Saturday, January 31, 2009

In the Spotlight

Cailen Ascher Design is currently being featured in the "Business Spotlight" on Check it out today to find out more about Cailen Ascher Design's mission to bring the elements of well-designed living into her clients' homes.

The direct link is:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hollywood Regency - Glamour Galore!

Hollywood Regency is a style that developed in the 1930s and 40s - think Humphrey Bogart and Joan Crawford - very chic and utterly sophisticated. This style beckons for glamour, luxury, and all things that sparkle. What made this trend so massively appealing was not one overarching theme or color but a conscious dedication to details - the sheen of a fabric, the decorative fringe on a pillow, the delicate crystals on a chandelier, and the personalization and flexibility it allowed to suit each individual's needs and sense of style.

To give you a sense of what it generally entails, envision lacquered furniture and sumptuous fabrics. Metallic finishes and mirrors add a touch of elegance and class, while soft velvets, delicate silks, and sensuous satins appeal to one's sense of opulence. These all set the backdrop for Hollywood Regency. Though this style developed in a bygone era, it's completely adaptable to modern sensibilities, for the innate essence of the style is rooted in elevating the home to a haven.
The dichotomy of old and new, modern yet timeless, sophistication and comfort is precisely why I selected this style as inspiration for the room I'm creating in the designer show house this May. This style embodies how I define modern glamour - comfortable, livable, yet fabulous!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Monday, January 26, 2009

Flat Belly Here We Come...

So, we're officially 2 weeks into the "Flat Belly Diet", and it's going quite smoothly! My mom is down 6 pounds, and my dad is down almost 15! (Yes, already...15 lbs!!!) They're both so pleased with their results and the effortlessness of the program. We're all really enjoying the "diet" - though I really hesitate to call it that. It's not a diet because there's really nothing restrictive about it. I prefer to think of it as a lifestyle.

The food is really very good (and we love to cook, so it's especially fun for us because we're constantly trying new "Flat Belly" recipes). The best thing is that you never feel deprived because you have a meal or snack every 4 hours. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day keeps you feeling satisfied - never allowing you to get super-crazy-hungry. Also, it keeps your metabolism running at a steady pace. If you don't eat at regular times, and allow yourself to get really hungry, your metabolism slows as it goes into starvation mode because it's not sure when you'll eat again. So, even though you might feel like you're strengthing your willpower muscles by skipping meals, avoid the temptation. In actuality, you're slowing your metabolism (a.k.a. fat-burner), to a crawl. Eating revs it up -like filling an empty tank with gas.

One of our personal favorite "Flat Belly" snacks that we came up with ourselves:

1 caramel rice cake (50 calories)
1 tablespoon natural, organic peanut butter (100 calories) spread over rice cake
1 tablespoon semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (50 calories) sprinkled over top

Both the peanut butter and chocolate chips are MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), which the "Flat Belly" program recommends you to eat at every meal and snack. This treat is easy to make and completely delicious! Try it sometime, and let me know what you think.

As you can see, with peanut butter and chocolate chips (not to mention avocados, nuts & seeds, healthy oils, and olives) it's pretty hard to feel like you're "on a diet". All of these foods are rich and MUFAs, are delicious, good for you, and leave you feeling satisfied longer. Not bad, not bad at all...

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Saturday, January 17, 2009

FLOR for Flooring

I've heard about FLOR before, but today was the first time I took a moment to check out It's a great company that offers "modular flooring" (basically rug tiles). You can design and create a rug of any dimension and custom fit it to your specific space - a great idea if you ask me. Though some of the colors/patterns are a bit predictable and dated for my taste, others are completely chic, new and interesting.

In addition, the cost for their flooring is significantly cheaper than purchasing wall-to-wall carpeting or even getting an area rug - plus you get to customize it to suit your needs. Also, if anyone spills anything or a spot gets stained, you can pop out the tile, clean (or replace it if need be) and put it back. Very simple, very ingenious!

