Archive for May, 2014

May 28, 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou

I just wanted to take a moment to remember Maya Angelou and share some of my favorite Maya quotes.  While she is many things to many people, for me she has always been a calming and reassuring voice and a spiritual guide of sorts.  







May 22, 2014

Zoku Pop Maker – Your Best Summer Kitchen Gadget for Kids


Parents, I have to share my favorite summer kitchen find that is a must if you have children! Its the Zoku, Quick Pop Maker.  Forget about store bought sugar laden or sugar free chemicals and ingredients. Now you can have beautiful, gourmet, healthy frozen treats. The Zoku allows you to use your own ingredients from fresh juice, fruit, greek yogurt, milk and kefir, so you know exactly what you are eating.  

Follow these simple steps to create your Zoku frozen pop:

  • As soon as you get home put the pop maker in the freezer for 24 hours so its ready to go when you get the urge to make your healthy treat.
  • Remove from freezer and insert the pop sticks into the three mold areas. If you’re using fruit, place the fruit in before inserting the sticks.
  • Pour the filling of your choice into each mold and wait 7-9 minutes for the pops to freeze. If you want to create a layered pop wait until each layer of juice freezes before adding another.
  • To release your pop, turn the orange super tool clockwise and enjoy!

Finally, the Zoku is not new but as of last summer it was new to me.  So if you already know about this cool gadget wonderful! And if not, seriously pick one up! They retail for $49.95 and have lots of cool accessories to make a great activity with the kids and snack for you and your family.

My Favorite Zoku Recipe

Frozen Mimosa Pops

For the orange juice/champagne layers:
2 ounces champagne
8 ounces orange juice

For the strawberry layer:
½ cup fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons orange juice

Pour in strawberries and OJ – freeze

Combine the champagne and orange juice – freeze and enjoy!

Check out Pinterest for lots of great Zoku recipes –

Zoku Facebook





May 19, 2014

Outdoor Circuits to Ease Into Summer


yoga sunset

So, have you heard? Summer’s coming . . . and it’s going to be hot, hot, hot! Now’s the perfect time to start conditioning yourself to tolerate the blazing sun while still reaching your fitness goals. If you take the time now to gradually ramp up your intensity as you exercise outside, you’ll be much better prepared to stay active, healthy, and safe as the seasons change.

Easy Does It

Let your body be your guide when exercising in the great outdoors. Start out in the shade, if possible, and avoid heavy-duty cardio between 10 AM and 4 PM (the hottest part of the day). If you start to crash and burn after 20 minutes, just be kind to yourself—take a break, hydrate yourself, and go easy. You’ll be hardcore in no time!

girl drinking water

Also, drink plenty of water before and during your exercise outside. A good rule of thumb is to drink around 8 oz. of water 15-20 minutes before you start. Then, drink 4 oz. of water or sports drink every 20 minutes while you are exercising. If you experience any of the following signs of potential heat exhaustion (dizziness, fatigue, profuse sweating, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, muscle cramps, headache, or nausea):

  • Stop exercising
  • Get somewhere cool
  • Hydrate yourself
  • Cool your skin with cold water
  • If your symptoms don’t resolve quickly, seek medical attention immediately.


Simple Cardio/Ab Routine


Check out this simple circuit guaranteed to get your heart rate up and break a little sweat. It’s quick and easy (no equipment needed, except maybe a towel or mat for the Ab Circuit), so find your favorite spot outside and get going!


Cardio Circuit—(go through the entire circuit, then repeat)

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 high knees
  • 10 burpees

(10-second rest, if needed)

  • 30 speed skaters (15 each leg)
  • 20 walking or stationary lunges (10 each leg)
  • 20 side lunges (10 each leg)

(10-second rest, if needed)

  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 20 prisoner jacks
  • plank (hold as long as you can—30 sec.-1 min.)


