(Ok, ok. Happy nearly-middle-of January. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.)


I’ve been eagerly anticipating the start of this year for many, many reasons; one of the major reasons is that 2013 is the year I leave my 20’s. I joke that you may find me in the fetal position in a corner somewhere as my birthday gets closer and while I’m mildly serious, I also feel a great excitement towards that number. (Which is weird because my knees feel the exact opposite about it.) Thirty has always been that number that equaled being a grown-up. A career I am both passionate about and challenges me; the decade my marriage will hit both year 10 and year 15. It also is the decade I envisioned starting a family (SLOW YOUR HORSES, we’re not there yet). I have big hopes for for my 30’s and that starts this year.

This is the year I want to be more intentional about my living. Less survival mode and more actual hands-out-the-sun-roof-singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs living. I want to simplify and get rid of the unnecessary things that clutter my home, brain and business. I want to add a general Oho-ness to everything in my life. I spent all of 2012 defining how I view success within my business and figured out it has nothing to do with a monetary figure or followers on social media or photographing a certain type of wedding. It’s about working with couples, families and people that ignite my heart. And that is what I want to spend 2013 doing.

Instead of looking back at 2012, I want to look forward; to celebrate the New Year, I’m sharing my 2013 goals with you. Some are big, some are small, but they are all dedicated to being more intentional with my life. And that is something to cheers to.



2012 was a defining year for me in terms of balance between my business & personal life and while there were things I did very, very right there are an equal number of things I failed miserably at. Namely anything in the months between May and November.

We all know that Wedding Season (with a capital W and S) is a monster of it’s own. We love it. I love it. But sometimes (all the time?) it has the propensity to just take over our lives. (And by take over, I really mean we allow it to take over.)

Coffee. Email. Editing. Eat lunch (something…anything). Instagram (something…anything…possibly what I’m eating for lunch). Browse Pinterest to bottle the overwhelmed feelings. Edit more. Think about blogging, decide that I spent too much time art directing my Instagram and browsing Pinterest and can’t. Scan. Enter. Burn. Package. Ship. Start thinking about what to do for dinner when the husband walks in the door at 6:30pm. Order Thai. Like EVERYTHING friends post on Facebook while waiting in the car for Matt to go get the food (to appear involved in their lives…virtually anyway). Inhale (literally). Rush off to an 8pm meeting. Arrive back home at 10pm. Ask Matt how his day was while spooncuddling the dog. Fall asleep while he’s talking. Rinse. Repeat.

For a girl who was under the impression that she was an efficient worker (and an achievement driven worker to boot)? That is not a pretty picture.

You guys. I only take on 15 weddings AT MOST a year. I built a business specifically structured around the idea that I wanted to operate a business that allowed me to take truly amazing care of my clients yet still allowed me to be a good wife (and a good dog-mom) however, my reality is that 7 months of the year is spent in total survival mode. And the worst part? IT’S OF MY CREATION AND TOTALLY AVOIDABLE. #supersuck

2013 is the year that stops. Yes, that is a bold statement but this is something I am choosing to view in black and white. Right now, we don’t have children. Our only real keep-it-alive responsibility, outside of ourselves, is our dog. If I can’t get this right now, how can I expect to get it right later when life is infinitely more complicated?

So, how am I doing this? By using tools I already have access to (and you do too; seriously, you do).

This means creating my ideal day and sticking to it. This means starting every day in the Word. This means meal planning & grocery shopping. This means turning off work when Matt comes home. Every day. This means using social media in smarter (aka, less time consuming) ways. This means structuring my business to allow more time to do/develop/create instead of merely surviving. This means better calendar planning so I have more time to spend with the people I love. This means Sundays are my Sabbath.

And, most of all, this means these things have to start now. Before I find excuses to slip into survival mode. This will be my Great Challenge of 2013; I can already feel it. But even if the other two resolutions fail miserably (or even succeed beyond my wildest expectations), this is the one that is the game changer.


GET PRETTY (on the inside too) //

This is not (not, not) what it sounds like. I mean, it is, but it’s not. Stay with me.

