Friday Favorites: Fun stuff and a giveaway

Happy Friday to you! Who is happy that the weekend has nearly arrived? This morning, as usual, I’m up early to teach a BODYATTACK class. Then, I’ll be wrapping up some work and heading to a hair appointment. The frizzy mess on my head needs a little taming, so I’m going to get another keratin-smoothing treatment today. That means no sweating for me this weekend, as my hair has to settle. I see a couple of rest days in my future.

And tonight? I’m super excited about my plans for the evening, because Dave and I are going to a little shop in downtown Walnut Creek called Canvas and Cabernet with some friends. As you may be able to guess from the name, we will be drinking wine while painting on canvas. I’ve wanted to do one of these types of activities for a while and can’t wait to test out my painting skills. 

The rest of the weekend is pretty up-in-the-air, outside of Dave working at a Warriors playoff game tomorrow during the day. (Go Golden State!) Without further ado, let’s get to the latest weekly edition of “Friday Favorites,” and there’s a sneaky giveaway in here too, so play along if you want to win.

My favorite new piece of art

I have always been a fan of photo-print canvases (not to be confused with the blank canvases we will be painting on tonight!). Not only do Dave and I have a few on our walls, but I’ve also given these as gifts a couple of times before. So of course, when the nice folks at CanvasPop reached out about sending me a canvas print and doing a giveaway on the blog, I had no problem saying yes. I sent in a picture and received a 16 x 20 high-quality canvas print, which was delivered to me in less than a week. It’s sturdy, well-done, and the colors are perfect. Because I like it so much, I haven’t even decided where we are going to hang it yet, so right now it’s sitting out in the living room on top of a bookshelf. I really need to hang it up and give you guys a house tour soon. 

CanvasPop picture via A Lady Goes WestWait a second, who is that girl with light hair standing next to Dave? That’s me rocking some blonde hair nearly two years ago. This is an older picture from a trip to Florida for a wedding, but one that we both liked.

I love having lots of pictures on the wall, especially big and colorful ones like this, because they make me think of happy times and enjoyable memories every time I walk by. Let’s just say, I’m super pleased with the service and outcome of what I got from CanvasPop. And if you’d like to order something from the company as well, there is a full line of canvas and framed pieces available that you can customize to your liking. You can use the promo code ALGW35 for 35 percent off your entire order. This code is good until the end of April, so act quickly.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Now, CanvasPop would like to give away one 16 x 20 canvas print with a .75 depth to a reader of A Lady Goes West (more than an $80 value!). To win, all you have to do is leave a comment below on this post. Any comment will do. I’ll randomly select the winner on Sunday night around dinner time on the West Coast, so this is a quick and casual one. But for extra good luck, you should probably follow CanvasPop on Facebook or A Lady Goes West on Facebook, and leave a separate and additional comment letting me know if you do either of those. Just sayin’ …

My favorite fitness gear

I think I need some to invest in an additional dresser to store all of my workout wear. Being that I wear activewear every single day to work in gyms (or work from home), I have a big collection of pants, tops, sports bras, jackets, etc., yet it’s never enough to sustain me. I still find myself repeating things over and over again, especially on days in which I wear more than one workout outfit. Therefore, this past weekend, Dave and I took a quick trip to the Livermore Outlets and stopped in Under Armour and Nike

Under Armour gearI got these shiny black capri leggings, a loose top, a high-impact sports bra, a pack of socks, some underwear and two sweatshirts, all in one fell swoop. 

I snagged all of this stuff for just over $200, which is actually quite a steal for high-quality items. I also did something I never do, which is that I took the tags off and wore some of this right away to teach BODYPUMP on Tuesday night. I usually save stuff for a few weeks with tags on (I don’t know why I do this, but I do), so I was proud of myself for debuting it right away. It all fits great, moves well and will be put to good use.

My favorite chocolate treat

When I want a dessert, I do not reach for a square of dark chocolate — like not at all. I reach for an entire cheesecake. But I must admit, I recently tried some chocolate bars that are quite satisfying and much more decadent than what you would think by the looks of them. 

Alter Eco barsCheck out these Alter Eco, Organic Chocolate, Dark Salted Burnt Caramel Bars. You can buy these online or at your local health-food store (i.e. Whole Foods), so keep your eyes out for them, if you’re into chocolate.

