Three things to talk about: Travel, life and fitness

Hi, friends! We made it to the end of another week! While we usually talk about favorites on Fridays, today, we’re going to switch it up a bit and talk about … well, life.

1. Gone babymooning in SoCal

This weekend, Dave and I are heading off on our “babymoon.” I first heard the term “babymoon” a few years ago, and it’s a great idea. If you’re not familiar — basically — we’re taking our last big trip as a child-less couple before the baby comes (outside of a Florida trip I have coming up the first week of August!).

While we had grand plans to make it back to Hawaii or to go internationally, when the events of the summer played out, Dave and I instead decided on a short road-trip to Southern California to a destination where neither of us has been — Santa Barbara — which came highly recommended to us by our friends. We’re spending several days at a lovely resort on the beach and have very little on our agenda but hanging out, relaxing, eating and soaking up the sunshine. 

By the way, even though we’ve done quite a bit of traveling, we haven’t been on a beach vacation in two years. The last time was our Maui trip in August 2015, and here’s a little throwback to that trip with a pretty awesome background for our shot … hello dark hair …

Road to Hana on Ashley's Maui Travel Guide

By the way, if you ever find yourself bored, remember, there’s a whole travel page with all sorts of our older adventures you can peruse for entertainment.

As far as what you can expect from the ol’ blog in my absence next week? A post! I do have something ready to go live on Monday, so head back for that. 

2. Loving “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” way

I think this is now the fourth time I’ve mentioned Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” but it’s for good reason — this book is awesome, but you have to go into reading it with an open mind and be ready to do things differently.

While it’s a fairly short read, Kondo’s book gives you super useful tips on how to get your space in order. And here’s the kicker: Kondo says that when you get your things in order, your entire life starts falling into place better. It totally makes sense!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book by A Lady Goes West

Here’s a very high-level overview of her method …

  1. Instead of just picking things out of your closet and drawers that you don’t want, you remove ALL items from all closets and spaces that are of the same category and put them on the floor. Then, you put each item in your hand, feel it and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service and discard it. This method alone, in which you pull everything out before putting things back, is huge. It helped me to eliminate MORE than half of what I owned.
  2. You follow the discarding pattern by category (NOT by location), and you go in this order: clothing, books, papers, miscellany, and finally, mementos. You see, you get better at discarding as you move along the process, so by the time you get to mementos, it’s easy to toss things.
  3. When you are thanking your items for their service, this is the time you think about the good memories that you have from each item. It’s a great time to “say goodbye” to stuff, and it helps you to get closure on that item and perhaps that time in your life. So cool!
  4. Minimize organizational tools and instead, fold your stuff so that things stand on their end and not flat. And fold more and hang less. Kondo is not about buying tons of containers and bins to store your stuff, because that just creates more clutter and encourages you to keep more stuff. Instead, she thinks you should just fold as much as you can and arrange things from dark to light. I redid all of my drawers by folding things in tight little logs, which has been a game-changer for utilizing space. She talks a lot about how to fold things (you even fold your socks and underwear), and that is probably the most practical application from the book for most people.

Here are some great quotes from the book … 

  • “People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.”
  • “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.”
  • “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”
  • “As you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you.” 
  • And here’s the best: “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” Amen to that!

Over the past three weeks, Dave and I have completely finished discarding things that we don’t want anymore and tidying our space. I dropped multiple bags of stuff off at a local church and sold a ton on Poshmark too. And I can absolutely say that without a doubt, I was able to purge strategically, because of Kondo’s book. It feels good! It’s partially a “nesting” thing before the baby, I’m sure, but who doesn’t love a good summer clean out done with a plan? Anywho, if you have an open mind, I would totally recommend this book.

3. Saying goodbye to Les Mills BODYPUMP for a while

This week, I taught my last BODYPUMP class before I go on a maternity leave. While I’m still teaching Bootybarre for a few more weeks, I made the decision to leave the front of the room for BODYPUMP. I do plan to continue to take BODYPUMP once or twice a week as a student though.

