How To Challenge Yourself Mind, Body & Spirit With Get My Body Back (GMBB5)

Hello amazing humans! I'm inspired to share the official Invitation to the GET MY BODY BACK 5 Elective by "The New Hollywood" (TNH) starting September 12th through December 11th! This is my third year participating and second year supporting you as one of the expert leaders. I’m motivated knowing I’ll get to encourage you along the way, just as I need you encouraging me.

DSCF2960.JPG

Do you wish you got more sleep, spent less time on your phone, drank more water, started a meditation practice, took walks frequently, ate healthier meals, carved out space just for you or engaged in more mindful activities with friends or loved ones... to suggest a few? HERE IS YOUR YOUR CHANCE, WITH A COMMUNITY SUPPORTING YOU! We all learn from accountably. Receiving and giving support with my TNH Members has changed my life for the better. There's a drive to continue to grow and pay that energy forward in a variety of ways. For #GMBB5 we put our money where our mouths are, involving a beautiful charity aspect. Ready to be truthful with yourself? You get your money back if you successfully complete your challenge and if not… it goes to a charity. It’s a win win in our book but we absolutely want to see you succeed in your challenge. Choose something, anything, big or small that you believe will create a healthier, happier lifestyle for YOU– let's do this!

Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

Listen, I’m a new mama as of July and as a daily yoga practitioner, taking a break to let my body heal has been difficult and now that I’m cleared to get back at it, things hurt more than usual… which tells me how important it is to keep moving and stretching as we safely can. Not to take away from how valuable it is to listen to your body and rest as well. It’s been more important for me to relish in baby time and I have appreciated the break. Bonding with her is just the best. My life style has shifted so much recently, this years participation will be a new sort of challenge for me. As a member and leader with the TNH elective I will commit to 10 minutes alternating booty & core work daily and I will post an Inspirational Addict blog every Sunday to warm your soul on your journey! I’m excited to get my body back into shape post-baby and writing for my blog is such a passion and super challenging with a newborn, so I love the idea of committing to these things. Often we set goals that are just too much, too unrealistic and fail and then beat ourselves up about it. So take a beat to think about what will serve you well in this challenge mind, body & spirit, don't over do it, and get excited about committing to what you choose. That is how, together, we will create changes... hopefully some that stick with us long after our 90 days. 

Click the link below for complete details and join us for the challenge. The “I want to sign up” button is waiting for you there.

http://www.thenewhollywood.org/getmybodyback5.html

The New Hollywood Women’s Goal Group Inc. is a philanthropic women’s goal group and 501c3 non-profit. TNH wants to inspire everyone to Rise Higher, Shine Brighter and Give Back! The four pillars of our organization are: goals, support, education and charity. Join our movement, on line community and quarterly newsletter by signing our pledge page
— The New Hollywood

Thank you guys for visiting me here. I love sharing things that I hope we can connect on and keep each other inspired about life. Sending you all lot's of love and laughs always. If you have any questions or comments... share away! I love hearing from you.

XOXO ANDREA

Essential Insight To Postpartum And Bundles Of Health

Questions about postpartum? Well, let me introduce you to Bundles of Health who had some questions for me...

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

When a smart group of Northwestern University Students launches a platform supporting the holistic health of mom's reaches out and say's we'd like some of your input... I say "how can I help?" Considering I love to write and have so many thoughts on being a new mom I want to share, their questions only helped propel me into getting information out to all of you even quicker. 

Why is health and wellness important to you?

Without health and wellness we have to ask ourselves, “what kind of life are we living if this isn’t important to us as individuals?” I would encourage it to be important to EVERYONE. I could go on forever about this… but in short; As I learn more about how nutritional food plays such a significant role in our mind, body and spirit health I challenge us all to take a serious look at how we care for ourselves. As a society, I wish we had nutrition, yoga & meditation courses throughout our education systems starting in pre-school through master programs that reached even the medical field more significantly. My personal journey has been transformative as a growing interest in the wellness industry had me asking questions about my value in the quality of life I was experiencing. Several years ago I fell into the pool of many, who get caught waiting until something is wrong to make changes. A scare with an auto immune disorder developing gave me great insight to how I could be living a much healthier, happier life. Curiosity and passions have led me to educate myself through literature, documentaries, courses, podcasts and even using social media as a platform to take better care of myself. I then ask, how I can pay it all forward? I want to live a long and vibrant life and I have control over the food I eat, how active I remain and the lifestyle choices I make to support that longevity I'm striving for. I hope to inspire others to do the same. Finding the recipe that’s right for you with things like; organic healthy food, yoga, exercise you enjoy, meditation and sleep are vital to our health and wellness. These important, quality of life elements often are the first thing we neglect and do not prioritize because we are too busy working or taking care of everyone and everything but ourselves. When we are living in a time where we are likely to die from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, I pray we honor the things we have control over and do our very best to live an abundantly healthy life.

 
Photo by Erik Almaa

Photo by Erik Almaa

 

While pregnant, did you think about how you would take care of your health postpartum?

I went into my pregnancy feeling great! I planned to continue on with my mindful lifestyle and listen for any adjustments that this special time might call for. I absolutely thought about maintaining this postpartum, with the addition of allowing myself to fully heal before jumping back into how physically active I usually am. My biggest concern was my emotional health. In my case, two months prior to our due date, I moved after living the past 17 years with a flourishing career and wonderful friendships in Los Angeles to Sonoma, California to settle into a quieter life with my fiancé. Moving in general is challenging not to mention doing it seven months pregnant with your new home under renovations. Leaving friends and my career naturally had me wondering how I would handle it all as I became a new mom. I mentally prepared with mediation practices at the forefront, focusing on all of it being a positive experience and how greatly our family would benefit from this decision. I was equally excited about the change so it made visualizing myself in a wonderful new environment that much easier.  Daily gratitude about it all still serves my mind so well. 

Not knowing what kind of birth experience my story would turn out to be also took some preparation. By about 35 weeks I referred to resources of what types of things would help your recovery period and made sure to have them at home ready. We also hired a doula who was an amazing guide during birth and gave great insight to what kinds of things we could expect and how she’d assist with postpartum. There are plenty of articles you read that can be scary as well so I chose to be aware, but not slip into a place of worry and anxiety. Most importantly I made a commitment that I would be very open about how I'm feeling as bonding with our baby girl and my loving fiancé took over our lives.  I’d continue eating healthy meals and ask for support with all the specific self-care I would need.  As independent as I’ve been, I trust that if there’s ever a time to really ask for help this would be it... and I do. 

It takes a village to raise a kid. How has your village helped you through both pregnancy and as a new mom?

So much support is necessary during pregnancy and as you become a new Mom. Having a village is crucial. I’m blessed with an incredible man who has tremendous communication and has fully supported my ever-changing emotions during everything so far. If I was to itemize the things he’s done since we found out we were having a baby to make this time so joyful and easier on me, this blog would be really lengthy. He’s present and helpful every step of the way. The only thing he can’t do is breastfeed if that gives any indication to everything he does to help out. I know how lucky I am with him. Both sides of our parents have come to visit since our baby girl arrived and been incredible with respecting our time for bonding and taken on house chores, making meals and grocery store runs. They’ve allowed us to be completely hands on with our baby and let us guide them when it’s ok to take her for a walk or hold and play with her. We are so grateful for Emerie’s Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and all they do for us. The support and guidance from girlfriends has been a delight. From paying forward baby registries, sharing lists that helped them and girl talk about the entire process has kept me smiling and pointed in the right direction if I’ve had questions. Two of my very best friends just gave birth right before me and we’ve had a ball sharing stories, tips, photos and the miracle of becoming new moms all together. Erik, my fiancé, and I had decided we wanted to do as much as we could all on our own and that hiring Kate Coletti, our doula would be the only outside help we’d have until we felt we really needed more. Kate is special and having gained our trust and a natural comfort upon meeting her we knew she was aligned with our needs in the birthing process and postpartum. I think the most magical thing about having her expertise is how she helped the bond between Erik and grow even stronger before, during and after we welcomed our baby girl. Her guidance has created an overall wonderful experience for us especially as questions or concerns arrive.     

