Current faves: Pumpkin patch, books, beauty tools and weekly workouts

Hi, friends! How are you? How was your week? Mine was pretty good, but also a little annoying, because we were without power at our house for 18 hours, due to some outages across the Bay Area to prevent fires. You don’t realize how much you need electricity until it’s gone, you know? We’re back in business now, thank goodness.

Other than that, this week I subbed an extra BODYPUMP class, got a lot of work done, had my 900th pumpkin-spice-latte-with-almond-milk-and-one-less-pump of the season, Brady enjoyed his second week of preschool and much more. Today, I’ve got a new selection of favorites for you, with a little family, fun, food, beauty and fitness …

Current faves


Brady’s first pumpkin patch visit

Can you believe I had never been to a pumpkin patch before? Well, I hadn’t, and neither had Brady. Over the weekend, we took him over to the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm, which is about 30 minutes from us. It was a little hotter than we had hoped that day, but we had a great time, and there was a lot more there than I had expected.

In addition to the pumpkins, the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm has a train ride, hay maze, animals, food for sale, a craft shop and much more. We only stayed about an hour, because it was getting toasty and we had to get Brady home for his nap, but he was thoroughly entertained the whole time.

Ashley and Brady at the pumpkin patch at 2 years old by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

I’ve never been drawn to these types of activities, but Brady loves to see and do new things, and it makes it so fun for both Dave and me to watch him get excited. But, no, we still can’t seem to capture his smile on camera — but I promise he was having a ball.

Dave and Brady at the pumpkin patch by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Ashley and Brady at pumpkin patch by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Local friends, I highly recommend this place, but go on a cooler day. Oh and apparently they have a Christmas farm too, so we’ll have to go back for that.

Ashley and Brady at the pumpkin patch by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

(This is an old maternity top that now I tie up to make a regular top and so still wear it all the time. And of course, my staple belt bag.)


All the pumpkin things

Is there such a thing as too much pumpkin? Perhaps so, but I’m here for it. Two of my current favorite pumpkin food items …

Pumpkin dates by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Pumpkin bars by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Yes!! Just do it!


“You Are Awesome” 

I received this book, “You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life” by Neil Pasricha, a couple of months ago from a PR firm and finally read it last week. It was a quick read and an oh-so-enjoyable one. This book is on pre-order now and is for sale at the beginning of next month, and I’d totally recommend it.

I had never heard of Pasricha before, but apparently he wrote a couple of New York Times Bestsellers, including “The Book of Awesome” and “The Happiness Equation” and has a popular blog. 

You Are Awesome book by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Here’s what I liked about this book …

Pasricha has great stories about his life and how he figured out how to take every failure and turn it into a learning experience. He is so engaging in his conversational writing style, and he is not afraid to over share. I also like that he used to be in the corporate world and now does his own thing.

The basis of the book is his nine “secrets to resilience in life” tips. And these tips aren’t like the ones you find in other motivational self-help-type books at all. He reiterates his nine tips throughout every chapter, so you remember them and can build on them as you move along. Some of my favorite tips are …

  • Just add a dot-dot-dot. As in, whenever something happens that you don’t like, you don’t have to see the sentence as ending with a period — you put those three dots and continue the journey with what’s next. So powerful. This can be used in many situations.
  • See it as a step. Every failure is teaching you something. Never forget that.
  • Lose more to win more. If you aren’t trying in life, you won’t have big wins. 
  • Go untouchable. This tip was all about taking some time here and there to have an “untouchable and unreachable” day where you go and work like crazy on your passion projects and do deep creative work to get ahead. Definitely not something I could ever do as a mom to a toddler, but a cool idea, nonetheless.
  • Never, never stop. The key to life right here.

This quote …

There’s no you of today without everything in your past. There’s no you of tomorrow without everything you’re going through now, either.”

