Current faves: “Total Body Beautiful,” a perfect shirt, little things and workouts

Hi, friend! How are you? What’s new in your world? Happy February! And we’re into the second month of 2023 just like that. 

This past week was a pretty good one over here. I taught my usual five group fitness classes at Life Time, I took Brady to swimming one night and to tennis another night, and I also played tennis twice myself and worked. That was about it. This weekend, we’ve got a kid’s birthday party, and I’m planning a solo spa day, using a gift card I got from friends for my birthday last month.

Let’s get to the faves of the day, where I share a few things I’ve been loving lately …

Current faves


“Total Body Beautiful: Secrets to Looking and Feeling Your Best After Age 35”

I received this book, “Total Body Beautiful,” from a family friend who has a connection to one of the authors. Right off the bat, I loved the idea of the book, because it’s not only about fitness for women, but it’s about fitness for women over 35, specifically. What’s important about separating out this demographic of people is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness, and if any age group needs tailored advice, it’s women over 35. Things are just different for women as they get into their late 30s and beyond, and what worked in the past, may not work any longer.

A little bit about the authors of this book: Andrea Orbeck, Desi Bartlett and Nicole Stuart are trainers to celebrities and athletes, so they have helped some really famous women get into great shape, either through yoga, Pilates or strength/cardio workouts. (The foreword of the book is actually by Kate Hudson, one of their long-time clients.) And while these ladies have helped many women change their bodies — throughout their collective years of experience, they’ve also helped women change their mindsets, which has equated to even bigger changes in their lives overall. That’s where the idea for this book came from — approaching wellness over 35 in a holistic way through both the mind and body.

Total Body Beautiful book by A Lady Goes West

(“Total Body Beautiful“)

This book includes much more than exercise tips, it also includes sections about mindset and meditation, hormones and how a woman’s body changes during the menstrual cycle, intricacies of perimenopause and postmenopause, as well as real-life client testimonials from women who have worked with the three trainers.

While it’s not always exciting to read a health and wellness book, I do think it’s incredibly valuable for the everyday person to do, even if you’re not in the fitness industry. In fact, “Total Body Beautiful” is not an industry book at all, and it’s something that any woman could benefit from, without any previous health and fitness knowledge. Even if you don’t plan to do the exercises, the information in the first section of the book about a woman’s body is so powerful to have. It’s just not something that is talked about enough.

Here’s an example of a useful piece of information I pulled from the text:

“After age 35, you begin to lose as much as 35 percent (of muscle) per decade … A decrease is muscle mass is also accompanied by a slow increase in fat and consequently changes in body shape.” 

Yuck, right? And while these changes can’t be avoided, they can be minimized by the right nutrition and workouts leading up to age 35 and beyond. 

And my very favorite paragraph from the book is this:

“You are a unique individual and keep this in mind: An exercise prescription that works for one person may not achieve results for another. It may help to simply think about your fitness goals as a science project. A suitable and unique science project that requires us to measure an evolving set of modifications in different environments to observe the results over time and make adjustment as necessary.”

Mic drop. I literally couldn’t love that statement any more than I do. You are unique. What works for others may not work for you. And this book helps you ask yourself questions to figure out what really does work for you.

Total Body Beautiful inside page of book by A Lady Goes West

Here are some facts about this book, “Total Body Beautiful” …

  • It’s written by three experienced trainers to the stars, who come from different backgrounds spanning Pilates, yoga and strength
  • The sections cover what’s going on inside your body, the mental shifts, the body shifts and the emotional adjustments you can expect over 35, as well as exercise demos and fitness plans
  • It includes more than 100 exercises with picture tutorials and form tips
  • It includes more than 20 short and sweet workout routines tailored to specific needs, with exercise suggestions, repetition ranges and descriptions
  • It includes testimonials from clients on ways they changed their lives through movement

For me, I loved to get a refresher on some of the science behind the hormones of women (especially after healing my hormones many years ago in order to get pregnant), and how we feel and change throughout phases of our lives. I also enjoyed flipping through the exercises, and I will definitely be using some of the Pilates movements as inspiration for the programming I do for my barre classes. I’m always looking for new exercises to bring to my participants, and this book will certainly help.

