Thoughts on the Beach + Santa Barbara

“Anyone who doesn’t like the beach, doesn’t have a soul.” -my sister, Alishia

We got to spend this past weekend in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. My husband and sister had surprised me with the trip for my birthday back in December. We’ve only stopped in SB on the way back from LA, so it was such a treat to spend an entire weekend there. I almost forgot that it’s still winter, since I was wearing shorts and a bathing suit…in February!

We rented an AirBnb in Summerland, up in the hills with a view of the ocean. It was the perfect location; 10 minutes from SB and about a 5-minute drive to Montecito. We left the Bay area around 10 am, and made a pit-stop in San Luis Obispo for lunch. A few of my friends attended CalPoly, and every single one of them recommended eating at the Firestone Grill. Let me tell you…it did not disappoint.

Btw…driving down the 101, it was SO green!! It’s amazing what rain can do…as Luke Bryan says, “Rain is a GOOD THING!” : )

I’m still salivating remembering this Tri-Tip sandwich…what makes a great sandwich is the bun; if you’ve got a good bun..you’re in business 😉

summerland exi.jpg

Our AirBnb was the cutest! There was a room for Kendrick and I, and a pull-out bed in the living room for my sister.

ocean view

The Summerland beach park was a quick walk down the hill, so we went to watch the sunset.

sunset 2

kiss

Even if you don’t like swimming, or hate sandy feet, there’s something therapeutic about listening to the waves crash on the shore. As we watched the sun melt into the water, I couldn’t help but think about all the things that the sun brings light to…we would never get to see the beautiful blue ocean against the blue sky if we didn’t have the sun; or experience the show of colors it gives us every night when it sets.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the beach all my worries seem to suddenly disappear. It’s like my mind is cleared of all “to-do lists”, stress, obligations, and sense of time. There’s a sense of innate faith…that there’s something beyond this world; something bigger than we can imagine.

I grew up going to the beach every summer because my family owned a house on Long Beach Island (New Jersey). Some of the best memories I have of my childhood were made at the beach. Living on the east coast, we didn’t have the luxury to enjoy the beach year-round; so when summer came along, you can bet that we soaked up as many days as we could outside. Kendrick grew up going to the beach every summer too; there was an island off the coast of Salvador (Brazil) that he would go to with his family. The beach is like therapy for him; and he was happy as a clam all weekend 🙂

kendrick on beach

courthouse 2

One of my favorite sights was the Santa Barbara County Courthouse! Highly recommend stopping here to anyone who visits!

 

building

View from the Observation Tower

town of sb

butterfly beach

Our favorite beach was Butterfly Beach, across from the Biltmore Four Seasons.

sunset day 2

The best sunsets are beach sunsets, am I right??

watching sunset.jpg

It was so rejuvenating to feel a sense of renewal from our short weekend away. I love experiencing new places, but also am incredibly lucky that I can come home to a job that I love so much. Whenever we travel, one of the things I look forward to is coming home and sleeping in my own bed.

Sometimes all the soul needs is a little beach therapy…but in the end, there’s no place like home.

xo

Have you been to Santa Barbara? If you have, I’d love to hear your favorite spots/places to dine in the comments below!

 

5 Exercises to Tone & Strengthen Legs

One of the first things I learned after retiring from gymnastics, was that if I wanted to relieve/combat knee pain, I had to strengthen my quads.  I added strength training to my workouts, and started to see a huge difference in my running. I was able to run for longer periods of time without the shooting knee pain.

Here are some of my favorite leg exercises to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, thighs, and glutes. We do these exercises regularly in our K-Fit Experience class at Studio K-Fit.

Perform 10 reps of each exercise, and repeat. Start with your Left leg the first round.

#1: Squat Jumps with Toe Touch (works those inner thighs!)

Make sure toes are facing forward; when you jump push your hips forward to engage your glutes; touch toes together and land back on feet.

#2: Single Leg Deadlift

Stand on your left leg, holding 10 lbs weights by your sides; keeping a soft knee (slightly bent) and your chest up, lean forward and touch a step or chair with your weights (you should feel the pull in your hamstring). Stand back up, then repeat. *Remember to switch legs the second round.

#3: Single Leg Squat 

Using a chair or elevated step, keep your left foot planted on the ground and sit back onto the chair. Stand back up and squeeze your glutes pushing your hips all the way forward. Switch legs second round.

#4: Forward Lunge

Make sure to keep your shoulders back, and your front knee at a 90 degree angle.

#5: Elevated Backward Lunge

First round: Place your right foot up on the step, left foot is on the ground. Perform a lunge, making sure your front knee is at a 90 degree angle. Switch legs second round.

 

*For best results, perform this set at least twice a week. As always, consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.

