Ending The Year With Resilience, Who's With Me?

Hi gorgeous souls... hope you're all amazing and cruising into December with some grace and resilience. There is no time like the present to focus on what we have accomplished and use our heroic compassion to end the year strong. 

Wellness Influencer, Inspirational Addict Blogger actress and Sonoma New Mom, Yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart photographed by Erik Almas

Back in early September I decided (with resistance) to be a leader for the 5th annual Get My Body Back 90 Day Challenge put on by my women's goals group The New Hollywood; which is dedicated to supporting socially conscious storytellers and change-maker's. As a member and leader I committed to ten minutes of alternating booty and core work daily and posting an Inspirational Addict blog every Sunday supporting our mind, body spirit journey. While the challenge ends December 11th and I did not successfully complete my ten minutes of alternating booty/core daily portion, I will successfully complete this year with some bad ass resilience so I can start 2018 out with a bang. 

Who has ever set out to do something, even a small thing that you didn't complete and get to hold your glory torch for? Please tell me I'm not alone here? So what do we do with that feeling? It's pretty easy to fall into the negative-nelly lister trap. You take that one thing you didn't do and start dissecting how many other things you didn't do and pile it on top until you feel the weight like a sack of wet sand pushing you down. Let's not do that, OK? 

I had every intention of just coasting through my challenge as it felt very manageable. I did not intend on being evacuated from our home and spending a month in hotels wondering if it would survive the devastating North Bay Fires that hit us hard in October (we were spared, I'm eternally gratefully). While I found great comfort in continuing my writing during that time and my Sunday blogs lived on... the booty/core work slipped to the side. I made a deal with myself to get back on track even though I lost the challenge. It's happening but not always daily. And may I mention when I say lost, my $280 I put in to participate will be going to a charity I love, Youth Yoga, so more of a gain than loss really. While no excuse matters in our book, I refuse to beat myself up about it. I am more interested in letting that show me something I can grow from... ahh resilience kicking in. For instance, how I can manage my time better or being ok with what's most important to me in crisis or how to pick back up with a positive mindset. Allowing discoveries and new opportunities to shine through instead of feeling like a deflated failure is where we connect to a greater good with-in. Let's jump in there together. 

Try the rough water as well as the smooth. Rough water can teach lessons worth knowing
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
wellness influencer, Inspirational Addict Blogger Andrea Bogart at the Golden Gate Bridge with Photographer Erik Almas

TIPS FOR BEING RESILIENT 

  • PRACTICE GRATITUDE– I'm finding that I often find this at the top of all my tips and there's great reason for it. It works. Practicing gratitude has purpose that will shift your perspective instantly. When you take a failure, loss or negative attitude and start thinking about the silver lining your energy is now putting out more of what you'd like to have come back. Use this as a beautiful skill you are incredibly capable of doing anytime. My hack: take one thing you're feeling disappointed about and think about three reasons why it's all good.
  • GET CLEAR– Establishing clarity can be one of the most beneficial ways to put a strong attitude back on top. Respect your vulnerabilities by acknowledging your weaknesses and your positive attributes. When your humble, self-aware approach takes the drivers seat you will identity the why of situations more clearly. Save yourself from looking to blame others and own the things that are in your control to move forward positively.
  • IMPLEMENT A PLAN– Often we naturally think of failure as an end point. Not those of us practicing resilience! With a different view let's envision it as the start of a new opportunity to create a different approach. The choices we make with a desire to become better is a confident way of committing to your resilient mindset. 
Where you stumble and fall, there you discover the gold
— Joseph Campbell

As another year is quickly coming to an end, I want to lean into all the magnificent things that have happened, the opportunities I've created, the goals I've achieved and absorb that... I hope you'll do the same. I have a guide book journal with my women's group that is such a great tool for this. I will be sure to let you know when they go on sale for the public. Until then, check out "Your Best Year Yet" by Jinny S. Ditzler, recommend to me a while back by an incredibly inspiring soul, Todd McCullough with TMAC Fitness. It's an extraordinary process to take yourself through and start out 2018 with great intentions and inspiration self-propelled. And that my friends feels amazing! 

Wellness Influencer, Inspirational Addict Blogger, Sonoma New mom Andrea Bogart with Erik Almas Photography

Thank you for taking the time to connect with your resilient self. I write often from a place of needing reminders on my own personal journey.  And guess what? It's almost Inspirational Addict's two year Anniversary so THANK YOU from the depths of my tender heart for sharing precious time with me here! Comments, shared experiences, tips are always welcome and encouraged with me, I love to know what you think and any feedback you feel inclined to express. Have a wonderful week and spread some Holiday Cheer.

XOXO ANDREA

Allowing Yourself To Receive

What are we asking for and what are we receiving? I encourage us to explore this immediately so we can proceed in allowing the Universe to support us. Everything in our lives is in flow.

Wellness Influencer, yoga instructor Andrea Bogart Travels through india with Photographer Erik Almas.

As I lay on my back with acupuncture needles in various parts of my body... I'm drifting into a meditation with a mantra, "heal my mind, heal my body." The gentle voice of my acupuncturist says a few beautiful words, receive being among them. I'm reminded to ask for what I need and allow space to actually receive. It stirred up some thoughts for me. In my recent challenges with breast-feeding and production, perhaps I was so focused on needing to provide a solid milk supply for our baby-girl... I was forgetting the allowance of receiving what I needed in order to do so. It makes sense now. With a pretty simple shift in perspective my human ah-ha alarm is saying, "Andrea you know how to practice this." 

I'm a believer in prayer, yoga, mediations, gratitude journals... all of which give me an opportunity to check-in, create joy and quiet the mind. However, receiving can become quite passive unintentionally as it's an action that happens all day long with e-mails, messages, phone-calls and various interactions. So how do we absorb the essence of receiving in a beneficial way?  We have to pay attention and be present to do this. Often at the end of my yoga sessions as I guide students into savasana I say, "allow yourself to surrender and receive the benefits of your practice."  The hope is that we are so connected to the present moment that letting go washes over us in a wave of compassion worth soaking up. 