Les Mills BODYPUMP set up by A Lady Goes West

Now hear me out: I’ve alluded to this before, but many women choose to teach BODYPUMP much further along in their pregnancies than I have chosen. And I applaud them for that if they are feeling up to it. However, I know that with my own body and current abilities, I do not want to push things, and I’ve felt some abdominal pain and strain from a few moves (like planks and push-ups and overhead presses). I’ve tried not to alter my lifting weight too significantly, nor take too many modifications as the instructor — because personally — that is very important to me to still be a “role model” at the front of the room. I do NOT judge anyone else for continuing to teach, and if they have to, make some changes to the moves to fit their growing bodies and drop their weights down quite low, but that’s not what I wanted to do, and so I’m not doing it.

I felt pretty mixed feelings after finishing up the cool-down of my last class this week. And here’s why: of all the changes and big things that have happened in my life over the past eight years — switching careers and jobs, marrying Dave, moving from Orlando to San Francisco, becoming a personal trainer, moving from San Francisco to Walnut Creek, getting Rudy, going through hypothalamic amenorrhea, recovering, trying to get pregnant and getting pregnant, until now — well, teaching Les Mills BODYPUMP has been a constant. I started teaching BODYPUMP in September of 2009 and have never taken more than a few weeks off from teaching since that time.

So as I said goodbye to my class on Thursday, I was a little sad that I don’t know when I’ll return. Because the times of the classes that I teach are during Dave’s work hours, and the fact that I won’t be able to use the child-care facilities for many months, I don’t have a definite point that I will be returning, so it will likely be well into 2018 — and WOW — that’s crazy. Nonetheless, I know for sure that this was the RIGHT time for me to take a step back, and perhaps I’ll return sometime next year stronger than ever and ready to teach a ton of classes. We’ll just have to wait and see! Until then, you can find me in the back of the BODYPUMP classroom doing push-ups on my knees and lifting plates overhead instead of the bar — because, safety first! (Check out more on how to modify a BODYPUMP class when you’re pregnant here, by the way.)

And let’s lighten the mood to finish this off with a picture of Rudy wearing his bow-tie … 

Rudy the maltipoo in a bow-tie by A Lady Goes West

Some of my favorite links from the week …

And one of the biggest sales of the week … 

It’s the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale through next week, and that means LOTs of markdowns. Don’t miss out on your chance to do some online shopping this weekend. I did some poking around, and I’ve got my eye on thesethis, this and this. And speaking of online shopping, that’s almost ENTIRELY how I’ve outfitted myself throughout this pregnancy, and I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to shopping in stores again! Would anyone agree? πŸ™‚ 

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Questions of the day

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    1. Hi Carrie! And I hope you are having an amazing time on your trip too!! πŸ™‚ Three cheers for cleaning up our houses and inboxes hahaha, although I bet while still living in a tiny place in the City, you have no choice but to keep things tidy with no clutter. I remember those days!

    1. Hi Susie! That’s the key — I didn’t always know how to listen to my body, but I sure do now, and it’s a beautiful thing. Happy Friday to you, my friend! πŸ™‚

  1. I’m sure that was a tough decision regarding BodyPump, but good for you for listening to your body and making the smart decision for you and the baby. I’m sure the time will fly by until you’re back teaching! Oh, and I completely agree about online shopping…people just generally annoy me when I try and shop in store, ha πŸ˜‰ Have a wonderful babymoon!

    1. Hi Ash! Thank you for your kind words about BODYPUMP. and TOTALLY — malls and stores around here are constantly crowded and don’t always have the sizes — plus who likes fitting rooms? I think I am going to be an online shopping convert. Happy Friday, lady! Have a great weekend!

  2. OH have so much fun on your baby moon, many of our friends have taken them and I think it’s a great idea. I’ve heard Santa Barbara is beautiful! And I definitely need to check out unroll me. I feel like I’m pretty organized throughout the house, but my computer and inbox’s are another story.

    1. Hi Patricia! You will LOVE to clean up the inbox with — it’s a great feeling. And I’m SUPER organized and clean, but yet, I feel like I just needed to have less stuff. And I’m not sure I could be a minimalist, but totally leaning more in that direction. Happy Friday, lady! πŸ™‚ Have a GREAT weekend!

  3. I hope you do return to Body Pump a lot stronger and more inspired to keep teaching as a new mommy. Also, a babymoon to Santa Barbara sounds great; my parents met near or in Santa Barbara. It’s got a lot of good sweet memories for us. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Emily! Oh cool! I have heard so many great things about the Santa Barbara am excited to explore it. Does that mean you’ve been there too? Hope you have a Happy Friday and weekend, my friend!: )

  4. Hello Ashley,
    Great blog post today! I have several things I wanted to relate to you!!

    First, my hubby and I may have been in Maui when you were in August 2015!!! Our wedding date was August 17th, and we were then in Maui on our Honeymoon from August 18th through the 23rd!! When were you there??

