Affirmations >> 04

I'm missing my family and home a bit today on this Easter Sunday, but the quote above is a nice reminder to take notice of the world around me and enjoy what I do have. I'm not only spending today 2,000 miles from my family, but also stuck at work on a gorgeous spring day. Ah, well...

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays, as spring is my favorite season. Or at least it was. I don't think I have a favorite anymore. I just enjoy how they change from one to the next, each with it's own rituals and events. At any rate, I love the flowers, the colors, the CANDY, and the food of a traditional Easter. I can't wait to do egg hunts with my kids someday. :)

I hope whether you are celebrating or not, with family and friends or not, that you are having a peace-filled day.

shanti >> sondra

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India v.1 >> The Beach

It's high time I start posting some of my trip pics, amirite? I've put off going through my pictures thus far for a couple of reasons. One, I think I wanted it all to sink in and absorb, before delving in and trying to recreate the memories and feelings in my head. It was too wonderful to just dissect right away like that. And, two, I was hoping I would be able to share some of the pictures from some other people in the group, but we haven't been able to get that organized yet. So, without further adieu, here is the first post!
I'm going to try and break these up thematically a bit, so to start off, we're heading to the beach! This is what we did on our first full day in India, so it makes sense to start there. Goa is all about the beaches, so naturally we spent our share of time on the sand.
The little beach restaurants and shacks would be at the edge of the beach, and then they would put out chairs and umbrellas out front. You don't lay on the sand in India, apparently it's not dignified or something. The restauants make money by having waiters walk around and bring you whatever you order. Pretty sweet!
This woman was walking up and down the beach selling fresh coconuts and fruit, which she would then hack open for you. We got fresh coconuts with straws. Mmmmmmmm.... I loved the way she carried it on her head, just she and the ocean.
These guys were out fishing and were carrying their nets. At one of the beaches we were at, they would walk around selling fresh fish to the people laying out on the chairs, which you could then have the restaurant cook up for you. I don't like seafood anyway, but those fish smelled like food poisoning waiting to happen.
We went to this same beach a few times, and this woman was hands down the best saleswoman in Goa. Every time we were there, she would talk us into buying things and then paying too much for them. She was good.

I hope you enjoyed this first glimpse of my India trip! Don't worry, there's LOTS more to come. I'll try and spread the posts out over the next couple of weeks so as not to inundate you all though. ;)
It's actually a BEAUTIFUL day here in Seattle, so I'm going to get off my keister and out into the sunshine before I have to be sequestered to my desk at work for the day. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

shanti >> sondra

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Lovin' >> Smudgin'

Did you know that once you go over the Cascades, that Washington gets pretty desert-y? Me neither. Well, I didn't know until a couple of years ago when we were on a roadtrip and drove through eastern Oregon, which is similar. Andy is on spring break from teaching, and since we rarely have two days off in a row together during the school year, we took advantage for a quick overnight trip. Originally we were going to head to the Olympic Peninsula, but Andy said he wanted to see the sun. Fair enough, since I've seen plenty of it recently. :)

A part of my heart is always in the desert, so I was happy to be there. The wild sage is one of my favorite parts. Sage has been used by Native Americans for hundreds if not thousands of years for it's spiritual purifying and cleansing properties. Medicinally, it is antibacterial and antiseptic, and has uses ranging from headaches to heartburn to depression to menopause.

I only discovered smudging last year, so I have only smudged spaces* a few times, but it is really a beautiful ritual. I love the idea of clearing out a space of the old "juju," to make way for the new. Whether it's purely symbolic, or all those medicinal properties are just the surface of more powerful spiritual cleansing powers, I have no idea. It doesn't really matter either way, really.

I've never made my own sage bundles before, but I collected some and am giving it a whirl. They're hanging to dry right now, so hopefully soon I'll be able to use them to clear out some of the stale winter energy hanging around.

