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Prepare to Be Obsessed with Tone It Up Co-Founder Karena’s E-Sesh

Katrina and Karena, the beauty, brains, brawn and best friends behind Tone It Up have given us major #FitnessGoals since they launched their fitness empire. And now, Karena and fiancé Bobby’s engagement session (captured by one of our favorites, Jana Williams) and love story, is giving us major #RelationshipGoals. Head to The Vault to see why.

Tell us about the proposal.

B: Karena knew that an engagement was coming, but I still wanted to make sure she was completely surprised.  The girls had their annual retreat approaching, in California, with 400 other Tone it Up girls.  My friend Dave was in town a few months prior and the idea came up on a walk.  I actually think the overly used phrase “epic” may have been said.  Whether or not it was “epic,” I couldn’t tell you.  I was too busy being nervous and watching my armpits.  

K:  We had been talking about getting engaged for about a year, so I knew it was coming.  I’m a tough one to surprise and Bobby definitely caught me off guard!  We were hosting our annual Tone It Up Retreat in Newport Beach with 400 of our Tone It Up community members (all women!) when Bobby got on stage in front of everyone and got down on one knee.  

How did you know when you had found the one?

B: It is everything.  The friendship, the laughter, the belief in each other, the passion to keep learning, and even how we handle adversity together.

K: I don’t think it was just one moment when I was like ‘WOW….I found the one!’.  It was a combination of different moments that led up to it. From the start Bobby has always been very thoughtful in everything he does.  For example, I had mentioned to him that I never went to prom, so for our fist Valentine’s Day together he took me!  You can see the story here. I literally fell to the ground and was weak in the knees!

Tell us about your first date.

B: Our first date was to go see an interactive art/music installation by the band ‘The xx’, at the Sonos Studio.  We anticipated the exhibit for a couple weeks and finally the day was here.  As we approached the Sonos Lab, we quickly realized that we were a week too late.  However, there was a nice wine bar up the street and that eased our disappointment :)

K: Since we were neighbors, a lot of our first dates were spent at home hanging out having dinner and talking late in to the night or watching a movie.  Once we realized that we were more than just ‘friendly neighbors’, we decided to go on an official date!  We had planned to go to an art and music interactive event featuring the XX at Sonos Studio in Hollywood.  We were all hyped up on going and once we got there unfortunately it was closed. On the fly, we ended up having dinner down the street at Fig & Olive, which ended up being amazing!

Karena, What was your vision for your wedding?

K: When we started dating we took our first vacation together to Kauai.  It was on that trip that we sat on the beach looking at Hanalei Bay and said, ‘If this all works out…we should get married here.’  It was a day dream at that time, but fast forward 3 and a half years and it’s that same beach where we will be saying our upcoming vows!

Bobby, how have you been involved in the wedding planning process?

B: We both talked about our overall wedding vision, but Karena has been working out most of the details.  I’m on the email chains as well, but I’m mostly lurking without hitting reply.  Thank you, Karena!

What were your biggest priorities for the wedding?

B: The location for sure.  Kauai is a special place for us as a couple and we have been excited to share the island with our family.  We also wanted the wedding to feel relaxed and focus on the beauty of the location.  Our decor is minimal and uses white orchids to add to the beauty, but not steal attention from the beautiful view of Hanalei Bay.

K: Our #1 priority for the wedding was to make it feel like a big friends and family vacation. The Hawaiian Islands have always held a special place in my heart and I’ve always wanted to bring my family there.  This is the perfect reason!

How will the wedding be a reflection of you as a couple?

B: Nature, simplicity and music.  A great view, no stress and some good tunes.  Oh yeah, and some cocktails.  As McConaughey would say, “Alright, alright, alright.”

K: We wanted the wedding to be simple, modern and clean. For us, it’s important that the beauty of the island is the backdrop. To enhance that beauty we mixed in white orchids, hanging garlands from the trees and cylinders with submerged greenery.  The reception will go just past sunset so we have lanterns and tiki torches for lighting.

Bobby, What has been the biggest surprise of wedding planning?

B: Even with a no frills, destination wedding, there are a lot of extra details.  If we were having a local wedding at a venue, I could not emphasize the importance of hiring a wedding planner.  I’m definitely one for saving, but the professional opinion and organization of a wedding planner will always save, if not money, definitely stress.

Karena, obviously, you’re already in shape, but have you changed your diet/exercise since getting engaged? If so, how and why?

K: The wedding is just under a month away and feeling my best on my wedding day is a top priority. Life and work aren’t slowing down, so I have to give myself permission to take extra good care of my body – meaning, squeezing in an extra hot yoga class or even a lunch time run.  I also started following the 4 Week Wedding Program from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan.  Each meal is laid out, super easy. It makes it very simple to fuel my body with the right foods so I can be confident I’ll feel amazing in my dress.

Any advice for the newly engaged lady looking to Tone It Up?

K: Katrina and I put together the perfect guide for any #TIUbride! The Tone It Up Wedding Program has all the tips you need for getting ready for your wedding from planning, throwing a bridal shower, tips for the bridesmaids and how to make sure you’re glowing on the big day!

What are you most looking forward to on the big day?

B: I can’t wait to look into Karena’s eyes and say my vows.  Even right now, just saying that made me a bit emotional.  

