thesuitcasestudio Not quite one year old yet, and already knows how to work the camera. This girl was all smiles, and had me giggling the whole time, too. I LOVE my job. // sneak peek of today's first birthday/family session. #orangecountyfamilyphotos #bendfamilyphotographer 17h

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thesuitcasestudio I am a WANDERER. I will trust in myself and follow my heart. I will take the path new to my feet and not let the fear slow my steps. There is much to explore and discover, and I am a wanderer. #liveauthentically #followyourheart #bendorbust 20h

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thesuitcasestudio just in case this is the last time I see you for awhile... goodbye, Laguna Beach. You've been good to me. // wrapping up my last scheduled photo shoot in #LagunaBeach before the move to #bendoregon 22h

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thesuitcasestudio These past few days have been quite a struggle for me. I fully realize that any time that life deviates from the script in place, the subconscious will rise up to question, "correct," and recategorize. And I realize that big changes can be quite painful. But there's a difference between knowing and EXPERIENCING. Especially when SO many obstacles and complications get thrown into my path all at once. I've wept a LOT these past few days. Big, ugly cries. But I've forced myself to confront the thoughts swirling around that bring me to this place. I've forced myself to fully feel them, instead of numbing out. I'm living authentically now, and that means embracing the pain along with the joy. I am recreating myself, which is definitely not a painless process. My entire sense of SELF, and sanity in choosing this new direction in life, is being tossed into question and put back together piece by piece. And each piece is being held up to the light and examined from every angle before being fit together to create a larger picture. Some pieces of my self are definitely not pretty. And many pieces are being let go, whether reluctantly or with pleasure. But the bigger picture IS coming together. And THAT is worth all the pain, tears and exhaustion in which I currently live. I am a FIGHTER, and will not let my current struggles break my spirit. For I'm a phoenix, and am prepping to rise from the ashes. #followyourheart #liveauthentically #findyourjoy #bestrong 1d
  •   fleurish444 Well said. Sounds like you could use a long walk along the Deschutes River! 1d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @fleurish444 yes, yes, yes. When I find myself struggling, I remind myself of all the amazingness yet to come. I created a canvas of one of my photographs from my first trip up there, and hung it on my bedroom wall so it's the last thing I see before sleeping, and the first thing when I wake. Motivation and PEACE. 1d
  •   sierrarmcclain Your words are amazing and I totally feel ya! I'm there right now too! 1d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @sierrarmcclain hugs to you, and high-fives, too. Hooray to owning our strength. 1d
  •   sierrarmcclain Yup. We can do hard things! Hugs & high fives back! 1d

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thesuitcasestudio this is the pressed penny that started it all. A souvenir that my dad brought back for me from a business trip to Seattle back when I was a kid. Since that time, and still to this day, I collect a pressed penny from every place I visit. // As I pack my home & prepare for my move, I'm letting a LOT of "stuff" go... wanting to surround myself not just with "pretty" things, but items that are personal, and MEANINGFUL. My penny collection will definitely be coming with me; it marks the places I've been, and I'm hoping to add to it all the places still to go. #followyourheart #bendorbust #collection 2d

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thesuitcasestudio PHOTO STASH SALE! //In prep for my upcoming move, I'm clearing out what I no longer use. I've posted a few pictures to an album on my Facebook page (Facebook.com/theSuitcaseStudio)... including lenses, big props, and there are lots of other misc. items NOT pictured, like baby beanies, feather headbands, a twirly skirt, and other misc. photo props. Make me an offer!!! MUST be able to view/pick up from my Tustin home this Saturday. (I'd love to coordinate other days, but simply don't have the time.) Money raised is being put toward moving/living expenses, so you'd be supporting a piece of my dream! Cash is preferred, but card is okay. If interested, let me know what time you can come by & I'll share the address. #photosupplies #photostash #garagesale #vintagecamera 4d