We’ve lived in our condo for 5 years now. That is a full five years of accumulated junk; and I mean junk in the literal sense of the word. JUNK. Closets so crammed with things that didn’t have a home that we just have to assume that, at one time, it did have an actual floor. Buffet drawers filled to the brim with old decor items and paper napkins (PAPER NAPKINS, REALLY). Cabinets stuffed with about 100 more plates & glasses than we ever could need & cooking appliances that never had been used. I mean, you get the picture, right? Every spare inch this 850 square foot condo was being taken up by just…stuff.

Last year, I mentioned  that I’ve worked hard to create a space that is inspiring, beautiful and filled with things we love. And that is 100% truth. Also true? That concept was completely on a surface level. The minute I opened a closet door to pull out shipping supplies, that beautiful, inspired feeling was instantly replaced with anxiety, frustration and a desire to apply to be a subject on Hoarders.

Begin Ohos Get Organized // 2013.

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you’ve seen some behind the scenes action shots (mostly of Gunnar looking terrified) but this is a real thing. Every closet is getting cleaned out, organized and put back together. Unnecessary items are finding a new storage space in the basement. Unused items are finding their way to the Salvation Army. I am the girl who has kept every card/note/invite/post-it anyone has ever given me since high school. (Speaking of. Dear high-school boyfriends. You had sloppy handwriting but I liked you very much.) NO MORE! I am literally shouting because it took me AN ENTIRE HOUR to finally gain the courage to toss the Christmas cards we received in 2005.

But the amazing thing that I am finding as we clean out, clear up and organize is this amazing lightness. My house feels livable on every level. Suddenly, we have 100 extra square feet that I don’t even know what to do with. WE HAVE ALL THE ROOM IN THE WORLD. This is more than an organization project, it’s become a effort to make our home 100% reflective of the Ohos and filled with our personality. Letting go of things that didn’t work, things that we don’t need and the things that were holding us back. Simplifying on every level.

The Oho House is getting pretty in a deep sense.




This one goes hand-in-hand with my GET BALANCE resolution. It is less getting (new) business and more getting a better handle on the truly wonderful business I already have.

-find a better system to track clients, contracts, invoices, expenses and mileage.
-find an additional 2nd photographer to join Team Oho for the 2013 & 2014 seasons.
-finalize website updates.
-finalize and rollout a brand refresh and packaging update.
-hire an intern.
-invest in equipment that will aide in better workflow (i.e. a new laptop, a more intuitive file management system).
-blog WAY MORE than instagram photos.
-refine workflow processes (times 1,000,000).

At this point, it looks like just a big and growing list of to-dos (and it is) but every item on my GET BUSINESS list is designed to make my business stronger, more efficient and just about 1,050% more fun on a day-to-day basis.

And who doesn’t want an Oho that is 1,050% more fun?


I put this out there for a reason. To be completely honest, it is (realllllllly) uncomfortable for me to share these goals and dreams. As extroverted as I am, goal setting has always felt very personal and was a vulnerability that I wasn’t willing to risk. But you know what? I don’t want to do this alone anymore. I crave the accountability and welcome the honest questions about where I am at on my goals. And if the J.Crew staffers can do it? So can I. (Also, add “wear lipstick more often” to my goal list.)

PS, if you think you could be the perfect addition to Team Oho either as an intern or as a 2nd photographer? Email me! I would love to hear from you. (Seriously. I would happy dance over your email.)


I would be remiss if I didn’t give one big I LOVE YOU to my 2012 clients. Compiling these photos last night made me so grateful for every single one of you. Thank you for entrusting me, loving me, empowering me and, in so many cases, teaching me how to be a better human, business owner and friend. I would not be on the cusp of this BIG, WONDERFUL 2013 without your presence in my life.


So cheers. And Happy New Year. Eleven days late. (But who’s counting?)


(7) Comments

  1. love it all!! you are amazing & inspiring & will conquer nearly all on your list (you’ve got to leave SOMETHING for next year, right?!) – and, no doubt, will have incredible amounts of fun doing it! happy 2013. xoxo

  2. energy follows intention… so i foresee an amazing 2013 for you, melissa! cheers to the new year! xo

  3. Becky Kalin

    Love you, hon. Biggest and best wishes for you this year!

  4. paige winn

    I just think you are awesome!! xo