Ab Circuit(go through the entire circuit, then repeat)

  • 20 crunches (keep elbows splayed out, face and chest to the sky)
  • 10 bicycles
  • 10 V-outs (knee ups)
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 20 leg lowering (both legs)
  • 20 Russian oblique twists (1 rep = twist left & twist right)
  • 10 Prone cobras (keep feet on ground)

Stretch (I love stretching after a workout—it feels like candy for my muscles 😉

Have a great week, and enjoy the spring breezes while you can!


i love my active summer

May 15, 2014

Quinoa Berry Summer Salad with Tangy Coconut Dressing


Hi! Hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Finally rain, rain go away! Its a beautiful sunny day here in Dallas and summer is finally upon us.  I have a great summer salad recipe that looks good, tastes good and more importantly is good for you! Not only does it look impressive but it’s super fast to through together! Antioxidant rich kale, berries and quinoa add texture and color to this cool summer salad.



Quinoa Berry Summer Salad with Tangy Coconut Dressing



  • 1 cup mint, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 (6 oz) package  Blackberries or Blueberries
  • 1 (6 oz) package Raspberries
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale
  • Top with slivered almonds


  • 1 (8 oz) can cream of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 (2/3 oz) package Simply Organic dried Italian salad dressing mix



  1. Rinse ingredients.  Roll the kale leaves into a cigar and slice into fine ¼ inch shreds. Gently toss kale, loosely packed mint, quinoa, blackberries and raspberries together, and then add just enough dressing to coat the salad. Serve immediately.


  1. Whisk apple cider vinegar and coconut milk with Italian salad dressing seasoning mix. 

Serve with Ice tea and Enjoy!



May 12, 2014

Don’t Fear the Sprouts!

no way

Do you remember when you were a little kid, and you would absolutely refuse to eat some food, no matter how good it was for you? Now, imagine years passing, you being an adult, and you still refusing to try something new because you didn’t like it 20 years ago. Sounds silly, right?

What if that food were a nutritional superstar, teeming with more vitamin C than an orange, packed with fiber, and dripping with heart-protecting and cancer-defying compounds? Would you still refuse to try it, knowing now how fragile life is and how important good nutrition is to your health?

And the Mystery Veg Is . . .

close-up brussels sprout

Yes, I’m talking about Brussels sprouts! Over the years, I’ve wanted to like them, have tried them at various points, and have turned away at the stinky smell and bitter taste that hit me about 3 chews in. They are beguiling to behold—tiny baby cabbages! Almost everything is cuter when tiny J And the lovely layers when you slice them open—much more interesting to behold than, say, a potato. Turns out, potatoes and Brussels sprouts are fantastic together!

Turn of the Tide

Oak Brussel sprouts by Brian O.

Crazy-good Brussels sprouts at Oak (Dallas, TX)

But my new love affair with these sprouts began a few years ago when I tried them at Oak, the delicious Dallas restaurant ( When the waiter told me that people came from miles around for Oak’s Brussels sprouts, I figured I’d give them a go. I almost lost my mind, they were so good! Quartered, tossed with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and Panko bread crumbs, and roasted until gorgeous golden brown with crispy leaves outside. I actually still dream about them. Turns out, anytime you get olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar near a Brussels sprout, you’re going to have a good time!

Green Science

green science

Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family, which includes such stellar greens as broccoli, kale, collard greens, and cabbage. Considering its family members, you can imagine the health benefits that these little beauties provide. They are jammed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals that lower cholesterol, destroy free radicals, and protect against cancer of all types. They are one of the vegetable kingdom’s best sources of vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting as well as bone building. They are also packed with vitamin A (healthy mucus membranes and vision), vitamin E (treating and preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer), magnesium, calcium, potassium—the list goes on!

But What About the Stink?

Happily, Brussels sprouts are full of fiber and extremely low on the GI index, making them ideal companions in your weight-loss efforts. They help fill you up without filling you out. But what about the stinky nature of these sprouts (both for them and for you)? They get their particular smell from their sulphur-containing compounds, the fragrance of which is amplified by boiling. To avoid filling your house with that pungent scent as well as cooking away all the nutrients, try steaming or roasting them. As for you and the gas that sometimes accompanies cruciferous veggies like sprouts and broccoli—I’ve found that the more regularly you eat these high-fiber foods, the more adept your body becomes at digesting them efficiently. This goes for beans too.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare Brussels sprouts while preserving all the good stuff inside is to steam them, but roasting them is also a delicious option.

