How to Manifest Your Dreams

I’ve been able to manifest some really great things in my life, and most of the time I didn’t realize what I was doing.
* I manifested a career as a makeup artist when I was a stressed out, unfulfilled pharmaceutical rep.

* I wanted to travel the world and manifested a way to join a high level mastermind that had retreats in amazing locations.

* I wanted to travel for work and I manifested an opportunity to work with a photographer I admired and travel with her to work with inspiring clients.

* The 2 places I dreamed of visiting since I was young were Paris and Italy, and I manifested opportunities to travel there for work.

* And most importantly, I manifested my dream baby and a healthy pregnancy, when I had wanted to get pregnant for years and nothing was happening.

We all have it in us to be powerful manifestors of our dreams, sometimes we just need a little help to get what we want.

Here are 5 tips from me to you to manifest your dreams.

1. Dream big, like really big. If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? Who would you be? Don’t worry about the how right now. You have to have a clear picture of what you want and really want it to make it happen.

2. Become obsessed with what you want. Have it always in your mind so you don’t forget about it. Make a vision board of what you want and keep it where you can see it always. Journal every day on what you want so it becomes normal.

3. Be open to opportunities that could be the way for what you want to happen. Put yourself in contact with people who could help you make your dreams come true. 

4. Listen to your gut. Your intuition will lead you to what you want. Listen to it when it’s telling you to reach out to someone, say yes to an opportunity, or learn something that could help you reach your goal. 

5. Find a mentor or coach to help you. A mentor who is where you want to be can show you the way to success a lot quicker than trying to figure it out on your own. A coach can help you clear limiting beliefs that keep you from achieving your goals. A coach can help you get clear and focused on what you want, and see what can be possible beyond your dream. A coach can help you find the path to achieving your dreams and keep you accountable so you actually get there.

What do you want to manifest in your life? What’s one step you can take today towards making it happen? Leave me a comment below.

xo,

Melissa

5 Ways To Feel More Confident In Front of The Camera

Do you love getting your photo taken, or does it make you want to run and hide?⁣

I used to hate having my photo taken. I thought I was not photogenic, looked awkward, or just didn’t know what to do in a photo. When I became a makeup artist, I was working on hundreds of shoots and really got to learn all kinds of ways to look really great in photos and also feel great about having your photo taken. I also started doing more photo shoots myself, so I could get rid of my fear of being photographed. Here are my top 5 ways to feel more confident in front of the camera. ⁣

1. Practice in the mirror. This may feel awkward, but trust me, looking yourself in the eye and practice smiling and different poses will help you see what your good angles are and what will look natural, and what looks just plain awkward (hello duckface). ⁣

2. Pick outfits you feel really great in. When you’re wearing something you feel good in it shows! Choose clothing that fits and compliments your body shape and your coloring.⁣

3. Put together an inspiration board for who you want to embody for your shoot. Look for poses or scenes that feel like you or show off your personality and style. Find a celeb who you identify with and look at how she’s showing up in her photos. You can take some of her confidence and bring it into your shoot.⁣

4. During your shoot, get out of your head about how you look. Let your photographer guide you into poses and actions and just be in the moment and enjoy it! Let your genuine smile come out, and release wanting to look perfect. If you are having fun and are relaxed, it will come across in your photos.⁣

5. When you get your photos, look for what you love about them and resist the impulse to look for what you think is wrong with them. This is a big one. When you look for the good in your photos, you’ll feel happier about them and how you look, and you’ll like them more. ⁣

The more you put yourself in front of the camera, the easier it gets. And the more natural you will be in your next shoot. Before you know it, you’ll be excited about doing another photoshoot and sharing your photos with everyone!⁣

How do you feel about having your photo taken?⁣ What would it take for you to feel more confident in doing a photoshoot? Leave me a comment below.

5 Ways a Life Coach Can Help You Live a Life You Love

When I first started on my personal development journey, I had no idea what coaching was. I thought it was someone telling me what I needed to do to fix my life. I wasn’t even sure I believed that coaching could really help me. 

What I didn’t realize is that this is actually the opposite of what life coaching really is. Coaching is seeing what’s possible for you in your life. It’s about helping you get clear on what you want, and creating a path to get there. It’s not about fixing you, but helping you to be your best self possible. In fact it doesn’t have to be about fixing what’s wrong in your life, but making your life even better than it already is.

Here are 5 ways a Life Coach can help you make your life even better.

1. Helping you get clear on your dreams and desires. You know you’re made for more, but sometimes it’s hard to put into words what we want. We’re afraid to admit what we want or dream too big, either because we think we’ll never get it, or it feels greedy to want it. A life coach can help you get clear on what you really desire in life, and to feel safe to dream even bigger.

2. Help you create a plan to get the life you want. You know what you want but you don’t know how to get there. A coach can you break down your goal or dream into easy steps to get there to avoid the overwhelm and help keep you focused and accountable for taking charge of your goal.

3. Help you access all the answers and your hidden knowledge and wisdom. You already have all the answers and the knowledge, but sometimes you need help realizing and drawing out what you already know. A coach will dig deep to bring out your inner wisdom so you will realize that you know so much more than you give yourself credit for.

4. Feel more confident in yourself and love yourself. We all have insecurities, and sometimes we let that negative voice in our head speak louder than our heart. A coach can help you discover and believe in your gifts and talents, and quiet that inner mean voice so you feel more confident in who you are and love who that woman is.

5. Break up any limiting beliefs that are keeping you from going after the things you want. Sometimes we have stories that we tell ourselves about why we can’t have what we want, or be who we want. These stories are keeping us stuck and and small. A coach can help you break up those stories and replace them with more positive ones that are true and inspire us to follow our dreams.

What are you struggling with that you’d love to get clear around? What’s keeping you from going after your dreams? Leave me a comment below.

