Current faves of the week: Our first pizza party in Charlotte, fashion, workouts and more

Hey, friends! How’s the first week of April treating you? Also, how are we in April already?

My week was pretty good! It was full, but not too full, which is nice. I taught my five regular classes, took Brady to swim, had one of his school friends over for a playdate (which was super cute, because they are total besties and talk about each other all the time when they aren’t together), worked on the blog and on a fitness freelance piece and created a new barre workout for next week (a very time-consuming process, as you know).

This weekend, we don’t have anything on the agenda outside of a tennis clinic for me on Sunday, which is a big change from our busy weekends of the past few weeks.

Brady waiting for his friend by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s Brady waiting for his friend to arrive for the playdate, on a very rainy day.)

Brady is officially on spring break for about 10 days too, but, sadly, we don’t have any fun travel plans. Both Dave and I will still be working regularly, so I’ll just take Brady to the gym with me when I teach. But I do hope to schedule at least a mid-week lunch-date or something out-of-the-usual with him next week.

Now for the current faves of the week …

Current faves of the week


Hosting our first big pizza party in Charlotte

This was a good one!

We had the greatest night last Friday, when we hosted five other couples for a big pizza party dinner — a total of 12 people, so it was quite big.

Our guests arrived at 7:30 p.m., and the last three couples left at 1:55 a.m. — OMG. I literally couldn’t tell you the last time I stayed up that late, and that was the group consensus. Time flew, and we laughed, ate, sipped on wine and even played Cards Against Humanity (a terrible game, but always a party favorite).

I think part of the reason we stayed so late is because one of the couples is moving away for a new job opportunity (this was our second-to-last big hang-out with them), so we had to make it count. So sad! And we will miss them.

But let me tell you, I was pretty tired on Sunday, because Brady didn’t let me sleep in. And no, it’s generally not good to skimp on sleep and have an extra cup of coffee/tea, but things that you do only occasionally like this are no big deal. To me, fun times, even when they knock you out of your usually healthy routine, are often good for you in different ways. 🙂 

Dinner party friends by A Lady Goes West
(I’m wearing my favorite faux-leather joggers in a medium, and the perfect white tee in a small.)

I made all the appetizers and set up for the party, and Dave prepared all five pizzas, which was a pretty big undertaking. We shared in the clean-up process, so it was a total team effort to make this fun activity happen.

Appetizers for pizza party by A Lady Goes West

Here’s the appetizer spread:

  • Shrimp cocktail — I bought the shrimp from Whole Foods, and the lemon and cocktail sauce from Publix, and I sectioned out each shrimp with sauce into these little dishes to keep it clean. Everyone was into the shrimp, and we almost finished them.
  • Italian meatballs — I bought two bags of frozen meatballs, added spices and sauce and cheese and cooked these in the crockpot for four hours. They were delicious, and I will totally make them again.
  • Artichoke dip — I bought artichoke dip from Publix and little bread chunks from Whole Foods, and I sectioned some dip with a piece of crunchy bread out in little dishes to make it more fancy. Always a crowd pleaser.

Not too shabby for someone who doesn’t like to cook, you know? I chose very simple things that people like that I didn’t need to make from scratch.

Cupcakes for pizza party by A Lady Goes West

And for dessert, I got chocolate chip cookies from Publix and an assortment of cupcakes from Smallcakes. We also had gelato and cheesecake, which some friends brought over. Also, I know I’ve mentioned Smallcakes before, and those are some delicious cupcakes. I like the carrot cake or red velvet ones the best, but that’s no surprise. 

Dinner was Caesar salad and various types of pizza made in the pizza oven by Dave. Leading up to the party, Dave and I had been having pizza from our pizza oven about twice a week so he could practice different toppings. He’s had to relearn his pizza-making skills in this new oven, because it cooks differently than our brick pizza oven from California. I think the new pizza oven makes pizza just as well as the last, and the group was very impressed. Me too. I always love pizza.

Overall, we are so happy to have pizza parties back in our lives.

Pizza by A Lady Goes West

It had been so long since we hosted a real party like this, and it was a lot of work, but it was totally worth it. We were rinsing wine glasses and cleaning up serving dishes until the afternoon the next day, but I immediately wondered when we could have friends over again. Maybe this summer. Three cheers for hosting, fun friends and good food!


