Always write in pencil, nothing is forever.



This rain cloud is clouding my inspiration.

It has rained in Minnesota for a month straight!  Maybe one or two days of beautiful sunshine and a 70 degree day but not enough to say it’s been a nice spring.  In the past I have loved rainy days, something about the earth being watered brought joy to my soul.  The rain is refreshing and all the grossness had been washed away.  Plus who doesn’t love sleeping in on a rainy day, vegging out on the couch or getting your house cleaned.  That’s what I would do on a rainy weekend.  I’d power clean, organize and de-clutter my home.  I would rip apart closets and put back only what was needed, I’d take everything off my kitchen counters and clean every square inch of the surface, vacuum the hard to reach areas and mop on my hands and knees.  It was beautiful!  Then the next day would be sunny and I would be happy that I had a clean house for the sun to pour in on.


Since I have been on maternity leave and then transitioned to a stay at home mom I did my rainy day routine in March when it was snowing and O and I couldn’t and didn’t want to leave.  I had the worst cabin fever from mid-February to mid-April that I thought I needed post-partom depression pills.  I cleaned and re-organized literally every foot in my home every chance I got.  I felt like Martha freakin’ Stewart, everything had a place, a label and on a cleaned shelf with liner.  Now my home is a working machine, it’s so nice to know what you have is what you need and not living in clutter.  Especially with a new baby, her belongings take up more room and their are so many little pieces to things that I had to have a home for all of it.  With all said and done I feel very accomplished to get those goals and keep it the running machine that it has become.  But now I have time to focus on the creative side of my brain and all I want to do is veg out out on the couch.  Now rainy days make me lazy, not even a pot of coffee can get my ass moving!


I have been searching through previous summer pictures from years past, nothing has gotten me motivated or inspired.  So this post is only about my anal cleaning skills and how I created my de-cluttered home.  I don’t have images but I have tips and I will share…

Getting the “Shit” that doesn’t belong out of your home & making it look nice:

  1. Do one room a week.  Start with the bathroom, under sinks and in the linen closets.  Move to bedrooms, living spaces, the kitchen and then the garage.  Only do one a week and sometimes just do the closet one week then go back and do under the bed and dressers the next week.
  2. Make piles.  Keep, trash, donate.  Have totes not boxes and stick to the three!  That’s the most important rule of organizing and de-clutering.  It’s easy to make a fourth pile, an “I don’t know pile”, then that pile turns into the keep pile when it was probably suppose to be in the trash pile.  Make decisions and stick to the three!
  3. As soon as you finish filling your totes, take the trash tote immediately to the trash and dump, don’t hesitate.  Put the donate one immediately into your car and the keep one is up to you.  Side Note:  So when I was dong mine, I kept all my keep totes in the basement.  I moved the other two to the trash and to the car and then the keep went right down stairs.  When all the rooms where finished I had five totes to organize.  I then made a keep, donate and trash pile with those.  It’s amazing what you change your mind about a few weeks later.  I got five totes down to one keep!  I would recommend this procedure.
  4. Cleaning the spaces you just de-cluttered.  Before you put anything back, clean it.  Vacuum the corners and hidden areas, wipe down the shelves, label if labels are needed and add shelf liners.
  5. Invest in baskets and bins, jars and dividers to make the areas nice looking.  This is easy to do for closets, everything that is not hanging or organized into a dresser drawer should have a place that looks neat and tidy.  Same with bathrooms, a bin for travel size items, extra things like toothbrushes and soap, a bin just for medicine and band aids, one for summer items like sun screen and aloe vera.  Items like extra rolls of toilet paper and your bathroom cleaning supplies should all be stored away neat and tidy.
  6. Seasonal storing is always fun!  So I recently assigned one tote to be my seasonal clothes.  We all have clothes that we wear year round but items like shorts to wool are only used certain times of the year.  Right now my one tote has gloves, scarves, sweaters and jackets in it.  When fall comes I will pull out that tote and hung those items and put in my shorts, dresses and tanks.  I will take my swim suits and beach covers out of their bin and put scarfs in it.  All that summer clothing will go back to it’s home in the basement.  Plus while your transitioning between seasons, make your three piles.  If you never wore it during that season get rid of it!  This is to be done with all the members of your household.  Each person as their own seasonal tote and is labeled.   Side note: Do not keep white under shirts or tanks for more than one season, don’t keep kids clothes that are stained or have holes, trash them.  Do not keep items that don’t fit, even if you tell yourself you’ll fit back into it, that maybe true but who loses weight and then wants to wear their old clothes.  Donate any clothes that don’t fit any family member.
  7. Organize your storage areas also.  We have a big walk in closet in our basement, that’s were I store everything.  I have it organized based on season also, right now it’s spring/summer so I have our camping/picnic gear at easy reach.  At the end of summer I will switch those totes around to have Christmas totes and winter clothes easy to reach.  If you are pulling something out or putting something back make it easier on future you and think ahead.  What will you be grabbing the next time you come into the storage area?
  8. In all rooms and areas make “groups.”  Group together items that are like each other.  Quick examples, bathroom: all medical related items in one bin.  Office: only pens in one jar, pencils in a another, markers in their own, etc. Kitchen: all baking ware in one cupboard, that’s metal and glass bakeware, casserole dishes and cookie sheets.  When storing items this way it’s easier to know where certain items are.  If you are unsure where an item might fit into then think about the last time you used it.  Example: A dutch oven can be used as a stove top dish and an oven dish.  I use my dutch oven more for soups so I keep it in the pots and skillet cupboard.  The point is to have all like items as close together as possible so when they are needed you don’t have to think where they are you can just walk to that spot and grab.  Side Note:  Match tupperware lids with bottoms, it’s easier to find matches and easier to store, you won’t have lids flying all over the place.  When something doesn’t match trash it. Stack items with in each other, all my mixing bowls live together, all stacked inside of each other, my tupperware is stacked by size, my pots have their lids on, turned upside down and stacked smallest to largest.
  9. Keep it up!  When you move an item from one room to the next, put it back when your done.  This is very important to keep clutter on your count tops and tables down.  If you take the finger nail clippers out of the bathroom, return them as soon as your finished.  It’s not rocket science.  I keep a basket on the kitchen counter, anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen goes in there and before I go to bed our while my coffee is brewing I return the items.  Side Note:  for some reason in my house everything ends up in the kitchen.
  10. Once a day clean something.  Even if it’s switching the loads of laundry or putting away the dishes, do something to keep your home looking nice.  Every single day I wipe down the kitchen counters, do the dishes, swiffer the bathroom floor, put away clutter in all rooms, make the bed and put away any laundry.  Seems like a lot but I can usually do that all while the coffee brews.  When you keep it up, it’s easy to always have a clean house and when everything has a place it’s easy to keep it up.  See the circle? 🙂


