Current faves: Home sweet home, shopping, books, food and weekly workouts

Hey there! How have you been? We’re back to our regularly scheduled weekly favorites post, so welcome along! Wow, so much to catch up on, but I’ll try not to write a whole book today. First of all, in case you missed it, I told you all about our British Columbia summer vacation in these two posts earlier this week …

We’ve been back home for almost a week now, and it has been a whirlwind of activity. The first 48 hours after we got home, I literally did seven loads of laundry, unpacked all three of us, went to multiple grocery stores to get everything we need (Sprouts and two Whole Foods stores, okay, to be honest, Dave did one of the Whole Foods trips), cleaned the house (Dave also helped here too, I can’t take all the credit), washed the sheets, cleaned my car (it had been parked outdoors at the SF airport, so was a hot mess), practiced BODYATTACK to teach this week, caught up on a ton of work and went to a concert with Dave in Napa. It was a lot to get accomplished before Monday rolled around, but I didn’t want to feel behind and frazzled, and I’m glad I made the effort.

However, I still felt a little behind, and I will say that this week wasn’t the best for us for another reason. We came home to find that our main power/electrical breaker of our house is faulty, and we kept losing power over and over again, one day for like eight hours straight — with no air conditioner or internet or ability to use kitchen appliances. That was a fun day, and the outages continued throughout the week, until we could finally get an electrician to come address it yesterday. Let’s just say I was wishing I was back in the rainy Whistler weather and fancy hotel many times this week.

Other than that, it’s good to be home and to be back to teaching classes, working out and writing away. This weekend, we’re going to a dinner party with friends, I’m subbing BODYPUMP, working on a freelance project and I’m also hoping to lay on the couch and watch some mindless (and entertaining) Bravo shows, and that’s about it. Alright, it’s time for those faves …

Current faves


Guster concert in Napa with Dave

When Dave and I first started dating, he told me about this band from New England he loved called Guster. We listened to some of their music, and eventually I went with him to a concert and loved it. Over the last 10 years of being together, we’ve been to five Guster shows (also many Dave Matthews Band shows too), and it’s a fun thing we always look forward to doing together.

Ashley and Dave at Guster in Napa by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

We had to miss the Guster show in San Francisco last year even after buying tickets, because Dave had to travel for work, so although we had just arrived home from a week-long vacation, we went up to Napa on Sunday to see Guster at the Uptown Theatre. Uptown is a beautiful historic venue, where we’ve seen several great shows before. We had dinner in downtown Napa before the show, and had excellent seats to sing and sway along with the crowd during the concert. It was a great outing, and we love keeping up this little tradition.

Fashion and shopping

The Nordstrom Sale opens to the public today

I used to shop so many different places, but now I do much of my shopping online at Nordstrom, and they rarely disappoint — free shipping and returns help too — (yes, I have a Nordstrom nearby, but they have much more inventory online). The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is happening right now, and there’s a lot of good stuff marked down. Here’s what I’m loving …


  • These leggings for yoga, workouts or athleisure chilling. I have a pair and wear them at least once a week to teach barre, they are high-waisted, and they fit like a glove. Here they are with a pocket too.
  • The perfect light-weight tank for almost all workouts.


  • HUGE sale alert on this brand. And I mean, you haven’t worn a comfortable cardigan until you’ve tried this brand. I have this sweater, and it’s so cozy and is so high quality. I’m thinking of getting this style or this style too. Just getting prepared for fall and winter!


  • I have a confession: I do not own a single jumpsuit and have never worn one. I feel like they look amazing on other people, but always fear they wouldn’t work well for me. Well, I have no information to support that claim, so I decided to branch out and order this one. Hope I like it!


  • The most flattering pair of jeans ever.


  • These thick heels are perfect for fall with dresses and jeans. 


Just a few favorite eats as of late

This brand new flavor from Health-Ade is so tasty. I found it at my local Sprouts, and while I don’t normally like tropical or fruit punch, this is so delicious and the punch part doesn’t overpower. I’m definitely going to get more.

Healthade tropical punch by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

I loved eating every single meal out and never doing a single dish while on vacation, but I also like coming home and getting back to my usual meals in my own kitchen.

I’ve been eating organic jasmine rice with my lunches a lot lately — a change from my previous favorite of brown rice. I know we’re told to buy the brown rice for the fiber, but organic jasmine still has valuable vitamins and minerals, and sometimes I prefer it. Not to mention, if you plan to eat rice daily as a woman, then you want to steer clear of the brown versions, because they’ve been found to have traces of arsenic — not harmful with the occasional rice serving — but not good if rice is a staple in your diet.

I buy the frozen bags of organic jasmine rice from Trader Joe’s and pop them into the microwave while I sauté the spinach and cook the eggs. Then, I add sauerkraut, a dollop of tahini, sea salt, black pepper and turmeric to my plate, and it’s ready in five minutes. I had this lunch every day this week. (Fun fact: Someone recently told me I should cook the rice in coconut milk for more flavor, and I will be sure to try that one day.)

Healthy rice lunch by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

I talked enough about our vacation earlier this week, but I wanted to say again how much I loved eating lots of different kinds of pastries and treats — ones that I just never buy at home and definitely don’t make myself. Some of what I ate was full of gluten, refined sugar and crap ingredients, but some was quite clean too.

This vegan coconut banana bread was a stand-out, and it made me wish I took the time to create healthier treats like this at home. Maybe I need to start doing that. Anyone have any great tasty healthier dessert/pastry recipes that are easy to make?

