Friday Favorites: Food, shoes, stretches + fun

Greetings from the sunny and beautiful state of Florida. I arrived into Fort Lauderdale last night, got to spend a couple of hours with my Mom, enjoyed happy hour with a group of friends and am en route on a little road-trip down to Key West for the weekend with some of my best gals. There are more than 15 of us congregating in the Keys to show our bride-to-be, Melissa, an incredible bachelorette weekend.

I wrote this post yesterday on the plane. I scored a round-trip direct-flight deal on Virgin Airlines, (which of course is the nicest way to travel outside of first class), so I was loving life as I boarded my cushy seat, while listening to the music that Virgin always plays in the waiting areas. However, when I opened up my laptop and went to buy WiFi services after we were airborne, a little bit of me died inside. You see, I paid $17 for three hours of Internet. Oh my gosh. Do you know how many fancy matcha green tea lattes I could have purchased with that amount of money? I cringed as I put in my credit card number. But oh well, what’s done is done. I just couldn’t miss a chance to share my latest “Friday Favorites” with you. And this one cost a pretty penny to create, so you better enjoy it!

My favorite recent shopping trip

Does anyone else feel like shopping with a gift card is more fun, but also harder, than shopping with your own cash? I won a $25 Sprouts Farmer’s Market gift card over on Nancy’s blog a while back and finally got around to using it. It was my first time in a Sprouts, which seems to be a cross between a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I used the gift card to get some snacks for my plane-trip and walked around perusing everything. I definitely wanted to make the most out of the “free money,” so shopping took me a while.

Sprouts purchasesLook at all those goodies I picked up in one trip? Fruit, hard-boiled eggs, healthy packaged goods, vitamins and more.

I settled on a fancy trail mix and some new-to-me protein bars, granola bars, calcium chews and Greek yogurt. I spent $26.50, so made it out of there with under $2 out-of-pocket, which felt pretty good. You can bet that most of these items were in my bag and were consumed during my long flight. I really do like shopping for food, by the way. (And yes, I snuck a Greek yogurt past security yesterday. Don’t tell!)

My favorite new sandals

Huge news for this weekend: My feet will be seeing the light of day! Thus, I needed some new strappy kicks for my trip. And of course, I was in major need of a pedicure and manicure as well, both of which I took care of this week before departing the Bay Area. Because I’m always in closed-toe shoes, it had been a while since I bought any cute sandals, and boy it felt good to do so.

New sandalsLoving these BCBG Paris Embi-X Flat Sandals and these Zigi Soho Fausta Flat Sandals.

As you may know from reading, I’m a DSW shoe lover, so I picked both of these up on Sunday in one fell swoop. Granted, I tried on maybe 20 pairs and messed up an entire section of shoes for the hour I was in the store, (which took me a long time to clean up), but I came away with two winners. I will be stylin’ and profilin’ on Duval Street in these puppies.

My favorite event of the week

On Tuesday night, Dave and I were each separately invited to attend a special event at the flagship Express store in Union Square, so we decided it made sense to go together for our respective interests (him for his work and me for the blog). The store was closed off to introduce the spring line, and there were some popular fashion bloggers in attendance, as well as Kate Upton, who is a model and a spokeswoman for Express.

Express eventLook at Dave in front of that Steph Curry wall — so cool. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’ve never met a step-and-repeat I didn’t like. Express Yourself? Perfect name for the signature cocktail of the night.

We chatted with some people, watched Kate Upton get interviewed by EXTRA and also looked at the merchandise. I haven’t shopped in Express for years (while it was one of my go-to clothing retailers during the early years of my corporate career), but I was super impressed with what they had. Also, we watched as Kate Upton walked around the store, and I have to say, she was pretty in person, but not stunning. Really, she just looked like a regular old gal, blending in with the rest of the attendees. And the best part of the night? The fancy champagne. I rarely drink anything other than water or protein shakes during the week, but since we were out-and-about I helped myself to some fine bubbly, and it was delicious.

My favorite new gym discovery

Does your gym have a stretch machine? How have I never used one of these things, being that I’ve worked in gyms as both a part-time group fitness instructor and/or full-time personal trainer for more than five years? Well, I’m glad I finally stumbled upon this thing during one of my solo sweat sessions the other day.

TrueStretchOutside of cream cheese icing, True Stretch is perhaps the smartest creation ever. I’d like to buy one for my house, if only it didn’t cost $3,700.

Basically, you hang from the metal bars, positioning your feet and hands as instructed on the placard, and you get one amazing stretch session. I’ve now used this thing three times, and I get some weird looks, but I have a feeling those people are just jealous. Seriously, if you go to a gym, look around for this contraption and use it. And if you see someone smiling while dangling in compromising positions, don’t judge.

My favorite links of the week

Make sure you didn’t miss any of the good stuff on A Lady Goes West this week:

And don’t miss these two guest posts I did this week on both Jenna’s blog and on Jen’s blog

Have an awesome weekend! Catch me on Instagram to see some craziness from Key West! Bye, friends!

Read more Friday Favorites

If you’ve enjoyed browsing through this post, see below for previous editions or visit the the link-up hostesses, Heather, Katie and Clare

  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
  35. Decor, bars, boots and a drink
  36. Flowers, music and more
  37. Coqueta, a brush and food
  38. My people and the holidays
  39. Beauty, bling and entertainment
  40. A hodge-podge of goodies
  41. Just a few special things
  42. Tasty food, drinks and moving
  43. A bunch of feel-good stuff
  44. Home, car and fitness finds
  45. Sweets, cooking, beauty and blog
  46. Gold, yoga, photos and more
  47. Celebs, scents, games and more

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend? Where is your favorite beach? Would you rather vacation in the snow or the sand?

