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I’m SO excited to shoot this wedding next month! I met up with Catherine and Josh last night to finalize the details for their wedding day and I guarantee their day is going to be amazing. Last summer, we road tripped to Nisswa to take their engagement photos. Catherine’s family has a cabin up there so it was perfect for a Saturday afternoon session. We did photos around the cute little downtown and then headed to the cabin for some sunset photos near the lake. Enjoy!Kage-001

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Like I said, we’re really looking forward to their June wedding at St. Cate’s and the reception at the James J. Hill Library!

Happy Monday, friends! First, I have to share my new favorite vegetarian cooking/clean eating blog Thug Kitchen. If language offends you don’t click through. I laugh at every post though!

Now, onto the subject of this week’s health & nutrition post. You may have heard the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym” and I fully believe this is true. Obviously, you need to exercise to build and tone muscle and to keep your heart healthy and strong. But when it comes to loosing weight, changing what you eat needs to be the majority of the equation.

When I made the choice to change my life and improve my health I slowly started changing up what I ate. I did not do it all over night. I started juicing and that led to other healthy habits. My daily lunch of a grilled cheese sandwich and a coke changed to a salad and lemon water. I spent a lot of time combing blogs and reading about nutrition. I started a “Be Healthy” Pinterest board to keep me inspired and give me ideas for the kitchen. Feel free to follow it if you’re looking for new ideas to try.

Sometime along the way I discovered Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Vinagrette and it changed. my. life. ohmygosh is this stuff GOOD! Asian/Thai food is my favorite and this gives my salads that thai flavor I crave.  I always have a bottle in the fridge and it goes on nearly every salad I make. Until last night. Long story short, yesterday after I got home from the gym I was craving a monster salad. But, I was out of my favorite dressing. I panicked for a minute until I realized I could improvise. And the results were so good! So I decided I would share with you my chipotle inspired, dressing free salad that I made last night. This bad boy is loaded with protein, iron, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, B….you get the picture. Perfect for a post-workout refuel and healthy dinner. It was inspired by Chipotle salads but this one blew Chipotle out of the water in my opinion.

Bare with me, I have never written a recipe before so here’s what I did:

3-4 handfuls spinach

1 big handful organic broccoli slaw

1 baby red pepper

1 baby yellow pepper

3 green onions sliced

A little red onion sliced

A handful of fresh chopped cilantro

Then I mixed up 1/2 can of black beans, only partially drained

1 cup of frozen corn, partially thawed but still cold

1 cup of salsa, any kind you like (I LOVE the pineapple salsa from Trader Joe’s or Newman’s Own)

Mix this all together with the salad and squeeze a 1/2 of a lemon or lime over the whole thing.

This made a big enough salad for two people to share, but if you were making it as a side you could probably feed 3-4 people with it.

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Now, I’m off to my Monday morning BodyPump class. I’m a little nervous because they’ve launched a new release over the weekend and I’m doing it for the first time today. I’ve heard that it is no joke. Wish me luck!

March Instagram Recap

Here it is April 1st! Where did March go? In fact, where did January and February go? Honestly, I do not feel much like writing today so here’s a summary of my March with Instagram photos (follow me at klthering and I’ll follow you back!). March included lots of organic plant-based cooking, juicing, shooting and working on Blush, Dice playing on my phone (mostly with my arch-nemesis: my brother-in-law Delaney) plus fun times with friends at weekly happy hours and even an art opening thrown in the mix. This past weekend I’ve been visiting my family in Wisconsin so I’ve been getting some good quality time here as well. I love being an auntie!March2013Instagram
Today, I’m in Madison, WI to photograph my niece Melanie and brand new nephew Brandon! Those that know me know that I am not a newborn photographer but when it comes to nieces and nephews I make an exception to the rule. Melanie is four now so we’re going to be doing her four-year photos as well. You can see her three year photos here. Seems like just yesterday that we took those!  I know that there are lots of friends and family dying to see more pictures of Brandon so I’ll be sure to put them up soon!