Calling for input and the ALGW Friends Facebook group

Facebook group

I know some of you don’t use social media at all, and I support that 100 percent. But if you do use Facebook, I’d love to have you join the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group. I used to post in there a lot more often, and I’d love to get back to connecting with you there, between posts on the blog. If you’d like to join, head here. And once you join, you can turn on notifications for the posts, by right clicking on the group name. That would be so helpful.

Beautiful flowers from friends by A Lady Goes West

(Check out these beautiful flowers that my friends brought me for hosting the pizza party. These, combined with the sunflowers I bought for centerpieces, mean our house is full of flowers right now, which I love. And it always reminds me that I don’t need a special occasion to get flowers and should buy them for myself more often.)

Advice and questions

I’m also due for another ask-me-anything advice corner post. If you’d like to submit a question totally anonymously, head here to enter it. I’ve also included a place where you can submit post requests anonymously. Thank you for your input, because it matters to me, and I read it all.


Two perfect white pieces of clothing

If you caught my post from earlier in the week, then you’ve seen these two items. But they deserve a favorites mention as well. I found the perfect white tee, and the perfect white jeans. One is pricey, one is totally a steal. And I will be wearing these all spring and summer long.

Ashley in new white jeans by A Lady Goes West

(Here are the jeans. I’m wearing a medium.)

Ashley wearing faux leather joggers and new white tee by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s the tee, I’m wearing a small.)


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 (almost always). But remember, I do a little bit more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor. 

New weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 3/28

  • 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: Taught 45-minute barre class with light weights at Life Time, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class at Life Time, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: 15-minute weights workout at home, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Took 90-minute tennis lesson, 11:30 a.m.

This past week of workouts was a full one! I made time for a short workout at home, I taught five classes, and I had a tennis clinic/lesson. Although a 90-minute tennis lesson sure doesn’t count as a rest day, it was a much lighter day, as well as the 15-minute workout I did at home, so I feel like my weekends have been good recovery time lately. My workouts are going fine right now, but there’s always more I want to do and improvements I want to make in my overall strength.

Best reads of the week …

Here are two things I read this week that I felt like sharing with you:

The benefits of getting outside. I haven’t done a workout outdoors in forever, but I do almost always fit in a neighborhood walk once a week, which includes walking on our nature trail. It really is healing to get fresh air, sunlight and time in the elements away from technology. Granted, I am often listening to music or a podcast, but my eyes are looking around at my surroundings. This is a short and sweet article on the benefits of being outdoors and why you should consider adding more outdoor time to your routine. But don’t forget your mineral sunscreen.

Beautycounter’s social mission report. In 2021, Beautycounter did a lot of good in the world, including receiving its highest ever B-corporation score, creating more sustainable products, helping to pass legislation to make personal care laws safer for people and producing refillable products and more. Here’s the whole social mission report from last year with a look at all the details, and this is why I feel good about being a part of this company.

Quote of the week …

Here’s a quote from a recent meditation that spoke to me:

Unfolding of events by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week …

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

Fashion. In this one, I’m sharing the fruits of my recent online-shopping labor, and there is a variety of price points too … “Six things I’ve bought to wear this spring 2022.”

Six things I've bought to wear this spring 2022 by A Lady Goes West


Fitness talk. This is an older post, but it’s got some great insight that is worth revisiting, if you need it … “What I’ve learned about fitness from taking time off from the gym.”

What I've learned about fitness from taking time off from the gym by A Lady Goes West (2)

Thanks for stopping by, my friends. Have an awesome day! Stay hydrated. 🙂 

Questions of the day for YOU …

How was your week?

Do you have anything fun planned for the month of April?

Do you prefer to shop in person or online?



  1. I swore I commented last week but I LOVE the new layout and blog design. I love it both from your home page and linked to your email/newsletter.
    I almost thought you would do leopard print! I do love the yellow.

    That pizza party looks so fun and I loved the individual shrimp cocktails! that is an idea I am stealing for my next party!!

    1. Hi Sabrina! Yes, you did comment — but I’m all for two mentions about liking the new blog design from you ehhe! I appreciate that. And I love animal print so much, but I didn’t see that as being design-friendly on the blog heeheh! Hope you are having a great weekend!

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