Current faves: It’s my birthday, Santa brunch, holiday lights, friend time and more

Hi, friend! How are you? I hope you’ve been having a great week! 

Today is my birthday! I’m teaching my usual barbell class (and Dave is attending, yay!), then we’re going out to lunch and hanging out with my mom and Brady. It’s hard to believe that last year at this time, although my mom was visiting, we had no idea she’d be fully living here the following year. It’s amazing how life can change, right?

This birthday, I’m feeling content. I like where I am, I like what I do and I like who I’m with, and that’s a really great feeling that I try to hold onto, even when hard things come and go.

This past week was super busy, but fun. Monday started off with our besties still in town, so we hung out with them, and once they left, I launched back into class prep mode. Not only did I teach my regular classes this week, but I decided to add some holiday tracks to my LifeBarre class, and I taught my first ever En Barre class, which was really enjoyable and went great for my first time (it’s an on-the-barre class with some different elements) — so there was a lot of group fitness work taking place. Other than that, I finished up my Christmas shopping, went to a girlfriend’s amazing holiday dinner gathering (more on that below) and even got my hair done. 

This weekend, we’ll be celebrating Christmas, and I’m going to try to take two full days off of work, but I’ll be back in the gym the day after Christmas to teach.

Now, let’s get to the faves, full of recent holiday fun …

Current faves


Brunch with Santa

Last weekend, we took Brady to a Brunch with Santa at our country club. This was only Brady’s second time meeting Santa, and he was looking forward to it for a while.

Last year, Brady was nervous going up to Santa and didn’t want to go near him, but this year — even though he was nervous — he actually sat on Santa’s lap. He told Santa that he wants a Nerf gun for Christmas, and I think he’ll get it.

Santa brunch at BCC by A Lady Goes West

Santa brunch at BCC 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Also, a funny thing: The person managing the line to see Santa asked Brady if he’s been good this year, and Brady said, “Not really.” Love his honesty! 

After we took our picture with Santa, we ate a yummy brunch and then hung out with our friends for a bit.

Also, here’s my dress, which I bought just for this. I’m wearing a small, and it’s a little snug on my arms, but it fits great everywhere else, and I’ll definitely wear it again, because I love a versatile sweater dress …

Santa brunch dress 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Brady’s end-of-year Christmas concert at preschool

Last Friday, Dave and I attended Brady’s end-of-the-calendar-year Christmas “concert” and get together at his preschool. It was absolutely adorable, and we loved being there.

Brady and his classmates all wore Christmas jammies, and they sang and danced a few songs for us. (Brady didn’t sing with his classmates during the first song and instead just jumped around facing the wrong direction, but thank goodness, he joined in during the second song.)

Brady preschool concert 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Brady school concert 2022 by A Lady Goes West

After the prepared performance portion, Brady’s teacher let all the kiddos freestyle, and they were bouncing around, smiling and dancing for all the parents. It was a real scene. We took plenty of video, and I think we’ll enjoy looking back at it for years to come.

While we were there, I heard the song “Reindeer Pokey” for the first time, and it’s a cute one for kids during the holidays, so look that up, if you haven’t heard it yet.

We feel really lucky that Brady loves his teachers and his school friends so much, and we’re glad he has a few more months with them in 2023 before moving on to kindergarten next fall.


Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular with friends

When our friends — Grant, Bre and their three kids — came through Charlotte to see us last weekend, we took them to the Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular. This is the first year of this event, so we didn’t know what to expect, and we were pleasantly surprised.

NC holiday lights by A Lady Goes West

There were over a million Christmas lights on the big Ballantyne Backyard lawn, and you could walk through everything to enjoy the path, which was about half a mile. There was also a big inflated slide for kids, which we bought extra tickets for, and I got to take Brady down — and it was very steep, but so fun.

If this event takes place again next year, we’ll surely go back, because it’s close to our house, affordable and super festive. However, this year, it was really muddy from recent rain and our shoes were a wreck. Oh well!

Girlfriend holiday dinner

Earlier this week, my girlfriend, Andrea, hosted the most amazingly well done holiday party for our group of friends. She hired a chef, who made a delicious meal, and she created a gorgeous table setting, complete with menus and place-cards. And while all of that was really nice, what was even nicer was the company.

Andrea holiday party by A Lady Goes West

Andreas party by A Lady Goes West

We laughed, danced, chatted and stayed up way too late on a Tuesday. I’m truly and fully grateful to have this group of genuinely lovely ladies in my life! I feel so good when I hang out with them, every single time.


My workouts from last week

Every week, I like to share a recap of my previous week of workouts. I share this to show you how I try to get diversity of movement in my week, and how I always take a rest day (almost always). But remember, I do a little bit more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor. You absolutely don’t need to compare your movement to mine.

New weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 12/12

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class with light weights, 9:30 a.m., took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Did 40-minute full-body weights, 9:30 a.m., taught 45-minute barre class with light weights, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class, 9:45 a.m., took 1-hour tennis clinic, 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday: Did 45-minute Les Mills Strength Development at home via Les Mills+, 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was full! I only taught four classes, but I did manage to pick up heavier weights three times between my Barbell Strength class and my two solo sessions, including a Les Mills+ home workout. I’ve been feeling very good in all my workouts lately, and so I know I’ve got a good mix. Here’s the solo workout I did …

Full-body solo session by A Lady Goes West

Best read of the week

Here’s an article that I thought was interesting:

Reading-comprehension tips. This is a great article on how to better remember what you read. And one of the first tips? Start more books, and quit books that you aren’t enjoying more frequently. I need to be better about this, because I often make myself finish a book I’m not loving. When I read self-development books I never take notes, and I think that would be a great idea too. 

Quote of the week

Here’s a thought for you from Positively Present on Instagram. I like it. It’s simple, but powerful, especially as we go into a new year …

Shake things up by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at a couple posts I recently published:

Reader favorites. I loved putting together this one, because it’s always interesting to see what you like to have/wear/use in your own life … “The 10 most popular items I’ve shared that you’ve bought in 2022 (reader favorites).”

The 10 most popular items I've shared that you've bought in 2022 (reader favorites) by A Lady Goes West

Most popular posts. I also loved putting together this one to see which posts got the most traction this year … “The 25 most popular blog posts of 2022 on A Lady Goes West.”

The 25 most popular blog posts of 2022 on A Lady Goes West

Thanks for stopping by the blog, my friend. If you’re planning to celebrate Christmas this weekend, I hope you feel some peace and joy and get to spend time with people you care about. I’ll have a new post up later in the week next week, but it will be coming.

Sending you lots of love! 🙂 xoxo

Questions of the day for YOU

Will you be celebrating this weekend?

What’s one thing you’re grateful for right now?



  1. Happy birthday Ashley! I hope the year ahead is a good one for you. Thank you for all the blog posts this year, I’m grateful for you and this blog ♡

  2. Happy happy happy happy Birthday! I hope your day is as awesome as you are!

    Thank you for always sharing your adventures! Truly one of the only blogs where I read every post!

    Happy Holidays to your family and happy birthday to you!

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