**I have 5 spots open next week for my 30 minute Confidence & Clarity Sessions. It’s totally free for you and pitch-free! Click HERE to grab your spot!

xo,

Melissa

How to Love Yourself

When I was growing up, I always thought it was selfish or wrong to like myself. I confused being humble with downplaying or depreciating my talents and gifts, and thought it was bragging or conceited if I said I was good at something. I was constantly telling myself I wasn’t smart enough, or others were way better than me. To me and my grade school friends, being conceited was the worst thing you could be. I was constantly picking myself apart at a young age, and it didn’t get any better as I got older.

This narrative stuck with me through my college years, and through my professional years, up until I started diving into personal development. Everywhere we look we are constantly being told we’re not good enough, whether it’s from the media, a terrible boss/coworker/acquaintance, or the mean voice in our head.

It had taken me years to get past this idea of not wanting to be seen as conceited, and to know that I am enough just as I am. And I’ll admit, some days there is a struggle to recognize that little voice trying to wear me down and tell it to fuck off. I have to nip it in the bud right away or it can easily spiral out of control.

Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, is one of the first personal development books I read that helped me realize that loving yourself is not selfish, conceited or bad. It’s actually necessary to live a happy and fulfilled life. It will help you in your relationships and business or career. And it can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health.

Now when those inner mean voices rear their heads, I take a minute to reflect and ask myself where they are coming from. Is it because of a desire I have for something that seems really big to achieve? Is it because I’m in a place of growth and about to try something new? Am I getting into comparison and need to remind myself that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be?

And then I calmly remind myself that I am enough. I am smart enough, good enough, pretty enough, successful enough….

I find 3 things that I love about myself and remind myself over and over until those voices go away.

What do you do when your inner mean voice is telling you you’re not enough? Share with me 1 thing that you love about yourself in the comments below that you can remind yourself next time it shows up in your head.

xo,

Melissa






The Top 5 Things That Are Holding You Back From Your Dream

You have a dream, a big dream, that seems so overwhelming and scary to go after, but you can’t stop thinking about it. But you feel stuck in where you are right now, and you don’t know why. I’ve been there, girl! I know what it’s like to want big things but not know how to get there. Here are the top 5 reasons why you’re not moving towards doing what you want to do.

1. Worry Over Other people’s opinions. You spend too much time worrying about what other people are going to think. What will they say, will they think I'm stupid, crazy, not good enough to actually do this thing I want to do? Listen up, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you and what you want to do. The only opinion that matters is your own. Don’t let other people’s opinions be in charge of your dreams, you are the creator of your life so you might as well make it as good as you can. My wise therapist used to say “it’s none of your business what other people think of you”. And once she said that, it was such a relief to me. People are going to have their opinions and that’s all it is, their thoughts. It’s not the truth. Your thoughts are your truth.

2. You don’t have time. Listen, we’re all busy. We have families, children, busy social lives, maybe multiple jobs, or long hours at a job. I heard somewhere that we all have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce, and look at what she’s done! You get to decide how you use your time. Maybe some things you can’t change, like the hours you spend working, or taking care of your kids. But where in your life are you using your time on things that aren’t serving you? Are you spending mindless minutes/hours scrolling on social media? Are you addicted to watching hours of bad reality tv? What if you committed to spending 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours a day on making steps towards your dream? Turn off your tv, put your phone on do not disturb, and set a timer, and just see what you can accomplish!

3. Fear. You’re afraid to do something new. You’re afraid of failure, you’re afraid it will take too long, cost too much… or maybe you’re afraid it will be successful, and then what will happen? Will your closest peeps still like you, or will they feel threatened? Will you have less time for yourself or your family if you become too successful? Fear is never going to go away, it will always be there. It’s how you manage it that you can control. Don’t let fear sit in the driver’s seat of your life (as Elizabeth Gilbert likes to say). You can acknowledge your fear, know that it’s there as a defense mechanism to keep you safe, and then put it aside and focus on the possibilities of achieving your dream. What if it does work?! How great would that be!


4. You don’t believe in yourself. This is a big one. Maybe you don’t believe you can do it. Maybe you don’t believe you’re smart enough, brave enough, resourceful enough, good enough…. Take a deep breath. You can do this. Where are these beliefs coming from? Is it from an event in your childhood, or younger years that made you think you can’t achieve your goals? Did you fail at something in the past so you told yourself you’ll never be able to do something big again? These are just stories that you keep telling yourself, and not your truth. How can you retell these stories so that they empower you instead of hold you down? What if you started believing in yourself for something small, like doing the first step towards your dream. And then once you accomplished that, you move on to the second step and believe you can do that. And then the third step. And before you know it, you’re on your way to believing you can do the whole fucking thing!

5. You don’t believe you deserve it. Tony Robbins says there are 2 universal fears that everyone has, and all fears boil down to these 2 fears: the fear you aren’t enough, and the fear of not being loved. When I heard that, I was flabbergasted! Those were the 2 things I feared the most, and to know that everyone else had those same fears somehow made me feel less alone. You deserve it because you are an amazing human being, and you are worthy of being loved and having everything you desire. One of my dear mentors likes to say, if God/Universe/Spirit didn’t want you to have it, she wouldn't have given you the desire in your heart for it. This brings me comfort when I think about the dreams and goals I have, and anytime I feel like I don’t deserve it I remember this and go back to my reason why I want it.

Just remember I’m here for you girl, when you need support, a pep talk, or a cheerleader in your corner. You got this!

I’d love for you to share with me in the comments below what’s been holding you back from going after your dream, and what are you going to do about it now.

Xo,

Melissa

Are You a Jill of All Trades and Mistress of None?

Or are you a Mistress of Everything your heart desires you to do?

Someone once told me I shouldn’t have too many offerings or services on my website because I would be seen as a “jack of all trades, master of none”. At the time it kinda hurt: I was still doing makeup and hair, building my photography business, and wanting to launch my life coaching services to compliment my photography sessions. For me, they all go together, because ultimately they are about supporting women look and feel amazing, and gain confidence in themselves to live their best life. But to be told that no one would take me seriously because it looked like I wasn’t truly a master at any of them stung.