Have you ever smudged a space before?

shanti >> sondra

*if you're not familiar with it, it's basically waving the smoke of the smoldering sage bundle into all the nooks and crannies of a space, while either thinking or saying aloud your intentions "I am cleansing this space of the old, to welcome the new," or something like that.

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The Middle Way >>

I am a firm believer in "Moderation in all things, including moderation." I think I've just slowly come to this conclusion over the years, through personal observation and experience. For example, when I graduated from college, I lost 30 pounds. I didn't have a specific strategy, I just figured it can't be all or nothing. I don't do well with Absolute Musn'ts. There's gotta be room for dessert, for home baked bread, for birthday cake. I think this is why I've been able to keep it (mostly!) off for the last 8 years (good lord, where has the time gone).
This is also how it has gone with me and vegetarianism. Many years ago, I thought I'd be a vegetarian. I checked to see if things contained gelatin, I refused things fried in animal fats, and eschewed any and all meat. It didn't go well. Inevitably, there came a day where I just needed wanted something meaty. I caved and there went my vegetarianism. I chalked it up as a personal failure of will. 
This last year, I decided to give it another go. But I decided to be more flexible about it. If I really craved something, or if it meant a choice of going hungry or eating meat, or if it was something being served to me as a guest (a personal guest, not as a restaurant guest), I gave it space. This has 100% worked for me, and as a result, I eat meat very rarely these days and feel really good about the choices I make. The Middle is a much better place to be than All or Nothing.
These are just a couple of examples of how moderation has really worked for me in my life (and no, they are not all food related :)). During my yoga retreat, the concept of "the middle way" came up a few times. The "middle way" or "middle path" was something that the Buddha talked to his followers about, after living a life of ascetecism and still failing to achieve enlightenment. I do not consider myself a Buddhist (or an anything, for that matter), but many of the Eastern religions/philosophies hold a lot of wisdom, and this is one of them. I just think it is such a lovely concept to promote, and it doesn't get enough play in our culture of extremes. Thoughts? :)
shanti >> sondra
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From the Inside >> Looking Out

I have had a lot of thoughts tumbling around in my head the last week or so. Spending 10 days on retreat, it would be silly not to spend some introspective time. I'm not quite sure what the fruits will be of this time, but I feel like I've planted some seeds.

The other thing that has happened since getting home, is that I realized that we are about to face a very cash-strapped summer. My work is seasonal, and my husband is employed at the University, so neither of us will have incomes over the summer. It's not that I didn't realize this before, but now I really thought about it, and saw that there was no way we could make it without dipping into savings. I started to feel worry and fear creep in a bit. Pretty unwelcome feelings after 10 days of bliss!

Yes, we could get summer jobs, and we may in some form. But I think one of the seeds that I planted during my time in India, was to just let things be. Sit with the discomfort. When all is said and done, the time is more important to me than the money. I am trying to turn that frown upside down, and see the good that will come from this.

I am grateful that we will have 3 months with time that is all our own.
I am grateful that we have enough cash on hand to see us through (although it pains me to spend it).
I am grateful to be able to get down to basics, to pare down, and re-examine our spending habits.

I know it will be hard. But I think it will be wonderful. I am looking forward to a summer of camping, hiking, laying out under the stars, and picnics in the park. Reading, yoga, and daydreaming. Maybe even of being bored. Like the kind you had as a kid, when the summer days stretched endlessly on.

It's all so hard to imagine, as I sit here typing after a snowy (yes, we had flakes today!) morning, while getting ready to go to work. When the anxiety starts to creep back in, I want to look at the image above with the words I added, and remember to sit with the discomfort. It will pass.

shanti >> sondra


What to Wear >> Florals

My first "real" post since coming back! It's nice to be back in the saddle again. I'm still working on getting all of my trip pictures sorted through, it might be a week or so, but in the meantime, here we are again with the What to Wear series! Seeing how yesterday was the official first day of spring, it's only fitting that we are going with florals.

