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.

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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

Wellness Wednesday's Kick Off With MINDBODYGREEN

Hello and Happy Healthy Wednesday! Are you guys excited for Spring? I'm already soaking up the inspiration of natures wonders all around me... including the weeklong rain showers we're having in Sonoma. It's going to make everything so green and lush and I can't wait to see what is going to blossom from it all. Such a good reminder for how we too can bloom in new exciting ways! 

Inspirational Addict Lifestyle Blogger, Health and Wellness Sonoma Mama, Yoga Instructor, Actress, Photographed by Erik Almas

Part of why I love writing and having a place to share is to pay forward things I have found helpful in life. I'm always inspired to offer little bits of knowledge that support my on-going journey to living a happy, healthy lifestyle with all of you. Our own curiosities are what keeps us all growing and learning as we go, right? In my own challenges to carve out space for writing as I navigate my way through being a new mama, I thought giving myself a weekly theme would create the consistency I crave to push out here. I'm motivated by Spring! What's inspiring you right now?

So thank you for joining me for Wellness Wednesdays. I'm going to be paying forward insightful tips, ideas, stories, people, brands, etc. that I love and encourage us to continue to lean into living with vitality and cultivate that healthy lifestyle we all desire. 

To kick this off in style I want to introduce you guys to MINDBODYGREEN, one of my favorite platforms full of useful articles, stories and more. They also recently launched their podcast with founder and CEO, Jason Wachob, and it's wonderful. I was introduced to the company by one of my dear friends as he recommended me for this incredible REVITALIZE retreat they hold once a year. I'm a subscriber and visit this site regularly. Being a new mama I have a lot of concerns about how to raise a healthy child and look for great resources I can trust. I love the change makers, innovators, healers, experts and wellness leaders they have sharing their knowledge. A broad range of topics are covered and if you want to get in a little deeper they even offer classes and trainings you can purchase. I love everything they are about. If you want your social feeds to have some great daily inspiration, tips and things that will put a smile on your face, I suggest you follow them everywhere! 

I recently wanted some more ideas and knowledge about what to feed my eight month old and  this lovely little article on Why What You Feed Your Kids Really Matters was such a great read. If you have kids or plan to... here is one to get you started. 

I hope you take a peek into Mindbodygreen and should you find anything useful I'll feel like my job was done here. I don't get to read as often as I used to so podcasts are my jam, make sure to check it out if that feels more doable! Thank you for popping by and I look forward to our Wednesdays and more. Any comments or feedback is always welcome here. Big Hugs, have a brilliant rest of your week. 

XO 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

Allowing Yourself To Receive

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

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

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

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

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

Questions to ask yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

XO ANDREA

 

 

 

 

YOU Are The Solution To Not Giving Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XO ANDREA 

 

Essential Insight To Postpartum And Bundles Of Health

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

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

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

Why is health and wellness important to you?

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

 
Photo by Erik Almaa

Photo by Erik Almaa

 

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Kate Coletti

Photos by Kate Coletti

EssentialinsighttopostpartumandbundlesofhealthJPG

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

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

Photo by Mike Byrne

Photo by Mike Byrne

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

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

Andreas Most Essential Postpartum List

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

xo Andrea

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

Inspirational Addict Celebrates One Year... I'm Sharing Tips, let's cheer together?

Awe it's been another Soulful Sunday for me, how about for you guys? Are you ready to rock this week? I feel your smile getting bigger... well keep it up, I need a cheer section because I'm celebrating and I'm bringing you guys with me!

Photo By Erik Almas in Amsterdam

Photo By Erik Almas in Amsterdam

One year of sharing INSPIRATION as a blogger has me super giddy! The blessings of world travels, snapping photos everywhere go and journaling my fingers off is supplying me with a blog library filled to the brim. I’ve experienced joy in writing like I never knew I could and it feels darn good to pay forward the things that help me in life with the hopes to inspire even just one person.  My dedication to writing has improved and I’m thrilled to keep it up! It has not come without challenges, frustrations, mistakes and resistance at times but I've been accepting that as part of the process of learning. The support with Inspirational Addict has been such a gift to my soul. All the partnerships, comments, likes, shares, insights and some incredibly beautiful e-mails have touched my heart in ways you can't imagine. It's exactly the kind of community and connection with all of you I was looking forward to. THANK YOU for sharing pieces of you back with me.  