Wellness Influencer, yoga instructor Andrea Bogart Travels through india with Photographer Erik Almas.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What kind of energy am I putting out into the world through what I think, say and do?
  • When and where in my daily routine am I consciously making space to receive?
  • Do I feel worthy of receiving the things I ask my guided lights for? 
  • Do I believe in the abundance of receiving without limits?

Are you getting into this with me now? The honest answers to those questions will guide you to clarity. If you feel some negativity flooding your immediate responses... seek gratitude, seek more gratitude and seek gratitude again, I promise it shifts things. Do that for yourself, because you CAN. 

To this day, my Mom still says "the day you stop believing is the day you stop receiving." Although she is referencing our holiday spirit, the one and only Santa Clause... why not have this as a resourceful mantra for life too? We have to believe in the things we ask for. We have to believe in what we are deserving of and kick fear to the curb as it's often the culprit of pushing us off track. 

I distinctly remember a time in my life where FEAR was winning at every turn. I was convincing myself of so many things that were not my truths because I was shaking in my boots that my guided lights would never grant me the things I most desired. I stopped asking and was putting a lot of bulls##t out there and guess what came back? A lot more bulls##t.  I wasn't allowing any space for receiving because I was too busy letting my hopes get highjacked. I'm super happy to say with some hard work and mindful commitments to self-love, I was able to wade back out of that mess, but I do remember that pitiful time well. 

There is nothing to find, only to realize. There is nothing to become, only to be. There is nothing to fear, only to love.
— Marianne Williamson
Wellness Influencer, yoga instructor Andrea Bogart Travels through india with Photographer Erik Almas.

It's the holiday season and I am by your side in making the worthy effort to receive more abundantly. Find the ways in which you connect to this effort best and make time for it. Remember everything in life is in flow... keep receiving as a part of your necessary flow. Thank you for popping by, I'm such a lover of communication so always feel welcome to share a story of your own or comment here. 

XO ANDREA

 

 

 

 

How To Give The Gift Of Being Present

Have you ever wondered how to be more present? We hear it all the time, we potentially think we are and yet so easily our minds wander, our attention bounces to the past or future and suddenly we're missing out on what's happening right in front of us; here and now. 

Wellness Influencer, happiness blogger, Sonoma New Mamma, yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart with Photographer fiancé Erik Almas get present.

Thanksgiving just kicked the holiday season into high gear and I'm thinking about how to give myself the gift of being more present in all that I do... are you ready to join me? I know we will benefit from this awareness and I can assure you the people and situations you interact with will appreciate it too. With a million ways to be distracted today... being present is a GIFT to rapture in. 

There are so many examples throughout the day where I am deeply connected to the present moment and others where auto pilot is taking me through the motions and I'm not present at all. Does this sound like you too? Of course this is natural but my gosh, doesn't it feel good to catch yourself and breathe into that realization and just be in the moment? It's a practice. Like with most things, if we take the time to practice this, we get good and this particularly should feel simple rather than like a task.  We will always have distractions, interruptions and a multitude of things that can cause worry but if we truly work on being present we can alleviate the external emotions often attached to these deterrents.

tips

Check-in with your moment to moment awareness in some of these areas;

  • Making dinner... cooking can be such an enjoyable process, tasting & sipping
  • Driving... see your surroundings notice the trees, a house you love
  • Playing with your kids... I'm not sure there's anything better than this one
  • Doorways... what space did you just enter, why are you there, who is there
  • Social Media... how much time is spent here, whats your purpose
  • Spouse or partner... daily wrap up with significant other, yummy intimacy
  • Work environment... offering support in a meeting, for a co-worker
  • Daily schedule... smooth sailing or over committing, smiling throughout your day
The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers
— Thich Nhat Hanh

My Key Helpers

  • Yoga– making time for this regularly is a game changer for my ability to be more present. Dropping into my breath, linking the mind, body, spirit connection activates your awareness and focus on the here and now. There is often a sense of release I feel from anything that's been bothering me. The eight limbs that are explored in yoga have a way of sneaking into your everyday life offering more lasting vitality. 
  • Meditation– learning to be aware of your mind, quieting down all the chatter and disconnecting from the complexity of the world can bring you to such simplicity and stillness. I've replaced a ton of waiting times with meditation and it's incredible how different my energy is about the circumstances. (Examples; pumping breast milk, casting rooms, Dr. offices, dentist visits, airplanes) 
  • Digitally disconnecting– unplugging or powering down from our digital accessories for specified times is essential today. The phone is probably one of the biggest distractions to date, we rely on it for everything and often feel lost without it. Leaving it at home, turning it off,  putting it in another room, are all great ways to NOT let it rob delicious present moments away from you. 

My favorite part about all this is that it is actually pretty basic when you think about being present. It doesn't mean it doesn't come without it's challenges... but I believe it's the world in which we live with an unbelievable amount of stimulation that has altered are senses of how important it is to just BE. I heard on a Tim Ferriss podcast recently, "remember we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS," I love that. Find gratitude in everything that you do, appreciate the smallest of tasks, seek joy moment to moment and feel how amazing anything can be. Remember it's a practice. Each step is a step with grace and wonderment. 

Thank you guys for dropping in! Cheers to the happiest holiday season and being more present in all we do! You are always welcome to leave a comment or tips for me... we're in this together. 

xoxo Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are You Thankful For?

Are you thankful everyday? That doesn't seem like such an impossible task does it? 

It's a form of expression we use time and time again as a gesture of good manners, being polite, showing appreciation, feeling gratitude... and so on. How does it look and feel for you? What impact does it have in your day to day life? It's simple yet complex in how we apply it to our well-being. A lot of us at times, (I'm including myself)... get caught up in; the day that's not going well, the unfinished business you're beating yourself up over, the mistakes you make which lead to complaining, grumpiness and wining to others. Let’s call that– the muck, the stuff that exists for all of us and sometimes isn’t managed with our best selves taking the lead. We’re human after all. Great news, that can all quickly shift when your awareness turns on thanks and gratitude. Find something that is going well about your day, be proud of what you are accomplishing, honor your smallest wins, quit complaining and change the energy you're putting out into the universe. Ground yourself, get present and be thankful. There are always, always reasons to be thankful. I know you’d agree. 

