Friday Favorites: e-book, food, picnics + tunes

Happy Friday! This week has included some work, some writing and a lot of sweaty group fitness. And as we do on the last day of the work-week, I’d like to get into today’s edition of “Friday Favorites,” in which I share a few things that I’ve been enjoying lately. 

My favorite read of the week: Blogging e-book

Have you ever thought about starting your own blog? Take it from me, if you want to start a blog, just do it. I wish I had started A Lady Goes West long before I did. But then again, I guess I wouldn’t have gone west yet. 

For those of you who are bloggers or aspiring bloggers, I’d like to introduce you to a super helpful and easy to digest e-book all about blogging. Gina, who writes The Fitnessista, is a very successful healthy-living blogger and a brand new fellow Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor. Check out her e-book, called “Build Up Your Blog.” <<—This is an affiliate link, and if you click through to purchase, I’ll get a little referral credit, so thanks!>>

Build Up Your Blog e-bookA look at the front page of “Build Up Your Blog” on my tablet.

This was my first time ever reading an e-book. I read it on my phone in about half-an-hour and then went back on my tablet to go through the major high points. Some of the best tips? Be true to yourself, establish a blogging schedule and editorial calendar, create a helpful media kit for brands, spend time on your content and use all of the social media tools you possibly can to get in front of your current readers and new readers. I took a few pointers from Gina and put them in place this week. For instance, there’s a new hover-to-share feature on A Lady Goes West images, and a new board on my Pinterest page just for blogging. Thanks for sending me the book, Gina. It’s a great resource.

My favorite sight at home: A full fridge

Once a week, usually on Friday afternoons, I order our groceries online from Instacart. After they arrive and I put them away, I often go back to the fridge a couple of times just to admire it.

Full fridgeThe inside of my fridge, full of all the fuel we need for a week.

While this is not a full-size fridge (three-quarter-sized for a city kitchen, of course), it’s so nice to have it full of food. Does anyone else get true happiness from having their fridge stocked? I feel the same about the fruit basket on the counter and our cabinets, but the fridge brings me just a little bit more joy.

My favorite Sunday afternoon activity: Picnic in Marin

It had been a while since Dave and I had gone over the Golden Gate Bridge for a little outdoor play. On Sunday, we took a picnic lunch, brought our favorite picnic blanket and set up camp on this gorgeous cliff for a couple of hours. It was much warmer than normal, and I loved the fact that I could take off my jacket for a little vitamin D.

Picnic in MarinEating lunch in the Marin Headlands and taking a pre-lunch selfie.

It was a very short and easy hike to our spot, which we’ve been to once before. We watched the waves, enjoyed some cold beverages and ate boxed Trader Joe’s salads. There are a lot of reasons to love living in the Bay Area, and I think an activity like this is high on that list.

My favorite new tunes: Hip Hop BBQ

One of our San Francisco friends works at Pandora and always tells us about the best stations. His latest recommendation is to-die-for. Trust me on this one. Check out Hip Hop BBQ on Pandora, and you’ll thank me later. It’s such a fun mix of music, and Dave and I put it on blast on our TV when getting ready to go out on the weekends.

There you go. Short and sweet. I’m heading off on a special little mission this morning that I may talk about soon, and of course, I’m teaching BODYPUMP tonight. Have a great day!

More Friday Favorites

If you’d like to see a few more “Friday Favorites,” see below or visit the the link-up hostess, Heather

  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

Questions of the day

What are you doing this weekend? Did you discover any new favorite finds this week? What’s your go-to station Pandora?

Ashley signature

, , ,


  1. Sorry — being a fridge creeper — but is that Noosa yogurt good? I’ve always thought about buying it!

    Can’t wait to try out the Pandora station. My favorite is the Ja Rule Pandora station. I know, sounds incredibly random. BUT it has the best 90s music that you completely forgot about! I’ve hooked all my friends on it.

    1. Hi Christa! Noosa yogurt is definitely not a low-calorie food and doesn’t seem to have as much protein as others. I think of it more as a treat, and the pumpkin flavor had a DELICIOUS taste, but was a little less thick and creamy than Greek yogurt. It’s a nice change, but isn’t my standard go-to yogurt. It’s expensive too.

    1. Hi Gina! I sure did. Some of your tips are in place already. By the way, I’m coming down to San Diego soon and I’d love to pop into your PUMP or barre class. Stay tuned! πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve heard great things about Gina’s book! So glad to hear it’s been helpful for you! πŸ™‚

    Ahhh yes, a stocked fridge is such a great feeling, isn’t it? I usually do our grocery shopping on Monday mornings, and it always feels great to have a variety of options for the week.

    Have a great weekend! xo

    1. Hi Ashley! Yes I love having a lot of food, but boy we go through it quickly. Gina’s book was a good and fast read, you should check it out. Happy weekend to you! πŸ™‚

  3. Ahhh, that picnic! So perfect. And I’m sorry… is Instacart available everywhere? That sounds amazing. Don’t worry – I often walk to the fridge and open to admire it for a quick second when it’s all clean and full of fresh produce too. #healthylivingnerd Love it! Thank you for linking up your favorites. Enjoy the weekend! xo

  4. Oh I should probably read a blogging book, or e-book, I am pretty clueless half the time! πŸ™‚ I will have to check out that Pandora station, I am always looking for a good Pandora station to work out too..Itunes gets expensive! πŸ™‚

  5. This weekend involved lots of running, eating, and football! My two favorite Pandora stations are Cascade and Empire of the Sun. πŸ™‚ And yes a full fridge makes me very happy too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.