Friday Favorites: Decor, bars, boots + a drink

Happy Friday! Well, looks like we made it through the week after Thanksgiving. It was touch-and-go there at first, but I’m back, energized and into my groove again. Thank goodness. I’ve got a few fun things to share with you today, in my favorite post of the week, “Friday Favorites.” 

My favorite new piece of decor

There are endless reasons why I love this first “Friday Favorite.” First and foremost, I’ve been wanting a big conversational decorative pillow, which showcases something local, ever since we moved here. Second of all, I love hand-made pieces, which are bright and show their craftsmanship. Thirdly, I love to have things around my home (which is of course, a shoe-box apartment, not a full-sized home) that carry great memories. Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to the world’s best pillow and my favorite new piece of decor.

California pillowI don’t think this picture could possibly do this pillow justice. It’s completely hand-embroidered, taking more than 40 hours to create. Can you see San Francisco up there on the upper-left corner and all the other places Dave and I have visited over the past two-and-a-half years? I die.

What is ever-so-special about this pillow? It arrived in a box to our doorstep yesterday, sent to us from the lovely couple we met while tasting wine in Carmel on Sunday. A token of appreciation and a keepsake for us to remember that great, but short, stay. If you read my trip recap (and if you didn’t, that’s okay, because it’s still there waiting for you), you know that this nice couple was also from San Francisco and Dave was going to give them some Warriors basketball game tickets. You also know that the woman of this couple owned a cute boutique in Carmel, which I had walked by and admired. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they sent us this pillow, which I totally had my eye on in her boutique’s window. And upon some research last night, I found out that the boutique also has a location in San Francisco. It’s called Elizabeth W, and there you can buy some hand-crafted artisanal home-goods (i.e. this pillow) and unique bath and body collections. Basically, all the wonderful and fine stuff you hope to receive as gifts. I couldn’t find this exact pillow on the Elizabeth W site, in case you’re dying over it like I am, but you can find it on the maker’s site, the California hand-embroidered pillow from CatStudios. I can assure you that this pillow is going to make me smile every single time I see it. 

My favorite nutritious treat

The nice ladies at LUNA Bar recently sent me a few samples to try in preparation for a big brand announcement. Just this month, all LUNA Bars are now officially gluten free. In my sample pack, I tried the Blueberry Bliss, Chocolate Peppermint Stick and Honey Caramel Peanut flavors and enjoyed them all. I think Chocolate Peppermint Stick stole my heart, but upon looking around the LUNA site, I’m pretty sure Iced Oatmeal Raisin would be my favorite based on the profile. Oh and the taste of the bars? I certainly didn’t miss the gluten. LUNA had some other big news break this week too. They are debuting a brand new flavor, Chocolate Cupcake, which I’m super excited to try.

LUNA BarsThe bars arrived in this fun box of yellow fluff, which I almost wanted to keep and re-purpose, but alas, we just didn’t have the space to store it anywhere.

I really like the consistency, taste and nutrition value of these bars. I also love that the company is all about women’s empowerment. LUNA is known for supporting female athletes, breast cancer research, independent films and so many more lady causes. But most importantly, these bars are healthy in terms of pre-packaged goods. Here are a few stats about LUNA Bars:

  • Gluten free
  • Low glycemic index (which is important for how the bar will affect your blood-sugar levels and energy after eating)
  • Under 200 calories each
  • 8-10 grams of protein in each
  • 70% organic
  • Made with no artificial flavors or preservatives

A bar made for women? A Bay Area company? Great tasting and gluten free? Sounds good to me.

My favorite new boots

If you’re a regular A Lady Goes West reader, you know I have a major loyalty to DSW for most of my shoe purchases. Well, because I haven’t been shopping as much this year, I received an email that my Premier Reward status was in jeopardy. So Dave and I went to the big DSW near our apartment the weekend before Thanksgiving and each bought a pair of shoes, giving me some extra points to get closer to keeping my status.

