Baby K-Fit: The First Trimester

Hello friends!

I’m sorry I’ve been so behind on my blog. Between our move at the end of May, unpacking and decorating the house, and growing a baby; I haven’t been able to keep up with it all! I’m now 16 weeks along, and I’m happy to report things are going tremendously well. I honestly don’t feel much different from before I was pregnant, except for the little bump that’s formed, and the fact that I can no longer zip up my pants. Before I get ahead of myself, I want to update you on the first trimester happenings.

Week 4- April 5, we find out we’re pregnant!

Week 5- Symptoms:

  • Increased appetite
  • Lower back pain when I wake up
  • Breast tenderness
  • Vivid dreams

Week 6-

  • No nausea
  • Told my sister Alishia we’re pregnant!
  • Wrote the first letter to my baby

Week 7-

  • Baby is the size of a blueberry
  • Baby’s mouth and tongue are forming
  • No nausea
  • Some constipation
  • Sick (but with a cold-stuffy nose, sore throat)
  • No food aversions

Week 8-

  • Baby is the size of a raspberry
  • Baby’s heart is beating 150 times a minute (twice as fast as mine!)
  • No nausea
  • Hungry …A LOT
  • Constipated
  • Boobs are growing
  • Had our first ultrasound appointment and got to hear the baby’s heartbeat!
  • Took our first bump picture

Week 8 was such a special week for us! After finding out we were pregnant, I was SO excited for our first appointment and couldn’t wait for week 8 to roll around. However, as we got closer, I started to get more and more nervous. Would we hear the heartbeat? I literally had stomach pains and couldn’t eat the day of our appointment. I also had no idea what to expect so that was part of my nerves. My OB-GYN was so sweet though. She was friendly and talkative and Kendrick even recognized her (we still have to figure out from where). Finally the time had come…and I looked up at the screen and waited to hear her say something. “The baby looks great,” she said…and as soon as I heard that, I was instantly at ease. Then she said “I’m just trying to get a good picture for you.” Miraculously she pointed out the head, and the bottom,  and the little arms and legs starting to form. I couldn’t believe how clearly it looked like a baby…even at 8 weeks! It is truly incredible. Then we heard a sound on the monitor…the baby’s heartbeat! Kendrick had been holding back tears, it was such a special moment. I couldn’t believe that we did it; we made this baby and he or she is growing inside me!

 

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Week 9-

  • Baby is the size of a green olive
  • Baby has ended embryonic stage and is now a fetus
  • Flew home to Pennsylvania for Mother’s Day to surprise my mom and told my parents that I’m pregnant! It was so special to be able to tell them in person and I had actually booked my flight home before even knowing that I was pregnant! It couldn’t have been better timing

How I told my parents:

The day after I flew in, my mom saw a box of flowers on the front porch so I brought them in and they had my name on it. I had a suspicion they were from Kendrick- so I started to get nervous that my mom was going to find out. I brought the box inside and she asked “Who are they from?” and I said I don’t know…probably Kendrick. She asked why Kendrick would be sending me flowers. I put the box on the table and opened the envelope with the note inside. Sure enough they were from Kendrick and the note said:

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I turned the note over and told my mom not to look at it. I told her to get my dad and I quick ran upstairs to get the onesie I had made for them. I told them to close their eyes and hold onto a sleeve of the onesie. My mom was so excited and on the verge of tears. They opened their eyes and she screamed…she started crying and then I got tears in my eyes. We all hugged and cried and just soaked up what this moment meant.

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Link for the onesie here.

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Dress is Urban Outfitters; Shoes are Toms.

Week 10-

  • Baby is the size of a prune
  • Baby’s stomach and kidneys are working, producing digestive juices and urine
  • Finally…the word is out! We told all our family and friends this past week
  • Eating eggs everyday, lots of meat and english muffins
  • Still having strange dreams

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Week 11-

  • Baby is the size of a lime
  • Baby’s hands and feet have individual fingers and toes
  • Kendrick and I celebrated our two year anniversary 🙂
  • We signed a lease for a 2-bedroom apartment

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Week 12-

  • Baby is the size of a large plum
  • Baby has more than doubled in size during the past 3 weeks
  • Baby’s pituitary gland has started producing hormones that will enable him or her to make babies of their own…crazy!
  • Had my first trimester blood tests done
  • Kendrick and I moved to our new place!