But here’s the deal: you can be multi-passionate and good at many things. I’ve been doing makeup and hair for 10 years now, and I feel like I can do it in my sleep. I love creating beautiful images that draw out who a woman is and helping her feel beautiful and expressed, and I’ve spent years being on shoots learning from other photographers, taking workshops and courses to learn how to better my art, and practicing whenever I could to increase my skills and my eye. And I’m a great coach- it comes naturally to me, I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars in my own personal development and training and helped women get clarity on their desires and feel confident and worthy of who they are.

And yes, maybe it makes sense business wise to focus on building one thing at a time. But if you have the desire to have multiple offerings, or do different things for your business, I feel you should listen to your heart. One of my wise mentors always says “God/Universe/Spirit wouldn’t give you those desires if you weren’t meant to make them come true”.

It would be like telling Dave Grohl to stick to the drums, Jessica Alba to keep to acting, or Lady Gaga to just stick to singing (I’m sure you can think of other amazing people that are super talented at multiple things, but these are just a few that come to mind).

It would be easy to feel like I couldn’t do everything I want and desire because of someone else’s opinion, and to stay stuck in my fears. Don’t listen to other people when they have an opinion about your dreams. The only opinion that matters is your own. You get to create the business and the life that you dream of. 

While writing this post I thought more on why this comment bothered me so much. And the truth is it’s because I was scared. I was scared to try something new, because what if I failed? What if no one hired me? And what if everyone thought I was flaky because I couldn’t stick to one thing?

If I had the confidence in myself and my abilities back then, I would’ve brushed the comment off. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But now I know that I can be (and am!) talented in many areas, and that if I can’t stop thinking about what I want my business to look like, then I have the ability to make it happen. I’ve learned how to quiet my fears, and focus on what I want and how I’m going to get there.

What are you longing to do, that you are afraid to try? Is it starting a new business, offering a new service to your existing business, learning a new skill? Maybe it’s putting yourself out there on social media, or saying the thing that you’re afraid to say. Whatever it is, I’d love to help you clear your fears and gain the confidence to go after your dreams and desires.

Sign up a free clarity and confidence session with me. We’ll identify what is keeping you in fear, how to eliminate it, and what to do next to achieve the life you dream of. You can sign up HERE: Clarity and Confidence Session with Melissa.

I can’t wait to help you move towards a life you love!

xo,

Melissa


P.S. Tell me, are you a master of one thing, or a master of several things? I want to hear what you’re good at in the comments below.

How Hiring My First Coach Was One of The Scariest and Best Decisions I've Made

Back in 2014 I was feeling lost. On the surface everything seemed great: I had left my corporate career behind to pursue my own business of makeup artistry, and I was supporting myself as a working artist. My business was growing, I was in a loving relationship, and I was living in an exciting new city. 

But underneath it all I was not doing great. While I loved what I was doing, I was also feeling burnt out. I felt like I was working all the time, and that I had to take every job that came my way because you never knew when the next one would come along. Some months I would be booked solid and making great money. Then other months I would barely be working. It was so frustrating and stressful to be on the hamster wheel of feast or famine. 

I knew things needed to change. And while I loved doing hair and makeup, I knew I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make a bigger impact. I wanted to do more meaningful work. And I wanted to have more control of my time. Working more, or hustling more was not the lifestyle I wanted. 

I had just started doing some personal development by reading a few books, and following a few life coaches for their wisdom. I took an online course for building an online business. I was even working with some coaches doing hair and makeup for their photoshoots. Listening to them talk about their businesses and how they were impacting the lives of their clients was so inspiring for me. And I heard this little voice telling me, “you could do that too”. 

I listened to that voice, and started to really look at what kind of support I needed in my life to make the changes that I wanted to have the life I dreamed of. I knew that trying to do it on my own was taking way too long, and was not really working. I knew I needed the help of a coach to get me where I wanted to go. 

I discovered a high level mastermind that really spoke to me, and I knew I had to be a part of it. But the cost was so high, higher than anything else I had ever invested in besides my college education. So many thoughts were going through my head: was I insane to sign up for this when I technically couldn’t afford it? Would I really make any changes in my life because of it? Was it worth this much money, or more importantly, was I worth spending this much on myself? And how could I ever pay for this?

I went back and forth, over and over, but my heart felt pulled to make the leap and invest in myself. I couldn’t stay where I was, and I needed guidance to get me out of this place of being stuck. Clicking the button to sign up and pay my deposit was probably one of the scariest moments in my life. But I trusted myself and my intuition that this was the right decision for me, and that I would figure it out.

And I did! Each month I figured out how to make that big payment, and everything seemed to fall into place. I received so much clarity, guidance and support for how to get unstuck, and make a plan for the big picture of what I wanted my life to look like. I healed old wounds that I didn’t know needed to be healed to grow as a woman and an entrepreneur. I had someone in my corner to stand for me that I was worthy of my dreams, of investing in myself, and that I could achieve my goals. 

That year was really the foundation for where my life is now, and where it is going. I’m a mother, a wife, a creative, a working artist, an entrepreneur, and now a coach for women who are tired of letting fear run their lives. 

I’m here to stand for you and your dreams, and help you get clarity, get in touch with your intuition, and guidance to make the big changes for what you want your life to be. If you are feeling stuck, lost, unhappy with you life and know you’re meant for more, I invite you to a clarity call with me. You are worthy of having the life you dream of.

