The food, family and fun that made my week

Hi, my friends! I hope you’ve been having a good week and are gearing up for a relaxing weekend. I’m excited to say that Dave has a long weekend off of work for President’s Day, and that means less diaper changing and less baby duty for me! And I mean that in the nicest way possible, because I love Brady to death, and I definitely love being his mommy …. but like … it’s pretty awesome to have an extra set of hands around. You feel me?

That being said, before we jump into this week’s selection of favorites, I wanted to say something about the school shooting in Florida that happened on Valentine’s Day: It’s awful, it’s so sad, it’s completely heart-breaking for that community, and I won’t get political, but I will say that I fear for the world that my little Brady is growing up to be in. The addiction to technology, the violence, it’s just — it’s very scary stuff. I don’t know what to suggest that we all do at this point, other than to be kind to each other at all costs, look out for each other and get active in our communities to fight for the things we believe in. 

And now for an extremely awkward transition, shall we lighten the mood?

Tasty snacking with a NatureBox delivery (and a giveaway)

Snacks are my jam. I love regular meals, but I also love snacks. (Okay, I love food, we know this.) And when it comes to snacks, I’m not a salty chips kinda gal, instead, I like heartier snacks, like trail mix, nuts and bars with some substance, crunch and maybe even some protein. Well, as expected, I was super excited when the folks at NatureBox asked me if I wanted a free membership to their site and a credit for my first order to try out some snacks in a shipment (in a box, get it?). Yes, please. I used the $50 credit to get a box of sooo, sooo, sooo many good things, and here’s just a portion of it … 

NatureBox favorites by A Lady Goes West

So what is NatureBox? Well, NatureBox is a wholesale snack membership site, and basically, you pay $5 for the membership each month, then you get to order healthy snacks at a super-low price, and you get that $5 monthly membership fee put toward your order each time. It’s pretty simple.

I spent a lot of time on the site and ended up selecting almond butter, dark chocolate nom noms, blueberry almond quinoa bites, strawberry whole wheat figgy bars, oatmeal cups, coconut cashews (Dave’s favorite!), Nakd bars and more, all for $50, which is a lot less than you would pay in the store — 40 percent less, according to the NatureBox folks. (By the way, you can also buy products under the NatureBox label at Target and other grocers, in case the name sounds familiar to you.)

Nakd bar favorite by A Lady Goes West

Anywho, I’ve had so much fun sampling all of the snacks, and I think my favorite items are the dark chocolate nom noms and the Nakd bars, although the strawberry whole wheat figgy bars are a close third — they are like healthier and more delicious Fig Newtons. Like yum. I also loved the oatmeal, which I had for breakfast three times this week, with my addition of a banana and some more pumpkin seeds.

NatureBox oatmeal cup by A Lady Goes West

None of the products on the NatureBox site have added sugar or artificial coloring, so you can be sure you’re getting quality stuff. New snacks are added each month, and there are more than 100 items listed. Overall, a pretty cool set-up. By the way, right now on the NatureBox site (<—my referral link), you can get a free $20 box of snacks if you sign up.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Now here’s the good part, I’m going to be giving away a free lifetime membership, as well as a $50 credit for an order to one lucky winner on Instagram today. Head over there to check out the giveaway and enter!

*Thanks to NatureBox for providing a free membership and complimentary order to me, as well as the same for my giveaway.

Celebrating Rudy’s third birthday

I can’t miss a chance to share a picture of Rudy, our little maltipoo, who turned three on the day before Valentine’s Day this week. Rudy is such a good big brother, and is the softest and sweetest puppy around — who truly brightens our lives each and every day! (Yes, I still call him a puppy, because he acts like one.)

On his birthday, after Dave got home, I took Rudy out for a solo trip to the pet store, and we picked out two special treats for him — although the car ride and alone time with me were probably gifts enough. 

By the way, the day after Rudy’s birthday, he went to the groomer to get cleaned up, and boy, he is looking fly!

Sweet Rudy turns 3 by A Lady Goes West

Rudy doesn’t get a lot of screen time now that Brady is around, but he’s still very much present and engaged in our daily activities and is a huge part of our family, although quite small in stature. Shout-out to all my fellow dog parents out there! How much do you love your pup?

Special Valentine’s Day treats 

Truth be told, Dave and I spent most of the evening on Valentine’s Day taking turns trying to rock sweet Brady and get him to sleep — the usual around our house when night falls. However, we did get take-out sushi (which we normally don’t get during the week, so that was somewhat special), and we also exchanged little gifts.

The day started off great, because I woke up to a beautiful spread from Dave with a few of my favorite things like kombucha and mini cakes from Nothing Bundt Cake, as well as some cute wine glasses, which I had actually seen a couple weeks before when we were out shopping together. And of course, the cakes were my two favorite flavors: red velvet and carrot cake, featuring the most delicious cream cheese frosting! For real though, Nothing Bundt Cake makes a good cake.

Valentine's gifts by A Lady Goes West

To make the day even better, our kitchen was already full of a dozen roses, which my friends at Whole Foods sent to me a few days earlier, and I had a giant Valentine card from my mom too — so it was a sea of red and festivity. Yay!