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Can’t believe how fast the first trimester went! Thanks so much for reading and following along during our journey.

Much love ❤

Angie & Baby

10 Things We Loved About Our 650 sq ft Apartment

This past weekend Kendrick and I packed up and said goodbye to our little apartment we lived in for the past 3 years. During those years I’ve done my fair share of complaining about what it lacked, and poor Kendrick would have to listen to me go on and on about why we were paying so much for such a “crappy” apartment.  Kendrick and I have learned to adopt a new way of thinking when it comes to our living conditions here. We realize that this is a very expensive area to live, but it also is an area of incredible opportunity. Even though we do not own our house, we do have a roof over our head. We have enough money for food, travel, and entertainment. We don’t live in a huge home, but we have sunshine about 325 days a year. We are 30 minutes south of San Francisco, and can be in Napa Valley in less than 2 hours, Lake Tahoe in 3 hours, Los Angeles in 5 hours,  and have endless hiking trails right here within a 10-mile radius.

Long story short, we are VERY blessed. Our last night in our apartment, I was feeling pretty emotional and it was hitting me how good we had it; and that I had really grown to appreciate our little “cave” as we called it. Instead of finding things that I didn’t like about it, I made a list of things that we did like. I wrote the list as a letter addressed to our baby  so that one day he or she can read it and know how thankful we were for our little home.

 

Well Baby,

This is our last night. Daddy and I have lived in this apartment almost 3 years and now it’s time to move to a bigger place to make room for you! Change is always uncomfortable and although we’ve done our fair share of complaining about our little apartment it really has been good to us.

Here are some positive things/things we are going to miss:

  1. The big Oak tree outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Even though we didn’t have any outdoor space we loved looking at that tree instead of a parking lot. We shared many Sunday breakfasts with that view and I will truly miss it.
  2. Our apartment housed my little sister Lizzy for a summer and my middle sister  Alishia for 3 months (after she moved from Pennsylvania). Alishia slept on our couch and Lizzy on an air mattress. Lizzy toughed it out with no A/C for a whole summer! Luckily, when Alishia moved in we had purchased an A/C unit so she didn’t have it quite as rough 😉
  3. The peace and quiet. We got really lucky with our neighbors. We didn’t have any issues whatsoever. The woman on our left was super quiet and lived alone. And there were a couple tenants that cycled through the unit on the right. We didn’t have anyone above us which was great and unfortunately in our new place we do, so that will be something to get used to.
  4. Having a Dishwasher. That was a great plus!
  5. Other than a mold issue in our bathroom, we didn’t have any other substantial issues.
  6. Having  a ceiling fan in our bedroom.
  7. Having a large storage unit for our bikes- luckily we didn’t have to keep them in our apartment! (Yes, I have friends who have had to do that.)
  8. We were less than 2 miles from our Studio, can’t beat that! (*Ironically we moved right up the street, so we still have the same commute!)
  9. We had exactly enough space for what we needed. We learned to love living small and only keep what we needed. It helped us to appreciate the things we did have instead of focusing on buying stuff we didn’t need.
  10. We were in  a safe neighborhood with quaint tree lined streets and nearby parks.
  11. **Shh don’t tell anyone about this but we were within walking distance of a doughnut shop. This treat was only reserved for Sundays, the Lord’s day. (Because of course God loves doughnuts.)

As I mentioned, we actually found a great new apartment on the same exact street!! Talk about luck! Even though we no longer have a big Oak tree outside our apartment, or a ceiling fan in our bedroom; we are still close to the Studio, the doughnut shop, and a neighborhood park we can walk to with the baby.

It’s funny how God works in mysterious ways. Back in January, when I was home visiting my parents, I told my mom how Kendrick and I wanted to start a family but that I was worried because we were living in a 1-bedroom apartment. I told her I knew that it would never be perfect timing, and that we just had to trust that God would provide for us.

Here we are 5 months later and I’m seeing it all unfold. He knew what we would need before even we did.

Here’s a photo I took the last morning:

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View from our Bedroom window

One of the positive things about our new place is our outdoor space! Being Brazilian, my husband grew up eating lots of churrasco (grilled meat). We finally were able to buy a grill and made our first meal on Sunday night!

kendrick grill

 

Special thank you to my sister who helped us with the move, I don’t know what we would have done without you!