Click here to sign up to schedule a clarity session with me. https://melissahoffmannbeauty.as.me/claritysession

P.S. If you know of a woman who is feeling stuck in her life and wants to make big changes, I'd love it if you would share this post with her.

xo,

Melissa

I Am Enough, And So Are You

When I was growing up, I always thought it was selfish or wrong to like myself. I confused being humble with downplaying or depreciating my talents and gifts, and thought it was bragging or conceited if I thought I was good at something. I was constantly telling myself that I sucked, or wasn’t smart enough, or others were way better than me. To me and my grade school friends, being conceited was the worst thing you could be. I wouldn’t even recognize that I was pretty. I was constantly picking myself apart at a young age, and it didn’t get any better as I got older.

This narrative stuck with me through my college years, and through my professional years, up until I started diving into personal development. Everywhere we look we are constantly being told we’re not good enough, whether it’s from the media, a terrible boss/coworker/frenemie/acquaintance, or the mean voice in our head.

It had taken me years to get past this idea of not wanting to be seen as conceited, and to know that I am good enough just as I am. I’ll admit, some days there is a struggle to recognize that little voice trying to wear me down and tell it to fuck off. I have to nip it in the bud right away or it can easily spiral out of control. And let me tell you right now, being proud of who you are, your gifts and your accomplishments is not being conceited, or selfish, or having a big ego!

Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, is one of the first personal development books I read that helped me realize that loving yourself is not selfish or conceited or bad. It’s actually necessary to live a happy and fulfilled life. It will help you in your relationships and business or career. And it can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health.

Now when those inner mean voices rear their heads, I take a minute to reflect and ask myself where they are coming from. Is it because of a desire I have for something that seems really big to achieve? Is it because I’m in a place of growth and about to try something new? Am I getting into comparison and need to remind myself that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be?

I calmly remind myself that I am enough. I am smart enough, good enough, pretty enough, successful enough…. I find 3 things that I love about myself and remind myself over and over until those voices go away.

Share with me 1 thing that you love about yourself in the comments below! And share it with the world! You deserve to be recognized and appreciated for your special talents and gifts, and your “you-ness”.

xo,

Melissa



Top 5 Ways I Got Back To Myself After Baby

It’s been a year since I had Oliver, and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by, and how much has changed. When he was first born, my life was consumed with nursing, changing diapers, trying to get sleep, and getting to know him. Now we’ve settled into our routine, he’s becoming his own little person, and I’m able to focus on myself a little more.

I knew it would be so easy to stay in the mindset of being all about the baby, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose myself in the process of taking care of him and being a mama. As an introvert, I need lots of time to myself to recharge and feel sane, and being at home full time with the baby doesn’t leave a lot of time for that. It takes a lot of effort and planning to make sure that I do take care of myself so I feel fresh and nourished to be able to be the best mama I can to my little one (and a great wife to my husband).

Here are the 5 things that helped me get back to myself so I feel taken care of and refreshed.

  1. Exercise- Right before I got pregnant, I was tired of feeling lazy and out of shape, so I joined Orange Theory. A month later I found out I was pregnant! I worked out till I was 5 months pregnant, but it got too hard to do a lot of the exercises so I took a break. When I was 8 weeks post-partum, I started going back to Orange Theory because I missed it, and missed how good my body felt. It was hard getting back into it, but I kept going 2-3 times per week. I can’t tell you how good it’s been for my physical and mental health! And just this past weekend I realized that my pre-pregnancy jeans fit again!

  2. I got my hair back. Post-partum hair loss is for real! My hair had already been thinning before I got pregnant, and it was really devastating to me because I had always had so much hair before. And then 3 months post-partum I started having even more hair loss. Being a new mom, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of time to do my hair and makeup to feel pretty, so having the thick pregnancy hair helped me to still feel somewhat like myself. But having bald spots in my hair was really hard for me. I decided to try something new and I started using a luxury hair care line to get my hair supercharged and healthy. And within a month my hair started growing in like crazy. Having my hair look thicker again really helped me to feel more confident and pretty.

  3. Spent quality time with my husband and friends, with no baby. Most of the time Oliver is my constant companion for meet ups with friends or early family dinners. But having time alone with friends, even if it’s just a quick coffee date, or date nights with my husband is so important. It helps me remember who I am as a woman, a friend, and a partner, and be able to connect better with friends. And time alone with my husband helps us connect as romantic partners, not just parents in for a crazy ride.

  4. I got ready and put time into looking nice, even if it was just a trip to target. It’s so easy to just throw on some leggings and run out the door with no shower because the baby wouldn’t let you have time to get ready. I’ve always made sure I had time for a quick shower, because that is the one thing that makes me feel like a real person. And putting on a cute outfit, and taking a little time to brush my hair and put on foundation helps me feel better about myself and more confident, even if everything else that’s going on feels like a mess.

  5. I spent time with myself. I need lots of alone time to feel sane, so I made sure to take some time to do the things that I loved. I went to the movies by myself (such a treat with the new luxury recliners theaters that serve wine!), went shopping by myself, got my nails done, and even escaping to the bedroom to lose myself in a novel feels amazing.

If you’re a mom, it’s so important to take care of you! You spend so much time taking care of others, that it’s easy to let yourself be taken care of last. But by taking time for self care, alone time, and doing things that make you feel happy will keep you from feeling lost, depressed or depleted.

I’d love for you to share with me in the comments below what has helped you get back to yourself after having a baby. Or share with me one way you can commit to taking better care of yourself.

Xo,

Melissa





Same You, New Attitude

The other night I saw the Rachel Hollis documentary “Made For More”. (If you don’t know who Rachel Hollis is, she’s one of my new favorite inspirational women!). There were so many inspiring nuggets in there, but one that really stuck out for me was her mantra “Same You, New Mood”. So often we think we need to change ourselves to be this “new me”, especially at this time of year. You see it in the headlines all the time, “new year, new you”. Whether it’s dieting, losing weight, changing our look, exercising more, starting a new business or job, making more money, there’s this feeling that who we are isn’t good enough, and we need to become this new person to be happy.

