Posts tagged ‘life’

March 24, 2014

Healthy Housewives Live Transformation Ashley Casalini Garcia Progress


Check out my progress since having Beau!

Check out my progress since having Beau!

Hey there! It’s Ashley! I am now 10 weeks post-pregnancy, 4 weeks into eating clean and going into week 3 of training mean. I feel GREAT! I’m learning so much about myself and my body.

I have such a new found respect for working women and mothers, both in and out of the fitness world. Even as a woman who constantly stays busy, as a new mom, I’m discovering what it’s like to juggle so much and still make time for myself. It’s not always easy and I’m SO blessed to have the support system around me that I do! Between Marzia, The Healthy Housewives, my husband, my family and my friends, I’ve been given nothing but love and support. This has allowed me to both be there for my baby, Beau, and husband, Bryan, without having to give up on myself, my dreams and my goals.

I am in competition with myself to live the best life I can!

I am in competition with myself to live the best life I can!

Here is a glimpse of my daily life. As of March 19th I’ll be done with my maternity leave and headed back to work, so this will change slightly. The eating clean will remain the same, but instead of going to the gym in the afternoons/evenings, I’ll go before work in the mornings.

I have to prep my meals to stay on top of my health!

I have to prep my meals to stay on top of my health!


I wake up anywhere between 7am and 10am, depending on how many times and how long I was up with Beau during the night (he’s still not sleeping through the night). Once I get up, the first thing I do is drink a glass of water mixed with 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and the juice from ½ a lemon. Then I feed my 2 big dogs so that they’re happy pups!


Breakfast is either egg-whites and oatmeal with berries or egg-white muffins and protein pancakes with berries. And of course, water!

Egg white muffins and protein pancakes are my typical breakfast

Egg white muffins and protein pancakes are my typical breakfast

The fun/interesting part about ANY of my meals is that I’m either enjoying them by myself or I’m balancing a fork in one hand to feed me and a bottle in the other to feed Beau. As a mom, I would definitely say that I’m taking the art of juggling, balancing and multi-tasking to a whole new level!

I also open up my Facebook fitness page and say Good Morning to friends and new followers, post breakfast photos and/or a motivational message.


I try to keep Beau happy and entertained long enough to throw a load of laundry in, empty/fill the dishwasher, clean bottles and/or generally pick up around the house. Sometimes it works out great. Sometimes not so much! Sometimes trying to find time to get anything done, including simply taking a shower, is a real challenge!

Of all my responsibilities, I love being a mommy first!

Of all my responsibilities, I love being a mommy first!


For a snack I really enjoy celery, cauliflower and carrots with hummus or Greek yogurt with blackberries and KIND brand vanilla blueberry oat clusters.

Since Beau had such a rough start to his life, he still has doctor appointments each week. It may only be one or it may be more than one. He goes between a gastroenterologist for liver issues, the hospital to get blood work done and his pediatrician for general check-ups. If I take him to the gastroenterologist, I also take him for blood work the same day. This means bottle feedings at doctors’ offices, diaper changes in restrooms and eating while I’m out (I’ll get to this in a minute).

If I’m not at any doctor appointments, I’m continuing with Beau duty, updating my Facebook fitness page, doing chores or working out. Since I’ve been a runner my whole life, I enjoy putting Beau in the jogging stroller and going outside for a run and/or taking him with me to the gym and letting him hang out in the “Kid Zone” while I go through my workout.

I run while Beau sleeps

I run while Beau sleeps


I’m a HUGE fan of meal-prepping, so lunch is pretty easy for me, whether at home or on the go (more on this soon…). I have either 3 oz. of grilled chicken or 3 oz. of turkey burger and 2 cups of steamed or sautéed veggies. Sometimes I add homemade sweet potato wedges or brown rice. And, of course, water!

A typical meal that fuels me for life

A typical meal that fuels me for life


I usually have a simple protein shake for my afternoon snack or one of my pre-made raw veggie snack bags.