Inspirational Addict Blogger and wellness influencer Sonoma Yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart in Erik Almas Photo talks Thank You

I love to fall asleep saying "my thank you's.” It’s a peaceful way to drift into those ever-important hours you dedicate to sleep. Take time to feel what being thankful brings to your soul in what-ever capacity works for you; journal, prayer, mantras... and be vocal in your daily manners with others (that goes without saying right)? 

In the spirit of being thankful... can you believe Thanksgiving is this coming week? It’s one of my favorite holidays and boy did it sneak up on me fast this year. It’s a day that sure gives us reason to be thankful as families & friends come together for a delicious feast and usually some relaxing and fun. So take that THANKFUL heart into a beautiful week and wonderful holiday weekend with the ones you love. 

THANK YOU for the visit and hope you keep coming back for more inspiration and stories! I love hearing from you, so if you have anything for me, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you!

XOXO ANDREA

 

 

10 Reasons To Practice Yoga

Why practice yoga? I have an abundance of reasons with a pot of gold at the end but let's just ease into this. 

Have you felt the benefits of this practice yet? It's no surprise to me that a Forbes article indicated in a 2016 study that the amount of people practicing yoga in the U.S. nearly doubled from 2012. Bringing it to 37 million, which is estimating that one out of ten people are practicing now. Yoga has been so impactful in my life that it's a bit of a mouth full to describe just how so. Several of my blogs have been inspired by this journey and my first post was about how consistently practicing lead me to becoming a certified instructor. I care deeply about this practice and all of it's tremendous benefits. It's a non negotiable for me... yoga will be in my life for as long as I live. Here's my top ten reasons why.

Sonoma yoga instructor and wellness influencer Andrea Bogart settles with photographer finace, Erik Almas as a new mom and lifestyle blogger and actress 

Connection 

Yoga is the union of the mind, body and spirit. This ability to connect to a deeper sense of self arrives as you drop into your breath, begin to link it with movements and quiet the mind. The hope is that the discoveries you find as you explore the eight limbs of yoga will cultivate a joyful, non judgmental awareness in which you can use as a vehicle for transformation. This connection isn't only enriching for the self but in all your relationships if you want it to be.  It's a journey inward that guides you to connect with the present moment with compassion and acceptance.

Relieve Stress

There is loads of research that supports yoga reducing stress and anxiety in conjunction with elevating your mood and over-all sense of well-being. When we stretch the body, create a fluidity with our breath and movements we release stored toxins and calm the mind quite beautifully. Stress wears differently on all of us so my suggestion is to simply see for yourself.  As you begin to practice consistently you will start to see the benefits show up in your daily life. A heaviness you may have often felt before becomes lighter. As relaxation is practiced, a  calm nervous system encourages more balance in dealing with life's upsets and disappointments as you navigate toward joy and healing more readily. 

Ease Joint Pain

You gotta love when Doctors and Chiropractors are prescribing yoga for pain, which I'm delightfully hearing more and more. I'm a prime example with having had severe knee pain from being a former dancer/ gymnast and using yoga as rehab instead of surgery. It was pretty miraculous for me. This is not the case for everyone but worth a shot in my book. Combined with anti-inflammatory foods you may save yourself in a multitude of ways; Ie., medical bills, painful procedures with recovery times, being on prescription drugs. Increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles that support our joints are key components when practicing various styles of yoga.

Gain Strength

Many of the yoga postures are strengthening poses that tone your entire body. I've had some incredible athletes try yoga for the first time with me and express that it was the hardest thing they ever did. Don't let that scare you... there's a practice for everyone. It's a full body work out physically and spiritually. Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga are three styles I'd recommend for someone wanting to focus on gaining muscle strength. Remember, strength comes in many forms as well.. it's not just about the tight core, killer triceps and buns of steel. As your awareness starts to inspire better life choices, it would be fair to say you've definitely strengthened your mind as well.

Great Workout

There are many styles of yoga with a variety of level's and intensity's and exploring them will help you land in a practice that's right for you. I was in the gym for years pounding the treadmill, using weight machines and not particularly enjoying myself at all. I was introduced to yoga in my late twenties switching gears, using it as my consistent form of exercise. I explored styles and levels and fell in love, quickly becoming addicted to the physical and mental challenges and happiness shift I was experiencing. At large, it seems everyone wants to maximize their time and efforts with quick results. I think of yoga as great work out for everything. With the right combination of style, instructor, level and commitment the benefits go far beyond the time spent on your mat and my top ten reasons.  

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Calming

Pranayama (control of breath) is the driving force of any style of yoga. Practicing this controlled breath connects us to our bodies and the present moment. Meditation (Dyhana) is one of the wonderful eight limbs of yoga I referred to earlier that quiets the mind and has been found to help reduce anxiety. Connecting to these vital elements increases your ability to relax, restore and revive. Day to day activities often leave us restless with mind-chatter and a yearning for a way minimize that. Finding balance and an understanding of your mind, body, spirit connection will invite more calm into your life. With a constant the need and/ or expectations to respond to things, this is one perk of the practice that can be detrimental to communicating positively and effectively. Savasana can be an out-of-body, calming experience... make sure you never miss out on that. 

Increase Flexibility

If I had a dollar for everyone who said "I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible", I'd be treating us all to fancy vacations regularly. My understanding and empathy with this is that, if you feel a lot of tightness or stiff areas in the body, yes postures will feel more challenging in the beginning. Anyone who has practiced at least three times with-in their first week I believe would tell you they felt better in some tight area of their body. I was always decently flexible due to my dance training but I've never felt flexibility combined with strength the way I do now from yoga. I've worked with several clients and watched their progress during a few short months and over the course of several years. There's no need to become gumby and some would advise that being overly flexible isn't smart for the long hall. However, I will cheer you on to consistently and mindfully practice asanas and stretch as it will lead to an increased range of motion and life long vitality.