Photos by Kate Coletti

Photos by Kate Coletti

EssentialinsighttopostpartumandbundlesofhealthJPG

 What’s the hardest thing about being a new mom?

For me it’s not so much about being hard, as it’s just full of adjustments. There is joy beyond words in being a mom and holding a tiny life that you created with another human. I always hoped to be a mom and with a partner like Erik, it makes it even more amazing than I knew it could be. Some of the adjustments that are challenging me are things like; the posture my body has taken on breastfeeding 24/7… it’s a terrible slump, I’ve tweaked my neck, my back and shoulders are suffering and since I’m slowly getting back to my yoga and everything I’m used to doing, I feel stiff and tight, not normal for a yogi. As much as I love slowing down and relishing in just holding our baby, I have to remind myself I’m not juggling work like I was and to just enjoy being a mamma. I’m a creative being though so I crave keeping that flowing but it takes blocks of time to focus and that isn’t always possible right now. Learning to trust your instincts and not google search everything you may have doubts about is something that I struggled with right away and thankfully has really settled now. You spend so much time with this little person you do just naturally have all the instincts together that help guide each other. And everyone does say sleep is the hardest… It’s no joke, I could feel myself whimpering like a 5year old some nights not knowing how I could sit up in this terrible posture and breastfeed one more time, but you see their sweet little eyes and face just communicating to you they're hungry and then you do and I can fall back asleep pretty easily so I have that going for me. I’ve felt more rested than I thought I would but I thank Emerie for that, so far she’s been a pretty darn good sleeper for us and we are the queens of naps. 

Photo by Mike Byrne

Photo by Mike Byrne

How could you see Bundles of Health being beneficial to new moms and the people who care about them?

There are not a lot of companies out there that are focused on the postpartum aspect of how to help mamas holistically in these new roles and I love that about Bundles of Health. I can see how a lot of mom's may not care for themselves the way they'd like to or perhaps once did when a baby arrives, as it is incredibly hands on and the hours can just drift by with loosing site of even the simplest things, like drinking enough water. Having a place where healthy, mindful gift packages are put together to send to a mom in need or for a mamma to refer to is so wonderful. I bet most mamma's out there would trade a $75 bouquet of flowers sent to them for an organic salmon dinner or an at home massage or even a snack pack filled with nutrient rich products any day. Offering a virtual doula is another resourceful component that I can see many new moms using. Many like me, don't have family living nearby and that's difficult at times, when you wish they could be closer.  When asked, "what can we do" or "how can we help",  I would love to refer family and friends to a place like Bundles of Health just as I would like to choose things from there to send to the mamma's in my life I can't be with. The convenience of giving mom's the Add To Registry button is handy as well. You have some wonderful items already listed that I have used during my pregnancy and postpartum. I think you're on a roll and have a beautiful business that will flourish. 

Andreas Most Essential Postpartum List

Thank you for stopping by and a special thanks to Bundles Of Health for reaching out to me and having me share some of my story & tips with all of you. Please check out their site and support one of the mamma's in your life. If you have any questions or comments for me, bring it on... I love hearing from you guys! 

xo Andrea

How To Make Sleep A Priority In Your Life With Recommendations From Author, Arianna Huffington's Book "The Sleep Revolution"

Ahh the beauty of sleep and the not so beautiful reality of how little we get sometimes, right?

Photo By Erik Almas in Hotel Alma Barcelona, Spain.

Photo By Erik Almas in Hotel Alma Barcelona, Spain.

Is sleep a priority in your life? Author, Arianna Huffington, pointedly presents “We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis," in her book "THE SLEEP REVOLUTION: Transforming Your Life One Night At A Time." 

As I opened up to my own awareness, it took a lifestyle shift to recognize how valuable sleeping seven to eight hours a night is for me. “I can function really well on just four to five hours of sleep,” used to be a coined phrase of mine. I don’t think I’m alone in this cultural way of thinking, as at large, society wears our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. I could give example after example where sleep was at the bottom of my priority list as I thought less sleep would give me more hours in the day to be creative and productive as I worked hard to fulfill my dreams. It did the very opposite. Emotional, irritable, decision fatigue, relationship turmoil, being unprepared, and running late were at the top of my list for lack of sleep affecting my days negatively. Does this sound like you? Making a commitment to sleep has kept me healthier, happier and more inspired than ever before. You can always make changes, remember that. 

TIP #1 IDENTIFY WHY SLEEP IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

Sit down for 10 minutes or more and journal why sleep is important to you and how you can make changes to ensure you get more of it. I love asking myself WHY. When you have a visual written down you gain clarity and are more likely to connect with doing what it takes to make it happen. For example: Sleep is important for my health. My immune system is stronger when I'm well rested giving me energy for my days and I rarely get sick. To maintain good health I need eight hours of sleep a night. 

TIP #2 CREATE A BED TIME RITUAL

Say "NO" to late night TV and power down your devices at least 30 minutes to one hour or more before heading to bed. Make a cup of tea and grab a book. Or maybe it's turning down the lights, reading a story to your kids and taking a bath. Whatever it is, let it be 20-30 minutes of winding down and shutting off the work and prepare yourself for a peaceful sleep. I'm a big fan of some romantic time with my honey, meditations, writing three gratitudes in my journal and singing or reading to our baby girl. I constantly struggle with doing things on my phone at night. Part of why I love that Arianna suggests we leave them out of the bedroom, so we are not tempted to be on them disrupting our bed time rituals. 

TIP #3 ALIGHN YOUR SLEEP WITH YOUR NATURAL BODY CLOCK

Even if your schedule is different daily or you can sleep in on the weekends... try to goto bed and wake up at similar times daily. Notice when you naturally get tired so you'll be less likely to toss and turn. Let your internal clock guide you, which helps with supporting the quality of your sleep. If you're interested in Ayurvedic sleep cycles you'll eat light, be in bed by 10PM and naturally wake up when you're well rested. When I do this, I almost always wake up right before my alarm.  

My fiancé and I just welcomed our newborn into the world so with compromise and support we hope to still be a well rested family. That may be laughable but we will strive for our best as we both understand we are better for ourselves, each other and supporting our work ethics and lifestyles when we have proper sleep. If you have yet to figure out a way to make sleep one of, if not the most important thing you can do for yourself…grab this book immediately and try the tips I've recommended. 

Whether you are a sound sleeper or you struggle catching a proper nights rest, this crucial element to our health and well being can easily fall into a place of neglect. Arianna takes us through multiple dimensions of our relationship to sleep from the time we are babies to adulthood. Her exploration of science reveals there are endless imposing disruptions that can lead us into a place of denial and disillusion about how much sleep plays a role in our overall health and happiness. As a holistic-wellness influencer, I appreciate her tackling the sleeping pill industry in hopes to encourage us all to create a sanctuary in our bedrooms, leaving our devices out of this space to embrace a bedtime routine that supports you falling into a mindful and well rested place of sleep not aided by the overuse of pills. I have found grace in night time rituals to wind down while I am still working on leaving devices out of our bedroom. This book takes you through several examples and habits we all have experienced or may still be experiencing. With personal examples, advice and investigative research it's a great read to open up your own awareness about your own sleep. Take back control of turning off the work and powering down and notice how you can transform your life one night at a time.  

