Just Michelle

I plan on sharing my journey here on my blog.

Get ready for fashion and beauty tips, DIY and how to make crazy fun things. Also I plan on just sharing ideas and inspiration and a little about me.

This is going to be so much more than just interesting photos.

Alright, so it’s my own fault.

Since I created my business name in junior high, people have been calling me Chelle (pronounced Shell, the second half of my name, thus the business name) which I don’t mind. People also call me Shelly, which I don’t like (sorry if you have been calling me that, I just didn’t know how to tell you). It has been going on so long that I have stopped correcting people. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, let’s just get this out on the table…

My friends call me Michelle.

Thanks for taking the time to see what I am all about.

Here is the short version (followed by the long version… if you are into that sort of thing).

  • I’m 46 but I feel 33.
  • My birthday is 9-11 (feel free to send gifts).
  • I am obsessed with taking beautiful photographs and I LOVE Photoshop. I see real life like photos in my head.
  • I worked at Olan Mills Portrait Studio when I was 18.
  • I don’t like cake. Ice cream cake is okay.
  • I love Karaoke.
  • I had jaw surgery when I was 15 to fix my overbite and I have 4 metal plates in my face. I don’t set off the metal detectors at the airport.
  • I can sew you a bathing suit or a pair of jeans, take your pick.
  • I have never been to the Circus.
  • I have been best friends with Heather (AKA Dude) since I was 6.
  • When I was 25, I drove Gladys Night’s purple Mercedes for a week (my car was fine but let’s face it, an egg plant colored Mercedes is pretty awesome).
  • I think my kids are two of the greatest things that have ever happened to me. I love seeing the world through their eyes.
  • I like organization in my chaotic life. Everything in labeled, plastic shoe boxes is a dream come true for me.
  • I am more in love with my husband every day, and still get that first date feeling when we are together. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and father for my kids.
  • I love to spray paint.
  • I am a night person. I do my best work at night.
  • I love to go to Walmart (don’t judge).
  • I am a good cook, but I hate cooking. You eat it and it’s good, but then there is nothing left but a mess to clean up.
  • I love people. Some of my best friends I have met in the weirdest places.
  • My mom is my biggest inspiration.
  • I am a little controlling. I know what I want…usually
  • I do hair and make candles. I do not make hairy candles.
  • I love to watch TV. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Homeland are some of my favorites.
  • I love to look at other photographers work. I can do this for hours. Then I want to show someone what I see (usually my mom) and I can drive them (or my mom) crazy looking!
  • If I see it, I can make it. I have been known to whip up a creation last minute.
  • Dude says, “we are Pinterest”. I look for stuff I am thinking about on Pinterest and it doesn’t exist there… yet!

And last and most important…

  • Jesus is my Savior. I am not perfect, but he died for me and I love Him for it!

Here is the long version (with fun pictures!)..

Well, let me see… I am not quite sure what to write here. I think it is going to take some time to really know all “about me”. Here is a glimpse into my growing up a creative kid and some of the high and low lights of my life so far. I would give you the short version but if you ask anyone that knows me, I can’t tell a short story, it’s always long and dramatic (or exaggerated as Brad would say!).

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  • In 3rd grade I co-produced and directed (with Dude, you will read about her later) “Alice In Wonderland”. We made our (my brother and her sister were forced to participate) costumes out of paper bags and then held rehearsal every day for a week. We never ended up performing the actual show because our record (we were lip syncing) melted because we left it in the sun one day when we went in for lunch. Bummer.
  • In 5th grade I received my first sewing machine and had my first fashion show in the back yard (yep, Dude and our siblings were all in it). My dad had half finished the gazebo (he never finished any project, that is why I finish one or it goes in the trash) and it looked more like a stage than a gazebo. It was perfect!
In 7th grade I started making “Jam” shorts (they were Hawaiian looking and had a big logo on the back pocket) and selling them to my friends. This is when my mom took me to the county office and helped me get my fictitious business name and resale license. I needed a business name. Okay, so no one called me Chelle (my name is Michelle), the junior higher found that Chelle was the only thing that fit on the label of those Jam shorts and Designs By Chelle (pronounced Shell, NOT SHELLY) was born! Dude and I would also make outfits out of weird things. Here is a photo of that too.

In 10th grade I started painting on t-shirts and doing t-shirt parties. In 1988, it was the cool thing to wear these gaudy painted outfits with beads, denim and ribbons hanging off of them. I would do about 1-2 parties a week (my mom would take me). I would take orders and deliver in two weeks. I was making a killing of $200 a week. Not too bad for a 15 year old in 1987.

My senior year in high school I designed and made a line of clothes for the school fashion show. I ended up selling my samples at the end of the show. I was voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ in our senior class standouts. Back then I thought success was having money or fame. Now I know it is being the best human and mom I can be and being content and happy. I feel very successful.

After high school I was told I was going to Jr. College. Signing up for classes was overwhelming and I called my mom and told her I was going to be an actress and not go to college. She told me I had to take some sort of class and work or move out so I signed up for acting class.