But what if we weren’t always trying to be a “new me”, but embraced who we are now and just changed our mood, or our outlook on ourselves? So instead of the negative self talk, we decided to change our attitude towards ourselves and started saying more loving words to who we are? Or acknowledged all the wonderful things about us, instead of always looking for what you want to change? You can still want to grow or improve. I’m always going to be pursuing personal development, but think of it as adding to who we are rather than becoming a new person.

It can start with making a list of all your good qualities, or reflecting on the past year and the amazing things you’ve done. Or starting a gratitude practice for everything that’s good (and sometimes bad) in your life. Even in difficult times I’ve learned to look back at it as a lesson and find something to be grateful for.

So this is me, same me. A woman who is a new mom, a wife, a creative entrepreneur, an artist, a dreamer. A woman who is in transition in her business, who has big goals but doesn’t always know how to get there, or have the patience to get there. My new mood is I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and that I can figure anything out even when times get tough, because I always have. 

Same YOU, but what’s your NEW attitude? Leave me a comment below.

xo,

Melissa

What Are You Meant To Do?

When I was in college I loved makeup. I loved the transformative power of it, of making myself feel pretty, confident, or ability to express how I was feeling. I loved looking at the pretty colors and products, and the creativeness of playing with all the colors and textures.

When I was younger I had always used drug store products, or Clinique. But during my junior year I was introduced to the MAC cosmetics counter, and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe all the different colors and finishes, and how you could blend them together and create something totally new. I spent most of my hard earned bank teller money there buying the most outrageous colors to rock on my nights out, and sometimes at work. (There were a few days I decided to wear my brightest greens and blues to shake up my boring bank teller work clothes).

This was also the year I discovered Kevyn Aucoin, my all time favorite makeup artist. (If you don’t know who he is you have to look him up, he was one of the first celebrity makeup artists). My mom bought me his book Making Faces, and it was life changing for me. I had no idea of what you could do with makeup, and how you could transform yourself into the most glamorous version of yourself, or into someone entirely different. I would stare at the gorgeous photos of the women he worked on and try to figure out how I could create it myself. Once for a sorority formal, I used a gorgeous, glowy photo of Gwyneth Paltrow as inspiration for my own look . I didn’t come close to looking like she did in the photo, but I felt beautiful and sophisticated for trying.

After I graduated from college I would still have fun with my makeup while going out at night, but I never really thought about it as a career. I was focused on getting a “good job” with a good salary, benefits, the works. I never thought about what I would enjoy doing, or what I was meant to do. It was all about the “right kind of job.

After 10 years of working in careers and companies that stressed me out, I was done. I was depressed, and so stressed out I couldn’t get out of bed. Seeing a voicemail from my boss gave me such severe anxiety that I often wouldn’t listen to them for a week, or would delete them before listening. I knew I had to leave my career as a pharmaceutical sales rep, but I didn’t know what I could do to pay the bills, feel fulfilled and love what I did. I knew there must be something different out there for me, and that I was meant to do more.

I started to think about what I loved to do when I was a kid, and what I wanted to be. Like many kids, I wanted to be everything, but there were a few things that kept coming up. An artist, giving makeovers by doing makeup and hair, a teacher, or a counselor. I had actually tried teaching and found the long hours, impacted classrooms with no help and low pay not ideal for me. And I had gotten my degree in psychology but was struggling to find a job without a masters degree and the 3000 intern hours that needed to be completed along with it.

And then one day I was at a company meeting in Vegas I found my inspiration. We walked by a fashion photoshoot in progress in the casino. I watched the makeup artist touching up the model and I thought, that’s what I want to do. I spent the next few months researching everything I could to find out how to start a career as a makeup artist, and talking to anyone remotely connected to the industry that could help me.

I enrolled in Cosmetology school to become an esthetician, quit my corporate job after saving up enough to get by for the next couple months, and haven’t looked back since.

Over the last 9 years of being a makeup artist, I’ve grown my business, shifted gears, learned new skills, and it’s evolved into doing something different than I originally set out to do. Every shift I’ve made, lesson I’ve learned, failures and disappointments I’ve had has brought me and my business to where it is now, and on track to where I want it to go. It hasn’t been easy, and there have been many times I’ve thought about getting a regular job again. But I know that following this path of being an artist, an entrepreneur, a creative, and a coach is where I’m supposed to be, and what I’m meant to do.

I share this with you because I know so many women are out there wanting to do something different with their lives, feel more fulfilled, and make a difference in the lives of others.

Is this you? If you’re feeling stuck in a career you hate, uninspired in the work you do, burnt out, or unfulfilled, just know it doesn’t have to be that way. I hope my story will inspire you to dream about what you are meant to do, and maybe take small steps towards making it happen.

You got this, girl! And I’m here to remind you when you forget that you do.

xo,

Melissa



Sensual, Ethereal Maternity Boudoir Session

One of my sweetest friends, who is an amazing fine art photographer, asked me to take maternity photos for her for her 3rd babe to be. I was touched, and honored, and I’m not going to lie, a little nervous. Her work is so beautiful and artistic, and I worried that  mine wouldn’t be as good. So even though I was totally scared I said yes, because she had taken such beautiful portraits of me pregnant with Oliver. (I promise I will post some soon!)

I usually try to go in with a plan of what I want to capture, but I also like to go with the flow to see what inspires me about my client and who she is. For Michele, I wanted to be a bit more whimsical and ethereal, but still have a little mood and sensuality to her photos. And I had also been feeling inspired by some portraits I had seen of Natalie Portman during her pregnancy. 

The fun part of photographing another photographer is the collaboration of your ideas, plus she also had such a great wardrobe to play with. We spent the day playing in her lovely new cottage, and I think what I captured shows how beautiful and glowing this mama is. 

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One of the best things about doing a full day boudoir shoot is all the different scenes and looks you can do. Michele’s home is very light and cozy, and I wanted to capture the beautiful natural light that floods in and complement that.

