach fun by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

We stayed at my parents’ house in Englewood for most of the trip, and we hung out with them, and my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Stephanie, (who came down from Atlanta) for a couple of days too, and of course, we all celebrated Thanksgiving together. I also got to see one of my dear girlfriends and bridesmaids, Kristen, on our last day in Southwest Florida as well.

Boca Grande Beach fun with Brady by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

Boca Grande Beach fun with Brady feet by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

Then, we went up to Orlando for our last full day and night in Florida. We walked around Winter Park and even toured Dave’s college campus, Rollins, which was a big trip down memory lane as we talked about the way our lives were when we lived in Orlando more than six years ago — boy, times have changed. (Even though I didn’t know Dave in college and met him after he graduated, it was still the perfect place for reminiscing about the city where we both started our professional lives, then dated and got married.) 

Rollins College visit by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

Then that evening, we hung out with our friends, Jess and Amanda, at their house in Winter Park. We stay with them every time we go back, and it was awesome to catch up and even introduce Brady to their son, Jack. Dave and Jess got to go out to a bar to see some other guy friends, while Amanda and I stayed at home in our pajamas while the kiddos slept. Fine by me!

I would have loved to have seen more people during our time in Florida, but I learned fairly early on in my visits that it’s not possible to see everyone. In the beginning, I would over-promise get-togethers and end up driving all over the state just to see people, and the visit would fly by, and I felt like I never sat down or relaxed. Not anymore. My priority is always my parents first, and then any other little visit that happens with friends — when it works — is icing on the cake! We had some good icing this time. 🙂 


Family photos dress

I recently bought this dress for less than $50 for the purpose of wearing for our family photos. It’s super comfy and is that midi length that looks pretty flattering on everyone. You can find it here. I will definitely be wearing it again, probably with a denim jacket and flats next time.

2018 family holiday photos 8 by A Lady Goes West

Red ruched dress

I bought this dress a few months ago and finally got around to wearing it in Florida to the mall (where I used to work in high school and hang out a lot too). It’s a snug fit, but has a nice ruching on the midsection. The actual dress I’m wearing is currently sold out, but there are a few similar ones from this brand, which have great reviews.

Red dress at the mall by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

In my coffee cup? The Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha made with almond milk, hold the whip. NOT a healthy drink, but a tasty one, and the one that Dave and I keep getting as a treat every couple of days. We had it for the first time before heading to Florida and are both hooked now. Goodie. 

Tiny Gator slippers

This fits into the fashion category, right? I try not to put too much baby stuff into the favorites posts, but I had to share these. My brother and Stephanie are SO generous with Brady and are constantly getting him presents. When we saw them for Thanksgiving, they had picked out a few books and these University of Florida Gator slippers for our little guy …

Brady Gator slippers by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

I try to keep Brady’s feet covered at home most of the time, because it’s a little cold in our house, so these are perfect. He reminds me of a little old man in them. Matthew and Stephanie (well, let’s be honest, probably just Stephanie) ordered the slippers here, and they appear to be sold out, but there’s tons of other cute baby gear.


Super light A Lady Goes West Book Club Book

If you’re in the mood for something fun and light to read, then this is it — “When Life Gives You Lululemoms” by Lauren Weisberger. A few of you mentioned we should do some fiction for the next book club, so here we go.

When Life Gives You Lululemons book by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

I ordered this book and started it, and so far I’m enjoying the twists and turns of the story. It’s from the same author who wrote “The Devil Wears Prada” and is based on the character Emily’s life after leaving Runway and managing celebrity reputations. Not really a book worthy of discussion topics, but I’ll post more in the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group about the book in a few weeks, if you want to read and join along.


Weekly workout recap

And now we’re into the fitness.

