Start of summer 2021 coffee chat

Hey, my friends! I’ve got a coffee chat coming at you today.

It’s about time for one of these, wouldn’t you say? While I chat casually with you guys on Fridays every week during our current faves posts, I haven’t done a full-on chat session in many months. In fact, the last one was probably some time in late summer of 2020 — and that seems like a world away. So why don’t we each grab an oat-milk latte (unless you have a different order, but I don’t know why you would choose anything else, because oat milk is a superior alt-milk), and sit down and get to talking …

Start of summer 2021 coffee chat

Start of summer 2021 coffee chat by A Lady Goes West

Back at the gym, and back with gym kid care

Here’s what I love about kiddo care at the gym: Brady is just as excited to go to it as I am to drop him off at it. The kid care at the Life Time where I’m teaching is amazing, and they even have extra activities for the kiddos. Last week, Brady took a kids yoga class. I just happened to walk past the studio where it was taking place and was able to secretly watch him for a few minutes. I died from cuteness. And he talked about dolphin pose and flamingo pose for the rest of the day.

Now that he’s on summer break (although, actually, I do have him in a camp three days this week), I’ve been taking him to the gym every morning for about an hour or so. He always has a story about the fun that he’s had in there while I get in my workout or teach a class. Sometimes, I even do a little work in the cafe. We each get some space. It’s much needed. I’m so happy to have gym kid care back in my life. 

Ashley coffee chat by A Lady Goes West

The partial end of an era, but not completely

And now for something a little less exciting …

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but last week, I officially turned off “autoship” as an instructor for Les Mills BODYATTACK and Les Mills CORE (formerly Les Mills CXWORX). That means, I’m technically not a “current” certified instructor for those formats any longer, if I’m not receiving the updated choreography every quarter. This pains me deeply inside, but I also know it’s the right thing to do.

My gym doesn’t have Les Mills programs, and there aren’t any good gyms near me that have them either. The only way you can teach Les Mills programs is in a licensed facility (you cannot hold the license yourself, even if you hold the certification), so that means it’s time for me to say goodbye to some of my Les Mills certifications. Les Mills BODYATTACK was a joy to teach and take, and I’m not saying I’ll never go back to it. But for now, that chapter is closed. While I love the Les Mills CORE workout, quite frankly, I never taught the class regularly anyhow. But I have always done it at home, and I will continue to do that.

I did keep, and I will always keep my Les Mills BODYPUMP autoship, not knowing when I’ll teach it again, because I couldn’t imagine not being a current certified BODYPUMP instructor. It’s my first fitness love.

I will always enjoy and appreciate Les Mills workouts as the gold standard, and I will definitely be back to Les Mills On Demand at home once a week or even more, because I can’t stay away. Les Mills programs have been my L-I-F-E for almost 12 years. And I have learned so much from all of my Les Mills instructor trainings too. But things have changed, I’ve moved (across the country two times, because yes, I was already teaching and taking Les Mills classes when I lived in Florida before even moving to California), but these days, I’m teaching more freestyle programs. I’ve branched out a lot. My love for Les Mills will never die, but this is right for me as this moment.

For now, I’ll be over on Les Mills On Demand catching BODYPUMP, Les Mills Barre, Les Mills CORE and hopefully trying out Les Mills Tone, which just debuted on Les Mills On Demand too. Speaking of Les Mills On Demand, they have some big technology advances coming soon, and I’ll tell you more about them once I experience the upgrades. Hop on over to try out the programs, if you haven’t yet, using my free 30-day trial here. Once a member of the Les Mills tribe, always a member, and maybe I’ll return to teaching BODYPUMP one day. But for now, I’m an On-Demander only. 🙂 

Summer 2021 coffee chat by A Lady Goes West

Being a blogger is a strange job

Even though I’m a blogger, I don’t talk about “blogging” much. I don’t write about the topic of blogging to you guys, and I don’t talk much about blogging to people in my everyday life either. 