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I stepped out of my comfort zone to incorporate fabrics and other textures to add to her shoot. I would normally put my clients in a pretty dress, kimomo or lingerie, but wrapping them in fabric and feathers was such a fun feminine touch for this shoot. Especially when you’re 36 weeks pregnant, and you are feeling uncomfortable and not your best, playing with different elements helps you to feel beautiful and special.

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Michele has the cutest backyard and chicken coup, so of course I wanted to take some photos of her in her cottage garden element.

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I love how this shoot represents Michele, her style and her lifestyle so well. I always try to incorporate elements that are special to a woman and her environment into her intimate shoot.

Hair, makeup and photos by Melissa Hoffmann.

Why You Should Have a Motherhood Photo Shoot

One of the things I cherish the most when I look back at my childhood are the early photos of me with my mom and my dad. I love seeing how young they were and how happy they were with me as a baby and toddler. I want my son Oliver to be able to look back and see photos of himself as a baby with both his parents, and see how much we love him and loved being with him.

He's growing so fast, and the time is flying by. I already look at photos of him as a newborn and get weepy eyed over how fast his babyhood is going. I want to savor and remember every moment.

I take so many photos of him, and him with his dad, but there aren’t a lot of me with him, other than our snapchat selfies we like to take. Or a few nursing photos that I snapped in the beginning. Being a mom is such an important part of my life and I want to have photos to document every step of the way. And I'd love to have some of where I look awake and feel pretty!

A few weeks ago we set out for Sacramento to have our photos taken by one of my mentors, The Blissful Maven. I love how intimate and emotional Candice’s photos are, and it's what I strive to have my own photos express for my clients. When I look at how she captured us, I can see perfectly the special bond Oliver and I have, how happy I am, and the love I feel for him. I’m reminded of the long journey it took to motherhood, and how much it was worth it, even though there were times I was in despair of ever having a baby. I look at these pictures and feel so grateful to be Oliver’s mommy and so blessed to have him in our lives.

photos by The Blissful Maven

photos by The Blissful Maven

It's so easy to make excuses why not to have our photos taken with our little ones. You get busy with life, there's always unexpected expenses that come up, you want to lose that last 10 lbs of baby weight.... there's always a reason not to do a photo shoot. But there are a million reasons why you SHOULD do one to document this special time in your life as a mama. You'll never regret doing a photo shoot when you are looking back at the early years of your baby's life. But trust me, you will regret it if you don't have beautiful pictures celebrating the love between you and your little ones. 

I'd love to capture the love of you and your little babes and give you something to treasure. I have a few spots open in September and October for mama and baby sessions if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area. Click HERE to email me to chat more about your Mama Bird session. And if you're not here in the Bay Area, I'd encourage you to find a local photographer you love who can give you beautiful mementos of you and your little ones.

xo

Melissa

Achieving One Of My Deepest Desires- Motherhood

It's been a while since I've blogged, and I kinda have a good excuse. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I had a beautiful baby boy at the end of January! And if you don't follow me (you totally should!), then let me introduce you to my lovebug, Oliver. 

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Having a baby is something I had wanted for so long, and to finally have my miracle baby at the age of 41 was a dream come true. 

I had wanted to become a mother since I was in my early 30s.

At first I was waiting for the right partner. I met my now husband, and knew he was the one to have a family with. And then we were waiting for the right time- money in the bank, a home we loved, thriving businesses.. there was always a reason to wait till things were perfect to start our family. 

We realized that there is no perfect time to have a baby, and that if we wanted to have our own child, we needed to start now. But years went by and there was no baby. 

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I changed my diet to exclude all my favorite things- wine, dairy, sugar, gluten, etc. I started going to weekly acupuncture to increase my fertility. I meditated and tried to eliminate stress. I took countless supplements to try to correct nutritional deficiencies or boost fertility. I went through countless ovulation tests to track my fertile days. No luck. 

I knew I needed help, like scientific, modern medicine help. So we went to a fertility clinic to see if they could help us have our baby. We both got tested to see if there was anything "wrong" with us physically. All of our labs came back healthy, and we were labeled "unexplained infertility". I don't know what's worse, having everything coming back great and not knowing how to fix it, or having something come back negative. At least then maybe there's a chance you can heal it or make adjustments. 

I started doing treatments to try to get pregnant. IUIs (intra uterine insemination), medication, planned intercourse, we did everything we could. It was devastating to put so much effort and money into getting pregnant, and to have it fail every month. The more we tried, the more stressed out I got, and hopeless I felt. 

And finally, after 4 failed IUIs, our doctor told us our next step would need to be IVF. At the time, I didn't know how we could possibly do an IVF cycle with the extremely high cost. We decided to take a break and try to figure out what our next steps were.

In a way, it felt like a relief to take a break. I knew I had been stressing myself out way too much, and that I couldn't continue like this. 

I stopped the extreme diet and food depravation I had been on. I stopped taking all the supplements except my pre-natals and vitamin D that I had been deficient in. I stopped tracking my ovulation. And I gave up on stressing about whether or not I was going to get pregnant. I started trusting that our baby would come to us when it was meant to be, whether through pregnancy, IVF, or adoption. 

We started having fun again, and enjoying each other as a couple. And then, the most amazing thing happened. I became pregnant naturally on my very next cycle!

I remember my doctor coming in with the news that I was pregnant at my annual physical appointment. I felt so happy and excited, and had tears streaming down my face. The best part was sharing the news with my husband, and then our families. 

I had such a great pregnancy. I rarely felt nauseous or ill. I was tired in the first trimester but it felt like a nice break from trying to hustle so much for my business, and a great reason to nap daily. And I loved my growing belly.

On January 30th I started having mild contractions, that grew stronger and stronger until we knew it was time to go to the hospital in the early hours January 31. And at 6:14 am, my beautiful baby boy was born. There's so much more to his birth story, but I'll leave that for another time.

