Eating, exploring, exercising and enjoying life

Happy Presidents’ Day in the U.S.! Fun fact: Did you know that Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February each year in the United States to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, even though it doesn’t always fall on his actual birthday? The Federal Government still recognizes the day as Washington’s Birthday, although it’s now widely considered a collective celebration of all previous U.S. presidents. There are a few other presidents who have birthdays in February (including Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan), and several states celebrate Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays as separate holidays, while others merely observe the joint Presidents’ Day as one catch-all. No matter the significance of this day, I thought it would be great to start the week out with a little history lesson. But let’s get to the fun stuff. This weekend was a good one …

A wonderfully sunny and perfect weekend

Sometimes weekends are just perfect. You feel good, you have fun and you live in the moment. This weekend was just that for me. Although I don’t always capture pictures of every single thing I do over the weekend, this time I did. So here’s my full recap of where we left off since “Friday Favorites.” 

Friday night is sushi night

On Friday night, Dave and I went to a sushi place in downtown Walnut Creek called Oyama Sushi, where we ate at the bar. Sometimes we sit at the bar at restaurants by choice, just because we like to switch it up. As a sushi lover, I would say the food at Oyama was very good, but not amazing. The scene was a little bit more uppity than our usual hole-in-the-wall Friday dining, yet we still had a very fun time. Part of that fun included the fact that we were seated next to a couple of ladies who were taking shot-after-shot of something hard and flirting with the waiters. Yes, they kept us very entertained.

Oyama Sushi in Walnut CreekShown above is not only a shot of Dave and me, but also a look at all of my food for the night. I had mackerel nigiri, a cherry blossom roll, a ginger house salad and a carafe of hot sake. I also finished some of Dave’s extreme California roll once he claimed to be full.

We typically go out to a sushi dinner every Friday night, and it’s one of my favorite weekly rituals. It means Friday night dinner decisions are much easier to make, typically quite casual and always very healthy too. I don’t think we’ll be heading back to Oyama again soon, unless we can be sure that those same ladies are seated next to us, of course. Another highlight from Friday night? On the drive home, we got a call from our very best friends, who visited us in March, which you can read about here (Surprise visit and a Kokkari dinnerA bluebird day along the Embarcadero, Perfect park day at Fort Mason and Tandem biking the Golden Gate Bridge), and during our call, we made all sorts of plans for our next visit together.

A little Valentine’s Day fun

On Saturday, Dave had the day planned for us, featuring all of my favorite things. In the morning, being that I wasn’t teaching a class for once, I elected to skip my workout. After breakfast at home, I had a little photo-shoot at a park near our house (which I’ll talk more about soon and you can see a sneak-peek of on the right-hand sidebar of the blog today), then, when I got home, Dave asked me to go upstairs to wait for a minute so he could set something up in the kitchen. When I came downstairs, I found flowers and a selection of nibblies on the table, which we would be taking with us on a picnic.

Valentine's Day presentsShown above is basically everything I like. Fancy cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, chocolate-covered strawberries, strange protein bars, almonds, crackers, fruit, coconut water, honey, jam and of course, Chardonnay.

We packed up this entire spread and hit the road for an outdoor adventure in the sunshine (another one of my favorite things). For those of you who live in the Bay Area or may visit one day, let me encourage you to check out Cowgirl Creamery. There is a retail location at the San Francisco Ferry Building, and this place offers cheese to remember. Cheese to remember.

Hiking, picnicking and soaking up the sun

Dave had heard great things from his friends at work about a little outdoor activity in the East Bay called the Lafayette Reservoir, and so that’s where we went. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, about 70 degrees, with not a cloud in the sky. We showed up to the busy park area, paid $7 for all-day access for the two of us and began walking the well-manicured path. Lafayette Reservoir is nearly a three-mile loop around a huge and gorgeous lake, which also offers a few leisure kayaking and water-sports, which we did not do. Along the path, there are hills, trees, picnic tables, grassy park areas and even well-maintained restrooms placed along the route (which to me, was the best thing ever, being that I’m a very hydrated person, who constantly has to go to the bathroom).

