Current faves: Healthy snack giveaway, the best book, old friends and workouts

Hi, friends! I hope you had a great week! Thanks for stopping by the blog today to read our usual weekly selection of favorites in food, fitness and life — it’s a chance to ramble and keep it light. I’ve got a healthy snack giveaway coming your way today too.

This week was a full one. I taught three group fitness classes, including debuting the new Les Mills BODYATTACK 104, which is super fun and hard at the same time. I also finished up a freelance project, went on a walk with girlfriends and did all the everyday stuff that goes along with being a full-time work-from-home momma, which is not a glamorous reality, let me tell you. I’ve decided I’m already in need of another getaway just two weeks after my girls’ trip to Vegas. Who’s in? Where should we go? πŸ™‚ 

CURRENT FAVES

Books

In love with Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”

This book! It took everything in me not to mention “Becoming” as a favorite every week I was reading it until I finished it just a few days ago. I loved this book. There was no official co-author on the cover or label, so I’m led to believe that Michelle Obama did her own writing (with an editor and fact checker, of course), and if that’s the case, she is one of the best storytellers ever. She somehow goes back and forth through memories giving the most minute details, yet it all works out for the overall narrative in an amazing way, you never get lost, and you definitely never get bored.

Becoming” starts when Michelle is young and living in the South Side of Chicago with her parents and brother. It goes through her youth in the “Becoming Me” section, moves on to when she met Barack in the “Becoming Us” section and continues as the Obamas live in the White House in the “Becoming More” section, closing just after they were about to return to civilian life.

Becoming book by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

I’ve never spoken about politics on the blog, and don’t intend to, but I will say that I’ve always liked the Obamas, and I’m so glad I now know so much more about them. After reading this book, I LOVE the Obamas through and through. Michelle Obama is the real deal. Somehow she makes all the right decisions and has helped so many people throughout her life. She’s helped people to become better versions of themselves, and she’s helped people to have confidence in themselves too. She stresses the importance of making everyone feel like they belong, and that is so necessary in every part of life. She stresses the importance of education. And she stresses the importance of knowing that no matter where you start, you have a chance to succeed. Amen!

There’s so much more I could say about this book, but here’s the gist: “Becoming” is mostly an autobiography of Michelle Obama’s life — it’s not about politics — while it does cover what it’s like to campaign and then live in the White House — it’s just about being a really good person, promoting inclusion and working hard. Yet, all those lessons unfold as Michelle Obama talks about her life, so it’s not at all a motivational or self-help book, it’s just real. 

Reading “Becoming” has made me think about how I can help others in my life a little bit more. Maybe there’s more to coming on that. Who knows. But seriously, if you like a long enjoyable non-fiction book about a fantastic woman, then “Becoming” is for you.

Friends

Brunch with Sandra at Auberge du Soleil

This past Saturday, Dave and I drove up to St. Helena in wine country to have brunch with my college girlfriend, Sandra, who was visiting from Louisiana. I haven’t seen Sandra is FAR too long, and it was so nice to catch up on life. She’s getting married this summer in Europe, and sadly, Dave and I won’t be able to go, but it was so wonderful to meet her future hubby this weekend.

Ashley and Sandra at Auberge brunch by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

Ashley at Auberge brunch by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

Side note: I had never been to Auberge du Soleil before, and it’s a super fancy hotel and our brunch was delicious. It’s up on a hill, and you can see so much of wine country from the outdoor seating area. Loved it. Also, we had a three-course meal, and the smoked salmon tartlet shown below was the stand-out. Yum.

Auberge brunch by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

Now for the Giveaway!!

Win some tasty Munk Pack protein cookies

When you think of protein cookies, you probably don’t think of something that’s tasty but also has a pretty clean ingredients list, right? Well, now you can. These Munk Pack soft protein cookies are my FAVORITE, and I’m so happy I have a chance to give away two sampler sets to one lucky reader.

Munk Pack giveaway by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

They have 18 grams of plant-based protein, are non-GMO, vegan, dairy free, gluten free and full of flavor — almost too good to be true. I like to have one in my purse at all times, because these days I have to share my snack with Brady, and these are big enough for that. Did I mention they are cookies?

Munk Pack protein cookie giveaway by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

Here’s how to enter …

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post. Head to the end, click on comment and enter your information — your email will not be publicly shared, but your comment will show up on the blog. Good luck! You must live in the U.S. to win. And you MUST be following both A Lady Goes West and Munk Pack on Instagram too.