If I didn’t get a chance to work out during the afternoon, I go to the gym in the evenings when Bryan gets home from work. He takes over on Beau duty and I get “me” time to focus on my fitness! I drink water throughout my workout and a simple protein shake after. Then once I get home from the gym, Bryan goes and gets his fitness on! I take care of Beau, play with the pups, update my Facebook fitness page and have dinner.


My happy baby Beau! :)

My happy baby Beau! 🙂

My happy baby Beau! :)

My happy baby Beau! 🙂



Dinner is either another one of my pre-made meals or a portabella pizza. I’m a HUGE fan of pizza, so I really enjoy making portabella pizzas. I simply take a large portabella, clean it out, cook it a little, stuff it with veggies and turkey pepperoni (think supreme pizza) and top it with just a sprinkle of cheese and throw it in the oven until the cheese has melted…YUM! And, as always, water with my meal!


Depending on how much exhausted I am from Beau and my workout, I may make it to one last snack before bed. If I do, it’s Greek yogurt and blackberries.


On Sundays I spend a few hours doing meal prep. I grocery shop, clean and cut veggies and fruits and weigh out my meat proteins. Then I steam, grill, sauté and bake everything. I use simple seasonings like parsley, lemon, rosemary, paprika, cinnamon, garlic and red pepper. No salt. No sugar. I portion out meals for the week and snack bags of fruit or veggies that are easy to grab on the go (like when I go to doctor appointments or out to run errands). This makes life SO much easier for me and keeps me eating healthy! I have no excuses to stop for fast food or junk food when I already have healthy meals and snacks ready for me!

If you buy good food, you will eat good food!

If you buy good food, you will eat good food!


Here is an example of one of my leg workouts:

2 sets/15 reps
Around the world lunges (front, side, and back-both sides)
2 minute jump rope
Plié squats
2 minute jump rope
Bulgarian split lunge (both sides)
2 minute jump rope
Single leg deadlift
2 minute jump rope
Repeat from the top until you have completed 2 sets

I have a while to go to get to where I want to be, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. Fitness has always been my passion and I’m excited that I’m taking steps to make it my career. I’m also excited to share my journey with others and to hopefully continue to inspire others to chase their dreams, whatever they may be!

I’m doing everything I can to do my “homework” and learn as much as I can about all aspects of the fitness industry, including reading about clean and healthy eating and the benefits of all types of healthy foods, researching fitness photographers, reading stories and workouts from women in the fitness industry, following bikini competitions and the women in them and reading about all types of different workouts (TRX, pilates, yoga, weight lifting, stretching, Zumba, rock climbing, running).

I pack healthy snacks so I am not tempted to make a bad decision!

I pack healthy snacks so I am not tempted to make a bad decision!

HOWEVER, while fitness is my passion and I want to make it my career, I am first, and foremost, a mommy and a wife. I love taking care of my little man, playing with my dogs and sharing my love, friendship and faith with my husband. His support means the world to me and continuously inspires me.

I LOVE my husband!!

I LOVE my husband!!

Until next time, eat clean, train mean and follow your dreams! It’s NEVER too late to start!


Ashley Casalini Garcia

Follow my journey on Facebook!

July 16, 2013

Back in the day…

Meet 7th grade Danielle. Isn’t her hair awesome. I know you remember carrying around a small can of Rave hairspray in your backpack so you could respray your feather bangs and make sure they stayed high enough. And those eyebrows…wow…at least there were two. 

So, what is the point here. Well, you often hear of people wishing they could go back in time, or trying to relive their glory years, when for me, I feel like I am in the prime of my life RIGHT NOW! I would much rather move forward, then look back. 

I want you to live in the NOW! Learn from your mistakes and grow from them. What once was can never be again because life is constantly evolving and changing. I used to be a football player…well, okay , you aren’t any longer. Now you have to work out and watch what you eat. I just had a kid…no you didn’t, they are sixteen and driving and you can’t use that excuse anymore. 

