Current faves: Strawberry picking in South Carolina, protein pancakes, a bag and more

Hi, friend! Happy Friday to you!

It’s been a different week over here. I took a few days off from the gym this week, because I got my eyebrows micro-bladed again. I had it done once five years ago and then again two years ago and it was quite faded. The process is somewhat painful and requires seven days of no sweating after the procedure, so I haven’t worked out since Monday (other than light walks) and I have actually not minded this little break for my body. If you’d like to know more about the eyebrow process, I can surely dig in. But basically, it gives you fuller-looking brows with semi-permanent tattoo dye. Mine are really dark right now, but in a few weeks they should end up right where I want them. (Let’s hope!)

Because of my week of no-gym time, I’m going into the weekend fully organized and ahead of the game, which feels really good. This week, I listed some stuff for sale on Facebook marketplace, I made reservations for some upcoming social activities, I did a deep-dive laundry session on all the bedding in the house, and I worked on the blog and did some group fitness prep. I forget how much time I spend at Life Time, because even just a few days without it, and I was so productive at home, and I didn’t mind it. But, I’ll be very happy to launch back into my classes, tennis and routine next week.

This weekend, if the weather cooperates, we have an Easter egg hunt and an Easter celebration, so that should be nice. Also, Brady is officially on spring break as of today, so we’re hoping to fit in a couple extra adventures over the next week.

Let’s get right to the faves …

Current faves


Strawberry picking at Hall Family Farm in South Carolina

What a favorite!

Last weekend, Dave was out of town for a night, so I took my mom and Brady to Hall Family Farm in Lancaster, South Carolina to do some strawberry picking.

Brady and I had been to Hall Family Farm twice before for pumpkin season, but this was our first time picking strawberries. And the three hours we spent there were my favorite three hours I’ve had in a very long time. It was just so peaceful and pleasant, in so many ways.

Strawberry picking 2023 by A Lady Goes West-2

I made a little video about our time strawberry picking here too, so be sure to check that out.

Back to the activity: We showed up on a Saturday afternoon, and it wasn’t very busy at all. I think that’s because there had been a lot of rain that morning, and people probably knew the farm would be muddy. It was, and the first thing Brady did upon arrival was slip in the mud and get covered in it, and then I sliced my hand on a rock while cleaning him up and had to ask for a band-aid at the ticket office. But it wasn’t a big deal, and that was the only mud-slip (and injury) of the day, thank goodness.

Strawberry picking 2023 by A Lady Goes West-3

Strawberry picking 2023 by A Lady Goes West-5

While at the farm, we went on a musical hayride, we checked out some farm animals, Brady went down the firetruck slide, we sat around the sandbox, and of course … we picked strawberries.

On this day, it was super windy, but the skies were blue and the sun was shining, and it was the most gorgeous weather I’ve experienced outside in a long time. Brady was totally into picking the strawberries and he took it very seriously. My mom and Brady filled boxes of strawberries, while I assisted, and we slowly made our way through a few rows out on the strawberry patch, finding the perfect red berries.

Strawberry picking 2023 by A Lady Goes West-6

While we were there, I kept saying to my mom what a nice time I was having. Before heading off on this adventure, I had been a bit stressed about a couple things in life, and being out there among nature — with the breeze blowing and focusing on something so simple — felt so freeing and restorative. I think my mom felt that too.

Strawberry picking 2023 by A Lady Goes West-1

Strawberry picking 2023 by A Lady Goes West-1

(In these photos, I’m wearing these sunglasses, these sneakers and this new hat — which I almost lost on the hayride during its first wear, but I caught it just in time.)

We didn’t go strawberry picking for stress relief, but we sure came away feeling relaxed, happy and ready to eat some delicious local fruit. And I can say with 100 percent certainty that Brady came away happy too.

If you’re a local Charlotte resident, I highly recommend visiting Hall Family Farm in the spring or fall. Most of the attractions are free (outside of the hayride we did), and then we bought two big boxes of our pickings, and it was less than $30 for it all. What a great day.


My new go-to animal print backpack

One of the things I miss about living in the East Bay of San Francisco is our proximity to a really good Nordstrom Rack. I loved to find deals there, even when I didn’t know what I was shopping for. There’s only one Nordstrom Rack around us here in South Charlotte, and it’s a terrible one.

I hardly ever find anything at our current Nordstrom Rack, yet I still go there every once in a while — always armed with hope. Well, don’t you know, last time Dave, Brady and I went (while looking for a birthday present for my brother, which we didn’t find), I picked up this adorable animal print mini backpack. I didn’t need it, but I knew I wanted it.

