The Practices of Yoga and Revitalizing Self Care

Hello hello, Happy AUGUST, how are you guys? I hope you’re having a wonderful summer. Are you doing anything that helps you feel REVITALIZED? You deserve it… so I hope so!

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

In partnership with Chateau Sonoma Self Care we just held our first retreat together here in my hometown of Sonoma. We wanted to create a one-day retreat that would REVITALIZE YOUR SOUL and offer a summer reboot and I have to humbly say, it was every bit of that. If you don’t know Chateau Sonoma you should definitely take a cruise on line and come visit if you make your way to Northern California. My husband and I quickly fell in love with the antique french shop for so many reasons and soon became big fans of the woman behind the shop, Sarah Anderson. I had know idea when Sarah and I met we would bring some ideas together and end up with such a beautiful day sharing some of our aligned loves; yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic farm-to-table foods and living life fully— but we did it! I’m grateful for everyone who came to the retreat and shared a piece of themselves with us. It was inspiring and a wonderful way to connect with each other in this divine communal way. Sarah truly has a love for all things wellness along side her exquisite talents that celebrates the art of purposeful living and decorating. It’s been an honor and delight to partner with her and we look forward to doing more together.


Inspirational Addict, Sonoma Mama, Andrea Bogart Yoga, Inspiring Blogger, Health & Wellness, Everyday Joys, Mindfulness, Yoga Instructor, Actress, Happy Wife, Wine Country Wellness, Erik Almas Photography, Chateau Sonoma Farm

Sarah asked me some great questions on The Practices of Yoga and Revitalizing Self Care as we embarked on our retreat planning for Chateau Sonoma’s blog. It’s always a joy for me to write and share some about my journey. I hope you enjoy my interview with Sarah and Chateau Sonoma Self Care. Stay tuned for more events to come.

CS: HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTRODUCED TO YOGA AND WHAT INTERESTS YOU MOST ABOUT THE PRACTICE?

ANDREA: I always encourage people to find the practice that works for them and that takes some mindful exploring. After living in Japan after college, I became interested in Buddhist practices. As I moved to LA, the popularity of yoga was becoming mainstream. My first class was lots of sitting and chanting and not much movement. At the time I was bored and confused as to why people would spend time doing this in a class setting, I chuckle now—I knew little about yoga or the benefits of the varying types of practices. Cut to several years later, {Click to read full interview}

More blogs are on the way gang, thank you for your continued support in all I do! I’m avidly working on some mindful Children’s stories with the hopes of getting published so that’s why I’ve been a little bit slower with publishing blogs. Biggest hugs for a happy, healthy August and a reminder your questions and comments are always welcome here.

XOXO ANDREA

Bay Area Teacher Highlight By SFYOGA Magazine

Hello hello everyone. How are you guys doing out there? I hope Spring is bringing a sense of cleansing, renewal and clarity to each of you. Leading yoga is so very dear to my heart and there’s not a practice that goes by without me feeling incredibly blessed for what it does for my soul and the inspiration I get from people sharing that space with me. I am honored to be highlighted as a Bay area yoga instructor and wanted to share the interview article from SF Yoga Magazine. [click link for article]

Big thank you to the team at SF Yoga Magazine for this support. I’m newer to the area and so honored they’ve been publishing my blogs along side giving me this shout out. What a treat and lovely welcome to this yoga community.

If you’re in the bay area come join me for a class anytime or send me an e-mail if you’re interested in doing an event together. Thank you for the support and for popping by here! You can find more at my yoga website as well from past events I’ve lead, programs I offer and my current schedule www.andreabogartyoga.com. Have a beautiful week!

XO ANDREA


Source: http://www.sfyogamagazine.com/blog/2019/2/...

Why Every Kid Needs A Morning Routine

As a lifelong yogi and new mother, I'm continuously inspired to bring the mindfulness I've been practicing for the past decade into our home and child's upbringing. [Read full article published on MindBodyGreen]

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

I’m so grateful for platforms like MindBodyGreen sharing so much wonderful information and to be a contributor for sharing content I’m passionate about. If you like this article please also check out How To Get Your Kids To Meditate. Thank you for popping by, your comments are always welcome here!

XOXO ANDREA

Eating Can Be Challenging—Why I Turned To Michael Pollan's Books For Help

Hello everyone— food, food, food, it’s a big topic isn’t it? If you’re not incredibly curious about our nations food industry yet, can I invite you to be? Organic, Non-GMO, Natural Flavors, Gluten Free, Local, Cage-Free… the labeling list goes on and it can be challenging to navigate your way without asking some questions and leaning on resources that provide honest and integral information. And— let’s be real, simply taking charge yourself is a pretty good decision.