Their website is lots of fun, and they even have an application for you to design your own rug online. They have endless colors, patterns and textures...the combinations are endless! You should definitely check out if you're in need of some new carpeting (or even if you're not)!

Enjoy FLOR!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Friday, January 16, 2009

After the First 4 Days...

So, as I promised, I'm writing an update about the "Flat Belly Diet". After completing the initial four day anti-bloat "detox", my mom is happily reporting a loss of 4 pounds, and my dad is proud to say he's dropped 9 pounds! Not bad, eh?

As I touched on before, the next phase of the program is focused on the incorporation of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) into each meal. They recommend eating at least every four hours and consuming three 400 calorie meals a day and one 400 "snack" (bringing the total daily allowance to 1600 calories, a healthy total for most women). The meals should be healthy, balanced, and of course include a MUFA.

For breakfast today, my mom had a breakfast BLT - turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato, a slice of muenster cheese, with olive tapenade on a whole wheat English muffin. My dad enjoyed a toasted egg and cheese sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, and basil pesto...Yum! For myself, I prepared a delicious bowl of cereal - Kashi Go Lean Crunch, pecans, and raisins with cinnamon, nutmeg and skim milk. Sounds pretty good, right? (*All the MUFA are in bold.) As you can see, you can really mold this diet around your specific likes and dislikes - there's a lot of flexibility.

The key with this, or with any lifestyle change for that matter, is that is has to be manageable. If your diet, exercise regimen, or any goal you set is too rigid and strict, you're setting yourself up for failure (or at least feeling like one). This program is working so well for my parents because it's not a huge deviation from how they normally eat. It incorporates foods they really enjoy, and they never feel deprived. Also, since we're all working together, it gives us all additional support and sets us up for success. Having people who believe in you and back you up is invaluable when you're attempting to change your life for the better. But remember, the first step is believing in yourself!

Best of luck with your goals for this year! Let me know how you're doing as the month progresses.

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Newest Adventure in Healthy Eating

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my parents and I (as their "guide") are reading about and following Prevention Magazine's "Flat Belly Diet". It's based on the incorporation of more monounsaturated fatty acids (a.k.a. MUFA, a.k.a. healthy, good-for-you fats) into your eating regimen. There are five main categories of MUFA: oils, olives, avocados, nuts & seeds, and dark chocolate. (Yes, that's right...DARK CHOCOLATE!)

The program is kicked-off with a 4 day "detox" of sorts that they call the anti-bloat jumpstart. Beyond that the program takes into account portion control and emphasizes eating a MUFA at every meal. We just started the jumpstart 3 days ago and already my dad has reported a loss of 3 pounds and my mom a loss of 1 pound. (Granted, it's mostly water-weight at this stage in the game, but it has them feeling good, which is the most important thing!)

The program promises not only weight-loss, but also a decrease in visceral belly fat (an average of 33% in 1 month!) which is the deadly fat that surrounds your organs and makes you susceptible to countless unhealthy conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Also, it promises a loss of inches (mainly from the stomach area, hence the name) as well as a significant drop in cholesterol. Not too shabby!

We're still in the beginning stages, but we're very excited about the potential results! I'll keep you updated as this month progresses, and let me know if you have any questions about the "Flat Belly Diet" program.

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Monday, January 12, 2009

Clean House!

I know most people recommend cleaning-house with the proverbial "spring cleaning", but I personally think the beginning of the new year is a great time to clean out your crowded closets, corners, and cabinets. You've probably promised yourself that you'll eat better, exercise more, or try to have a more positive attitude (or something like that) when you created your resolutions for 2009. But it's nearly impossible to successfully alter your lifestyle if your home doesn't promote healthy, harmonious living.

1. One room a day. Choose a room (or closet) and make it your goal to spend even just 10 minutes to organize, straighten, and throw out what you do not need or use regularly. Remember, you don't necessarily have to throw things out - you can donate or recycle them, instead!