Angie

Our Second Year

 

 

 

View More: http://bricibene.pass.us/ribeiros

Photo credit: Bri Cibene Photography  . View more photos of our day here.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 2 years!! There sure have been a lot of changes happening, and as I reflect on how far we’ve come, I can’t help but smile. I’m sure every wife says this, but I truly have the best husband in the world. He’s constantly surprising me every day. If you ask him what his motivation is to work hard, he’ll say me; and now…our soon-to-be family. Over the past year, he has set a goal for himself to read 50 self-improvement books…and he finished with 2 months left! I am so proud of him and his dedication to continue bettering himself.

I never have to ask him to wash the dishes (his momma raised him right!), and he won’t complain if I ask him to scrub the tub or put gas in my car. If I don’t feel like cooking dinner, he shrugs it off and says, “Ok, let’s go out.” I feel undeserving most days because he is so good to me. I often ask myself, “What did I do to deserve such a love?”

Shortly after we were married, I had a quote from Kendrick’s vows to me framed. Growing up, I had written about my future husband and fantasized how we would meet and what he would look like. I wrote a list of qualities that I hoped he would have and prayed that he was out there…somewhere. It’s funny because Kendrick doesn’t even compare… He is more than what I could have ever imagined. He possesses qualities that I didn’t even know I wanted. God certainly knew what He was doing when he brought us together… I wish I could have been there, sitting next to Him when He saw all of it unfold. He must have been grinning from ear to ear.

“Everything you are is everything that I couldn’t even allow myself to dream of, because I never thought I deserved it.” -Kendrick, 5-23-14

This past year has been full of amazing blessings. And our most recent blessing…our little one that will be joining our family in December. I thought it would be fun to look back at the highlights/ adventures we had during our second year.

  1. My sister moving to California! I am so grateful to have her here, even more so now that we are pregnant. She is the only family we have on the west coast, so she has a very important role to play once this baby comes 😉

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2. Our belated honeymoon in Hawaii! In September, we finally got to take our honeymoon. Kendrick had been before, but it was my first time! We stayed on Oahu, and rented an AirBnb guest house in Kailua for 4 nights, then spent one night in Waikiki Beach. The best part of renting an AirBnb was all the sporting gear and equipment we got to use for free! They had a two-person kayak that we used to adventure out to the Mokulua Islands. My favorite part of our trip was our amazing sunrise hike in Lanikai. We had to get up super early so that we could watch the sunrise over the Mokulua Islands. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

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Arriving in Hawaii

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Hanging on Moku Nui Island in the middle of the Pacific. This is where we kayaked from Kailua Beach

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Beautiful Kailua Beach

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Pillbox Hike in Lanikai (pardon my poor Panorama skills)

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Pre-sunrise

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Here comes the sun!

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3. Kendrick running the NYC Marathon! I could spend a whole post writing about this weekend, but I will try to make it short. We have a close friend and client who was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. For those who don’t know what it is, it has been described as a combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s mixed into one. She came to Kendrick shortly after he started training her, and asked if he would be willing to run the NYC Marathon with her. She wanted to complete this lifetime goal before her symptoms progressed.  And guess what?? She DID! You can read more about Christy and her inspirational story here. 

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Kendrick and Christy at the Finish Line!

4. Starting my blog! 

5. Finding out we are pregnant! 

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Happy Anniversary babe! To another chapter in our book…I love you.

Our new addition: Baby K-Fit!

 

The Ribeiros are expecting!

I am so happy to announce that Kendrick and I are expecting!! Baby K-Fit will be arriving in early December! It’s been a whirlwind past couple weeks, and I am so relieved to finally share the news.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wrote in my journal and detailed everything from that day. I want to share with you my first journal entry, but before I do…here’s a little backstory…

Kendrick and I were on the same page with children; we knew we both wanted them, we just weren’t sure when exactly that would be. I love kids and actually worked as a Nanny before we got married.  I could have been ready for kids as soon as we got married, but I’m glad we decided to wait a couple years. I didn’t want to rush into motherhood, but also knew that starting a family was something very important to me (and Kendrick). Our first year of marriage flew by, and it wasn’t until last September that we got to finally take our belated honeymoon.

I have a friend who had a baby in September, and my sister-in-law had her first child in January, so unfortunately (or fortunately) I started getting baby fever. By the time we went home for Christmas, I had already stopped taking birth control and the plans for Baby K-Fit were in full swing. We weren’t sure how long it would take to get pregnant, so we just assumed that it could take up to a year, and if it happened earlier, then we would be just as happy!