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thesuitcasestudio How I spent my lunch break. Because when you realize you've still got a gift certificate to #southcoastplaza you need to use soon, you can treat yourself to those hiking boots you've had your eye on! #bendorbust #gettingactive #bendoregon // Oregon friends, weigh in... would you recommend an actual hiking boot, or a trail running shoe to begin with??? Preferences?!!! 4d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @rabnrpb I ended up buying the actual hiking boots, but totally breathable/flexible. Maybe I'll save up for the runners... or put them on my birthday wish list! For now, I'll keep picking the pebbles out of my regular running shoes. Ha! 4d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @brookologie yup, south coast. Too bad I ran out of time... the people-watching there is pretty amazing. 4d
  •   premierprinting Awesome! Went with the lower ones, you won't be disappointed. 4d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @premierprinting awesome! I ended up going with the taller... they didn't have the lower ones in my size... but I might track them down in another store to exchange. Thanks for the tip!!! 4d
  •   bend_living Nice looking shoe. I personally hike in my trail runners. I love Salomons. They fit my foot perfect. I try on a lot of shoes before I find my prince. You can't go wrong though. Enjoy your new purchase 4d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @bend_living nice! I'll have to check that kind out, for the future! 4d
  •   traveling_fitchick We gots to hannnnnng 2d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @traveling_fitchick yaaaaay! Yes, please. 1d

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thesuitcasestudio Had a kick-ass workout tonight, followed promptly by an In-N-Out burger. That's a balanced meal, right? But I should totally get a free pass on this one... in less than 4 weeks I'll be hundreds of miles away from the closest In-N-Out, so I need to enjoy them while I can! #nomnomnom #innout #iworkoutsoicanEAT 5d

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thesuitcasestudio after 4 miles on the trails yesterday, I actually HADN'T intended to head back so soon. But puppy's restless energy was driving me more than a little bit cray-cray, and I couldn't get ANYTHING done. (It's like having a perpetual toddler in the house...) So, I gave up, gave in & headed out for another 2 miles tonight. Now my legs are crying out for some jacuzzi time. But at least I might get some peace in the house tonight. #dachshund #peterscanyon #doxie #hikingbuddy 1w
  •   rabnrpb Haha ! That's life with dogs for sure ! I think we take them on several adventures in one day! I just feel bad for them-- at least with kids you can hand them an iPhone or iPad and they can entertain themselves -- but all the dogs have is us.. maybe your get some packing done 1w
  •   printspiring 5d
  •   thesuitcasestudio Thanks @printspiring ... isn't he adorable?! 5d

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Normal Michelle Carrillo
thesuitcasestudio in a world with hectic schedules, late nights, early mornings, and most connections happening via social media, it's important to keep priorities in mind, and carve out time whenever the possibility of an in-person connection and conversation can take place. Not just a "like" button clicked or conversation started with an @ sign... there's something truly amazing in a back and forth conversation held across a tabletop, where you can look the person in the eye, hear the laughter, and feel the energy flow. // Visiting OC from ALASKA for her daughter's dance competition, @ak_arctictern and I met up for a quick brunch & caught up on REAL LIFE as quickly as we could. #authenticity #connection #community #reallife #keepingitreal 1w
  •   thesuitcasestudio @teeinla yes yes yes!!! 1w
  •   rabnrpb That's awesome !!! Staying connected is a must and nothing beats a real conversation beside the @ button ! 1w
  •   kindredkrissie YES!!! 1w
  •   ak_arctictern @thesuitcasestudio It was super quick but so with it and so fun to see you!!! 1w
  •   adrift_907 She looks familiar?!? Two beautiful ladies... And very well put. It's nice to have the ability to connect with all the flavors of social media. If not for IG, and FB... Real actual brunches from distant friends may not ever happen. But definitely important to look past the keyboard from time to time. We don't make it to OC very often, but looking forward to catching up for future visits in Bend. Looks like there's some decent concerts coming to les Schwab this summer. 1w
  •   thesuitcasestudio @adrift_907 ha... Yes! And sooooo hoping you guys make it to Bend again soon... that'd be fantastic!!! 1w

