Current faves: Review of “Spare” by Prince Harry, field day fun and more

Hi, friend. How’s everything?

We’re finishing up an okay week over here.

This week, Dave was gone for a couple days on a short business trip, I taught my usual classes and subbed an extra Barbell Strength class, Brady was in all-day camp, I worked a lot and I ordered a few new things for our upcoming Dominican Republic trip (which may be in jeopardy, unfortunately, due to a passport issue, and I’m crossing my fingers it gets resolved). But, in addition to that, we had a tough week with Rudy.

On Monday afternoon, out of nowhere, Rudy was acting like he was in major pain — shivering, laying in the dark laundry room and yelping when we went to pick him up. We were able to get him into an emergency vet visit, and the vet said Rudy was showing signs of having a slipped disc in his neck. We don’t know what could have caused it, but it was clearly very painful for him. I’d never heard him yelp (it’s like a high-pitched scream) or be so miserable before. That first night, Dave, Rudy and I hardly slept at all, because Rudy couldn’t get comfortable, nor could we. We got Rudy pain medicine and a steroid and he is supposed to rest, and he’s showing major signs of improvement. This may not seem like a big deal, but watching Rudy be in pain and not being able to help him was so awful. He’s a real part of our family, and if he’s not okay, we’re not okay. It was super sad for us all. And we’re so glad he’s heading in the right direction, getting better (and more normal) each day.

On a lighter note, we’re looking forward to fun plans this weekend. Dave and I have a wine-tasting competition with friends tonight, and I have a doubles tennis match tomorrow in Terri’s Ladder (we lost last weekend, and I really want to win this weekend). And I’ll also be working on a new content project (which I’ll chat about soon) and making my way through the deals during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and be sure to share any good finds with you next week.

Let’s get to the current faves of the day …

Current faves


“Spare” by Prince Harry

I was so excited to read this book, and I put my name on the list at the library shortly after it came out. It took a while, but I finally got my hands on a lended (large print) copy just last month. 

Spare” by Prince Harry was highly anticipated, and I think people were ready to read this biography and hate it. From what I can tell, the public is not a fan of Prince Harry (and Meghan Markle) and their split from the Palace. I watched the Netflix documentary they put out months ago and had some mixed feelings. Well, it’s safe to say I have some similar mixed feelings after reading “Spare.”

Spare by Prince Harry by A Lady Goes West

(“Spare” by Prince Harry)

I love it when I’m pumped to get into a book, like I was with this one. But right off the bat, I could tell that Prince Harry was not a great writer. The narrative didn’t flow like I wanted it to, his sentence structure and composition wasn’t as good as I had hoped, and he also didn’t tie things together as beautifully as I wanted either. He just sort’ve … recounted events, oftentimes changing topics/times/subjects without even a transition. But, at the heart of it, I kept reading, because I was so interested in the details, and because I truly felt bad for him. Why feel bad for a prince? Because he’s obviously in a lot of pain and he seems to have been in that pain mostly his entire life, since his mother died — even with the titles, the wealth and the constant media attention — he has not been well.

What I liked about this book was how Prince Harry puts it all out there, even explaining his own flaws and shortcomings. And my favorite part of the book was the second half when Meghan Markle entered his life. You can tell how much he loves her and how he loved her right from the beginning by the way he talks about her. And I’m a sucker for that true love story. But the early parts of the book detail so much about Prince Harry’s time in the military, and I was totally over reading about mission after mission. I get that’s an important part of his life and experiences, but it felt like he spent too much time on it.

I didn’t love this book like I have loved some other “celeb bios” (which, as you know, is my favorite type of book to read). But I did love parts of this book. And I’m glad that I’ve now read it and heard his side of the story. I know some people say he is playing a victim and complaining a lot — and because we don’t truly know how things have unfolded for him in the Royal Family, that’s not for us to say. What is clear is that Prince Harry has had a hard life, he’s been treated really poorly by his own family and the media, and now he’s doing his best to create a different life and protect his new family with Markle. I can respect that, even if some parts of his narrative seem a little fishy.

So should you read it? If you want to know more about the drama within the Royal Family, then yes. But you may not come away with a definitive feeling, just like I didn’t. It’s a good book, but it’s not a great book. And I feel like I’m in the mood for fiction now, and I’ll take any recommendations you have! 


Our second annual Ballantyne adult field day

I’m lucky to have a group of friends who love a good theme and who love some friendly competition. We got together last Friday evening for our second annual adult field day, and it was beyond a blast. I loved every minute of it, and we’d all been looking forward to it for a while.

Last year, Dave and I (along with another couple) were the winners, but this year, we didn’t perform quite as well, and thus we were not victorious. But that didn’t really matter, because we all had so much fun.

Girls on field day by A Lady Goes West

(I wore this skirt, this top and these sneakers to the field day, and boy, was I comfy.)

The field day games included flip cup, beer pong, corn-hole, a cookie game where you tried to get an Oreo from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands (so hard, and I never successfully completed this mission), a cup-stacking game and more. We all took the games quite seriously, while also cracking up at just about everything. (Which was easy to do, because Dave and another friend had on mullet wigs with sweatbands and ponytails, and it was just too much to take with a straight face at times.)

