Make it right

Friends, the official news broke last night. I got a message first thing in the morning, asking if I had seen the preview on Monday morning. Of course I did. I had been warning about Bella Rose Photography for over 2 years. Unfortunately, too many people were snowed and taken advantage of by this company. Wedding days. Newborn moments. Last days in high school. Family gatherings. It’s horrible. To me, unthinkable. (Not to mention how upset I was that they were the “Official photographers” of my favorite hometown team, the St. Cloud Rox) while balking their contracted duties.

Those are moments you can’t get back.

And they were CHEAP, as far as professional photography goes. $1000 for a whole day wedding, with prints and album. SHIT. I can’t feed my family on that! Think about it, you saw the best of the best they had. They hired out photographers, ones with openings still on their books, at ridiculously low wages. The outsourced photographers are pissed. In forums. In messages. They are enraged that the work that they were hired to do, work they put their hearts into, got gobbled up by greed and no bride or groom saw their images. OR, they were handed RAWs (you should never ask for those, trust me) and the couples were sitting there with a dud, no editing, no culling…nothing to show for their investment.

I couldn’t compete with Bella Rose Photography if I had wanted to. I’m not a networking person. I’m not a sales person. I’m an honest person who just can’t make idle small talk and false promises. I cry when I get sick and can’t deliver on deadline. I don’t submit to all the publishing places, I don’t do bridal shows. I instagram, facebook, meet people over coffee. I carve out space in my heart for every single client I photograph. I keep anniversaries and birthdays on my calendar. And still miss them by 3 days.

But I’ve NEVER not delivered a wedding.

I’ve missed Thanksgiving with my family, Christmas time prepping for feasts, to deliver client packages. I’ve been called horrible, nasty names. I’ve been groped, fallen off docks, climbed on top of rooftops, hiked, and frozen my toes.

But I’ve NEVER held clients’ memories hostage.

My heart aches for all of the special moments, lost now, to so many people. I can’t go back in time and make them happen again. But what I can do is pull together with other vendors in the St. Cloud area and have a styled wedding session for those who want one. FREE OF CHARGE. This is a HUGE undertaking, and I’m hoping some other generous souls out there want to instill some happiness and spread love where there is so much hurt. If you are willing to help, please comment or shoot me an email. Let’s stop the hurt and start the healing.

Our vendor list:
event space TBD
florals TBD
hair/makeup TBD
linens TBD
Formalwear TBD

Late April/early May


Keep on putting love out there folks. You never run out and we all could use more of the good stuff.


not a weed

not a weed

Spring has FINALLY arrived! After what has seemed like an unending dance in the 40s, then a 90 degree day, then 60s, the weatherman assures us that spring is finally here.

Green grass.

and so are my violets. weeds

Johnny Jump-ups. weeds

Creeping charlie. weeds

and ankle deep green splotchy patches of green, so green, grass.

Now, I was raised to take pride in a carefully kept lawn. Yes, I lived in the country and yes, it took around 3 hours to mow EV-ERy-THING, and yes, I was am terrified of that gas powered trimmer, the one that needed a harness and had actual plastic BLADES instead of string. So, of course, my younger brother and sister did the trimming, I chose the push mower on the “steep side” of the house as my chore, and we divyied up who got to ride mow the orchard/backyard/drainfield.

Two nights ago, I dreamt I was mowing the woods. The woods where we’d build lean-to forts, lie in the decomposing bark and twigs and pretend we were living in our own kingdom. I can still smell that slightly sweet, earthy musk that made summer days so magical. I felt like this WAS my home and I didn’t give a rats’ ass what anyone else thought. And it was bliss.


Flash forward 20 or so years; today, I looked out my front window and realized that I have a MN jungle on my hands. Horsehair and purple flowers dot the outer banks, announcing the woods that surround us. Some ducks wandered in and must’ve found a feast of something since they hung out for quite awhile (until Priya thought her mastiff jowls were wings and attempted to fly).

And the ADULT started to creep in.
what will everyone think? they know i do the yard work. they all drive by, knowing who lives here. i cant believe that i’ve let it go this far. a lawn care company will probably door knock today. this is embarassing. all those WEEDS.