 

LET’S TALK FITNESS

I’m going to take a break from juicing this week to write about my all-out addiction. It’s called BodyPump. And it is awesome. BodyPump is a strength training program created by Les Mills and is offered at thousands of gyms around the world.

Last November I got the urge to amp up my workout routine. I had been working out five or six days a week on my own and had had recently taken some group classes through Community Ed. They were fun, motivating, and I was seeing results at only two days a week with those classes. I also did my own workouts either running, walking or biking outside, or some sculpting DVDs that I had. I thought I was a hard-core workout queen. Wrong. After falling in love with the group exercise concept, I investigated gym memberships and decided on the YMCA because there are several locations and you just cannot beat the variety and quality of their classes. Since I knew that would be my primary purpose of joining a gym and not using machines on my own I was sold. Over the next few weeks, I started attending as many classes as I could, just to try them out. I met with a trainer to have an assessment and have my body fat measured. I was in good shape with an average body fat. As my dear friend Katie calls it I was “skinny fat”, aka not overweight but not toned either (for the record she did not say that about me, we were just discussing it the other day and the term fit me perfectly). And anybody who knows me knows I don’t like the word average. I was on a mission.

I went into my first BodyPump class knowing absolutely nothing about it. I felt it best if I did not because otherwise I would talk myself out of trying it. If you haven’t done BodyPump before, here is the jist. It’s ten tracks, each one focusing on a different muscle group and including a warm up and cool down. You basically work each group to fatigue by using light to medium to sometimes heavy weights. You have to choose a weight that you can sustain for at least three to six minutes of constant work. So you may easily be able to do bicep curls with 20 lb weights or more but try doing them non-stop for an entire song. It’s tough. There is a cardio component built in due to the pace of several of the tracks, especially on squats and lunges. After my first class I thought I’d never go back, it kicked my butt and couldn’t understand why anybody would willingly do that to themselves. Yet there I was the next week ready to feel the burn again. And after my second class I was an official addict. It is true that once you fall in love with the gym there is nothing that can keep you away from it. The key is to figure out what it is that will make you fall in love. For me it is definitely not stair steppers or elliptical machines. My BodyPump classes which I do every Monday and Wednesday is full of regulars, men and women of all ages and abilities. There is something very energizing being in a room with 40+ people who have the same mission as you.

So after doing this program combined with several other classes (which I’ll write about later) and keeping up with my clean eating, I lost six more pounds and have built noticeable muscle for the first time in my life. I’ll take it. I set little monthly goals to increase my weights so that I continue to build muscle and endurance. My advice is if you try a BodyPump class and aren’t sold right away, try another one. And another if you have to. Find an instructor that inspires you. After two or three classes you will be amazed at what your body can do.  

And, because every post needs a photo, here I am after my BodyPump class this morning with of two most inspiring people I know!! Seriously, these people motivate me and push me beyond what I ever thought my body can do. Sometimes I hear Mark yell “Yes . You. Can” when I’m doubting myself and my abilities. And Linda looks so sweet (and she is) but this woman is my body inspiration. My own personal Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels. So inspiring! I try to go to any class I can that these guys teach. Highly, highly recommend them!
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Thank you for reading this far, I realize I wrote a lot but I am super passionate about this. If you are a BodyPump addict like me, or any other workout program, I’d love to hear about it. And I’ll be back with a regular photo heavy post very soon. On deck later this week is a fun summer engagement session from up north—these cold spring days have me in the mood to share some lake photos in the hopes that summer will return again. SOON!

Juicing: the details

Happy snowy Monday! It’s another wonderful March blizzardy (is that a word?) day here in Minnesota.  I hope you had a fabulous weekend, I spent mine shooting boudoir photos and working on our new web site for Blush Twin Cities. We’ll be launching very soon and I can hardly wait!