DSW BootiesNot quite a boot, not quite a shoe, the bootie is perfect for semi-casual dressing.

I bought these Spendid Rodeo booties in black and wore them in San Diego, as well as Carmel. They are super comfortable and oh-so-cute. I love a good bootie, which I can get a lot of use out of in San Francisco while walking the hills and still getting a little lift with a heel to dress up my many pairs of leggings. I even wore these to a Christmas party Dave and I attended last night at a local beer brewery. While I didn’t exactly have space for these in my already crowded closet, I’ve made it work.

My favorite specialty drink

While everyone is dying over Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread Lattes at Starbucks, I actually have a different favorite beverage that isn’t even listed on the menu at most places. The Matcha Green Tea Latte, served warm with soy milk. I’ve ordered Matcha Green Tea Lattes both sweetened and unsweetened and like them equally. Yes-oh-yes, this is a strange and tasty creation.

Matcha Latte StarbucksAs green as can be, matcha is a powdered tea from Japan, which is packed full of antioxidants. Matcha is known to help detox the body, burn calories and increase your energy.

I wrote about Matcha tea powder once and nothing I made at home ever came close to the deliciousness of the Starbucks drink. Definitely worth a try. But beware, Dave claims it tastes like drinking a plant (another one of his kind assessments of my healthy tendencies). So you have to doctor it up with some Splenda if you’re not into the unique flavor and texture. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down a PSL, but Matcha is my year-round jam.

My favorite links of the week

Here’s some more good stuff from A Lady Goes West this week:

My favorite dorky, yet imporant, article

And one more link, which did not appear on A Lady Goes West. Some of you may know I used to be a copywriter and writing is in my professional background. That being said, I’m a stickler for grammar and word use. I definitely cringe at some of the stuff I see around the Inter-webs, while keeping my comments friendly. So here’s a good article about some commonly misused words out there “40 Incorrectly Used Words That Make You Look Dumb.” Knowledge is power, people!

Alright, everybody. I’ve got some work to do, a training session and am teaching BODYPUMP tonight. This weekend includes a whole lot of fitness for me and a holiday party with friends on Saturday night. We’re doing a White Elephant gift exchange, and I’m hoping to come away with something good. Now, go off and get festive, party people! Three weekends until Christmas!

More Friday Favorites 

Want some more “Friday Favorites”? If so, see below for previous editions or visit the the link-up hostesses, Heather, Clare and Katie

  1. A snack, a purse and a ritual
  2. A delivery, a bra and a guy
  3. A sweet, a wine and a read
  4. A drink, a gadget and a plan 
  5. A time, a bottle and a powder
  6. San Francisco edition
  7. Beauty edition
  8. Beach vacation edition
  9. Hidden meanings
  10. Kicks, a book and a bowl
  11. The very best sweatshirts
  12. Party hosting and froyo
  13. Fourth of July daytime activity
  14. Beauty basics edition
  15. Workplace edition
  16. Shopping, sales and a show
  17. The foods I always buy
  18. Sushi, a game and pants
  19. Fitness apps
  20. Delicious and healthy products
  21. Comfort, fitness and function
  22. Beauty, buddha and blog events
  23. Dining, the city and gift ideas
  24. POPSUGAR, sweets and such
  25. A bunch of fun stuff
  26. e-book, food, picnic and tunes
  27. A link, a superfood and a mask
  28. Pants, shoes, food and links
  29. Dining, protein and goodies
  30. Shopping, events and a book
  31. A gym bag, pumpkin and juices 
  32. Workout gear, a top and a massage
  33. prAna, a watch, tea and more
  34. Tasty stuff and gift sales

Questions of the day

What are your favorites from this week? Do you have any fun weekend plans? Have you gone to any holiday parties yet?