Thank you for popping by... I've been reading and listening to so many books for years now, I'm excited to share one's that have really helped me make changes in my life for the better. I'm always up for a great read too, if you have any you want to toss my way, leave them in comments or subscribe and e-mail me. Have a beautiful week and make getting proper sleep a priority for yourself! 

xo Andrea

 

Getting To Know Sonoma Wine Country

Isn't there just something so divine about being in wine country? If you've never been... grab your sun hat & some comfy shoes and let's take a stroll through Sonoma, California. 

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

After being born and raised in Missouri and spending the last seventeen years in Los Angeles, I can't say I saw moving to Sonoma's historical and lush wine country in my deck of cards... but here I am— and feeling truly blessed. With two beautifully renovated vacation rental properties on Airbnb and traveling back and forth from here the past two years, we've fallen in love and decided to stay. 

Fresh air, slow drivers, organic food, hiking, biking, an active community, vino tastings galore, views to die for and romance at every turn... a sense of peace, tranquility and tenderness engulfs my soul in this sweet town. It couldn't come at a more perfect time as we embark on parenthood and start our family life here.  I'm soaking it up one day at a time and thrilled to share some of our favorite discoveries.

Photo by Erik Almas at Sonoma's Best

Photo by Erik Almas at Sonoma's Best

Sonoma's Best

Lets hop on over to one of Erik and I's daily stops. A quaint little country mart with flying goat coffee (the best in town), a deli serving fresh ingredients and organic breads with a wine bar, tastings and cottages on the property for rental. The staff is our favorite and seemingly this spot has become our hub for making friends, meeting the locals and enjoying seeing the tourists dabble in all it's many offerings.  

I'm intrigued by experiences. While wine tasting is the heart of Sonoma and provides every bit of that, having not been drinking for the last nine months has lead me to appreciate the experience of a place even more. We love to get on the bikes and visit the local wineries giving us a little exercise and opportunity to explore our town. 

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

Scribe Winery

Scribe Winery is the perfect place to cruise up the palm tree lined drive way, lay down a blanket and cozy up with your partner or meet some friends to relax on the hillside overlooking the gorgeous vineyard. With cool vibes and being aesthetically pleasing the small garage like tasting room is worth popping in.  Order the charcuterie and assess your mood... maybe it's the 2015 Skin Fermented Chardonnay or the 2016 Carneros Pinot Noir... our group loved both when we ventured here last summer 2016! Explore the property a bit and fall in love with the newly renovated 100-year-old Hacienda, we'll meet you there! Reservations are required.

Scribe Tasting Room

Scribe Tasting Room

2016 Fun At Scribe

2016 Fun At Scribe

Bartholomew Park

A well rounded few hours can be spent biking to Bartholomew Park, hiking their 2.5 miles of trails above the property and end it with a wine tasting or just having a glass on their grounds. It's a stunning hike with the perfect amount of sun and shade, challenge and ease and views from the peak points and a cavernous trek through the majestic redwoods. It also happens to be where we got engaged... so it's quite special to us. 

Fairmont Mission Hotel & Spa

As I was introduced to the popularity of this this gorgeous five-star luxury hotel, I did what any ambitious yoga instructor looking to connect with her new community would do, and reached out for a position. Gratefully I was hired and have been teaching Yoga On The Lawn on the weekends until our baby girl arrived a few weeks ago and will start back soon. The yoga room is stunning and they offer such a variety of hotel activities and classes for guests and non-guests if you book a spa treatment. I've had the privilege of roaming this beautiful property, enjoyed meeting guests and scheduled my own pre-natal massage to get the full experience everyone was raving about. One of the coolest things is the property sits atop Boyes Hot Springs, a natural, thermal mineral spring that is now used to offer spa services at the hotel's Willow Spring Spa (Wikipedia).  After my delicious massage I enjoyed soaking and swimming in the geo-thermal pool and lounging about indulging in the organic choices from the Water Tower Bar. So even if your a local like me, ha local... this can feel like a great stay-cation.  P.S. come see me there for some yoga!

SWEET SCOOPS

Ok If you've followed me at all you know I'm an ice cream lover. I really indulged during my pregnancy. I'd be lying if I said that has stopped... now that our bundle is here. I eat very little dairy but this is where a girl gives in...me at least. Sweet Scoops is right downtown on the Sonoma Square among several lovely shops, great restaurants and yummy tasting rooms also referred to as the Sonoma plaza. Aside from being a homemade ice cream parlor, and the scent of warm waffle cones drawing you in, they use locally sourced, fresh ingredients and it's simply adorable. I can see my little girl twisting my arm to go here all the time, "Ok honey, I guess we can as long as we get two scoops." Favorite flavors are salted caramel and oatmeal cookie. 

Photo by Erik Almas 

Photo by Erik Almas 

Sonoma Fun Facts

  1. The State of California was founded in Sonoma
  2. It's been named the #1 wine destination in the U.S.A.
  3. It's the largest square plaza in California 
  4. It's been also named the happiest place in CA.

Well if those aren't enough reasons to fall in love with a town I don't know what would be! 

Don't forget to check out our Airbnb listings... the fun of renovating and learning with my fiancé on how to create something beautiful is worthy of it's own blog post, so stay tuned for that,  but here are the links to entice you to make your way to Sonoma for a vacation soon!

A sophisticated Wine country Cottage

A Luxe Country Getaway

I began writing this blog before our baby surprised us with an early arrival. I have paused to blissfully enjoy so much of mommy-hood these past few weeks... I've finally gotten back to it and finished this. Thank you for taking a little trip around Sonoma with me. I have to say.... I'm just loving everything at the moment. Truly grateful to have landed here with the love of my life and trusting this was the right place to be to start a family was the best decision our instincts made. If you make it this way, send me a message. If you've been her and you have some great recommendations for me... I'm ALL ears! Lot's of love and much more to come

XO ANDREA

Happy Fourth Of July America

Happy Fourth Of July Everyone!

As we celebrate America's Independence today with family and friends... let LOVE soar from our hearts to the hearts of all beings everywhere! 

Pinterest 

Pinterest 

This photo reminded me of going to the St. Louis VP Fair when I was younger. We loved seeing the air show and the incredible fireworks as night fell illuminating the river and reflection of the Arch. Isn't is fun to reflect upon all the Fourth Of July celebrations you've shared over the years? Whether it be traditions with family or various groups of friends cooking out and enjoying the energy that fills the day? The activities, conversations and memories that you take with you each year are a blessing. So seize the day, remember those who continue to serve for us to live in the land of the free and brave and let's pay that gratitude forward with courage and love. 

The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea—and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going
— Condoleezza Rice
Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

Beaming out my happiest 4th vibes to all of you... with ice cream in hand, per usual these days! Big hugs and help me count down to Baby Almas being born- We are so excited to meet our little girl and thank you all for the fun support we continue to receive. Go enjoy some fireworks tonight!

XO ANDREA

HELLO LITTLE PERSON GROWING IN MY BELLY

Hello to all my lovelies who've experienced the joy of having a blossoming bundle of joy grow inside your belly. How truly magical is that feeling?

Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

I often find myself just staring at my tummy waiting for any sort of movement that instantly makes me giggle and shockingly gasp like it's the first time, every time. It triggers a love fest with my belly that I simply cherish right now. Somedays I'm in disbelief that I'm going to be a mom and a wife and that there really is a tiny human inside there growing everyday. And as things have progressed, I catch a glimpse of my newly shaped profile looking like I've swallowed a watermelon, feel her fighting for space to stretch her tiny limbs and I relish in happiness again and again. She's just waiting to bless us with her presence and say "hello world, I am here." Gush right?  

A grand adventure is about to begin
— Winnie the Pooh

It seems to be quite common that many women in their last trimester have made those decisions with their partners to see how many things they can do at once with the hopes to be settled before the baby arrival day. Anyone else move, change jobs, get married or perhaps did all three during your nine months of preparing for mommy hood and can relate to this? I'm bearing witness to it not just being a cliche the pregnancy books write about but I genuinely feel my body and mind begging for everything to slow down. Widely referred to as the "nesting" period. I'm listening loud and clear now and getting settled is wonderful and something I truly am grateful for.  I hope the same for any of you.

Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

I've delighted in my yoga practice and have continued to teach as much as I can for the calming aspect it brings to my soul regularly. It's lovely to know I'm getting a gift from my classes and private clients as we share in something that remarkably benefits my mind, body & spirit during this process. I give major props to all the women out there juggling whatever various tasks, jobs & activities you may be involved in during pregnancy– you are truly women of strength and courage. 

Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom
— Harriette Hartigan

Sending so much love and blessings out there to all the women embarking on a dream of being a mama, those whom are and those currently preparing... may we give each other support & inspiration always. Let's make magic. 

xo Andrea

SHOOTING WITH THE AMAZING ALO YOGA TEAM

Have you heard of Alo Yoga? Let me introduce you if not.... they are a mindful movement brand that has sharing goodness at the forefront of everything that they do. As I fell in love with their beautifully curated Instagram feed I wanted to know more. I quickly was drawn to every aspect of what founders Danny Harris and Marco deGeorge do and pitched myself to the company to be involved with them in some way. 

In my quest to be brave and just go for it, I heard back from them.  With-in a few weeks I started teaching yoga to their corporate office where they have a yoga studio for their incredible staff to take time out's from their day to practice. That lead to me shooting my first pre-natal videos with them for YouTube as I entered my second trimester of pregnancy. Glowing already... this just lit me up even more and became such a special opportunity to share my passion for teaching with more of you.

This practice is catered to pre-natal mamas and safe for each trimester depending on your comfort and pregnancy health.  I refer to the connection with your baby frequently but even if you're not pregnant this can be a wonderful way to wake up, deeply connect with your breath and explore gentle movement with building intensity. As mentioned in the video please consult with your doctor before practicing and listen to your body with thoughtful intentions and wise choices each and every day. 

Little Fun About The Shoot:

Excited to say the least, I headed to their flagship store in Beverly Hills and made my way to the gorgeous yoga studio where I got to catch the loveliest, Koya Webb shooting the tail end of her new HIIT Yoga videos. Aside from her being absolutely gorgeous, strong and inspiring, I was just itching to join right in... it gave me some serious motivation for post baby work out's. Make sure you check her out too. Greeted by an incredible team, the shoot felt intimate and special, uplifting and full of positivity.  I was put through the hair and make-up works and dressed in the comfiest, feminine, relaxing yet sassy style for my pregnant belly. With all the pieces to the puzzle, they had me feeling great and ready to rock!

Want The Look:

Goddess Bra, White:

Mold Tank, Buff Heather:

Airbrush Legging, White/Reflective Chakra:
 

The content Alo Yoga is pushing out is inspiring, mindful and free on YouTube... so what are you waiting for? Get over there, subscribe and check it out! I'll have a few more coming soon. I'm thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a beautiful & mindful movement brand. 

As always, thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to share the video with any expecting or post natal Mama's and would love any feedback! I hope this is the beginning of many yoga videos to share. Your comments will help me be stronger and grow by sharing your thoughts... I welcome them! 

XO ANDREA

 

LEAN INTO A GREAT PLAYLIST & FEEL SOMETHING

Who doesn't love a solid playlist that can make you sing along, burst into dance or get lost in lyrics that connect you to something powerful?

Photos by David Heisler

Photos by David Heisler

Music has a way of transcending our spirit in many different directions. What a lovely vice to use to explore movement, emotions, connection, talent, events, workouts... I mean you name it, music has a an on going relationship with each and everyone one of us in some capacity.

Growing up a dancer and being a lover of movement I've never had a problem getting up to shake my booty around to some good jams, get caught up car dancing or bust out Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar karaoke style. Five years ago when I dove into teaching yoga I knew music would be a well curated part of what I wanted to offer my students with their preferences in mind. I felt music have a way of connecting me to a deeper sense of self as I hit the mat and wanted to share that with others. I get asked a lot after class about my playlists, requests to screenshot them or questions about who sang what song and I love it. I'm excited to share my playlists on Spotify with all of you as well, should that interest you! If you have a FaceBook account it's free. 

Just another daily joy that felt share worthy. Music; my love for it and willingness to share playlists I take a lot of time to make... It's become a hobby I truly enjoy and discover so many new artists and great songs in doing so. Select your mood button today... and listen to something that suits that! I implore you to FEEL SOMETHING. 

Check out my latest playlist filled with some music I'm loving at the moment titled FEELsomething on Spotify. 

Who is your favorite artist at the moment? Sharing is caring and I'm always up for some great suggestions... anything special you'd like to hear if you were in a yoga class? Thank you for stopping by. I always love hearing from you!

XO ANDREA

ACCEPTING WHAT IS, HOW DO WE MASTER THIS?

Do you love or loathe the idea of acceptance? Are you attached to outcomes constantly? Questioning, worrying and shaking your crystal ball trying to predict situations before they happen? Does this clutter up your happiness?

When you get still, can you release your resistance to accept things as they are and move into a more mindful place?

These are important questions I ask myself, not just once but consistently and especially during challenging moments. 

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

As I pack up 17 years of living in LA and head up North to Sonoma to start a new chapter, my emotions seem to be running wild in every direction. I've been catching myself in a place of limiting thoughts & anxiety recently. Although I'd like to chalk it up to having third-trimester-pregnancy hormones mixed with moving to a home that’s in renovations and leaving my close friends and career during it all… it’s time to check-in. I’d prefer not to use these as excuses or be factors that dictate my daily joy or the joy of the people closest to me! 

Who loves a good reminder to check-in with yourself when you have a lot happening and you feel your attitude slipping into glass half empty mode? Take a deep breath… right now and SMILE if you do…we just created some awareness together.  

This a a beautiful time of life for me, I’m really enjoying pregnancy and I’ve always been one to leap into change with my heart open ready to take it on.  I’m surrounded by tons of love and support so it's almost frustrating to sense my negativity internally and then give it more weight by vocalizing it all to anyone who is forced to listen. Do you ever annoy yourself in this way? I hope I'm not totally alone here… the good news is our awareness can propel us into a place of getting still. By doing this we can release the things that no longer serve us with clarity and peak in happiness over and over again as we accept WHAT IS and our judgments dwindle away. Let’s do this.

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

MASTERING ACCEPTANCE TIPS:

  • Where do you go to get quiet, connect with yourself and breathe? Sometimes it’s in a yoga class for me. Often it’s anywhere I can pause for 15-20 minutes. To hear the rumblings of the chatter in my mind to start to dissipate as I use a mantra or phrase to repeat internally and begin a meditation. Challenge yourself to create a consistent practice with a form of meditation that speaks to you. 

  • Try not to forcefully push the negative or limiting thoughts away but see them and say “hi there, I hear you” and as gently as a fluffy cloud passing by in the sky, release them. If using a visual of your choice helps, do it. I love putting them in a balloon that I release or feel a gentle breeze lift them off me and carry them away. Get creative and change it up.

