Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

God Bless Us, Every One

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Hellooooooo! I'm baaaaack! Whew, what a whirlwind month this has been! I know I have no excuses, as everyone has been bustling with the busy holidays, but I just found myself stretched in so many directions-in a great way! I have some exciting news to announce to you, but will wait for another day, I thought today, before December slips away from us for good, to do a recap on our Merry Christmas!

This was our first Christmas together as an engaged couple, and it was a little strange yet very cool to realize this is what our Christmases are going to look like for the next few years until we start our own family (eek!). Because Mike's family is Jewish, we had a big family Hanukkah celebration on December 20, so we spent Christmas with my family. Mike and I drove over to Castro Valley around noon on Christmas Eve, right as the fam was getting off work. Later that evening, we went up to my Great Aunt's house for a Crazy Christmas Extravaganza. This is when my mom's side of the family (and I mean, the WHOLE family) get together. There were aunts and uncles and cousins and more cousins and dogs running around, complete with a visit from Santa Claus! 

our first official christmas tree picture
cousin ronnie and courtney just got engaged! yay!!
the sears (and soon to be petrelleses!) annual christmas eve photo

i'm so lucky to have this handsome hunk for a brother
After completely stuffing ourselves silly with food and desserts, visiting with family and sitting on Santa's lap (seriously), we headed home to fulfill a Sears Family Tradition. For the past 15 years or so, my family watches Jingle All The Way (yes I know, just go with it) on Christmas Eve, and it is one of the highlights of our Christmas. We snuggle up in our PJ's, grab our hot cocoa and quote every line in the movie laugh our way through it. After we watched Arnold save the day, we headed off to bed to wait for Santa. 

cuddled up for our sears family tradition - with our little bubs

this is nick right towards the end of jingle all the way - the festivities were too much for him

Christmas Morning was so relaxing, we woke up, drank our coffee and opened up our stockings and gifts and laughed more than I can remember. It was so wonderful. It was so nice to share our Christmas traditions with Mike and my family has been so gracious to open up their lives and welcome Mike with open arms, and it was such a great first Christmas as a new family. The rest of the day, we hung out in our PJS (literally, I didn't change out of them all day), had brunch, had dinner, and stayed up late not wanting the day to end. 

yes, i am voluntarily marrying this man...

nick and melyssa worn out from all the love…and prime rib

It is so funny how traditions and holidays start to shift and change as you get older. As kids, I remember being so excited to wake up on Christmas morning to see what Santa left me and to open up all of the fun gifts you wait all year for. And as I've gotten older, I've realized that the things I look forward to aren't underneath the tree, but rather who is around it. My favorite part of the holidays is to just hang around and laugh with family and spend that time with them that is becoming more and more precious as the years go by. And I know that even these times will change in a couple of years when Mike and I start our family (God willing) and we will get to create new traditions as our own new family. 

I hope you had a wonderful holiday spent with your family, friends, and those who matter most to you, and that you were really able to revel in the true meaning of the season; the birth of the baby that would bring salvation to us all. So cheers to a wonderful 2014 holiday and cheers to all that is to come in 2015!! 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Together We're GIANT

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Holy cow did I  have a fantastic Saturday! Mike and I were lucky enough to score tickets to Game 4 of the WORLD SERIES (thanks Mom!) and it was nothing short of amazing! Now, to all of my baseball fans out there, we all know how fun it is to go to a Major League Game. It's a day consisting of hot dogs, beer and some good old fashioned baseball. Even if your team doesn't come out victorious, it is most often times money and time well spent. But for those of you who have had the opportunity to go to a World Series game, I'm sure you will agree with me that these games are so different from any regular season game...

Mike and I decided to make it a day in the city, to get really make our day count. We got up early, packed up our backpack, and were on Bart around 10 am. We took Bart to Union Square and hopped on a Cable Car that took us to Fisherman's Wharf where we wandered around like tourists and decided to stop and eat at Bubba Gumps. After scoring a pretty sweet table overlooking the Bay Bride and Alcatraz, we indulged in some fruity cocktails, fried food, and some good old fashioned fiancé time. With a couple hours to kill before game time, we took a 3.1 mile trek stroll down the Embarcadero to the ballpark where we decided to head in early to soak up as much World Series-ness as we could!

We got up to our seats around 3pm and just took in the energy-and boy could you feel it. Before the game started, there were light sprinkles of rain, followed by a beautiful rainbow right above the ballpark, and I knew the luck was on the Black and Orange side! After some introductions, we were graced with the presence of some of the all time greats. Hank Aaron was on the field, Mo'ne Davis threw out the first pitch, and Carlos Santana performed the National Anthem! Before we knew it, it was game time baby!