Then I got mad. At myself! After I had told my daughter that the definition of a “weed” is just a plant that is undesirable in the place it has taken root. And I gasped at how this whole dream-reality came full circle.

we’re all weeds.

In some way, we all are weeds, somewhere in our lives. We irritate others around us, we conform, we struggle. But some of us-those of us who are brave and strong and resiliant-we keep pushing out faces to the sun and refuse to let a title crush our spirit. I’m a weed, here in central MN. I speak my mind (sometimes rather brashly), strap on my political boxing gloves and fight the close-mindedness that surrounds me, and I’m still working on that whole “blooming” thing.

I’m constantly trying to figure out where I “belong” while, at the same time, shushing my inner voice-
you weren’t meant to fit in. you were meant for more.

because no one wants to be a weed.
its only a weed if you deem it one. you’re not a weed. you are worthy. you are beautiful. you matter.

If you ask my daughter, she’ll tell you my favorite FLOWER is a dandelion. It’s NOT a weed to me. It is sunshine scattered to walk upon. It’s the honeybees’ first meal. It’s soft and fuzzy and glorious.

i may be a weed to you. but I KNOW, i’m a flower. you’re just not ready for those like me yet.

Soon, inner voice, I’ll be blooming and strong enough to say it aloud. But for now, I’ll keep that a secret to smile about.

Listen to this song, and tell me you didn’t smile too.   


not a weed

When all you see is grey

When all you see is grey

It’s been a really rough week.
Liam has decided that it’s time to start our day between 330AM and 5AM everyday, testing the limits of my patience and lack of sleep makes me more emotionally vulnerable. So, since it was ass-crack-of-dawn early, I scrolled through Facebook, checking in on a friend I hadn’t heard from in awhile.

the post from her brother says she has died

It’s not real. No. I refuse it. I’ll take a minute and reach out to her mom.

I google for updates. Nothing. I am telling myself that it’s not true.

the post gets updated with the murderer…DEPRESSION

But I knew. In my heart of hearts, not wanting it to be true, I somehow intrinsically KNEW.

I’m raw. I compartmentalize and get through my days, always thinking “If only…”

If only I had reached out that day she posted the knitting groundhog meme on my wall.

If only I had sent a “Hey! Thinking of you today” when I was thinking of her.

If only I could have given her more strength to fight off that ugly, life-stealing asshole that Depression really is.

Angela, know I love you. Know I will forever miss you. And I will fight Depression even harder to honor you. I wish I could have fought that battle for you, rather than just WITH you. This is going to be a really fucking hard month for the rest of my life. The life that was enriched and emboldened by having you in it. Shine bright, beautiful soul. And I’ll always think of you on my “good boob” days oh how you laughed whenever i said that or on Redneck Range evenings that blowgun still cracks me up or whenever I’m out hiking in nature i’ll hear your voice and cursing your boots.

Depression steals. It kills. It rips open old wounds and they fester forever. Please, please, PLEASE know that you are not alone. That voice in your head is an asshole. Those chemicals need some balance. Reach out. Humanity is here for you. And we love you. Scream into the void with me and find that little glimmer of self-love and let us help you.

this week really sucked. next week will be a little better, right?































Fight Depression with me
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255




It’s been over 2 weeks since my last post. I could tell you it was because I was too busy, but that would be a lie. Ok, well, a half-truth. It HAS been crazy around here with bookings and meetings and interviews as well as my side hobby taking off like wildfire (the whole knitting and crocheting thing), but the truth is I’ve been uninspired.

Maybe it’s because it’s the winter doldrums, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been binge watching Dr. Who on Netflix before it disappears February 1st, but I haven’t done anything to really get my mojo fired up and explode out of my head.

I saw a friend of a friend’s post on Facebook that they’re in “hibernation mode” and maybe the writer part of me is curled up in a den on a pile of moss taking a rest. Let’s go with that one, it sounds smart and inspired. *insert winky emoticon here* More likely it’s that I haven’t nourished that part of my creative being lately and that’s totally on me. I haven’t read a novel in, well, let’s just say awhile, and just resorted to quotes delivered to my inbox from Thoughtful Mind (that I haven’t read) because I haven’t MADE TIME for it.