This post ended up being longer than expected but it feels great to have all that information out and to share it!!  I hope you have learned something new and take the challenge, or hey if you’re not motivated to do it for yourself, hire me!!  I’d be more than happy to help organize your life and de-clutter your home!!

I guess this rainy day brought me inspiration after all!






A sister from another mister.

After only two months of knowing her we flew to Cancun, Mexico.  It was her first time flying and her first time ever leaving the mid-west.  I felt very “adult like” when taking her through the steps of researching hotels, buying a plane ticket & navigating the airport.


Once we were finally there all those “adult like” intentions sailed away in the Mexico breeze.  I was 20 years of age with a wild spirited, blonde by my side. I was ready to have fun and let my hair down… we did just that and a little more 🙂

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Her and I have traveled a few more times together in our 8 year friendship but Mexico will always be the most special.  I hope to some day revisit these places we’ve been together but for now our biggest adventure we are sharing is motherhood.


Just give me one more London day.


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It’s 6 years since I was in London.  I always get reminiscent about my time there around my birthday, I celebrated my 22nd year during my stay and I believe that will always be the year and the birthday that I will love the most.


When I can’t sleep, I drift back to my tiny little room that I shared with two other people.  The sounds of taxis cruising by, horns honking at bicyclists and the daily commute of the locals.  We lived 3 floors above a Starbucks so the smell of coffee awoke me every morning.  I can still feel Regents Park under my feet, the soft grass between my toes and the instant peace that filled my soul when I entered the beautiful park.  I remember thinking all I wanted was to bring my family back someday and lay in that very spot.



The night life was anything but boring and the pubs were loud and cheerful.  Football on the TV, rickety floor boards and english accents filled my head.  I learned more over wine in the Marylebone Tup, than I had in my prior 22 years.  Debate was encouraged and I never felt discouraged to have an opinion.  Topics of American politics, reality TV and comparisons of countries were always a good laugh.



I realized that I have documented a lot of things in my life that just sit on my hard drive… this is the kick off to my diary of photographs. ❤



One bad mother.

I had my first Mother’s Day this year.  Steve, Olive & I went to breakfast at Jensen’s Cafe and then went to Como Zoo.  The weather was chilly but the sun with shining bright, it was a lovely day.


That evening I reflected on Mothers.