Live for TODAY and TOMORROW because you can’t change YESTERDAY. You can look back on it, smile, and reminisce, but you can never relive it! Image

July 1, 2013

Mediterranean Delight


Santorini, the land of legends and beautiful calendar pictures

Hi, everyone! Brooke here. When you think of the Mediterranean, do you think of warm ocean breezes and rocky cliffs overlooking seas of deep azure blue? Or do you imagine scenes of vibrant and joyful living with friends and family, ala Meryl Streep in Mama Mia? When I imagine what Greece must be like, all of these pictures crowd into my head! Once I calm down from the breathtaking vistas like the one above, I of course think of the delicious Greek food. Not only is it tasty, but it’s good for your heart. The traditional Mediterranean diet is renowned the world over for its wholesome simplicity and multitude of health benefits. For the past 50 years, health experts have been correlating the dietary habits of the people in Greece and Crete (specifically) with an increased life span and a virtual lack of chronic disease. That’s amazing! Now think about the current relationship of the average American diet to health and wellness in this country—depressing and frightening! But if we take a closer look at the classic Mediterranean diet, we can understand why it’s now considered a “gold standard” when it comes to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

healthy heart plate

The USDA’s Food Pyramid shares many similar recommendations with the traditional Greek diet—for good reason. A diet rich in plant foods, unsaturated fat, and a moderate amount of animal protein has been shown to reduce the risks of many chronic and lifestyle-related diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s the kicker—nutrition is only part of the solution. The Greek model of healthy living combines regular physical activity with dining leisurely on whole foods. This combination is the key to managing weight and minimizing the risk of disease. Let’s examine why this diet has become synonymous with good health and vitality.

greek salad and EVOO

The foundation of this diet is a virtual cornucopia of whole, plant-based foods such as leafy greens, fruits, beans, nuts, potatoes, seeds, and whole grains. As you know, these foods are abundant in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy carbohydrates. Did you know that the typical Greek diet might include 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day? Wow! Another daily staple are grains—breads made from wheat, barley, cracked grains, and other seeds, as well as polenta (cornmeal), potatoes, couscous, and brown rice. Unsaturated fats such as nuts and olive oil, especially extra-virgin olive oil (instead of butter or margarine), are common. Fish and poultry are the main lean proteins and are eaten only about 2-3 times a week (red meat is occasionally enjoyed a few times a month). Dairy products like eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt are consumed only moderately. For you wine lovers out there, here you go . . . a small amount of red wine is often served with both lunch and dinner. Dates, nuts, and berries are the desserts of choice, while those decadent delights like baklava and revani (a moist, sweet lemon cake) are reserved for special treats.


Revani, a sweet treat

As you can see, Mediterranean cuisine can be wonderful for your heart, waistline, and even your spirit. I love trying new and wonderful foods that I didn’t grow up enjoying. One of my favorite sayings is “Life is a feast,” which means life should be tasted and breathed and savored joyfully. If you can’t fling yourself onto a departing plane anytime soon, you can still have adventures of a culinary kind close to home. Next time you dine out, go Greek! Keep in mind, just like any place in the modern world, Greece has its share of decadent, fatty foods and dishes full of cheese and salt. Just keep in mind the whole, unprocessed foods mentioned above, and you’ll be fine. Here are some healthy and not-so-healthy choices to keep in mind when you go adventuring at your local Greek cafe.

Healthy and tasty . . . perfect anytime!

  • Hummus with whole-wheat pita or veggies
  • Dolmades
  • Horiatiki salata
  • Couscous
  • Souvflaki
  • Stifado stew
  • Tzatziki (sauce)
  • Kakavia
  • Grilled/roasted fish with steamed vegetables


Is this your cheat meal? Well, then, ok . . .

  • Falafel
  • Baklava (this makes me sad . . . I LOVE baklava!)
  • Gyro
  • Spanakopita
  • Avegolemono (sauce)
  • Saganaki
  • Mousaka
  • Anything made with phyllo


Kali orexi, or “happy eating”!