Don’t forget to “Like” Mrs K-Fit on Facebook to stay updated with new workouts each week!

Valentine’s Weekend – Part 2. Hiking Mt. Tamalpais

I couldn’t fit everything into one post…so, I had to do a second!

On Sunday morning, (Valentine’s Day) we woke up and checked the weather…and the forecast was sunny, clear skies in San Francisco! I’ve been wanting to hike Mt. Tamalpais for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect day!

We stopped for coffee at Starbucks (if I had my way, it would have been Dunkin’ Donuts..any other DD lovers out there?!), and made our way up to Marin.

city

edited bridge.jpg

No matter how many times we go over this bridge…it never gets old!

Mt. Tamalpais – Dipsea Trail

edited scenic.jpg

edited scenic 2

edited scenic 6.jpg

I loved this trail because most of it was along the coastline. Especially on our way back, we had the view of the ocean the whole time!

me walking

selfie 2

edited scenic 7.jpg

This hike was absolutely gorgeous- the pictures don’t do it justice!

After our 2 1/2 hour hike, we were ready for some grub! We had passed through Mill Valley on the way, and Kendrick had spotted a unique burger joint (Super Duper Burgers); so we decided to check it out.

sipping smoothie

Mmmm…I could go for another one of these right about now.

We got back into Menlo just in time to play some paddle-ball…and watch the sun set behind us.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and got to share the day with someone you love. Let’s continue to show love, give love, receive love, and cherish love 365 days of the year

xo

 

 

 

Valentine’s Weekend – Part 1. Our Brazilian Dinner

Oi!

That’s Portuguese for “Hi!”

Kendrick was born and raised in Brazil, and as Valentine’s Day started to approach, I realized that I have never cooked him a full Brazilian meal! As I mentioned in my first blog post, Kendrick’s love language is food… so naturally, I knew he would be SO happy if I cooked for him. I decided the menu: Pão de Queijo, Feijoada, and Bolo de Coco.

Feijoada is a very traditional Brazilian dish. Way back in the day, Brazil had the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. The Portuguese who settled in Brazil needed labor to work the large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. The food given to the slaves was restricted to rice and beans; but when times were good or there was a holiday, the slaves would get “scrap meat” aka less-desirable cuts that they added to their beans. By the 19th century, the dish became urbanized and was adopted nationally. That’s the story of how feijoada was born.

Pão de Queijo is a popular, gluten-free cheese bread that most Brazilians enjoy with dinner or as a snack. Bolo de Coco is a coconut cake, topped with warm, chocolate sauce.

Now that you’re salivating…I thought I would share these special recipes with you! I received the Feijoada recipe from my sister-in-law; which was adapted by her from my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law always makes Bolo de Coco when we come to visit, so this recipe was adapted from her as well.

Our Valentine’s weekend started on Friday, when I came home to the biggest bouquet I had ever seen! Kendrick picked lots of coral roses, since coral is my favorite color. The table runner and ribbon banner in the photos are actually leftover decor from our wedding! I made all the runners by hand, so I loved having an excuse to decorate the kitchen pink 🙂

brazilian feijoada.jpg

Easy Brazilian Feijoada

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

6 strips of chopped bacon

3/4 cup chopped onions

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

4 cans black beans

salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 dry bay leaves

2 pkgs Hillshire Smoked Turkey sausage (or sausage of choice)

rice

oranges or orange juice

 

Preparation

Heat the oil in a medium pot and add bacon, onion, and garlic and cook until golden brown.

Add the beans and enough water to keep the beans covered (about 3-4 cups). Add salt, parsley, bay leaves, and thin sliced sausages.

Bring to boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Continue stirring from time to time, adding water as necessary.

Serve with white rice and sliced oranges.

bolo de coco

For Cake:

Ingredients

Pillsbury or Duncan Hines Golden Butter Cake

Chocolate Sprinkles

Coconut Extract

Unsweetened Coconut flakes

 

Preparation

Follow cake instructions on the box. Add a handful of chocolate sprinkles (I usually just eyeball it). Add 1/2 tsp of coconut extract. Add a handful of coconut flakes (I really like coconut, but if you’re not a huge fan, you could omit this.)

Chocolate Sauce:

Ingredients

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 squares Bakers unsweetened baking chocolate (make sure to chop this into very fine pieces before adding so that it melts and incorporates evenly into the sauce)
Preparation
Add everything together in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until everything is incorporated. Once incorporated, bring the heat up to medium high (or however hot your stove needs to be to bring it to a rolling boil) then turn on low and cook until thickened about 10 minutes. It should be bubbling like crazy, with the heat only low enough to prevent it from boiling over.
Serve hot over warm cake!
* As you’ll notice, I left the cake “naked”, so that I could serve the sauce as desired on each individual piece of cake. The sauce can sit on the stove for a day or two, and be reheated as needed.