Inspires Mindfulness

There is a lot of life we live just traveling through on auto pilot. The foundations of yoga teach us how to create more awareness and to be present. Hitting your mat regularly is likely to reveal more that you would expect and shift your ordinary responses into a place of thoughtful perspective and curiosity. I learned what a competitive perfectionist I was even in my yoga practice and how humbling it's been to let go of that. It's sort of like holding up a mirror to yourself and learning how to compassionately embrace every morsel of what you see and grow from it. Setting intentions, feeling gratitude, exploring the senses and taking in whatever arrives creates mindfulness that is transformative. 

Sleep Better 

Often reasons we don't sleep well are due to the worries, anxieties and constant information coming at us that is overstimulating. Exhaling is a release in the nervous system and postures relieve tension in the body thus often acting as a natural sleep remedy. Different styles of yoga, like Restorative or Hatha are slower paced and support better sleep than say an energizing power flow or hot yoga. If you suffer from insomnia you'd want to pay more attention to that and perhaps the time of day you practice. An evening gentle practice just might be the recipe for you to get your proper zzz's.

Brilliant for the Mind

It makes sense that yoga can sharpen the mind. With so much emphasis on the nine reasons above how could it not? Strengthening the immune system, central nervous system and deepening your focus are all tangible, physical health benefits. Neuroscience studies are reporting that our happy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine levels are increased in our logical and emotional brain when we practice sustained discipline in our mind/body (like hatha or vinyasa yoga). Yay for more feelings of relaxation and contentment. We all need more of that right?

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I'm a hopeful Inspirational Addict here and wishfully thinking, one of these reasons may be enough for you to give yoga a try or lock down that commitment to consistently practice. For the first time, I am discovering how difficult it can be to carve out space for self-care since having a baby so I get that it may take some strategy. Lucky for us with 37 million practicing we have several outlets to try to do it. Just like the various styles, there is something for everyone that could be your cup of tea; be it physically making a class, having a private instructor come to your home or lead you on-line, find an event near you or going on an amazing retreat.  I'm always here for you guys with questions or comments! Big hugs and thanks for popping by. 

xoxo Andrea

New Show, New Role in Zac And Mia

Is Andrea still acting? It's a heartfelt question I had to ask myself as well. A lot of years have been spent investing my heart and soul into a craft I'm incredibly passionate about. It's not an easy one to walk away from. So I haven't....

One of the most important keys to acting is curiosity. I am curious to the point of being nosy. What that means is you want to devour lives. You’re eager to put on their shoes and wear their clothes and have them become a part of you. All people contain mystery, and when you act, you want to plumb that mystery until everything is known to you
— Meryl Streep

Becoming a mamma and moving away from the daily grind of Hollywood to start a family doesn't necessarily put me in the running like it used to. With that being said, there are also more opportunities to self-tape and new content popping up all over digital media creating more work. I'm happy to report, I, along with a great team, am actively keeping in the mix on projects that make sense for me. While my real life role as a mamma gives me more to consider as things come my way, it's exciting, challenging and gives way for me to listen to my heart that much more. 

Actress Andrea Bogart engaged to Photographer Erik Almas lands a recurring role on Zac & Mia a Go90, Awesomeness TV web series as Krista Phillips 

While I was pregnant with our baby girl last spring I shot a movie that immediately sold to LIFETIME. Shortly after that I was offered a recurring role on an Awesomeness TV web series titled Zac & Mia, (Go90 Production) which I joyously accepted. I had hoped I would work some while I was carrying around my mini in my tummy but you just never know. Getting offers and being excited about roles always gives me momentum and that yearning for more jobs. What fun it's been playing a mom to some young gorgeous teenagers. I guess life is preparing me a little bit for what's to come, I joke, but I also remember being a teen, yikes. 

After I read Zac & Mia (originally a book by A.J. Betts) I immediately said YES. It captured my heart quickly with two ordinary teenagers connecting during treatment for cancer. Too many people today are diagnosed with various forms; some caught early enough to treat and recover and others considered terminal. I think we all have a story of someone lost too soon to cancer. While the content of the show is heavy there's a lot of love and heart brought forth and some super talented millennial's bringing great work to the table. It's premiering this week 11/7 and already been issued a season 2. My role (Krista Phillips) as the somewhat displaced 34 year old mom to my 17 year old daughter (Anna Winters) is challenged by their dynamic relationship. I'm back to work in LA this week and delighted they have brought me on to recur this season as well. I hope you'll tune in, share it... become a subscriber and comment that you REALLY love my character (I'm kidding, unless you want to... thanks in advance, hee hee hee :)

Since I know wholeheartedly the majority of my amazing fan base began with my days playing the older girlfriend, Abby Haver, to Michael Corinthos (played by Chad Duell) on ABC's Emmy Award winning soap General Hospital, I always feel it necessary to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you as well... you genuinely have stuck by me in all my endeavors and continue to give so much support! 

I haven't had that many straight offers in my career but the one's I have, have turned out to be some of the best and become much more than I ever anticipated. Big bslessigs to say the least and I'm incredibly thankful to the powers whom decide to give me these opportunities. I'm a proud mamma to be back at it. Looking forward to working this month in LA and hope there is more to come. As long as Hollywood keeps calling... I'm enthusiastically picking up! 

Let me know what you think if you check out the show on-line... share it with your teens if you have them. Feel free to leave me a comment. Hope you enjoy and have a great week. Big Hugs

XO ANDREA

Trick or Treat Halloween Happiness

This certainly is one of my favorite times of the year and well, October has just blown by with a lot of unexpected happenings for me... which is kinda what life does sometimes right?  In the spirit of Halloween; "when life gives you pumpkins... make happy Jack O' Lanterns or healthy pumpkin power bites... or head for the pumpkin patch, we've got great options!"               