Fast forward to April 5, the day we found out the news! I want to share with you the excerpt that I wrote in my journal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Today I found out I’m pregnant! It feels so surreal. The reality hasn’t sunk in yet…but if this baby is healthy and able to grow …I’m going to be a mom! So here’s how it happened…

Kendrick and I have been preparing for this. So it was not a complete surprise. I took an ovulation test last month so I knew that we had “done it” when we were supposed to. I didn’t think we would get lucky and it would happen on the first try! Kendrick said I had been irritable with him over the weekend. I didn’t think too much of it as I have not experienced any other symptoms except a slight increase in appetite. I was supposed to get my period on Sunday; and when it didn’t come I just thought, “Oh I’ll get it…there’s no way I’m pregnant yet.” I’ve been cognizant of the fact that getting pregnant is a miracle and not every woman is blessed with that opportunity. I recently read about a blogger I follow who had a miscarriage…and I am still worried that will happen to me. So today, when I realized I am 3 days late, I decided to buy a pregnancy test. I told Kendrick and he was getting excited about the impending possibility. I went to CVS, bought a test, and drove quickly home. Kendrick wasn’t home yet, so I took the test alone. Right after I did it, I placed it on the counter and waited. This particular test had a countdown…so I saw that it was reading the test. Then, it appeared.

pregnancy test

Could it be?? Is this how simple it was?? A life changing moment in a matter of seconds. I tried to act calm… I knew Kendrick was on his way home and wondered how I should tell him.

I decided to wait and let him see the test for himself. I heard his car pull up and got anxious…then heard him turn the key- his eyes met mine.

“Did you do it?” he asked.

I smiled. “You didn’t wait for me?” he teased.

“I have something I want to show you…” I said.

We walked together to the bathroom where the test was sitting on the counter. He looked down at it.

“Oh my gosh…” he said. “I know…” I replied and we embraced. I could feel tears forming in my eyes.

“I think I’m going to cry.” he said.

“Me too.”

“I’m going to be a dad.”

I nodded. “I want to take another test to be sure..but the test popped up pretty quickly. I think I’m pregnant.” I said still stunned.

me and K with test

Kendrick couldn’t have been more excited. I am so blessed to have a husband who can share in this joy with me- and it’s something that we both want.

Shortly after all this happened he went for a run. When he returned he was already starting to worry about our child’s future.  I told him that’s where we just have to do our best and pray that God takes care of the rest. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you to our family and friends for your support and prayers for us.

We are thrilled to be starting our family and lucky to have you along for the ride!

xo

Mrs. K-Fit and Baby K-Fit

Why My Mom Is My Hero

 

View More: http://bricibene.pass.us/ribeiros

In honor of Mother’s Day…I want to write about the best mother of all time – my mom.

The last time I got to see my mom was in January during the holidays. She lives in Pennsylvania with my dad, and so we usually only see each other twice, or if we’re lucky, three times a year. These visits are often short, less than a week, and they always go by too fast.

Growing up my mom was my teacher, literally! My sister and I were home-schooled until I was in 3rd grade and she was in 2nd grade.  We usually got our school work done by lunch, and then we were able to have “recess” in the backyard! My mom also ran a daycare out of our home. I never realized it at the time, I just thought all the neighborhood kids came over to have play-dates with us.

There were times though when I didn’t like being home-schooled. Particularly as I got older and realized that all the other kids got to walk to school…yes, I complained about not being able to walk to school. And so, my precious mother would zip up my backpack, lace up my shoes, and take my sister and I for a walk to the school. Of course, when we got there we would turn around; but I always wondered what the kids inside were doing.

When I was 8 years old, I finally got to go to school for the first time! My parents moved us to Pennsylvania the summer before I started 3rd grade.  I still remember my first day of school. I was wearing a lime green jumper and a pair of Sketchers. I don’t look very happy in the photos, probably because I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect. I remember sitting in the cafeteria and thinking, “Oh, so this is where the kids eat lunch.” It was all so new to me.

Anyway, back to my mom, whom this is all about. My mom and I had a great relationship through the rest of my grade school years. We never fought…even when I was a teenager. I’m sure there were times when I got mad at her, but I can honestly never remember having a screaming match or anything with her. It’s just not like me. She and I are very alike in our personalities; I think that’s what makes us get along so well.

