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

How To Actively Take A Compliment And REALLY Absorb It

Hi there gang, I hope you had a super weekend. I'm sending you some Monday Motivation hot off the press with one of my favorite wellness resources MindBodyGreen. 

Have you ever been given a compliment only to immediately deflect it with a self-deprecating rebuttal? [Read full article published at MindBodyGreen]

 Inspirational Addict Writer, Absorbing Compliments, Health and wellness, Yoga Instructor, Sonoma Mama, MindBodyGreen Contributor, Wife to Photographer Erik Almas

Thank you to all of you who shared your comments and honesty about giving and receiving compliments. I'd love to hear your thoughts and hope this article, loaded with tips will be useful on our journey together.

XOXO ANDREA

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how...

International Love For Your Traveling Heart

Do you love traveling abroad? It's hard for me not to fall in love with new places. There is something spectacular about exploring, seeing things for the first time and feeling captivated by the unfamiliar. If you ever happen to fall in love with more than just the place, like perhaps someone from another part of the world, it's a pretty good idea to familiarize yourself with their cultural upbringing. Although this may not pertain to you, may I inspire you to read on anyway?

 Yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart shares time with Erik Almas traveling around Norway, blogger for Inspirational Addict. 
Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime
— Mark Twain

After living in Japan in 1999-2000 I increasingly became curious about how to absorb more as I ventured through various parts of the world. Typically you snag your Travel Guide Books, head to Pinterest for how to pack, download your Duolingo and boom you're on your way. You never know when an opportunity may rise for adventure or you become goo-goo eyed and end up sharing your life with someone from a country you’ve never been to and know very little about. How fun is that... and slightly intimidating. 

This is my third winter bundling up and heading to my mans home town of Trondheim, Norway where the night falls nineteen hours of the day during this time of year. For three hundred delicate minutes the sun dances on the rooftops in this storybook town and we hurry out to frolic like school kids at recess in the crisp, fresh air. It reminds me of the perfect scene that once upon a time, only sat beneath my grandmas Christmas tree with little colorful houses and towns people arranged flawlessly amongst the marshmallow puffs of snow. Twinkling lights glimmer from everyone's homes as if stars laid upon the peaks and valleys of the city. The winter wonderland we sing popular holiday carols about... well it truly exists. My bare eyes can hardly believe I get to visit here for the rest of my life. 

After twenty seven hours of travel, four flights and one rock-star five-month-old baby we are welcomed with open arms and brought into Eriks families home who’s bustling with holiday cheer– it's so koselig (cozy). The first two years I did the travel on my own and I wasn't sure what to expect. He sent me this video to prepare me for my arrival. I was nervous after watching it, to put it politely.

Americans try traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes.

Needless to say Erik's family has never made me try anything too crazy and we always have exceptional organic home cooked meals. It's a special part of being in Norway with them for sure. I was also gifted “The Social Guidebook to Norway” that has been quite helpful in my understanding of some differences between American and Norwegian expressions. 

I’ve found this language even more challenging to try to learn than what little Japanese i picked up, so there’s been some resistance. While I often still sit quietly at the table, yet intently watching everyone's mouths as Norwegian dialogue flies rapidly from mouth to mouth and laughter often bursts from a story just told, I wonder, how will I ever learn this?  I’m guilty of not putting enough effort into it yet and shame on me for that... I’m about to marry this man! I do plan to learn with our babygirl and get back to my Duolingo practice so I can at least say a few of my wedding vowels in Norwegian, wish me luck! 

The amount of time you're traveling in a place will often dictate how much you immerse yourself in the culture. No matter how brief or long your stay may be... here are a few very simple tips of mine. 

Find a Gallery

While you peruse a bit ask the employees for their favorite coffee shop or where the best place is to get an organic meal. Gallery peeps are in the know. They will send you to the most superb spots. 

Be Active

I often take a yoga class in whatever city I'm visiting. If not that... rent a bike, go for a walk or run. I love to just feel like a local and doing any of these activities will put you there and familiarize you with the area you're staying. 

Get a Little Lost

I love knowing where I'm headed but being able to wander around without relying on my google maps guiding me every step of the way is kinda great sometimes! Don't be afraid to get turned around and head the opposite way you meant to. Ask around to find your way again and explore the places you stumble upon. (Choose wisely when to do this, don't get yourself in a pickle)

If you're anything like me you can always prepare before you go... research on-line, look at pictures, seek out the cities top 10 things to do and so on. Just make room for some spontaneity and excitement to ensue so you can come home with little gems. Moments that took you by surprise. 