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I bought all the ingredients to make these Paleo Pumpkin Power Bites before we had to mandatory evacuate our home early October so I can't speak from experience yet but they look delicious and I'm sharing the recipe from Paleo Grub. I plan to still get them made this week... I'll be eager to be all betty crocker in my kitchen that I've missed dearly this past month and let you know!

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I loved taking our family to this fun little activity pumpkin patch at Cornserstone Sonoma

Have a safe and Happy Halloween Everyone!

 

4 Mindful Ways To Invest In Yourself

When you think of mindfully investing in yourself what do you think of? Why is it important to do this for ourselves? Getting to the "why" does wonders for taking action... give it a try.

Nothing happens until YOU decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward
— Oprah Winfrey

This can look different for all of us depending on what your priorities are and where you are hoping to find growth. Mindful investments in myself mean something a little different than investing in say; getting my hair highlighted because it makes me feel presentable or buying that pair of boots that suit me just right. You catch my drift here? So let's play with four ideas that help me over and over again. 

QUIETING THE MIND

Stopping our minds from the endless chatter of rapid thoughts firing all day long is difficult to do. As we create some awareness around it, think less about needing to stop it and more about slowing it down. Find a place that feels calming for you. Get comfortable and bring your attention to your breath. I have found this to be the most efficient way to unwind the mind. Having a consistent meditation practice is wonderful and while I encourage you to strive for that, there are many suitable forms. Simply taking time out of your day to be present and find stillness is essential to your wellbeing. I find a quiet mind when; I practice yoga or nursing my baby-girl, my dad does mowing the lawn, my mom, reading a book, my fiancé, Erik finds it when he runs. Explore some and trust that whatever you do to get quiet will lead to you doing it more as you discover it's many benefits.

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EAT NUTRITIONALLY

I have a pretty 80/20 rule with this. Once you really get in tune with how the food you eat makes you feel, you are a lot wiser with the choices you make. I love food and I've found so much joy in learning about how to make my own tasty, clean meals. I don't shame myself for indulging in things I really want to enjoy that may not be at the top of my healthy list either. I have found the less rules, restrictions and negative talk I have about my choices, the healthier I am. I'm personally dedicated to choosing organic for myself and our family whenever I can. That lead to removing all processed foods and addictive sugars out that have made it into our food and beverages far more than necessary. We can not rely on anyone but ourselves right now to take action when it comes to what we put into our bodies and our kids need our help. I have concern and care as I learn more about our food industry and all the hidden dangers that are detrimental to our overall health and quality of life. So many of our ailments; joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, stress, etc.... can be transformative and dramatically improved with proper food and balancing what makes the best sense for you. 

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JOURNALING

Isn't journaling wonderful? I implore you to write a little bit everyday. There's a great book called The Five Minute Journal I often gift to friends that is perfect place to start. If you're not a big writer, try an amazing app I've blogged about called Gratitude 365.  My daily journaling of three gratitudes has been consistent for a few years now and made a signifiant impact on my happiness and daily perspective. Meditating and then free writing can be incredibly theraputic and a great way to filter out fear and worry and transform it into positivity. If you happen to be a traveler like me, I love to write about places I've been and what those experiences have brought to my life. I'm newly experimenting with Moleskins Smart Notebook as I love handwriting things down but for blogging I am always wishing some of those ideas and journal entries would magically appear in my notes or documents on my digital devices– and this does that. I'm kind of a journal junky... ton's of creative inspiration and clarity come from writing regularly. Have fun doing it and take note what it does for you. 

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

I love moving my body so this is a natural one for me, but I realize not for everyone. I thank my mom who put me in dance at age three and I grew to love it. I've been actively stretching my entire life so far.  I don't know about you but as I age gracefully I want to maintain a nice range of motion in my body. Let's not confuse healthy stretching with the need to be abnormally flexible, that is not what I'm suggesting. When I see elderly men and women out walking, stretching in a park or showing up consistently in my yoga class, I'm inspired, knowing that's the kind of vibrancy I want to have. Both of my grandmothers were pretty active women and as they stopped moving regularly their quality of life declined significantly too, it pained my heart. Our activity level will naturally slow, muscle mass will weaken but stretching can help us reverse the aging process and improve our agility. I rarely miss a day of stretching but I noticed several things show back up while I was recovering from giving birth. That was a circumstance of slowing down I was going to honor but it was interesting that my joint pain in my knee I haven't felt in years came back, shoulders stiffened and tightness crept in. I started stretching my upper body again first and returned to my yoga practice after six weeks. The decline of mobility occurs when we become inactive. I was able to help my dad with suggesting some stretches I thought he should do daily at 68 years old and he does them everyday now and say's he feels such a difference. I'm a believer that even if you don't get in the fitness routine you'd like to, daily stretching is going to contribute to your overall wellness forever. 

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These four suggestions are not rocket science but sometimes we just need a little nudge to put investing in ourselves into actions... so consider this your nudge and a lovely reminder for myself I may add! Thank you for popping by and your suggestions, comments or perhaps your own experience are always welcome here. Enjoy the last few days of October...we are cruising through fall. 

 

xo Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT DOES GIVING BACK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Why should I or how could I... give back? Have you ever asked yourself that? No big deal if you haven't but I can assure you it's a worthy investigation for your soul. 

The secret to living is giving
— Anthony Robbins
Inspirational Addict Blogger and Wellness Influencer Andrea Bogart talks giving back with recent Sonoma Fires on her mind as a new Sonoma Mamma with Erik Almas

Are you a helpful human? I’m a helpful human. I know I enjoy doing things for others. I'm sure we can share in that confidently right? I also can admit there have been times in my life where I thought I was too broke and way too busy making ends meet to give back in any sort of way. I snarled at street beggars and would think to myself “do better, try to get a job, I am”. I wasn't compassionately thinking about what their story may be. Those were very limiting beliefs. I am happy to say, that young and narrow mind of mine has expanded quite a lot since those days. It’s hard though… sometimes you just don't see how to help others if you’re struggling yourself. Let's grab a little insight together on this.

