Minnesota Winters – I Hate You, You’re Beautiful

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing/preparation” – Every Norwegian Ever


New Year’s Day Hike  | Big Woods State Park | Nerstrand, MN

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Mike and I were pumped to have a few days off together over the holidays with absolutely nothing on the agenda. We held time to enjoy the great indoors. I’m talking the comfy clothes, Netflix, Spotify, puzzles, tea and falling asleep on the couch kind of days. My inner senior citizen was delighted. We caught ourselves feeling thankful that there was no place to run off to. No large to do list, just time.

True to our nature, we were cool with the down time for about 24 hours before we were craving to get out and moving. This is where I catch myself in a bit of a mind game. It is freezing out there. We could just go to a movie. Maybe we should move? We really should move.  We have to plan a vacation. Damn you Zika. I wonder what the temperature is in San Diego, Costa Rica, anywhere but here. I need a Subaru so I can be more outdoorsy. What would my Norwegian friends do? Is REI open?

STOP IT. You’ve done this for 31 years, get a hold of yourself.

Minnesota winters. I hate you. You’re beautiful.

We have to carry on. Thus, we decided that the heat wave of 20 degree weather meant it was time to go hike. We packed up some snacks, our camping stove and headed south (about an hour-ish from the cities) toward Big Woods State Park. Despite years at our beloved St. Olaf, we had never made it just 20 minutes farther to this sweet spot. It proved to be a LOVELY way to spend the first day of 2017.



The drive brought us to the ice rink of a parking lot. We scoped out the trails with absolutely no idea what to expect. We decided we wanted to see some frozen falls, and with that we headed on a short, sweet, simple little hike. big-woods-_-lemmages-6235big-woods-_-lemmages-6237

The hiking trails were slick but there were crunchy snowy areas with less ice which made our mini hike less treacherous. big-woods-_-lemmages-6238big-woods-_-lemmages-6240

Everything was so quiet and still. We did a little mindfulness exercise where you list off:

5 – Things you SEE

4- Things you HEAR

3- Things you FEEL

2- Things you SMELL

1- Thing you TASTE

(Mike played along. Try it sometime!)big-woods-_-lemmages-6244big-woods-_-lemmages-6246


Checking the sunset time. As the sun went down behind the trees, we felt a definite temperature drop. Always good to be safe in these winter months!big-woods-_-lemmages-6250big-woods-_-lemmages-6251big-woods-_-lemmages-6252big-woods-_-lemmages-6256

The sound of trickling water was so refreshing. I kept thinking, dang, this is so much better than being on the couch. Minnesota winters crush me at times. There is something a little depressing about not being able to just go and move your body. This day was like a perfect recipe for breaking out of the trapped inside feeling that had been slipping into our routine. So we went. And we did it. And it felt awesome. The falls were beautiful. And we were reminded that sometimes you have to just get the gear together and give it a go. big-woods-_-lemmages-6260

We parked at a bench by this open patch of water. We busted out the stove and tea cups and had a toast to a Happy New Year!big-woods-_-lemmages-6264big-woods-_-lemmages-6266


  • ACTUAL WINTER GEAR is a must.

Yes, your Sperry’s may be cute, but you know what is not cute? Falling on your tush, spraining things or getting frost bite. Just saying.

  • Do not wear just cotton, wear insulated layers.
    • Hats and good gloves are key.
  • Do not wear “cute boots” wear boots that are weatherproof with good traction.
    • We recommend a good all season hiking boot. We both love our RENEGADES which you can fully submerge in water and pull out dry.
    • For slick MN winters add on YAK TRACKS for extra traction.
  • TIME AND TEMP: Make sure you keep an eye on the time and temp when you head out in the afternoon. Things can get cold and dark quickly. Even little hikes require safe thinking. Plan ahead.
  • TREAT YOURSELF: Always bring snacks. We keep a stash of Go Picnics so we’re ready to go without thinking too much about what to pack.
  • WINTER BEAUTY: Bring a camera and capture the beautiful flurries, frozen trees or wonderland wildlife.
  • MINNESOTA STATE PARK PASSES: $25 for full year of access into ALL of MN State Parks. We love Fort Snelling, White Water and Afton and try to make Sundays our State Park Day. Get one for yourself. These make a great gift too!
  • JUST GO: Is it easier to stay in, yes. But we were always glad that we took time to play around outside!

Cheers to the first of many adventures in 2017. Big or small, I’ll love them all!

The Magical 30 Minute Session

It has always amazed me how much the spirit of a family can be captured in just a quick 30 minutes.