While I was in India, everything burst into bloom! Now, don't hate. I've been eyeing up the weather in the rest of the Northern climes, and I know that most people aren't so lucky to have things blooming, let alone be able to see the bare ground. I feel for you; I endured 27 Minnesota winters before I left, so I know how frustrating this time of year can be! Don't worry, though. While everyone else is slipping on shorts on going on picnics in June, we'll still be here in the grey and drizzle. Or so I've been told at least.

Despite the sunshine and blue skies seen here, it was actually still a bit chilly and and VERY windy while I took these pics. I went with this dress since it has sleeves, so it's not too bare for this early spring day. Then, I decided to add some pastel tights to lighten up the look a bit and add an extra layer. Throw some birds on it (the necklace) and BAM! spring look = complete.

We are now doing something very exciting! A link up! This little feature keeps growing and growing. So, if you'd like to participate and/or want to check out more sweet florals, head on over to Nicole's blog!

Is anything blooming yet where you live?

shanti >> sondra

dress >> f21, $20? not sure
tights >> we love colors, $5
necklace >> f21 $4
booties >> target, $18


Home is Where >> The Cats Are

DUDES, I'm back! It only took me 36 hours and 8,000 miles, but I've made it back to chilly Seattle! I've actually been back since Sunday afternoon, but I have been sleeping a lot since then, what with the jet lag and all. I had an AMAZING time in India. It was really, truly, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Although, I hope very much that it's not just once, and that I can go back someday. I am anxious to tell you all about it, but I have not been up to sorting through all the photos just yet. In the meantime, I just wanted to pop in and say hello. Isn't that photo above gorgeous? It was from our last night there, as we ate dinner near the beach. It already seems so surreal.

In other news, whatthewhat happened with Google Reader while I was away? Not cool guys, NOT COOL. I have been using Google Reader for years to manage my daily reads! So I'm a little bummed to learn of it's imminent demise. But not to fret, pets. I see that bloglovin' will be picking up the slack, as well as several other sites that manage RSS feeds. I checked out Feedly myself, and am digging the clean, cool interface, plus how easy it was to import all my blogs.

SO. If you follow via GFC, go to bloglovin' or your new app of choice and be sure to get the goin' on following me! Don't worry, I'll remind you again. :)

Okay, back to sleeping at odd hours of the day.

shanti >> sondra


Adorable Beauty >> Korean Style

Today we have the lovely Louise from Stars in Jars filling in! I actually just discovered her blog a couple of months ago, but I fell fast for her little space. She has such great style, and I love the DIYs she posts! I also love getting peeks into her life in Korea; so interesting!

Hey pals of our lovely Sondra!
My name is Lou and I blog over at Stars in Jars.
Sondra has very kindly invited me to stand in for her today while she is off experiencing the beauty and wonder of magical India. I'm so jealous!
If you are not familiar with my blog I will tell you that I work as an English teacher in South Korea and in South Korea there is only one thing I love better than their stationary.
And that, friends, is Korean cosmetics.
There is a Japanese word which perfectly describes Asian make-up... kawaii, meaning 'cute'.
If you, like I, are a marketing agents dream and get sold on packaging 90% of the time then you will love my round-up of my favorite kawaii-cute Korean cosmetics.
Not only is the packaging adorable, but Korean make-up is extremely cheap and very high quality so it stands up well to the high end brands such as MAC or Bobbi Brown which are crazy expensive out here.

1. The Face Shop// Coral Cushion Blusher
I'm obsessed with this soft apricot color for a nice pop on my cheeks.

2. Etude House & The Face Shop// Hand Cream & Coral Cheek Stick
Seriously, can packaging get any cuter than this?
I have a mild obsession with Matryoshka dolls so I scooped up this mama as soon as I saw her!

3. Etude House// Mini Jam Jam Hand Gel, Collagen Eye Patches & Gingko Lip Patch
These eye and lip patches cost around a buck each and they are so soothing after a hot shower.