Field day events by A Lady Goes West

Ashley playing corn-hole on field day by A Lady Goes West

Field day pong by A Lady Goes West

It’s great to go out to fancy dinners and do regular get-togethers, but fun themed-competitive events like this are a true highlight for me. Big props to our hostess, Andrea, for putting on another amazing field day. Can’t wait for next year, and I hope my team comes back to reclaim our trophy.

That’s it for the faves. Let’s get to the movement …


My workouts from last week

Now it’s time to take a look at my workouts from last week.

I share this recap 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, so you don’t need to compare your movement to mine.

New weekly workout recap by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 7/3

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m., played 60 minutes of tennis, 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class with light weights, 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Taught 45-minute barre class with light 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., played 60 minutes of tennis, 11 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Did 55-minute full-body weights workout (shown below), 10 a.m.
  • Sunday: Played 120 minutes of tennis, 10 a.m.

This past week was full! I played tennis three times, including a real match. I taught six classes, and I lifted weights on the fitness floor once with a friend. Even though I took a few weeks off of these solo weight-room workouts during my last unsuccessful pregnancy, I’ve been keeping up with this commitment weekly now, and I’m proud of that.

Here’s that excellent workout from the fitness floor …

55min full-body workout by A Lady Goes West

Best read of the week

Here’s a short article worth sharing with you …

Gym lingo. Do you need a refresher on what some fitness terms mean? Or, are you new to the fitness world and want to get acquainted with the right terminology? This short article has lists of terms and words you may hear at the gym and exactly what they mean. From rep to AMRAP to functional training and more. Check out this gym lingo list here.

Quote of the week

Here’s a thought worth sharing with you from Gretchen Rubin via James Clear … 

James Clear days in quarters by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at two posts worth revisiting …

My NOW Chicago trip. I hope you had a chance to read about this awesome trip I took to Chicago, including some fun facts I learned and a NOW discount code you can use too … “Visiting NOW facilities in Chicago, new products and a NOW discount code.”

NOW Immersion trip Chicago June 2023 by A Lady Goes West-8

Healthy habits. I’m so glad I made these changes, and I’ve been sticking with them … “Three small changes I’m making in my health and fitness this year.”

Three small changes I'm making in my health and fitness this year by A Lady Goes West

That’s it for today, friend! Have a nice day and weekend, and as always, thank you so much for coming by A Lady Goes West. I appreciate it! 🙂 xoxo

Questions of the day for you

How was your week?

What are you reading right now? I need a new book, and I think I’m in the mood for fiction!

Do you have any plans for the weekend?



  1. I’m sorry to hear about Rudy – I get what you’re saying when you say when he’s not OK, you’re not OK. They’re more than just pets for sure ♡ but glad he’s making a recovery and is getting all the love from your family!

    1. Thank you, Shelby! Rudy is doing so much better, and I’m thankful for that. We’ve been giving him even more love than usual, and that’s a lot. Hope you are doing well, friend! 🙂 xoxo

  2. Oh I’m sorry to hear about Rudy and hope he is on the mend! My dog is like my child, if he is not right I am definitely not right! 🙁
    Have a great weekend x

  3. Hey Ashley! I’m glad Rudy is feeling better. Sick pets are so sad to be around!

    You should check out The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo. It’s fiction, but not intense. It’s got history, glam, a sort of mystery, and a love story. I loved it a few summers ago!

    Have a great weekend!


    1. Hi Nicole! Your recommendation is SPOT-ON, because I read that book when it came out and loved it. I love the author too and have read a couple other of her books. Thanks, friend! 🙂 xoxo

  4. I just had to tell you that our dog had a very similar, out of the blue issue with his neck a couple of years ago. Someone suggested we try acupuncture and chiropractic treatments which I was skeptical of. We did both, but it turns out that the chiropractic treatments REALLY helped him. He went from having the painful neck incidents a couple of times a week to having them a couple times a year, if that. We took him every week at first and eventually once a month. No more meds were needed. Just thought this might help. Some holistic vets even make house calls.
    I very much enjoy your blog and thank you for taking the time to share. Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I’m all about Eastern and holistic approaches to healing, and I love that we can use those with our pets too. We’re hopeful Rudy continues to recover, but I will totally look into chiropractic care for him if this happens again. I really appreciate your info! 🙂 xoxo

  5. I need to know more about how field day is organized!!!
    Like do you do game after game? or do some people do one game while others do another?

    I am very sorry to hear about Rudy, he is family and that sounds really scary.
    I am so glad he is on the mend.

    I just finished “In Five Years” (in two days) because of your recommendation, thank you!!

    1. Hi Sabrina! Field day went like this: We had four couples, and two couples made up a team — so two teams competing against each other — each event was worth 5 to 10 points. We went from event to event together — only one event going at a time — sometimes all the girls would play against each other (like cornhole), sometimes we would all play at once, like flip cup and beer pong (where we each rotated on our sides among our team). That way everyone is involved in every event, we kept score on a chalkboard, and the winner takes home a trophy. So fun! Also, I LOVED “In Five Years” — glad you read it too! xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.