Ashley signature

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  1. Those sandals are adorable! I’m a DSW lover too and I happen to have a store not too far from my house and one down the street from where I work. Even if there isn’t any buying involved, I’ve been known to head out on my lunch break to browse a bit.

    Have fun in Key West!

    1. Hi Chrissy! Ohhh I remember the days of lunch-time shopping trips when I worked in the corporate world, and I would just walk the aisles and browse just to clear my head. That’s a great way to get some extra steps in the day too! Hope you have a fun weekend! πŸ™‚

  2. Hey Ashley! Good to see you’ve landed safe in Florida! Those sandals are gorgeous! I love seeing what you are up to! I’d love to see a post about how you ended up in the fitness inindustry, if you haven’t already written one!

      1. I would love for you to write a deeper post one da. I am thinking of becoming a group fitness instructor andwould love to hear how you got to where you are today!

  3. I love those sandals! Ahhh, I’m so ready for a beach and some sandals with sundresses!

    It’s funny you say that about Kate Upton because I always see her as a very pretty girl, but also as a completely normal pretty girl who you would see eating at your local restaurant.

    1. Hi Stacie! Exactly! That’s what she looked like, except of course, with a lot of make-up. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! πŸ™‚

  4. Those sandals are too cute! This weekend is jam packed, but I’m excited about it. One of my friends and I are going to try out a new rowing studio tomorrow then grab brunch. Next up is a basketball game. Then on Sunday, I am training two new instructors in Barre. It should be fun! Happy Friday

    1. Hi Lauren! Wow, you really are packing in the activities. I hope it all goes well! A workout followed by brunch with a friend? That’s a great way to spend a Saturday. Enjoy!!

  5. Aren’t those stretching machines the BEST? I discovered it after years of going to LifeTime one day. Ha! I was truly missing out all of that time! GOSH that’s expensive Internet. Yikes! I have to admit that I have also paid a ridiculous amount for a short amount of time on the Internet before. Sometimes you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do! It’s almost worth the stress relief to enjoy a trip once you get there. Speaking of, have so much fun in The Keys! Super jealous! xo

  6. I can only dream of wearing sandals right now seeing as we just got another giant snowstorm yesterday! Ahhhhhhh. I love them all though. And for me the best vacations always involve sand!

  7. That stretching machine looks amazing! I wish my gym had one!

    That vacation question is hard for me to answer! I love the beach, but also like going out and exploring. Sometimes on beach vacations I feel like I’m just relaxing and not really doing much (which is fun and needed sometimes!) I’m having a beach wedding next year in the Caribbean though, so I guess I’ll have to pick beach πŸ™‚

    Happy Friday!

    1. Hi Gretchen! I like both. Sometimes I like to veg on the beach, and sometimes I like to explore. So I agree! Hope you had a nice weekend!

  8. Oh those sandals are all so cute, how fun!! I’m def. more of beach girl, so I’d rather vacation in the sand…..ahhh that sounds so nice right now. Enjoy your girls weekend!!

  9. I do looove flying Virgin. They definitely have the best lounges… but $17 for wifi is ridiculous!

    I’ve never even seen on of those stretch machines, but I would love to have one in my gym! Well, I tend to get pretty giddy whenever I see ANYthing new at the gym.

    1. Thanks Jessica! I wish I had a yogurt to sneak past today, instead I paid $4 for a Greek yogurt from a little airport shop. UGH! Hope you had a nice weekend!

  10. Hi Ashley!
    Oh this trip looks like fun! Shoes are always a Yes even thought I’m still in boots here. I’ve never seen a stretch machine before? That thing looks awesome and dangerous at the same time! Enjoy your trip.

  11. Have a great time in Key West! Ah! I’ve only been there once- in college- and needless to say, I don’t remember that much of our trip πŸ˜‰ Love those sandals! I’ve been on a summery kick lately and cannot wait for warmer weather and longer days- the 75 degree days have been such a teese!

  12. So cool that you were just chilling with Kate Upton haha. And those sandals are soooo pretty! My fave beach is the one I have always gone to in New Zealand, Waihi. But right now I’m living in Sydney and my fave beach here is either Bondi or Coogee. They are both gorgeous- but you’ve gotta watch out for sharks!

  13. Love that stretch machine too! They had one at UCF when I went there. Man I sure took the awesome free UF and UCF gyms for granted at the time.
    And same for Kate Upton – I saw her twice in my Publix in January! She was down with her bf Justin Verlander for Tigers spring training. She was pretty but I was surprised at how normal she looked, just browsing the produce. I don’t think I would’ve even picked her out but my hubby recognized Verlander. I was still starstruck of course. And was funny seeing the young male store employees do their best to play it cool. Everyone left them alone though which I thought was nice.

    1. Hi Delia! Free gyms in college are the best, because they are usually awesome — especially the big UF one. And that’s so funny you saw Kate Upton too. I didn’t know she had a boyfriend who was in sports. Cool! I love a good celeb sighting, whether they are impressive in person or not! Hope you had a nice weekend:)

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