  •  Honor yourself with compassion as distractions and the rumblings most likely find their way back in. Consider the importance of observing your thoughts to be far more effective than emptying your mind out. Make sense? Continue to repeat the process of deeply breathing accompanied by your choice of mantra, visualization or simply getting quiet & still that supports non-judgmental acceptance. 

  • Clarity will start to arrive no matter what form of meditation you create for yourself. The pause from your daily schedule is what will significantly affect your ability to connect to acceptance more gracefully and consistently. Present state of awareness is what we’re going for whether for you; that’s on a hike, in a gym or sitting somewhere quietly. Rejuvenating the mind is how we can let go of the overwhelming feelings & pressures that can get in our way of being more calm on a regular basis.

  • Pay attention and notice how this peaceful state influences your reactive mind and responses to the situations that might ordinarily get you flustered. We all want to be a happy as we can be right? So if there’s a way to use our mindful practices to assist in our moment to moment well being, I ask— why wouldn't we all want to do what it takes to slow down the chatter in the mind we are inundated with from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep? 

The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

May I inspire you to check out the various styles of Mediation at  THE SECRETS OF YOGA for a wonderful & brief breakdown of each to explore. My personal favorite is Vipassana (and I too just learned it's called that.)  

resources I love:

What jumpstarted my practice that lead into a commitment has been guided meditations by Deepak Chopra and Oprah as they offer Free 21-Day Experiences periodically. I love them and often use them at night as well guiding me into a peaceful sleep. Going to the library and choosing one for a family member or friend makes for a great gift too!

Mindsail is a fantastic App that I was more than delighted to do the VOICE for the MoodBoosts component which you can access prior to subscribing. Two of my wonderful yoga clients developed this self-help vault giving you unique insights and tools to make better choices and live a happier more fulfilling life.  Is it strange to listen to my own voice to boost my mood sometimes... cause I do:)

I also have mad love for ZIVA Meditation as I deeply related to Emily Fletcher's lifestyle which lead her to study and create ZivaMind

Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked
— Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

My hiatus from actually publishing blogs recently has not felt great! I love sharing stories, tips and connecting with all of you regularly so these last few weeks I've had to honor that life has offered me priorities that won over some of the other things I was hoping to achieve. I don’t think there is a person out there that can’t relate to that feeling at some point. It's hard to accept isn't it? When you want to be doing something you somehow can't make time for.

I often share that getting on my mat to stretch, breath and connect with deeper sense of self and meditating are my healing resources. They are. The challenge is to maintain a reflective state of mind to that calm, peaceful state when things in life feel the opposite. I’ve been making time to meditate, get on my mat and today I honor that I was able to write on an entire flight! It feels so darn good. 

Thank you for popping by. We're all in this life together, never forget you are not alone. We have the ability to connect, communicate & relate to each other through our experiences... thank you for letting me share mine with you. You know how much I love hearing from you. The comment boxes are yours to share back... sending all my love and happy blessings each and every day! 

xoxo andrea

What Happened When I Unplugged From Social Media?

Let me start by saying whooo hooo! Unplugging from social media is G L O R I O U S. 

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

For anyone who's missed my announcement... my fiancé and I are having our first baby and decided to take a much needed break from all work as best we could to be together, relax and create a family plan before our little bundle of joy arrives in July. I've been intrigued by the friends I've seen take a month off from social media and decided that this would be the perfect time to take a break as well. Our seven days may not seem like much but it served us both so well. Kauai is a magical place to embrace & explore and really sink in to it's beauty. Now I'd like to pay it forward. 

Have you guys ever unplugged in any kind of way? I've definitely limited use of phone at times and shut things down for a day here and there but since the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.. I've become pretty consistent with posting content I enjoy sharing and don't often miss a day. I find myself most active on Instagram. With my own posting commitment I also spend time looking through feeds of those I follow for all kinds of reasons; motivation, happiness, a good laugh, style, friends & family, education, shopping, world news... it can be an abundant and overwhelming time-suck at times right? 

I would be remiss if I didn't admit; somedays creating a post is far too time consuming. Checking to see who's viewed or liked it happens periodically out of habit and I often catch myself going directly to Instagram when I picked up my phone to make a call, put something in my calendar, send an e-mail and such. It’s apparent how easy this monkey mind subconscious can take over. Is anyone else with me on this?  Now the key is to use these unplugging tactics to sustain new habits.  Limit yourself to be on social media for an allotted time that serves you well but doesn't end up highjacking you of precious time that would be better spent elsewhere. 

My mind is often blown when I see how many followers some individuals and brands have and I wonder will I get there, do I need to, does my brand become better if I do? All logical questions I guess when you are a blogger looking to grow your audience and reach to the masses in an inspiring way... but really how important is this pertaining to what I truly value in my life? I hope we're all questioning this at times. 

My purpose on social media is inspiration and branding; seeking and providing. I hope to connect in a positive way with those that may enjoy a little insight into what's helped me along my journey as an actress, yoga instructor and human who seeks sustaining happiness, acceptance and pleasures in everyday joys. I made a deal with myself when I entered the social media craze that posts should be; kind, fun, inspiring and thoughtful and even a little goofy at times... never straying from my authentic self and integrity. It wasn't a place to rant complaints, judge or be negative. My fiancé, Erik and I hope to instill these same morals as we expand our family. We remain curious and interested in how to be great partners and parents with our digital lives. It's fun to connect with family and friends on this level. In addition, those I follow are aligned with my brand Inspirational Addict and provide intentions that support my mind, body & spirit well. 

What I learned:

  • I am far more present in my surroundings and conversations when I'm not scrolling and posting.
  • There is a sense of contentment that arrives when you let go of needing to share everything or see what others are up to.
  • The voices of comparison and questioning how good or useful my content is dissipated. 
  • You pick up where you leave off. Nothing changes, I never felt as though I was missing out... I loved not caring. 
  • How enjoyable it is to listen intently, talk and feel heard and connect organically to each moment of your day.
  • It feels darn good to simply take a break from it all. Meditating and yoga felt even calmer & more connected to myself.

tips for mindful social media:

  • Ask yourself why you're on social media? Get clear about it.
  • Decide the allotted time you should spend per day and stick to it; brand versus personal fun (if you have a brand)
  • Be authentic to who you are with honesty, integrity and wise intentions in your posts.
  • Create content that you enjoy sharing and the audience that loves you for you will come.
  • With-in your allotted time you've established; like and comment with the things that bring you joy.
  • Take a break from all social media every so often. Schedule power down's and observe how that can help you grow. 
Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

This has been a particularly special time in my life. Feeling this baby girl growing in my belly day by day and being with Erik traveling to yet another beautiful place I'd never been. I cherish that we both took time to just be together and get connected to what's most important in life; LOVE and FAMILY. No matter where you are geographically or spiritually you have an opportunity to pause and let go of the chaos that being on social media too much can bring and create a healthier digital life. It will not only help you grow as a person but will deepen your connection to everyone you cross paths with. Delight in that.... it's just lovely.

fun fact:

I'm happy to report amongst the long list of National Day's the www.NationalDayCalendar.com added National Day for Unplugging.  It's the first Friday of March every year as of 2017. 

Thank you guys for popping by, I love hearing from you so if you have comments or questions or tips for me, send them my way! Share your unplugging story back with me... Biggest Hugs! 

xo Andrea

 

YOGA AROUND THE WORLD, READY TO WANDER WITH ME?