But this blog is my business, and it does matter a ton to me. And it’s definitely a little hurtful when I know people in my life don’t care about it or are just over it. For instance: I get an email round-up at the end of every single day from my mailing-list provider, where I manage the emails I send out for the blog. It tells me the names of people who have subscribed that day and the names of the people who have unsubscribed that day. And when I see a name of someone I know who has unsubscribed, it always stings. And that happens here and there. I got one recently that really stung. 

When you put yourself out there, there’s always going to be some good and some bad. I get that. And over the years, I’ve tried to not take things personally. But when what you write about is so clearly intertwined with you as a person, it can get a little muddy. I don’t want to be doing a different job, and I am grateful that over the many years of pouring so much into this little space, it’s become something I can rely on as my job. But still, we’re friends here, and we’re having coffee, and this has been on my mind.

I know I’ve said it before, but oftentimes I feel like I should be trying much harder to grow and expand and do new things, especially if I look around at my peers who have been doing this the same time as me and have really put their foot on the gas to evolve. (Oh how comparison never helps, right?) My blog and readership is so small, and I only put out a couple posts a week with a tiny bit of content of social media — which still takes up all my working time. I could be pushing so much harder and doing so much more. But part of me also knows that I’m happy to be able to handle it all on my own, without needing to outsource too much, and I’m also happy keeping space for other things in my life, like teaching group fitness, momming a whole lot and all of that. I already feel like my time and days are full of a good combination of work and not work, and I’m not wanting to change right now. This sounds like a silly complaint perhaps. But the point is that this blogging-as-a-job thing is not at all as glamorous or as easy as it may sometimes seem. I’m not saying I want to go back to the corporate world, but I am here to share some of the stranger parts with you. There’s always a lot of self-doubt, questioning and uncertainty when you are technically in charge of your own operation. I’ve been feeling some of those feelings in this space lately. And I hope I am providing you some value regularly, even in sharing this thought.

And of course, I’m always open to feedback and suggestions from you. I’ve loved writing the A Lady Goes West Advice Corner posts (submit an anonymous question here, if you want to be included in the next one), because it’s given me a chance to hear from you more. So, please leave a comment, send me a DM or an email, let me know what you like to see here on the blog, what you want to see more of, and what’s on your mind too. 🙂 

Coffee chat by A Lady Goes West

Toddler situations

And now for some mom life …

We’ve been struggling with Brady’s listening skills, as of late. I feel like I’m asking him to do things over and over again all day, and he rarely does them. This turns into some major frustration. Getting him out the door is a struggle. Getting him to finish his meals is a struggle. Many things are struggles. We recently started eating breakfast at the kitchen table instead of the coffee table to help with getting through that meal. But getting him to stay seated during dinner is almost impossible. He likes to roam.

And yes, I know that toddlers aren’t usually great listeners. But I feel like he used to do better than he’s doing now. For those of you with multiple children, you’re probably thinking this is no big deal to manage just one. But one toddler is still a toddler, and he fills up the house with his antics. He’s the cutest, sweetest and smartest, but we’re in a phase where he has moments where he’s hard to deal with, that’s for sure.  

I’ve been finding myself a little fed up lately. And from what I understand from my other momma friends, this is a normal occurrence. I think we’re all supposed to say that being a mom is the greatest blessing ever and be done with it without a complaint. And yes, I do feel blessed to be Brady’s mom. But in this coffee chat, I want you to know that Brady has been a total handful lately. Once again, thank goodness for gym kid care, and for the three-day camp Brady is in this week and will be in for a week in July too. I love him to death, but I also appreciate having other people watch him. 

More fun summer plans

After a year of very little activities, we’ve had so many lately.