Ask Yourself A Few Things

Is there a cause you know your heart is drawn to? What are your passions? If you had a million dollars to spare what contributions would you want to make? What do you care about? Where would you like to make an impact? What does your spirituality look like? Feeling inspired yet?

The Northern California fires that just blazed in like a hurricane over wine country and my new home have given me reason to pause. I'd like to take how abundantly blessed we've been through it all and find ways to give back for those who've lost so much. I've never had to emergency evacuate before. Nor consider the safest decisions to quickly make with a newborn and partner you love dearly. I've never had a home of my own that I had to think about loosing so fast. I tend to think anyone who has experienced this would agree, you very quickly realize the only thing that matters is your families safety. While it's difficult not to implode with sadness when there is so much suffering in the world, you can shift a lot by focusing on gratitude and sharing that energy with others. Incredible strength has come from our Sonoma community in group and individual efforts. We've returned to signs of thanks for our firefighters and first responders posted everywhere and a sense of warmth engulfing this town with supportive conversations, smiles and waves to every passing neighbor, offers for home cooked meals, places to stay and introduced to loads of resources where people can help in a multitude of ways. Examples of giving back surrounds us.

Inspirational Addict Blogger Andrea Bogart and wellness influencer in Sonoma talks giving back after Sonoma Fires. 

I joined The New Hollywood; a501c3 non-profit organization which is dedicated to supporting socially conscious storytellers and change-maker’s in 2014. I was so inspired by this group of women from the first meeting we had. They all have incredibly busy lives and manage to successfully wear several different hats AND are part of charity organizations doing a wonderful job supporting things they are passionate about. I got curious about how I could do more to give back and what that could look like for me. Inspiration is always a helpful tool when it comes to taking action yourself. Being a part of this group, hearing about what so many others do on small and large scales gave me insight to look and see how I could do the same. It's infectious. 

Get Your Wheels Turning

My passions for teaching yoga, writing children's literature and acting have lead me to give back in all those areas by volunteering my time with aligned programs. These are really enjoyable ways to give back for me. What do you love to do?

If time is not available but monetary donations make more sense in some instances, I like to know what percentage directly get's given to the cause. Don't be afraid to get clarity on that. Watch out for things that say "some proceeds or a portion of" if you in-fact would like to know your offerings go fully into what you're supporting. 

I love doing a major house cleaning a few times a year and donating requested items to the Veterans. They will pick up boxed or bagged goods at your door and you can schedule it. What may not be of use to me anymore may be extremely useful to someone else. This is a great one for kids to participate in when cleaning out toys. 

Depending on your spiritual path and what your practice is... prayers cost nothing and are filled with intentions and love. Our family is especially grateful for all the prayers sent our way during the past few weeks and we plan to keep that prayer train moving. There is a lot of healing knowing there's positivity being sent your way, not to mention what you can put out there for others. We often have our greatest healing happen when we take that which feels heavy off of ourselves and redirect it into love and gratitude you can share. 

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Thank you for stopping by Inspirational Addict... If you have any comments or fun you'd like to share with me please do. It's lovely hearing from you guys. Sending lot's of love out there into the world. Blessings and hugs.

XO ANDREA

 

 

My Evacuation Experience from The Sonoma Fires

I'm still in shock with what was a beautiful start to a day taking such a dramatic turn for the worst. Nothing could have prepared Northern California for the devastating fires that have swept the lands this past week. 

Let's Rewind

Last Sunday morning was a special one for me. While Cornerstone Sonoma offered to let me host my first yoga event in their Garden Barn and word had been spreading throughout the community, I was feeling the warm welcome from many. Kevin Paris, our talented musician soothed our senses playing his acoustic guitar as we flowed between utter bliss and joyful tears.

Inspirational Addict wellness influencer Andrea Bogart leads yoga and live music event with Kevin Paris at Cornerstone Sonoma Garden Barn 

It was a great turn-out and everything went so smoothly. As one yogi commented after saying “I wish we had this every Sunday, it felt like going to church,” I was delighted. I took the feelings of a loving, supportive community home with me and couldn’t wait to start planning the next one. It was a beautiful day…

Inspirational Addict wellness influencer Andrea Bogart leads yoga and live music event with Kevin Paris at Cornerstone Sonoma Garden Barn

Cut To The Evening

Later, back at home, the sun started to dip over the mountain and the weather took a shift. The wind howled and haunting sounds took me to bed. That jumpy feeling you get from watching scary movies swallowed me… Aaaaand BLACK OUT, suddenly we loose power. Candles are lit and there’s a quick shuffle around to find flash lights. I resettle myself, read our baby girl a few books (a little more for me than her I think) and tried to comfortably tuck in. We finally sleep. Just after 1:30AM I’m awakened by hearing our names being shouted outside the window with a flash of light peering past the curtains. Our neighbor, an Angel, waking us with the news that there is an entire hill side across the way is on fire and we should evacuate our home. She says to grab some things for a few nights and get out as fast as we can.  She gave us a meeting place if we needed support.

My heart pounds. I see our baby-girl sleeping so soundly and take some deep breaths. I can’t even begin to describe what kind of fear sets in knowing this is not just about our safety anymore, it’s about this little human you will do anything to protect. But I quickly decide fear is not an option. It’s; think fast, keep it together and get out safely.

Erik and I make a quick plan to get down from the mountain. We need to get our renters in our Airbnb evacuated and our neighbor there who manages our property whom we couldn’t reach by phone. The drive down was daunting for many reasons… I’m focused on the winding road as there are huge branches and debris down everywhere. I can see the entire ridge to the East on fire, it’s massive. This just got even more real. We divide and conquer, pounding on the doors and yelling to get everyone out and succeed. We headed to some friends just off the square to regroup and decide what’s next. It’s approximately 2:30AM and the usual quiet streets are packed with groups congregating in various areas clearly not sure what to do.