I’ll choose a winner next Wednesday and announce on the blog next Friday. By the way, I’m also running a giveaway for Munk Pack cookies on Instagram, so if you haven’t yet, here’s another chance to win.

Fitness

Weekly workout recap

And now we’re into the fitness.

Let’s look at my workouts from last week …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP class, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 45-minute BODYATTACK class, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Practiced 25 minutes of BODYATTACK, 10 a.m., taught 1-hour barre class, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 12 p.m., practiced 25 minutes of BODYATTACK, 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: Practiced 45 minutes of BODYATTACK, 11 a.m.
  • Saturday: Practiced 20 minutes of BODYATTACK, 15-minute weights workout, 10 a.m.
  • Sunday: Practiced 45 minutes of BODYATTACK, 11 a.m.

This past week was NOT my usual week. No rest day? Not cool. However, I was gearing up to teach the brand new BODYATTACK this week and felt like I needed another run-through on Sunday, which is usually my rest day. Other than that, I had some variety, and I will be sure to have a full rest day (or two) this upcoming week and probably no double days either.

Here’s the short full-body weights workout I did … (You can find more of these on Instagram under my workout highlights tab, or check out this blog post with a bunch of workout inspo.)

Quick full-body workout by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

Best reads

From around the web 

  • Dirty dozen. A new list from the EWG is out with the dirtiest and cleanest fruits and veggies. Good news: You can still buy your avocados conventionally, because the skin is so thick they are rarely tainted with pesticides. Organic is always preferred, but remember, it’s better to eat regular fruits and veggies than none at all, if cost is an issue for you. 
  • Foam rolling. I’ve been foam rolling BEFORE my workouts for forever, because it gets the muscles ready. This is a short article on why before is the best time
  • Beauty gift. In need of safer skincare, makeup or body products? Right now, if you spend $125 or more with Beautycounter, you get a free brightening face oil. Let me know if you have questions or need help!

Favorite A Lady Goes West archives

One more pic of 2 of my 3 favorite boys from the weekend … πŸ™‚

Dave and Brady outside by A Lady Goes West

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Munk Pack protein cookies giveaway by leaving a comment on this blog post below! πŸ™‚ 

Questions of the day

How was your week? 

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Which flavor of Munk Pack cookies are you most excited to try?

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87 Comments

  1. I’d love to try the cookies, especially the chocolate chocolate chip one! Currently training for a marathon and always need healthy, high-protein snacks!

    1. Hi Tara! Good for you! Have you run a marathon before? Where and when? And YESSS you better fuel up properly for all that movement, and these cookies are perfect. Happy Friday!

  2. I LOVE Michelle Obama too. Haven’t read her book yet, but it’s on my list.

    Ok, I reallllly wanna win this giveaway. Like really. And cookies taste better when they’re won. πŸ™‚

    Happy Friday.

    1. True statement right there — winning food makes it even better to have that food. hahaha! Hope your week was a good one, my friend! πŸ™‚ Sending you love!

  3. <3 <3 <3 Love the Obamas! Thank you for sharing about Michelle's book. Regardless of their politics, I always valued that they seemed like genuinely kind and caring people (who truly love and respect each other) – something far too often overlooked!

    1. Hi Kaitlyn! Yes, I feel like you can tell when people are really just good people — and they ARE!! πŸ™‚ We need more examples like that out in the world. Happy Friday to YOU!

  4. Your meal looks so pretty. I’ve been to a L’Auberge restaurant in another state and it was divine.

    I LOVE Munk Pack cookies. but haven’t had one in awhile. I can’t remember my favorite variety.

  5. Your review of Becoming has me moving it up on my to-read list! It’s been sitting on my shelf for months. So far this year, the best book I’ve read is A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. Could be controversial, but I thought it was well done. This weekend, I’ll be celebrating my husbands birthday. And for those cookies, the peanut butter chocolate chip ones are calling my name!

    1. Hi Emily! I haven’t heard of that book, but now I’m intrigued — thanks for the rec. Happy birthday to your hubby, hope it’s wonderful! πŸ™‚

  6. Oh gosh I think I commented before when I was reading Becoming – it was SO good. My fave book of the year so far. I loved hearing of her early life growing up. Fantastic.

    Just noticed Body Attack is 45 minutes at your gym – must check if my gym has any 45 min classes instead of the full hour – I need to get back to it and I used to really struggle by the end of the 60 min class. Truth be told I would be struggling after the warm up hehehe.

