Current faves: “Where the Crawdads Sing,” superfoods, workouts and more

Hi, friends! How are you? What happened in your week? My week was good and totally flew by. Dave was out of town for work in NYC, which meant I didn’t get much of a break from momming outside of Brady’s two mornings of preschool, but that’s okay, because he’s a cute dude, and it made time pass quickly. I taught my usual classes, subbed an extra class, worked, had a couple conference calls and managed a few toddler protests, mixed in with a whole lot of laughing, playing and an unfortunate face-plant on the cement outside his school — so sad, but he’s fine now.

This weekend, Dave has to work a game, and I’ve got a project to complete, but we’ll try our best to have some down-time as a family in between that.

Now, it’s Friday, and I like to put together a few unrelated favorite things, so here they are …

Current faves 


“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

Believe it or not, I picked up this book, “Where the Crawdads Sing,” off the lucky day shelf at the library without knowing it was the number-one book on the New York Times Bestsellers list at the time. (I think it’s in the second spot now.) When I posted a picture of it on Instagram stories, I got so many responses that you guys have read and loved this book, which made me excited.

Where the Crawdads Sing review by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

(“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.)

But here’s the deal: For the first maybe 100 pages of the book, I was enjoying it … but I felt like it was NOT enjoyable to read at all, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I had to go back and re-read sentences that didn’t make sense to me describing the setting. And I was having trouble picturing the marsh where the main character of the story lives, because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a marsh. I also felt a little sad and slightly agitated by parts of the book that were just hard to imagine with a poor little girl isolated and alone. Is the story a good one? YES. Did I love this book? Yes, but not the whole time.

The last 200 pages of the book were so amazing and totally pulled me in though, so by the end, I decided I loved it, especially the conclusion. During the story, we go back and forth from the childhood of the main character, Kya, or the “Marsh Girl,” to the present day happenings of a crime — the murder of one of the town’s most popular guys. It was very interesting how we skipped back and forth between times, yet it all made sense. It’s a mystery, and we don’t know the outcome or the truth until the very end, which kept me totally engaged. In fact, once I got to the last 150 pages, I started staying up a little later than usual to read more, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Where the Crawdads Sing by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

I won’t spoil it for you. But if you’re into fiction, nature and good storytelling, this one is for you. It’s deep. And although I didn’t cry at the end (like I sometimes do), I was moved. This one’s a piece of art. However, I’m going to move on to a slightly lighter book next.


Weekend lunches out

I eat all of my meals at home throughout the week, but when it comes to Saturday and Sunday, I so look forward to going out to lunch with Dave and Brady. We have a small rotation of places where we go regularly, and it’s become a nice routine for us (and for me to get out of the house without needing to clean up any dishes). We do the gym in the morning, then shower up and head out hoping to be eating by noon, so we can get back home in time for Brady’s nap a little after 1 p.m.

Brady is typically well behaved at lunch, because he likes to people watch, play with his food (while eating a good portion of it), and chat. Our current favorite places around us are Urban Plates, Lettuce and MIXT. And I feel like they pretty much know us at all these places, because we go so often. We’re big fans of routine over here, so this works for us.

Ashley and Brady eating together by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

(This is a similar version of the jacket I’m wearing above from the same brand.)

Organifi RED juice

Last year, I became an ambassador for Organifi, because I fell totally in love with so many of the brand’s products. I often get asked what my favorite protein powder is, and HANDS DOWN, it’s the Organifi Complete Plant-Based Protein in chocolate. I’ve turned so many of you onto this one, and I’m happy for that, because it’s high-quality.

I’m also into having the Organifi GOLD powder every night with some warmed-up Ripple milk as a healthy treat to promote good sleep and recovery. But there’s one Organifi product I use regularly that I haven’t talked about yet — the Organifi RED juice powder — which is designed to boost energy and metabolism with tons of nutrients and superfoods and no caffeine.

Organifi red juice by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

I like to add half a scoop of RED juice powder to my post-workout protein shakes, mixed with the Organifi protein powder mentioned above. However, it’s also nice and sweet, so you can drink it alone mixed with water or milk, which is what a lot of people do. Here are the RED juice details …

  • Organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO, vegan
  • Made from five different freeze-dried berries (that’s where the red comes in) and four adaptogens
  • Boosts metabolism and helps burn fat
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Supports anti-aging with superfoods
  • Gives you a kick of energy without any caffeine
  • Made in California 

I don’t take a ton of supplements, but outside of my collagen, these Organifi products have been standard in my routine for months, and I feel great. These products are definitely not cheap, but you’re paying for the quality and production, and I’m good with that.

If you want to order anything from the Organifi site, you can use my code ALADYGOESWEST for 15 percent off your whole order, and this is cheaper than ordering on Amazon. 


Weekly workout recap

Here are my workouts from last week …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: Practiced BODYATTACK for 45 minutes, 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Practiced POP Pilates for 20 minutes, 10 a.m., taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Taught 1-hour BODYPUMP, 9:30 a.m., taught 1-hour POP Pilates, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: Taught 1-hour barre, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: Taught 1-hour BODYPUMP, 12 p.m.
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was great because I taught my first POP Pilates class, and I’m totally enjoying the format. I lifted weights with BODYPUMP two times, did cardio in BODYATTACK and some flexibility and strength in barre and POP Pilates. I didn’t do any solo workouts, but I see some of those coming up in my near future. Oh, and I took two rest days to make up for missing one last week. Those rest days had no formal exercise except for super-short neighborhood walks.

