Wednesday, September 19, 2012

lifestyle maven has moved!

you can now find me over at!  

thank you for all your support, readers -- you made this new path possible for me : )

for the latest lifestyle maven posts, check out

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

foodie: leek-chard soup


not knowing exactly what to do with a huge bunch of leeks and a mongo-size bunch of swiss chard, i decided to make a soup.  this super-healthy soup is hearty, earthy and very filling.  we enjoyed our bowls topped with a spoonful of cottage cheese and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds!

here's what you'll need for 5-6 servings...

1 large bunch of leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 large bunch of swiss (or rainbow) chard, roughly chopped
1/2 head of garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup almond milk (or vegetable broth)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

cottage cheese or sour cream
toasted pumpkin seeds

1. in a large stock pot, pour in the olive oil.  add in the veggies and garlic, and cook over medium heat, covered until the volume reduces by half.  season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  cook until the veggies are tender.

2. add the cooked veggies, butter and 1/2 the almond milk into a food processor and blend.  continue to add the remainder of the almond milk until you achieve a thick, creamy consistency (it may take more/less milk depending on how thick you want it).

3. pour soup back into stock pot to bring it back up to temp.

serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or buttered toast points :-)  it tastes "green".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

biz: yoga teacher etiquette

as a yoga teacher, we're in a position to set an example for our students.  the way we dress, act and speak both in and out of the studio is observed, and can affect how our students feel about and experience the practice itself.  we're our students doorway into yoga, and that role calls for a certain level of decorum.

credit {here}

this morning, i went to a studio that i had never been to before.  i arrived about 15 minutes before the start of class to find the studio dark and locked.  hmm...  5 minutes before class was supposed to start, a car pulled in -- and it was another student.  we waited by the door, and were just about to leave (since it was 5 minutes past when the class was scheduled to begin), when the instructor pulled into the lot.

she was friendly and nice, but also didn't act as if this were out of the ordinary.  after signing in and setting up, we started a good 10-15 minutes late.  it was an enjoyable practice, and i felt the slight tension/confusion begin to melt away as we gracefully moved from one posture to the next.

savasana was sweet and accompanied by a much-appreciated head and neck massage.  there was no clock in the studio, so when i got back into my car, i was surprised to see that we ended nearly 20 minutes late.  since we started late, i understand the notion of giving us a full class, but she hadn't checked with us to see if we were able to stay late.  it was fine with my schedule, but i know the other woman who took the class was headed to work afterwards.

it's important for yoga teachers to remember that their students have a life outside of the yoga studio.  be on time for your classes -- actually be early.  get the music ready, the candles lit, your mat rolled out and be ready to welcome students as they enter.  end on time -- you don't know what your students are up to or where they're headed afterwards, so show them respect by ending on time.  if you feel like you need extra time or might go over, let them know, and give them the option to leave.

i know that yoga's more about intuition and feeling than time tables and schedules, but if you consistently disregard these professional courtesies, your students will likely resent you or even choose to forgo your class (or yoga) altogether.  give them the best possible first impression -- and subsequent impressions.  you're the face of "yoga" for many of them -- do it justice :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

foodie: zucchini & tomato bake

it's tomato and zucchini season!  and i'm loving it.  the other night, i made a super simple zucchini and tomato bake for our dinner.  it was fresh, tasty and very satisfying -- plus it was a great way to use some of the many, many tomatoes and squash that have been coming our way from the csa.

here's what you'll need...

1 large zucchini (or 2+ medium)
2 medium tomatoes
1 small green bell pepper
salt & pepper
olive oil

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. slice all the veggies into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. layer the veggies into a 9x13 inch baking dish that has been coated with olive oil.  between each layer, season the veggies with salt and pepper.

2. drizzle the top with a bit more olive oil, and then back for 50 min (or so) until veggies are tender and some edges are crisped.

and that's it!!!  simple & delicious (& super healthy).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

biz: social media savvy for yogis - podcast!

hello all!  check out my (first ever!!!) podcast below to hear all about my newest biz venture, CALM biz, and how it can help you become a more successful, media-savvy yoga professional!

 Listen to internet radio with Cailen Ascher Lifestyle Maven on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

yogi: what is ujjayi breathing?

in this short video i explain what exactly ujjayi breath is, and why it's used in yoga!  hope you enjoy -- and maybe learn something, too!

if you have any yoga topics you're interested in learning more about, post a comment below, or email me at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

yogi: where is my guru?

 everyday, i get google alerts sent to my inbox that let me know about the latest, greatest, and coolest yoga stuff that's going on around the globe.  so, i figured i would pass along to you, my fellow yogis, some of the more worth-while finds that i come across as i peruse the ever-growing world wide web.

credit {here}
the find of today?...where is my guru

need some inspiration?  (who doesn't, right?!)  check out where is my guru -- it's a podcast radio show for yogis held live every friday (or you can listen to the recordings later).  they interview rock star yogis and other inspirational people on topics like wellness, spirituality, mindful business practices for yoga-people, and more!  it's definitely worth a listen :-)

namaste :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

foodie: easy, fresh tomato sauce

once again, i brought home a bushel (well, not an actual bushel -- but close!) of gorgeous, delicious tomatoes from our csa.  so, i decided to make...drum roll please...simple tomato sauce!  fresh tomato sauce is so delicious, and surprisingly simple to make.  since tomato season is in full swing, head to the farmers market, stock up, and then treat yourself to some outstanding, homemade sauce.

here's what you'll need for sauce for 4...

2 roma tomatoes, chopped
10 plum tomatoes, chopped
(or roughly 3.5 cups of tomatoes total)
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 small green pepper, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh herbs (i used basil and parsley)
2 tbsp olive oil

1. saute the shallots, green pepper, and garlic in the bottom of a sauce pot in olive oil, until veggies are tender and caramelized.

2. as the veggies cook, chop the tomatoes, and put them in a strainer in the sink so the excess water can drain off.

3. add tomatoes, herbs, and salt (it'll take more salt than you'd think) to the veggies in the sauce pot, and simmer on low for 30 min or so.

that's it!

we enjoyed ours over brown rice with chickpeas for a gluten-free meal, but it would be fantastic over pasta or roasted veggies, too!

enjoy :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

biz: essentials steps to build your yoga biz

are you feeling unclear about what to do now that you've completed teacher training?

if you're a new teacher, fresh out of teacher training, it can be a little overwhelming knowing the first steps to take as a yoga professional.  but, if want yoga to be your business, not just your hobby, there are a few things you should consider -- all of which helped me to land my first clients and get my first teaching job :-)

1. build a resume -- yes, even yogis need resumes.  highlight your trainings and experience -- having an organized, professional resume will instantly put you ahead of the competition.

2. get insurance -- i know, getting insurance sounds daunting and expensive (it's neither, by the way).  most studios and gyms ask if you have it, and if you're thinking about teaching for companies, at schools, or in private homes, it's a must!

3. be social -- get online!  the web is the ultimate equalizer, so even if you're new, but have an awesome facebook page, blog, or website, you'll be taken more seriously.  plus, it will give your students (and future students) a way to connect with you!  have you ever googled a restaurant only to find it had no website, and therefore decided not to go?  'nuff said.

with a little time, and very little money, you can easily start building a foundation for your yoga biz today -- and begin living your passion!!!

if you want more yoga biz advice, check out -- or, if you have a suggestion about what biz or social media topic you'd like to learn more about, send me your ideas at

Thursday, August 23, 2012

foodie: tomato & okra rice salad

last night i came home from our csa with another batch of juicy, delicious tomatoes. again, looking for creative ways to make use of them, i created this easy, healthy rice salad with tomatoes, fresh okra, and sauteed shallots -- it was simple and satisfying, and went great with the fried tempeh we had.

here's what you'll need for 4 servings...

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
3 ears of corn (kernels off cob)
1 large tomato, chopped
5-10 small tomatoes, chopped
2 okra pods, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
olive oil
herbs (i used about 1/4 cup chopped parsley)

1. as the rice cooks (i used minute rice to speed the process up), prep the veggies.

2. saute the shallot, okra and garlic in a small saute pan with a bit of olive oil until shallots are translucent and okra is fork tender.

3. once the rice is done, mix everything together, and season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

mangia! mangia!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

foodie: almond-flaxseed cereal

lately, this has been my go-to breakfast.  yes, that's right, something has replaced my beloved overnight oats!  but, this hot cereal -- made with almond meal and ground flaxseeds -- it much higher in protein, has great flavor and keeps me from craving lunch at 11am.

here's what you'll need for one serving...

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
3 tbsp almond meal
1/3 ripe banana
1/2 cup almond mind (or milk of your choice)
1 tbsp peanut butter
chopped cherries

1. mash the banana is a cereal bowl, and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg (however much you desire -- i like a lot of cinnamon).

2. mix in flaxseeds and almond meal until pasty. then add in almond milk -- i like to serve a tablespoon or two of the milk to pour over at the end, but it's your call.

3. heat in the microwave on power level 5 for 2 to 2.5 minutes, take it out and stir.  (it will continue to thicken as it cools.)

4. top with a dollop of peanut butter, more cinnamon, reserved milk, and toppings of your choice.  i used fresh, chopped cherries, but raisins, sliced bananas, or chopped nuts would be great, too!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

viva las vegas!

the strip (looking north)
at the beginning of august, craig and i packed our bags and hopped a flight to vegas.  we'd never been to "sin city" before, so we were both excited and wary of what we might find in the middle of the nevada dessert.

we met a couple of our good friends out there, which obviously sweetened the deal.  and after a lot of sun, cocktails and walking, we concluded that vegas is certainly a must-see at least once.  it's like an over-the-top disney world for adults :-)

one of our favorite things we did was a helicopter ride to the grand canyon.  we actually landed in the base of the canyon for a champagne dinner!  it was totally awesome!!

inside the bellagio

the exterior of new york, new york

we had just checked into the flamingo, and wanted some lunch -- we weren't there 5 min when the bartender started dancing on the bar as the wait staff danced in the aisles.  oh, yeah...we're in vegas.

enjoying a "fish bowl" with my ladies (from left to right: me, amy, ashley)

lounging by the flamingo's pool

our ride to the grand canyon

the eiffel tower...sort of...

the luxor

flying over the grand canyon!

view from the bellagio of the strip

more pics of the canyon
mandalay bay's over 21 pool
inside the wynn

craig and me in the base of the grand canyon!

as you would expect, the pics don't do the canyon justice -- it was truly breathtaking.  i'd tell you more about our trip, but as you know..."what happens in vegas, stays in vegas".  lol

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