Ashley signature


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  1. That pillow is awesome and I’m LOVING the Eiffel Tower ones. Totally not in my budget but they really are gorgeous. Tweeted about Catstudio πŸ˜‰ Would make a great holiday gift

    1. Hi Diane! I know! Such a gorgeous pillow. Thanks for sharing the love. I hope you’re doing well:) Maybe you can put it on your Christmas list?? πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Christa! Well if you discover anything new and tasty that’s not on the menu, do share. I don’t get Starbucks but a couple times a month, if that, so I like to make sure what I order is worth it. Happy Friday!

  2. I love matcha too, I didn’t know that Starbucks made them! I’ll have to try one out next time I’m there. Those booties are adorable too, I think they look so cute on other people but I don’t think I could pull them off. I used to be so fashionable, now I just live in my workout clothes, whomp whomp.

    1. Hi Sue! Well, I only wear “normal” clothes a couple times a week, but I’ve somehow managed to wear the booties three times lately. And I’m sure they’d look great on you. Be adventurous and try some on! You may be pleasantly surprised.

  3. I haven’t had the Matcha green tea latte from SB in years, but I’m ready for one this morning now! It’s amazing that Luna is totally GF now. It’s worth giving them another try.

    1. Hi Tiara! For sure! Get yourself a Friday matcha treat! πŸ™‚ And you should pick up the new Chocolate Cupcake LUNA and let me know if it’s good. Have an awesome weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I really like Luna bars, the nutrition stats are some of the best out there, for a decent tasting bar at least ;). I like to keep a stash in my desk drawer, Chocolate Cupcake, I cannot wait to try!

    1. Hi Jessie! You’re smart! Always good to have healthy snacks on hand. And I’m super excited about the new flavor too. Have an awesome weekend friend:)

    1. Hahhaha go for it Sam, it’s fun to learn something new. Hope you don’t spend too much time. I mean, it’s Friday, so have fun today! πŸ™‚

  5. Such a lovely gift — I’ll have to check out Elizabeth W in the city πŸ™‚ It’s a beautiful pillow (I’m really amazed by anyone who can stitch/sew/do anything crafty, really) and so cool how sentimental it is too πŸ™‚

    I’m looking forward to trying the new Luna Bars too — they kind of remind me of college, when I ate them ALL. THE. TIME. but I’m excited to give them another go. Also thanks for the matcha tip at Starbucks — I usually stick to tea or iced coffee, but I LOVE matcha (after drinking a ton of it in Argentina last year) so this sounds pretty awesome πŸ™‚ Have a fab weekend!

  6. Wow, I love the pillow too! Especially since it’s handmade…jeez. Talk about detail. Where do they get that talent?! And is it a crime that I have yet to get the chance to try Luna Bars? Are they paleo? I’m trying to find paleo snack ideas for when I try my paleo month near the beginning of January. Trying this for the first time (and I’ll admit it’ll be hard for me to give breads and OATMEAL!) so I’m needing some snack ideas. πŸ™‚ The Blueberry Bliss sounds heavenly! Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Kaylin, I don’t think LUNA Bars are paleo because of the oats and soy and all of the other stuff in there. Seems like most things “paleo” are not from a box or processed, however you can probably ask an expert, which I’m not. Good luck to you with the new paleo plan though. Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great weekend! Maybe you’ll fit in one of your needed 30-minute sessions of activity?? πŸ™‚

  7. I’m not sure which is more amazing – the look of the pillow or the fact that this sweet lady & her husband sent it to you. It really does show that theres lovely people out in the world!

    1. Hi Jessie! I know. I love nice people. I’ll pass on the kindness to someone else for sure. Thanks for stopping by and hope you had a nice weekend.

  8. It’s all about the booties here in SF! Love those. πŸ™‚ Also, we have several dish towels just like your California pillow. They’re adorable, and make great gifts too!

    1. Hi Elle! How did it take me so long to respond to this comment? Thank you for stopping by the ole’ blog. I hope you’re having a great week. And yes, the California theme/map pattern is one I’d like in more formats. Happy Wednesday!

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