By the way, if you’re a health and wellness professional and are looking to specialize, I think there is a huge need in the area of serving women over 35. And this book would be a great primer to get started. If you read the book, you can also take an exam to earn some continuing education credits, which is awesome.

If you’re interested in learning more about how your unique body and fitness needs change as a woman over 35, then this one is for you. You can find “Total Body Beautiful” here.


The best fitted white henley shirt

I used to get a ton of basics from Everlane, and I hadn’t ordered in almost a year. I got an email that there was a sale, so I popped over to the site and was instantly drawn to this basic plain white fitted henley shirt. I ordered it in a small (as well as a few other basics), and once it came, I wore it right away. I love to wear simple fitted clothes, and this shirt delivers.

Everlane henley by A Lady Goes West

(I’m wearing this fitted henley shirt in a small.)

If you’ve never ordered from Everlane before, they have ethical manufacturing policies and super transparent pricing. And I love that. However, returns aren’t free (but exchanges are), so you have to choose wisely. I always read reviews to figure out how something will fit on me, and this shirt ended up perfect.


Little things I’ve been loving …

“Emily in Paris” Season 3. Last weekend, I finished up season 3 of “Emily in Paris,” and I literally loved every second of it. There’s so much that’s not realistic or believable with this show about an American woman working in Paris, but I don’t care about any of that. No matter how much people hate on it, I think it’s fun to watch. I love the clothes. I love the setting in Paris. I love the juxtaposition of the two cultures. I love the love stories. I love the friendships. Who’s with me? This show nails the idea of guilty-pleasure entertainment, and I look forward to season 4.

Emily in Paris season 3 by A Lady Goes West

(Image source: Netflix.)

Flower Child in South End. Also last weekend, we finally tried out a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to called Flower Child. From what I understand, it was created by the same person who created True Food Kitchen, although the two companies are not owned by the same brand. Flower Child has healthy food that is made really well. I ordered a sweet potato and grains bowl that was full of good stuff, and I added salmon. It reminded me very closely of the ancient grains bowl I used to get at True Food Kitchen when we lived in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, we don’t live super close to Flower Child (it was a 25-minute drive), but I know we’ll go back. Yum — it may have been the best lunch I’ve had in Charlotte in two years. For real! (Also Flower Child is a chain, so take a look to see if there’s one near you.)

Flower Child by A Lady Goes West

Outside Flower Child by A Lady Goes West

(In this picture outside of Flower Child, I’m wearing these white sneakers and the white top from above.)


My workouts from last week

Every week, I like to share a recap of my previous week of workouts. I share this 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 workouts by A Lady Goes West
Workouts from the week of 1/22

  • 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 40-minute solo full-body heavy weights session, 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 1-hour 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: Rest day (30-minute family neighborhood walk, 11 a.m.)
  • Sunday: Rest day (45-minute slow neighborhood walk, 10 a.m.)

This past week was full! I’m happy to say I fit in another solo heavy weights session, and it is my goal to do one a week, outside of the classes I teach. I also taught six classes, played tennis twice, and took two rest days with nothing but a slow neighborhood walk. I’m feeling pretty good in all my workouts right now.

Here’s the solo workout I did, focused on heavy and slower movement, because I do a lot of faster endurance-strength movement in the classes I teach …

Heavy solo workout in January by A Lady Goes West

Best read of the week

Here’s an article that I thought was interesting …

What matters most to you. I love this list of questions to ask yourself about what you don’t want and what you do want in your life. A lot of them are similar to the ones I posed at the beginning of 2023 in this post. In order to make your life one you enjoy, you do have to get into the nitty gritty details of what that looks like. Give this one a read and see if it resonates with you.

Quote of the week

A really good thought that popped up in the Headspace app last week after one of my meditations …

Not knowing quote January by A Lady Goes West

Blog archives of the week

Let’s look back at a couple posts …

Family pictures. We got family pictures done in December, but we didn’t send out any Christmas cards, so I wanted to share them all on the blog here … “Our December 2022 family photos.”

Mood boosters. Because bad moods happen to us all, and if you don’t want to be in one, here are some remedies … “Five ways to improve a bad mood when you don’t want to be in one.”

Five ways to improve a bad mood when you don't want to be in one by A Lady Goes West

Thanks for coming by the blog today, friend! I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend. 

Questions of the day for YOU

How was your week?

Have you read anything good lately?

Have you watched anything good lately?

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