New animal print backpack by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my animal print mini backpack.)

That was about three weeks ago, and this has become my new purse, if you will, and I’ve been using it non-stop, except for my bigger daily gym trips when I need more things with me. This bag fits all my essentials, as well as a water bottle and my laptop, yet it’s still considered more of a mini backpack (it’s definitely not full size). And you know I love animal print. 

This is a fun find. I usually only try to buy things I really need, but this backpack has been a great addition to my life. I’m happy it has a new home with me.


Trader Joe’s buttermilk protein pancake mix

From strawberries to pancakes! I picked up a box of this buttermilk waffle/pancake mix from Trader Joe’s on a whim, and it took me a couple weeks to make it. 

I made the whole box at one time, and I had enough pancakes for several days of breakfasts. It was super easy to make, and all I had to do was add an egg and water to the mix, then make the pancakes on the stove. I made a big batch, and then I put them in the fridge and pulled three out at a time to heat up each morning, adding almond butter and a banana for a weekday breakfast.

I loved the texture of the pancakes, and I made a few thin ones and a few thick ones, and both had a great consistency. The taste was pleasing and simple, but I definitely think they require at least a little bit of a topping, and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed them plain. I like that they were very fluffy and they didn’t really feel like protein pancakes, even though two pancakes has 10 grams of protein (and I had three at a time, for approximately 15 grams of protein). 

Protein pancakes by A Lady Goes West

As far as the ingredient list — it’s just okay, not incredibly clean. The mix features whey protein, whole wheat flour and more, so this isn’t dairy or gluten free. That’s fine by me though. These days, I find myself making better choices — not perfect choices — much of the time so these fall into the “better” category than regular buttermilk pancakes. And I would definitely consider these protein pancakes a healthy and filling breakfast, especially with the addition of a fat and a fruit.

Protein pancake making by A Lady Goes West

Next time you’re at Trader Joe’s, if you want to try something new, give ’em a go. I bought another box, so I’m planning these for breakfast for next week too.

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. You absolutely don’t need to compare your movement to mine.

New weekly workout recap by A Lady Goes West

Workouts from the week of 3/27

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class with light weights, 9:30 a.m., took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Did 45-minute full-body heavy weights workout, 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., took 60-minute tennis clinic, 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday: Taught 45-minute barre class with light weights, 10:30 a.m., taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: Took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day (took 45-minute neighborhood walk, 5:30 p.m.)

Last week, I taught six classes, I played tennis three times, I did a solo workout, and I took a real rest day with nothing but a walk. This was an ideal week, and I’d be happy to repeat it again. I know what I’m doing is working, because I feel good! I think my regular rest days, my foam rolling and my other recovery methods help a lot, and I hope you’re doing those too, friend.

Here’s the full-body weights workout I did  …

Solo weights March 2023 by A Lady Goes West

Best listen of the week

Here’s a podcast episode that I listened to this week and I wanted to share with you …

How to be your authentic self, deal with failure and more. Okay, this podcast episode is all over the place, but I truly enjoyed it. It’s an interview between two former Bravo reality stars, (Stassi Schroeder from “Vanderpump Rules” and Hannah Berner from “Summer House”) so there’s obviously some fluff and gossip and even talk about being fired from Bravo, because they both were fired. However, the best part of the episode during the last maybe 15 minutes is spent discussing how women should be their authentic selves and never change in order to get a man or get a relationship. And while this may not be relevant to you, the idea of being YOU, no matter what, should be relevant to all of us. I listened to this episode of “Straight Up with Stassi” for a laugh, and I came away with some great and much deeper stuff about overcoming failure, drowning out negativity and being who you really are. Love all of that.

Quote of the week

Here’s a great thought for you from author James Clear, which truly resonates with me …

Carry the load quote by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at two posts worth revisiting, including the latest from earlier this week …

Healthy habits to prepare for summer. This post is full of helpful info, all designed to get you feeling your best for summer in a couple months … “How to get ready for summer in 60 days.

How to get ready for summer in 60 days by A Lady Goes West

Fertility. I haven’t talked about this topic in a while, but it remains important to me and should be important to you, whether you plan to have kids or not … “How I protect my fertility and hormones (life after recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea part 2).”

How I protect my fertility and hormones by A Lady Goes West

Thanks for coming by the blog today, friend! Have a fabulous and fulfilling weekend. 🙂 

Questions of the day for you

What’s one good thing that you accomplished this week?

Have you ever been strawberry picking?

Do you have any plans for Easter weekend?


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