4. Skin Food & Too Cool For School// BB Cream, Pearl Bay Primer & Dinoplatz Mascara
BB Cream has finally made it's way Westwards but initially it was a Korean phenomenon~ it works as a primer, moisturizer, SPF and tint. I love using it every day as a base for my make up.
Too Cool For School have an amazing range of dinosaur packaged products.
Too cool for school indeed!

Thank you, Louise, this was awesome! I am SUCH a sucker for packaging -- it gets me every time. I can't believe you can get that stuff there!!!! I'm super jealous. Maybe we'll have to have a package exchange sometime? ;)

Also, as you read this, I will be flying back to the States! Regularly scheduled programming should resume soon, including (probably way too many) recaps of my adventures. I can't wait to share them with you all!

shanti >> sondra


Taking Time >> To Breathe

Today's post is from Nicole from Gypsy in Jasper. I'm sure most of you already know how awesome she is, but if you don't, hop on over straight away to check her out! Nicole was one of the first people I reached out to when I first started blogging, and I remember thinking how weird it was to actually be communicating with one of the bloggers I followed! Anyway, she was a sweetheart and the rest is history. :)

Lately, I find I have to remind myself to take the time to breathe. To just take a step back from the stress and craziness of life and inhale, exhale and repeat. This past week has been a bit of roller coaster of out of nowhere changes that have left me bursting with emotions. My brain is tied up in rapid-fire thoughts that have me stressing out and freaking out. So, I just keep reminding myself that it will all be OK if I just take a second to breathe. If I just give myself a moment for reflection. A moment to shake off the pressure and anxiety that seems to be endlessly mounting.

All it takes is a breath — one deep, soul-calming breath — to bring me back to a place where I can find some sort of peace. A place where I can focus on what really matters.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you're feeling overwhelmed, if you're feeling down and out, if you're feeling like life's stresses are piling up and bringing you down, take a moment to breathe today. Breathe in deeply, filling your lungs to the brim and exhale until you have nothing left to give. I promise, your body and mind will thank you.

Thank you, Nicole, this is an awesome message! I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have needed to remind myself of this very message! And it has seriously saved my butt a number of times, too. :)

shanti >> sondra


Instant Love >> From Instant Photos

I am SO excited about this post today! It is brought to you courtesy of Kayla of Kaylanaut fame, who is adorable beyond belief. I love "old school" photography (I've shared a bit about my holga adventures here, here, and here), so this is totally up my alley!

Hi abhaya readers, I'm Kayla and I blog over at Kaylanaut!  I'm so thrilled at Sondra's having asked me to guest-post for her while she's away.  My blogging topics are pretty varied, ranging from yoga to papercrafting to video games... but today, I'd like to talk about a hobby of mine that's very dear to my heart: instant photography.

Naturally, "instant photography" brings to mind the name Polaroid.  You know, the little point-and-shoot Polaroid One Step cameras with those funky 70's stripes:

And those classic Polaroid photo frames, with that convenient bottom label area:

While that's certainly the most famous and most classic design, what I use is a bit different.  My camera is the Polaroid Automatic Land Camera model 250, which was first introduced in 1967:

(Teal nail polish does not come standard with the camera, of course.)

The film is different, too.  If you've had any interest in instant photography, you probably know by now that Polaroid no longer makes the classic Polaroid film we all recognize and love.  Lucky for us, however, other companies have stepped up to the plate to ensure that we can still enjoy instant photography with our beloved Polaroid cameras.  One such company being The Impossible Project, who has bought many of the old Polaroid factories and makes newer versions of the classic Polaroid film.  The other, Fujifilm, continues to make the film that my camera uses:  pull-apart film, also known as "packfilm."

Pull-apart film is exactly what it sounds like: you take the photo in your camera, pull the tab (the paper coming out of the side of my camera in that photo), wait for it to develop (anywhere from 20 seconds to nearly 2 minutes, depending on the film and temperature where you are), then pull it apart from the developing chemicals to reveal the photo.  Neat, right?