    Have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

    1. Hi lady! Yes — we now have a few BODYATTACK Express 45-minute classes, which is what I teach — then we have a few full-hour ones. You don’t do either aerobic track 3 or 8 in the Express versions – so I miss those, but I love that it stays pretty intense the whole time. πŸ™‚ BODYATTACK will always be a challenge for us all — and that’s why we love it! Hope you have a great weekend too!

  7. I too loved Becoming. I listened to it on Audible and it is Michelle reading it. Hearing it in her own voice added another layer to it. Before reading any other autobiographies I’m going to check if the author has done the audio book.

  8. Double dark chocolate! These look delicious and I am always trying to find good snacks for me and my little one.

    1. Hi Jen! Double dark chocolate is a good choice! I shared the coconut one with Brady yesterday, and he was a fan. Hope you have a happy Friday! πŸ™‚

  9. Those cookies sound great! I think the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip would be my favorite. Have a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

  10. I also LOVED Becoming. I keep telling everyone I know that the writing is just so beautiful. I never thought I’d be able to describe the writing in a memoir in that way but I was blown away but the elegance of it (yet, it was a really accessible read).

    1. Hi Courtney! I feel that way EXACTLY about the book — SOOO well written, and I’m quite particular about writing styles. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, lady! πŸ™‚

  11. Hooray for an awesome giveaway!

    On the docket for the weekend, I have a car show which I am super pumped for as I just got my new wheels and tires mounted yesterday. (Cars are one of my hobbies!) I also have a 10 mile long run, but the weather is supposed to be nice so I am looking forward to the sunshine.

  12. I’ve never heard of Munk Pack but now I’m super excited to try them! They look awesome! I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen and Oh. My. Goodness. It was SO GOOD. I didn’t expect to love it the way I did. It’s always great when a book takes you by surprise (in a good way)! Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Lauren! I’ve heard of that book, but don’t know much about it — thanks for the tip! Loveeee to be impressed and surprised by a book! Have a great weekend, lady!

  13. I loved Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”. I was at her book tour event last night- and it was amazing to listen to her speak live. She is so inspiring and such a warm individual- last night she was speaking to about 10,000 people, but yet you felt like she was speaking directly to you. I love that she is so motivated to furthering education for everyone – but especially to women and minorities.

    1. SO coool you went to her event, Sarah!! Love that! I can only imagine what an amazing public speaker she is, her presence can be felt! πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great weekend!

  14. I LOVED Michelle Obama’s book! It’s amazing and so is she! I really want to try those cookies, too — it’s so hard to find high-protein treats that are vegan and gluten-free!

  15. Would love to win the sampler pack of those cookies! Also “Becoming” is on my reading list – your comments made me want to read it even more!

  16. I love how healthy these Monk cookies sound and the flavors sound delicious too! Peanut butter would probably be my first pick. Thank you for the updates and review for us!

  17. Yum – I’ve seen these cookies and have been wanting to try them! I’d love to try PB chocolate the most πŸ™‚

    So glad to hear your thoughts on Becoming. I’ve had it in my Kindle for awhile but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Because of all of the amazing reviews, I’m almost iffy on starting it because I don’t want it to disappoint haha. But maybe I’ll finally begin it this weekend!!

    1. Hi Liz! You definitely need to read it heheehe — but I understand there’s so much hype, it has big shoes to fill. Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  18. Congrats on rocking launch week! What did you think of BP 109? So many pushups…love it! I haven’t done BA 104 yet, but very soon. The Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut…sounds delicious.

    1. I think BP 109 is great because it’s DIFFERENT — I love to see the step added back to the lunge track and the moving push-ups. It’s totally hard though — WAY harder than some other releases. πŸ™‚ Hope you like BA 104!!!! Have a great weekend, Sheila!

  19. Wow healthy and nutritious cookies these sound amazing to taste! I’d love the chocolate ones and thank you for the giveaway!

  20. Excellent review of β€˜Becoming,’ Ashley! I so enjoyed reading your thoughts. Like Lauren, I am an Audible fan. I had trouble taking my AirPods out once I started Mrs. Obama’s beautiful biography!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  21. I’ve also read Michelle’s book [we’re on a first name basis if you didn’t know πŸ˜‰ ] and loved it!

  22. I like that these have 18 grams of healthy protein and they are cookies too! Peanut butter chocolate chip would be tasty to try!

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