2. Beautiful or Functional? If you do not use it or do not find it beautiful or feel that it enhances your life, GET RID OF IT! We fill our homes and our lives with so much unnecessary clutter. Try to progress with an objective mind and remember, you'll feel so much better when you're clutter-free!

3.Rearrange and Change. Don't be afraid to move things around. Sometimes, we live with a certain setup for so long, we forget that we have the option of changing things around! Rearrange your living room furniture if the traffic-flow doesn't feel right, add more lighting if a certain room always feels too dark, or hang up curtains or blinds in front of the window that gets direct sunlight. These small changes greatly improve your quality of life.

4. Organization Stations. Oftentimes, clutter accumulates because we don't have logical places for things. If mail piles up on the kitchen table, create a mail-bin or filing system to organize it. If keys get tossed haphazardly, hang up key hooks near the door.

Try to observe your home (and lifestyle) as if you were an outsider. In general, do things seem logical, organized, harmonious? If not, ask yourself why. Often, the solutions are simpler (and much less expensive) than you might have originally thought!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Staying Motivated

Since it's over a week into 2009, I figured it was the perfect time to discuss motivation. I imagine many of you began your resolutions at the turn of the new year, and since it's already been 10 days, you may have started to feel less enthusiastic about the promises you made to yourself (and others) a week and a half ago. Since your motivation might be waning, and it's been proven to take about 30 days to successfully form a new habit, it's key that you stick to your resolutions for the next few weeks if you want them to be smoothly incorporated into your lifestyle.

Before you began your resolutions you probably thought about them intently and got yourself all geared up and ready to start. What many of us fail to do is actively work on our enthusiasm for our resolutions much beyond January 1st. We psych ourselves up for them and then neglect to continue to foster that energy and commitment that we felt early on (or even before beginning). Below are some tips and techniques for maintaining your motivation so that when you look back over this year, you can feel that you truly did your best to reach your goals!

1. Start Slowly. Even though you may have been gunning to start, it's important to make manageable changes. If you set your goal to work out 30 minutes, 5 days a week and are finding that difficult to stick to, rewind and take baby steps. Start with just 5 minutes, 5 days a week. You'll get used to setting aside the time, and you can gradually build to your goal, instead of giving up 2 weeks in.

2. Put it on Paper. If you haven't already done so, write your resolutions down. Sometimes the simple act of transferring your thoughts onto paper makes you feel more driven. List the reasons why you chose to make each resolution. When you're feeling like giving up, reread what you wrote and remind yourself of why you wanted to make these changes in the first place.

3. Recruit Support. If you feel accountable to someone else, you're more likely to stick to your goals. Share your resolutions with a loved one and even ask them to "check up" on you each day, week, month, etc. It's one thing to let yourself down, but it's another when you feel like you'll disappoint somebody else with your (lack of) actions.

4. Keep Track. Record your progress. Journaling about the headway you're making with regard to your resolutions will reaffirm why you made them in the first place. Also, when you're feeling frustrated, you can look back and see how far you've come!

Best of luck with your resolutions! Let me know how you're doing so far.

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Take a Break

It's essential to have "me-time". Taking time for yourself is not a luxury (it's a necessity!), and it's certainly not selfish. It is key to leading a harmonious life. When you constantly give of yourself to others, you drain your energy. (I'm sure you've felt that before.) That's why it's so important to take time, every day, to literally recharge your batteries.

Take a few minutes each day to sit in a comfortable, quiet location and take deep breaths. Start with just 2 minutes a day and add a few minutes each week ,with your goal being at least 10 minutes a day. Sit with eyes closed, and breath slowly in through your nose, out through your mouth. Almost instantly you should begin to feel more relaxed and calm. You'll also notice your heart rate slow to a steady pace. Focus on your breath, and attempt to keep all nagging thoughts out of your head. If you find yourself worrying or dwelling, replace that thought with a peaceful image, like a quiet beach with rolling waves, a peaceful garden, or a favorite relaxing vacation spot.