I thought about my own mother, my friends that are mothers and my grandmother.  I am technically the middle child, I have an older half brother and a younger sister, which lead to “mothering” at a very early age.  My sister never approved of my “mothering” and my friends always turned to me for my “mothering” advise.  At a young age I had mom friends, I knew more about sex, pregnancy, labor, delivery and newborns than I did about boy bands, trends and school subjects.  With that I decided at an early age that I wasn’t going to be a mom, I was going to the the world’s coolest “aunt” and travel the world.

Now that I am a mother, I can honestly say that there is no other job, title, or responsibility that I would want.  I am a women of many hats, I like lists, things must be organized and I must know what is planned for tomorrow, my little O has really helped straighten me out and realize that if I take a break and focus on today that I can be much happier.  Even when she’s demanding she is innocent, babies require attention that is unbearable at times and in all the sleepless nights and long days I love that little nugget more than words will ever express.

My biggest concern was the change that mom’s have to endure.  Your body changes, your hormones rage and you lose sight of your old life.  I thought after O was born some of those things would go back to normal, your body eventually bounces back to an old you, your hormones settle and equal out again but the sight of your old life is still gone.  My priorities are different, my expectations are different and my tolerance is different.  I never wanted O to change me I wanted her to become an extension of me. I believe at four months old that she has become cooler than I am!  I am becoming to realize that kids don’t change people, people change into parents because they choose too.  Great parents have great kids, great kids have parents that choose to put their kids lives before there own.

Finding balance of being a great parent and a great friend has been a struggle.  It’s something I still don’t have an answer to and an on going conversation with my husband.  As the weeks go by and the weather gets nicer it’s easier to see that we are getting a social life back.  I know it’s something I can’t control but I know that I can make the effort to see my friends and make time for them.

My life is complete, I can officially say that nothing is perfect but my life is pretty damn close!

This podcast defiantly helps me get through the day!  If your a Mother, you must listen to these awesome mothers!


Dear Olive

So during my pregnancy I journaled my whole experience.  I told my pregnancy story to Olive, I am hoping that someday when she’s old enough to understand and read that she’ll appreciate this piece of history and the story of the beginning of her life.

I also hope that by sharing this on my blog that you might take something away from my pregnancy weather a laugh or a piece of advise, it’s here to be read.  Please remember I am not a professional writer, I write how I speak or how I would tell the story so please save the punctuation comments, LOL!  Also, there is some swearing and graphic language so reader be ware. 

I will be adding a few paragraphs at a time through out the next few weeks. Enjoy my 40 weeks!

Week 1-9:

On May 29, 2012, Birthday year 27, I found I was pregnant.

It was a Tuesday and I hadtaken the day off of work to relax and enjoy the day of my birth.

(Daddy and I had spent the weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend, trying to conceive.  It was a lot of “work” and an emotional roller coaster.  We decided if nothing had happened during this month we would take a month break and relax and let nature run it’s course.  For Memorial Day weekend we went to Webber Cabin with our friends.  I spent all weekend somewhat crabby, not drinking and trying not to smoke.  I was miserable.  I was tired and moody and just wanted to be at home.  I knew something was up so I tried to enjoy myself because I had a feeling it might be an interesting summer for us.)

I woke up on that beautiful May morning, laying in bed a thought this could either be the best birthday or the worst birthday.  Take it how you want.  I knew that that first “pee” was an important one for taking a test and boy did I have to go.  I wanted to prepare myself for what I may see.  I decided that either way everything would be ok and hey if I was negative then I was going to have a birthday Bloody Mary.  I peed, it was positive.


I laughed and giggled and thought about how amazing our life will be.  All those exciting thoughts ran through my head.  Boy, girl, family vacations, their laugh, what they will look like, etc.  I made my birthday pot of coffee and sat down on the patio and lit my Camel No. 9 pinks.  Inhale, exhale, fuck.  I can’t smoke anymore, I won’t smoke anymore, what did I do?  That’s when all the scary thoughts flooded in and how much our lives would really change.  Up all nights, no drinking, no smoking, throw up, booger noses, paying for school, paying the hospital, the weight gain, etc.  I will admit I did finish it and the pot of coffee but I was pale white and knew I needed Daddy.  I stopped by Target on my way to his work to pick another box of tests.  I figured every time I peed that day I would take one, just to be safe.  I called him and told him we were going out for lunch.  When I arrived he was finishing up some things so I went to pee on a stick.  It was positive in a millisecond.  I decided I would give him the test to tell him the news.  There in Apple Valley Ford’s photographing bay, Steve Soderlund became a dad.  He cried and loved me and I instantly knew that life was greater than I thought.  I promised Daddy I would quit smoking.  He asked how he could help me.  I jokingly said “you can buy me a car that I can’t smoke in and you can also quit drinking with me”  I laughed it off.  He took it seriously.  On May 31, I said goodbye to my old friend Jeepy and hello to a Ford Escape.  Daddy did what I jokingly asked him to do, so I knew I had to quit.  I set a goal to quit cold turkey and for exactly 7 days weaned myself off the nicotine.  I had my last cigarette on June 5, 2012.