Lafayette ReservoirShown above is a look at the gorgeous Lafayette Reservoir and some of our picnic supplies spread out on our blanket. And the Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk cheese chopped up on the wooden cutting board there — well, it is everything. Everything.

Each armed with a backpack full of picnic supplies, we spent most of the walk around the lake commenting on all the dogs passing us by, as well as looking for the right spot to veer off and set up. About halfway through the walk around, we trekked down closer to the water to find a perfect sunny spot for our picnic. There we sat for about an hour, nibbling on our foods, listening to music and chatting. And boy it felt good to get some Vitamin D.

When we finally finished and packed up our picnic, we both realized how incredibly full we were, so it was actually nice to have the second half of the path to walk before getting back to car. Along the walk, I kept remarking on how much I am in love with our new area. It’s warmer outside the City, and being that I’m a Florida girl at heart, I’m loving every minute of it.

And you know, even though there were a lot of people at Lafayette Reservoir on a bright and sunny day like Saturday, it was still very peaceful, quiet and relaxing. I am absolutely positive we will go again one day soon.

Saturday night means steak night

We arrived home in the mid-afternoon, laid around and watched some TV, catching up on the last couple of Vanderpump Rules episodes on the couch. In the evening, Dave prepared a fancy dinner for us, which he had bought ahead of time, featuring more of my other favorite things. 

Steak dinner for Valentine's DayShown above is my favorite appetizer, shrimp cocktail, a look at the candlelight table, my dinner of grilled steak and asparagus, and a selection of mini cheesecakes for dessert.

While Dave made our dinner, I played on Pinterest on the couch looking at recipes I am considering make for our upcoming housewarming party. He was busy-as-a-bee in the kitchen and told me to stay out of the way, so I didn’t feel bad (although I did have to instruct him from afar to make sure he properly massaged the kale salad.). He even pulled out our fine China, we had received as wedding gifts, to set the table, which was so very sweet (that China has only been used twice, so this was a big deal). Suffice to say, our food was great, and the thought and effort put into the entire day was amazing. I loved every second of it, because Dave surely made it a special Valentine’s Day for me. (And if you’re wondering, although I didn’t have an entire day planned out like this for him, I had bought him some gifts and written out a card, which he appreciated.)

Sundays usually involve errands

On Sunday after breakfast, Dave and I did our respective workouts. He went for a run outside, and I did a core workout in my pajamas in the spare bedroom. Then, we had a quick lunch, suited up and went on some errands. Perhaps this was the only low-point of our weekend. Even though I packed some snacks for us in my purse, it wasn’t enough to make it through our ambitious plans. We went to the Crate and Barrel Outlet in Berkeley, Z Gallerie, CB2 and finally, the dreaded Ikea in Emeryville. Ikea was rough, my friends. We were hungry, anxious and fairly miserable. And no, we didn’t buy anything. That being said, our shopping was pretty unsuccessful, so after a quick trip to the grocery store, we went home to watch the NBA All-Star Game and seek solace in delicious grilled bison burgers for dinner (compliments of a gift from my Mom via Omaha Steaks). After dinner, we watched TV, had dessert, and I finished up this post.

And ladies and gentlemen, that was the most thorough weekend recap I’ve ever done. But there’s more … 

Recapping my weekly workouts and fitness

Every single Monday, no matter what else I have to talk about, I always like to take a minute to go through the workouts that I did the previous week. This recap serves not only to document my workouts completed, but also as a way to talk about how I try to seek variety and balance to stay fit. Let’s get to it …

Weekly Workouts from A Lady Goes West

Weekly Workouts

  • Monday – Taught one-hour BODYATTACK class, foam rolling
  • Tuesday – Taught one-hour BODYPUMP class, foam rolling
  • Wednesday – Taught one-hour BODYATTACK class
  • Thursday – Taught one-hour BODYPUMP class, attended one-hour heated power yoga class at CorePower Yoga
  • Friday –  Taught one-hour BODYATTACK class, foam rolling
  • Saturday –  Rest day (went on a 3-mile hike outdoors)
  • Sunday – Did 30-minute CXWORX core workout at home

What was good about my week of workouts?