Without a few moments to re-center yourself, you are more susceptible to stress, have a shorter temper, and often feel overwhelmed. By allowing yourself these few essentials moments, you'll greatly improve your overall quality of life. I'm certain that your family and friends will not even notice the bit of time you give to yourself, they'll only notice that you're more grounded and patient.

If you really want to enhance your "me-time", think about creating a "me-time" space that nurtures you during your moments of relaxation. Choose a quiet spot - your favorite chair, the foot of your bed, or even a nook in your bathroom or closet. Think about your senses, and keep things nearby that would augment your space - choose a candle with a fresh, calming scent to light while you sit, get a CD player (or your ipod) ready with soothing music, or place a journal nearby to write down thoughts before or after your minutes of "meditation".

Give to yourself first. It will make you a better wife, mother and friend.

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New You

Happy New Year! I can't believe that Christmas and New Year's Eve are already behind us, and the New Year has officially begun. 2008 was a particularly challenging year for many, and I'm sure many of you are looking forward to a fresh start and more prosperous times this coming year. That being said, I wanted to share with you some of my personal goals for this year in hopes of inspiring you to reflect upon your own or create some resolutions if you have not already done so.

Though I firmly believe that you can (and should) set goals throughout the year to continually challenge and improve yourself, the New Year is a wonderful time to lay out some aspirations for the next 12 months. But first, before you make a whole list of new resolutions, take some time to look back over the last year and reflect upon how you did with last year's goals. Did you meet your expectations? Surpass them? Forget them?

As for me, one of my personal goals was to lay the initial ground work for my business, Cailen Ascher Design, advertise, and get clients. I'm proud to say that I was able to reach all of these, and it feels great. Fulfilling a goal is very gratifying and a wonderful way to motivate you to keep on improving yourself, your business, your relationship, etc. At the beginning of 2008, I also vowed to incorporate more strength training into my workouts. This resolution I was also able to accomplish, and I now strength train twice a week and have experienced some great results from my commitment to this.

It feels great to look back and have a sense of accomplishment. The key is to set goals that are ambitious but not outrageous, challenging but not "painful". If you're looking at your 2008 resolutions and realizing that you did not meet them as you would have liked, don't just roll them over and make them your resolutions again for this year. If they didn't work for you then, they probably won't work now. Take the time to really brainstorm and prioritize. Make a list, share it with friends and family. Refine and revise it. If you really want to stick to your goals for this year, you have to create goals that excite you, inspire you, and perhaps even scare you a little bit.

For this year, I want to continue to build my business and seek out more, unique advertising venues. I'm going to set aside time over the next few days to evaluate my desired income for 2009 and then work backwards from there to establish how many clients I wish to have and how much I hope to average on each design job. When creating goals, it's really important to think them through and do your research so that you make informed resolutions that are well-designed for you.

As for my wellness goal, I've vowed to work with my mom and my dad on lifestyle designs, another aspect of my business, and follow "The Flat Belly Diet". This diet, created by Prevention Magazine, is based on the incorporation of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) into your diet. MUFA decrease visceral fat between organs which lowers your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and decreases blood pressure. The eating recommendations sound very interesting (and delicious...nuts & seeds, olives, healthy oils, avocado, and dark chocolate all contain MUFA!!!). It seems like a great way to remake your nutrition regimen, improve your health, and feel and look better.

When creating your resolutions be positive. Wanting to lose 20 pounds because you look "fat and disgusting" might motivate you for a week or two, but your steam will quickly run out. Even if you feel frustrated with your current reality, stay focused on the future. If you want to lose 20 pounds, make your motivation something positive - to feel healthier, live longer, gain self-confidence, but whatever it is, be kind to yourself. If you want your resolutions to stick, you have to work with yourself, not against. Once you've selected your chosen resolutions, write them down and pick a start day, preferably at least 3 days away. Give yourself time to look forward to beginning your new lifestyle and then when you do begin, you'll do so with enthusiasm that will carry you through.

Keep your resolutions handy and reread them when you feel you're losing focus. I would also recommend journaling throughout the year to keep yourself committed to change!

Good luck and Happy New Year!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email
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