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I hope to keep traveling the world and bringing you guys with me. I love hearing from you and by all means share some of your favorite places you've been with me. Hope you are rocking 2018 so far and thank you for stopping by. 

XOXO ANDREA

 

 

2018 Strong In Mind, Body & Spirit

Happy New Year from NORWAY! Isn't the start of a new year the biggest breath of fresh air?  I hope you've all relaxed, reflected and thought about what 2018 is going to look like for you; mind, body and spirit.

 Inspirational Addict Lifestyle blogger Andrea Bogart, Yoga Instructor, new mom with Erik Almas

Whether you are they type of person who outlines your resolutions and goals for the year or someone who takes it in strides choosing one thing you'd like to focus on out of the gate.... do yourself a favor and keep it simple and clear.  I start with identifying what is going to serve myself and my life best and consider what it will take to make the change or changes. I'm fortunate to be part of a women's group www.TheNewHollywood.org out of LA that provides the members with a guide book and I believe, soon to be publicly available. It's a wonderful tool if used effectively that can help you create and manifest what you'd like to achieve and see happen in a year. We break it into quarters with points of focus for each that support our twelve goals or aspirations we've outlined. Although it takes time to sit down and do, it allows for more clarity and you simplify how to get there. I accomplish much more in a year since I joined this supportive group and use the book. There's certainly a plethora of ways to bring more joy, peace & motivation into your world and they don't have to be written down or outlined in a book, that is just a process I'm enjoying. I say do what works for you. Maintain the things that are already working and enjoy the possibilities of discovering something new. As we leap into 2018 together with enthusiasm, can I inspire you to fill it with gratitude and intentions in any form that serve you well? 

 Sonoma Yoga Instructor, Inspirational Addict Lifestyle Blogger Andrea Bogart, new mom, health and wellness with Erik Almas in Norway   

My yoga & meditation practices are other incredible tools that have changed my life. They have looked a little different since I've become a new Mom but I've not lost site of their importance or my commitment. My baby-girl is seemingly growing fond of being on her play yard while watching mamma stretch and meditating while I breastfeed is sometimes just the best I can do. I'm profoundly more gracious and accepting of all the things I don't get done and take time to reflect on all the things that I do, which is a freeing space to be in. The awareness you create with mindful exercises will expand your life whether you had that intention or not. It's pretty great when it surprises you and suddenly you now know what to shift around to make them a priority for yourself. I trust they've been healing my soul and guiding me to a healthy lifestyle from the inside out for years now. It's an ever-evolving journey that thrills me as I jump on my mat over and over again and embrace the challenges of being able to sit quietly with myself. My passion for writing about it and sharing it with students as an instructor comes from what it's done for me. I will always encourage you to find the physical and mindful activities that make your spirit soar, that shake you up and make you feel alive. You will never be sorry for finding a way to incorporate them into your days regularly. Go get'm! 

 Norway Travels with Yoga instructor Andrea Bogart lifestyle blogger health and wellness love with Erik Almas

I'm wising you all so much love, light and happiness for a beautiful 2018. I love hearing from you guys so don't hesitate to leave a comment if something you do is working great too, I love the exchange of tips and helpful resources for each other.  I hope Inspirational Addict can continue to be a place you come that lifts you up and makes you smile with our shared vulnerabilities, stories, experiences and adventures of life! I've cherished all the comments and e-mails this year and look forward to the year ahead.

XOXO 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!

 

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

ACCEPTING WHAT IS, HOW DO WE MASTER THIS?

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

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

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

 Photo By  Erik Almas  | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

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

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

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

 Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

MASTERING ACCEPTANCE TIPS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo By Erik Almas | Kauai

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

resources I love:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo andrea

What Happened When I Unplugged From Social Media?

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

 Photo by  Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

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

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

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

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

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

What I learned:

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

tips for mindful social media:

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

Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

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

fun fact:

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

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

xo Andrea

 

YOGA AROUND THE WORLD, READY TO WANDER WITH ME?