We spend the next hour+ taking in the situation, getting opinions of neighbors (a retired fire chief being one,) and mulling it over with all our friends who’ve met here. We are well aware the smoke is getting worse, we know we have to get our three month old out of this. Erik secures a hotel in about 45 minutes toward San Fransisco for us and we take off. Roads are closed on the way out but relatively clear. An hour later, now 5:30AM we are checking in and getting our wee one tucked back in safely. I won't take you through a play by play for the next seven days as all the details are unimportant. I will tell you that I’m grateful we got out when we did as it was the best decision for our newborn and her tiny developing lungs and I’m in awe of how amazing my love, Erik, is time and time again.

I share a part of this all with you today to express extreme gratitude and heartfelt condolences. The fires are not over but after we got confirmation today that our home survived the fires and our rental property did as well, we feel so incredibly blessed. When two of the larger burning fires became one by Wednesday and the winds kicked back up we really questioned what could happen as our homes sat in the middle of it all. We prayed and we asked everyone we knew to pray for us and all those in the midst of extreme duress. It has been an emotional roller-coaster of getting notifications that things are ok and then it would all change at a moments notice. One of our closest friends lost their home like so many have. The sadness you endure for others is real, the unknown of what your own reality may be is almost paralyzing. We spent our days being consumed by updates and news hanging onto any hopeful information that came our way. Having a newborn is a godsend. They keep you in good spirits because they sense what you're feeling. I started to really loose it multiple times and Em's little lower lip curled down and I could see she was going to loose it too... I did't want that. We sang and played and were able to take a lot of down moments and relish in the joy of having her. I practiced non-attachment daily knowing that having each other in the end was all we needed and the rest is replaceable. It's NOT EASY... you think about all that you'd loose and it hits you like a brick wall. I really love our home. I really love where we've settled to start our family life. I couldn't make that go away. I did however keep praying for the best. I visualized people returning to their homes and a strong community coming together to support the process of rebuilding. That will all continue. Sonoma Country and Napa County will need a lot of love in the coming years. 

Our firefighters and first responders are our hero's. The hours and effort it's taken to bring so many of them together to manage the unmanageable is unbelievable and deserving of so much support and praise. I know our family will be forever grateful for their courage and do whatever we can to join others in giving back. We have been overwhelmed with support from our families and new and old friends during this time. Erik, Em and I thank you so very much. Prayers are constant for so many of those who’ve lost everything and continue to struggle with the unknown fate of these fires. Stay strong and believe there are wonderful people all around who are coming together to support each other. 

If you've been affected by the fires please sign up for disaster relief assistance at www.disasterrelief.gov

I'll work on putting together a great list but here's a place to start if you'd like to donate https://www.youcaring.com/victimsevacueesandfirstrespondersforsonomafires-977708

Little Bit Of Our Story

We, like so many others hope to get to return home soon. All my love and blessings. 

xoxo Andrea

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NOTE: All Photos of Fires pulled from Internet resources-I take no credit and used just to show visually the Northern California Fires near Sonoma Valley of Oct. 2017.

My Younger Self Would Have Greatly Benefited From Mindfulness, How About Your's?

Is there an activity in your life today you would have greatly benefited from in your adolescences? What are some of the most essential things you'd share with your younger self in today's world?

For me that is answer is YES. Especially now that I'm a mom, it's got me thinking about my youth and how I can raise this little person to be a strong, compassionate and loving human.  A desire commonly shared in parenting, I have no doubt.  

If I knew how much yoga and meditation would have impacted my life for the better, you bet I would I have grabbed on to the practices sooner. I didn't get committed to either until my 30's. I was incredibly dedicated to being a dancer and tumbler as a young girl. With that came discipline, hard work, developing a passion, busy schedules, tons of joy... and let's not leave out anxiety, nervousness, failure and thoughts about never being good enough. Although these things help shape us at a young age, isn't it equally important to learn how to cope, manage and understand the more difficult emotions we encounter? It would be incredible to see more effort focused on acquiring self-help tools and practices and less on dramatic labels and prescriptions in my book. There is so much going on in the world today. We are more and more inundated with information coming at us, sharing our lives in a fantastical social-media manner, stripped of the simple things and horrified by devastation time and time again. Mindful practices continue to bring me back to gratitude and compassion and that always provides a shift into something great. 

While I am thankful for great parents who did a tremendous job guiding me, not everyone grows up with such direction and support. And even if you do, sometimes outside sources, pressures and the circles you fall into can have a negative impact. I know yoga and meditation would have only strengthen my mind, body and spirit connection, complimenting my active and competitive lifestyle all through my youth. We only have so much time for our extra circular activities outside school when we are younger, which is why I find it inspiring to see more and more school systems implementing yoga into their curriculum. It's truly more than just a physical practice when guided by skilled, trained, passionate instructors. Children are beginning to learn yoga and mindful practices in pre-school now. Some schools are using meditation during detention and evolving the mindset of troubled kids. Not to mention companies like Google, Apple, Time Warner, YAHOO and AOL offering meditation and wellness programs on-site for employees. How amazing is that? If we are continuously seeing the scientific benefits of mediation, yoga and mindful practices significantly making a difference in the work place, I sure hope we unite as a society and encourage more of this for our youth. The same goes for nutrition, but that's another blog. 

I share my enthusiasm for these things because of the exponential growth and transformation I've experienced from consistently practicing them for years. I am a mom now, I have a responsibility and desire to be a great one who's full of vitality. Helping our baby-girl see how important wellness is; mind, body and spirit is a gift I simply want to pay forward and educate her with early on. I believe that proper nutrition, the power in breath work, regular stretching and being able to sit with ourselves quietly, are a key elements that will encourage awareness of our health, continuous growth and expansion with-in. I'm excited to be a part of a wellness shift I feel happening in the U.S. and pray we as individuals care enough about our wellbeing and that of our families, we learn as much as we can so we can make wise choices.

Sonoma Mom Inspirational Addict Blogger and wellness influencer Andrea Bogart with Daughter and Erik Almas Photography

If any of you are curious about meditation there are wonderful apps out there you can get started with. I personally love Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21Day Meditation Experiences they offer several times a year for free. The next one, Making Every Moment Matter starts Oct. 30th if you want to join me? 

