Join me for an almost-spring 2022 coffee date

Hello, my friends! A very happy start of the week to you (time change and all)!

We had a totally great time in Atlanta over the weekend visiting my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Stephanie, and we’re back in business at home now. I’ve loved getting away the last two weekends, but it does usually mean that Sunday afternoon/evening is a rush to get organized and prepped for Monday.

Also, have you noticed my first post of the week has been coming on Monday instead of Tuesday? Hope that’s okay with you, but it may go back to Tuesday, and I’ll keep you posted (no pun intended) on that. It’s just worked out recently that I’ve had the content ready to go on Mondays, but that may change.

Anywho, I was looking back at my posts to see when I last did a coffee-date catch-up post, and it’s been since the start of summer 2021, and the start of fall 2020 before that. Well my friends, it’s time.

So what’s a coffee-date catch-up? It’s where you grab a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, and sit back and chat with me. No real rhyme or reason, just chatting about things that are on our minds.

Are you ready? What are you sipping on today? I’ve got a collagen tea latte in a big mug, and it’s lovely. But, I really need a new big mug, so I better get on that, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve broken my last two good mugs. Let’s go …

Join me for an almost-spring 2022 coffee date

Join me for an almost-spring 2022 coffee date by A Lady Goes West

Finding and keeping inspiration.

I often feel like I have so many ideas and things I want to cover on A Lady Goes West that I just don’t have the time to create it all. But then, sometimes, typically when I’m stressed about other stuff (particularly personal stuff) or get extra busy, I lose total inspiration. Like totally lose it.

Well, I wanted to get today’s blog post completed before the weekend, because I knew we’d be all tied up with our trip to Atlanta. However, when I sat down to write, I thought. I sat. I considered. I pondered. And I had nothing. But I still wanted to write, and so I decided a coffee chat would be the perfect thing to get some words on the page for you. I hope you don’t mind the lack of substance, but this girl was not inspired. I hope to be back with new (and better) ideas next week. And truthfully, I haven’t been following my own rules on keeping and staying inspired, by the way, and I need to get back to them. Here they are.

Also, I’m still working on updating the design and potentially the name of the blog. I’ve hit a few roadblocks, but the process is still moving forward, so more to come on that.

Latte in Asheville by A Lady Goes West

Making some updates to our house.

We’ve been in our house in Charlotte for a year and a month, and while we’ve filled up every room and painted the interior walls, we haven’t made any other significant changes to it.

Our house was built in the 1990s (as were all the other houses in our neighborhood), so it could definitely use some updates. If I had all the time and the money in the world, I’d redo our kitchen, change out our front door, paint the outside shutters, redo all the bathrooms, do some landscaping and put wallpaper in almost every room. However, those things just aren’t realistic for us right now — both time and budget.

But we decided that the first thing we’d like to do is switch out our kitchen countertops, leaving the design and cabinetry as is. Currently, our countertops are a tan granite situation, and I think we’re going to switch to a white quartz.

I met with a contractor and have my marching orders to choose the stone, which is probably not going to be as easy as I want. In addition to changing out the kitchen countertops, we’re in the process of changing out light fixtures. Most of our light fixtures are a brown metal color, which is fine, but not quite my style. I’ve replaced the dining room and kitchen eating area lights so far, and we just got a fan to replace our family room light, but haven’t installed it yet.

While I’m not a professional designer in any sort of the way, I do like to upgrade our space and make it ours. And quite frankly, I feel like I just don’t have the time to devote to searching and finding what we need right now. Most of my free time is spent with Brady and Dave, otherwise I’m working or doing chores and house stuff has fallen to the wayside completely. Whereas this time last year, before I was working at Life Time, and before I had extra freelance projects, and before I really had any local friends (the truth), I had way more time to focus on the house. I’m glad I got as much done as I did to choose furniture, but I do feel the need to get back to it to continue making it how we want it.

This upcoming weekend, we have a little free time on Saturday afternoon, so I’m planning to go to the local stone places my contractor suggested and see what’s available and how much it’s all going to cost. So wish me luck on that, and of course, I’ll share some before and after pictures of the whole thing.

