Archive for Lifestyle

Aulani, A Disney Spring Break | Ko Olina Vacation Photography

Aulani, A Disney Spring Break | Ko Olina Vacation Photography

Disney Aulani in Ko Olina. I’m still pinching myself four months later. How were we so lucky to spend a glorious week at this paradise?

During Spring Break this year, we totally splurged and stayed at the Disney Aulani Resort. Springtime at the Nelson house is a crazy rat race- we’re knee deep in school work, volunteering, music lessons, photography and winter blues. Our minds dream of seeing a blue sky and feeling the sun shine down on our faces.

So when we walked through the doors to this gorgeous view, my shoulders fell, my breath released and peace filled my heart. It was more than I could have imagined.

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If you know Disney, you know they don’t do anything half way. Every detail is meticulously thought out and executed. Down to continuous ice water dispensers placed exactly where you need them throughout the resort.

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Stitch was drawing funny things on her Boogie Board and spending extra time with my kids means that four months later, and this girl still sleeps with a Stitch stuffy. He completely won her over.

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Just in case you need a break from one of the many pools or the beach, they have a magical treasure hunt that takes you around the resort. You simply check out a tablet from the Ohana room and prepare to be amazed and completely entertained.

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The Aulani is amazing enough on it’s own, but add these two girls to the mix and life is complete. They have both been our regular sitters here in Utah and have had an enormous impact on our children. We felt so lucky to spend some time in paradise with them.

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Check out Maddie’s mad skills on the paddle board.

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And just to continue on the theme of paradise, we ran into friends from home who were staying just a few doors down! So we got to spend a few glorious days with them.

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The Ohana room has a variety of family activities to do from stargazing at night and canoeing to game tables and ukulele lessons. Seriously, there is not one reason to leave this resort once you’re there. We had to force ourselves to go see the other side of the island. And then we could only bear to leave for one day.

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You can always tell how many days any particular child had been at the resort. They all wear their wrist bands like trophies, which makes for a funny tan line.

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Thank you, Alauni. Someday, somehow we will make it back to you!

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Horseback Riding Lessons

Horseback Riding Lessons

Fair warning, it’s about to get personal up in here with WAY too many pictures. We just started horseback riding lessons and are over-the-moon-in-love with these amazing animals. These images were taken over a course of a few different lessons.

Saddles and Bridals in the tack shed.

Horses in the stables

Helmets in the tack shed and carrying the lead lines.

Brushing the horse before horseback riding lessons

Petting the horse and bridals hanging on the fence.

Meet Pumpkin. He’s the most patient pony I’ve ever met and these two kids adore him. There’s a 10 minute love fest before riding lessons start.

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Petting the horse and horseback riding lessons with Pumpkin.

Learning to post during horseback riding lessons

Untacking after horseback riding lessons

Brushing Pumpkin after horseback riding lessons

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Between the horses, the barn cat and most recently a baby sheep, these two would live at the barn if we let them.

I know exactly how they feel.  All of the sudden, I’m on the look out for horse property that isn’t too far away from the city, much to the shagrin of my husband. It also takes me back to my childhood. One year for Christmas, Santa brought the family a horse. Charlie was his name, and he was the best horse in the world. My dad trained him while in college, and he was the most gentle, patient horse that ever lived. Growing up in a small town, we had the freedom to run across the street, saddle him up, and ride around the neighborhood with all of our friends. What I wouldn’t give to let my children have that kind of life.

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Would you like portraits with your horse? I’m your girl! You can see Samantha’s session with her gorgeous horse HERE.

BOOKING YOUR SENIOR PORTRAITS: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but April and May are almost booked solid. So, for those of you who are wanting 2014 portraits, let’s get you booked quickly! Give me a call [801-870-4132] or email me

PRINTED PRODUCTS: I have a lot of great printed products for you to order from wall prints and albums to graduation announcements. You can see them here.

SOCIAL: Come hang with me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Miklain and Lexi Best Friends | Utah Senior Portrait Photography

Miklain and Lexi Best Friends | Utah Senior Portrait Photography

A few months ago, I ran a Best Friends contest on Instagram. It was AMAZING to see floods of best friend pictures coming in, but there was one that made me tear up a little. Which, for those of you who know me really well, know that it doesn’t make much to make me cry. Netflix even knows this – it says my taste in movies is “Emotional.”

But I digress.  The picture was of two lacrosse players in a victorious embrace that could only be between two best friends. Check it out HERE.

Meet Mikalin and Lexi, two of the most amazing girls around. We headed up the canyon for a walk through my personal favorite winter wonderland. And we were so stoked to have had a big storm the day before and loads of fresh powder.

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These pictures make me giggle every time I look at them. It’s no secret that Utah has the best snow on earth. It’s wonderful dry powder that lets you sail down the mountain. One thing it’s not good for? Building snowmen.  Bwahahaha. But they gave it a good shot.

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Thanks girls, for such a fun afternoon!!!!

BOOKING YOUR SENIOR PORTRAITS: So, for those of you who are awesome enough to read all the way down here, guess what? It’s your lucky day. Tell me you saw this and get 50% off your booking fee for a senior portrait session in the snow. Your reading prowess just paid off, yo. Give me a call [801-870-4132] or email me.