See, the things that grow, that are important to US, our core being, we make time for. The fact that I loathe the time suck that is a shower means I don’t MAKE TIME for them. And as an entrepreneur, wife, mom, and all the other hats I (we) wear, it becomes easier and easier not to MAKE TIME for those nourishing self-care practices that we desperately need.

I’m talking to you, reader. You who has all those “necessary” meetings, events, social obligations, work projects, dinners to make and diapers to change. You who have goals and dreams that you keep on putting aside to knock off one more thing on that ever-present TO-DO list. STOP.

MAKE TIME for you. Because you deserve to be the beautiful, messy, complicated human that you are. Stop being busy for the sake of being busy. Get inspired. Play in the snow. Paint. Make a noodle necklace. Be silly. Sing out loud to that 90s Alt Rock Google Music station (just me? that’s ok. I’ll be smiling from ear to ear next to you at the stoplight). Grab your big girl(man) panties and say:


And don’t let anyone call you selfish. You deserve it.


Being fired and how it was awesome

Being fired and how it was awesome

Failure sucks. Period. We all know that. But with failure comes resolve and experience that really form us. (Preachy, I know. Hang in there with me.)

I’ve always been an overachiever. And a rebel. I learn life lessons better “the hard way”. I was the National Honor Society/Captains and Leaders/All-State/Student Council/Prom Committee kid in high school. I joined the military and kicked ass. Serious ass, but more on that another day.

And I’ve been fired twice in my life.

Once from a now non-existent upscale wine bar and restaurant for taking a bowl of soup before the chef said to run it, and the one that hurt: a couple after their engagement sessions. That one stung for a long time. But, I am publicly thanking them today.

The anxiety. The self doubt. The “i really suck so why do i even bother” mantra kept running through my head over and over and over again. I sent the gallery to friends without context. I sought advice in photography forums.  I had a reshoot with the couple. They were still not happy and left me THE VOICEMAIL. I had my lawyer draw up a termination agreement.


My photography is personal. It’s art. But I couldn’t let my art be just all the Pinterest pins they had envisioned. I have a personality. I’m quirky and witty. That was not what they REALLY wanted. It was winter. Sessions were cold. Sorry dudes, it’s Minnesota and that’s how the cookie crumbles. It was ME. All me, that they didn’t like.

And that stung.

But out of that, the images I shared were the most liked on Facebook that I had posted that year. I still had my voice. And instead of suffocating that voice, they set me free. Free to keep growing, to find those kindred souls, to immerse myself in love stories instead of just pressing that shutter button. They were right to fire me. We weren’t a fit for each other. For that, I am grateful.

Thank you, A+M, for firing me. You helped me grow more than you will ever know. I wish you all the happiness in the world, from the bottom of my heart to the tips of my (frostnipped) toes.

I am grateful.true love scrabble forever scrabble SJU

Friday? Give me Monday.

Emmazing Photography 2015, Silver Bay, MN

My first attempt at photographing the Milky Way

You know, Friday gets all the glory. Everyone looks forward to Friday and the “relaxing” weekend.
Not me.
Fridays here mean that my work is just starting. Saturdays I’m still up at 5 or 6am to attack my to-do list before sessions or full days shooting weddings. Which means MY weekend is Monday. Oh glorious Monday; when Gwen goes back to school – but not this next Monday-they’re off all week. If you don’t hear from me SEND TEQUILA. Or coffee. Because I’m either

a) completely overwhelmed with the crazy that is a two year old and a 7 year old who both love and fight simultaneously all day; or

b) fallen asleep on the couch after playdates/bounce houses/craft adventures/nature walks

So, while you may love your Friday, give me Monday. Monday means a new start to the “work” week and the gym is open early (still trying to get my ass out of bed at 4am. Not working, FYI) and I *usually* get to binge watch last season of “Supernatural” and drink my oh-so-fancy home brewed coffee, complete with half and half out of the milk frother. Because at home, I don’t have to put on pants. And any day I can chill in running capris or just my scrundlewear is an A+ day in my book.

Peace my peeps,