Now, I'm going to spare you the play by play details, but needless to say it was filled with joy, nerves, excitement, and relief! The energy was something I had never experienced before, and it was just so freaking cool. The fans stood up for a majority of the game, and I swear I've never been somewhere where it has gotten so incredibly loud. Once the game was over, the crowd went crazy and everyone wanted to revel in the victory. As we were walking down the never ending ramp, fans were cheering "LETS GO GIANTS!!" over and over and it just reverberated throughout my entire body. 

I know how incredibly lucky we were to be there, and it will be a memory I will hold near and dear to my heart forever. Here's to hoping our boys can take the trophy back home to San Francisco again in 2014!!!


view of alcatraz from lunch

a fruity cocktail = his weakness

beautiful view of the bay bridge on our walk to the ballpark

don't ask

can't believe we're at the WORLD SERIES


national anthem

it was starting to sprinkle

our good luck rainbow above the ballpark
GO GIANTS!!!!!





Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Favorite - Country Style

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Handsome hunks, hot women, eternal love and lost dogs, some of my favorite aspects of my favorite music genre: COUNTRY! Ever since my first high school crush on an authentic cowboy (fun fact #3495 about Kendra), I have been hooked on country music. There is something about it that just strikes me. Maybe it is the fact that so many of the songs and lyrics are relatable, they make me want to kick up my heels and party or the fact that country music just seems to make everything better, but country music, is my favorite. 


My Top 10 Country Songs (at the moment)
1. Then by Brad Paisley
2. Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts
3. Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood (LOVE)
4. Bartender by Lady Antebellum
5. Cop Car by Keith Urban
6. That's My Kind of Night by Luke Bryan
7. Look At You by Big and Rich
8. Feelin It by Scotty McCreery
9. Mine Would Be You by Blake Shelton
10. 19 You & Me by Dan and Shay

And speaking of handsome hunks, me and my girls are going to the Luke Bryan concert this Saturday and if he is half as good as he was last year, we are in for a treat! This is our last country concert of the summer, and we are so excited to go out with a bang! In honor of my Friday Favorite and our epic concert shenanigans, here are some pictures from our Luke Bryan Concert last summer. 



my babes

the beautiful chelsea!

my wonderful concert family

i don't know what i would do without this girl

luke bryan totally crashed jen's party

ladies lovin on trav
Happy Friday everyone!! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Worship Wednesday

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My Sunday was amaaaaazing. It was full of the Lord, family, love, and new beginnings, and I am so grateful for what this day brought me. I have been really diving in to my new church home now that I have put down permanent roots in Benicia, and I couldn't be any more blessed. All week long I count down the days until Sunday mornings (and now Wednesday evenings since I've joined a community group which has been AWESOME) so I can go and worship and grow my relationship with Jesus, and I feel as if God has really been working inside of me in such a way I've never experienced before. A few weeks ago, our Pastor informed us they would be conducting baptisms and I felt as if God was really laying this on my heart. So after some thought, I made the decision to be baptized, and it was an AMAZING experience!

After talking with our Pastor about the process, he informed me that he would like me to share my testimony, and at first this made me a little nervous. I felt as if I didn't have an AHA moment to write about, I had never hit rock bottom and had to work my way back from something, my life has always been pretty normal and I have been one blessed woman. But Pastor Ken told me that I didn't need to worry about it, that my story with Jesus was the best story I could ever have because it was mine. So I sat down and really had the chance to look at my relationship with God and write about my story. It was really cathartic, and eye opening, all of the things God has navigated me through, to get me where I am today. Taking this next step into discipleship and really growing my relationship with Jesus is something I am so excited to continue. 

I was lucky enough to have my wonderful fiancé, my parents, and my future in laws come to church with me today to support me and it was fantastic. As I stood in the tank of water, with my Pastor by my side, with my church family looking on in support, as I gave my testimony, I became overcome with emotion towards the end as I felt God wrapping his arms around me telling me that this was a huge step, that He was going to be with me for the rest of my life. And I tell you, I sure feel like a changed woman. It was amazing to be in a room so full of love for Christ, I felt it enveloping me as Pastor Ken lowered me into the water. I came out a new woman, and new follower of Jesus Christ, and I can't tell you how blessed I am. 



Here is my testimony if you care to read my story :) 

My Story

Good Morning. My name is Kendra and I’ve been a member of the Northgate Family since May and I am so grateful to have found my church home.  A few weeks back, Pastor Ken spoke of what baptism means, that it is a beginning point and not an end goal. I felt as if God was speaking directly to me and really laid this on my heart.