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

I became increasingly curious several years ago when health issues of my own started to arise. After seeing a holistic doctor over several months, I made vast changes with my nutrition and began a new relationship with what I put in my body. This combined with my yoga practice, which lead to me getting certified, became a healing journey I wanted to pay forward. I was excited to share how a commitment to mindful living could change my students lives the way mine was and I hope to continue sharing for a long long time. As I was just beginning to teach, one of my best friends and wildly successful Hollywood personal trainers, Jason Walsh handed me two of Michael Pollan’s books to read and said they have everything you need to know about nutrition. I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”, both of which I loved. I have a heartfelt wish for everyone out there to be able to eat and have access to affordable organic, nutritional food regularly. Our choices for ourselves and our families plays a major part in our overall well being. Leading experts in the industry and my personal interest in learning have been guides for me when I was single and especially now that I’m a wife and mother and preparing meals for our family.

With more and more independent filmmakers producing nutrition-focused documentaries raising eyebrows and providing a plethora of information… although resourceful, often one is left feeling confused about what we should actually eat. Pollan’s “In Defense Of Food”, tackles this very question and sheds light on our incertitude being at the hand of marketers, journalist and scientists who’m often have much to gain by this. Can we as consumers take responsibility to educate ourselves and do the best we can for the life we want to live? I say “absolutely.” I’m with Pollan, who simply says, “avoid food that your great-great grandparents wouldn’t eat.” I giggle as I imagine my great Grams asking, what is a go-gurt or a lunchable. His concept Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. is a good rule of thumb.

I grew up in the midwest eating everything.  A lot of which is even worse today with more crappy ingredients being put into them to preserve things on shelves longer. Although I ate a ton of stuff I will vier away from for my children, we had a garden for years and my parents prepared well balanced meals for us. I know they did the best they knew how to do then. As a baby I had a severe allergy to dairy and wheat but my parents were encouraged to give me a normal diet through my adolescence so I wouldn’t develop reactions to everything containing the two. That all worked out fine until those allergies came back in my early thirties and the development of an auto immune disorder caused me to investigate what the heck I was doing wrong nutritionally, as I mentioned earlier. When you really pay attention to how certain foods react with your system you learn a lot about why you feel the way you do after certain foods. I’m constantly seeking out information in this arena now. Too many people are suffering from major diseases loosing their quality of life over and even more severe; dying from. While practicing yoga propelled me to proactively make healthier choices for leading a life filled with vitality, I can acknowledge that organic food has been one of my greatest healers as well.

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

The insight provided in “In Defense Of Food”  helped me make sense of why all the sneaky worded, so-called healthy sounding things are actually quite toxic. Additionally, it inspires us to get back to food from it’s original state; ie. organic. Pollan simplifies the complexity of what’s happened with the food industry over the last few decades and brought me into a place of comfort with an encouragement to eat mindfully. From the groceries I buy to the restaurants we eat at, thoughtful intention goes into what we decide. Thanks to food labeling we have a choice to steer clear of the products containing GMO’s, pesticides and too many ingredients you can’t pronounce, which I encourage. We’re so mislead it’s no wonder children and adult obesity are huge problems in America. We will continue to see things shift as we the consumers speak up and STOP buying the things that are so terrible for us. That takes willpower, commitment, financial planning and making you and your families health a priority. Yes, FOOD is a huge component to our overall health and mental well being and I’m happy to be playing that on repeat until it’s better understood.

shop.pbs.jpg

My poor family has been listening to me for years… but guess what, I love them and I desperately care about their longevity and quality of living. They have changed some major things for themselves with how eat and what they buy and I’m so proud of them. Grab your copy of “In Defense Of Food” and perhaps you’ll be next making wonderful changes for you and your family. Michael Pollan also has a new book out I just ordered on audible titled “How To Change Your Mind” I will be diving into next.  Your comments and questions are always welcome here, I’m grateful to have you all popping by. Thank you!

XOXO ANDREA

How Yoga Can Open Up Your Heart Again

Hi there, are you ready to celebrate Valentines Day with self-love and compassion, show some pizazz toward your partner or are you hiding under the covers waiting for it to just pass by? No judgement here, I’ve done all the above. I’m wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day none the less and requiring you to give yourself some mad love, you are so deserving of today.

If I may share some of my story with you… I hope it will inspire anyone in their quest to find that one person you connect with, fall deeply in love and create a life together. Sometimes the timeline of expectations and not being in-touch with our true selves can be hindering the flow of LOVE more than we realize. It’s difficult to see when we’re not mindfully connected to ourselves and trusting that we are in partnership with something bigger than just our physical being. I’ve so been there, and let me tell you, loathing in what I didn’t have and judging the love I felt I couldn’t receive wasn’t doing anything positive for me. We are all LOVE. Everything that lights our soul up is LOVE. Let that reminder be the thing that propel’s courage and action as you dive deep to look with-in.

Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us
— Marianne Williamson

Breakups are never easy. We all have a story of heartache at some point in our lives. Mine came after spending several years in my mid twenties to early thirties with a great man whom I thought for sure was the one I would share my life with— until he wasn’t. I am not exaggerating when I say buckets of tears were starting to over flow and questioning everything about that relationship began to consume me. I beat myself up internally and was convinced I was unworthy of being truly loved by him instead of accepting that perhaps we weren’t meant for each other. My calling for yoga came during that time. I thank God everyday for the girlfriend that drug me to a studio in Santa Monica and said “trust me you will love this class.” As that relationship was coming to it’s end, my commitment to being on my mat began.

Yoga is the union of the mind, body and spirit. This ability to connect to a deeper sense of self arrives as you drop into your breath, begin to link it with movements and quiet the mind. The hope is that the discoveries you find as you explore the eight limbs of yoga will cultivate a joyful, non judgmental awareness in which you can use as a vehicle for transformation. This connection isn't only enriching for the self but in all your relationships if you want it to be. It's a journey inward that guides you to connect with the present moment with compassion and acceptance. As I started to sense these very things shifting my perspective, the layers of pain we’re revealing themselves too. I had some weepy classes and on the other side of that came a connection to joy like I’d never felt before. I wanted more of that. One to two times a week became three to five times a week. I remember going to one class in particular on a Friday night at 8PM where I thought I may be a loan wolf… the class was packed, mat to mat with at least fifty people. The energy of sharing space stuck with me that night. I wrote that up to be one of the best dates ever with a ton of like minded humans and myself— a renewed self, I was growing quite fond of.

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

There is loads of research that supports yoga reducing stress and anxiety in conjunction with elevating your mood and over-all sense of well-being. When we stretch the body, create a fluidity with our breath and movements we release stored toxins and relax the mind quite beautifully. Stress wears differently on all of us so my suggestion is to simply see for yourself. As you begin to practice consistently you will start to see the benefits show up in your daily life. A heaviness you may have often felt before becomes lighter. As relaxation is practiced, a calm nervous system encourages more balance in dealing with life's disappointments as you navigate toward happiness and healing more readily. The well-rounded effects my yoga practice was bringing to my life shifted everything into new light. My heart was healing and my unbounded belief in abundance was ignited in a multitude of ways. My lifestyle choices improved across the board and the love and energy I was putting out into the world was more conscious and coming back to me. The time on my mat was magical. That powerful connection to something bigger than just my physical being was a spiritual awakening.

Pranayama (control of breath) is the driving force of any style of yoga. Practicing this controlled breath connects us to our bodies and the present moment. Meditation (Dyhana) is one of the wonderful eight limbs of yoga I referred to earlier that quiets the mind and has been found to help reduce anxiety. Connecting to these vital elements increases your ability to relax, restore and revive. Day to day activities often leave us restless with mind-chatter and a yearning for a way minimize that. Understanding your mind, body, spirit connection will invite more stability into your life. With a constant need and/ or expectations to respond to things today, we have to learn how to shut things off. This is one perk of the practice that can be detrimental to communicating positively and effectively. Savasana (corpse pose) can be an out-of-body, serene experience... make sure you never miss out on that. It was one of the most difficult asnas (postures) for me early in my practice. It didn’t take long for me to understand why laying there completely surrendering and allowing myself to receive would become the most important part of the practice.

Change due to an event or circumstance is inevitable, it’s called life right? Change initiated by you may be more challenging as you're not being nudged into something by circumstance but rather self-motivating in a courageous way. We often wait to make a change until a circumstance has forced us into taking a look at something more closely. I think it's fair to say, either situation will get you to the same place when you get clear with what you want your results to look like. My LOVE for being on my mat inspired me to get certified and begin teaching in 2012. I’ve never looked back and dream of getting mindful practices into schools, homes and the hearts of everyone. It’s a decade later and I’m in my first year of marriage to an unbelievable man I was lucky enough to create another life with; our year and a half old daughter. I know for sure my yoga journey has decluttered all the insecurities, fears and negativity I once felt burdened by. My life is not perfect but I believe in this healing practice and I will be a student to it’s lessons for the rest of my time here.

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

I wish you all love. Have a happy Valentine’s Day. Celebrate LOVE today. Share it, receive it and trust that the source of all love is already with-in each and everyone of us. Live your love. Thank you for stopping by, your comments are always welcome here.