XO, Brooke


June 17, 2013


How do you deal with stress? We all have it, just at different levels and we all have different ways that we deal with it. Some better, than others. There is no such thing as a perfect life, and there certainly is no such thing as stress free living. However, our ability to cope with stress is what separates those who crack under pressure from those who thrive. Whether its work , relationship, family, financial or whatever kind of stress life throws your way, there are different coping mechanisms to help you power through. 


1. YOGA-breathing, relaxation, stretching, and getting in tune with one’s body are all great ways to alleviate stress. Even if yoga is not something you already practice, starting now might be good for your stress level. 

2. Running-put those headphones in and hit the pavement. A long run can often clear the mind and allow you to find peace. 

3. Exercise-any form of exercise is going to help you release endorphins and get out some of that negative energy and tension. 

4. Music-there is a definite healing power to music. Whether its upbeat or slow jamz, you know what kind of music will alter your mood. 

5. Talk it out-whether its a friend, a clergyman, or a mental health professional, the power of words has a great impact on stress. 

6. Rest-just with anything else, when we are sleep deprived our bodies don’t have time to assimilate to its surroundings therefore making our stress level rise. 


Again, life will never be stress free, but knowing some tools for working around it will make you better able to survive the tough times in your life! Image

May 13, 2013

Magic Around the Edges

Life is a fairytale

Morning, Friends. It’s Brooke, here. How many of you live an inspired life? Or maybe a life with magic around the edges? And do you choose to make your world something special, or do you simply honor the glimmers that you see? Of course, you don’t have to be all “writery” about it, although that’s my personal lens. Moving through your day with brightness means you are living with joy, anticipating the best of things and trailing a hopeful spirit in your wake. And people notice this! They can see the sparkle you leave as you brush alongside them.

sunset glitter

I’ve lived my whole life nestled on the edge of reality and unreality, devouring books and ideas, feeding the furnace that is my imagination. That’s the beauty of experiencing life through the written word—you can slip into someone else’s skin, carry on in another world, fall in love many times, have your heart broken hopefully fewer times, and find yourself again at the end of everything forever changed. One of my favorite analogies comes from Stephen King, when he says that he always carries a book with him because he never knows when he’ll need an escape hatch. And I totally get it! This kind of escape makes the tedium of life bearable.

Fantasy street signs

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this existed?

However, literary highways are not the only ways to travel. I often go about my business, appearing normal and on task while my mind wanders and skips along nearby. It’s always scanning the periphery, searching for interesting tidbits or trails of glitter that might lead to an epiphany of some sort. I like to think that there’s another world tucked behind the façade of the one we navigate every day, and every now and then, I catch a glimpse of “something else.” This kind of daydreaming, usually frowned upon by highly logical people and most bosses, helps me get through the dailyness of life reasonably well. I mean, I show up to my life–I pay my bills, go to meetings, teach classes, see clients, and try my best to be responsible and plan ahead. But if you catch me between these activities, you’ll often see me gazing into the middle distance, wondering “What if . . . ?” If you examine the course of human history, you’ll see that this very question has set fire to controversy, challenged deeply held perceptions, and repeatedly altered life as we know it. And thank goodness!

I passionately believe that life is meant to be lived, that we are not just marking time. That everyone deserves to have dignity, love, respect, and meaning in their lives, regardless of circumstance. Our reality and our joy is what we make it. And we are only bound by what we imagine is true. So, why not believe anything is possible? Why can’t you blow past any goal you set for yourself? Why let others decide for you what is true and valuable? My contrarian spirit has always balked at someone telling me why I should like this or do that—I want to figure this out on my own! But to stay on the right side of polite society, I listen graciously and smile, all the while running these suggestions through my internal works and listening for the resulting “ping” of yes or no. Over the years, however, I’ve tried to learn from others’ experiences, those wiser than myself. I pray often for guidance. And I gather clues incessantly, clues left like breadcrumbs by an invisible hand. Is this little piece important? Well, it tickles my soul and makes my heart skip a beat. Yes, I’ll keep it. Then the edges of my life shimmer once again, and I know I’ve chosen wisely.

May you have a magical and blessed week!


When in doubt