In 2006, after leaving active duty Air Force service, Michelle, her husband Dan and their two young children moved to Dan’s hometown, Wilton, a small town in rural Iowa. “After living for ten years in urban settings across the western US and Japan,” Michelle recalls, “it was a huge change in both location and way of life.”
She and Dan started putting down roots by buying a small acreage of land and starting their own homebuilding business. But shortly after they started the business, the housing crisis hit in 2008, and “we had to scramble to figure out how to support our family.” Michelle turned to the internet for money-saving tips. “I started reading blogs and learned how to save money grocery shopping and doing DIY projects at home,” she says. “Finally, at one point a photo printing company offered free Christmas cards to bloggers, so I thought, ‘I guess I'll make a blog!’” And that’s how Michelle’s website, Simplify Live Love, was born.