The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible
— Maya Angelou
Photo By Erik Almas in Kovalam, India

Photo By Erik Almas in Kovalam, India

I remember, for years…literally years, writing in journals, “start your blog.” Constantly brainstorming names, subject matter, ideas, lessons, passions and writing a lot, but never doing it. I was researching how to start a blog forever it seemed. So as I celebrate one year, I'm proud to say "I finally did it!!"  It took some helpful resources and hunkering down with a plan to figure out how I'd get the first one published. 

Do you have anything you want to celebrate with me? Of course you do… these are the treasures that we can build more inspiration, love and enthusiasm on! So think of something your proud of AND let’s cheer together! We all have daily wins... big and small, cherish them and use them as building blocks of goodness to take you higher. I know you have aspirations, brilliant ideas and goals you'd like to put energy into, right?  As we close another year it's such a great time to think about 2017. What amazing things are you going to accomplish this upcoming year? These basic tips can help get you going and be applied to anything that you're going to get focused on. 

Tip #1: brainstorm as a free write what you'd like to accomplish

Give yourself some freedom here. Set your timer for 10 minutes and jot down all the things that come to mind you'd like to see in 2017. After your timer goes off, circle one that instinctually feels most important to YOU. Just start with one. You can circle your top 10 later doing the same process for each.   

Tip #2: Outline briefly what it will take to get there

When you can visualize and see it written, you will take those steps to make happen. Let there be as many steps as there needs to be. This will help you get clear on your commitment. 

Tip #3: create accountability for yourself

This is potentially the most powerful part. Whether you grab a buddy and have check-in's or you jot down deadlines for your steps... you must hold court and do your best to be accountable. Remember it's a process lead with positivity and patience if something isn't fully met.  Having a partner, friend or family share this experience is a great way to bond and support one another.  

Several things lead to the extra nudge I needed to launch Inspirational Addict and it all circulated around me taking hours for a few days to sit at a coffee shop with the book "Your Best Year Yet". You've probably heard me mention, The New Hollywood, the women's goals and philanthropy group I joined in 2015 as well that's been an integral part of my growth and dedication. In support of what My Best Year Yet offers, TNH provides a useful guide book that I choose to put in that same effort with and NEWSFLASH; It's going to be available to the public in 2017.  Breaking down the year into quarters and what I'm going to focus on each quarter with my partner is a great way to see accomplishments and not overwhelm yourself. Between the support with this group of incredible women and with Erik, my fiancé and I always communicating about these things, really listening and offering assistance on how to help... I'm feeling like one blessed human whose thriving and being held accountable in a gracious manner.  I see my life unfolding not perfectly and not with every goal I wrote down being checked off but so filled with love and happiness and 90% are things I wrote, visualized, prayed for and kept positive thoughts about. I'm grateful for an incredible year. 

So hop to it over the Holidays... have some fun, create YOUR 2017 in writing, with vision boards, send yourself a long VM recording... whatever works for you! 

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Photo By Erik Almas in Delhi, India 

Photo By Erik Almas in Delhi, India 

Are you an Inspirational Addict too? Lend me your comments on what that means to you if so? I'm excited to have you all continue to be a part of this piece of me that hopes to blossom more and more and see this community of LOVE grow into something really special for us all. 

XO Andrea

Evolving From A Multitasker to A Singletasker... You Ready?

Hello wonderful humans! I'm coming right out to ask... are you constantly tempted to multitask?

IMG_0945.JPG

According to the Author of The One Thing "Since the 1920’s the word multitasking has existed but it was’t until the 1960’s that it was being used to describe computers, not something the human race did."

A girlfriend calls: “Hi Dre what are you doing?” 

Me: “I’m multitasking a million things like champ, getting stuff done… you?”

I admit it, that’s actually come out of my mouth for years now. I wore that phrase like a badge of honor, truly believing I was efficient in doing many things at once. Thankfully several resources including meditation, yoga and helpful literature have all inspired me to see how ineffective multitasking actually is. I'm challenged continuously and catch myself over and over again having to stop, realize I'm doing it and change my patterns. 

For example; I can memorize lines for an audition as I listen to upbeat music with lyrics, I can be on the phone and attentively listen as I unload groceries, I can read articles and pay bills on line switching from tab to tab while also creating Spotify playlists for my yoga sessions. These are are just a few of the things I thought I could do at the same time and do well. It really wasn't until I began consistently going to yoga that more awareness of myself & distracting habits surfaced and meditation helped me understand how to practice changing it. Get connected to the word practice, I use it a lot and find so much comfort knowing my growth lies in my commitment to practice... EVERYTHING. 