Best reads

A few things from around the web …

  • Toxic beauty. There’s a new documentary out about the beauty industry, which takes viewers on a three-year investigation into the mostly unregulated skincare and makeup industry in the U.S. I haven’t watched the documentary yet, but this article is so interesting and includes information about some of the things uncovered in this film — scary stuff. You can find the documentary on Amazon Prime here, and I’ll definitely be watching it this weekend.
  • Taylor Swift. Speaking of documentaries, we watched Taylor Swift’s new one on Netflix this past weekend. It’s called “Miss Americana,” and yes, it’s super intriguing, and I loved watching it. However, when it was done, I did a little research and realized that Taylor Swift was behind the whole thing, which is a new trend in stars authorizing documentaries about themselves. Hmmmm. Not only did I love seeing her songwriting process and watching her evolution, I also started to understand some of the things she’s done in her career. However, I feel like maybe we didn’t get some details about her life that we were all wanting based on what’s been out there in the press, and we only saw her side of every part of the narrative too, not the other side. Moral of the story: Big-time superstars do NOT have normal lives, and Taylor Swift is incredibly hard-working and talented. Here’s the documentary, and here’s an interesting article about it.
  • The Never List just got longer. Beautycounter’s list of questionable ingredients that the company won’t use in product formulations just jumped from 1,500 to 1,800. Three cheers for that! Check out the full Never List here.

And here’s the quote of the week from the Calm app, which I use to do my daily morning meditations

State of mind quote by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

A Lady Goes West favorite archives …

My top 10 recent staple purchases that I wear over and over again by A Lady Goes West

What I wish I had known or done before having kids by A Lady Goes West

That’ll do it. I appreciate you!! Have a great day!! xoxo

P.S. If you’re in need of any Valentine’s Day gifts, you can still get ground shipping from Beautycounter if you order by 10 a.m. Pacific today. How about anything from the Counterman line for your dude or the Lemon Sugar Body Scrub for your girl? 🙂

Questions of the day

How was your week?

Have you watched an interesting documentary lately?

How often do you go out to lunch?

What are you up to this weekend?

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  1. I put myself on the library’s waitlist for Where the Crawdads Sing a while back and I finally got the book, and then I couldn’t get into it and had to return it. It wasn’t the book’s fault, I just wasn’t in a reading mood! Now I am reading The Last Romantics, which you sent me, am I am enjoying it!

    1. Hi Julie! It was hard to get into — you definitely have to be in a reading more for that one. I’m SOOO glad you are liking “The Last Romantics” it was one of the best books I read all year. Happy Friday to you, my friend! 🙂

  2. I finally started reading Where the Crawdads Sing (after purchasing it in September and forgetting about it). I haven’t finished because it is, like you said, rather heavy. I stopped twice now to read and finish a separate book. The beginning is definitely difficult to get through but once you understand the writing style it’s getting easier.

    Documentary: I finished CHEER and loved it, even though some stuff was obviously fluffed for TV and other stuff was deliberately left out. I’d love to see a followup on some of these kids.

    Then I watched Miss Americana and felt like everything people were saying about Taylor Swift as she explained it was totally thoughts I had at that time. About how she was so wholesome and couldn’t do anything wrong. And her lyrics are vapid. When she crossed over into pop she lost herself. Etc etc. It was crazy to see my thoughts aligned with other people and also how it was impacting her. But I’m very glad to see she’s found herself and is starting fresh and staying authentic.

    1. Hi Kate! Okayyyy, so you felt like I did with “Where the Crawdads Sing” because I knew that if I didn’t keep reading it right then, I would have to give it back to the library and wouldn’t try it again. But YES, it was hard to get the writing style – and it gets easier to read and understand after about the first 150 pages. AGREE with you on Cheer. AGREE with you on Miss Americana hahaha. Thank you for saying hi today and sharing your thoughts. Happy Friday, my friend!! Have a good one!

  3. I finally got around to watching the documentary about Bikram Choudhury and it was super interesting/shocking. I was a HUGE advocate of Bikram yoga and actually bought gift certificates for friends/families for birthdays so they could try it. I had no idea any of this was going on! I’m so glad that I watched it because it was super eye opening.

    1. Ohhhhhh man, I watched that one too and never mentioned it on the blog — I forget actually ahaha. It was SOOO sad and terrible what happened to so many women. I actually went to the original Bikram studio here in San Francisco early on. I had no idea any of that was going on. Anywho, Happy Friday, Dominique! 🙂

  4. Yay for reading and the library! It makes me so happy to see others using it, we pay for it, so why not! I had an excellent week last week, we were in Montego Bay, Jamaica relaxing in the sunshine and enjoying many cocktails a day :). Now we are back home and getting into the routine again and eating more leafy greens.

    1. Hi Jessie!! Dave and I went on our honeymoon to a Sandals outside of Montego Bay — SOO pretty there. I know it’s tough to return to normal after a vacay — hope you are at least rested and tan! 🙂

  5. How fun! We were at Sandals Royal Caribbean ☺. I am so rested and I have redone my fake tan lol. Have you tried the Tanologist tanning drops? You mix it with your lotion, the color is lovely, and you can get it from Target!

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