Does your yoga practice go with you when you travel? My Instagram feed may give the impression I just stop and do yoga photos in some pretty magical places… but behind the feed there is a commitment to the time I spend on my mat no matter where I am in the world. I often seek out a studio in the city I’m in to take a class and experience something new.  What I continue to connect with over and over again is that uplifted feeling I have after I meditate and create space to practice, stretch & breathe; mindfulness is something you can practice anywhere. When I do land in those magical places, often mesmerized by nature, I find that familiar connection to something divine and indulge in the present moment. It's a feeling I want more of. How about you? 

A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

I have to pinch myself when I scroll through the photos of places I’ve traveled to in my life. It’s more than just a blessing to get to see parts of the world you’ve not been to. There are experiences that stay with you, teach you new things and expand your heart in ways you never imagined. It evolves my capacity to love and appreciate people and different cultures in a beautiful way. Are you with me on this?

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions
— Peter Hoeg

Together, my soon-to-be hubby, Erik Almas and I are creating a body of work we hope to publish in a book someday. Our travels provide such diverse landscapes that inspire us to dance between looking for the right place and letting the image find us.  We both are beyond grateful for what adventures can do for our souls.  Embracing the moment is what it's all about. As we take in our surroundings and I float into a yoga posture, my talented man is behind the lens capturing something we both have found to be a special place or eyeopening point in time for us. 

Are you ready to take a trip around the world with me?

Big Sur, California

The sun glistened across the mountain tops. Oceanside serenity washed over wave after wave. The majestic trees of the cavernous forest told stories hundreds of years old. 

Santa Theresa, Costa Rica 

Warmth caresses my skin. The rain falls tenderly. Then blue skies and powder puff clouds swirl into shapes floating by. The sun kisses the moon goodnight and silhouettes emerge from the earth. 

Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

Every shade of fall illuminates this city. Before it is awakened by sounds of foot traffic and children's laughter, the streets are quiet and the canals whisper your name. Alone but not lonely. Beauty lies at every corner of your eye. Energy incapsulates your being.  

Barcelona, SPAIN

Historical monuments lay forth and draw you in to something old world. Pastel colors waltz together in the skyline. Very early in the morning as the street lamps are still lit and the cobblestone alleyways have been swept clean the ambience is full of hidden surprises revealing themselves moment by moment. 

TRONDHEIM & RØROS, NORWAY

Traveling to Erik's home town of Trondheim, Norway was undeniably special. We had a winter wonderland adventure to Røros and each storybook moment engaged my inner child influencing me to play. 

LONDON, ENGLAND

Leaving no cobblestone un-walked upon, London has the capacity to massage your heart and surprise your instincts. Treasures can be found in the nooks and crannies of the streets lined with history even beyond those familiar landmarks subtly grabbing your attention. Walk everywhere and let the city guide you. 

INDIA: OLD DELHI, NEW DELHI, COCHIN, KOVOLAM, AGRA, VARANASI, SARNATH, JAIPUR

Nothing prepared me for the adventures I had in India. We landed in Delhi and for the next 20 days explored from the North to the South and back to the North by plane, bus, train, boat, rickshaw and tuk-tuk. The people, places, stories & culture filled our senses and cracked us open in ways we’ll always cherish & appreciate. The opposing emotions one faces in India grounds you in finding comfort in your discomforts. 

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA

Between the lush, green rolling hills and acres of vineyards harvesting some of the best grapes for wine making in the world,  Sonoma's quiet charm and easy breezy, kick-back style is a calming escape and adventurers delight. Surrendering in nature and all it's wonder and some dangerously good vino. 

DUBAI, U.A.E.

I'd never felt such warmth & softness in thousands of tiny grains of sand laid like the rippling ocean waves beneath my feet as the red dunes of Dubai. A gracious breeze danced & mesmerized my soul. Soaking up the early morning rays is an exhilarating way to indulge in the sun putting a spectacular glow over the city. 

All photos shot by Erik Almas

Thank you to my generous man who lends his talents in our travels to shoot photos together where we get to create something that has intention and purpose, making our adventures that much more special. My parents always took my brother and I places... even if they weren't far away or exotic they sparked a sense that going places meant exploring and having stories to share was fun. That has carried with me and I relish in every blessed opportunity I get to go somewhere new. May my wanderlust ways inspire yours and visa versa. Go places and do more... you will never be sorry for it. 

I have so much more to share so stay tuned and I hope we all get to say that for the rest of our lives. Where are you off to next? Do you have a great adventure bucket list? I love hearing from you guys, leave comments, ask questions, share your favorite travel spot with me... all is welcome!

XO ANDREA

Happy International Women's Day

Ladies all the ladies... louder now... 

Celebrate International Women's Day today in honor of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women (IWC)! Visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women. With a #BeBoldForChange theme today it's inspiring to know how many tremendous women use their courage & bravery to push for change. We are so blessed to have women in history who started this movement and women of today continue building momentum for doing extraordinary things. 

google image

google image

I am a proud member of The New Hollywood and as we've expanded and created new branches; The New Hollywood LGBT and The New Hollywood Men... I'm even more proud to be amongst this diverse group of and women and men who are change makers, philanthropist and ambitious humans working as individuals and together to Rise Higher, Shine Brighter and Give Back. 

Whether you're involved in a group like this or not, YOU too can be grand in your efforts to create awareness about the things you support and believe in. We all have a voice, we all matter. 

Photo by Erik Almas in Jaipur, INDIA

Photo by Erik Almas in Jaipur, INDIA

Traveling continues to open my eyes to diversity, cultural experiences, luxuries, inequality, discouraging rules, uplifting opportunities, etc.. I hope that women everywhere continue to strive to speak up, take a stand and propel forward striving to achieve a better life for themselves everywhere and always. 

Changing the world doesn’t happen all at once. It’s an evolution, a sum of a billion tiny sparks and some of those sparks come from you”
— Katie Couric

XOXO ANDREA

 

OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE YET, A LITTLE ONE IS ON THE WAY

What has been your greatest adventure to date? Has it been visiting a place, a crazy experience, a milestone event or ____________ ? You can fill in the blank.

ADVENTURE:

An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.[1] Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger such as traveling, exploring, skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting or participating in extreme sports. The term also broadly refers to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, or other major life undertakings.

Life has certainly been filled with a multitude of great adventures thus far. Each in their own element. Often life changing, empowering, liberating, humbling, powerful...etc. I can't imagine that anything will compare to the adventure of becoming parents! Yes, you heard me correctly. Erik and I are graciously embarking on the adventure of a lifetime as we prepare and step into becoming parents this year.  We feel incredibly blessed and share our excitement with all of you. 

Photo By Mike Byrne

Photo By Mike Byrne

This news completely rocks your life in the best way possible and suddenly every decision you make is now with thoughtful intentions about becoming a family. All of you who've experienced this know what I mean right? With a glorious, deep breath in and out, I look forward to this journey.  Erik and I are over the moon!

As a mamma-to-be in my late 30's there are a lot of varying circumstances that can add worry and fear to what's suppose to be a blissful time. So far yoga, meditation and mindful eating have helped me every step of the way with staying healthy, vibrant, accepting of all the emotions and changes I'm discovering. Having support from an incredible partner, family and friends makes this process even sweeter than I knew it could be. I'm thankful. 

As I continue to share life's greatest inspirations here, this will be another wonderful way I get to connect with you. For you amazing humans out there considering, trying, already experiencing parenthood... I send you oodles of love and light in your adventure and always know this is a shared space of community supporting each other.  I cherish hearing from you guys, comments and tips, fun stories... you name it, they're always welcome here. 