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thesuitcasestudio Exactly one month from today, my pup and I will be making the 13+ hour trek to our new home in Oregon. Today, I'm blazing new trails, and saying goodbye to some old ones. I'm excited for my BIG move & all the adventure it will bring, but there are millions of tiny pinpricks of loss & change I'm experiencing along the way... and I'm taking the time to acknowledge them, feel them, and properly mourn them. Change is NEVER easy, especially when it brings major growth in the process. So this morning's walk was an emotional journey, as these things swirled around in my head. Yes, I'm EXCITED about everything new that's happening in my life, and I'm embracing the change like CRAZY... but it's still difficult to let GO of the pieces of my past... even the pieces I'm not thrilled with, because they're still a part of me & my personal growth. But most of all... I'll miss my friends. I'll miss my family. And leaving them will be one of the MOST difficult things I've ever had to do in my life. I KNOW that this journey is the BEST thing for me, and I KNOW that I am strong enough to make it on my own... But their love & support has helped GIVE me that strength. So I continue to walk the path I'm on, feeling the spirit of their presence, and knowing I will carry that with me always. // #keepingitreal #authenticity #storyteller #journey #wanderlust #bendORbust #followyourheart #dachshund #doxie #peterscanyon #hikingbuddy 1w
  •   rabnrpb I am reeling with excitement for you!!! Love you tons!!! 1w
  •   thesuitcasestudio Thanks @rabnrpb ... my emotions are SOOOOO all over the place today. 1w
  •   misspurrr You know I'm Soooo happy for you! And I have Soo much love for you! But can't look at these too long cuz I'm getting teary 1w
  •   thesuitcasestudio @misspurrr I know, I know! Yesterday it hit me SO hard that I have to leave you guys. I really don't like that part. I was teary off & on all day. 1w
  •   traveling_fitchick Amazing 7d
  •   steph_kim Omg... I'm so excited for you, Chel! It's going to be an amazing journey of change and growth for you, love that you're embracing and forging forward! So happy for you ️ we'll have to make a trip out there to visit you 4d
  •   thesuitcasestudio @steph_kim THANK YOU!!! Yes, already I'm feeling SO much growth within myself, and I haven't even GOTTEN there yet... Ha! And yes yes yes!!! Come see meeee!!! I have a two-bedroom place, and an air mattress for guests. 4d

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thesuitcasestudio My friend warned me that finding a place to rent in Bend would be bit more hectic than what I've been used to in the past. And with apartment waiting lists of 4-6 months, and 4-5 applicants per private home rental, he wasn't joking. And then the stars aligned. I found a townhouse I fell in love with on sight (through the computer screen), and spent this entire week jumping through hoops to do everything I could to make it mine. Butterflies tapdanced in my tummy, and my nerves were a wreck, but I had no choice but to be patient. And after my friend saw it in person (telling me I'd LOVE it), I finally received the phone call this afternoon that would change my life and set me on my new course. "The owner has approved your application, and the place is yours." And just like that, I have a new home. In another state. Starting April 22. Oh...my...GAWD!!! #theresnoplacelikehome #inbend #bendORbust #oregon #pnw #followyourheart #dreamcometrue #wanderlust #adventuretime #letscelebrate 2w

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thesuitcasestudio I used to be a wallflower. For real. But somewhere along the way, I learned to just be BRAVE, put myself out there, and see what happens. It all starts with saying HELLO to a stranger. And doing so has now changed my life. // Before I traveled back to Bend, OR for a second time, I used Instagram as a tool to "meet" several locals and, once there, had the chance to meet them in person. Starting to consider making this place my home, and poking around for job opportunities, a couple of these new friends pointed me in the same direction... someone who owned a small media & marketing firm. So, deep breaths and lots of courage, I sent this person an email to introduce myself.
A few emails and phone conversations later, and because he trusted the people who had already vouched for me, he presented me with an amazing opportunity... He will be taking me under his wing. The Suitcase Studio will continue to offer photography services for kids & family, but he will be helping me set up a new entity to expand my offerings to a different market, to offer social media marketing & photography services to small businesses/entrepreneurs/local events. I'll be shadowing him as he works his magic, and will be able to traverse the heart of the town a lot quicker than if I were to attempt this all on my own. He's a "pay it forward" type of person, and really wants to invest in me & my vision, encourage my art & see me SOAR. // And it all started with a very brave HELLO. // I am eternally grateful for this opportunity, but I still need YOUR HELP to make it happen, too. As the pieces continue to fall into place, I'll share more soon... and will fill you in on how YOU can play a BIG part in helping me achieve my dreams. For real.
#followyourheart #dreamcometrue #inbend #bendORbust #oregon #pnw #socialmedia #hello #bebrave
2w