    Secondly, I heard of Marie Kondo’s book from a podcast. Right before my hubby and I moved apartment units (we just moved from our previous 1 bdrm to a 2 bdrm within the same complex just 2 weeks ago), I went through all our stuff as I was packing and got rid of 8 boxes of stuff (6 were mine, 2 were his). It felt so good to say “goodbye” and simplify!

    Third, I applaud you for stopping BodyPump. I can understand the mixed emotions though. First, I loved taking BodyPump classes a couple years ago (I was a regular). For the past 4 years, I’ve been a consistent daily (or at least 6 days/week) hiker in a mountain near where we live. I’m still hiking each morning, even with my baby bump. But, like you, I’m aware that I may need to modify my hiking (turn it into a walk?) at one point in my pregnancy. I also swim at our apt pool in the afternoon, which is lovely, and I’m hoping I’ll keep being able to do all the way up until giving birth. But I’m listening to my body and want to do what is safest and healthiest for the babies.

    Anyways, again…great blog post!

    My hubby and I have been thinking of taking a 2-3 day Babymoon in August to Sedona!

    Have a great time in So-Cal (I used to live in San Diego!)

    1. Hi Amy! That’s awesome you took a honeymoon to Maui — how magical! We flew in just after you left, because I think we were there the last week of August. It was super hot, but beautiful. I want to go back to Hawaii and try Kauai next time. As far as moving apartments — how cool you get to stay in the same complex. We are in a two-bedroom townhome now and it will be tight in the second bedroom for baby, but we will make it work. We’re a lot better off than we were in a tiny one-bedroom in SF in the City hehehe. Also, I love that you are hiking and swimming — two extremely functional and beneficial ways to move. I should probably do more of each of them heheh. I hope you get to do a babymoon too! Have a fab Friday, and thank you for your sweet comment!!

      1. Hello Ashley,
        Yes…it sounds like you were there just right after us. Like you, we want to go to Kauai and also Oahu next time. We’re thinking maybe in Summer 2019?? It will just depend on how things go with the babies. We may (just hubby and I) take a “fun” trip to Disney World next Summer while my mom takes care of the babies. We’ll see how everything goes. Anyways, again…have a blast in So-Cal!

        1. Oh cool!! Disney World is amazing (I worked there as a corporate employee in Orlando for a few years), but it will be hot in the summer! Thanks again, Amy! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

          1. That’s cool that you worked there as a corporate employee! Oooh…yes…I forgot about the hot/humid Summers there in Florida. Hmmm…perhaps we’ll go in early Autumn or in the Spring then. Have a great weekend, also! πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve heard such good things about that book….I really need to check it out!
    Good job on listening to your body and taking a little break from bodypump, you’ll be that much more excited when you come back!
    Oh and Santa Barbara is AMAZING!! You will have a blast…next time you need to go back when you can enjoy the wineries! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Marielle! I know — I’m sad I won’t get to try the wines down there, but there will hopefully be more visits in the future! Happy Friday, lady. Have a fab weekend!

  6. The life changing guide totally changed my life too! I read it as I prepped to move cross country and it helped so much to physically and mentally clear out unnecessary clutter. I will probably do another big clean out soon because it just feels so freeing and good! And that’s great that you are listening to your body with your decision to stop teaching for a while. It’s such an important time for you to focus on what’s best for you, so great that you are setting a healthy and smart example!

    1. Hi Amanda! How are you? Thank you so much for saying hi!! So you also made a big move to the Bay Area? It’s not easy to do, I’ll tell you that. After moving from Florida, our first apartment in SF was half the size of our place in Orlando, we naturally we got rid of a lot. But then once we moved to the East Bay in Walnut Creek a couple of years ago, we started accumulating more — it was totally time to purge!! I sure do LOVE that feeling of getting rid of things and getting all cleaned up. Thanks for the kind words about stepping back from BODYPUMP right now — not necessarily a popular decision, but one I know I had to make. Hope you have a great weekend, lady! πŸ™‚

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