 

For the Pão de Queijo, I followed a recipe I found here. I opted for olive oil instead of butter, and regular milk instead of soy milk.

 

Finally…we were ready to eat!!

plate 3.jpg

 

angie at table

After dinner, we exchanged cards and gifts. Normally, I’m the one who writes extra in greeting cards…but, this year Kendrick outdid me! He wrote me a letter, which was tucked inside my card. It was such a sweet surprise, and as I read it I started to get tears in my eyes- I truly have an amazing husband!

I decided to make this Valentine’s dinner Saturday night, so that I could relax and enjoy time with my hubby on Valentine’s Day- plus, we had leftovers…LOTS of leftovers! 😉

Did any of you cook for your significant other instead of going out? If so, what did you make??

I’ll be sharing Our Valentine’s Weekend – Part 2 on Thursday, so stay tuned!

 

Like my Facebook page here.

4 Minutes to Flat Abs

4 minutes to flat abs

 

Hi there!

Welcome back 🙂

Today I’m bringing you a quick, 4-minute ab circuit that you can do at home! In our K-Fit Experience class, I create a new ab workout each week that has been dubbed, “Angie’s Abs” because I always like to throw in an element of surprise.

In class, we perform our ab circuit after completing 4 rounds of vigorous cardio (rowing) and strength training. There can be a misconception that working your abs everyday will make them flat…however, the SECRET to flat abs is cardio + clean nutrition. In order for that six-pack to emerge, you have to burn through the fat layer…which can only be done by spiking up your heart-rate (think running, rowing, or cycling).

Let’s get to it…

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds each. Complete 2 rounds. For best results, try to do the circuit 3 times weekly after your favorite cardio.

#1: Crossover Reach

#2: Butt Lift 

Butt Lift

#3: Reach and Tuck 

#4: Oblique Dips

 

Don’t forget to “Like” Mrs K-Fit on Facebook to stay updated with new workouts each week!

 

 

 

*BE SURE TO CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.

From PA to CA –> What I’ve Learned

ca selfie
My first “selfie” in California

Today is my 3 year anniversary since moving to California. It still is pretty crazy to think that at 23, I picked up and left everything and everyone I knew – for a relationship that was so new and vulnerable.  People always ask me if it was hard to leave Pennsylvania…and I say yes of course, because my family and friends were there- but to be honest, the fact that I was moving to California, and not Wisconsin for instance.. made the move so much more appealing. I mean, I grew up watching “Laguna Beach…and dreamed what it would be like to work at a surf shop and take weekend trips to Cabo with my best friends.

The first time I traveled back home, after living here for 6 months, I realized how different it is…living on the west coast vs. the east coast. Yes, there are some main differences…the biggest being cost of living..but what fascinated me most was the difference in myself.   This is what I’ve learned…

1) Be the change you want to see in the world. 

Living in the Bay Area isn’t for the “homebody”. It’s fast-paced. People are constantly innovating. Creating. Connecting. Inspiring. Leading. You never know who you will meet living here. That guy standing in front of you at Starbucks could be a billionaire. The woman whose children you babysit could be married to the CEO of some dotcom. You may just see Mark Zuckerberg out running on your favorite trail… you get my drift. The coolest part is, I feel like that energy rubs off on you…how could it not?? When you are surrounded by people who are shaping our world, it makes you think twice about what your role is and what you’re doing to contribute.

2) Being busy doesn’t equate to being happy.

I hear time and time again, “I’d love to do “xyz”, but I’m just so busy.” One of the frustrations I had when I first moved here, was finding people who were willing to invest time in becoming my friend. It seemed that no one had any time…and if they did, you had to schedule it months in advance. I used to think that they must be living happy, full lives but the longer I’ve lived here, I’ve realized how many people are stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, and unhappy…and the biggest culprit is their schedules. This leads me to my next lesson…

3) You have the Power to Choose. 

My husband read a great book titled “Your Greatest Power” by J. Martin Kohe and shared some insight with me. As adults, we have to take responsibility for the choices and decisions we make. We live in a society where we have the freedom to choose, but most people don’t take time to think about how their choices will impact them or their family. We find ourselves saying “yes” to everything…thus loading our schedules with commitments that we don’t even want to be at.

4) Invest in Personal Growth. 

After reading “Positive Intelligence” by Shirzad Chamine, I had a moment of enlightenment. I learned that there are “Saboteurs” as he calls them in your brain. They are your automatic and habitual mind patterns, each with their own voice, beliefs, and assumptions that work against your best interest. My personal Saboteur? The Pleaser.

