Current faves: Review of BistroMD meals, “Toxic” book, 12th anniversary and life lately

Hi, friend! How are you? Welcome to June! This week is a big one in our house … it’s Brady’s last week of kindergarten, and I can hardly believe it. This week also marks a change for me, as I’m switching up my group fitness teaching schedule a little bit, and I’m debuting a new class.

Ashley and Brady on Mother's Day by A Lady Goes West
(Wearing my new Mother’s Day necklaces, here and here in this picture.)

Once school is over, we’re looking forward to a summer full of gym time, pool days, bike rides, fun with friends and a couple trips. Now let’s chat about the current faves …

Current faves


Enjoying BistroMD pre-made meals for easy lunches

*Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate for BistroMD. If you shop through my links or use my promo code, I earn a small commission. And I did receive my meals complimentary. Thanks for your support!

BistroMD meals by A Lady Goes West

BistroMD meals by A Lady Goes West

I’ve got a secret weapon lately, and it’s the fact that I have tasty, protein-filled, chef-made, real-food lunches waiting for me every day when I get home from the gym.

I’ve been eating BistroMD meals for lunch for the last two months most days of the week, and it’s been the greatest addition to my day. (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen these meals in action on my Instagram stories in real time.) Not only do I look forward to choosing what I get to eat for lunch like I’m reading from a restaurant menu, but also, in just four minutes in the microwave, my nutritious meal is ready for me. And that’s absolutely necessary when I come home from a busy morning, and I’m starving.

I’ve tried a few ready-made meal delivery services over the years, but I’ve never stuck with one like I’m sticking with BistroMD. The meals fill me up, even if they sometimes don’t look that big — they’re nutrient dense, and they’re tasty. And as the name states, these meals are created by doctors and dietitians.

Most of the lunches have around 30 grams of protein, along with some veggies and a flavorful sauce. I always add sea salt and black pepper and put the food on a real plate, because it makes it feel less like a microwavable situation. I do find that BistroMD includes green beans a lot, and those aren’t my favorite, so I try to choose/eat the ones with other veggies more often. (I haven’t liked green beans since childhood, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.)

So why eat BistroMD meals?

I’m a big fan of choosing the most convenient option, and I’ve been loving having BistroMD in my freezer and in my life. It keeps me from having to find ingredients, cook things, assemble and make a mess in the kitchen in the middle of the day. The less work for me, the better.

And if this sounds good to you, I have a little discount code for you …

If you want to try BistroMD meals, you can get HALF OFF your first week with the code LADY50. I think these meals are perfect for someone who wants to eat healthy for lunch and doesn’t have the time to cook. You can also eat these meals for dinner, of course, but I’ve only done lunch.

BistroMD grilled pesto salmon by A Lady Goes West

BistroMD chicken pizza bowl by A Lady Goes West

Meal programs:

BistroMD offers meal plans with breakfast, lunch and dinner. And you can select a women’s program, men’s program, vegan program, gluten-free program, heart-healthy program, keto-flex program or even a menopause program. All of my meals have been from the heart-healthy program, and I’ve loved nearly all of them. If you want help deciding which program is for you, you can take this handy quiz.

BistroMD butternut squash lasagna by A Lady Goes West

BistroMD grilled BBQ salmon by A Lady Goes West

How BistroMD works:

When you sign up for your week of meals on the BistroMD website, you can review the options selected for you in your program and make some changes, if something doesn’t sound good to you. I’ve made changes a few times, and I’ve also accepted the entire program as is and been pleased too. Either way, I love that you can see what you’ll be getting ahead of time. You get an email when it’s time to choose your preferences, and you get an email when your meals have shipped to you.

BistroMD meals

BistroMD meals

BistroMD meals arrive in a big green and tan box, and they are shipped frozen with dry ice. Once the box arrives, all you have to do is load the meals into your freezer, and then pull them out when you’re ready to dine. Fun fact: If you choose your meal the night before you need it, it’s best to let the meal defrost in the fridge, then it takes about a minute less to heat in the microwave. That’s what I usually do.

Right now, I have a freezer full of a variety of meals with different types of proteins and flavors, and I love picking out what I’ll have the next day. I’ve let Dave in on this goodness a few times too, and he’s also enjoyed what he’s had. And one more thing: BistroMD has also helped me to try new things. Speaking of new to me, here’s a look at one of my favorite meals I’ve had so far … who knew that I loved Shepherd’s Pie? 