I grew up in the church, but my view of it was having to get up early on Sunday mornings, wear really uncomfortable clothing, and sing songs that I didn’t understand. As I got older, I began to become really serious about playing sports, and my Sundays now consisted of early morning soccer games rather than going to church. It became really easy to prioritize the other aspects of my life ahead of God, and at 16, I felt I didn’t need God’s help.

But as I got older, graduated, went off to college, started to grow up, that’s when God really started working inside me. While I was in college, I checked out a couple of churches, became part of an all girls bible study, but was still struggling with my walk. As I was trying to find my roots with Jesus, I always found myself comparing my relationship with Him with other’s outward relationship with Him and I just never felt good enough. I always felt that He was with me,  but I didn’t really know or understand what it meant to walk through each day with Him so often times I would cast God aside because it felt as if I was failing.

It wasn’t until recently that some big life changes happened in my life, God was talking to me and I finally started to listen.  I met a wonderful man and became engaged, I made the difficult decision to leave my job and embark on a new career, and before I knew it, the next chapter of life was unfolding right in front of me. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I knew the only one who could get me through the rest of my life was God.

So I stumbled upon Northgate, and the people, the staff, the atmosphere, just made me feel like I had finally found my place in God’s kingdom and I really began to understand what that means. I have been actively walking with God each morning in my own quiet time, have been attending church on Sunday and just recently joined a Community Group here at Northgate. It is amazing how fast my relationship and walk with God has changed and since I’ve put my full faith in Jesus, I feel as if I am finally complete. No life struggle seems too overwhelming and as I take each step with Him, I have this overpowering  sense of peace that no matter what happens, He is leading me, showering me with His grace and I am never alone. I am so excited to be taking this next step into discipleship and to publically declare my faith to Him, and I am so excited to see where this never-ending walk will take me.  


Monday, October 13, 2014

Gun Show

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Bang Bang straight to your heart! And no, I'm not talking about the super catchy Jessie J song (although that is my jam!), what I'm talking about is a real gun. A-super-legit-big-you'll-shoot-your-eye-out-kid kinda gun. This past Saturday Mike took me to the shooting range, and at first I was excited! I told myself I was going to unleash my inner Clint Eastwood and kick some major booty!...And then we got there. Fun fact about me, I have super sensitive ears. Super sensitive. When I was a kid I couldn't watch fireworks because the loud noises scared me so much, and whenever I hear thunder I hide under the covers like a little girl (please tell me I'm not the only grown woman who still does this). So you'd imagine the instant fear I felt when as soon as I stepped out of the car and heard the first bang, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Mike instantly handed me a set of earplugs along with the big, bulky, hideous lifesaving earmuffs and off we went.

Now, you'd think that they would make it a little difficult to participate in a gun range. But nope, they ask you to sign in, pay and they send you on your merry way. For someone who has NEVER been around a gun, never held one, shot one, even really been in the same room as a real gun, they were trusting me to shoot this machine without killing anyone. Go ahead Kendra, try it. Sheesh. 

Mike shot first, he got the gun all set up, locked and loaded and took fire. *Disclaimer: I would be lying if I said it wasn't kinda hot watchin my man kick butt shooting that big old gun, but we'll save that for another day* After he got his fix in, he motioned me to come over so I gently took my steps over to the station. As he was explaining me how to load and setup the gun, the muscle break from the shooter next to us was literally knocking me over. It was so loud and powerful that each time he shot I could feel it in my stomach and caused me to involuntarily flinch, big time. Getting frustrated, I told Mike I couldn't shoot next to that big gun (remember how I said I was channeling my inner Clint Eastwood? Yeah, totally out the window). I had to walk over away from the guns to calm down and Mike followed, probably getting frustrated that I couldn't do it and I was probably making him a little nervous too. I don't blame him. 

Taking a deep breath and telling my wimpy self to suck it up, I took my place on the seat again, I was going to shoot this gun. Psyching myself up, along with the encouragement of the fiancé, I did it. I shot a gun. I shot a very big gun. And you know what?....it was really fun! Once you get past the loud noises, reverberations, and the fact that this thing I'm holding could end a life, shooting the targets was actually a thrilling experience. At the cease fire, we walked down to the target to see I not only hit the big cardboard target, but I got quite a few shots in the black! Go me! I managed to surprise myself and my fiancé, and had some fun doing something I'd never done before, I'd chalk that up to a major win. 

