Current faves: Van Gogh Experience, a date, a dress and workouts

Greetings from the Florida Keys!

I hope you’ve had a good week, my friends. I’m currently in Key Largo with Dave, Brady, my momma, my brother, Matthew, and my sister-in-law, Stephanie. We’re here through the weekend spending time together and celebrating my dad’s life, as well as spreading his ashes. If you never had a chance to read what I wrote about my dad after his passing late last year, you can do that here: “Remember my dad.”

As you can imagine, we’re here with mixed emotions, and I’ll share more about that next week. But today, I wanted to come at you with some favorites, like I do every week. Let’s get them going …

Current faves

Arts & Culture

Yoga at the Van Gogh Exhibit Charlotte: The Immersive Experience

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend an event at the Van Gogh Experience in Charlotte, and I couldn’t make it. But the folks in charge were kind enough to let me come back to try out a yoga class on my own. So last Friday morning, Dave agreed to hang with Brady for a bit (I’m usually on Brady duty during the weekdays, of course), and I headed off to Camp North End, near Uptown Charlotte (which is actually downtown), where the exhibit is being housed. I hadn’t really been to the area before, it was about 25 minutes from my house.

From the outside at Camp North End, all you see is a warehouse with some colorful picnic tables set up, and a little signage. But then when you go in, and get past the ticket counter, you’re really wowed.

Nearly the entire space is currently devoted to Vincent Van Gogh, the infamous Dutch painter, who lived in the 1800s, and who is sometimes considered one of the greatest artists of all time. Van Gogh was perhaps most well known for his sunflower paintings, and the sunflower is a big part of the aesthetic at the experience. Like this huge sunflower display that really needed to be captured in a photo …

Ashley at Van Gogh by A Lady Goes West

Inside the actual exhibit, it’s all about the projections. There are 500,000 cubic feet of projections of Van Gogh’s art in the open space (but none of the actual paintings, by the way, so it’s not your typical gallery installation). And the experience is as it is billed — immersive. There are screens all over the walls, and light projectors on the ceiling that point to the floor. And the projections move, build, grow and transform from one piece of Van Gogh art to another.

Van Gogh Experience in Charlotte. NC by A Lady Goes West

But back to the yoga portion: The yoga class took place inside the experience, before it opened to the public for the day. The yoga class was 35 minutes long, and it was super gentle. Our instructor talked us through some poses with a bit of flowing, and while we were doing yoga, the Van Gogh exhibit was playing with very faint music. The yoga class itself was more of a relaxing movement experience than a workout, which I think is exactly how it should have been based on the setting. Each yoga participant had a big blanket to practice on, but we did have to bring our own mats to go over the blankets.

Once yoga was over, the exhibit played again, with the full-volume musical experience, and it was really cool. I’d never done an experience like this before, and I was definitely a fan. You could just sit in one spot in the room and take it all in — watching the colors change and the art unfold. The Van Gogh paintings came to life on the walls, somewhat animated, with music that was driving the colors and tones.

Van Gogh Yoga by A Lady Goes West

The entire experience, with 35 minutes of yoga and another 25 minutes to enjoy the full Van Gogh exhibit, made it a one-hour session. And I stayed the full hour to see it all.

Now let’s cover some of your potential questions …

Kids: I had a local friend ask me if this is something that you can bring kids to. I would probably not recommend bringing really little kids to this experience. It’s a bit loud, so if you had to bring your kids, they would need headphones to cover their ears and drown out some of the sound, and they may be a little scared of the screens and colors. I think we could take Brady with headphones on, and he would maybe like it. But if you have a kiddo that may be easily overwhelmed, this would be overwhelming. I do think it’s more of an adult thing. Speaking of adults …

Date night: This would make a great date night activity, especially if you paired it with a nice dinner out afterward and a glass of wine before or after. I think you can stay for a while in there, and it’s something really special to share with your person.

Tickets: You do need to buy your tickets ahead of time online. And you can see the exhibit, or you can do the yoga/exhibit combination, but the yoga is only offered on Monday and Friday mornings. Tickets are anywhere from $40 to $100 per person, depending on the package you choose.

Locations: This isn’t just a Charlotte thing. There are Van Gogh exhibits in several cities across the U.S. right now, and you can head here to find out if there is one near you.

Thank you Van Gogh Exhibit Charlotte for hosting me! It was very cool.

Fun

A date night out with Dave

Dave and I don’t get out for activities just the two of us these days. Even though, yes, we did get to go on an adults-only Jamaica vacation with our besties just last month. Boy that trip was fun. Anywho …

As I mentioned before, we now have a babysitter, who just happens to live down the street from us. And because of that, I foresee us getting out and about more often. And we even have something on the agenda next week too.