The photos look different, though: they're more rectangular, and they don't have the nifty labeling spot.  What you'll get are equally-as-awesome photos that look like these:

I love instant photography, because it is unpredictable.  You never know what you're going to reveal when you peel it apart!  Oftentimes you'll end up with something terribly out of focus, awkwardly framed, over- or under-exposed... but every so often you'll come out with an absolute gem.  And hey, even those blurry, weirdly-framed photos have their charm -- that's why we love Polaroids, isn't it?  

I hope you enjoyed this peak into my hobby, and I hope that this inspires you to dust off your old Polaroid camera -- or your parents'Polaroid, or pick up that one off that thrift store shelf -- and surprise yourself with what you capture! 

Ahhhh, wasn't that fantastic?! I actually own a land camera, and it's been ages since I've taken it out to play! I am so inspired now to get it back out and experiment. Do you have an instant camera? 

shanti >> sondra


Etsy Finds >> Travel Edition

Hi dears! Today's guest poster is Adriana from Horses of Ares. Every week she posts a collection of awesome finds from Etsy, and I know I always love almost everything she picks! Today I asked her to share a few of her favorite travel related finds. Since, uh, you know. I'm travelling and all. ;)

Back in '09, I was a regular at the airport with my suitcases in hand and adventure in my mind. I took more than a dozen plane trips that year alone, going to and from my university and back home to visit. I learned that packing shouldn't be over-thought of, traveling light is always key and keeping your camera close at hand is a must. Here's a few things I found while roaming through Etsy for the adventurers and travelers at heart. One my favorite finds is the brown satchel because it's large enough for all of your carry-on necessities, like your laptop or sweater, and compact enough to take with you on a plane. What's your must-have traveling gear?

No. 1 // The Camper Satchel // Sketchbook ($240)

No. 2 // "Hello Adventure" Moon Print // Jump Off The Page ($17)

No. 3 // Military World Globe // Bellalulu ($440)

No. 4 // 1940's Pontiac Lynx II Camera // Vintage Camera Print ($115.05)

No. 5 // Leather Travel Journal // Christine Marie Ford ($55)

No. 6 // Blue Train Case // JessJamesJake ($55)

If you'd like to see more, come by my blog Horses of Ares for a new Etsy Finds every Tuesday. Thank you, Sondra, for letting me high-jack your blog while you're out traveling throughout India, you lucky girl you! :)

love and hugs, adriana

Aren't her picks adorable? I especially love the globe and that journal. Be sure to say hi to Adriana over in her neck of the woods!

xx sondra


Practicing >> Presence

Today's guest poster is Rebecca, who is a fantastic life coach and photographer. Her blog is filled with lots of inspirational goodies! Definitely check her out -- her photography is beautiful, and she writes in such a touching, personal way. She also has some cool projects going on, like her storyteller course, and her kindred storyteller series.

3 ways presence, and practicing it often, can change your life…

> You’re no longer subject to the whim of a madman…

Yes, I just called your brain a madman. If left unchecked anyone’s mind can spin tall tales, manufacture massive misnomers, and deliver devastating doubts. Sure, it might be well meaning in its efforts, but that’s hardly the point. Your life is meant to be bigger than the average fear-mongering mind will entertain, so you must be willing to push past it. Presence opens the door for you to do just that.

> You’ll have fuller, shinier hair…

When you’ve tapped into the here and now, and your mind is blissfully entertained by what truly is and not all the tragedies that MIGHT befall you, you can stop stressing. Literally your body can stop stressing, and fewer stress hormones means a healthier body and mind. Redirect all that freed up energy towards things that actually make you happy and you’ve got a recipe for joy like you’ve never seen before, but you WILL see it, reflected in the health and vibrance of your body. Better hair is only a few deep breaths away!

> You’ll get more done!..