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body
— Elizabeth Stone

XO ANDREA

INSPIRED By My Mom, Who Would You Write Your Letter To?

Have you ever wanted to write a letter to your Mom reminiscing about all the things she did that inspired you?  Or anyone special who played a prominent part in your upbringing? A trip down memory lane with them would make you fill up with gratitude... you know that feeling right?

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 1.21.08 PM.png

This is a free write to my mamma... 

You'd wake up and come in singing 'wake up you sleepy head, it's time to get out of bed', give me sweet kisses, a few pats and usually another soft & kind 'rise and shine'. Wild- Tina Turner hair in the mornings. For work days, nicely dressed and simple make-up. A less is more kind of Mom. Always a minimalist pulled together and beautifully natural looking. I would think, wow my mom is pretty. I remember you eating a half of grapefruit in the mornings and making everything from cereal, to donuts holes, to waffles & french toast for Eric and I. You'd put those blue calcium pills next to my plate and see if I might be up for a glass of milk today... juice always won.  I remember you going to aerobics, drinking tea and water, barely drinking alcohol (maybe a wine cooler)... never over-indulging in anything. I remember you working hard at Kroger, Lincoln Homes Sales and our School Office. You took me to dance, the grocery store and to run errands. I'd get to pick my favorite candy bar if I'd been good as we checked out. You took us to see our Grandmas & Grandpa often. You made me the cutest outfits by hand and encouraged me to learn to sew. You always made dinner, we'd sit together and talk about our days. Eric and I would be little shits and you and dad would threaten us with the chicken paddle that hung on the wall. Even when I'd come home from college and LA you'd still make my favorites; ham and beans with lots of cornbread, chicken and dumplings (extra dumplings), spaghetti with garlic toast. If I wasn't a gluten free pain in the butt, you'd still do it today. You'd let me have a pile of peanut butter with my crispy bacon. Corn curls with honey and my favorite grape & sunkiss orange soda. We had to pick green beans from our garden. We ate what you prepared, a balanced meal and asked permission 'may I please be excused' to get up from the table. I learned how to vacuum and dust to help you and earn allowances. We had to make our beds. A summer of doing the laundry helped me get my trampoline. You and dad traveled and went wonderful places like Portugal, Jamaica, Kentucky and lots of others. You did so many arts and crafts with me. Remember the paper angels we decorated with colored pencils and glitter, they took forever we did so many and set them on the TV stand for the holidays? We played games, we walked outside and rode bikes. We played frisbee, catch and swam, gave tennis a few shots. I tried roller skating, ice skating with your skates you had when you were young. You helped us with school work and projects. You got me a keyboard when I really was excited about piano. I had all those crazy sticker books you let me fill with pages and pages of stickers. Toys I begged for found their way under the Christmas tree. You insisted on using manners; always please, thank you, please be quiet- never shut-up. Endless trips to friends houses for sleepovers, dance class and competitions. Giving up so much of your time to be present for Eric and I with anything we did. You always said 'just do your best and smile' and don't bite your lip or play with your hair.

You took so many pictures of us kids. We did so much together. I got to have a Birthday party every year! Camping, boating, fishing trips, vacations, slumber parties, activities, the zoo, science center, roller skating, movies, shopping, mini golf, six flags and water parks. We had awesome Halloween costumes and school play outfits because of your creativity and talent. We have our special holiday movies; "Miracle on 34th Street" for me and "Scrooge" for Eric. Even tho I was a pickle often about church, I loved Sunday's. Family day, together for church, brunch after and usually something together outside. You read the 'period' book with me and although this was embarrassing at the time I'm thankful you communicated and shared with me what was going to happen to my body as I became a woman. You made Dr. appointments and helped me understand growing up and changes. You visited me in college, Japan and take time to come to LA often. We took a mother/daughter vacation to Cabo and it was awesome. You have hand written me cards dazzled with support and encouragement consistently since I moved out of the house at 18.. I have a keep sake box filled to the brim. I observed you having strength, courage, vulnerability, and joy. You we're quiet and more reserved but not uncommunicative, just never needing to be loud or the center of attention. Always having such grace with the way you spoke, friends you cared for, dancing with Dad, holding me and being the kind of mother that any child would be so blessed to have. This is just a peek at some of the stuff I vividly remember... the things that shaped me, supported me, taught me well and will continue to inspire me to strive to be a woman, wife & mom like you. I'm eternally grateful for all you do for me and our family. Thank you Mom for being you. 

In honor of her Birthday this week... Happy Birthday Mamma! 

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
— Washington Irving

May this encourage you to take stroll into memory lane for a moment and tell the people who helped guide you and shape you, some of the reasons why. What brought a smile to your face and appreciation to your soul. I love the idea of not only giving yourself this opportunity to feel such gratitude but sharing it with those who mean the world to you, perhaps in an old fashion written letter? Lot's of love to you always, comments, questions and shared experiences are always welcome here! I love hearing from you guys.

XO ANDREA

 

Fill Today With LOVE... HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! 

Pinterest

Pinterest

I know this is one of those commercial holidays that depending on how you look at it, may not be your favorite day... I've been there and can pretty much guarantee, we've all been there at one time or another, am I right? Let's see if we can shift our perspective and let go of that feeling.

Today doesn't have to be about celebrating the LOVE you're either In or Not In with someone else but it can be simply about celebrating LOVE.  You can make it a day that feels amazing no matter what your relationship status is.  And ladies I say, if you're waiting on a guy to overly woo you, I would maybe focus on wooing him... for the joy of doing it and not worry about what you get in return. Try it on for size if you never have... see how that feels? 

TIPS ON WOOING HIM

  • Make the dinner reservation at his favorite spot
  • Call for the uber
  • Cook dinner for him
  • Create something personal for him; photo book, memory video
  • Leave a handwritten card; in his lap top, under pillow, on his car seat

TIPS ON WOOING YOU

  • Take your favorite fitness class today
  • Schedule a self love day; mani/pedi, massage, facial
  • Meditate; visualize the love you want to have in your life
  • Plan a dinner with friends
  • Have a cozy PJ night and watch a funny movie
Pinterest

Pinterest

As I save the best for last... indulge in a sensual desert for the love of LOVE! My personal favorite are dark chocolate or yogurt covered strawberries. They are really fun to make too should you want to give that a go...

Click here  for a recipe from the Food Network I love. I used the stove top versus microwave and organic strawberries. Mine didn't turn out quite this pretty but I am sure equally delicious!

Pinterest

Pinterest

Have a loving day no matter what! Tell the people in your life your love them, share your joy with people around you. If you have any fun tips you want to add to the mix, leave them in the comments, I love hearing from you guys. All you need is LOVE.

XO ANDREA

BECOME A DARK CHOCOLATE LOVER, WHY YOU ASK?

Hi... do you love chocolate? Or sweets? When you have one sweet treat do you want more and more? Is it hard to cut back on sugar? Let's chat, cause you are not alone!

Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest

Now I did not put those photos there for you to start salivating over, although I'd agree my mouth is kinda getting watery... which is all good. 

Let me share with you a little vulnerability and how dark chocolate has come to the rescue. Not so many years ago as I cut way back on drinking alcohol, I unintentionally replaced that with a full blown sugar addiction. As I started peeling back some layers it became apparent I had been using both of those things to mask feelings that ultimately I needed to face and work through. So in my quest to heal which began with changing my diet completely and having that calling to jump on my yoga mat regularly, I discovered dark chocolate along the way. Make no misunderstanding, dark chocolate was not my healer to life's issues but it did become a healthy alternative to the overload of processed sugars I used to consume, like in the photos above. 