This past week was full of a lot of group fitness for me. I taught five classes (all of which included me doing the full workout), as well as attended a yoga class and completed a core workout at home. With three sessions of cardio (BODYATTACK) and two sessions of resistance (BODYPUMP), I did get in plenty of variety. Also, the addition of the yoga class and core workout rounded out my week. It felt wonderful to be back in a heated yoga class after a few weeks away from that particular format. I have felt very balanced lately with my new routine and have no complaints about this week. Although Dave and I went on a leisure hike on Saturday, technically that was a rest day for me as well, which is another important part of my week.

What could have been better about my week of workouts?

Once again, just like the week before this one, I could have benefited from an extra weight-lifting session completed on my own outside of the group fitness room. Because BODYPUMP is focused on lighter weights and higher reps, it’s considered a muscular endurance program. And I do like to complement that with a workout featuring heavier weights and less reps, which helps build more muscular strength. Nonetheless, in the grand scheme of things, this week was a good one.

That’s that! A lot of eating, exploring, exercising and enjoying life. 

Okay, my friends! I sure hope that you have a wonderful Monday. And please come back by A Lady Goes West tomorrow for a fun and colorful giveaway. 

Questions of the day

Are you off of work for Presidents’ Day today? What was the best thing that happened during your weekend? Do you have any workouts planned for the week?

Ashley signature

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  1. Hi there! Looks like you had a great weekend! I’m all about picnics — and love that you brought some chia bars. The choc/pean butter flavor is the best! Love those things!

    Not a holiday here, so work as usual…. but best part of my weekend was being able to sleep last night despite having a bad cold/cough. Figured I’d be up all night with a stuffy head but luckily I actually slept! And those mini cheesecakes look delicious! Have a great week!

  2. Oh my gosh so fun! I love the picnic idea, and sushi on Friday nights. Unfortunately I don’t like sushi, but the idea of having that healthy, easy meal figured out is nice! I noticed your picture right away but then didn’t know if maybe I had just missed it. Looks great! Can’t wait to see more.

  3. Don’t you just love when the people at the restaurants provide the entertainment for you? One time, I was seated next to a couple who were obviously in an affair together. It was so incredibly awkward hearing their conversation. The person who I was eating with and I just kept looking at each other in disbelief.

    1. Hi Jill! Well we go out to dinner every single weekend, so it seemed like the perfect time to stay in for a fancy one at home. Glad you did the same. Happy Monday to you, lady! 🙂

  4. Hi Ashley! My husband and I are coming out to San Fran from Sarasota this week. We are actually looking to move out there so we will be scoping out some nearby cities. Any recommendations on places to look to rent? In the city is out because of price/space we are willing to be up to an hour away from San Fran but the closer the better. Any advice is appreciated!

    1. Hi Nicole! Well, of course, I’m a big fan of city living when you move to San Francisco so you can really take advantage of all it has to offer. The very ends of the city are supposed to be reasonable for rent, have you checked out the Outer Sunset neighborhood? Will you be working in the city? If so, you’ll need to look at which has the best and most direct route to the BART, Muni or Caltrain to get around. Burlingame is supposed to be nice, but I’ve never been there. Pleasant Hill is also very nice, but these areas will have a LOT of congestion and traffic heading into and out of the city each day (but you can get a little more space for your money). You won’t find anything cheap at all in the Bay Area, so you have to be careful if you do find a major deal. And houses and apartments go very quickly once on the market. If you live near a BART station, your commute will be quicker. I hear that Emeryville is affordable, and is just over the bridge from SF. Check out those places. GOOD LUCK!! Beware — it can be very frustrating to find a place to live, but it’s worth it once you are here.

