Happy Fourth Of July America

Happy Fourth Of July Everyone!

As we celebrate America's Independence today with family and friends... let LOVE soar from our hearts to the hearts of all beings everywhere! 

Pinterest 

Pinterest 

This photo reminded me of going to the St. Louis VP Fair when I was younger. We loved seeing the air show and the incredible fireworks as night fell illuminating the river and reflection of the Arch. Isn't is fun to reflect upon all the Fourth Of July celebrations you've shared over the years? Whether it be traditions with family or various groups of friends cooking out and enjoying the energy that fills the day? The activities, conversations and memories that you take with you each year are a blessing. So seize the day, remember those who continue to serve for us to live in the land of the free and brave and let's pay that gratitude forward with courage and love. 

The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea—and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going
— Condoleezza Rice
Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

Beaming out my happiest 4th vibes to all of you... with ice cream in hand, per usual these days! Big hugs and help me count down to Baby Almas being born- We are so excited to meet our little girl and thank you all for the fun support we continue to receive. Go enjoy some fireworks tonight!

XO ANDREA

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

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

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This is a free write to my mamma... 

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

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

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

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

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

XO ANDREA

 

To Malibu With Gratitude

A Sunday morning drive down PCH, sipping on a smoothie with some mood music and my man-squeeze next to me is a great way to start the day...

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Something about the ocean-side drive always deeply connects me to my sense of gratitude. The quick breeze almost takes my hipster hat. Erik and I share a laugh that's worthy of the windows remaining down. There's a whisper in the air that breathes, it's going to be a great Sunday. I love this feeling– are you with me?

The Malibu Yoga Shala is our destination, a private event hosted by the gracious Leah Marsh and Ed Freedman. We stroll into a beautiful space with the excitement of meeting new people and claim a spot as yoga mats are being rolled out. A stunning beach-front flow accompanied by live acoustic music is such a gorgeous way to bring people together... I'm inspired and honored to be here. Glimpsing into the kitchen, I can see a small crew hard at work preparing an array of fresh foods and the sweetest chocolate lab is brushing by with a tennis ball in-mouth, ready to play. There are hugs and handshakes with some friendly faces I know and introductions with those whom are new. I'm in my element of bliss and soaking up the experience of participating as a guest before I get to guide this radical tribe. 

The smell of the salty air, sounds of waves crashing and the light strumming of a guitar is grounding and I feel alive. My rhythmic ujjayi breath is a graceful ballroom-waltz dancing in and out... in and out... in and out. I'm relishing in the last bit of shade as the sun beams its' rays onto half of my face. I am present, I am grateful, I am happy. 

For seventy-five minutes Kat McGee has us gently flowing, threading in the word simplicity and I sink deeper into letting go and release my worried demeanor about getting everything done on my to-do list.  Jenna Maranga's angelic voice flutters like a beautiful butterfly over my movements.It's calming to practice being present & the art of acceptance. The time spend on my mat and meditating gives me the freedom to enjoy the process.  As we lay in Savasana and I surrender letting thanks wash over my sun-kissed, dewy body I cherish the calm, quiet connection to the earth supporting me– Namaste. 

We are invited to stick around and enjoy breakfast prepared by the talented Chef Oren. The presentation is something a food blogger would go nuts over. YUM! Everything is delicious... my pallet is satisfied with flavorful & clean local ingredients that he's passionate about serving. This was such a special addition to the already wonderful morning we were having. 

Photo by Me

Photo by Me

Photo: Chef Oren - Lavender Dragon fruit Chia pudding

Photo: Chef Oren -Lavender Dragon fruit Chia pudding

Photo: Chef Oren -  Mini healthy tostadas w/ Brown quinoa, spinach, Chili's, black beans, fire roasted tomato salsa and hard-boiled egg

Photo: Chef Oren -Mini healthy tostadas w/ Brown quinoa, spinach, Chili's, black beans, fire roasted tomato salsa and hard-boiled egg

Photo: Chef Oren -  Acai coconut bowl

Photo: Chef Oren -Acai coconut bowl

Of course we couldn't leave with out getting our toes in the sand and me asking my talented guy, Erik Almas to snap some beach yoga photos. The beautiful connection nature triggers spiritually for me is a reminder, I'm the most comfortable outdoors and surrounded by it. Beyond getting a great shot, it feels nice to have the sea splashing up on me as I try to find balance on a rock. 