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thesuitcasestudio Announcement time: Today was a BIG day for me. Voice-shaking, hands-trembling BIG. Today I told my bosses, and the office as a whole, that... after 10+ years there... I will be leaving the law firm soon. Like, next MONTH soon. And that I will be making the move up to Bend, Oregon. // Every time I say these words aloud, it becomes THAT much more real. My life is a whirlwind of activity at the moment, but it's not unwelcome. I've found my adventure and rediscovered my joy. And I finally have a FABULOUS opportunity to launch my own business on a FULL TIME basis, and in a big way. Somebody pinch me. // I'll be sharing more as details are finalized and pieces fall into place. Because I'm hoping you all will HELP me make the leap! #followyourheart #dreamcometrue #community #connection #entrepreneur #confetti #letscelebrate #megahappydance #inbend #bendORbust 2w
  •   beautysmith Congrats, Michelle! @thesuitcasestudio 2w
  •   heathercowdell Congratulations ️ I am so excited and incredibly happy for you! 2w
  •   lstreiff I just got goosebumps reading this and also got teary eyed! I am so excited for you and can't wait to follow along while you leap into this new adventure! Also, super excited to see how your business will blossom with you full time <3 Congrats and thank you for sharing and being inspiring EVERY DAY! 2w
  •   spiceandtulips Yeeeaaa!!! Fantastic news! Follow your heart! Trust your soul! Go forth & LIVE IT!!! 2w
  •   briteandbubbly I'm happy and sad all at the same time for you! But don't leave me! @thesuitcasestudio lol 2w
  •   angmbishop I'm so proud of you!! Congrats! 2w
  •   utterlyengaged woohoo!!!! 2w
  •   pbnjsmama09 Congratulations!!!! 2w

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thesuitcasestudio It still makes me giggle that even with his teeny, tiny legs, he STILL manages to outpace me, beat me to the top of every hill, and even has energy left over to run around a bit more. #dachshund #lowrider #doxie #chasingjoy #peterscanyon #findjoyeveryday 2w

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thesuitcasestudio today is a GOOD day! Just when I thought my smile couldn't get any wider... THIS pops into my inbox! (You like me... you REALLY like me...!) Many thanks to @shootandshare, their followers, and everyone who voted. You're celebrating beautiful and EMOTIONAL imagery, and I'm glad I got to be a part of that! #shootandshare #photocontest #dowhatyoulove 2w

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thesuitcasestudio we share what we WANT people to see us as, here in this online world. But it's not all glitz and glamour underneath. I've been shedding the layers of polish, shine and too-tight smiles... to let you in deeper to see the REAL me. And I am THANKFUL for all the wonderful responses I've been getting along the way. For those who have been following along... I've gotten BRAVE and have shared even more of my behind-the-scenes story, and a bit of what prompted this new journey of mine to begin. Please take a moment to read it over on my blog, and get to know me a little bit better. (Link in profile.) // #bokeh #followyourheart #wanderlust #reallife 2w

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thesuitcasestudio I'm so amazingly blessed to have fantastic friends in my life who gift me with their support & love in such a beautiful way. Artwork by the talented @that_girl_grace... and trust me, this photo doesn't do them justice. #feathers #originalartwork #watercolor #followyourheart #wanderlust 2w
  •   that_girl_grace Yay! Glad you liked them! 2w
  •   kindredkrissie It's amazing how a spontaneous + ever so synchronized conversation wirh a dear friend can spark up such love and inspiration within our own selves, spinning out into the world with such inspiration + beauty, hence this artwork! #simplybeautiful and so, moments after saying goodnight to my sweet friend, I stumble across your lovely words...ahhh, #lovinonlife. 2w
  •   thesuitcasestudio @kindredkrissie awwww, how perfect. The universe is definitely kind of awesome like that at times. So glad you stumbled across this. 2w
  •   thesuitcasestudio @that_girl_grace are you kidding? These are BEEEEAUTIFUL. And so amazingly perfect. They will DEFINITELY have a place of honor in my new home. 2w

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thesuitcasestudio Early to bed, early to rise, and puppy and I hit the trails before it got too hot for the day. All smiles, and puppy had fun RUNNING up the hills & entertaining everyone we passed. He was a trooper... pushing further than ever before... a total of 3.75 miles, and much of it uphill! THIS is where I find my joy & freedom. #findjoyeveryday #followyourheart #wanderlust #peterscanyon 2w
  •   laderalady So excited the mustard flowers are out! I want to find a good picture spot. 2w
  •   thesuitcasestudio @laderalady you'd better hurry... they're already dying! Their season is almost over. Bummer! But... one of my FAVORITE picture spots is the Quail Hill Trailhead, in Irvine... Just off the 405 fwy, where Sand Canyon turns into a different street name. Park in the lot that says "quail hill trailhead" and mere FEET from the parking lot is an entire FIELD of these flowers, with gorgeous hills surrounding! I Loooooove photographing in this spot (along with all the other OC photographers... Ha!) 2w

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thesuitcasestudio Ladies of action! Had sooooo much FUN partnering up with @timree in her studio this morning for our first-ever CAMERA workshop! #click #snap #girlbosses #photography101 2w

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