My mom has always been a woman of faith, and has trusted in the Lord through every phase of life. She always stands up for what she believes in, which makes me admire her that much more. She loves to run, and can easily beat me in any long-distance race.

She embodies health and well-being for me in such a positive way and continues to defy age and use the gifts God has given her in extraordinary ways…like running half-marathons!

She turns 50 this August, and will be visiting us in California during that time. She signed up to run the Water to Wine 10K in Napa, and being the faithful servant that she is, God has pressed on her heart to raise money for the non-profit: Christmas Box International. They serve children who are victims of abuse and neglect; and their assistance ranges from providing resources such as food, clothing, and other supplies; to safe houses for those who have been neglected and abused; as well as mentoring relationships for those moving from the children’s to the youth programs. Her goal is to raise $2,500 by race day in August. If you would like to donate, please visit my mom’s fundraiser page here.

 

My mom will be receiving a surprise this Mother’s Day…

Guess what Mom???!

I’m coming HOME!!! 

I’ve been planning this trip for a couple months now, and it has been SO hard to keep it from her! I couldn’t stand the thought of not seeing her until August, so I booked a long weekend home.

I am planning to share the news via FaceTime during her lunch break today; I can’t wait!!

 

Here’s a poem I uncovered back when I was home in January and going through my Memory Box. I can’t remember when I wrote it, I think it was in middle school but apparently I didn’t know how to spell “role-model”, haha.

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I want to wish all of you moms a very happy Mother’s Day…we wouldn’t be here without you!

xo

Rowing For Meals: How our Fitness Studio Helps Feed America

Hi there-

First off, I want to say thank you for reading my blog! I also want to say thank you for sharing my articles with your family and friends. In our digital age we are constantly bombarded with content, and so when I write a blog post, my hope is to always share something useful for you to take away. I created this blog because I love to write; but mostly because I wanted to share meaningful content with you. I am always intentional about my posts, and never want to make this blog “all about me”. I will always strive to write about things that I feel are of value to my reader and possibly teach them something new.

With that being said, I want to share with you a mission very dear to my heart, that has been the motivation behind what we do.

My husband (Kendrick) and I own a small fitness studio in Redwood City, California. In January of 2015, we took a risk and bought 4 Water Rowers…a seemingly unknown piece of equipment at the time. We had owned a Concept 2 Rower…and Kendrick really liked how the water rower was smoother, engaged more of the core, was more aesthetically appealing and was a full body, low-impact cardio for our clients.

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Rowers

Up until this point, our studio consisted of mostly personal training and partner training. We offered one class, a 30-minute circuit style blending cardio and strength training. When we got our rowers, we were excited to create a new class (which we named the K-Fit Experience); a blend of water rowing, strength training, and core training.

At first, clients were apprehensive to the rowers. We are creatures of habit; and not many people like change. (Anytime you add something new, it takes people time to adapt.) But, the more time they spent on the rowers, the more they started to love how they felt.

A couples months later, Kendrick and I heard a sermon at our church by John Ortberg on the power of giving; and it sparked in us a desire to use our studio to give back to our local community. We were pressed with the question of: “How often did we give more than what we felt comfortable?” It was after our unsettling realization that we decided to actively give and trust that we would see that generous spirit come back to us. Kendrick had read about Feeding America and liked the transparency of the organization and also how 98.5% of the money donated goes directly to food (less than 1% goes to administrative costs-according to  charitynavigator.org). This was a very high number compared to most charities. We also liked that they linked up with local food banks, and that our money donated would get to feed those within our community.

…And so began the concept of rowing for meals. Our initial plan was to encourage clients to come early before class to warm-up and get in some extra cardio. Kendrick had been telling clients that if they rowed  at least 500 meters, that he would donate 1 meal to Feeding America. (This equated to about $0.10/meal since they buy in bulk quantities). We started tracking how many “meals” each client had contributed. By the end of our first month, the buzz was swarming. Clients loved the concept and were excited about working out on the rower. Kendrick and I thought, “How can we help clients row for more meals while they’re here?

In our K-Fit Experience class, we have a 6-minute relay that clients complete during their second set on the rowers. Instead of offering 1 meal per 500 meters, we would offer 1 meal per 250 meters! This created a little more competition and desire to row faster in order to donate more meals. And so, at the end of the relay, each client adds up how many meals they rowed and tallies it on the board.

