Current faves of the week: New schedule, book, barre, Brady and workouts

Hi, friends! How are you? How was the first week of February? I’m finishing up a busy week over here.

This week, I began my new schedule of teaching five classes a week, one each day on Monday through Friday, which is definitely the most I’ve taught regularly since before Brady was born. I am also subbing an extra class today, so that will make six total for this week. The good news is that I’m repeating the format twice for two of them each week, so I won’t have extra programming to create with this new schedule. Moving forward, I’ll have two Barbell Strength classes, two LifeBarre classes and one Shred class. I’m excited to have all of these classes, because I absolutely love to teach them. I had originally said I was fine with four, but of course, I got offered a fifth and couldn’t say no. 🙂 

This week, I also officially began a month-long beginner’s group tennis program at Life Time, which I enrolled in for February. I’ve talked about learning tennis ever since we moved here, and I even put it on my goals for 2022, so here we go. I’ll keep you posted, but as of now … not much to report other than that I’m a beginner. And I have my own racket at least. Also, Dave bought me a tennis skirt, but I was too nervous to wear it to my first meeting with this group without any skills to back it up, so maybe next time. Oh how it’s good to be new at something, because it sure reminds you how it feels for others to be new, and that’s always an eye-opening experience. I’m not a huge fan of not being good at something. Anyone else?

This weekend, we don’t have much on the agenda, other than a birthday party for a four-year-old in our neighborhood and some friend activities. Alright, let’s talk favorites, my friends …

Current faves of the week


“Buy Yourself the F-ing Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life” by Tara Schuster

I saw this book, “Buy Yourself the F-ing Lilies,” pop up on a couple of recommended lists and felt intrigued. I liked the cover (which, as silly as it sounds, matters to me), and I liked the name of it. I finally checked it out from the library and finished it in about three weeks with reading just a small chunk most nights before bed. 

This is the first book from the author, Tara Schuster, and she’s an executive at Comedy Central. Schuster is also a writer at heart, so she felt compelled to share stories on how she’s fixed her life after hitting her rock bottom. 

The writing style is incredibly casual and conversational, and I like that. However, Schuster took it as far as to spell though as “tho” in the text, and that was too much for me. Other than that, she does an excellent job keeping it light and funny, even when talking about tough stuff like family drama, alcohol and drug abuse and so much more.

Buy Yourself Lilies Book by A Lady Goes West

(“Buy Yourself the F-ing Lilies” by Tara Schuster.)

Basically, Schuster was a total mess, and she decided to turn her life around by taking on a gratitude practice, cleaning up her space, eating better foods, exercising, going to a lot of therapy and learning to rise above the self-limiting beliefs she had held onto. And she made all of these transformations by creating special “rituals” — one at a time.

I’m a sucker for self-help books that include a lot of real personal information, because I think it’s interesting to hear about other people’s transformations. I will say that a lot of her advice I didn’t necessarily need. And I don’t say that to be boastful, but Schuster was really in a bad place before writing this book, and I have a lot of things that she needed to work on under control (like health, fitness, some relationships, etc.). But I certainly took away some reminders and inspiration, especially on how powerful keeping a journal and writing things down is.

Here are a few noteworthy section titles that tell you what you’re getting into with this book:

  • The Mind Rituals: It’s Not Too Late to Heal Your Thoughts
  • The Body Rituals: I Stopped Treating My Body and Physical Space Like a Garbage Can, and So Can You
  • The Relationship Rituals: You Can’t Control How Others Treat You, but You Can Control What You’ll Accept

If you like an entertaining book with some real and raw intel from someone who has changed their life, this one is good. There’s a lot of TMI, and there’s a lot of questionable content (I think the title clues you in on that), but it’s actually very enjoyable. I liked it. And yes, I am absolutely going to buy myself some lilies. Because as Schuster explains over and over again, you have to treat yourself like a queen, and if you like flowers, you better buy them regularly, because you deserve them. 

Side note: The whole book somewhat reminded me of “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, but I liked Sincero’s book more and took more away from it (and I reviewed that book here). Still, this one gets a spot on the favorites today.