I share this story with you because if you're struggling with wanting to be a mother, getting pregnant, or feeling like you may be too old to get pregnant, I want you to know you're not alone. So many of us struggle with infertility, or even just the desire to get pregnant and not ready to start trying.

Keep faith that you will achieve your mommyhood dreams in one way or another, even if it's not the way you imagined it would look like. And stress is a huge factor in infertility, so don't let yourself dwell in negative thoughts and a stressful life. Put your self care and mental and physical health first, and take good care of yourself. And add fun and pleasure in your life! This is what was helpful for me, and I hope will be helpful and inspirational for you.

What's been your journey to motherhood? Are you a mom already? Are you wanting to be a mom now and struggling? Or are you trying to figure out if this mommy thing is for you? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to support you in any way I can.

xo,

Melissa

Feeling Sensual and Feminine As a Mom

Are you a mom who feels like you've lost your connection with yourself and your body? Or maybe you’re not a mom, but you still feel disconnected from your feminine self and sensuality?

I get it. I’m 7 months pregnant right now with my first baby, and with all the changes going on in my body it’s hard to feel like my old self. And as much as I love my pregnant belly it can be hard to feel sensual. 

Before baby, I had been so focused on getting my body healthy, and adorning her in pretty, stylish clothes, and finding ways to feel more feminine, beautiful, and confident. Now everyday my body is changing rapidly. It's so exciting, but at the same time I'm already feeling like a different person. The clothes and styles I used to wear no longer fit, and sometimes it's easier to choose comfort over cute.

I want to embrace being a mother, but I'm also conscious of not losing who I am as a woman. I hear from so many women that it's hard to connect to the feminine, sensual woman they were before becoming a mom, and I want to make sure that woman doesn't get lost. I believe that being confident and connected to yourself makes you a happier and better mom, wife, friend, business owner, etc. 

When I'm struggling or unsure of something in my life, I look to other women who have been there and are leading the way in being the best version of yourself. And one of those women is my dear friend Sarah Jenks. 

Sarah shared on her blog recently about her own journey to get back to her feminine, sensual self after having 2 kids back to back. She talked about how she came back to herself through great self care and embracing a new lifestyle and routine that was all about nourishing and enjoying being in her body where she is now, and listening to what her body said made her happy. 

Sarah had come to me during the summer and shared about how she had been feeling like she had lost who she used to be and had been struggling to connect with that woman after becoming a mom. She wanted to feel beautiful, vibrant, confident and sexy in the body she has now, which has born 2 children. After getting re-aquainted and feeling comfortable in this body, she wanted to celebrate it, and the journey she had taken to get to embracing who she is now.  To celebrate this journey, we did a beautiful boudoir shoot, that focused on what made Sarah feel feminine, sensual and beautiful, which was being in nature. 

Sarah said about our shoot, "Melissa and I explored what this sensual part of me wore, where she longed to be and how she expresses herself.  The day we did the shoot we went to a waterfall I loved and visited often.  She asked me questions and helped me really call forth that sacred, sensual part of me.  It wasn't about posing, but about capturing the full expression of love I felt for my body and spirit. I even surprised myself by getting in the waterfall!

I don't feel like this all the time, nor do I walk around dressed like this, but this is a side of myself that I try to call on often.  And when I can't, when I'm stuck in "ogre mode" I now have these pictures to remind me of this important part of myself. If you feel called, I can't recommend working with Melissa enough.”

I loved being a part of Sarah's celebration, and it has inspired me so much to love my body where she is now, and through the changes she will continue to make through my pregnancy and post partum. 

I wanted to share with you some of the gorgeous images from our shoot together, and hopefully it will inspire you to connect with your feminine and sensual self, embrace her and let her shine through. There are many ways to connect with, embrace and celebrate your body, but one of the best ways I have found to do this is through an empowering photo shoot.  Click HERE if you want to learn more about doing a shoot to bring out your feminine and sensual side.

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All images, hair and makeup by me.

xo, Melissa

Stop Waiting To Be Perfect

Does wanting to be perfect hold you back from doing the things you want to do?

It has for me. I never considered myself a “perfectionist”. I thought being a perfectionist meant you were extremely type A, organized to a fault, and driven to the point of obsession. I’m definitely not Type A, I can be disorganized and lazy, and I’m driven, but sometimes I let fear take the wheel and keep me from going after my goals. 

But when I started to think about it, I actually am a perfectionist in some ways. I always wanted to be in the top academic classes in school (which I was), I try to excel at everything I do even if I’m not trying to be “the best”, and I have been known to try and portray the image that I have it all together. But my inner perfectionist really comes out when it comes to starting something new. My fear of not being good enough at it, and frustration at the thought of not mastering a new skill right away has actually kept me from following my heart and doing something new. 

3 years ago I wanted to become a photographer. But the thought of having to learn a completely new skill and art, learning how to work a camera, setting up a shoot, editing, was intimidating to me. Not to mention the fear that I might not be any good at it and constantly comparing myself to other photographers I admired.

It took me a year to admit that I wanted to pivot in my career and learn a new skill. And once I got clarity and could admit what I wanted, I decided to take action. I signed up for a workshop to learn photography and just see what happened.

It wasn’t easy. I struggled with learning how to use my new camera. I took photos that weren’t great and didn’t inspire me. But I kept practicing. I became obsessed with learning everything I could about my new art. And I asked for help from mentors. I got better with every shoot and started to feel more and more confident.

It took me a year to build up a portfolio I felt good about, and to feel confident about telling people I was a photographer. Now when I look back, I wonder what took me so long. The fear of not being “perfect” at my art kept me from learning a new skill that I love, and adding a side to my business that brings me so much joy. I’m by no means perfect in my art, but when I look at how far I’ve come in just a year, I feel proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished. I’m excited to grow as an artist and an entrepreneur, and see where my creative business takes me. And I’m grateful that I stopped letting my fear of not being perfect hold me back from doing something I love. 