  5. I love that you had such a great weekend! We also made steaks for dinner on Saturday night. It looks like you had a beautiful day for a hike and picnic…I like how you mentioned that there were restrooms along the way because that would definitely be a concern of mine:)

    1. Hi Lisa! Yes! Restrooms at parks are game-changers for me, because I always have to go. Glad you agree with me hehehe. And yes, it was a beautiful day! Happy Monday to you!

  6. Sushi night sounds so fun! I have to agree with you about this weekend being great! Sometimes it is nice to have those, great to get rid of all the stress 🙂 And hey for the temperatures here being 0-15 I am pretty impressed I had such a good weekend, totally jealous of your 70!

    1. Hi Hilary! Oh wow, that is cold! I’ve never been in weather below 20 degrees!! Glad you were able to enjoy your weekend despite the frigid temps. Happy Monday! 🙂

  7. I love the res! Whenever I visit my friends who grew up in Orinda we head over for a refreshing walk around the trail. So many happy, well-to-do people out there getting their exercise with their kiddos and doggies. Love it! 🙂 Looks like you had a fantastic weekend!

    1. Hi Emily! Oh glad you’re a fan of the Reservoir too! It was so fun, and I know we’ll be back. Hope you had a nice weekend too. The weather in the Bay is gorgeous right now! 🙂

  8. I’m definitely NOT off for President’s Day – I wish I was, though! After an over-indulgent couple of weeks (birthday + Valentine’s Day), I’m hoping to get back on track with eating right and working out. I just feel so off!

    1. Hi Jessie! Oh man, yes that happens. I had an indulgent weekend too! I hope you have a great week, and don’t worry, you’ll be back on track soon and back to feeling good! Happy Monday! 🙂

  9. Holy moly!! Your eat outs looked amazing!!! And V-day with your man looked way fun 🙂 I like that you both are into the outdoors!

    We both work from home…so technically we have the day off haha 🙂 Have a wonderful day!!

  10. Looks like you guys had an AMAZING Valentine’s Day weekend! All the food looks good ( especially the sushi!) and I love the treats he got you! I love those health warrior bars! Good pick 😉

    Have a wonderful start to the week! <3

    1. Hi Katie! So glad you enjoy the same things that I do. And yes, I’d be fine eating steak, sushi and cheese every single day. But that’s probably not the greatest plan. Happy Monday! 🙂

  11. What a delightful weekend! That cheese looks amazing! Dave is so sweet to surprise you!

    Presidents Day is my favorite holiday because it always falls around my bday so my hubby and I usually travel!

  12. Hi Ashley! You are so right! Walnut Creek is very uppity 🙂 if you are willing to go over the hill: Fiore’s in Concord is a fab local Italian restaurant. Locally owned too.

  13. Your new headshot is gorgeous!! I can’t wait to see how the rest came out!

    Dave did an awesome job planning Valentine’s Day for you. I can’t think of a better way to spend it! Especially since the weather was so beautiful. Makes me want to be outside all day long!

  14. OMG!! I started reading your blogs a Few months ago. I’m from the Bay Area and work on Fourth street in berkeley right where you and your husband went this weekend. If you ever go Back to fourth street bring your appetite and eat at Betty’s! They’re food is amazing and was featured on tv!! You’re going to love exploring the east bay!!!!!

    1. Hi Jacquelyn! Oh my gosh, that is awesome! It was SUCH a beautiful day to be on Fourth Street, and I saw a lot of people brunching, so I do want to go back there to eat one day. I bought a couple of cute things at Z Gallerie, but mostly we struck out there. How cool you work there! And yes, the East Bay is SOOOO just what I needed after a long time in the middle of SF! Happy Tuesday, my friend! I’d love to hear more from you on recommendations, so feel free to chime in on the blog whenever you want.

  15. I loved loved loved reading about your weekend! I used to live about a mile from the Reservoir and it’s definitely one of my favorite spots. 🙂 We went hiking on Saturday! I have to tell you all about it- I almost got very friendly with a whole bunch of adorable cows.

    1. We did have some good eats last weekend — but we always have good eats on the weekend. And I always take a rest day! It’s important. Hope you’re having a good week, Kelly! 🙂

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