Quick trip down memory lane: Do you guys remember making and sharing Valentine’s Day cards in school? That was the best! I loved writing them out and receiving them. We should really bring that back. Anywho, we didn’t exactly get to do anything celebratory for the holiday, but it was still a good one!

Other favorites from around the web …

  • FITNESS: Core work! Who loves to work their core? So you guys probably know by now that sit-ups are not the most effective way to work your core. Planks and plank variations that involve more muscle groups are superior. I totally agree with this article’s list of the three most effective ab exercises. Give them a try! You’ll see CXWORX mentioned in there too, and it’s a program I do at least once a week lately and am totally feeling results from it.
  • FOOD: Apparently Ben & Jerry’s has a new low-calorie ice cream, and I need to get my hands on it. Have any of you tried it? Tell me more!
  • MOTIVATION: Did you see this one from earlier in the week about how to get the motivation to work out at home? It was a reader request!
  • POSITIVITY: Need to practice some self-love? Try reciting these positive mantras while breathing deep and see how you feel.
  • RECIPES: The title of this article is funny, and there are four tasty sounding healthy recipes in it.
  • BEAUTY: This is what I’ve been getting on my nails since December, and it’s SO much better than gel, because it doesn’t require the UV lights for setting the polish. I keep meaning to mention it on the blog, and now here I have. Bring it up at your local nail shop and see if they can do it!

And before we go, here are some recent Brady pics … he’s LOVING this new frog chair I bought him this week, and he always loves posing for the camera …

Baby Brady in his frog chair at 19 weeks by A Lady Goes West

Baby Brady in grey at 19 weeks by A Lady Goes West

Thanks for stopping by the blog today, my friends! Please, be good out there!

This weekend, I’ll be teaching Bootybarre, getting my hair done (ohhhhh soooo needed), doing some house stuff and soaking up time with my three boys. 

I’ll see you back here soon and over on Instagram until then!

Fun favorites over on A Lady Goes West today ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend?

What’s something good you’ve tasted, watched or read lately?



  1. The school shooting definitely was awful. Especially when things happen so close to my home, it just hits harder. And my good friend from law school actually went to high school there, so the connections make it tough.

    For my turn at the awkward transition, I am majorly on the hunt for the new lower cal pints of Ben & Jerry’s. I saw the article about it on Pop Sugar about a week ago {you know I was alerted to this immediately, right?!!} and I can’t wait for them to hit shelves near me.

    Happy Friday to you and yay that you have a long weekend ahead!

    1. Hi Court! I know someone who went to that high school too! So sad and scary! And I have no idea where to find the Ben & Jerry’s, but I think I’ll go on a hunt this weekend! 🙂 Happy Friday to you!

  2. I am with you re the school shooting and having a little one. My only hope is that by the time that our kids are in school, there will be a different group in charge, one that enforces gun control.
    I remember when Nature box started–my how they have grown!

    1. That’s definitely the hope, Susie! Everything starts to feel different when you have a baby in the world to think about. For sure. Happy Friday, my friend! LOVE your new ring!

    1. Yes, you soak to get them off — of if you wait a long time, they peel off heheh! So far, I’ve not tried to soak them, but apparently you can even do it at home. They feel SO much better than gel! 🙂 Happy Friday, Julie!

  3. I’ve been thinking about getting a chair like that for my little one but the price tag is holding me back. Would you say it’s worth it?
    I know exactly what you mean about all the shootings and having a little one. It’s terrifying; I told my husband last night that I’m just going to keep him at home forever.

    1. Hi Kaci! So for the chair, yes, we’ve had it for three days and so far he has sat in it for 30 minute segments twice a day — enough for me to get a shower and eat a meal with him occupied, so I’d say YES it’s worth it. He is loving to play with the little toys on it too. I don’t know how long he will fit into it, but seems like he will have at least a few months. Hope that helps with your decision — oh and I think Target has a cheaper version here:

  4. The shooting is so scary. And definitely hard thinking about the world you’re raising Brady in. As a teacher I can think of several students that might have some mental illnesses and/or see some crazy things at home. So much of what children learn happens at home and it’s so hard that it’s out of my control as a teacher.

    And do you get the dipping powder on your nails? My nail salon has it but I haven’t tried it yet because I was skeptical. Does it last as long as the gel? Happy weekend Ashley!

    1. Hi! As a teacher, you must be totally nervous about seeing students who seem like they could snap — I can’t even imagine, and I’m also sure that a lot of it has to do with their home life. Geez! As far as the powder dipped nails, YES, lasts about 2 weeks longer than gel, but you do still get growth at the nail bed. Definitely love it! Happy Friday, Patricia! 🙂

  5. Hi Ashley,
    I don’t know how these mass shootings will end. I do think that these weapons that cause mass destruction have to be taken off the market. You have a lot of sampling to do. Enjoy. Happy birthday to Rudy. Our pets get excited when they get special treats. Hope Dave doesn’t feel the only reason you are glad to see him is to help change Enjoy your long weekend.

    1. Hi Richard! Exactly! heheheh I tell Dave that I’m happy he’s home to help, but also happy he’s home to have him to help! 🙂 And I’m glad your pets get special treats — -they deserve them. I hope you have a great weekend, Richard! 🙂

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