October 2015 Meal Board

Each month, Kendrick and I add up the meals and donate a portion of our personal earnings to Feeding America. A few months into our fundraiser, clients started to approach us asking if they could “match” what we donated and contribute as well. Our answer? “Of course!!” We seriously are so blessed with amazing clients who are 100% behind us and support us in whatever we do. Since Kendrick and I don’t have family in California (except my sister who now lives here-yay!), they have become our family and our #1 fans. It has been over a year since we started our “Row for Meals” program, and we’ve donated over 23,000 meals to families in need. This would NOT have been possible without their generosity and support.

We plan to continue this program as long as our studio is in business; and wholeheartedly believe that “the key to living is giving”.

 

 

xo

 

If you’d like to make a donation to Feeding America, click here.

 

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear about ways in which you give back to your community. Please share in the comments below! 🙂

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

 

10 Ways to Save Money on your wedding collage (2)

Photos by: Bri Cibene Photography

Ahh…wedding planning. I remember it all too fondly. My first piece of advice I received after I got engaged was, “Delay wedding planning as long as possible. That’s when the stress begins.”

I think most of us (women) start planning our wedding before we’re even engaged, or dating! We think about what dress we’ll wear, what flowers we’ll carry, and what kind of cake we’ll serve. When you start planning, there’s a collision that happens…between what you’ve been dreaming of your whole life and what is now realistic. For example, growing up my family had a beach house on Long Beach Island, NJ. My grandfather built the house, and I have vivid memories of my summers spent there. The car rides would seem so long, but when we finally got to the bridge leading onto the Island, my heart would skip a beat.

As I got older, and started to dream of my wedding day, I would imagine it taking place at the Yacht Club located at the entrance of the bridge. I would gaze out at the grand estate, and think “there’s no where else I want to get married but here.”

Well, 15 some years later, my dreams were crushed. I had almost forgotten about this place, until the memory hit me one day as we were venue searching. I didn’t know the exact name of it, but I knew the location and so I did what all of us do…I consulted Google. I found out it was called the Mallard Island Yacht Club. It looked a lot more prestigious than what I had remembered. I clicked on the Weddings tab, and found out that the estate rental fee was almost $20,000! (that wasn’t including food or drink). Unfortunately, this was way out of our budget.

All our lives we dream of our wedding as a one day event. However, when we find our dream man (or woman), the ultimate prize is not the wedding day, but getting to spend every day for the rest of our lives together.  

No matter what you do, or don’t do…the most important thing is who is waiting for you at the end of the aisle. 

Here are 10 things that helped me save money when I was planning my wedding.

  1. Not Using A Florist

My mother-in-law had warned me about how expensive flowers would be…but I couldn’t bring myself to use fake flowers. After getting a few estimates from florists, I knew I would have to get creative. That’s when I turned to Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods has an amazing floral department and employees who specialize in floral arrangement. Because they’re a large retailer and they buy in bulk, they can get flowers from the wholesalers at a cheaper cost. I personally used the Whole Foods Market in Palo Alto and worked directly with a specialist  who was able to give me an estimate that was less than 1/3 of what the florists told me. Since we got married in the Spring, I had a wide variety of flowers to choose from that were in-season. I got to have beautiful, fresh flowers at a fraction of the cost.

2. Using One Venue

What appealed to me about the venue we chose, was that they had the capabilities to do everything on-site. That meant we could have our ceremony and reception in one location and cut the costs needed to transport the bridal party and guests. That also meant less time wasted in the car, and more face-to-face time with my family, friends, and most importantly.. groom.

3. Not Using a (Traditional) Caterer

We got very lucky with our venue. At the time, they did not have a vendor list like many places do, that required we use one specific caterer or photographer. After securing Whole Foods as our florist, I thought…Why don’t they cater our wedding too??  I can’t claim I was the first person to think of this, but I did feel pretty savvy at the time 😉 One thing to keep in mind is that they do not serve the food. They will drop it off for you, but you have to have a venue that either provides wait staff, or you have to hire them on your own.

4. Not Buying an Expensive Dress (or shoes)

Every bride is different, but for me, I personally didn’t place too much emphasis on what I would be wearing…a shocker I know! I didn’t have the luxury to spend thousands on a wedding dress, nor did I want to! The most important thing to me was that I felt comfortable. It’s important to think about how and where you want to spend your money. To me, I wanted to put more money into our reception and entertaining my guests instead of wearing an expensive dress. When it comes to shoes…the reality is, no matter how “comfortable” you claim your heels are, you’re going to be kicking them off on the dance floor.  (I ended up purchasing my heels from Nordstrom Rack for $50!)

