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Stephanie’s summer wedding, Washington, DC 2014

23 Oct

It was very early in the morning when we met with Stephanie to get her ready for such an important day, but looking at these happy faces you would never guess what time the bride had to wake up to be all glammed up! Loving the photos that Stephanie shared, photographed by Exclamation Imagery Hair and makeup by Alina Karaman

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Random events. Matrix. All connected

18 Oct

How random/crazy/small world is! 2 days ago, I was participating in bridal event at BHLDN Georgetown, and told brides that asked about long-distance travel that we do come to the location and that we went on 4 hr drive last month for a wedding. After the event I’m walking 1 block in Georgetown and meeting THE bride we went out to!

Today, at first event I worked at, we are talking that it is so random that I referred them to the salon that may work with wigs, and they actually go to this salon on a regular basis! And we were talking about Hawaii – that they want to go there

At the second event – another bride that lives in the absolutely different direction randomly mentions the same salon we were talking about at the first event! AND she is going to her honeymoon to Hawaii!

At the third event I see that the bride has BHLDN bag and I’m asking her about it. Turns out, she got her dress there, from all places! And she saw my name at the vendors list for the event that was 2 days ago

The circle has closed

Matrix

Motivation – how to keep up

17 Oct

A quick post here about what keeps me motivated, and how do I keep up with exercising

1. Make exercise a priority, not an option. I have my week planner open and plan gym 2 weeks ahead, making it 3 and sometimes 4 times a week. If I see that some week I will make it there only twice, then the week before or following week I have to go 4 times. I try as much as possible to plan my work around the exercise routine. Office people will ask me – well, you are a freelancer, easy for you! And here is what I will say – when I used to work at the office, I went to the gym during the lunch time. When I went to university full time (9-5pm every day, including some Saturdays), I went to classes after – at 7 pm. Or how about exercising at home with DVD? It never worked for me, but I know some people who are mentally strong enough doing it at home. Kids? I have one too. On weekends we go to the gym together, and if I did exercising at home, she would totally do it with me

2. I look at motivational photos all the time. I follow about 7 fitness groups with mostly visuals, but they have good technique and nutrition topics there as well. Also, I follow couple of famous fitness people and read their tips; understanding that they are the same people as we are, helps. Looking at something every day sooner or later can help you to get there

3. Food log – every day, for a year and a half now. Every single thing I eat, I log in. It keeps me on track with proteins/carbs that I’m watching now, plus calories intake. This way I’ve lost all the weight I wanted, and keeping it there without going up or down much

Hope it helps someone!

Fitness gets complicated, where are my abs?

25 Jul

I started this at my FB but don’t want to overwhelm people who really not in the topic. It starts like this

The more I read/learn about fitness and exercising, the more frustrating it gets. Clearly just exercising is not enough if you eat too much; dieting itself is not enough because you lose muscle with fat and become “skinny fat”. Only weights, only cardio, low carbs/no carbs/high protein/low protein – it’s all so complicated. Can we add some vegan lifestyle+nut allergies+no gluten challenge here? I guess to be able to get to the point where I want to be I need to become pro nutritionist and get a degree in something. Why it is so hard? Or the satisfaction is in the process of getting somewhere, no matter what is the destination point?

So I’ve lost the weight that I wanted, a year ago, now what? Reading about the rules and what needs to be done makes me feel like my body is a science project. No carbs after certain time. Fruits are carbs too, and I love fruits! You are telling me now I cannot have my fruits at night, while some other people are eating candies and cakes. Not saying they are right at what they do, but the fact…

Eating more to grow muscle. Now I want to grow muscle at certain parts, do I eat more those days? What exactly I should eat if I’m used to certain amount of food a day already? I read those protein shakes don’t really help, and carbs are the key…now what do I eat if I try to eliminate gluten? Do I stay on lentil soup and quinoa till the rest of my life?

Adding more greens is great, in a form of smoothies. But they are low in calories (I don’t add much fruit) – it lowers my calorie intake a day, and I’m already not eating much, mostly under eating.

Everywhere you go, you will read that abs exercising won’t do much and you need to lower your body fat to see the muscle. Now, why there are so many abs exercises then, in all magazines? I’ve never seen so much of a variety of squats, or upper body advertising. No one cares about those body parts anymore? I lowered my weight and body fat, now where are my abs? Why every time I eat, my stomach feels (and looks) like a balloon and every time I’m afraid to be called pregnant again? Is it a separate problem I need to address to the doctor? Or should I do more of those exercises that everyone says don’t work? Or is it because I didn’t exercise while being pregnant and my muscle tone is lost there forever? Last time I had stomach flu, my stomach looked great after. But I didn’t eat for a week, that’s not the way clearly

Just today I read about some squats and looks like I’m doing half of them wrong. How great is that. Do I need to work out with the trainer now? I don’t like to talk when I’m at the gym and I need some music, hate the thought of someone standing next to me telling me what to do.

Those are just a few concerns I have…

Gluten, egg, dairy free almost vegan muffins

26 Jun

I’ve been trying the whole gluten free thing, not sure if it’s working for me…

It’s called “almost vegan” because it has honey. I don’t know what to call myself, probably vegan that eats seafood and honey, allergic to nuts, temporarily gluten-free. It’s complicated, I know

Meanwhile, finding recipes is a struggle. Here is one of the good ones, with modifications. Found on Kitchen Stewardship blog, the photo is from there too. This recipe is a bit different from the original on the blog, still tastes great, if you ask me.

Ingredients
  • 2/3 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c.  buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 c. corn starch
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 3/4 c. honey
  •  2 Tbs. freshly ground flax + 6 Tbs. hot water
  • ½ c.  coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1 1/4 c. apple sauce – regular or with cinnamon

Instructions

Mix all dry ingredients, then add liquid, mix all together. Add flax seed egg replacement in the end, when it becomes gooey. Preheat the oven to 350, bake it in muffin pan for 15-20 min

My personal tip – if you use measuring cups for oil and honey – pour oil first, then use the same cup for honey. This way the honey will not stick to the sides.

Good luck, my gluten-free friends!

Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/09/26/fall-recipe-connection-best-gluten-free-pumpkin-muffins-dairy-free-egg-free-corn-free-soy-free-nut-free/#Gtke7j3csVrHyltP.99

Anisa + Allyshah Engagement

25 Jun

Photos by Shayan Photography, hair and makeup by Alina G Karaman

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Maggie & Steve’s May 31st Wedding

5 Jun

May 31, 2014. What a beautiful day it was! Not too hot, clean air and a little breeze – all you need for a perfect wedding day! We met Maggie again, and all her wonderful friends, what a great day it was! Please enjoy the photos, by A.J.Dunlap Photography Hair and makeup by Makeup and Hair by Alina G Karaman (makeup – Alina Karaman, hair – Joy Greene)

View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014

View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014 View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05312014

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