Nothing puts the kibosh on a sense of motivation faster than the over-achieving, over-zealous, over-bearing chatterbox that is your brain. Sure you start out all fired up to write that blog post, paint your masterpiece, go for that run, or apply for that job, but before you know what happened you’re back on the couch, watching another rerun of Supernatural and wondering why your life isn’t more exciting. What happened? Well, you probably fell victim what I like to call: present-moment-itis; symptoms commonly include dredging up every past failure for proof there’s no point to trying again, paralyzing fear of the future should you make any effort today, and a general sense of doom all around you. You stop being IN the present the minute when your mind dips into either the past or the future. Sadly this is often where most of us live. Cultivate a sense of presence, and practice it often, and you’ll stop being sidelined long enough for your motivation to actually get you somewhere. To-do list? BOOM.

So, now that you know all about how awesome presence can be, you want to get some for yourself, no? Well, ok then. Just for you here is my #1, all time favorite method for practicing presence…

Breathe. Breathe deeply, on purpose, and with full awareness of the air as it passes through your nose, down into your filling chest, and then back out. Take no less than three DEEP breaths. This slows the fight or flight response from your body, focuses your mind on a tangible thing, and let’s the onslaught of thoughts slow down log enough for you to become conscious of them. From this calmer place you can listen to what your mind is telling you, and give your attention and energy only to those ideas that make you feel good, peaceful and at ease. Don’t worry when three minutes later you find that you need to do this all over again; that’s why it’s called “practicing” presence. And lucky for us, we have our whole lives to master it.

How about you? Do you have a favorite method to bring you back to the here and now? I’d love to hear it!

Thank you, Rebecca, SO MUCH for contributing this! This post couldn't be more perfect, since finding and experiencing presence is one of the reasons I love travelling so much. 


What to Wear >> St. Patrick's Day

Hi! When you're reading this, I should be safe and sound on the beach far, far away. But I am writing this before I have left, so it's like future Sondra is here talking back to past Sondra...whoa, mind blowing!
Confession: I'm not a big St. Patrick's Day fan. I'm not even a little bit Irish, and I don't like beer. Or whiskey. But neither do I like getting pinched on St. Patrick's Day, so you gotta wear some green.

Ya know, for all the blue I had in my closet, the green options were pretty limited. I guess it's not a color I'm particularly drawn to. I should probably wear it more, since it's the complimentary color to my red hair. Or maybe I look too Christmassy then?

This is one of my favorite shirts, if only for it's versatility. It's just plain white, but it has the collar, sleeve, and back details that make it a little extra special. It's great with so many things! I especially love it under dresses.
Here's a jump shot to show you all how excited I all am to be leaving in two days.

And here's one full length shot of the whole shebang. It's been warm enough the last couple days to have bare legs, if only briefly. When I looked at these photos on the computer though, I thought for a second that I had tights on. My legs are THAT WHITE. Holy moly, I hope I don't instantaneously burn while I'm away!

And, GUYS! There are a whole bunch of new ladies in the lineup this week! Be sure to check them out and welcome them to the gang! And if YOU would like to join us next time, shoot any one of us an email!
Okay, back to beaching (says future me...from the past). ;)

shanti >> sondra
top >> thrifted, $4
skirt >>  vintage, clothing exchange store  $7
belt >> from another dress
shoes >> Target, $4


Banana Bread >> Granola Bars

Hi everyone! I am super grateful that a great bunch of ladies are stepping in for me while I'm away! Some you might know already, and hopefully, some might be new to you. I think all of them are FANTASTIC, and each has such a unique and interesting voice. I hope you like all of their fabulous guest posts as much as I do, and be sure to pop over to their own blogs to check out more from them!

First up is the lovely Sarah. Sarah is a midwestern lady like myself, living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My husband is pretty much obsessed with Bells Beer, so hopefully we'll take a trip to the brewery sometime and can say hi to Sarah while we're at it!
Hi there!  I'm Sarah, and I blog over at Exploring Woods.  I'd like to thank Sondra for inviting me to take over her blog for the day!  I'm sure she's having a wonderful time in India, and I can't wait to hear about her trip when she gets back!