As a follow up to my post last week on my journey into juicing, I thought I would provide more detail on how I do it. One of the most overwhelming things when first starting out can be figuring out what combination of fruits and vegetables to juice. There really is no right or wrong, it’s all up to your personal taste.  My rule of thumb is to use 80% vegetables and 20% fruit to ensure that you are not getting too much sugar. When you first start out you may opt for a bit more fruit than that to help get you used to the taste, cause it can be a bit “earthy” otherwise. But I like that.

I have tried several different concoctions and the following is my favorite go-to recipe that I made up myself.

KATIE’S FAVORITE JUICE

3-4 big whole stalks kale

1 medium sized beet with the leaves attached

1 cucumber

3 carrots

A big chunk of pineapple, usually about 1/3 of a whole one (I remove the outside but leave the core)

A big handful of strawberries

An inch or so of fresh ginger (I have found that this really helps my asthma)

This makes about 30-40 ounces of juice depending on how big your vegetables are. I rinse everything well and put all of the ingredients in whole without peeling or cutting; stems, cores, and all (with a few exceptions).  I’ve found that the cucumber is hands down the best vegetable for juicing if you’re trying to make a lot. I realize that this may seem like a lot of ingredients to some people and it kind of is. You definitely do not need to use that many types of fruits and vegetables. I just like to get as much variety as possible to get the most bang for my buck nutrient wise. You should definitely experiment and find out what combos you like best. I also occasionally use apples, oranges, pears, lemons, and basically any other fruit or veggies that I have on hand. I have an awesome strawberry-lemon-ginger combo that is great in the summer.

If you want to incorporate juicing into your daily life, I won’t lie, it does take dedication. I go to the store two or three times a week for fresh produce. I buy as much organic produce as possible, but it’s harder in the winter. In the summer, I make weekly trips to the Eagan farmer’s market and spend about $20 for a huge bag of locally grown produce which will last me almost a full week. I haven’t tracked exactly how much my grocery bill has gone up but I would say it’s about $50 more per week. It’s hard to really put it into numbers because at the time I started juicing I also cut out several things from my diet, so that somewhat cancelled out the increase in produce spending. I no longer buy soda, cereal, cow’s milk, and several other processed foods that really add to the grocery bill.

It takes me about 20 minutes from start to finish to prepare the juice and clean up the juicer.  I have a huge compost bin which is far from my kitchen so I haul everything out there when I’m done.  Some people find it can be overwhelming. I agree, it definitely can be. But for me, the rewards greatly outweigh the negatives.

Also, when I first started juicing, I made sure to “like” as many pages on facebook that I could. My news feed is normally full of photos of extremely healthy things. It keeps me motivated and craving the right types of foods, and gives me ideas for new things to try. Here are some of my favorite facebook pages related to juicing:

Joe Cross

Juicing Vegetables

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Juicing for Women

Jason Vale

JuicEducation

If I’m missing any of your favorite pages please let me know! I’ll be back next Monday with more info on my health and fitness journey. Your response last week left me in tears and I’m so happy to share this with you. Please let me know if there is anything specific you want me to share with you. I am no expert, just a girl who has spent a lot of time trying to improve my health and I’m learning new things every day!

Oh, last thing! I am on Instagram (klthering) and am posting photos of my meals and juices along with my day to day life. Feel free to follow me!

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I am so happy to share these photos with you! Words cannot describe how amazing this wedding was! The day was perfect. Crisp and cool fall air, beautiful sky, and there could not have been a more beautiful setting than the Rum River Barn and Vineyard. Everything about this wedding was so them, so real.  The love they have for each other and their friends and family was evident throughout the day.

The ceremony was held before the sunset overlooking the vineyard, and just before it began the sun came out. When she was in high school, Sara lost her mom to breast cancer. She had a photo of her in her bouquet and when she saw the sun she knew it was her mom shining down on them. The ceremony was filled with laughter and tears, and let me tell you this bride can chug a glass of wine!   After they said I do, the party moved into a large tent where dinner was served and the bride and groom performed a choreographed first dance that had everybody cheering and clapping.  Then it was time to go back into the barn where they had tubs of beer set up, it was time to party! The band Sell out Stereo was awesome. Seriously, their rendition of Call Me Maybe had everybody going wild, and the dance floor was packed all night long.  I had so many favorite photos from this wedding, it was nearly impossible to narrow them down. Enjoy this photo heavy post of Sara & Brett’s big day!

