Are You Full Of THANKS and GIVING?

Happy Thanksgiving my sweet souls… are you ready for the feast and the fun? This is truly one of my favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love a beautiful meal that brings people together whether it’s family gathering or a giant Friendsgiving! What I’ve realized matters most though, is getting to share it with the people you love. So put your phones away today, be social, connect with each other and be present. It’s just the best, so please enjoy to the fullest.

 Inspirational Addict, Sonoma Mama, Andrea Bogart Yoga, Inspiring Blogger, Health & Wellness, Everyday Joys, Mindfulness, Yoga Instructor, Actress, Happy Wife

In past years, I’ve either taken great joy helping host or delighted in preparing one of my favorite dishes to contribute to a gathering and yes, I’m a total sucker for watching The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Fun fact: 1993 & 1997 I was in the parade as a dancer, I wish I had digital pix to share). Quite chilly but fun and unforgettable NY trips!

Although this year will be much different as I’m in Doha, Qatar where Thanksgiving is not celebrated— I am at least with my husband and little nugget and that means everything. I will find my way to some turkey and a fabulous green bean Arabic dish if it kills me. I’ve already been researching how I can stream the parade live from my computer. And then… let the Christmas carols begin!

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We will soon venture from our upper seventy degree temperatures and ocean dips to the winter wonderland of Norway and Missouri getting the full magic of Christmas with our families. I’m looking forward to that too!

I’m beyond grateful for the experiences we get to have as a traveling family. Watching our baby girl smile, shake hands and blow kisses to every different ethnicity of people we encounter is a beautiful thing to witness. Although she’s too young to notice the cultural experience she’s already having I hope it will continue to open her heart to all people in loving way. I’m almost a half a day ahead of most of you in the U.S. surround by the Persian Gulf and palm trees. I’m feeling thankful and blessed to get to see the world and venture to places I didn’t even know existed. (You can google Qatar now too)

I have so many wonderful memories of all the different ways I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving and this will be another. No matter where you are we can all take time to reflect on our blessings, give thanks and also think about ways we can give back. I hope to host a yoga event in the new year and donate all the proceeds to California Fire relief. It’s been a tough few years for residents and I know that’s one thing I can do from my heart.

I’m wishing all of you a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving. Prayers, hugs and blessings too you. Thanks for stopping by! 

              XOXO ANDREA

5 Reasons To Get A Baby Turban By BluTaylor?

Hello hello! Happy Wednesday. What’s a Baby turban you ask? I was clueless until this precious gift arrived for our babe shortly after becoming a new family of three. 

So this one is for my mama’s and papa’s out there looking to wrap up their little bundle’s noggin in one of the sweetest head accessories we’ve found for our baby. Our ballet pink, vintage baby turban by BluTaylor was a gift from our friend Gaby that is seemingly loved by all, so I’m inclined to pay this forward. It’s practical, beyond cute and a noteworthy share.

We have been putting this on our sweetie-pie since she came home from the hospital. It’s incredibly soft, covers her sensitive little ears and now even at nine months old, isn’t tugging at it to pull it off constantly. It’s a gentle snug fit and gives Emerie a whole look, let me tell you! We can't seem to go out of the house wearing this without being stopped and someone asking "where is her head wrap from?" Aside from all that fun, I absolutely love what founder and designer, Katie and her brand stands for. She's another example of how life can give you unexpected tragedies and as personal healing blooms the desire to share that healing with others blooms even bigger. See BluTaylor about for more of her and her teams story.

5 Reasons To Get Yours Too

  1. Their Preemie Program is wonderful. You can submit for your own preemie or for a friend and BluTaylor donates a baby turban custom tailored by Kate— awesome right?
  2. BluTaylor head wraps are all handmade and the BLUE thread used in every one, regardless of the color or pattern, is to signify tailor-made HOPE.
  3. They are made of super soft fabrics in vintage, classic or limited editions that stay out of your babies eyes!
  4. Covering the head and precious ears with a gentle, snug fit makes for a great travel hat that babies won't tug off.
  5. The variety of colors and patters are trendy & fun and not just for our little one's— they make them for adults now too.
 Baby Almas BluTaylor Baby Turban Inspirational Addict Blogger Sonoma Mama Yoga Instructor Actress Andrea Bogart
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As we placed this special gift onto our little one’s head and took her out into the world… the compliments and questions from others inspired me to look a little deeper into BluTaylor. I’m so grateful I did. I appreciate and value a brand like this! Please enjoy my limited time discount code and share the love. They certainly make great gifts! Click the button below to take you to shopping and enter BLUTAYLOR+BOGART for your discount when you check out.

A big thanks to BluTaylor for such a lovely collaboration with me. Although the swooning over Em in her turbans can make us all blush, I'm a bigger fan of simply spreading the word about brands with heart, integrity and a missional purpose! Lot’s of love beaming out to all of you this week! Have a great one and thank you for stopping by.