XOXO ANDREA


I'm Here, Are You Still With Me?

Hello hello my lovely tribe, how are you guys? Are you asking yourself, where did January go, the way I am? And maybe a little curious about why I’m not pushing out content like I used to? I want to be super transparent with you guys and also say, I’m sorry and thank you. I’m SORRY If you feel like I’ve left you hanging in any way and THANK YOU for being here and sticking with me through the lulls.

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

We all wish we had more time right? More time to do the things that fill your heart and fuel your soul. Feel familiar at all? The thing about time is that since we can’t actually create more hours, minutes or seconds in the day, we can only make choices with how we spend the time we are given. We are responsible for creating space for those things that we want to do, while balancing the time spent with things we have to do. It’s an ever-evolving practice I find, how about you?

I’m in my first year of marriage and being a parent and that alone has been such a joyful and impactful shift in my life, it’s taken some letting go of an old life, or self, per say. I love my new roles as a wife and mother and I’m learning everyday from experiences. I’m certainly striving to be the best I can be but also relieving myself from the need to have anything BE or APPEAR perfect. If you follow me at all on social media (please do) @andreabogart, you see what a traveling family we are. We hopped on more flights, road trips and extensive adventures in 2018 than I could have possibly prepared for. I have always loved to travel and I have taken several of the opportunities to be together as a family while my husband is working as a photographer in various parts of the world. That being said, we don’t travel with a nanny so I’m spending the days being a joyful tourist while trying to still produce some healthy routines for our little one. It’s been so important for me to be present with her so the time I get to myself is unpredictable and sometimes minimal. I catch myself often wanting time to just create, and yet I have to remind myself the very essence of having a child, IS creating, building a partnership that works, IS creating and those have been my priorities. The stuff that happens outside of that has been icing on the cake!

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

We got home mid January and it has felt so wonderful to be here in Sonoma, settling back in. I have done a lot of thinking about giving this blog an overhaul. My mission has been to inspire through experiences, stories and offer helpful tips that we could use as we journey through life. I want to stay authentic to what I’m most passionate about and consolidate a bit and write about those things. I’m in the process of changing things up and excited about where it’s all headed. Mindfulness seems to be my most key element I enjoy learning more about and writing about. Under that umbrella is; being a parent, a certified yoga instructor and practitioner, healthy nutrition, adventurous travels and some fun about being an actress, which are all dear to my heart. One area of writing I haven’t shared much about is my dream of being a children’s book publisher. I have years of some finished but mostly unfinished stories, idea lists and scratch pads with stuff I want to revisit and I’m motivated about generating new material.  I’m putting more focus into that this year as well. 

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

Whether you’ve been hanging with me since 2015 or you’re newer to my world, I hope something in my wheel house of writing is an offering for you to keep coming back for more. I truly love sharing about these topics and if you have a favorite or feel I’m missing something you’d like to have more of please let me know. The community we have with being able to comment and connect is a valuable and important part of writing for me, so don’t be shy! Thank you guys for sharing your time with me. I wish you all so much love, joy and prosperity as we rock through February.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped in Dogma— which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the voice of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
— Manifesting Your Mission; Steve Jobs

XOXO Andrea

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A HEALTHY, JOYFUL NEW YEAR

Hello to all my Inspirational Addict supporters! As we all take a pause from our regularly scheduled programs and sit back to relax and soak up the holiday spirit with family and friends, I am wishing you all so much LOVE, JOY and GOOD HEALTH as we wrap up another year. 

IMG_2900.JPG

Let’s all create a little space for taking inventory of all the wonderful things we’ve accomplished along with the blessings in our lives; big and small and let it flood our hearts with gratitude. May that be the shift, new perspective or continued growth that uplifts us as 2019 is upon us. 

I like to think of this time of year as a good time to sprinkle in as many savasana’s (corpse pose) as you need to reset. In yoga it means to; surrender, let the work go, allow every part of your body, mind and spirit to settle in to the present moment and simply receive with compassion. 

You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul
— B.K.S. Iyengar
IMG_2930.JPG

I hope you all have a magical Christmas Day and I look forward to sharing a lot more with you in the new year. Thank you for your support and inspiration. Your comments, suggestions, requests… are always welcome here, remember we are in this thing together!

XOXO ANDREA

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!

IMG_1730.JPG

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

MEDITATING, ACCEPTING, MANIFESTING—WHO'S IN?

Hello hello, is this thing still on? It's been a beat... how are you guys all doing out there? Thank you for stopping by today. Grab a cup of tea, coffee, water or whatever you fancy and let's get to it.