I love capturing the vibe of the family at that one moment. The way the kids move in their space. The way they smile. The way they look at their parents. Often times I am showcasing a single image on social media. However, I thought it would be kind of fun for you to see the scope of what we get in a magical little 30 minute session.

It is the little smiles. The favorite toys. Life goes by so fast, it is fun to have these sessions to remember the moments, details and connections that you are living and loving.

Here is a peak into Baby O’s 6 month sesh.



30 Minute Sessions | 30 Images | $300

All rights to images included.

Each image custom edited and ready to be framed and cherished!


Destination Weddings

There is nothing more lovely than an escape to a place that fits a special couples dreams. We have been lucky enough to travel and shoot weddings in some gorgeous locations. Makes me want a glass of that sweet Napa wine!

Holly &  Matt-6983.jpg

Holly &  Matt-7345.jpg


Nicole + Lindy

We had a big event on Sunday. One of those, warm your heart, make you want to squeeze something or hug a stranger because you are so freaking happy kind of days.

My husband Mike was honored to stand by the side of his cherished friend Nicole as she married Lindy, the love of her life. This couple is radiant. Their day was simply perfect. Their vows were heartfelt and memorable. We are still floating from the love that we encountered on Sunday. We can’t wait to cling to these two and hang out with them for years to come.

Nicole and Lindy let me tote around my camera, as they know I am a compulsive paparazzi.  They also had a darling guest who I loved. Miss Emily (a talented makeup artist from Florida) – We bonded over our love of photographs, and I gave her my “baby” (camera gear) to play with and she caught a few of these beautiful moments.






These last two were taken by Emily as she ran off to capture their first few moments of marriage. Go Emily!Nicole+Lindy-5195


I could live that day over and over.


Cara’s Guide to Nashville

Dude. Nashville rules.

Last fall, Mike and I ventured to Nashville for a little 5 year wedding Anniversary/ 10 years since our first date/ My 30th Birthday… trip. I pretty much broke Pinterest before the we left, searching for the best of the city. Nashville has such great vibes. We rented a VRBO in the 12 South neighborhood and proceeded to fall in love with all things Nashville. The homes are beautiful, the shops gorgeously curated, and the biscuits freshly baked. We spent a few days here before venturing to a tiny cabin in the hills of Asheville, NC.

We started our day with breakfast at Biscuit Love. This was in an area with bigger old buildings, but it just felt like a good place to start off a trip to the south! Nothing more southern than a biscuit in a country music town.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

12 South Neighborhood- Savant Antiques was our first stop!


Cara Lemmage Photographs

Cara Lemmage Photographs

I’m pretty sure I was drooling the entire time we were in this shop. All walking distance from our little house!

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Another fab shop in 12 South.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

After exploring our little area, we took a morning trip to the Grand ‘Ol Opry and went on their backstage tour. It was really fun, and especially enjoyable if you’re a fan of country music… or in my case, an occasional fan the show Nashville! I have a minor obsession with Lennon & Maisy Stella, the two young gals who bring me to tears every time they harmonize. I kept praying we would see them despite them being in Europe. Hey, I’m a dreamer! We did have a celeb sighting at the Nashville Whole Foods. Faith Hill was in the meat section, and YES, she is perfect in person without makeup on. And yes, I did freak out and pretend to need something near her. I have a really fuzzy distant photo from across the store. I’m a very very embarrassing and shameless wife.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

“Biscuits” by Kacey Muskgraves was on repeat in our rental car the entire trip. The gem of the trip was our Opry souvenir – a $2 guitar air freshener.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

During the tour they let you stand center stage and take a photo. Admittedly cheesy, but so fun! Below is the artist entry to the Opry stage.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Back to 12 South to check out more dreamy shops.

Imogene and Willie, you’re flawless. You have to check out this trendy denim shop that was once an old car garage.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Old jean patterns on the wall.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Perfect little church.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

Great street art.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

We found a little Mike-Bike art to balance out my list of must see’s- aka Taylor Swift’s fave coffee shop.

Cara Lemmage Photographs

White’s Mercantile – “a general store for the modern day taste maker” had darling home items and gifts. They also have a vintage Juice truck outside.


I highly recommend Nashville and have a special place in my heart for the 12 South area. Since our visit, Reece Witherspoon opened a shop, and many new restaurants are popping up in this area. Nashville has it all. We headed to the honky tonk section of town and went out for some BBQ. I gave the camera a little rest and enjoyed my handsome company!