Today I'm going to share a recipe with you for some yummy banana bread granola bars.  I found this particular recipe while browsing Pinterest not too long ago.  The website Pinterest linked me to and that I used the recipe from can be found here, but reading further took me to the original recipe which is just slightly different, in that it has less brown sugar, and she added chia seeds; that can be found here.  I'll post the recipe that I used though (more sugar's a good thing, right?).

banana bread granola bars
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp honey
1 egg white
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp milled flax seed
1 tsp chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine the banana, applesauce, honey, egg white, cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, and 3 tbsp brown sugar in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, flax seed, and chia seeds.  Add to liquid mixture and stir until well combined.

Press mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of brown sugar (I patted it down to make sure it didn't fall off while eating.)  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Once done, invert onto a cooling rack and allow the bars to completely cool before slicing.

These granola bars turned out so yummy, and the batter smelled heavenly while mixing it up.  The recipe says it makes 8 bars, but I cut 6 large bars instead.  Really, it's just however many you want to cut them into from an 8x8 pan.  They're pretty healthy, so don't feel bad for eating one or two. ;)

Hope you enjoy the recipe, and have a great day!
These look AMAZEBALLS, right? These look perfect to take on our next hike! Plus, banana bread is pretty much one of my favorite things in the whole world, so these are surely delicious. Thank you so much, Sarah, for sharing these!

shanti >> sondra


Leaving >> On a Jet Plane

It's finally time for me to leave for India!!!! What do I mean, finally, I actually can't believe it's time already! You know how you anticipate something, and it always seems so far away, and then BAM! you're doing it? That's what this feels like.

I am super excited to be going though, it should be an adventure of a lifetime. I'll be staying for 10 days in Goa, India, which is on the West coast and is very beachy. I am staying at a yoga retreat center, and will be studying and practicing yoga for about 3 hours everyday. I'll then spend the rest of the time sightseeing, hanging out at the beach, and volunteering. I'm really looking forward to just spending some quality "me" time --  reflecting, working on some creative projects, and just relaxing. I have lots of books queued up, and am excited to delve a little deeper into a few things I haven't had time for. I turn the big 3-0 three weeks after I get back, so this trip is my way of saying goodbye to my 20s, and jumping into and looking forward to my 30s.

But you guys are in for a super awesome treat while I'm gone! A group of lovely ladies have agreed to guest-blog for me in my stead, and they have put together some fan-tabulous posts for you all. I hope you like their posts as much as I do, and hopefully you'll find a new blogger or two to add to your roll!

OH and before I forget: I am planning to Instagram like CRAZY while I'm gone! If you don't already, find me @instasondra to follow along with all my shenanigans! The more the merrier! (For the Luddites out there, you can use a web app like followgram to follow along, too!)

See you on the flipside, dude meisters!

shanti >> sondra


Hot Spring >> Adventure

A few days ago, we took a little snowshoeing trip to a hot spring in the woods. I LOVE natural hot springs. They are the most magical, soothing places on Earth. Well, as far as I can tell at least. Andy and I have sought out many over the last few years, and I'd say this is in the top 5 best we've been to.
It was about a two mile snowshoe trek to get to this one, which happened to be on private land. We got permission from the owners to visit, and we set off. Except...we went about 40 minutes in the wrong direction. Oops. So that part kinda sucked, since by the time we actually were at the trailhead, we had already been snowshoeing for an hour and 20 minutes and I was starting to get tired. But after a sufficient amount of grumbling and complaining, I kept going for a couple more hours. This was the view when we finally came across our magical natural hot tub.
Clearly it was worth it. The hot water felt sooooo amazing. I didn't even think any of these pictures would turn out because it was so steamy! Apparently this particular spring is high in natural lithium...maybe that made it extra relaxing?
I could have stayed there for a lot longer, taking breaks to cool off and then hop back in, but since we had a late start we had to head back after an hour or so so we didn't get caught in the dark. On the way home we treated ourselves to a bag of Doritos for all of our hard snowshoeing work. Cuz that's how we roll. :)

Have you ever been to a natural hot spring?

shanti >> sondra