So for all you ladies out there that have never shot s gun, are afraid of them (I don't blame you), or want to learn more about them, I highly suggest you have someone teach you the basics or find a really awesome guy to take you to the shooting range. If anything, you can cross it off your bucket list. So I'd say my experience was a success. Kendra - 1 AR57 - 0.

100 yard range

yep, that's my fiancé 

gettin after it

ok ok, so not all of those in the black are mine, but some of them are!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Favorite

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This Friday favorite is dedicated to the cold-weather-cuddle-up-next-to-the-fire-with-a-hot-chocolate-in-hand-and-a-book-in-your-lap kinda day which is perfect for October! Now, my entire life I have been a reader, it was always something I loved to do in my spare time. Rather than turn on the tv to watch some trash reality show (trust me, I'm definitely guilty of that too) or go shopping at the mall, I would curl up with a book. And I've read a lot of books in my lifetime, many of which I have really enjoyed, but no book has touched me quite like this one. If you haven't read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, go out and buy it, stat. Heck, I'll even loan you my copy! Just read it. It will touch you in more ways than one. 

Quick synopsis: The story is about ansixteen year old cancer patient name Hazel who is forced by her parents to join a cancer support group where she meets an-in remission support groupie named *sigh* Augustus Waters. The two form an unbreakbable bond that will teach them both more about life and love than most people learn in a lifetime.gotchs interested yet?!

I picked up this book when I was going through s pretty rough transition, but this book totally put things into perspective for me and really opened up my eyes to look at one in a new way. Now, not only could I not put this book down, but I had an emotional reaction to it that I've never had. At the time when I was reading it, I was still working in San Francisco so I was commuting on Bart everyday. So naturally, I took the book with me to read instead of people watching all the crazies (although that can be fun too). But this book touched me in such a way, I felt too emotionally connected to it to read in public. I was so invested, I felt that all the Bart passengers that surrounded me were encoraching on my private journey with this book and it was something I didn't want to share with anyone (not to mention I was a crying mess in the middle of the Bart train...but I won't mention that). 

And believe it or not, it's not the 'cancer part' that got me so emotional, it was everything else that this book was made of; Hazel's relationship with Gus, her relationship with her parents (more specifically her mother) and how she didn't want to be the one to cause them pain once her battle is up, and the journey Hazel takes with herself is one that inspired me to really look at who I am as a person. 

So yes, I could go on and on about this wonderful book, and I highly suggest you take the time to read it, I'm sure it will touch you in one way or another. Think of your quiet time as a gift to yourself, trust me, you won't regret it! 

PS It's also an amazing movie-check that out too!!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Say Cheese!!

6:56 AM 0 Comments
Lights Camera Action! This post is dedicated to the very talented and ever so wonderful Mr. Gustavo Fernandez! Gustavo was kind enough to shoot our engagement photo session and will be snapping our pics for the wedding come August and believe me, we are so incredibly lucky to have him! 

I met Gustavo through my work at the Fairmont, as he was one of our preferred vendors, and he is a true professional. He has shot weddings and events not just in the San Francisco Bay Area, but all over the world as well, and has a ton of experience that will make your special day extraordinary. 

I really wanted to spotlight him to rave about how wonderful he is. After Mike and I got engaged, I instantly hoped that Gustavo would take our engagement photos, thankfully he said yes and our experience was anything less than fantastic. Mike absolutely HATES taking pictures, but he graciously agreed to the session because he knew how much it meant to me (best fiancé award goes to...), but I secretly knew it was going to be a little painful for everyone involved. Mike was dreading the shoot the whole day leading up to it, but as soon as he met Gustavo, he was instantly put at ease. He came right out of his shell and Gustavo totally made him feel comfortable. (About an hour before the shoot I texted Gustavo and told him Mike had a hard day at work and I was going to have a grumpy fiancé on my hands, and he texted back saying 'Lol! I'll fix that!'-awesome). 

Taking photos can be a little awkward, especially in a situation like this where a lot of your shots are going to be semi staged and the close ups of the couple looking at each other and such, so I was a little worried about how the shoot would go. But Gustavo didn't make it awkward or weird, he kept it totally causal and got a bunch of different shots. After it was over, Mike actually said he had FUN (I almost wanted to get that in writing). But ever since our shoot, he has been raving about Gustavo to our family members, saying they are going to love him and he is going to do such a great job (which couldn't be more true). 

Not only was he an absolute joy and pleasure to work with, our photos turned out beautiful! We were so incredibly happy and we are so excited to see how he captures our wedding day. He is a true professional through and through, both while on site and over email; he is always very prompt to respond to our questions and is so easy to work with. Our photographer and photos are the most important aspect of our wedding day to us, and we have no doubt that Gustavo will do an amazing job! 