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

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP class, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Rest day
  • Wednesday: 15-minute walk/run and 5 minutes of bodyweight work, 11 a.m.
  • Thursday: 30-minute run, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: 30-minute Les Mills Barre class at home via Les Mills On Demand, 11 a.m.
  • Saturday: 20-minute run, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This week of workouts was much lighter while I was away in Florida, and that’s fine by me. I switched things up by doing some jogging/light running with Dave (and Brady in the stroller), and that felt okay. I don’t love running, but I do like exercising with Dave, and it gave us a chance to chat and move our bodies in the sun. I didn’t mind this break from the gym or from intense exercise at all, because it’s smart to take some time off here and there to reset. 

Outdoor Florida workout by A Lady Goes West -- November 2018

Here’s the light workout I did outdoors on Wednesday at home in Florida, which took 20 minutes total and was just enough to feel like I had moved, without taking too much time away from the day …

  • 5-minute walk
  • 10-minute jog
  • Bodyweight superset, repeated two times through:
    • 20 walking lunges
    • 20 plank shoulder taps

Suggested reading

Best links from around the web

  • Natural cold remedies. This is a really thorough and beneficial article on how to avoid colds this season the natural way. I need to jump on the Vitamin D train perhaps, but have always been a fan of my neti pot. Take a read.
  • Gal Meets Glam podcast interview. I listened to this podcast episode over Thanksgiving break and loved it. I have been following Julia from Gal Meets Glam on Instagram for a long time, and she recently launched a dress line. She works with her husband and has such a successful business, so I was eager to learn more about her path in this interview on The Skinny Confidential Him and Her Show. Super interesting stuff to me!
  • IT band exercises. Need some help with your IT band? Amanda gives you three single-leg movements that are beneficial for everyone. Remember, it’s very important to work each side of your body on its own in your workouts every once in a while in order to fix potential imbalances.
  • Plant-based protein. I love to eat so many of these different forms of plant-based protein. I have eggs most days and fish and grass-fed beef once a week each, but other than that, I’m pretty much plant-based when it comes to my protein. I think oats would be my favorite source. What’s yours?

A Lady Goes West Favorite archives

Have a great weekend!

I’m heading to an event in Marin on Sunday afternoon, but other than that, we’ll be getting some house stuff done and laying low over the next two days. See you soon, friends!

Questions of the day

Have you decorated for Christmas yet?

What are you up to this weekend?

How was your Thanksgiving?

Do you ever take time off from the gym?

What’s your favorite festive drink from Starbucks?



  1. Yay for family time! Looks like a great visit :). I put up our Christmas decorations last weekend and have been busy wrapping all the presents that have been delivered over the week. I’m trying to wrap as they arrive on the porch so I don’t need to have a wrapping frenzy right before Christmas. Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Jessie! Wow, girl! Good for you for getting your decorations all the way up — I’m excited to put our tree up tonight. And it’s totally smart to wrap as they arrive. I love to wrap, but only a few presents — too many at once gets tedious. Happy Friday, my friend! Hope you sip a warm comforting beverage in front of your tree this weekend!

  2. Your Florida trip sounds lovely!

    I am officially calling Dec 1st the start of Christmas! Already done some shopping but will do a bit more, have a Christmas lunch and drinks with some girlfriends this weekend, and will order a gingerbread latte in Starbucks or Costa! We will put our tree up next weekend when my stepkids are with us.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. Hi lady! LOVE IT! I like the official declaration. I’ve already been having holiday beverages, but just started listening to Christmas tunes and am ready to let the season BEGIN hahah! Have a wonderful weekend!!

  3. Hi Ashley. I havrn’t b een fortunate to meet you in person but feel like I have gotten to know you well enough to know you that if anyone can figure out how to lock their keys in a car that is impossible to lock their keys in it would be you ,? Maybe you need AAA membership. Love Brady’s new Gators slippers. I would like a pair of those. Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Molly! I got this dress from Nordstrom Rack a couple of months ago — it’s Michael Kors — I can’t find it online any longer, sorry! 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

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