BistroMD shepherd's pie by A Lady Goes West

Although buying a week of food online is an investment, groceries are pretty pricey these days too, so this ready-made service is an investment I can get behind. It’s absolutely worth it to have a healthy protein-and-produce-filled meal in the middle of the day, when I really need it.

Thank you for providing some healthy and tasty meals for me, BistroMD!


Reading “Toxic: Women, Fame and the Tabloid 2000s”

Right before our first family trip to NYC, I went to the library and looked around the new release section, and I stumbled upon this pink-covered book and grabbed it.

I could tell from the first few pages that I would absolutely eat it up … and I did, (although I ate it up very slowly). I read a lot on the plane on the way to and from NYC, but then I slowed down and got through only a few pages a night during the week back at home. I always read before bed, and I often fall asleep mid-page, even if I’m really into what I’m reading.

But back to the content of book: “Toxic: Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s” by journalist Sarah Ditum is so smartly written. Even though the book’s title gives the vibe of a fluffy magazine piece, that’s not at all what you’re getting here. In fact, Ditum clearly spent a lot of time developing this content. She wrote it like a research paper, with references, citations and actual quotes from celebrities in past interviews showcasing the media climate of the time.

Toxic book by A Lady Goes West

 (“Toxic: Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s” by Sarah Ditum)

To give you a quick summary: This book is about how the media handled famous women in the early 2000s and how those women’s lives were shaped for the better or worse due to media coverage. The famous women profiled in separate chapters in the text are Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Aaliyah, Janet Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Kim Kardashian, Chyna and Jennifer Aniston — all of whom had different media experiences and different life outcomes. I probably liked the chapter on Britney Spears the best, and it very much lined up with information I’ve seen on Britney in a couple of documentaries. 

I had forgotten how ruthless the media was in the 2000s, especially when it came to female celebrities. And this was a time when social media wasn’t as prevalent, so these ladies couldn’t control their own narratives. Oftentimes, they were victims of truly toxic media behavior, from picking apart their bodies, to labeling them, judging them and treating them terribly. I didn’t know a lot of the details that Ditum shared (outside of the Britney chapter), and it was incredibly interesting to read — especially when she showed examples of how the men in these ladies’ lives were treated better by the media at the exact same time.

I’ve always been into pop culture, and this book was a chance to go back to some topics, events and famous figures and see it all with a different perspective. If you’re into that type of thing, check out “Toxic: Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s” — because it’s a surprisingly intelligent read.

Life lately 

Some snapshots of recent highlights and favorites

Celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary

On May 26th, Dave and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. Dave and Brady were away at a father/son camp in Tuxedo, North Carolina with some friends that weekend, and they didn’t arrive home until mid-day on our anniversary. We were all a little tired from busy weekends, so Dave and I altered our bigger anniversary plans and instead went to dinner not too far from us in South Park to Little Mama’s Italian, which was totally excellent (and a lot of food, so we had plenty of leftovers, and I love leftovers).

For our anniversary, Dave gave me a gift certificate to a spa at a local hotel, and I bought him concert tickets (which I’ll get to enjoy too). I love that we both chose experience gifts, because we’re both big fans of experiences over things.

If we knew back in 2012 that we’d have moved across the country two times by our 12th (actually by our 9th anniversary), I wouldn’t have believed it. You just never know where life will take you, and I’m glad it’s been taking me places with Dave and the little family we’ve created.

12th anniversary by A Lady Goes West-1

Using my Hot Mess Ice Roller every morning

A few months ago, I wrote about my love for my new facial ice roller in a post about wellness things. Well, since that time, I’ve started using my ice roller every single morning, instead of a few times a week, and it’s such a treat. This ice roller, by The Skinny Confidential, reduces puffiness, improves circulation, feels great and gives me a little TLC as I sip my collagen coffee before getting ready for the day. I highly recommend it as a gift for you or someone you love. This is really one of those items that I didn’t know I needed until I had one.

TSC Ice Roller by A Lady Goes West

Taking an overnight trip to Atlanta to watch Charlotte FC play

This past weekend, Dave and I went to Atlanta for a night to watch Charlotte FC play Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz stadium in downtown Atlanta. It was a quick trip, but a good one. In addition to watching Charlotte FC take home the win (yay!), we also got to have lunch with my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Stephanie, which was lovely. We were definitely due for a catch-up with them.