XO ANDREA

Are You Close To Om? —Why I love Andrea Marcum

Happy Wednesday Lovelies! How’s your week going? Are you creating some space for mindfulness & self-care for your deserving soul? I love when things cross my path that remind me to take a break from our to-do lists, auto-pilot behaviors and just breathe into what’s happening right in this moment. The sun is shining bright today, the breeze blowing so subtly through my curtain and after a week of rain the evidence of Spring is everywhere. Deep breath in— deep breath out. How good does that feel?

 Inspirational Addict Lifestyle blogger, Healthy and Wellness, Yoga Instructor, Sonoma Mama photographed by Erik Almas

Have you ever been curious about how yoga could or does relate to your life? It doesn’t matter how long or short of a time you’ve been practicing, we will continuously be surprised at how much this practice reveals and supports where we are in our lives. The time spent on our mat can be a vehicle for transformation as life’s experiences take us up and down and to places unknown. The growth I continue to feel as a practitioner and a certified instructor doesn’t happen without the inspiration of others that I learn from.  If you don’t already know who Andrea Marcum is... you should. My yoga journey has been beautifully enriched as I show up on my mat again and again. Andrea is the witty & gracious guide sharing her gifts with me... and the world I may add.

 Yoga Instructor and Author Andrea Marcum with Andrea Bogart, Inspirational Addict Health and wellness Blogger in India, International Yoga Retreat photographed by Erik Almas

I found Andrea at Best You Studio years ago after moving to Miracle Mile in Los Angeles and searching best yoga instructor on yelp. I remember her asking me my name since I was new to class. We both chuckled after I said, “Andrea”. My intuition was clear. I had a sudden need to blurt out “you’re going to be my mentor" like a 5 year old proclaiming they’d just tied their own shoes for the first time. I felt a deeper connection to myself throughout that seventy-five minute class than I ever had before. I laughed out loud a handful of times, I wept like baby and when class ended I felt like something major just happened. I was a mess when I first landed in her class and it was a mucky ride for while but I always left feeling better than when I arrived.  The really juicy gunk started to become the best part and whether; I face planted trying bakasana (crow), sobbed my way through hip openers or realized the people pleasing, perfectionist in me needed to learn to just be, I was genuinely feeling more joy and happiness as I'd get in my car and drive home from class. The pull to keep going was profound and my commitment was one I was excited about. Andrea has a humorous way of leading us in a humbling dance with our minds and bodies utilizing the very essence of yoga to be one we explore on our mats and effortlessly immerse into our everyday lives. I’ve spent years practicing in a studio setting and traveling through India on an International Yoga retreat with her, I’m grateful for how much I get to absorb from this accomplished soul. She's been an integral part of why I was inspired to get certified and have been teaching for the past 6 years. 

Please allow this wise human to welcome you to your mat and embark on an adventure I assure you will not turn away from. I will warn you of her ab sequences as that may be the one time you want to take a bullet train off course— hang in there, everything has a purpose. You can find Marcum literally everywhere these days; Studio classes at YogaWorks in LA, Online Classes, Workshops and Retreats around the world AND may I encourage you to join her Om Community as you listen or read her newly published, absolutely fantastic book, “Close To Om”. I'm so thankful I can practice with her on-line since I've relocated to Sonoma. I miss her presence beyond belief but I don't have to miss her awesome classes. Whew! 

I have a signed copy from Andrea Marcum I'd be delighted to put in the hands of one of my sweet subscribers, so leave a comment to be entered in the drawing— Winner announced next Wednesday 4/4/18 at 5PM PT. 

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Andrea's passion, knowledge, humor and grace strut across pages throughout this book. I love that you can be a seasoned yogi or brand new and feel like you're right where you need to be with enjoying it. She threads the perfect amount of philosophy and creates an opportunity for you to jump on your mat with clarity. If you are even the slightest bit curious about yoga and how you can apply the practice to your life you would love this book. Her shared life experiences and stories invites us all in to be exactly who we are and appreciate how a consistent yoga practice can deeply connect you to a deeper sense of self... her wit will keep you laughing and humble. 

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing
— George Bernard Shaw

Thank you for stopping by gang and I hope you're liking Wellness Wednesdays... It's so fun to share things that I love and play a part major role in my happiness. I'll keep paying things forward and let me know what you're liking! I love hearing from you... don't forget to leave a comment so I know you're interested in winning an Andrea Marcum sighed copy of "Close To Om". 

XO ANDREA

Mama Joy's Filling My Cup

Hello lovelies... are you parenting too? 