Where in your life is your fear of being perfect holding you back from trying something new? What steps can you take today to stop letting that fear hold you back? Leave me a comment below.

If you're ready to stop letting your fears hold you back and you want to explore how coaching can help you get clarity around what you want and leave these fears behind, then click HERE to set up a complimentary discovery call with me. Don't let perfectionism keep you from living your dreams!

xo,

Melissa

How Life Coach Training Changed My Life

As a makeup and hair artist, I work with a lot of coaches. I’ve done beauty for hundreds of personal branding shoots for life, business, success, and health coaches. Every time I would work with one of these women, I would be amazed at how much they loved their work, and the positive and inspirational vibe I would get just from being around them. I was intrigued to learn more about coaching, but I wasn’t sure it was for me. I was an artist, and I didn’t see how coaching would fit into my business, or if I would be any good at it.

Then last year, as I was preparing to launch my photography business, my dear friend and client Sarah Jenks told me I should consider going through a coach training program. She felt it would really add to my work as an intimate portrait photographer, and help me work with my clients at a much deeper level. Plus, as you can imagine, being photographed, whether you’re in lingerie or fully clothed, can bring up a lot of shit you have around body image. She told me that having training around working with women through these challenges could be really transformative for them, and for myself as a photographer.

I still had doubts as to whether I wanted to be a coach, and if I would be good at it. But I decided to look into a program and learn more about it. A year prior I had talked to my dear friend Katie DePaola about her company, Inner Glow Circle. At the time I wasn’t ready to even think about becoming a coach, but now that I was open I decided to look into it further.

I felt drawn to Inner Glow Circle, or IGC because they were all about creating sisterhood and a supportive, empowering place where you could not only learn to be a powerful coach, but learn the business structures of creating your dream business. After many, many nights of wondering if I could really do this, I decided to jump in.
 

Going through coach training was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And not because the material was hard to learn, or there was so much work, or I didn’t enjoy it. But because it brought up all of my shit- all the things I had to face about my self doubts, fears, and negative thoughts about myself. And I had to be vulnerable in front of 9 women I had never met before. It seriously scared the shit out of me. 

I wanted to quit after the first month and go back to my ignoring my issues and fears. But Katie and Olivia, my trainer, were so great and supportive when I told them I wanted to quit. They helped me see that it was my fears and resistance to making changes that was making me want to quit. That by sticking with the training, I could address and release these fears, and make the changes I wanted to make in my life, even if I never even became a coach. They helped me realize that I could walk away from the program, but if I never took any big risks to growth and achieving my dreams, how long would it take me to make these dreams happen, if ever?

It had me realize that I had been playing it safe for way too long, and that I was going to have to shake things up if I wanted to make big, lasting changes for the better in my life. So I stayed in the program, and faced my fears of not doing it right, or not being a good coach, or not being able to help people.

And now, I am SO glad that I did, and got my Life Coach Certification in May. (Woo hoo!). Not only am I certified and trained to coach women to be happier, be more confident, and live more fulfilled lives, but I also learned so much about myself along the way. Because, along with all the training and knowledge you get about coaching, one of the benefits of the program is you get free coaching for yourself!

So here’s what I learned and how becoming a coach changed my life:

  1. It made me get clear on what wasn’t working in my life, and how I wanted to feel about myself. I was able to recognize and voice what wasn’t working anymore, and the negative talk that I had been sabotaging myself with.
  2. It helped me get clear on what I really wanted in my life and to dream big, like really big. I knew I wanted to live a life I loved, but I hadn’t really gotten clear on what that looked like. So I got clear with my vision, and dreamed bigger than I had allowed myself before.

  3. It made me trust myself and my intuition more. I learned that I didn’t have to know a script to use on my calls, or memorize all the right questions. I could trust my intuition on what to ask, and how to guide the session, and it would be exactly what my client needed.

  4. It made me realize all the things I was good at, and feel proud to share my gifts with others. I hadn’t ever thought about what I was good at, and admitted all those gifts out loud. Once I sat down and wrote out all of my talents, I realized that I had a lot to offer my clients, and I was gifted at many things.

  5. It helped me feel more confident in myself and have better self esteem. It helped me realize that I know enough, I am enough, and I have enough, just as I am right now.

  6. It gave me a deeper sense of fulfillment and meaning in my work. Instead of my work being about taking pretty photos, it helped me to guide my clients through a transformational experience, one where they walk away feeling beautiful, confident, and in love with themselves.

Going through my coach training really changed my outlook on myself and my life for the better. Even if I had decided I wasn’t going to become a coach, the training, knowledge, skills, support, and sisterhood would have been worth the investment as a way to grow and uplevel in my life.

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a coach, or are a coach and want to deepen your skillset and grow your business, or you want to have deeper tools to use in your corporate job, I invite you to check out Inner Glow Circle. Their Fall training classes start in October.

Plus, if you sign up before August 31 with the code FALLGLOW, you get all these amazing bonuses!

* $600 off the tuition price

* 1 month of early IGC mastermind access (sisterhood, training calls, and mastermind support!)

* 1 on 1 session with Founder and super coach Katie DePaola

* 2 different payment plans to choose from, or $300 off if paid in full.

Also, if you sign up through my link you’ll also get a 1 on 1  coaching session with me! (Just forward me your sign up confirmation and we’ll schedule your session.)

If you’re wanting to make big changes in your life, your career, or your existing business, and coaching is something that intrigues you, then check out Inner Glow Circle. It will seriously change your life.

Xo,

Melissa

P.s. If you have any questions about the program or my experience with it, leave me a comment below and ask your questions! I’m happy to help answer them as best I can.

*I am a proud ambassador of Inner Glow Circle, and I will receive a commission if you sign up through my link, at no extra cost to you. I only support and recommend products and programs that I have experienced first hand and truly believe in.