We loved having my college bestie, Yolanda, visit us from Florida a few weeks ago. We loved having my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Stephanie, visit from Georgia two weeks ago. We’ve loved having my mom visit three times in the last few months (and she is currently here). And of course, we had so much fun going to Ohio to see our friends, Grant and Bre and their kiddos last weekend. Next up, in three weeks, Dave and I are heading to Jamaica with Grant and Bre for an adults-only, all-inclusive four-night trip. This will mark the first big trip we’ve ever taken without Brady — so it’s a big deal for us. Dave’s sister, Gwena, is flying out from California to visit us before the trip, then she will be here taking care of Brady for us, for which we are eternally grateful. Brady loves hanging with Auntie Gwena.

Two weeks after we come back from Jamaica, we’re heading to a wedding in Orlando, then we’re hosting some of our dear friends from California, Phil and Kicki, at the end of July. In August, we’re going to the Keys with my family for a memorial for my dad. So many, many activities are on the agenda, and, I’m not mad about it. Things will be much slower in September, when Brady goes back to school, but this is a lot of stuff over the course of a couple months, that’s for sure. This time last year, I was dying for a trip and/or visitors, and now we’ve got an influx — oh how things change over time.

With a lot of weekend travel and activities, means I’ve got to do extra work during the week, because I have less time on the weekends to get a lot done (and I’ve always worked for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays). I’ve been managing okay so far and hope I can keep it up, especially now that I’m teaching a Monday morning workout class, which I have to plan and prepare for on the weekend too. Once again, this is all good stuff, but it’s proved to be a lot. I haven’t had too much down-time, but I have had plenty of fun time, and for now — that’ll do. 🙂 

Chatting by A Lady Goes West

(Wearing these black bike shorts in this post, which are super comfortable.)

And with that, I’ve reached the last sip of my oat milk latte. Thank you so much for joining me today on this little catch-up! I hope you enjoyed our coffee date. As I said above, I love to hear from you, so please reach out any time. Have a wonderful day, my friends!

Other posts you may like …

Questions of the day

What would you want to talk about at our coffee chat?

How are you doing in life right now?

What’s something that’s going great for you right now?

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  1. For the Brady struggles you gotta check out Big Little Feelings on Instagram. They are legit! So helpful for this stage of life with littles. My daughter is 5 and I still use their tips everyday!

    1. Hi Krista! Thanks so much for the tip, I followed them just now and took a quick look. I definitely need some short and doable toddler tantrum how-to advice, so this will be perfect. Thank you for reading, lady! 🙂

  2. I think most people are trying to unsubscribe from mailing lists as much as possible. I mean I delete 500+ junk emails every few days its insane. So don’t take it personally just remember that many blog readers follow their favorite bloggers through feedly or other sources. So it doesn’t mean that those people are abandoning you or not following their just doing it in another way!

    1. Hi Lindsay! Thank you for reading and for saying that — and yes, I totally get it we all want to streamline our inboxes and feeds — I’m all for that too. But you know, I still don’t love to see it in action when it comes to removing my emails ahaha. Hope you have a wonderful day, and I appreciate you and your comment. 🙂

  3. These are my favourite posts to read – I really value real, open and honest talk, which is largely lacking on social media and other platforms nowadays. Thank you! Have a great Wednesday Ashley xxx

    1. Hi Shelby! Thank you so much for reading, and I’m glad you liked this one — I’ll do more of them. It feels good to write out my thoughts and share them. Hope you have a wonderful day! 🙂

      1. I was thinking the same thing! I have a hard time with all the highlights and lack of authenticity. Not you, Ashley, but in general on social. So I appreciate this post! And I love Big Little Feelings and Dr Becky on IG. Toddlers are tough!!

  4. Great post Ashley! Thank you for always being real, especially the mom stuff and how sometimes it’s just hard. I have a 3yo boy so I get it. Keep doing what you’re doing, I enjoy reading your blog!

    1. Hi Joanna! Thank YOU for reading. And I do think it’s important to talk about how we feel as parents, because we don’t have to hold it all in. 🙂 Sending you some extra patience for your little guy, if you need it hehehe. Have a good one!

