Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mash Up

There is a lot I want to catch up on and I am not sure how to eloquently put it together. I'm just going to go for it!

Here's what we've been up to:

This year we were both looking forward to cutting down a Christmas tree again. Last year we were in South America until mid December so we decided to just put up our small fake tree. Although South America was one of our best memories so far, it didn't quite feel like Christmas without a real tree last year.  

So we headed to Kruegger's Christmas Tree Farm in Lake Elmo (I love Lake Elmo) and to the Lake Elmo Inn for dinner beforehand. It was tons of fun. The first tree we saw we ended up getting but not after walking around the farm and getting our requisite hot apple cider and looking at a few other trees : )

We spent the evening decorating it and eating junk food. Perfect.

Louie ''helping''

we get each other ornaments each year, these were ours from last year : )

finished product
Another fun thing that I did that I haven't mentioned (even though it was back at the end of October!) is Katie Kline and I went to a fun concert together. We saw A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin at Mill City Nights...a newer venue in Minneapolis. It was a cool place and a great concert! My pictures didn't really turn out but I wanted to share a music video from each one because if you haven't heard their music you should!

A Fine Frenzy
Alison Sudol, the lead singer was the most calm, zen, peaceful person I have ever seen on stage or maybe in general. She was either really high or just a really chill person. She was pretty cool and I just LOVE her music. Here's a sample of something from her new album if you haven't heard before...
That particular song is a little faster than her normal stuff but I love it. I also love that on each one of her albums she's had a different hair color. I can totally appreciate that : )

Joshua Radin
 And then there's Joshua Radin. You can't tell from my crappy picture but he is not bad on the eyes. He was a little more of a softy than I expected...mentioned his ex-girlfriend after almost every song. But he has a great voice and makes some lovely music! This song is probably my favorite:

Just last weekend Jason and I went to his work Christmas party. It was at a country club which I thought might be a little stuffy but it was great! It was fun to chat with his co-workers over a few drinks. To be honest, I surpassed my whiskey quota and didn't feel too well the next day but it was totally worth it (I think). : ) Here are a few pictures from that night.

Jason being a creeper as usual

Last Sunday my mom, aunt, and a bunch of other family friends (all women) went to see Elf at the Ordway. It was a cute show. There was a big snow storm that day and after the show I shot this picture just outside the venue near Rice Park. I just love when winter looks like this! I am also thankful for my SUV with 4wd...very thankful!

As I mentioned in my blog posting in November, I started eating a predominantly non-processed food diet. Jason has been doing it as well. I feel a ton better and it's been fun to learn more about what's in non-whole foods and why they should be avoided. I have been reading books on the subject to back up this lifestyle change. The more evidence I have, the more likely I am to stick to it. Weight loss alone is not enough of a motivator as prior history has proven. I just want us to both be as happy and healthy as possible.

We've decided that one ''cheat'' meal a week is fair. There are still things that we love and don't want to fully give up but any more than once a week kind of makes us feel like poo and crave junk during the week. Everything in moderation.

The books I've been reading that I really like are:
it gives a really interesting perspective on the food industry and what we think of as healthy and unhealthy and what the truth really is. It has so much information in it that I think I need to read it again. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering changing the way they eat. It will totally convince you!

Another book which is a cookbook that I really like is the Eat Clean Cookbook:
This is something I've had for awhile but have really started utilizing it more. I have also read her book where she explains what eating clean really means. It's really helpful and encouraging. I think the main reason I like her books is it helps me focus on what we still CAN eat rather than what we are cutting out of our diets. That has been key so far. There are so many healthy options out there. No need to deprive ourselves.

Another big change we've made which I LOVE is we started juicing. I bought this beauty a few months ago:
We LOVE it. Never did I ever think I would like vegetable juice or want to drink it everyday. But when you mix green superfoods with a little bit of fruit and ginger it tastes amazing. Hey, I had never even eaten kale before we got this juicer and now I go through several bags a week! And Jason really likes it too! It's been a fun new adventure and I can guarantee you I am getting far more vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies than I ever was before. Proponents of juicing say that because you are removing the fiber from the fruits and veggies, all the vitamins and minerals get absorbed right away. I am not sure what the whole truth is but I know it's tasty!! Here are a few books I've picked up that were very helpful to me:
This one has tons of information on the benefits of each kind of fruit and vegetable as well as tons of recipes for different juices.
This book also gave more information on fruits and veggies but focused more on the green aspect and the health benefits. I really liked this one too.

This is what our fruit basket now looks like constantly. It's pretty awesome. We keep all the veggies in the fridge. It feels great to have all this fresh food around!