PRINTED PRODUCTS: I have a lot of great printed products for you to order from wall prints and albums to graduation announcements. You can see them here.

2015 SENIOR MODELS: Are you interested in being a Senior Model for 2015? If you’re hardworking, responsible, well connected and want to fun way to earn cash, I’d love you to apply! I’ll be accepting applications until January 31.

SOCIAL: Come hang with me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Jessica: Fitness

Jessica: Fitness

Jessica has come a LONG way.  I’m so inspired by and in awe of her.  We’re gearing up for our 3rd shoot together tomorrow, and I feel like we’re great friends at this point.  Our friendship started here.

I borrowed this side-by-side comparison from her Facebook community, Full Length Mirror, so you can see just how far she has come.

What a ROCK STAR!  I love one of her posts:

“Everybody has their turning point; I thought I would share mine:
Spring, 2008, my grandfather, whom had battled heart problems most of my life got word that one of his valves would have to be either repaired or replaced and that he would have to have to have heart surgery… again. Unsure of what the potential outcome would be, my family and I all rushed to his side to spend time with him in thecase that he may not make it. He was stubborn and a fighter so we were very hopeful only of a positive outcome. The day of the surgery, we all reflected on the life he led and that he was such a happy man with no regrets and a very loving wife and family by his side. He made it through the surgery… as his will to live and fight to make it through conquered the brutal surgery.

That day, he told me that I needed to take care of my heart because it was something I too might battle if I’m not careful. I listened to him but didn’t really hear him. By the fall of that year, he began to have many more issues with what had now become congestive heart failure. His diet and daily routine had gone from eating mostly whatever he wanted to eating a zero sodium diet with very very strict vegetables as the salt and various nutrients in the veggies, would make the fluid around his heart literally start to drown him. I was grateful to have spent that Thanksgiving with him and to see him make it through Christmas. March 2009, his heart finally gave up and he lost that battle.

I finally heard his pleas to me to be healthy. I knew that getting my heart strong and having a healthy lifestyle was imperative to my future. He had no regrets… I didn’t want to look back on my life when I am in my golden years and regret not being able to live the life he wanted for me… that I wanted for me. He couldn’t change the fate he was handed, but he fought it tooth and nail…. I might not be able to change my fate either; but I’ll fight it to the bitter end, because I have that ability and I have made that choice… and if I can change it, you better believe I’ll try. I miss him terribly, but I know that he would be proud of me and happy that I finally heard his plea.

Everyday you are handed a new chance at life. A new chance to fight or change your fate and have no regrets. All you can do is take control and try. No excuses.”

The below fitness pictures were taken back in October.

Next up, the burlesque themed boudoir shoot!

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Fluid Heart…coming Soon

Fluid Heart…coming Soon

So, here’s the deal. I’m not the most in-shape gal around. I’m just not, and I’m okay with that. I love Dr. Pepper too much – and that battle is another story. But last summer, I decided to quit my full-time job of 10 years. With some of that extra time, a friend and I started going to the gym almost every day. Both of us are very type-A, most comfortable in fast-paced business environments, and very restless (to put it mildly). Doing 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights every day just wasn’t going to keep us interested enough to keep going. We thought it best to switch it up every day and do something new. We had a short stint with racket ball, a longer one with Zumba, and one Tuesday, she dragged me (yes, dragged me) to a Vinyasa Yoga class she had tried the week before.

I had been to yoga before. It was boring. I was only doing this because we didn’t know each other quite well enough for me to protest that early on in the game. I had to act somewhat tough and reasonable if I wanted to keep her as a gym buddy, and better yet, as a friend.

That first class about killed me. I had NEVER worked that hard in my life, and I played soccer in high school. Stick me on a treadmill and make me run for hours, but please don’t make me go to that class again! Sweat was dripping down from my chin onto my mat (which led do a couple of slippery falls), I was shaking, and I was nauseous. I was ready to call that my one and only try. But again, didn’t know my friend well enough yet to be a quitter, so when she suggested it the following Tuesday, I happily (not) complied. And that led to me enduring a few more weeks after that.

One day, it was 4th class, I started noticing that I was actually enjoying the way the asanas (yoga poses) were feeling. And even more – how fun the flows were! Oh man, now I was noticing how great the music track was! That downward dog felt so relaxing! Why did I think I was going to break my wrist in downward dog last week? Wow, did you see that vinyasa I just pulled off? And ahhhhhhhhh, that savasana was HEAVEN – I think I might be able to take on the world today.

All of the sudden, yoga wasn’t that boring class I had once taken. This yoga class was full of movement, strength, soul, and amazing music. This was Krisin’s Vinyasa Yoga class. And I have been going twice a week (showing up early to fight for a spot in that oh-so-full Tuesday morning class) ever since.

You may remember the teaser post (here) about Kristin launching her website soon (oh, and us trying to freeze her out there barefoot and in tank tops, in February, in the desert). I’m so excited for her and the creation of Fluid Heart. I know I said I would wait until the site was up to share the rest of the images, but I just couldn’t wait. I finally got through editing over 130 images out of the 700’ish we took over the course of 2 days, and wanted to share a few of my favorites.

Here she is. One of the most amazing women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. And I’m honored to now call her a friend.

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Janel

Janel

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