  5. Well, I’m a lifer. You will NEVER see an unsubscribe email for me. Day one reader and on…..

    All of your upcoming trips sound so fun! Which probably means in September you will be ready for a guest?! Hehe.

    Happy Wednesday. Xoxo.

    1. You are the greatest, Courtney, my friend! Thank YOU for being a friend and for reading and for supporting me. Come on up and visit any time, but you may be licked by Rudy and have your ear talked off by Brady so you have to be okay with that hehehe! 🙂 xoxo

  6. Please keep those coffee chats coming. They are a chance for all of us to stop and take a step back and talk about our everyday struggles and know that we are not alone and to get open and honest feedback and solutions we might not have thought of. Love your posts and wisdom. Any nutrition tips for everyone’s different likes/dislikes, how to prioritize downtime/ self care when it comes to exercise. I tend to put this on the backburner because I try to put everybody else first. Sounds like a fun summer well deserved given this past year!! Enjoy all your adventures!!

    1. Hi Wendy! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and I’m glad I wrote this one. I also appreciate your topic requests. We are ALL going through stuff, so it’s nice to read and relate. I hope you have some fun summer plans too, lady. Have a great day! 🙂

  7. I have to echo something Shelby said above – I love that your posts are so real. They don’t come across as those “carefully-curated, fake images of a perfect life” that you see so much on social media and beyond! You feel like the friend next door and I appreciate that so much – especially since I am also a lady who went West (Georgia to California – we were neighbors as I worked and spent a lot of time in Walnut Creek!) and am now contemplating my own return across the country. You helped introduce me to Les Mills and for that I am forever grateful. 🙂

    On the note of what content I’d like to see, I’ve always loved your food posts & what treats you’re into. Echoing Wendy, I’d also like to hear more about how to prioritize yourself – I loved your posts about your life coach. Oh! And more on acupuncture! Ha! I apparently have a lot of thoughts here. 🙂 Keep it all coming, reading any of your posts is some of my fave “me-time” during the week. Have a great week!

    1. Hi Anna! Wow, thanks so much for this sweet comment and for sharing. What a big move you did too! I’d love to know why you moved, how you like it and where you are considering heading back to on the East Coast. 🙂 That’s a tough decision, but one that hopefully you can decide with your gut, and let the logistics fall into place after that. Thank you so much for the blog topic recommendations too, and YAY for Les Mills! 🙂 Have a wonderful evening!

      1. Well, I moved to follow a man at first – ha. We’ve since split up, but now I have a family out here and it’s been about 10 years! It’s pretty wild how fast it felt. I’ve enjoyed my time – most of it was actually spent in SF and there is nowhere on earth like that amazing city – but now my daughter is a year and a half old and we are ready to buy a home, so the South beckons! My family is in the metro Atlanta area, and that’s where I was born & raised, so it will likely be there. 🙂 Thank you for the advice on gut feeling – I think you really do have to go with your gut on these big decisions! They can seem so scary but change is inevitable and inaction is worse, so…onward we go! 😀 I’m sure I’ll be really taking advantage of my wine club purchases soon! Lol

        Thank you for asking! I hope you are settling in nicely – it sure seems like you are. I’ve visited Charlotte once and thought it was such a pretty, charming, place! Enjoy it – especially now that we can enjoy going out again!

        1. Hi Anna! I LOVEDDDDD living in SF too, and I miss beautiful city park days and the energy. But, we get older, we need more space, and the suburbs do call. Good luck to you with your decisions! 🙂 xoxo

          1. Omg the park days!!!! Those ruled!!! But you are absolutely right, and there’s beauty in that, too. 🙂 thank you so much!

  8. Just had to say that these are my favourite posts too! Real, raw, natural. I think sometimes us moms just need to be reassured we aren’t alone in our struggles because sometimes it feels just that way. I hope you enjoy your first adults only trip without Brady because it’s well deserved! Cheers!

    1. Thank you so much, Téa! I appreciate you saying that, and NO, we are not alone in our struggles hehehe. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Take care of yourself! 🙂 xoxo

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