My Very Own eShakti Dress Review and Coupon Code!

3.26.2015

I was so excited to receive a little email from eShakti in my inbox a couple of weeks ago offering me a customized dress in exchange for a blog post review.  Of course, I was on board!  I'd seen several positive reviews floating around online but hadn't had a chance to try their beautiful and trendy dresses for myself.  This was my chance!  There's always enough room in the closet to add another dress... or two.

I hopped online during nap time the next afternoon to order my dress.  It was so hard for me to choose just one!  There seemed to be an endless gallery of cute colors, patterns, and styles.  And with the option to add sleeves, raise the neckline, or increase the length a few inches, this conservative LDS girl was in heaven.  I could basically have the whole store!  So I emailed Bron a few of my favorite picks and finally settled on this green and white striped little number.

My dress originally didn't have any sleeves, but I love how these little cap sleeves turned out.  And rather than settling on a standard size 6, I took a chance and plugged in my personal measurements, rounding the number down whenever I was caught between whole inches.  I figured it'd be better to have a dress that fit my curves rather than one that hid them.  And I am so glad I did!  You see, I have broad shoulders and many things tend to fit uncomfortably snug through the shoulders, but not this dress!  Perfection.  It truly fits like it was made just for me.  (My only trouble is getting it off!  Not a bad problem, actually.)

I've worn it twice now and have gotten compliments left and right.  The make and material are high quality and I especially love that there's a built-in liner.  No need for a slip!  I feel pretty AND comfortable in this dress--something that's hard to come by.

So if you're looking for a dress, skirt, or even a new blouse to wear to an event, to church, or simply just to look fabulous on a hot date with your man, don't forget to check out eShakti!  No more combing the stores searching for that elusive perfect color or style (which is a nightmare if you're a mom with young kids in tow!) because you'll probably find it right here online and have it ordered in less than an hour.  I know I'll definitely keep them in mind the next time I need, I mean want a new dress.

Just exclusively for you, be sure to use the coupon code 
"bronandjessie" 
for 10% OFF your order at eShakti!
 Valid through April 24, 2015       

^^My boys and me.  It was a windy afternoon!^^

Spring Fever! Snapshots and Anecdotes of Life Lately

3.23.2015

This week is Spring Break!  I can't believe Spring is finally here!  It kind of snuck up on me.  Once Christmas is over I have the mentality of just hunkering down to wait out the worst three months of the year.  And with the last few weeks being so unseasonably warm, I've been mentally prepping myself for another cold snap.  But it looks like March is going out like a lamb.  (I hope I didn't just jinx it.)  The birds are chirping, the flowers are pushing, and the trees are budding.  Bring on the sunshine and all the outside play we can muster!  I'm so excited.

But first, let's take a look at what we've been up to so far during this month of March.    

 ^^Since Jed learned to ride his bike without training wheels, we've been out nearly every afternoon practicing, riding circles around the driveway and up and down the street.  I don't mind!^^
^^The boys each got a special treat one afternoon because Jed learned to ride his bike and Levi pooped in the toilet!  Woohoo!  (Will potty training ever end?!?)  Oh, the things we celebrate as parents.  Haha.^^ 

Some days I'm not sure if this kid is going to live see his third birthday.  He is messy and stubborn and lazy and pushes all the limits relentlessly.  He is A LOT of WORK!   There was a really rough evening last week when Bron was out of town and I had just had it; I was exhausted and frustrated and Levi knew he was the main culprit.  But we settled down as promised for popcorn and a movie anyway.  Halfway through the show Levi climbed into my lap to cuddle.  As I held him close, Levi periodically turned to give me unsolicited kisses on the cheek.  "Love you, Mama," he whispered.  I melted to a puddle right then and there.  How could I possibly stay mad at that?!  I squeezed him and kissed those precious soft cheeks.  Levi is a living juxtaposition; I have never felt so drained and yet so filled by someone.  Levi knows exactly when to turn the sweetness on or when to ham it up.  It's a good thing too because sometimes it's the only thing keeping him from getting shipped off to Timbuktu.     