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

 A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

A piece unknown from a LuLuLemon Special Event with Andrea Marcum

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

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions
— Peter Hoeg

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

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

Big Sur, California

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

Santa Theresa, Costa Rica 

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

Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

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

Barcelona, SPAIN

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

TRONDHEIM & RØROS, NORWAY

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

LONDON, ENGLAND

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

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

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

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA

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

DUBAI, U.A.E.

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

All photos shot by Erik Almas

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

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

XO ANDREA

BATHING YOURSELF IN LOVE...

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

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

 Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

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

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

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

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

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

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DETOX SOAK: 20 min max

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

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

XO ANDREA

Mindful Tips For Travelers

So you're going to be traveling huh?

 Photo by my gorgeous friend  Jade Tailor  who showed me around  Lynn Canyon

Photo by my gorgeous friend Jade Tailor who showed me around Lynn Canyon

As traveling is a big part of my life it's important for me to stick to somewhat of a routine, even when I'm put into situations where it can be disrupted. Perhaps I can relate this to most of my friends with children who say how important it is to keep their little one's on a schedule. Well, I need this too... how about you guys?

To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear
— Buddha

There's no doubt that traveling can influence a major shift in our eating, physical exercise and mindful practices... but if we have some intentions as we wander into new territories we can certainly keep our selves in-check and possibly even shift perspective with how we indulge mind, body & spirit!

 My pal  Rod McLean  snapped this for me as he showed me some sights at  Sea to Sky

My pal Rod McLean snapped this for me as he showed me some sights at Sea to Sky

I consider this yet to be another form of practice. How do we sustain mindfulness & productive days when we venture away from our daily environment? I'm a go-with-the-flow gal, but I'm realizing more and more, I'm effective with keeping my mind, body & spirit healthy when I stay committed to my practices that support this.  My most recent acting job landed me in Vancouver for almost two weeks, so it was important for me to feel my best and balance shooting days with exploring around the city a bit.

No matter where you're headed can I inspire you to take your courageous and curious mindset with you? Find what works for you and create a practice for yourself so regardless of where you are you have a few things you know will uplift you and inspire you to stay healthy. I've fallen in love with mindfulness as I travel. Between seeking out yoga studios, hikes, organic restaurants, peaceful areas for meditations, transit systems, socially connecting with friends and meeting locals... I'm excited to adapt and enjoy all that traveling can offer.  

Check out my quick (sped up) Get My Body Back #GMBB4 core series I did on the outdoor hotel patio as the sun was setting. As I incorporated this into my yoga flow, just being outside and in a different setting was energizing for my soul. 

A few stress relieving, mood boosting tips you can take anywhere: 

  1. Daily Gratitudes- I've explored writing them down, using my Gratitude 365 App, breathing them into my heart space as I meditate and mentally engaging with them to calm my mind as I want to drift into a peaceful sleep.
  2. Explore a new area- This can seem daunting when you don't know your way around, but let me encourage you to get out and walk, jog or bike. You learn the lay of the land and discover so much more than when you're in a car. Let yourself get lost... you'll find your way back. 
  3. Nutritionally take charge- Pack some of your favorite healthy snacks if you think they may not be accessible where you're headed. When options are slim you'll be happy you have them. Use Yelp to search healthy organic spots in your location. 
  4. Be Flexible- Accept that you will do your best but remain flexible as you trust yourself and the wisdom of your body, mind and heart to guide what feels right. This most definitely includes relaxing too!

A few of my favorite travel buddies are the magic bullet and vega protein packs. So even if I indulge in other areas I know that I can still get at least one healthy smoothie with vitamins and nutrients down the hatch each day. This saves me. My eko superlite manduka travel mat is another since it's light weight & foldable.

What are your travel tips with staying mindful? Do you have any for me? I love hearing from you guys.... feel free to comment and share if you read anything you like. Thanks for stopping by!

Tap Coffee of London

Tap Coffee  in London will appease those coffee lovers needs for sure.  The delicious jolt of caffeine and rich smooth taste of espresso in my soy milk cappuccino was just what a wicked morning stroll through streets called for.  There are only a few so keep your eyes peeled for them. 

 Photo by me

Photo by me

It’s a quaint, hip spot with a slogan #BuyBetterCoffee which we got a kick out of and it held up to that.  Upon ordering you get a glass bottle with a face card inside as your 'order ID' if you will... and boom, brew delivery to your seat. Should you want a punch card- buy 6 get one free, snag one. Who doesn't love a reward for being diligent with your caffeine fix. 