5. Borrowing from fellow Brides

This is the best! If you have friends who have gotten married, it’s most likely that they have something you can borrow. I was extremely lucky to have some amazing friends who lent me decor, candles, and even a veil! Every little bit counts and most of the time people are eager to help and happy to see their things put to good use.

6. Skipping the RSVP cards

I didn’t see the point of printing extra paper for RSVP cards when people could just go online and do the same thing. Ultimately, when the wedding is over, think about what you’ll want to save; most likely it will be your wedding invitations or program…not your rsvp cards.

7. Making your own Decor

Yes, we’ve all gotten sucked into the DIY movement…but there is something really rewarding about doing this. For the things I couldn’t do, I enlisted the help of talented people on Etsy. The biggest thing I did (with the help of my friend Kelly) was make ALL the table runners for our guest tables. It definitely was a labor of love but so worth it in the end!

View More: http://bricibene.pass.us/ribeiros

 

 

8. Not Having an Open Bar

We chose to serve beer and wine to eliminate high alcohol costs. We purchased all our alcohol from BevMo, and the best part was, whatever bottles we didn’t open (and weren’t chilled)- we got to return!! I ended up returning over $100 worth in alcohol; which was a welcome surprise after so much spending!

9. Hiring Your Friends

Most of us have at least one or two super artsy or crafty friends. My sister-in-law happens to be one of them! She handmade decor for her own wedding, so I asked her to make a banner and cake topper for us. She also did my make-up, which was a huge help (and cost saver)! I had a friend from high school, Bri Cibene, who started her own photography business, so when it came time to choose a photographer, I hired Bri because I completely trusted her and knew she would do an amazing job! Our videographer was also a personal friend, and I can’t tell you how comforting it felt to be surrounded by vendors that we knew and trusted.

10. Being your own Planner

The beauty of planning a wedding these days, is that we have Pinterest! My decision not to have a wedding planner was mostly due to finances, but if I had to do it over again…I wouldn’t change a thing! Planning a wedding is something you’ll do once (hopefully) so all the ups and downs are just part of the process. I felt more comfortable making decisions knowing that I wasn’t being influenced by someone who maybe had ulterior motives. I tried to incorporate our family and friends as much as possible, and when I look back at the photos, I see the love that surrounded us that day…and every day since then.

And that’s a story I can share with our kids and grand-kids for years to come.

xo

 

 

 

The #1 Self-Help Book Everyone Should Read

2015 was one of my favorite years yet. It marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life-one of personal growth.

It’s been almost a year since I left my office job and joined my husband Kendrick to run our personal training business. However, it wasn’t as clear at that point what my next step would be. Kendrick was my rock and encouraged me to take the time to be in solitude- read and write and not just jump into another job. As I reflected on my previous role, I realized that it wasn’t the best use of my skill-set. I am a people person; and I wasn’t able to shine because the job did not match my abilities. I also learned that just because you are a nice person, does not mean that everyone will like you. I struggled to fit in and looked for approval in the wrong places. It hurt to know that there was nothing I could do to make someone like me- that simply being nice was not enough.

But as I’ve grown, I’ve realized that’s okay. It’s okay that not everyone likes you. I’ve also learned this past year that my time spent with people is precious. We only have a certain number of hours in the day; and if we’re spending time with people who are bringing us down, we’re only going to become frustrated and lonely.

“It is better to spend time alone, than with the wrong friends.” -Jim Rohn

There was one book that I read in 2015, that completely changed me. It was John Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. I picked up this book shortly after I left my job last April. At first, it was really tough to read. Not in the literacy sense, but in the emotional sense. I felt like John was sitting in my living room and speaking directly to me. I started making it a daily ritual that when I got up to eat breakfast and have my coffee, that I would read a chapter of this book. It helped give me understanding that this period in my life was happening for a reason…and I could choose to let it pass me by, or I could be intentional.

 

The Law of Diminishing Intent says, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

That is exactly what I did; I changed my direction. This is what I learned..

  • Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself. -Dennis Waitley
  • Self-Esteem is the Single Most Significant Key to a Person’s Behavior
    • If you believe you are worthless, then you won’t add value to yourself.
  • The Value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us
  • In the end, it isn’t what we are that holds us back; it’s what we think we’re not.
  • Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
  • We will never change our life until we change something we do daily.
  • Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.