“The Pleaser compels you to try to gain acceptance and affection by helping, pleasing, rescuing, or flattering others constantly. It causes you to lose sight of your own needs and become resentful of others as a result. It also encourages others to become overly dependent on you. Its lie is that you are pleasing others because it is a good thing to do, denying that you are really trying to win affection and acceptance indirectly.” -Shirzad Chamine

OUCH. That definitely wasn’t easy to read. But you know what? It helped me to grow. It helped me to understand the feelings I have when someone has taken advantage of me, and how my actions may have played a role.

(I’ll save my favorite self-help book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential” for another blog post…otherwise this could get lengthy.) 😉

5) Ignorance is not bliss. 

On the east coast, it takes a little longer for new movements to take root. (Kendrick’s dad still gives us grief about buying organic eggs.)  Although I recycled (for the most part), and I never littered or caused any intentional damage/harm to the environment…I never really cared to become informed on things like “agricultural pollution” and “sustainable farming”. It wasn’t until Kendrick and I watched “Food Inc.” and “Cowspiracy” that I started to realize how ignorant I had been. Let’s be honest…those documentaries aren’t intended to make you feel good; they’re not supposed to be a light-hearted film that you turn off and go back to normal life. They’re supposed to drive you to act…to re-evaluate the choices you make so that your kids, and grand-kids can live in a world that’s better than the one we live in. (Ps- if you haven’t seen these films, I HIGHLY recommend them…and while you’re at it, watch “Living On One Dollar” and “That Sugar Film“.)

6) Less is More. 

I’ve noticed Californians live in mostly smaller homes (due to super high prices) which forces them to be very efficient at maintaining only the important stuff.  We’ve been brought up to be consumers; “to spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to please people we don’t care about.” I never realized how much stuff I possessed, until I was forced to live in a smaller home. You start to realize…living in a bigger home, means more space for more stuff. (If you really want an eye opener, read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“.

The beauty of living in California is living outdoors…where it’s sunny almost every day of the year. Going back to #1, California is definitely a place for those with an active lifestyle. Kendrick and I love hiking, biking, and being outside. We’ve had many talks about what is important to us; and living in an area where we can be outside (without freezing) is at the top of our list. Living in a smaller space makes me more aware of what I bring into my home, and what I decide to keep. There are less places to hide things, thus you’re forced to evaluate your stuff.

 

There you have it…my 6 “lessons” since moving to California. I wake up every day and feel so blessed to call this place my home. Kendrick and I live less than 2 miles from our fitness studio, and are surrounded by so many amazing people who love on us and make us feel like family.

Here’s what’s happened in the past 3 years…

 

vegas 2
First time in Vegas-dinner at the Paris hotel

arastradero.jpg

Here’s to many more adventures!

xo

4 Exercises for Tight and Toned Arms

4 exercises for

Happy Friday!

Or as I like to call it, #FitnessFriday!


 

“I want tight and toned arms…like Angie’s.”

This is the statement we hear most from our clients. Ironically, when I was growing up, it was the part of my body that I liked least. When I was 12 years old, I was the only one out of my girlfriends who had muscular arms. To me, I didn’t see this as desirable…I saw it as different.

But, as I got older, I started to embrace my physical strength and use it to my advantage. Today, I work on maintaining my toned arms.. the same arms that once had to perform cartwheels and back-handsprings every day!

If I had to pick just ONE upper body exercise to do every day…it would be the push-up. Push-ups are one of the most complete upper body exercises worth mastering. Push-ups engage your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

When I have a new client come in, one of the first things we do is go over the proper form for a push-up. Since I learned how to do this exercise so young, I often forget that many people did not receive the same education.

When doing a push-up, it’s important to remember:

  • Keep head aligned with torso
  • Keep your shoulders above your hands
  • Keep feet shoulder width apart
  • Keep pressure on outside of your hands
  • Keep core engaged and hips neutral (not too high, not too low)
  • Use a controlled tempo: 3 count down; 1 count up

I’ve put together 4 of my favorite upper body exercises, that are guaranteed to tighten and tone your arms!

Let’s get started…


Equipment needed:

#1: Tricep Arm Circles

trciep extension

  • Extend arms back, keeping elbows straight, and perform little circles with your arms.

#2: Tricep Kick-backs

  • Starting with your arms extended; bend at your elbow so your arm is at a 90 degree angle; then extend them back out; repeat.

#3: Tricep Dips

  • Hold onto a sturdy platform and extend your feet out in front of you. Make sure your hips aren’t too far from the platform. Bend at your elbows, but you don’t need to go too low in order to engage the triceps.

#4: Moving Plank with a Push-Up

  • Start on your elbows in a plank position; push up onto your hands, and then perform a push-up. Repeat.

 

Ok–now it’s your turn.  Try 2 rounds of the set and let me know what you think below.

For best results, try to do it twice weekly.

 

 

*Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.