I discovered these because I won a cool giveaway on Whitney’s blog, which included a bunch of new healthy food products that were debuted at Natural Products Expo West, a big food convention in Southern California that took place last month. My favorite things I’ve received so far have definitely been these bars from Alter Eco Foods. These aren’t your average candy bars. In fact, there are levels of real cocoa in chocolate products and apparently 70 percent is good, which is what these bars have at a minimum. These bars are also organic, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, Fair Trade Certified and have no artificial flavors. Nonetheless, the healthy aspects aside, I really like the taste and texture. No bitterness. Lots of flavor. And I had these both last weekend. Salty and sweet? Yes, please.

My favorite seasoning

Okay, this isn’t new, because Lawry’s Seasoned Salt has been around forever. But I bought some a few weeks ago and have been using it as my number-one seasoner. I’ve been sprinkling Lawry’s on veggies, rice, pasta and even on eggs. Now I know some people have a problem with seasoners like this because they could contain traces of MSG (even though the product claims to have none), but honestly — I feel like you pick your battles. I do the best I can, and a little seasoning doesn’t scare me.

Lawry's Seasoned SaltDo you think I need a larger pan for roasting? Sometimes I just smash as many veggies as I can together, and they still turn out alright, even when cooked in such close proximity.

I must admit, there have been a couple of meals in which I overdid it with this orange goodness though. But a heaping helping of Lawry’s is still a great sensation on the tongue, even if a little much at times. Hey, if you need a bit of spice to jazz up your meals, may I suggest this affordable classic?

My favorite video of the week

The other night, Dave and I were watching all the most popular YouTube videos. (Yes, we can be losers at times.) During that laugh-out-loud session, we came across the most amazing black-and-white video of a girl singing an older alternative classic. Please do yourself a favor and enjoy this one  — “Creep, Vintage Postmodern Jukebox Radiohead Cover” by Haley Reinhart. I think this gal was on American Idol and didn’t win, which is amazing because she’s got some major talent. In addition to that, I just like the whole scene.

My favorite links of the week

There were some good things going on around here on A Lady Goes West this week …

Keep in touch with me over the weekend on Instagram, my friends! Have a great couple of days!

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, 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
  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
  48. Food, shoes, stretches and fun 
  49. Purse, snack, plant and more
  50. Fresh, healthy, clean and square
  51. Pilates, sneaks and much more
  52. Quite a few good things
  53. Food, jewels and sweat etc.

Questions of the day

What’s your plan for the weekend?

When is the last time you did something artistic?

GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Do you want to win a free canvas print? If so, let me know by saying hello or leaving a random thought in the comments below. And leave a separate comment if you like us on Facebook. This giveaway closes Sunday night. And it’s open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada. 

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  1. I’ve done a few of those wine and painting classes. They’re so fun! I have no artistic ability at all when it comes to drawing or painting, but I still had a good time. As for plans for this weekend, we’re going on a local craft brewery tour and tasting with friends and then out to dinner later tonight.

    Happy Friday!

    1. Hi Chrissy! I’m hoping the wine will help my artistic abilities hehhehe! And sounds like you have a great weekend ahead too! Have so much fun touring and tasting! πŸ™‚

  2. Those wine and painting nights are so much fun! Enjoy!

    And that canvas print is so cool. I’ve been wondering what to get my Mom for Mother’s Day and I think you gave me a solution! And maybe I’ll even win the giveaway!

    TGIF to you.

    1. Hi Ruthie! I know hhaha I look forward to laying on the couch in the morning rather than working out tomorrow hhehe. FOR THE HAIR! Hope you have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  3. I absolutely love Post Modern Jukebox! I think I’ve watched just about all of their videos so far. You should check out All About That Bass..I like their version better than the original! Hope you have a terrific Friday and weekend, Ashley! Painting + Drinking is SO much fun..I know you’ll love it πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Gretchen! Yes, I will have to check out more of those videos. I LOVE hearing good singers, especially because I can’t sing at all hehehe. Have a lovely weekend, friend! Cheers to you! πŸ™‚

  4. Hey friend! Those are all awesome favorites. I love the new clothes! Have you looked into Fabletics yet? They are my favorite fitness fashion find as of late. Also, I love that canvas! Our house is decorated with mostly pictures of our family, our wedding, and fun trips we’ve taken. I think it’s fun to surround yourself with memories to keep sharing. This weekend I am launching BODYPUMP 93! I’m sure it will be great! Have a great day!

    1. Hi Jenna! Yes on Fabletics! I have one set so far and like it a lot. And Yay for lots of pictures in your house. Have fun teaching 93. I’ve taught it a few times and am really enjoying it. REVIEW coming soon of course hehehe! Happy Friday!

  5. I am actually headed out this weekend to get new workout gear. I heard Kohls is having some huge sale so I was going to check them out first.

    1. Hi Jennie! Cool! I’ve never found workout gear there, but I love the Lauren Conrad clothing at Kohls! Haven’t been in forever. Have a great weekend! Hope you find something good! πŸ™‚

  6. Happy Friday! You deserve a few days of rest. The photo canvas is great. Love. I’ve always wanted to do one of those painting date nights. There’s a place in Austin, and we haven’t made it yet. Also that chocolate bar looks AMAZING.

  7. We did the canvas prints for our wedding photos–did two that we have surrounded by framed pics of the wedding as well. I looove them. And if you want to take your Lawry’s experience to the next level (you should really just visit us here at the Lawry’s restaurant) you need to a) use it to rim a cocktail glass and b) use it with potatoes, especially home fries and french fries. TO DIE for. have a great weekend!

    1. There is a Lawry’s restaurant? Oh my gosh, awesome! And yes, I can totally see Lawry’s on the rim of a cocktail. Great thoughts today, Susie hahaha! Love it. Happy Friday!

  8. Scott LOVES Lawry’s. Great find! All of your new workout gear is super cute. Also, we love canvas prints, too! I finally bought a gallery’s worth of wedding photos to hang… now I just need to order them. Thanks so much for linking up, and enjoy painting and wining! πŸ™‚

  9. Oh my gosh. Salted Caramel is my weakness, but salted BURNT caramel? I have to try these!

    I’m a big fan of have pictures over art in my home. What I really need is a canvas of one of our wedding photos since I have yet to hang any of those up, whoops! When we travel I usually try to buy a small print or a nicer postcard and frame that with a shot of us in that location πŸ™‚

    1. I just framed a postcard the other day actually, Courtney! And you need to get those wedding photos on the wall:) I LOVE looking at wedding photos at my home and other peoples’ homes. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  10. That canvas is lovely, such a great picture! Nice picks from UA, I especially like the pink top. As for that burnt salted caramel… delicious! Is the canvas giveaway open to readers in the UK? Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Nikki! Oh man, I’m sorry. This is for US and Canada only πŸ™ I went back and added that in the post. Hope you have a great weekend, friend! Do something fun! πŸ™‚

  11. I’m running the Hot Chocolate 15k in memory of Carina on Saturday! Won’t let an injury bring me down!!

    Creative? Right before Christmas I went to a local pottery store and painted a bowl for the holidays then had it fired. It was quite fun!

    1. Hi Theresa, Oh neat! I’ve always wanted to do a little pottery painting myself. I hope your run goes well, especially when it’s for a good memory/cause. Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  12. I would love to win this! My daughter will be 4 weeks tomorrow, and we had newborn photos taken (which I swore I’d never do, but alas, I did) and there are some great pictures I would love to put on canvas!

    1. Hi Amy! Oh yay for your little one! Yes, you need some canvas prints of her newborn shots. Hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for entering!

  13. I didn’t know you got your hair treated with keratin…interesting! Is your hair naturally wavy or curly? And what is your natural hair color? You rock both the lighter and darker looks so well!

    That canvas is gorgeous – would love to win one!

    I, too, love that seasoned salt! It’s one of my favorite seasonings to put on roasted veggies.

    1. Hi Ash! My hair has gotten darker over the years. It’s naturally curly, so I always straighten it and haven’t worn it curly since college. It’s a dark brown right now, but some parts lighten up, so I dye it to get it to be even. So strange how our hair changes! Happy Friday to you!! πŸ™‚

  14. Canvas prints are the best–whether you are painting them or if they are printed for you! I have several of both.

  15. OH my gosh, that chocolate looks AMAZING! Yum. And I would love the canvas print! I’m actually going to Ireland later this year (dream vacation!!) and I’m hoping to get some of my photos printed on canvas to hang up!

    1. Ireland! Wow, Jessie! Awesome trip! I’d love to travel there one day! Yes, you’ll need some canvas prints for sure! Have a happy weekend! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Lisa! Good to know, I’ve never actually been to Gilroy, but a Lulu Outlet would be fun to shop in. Hope you have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  16. I still can’t get over reading a blog post about doing things in Walnut Creek – haha too weird! I have never done Canvas and Cabernet but I did Paint Nite (which I think is similar?) and it was super fun. I would love to win that giveaway especially since we are moving soon and I need pictures to hang on the walls in our new home!! I have one canvas print up in my room and I would love another/bigger one. Have a good time tonight girl!!

    1. Hi Hayley! Yes, it’s weird for me too, to not be writing about all things INSIDE San Francisco. But life is life. So here I am in Walnut Creek hitting a painting party on a Friday night hahaha. I’ll let you know how it goes. Have a fabulous weekend, but take it easy! πŸ™‚

  17. I am totally checking out Canvas Pop and am excited about this giveaway! I just recently moved in with my long time boyfriend, and have been wanting to get one of our professional pictures printed on canvas to hang in our living room.

    1. Hi Natalie! Well a big congrats to you on moving in with your man! That’s always a big step. And yes, decorating will be fun. Thanks for saying hello, and I hope you have a lovely weekend! πŸ™‚

  18. I love giving photos on canvas as gifts. I will be ordering from them soon. Would love to win thanks!

  19. Yes, I remember Haley from American Idol (I’m a bit of an AI junkie) and she is so talented. That video was amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    And I’m glad to see you scored a few good deals at the outlets! I don’t go that often but I’ve been pretty impressed when I have. Good choice to debut your new stuff right away. πŸ˜‰

    I hope you have a blast painting and drinking tonight! Happy Friday!

  20. I love the idea of having photos printed on canvas. My husband and I were married about a year and a half ago, however, we semi-recently (it’s been about 8 mths now… crazy!) and don’t really have any pictures up. This would be perfect!

  21. Seeing as I haven’t had a single photo printed from my wedding in 2013, I think I need one of these canvases in my life!! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Heather! I know, if I calculated the amount of times I wear a piece compared to what I pay for it, I’m nearly MAKING money off these clothes hahaha. Have a great weekend, Heather! πŸ™‚

  22. Oh ive never heard of Canvas Pop, sounds awesome!! I was just thinking I needed to print some new family pics we can hang around the house!! Have a good weekend!

    1. Hi Katie! Yes, it’s funny how you can never have enough workout wear. I’ve never tried Lulu shorts actually, guess I should. Hope you have a great weekend!! πŸ™‚

  23. I liked your favorite dessert type bar you posted. I’m going to look at my local health foods store for it. I love your style! I think that when you feel sexier when you work out that you perform a better workout. I think there should be a poll who ‘gets ready’ to go to the gym? I change up weekly. Some early mornings I have everything laid out and wear frizzy hair, glasses, and no makeup to a spin class. BUT on fridays, I know I won’t get out of bed for the cutie who runs the bootcamp unless I wear my cutest nike/underarmour gear and cover some of those faded acne scars. #Truth

    1. Hahhaha Jen! You make me laugh! I think it’s SO true. There are days and classes at the gym, when I know I want to look a little better. But my morning workouts? NOT pretty ahahha! Actually today I wore a good outfit, but my hair was a fright. So you like your boot camp instructor? I hope you work extra hard in the class, girlfriend!! hahha! Happy weekend to you!

  24. I was looking for a company to do some canvas prints of our dog and cat for an upstairs hallway! I will check out this company..and maybe win the giveway!!

    1. Hi Courtney! Happy Friday to you! hehehhe! Yes, we’ll see how I do with the painting. At least wine will make it more fun. Hope you have a great weekend, lady! πŸ™‚

  25. I’ve done one Wine/Painting class, it was so fun! I’m not the best artist, but it was so step-by-step it was hard to be too awful :). I hope you have a great time!

    I love that canvas! Last Christmas I got one of my whole family for my grandparents and they LOVED it! I’m pretty sure it was their favorite gift. I need to order a new one, from our most recent family vacation.

    1. Hi Jessie! How are you???? Long time! hahah! I hope all is well in your world. And yes, pictures like these make the perfect thoughtful gifts. I’m hoping my painting class is not too hard hahah. Wine will help. Have a fabulous weekend, friend! πŸ™‚

      1. I’ve been crazy busy at work, so I’ve had to lump all my blog reading together whenever I get a chance :). Wine will most infidelity help the quality of your painting! You’ll have to post your final product on Monday, we can guess which painting belongs to you and Dave.

  26. I’d love a big canvas picture! Ok, so I cannot wear anything but red and black to teach pump in! My gym doesn’t require it, but I just can’t seem to wear any other color to teach in. Do you wear all colors?

    1. Hi Melissa! I didn’t wear ANYTHING but red and black for about five years. I felt it was the ONLY thing to wear. But as Les Mills starting incorporating more colors through Reebok, I realized it was not mandatory any longer. So I started adding color about a year ago. I wouldn’t wear pink to teach BODYPUMP, but I did wear this peach top above. I still wear mostly form-fitting resistance-type attire though hehehe. Does that make sense?? Happy Friday!!

      1. It does make sense, maybe it will take me 5 years as well to add color – haha!! Although, they did wear those pink raise the bar tanks a few releases ago…not that you can find one anywhere!

        1. Hi Melissa! Yes they did, I would only wear pink if it was a Les Mills shirt, that’s for sure! And many instructors here in the Bay are lax on their program colors, so that helped too. In Orlando, where I first taught, our gym required the right colors. Things are different here. Anywho! Have a good one! πŸ™‚

  27. I love your blog and so excited to try out your recipes! Hope you enjoy your canvas painting class tonight, can’t wait to see the finished product!

    I also love that we live closer to the livermore outlets now, another guilty pleasure of mine.

    Thank you for sharing the canvas promo code, can’t wait to get one for our engagement shoot from Paris

  28. Hey Ashley!
    So sad I missed body attack last Wednesday! My family loves the new release! Especially when you teach it!
    πŸ™‚ can’t wait for more!

    1. Hi lady! Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello on the blog! I know, we missed you in class, but I know you need to heal those shins. I’m loving the new release too! I hope you have a fun weekend!! See you very soon!! (P.S. I won’t be in BODYATTACK Monday and I have a sub, who is great!) Say hi to the fam for me:)

  29. The chocolate looks yummy! I always keep some Ghiradelli dark chocolate with sea salt minis in my drawer at work. It helps to have someone sweet after lunch or as a afternoon pick me up!

  30. So glad I found your blog thorough Jess at blonde ponytail! This weekend I’m volunteering as a coach with our SMART Girls (boys & girls club elementary aged girls running/healthy life group) at a local 5k!! So excited. I love them. I have two drawers full of running & workout gear…UA obsessed here too!! My hubby and I got married 6 months ago and we have YET to print out any pics. I would love, love, love to have a pretty wall hanging. πŸ™‚ have a super weekend!

    1. Hi Jess! Well congrats on your fairly new marriage! And yes, you need a pic of it on the wall to make it official hehhe. How nice of you to be volunteering this weekend. I hope it goes well! And I’m so glad you found my blog too. Hope you have a lovely weekend, new friend! πŸ™‚

  31. This giveaway is great, we are getting married in June and it would be cool to have another way to share a photo of that day:).

      1. Oh, thank you, we’re looking forward to our wedding:) it’s a smaller affair, but I can’t wait to be with family on this day:)

  32. My husband and I were just discussing ways to spruce up our bedroom. A photo canvas would be awesome for this purpose.

    I purchased a sketch book and watercolor pencils two weeks ago…trying to be more artistic in my everyday life. It’s going so-so. Making time around family/work/fitness is difficult.

    My favorite video this week was the “Twin Surprise”. The pure emotions of surprise and joy are priceless.

    1. Hi Kristen! That’s so great you purchased a sketch book. Going so-so with the artistic endeavors is better than not going at all. Right? πŸ™‚ Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!!

  33. Cute Pic! I have one of my husband and me surrounded by trees taken a few years ago that is my fav. I love canvases.

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