Atlanta United game by A Lady Goes West

Wearing a couple new pieces of clothing I’ve been loving

I recently bought this smocked black dress with some store credit from Lulu’s, and it’s a casual and comfy midi-length piece I’ll get a lot of use out of. Even though the color is black, it’s light enough to wear during spring and summer. Here’s the dress in action for a recent wine night with some girlfriends (and this dress is currently on sale) …

Black dress by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my black midi dress. I’m in a small.)

I went shopping in person with my mom the other weekend (which I rarely do), and I saw these high-waisted wide-leg red pants and had to have them. I debuted them that same night for dinner with a girlfriend at new restaurant in Ballantyne. These pants have a soft denim-like fabric and a stretchy elastic waist too. (I also bought a top that day, and the top is currently on sale) …

Red pants by A Lady Goes West

(Here are my red pants. I’m in a 4. Here’s my top. I’m in a small.)

Soaking up good times in Charlotte with friends and family

Our friends invited us to a charity dinner to benefit the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society a few weeks ago, and it was a great night for a great cause. It was so moving to hear some of the doctors and survivors speak. It was also a beautiful night in Charlotte, and we captured this sunset before dinner …

Friends at LLS dinner by A Lady Goes West

A couple weekends ago, my very first friend I made in Charlotte, Christina, came back to visit for a night (she moved to Dallas), and our group of friends had a blast reuniting. I was lucky to have some alone time with Christina too, and she joined me for my LIFT Barbell Strength class before we went to lunch at the new Flower Child near us. It was a wonderful visit, and I look forward to seeing her again soon!

Christina at class by A Lady Goes West

(I’m wearing my absolute favorite compressive leggings in this picture. I’m in a medium.)

Many more good times were had, but I’ll stop there. And remember, this is just my highlight reel. Plenty of un-blog-worthy moments, stress and struggles occurred too. We all have ’em.

On the blog

A Lady Goes West archives

Father’s Day gifts 2024. Have you shopped for a special dad in your life? Father’s Day is coming up next weekend, and I’ve got some guy-approved ideas for you in this one … “The best Father’s Day gifts 2024 (that a dad will really want).”

The best Father's Day gifts 2024 (that a dad will really want) by A Lady Goes West

How to get stronger. If you haven’t checked out this one yet, it’s a look at general best practices you can use in your life to improve your strength … “How to get stronger (and how I’ve increased my strength).”

Group fitness. This is one of the most popular posts ever on A Lady Goes West, and I recently gave it a refresh. I’m so glad so many of you liked it … “Signs you’re taking a class from a bad group fitness instructor.”

Signs you're taking a class from a bad group fitness instructor by A Lady Goes West


Creating ripples with this thought from Tiny Buddha

Tiny Buddha quote by A Lady Goes West

And that’s all we’ve got for today! Thank you for spending some time on A Lady Goes West. Have an amazing week.

Questions of the day for you

Do you have any summer trips planned? (I have three, yay!)

What’s one thing you want to work on this summer in your health and wellness?

Do you have any recent favorites to share?

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  1. Are you doing the Bistro meals just for lunch? or dinner also?
    Do you know how they source their meat and veggies?
    I am always looking for a program like this, easy and delish, but as a Californian(and I know you know what I mean!!!) I think a lot about where my food comes from and with the recent research on processed foods I am even more aware, so I am really curious what your experience is with these meals.
    love when you introduce me to something new! Thank you

    Toxic seems super interesting, that is totally my type of book and it’s crazy to think that in 20024 we didn’t have Instagram!

    Red is such a fantastic colour on you!!!

    Thank yu for sharing this glimpse into your life!

    1. Hi Sabrina! I fully support being picky about the sourcing of your food, especially meat. The good news with BistroMD is the food isn’t so much processed — it’s just mixed with ingredients. I’ve only been having the meals for lunch — eating other stuff with Dave for dinner. Here’s what BistroMD says about its sourcing: “We are committed to using ingredients from responsible sources by selecting environmentally-responsible seafood, always sourcing rBGH-free beef, using hormone-free chicken per U.S. law, and partnering with local, family-owned farms whenever possible. It is our mission to continually improve our food based on this commitment.” Hope you have an amazing week! xoxoxo

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