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Sara & Brett, I am so happy for you both! Thank you for having us be part of your day! If you want to see more photos of this good looking couple, you can view their engagement photos here.

Let’s get personal

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. -Oscar Wilde

Lately I have been wanting to make a shift on my blog so that it is not only photo related, but also a place for me to share some of my day to day life. I read blogs on a daily basis and I love hearing about health and nutrition from regular people. So every Monday I am planning to share something about my health and fitness journey that I’ve been on for the past 14 months.

In January 2012 I had committed to making a change in my health. I didn’t have a clear picture of what that would be at the time but I knew something had to change. I saw photos of myself and I had a wake up call. I was on an unhealthy path but didn’t know how to change it. One of the first moves I made was to give up my 2-3 cans of soda a day habit. And I did it cold turkey.

Let me preface this by saying I think ALL soda is bad for you, but especially diet. So for me switching from regular to diet soda was not an option. And I knew that I couldn’t just do it part way, if I gave it up I gave it up. I tried the cut-back approach before and it didn’t work.

At the time I gave up soda, I had discovered juicing. I owned a Breville Juice Fountain for two years but it was in an unopened box in my closet. I had no idea how to use it but the idea had intrigued me for awhile. Then one day, as I was sick with a cold and suffering from a bad cut on the roof of my mouth I decided to watch the movie “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” on Netflix. Game changer. I cheered! I cried! I loved it all. The next day, I opened the Breville, headed to the store for produce, and made my first juice. The cut in my mouth healed dramatically over night. I’m not lying. And I was suffering majorly because of it for the entire week before! My cold disappeared. And within two days I was 100% better. This wasn’t a bunch of hooey. Sold.

And for the record, I am a juicer not a Vitamixer. The Vitamix is awesome and I totally want one, but for very different purposes. From what I understand after a lot of research is that the way the body absorbs the micronutrients in the juice is where the benefits come from. I eat plenty of solid whole fruits and vegetables every day so I do not worry about fiber or other nutrients. I have adapted my diet to make sure I am getting it all.

Fast forward a year and I still make this healthy habit part of my daily routine whenever possible. I just feel so much healthier when I do. My skin is clearer, I have more energy, and I no longer stress about my weight. Every time I feel a sniffle or tickle in my throat I juice. And it works.

Anybody out there believe in juicing!? I wanna hear your stories!

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…any day now, actually! Poor Katie has been on bed rest for nearly a month. Luckily, we went out and did these photos back in December right before the first big snowstorm and prior to bed rest! You may recognize these guys, I have featured them on my blog before. They are both uber-talented, creative people who own and operate Oh Dier. If you haven’t checked out their work do so now! I have several of their pieces hanging in my home and plan to get more!

These guys are two of the most photogenic people in the world, they made my job easy! Enjoy some of my faves from their session!TwinCitiesWeddingPhotography-8

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I can’t wait to meet baby-girl Dohman! Very soon, I hope!  Love you guys!

Katie’s hair and makeup was styled by the talented Julie Swenson.

MELISSA & GREG :: MARRIED!

Happy Monday! I just wanted to share a quick sneak peak from Saturday’s wedding. The cold temps had me a little nervous at first but Melissa & Greg were awesome! I’ll be back with more once their full gallery is ready! Preview2WM

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Melissa & Greg, we had so much fun with you and your awesome families and friends! Enjoy your time at the cabin!

JAKE :: CLASS OF 2013

A few weeks ago I met up with Jake for his senior photo session. We had fun driving around Woodbury and Maplewood looking for locations and he was a good sport about getting out of the car on whim whenever I had some inspiration. I’ve known Jake for almost ten years and it was fun to see what a handsome young man he’s become! Thanks again, Jake!TwinCitiesSeniorPhotos-3

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