Mini heart explosions, staring the day away observing their every move, nuzzling so hard it brings you to tears, feeling a kind of deep love that's hard to put into words? It’s so true, all of it... and it brings such joy to my life— having a baby.

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It’s not possible to quantify how much happiness bringing another human life into this world gives a parent. Let’s just agree it’s absolutely the best thing ever! Suddenly you're home with this amazing being and you feel the desperation to do things as if there is a set guide book on how to be the best parent raising the greatest kid on earth— anyone else feel that? Take some deep breaths, tune-in to your courage, faith and trust your intuition. You will feel so connected with your tiny babe and in my experience... you will not be lead astray. You're a brilliant team. You are YOUR team, no one else's. 

Of course, we will call friends, ask our own mother's and lean into resources for guidance, especially if you're a first time parent. In my quest to find answers to questions during my pregnancy and once our little bunny entered the world, I came across one too many articles that frankly scared the bejeezus out of me. I wasn’t intending to stumble upon so many; “what they don’t tell you” kind of stories about vaginas, fatigue and more. No offense, I’m an open book and I like some insight as much as the next one, but I really wanted and needed to focus on all the good and encourage my powerful mind and body to keep manifesting the greatest experience of a lifetime. 

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So for all of you; mamas, soon-to-be, hoping to be or praying for a miracle. YOU are incredible. I REPEAT, trust in this perfect journey and your undeniable intuition. Mama joys are an everyday occurrence and as easy as it can be to slip into negative thought patterns of doubt, worry and even failure... I PRACTICE catching myself, shifting perspective and choosing trust, courage and joy. We are six months into parenthood and a good portion of it feels like I’m getting to re-live being a child. Parents, do you feel me? Here's some fun things to try if you're just getting your feet wet. 

FUN and FUNNY (me not the baby)

  • Early to bed, early to rise… passing out mid meal, with a bit of drool. 
  • Making mouth noises ranging from fart sounds to motorboats.  
  • Singing songs like you know the melody and lyrics but just make up your own, terribly cute isn't it?
  • Performing giggly goo’s and monkey moves as if that is strong choice to get your babe to laugh. It is though, am I wrong?
  • Challenging your character voices during story time to see if your baby recognizes the changes... the looks I get from our girl are priceless. 

These are just a few of the ways in which we get to visit our playful minds again, all for the sake of getting the love and attention from our little explorer looking to discover new things. 

HONOR

  • The ability to pull yourself out of a deep slumber at lightening speed to feed and or nurture your babe back to sleep. And then yourself.
  • Becoming Octamom or dad, yes a parent with multiplying, helpful appendages where suddenly even your toes, feet & elbows become more useful than you thought was humanly possible. 
  • Your partner or whatever kind of system you have raising your child. We are all imperfect and feel it so verbal validation and giving our loving support as consistently as changing diapers is a major WIN on all accounts for everyone.  

It's incredibly important to applaud yourself often and wrap your parenting team up in compassion. We are responsible for a new life and it's not easy... honor all that you are doing.   

DELIGHT

  • The milestone changes that happen so quickly, from smiling while they sleep, giggling out loud, roll over, get teeth, hug you and taste food for the first time, to name a few.  
  • The connection you create between your tribe... the bond is incredible. It's indescribable and will cause your heart to swell repeatedly. 
  • The poops, especially the explosive one's that travel beyond the diaper and can cause a 15 min time-out at any part of your day. Just lean into a fun pew-wee potty song and it will be over fast. You just must delight in this. 

Sometimes we get so busy we miss what's happening right in front of us. The number of times I get delightfully sidetracked from perhaps what I was intending to do to see our girl play with a toy independently, explore a new space, sleep like an angel... or whatever it may be, is worthy of reminding myself to be present. 

LOVE

  • Speak it, show it, be it. I don't believe a baby can be over loved in any capacity. Smother away, I say... a million kisses a day.
  • Relish in the love you receive, embrace it fully and let it guide you like a light through the questionable, worry-some times. 
  • LOVE yourself for all the choices you make, the things you learn and grow from as a parent and for braving what some would consider being the most challenging thing a human can experience— raising a happy, healthy, kind child. AMEN

My heart was set on writing a blog about a few of the extraordinary pieces of parenthood that make us smile. The LOVE we give and receive is simply perfection. You can't go wrong with loving your babe. The joys of being a parent are steadfast. Growing abundantly daily. Remind yourself of these very things when difficult moments arrive. And there will be difficult moments. If any of you parents who have far more experience than me have some fun stories to share back... I'm ALL ears! Thank you so so much for popping by. Happy parenting! 