Overall, I loved this book. It just made me feel good, and it gave me a little kick in the pants to just keep trucking. We all need that sometimes. 🙂


Using a foundation brush

How have I never used a foundation brush until now? I ordered this one from Beautycounter, and it’s retractable, the bristles are not made from animals, and boy does this make a DIFFERENCE when applying foundation. I’ve been using it like this: I squeeze out a little bit of my dew skin moisturizer (on weekdays when I don’t need much coverage and want the SPF), or my tint skin foundation (on days when I want more coverage), onto the side of my hand, then I tap the brush into the foundation and apply it to my face. I start on the nose, sides of nose, chin and forehead and blend outward — I learned this tip recently from a Beautycounter tutorial, and it is really helpful.

Beautycounter retractable foundation brush by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

The foundation brush blends the makeup directly into the skin properly, whereas the makeup sponge I had been using before sort’ve sucked up a lot of the makeup, so it took several tries to get an even coverage. Now, I’m using LESS product each day, and yet, it looks like I’ve applied more, in just the right way.

If you spend any money on good foundation (hopefully you’re using Beautycounter by now), I would highly recommend investing in a makeup brush like this to finish your look. I don’t ever want to apply foundation without it now. Oh, and it’s retractable, so you just put the top back on it and throw it in your makeup bag.

Speaking of beauty, two pieces of news:

Beautycounter holiday 2019 by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

  • HOLIDAY: The amazing limited-edition Beautycounter holiday sets launched for sale this week. I highly recommend adding them to your Christmas list and shopping soon, before they sell out. I’ll share more about them soon, but you can shop here. (Also, if you want to be in the loop on holiday gifting and Beautycounter sales, sign up for the beauty list here.)
  • SKINCARE HELP: I’ve heard from some of you that you want to switch to Beautycounter, but you’re overwhelmed with what to buy and where to start. So I put together a skincare questionnaire for you. Fill it out, and I’ll get back to you with customized recommendations for your skin-type.


Weekly workout recap

Let’s move into a look at my latest week of workouts from last week …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: Practiced BODYPUMP for 50 minutes, 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 30-minute CXWORX, 10 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Taught 1-hour barre, 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: Rest day (walked on the treadmill for 25 minutes and reviewed choreography)
  • Saturday: Taught 1-hour BODYATTACK, 9:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: Taught 1-hour BODYPUMP, 8:30 a.m.

This past week of workouts was very class heavy again, and I taught five classes, oh my. I hadn’t taught a full hour BODYATTACK class in … wait for it … 3.5 years, that’s right. I’ve been back to teaching BODYATTACK for about seven months, but always teach the 45-minute express version. It’s only a small difference, but I was a little nervous to sub the full hour — good news, it went great. And BODYATTACK is hard and fun at 45 minutes or a full hour, when you’re teaching it or taking it. Other than that, I did weights in BODYPUMP and barre and had a rest day too. A good week of fitness, but hoping for some more time for a solo session next week, or perhaps some yoga.

By the way, if you need a workout over the weekend, give Les Mills On Demand a try, with my special referral link that gives you 21 days for free.

Best reads

A few things from around the web …

  • The benefits of honey. I love to add some local honey to my morning tea, and that’s not only because it tastes good, but honey is good for you. It’s an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Here’s an interesting article on other uses for honey and how much you need each day.
  • Recycling tips. I have to admit, when I first moved to California, I was nervous about which items went in each of the multiple bins, because I was used to only seeing the trash bin in Florida. But now I’m much more well-versed and always trying to do better. This article has some tips for how you can do your part to recycle and reduce, and I LOVE the tip about only buying something you plan to wear 30 times. Amen to that! I’m a clothes repeater through and through.

Here’s the quote of the week from the Calm app …

CALM quote about going forward by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

A Lady Goes West favorite archives

How we can make the most of the last 90 days of 2019 by A Lady Goes West

My top 10 Amazon Prime purchases I order over and over again by A Lady Goes West

As always, thank you SO much for stopping by the blog. I hope you have a GREAT weekend! We don’t have a ton on the agenda, other than the fact that I’m subbing BODYPUMP on Sunday morning again. See you soon!

P.S. Did you get the second A Lady Goes West newsletter that went out earlier this week? If you’re not signed up for the list, sign up here. xoxo

Questions of the day

How was your week?

Have you done anything fall festive yet this season?

What’s your favorite cosmetic or beauty tool?

Where can you add a dot-dot-dot in your life?


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