Things that are making me smile this week

Hey, friends! How are you? We’ve nearly made it through another week. And for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the first day of fall! I, for one, am super excited about the change of seasons — not only to insure that the weather gets and stays cooler around here, but also because fall means I get to meet the little Baby Goes West, and it seemed like we would never get here during some parts of spring and summer. I’m 37 weeks, so his arrival is imminent.

But today, let’s jump into some random favorite things and happenings as of late …

Favorite fall food of the week: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Granola

Last week, I was walking around Trader Joe’s and had the urge to pick up anything pumpkin. I was in the cereal aisle looking for something for Dave (he hasn’t eaten cereal in forever and mentioned it would be nice to have some on hand in the pantry once in a while), and after I picked out his box, I was immediately drawn to the name of this one — Country Pumpkin Spice — for me. Yes, please.

Pumpkin spice granola from Trader Joe's by A Lady Goes West

I’m not at all a cereal or granola person, but this one spoke to me. And so far this week, I’ve had this granola on its own, with yogurt and with cottage cheese (and with roasted butternut squash, as shown above), and you can’t go wrong. It’s got the perfect taste of pumpkin and the perfect crunch. And it feels nice and fall festive too — it’s that orange color perhaps. Well done, Trader Joe’s! By the way, there are instructions on the box for heating the granola up with milk. Weird. Has anyone ever tried doing something like that? Hot granola?

Favorite workout of the week: Lafayette Reservoir walk

On Tuesday of this week, I met blog-reader-turned-friend Katie (hi Katie!), for a walk around the Lafayette Reservoir, which is a lovely recreational area in Lafayette, one town over from Walnut Creek. It was a totally beautiful and moderate-temp day, and we finished the loop in exactly one hour — it’s just about 3 miles along the paved path around the reservoir. Katie had her little man with her in his stroller, and I had Rudy with me — partially on his leash and partially in my arms, as he can’t walk the whole thing unassisted. How pretty was this day …

Lafayette Reservoir walk by A Lady Goes West

We had a nice time chatting about babies, work, writing and life and were definitely huffing and puffing on some of the inclines too — me, because I’m pregnant, and Katie, because she was pushing a big stroller. I would say this was my favorite workout of the week, because walking with a friend, while sweating and moving like this, is truly organic and natural movement — it’s what our bodies were meant to do, and it doesn’t feel like work. (Read more about the need for organic movement in this post.)

Being pregnant has forced me to slow down my fitness routine and my life quite a bit, and incorporating long walks, just to walk, has been a highlight for me. I definitely plan to keep these up after the baby arrives, because they are so beneficial. Except soon, I’ll be the one pushing the stroller! Yay for walking. This is also a little PSA for all of you out there who are considering it, to go ahead and invite a friend or family member on a walk one day in the near future as a date. You won’t regret it!

Favorite new addition to the bedroom: Peace Lily plant

You can totally call me a plant lady now, because I have two plants. A couple of weeks ago, I showed you the big variegated rubber plant I got for our living room. And now, I have a smaller Peace Lily in our bedroom. In addition to the fact that plants look good in a room and make things seem more “homey,” they also have a lot of benefits. In this post, I told you that adding plants to your bedroom helps your sleep environment. And it’s true. Plants detoxify the air, like a natural air purifier. Who doesn’t want that?

Peace Lily plant for the bedroom by A Lady Goes West

I’ve been very careful to open up the blinds so that “Patty the Peace Lily” gets just enough sunlight each day, because I really want her to survive, and I also want her to bloom some white flowers, which she is supposed to do at some point. I purchased both her and “Fred the Rubber Plant” at our local Ace Hardware, and they had a great selection. If I get another plant, I may go look at a local nursery, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, because I don’t exactly have a green thumb.

Moral of the story: Plants are a great addition to your home, and you get extra points for naming them. Where are all my plant lovers at?

Other quick favorites from the week …

Lunch dates and big salads

I met Dave for lunch in Oakland this week near his office, and we checked out Baygreens Salad in downtown Oakland. My prawn salad was delish, and it was nice to see him during the workday too.

That night, our doula came over for the last little session with us, so we are fully ready (as ready as anyone can be) for this whole child-birth thing. Speaking of salads, I love to eat them, but hate to make them, so that’s why they are one of my most frequent out-to-lunch orders.

Baygreens salad by A Lady Goes West

Smoothies, a clean house and downtime

Also this week, I was craving a green smoothie in the middle of the day and didn’t want to prepare one myself, so I made a quick trip to Vitality Bowls in downtown Walnut Creek. I thought I was ordering a green smoothie, because it had kale in it, but it ended up being purple. Nonetheless, it was tasty and satisfied my need for a smoothie.

That afternoon, Dave and I had our house cleaned professionally (symptom of nesting I guess, I wanted someone to do a really deep clean, and we’d actually never had anyone come in and do it for us before — they did an amazing job), and so I had to entertain Rudy out and about for almost three hours while the cleaners got to work. We sat by the pool in the shade, we went on a walk and we (or I) read a book. It was actually a super relaxing day, because I was forced to be away from the computer — so it’s totally worth mentioning as a favorite. 