Wellness, Inspirational Addict Writer, Yoga Instructor, Sonoma Mama, World Traveler Wife with Erik Almas Photographer

Do you practice meditating, accepting and manifesting? What kind of energy you are putting out into the universe? 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 with accepting 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. Let’s start manifesting from this opened awareness.

I have been on a bit of an unintentional hiatus from writing recently. Practicing acceptance was high on my list these past few months as I got derailed from my usual track.  I had to excuse myself while I was shooting a movie that wrapped the first week of June and from there rolled right into having tons of family and friends arrive in our hometown of Sonoma to celebrate our wedding which launched us to enjoying our baby girls first birthday! Yes you heard it… I am now a happily married woman to the most incredible man, Erik Almås and together, with great joy, we survived our first year of parenthood!

With an eager desire to get back into my groove, I jumped at the opportunity to join Deepak and Oprah for another 21 Day Meditation experience, “Energy of Attraction” that started July 23rd.  I hope you loved it as much as I did if you just finished doing it too. Boy has it been an energetic game changer for me lately.

Often the smallest shifts can make big differences and encourage us to graciously accept things as they are a little easier. 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 and SMILE… we just created some awareness together.  

Life is incredible and I am surrounded by love and support so it's frustrating to sense my negativity internally and then give it more weight by vocalizing to anyone who is forced to listen. Do you ever annoy yourself in this way? I’m confident I’m not alone here because we are human. The good news is our awareness can propel us into a place of transformation. By quieting our minds and settling into some stillness we can release what’s not serving us with clarity and nurture what is, again and again. Let’s take some steps in the right direction.

IMG_7084.JPG

TIPS FOR MEDITATION

  • Where do you go to get quiet, connect with yourself and breathe? It can be a yoga class for me or early morning as I wake up and sometimes as I wind down for bed. It’s anywhere I can pause for 10-20 minutes and use a mantra or phrase to repeat internally and meditate. Challenge yourself to create a consistent 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 rumblings in your mind 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 focusing on your breathe with 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 and pressures that can get in our way of being calm on a regular basis.
  • Pay attention and notice how this calm state influences your reactive mind and your responses to the situations that might ordinarily get you really flustered. We all want to be as happy as we can be right? So if there’s a way to use our minds 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 That Hanh

May I inspire you to check out the various styles of mediation at The Secrets Of Yoga for a wonderful and brief breakdown of each to explore.  

Additional Resources I Love

  • I will always be grateful for the Deepak and Oprah Free 21-Day Experiences they offer as it was the source that jump started my commitment several years ago and benefits my life greatly. I love the guided aspect and having an intention and mantra provided. I often re-listen to the opening talk for inspiration in teaching my yoga classes and at night to fall asleep peacefully. Going to the online library and choosing one for a family member or friend makes a great gift too! And it’s Deepak and Oprah, come-on:)
  • I’m a fan of Light Watkins who has a great book on Meditation titled, “Bliss More”, a TED Ex talk and fun interview on Mindbodygreen’s podcast. He is such a delightful human.
  • Mindsail is an emotional well-being App that I was honored 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. 
  • I also have done an online course with Ziva Meditation as I deeply related to Emily Fletcher’s lifestyle which lead her to study and create ZivaMind. With mindfulness, meditation and manifesting being the structure, students get the tools to be at the top of their personal and professional game.

Yoga and meditation are incredible practices 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. 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 (but that intention is a good one). 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 a certified 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!  

Happiness Blogger, Wellness Influencer, Healthy Sonoma Mama, Andrea Bogart Inspirational Addict, Yoga Instructor, Traveler Wife and Erik Almas Photography

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience with me and continuing to support Inspirational Addict. I look forward to writing and sharing so much and hope this was my kick back into consistency. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome here. Have a beautiful weekend! 

XOXO 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. 

newOM-e1513816862241.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIPS FOR BEING RESILIENT 

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

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

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

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

XOXO ANDREA

What Are You Thankful For?

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

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

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

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

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

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

XOXO ANDREA

 

 

10 Reasons To Practice Yoga

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

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

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

Connection 

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

Relieve Stress

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

Ease Joint Pain

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

Gain Strength

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

Great Workout

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

IMG_5033.JPG

Calming

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

Increase Flexibility

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

Inspires Mindfulness

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

Sleep Better 

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

Brilliant for the Mind

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

RYCM3144.jpg

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

xoxo Andrea

My Evacuation Experience from The Sonoma Fires

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

Let's Rewind

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

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

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

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

Cut To The Evening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Bit Of Our Story

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

xoxo Andrea

DSCF2950.JPG

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