K: Marrying Bobby :)

What about newlywed life are you most looking forward to?

B: Most importantly the continuation of our journey and being grateful for all our time together.

K: I’m looking forward to continuing to build our life together!  There’s so much more to learn and explore and it’s comforting to know that you’ve found your ‘one’ to share it with.

Tell us about the honeymoon!

B: Since we are already on Hawaii, we aren’t leaving!  After the wedding we are flying to Maui and having the “active” portion of our trip.  From Maui, we are taking a boat to Lanai for the “Mai Tai” portion of the Honeymoon.  I can’t wait.

K: We wanted to continue the Hawaiian vibes after the wedding so we decided to do a little island hopping.  We’ll be on Kauai for a week for the wedding and then we’re headed to Maui and Lanai for the honeymoon.  We’re looking forward to a mix of adventure and relaxation!


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Photography: Jana Williams Photography

From the pages of the
{ The latest from our most exclusive, hand-picked list of vendors }
Your Linen Closet Will Never Look Better

Growing up I thought my Mom was weird with her love for all things linen; from her precious care of bedsheets to her search for the softest of towels, I just didn’t get it. That is until I moved on after college and came to appreciate linens that felt and smelled like pure bliss. So you better believe when it came time to register for our wedding, I made a special trip to feel the fabrics. The apple may have taken a bit longer to blossom, but it sure didn’t fall far from the tree.

Everything You Need for Your Linen Closet
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Everything You Need for Your Linen Closet
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The Smart Bride + Groom’s Guide to Wedding Registries

SMP’s Wedding Registry ABCs | Unique Wedding Registry Ideas | 10 Must-Have Registry Items

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See Where This Travel-Loving Couple Set Their Engagement

For the couple that’s traveled to 16 countries on 6 different continents, where in the world do you choose to shoot your engagement session? For these two, it was the beaches of Malibu with Ashley Sawtelle by their side. It’s not hard to see why the beautiful coastline caught their eye, and truth be told, we’re now itching to book a little Malibu trip for ourselves.

From Ashley SawtelleSarah and Tony met sophomore year, in the last row of finance class, at the University of Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until 10 years later during a trip to Mykonos that their friendship turned into something more. Since then they have traveled to 16 countries and 6 continents together. Currently, they live in Los Angeles, where we shot their engagement session on the beautiful coastline of Malibu. In October, they will have their wedding celebration in Wyoming at Brush Creek Ranch, coordinated by Table 6 Productions.

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Photography: Ashley Sawtelle | Location: Malibu Beach

#SMPWedding101 – Invitation Language Etiquette

While there’s no denying how fun it is to find your perfect invites, the proper wording can be a bit confusing. Proclaiming “I do” in a church or outside? How to introduce the reception that follows? Fret no longer friends, we have Mrs. John L. Strong here to help; with 85+ years of experience, they know a thing or two on the do’s and don’ts of the oh so important invitation language!

1. What is the appropriate wording for getting married in a place of worship vs elsewhere?

If you’re getting married in a place of worship, we use the term “honor of your presence” instead of “pleasure of your company”. It has nothing to do with the formality of the wedding itself (i.e. cocktail or black tie), strictly the venue.

2. Do you write honor (the American English way) or honour (the old English spelling) on wedding invitations? What about favor vs favour?

Both ways are grammatically correct. The decision is up to you and comes down to personal preference. At Mrs. John L. Strong, we prefer the American English version, unless you are English.

3. What is the appropriate verbiage when it comes to the reception?

There are a few different options, including “dinner and dancing to follow,” “reception to follow,” “reception immediately following,” “and afterwards at the reception” – the choice is up to you!

4. What is the etiquette when it comes to monograms on invitations?

If clients use a monogram on the invitation it should be the first initials of the bride and groom. Since invitations are sent out before the actual ceremony, they have not been united in holy matrimony yet so it’s improper to use the groom’s surname initial (assuming the bride takes his name). You can use the full married monogram on menu cards, escort cards and place cards (since these are all used after the actual ceremony).

5. What’s the etiquette for a traditional wedding suite?

In a traditional wedding suite, an invitation and RSVP are included. A reception card is only included if the reception is taking place at a location other than the location of the ceremony. Typically and traditionally, wedding invitations are assembled in size order, with each card face-up, starting with the invitation. There are of course deviations depending on the size, orientation and number of items. With engraving, we have a tissue overlay on top of each engraved item to protect it. When the invitation goes through USPS, the invitation can be jostled which can cause friction on the ink and paper, so we always require tissue overlays with our engraving. Another way to avoid damaging your invitations is to take your envelopes to the post office and request hand cancel. This helps preserve the integrity of the envelope and its contents!

In the mood for more invitationsThis way!

Gold Invitation Suites
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Gold Invitation Suites
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Barn & Willow

We’re excited to share that Shine invitations is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $500 (US orders only) as well as a free sample kit featuring the invitation of your choice, color charts, paper samples, and an example Save the Date! Don’t miss out!


For our California Brides… Discounts from The Ranch at Laguna Beach and Weddings by Susan Dunne!

For our Destination Brides… Discount from Hitch’d Weddings & Events

For our Tri-state Brides… Discount from Femina Photo + Design and giveaway from OLLI STUDIO!


Congratulations to our Doie Lounge winner Katie!

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Stationery Advice: Mrs. John L. Strong

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