Vitality Bowls smoothie and Ashley by A Lady Goes West

And that completes this random selection for now. 🙂 

Favorite links from the week

Here are a few things I enjoyed from around the web …

  • If you need a quick burn, try these moves from Bootybarre creator Tracey Mallett. You don’t need to have sliders/gliders to do them either, because you can just use dish towels or paper plates, but be careful to keep your heels off the sliding mechanism, so you have a brake if needed.
  • Too much exercise is not good, people. You’ve heard me say it again and again. Here’s another reason why you don’t want to go too hard too often: your gut health!
  • Last week, I listened to a podcast about the difference between happiness and pleasure and was totally intrigued, so I was very excited to see Julie write about what she learned from a different podcast on the essential elements of happiness. Connection, simplifying, exercising. All good stuff.
  • Congrats to Amanda, who received my copy of “The Anatomy of a Calling” from last week’s post.

Did you miss any of these ones on A Lady Goes West?

That’s it for today! I hope you have a great start to fall and a nice weekend, my friends. I’ll see you back here soon!

Just a few little things to make you smile today on A Lady Goes West ... Share on X

P.S. I can’t end this post without sending some love to Mexico and Puerto Rico. It seems like natural disasters are happening WAY too often right now. Here are some ways you can help. Be well, friends.

Questions of the day

What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s item?

What was your favorite workout of the week?

What are you up to this weekend?



  1. I love that you’ve named your plants! I really want to decorate for Fall this weekend and go out and buy some Mums and pumpkins for the porch. Even though the temps are in the high 80’s here, but it’ll be sweater weather before I know it.

    And a long walk and a lunch date during the work week sound so nice! We’ve been trying to think of ways to break up the normal work week routine.

    1. Hi Patricia! Totally — it’s nice to have something to look forward to during the work week, and a nice walk is a great way to do that. Yay for pumpkin! I think you may as well go ahead and get some so you can enjoy them for as long as possible before they have to be put away for Christmas stuff haahh! Happy Friday, lady!

    1. Hi Christina! I’ve never had cold brew coffee before, believe it or not. I stopped drinking coffee almost five years ago, and cold brew wasn’t a thing then. But it sure sounds refreshing — I mean nitrogen-infused? What? hahah! Love that! Happy Friday, lady! Have a great day and weekend!

  2. My favorite TJ’s item is probably their peppermint Oreo’s! I know they aren’t actually Oreo’s but I forget the name of them haha. But I also like their unexpected cheddar cheese, SO good! This weekend, I have a 5 mile run on the agenda, grocery shopping, outlet mall shopping so my boyfriend can get a new suit and we might go apple picking Sunday morning so that we beat the heat! It’s currently 80+ degrees in New Jersey and Mother Nature is not cooperating with my desire for cooler weather for apple picking. Have a great weekend girl!

    1. Hi Maureen!! Peppermint Oreos? Yum! I will have to look out for those when they are in season, unless they are year round? I hope you guys get some cooler weather soon, for sure. Outlet shopping on the weekend can be SO crazy, so good luck with that, lady! Happy Friday!! 🙂

  3. I love that you named your plants!! We went to a wedding earlier this year and the take home gifts were baby spruce trees. We quickly brought it home, planted it and name is “Bruce the Spruce”. He is still small and apparently they don’t grow fast at all so it might be some time until we get to enjoy what Bruce has to offer us! Next weekend is our local Apple Festival and I can’t wait for a pumpkin spice something (Candle, muffin, drink, anything!) even tho our tempatures are more summer like then fall like! We are making it a ladies trip with my mom, future mother in law, future sister in law and close family friend! Lots of waking and talking with the gals and that’s my favourite way to spend the day besides at home with Mat(my boyfriend)! That’s my kinda organic movement! Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Okay, that is a GREAT idea for a wedding favor — a baby spruce tree? I love it! And your trip to the Apple Festival sounds so incredibly fall appropriate, I hope you end up getting cooler weather — that just screams boots and scarves. And yes — enjoying it with the ladies will be lovely. Happy Friday to you, Tea! 🙂

    1. Hi Dixya! I think Home Depot has plants, but I haven’t looked there. I feel like they are such a great addition to any room — so hope you find some little ones to put on top of things. Oh and HAPPY FRIDAY, lady! 🙂

  4. I feel like warming the granola up with milk might give the milk a sweet, pumpkin spice flavor. That at least sounds like it could be good, as long as the texture’s not off. My favorite thing from Trader Joe’s will always be their creamy salted organic peanut butter. Classic. I’d say my favorite workout of the week was the cross country race I had today! There’s just something so amazing about the way you feel after you race (I mean once you get past the oh-my-gosh-I’m-gonna-die feeling haha). Now that the meet is done, I have the rest of my weekend to catch up on homework, then hopefully chill out.


    1. Hi Meah! Congrats on your race, lady! That is awesome! Woohoo! I know that post-race feeling, and you are right, it’s amazing. As far as the nut butter at Trader Joe’s — most of them are super clean and you can’t beat the price. I’m with you! Hope you had a chance to CHILL out the rest of the weekend, lady! 🙂

  5. I might have to try some of that pumpkin spice granola! I live an hour and a half from the nearest Trader Joe’s, but whenever I go up that way, I usually stop there. I actually love getting cheese there because it’s so much cheaper!

    1. Hi Vanessa! I know! I forget sometimes that people don’t always have a TJ’s near them — but I would definitely stock up on the pumpkin stuff if you do get a chance to go! And the frozen cauli rice and coconut milk — my two Trader Joe’s essentials heheh! Anyways, hope you are having a great weekend, lady! Thanks for saying hi!

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