My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.
— Maya Angelou— Mom & Me Quotes

xo Andrea

My Favorite Mindful Gifts

The joys of the holidays are bustling with shopping, entertaining, being merry and you're wondering what is something mindful I can give this year? I'm hear to help– I take great pleasure in paying forward things I love, so may I suggest a few from Andrea's Favorite Things

 Inspirational Addict Wellness Influencer Sonoma Mom Yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart and Erik Almas Photographer Travel In Norway

Seeking motivation and daily affirmations for setting intentions became increasingly prominent for me as I found great books like “Journey To The Heart.” The beautifully written, short stories that fill the pages of a 365 day enlightening experience is one I know I will do again in this lifetime. It’s not only a heartwarming cozy cup of goodness, the messages often propelled a focus point for me to pay forward with yoga clients and supported my soul searching quest to live my greatest-good. I felt more connected to myself and a deeper sense of compassion toward the world in which we live after a year spent dedicated to this read. 

 
                    Daily Affirmation Book

                   Daily Affirmation Book

 

 

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. Tip; make sure to hold the pen correctly. 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. 

 
                Moleskin Digital Notebook

               Moleskin Digital Notebook

 

I get asked quite a lot about the yoga mat I use. I spend a lot of time on it as a practitioner and instructor so a good mat is important to me. Whether you are practicing regularly or once in a while the Manduka PROLite is the one I refer the most. I have tried several yoga mats and some I like for certain reasons better than others but this mat is the overall win for me. It had me at non-toxic and sustainable engineering but lightweight, high-density cushion, and emission free manufacturing are all more perks of this fabulous mat. A lifetime guarantee certainly doesn't hurt either. You're also essentially encouraging yoga too which in my book is one of the best gifts ever!

 
             Manduka PROLite Yoga Mat

            Manduka PROLite Yoga Mat

 

The Giving Keys has been one of my favorite companies founded by my beautiful friend, Caitlin Crosby for years. With every purchase, you create employment opportunities for people transitioning out of homelessness, how cool is that? I was gifted my first key, BELIEVE by Caitlin and since then have acquired several more and love sharing this mindful brand. Rocking an empowering word for you and then paying a word forward to someone else in a cleverly cool way adds a mindful touch. Have fun exploring as they keep expanding. Journals just launched too!

 
                          The Giving Keys

                         The Giving Keys

 

As I gain tremendous curiosity about what we put into our bodies; what we put ON our bodies with lotions, make-up and a multitude of products is also of great concern. We have isles of products to choose from with an overly saturated market of toxic ingredients in them. I have been using cleaner products for years but as safer brands emerge, I'd love to give Beautycounter my heart, want to join me? I'm making new friends in Sonoma and the loveliest of women have recommended I explore the line catching my vibe. Jenna Maze, is a wonderful rep helping me sample before purchasing for myself and my babygirl. Check it out, read the story, peruse the Never List and try somethings out. The struggle sometimes is finding the safe stuff to look as good as the toxic stuff... Beauty Counter is hitting a home-run there for me. There is so much to choose from and amazing gift sets for great prices! And with a mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone, I'm certainly a proud advocate. Click the photo to start shopping!

                  Beautycounter Products

                 Beautycounter Products

I could keep going but there's no need to overdue it, I'm attempting to more of a minimilist! Click the photos for the direct links. Have fun checking things out should they interest you or be the perfect gift for the special people in your life. If you have any questions or comments you can always leave them here. Happy Holidays and in the spirit of giving... may you all be wrapped up with blessings and love through this wonderful time of year. Thank you for stopping by!

XO 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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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! 

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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

LEAN INTO A GREAT PLAYLIST & FEEL SOMETHING

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

 Photos by  David Heisler

Photos by David Heisler

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

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

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

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

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

XO ANDREA

Happy International Women's Day

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

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

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

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

 Photo by Erik Almas in Jaipur, INDIA

Photo by Erik Almas in Jaipur, INDIA

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

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

XOXO ANDREA

 

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

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

ADVENTURE:

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

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

 Photo By  Mike Byrne

Photo By Mike Byrne

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

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

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

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

XO ANDREA

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

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

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This is a free write to my mamma... 

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

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

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

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

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

XO ANDREA

 

Fill Today With LOVE... HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! 

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

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

TIPS ON WOOING HIM

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

TIPS ON WOOING YOU

  • Take your favorite fitness class today
  • Schedule a self love day; mani/pedi, massage, facial
  • Meditate; visualize the love you want to have in your life
  • Plan a dinner with friends
  • Have a cozy PJ night and watch a funny movie
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As I save the best for last... indulge in a sensual desert for the love of LOVE! My personal favorite are dark chocolate or yogurt covered strawberries. They are really fun to make too should you want to give that a go...

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

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

XO ANDREA

BECOME A DARK CHOCOLATE LOVER, WHY YOU ASK?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo By John Hong

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

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

A few of my favorites:

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

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

XO Andrea

 

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

Hello there, how are you guys today?  

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

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

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

Take time to see it. 

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

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

XO ANDREA