To steam: Half and/or quarter them lengthwise. Try to make the pieces similar so they cook at the same time. Add an inch or so of water to a pot, cover, and wait for water to boil. When water boils, add a steamer basket full of Brussels sprouts and cover. For halved sprouts, steam about 6 mins. For quartered sprouts, steam about 5 min.

To roast: Heat your oven to about 350-400 degrees. Half and/or quarter them lengthwise. Try to make the pieces similar so they cook at the same time. Toss with some olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, some balsamic (if you like), and even a dash of red pepper flakes. Arrange on a baking sheet with cut sides up, and cook for 30-40 minutes, until they are deep golden brown. Yum!

I found the following recipe and yummy variations on the Whole Foods website ( I can’t wait to try them!

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

closeup roasted bs


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 30 to 35 minutes. The leaves that are loose will be especially brown and crispy. Transfer to a bowl and serve.


Rosemary Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary to Brussels sprouts before roasting. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1/4 cup pine nuts. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender. Before serving, toss with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.

Cranberry Pecan Brussels Sprouts During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup pecan pieces. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender.

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad After roasting, allow Brussels sprouts to cool to room temperature. Toss with 4 cups baby kale mix, 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette.


I hope you will give Brussels sprouts (or any long-despised food from childhood) a chance. You never know—they may just become one of your very favorites!

Happy and healthy adventuring,


May 8, 2014

Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas

Hi Everyone!! Kathy here! I apologize I’ve been away for some time! Recently, I was able to travel to Europe with my daughter and that was an incredible trip! I’ll post some pics and write a blog about that very soon! And even more recently I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and study under some true Pilates Masters.  That was an amazing experience and reinforces my decision to become a Pilates instructor. I know I will always be practicing, learning and growing, and sharing the knowledge with those around me! It makes me giddy and happy knowing I chose the perfect career!!!

So on to this weeks blog, I love salty spicy crunchy snacks and they have to be healthy! I eat chick peas everyday as a source of protein and fiber. Usually a sprinkle or two on my salads. Ive been looking for baked chick peas at my grocery and have yet to find any so off to the web I went, and after combing a few different recipes and a little trial and error, I really love the recipe below.  If you don’t love spice like a do, just scale back on those ingredients a little bit! Also try sprinkling these on your salad or in soup! Delicious!


Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas
about 2 cups


1 15 ounce can organic chickpeas
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried onion
1 dash paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 ° F.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas in colander. Remove skins from peas and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. In a bowl, stir chickpeas and ingredients until well blended.
  4. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and toss peas on cookie sheet every 5 minutes for the next 20 minutes!
May 6, 2014

How to Undo an Overdo

ImageYou did it–rather, you overdid it. You ate too much, drank too much, or simply had two desserts you didn’t need and fell asleep on them. This morning, you feel well, frumpy. Don’t fear, you didn’t do as much damage as you think. Remember a pound equals 3,500 calories. So, even if you ate the entire box of donuts, and washed them down with a jug of whole milk, you’re out a pound. Despite the sugar shock you placed on your body, you’re going to be okay. In the whole scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal. Chock the day up to an “off day” and gear up for a new day. Here’s the game plan:

Image#1. Spend the day drinking (guzzling) water. Drink water as often as possible. You need to literally flush your system of the toxins you consumed during your indulgence.
#2. Eat 24-30 grams of fiber throughout the day. Do not go to sleep until you’ve ingested this fiber. Fiber works as a broom within your system to “sweep” out toxic buildup which makes it easier for fat cells to move through your body.
#3. Get 30-1 hour of activity. Literally, go sweat out the toxins. (Are you noticing a key word?) If possible, book an ion cleanse to help move toxic debris along. 
#4. Stick to stuff from the earth: grains, water, fruits, vegetables, beans as much as possible. Grab most of your calories from these foods.
#5. DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF or limit your calories below 1,000 calories. Depending on your height, weight, and age, you need a certain amount of calories to keep the fire burning within your system. Think of your metabolism as a fire. Think of these foods as lighter fluid, which boosts flames. On the contrary, foods that are high fat, highly processed, high sodium, or with many preservatives act like dirt/sand which puts a fire out. Trust me, you don’t want your fire to burn out. If it does, your body stops burning fat and calories as efficiently. This tip is especially important immediately following a day of over-indulgence.
#6. Drink tea once or twice throughout the day. I say caffeine is a-okay!* It’s my experience that caffeine also helps keep things moving–if you know what I mean. That is exceptionally important after a splurge as well. (*I want to make it clear that there is zero scientific research attached to this statement. It is purely my personal opinion.)
#7. Your taste buds may feel a little deprived since they got a mouthful–literally–yesterday, don’t give into them. Remember that the first bite of anything is the most savory, so if you are feeling weak, just have one bite of the indulgence. One small bite will not derail your efforts.Image
#8. Get a good amount of sleep. Your muscles and digestive system regenerate as you sleep, so give your body time to do this. Also, if you’re asleep, you’re not consuming anything
#9. Plan out tomorrow’s meals. Planning ahead ensures that you’ll have the supplies needed and fuel yourself appropriately.
#10. Spend a few minutes looking in a full length mirror before you go to bed. Say three nice things about your body and appearance. Smile at yourself. heck, even blow a kiss!

For more tips like these, or for personalized, goal-specific wellness coaching, email: Love yourself! 

May 2, 2014


My transformation

My transformation

Hey all! I’ve been absent a few weeks from the blog, but I’m ready to share my progress, my crazy life, my words of wisdom and my new successes with you all!

So proud of how hard I have worked to get my post-baby body back!

So proud of how hard I have worked to get my post-baby body back!

Where to start? First of all, Beau is doing MUCH better! He’s off of his liver medication finally and he’s smiling and doing cute baby things. Bryan and I are very grateful for this!

Beau is finally feeling better! This smile makes me happy!

Beau is finally feeling better! This smile makes me happy!

Training is going great! I have seen SIGNIFICANT changes in my body! My muscle definition is coming back, I’m lifting heavier weights, I’m no longer ready to pass out after jogging 1 minute on the treadmill (I can now do 45 minutes non-stop!), I feel more confident in myself and I’ve nearly lost all of my post-baby weight!

I’m wrapping up week 7 of working out and I’ll be entering week 8 on Monday. While I’m more than excited about the progress I’ve made to-date and the progress I’ll continue to make, it hasn’t always been easy. I’m human and have days that I don’t feel like I’m getting the most out of my workout and days when I don’t feel like I’ve made as much progress as I think I should have. I sent Marzia a text one morning feeling discouraged. I was in week 6 of training and feeling like I should have more definition in my abs area. She reassured me that the definition will come and that HELLO! – I JUST HAD A BABY! It takes time for the body to heal and transform. I spent 9 months stretching it out. It will take more than 6 weeks to get it back. Reality check? Yes. What I needed to hear? Yes. I, like everyone else working on getting into shape, have to remember that TIME is the key. And patience. But sometimes I’m not so good with patience. Haha!

Finally seeing my some muscle now!

Finally seeing my some muscle now!

Due to my crazy schedule and new responsibilities as a mom, my workout time comes EARLY. My alarm goes off at 4:10 a.m. and I’m at the gym by 4:45 a.m. And trust me (or ask my husband), I’m NOT a morning person! But, that’s what best fits my schedule, so that’s what I’m doing. Make time, not excuses, right?

I’m still eating clean. I’ve found all sorts of new ways to creatively eat clean and enjoy my favorite meals. My go-to’s are stuffed bell peppers, spaghetti squash, zucchini “sushi,” and Portobello mushroom pizzas. Sundays have turned into our grocery shopping days. We bring everything home, get it sorted, rinsed, in storage bags and put away. Monday nights I do my meal prepping for the week while Bryan plays with Beau and the dogs. It takes me a few hours, but it saves me TONS of time later in the week. It also keeps me on track. If I have something made and ready to go, then I don’t need to go out for fast food or hit the candy drawer. I have everything I need. Bryan has been amazing with my eating habits. He tries everything I make and, to his surprise I’m sure, has liked almost everything so far (except Portobello mushroom pizzas – that’s too much mushroom for him). And if we have a date night and decide to go out for dinner, he’s very mindful of what I can and can’t have and makes suggestions based on that. At the least, a decent salad has to be on the menu for me. No chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy for me. I may have a bite of his every now and then, but I’ve come to not even really want it anymore. It may taste good, but the effects of several meals like that aren’t worth it to me. I prefer to keep my body happy and healthy, not feeling heavy and greased down.