Follow @tapcoffee #buybettercoffee

Our ambition is to inspire a new coffee drinking culture, where the quality of ingredients rule and the craft of the barista is recognized
— Tap Coffee

If you've been to Tap Coffee let me know what you had? Any comments are welcome! Thanks for stopping by. 

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Source: http://www.tapcoffee.co.uk/shops.html

Sadhus in Varanasi

Namaste from Varanasi, India's Holy City. Tonight we witnessed so many things I will never forget. From the ghats at the banks of Varanasi to see the evening prayers, and for an evening boat ride on the holy Ganges River— I'm speechless and my soul feels like its received a blessing in some way I've never felt.  

 Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

What is a Sadhu you ask?

Here is a little bit on the Sadhus, the good man/holy man we are photographed with, whom may or may not be a real Sadhu.  Now I say this because it was brought to our attention by our guides that tourists, like me, want to get pictures with these interesting faces of India.  Similar to our favorite super heros and disney characters who line the Hollywood Walk of Fame taking pictures with tourists, they've all found a way to capitalize on this and make some great tips.  

 Photo by Me:)

Photo by Me:)

In Hinduism, a sādhu (Sanskrit sādhu, "good; good man, holy man") is a religious ascetic or holy person.[1]Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sādhus often wear saffron-coloured clothing, symbolising their sannyāsa (renunciation). This way of life is open to women; the female form of the word is sādhvī. In 2014, an all-female akhada (group of sadhus) was formed; it is believed to be the first such group in India.[2]  (Wikipedia)

Sadhus are also often referred to as Baba, meaning father and real or not, some of them we crossed paths with had intriguing energy and with curious eyes we were drawn in.  As the sun started to rise I watched this ash covered Baba Sadhu turn himself to bow and then begin a tea & smoke ritual.  Our guide helped us communicate that I’d like to have a picture with him and next thing you know I’m invited in, offered a smoke (I said no thank you and we all cracked up) and I folded my feet on top of my thighs for Lotus and he joined the party, clearly not to be out done!  We both pressed our body weight up into an elevated Lotus Posture (Utthita Padmasana) while Erik captured some really fun moments.  After it all, our guide explained he was a special Baba Sadhu, who practices hot yoga and more rare to see.  What a treat.  I’d like to believe our paths crossed and I just did some yoga with a real Sadhu.  I’m grateful. 

 Photos by Erik Almas

Photos by Erik Almas

Through the higher spiritual intelligence, there is the realization of the Light of the Self
— Lord Shiva

 

 

My Travel Excitement Ensues

 
 Photos by Erik Almas

Photos by Erik Almas

Bare with me as my EXPLORE category finds it way.  I have always loved to travel and I consider myself an explorer at heart, but never have I had the opportunities to travel as frequently as I have in the past 7 months.  A special man, incredibly talented photographer and truly magnificent human being, Erik Almas, came into my life and lovingly invited me into his. I’m feeling overjoyed to be in love and I have to say “thank you” to all of you following this journey because you give us such sweet support on our posts and I feel your happy vibes coming back!  My romance novel will be out next year. I kid… but maybe?

Needless to say there is a lot I want to share about the places I’m exploring!  Everywhere I go has its uniqueness. Be it a great cafe, hiking trail, yoga studio, quiet street, boutique hotel, art gallery, amazing bath tub, city view, best espresso, organic restaurants, cultural experiences… you name it I’m exploring and excited to share the little gems from these places!  By all means if you’ve been somewhere I write about, chime in… share your favorite things back, I love hearing from you!  (A girl can always use travel tips too)

 Photos by Erik Almas

Photos by Erik Almas

Getting to flank Erik on his work travels is an experience I cherish.  With a long love for taking pictures, I’m getting some great tips and enjoying taking my own photographs more than ever.  Even when he’s not on an assignment working we find ourselves getting up to catch the moments before the sun peaks its rays of light into our day and adventuring around until it starts to set again, by choice.  I’ve been taking yoga classes to expand my practice, becoming intrigued on finding the best espresso and can confirm how easy it is to pass smile in all these different cities.  

Wanderlust: An irresistible desire to travel to understand one’s very existance
— Pinterest