Jed is my little ray of sunshine but in a totally different way.  He's sweet and sensitive and surprisingly thoughtful.  He genuinely cares about how those around him are feeling.  "Mom, you happy?"  He's also a clown.  He says some of the funniest stuff!  And much to my chagrin he is always asking questions.  But what can I say?  He's an inquisitive and smart kid.  Right now he is completely absorbed in his Lego collection, putting them together in creative ways all day long.  He'd skip meals to keep playing with those Legos if he could!  He's my mini me in so many ways:  Who needs food when you're engrossed in something more interesting?  A routine is the only way to live life.  And waking up happy is natural!  Yeah, he's all mine.  And I'm proud to claim him.  Sometimes Levi demands so much of my attention that I'm afraid Jed gets lost in the everyday shuffle of things.  I hope Jed feels how deeply I love him anyway. 

^^I tried telling Levi that playing shirtless wouldn't improve his performance.  He ignored me.  He knew the cuteness bar had just been raised.^^
^^Dad is the fun storyteller!  Bron made up his own version to the children's classic.  He read, The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Dad!  All I heard were giggles.^^

Beautiful morning light.  Along with the commencement of Spring have come the birds!  One of our favorite meal time activities has been watching the many birds out our big kitchen window come to drink from the fountain in the front courtyard.  Our favorites are the Doves and Red Robins.  Once we saw a wild pheasant!  Jed called it a peacock.  Hehe.

We ran some errands in town and I happened to have my camera in my bag with me.  (Something that I should do much more often!)  I was able to catch this special moment when the lady behind the register offered to give Levi a free balloon.  Sooo happy!

^^An extra fun evening playing at the park with friends!^^

Other Short Stories:

::  As a part of their bedtime routine, the boys insist that I sing a lullaby before kissing them goodnight.  Well recently, they've begun to sing along!  Their little off-tone voices are the cutest notes I've ever heard in my life.  It makes me smile from the inside-out.  Brief moments of pure joy right there.

::  We were all in the car one evening.  "I feel bloated and gross," I complained to Bron in the front seat.  "Why am I so bloated?"  "And gross!" Jed chimed in without missing a beat.  We laughed pretty hard over that one. 

::  Levi explained, "I get my sword and my shield and I fight the bad guys! ... That's meee!" he sang.  Folks, we have a superhero in the making.   

Monthly Photography Challenge: Motion

3.20.2015
^^Jed and his friend Josh racing down the slide!^^

This month's photography theme was motion.  What a fun challenge, especially since I have two little boys that are always on the move!

When I photograph my boys at play, I like to freeze the moment by using a fast shutter speed as seen in these sledding pictures I took this winter.  I generally don't like blurry photos; they look out-of-focus to me.  But since these monthly photography challenges are about stretching myself, I decided to try something new.  I slowed my shutter speed and attempted to pan as Jed and Levi rode their bikes past me, hoping to catch a blurry background and little feet to convey movement in a single photo.  Miraculously, it worked!  I also packed my tripod to the park one evening.  I set up my camera to focus on the boys at the top of the slide and closed down my aperture a bit to ensure good focus.  Then I let the shutter fly!  And there you have it, four pictures compiled into one in Photoshop.  I think it looks kind of cool!

 Be sure to click on over to these other talented ladies' blogs for some more photos in motion. 

     

Shamrock Gettin' Lucky Cookies

3.17.2015
^^My mischievous little leprechauns^^

A not so very long time ago, my roommate Laura, and I wanted to make Valentine's day cookies.  But lo and behold, we didn't have a heart shaped cookie cutter!  So instead, we ended up using my shamrock cookie cutter--the same cookie cutter the boys and I used today, actually.  We girls smothered our cookies with frosting and candy and thus, that fateful day so many years ago, the "Gettin' Lucky Cookie" was born!  I still laugh at the memory.  It was one of those silly moments from college I'll never forget.

So to celebrate St. Patrick's day this year, the little boys and I wore green (Of course!  I got pinched a dozen times this morning by some obnoxious young fellow when I was wearing my obviously not-so-green pajamas) and made our own version of shamrock "Gettin' Lucky Cookies".  This afternoon I set a bowl of green frosting and everything else needed on the table outside and let Jed and Levi loose to create.  It was a MESS!  And kind of gross too.  I couldn't help laughing out loud though.  Each cookie needed gobs and gobs of frosting.  And each cookie needed twice that amount of sprinkles.  It was a sugary-sweet finger-lickin' good time. 