“God’s gift to us: potential. Our gift to God: developing it.”

  • Our history is not our destiny.

If you spend your time with people who subtract from you, who belittle or undervalue you, then every step forward that you attempt to take will be difficult. But if you find wise leaders, good role models, and positive friends, you will find that they speed you on your journey.

  • If we live life with the intention of making a difference in others’ lives, our life will be full, not empty.
  • The greatest gift we can give to someone is our own personal development. 

That’s why I feel so compelled to be sharing this with you!

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I hope you feel inspired to pick up this book, and share it with a friend. I always love a good book recommendation, so feel free to share your self-help favorites below!

xo

3 Ways to Develop Confidence

“Angela, you could be a great tennis player if you were more confident in yourself. The only thing that’s holding you back is you.”

I’ll never forget these words that were spoken to me back when I was in 7th grade. After retiring from gymnastics, I took up tennis and started private training with a coach. His name was Tom, and he was sought after as one of the best tennis coaches in the Valley. As soon as he spoke these words to me, I knew he was absolutely right. After leaving gymnastics, something changed in me. I had dedicated so much time to mastering the sport; and now, those skills no longer mattered. I was learning a new sport…and I often felt frustrated that I was starting from the bottom again.

 The summer before my freshman year of high school, my parents moved us to a new school district. I decided to join the tennis team, to make some friends before the first day of school. That year I tried out, I made the Varsity team! I couldn’t believe it. Going through tryouts and then getting selected, gave me confidence that maybe I would never be the next Anna Kournikova; but I was good enough to play with girls 4 years older than me, and that was something to be proud of.

Over the years, confidence has still been something that I struggle with. I think part of it may be that I’m a people pleaser; and because of that, it’s hard for me to be confident in myself when other people aren’t acknowledging my talents. It sounds a bit selfish when I think of it, but in my stubborn mind, I feed off of that approval.

In my blog post, “From PA to CA, What I’ve Learned“; I shared that one of the things I’ve learned in the past couple years, is how important it is to invest in personal growth. That could be reading a self-help book, listening to an educational podcast, taking a class, or spending time journaling/writing. Recently, I listened to a great podcast called “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes“. He was interviewing Joe Polish, a master marketer who rose to the top and founded Piranha Marketing Inc. (Joe also has a podcast titled, “I Love Marketing“.)

It was from listening to his words, that I was inspired to write this blog post. I hope you get a chance to listen to it, and it inspires you as much as it inspired me!

3 WAYS TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE

1. Have Faith

Faith has played a significant role in my life, and without it, I would not have the sense of purpose that I do.

Living in the Bay Area, I’ve observed a real loss of faith.  Most allow fear over faith to take over and guide their lives. People are stressed out, unhappy, anxious, selfish, and fearful…fearful that they won’t be able to keep up. Fear diminishes confidence.  But, when you have faith, you can trust that everything’s going to be okay–God has a plan for all of us…even if we can’t see it right away.

2. Fake It

Have you heard of the phrase, “Fake it til you make it”? Well, in this case, Fake it til you believe it. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is pretend. If we start “pretending” to be confident, soon enough, those positive phrases and encouragements we repeat to ourselves will start to sink in. When I was struggling in a tennis match, and had doubts that I couldn’t win, what sabotaged me was my own mind. Those negative phrases, that told me I wasn’t good enough and destroyed my self-confidence.

Beware of negative self-talk. Remember: Feelings are not facts. If you tell yourself, “I’m a horrible tennis player”, that’s not necessarily a fact. That is a feeling that you have, and the dangerous thing about feelings, is that they can lie to us.

3. Develop Rituals 

“You don’t think yourself into confidence, you ACT yourself.”

It sounds silly, but our daily habits greatly impact our attitude and performance. It’s important to develop positive habits whether it’s taking a minute to be grateful for what’s around you, getting a good night’s sleep, eating clean, exercising or meditating. Part of being confident is taking care of ourselves, fueling our body properly (this may be sleep, exercise, or nutrition) so that it can run effectively.

These actions can greatly affect your confidence throughout the day. Don’t you want to showcase your best self??

Start with these 3 practices and take it one day at a time.

Stay true to yourself, always.

xo

holiday party

 

 

 

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 😉

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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!

 

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View from the Observation Tower

town of sb

butterfly beach

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

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

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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!