Our second Barre + Bubbles at Life Time

This was so fun! Yes, I get to teach classes at the gym every day during the week, but there’s just something different about the energy of a special event. Last Saturday, I co-taught a special LifeBarre class with another instructor (Tracy, shown below, who happens to be the person who taught the very first class I ever took at Life Time Charlotte before I even got hired, and she’s amazing). 

We each selected music from women artists and so our playlist was full of good ones by Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and more. It was a powerful soundtrack to a workout featuring a mixture of ballet, Pilates and conditioning. (Also a quick question for you: Would you guys ever have any interest in seeing more of my playlists or hearing about my class-creation process? Let me know!)

After the class, we had treats and bubbles, chatted and got to enjoy four solo performances from some local dancers preparing for an upcoming competition.

Barre and Bubbles event by A Lady Goes West

Barre and Bubbles after event by A Lady Goes West

Barre and Bubbles treats after event by A Lady Goes West

I invited one of my friends from the neighborhood (Andrea, shown above), and she was impressed with how much fun the workout was, while also being challenging. And that’s why I love group fitness — because you end up doing so much more than you’d do alone, when you’re working out in that type of setting. Because this Barre + Bubbles event was such a hit, we’re going to do another one in a couple of months.

Also, this event is just another reason that Life Time is a huge part of why I love living in Charlotte. It’s an excellent community of people and it’s so much more than a gym. If you’re looking for a place to sweat, make friends and spend some time, you should totally look for a Life Time in your area. Or come visit me at mine, if you’re ever in the South Charlotte area.

Barre and Bubbles team by A Lady Goes West

I know most people wouldn’t be excited to head to the gym on a Saturday afternoon, but our event was sold out, and I think everyone who attended had a blast. Our event had all ladies in attendance, from young to old, with varying movement abilities, and that just goes to show that group fitness can be for everyone. Three cheers for making fitness fun. 🙂 


New black do-it-all clutch/pouch bag

I have wanted this clutch/pouch bag for a while and finally ordered it a few weeks ago. It’s sort’ve a clutch, but also sort’ve a pouch, and it can definitely go into a backpack, diaper bag or bigger bag if you need it to be stored. I used it as a clutch last Saturday when Dave and I met a couple of friends for drinks in the early evening, and it’s surprisingly roomy. 

MZ Wallace pouch by A Lady Goes West

(New black quilted pouch/clutch and of course, my favorite dark mom jeans.)

This is now officially my third piece from the MZ Wallace brand, and I just love how different they all are. I like the quilted tufting, how soft the pieces are and how spacious they are too. Also, I feel like they don’t look like everything else out there. I’m a big fan and definitely plan to get more pieces to add to my collection over time. This one was quite affordable too.


Brady got a haircut

Okay, truth be told, I’ve been cutting Brady’s hair at home for his entire life, except for two instances. Just before he started school in 2020, he got his haircut by my hair stylist in California. And since then, I’ve been doing his trims at home, and they’ve looked okay. However, he’s had some uneven spots, which we started noticing more and more now that his hair is more wavy than curly. Here’s his before picture showcasing his messy (but adorable) mane …

Brady before a haircut by A Lady Goes West

Well, based on that, Dave thought we should get Brady a real haircut. So I asked my friends where they’ve taken their kiddos and decided on Pigtails & Crewcuts in the Blakeney area not too far from us. We made an appointment for a weekday evening, showed up and only waited a few minutes to get going. Brady was so pumped to sit in a firetruck seat and watch cartoons during his cut. 

Brady getting a haircut by A Lady Goes West

He stayed totally still, and the cut was over in less than 10 minutes. He looks great, and they even gave him a little gift bag of trinkets before we left. We were pleased with the outcome, and I think we’ll probably go back again.

After his haircut, we went to Target and then got dinner at Chopt, so it was a nice mid-week family outing. And here’s the final product for your viewing pleasure. Also, yes, he got a lolly and took two licks before saying he didn’t want it …

Brady after his haircut by A Lady Goes West


My workouts from last week

Here’s where I share a recap of my previous week of workouts. I share this to show you how I try to get diversity in my week, and how I always take a rest day. But remember, I do a little bit more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor. 