So, tell me, how do you celebrate St. Patrick's day?

^^My ever thoughtful Jed made sure to reserve a special cookie just for Dad.^^
^^Guzzling the last of the sprinkles.  Yes, they both did it!^^
^^Levi sure got lucky with that mouthful of frosting!  At one point, Levi turned to me and said, "Mom, my tummy hurts!"  Hahaha.  I'll bet it does, Bud.^^    

Two Wheels!

3.15.2015

We enjoyed a fabulous weekend around here that included a birthday party, bacon for breakfast, an afternoon mountain biking date, and performing in the Easter cantata, but none of that holds a candle to what Jed learned to do.

Jed can ride a bike!!!  A real bike.  One with just two wheels. 

Words cannot describe how ecstatic I am for Jed and this unforgettable milestone in his life.  In fact, I am so happy and proud of my son that I want to shout it from the rooftops... or at least excitedly drag my neighbors from their homes and make them watch Jed ride laps around the driveway.  Go, Jed! Go!   (We could totally use a cheer-leading team around here, right?)

Jed wore a perma-grin as he rode around with just enough balance to stay upright.  He is pretty proud of himself too.  As he should be!  He's actually been wanting his training wheels off for a while now.  Incredibly, Bron removed the training wheels Saturday afternoon and Jed just took off on his own in less than five minutes.  Both Bron and I are pleasantly surprised and impressed!

So now that Jed can ride a two wheeler--okay, so we still have lots of practice in front of us, learning how to turn and stop, etc.--but he's anxious to start mountain bike riding with Dad!  There are actually a few child friendly trails around here that we can introduce Jed to that will hopefully help him greet the sport with confidence.  I can't wait!  I didn't know that passing a love and enthusiasm for something like bike riding on to my son would feel so exciting. 

I love you, Jed.  I am so incredibly proud of you and the boy you are: sweet and thoughtful, inquisitive, adventurous, creative, and funny.  You make my heart full.

 ^^These pictures were taken on Tuesday this week.  He was a riding maniac with those rickety loved and destroyed training wheels that hovered several inches above the asphalt.  I actually think those little wheels helped Jed learn to balance gradually.^^
 ^^Giving Dad a high five!  Bron was on cloud nine just as much as Jed was!^^

6 Reasons I Did a Happy Dance This Weekend

3.09.2015

1.  Spring flowers!  I found these little beauties blooming in my front yard the first week of March!  Yellow makes me happy, but yellow flowers just make me giddy.  {Happy Dance!}

2.  Daylight savings time began!  I know some folks are moaning over their lost hour of sleep, but I'm truly excited about the sun staying out with us longer in the evenings.  (Plus, for now, my boys are getting up at 8AM instead of 7AM.  Win!)  More daylight means more time to play.  Plus, the temperatures this week are supposed to reach mid-sixties.  We enjoyed our first picnic lunch of the year outside.  Bring on Spring and Summer!  {Happy Dance!}

3.  That sentimental moment when it suddenly hit me that I already have it all and my heart brimmed over with joy.  This weekend there were late night nightmare cuddles, early morning wake up calls, conversations about Mickey Mouse followed by a loud imitation of the hot dog song, hiding under blankets in the living room, whining and laughter, big messes of toys and liquids, and licking just the Nutella off toast at breakfast.  Bron asked, "Is it always this insane?"  "Yes," I replied with a laugh.  But I honestly wouldn't have it any other way (Okay, some days I might!) because this, these three sweet silly boys I live with, are my world and my happiness.  {Happy Dance!}

4.  A one hour couples massage!  Bron bought us a couples massage at a local spa for Valentine's Day.  It's actually something neither of us have done before.  Being so ticklish, I was a bit nervous, but our first full-body massage experience turned out to be so extremely relaxing and rejuvenating I can see us going again!  Every muscle in my body turned to jello.  Yesss.  {Happy Dance!}

5.  Pizza night with friends!  After our massages, Bron and I bought some pizzas, picked up the kids, and headed over to our friends' new home to let the kids play while we chatted the evening away.  We stayed out too late, but it always feels so good just to connect with some of Idaho's best people.  {Happy Dance!}

 6.  Practicing my violin for the annual Easter Cantata.  I didn't know my picture was in the local newspaper until somebody said something about it! (I was aware of the photographer last week though. I geeked out and asked him what kind of lens he was using. Haha.)  I love making music; it speaks to my soul and makes me feel alive in a way that nothing else can.  I especially love playing in the cantata each year because it gives me an opportunity to reflect upon my Savior, his Atonement, and his infinite love.  It just puts me in the right spirit for Easter.  {Happy Dance!}

^^I know, not the most flattering picture of me, but hey, it's proof that I still play my violin!^^

The Nelson Brothers' BIG Weekend: Wrestling Champ and a Wedding

3.05.2015

The last weekend in February was a monumental one for some Nelson brothers.  And lucky us, we got to be a part of it just a little bit.

Bron's baby brother, Call, won 5th place at the Idaho State Wrestling tournament.  Even more exciting is that Ririe High School became the state 2A champions!  Happy day.  And a proud moment in time.  We were all there on Friday to cheer him on.

^^Winner!^^

Side story: After Call won both his matches on Friday, my sister-in-law Amber and I decided to take our combined five kids home to Grandma's for the rest of the afternoon while everybody else stayed at the tournament.  We women did our best with the hungry, cranky, rowdy bunch we had.  We even went swimming in Grandma's hot tub pool!  And then it was time for dinner.  Amber suggested spaghetti.  All right.  That sounded good.  How hard could that be to whip up?  With whining children at our feet and toys and puzzles being spread across the house at a mile a minute, we went to work trying to find our way through the cupboards in Merri Sue's kitchen.  Let me just say, it's difficult work trying to cook in someone else's kitchen!  We cooked the hamburger straight from frozen... until the extra burner we found for the stove happened to have a short in it.  Whoops!  And neither of us are accustomed to making sauce from a packet.  But dinner did come together.  I think we were both a bit embarrassed though because it was the most pathetic dinner of spaghetti either of us had ever made in our married lives.  (Yum!  Chewy meat.  Hehe.)  But we laughed it off.  At least everyone was going to bed with full bellies!

^^These pictures were actually taken a few weeks ago on another trip to Grandma's, but it's the same gist.^^

On Saturday, Bron's brother Garret married a fun-loving beautiful girl named Nichole!  No one has ever seen that boy so happy.  We're all thrilled.  They were married for time and all eternity inside the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.  I am always touched by how simple and sweet and peaceful those ceremonies are.  There were a lot of wet eyes.  

I took charge as the couples' "official" photographer.  Lots of great practice and fun for me!  After the ceremony, we spent the rest of the day eating and gabbing with friends and family and celebrating the newest Mr. and Mrs. Nelson.  I have never seen a reception so well attended.  The line to greet the couple literally wrapped around the edge of the room and out the door!  Wow.  

I now have a bazillion pictures to edit (three cheers for creative late night fun!), but I want to share a handful of some of my biased personal favorites from the day before life moves on too quickly.  I'll make a fully disclosed wedding post on my photography blog soon.

^^A little family lovin'^^
 ^^The ever growing Nelson clan at the reception^^
 ^^Garret and Nichole with all the Nelson grandkids cheering away^^
 ^^More cousins^^
 ^^This curious but very cute little girl couldn't get enough action in front of the fish eye lens!^^
^^I spy someone trying to snitch another cream puff!^^
^^Grandma and Grandpa Nelson were brilliant when they set up this tv in another room to entertain the kids.^^

Levi spent the evening perusing the tables and stuffing his pockets full of Hershey's chocolate kisses.  Between those golden curls, his chocolate mouth, and the way he expresses himself, Levi left quite the impression on everyone!  I have never seen a kid so wet and dirty from just hanging out in a church building.  I should probably be embarrassed.  Before leaving the reception, I asked the boys if they'd had enough to eat.  Jed replied, "We ate candy for dinner!"  Yup.  They got enough to eat!

 ^^Bron even danced with his mom once.^^

Good times.  I'm lucky I married into such a great family!