As a fun exercise, try writing a letter to your younger self sharing the lessons that have impacted you the most so far. This can be incredibly therapeutic and give you some clarity about what you really appreciate and serves you well today.

If you have great resources you love, share them with me. I'm all about creating community and helpful tips for one another! Have a beautiful week. 

XO ANDREA 

 

YOU Are The Solution To Not Giving Up

We've all set out to achieve something at one point or another right? Can you relate to the notion of setting your expectations a little too high or wanting those immediate results and getting impatient to the point you give up? I'm soooooo with you. Together, let's find some solutions.... so we DO NOT GIVE UP. 

Inspirational Addict Andrea Bogart Get My Body Back Influencer of wellness with Erik Almas Photography

I looked at my bum in the mirror the other day, scowled, and out loud said "this isn't working." Then I counted the days I've been doing my focused booty and core work and it's been 19 days since I began a 90 day Get My Body Back challenge with The New Hollywood; which is dedicated to supporting socially conscious storytellers and changemaker's. "Ok, seriously Andrea... were you expecting your bum and tummy to take a new magnificent shape over night?" I tend to give myself a hard time, do you?  I appreciate that I work really hard, I'm super committed to things I'd like to achieve and yet I will forget regularly to give myself credit for what I am doing and rant about what I didn't do or what's not happening for me. It's a trap that sadly feels natural doesn't it? I do however have enough awareness to recognize this behavior, catch myself and shift perspective fairly quickly now... that, I am proud of. How do we get there?

I know I often refer to my yoga practice and how much it's changed my life... but there's great reason for that; IT HAS. The practice itself with great mentors helps me grasp the tools to tap into those perspective shifting abilities. Being an instructor allows me the privilege to diligently share the very things that I continue to grow from. Writing this blog is another self-motivating tool for me, among several resources I love. Perhaps, YOU are not a yoga instructor, or blogger or spiritual seeker, all of which is completely OK.  So I ask you to take inventory of your life style choices, the people you surround yourself with and where you are in your efforts to stay committed to the the experiences that encourage you to live your best life and PAY ATTENTION. 

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop
— Confucius

You are brave. You are on a journey that is forever shifting. It's a process to invite in the things that we embrace long enough to trust they are changing us. Often we keep going because we see, feel and indulge in the results... which is amazing, so keep doing that. When the results are slow coming or we can't see or feel a difference quite yet, are we courageous enough to simply trust and admire our efforts? Can that be enough to keep us motivated? Join me in saying a big "Hell Yes"! 

For all my GMBB5 members... keep on keep'n on, we made one heck of a long commitment to finish our year strong. We 100% got this! My booty and tummy will be patient... Determined by December is my mantra, you are welcome to borrow that too.   

Lot's of love to all of you as always... if you have anything for me leave a comment.

XO ANDREA 

 

MINDFULLY START YOUR DAY BEFORE YOUR FEET EVEN HIT THE FLOOR

Happy Soulful Sunday... are you ready to start your week off with a bang? I am, I hope you'll join me with some thoughtful intentions leading the way.

Inspirational Addict Mindfully Start Your Day with Intentions

Are you set on auto pilot? How much of the first few minutes of your day are spent going through the motions without much awareness? Do you have multiple alarms set for waking up or reach for your phone and immediately start responding to things or possibly shower and brush your teeth with your eyes half open? All of which are things I've gotten caught up doing at various times in my life. Think of creating awareness as a gift to your soul... rather than inflicting any sort of shame on your behaviors. These are the places from which we grow.

I'm not quite sure where I picked up my actions from, but a while ago, my curiosity about how I started my day inspired me to make some changes. Upon waking, I sit up in bed and take three deep inhales and exhales linking my breath to a seated sun salutation. As I finish the third one with my hands at heart center, I set an intention. This is a way for me to mindfully start my day before my feet even hit the floor. This action rippled into more rituals (morning and night) that even with a newborn, I try to diligently make happen daily. 

Inspirational Addict Mindfully Start Your Day with Awareness with photography by Erik Almas

My introduction to setting intentions came from a consistent yoga practice, which I love and incorporate into my own teachings today. I never had much thought around mindfully starting my day before yoga and it's a big part of why I am always curious about how to better myself. Prayer has been and will always be a part of my life but there is something different about setting intentions that feels purposeful. I can attest that you really don't make changes in your life that stick until you want to make changes and commit. 

To mindfully start your day with a morning routine you absolutely have to make one that's right for you. We all have different lifestyles and commitments. I suggest you doing something you may enjoy or be curious about trying for starters. I tend to stack things into what I'm already doing and find that helps me be consistent. For example, in addition to doing my three breaths which ground me and give me a little stretch as I set an intention, I also use my early morning breastfeeding sessions for meditation and doing my three daily gratitudes. I take down a glass of water first thing, which I set next to my bed the night before.  My man and I make a Vega One protein drink after we stretch for 10-15 minutes. These are all things I enjoy and yes, are challenging at times but have become more habitual now and if I miss doing something... I have that feeling that I didn't do part of what supports my productivity throughout my day. This is me... what's your morning look like for you? Believe me, it was different when I was single. It was even more different before my yoga practice began and with a beautiful, growing baby girl, I'm sure it will take a new shape again soon. Being open to the shifts and changes with your lifestyle is also a dynamic part of you being mindful. Trust in that. 

My talented fiancé, Erik Almas, and I wanted to shoot something together that we created. This was very much inspired by how I make great efforts to mindfully start my day... I hope what ever your morning looks like, you have an awareness around your actions and do at least one thing for yourself that feels, grounding, uplifting and provokes some joy that carries you throughout your day!

At the beginning of your day when you wake up; express your aspiration “May I practice three difficulties, may I see what I do. When it happens, may I do something different, and may that be a way of life for me.”
— Pema Chodron

Thank you for stopping by... I love hearing from you if you've got any fun morning rituals you want to share, let me hear them! 

XO Andrea

 

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.

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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