Last Saturday evening, we had our babysitter come over just before Brady was ready to get in his bed (we did his dinner, bath, teeth and jammies already to make it easy), and we headed out for a lovely dinner. But before we left, we had our babysitter take our picture. 🙂 

Dave and Ashley in front of Ballantyne house by A Lady Goes West

Family in front of Ballantyne house by A Lady Goes West

(My dress and my sandals, which I’ve been wearing and loving all summer.)

Dave and I went not too far away to an Italian place called Zinicola, which was pretty good. We had drinks, appetizers, desserts and all the things, and it was nice to spend some time together without Brady trying to talk over us. Because yes, he always talks over us. 

This was only our second time going out to dinner together since we’ve lived in Charlotte for the last seven months, so it’s time to step it up a bit. We got so used to staying home all the time over the last year, that our default is to stay home now. But I like to get out and get dressed up every once in a while, so we’re going to try to make that happen more.

Navy midi wrap dress

Let’s talk about the dress I’m wearing in the pictures above. It was sold out for a while, but it’s back in all colors, and I love it. It can be dressed up or down, has a soft and stretchy fabric, with a wrap element too. I’m wearing a size small, and I could probably wear a medium too, because the small is quite fitted on me up top. I bought this dress for our Jamaica vacation, and have been happy to wear it over and over again, including on our little date last weekend. It’s one of those silhouettes that won’t go out of style, and I love that about it. Find the dress here

Workouts

Weekly workouts 

I feel like this part always needs a disclaimer, especially if you’re new around here.

This section of the post is where I share all the workouts I did the previous week. I want to remind you that I do more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor, and it’s part of my job.

For most people, a 30-minute workout several times a week is totally sufficient. Just stay consistent and move your body in ways that feel good to you.

And here’s a post that may be helpful for you: “How to schedule your week of workouts.”

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: Taught 1-hour full-body barbell workout at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class with light weights at Life Time, 9:45 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Took 1-hour yoga class at Life Time, 10:15 a.m., 20-minute cycle on the Peloton bike at home, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 45-minute full-body weights/cardio class at Life Time, 10 a.m.
  • Friday: Took 30-minute gentle yoga at Van Gogh experience, 8:30 a.m., 20-minute walk/run intervals on treadmill at Life Time via the Peloton app, 11 a.m.
  • Saturday: Took 45-minute lower-body weights workout at Life Time, 8:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was a good one. I taught three classes (and I do most of the workout with the class, mirroring them), I took two yoga classes, and I took a legs class and was back on the Peloton bike at home too for a fun live Disney ride with some friends. I’m going strong with Sunday as my full rest day, and on Sundays, I usually use the foam roller and go for a slow walk. I’ll have a couple extra days off this week for our trip to the Keys too, which is always fine by me.

Promo codes

A Lady Goes West favorite products

There are certain brands that I swear by in my own life, and so I like to share them with you. If you choose to try them too, and if you use my links or promo codes, you will be supporting me. Thanks for that!

  • Carbon38. I’m always wearing stuff from here, and it’s the coolest activewear around. Get 15 percent off your first two orders of $100 or more using the code ASHLEYPITT. 
  • G2G protein bars. I love these tasty and minimal-ingredient protein bars. You can get 15 percent off your order on the G2G Bar site with the code ALADYGOESWEST.
  • Organifi supplements. This is my go-to protein powder brand. You can get 15 percent off your order on the Organifi site with the code ALADYGOESWEST.
  • Beautycounter. The best safe skincare and makeup. Send me a message, and I’ll share a 20 percent off code for your very first order.
  • Les Mills On Demand workouts. My favorite fitness brand. You can do a whole month of workouts during a free 30-day trial by using my special referral link here.

Best reads

A couple good ones from around the web 

  • Social health. This article is written for health or nutrition coaches, but I think it’s valuable for anyone. Your social circle is important in reaching and maintaining your health goals. And having good social relationships is good for your health. Read more about why here.
  • Super Soul podcast episode. On the plane on the way down to Florida, I listened to this episode of Oprah’s “Super Soul” podcast with guests Chip and Joanna Gaines of Magnolia and “Fixer Upper” fame. I loved hearing how they stay grounded, why they chose to take a year off from the spotlight and how they stay intentional in everything they do in life. It was a very enjoyable interview.

Here’s the thought of the week, which I posted to Instagram a couple weeks ago …

Good start to the day essentials by A Lady Goes West

A Lady Goes West favorite archives 

How to choose the right athletic shoe for your workouts by A Lady Goes West

Brady's favorite things at three years old by A Lady Goes West

Thank you for coming by A Lady Goes West, my friends! Be good out there, and stay hydrated! 🙂 

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend?

Have you switched up your workout routine lately?

What’s one good thing that happened in your week?

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