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 1/24

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class with light weights at Life Time, 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Practiced barre at home for 30 minutes, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class at Life Time, 12 p.m.
  • Saturday: Co-taught 1-hour barre class with light weights at Life Time, 1 p.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was almost totally classes, except for one practice session at home. I love teaching my classes, and I’ve increased my schedule to five days a week of classes as of this week, so I’m going to have to find a way to get in a good workout on my own, to work on what I want to work on. I also need some yoga, and I didn’t fit that in either. But there’s always next week. The good news is that I did plenty of foam rolling and stretching, at least.

Best read from the week …

Here’s an article I read this week that I felt was worthy of sharing with you:

Trader Joe’s finds. I haven’t been to Trader Joe’s in a couple of months, and I’m due for stocking up. This is a great list from a health coach on some items to look out for at Trader Joe’s. I had never heard of jicama wraps, so I’ll be searching for those on my next visit. And some of my staples, like coconut aminos, coconut oil and even alternative pastas are on there too. Gotta love Trader Joe’s for easy, convenient and mostly healthy food items.

Quote of the week …

A good one I shared on Instagram last week …

Chin up quote by A Lady Goes West

A Lady Goes West archives of the week …

There are so many posts on this blog, let’s look back at two good ones (one recent, one older) …

Wellness habits. If you are short on time, but want to feel in control of your day with some simple healthy habits, check out this one … “Three super-simple wellness habits to get a better start to your day (and WHY).”

Three super-simple wellness habits to get a better start to your day (and WHY) by A Lady Goes West

Nutrition talk. This post is always a good one to revisit … “Five healthy eating habits to improve your nutrition.

Five healthy eating habits to improve your nutrition by A Lady Goes West

Thanks for stopping by the blog to read, my friends. I hope you have a fabulous day. Stay hydrated, stay moving and be well! 🙂

Questions of the day for YOU …

What are you up to this weekend?

Have you read anything good lately?

When is the last time you had fun during your workout?



  1. Hi Ashley,

    Barre and Bubbles looks so much fun! I miss group fitness as I haven’t been to the gym for nearly 2 years now but I always keep my home workouts fun so not too bad after all. It is my 30 minutes each day just for me and it always recharges me.

    This weekend I am hoping to go for a walks, other than that it will be a chilled one at home, trying to get organised as I am going to the office for the first time in 8 months. It will only be a few hours but I am nervous and excited at the same time.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Andrea! You are not alone in that you now work out at home and are happy with it — while a ton of people are back at the gym — also a lot have decided they have a good thing going at home. I like how home workouts are more conducive to shorter workouts — so keep up the good work. And that’s HUGE you will be heading back into the office. I’m sure you have mixed emotions, and I’m wishing you good luck with the transition. Happy Friday, lady!

      1. It is what works for me right now but I do see myself going back to the gym at some point for some of my workouts at least. I miss the people and I’d like to do my bit to support my local gym and instructors

        1. I totally get it! The gym and the community will be there for you when you can make it back. Until then, enjoy those shorter home workouts! 🙂

  2. Great post today!

    Brady looks so grown up with his new hair cut! So adorable!

    I would love to see more of your playlists and your class creation process. For my body sculpting classes, I have six templates and each week I switch up a few exercises. I keep a little journal indicating the template I used and the name of my playlist. Since I have six templates, my class creation is not too tedious, but maybe I can pick up a few tips from you!

    One of these days, I will be in one of your classes! Congrats on picking up a 5th class. This is true sign that you are an awesome instructor!😀

    I haven’t read any new books lately, but I am hooked on Wordle!

    1. Hi Linda! Happy Friday to you! Sounds like you are nice and organized with creating your body sculpt class. I will definitely think about how I can share some class-creation information soon. I have learned a lot in these last several months doing it on my own. And you MUST take my class when you visit Charlotte next. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy that sea salt water!

  3. Since you asked (!), I would love to know about your process for creating your group fitness classes.

    I highly recommend the book Bear Awareness, by Ajahm Braham. It is a book I come back to time and time again.

    Thanks for being here!

    1. Hi Eve! I just looked up the book and it sounds very interesting — thanks for the tip on that! And yes, I will totally write more about my class creation process one day soon. Thanks for the share, and have a happy Friday! 🙂 xoxo

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