Special Thanks to  Body Language Sports Wear  for my summer floral leggings and  LuLu Lemon  for my favorite black bra top.

Special Thanks to Body Language Sports Wear for my summer floral leggings and LuLu Lemon for my favorite black bra top.

We mingled for a bit and as I thanked Leah and Ed for their loving, generosity and hospitality, I realized how special this is and what a privilege it will be to flow with these yogi's as I lead this private event on Aug. 7th.  Another bucket list will be checked off and it will be something new for my 31 day class pass challenge I'm doing this month with my friends, Jake Ferree and Namastamy. I've been wanting to teach a flow accompanied with live music; our featured musician is Peter Chung.  I spoke with Peter and he mentioned he's always wanted to play live with a yoga flow... SYNCHRONICITY is so grand! A special thanks to Chris Pan founder of MyIntent for connecting me to this group of wonderful humans. Stay tuned for a follow up blog with more on the Aug. 7th Malibu Yoga Shala Event. 

Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.
— Mark Twain

Thank you for popping by! Can I inspire you to try some new things for the rest of August with me and include #InspirationalAddict in your hashtag when you photograph it? XOXO

More Issues Than VOGUE? Admit It, It's All Good

Do you ever feel like you've got more issues than VOGUE? Me too, admit it, it's all good.... let's have a smile about it.

I saw this and had to snag it from Pinterest. Why? Because there are days I feel like this. No matter how much self care I do, how happy I feel, how healthy I am... there are days I can still create a laundry list of things that are just crappy feeling. Are you with me on this? The important thing here is to recognize this behavior. It doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't have these emotions or lists, good gracious we're human. However, I will encourage you to invite them in and make friends with them. You most likely will be laughing at yourself in a few moments or at the very least be leaning into an opportunity to shift your perspective about them all. 

           "I'm not a model moment"

           "I'm not a model moment"

Example of my internal dialogue: 

Ugh, oh boy, I'm so tired. I look like hell. I'm over caffeinating myself... that's probably why you're bloated and your skin is bad. Wow, is that another gross sun spot? Hmmm, maybe I'll have another cappuccino. Shoot, I have to hurry.

Flipping this inner dialogue around: 

Deep breath in and exhale out. Well hello there 5AM rise and shiner. You are vibrant for being up this early. I'm going to have less caffeine today so let's start with a big water to hydrate my awesome skin.  A green juice will get me going and glowing. I am grateful for this day. Meditation here I come!

So now I've made friends with my thoughts. The negative internal dialogue can habitually be depleting of joy and happy thoughts. It's work you guys. I keep reminding myself of this. Getting into healthy habits and positive self talk is a process. If you've ever trained for anything at all you understand the dedication it takes to achieve results. Whether you have or not, can I inspire you to train yourself to start living a more joyous life? What if you treated yourself the way you'd treat a friend you want to show love and support toward.  Does that help? When I thought of it like that, it helped me. Filling ourselves with compassion is not always easy but it's certainly better to work on it than settle for being mean and unkind, which doesn't do any good. The issues we often think we have are emotions we give more weight to by fixating on them rather bringing a consciousness to what it is we'd like to change, see differently or with courage... accept.  Society shows us this as well. We all can fall victim to thinking more likes, followers, subscribers or being noticed in any form will make us a better person. This is where we "check ourselves before we wreck ourselves," (thank you ICE CUBE for the variation of lyrics I borrowed) Your authenticity, kindness and creativity you cultivate will connect with and be seen by those who appreciate the light in you. The issues you think you have will blur into the backdrop as clarity arises in the foreground! Believing is seeing. 

I challenge you to four daily rituals you can incorporate to any part of your day:

  • Say something positive to yourself when you look in the mirror.
  • Make eye contact and send a smile to someone in passing. 
  • Jot down three things you're grateful for. (I use a gratitude app I love)
  • Do something physical that makes you feel alive and uplifted for at least 10min.
                        Thank you  Sue Fitzmaurice  for this little gem reminder

                        Thank you Sue Fitzmaurice for this little gem reminder

To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.
— E. E. Cummings

Do you have any issues you're questioning, feeling troubled by or giving more weight to than necessary? Remember you're not alone. I invite you share anything here if you'd like? Big hugs and thanks for popping by.