An example of one of my snacks

An example of one of my snacks

I eat a cheat meal for dinner on Friday nights. I plan it ahead of time as my “treat.” And even then, I’m conscious of what I’m eating. We went for pizza last week. Instead of loading it with pepperoni, sausage and cheese, I had them load it with veggies, minimal sauce and minimal cheese. I’ve learned, too, that not eating heavier, greasier meals or candy and junk food for an extended period of time makes you not WANT to eat them anymore. I don’t crave them. I can easily pass them over, even when others are eating them right in front of me.

Meal prep is important for me to stay top of my health

Meal prep is important for me to stay top of my health

I still blog on my Facebook fitness page ( and now also blog and interact on’s “BodySpace.” It’s the Facebook for fitness junkies. And I won’t lie, I love it! It’s everyone working on their fitness goals encouraging and motivating each other along the way. I’ve come to be friends with some inspiring people there who encourage me to keep going after my fitness goals!

My day look at the law firm

My day look at the law firm

I also still work full-time at my law firm. Monday-Friday 8:30-5:30. It makes for a crazy day sometimes by the time I get up, go to the gym, come home and get ready for work, help Bryan with Beau and either he or I take him to the sitter’s house, drive to work, work all day, drive back to pick up Beau and head home, take care of the dogs, make dinner, get Beau settled down and ready for bed… It’s a LOT. I’m blessed to have my husband, though. He helps with it ALL. Well, all except the cooking. I love him, but he’s not a cook. Haha! But he makes up for that by helping with laundry, picking up the house, taking care of Beau, playing with the dogs, packing Beau’s diaper bag, etc.

Love my husband!

Love my husband!

AND, I’m still a distributor for It Works! I joined Marzia in this business adventure and it’s been amazing! The It Works wraps and stretch mark cream have been instrumental natural supplements to my working out and clean eating. They tighten, tone and firm the skin, ridding the body of toxins and help you lose inches! I use one once a week and it’s helped my tummy come around! And I see definition there now! The stretch mark cream has been amazing with my tiger stripes from Beau! They’re drastically less noticeable! Now I’m using their Hair Skin Nail product to grow my hair out. And it’s growing like crazy. As well as my nails. It’s a nice change!

The products that helped me get my post-baby body back!

The products that helped me get my post-baby body back!

Not only do I enjoy the products, but I’ve met so many people who love them and have amazing results with them! My gym is now introducing them through me, I’ve got a team going under me that’s loving them and spreading the word about them, and Marzia and I are taking Dallas by storm to let everyone know about them! If you’re looking for something natural (herbal/botanically based) to help you on your health/beauty/fitness journey, I HIGHLY recommend It Works products! You can get them at my website or message me about them at

My results using the wraps and stretch mark cream

My results using the wraps and stretch mark cream

Overall, I’m one busy lady. But, with the help and support from my amazing husband, I find time to do it all. And I love it. I love my crazy, busy, fitness filled, healthy living, life. And even more than that, I love my husband and Beau. They drive me to be the best me and to keep going. I’ll make my bikini competition this year. I’ll inspire at least one person to follow their dreams. I’ll find my calling in the fitness industry and make the career change. I’ll be successful and make an extra income to live on with It Works! I’ll do it all. Because I believe in myself and because I have a support system that believes in me.

Working out, eating right, and wrapping tight keep me in shape after my baby

Working out, eating right, and wrapping tight keep me in shape after my baby

I highly encourage you all to find that support system for yourself if you haven’t already. It’s amazing. I also encourage you all to remember that you can do ANYTHING you want. In fitness. In health. In beauty. In LIFE. Just go for it!

Until next time,


Ashley Casalini! Garcia