let me introduce myself...

True story: I was at the grand opening of the Wedding Pantry a few days ago, chatting & socializing away with all the fellow attendees. Before I left the store, I made sure to place some of my business cards up on the shelves they have there for just such a purpose. As I did so, someone said "OH! You're the Suitcase Studio! I recognize your logo. What was your name?" Bonus points for logo recognition. But I think I get some points deducted for not having my NAME associated with my company. Especially when it turns out that we happened to be "twitter friends" and had been occasionally chatting back & forth. (I'm a bad little tweeter, too... I hadn't recognized her from her own picture.)

And so, for all the other countless people who might someday stumble upon my blog and wonder what the heck is the Suitcase Studio and who the heck is the person behind all these blog posts and millions of tweets, it's time to step out from behind my logo and introduce myself...


My name is Michelle Carrillo.

I got married to my husband, Tony, almost two years ago at Hotel Laguna. And we are just now starting to pick out our wedding photos. (I know; I suck. I'm a wonderful photographer but a horrible client.) As I began the wedding planning process, I fell in love with wedding photography. I never knew it could be so artistic, and yet so REAL at the same time. Flash forward to after the wedding. As my 30th birthday drew ever-closer, I started to contemplate my life more and more. Where I was, and where I wanted to go. What I wanted to DO with my days. And how the heck did I get old enough to actually be a grown-up?!? (I'm still trying to figure that last one out...) And then a lightbulb went off over my head. Seriously. It was just that instantaneous. A real-life "A-HA" moment. I wanted to take pictures for a living. That single moment has changed my life. It was as if everything suddenly clicked into place and made sense for me.

And so, long story short, the Suitcase Studio was born. And why a suitcase? Because I don't shoot in an actual studio... I travel to you, and shoot on-location.

But enough about my business... that's just one part of me. Let me tell you about my SELF.


I'm now 31 years old. But at times I still feel like I'm 12. One of my favorite quotes is from an old Keds ad: "your childhood isn't lost; you just misplaced it." I guess that's been my mantra for years now. Another quote that I now try to live by is found on a necklace that my dad gave me this past Christmas, and one that I now wear almost daily, as a reminder of sorts... one side of the necklace says "live the life you love," and the other side says "love the life you live."

I. Love. Life. Plain and simple... I try and appreciate each day as it comes. I find beauty in the strangest of places and the smallest of moments. And I love to document it all. I keep a point-and-shoot camera in my purse at all times so that I don't miss a thing.

I don't have any kids, and am still not sure if they're in my future at all. (Good luck trying to convince my MOM of that, though!) Don't get me wrong; I LOVE kids... but at the moment, I prefer the thought of playing the "cool aunt" more than the thought of having one of my own.

And sometimes I feel like I already HAVE a child. (No, not my husband). I'm referring to my dog, Jasper. He's a miniature dachshund (or "doxie" or "wienerdog" to those in the know), and he's about to turn one year old. And I am not exaggerating ONE BIT when I say that it is like having a toddler in the house. Seriously. But I love him to pieces. He's actually helped me to slow down and relax a lot more.


I love living in southern California. I've been here all of my life, and can't imagine myself residing anywhere else. Yes, it's expensive here, but it's totally worth it.  The weather is fantastic. I'm only a 20 minute drive from the ocean, Disneyland, and several malls (which are GREAT for people-watching). My home is surrounded by greenery and wildlife, and I can see the mountains in the distance. Most importantly, I am right down the street from a movie theater & a Target.  Pure bliss.

My husband and I went to Walt Disney World in Florida for our honeymoon and had a FANTASTIC time. I want to go back there soooooo badly. Just ask me about "Pal Mickey" and you'll get a 20 minute story on how cool that stuffed animal is. (And yes, I carried a stuffed Mickey around for the duration of my entire honeymoon. Yup. Seriously... 12 year old girl.)

I'm not much of a traveler, but vow to make it to Italy one day. And I'd also like to visit Cartagena, Colombia... which is where my husband is originally from.


I don't follow the tabloids and I don't know labels. And part of me wonders how I'm allowed to remain a resident of Orange County without knowing these things. It's almost like there's a prerequisite around here for being up to date on the reality stars and what/who they're wearing. Um, yeah. I flunked that course. Ask me about these things and I'll just have to nod along like I know what you're talking about.

Except for Robert Downey Jr. ... I have a major crush on him and follow all the stories he's involved in. If my husband would allow it, I'd have a poster of RDJ up in our house. (Like I said, I'm actually a 12-year old girl in disguise.)


My husband jokes that I have my own dictionary. I like to make up words and use them. And I'm so straight faced when I do so, that it takes him a minute to call me on it. And my response? "Well, it SHOULD be a word."

I love to laugh. A LOT. I'm starting to get those lines at the side of my mouth, but that's okay. It's worth it. And besides... laughing is a GREAT ab workout.


And one last thing about me... I HATE being in front of the camera. (Unless I can act silly in the pictures, like the one above.) It's a totally uncomfortable feeling to have a lens pointed at you, which is one of the reasons why I'm always the one HOLDING the camera. My husband captured these shots of me, at my request. And I vow to do this more often, so I can remember how strange of an experience it actually is to make yourself so vulnerable to someone in this way, and remind myself that this is the trust that my clients place within my hands. (And I thank you all for that.)

...all this (and more) is ME.