For 2 years I took acting classes at Grossmont College and The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. I spent a lot of time sending out headshots, trying to get an agent and going on auditions. I was doing a lot of “extra” work and I got really good at standing around. I also worked a ton of different jobs and was known to have 3 jobs at a time. I worked at Nordstrom in the alterations department, The Limited, Yardage City, and a flower shop. I worked on a kiosk cart at the mall that sold seasonal stuff, I was a fashion show dresser for Leonard Simpson and Gretchen Burns. I sewed bridesmaids, flower girl and prom dresses, I made jewelry, hair bows and let’s not forget my favorite…hair scrunchiis! And I started my photography career back then by working at Olan Mills Portrait Studio selling portrait packages. Here is an awesome photo of Naomi and I when we worked there.

In 1992 my mom came up with the brilliant idea that I should go to beauty school. I think she was a little worried about where I was going in life. I admit, I needed something I could make money and fall back on. I enrolled in beauty college and have been doing hair and loving it ever since. I hate it when I have to admit that my mom has a good idea. Mom’s are old and don’t know anything…right?

In 1995 I had a practice wedding (in 2004 I had a forever wedding) that ended with my husband continuing to “date” while married. My then husband and I started a business called Big Ass Genes. With the help of a friend I designed and made jeans that fit big booties! I was sewing jeans and taking them to trade shows and trying to sell the brand. The husband was supposed to be helping but he mostly just played “basketball”. The brand had potential and I learned a lot but when we divorced in 1999 he got the clothing company and I kept the candle business.

In 1997 I started my candle business. That is a whole other story.

In Jan of 2000 I kicked my cheating husband out and had fun being 26 and single.

I dated a lot…blah blah blah, partied, went to Las Vegas a lot…blah blah blah. Stories for a later time (oh, do I have some good stories).

In 2003 my dad fell off a ladder and died. Now, I have not talked about my family much in this “about me”. I come from a close family. I loooove them, they are my world. My brother is my best friend and I talk to him sometimes 3-5 times a day (sometimes it is only for 2 minutes before he grunts that he has to go and he hangs up on me! Dummy, he called me.), My mom and I are very close. It drives Brad crazy but we talk or see each other usually every day. So, when my dad fell off the ladder and died, let’s just say, it rocked my world.

In 2003, a few months after my dad passed away, I started hanging out with Shawna’s little brother. So, this is a great story (it is our little love story so, I think it is a great story) but to really enjoy it (and oh you will) I have to tell you all the details (not those kind, get your mind out of the gutter) and I will have to write about it somewhere else. Anyway, Brad and I fell in love.

May 1, 2004 we got married!

  • On March 14, 2006 Teagan was born. My sweet little boy was 5 weeks early and only weighed 4lbs 2 oz. My pregnancy and his birth were a little scary (long story for later) but he was healthy and I was alive and 10 days later he got to come home.
  • On January 18, 2007, after a year and a half of trying to figure out what was wrong with me (not mentally, we all know there is something a little off there…ha) it was confirmed and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Yep, a bomb was dropped on me and it was devastating. Not to mention I was almost five months pregnant.
  • On January 26, 2007 I was five months pregnant and went in for my weekly sonogram (I was high risk because Teagan’s pregnancy). Now I want to prepare you. The reason I am so open about something so personal and devastating is that I feel that life is about sharing and loving people. If sharing my story helps just one person than that makes the pain I went through bearable. They told me fetal death is not common, that is doesn’t happen. It happened to us. On that day, at that appointment, I found out that my precious little baby no longer had a heart beat. On Monday January 29, 2007 I gave birth to Tatum Grace. Tatum’s death has changed me. I don’t want to go into it here but I will talk about it sometime. Now, onto happy things.
  • On May 22, 2008 Delaney was born. She was baby no name for about two days until Brad made me name her. I just wanted to watch her and see what kind of name she looked like. Did that make sense? The approved names (Brad wouldn’t let me name her anything I wanted) were Landis, Sailor and Delaney. I wanted something different. There were always at least three Michelle’s in my class growing up. I wanted my kids to have their own names. Brad was getting the car and my brother came in to help me outside. I was staring at the birth certificate trying to decide and my brother says, “Nail “er Sail ‘er!” He is such an ass, how could I name her Sailor after that? Her middle name was to be Louise since she would be the 5th generation with that middle name and Brad didn’t want people to call her Laney Lou, well guess what!
  • On November 13, 2010 we moved into our house we live in now. This is where I have amy hair salon and photo studio. I get to be with my kids and family and work from home. I am pretty happy with it.
  • December 2013 I had my first paying photography client and I decided to make photography into a business!
  • September 11, 2018 The past 5 years have flown by. I have been taking workshops, learning from incredible mentors, entering contests and winning awards for photography.

Life is a blessing and a gift. I try to savor every minute with my family and my friends. My kids keep getting older and it reminds me how short life really is. They have such fun personalities and bring me so much joy. We have the best discussions and I still love to see the world through their eyes. They now are old enough and enjoy helping me with all my crazy projects. Delaney is a mini me. She loves arts and crafts and she is always willing to be my photo model . I am teacher her how to edit and use Photoshop. Teagan is also very creative. He loves to watch Youtube and learn new magic tricks or build vending machines out of Legos! He even mastered the Rubix Cube. Brad is excited because we have an RV and have gotten to travel through 24 states.

So if you read through this whole thing, thank you. Even if you just skipped to the end, that is okay too.

I hope you learned something new and fun about me and that you will come back to my blog soon!