Also, it has to be said: Even though there’s plenty I want to do, I really love our house and neighborhood and feel so grateful we found it so quickly. For those that don’t remember, we found this house only five days after arriving in Charlotte. It really worked out, because it’s a lot harder to find a house here now. Just another sign that our move here was meant to be.

Ashley with mask by A Lady Goes West

Summer plans. And a little help with them.

Last summer, we went on a ton of short weekend trips, because we were so happy the world was opening back up and we were back on the East Coast. As of now, we don’t have a ton planned for the summer. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I hope to go back to IDEA World Fitness Convention with my fitness blogging buddies, and that will take place in Las Vegas in late July.

In addition to that, we’re planning a joint family vacation with our besties, Grant and Bre, and their three kiddos. We had originally talked about renting a house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (none of us have been, but we’ve all always wanted to go), but we quickly found out in research that all the good spots were taken months ago. We also looked into Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach, and the VRBO/AirBnB availability was dismal. We’ve pivoted a bit and are now looking at visiting some place in Tennessee, perhaps Gatlinburg. I’d love to get some recommendations or suggestions if you guys have any on other areas (drivable between Ohio and North Carolina, so we can meet in the middle via car). We’ll have four adults and four kids, ranging from four to 10. We want a beach atmosphere, but we want to all stay in one house, and that’s where we came up short with good options. This trip is going to take place in late June, once we figure out what the trip really is.

Other than that, I’ve also got a weekend in August earmarked to go on a girls’ trip with three of my Florida friends, two from college and one from high school. I haven’t done a trip with them in a long time, and it will be great to spend some time together. The last time we were all together on a trip was a bachelorette party in Key West many years ago.

We do have Brady booked into two weeks of half-day summer camp at his current preschool, and those weeks take place just after school ends in May and the first week of June. I’m considering signing him up for more summer camp weeks at Life Time, but those are full-day camps, and it may be a lot for him. 

Overall, I’m excited that we have a mixture of plans and white space this summer, because with Dave’s work/travel schedule and my work/gym schedule, we are pretty much booked from morning to night all week, so keeping plenty of weekends free is going to be ideal, so we can chill, head to our community pool and relax. Can you believe it’s not even spring (and it’s still cold), and I’m talking about summer already? I am. Do you have any summer plans yet? 🙂 

Ashley and Brady before school by A Lady Goes West

Pizza parties are coming back into our lives.

One of the things we miss most about our house in California is the big outdoor area and the brick pizza oven. We hosted a ton of pizza parties there, and we could sit outside most of the year (also, there were no bugs there, which was nice).

While we don’t have a huge backyard area behind our house in Charlotte, we did finally invest in a pizza oven to put on our back brick deck. Dave ordered a pizza oven that’s sort’ve like a grill, and he’s been cooking up some pizza for us every Sunday for the last four weeks.

We finally booked a pizza party with a bunch of couples friends from our neighborhood, and it’s coming up in April. I love our group, and I love that we have so many activities on the calendar with them, and it’s about time we hosted one of the get-togethers, and it will be our first big hosting experience since living in this house. I ordered some red-checkered napkins and tablecloths already. But we still have to plan out our full menu to go with the pizza and get all the fixings. Yay for pizza parties!

The official two-year mark of the start of the pandemic.

It was Sunday, March 14, 2020 when I taught my last group fitness class at 24 Hour Fitness in Walnut Creek, which had been my gym home for more than five years. That was the last time I ever stepped foot into that building, after having spent almost every single day there for so many years, and bringing Brady with me every day for two years too. I remember thinking that we would have to take two full weeks off for this whole “Coronavirus” thing, and I was so upset at the aspect of two weeks without group fitness. Wow.

Without going through the entire story, I didn’t end up teaching an in-person group fitness class for a full 14 months after that, once I got a job at Life Time here in Charlotte. Although I did pivot and start teaching live virtual classes from home for more than a year, which was a pretty cool experience.

And not to put anywhere I’ve worked down — because I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given in my journey — but BOY, what an upgrade my current gym is. And I had no idea this was in store for me. Because this time two years ago at the start of the pandemic, I had no idea we’d be packing up and moving across the country, but I’m 100 percent glad that we did. 

Have you sat back and thought about the pandemic and how weird and hard those months were, particularly in 2020, when it was all still very unknown? It’s something I think we all have mixed emotions about, and this two-year mark is a chance to reflect on all of that, you know?

Ashley after teaching Barbell by A Lady Goes West

And those are some of the things on my mind today!

Thank you for sitting down to enjoy a coffee date with me. Now, your turn, what would you like to tell me? 🙂

Other posts you may enjoy …

Questions of the day

How’s your weekend?

Have you ever done any big house projects? How did they go?

Do you have any upcoming travel plans?

What would you like to tell me during our coffee date?



  1. How’s your weekend? it was good/relaxing. Met a friend for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory!

    Have you ever done any big house projects? How did they go? nooo, live in a small studio but maybe one day (i rent for now)

    Do you have any upcoming travel plans? FL next week for my dads bday and San Diego (never been) in Aug for a concert. My fav Def Leppard!!!

    What would you like to tell me during our coffee date? i really can’t believe its been 2 yrs since the pandemic started! I too, go to a gym and it sucked when everything shut down. I did alot of walking but still, missed classes and just other things in life. Glad things are getting better

    are you watching any shows/tv?

    1. Hi Stacy! Love this thorough reply, I bet you are so pumped for your change of scenery in Florida! And I am also so glad things are getting better, not only gyms being open, but travel and everything else. And yes, I am watching “Yellowstone” right now, and it’s sooooo good. Have you seen it? Enjoy your week, lady! 🙂

      1. i haven’t seen yellowstone! i am currently watching 24 (from years ago) and weekly i am watching the Marv. Mrs Masiel, Superpumped (about uber) and the Dropout (about elizabeth holmes) . and yes ready for warmer temps lol! have a great week!!!

  2. How’s your weekend?

    Not the best – 3 out of 4 of us in our household tested positive for Covid – again!!

    Do you have any upcoming travel plans? We are heading back to Canada in July, yay! Flying into Vancouver which we LOVED last trip, and spending time with family. Also, a couples trip to NYC in Sept. Very very excited but also a little nervous after so long, hoping it all works out!

    What would you like to tell me during our coffee date? Just hi! And still loving your posts 🙂

    1. Hi Iona! So sorry about having COVID again — no fun — hope you feel better soon and can get back to life. We LOVED Vancouver when we went a few summers ago too. And how cool you’re also going to NYC, I haven’t been there in forever and am due for a visit. Thanks for saying hi, and get well soon! 🙂 xoxo

  3. Have you looked at Sunset Beach or Tybee Island? Sunset Beach is a quiet family spot-beautiful! And Tybee is a bit more happening and you have all of Savannah to explore as well. Both an easy drive from Charlotte!

  4. When I think back to the start of COVID, I feel a weird emotion. It’s like a mix of uncertainty and hope and fear. It honestly feels like another life, and I hope we never experience something like that again. While I have some good memories of being home, isolating with family and spending time with my animals, it’s not something I ever want to repeat. I like certainty and my routine!

  5. SO crazy to think it has been two years, wow… I am glad your pizza parties are back, so fun and tasty 🙂 The Gatlinburg area is so fun, loads of family-friendly things to do! You could even go to Dollywood 😀

    We are hoping to buy our next home this year, so we are starting that process… I’m hopeful we will find what we are looking for but we aren’t planning to list our current house until we find the next one.

    No travel plans for us, for now, hoping to get some in the second half of the year after we move. We don’t feel comfortable leaving our senior dog at home with a sitter because he can have trouble with the stairs – we’re hoping to move into a home without any *fingers crossed*.

    1. Hi Jessie! I totally get it about your dog. My brother has two senior dogs and he found a very reliable person who can watch them, but that’s the only way he can leave them, because they can’t be boarded. So hard, so I totally understand about your reluctance to travel. I’m sending you some seriously good vibes and good inventory for your house hunting process later this year. Thanks for reading, as always, my friend. 🙂

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.