                                                                                           Be patient with yourself if you have some unmasking to do.... it's a process 

                                                                                           Be patient with yourself if you have some unmasking to do.... it's a process 

I'd like to think of my dark chocolate consumption now as a Daily Joy. Do I still have a cookie, bowl of ice cream or a piece of birthday cake... absolutely, I would never completely deny myself of life's greatest little delights. But that is a once-in-a-while joy not an everyday joy like it once was treading on. Becoming gluten free has been one of the best things for me and due to reactions in my body that immediately tell me processed sugary, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, wheat containing goodies hate me... it's been a blessing to my overall health. 

It was all sort of a process I went through but as I started really nourishing my body with organic food regularly the sugar cravings lessoned. I often was depriving myself of necessary nutrients that would usually keep your blood sugar balanced and by mid-day I'd essentially plummet into hypoglycemia and suddenly my body would scream for something and it was always sugar that I reached for. Makes sense doesn't it? I needed a nutritionists help to figure this all out but once I realized what I was doing to my own health, I had to get into a better routine. No exceptions. 

Dear Body,
I love you, I accept you, I see you. I promise to cherish you all the days of my life
— Unknown
Photo By John Hong

Photo By John Hong

As I disciplined myself, I also acknowledged the joys of balance. I honored that I was not going to cut out sweets completely, that would just be rude to do to myself. As dark chocolate entered my life I started trying different forms of it and cacao percentages. Some days I'd have a square and other days an entire bar but by keeping one in my cabinet regularly it's helped me not have has much over all.  My tastebuds have grown to love it and I feel darn good about consuming it, in moderation. No apologies. 

Buying quality dark chocolate with high cocao content is actually quite nutritious. Besides one of the best reasons; IT MAKES YOU HAPPY, there's a plethora of research out there that will have you swooning over it soon enough. So if you've suffered from the sugar binges like myself,  may I inspire you to put down the processed junk and dive into exploring some dark chocolate that will satisfy your sweet tooth.  In combination with nutritious, organic meals you'll be on a path to healthier living– YOU got this!

A few of my favorites:

If I've not convinced you yet check out this great article on Huffington post I found as I wanted to do a little more research for myself... 9 Reasons You Should Eat Dark Chocolate

Well this turned out to be another really fun little bit to share with you all. If it resonates with you or you can relate and want to share, leave me a comment or feel free to e-mail me and by all means if you have a treat you'd like to share, hook a sister up!  Just remember every choice we make can be the start of something bigger and wiser for our over all good. I say hail to the dark chocolate and become a lover. 

XO Andrea

 

LOVE IS EVERYWHERE, DO YOU TAKE TIME TO SEE IT?

Hello there, how are you guys today?  

I've recently re-read my blog intro and realized I have a little updating to do! I'm struck by the notion that so much of what brings me joy is taking time to see the little daily doses of love that surround us. Since I didn't have a category titled "Everyday Joys" I was inclined to create one.  I hope this will be a space for weekly posts, simple and true that uplift YOU! That rhymed... a poet and I didn't know it, how fun! 

Ask yourself: Do you take time to see & feel love daily? Do you pause long enough to enjoy the presence of it? What does it look like for you? Can I inspire you to soak it up?

Just a few short weeks ago I found myself in the winter wonderland of Aré, Sweden tucked into a beautiful log cabin with my fiancé, Erik to wrap up 2016 with some wonderful friends. I stroll into the kitchen and catch myself gazing through delicate heart wreath’s hanging in the window and out into the magic of Mother Nature. I smile, I feel peaceful and simply; am reminded that LOVE is everywhere. 

Take time to see it. 

DSCF0963.JPG
The common eye only sees the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and sees and reads the heart and soul finding there capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.
— Mark Twain

Lot's of love to you all and I hope 2017 is bringing you lot's of joyful moments so far. I love hearing from you guys, so drop me a comment or question if you have one... anytime.

XO ANDREA

BATHING YOURSELF IN LOVE...

Who doesn't love to run a hot bath and slip into some bubbles once in a while? This is not just for the ladies, gentlemen... if you've neglected to treat yourself to this form of relaxation, what are you waiting for?  Come one, come all, fill the tub and set up for the mood you're in.  You can create any kind of environment you want here. A hot tea and a good book with the window cracked, let the fresh air blow in. Or how about dimming the lights, fire up a few candles and sip a glass of wine with some calming classical music, maybe you can talk your partner into washing your back?  What if you put on some fun tunes, let the kids grab their water toys and add some extra suds for them to splash around for a bit?  Bath time can be such a lovely way to unwind and settle-in to some self love and create space for that necessary unplugging time.

When a cozy tub presents itself in a lovely hotel room you can bet I will find time to enjoy it... you ready to go to a few of them with me?

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

As all the leaves have been beautifully changing through fall & winter and the cold is sweeping over LA I'm reminded of my time in Amsterdam where we landed at The Dylan for a few days. It's by far one of the cutest, hippest and comfiest places I've stayed. I looked for the seven dwarfs for a moment, the vaulted wood-beam ceilings reminded me of the cottage from "Snow White." Quaint with so much personality and a to-die for deep, ceramic encased tub perched delicately in front the autumn colored trees dancing in the view from the window.  I slipped in with an aroma therapy candle lit, read a few chapters of "Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks" before drifting into a day dream, feeling the crisp air gently brush over my face. Wonderment ensues.

Next tub stop is The Grand Ferdinand Hotel in Vienna, Austria. A sexy stand-alone, white-porcelain, antique claw foot tub. This one claimed my attention with a glass of wine, bubbles and some music.  What a delightful way to warm up after an afternoon in the cold exploring with my man while he was on location shooting. Relaxing ensues.

DSCF0158.jpg

Well hello there from down under... we've now arrived at a private island in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef exclusively hosting the One&Only Hayman Island Luxury Resort, Australia. This modern soaker complete with glowing ground effects was plenty spacious for two. It blatantly invited us to fill it to the brim,  stretch out and unwind.... so that's exactly what we did. Romance ensues.

DSCF0378.JPG

Last stop for this tub tour is The Battery, San Fransisco. Let's face it, I fell in love with this entire bathroom. Another gorgeous, stand-alone acrylic haven accented with the handy caddy for setting your cup of tea and book on. Why haven't I thought of using that before? After rising before the sun to shoot a job in the chilly SF morning temps... I couldn't wait to kick off the heels and return to this space. I pressed play with one of my Deepak Oprah Guided Meditations, set the phone on the caddy and felt my mind and body settle into this delicious present moment.  Mindfulness ensues.

If you guys ever venture to any of these places, I hope you take up my suggestion to find some time to soothe your soul a bit in this fashion. These hotels are all worthy of more then just tub talk but that will be another post! At some point we all need a Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman bath tub moment singing your favorite song, allowing yourself to just feel, embracing the very simple idea of a darn good bath. You deserve it.

maxresdefault.jpg

DETOX SOAK: 20 min max

  • Mix up 1 cup of baking soda, 2 cups of epsom salt  (Tree Hut) and 10 drops of some mood enhancing, certified organic, therapeutic essential oils (Doterra). I love wild orange, lemon, peppermint for invigorating and for relaxing I combine lavender & bergamot. 
  • Moisturize yourself after with some organic coconut oil to rehydrate your skin
  • Consult your doctor if you're pregnant before bathing in oils or have any other concerns to your health.

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you have any great soaking tips for me, send them my way in comments. Any great hotels with amazing bathtubs you've experienced are welcome to please. Make time for you... you won't regret it, ever. 

XO ANDREA