Whether it be a corporate function, a family photo sesh or if you are looking to get a professional headshot done, Gustavo does it all! But to all my brides who are looking for a photographer to capture their engagement photos or wedding, I HIGHLY recommend Gustavo, trust me, you will not be disappointed. He will bring the fun and take all of the pressure and nerves away, only leaving you with a great memory! 

Don't believe me?! Take a look at some photos from our engagement shoot, and tell me those pictures didn't come out beautiful ;) (but hey, it doesn't hurt having a hunky fiancé to stand beside either!) 












Thanks so much Gustavo-we owe you for making us look so good ;)

Monday, October 6, 2014

October Goals

6:54 AM 0 Comments
I know I'm a few days late but hey, better late than never! I decided to share my monthly goals with you, in hopes that it will keep me accountable! Without further adieu, here we go:

1. Stick to writing my goals and posting each month (this is kind of self explanatory)

2. Go to church Sunday mornings and Wednesday night Community Group every week. I've been really good about this lately, but I know with the holidays approaching our weekends are going to be jam packed. So this will cause me to better to plan our weekends around church to make sure I have that time to go

3. Work out at least 4 times a week. I was really good about it this summer because I had a Maid of Honor dress to fit into, but ever since Meagan's wedding in August I have been majorly slacking. So I want to get back on the wagon and really amp up my workouts again

4. Start compiling my holiday shopping list. I know I know, but with 2 sets of families to shop for now, and with Hanukkah happening before Christmas (Mike's family celebrates Hanukkah and not to mention Mike's birthday in the middle of November). I really want to get a jump on it now so we're not too stressed as December approaches, I would much rather enjoy the month of December rather than being stressed to the max! 

5. Do something special for my fiancé at least once a week. He's been so busy at work lately and has been struggling with finding the joy in his job (prayers would be great!) so I want to try to show him how much I appreciate him and his hard work. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with! 

6. Blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. With everything I have going on right now, it is a little unrealistic to blog every day, and I want to make sure my posts are substantial, so I'm striving for every other day! This past month I have been slacking on this and I want to work harder to maintain my post consistency 

So there you have it! I would love to hear your monthly goals if this is something you do as well! Happy Monday friends!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Kiddo Edition

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One of my favorite parts about wedding planning has been asking our loved ones to be part of our special day. And this one was particularly special. Not only am I getting a wonderful set of inlaws in addition to my wonderful future husband, but I'm also gaining an adorable niece and nephew. I've loved all of the days I've gotten to spend with them and I am so incredibly excited to be Auntie Kendra; I'm excited to be the one who lets them stay up late when they come to Aunt Kendra and Uncle Mike's house, to be the cool aunt who takes them to ice cream and to be the aunt who will love them unconditionally as I watch them grow up. 

It was only fitting that Mike and I have them be such a special part of our day and we are so thrilled that they are going to be our flower girl and ring bearer! In true Kendra fashion, I had to hit up Pinterest to help me come up with a cute way to ask them. I know they are a little young to understand, but I was hoping to make something that they could keep for awhile or put up on their wall or for their mom to hide it away until they get a little older to understand. 

So after some Pinterest surfing and Michael's shopping, Kendra's craft project of the week was born! 


my supplies to start: shadow boxes (60% off at michaels!), stickers, flowers for muri and obnoxiously large diamond rings for lucas

it says: 'muri, will you be our flower girl? -uncle mike aunt kendra'
it says: 'lucas, will you be our ring bearer? uncle mike aunt kendra'

finished products side by side

it's always more fun when you have a gift to open!
my adorable fiancé and the 2 cuties (this was probably attempt at successful picture #7)
yes! a good shot...as muri's box was tumbling off her lap

the aftermath - needless to say it's going to be a pretty fun wedding with these 2 goofballs running around

Now, the Sears women and Maciel women have a wedding connection that dates back 25 years. When my parents got married, my cousin Jennifer, was the flower girl in their wedding. 20 years later, when Jennifer got married, I stood beside her as a bridesmaid. This wedding love fest wouldn't be complete if I didn't have some Maciel blood in my wedding. So Jen's (and her super sweet husband Josh) son is going to "my mini Prince." Come next August, he will be walking up a storm, so he's going to walk down the aisle with a special message to Mike. That will round out our bunch of kiddos :)
will make a sign something like this
the adorable little james
Thank you so much to the families of these kiddos who are letting them be part of our special day. We are so excited for them to part of our love story! 






















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