Vegan coconut banana bread by A Lady Goes West - July 2019


Brené Brown “Dare to Lead” 

I was so pumped to read this book after enjoying Brené Brown’s Netflix special, and I even had to wait a few weeks to get this book from the library because there was a waiting list. And I must admit, although I think the book had some great tidbits — it wasn’t amazing to me. I got a little bored.

It was very corporate-y, which is okay by me, because I spent quite a few years in the corporate world. But I started to get a little annoyed with the phrase “rumbling,” because Brown uses that a lot. You rumble with significant others, you rumble with coworkers, you rumble, rumble, rumble, which basically means discuss, open up and get real.

Dare to Lead book review by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

The overall theme was this: To be a great leader, you have to be vulnerable, address issues openly, be willing to have tough conversations and all of that. And this idea is definitely against what you often find in a regular top-down corporation, that’s for sure, so I love that she’s done so much work on it and is getting this out there to more people. Here’s one of the best quotes I screen-shot …

“As you think about your own path to daring leadership, remember Joseph Campbell’s wisdom: ‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.’ Own the fear, find the cave, and write a new ending for yourself, for the people you’re meant to serve and support, and for your culture.”

Amen to that! Brown also talked about the benefits of dealing with emotions, stress and hard times with box breathing, which is an incredibly beneficial tool that I thought was from the yoga world, but Brown said the military forces use it too and call it tactical breathing. It goes like this: inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your stomach, for four counts. Hold for four. Slowly exhale all the air through your mouth, contracting your stomach, for four counts. Hold for four. Repeat. It works, people.

If you’re a manager or if you have trouble talking about hard things, then I would highly recommend this book. Brown has testimonials from leaders and a lot of research to back up her claims on how emotions should come into play in the workplace, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as I would have hoped based off the Netflix special that she did. I’m still a fan of hers though!

I’m onto my next book now, and currently reading “The Longevity Book” by Cameron Diaz, which is a follow up to “The Body Book,” which I reviewed here and loved.


Weekly workout recap

How I’ve been moving lately …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

The week leading up to vacation …

  • Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute CXWORX, 9:30 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: Rest day, traveling to Vancouver
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Rest day

The week of vacation …

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: Rest day
  • Wednesday: 25 minutes of BODYATTACK practice, 8 a.m.
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: Rest day, traveling home from Vancouver
  • Saturday: 1-hour BODYATTACK, 9:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: 30 minutes of BODYATTACK practice, 10 a.m.

Well, as you can see, these past two weeks were full of days off of exercise, which is totally fine by me. I actually don’t think that you need to work out on vacation, particularly if you are a regular exerciser who goes on one or two vacations a year. I shared these thoughts in this post on Instagram a few days ago and got some different opinions, but here’s why I think it’s okay to take time off: Your body LOVES a good chance to hit the reset button and refresh from all the hard work you do. AND, if you go on vacation, you can be active in other ways, like walking, hiking and biking, so you don’t have to devote time to the gym or your usual workouts. Give your mind and body a break. And I definitely did that, outside of the one short practice session I did in the group fitness studio of our hotel in Whistler.

Remember, breaks are good, and they are even beneficial. If you’re someone who hasn’t taken more than 1-2 days off exercise in a long time … well, I’m looking at you. 🙂

Best reads

From around the web …

  • Pre-workout eating. Should you eat before a workout and what should you eat? There’s no exactly correct answer here, it’s really something you need to experiment with on your own. This is a great article telling you how to decide and giving some pre-workout snack ideas — and my favorite one — banana with almond butter, is listed.
  • Clean up your smartphone use. I LOVE this post about how to help yourself use your smartphone better and less. I turned off notifications for all of social media a while back, and it’s really useful to not have those little pop-ups calling to you. Give this one a read. 

And for the best quote of the week from my morning meditations …

Daily Calm forest quote by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

A Lady Goes West favorite archives …

Five things no one tells you about postpartum exercise by A Lady Goes West

Alright, my dear friends. Thank you for reading the blog today. I hope your weekend is just fabulous. And Brady didn’t make it into this post, so here’s one final vacation pic … 🙂

Family at Sea to Sky peak by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

Questions of the day

What’s your favorite show on Bravo right now? (Southern Charm for me!)

What are you currently reading?

Do you like to work out on vacation or take a break?

Do you wear jumpsuits?

What’s your favorite make-at-home healthy treat?

P.S. Planning to work out this weekend? Why not give a Les Mills class a try in the privacy of your own home using a free 21-day trial of my favorite streaming service, Les Mills On Demand? Here’s my personal link to give you that 21-day trial.

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    1. I’ve heard great things about that book — I should put my name on the waiting list for it at the library. Thanks, friend! Have a great weekend!

  1. Ugh, coming back to issues in your house is never fun especially power outages. Happy you got that worked out. I have been wanting to read that Brene Brown book, I have heard such great things.

    1. Hi Sandra — totally not fun to come back to home issues, but at least they are fixed now and we had a nice vacation. You should try watching Brene Brown’s Netflix special first — see what you think. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  2. I’ve dropped the reading ball. I may dig into my husband’s book collection and pick a sci-fi triller for a quick read! I did watch the Brenae Brown Netflix special and loved it!

    A jumpsuit is something I’ve had my eye on but just haven’t been gutsy enough to buy it. Maybe I’ll get the courage to just buy one some day!

    1. Hi Virjinia — now sci-fi is one genre I definitely don’t enjoy hehee — and I loved the Brene Brown Netflix special way more than her book. Hope you have a fab weekend, and I bet you could rock a jumpsuit! 🙂

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