The weeks following would be some of the most frustrating, exhausting, scary and memorable weeks of my life.  “Hulking Out” is what I refereed to my nic-fits.  When I craved or stressed I felt like I wanted to dig my fingers into the sheet rock and rip the walls down.  I was so full of anger with no release for it.  I wasn’t angry that I had to quit, I was angry that it was so hard.  One night I woke up with the sweats and it scared me straight, it’s a drug and I need help getting it off my mind.  I called hot lines, talked to friends, ate candy and yelled but eventually it passed and I haven’t looked back.

June 27th, 2012:  Our first appt.  Routine prenatal, blood work, pee in a cup and pap.  I am starting to feel sick.  Nausea, queasy, bloated, headaches, tired, moody.  I felt like I was hungover for 4 days straight with a crazy tequila heachache, a vodka stomach and a beer belly bloat.  It was awesome.  I wanted to die.  That feeling when you drink too much and you get into bed and get those spins.  Imagine that but for 10 minutes straight every hour on the hour of the day.  I had that for 6 days straight.  I threw up once, on day one because I thought it would make me feel better.  It didn’t, my eyes filled with tears and I wanted my mom.  It was tough but like I said it only lasted 6 days.  Smells and tastes were weird too.  Smells that never bothered me before made me ill and tastes that I love tasted like vomit.  Bananas were gross, vegetables made me gag and anything microwaved was repulsive!    I ate a lot all the time and gained 12 pounds in my first 10 weeks, thank you nicotine fits for that!

Telling our family and friends was exciting.  It was hard for us to keep the secret, neither of us were drinking and I wasn’t smoking.  Our friends are smart, they would have caught on.  Louise had put together an event to go fill food bags for starving children.  The whole gang was together and it was so nice, it had been a while.  We rode with Derick and Louise so we told them on the way to the place.  After our good deed we all went back to Derick and Louise’s house for dinner.  Shelly is pregnant too.  The girls were in the kitchen, Shelly was talking about how she wanted pickles and how that’s all she has been craving.  Courtney turns to me (I was also having a pickle craving) and said “geez, I bet you can’t wait to get pregnant!”  I said “I don’t have to wait, I am.”  It took a minute to sink in and they both squealed and hugged. Daddy then dropped the bomb on the men and we continued the rest of our night eating great food and enjoying the company of our friends.  We had Brecken tell Brian and Lavonne, he hollered “YaYa and Poppa I’m going to be a cousin!”  Lavonne didn’t really hear him, I told him to yell it again.  She about peed her pants in the garage.  They gave is crap for being so spontaneous about telling people news.  I liked it, it was funny!  I spilled the beans to my mom on the phone and my dad was in Eagan working, I told him I would stop by to show him my new car.  I then told him why I needed a new car.  Both sets of our parents love being grandparents so it felt really nice to have that comfort and support of their love.

Not a whole lot of cravings yet, just want to eat everything I can!  Feeling: moody, achy, aching boobs, clothes fitting tighter, little nauseas, headaches, exhaustion and procrastination. Happy and joyful though.

Life Change.

January was my last post and looking back that feels like years ago!  A lot has changed in these three months.  My daughter was born, I quit my job and I became a full time Momma and Photographer!

So things to come for 2013:  new portraits of my amazing clients, Olive’s Page, business design update, new adventures, my pregnancy journal, some crafts and recipes and more!

This is my first of many posts with in the next 48 hours, so stay tuned and I will never leave you for that long again!

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Pretty and Pregnant

As fast approach my due date in 2 weeks and 4 days, I am full of emotions!  Most days I am secure and excited, prepared and ready.  But other days I think to myself, slow down.  Let me enjoy these final days without Miss Olive.  

What I wouldn’t give for one more, “selfish” Michaela day of total luxury.  A Mani/Pedi, delicious lunch and cocktails with my girlfriends, shopping at my favorite stores for clothes that fit my “skinny” body, a bright sunny, warm day of fun and laughter and no cares in the world.

I know it sounds awful to some but be honest, everyone feels like they deserve a day like this no matter their responsibilities or their life expectations.  I know that someday in the near future I will get a day like this and I know I will love it even more because at the end of my luxurious, awesome day I will be coming home to my beautiful, little family.

I have had a few weeks of feeling pretty.  I found a new pair of maternity pants that allowed me to wear a size smaller than my other maternity pants, which really did make me feel “skinny.”  And my husband and I had a photo shoot with my dear friend Anne.  Here are a few of my favorites from that day: