Latest favorites, first dinner party in the new house and my weekly workouts

Hi, friends! It’s about that time to chat about a random selection of fun stuff.

How’s the week been for you? Ours has been good! Lots of work, blogging, workouts, subbing a barre class, walks and all the usual. I think I say that every week. But you know, we’ve got a lot of routines around here, and that’s fine by me, because things will be anything but routine for me this weekend …

Ashley and smiling Brady in the nursery on A Lady Goes West

(My shoes.)

Why? Because I’m going away for 24 hours to Las Vegas and leaving my boys behind!

Most of you know that my older brother is getting married in Atlanta later this month, and I already traveled to Chicago for his bride-to-be’s (Stephanie) bridal shower with Brady in tow. Well, I had said from the beginning that I likely wouldn’t be able to make Stephanie’s bachelorette party, as much as I wanted to, due to little Brady and his needs — but, I finally decided to make a last-minute move and book a ticket for one night to join the fun, which just happens to be this weekend.

I’m incredibly excited to get away, celebrate Stephanie, hang out with some ladies and soak up Vegas, even if just for a short time. Am I nervous to be away? Honestly? Yes, quite a bit. But, I know Brady is in great hands with Dave, and I’ve got him all stocked up with sustenance in the freezer and fridge. As a nursing momma, even just 24 hours away requires some prep work, and we’re good to go for now, and I’m bringing my pump.

I know I will miss Brady like crazy, but I think it’s a good thing for this momma to have a night away, having never left him for more than four hours in his more than six months of life so far. We have some fun plans for my one night in Vegas (the bachelorette weekend begins before I arrive, as I’m just hitting it on the tail end), and I’ll share more on Instagram and the blog after the trip.

Now let’s get to the faves … 

Our first dinner party and an easy appetizer

Last weekend, Dave and I hosted our first big dinner party in our new house for a total of 11 people.

While our house can handle a group like that, we didn’t actually have the dinner seating capacity, so we borrowed a folding table and chairs from a friend so that we could have all the guys (6) at the main dining table in the dining room and all of the ladies (5) at the folding table in the living room. Because I know we’ll be hosting a lot, I went out and bought some new linens from World Market earlier in the week and set those out to fancy things up a bit. (I got these, these and this.)

We were supposed to be making pizzas in our pizza oven for the party (which our friends were excited about), but because it was a torrential downpour that night (and the pizza oven is outdoors), we opted to get some ready-to-cook gourmet pizzas from Papa Murphy’s at the last minute, and I made an appetizer, salad and bought a delicious cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (dulce de leche, sooooo good).

Big dinner party salad on A Lady Goes West

The salad I made to go with the pizza featured mixed herb greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced artichokes and pitted black olives, all covered in an Italian dressing (I didn’t dress it until right before serving and mixing it up), and it was an excellent combo.

We didn’t take a ton of photos during the night, but I did want to share this super easy appetizer I made. I almost always make some form of a meatball in the crockpot when we host, because it’s quick and always a crowd-pleaser. This time, I made Italian meatballs to go with our Italian theme, and it looked like this …

  • 1 jar of spicy marinara pasta sauce
  • 2 bags of frozen Italian meatballs
  • 1 tsp of basil
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder

Throw it all into the crockpot on low for four hours, then serve with toothpicks. It’s so simple and was devoured by our guests.

Meatball appetizer on A Lady Goes West

Anywho, our guests arrived around 7 p.m., just after I had Brady asleep in his crib, and the guys hung out on the couch in the family room, while the ladies hung in the kitchen.

We shared appetizers and did a big housewarming toast by opening a massive bottle of sparkling wine that Dave and I had on hand and had been saving, then we sat around the tables for our meal and dessert.

I mean, look at the size of this bottle, it’s technically called a jeroboam and holds six standard wine bottles, and it served 11 nicely … (Side note: We decided to have our guests take off their shoes, thus the socks on Dave’s feet and the slippers on mine in the photo below.)

Ashley and Dave hosting dinner party on A Lady Goes West

(My slippers.)

Brady slept through several hours of the party in his nursery, but did wake up one time toward the end of the night and got to come say hi. Nonetheless, we love hosting, and we love our friends. Good times were had by all, even if the rain spoiled our original outdoor plans.

Hydration challenge check-ins and success

From pizza and sparkling wine to water and hydration …

I’m so pleased and proud of all the ladies (maybe some guys too?) who participated in the 12-day hydration challenge with me, and today is the last day. While I know a lot of you were participating without chiming in in the Facebook group, I want to thank you too for giving it a try too. Water is SO darn important for us all in order to keep our bodies running smoothly.

The 12-day hydration challenge April 2018 by A Lady Goes West

Even though the challenge is over, I’m totally planning to keep my water intake up, because I’ve felt awesome knowing that I’m drinking enough — I’ve definitely had more energy in the afternoons and less “mom brain” too.

While I started with a goal of 112 ounces a day, on day 1, I moved it up to 144 ounces and ended up drinking on average of 160 ounces a day for all 12 days. That’s a lot of water, but because I exercise a lot and am nursing, I know I have above-average water needs. Suffice to say, I always have to have a big water bottle with me, and I think drinking this much water has made me crave even more water — who would’ve thought.

For everyone who increased their water intake, I hope you feel good too! Nice job! Maybe we’ll do another challenge with a different focus again soon. Any ideas?

Hearty lunch salads featuring Organicgirl dressing

Salads? Me? Twice in one post?

I’m just as surprised as you are that I ate salads at home for lunch this week, because I never eat salad at home, tending to stick to warm food. However, I had a plethora of mixed greens leftover from buying too much for our party, so I decided to put them to use. While I love salad, I usually prefer to get it out at restaurants rather than make it myself.

Big lunch salad on A Lady Goes West

Speaking of not eating salads, did you know I took more than a year off of eating salads when I was healing my hormones and instead was eating mostly warmed and cooked food, according to Eastern medicine principles? Sure did. More on that in this post about my recovery

Anywho, we had so many leafy greens that I actually made Dave and I huge dinner-size salads a couple of nights too this week, in addition to having them for lunch. The greens are gone now, and I’ll go back to hot lunches next week for sure. But let me tell you about a special addition to all the salads this week I had been eager to try out, as I’d had it in my fridge for a couple of weeks … this dressing!

Organicgirl salad dressing on A Lady Goes West

Perhaps one of the reasons I hate making salads at home is because there aren’t a ton of quality and healthy salad dressings you can buy (most are quite processed), and making your own is just an extra step in my book. Well, my friends at Organicgirl just debuted some brand new dressings made from whole foods and organic ingredients, and they sent me a package to test out. Verdict? I love the flavors: Lemon agave, avocado cilantro and herb goddess are my faves. The salad dressings have to be refrigerated, and they last only a couple of months, and you have to shake them a lot before using them. The bottle is not my favorite for easy pouring, but the dressing itself is awesome. 

What else was in my salad bowls this week? A chopped-up veggie burger, a chopped-up avocado, sauerkraut, an egg and a hearty seeded cracker. So much colorful yum!

Weekly workout recap at 26 weeks postpartum 

Now on to fitness …

Here’s how I was moving last week at about 6.5 months postpartum …

Weekly Workout Recap by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: 25-minute full-body weights workout at gym, 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Took 1-hour barre class, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 1-hour walk, 11 a.m. (active recovery day)
  • Thursday: 25-minute full-body weights workout at gym, 11 a.m.
  • Friday: Took 1-hour gentle yoga class, 11 a.m. (active recovery day)
  • Saturday: Taught 1-hour Bootybarre class, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: 20-minute full-body weights workout at gym, 1 p.m.

The best thing about this past week of workouts was that I actually picked up weights three times, which is always my goal, and I don’t always meet it. I taught a class, took two classes and did some super-short workouts on my own. I also had two very light days with walking and with very gentle yoga, so we’ll call those rest. Overall, a strong week of fitness. 