Snap By Erik Almas at the Taj Mahal in Agra, INDIA

Snap By Erik Almas at the Taj Mahal in Agra, INDIA

In the middle of writing an important email you stop and switch tabs to your on-line banking to pay some bills, then you decide to hop up and make a snack then back to the computer, someone texts you and you start engaging and before you know it you’ve just wasted two hours and not completed one thing. This is embarrassingly sometimes my day. I don’t want to pull anyone down here with me… but tell me I’m not alone? 

When I look at my todo list, I know I’m notorious for making long one’s. I even put the lists into categories and it’s still daunting. It's quite aggressive to think I could get it all done in a month let alone a few days. Do you do this too? It’s my attention span that often has to be redirected. How disrupted are you by your own thoughts? It's apparent that distractions surround us constantly and we will drive ourselves nuts if we don’t create a unique, personalized system that releases our ideal of doing several things at once. Let's start there. Deep breath in and out... and release the need. 

We want to actually complete tasks, we want to feel amazing about getting multiple things done... but in order of importance not scrambling them together like your best breakfast omelette, right? So how do we redirect our energy into doing one thing at a time? I love the juggler analogy The One Thing uses, "even a juggler, catches one ball at a time." 

TIP #1: IDENTIFY WHEN YOU'RE MULTITASKING

Catch yourself and pause. Reflect for a beat about it bringing awareness around it. Re-direct your actions into what's most important and follow through on one single task. Then move onto the next. Have a chuckle about it. 

TIP #2: ENJOY THE PRESENT MOMENT

Challenge yourself to be completely present in doing one thing at a time. Notice how different you feel. Enjoy and appreciate how wonderful it is. 

TIP #3: ENGAGE IN A MEDITATION PRACTICE

For me, this is it. Meditation is what calms the mind and creates a rich connection to the self and your ability to be still. Try 5 minute MOODBOOSTS with me as I talk you through various ways to quiet the mind with the Mindsail App. Sit with your beautiful self and love it. 

Snap by Erik Almas in Sarnath, INDIA

Snap by Erik Almas in Sarnath, INDIA

I have no doubt without yoga and meditations I’d be a total basket case still trying to master the art of multitasking, determined to be the best at it. No matter what your fitness routine or mindful practice is... can I inspire you to capture the essence of slowing down and taking one thing at a time?  With how fast things come at us these days, connecting to your ability to enjoy something moment by moment will enrich your capacity to be present with yourself, the tasks you want to achieve and others who are graced with your presence more and more. I'm with you on this journey, I love the challenge it presents and look forward to doing less with more focus as a singletasker. 

Thank you for stopping by. If you have any great tips about being a better singletasker... send them my way! Let me know if you find any of these tips helpful... share your progress! I'm so proud of all of you. 

Soothe Your Soul Sunday

What's something you can do today to soothe your soul? 

As I sit in my Vancouver hotel room watching the rain pour down, I'm embracing the mood to snuggle myself a bit. How often do we get fixated on all of our to-do lists that we actually forget to slow down, even stop, to just unwind and say, "I'm going to relax"? 

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

Start by carving out an amount of time that seems manageable and sufficient. I have a few requests; you won't punish yourself for neglecting anything or anyone, you will honor yourself with love and compassion, you will be specific about what you want to do with this time and it must soothe your soul. Deal?

For example, I don't often have a day that isn't scheduled back to back, nor do I usually have access to a hot tub, pool and sauna as I do currently in my hotel. I brought an actual pile of to-do list's I'm hoping to condense into one, so there's no shortage of things I'd like to accomplish. But, at some point today I am going to take one hour to do my 10 minutes of priming (#GMBB4) in the sauna and just enjoy myself with a little swim and hot tub time. These types of self-care acts inspire more of a connection with-in, expanding our self-awareness, deepening our ability to relax as we with drawl energy from the senses. The yogi's call this pratyahara.  We all need moments to let go of pressures we put on ourselves and to hit re-set. Most of us don't realize we have the tools to do this anytime, we just need practice accessing it.

Photo by Me

Photo by Me

Challenge yourself next time you're in place you feel your patience running thin. You're on a tight schedule, you're completely annoyed, flustered and would rather be anywhere than where you are. See if you can come back to mentally soothing your soul in some way. My go-to's are a few deep breaths and a positive affirmation flipping the situation and/ or taking some accountability instead of placing blame.

Smell the roses where ever you are!

Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures
— LaoTzu

Have a heart warming, delicious soul soothing Sunday everyone! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, I love hearing from you guys so much. 

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