 Through my reading I have learned more about really healthy supplements you can add to your diet. One of the best ones I found was wheat grass. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever drink a shot of wheat grass. But when I learned that one ounce of wheat grass was equivalent to 2.2 lbs of green veggies I couldn't ignore it! Click here to learn more about wheat's pretty awesome! I bought some dried powdered wheat grass made by Amazing Grass. I have been adding it to my smoothies and while it doesn't taste great, it doesn't taste bad either. But all last week after I drank it, I was full of energy for all 3 of my night shifts. I worked 40 hours in 3 days and I didn't get tired at all. That has never happened! I don't know if it's just a placebo effect but I am a believer.

Ok enough about healthy talk let's share some recipes!!

I've made two things that I really like recently. One are quinoa egg bake cups. As you may recall, I've made my own version of egg bake cups but this recipe I found on Iowa Girl Eats blog last week. A friend at work introduced me to this blog and I just love it!

Here is the link to the recipe. I made my muffins in a regular sized muffin pan instead of a mini muffin pan so I had to use 7 eggs instead of the 2 eggs, 2 egg whites she uses. And I made mine with canadian bacon and swiss and they turned out pretty yummy!!

Ham & Swiss with Quinoa Egg Bake Cups

 Last Monday after we had eaten two cheat meals over the weekend instead of one, I was craving something else that was unhealthy and was convinced I needed buffalo wild wings. That is why I can only allow myself one cheat meal or I just go crazy for shitty food. My husband thankfully drove right past bdubs and said we'd make something at home. I was pissed because I really wanted those wings.

We decided to make our own wings at home. I made my own breading and sliced up some chicken breasts. I dipped the breading in eggs, the breading mixture, and then pan fried them in some olive oil. I assumed they would be gross but they were SO GOOD. While I know it wasn't the healthiest option I could have chosen, it was much healthier than the alternative I was craving.

Here's how I made them:

Bri's Boneless Wings


2 tbsp flax seeds, ground
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp ranch seasoning
1 chicken breast, cut into strips
1 egg
1/4 c olive oil

Mix the first three ingredients in one bowl and place the egg in another. Whip the egg. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then coat in the flour mixture. Heat up oil in pan, pan fry til golden brown and cooked through on each side. Dip in sauce of choice and enjoy!!!

so delish!
I hope to keep posting recipes on a regular basis. I had planned on being a little less busy this winter but the photography is still going steady even in these bitter cold days...which I am super happy about! But even if I am busy I need to keep blogging. As I've said so many times before, it helps me remember things, it's a release if I'm stressed about something, and it's a way to share the recipes I try out.

Though I will be working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I will still get to see my family. Plus since this is my first Christmas working the night shift I get to pass out the donated gifts to the kids on Christmas morning...doesn't get much more awesome than that!

For our anniversary this year, Jason and I are going to Miami and on a short cruise to the Bahamas. We are super pumped to get away to celebrate this year.

On that note I will close things down for the night. Since it is 7:30 am and I haven't slept it would probably be wise. My sleep schedule is really messed up right now. I've allowed myself a lot of naps this weekend...oops!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend! : )

Saturday, December 15, 2012

McCullors Girls : )

As evidenced by my lack of blog posts...I am way behind on posting sessions on the blog. For a brief while I was just posting most of the pictures to Facebook because in order to stay caught up with all my sessions and get everyone their pictures for holiday cards I had to choose not to blog each session. I hope to get caught up and get all those sessions on here because it's fun to be able to look at them on the blog as well : )

I will start with some pictures from my trip to Florida to see my husband's family.

My nieces Ellie, Lula, and Ruby are some of my favorite gals to photograph. They kind of gave me my kick start in the business. Who doesn't love a cute face like theirs! : )

On the day we took pictures this time however, enthusiasm was not in the cards for the older two. Maybe they are getting a little sick of me taking pictures of them every time I visit. So I made a deal with them and said I'd just do a few of each of them and then a few group shots. It worked out just fine. Luckily though, Ruby (the youngest) was a ham and more than willing to indulge me. She's so cute.

This first picture was taken at my mother-in-law's office. It was so cute watching them play ''business''. The rest of the photos were taken at my sister-in-law Nikki's house. Her and her hubby Justin have the most amazing land and it makes for the perfect photography backdrop : )

We had a great trip as usual. Jason got to see some of his best friends, we watched some football, and had some time just to ourselves. It was quite perfect.

Enjoy the pictures!


LOVE this girl : )

Ruby showing me her dance moves

Raise the roof!

such a good little mama ; )

Lula : )

chillin' on the porch swing : )

Sisters : )


how they really feel about each other ; )

At the end of the session, Lula said she would be in one more picture but that she would pick the prop (pink chair) and the location....what a cutie : )