And as you can see, I kept it short in the gym when I did weights, because 25 minutes is plenty of time to get in a couple of full-body circuits and work to fatigue. 

Best reads from around the web 

  • Fitness: Have you guys heard of the F45 Training studio? I’ve been told it’s going to be the next Orangetheory Fitness, with franchised locations all over, but I’ve never tried a class and don’t know much about it. Sounds interesting though, and I see that there is one planned to open soon in downtown Walnut Creek near me. I look forward to experiencing it. It’s apparently circuit training, HIIT and functional training done in 45 minutes and was created in Australia. Cool. (As you can see, I went down the research rabbit hole learning about F45 this week.)
  • Hormones: You know I love an article on hormone health for women. This one is simple, and I agree with it all — outside of the adaptogens part — because I’ve never taken those so I can’t comment, but I have some in my pantry just waiting to be enjoyed after I stop nursing.
  • Foam rolling: I’m a big believer in foam rolling, and I do it at least twice a week before workouts (here’s how I do it). This is an excellent article on why it’s so important to understand your fascia (connective tissue over muscles). I want to try a foam roller workout. Who’s in?

Favorite A Lady Goes West archives 

Thanks for reading, friends! I’ll see you back on the blog next week and on Instagram until then. Viva Las Vegas! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Fun times over on A Lady Goes West with favorites, food and workouts ... Click To Tweet

P.S. Congrats to Ashley N., the winner of the OCHO organic chocolate giveaway. I’ve got more giveaways coming soon, so stay tuned.

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend?

What was the best part of your week?

Do you have people take their shoes off when they come to your house?



  1. Oh so fun you decided to join the girls for one night in Vegas, have so much fun!!! And I love that you have a group of friends to host dinner parties with. We have always wanted to try to start a monthly dinner tradition, but the weekends just seem to fly by.

    We’re chaperoning Tom’s high school prom tomorrow, lol and plan to visit the cherry blossoms in DC on Sunday. Happy Weekend!

    1. Hi Patricia! Oh my gosh — chaperoning a prom? SOOO fun! I hope you have a good time, and don’t let them slow dance too close hahah! ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes — we LOVE our monthly dinner group rotations, you really should get one started with your friends! Happy Friday, babe!

  2. I love the idea of putting a fried egg on top of your salad. I’ve never tried that, but have always wanted to. In fact, I’ve never friend an egg myself! Maybe that’s what is holding me back. I’ve made eggs lots of other ways so surely I can handle that?!

    Have a wonderful and safe trip to Vegas! Can’t wait to follow along on your Insta.


    1. Hi Courtney! I actually think frying the egg is the easiest way to cook it — I literally spray the pan with coconut oil and break the egg over it and THAT’s it. Then you can dip all of your salad bites into the runny yolk, if you like yolk that is heheh! Happy Friday, my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It was fun, Emily! Definitely a special occasion to have a big wine bottle like that! Happy Friday, my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you have an awesome weekend!

    1. Hi lady!! hahah We weren’t sure if we were going to do the shoe thing, but it was a rainy day, and I honestly prefer it — but it’s actually harder for me to take my shoes off every time I get home, and I don’t always. I’m working on it heheheh!:)

  3. Have fun in Vegas!! Even just one night away is enough to re-charge your mom battery!

    What are you up to this weekend? Pretty low key, we are supposed to get an ice storm tomorrow, so ugh. Staying in.

    What was the best part of your week? The one day of Spring weather we had before Winter comes back to slap us in the face ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Do you have people take their shoes off when they come to your house? Yes!

    1. Hi Jen! That’s what I think — one night away will be PLENTY for me right now. I hope you can keep yourself entertained indoors this weekend! Have a great one, lady! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I can’t wait to hear about your Vegas trip! So fun, I will live vicariously through you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Our weekend was full of lots of kid birthday parties & too much cake!

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